Oldest Living American Trainer.: Pensioned by the Jockey Club and Rode His First Winner Seventy Five Years Ago, Daily Racing Form, 1917-03-16


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I s ,l • - - e .r on n x d y x ,e e to J " • - le r " ~ to at l« u d j- of f II fh d s" c- A. . ,-r ig OB .... tli OLDEST LIVING AMERICAN TRAINER. Pensioned by the Jockey Club and Rode His First T Winner Seventy-Five Years Ago. New York. March 15. -John II. Davis, the oldest horseman living in America, and who has spent four al score years aboat the various race tracks of the in country, recently was awarded a pension by the | Jockey Club, although the old man. who is now in 11 his ninetieth year, has been earnig his own liveli- o: of hood by acting as a watchman of the Brighton si Theater at Brighton Beach. In the days before * Jacob Pincus. Green B. Morris and other patriarch! , of the turf were born. John la is was out working t, with the thoroughbreds. ,, Possessed of a marvelous memory for recalling the y happenings on the turf through the many years a of his career. Davis several years ago compiled • a lhok of racing history. In this book he devotes a chapter to his own career in which he says he was bom at Lexington. Ky., on June 5, 1837. He t tells how. at the age of 10. he ran away with a boy t named Btephea Welsh and joined the stock farm and ■ training stables of Robert Burbage near the Forks v of the Elkhorn. He also narrates how a negro . groom named Harry Lewis, who afterward became j famous as the trainer of Lexington, reported after • the first days work of the little runaway to Mr. f and Mrs. Burbage that the Davis boy was a born i horseman. st In 1S42 Davis was attached to the stable of Jim f Shy. a famous Kentucky character of those clays. v who owned a number of great racers. It was Shy who gave him his first chance as a jockey. In his first two races he was unsuccessful, but on his ; third outing in colors he won a heat race, and „ Paddy Barns of Frankfort, a famous Blue Grass plunger, was betting on the horse Davis rode. , "The next day." says Davis, in his bcxik, "Burns t took me down-town and bought me a suit of clothes and gave me a twenty-dollar bill. It was the first large amount of money I had evur pos- j scsscd. and I was so afraid I would lose it that . I tied it up in one corner of the tail of my shirt. . I reached homo safely with it and turned it over j to Mrs. Shy to keep for me." Any turfman who has raced through the South is familiar with the saying. "Shy won a heat." and | Davis explains how this often-heard expression i originat--d. i Origin of "Shy Won a Heat." Jim Shy. the turfman, struck one of those mi- lucky atreaka and it looked as if he would never win , another race, and would have to lose his horses. , However, the tide turned one day when Dallas, by , Robinson — Theatress. was La tared in a race, best , three out of five heats, and Davis had the mount, j winning the race in four heats, losing the third. It was there in 1846 that the expression. "Shy won a , heat." originated. ] The following year Davis left Shys employment i and joined with Richard Ten Broeck, who organ- I ized a big stable and toured Canada. * "We swept everything before us and won nearly all the races in which our horses were entered." says Davis. "Finally we came to Quebec and the Qa ens Course on the Plains of Abraham. There we arranged a killing and we certainly made it. I was on Sallie Ward in a three-mile heat race. The only other real contender was Grace Darling, although there were several others in it. . "I landed the first heat with Sallie Ward and 1 Grace Darling won the second, but I knew all the time that the game little Kentucky mare was the better of the two. Mr. Ten Broeck was anxious to win as much as possible on the race, but as Brace Darling was a noted mare and had lost but few if any, races that year, he was a bit doubtful. Lord Parish owned Grace Darling, and up to that time she had never lost a race where the heats were broken. I won the first heat and laid up the sec ond. which was considered perfectly legitimate in 1 those days. I told Mr. Ten Broeck that I could not lose the third heat, and he had so much cenfi-dence in my judgment that he wagered 15,000 with I»rd Parish that Sallie Ward would win the next heat. The Englishman was so confident that he readily agreed to wager 5. MX, and even went further, and agreed to bet his famoas mare. Gypsy, a sister to