The year is 1864, and twelve-year-old Gabriel hopes to become a famous jockey one day. Although he is the son of a free black father and a slave mother-making him a slave as well-he loves to help his father, one of the best horse trainers in Kentucky, care for the thoroughbred racehorses on Master Giles's farm. But the violence of war disrupts the familiar routine of daily life on the farm. One-Arm Dan Parmer and his band of Confederate raiders are threatening area farms and stealing horses. When Gabriel's father enlists in a Colored Battalion to help the Union Army and earn enough money to purchase freedom for his wife and son, Gabriel is both proud and worried. But the absence of his father brings the arrival of Mr. Newcastle, a white horse trainer with harsh, cruel methods for handling horses...and people. Now it is up to Gabriel to protect the horses he loves from Mr. Newcastle and keep them safely out of the clutches of One-Arm Dan and his men. Author Alison Hart mines the complex relationships between white and black, slave and master, Unionist and Confederate, and old and young in this gripping work of historical fiction. Young readers will experience the danger and drama of a time when war split the country and human beings were segregated into the owner and the owned based on the color of their skin. Background historical material and photos are included.