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Triple Crown (Dick Francis) by Felix Francis
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Triple Crown (Dick Francis)

by Felix Francis

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915203,117 (3.67)3
Jefferson Hinkley is back in the newest thriller in the Dick Francis tradition, this time on a special mission to the United States to investigate a conspiracy involving the biggest horse races in the country. Jeff Hinkley, investigator for the British Horseracing Authority, has been seconded to the US Federal Anti-Corruption in Sports Agency (FACSA) where he has been asked to find a mole in their organization an informant who is passing on confidential information to those under suspicion in American racing. At the Kentucky Derby, Jeff joins the FACSA team in a raid on a horse trainer s barn at Churchill Downs, but the bust is a disaster, and someone ends up dead. Then, on the morning of the Derby itself, three of the most favored horses in the field fall sick. These suspicious events can be no coincidence. In search of answers, Jeff goes undercover as a groom on the backstretch at Belmont Park racetrack in New York. But he discovers far more than he was bargaining for: corrupt individuals who will stop at nothing including murder to capture the most elusive prize in world sport, the Triple Crown."… (more)

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Showing 5 of 5
Felix Francis did his homework about US Racing, the tracks and pageant of the Triple Crown. Unfortunately, he wrapped a story about gun toting US Federal officials that turned into a litany of drugs, evil trainers and the unwashed hired help that invest horse racing. It dragged but I listened to the end because I expected better. Stick to what you know should be high on an author's to-do list. ( )
  jamespurcell | Jul 9, 2018 |
Jeff Hinkley is on leave from the BHA to assist the US Federal Anti-Corruption in Sports Agency to try to track down a mole. Someone is horse racing division is tipping off the trainers that a raid is coming leaving FACSA unsuccessful and looking bad too. He begins a secret investigation of the special agents in the horse racing division. Then Jeff tags along on a raid which results in a dead trainer. Clearly the trainer was tipped off.

When three of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby become sick and are withdrawn, Jeff needs to solve another mystery. He goes undercover in the stables of the trainer of the winning horse and works as a groom as they are preparing the horse for the Preakness. Besides his investigation, he attracts the enmity of one of the other grooms and his gang. This just adds more pressure to Jeff as he tries to find out what is going on. He has to find out if the illnesses to the horses was planned or coincidental and has to find a way to get the mole to make a mistake and be revealed.

This was a fast-paced mystery with lots of details about thoroughbred racing in the United States. I liked seeing the Triple Crown races through the eyes of someone from Great Britain. Jeff is a man who is burning out on his job now that he is becoming known and cannot go undercover anymore. The case in the United States comes at just the right time to throw some excitement and danger back into his life. However, he isn't particularly excited to go up against heavily armed special agents and makes some pointed comments about US gun policy.

This was an enjoyable mystery. ( )
  kmartin802 | Apr 22, 2018 |
An Englishman with experience investigating corruption in British horseracing comes undercover to work on an American agency after a mole suspected of tipping off targets of official investigations. He goes under cover and finds info on a trainer who trained a Derby winner (after 3 other favorites got sick) showing the trainer had deliberately made other horses sick. He also finally uncovers the mole (or moles) who chase him thru a near empty grandstand and try to kill him. I liked the book by the son of Dick Francis who wrote a lot of mysteries about horse racing.
  taurus27 | Mar 5, 2018 |
I loved this read. Felix Francis has done his father well when he took over writing for his father. I love this series of books with Jeff Hinkley. This story was fun to read. It was fun to see The American Triple Crown through someone from England. There were a few twists and turns throughout the book. I look forward to many more. ( )
  Virginia51 | Jul 29, 2017 |
Carrying on his late father’s series of horse racing mysteries, Felix Francis has now written his fifth about the most famous set of horse races in the world, the U.S. Triple Crown. The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs is the first of the three, and the most prestigious. The Preakness Stakes at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course is the oldest, dating back to 1873. The mile-and-a-half Belmont Stakes at New York’s Belmont Park, which takes place exactly five weeks after the Derby, is the most demanding—an insurmountable hurdle in many Triple Crown quests. Francis effectively captures the excitement, behind-the-scenes anxiety, traditions, and pageantry of these iconic meets.
Protagonist and narrator Jefferson Hinkley is an investigator for the British Horseracing Authority invited to the States by a colleague from the fictional U.S. Federal Anti-Corruption in Sports Agency (FACSA) on a secret quest to identify a mole in the agency. Horse owners and trainers are being tipped off before FACSA raids. Hinkley, who misses his adrenaline-fueled days working undercover, is grateful for the change of pace.
A few days before the Kentucky Derby, the timing of a FACSA raid on barns at Churchill Downs is moved up several days, surprising even the agents and certainly the suspect trainer, and one of them shoots the trainer dead. It’s evident the mole is still at work, but worse is about to happen.
Two Derby favorites come down with equine influenza, leaving only one favorite, Fire Point, who wins both the Derby and Preakness. To speed up his investigation, Hinkley poses as an Irish groom, and gets himself hired by Fire Point’s trainer at his Belmont Park stables. Oddly, since author Francis is from the U.K., Hinkley’s speech doesn’t seem especially British, nor particularly Irish in word choice or rhythm when he’s acting as the groom.
Before long, there isn’t much mystery as to who’s is tampering with the horses and how they’re doing it—Francis provides a clue as big as Secretariat’s legendary 31-length win in the Belmont Stakes. Nor is there a puzzle regarding motive. Any Triple Crown winner will generate many millions in stud fees, well beyond his potential racing purses. But if a horse has had equine influenza, his stud career is over before it starts.
Francis’s plot effortlessly and admirably engages the ticking clock device that has become such a staple of thrillers. The rapidly approaching Belmont Stakes means some of the world’s most valuable equine athletes are at risk. And that mole is still out there.
In an unconvincing subplot, a young Puerto Rican groom is overtly hostile to Hinkley, which only adds to his unease as he works around the barns. Plus, there’s the risk he’ll be recognized, and he is well aware of the lengths to which people will go to make sure Fire Point becomes a Triple Crown winner.
If you liked Francis’s other novels or if you just love the pulse-pounding Sport of Kings, you should enjoy this latest entrant in a storied bloodline. ( )
  Vicki_Weisfeld | Nov 28, 2016 |
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