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Hollywood Park - February 1946


THE LEADING winter-training spot in harness horse circles for the first time in history has shifted to California, for Hollywood Park, one of the most beautiful race tracks to be found anywhere in the entire world, now houses the largest group of trotters and pacers that are in training for the new 1946 campaign.

This was indicated here when Ted Ketcham, well-known horseman and race official of Alexandria, Minn., the master in charge at the track, reported that his stable chart showed over 200 candidates now on the ground and getting daily lessons. This group ranges all the way from the untried youngsters, just getting their first education in trotting etiquette (among them the $23,000 Defense Counsel, highest priced pacing yearling of all time), on through to the hardy old campaigners like Blue Boy 2.011/4, Earl's Moody Guy 2.00, Eddie D., 4, 2.00, Eddie Havens 2.013/4, Attorney 2.03 and others, that have all been through the mill and know what the racing wars really are.

First of all, the trotting horseman to reach this section for the inaugural Grand Circuit meeting of the year, that at world-famous and beautiful Santa Anita, April 16 to May 18, was the Hoosier farmer-horseman, Earl Daugherty of Hagerstown. Earl checked in prior to the first of the New Year at the farm of President Walter E. Smith with Lusty B. 2.001/2, who showed the fans some neat pacing speed at the DuQuoin meeting last fall, and the precious two-yearold pacing filly, Ella Pointer, by Pegasus Pointer 2.021/4-Ella Hal, the sister of Supreme Hal, 4, 2.013/4. Daugherty figured that being the first on hand with a candidate for the $50,000 Hollywood Pacing Derby, to be raced on May 18, might bring him some luck on race day-sort of, "first come, first served."

Right on Daugherty's heels were the two northwestern trainers, Dorsey Dennis of Portland, Ore., and Ezra Tilden of Canby, Ore., for years past two of the leading trainers of the western coast. Dennis brought down ten head from home quarters, the leader, Milt Hanover 2.041/4, owned by J. W. Bilby of Camas, Wash. Dorsey also has horses for owners Mike Blair of Camas, Joe Postel of Portland, Win. Turner of Portland and Dan Haley of the same city. Tilden has seven, his patrons, Harold Blake of Camas, Wash., Dr. C. F. Milleson of Portland, and H. A. Mickelsen, also from Portland.

The sixteen members of the Saunders Mills Stable of Toledo, Ohio, were all comfortably located in their stalls when trainers Jake Mahoney and Charley Lacey drove in from Toledo. A snow-storm held the Ohioians up for a short while in their dash across Arizona, but after a few hours in the California sun, they were all set and ready to get down to the work at hand, that of getting their candidates in fighting trim for that $400,000 in stakes and purses that will be dangling before their noses a couple of months hence.

Visitors to Hollywood Park have all been anxious to get a good look at two of the yearling stars from the past fall sales, the $23,000 Defense Counsel and the $16,000 Goose Bay. Both will pass inspection, and their early education in the coming weeks will be closely watched by all on the sidelines, both here at the track and throughout the country.

The Saunders Mills camp is well fortified for the stakes of the coming Santa Anita meeting, having a quartette to be primed for that $50,000 pacing classic, Eddie D., 4, 2.00, back to the races again, Doctor Brodie 2.02, Carl Frisco 2.053/4 and the well-regarded three-year-old, Indiana Hal, by Hal Dale 2.021/4, as well as the $11,500 Prince Richard, one of the stars of the York sale. Others in the stable are Blue Boy 2.011/4, Alexandria 2.081/2, Bluett, 3, 2.091/2, Morris Mite; Prue Spencer (Prudity 2.05), a $50,000 trotting derby candidate, Chungking, 3, Lady Mite, p, and Heather Lord, the twoyear-old filly by Lord Jim 2.003/4, from the dam of Blue Boy 2.011/4.

Right in with the early arrivals were the stables of Dr. W. R. Scott of Baxter Springs, Kan., ten strong, and Professor Neal Boardman of Vermillion, S. D. The Dr. Scott horses in charge of the veteran Jim Overfield came on from winter quarters at Topeka, Kan. Neal Boardman, who after some 22 years has forsaken the class rooms of college life for the sport he likes so well trucked four of his own out of Vermillion in zero weather and a foot of snow, checked in at the fairgrounds oval at Topeka, Kan., the day before Christmas in a nice ice-storm, and when he found that Overfield was about to load on the express cars for Hollywood Park, he said, "Brother take mine with you. I'll sit out this storm right here in Topeka."

