Cover image for Grand theft horse
Grand theft horse
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : TU Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books Inc., [2018]
Physical Description:
220 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 22 cm
General Note:
"A graphic novel"--Cover.
Graphic biography of the author's cousin, a rookie horse trainer who defiantly challenged the horse racing world and its treatment of animals.
Added Author:


Material Type
Call Number
Teen Paperback Fiction Neri
Teen Paperback Fiction Neri
Teen Paperback Fiction Neri

On Order



With well over 100,000 copies in print, this classic book for beginning scientists (first published in 2001) has been totally redesigned.
Gail Raffu was once a respected racehorse trainer known for her unconventional training methods. The she became part owner of the thoroughbred Urgent Envoy, and everything changed. The horse's co--owners pushed Gail to speed up her training methods, and eventually made her race him too early. The horse developed a hairline fracture. One more race would kill him.
So on Christmas Eve, Gail stole her own horse. A modern--day outlaw at age 53, Gail learned the law at night while living out of her truck in order to move the horse to safe havens, evade private investigators, and take on a powerful Los Angeles attorney determined to crush her in court. As she stood up for the humane treatment of racing horses, Gail also took on the system that could crush them.

Author Notes

G. NERI is the Eisner--nominated, Coretta Scott King Honor--winning author of Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty , which Flavorwire hailed as one of the top 25 essential graphic novels of all--time. He has written ten books for young people, including the Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award--winner, Chess Rumble , and his books have been translated into multiple languages in more than 25 countries. Mr. Neri lives on the Gulf coast of Florida with his wife and daughter.
CORBAN WILKIN is the recipient of the 2012 Cape/Observer/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize for his comic But I Can't and was nominated for the 2014 British Comics Awards in the Emerging Talent category for the graphic novel Breaker s End . He lives in London, England.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Neri's graphic novel biography of his cousin Gail Ruffu mixes true crime and legal drama with horse racing and animal activism. When "horse whisperer" Ruffu met Urgent Envoy, she felt a deep connection. Teaming up with Bud Clayton and his horse racing syndicate, she invested in the horse as a co-owner and trainer. On Christmas Eve the next year, in 2004, Ruffu stole Urgent Envoy to keep him from racing to death after he developed a hairline shin fracture. But the others didn't see it that way. As they pressed charges and denied Ruffu's side of the story, Ruffu risked everything-her career, her horse racing license, potential jail time-for justice. This gripping seven-part exposé lifts the veil on corruption in the horse racing industry and introduces one of the sport's pioneers. As the narrative jumps through time and travels between locations (mostly Texas and California), readers learn more about Ruffu, including her "Air Force brat" upbringing and Creole heritage. Wilkin's boldly outlined pen-and-ink art is all angles and scratchy lines, expertly conveying emotions and action sequences. Appended photographs of the subjects enrich the work, as does a call-to-action afterword from Ruffu. VERDICT Superb. Ruffu's tenacity and the book's satisfying conclusion will appeal to fans of John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell's "March" trilogy.-Alec Chunn, Eugene Public Library, OR © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

In what the author's introduction calls a "secondhand memoir" about his cousin, G. Neri (Tru & Nelle) details Gail Ruffu's lifelong love of horses and career as a racehorse trainer. When Ruffu buys her own horse, Urgent Envoy, the partnership turns sour as her co-owner demands to cut corners around the horse's training and care. To protect Urgent Envoy from likely death, Ruffu rescues the animal on Christmas Eve, whisking him away to a secret location. She faces alienation, years of legal battles, and limited employment opportunities as her former partner makes her life miserable with investigations and surveillance. The narrative focuses primarily on Ruffu's connection to Urgent Envoy but intersperses early encounters with horses. Using thick outlines, grainy backgrounds, and unflattering depictions, artwork by Wilkin (But I Can't) evokes Will Eisner's drawings and articulates the story's descent into a dark world around racehorses and animal care. Neri's storytelling captures the everyday dedication and sacrifice behind Ruffu's tale and manages to feel both potent and unpretentious. Ages 12-up. Agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

On Christmas Eve 2004, Gail Ruffu tiptoed into the Hollywood Park Racetrack with one goal in mind: to horse-nap Urgent Envoy, an injured thoroughbred. Most folk are home asleep, dreaming of SantaMe? Ill be lucky if I dont end up in jail. Its a whiz-bang attention-grabber of a start to Neris comics-format second-hand memoir about his cousin. The former trainer and twenty-percent owner of Urgent Envoy had recently learned that her co-owners planned to race the horse even though he was still recuperating from a fractured leg. So, for Ruffu, her Christmas Eve escapade was a rescue mission. Her partners, however, didnt see it that wayand filed charges against her. Neri details all the events leading up to the fateful evening, as well as the drawn-out legal battles that followed. He also backtracks to share snippets from his cousins childhood, including her early interest in horses. Wilkins expressive and dynamic ink panels, in brown and white, bring an immediacy to the emotional and financial turmoil Ruffu endured to save a helpless animals life. Intense and candid, the story underscores the risks and rewards of uncompromised activism. Final pages include photographs of Ruffu, as well as her personal plea for reforms in the horse-racing industry. tanya d. auger January/February 2019 p 118(c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Neri's graphic biography recounts the work of Gail Ruffu, a talented horse trainer with unorthodox techniques and a deep and abiding affection for her charges. She makes a deal with lawyer Bud Clayton to share ownership of a horse named Urgent Envoy, whom she agrees to prepare for the races. But the deal sours quickly, and fearing for Urgent Envoy's welfare, Gail recovers the horse from where he's being illegally held and hides him away. Thus begins a harrowing, years-long journey through a fixed system that heads Gail off at every pass and has no concern for her animal nor any other it's charged to protect. Her determination is matched only by Bud's rage that some powerless woman was getting the best of him, and Gail is deprived of career and home until their case eventually makes it all the way to the California Supreme Court. Neri streamlines personal events of Ruffu's life, highlighting the central social-justice drama to full, agonizing effect. Wilkin abets by balancing realism with gently rounded and slightly exaggerated features that foreground the emotional stakes. The graphic-novel world isn't full of true stories about nearly 60-year-old women of color who refuse to back down from wealthy white men exploiting (and further corrupting) a corrupt system. Grand Theft Horse feels all the more timely and urgent because of it.--Jesse Karp Copyright 2018 Booklist