Jun 14, 2008

Chris and Star Tour California! TB 51: Distance Runner

Ok, so I now have the time to kill and a hefty pile of select TB books next to my bed. Kind of like some 14 year-old's stash of porn...

I give you the review of Distance Runner, in which Jennifer Chu introduces some pointless characters and Chris and Star escape the pressures of Mel's bitchiness and get to do some touring on the side.

The Cover

I really hate this phase of covers from book 43-57... Star's mouth looks like his lips have been fused together and Christina is wearing Steve Urkel glasses. Her silks are also the wrong colours! Well, at least the saddle has a girth and stirrups and Christina is not wearing cowboy boots or a scarf...

The Synopsis

Christina and Star need a change of pace.
A competitive bug is sweeping through Whitebrook Farm. Image, Star, and Gratis are all contenders for the Triple Crown races, which begins with the Kentucky Derby, a little over a month away.

Christina can't stand the pressure. So, when she is given the chance to leave Kentucky for a little while and ride for another farm in California, where Derby fever isn't quite as intense, she packs her bags and takes Star with her. There, Chris focuses on making the most of Star's running style. He's always been a come–from behind–horse, but he sometimes misses his chance to beat the leaders. Christina is going to try to change that in time for the Derby. But it may not be as easy as she thinks.

The Plot

So, Christina is getting excited for the Kentucky Derby, but she is having problems as per usual with Star. Star isn't running flat out in his workouts, which is apparently a bad thing as that's what super-talented race horses have to do all the time. They are at Keeneland, prepping for the Blue Grass.

While Chris is wandering around the backside, she sees this insane horse fighting against one of those hotwalker machines. The horse is all tangled in his lead and Chris sets him free, a selfless act which will surely be the start of some miracle bond with this new nutjob. The horse's owners, the Johnstons, rush up, apprently remembering that they have left their expensive racehorse alone with a piece of machinery. Chris lands with her bum in the butter and get's to ride this new horse, Callie, in a race that afternoon.

Mel just happens to be riding Raven in the same race. Chris does, as per usual, a good job with Callie and wins the race but Mel lodges a protest against her in a bitchy attempt to change the results. The protest does not stand and Chris poses with Callie and the Johnstons are so thrilled that they want Chris to retrain Callie-poo in... gasp... California!

Ashleigh and Mike of course are against the idea.

Chris and Mel go to Katie's eighteenth birthday party. Normally, they would be indulging in some more adult activities at such a thing, but this is Thoroughbred. So it does not get any more interesting than gossiping in a hot tub and watching Indiana Jones. During the party, things are tense between our favorite cousins. It seems Mel can only be a nice person in her own books.

When the girls arrive back, Parker clearly had fuck-all to do but mope around the mare's paddock in the middle of the night. He and Chris break up, to save themselves more hurt, or whatever. I personally think Parker is sleeping with Kaitlin at this point, as she is not a main character and can be engaged in sexual activities. It actually has nothing to do with him going to England to train for Burghley. Parker is a man! He needs more than chaste kisses on the cheek!

Blah blah blah... Star is still not running full-out and Chris refuses to use a whip to beat some speed into him. She decides that a change of scenery is the way to go! Not that she and Star didn't go to Montana and then New Orleans or whatever... but help comes in the form of Cindy, who is in an unusually chipper mood due to her enlivened sex life with Ben. Cindy reminds Ashleigh that competition can be nasty between family and they all agree that Chris and Star can jetset off to Cali and run in the Santa Anita Derby! Yay!

Chris arrives in Cali and swoons over Dreamflight and their pretty facilities. Oh, and Aaron. Who just happens to be uber cute and focused on horses! Aaron gets chucked off this colt, Blue Streak Christina just leaps on the colt in her nice jeans and without a helmet rides him well.... as per freaking usual!

More drama over Star and his shitty fractions... Chris still refuses to use a crop, giving her horse far too much credit in the smarts department. Aaron offers to take Chris to Universal Studios, where he will have to chance to grope her in one of the dark rides. Chris is so upset over Star, she refuses, not at all aware of Aaron's intentions.

