In the 1931
Yale- University of Georgia football game Yale's famous Albie Booth was tackled
with such fury that his assailant, a Georgia end named Louis Wolfson, injured a
shoulder severely and eventually was forced to quit the sport. It was a
characteristic Wolfson attack on an objective, comparable to his later assaults
in the fields of business and high finance and his current bold thrust into
Four years ago
Wolfson's distinctive flamingo silks had yet to make their first appearance on
a race track. Last year his Harbor View Farm was the third leading
money-winning stable, with earnings of $679,865, an achievement virtually
without precedent on the American turf. Harbor View's neighbors along Hialeah's
"millionaires' row"—Calumet, Brookmeade, Cain Hoy, Wheatley and Green
tree—were all founded two and three decades ago and won their present eminence
only through long, painstaking effort.
recent move in racing is a perfect example of his forthright, direct approach
and his ability to roll with a punch, a skill undoubtedly sharpened in the
corporate world's proxy battles. A few weeks ago Wolfson and his trainer,
Burley Parke, were looking confidently to Hialeah's $100,000 Flamingo Stakes
with a powerful entry of Roving Minstrel and Garwol (see opposite page). Within
hours Harbor View lost both of these fine 3-year-olds. Roving Minstrel, winner
of Belmont's rich Champagne Stakes last fall, reared in the walking ring,
flipped over backward and fractured a bone in his skull. Surgery failed, and
Wolfson's $90,000 colt died the next day. Garwol, purchased for $32,000 and the
hero of the Pimlico Futurity, pulled a muscle in his hip and was forced to miss
the Flamingo, too.
immediately set up a package deal with Major Albert Warner in which he bought
four horses for $100,000. One was a French-bred 5-year-old named Wolfram, who
won $84,435 in the Bougainvillea Turf Handicap and the Hialeah Turf Cup within
a fortnight. Wolfram may be the best grass horse in the U.S. today. Garwol is
back in training and is being pointed for the Florida and Kentucky Derbies.
Harbor View is on its way again—possibly to a national championship.
"When I first
came into racing in 1958," Wolfson says, "I heard all the usual
stories. 'You won't be able to do it with money,' they told me. 'You can't buy
a top stable. It takes years and a lot of hard work to put a Greentree
together.' Well, I didn't know too much about racing, but I was convinced
common sense would mean as much in this operation as it does in business, which
is the toughest competition in the world. I'd heard all those it-can't-be-done
stories in my business career too, yet we managed to do quite a few of them. So
racing became a challenge, and I like challenges."
In his first year
Wolfson won six races, and his horses, purchased from former Miami Restaurateur
Charley Block, earned a total of $20,110. In 1959 the stable won 18 races and
$80,161 in purses. Last year, its first full season under the direction of the
brilliant Burley Parke, Harbor View won 54 races and was topped in earnings
only by C. V. Whitney's stable ($1,039,091) and the Cain Hoy Stable of Captain
Harry F. Guggenheim ($708,675).
estimates he has spent more than $3 million on his Thoroughbred holdings, has
set two difficult goals for the 1961 campaign:
earnings of about $750,000, "if the 2-year-olds turn out the right
acquisition of a topnotch jockey on contract, "preferably one of the Big
Three—Arcaro, Shoemaker and Hartack."
The mere spending
of money, as Wolfson had been warned, has never been an easy route to success
on the turf. John Galbreath, president of the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose huge
expenditures in racing include $2 million for the purchase of Swaps and another
$1,350,000 to lease the undefeated Italian champion Ribot as a stallion for a
five-year period, has yet to gain commensurate rewards after some 20 years of