3 9090 013
Webster Family Library of Veterinary Medicine
Cummings School of Veterinary svledicine at
200 Westboro Road
Afr last English photograph
A. DICK LUCKMAN
AUTHOR OF "sharps, FLATS, GAMBLERS AND RACEHORSES'
WITH THIRTY-TWO ILLUSTRATIONS
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY
THE RIVERSIDE PRESS LIMITED, EDINBURGH
FRANK C. JACOTT
WHOSE SYMPATHY AND ENCOURAGEMENT
IN MANY TRYING MOMENTS
WILL BE A LASTING
I. TOD Sloan's reminiscences
II. MAKING BAD AS A JOCKEY
III. " MONKEY ON THE STICK " IN PRACTICE
IV. START IN NEW YORK
V. w. c. Whitney's liberality
VI. FIRST trip to ENGLAND
VII. TALKS WITH LORD WILLIAM BERESFORD
VIII. SECOND IMPRESSIONS OF ENGLAND
IX. A GLORIOUS WIND-UP
X. HOLIDAY INCIDENTS
XL SOMETHING ABOUT CLOTHES
XII. THE LATE KING EDWARD .
XIII. NUNSUCH's CAMBRIDGESHIRE
XrV. A PERIOD OF SUCCESS
XV. TRAINERS — ^AND TRAINERS
XVI. ENGLAND AND AMERICA .
XVII. KNIGHT OF THE THISTLE
XIX. FLYING FOX AND CAIMAN
XX. JOCKEYS AND JOCKEYSHIP
XXI. THE BIG PLUNGER
XXII. A VISIT TO AMERICA .
XXIII. THE ASCOT INCIDENT .
XXIV. merman's gold cup .
XXVI. DARK CLOUDS
XXVIII. AT THE TRAPS
XXIX. " SLOAN's chance HOPELESS
XXX. DOPE .
XXXI. MY MARRIAGE
XXXII. HOPE DEFERRED
XXXIII. THE THEODORE MYERS STABLE
XXXIV. SOME MINOR SUCCESSES
XXXV. MY DOG PIPER
XXXVI. A LITTLE FIGHTING .
XXXVII. MAKING A BOOK
XXXVIII. SUGGESTIONS .
XXXIX. PRACTICAL JOCKEYSHIP
XL. MORE SUGGESTIONS
XLI. FINIS .
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
In 1900 ......
Tod Sloan: From Spy's Caricature in "Vanity Fair"
Mr Charles F. Hanlon .
George E. Smith : " Pittsburg Phil " .
Lord Marcus Beresford and Mr Richard Marsh
King Edward — then Prince of Wales — driving
My First Year in England
Beaten on Caiman by Flying Fox
Winning the Jubilee on Knight of the Thistle
In King Edward's Colours
Lord William Beresford on the Road to Epsom
Lester ReifF ....
Johnny ReifF ....
Returning to Scale after Merman's Gold Cup
Walter Davis ....
"The Flying Bird" and Tod Sloan .
Prince Poniatowski and Tod Sloan
M. Charron's First Lesson in Riding .
Rose de Mai ....
Lord Carnarvon and Tod Sloan at Longchamps
Miss Julia Sanderson
At the Carlton Hotel, Nice
The First Time an Aeroplane carried Four
After the St Moritz Annual Billiard Tournament
To face page 10
>> )) -^^
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Shooting Clay Pigeons at St Moritz .
With my Dog, Piper, at St Moritz .
In Algiers ....
Mr Theodore Myers's Training Quarters
Working for the Ambulance
Two Pirates : Milton Henry and Tod Sloan
"Henry" . . . •
A Hospital Garden Scene
My Editor ....
To face page 256
„ „ 258
For many years I have had a wish to collect the
incidents of Tod Sloan's life. The opportunity never
seemed to arrive. However, with the strenuous times
of the Great War, and soon after Paris had been threatened
by a German occupation, I found my chance.
There is a double purpose in writing Sloan'' s life. I
had heard him telling so many good stories about himself,
and about others, that I thought it would be a pity that
they should be lost to the present-day public and to future
generations. I was sure too that many phases of his
career would typify life preceding 1915, and that this book
might be as interesting in the years to come as it is to-day
to those who kfiow Sloan personally.
Tod Sloan is one of the best-known individualities in
Paris, London, New York and other great cities. He
has been caricatured by the best- known artists, and written
about in newspapers, magazines and books. His career
has been such a varied one that even a single chapter of
his life could be elaborated without undue padding into
a most readable volume. My endeavour has been to get
Sloan to recount the story of his life in chronological order,
at the same time not missing little sidelights and stories
which cropped up as we went along, and which could be
inserted here and there without breaking off the story.
There are certain things which I can say about Sloan
which he is too diffident to allude to himself except in the
barest fashion. Years ago in The Daily Express in a
series of articles I endeavoured to lead an appeal to the
stewards of the Jockey Club for the renewal of Sloan's
licence, but unfortunately it came to nothing. One head-
ing I remember began " There should be no such thing as
a life sentence.^'' In those words is the gist of the whole
matter. If has always seemed incredible that after years
of punishment Sloan should not be reinstated. It is
not so much a qu£stion whether he would be able or would
want to ride again. It is rather that a stigma is attached
to a great artist in riding when an intimation is given to
him that he must not apply for a licence for it would be
refused. Two wrongs don^t make a right, and it is no
use comparing Sloan'' s alleged offences with those of other
riders who have been put on foot and then given their
ticket in less than three years. Fifteen years is indeed
a terrible time for any intelligent man to be living in
hopes and to find those hopes cast down as year follows
It is a common mistake to think that Sloan was ever
warned off. The number of times I have been asked
" What was Sloan warned off for 9''^ I cannot reckon;
all that happened to him was that he was told that
he had better not put in his application. He has been
allowed to ride at exercise, and he has received direct
information that there was no objection at all to his going
on English racecourses. Indeed racegoers can testify
to the many meetings he has been to ever since the time
he had perforce to retire from the saddle. Now a jockey
who is warned off, or even suspended, is not allowed to
frequent any enclosure on a racecourse. However, that
is only a little point which this book will make clear.
It is an interesting coincidence that Tod Sloan first
made the acquaintance of racehorses in 1886, the year
in which poor Fred Archer made his exit. Opinions
will always be expressed and will always differ about
the comparative merits of Archer and Sloan as jockeys.
The comparison is unnecessary : the former was the
greatest exponent in the last fifty years of the old style —
and Sloan discovered the new. That this pair were the
finest jockeys ever seen by living racing men admits of
no doubt. Perhaps the two of them shared equally the
faculty of judging pace. In strength of finishing the
style of Archer may have been more impressive, but the
gift of knowing the peculiarities of an animal, and wheed-
ling a horse of doubtful courage to do something for his
jockey, has been possessed by Sloan to a greater extent
than by any other jockey the writer has ever seen. One
has only to see Sloan with cats, dogs or horses in a yard
to realise that he might have done anything he wished
as an animal trainer. The way he can make friends
with a horse who will not let others come near him is
remarkable. Not only that, but he will make a horse do
whatever he likes. There was one animal in particular
at Maisons Laffitte which Tod Sloan could induce to eat
anything he liked. It didn't matter whether it was a
potato, bread or fruit. The grimaces that old horse
would make scrunching up an orange was the greatest
comedy possible. As long as Sloan would eat some of
it himself then the horse would follow his example.
There was another animal who would lift him up by
the jacket in his teeth and put him down as gently as
a lamb, never hurting him in the slightest. I merely
relate these two incidents to show the almost hypnotic
influence Sloan has over horses. Does it not suggest,
therefore, that there may be some extraordinary sympathy
between man and beast which contributed in a measure
to Sloan's racing successes ?
Sloan is a man of super-intelligence, and his views
about most things suggest that had he gone into another
walk of life he would have been equally successful. But
it was too late after that downfall at the end of 1900 to
shape himself seriously for other pursuits. Nevertheless
his intelligence has enabled him to live — and to keep up the
extravagance of a dozen or more of the best cigars daily !
The number of people he has known and the countries
he has lived in should make the narrative which follows
appeal to a far wider circle of readers than is comprised
by merely racing people.
That well-known sporting editor of books and maga-
zines, Mr Lyman Horace Weeks, wrote some years ago :
" Successful as Sloan has been in his riding and in
his personal fortunes, it has all been deserved and worthily
supported by the conscientious discharge of professional
engagements and a constant adherence to honourable
turf methods. In this he has set a laudable example
to the members of his profession. At the same time, his
record is a shining example of the certain reward that
the turf holds forth to men of his calibre.'''^
The same writer also said of him in 1897 : " One
striking feature of his riding is that his judgment never
deserts him at any stage of the race ; from start to finish
he uses headwork, placing his mount in a way to secure
every possible advantage.''''
Frankly I have had some difficulty during the prepara-
tion of this book to get Tod Sloan to speak sufficiently of
himself. While as a private citizen he has retained
absolute confidence in himself, and can be quite as assertive
as the next man about what he thinks, I have had a diffi-
culty on occasions in getting him to speak out sufficiently
as to what big things he has done. And yet he will be
quite talkative as to his weaknesses !
An American trainer, after this book was finished,
called my attention to various little episodes which have
not been dealt with by Sloan himself. For instance,
from the records my friend the trainer possesses it appears
that in 1895 Sloan had 442 mounts, of which he won
132, or about 30 per cent., and in the following year he
scored over 36 per cent, of his mounts, and he was placed
over 130 times. It was in 1895 that he first rode four
winners in a day. That was in California. None of
the riders in 1897 came near him for average. It was
in 1898 at Gravesend (U.S.A.) he won five races — in
fact all he rode in— in one day ; and on three successive
days at Coney Island he won all three races he rode
It seems strange to hear and read that Sloan was at
one time a ''very prudent fellow,'' hut does it not strike
you that his imprudence in later yeurs may have been
caused by his always being surrounded, especially in
England, by many who were not the best of companions
for him ? Sloan makes no excuses for himself ; in fact
he would take the whole burden of responsibility for his
faults on his own shoulders. But there is no doubt that
the fuss made of him gave him an exalted idea of his own
importance — and, mind you, this is from his own lips.
There are scores of people who read this book who knew
Sloan intimately when he was riding in England, but
none of them need take it personally when I say that there
were many in this country who simply spoilt him. That
is the reason why Sloan during that period, and the
months which led up to his downfall, was more to be
pitied than scorned. As he has sat in his parlour
smoking a big cigar and chewing over his past, while
doing the same to the cigar, he has reviewed those days
from 1897 to the end of 1900, and also some of the incidents
afterwards, especially his regret that there was no one.
to stop him taking that ill-advised action against the
Societe d' Encouragement. Mind you, it must be ad-
mitted that Sloan is not the easiest proposition to lead,
but personally I can vouch for it that he is easy enough
to lead when the advice given is sound, even though it
may be opposed to the first views he has taken. I do not
mean to say that I have a monopoly of wisdom, but many
of us who are very weak about the management of our
own affairs often with age develop a striking insight into
what is best for others, and on no single occasion can I
remember whole-souled friendly counsel being ignored
A. Dick Luckman.
TOD Sloan's reminiscences
My Christened Name — Beyond the Dreams of a Black Dog — Ignorance
and Fear of Horses — First Time in the Saddle — Men I have met
After the death of my mother when I was five, and of
my adopted parents, or rather the people who adopted
me, under their own name, Blauser, I had various
designations. My real name, that which I was
christened by, is James Forman Sloan. The name
Todhunter came from my father nicknaming me
" Toad " (because I was so small), and then shortened
to Tod, and the " Todhunter " was the variation of
someone, I forget whom.
AVlien I was left alone by those I have never ceased
to grieve for, my first faithful friend was a black dog,
Tony. We would sit trying to entice fish out of the
water, where they were not before I came around with
my rod, and I felt he looked at me as if he thought
something of the very small boy beside him. He would
gaze at me when I played chequers, for I was seldom
if ever beaten : it was a sort of gift handed me by
Nature to be a phenomenon at the game. In fact,
I had an uncanny vision for the game known in
England as draughts.
But neither Tony nor I knew what was before me.
There was never an idea round about my home in
Kokomo, Indiana, that a horse was anything but a
curiosity. My father had never driven even a donkey.
How could Tony know — scared as I always was at the
idea of a horse — ^that I should some day shine in the
world Tony and I knew only from picture-books, and
that I should be shaken by the hand and talked with
by the Prince whose coloured picture was given to us
by the local grocery store at Christmas ? That prince
was to be King of England.
There were, too, lesser lights of American growth.
I would have the weekly paper, and see the picture of
John L. Sullivan, and when we looked at the portraits
I would murmur : " Gee ! Tony, we have expected this
paper to-day, shall we ever have a handshaking ac-
quaintance with him ? What a pride it would be to
meet ' John L.' ! And if only he would notice me
some day ! "
In my humble way I was to come out of obscurity.
From playing truant from school I was to show the
world how weight could be properly distributed on a
horse ; I was to be the possessor at one time of nearer
half a million dollars than a quarter ; I was to meet
almost every celebrity in the world they and I flourished
in. I am suggesting Tod Sloan myself — the boy, the
man, the jockey. Then came the reverse of fortune,
the facts of which shall be told; the grim battling;
hoping against hope; the procession of years full of
incident; but with the constant open sore of dis-
A sense of humour can save our reason and the
jokes of existence can make me laugh, and perhaps
you will laugh with me — who knows ! A jockey's
tears are for himself, his smiles can be shared with
the next fellow. All the same, who would have
thought, when I was run away with, on an old horse,
with me grabbing him round his neck, that, later,
I was to sail in for race after race for the great owners
of England and America.
I have said I was frightened at the sight of a horse.
FIRST TIME IN THE SADDLE
It came about like this. We had to follow the funeral
of a boy who was drowned in a flood through being
reckless. I wanted to see him buried, but as the
cemetery was a long way off, and I was late, I " stole "
a horse — that is to say, I borrowed him out of a livery
stable near where I was working. This horse I had
no knowledge of anyone having ridden before, for at
least three months, at all events. I got on the horse
— he was a grey, I remember — and the stirrup-leathers
were shortened by a chum of mine to the last hole,
and even then were too long ! So I had to tuck my
feet into the leather loops. How I got round my
corner when the grey wanted to go round his is
something I shall never forget.
That horse knew he had a kid of under forty-five
lb. on his back. I am sure of it, although I hadn't
learnt horse language in those days. However, it
was ordained that there were not to be two corpses
at that funeral, and we did arrive at the graveyard.
I know I didn't look three feet high when I got off that
horse. He was quite young. He just sniffed at me,
then shook his head, and champed up the grass.
When I got back to him his contempt seemed to have
increased. Wliether it was the sour grass, or that he
really wanted to be stretched out at a gallop, I don't
know. The other visitors to the funeral had gone on
ahead, and how to get up on the saddle was a licker
to me. I tried to get him to a fence so that I could
climb on his back, but he wouldn't have it. I wanted
my way, but he had his. At last I made one dash
for it, but before T could get either on or off he had
raced away with me. I was embracing his neck !
I got my right foot through the leather, but the other
hung down. I did not dare to drop off, for that would
have been certain suicide.
People could see me now. Everyone yelled to me
to stick on. Part of the journey was over rough
cobbles, and the grey must have stumbled half-a-dozen
times. I swore to myself that, if I ever got off alive,
I would only look for a horse after that in a zoo-
logical gardens. He seemed to go faster with every
furlong he went. At last he hesitated and slackened,
and I steered him to a fence and a fellow rushed out
and grabbed him.
" You're all right now, Tod," he said. " I'll lead
him home; but you stick in the saddle just to show
'em that you didn't come off."
" You take him home," I said. " I've done
enough jockey business for one day. You don't
catch me on a horse again in a hurry."
It was a darned funny thing that, years after, when
riding in a big race in England, having had already two
successes that day, the whole incident of the grey
broncho came back to me. I was showing the way
home on that English track on another grey, and the
memory suddenly came into my head so vividly that
I began to laugh. The fellow who was on the horse
that was running second, just at the shoulder of mine,
shouted : " You're laughing : you haven't won yet."
He thought I was jeering him.
This is all a sort of start to my life's experiences,
but here the introduction will not bother you. There
will be many other things to say about all those I
met, for, before I came to England and saw for the
first time the Prince of Wales and all the nobility and
great owners of the country, I came next to many of
the celebrities in my own land. The great Buffalo
Bill (Colonel Cody) nursed me on his knee when almost
a baby, and it was he that made me crazy for fire-
arms of all kinds. I remember that he let me try one
MEN I HAVE MET
of his revolvers one day, and all the time even till now
I have had a longing for rifles, sporting guns, Mausers,
and have even tried my hand — quite recently — with
some success with the latest quick-firer.
Others with whom I came in close touch were Frank
James, the brother of Jesse James. They were both
among the notorious bandits of America ; the latter
was killed by a pal, but Frank, after he received a
pardon, used to hold the forward flag on several race-
tracks. However, there is no need to give a list, for
they will come up in due order as the story of my
Little did I dream when I saw one of the Valkyries
compete for the America Cup that I should meet and
ride for Lord Dunraven. Lord William Beresford,
one of the greatest of friends to me, had only been
heard of : there will be such a lot to say of him.
There was my acquaintance with John L. Sullivan
and James Corbett. I shall recall how I referee-ed
one of the first matches the great French billiard expert,
Fournier, played in America. Then reference must
be made to the well-known Riley Grannan, who came
near bringing off one of the greatest betting coups at
Newmarket. I have played bridge and talked till
I was tired to the late John W. Gates, the Chicago
millionaire — " bet-you-a-million Gates." George E.
Smith, at one time a simple cork cutter, and who
as a millionaire backer was known to the world
as " Pittsburg Phil," was a constant companion of
mine. He made a huge fortune backing horses in
America. I have never known two men more alike
in their living and character than " Pittsburg Phil "
and Charlie Hannam, who has had much the same kind
of success in England.
There are scores of others too to write of.
I must also discuss how from close observation and
from constant visits to the starting-post I made sure
in my own mind that I could get a start and beat well-
known English jockeys.
It's right here that I want to give the exact reason
for ever leaving America, and how it came about.
All the details of my arrival and early sorrows and joys
will be told in due order. In the winter of 1896-
1897 the late Tom Loates, who, as everyone knows,
was one of the English crack jockeys, came out to
New York for a vacation and to have a rest for a time.
He was a good deal about with Jack Macdonald, the
poor fellow who was killed in a railway accident at
Salisbury a few years back. When Tom Loates had
been in New York some time I put myself at his
disposal to make his stay there a merrier one if pos-
sible, and we spent a considerable time together. I
was in a position to show him round, for not only was
I saving about fifty thousand dollars a year but I
was also busily engaged in spending about two-thirds
of that sum ! Loates and I saw a good deal of each
other, and with the early opening of the racing season
at Morris Park I got the idea that I would like to do
Tommy a good turn. There were two cinches that I
was engaged for, a brace of real good things I thought
any kid could get up on and ride home, so I went to
him and told him that, as the Stewards were also
anxious for him to ride, I could arrange for him to
have the two mounts. The American public were
very interested to see England's crack jockey, and I
can say with all sincerity I wanted to give my pal a
chance to show himself on a New York track. But
I couldn't argue him into it. He said that as he was
in America for his health he was afraid of what Mr
Leopold de Rothschild would think if he got in the
saddle. However, whether he was fit to ride or not
makes no matter. He backed my two mounts and
both of them won. We had dinner that night and he
thanked me. He liad won a nice bit of dough. A
few days after, on the eve of his leaving for England,
he was interviewed by one of the newspaper men, and
was asked whom he thought were the best American
jockeys. He answered that Fred Taral was quite
a good rider, and also the coloured boy, Willie Sims,
while among the younger crowd he had noticed a
promising boy in the little kid Winnie O'Connor.
It didn't matter much, for I was doing too well
financially, and riding too many winners to need a
booster, but here was my friend giving a story to a
leading paper, and not only did he put a coloured
boy before me, but left my name out altogether ! I
wasn't exactly sore, but from that time I had a fixed
determination to go to England to see what I could
do against him.
MAKING BAD AS A JOCKEY
Start as an Aeronaut — Peddling Balloons — " \Vlio's the Boy for the
Parachute ? '' — Joining a Stable — Worse and Worse — More Runa-
way Rides — Become a Cook
My father, who had been an officer in the United
States Army, first had a look at his latest kid on 10th
August 1874. I had two brothers and one sister, and
my first appearance on any track was on the date just
mentioned at Bunker Hill, twelve miles from Kokomo,
Indiana. Father, who had fought in the Civil War
and was made prisoner at Gettysburg, never drank,
and didn't feel called upon to buy drinks for the boys
who came to congratulate him. Some time after
I was born he started in business at Kokomo. The
combination of the two shows he ran seems fanny to
us now, although it was quite serious at the time.
At one entrance to the building he occupied was a
swell barber's shop, and at the other door, to the left,
was his real estate office. He made a good living
out of both. He used to play the violin very well,
and I suppose we got the habit of whistling from
following the tunes, both my brother " Cash " and I
have often been cuffed for the habit. I have men-
tioned that I was a champion chequers player ; they
said that I used to whistle my opponents off their
game : I'd never stop. After my mother died my
father was a bit too easy with me ; in fact, he was too
lenient altogether. I would go out in the fields with
Tony and fish, fish, all day long, instead of going to
START AS AN AERONAUT
school. At least it gave me a taste for the open air.
I was captain of the baseball crowd in our small
town, giving orders to fellows four and five years
older than I was. In fact, I took it on myself to boss
them all, and they stood for it. Sometimes I got near
getting a licking, but I suppose I was too small for them
to take very seriously, although I could sting them a
bit with my tongue, which was bitter even then.
I had stayed away from school so much, roaming
about with my dog Tony, that one day the folks at
home threatened to put me in the Reformatory
School. Tony and I both cried and I asked him what
he would do, and he sort of pointed away to the
west where the sun was setting, and I took him as a
pointer and determined to make for my aunt's house,
about twenty miles away. Tony seemed to under-
stand and at daybreak we set out on the train. It
seemed a fearful journey to me then — but remember I
hadn't been out of Kokomo and that I was only about
thirteen years old. The Reformatory had scared me
and I kept on thinking I must help myself somehow ;
I'd surely be the butt of the town if I had to be sent
to be " cured."
Tony and I therefore " hiked " it off for " aunt's "—
my real aunt, my real mother's sister. She wasn't
altogether all over me when I arrived and asked me
what I'd come for.
" Come on a visit," said I.
" And yer dog, is he a visitor too ? "
" Neither he nor I go where the other doesn't "
was the best way I could put it. Then I looked round
to see if dear auntie had any grub for me, and Tony
put on a sort of inquiring sniff too, all the time trying
to make friends with aunt. But she wasn't having
any. Later on she pulled out some bread and butter
and some pie and told me there were rats about the
house — ^that was for Tony's benefit.
She kept on putting questions, asking me this, that
and the other about my schooHng and what I was
going to do for a Hving, and I had to make the best
answers I could.
Then she began to ask whether I was going to stay
the night and I repeated that I had " come on a visit."
I soon began to feel that we were outstaying
a welcome and after two days my aunt was glad to
turn me and my dog out : we had outstayed our
welcome. She was a good churchwoman and never
could hold with my not being the same as all the
other folk she knew. Her husband worked on the
Pennsylvania Railway and I got no sympathy from
him either. Tony and I camped out for a night or
two, then I went back home and my adopted mother
(Mrs Blauser — Aunt Lib) asked me, without letting
me in at the front door, whether I had come for my
trunk. Never having had either a trunk or enough
clothes to fill even a small bag I could see that she was
" talking sarcastic " and I could see also that she
meant it. What was I to do ?
There was no question but that the situation spelt
w-o-R-K, or at all events earning enough to board me,
and buy myself a chew and tobacco for my pipe — for I
had begun early at the habit which led to sixteen or
more coronas a day. Don't forget I was only thirteen
I went to work at the gas and oil wells, and Mr
James Neil took me in. Neil was a foreman master
driller and I soon picked up enough knowledge
of the engine- work. Two serious explosions in which
I nearly lost my life made me get a bit '\fache " with
the oil-well graft, and when the No. 4 well drill
JOINING A STABLE
was finished, and Neil got ready to go back to his home
in Pittsburg, I looked out for another job too. It was
time : I had been two weeks in linseed oil and lime
water after one of the terrible bums from the ex-
plosion : it seemed to shrivel me even smaller than
I was before.
I knew Callaway who kept a livery stable in Kokomo
— ^the same town, my native place — so I went round to
him. He put me up and I was handy boy about the
yard, doing this, that and the other, sort of general
utility turn. But I was so small for the work, and
although I was willing enough they were always
telling me about my helplessness. Two months
therefore saw the end of that.
Down on my luck again, I went on to my real
father's place in Marion, also in Indiana, but I could
see that there was not enough to support me about the
house : they were too poor. However, work turned
up in a carriage factory. But it was the same old
cry — " too small," and I had to beat it from there.
They said I was too light for the work : I only weighed
fifty pounds. I was an apprentice without pay so
there wasn't much lost ; naturally I couldn't help
support the family.
Then a job turned up in a drinking saloon. I had
to sweep up, attend to the glasses, close the shutters
and all the time pick up swear words from the
customers. I was a useful boy at light jobs but was
told after a bit that I was not heavy enough for the
sweeping ! It was a bit of a knock-out — for I used to
put in a lot of elbow and wrist work for what my
back couldn't do ; in fact I reckoned myself quite
an artist with the broom. Still there was nothing else
for it but to up and away and get back to Kokomo.
I thought I had a better chance there.
Things went on until there was a very important
period of boyhood. There was a " Professor " A. L.
Talbot, a sort of aeronaut who went about the country
going up in his balloon and with all sorts of side
shows, including ringing the sticks and pocket knives.
He had booths for various things. He had one big
balloon on a dray drawn by a team of horses which I
always used to admire when they came into " Doc "
" Professor " Talbot saw more in me than others
had done. We had struck up an acquaintance some
time previously, and this time I went along with him.
We travelled around and made our own balloons, and
when the game got slack we had to hustle and earn
our board by making toy balloons for kids. It was
my business to go round and peddle them. I tell you
I was some salesman, and often think I could have
managed a department store if father had taken me
by the back of the neck and forced me into business.
I shall never forget the first place we struck —
Legrange, Indiana. I was a mite walking beside the
hefty fellow that the " Professor " was, and a boy sang
out : " Hallo, Talbot, where did you get this one ? "
Certainly I must have looked a bit comic carrying a
big chunk of meat while Talbot had an armful of
The "Professor" shouted back, "Don't you ask
sassy questions ; he can lick you anyway," and then he
looked towards me. But I didn't want to fight and
I was making myself look smaller than ever, when
Talbot said, " Look here, you, if you don't lick him I'll
lick you." So there I was on a hiding to nothing
anyway. Well, I sized up the other chap and saw he
wasn't much bigger than me. I went for him sharp
and, having been a bit of a wrestler among the boys
FINDING THE PEA
at home, managed to throw him, but he wouldn't
let me hit him, rolling over on his face just by a big
cedar-tree. I tried to get a fist round by his ears,
but he dodged me, and all I could do was to rub his
face against the cedar-tree singing out, "You won't
be so fresh after this." Really I don't believe that I
had much of a temper before that day but that scrap
developed it — or rather started it.
We were quite a happy family with Talbot. We
used the horses for riding half-mile races against other
horses at the Fair. Talbot used to be the jockey, and
afterwards he would ride in circus dress two of them
barebacked. He gave capital exhibitions of riding
and was a good all-round showman. I never knew
where he came from but I should say at some time
or other he had been a clown in a circus. He would
fight on the slightest provocation and would some-
times suggest by the look of his face that he had been
through a pretty rough gruelling the night before.
But he wouldn't talk much about all this. It wasn't
that he used to get drunk and fly into a brawl at a
saloon, but would scrap for the love of it. One day I
remember at a country fair he sent me down from the
ticket office with a dollar to get small change. I was
passing one of the stalls where they were doing the
three shell and pea trick. I watched for about ten
minutes and at first they took very little notice of the
small kid. At last I couldn't stand the temptation
any more and I called out, " I'll bet you a dollar that
I know where the pea is."
The grafter answered, " I can't bet with you, you're
too young and small, but this gentleman can, if you
like to give him the dollar."
Of course the " gentleman " was the booster or
buttoner — ^as the tout for the three-card game is
called in England. Well you can guess what followed ;
" I pointed to the shell and the pea wasn't there. I
went away whistling, walked about for a time and then
back to our show. Talbot didn't say anything at
first ; he didn't remember where I'd been, but at last
he sung out to me : " Where's that dollar I give you
to get change ? "
" I've lost it."
" Wliat do you mean — ^lost it ? How could you do
that ? "
" Well not in the way you think : it didn't hop out
of my pocket." And then I plucked up courage and
told him all about it.
Talbot put on his hat and ordered me to follow him.
He walked straight over to the shell game, keeping his
temper until he said, "You had a bet with this kid
here and he lost a dollar."
The man started to deny it, swearing that he had
only had one bet that morning and that was with a
gentleman who put a dollar on, but Talbot stuck at it
and there was a dangerous look in his eye until the
man forked up the money. Then he let his fury go.
He smashed up the shells, kicked the bench into
pieces, shook the guy by the collar, gave him an open
hander and a parting kick as he was running away,
and added certain injunctions in certain language to
the effect that he would do quite a number of things
if he saw him at those tricks again. As a matter of
fact we never did see him again.
Of course Talbot's balloons were not filled with
gas. He couldn't always get it for one thing, and
anyhow it cost too much. They were inflated in the
old original way that Mongolfier discovered — with
hot air. Talbot was good enough to tell me that I
was the best filler he had ever seen. I was very
handy with the pine logs and oil barrel staves that we
had to use in order to get enough hot vapour. One
day he was going to make an ascent when a bit of
the balloon showed signs of fire. I could see it was
smouldering and I sang out to everybody not to let
it go. But Talbot was already on the trapeze ready
to ascend— he used to do all sorts of monkey tricks
in the air on that same swinging bar.
I cried out to him, "Don't go; the balloon's on
fire," but he didn't hear and shouted still louder to the
men to let go. Just as he started the flames burst
out. With the extra heat he went up all the quicker
of course, and we could only wonder how soon he
would come down. I never thought I should see him
ahve agam. \Vlien he got up about fifteen hundred
feet the thing was all afire and collapsed, and he came
down very swiftly in a field about a hundred and fifty
yards away— not exactly with a crash but at a pace
at which it might be thought no man could be alive
to remember the tale. But he wasn't dead! He
was only knocked out. He soon showed signs of life.
The scrap of the balloon which was left had broken the
fall somewhat. We took him round to the dmg store
and gave him some brandy. He got up abc at an
hour after and went to a dance. By the way, this all
occurred at Cullum, Indiana.
My first experience at building a real new balloon
was at Washington, Indiana. I liked the job better
than anything I had done, and soon got expert at it
It was after this that Talbot signed a contract to give
an ascent and got an extra twenty-five dollars for
domg a parachute act in connection with it— neither
Talbot nor I had ever seen a parachute, and he told
me so, but we got a picture and started in making one.
Tlien he told me that he had promised the public a
surprise— to slip his boy out of the balloon. He
sprung it on me one morning.
My first ascent was to be at Boonesville Fair, ihe
Professor had promised the people who ran the show
a surprise. As a matter of fact he had contracted
for an extra twenty-five dollars to " slip his boy
out of the balloon in a parachute ! He sprung it on
me one morning.
I asked: " Who's the boy ? "
He said : " You are ' the boy ' ! "
I answered : " Oh, am I ! "
But he saw my face.
" You don't seem to like it, Tod," he said.
" It's all right," I answered. " But what sort of
thing is the parachute, the umbrella thing I am to
come down in ? Shall I be heavy enough to make it
open out ? " , ^ n • 4.
" Oh you'll be all right," said the Professor, just
as if he' were saying " Pass the butter," but I began
thinking it over, and the more I looked up at the sky
and began to think of having to slip down from the
clouds the less I liked it. I began to think how 1
could dodge it. My brother " Cash " had left home
some time before, after a scrap with father. Cash ran
down the railway track faster than the old man, and
when he stopped it was with a stable of horses.
I had heard from Cash that he was overseer and head
iockey of a stable, and he said that if I wanted to join
him and become a rider I was to leave Washington,
Indiana, at once. i . t
Well I had to cough a bit and think over what 1
should say before I told the Professor, but he was very
sporting about it; and, as it meant only twenty-five
dollars' difference in the pay for the show, he said :
" Perhaps you're right ; go and join your brother.
A DOG FOR A QUARTER
And so we parted, and with my " trunk '*— about a
foot square, easy to carry under one arm and con-
taining a shirt-waist and a pair of stockings, not
more, for I was just a kid in knickers— I went off on
the railroad train.
I came upon the " stable car," and Cash, midway
between Washington and St Louis. I saw a little
fellow ahead of me hiking a mile down a railroad track
as hot as a furnace carrying a pail of water in each hand.
He had a long peaked trotting driver's cap, and looked
the funniest guy I'd ever seen. I walked up behind
him to see who he was, and I heard him whistling—
and then, of course, I knew it was Cash.
We embraced like brothers should ; I was glad to
see him and he me. We sat down by the track and
talked things out. We had plenty of hope— but I
couldn't focus that talk quite properly through looking
at that darned cap of Cash's. I burnt it one
It was here I got hold of another dog. I whistled
to him, and was going to steal him, for I'd taken a
fancy to him, but the owner came out, and as I had
actually got hold of the animal's head there was only
one thing to say:
" Do you want to sell this dog, boss ? "
He stuck out for half-a-dollar, but I whistled him
into taking a quarter. And I had a new companion.
I hadn't by any means got over my fear of horses,
but Cash put me at odd jobs, and when we got to St
Louis he made me ride a little, and gradually I got used
to it. The stable belonged to Tracy and Levy, and
they had two horses called Surprise and Biddy Bowl-
ing. It was a pretty easy job to start with, and all
I had to do was to lead one of them round after he had
done a gallop until he stopped sweating. Then Cash
taught me the art of rubbing a horse's legs, and gener-
ally " doing " him ; but how tired I got ! I don't
think that ever in my life I really knew what weariness
spelt until then. I would hunch myself in a corner
with every limb aching. I suppose I got a few muscles
to work which had never been asked to come forward
and do their bit before. Then they told me that I
should have a little bit of exercise jobs, " riding work,"
as they say in England. It was at Kansas City,
and, my ! how cold it was. I felt frozen, for recol-
lect that I was only thirteen and weighed four stone.
" Up you get on Biddy Bowling and let her walk
round the track," someone said, showing me a horse
rather like the grey that had given me such a
fright. Biddy took a peek at me, and I often
wondered what she was thinking of when " Shrimp "
Sloan was on her back. At all events she must
have thought there was an insect worrying her.
She made two or three little Wild West movements,
and after I had picked myself up and rubbed the
bruises I walked back to the stable. She got there
long before I did !
I still hated the whole business, but, as I had gotten
into it, I didn't care to slouch off. In any case, to my
reasoning little mind, it seemed better than being jerked
out of a balloon, for sometimes when I'd eaten too
much supper I would dream that I was dropping down
from the sky with the parachute just out of clutching
I had a chance to go into the stable of Colonel
Charlie Johnson, who owned a horse named Jim
Douglas. My first ride in public was on this horse,
at Pueblo Colorado. All I had to do was to walk
around the ring. Now, Jim stood well over seventeen
hands, and was a pretty mean horse, I can tell you.
BECOME A COOK
When they hoisted me up he began to walk, then he
trotted, and then he broke into a canter. I yelled
my loudest for help and lay back tugging with my small
arms at the bridle reins. Some of the stable boys came
running after me, but Jim must have thought that they
were other horses, for he stretched himself out and did
a furlong inside thirteen seconds. He swung along
until he came to a mud bank, where he shot me off,
and then turned round and allowed himself to be led
quietly back. We all know that dogs can smile and
that tears come into their eyes. I am not sure to this
day whether Jim was laughing at me or whether he
pitied me. In any case there was no half-and-half idea
about what they thought in the stable-yard. One
thing was quite certain : I should never make a jockey.
They told me so, and I agreed that it wasn't my work ;
but I was a handy boy, and, instead of getting rid of
me, they put me on to cook. I could hardly reach the
top of the stove, but the coffee I made was all right, and
I got fine and dandy at frying bacon and cooking eggs
for the bunch. I remember that I tried my hand at a
few other things, but generally had to smuggle the
result away to a corner and eat it up myself, until one
day I found I could make hot biscuit^— like your
Scotch scones or small soda cakes, but hot. They
were some success, and the neighbours would send the
ingredients from miles round for me to make them.
So we muddled along. I was always thinking that
something would turn up, for, although cooking can
be a fine art, I was not actually qualifying for a chef.
Now at that time I was quite sure that I should never
be a jockey, but all the same I would sometimes sit
down and ask myself how it was that I was frightened
of a horse when I was not scared at other things. But
the talk with myself generally left off where it began.
I didn't get rid of the idea at the back of my mind that
I would hke to learn to ride. I kept on figuring to
myself that I ought to be able to do as well as the next
fellow, but somehow it all left me in a bit of a whirl.
Yet I was always coming back to the subject. My
brother Cash lost his job with Johnson, and in the
spring we went to Denver, and he got a position with a
big fellow, named Hank Combs. Then the desire to
ride again came back to me. But it took me longer to
learn than anyone I ever heard of. I did have another
chance of showing what I could do in this stable ; but
it was the same old story. They found a little chestnut
colt for me to exercise, but he threw up his tail and ran
away with me into the woods, getting rid of me against
a tree. I nearly broke my neck ! I didn't remember
anything until I found myself lying in one of the
attendants' cots. My Denver debut had thus ended m
disaster, and I wanted to clear out ; but how to get
away presented certain difficulties. We had nothmg
except a little handbag each. Luckily Cash, thinkmg
he was going to be a jockey, had bought about forty
dollars' worth of saddlery, caps, etc., and had paid for
them. They were coming west to him through the
American Express, and by showing the receipt and the
way-bill to a fellow in the town he got ten dollars.
They didn't put up the bar against youngsters gomg
into pool-rooms and gambling saloons in Denver m
those days, and with two dollars of the ten I went mto
one of them and began to win. I ran the two dollars
into fifty. \Vliat would have happened next I don't
know, but Cash suddenly came to me saying : "For
God's sake, give it up ; I've lost all my eight dollars,
and we shall have to walk if we lose what you've got
there." I had a little sense— and we cleared out.
I then found my way to Kansas City and began to
THE BAY DISTRICT TRACK
work for the trainer Johnny Campbell, whom many may
have met in Europe. Campbell had a sort of idea that
I was going to be a success. At all events he expected
a great deal more from me that I did from myself.
He had what he thought a promising colt named
Viking. I fear I may have ruined the animal, for
directly I got on his back he cleared out with me and
ran three miles and a half before he stopped. Well,
I ask you— he was only a two-year-old, and a gallop
like that was liable to spoil any young animal's career.
Johnny Campbell was furious, in fact the maddest man
I ever saw in my life. They advised me to keep out
of his way, and I was wise to the fact that he'd choke
me if he caught me. But I owe a good deal to him,
and he was really a kindly soul. Once more I had to
have little words with myself and wonder whether it
was all worth going on with.
I suppose I screwed up a little more courage gradu-
ally. At all events, I wasn't thrown quite so often in
the next few gallops I had. At last I actually got a
mount in a race— at New Orleans, on Lovelace, for the
Beverwyck stable, and I finished third. I rode in
four other races at the same meeting, but didn't win
any. I hated myself, for I didn't seem to improve at
all. I may as well be frank about it : the truth is that
I was so bad until 1893 that I was a byword among
trainers. They used to say that if a man didn't want
his horse to win he needn't have him pulled. AH
that he had to do was to send for Sloan. His riding
would be handicap enough. Of course, I heard about
It all, and it didn't upset me as much as it might have
done, for I knew I couldn't ride.
One little sentence however kept mysteriously ring-
ing in my ears : " You may be able to ride some day:'
Still, this was poor consolation, and as I was a thinking
sort of kid it hurt me some when the papers made fun
of me. I should hke to have had a go for two or three
of those newspaper men, but I bided my time, without
much hope, however. I just kept my tongue between
my teeth and didn't talk so much then as I do now.
But those papers ! \Vlien " By " Holly signed me on
at the Bay District Track at San Francisco one race
writer said that Holly must have engaged me because
of the loud clothes I used to wear instead of for any
merit I had as a rider.
It was the same old story. I tried and tried and
seemed to get worse. I was growing older too— al-
though I never grew up— and I really began to wonder
whether it was worth going on with, and in 1894 I
decided it wasn't. In thinking about what I should
do after determining to give up riding for ever, I made
up my mind that I'd go on the stage. I looked about
and actually had something in view. At that time,
however, I had an unknov/n friend who took a good
deal of interest in me. I found out about it afterwards.
It was he who told me to stop all the nonsense about
the stage and to go on trying to be a jockey. I shall
always be grateful to him. Charlie Hanlon and George
Rose really shaped my career. Hanlon made me
study horses, and I began to stand better with myself
and not to wake up in the middle of the night ^and
think I was already a hopeless failure. It wasn't in
the stableyard only and on the gallops that I tried to
find out all I could. As a matter of fact, I discovered
the " monkey-on-the-stick seat " quite by accident at
the Bay District Track.
One day, when I and Hughie Penny, who was then
a successful jockey, were galloping our horses to the
post, my horse started to bolt, and in trying to pull him
up I got up out of the saddle and on to his neck.
Mr. Charles F. Hanlon
FINDING OUT THINGS
Penny started laughing at the figure I cut, and I
laughed louder than he, but I couldn't help noticing
that, when I was doing that neck crouch, the horse's
stride seemed to be freer, and that it was easier for me
too. Before that I had seen a jockey, named Harry
Griffin, riding with short stirrups and leaning over on
the horse. As he was the best jockey of the day I
put two and two together and thought there must be
something in it, and I began to think it out, trying all
sorts of experiments on horses at home. The " crouch
seat," the "monkey mount," or the thousand and
one other ways it has been described, was the result.
Then the time came when I determined to put it into
practice. But I couldn't screw up enough courage the
first time I had a chance. I kept putting it off. At
last, though, I did really spring it on them. Every-
body laughed. They thought I had turned comedian.
But I was too cocksure to be discouraged. I was
certain that I was on the right track. I persevered,
and at last / began to win races !
In the whole of my experience I have found that
a boy with a nervous temperament makes the best
jockey. He is quick and alert to take in a situation,
and he becomes a human ferret, finding out things for
himself. The Tod Sloan of that day was a bundle of
nerves, and he discovered new things every day. I
will give you an instance. It was at the Ingleside track
at San Francisco that I learned that a horse runs
better when " pocketed." Of course it is rough on
the nerves of a rider, but the horse breathes in a space
where the air doesn't come to him in a rush, and all a
rider has to do is to watch his chance and slip through
when he thinks the time has come for the effort. He
will find his mount fresher and quicker to put it all in.
Another thing which I learned about the same time
was that, however tired a horse may be in a race, and
no matter how hard it may be for his rider to keep
his position, yet the horse will take on new energy if he
gets the chance to go through a gap between two other
horses or between a horse and the rails. I have studied
horses all my life since the time I have just spoken of,
and I am quite sure that it's a kind of compelling
" MONKEY ON THE STICK " IN PRACTICE
Friendship with "Pittsburg Phil"— Cork Cutter to MilUonaire—
QuaUties which helped him to make Three Million Dollars-
American Tick-tacking— Determination to go East
After the successes spoken of at the end of 1894 I
fell sick in 1895, and Mr and Mrs Rose brought me back
to Indiana to recover. I had a long bad time of it,
but I got well enough to start riding again at the State
Fair at Sacramento and beat everything which was
fancied. Everything I touched, too, turned to gold ;
talk about "Get-Rich-Quick Walhngford"; he was
nothing to me, and I had chances of making money in
speculation right outside racing.
In the autumn of 1895 I went to San Francisco, and
it was there that I first met "Pittsburg Phil." A
straighter man never existed on the Turf. I have
mentioned that he began life as a cork cutter; his
real name was George E. Smith, and in his early days,
when putting in all he knew at his work, he could never
earn more than one dollar twenty-five cents — that
is, five shillings a day. " P. P." occupied a place
among racing notabilities that has never been filled,
and probably never will, and he made a vast fortune
despite the fact that he was never liked by the Jockey
Club members and was made to feel that he was not
desirable to them. He stuck it as long as he could,
despite all the terrible difficulties put in his way. The
Club's argument was that he was a bad example and
did harm to the standing of racing. Years after I
remembered all this. Things happened that were
kind of echoes !
Now I was always a great friend of Phil. All the
same, in common with others, I took the same view as
the Jockey Club. There is not a man living, how-
ever, who could say that " Pittsburg Phil " was ever
guilty of a dishonest action. I was never tired of
studying him, and could find new points about him
to interest me every day. We would travel together
and stay ilogether, but I never knew of his bets, and
very few others did either.
It was rather curious, that autumn, that all the other
jockeys were up against me. It was all the better
for me, though, because they lost races through watch-
ing me too much and not attending to their own and
other horses. I had already heard that " Pittsburg
Phil " had been noting me, and had been backing
my mounts. Now, Sam Doggett was one of the
two jockeys riding for him. Evidently Phil wasn't
satisfied with him for some reason or other, for one
afternoon he asked me if I would ride his horse next
day. I did, and I won, and ever after that " Pittsburg
Phil " was my friend. It was a serious set-back for
Doggett though. ^
I rode many other horses for Phil, and although
we lived together I never knew beforehand if he had
backed a horse I was to ride, or whether he had laid
against me. He would never tell, me nor any other
man, whether he had won or lost, and, as I have said,
he was altogether very much like Charles Hannam,
in England. He kept his own counsel. You could
never tell from his face or from his manner after a
race whether things had gone as he wanted them to.
He could read a race better than anyone I ever knew.
Many a time he would notice something about a horse
'■ Pittsburg Phil"
which finished down the course, and after the race
he would say quietly to me : "If you can get the
mount on that the next time he runs he'll win," and
I cannot call to mind any instance when he failed to be
a wonderful prophet.
It was absolutely wrong to believe one of the stories
— ^and there were thousands of them about — of his
" method." All those who spoke and wrote about him
said he betted entirely on information and could " fix "
races and riders — and trainers too. In fact, he was
said to have been a perfect bunch of tricks. But it
was all untrue. I was closer to him than any other
man. He would think and talk nothing but horse,
and no one knows better than I do that his success
was entirely due to his judgment and level-headed-
ness. He devoted all his hours to a study of racing,
didn't smoke and only drank a little white wine.
He had a memory too wliich was always an envy
to me ; in fact his mind was a film from which nothing
could be blotted out. He simply was his own handi-
capper, and it is all nonsense about his employing
an army of men to get news. The only people he
employed were those who did commissions for him.
We would sit down night after night and talk about
such a lot of things, and I enjoyed drawing him out
about his early days, and then he would get every-
thing out of me that I had to tell ; and he would
encourage me to go on and on. He had a quiet way
of convincing me, and somehow after a talk with him
I would go to bed happy, and dream that I was to go
east to New York. In those days that was as far as
my ambition reached.
Phil's own early story — I got it in snatches from him
— was that when he was following his humble employ-
ment he used to read the papers always, and saw a
picture one day of some horses, owned by the Brothers
Dwyer, which had won. There was a lot about them
that morning, and then the next day he saw that
another horse, owned by the same stable and ridden
by the same jockey, Jimmy McLaughlin, had won.
This gave him an interest in the subject and he would
never miss the racing news. He noted what owners
and jockeys were winning, and he determined finally
to have a try at betting himself and went to a pool-
room, which may be described, for those who don't
know, as an open betting " Club."
Well, Phil backed the Dwyer horses, and at the end
of the first week he had cleaned up over a hundred
dollars. After that, he told me, " I came to the con-
clusion that betting on the races was a hell of a game,
and a darn sight better than cutting corks, so I threw
up my job and told my mother I was going to follow
The way Phil got his nickname came about as
follows. In those days in America it wasn't usual
to give in betting more than just a short anything in
the way of identity, so he gave his name simply as
" Phil," and when he landed in New York with forty
dollars in his pocket, and went to the pool-rooms, the
name stuck to him ; on the race-tracks he was known
as " Phil from Pittsburg." He went right ahead, and
left over three million dollars when he died. For
fifteen years he was always plunging, and in his time
he pulled off the biggest strokes in the country, betting
as much sometimes as fifty thousand dollars on a race.
Bookmakers became afraid of him, and he had to be
a bit clever in the way of putting his money down.
One day out in California, when he wanted to make
a big bet on a certain horse, I saw him climb up behind
Johnny Coleman's book. " I want to bet a thousand
CORK CUTTER TO MILLIONAIRE
on this one, Johnny," he said ; " so if you'll take it
I'll place it all with you instead of going round and
causing a panic." Coleman looked round, and seeing
better prices marked than he was giving didn't
hesitate to take Phil's thousand. Then he sent his
commissioners out to hedge it off, but beforehand
Phil had posted his men at other books and had
arranged the signal of raising his hat the minute he
got the money down with Coleman. Off went the hat,
and his men helped themselves, and when Coleman's
runners went to lay it off the odds had shortened very
much. They rushed back, and Coleman was hopping
mad, for he'd seen through the game right away. Of
course the horse won, and that day Phil cleaned up
about one hundred thousand dollars.
As I have said, Phil would never tell anyone — not
even me— what he was going to do. An instance of
this, and of how he could hug his judgment to him-
self, was when we went to see the Fitzsimmons-Corbett
fight at Carson City. We went on a special train, and
I had no idea what he was going to do until we were
at the ring-side. Then he told me he was going to
back Fitz. I begged him not to, and the others
agreed with me, but he stuck to his opinion, and after
the men got in the ring and started fighting he took
all the money that was offered him— and there was
a lot of it, I can tell you. Johnny O'Neil bet him a
thousand dollars where I wouldn't have given him
five cents for his chance, and I told him so. I even
wanted to bet with him myself that Corbett would
win, but he wouldn't bet with me. I shall have a great
deal more to say about Corbett when I come to deal
with my friendship for him. In this fight it will be
recalled that Corbett took a strong lead in the early
rounds and drew a lot of blood from Fitz. In the
fourteenth round, after Corbett had landed a left-
hand hook on Bob's jaw, Fitz got his right in, and then
a little later Fitz gets in what was described by the
referee as a " sort of cross between a hook and an
upper-cut to a point nearer to the pit of the stomach
than under the heart." Jim's face was terrible with
the agony he was suffering : he was beaten. " Pitts-
burg Phil " won " enough.
I could never get away from the idea that I ought
to go east. I had been doing so well where I was.
I would discuss it with Phil, and in after years it was
said that it was he who had brought me to New York.
As a matter of fact, in California, after I had ridden for
him, and he had said nice things about my bringing
him winners, he gave me strong advice not to go to
" It's a different game there, son," he said. " You
are known here, and you have confidence in yourself,
but you'll find it a cold proposition there."
