HOME FOR A DESIGNING JOCKEY

Bill Hartack's luxurious bachelor quarters in Florida reflect the independent spirit for which he is famous and his own developing tastes in interior decoration
May 07, 1961

Bill Hartack has led the nation in four of the last six years in races won. In the same period he probably has set some kind of record for friends lost because of his independent ways and sharp tongue. He has also taken up many things that are strange for a jockey—water skiing, bowling, Softball—and does them all extremely well.

Hartack has now gone even further afield, into interior decoration. He draws detailed plans for all the changes he makes in his Miami Springs, Fla. home and chooses and orders all the furnishings himself {opposite and following page). "At one time," he says, "I thought about taking some night-school courses in interior design but I just never got around to it. Instead, I pick up ideas traveling around and visiting different homes in New York, New Jersey and Chicago and I read household and art magazines."

When Hartack bought his home it was 50 feet by 60 feet. Now, after two major renovations, it is 80 feet by 120 feet. It has three baths, a kitchen, a room for entertaining, a television room and two bedrooms. Hartack himself installed the paneling in the TV room {opposite). He is constantly looking for new things to help brighten up the place. He bought the tiger rug shown on the next page from a young boy from Afghanistan who was going to school in Florida. Although he will not admit it, some of the things he values most are the little rewards (ashtrays, silver cigarette boxes) that a jockey gets for winning important races. Hartack makes sure all are kept brightly polished. When a finger mark appears he makes sure it is removed quickly.

Hartack is an excellent host. Although he doesn't drink much himself, he keeps his bar well stocked. He used to leave the front door unlocked 24 hours a day, until the night two gunmen appeared, pushed Bill and a few friends around and heisted $600. The thieves were under the mistaken impression that Hartack was paid daily in cash at the track and that their take would run into the thousands. The incident led to two innovations. A peephole was installed in the front door, and it is no longer left unlocked 24 hours a day.

While he is difficult to talk to at the race track, Hartack will invite reporters to his home for interviews. He then strikes a pose—sitting on the floor or at the bar—and talks for long periods, saying exactly what is on his mind. In one such talk, he explained his theory on what really makes Hartack ride. "I don't honestly believe that racing owes me anything or that I owe racing anything. I want to do the best I possibly can. I'm not trying to be a public relations man, I'm just trying to be a jockey. When I earn enough, I'll get out." This same independence is reflected in his home.

PHOTOJERRY COOKEIN TV Room, where he conducts business, Hartack telephones owner of horse he will ride later. PHOTOJERRY COOKEHARTACK SITS AT GUEST BAR IN MAIN ROOM, WHICH IS DECORATED BY RUG IN SHAPE OF AN ARTIST'S PALETTE PHOTOJERRY COOKEBEHIND HARTACK AND SECRETARY PAUL HURLEY ARE TROPHIES DISPLAYED AGAINST CHESTNUT PANELING

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)