Plungers of Iron Nerve.: Something of the Characteristics of Mike Dwyer, Pittsburg Phil and P. H. Mccarren., Daily Racing Form, 1910-05-06


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S » f ., , " „ l , • , . • I J ! J J , ! t j I , , ,, 1 1 . J 0 j it j J s 1 v r . ■ ! j j , , , | j i ! . , j . . 1 j . , , J , ] 1 , j , i , 1 , J | , 1 1. , 1 t ] 1 ] . 1 , I , 1 . j , , f , , | • 1 • j , , j I , 1 1 , i , 1 1 PLUNGERS OF IRON NERVE. Something of the Characteristics of Mike Dwyer. Pittsburg Phil and P. H. McCarrcn. "Vuii mark my words." said an old-time speculator 011 the turf, "its the fellow who bottles up his feelings and sl.ows no signs of emotion who goes away quicker than the chap who yells his head off when his horse wins. "Ive noticed the quiet ones all down the line. and the best examples of their kind have gone. 1 refer to Mike Dwyer. Pittsburg Phil and Pat Mc-Carren. None of them ever batted an eye when he had 11 noat finish for thousands, but they burnt up internally, and would have lived longer if they had yelled bow and 11. en. Its the way a high-strung chap has of letting off steam, and it relieves the tension tremendously. ""I remember the day that Previous failed to get away from the post for Hie Futurity, which the colts subsequent term showed he could have won easily. Mike Dwyer owned Previous and he had 823.000 up on the son 01 Meddler. It was Dwyer.-ctistom to view the race from the end of the grand stand nearest the clubhouse when they were running at Sheepshead P.ay. and he was pacing up iHid down with Ids ticld glasses in his hand while the big bunch of twi -; ear-obis were at the post. From time to time he would stop and look anxiously through the glasses. Finally there was a shout of "theyre off and a cloud of dust three -quarters of a mile away indicated that the race was under way. Dwyers gla--es were glued on the starting point when Air. Pettiugill raised the barrier and the moment the start was made he began pacing to and fro. taking no more interest in the race. •Somebodys left. ejaculated a bystander. "Yes. it*s Previous, remarked the nervy plunger as he continued his walk. "It was no fault of the starter that Previous failed to get away, nor was it through any remissness on the part of Simms, the fatuous colored Jockey, Who had the mount. It happened that Previous had drawn the outside position at the post and that the farmer had the field next to the Futurity chute planted in oats. The waving grain swayed temptingly near the colt, and he turned his head for a hasty "bite just as Mr. Peltingill released the barrier and called "come on. The jockey and colt were both caught unawares, and it was too late to rectify the mistake, though there are some who still think that Previous could have gone alter his held and won. It is not recorded that Mr. Dwyer ever made any complaint to anybody or murmured over his hard luck. He realized that he was BO against fate and accepted what came as his share of the uncertainty of the sport. "Those who were most familiar with Dwyer found just as hard to gauge him and his methods as the most utter stranger. He dearly loved a favorite, and the shorter the odds the more money he would bet. On one occasion he bought a horse named Joe Cotton for 0,000 and started to win him out. The odds were 1 to 3. and at those tigures he wagered 0,000. The race was at Sheepshead P.ay and the California mare. Dinette, was at Cottons throatlalch all the way through the stretch, and only the judges knew which had won at the wire. Not a muscle of the plungers placid face moved as Cottons number was flashed to the announcement board, and his only remark as a friend who sat with him in the timers stand slapped him on the back in congratulation was tight squeak. "Pittsburg Phil was much like Dwyer in some ways. He was equally sileut in the early days of his career, but when the disease which subsequently carried him off had made inroads into his system he was at times querulous and would argue vehemently when the soundness of his judgment ou a race was disputed. Pittsburg was not as fond of favorites as Dwyer. but, like his great rival, there was nothing that occurred during the running of a race that he could not tell with great accuracy. Whether he was netting or not he always watched the horses run. and there was nothing that occurred during that race that was not put away in a corner of his niaivelously retentive mind for future use. He played fewer races than Dwyer. going on the theory, always sound in any country, that the man who trlea to beat every race has only one sight in view — bankruptcy sure and certain. When he had viewed the possibilities of the various candidates in a race from all points and made up his mind that a certain horse could win nobody could talk him out of betting on the chances of that particular horse or mare. "He was cunning to a degree in his methods, and it is on record that he has through