Post Time, Daily Racing Form, 1924-11-20


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I : fjjJM The decision of John Loftus to open a i public training stable brings to mind interesting - commentaries cn the subject of f public trainers, made by E. E. Coussell and Eugene Leigh to this writer during the Saratoga meeting. Mr. Coussell early one morning war. standing near the lower gate in the backstretch, not far from the Widener barns and paddocks. One after another a "string" of one e of the big racing establishments would cante f past; in each there were from a dozen to twenty horses. Nearby stood a clocker with a friend. The 0 clocker would remark, "There goes Howes s first string." A moment later, "Thats Holly y Hughes second string." And in a few minutes, "Here comes Hildreths third q bunch." And so on, for a considerable time. "There is a feature of racing in England d and on the continent," said Mr. Coussell at t length, "that offers a sharp contrast to o what is seemingly the dominating characteristic - of American racing. I refer to the e preponderanc2 of well, really tremendous s establishments maintained here. "Now at home we have several wealthy men, most of them members of the nobility, who keep up racing stables as large as some of yours. But the big ones are quite in the minority. "With us, the public trainers outnumber those giving their entire time and attention to the horses of a single man, by four or five to one, possibly more. "We have a few trainers who race their own horses, but it is the public trainer that makes for much of the popularity of racing in our country. "You would be surprised at the great number of men and women of moderate means in the British Isles who own but one or two horses at the most, and season after season they keep up their interest through the medium of one horse. When that horse reaches a period of decline or it is decided to send him or her to the stud, the owner straightaway looks about for a youngster to take his place. He must maintain a direct interest in the sport. It is hobby and, as conducted in England, he can afford it "I dare say you have in America full as many people as we have, of substantial, or even moderate means, whese love for the thoroughbred horse and the sport of iavng him is whole-hearted. But I do not think he is encouraged automatically, you might say as strongly to enter the sport. ; i , 1 J . 1 : i - f e f 0 s y q d t o - e s "It has been my observation here, with limited opportunities of course, that when a man of means becomes known at the tracks and indicates a taste for owning a horse or so of his own, that whatever trainer he takes the matter up with is generally one at liberty or dissatisfied with his present employer. He hesitates to enter the sport when he sees on every side one mammoth establishment after another. And especially, if ho have a desire to race a horse or two, for a time at least, where is he to turn for a trainer? "I am told that your Mr. Max Hirsch in reality conducts a public training stable. That he is handling the horses of several patrons. And that is just what we have in England : scores of trainers of the highest capability who have in their barns from ten to thirty horses, belonging to as many as a dozen patrons. "When the newcomer and this trainer go into serious conference, the thing that is apt to appall the patron is the first cost not so much of the three or four horses he would like to have, but the expense of training so limited a number. To offset this your American psychology of bigness makes for cheaper individual cost comes to the fore. As a rule the patron decides that, as long as he can keep up twenty to forty horses almost as cheaply as a lesser number, he will go in on a big scale. "Now this argument, if such it may be called, seems sound. But bigness is always discouraging, psychologically, to the man of smaller, yet abundant means. "Now there you have the principle of bigness making for cheaper individual cost, on a practical basis. The advantages of cooperation enter into the scheme. If a patron buys a horse or two of proven quality or a youngster of promise and turns him over to a competent, reliable public trainer, the cost .of upkeep on the one horse is almost in the same ratio as if he were maintaining a dozen or more. "I dare say your Mrs. Vanderbilt might have hesitated in entering the sport had she been compelled to acquire a dozen horses in order to hold the cost of training Sarazen down to a reasonable point. But, because Mr. Hirsch makes a practice of undertaking the training of a single horse, she was enabled to enter the sport on an economical basis. Possibly there are others of your trainers conducting or endeavoring to build up establishments similar to Mr. Hirschs. "But it is my firm belief that if there were in this country scores of competent, reliable trainers conducting public stables, rather than a comparative few, your racing as an institution would make startling gains in the number of wealthy patrons that would be enabled to gratify their keenness for a direct, intimate interest in the sport." At a later date Eugene Leigh spoke to us along similar lines. "I train for several people there," said Leigh. "We have mighty few of thesa gigantic racing establishments in France. There are too few people who can stand the outlay. The expense is so great that when a man runs into a season or so of bad luck there is danger of his being lost to the sport. If I ever came back to America to train Id open a public stable. Id make a go of it, too." v Loftus has mapped out a career for himself. He has gone about it with foresight and in a businesslike manner. He has had his enterprise incorporated and has taken a lease on the finely appointed Clendenin Ryan stable and exercising paddock at Belmont Park. Mr. Ryan is retiring from the sport temporarily. Several horses have already been turned over to Loftus to train and quite a number of people, who for some time have been considering the acquisition of a few horses, have discussed plans with him. Several other trainers have been conduct-o ing public training stables for many years. Simon Healy is an instance, Harry Unna another. The latter is training the horses of four men of fair means, living in widely separated cities. James McGill is a resident of Los Angeles, George Fuller of San Fran-v cisco, Ira Humphreys of Denver, Gerald Cudahy of Chicago. Unna races east and west and has turned in each of his patrons a profit on the horses he has handled for them. It is a field of racing endeavor that should be entered and built up by any number of thoroughly competent, reliable trainers at present doing none too well "on .their own."

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