Fitzsimmonsville in 1954
a mid-August afternoon in 1954 Sunny Jim
Fitzsimmons, who trained Triple Crown winners Gallant Fox (1930) and Omaha (1935),
was seated in a camp chair not far from the shore of Lake Desolation,
his summer retreat near Saratoga in upstate
four years old at the time, Bold Ruler two and Mr. Fitz 80. A crutch
rested on his legs, his bow tie was sprightly and his blue eyes
When asked how many of the 1,001 ways to lose a horse
race he could name, Fitzsimmons leaned
forward and said, "Probably all of them. And maybe alphabetically, too.
Acting up in the gate is one, altering course another and away poorly a
third. Then it gets real goodóblinkers slipped, blew the turn, blocked,
bore in, bore out, bothered, bumped.
In the old days we had boy dropped battery. I have had a
horse hit by lightning when he was on the lead, and I read about one
that jumped the inner rail and drowned in an infield lake.
But there really are only 1,000 excuses a good trainer
can use. The 1,001st, a trainer never admits to. That is when someone
else comes down the pike with a better horse and just plain beats you."
- From the June 13,
1977 issue of Sports Illustrated,
in which Sportswriter William Leggett wrote an article about Seattle
Born this Year...
The World in 1954...
1954 Photo Gallery...
1954 at the track...