his agents wagered as much as a thousand dollars on a horse in a race in order to mislead his sworn enemies, the DOOknuhera. When the deluded pencilcrs had offered a sufficiently tempting figure against the horse Pittsburg really wanted to wager ou his money appeared most mysteriously. He had many confidential betting agents or commissioners, but was constantly springing surprises on the fraternity 111 fresh recruits. "It is said that a burnt child dreads the fire. It was a true saying so far as bookmakers were con-e trued, tot they had such wholesome respect for the young plungers judgment that they cut the price the moment it was apparent that it was his money that was coming Into the ring in such chunk:. In the early days of his career, which by the way began at old Monmouth Park about is5. the smart bookmakers of the Wheelock and Lichtenstein type thought they could break him. and they took hio uioni y every time it was offered and an anything tiiat he eared to wager. Some heavy winnings, one in pa I titular over Koliau. a horse owned at the time-by the late A. J. Cassatt. president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and afterward sold to Garrison, the Jockey, canatd them to look for softer game. "The race where he mad" his star winning was over a two-year old owned by himself whose private form had been carefully concealed. This youngsters name was King Cadmus, and Fred Taral was engaged to ride the colt in a dash down tiie straight course at Morris Park. Taral was in the heyday Cd his career and could outtinish any jockey then in the saddle. It took all the phenomenal Dutchmans muscular driving and lifting to laud King Cadmus first by a nose. Pittsburg was in the stand, the as excited man in the throng, and the only sign of emotion that he showed was the slight smile in response to Walter Keyes jubilant announcement of George, weTC skinned the ram! "Smith was never very fond of giving information to those whom he thought were not entitled to it, and he would never admit how much money he won that day on King Cadmus. It was rumored that the records of the ring, which could be got at pretty thoroughly, as nearly all of the smart fellows got a lambasting, showed that Smith took more than 00,000 out of the ring over that particular race. Rut Smith won on other peoples horses very largely, and frequently scored when the ovvuer and trainer of the horse did not think they had a chance. Sometimes he would meet the trainer and in an exchange. of opinions would demonstrate clearly that the horse under discussion should win that day, taking form ■him 11 on a previous occasion as a line by which to figure. Commencing life as a cutter of corks, an.l having practically no knowledge of horses, he developed into one of the best .judges of condition to be found anywhere, and if a hors.- did not warm up to suit him or show the sweat running clear and profuse in the paddock before the race he would hive none of him. or if by chalice his money was already down he hastened to hedge. "Smith was clever enough to always have some good riders that were friendly to him, and or.e of them. Willie Shaw, who is now riding in Cerniany. was as close to the plunger as his brother Bill, who trained the horses running in tin- name of Pittsburg. Shaw was never much of a finisher, but he had that rare quality which made Isaac Murphy, Jimmy Mc-Laughlin and Wiilie Martin great jockeys — he could tell yon everything that happened in a race after it. Of curse, you all know that the best horse HOC* not always win. Half a dozen things can happen dining the running of a race, and any one of them may lw? fatal to the chances of the hunt horse. Getting into a pocket is one of the ways a good hone ean lose, and especially if there are Jot hey ■ riding who have a grouch on the rider on the horse tlie; is in the tight place. They wont pull out and let the unfortunate through, and in tuhtng hack ind going around the field much precious time is lost. •"Kiinv. could tell not only what had happened to his own mount bin to every other horse in the mm, and perhaps you dont think that sort of news was valuable to Smith! The horse that, met with all trouble would probably be at a much longer Brim tiie next time he faced tic harrier, and plenty of folks couldnt understand how- anyhody could bet on is ehanma with the degree of confidence Smith displayed when he put down hi thousands. "Did you ever think that Pittsburg Phil was abour the only one of the big ptancer* who brOUghl next t . nothing into the game and left more than ,500,000 in good hard cash and securities when ha died a fe-" years ago. Just run your mind ovt r son e of the high rollers. Mike Iiwyer made mouev. •ind iota of 1. in the meat business long before ■ -aver thought of owning thoroughbreds. John W. G at. s. as you know, got his easy money in Y»::11 si reel. The old limcr. Bernard, bad a profitable business working for htm, and it kept him