Sex, slaughter and smoke," Colonel Isidor Bieber said as he followed Hirsch Jacobs into Barn 8 at New York's Aqueduct race track. "There's three things wrong with your world today." Jacobs, who has saddled more than 3,100 winners, a record unmatched by any other trainer in the history of Thoroughbred racing, said nothing. He proceeded at once with his usual late-afternoon inspection of the 40-odd horses stabled in Barn 8.
The two men, for more than 30 years the compatible but incongruous partners in the Bieber-Jacobs Stable, one of racing's most successful enterprises, were a study in contrasts as they walked about the barn.
Colonel Bieber, taller than Jacobs, 17 years his senior, might have stepped from the cast of Guys and Dolls, the Broadway and Hollywood musical of a few years ago. He wore a powder-blue suit with wide chalk stripes, a checkered shirt, a white tie and a sporty, snap-brim hat. Yet, despite his costume, there was a scholarly dignity about him, a certain aloofness, the air of a onetime man of action now withdrawn into the contemplation of larger ideas than can be found in a horse barn.
Jacobs, 57, a little under average height, stockily built, his blue eyes bright and clear, his hair as red and thick as it ever was, wore a conservative business suit and looked the man of action that he is, a man most celebrated for the magic he has worked in restoring bad-legged horses to the condition that enables them to race—and win—again.
He had not reacted to Colonel Bieber's pronouncement on the state of the world. For one thing, the colonel's views on global matters have long been well known to him and, furthermore, the colonel had not been addressing his remarks to him. Bieber was expressing a few of his opinions for the benefit of a visitor who was writing them down in a notebook.
As Jacobs proceeded briskly from stall to stall, Colonel Bieber held back and peered down at the notebook.
"Do you follow me?" he asked.
"I think so," said the visitor, flipping back a page. "Let me just do a little recap here. Sex, as I understand you, is being overdone in foreign movies, especially by actresses like Sophia Loren, and also in novels by people like William Faulkner."
"Correct," said Colonel Bieber, "and don't forget the tie-in with the population explosion.
"Now, slaughter," the colonel continued, "is self-explanatory. War and the rumors of war, that sort of thing. I named a horse Hate War to get that point over. The idea is that we should hate war but not our fellow man."