Jeff Frazier is a racehorse trainer whose dream is about to come true. He has a thoroughbred with the talent and the ability to compete in some of the most prestigious races in the country. When the colt becomes the catalyst for murder, however, Jeff's dream becomes a nightmare.
A well-known jockey is killed and an innocent man is arrested. The fate of three families depends on finding the truth but with the trial date closing in, the killer's identity remains a mystery. In the close-knit community, however, some believe they have the answer and decide to dispense their own form of justice. Although the horsemen's interference complicates the investigation, it uncovers those who will stop at nothing to win. Through all the chaos, the races continue.
With an arch of his muscular neck, FraziersFury flared his nostrils and pawed at the sawdust-covered paddock. His steel-grey coat glistened in the southern California sun. It was the day of the Celestial Stakes and the three-year-old thoroughbred was ready to run. As Fury bucked and danced it took both his trainer, Jeff Frazier, and his groom to keep the colt under control while they walked around the circular paddock.
Santos, Fury’s groom, knew the young horse as well as anyone. Fury’s antics kept the groom busy but there was no fear that he would lose control of the colt. Santos had an uncanny ability with animals and was an expert at controlling enthusiastic young horses.
“Fury sure is wound up,” Santos said as they walked Fury to his stall for a final equipment check. “He reminds me of Esperanza, the first horse I broke. My father laughed when I said I would ride him. I was twelve years old. I got some big bruises, but once Esperanza understood what I wanted, he tried to comply. That big grey horse ran like the wind, but it felt like slow motion. Fury moves like that. I wish I was young enough, and thin enough, to race again. I would pay you to let me ride him!"
Jeff gave the jockey, Carl Lawson, his final instructions. “Get him out of the gate quickly. Try to keep him relaxed, and off the pace. I’d like to see him about four lengths back. If he absolutely demands the lead, don’t use all his energy in a battle trying to hold him back. We’ll see what he does on the front end. Given his attitude, I suspect he’ll be tough to rate. Do your best.”
The jockey nodded. “Understood.”
The announcer's voice boomed over the loudspeakers, “Riders up!”
Jeff gave Carl a leg up as his wife, Natalie, whispered in Fury’s ear, “Run fast and come home safe, my beauty.”
Carl turned Fury toward the track’s entrance. The stunning grey colt pricked his ears, arched his neck, and with the slightest of bucks, danced his way onto the dirt oval. When he reached the track, however, Fury’s antics stopped. It was time to work and he focused on Carl’s signals.
The announcer’s voice filled the air. “The horses are in the starting gate." He paused, "They're off!.”
Fury bounded out of the gate but veered toward the rail, bumping, or being bumped by the big bay horse in the process. Neither seemed any worse for the wear while they thundered down the backstretch. Seated still as a statue, Carl had a tight grip on the reins. Fury appeared comfortable where he was.
“Come on Fury!” Natalie shouted, as if he could hear her and that would make a difference.
“The horses are at the top of the stretch,” the announcer called. “Nordstrom holds the lead, with pilot A.J. McCoy sitting chilly, followed by ImageOfAKnight and BaskervillesBobby a half-length behind. HotDogsAndBeer is fourth. On the outside, FraziersFury is making a move. Lawson, is asking Fury for more speed and getting it. Nordstrom is in front, then BaskervillesBobby, and HotDogsAndBeer. ImageOfAKnight dropped out of it but look at Fury on the far outside, gaining with every stride. Three furlongs to go. Nordstrom and Bobby are battling for the lead. Fury is moving up to challenge. Any one of them can win. Nordstrom has moved past Bobby on the inside. Fury is trying to take command on the outside. McCoy gave two taps of the whip and Nordstrom responded with a leap to the lead. With steady urging FraziersFury is digging in. They are coming to the wire. It’s too close to call!”