In the vast expanse of the world of sport, Mrs. Richard Lunn stands out—and has stood out for more than 25 years—as one of those rare persons whose identity and activities are, oddly enough, as well known to people not ordinarily interested in her sport as to the thousands who are Mrs. Lunn's preoccupation is horses, and her personality—whether at trackside, in a sales pavilion, in the show ring, in the drawing room or at an overcrowded nightclub table—has always been so overwhelmingly dynamic that no other woman in her field has quite approached the impact she has made on both the sport's insiders and outsiders.
Mrs. Lunn's range of acquaintances and experiences is as extensive as that of any enterprising explorer, and her strong personal magnetism—a wonderful carry-over from her early life in Philadelphia, where she will always be remembered as one of the dazzling beauties of this or any other age—is as familiar to any backstretch "hot walker" as to visiting royalty. Mrs. Lunn has bought horses, bred horses, shown them with unrivaled success in the leading rings, raced them at every major U.S. course (her Gone Fishin' was a respectable third in the Preakness), and even—on rare occasions—sold them. She has, in her outspoken and controversial way, been a lot of things to a lot of people: a devoted best friend, for example, to Prince Aly Khan; an equally passionate bongo-drum partner for Eddie Arcaro; and a hard-hitting conversationalist on the theories of Thoroughbred breeding with such old pros at the game as Leslie Combs and Bull Hancock. She has done many things too: once she was crowned queen of an apple blossom festival; once she went up the Hudson River in a yacht manned by a crew that had never been afloat before, armed with only the navigational aids that could be deciphered from an outdated Esso road map. She has survived all these adventures with a remarkable consistency of energy, fortitude and, here and there, a little luck.
Mary Elizabeth Altemus Whitney Person Lunn—she is rarely called anything but Liz—is also a fluent and dynamic talker. "I am perfectly horrible on dates, names and places," she told me when I visited her at her Virginia estate shortly before the spring racing campaign began. "I think I was born on June 18, 1908 in a house that William Penn built in Wynnewood, Pa. But then again it could have been June 19th—but, you see, I never somehow got a birth certificate. Anyway, who cares—18th or 19th? My father, Lemuel Altemus, had something to do with a mineral company, I think, but my mother, Bessie Dobson Altemus, had always taken a real interest in horses until she gave it up to devote most of her time to looking after my brother Jimmy and me."
Much of Liz's childhood was passed in the English country home of her grandparents, James and Mary Dobson. "It might have been from them that I really inherited a love for animals. There were always dogs and horses around, and I learned to be with animals, get along with them and love them. I sort of adopted one bitch as my very own. Things were going along fine until she had 13 puppies in the middle of the front hall. Gramps pretended to get furious. He never fooled me for a minute, because I knew that secretly he wanted me to feel the same affection for animals that he did."
June 8, 1958
Liz Lunn's disinterest in dates is carried to such extremes that she claims inability to name the years in which she was married—and, in fact, for precisely how long—to each of her three husbands, first John Hay Whitney, then the late Dr. E. Cooper Person Jr. and currently Richard Lunn. Similarly, there is a pronounced uncertainty in recalling and associating certain people with specific past events. But anyone who hasn't known Liz Lunn for a long time is expected to get hurriedly over any wounded pride if he sees her looking curiously at him and then hears her exclaim: "Hey, you there, didn't I see you at that crazy woman's house outside of a town called something-or-other?" And, actually, Liz has a perfectly logical point. "This may sound crazy or something, but I really think people are a lot like animals. If they think you want to be nice to them, they'll lean over backwards to be nice to you. And I'm interested in people, interested in what makes them tick. So I always speak to everybody—at the race track or anyplace else. The whole idea of having to be introduced is so crazy. You can never remember all the people's names, and I think you should talk to anybody. Things would work better if it was that way all over the world—maybe because a little conversation can stop a lot of trouble."
