?"I'd like to be governor of New Jersey someday. Why not? They seem to elect about any jerk over there."
Stan Bergstein says, "He's a refreshing breeze in harness racing. He's a liberal, total and flaming, among a group of people who are to the right of Genghis Khan. But he is not a compromiser and he doesn't do things the politic way." But what one man thinks of another is not the bottom line in racing. The horse is. And that's why Leavitt and the people with whom he has had bitter contretemps still deal with each other.
At this year's USTA meeting in Columbus, Ohio, Leavitt was the only one who took off his sport jacket; he said he wore a tie "only because if you don't, these people don't think you own one." He suggested a motion be passed to limit a certain talkative horseman to 10,000 words an hour. When Leavitt disrupted another session by conversing while business was being transacted, the chairman said icily, "Alan, do you have something more important than this rules change?" "Yes, Mr. Chairman," said Leavitt, "but I'll forgo it."
While Leavitt's mouth can put things in turmoil, it's also true he's an innovator. Not only is he the father of syndication, but he was also a leader in seeing both the profit in racing horses in the winter and the benefits of acquiring top foreign horses. Recently he syndicated $750,000 worth of yearlings, an innovation that greatly pleases him. "One of them is so fast he catches birds," Leavitt says. Which, with the Leavitt luck, may turn out to be true.