The Horse God Built: The Untold Story of Secretariat, the World’s Greatest Racehorse

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“For anybody who loves horses, and for all of those who are thrilled by horse racing and the behind-the-scenes drama of the track, The Horse That God Built is must reading.”
–Michael Korda, author of Horse People

Most of us know the legend of Secretariat, the tall, handsome chestnut racehorse whose string of honors runs long and rich: the only two-year-old ever to win Horse of the Year, in 1972; winner in 1973 of the Triple Crown, his times in all three races still unsurpassed; featured on the cover of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated; the only horse listed on ESPN’s top fifty athletes of the twentieth century (ahead of Mickey Mantle). His final race at Toronto’s Woodbine Racetrack is a touchstone memory for horse lovers everywhere. Yet while Secretariat will be remembered forever, one man, Eddie “Shorty” Sweat, who was pivotal to the great horse’s success, has been all but forgotten—until now.

In The Horse God Built, bestselling equestrian writer Lawrence Scanlan has written a tribute to an exceptional man that is also a backroads journey to a corner of the racing world rarely visited. As a young black man growing up in South Carolina, Eddie Sweat struggled at several occupations before settling on the job he was born for—groom to North America’s finest racehorses. As Secretariat’s groom, loyal friend, and protector, Eddie understood the horse far better than anyone else. A wildly generous man who could read a horse with his eyes, he shared in little of the financial success or glamour of Secretariat’s wins on the track, but won the heart of Big Red with his soft words and relentless devotion.
In Scanlan’s rich narrative, we get a groom’s-eye view of the racing world and the vantage of a man who spent every possible moment with the horse he loved, yet who often basked in the horse’s glory from the sidelines. More than anything else, The Horse God Built is a moving portrait of the powerful bond between human and horse.

Praise for The Horse God Built:

“Scanlan’s scope is encyclopedic…”

–Publishers Weekly

“The author’s tribute is heartfelt…”


“…detailed in all its equine awesomeness.”


“…will satisfy those who can’t get enough of Secretariat.”
–The New York Times

“…an informative read that hardboots and novices alike can enjoy.”
–The Lexington Herald Leader (Kentucky)

“Eddie Sweat’s story represents the last great untold chapter in the Secretariat saga. Larry Scanlan has honoured both groom and horse by giving it to us at last.
–John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter’s Son

“This well-researched book is a must for readers who are fans of the horse, but if you just want a good read, you’re going to love this animal/human interest story.”
–Monty Roberts, author of The Man Who Listens to Horses


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3 thoughts on “The Horse God Built: The Untold Story of Secretariat, the World’s Greatest Racehorse

  1. Truely moved by this book I just finished “The Horse God Built”. I sat down on my couch with it this morning and started it. I couldn’t put it down except for a few convenience breaks. I almost forgot to eat! 

  2. Great Magazine Article Mr. Scanlan, the winner of numerous magazine writing awards, has written another great magazine article. Unfortunately, Mr. Scanlan has written a book instead that does not support his story line past twenty pages. The thrust of the story is that Eddie Sweat, Secretariat’s groom, was a super guy who did a fine job, but got left out of the shuffle of recognition of all those who made Secretariat great. Perhaps all of that is true. It is great that Mr. Sweat is getting some focus now. The book…

  3. Good but not about Secretariat as much as it is about his groom This is an interesting book, full of interesting observations, quotes, and anecdotes about the racing business, but like many reviewers I have to say the title is very misleading. This is NOT a biography of Secretariat as much as it is the story of Eddie Sweat, Secretariat’s groom. If you are looking for a definitive biography of the great horse, keep looking. But if you want to hear a story about a man who got close to this amazing animal like no other but profited only minimally from it,…

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