J. R. Keene Talks About His Horses: Says Colin is the Best Recer He Ever Owned His Enjoyment in Racing, Daily Racing Form, 1907-08-23


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J. R. KEENE TALKS ABOUT HIS HORSES Says Colin Is the Best Racer He Ever Owned His Enjoyment in Racing. For a moment or two Mr. James R. Keene, with a deliberate air, stroked his heard gently, gazed In a far-away manner ahead of him, and then, in reply to a question which had been put to him, said: "I think my stable this year is without any question the best that I have ever owned at any one time in my life. Colin, Peter Pan, Ballot and Superman are great colts great colts and fine colts all of them. And there are some which have not been well tried as yet, and we do not know how good they may be. It is a pleasure, a rare pleasure to any man with the love of the thoroughbred in his nature, to lie able to rear a family of noble horses from as stout-hearted an ancestor as ever raced in bridle." This reference to the grandsiro of Mr. Keenes most famous horses the great Domino, matchless two-year-old of his time was in the singularly affectionate tone of voice by which the master of Castleton ever refers to the horse that won his sincerest love and admiration. "Domino," continued Mr. Keene, "was a great and wonderful two-year-old, a loyal horse and a brave one. He never had the opportunity as a three-year-old to show what he could do. But how well he made up for it by the brilliancy of his two-year-old career. And now marching through time his . two-year-old and three-year-old grandsons are establishing beyond any cavil the value at which I placed their progenitor when he was a two-year-old racing in my colors in 1S93." "Mr. Keene, what in your opinion is the best horse that you have ever owned?" The answer was somewhat surprising. "Colin," said he.. And Colin had but just recently won a splendid race when the reply was made. "I fancy that Colin is the best horse that ever has been in my stable. What is more, the boys In charge of my horses are of the same opinion. He has won for me this year an overnight sweepstakes, the National Stallion, the Eclipse, the Great Trial, the Brighton Junior, Saratoga Special and the Grand Union. He has not been beaten. His winnings will be well over 0,000. Splendid achievement that for a two-year-old. I dont consider that I have begun to see the limit of his possibilities. Rowe says he is a wonderful colt, and Rowe has had more chances possibly, than anybody else, to realize the strength and the fleetness of the horse." This usually emotionless man, who stands by the rail of the clubhouse year after year and watches his colts and fillies race for stakes valued at thousands of dollars, with seldom an expression of apprehension or approbation on his face, was so much moved from the ordinary by the victory of Colin in the Brighton Junior that he walked to the paddock, congratulated the jockey and grasped the trainer, "Jim" Rowe, by the hand, with a low, but sincere, "thank you." Turfmen standing about opened their eyes in astonishment, and one said to another: "Keene must be wrapped up in that horse. The colt must bea good one." But Colins greatest achievement was in the Saratoga Special on Saturday last, when he whipped the 0,000 Uncle as easily as he has all of the other juveniles. "We are breeding better horses in America," said the owner of Castleton, as he recounted the principal races of the season. "Our type is improving. We are getting both speed and stamina. It means much for the future of the horse. He is a noble animal, and an animal worth cultivating." Men of long experience in the affairs of the turf, who have accumulated wisdom through more than two decades as to the merits of the American thoroughbred, are even more radical than Mr. Keene in expressing praise for his stable. The owner believes that it is the best he ever owned. His friends say that not only is it the best in the United States, hut, more likely, if the age of the horses be considered, the greatest in the world at the present time, and unquestionably one of the most wonderful in the history of the racing horse on cither side of the Atlantic. It is not a stable of one star, surrounded by a few tallow dips burning feebly, but a collection of superb winners and promising youngsters, any one of which would grace the stable of an owner less fortunate. To date it has earned over a quarter of a million of dollars. Before the racing season is over it may have earned more than 50,000. In 1900 the winnings of Mr. Keenes thoroughbreds were more than 90,000, and the year previous to that they won more than 50,000. The record of the stable has been one of financial victory from the days of Domino, the famous black colt that won more than 90,000 as a two-year-old. One of Mr. Keenes closest friends says his horses have won for him ,000,000 in the last five years, and during his long career as a successful breeder and sportsman the total of his winnings will amount to a sum so far in excess of a million that unless a record has been kept of the amounts for the owners gratification it is doubtful whether he knows the exact figures. "Mr. Keene has an