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As of July 21 this year, she declared her own first dividend?five pesos a share. She was able to do this by skillful promotion which increased the betting 12% in her first year of operation. This past season set a new record of 1,435,500 pesos bet on a single day. This is important as 98% of the Hipodromo's income derives from its legal percentage of the betting.
When she became proprietor, Mrs. Everitt had what she calls the most unlucky day of her life. She had three winners in one afternoon and her detractors screamed bloody murder. Realizing the impropriety of her position and that she would have to give up her stable, she broke down and cried. Then, businesslike, she sold and gave away 19 of her 22 horses. One she kept is Teddy Haste, bred by Calumet Farms. She has owned him for 10 years. Last season as a frisky 12-year-old, Teddy won two for Debbie. In his best season he won 11 and placed 11.
Unlike many of her colleagues, Debbie had no horses to influence her yearly childhood. When she was born in Joplin, Missouri, April 25, 1909, she inherited through her mother a distant, kissin'-kin relationship to the duPont family of Delaware, and through her father, a vice-president of Hercules Powder Company, an economic relationship to the heart of the corporate family.
She was 14 when a schoolmate started riding lessons and asked Debbie to join her. Debbie went along but neglected to inform her family, an oversight that was automatically rectified a month later when her father got the bill. "We weren't on speaking terms for two weeks," Debbie recalls, "but then I took him riding and soon Dad was off to Virginia to buy a stable of hunters."
A CHANCE TO GROW
Dad did even better. He moved the whole family from their home in Wilmington, Delaware, to a near-by estate, Meadows-on-the-Brandy wine, at Chadds Ford, Pa., in the heart of the hunting country. Here there were stables and jumps and a chance for a young horsewoman to work and grow.
With Dad and duPont paying the bills, Debbie worked and grew with fervor. Except for such bothersome distractions as boarding school, which she soon managed to avoid altogether, Debbie schooled horses and showed them, maintaining a string of 20 to 30 at a time. She built up such energy and stamina that some years later in one afternoon at the Devon Horse Show she rode 17 of the 36 horses entered in the green hunter class.
This tour de force, however, is hardly to be compared to one which occurred last spring when her good friend and neighbor, Gen. Humberto Mariles, invited her to take part in one of his friendly little competitions, during which some of the best candidates for his world's champion Mexican jumping team participate. Debbie hadn't jumped a horse more than three or four times a year in 10 years, but she agreed to ride. As she approached the last jump, a photographer ran out in front of her to get a picture. She veered aside and was immediately confronted with a hazard which had been ruled too difficult for the competition. It is a run up a steep incline to a high platform, a hurdle and a water jump. Debbie nudged her horse, lifted herself and took the hazard without a fault. Reluctantly the judges disqualified her. She hadn't finished the prescribed course.
During the season, Debbie's day usally begins at 7 a.m. By that hour, she's in blue jeans out in the barns, which can comfortably stable 800 horses, talking with owners, her trainer Jim Duran and jocks, mentally noting leaking water faucets and hinges that need repair, and occasionally dipping into her purse for a 10-peso "advance" to a stableboy. She might stop in at the snack bar she built for the grooms or have a glance at the sweat house she put up for the jocks. Often she has coffee with her 65-year-old Negro stableboy, former jockey Leon Goines, who on the day he was to retire from riding at 63 rode her 12-year-old Teddy Haste to victory, thereby setting some kind of record. After a chat with clocker Ed Warneke she slips into her beige and brown 1954 Chrysler station wagon and drives to her offices adjoining the Jockey Club, which is already one of Mexico's most exclusive social institutions.
Behind the green drapes that separate her desk from a bar and kitchenette, she skins out of her jeans into a business suit and comes out ready to chain-smoke Raleighs and Luckies alternately through a morning of business. Half a dozen times an hour, when the answers aren't sticking to her finger tips, she calls out, "Hey, Doc," and from the next office, far larger than her own, comes tall, striking 45-year-old General Manager Dr. Arturo Milhe, a Mexican-born, U.S.-educated dentist who forsook his prosaic though profitable profession for racing.