Hardships of the Jockeys Calling: Monetary Rewards Not Now as Remunerative as in the Golden Days to the American Turf, Daily Racing Form, 1910-07-16


view raw text

HARDSHIPS OF THE JOCKEYS CALLING. , Monetary Rewards Not Now as Remunerative as in the Golden Days of the American Turf. The actor who takes the part of a jockey in one of the success! ul plays of the season and tells of the hardships he endures In keeping down tn weight reaches the climax by narrating how he once had :i glass of water and a caraway seed for breakfast ami beeause the caraway seed lodged in a hollow tooth be was oerweight and could not ride in an important race. This actor strained a point but did not go far bejOnd the bounds of possibility. There is no calling in the world which demands more self-denial, and while in the golden days of the turf several of the knights of the pigskin earned splendid salaries most of them sacrilieed health in the etU.rt to outdo nature. The torture that .McLaughlin. Fitzpatiick. Car lis.. ii. Murphy, Taral. Grillin anil others went through would make them martyrs in any other cause, ami there are others who knew she pangs of hunger for months at a time and CP aid not assuage them bc-..nise they were uuiler ironclad contracts to be lit and ready to ride at ■ certain weight whenever called upon. The scale of weights in the United States calls-for men of lighter build than those employed b England and France, ami for several years hoys who lipped the beam at more than 111* pounds have found little encouragement to continue their calling here and have gone abroad, where they could not only earn higher wages but have a few creature comforts occasionally. In the heyday of racing prosperity in America joekevs earned quite as large retainers here as in any country, hut aowatdnya there is ao comparison between what a crack rider may command for his services here and abroad. Turner, Ma her. ONeill, oC lor, Martin. Shaw, Miles, Lytic, Spencer, Sumter, Radtke ami Mitoruiick are some of the American bids who hae c;ist their lots on foreign shores, and each autumn alter the close of the. regular season for European Bat racing tinds them, or rather ■ aaaiecity of them, returning borne to spend the winter. Others, like IMom, Burns and lloggett, have forsaken their former calling and rem. lined here, the lirst named training and owning a Manner of horses on the local tracks, while Burns is seriously contemplating the opening of a public training stable. Sloan was one of the fortunate fellows and never had to deny himself anything In the way of fond. .Nature casi him in the perfect mould for a rider, and if be had to title today he could make loo pounds without any trouble. There is no doubt thai a modicum of his success was due to this act, lor long fasts have a tendency to make a man irritable, and the successful rider must be as cool as the proverbial cucumber in order to be ready to take advantage of every opportunity which comes his way. No man alive in this country today sutlered more than Jimmy McLaughlin did in the last half dozen years he was prominent as a rider. A mouthful of champagne, a piece of steak and a cracker or two were often all that would pass his lips for twenty-four hours and with this were tedious utiles on Unload, his body swathed iu heavy clothing. There Were other hours of torture in Turkish hatha, where every ounce of llesh that came off felt as though it brought as much bone with it. McLaughlin and Fitzpatrlck were great friends and they took much of their work together. Fitz w;is much taller than McLaughlin, but Here was not a pound between them when they were at their best. McLaughlin, though of the sturdier build, rede longer than his friend, who found the life of a starter more alluring than that of a jockey. The opening of spring training frecpicnt ly found both of these crack riders weighing 150 pounds or more. Unlike many of the present-day jockeys who keep in trim by taking part in winter meetings in various parts of the country, the old-time riders devoted their off months to pleasure and the result v.is six weeks or two month! id agony when the spring came. Isaac Murphy, probably the greatest colored rider that ever lived and in bis day the equal of any rider, black or white, in this country, was a tremendous sufferer from reducing. lie was intended bv nature to weigh about 1 In pounds and he lived through the racing season on next to nothing. Champagne was his favorite stimulant and this fact brought about the great jockeys undoing. He was under contract to J. H. llaggin. the copper king, and was piloting the great bene Salvator ami the | rless mare Firetize iu the early nineties. The latter probably never hud an eipial as a weight-carrier for her inches, and Murphy, who was a consummate artist, knew her so perfectly that no burden seemed too great for her to shoulder and gallop to victory. in one of the Monmouth Park ■xtares she had I n allotted a tremendous impost, j but the talent, who thought her invincible with Murphy in the saddle, made her favorite. The mare was winning when Murphy swayed in the saddle and it looked for a moment as