Monday, May 23, 2016

The Intervention

I don't remember the first time we met Les. But it wasn't long after we first went out to the races at Belmont. And that was for the Belmont Stakes, June 8, 1968. Les, or "Mister Pace," as we later called him, was our handicapping mentor. He was easily 25 years older than the whippersnapper age we were, at not yet even 21.

Les was a friend of James Kelly, Kelly the barber who cut my friend's father's hair. Imagine an Irish-American from Jackson Heights, ex-Marine, who lived with his mother, who was a barber. We were in rare company indeed.

Les went way back. He was an industrial food manager for ARA, who had  a master's degree in something. But most of all, he was a handicapper who taught us about pace and weight. Les would give each horse in a race a number, the lower the number the horse achieved, the better the bet. His basis for determining the number was never revealed to us, but it was predicated on weight and pace. In that era of horse racing and handicapping, weight assignments meant a great deal. Over the years, weight has become less of a factor to consider in handicapping.

A horse could achieve a minus number, which made it an even better bet. No handicapping system is infallible, but Les did pick his share of winner's using his numbers, most notably Pass Catcher, who won the 1971 Belmont Stakes at odds of over 40-1. That was a memorable day.

Over the years, we lost contact with Les and would no longer see him at the races. He loved Citation so much, who at that time was the last Triple Crown winner, that when we saved him a seat to watch the 1973 Belmont, he declined to stay with us and left the track early. He couldn't bear to wait to see what would be Secretariat's 31 length record shattering performance, establishing him as the first Triple Crown winner since Citation in 1948.

After that, we would only see Les sporadically, and eventually not at all. But his use of assigning numbers to entrants always stayed with me. I wanted to develop my own number system for evaluating a race. And many years ago, I did just that.

I use a blend of 10 factors to develop a composite number. The higher the number, the better the chances are that that horse will do well, even win. Box the highest numbers for an exacta, and use the horse with the highest number for a win bet. These days, my bets are usually exactas and win bets. Sometimes there is a Triple in there, but not often.

Some days the numbers are stone cold. This usually happen when the track is drying out from slop, or mud. I usually try not to go out when the track is other than fast. The turf can be anything, but the races have to stay carded for the turf. If they come off the turf because of rain, then the day is a bust and I basically turn into a tourist.

The numbers have delivered their share of winning days, and days of utter frustration. Horseplayers are walking multiple personalities, turning their one mind into a babel of conflicting opinions when evaluating a race. Sometimes the numbers are "refined" because they are seen as false positives; sometimes they are just plain overlooked, missed entirely because of a distraction.

Creating  a composite number for every entrant on a race day card is work that is usually undertaken the night before. Generally, the number is created before the start of the first race, but there are times when it is created on the fly, as the races are progressing. There is usually enough time between races to sift through the data and come up with the composite. Before a bet is made, the numbers are developed and evaluated.

So when The Assembled gathered at Belmont on May 14th I had the luxury of having developed the numbers for the entire card before the first race.

Not every horse can get a number. An unraced horse has no past performance to use as a guideline. Foreign horses racing domestically for the first time do not come with a Beyer number, which is a key component of my composite number. There is always improvisation in handicapping, and sometimes too much improvisation when the numbers are just plain ignored, for any of the many reasons one can talk themselves out of anything.

Such was my fate on that Saturday. After the race I would look back at my numbers and sometimes see that my numbers did indeed predict the exacta if only the top two numbers were boxed, meaning bet in either order of finish,

In one instance, I failed to even see who had the two highest numbers. I missed my own notations. The exacta came out with those two highest numbers. I had un gots.

After several post-race finishes, I found myself telling The Assembled that my numbers had that exacta. But I hadn't played it.

The Assembled that day consisted of Bobby G., Jose and myself. They were growing so tired of hearing me piss and moan that my numbers had an exacta, but I didn't, that they just about held an intervention and told me I had to bet my numbers in the next race. I was under orders to listen to my numbers.

In general, any assembly of horseplayers means that they will sit together, talk together, even eat together, but will invariably go off like a herd of cats in all directions when it comes to betting, This is actually good, because sometimes a member of The Assembled wins when the others don't. Happiness can be other people being happy.

So, when the numbers for the 8th races were consulted it was pleasant to see that the favorites didn't get the nod, but rather two outsiders, going off at 9-1 and 7-1. This time I didn't waver, refine or see some reason not to use the numbers. I boxed the two highest numbers, which were these outsiders, for a deuce apiece.

The race unfolded with number 4, Tapitry racing toward the front, a well-placed second, who eventually took the lead in the stretch. In the stretch, they were fairly quickly passed by number 6, Strike Charmer. This order of finish held to the wire and the 6/4 exacta paid $126 for $2. My numbers had it. I had it. Finally.

Bedlam broke out amongst The Assembled. I was the only one who had that race, but congratulations were rained down anyway. I still have the $100 bill that was part of my payout for the race. Eventually, it will have to be broken.

There were 11 races on that card, and my numbers had picked 5 exactas, the 5th one that 8th race. It paid the most of all the previous exactas and was the only one I had. But what a great time to finally listen to the numbers.

Sometimes, you just gotta believe.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Songs of the Resistance

As always, something reminds me of something else. So when the obituary for Madeleine Lebeau, 92, the last person left alive from the 1942 movie 'Casablanca' appeared in the paper, I immediately thought of how we've kept track of the survivors from the Titanic, and how many horses have won the Triple Crown. We've already been tracking how many Munchkins are left from 'The Wizard of Oz,' so why not cast members from 'Casablanca?'

