with Horse and Hound

The Key to the Quarter Pole

Book Review by Norman Fine

key to the quarter pole.crop.williamsThe Key to the Quarter Pole, Robin Traywick Williams, Dementi Milestone Publishing, VA, 2019, Soft Cover, 278 pages, $16.00A person who writes about horses and people has first to really know both subjects, then bring to the project a compelling way with words. Robin Traywick Williams delivers it all in The Key to the Quarter Pole. She’s a horsewoman and a foxhunter, and for six years was chairman of the Racing Commission for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Plus, she’s been a feature writer for the Richmond Times Dispatch and a statewide finalist for UPI’s Journalist of the Year. She has several books to her credit, and this one is terrific—a page-turning novel filled with a variety of characters who inhabit that most exclusive inner sanctum of the horse world—the backstretch of the racetrack.

Louisa Ferncliff is one. She’s been beat up by a life with horses, but though her body is failing, she motors on with a will of steel. She knows very well that if she doesn’t take over the care and welfare of deserving racehorses, they will be raced and ruined. It happens all around the backstretch, but there are certain horses that she can’t let that happen to—especially the ones that give so much and expect so little. The principal object of her ministrations is Alice’s Restaurant, a horse with a fragile knee and a dubious future, who you’ll be rooting for every step of his tortuous way.

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