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The Question: Do race horses have intelligence?

Oct. 03, 1955
Oct. 03, 1955

Table of Contents
Oct. 3, 1955

Events & Discoveries
Football
  • High up in a rain-spattered stadium in Maryland, a West Coast football father gets a demonstration (7-0) that a big, rough line is a greater asset on a muddy field than all the talent and tutoring built into UCLA's impressive young back

The Wonderful World Of Sport
Acknowledgments
Kanchenjunga
  • For nearly 50 years mountaineers of many nations tried in vain to climb "the most difficult and dangerous mountain in the world." This is the story of how a nine-man British expedition finally succeeded. It is told by one of the four who reached the top

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

The Question: Do race horses have intelligence?

RENÉ CERISOLES
Vice-Consul of France in Boston
"They have horse sense. In France, we don't have the same kind of racing crowds you have in America. Ours are social. There is no emphasis on gambling. They're primarily interested in horse breeding. Jockeys are instructed to let their mounts use horse sense in a race."

This is an article from the Oct. 3, 1955 issue

THEODORE FRANCIS GREEN,
Providence, R.I. United States Senator
"That depends on how you qualify intelligence. Some race horses have more intelligence than a lot of humans and show it by doing their job better. They influence mutuel odds more exactly than speculators who 'race' in the stock market. Unlike speculators, a race horse is seldom too far off."

BOB JOHNSON, Westbury, N.Y.
President, Roosevelt Raceway
"Definitely. Greyhound and Proximity, two great trotters, were so intelligent that they were great crowd pleasers, really show-offs. They played to the grandstand and the crowd reacted. These trotters knew it. Once the crowd began to cheer, you could see pride in every move they made."

MRS. LAWRENCE SIMON, New York
Housewife
"No. Race horses are the most beautiful animals in the world. They only seem to have intelligence because they are so beautiful. Was there ever a more lovable horse than Native Dancer? I hate to say that they're really dumb animals. They possess great sensitivity but not intelligence."

MATT WINN WILLIAMSON,
Anchorage, Ky. Breeder
"Yes, very much so. I should know. I've bred race horses all my life. There are always those who stand out, just like children. Race horses recognize those who handle them and obey their commands. But more important than intelligence, they have heart and courage, what they're bred for."

MACKENZIE MILLER, Versailles, Ky.
Race horse trainer
"They certainly do. The smarter horses have a greater advantage over the others. Just like people. Fillies have more intelligence than colts. They learn quickly. A horse knows the day he's going to race. He is alert, eager, sometimes very nervous, like a football player before a crucial game."

JULIUS SCHANZER, New York
Horseman and handicapper
"Yes. Carefree won a lot of races when trained by George Alexandra Sr. He was claimed a half-dozen times from Alexandra, but never exerted himself for others. George always got him back. Air Patrol refused to let a jockey ride his race. He'd take the bit and rarely finished out of the money."

HENRY DRAVNEEK, New York
Advertising photographer
"Yes. Rex Ellsworth, owner of Swaps, and Meshach Tenney, his trainer, said that horses are unaffectionate and unintelligent. 'I just know for sure that they are stupid,' said Ellsworth. That's a libel. Horses have more intelligence than some humans. They don't bet on people."

MRS. GEORGE W. REED, Fort Fairfield, Me.
Owner and breeder of harness horses
"Yes. Prior to a race at Montreal, I went to the stable and asked my champion pacer, Philip Scott, if he were going to win. He closed one eye and put his nose on my shoulder as if to say: 'What do you think?' He won, but wouldn't pose for his picture until I gave him a hug."

GEORGE D. WIDENER, Chestnut Hill, Pa.
Chairman, Jockey Club and President, Belmont Park
"Some race horses have obvious intelligence. Two that come to my mind are Lucky Draw and Battlefield. There are some things about horses with intelligence that appeal to you. They can be compared to some human beings. Stupid race horses have nothing that attracts you. Just like people."

ALEX M. ROBB, Bronxville, N.Y.
Secretary and Treasurer, Belmont Park
"No, not really. Race horses are creatures of habit. They are like kindly, passive people. They have good hearts, a good deal of instinctive courage and are tremendously willing. I think it's more habit and training than intelligence that prompts them to do what is expected of them."

ILLUSTRATIONELEVEN PHOTOS

NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION :

What college sport do you most enjoy promoting? (Asked at the Chicago convention of the American Colleges Public Relations Assn.)