Review Æ Bones: Brothers, Horses, Cartels, and the Borderland Dream 109

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Review ✓ E-book, or Kindle E-pub ☆ Joe Tone

Ts hulking haunches and uiet demeanor to go from dead still to full speed in a few stridesNow maybe you can see it even if youve never seen it stocky horses raised by cowboys racing on short tracks ridden by jockeys trained in the thick brush of cow country all a safe distance from the floppy hatted dignitaries of the Jockey Club They call thoroughbred racing the sport of kings This is the sport of cowboys Muddle your mint elsewhereChapter TwoBloodlinesPomona CaliforniaDecember The calculations started as soon as Ramiros loafers shuffled into the barn kicking dust particles into the crinkles of the cowboys boots As his eyes adjusted to the dark Ramiros brain started receiving dispatches about what he was seeing thick haunches hinged backs steep shoulder slopes and all the other variables that make the difference between racehorse and runner There were some runners in the barns this morning That was the only takeaway from a stroll through here some babies that would be blazing down the track by springIt was winter in Pomona one of the dozens of suburbs splayed east of Los Angeles that everyones heard of but few have visited a kissing cousin to Covina and Pasadena Ramiro was born raised and still lived in Monterrey the industrial heartbeat of northeastern Mexico But he spent a lot of time traversing these suburbs in rental cars He went to the track in Los Alamitos for the races the stud farm in Bonsall to buy breedings private ranches public auctions and anywhere else he might find a uarter horse worth studying This particular suburb was home to the Barretts auction house where the final uarter horse auction of was about to get startedIt was a small sale head compared to or even at bigger auctions Ramiros particular interests made it feel even smaller He bought mostly yearlings one year old horses that would hit the tracks as two year olds the following year He also bought weanlings which hadnt yet turned one as well as embryos and foals still in utero bought on the strength of their genetics aloneThis sale would feature a mix of all kinds of uarter horses including foals weanlings yearlings stallions and broodmares Still Ramiro had reason to be excited The Schvaneveldt Winter Mixed Sale as this auction was called was run by the family of one of the sports winningest trainers Blane Schvaneveldt and had attracted horses from the best bloodlines in the business It was also a new venture so attendance was sparse That meant less competition on the way to the gavelRamiro moved through the barns peering through the metal bars of the stall doors He made small talk in his choppy English with the other horsemen milling abouttrainers looking for their next champions breeders hoping to make a big sale They were some of the best in the business Ramiro knew them allThey knew him too They knew him by various nicknames including the Horseman and Gordo which they recognized as the Spanish word for fat It made sense given the way his cheeks and midsection curved like birthday balloons pushing his five foot nine frame over pounds But at thirty five years old Ramiro was handsome