Leonard Jerome, Turfman: Career of Prime Factor in Development of Eastern Racing, Daily Racing Form, 1922-12-26


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LEONARD JEROME, TURFMAN I; Career of Prime Factor in Development of Eastern Racing. Man of Drilliant Attainments "Wlio Gave Ills Best Efforts toward the Building Up of the Turf in America. Any consideration of those individuals who have been prominently identified with the American turf in the 150 years of its existence would be obviously and inexcusably incomplete if it did not give attention to the great services of Leonard W. Jerome. His name, with a few others, stands far and away at the head of the list of those to whom the turf in contemporaneous times has owed its standing and prosperity. Not even in the generations long gone by, when racing was conserved by gentlemen of influence, were there any who surpassed Mr. Jerome in integrity of purpose, enterprise and unselfish devotion to the best interests of racing. Mr. Jeromes racing career extended over fully a quarter of a century and during part of that period he was a prime factor in the revival of general interest in the sport in the North, a revival that was the precursor and the basis of the phenomenally successful and gratifying condition of contemporaneous racing. ENJOYED SOCIAL PRESTIGE. Belonging to one of the oldest New York families and being one of the most successful financiers of his generation, Mr. Jerome had that prestige which social standing and wealth confer upon a man. His natural qualities of character were such that he endeared himself to a large circle of acquaintances, and in his energetic efforts to rehabilitate racing he commanded the co-operation of a large contingent of gentlemen of wealth. At the time when he undertook the seemingly discouraging work of reviving the dormant interests in affairs of the turf, just after the Civil War, racing was circumscribed by narrow limits and the outlook for its future was exceedingly discouraging. A love of the sport still existed, however, and Mr. Jerome, with his associates, fully recognizing this fact, based their plans accordingly for the regeneration of the race course. He was a prime mover in the reorganization of the American Jockey Club and in the opening of its course at Jerome Park, that was named in his honor. In that and in other enterprises that afterward sprang into being in the East he was untiringly active. His colors, blue, white stripes, were long familiar to frequenters of race courses and even after he had retired his stable he still retained his official connection with the sport to which he had so energetically devoted a great part of his lifetime. HEAD OF THREE EASTERN TRACKS. As a president, he was at the head of three leading eastern tracks, and to them, particularly, he gave time and money in the most unstinted manner. He was a generous buyer of good thoroughbreds and enriched his stable with some of the best stock of the period in which he lived. One of his most cherished coups was the purchase of Kentucky, the son of Lexington and Magnolia, for the sum of 540,000, which would have been considered a large amount to pay for a thoroughbred, even in the late nineties, and was much more so at the time when he was buying. Not alone in racing circles was Mr. Jerome conspicuous. He was a bold and dashing financier and identified with many of the big operations of Wall Street. During the Civil War he was one of the most patriotic supporters of the Union cause, being lavish in his contributions to the government and in many quiet ways assisting the cause to which he was devoted. ACTIVE IN OTIIEIt SPOUTS. In other sporting circles besides racing Mr. Jerome was active and influential. As an expert whip he was identified with the annals of coaching in this country and did much to promote that fashionable divertise-ment. He was one of the best four-in-hand drivers in the country. Interested also in yachting, he was no less influential in promoting the interests of that sport than he was in the upbuilding of racing and driving. The first yacht that he ever owned was the Undine. Afterward he was part owner of the Restless with Commodore McVicker, and part owner of the Dauntless with James Gordon Bennett. In the great ocean race of 1870 between the Dauntless and Cambria he came conspicuously to the front as a representative American yachtman. He also owned one of the earliest steam yachts that sailed in American waters, the Clarita. As a patron of the fine arts, a leader in social life of the period and gentleman of high intellectual attainments and brilliant wit, he was one of the most prominent figures in New York life in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. His death occurred in 1890.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1920s/drf1922122601/drf1922122601_12_1
Local Identifier: drf1922122601_12_1
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800