ambitious stable," said Andrew Miller, in a complimentary vein, just after the Brighton Handicap was won by Peter Pan. "Not only do his horses win the events specially arranged for their years, but with courageous spirit they dash into the specially prepared handicaps for the older horses and snatcli all the laurels away from them." This Is not the first season in which Mr. Keene Continued on second page. J. R. KEENE TALKS ABOUT HIS HORSES Continued from first page. lias won a race like the Brooklyn Handicap or the Brighton with a tlirec-year-old, but it happens to be the special year in which his victories in the stakes for classes of, a certain age have been augmented hugely by capturing the rich handicaps which are open to horses of any age above two years. "What is the enjoyment of being the owner of a vsuccessful race horse, a horse with the reputation of Peter Pan, or Sysonby or Commando?" was asked of Mr. Keene. "It is the gratification of possessing something that you know is a little better than that possessed by anybody else. At least, that is the winners way of looking at it. Beyond that, it is a matter of intense personal pride. One man is devoted to his yacht, because It is a faster yacht than that possessed by any of his friends. Perhaps it embodies some of his own ideas about construction, and for that reason he is fonder of it than he would be if it had been designed and built for him by others. Another man is5 attached to an automobile because he thinks that it is a little better than the automobile of any other owner or maker. The man who has the best hunting dog takes pride in that dog because it can do certain things in the Held which are impossible for other dogs. So it is with a wonderful race horse. It is not the sum that the horse may earn, it is not- the possibility that he may be employed for speculation that makes him desirable. Racing for gaming is not sport. It is the fact that he is a wonderful work of nature, a fine, high-spirited, perhaps gentle and intelligent animal that is a little superior to all others of his time, and whose courage is tested by the races he runs and the results which follow." "What is the gratification that comes, from winning races?" "An exaltation of spirit that is stimulating and healthy. A man who has looked upon his horses from the time that they were foaled until they "walk Into the paddock after a hard race, victorious over everything which could be run against them, glows with enjoyment. How can one help it? Here is a handsome, clean-coated, sure-footed animal which you perhaps have seen from the earliest days when he shambled awkwardly after his dam, who has developed every quality that it was hoped would be produced when he was bred. It may be that the colt which was selected as a yearling to be the star of the stable will happen to be the disappointment. Some uncertain gaited youngster that did not appear at first sight to be as well advanced as another that has been foaled in the same year suddenly manifests qualities which indicate grand possibilities. It is as interesting to develop him for speed contests as it is to develop the handsomest youngster that may be bounding around the fields. If he wins in some contest which is to become a part of turf history, your blood tingles and you are proud of your results." There are stables which arc operated solely to succeed in the betting ring if it is possible to do so. Their owners breed horses, or more frequently purchase horses, with the idea of gathering a collection that shall be invincible in certain contests in which they desire to wager their money against the bookmakers. The matter of stake racing and racing for purses is seldom given consideration. They plan from week to week to bring off some successful coup by which they may beat the bookmakers and very frequently they are not overscrupulous as to how they do it. Such methods are repugnant to the owner of Castleton Farm. He will have none of them. He races his horses for the enjoyment that they give him fairly and squarely to win the stakes or purses, as the case may be, and for that reason the public never hesitates to express its enthusiasm when a horse from his statde wins one of the richest prizes of the season. In his years on the turf, both hi this country and on the other side of the Atlantic, Mr. Keene has beeu the winner of some of the richest prizes in the turf world. Foxhall captured the Grand Prix at Paris, the Grand Duke Michaels Stake, the Ascot Gold Cup, the Ccsarewlteh and the Cambridgeshire, all great events of Europe. The money maker of the stable this year is Peter Pan. Once again the blood of Domino Is triumphant. Peter Pan. a son of Commando and a grandson of Domino, at two years old was rather a clumsy rolt that looked as if he might be a fair race horse and that was all. Today he is one of the most talked about horses of the year, and he is only three years old. Perhaps this is to be his best year as a race horse. His grandslre did most of his best raclDg as a two-year-old. He has at least surpassed Domino in his ability to produce speed at a later period in life. New York Herald.

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