too with eyes that played puppeteer to an electric smile hair that crashed like a Malibu wave and polo shirts in every color of Ralph Laurens rainbow He was a fresaa strawberry a preppythrough and throughMost of the uarter horse cowboys knew Gordo by his real name Jos Ramiro Villarreal Guajardo Even if Ramiro didnt exactly fit inif his loafers seemed impractical his polos a little bright for this hour his double fisted cellphonesthan a little obnoxiousRamiro knew the sellers welcomed the sight of him He could be a pain in their asses when it came time to collect and the old cowboys occasionally had remind Ramiro just how Ford Tough they were But Ramiro kneweveryone knewthat when the auctioneer started bellowing his gibberish Ramiro was welcome here Especially these daysThe Great Recession was grinding toward its thirteenth month Home prices were in a free fall A drought was ravaging Texas and other parts of the West driving up hay prices That meant the wealthy ranchers oilmen and businessmen who drove the uarter horse industry were doing what wealthy people did in historic droughts and capital R recessions selling their planes and selling their horses Sale prices were falling A mixed sale like the Schvaneveldts averaged ten thousand dollars per horse in a good year this year might only average six thousandThat was bad news for the Schvaneveldts but good news for brokers like Ramiro He was buying not for himself but for horsemen back in Mexico who trusted him to pick out well bred babies and haul them back across the border He never said who his buyers were they were Mexican businessmen and nothingHe could safely assume that everyone in the barns knew what kind of business those Mexicans were in But the industry didnt care so long as Ramiro kept showing up to spend his clients moneyRamiro kept coming and the money kept comingeventually Since Ramiro was a reliable big spender the auction house managers didnt demand that he settle up before he hauled his horses off to Mexico as they might with lesser known buyers They let him take possession of the horses and then pestered him throughout the year to send the balance So long as he zeroed out his account before the next auction he remained a valued customerRecently though Ramiros clients had been spending bigger and sending money less reliably At a small sale in Dallas that summer hed spent on four yearlingsmoney than any other buyer In two auctions in Oklahoma that fall hed spent on twenty eight horsesand then promptly bounced ten checks worth hundreds of thousands of dollars At one in New Mexico hed spent on eleven horses And at another in California hed spent on seventeen horses No other buyer came close to spending that muchThe checks eventually cleared the wires eventually came through But Ramiro was falling behind despite spending hours on the phone fielding and making phone calls in an effort to settle his debts The industry was losing patience Twice recently sale managers had pushed Ramiro against auction house walls demanding he pay off the balance of his billsYet when Ramiros hand went up at the next auction they never told him to lower it They needed his clients money Today especially The crowd was thin which meant sellers would either be giving deep discounts or bu.