" That's all right, Mr Smith," I told him ; " I have
made up my mind to go, and when they begin, and
the flag falls at Morris Park, you'll find me on deck."
And he did.
START IN NEW YORK
A Westerner Grafting— Meeting Jack MacDonald— A Three-handed
Match— " Mac's '-'- Suspicions— Getting Even— Days and Nights
with Mr Fleischman— Control of Stable
What was practically my permanent arrival in the
East brought no brass bands on the scene, and the
newspapers took no kind of notice of me. Although
I had been successful in other places they saw no
reason to believe in me.
To begin with I went out to live at the Woodman-
stone Inn in Westchester near the old Morris Park
track and hung about living quietly on the off-
chance of getting a mount ; but no one hurried
to offer me one. I was comfortable about money,
at all events, for a few months ahead. The people
in the neighbourhood gave me the cold shoulder.
They thought I was simply there hustling and trying
to get a chance ride. In fact one of them described
me as a "bum jockey from the West who was
At that time there were six or seven hundred horses
being trained in the district and I would go out in the
morning and keep myself fit by riding some of them.
Nothing turned up for a time, but I gritted my teeth
and determined to get there. One day two odd rides
came my way. I knew nothing about either of them,
and didn't see the owners. The first was a horse named
Runaway. I won on him and then got up on the
second, a filly belonging to Mr MacDonald. She was
an outsider and I got her home comfortably. That
began a good season.
A day or two after I was going by train to West-
chester from New York. I was reading the paper
taking no notice of anyone when a man opposite me
leaned over and said : " How did that filly run with
you the day before yesterday ? "
Hardly looking up from my paper I cut him short
by answering : " All right I suppose," and went on
reading, intending to be silent if he put another
question. I had previous experience of being asked
things by strangers and I wouldn't have minded
showing a little bad manners if this stranger had
become too inquisitive. When I got out at West-
chester the stranger got out also.
" I want to speak to you," was the next thing I
heard. It was the stranger, who then took a roll of
hundred-dollar bills out of his pocket and slipped
three of them into my hand : " I'm Mr MacDonald :
that was my filly you rode."
I was taken aback of course and began to apologise
saying : " If I had known who you were of course I
wouldn't have been so rude."
In reply Mr MacDonald put his hand on my shoulder :
" I like you all the better for it, and you can ride for
me whenever you like."
That was the beginning of a long association, and I
think it was a regret to both of us when we fell out two
years later. It came about like this : There was a
three horse race at Sheepshead Bay. MacDonald had
a mare called, I believe. Intermission, and she had to
beat Hamilton and another named Clifford, a 100 to 1
on certainty. MacDonald thought he was sure to
be second with his. He got wind that " Pittsburg
Phil " was wagering heavily on Hamilton to beat his
mare for second place, but as I have already men-
tioned Phil never told me what he was doing, and I
had no more idea than the dead which he had backed.
As I learnt several days later his money, thousands
atter thousands of dollars, was piled on Hamilton to be
Thinking that I knew all about it, MacDonald went
to the Stewards and asked permission to take me off
his mare and put up another jockey ; but he was told
that they saw no sufficient reason why they should,
but they would watch the race very closely and if
they saw anything peculiar they would be the first to
take action. He argued, but all his talk was no good ;
they had spoken the last word. Nothing was said
to me by ^" Mac " and I won the place for him.
" Mac " came to me directly after the race : " That's
all right, Tod ; you did ride a good race ! I thought
she'd beat Hamilton, but if it hadn't been for your
riding she wouldn't have done it."
Five days after two prominent owners went to my
principal employer, Mr Fleischman, and told him to
put me wise about what Jack MacDonald had done
adding that before Mac had gone to the Stewards he
had told one of them that it was quite certain that Tod
was not going to do his best. And all the time I had
It all dead set to beat Hamilton ! Mr Fleischman did
as was suggested, and as a consequence I went up to
Mac " on the race-track directly afterwards and asked
him why he did it, and he tried to explain to me that
the race had meant such a lot to him, and as " Pitts-
burg Phil " " your intimate friend " had put so much
money on Hamilton he was afraid it might be
a great temptation to me to do my pal a good
I told him that I didn't want to know him again and
asked him not to speak to me and that in any circum-
stances I would not ride for him any more.
All the same I determined to get even with him m
some little way if it took me a year or two, and one day
I had my chance. I ran him up seventeen hundred
dollars over something he had won with m a selling
race He had a lot of niggers working for him, and one
of them who was standing by bleated : " Don't run
him up Tod," and Charles Quinn who was near said the
same thing. My answer was : " Wiy shouldn't I go
against that policeman : ' Mac ' would be a dead cop
if he had his club and star : he looks lonesome without
a uniform." ^- n j
Of course " Mac " was wild, but I felt satisfied.
It was quite against the rules for a jockey to bid, but
the Stewards never called me up nor put a question
about it at all. i, 4. „^
I never knew what Phil lost over Hamilton, but as
there were about two hundred bookmakers there that
day, and everyone went mad gambling, I should say
that it must have been a big order. However I can
remember many good things about MacDonald and
only tell what I have because many m America will
remember all about it. „ ^ j j
It was later in the season when I first met and rode
for Mr Charles Fleischman, a wealthy owner with a
very large string of horses in training. He secured
first call on me. His patronage to begin with and his
friendship and intimacy with me afterwards make one
of the happiest memories of my life. He was a man of
about sixty-six, owning a beautiful yacht, the ^fl-
watha. He had two sons, Julius and Max, who at that
time did not take any active part in racing. Mr
Fleischman would glory in sitting up half the mght
gambling. His peculiarity, or rather amusement, was
SITTING UP ALL NIGHT
to be taken for a mug, and when he was gambling and
had perhaps won seven or eight thousand dollars he
would never stop playing until he had lost all he had
won, or had given it away. We used in those days to
play at Daly's gambling-house in 29th Street, New
York, and sometimes I would be three or four thousand
dollars to the bad, but it would never occur to him
that he should help me out at all, although he was
always most liberal in other things. Apart from a
personal regard for me— in fact, he treated me like his
own son— he liked me for sitting up all night with him
and not wanting to go to bed. Sometimes I would
go to the length of saying that he couldn't expect me
to do my best on his horses the next day, but he would
answer that it didn't matter a bit. We would drive
down at three or four o'clock in the morning to the
bay in a buggy or waggon, and go aboard the Hiawatha
for three hours' sleep.
In that first season I was with him I found that
he had determined to quit racing before I joined him,
for he felt he wasn't getting a proper return for his
money. But all the time he was dead keen on the
game. He would talk it out with me all the time we
were together. I remember him as the dearest old
man and so amiable that my affection for him grew
every week. One day he told me that he would go on
for another season if I would sign on again as first
joc^cey for the stable and I agreed on certain con-
" The conditions being money ? " he asked.
^'^' No, it isn't that," I explained.
" Well let's deal with the money first : I'll give
you twelve thousand dollars retainer. Is that
enough ? "
"More than enough, Mr Fleischman j but my
conditions are that I have full control of the stable
and that a new trainer shall be brought m."
He agreed at once, and I engaged Tom Welch, a
real honest trainer of horses— now located m France—
and a number of new hands. Mr Fleischman had got
rid of his agent for the stable, and his nephew William
Fleischman came to me saying that I might suggest
him for the job and he got it. We had a splendid
start the next season, winning race after race, and
everything went as smoothly as could be wished.
Unhappily, however, the poor man didn't live to see
the big things we did with his horses. With his death
there was a doubt for a moment what would happen
with the stable, but luckily his sons decided to carry
it on. , ,, 1 . £
At one time Mr Fleischman, and all the rest ot us,
thought that Max would turn out a regular " sport,
but he never carried out the promise. He took most
interest in the business and the yacht.
Old Mr Fleischman, apart from his gambling m the
Faro banks, would bet on every race of the day on the
course, and no matter what he was told would seldom
back another horse if I had a mount. I put it to him
that a man was liable to go broke doing that, but he
would never pay any attention. He would answer :
" Look at the fun I have had ! Never mmd : it i
have lost to-day, I'll bet like hell on you to-morrow.
I never went to see him at Cincinnati but I have been
to his country home in the Catskills.
When he came to New York for ten or twelve days
for the racing he would smoke a little and drmk a little
and would order a good dinner, but he would never
give the cook a chance ; he'd hurry over the mea too
much, looking again and again at his watch. All he
wanted was to get to the gambling-tables. Little
MR FLEISCHMAN'S FORTUNE
did I think when I used to go to the grocery store
when a kid to buy a tin-foil packet of Fleischman's
Compressed Yeast that later on I should be riding
for him and be his intimate friend. His firm made
a deal of money out of the wastage from the manu-
facture of the yeast. Especially vinegar and alcohol,
I believe. I know the stable used to be able to
get a demijohn of the alcohol — ^two or three gallons —
the stuff they use on horses after gallops, for the
equivalent of a shilling.
In spite of his gambling Charles Fleischman left
between fifteen and twenty million dollars.
w. c. Whitney's liberality
His First Good Horse— Heavy Bettor— A Wonderful Futurity—
Fourteen-Thousand-DoUar Present— Getting me out of a Bad
Deal— Cablegram from Lord WiUiam Beresford
I FIRST met Mr William C. Whitney at the time that
he had second call on me. It was in 1898. He had
first call on me the following year after my contract
with Fleischman and Featherstone.
W. C. Whitney will be remembered as having been
the most popular man in American racing. As far as
racing was concerned I want to say right here that he
knew very little about horses and he must have sunk
a stack of money in his racing ventures. He didn^t
become interested in the Turf until late in hfe, and his
career did not after all extend over so many years.
I have always said that to know horses intimately you
must be raised with them. Of course his son Harry
Payne Whitney has forgotten more than his father
ever knew, for he has been round among horses, hunt-
ing, driving, riding and racing, ever since he was a boy.
It was John E. Madden who was principally re-
sponsible for Mr Whitney going on the Turf. Madden
has bred and raced more good horses than any other
man in America excepting James R. Keene. Madden
saw to it that Mr Whitney started well. If I remember
correctly, Hamburg was the first big purchase Mr
Whitney made, and that was due to Madden, although
I can take some credit for it, for I told Mr Whitney
when he asked me that Hamburg was worth any
PURCHASE OF MARTHA
price he would pay for him ; and, although it may-
sound funny to some people, I do not hesitate to say
that Hamburg, with the possible '.exception of Santoi,
was the only great race -horse I ever rode. He was one
of the sweetest-dispositioned horses that ever raced.
You could place him anywhere you liked and he would
always do his best. He loved to race, as every good
thoroughbred does, and you never saw such a beggar
to do his level best under all conditions, and he had
none of that devil you meet with in some of the greatest.
I was never beaten on him.
When he had been on the Turf a little while Mr
Whitney, although he loved the sport for its own sake
as much as any man I have ever knoAvn, began to
bet very heavily. He liked to win, and would say so,
but he never talked of winnings or losses, and not a
soul could tell how he stood after a race.
Another purchase I advised Mr Whitney about, and
one that made a bit of history, was a little mare named
Martha. He would pay any price for a horse that I
said was worth while, and I had told him at Saratoga
that Martha was sure to win back her purchase money,
and he answered : " All right ; go ahead and buy her."
I did, and she more than won herself out. The sequel
of it may as well be told here. Martha turned out
to be one of the best brood mares in America. Two
or three years afterwards I had been riding in
Liverpool — in England of course — and on returning
to London I found a message telling me to call on
Mr Wliitney at the Bristol. I had just ridden a mare
called Maluma in the Liverpool Cup, and got the only
real bad fall of my life. My right ear was almost torn
off and my face so scratched and cut that it looked
as if someone had used a currycomb on it. A great
surgeon at Liverpool, Sir Tut well Thomas, had sewn
my ear on again, and I appeared before Mr WTiitney
with my head in bandages and one eye closed. He
looked at me for a minute and then laughed and said :
" Well, how does the other fellow look ? "
It appeared that he had sent for me to ask if I would
like to go to America to ride his horse in the Futurity,
the richest race in America, but seeing me in such bad
shape he said he supposed there could be no chance
of my caring for such a journey.
" Never mind about the chance," I answered. " I'll
go all right and I shall be able to ride."
He persisted in saying that he didn't think I would
be able to manage it, especially as the Futurity was
only about two weeks off, but he gave me five thousand
dollars for my expenses and I went aboard ship.
Well, I rode his colt Ballyhoo Bey and won the
Futurity. It was a great regret to me that Mr Whitney
was on the ocean at the time and didn't see the race.
Then I rode the same colt in the Flatbush a week later
and won again. It was not until after that that I
heard that Martha, the little mare I had bought for
him at Saratoga, was the dam of Ballyhoo Bey. Speak-
ing of that same Flatbush it was about the funniest
race I ever rode in or heard of. Some of the other
jockeys had framed it to " do me up." I had more
than an inkling of it myself already and Winnie
O'Connor, who did not have a mount in the race, came
to warn me. " These boys think you are a butt-in,
Tod," he said ; *' and they are going to try and fix
you ; be on your guard." I told him I could take care
of myself and when we went to the post I asked the
starter Christopher Fitzgerald about it.
" I have heard a rumour of some such thing," he
said. Then he made a little speech to the jockeys :
" If I see the slightest thing out of the way here I'll
BANK ROLL AND WATCH
report the matter to the Stewards and I tell you it will
go hard with the boys who are guilty." The start was
good, and I dropped in behind two other horses, with
Spencer on Tommy Atkins just a little behind me.
I stayed in the " pocket " taking my time, and I saw
through the trick by the way the two in front kept
looking back at me. On we went, and just before we
crossed the main track I moved up as if I wanted to
go through. They parted immediately, but instead of
going into the opening I pulled out to the right and
dashed ahead. Spencer fell into the trap laid for me :
he tried to dash through the gap and the two riders
in front closing in on him Tommy Atkins went dowTi
on his knees with his nose to the ground and I was
away off in front. Tommy Atkins was the best horse
in the race and should have won without an effort, for
although he lost twenty-five lengths by that stumble
I only beat him a head. When he got home after that
race Mr ^Vhitney was one of the most delighted men I
ever saw. He and I walked around the lawn behind
the club-house and he made me sit down with him on a
" I haven't given you anything for winning the
Futurity," he said, " except that five thousand dollars
you had in London for travelling expenses. See, I'll
give you all I have in my pocket," and he pulled out
a roll of notes and handed nine thousand dollars to
me and then, after a pause, he took out his watch and
gave me that too. " Now you have all I've got," he
added, and shook my hand. What a man !
Mr Whitney was the most even-tempered I have
ever known, and he had keen judgment. No wonder
we all liked to serve him well. While he was the soul
of geniality he was no " handshaker," and everyone
who had dealings with him knew that he wasn't to
be " buncoed." I have spoken of his great generosity
and one instance of it was when one day I went to his
house on Fifth Avenue. After a Httle casual talk and
looking round at his pictures and furniture I told him
I was in a hole : " I have been gambling in stocks and
I'm in bad." A man had told Ned Gilmore, Charlie
Hoyt and me in the Fifth Avenue Hotel that sugar
would go to a certain point. I had taken the tip and
as a result I was pretty nearly fifty thousand dollars
to the bad.
" I didn't know you gambled in stocks, Sloan," Mr
Whitney answered ; " and I am sorry to hear of it
now. That is a game you should keep away from.
You mustn't expect me to approve of it ; stick to your
own business." Just as I was going away he added :
" I don't see how I can help you, but if you buy about
five thousand shares of American Tobacco and go to
sleep on the deal until there is a ten points' rise I think
you may pull out all right, but, mind you, I guarantee
nothing. Cut it all out is my advice to you."
I bought the Tobacco stock, leaving a limit of ten
points, and went to California. And then one day
when I was standing in a duck marsh during a day's
shooting I was handed a telegram telling me I had
made a hundred and ten thousand dollars. My luck
was talked about and much exaggerated at the time.
I was reported to have cleaned up half-a-million dollars
but the figure I give is exact.
Although he became so keen on racing Mr Whitney
never came out to the stables in the early morning at
the hour when Mr Keene and other big owners we all
know like to see the horses gallop, but he loved to be
around horses, and would drive over in the afternoon
and loaf about looking over the boxes and chatting
with the stable-boys. Every one of them would have
INVITATION TO ENGLAND
done anything for him. I think his favourite track
was Saratoga and quite early in his racing days he
determined to build it up. He often told me he
intended to make a Newmarket of it and it was mainly
due to him that it became so successful. He built
up the Turf after his experiences in England ; he was
always talking of the English ways of doing things.
The whole story about my first experiences in
England will be told later, but in 1897, before going
away from Liverpool, Lord William Beresford said he
wanted me to come over for the autumn of 1898. I
answered : "If you want me to come, cable to Mr
Whitney." They did not know each other. The
result was that one day at Saratoga, in 1898, Mr
Wliitney sent for me : " Sloan, I have just received
a letter from Lord William Beresford asking me if
I can let you go to England." He read me a sentence :
" ' The opportunity looks big for Sloan to come : we
have some good horses.' "
Now I was carrying a cable from Lord William in
my pocket but I had felt backward about asking Mr
Whitney to release me and I told him so. " Well," he
replied, " Lord William is a fine fellow, and I would
like to oblige him, so if you want to go we will try and
get along without you. Stay for the Futurity and
after that you can go if you are still of the same mind
— ^that is, of course, if Mr Julius Fleischman gives
I thanked him and he wished me good luck, saying
he might go to England himself. And he did, and I
introduced Lord William and Mr Whitney to each
other at Newmarket. He bought out Pierre Lorillard's
interest in the stable and he and Lord William went
into partnership and I rode for them. I am always
thinking of him, and everyone knows what racing lost
in America when he died. Racing might not have had
the set-back which it did had he Hved.
While I have said that Mr Wliitney was fond of
betting I must add he was one of those men hke the
late King Edward, Lord Dunraven, and others, who
would rather any horse of theirs won a race purely for
the pleasure of beating the other horses than win
thousands simply by betting. I believe that Mr
Wliitney would have tried if necessary to keep racing
going without a single wager on a single track. But
of course it is difficult to imagine that racing could
go on without betting.
FIRST TRIP TO ENGLAND
Misery in London — Cold Shoulder at Newmarket — My First Gallop —
Preparing St Cloud II. — Covering Fifteen Miles — First Appearance
on a Course — Beating the Gate — Losing yet winning the Cambridge-
shire — Lord William's Kindness — A Week of Successes
Later on there will be scores of characters I have met
and horses I have ridden to talk about, but as I finished
up my last chapter by writing about my English career
it might perhaps be a good thing to tell here how I
made my first start for London and my innings as a
jockey in England and France from 1897 to 1900.
In the summer of 1897 Mr James R. Keene sent for
me to his down-town office in New York. " Sloan,"
he said, " I've got a horse, St Cloud II., in the Cesare-
witch and the Cambridgeshire. My trainer, Pincus,
thinks he has a good chance. I have been thinking
over the advantage of getting you to ride him. Would
you like to go over to England ? "
It didn't take me long to answer : "I certainly
" How soon could you go ? "
" Well I don't want you to decide so quickly."
However, the matter was settled then and there,
and I sailed on the following Wednesday, 17th
September, on the Majestic^ and landed in England
with Ed. Gaines, the walking man, whom I took with
me. There was no one to meet me, and feeling as
lonely and out of the swim as a fish on land I went
to the Savoy Hotel. I knew absolutely no one, not
even Mr Keene's trainer, Jake Pincus, who although
American had by long residence been turned into a
regular Britisher. Pincus of course was the man
who trained Iroquois, the only American horse who
ever won an English Derby. He was at one time a
How well I remember roaming round that hotel !
It all seemed so cheerless and I was so homesick that
I nearly cried. I felt better when I went and had
dinner at the old Simpson's Restaurant. It was the
food I think which made me feel a bit as if I was having
a home meal. In those days, especially when I was
working, I could have eaten a horse I had such an
appetite, and I didn't put on extra weight through it,
either. When the time came for going to bed every-
thing was so lonesome that I nearly found myself
looking at steamship time-tables.
However I had found out where Newmarket was
and how to get there and went there two days after
my arrival. On arrival the first thing I did was to go
straight to see Mr Pincus who lived in some rooms
over a public-house kept by Martin. He had heard
of my coming, but at the same time I can't say that
he was inclined to take any particular interest in me ;
in fact the name " Tod Sloan " spelt nothing to him.
We talked a bit and I found he had become more
English than American. They were going to gallop
St Cloud II. the next morning, he told me, and added
that I had better be out on the heath to meet the
horses. I told him that I thought it would be better
if I walked the horse out myself so as to warm him up
He took a good look at me and answered : " You
aren't used to Newmarket. There will be a lot of other
GALLOPING ST CLOUD II.
horses about. The horse's usual lad had better be on
him until the time came for the gallop."
I could see that he didn't think much of me so I said
quietly : " If that's so then the boy had better ride him
in the gallop too."
He seemed a little annoyed but finished up the talk
by saying : " Just as you like. You had better be at
the stable at seven in the morning."
He was a great big devil, St Cloud IL, standing about
seventeen and a half hands, but he walked out all
right to the gallops. The boys were sniggering and
when we did a light canter they tried to guy me. The
horse went sweetly with me. Then the boys started
whispering. I heard one of them say : " Wait till he
comes the other way." Presently they put Quibble
to lead me a gallop, and St Cloud II. he seemed to like
me even better, for he stretched along and I found out
he was no end of a nice horse. That was all which
I hung about Newmarket making the acquaintance
of a few people at the Rutland, and got up on St Cloud
once or twice again. It was all very dull and no one
seemed to want to make friends with me.
The following week was the First October Meeting
and not a ride came my way. I went down to the post
on a pony I had got hold of and I watched the starts
and felt as if I could beat the best of them. At last I
had a mount or two on bad horses without any chance
at all. I shall never forget the way all those in the
ring and on the stands behaved to me the first time I
cantered out. It was my first appearance. They
had seen no one riding with what they called the
" Monkey-on -the-stick " seat and a big laugh went
up. It must have been mighty funny to them. I
know I didn't appreciate it myself. However I stuck
to my colours, although as I didn't win I began to
think that I might after all be wrong, and I even
commenced to ask myself whether the English sport-
ing writers weren't about right when they said that I
couldn't ride at all. Lord William Beresford spoke
to me kindly, however, and said I could ride, and he
let me know he believed in me. I dare say he realised
how much his words bucked me up and made me deter-
mined to show them a thing or two. The first race I
won was on the horse named Quibble. It was the first
time they ever tried the starting machine and one of
the people who were exploiting it got it into his head
that I was against it and had been doing all I could
to queer it. So I thought I would show him ! Now
I had had experience with the new invention in
America and as I say it was only an experiment on
the part of the Stewards. The other riders were
strange to it and while they were getting ready after
the barrier flew up I was 'way off and nearly quarter
finished before they started. I am afraid my win in
that race came very nearly finishing the chance of
the starting machine in England. I know that it was
not taken up until two years after.
Meanwhile I had been riding St Cloud in preparation
for the Cesare witch. A few days before the race came
his winding-up gallop ; it was out on the Limekilns.
Wliat with walking to the course, and trotting round,
we covered quite a lot of ground before being told to
canter for a distance which must have been over four
miles. By the way, these canters in England I found
out to be in many cases really half-speed gallops !
The horse went well, and I thought on pulling up that
his work was surely finished for the morning, when
after about ten minutes Pincus said, " Now we're
going to gallop him." " Going to gallop him, Mr
Lord Marcts Beresford ami Mr. Richard Marsh
WHERE COMFREY FINISHED
Pincus ? Why, look what he's done already ! " I
felt like getting off, but thank goodness I didn't, for
if I had they would have put one of the lads up and the
horse would have been ruined. As it was I spared
him, although there was a horse to take him along and
another one to join in when half the distance had been
covered. With one thing and another he must have
covered 15 miles that morning and in my opinion
his chance for the Cesarewitch four days later was
ruined. I know that in that race he was the tiredest
horse you ever saw. It was a pity ! Luckily for the
horse he was eased up after the Cesarewitch until the
Cambridgeshire, a race I shall always think that I won.
In this second race my theory was that I was winning
all the time and that I led all the way. The big fellow
travelled with me as if he knew exactly what he had
to do. I saw one after the other drop out, and from
the Bushes home there were only three of us : I had
to watch Sandia, who I always kept almost clear of ;
Sir William Ingram's horse Comfrey was on the other
side of the course. I was confident that I had the
race in my pocket, but I kept the big horse going
nicely all the same, and the charge against me of over-
confidence was not merited. As a matter of fact I
shall always believe— in fact I know—that Comfrey,
who was given the race, was only third, Sandia being
second, three quarters of a length from me. There
was no one more surprised than I was myself, and in
my trouble I may have said that the race had been
" stolen from me." But I made no charge whatever
against Mr Robinson, the judge, a gentleman I have
always had respect for. What I did say in my dis-
appointment was certainly twisted round. The next
day Mr Robinson with a newspaper man came to the
jockeys' room and asked me exactly what I did say
about him. I told him frankly that I thought I had
won but I never uttered one word against his honest
conviction that he had seen the race in the way he had
placed them. My opinion, as I told him, was that the
width of the course and the fact that the judge's box
was set so low between them made it almost im-
possible to judge a finish correctly. He listened very
pleasantly to me and said he was quite certain that I
had not been outspoken about him personally. Of
course it's a long time ago and makes very little differ-
ence now, but that race has always stuck in my
gizzard and I shall always wish that someone had
taken a photograph of the finish.
I was very upset, but Lord William Beresford
came up to me afterwards and said, " Don't worry
yourself ; we think you won, and perhaps you shall
ride for me on Friday." I should explain that
Cuthbert, who was book-keeper or secretary to Lord
William's stable, had already told me that there might
be a mount for me on Met a on Friday for Wood didn't
want to ride her, as he had had the offer of the mount
on a semi-certainty in the same race. But it was clear
that he did want to ride Sandia, in the same stable,
on the same afternoon. I dare say Cuthbert thought
that when I found I couldn't ride Sandia in the bigger
race I would refuse the mount on Meta. I had more
sense. " I'll ride her all right," I said. I did, and
I beat Wood a head on his hot favourite !
Lord William was so pleased with me that Friday
afternoon that he announced : " You shall ride
Sandia too. Let Wood hunt up another mount."
And I won the Old Cambridgeshire on him. Those
were the days when that race used to finish at the top
of the town.
Mr Martin, above whose bar I used, as I have said,
A POSTPONED SHOOT
to live with Mr Pincus, had been kind to me, and he
had niade up a shooting-party for the foUowing day,
Saturday. I was very anxious to have a go for the
first time in my hfe at the pheasants. Well, just after
bandia had won, Lord William came to me and said,
I want you to ride two for me at Hurst Park to-
" Impossible," I repHed in my " fresh " way. " I'm
gomg to a shooting-party."
" Never mind your shooting ! "
" I can't put it off. Mr Martin has got it up speci-
ally m my honour," I said— and I meant it.
Lord Wilham put his hand on my shoulder and said
quietly, Now, little man, you have to come to Hurst
Park ; Fll see Martin."
I was going to stick to my guns, but Lord William
had a sort of way with him, and in the end I went to
Hurst Park, and I think I actually won both races.
One race I won readily enough, and the other they
didn t give to me, saying that I had lost a short head !
Mistakes will happen.
Now that was a pretty good week's work. Mv
reputation in England had begun. For my own
pleasure I may as well add that although Lord William
often chaffed me about that party with Martin which
didn t come off, yet he made it up to me by letting me
shoot with him and his own party at Deepdene,
TALKS WITH LORD WILLIAM BERESFORD
Character and Disposition of Horses — A Take-down at Leicester —
Buying a Trotter — Myself against the Horse-swopper — Diddled —
Warwick in a Fog
The more I saw of Lord William Beresford the kinder
he seemed to become to me, and the more interested
he became in what I was doing. He was always
anxious to know what rides I was getting, and to in-
fluence others to put me up. In 1897 he was staying
at the Adelphi Hotel at Liverpool for the Autumn
Meeting, and several times he asked me round to his
apartment, where he would sit " talking horse " to
me for hours together. Sometimes others would come
in but I think he liked better to chat alone. Especi-
ally he was interested in the instinct of horses — not
any particular English horses that I was just then
riding, but those whose characters or dispositions I
had really studied. Some of the things about which
he drew me out may be put down here, for as the topic
interested him so it must others.
I have always had rather a reputation for doing
more with horses who are bad tempered and sulky
than other jockeys, but I don't take much credit for
this. I told Lord William that it was simply because
I knew that horses don't like to be bullied, and I also
told him that I had managed to find out the peculi-
arities of one or two of his own horses, and that I
would play up to them accordingly. For instance I
remember a colt named Lake Shore on whom I won
KIDDING A PULLER
four races straight off the reel. He was considered an
awful sulker and sluggard. As a matter of simple fact
he was nothing of the kind. He got his bad reputation
because the boys made the mistake of trying to keep
him up to his work by riding him too hard. I found
out that it was necessary to fool him. He would not
be bullied. He became angry directly anyone on his
back started— as they generally did— by kicking and
pulling at him and whipping him too. My way with
him was, just at the start, to behave as if I were trying
to control him. I would tug at his bridle a bit and
then I would relax. That made him think I had given
it up— the struggle I mean— and he would strike out
for all he was worth under the impression that he'd
conquered me. He nearly always won when ridden
that way because he did his hest— on his own account.
One day at Liverpool there was a bad mix-up and
two horses came down. Now from what I have seen
I am quite sure that nine times out of ten when a
horse falls it is the fault of the rider. When a jockey
gets in a scramble or a tight place he is apt to pull his
horse's head about from sheer fright until the animal
loses control of his action. Then if he strikes into
another horse down he goes. But if he is allowed to
fight out his own battles he is most apt to win out.
Talking about falls too, and a horse's instinct, only in few
cases have I known a thoroughbred step on a jockey
who had fallen in a race. If a boy will lie quite still
when he is thrown the chances are that he will escape
without a scratch from a horse's hoofs. I found this
out once when riding in a field of seventeen at Nash-
ville. I fell and nearly all the horses actually went
over me and not one of them ever touched me.
Wliile I am writing of my attempts to get horses to
take to me I may as well tell of the only one that
wouldn't. He was an animal named Little Silver
and I knew him first in California. Somehow I
couldn't stand the sight of him. I never knew why
it was, but sometimes I thought it was because I was
afraid of him. I hated it every time I had to ride him.
I only won on him once for he wouldn't try with me.
But a kid named Eddie Jones, an exercise boy, could
take him out and win on him. He knew Jones and
they liked each other just as two men do. It must
have been a case much like that of Diamond Jubilee
and Herbert Jones in England. Of one thing I am
quite sure : you can get a real friendship with a horse,
and some horses as we all know develop real affection
for men or boys or goats or dogs, and even cats, and
they are jealous and nervous when the objects of their
affection are away. I remember discussing all these
points and instances with Lord William at Liverpool
that time. I shall have some more to say about the
question later on.
Lord William would often laugh at some of the
experiences I had that autumn (1897) when I was
riding and when he didn't happen to be there to help
me with his knowledge and advice. For instance, I
was induced to go down to Leicester by an owner-
trainer who had a horse called Well, never mind.
He was very serious about it. I just had to go.
Well when I got to the course I found that he told
some of my friends that they could bet on his horse.
This made me so mad, then and afterwards, because
if I had chosen I could have ridden the winner, who,
by the way, started favourite. The small man kept
me to my promise, and I know he had a bet himself
and that he succeeded in influencing my friends.
Judging from the manner we went down to the post
I wouldn't have taken a pound to a penny on my
MY HORSE AND BUGGY
mount's chance. Before we'd gone the first two hundred
yards I was half that distance behind the others and
the lot had passed the post before I was much more
than half-way home. All the boys laughed at me.
Rickaby and Sam Loates were the worst ! The
owner came to the jockeys' room after the race, but
when I saw him I couldn't help saying, " You had
better get away from me."
I wouldn't even look at him, I was so mad.
" I'll sell my horse, for I've got another one, ten lb.
better than he is," he said after a time.
" Then sell him," I answered, " at whatever you
can get for him. If you have any relations in the meat
for animals line of business you'll know what to do."
I acknowledge it now : I couldn't stand the ridi-
cule : Fancy Sloan not being able to get a gallop out
of a horse ! I was properly taken in — in fact it was
the worst take-down of my life with one exception,
and I may as well tell that story here too.
I was living at Redbank in New Jersey, with
Johnny Campbell. It was the ambition of all the boys
about a stable, and especially those who had a little
bit of money, to possess a trotter and a buggy. I had
a bank roll of about seven hundred and fifty dollars.
Well, one day when I was idling about, a fellow I had
never seen before went past me slowly in a buggy.
A boy who had come to our boarding-house two days
before — he was " planted " there I fancy — said that
he knew him. " Here's So-and-so," said the boy ;
" he's a big horse-dealer."
The guy called out to me, " Like a spin ? " and
having nothing to do that afternoon in I hopped.
We went off at a fine lick ; that horse could trot.
After a while I said to my new friend : " Look how
he's sweating ; my ! it's pouring off him."
Well it ain't to be wondered at," he replied, the
trotter going faster all the while ; " we've been to
Long Branch and back this afternoon, and that's
going some ! "
I didn't wonder any more, for it was a big journey
in the time. He shook the horse up then and I kept
feeling how much I should like to be behind him again.
After another minute or twd — for I was thinking
and he didn't interrupt me* — the horse-dealer said to
me : " Yes, he's a fine horse : there's a feller been after
him and I've sold him for four hundred dollars."
" How old is he ? " I chipped in.
" Well he's really about eight or nine, but I said
he's seven," and he winked and shook the animal up
again. " I'm going to deliver him to-morrow," he
went on, " with the buggy and harness thrown in for
the four hundred."
That was too much for me. " You're going to
deliver him to-day," I jerked out in a commanding
sort of way ; " you are going to sell him to m^."
"I can't do that," he explained as if he were
apologising already to the other man ; " what would
he think of me ? "
"Never mind what he thinks of you, the horse's
mine I tell you " — ^and so he was. I paid over the
stuff that night.
Before the dealer left he said, " There is only one
thing I want off that harness : it's those little plates with
my initials on the blinkers," and he added, " I'll be
round in a day or two to get them : my wife would
never forgive me if I didn't get those plates."
I had asked no one's advice about that horse and the
next morning I started to take my pride and joy out
for a spin on my own. I felt proud of my choice and
really I didn't think it worth while to consult anyone
WARWICK IN A FOG
else about it. Hadn't I been in a livery stable and
didn't I know as much as the next fellow ? Well my
brother Cash turned up just as I was going to put the
horse in the buggy. The first thing he did was to
start laughing. My horse could hardly stand, let
alone walk ! He was eaten up with rheumatism ! Of
course the dealer had warmed him up the day before.
He had never let him stand still a minute, but jogged
him one way and the other when I got in and out, or
whenever we ought to have stopped.
I think I got forty dollars for the harness and buggy,
but where the horse went to I forget. He was never
any good. I never saw him again. His age was not
a day less than seventeen.
Lord William used to say that I never seemed to
do so well when he wasn't with me. He was right.
Another time was when I was induced, much against
my will, to go to Warwick. At first I had refused
but some of those around me who would bet on any-
thing I rode argued about it : " Tod, we hear that
one or two of those mounts you are offered can go a
bit ; you may as well ride." Still I stuck out. At
last, [however, I did agree. It was foggy when I
arrived near the place. I had been to Stratford -on-
Avon that morning, wanting, as all good Americans
do, to see Shakespeare's birthplace. I remember
we drove over from Stratford to Warwick. Getting
near the race track the mist got thicker and thicker ;
I had never seen the course before and it was a case of
groping one's way to the starting-post. I thought to
myself that I'd stick behind some other fellow in the
race and depend on his knowing the way. The starter
told us all to get as near to him as possible so he could
see us. We hunched in together and at last he got us
off. I stuck to the jockey guide, a small boy, that I
had selected for the purpose, but he didn't know the
course either ! We struck a patch of fog so thick that
you could hardly see your hand before you. At last
the two of us landed in the middle of a field somewhere
and had to walk back to the paddock about twenty
minutes after the others.
I was just inside the jockeys' room when the trainer,
a man with a very small stable, rushed in saying,
" Hurry up or you'll be too late to weigh out ; you
know you're to ride mine."
" I'm not going to ride again ; it isn't riding at all
out there," I answered.
He began bullying me and threatened to bring me
before the Stewards. Indeed he rushed out to do so,
but in less than a minute came the notice that the
rest of the programme had been postponed or
SECOND IMPRESSIONS OF ENGLAND
Of&cials' Kindness — Liverpool Jumping Course — Never a Drink while
racing — Laid out at Kempton — My Opinion of Democrat, and —
I HAVE often been asked for some of my other impres-
sions on my first start in England in 1897. I certainly
noticed the jockeys were very nicely treated, and one
thing I had never seen in America were the luncheon
tickets which were given to us. The officials were
pleasant too. Mr Joseph Davis of Hurst Park, Mr
Manning, the Clerk of the Scales, and Mr Arthur
Coventry and several others were particularly kind
to me. There was a time in America when they tried
to treat jockeys like a lot of monkeys. I remember
one man over there who was promoted from one job
to another until he became a sort of superintendent of
the paddock — Paddock Judge they called him. This
man was always suggesting to the Stewards something
new which would in his opinion prevent this, that
and the other "abuse " and keep the Turf with regard
to jockeys " clean." One day, as the result of his
suggestions, an order came that all the boys had to be
in the jockeys' room at one o'clock and that they were
not to leave it until it was time to go to the post, and
that they had to come right back after the race until
it was their turn to ride again. In fact they were
to be caged up like a lot of monkeys. I wouldn't
stand for it. I said I wouldn't ride if I had to. The
idea of such a fool thing preventing any fraud if fraud
was intended !
That reminds me of a certain trainer who in the
autumn of 1897 saw me walking about the paddock
at Lingfield instead of being in the jockeys' room.
He came up and said, " Aren't you going to ride ? I
want you to get up on one of mine."
Now I knew he was a fellow who had written a news-
paper article a few days before in which he had said
that I should be penalised, that I ought in fact to
put up extra weight, because my " seat on a horse
was unfair." But he didn't know that I knew about
" Am I to carry a penalty," I asked him, " for
riding as I do ? "
" No, of course not," he replied, affecting to laugh,
but looking rather foolish.
" But didn't you write an article saying that my
seat was unfair ? "
He answered that that was all newspaper stuff.
" Did they pay you for the article ? "
" No, they do all my business for me."
" Then get them to ride your horse for you too."
I told Jack Watts the story. I remember that he
never stopped laughing about it. By the way I shall
always think that Watts was the best English rider
of the old school I ever saw. I liked him very much,
really liked him. I don't say it because he was
hospitable to me.
They used to think when I first arrived in England
that I was fogged with the English money, but I had
got used to it coming over in the Majestic. Before
that I had only seen it^ — bank-notes I mean^: — once. It
was when Charlie Mitchell was in America. I had just
met him and I was going out in a carriage to the old
CHARLIE MITCHELL'S BANK-NOTES
Guttenburg track. I picked up Charlie Mitchell and
took him with me. He asked me what they charged
to go in and pulled out a bunch of English notes.
They still look to me like writing-paper. I hadn't
any money with me, I remember. Mitchell gave an
English fiver to the gate-keeper but that worthy
wouldn't take it : he had never seen one before. We
asked several people if they could change one of the
notes but without success. It looked as if Mitchell
would be shut out till after the first race. After a
time I left him. I went inside and found a book-
maker named Ike Thompson to change a bundle of
notes into American money for Charlie. As a sequel
I think he had a tenner on the only winner I rode that
day and came out well to the good, for mine, a horse
named Osric, was an outsider. Mitchell was delighted.
A novelty to me in England was the sight of the
steeplechase jockeys at Liverpool. I saw them for
the first time at the Liverpool Autumn Meeting. I had
never seen cross-country riders so tall and big. I
didn't know any of them but I didn't let that pre-
vent my staring. Not one of them offered to make
friends with me. Perhaps they looked upon me as a
curiosity, a kind of monkey. In the morning I had
gone out on the course and had a look at the fences.
It was all so colossal that it almost took my breath
away. Of course the jumps were greater and stiff er
than anything I had ever seen in America. It was
in the Grand Sefton I first saw them. To see the
horses going out into a country looking as if they were
never coming home again is the greatest sporting
living picture imaginable. I didn't have a chance of
seeing the Grand National till 1899. That of course
was more wonderful still.
Lord William would sometimes wonder at my
appetite in the evening at Liverpool and Manchester.
He had heard of my good work with the knife and fork
at Simpson's. There I could eat three orders of beef
with vegetables and then switch off on to the saddle
of mutton. In hotels like the Adelphi in Liverpool,
the Queens in Manchester and elsewhere, I could eat a
tremendous meal and couldn't bear to go out to dinner
where I couldn't be sure of getting what I wanted. I
liked best a big cut from a joint of lamb with new
potatoes and salad, but it must be remembered that
dinner was my one meal of the day. One must confess
that the luncheon-rooms open on a race-course are
generally no very great temptation. I can say too
that I never took a drink when I was riding until
racing was over for the day. This self-imposed rule
was never broken during the whole of my career in
England and for years elsewhere, not even under what
might be called really necessary conditions.
One case in particular that I recall was at Kempton
Park; — I think in 1898 — when I met with an accident
through Mr Sol Joel's Latheronwheel rearing up and
falling back on me in the paddock. I had shouted
out to the boy to loose his head but he wouldn't or
didn't hear me, and I was crushed under him. The
horse tried his best to get off me with the true instinct
of the thoroughbred not to do injury. At last he
got clear. If I had not known how to respirate I
shouldn't have had any life left in me. As it was
when they came to examine me they found that my
pelvis was injured. The race-qourse surgeon put the
joint back in the socket and as I laid there the
doctor said that I had " better have a little neat
" I will — after racing," I replied.
Lord William who was standing near — ^he had come
TRYING TO BEAT FORFARSHIRE
to see how I was — immediately broke in with :
" You've done with racing for to-day."
" Then who's to ride Democrat ? " I asked.
I shall put Cannon up," he answered.
No I am going to ride Democrat," I replied. I
think if any other jockey had been mentioned I should
have been content to lay there, but as it was I got up
soon after without the brandy. The next race was for
two-year-olds. Forfarshire was in the field. I was
only beaten a head. Lord William always thought
that it was my unfit condition after the injury which
cost him the race, but I can confidently say that it
was the best race I ever rode in my life. What is
more Forfarshire had 28 lbs. in hand that day, but
he was messed about a bit in the race by a horse
ridden by Madden. Sam Loates, who rode Forfar-
shire, blamed me for it afterwards and there looked
like being a fight, but — leave it at that. Lord William
always had too great an opinion of Democrat. As a
matter of fact he was a very ordinary horse, and I am
sure that had a jockey of the old-fashioned school
ridden him on that day he wouldn't have been in the
first six. I am not taking too great credit for myself
in saying this, for if a rider like Johnny Reiff or Frank
O'Neill or Milton Henry had been up they would very
likely have done as well as I did. Later on, by the
way, Democrat was given to Lord Kitchener for a
charger. The next race that day was a two mile or
a two mile and a quarter affair — I forget which — and
the doctor, Lord William, and others were all furious at
my attempting to ride. But I had my way and I won
the race, all the time suffering such tortures as I never
had known before. Altogether that uay I won three
racesi — without brandy mind you. However, I was
paid out for my foolhardiness by being kept in bed
for eight days, and I wasn't able to get about properly
for two weeks. I really think that what prevented
me breaking down altogether directly after the
accident and taking to my bed as soon as I could get
there was Lord William's saying that Cannon — ^then
my great rival in winning mounts — was to be put up
on Democrat. It is wonderful how much pain can be
stood when the blood is up !
Lord William was very sympathetic during my ill-
ness, but it made me feel worse when he came to see
me and wouldn't talk about Democrat. I would say
to him, " Democrat could never have beaten Forfar-
shire, my lord," and I would almost have a relapse,
and would start feeling all my pains over again,
when he answered me, " We won't talk of that, little
man, you did your best." It made me feel like hell.
Lord William would never discuss the race afterwards.
I know that to his dying day he was convinced that
Democrat was the best horse in the race on that day
A GLORIOUS WIND-UP
The Babyin the " Pram "-Nearly a Tragedy-Dining with an American
Owner-I have a " Follow "-The Record at Manchester-Four
Wmners and One Second— Police Protection— Dodging Swollen
Head— Those who claimed me— How Molly Plumb nearly spanked
I RODE various winners in the last three weeks of the
season of 1897 : Amhurst in a big field at Lingfield,
and a horse named Bambini at that dangerous
place, Northampton. I heard afterwards that the
course was done away with, and quite right too, for
It was certainly about the trappiest track I ever
struck. I shall never forget that race, but the danger
that particular day didn't come from the galloping
Itself. Right down beyond the turn, with no idea
that the horses were so near, was a woman trying to
get a baby carriage with a baby in it over the low rail
—a bit of gas-piping or something— to the other side
of the course ! She managed to get the front wheels
over, or half the " pram," and then it stuck. As we
came along we could see it. To whoever was on the
rails—and I was there— it meant certain destruction-
destruction to the baby and the baby-carriage or to
the jockey and his horse— or both. -^— was on my
whip hand and he was keeping me pinned on the rails.
I looked at him but he wouldn't catch my eye. I
shouted but— nothing doing. There was only one
course to take to save life and limb and I took it. I
barged into him and nearly knocked him over. But
the baby was saved and I was too. And what's more
I just beat him. Of course was mad, and he was
going to report me to the Stewards, but I got to them
first. If I remember rightly he was fined and put
do\\ai for the rest of the meeting. The Stewards had
seen the whole incidents of the race, fortunately for
I rode winners at Liverpool and remember a rather
funny entertainment after that meeting. One of the
o^vner^— an American, with one horse only I heard
afterwards— who had won a nice little bit over a race
he had won kept on saying to me, " Now don't forget
when we get back to London 2jou are to have dmner
with me. I had dinner with you the last time." As a
matter of fact I think all the exchange of hospitality
had been pretty one-sided up to then. I went to
dinner and we sat down all spick and span, feelmg
good, and my host took up the card to order the meal.
" TOiat do you want ? Like some fish ? "
" Just what you like," I replied.
" Do you want any meat ? Well all right, per-
haps we'll have some soup. Ah ! petite marmite—
if we have that there's meat in it ; we can eat that and
we needn't order any other meat afterwards. Then
we'll have some Camembert cheese. Ever tasted
that ? No ? Oh ! you'll like it."
I hadn't put in a word and he seemed quite satis-
fied with himself. We had the soup and then the
fish— one small sole between the two. He took the
lead and had finished his Camembert before I had
looked at it.
" That's all right," he said as he lit a cigar.
Paying no further heed to him I asked the waiter
for the menu : " Now I'll have something to eat.
I've dined with you, now I'll have something on my
GREAT MANCHESTER DAY
own." I ordered a steak, fried potatoes and a big
salad. He tried to put himself right, but he was a
cheap fellow at anything of that kind, and I repeated
his words : " That's all right. I've had dinner with
you : now I'm just getting in to a little fancy work."
^Vhen I'd finished he made no move to pay But
as a last little tiy he said : " How do you expect to
ride if you eat all that ? "
" How am I going to ride if I don't eat once a day ? "
was the way I ended the conversation.
There was no particular feature about the three
winners I rode at Derby, but after Derby came the
biggest thing I had done in England. It was at
Manchester. On Thursday I won on Bavelaw Castle
m the Rothschild Plate. On Friday I got Sapling
home m a very big field for the Ellesmere Welter • I
had been on him at Liverpool and had won on him
there too. ^^Oien I went out to the old New Barnes
track on the Saturday it was raining and the going
heavy. I had only one idea in my head— to get away
to London after racing was over, for I was going to
Pans and to Monte Carlo. I would have gone any-
where to get out of such weather ! I was thankful
that It was the last day of the season. That Saturday
afternoon crowd rather astonished me, and some of
them laughed at me as the crowd had done the first
time I was seen at Newmarket. Little did I think
what was waiting me later on that afternoon as I
cantered do^vn to the post on Captain Machell's Manx-
man for the Farewell Handicap. There was a field of
fourteen. I got the run of them and won it. I heard
afterwards the horse had been well backed. In the
next race I was on a favourite, Mr Wm. Clark's Le
Javelot, and I was expected to win. They gave me
a bit of a cheer as I won it. I wasn't riding in the
next race. Then came the Saturday Welter with a
field of twenty-two. Neither the weather nor the
mud could shake my confidence : we slopped along
and at the distance I felt I had them all whipped.
The mare I was riding, Martha IV. she was called,
seemed to like me and I got there. That black mass of
people set up a roar when I passed the post. Lord
William was delighted and I had to dodge the people
who wanted to pat me on the back. I rode Keenan
in the November Handicap but couldn't beat Asterie,
who was better class. Then followed the Final Plate
and I rode Bavelaw Castle, whom I had won on two
days before. I knew exactly what to do and made the
horse to put in his best, but I hadn't seen one or two
who were thought to be dangerous. You get how-
ever into a kind of feeling that you must win when
you have begun, and Bavelaw Castle had to do it. He
Four wins and a second ! I didn't get a swollen
head that day ; that I can say, whatever happened
to me before or after. My only idea was to dress
quickly and to get into a cab, but it wasn't so easy.
It looked a bit dangerous in fact, for they were wait-
ing there in the hundreds and thousands either to
shake my hand or pat me on the back or to grab a
souvenir,, All the stories I had read as a kid about
those who used to wait just to touch John L. Sullivan
came back to ME ! Ed. Gaines and I went out to look
for the cab, but it was impossible to get at it. The
crowd was closing in. Gaines's face was as white as a
sheet : he thought we should be trampled on. At last
they got a dozen policemen who formed a square
round us. All the same I should have liked to shake
hands with a few of them. I should have risked
having all the breath pressed out of me and I was
CLEARING FROM THE CROWD
such a little fellow that I might have been dead while
they were looking for me on the floor. However,
there it was : I was the proudest kid in England or
America that day. Apart altogether from what I
had done before, I had just made good in England
and let them know that there was such a jockey as
All the way back to London I heard that crowd call-
ing to me—" Tod," " Toddie," " Sloanie," " Sloan,"
and everything they could twist my name into.
In that short month I had forty-eight mounts and
won twenty-one races. Lord William sent me im-
mediately a splendid gold cigarette-case with the
names of the four Manchester winners engraved on
it and the second, Keenan. On the other side was a
reproduction of his own writing.
I was tickled to death at the idea that people were
beginning to know me and to talk about me a bit
more. Oh yes ! I plead guilty ! Nothing is going
to be kept back. I intend to write about all the
times I got a bit above myself. I confess that it
ended in that serious complaint, " Swollen head."
At the same time it was not unnatural at my age to
be a bit fresh when I had actually shown those who
had laughed at me and w^ho didn't believe in me that
I could do something they couldn't.
