The year is 1864, and a young Kentucky slave dares to pursue his dream of becoming a jockey.
Twelve-year-old Gabriel loves to help his father—one of the best horse trainers in Kentucky—care for the thoroughbred racehorses on Master Giles’s farm. But the violence of war disrupts the familiar routine of daily life on the farm. When Gabriel’s father enlists in a Colored Battalion, Gabriel is both proud and worried. But the absence of his father brings the arrival of Mr. Newcastle, a white horse trainer with harsh, cruel methods for handling horses and people.
Now it is up to Gabriel to protect the horses he loves from Mr. Newcastle and keep them safely out of the clutches of Confederate raiders.
Alison Hart mines the complex relationships of the Civil War in this gripping work of historical fiction. Young readers will experience the danger and drama of a time when war split the country and human beings were segregated into owner and owned based on the color of their skin. Background historical material and photos are included.
“These last few months have been an incredible journey for you, Gabriel. You’ve been a slave, a son, a jockey, a soldier and a savior. But your journey isn’t over.”
Twelve-year-old Gabriel is too young to join his father’s regiment, the fifth U.S. Colored Calvary of the Union Army, as a soldier, but finds a job as personal groom to Champion, the unruly horse that belongs to Colonel Waite, the white commander.
When the Calvary receives orders to join white regiments in an attack on the Virginia salt works, Gabriel gets a hold of a horse and a uniform and joins the troops. When his father and Colonel Waite are not among the weary and wounded who return from battle, Gabriel mounts Champion and rides to the battlefield in search of them.
In the final book of the Racing to Freedom trilogy, Alison Hart continues to explore the complex relationships of the Civil War. The result is a gripping story that vividly brings to life the danger and drama of a time when war and issues of race and freedom divided the country. Background historical material, photos, and suggestions for further reading are included.
Gabriel, a twelve-year-old recently freed slave and talented jockey, is burning up the horse track—and stacking up wins for his former master, Mister Giles.
When Mister Giles asks him to ride Aristo, a powerful but unpredictable horse, in the prestigious Saratoga Chase, Gabriel jumps at the chance to compete against some of the greatest jockeys in the business. But as he begins the journey to Saratoga, he finds that high-stakes horse racing can be a nasty business as he works to keep Aristo safe and fend off horse poachers and jealous jockeys.
Gabriel also learns the difficult lesson that being freed is not the same as being free. More than ever, Gabriel misses his father, who is fighting with the Union Army. Who else can he trust?
In the second book of the Racing to Freedom trilogy, Alison Hart continues to explore the complex relationships of the Civil War. The result is a gripping story that vividly brings to life the danger and drama of a time when war and issues of race and freedom divided the country. Background historical material and photos are included.