One of the experts was Trader Horn's driver, Joe O'Brien. Another was Charming Barbara's trainer-driver, Billy Haughton. In the stretch Jamin had killed off Senator Frost by a simple rule of geometry; keeping the Senator from passing him had the effect of keeping the Senator parked out where he had to trot in a concentric circle around the field, a perimeter considerably longer than the inside horses'. The Senator was a-lame duck before the eighth pole, and he finished sixth. But Trader Horn snagged Jamin at about the same time, and just at the finish Charming Barbara, in full trot and flying down the track, shot past both for the win.
Billy Haughton was the least surprised man at the track: "I knew we had a real chance in this one. In the first leg she lost a shoe at the three-eighths pole and went barefoot the rest of the way and still took fourth. In the second she lost four lengths on the turn and was beaten only by two and a half. In this one they were going too fast—which was making it all the better for me. I knew they had to let up someplace." He was least worried about Jamin, he said. "I didn't think we could beat Senator Frost," he confessed. "The other horse confused me. Those foreign drivers never drive two races the same way, and I didn't know what he was up to. But whatever it was, he was up to it too fast."
The impeccable Jean Riaud was gallant in defeat and gracefully accepted the blame for not winning. When Haughton phoned Charming Barbara's owner, Long Island potato grower John Froehlich, Riaud picked up the mouthpiece to add his congratulations: "'Alio, 'allo. Congratulations, sair. Your mare ran a very good race, but I still s'ink, 'How did you ween?' How much did you make? $12,000. Bon, bon. I s'ink you can give me $6,000 of that. I deserve it."
By and large, the press gallery agreed with this Gallic evaluation. Most were still unconvinced that Jamin was not the best horse on the track, even at a mile. Even losing, he had trotted an eye-opening race. Unfortunately, the $10,000 betless race-off—provided for in the event that three different horses win the first three legs—will not include Jamin, who must return to Europe for engagements there. Frost, who won $11,875 (for finishing 7-1-6 in the three heats) in the complicated book-keepery of the classics, must compete alone against Charming Barbara (4-4-1 and $16,250). Jamin (1-2-3) won $20,000.
No devotee of the power of positive thinking, Haughton still feels his mare will lose to Senator Frost. "I doubt if I can beat that horse in a match race," he confessed.
Harness fans will have heavy hearts at the race-off, date still undecided. They will be cheering for Senator Frost or for Charming Barbara but they will be looking down the track for that third part from Gaul, the gorgeous brown with the red ear muffs and the orchid man behind him. Without them the denouement of the 1959 American Trotting Classic will be just another buggy ride.
BACK TO EUROPE
Three days later Riaud flew to Milan to show his fine horse to another audience. In the few short months he had been in the U.S., this young Frenchman (he is only 28) had taken Jamin out against our best trotters in five major races and won three. He had forced American horsemen to reconsider their long-established theories on the training of trotters, and opened a new avenue for the breeding of future champions. But most important of all, he had given a tremendous boost to harness racing's ambitions of becoming a truly international enterprise, by the example of his sportsmanship and the force of his engaging personality. We are all, therefore, in his debt.