Early last week saw trainer J. R. ("Pooch") Clark of Madison, Wis., checking in with the eight-horse stable of the Kewanee, Ill., horsemen, Joe Moore and John Rella, the leader being Moses 2.09, raced late last fall by Harry Fitzpatrick. The balance are younger candidates, two- and three-year-olds.

The record to date for distance traveled for any of the stables reaching Hollywood Park goes to the A. B. Highley and Thomas L. Johnson horses. The Reading, Pa., trainer, Carl Smith, has the Highley horses, seven in number, the leader, Scotta 2.051/2, while trainer Tom Wingate has the Johnson candidates, who number six, and headed by the pacing derby candidate, Watson E. Direct 2.033/4. Both stables made the overland ship together, with trainer Wingate's speedometer showing a reading of 3,200 miles as he, stopped his gas buggy at the local track.

Four more stables were in the past Monday. Joe Rick, the well-known New Castle, Pa., horseman, sent on nine, these in charge of the Columbus, Ohio, trainer, Slim Shilling, who has as his assistants, Walter Johnson and Herb Hoiles, a trio that expressed themselves as more than glad to get away from that cold spell they were having through central Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Owner Rick will join the stable right after the first of the month, or just as soon as he can change a big bunch of Herefords into the stuff you carry down to the banks for deposit. The leaders here are My Son 2.02 and Porter Day 2.081/4, a pair that are headed for the two big prizes of the meeting.

The same day brought in a carload from Morris, Minn., headed by the oldest active trainer associated with racing in America today, George Loomis, who admits to 85 years, but whose days labor at the race track is not limited to the modern version of a "good" working day, nine to four, five days a week. Rather with Loomis it is sun-up to sun-down, seven days a week. George has the private stable of B. J. ("Bonny") Benfield of Morris, one of the best known of all northwestern horsemen, and one we might add, whose hunting exploits need no dressing up, as happens to be the case with old "never-miss-'em" Guy Crippen of Milwaukee. The next time you see Bonny Benfield just ask him how many birds he and Ted Ketcham knocked over on that North Dakota session a year ago. You can believe his answer, for we saw the results.

In the same car with Loomis were four owned by Pat Chantelois, one of the best known of the Wisconsin horsemen. Earl's Moody Guy 2.00 heads this quartette, and Pat hopes he has something to say about the distribution of that $50,000 in the trotting derby on May 11. Elmer Marin of Bemidji, Minn., had a half dozen in the same car, the top by performance, Rollie Mc I Win 2.061/4.

Elmer Cox was the first to transfer training operations from the half-mile track at nearby Pomona to Hollywood Park. Cox has six head, the top, Binabbe 2.071/4, jointly owned by Harry Smith and Harry Watson, directors of the Western Harness Racing Association. Garland Dennis joined brother Dorsey late last week with three that are to get to the firing line early, Garland coming down from Idaho Falls, Idaho. Judging from his story of 42 below, we sort of have a sneaking bunch that he was just about as glad to get away from the old home base as any one trainer that has headed for California to date.

The past Wednesday morning saw a lot of activity at the track as the thirtyone-horse stable that Wayne Smart has for Joe Neville and Walter Michael, the two well-known Ohio sportsmen, rolled in on the express siding. Karl Recor flew out on Monday to be on hand when the stable arrived, and with the head trainer and Mrs. Smart was to leave Delaware shortly for the drive west.

As in past campaigns the Buckeye stable figures to cut a big piece of the headlines in the season ahead. It is well supplied in all divisions, as trainers Smart and Recor have a grand collection of colts for the juvenile events and stakes, and looks to be especially strong in the aged division.

For the $50,000 pacing derby the stable has four candidates: Eddie Havens 2.013/4, Curley Smart 2.021/4, Attorney 2.03, and one of their late purchases, Walnut Law 2.07, just beaten at Lexington last fall in a three-way photo-finish in 2.011/2. A pretty fancy piece of trotting horseflesh was also in the group that came off the express cars, Little Tuffy 2.013/4, purchased last week from owner Roy Amos of Edinburg, Ind., and who is to be pointed for the $50,000 trotting derby on May 11. It took a sizeable check to get the gelding, one of the tough race horses of the past 1945 campaign.

