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Full text of "Tod Sloan"

»^. 



SLOAN 

By HIMSELF 



3 9090 013 



HH 

419 126 



TOD SLOAN 



Webster Family Library of Veterinary Medicine 
Cummings School of Veterinary svledicine at 
Tufts University 
200 Westboro Road 
Nort;nGrafiGn,MA01538 




In 1900 

Afr last English photograph 



TOD SLOAN 



BY 

HIMSELF 

EDITED BY 

A. DICK LUCKMAN 

AUTHOR OF "sharps, FLATS, GAMBLERS AND RACEHORSES' 



^ 



WITH THIRTY-TWO ILLUSTRATIONS 



NEW YORK 

BRENTANO'S 

MDCCCCXV 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY 
THE RIVERSIDE PRESS LIMITED, EDINBURGH 



TO 

MY FRIEND 

FRANK C. JACOTT 

WHOSE SYMPATHY AND ENCOURAGEMENT 

IN MANY TRYING MOMENTS 

WILL BE A LASTING 

MEMORY 



July 1915 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER 

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 

XVIII. HOLOCAUST 

XIX. FLYING FOX AND CAIMAN 

XX. JOCKEYS AND JOCKEYSHIP 

XXI. THE BIG PLUNGER 



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CONTENTS 



CHAPTER 

XXII. A VISIT TO AMERICA . 
XXIII. THE ASCOT INCIDENT . 

XXIV. merman's gold cup . 

XXV. CODOMAN 
XXVI. DARK CLOUDS 
XXVII. NABOT 
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 . 



PAGB 

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Vlll 



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 
at Newmarket 

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 
People .... 

After the St Moritz Annual Billiard Tournament 



Frontispiece 

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IX 



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 

., 272 

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INTRODUCTION 

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 

xi 



INTRODUCTION 

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 
year. 

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 

xii 



INTRODUCTION 

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 

xiii 



INTRODUCTION 

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 

xiv 



INTRODUCTION 

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 
in. 

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 



XV 



INTRODUCTION 

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 
by Sloan. 

A. Dick Luckman. 



XVI 



CHAPTER I 

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 



TOD SLOAN 

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- 
appointment. 

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. 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

4 



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 
life progresses. 

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. 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

6 



TOM LOATES 

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. 



CHAPTER II 

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 

8 



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 

9 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
years old. 

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 

lO 




< > 



n 5 

5 -'^ 



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. 

II 



TOD SLOAN 

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 " 
Callaway's yard. 

" 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 
bread. 

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 

12 



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 

13 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

14 



THE PARACHUTE 

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 

15 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 

i6 



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 
morning. 

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 



B 17 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
distance. 

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. 

i8 



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. 

19 



TOD SLOAN 

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 



20 



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 



21 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 



22 




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 

23 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
instinct. 



24 



CHAPTER III 

" 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 

25 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

26 




'■ Pittsburg Phil" 



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 

27 



TOD SLOAN 

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 races." 

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 

28 



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 

29 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 



5J 



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 
New York. 

" 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. 



30 



CHAPTER IV 

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 
grafting." 

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 

31 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

32 



MACDONALD'S DISTRUST 

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 
second. 

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 
turn. ^ 

I told him that I didn't want to know him again and 
*^ 33 



TOD SLOAN 

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- 
ditions. 

" 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 

35 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

36 



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. 



37 



CHAPTER V 
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 

38 



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 

39 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

40 



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 
bench. 

" 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 

41 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

42 



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 
permission." 

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 

43 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 



44 



CHAPTER VI 

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 
would." 

" How soon could you go ? " 

" To-morrow." 

" 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 

45 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
rider himself. 

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 
myself. 

He took a good look at me and answered : " You 
aren't used to Newmarket. There will be a lot of other 

46 



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 
was done. 

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 

47 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

48 




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 
D 49 



TOD SLOAN 

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, 

50 



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- 
morrow." 

" 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, 



51 



CHAPTER VII 

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 

52 



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 

53 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

54 



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." 

55 



TOD SLOAN 



cc 



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 

56 



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 

^7 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
abandoned ! 



58 



CHAPTER VIII 

SECOND IMPRESSIONS OF ENGLAND 

Of&cials' Kindness — Liverpool Jumping Course — Never a Drink while 
racing — Laid out at Kempton — My Opinion of Democrat, and — 
Lord William's 

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 

59 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
it. 