Now with regard to what I made. I had paid all
my expenses and had at the end of the season about
two thousand pounds over ; of course this was through
my presents. For the time I was at it this was equal
to or even better than in some other years in which I
rode. In this connection I have just realised — and
may as well put in here — that in all the years I rode I
never asked for nor charged any fee or expenses for
riding trials or gallops, nor did I charge my railway
expenses to meetings. This will be borne out by
owners and by Messrs Weatherby and others.
While when I first came to England there was no-
body to speak to me, after I had made a few successes
there was no end to the people who came up and claimed
me. Often it was impossible to remember having met
them before, let alone having talked to them ! But I
would go through the handshake and the ordinary
greeting : " Glad to see you." Some of them would
say, " Don't you remember me ? I was," etc., etc.
Sometimes they were just as funny as the man who
rushed up to Jim Corbett once saying, " How are
you, Mr Corbett, don't you know me ? Surely you
remember when you left Jackson, Mississippi, all the
inhabitants came out to see the champion pass through.
Well, I was the little fellow with the brown Derby hat
standing in the crowd."
I recall one man, a year or two after, who came up
to speak to me at Doncaster. He started telling me
that he had to thank me for giving him a winner at
Goodwood. He had had a tenner on and wanted to
thank me, for he had pouched a good win. Having
nothing to do at the moment I humoured him but I
told him that I had never met him at Goodwood to
begin with. He insisted that I had, and offered to
bet me fifty pounds that he was right.
" Show me the fifty," I said, kidding him.
" Well I haven't got it on me " he began.
" You don't look as if you had," said I, and drew
him on by adding, " Would you like to bet me ten
dollars ? Show me that amount. Eh ! What ? I
don't think you've got even that." The truth was
that he had tried to get up a conversation for his own
ends, perhaps in order to use my name, but I knew
by the way he had started that I had never spoken
LADY FROM KANSAS CITY
to him. Fancy Willie — ^that's met — saying I was
going to win a race to anyone — especially a stranger
on a race-course ! " Let me tell you something," I
went on : "I have never been to Goodwood in my life,
and the only place I think I've seen you in before was
As a matter of fact I never rode at Goodwood in my
life, and have never been near the place.
That was only one of a hundred odd incidents of the
kind, but speaking of being claimed I think the
funniest of the lot was when I made a trip to Kansas
City a few years after I gave up riding. I was in
the paddock when someone came to me and said,
" There's a lady wants to speak to you over there ;
she's sitting on the stand among the people there :
she says it's very important."
I asked who she was and whether she was old or
young, and her name, but the man didn't know. He
had received the message from someone else. So I
fell for it. There were a lot of people sitting near a
large lady who would have had to diet and waste to
ride twelve st. When I got to her she threw her
arms round me, while I struggled to get away. Then
she pushed me away from her to get a look good at me,
holding me by the shoulders with her strong hands.
" Don't you remember me ? I'm Molly Plumb. I
used to carry you in my arms when you were six years
old. I lived next door to you."
Now it was only twenty-five years before that I
was six years old. I remembered her very well and
added that I'd see her again when I came back, but
that I was very busy that day. That didn't please
her and she called out at me, " Tod Blauser " — Blauser
was my adopted mother's name — " for two pins I'd
turn you over on my knee and spank you."
What a shout went up from the people round ! I
laughed with them but she didn't, so the only thing
to do was to shake her hand in both mine and to say,
" I'm glad to see you, Mrs Plumb " — she may have
been Miss — and to make an exit. She called after
me, " I'm disappointed with you, Blauser. Mind you
come back and see me."
It was lovely to see her but she didn't realise I had
my business to attend to : she thought she was on a
fair-ground, I think. Mrs or Miss Plumb must forgive
me if she sees this in print. One is liable to forget
after so many years. But I could never forget the
name; she had been kind to me. Yet we'll hope to
have that promised supper some day, with nice baking
My Aunts visit me — At the Races — " When do you perform ? '' — At
the Grand Hotel, Paris — Cost of an Illumination — Winning
Si 2,000 at Monte Carlo — My Present of Pointers
The incident I told just now about Molly Plumb and
her absolute ignorance of the race-course reminds me
of how I once gave an invitation to my aunts Lib and
Min — two sisters — to come and spend a week or ten
days as my guests in New York. They knew of my
fame at the time, and were tickled to death at the
idea of visiting me. Aunt Lib was really my adopted
mother, but I called each of them aunt, and Aunt Lib's
husband, Dan Blauser — a man of Dutch extraction —
Uncle Dan. I believe Aunt Min had once been as
far as Cincinnati, but the other had never journeyed
more than sixty miles away from home. They were
types of real good country people when they arrived
at the old Pennsylvania station on the New Jersey
shore. I had taken a nice suite for them in the
Imperial Hotel, great big rooms where they could
roam about and admire everything — and themselves
too if they wanted to, for there were plenty of mirrors
They spent their time running about New York,
and I did the best I could to entertain them, taking
seats for theatres and vaudeville shows galore. They
were peacefully happy.
Then came the races at Sheepshead Bay, close to
the sea. Neither of them had ever seen the ocean or
a ship and how they did stare with delight ! I had a
place just then down near the course, at Jerome Cottage,
and I gave them a whole floor to themselves.
On the first day after their arrival Sousa's band was
playing at the races and I got them two seats just
in front of the conductor. They were in raptures.
After settling them I had to leave them alone until
after the fourth race, but I had been told that they
were getting on very well. I had ridden three winners
in succession, and I put my overcoat on over the colours
I was to wear in the last race of the day and went off
to see how they were getting on. To begin with I
peeked at them from a distance and saw them beating
time to the music with beaming smiles on their faces.
I didn't interrupt at once, but when the tune was over
I went up and asked how they were getting on.
" When do you perform ? " asked Aunt Lib, for
all the world as if she were on a fair-ground — like
" I've been performing — only three winners — ^and
I shall perform again in the last race," I answered,
and I opened my coat to show the colours. " All
you've got to do is to keep your eye on this jacket.
Didn't you see my performances earlier in the after-
noon ? "
" We saw some horses go by," said Aunt Min ;
" were you that little feller performing in front ? "
" That was me, and you must look for me on the
track in the race after the next one."
They promised that they would, but I am sure they
were much more impressed with my importance when
on leaving them I went up to shake hands with Sousa
and several of his leading men. They looked at each
other as if to say, " See the people our Tod knows ! "
FIRST TRIP TO MONTE CARLO
I left them to their contentment until after the last
event, in which I finished second.
" We couldn't see that jacket of yours," said Aunt
Lib when the racing was finished, " you weren't per-
forming in front that time."
" No," I answered ; " it was a friend of mine's turn."
Poor dears, that one day gave them enough of
racing. They never wanted to go again. I often
wished that I could get an exact impression of what
they thought about it all. I confess that it took a little
moral courage to stand the smiles of all the people
round during the loud talk of the two dear women,
especially when one of them embraced me warmly —
a thing she was quite liable to do — bless her ! — several
times a day. No one was rude, however, or ridiculed
us, but I dare say many will understand my very mixed
feelings when they asked me in the hearing of scores
of people when I was going to do — my circus turn !
Anyhow they went away very happy. It must have
been funny to hear them telling all the folks at home
about their trip.
I think they would have come to Europe if I'd asked
them. They had so much to learn — and so had I for
the matter of that !
Perhaps I was a bit green when towards Christmas
in 1897 I left London for Paris and Monte Carlo. Ed.
Gaines was still with me, and I had another man too.
On arriving at Paris we went to the Grand Hotel —
that was before it was altered of course. I asked
for a bedroom with a bathroom off, but was told that
they hadn't got one ; then after a bit of whispering I
found that they only had one private bathroom and
that was in a swell suite costing something like a
hundred and fifty francs a day. I took it and the
boys accommodated themselves in two bedrooms
which belonged to the " apartment." We intended
to entertain a bit, but as a matter of fact we didn't
do much in that way, for no one knew me and I knew
nobody. With the exception of going round to
Maxims, which didn't interest me then, and the Cafe
American, where there were no Americans that I could
see, life was pretty dull for those few days.
I got tired of it all one night about ten o'clock and
we all went back to the hotel, where there was a bright
fire burning in my sitting-room. Now on the mantel-
piece and the walls there were large candelabra chock-
full of candles and I thought to myself, " If I'm paying
all this money for these rooms, I may as well make
the place as bright as possible, light the candles and
have a little party " — although there was electric light
and gas too if I remember right. So out I took a box
of matches and lit the whole lot — several dozens there
were. Gee ! didn't that room look dandy ? I began
to feel warm and cosy and I was much more cheerful,
until when I got the bill next morning just before
leaving I found thirty-six francs charged for those
candles ! I tried to fight them about it but — nothin'
doing. After that episode I felt inclined to cover
candles over with a cloth when I saw them at other
hotels, for fear the temptation should be too strong
At Monte Carlo roulette was nothing new to me.
I played twice a day for the six days I was there and
won about sixty thousand francs — about two thousand
four hundred pounds. I never had a losing sitting,
and I was mighty pleased with the packet I took away.
On the way back I stayed in Paris again for a few days
and had a much better time, for I got to know a few
people and rubbed along more comfortably with the
French customs. Then going back to England I
NEVER A SECRETARY
sailed on the 15th January from Liverpool by the
Crowds of reporters met me when we arrived off
the Quarantine Station at New York. I tried to avoid
them, but there were the usual interviews, and I remem-
ber that the reporters I didn't say a word to, or even
see, wrote the longest stories. A good deal had of
course appeared in print in New York during the
month of my success in England.
Mr Charles Fleischman had bought a hundred copies
of the Inter-Ocean of Chicago whenever anything had
appeared about me, and he had mailed these to all his
friends to show " how well his boy had been doing."
When I got to New York itself the reporters didn't
leave me alone : some of them from whom I scurried
burnt me up with mock interviews full of jokes at my
expense. They described my palatial apartment and
made out that my room was littered with cigar ends
and cigarette stubs and that the carpets and furniture
were all burnt and spoiled — the room of me, Tod Sloan,
who cannot help being neat and who loves tidy rooms !
They also talked about my coloured servant — a
black nigger named Dick Keys. He was my valet
in town, while I had a white man, Frank Garrett, for
my race- course valet. The two used to quarrel like
blazes. Sometimes I thought I would have a secretary
to manage them, but I never reached that pinnacle
of success. At the last moment I would think that
I couldn't afford the luxury. Thinking it over now
I fancy that, with the way I was spending money
then and afterwards, a secretary would have been
jolly useful, for I was very careless about banking
and other business. Here is an instance : I went in
to my bank one day — it was years later than the time
I have just been writing about — in fear and trembling
to try and arrange an overdraft. I was afraid that
there was only a sum of three or four hundred dollars
to my credit. Wlien I had worked up to the suggestion,
the manager asked : " How much do you want ? "
" Five thousand dollars," I answered. I knew I was
good for that sum.
" Let's see how you stand first," he said, and in a
minute showed me a slip of paper with nine thousand
dollars odd written on it — to my credit, mind you.
" Wiat do you want to draw fourteen thousand
dollars for ? " he demanded.
I was taken aback and told him I only wanted to
take five thousand, but that I had made a mistake in
checking my pass-book. As a matter of fact I never
went through the items in my life !
Before leaving New York I received two fine dogs,
pointers, from England. One was given me by Lord
Charles Beresford, and the other by Lord Marcus.
They were brought over in a private cabin and were
looked after by poor Andrew Latimer, who was then
Chief Steward of the New England. He was a great
friend of mine and of many of those who may read
this. It will be remembered that after several changes
of boats he lost his life in the Titanic disaster. Such
a real good friend to me he was, open hearted and
generous, in fact an all-round good fellow.
I took out to California the two dogs. I was greatly
pleased with the present and it is a pleasure to me to
know that there is hardly a good pointer in California
to-day who does not trace back in his pedigree to
Wisdom or Whisper, the names of the two. Breeders
in California owe a deep debt of gratitude to Lord
Charles and Lord Marcus.
I rode for a while in the very early spring on the
Californian track, especially at Ingleside, and was in
CASH AS A BUILDER
fine form, winning about 40 per cent, of my mounts and
having on two occasions five winners. It is curious
that the number of times I reached this score in a day
was exactly the same in three places ; three times in
England, three times in New York and three times in
California. I have often been asked how many times
I have ridden four winners in an afternoon, but I
cannot answer this. I should guess the figures at
something like fifty.
I spent two days at my home town Kokomo soon
after I came back. There was a ball at Logans-Port
and scores of Kokomo people wanted to go, but they
didn't know how to get there. I settled the question
by ordering a special train and as many as liked to
go had only to step aboard. I put them up at the
hotel too as my guests. I was " some fellow," they
thought — the poor boy who had once run about the
town. It was " Blauser this " and " Blauser that "
until they found there was no special to go back by.
I told them I hadn't bought the train, and that they
had only to wait till the next morning for ordinary
cars. They didn't like it.
I also went to Chicago, where I had many friends,
for I had spent a long time there with my sister and
Cash when I was quite a little kiddie. It was when
living in Chicago in 1888 that Johnny Campbell came
to where we lived one night to take me out with him
to New Jersey.
Cash was making the living for the family in that
fall of 1888 — ten years before the time I have just
been speaking of. He was employed in building ;
that is to say, he hammered laths on unfinished walls.
He'd fill his mouth with tacks and I was certain with
the faces he made sometimes that he would swallow
a few. I used to go with him very often and hand him
the laths, and we would eat and drink what sister had
put up for us. Sometimes I'd pull Cash's leg :
" That fellow working over there is a goer ; he's
put up two laths to your one."
Then Cash would set his teeth, take a pull at his belt,
fill his mouth with a fresh lot of tacks, slap at the laths
and would look round every now and then to see how
his rival was getting on. He'd nod to me, for he
couldn't speak on account of the tacks, as if to say,
" What do you know about him ? I'm beating him ;
in fact I'm leaving him standing still."
The other fellows would see the joke and they never
hurried, for there was no piece work about the job, and
it made no difference to their pay, however many
laths they hammered on during the day. But Cash
couldn't think of that : he was always ready to sweat
and always out to beat the other guys. Cash, in fact,
was some worker, and at week-ends, as there was a
great rush time at the barber's, he got a job for several
hours on Saturday night and for four hours on Sunday,
shaving. He got five dollars for that. Of course little
Tod couldn't be out of it, and he used to go with him
and lather the customers. I would give them five
minutes of it sometimes while waiting for Cash to come
along with the razor. I had to stand on a stool to
get at their faces with the brush, and I used to put in
some fine fancy work. My, it was funny ! I used to
laugh then, and I laugh still more so now when I think
SOMETHING ABOUT CLOTHES
Wanting a Fit-out— Johnny Campbell's Order— He gets the BiU— A
Fancy for Shoes— On the Ocean without a Stitch
I SPOKE just now of going off with Johnny Campbell
from Chicago to New Jersey. About a year after I first
went to him we were at Long Branch races, and I
determined that I must get some clothes : I wanted a
suit badly. I figured it out that I could go to Powell,
a tailor in New York, and give him so much down and
have enough for my expenses and a bit left in hand.
I knew the suit would cost sixty dollars and thought
the balance could be paid when the things were finished.
I hopped into the train and in the parlour car the
first man I saw was Johnny Campbell. He looked me
up and down with surprise : " And where are you going,
my lad ? "
"Going to New York to get some clothes," I
answered as bold as brass, while looking for a seat.
*' You're going to do what ? " he asked again.
" Get some clothes," I repeated. " I'm sick of going
about hke this."
The train had moved off and Johnny seemed amused.
Presently he called me over to him, and said, "That's
all right and I'll help you," and he wrote on the back
of a card to Powell :
Make Sloan what he wants and send the bill to me,
I thanked him and on arrival in New York I went
straight to Powell's place, then at the corner of 12th
Street and Broadway. I gave the tailor the card and
then looked at the materials, chose one I liked and
was measured. Now I only weighed 4 st. 9 lbs.,
and when Powell told me the price — sixty dollars — I
said, " Surely you're not going to charge a little feller
like me that figure ! Why, I sha'n't take half the stuff
that would be required to make you a suit."
Powell started to explain to me how much more
difficult it was to fit a little man and handed out all
the " guff " about the amount of stuff it took to make
some of his fat giants' clothes. He had to average
up, and so on. Besides, he added, cutting for me
took [just as much time and labour as for anyone
Now comes the joke :
" Summer's coming on ; surely you want something
lighter for the other suits ? " the tailor suddenly
" What others ? "
" Well Johnny Campbell says, ' Make Sloan what
he wants and send the bill to me,' so you had better
fit yourself out properly and have a couple more suits
and an overcoat while you are about it."
I laughed at what Johnny would think and say when
he got the bill but the temptation was too strong ;
I let myself go. I can tell you that when the things
came home I didn't half fancy myself and swelled it
about to the envy of all the boys at home. But you
should have heard what Campbell said to me when he
got the bill for two hundred and seventy-five dollars :
he didn't half let me have it ; but he paid it all right
and afterwards he would laugh and shake his fist at
me. In recent years Johnny and I have often laughed
FANCIES IN BOOTS
over the incident. Anyone who reads this and who
knows him should ask him to tell it his own way ;
perhaps it will sound better than the way I tell it!
By the way, from that time on clothes were always a
great fancy with me, and boots too. In fact it may be
said that these were my real extravagances, but when
I was making money freely there was always a pleasure
in looking at something in value I had for it. Some
of my earnings in 1897 were left with London tailors,
and after 1898 I nearly always had my clothes and
boots built for me in England.
In the newspaper interviews, when they wanted to
poke fun at me, the reporters would say that I never
travelled without more than a dozen trunks and that
they were all full of clothes. As a matter of fact I
never took more than three ; but considering the size
of the garments I wore there could be a lot of clothes
stowed away in them! Certainly I was fanciful
about shoes and would carry a dozen or eighteen pairs
on a journey of any length. I had a joke one night
when there was a supper-party in my apartments at
the Imperial Hotel in Broadway, New York, where I
lived for some years. A parcel had just come home
and had not been unpacked : brown shoes, evening
pumps, and a lot of other shoes. The company,
especially the girls, were anxious to see what was inside
the big cardboard box and I let them open it to satisfy
their curiosity. My size was and is about one and
a half. Of course the girls at once wanted some of
these new shoes as something out of the ordinary,
something quite different to anything they had had'
but I was quite safe when I said to them : " Any of
you who can get a pair on her feet, is quite welcome
to take them home with her."
They all had a try but by no sort of persuasion or
by use of the shoehorn could they get their feet into a
pair. However there was no need for them to feel
hurt or put out, for I have only met two women in my
life who could wear my shoes, one — of her later — ^the
other a friend I cannot focus at the moment.
Speaking of clothes, I remember that when I crossed
to England in 1898 I had to travel without a stitch of
belongings. My brother Fremont, who by the way
does not come in much in the story of my life, and will
not, for he died in the autumn of 1914, had the knack
of doing everything wrong in any little commissions
he had to undertake for me or others. I was due to
leave by the Deutschland from the Hoboken Pier,
and Fremont and my nigger valet must go and put all
my things on the Kaiser Wilhelm, an opposition
German boat sailing the same day, but an hour earlier.
They waited on and on for me to appear, and then
when the Kaiser Wilhelm had sailed it occurred to
them to rush down to the Deutschland. We were
almost off when they arrived and I spotted them.
You should have heard what I said when I learned
what had been done ! They tried to explain that
they thought I might possibly have been somewhere
in one of the state rooms on the other boat, and that
they had waited on on the chance. In the middle of
my rousting them the Deutschland got under weigh,
and they had to slip ashore in a hurry. Apart from
the inconvenience I suffered I worried all the way
across about an unlocked suit-case which my brother
had deposited at the last moment with the other
baggage on the Kaiser Wilhelm. It had about five
thousand pounds' worth of tie pins in a leather case
inside it. But I never lost a single thing. All the
baggage was delivered to me at Southampton. It
was the eventful journey when the two ships raced
AT SEA WITHOUT CLOTHES
each other across the Atlantic, our boat getting in
first by hours. It wasn't funny though to be all the
time without a single thing except what I stood up in.
People helped a little. There was a nice girl on board
who lent me a pair of shoes and a pair of stockings so
that I could have a change. Willie Sims, the coloured
jockey, who was on the ship, let me have a few collars,
and I borrowed a tie, a new one, from someone else, and
I shall always remember that I have never returned
it. I got hold of a shirt from someone too, a flannel
one, and managed to turn out fairly respectably for
dinner, but I felt a bit out of it all the same. Of course
everyone dressed for dinner at my table on that
voyage; they would.
The story got about in New York and of course
there were some funny pictures published. One
showed me beckoning to the Kaiser Wilhelm to come
alongside ; and great piles of baggage were drawn on
deck in a pile as high as the funnels of the big ship.
My luggage of course ! Just about this time too there
was a cartoon appeared in one of the dailies showing
" Uncle Sam " at Sandy Hook pulling me one way,
and " John Bull " on Land's End, England, hauling
The papers were on the whole kind to me in those
early days, but as I have said, some of them used to
roast me a bit, trying to tear me down by ridicule.
For instance, Jean De Reszke had said he would like
to see me and one day I called on him at the Gilsey
House. The next morning one of the papers made
out that I said when I went into his apartment,
Hullo, Tod," they made him reply.
Viho do you ride for ? " I was supposed to have
Jean de Reszke answered — ^according to them :
" I'm not a jockey : I'm a singer."
My answer was the Hmit : " You'd better quit
singing if you want to make any money. Being a
jockey is the only way to get it. . . ." All lies of
THE LATE KING EDWAED
Preparations for Second Visit to England — Getting fit — The Yacht
and the Horse Belmar — My Brother as a Fighter — Presented to
the Prince — His Personal Magnetism — His Wager of ;^2oo — Taking
my Tip about Encombe — " \Vhy didn't you take your hat off ? -' —
Promise of a Ride in Royal Colours
I OFTEN talked about England to " Pittsburg Phil,"
but he never showed any wish to go over, preferring
to stay where he knew pretty well all that there was
to know. All the same he liked to discuss England
and English ways with me, and without any wish to
flatter me he used to say that he had always considered
that I was about the only rider he knew of at that time
who would make a success abroad. Several times he
thought of sending a man over, a journalist friend of
his, to back my mounts, but it came to nothing.
Phil did very well over my riding that season — 1898
— in the East, for I was in great form, riding two, three,
and four winners every day. I kept myself so fit too.
I had a boat — we called it a yacht. I named her
Belmar, after a horse I had ridden with great success
belonging to Phil. I was living at that time in a
cottage down at Sheepshead Bay. William Fleisch-
man, who was agent for the stable, was nearly always
down there with me, and Mr Julius Fleischman, who
owned it, would often come and see us. We spent a
lot of our time in fishing on the Belmar. And I used
to have as much pleasure in sailing the boat as I had
in riding the horse it was called after.
I won five or six handicaps on Belmar off the reel.
I have never come across a more intelhgent horse :
he knew the winning post just as well as I did, and I
had the sense to trust to his wisdom more than once.
I learnt to give the credit for my wins on him to him.
I won several events by a head, in which I know if
they had been run a second faster, or if he had had
ten pounds more weight to carry, I believe the result
would have been the same. I learnt all his peculiarities.
How that horse just loved to race ! He would line
up with the others as quiet as a lamb ; then he would
break away and take his position. He always came
along about three furlongs from home and — won.
As soon as he passed the post his ears would change.
Surely if there is any real expression about a horse it
is in his ears. No matter how hot the finish had been
Belmar would relax after he had finished his gallop,
and would hardly even make an effort to walk to the
paddock. He would lick my face like a dog and never
kicked or bit anyone.
I have always claimed that the horse is the most
intelligent animal in the world. I have argued it
out again and again, especially in connection with the
old-time rivalry between horses and dogs. It must be
remembered that a horse never gets the same chances
that a dog does. A dog is about the house, is talked
to, sees what human beings are doing from morning
to night, gets familiar with the sound of words, and
generally is trained or given lessons to like a child.
But the horse is so much more alone ; he is left to him-
self. If you could get a thoroughbred as small in size
as, say, I am compared with Jack Johnson, and let
that little horse run about a house, well — Heaven
knows what he couldn't do in the way of parlour tricks.
I only put this down by the way. Yes, people should
always remember, when placing the dog in front of
the horse for intelligence, that we do not take the
horse into bed, and into our living rooms ; we do not
let them sleep on our sofas and chairs.
Altogether in that 1898 season in America up to
August I rode about 190 winners. Just before I left,
in that month, I began to feel tired, extraordinary as
it may seem, and I was even thinking of retiring for
two or three months in order to go shooting or some-
thing of the kind. I had got as far as I could get in
the way of riding success and I was longing to achieve
something in another walk of life. That was why I
wasn't sorry when the message came for me from Lord
William and I got permission to sail. A lot of American
sports had made up their minds to follow me across
in order to back my mounts. Indeed they went by the
same ship, and claimed me on board — that is to say, they
lost no time in striking up an acquaintance. I didn't
own the ship, so I was in no way responsible for
what people afterwards called the " American
I didn't take Ed. Gaines with me this time, but for
a day or so I had an idea of letting my brother Fremont
have the trip. However, I altered my mind. He
was making his living training a few horses for Mr
Fleischman out West and I thought he had better
stick to that — for the present at least. I also had it
in my mind that he might be developed and get a
match on fighting, for he was about the hardest hitting
bantam weight I have ever struck. Jimmy Berry, the
champion bantam, remembered my poor brother,
and used to tell me several times that Fremont had a
bigger thump for his weight than nineteen boys out of
twenty he had fought. It will be remembered that
Berry was some authority : it was he who unfortun-
ately killed Walter Kroot at the National Sporting
I was in Jim's corner that night, and it was not till
the twentieth round that the last blow hit over the
heart put Kroot out. Of course we were all very upset.
I remember that Berry came to my room about two
o'clock in the morning. They had told him that
Kroot would get over it, but my own idea was then
and always has been — although I didn't say so at the
time — that it was only a matter of minutes that Kroot
could live after Berry hit him. About four o'clock we
telephoned and heard that Kroot was dead. They
arrested Berry, but let him out on bail and everyone
was held blameless, the verdict being given as simple
misadventure. I bring this in just to show that, if
a man of Berry's class could think so well of my brother,
who by the way was two years older than me, it was
worth my giving a thought to developing him. How-
ever, poor chap, he was so unlucky that I decided I'd
better not. He cried on the wharf — partly over the
luggage business and partly because he wasn't going
Lord William was if possible kinder than ever to
me when I got back to England, and they were a good
lot of horses that they had ready for the autumn
campaign. It was during these three months that I
was to have the greatest surprise of my life. I was
to have a chance of speaking to the late King Edward,
then Prince of Wales. One day at Newmarket Lord
William came for me to the jockeys' room and asked
me to put on my coat over my riding clothes and
come out. Getting into the Birdcage he told me that
the Prince had sent for me, and that I was to be
presented to him. We w^alked to where the Prince
was standing, and he smiled as I came towards him
THE PRINCE'S MAGNETISM
and shook my hand very warmly. Never in my life
have I been put so much at my ease nor treated so
splendidly. After all I was only a visiting American,
and only a jockey at that^ — although I had been doing
so well at my game.
The Prince asked me a lot of questions. Was I
happy? How did I like England? What did I
think of the racing, of the grass courses ? Just before
I left him — feeling all the time as if I'd like to talk to
him the entire afternoon — he said that I should ride
for him some time or other, and he gave me time to
answer : " It would be a pride and honour to do so."
There were several other opportunities of meeting
and talking to that great kind big-hearted man. I
used to think to myself how pleased they would be at
home and how they would ask me all about it, and
what the American papers would say. I can tell you
that although I come from democratic America, there
was a wonderful impression left on me by the great
personal attraction of that royal gentleman. It sort
of drew me to him in the same way that a magnetic
crane in all its strength will pick up scrap iron. I
don't mean to say I came off the scrap heap ! But
perhaps many can understand the different emotions
I had then and after when thinking of that presenta-
tion. The impression never seemed to wear off either
even when he spoke to me again — as he did frequently.
One day he told me that he was no gambler, and
that as a rule he hardly ever had more on a horse than
twenty-five pounds, but that he used to make an
exception and risk a couple of hundred on anything
that I was riding and that I told him I thought would
I remember once — it was the last race of the
year at the Newmarket meetings — I was riding a horse
called Encombe that I had influenced someone a few
days before to buy out of a selling race. On my way
to mount Encombe in the paddock the Prince beckoned
to me. He was standing with Lord Marcus Beresford,
who was holding the bridle of a colt Richard Marsh
had in the same race.
" Sloan," said the Prince, " what are you riding ? "
I told him Encombe.
" Do you think you have a chance ? " he asked,
and I answered frankly that I thought Encombe was
a good thing.
Lord Marcus spoke up then and told me I was wrong
and that Encombe would be nowhere. " We shall
beat Encombe," he went on, " and Dundonald will
I listened of course, but before I left to get in the
saddle I turned to the Prince : " Never you mind
what Lord Marcus says, your Royal Highness. You
can be a plunger here and have a bit on me."
The Prince roared ; he was laughing at my nerve at
speaking so boldly to him I suppose. Well I was think-
ing of what I had said all through the race. I beat
Dundonald after a desperate finish.
The Prince told me afterwards that he had taken my
advice and had put two hundred pounds on Encombe,
who I think started at about 7 to 2.
When I was talking to the Prince I couldn't help
admiring the way he dressed. Especially did I like
his overcoats, hats, and cravats. Now some of the
American papers used to twist about everything I said
— and didn't say for the matter of that — and some
reporters, by whom I wouldn't be interviewed, would
invent all sorts of things on their own. One yellow
journal in particular made me say, without ever
talking to me about the subject, that I thought the
LORD WILLIAM'S REBUKE
King of England dressed very badly. Of course this
leaked through somehow, and Lord Marcus afterwards
called me over the coals for what had appeared. I
was, and am, quite sure that it had only been written
to cause trouble. Anyhow Lord Marcus said severely,
" You should never speak of him [meaning the Prince]
" I never did, my lord," I answered. " The most
I ever did was to answer a question of one paper saying
that the Prince was a great sportsman, speaking of
the pleasure all English people had in seeing him walk-
ing round like a private citizen in the paddock with
no one bothering him at all."
Speaking about being presented : when the present
King George, then Duke of York, was at one of the
July meetings at Newmarket Lord William came in
the Plantation where I was just ready to get in the
saddle, and told me I was to speak to the Duke, the
Duchess, and one or two others of the royal family.
The Duke of York shook hands with me and asked
questions, and I bowed low, having a bit of experience
by this time. I thought I was getting on fine. The
conversation lasted quite two minutes, and the present
King was very kind to me. I was tickled to death
when I was shaken hands with and went off to mount.
I looked to Lord William for approval but he hadn't
got a smile, and only said quite simply : " WTiy didn't
you take your hat off ? "
This got me up and I bleated : " Why should I
have to go back to the jockeys' room right over on
the other side of the course, my lord ? I should have
to brush my hair and tie my cap on again. I shouldn't
have had time. I couldn't have ridden in this race
then. Remember I'm an American, my lord, and
don't understand all these things."
He only smiled, but I was sore that I hadn't
done exactly as I should, especially after thinking
I had such swell manners. When I was presented to
King Edward I heard nothing about the cap business !
At that time I received so much kindness from all
the members of the Royal Family with whom I came
in contact that I should like now, while I am on the
subject, to tell the story of Nunsuch, whom I rode for
the then Prince of Wales (King Edward VII.) in the
Cambridgeshire and the Old Cambridgeshire.
Newspaper Criticism — " Boss " Croker's Shooting — Breaking the Rules
I WAS looking forward to riding Nunsuch in the
Cambridgeshire. This four-year-old of the Prince's
had been well backed and on the day of the race she
started second favourite. The race was a disaster,
but in the sequel I received more kindness from the
Prince and as much or more evidence of good sports-
manship as it has ever been my lot to discover in any
similar instance. I heard that all the closest friends
of the royal owner had backed the mare and I loiow
the bookmakers had written the name of Nunsuch in
heavy wagers to many of my own friends.
At the start Mr Arthur Coventry accidentally left
some of the best favourites, including Nunsuch, at
the post. The truth was that we were all w^alking
the backward way of the course when he dropped
his flag and in the result w^e took no part in the race.
One of the best- known sporting writers in England
— ^the late Mr Greenwood — said that " The right-hand
division were scarcely prepared for the fall of the
flag and four of them had their chances completely
destroyed. To Mr Coventry this failure would be
vexatious in the extreme, the more so as he had been
wonderfully successful of late."
My disappointment over this can well be imagined,
and I felt very, very badly on returning to the weighing
enclosure, and saw the Prince coming towards me
smiling. I couldn't see anything to smile at myself
and I must have shown it, for I know that I felt all
the other way ! Well, the Prince came up to me and
said : " Well such things do happen and it cannot be
helped ; I will start Nunsuch again in the Old Cam-
bridgeshire the day after to-morrow and you shall ride
I won with her then, beating practically the same
field that she had met before. After this race the
Prince gave me the set of colours I had worn and
a diamond horse and jockey pin. That was the
beginning of riding a good many winners for the late
I should like to state here that in the last season
in which I rode — 1900 — I had the great surprise at
Doncaster of Lord Marcus Beresford coming up to
me and telling me that the Prince wished to have first
call on me for the season of 1901 and that he was
prepared to make me the offer of six thousand guineas
for the claim. I accepted on the spot and looked
forward with the utmost pride towards keeping the
contract. The English Stewards, however, prevented
me from fulfilling it.
Just as I had fixed up everything with Lord Marcus,
his brother. Lord William, had a cable from Mr
Whitney in America :
" We must have Sloan, get him at any price, he is
far ahead of the lot and worth anything for big races
even with all his faults."
Lord William showed me the cablegram and I had
to tell him what had happened. I could see that he
was a bit upset — I won't say annoyed — but he said
he would like to try to get me out of the agreement
with the Prince. He " never believed," he said,
" that the English people would put up with an
American jockey being first rider to the King-to-be."
He added : " My little man, I am afraid you have
made a big mistake. I hope not though. Mr
Whitney and I will have to put up with a second call
on you." And then he told me that he would pay
three thousand guineas for that.
Some of the English papers had a good deal to say
about this matter, one writer going so far as to say
that " the retainer bestowed upon Sloan caused great
astonishment on account of the exalted position of
the patron " ; and further went on : " Owing to the
Prince's great popularity as a sportsman people are
slow to criticise adversely anything his Royal Highness
does ; however, there can be no gainsaying that the
shelving of the most representative and best conducted
of English jockeys in favour of an American professional
has given rise to a very painful feeling ; perhaps the
Prince was not altogether responsible for engaging
Sloan." How circumstances led to that contract
not being carried out will be told in due course.
The King often laughed over the story of my visit
to Lord William's place at Deepdene for the shooting.
I had taken down a new gun from a London maker
on which I paid a deposit of fifteen pounds, making
the bargain that if it suited me I would give him the
balance and that if it didn't I would pay a sum for the
use of it.
We hadn't long started, and I took my first shot.
The gun burst ; showing at the break jagged pieces like
a saw. I know I had a very narrow escape of losing
two or three fingers. I could see that all the other
guests thought it was my fault, and that I was not used
to firearms. The truth was that I had handled them
all my life and perhaps I could have given points with
any gun to the majority of those present. When the
accident happened Lord Wilham said kindly to me,
" It can't be helped," and I felt that he and some of
the others were pitying me, perhaps even laughing at
Anyhow I asked the loan of another gun but Lord
William answered in a sort of fatherly manner : " Oh,
surely you don't want to shoot again to-day, do you ? "
I insisted however and ultimately I got a gun that
didn't fit me a bit, but I went in to do my best with it.
Then I heard someone say, " We'd better stop before
Sloan shoots somebody ! " — and when soon after
someone else called " woodcock," everyone's idea was
to get out of my neighbourhood.
I missed my first shot or two and I felt pretty sore
when I heard another remark : " Sloan hasn't shot
anyone yet." It made me mad. But all the same I
got in a pretty right and left, which made me feel a
little better, and the day finished up with my having
done my share at all events.
There had been an amusing incident at luncheon
that day. It was a large party but it seemed waste
of time with such good sport awaiting us that an hour
should be taken for the meal — and in those days I
was never an eater midday. Lord William was kind
enough to press me to take something but I told him
that I " wanted to shoot," and I couldn't if I was
helped to a lot of good things. But when he again
suggested that I should eat a bit I said I would have
some butter with the bread I had just broken. Then
it was discovered that there was none on the table, a
thing which struck me as rather odd considering that
butter is always put on in America for meals. I
noticed then that butter in any quantity does not make
its appearance in English homes until the cheese is
BOSS CROKER'S SHOOTING
brought on. Anyhow the butler was asked for butter
and some little delay occurring in its being produced,
Lord William asked again, and eventually a small plate
of it was put in front of me. I could always eat bread
and butter when having no real appetite or desire to
eat anything else, and I managed to keep company with
others, really lunching that day so far as my butter went
anyway. When I left that evening after the shoot
Lord William said, " Good night, little man. I'm glad
you showed them you could shoot birds instead of
men, and the next time you come here to meals there
shall be dishes of butter all over the table ! "
Writing of shooting reminds me of another story
which Lord William told King Edward and which
tickled him. It was a pure invention of mine at the
expense of Mr Richard Croker but it was repeated from
one to the other. The " Boss " had chaffed me once
about something or other, so I got even with him by
saying very seriously to two or three gossips who I
knew would hand it about that, when Mr Croker
and I were in adjoining butts one day shooting, a bird
came running towards him. According to me the
" Boss " had his gun ready to fire.
" Don't shoot the bird running," I called out. He
replied (again according to me !) : " No I won't, I'm
waiting for it to stop ! "
Mr Croker met me after that and said, " You villain,
I can't get away from that yarn you spun about me!
I heard it yesterday in Dublin and it has even got over
to America and has been printed from New York to
the middle West, and from there to California, and
South to New Orleans. Sometimes I begin to think
it's true, and most of my friends seem to be quite
certain about it." Then he laughed as heartily as I
did all the time and shook his fist at me.
There was one race I rode for the King in which he
thought I must have brought him luck, for the animal
I was on might have been beaten many a length by the
best horse I think I ever saw up to seven furlongs. It
was in the Portland Plate at Doncaster in 1900.
Morny Cannon rode Eager, the horse I have just re-
ferred to, and I was on Lucknow, owned by the Prince.
We swept along together in the last hundred yards.
I was on the rails ; " Morny " and I were neck and
neck : Eager, his mount, was full of running ; in fact
he had pounds in hand. Perhaps " Morny " wanted
to make a fancy finish of it and to win by a narrow
margin. He didn't exactly squeeze me on the rails,
but certainly I was hampered a bit. However if his
idea was just to win it was upset, for as we passed the
judge's box Lucknow's nose happened to be just in
front. Frankly, I was not sure of it myself but I hoped
it was so. The judge gave it a short head. I am
afraid " Morny " was very upset. I dare say it was
one of the greatest disappointments of his riding
career. There was for a few minutes a talk of an
objection, but in the end nobody said anything, and
certainly there would have been no grounds for it.
It has often been said that one of the reasons for
my getting such a swollen head was that I was above
myself altogether from the fact that the Prince spoke
to me so amiably. On the contrary, looking back to
the past I certainly believe that in every respect he
lifted me up and put me at my best with my own
thoughts and made me hope to live up to what I
ought to have been but what I Avas not. Had I been
able to fulfil the contract for the Royal stable that had
been made with me for 1901 1 am sure I shouldn't have
given way to the temptation to get about so much and
— w^ell, back horses. Two blacks do not make a white
Mv First Year in Exc.i.anu
BREAKING THE RULES
and I'm not going to excuse myself for breaking a rule,
but I suppose many jockeys have sinned with regard
to an odd wager or two.
In fact, I have yet to know of the jockey who has
not had a bet, if only a small amount. The allurement
is too strong — too strong for human nature — when you
are told and believe that you are on a rare good thing.
Besides, in that year, 1900, it would have been diffi-
cult for me to keep up what was compared with other
years really a comparatively modest expenditure with-
out betting. Little or nothing came my way except
my riding fees.
A PERIOD OF SUCCESS
Caiman's "Middle Park" — What Flying Fox was — Doggerel on — "Me"
— Disappointments — " Impossible" — Yes or No
The first time that I rode five winners in one day in
England was at Newmarket on 30th September 1898.
I was feehng very fit that day, and I thought I might
win two or three races for Lord WilUam, but the record
all round amounted to five — three for our own stable,
and two for other owners. In the first event, a Selling
Plate, I was just beaten a head on an animal called
The Wake, Tommy Loates just getting home on Eau
Gallic ; they were a bad lot all of them. Then came
the Bretby Welter, where I got well away on Draco
for Lord William, and won anyhow by six lengths,
slight odds had been laid on the winner. I won the
next race, the Scurry Nursery, also for Lord William,
on Manatee, having led all the way. In the Rous
Memorial Stakes the stable intended starting Desmond,
but Landrail was pulled out instead. There were
only three of us and the public had a big gamble on
Quassia ridden by Morny Cannon, but pushing Landrail
out on coming down Bushes Hill I got home easily by
three lengths. Libra was my next winner, another
of Lord William's ; in that race Tovaros was thought
to be a good thing, and was backed accordingly, but he
couldn't get a place. I brought Libra out at the same
place as I had the winner of the previous race and won
by a couple of lengths. In the Newmarket St Leger
CAIMAN'S MIDDLE PARK
" Morny " and I rode a desperate race home, he on
Collar and myself on Galashiels. He had waited two
or three lengths behind me till three hundred yards
from home but mine just got past the box by a head.
In the Rutland Stakes which finished up the day there
was a good thing to bet on in Santa Casa, ridden by
Madden, and trained by Jarvis. Santa Casa really
ought to have been big odds on instead of at even
money. Of course it was my previous success which
caused my mount to be at such a false price ; they
actually took 5 to 2 about it — Boomer his name was.
He ought to have been at 100 to 1 against, even in
that field of four ! Certainly he had no pretensions
to gallop with the other three. Of course I was beaten
out of a place.
Still it was a pretty good day to put in five wins
and a second out of seven mounts.
A lot of money went that day on Asterie for the
Cesarewitch run two weeks later.' Although it was
reported that I was to be up on the favourite Chalereux,
some of my friends who had made a packet that after-
noon were convinced that Asterie could win, and that
I would ride, so she was backed accordingly. But
I never had any look-in at beating Chalereux — and
never had the chance of riding him either. He finished
up favourite and beat me. My mount, Asterie,
whipped the previous year's winner. Merman.
I shall always remember the Middle Park Plate
which I won on Caiman with Flvincp Fox second. I
should say that Caiman was one of the poorest class
horses who ever won the race, and it really was a shame
that a horse like Flying Fox, a superior animal in every
way, should have been done out of what he so much
deserved. I repeat : Caiman was one of the most over-
rated horses I ever knew. The truth was that I under-
stood him and had him under such perfect control that
it was possible to do more with him than with perhaps
any horse of similar stamp.
Caiman had been a winner, but why they should
have taken 7 to 4 about him — Flying Fox was at
the same price — it is difficult for me to say, except
for the fact that they didn't know how poor an animal
he was by the side of the other.
In the race the other jockeys let me make my own
pace, " Morny " holding off on his crack until the
place at which he generally began his run. We went
slower and slower till we got almost to a walk just
before striking the rise out of the last dip. I was
watching him and saw him preparing to come along.
So I shot mine out before he got moving and stole the
race, Flying Fox, although going great guns, not
having quite time enough to get up.
I hope it does not seem that I am claiming for myself
too much judgment at the expense of others, but
without any brag or bounce I must say that there was
such a hopeless ignorance of pace among the majority
of those riding in the race, that I suppose I managed
to kid them and so got where I did. I always consider
that, however much of a " general " I may have been
in some races in my career, I can shake hands with
myself on that Middle Park Plate being the greatest
achievement of my life.
After the race Lord William, Charlie Mills and others
came round saying what a marvellous horse Caiman
was. But they wouldn't give me any credit for the
win ; they kept on repeating that Caiman was the
greatest of his age in training, and they stuck to it
too, even though I told them he was far behind other
horses which were unquestionably inferior to Flying
Fox. Charlie Mills and I had quite high words about
WHAT FLYING FOX WAS
it, I remember, and I told him that in a true run race,
and if I had a chance of riding Flying Fox, I would bet
him anything from a thousand to ten thousand pounds
that Flying Fox would beat Caiman easily. " Morny "
rode Caiman once at Sandown Park after this and
beat some very moderate horse quite easily, and that
was taken as additional evidence : it put the stamp on
the much boosted Caiman. We all know of cases where
geese have been made into swans but there never was
a better example than that of Flying Fox and Caiman.
What a great horse Flying Fox was was perhaps
not quite imderstood by the Duke of Westminster and
John Porter during the horse's two-year-old days, bat
I had formed my opinion of him, which nothing would
shake. I was convinced that he was the best horse I
had ever seen in England, and that he would turn out
as good in reputation as Ormonde, who I never saw,
but who I had heard so much about.
One day at Chester a year or two later, when I was
riding something against one of the Duke's, he said
to me, " Are you going to beat us again to-day, Sloan,
like you did on Caiman ? "
I answered, " Yes, I am, your Grace ; but what a
shame it was that Flying Fox should ever have been
beaten ! I should say he's the best you ever had."
The Duke told me then that at one time they couldn't
believe it, but he added, " Mr Porter and I have come
to the conclusion that he is just as good as Ormonde,
and in some respects better."
That is an opinion which should go down to future
generations of horse lovers. I know that Mr Porter
will remember the late Duke saying it. Wlien the time
comes in this book for me to tell the story of Flying
Fox's Derby I shall explain how he might have lost
to Holocauste, but that will be no disparagement to
him, for all those who saw the race will remember that
Flying Fox broke away no fewer than five times —
each break numing from two to three furlongs. This
took such a lot out of him that I had the race won on
the grey Frenchman when he so unaccountably broke
his leg. However, all conditions equal, Holocauste
would not have had a chance. Mr Edmond Blanc
indeed deserved the success he secured when he paid
what was then a record price for Flying Fox. The
Turf was going very well in America at the time and
an effort should have been made there to buy him.
Look what he got in France : Ajax, Gouvernant, Adam,
Val d'Or, Jardy and others. The two defeats of his
career ? Well — these things will happen !
Just about this time one of the London papers ran
a competition about " Sloan." I kept copies of some
of the results. Here was the first prize " poem."
" Of Toddy Sloan now let us sing,
Whose praises through the country ring.
Undoubtedly the jockey king,
Proclaimed by everybody.
" Unrivalled he upon a horse,
Possessed of spirit and resource.
One always should expect of course.
Some spirit in a toddy.
" Although of jockeys there are lots,
Expert like Cannon, Loates, and Watts,
It's Sloan that every backer spots.
From Sykes to Lord Tom Noddy.
" And if some unbelievers smile,
At what they call his monkey style.
They've got their ponies all the whole.
Upon the mounts of Toddy.
DOGGEREL ON— ME
" So backers cheer and bookies groan,
As race by race is won by Sloan,
On horses chestnut, bay or roan,
No matter if they're shoddy.
" They may be broken-kneed or lame,
He wins upon them just the same,
So here's to health, and wealth, and fame,
Of Yankee-doodle Toddy ! "
Here is another " beaut."
" At Chelsea Tod should make his home.
When he has time to spare.
For if that way you chance to roam,
I know you'U find Sloan's square."
Yet one more.
" I loved Fred Archer in the past,
I admire Tod Sloan to-day,
Still Tommy Loates will give him beans,
Before he goes away."
This was one at me.
" The best way to appreciate Tod Sloan is to put him in the Lord
And the last, which was much quoted at the time,
they keep framed in my home at Kokomo :
The paper insisted on a reply from me and this is
what I sent :
" I like the English people immensely — at any rate all those I
have come into contact with, and those I don't know don't matter,
anyhow, do they ? I like your English race-courses too.
"The riding is not so difficult as in America ; here there is con-
siderably less work. I appreciate all the kind tilings that have been
said about me. As to the criticisms that have appeared, and which
I have seen quoted in one paper particularly, you may take it from
me they are nonsense from one end to the other. I don't trouble
about them one bit. Tod Sloan.
Of course it wasn't always velvet for those who
followed me, both Americans and the public, for, as the
papers said, " There were occasional proofs that Sloan's
influence on the market was independent of his average
— some costly reverses might easily have weakened
its potency — but that such is not the case shows how
loyal and plucky are his chief supporters and how
sheep-like that section of the public with whom it is
an article of faith to back his mounts. One recognises
Sloan to be a great jockey who has brains as well as
boots, whose mounts are to an extent picked, and who,
whatever and for whoever he rides, is always a trier
and never muddles away a race in the manner more
than one have been muddled away this week by crack
jockeys. All this one freely admits, but none the less
is a blind worship of the American to be deprecated."
Yes, of course there were some afternoons when some
of my backers looked doAvn their noses. It was their
own affair of course, and I had lost a bit very possibly
myself, but one thing which I always look back upon
with satisfaction : I did try to find mounts which had
a chance, but I can never remember an instance of
my doing somebody else out of a ride or of going
behind him to get it. I simply loved to win. It wasn't
because of what the papers said, for really I seldom
read anything in the racing part except the descrip-
tions of the previous day's running and the weights
for future events. There was no special question
therefore of my liking praise or criticism. All the
same it w^as natural that I should feel keen on keeping
the hold on the public that I had gained and on one
occasion, just after riding those five winners at New-
market, I was due to appear at Alexandra Park. A
heavy cold kept me away. I resented very much that
I wasn't able to see that Saturday afternoon crowd.
There was some trouble as a result of this which took
some putting right. I had asked Charlie Mills to
make my excuses to the Clerk of the Scales and to
explain that only ill-health kept me away. He forgot all
about it. Anyhow they were very angry with me for
not fulfilling my engagements, and it made bad feeling.
Another disappointment I had about that time was
when I was just beaten in the Duke of York Stakes
on Mount Prospect. A dead outsider, Sirenia, a real
nice mare, pipped me a head. It wasn't altogether a
question of what had been won and lost, but at popular
meetings, and especially on Saturday afternoons, I
never tired of hearing the music of the boys calling
after me when I had any real success.
With regard to amusement. In those autumn
days of 1898 there were the usual odds and ends
of London life — the theatres, music halls, games of
bridge, supper-parties — I only looked on at supper —
and there was the usual experience of meeting more
people than I wanted. Please, please, do not think
that I had such conceit that I used to put aside or be
casual to those I was introduced to, but — ^well, I didn't
always properly reckon up who they were. I know
that I may have been off-handed and I may in conse-
quence have been thought rude by those who were
really anxious to do me good and whom to know was
an honour and privilege. But — do you get me ? —
there were so many of the " also rans " who got round
me, scraped introductions, and then traded on the
acquaintance and used me in every way to pull their
stunts and put it across the simple people who were
so ready to believe anything from people who could
say they " knew Sloan " ! " Save me from my
friends " is an expression that Lord William taught me.
