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The West Coast - Santa Rosa - 1940
Jerry Shively

Neil Houslett

Neal Houslet, the Yankee from Oxford, Wis.

THE INAUGURAL meeting of the California Circuit, at Santa Rosa, August 3 to 10, was the most successful Sonoma County Fair of recent years. Of course, the fields were not as well bunched at the starts as they were last year, or before the McNamara barrier was used, but by the time the horses reached the three-quarter pole, the drivers who had gotten their mounts off behind the front runners had caught up with the leaders and most of the battles through the home stretch were as close as ever before, with Mr. and Mrs. Spectator cheering the head and head finishes, and wagering as generously as they did last season.

While we are on the subject of the barrier we might add that we've heard none of the usual talk about it taking longer for the trotters to get under way than the runners for the McNamara device certainly corrected that fault. Neither were the officials in the stand keeping the fields continuously scoring down until the third or fourth readings appeared on the mutuel board. With the barrier the horses are being sent away on the first score most of the time.

That the Sonoma County Fair went over with a "banging" success, was certainly due to the interest in the affair on the part of Vern Silvershield, Mr. Street, Mr. Waters, and the rest of the staff of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and their radio station KSRO. These gentlemen kept on the move night and day, working the publicity end to the nth degree. At most towns in the state, the newspaper boys seem little interested in the sport of light harness racing and give most of their space to the Thoroughbred, but not these gentlemen of The Democrat. Compared to the publicity obtained by. our sport at this meeting, the runners took the back seat for once, and these gentlemen deserve much credit for their work. A letter of appreciation from the U. S. T. A. for the work done by the above mentioned gentlemen is certainly in order.

Visitors to the Santa Rosa races from the film colony wereJames Cagney and Lynne Overman, owners of Jim Kirby's C. & O. Stable; Robert Montgomery, who just recently returned from the battlefields of Flanders' who it is rumored is a "silent" partner in the C. & O. Stable, with Leo Carillo. Jim Cagney and Bob Montgomery had planned to drive The Great Borden 2.071/2 and Gold Leaf, by Guy Leaf, in a benefit race, at each of the California fairs this summer, the proceeds going to the Red Cross, but at the last moment , before the Santa Rosa meeting, Hollywood made a new arrangement for their services for the Red Cross. Almost immediately after the races at Santa Rosa had ended, Cagney and Norman L. Philp went East, looking for a good horse or two, and while there visited Goshen, N. Y., to see Fred Egan drive Spencer Scott to victory in the Hambletonian.

First money in the free-for-all trot was divided between Louise Woollen and Stellite. The Peter Woollen mare stepped the first heat in 2.031/4, and Stellite took over in the final in 2.041/2, defeating Palomin, with Miss Hellen Davis up, by a small margin. Palomin captured the 2.10 trot, an earlier race, in 2.043/4 and 2.04, defeating True McKinney, Foxy Hanover, and Brogan. Perhaps this race took some of the edge off Miss Davis' good gelding.

The free-for-all pace money was divided between Homer Rutherford's El Venado, that defeated Chuck Vonian (Byron Perry up) by inches in the opening heat in 2.021/2, and Evening Sun, driven by Joe Haldeman, in 2.013/4, the fastest mile of the week. El Venado raced second to the daughter of Volomite in the final heat.

Bi Shively

Bi Shively, leading heat-winning driver at Santa Rosa

Nineteen different drivers were winners of from one to five heats at the meeting, which consisted of twenty-two races divided into forty-three heats in the seven days of racing. Bi Shively was the winner of five heats, making him the leading heat winning driver of the meeting. Clarence Hansen, Ray Reeves, and Ed Argo all were winners of four different heats, while Homer Rutherford, with a one-horse stable, and Martin Heiney each captured three.

The Shively Stable, with "Old Folks" up, won the 2.14 trot on the first day with

Byron Perry

Byron Perry, from Kansas, who did well at Santa Rosa

John Scripps' good mare, Gladys McElwyn, in 2.041/2 and 2.05. Shively pushed A. H. Lamberth's Whirlwin to victory in the three-year-old trot in 2.12, and 2.11, defeating Gladys Ann, a promising filly from the R. C. Johnson Stable, and Miss Guy Pointer, with Clarence Hansen up. Bird MeElwyn carried the orange and white colors of the Wilshire Stable to victory in the second division of the 2.18 trot, but driver Shively became a trifle too hasty at the barrier in the first heat, and was taken down in the final. Then Ed Argo got up behind the mitre to defeat California Patch, driven by Jake Rodman, who was second each trip.

Miller Brooke seems to be the best in the Houslet Stable this year. The son of Justice Brooke went a dandy race in the first division of the 2.14 pace, win ning the first heat in 2.06, and finishing close up fourth in the last heat in 2.04 flat, this trip being captured by Mrs. Montgomery's Beautiful Logan.

Ben Morgan

Ben Morgan, alias "The Iowa Man"

Another good race was the first division of the 2.18 trot on the fifth day. Ben Morgan drove R. E. Me to victory in this event, winning both heats rather handily in 2.063/4 and 2.07, from Miss Gibson, and Pat's Marie.

Forsyth and his owner-driver, Jackie Sear], are doing nicely, the horse racing sound and making it tough for till he starts against, and Searl doing the teaming like a veteran reinsman.

Byron Perry won the first heat of the 2.14 pace (Second Division) with Merry

Mite on the first day in 2.041/2, defeating Prince Yakima, that won the final in 2.06. "The Baron" also scored with Acme Woollen in the 2.22 pace on the third day in 2.071/2.

Win View

Stellite (Joe Haldeman up) winning the final heat of the free-for-all trot at Santa Rosa, in 2.044. The winner is on the inside, winning from Palomin, Miss Hellen Davis up.