Today Liz Lunn is owner, mistress, general manager, overseer, part-time trainer and full-time No. 1 admirer of Llangollen Farm, a vast 4,000-acre establishment, which is situated some 50 miles from Washington in Virginia's Piedmont Valley and which also gives its name to one of America's great racing stables. Horses carrying Llangollen (a Welsh name meaning "land's end") silks have accounted for many of the country's leading events in recent years. In 1956 and again last year the stable was third in the nation in money won—on the first occasion trailing only Calumet and Rex Ellsworth and on the second, Calumet and the Kerr Stable, and at the same time outearning other such equally renowned racing establishments as Wheatley Stable, Maine Chance Farm, Claiborne Farm, Hasty House Farm, Greentree Stable and the King Ranch. Even in a racing world which today is peopled more than ever before by women owners (for example: Mrs. Isabel Dodge Sloane, Mrs. Gene Markey, Mrs. Elizabeth Arden Graham, Mrs. Ada Rice, Mrs. Henry C. Phipps and Mrs. Allie Reuben), Liz Lunn must stand quite firmly apart. For on at least one point both her detractors and fervent admirers are in absolute agreement: her uncurbable vitality and her passion for horses have made her one of the world's greatest horsewomen.
As a person so closely allied to the turf, Liz Lunn is—or so it seems—almost always on the move. True to the tradition of the wandering horseman, she puts in an annual appearance at the leading sales and at such Thoroughbred racing centers as Belmont Park, Saratoga, Hialeah, Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, Arlington, Washington Park, Laurel and Pimlico. When she is at none of these public spots the best way to find her is to look in on her Florida yacht, her ranch in California or—better yet—Llangollen Farm.
The musty interior of the Georgian mansion at Llangollen, whether full of laughing house guests or left to the care of an easygoing staff of caretakers, is home for Liz. Around the grounds are horses—hundreds of them—as well as purebred Herefords, Guernseys, dozens of dogs and a staff of about 30 men and women who regard Liz not only as the mistress of this entire ménage but as a sort of unpredictable monarch of all she surveys. An order countermanded 10 minutes after it is given is as routine, for example, as the sight of the mistress returning late in the afternoon followed by a retinue of 10 "best friends" suddenly urged to come for dinner.
As may be imagined, the confusion can at times be somewhat nerve-shattering. It would be considerably more so were it not for the presence of Liz Lunn's unruffled first lieutenant, a sort of Llangollen ambassador-at-large named Dabney Simpson. Mr. Simpson, as he is called by the other employees, is not quite the prototype of No√´l Coward's "master of the back hall" but, nonetheless, as he stalks the house in gray flannels and a sports shirt, he manages a variety of jobs that in any given day might include the morning marketing, issuing orders pertaining to the location of post-holes for a new fence, driving up to the Washington airport to pick up an incoming house guest, assisting at the delivery of a litter of great Danes, walking a "discouraged" kitchen maid around the garden to remind her that life could be worse, informing his mistress of latest local gossip during the afternoon cocktail hour, issuing new orders pertaining to the location of postholes (after the first ones have already been dug) and, finally, the serving of dinner.
Dabney Simpson has been with Liz Lunn for more than 20 years, and it is his knowing face that usually greets a visitor stepping into Llangollen's great front hall. If it is morning and if Liz has not been up early working with the horses or gone hunting, Dabney will lead the guest into a lovely large paneled living room and announce politely, "Mrs. Lunn will be down soon." This usually means one o'clock.
The noise of Liz's approach can be compared with those exhilarating sounds that so excite little boys and girls when it is discovered at last that the pretend Santa Claus has finally arrived at the Christmas party. Only instead of a merry jingling of bells to herald the grand entrance, there comes now a crescendo of scratching feet against the bare floors, a great clinking of metal mixed with varied yips, yaps and growls. And then a final lunging surge and the whole troupe is in the room—Liz in her slacks and turtle-neck sweater preceded, surrounded and followed by dogs of every size and almost every breed—great Danes, Labradors, pointers and terriers.
"When I was a child," said Liz, slumping into the middle of a big leather sofa, "I had a black German police dog, Ebba, and she beat all the dogs in Europe at sheep herding. She finally died and, you know, when you have only one dog it's terrible when something happens to it. I thought it would be different if I had a lot of other dogs, but I find it's still just as terrible when any one of them dies. They all have different characteristics; they are amusing and I love to take care of them."
Liz put out a hand and beckoned to the corner nearest her. "Now, come on, Goonie!" she exclaimed. "You get over here and be sociable." Goonie, an enormous harlequin great Dane, advanced with all the surefootedness of a lion coming up to take a trapped zebra. "Goonie'd never hurt anyone," joked Liz, "but I guess he'd scare you if you didn't know him. Actually Goonie is one of the most remarkable dogs you'll ever see, because he can do just about anything. For one thing, he's more loyal than most animals, and I find that most animals are loyal if you take the trouble to treat them right. Goonie must be about 13 years old now—or thereabouts—and, would you believe it, he is a great retriever; in fact, the greatest thing in the world to shoot over! The way this happened was funny. At the time I was living in an apartment in New York with the Doc [Dr. Person] and spending most of my time training my horses at Belmont. Now, the Doc couldn't see the point of having a great big dog in the middle of New York, and the only reason I was allowed to keep him was by teaching him to be a retriever so the Doc could go shooting with him on weekends. It was some picture: me sitting in the apartment throwing my shoes all over the place trying to teach Goonie to retrieve them. But he was big and strong and keen, and before we finished he became a better retriever than any of the real retrievers."