Tlie truth was that I could never find out, to the
extent I wanted to, who really were those I should
be with. I knew quick enough those I liked, and I
suppose it can be said that I stuck to those whose friend-
ship I valued. There were others however. A chance
meeting, a cocktail, just one odd word — it doesn't
matter what it was about — ^and I was quite liable to
hear that " Sloan had said " — well — this, that and the
other. These things got round and about one or two
of the big London hotels, and I heard afterwards even
that syndicates had been formed to back horses, and
that I was supposed to supply the " information " !
It made me mad sometimes. " Straight from the
horse's mouth," was nothing to what I was supposed
to have said on various occasions in order to do mugs
a good turn. I know that there was all sorts of money
torn from various people who used to be about. A
few of the " steerers " didn't settle, and some were
even supposed to be betting for me, but I had no
more to do with them than nine hundred and ninety-
nine people out of a thousand who read this book.
Round about the Savoy certain people used to look
upon me as a curiosity, and I felt sometimes I would
sooner be up in my room reading the papers from over
home. It was the staring and the remarks which made
IMPOSSIBLE -YES OR NO
me — now believe this — SHY. I was supposed to
swank, but please don't believe all that. I won't go
so far as to say that I was nervous, but didn't want
all the gazing and chatting as I passed. I have heard
that people who are called affected can be so from
sheer shyness — they are trying to pass it off. Perhaps
that was my case.
I wasn't exactly " unformed " but I was quite
likely to meet those of a kind I had never seen before
and I had to get to know them — and they me. Have
I explained myself ? I was in and about everywhere,
I could do the weight and hadn't to spend night after
night in Turkish baths, and because I liked clean clothes
and felt that I could do what others did — meet my
friends and have decent meals — my enemies began to
say that I was " impossible." That was the beginning
of the events that led to my being " shopped." AVhat
people said at that time was most undeserved whatever
it may have been later on.
TRAINERS — AND TRAINERS
George Blackwell's Ability — Byron MacLellan — How Horses were shod
A GREAT deal of credit was given to American trainers
in England for some of the successes achieved by
horses in their hands and frequently this was laid on
with too heavy a brush, and insufficient acknowledg-
ment made for what American riders had done. I
was often asked what I thought of So-and-so — ^among
trainers — and others, but at the time I thought it as
well to give evasive replies. One American trainer
in England I should say didn't know a horse from a
billy-goat although he was a good stableman ! For
the matter of that there were many English trainers
who were just as bad. Some of them held " proud
positions." I could never understand how they got
them ; in fact the thing was often one of the greatest
It was generally a case of old-fashioned methods
being followed and of a refusal to pay attention to
suggestions. For instance one trainer, an Englishman,
had some American two-year-olds and one morning
he turned up with his long rein and whip. I told him
that they had already been broken but he shouted in
" They've got to be broken over again in the way
my father broke them, and," pointing to his son, " that
young feller over there when he grows up will do exactly
the same as I do. What is good for one generation
will be for another. Horses don't change."
GEORGE BLACKWELL'S ABILITY
I used to get so bewildered with this kind of stupidity
that I had no words for argument and in this instance
I left it at that. But the hopeless ignorance in a
thousand ways of some could not help striking anyone
with any real experience. I am not saying that I was
such a superior judge, but looking back I do know
quite well that what I thought then and think now is
I could mention many trainers of the present day
— both English and American — who are really clever
men. I have always thought that of Englishmen
George Blackwell was right out by himself as a trainer.
We were only just acquainted so the statement can
be taken as being quite unprejudiced. His horses
used to be higher in flesh and brighter in coat after
real hard work — for he didn't spare them — than those
of anyone else I saw in England at that time. You
see a man may get famous on account of one or two
great horses he has turned out, but the true cleverness
consists in discovering horses. There's no reason why
there should not be a Galtee More every year — ^he
wants finding out !
There are some trainers who would sooner make
twenty pounds on the cross than a hundred on the
level. I remember riding good winners for one man,
who unfortunately I cannot name although he had
practically first call on me, and I could never understand
why I didn't get a present. Owners used to look at me
in such a way that gradually I got the idea that they
were expecting me to thank them for something.
At all events that's how I read it afterwards.
But I never got a nickel. I know that trainer had
seven hundred and fifty pounds from one man to split
up with me. Yet they say that it is sinful for a jockey
to have a bet !
John Dawson was a trainer who was very nice to me
both before and after I won the Manchester November
Handicap for Lord Ellesmere on Proclamation. I have
a souvenir Dawson gave me after I had w^on — some
cuff buttons. It was rather curious how I got that
mount. " Skeets " Martin, who was to have ridden,
was dying to get back to London and I was due to ride
the favourite who, however, went wrong at almost the
last moment. The day before the race was run
" Skeets," hearing that I was free, said to me, "You're
a lucky swine. I wish I could get out of my
mount too : he's a big outsider ; the going'll be
" I'll ride him," I said, " if you get the trainer's
permission." John Dawson was willing enough ; he
seemed surprised that I would take it on. " Skeets "
was in great glee that he could go off that night to
London. There were twenty-two in the field and all
those who remember that afternoon will know that
the course was w^orse than usual. We went round in
a procession with Proclamation lying about eighth.
I was being clouted with mud until my two eyes were
nearly bunged up and I had to keep spitting it out of
my mouth, getting more and more like a nigger in
appearance all the time. I am sure I was a hundred
and twenty-five yards from the leader at one time but
I hung round the rails, although I was nearly put out
by a heavier clod than usual from the horse in front
of me. It isn't so much that the mud cakes are
" catapulted " at one, but one is going at a great speed
and actually running into what is coming at one at
a great pace too ! I held on anyhow, and managed to
bring up this three-year-old outsider — ^lie was carrying
7-7 — to win nicely. A lot of my friends got 33 to
1, so it was a pretty good wind-up to a season. He
started at 25 to 1 and of course it was something for
the pubUc to remember me by till next year.
While on the subject of trainers I should like to say
that the greatest of all who lived in my time was Bjnron
MacLellan, now vmhappily dead. He could make a
good horse out of a donkey. He did more to found a
good school of trainers than any man known to the
world during the last fifty years. MacLellan came
from a good Kentucky family, and for the whole of his
life was associated with horses. He got to know their
disposition, studying them and, like some who suc-
ceeded him, believed in building up animals and
making allowance for different temperaments. He
would, if alive, have screamed at some of the wholesale
incompetency of many trainers having the charge of
horses to-day. By the way let me say that I am rather
nervous in laying down opinions so strongly, but I ask
myself, " What is the good of half saying a thing and
leaving the best part of it to guesswork ? " I am told
that it is easy to make a mistake. It is still more easy
to print a libel !
What too would MacLellan have thought of what
you and I know has been done by many English owners
and trainers, and almost been boasted about, with
horses which they thought were useless or which after
early trials as yearlings they thought were no good.
Often such horses are taken out and shot so that they
should not lumber up the yard ! It is a sin, for some
of them have turned out most useful, and even great,
afterAvards. I could mention many instances where
horses showing nothing as yearlings proved them-
selves later on. I am reminded of this by what
my editor writes about Polar Star in Sharps,
Flats, Gamblers and Racehorses. Mr Hall Walker's
horse was so bad as a yearling that he was not left in
the Derby and was nearly gelded. Tlie great Colin in
America would not have been accepted as a present
when a yearling.
MacLellan wasn't like that : he would never give up
a horse in his very young days, neither would Wishard.
I put down Enoch Wishard as one of the best trainers
I have ever come in close touch with. He I believe
started life as a blacksmith in a town called Wellsville,
and from this town also came Duke, who at present
trains for Mr W. K. Vanderbilt; and John M'Graw,
the manager of the New York Baseball Club.
Enoch Wishard made a study of horses' feet from early
days before he took to training, and he followed this
up by always caring for their mouths. These certainly
are two of the greatest essentials when considering a
horse's chance of progressing in training. Fortunately
many trainers of the present day have given serious
attention to these matters, which one must say were
far too often neglected in the past. Wishard asked
regularly about the mouths of his charges and he would
never leave the care of their feet to anyone but himself.
Perhaps more than anyone else he has proved how a
man can reach the top of the trainer's calling owing
to observation and taking the trouble to think about
the disposition of his horses.
Wishard's by the way is a case that helps to prove
that there is very little heredity in training. Tell me
any great trainer whose son has proved as great a man
at the business as his father before him. Tlie talent
is supposed to " pass down," but that is sheer nonsense.
I do not think there are " born trainers " any more
than there are " born jockeys." Some jockeys may
have taken up riding through their fathers having been
at the game, but it doesn't follow for a moment that
they will achieve success. Take the list of all you can
HOW HORSES WERE SHOD
ever remember : there are a few exceptions on the other
side but the vast majority goes to support what I
There is a good trainer in France, Eugene Leigh.
I am quite sure his father never saw a horse, and yet
what the son doesn't know about them is scarcely
worth learning. One thing is pretty certain, that if
the modern school of training had not been introduced
by W^ishard and a few of his contemporaries racing
would have remained where it was, and would have
been left to a few gamblers to control !
When I first visited France I couldn't help noticing
how little horses were understood by some trainers.
In fact I was astounded. Purely from lack of care
were animals suffering from thrush and the foot
disease. The treatment was little luiderstood. Then
again hardly anything was known of a horse's mouth.
Tliey had then no implements for the floating and
decaping of horses' teeth, and it was only after some
persuasion I got them to procure these appliances.
Since then Joe Marsh has done a great deal in the way
of looking after horses' mouths. He is a witch doctor
Tlie shoes too worn by horses at that time weighed
from 1 lb. to Ij lbs. on each foot. Blacksmiths did
not even know how to trim properly the foot of a
race-horse, and when I got hot about it and recom-
mended the adoption of the American system the
Frenchmen thought it would be too big a change from
what had alwaj^s been the rule on the French turf.
France owes a great deal to American trainers. For-
tunately it can be said that many Anglo-Frenchmen
have had the sense to alter their methods.
The extraordinary changes brought in by Americans
caused the charge of doping being levelled against them.
One of the best horses I have seen in France, and one
in which the greatest change was effected, was Mauve-
zin, now at Lord Carnarvon's stud. I bought him out
of a selhng race for eleven thousand francs in 1901.
When he came to me he could not stay more than four
and a half furlongs. In little over a month he gained
nearly a htmdred lbs. in weight. Of course it will be
remembered that aftei*wards he won with big weights
in France, took the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood, and
proved a success at the stud.
Americans taught England a great deal about
horses' feet too.
ENGLAND AND AMERICA
Some American Trainers — Breaking my "Drum" — Rushing "on the
Road"— Talk "English"
In talking about English trainers I do not wish to be
charged with belittling some really good men. Many
trainers have had such extraordinary opportunities.
I believe a man like Harry Batho who trains at Alf riston
in Sussex might have been one of the most successful
of the English school had he been given the same
opportunities as the heads of what are known as
" aristocratic stables." Batho gets to know a horse,
and is clever in placing them too.
Mr George Lambton proved what he could do when
he had something good to deal with — and I really
mean this, for I have taken a good deal of notice of
what he has done in this respect. He will ask ques-
tions and, with Wootton perhaps, has been the most
progressive in recent years. Despite vast experience
he will listen to sound advice.
Some men in England would never take any tip at
all. For instance when I had that terrible fall on
Maluma in the Liverpool Cup which has been referred
to in a previous chapter, Robinson would run her
without plates. It was a terrible day, but he said she
had been used to nmning without shoes in Australia
and he supposed she would do her best without them
over here. The inevitable happened. As she was
barefooted I knew I was gone. It occurred round the
turn : she slipped sideways. I always think with
plates on that day she couldn't have lost.
Charles Morton would favour me by asking me
questions from time to time. If he didn't agree with
all my replies (and I didn't expect him to) still with
my experience and natural " horse sense " he often
found some pointer or other worth taking. Morton
is a man of ripe judgment.
The strokes that some trainers put across a jockey
are wicked sometimes. I remember riding an animal
in one of the big back-end handicaps. Before we
were off I knew I was on a dead 'un. It was a bit
maddening, and it was natural to feel furious on
returning to the paddock.
The trainer said to me, " She'll run better in a fort-
night," and gave me a look of intelligence.
" Not with me on," I replied. " I'm not going to
He threatened to take me before the stewards but
— not a bit of it.
The same man sent me in a bill for £375 for bets,
a lot of it on the dead 'un I have just referred to, and
pressed me to pay him.
"All right," I wrote ; "I'm going to Weatherby's,
who keep all my accounts, and I'll get them to transfer
£375 for bets over to you, I suppose they'll ask me
what it's for." He had got me altogether for £1400
and he wrote to me, " For God's sake, don't say any-
thing at all about going to Weatherby's." That was
good enough for me, and there was never any reason to
give that claimed money another thought, for he had
put it across me.
Of the modern trainers the American Sam Hildreth,
who was over in France for a time and went back
when Mr Kohler died, has been a trainer of the highest
SOME AMERICAN TRAINERS
merit, and I put him next to Wishard as Wishard was
in 1900. Then too Eugene Leigh and Tom Welch, both
now training in France, and Tom Healy in America,
I rank high. In France Michel Pantall is a really
clever man and has struck me as one conforming more
to the best accepted American methods. Wallace
Davis, who trains for Monsieur Picard, was, I think, as
good a trainer as any I have met.
As I have to write a book I feel it is necessary to give
these personal opinions, but I'd like to say again that
I put them down for what they are worth. They
may be valuable notes for those who read years ahead
some of the Turf history of my time.
One of the greatest trainers was James Rowe. He
was in a class all by himself in the older school, and
he adapted himself readily to the new conditions. He
had been one of America's crack jockeys before
James Rowe after he first retired from training
became a starter and was much respected for his
ability. Subsequently he trained again — for Mr James
R. Keene. It is interesting to recall one of my first
experiences with Mr Rowe. It was about the year
1892 or 1893 when I had come to New York with very
little confidence in my self and hardly any prospects.
There was a big race at Sheepshead Bay, and the
leading trainer at that time, Rogers, told me that I
could have the mount on his mare Lucania. I thought
he was trying to give me a chance and took it as a
great compliment, but I found out later that the truth
was there was no one else available at my weight.
We got down to the post and after one false break-
away I found that my girths were loose and begged
permission to tighten them. " My saddle has slipped,
Mr Rowe, can I fix it ?" I said.
Mr Rowe answered, " I'll fix you, you just get into
line ; don't you come that Western stuff on me."
Of course it was the old flag starting in those days.
Well, he tried to get us away, but there was another
false break. This time I was determined to try and
tighten up, so getting back to the post before the others
I turned Lucania's head the reverse way of the course
and lifting up my right leg got at the flap to tighten it.
Rowe seeing me do this, jumped down off his starting
platform and seized a whip with a long lash and coming
at the back of me let out. It caught me from one leg
across the back to the other making a great weal like
a horseshoe. He was so sore with me I could see and
— I was sore too.
When I got back after finishing second or third —
I am sure I should have won if the saddle had been
all right — I got hold of a lawyer and we laid an
information that evening to the police at Sheepshead
Bay. I showed the police the welt on my body which
looked as if it had been made with a half-inch rope.
Well, we began a lawsuit against Rowe and, despite
all sorts of people coming to me with offers to pay
a thousand or two thousand dollars instead of the
ten thousand I was claiming, I wouldn't hush it up,
for I stuck to my guns that he had no right to
The action was still pending in the courts when,
going into the Casino Theatre in New York one
evening, who should walk in at the same moment but
Jimmy Rowe and his wife. They came across to me,
Rowe saying, " Hullo, Tod," and holding out his hand.
I took it and we all three chatted for a minute, no-
thing about the trouble though. I wouldn't sell that
case but after that I dropped it on my own accord
straight away. Truly I can say that no money would
BREAKING MY DRUM
have squared it. Mr Rowe and I were splendid
friends afterwards and when he trained for Mr Keene
I could always be his first jockey when I was free and
we had many successes together.
Mr Rowe was kindness itself to me, especially when
I had rather a nasty accident and split the drum of
my ear. One day he asked : " Would you like to
ride Elkins ? I hardly like to ask you as he is not a
very pleasant horse ; he can run, but you'll have to
be careful of him : he is up to all sorts of tricks."
" That don't matter," I replied and they threw me
into the saddle. I was no sooner there than Elkins
jerked up his head, almost knocking me out and
altogether knocking me off the saddle. After which
he cleared the ground round him. Rowe wanted to
retire him, but I was round in a minute although in
great pain and I wouldn't hear of the horse not running,
and again they threw me into the saddle. All went
smoothly and I won by seventy or eighty yards. I
was in the hospital for some days after that : it took
a long time to dull the pain and make me sufficiently
fit to have an operation.
I wound up the season of 1898 having ridden in
three months forty-three winners. It was satisfactory
enough, and it was with a nice sum tucked away —
about ten thousand pounds — that I returned soon after
to New York, where the newspapers had a good deal
more to say about what I had done.
I felt rather odd on leaving England for America
once more. Many a time when I smoked a cigar on
the promenade deck in the morning, before the boys
were about, I would look forward to meeting many
of the old lot, whom I understood better and who,
perhaps, knew me better than many of my new English
friends, but I had it in my mind in that end of 1898
and beginning of 1899 that I would sooner have been in
London fighting over certain races which I had won
and lost, than be in New York. I had to answer so
many questions ! Some of them sounding so curious.
People who did not know England a bit, nor the
conditions of English racing, were very odd. The
majority of the queries put to me were as to how this,
that and the other backer had got on, what they had
won and how far they had taken the knock " playing
the races." The more delicate and interesting phases
of the racing game were not inquired into. Certainly
old friends among trainers used to ask me what they
did in England under certain conditions but, I am
afraid that generally I did not tell them exactly what
they wanted to know, for I was determined not to
criticise English methods — then.
Certainly it seemed strange to be back in New York.
I suppose I was getting a bit Europeanised or some-
thing. I know I could not quite take the interest in
some of the matters which I used to think were the
beginning and end of everything.
It was curious to compare New York with London.
I had heard that many Americans, and Australians
too, had come to England and had drawn contrasts
between everything which they had seen in London
and which at first they didn't like and what they were
used to at home. I confess that had been a little of
my own idea when I went back after the 1897 season.
An American may long to return if he has accom-
plished something ; if he has not he is likely to have
only one idea : to go home and bury himself. But
when I returned at the end of 1898 things began to
seem a bit different ; it was the life around town which
bothered me. In some ways it seemed so much
brighter in New York but at times I seemed drawn
RUSHING ON THE ROAD
towards what I had just left. I had more chances of
social life in London ; there seemed a sort of domestic
touch even about a rubber of bridge in a private room
at an hotel. I used to be asked out a good deal ; it
gave quite a change to the daily life. Of course I had
a lot of old friends in New York who would offer me
the same hospitality, but it was what I had just
become accustomed to which I hankered after.
Then again, the theatres didn't seem quite so com-
fortable. Going out to the play in London was more
like going to a party. Everyone looked so well turned
out and I used to enjoy the intervals between the acts
when we could talk over different things, and I had
time to smoke quite a quarter of a cigar in the lobby.
The plays were better, or appealed to me more, in
New York, but the whole surroundings of the theatre
were more attractive in the London I had just left.
On the other hand there were many things in
England that I could have done without, as I discovered
when I got back. Rushing about all over the country
for instance for three days or two days here, and
another day or two there. It seemed to be like being
" on the road " in a one-night-stand company. All
American trainers who have settled in England have
disliked this. It is so different from America where
one races two or three weeks at one place and then
moves on to another. At Saratoga for instance they
raced continuously for nearly three weeks, and in the
good times many horses were trained with the others
of the string which perhaps were not intended to be
run at that meeting at all.
Other Americans' experiences have been very similar
to mine — the longing to rush back " home," a mild
desire to come to Europe again and then a great
regret to leave England or France, and then, eventu-
ally, the feeling that after all Europe was the only
place to live in. One American jockey, Danny Maher,
has even become a naturalised Englishman, and many
other Americans might do the same, but they are
slack and won't take the trouble about the papers.
However, personally I always had the feeling that if
I lived and died in Europe — ^as I suppose I shall —
nothing would make me change my citizenship of the
United States, although I suppose I have just as many
friends and acquaintances British as American, and
throughout my career I have had as many kindnesses
from one nation as from the other.
Belgians and Frenchmen, too, were also very friendly
to me as far as I could judge ; and I think I know
now (although of course at first it was very difficult
for me to form an estimate not knowing a word of the
language, and not attempting the sort of pigeon English
that some do). I suppose I have a certain knowledge
of French to-day. Talking of pigeon English I think
" Boots " Durnell, who I brought over to France and
who is now training for the King of Roumania, was
about the funniest guy I ever saw or heard when he
first attempted to make himself understood in France.
From the very moment he arrived at Boulogne he
began to imitate what he thought French people
spoke ; and after about a week he had got together
certain sentences and a way of gesticulating which
was all his own. It was in an attempt to speak to
Charron first that he came out in his glory.
This is a specimen : " You see, Monsieur, zat ze leg
of ze horse vich is swawlen and vot I do wis him zis
after midi is to take ze ombrohcarshon in mon hands
and zen I rube 'im until he gets veil."
When he got one or two more French words in his
head he would shrug his shoulders every other moment,
hold his hands up, cast his eyes down, shake hands
with his left hand and always pretend that he couldn't
speak English — and certainly he was getting out of it.
One day Baron Leonino came to the stable and
" Boots " started on him. I saw the Baron's face
begin to broaden into a smile when " Boots " said,
" Ze gallop your cheval has done zis matin is ze
fastest by ze watch we 'ave 'ad for quelques jours.
'E 'as eat up and 'e is as fit as a violin." Then Baron
Leonino said, " Now suppose you tell me all this in
English," and I chipped in, " Why the something, some-
thing, don't you tell the gentleman exactly what has
happened ? "
He got some of the stable hands into the way of
talking too, and when the shopkeepers and Frenchmen
who supplied us with things couldn't understand them
*' Boots" said 'they were fools who didn't understand
their own language.
KNIGHT OF THE THISTLE
The " Lincolnshire "—Good Horse's Bad Moments— At Home in England
The winter of 1898-1899 brought about the usual
incidents : visits here and there in America ; meetings
with many old friends and the introduction to new
ones, especially those connected with the prize ring
and the world of sport, some of whom I shall have
occasion to refer to in later chapters. I had always
of course to bear in mind that I was due back to ride
for Lord William in the early spring. In fact I heard
at the end of January that I was required to ride Knight
of the Thistle in the Lincolnshire Handicap. This
horse was trained by Huggins, who had bought him
for an American sportsman named L. O. Appleby.
Two years before, when a four-year-old, he had won
the Royal Hunt Cup carrying 7-5 and had figured
prominently in other races. I knew little or nothing
about him but was told by letter that I had a real good
chance of winning the first important race of the
season. They sent me cuttings from English news-
papers — the handicap, and what certain English
sporting writers thought about the prospects of the
I had heard of Knight of the Thistle, for of course
there was always the usual " horse talk " every
evening and during the day — but, by the way, we would
frequently, my friends and I, break away entirely
from turf topics and switch on to other things, especi-
ally fights, the theatres, and — well, something not
four-legged. I kept receiving letters in the early
part of March reminding me exactly when the Lincoln-
shire Handicap was. Some of them I didn't even
reply to, but I did send cables to Lord William and to
Huggins to say that I was sailing on a certain date.
I had timed it to a nicety, reckoning that I could
arrive at Southampton and that I could get to Lincoln
for the big race. There was no trouble in crossing, but
I imagine they were rather upset when I didn't turn
up on the opening day of the season. I was there in
good time on the Tuesday.
They told me exactly what my 9 to 1 chance was
likely to do. There would be a big field — in fact
twenty ran, a larger muster than there had been for a
few years previously. I hadn't been on Knight of the
Thistle, as I have explained, but I admired the horse
when I saw him and I liked him still better when he
swung down to the post with me. But at the post
I found out what a devil he was at the start. He was
a very actor before he began his business, in fact a
mean sort of horse, and I had any amount of trouble
Lord William had said to me before the race : " Are
you fit ? "
I answered, " Yes."
" Have you been doing any riding ? "
" Yes, in hansom cabs," and I added that I didn't
intend to change my methods for I always did well
when starting off a season.
" W^ell, there you are ; if you think you are all right
I suppose you ar^."
To make a long story short, " The Knight " fiddled
me about at the post, where we were for some time
with the wind blowing colder even than I had experi-
enced it in America. Ultimately he got going with
me and at one time I thought I might have a chance
of winning, but General Peace, a real nice horse who
was receiving 13 lb. — a big difference considering the
class — beat me. Of course I was disappointed, and
although Lord William didn't say so at the time I am
quite certain that he was of the opinion, then and
afterwards too, that had I been over and riding
gallops and become a little more acclimatised, I should
have won it. Charlie Mills, who had done the greater
part of the commission, was of the same opinion, and
didn't hesitate to say so to others, but I state with
perfect confidence that there was nothing lost in
fitness and jockeyship that day. If there had been
it might as well go down here at once. What made
them firmer in their convictions was that after that
day at Lincoln I had caught such a chill right across
my kidneys and back that I hesitated about riding at
Liverpool at the end of the week ; in fact I was knocked
right out. But I went on to Liverpool all the same,
intending to ride but feeling like nothing on earth.
Much against my rule I had to take a glass of brandy
at Lincoln before my dinner and determined to see
what a rest for a day would do. But it was no good
and I had to stay in bed in my apartment and think
all the time what I might have done had I been
riding. It was the weather which had crocked me up
and nothing else, for I had felt quite fit when crossing
the ocean and also entirely myself when getting in the
saddle for that race. Next day I went to Liverpool but
there was nothing else to do but to shiver and sweat
while somebody brought me in the results of the races
and came in the evening and discussed what had
occurred. Of course it made me feel as if I could get
out of bed and take my chance the next day, but it was
GOOD HORSE'S BAD MOMENTS
lucky for me — so the doctor told me — that I did keep
quiet until I was able to go back to London on the
Sunday and creep between the blankets at the Cecil
for another day or two. When I was about and was
riding as usual of course I heard all the talk over
again about what I should have done if I had been
fit — and so on and so on.
It appears that Huggins had bought Knight of the
Thistle for Appleby as a type of an old-fashioned
high-class English race-horse. It was Huggins' own
judgment, and in this instance he was absolutely
correct, for on his day this animal was one of the best
I ever rode. He behaved badly at the post but he
was as game as he could be. On his day of days he
could have beaten anything, classic or otherwise, and
such he proved when I won the Jubilee on him some
weeks later from Greenan and Lord Edward II.,
who had finished behind him in the Lincolnshire. Mr
Arthur Coventry had all sorts of trouble with him
at the post. Even on that day he had certain peculi-
arities, for he was getting a bit " stalliony " — I will
not say savage.
Both he and Santoi, who will be mentioned later,
had their very bad moments and it was always the
most interesting part of my work to try and find out
what was really the matter with them. No one ever
seems to have gauged the exact disposition of a horse,
but I never ceased trying to " know " animals which
had bad characters. They are really blamed some-
times for " cussedness " when it is not altogether their
own fault. It may be stomach trouble, their teeth,
or their feet. From the many thousands of horses I
have ridden, my own personal impression is that there
is no trouble without a cause. I sometimes begin to
think that the real cause may be too much in-breeding,
bringing about an extraordinary temperament, just
as in human beings lunacy can be the result of
marriages in the same family. As a matter of fact
no one will ever make me think differently. I don't
know whether a greater study of the thoroughbred
will ever exactly enable men to know horses and get
such remedies for various troubles as to make a
perfectly tractable animal, but it is to be done ; I
am convinced of it.
After the start for that Jubilee I never had the
slightest doubt about the result and for weeks after, in
fact months after, I can remember discussing the
horse which Huggins had been fortunate enough to
acquire, and which America was lucky enough to have
afterwards as a sire horse. If someone had only got
exactly to know what was the matter with Knight of
the Thistle I am sure that he could have carried any
weights and beaten the very best in training. Many
who read this will remember all about him, and those
who were connected with his early training may have
something more to say than I have. In the Hunt
Cup later (in 1899) he carried 9-2 and I finished third
on him behind the mighty Eager, and a three-year-old,
Refractor, who was only putting up 6-3. By the way
there was a Scottish firm who after the Jubilee started
a new brand of whisky called the Ivnight of the
Thistle Blend and sent me a big quantity of it, some
of which I gave away and the rest — well, I drank it
I am not going into all the races which I rode in
between the Lincolnshire and the Jubilee and then
on to the big events at Epsom and Ascot, but I shall
dip into my memory where something of more im-
portance than usual suggests itself. I was doing as
well as in the two previous autumns ; I had made
Beaten on Caiman by Flying Fox
Nevjniarket First S/>ring Meeting, iSqq
Winning the Jriiii.EE on Knight of the Thistle
Kempt on Park, iSgg
AT HOME IN ENGLAND
plenty of new friends and was learning more of
England ; in fact I was getting thoroughly at home
in the country I knew so well afterwards, and on the
continent in which I was to eventually make my
home. There was of course any number of Americans
over to follow me and others, and I could not blame
them if occasionally they were a little bit too patriotic,
for the luck of the American riders seemed to be in
the ascendant. I had plenty of invitations to ride,
and of course my friends helped me considerably in
getting me mounts. Time and again I would not
know what I was to be up on during the following
week but at the end I always found I had added many
notches to my score, and as the figures got better and
better so was extra confidence given to me and to
those who employed me. As the sun got warmer too,
I began to feel that fitness which the trying wind of
the spring had dried up.
Engaged for Holocaust— Flying Fox delays Start— WTiat Charles Hawtrey
Of course up to this time I had never had a chance
either of riding in the Derby, or of seeing it, for
previously no summer had been spent in England.
The circumstances which led up to my getting the
mount on Holocaust are, briefly, that my friend
Charles Hawtrey and Miss Fanny Ward had been over
in France and had seen Holocaust run in I think the
French Derby. My name had been mentioned by
one or the other or both to M. de Bremond who owned
the grey. He was interested and although it was
stated tliat Watkins, a French jockey, was to ride him,
I was told that I might get the mount, and that M.
de Bremond, who was staying at the Savoy, would see
me if I went there. I only heard this in the evening
when I was sitting down to dinner. Hurrying over
this meal I went from the Cecil next door to the
Savoy and asked for the French owner.
I was shown into the entrance to the restaurant and
M. de Bremond came out to meet me. He looked at
me as I stood before him in tail coat, white waistcoat
and tie and a silk hat and then he glanced over my
head as if looking for someone, saying :
" Where is Sloan ? Bring him in here ! "
" / am Sloan," I said.
" Oh, are you ? I hear you'd like to ride my horse
ENGAGED FOR HOLOCAUST
The only reply I could think of was : " Yes, I'll
ride him all right, if you like."
He thought for a moment.
" Well you can, that's arranged, eh ? You've
never seen him ; that doesn't matter, for I hear there
are many winners you have ridden which you have
never seen. He's a nice sort of horse ; whether he
can win or not I don't know. There's Flying Fox of
course, and that's enough without mentioning the
others in the race."
I listened attentively and when he mentioned Flying
Fox I was quite of his opinion that the big colt was
enough to think of without worrying about the rest
of them. M. de Bremond stopped a little while
talking to me, both of us standing up, and added :
" Well I'll see you at Epsom to-morrow."
The news got about through one and the other
that night but there was not much business done
since everyone was Flying Fox mad. In fact there
were thousands of pounds laid on him that evening
at 2 to 1 and 9 to 4 on — he started at 5 to 2 on. In a
previous chapter I have mentioned what a great horse
the favourite was and even though I had confidence
that my recently found mount would do well from
what I had heard of him, still I couldn't pretend that
I had any serious idea on that previous evening that
I could win. All the same it was nice to have a ride
with any kind of chance in a race I had heard and
read so much about. In America even those who do
not follow English racing results will always read
anything about the Derby, the greatest race in the
world. I know that 7 did, and I often found others
doing so. American owners and breeders too always
had the ambition to have an entry in the English
Derby, and the prospects would be discussed a long
time in advance. Some of the American papers would
come out with big stories about the history of the race,
and all that sort of stuff. I used to devour them
when in a racing stable in early days with just as much
keenness as I would read about Sullivan, Jackson and
all the big fellows in the prize-ring. Therefore, when
I met my friends that night it was with some pride
that I stated I was to ride the grey Frenchman in the
I went to bed with the same sort of feeling, not a
bit excited yet feeling that I had something to do the
next day. Perhaps one more personal note might
be made here. If I had been engaged weeks before
to ride the favourite I might have felt exactly the
same. For those who don't know, it may be said
that one mount is very like another to a jockey. Of
course I have known some men get very nervous when
a big thing is at stake, but after all a ride is a ride and
the excitement can be just as great in a selling race
as in what is called a classic race in England. At all
events that is the way I look at it. I am reminded
by my Editor that the late Anglo-French jockey
Tommy Lane who rode against me on Perth III.
when I won the Ascot Gold Cup on Merman was of
the worrying kind, and I have known others among
Englishmen who felt pretty well the same. I suppose,
however, that we Americans somehow or other are
colder - blooded propositions. At all events I have
never known Lester or Johnny Reiff or Danny Maher
not being able to sleep or take their food through
having a big thing to think of the next day — unless
they had to waste, of course.
But to get to the story of the Derby. I had never
seen Holocaust, as I have explained, and I caught the
first glimpse of him when arriving in the paddock with
FLYING FOX DELAYS START
the other boys. I was very pleased with the look of
him and I told M. de Bremond so. But he didn't
want to know much about that. He had backed the
horse and he said to me, what I already knew, that " I
had to beat Flying Fox."
He laughed a little and I smiled back at him, saying
something to the effect that one never knew the luck
Well, we went down to the post and it was here that
I began to think a great deal more of my chance, for
Holocaust stood as quiet as a sheep during those five
false starts which I have already spoken of, wherein
Flying Fox went a quarter of a mile to three furlongs
after every breakaway. Yes, I was just tickled to
death with the grey ; he was beautifully behaved —
as quiet and good-natured a horse as I had ever been on.
At last at the sixth attempt we were off. We went
up the hill to the top and raced down to Tattenham
corner. I was a neck in front of Flying Fox and to
my delight saw that Momy had got his whip out
on the favourite. Before that I hadn't really the
remotest idea of actually beating him, and anyhow
I should have had no pretensions to do so if it hadn't
been for those false starts. I got Morny on the rails
and I was going as easily as possible whereas Flying
Fox got the stick again.
We crossed the Tan road and had only about a
furlong and a half to go, with Flying Fox well beaten
by this time and Holocaust not having been called
on for any effort at all. Suddenly something
happened — I thought I had been cut into. There was
a shock, and it was as much as I could do to keep in
my saddle. The poor beggar rolled from side to side
but he didn't come down as many have asserted that
he did. Of course he eased up very soon to a walk.
He was a horrible sight with his leg broken off short ;
in fact the stump was sticking in the ground. How
he had gone on for even that extra hundred and twenty
yards I don't know. But a horse with his blood up
will stick to it without apparently feeling anything.
When I got off his back he began munching the
I was terribly upset at the sight of the poor beast,
and it is beyond question — ^and future generations
should believe me when I say this — that I was never
more certain then or now that I had another horse
positively beaten than I was that day about Flying
Fox. There wouldn't have been a close finish even ;
for, as I have said, I was going so easily, and there
was any amount left in M. de Bremond's horse.
What followed is well known, the poor grey was
destroyed in a quiet field soon after.
M. de Bremond took it all in a very sporting spirit
and agreed with others that it was the most extra-
ordinary accident imaginable. It was natural for
Morny to think that he could have won, for Flying
Fox was such a wonderful horse and would struggle
on to the end. But there are limits even to what a
great horse can do, especially when he had gone well
over a mile before the start had taken place and
that quite apart from getting back to the post each
time. Morny and I talked it over many times after-
Perhaps it would have been a shame if the better
horse, Flying Fox, had been beaten, but still that is
all in the luck of the game. Certainly it was a disaster
that M. de Bremond should lose an animal who would
have been worth twenty thousand pounds if he had
not broken his leg.
Mr John Porter told his friends that he had never
WHAT CHARLES HAWTREY MISSED
any doubt about the eventual result except once.
He had trained the horse and knew him by heart.
There wasn't a great amount of money lost by the
American division nor a vast amount by the French,
but the price, with Flying Fox starting at 5 to 2 on,
would have given a splendid return if only Holocaust
had won. There never was a Derby I heard more
discussed, and the arguments as to what would have
happened had not the accident occurred never seemed
to end. I was often referred to, but with the exception
of telling M. de Bremond and one or two intimate
friends, I never thought it worth going over hour after
hour and day after day. It might have appeared, if
I had given the opinion emphatically in print as I
am doing now, that I was conceited enough to think
that I could win on " anything " — and I was anxious
not to have too many unpleasant little things attributed
to me ! But — just once more — it was 10 to 1 my
beating Flying Fox after the incidents at the post.
This is repetition I know. But I will add yet again
in a different phrase that it was 20 ^o 1 against my
beating him if we had got away at the first attempt.
I want to emphasise everything I have said in
praise about the great son of Orme in a previous
I dare say that Charles Hawtrey may sometimes
wake up in the middle of the night and think of what
he would have won over Holocaust, and he has a
right to. His judgment was so right in thinking he
had put me on to a good thing. M. de Bremond was
not sorry that he had put me up although it was a
disastrous start in his colours.
I had at one time one or two good pictures of the
principal horses in that Derby parading round the
paddock before the race, but I put them away some
years ago and have never looked at them since. It is
the ambition of every jockey to win a Derby, and that
I had the chance of doing so at the first attempt is
almost too much to chew over. However — who
knows ? I am not dead yet !
FLYING FOX AND CAIMAN
The Tragedy of Sibola — Beaten by "Temper"
Flying Fox showed in the Two Tliousand Guineas
what a horse Caiman was. Of course I knew a long
time before that Lord Wilham and Huggins had hopes
of Caiman proving a top-sawyer, but I've said ah-eady
that I never held any view about him except that he
was a good class selling plater. Still, he was backed
by the American division and in the race I did do all I
could to get a surprise run away from the big horse.
In the event Morny won as he liked. He wasn't going
to be slipped as he was in the Middle Park Plate the
Caiman and Flying Fox were to meet again in the
St Leger. We ran two. Disguise II. being the other.
Lord William had never lost confidence in Cairnan,
and I got " Skeets " Martin to take the mount on the
second string. He demurred a bit at first at the idea
of riding the one who was to do the donkey work, but
in the end it was arranged. Then I went to Lord
William and asked him to give me permission to ride
any way I chose and to let me tell Martin what he was
to do. Huggins was averse from leaving it all to me,
but eventually Lord William talked him over. To
hear Huggins speak about Caiman anyone would
have thought that he had already beaten Flying Fox.
Of course / knew that it would be by the biggest bit of
luck if he did. The Duke of Westminster's colt had
improved enormously. He had broadened and was
stronger — looking beyond the usual development when
I saw him in the Two Thousand, and I knew he had
gone on in the right way up to Doncaster.
There was only one thing for it, to try and devise
some plan that should do in the favourite — of course
I mean something that came within the rules of racing.
I arranged with Martin to stay with me the night be-
fore the race so that I might tell him what I thought.
My plan, to which he listened very carefully, was for
Disguise to lay alongside of Flying Fox to the turn for
home. Martin was to " cluck " to his horse very
frequently, not to shake him up but just to keep him
going by making a noise with the tongue against the
roof of the mouth as loud as he could. " Keep him
head and head, Skeets," I said, "and after the turn if
I holler out to you ' Go on,' then pull out to the right
and let me through on Caiman ; but if I shout to you
' Pull out,' you'll know I'm beaten and you must do
what you can."
We had a very good start and Martin on Disguise II.
did exactly what had been arranged. You could
have heard his " clucking " yards away. Every time
he let out the sound Flying Fox would jump yards,
pulling Morny's arms out of their sockets. I can tell
you he was furious during the race and he didn't forget
to tell Martin so after it was all over. Well, we got
near the turn and rounded it with Caiman going
easily. As arranged I shouted, "Go on, Skeets I "
But Martin was an actor who had forgotten his cue.
Instead of pulling out he kept on, and I was on his heels
instead of getting the opening to keep Cannon on the
rails. Of course any chance of pulling off the un-
expected was at an end. I had to go on the outside
and although I just headed the big horse two hundred
In King Edward's Colours
THE TRAGEDY OF SIBOLA
yards from home he then went away from me as easily
There was just a possibility that if Martin had done
as we had arranged I might have stolen the race, for
with one sharp run from the turn through a clear space
I might have got a lead of Morny which he couldn't
have made up in the time. Still, as I have said, far
and away the best horse won the race and neither
Lord William nor Huggins disapproved of my tactics.
They didn't come off, that's all, but Morny I fancy
will never forget the way the winner fought him every
time Skeets " clucked." I laughed then and I can
laugh now at the way he pitched into Martin. In that
last burst of speed of Flying Fox's it wasn't so much
that Morny called to him, but that directly he saw
Caiman the horse knew all about it and raced away from
him altogether on his own. I believe that if we hadn't
run two strings in that race Caiman wouldn't have been
in the first three even, and that is emphatic enough.
I rousted Skeets but he answered, " You called ' Go on ! '
and I went on " — and what was the good of arguing !
In the Spring I had ridden Sibola home a winner in
the One Thousand ; she was not a high-class mare but
a nicish sort. I was riding with such confidence that I
believe that there must have been a certain amount of
it transferred to the mounts I had. Tlie successes I
had were certainly remarkable. Musa ran third in the
One Tliousand and was destined to just beat me in
the Oaks, but I shall always put it down to my own
fault and temper that I lost that race at Epsom. I
ought to have won it with a good margin in hand. As
it was, many think that Sibola did win — but the judge
didn't. She was a 7 to 4 on favourite and when I
went down to the paddock before the race Lord
Charles Beresford was standing with Lord William.
He said to me :
" I never bet but I've come down here to see Sibola
win and to put five pounds on her." Then he looked
me straight in the eye.
I'll win all right, my lord," I replied.
Mind you do," he snapped, and gave me another
Lord William was rather amused when I added :
" And you can have a bit more on too if you like."
We got to the post and there were three or four
false breaks. I must admit that I was trying to beat
the starter and he didn't half give it to me for what I
was doing. At last he let them go with me not ready
and left standing. I was mad with rage and in my
furious temper I did what I had always told young
boys never to attempt. It was the worst race I ever
rode in my life and never shall I forgive myself for
allowing my vexation to overcome my better judgment.
/ made up all the lost ground going up the hill, and when
I got to the top Sibola was a tired mare. I ought to
have allowed a mile to recover the distance I had lost
at the post ; then we couldn't have lost. Certainly I
got a steadier at her a little time afterwards, and
Madden on Musa and I rode a desperate finish.
After we passed the post and got down to the
paddock to turn back to scale Madden said to me,
" I think you won it, Tod," and I was sure I had. We
were both surprised when Musa's number was seen
in the frame. There seemed a fate against me that
day — at least the mood I was in made me think so.
First the starter and then the judge. However, one
mustn't think too much of the ideas formed at a time
like that. Anyhow I am telling this story all against
myself, making no excuses at all.
Lord Charles altered towards me after that. It
BEATEN BY TEIVIPER
wasn't the loss of the five pounds, but what I suppose
annoyed him was that I had been so cocky about my
certainty of winning. I saw him several times after-
wards but he never relaxed. Even once in Chicago
when I called on him when he was passing through he
was as cold as can be. I deserved it I suppose, and
I wonder Lord William took it so well. The whole
cause of my losing that race is summarised in one word,
Morny Cannon was having a rare good time that
year, for besides winning three classic races he had taken
the Great Yorkshire Handicap on Calveley, the City
and Suburban with Newhaven II., and a lot more.
His score for that season was a hundred and twenty
wins. For a long time we got on very well together.
But the new style of riding passed him by for he could
never be induced to adopt the forward seat. He need
not have ridden very short to have accomplished this.
I would repeat that it was quite a false idea that I rode
very short : that was left to those who followed me.
Fred Rickaby, a first-class rider, used to come out
and take pointers from me ; what I mean to say is he
was not above doing so, just as I would have done had
it been to my advantage. Sam Loates was quick to
take anything too and Madden was a hustling rider
who I always had to look out for. In fact Madden
took as much shaking off as any of those I rode against
in 1899. He topped the list with a hundred and thirty
JOCKEYS AND JOCKEYSHIP
Johnny Reiff 's Start — Sam and Tom Loates — Thrifty Jockeys
I HAVE often been asked who in my opinion were the
best jockeys I ever saw and I have no hesitation what-
ever in saying that of the old school Harry Griffin, the
American jockey (I have explained I took a tip from
him when inventing my own style), was never ap-
proached. He was the division between the old order
of things and the new. It isn't that I was more easily
impressed then, but going back years I am confident
that he was far and away the greatest.
The next to Griffin and of the present school was
Lester Reiff, and his was really an extraordinary
career. In California he was actually put aside for
incompetency, and with many others I could only
agree with the action of the Stewards for he couldn't
do anything right. He was a good stableman, and
Wishard believed in him so much that he brought him
over to England with his younger brother, Johnny.
Lester was quite a failure on English courses to begin
with, but then suddenly he began to develop an
entirely new style, and when he adopted this the
difference was astounding. He was the best rider of
his time I ever rode against ; in fact he was simply
wonderful, as his record in England shoAvs so unmis-
takably. He had no trouble in topping the list in
1900, and deserved every bit of his success. He made
fewer mistakes than any of us, and was alert, would
From S/>y's caricntiii-e in '" Vanity Fair," IQOO
JOHNNY REIFF'S START
take chances, and for his years was a rare good judge
of form. It was a great pity when he quitted race
Johnny Reiff was quite a little kid when he came
over with his brother. He couldn't have weighed more
than 4 st. 6 lbs., being then about thirteen years old.
He was such an infant that some of the jockeys used
to complain about his being allowed to ride ; they were
afraid of hurting him. Nevertheless he kept on, and
with the mounts he got rode twenty-seven winners in
1899, and a hundred and twenty-four in 1900 — making
him third to Lester Reiff and Sam Loates.
Soon after he arrived in England I went out to see
him at Wishard's place near Newmarket and found
him in his knickerbockers by the porch of the house
playing with some kittens. He seemed such a baby,
and I watched him before I took one or two of them
from him, for I share with him the immense love for
cats. Johnny liked to hear me talk and used to ask
me different things, which I told him freely, but the kid
had already any number of ideas of his own, was a born
rider and had developed it with his own intelligence.
\A^iat I mean to say by " born " is not going against
what I have said previously about heredity, but
Johnny had the instinct for jockeyship, and from
every gallop and race he rode in he seemed to learn
something. Wishard was very proud of him. He
was proud of Lester too, especially when the latter
began to show what he could do. Of course Johnny
moulded himself a little on what his brother had
changed to. Yes indeed, Lester was without an equal
during those two or three years.
It was in 1899 that I cabled over to J. H. Martin to
come to England. I told " Skeets " I thought he would
do very well as he had ridden for me over there, and he
wasn't very happy through various causes in America
at the time. He arrived, but didn't seem to shake
down in his new surroundings very quickly. He got
mounts, however, and when I was reported by Mr
Arthur Coventry for alleged disobedience at Sandown
Park, and the local stewards sent the case to the
Stewards of the Jockey Club, Martin got another chance,
for v/ith two small boys I was put on foot for three
weeks. He rode a nice few winners ; my suspension
was his blessing. Martin was about a year older than
me, and had plenty of experience. He is a fine curler,
and keeping himself fit in the winter in that way has
enabled him to keep going up to the present day. He
was light too. By the way that was the real cause of
some of Johnny Reiff 's successes too, for they were able
to use dead weight and to put in the proper place. I
know that it is going against old accepted ideas to say
that dead weight is better than live, but it is beyond
question that it is, for it remains stationary and doesn't
wobble about like poor jockeys who resemble jelly-
fish and seem to be trying to do a danse de ventre all the
time on a horse's back.
One of the best American jockeys who ever came
to Europe was Lucien Lyne, who never had a proper
chance in England or he would have got right there.
Lucien went to Belgium and has been very successful,
for he is a first-class rider, but I suppose the public
has to see results to appreciate a man.
One of the most powerful finishers I have seen was
Willie Pratt, now trainer at Chantilly. More than one
Grand Prix has been won by his strength in the last
furlong. I have heard him likened in style to Fred
Archer, but can only take this as the opinion of others.
I know that with several friends of mine I packed up
a big parcel after I had quit riding when Pratt had
SAM AND TOM LOATES
won the Grand Prix on Kizil Kourgan. lie won four
If I were asked who was the best all-round rider of
the past dozen years I should undoubtedly answer
George Stern. He is a hustler, and he never minds
what sort of course it is — great or small, right-handed
or left-handed, whether it is round or straight : all
come the same to him. He is so fearless too and takes
chances, and he seldom if ever loses his head. One
knows that he can get out of tight places, and it would
take any of the others all their time to outgeneral him,
for he has forgotten more than many of them will ever
know. His great rivals now in this year of 1915 are
Frank O'Neill and Johnny Reiff and sometimes I should
be inclined to put them all three on the same mark
with regard to ability.
The ex-amateur Randall I always thought was a
good rider. I watched him very carefully on occa-
sions. William Halsey too, who was not slow in
adopting the forward seat, was a man of great ability,
and a great horseman through his experience on
It was an asset to me not having to " waste " like
many of them. Lester Reiff had to keep himself in
condition and had a good deal of trouble to ride
reasonable weights ; that was where Johnny Reiff got
a good many chances.
I used to be called to task for not appreciating in the
way the public did the ability of the late Tom Loates,
but I could never see him in the same street as his
There was frequently a little bit of bother owing to
my rivalry with Tom Loates. I remember once at
Epsom one of his chief employers came to me to the
jockeys' room and barred my way into it while he said :
" You interfered with my horse," referring to an
animal Tom had been riding and which had much dis-
appointed the stable.
" I never even saw your horse Mr " I replied.
His answer was :
" I'll report you to the stewards for interference."
The only thing I could retort was that he had no
right to stop me. I knew the rules of racing, and his
jockey had never laid any complaint against me.
Nothing more came of it. My opponent had always
been reckoned as the "great" Tommy Loates, and
judged by the number of his successes I suppose he
was great. It was when he began to lose more than
usual that the little troubles used to arise and it was
I who was blamed.
It must not be thought that I am prejudiced in saying
what I have for I had no friends to speak of among
jockeys, and I don't remember ever having dinner or
luncheon — I mean " parties " of course — with any
other jockeys in my own or any other country.
" Pittsburg Phil " had a good many things to say
about riders. Some of the brightest have been
handed down. Here are a few :
A good jockey, a good horse, a good bet. A
poor jockey, a good horse, a moderate bet. A
good horse, a moderate jockey, a moderate bet.
Special knowledge is not a talent ; a man
must acquire it.
The majority of the riders and horses are
game and will fight for victory no matter where
they are placed.
Some jockeys excel on heavy tracks ; a good
mud rider will frequently bring a bad horse home.
A jockey should not be overloaded with in-
structions. Honest horses ridden by honest
boys are sometimes beaten by honest trainers.
