The year is 1864 and twelve-year-old Gabriel hopes to one day become a famous horse jockey. Although he is a the son of a free black father and a slave mother, making him a slave as wellhe loves to help his father, one of the best horse trainers in Kentucky, care for the Thoroughbred racehorses on Master Giless 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 Gabriels 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 horsesand 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.