It was just a year ago that Johnny Simpson stopped off in Hanover, Pa. with something particular on his mind. He went to the office of Lawrence Sheppard, president of the U.S. Trotting Association and the Hanover Shoe Co., and owner of the country's largest horse-breeding farm. Simpson used to manage the farm for Sheppard and still trains and drives the trotters and pacers that Sheppard sends to the races.
"Boss," Simpson said, "have you ever thought of buying that colt of Mr. Brown's?"
"Yes," Sheppard said, "and never did anything about it. But I hear he hasn't looked too good lately."
"That's right," Simpson said, "but I still think he's as good a 2-year-old trotting colt as I've seen."
"You really want me to get him for you?" Sheppard said.
"Do it now," Simpson said.
Sheppard called Bowman Brown in Harrisburg, where Brown publishes The Harness Horse, a weekly trade magazine.
"Brownie," Sheppard said, "I've got a crazy trainer here who thinks he can do something with that colt of yours. Would you consider selling him?"
"I might," Brown said. "What'll you pay?"
"No," Sheppard said, "we've been friends too long to do business that way. You set a price. If I don't like it, he's yours. No dickering."