Instructions are given to the riders which mean
sure defeat, intended for the best though they
" Pittsburg Phil " must have had Lester Reiff and
one or two others I have named in his mind when he
said that " jockeys make a great difference in the
running of horses. An intelligent jockey has a great
value, for he profits by the mistakes of others." He
used to add that " seventy-five per cent, of the in-
consistency in horse racing, which is generally put
down to criminality, is nothing more or less than lack
of intelligence on the part of the jockey."
Just a little more about jockeys riding in my time.
There are rich men to-day and there are men of very
moderate means for all their hard work and savings.
I should say that George Stern is the richest pro-
fessional I ever rode against, and all the time he has
lived well so there is all the more credit for making the
fortune. It was easy for some of them to get money
together when they had plenty of riding. You can
believe the story of a well-off jockey who retired from
the saddle some years ago and recently died. He used
to set out from Newmarket with £3 and always make
up his mind that he would come back with at least £7
after having paid his expenses and not drawing any-
thing for his rides.
In 1899 I was building up a fine fortune myself, for
I had £37,000 in one bank, besides some good invest-
ments in New York and California. I should say that
for the length of his career Frank Wootton made as
much or more than anyone. He retired earlier than
Dillon did, and for a young boy the latter certainly did
well in savings during the years he was riding success-
fully. Madden, Halsey and Sam Loates were a trio
who never had to worry about what they were going
to do when they quitted the saddle ; however, perhaps
the financial status of jockeys need not be further
referred to. Expenses are great, and as for myself
I would repeat that I never charged anything for
travelling nor for riding gallops. I scarcely ever rode
our own at work ; in fact I can say I was nine times out
of ten engaged in outside gallops for which I was never
paid and never expected to be.
THE BIG PLUNGER
loo-Dollar Bills for the "Girls" — Riley Grannan's End— Romano
In the Autumn of 1909 I was again to ride the winner
of the Middle Park Plate, being up on Democrat, who
beat Diamond Jubilee and Goblet, these placings being
repeated in the Dewhurst Plate two weeks later.
Diamond Jubilee hadn't shown much at the time but
turned out altogether better than Democrat, who was
really not a good horse, although of better class than
Caiman. In the Middle Park they took evens about
the winner, with Diamond Jubilee at 100 to 7, and in
the Dewhurst they laid 5 to 2 on mine with 4 to 1 about
The stable always thought a great deal more of
Democrat than they were justified in doing. Another
in the stable, Blacksmith, was in my opinion a much
better horse and I won five races off the reel on him.
He was a very hard puller and ran away with me the
first time I was on him and he would give trouble all
Betting on my mounts in 1899 was Charles Riley
Grannan, one of the heaviest plungers when he had the
money or credit that racing in modern years has seen.
He might not in his day have bet so much in one sum
as John W. Gates, but he would have wagered and
gambled much more than Gates if he had possessed
them. He had a very big win on Democrat when I won
the Middle Park. On another occasion Riley Grannan
just missed taking more money out of the Ring in one
afternoon than any plunger for years before or after-
wards. I can recall having ridden the first two winners
and then I had the mount on Democrat against
O'Donovan Rossa. Grannan had wagered £16,000,
having won a very big packet over the first two events.
I shall always be certain that I beat O'Donovan
Rossa by half a length. There could be no mistake for
the two of us were locked together and not wide apart.
There was consternation on the part of many when my
number didn't go up. Grannan was mad and some of
the " boys " tried to console him by having bottles of
wine, which he didn't take much of usually. He
simply went crazy with annoyance about it, and,
being in that state, came into the Ring and put
£20,000 at evens on Desmond, who hadn't been out
that year. I know that the first bet was £13,000 from
Desmond was never seen in the race !
If Riley had drawn over Democrat it is certain that
he would have netted £70,000 that afternoon. But it
was said that he would never have got away with the
ready money part of it ; too many of the " boys "
were after him. They shadowed him and were all
ready to take him to town that night.
At other times Grannan was a perfect lunatic bettor.
Sometimes it came off. He was a tall thin cadaverous-
looking man with nervous actions, although he was one
of the quickest gamblers imaginable, either at poker,
bridge, or faro. Originally he was a bell boy, or page,
at an hotel in Lexington, but started playing the races
and got on until he ran into money. I do not suppose
that at any time he was worth more than £60,000 or
£70,000, and even so he was quite liable to be broke
a few days afterwards. I remember he lost 50,000
100-DOLLAR BILLS FOR THE GIRLS
dollars one week and had nothing left. That was in
New York. He was staying with me at my hotel on
one occasion two or three weeks after that loss and
came to me one morning when there were races at
Belmont Park. I was going to drive my wife with a
friend of hers out in a car, and Grannan said he would
come too. He asked me if I had any money and I
told him not a nickel. He showed me 10 dollars he
had to begin betting with, and I knew that was about
the strength of his bank roll. At all events I got a box
at Belmont Park and he went down and began. He
backed the first winner and then the second and the
third. He had run into money by this time and had
6000 dollars on the fourth race which went down. At
all events before the end of the day he had well over
5000 dollars left and brought the girls a clean 100-
dollar note each and we were all right.
At another time I knew he had put 6000 dollars, all
he had, on a horse for an event in the future, and he
came to a mutual friend of ours and asked him for a
loan of 500 dollars.
" Are you broke already ? " said the man, " why I
know you have thousands on the next race ; can't you
wait for that ? "
" No, I can't : I want to put some more on ; he can't
lose, I tell you, and you must give it to me. I wish I
had fifty thousand to put on him."
He would never hesitate for a second when he had
made up his mind, and when he had a real fancy would
empty himself of ready money and get all the credit
he could cajole.
In 1900 Grannan came over for half the year to
England but I didn't see so much of him. He had
begun to bet on Lester Reiff and was going very strong,
as were two other Charlies — Charles Quinn and Charles
Dwyer. It was a case of up and down, one day a small
fortune with Grannan and the next hardly knowing
how he was to go to a meeting. Sometimes it was a
bit of a scrape up to settle, for by this time he had
worked himself into a lot of credit and the Ring would
stand him big for sums until of course one Monday
arrived with too big a balance against him. Still he
never lost hope nor neglected to keep in touch with
One night he said to me, " If I'd been racing to-day
I should have won a fortune but I've given it a rest."
I was putting him up at the time at the Lexington
in New York. " There's a game of bridge to-night,
Tod," he went on, "and you know that I am a good
player ; lend me fifty dollars and I'll make something."
He told me where the game was to be and it cleared
me out to lend him the fifty.
I didn't see him till the next evening ; I thought he
might have had an all-night sitting and I wasn't racing
myself the next day. Just before dinner I came across
him looking down his nose over a cocktail and asked
him how he got on at the bridge game, for I was look-
ing for the fifty back and a little interest if he had had
" I didn't play no bridge," he said. " I put the fifty
on a horse to-day and it went down."
He was like some old horses and was getting cunning,
so eventually I helped him to get out to California,
where he said he would be all right. He evidently got
some money somewhere for he wrote to me cheerfully.
I heard one good story of him out there. He was
up in a friend's apartment very tired and was taking a
rest on the sofa sleeping peacefully while a dollar game
of poker was going on. Hour after hour passed and
still Riley never stirred. The boys had got a bit more
RILEY GR ANNAN'S END
lively in the game and at last one of them called out
" I'll raise you ten dollars." This had an electric effect
on Riley, who hopped up, took a chair and said, " Give
me a stack of those chips. I'm in this business." In
half-an-hour he had skinned the lot of them, and was
owed quite a decent sum.
It was soon after this that he went down to Reno
and beat the bank out of more than they could pay
him. There was only one thing to do for the quick-
witted Riley, to tell them that he'd have a share in the
establishment and he became partners in the house.
A few weeks after, however, he died, a comparatively
young man— I don't think he was more than forty.
At his funeral in February 1909 there was a great
oration delivered by one of those connected with the
faro bank they ran. Tlie speaker at the graveside
at that mining camp had been a minister at some
remote time and I have heard that it was one of the
finest send-offs a dead man ever had. I saw a copy
of it once, but unhappily cannot reproduce it. Tliere
was a quaintness about the whole proceedings which
was quite pathetic. It was like one of Bret Harte's
Yes, he was great value, Charles Riley Grannan, a
man who seldom smiled although he possessed a dry
humour that was real wit.
Betting at the same time on English tracks was
Charlie Dwyer, who was then about twenty-five years
old, a great plunger just like Grannan — that is, when
he had it. He was the son of Mike Dwyer of the
celebrated Dwyer Brothers who have already been
mentioned as successful race-horse owners, and whose
horses were first hit upon by Pittsburg Phil as worth
following. The partnership between Mike and Phil
Dwyer lasted years. They were originally butchers
in Brooklyn, but got into the racing business and
eventually gave that up for something more profitable.
Mike was the plunger of the two and was known as
" Plunger " Dwyer as distinct from his brother who
was dubbed " Piker " Dwyer. Mike would readily
have 25,000 dollars on a horse while at the same time
perhaps Phil was putting 5 dollars on. However, in
the end Mike left nothing, while Phil is worth away up
into the millions to-day. I rode a great deal for them.
^^^len the partnership was dissolved they tossed who
should have the right of the original colours, red jacket
and blue cap; Phil won, and he had the honour of
keeping on the jacket and cap in which such great
animals as Hanover, Miss Woodford and some of
the greatest horses we had in America have raced.
Mike adopted all white and was very successful for
many years. It was he who induced Phil to come into
the racing business when he was about twenty-five
years old. This led to the amassing of an enormous
fortune, which, however, was not kept by Mike. He
was a splendid loser for I can remember when he was
in his declining years and declining luck I was riding
a mare named Lady Inez. I was in great form, and
apparently the mare was too, for they laid 3 to 1 on her.
Mike Dwyer had laid 25,000 dollars on her, but soon
after the start she broke a blood vessel and of course I
had to pull up. I was covered with blood on return-
ing, and caught sight of Mike Dwyer sitting quietly as
if nothing had happened. In fact one couldn't say
from his face whether he had had a bet or not. I
went up to him and said, " It's too bad." He replied
quietly, " It can't be helped, we must hope for better
luck next time."
That was the spirit he lived and died in. Phil's son
died years ago. He was an only child. I believe Mike
had brought Charhe up with a college education, but
he was very wild and up to all sorts of pranks and he
had some escapade with a race-horse of his own in the
college grounds. Eventually he took to racing with
the capital of about a dollar and ran into money, own-
ing some good horses in his time, one, Africander,
being quite first class and winning plenty of races.
When in England he was always very level-headed, and
would gamble on favourites, whereas Grannan always
liked horses with a price against them. Charlie had
wonderful nerve and ability for his age.
Another who was betting pretty freely was Charlie
Quin. He had a handsome and most gentlemanly
appearance, being all the time most popular, but he was
somewhat reserved and he kept his own counsel. All
three of them lived at the Savoy or the Cecil, and there
were great gatherings on occasions, but one would
seldom follow the lead of another in racing, adopting
his own views before anything. Of course I saw
something of them but not a great deal. We all
kept not exactly aloof but distinct, for they were not
following me in particular but working out their own
Recalling those times at the Cecil I made a little
error in saying that I was never entertained — at
" parties " I mean. I remember that the late Mr
Romano showed hospitality to me by keeping his
lights up long after the time they should by regulation
have been turned out, and, with a party of friends who
are all living and whose names are well known in
certain circles, had a little game of Nap for my amuse-
ment. I said I had never played it, but Romano said
that was ridiculous and that anyone with my intelli-
gence and with the card mind could pick it up in five
minutes if he watched it. Well, I did watch it and
dropped £350 ready money in half-an-hour. It was
so silly of Mr Romano's friends to rush the game so
quickly, for had there been some encouragement I
suppose that I would just as easily have dropped in the
long run (I mean at many sittings) £3500. I didn't
tumble to it a bit at the moment, but when I got up
from the table and they wanted to give me my revenge
at some other game the graft was as clear as daylight.
Some of the gentlemen who worked the West End and
Continental cities, and who are alive and well, may like
to know that they missed that day the smallest in size
but yet perhaps one of the biggest mugs about at that
time. I only stopped short at thinking I quite knew
From Spy's caricature in " I'afiity Fair," igoo
A VISIT TO AMERICA
A Missed Bargain — No Record of Bets — Handicapping Americans
When I was suspended for three weeks after the
Echpse Meeting at Sandown Park in July I had of
course nothing to do, so I took a run over to America,
spending part of my time there in New York and four
days at Saratoga. I was asked to ride but I refused,
as I considered that as I was suspended in England
there might be some objection.
Of course I was asked any amount of questions as
to how the suspension came about, and the papers had
something to say as well, the principal statement being
that I must have been at my old tricks — trying to beat
the starter. As a matter of fact Mr Coventry had
told Lord Marcus Beresford that he was not altogether
pleased at the sentence.
At Saratoga I gambled each day and won over
10,000 dollars, so it was a profitable trip. By the way,
the suspension I have just alluded to was the only one
I suffered in England, except when I was put down for
the remainder of the meeting (one day) at Doncaster
after I had beaten Eager on Lucknow.
Returning to England I was certain that the rest
had done me no end of good, and I began riding about
the first of September. That Autumn I had my first
opportunity of riding on a French race-course. Baron
Schickler sent over for me to ride a horse in a Plate
for him, and I won it. The jockeys riding in France
then, with the exception of one or two, were a joke —
as many Anglo-French trainers can vouch. On the
grey I just beat Dodd a head : he said he was kidding
me and could have won if he had liked. The truth was
that he really didn't think anything of me, as he has
told me since. At all events my horse had his head in
front at the end of the race, I had £200 for my ex-
penses in going over, and I always received this sum
when engaged on subsequent occasions. The £200 fee
could have been maintained at that, but a certain
American jockey with a successful record quite un-
necessarily cut it down to £50. I didn't want
to go anyway, even for £200 ; crossing the Channel
and so on and missing the Sunday rest took the
gilt off the gingerbread. Tilings are a great deal
more stringent in France now than they were sixteen
years ago, for I was never asked to show my licence
and I might, apart from my colour, have been Jack
Johnson instead of Tod Sloan.
It was in Paris that I first formed the idea of the
negligent way horses were kept, about which I have
written in a previous chapter, but I liked the trip and
looked forward to others afterwards. The American
invasion had not begun in France but was getting in
full blast in England, and a good deal was being said
of the number of races won by certain jockeys and
trainers, and all sorts of statements made. The
number of bettors who came over was one of the worst
things for the riders, and it was natural that the in-and-
out career of some of the gamblers should rather
scandalise old-fashioned people in England. It was
not that the Americans knew any more how to wager
and make a good bargain with the bookmakers than
Englishmen did, but there were so many suggestions
that they stood in with the jockeys that things became
A MISSED BARGAIN
most uncomfortable all round, and the Jockey Club may
have become uneasy through the many innuendoes put
about. Some of the backers failing to settle too made
things worse than ever, and there were wholesale
charges of doping.
Wlien in America on the visit just mentioned I again
asked " Pittsburg Phil " whether he intended to take
a holiday in Europe for a time, and sometimes he
thought he would, and then he changed his mind ; but
the more he thought of it he said the more he preferred
to stay where he was. By the way, I have just read
some statements attributed to " Phil " about part of
his career which I should like to give a different version
of, especially for those sporting men in America who
One of these refer to a horse named Previous who
belonged to Mike Dwyer. It is stated that he was a
very sulky horse who would not get away at the post
for many jockeys, in fact not extend himself at all.
He was never a sulker but he liked certain conditions
of going better than others. Wlien I beat Hamburg
on him it was another case of Caiman and Flying Fox.
I kidded Taral who rode Hamburg and just headed
It was curious that when Previous was a two-year-
old Mike Dwyer said to me that he was going to sell
him and had received an offer of 900 dollars and he
should let him go. " Don't do that," I said. " If
you want to part with him I'll give you 900 dollars, but
keep him and you'll win races." But it took a lot of
persuasion to bring it about. I spoke to Charlie
Dwyer and begged him to induce his father not to part
with the animal. It was then arranged that I was to
ride him in a Plate, which I won ; shortly afterwards
he took another event as well. Later on he was put
in a much more important race and he won again.
By this time he was reckoned as being worth 5000
dollars ; and eventually after one or two more successes
and the beating of Hamburg he was thought one of the
best horses in America. He was nothing of the kind.
Another statement which Pittsburg Phil was sup-
posed to have made was that Skeets Martin was and
is a good mud rider and it was this knowledge that
caused him to put Skeets up on Howard Mann who
won the Brooklyn Handicap, beating his other two
entries, Belmar and The Winner. " Tod Sloan was
riding for me then " — I quote Pittsburg Phil's words —
" and he knew that Howard Mann could beat good
horses in the mud but he did not think he could out-
step Belmar. I believed that Howard Mann could
beat Belmar under certain conditions and told Martin
so. I thought Martin was better than Sloan in the
mud, and when Sloan chose the mount on Belmar I
was secretly pleased. The only orders I gave in the
race were to Martin to get up on Howard Mann, get
off and go about his business. I added in a joking way
that if Tod were within hearing distance of him at the
head of the stretch to tell him to hurry home or he
would be too late. Wliether Skeets ever said it I do
not know, but if he did Tod never heard him. Howard
Mann was half-way home before Belmar hit the quarter
The real facts of the case are that Phil only had
Belmar and Howard Mann in the race and Fred Taral
was to be put on Belmar who had no chance, but I was
so fond of the horse and had won on him so frequently
that I didn't want to see him perhaps knocked about
by a rider who didn't understand him ; so I got Skeets
for Howard Mann since Phil was determined to run the
two. There was no question of Skeets being such a
NO RECORD OF BETS
great star in the mud. In fact a reference to a previous
chapter will show that " Skeets " was not very anxious
about riding Proclamation in the mud, and handed
me that winning mount in the Manchester November
Handicap. Phil was certainly right when he said a
good mud rider will frequently bring a bad horse home,
because the riders of the good horses are not always
as game as they might be. Weak boys are always
handicapped on a heavy track. In such conditions a
horse needs help to keep him from sprawling and from
wasting the energy which will be useful later. I am
sure Skeets will not take the above amiss, for his stand-
ing has always been admitted, but he never put himself
up as a specialist on a sulking horse.
^Vlien I was at Saratoga during that holiday I
noticed that Phil was just as careless about not jotting
down bets as he always had been. I have seen him
have a wager of 10,000 or 15,000 dollars altogether,
perhaps split up between three men. After the race if
he won it he would sometimes but not always write it
down, and if he lost would occasionally not bother a
bit until the end of the day. It was not to be wondered
at that he was not a hard man to convince that he had
left out a record of a bet when he was claimed for some-
thing he hadn't paid. His friends often asked him
why he didn't make notes. He would smile and
answer that he had trusted to his memory for so long
and that he couldn't be bothered. I never heard of
his having a secretary as it has been stated he had. A
secretary wasn't at all in his line of country, although
he had plenty of men working for him with the book-
Two other big bettors, John Drake, who came to
England in 1899, and John W. Gates, who made such
a stir in 1900 and 1901, were very exact in their records
of wagers. The former in particular, whether the bets
were made by himself or through a commissioner.
Gates was the bigger gambler on the race-course of the
two, and would often prefer to go along the rails him-
self to make his bets, because some of the layers he
could call down — in fact buffalo them. Of course the
way these men bet made a sensation. One day in
America, by the way. Gates was betting so high that
he might have lost a million dollars. The bookmakers
saw to it that he didn't. It wasn't that they were
afraid of his not settling, but they didn't want him to
lose too much in one day. He had lost a vast sum
before the last race — I think it was at Sheepshead Bay
— and wanted to put 200,000 dollars on a 3 to 1 on
chance in the last race. But he was a bit late and they
told him they wouldn't have it and turned him down.
He was furious at the moment, but that hot favourite
was just beaten ! — and he did a war dance at his own
escape and at what they had missed.
Mr Drake was a managing director of a big hotel
company in Chicago, where it is well known Gates also
lived. In England Duke and Wishard, the trainers,
were in partnership, or rather there was a s^Tidicate of
which Drake wasn't a member. There was a talk of
Duke going away, so there would have been a case of
dissolved partnership. But from whatever cause Duke
didn't go and bought Wishard out, or at all events
Wishard went from the concern rather against his will.
In consultation with Drake Wishard said, " Well,
Duke has all the horses which we have so carefully got
together ; it's a bit awkward, but at all events I have
the two boys, Lester and Johnny Reiff."
Mr Drake has told me (and he confirmed it only the
other day) that he went to his bank and made all
arrangements and told Wishard to go ahead and get a
stable together. Tlie first animal, Escurio, tliey
bought out of a selling race and put in a handicap.
He was given top weight which of course came as a
big surprise. It was a question of handicapping the
owner, trainer, and the jockey — Lester Reiff. Tlie
English officials were mad about the dope question at
the time, yet Escurio despite his top weight started
at 7 to 4 on in a good field and won it. It has been
stated so many times that Drake and Gates won
£100,000 over Royal Flush in the Stewards' Cup that
I was glad to have an opportunity in this year of 1915
of asking Mr Drake about it. He said that a hundred
thousand represented about the exact figure. There
was a great purchase for you. Royal Flush, if you like !
They bought him privately for £400 and his record in
1900 was a real good one, showing the wonderful im-
provement which could be made in a horse by up-to-
date methods. Let me add that when Eager won the
celebrated match against Royal Flush Drake and Gates
did not have a penny on their horse, for he was
absolutely no good in the going.
THE ASCOT INCIDENT
Yachting Suit at Ascot — Lord William's Action — The " Cop" pitches the Tale
What has been described as " the Ascot incident in
Tod Sloan's career " has been scandalously discussed
for years and I should say that quite ten thousand
people have alleged that they saw the whole business !
I was supposed to have made a murderous assault on
a waiter with a champagne bottle. The occurrences of
that afternoon at Ascot never seem to have been for-
Now I have promised to put my heart on the table
with regard to nearly every incident of my life :
sometimes it may be in excuse, at others in apology,
but above all I want to clear up certain reports
which have been exaggerated or even maliciously
invented. It seems strange that such a small man
as myself, a jockey simply trying to win and
treading on the heels of so few with whom he
came in contact, should have been the object of such
antagonism. \Miatever my private life was it was
for the most part with friends, and whatever others
thought I did not bother them with my opinions and
I always tried to be as little aggressive as possible,
never getting into arguments unless there was a " butt-
in " on someone else's part — which there frequently
Before describing that Ascot business it is only
justice perhaps to say that the morning after it
YACHTING SUIT AT ASCOT
occurred I went to the stewards and made a full
explanation. Tliey accepted it freely, saying it was
unfortunate, but that they had nothing against me for
it. Furthermore, they allowed me to ride during the
rest of the meeting and all that season and during the
year afterwards, 1900.
Here are the facts. After I had finished my work
that bright summer's day at Ascot I went with George
Chaloner, for whom I was riding, and another man —
who had been engaged by Lord William to see me
through any little incident which might arise and to
show me the way about — to the lawn behind the
stands, and we sat down at a table. It was very hot
and there was a small bottle of champagne ordered of
which I took very little, not having had a drink the
whole day. After a time George Chaloner got up,
" I have to see about my horses, but don't you leave
till I come back." He was particular in repeating
that I wasn't to go away, but I never exactly knew
whether he had any idea of " rough house " being
played or not ; anyhow he was very emphatic. I had
a cottage near the course and as it was very warm I
had changed into a white yachting suit with white
braid and a peaked yachting cap, which I had worn in
America when on my boat. Of course it was a curious
get-up on Ascot Heath but the racing was just over and
that white suit was very comfortable in the warmth
of the June sim.
Well Chaloner left and the big fellow who had been
appointed by Lord William as a sort of minder for me
sat down with me at my table. There was only one
waiter about. Two tables away from me there
was a man sitting who kept on glaring at me and
presently he called the waiter over and they had a
loud whispered conversation, part of which, I got
the idea, was to the effect that the man sitting down
would give the waiter five shillings if he would upset
the table and the champagne over me — ^and my suit !
I could not make out then, nor have I been able to
since, whether he was annoyed with me personally or
that my " costume " got up and hit him. Do you
understand ? I thought the whole thing was maliciously
done. Shortly, an accident did happen ; our table
was upset, and I caught the bottle before it had
got to the ground. Having it in my right hand
as the waiter lurched towards me I made a light
jab at him with the neck of it, meaning just to
give him a reminder. The bottle never left my
hand but where I touched him on the lip he was
cut, not a bit badly but enough to bring a little
blood. He went away then and was talking to the
proprietor for a while. A few got wind of the fact
that there had been a bit of a shindy and came around.
I had just left the place, without waiting any longer for
Chaloner, when Bill Goode came to me and said :
" That waiter has got a cut in the mouth. Now
you don't want any fuss about it ; you don't know the
place like I do and it would be as well to square him."
I protested against doing anything of the kind.
However, he kept on at me and at last I gave way to
his advice and handed him five pounds — five pounds
in gold mind you. Goode came back and told me that
the man wasn't hurt and was not only satisfied with
the fiver, but I could have another go for him at the
same price !
The whole thing at the time seemed a simple annoy-
ance, and dinner almost made me forget all about it.
However, in the evening another man, a fellow- employe
of the injured waiter, asked for me and handed me a
LORD WILLIAM'S ACTION
blood-stained five-pound note, saying that his friend
could not be bribed for the severe injury which I had
caused him. . . .
And then the papers took the matter up and
there was a new version every day. The majority
stated that I had " heaved " the bottle at the man,
that I was drunk — everything in fact was said that
wasn't true !
Still the talk went on and I wanted to take pro-
ceedings, but Lord William said: "Little man, let
sleeping dogs lie." It was the first time in my life
I had heard the expression ; I know I ought to have
known it before but it seemed so appropriate that I
never forgot it afterwards. *
The incident was still being discussed and was, I
should think, being worn threadbare. Then one day
Lord William came to me and said he had hushed up
the whole business and had paid several hundred
pounds. He added :
" Don't let's think anything more about it ; keep
your mind on your riding. I've paid the money so
that's all right ; I want nothing from you." But I
went over the affair again, trying to convince him that
the whole thing had started in the beastly attempt to
bully me by the waiter and his associate.
Then Lord William used all his charm of manner
to persuade me to keep quiet and to say nothing
" The Stewards exonerated you : that's the chief
thing, little man ; and don't let's argue any more about
it," he said.
But I kept on, although in a respectful way.
" As you have paid, my lord," I declared at last,
" it can't be helped." But naturally I insisted on
standing the expense myself : it was deducted from
my retainer at my repeated urgent requests, although
for a long time Lord William would not consent.
There is the story in as much detail as it is
wise to indulge in of how I thought I had been
made the victim of an assault and of how I replied
to it. I still think I should have been justified in
doing something a bit stronger. I would ask fair
judgment on this, for I have stated the case without
the slightest exaggeration and without excusing my-
self. Those who read this can ask themselves what
they would do in similar circumstances. I am not a
giant and didn't know exactly how far those two
intended to go. There had been one or two instances
before when I had been hustled rather badly on rail-
way platforms ; at one time indeed I was nearly going
down under the engine. There are other things too
which happened which it is needless to bring up after
so many years. That warning of George Chaloner's,
however, was significant.
As I have said, every other person who discussed
the incident had his own version. About four years
afterwards I was down at Maidenhead at a cottage
occupied by the late Major " Jim " Hill. There were
one or two other men there too. A knock came at the
door and a police officer came in saying he was in a bit
of trouble, for a present of coal and w^ood and one or
two other little things which Major (then Capt.) Hill
had given him had been found out, and he was likely
to be called over the coals (no pun intended). Jim
Hill said that the present was no bribe ; it had just
been a little gift to the man's wife and children, for he
took an interest in the latter.
The officer was then asked to have a drink, and the
men began to draw him out about different little
things and got on to the topic of racing. The " Cop "
THE COP PITCHES THE TALE
had scarcely noticed me ; in any case he didn't know
who I was. He spoke about Morny Cannon, Maher,
Martin and others and then Jim said :
" Wliat about that chap Sloan ? Did you ever see
him ? "
The man's face broadened into a smile : " Well I
should say so. Wasn't I at Ascot when he slung that
magnum at the waiter and split his skull. Hot stuff I
tell you, my lords — I mean Colonel " (he called them
all sorts of things that evening). Resuming he said :
" Well, Captain, it is very nice of you and their lord-
ships to ask me to have another drink ; I never take
more than one, but as I'm off duty I will have another
spot. Yes that there Sloan is mustard ; what he
don't know isn't worth picking up ; but he can ride —
I'll give him his due. But that Ascot affair — I was
on duty just by, and Sloan wasn't charged. I went
up to him and asked him for an explanation, but kept
my eye open to see if another bottle was coming at me.
I tell you, my lords and gentlemen, he's a fire eater
that there Sloan. He's a wonderful fellow with a
horse ; they say he talks to 'em but — wot oh ! mustard
and cress ! "
He wasn't told that I was there ; he may have got
to know later on but I don't think so. I tell the story
because it is amusing, and also to make clearer the
fact that so many thousands pretended they were there,
whereas there were not more than seven in the vicinity
merman's gold cup
Merman's Gold Cup — Engaged for Roughside — " The whole Truth "
After the season of 1899 I went over to America,
riding in California and returning as in the previous
year in time for Lincoln. It was not apparent at first
but as the season progressed there were black clouds
appearing ; some of them were very small certainly,
but they were indications of a coming storm. The
Americans were secretly and openly discussed, and it
was well known that certain inquiries were pending,
chiefly on the charge of dope. Successes were almost
entirely attributed to the use of drugs, and of course
while this was rumoured against trainers all those con-
nected with American stables were dragged into the
talk ; in fact there was an uncomfortable atmosphere
Lester and Johnny Reiff were doing very well,
although Morny had started off by winning the
Lincoln, Great Metropolitan, and City and Suburban.
I scored in the Chester Cup on Roughside, finished
third in the Derby on Disguise II. and was third in
the Oaks on Lady Schomberg and second in the
Manchester Cup on Joe Chamberlain. Then Johnny
Reiff won the Hunt Cup and Stewards' Cup on Royal
Merman carried me home a 100 to 7 winner in the
Ascot Gold Cup ; Skeets Martin won the Northumber-
land Plate on Joe Chamberlain, and Johnny Reiff the
MERMAN'S GOLD CUP
Goodwood Plate and Great Ebor on Jiffy II. After
winning the Middle Park Plate twice I finished second
on Orchid and was second on Codoman in the Cam-
bridgeshire. I was not riding the last three weeks of
the season, having ninety-two winners out of 310
mounts, making a tie with ^lorny, who, however, had
had one hundred and sixty-six mounts more than I.
Lester was first and Johnny third.
The successes of the two Reiffs had naturally not
called off the attention from the great topic of the
American invasion and its consequences, and there
were plenty about who were ready to say anything
that could be suggested about horses who had run
curiously well or unaccountably badly. All the same
for jockeys who always rode to win there could not
be serious thoughts of any disaster, and nothing was
further from our thoughts ; certainly nothing was
further from mine. Looking back now at that time I
find that everything stands out sharp and clear and
that details and impressions have stayed in my memory.
How indeed could it be otherwise when my career as a
jockey was to come to an end for so many years.
Before coming to the climax — which w^as reached in
the Autumn over Codoman' s second in the Cambridge-
shire — I should like to say a few words about some of
the earlier races and especially about Merman.
It was Gold Cup day at Ascot. Mrs Langtry's
horse had been brought there, but the reason why was
not very clear, for Robinson w^as against running him
in the Cup, saying that he was short of two or three
gallops. I pointed out that this was not necessarily
against him : at all events he was a fresh horse and
had not been overtrained as I heard one or two of the
others had been. Robinson said he couldn't do any-
thing until he saw the owner. Earlier in the afternoon
I had met Mrs Langtry and she told me the same thing
— that she had to listen to what Robinson said, and
couldn't move in the matter until she had consulted
him. In fact each of them was running about looking
for the other. Then I saw Mrs Langtry again and
said frankly to her :
" You always told me you'd be a good friend to me ;
now here I am without a mount and in the Gold Cup
too. One thing I promise you : I'll bring your horse
back to the paddock after the race as good as he went
out. He sha'n't be knocked about at all ; he can win
in his own way. After all it's the Gold Cup and
Merman is a good horse."
All the jockeys had weighed out and the time was
almost up when at last Mrs Langtry and Robinson
finished their talk and decided to run Merman.
Robinson said to me, " It isn't quite fair to run him
but they are doing so to please you, I suppose."
I was late at scale and I didn't get half a scolding
from Mr Manning. Anyhow out we went. I was told
that in the Ring they were laying 33 to 1 against
Merman. I know that some of my followers got 25's.
They laid odds on Perth III. who had been sent over
from France and was ridden by the late Tommy Lane.
Merman was such a nice horse to ride. I could do
anything with him. In the race things broke just as
I anticipated ; I tacked on behind and had the wind
break for over a mile and a half, and, as the race was
run, really a worse horse might have won it. Round
we went and I could feel Merman was full of running,
and when he felt like going along I let him out
and won from Scintillant and The Grafter with the
favourite nowhere. I had an idea that Robinson
wasn't altogether pleased, for of course they had
missed a golden opportunity of backing a good -priced
Returning to Scale after Merman's Gold Cup
ENGAGED FOR ROUGHSIDE
one. Mrs Langtry had won a rich stake and the Gold
Cup, and she congratulated me on winning. I got the
usual five-guinea fee and that's what the Ascot Gold
Cup was worth to me that year. And the Stewards
blame jockeys for betting ! Merman was an old horse
at the time ; it will be remembered he won the
Cesare witch in 1897 when a five-year-old.
Another interesting experience was over Roughside
in the Chester Cup. I didn't know much about him
but I had read up his performances and I had a sort of
presentiment that I ought to ride him. I told George
Chaloner who said :
" Wliy have you got such a fancy to ride that horse ?
Why, he has been hurdling and he won at the game
That made me keener than ever to get the mount if
possible, but I took no action at all to do so for I didn't
know the owner ; but one day somebody came to me
at Sandown Park where Roughside was in a jumping
race and said, " Will you ride Roughside for Mr
Atherton Brown ? He is ill now but I am told to
ask you." And without any hesitation he added,
" You're on a monkey if you win."
Of course I accepted the mount and I looked for-
ward to the race for I had got a peculiar fancy that I
should win it, in fact without being familiar with the
horse's capacity I knew that from the work he had done
on the race-course hurdling he was as hard as nails, and
might easily be capable of going from end to end.
It was just as I thought. Slipping away at the start
I made my own pace — waiting in front. When they
came near me I would increase the pace a bit and when
I slowed they did. I lost no more ground than a
champion cycle rider. I remembered what the owner's
friend had said about my five hundred pounds and
I slipped round that soup-plate course and I won it
But I never saw that five hundred pounds. Mr
Atherton Brown sent me a silver cigarette-case, and I
daresay he never heard of his friend's promise to me,
and certainly never authorised it.
I didn't bet on that race ; in fact I had given up
betting. It's all very well — and I'm not saying this
to kick against the rules — but a jockey has to live, and
I would repeat at the risk of boring the reader that I
never charged any expenses, any valets' fares, nor a
shilling for riding gallops. Winning and losing fees
sometimes do not amount to enough to pay all the
cost of travelling at racing prices. I don't know what
I should have got over Roughside if he had dead
heated ! Some of my readers may work that out for
On Disguise II. in the Derby I had no chance although
he was third, for the simple reason that he had no pre-
tensions to stay a mile and a half. Joe Chamberlain,
which finished second with me in the Manchester Cup,
was hardly a race -horse at all and he was up against a
good filly, the Oaks winner La Roche.
In the Middle Park Plate in the autumn Orchid was
a great horse for pace but had no idea of staying ; he
was a rattle-brained animal and one had to fight him
all the time to place him. He turned out a good
sprinter afterwards, but that's all I ever thought he
All these events led up to the time in the autumn
when Codoman and I became acquainted. The
association with this horse brought about so much
trouble that it is with some feeling I approach the
story concerning him. I cannot but think that the
incidents surrounding everything in the race, the bet-
THE WHOLE TRUTH
ting part of it all, the public talk concerning him,
what I was supposed to have done and what I
didn't do— I think they must all be told at length.
Looking back I see plainly that there are plenty of
things to blame myself for. I will tell the truth any-
way and then after all this lapse of years the public
and the heads of the Turf can consider the whole affair
in a calm spirit. Many of the actors in it are still
alive, and jockeys and others can disprove many of the
allegations which were made against me at the time —
after the race was over.
Changing Codoman's Plates — Santoi as Trial Horse — Long Delay at Post
In the middle of the week, about the 30th of September
or 1st October, I received from Paris a telegram from
M. Maurice Ephrussi asking me whether I would ride
Codoman in the Prix du Conseil Municipal, and, if
I would, how much I should want. A reply was im-
mediately sent saying, " Yes, and two hundred pounds
as the fee to cover everything." Then promptly came
another wire instructing me to be there on Sunday
morning. I knew nothing about the horse and the few
I asked could not throw any light on his chance except
that he had run well in the spring, but had been un-
placed in the French Derby and another important
I can't say I was extra keen about making the trip,
but at all events it was a big race and the prospect of
winning it gave a little excitement to the journey.
After a short rest at my hotel I went to M. Ephrussi's
house for luncheon where I was to receive more in-
formation. I had taken over with me a set of light
American plates, but the difficulty began when I tried
to persuade M. Ephrussi to use them. He said that
his trainer, old Mr Carter, would be against it, and that
he would have to consider him in the matter, and also
that he thought it would be perhaps better to let the
horse run in the shoes he was used to. But keeping at
him I saw that he was coming round to the arguments
CHANGING CODOMAN'S PLATES
I used. He told me he thought Codoman had a real
good chance. "Then if he has," I asked, "why not
make it more of a certainty ? "
Finally it was left that he would try and talk over
Carter when we got out to the course. There was some
difficulty in this and perhaps it was only natural that
an old and experienced trainer like Carter should
resent a boy butting in and suggesting what should be
done. I saw that he was ill-pleased and not at all
inclined to be content but at last he did yield and the
plates were changed.
Tlie plates made all the difference and some people
told me they had never seen Codoman travel as well
before. I was lying first or second all the way and
shouted to the boy who was alongside me that I was
not going to make my run until the top of the hill.
He didn't answer and I suppose he thought that I
might be kidding him ; at all events he took no notice.
Just as announced I slipped the horse along exactly
where I had indicated, and all those who remember
that event in 1900 will know that he won comfortably.
M. Ephrussi was very pleased but I had no congratu-
lations from Mr Carter, who, however, let me say at
once, has been very pleasant to me in recent years.
There was at the time no serious idea of Codoman
running in the Cambridgeshire. Anyhow the race in
Paris had been a good one for me and several of my
friends. The question of any present was not touched
upon at the time but of course I received the five
thousand francs for going over. I was pleased with
the horse and began to think that although he had
incurred a 10-lb. penalty for the Cambridgeshire, which
brought his weight up to 8-10, he might neverthe-
less have a chance. There had, however, been some
talk about my riding one or two others in the race.
M. Ephrussi came over to Newmarket for Cesarewitch
week and on the Wednesday, after the big race, which
beyond doubt Berrill should have won — and in my
opinion could have done so easily — I decided not to
pursue the chance of riding Berrill.
M. Ephrussi, I believe, had consulted someone as
to what would be an adequate present to give me for
winning the French race. He had packed up a big
parcel of money over that event. During the after-
noon he handed me a cheque for seven hundred pounds,
for which I was grateful. I thought him extremely
liberal and there and then I said, " I want you,
M. Ephrussi, to send Codoman over for the Cambridge-
shire, and I'll win it for you provided you let me have
charge of the horse for a week before the race. Let
the head lad bring him over and instruct him that I am
to have absolute responsibility for him. I will take
him to George Chaloner's place and will get a real good
horse to gallop him with. You can bet what you like
on his chance."
He discussed it all, and after a bit wrote a telegram
to Mr Carter with the instructions I so much desired,
and the horse was expected to arrive on the following
Monday or Tuesday.
Then I began to think over the chances of all the
others in the race and I confess that I was terribly
afraid of Berrill, who only had to give his proper
running to be a great danger ; in fact I had an idea
then and afterwards that he might have won the
double, penalty and all, but he was fiddled about by
curious riding in the Cesarewitch and I thought it just
possible that he might turn cunning in consequence.
Before Codoman arrived I had persuaded Mr George
Edwardes to let me have Santoi, then a three-year-old,
who had not shown to any great advantage up to then.
The Trainer of Santoi
SANTOI AS TRIAL HORSE
I wanted him at Chaloner's place, and I begged Mr
Edwardes to let me take charge of him for the week
before he was due to run in an engagement on the first
The week before the Cambridgeshire was practically
devoted to looking after the pair of them. They had
easy work for a day or two, and then one morning they
were given a rough up. I was on Codoman and a lad
on Santoi. I let the two horses kid each other that
one could beat the other ; as a matter of fact they
were about as level as two horses could be : but
Codoman finished in front. I had a great opinion
of Santoi — in fact a much greater liking than Mr
Edwardes had. I told my friends too what I thought
of Codoman's chance win and place, and there were
packets of money put on him each way ; in fact nearly
every wager was on those lines.
The day of the race approached, Santoi was in the
Select Stakes at Newmarket and after a little per-
suasion Mr Edwardes agreed to run him but at first
declined to back him. He said : " According to you
it was a sort of fake gallop, not a trial, and Codoman
was just as good ; that isn't much of a test to risk a
lot of money on."
I told him what a good horse Codoman was, and at
that moment I was convinced Santoi could win, for I
had begun to have an enormous opinion of him ; I
have referred to him in a former chapter of the book
as being one of the two best I have ever ridden in my
life. At last I induced Mr Edwardes to have a big bet,
and I was not going to be a loser myself.
The whole thing was nearly coming undone at the
post : Santoi was impossible : he fiddled me about,
and when the starter sent us off he stood right still, and
the others were a hundred yards away before I could
induce him to get a move on. There was nothing for
it but to be patient and canter after them. He made
up none of the leeway in the first furlongs, but after
that things seemed brighter. I would take a pull at
him and then he would pull away from me and I let
the reins slip through my fingers as if he had beaten
me. I played nonsense with him, and he was tickled
to death. Then he caught hold of his bit and began
to act : he looked ahead of him and moved as if he
would show me what he could do. I didn't need to
bother him after that, for he thought he had me beaten
and would teach me. We had made up about fifty
yards and there never was a horse to move as he did
rising out of the dip. All those who had backed him
thought he was beaten anyhow, when they saw him
left, but in the end he came along like a steam engine,
passed everything in the last hundred and fifty yards
and won anyhow. It was one of the most extraordinary
races imaginable, as anyone who saw it may remember.
The Cambridgeshire looked so much better for
Codoman after this that, with the pile of money heaped
on him that night in addition to everything which had
gone on before, it was a wonder that such a good price
as 100 to 7 was procurable on the day of the race. I
had thought of Berrill a few days before, but on the day
of the race I was not afraid of any other of the runners.
Mr Luckman has told me a lot about the talk which
was supposed to have taken place in the jockeys' room
before and after the race, but what I have stated to
him in conversation I should like to repeat to every-
one who reads this. At no period of that afternoon
did I speak to anygne except Maher, who said to me
after the race : " I wish mine had won ; I had a promise
of five thousand dollars if he had."
I answered him : " You can put mine in pounds and a
LONG DELAY AT POST
great deal more than five thousand." As a matter of
fact I should have been rich for life.
But to deal with the race : we went down to the post
and it will be remembered there was a fifty-minutes'
delay, during which of course Codoman was carrying
8-10 continuously, whereas Berrill, a four-year-old,
had only 7-9. When we got off at last, after that weary
time with my chance getting less and less, I could see
that Berrill had the lot of us easily beaten ; in fact he
had only to win in any way he liked. However, he
went all over the course or he could have won by
twenty lengths instead of the four which if I remember
rightly the judge placed him in front of me. There
was no question of hard luck in the incidents of the
race : Berrill was an absolute certainty as it proved.
I have no hesitation in repeating that he could have
won the Cesarewitch easily. Codoman had run a good
horse but we couldn't reckon on one like the winner.
As it was I was not at all a loser over the race, for like
a great many I had netted a good sum on balance
through getting 8 to 1, 7 to 1 and other odds to big
mounts for a place, which was something to be
I am told that after the race I abused Thompson
who rode Berrill. I had never seen him before, and I
have never done so since, but I can state with all due
regard to truth that I never uttered a word to him in
my life. The good thing hadn't come off ; that's all.
Well there was the usual talk about my having done
this, that and the other, but apart from natural dis-
appointment at not winning an important event, I
looked upon it quite as an ordinary race in the natural
excitement of others which were to follow in the next
two racing days at Newmarket. There had been
twenty-four runners and M. Ephrussi, I am sure,
thought that everjrthing possible had been done with
his horse but he had met another much better at the
weights. Berrill was receiving a year and 13 lb.,
and has proved at the stud that he was a horse of class.
His owner had a dead certainty in him and the wonder
is that he was ever allowed to start at 20 to 1. Many
of us could have kicked ourselves afterwards that he
was allowed to run loose without a saving investment.
After the Cambridgeshire the clouds began to get a
little darker, and there were little rumours about that
I was to be asked certain questions by the Stewards,
but I did not pay a great amount of heed at the time
to the talk which was going round. What was the use
of worrying before it was necessary ? I had already
determined to finish the season with Newmarket. I
had not been in very good health, and I was convinced
that a rest would do me all the good in the world. I
did in fact cease riding for the season after the Friday.
The Black Outlook — Riding Gallops — Losing ^20,000 — Sale of Mauvezin —
Lord Harewood's Advice — Throes of Unrest
On Thursday, the day after the Cambridgeshire was
run, the Stewards sent for me. I guessed what w^as
coming. They told me that it had come to their know-
ledge that I had some big bets on Codoman, and also
that I had been promised a present by a certain
gentleman if the horse won. I acknowledged both
things at once, and then they asked :
" Don't 5^ou know it's against the rules for a boy to
bet ? "
I explained that I thought it was all right — as it
was in America — for a jockey to back what he rode
himself but that it was all wrong if he backed any other
animal. I also admitted that Mr Frank Gardner had
promised me a handsome present, running into four
figures of money, in the event of my winning.
They reprimanded me, and I went out to ride as
usual, finishing up the week with the win on Encombe,
whom, as I have said, I advised King Edward — ^then
Prince of Wales — ^to back.
Returning at once to London I let myself loose on a
life of pleasure and I thoroughly enjoyed the change,
although naturally in a very few days I was physically
unfit. It didn't seem to matter though, as I had
announced — ^and it had been stated in the sporting
papers — that I was not to be in the saddle any more
But one morning, two days before the Liverpool
Cup, Lord Derby, then Lord Stanley, sent a letter
to me saying he wanted me to ride a mare of his
in that race. She had a nice light weight, and
they fancied her chance. Here was a dilemma ! I
replied most respectfully that I had finished my year's
riding at Newmarket, that I had been playing cards
until very late at night ; that I had been drinking
whiskys and sodas, and that I should neither do myself
justice nor would it be right in his own interests for me
to accept the mount, for the race might easily be
thrown away on account of my being quite out of
training. I expressed my deep regret and thanked his
lordship very much for the offer. I am afraid that
that letter of mine gave rise to considerable misunder-
standing. The mare ran with a boy on her back and
only lost by a head, so (although I say it myself) it
could be assumed that had I been at my best and
riding, she would have been first instead of second.
This is another explanation to add to what I have
already said to Lord Derby.
At the regular dinner at Newmarket when the topic
of Codoman was mentioned, the late Captain Machell
told Mr George Lambton that he had already backed
Codoman : " Sloan has put me on 33 fifties."
Of course this got about, even before the race. As
a matter of fact a lot of my money went on at 33 to 1,
and I had obliged the Captain with a share. I may
as well say here that the sum I should have cleaned
up had Codoman beaten Berrill was about sixty-six
There was another incident which happened that
year and which I fear prejudiced me. A member of
the Jockey Club came up and spoke to me as I was
going out to the paddock. He told me that he wanted
THE BLACK OUTLOOK
me to ride a horse of his the next day, and I answered —
I hope quite respectfully — that if he would wait I
would look at my book when I got back to the jockeys'
room. Of course I meant my engagement diary. He
said to me as he turned away, " I wait for no jockey ;
you won't have the chance again." Several times
after that I tried to get an opportunity of explaining to
him that it wouldn't have been right for me to accept
the engagement without making sure that I hadn't
promised to ride another horse. He would never
listen ; in fact, he would not even allow me to speak
All these things began to be talked about and thought
about too, and when I went to say good-bye to Lord
William Beresford at Carlton House Terrace he said
to me :
" Things look pretty black, little man, but we must
hope for the best." I answered that I would not be
discouraged : I couldn't believe that after the severe
reprimand they had given me the Stewards would
actually withhold my next year's licence. Still what
Lord William said naturally made me think.
I went over to America after three weeks in London
and rode in California, and on my way from the East and
stopping at Chicago I first got news of serious trouble.
I read in the papers there that it was announced that
the English Jockey Club had intimated to J. T. Sloan
that it was advisable for him not to apply for his
licence during that season of 1901.
There was a crusher ! All the same it did not imply
in any way that my number was up for many years to
come. I believed that if I lived quietly it would be all
right in the following year.
On getting back to England I was able to see some of
the comments made at the time by some of the news-
papers. One writer in the leading sporting paper said,
" Sloan is so valuable as a jockey that his absence
will be felt. That Sloan only followed the custom of
English jockeys in making the heavy bets which
formed one reason for his exclusion is apparent. With
those going to and fro from the race-course it came to
be a recognised thing that Sloan betted habitually,
and at times heavily. It would no doubt have been
difficult for a private person to have justified his
opinion by chapter and verse, but the Stewards of the
Jockey Club have means at their command for getting
at the truth of things ; in short they found that Sloan
has betted, also that he had accepted the offer of a large
present from Mr Frank Gardner in the event of his
winning the Cambridgeshire on Codoman ; and with
proof of these two offences before them they acted as
described. That many of our jockeys bet and not
always in half sovereigns there is reason for believing
and of all practices against the letter of the law this is
one which we can least afford to tolerate. It is not as
if a jockey always backed the horse he is riding, that
would imply an assurance that he would do his best to
win, but unfortunately the money is at times on some
other horse or against his own mounts, which is the
simplest form of making winning sure. Proof is not
always so easy as it appears to have been in Sloan's
case, and the firmness displayed by the Stewards will
I can swear that I never bet on anything but my
own mounts. I did not make a parade of it for obvious
reasons but what I told the Stewards was absolutely
correct — that I did not think the rules of English
racing were against a jockey supporting anything he
rode himself. Neither did I attempt in any way to
deny what they said to me about Mr Frank Gardner.
Another paper remarked that " So many excellent
people are convinced that the American contingent
were playing an underhand game that an exhaustive
inquiry is as necessary as welcome."