Goonie had by now climbed carefully onto the sofa and stretched his mammoth frame from one end to the other. As he dozed with his eyes wide open he appeared to be listening to what his mistress said. "From as early as I can remember I have always loved animals. As a kid I had honey bears, squirrels, raccoons and everything. Once much later, I found a monkey, Chico. It was on a boat coming home from Europe. Chico looked hungry and I bought him. He loved Goonie and used to get on his back and ride around. Then I had a real bear once, but that was a little too much. It was here in Virginia. Elizabeth was its name and she was a girl bear. Jim Wiley [a Virginia breeder] gave her to me for Christmas. He asked me to come out to his car to look at my Christmas present, and when I did this great bear jumped out at me! My God, what are you going to do with a thing like that? Well, I kept her, but she finally got mean, and even though we kept her out on the back lawn, every time you'd go by on the way to the stables she'd hit the end of that chain and swipe at you."
Liz laughed at her own story and threw her head back against the sofa. As she stroked her long gray hair, her beautiful brown eyes slowly surveyed the room around her. "Oh, and that reminds me," she went on. "I once had a wonderful pet deer called Oscar, absolutely the most dreamy animal, he'd come in the house and lie on the sofa. In the daytime when I'd go riding he'd come along and jump the fences."
There was a muffled cooing sort of sound from a dark corner at one side of the enormous fireplace. "My God," exclaimed Liz, rising to her feet. "I almost forgot you, didn't I?" From out of the darkness, now perched somewhat timidly on Liz's arm, appeared a dove that had once no doubt been pure white but that had now acquired a more dusty shade. "Some gal put on an act with a lot of doves one night at the Saratoga Golf Club," explained Liz. "At the end of the show I bought this one and named her Eleanor after one of my friends."
Liz began pacing the floor of the paneled living room slowly, followed by four or five of the dogs. When she reached the end of the room across from the fireplace she paused to close a door. "Just a bathroom," she said. "Good place for the dogs to get a drink, though—and, besides, I've got a bathtub in there. You'd be surprised how handy it used to be; during cocktails you could go in, have a bath, leave the door partly open and still not miss anything going on out here."
Through the main door another figure now appeared. "This," said Liz, "is Nancy Lee, who helps me out with the paper work in the office up by the stables." Mrs. Lee, who also doubles as the Virginia correspondent for The Morning Telegraph and Daily Racing Form, was armed with notebooks, pencils, letters, racing trade papers and magazines. "I thought," she said, turning to Liz, "that you could give me the answers to some of the letters that have piled up."
"Fine," replied Liz. "Shoot." And she took off on another cruise around the room with Nancy Lee at her elbow ready to scribble dictation as best she could.
"First," said Mrs. Lee, "here's a letter from a man in Ohio who wants to buy a stallion. He doesn't say any more than that. What do you want to tell him?"
"Tell him this! Tell him to let us know what he's willing to pay. We'll then notify him what we've got in that price range and if he's still interested he can come on and look over what we've got. Who's the next letter from?"
"A little girl writes—by the way, she's only 12 and she encloses her picture—to ask if she could take a summer job here next year, working around the horses without pay."
"Ask her to get her family to write me with their approval and then if they want to bring the girl over here for a look around and a talk with us, it's all right with me. Next?"
"A few cards requesting pictures of Mister Gus and Porterhouse."
"Nope, we can't get into that business. Just don't bother to answer those."
"And here," said Nancy Lee, producing a long letter written in a sloppy scrawl, "is something from a man who says he knew you somewhere a long time ago around the race tracks. Seems he now wants to try his hand at training a few horses for you on one of the smaller tracks."
Liz plucked at the letter and quickly browsed through its four pages. Then, looking up with a grin of despair, she finished the matter. "I never heard of him. Throw the letter away."
Nancy Lee turned to go but suddenly remembered something. "Mrs. Lunn, what about going over stakes nominations pretty soon?"
