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John Perrotta book signings Aug. 22 at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame with illustrator Jen Ferguson

Author John Perrotta, who has also been a racehorse owner, breeder and stable manager among many other roles in thoroughbred racing, will be signing copies of his books “Racetracker: Life with Grifters and Gamblers,” “If Wishes Were Horses” and “Half A Chance” at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Tuesday, Aug. 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Perrotta will be joined by illustrator Jen Ferguson. Books will be available for purchase.

 

Except for attending the University of Miami where he “majored in tanning but settled for a degree in philosophy” and a brief career as a newspaper reporter, Perrotta gravitated back to the track. He loved the challenge of regularly picking winners and worked a variety of jobs to stay in the loop. Eventually, he became Vice-President of Racing for the Stronach Group, whose tracks include Gulfstream Park, Pimlico and Santa Anita.

 

Earlier, Perrotta had become one of the first professional racing managers in the United States when he helped establish trainer John Forbes’ stable as one of the top racing enterprises on the Mid-Atlantic circuit.

 

In 1981, Perrotta began a 15-year run as vice-president and general manager of Robert Brennan’s Due Process Stable. In that capacity, he managed the careers of outstanding horses including the influential sire Deputy Minister, who counted among his storied progeny Open Mind, the champion 2-year-old and 3-year-old filly of 1988 and 1989; and Dehere, one of only four horses in history and the first in 77 years to sweep Saratoga’s major races for 2-year-olds — the Sanford, Saratoga Special and Hopeful — which he did in his championship year of 1993.

 

On his own following the dispersal of Due Process, Perrotta founded Star Stable and bred several top horses, including 1997 Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold.

 

A father of four, Perrotta somehow found time, in 2004, to create the Thoroughbred Racing Radio Network.

 

Perrotta’s love for horses and for language and the written word came together when he met another racing fan, David Milch, the writer/producer of such successful television shows as “Hill Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue” and “L.A. Law.” At the time they met, Milch owned champion Gilded Time in partnership with Jack and Mark Silverman.

 

“Darrell Vienna trained horses for Due Process and he also trained Gilded Time,” Perrotta said. “So, I would see David up in the boxes at the races. David loves racing and he would bet with both hands. I loved his writing, and when we became friendly, I told him that if he ever did a series about racing, I was his guy.

 

“David said, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’ll call you.’ And he did — 25 years later.”

 

In 2012, Milch enlisted Perrotta as a contributing writer and consultant for his racetrack-themed drama “LUCK” for HBO. The pilot was directed by Michael Mann and its cast included Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, the late Dennis Farina and jockeys Gary Stevens and Chantal Sutherland. When the show was canceled, Perrotta continued to write.

 

“After ‘LUCK’ was canceled, everyone was pretty morose,” Perrotta said. “I kept writing to keep busy and to keep my spirits up.”

 

Perrotta has never lacked material for his books. In the forward to “Racetracker: Life with Grifters and Gamblers,” Daily Racing Form columnist Jay Hovdey said: “Perrotta’s journey took him far and wide, to racetracks large and small, wheeling and dealing in search of fast horses worthy of strutting their stuff in world-class events like the Kentucky Derby, the Irish Derby and the Breeders’ Cup. Sometimes he caught them, sometimes they got away, but there was always a good story waiting at the end of the day.”

 

Perrotta alternates his time in Ireland, California and Florida. For more information, please visit jrperrotta.com