The following was fair comment perhaps, but didn't
do me any good : " I do not see anything objectionable
in a jockey betting on his mounts so long as he backs
a horse to win, but Sloan deserves a punishment which
has been inflicted on him for apparently advising Mr
F. Gardner to back Codoman for the Cambridgeshire
and accepting the offer of a large sum from that gentle-
man if the tip came off. This kind of interference with
another man's horse is highly objectionable, and the
Stewards are very properly resolved to stop such trans-
actions. Jockeys will not in future be disposed to
accept gifts from outsiders, but at one time such
presents were daily offered and accepted and fashion-
able riders did not disdain to receive them from
notorious sharps. The possibility of Sloan's return to
official favour in England is recognised in the following
extract : ' He had better apply himself to the correc-
tion and reformation of his manners and excesses, and
possibly he may get another licence in 1902 if he con-
ducts himself discreetly during the next year.' "
The best thing to do was a difficult thing to make
up one's mind about. I was torn two ways : I had
money and had an inclination towards a long holiday ;
yet I went to Newmarket, rode gallops (which I was
allowed to do) and generally kept myself to myself,
in the hope that the Stewards would relent, if not in
that season of 1901, at all events when the applications
came up for the following year.
I contracted the craze for motoring and in the
summer went over to France and was a good deal about
with Henri Fournier, who it will be remembered had
been a champion driver, winning among other prizes
the Paris-Bordeaux race, the Paris-Berhn, and the
Paris- Vienna. We had several quite long runs, and
then we paid a visit to Deauville, where of course there
was gambHng at the club — I had always been used to
playing, as previous chapters will show, and I did
not see any reason why I shouldn't continue. Neither
did I see why they wouldn't let me shoot pigeons at
Deauville, but there was some objection raised on the
ground that I didn't belong to any regular club, which
apparently was necessary to get me among those at the
I had several little set-backs of this kind which made
life a little bit dull at times. I used to debate with
myself whether to go back to England or not, but
decided eventually that France was better for the
moment. There I should not annoy anybody, and I
was not doing any harm in being adviser to an owner,
for I was allowed to ride and work in a stable but not
on a race-course — ^that is to say, I was forbidden to race
in colours. I met various people that summer and early
autumn, and Lord Carnarvon was good enough to
consult me several times with regard to French horses.
This led to the purchase of a few horses, including
Mauvezin, and the engagement of " Boots " Dumell
already mentioned. Things were going fairly well
and I was keeping my form. M. Charron was very
interested in learning race riding, so that he could
figure with other amateur jockeys. He too had been
a crack automobilist, having won the Gordon-Bennett
Cup, but nothing would content him until he learned
how to ride with the forward seat, in fact in my own
style. I began to show him what to do and he was a
very apt pupil.
It was at Deauville that I formed the idea of going
to America and taking Fournier with me with the
intention of starting a big automobile business. We
sailed about the middle of August, taking with us
two big INIors racers, one of which cost me fifty-five
thousand francs. There were also three other cars,
one a small one, which had won the Paris-Bordeaux
run. At the time I possessed sixty-two thousand
pounds in ready money, in addition to the investments
I had made in real estate in America, so it was a serious
proposition this automobile idea. The plan was to
get a company together and I was prepared to invest
a great part of my own money. Altogether to begin
with there were fifty thousand dollars invested in cars,
which were to be used as models in starting the
That trip was destined to be a disaster. In less
than a month I lost altogether about one hundred
thousand dollars or twenty thousand pounds. For a
commencement, there was forty-five per cent, duty
to be paid on the cars, and then Fournier w^as fined
heavily, a sum of seven thousand dollars (which I paid),
for undervaluating one of the cars with the customs.
They said that if one car cost fifty-five thousand francs
why didn't its fellow ? But the latter was sold to
Fournier at a big discount, because he had already
driven it. It actually cost only thirty-five thousand.
It was a good start-off.
Then I went racing and managed to lose thirty-one
thousand dollars in one day, and I also lost a packet
The few horses at Maisons Laffitte had been left in
the charge of " Boots " Durnell, whose great idea was
that he could ride, whereas he couldn't. He was a
great man in the stable for all that.
One evening I actually refused ten thousand dollars
which was definitely offered for one of the cars. I
would have sold it but Fournier dissuaded me :
" What's the good of parting with it ? We shall only
have to send to France for another as a model to work
There alone was lost two thousand pounds which
might have come to me out of the wreck. Ultimately
it was pawned and I never saw a dollar of its value.
To make a long story short I never for one cause or
another enjoyed so much as a wheel of those automo-
biles. For instance one was smashed up by Fournier
who was showing a party of newspaper men how he
could race a locomotive and who got it on a level-
crossing. The car and the train met. Fortunately
no one was killed.
The cause of my going back to Europe was that one
morning I got a cable from Mr Felix Oppenheim :
" Come at once Durnell warned off." I took ship
immediately and discovered on arrival that Durnell,
insisting on riding when I had repeatedly told him not
to, had actually been put on foot for incompetency.
He had been left at the post or something and the
Stewards took a serious view of it. I am quite sure
he meant nothing wrong and it was only his vanity
in thinking he was a jockey which brought it all about.
The results had to be put up with though and I had to
see about looking after the horses for their autumn
engagements. They belonged to Charron, Baron
Leonino, Felix Oppenheim, Lord Carnarvon and Mr
Debsay. We had only paid eleven thousand francs
for Mauvezin, Charron and I going halves in him. I
wrote to Lord Carnarvon telling him I had a good
horse and he had better come and see him. When we
bought him we were told that he couldn't stay more
than five furlongs, but the improvement made in him
SALE OF IMAUVEZIN
was wonderful. Lord Carnarvon said he would take
him off our hands if we would let him, and wrote a
cheque there and then for eleven thousand francs.
That was about two months before, when I had first
brought over Durnell to France. We won six straight
races with him, winning a big handicap at Maisons
Lafiitte, the horse carrying top weight. I may as well
finish about Mauvezin here. When he had got to the
top of the handicap he was no longer much use in
France, so he went over to R. C. Dawson's place at
I shall always think we ought to have won the
Lincolnshire Handicap, but he didn't get too well away
and nearly fell at the crossing when half-way home.
It was curious how several of us missed winning a
packet over the horse when he took the Stewards' Cup.
I had miscalculated the day, and was at the Hotel
Cecil about half-past twelve on the Tuesday with
Mr Murray Griffith, who had always been a good friend
to me. I told him of the chance of Mauvezin and
that I was going down to Goodwood to put a lot of
money on him. He looked up at the clock :
" You will have to hurry up to be there even three
hours after the race is run ; they'll be off in about two
There was nothing for it but to grin and bear it, but
we got busy with the starting price offices and managed
one way and the other to get on one hundred and fifty
pounds, which wasn't so bad in the circumstances,
for he started at 10 to 1. I was glad that Lord
Carnarvon won a big stake over the success. I don't
suppose anyone ever had such a bargain for four
hundred and forty pounds.
Another horse Lord Carnarvon bought in France
was Londres, a great big animal over seventeen hands
high, who was addicted to breaking blood vessels, but
he never did so after he came with us, and scored over
and over again. He ought to have won the Grand
Prix de Nice but somehow Maclntyre who rode him
was not in happy mood that day. He led all the way
until on the post he was just caught by a good horse,
Retz, ridden by George Stem. Another nice horse
was Misadventure, for whom we paid five thousand
francs and sold for twenty thousand francs. Londres
was also a great bargain at seven thousand francs.
I must not forget that there was some compensation
for the disappointment over Goodwood. A French-
man had come over with me, a man well known in
Paris, who couldn't speak a word of English. Perched
on the top of his head was the smallest Panama hat
ever worn by a grown-up man. He was the success
on the Wednesday afternoon at Goodwood. Society
people and others forgot their manners and came to
the paddock to see the sight. It was great value.
Of course in that Autumn of 1901 I had seriously to
consider what was to be done after the big losses I had
made in America, but acquiring these bargains in
horses and winning money over them too brought me
to the conclusion that sticking to my own business —
horses — was perhaps far and away the best thing to
do. We had Max Lebaudy's old house at Maisons
Laffitte, and there used to be great consultations about
probable purchases and how they should be placed to
win. Several of my friends suggested that I should
go on with ownership and superintend training, and
certainly I knew in riding gallops that I hadn't lost a
bit of form.
Not a word had been said about my not getting a
licence for the following year, so I stuck on full of hope
that the Stewards would not keep the bar up for ever.
LORD HARE WOOD'S ADVICE
After the season finished in France I went to Egypt
with Skeets Martin and had the usual tourist's hoHday.
I suppose my impressions about Egypt are not worth
anything but I am going to say that to me the place
was the greatest disappointment — but perhaps that
was my own want of appreciation. I often wished
that we had chosen Switzerland or Monte Carlo, in fact
In the month of February no official intimation had
reached me but I heard indirectly that there was a
grave doubt about the licence ; this was when I w^ent
to England in the early spring. One day in the
paddock at Newmarket Lord Harewood said to me :
" Sloan, what do you want to bother about riding for ?
You've got plenty of money. Why don't you settle
down to a gentleman's life ? Buy a stable of horses
and run them. That's far and away the best thing
you can do."
Of course I thought it over but still I couldn't bring
myself to believe that they would keep me out all the
season. If I had known then what I learnt in after
years, that my indiscretions were to be reckoned
against me for half some people's lifetime, the whole
course of my life and investments would have been
different. With sixty thousand pounds odd and other
property I might have done really well, but frankly I
felt that other sources of income would be open to
me very shortly so I was careless about that useful
amount. How I cursed that trip to America !
At Newmarket in the spring of 1902 I had rooms
near the station. They were very handy for going
out and riding gallops. Most of these I did for Robert
Sherwood of St Gatien House, and I never felt better
in my life. Then I began to notice that a few New-
market trainers had developed a rather cool manner
toward me. They did not seem to know whether they
were in order if they put me up in a trial or rough up.
As a matter of fact, as I have explained, there was
nothing against my taking part in anything of the
kind, for the Stew^ards had said that I could do so.
Well, I went on trying my best by every possible
means to reinstate myself in favour and at that time
I had become more accustomed to Newmarket than
at any previous period.
Several times I was inclined to take the friendly tip
given me by Lord Harewood and definitely to give up
any idea of riding again and to settle down as an owner.
Possibly I should have got a licence to train my own
animals. But I was only about twenty-seven years
old and was sure that I could ride as well or better
than ever, and the money to be made as a jockey was
far in excess of anything it was possible to make with
any stable I could set up. Then too I was occasion-
ally possessed by the spirit of roving or travel. Should
I go away again ? I had been here, there and every-
where. It was not pleasant, however, to give up
racing under the stigma that I had to retire without a
jockey's licence. If a licence had only been procur-
able, I do believe on looking back that I should have
been quite willing to give an undertaking not to avail
myself of it !
The majority of my friends stuck to me through all
this and that cheered me more than can be said. But
they were not really happy days. The more inquiries
were made as to the possibility of getting my ticket
back again the more undecided seemed the situation.
It was a sickening business too when in London having
to reply to all sorts of people — some of whom I had
scarcely ever met — as to what I was going to do. The
truth was, I didn't know, and I felt rather inclined to
THROES OF UNREST
give rough answers when quite strangers, especially
Americans, became too inquisitive. Some presumed
on a casual chat to ask me to tell the whole story over
again. To begin with I couldn't have done so, for it
was a whole combination of circumstances, as I have
explained, which led up to the action the Stewards took.
The number of nights which were spent trying to
make up my mind I can't count, but plans made when
lying awake were quite upset by a few words of en-
couragement the next day given by serious friends who
knew I supposed what they were talking about.
I do not know whether this is all sufficiently clear,
but the only way I can describe it is that, what with
hope and fear, in 1902 I was going through H-E-L-L.
The Late King Leopold— All from Five Francs— Off to shoot Pigeons
After passing through several weeks of the spring of
1902 in England I could see no reason for stopping on
there, and I went back to France and spent my time
giving advice and helping in the running of horses
owned by Charron. But there was no money in it and
losses over betting accumulated until I really had some
cause for worry. Nevertheless, a good day would put
me in heart again, and during the important weeks in
England I had a few really profitable days and my
banking account was by no means exhausted. In
July I bought a big 90-horse power Panhard for two
thousand pounds, and also a smaller Mors car of 15 h.p.
Pinson, who had been the mechanic during the Paris-
Vienna race which this big power car had won, was
my chauffeur although I usually drove the bigger car
myself. I took both cars to Deauville and Dieppe
for their seasons in August.
The expenses were very heavy, for at the Hotel de
Paris at Trouville — which little town of course every-
one knows adjoins Deauville — nothing else would do
for me but the best suite in the house. Tliere were
" others " to pay for, including a valet, the chauffeur
and other servants. The expenses totted up to a
very big amount. However, I suppose when we are
gambling we do not pay much attention to a little
matter like daily expenses. I have been to a good
THE LATE KING LEOPOLD
many places, however, and not spent so much
This reminds me of when I was once at the Grand
Union Hotel at Saratoga for the races. I had got
my apartment before the season began. Mr August
Belmont arrived and made a little fuss about paying
twenty-five dollars a day for his room or rooms, but
the manager, much to my disgust as I didn't want to
be too much in the limelight, said : " Oh no, sir, I assure
you I am not asking too much, especially to a gentle-
man of your position, for Mr Tod Sloan is paying more
than twenty-five dollars a day."
It was at Trouville that I had the honour of being
spoken to several times by the late King Leopold of
the Belgians. He had the next table to ours and would
speak across to me about various topics. He never
said much, but it was all in a kindly way and he never
failed to recognise me, whoever he was with. There
was another stupid story put in circulation at Trouville
which found its way over to the American papers. It
was a pure invention but it told, unintentionally
perhaps, to my discredit. Beyond question I had
one of the best tables in the big restaurant at the
Hotel de Paris and some American journalist told a
yarn that King Leopold had gone to the hotel manager
requesting that a certain table, meaning mine, should
be reserved for him. The manager was made to reply :
" I am very sorry, your Majesty, and I hope you will in
your kindness accept my apology, but I let that table
that you want to Mr Tod Sloan and I cannot turn him
It was a stupid story to invent, but many people
who did not like me began to repeat it, making me
out what I really wasn't. I should like to see any
hotel manager refusing the request of such a guest as
King Leopold ! Besides I was not quite so far gone
that I would not have given up any table to even a less
Well, Trouville had its joys and sorrows, the former
being the social part of it. There were bad runs at the
races and in the " bank " at the club of the Casino.
The gambling habit I could not cure myself of : in
fact a distraction of this kind became almost a necessity
to me, for the fact of being without any licence was
telling more and more heavily on me. It seemed so
terrible that, although I had just as much confidence in
myself as ever, I was debarred from making my living
at the one thing I was good at. Motoring about the
country was pleasant enough and I made new friends,
but it was all rather aimless and it was a welcome break
to get away to Dieppe for a week or ten days there.
We all motored of course.
It was at Dieppe that I had rather wonderful
experience of good and bad luck. One evening with
about eighteen thousand francs in my pocket I joined
in a baccarat bank with Mr " Solly " Joel and Mr
Henning. In about an hour and a half we cleared over
one thousand pounds each. Wlien we had cut it up
Mr Joel and Mr Henning went off to the DoriSt the
former's yacht, but like a fool I stayed on and, not
content with my winnings, of course I had to join in the
bank again. And I lost every cent both of the one
thousand pounds and of the seven hundred pounds odd
with which, as I have explained, I began the evening.
I got up from the table feeling pretty sick and went
and had a drink. Feeling in my pocket I found I had
exactly seven francs. One franc paid for the brandy
I was drinking ; a franc I put aside for the cloakroom
attendant. I was determined to go home without a
sou, so I put the remaining five-franc piece on the
ALL FROM FIVE FRANCS
gaming-table as I went out, intending to throw it away
and not to think anything more of it. As a matter of
fact I didn't see the first coup, but on looking round
saw that there were two " cartwheels " where I had
only thrown one. I determined to leave them and the
stake went on doubling up until there were eight louis
or one hundred and sixty francs. Of these I left five,
taking off three for odd expenses. Again I won, and
yet again, but the second time at another table.
Then of course I had enough to join in a small
bank again. In another hour I had cashed in
twenty-seven thousand francs, which left me again
a good winner on the evening. It was a remark-
able performance and rivals many of the yarns one
hears about gamblers' luck, for it all came from that
five francs. If when I was having my brandy I had
met a friend or two I dare say I should have offered
them drinks and my five francs would have gone.
But such was my luck that I was left to drink alone !
It was in the autumn of that year that I had a great
deal to do with the preparation of the Count de
Bresson's grey horse Nabot. He was in the Cam-
bridgeshire with 7 stone. Nabot was then a three-year-
old and one of the fastest I had ever come across. It
had not been discovered whether he could stay well
enough, but one morning I gave him a fast gallop
over a mile, in which he came out well. It was there-
fore determined that Nabot should be sent to New-
market. He was at a real good price. In fact he
started at 20 to 1 owing to the run on the eventual
winner, Ballantrae. Although the latter won com-
fortably I have no hesitation in saying that Nabot
should have done so. His jockey, an American boy
named Thompson, riding in France, didn't know the
course well enough. In consequence the grey could
only finish third. We backed him to win a fortune but
as luck would have it some of us quit good winners by
having as much on for a place as to win. So it was not
altogether a failure.
It is curious what a fateful race the Cambridgeshire
has been to me. First St Cloud II. ; then I was left
on Nunsuch; the Codoman trouble; and then just
missing first place with Nabot when it was so import-
ant to me. I have no doubt what I have said about
the French horse may be quarrelled with by many
English critics, but personally I was never so sure
about anything as his winning. I am not excusing
myself in the matter for I didn't ride him. However,
it is no use thinking too much about it. It is so long
As may be remembered Nabot was bought for two
thousand guineas, if I remember rightly, by Sir John
Blundell Maple. Sir John came to me in the paddock
in Newmarket and asked whether I thought him a nice
horse to buy. Of course I said yes. He also asked
whether the horse had been doped, and I answered
that to the best of my knowledge the horse had never
been given anything in his racing career. There were
a good many stories about at the time as to doping,
and I believe poor Alec Waugh, who managed Sir J. B.
Maple's horses, was firmly convinced that Nabot
had been, and thought his owner had a very dear
I should like to say another word about Thompson.
He was a very good rider in France but he never
seemed to give his best performances in England.
Certainly he won the City and Suburban in 1903 on
Brambilla, but I think Robert Denman, who trained
Mr Edmond Blanc's Vinicius (second to Rock Sand in
1903), was one of the most disappointed men at Epsom
OFF TO SHOOT PIGEONS
that day. Still full credit should be given to the jockey
for his French performances.
I hung on in France to the end of the racing season
but then I went down to Monte Carlo, chiefly on
account of the pigeon-shooting.
AT THE TRAPS
Cleaning up 100,000 Francs — Laying and Backing — Various Good Shots
I HAD the taste for firearms even when a very young
boy. I used to fire off a gun, a small single-barrelled
muzzle-loader, when I was about ten years old, and
then, proceeding by easy stages, shooting at rabbits,
squirrels, and birds, until when I was about thirteen
I managed to get hold of a great purchase, a very tiny
double-barrelled breech-loader which nevertheless did
quite good work. My eye became trained and I began
to think that eventually something much greater could
be done. But I knew little or nothing about pigeon-
shooting, never even having seen a picture of it.
Going along from year to year there was always
plenty of sport to be had especially during the winters
out in California, but it wasn't until the winter of 1900
that I had my first go at the traps. All things con-
sidered the result was quite good, and I acquired the
taste. It has never been shaken off since. I had
other chances of practice but my big pigeon-shooting
season was to be in those early days of 1903 in that trip
to Monte Carlo. I won the Grand Prix du Littoral of
ten thousand francs, and a big gold medal, killing
thirteen birds out of thirteen.
It was rather curious how I got into that prize.
I went down to make my entry and things having
gone badly at the tables I discovered I hadn't got
twenty francs in my pocket. I met Crittenden
CLEANING UP 100,000 FRANCS
Robinson — the great shot — ^and said to him : " Got any
money ? "
He gave me his pocket-book saying : "Help yourself,"
but I only took the two hundred francs that I wanted
to pay for the entries. Coming off the ground I met
George Cooper, who was making a book on the event.
I took 50 to 1 from him to ten louis about myself.
Before going into the story of how I won I should
like to say that fortune never comes singlehanded, for
with a little money I went to the rooms that evening
and, starting off with three straight roulette bets, w^ent
back to the Hermitage Hotel that night and locked up
with the cashier a hundred thousand francs. Every
word of this is literally correct. I had no money at all
before — nothing but jewellery.
The runners up to me in the Prix du Littoral were
Count Filippi and M. Brasseur with twelve out of
thirteen. Tliere were sixty-three guns altogether.
When I had shot my tenth bird overtures were made
to me to divide, one French shooter saying that I could
have half the pool but that one of their division w^ould
have to take the medal. Several Englishmen present
who knew about this came to me and said : " You're
the only English-speaking one left in the event, go
right through with it. Don't give them a chance of
thinking they can beat you ! " And go through with
it I did, with the result already known. There were
many little expenses in connection with that prize.
For instance, fifty francs to the man who picked up
the last bird I had shot, and a bill that night of
one thousand four hundred francs for dinner. They
seemed to have a bottle of champagne to each person
with each course, and the out-of-season things some of
them asked for and managed to get surprised even
those who knew Monte Carlo pretty well. Of course
too there were little presents to " others." Two ladies
claimed the wings of that last pigeon between them,
and each wing had to be mounted on a hat to suit the
wearers — but that was a trifle.
On going into the Rooms the night of winning the
Prix du Littoral I was given a message to go over to
the Trente et Quarante game to cut the cards for " an
eminent personage." I said I wouldn't go unless I
knew who it was.
" You had better come, monsieur : it's the Grand
" Wlio ? " I asked, not hearing very well, and then
he repeated the name and of course I went at once.
The Grand Duke received me very graciously and said
some nice things to which I hope I replied with proper
modesty. Here was another Royal or rather Imperial
personality for me to meet.
I shall alwavs think it rather bad luck that I missed
a " place " in the Grand Prix du Casino that was
decided a few weeks before. There was a bit of a
wrangle over the ninth bird by Baron de Lossy. (He
is dead now, God bless him !) He called me down for
crying " No bird." But I was quite right and Lord
Savile came to my rescue by declaring : " Wliatever is
said he'll have another bird at all events." All this
trouble, which was quite unjustifiable, as very many
who shot in the event can testify to-day, made me
very nervous, for before it occurred I had absolute
confidence in myself and was shooting in great form.
"Wlien I had my tenth bird it was not unnatural that I
was a bit shaky but I just dragged it down. There
were very few left in and I killed the eleventh bird in
clean style. Then came the twelfth. I had recovered
my nerve by this time and was almost certain that I
had notched another point, but it just fell on to the
LAYING AND BACKING
top of the rail and into the sea instead of dropping on
the right side. I had killed eRven out of twelve, and
with any ordinary luck I should have had the twelfth.
It may be remembered that the winner was Pellier
Johnston with nineteen birds straight, Mackintosh
being second with eighteen out of nineteen, two
others tying for the third place with seventeen out
of eighteen ; then several of us were level with eleven
out of twelve.
I was shooting with a gun I had bought for two
hundred pounds in Bond Street, London, and my
success spoke well for the cartridges made by the
Coopal Company of Belgium.
There were other bits of money picked up that
season by shooting at Monte Carlo. Thiebaux was the
biggest layer, and I suppose George Cooper of the
English division made some of the biggest bets.
Charlie Hannam mixed it, some days laying and other
days backing. I should like to have all the money
which he has lost over pigeon-shooting in one way and
the other ; still, it is all part of his winter holiday so I
suppose he doesn't mind !
Various little things annoyed me that winter, but it
was very likely because I was over-sensitive after what
had occurred in England.
Certainly the English lot were very nice and sym-
pathetic but many of the Frenchmen and Italians
seemed to go on the lines that I hadn't received my
licence from the English Jockey Club, and although
they were outwardly polite they were inclined to be
snubby. If I had the money to go in it wasn't their
business of course, for by this time I wasn't a jockey
but a private citizen with a certain reserve of assets,
and in any case I was not a professional pigeon-shot
as many of those were to whom the French and
Italians were civil. Still it didn't matter much. I
had my own bunch to talk to and was having a good
I was continually impressed with the different
personalities shooting at Monte Carlo. I should say
the majority who read this book will know of Mackin-
tosh, the Australian, and Crittenden Robinson, the
Californian ; the former was I suppose the more
brilliant shot but Robinson had that extra stamina
which would last him out in a tough battle, and he was
an older man too. He used to give me many tips.
That season Mackintosh shot eight hundred and forty-
six pigeons out of nine hundred and ninety, while
Robinson had a score of eight hundred and eighty-five
out of one thousand and sixty-four. The winner of
the Grand Prix du Casino, Pellier Johnston, was not
shooting much and scored thirty-five out of thirty-nine.
I only had four hundred and thirty birds with three
hundred and fourteen kills.
I shall always think that Harry Roberts is one of the
soundest shots I ever saw, and perhaps he can take the
honours among the Englishmen. I have always heard
from real good judges that perhaps the greatest man
who ever shot pigeons was a Captain Brewer, but I never
saw him. Crosby, who came from somewhere in Iowa
and was known as " Tobacco Bill," was a marvellous
man with a gun. He had a peculiar habit of squirting
a big mouthful of tobacco which he had in his cheek
at the very moment of crying " pull " to the man at
the traps. Perhaps when this book is reviewed and
some of the critics are as kind as they can be to it,
they may be able to supplement my suggestions with
additional information about those I write of.
By the way one of the most remarkable shots
especially among young men was a Californian who
Pkixce Pomatowski and Tod Sloan at the Traps
A caricature hv Sciii
VARIOUS GOOD SHOTS
came over to Europe when he was only twenty years
of age, perhaps even less. His name was Clarence
Norman. I am told by many who should know that
he was very likely the best pigeon-shot who ever lived.
I know that Crittenden Robinson thought Norman
was in a class absolutely by himself, and this coming
from such a great shot as Robinson was acknowledged
to be an opinion worth remembering.
It has always struck me that while there might be
an age limit for other sports there is no age limit for
Take Harry Roberts for instance : he has kept his
form in the most extraordinary way. Another re-
markable instance was that of Baron de Dordolot.
Several men of over fifty who were shooting at Monte
Carlo used to call the Baron " Pop," signifying that he
was a generation older than themselves. This wonder
among veterans, in his limited shooting in the season
I have been writing about, killed one hundred and
ninety-two out of two hundred and forty-two birds.
Prince Poniatowski, another veteran, could shoot well.
" Sem " the French caricaturist drew a remarkable
picture of the Prince, who was a very tall thin man,
carrying a very small gun, while he depicted me with a
weapon as long as a rifle carried in any old warfare.
" Sem " said himself that this drawing was one of the
happiest things he ever did.
Perhaps the shooter who impressed me more than
any other was Baron de Montpellier. He had a good
record that season, winning six first prizes and two
seconds. But that was not so much the point. He
was such a picturesque and stylish shot ; he could put
in the most wonderful finger work on his gun. Every-
one would be all attention when he walked out to
shoot. The two shots would be as near as possible
simultaneous ; you would see one puff follow the other
in a flash and would hardly realise what space of a
second there was between the first and second. Yet
there were two separate aims calculated in a way that
would have made him a prize gunner on any warship.
He was an impressive figure and my recollection of him
is as fresh to-day as it was then.
Mention of Prince Poniatowski reminds me that his
son in California showed me the greatest kindness
when I was out there in January 1901. There was a
lot of talk to the effect that I hadn't yet got back my
licence in England, but he paid little attention to it :
" I am president of the Ingleside track and Sloan can
ride here— that's all." And I did, but I did not ride
at Oaklands, also in California, that season nor after-
I have mentioned in an earlier chapter that Butiaio
Bill had spoken to me when I was a little child. I
met him very frequently in after years and he would
always encourage any ambition of mine in the way of
shooting, recommending me to take up trick shooting.
But to me there never seemed any money in that kind
of work, at all events at my age. Colonel Cody can be
ranked as one of the greatest trick shots who ever lived.
I never met nor saw the great Captain Bogardus, who
was remarkable in his time, and there were plenty of
others I did not come across either. A lot of men
have sprung up in the pigeon - shooting world who
were in reality professionals, boosters for powder
companies who paid all their expenses. There was no
status of the amateur about them. But shooting has
been a semi-profession with so many that it is not
advisable to go too deeply into the matter. I do not
want to offend anyone.
" Sloan's chance hopeless "
To try Rose de Mai — Maitre Labori — "Mr Mean" — No Friendship in Racing
After leaving Monte Carlo in that spring of 1903 I
still had the hope that my licence would be forthcom-
ing — but it wasn't of course. A little time before my
spirits had been raised by some encouragement I had
had to the effect that the French Societe might give
me a licence to ride in France. Mr George Edwardes
told me to call on a certain distinguished authoress and
playwright. We met in her home in the Avenue du
Bois de Boulogne ; she spoke English well and was
very sympathetic in offering her assistance on my
behalf with certain distinguished people. From time
to time I heard how things were going ; they seemed
to spell success for the efforts that were being made.
Week followed week and still everything looked
promising. One day I received a message that a
certain friend of hers — a man — was to meet two men
of importance at a minor race meeting, that it was
expected that the matter would be settled then and
that a telegram should be sent off that very afternoon.
It arrived with the fateful words
"Sloan's chance hopeless Eugene
Leigh has won five races I "
That finished it.
All the stories as to my efforts in 1900 to get a
licence for Leigh to train at Newmarket were raked
up in the end by backbiters and slanderers. Tlie
Americans were in bad enough odour and I was sup-
posed to be allied with Leigh from the moment he
came to Europe. It will be remembered that he
trained in the country in England. At that time a
trainer had only to have a licence when he wanted
to follow his calling at Newmarket. It was he and
one or two others who were the cause of a new rule
being passed by the English Jockey Club which makes
it compulsory for all trainers, whether at Newmarket
or elsewhere, to receive a Jockey Club licence. So
Leigh changed from England to France. While now
he is recognised everywhere as an individual and a
good trainer there was a tremendous amount of
" chat " in those days, and for some mysterious reason
whatever chance I had of getting my " ticket " was
all done in because of his success that afternoon. It
all seemed so trivial.
When in Monte Carlo I met Mr Raphael, well known
on the English Turf as an owner and breeder. He won
the Derby in 1912 with Tagalie. He told me that he
wanted me to ride a horse of his in the Derby, for he
had no doubt at that time my licence would be given
back to me. Such in fact was the general opmion
Mr Raphael told me : " There are many m favour ot
giving you back what you have so long missed.
However I was gradually driven to the realisation that
there was for the present at least nothing doing.
I began to turn my attention to motor-racmg and
was going to drive in the Paris-Madrid race but some-
how or other my car proved too heavy and my stake
money was sent back. I went down the road and
had a good look at it at various stages. It will be
remembered that there were a number of casualties
and the authorities would not let them go farther than
TO TRY ROSE DE MAI
Bordeaux. Two lost their lives in this race, including
that charming man Loraine Barrow who was well
known both to the editor of this book and to me ; he
had his home at Biarritz where he was generally liked.
I had breakfast with him the day before he was killed
by the accident to his car. Charron took a party with
him including tw^o ladies in an ordinary touring car
and finished well up in the race. But then he was a
superb driver and had nerves of steel. He offered to
take me but I preferred to see them all go by at
It was my friendship for Charron which led to my
trouble with the Societe d'Encouragement. Charron
had no trainer but prepared various horses for himself
and others at Chantilly. The day before the Prix du
Diane he came to me in great trouble saying that Rose
de Mai had been suffering from a cold and begged me
to come down to have a look at her. Later in the day,
the ow^ner, w4io was a member of the Jockey Club, told
me in his curious English how good it was of me.
" Mr Charron has told me," he continued, " and I
cannot thank you in sufficient way. Ah, but it is
terrible, and you are a good man to be so kind."
I shall never forget the journey down to Chantilly
in the car for I had to give up the front seat to a lady
and I was frozen sitting at the back. Indeed I began
to think what an idiot I had been in coming for there
wasn't a shilling in it for me. The visit did lead to all
sorts of trouble as the sequel will show. We stayed
at the Conde for the night, and were up early. I had a
good look at the mare, a very handsome animal. She
coughed once or twice and slobbed at the nose. How-
ever, I got up on her and Charron rode Limonade, who
was her constant companion at exercise. There was
no intention to gallop them of course and we trotted to
get into the open having to cross the " Aigles " — a
particular gallop at Chantilly. There was nothing
done on this gallop at all ; in fact it was more a walk
out than anything. But we were seen in the distance
by several jockeys and trainers and it got about that we
had been on ground prohibited on Sunday. However
of that later.
On getting back I advised Charron and the owner to
let her take her chance, and gave Ransch who was to
ride her his instructions. He was not to knock her
about in any way but to let her slip along if she felt
like it. He was by no means to force her in any way
at all. Further I recommended Charron, who leaned
on my judgment, if she seemed any worse after the
race, to let her have a very long ease up. We heard a
little bit of talk during the morning as to having been
on the " Aigles " ; it appeared they had recognised
my seat on the mare, and the "horrible" story had
been repeated from one to the other.
The result of the race was that Rose de Mai won
easily, she had opened at 2 to 1 and gone out to 14 to 1
before the start. I never thought it worth having any-
thing on her for I didn't know then how moderate the
opposition was. I think Charron put on ten louis for
me or something in the " mutuel " but I can't recollect
After the race M. Caillault, who was second, lodged
an objection on the score that I was the trainer of the
mare. The Stewards held a big pow-bow over it but
didn't disqualify. However for being on the " Aigles "
on a Sunday and in answer, I suppose, to the objection
they fined Charron a thousand francs, and warned me
off the saddling enclosure and jockeys' room — per-
manently. It was indeed a body blow. I couldn't
afford to have even the smallest thing against me at
that time for it would all tell in the matter of my getting
a licence in France or any other country. Unfortun-
ately at that time I had no one to give me sound advice
or I might have taken a different course. Perhaps it
doesn't much matter now, but I had more anxiety at
the time than I care to remember.
In a hot-headed way I rushed in to clear myself and
brought an action against the Societe d'Encourage-
ment and claimed damages. I managed to retain the
great pleader, Maitre Labori. One of the most charm-
ing men I ever met in my life, he spoke to me in English
all the time. He told me I might win but I should get
nothing, and the case was bound to do me harm.
But I determined to go ahead and the records will show
that I got the verdict but with no damages. The
Societe on the other hand had to pay all the costs.
When I went off to America some time afterwards they
appealed and I didn't know anything about it, but
Maitre Labori took up the case and won the appeal —
again with costs. Thus the warning off from that
enclosure didn't hold.
The case cost me from start to finish about fifteen
thousand francs or six hundred pounds. The money
wanted a bit of finding at the time, and one morning
when it was absolutely necessary for me to put up
several thousand francs on account of costs I ran into
a well-known private bank in Paris with my available
jewellery, among which were seventeen tie pins, most of
them given me by owners. Among them was a large
pear-shaped pearl of perfect quality and colour pre-
sented to me by Mr " Solly " Joel. It must have cost
him at least five hundred pounds. The whole lot was
worth one hundred thousand francs. I asked the
bank to let me have ten thousand francs and I would
pay twelve thousand to get them back. Pawn-
broking in France being a monopoly of the State — ^the
Mont de Piete — it was impossible to " lend " ; they
had to " buy " the lot from me for ten thousand francs
and agree to sell it back for twelve thousand. But
there was no written contract to this effect. I hadn't
the money for some time and, going to America in the
meantime, I returned to discover to my horror that
they had sold everything. I do not know who got Mr
Joel's pearl, but I am inclined to think that it decorates
the scarf of a certain champagne magnate ; some of
the other things were acquired by jockeys and trainers.
Very few of the lot was I able to get hold of, for
financial reverses do not come singly. It was a terrible
loss to me, and one which can never be replaced.
Just another reference to Rose de Mai. There was
a certain owner who was always nosing round who
sidled up to me on the day of that race just before
the horses went to the post, and asked : " Has she any
chance ? "
Now I wanted to get one back at him and the only
way was through his pocket, so I replied, " She'll walk
in," and was tickled to death at the idea that he
might go and lose ten thousand francs. He put his
money on in a very clever way and scarcely reduced
the price at all. He must have won a tremendous
packet. Of course I was glad for Charron's sake that
she won but all the same I kicked myself for putting
that owner on. He never suspected the truth and
even said " Thank you " — but that was all ! He
knew I smoked cigars but I suppose he forgot it when
he banked his money.
This reminds me of an absolutely true story about
a friend of mine who used to race in America but now
lives in Europe. He was in the habit of giving a man,
quite an amateur, tips from time to time, and the
Rose de Mai
fellow, who was in business and travelled about selling
his goods, made thousands of dollars in consequence.
Now in private life he would never dip down into his
pocket for anything. He would smoke his friend's
cigars, let him pay for theatre tickets, would bring a
girl or two with him and would let the giver of the tips
pay for the meals ; in fact every way he would accept
everything and give nothing. He even liked his street-
car fares to be paid for him. To sum him up, he was
the meanest fellow possible in spite of the fact that he
had a good and regular commercial income and was
under obligation for thousands of dollars won through
my friend's tips. It was that unwillingness even to
pay his street-car fare that goaded my friend to frenzy,
and at last he determined to get even with him.
He went to " Mr Mean " one day and said : " How
much would you bet if I gave you a real good thing,
a big outsider who might start at perhaps 50 or 100
to 1 ? "
The reply was three hundred dollars.
" Tliat's no good," said my friend : " you'll have to
put much more than that on ; mind you, I don't want
any of it."
" Mr Mean " thought for a moment and answered
that he would put on five hundred and perhaps more.
So it was agreed that they were to go racing next after-
noon. Quite early my friend went to a certain big
bookmaker and asked him to run down the card and
pick out something without a ghost of a chance.
Looking down the list the bookmaker said : " I'll bet
you five dollars that this one will be absolutely last.
Is that good enough for you ? W^iat's more she'll be
at 100 or 200 to 1." My friend bet him the five dollars,
being quite content at the knowledge that he was sure
to lose. Then he gave the name of the horse to the
mean man who showed hundred-dollar bills to the extent
of fifteen hundred dollars in all. He had plucked up
courage and was going to put the lot on. He took
advice however and ultimately split it up into smaller
bills so that he should not alarm the bookmakers and
reduce the price from 100 to 1 at which the horse
opened when the betting began.
Chuckling to himself the giver of the tip went up on
the stand to see the fun. The start was rather ragged
and something happened to the favourite. That out-
sider won by half-a-length, and the pile " Mr Mean "
won I believe made him give up racing ! My friend
netted the five dollars the bookmaker laid him. He
tried to ring it in that " Mr Mean " should hand over
a thousand dollars to "give to the jockey," but — not a
cent. Of course I needn't tell you where the thousand
dollars would have gone, or the best part of it.
Tommy Grifiin, who owned and trained in America,
may remember that incident although he had nothing to
do with the tip. I fancy he trained the horse though,
and that he was the most surprised man on the course
that day. Mention of Griffin, who retired from the
saddle to train and own horses, and for w^iom I always
rode when he w^anted me to, reminds me of the way in
which he was thoroughly soured against owners great
and smalL He was running a favourite little horse of
his in a selling race and hated to part with him, but
they ran him up after he had won and he had to let his
treasure go. Ever after that it didn't matter who it
was, Avhether it was Mr August Belmont or Mr W. C.
Wliitney or anyone, if he fancied a horse he would stick
at it till he had bought him. Even with me, one of his
greatest friends, he was just the same. He gave me
fair warning of what he intended to do, and would
stick at no friendship nor respect anyone's feelings in
NO FRIENDSHIP IN RACING
the matter of buying out of selling races. I had a
horse named Rubicon for whom I paid seventeen
hundred dollars. He ran in " Pittsburg Phil's " name
and colours, and I won five straight races on him,
eventually putting him in a high-class selling race
worth five thousand dollars. I rode and won. Griffin
plugged away at the bidding and eventually had
Rubicon knocked down to him for four thousand five
hundred dollars. Of course I never dreamed he would
go on, nor could I realise that anyone would pay so
much for a plater. I don't think I ever came quite
so near crying over anything in my life, but I re-
membered then all that Griffin had said to me
previously. All he added now was : " I'm sorry. Tod ;
I'm your friend and I'm also a friend of Phil's, but I
always told you what I'd do." Nothing would shake
him. He wouldn't sell me the horse back. " Racing
is a business," he answered when I asked him. " I
had my bit of grief the day I lost that favourite horse
of mine. It's no good talking ; you mustn't keep up
a grudge against me, for I'd sooner be a friend than
otherwise, but I'd do exactly the same thing to-
morrow if you had something else in a race which I
Of course the big fellows used to get a bit mad with
him at times, but Griffin was fearless and didn't pay
the slightest heed when it was whispered to him that
he had better be careful. He always relied on his
stock saying that business was business, and he refused
to be talked out of his new method. Many others
have had a similar experience. Of course in cases
where horses are bought or claimed it has often
been a matter of private grievances coming out,
but Griffin never bore the slightest animosity against
anybody : all names were the same to him.
Long Priced Rides — Never saw Fred Archer — At New Orleans
I FOUND during the following year that many visitors
to Paris were curious enough to ask me all sorts of
questions about certain incidents which had happened
during my racing career which had been cut off so
suddenly. I can remember especially being asked
what long shots had been steered home by me, and
some of the answers which were given may be useful
to add to those which have already appeared. In
England in my first season I brought off successfully
several 25 to 1 and 33 to 1 chances.
Among the longer shots in America that I can
remember was an animal belonging to the late Louis
Ezell. There were plenty of 100 to 1 bets taken about
him that afternoon at Chicago. Remember that it
was away back when it was thought I couldn't ride —
in fact I was just at my worst ! If memory serves it
was in 1893. Ezell said to me : " Do the best you
can. I don't think he's got a chance ; at all events
I'll leave the colt to you." For all I know he had
looked about for a boy who couldn't possibly win, for
as I said in a previous chapter that was the kind of
reputation I had at the time. I happened to get fairly
well away and certainly I was dead keen on winning.
I let the colt slip along, making every post a winning
one. During the race there was time to think it over.
I had received no instructions about " pulling him
LONG PRICED RIDES
in behind," and if I had I would not have followed
them — I shouldn't even have listened. I think my
friends and those who have criticised me can say with
perfect certainty that nothing would ever satisfy me
but to win. I looked round in that race in Chicago
and could see nothing near me. Still I shook my
mount up, and I won pulling up. My brother Cash
rode in the same race and told me afterwards that he
was never so surprised in his life. It was like his
cheek ! By the way, although he was always known
as " Cash," his proper name was Cassius Braynand
Sloan, the second name being after my Uncle Braynand.
After the race just alluded to Ezell was not pleased
— no, not at all ! He said : " WTiat did you go and
win for ? I wanted to bet on this one when I thought
he had a chance. You ought to have known that it
was the first time I had him out."
I didn't figure it up but I came to the conclusion
that it was a question of his wanting me to " qualify "
him. However, surely he knew I was too inexperi-
enced for that. It wasn't worth while answering for
I was so tickled to death at winning a race. Ezell
thought me a fool and left it at that.
There were several long priced winners in England,
Sea Fog for instance, whom I rode for Sir R. Waldie
Griffith. If I remember rightly this horse started at
33 to 1. It was before the American invasion and
before anyone had started betting blindly on anything.
I had the good or bad luck to ride. Sea Fog brought
me in a nice little bit of spending money for I had a
standing bet of ten pounds each way on each of my
Another question I may as well answer here is as to
what horse I have personally found the most con-
sistent. In answering I should certainly include
Belmar already referred to, while the best two-year-old
I ever rode was a colt named Jean Beraud owned by
Dave Gideon, the uncle of Melville Gideon, so well
known as the composer and singer of rag-time. I do
not know whether the latter remembers the young
horse in question, for Melville is some years my junior.
Among the many musicians I have met in my life I
put him down as one of the greatest in his own line.
I was once a bit of a tenor myself ; in fact I had always
a keen appreciation and a certain amount of knowledge
of music of all kinds. Melville Gideon was quite a
wonder as a boy, and afterwards studied music in
Germany ; he is versatile to a degree and has only to
stick to it to be able to do anything. Anyhow, he has
amused a great public in all parts of the world while
his melodies seem destined to last as long as "The
Another topic I have been frequently interviewed
about — by French journalists in particular — is the
question of " dope." It would be silly to say that the
meaning of the term was not known to me, but I can
say frankly, without any fear of being hauled up, that
I never handled dope of any kind nor lent myself to
its use. One of the first questions put to me in this
connection was always as to whether drugs were liable
to injure a horse permanently, and my intelligent reply
could only be that a real stimulant would perhaps help
an animal who was a little faint-hearted or had a weak-
ness in temperament, much as a man could be " assisted "
by whisky or brandy properly applied. I do not
know, having been out of racing for so long, whether the
old-fashioned English stimulants of port wine or old
ale, which I have read have been given to horses for
generations, are still permitted, but I have been told
by many old-time racing men in England that they were
LoKi) Carnarvon and Tod Sloan at Longchamps
A taiiiature I'V Sciii
NEVER SAW FRED ARCHER
very effective on occasions. I have never, to my
knowledge, seen or ridden a horse having this kind
of homely dope, but it is quite possible to maintain
that no permanent harm could be done by swallowing
either. I have also read and heard about whisky
being used, but I should keep an open. mind about its
Dope is given to horses to stop them. This I am
almost certain of. Surely a poisonous drug might injure
a horse's racing career for all time. Good gracious me !
think of the effect on an athlete : his stomach and
nervous system might be ruined for ever from the
effect of swallowing the kind of poison which beyond
question has been given to race-horses. We Americans
were all supposed to be absolute experts in dope, but
don't believe half you hear on the subject ; three-
quarters of it is absurd. Modern training methods
and riding in new styles made so much difference that
critics could not understand altered form and attri-
buted it to little bits of " You know what, mixed as
we know how."
One of the greatest regrets of my life was that I
never saw Fred Archer ride. I have stood several
times by his graveside in the cemetery at Newmarket
and tried to picture him from his photograph doing
those wonderful records which I had read so much of.
Americans in my early days were always discussing
the merits of Archer compared with those of boys like
McLoughlin and Garrison. I was continually told that
Archeif had ridden two thousand seven hundred and
forty-eight winners during his career of nineteen years.
There is sufficient in this to make him the greatest
living jockey of all time. Doesn't it seem a terrible
thing for any man to be cut off from trying to equal
that record ? Perhaps it might not have been possible,
but, with the average I earned in several years that
of about thirty-three per cent, of winners in some
seasons, and thirty-eight per cent, in Cahfornia, I feel
that if I had lasted out physically the past fifteen
years might have brought up the number of winning
mounts to nearly the figures obtained by the immortal
horseman who had a jockey's career less long than
mine would have been.
I made many attempts during the year which
followed to find out what chance I had of getting my
licence again, but despite having good friends I had no
encouragement at all ; in fact the prospect became
more and more dismal. I went over to America in
the spring of 1904 and should have returned beyond
question in the fall of the year had there been any
bright outlook. I had many powerful friends in New
York who tried to do everything possible for me, but
it all proved hopeless. In the East they would not
give me a licence on the score that they might offend
the English Jockey Club, with which reasoning I have
no kind of quarrel. Ed. Corrigan, who was opening
a new race-track at New Orleans, wired to me to go
out to see him at Los Angeles. He offered to give
me ten thousand dollars for the season if I would ride
on his course. Naturally I was to be the star turn or
advertisement for the new track. Over three thousand
pounds for a season was not to be sneezed at. I
consulted my friends to see what they thought about
it all. I had been keeping myself pretty fit riding at
exercise, and I may say that I never had any difficulty
in getting round into condition after a slack time.
I had natural confidence and I never put on flesh,
so it was easier for me than for others. There were
many friends to leave in New York, and a certain
amount of hesitancy was inevitable. Neither did I
AT NEW ORLEANS
quite like the idea of riding on a track which, although
not exactly " outlawed," was liable to be barred.
Such were the conditions of affairs in New Orleans ;
and I did not think for a moment they would allow
me to get in the saddle at the rival track whose dates
were about the same as where I was to figure. It
turned out just as I had anticipated, and I had no heart
at all in the work which was before me.
It proved a terrible place : the horses were up to
their bellies in mud and their temperament changed
just as my own had done. I felt exiled and I never
took any interest in the work at all. I played bridge
at night and was so disgruntled that I lost heart in the
whole business. I won five races out of fourteen
mounts, but that was no good to anyone and I gave
My Monologue — My Engagement — What a "Buck" is
I WAS rather disgusted after that New Orleans trip,
and I settled down in New York again, buying a new
car and going racing with varying luck. My court-
ship of JNIiss Julia Sanderson had lasted a long time,
and eventually I was married to my " first and only
wife " on 21st August 1907. I had taken a flat in
45th Street and furnished it. The real happiness
which followed was the best solace possible for dis-
appointments, and all those pleasant days, months
and years helped me to think that after all there was
a great deal left in life. My wife remained on the stage
after we were married, while I had started a big billiard-
room containing eighteen tables with John McGraw,
the great baseball player and, at the time of writing,
manager of the " Giants " team. This business oc-
cupied a great deal of time, as I was sometimes up
looking after the show for half the night. Still it was
a good place and the profits were steady.
Soon after my billiard enterprise an offer came to
me to appear on the vaudeville stage in a monologue
entertainment. The inducement was great : fifteen
hundred dollars a week. Certain facts were related to
the dramatic author and manager, Geo. M. Cohan, and
he put together something which I learnt by heart.
There was no question of stage fright in advance, but
as the time for my first appearance came round I had
necessarily a certain amount of nervousness as to
whether I should make good or not. The first en-
gagement was at Hammerstein's. The question of
what I should wear was debated and at last it was
decided that evening clothes would be the most
suitable. It went all right and business was excellent,
I used to get a good number of laughs^ — more I suppose
on account of Cohan's witty lines ; at all events the
credit must be left to him. It is a pity that I cannot
now remember the whole of the monologue. Stories
about England were told, not altogether to boost the
country I had ridden in. Little yarns about some of
the antiquated customs of the old country nearly always
go down to a mixed audience at a vaudeville show in
America. There was one story about the English
national game of cricket. I had to describe how a
man went to the wicket with his bat when he was a
boy, and stayed there until his whiskers began to grow,
and on and on year after year until he became grey
and was succeeded by his son. It was a gibe against
the slowness of the game as compared with the thrilling
quickness of baseball. I shall always think that with
a few more demonstrations of baseball the taste for it
in England would have been started. Everything is
crowded into about three hours, and some day even
Englishmen will refuse to be entertained by a struggle
which is not decided for three days — and then some-
times not finished.
Another story I told concerned my advice to the
great James Rowe about a horse race. I was supposed
to say to him : " You had better have a bet on my
mount to-day," and he refused, telling me that I had
told him to back the same animal a few days before
and he had lost five hundred dollars. Then I brought
down the house by telling how I ultimately convinced
him with the argument : " / am putting five hundred
dollars on him to-day ! " An audience always likes
stories told against oneself.
