Patrick Gilligan has released a book about relocating to America so his son Jack could pursue his dream of becoming a jockey. Around Kentucky—with the Bug! is about fathers and sons, professional sport and what it takes to succeed. The book is peppered with stories about love, life, travel and reflection while offering brilliant insight into the intangible allure of Thoroughbred racing. Gilligan’s conversational and humorous tone makes for light reading.
“The book started as a few random articles written for Gallop Magazine,” Gilligan said. “Then I wanted to catalog Jack’s bug year, and I thought maybe I could combine the two.”
The early portion briefly chronicles the elder Gilligan’s childhood on the outskirts of New York City and formative years in England where he became infatuated with Thoroughbreds. After a decade as an exercise rider and various attempts at traditional work, the elder Gilligan embarked on an Equine program where he met his future wife Vicky. After graduation, he became a licensed trainer and had remarkable success with one of his first horses Rushcutter Bay.
Around Kentucky—with the Bug! begins with the Gilligans and their cat Geri arriving at John F. Kennedy airport and driving to Lexington, Kentucky. From there the book chronicles the teenaged Gilligan making connections in the racing world that would become instrumental in his success. Throughout the book, the author offers his humorous opinions on topics such as American racing and Kentucky lifestyle.
Chapters close with the apprentice jockey’s monthly and overall totals as his career gains momentum and ends with cumulative statistics for the year. The final pages are Patrick Gilligan’s observations on the year in particular and his own years in general. Jack Gilligan is now competing at Fair Grounds Race Course. His father is an assistant to trainer Kenny McPeek and his mother works in the young horse division of WinStar Farm.
“An absolute treat…one of the most engaging racing books I have read,” said Richard Forristal of Racing Post.
Around Kentucky—with the Bug! is recommended for those who love Thoroughbred racing and for anyone looking for an entertaining read about life. It is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and selected bookstores.
Gilligan has earmarked a portion of the proceeds to assist disabled jockeys. For more information or to order Around Kentucky—with the Bug! contact Patrick Gilligan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And then his first mount, on the first evening of the Christmas meet won. And later that night he won another. And all of a sudden Kentucky, and Turfway Park in particular, was just a great place to be! A double on the first day of the meet. And three days later he rode another double. And suddenly he was the hot bug once more. And just as the drought seemingly started for no good reason, it ended just as inexplicably, just as suddenly, just as unexpectedly.
And that’s racing. And I should have known better, as during my own career I had on several occasions been drawn so low by my own results, only to be rescued from despair by a timely winner, the cure for all ills for jockeys and trainers. Our drug of choice.
And of course success breeds success. Those four winners that first weekend meant that Jack’s valuable claim was suddenly in demand for live mounts with favorites chances, and he didn’t waste those opportunities now coming his way.