Still shopping?

OK, nine days until Christmas. Eight shopping days. I hope, for your sake, that you’re a little further along in your holiday shopping than I am.

But in case you’re not, and still in search of the perfect gift for the racing lover in your life, here are a few items you can pick up without battling last-minute-shopping hell.

Two calendars offer the chance both to contribute to good causes while providing an upgrade in your domestic scenery.

Horses and Hope is the product of photographer Sarah K. Andrew’s trips to the Camelot horse auction every week, where she works with a team of volunteer to ensure that unsold horses don’t end up headed to slaughter. All proceeds of this calendar beyond its printing costs go to charity, and so far, Andrew has raised nearly $25,000.  The story of the calendar is here; you can purchase it from Hoofprints.

You can help the humans in the sport this year, too, by purchasing a calendar, this one Barbara Livingston’s jockey calendar that benefits the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Livingston apparently had little problem persuading some of the nation’s job jocks to take their shirts off for her; you’ll see John Velazquez, Ramon Dominguez, Garrett Gomez, and Kent Desormeaux, among others, as you’ve never seen them. The story the calendar is here; you can purchase it from Exclusively Equine.

The racing historian in your life will be thrilled to find the brand new, updated Champions from the Daily Racing Form under the tree.  Current until 2010, this version contains the stories and past performances of Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra, and Proud Spell, among others; the newest chapter, written by the Form’s Jay Privman, is called “Ladies First.” Other chapters are written by Glenye Cain Oakford, David Grening, David Litfin, Jay Hovdey, and Joe Hirsch, and you can get past performances back to the 19th century. Available on the DRF website, and while you’ve missed the discounted price, you can still get free shipping and a free 2012 racing calendar.

Need a few more ornaments for the Christmas tree? Get this starting gate in exchange for a donation to the Belmont Child Care Association. You can invoke your favorite sport during the holidays while helping to provide low-cost childcare and education to the children of backstretch workers.

And no fan will be upset by a donation made in their name to one of racing’s numerous charities. Help the horses with a donation to Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue, Old Friends, CANTER, ReRun, or the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation; help the humans with a contribution to the BCCA, Backstretch Employee Service Team, the Race Track Chaplaincy, or the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Help preserve racing history by donating to the Keeneland Library’s Daily Racing Form Preservation project.

Throughout 2011, interviews and discussions of new racing books appeared here; you can find them here, for the book lover in your life. For Thoroughbred Times, I talked to Jaimy Gordon about Lord of Misrule, which would mean both the National Book Award and the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, joining the literary and the racing worlds.

Anyone who loves racing and history will revel in Maryjean Wall’s How Kentucky Became Southern, the story of how Kentucky became the center of the racing world.

Add your own gift ideas below, and happy shopping…and happy giving!

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