though he would tall off. Tea Tray caught her In the linal strides and won the race, ktarphj lurching forward and finally clasping the little marc around the neck, tailing to the ground a hundred yards after the finishing line had been passed. The riders lips u.ie ashen mid his saddle-colored face — Murphy had some while Mood iu his veins-was the hue of copper. There was almost a scandal over the race, but the matter was hushed up. It was learned sub seipiently that just as Murphy was ahaai to leave the Jockey room to mount the inare his valet brought the jockey a pint of champagne, "with Mr. s compliments," naming a well known plunger who is still alive. Murphy drank the wine and was in a stupor for hours: in fact lie never recovered his old buoyancy of spirits and he rode less and less frequently, dying not long afterward in Kentucky. He brooded constantly over the disgrace of falling from the back of the mare he loved so well. Such an occurrence would be impossible nowadays when Jockeys are segregated and nobody has communication with them save in the presence of an ndlrlal. and then only on business. The rules of the Jockey Club demand that a rider go to his quarters as soon as he arrives at the course and remain there until he is through for the day. Thus if a rider lias an engagement in the sixth race and iu none of the other races, he is compelled by the rules to put in his time iu the jockey quarters, where every provision is made for his comfort. A gentleman who spent the last winter in Switzer land told of the way in which Malier and Martin, the American jockeys now riding abroad, spend their off hours." Martin, for several winters, has either won or been close up in the great roatesis for the bobsled championship at St. Moritz and Davos, and Maker, not to be outdone, succeeded in capturing the blue ribuna of the bobsled world this rear. But it was ■■other game than bobslcdding that this gentleman had high praise for. and this was nothing less than using si; lis and riding behind a Heel horse in a mad dash over the mountain roads or n the specially laid out track in front ol the Grand Hotel. Maker and Martin in searching for something new finally made a novel match. There were two young women win. were excellent performers on skiis and the jockeys selected two of the fastest horses, saddled and bridled them as though for a race, with the addition of a collar, traces and whltMetree. With a ronandg woman on skiis clinging to the whit-get ree, two of the best riders iu the world lore around the faatwn oval amid Rent cheering. Each Jockey rode his best and the contest was very lose. Malier anally winning the race by a small margin. The gentleman who gave the writer the inforiua tion detailed above was enthusias I ie ill praise of the sport. He said that he got many tumbles in tin- deep snow while becoming expert, but that the fun he got out of it amply repaid him. It appears that the horses are soecially trained for tile sport and tiny go lamely enough when journeying away from home, but when once turned around they pill forth their best endeavors, ami it take- some cleverness to cling to the reins with one hand and to the whUBetree with the other. The sensation of slipping BWiftly over the ground is described as most exhilarating. In no department of racing :is it U- now conducted has there been such Btarked deterioration as iu the qnalltj •.! horsemanship shown. Ten or twelve years ago ■ glance at the jockey board in an Import anl race would ban- revealed such names as Sloan, Turner, Slroms, I Mora, Burns. Doggeit, Lewis. Taral. OConnor. Shaw. ONeill. Buliman. Piggott, Clayton. Perkins and others, all stars and anyone of them the equal of any rider wearing colors today. Now. after Shilling and Dugaa are named, there are no stars, though M«Gee, But well. Garner and one or two others give promise. Bnmer has in him the making of n clever ruler, and so has the newcomer, Thomas, a tiny colored bov from California who can ride at eighty-seven pound* ami who reminds old-timers of Pike Barnes in the palmy davs when be came t.. Monmouth Park with Bill Scully and rode Hypocrite and Lottie V;il| for the then haudsome young Kentackian ami later on won both the Junior Championship and Futurity for Sam Bryant with the angular but speedy Proctor Knott. Thomas has the high color and straight hair which betokens Indian IiIihhI. With racing under a temporary eland there is not the money lo lie earned by riders in America, and it is only natural that the good jockevs should go where he emoluments are greatest. That a better day for racing in the United states is coining is the general Opinion of those who have their ear to tlie ground. The sport is too popular with the masses to remain long dormant, ami perhaps the day .. ill come when the best of the American born riders will return to the courses where they learned the rndimi ati of the horsemanship which has made them treat iu their calling.— New York Sun.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1910s/drf1910071601/drf1910071601_2_1
Local Identifier: drf1910071601_2_1
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800