Callie and Star would make the perfect horse if they were moulded together. All Callie wants to do is run and could show Star a thing or two, or so Chris thinks. But she has to prove that she made the right choice (sound familiar?)

After much discontent with both Star and Callie sucking, Chris cries like a baby and Aaron comforts her and she basks in his warm manliness. They go touring around LA and Christina has the miraculous epiphany that she just needs to let Star and Callie do their thing without trying to change their style of running. Wow.

So Chris and Aaron ride Star and Callie together that evening without permission and both horses seem all fine and dandy now. The next day, Chris breezes Callie and the Johnstons and the horse's owner are happy.

Callie runs his race, the San Philipe stakes and wins it wire to wire and then Chris wins again with Star. All is well again and we leave California with promises of dinner dates and more work that never really get met as these people don't exist outside of Jennifer Chu's books.

Points of Interest

  • Yeah, I bet people just randomly offer strangers to ride their horses in races that take place... like hours after they first meet them!
  • Mel is such a bitch. She should be fucking grateful that she even has Image to race and that her body is still intact.
  • Storm's Ransom gets an honorable mention. It seems the mere mention of his name still reduces Cindy into a blubbering wreck.
  • At least Jennifer has some knowledge of TB history. Unlike, oh, any of the other NewGen authors.
  • I find myself wishing that Aaron was in more books than just Jennifer Chu's. For the simple reason that he might have been less boring than Parker.
  • Chris asks Aaron which horses are going to Santa Antia and his reply is "pretty much anyone who is sound." Ding ding ding! Warning bells, anyone?
  • Does a theme park called California Adventure really exist?
  • What is is with TB characters riding their horses without permission?
  • Boy oh boy, I thought seventeen year olds were beyond crying when they do not get their way.
  • Jennifer Chu likes name dropping brands, famous actors and all that, doesn't she?

Well, this book was pointless... but not as pointless as the next one on my list... the aptly named Perfect Challenge!


Mara said...

California Adventure is a Disney park, apparently. This only makes sense to me because it seems that 1/4 of California consists of entertainment parks. And Jennifer Chu should have just created her own original series (if she could have, which I doubt) because her characters were so randomly shoved into the books she wrote. Even Allie, ironically enough.

Lei said...

Does a theme park called California Adventure really exist?

Unfortunately yes. Disneyland ripped up half of their parking lot a couple of years back to put in a couple of roller coasters, and that lameass Tower of Terror thing. It's a dumb ripoff.

Distance Runner always amused me for some reason. Maybe it's the proximity. I could only really imagine what Kentucky is like, having never been there -- but Southern California now...that's like home turf. So Jenn Chu name drops a lot -- like the Getty, man you can only really see that thing coming south on the 405 towards LAX, not north.

Anonymous said...

i still can't figure out what Raven, a filly, was doing racing against colts. of course, this is Thoroughbred, where all the Whitebrook girls are good enough to beat the boys, but i don't remember any indication that Raven was *that* talented.

it always pissed me off that Parker flipped out when his parents wanted to send him to boarding school in England, only to actively choose to go there himself to ride.

Anonymous said...

This made me totally barf. It was basically this:

Chris: Whine! Star's not perfect!

Ashleigh: I was a jockey!

Star: Neigh!

Chris: Whine! Everyone hates me, I'm taking Star to Cali. Being in another state will help.

Chris: Whine! Star's still stupid...*wait!* If I don't force Star, he's perfect!

Star: *poops rainbows*

Molly (formerly anonymous) said...


Also, "Callie?" First of all, a horse can have a name that's not just a shorthand of their full name. Secondly, CALLIE IS NOT A GOOD NAME FOR A MALE HORSE. GOD. And that's not even the stupidest name of that stable's horses...I can't remember what the other one was, but it was just completely nonsensical and fucktarded. Whatever happened to horses being called stuff like Terry, Missy and Tonka?

Also, I find it really hard to believe that "Raven" would not have been used as a name for a racehorse by now. At least Campbell came up with some interesting names for the racehorses.

Anonymous said...

molly: are you referring to the other horse from dreamflight called matt from enigmatic?