Liz looked about for her favorite chair and plunked herself down onto a massive green leather job. Turning aside, she flicked a switch, and immediately the chair went into a series of electronic vibrations. "Ah," she moaned, "this is the most wonderful way to relax. But you want to be careful, though. If you stretch the chair out full length you don't want to stay in it for more than five minutes or you'll probably get seasick." She stretched out carefully and closed her eyes. For a moment the only noise was the whining hum of the chair's motor, and a sigh from the slumbering Goonie. "Oh, yes, now about those nominations. I tell you what I think we better do. We better write all these nice track owners and tell them that we'd love to take away some of their money but that we'll be damned if we'll nominate for every stake all over the country. If things look good enough for us when the time comes we'll get in with supplementary nominations. It's getting nowadays so a person could go broke just paying nomination fees. Why, in 1956 we must have spent about $25,000 in fees. Something like $10,000 in Chicago alone—and you know what? We ran exactly one horse up there in exactly one race. No more of that stuff for me, thanks."
Dabney Simpson now emerged from the darkness of the hallway, staggering under the load of an enormous silver bowl. "Good God, Mr. Simpson," exclaimed Liz, bounding out of her green leather vibrator, "what is that and what on earth do you do with it?"
"This, Mrs. Lunn," replied Simpson with a flourish that even Coward would have admired, "is what you got for beating Swaps!"
"You mean Porky won this for me?"
"He did indeed. When Porterhouse beat Swaps in the Californian at Hollywood Park this is what they gave you." Simpson struggled out from behind the bulk of the huge bowl and lowered it gingerly to the floor. "I thought, Mrs. Lunn," he continued with a somewhat facetious grin, "we might have a punch for the guests tonight."
"Punch!" roared Liz. "Nobody drinks punch any more—but I tell you what we can use it for. Try it with a load of firewood." Simpson smiled, wheeled and departed, and Liz Lunn sat down to laugh. "Good old Porky, you would win me something like that, wouldn't you?"
If Mrs. Richard Lunn displays a forgivable flair for exaggeration and the dramatic in the drawing room, this trait disappears when the mistress of Llangollen goes out to see her horses, whether they be broodmares at the foaling barn, yearlings on the training track or her older horses under Llangollen's fuchsia and purple silks in a $100,000 race. It is then, despite the fact that she enjoys showing affection by hugging and kissing each and every one of them, that she is serious. Deadly serious. "A good horse," says she, echoing the sentiments of many other knowledgeable horsemen and horsewomen, "is dangerous in anybody's hands—whether it be an owner, a trainer, an exercise boy or a jockey. Some people believe that being affectionate with horses—or with any animals—is crazy. Well, I think those people are crazy. Some people, who are pretty stupid themselves, say that horses haven't any sense. How silly. Look at the way some horses have an attachment to one groom, and if the groom is missing the horse will nearly always go off his feed. The same way many horses have to have a stablemate or a pet around them—and they'll nearly throw a fit if anything happens to their friend. Is it so difficult to treat a horse the way you'd like to be treated yourself?"
Liz was strolling slowly by the broodmare barn toward the corral where the Llangollen yearlings would soon be brought to exercise. "I like to get up early in the morning and ride around the track with Charlie just to see what's cooking." The Charlie referred to was Llangollen trainer Charles Whittingham (known, because of a head nearly barren of hair, as the race track's Yul Brynner by fellow horsemen, and jokingly as Sir Charles Whittlesey by Liz herself). "And after a race I always go back to the barn to watch my horses cool out—really just to let them know they have a friend around. Look at it this way: most race horses spend their lives being yelled at from morning to night—from the time the boys come around in the morning and prod around them with pitchforks until the afternoon when everyone is shouting at them. So what do I do? I just think it's nice when a horse can be made to feel that he has a friend who can come and see him and feed him a carrot or a piece of sugar—or just plain love him."
A stop was made by the box stall of an old broodmare. "This is all such a personal thing with me," Liz continued. "Being in the racing business isn't keeping track of how much money you can win, or have won—or could lose. It's wanting to do something that I can do myself—something that I know about. If people remind me that I've had success with horses, first with the show horses and now with racing, my answer is that I've probably had a better time than anyone else because I'm so very close to the whole operation. When the mares foal, I'm generally right with them. I've done all the mating and picked out which is to be bred to which and when the foals are born they are like children to me—and I watch them like children every day. I usually never let anybody break my yearlings unless I'm right there the first time the saddle and bridle are put on. And I never let the yearling breeze or go out of a slow canter until I'm ready to supervise that end of it. I don't want them breezed and ruined by a bunch of exercise boys trying to show off in front of one another."