Me-iloc. on the result. Mr. Ten Broeck ; was delighted at this proposition, as he had long • been trying to buy Gypsy. "For the last and deciding heat we got off evenly, . and I let Brace Darling get in the lead. I was I never far away, though, and always had her at I my mercy. I waited until the last ijuaiter before I let Sallie Ward down, and then went on and I won by a full length." Won Every Stake in Missouri with Ada Kennett. After Mr. Ten Broeck had returned to Kentucky Davis once more went back with Shy. and still 1 later he opened a public training stable in partnership with Edward Eagle, and trained many noted horses of those times. In 1MZ he moved to Missouri, taking the horses of James K. Duke, a Kentucky breeder, who had died, and among those he took was Creighton. the last colt of Glcncoe. a brother of Blonde and Maroon and Ada Kennett. He won every stake in Missouri that year with Ada Kennett. and sold out the Duke string and returned to Lexington, where he purchased a string of horses for Benjamin Hutchinson, a breeder of Missouri. It was through the efforts of Davis that bre-e-ding of thoroughbreds was first taken up in Missouri, and he helped to create a big interest in racing in that state and to establish the Laclede track, named after the first White man to explore the upper Missouri river. lie later had a partnership with James J. OKallon and raced a stable of noted winners at Chicago. Saratoga, around New York and in Baltimore, and as far south as New Orleans. In fact, there was no place in the country where racing waa carried on that Davis did not visit, and win his share of purses and matches, sometimes racing his own and at others training for some owner of good thoroughbreds. Many years ago he gave up active work, but always took an interest in the sport and was to be seen about the various tracks in this section for more than a quarter of a century. Even now the mind of this ! 0-ye::r-old turfman who has lengthened his days through his outdoor calling, is still active, and when he meets old friends be likes to hark back to the days of the three and four mile heats and talk of the equine kings and queens who won such races. Louis Stuart, one of the older generation of trainers still active on the turf, has just returned to Long Blanch, after a visit to some of his old friends aboat Now York. He was present a few afternoons ago at the Waldorf, when the name of John Davis was mentioned. Louis Stuart Tells When He First Met Davis. "I r-member when I first saw him. and I was just big enough at the time to be allowed to be around with my father, who had a string of horses." said Stuart. "It was in 1854 at the oh! Fasbioa Coaree on Long Island, while Davis waa with .Mr. Tin Broeck. who had brought his hois s from Kentucky, while my father, William Stuart, had brought some from South Carolina." Stuart, who has ridden and trained horses for mori than forty years, is now past sixty rears of age. but in perfect health and anxious io fret back on the turf handling a string of thorough brecls. Knowing everything the Be is to know about horses ami their handling, he feels that he can do justice to any that might come into his chaise, and may decide to open a public training stable- unless his services are engaged this year by aease person with a string of horses that need looking after. During his career Stuart has won a number of the most -coveted stakes of the American turf. He won the Belmont three times with Spendthrift. Patron and Forester, the latter lee-longing to Ap- pleby and Johnson, for whom he list had a regular cng.igemi -in as a trainer. His first engageiai at as a trainer was with Deaaieoa and Craw -ford, and be later trained for James R. Keene ami far the elder August Belmont, after Mr. Keene sent his static- to Bog-land tin- first tfaae. The first running of the Metropolitan Handicap at Morrill Park in MM was won by Stuart, who sent Tristan to the post, and the old [laser still insists that Tristan was the best hois., ho ever trained. It was ay far back as 1s7!l. however, that in- won the P.elmo.il Stakes .it th- eld Jerome lark course with Spendthrift. then he won it ■gala in lss_ with Forester, and once more in IMS with Patron, which also won the Brooklyn Derby of that buuiu year.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1910s/drf1917031601/drf1917031601_2_6
Local Identifier: drf1917031601_2_6
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800