Then I rung in another story about America's great
jockey Snapper Garrison. I recounted how I had met
him on the race-track and said : " Wiy don't you go
on the stage the same as I am and earn fifteen hundred
dollars a week? You have only to go before an
audience and tell them what you did when you were
He was supposed to reply : " Tell them what I did ?
Wliy, I wouldn't do that for ten thousand a week ! "
It doesn't perhaps look so funny in cold print but I
got across with it — again thanks to Mr Geo. Cohan.
By the way, Mr Cohan is one of the best friends
possible to those he likes or who are in need of a helping
hand. The little charities he has done are numberless.
One day he walked into a saloon kept by a man he
had known in happier circumstances. He had heard
that this particular saloon-keeper had not been going
very strong and had been struggling to overcome
misfortune. He also knew for certain that the place
was absolutely the man's own property. Calling for a
couple of drinks, he threw down a thousand -dollar
note and told the barman to " ring it up in the machine "
(the check till). It was a graceful way of doing some-
thing without making a fuss about his bounty.
My wife went from one show to another in musical
comedy and paid two visits to London — much to my
regret — however, that need not be alluded to. There
was one incident, however, which I shall never forget,
that being when I raced across the Atlantic to see her,
cabling beforehand for her not to sail until after my
arrival. Somehow the cable miscarried : whose fault
it was doesn't matter, but when I arrived she had sailed
Miss Ti'IIA Sanoerson
twelve hours before ! We must have passed each
other somewhere off the coast of Ireland. It is no
use reviving that memory, but there are times in one's
life when we can be in a state of what I would call the
hopelessness of despair. Talk about anything which
had occurred before in my life, the trouble about the
licence, losing thousands of pounds, in fact anything
which can be remembered : they were as nothing com-
pared with my feelings when I reached England and
found that she had gone. Still, the personal note in
connection with the girl who was gracious enough to
take my name can be dismissed.
The following, which was published at the time, may
be interesting (it was just before our marriage) : —
"JOCKEY HAS BEEN DEVOTED
There's a pretty definite rumour in circulation that
names Julia Sanderson of the ' Fantana ' forces as
the prospective bride of J. Todhunter Sloan, the noted
jockey. And although Miss Sanderson has taken
occasion, in the way of mild rebuke, to receive the
story in the spirit of jest, the report, to use the well-
known phrase appropriate at such times, will not
"Until Sloan was summoned to New Orleans to re-
sume his seat in the saddle at Ed. Corrigan's City Park
race-track, he and Miss Sanderson had been observed
frequently in each other's company, and the diminutive
jockey played the gallant so devotedly that the report
of an engagement was the principal topic in the
' Fantana ' company.
" Just before Sloan started for the South, he and Miss
Sanderson occupied a box at a Sunday night concert
in a New York theatre. During the intermission
several mutual friends took occasion to congratulate
them on the reported engagement. Sloan tried to
blush and said nothing. Miss Sanderson smiled feebly
and remarked that it wasn't wise to believe all reports.
"Miss Sanderson's rise on the musical stage has
been meteoric. She was an unknown chorus girl in
Winsome Winnie when Paula Edwardes, the star, was
suddenly called away by the death of her brother.
Without previous rehearsal Miss Sanderson sang the
title role and made a hit. She was subsequently
assigned to a role of importance in A Chinese Honey-
moon, and after Madge Lessing retired from Wang
received the part of Mataya."
From Hammerstein's my engagement extended to
Brooklyn and elsewhere, but the strain of two shows a
day became too great ; it was all right looking forward
to the evening only, but I didn't feel equal to the
afternoon too, and perhaps rather foolishly made no
more bookings. It must be remembered that natur-
ally the big billiard hall could not be looked after
quite so well, and there was enough in this to give us a
good living. That particular trip to America, where
I only intended to go for a few months in 1904, ex-
tended up to 1908. It can be put down here that
despite my having no licence to ride, and my repeated
failures to get one, old friends stuck to me and that
I made new ones. Year succeeds year very quickly
when we get over a certain age and those happy three
years after my marriage seemed to fly. Of course
there were little ups and downs of fortune which are
inseparable from the experiences of those who go
racing, but somehow when there is racing money seems
to circulate more freely and there were always a certain
number of " bucks " in my pocket. For those who are
WHAT A BUCK IS
ignorant as to what a " buck " is, it might be explained
that this is slang for a dollar, and here is a story about
an old-time prize-fighter who used to be a frequenter
of my billiard-room.
This man would sit watching a game for hours, inter-
fering with no one. Occasionally somebody would
slip him something to help him along. I heard a fine
little bit of comedy one afternoon when an old gentle-
man was shaking hands and bidding him good-bye.
The old pugilist said :
" I beg your pardon, but could you lend me a buck
before you go ? I want to buy some food."
" Certainly," was the ready response, as he took
out his pocket-book," but tell me how much a ' buck '
is, I have never heard of it." Without the slightest
hesitation the old fighter said with a smile of innocent
childhood: "Two dollars."
Another time he met an old friend down in the
billiard -room and they talked for over an hour.
Suddenly the occasional visitor got up to go.
" You're not going to leave me like that," said the
ex-boxer, " without even a car fare ? "
" Oh, I'll give you that all right," said the
" financier," as he opened his wallet. " I'll give you
a car fare. Where do you want to go ? "
" To Kansas City ! " said the bright boy. They
both laughed ; and at all events enough was forth-
coming for a half-way journey for where the pug.
didnH want to go.
He was an excellent story-teller himself, and I can
remember that one day he came in mopping his fore-
head, saying that he had never been for such a long
walk for weeks. It appears that a young fellow who
had squandered one or two fortunes had been put on a
close allowance by his family. He was put to live in
a big hotel down town where he could have every-
thing in that house : meals, cigars, drinks, in fact all
he wanted within reason ; but not a penny of ready
money was given him. The fighter met him and
wanted a good drink and cigar. " Come to my place,"
said the young fellow, but neither had the money for
the car fare and they had to tramp it over two miles
with the thermometer nearly 100° in the shade.
" Never again," said the old man ; " although I must
say I did have four glasses of whisky and smoked four
cigars and he gave me these two to bring away with
Certainly it was an extraordinary way for a family
to try and keep a boy in order.
I am reminded by this of just another yam con-
cerning an owner in America. He had two sons who
hated the idea of work. The father had tried them
several times, but they were such absolute slackers
that he gave it up as a bad job. He let them stay at
home, where they had everything they wanted, and
their allowance for pocket money was five dollars a
day. If the father did not see them in the morning
the sum was left with the greatest punctuality in an
envelope on the hall table and in no circumstances did
he increase the allowance nor let them anticipate it.
He paid for their clothes too up to a certain sum every
year and when they went away for the summer vaca-
tion the money was doled out in precisely the same
Ruined through Winning — Acquiring Abelard II. — "The Knock"
Throughout this book I am afraid that I may have
said too much of my perpetual hopes and fears about
getting a hcence. At all events at the beginning of
1909 I was led to believe there was yet another chance,
but — the usual result.
I went back to France therefore, and then on to
Ostend. Here one day I was introduced to Lord
Torrington : we seemed to have a lot of interests in
common straight away. The friendship struck up
there lasted for a long time. We saw out the re-
mainder of the season at Ostend, having determined
to go on to Brussels immediately afterwards. Lord
Torrington proved a splendid sportsman and was on
for any enterprise which the means at our disposal
could exploit. We learned to know each other better
and better, and we had no hesitation about embarking
on a little deal together at the opening of the Autumn
season. I saw an animal walking round the paddock
which I mistook for a colt, but which proved to my
surprise to be a filly. Getting closer to her, her good
looks impressed me very much ; in fact she looked all
over a winner, and of much better class than the others.
I told " T " what I thought of her and we had a nice
bet about her on the off chance, and we arranged that
if she did win we would try to buy her.
Everything turned out successfully : she won,
and we secured her for three thousand francs.
That was the start of the stable. The filly was
Campenoise, who afterwards won many races. We
put her in charge of Adament Douliere, who trained at
Mons for the President of the Jockey Club, M. Coppee.
He was one of the nicest men I ever met in Belgium
and would take any amount of trouble with horses.
Campenoise never ran in a Selling Plate after that.
The first time we ran her, in Lord Torrington's colours
of course, she won, and we had already made a nice
profit on our investment. All we touched seemed to
turn into money for a time, until the end of the season
came. Lord Torrington went off for a trip to the
West Indies and I decided to spend a week in Paris.
It was at the time of the floods. Paris was lighter and
ga^'-er than at any time during the first war winter of
1914-1915. There was plenty of excitement too when
the water was reported to be rising so many inches a
day. But at the hotels and restaurants no one was upset.
It was just something to look at and wonder about.
In the spring of the year Mr George Edwardes sent
over for me to ride a trial for him at Ogbourne and I
went. It was my first meeting with his trainer, Pat
After several rides Mr Edwardes asked : " Well,
how's the stable getting on in Belgium ; do you want
one or two ? "
There was an old horse I had seen who had first been
leading the two-year-olds, been switched on afterwards
to some older horses and even then had not finished.
Then my eye caught a black but I was told I couldn't
have him. Then I suggested I would like the old
horse, who proved to be Abelard II.
" Oh, choose anything else but him," said Pat
Hartigan. " Don't take him ; he's too useful."
RUINED THROUGH WINNING
Mr Edwardes laughed : " Oh, you want them ail,
Pat ! You take him, Tod ; you can have him with
pleasure." He practically gave him to me.
I had heard that the old 'un had let Mr Edwardes
down once or twice, and perhaps for this reason he
wasn't so sorry to see the back of him, so that he should
not lose any more money. At all events I was very
proud of our new property and he was duly sent over
It must be mentioned that at this time I had been
promised a trainer's licence in Belgium and there was
every reason to think it would be handed to me in a
few days. At last it seemed that my luck was chang-
ing and that I was to start off with a real good chance
of making good. Several of my friends congratulated
me in advance on my good fortune and some of them
went as far as to say that they would support me. I
had made my plans and was counting the hours to the
time when it should be announced to those I respected
in England and America that at last I had a " ticket "
to do something at my legitimate game.
But destiny again interfered. There arrived
another minor tragedy of a life in which there had
been so many ups and downs. Abelard II. was put
in a hurdle race. I had no idea that he could stay
and this race was lost entirely through carelessness.
Abelard wouldn't go with Jimmy Hare waiting behind
on him and the race was lost. A few days later he was
engaged in the Grand Steeplechase and in this from
flag fall Abelard raced away on his own, Jimmy Hare
being quite unable to stop him. At one time he was
quite two hundred and fifty yards in front and at no
part of the race less than two hundred yards to the
good. He won in a trot, and no one was more surprised
After the race Baron Grenier said to Mr Harry Van
der Poole, " Sloan wants his licence, doesn't he ? "
and took it out of his pocket. There it was in black
and white and Harry Van der Poole reached out for it,
but the Baron proceeded to tear it up into small pieces,
saying as he did so : " Oh yes ; Sloan can have it ;
here it is."
I can hardly speak of the incident, and every time
I thought of it for a year or two afterwards a lump
would come into my throat at the thought of what I
had missed. Nothing would satisfy them but that
there had been something queer about the first race.
However I can solemnly state that no one has ever
been more innocent than myself or anyone connected
with the horse. Simply we didn't know him the first
time and Abelard insisted on us knowing him when he
ran in that Steeplechase. He won all sorts of races
on the flat and over jumps, and the last event he ran in
in Belgium he actually carried 11-4 and won.
That last race was just a little while before the
Cambridgeshire. It will be remembered that in that
race he had the light weight of 6-9. He was sent over
to Newmarket to a stable where the trainer owning the
establishment did his very best, giving him one of the
finest boxes in the place ; but Abelard was a horse of
peculiar temperament and character. He loved soli-
tude and at home I would always have him in the
quietest part of the yard. As it happened, at New-
market, although his quarters were so good, there was
a noise outside his box with the lads coming and going,
rattling buckets and so on. Nothing was better
calculated to upset this sensitive horse. When I
arrived in Newmarket on the day of the race two or
three of us went out to see him, and I was rather
shocked at his appearance, for he had lost nearly fifty
ACQUIRING ABELARD II.
pounds in weight. His chance didn't look so rosy. Lord
Torrington had backed him to win a very large sum at
long prices and there was still a chance considering
how light a weight he had to carry. Mr Edwardes
never had the slightest idea of his winning ; in fact he
ridiculed me — but he hadn't seen the way Abelard
had won his races in Belgium. Admitted that the
class there is below that of England and France, still
when a horse gives stones away on the flat to quite
useful horses it must be taken some notice of. He
never showed at all in the Cambridgeshire. I think
his rider thought that the horse was going to run away
with him or something. However one mustn't blame
him. It was a disappointment nevertheless. If
Abelard could have appeared on Newmarket Heath
that Wednesday in the same fettle as he was in on
many days in Belgium he would have made a different
showing ; but for all that Christmas Daisy would have
wanted beating by anything in training.
George Parfrement had ridden in the Steeplechase
in Belgium when Abelard had won and was determined
in the Prix des Drags at Auteuil not to let our horse
get so far away from him. I thought he was sure to
fall if George kept to this tack of lying on his heels.
At the stone wall Abelard pecked and his rider
was shot out of the saddle but the horse did not
After the Cambridgeshire it will be remembered
that Abelard won on the flat and his performances
after over hurdles in England can be remembered.
After the incident of the tearing up of the licence all
hope seemed at an end about obtaining anything. It
seemed to me almost persecution, for a full explana-
tion could have been given, but of course I had no
status in regard to the horse, and was not given a
chance. I was not the only sufferer, however.
About this time there was an Enghshman in
Belgium, a young trainer, well educated, a good fellow
and a veterinary surgeon by profession although he
did not practise. For some reason or other he could
not obtain a licence in France and came to Belgium
to try his luck there. But he met with all sorts of
rebuffs and the endeavour seemed hopeless. \Miat
was it ? There was a whisper that he understood too
much about " dope " — a disgraceful allegation. The
bar was up in France and it seemed that he would find
it up perpetually in Belgium too. Time went on with
apparently no relaxing on the part of the Stewards.
At last, through very strong inside influence, that of a
big shareholder I think at one of the race-tracks, the
Englishman obtained permission. The trouble then
was to obtain a horse or two. Eventually he got hold
of one — a very bad actor and not an enviable animal
to make a start with. He took any amount of trouble,
however, with this " one and only " and won the first
five races the horse ran in ! Then followed more
persecution : after each of these five races there was
an objection lodged and all of them overruled. Can
you beat it ? In some cases it was a charge of " dope "
and in others something trivial. However, he had
shown what he could do, and a few more horses came
to him ; while in the following season he had more
offered to him than he could train, having a grand
string and winning any amount of races.
That man is George Newton, who now is private
trainer in France for Mr Stern. He has the confidence
of his owner and all those he comes in touch with.
Good luck to him for the pluck he had in fighting on
and on and — beating 'em.
At thi: Carlton Hotel, Nice
An Englishman or an American soon gets used to life
abroad, but when so many things can occur in private
" talks " among the ruling body, and all sorts of things
are listened to which there is no chance of denying, I
ask you, what can be done ?
After that Abelard incident as fast as I wanted to
explain and felt convinced I could, all the time a lot of
backbiters, who would abuse the friendship of anyone,
gave me " the knock." Some of them had not seen
either race ! Jimmy Hare, now training in England,
will say what he knows and how unjustifiable it all
THE THEODORE MYERS STABLE
Kaufmann's Methods— Mr Myers' Success— In April 191 5
Surely there never was a more preposterous system
established than that of the Societe d' Encouragement
in France, when they engaged Professor Kaufmann.
The Austrian Jockey Club had been the first to start
the business of examining the saliva of race-horses after
a race in the search for traces of drugs which might
have been administered to a horse. Kaufmann came
to Paris with his theories and his assistants, and was
engaged straight away and went about his work.
There was no great inquiry as to whether his system
was infallible ; he was just launched on his policeman
work. Just fancy an Austrian squad, able to make full
inquiries about everything going on in France, gomg to
all the race meetings, including some adjonnng impor-
tant fortified places. This is no charge that he or any
of his assistants were spying. But what a change
between then and now. What a hoist an Austrian
would get at the time of writing (early in 1915) if he
tried to nose into everything in France, both on and
off a race-course! Things have certainly altered.
They would have kissed him then ; they might lynch
It will be scarcely believable to those who do not
know that after the appointment of Professor Kauf-
mann all the examinations were at first m secret.
Eventually, after many complaints, the trainer was
allowed to be present. But to start off there might
as well have been no owner and no trainer, for all
connected with a horse were kept outside. What an
outrage ! Many a good horse too has been ruined
while standing there sweating after a race without a
rub-down or being rugged up until the wonderful
professor or his crew arrived from the weighing
enclosure or buffet. TOien the swabbing out was
done the horse was turned over to his lad.
Small wonder that some trainers went almost crazy
with rage at the treatment their horses received, and
at the time mentioned, when such as Denman, the
Carters, the Cunningtons, in fact all trainers, had to
cool their heels while their horses cooled and got
chilled — well, it was unspeakable.
Was Kaufmann right in what he was supposed to
find out ? Wlio can say ! He had to do something
to justify himself and the blame is not so much his as
those who countenanced such proceedings. And what
ridiculous happenings there were too !
Take the case of Bonbon Rose. The pari-mutuel
paid out over the race — over Bonbon Rose of course —
but when the result of the " test " was known the
horse was disqualified and the stake given to the
second. M. de Monbel very rightly brought an action
to recover the stake. Now in all countries bets follow
stakes, so the backers of the second should have been
able to " touch." It seems too absurd that there
should have been heavy winners over an animal which
never got the race.
Again, why weren't the second and third also ex-
amined by the Specialist ? The manner employed
was to pick any horse out promiscuously and make a
test : no trainer knew when his would be up for it.
To administer drugs to a horse is " doping." For
the sake of argument, however, let it be considered
whether leaving a certain number of kola nuts about
on the grass for a horse to pick up if he liked is " ad-
ministering dope " or not. Some horses would pick
them up readily enough while others would not touch
them. If a horse gets what he likes, therefore, and
that which stimulates or sustains him — is that doping
him ? Athletes nibble a piece of kola nut and are
encouraged to extra exertion. What is good for a
man cannot be harmful to a horse. Mind, I am only
putting a case for argument. Some horses like dande-
lions and others don't. I am not sure but that dande-
lions might give a result on analysis which might
suggest that something beyond " real grub " had been
given to a horse. I hope those who read this will chew
it all over.
My first venture in having any connection in horses
with Mr Theodore Myers, Ex-Controller of New York,
was one day at Auteuil. It was a horse I wanted to
buy and found I had only about three thousand francs,
the price being about six thousand francs. I asked
Mr Myers if he had any money on him to make up the
sum. He told me that he would put up the other half
and go in partnership over him, but that the horse
must run in his name and colours. That was all right,
in fact just as it should be. It was the beginning of a
very pleasant association, and from first to last a good
number of horses passed through our hands. At one
time we had nearly thirty horses in the stable near
Brussels and Ross Adams was the resident trainer.
Mr Myers became very fond of the horses, indeed of
the whole business, and was tireless in asking questions
about each of them. What could they do ? Wliere
and when were they likely to run ? What sort of
MR MYERS' SUCCESS
chance did they possess ? Of course there were the
many disappointments inseparable from a racing
stable. Of those now remaining Mr Myers' property
are two mares, Chester and Jonquille. With more
careful training the latter, a grey, might have turned
out anything : she was a perfect beauty as a two-year-
old when we bought her.
Tliere was one race which she won at Maisons
Laflfitte over which I am afraid both Mr Myers and
myself made some bad friends. The going was not
exactly in her favour and she was so badly drawn — in
fact in a position on the other side of the course, from
which very few if any win. How could either of us
therefore give one point of encouragement to inquiring
It seemed any odds against. I fancy someone put
on a hundred francs for me, but I would not waste a
shilling of my own over her — in the circumstances.
Mr Myers had a few hundred francs on her. She was
his animal and he was a rich man so he had a right to
indulge in a hobby. She won at a big price, Johnny
Reiff just getting the filly home. Then started the
" rat-tats." " Why hadn't we told them ? " I never
heard the end of it that afternoon, nor the next day
either ; it was always coming at me from one and
another. It was no use telling the truth for I was dis-
believed, and in fact charged with misleading inquirers,
these including many old friends, some of whom gave
me the cold shoulder ever afterwards, and some of
whom I cut out for being so surly about it. This may
not be so interesting to English readers, but the case is
of the kind that many others have experienced on a
race-course. It would have been madness to encourage
them to back the mare : in fact I was on a hiding to
nothing whatever happened.
It is a most difficult thing too to give an owner the
right idea when to bet and when not to, especially
when that man has not been racing all his life. Half a
suggestion by a trainer to an experienced owner is
enough sometimes ; the latter will take the responsi-
bility on himself and kick afterwards. So many
owners and trainers have fallen out over this, some
being too hopeful while others hate to have any hand
in making a suggestion. If the owner is a betting
man there is frequently a better time afterwards when
advising a failure than when a man of non-speculation
has an occasional small flutter and it goes down.
I am afraid Mr Myers thought I was over-confident
sometimes and he would say so on occasions — after a
race — but always cheerfully. Archie Maclntyre, now
in Roumania, rode a good deal for us ; also others ;
and there was frequently a race thrown away through
not following orders. I don't believe in hampering
a boy with too many instructions, but in the case of
horses of peculiar temperaments — well, I studied this
more than many did.
Taking them all round, they were a cheap lot of
horses Mr Myers had, but they could win all the same.
By degrees, however, Mr Myers got tired of racing and
weeded out the stable, selling some and giving away
others until finally he gave it all up, only keeping the
two mentioned for breeding purposes.
When all those pleasant days in Brussels are re-
membered it is a terrible thing to think of all the
places we went to and spent such a happy time in
being swept away and gone for a long time, so far as
racing is concerned. In its way Belgium was a para-
dise for a small owner : he could have a chance with
moderate-priced horses and back them at fair odds too,
thus helping him to make it pay ; whether racing will
IN APRIL 1915
be revived again is one of those puzzles we in the spring
of 1915 cannot solve.
A few lucky owners managed to get away with a
few of their horses to England, and to win races too.
The Belgian-bred stock were improving every year
there is no doubt, and racing was going the right way
quite. Of course expensive sires could not be pur-
chased, but good results can be obtained without
extravagance. It is not necessary to specify horses,
but one of the first things all true lovers of
racing will wish for is that racing be restored. This
sounds empty as it is written but — who knows ! It
will be curious in future years to read what was written
in April 1915 !
SOME MINOR SUCCESSES
A Doctor's Advice — Rehearsing an Operation — Great Night at Ostend —
What Hanlon did for me
One of those charming friends who had helped in
every possible way in Brussels in all I tried to do and
who looked after my health was Dr Bouhlle. He was
one of the best friends I had in that country. He
would give me such excellent advice in regard to my
health and some excellent " man of the world "
pointers as to what I should do. He was medical
officer to the Jockey Club there and had naturally a
certain amount of influence. I cannot thank him
enough for his dozens of acts of friendship. I have
always made friends with medical men.
At the Cecil in London in 1899 I was suffering, as I
thought, from nervous breakdown, and I was sure of
the insomnia, for sleep was next to impossible. The
Prince of Wales was told of it, and suggested to Lord
William Beresford to send me to Sir Francis Laking ;
the latter was told that I was coming to consult him.
He thoroughly examined me and certainly I had
fallen away, not weighing an ounce more than 6-7.
Sir Francis was most amiable to me, asked me a lot of
questions about myself, and was quite a delightful
man to talk to. His verdict was that I was in bad
case and must rest up for at least two months. I
ought to go away, he said, and be looked after by a
trained nurse. He told me also that he would leave
the choice of a sanatorium to me. I listened very
A DOCTOR'S ADVICE
attentively to him, but eventually stiiick in with :
" I have to ride in the Derby next week. I must ; I
have the chance of a good mount."
Sir Francis expostulated with me on the madness
of it, and told me that he would not be responsible
for anything which might happen. He was very
Of course I rode in the Derby. It shows what one
can do in a fanciful mood. I know that when I have
been broke I have had no hallucinations — is that the
right word ? — about being ill, but on a big earning
capacity and with a full bank I often found myself
nervous about my heart, my lungs, my — well, especi-
ally the former. It was very delightful of the Prince
of Wales to mention to Lord William that there was
just the odd interest taken by him in my health. It
was just on a par with all he did for those he took any
passing or permanent interest in. I must add too that
Lord William used to say to me : " Little man, you
must look after yourself " — and this wasn't because
he wanted me to do nothing but ride for him ; it was
something altogether above that — a great good man's
interest. Would to God he had lived ! And I will
go further — I cannot think but that had he lived some
greater consideration — if only in a spirit of clemency —
would have been extended to me. God ! it is a
terrible thing to be barred for life. What can be the
reason of it all ? Surely someone must realise the
fierce difficulties of living without a licence to follow
Going back to doctors and surgeons I must here put
down my heartfelt thanks to all of them, for I do not
suppose that the fees I have had to pay have amounted
to more than one hundred pounds in my life — and I
was a bit of an " inquirer " on the " ailment stakes."
Dr Bull and Dr Jannaway of New York were very-
kind when I thought that I had an affection of the
heart, but they both at different times gave me a
clean bill of health.
Dr A. C. Bernays of St Louis was perhaps one of the
greatest personalities among surgeons whom I ever
met. I was privileged to become a great friend of his
and had the opportunity of studying one of the clever-
est surgeons in America. It is far more interesting to
state some facts about the man than to remember any
small or great thing which he ever did for me. A. C.
Bernays, I believe, performed the most marvellous
feats in surgery that the scientific world has ever
known. He had the wonderful case in his charge of
the woman who had been shot three times through the
brain by her husband — who was condemned and
executed, by the way.
The woman lasted four days by the most wonderful
feat of surgical jugglery — forgive the word — and Dr
Bernays actually had her talking for a few minutes on
the third day ; but of course she was doomed and in
the ordinary course of life should have died on the
same night as she was shot, but — A. C. Bernays ruled
otherwise. In connection with this case the surgeon's
claim against the estate of the deceased man and
woman was disputed. It was a question of fifty
thousand dollars. The administrators were against
it but eventually " Doc " Bernays made good his
right. He had sat up with the wife watching her un-
ceasingly for four days and nights, and this was taken
into consideration. He had ruined his health, but
had achieved a triumph for surgery. The whole
details of what he had done were given in the scientific
When a great Congress of medical men was held — I
REHEARSING AN OPERATION
think in Berlin — Dr Bernays performed a most
wonderful operation on the spot which was reported
everywhere and staggered those present by its skill
and originality. It may seem strange that I could
take so much interest in it all, but I knew the man
and what he could do.
I had an extra knowledge of him from my repeated
conversations with him : he would find a ready and
willing listener in me at all times. He would some-
times say : " Tod, I have an operation to do to-
morrow morning which I have never had before, with
all my experience. I will tell you what it is, and what
I am going to do." Then he would rehearse it and I
would sit silent and wondering at the — what shall I
call it ? — the genius of the man. It was flattering to
me to have his confidence and I more than half under-
stood what he was talking about.
WTiat a loss to everything and everybody he was
when he died ! He was quite a young man, not much
over fiftv. Given the chances and the education, I
have often thought that I should have liked to be a
doctor. Fancy "Dr Sloan" on the brass plate out-
side ! I couldn't have stood the " old ladies'
physician " stunt, but real practical surgery, lunacy
cases or something exciting I feel I should have made
a mark at. But what's the use of thinking — I was only
a jockey and now am ex- jockey, a would-be trainer, a
would-be at many things ! As a child I learned an
old saying about " making your bed and lying on it "
— but in all honesty others tucked in those hard sheets
I had to make acquaintance with. I'm not wailing
nor snivelling ; but that I should have to go through
life without that chance I have prayed and longed
for seems too terrible.
In a previous chapter I have mentioned Sir Tatwell
Thomas of Liverpool, who kindlj^ attended me at the
request of Lord Derby, then Lord Stanley. His lord-
ship kindly gave me a carriage to take me to the
Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool. It was after the accident
when riding Maluma. My ear was nearly off, and I
was in great pain. I was put in a cot in my bedroom
and the great surgeon came to me. He refused to
perform the operation without chloroform ; in fact he
said he couldn't with success or justice to himself.
He had a medical man Avith him to administer it, but
when I had the first whiff I showed fight and
threatened all sorts of things if it were gone on with.
I was such a fresh kid ! I was in agony, however.
Sir Tatwell then began putting in the stitches one
after the other until I counted ten. " Can I speak to
you ? " I asked. " If you want to make me happy,
you'll leave off at that and not put a single one more
" Perhaps that's enough," he answered. " At all
events we'll make it do."
Looking back I can remember all the details exactly,
and my suffering. I think if he had gone on another
minute my heart would have given out. As it was,
when I got up off the cot, my knees collapsed and a
friend who was with me and the surgeon had to lift
me up — I was down and out.
I hope these little personal incidents will not annoy
a public, who perhaps wants to hear some more excit-
ing details of other people, but this is after all " Tod
Sloan," and must be told if only as an appreciation of
what others have done for me. In very truth the
greatest possible kindnesses have been received from
the greatest in their profession.
GREAT NIGHT AT OSTEND
I have been wandering from Belgium but several
other Belgian incidents must be mentioned. A few
seasons back I arrived in Ostend without a sou.
Something had to be done and with a horse or two I
managed to rake a few thousand francs together to
make things go easier. There was racing and a little
bit of baccarat and chemin de fer, but the bulk of a
" young " bank roll came in from the course. It grew
and grew until one night I went into the Casino with,
I suppose, about fifteen thousand francs. A few odd
bets and it swelled up to nearly twenty thousand.
Mr Gaston Dreyfus, the French owner, was in the
bank and I called him " banco " for eighteen thousand
francs. He looked at me for a few seconds and then
" passed " the bank. It was handed round the table
until I took it at the eighteen thousand and had a pass
of three ! My winnings that night were about one
hundred thousand francs. A night or two after I
called a thirty-two-thousand -franc " banco " when
M. Brodsky was in the bank, and he passed it. I took
it and had a pass of three. That was another great
evening ! I lived on the best and did what I could
for those less fortunate. It shows you what luck is,
for in that time I accumulated a packet and then in
the last three nights I lost one hundred and fifty
thousand francs. All the same after paying up every-
thing I had a nice wad of ninety thousand francs to
take back to Paris for the autumn racing.
The first thing to do was to get a flat, and I took a
furnished appartement at 1 Rue de Messine at one
thousand francs, or forty pounds, a month, paying
three months in advance. It was just as well that I
did. I bought a brand-new Gobron car for eighteen
thousand francs. There was the chauffeur to pay
and two servants and — other details. I entertained
and loved it all, but could I keep the money ? Not a
bit of it. I was broke in three weeks and had to
" look around."
When the racing was over in Paris I wanted to go
to St Moritz, Switzerland calling us that winter. The
car was sold and small debts paid up. After all what
did it matter ! there was always the chance. So
tickets were taken for St Moritz for a friend, a valet
and my dog — the west of Scotland white terrier which
will be seen in various pictures. I had only about
fifty pounds in my pocket, but the idea of a holiday
We lived the outdoor life and played bridge in the
evening. Things ran well for me and I won on that
trip about eight hundred pounds — at bridge only.
It shows you that, despite a drop of over ninety
thousand francs to about one thousand francs, one
should never despair. There's nothing like getting
used to the ups and downs. Those who gamble can
Of all the games of cards I have played in my life
there has never been a game that appealed to me so
much as bridge. We used to play the old game in
London and elsewhere — but the comparatively new
Auction Bridge : surely there was never anything like
it ! Its fascination beats that of all the other games
of chance and skill which have ever been devised.
American billiards always fascinated, and then came
my learning of the English game, at which my Editor
tells me I play pretty well. At all events I can
beat him readily enough — or so he says ! " Solo "
had its fascinations, poker its late hours and un-
satisfactory endings, with sometimes no one satisfied ;
but give me the thrills of bridge with a satisfactory
partner ! Carrying a " dud," however, and having
WHAT HANLON DID FOR ME
to lift him out of trouble time after time isn't
In writing all this I am afraid I have wandered a
good deal from the story of my life, but the various
topics have to be taken up as thought of or suggested,
and the distraction of cards and dominoes can help us
to keep our sanity on occasions. I do not intend to
suggest that there has ever been a suspicion of any-
thing in the way of " Pots " or " Bug-house " in our
family, but anyone who has a big nervous strain is
liable to want something to take the attention off more
I have met many great players at bridge, have
watched their peculiarities and have studied how they
played the game. A man can so easily start off with
the best possible ideas about prudence and then be
spurred to risk. On the other hand, there are
" pikers " at the game who have no audacity and will
see opponents win a game where a little courage would
get them out of a hole. There are books and theories
but there is nothing like practice and encouragement.
Speaking of the latter — encouragement — perhaps I
should have never gone on with race riding many years
ago but for the comforting words of Charles Hanlon.
It is almost entirely due to him that I persevered with
the forward seat. It was he who dissuaded me from
going on the stage and made me stick to riding. He
encouraged others too, and America has a lot to thank
him for in the way he could discriminate between
what would be for the benefit of the Turf and what
would not. He combined intelligence with a manner
and a way of speaking which anyone had to listen to.
His picture will give some idea of the kind of man he
MY DOG PIPER
"Has anyone seen Piper?" — Piper and the German — All I was fit for
I CANNOT think how I have resisted so long the tempta-
tion to talk about my dog Piper. More than one
photograph of him appears in the book. Some dogs
are merely dogs, but Piper was Piper— an individual,
an inseparable companion, my pal ! Mind you, some-
tim.es it happens that dogs can be " general " — that
is, have too many friends, and in this Piper somewhat
erred. I never knew exactly when to expect him
back when he disappeared, and on occasions he never
gave me the slightest indication when he was going.
When he broke away on his own " jag " he would
come around after and begin his hunt for me : why, I
wonder, did he start all round the bar-rooms of Paris
on the off-chance of finding me ? He knew my haunts,
I suppose. And he would go mad when at last he ran
me to earth. Still, he was such a casual fellow that I
would never make too much fuss of him when he
found me, pretending to be rather offended when he
picked me up — offended at his being so offhanded
during the previous day or two. He " twigged " it
all right and would try and ingratiate himself by every
dog sign of affection and " playing up."
With all his sagacity and devotion Piper was a
" dam-fool " dog if it comes to that, for he was crazy
on automobiling, and would take the chance of being
kidnapped for an odd ride. That is how the grievous
Shootinc; Ci.av I'kikons at St. Mokitz
HAS ANYONE SEEN PIPER ?
end came. One day I was going to the American
Express office and saw Piper fooling about with some
of his own countrymen, Highland officers, standing
alongside their cars by the Grand Hotel. I didn't
take any notice, thinking he would follow me. He
wasn't there when I came back, so I thought he had
gone home, or at all events that he was somewhere on
his " rounds." Tliere was no necessity to bother about
him, for he had frequently disappeared for a couple of
days at a time. On this occasion, however, I waited
and waited without any news of him. All the police
stations were notified and every effort was made to
find him, but without success, and a friend of three
and a half years was lost to me. I can only suppose
that he jumped in one of the cars which was going off
and the Highlanders must have thought that they had
a mascot which could not be turned out without risk
to their luck.
If this should happen to be seen in print by any of
them, and Piper is in the land of the living, I am
quite sure that he would be restored to me in
Paris, for it is almost a certainty that he is in
The history of the dog is that he may have been
stolen in England long before I got hold of him. The
tale of the man who first made the sale was that he
had won the gold medal in Cardiff, beating sixteen other
West Highland terriers. Eventually he found his way
to France. Whether he swam or hid himself on a
boat is not known ; at all events Captain Langford of
the Travellers' Club gave him to Lucien Lyne, who
asked me to look after him for a few days. The
following week Lyne asked me : " How's the dog
behaving ? "
I made a face and answered :
" I've seen some ill-behaved dogs in my time, but
this one is the limit."
"Then you keep the dam dog," answered Lucien
—and I did. Of course I had been kidding Lucien,
who, however, never rapped me about it afterwards.
Piper was perhaps the best-known dog on the
Continent, being able to find his way all over Nice,
Monte Carlo, St Moritz, Paris, Brussels and Ostend.
I am certain that he knew one place from another,
and he knew very well where I stayed in each place.
He was a wonderful traveller too. When we boarded
a train he would go under the seat straight away,
either in a compartment or a sleeping-car, and would
never be seen until we arrived at our destination,
when he would stretch himself and trot out on the
platform and wait for me.
Talking about " stretching," I could make him yawn
whenever I wanted to. I needed only to gape and
pretend to yawn to make him open his mouth, all
the time making a most fearsome noise ; it was funny.*
Piper never cared much for women ; they could
scarcely ever induce him to go to them ; and he would
never make friends with young children ; at some time
or other some child must have earned his contempt.
Many of my friends, however, were just as fond of him
as I was, and I was asked for him by many. I wish
now that I had given him to Henry Tepe (" Henry ")
in the Rue Volney, for he was so fond of that dog and
so was Piper of him.
I was approached once by a certain Count in Belgium
as to how much I would demand for Piper's stud fee,
the Crown Princess Stephanie having some prize
bitches. I said they were welcome to Piper for a
time, and I was promised half one litter. But it
1 You should see and hear Tod's imitation of it. — Editor.
WriH Mv Dog. I'ii'KR. at St. Mokii/.
PIPER AND THE GERMAN
proved to be like many other promises I have had : I
never saw one pup even, although I heard there were
six grand youngsters in the first lot.
I never had a licence for him nor did he ever wear
a collar. He would go in and out of my apartment
just like a man and I am sure would often try to talk.
He endeavoured to say something quite civilly to a
big German once at St Moritz, and the hulking pig
kicked him. Piper looked to me to take up the
quarrel, and I did. The German was three times my
size, and it must have looked funny when I faced that
" What did you want to kick my dog for ? " I asked
He smiled at first, then he must have seen my
dangerous " bantam " look, for he turned green and
— apologised. I think Piper was disappointed that
there was no scrap ; he might have been useful round
the German's calves.
It may seem odd to some people that I have given
so much space to just a dog, but apart from liking all
dogs, Piper was out by himself in intelligence; we
understood each other just like two men talking. I
miss him still and have never had the heart to get
another. There are some living creatures in the world
who cannot be replaced, and Piper was one — of tw^o.
In the first chapter of this book I mentioned my first
dog — Tony. One of the lasting memories of my life
is when I assassinated a dog to save Tony's life. Yet
I was almost as fond of the dog I murdered as I was of
Tony. It was a question of the oldest friend having
to be protected. It was when I was working at the
oil wells. I used to have to take a can every morning
to Pat Grace's cottage for milk. Pat also worked at
the wells. He had a big bull-dog known as "Pat
Grace's bull-dog." This dog and I would play to-
gether, rollick in the grass, pretend to bite each other
and spar like two kids.
One morning I had forgotten that Tony had come
with me to Pat Grace's for the milk and before I knew
anything the bull had grabbed him by the neck through
the fence, and was shaking the stuffing out of my dog.
Then the two bounded through the fence on to the
railway track and Grace's bull had a new hold on Tony.
My dog weighed about 26 lb. while his attacker was
heavier than I was— about 56 lb. There was my
lovely dog being chewed to death in front of my eyes !
What was to be done ! If the bull had turned on me
he would have done for me. I had a big clasp-knife
in my pocket and it was the work of a minute to whip
it out and give the first stab at that hulking brute— I
felt that way about him then although he was my
pal in peace-times. In a second another deep jab
followed up to the hilt of the knife, and then— it
closed on me and cut my fingers open to the bone.
Tony was gasping and whimpering. Myself I let that
bull have a one -two, a half -blade stab and one which
put him out. Tony had got away and was Hcking his
I don't know how I got away myself, but I did,
delivered the milk, had a look at Tony, and— went
back to work. The first thing I did was to go up to
Pat Grace, who was sitting around after his breakfast.
" Pat, I've killed your dog," I began. " He tried
to kill mine and I stabbed him to death."
There was a pause and his face turned deathly white.
He half got up, then mastered himself, and replied :
" Then you better go and bury him, Tod." And he
turned away and never spoke to me again in his fife.
ALL I WAS FIT FOR
I tramped back, crying over the bull which I was so
fond of. It was a bit of a task to drag that 56 or
58 lb. dog to a pit I had ready for him, but I did.
I cursed the fate of things that made it necessary for
dogs to chew up each other, for with Tony out of the
way I could have been just as fond of the other fellow.
However, the last look was given him and I felt happier
when he was out of sight.
Of course there was a lot of talk about it all in our
district. I was mentioned as " only being fit for a
School of Correction," and altogether put down as
hopeless. What a lot of chat can take place in a little
community ! I wasn't altogether pleased with myself,
all the same.
A LITTLE FIGHTING
Dal Hawkins v. my Valet— Results tell— Silencing a Whistler
In mentioning fighters, I have referred to my friend-
ship with Jim Corbett ; I had also a cordial acquaint-
ance with Bob Fitzsimmons, Kid M'Coy and others at
various times. I shall always look on Corbett as the
greatest fighter of our time. He proved it over and
over again, especially when going twenty rounds with
Jim Jeffries, then a much younger man— in fact at
his prime, and seven years younger than Jim. Neither
of these men I have mentioned had much to do with
the race-course, paying only occasional visits. Corbett
from being a bank clerk became a pugilist, and made
his great name by beating John L. Sullivan in the
twenty-first round. He followed that up by beating
Charlie Mitchell very easily and himself being beaten
by Fitzsimmons at Carson City. Of course there were
many minor victories.
A sort of preliminary for that great fight at Carson
City was at the same place when Dal Hawkins, who
weighed about 136 lbs., had nearly killed Martin
Flaherty— a great fighter too. Somehow Hawkins
and I did not get on very welt. I forget what led to
it, but I answered him back one day by saying : " Why,
I've got a man who can beat you easily— my valet."
I was referring to " Mac," as he was known on the
race-course, his full name being MacGoolrich. He
was always saying that he could fight, so one day I
DAL HAWKINS F. IVIY VALET
made a match for 200 dollars a side for my " dark
one" against "Dal." He hadn't put down his stake
so I roasted him one day in the Baldwin House at
" I've put up ten 20-dollar gold pieces," I said.
" Where's your money ? Afraid of being whipped ?
Wliy should I leave my money down any longer ? "
He looked at me a bit ugly like, and then said : "Oh !
I'll get it," and went out of the place to do so. He
came back with 100 dollars, all he could raise for the
moment, so we made the match for the reduced sum
down, on the understanding that it was to be increased
to 500 dollars later on. I had done the thing for a bit
of a joke at first, but MacGoolrich was always so sure
of what he could do, so I stuck to it. Of course it
had all started by my kidding Dal. It was to be one
of several bouts put on at the Opera House, San
Francisco. I remember that Pittsburg Phil and I had
the big stage box.
MacGoolrich had stage fright, I could see, but apart
from that he was no class at all. If Dal had gone
for him in the first round my man would have been
down and out in no time at all. But Hawkins sparred
cautiously, not being sure whether I had sprung a
real daisy on him. He was fogged about it all. When
they came up for the second turn there was no time
lost, and Mac was cut to ribbons. My ! but Hawkins
simply murdered him. Mac, in fact, was out for a
long time. Wliat a game they had with him when he
went racing again ! The boys would rattle a bucket
behind him, or run up quietly and then yell : " Look
out, Mac, here's Dal coming."
No one left him alone at all and his life was a misery.
But he had been such a swanker before with regard
to his fighting ! And to think in that first round Dal
thought he might be out against a ringer ! Hawkins
and I made it up in after years, but he had heard the
full story long before that.
I had a coloured valet, Dick Keys, of whom I have
spoken : he thought he could fight too, but he had no
heart — or " guts," if I may use rather a vulgar ex-
pression. Fred Taral, the jockey, was a rival just
then of mine, and was sore with me about several things,
chief of which being the fact that I had replaced him
in riding Hamburg. There was still more jealousy and
enmity between Dick Keys and Taral's coloured valet.
In fact it grew worse and worse as day followed day.
At all events a match was made between the two.
Willie Sims, the coloured rider, known both in France
and England, asked me about my valet, and I told
him that he had no real stamina and wouldn't stay.
" Never mind," said Willie, " we've got to win ; we'll
The two were both heavy fellows and outwardly
they looked a good match. Sims said again, when
the match drew near : " We'll have to win."
It took place at the Coney Island Athletic Club.
Willie Sims was in Keys' corner ; the match was
four rounds. The two boxers looked like a pair of
chimpanzees when brought in ; I never saw such a
picture, they shaped and crouched just as if they ought
to have been up a tree, or in a Zoo.
Taral's nigger led off and let Keys have some
beauties, although neither of them knew anything
about fighting. Wallop, wallop — ^how my man got it !
I thought he would have been " dead " in the first
round, but he scraped through somehow. Willie
Sims whispered encouragement to him and in he went
for the second. Wliat the other nig. had done to him
in the first was nothing to what he handed out in the
second ; he was sent all over the Ring, and how he got
up and faced more punishment was a licker ; he did
nothing in return. Back they went to their corners,
and here something happened to my man which made
him more like a monkey than ever. By mistake they
dashed some ammonia into his face out of a bottle
instead of water. He sprang up with a yell and danced
all over the Ring. No one knew what had happened,
and there was a roar of laughing. The wonderful
Willie Sims soothed him somehow and got him up
again, to be whipped about in much the same way as
before. Willie didn't look downcast about it all, so
I only looked on to enjoy the fun ; yet I never thought
for a moment that my man could last it out, and — even
suppose he did ! Sims must have mesmerised him or
something, for notwithstanding Keys being down twice
in the last round — once for the count of eight — he
flopped back more dead than alive.
ijp went the Referee's hand. " Keys wins I "
That was the announcement. AVhat yells and booing !
You could have heard them miles away. Keys didn't
know where he was ; however, he got round — and then
the side he put on ! He bought a red necktie and a
new suit. He could afford to : the match had been for
200 dollars a side. When they all began from that
time to chip him and say : " Wliat a decision ! " or
" Why, Taral's nigger could murder you ! " Dick's
only answer, given with a wag of his head, was
" Results ! " — meaning, of course, " Results tell."
Just another story of a nigger. Wlien I was out in
San Francisco there was a nigger arrived there armed
with a letter from George Considine of New York to
me. It said merely that the nigger wanted a show,
and that, according to the nigger, he " could fight
till the cows came home." He was a biggish fellow,
weighing about 155 lbs. We arranged a try-out for
him against a local man and went to see the show.
Considine's nigger, as I shall call him, came into the
Ring full of confidence, showing his white teeth as his
smile broadened. He was as cheerful and confident
as possible, so I said to Joe Eppinger, who was
just behind him : " There may be something in this
" Anyhow, we'll see some fun," answered Joe.
They were to spar six rounds. When they began
the nig. was still laughing. Then it began to wear off
as the round proceeded, and he looked astonished at
the end of it, for the other fellow was handing out
jabs and hooks. He went in for the second and got
lifted off his feet and had it all roads. At the end of
it he looked like quitting, but Joe Eppinger kidded him,
saying : " Go in ; you're all right ; he's nearly had
enough of it ; that last knock down was only an
accident." So up he got again.
In the third he was driven round the Ring, and it
required all Joe's cleverness to get him in again. " The
fight's on points," Joe said. " You've outpointed him
already and you're sure to get the decision if you go
up to him."
At the end of the fourth, which was a repetition
of the others, Eppinger tried to use the same old
wheezes, adding : " You're sure of it now, ask Tod
Sloan ; he says you'll walk in."
" I don't seem to see it in the same way as you
fellers do," the nig. replied. However, he went in
again. After more slaughter, Joe started afresh :
" Tliat was a beauty : your man's beaten. Why, he
wants to quit now."
" Does he, boss ; does he really ? Well, send someone
to the other feller and tell him to let's call it a draw."
SILENCING A WHISTLER
Why, there's more dog in you than in any nigger
I ever saw," calls out Joe to him. " Why, in Mr
Considine's letter to Tod Sloan, he said you could fight
' till the cows came home.' "
"That's right, but tell Mr Sloan that I see 'em
There are a brave lot of people about. I was riding
home in a street car in San Francisco one night with a
fellow called Gus Gentry, who was always talking
fight. I was sitting next to an old fellow, who fidgeted
about when I was whistling — I have spoken of the
" Quit whistling," roared the old fellow. Gentry,
who was farthest away from him, nudged me and said :
" You go on whistling, Tod."
The old fellow leaned across my back, looked at
Gus, and said : " You whistle."
Gus made never a sound, and after a minute the old
fellow laughed and looked at us : "I don't hear either
of you two fellers whistling." He got off soon after,
and when we were travelling about 200 yards farther,
and the car running at about 25 miles an hour, Gus
broke in : " I'm burning up ; I've a good mind to
jump off the car and go back and kick the stuffing
out of that fellow. What right had he to stop us
whistling ? "
" I didn't hear you whistling, Gus," I answered.
" No, but I'm not a whistler like you. Tod. I
wasn't brought up to it like ; in fact, I can't whistle —
not what they call whistling."
Just another word about Jim Corbett. Always a
good fellow, he liked to sit down in a bar-room with
Frank Ives, the billiard player, and myself and talk
for hours. The three of us travelled about a good
deal together, in America, in the nineties. Frank Ives
had the billiard- room in New York before M'Graw and
I took it. He led an indoor life and the atmosphere
he lived in affected his health ; the poor fellow died of
consumption. Yet in his earlier times he had been a
good baseball player and an all-round good athlete.
Bob Fitzsimmons, although not such a good racon-
teur as Jim Corbett, who has made plenty of money
at it, had a lot of anecdotes and possesses a fine dry wit.
Both Jim and Bob were staunch friends to one, and
have been level-headed enough to provide for them-
selves and their wives — ^to whom they have proved
MAKING A BOOK
Raided — Charron as a Pupil — Newmarket — In the Red Cross— One and
only " Henry "
One of the great mistakes I made was taking the
New York Bar in the Rue Daunou, Paris. My pre-
decessor, Milton Henry, lost a packet over it, and it
was waste of time for me. However, with the war
coming, all I had to do with it was finished. I had
previously run a big bar, of course, in connection with
my billiard-saloon in New York, and knew a good deal
about the business, but — ^there is always so much to
It has been said that I made a book in the Paris bar,
but I had nothing to do with anything of the kind.
Not that I have never made a book. I have — in New
York. I had rather a nice flat, and some of my friends
used to say to me : " Why don't you start booking at
your place ? There's every facility." So I started an
extra telephone and Charlie Hauser, a brother of the
great story-teller in Paris, was on the " piece-at-each-
ear " game. There used to be a pretty collection of
all nations up at my " apartment " : grafters, diamond
merchants, the knock-outs from the Balkan provinces,
and — others. We betted ready and settled after each
official result. They would have five, ten, fifteen,
twenty dollars on a horse, and sometimes fifty or a
hundred. There was no starting price, as understood
in England, but a list of prices would be put up and
they could take their choice. There was varying
success, of course, but it paid for a while. I can tell
you, though, that I used to look at the carpets and
chairs when they had all gone. The collection of cigar
stubs and remnants of bad words took some time
One afternoon, just before the fourth race was due,
Charlie Ballard, the jockey, came in by chance. The
crowd were looking down the card and thinking over
what they would do. Charlie Hauser, who was at the
telephone as usual, taking the commissions of Germans,
Poles, Russians — and others, looked through the door,
saying ; "Is Charlie here ? somebody's asking for
him." But Charlie Ballard wasn't wanted ; he never
even went to the receiver.
