How Hermis Was Trained: Alex Shields Worked the Great Little Horse between Shafts of a Sulky, Daily Racing Form, 1924-02-17


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HOW HERMIS WAS TRAINED Alex Shields Worked the Great Little Horse Between Shafts of a Sulky. Hermis, winner of the Cup Preliminary and the Brighton Cup of 1903. trained in the winter of 1903-4 for his triumphs in the Suburban, Brookdale and Test Handicaps of 1904 between the shafts of a sulky. The legs of this great little horse, which is now somewhere in France, Avere under suspicion at the close of the racing season of 1903. Hermis was a horse of unusual huskiness and a gross feeder. How to keep his weight down over winter was the problem that confronted the late Alex Shields, his trainer. Realizing that it would be well-nigh impossible to accomplish this end without breaking the horse down permanently if Hermis was galloped under weight over the old Gravesend track like other horses. Shields decided to try him out in a sulky. Major Thomas Clay McDowell had trained Allan-a-Dale at Memphis for the Kentucky Derby of 1902 by driving him to a buggy for months ahead of the running of the race, and Allan-a-Dale had not only stood for the Derby, but for a number of other races. If Hermis, a Brighton. Cup winner, resenting the suggestion of such menial employment, as pulling a wheeled vehicle, had kicked Shields fine new sulky to kindling wood no one about the stable would have been surprised. Hermis was a horse of spirit as well as of speed. But he did no such thing. At the first asking he trotted oft with his sulky as placidly as a veteran cab horse might have, and put in most of the winter of 1903-4, a winter of unusual severity and almost continuous snow about New York, dragging William Shields, who weighed 250 pounds, or Williams 200-pound brother, John, up and down the speedway of the Brooklyn boulevard in a sleigh.

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