going for rears, and so ir g..cs ea down the line. But Pittsburg Phil came from .1 week as a cork cutter to a millionaire, and all between the ages of 2d and .".7." "Did you ever hear of the time he got his tickets mixed at old Monmouth and got Into trouble for a day or so because of lis youthful appearance?" interrupted one of the listeners. "No? Well. Ill tell yon about it. "Phil had gr .wn tired beating George Prices poolroom la Ptllahmg. and he yearned for actual racing and a sight at some of the borsch and Jockeys he had Icon reading about and figuring on foe a f-w years. He packed his bag and landed In New-York, knowing not more than two or three persona in the big town, one of these was a printer who had worked in the composing room of a Pittsburg newspaper, and being fond of the himself and a frequent visitor at Prlcea had made the acquaint ance of Phil, who by U10 vvay, jjaineil the sobriquet; which stuck to him through life by giving it up Whenever he l ought a pool, much the same as a looker in the street gives a name to the purchaser of stocks. "Pittsburg always looked youthful, and when he first appeared at Monmouth he was not more than twenty-one and looked eighteen or younger. It was the day he burned the ring up on Kolian. and lie was in such a hurry getting his money down that somebody else in the excitement of the BpecntethM got one of his tickets calling for .540 against 00. while he in return found among his possession when I.i li in breezed home a pasteboard reading 25 to 888. As he hadnt l«t a less sum than 00 in any of the books, he knew right away that a mistake had ! »on made. He rushed into the ring and up to the particular bookmaker with whom he had made his wager, and before they had l egun to pay off protested against the payment of the larger ticket. the first man in line waiting to get his money was the holder of the .5i;0 to 00 ticket, aud he loudly ailed for his money when the question of his having got the wrong ticket was debated. It happened, fortunately for the youngster, that he had bet with on.a of the squarest men in tlie profession. and he sent for Mr. Withers, the president of the track. "You remember the old gentleman. He was a man of few words. Pittsburg had a heap of winning tickets calling for upward of 0.m o, and the t2.i in dispute was the only small wager in the hunch. The other man had his lone ..".oo to 8508. and he didnt look like that kind of a bettor. Mr. Withers thought Pittsburg a very young man to be betting that kind of money, but he very sagaciously ordered both men to appeal before him at one oclock the next day and submit proofs of their identity and bring sonic evidence of their financial standing. Pittsburg hunted up his printer friend, who was sticking type on a morning newspaper. Tlie printer knew the sporting reporter of the newspaper, and he brought Smith ..own to the office and explained the case. Would the reporter say a word to Mr. Withers the next day: He would and did. Smith showed bank liooks on New York and Pittsburg institutions Indicating d posits of upward of 00,000. The other man was brazen up to a certain lioiut. but finally confessed that the 5 l et was his. and they both got their money." "Yes, I remember hearing something about that at the time." commented the veteran, "and it taught Pittsburg a lesson, aud he always, as long as the system was in operation, would find a quiet spot and Inspect the past -boards indicating his wagers before the horses went to the post. There would be a heap of them at times that looked at a distance like a pick of playing cards. "I have often seen him amusing himself in the train on the homeward trips scanning the tickets he had net cashed, and occasionally if lie had a friend along with him making such comments as those: "Itotten luck. Should have won that one. Horse got cut off or he would have walked in. Bad Judgment to bet on that mare, coat was dry and dull, no; as good as she was. Got a bad ride for that bunch. and so on all through the string. It was illuminating to listen to him. and I picked up ■any a bet by remembering some of the things he said. Take him all in all as a horse player he was in a class by himself. His devotion to his mother and brother was beautiful and he left them both rich when he died. "But say. the boy that would play them higher than a cats back was the late Senator McCarrcn. He would fall for tips, and ycu know any man who throws away his tigures and the dope sheets and takes tlie promiscuous tip that floats around the paddock lias his finish in plain sight. McCarrens t.:--t taste of aueeeea as a racing man was away back in tlie late .stjs and early 00s. when in part-aersbjp with Frank Seaman he owned three real good semes — one stake animal named Strideuwuy and two top-notch selling platers. BaJston and Drumstick. These horses were tiie sort you could rely ui on. and as they were game to the core and placed with splendid judgment — always a shade lower than they belonged — and let me remark that thats the way to play the racing game — try to make the public believe you have a selling plater when you really have a stake horse, and if you can fool the boys for a while yon will cash more bets than vou lose. "Boh Tucker bought Strideaway for 0,000 after a disagreement between the ; artners which lesulted in the trainer taking Balston and Drumstick, and the senator was out of the game for some time. However, like most of those who want action, he go; buck again and followed the horses until lie died. I guess he lost and won as heavily at times as any of them, and he certainly took greater chances than anybody I know of. There was one particularly disastrous day at Saratoga, when lie went beyond his limit and walked in from tlie course with one of his bosom friends. Well. I had a grand day. he remarked with that white smile which earned him the undeserved sobriquet of Chilly Iat. ""I want to say right now that McCarren was not chilly to those whom he had confidence in. Naturally, playing the game he did. he did not wear his heart on his sleeve, but if there was a case of anybody that deserved help and Iat had the money he gave it SJB cheerfully, and he didnt talk about it. either — that was the b"st of it. But Im getting away from my yarn. When Iat said he had a grand day his friend knew what it meant, and being a man of few words himself, he remarked in the vernacular: "• How much did you go for? " Only a hundred and five. was the reply. "A prolonged whistle was the only cessment of tlie senators companion for a moment, and then, with a grin illuminating his ruddy face, he asked: " How much have you got? "• About sixty-five. " And when are you going to get the balance? .piir: e.l tin inquisitor. " From j on. was the insant reply. " The you arc. was the only comment from the rubicund one. who knew the senator sp »ke the truth. "He paid up that 06,008 on Monday morning with as good grace as though lie were doing those he hail lost the money to a very great favor. It was the same year that Pat made" his famous plunge on a tilly named Oeeaa Tide, owned by himself. "The occasion was the Great Filly Stakes at Sheepshead Bay, and the race was worth upward of 0,000. You would think that winning that would have satisfitd most any ordinary man. but Pat was not ordinary in any respect, ami he planned to make the winning of his life. The most dangerous opponent Ocean Tide had was the afterward famous tilly liel.lame. owned by August Belmont. "This young mare, the apple of the eye of the chairman of the Jockey Club, was the favorite for the race, having shown some very good performances. Not much was known about Ocean Tide, but she had shown phenomenal speed in her training exercises, and Frank Brown, who trained her. told the waster that she was a phenomenon and that no mans two-year-old could beat her. "Nobody can find out how- much money McCarren bet on her that day. He sat in a box in the second gallery of the bg stand at Sheepshead and watched the race without the quiver of an eyelash. His tilly was ou the inside next the rail and as the senators box was below the finishing line the angle made ir appear as though Ocean Tide had won from Beldame by a short head after a most furious struggle, the pair running like a team the last furlong or so. "Mr. Belmont was seated on a box near by. lb-wis among the first to congratulate the senator. While the men were shaking hands a shout came from on" of M Carrolls companions: •• Why, theyve given it to Beldame!" "The senator smiled and. still holding Mr. Belmonts hand, remarked dryly: " You were wrong, it appears. I congratulate yen most heartily. Mr. Belmont. Wasnt it a great mm v Thai was the last big plunge that McCarren te 1 !.. s aid the old timer as he bit the end off a fat black cigar. "Say. Cates never loosened up much unless he had a hunch good and strong that he wis liable to cop." commented a sporty-looking fellow, who had listtned intently to the narrative, "and maybe he couldnt holler when he gel ctung for a wad. "I roine:nl..r ..nee when Boots Durnell was training Nealon and that bnn.-h that one of their good things hir the rocks at Brighton and I tiiink I can hear Gates yelling yet. I thiuk it was Doggett laid him a long price on something that looked juicy to tlie big fellow, but sav. something ailed that hern that day must have l,oon sitting tip with a sjck rriend tin- night befen — for he couldnt lene that tired feeling that they get ocasionallv. If hemea could only talk and toll u- when they have a head a. -he it would help some and we wouldnt blow our rolls fn. them when their niimis were not on the guuse." "Thats as true as lie genual of St. Paul that last remark of yours, young feller."* said the veteran BSJ he buttoned up his overcoat preparatory to swinging out into Broadway. — New York Sun.

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