" 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 

60 



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 

6i 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
brandy." 

" I will — after racing," I replied. 

Lord William who was standing near — ^he had come 

62 






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 

63 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
at Kempton. 



64 



CHAPTER IX 

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 

E 65 



TOD SLOAN 

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 



me. 



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 

66 



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 

67 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

did. 

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 

68 



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 
Sloan. 

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 

69 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

70 



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 
the waxworks." 

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." 

71 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
hot biscuits. 



72 



CHAPTER X 

HOLIDAY INCIDENTS 

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 
and decorations. 

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 

1Z 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
Molly Plumb. 

" 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 ! " 

74 



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 

75 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
for me. 

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 

76 



NEVER A SECRETARY 

sailed on the 15th January from Liverpool by the 
Campania. 

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 

77 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

78 



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 

79 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
of it. 



80 



CHAPTER XI 

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, 

''J. Campbell." 

F 8i 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
else ! 

Now comes the joke : 

" Summer's coming on ; surely you want something 
lighter for the other suits ? " the tailor suddenly 
asked. 

" 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 

82 



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 

83 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

84 



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 other. 

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, Jean." 

Hullo, Tod," they made him reply. 

Viho do you ride for ? " I was supposed to have 
continued. 

85 






TOD SLOAN 

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 
course. 



86 



CHAPTER XII 

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. 

87 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

88 



ANOTHER BROTHER 

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 
invasion." 

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- 

89 



TOD SLOAN 

ately killed Walter Kroot at the National Sporting 
Club, London. 

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 
with me. 

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 

90 



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 
win. 

I remember once — it was the last race of the 
year at the Newmarket meetings — I was riding a horse 

91 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
beat both." 

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 

92 



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] 
at all." 

" 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." 

93 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 



94 



CHAPTER XIII 

NUNSUCH's 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 

95 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
her again." 

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 
King Edward. 

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 

96 



NEWSPAPER CRITICISM 

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 
G 97 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
me ! 

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 

98 



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. 

99 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

100 




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. 



lOI 



CHAPTER XIV 

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 

102 



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- 

103 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

104 



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 

105 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 

io6 



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 
Mayor's show." 

And the last, which was much quoted at the time, 
they keep framed in my home at Kokomo : 

T actful, 
O riginal, 
D aring. 

S kilful, 
L ucky, 
O bservant, 
A mbitious, 
N erveless. 
107 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

io8 



DISAPPOINTMENTS 

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- 

109 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

no 



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. 



Ill 



CHAPTER XV 

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 
jokes imaginable. 

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 
reply : 

" 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." 

112 



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 
correct. 

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 ! 

H 113 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
fearful." 

" 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 

114 



BYRON MACLELLAN 

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 

115 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

ii6 



HOW HORSES WERE SHOD 

ever remember : there are a few exceptions on the other 
side but the vast majority goes to support what I 
have said. 

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 
with teeth. 

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. 

117 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 



ii8 



CHAPTER XVI 

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 

119 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
ride her." 

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 

120 



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 
beginning training. 

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. 

121 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
hit me. 

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 

122 



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 

123 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

124 



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- 

125 



TOD SLOAN 

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, 

126 



TALK ENGLISH 

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. 



127 



CHAPTER XVII 

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 
race. 

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- 

128 



THE LINCOLNSHIRE 

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 
with him. 

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- 
I 129 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

130 



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, 

131 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
myself. 

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 

132 



'*=*-# 




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. 



133 



CHAPTER XVIII 

HOLOCAUST 

Engaged for Holocaust— Flying Fox delays Start— WTiat Charles Hawtrey 

missed 

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 
to-morrow." 

134 



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 

135 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
Derby. 

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 

136 



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 
of it. 

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. 

137 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
grass ! 

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- 
wards. 

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 

138 



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 
chapter. 

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 

139 



TOD SLOAN 

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 ! 



140 



CHAPTER XIX 

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 
year before. 

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 

141 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

142 




In King Edward's Colours 

Autumn, iSqq 



THE TRAGEDY OF SIBOLA 

yards from home he then went away from me as easily 
as possible. 

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. 

143 



(( 
(( 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
glance. 

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 

144 




y 



is 



o ? 