In the yearling corral three young colts were looking timidly about as Liz approached. "All they want," she said, "is to be taught properly, not beaten." Liz went through the corral gate and, taking one colt at a time on the end of a lunge line, she coaxed them over the miniature fences in the tight circle. "Most people," she continued, "are always frightening a horse. Anything that goes wrong is always the horse's fault. Now, if they realized that when horses are left absolutely alone—like a yearling in a corral, for example, to jump—they never fall down. It's my feeling that if you don't jerk around with a horse's mouth, but instead just let him alone, you'll get along fine. The reason is that you're not frightening him all the time.
"But this is a feeling that we are born with, not something that you can be taught. Take a great jockey for example. When Eddie [Arcaro] gets on a horse, he's a natural, certainly not because he's in love with any particular horse, but because he's a natural horseman, with all the right proportions of confidence, rhythm, ability and determination. What's more important is that the horse knows it."
The cattle were grazing on the infield of the Llangollen training track when Liz swung under the outside rail and dug the toe of her boot into the soft sand. "I've always somehow had a way with horses that nobody else could get along with. Maybe it's because I learned to ride on a donkey who throws everything off anyway and knows every trick of the trade. Strange thing, though, this donkey never threw me. The most famous case of my being able to handle an uppity horse was Singing Wood. It was in Saratoga in 1933. Jim Healey, who was training him, was getting him ready for the Futurity. In what was to have been his last workout at Saratoga before we shipped him down to Belmont, Singing Wood just wouldn't do anything. He threw his jockey, Bobby Jones, and Jones was already being carted off to the hospital when I got there—just in time to see the trainer starting back to the barn. I said I thought this was absolute craziness and let's go back to the main track. We did, and I got on Singing Wood and he went fine. I don't know what it was, but I'm telling you, that colt knew darn well he wasn't going to get away with it with me. And he didn't.
"The point of that story isn't to show what I did but to point out that so many boys think that to show a horse who is boss you have to beat and bang him. Instead the answer in dealing with horses of any sort is to anticipate what they're going to do and then outsmart them. Never wait until they're ducking halfway through a fence or until they've propped and are about to pitch you off. When you get the first flash that it's going to happen, then, brother, that's the time to get with it. In other words, you make the move first, instead of waiting until they've given you the business. This was the way I figured it with Singing Wood, same as I would with a jumper or a hunter. And with Singing Wood it paid off. A few weeks later, with Jones back on him, he won the Belmont Futurity."
Driving the back road to Middleburg in her Mercedes-Benz, with large and small dogs bulging against the sides of both front and rear seats, Liz meditated aloud on her faults and virtues. "Trouble with me," she said, "is that I'm always buying and never selling. Can't stand the thought of selling anything. Three old women from Pittsburgh or Chicago—or some place out there—were around one day and I must have spent three hours showing them every hunter on the farm. We went back to the house for a drink, and when they started talking money about buying a couple of horses I found myself saying, for no real reason at all, 'Girls, come back some other time; nothing's for sale.' Why, they must have thought I was nuts."
Through Middleburg's main street the car rolled and on out into the Blue Ridge country again. "Of course, the obvious reason I don't sell more is that I've bred so many of the horses I own, and the ones I've bought at auction for large prices I wouldn't sell for any price. [Nevertheless, Liz recently announced her intention to cut her vast operation down quite drastically, trimming her 300 head nearly in half with sales at Llangollen and in California this month.] The breeding end of racing fascinates me, and although a lot of people don't agree with some of my theories, nobody yet has found the perfect answer to successful breeding. Now, take my stallion Endeavour II. I've stuck with him and everybody thought I was crazy when I bought him. When he came up from the Argentine he looked terrible, much too thin—and yet, he really had speed. His sire, British Empire, was the leading sire in Argentina. The year Talon won the Santa Anita Handicap , he and Endeavour were stabled in the same barn and worked together, and in all his works Endeavour could have carried a piano in his mouth and beaten Talon doing anything at all. If he hadn't hurt a leg just before the handicap, he would have just galloped. When we got him back to New York and put some groceries into him he really turned it on. He was an iron horse. With the Endeavour fillies I have I'll breed them to the best horses I can find, because I know the Endeavour strain will move any of the stallions up. [Endeavour, sire of Llangollen's 1956 star Porterhouse, is also the sire of Liz's leading 3-year-old, Gone Fishin'.] But, remember, the whole breeding business is a fickle business. I just go along doing what I think is best, and I don't pay any attention to what anybody says. Endeavour today is a big shot and I was the only one who thought he might be. Maybe I'm stupid, but it's worked good so far."
