The R. H. McDaniel Story: Rich Man Admired and Envied Loved a Day to Day Challenge, Daily Racing Form, 1955-06-09


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. ________ ; . r The R. H. McDaniel Story 1 Rich Man Admired and Envied Loved a Day to Day Challenge II . By Oscar Otis I This is the seventh and last of a series* of articles on the late R. H. "Red" McDaniel, Americas leading trainer from 1950 through 1954. In it Oscar Otis, Mc-Daniels friend and confidant, gives the trainers background, his conditioning secrets and his philosophy of horse racing. CHAPTER VH. For those of you who have followed this series of articles this far on the career of R. H. McDaniel, we trust you have found that the McDaniel thinking, and methods, and philosophy of racing has been well worth while, and that even after his death, something will have been gained by publication of this exclusive interview material which it was our privilege to gather from McDaniel during the last Santa Anita season. Until this point, readers have been given the highlights. There also are the shadows. A rich man, admired, even envied, and certainly copied to a great extent as to his training methods, the McDaniel life was not all getting roses in the winners circle, or sitting in a box in the afternoon carefully watching the races through binoculars. It also entailed an endless, spartan regime, and we feel sure that if* it had not been for, the day to day challenge presented by the thoroughbreds, the McDaniel professional life would have been unbearably dull. He was up in the morning never later than five oclock, hastened to the racetrack shortly after daybreak, and supervised the training activity. At ten, when the track was closed to workouts, he would return home for a short nap and breakfast. Awaits Place in Turf History If he ran a horse in the afternoon, and there were few days in California that he did not, he was back at the racetrack shortly after noon, and stayed until after the last horse was cooled out, or, on Sundays and off days, at least until after the four oclock in the afternoon feeding time. After he returned home in the afternoon, he was "on call" for any emergency until the next daybreak. It was, in many ways, a grim, relentless regime, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and year after year. The only breaks were for travel, from Los Angeles to Del Mar to San Francisco, or from San Francisco to Los Angeles. At the time of his death, he was well on his way to becoming a living legend, but the legend and the money, for what it was worth, was built on long hours of painstaking work, with multitudes of detail crowding other multitudes of detail from his mind as he went from horse to horse, from task to task, from deciding about works to getting a top jockey for a starter the next day. His life was one series of mental alerts. He knew that if he was to be the success he was, -he had scant time for little else but his career. While racetrack life is well understood by those participating, training horses is quite different from the normal tasks, where an individual works say eight hours a day, and then forgets about the job. A trainer, especially one with many horses in his care, must work at it practically 24 hours a day. They take their problems home with them. If they dont, success eludes them. Just why Robert McDaniel, known to his friends as "Red," but mostly just as "Mac," decided to end it all at the peak of his career is quite beyond the scope of this series of articles. Rather this has been, in his own words, a detailed outline of the man in relationship to his horses and to the far Western turf. As McDaniel fades into turf history, his role in this last decade of California sport Horseman From Dawn til Dusk Turf History to Evaluate Him% . ; : — will become more clear, and can be appraised more dispassionately. We believe that history will show that McDaniel, through popularizing the public stable, although by no means alone in this chore, did something to change racing. He has left us his own estimate of himself when he said that he was proud of his role, as a public trainer,, in helping his patrons enjoy racing more fully, that he was proud of having been instrumental in starting so many new owners off on their great racing adventure, and also in bringing racing within reach of the comparatively "poor man by training at cost, collecting a salary only from winnings. Personally, we can say that it was a genuine pleasure to have talked to McDaniel at such length last winter, and to have made voluminous notes of those conversations. We are only sorry that this story appears as a posthumous character portrait — once again in a professional sense only — instead of a series of stories about a current national" turf figure. This concludes the series.

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