At Woodstock Farm on the Bohemia River in Maryland, the mighty gelding Kelso, five times Horse of the Year, has his own gray-and-yellow mailbox to accommodate his 10 fan letters a week. And there is an old mutt named Charley Potato who is his bosom pal. Vital facts like these are difficult to find in The American Racing Manual, which made it all the more pleasant for Photographer Richard Meek and Reporter Lynn Simross to travel around the country, from the bluegrass in Lexington, Ky. to the desert in Palm Springs and back again, taking pictures and taking notes for our eight-photograph gallery of the great ladies of racing (page 46).
Meek, who was one of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S original three photographers, had to interrupt the assignment and fly down to the Caribbean to make some pictures for a cookbook (he is an expert at lighting his subjects, be they a Lady Sassoon or a strawberry shortcake), and he had to miss the Kentucky Derby to photograph Mmes. Stern and Volterra in France, but most of the tour was spent in the barns and on the tracks of some of the most beautiful horse farms in the U.S.
It was a sunny, beautiful day in May, just before the Preakness, when they arrived at Woodstock and found Mrs. Richard C. duPont riding about the farm on Kelso, who was as gentle and friendly as a puppy. Rain had turned a beautiful spread into a quagmire by the time Dick and Lynn reached the California ranch of Cloyce and Liz Tippett. The Tippetts have 17 dogs running around their place and one of them, a Great Dane puppy named Goony, covered with mud, ended up in Lynn's lap. It seems at these farms horses and dogs go together.
For Miss Simross, who has done most of our horse racing research the last two years, the nicest part of the whole equine odyssey was the visit to Calumet Farm near Lexington, Ky. to photograph and interview Mrs. Gene Markey. "I got very nostalgic," said Lynn, "because I had visited there when I was 10 and had never forgotten what a beautiful place it was—all white with red-trim buildings, with heavy wooden doors on all the immaculate stalls. I remember thinking then that the barns were cleaner and shinier than most people's houses. That was 1948, the year Citation won the Kentucky Derby for Calumet. It seemed strange to see him standing there in his stall 20 years later."