Characters Bones: Brothers, Horses, Cartels, and the Borderland Dream

Bones: Brothers, Horses, Cartels, and the Borderland Dream

Ying back their horses and waiting for a new day But Ramiros Mexican clients seemed impervious to economic downturns They wantedhorses and the best horses alwaysWalking through the barns Ramiro could get a sense of a horses demeanor its build its balance all data points that might influence how high he might be willing to bid Sometimes he asked one of the handlers to heave open a stalls sliding door and walk the animal around so he could see how the horse handled itself in space But the real data was in the catalog he was holding Each page was covered in size nothing type detailing a single horses lineagesire dam their sires and dams and the career highlights of every horse along the line Wins in stakes races were set in a heavier black font which allowed seasoned buyers to assess the pedigree with a flip of the page Their eyes were trained to scan for that coveted black typeLike all buyers Ramiro was especially interested in a horses sire Like all buyers he was especially interested if that sire was First Down Dash A champion racehorse in the s First Down Dash was the sports most prolific breeder responsible for hundreds of winners and millions in earningsThe auction house offered two positions from which to bid One was inside in the small gallery that circled the sales ring The other was outside around the artificial turf walking ring where the horses were displayed before being led up a faux brick walkway and inside Ramiro liked it outside There was a bid spotter out there looking for flying hands and it was a good place to get one last glimpse of a horse before the bidding started Ramiro found his post along the rail and struck his usual pose his belly flung out in front of him and his sales book resting on top of itThe true life tale of the Zetas foray into uarter horses is masterfully recounted a finely painted cast of charactersTone weaves the threads together with skillful pacing and sharp prose marking him as an important new talent in narrative nonfiction Tone adds some vivid details and digs deep into the colorful world of uarter horse racing The New York Times Book Review Joe Tone reports in brilliant detail Relying on extensive court records and interviews with Scott Lawson the rookie FBI agent who discovered the brothers scheme Tone re creates the early successes that led Jos and Tempting Dash into the winners circle and then the US governments crosshairs Bones is an important addition to the literature on the US Mexico drug trade and a fascinating window into the subculture of American uarter horse racing Outside RivetingTone chronicles these brothers who became enmeshed in the American uarter horse racing and breeding industry eventually attracting the attention of an FBI agent who caught on to their multi faceted money laundering scheme Working with rich material Tone constructs a powerful narrative that reveals tensions of class and raceand unbreakable family bonds National Book Review Online Action and intrigue spill off the pages there are scenes of tense surveillance operations feverishly manic horse races confrontations between lawmen competing for their slice of investigative glory unnerving meetings between Zeta operatives who have snitched and the bosses theyre hoping dont realize theyve snitched and at the end a dramatic courtroom showdown Texas Monthly Much of Bonesreads likea colorful thriller But this book is the result of reporting that took Tone from North Texas to tracks across the Southwest as he explored how the murderous Zeta drug cartel came to be a major player in uarter horse racing We highly recommend it D Magazine Bones stands out for its excellent reportingand its first rate narrative The Dallas Morning NewsA riveting read that transcends the larger than life cartels cowboys and fast horses at its heart Its about how hard it is to determine what makes a good guy and a bad guy along our embattled borderJoe Drape author of the New York Times bestseller American Pharoah One magnificent piece of border reportingSam uinones author of Dreamland The True Tale of America s Opiate EpidemicWhat a cast of characters a bloodthirsty Mexican drug lord his unassuming blue collar brother a daring Texas rancher and an idealistic young FBI agent And then there are the racehorses as fast as the wind competing for million dollar purses on the uarter horse tracks of the American Southwest Through amazingly detailed research Joe Tone has brought us a riveting tale about the pursuit of justice in the most dangerous of worldsSkip Hollandsworth author of the New York Times bestseller The Midnight Assassin Joe Tone takes us deep into the harsh violent and fascinating world of drug cartels and uarter horses along the Texas Mexico border and what a great and harrowing ride it is Full of inside dope on everything from racetracks to money laundering to the finer points of smuggling Bones delivers a killer tale that is a scary joy to readDoug J Swanson author of Blood Aces Bones shows you the inner workings of a Mexican drug cartel via the intriguingly oddball sport of uarter horse racing The outstanding reporting takes you back and forth across the border from the perspectives of kingpins traffickers federal agents and stooges Its a gripping story and totally satisfyingBen Westhoff author of Original Gangstas The Untold Story of Dr Dre Eazy E Ice Cube Tupac Shakur and the Birth of West Coast Rap A suspenseful story as well as a fascinating depiction of the mechanics of money laundering the largely unfamiliar world of uarter horse racing and the dynamics of an extended family the book draws readers into the complexities of life at the border Kirkus Reviews starred review Journalist Tones first foray into a book length investigation is thorough and relentless Painstakingly grounding this story in the misty beginnings of uarter horse racing Tone carefully describes the modern art and science of the sport He gives the same careful treatment to every aspect of this story as it gallops between racetracks in Texas Oklahoma New Mexico and California chasing money and mayhem across the Mexican border Tones fluid style and light touch reveal the detention riches obscurity or horrifying death that awaits all the major players including law enforcement agents and collusive American ranchers Tones thoughtful coverage tells a tale of a borderland dream turned nightmare Booklist..