" I'll have a bet on this race," said one. " A hundred
dollars on So-and-so " — and he mentioned the name
of the horse.
" Well then, put me on 20 dollars. Tod," added
another. It was a 4 J to 1 chance. Then there was
a short pause and a minute or two elapsed. " Champion
won," called out Hauser through the door. It was
what the two had backed. But I didn't tumble it
and in due course paid out. The evening passed and
even the next day came but I was no wiser. The
guy who had stuck me for the 450 dollars had a great
night, I heard, and said I was " easy." Then it began
— by the remarks of one or two — to leak out to me.
They had coded the runners in the race. One was
"Charlie," of course, another was Fred, say, yet another
George, while I suppose the others were represented
by Fritz, or Ivan, or Bill. At all events the strength
of the result was given by " Is ' Charlie ' here ? "
The code of " Charlie " had come off all right. I fell
across the fellow who had stuck me for the 450
dollars, and he laughed, saying : " You always were
a mug and always will be — so, why not ? " It was
The show went on, however, until one day " Big
Tim " (Senator) Sullivan gave me the glad word.
" You'd better be doing no business to-day, Tod.
Just be at home as a gentleman at ease." So there
was nothing doing and we smoked our cigars, just one
or two of us. They came as expected, those " cops,"
had a look round and then asked me what I was doing
there. " What d'yer think ? " I replied. " This is
my ' at home ' day and I'm expecting the company."
However, they didn't bother, and off they went, but
bookmaking at that place was finished for good and
I had a look round and found a suite of rooms at an
hotel up town, just near Fiftieth Street and Seventh
Avenue. I sent word round to the clientele, and up
they came the first afternoon. We hadn't been going
an hour before the cops came. They didn't come in
with any kid-glove way, but simply smashed the door
in and caught us all red-handed. They didn't grab
the money, though ; that was planted all right. The
inspector came over and of course took me as the
principal, with the telephone clerk and my others too ;
and they put down the names and addresses of all the
I began to parley with him. I told him the tale that
it would be a terrible thing for me. I had applied for
my licence, which I hoped to get, and it would be a
dreadful thing if I had to go off in the Patrol Wagon.
I didn't mind what it cost, the fine and all that, but
if it got into the papers and I was made the main guy
in it all my prospects would be ruined. He laughed
at first and then said, without any hint that I should
give him any of my pocket-book, " You'll come with
me alone then." I guessed he was all right and meant
me to slip him when we got outside. It turned out
pretty well as I thought. Once in Seventh Avenue
he turned to me, saying : " Beat it now " (Go off quick)
and don't let me hear of you again. And I never did.
Tliat was the end of the bookmaking business.
The only other time that I came across the
police in New York was when we were exceeding the
speed limit — so they said — in an automobile coming
into the city. There was a terror named Tracy in
those days, who used to get scores of record-breakers
into his net. He got us and rode on his bicycle all the
way by our side to the police station ; my two pals had
been taken too. We were run in and they fixed the
cash bail at 100 dollars for us all. We turned out our
pockets, and could only find about 35 dollars among
the three of us. We had another with us, but he had
not been charged. We asked him how he was fixed,
and he said he had 100 dollars on him, but it " didn't
belong to him." We knew that story, for he was a
real " hard heart," but we made him put up that 100
dollars. Of course he wanted to pouch the 35 we
had but I put that down where it wouldn't come up
very quickly. We had to see the evening through
after that. He kept on saying: "But why not give
me that 35 ? " I explained to him that his money
was all right. We should turn up in the morning and
his " 100 " would be released. Of course it went down
after a bit of a demur.
Next morning I was at the Court House before 9.30,
and asking for " Battery Dan," as we knew the Police
Court Judge, who was a great friend of Tim Sullivan.
I asked and asked until at last I was told that he had
arrived. The police officer said he'd take my name in.
I wouldn't have that and said I would knock at his
CHARRON AS A PUPIL
door and walk in myself. Doing so I came into a
room before Tim Sullivan and " Battery Dan."
" In trouble again, Tod ? " began '' Big Tim." " We
can't help you this time, I'm afraid ; it's all up with
" How much money have you. Tod ? " asked
" Battery Dan." " Are you going to the race-track
to-day ? "
I told him I had about 15 dollars and free entry
and he asked me how much it cost to pay the usual
entrance. \Vlien he learned from Tim that it was
3 dollars, " Dan " told me to give him the 3 dollars
and get out. That was the joke he played on me
and I never heard another word about it. America
can be, after all, a " free " country !
Although I have mentioned a few little details about
betting, laying horses never had any real fascination
for me, and, strictly speaking, when I was not riding,
the big wagers made were more in emphasis of an
opinion than a gamble. The proof of this is provided
by the semi-refusal to support animals which I did not
believe to be at the top of their form — Rose de Mai,
for instance, already alluded to. By the way, when the
Comte de St Phalle left Charron as his trainer, he did
nothing to speak of, although he had, in one season
v/ith Charron, won 480,000 fr. in stakes.
Certainly Charron was one of the quickest pupils
possible to find ; he could understand straight away
what he had to do, in respect of adapting himself just
as well to the horse as he had done to the bicycle and
automobile. He has now a nice place out at Maisons
Laffitte and it is to be presumed that he will cling to
horses for the remainder of his life, although he has
such important business interests of other kinds.
The picture in the book shows him taking his first
instruction in race-riding. How pleased I was with
While Charron and many other trainers have done
well at Maisons Laffitte in turning out winners, that
centre is far from ideal for training purposes, the horses
there having to journey to Acheres, to get tried out.
The course at " Maisons " is admirable, especially that
straight mile and a quarter with excellent turf all the
way. It beats Chantilly in this respect, although
perhaps there is no finer training place in the world
than the French headquarters. The great point
about choosing a suitable place to train horses is to
have the gallops as near as possible to the stables.
Some of the Wiltshire and other Southern English
stables are much too far removed from where the work
has to take place. Take Darling's establishment at
Beckliampton, or Robinson's at Foxhill, or Ogbourne,
where Mr George Edwardes has his horses. I should
consider that in some cases a horse had done quite
enough exercise when he arrived at the place where he
was expected to " work " — in other words, he might be
overdone with that extra bit. This is very like hacking
a long way to a meet — so little is left to work on in a
horse. Chantilly is splendid in this respect, and lucky
is the man who has a good horse to train there. When
Mr Theodore Myers took the place in Brussels, a picture
of the stable yard appearing in this book, we had only
three quarters of a mile to go to begin work — ^the
greatest of all considerations.
Of course there is only one great race-course in the
world, that being Newmarket ; nothing ever laid out
or adapted from nature ever approached it. Every
distance, plenty of room, splendid going in all seasons :
what can equal it ? Some of the spectators and visitors
from abroad complain of the accommodation, but racing
isn't a circus ; it should first suit the horses and all
other things come afterwards. WTiat does it matter
when horses have to be tried out whether the finer
points of the race cannot be seen until the horses are
nearing home ? There has been a real test of merit.
It astonished me when I first saw it, that wonderful
Heath, and I never slackened in enthusiasm. I wish
to goodness I was riding there this afternoon — ^the
Second Spring Meeting is in full swing. We have no
turf tracks in America. At Sheepshead Bay there is
a grass inner track on which perhaps one race a day
is run, but it is — nothing.
Newmarket is extraordinary, and if a jockey will
keep his line, trying to get on the right strip where the
brush harrow has been, there can be confidence that,
if at the right time the proper effort is made, a boy
can do his horse justice. Compare it with any other
course in England, why — the idea is absurd. Epsom
is a joke but a fine sight-seeing track. It has often
been a wonder to me that so many good horses have
won the Derby, but I suppose it is that a good horse
can race under any conditions. The test of stamina at
Epsom too comes in on account of that uphill bit
at the beginning of the Epsom mile and a half : many
a horse has lost the race there. I have said how I
threw the Oaks away on Sibola. That downhill well-
worn-out grass at Epsom can be a real danger in
summer : it is more providential luck than anything
else that a jockey is not killed every meeting. Despite
the turns at Sandown Park it is not so easy, that rise
at the finish finding out far more horses than, for
instance, Kempton, which ends on the dead flat with a
breather at the turn. Hurst Park is severe on young
horses, and so is Newmarket, when they finish at the
Stands. But England is the place for racing, while
there is nowhere better in the world for training than
It was never to be imagined in the years before
1914 that I should be living in Paris when the Germans
were only twenty-five miles, or less, from it ; that
previously the mobilisation in France for the greatest
war in the world should take place, and that I was to
be in uniform driving a Red Cross waggon. The
trouble, it will be remembered, was anticipated many
days before, the chief indication being the scarcity of
small money. It was most difficult to get change for
even a fifty-franc note, everyone hoarding up gold
and silver coinage ; as for foreign money, except for
English sovereigns, there were all sorts of impositions
in giving change. There was a curious calmness
about it all, however, which spoke a lot for the courage
of the French people. I wish as much could be said
for some of the foreigners left in Paris. I remember
one day in particular. Several people rushed to my
room early in the morning. I had just gone to bed.
" Get up and be off," they cried ; to which I replied,
" Wliy should I when I have only just come to bed ? "
But they couldn't be stopped, and raced off, trying to
get seats to skip away out of the country. This
was about three weeks after the opening of the
Straight away I had tried to get something to do,
first, as a sharpshooter. But there were two reasons
against my acceptance, one being that I was so small
that I couldn't stretch out to march with ordinary
soldiers, and the other that I was an American subject.
Then there was the fruitless endeavour to get a job in
connection with a mitrailleuse, for I had been tried
out with this, and I was sure that I could make good
W'okkim; i-i)K iiii'; Amiu/lance
IN THE RED CROSS
work with it — certainly I should have been a smaller
target than many others.
There was nothing for it then but to get into the
French Red Cross and French Ambulance, but even
here all there was to do was to drive officers about,
chiefly those of the French Red Cross. It was dis-
couraging. All applications to do something more
interesting or to be sent to the front were usually met
by the objection that I had been warned off the turf
in England, which to begin with was not true, and in
the second place what my troubles had been with the
English Jockey Club surely could have no possible
bearing on my having useful work when so many were
wanted. However, it was a repetition in a way of
what had happened when I tried to get into the
Automobile Club, and when I was asked to resign
my membership of the Touring Club of France. I can
assure you I did not give up wearing the uniform and
trying my best to get near the fighting until it seemed
futile. Perhaps after this is written and with a pro-
longed war my services may yet be accepted.
Of course with the stopping of racing at the opening
of the meeting at Deauville there was a good deal of
hardship to those who couldn't afford the break.
Several of the Americans went away at once to the
United States, others very wisely kept their horses
there at Deauville until they saw what was likely to
happen at Chant illy and Maisons Laffitte. As a
matter of fact at the French Turf headquarters German
troops never occupied the place ; it was only a question
of a certain number of Uhlans coming in to see how
the country was defended, whether the roads were
open, etc. It wasn't a very pleasant experience, how-
ever, and only a very few horses were removed —
chiefly those of no value, and as I have said they were
not much grieved for. What must be admired there
was the quietness with which the majority took the
advent of the German scouts. They had been warned
before of the near approach of the enemy and many
of the lads went away, but others of them stuck to
tlieir yards quite fearlessly despite the gloomy stories
which had been sent down from day to day.
With regard to the taking of good horses by the
Government at a nominal price, of course war is war,
but it was heart-breaking for owners to lose valuable
animals. They would gladly have paid the price of
ten horses. For instance. Lord Loris, who won the big
steeplechase at Auteuil in 1914, was taken for sixty
pounds I think it was. Still that wasn't the point :
the horse languished away under entirely changed
conditions, never doing any work at all to speak of,
and dying. There were others too which began to
droop the moment they were stabled uncomfortably,
had changed diet, and lost all the care which had been
bestowed on them.
Speaking of steeplechasing, one of the saddest events
in the early stage of the war was the death of Alec
Carter. Many may remember that from serving his
two years in a cavalry regiment he was given a com-
mission in an infantry battalion and was killed very
shortly after that. It seems almost a pity that many
of the greatest in their various lines should be wiped
out when they could perhaps have been used to better
advantage. Several of those I have known cannot
be replaced, and various sports and games must lose
the benefit of such fine teachers. Still again, war is
war, and because one man happens to be the best lawn-
tennis player in the world he cannot be excepted, but
must take the same chance as others.
During those trying times what was there to do ?
Milton Henry and Tod Sloan Fishing /or 'Ircnsitn- in Algiers
ONE AND ONLY HENRY
Wliere were Americans and English people to go with
no amusements ? Where they did congregate was
at Henry's Bar in the Rue Volney. Henry Tepe is
perhaps the best -known man to Americans in Europe,
as for many years he has had the chance of meeting
celebrities from my country. It has been quite a
usual thing for one important personality to say to
another in New York, " I'll meet you at Henry's Bar
two weeks next Friday." Both know Henry and he
knows each of them, so that a ready inquiry obtains
an equally direct reply. If we had as many dollars
as Henry we should be all right, or as many dollars as
he possesses friends.
Effect of the " Mutual" — Le Blizon and the Eclipse — Lord Durham's
Or course during my riding career, and since the forced
times as a spectator, I have devoted a good deal of
thought to the question whether the speculative side
of racing was properly conducted, and whether by
controlling bookmakers the public could not have
a better chance of coming in greater numbers to
meetings. The high prices charged for admittance
to the exclusive parts of English courses must deter
many hundreds from attending — I mean among those
who do not feel in their proper place in the cheaper
enclosures. Wliat is charged on some days at Ascot,
Liverpool, Epsom, etc., is almost prohibitive, and the
sovereign for other meetings could be reduced if income
was sought for elsewhere. Compare this with the maxi-
mum price, sixteen shillings, in France or the three
dollars which takes one everywhere in America except
the club enclosure. Wliat should be done is to attract
as many influential people as possible — thus would
racing obtain more friends, which is what it wants to
fight those who would do away with it.
It is very unlikely in the opinion of many that the
pari-mutuel will ever be adopted in England, and that
England need not regret. Personally I am dead
against it. Certainly in France the value of the
stakes makes it possible for an owner to pay his way
without any betting, or rather I should say a certain
Af. He my Tfpc
EFFECT OF THE MUTUEL
number of smaller owners can exist. Tlie pari-
mutuel in fact in some respects might be a curse in
England as it is in France. The public has a right
to know what is going on in prices, for a " market "
makes everything more interesting. In countries
where the pari-mutuel is an institution owners throw
in their weight at the last moment, frequently when
everyone is ready to look at the race. Therefore
previous prices can be entirely false. Of course it
may be said that owners have to pay their way and
do not run their animals for the public benefit, but
after all there should be a sort of bond of sympathy
between those who run horses and those who by paying
their gate money contribute to the " pool " which
provides the stakes. The whole topic will always
remain a bone of contention, but during many years
I have had the opportunity of listening to what others
have to say concerning it, and what I have said above
is the combination of opinion.
Another thing : if the pari-mutuel were introduced
into England the starting-price bookmakers would
have to pay the mutuel prices and there would be the
chance of any amount of sharp practice in this respect.
A horse might be entirely neglected on the course
and returns could be quite false.
It is often said that the stakes for jumping meetings
in England are ridiculously small compared with what
is given in France : which is fact. But this could be
made so different if bookmakers in England were
charged so much a day for the privilege of betting, as
was the case in the palmy days of racing in the United
States. The fee charged then was one hundred
dollars, or twenty pounds, a day, with a guarantee that
there should be at least five races on the card. Very
much the same thing should be done in the principal
enclosure in England. Put it at four pounds a race
and reckon out what would be collected, and how
much better the prizes would be, and how the entrance
money to the big enclosure could be reduced. In the
smaller rings this could be perhaps divided by half —
I mean the licensing fee for the day, and in the silver
" tanks " merely a nominal charge should be made,
and, as at one time in America, the minimum sum to
be invested could be one shilling and the maximum
five shillings. This worked very well when in vogue
" over home." In that case it was a dollar as the
topmost bet, but that was swept away when eventually
any amount could be put on. This spoilt racing and
the charge came up of the turf being commercialised.
There could not be a five-hundred-dollar bet made
without it being tick-tacked across, and they were as
" wise " outside as were the big men inside. That
kind of thing should be immediately suppressed.
The tick-tackers are an infernal nuisance and it would
be only fair to sweep them off if, as has been sug-
gested, the big men contributed towards the day's
fund. It would only be just for the big fellows to
have as much of the business as could come their way,
and smaller ones paying a much less fee to be restricted
to lesser clients and rather petty business.
I do not wish to be too dogmatic about all this, but
my views as a spectator for the last fifteen years might
suggest some new legislation, especially as the whole
topic is approached from the view-point of experiences
in four countries.
Mr Bottomley gives his strong views on many
matters, and it is a pity that a man like he should not
have some voice in race-course management. It
would be interesting if he would give his ideas as to
how bookmakers should be controlled. I know he
LE BLIZON AND THE ECLIPSE
has opinions of his own on the question. Perhaps
a special committee should be nominated to control
bookmakers and collect their licence fees. It might
too be a question whether all the big men betting in
Tattersall's ring should not be compelled to obtain a
guarantee from the clubs they respectively belong to.
Mention of Mr Bottomley makes me wish to record
the sympathy and kindness he has shown me for years.
I wish I could have another day like that enjoyed
when his horse Le Blizon won a big sprint race at
Maisons Laffitte some years back. I followed the tip
of his fancying the horse and the result put me on easy
street for some months. There is another incident
in connection with this horse which has not been
recorded in these pages. It was when Jimmy Hare —
the father — decided, because I would ride him, to
run Le Blizon in the Eclipse Stakes. I think it was I
suggested that he should take a chance with the horse,
who, as the majority will remember, could not go very
well over six furlongs. As in other cases I assured
Jimmy that his horse would not be knocked about
and although he didn't win he was tickled to death at
the show Le Blizon made.
I hung in behind all the way round at Sandown,
getting the advantage of the wind-break of others in
front of me and was going great guns up to a furlong
and a half from home, for he had run his race for over
a mile, stretching out well within himself. It was only
that final rise to the winning post of less than a furlong
which beat him.
Tliere are many other non-stayers who could
perhaps do just as well if riders would only study that
question of getting every advantage of " wind-break,"
just as a cyclist does from his pace maker ; the screen
is invaluable. This does not necessarily mean that a
jockey should allow his horse to be " pocketed," but
on occasions there is really nothing much against this
if a boy is alert enough to get out of it. It is difficult
sometimes to discover a horse's best distance — so much
depends on how he is ridden. Tliere have been so
many hundreds of cases where sprinters have developed
into good two-mile hurdlers, and on round courses
with careful handling many animals which are
assumed to be quite incapable of staying a mile
would do so if absolute patience were shown by their
Failures with regard to a horse getting a distance
he is capable of are attributable to various causes,
chief of which is lack of knowledge of pace ; and here
I might perhaps be excused for putting in an extract
from a speech made by Lord Durham at the Gimcrack
Dinner in December 1898.
" Another favourite instruction was ' Get
off well and pull your horse at the back of
someone else's heels.' No doubt this style of
riding had caused numerous falsely won races.
It was for that reason that he welcomed the
visit of Sloan to this country. Sloan had
taught English jockeys that they ought not
to pull their horses about in races and waste
their energies. He hoped English jockeys
would pardon him for saying that he con-
sidered that excessively few of them had any
tolerable idea of what pace meant, and they
seemed to ignore the very elementary rule that
the horse which could cover the allotted dis-
tance in the shortest time would win the race.
He considered that Sloan's reason of success
over our jockeys was that he was such a good
LORD DURHAM'S SPEECH
judge of pace. He submitted that Sloan had
been of immense advantage to them, simply by
teaching their jockeys that they had not been
acting wisely in pulling their horses about as
"Fees" of Old-Time Jockeys — The Apprentice Question — Some never
rise in Class — Well balanced at Start — Lucien Lyne's Class
I HAVE just read in an English newspaper how
" Skeets " Martin had cleverly won a race. There is
an idea about that Martin is much older than he
really is. I have seen it stated somewhere that he is
bordering on fifty. As a matter of fact " Skeets " is
a year younger than myself. My memory serves me
correctly he was born in 1875. Wlien in America we
knew him as " Harry " Martin. I can remember
hearing about him long before I was twenty. I believe
he entered a racing stable when he was about fifteen.
It was in California that he first made his appearance
as a winner ; Mr David Gideon, who has been
mentioned in this book, was the first to give him his
chance and to take him east to New York. At that
time Skeets weighed about 7-2, and it is astonishing
how he has kept his weight down : he is something
like myself : our great asset has been that we have
not put on flesh. One year before he came to England
he had twelve hundred and fifty-seven mounts and
two hundred and sixty-nine winners. In that same
season he had two hundred and forty-two seconds
and one hundred and eighty-one thirds. Remember
too that he was only twenty-two years of age at that
The performances of other jockeys both before my
own time and during my career have always been of
FEES OF OLD-TIME JOCKEYS
tremendous interest to me. I have alluded to several.
For instance it was a matter of history to me that
nearly a century before I came on the scene public
subscriptions to successful jockeys had been raised,
one rider having received nearly one thousand pounds
from his admirers for having won the St Leger. There
seems to have been no difficulty at that time about a
jockey receiving presents from others outside the
owner of the winning horse he had ridden ! What
would have been thought to-day of a jockey having
to stand bare-headed and thank his owner for a present
of twenty pounds because he had won the Two
Thousand Guineas and One Thousand Guineas in one
week? This was what the celebrated John Day
received from the Duke of Grafton. Lord William
Beresford was my authority for this. However,
twenty pounds was rather a fine present in those days,
I suppose, for a successful jockey, if he were a married
man, received in addition to his usual wages a present
of a side of bacon, a bag of potatoes, half a cheese or a
barrel of home-brewed ale. Jockeys then were little
more than grooms. What a difference it is from
potatoes to gold watches, half a cheese to scarf-pins,
or a side of bacon to gold cigarette-cases with jewelled
initials. We used to read in America that the great
George Fordham was the first to ride successfully on
American horses. He had been engaged by Mr
Richard Ten Broeck, and from what one can hear did
extraordinary things on many moderate horses
belonging to that sportsman.
Good jockeys came in plenty long before my period
of riding. Such men as Harry Griffin and Snapper
Garrison, also the coloured rider Willie Sims who was
five years older than me. Fred Taral was eight years
my senior. Then there were McLaughlin and Hay-
ward. It appears that about fifty years ago, when
Mr Ten Broeck first went over to England, Gilpatrick,
who had a reputation in America, was not a success
in England and was much criticised ; nevertheless he
was riding in America for many years after that. At
the same time there were others, the Lairds, Purdys
and Gil Crane, who rode longer than any other jockey
in my country, and I believe more years on the track
than even John Osborne. It was Crane who rode
in that historic race on the Long Island Union
Course, of five four-mile heats, and won on Black
Is the present system of training jockeys a correct
one ? Tliere seems a good deal lacking in it. To
begin with there should be far more events for
apprentice jockeys only, and these affairs should not
be so poor in interest as many are to-day. If a boys'
race happens to be the last on the card many go home,
refusing to look at it from either a spectacular or
investing point of view. By this kids are apt to get
discouraged. In France many a good lad was brought
along by the flat races confined to apprentices which
used to be run on the old Colombes course. There
such as Alec Carter and George Parfrement learned
race riding : full-fledged flat- race jockeys could not
ride there. Any race-course in England which could
put occasionally at least one or two events in the
programme for apprentice riders should be specially
subsidised by the Jockey Club for the schooling they
are giving. Jockeys can be made, although of course
some are more apt at picking it up than others.
Richard Wootton must be a great teacher judging
by the number of clever boys he has turned out.
However skilled a lad may become by his work at
THE APPRENTICE QUESTION
home, he must have practice on a course to bring
The whole apprentice system is absolutely and
entirely wrong— according to the views I have held
for many years past. Apprentices should not be
allowed to ride in regular jockeys' races until they
have graduated and become qualified— in the opinion
of others— to be trusted with the care of a horse
in a serious race. Some of them never would for
years, while others after a year or more experience
would be promoted from the ranks. This apprentice
question is one of the most important in racing, and,
writing as I do in the early spring of 1915, I can say
that there was never a better opportunity for the
Jockey Club to make experiments by the passing of
rules which could be only temporary, or "try-out," if
thought fit. It is one of the firmest convictions of
my life and I would put it in my dying Will and Testa-
ment—if anyone would heed me— that the curses of
racing nowadays are : first, the 5 lb. allowance ; and
next, the fact that ordinary apprentices are allowed
to spoil many races by riding with tried and proved
jockeys. When alluding to the Starting Gate there
will be more to say on this score.
With the greatest respect for the English Jockey
Club it might be suggested that the whole system of
apprentices' privileges should be revised. Apprentices
should only be allowed to ride in races put in the card
for them. There might be a special committee of, say,
three to notice how they behave and what form they
show in a race. Every part of the exhibition should
be noted : whether they keep their line, how much
use they make of a horse and what they do with their
whip. Good marks should be given just as in a school
and a subsequent bad example wipe out the previous
records if made. Careful watching by competent
judges would "discover" good boys. The know-
ledge that they were being watched need not neces-
sarily lead to nervousness nor stage fright. Their
honesty would be tried and proved, and altogether
they would want to get to the top of their class to
obtain advancement. Let them keep to their class
until they have proved their ability to go with their
assumed betters and certainly more experienced
rivals. Some boys might attain the distinction when
fourteen or fifteen years old ; others— even on a fair
trial— might remain until over twenty-one to secure
the lifting up into jockey class : this would all depend.
The committee appointed should be from the
Jockey Club or gentlemen of good social class, so that
no favouritism was shown. While on this topic I
would favour stipendiary stewards, but only if men of
a certain class would accept the position ; it would
be impossible with any of those about whom a doubt
could exist. The deterioration of the American Turf
came about to a great extent by the appointment of
what were called " Control Judges " and " Paddock
Judges," for included among them were many who
could not be expected to wield authority over, nor
obtain the requisite respect from, those they were
chosen to control.
Another point I have heard discussed is whether if
paid stewards were appointed they should be placed
at various stages down the course to watch the
incidents of a race or whether it would be better for
a presumed trio to be in a crow's-nest above the
judges' box. With all modesty I would suggest that
the latter would be infinitely the better course, but
again with a reservation that the whole idea of salaried
SOME NEVER RISE IN CLASS
stewards would be absurd unless the right men could
be drawn into it.
Alluding again to the apprentice question, with the
exception of the starting gate the present apprentice
arrangement has been the worst enemy possible to
racing. If the idea mentioned above was carried out,
and apprentices up to a certain stage of proficiency
kept to their own class, there would be a pride of spirit
to encourage them to learn riding and not play monkey
tricks in the saddle. The best way possible is for
them to observe other riders in their own races and
take lessons from their elders or the promoted who
were expected to give good exhibitions. During the
last few years, judging from the performances of
many fully licensed jockeys, I have no hesitation in
saying that many should be put back to the apprentice
class. This is not said in any way because I do not
happen to be in the saddle myself, but because for
absolute incompetency many would take a medal.
They seem to lose all idea of equihbrium and altogether
may have lost their nerve and any knowledge of pace
ever possessed and generally are no good at all. Ask any-
one in England, from the Stewards of the Jockey Club
downwards, whether race riding has deteriorated and
they will all agree that it has. Yet it is possible for
riding to be revolutionised within the next genera-
tion or so. I would repeat, and this very emphatic-
ally, that, like aviation in this year of 1915, race riding
may be only in its infancy and what Harry Grifhn,
Lester Reiff, Johnny Reiff, and perhaps myself have
done is only the beginning of what may be discovered
by those coming after us.
But the first thing to do is to battle with the
apprentice question and remove that horrible 5 lb.
allowance and let them learn properly. One of the
effects of this present allowance business may be that
a trainer has perhaps only two more rides left for a
jockey before he cannot claim it. Those two mounts
which may be winning ones are very valuable to him,
and he may get a big premium for the services of his
boy. Of course a topic of discussion which may be
raised is how far a boy should have to stick to his
indentures of apprenticeship, and whether when
promoted to a proper jockey his trainer should derive
the income from his mounts. I leave this to the
judgment of others, but there would be an obvious
objection if a trainer ceased to have the benefit from
that boy's services. To begin with there might be the
question of a contract where another would withdraw
patronage if a certain boy were not available; and
then again a trainer might retard an apprentice's
progress so that he should have the benefit of his
services for the full term of years. As I have said, it
would be better for others to answer this question.
It must be remembered that the gate too has been
responsible for many faults, especially where appren-
tices have not learned exactly what methods are to be
adopted. They say the gate has done wonderful
things. Has it ? Were not the starts just as good
before with the old flag start ? It was in many ways
far more satisfactory, the children riding having spoilt
The gate has been responsible for more inconsistency
of form than anything else. Various records will show
that in the thousands of races I have ridden in with
the gate I have very frequently got first away. Look-
ing back the percentage is remarkable. I first became
accustomed to it in California in 1904 ; in fact I had
controlled it and was off in front more times than ever
before. Tliere are so few who really know it. I
WELL BALANCED AT START
should include in those with knowledge such riders
as Lester Reiff, Maher, George Stern, Lucien Lyne,
Frank Wootton, and Frank O'Neill. Now what per-
centage does this give of those riding within the last
few years in England, France and Belgium ? It has
been spoilt altogether by apprentices when mixed in
with horsemen. The youngsters do not know what
action a horse is in when he " breaks " for the start.
That is why so many of them are thrown right up in
the saddle, and even lose their seats, not being in any
way in unison with the horse.
Let it be said here too that it is not always the horse
which gets away that can be looked upon as a winner.
A well-balanced horse getting away last or nearly last
has frequently the " bulge " on the others from
the very beginning. Look for yourself in any race
meetings you may go to, and the horse which slips
into his stride when the tapes go up will certainly
have to be reckoned with before the finish. Referring
too to inconsistency owing to inability at the gate, it
must be remembered that a horse never gets away
quite twice alike. It is not always the boy's fault
when it is said of him that he has ridden a bad race ;
it is often because he is ignorant of the first principles
of how to get away.
I don't suppose any of us can look for any alteration
in the rules of racing, and it is certainly not for me to
criticise them, but some day the question of the better-
ment of racing will have to start on the question of
apprentices and the gate ; and alterations made in
this respect for these two blots on what are best for
the game. It is no use arguing whether the standing
start or the walk-up would be better. Let other
things be settled first. The gentlemen who rule the
Turf are not jockeys, nor will jockeys ever be stewards,
so perhaps what may be considered expert opinion —
and in this others' views are being reflected — might
be worth more than passing notice. Time after time
the sporting papers in England voice the opinion that
certain starts at Newmarket and elsewhere have been
simply terrible, and that a race has been lost at the
post, there being no possible opportunity of winning.
Look at the reports and see how many times incom-
petent youngsters have caused this.
The unnecessary use of the whip is something boys
have to learn about, but I think by the rules of many
apprentice races there are, neither whip nor spur is
permitted. With regard to the latter I never used
them for years before ceasing riding, looking upon
them as a totally unnecessary cruelty on a horse, and
they should be barred altogether from the race-course.
It is a wonder that this topic has never been taken up
by the Jockey Club. Nobody who understands racing
has ever discussed it from the cruelty point of view,
and it may seem strange that a criticism should come
from one to whom racing is part of life. There is
indeed a strong chance for anyone to take up the
question of prohibiting spurs. Many a good horse
has been ruined in temper or courage by a spur, and
it was a wonder to see them in use so long. Neither
do I believe they are at all necessary for cross-country
races. As however I have not sufficient experience
in that respect perhaps it would be as well for others
to give their views on this. Such a lot could be said
on the spur question.
The whip can be of use if properly applied, but at
the same time it can be a stopper to a horse. The
one great advantage for any jockey who knows how
to handle the whip is that an animal can frequently be
kept straight, and anyone who knows anything about
LUCIEN LYNE'S CLASS
jockeyship will agree with me. Lucien Lyne, whom
I have always looked upon as one of the best riders I
have ever seen, has had to use spurs in Belgium out of
deference to public opinion on a race-course, and all
those critics and " knockers " he has been up against.
If he brought a horse in a loser without a mark of the
spur on him it could so readily be alleged that he
hadn't tried, whereas public opinion was so easily
stilled if the horse was bleeding. They would say
that he " took something out of that one at all events,"
and they would think they had had a good run for their
Lyne is a great fellow to take any tip although he
is so well up in his profession and so well off. I
suppose we can all learn a little bit from others, and
many pointers which I have been able to give him he
has always been ready to take at once, and in that
way kept himself in touch with what practical men or
lookers-on can see of the game. I have always tried
to make him take little notice of something which
might dash past him in a race, and not go after him
at once ; and even if a second came with a rare " bat,"
so long as there was plenty of time to win a race not
to be led away in putting steam on to catch him. It
has always been a main idea with me, and I know that
many others share it, that a real race-horse knows his
business just as well as a rider does, and even a
moderate animal well encouraged by not being driven
too hard is flattered by the attention, and by the en-
couragement given will put his own bit in to go after
those in front of him. It is the first principle of
riding, and race-horses thus left to themselves with a
little hand riding will in the majority of cases do their
level best and show the most astounding intelligence
as to what is expected of them.
Just another reference to spurs. When first success
began to come my way they were put aside altogether.
Some owners and trainers have come to me saying,
" You must use spurs on this horse ; he's a very sluggish
animal and you won't get him along unless you do
wear them." In these instances I have made the in-
variable and polite answer : " I'm afraid you will have
to get someone else if you insist upon the spur business,
but why not let me try my best without them ? "
Just another word too about the " crouch " seat or
" riding short " which I have heard so much discussed.
This is rather an important matter in connection with
the " revolution " in race-riding of, say, twenty years
ago. It is a great mistake to think that some of us
rode short ; in fact it is a misconception altogether.
In walking and cantering my stirrups were frequently
as long, in fact nearly always, as the old school of
English race riders. \^^ien breaking into a canter it
was often the same, but once a race had begun, and
by the strength of legs the " crouch " assumed, there
would be an immediate difference in the action of a
horse and his speed. Since then others have quite
shortened the stirrup — not with the best results.
That is why the term " riding short " came in. Hands
and brain have more to do with successful race riding
than anything else.
Mr Manning and my Weights — Cash and Santoi — Parading a Mistake
The best starters, apart from Mr Rowe who has been
previously mentioned, that I have ever come in con-
tact with have been Mr C. J. Fitzgerald in America
and Mr Arthur Coventry in England. The former
was the best all-round official ever known in my
country ; he was the same to everyone — owners,
trainers and jockeys — and had a tremendous experi-
ence before being put in a greater position in New
York. He was Canadian bom, but spent most of his
life in the United States, going there when quite a boy.
He started as a sporting journalist and spent some
years at this. He knew as much or more than the
next fellow on the Turf. He officiated at various
meetings in Canada and America. He was so
thorough in all his methods, having his own ideas and
carrying out what he considered was best. He was
one of the first to favour the starting gate, and in that
he might be criticised, but it was more in the spirit
of progressiveness that he took this up. One of his
first ideas was that representations should be made
to owners and trainers as to the necessity of schooling
their horses to the starting gate. He was quite
impartial in the way he ladled out punishment and
did not bother about praise, for that was not, to his
ideas, ever necessary to his duties.
I have spoken of Mr Coventry and one particular
complaint which he made about me at Sandown Park.
Goodness only knows whether I shall ever come under
his orders again, so what is said may be taken as really
meant. His ability in grasping a situation and
throwing his eyes over a very big field is one of the
most remarkable powers he has. A thorough horse-
man himself he knows when the impossible cannot be
tried and would rather risk a delay at the gate than
leave an animal, whatever it might be or however
unruly it might show itself before the start. While
the greatest consideration is given to small boys he can
be severe to the older school, but none of the riders I
have seen ever like to take a liberty with him ; this
comes from both respect and the desire to help him
in difficult duties. The task of a starter is so little
understood, by the general public. " He's got 'em
now, why didn't he let them go," they can say. People
several furlongs away imagine they can see all which
is taking place, but this is one of the greatest mistakes
possible. However this does not upset Mr Coventry,
who rides down placidly on his pony, does what he
has to, and returns. There was no one madder than
he when Nunsuch was left for the Cambridgeshire
which has been described in a previous chapter. He
bent down and I am sure that he was cursing hard at
the misfortune, but I suppose it was only human to
be particularly wild that the King's colours had met
with a disaster. I watched the starter and his furious
regrets and it took off my attention from what had
happened to myself.
I have met Mr Coventry in town on many occasions
and he has always been most kind and considerate
and with an utter lack of snobbishness ; in fact he
was altogether different to many others who were not
so well placed nor of such good family. He would
MR MANNING AND MY WEIGHTS
stop and talk sometimes about racing but more
frequently of other matters. I wish that I could get
under his orders again.
This reminds me that when I visited Ascot a few
years back I ran across Mr Manning, the Clerk of the
Scales, and it was most charming of him to encourage
me in the way he did. I was just outside the weighing
enclosure and he came behind me saying : " Hurry up,
Sloan, and get on your colours. I should like to weigh
you out again."
Charlie Wood was standing near and he said to Mr
Manning : "I should like to see him going to the post
Mr Manning added : " That's right, and if you know
anyone, Charlie, who can do him any good, don't you
forget what I have said."
And Charlie promised that he would do all he could.
Mr Manning was always very fair, having no
favourites when at his work, usually sharp and
severe in his manner. Wlien I first came over I could
not get used to stones and pounds. He would ask
me my weight and at first I would reply 102 lb. or
whatever it was. He gave me a little time, but even
later on it was inevitable for me to give the weight as
I had always been accustomed to in America. " Will
you give me your weight properly ? " he would repeat,
and then I had to do a bit of lightning calculating and
divide by fourteen. Sometimes I was uneasy whether
I had said the right figures, and would have to borrow
a card from someone to check what I had given in,
but was usually right. When I met Mr Manning
away from the race-course he was always congenial
and friendly, although as I have said he is very sharp
and quick to the boys at the scale. But that is his
official manner. By the way, Mr Fitzgerald, of whom
I have spoken, was Clerk of the Scales before he came
to be a starter.
Speaking again of that visit to Ascot I saw a lot of
my old patrons and those I had ridden for, but
I was diffident about going up and speaking to
them. Sir R. Waldie Griffith sent Bob Sherwood over
to tell me to come and speak to him. He asked me
where I had been hiding myself and why I hadn't
come over to him ; and I explained that I had been
shy about doing so. He was extremely nice and tried
to encourage me with hopes that I should " get back,"
in fact he was so amiable to me — and this was backed
up by Sherwood — that I feel quite certain were I to
get my ticket again that he would put me up on some-
thing, even if I couldn't sit a horse. At all events he
would give me a try-out. Tlie kindness I met with
that afternoon at Ascot has been one of the gladdest
experiences of recent years. It seemed funny to be
walking about and not be looking for my horse.
I was reminded by that trip to Ascot of the one and
only time my brother Cash rode in England before
taking up an engagement in Russia. He had come
over from America, it being his first trip abroad. I
was anxious that he should get a chance if he could
where I was doing so well, and he came down to Maiden-
head where I was staying with Mr George Edwardes
for the Ascot week. I mentioned my brother's name,
and Mr Edwardes asked how he could ride. I told
him that Cash had been in the first class in 1893 and
1894 and I had no doubt that he would do all right ;
at the same time I didn't know that he had been on a
horse for some while. As a matter of fact he plumped
right into England and on to that mount at Ascot
without getting any preliminary work at all. Mr
Edwardes then said he would give him a proper chance
CASH AND SANTOI
and he should be entrusted with Santoi, who was a real
good thing. Cash was delighted of course, especially
when I told him what class of horse he was to be on.
I could see as the hour of the race drew near he was
getting a bit nervous. But going down to the post on
such a course and before such a crowd he was to be
forgiven for having a touch of stage fright. The worst
happened that was possible, and surely neither Cash
nor anyone else ever rode a worse race. When we
were about five furlongs from home my brother sang
out to me : " He is hanging with me," of course
referring to the horse. " Tlien let him drop in be-
hind just for a while," I answered. But he couldn't
do that and gave a shocking exhibition, as he himself
would admit. Santoi came again with him but I just
beat him a head. I would have done anything for
him to win short of pulling my own horse, but he ought
to have won easily. I said to him, " Sorry, Cash, I'd
have given anything to see you win," and his amiable
reply was, " ^Yhy the hell didn't you let me then ? "
Of course Mr George Edwardes and others were
furious at the race being thrown away, but I defended
my brother with, of course, just the reservation that
he hadn't found his confidence. If Cash had won
that day I believe he would have stayed in England
for good instead of going over to Russia. It was
fortunate yet unlucky for him that he had a chance
on such a good horse. If he had been on a moderate
animal then not so much attention would have been
drawn to him, A lot of boys, however, have not
shaped so well when they first appeared in a new
country as they did afterwards. That is why we
should not be too severe in our judgment on them
when everything is new to them.
As several officials have been mentioned in this
chapter and the starting gate discussed in the previous
one, there might be just a word or two about the
system of judging. Photographing the finishes has
been tried in Belgium and the film records kept. I
had a chance of seeing one privately on one occasion
when it was proved beyond doubt that the judge's
verdict was incorrect. Perhaps the system of the
film will never come into general use but other things
could be devised where a judge would be in a better
position to be absolutely correct. To begin with
every horse should have his number largely indicated
on the saddle cloth. This would help both the public
and the official. I also favour raising the height of
judges' boxes ; there would be much more oppor-
tunity of viewing those in front, especially on wide
courses, such for instance as Newmarket. But what
should be done also is that there should be a screen
erected on one side of the box which should make it
impossible for the judge to follow the race with his
eye until the horses were almost passing him, then he
could take in the first, second, third and fourth. As
it is now a judge follows the leaders for a long way and
may get one set of colours fixed in his mind and not
get it out of it even by the time the verdict has to be
given. His duty is to see the horses as they pass the
post and that is all. This would be a scheme to try
and see how it worked. I am quite sure that there
will be many criticisms of this suggestion, chief of
which may be that the judge has to look out for foul
riding and give his evidence if necessary. My editor
reminds me that in the Ascot Gold Cup, when Eider
and The Wliite Knight ran a dead -heat and the
former was disqualified, the judge's evidence went a
great deal towards the decision of the stewards. A
A Hospital Garden Scene
PARADING A MISTAKE
judge should never be called upon for anything like
this, his duty being solely to decide how the horses
have finished and nothing beyond it. Looking for
other incidents must take thoughts off the real work
an official has to do, and he should have no more
to say about the running than a man down town.
Those matters are for the stewards only. Of course
photographing a finish and making the camera the
final decider would be all right in the case of head and
head results, but doesn't it strike you that the public
would be very impatient waiting a quarter of an hour
or twenty minutes until they could learn what had
reall}'' happened ?
Another matter which should be altered — again
only according to my humble judgment — is the
parading on the course which is so customary before
big events. Parading round the paddock and the
preliminary canter should be quite sufficient. A good
horse is apt to get his temper spoilt by being marched
down slowly behind others. Frequently an owner
can get permission for his horse to be exempted from
that parade — why should this be allowed ? If a
horse is a bad actor why should a rattle-brained brute
be given such a chance ? If he has not been properly
broken or trained there is no reason why he should
be given a better show than those who know how to
behave. It is unfair to a degree. Tliere should be no
excuse for and no favouring those who are not fit
to do as others do. One can only suppose that
there would be a howl from the public if the parade
before such a race as the Derby was done away
with, but after all the race is the thing and those not
able to go to the paddock would have every chance as
the field cantered past the stands of seeing all the
Old customs die very hard but, as previously re-
marked about riding being in its infancy, the whole
system of conducting racing may be revolutionised in
a generation or two.
Trying my Luck— Friends' " Comforting "
In finishing with some explanation to the public, and
especially my friends— those whom I know and those
whom I am not personally on terms of acquaintance
with — I should like to refer to several things.
In the first place it must not be stated that there
was no idea of earning money both from the first edition
and subsequent issues : that, naturally, is the legitimate
object of anyone who has something to tell which
he feels may be of interest. Real earnings in war-
time too can be looked upon as " money from home."
Several times lately I have been asked to give the story
of a career full of ups and downs, but just as regularly
I have declined to do so, for various reasons, some of
which may have appeared rather absurd. I suppose
among racing people, especially among jockeys, there
should be the discretion of silence. But I have waited
so many years in the hope that I should be reinstated.
The wish has come several times to explain away
what has not been quite clear to those who sat in judg-
ment on me. In this I do not refer exactly to the
English Jockey Club and the ruling bodies in France
and America, for there are many thousands who have
nothing to do with the control of the turf who have had
a great deal to say from time to time as to my alleged
weaknesses. These I admit, but some of these weak
points have not been those charged against me ; in
fact, many shortcomings which have been alluded to
in these pages have not been known to my critics.
As I have stated, altogether too much to my detri-
ment has been made out over the Ascot incident,
and what I was supposed to have said and done with
regard to Codoman's Cambridgeshire. My Editor is
satisfied that certain unreasonable ideas ought to be
altered by what has been explained, but there is more
to unburden myself of, and perhaps the best way to
do this will be to reproduce a letter I wrote to Mr
Luckman when he was sporting editor of The Daily
Express and " The Scout " of that paper. He was
doing his best at the time, in a series of articles, to
show cause why the time had elapsed for any more
Here is a reproduction of that letter of mine to him.
ISth October 1909.
Dear Friend Luckman :— There has been
some discussion as to what you have written
about me which I feel may be too much in my
favour, for you have carefully not specified
certain things which are in the minds of many
as to what I have done wrong.
For instance : you touch very lightly on the
score of my making wagers. People have said
to me : " Why have you incriminated yourself
so much by admitting that you took up betting,
and also not glossing over any incidents of the
life you have led."
Those people never stop to think that after
the death of Lord William Beresford and Mr
Whitney I never had as a serious adviser any
good powerful friend who would take upon
himself the task of putting his hand on my
TRYING MY LUCK
shoulder and counselling me what to do. Just
think of the following instance for a moment
and you will better understand what I mean.
There was a man whom I considered a friend ;
he told me, afte?' my having done him a very big
service, that he had too much respect for the
French Societe to speak for me, but added :
" Poor little fellow, I am sincerely sorry for you,
because I believe you to be the most honest
and straightforward of all riders I have ever
A few years after this, when he was pro-
moted to be a steward of the French Jockey
Club, everybody in Paris thought : " Now Sloan
is sure to get his licence in France." All my
friends insisted on me going to see the new
steward at 3 Rue Scribe. They said to me:
" Don't be backward about it. Get a hustle on
you ; it is all for your own good. He'll see
you all right." I thought it over and over and
was very reluctant to take the advice given, but
they persisted, in fact argued me stiff about it.
Finally it was no use holding back any longer,
and practically I was kicked off — quite in a
good-natured way — to take the chance with
the magnate. Even when I was in the court-
yard and going up the staircase I nearly turned
back, for I considered that I knew him better
than my friends did, and I made the mistake —
a very serious one — of not going on my own
judgment. I have regretted it ever since.
He saw me all right, but made me feel like a
worm. The first thing he told me was that I
should never have fought the "Societe" (the
French ruling body) and that he could not help
me. " \^Tiy on earth did you ever do it ? "
he went on to ask me. I rephed : " Because,
Count, you, who should have advised me, and
what you thought then say now, never uttered
a syllable as to what I should have done.
It would have only required that for me to have
dropped the case straight away, and now you
ask me why I was such a fool as to do this, that
and the other. What vou did do was to turn
your back on me, saying you were sorry for me,
although you knew all the time that I was as
innocent of wrong-doing as He who built the
world. No one attempted to advise me; in
fact I stood alone, a persecuted man without
the slightest help from anyone except Maitre
Labori, and he told me that I should surely
win but also that I should surely lose by winning.
He was right."
There are many other little matters I could
mention as to those who were real good friends
to me in England and France — that is, cheery
companions, but who were powerless to move
one log along to get me my licence. Some of
them, good-hearted sportsmen, may have in
some way done me more harm than good, for
when a fellow is up against it those opposed to
him are always looking for reasons why the
punishment should be continued, and take a
yellow- jaundiced view of everything which is
done in private life. Surely there must be
enough justice left to allow me to follow up my
calling. Perhaps they all think I could not
ride ! I will not say anything about this.
J. T. Sloan.
In the pages of the book I have told how failure after
failure has followed my repeated attempts to obtain a
licence. This year (1915) another trial was made. I
addressed a humble letter to the Stewards of the
Jockey Club, but after waiting for three months there
IS still no reply. The book would have been completed
m any case, for I have told a plain, unvarnished tale,
not attempting to whitewash myself, nor posing as
the hly-white, for those who go racing know a good
many conditions of life. But as the French steward
just quoted said, I was " straightforward " and honest
as a jockey : I liked winning too much. Wliy, there-
fore, the apparently permanent condemned position *? I
might not be able to ride, but I have relatives and
friends who would think of me in the present and in
later years so thoroughly differently if I had the stigma
removed from me. The chance of making a living
too at something I could do better than anything else
cannot be overlooked in the many hours of anxiety.
Friends comfort me by saying : " Oh ! you'll be all
right some day." But when will that some day arrive *?
Will it ever ? One after the other of my old friends
have gone— my patrons and intimates. I suppose I
must think I am getting towards middle age but—
here the " personal " is inevitable again— I feel as fit
as ever to do anything. Men have been successful
when far older than I ; in fact, there are one or two
riding to-day. And what about the veteran John
Osborne, who retired only two or three seasons back
and still rides gallops ? My weight has not increased'
my muscles are as strong, while my vision and nerve
are unimpaired. There can surely be no " but " on
the score of age-limit.
But again— and finally : why this book *? To
explain myself, to put the swom-to-be-true story of
previously distorted incidents. My one and only Turf
misdemeanour was betting— nothing else during my
whole career. I admitted this to the Stewards in 1900.
I have not retracted in these pages, but I have repented
that I was ever such a fool. It cut me off at the age
of twenty- five. Having " done " fifteen years I can
only pray that some day, in a spirit of clemency, that
mercy will be shown to a transgressor — who would
never transgress again, even to the extent of a fiver.
This is not canting or whining, nor a question of
" The devil a saint would be," etc., but an appeal and
full explanation to those who can reprieve me ; and
in addition a recital of certain incidents to reheve
the monotony of "too much Tod Sloan." I speak
sincerely when I say that I would gladly obliterate
myself if only my official obliteration could be cancelled.
Webster Family Libran/ of Veterinary Medicine
Cummings School of Veterinany Medicine at
200 Westboro Road
North Grafton, MA 01536