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Crazy Good

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Crazy Good

Crazy Good

The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America

By: Charles Leerhsen

audio performed by: Malcolm Hillgartner
genre: Entertainment - Sports
publication date:07/14/2020
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". . . a wry, moving account of America's first epidemic of sports fever." —Entertainment Weekly

Who was the most famous athlete one hundred years ago? A horse. In fact, harness racer Dan Patch was more than a celebrity, he was once the most recognizable figure in American sports.

Born with a bad leg and nearly euthanized in 1896, Dan Patch led an ordinary wagon horse existence, pulling the grocer’s cart in Oxford, Indiana. It was when he won a race at the Indiana State Fair that Dan Patch’s fame began to build.

At the time, harness racing was America’s favorite sport and as Dan Patch began beating world records and achieving unheard-of times, he caught the attention of not only fans, but corporations. In fact, this magnificent animal became the first celebrity sports endorser of everything from razors and cigars to breakfast cereal and washing machines.

Listen to this fascinating true story of the first massive sports star in America, and hear how a horse became a household name, delighting and uplifting an entire country.

“A terrific look at a legendary if now forgotten equine superstar named Dan Patch. Leerhsen does for early 20th-century American harness racing what Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit did for Depression-era Thoroughbred racing. . . . Thanks to Leerhsen, Dan Patch returns for another good run.” —Deirdre Donahue, USA Today