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, 

TEMPER. 

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 
wins. 



K 



145 



CHAPTER XX 

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 

146 




Lestfr Rkiff 

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 
riding. 

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 

147 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

148 



SAM AND TOM LOATES 

won the Grand Prix on Kizil Kourgan. lie won four 
altogether. 

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 
jumpers. 

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 
brother Sam. 

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 : 

149 



TOD SLOAN 

" 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. 

150 



THRIFTY JOCKEYS 

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 
are. 

" 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 

151 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 



152 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE BIG PLUNGER 

loo-Dollar Bills for the "Girls" — Riley Grannan's End— Romano 

Hospitality 

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 
Diamond Jubilee. 

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 
the time. 

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 

153 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
Pickersgill. 

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 

154 



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 

155 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
the form. 

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 
any luck. 

" 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 

156 



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 
stories. 

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 

157 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

158 



ROMANO HOSPITALITY 

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 
ideas. 

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 

159 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
everything. 



i6o 





/' 



Johnny Reifk 

From Spy's caricature in " I'afiity Fair," igoo 



CHAPTER XXII 

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 
L i6i 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

162 



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 
read this. 

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 
him. 

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 

163 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
pole." 

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 

164 



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- 
makers. 

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 

165 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

i66 



HANDICAPPING AMERICANS 

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. 



167 



CHAPTER XXIII 

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- 
gotten. 

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 
was. 

Before describing that Ascot business it is only 
justice perhaps to say that the morning after it 

i68 



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, 
saying : 

" 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 

169 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

170 



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 
more. 

" 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 

171 



TOD SLOAN 

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 " 

172 



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 
altogether. 



^73 



CHAPTER XXIV 

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 
about everything. 

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 
Flush. 

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 

174 



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 

175 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

176 




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 
too." 

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 
M 177 



TOD SLOAN 

I slipped round that soup-plate course and I won it 
right enough. 

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 
themselves. 

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 
would do. 

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- 

178 



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. 



179 



CHAPTER XXV 

CODOMAN 

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 
race. 

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 

i8o 



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. 

i8i 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 

182 




Waiter Davis 

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 
day. 

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 

183 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

184 



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 
grateful for. 

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, 

185 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 



i86 



CHAPTER XXVI 



DARK CLOUDS 



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 
that year. 

187 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
thousand pounds. 

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 

i88 



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 
to him. 

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- 

189 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
engender caution." 

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. 

190 



RIDING GALLOPS 

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 

191 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

traps. 

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 

192 



LOSING £20,000 

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 
factory. 

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 
at cards. 

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 

N 193 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
from." 

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 

194 



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 
Wliatcombe. 

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 
hours." 

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 

195 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 

196 



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 
anywhere else. 

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 

197 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

198 



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. 



199 



CHAPTER XXVII 

NABOT 

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 

200 



THE LATE KING LEOPOLD 

many places, however, and not spent so much 
money. 

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 
out." 

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 

201 



TOD SLOAN 

King Leopold ! Besides I was not quite so far gone 
that I would not have given up any table to even a less 
distinguished personage. 

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 

202 



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 

203 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
ago. 

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 
bargain. 

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 

204 



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. 



205 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

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 

206 







X -^^ 



"^ 



<i. 



z '^ 



I:::; 'o 



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 

207 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
Duke Michael." 

" 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 

208 



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 
o 209 



TOD SLOAN 

Italians were civil. Still it didn't matter much. I 
had my own bunch to talk to and was having a good 
time anyway. 

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 

210 





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 
pigeon-shots. 

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 

211 



TOD SLOAN 

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- 
wards. 

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. 



212 



CHAPTER XXIX 

" 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 

213 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

214 



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 
different places. 

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 

215 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
exactly. 

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 

2l6 



MAITRE LABORI 

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- 

217 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

218 




Uyyiiiiiiiiii 



Rose de Mai 



MR MEAN 

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 

219 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

220 



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 
wanted." 

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. 

221 



CHAPTER XXX 

DOPE 

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 

222 



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 
mounts. 

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 

223 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
Swanee River." 

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 

224 




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 
possibility. 

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, 
p 225 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

226 



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 
it up. 



237 



CHAPTER XXXI 

MY MARRIAGE 

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 

228 



MY MONOLOGUE 

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 

229 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
riding." 

