Between Races: Pie Man Unveils Smart Barbara; Gives Lodge Night Sire Prestige; Cull at Farm, Johnston Buys Him; Life in Open Success of Stock, Daily Racing Form, 1952-06-04


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BETWEEN RACES By Oscar Otis HOLLYWOOD PARK, Inglewood, Calif., June 3. — The somewhat incredible pie man, Elwood B. Johnston, has uncorked another "believe it or not" on the California turf with the unveiling, at first asking, of one of the best two-year-old prospects of the year out this way, a filly by Lodge Night-Wiseas-you named Smart Barbara. Smart Barbara represents the entire first crop of the Golden State sire, Lodge Night. The pie man has made news in this column before for several reasons, the most striking being his theory and practice of the outdoor life for horses, and, until owners of visiting mares demanded it, he did not have a single stall or barn on his Old English Rancho in Riverside County. He finally was forced to build a couple of stalls for his own account in order to "school" his young stock to know what a stall was, so that when his juveniles reached the race track, they would not be utter strangers to four walls. In his early days as an owner, the pie man also attracted widespread attention by his habit of buying the culls of the L. B. Mayer establishment, always choosing stock that nobody else wanted, and converted what might be termed the dregs of the farm into winners. The. pie man, so called because he makes pies for a living, knew nothing about horses when he started, but applied fi himself with a will toward learning, made some purchases abroad, and dt was only a short time until he was hobnobbing with the royalty of Europe during his frequent visits abroad. He made news again with. Rugh Lily, whose dam was a former Wyoming mare whom Johnston tried to give away, without success, and who finally was bred in sheer desperation, inasmuch as he didnt have the heart to destroy what appeared to be an entirely worthless thoroughbred. AAA Lodge Night, who was one of the L. B. Mayer culls mentioned, was acquired under circumstances which were usual for the pie man, but which to the rest of the turf * would be considered bizarre. His first acquisition from Mayer was a "wobbler" whom he cured, and who turned out to be the hard-hitting First to Fight. He went to the Mayer Farm one day seeking horses, was shown some fancy stuff, but declined, * Pie Man Unveils Smart Barbara* Gives Lodge Night Sire Prestige Cull at Farm, Johnston Buys Him Life in Open Success of Stock saying, "Show me another wobbler, like First to Fight." A farm helper replied that they had just the horse, and led a colt out by Alibhai-Constance who, while not a wobbler, did have something wrong behind which made him sort of stagger as he walked. One story had it the colt had been struck with lightning as a yearling. Whatever the cause, although it definitely was proven later the colt was not a wobbler, he did seem to lack coordination while in motion. Johnston bought him for ,000. He named the colt Lodge Night, raced him first at three, saw the colt win at a mile in 1:36 flat, and saw him twice finish a game second to such a fine stake horse as Mafosta. He refused an offer of 5,000 for the horse, and the next day Lodge Night bowed a tendon, so severely as to retire him from racing for good. AAA "I decided to stand him at stud," says Johnston, "and while I wasnt too high on him myself, I thought that maybe he might have a chance because of his Alibhai blood, and as everyone in California knows, Im the strongest advocate in the United States of Hyperion blood. I bred but one mare to him, Wiseasyou, on the theory that while Lodge Night was a small horse but with the Hyperion look as a saving grace, Id send him my biggest mare. The result was the filly we named Smart Barbara after my youngest daughter. Wiseasyou was a good race horse, winning at distances from six furlongs to a mile and a furlong. The second season Lodge Night was at stud, I bred none of my own mares, but did manage to get six outside mares at a fee of 50. This year, I did not breed any of my own either. But next year, I intend to send him some of my best mares, and after Smart Barbara won, the line formed to the right asking for services." Johnston, it might be added, has emerged in the last few seasons as one of Californias leading breeders, and his stock has established some really remarkable records. "I attribute a great deal of the success to our policy of raising young ones in the open," says Johnston. "After all, we started with modest stock, and Im convinced that if we had top blood from the beginning, wed have ►done far better. Of course, we are working toward that blood, but as any breeder knows, that is an accomplishment of assembly that cannot be done overnight." AAA As irony would have it, Smart Barbara won her initial outing from two of the finest in the Mayer stable, specifically, Bounding Wave and Pageantry. Smart Barbara has been "staked" at Del Mar, and her future from there depends upon circumstance. She is a better filly, it appears, than Mary Be Good, a daughter of Nas-rullah whom Johnston named after his oldest daughter. As for Lodge Night, hell get the dam of Ruth Lily and Galavon at his next court come the spring of 1953. In appraising the Johnston success, both "as an owner and a breeder, it seems to be one of those odd mixtures of keen native intelligence, determination, a knack of understanding horse racing and bloodlines, and sheer luck. Of course, luck goes a long way in any racing venture, and the man being lucky is no reflection upon the soundness of his enterprise. Indeed, when he first announced his "no barn" policy at his Riverside County farm, one turf pundit remarked, "It is madness." Three years later, the same oracle admitted, "If this was madness, there was method in it." AAA Horses and people: Mervyn LeRoy, vice-president of Hollywood Park, has proposed that the racing association provide a suitable trophy every year for the best horse, jockey, and trainer at the meeting, a sort of a "motion picture Oscar" type award, said award to be given at a dinner the last week of the meeting. "I got the idea from Daily Racing Forms award to the Horse of the Year," remarks LeRoy, "and in addition to the making of the awards, an annual dinner would make for a more pleasant relationship between management and the backstretch". . .James C. McGill has taken over as steward at Caliente while George W. Schilling is with, R. James Speers and the prairie circuit in Canada for Schillings 27th year there. , .The State Fair at Sacramento arid the Los Angeles County Fair at Pomona now are considered major meetings by the California Horse Racing Board. We look for both spots to average more than a million dollars a day when the associations can provide enough accommodations for the public, and we also look for crowds upward of 75,000 to attend the races at both places on Saturdays ;and holidays.

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