Calumet farm's Horace Allyn (Jimmy) Jones, the reigning money-winning trainer of Thoroughbred racing, appears daily in two editions. Mornings he is, by his own description, "the most raggedy guy at the race track," dominating the circus-like atmosphere of the stables, with grooms, exercise boys, invited guests and uninvited eccentrics as his admiring companions. Afternoons Jimmy Jones undergoes a complete transformation. Along about the time the daily double closes, he blossoms out as one of the sharpest dressers in the clubhouse crowd and hobnobs with the high and the mighty and the celebrated. In both editions Jimmy Jones is affable and gloriously garrulous-reserving always the honest man's right to blow his top without notice or apology.
On the opening day of the recent Hialeah meeting, the afternoon edition of Jimmy Jones stood on the track just outside the winner's circle. He wore a dark green suit and a gold tie and a brown pork-pie hat, and he held the strap of his binoculars in his hand, swinging them back and forth. A short man, stocky, he looked hard and fit and, with his brown hair and round, tanned, smiling face, he appeared to be younger than his years.
At the moment Hialeah was presenting an added attraction between the fourth and fifth races, a "parade of champions." Seven of the champions already had taken their places in a line facing the grandstand. There was Bold Ruler, considered by some to be the Horse of the Year, and Idun, Gallant Man, Pucker Up, Jewel's Reward, Bayou and Nadir. Now the voice on the public-address system introduced the last of the champions: "And, finally, presenting the great 6-year-old, Bardstown!"
With an exercise boy up in silks of devil's-red and blue, Bardstown pranced stylishly out on the track and took his place in the awesome array of horseflesh that was outlined against a background of palm trees and winging flamingos.
The track announcer had a final word before the grandstand and clubhouse erupted in applause.
"Bardstown," he said, his voice echoing over the infield in the momentary silence of the spectators, "bred and owned by Calumet Farm of Lexington, Kentucky—the New York Yankees of racing."
A man standing next to him nudged Jimmy Jones. Jimmy turned instantly and put out his hand.
"Hello there, how are you?" said Jimmy cordially. "Glad to see you, yes, sir."
"Jimmy," said the man, "how do you react when they compare Calumet to the Yankees? I mean, what's your reaction to that, do you take it as a compliment or what?"
Jimmy switched the strap from one hand to the other and rubbed his nose, frowning over the question, pulling his ear, squirming in the trousers of his dark green suit.