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 

230 




Miss Ti'IIA Sanoerson 



MY ENGAGEMENT 

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 
down. 

"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 

231 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

232 



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 

233 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
me." 

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 
fashion. 



234 



CHAPTER XXXII 

HOPE DEFERRED 

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, 

235 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
Hartigan. 

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." 

236 



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 
to Belgium. 

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 
than myself. 

237 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

238 



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 
fall. 

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 

239 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 

240 




At thi: Carlton Hotel, Nice 

I9'3 



THE lOTOCK 

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 
was. 



21-1 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

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 

him now. 

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 

242 



KAUFMANN'S METHODS 

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 

243 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

244 



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 
friends ! 

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. 

245 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

246 



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 ! 



247 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

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 

248 




C C 



a: 
< 






o 

as 



"2^ 



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 
emphatic. 

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 
one's calling. 

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." 

249 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
journals. 

When a great Congress of medical men was held — I 

250 



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. 



251 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
in." 

" 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. 



252 



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 

253 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
was everything. 

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 
always hope. 

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 

234 



WHAT HANLON DID FOR ME 

to lift him out of trouble time after time isn't 
funny. 

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 
serious topics. 

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 
was. 



255 



CHAPTER XXXV 

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 

256 




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 
France. 

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 : 
R 257 



TOD SLOAN 

" 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. 

258 




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 
" Boche." 

" What did you want to kick my dog for ? " I asked 
him. 

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 

259 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

wounds. 

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. 

260 



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. 



261 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

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 

262 



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 
San Francisco. 

" 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 

263 



TOD SLOAN 

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 



win." 



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 

264 



RESULTS TELL 

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, 

265 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
feller." 

" 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." 

266 



SILENCING A WHISTLER 



ii 



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 
coming." 
• ••••••• 

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 
habit. 

" 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 

267 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
devoted husbands. 



268 



CHAPTER XXXVII 



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 
learn. 

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 

269 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
sweeping up. 

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 

270 



RAIDED 

a mug and always will be — so, why not ? " It was 
unanswerable. 

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 
all. 

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 
frequenters. 

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 

271 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

272 




V'V 





In Algieus 
/Q14 



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 
you." 

" 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 
s 273 



TOD SLOAN 

instruction in race-riding. How pleased I was with 
him! 

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 

274 







^ S- 



< ; 



Z 






NEWMARKET 

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 

275 



TOD SLOAN 

there is nowhere better in the world for training than 
Chantilly. 

• •«••••• 

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 
war. 

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 

276 




- * 




W'okkim; i-i)K iiii'; Amiu/lance 

IQI4-IQIJ 



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 

277 



TOD SLOAN 

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 ? 

278 




Two Pirates 

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. 



279 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 

SUGGESTIONS 

Effect of the " Mutual" — Le Blizon and the Eclipse — Lord Durham's 

Speech 

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 

280 



^^v.. 



4 




.:^ 



M. 



"Hknrv" 

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 

281 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

282 



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 

283 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
riders. 

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 

284 



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 
they had." 



285 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

PRACTICAL JOCKEYSHIP 

"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 
time. 

The performances of other jockeys both before my 
own time and during my career have always been of 

286 



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- 

287 



TOD SLOAN 

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 
Maria. 

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 

288 



THE APPRENTICE QUESTION 

home, he must have practice on a course to bring 
him on. 

• 

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 

T 289 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

290 



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 

291 



TOD SLOAN 

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 new. 

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 

292 



\ 



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, 

293 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

294 



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 
money. 

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. 

295 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 



296 



CHAPTER XL 

MORE SUGGESTIONS 

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 

297 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

298 



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 
too." 

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 

299 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

300 



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. 



301 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

302 




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 
runners. 

303 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 



304 



CHAPTER XLI 

FINIS 

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 
u 305 



TOD SLOAN 

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 

punishment. . 

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 

306 




Mv Editor 



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 
known." 

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 

307 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 

Sincerely, 

J. T. Sloan. 
308 



FRIENDS' COMFORTING 

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 

309 



TOD SLOAN 

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. 



310 



Webster Family Libran/ of Veterinary Medicine 
Cummings School of Veterinany Medicine at 
Tufts Univerolty 
200 Westboro Road 
North Grafton, MA 01536