Davis is a genius with a camera. Her book consistently takes your breath away. Passionate, dramatic, and purely gorgeous, with each turned page your eyes widen and you say "Wow!" Women weep. Men get goose bumps. I've watched people. A photographic page-turner! Many horse photos are beautiful but can seem "staged" and artificial. Davis's photos make you feel like you're standing right there. They're alive. Vibrant. And suddenly so are you.
But the whole book is a work of genius. From the magnificent sunrise cover, past the stunning and stormy inside front, you're drawn into the private world of morning thoroughbred training at Santa Anita racetrack ... starting in the dark, full moon setting over silent paddock, walking to the back side, looking down a predawn shed row, horses hungry, fed and saddled, off to the track in mysterious fog, sun rising over galloping steeds, horses getting loose, caught, walked, bathed, and brushed. Bunnies, goats, and cats keep them company. Horses are magnificent animals most would agree, but Davis reveals so many personality traits. Mischievous, stubborn, frightened, trusting, gentle, bored, as playful as a child. We see everything, in a setting so real you smell the hay and want to peel a paint chip off the barn, and drop your jaw at the glorious mountain surroundings.
Davis's composition in a photo is perfection, but the order of photos equally captures you, as does the ingenious design ... not just a photo per stark white page, but riders chasing loose horses across two pages; arresting scenes laid against backdrops of *other* photos or pieces of photos enlarged to bring out remarkable detail; a center gatefold that leaves you gasping. Incredible! And just when it couldn't get any better, some of the most evocative lines of Shakespeare—about horses—send chills through you.
All professionals aspire to images that leave the clinical, two-dimensional realm and achieve art. Davis succeeds. Sheer genius. Sweet perfection. Passion. They're within her, in her heart and eye. Included are the praises of over a dozen famous jockeys, trainers, artists (practically unheard of in a first edition)! This book puts other horse and track, and many plain old photography, books to shame.
—Pro Photographer, New York (amazon.com review)
These pictures are really pretty! —Ron Turcotte, National Racing Hall of Fame Jockey; George Woolf Memorial Jockey; Triple Crown winner on Secretariat (1973)
These incredible photos capture all the best moments of the morning. The sound of the hooves ... the sound of their breath ... It’s like watching the racing community come alive. —Patrick Valenzuela, jockey
You're a master! Your work is so good, it scares me!
—Russ Furnas, photojournalist
Santa Anita is a place all its own, and these photos show that. They’re unbelievable! —Paul Atkinson, jockey
Bloody brilliant! —Debbie Nash, thoroughbred exercise rider
A wonderful, touching work, Karen's words and pictures gather the essence of the sport and the experience of being around the animals and the racetrack. [Karen is] a conscientious and committed-to-excellence individual … very in touch with her horse racing roots. —Stephen Nagler, VP Programming, Horse Racing Television (HRTV)
Karen has taken stunning photos. Santa Anita is lucky to have her.
—Ron McAnally, Eclipse Award-winning thoroughbred trainer
These pictures describe the real beauty of morning and animal .... remembrances of time well spent at Santa Anita.
—Gino Roncelli, Los Angeles Turf Club Board of Directors
These are damn good photos . . . the next best thing to being there!
—Ray York, jockey, Kentucky Derby winner on Determine, 1954
The book is lovely. You have captured the atmosphere of morning workouts perfectly.
—Gayle Van Leer, Thoroughbred Services, Calracing.com
I LOVE your photography. Wow! Really captured my heart and imagination. Beautiful, beautiful stuff ... a gorgeous book. Truly, you have a gift. I love and appreciate great photography ... [you] have The Eye.
—M.E. Altieri, f!lly Magazine and Filly Racing Radio
An unbelievable book. Great images. Really does justice to what we experience on a daily basis and try to describe in words. A great book! —Scott Hazelton, HRTV (Horse Racing Television)
Thank you so much for your lovely book and for personalizing it to me...it means so much and I am the grateful recipient of your talents and gifts. I know it will be a keepsake for all times. [You are] a beautiful, talented, and accomplished woman, who deserves, by all rights, to have the world at her feet. —M. Higgins, Los Angeles, CA
I have been involved with thoroughbreds for many years and your book and photographs are exceptional. —Peter Hurst, CyberFoal, Canada
This is an amazing book depicting the essence of beauty in a horse. I just love the way the pictures were captured, illustrating it all!
—Latifa Cozyn, South Africa
I love your photos … so amazing. Your work is breathtaking, what an eye you have. —Sandra Venables, Corral of Comfort, California
Love your work! :) —Lamarr Mitchell, Race & Sports Book at MGM Grand
I absolutely love your work … you are truly blessed with what you do. Loved the way you capture your work not only by your eyes but your heart as well. I hope that one day I will have the honor of you photographing my horses. —Shanna Damien, Victorian Racing Stables, Florida
Already renowned ... a beautiful, wonderful book. Photographs you will never see anywhere else. So much soul [in them]. —Marcielle Brandler, Universal Image Productions
Much enjoyed the beautiful and evocative photographs.
—Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Karen's photography is superb! She's tremendously talented.
—Laura Hillenbrand, author, Seabiscuit: An American Legend
Magnificent! A beautifully rendered dream. We certainly share the same passion for Santa Anita and all it has stood for. You should be very proud.
—Jim Wilson, Oscar-winning producer, Dances With Wolves
Absolutely gorgeous photography! Gorgeous book.
—Jay Privman, national correspondent, Daily Racing Form; commentator, ESPN & CBS television; radio show host
There aren't enough endorsements to do justice to your accomplishments. Your photos are spectacular.
—Steve Haskin, senior correspondent, The Blood-Horse
Your photos are worthy of comparison with the best of our racing snappers … in what is a very competitive and highly specialised field.
—James Lambie, journalist & author, UK
Karen Davis captures that special aura of early mornings at the racetrack, a time that has always been very special to me.
—Fred Stone, world-renowned equine artist
All of the moments that define the morning at Santa Anita are captured in the stunning photography of this book. Even those of us who’ve spent a good deal of our lives here can forget how lucky we are. Karen is here to remind us—and encourage us to look around with new appreciation.
—Eddie Delahoussaye, National Racing Hall of Fame Jockey
Karen Davis has done a magnificent job of capturing the scenes of morning training hours.
—Richard Mandella, National Racing Hall of Fame Trainer
This book brings out the true beauty of Santa Anita racecourse. I have not seen a book do such a wonderful job of portraying the natural beauty of one of my favorite places.
—Gary Stevens, National Racing Hall of Fame Jockey; Eclipse Award; George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award; actor in Seabiscuit movie (2003)
I have trained racehorses all over the world, and have never before seen such a passionate tribute to thoroughbred and track as this original and astonishing treasure. It is my privilege to know the remarkable, exceptional Karen Davis.
—Juan Reviriego, thoroughbred trainer
These photos are absolutely wonderful. All kinds of pictures—everything is here. You couldn’t ask for anything better!
—Noble Threewitt, thoroughbred trainer since Santa Anita's opening, Christmas Day 1934
Am tremendously impressed with your racetrack photography. You have a real talent and a fine eye for the best aspects of the thoroughbred. Superb work.
—Paul Alster, broadcast journalist, UK and the Middle East
An absolutely magnificent pictorial. It has some shots the likes of which I’ve never seen here at Santa Anita. It has a preface by Eddie Delahoussaye . . . if he’s going to sign on to a book like this, he’s very much taken with it. Terrific! Tremendous!
—Mike Willman, Thoroughbred Los Angeles radio show host
These beautiful photographs reveal the truly unique experience of a Santa Anita Park sunrise ... awe-inspiring ... not soon forgotten.
—George Haines, General Manager, Santa Anita
Brilliant . . . inspired . . . an incredible undertaking. We have never seen anything captured so realistically that puts you right into every phase of the racetrack. SUPER WORK! —Barbara Valentine, Raval Media Group
Utterly gorgeous pictures for a wonderful place—Karen’s tribute to Santa Anita is long overdue. You’ll miss out if you don’t take advantage of this enchanting place, magnificent animals, and distinctive people, so perfectly portrayed in this book. —Joy Scott, jockey
Karen’s photographs are just great. As the sun rises in the morning and the San Gabriel Mountains come into view, there's not a more beautiful setting in which to see the powerful thoroughbreds ... lovely photos.
—Laffit Pincay, Jr., National Racing Hall of Fame Jockey; Eclipse Award; George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award
Every morning here is like a snowflake. Santa Anita is a gorgeous place and these photographs capture it beautifully. They’re amazing!
—Howard Zucker, thoroughbred trainer
Beautiful photographs! Everybody’s going to want this book!
—Jack Van Berg, National Racing Hall of Fame Trainer
An absolutely beautiful book! It’s one to put on the coffee table. Very impressive . . . terrific pictures. It really does capture what Santa Anita is all about in those early morning hours. I urge people to get a copy.
—Bob Ike, San Diego Union-Tribune, Thoroughbred Digest radio show host
Beautiful! Some of the prettiest pictures you’d ever want to see of Santa Anita in the morning. Karen did a beautiful job of capturing that. It is a gorgeous book. —Jason Levin, Inside Racing radio show host
As a someone born into English horseracing, I'm deeply grateful for your dedication shown to the 'behind the scenes' of the racing industry - thank you. —Michael Guest, Chief Executive at West Cumbria Media CIC, UK
Praise for Santa Anita Morning Rhapsody
Karen S Davis