Review ✓ E-book, or Kindle E-pub ☆ Joe Tone

Horses, Cartels, PDF #8608 Chapter OneFoundationsYouve seen a horse race Maybe youve leaned over the rail at Bones Brothers, MOBI #224 your local track hollering at the seven because you bet the seven for reasons Brothers, Horses, Cartels, ePUB #9734 that made sense at the time Maybe youve donned a floppy hat and gotten Brothers, Horses, Cartels, and the PDFEPUBhammered off mint juleps running in from the kitchen to catch the end ofor maybe a replay of the Derby Maybe youve been in a Vegas sportsbook where not even the immortal gods of American football can muscle the ponies off those little TVs in the cornerSomewhere someway youve seen a horse race Most likely you saw thoroughbreds the horses that were loping down the backstretch when you stumbled in from the kitchen Maybe you watched a steeplechase for the novelty of seeing these graceful beasts leap through a manicured obstacle course But its unlikely that youve ever knowingly watched a uarter horse race and for our purposes youll need to see one if only in your minds eye or on YouTubeBe forewarned There are no mint juleps here The best we can offer is a lime in your CoronaThe colonists who settled Virginia and the Carolinas invented uarter horse racing in the s It wasor less an accidentTheyd brought a handful of Arabians and thoroughbreds with them on the voyage and between shifts tilling the New World they started racing through the main streets of their newly settled villages The races were informal and short usually about a uarter of a mile run between two horses down straight streets lined with villagers But winning them became a point of pride and over time the colonists discovered that breeding their horses with those ridden by the natives resulted in even faster racehorses They called this new breed the uarter of a mile running horse accurately if not cleverlyAround this time a British military captain visited North Carolina and wrote home about his experience He marveled at the lush tobacco fields the shocking barbarities of the Indians and the horses They are much attached to uarter racing which is always a match between two horses to run a uarter of a mile straight out being merely an exertion of speed They have a breed that performs it with astonishing velocity I am confident there is not a horse in England or perhaps the whole world that can excel them in rapid speedIn the s as settlers moved west they encountered a racing culture similar to the one established by those original colonists Three centuries of ranching across Mexicoincluding in the northern state of Coahuila y Tejashad propagated a breed of stock horses built for working the farm They were short muscular and placid amid the chaos of a cattle herd They were cow ponies first and foremost But they could run too if only for a few hundred yards and their serenity with a rider in the saddle made them easy to settle down at the starting lineThe Southwest in the nineteenth century was defined by bloodshed as Coahuila y Tejas became the Republic of Texas and then an American state Throughout it all though the white American settlers Mexican ranchers and Native Americans challenged each other to uarter mile races all across the disputed territory Gamblers would line the track forming a human rail with money and property at stake One race was said to attract such prolific betting that it bankrupted and shuttered an entire Texas townThe eastern settlers touted their uarter of a mile running horses The Texans swore by the speed and smarts of their cow ponies An imported stallion named Steel Dust uickly extinguished the East West rivalry He was already thirteen when he arrived from the East in but he beat every cow pony they lined him up against Before long he was being bred with ranch horses from across the new state of Texas infusing the Spaniards placid cow pony breed with a burst of speed and additional weightThe resulting horses were as one uarter horse historian described them small with alert ears a well developed neck sloping shoulders short deep barrel a great heart girth heavy muscled in thigh and forearm legs not too long and firmly jointed with the knee and pastern close They were rarely taller than fifteen hands but could reach twelve hundred pounds Thoroughbreds are lither averaging sixteen hands but just a thousand pounds The new breed of horse was even better on the farm and unbeatable in a rodeo ring or on the track provided the track wasnt longer than a uarter mile They called him the American uarter HorseBy the s an industry had sprung forth around the breed In Texas a group of cowboys founded the American uarter Horse Association to manage and regulate breeding and competition In New Mexico and California businessmen pushed for pari mutuel betting allowing racetracks to collect the bets and manage the payouts That lured horsemen and gamblers from Texas Oklahoma and Mexico for weekends spent drinking and betting on the races which could now feature six or eight horses instead of twoThe uarter horse meccas built in the s and s still anchor the sport today especially Ruidoso Downs in the mountains of New Mexico and Los Alamitos in the palm studded suburbs of Orange County California They host futurities for two year old racehorses and derbies for three year olds with millions on the line And on any given day at tracks sprinkled across the Southwest and Mexico uarter horses as old as five six even seven run races with a few grand on the line and a few hundred people in the standsThe best of these horses are descendants from American uarter Horse royaltysired by name brand stallions like First Down Dash Corona Cartel or Mr Jess Perry Theyre ridden by jockeys who often learned to ride in unsanctioned match races in the countryside of Texas Oklahoma or Mexico Many of the best are Mexican immigrantsThe races typically cover between and yards The best feature a little bumping out of the gate and all the way through the finish line The fastest yard races are run in about seconds compared to the two minutes it takes the top thoroughbreds to circle Churchill Downs The short track leaves little time to overcome a stumble the horses are loaded up rearing and kicking up dust and everything goes still The gates fly and and the race is already almost over The horse that best taps into its English Spanish Mexican Tejano cow pony DNA has the advantage using i.