Spiletta was the Grand Dam to Eclipse, Seattle Slew, Secretariat, Affirmed, and many more great racing champions. This is a novel for the entire family, of Spiletta, the Countess of Coulter's favorite mount, and what their lives must have been like long ago, and why she is, in real life, the Grand Dam of racing's greatest horses.
Lexington, KY, 2012
A young dark bay colt gambols around the paddock. His mother, the famed Zenyatta, attends him. Up the road a bit, another colt charges around the paddock, tended by his mother Rachel Alexandra. Both mothers and colts are descendants from the legendary Spiletta, as are their famous sires, Bernadini and Curlin, respectively.
Who was Spiletta? She lived in the 18th Century. She was the real life granddaughter of the Godolphin Arabian and mother of the undefeated Eclipse, the greatest sire in horsedom, producing 344 champions. Eclipse is the namesake of this century's horse of the year award, bestowed on Zenyatta, Rachel Alexander and Curlin.
The secret of Eclipse's success came from his dam Spiletta. She passed her giant heart and lungs to her son, who passed them to his progeny, blessing them with great stamina and speed. Spiletta and Eclipse's names are on the pedigrees of most Triple Crown participants and winners, including Man O War, Nashua, Native Dancer, Seattle Slew and the wonderous Secretariat.
This novel explores the life of Spiletta, the first horse to conquer the flying leap, which inspired the Olympic sports of steeplechase, cross country and competitive jumping, to inspire the design of a new and safer saddle and to perhaps save a prince. Quite a list of achievements for the Countess of Coulter's favorite mount.
Lee Arthur is the author of The Mer-Lion (Warner Books), 1982. This is her second novel.