Saving Baby by Jo Anne Normile
How One Woman's Love for a Racehorse Led to Her Redemption

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A touching narrative that transcends its subject matter.


"If we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt." --Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty

Jo Anne Normile was not supposed to keep the foal, an exuberant Thoroughbred with only a few white hairs on his reddish-brown forehead. But she fell in love with the young horse, who had literally been born into her arms. The breeder finally said she could keep the colt, whom she nicknamed "Baby" – but only if she raced him.

It was difficult to take Baby away from the safety of his pasture. But Normile had made a promise. Besides, horseracing had always come across as a glamorous blend of mint juleps and celebrity, of equine grace and speed. It was a vision she found appealing.

And she fell hard for it, this "Sport of Kings." She experienced a thrill every time Baby sprinted around the track, edging out other horses. But the magic that enchants is a veneer. For every Seabiscuit, there are tens of thousands of racehorses whose lives end in pain and despair, with indifference and corruption that runs rampant through the world of horse racing.

Normile knew none of this. Not until an accident on a poorly maintained track. That's when everything changed. That's when Normile founded the most successful horse rescue in the country, an organization that would go on to save more horses than anyone else ever had. That's when she knew she had no other choice.

Saving Baby is Jo Anne Normile's story of perseverance and passion. A heartbreaking and ultimately life-affirming book, it testifies to the transcending power of hope, and the unshakeable bond of love.


About Jo Anne Normile

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Jo Anne Normile, principal of Normile Racehorse Protection Consulting, advises senators, congressmen, filmmakers, legal firms, rescues, and humane organizations on all aspects of racing pertaining to the welfare of the Thoroughbred racehorse and the integrity of the industry. A former breeder and owner of racehorses as well as an elected member of two of racing’s most influential boards, Normile knows the industry from the inside. In addition to her consulting work, Normile founded two successful horse rescue organizations: CANTER, the first organization to take Thoroughbreds right from the track to safe havens and which now has chapters across the country; and Saving Baby Equine Charity (, for which she currently serves as president. Normile has received the Catalyst of the Year Award from the Michigan Horse Council for her “significant contribution to the Michigan horse industry” and the prestigious national Dogwood Stable Dominion Award as an “unsung hero of the racing industry.” She was described in The Thoroughbred Times as having “rescued more horses than any other organization in the equine industry.” Normile has been written up in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and The St. Louis Dispatch as well as in The Blood-Horse, The Daily Racing Form, Equus, Horse Illustrated, ASPCA’s Animal Watch, and numerous other publications. In addition, she has appeared on CNN and many local television broadcasts. Normile’s dedication to horses includes research on equine self-mutilation syndrome and compulsive behavior in formerly feral horses, which resulted in her coauthoring studies that appeared in the prestigious Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine. She was also cited for her contributions to a research paper published in Food and Chemical Toxicology about the public health risk of selling horsemeat laced with phenylbutazone, or “bute,” routinely given to Thoroughbred racers. Normile has provided exhibits for a watershed Congressional hearing on the use of drugs in racehorses and has been an invited speaker at equine safety meetings around the country, including the International Horse Welfare Conference and the American Equine Summit. Lawrence Lindner is a New York Times best-selling coauthor and collaborating writer on a wide variety of books ranging from memoirs to animal care to health topics. He also penned a nationally syndicated biweekly column in the Washington Post for several years and wrote a monthly column for the Boston Globe. His freelance work has appeared in publications ranging from the Los Angeles Times to Condé Nast Traveler, the International Herald Tribune, Reader’s Digest, and O, the Oprah Magazine. Currently, he serves as executive editor of Your Dog, a monthly publication of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, and as secretary of Saving Baby Equine Charity. SUSAN RICHARDS has a B.A. in English from the University of Colorado and a master's degree in social work from Adelphi University. She lives with her husband Dennis Stock and their beloved gang of four dogs and one Siamese cat.
Published October 21, 2014 by St. Martin's Press. 320 pages
Genres: Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction
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Publishers Weekly

on Oct 21 2013

Readers who love animals will be touched by this account, and by Normile's love of and dedication to horses. Her courage in exposing the dark underbelly of racing is reflected on every page. While the story lags at times, Normile and Lindner have produced an engaging memoir that is a must-read for animal lovers.

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on Jun 03 2013

A touching narrative that transcends its subject matter.

Read Full Review of Saving Baby: How One Woman's ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

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