Jockey turned trainer Bill Shoemaker has a new profession--mystery writer.
"Stalking Horse," a novel about a jockey unjustly banned in a race-fixing scandal, is the first of a three-book deal Shoemaker has with Fawcett Columbine publishers, a division of Random House. The two other books will be released in subsequent Kentucky Derby weeks.
Shoemaker, 62, paralyzed from the neck down since a 1991 auto accident, said he wrote the book with help from Dick Lochte, a mystery novelist.
"I like mysteries," Shoemaker said. "In a way they remind me of watching a race. There's a starting point, then a period in which some surprises happen and finally you're in the home stretch and then somebody wins and somebody loses. The fun is trying to figure out who the winner will be."
The book's hero, jockey Coley Killebrew, will be a continuing character, Shoemaker said. Having retired from riding in 1990 after winning a record 8,833 races, Shoemaker has since trained horses such as Diazo, which ran in the 1991 Kentucky Derby.
"There's a mention in the book of a mistake Coley made in a Kentucky Derby," Shoemaker said. "I made the same mistake in the same race."
Shoemaker misjudged the finish in the 1957 Derby and stood up early on Gallant Man, who was beaten by Iron Liege.