There was not a day this week that did not bring in additional stables. Thursday it was the twelve-horse stable that Guy "old-knock-'em-dead-with-one-shot" Crippen sent on from the home-base at West Allis, Wis. Guy is making his first trip to the far west, and has sent out what promises to be a right smart bunch of candidates to parade to the starting post. For the big trot he has D. W. Spencer 2.05, property of Dr. A. A. Hoyer of Beaver Dam, Wis., and for the pacing classic, Cisco 2.023/4, owned by the Ward Brothers of Bloomington, Ill.

Trainer Leon Chambers of Northville, Mich., was another of the week's arrivals, bringing the six members of the R. L. Akers stable of Royal Oak, Mich. This group is topped by their pacing derby candidate, Hal Frisco 2.041/4, one of the stars of the half-mile tracks last season. Owner-trainer Frank Siler of Dayton, Ohio, was in the same car with his consistent pacer, Five Grand 2.11.

In yesterday was a full carload from Corydon, Ind., bringing fifteen more for the Santa Anita meeting. Thirteen of these are the property of the well-known Stepro brothers, Steve and John, who enjoyed such a successful campaign at the Northville Downs meeting in Michigan last fall. Coming with the Stepros was Jimmy Cruise of Shepardsville, Ky., with two of his own horses that will take in the eleven-week stretch of racing, which winds up on July 4 at the Bay Meadows track at San Francisco.

Benny Michaels, the Milwaukee reinsman, was due in any day with a full carload of seventeen for various owners from the Wolverine State, including the various members of the Leo J. Gottschalk stable, the hardy gelding, Fez Hanover 2.033/4, one of the leaders. Also due to check in at Hollywood within the coming few days are the other Wisconsin stables, H. A. Meyer of Plymouth, Mike Reinert of Sturgeon Bay, and the Blue Heather Farm of R. E. and R. D. McKenzie of LaCrosse.

Trainer Tom Beasley of DuQuoin, Ill., wired for twelve stalls for his stable that is expected to arrive soon to join the Hollywood Park colony. Horsemen arriving here are more than delighted with everything at the track, and all are looking forward to that red-letter day, Tuesday, April 16, when Santa Anita officially welcomes the trotter and pacer.

Officials of the Western Racing Association wish to caution all owners and those who expect to visit the meeting to wire or wire the Association at once regarding what they are going to need in the way of hotel reservations. Also to make known their wants as regards having boxes reserved for them.

For the current running meeting now in progress at Santa Anita the management had to turn back over 2,000 requests for boxes. There are only six seats to each box at the track, and while the demand for them is going to be heavy, officials want to assure the horsemen that if they will just write in at this time and make their reservations, they will be taken care of. But otherwise they will be disappointed. The cost is going to be within the means of all, and the best tip that we can pass along to you now is, "You will surely want a box for Santa Anita."

Judging from the manner in which entries have started to come in for the 24 stakes that are to feature the coming meeting, the initial venture is going to have the wholehearted support of horsemen everywhere. This response is most pleasing to officials of the Association, who have gone all out in their efforts to give to harness racing the greatest ,meeting in the history of the sport.


Infield Santa Anita

1. The view from the grandstand across the finish line, showing the beautiful infield at Santa Anita and famous "old Baldy" in the background. From this picture it is easy to see why Santa Anita is called the "world's most beautiful race track."

Clubhouse Santa Anita

2. The approach to the Clubhouse and Turf Club at Santa Anita.

Yvonne De Carlo

3. Two Hollywood Queens get their first real taste of harness racing, and seem to like it-in the driver's sent is Yvonne De Carlo, newest of the movie stars, who has just completed two hits, "SaIome Where She Dances and "Frontier Gal." Looking on is Dartie Moffett from the Earl Carroll Review.

Ed Keller

4. Racing Secretary Ed Keller, and General Manager Walter E. Smith, the hustling horseman and all-around live-wire sportsman to whose credit much of the success that is now coming to the trotters on the West Coast is due.

Bill Baldwin

5. Warming up, Captain Bill Baldwin driving Galley Woollen 2.111, and manager Walter Smith up behind Milt Hanover 2.04, the $50,000 Trotting Derby candidate owned by J. W. Bilby of Comas, Wash.

George De Vries

6. George De Vries of Los Angeles, for years one of the leading owners in the West, and trainer Harry Moore at the Pomona training grounds with Snafu, p, 4, by Pegasus Pointer 2.021/4-Alma May 2.101, by Volomite 2.031, bred by owner De Vries.