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Isabel McLennan McMeekin

Isabel McLennan McMeekin (1895 - 1973) wrote several children’s books, most of which were based in the American South. She wrote plays with Dorothy Clark under the pseudonym Clark McMeekin. Probably her best known book is her fictionalisation of the story of Aristides, who won the first Kentucky Derby in 1875. Aristides, just over pony size at 15 hh, and owned by Hal Price McGrath, was one of two horses entered by him in the Kentucky Derby. In theory, Aristides was supposed to act as pacemaker for McGrath’s more fancied runner, Chesapeake, but once Aristides hit the front he fought off all challengers, and won. Chesapeake came eighth.


Finding the books: none of the books were published in the UK. All are reasonably easy to find in the USA. Very good firsts of Kentucky Derby Winner can be expensive.


Links and sources
Terri A. Wear: Horse Stories, an Annotated Bibliography, Scarecrow Press, 1987

Aristides and the Kentucky Derby

Many thanks to Lisa Catz for the pictures.


Ban-Joe and Grey Eagle

Franklin Watts, New York, 1951, 229 pp, illus Corinne Boyd Dillon



Ban-Joe is an orphan, who finds a job in a Louisville livery stable where the racehorse
Grey Eagle is kept. Ban-Joe’s ambition is to be a jockey and ride Grey Eagle.


The Postman’s Pony

Putnam, New York, 1960, 93 pp, illus Chet Kalm



Mark delivers the mail in rural Kentucky. He enjoys his job, socialising with the families along the
route, until two criminals start terrorising the area. They steal Mark’s pony, Pet.


Biblography - horse books only

First Book of Horses

Franklin Watts, New York, 1949, illus Pers Crowell


 I suspect this is non fiction - if anyone can confirm one way or the other, please contact me.

Kentucky Derby Winner

D McKay, Philadelphia, 1949, 272 pp, illus Corinne Dillon

Grosset & Dunlap, 1955, Famous Horse Series (right)



Jackie Spratt buys a share in a racehorse: Aristides. He helps to train him while a new race
course is being built at the Churchill Farm. A new race is also being planned: the Kentucky Derby.