One of Llangollen's current question-mark 3-year-olds is Rise 'n' Shine, a colt purchased by Liz for the world-record auction price for a yearling of $87,000 at the Saratoga sales from Taylor Hardin, who, having bought him as a foal in Europe, raised the young gray son of Hyperion at his farm only a few miles from Llangollen. "Funny thing about that colt," said Liz. "I had never seen him at the Hardins' or, in fact, had never seen him gallop or move before that night at Saratoga. And when I went to see him at the sale, the Hardins didn't want to pull him out to show him because they didn't think I was interested. So I told them I couldn't very well be interested in a horse I couldn't see out of the box stall, and that I'd very much like to see if he could walk or if he would fall on his head! In the end I bought him because he was the best-looking and best-bred [Hyperion-Deodora, by Dante] horse I'd seen in years.
"In a sales ring—or anywhere else, for that matter—I look first of all at a horse's legs to see if they look as though they'd stand training. You look to see that he has good front legs. You look for a deep heart, deep girth, wonderful quarters and good balance. A lot of people say-it's nice to have a good head—but, on the other hand, if they haven't got good legs but do have a good head you have nothing. The underpinnings, the body are what count, and whether he looks in proportion—just as you'd pick out a good-looking woman or an athlete. You just can't go to a sale and say, 'Oh, hasn't he got a pretty head!' Some people buy that way. Not me."
After dinner by the fire there was time to relax. Liz had completed a call to Trainer Whittingham and was deep in reflection. "A lot of people think I really interfere with Charlie and his training," said Liz as she settled in the green vibrating chair by the phone. "But when he and I are together with the horses I never tell him anything about training. The reason is simple: two people cannot train one horse. The thing I harp on with Charlie all the time is not to train them too fast and not to work them too fast. I never bet on horses, so there's no reason in the world to work them fast just in order to find out if they're fast enough to bet on them in the afternoon. You can have all the fastest horses in the world who can break all the track records in the mornings and never get anything done in the afternoon. No matter how fast they are, what good is it if they are unsound?
"One of the reasons I think Charlie has been so successful is that he will never run anything but a sound horse. Today we have more older horses in training than most other stables—but I believe in stopping a horse if anything pops up or looks even vaguely wrong. They stay sound or they stay in the barn.
"Occasionally Charlie and I might disagree—but it won't be on training. It'll usually be on something like what race to go in. Now, for example, the race after Mister Gus beat Nashua [the 1956 Woodward Stakes], we should never have run back that soon again against Nashua in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and I told Charlie it was foolish to try it, because Mister Gus wasn't a big robust horse. He was a delicate horse, and this was going to be too soon for him. Instead of going after Nashua again we should have gone to Chicago, which would have been the smart way to play it. There was more money, better weight and everything else. But we didn't do it—and we lost."
It was now getting late, and the fire was slowly dying. Liz had left the chair for the sofa. "I didn't mean what I just said," explained Liz, "as a criticism of Charlie or his training. That could almost come under the heading of racing luck, same as having the best jock on the best horse and seeing them get shut off, and if you can't take the losses with the wins in this game you should never be in racing. There are a lot of people who can't get that through their noggins. As a rule they don't last very long. Maybe more of them would get more enjoyment out of racing if they understood its problems a little better. For instance, if the jockeys are supposed to discuss a horse's problems with the trainers, why shouldn't the owner get into more of those discussions too? You see and hear so much yap and fuss and complaining by owners who say their horses did this or that, and they're always making excuses for their horses when most of the time they don't know what they're talking about. One of the best things I can think of would be for owners to go more often and see movies of the races before showing bad sportsmanship and running off at the mouth so much. Maybe if tracks had a section set aside where owners and trainers could sit together to watch their race it would make for better understanding."
Goonie, looking larger than ever in the flickering light of the embers, got up, yawned and came over to his mistress. "What do you want, old Goon boy?" she asked as she reached out to embrace him. "Maybe you'd like to go quail shooting with us tomorrow, eh? As for me, I guess the only thing I want now is a place in the sun, a horse to ride every day and a few friends around."
Before an answering signal, Liz's eyes closed as she dozed off—and the only noise to be heard was Goonie snoring, for both of them.