The Black Stallion by Walter Farley is a fictional novel about Alec Ramsey, a boy who is in a shipwreck with a beautiful, wild, black stallion; the boy and horse realize they need each other to survive.
Alec Ramsey boards the Drake after two months visiting his Uncle Ralph in India. On his way to England, the Drake stops at a small port in Arabia where a glistening black, wild stallion is boarded onto the ship. As the Drake travels south of Spain, a sea storm hits; lightning strikes the ship and the passengers board the lifeboats in a panic. Alec frees the stallion, whom he calls, the Black, and both are left floating in the water as the Drake sinks to the bottom of the ocean. Alec notices a rope still attached to the horse’s neck, and he grabs on, thinking that he’d rather die with the horse than alone. The Black swims with the waves until they arrive on land.
Alec and the Black survive on the island by finding fresh water and food, and by building a shelter. Alec and the Black realize they need each other to survive and Alec is able to ride and train the Black. After twenty days stranded on the island, a ship arrives. Alec convinces the captain to take the Black on the ship with them.
Alec returns to New York and reunites with his parents, who agree to let Alec keep the horse, as long as he takes care of it. Alec and his family ride straight to Mr. and Mrs. Dailey’s place where Alec asks permission to keep the Black in their barn. The Daileys agree and Alec moves his horse into the stall, next to an old gray horse named Napoleon. The Black and Napoleon immediately bond with each other, much to the relief of Alec who knows the Black is quite nervous in the unfamiliar environment.
For the next few months, Alec takes care of the Black before and after school, brushing him, feeding him, and riding him around the field. Henry Dailey, a retired horse racer, sees the potential of the Black to be the fastest horse in history. Henry and Alec work together to train the Black; they bring the Black and Napoleon to the race track in the middle of the night to practice racing. However, their racing dreams are nearly extinguished because the Black doesn’t have papers, which prevents him from being able to enter a horse race.
Henry and Alec continue their secret practices while holding onto one last bit of hope. The country is riled up over whether the Cyclone or Sun Raider are the fastest horses. Jim Neville, a sports columnist, suggests having a competition between the two horses in Chicago to determine who really is the fastest. Later, Jim hears news of the Black and attends one of the night practices. He can barely believe how fast the Black is. Jim arranges to have “a mystery horse” compete against the Cyclone and Sun Raider in the Chicago race.
Henry and Alec are ecstatic about the opportunity. They bring both the Black and Napoleon to Chicago for the race. Just before the start, Sun Raider injures the Black’s leg. Alec begins to climb out of the saddle to check out the injury, but the starter doesn’t notice and the race has begun! The Cyclone and Sun Raider have a head start, but with Alec hanging off the side, the Black races towards them. He closes the gap and ultimately wins the race. Thousands of people, including Alec’s parents, cheer, photographers snap photos, and a horseshoe of roses are placed on the Black’s neck. The Black set a new world record. Alec promises that the people will be seeing a lot more of him and the Black in the future.