Ms. Lebeau was a French actress indelibly etched in our memories when at 19 she appeared in 'Casablanca' as Rick's spurned girlfriend, and then framed in a closeup singing 'Le Marseillaise,' along with all the other night club patrons and staff, drowning out the table of German officers who are lustily belting out 'Watch on the Rhine' with lyrics that tells us how great the Fatherland is.

It is such a favorite scene of mine and likely millions of other people that I downloaded the audio portion of the movie from iTunes and plopped in on my iPod. The audio picks up from where Victor Laszlo and Rick are talking about letters of transit, when the strains of the German voices reach the upstairs office. The rest is film history.

Quite frankly, when I recall that scene I've always thought of the woman playing the guitar who is helping lead the crowd in song. I thought that the woman might have been portraying an Anna Marly type figure, an entertainer who sang and wrote songs of Resistance during WW II.

Anna Marly passed away in 2006, and in her NYT obituary written by Douglas Martin, she was described as the woman "who wrote the melody to the song that became the anthem of the French Resistance in World War II."

Apparently, Anna's singing and whistling on the BBC'c French Service became immensely popular to those listening in France. General Charles de Gaulle later called Anna "the troubadour of the Resistance."

The song that gained such underground popularity was "Chant des Partisans" or "Song of the Partisans." The obituary made Ms. Marly life so appealing that I was seized by a desire to hear her melody. That was not so easy.

iTunes has no listing ,and there were no CDs of Ms. Marly's work, at least available as best as I could search on the Internet. What to do? I wrote to the funeral home mentioned in the obituary and asked if they could put my interest in Anna Marly's work in the hands of someone who might help. I was pretty sure I had never written to anyone in Alaska before.

So, when a brown padded mailer came with a return address and the state abbreviation AK, I was confused. Who in Arkansas is sending me something? Of course, AK is the two character abbreviation for Alaska, Arkansas is AR. You learn something everyday.

Someone was sending me Anna's CD, 'Songs of the Resistance,' that contained many of her songs, sung by her, along with the one that made her famous. The CD was completely complimentary. They would take no money.

So now of course I've played the CD, as well as put several selections on my iPod. Her songs, coupled with the audio from 'Casablanca,' make a great playlist.

A measure of what Anna Marly's whistling melody meant to the people in France is illustrated by a closing narrative in the obituary. She was often approached after performances after the war by people who told her how much "Le Chant des Partisans" lifted their spirits. One such individual told her of the story when he and four others were captured by the Germans and ordered to dig their own graves. They whistled the melody loud and clear while they dug. Somehow, the man telling the story survived, while the other four were killed and buried in the graves they dug.

No details were provided of how the man survived. But on reading that I couldn't help thinking of something Winston Churchill is quoted as saying: "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result."

What a tune.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Rock

Consider the word "rock." Like another four-letter word common in the English language, it ends in "k" and has a hard sound. Consider its use in conversation.
  • Love on the rocks. Scotch on the rocks. Marriage on the rocks. Getting my rocks off. They've got rocks in their head. Rock hard. Rock and Roll. Hard rock. Rock on brother, Plymouth Rock, The Rock (Alcatraz), Bad Day at Black Rock..
But how many people do you know who might tell you they went "rock shopping?"

But that's exactly how my past Saturday was spent, when my youngest daughter Susan and her boyfriend and I took a trip out to Skyview Stone, Kings Park, NY in the work truck Greg was able to borrow from his job. Greg is a surveyor who spends a good deal of time in the field with a crew of helpers who get ferried to the job site in a Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab vehicle that can seat six and take on a thousand pound load. This Saturday, I was part of the crew.

Apparently, Dodge Ram trucks are everywhere. When we pulled onto the property Greg was disappointed there was no muddy gully for the truck to go through. No rain recently. It seems guys who love trucks also love mud, and the chance to show off gear drives that get you through it. No matter. When we pulled we were the fourth Ram truck to park by the trailer that serves as the office. Guts, Glory, Ram.

This was a good omen, because guys who love trucks and mud, also love to talk about trucks, and the proprietor immediately started talking truck with Greg. It's another language. Which one had better valves.

Skywiew does boast a view of the sky. At night, with the right lighting, you might think you landed on the moon. With enough to drink, you might even think you can see the planet Earth off in the distance.

Red rocks, white rocks, black rocks, grey rocks, tan rocks, and even rocks that looked like brown oatmeal, all shapes and sizes. And weight. Even the nearly smallest rock could be difficult to lift. At 50 cents a pound, (up to a 1,000 pounds, after which it got a little cheaper) no matter what rock you chose, we browsed.

A white rock that turned out to be marble was decided on. I wasn't too hard to haul it up and put it in the little red wagon we brought with us. Anything bigger, the owner would have fork lifted the rock onto the truck. How we would have handled it after that would have been up to us.

Near the wooden platform scale there was a bigger Ram truck, an 8500 that was in the process of getting a 4 ton boulder loaded onto to with a hoist. The owner explained that there was a local woman whose house was on a tricky curve in a road who in the last four months had two DUI drivers misjudge the turn and land on her lawn. She was tired of that. With a boulder that size in place the next one to misjudge a turn might easily get flattened by driving into Gibraltar.

The proprietor laughed a bit at our red wagon. I explained that it I used to pull my daughters in it, and now one of them was with me rock shopping. Nothing like bringing a family heirloom to a rock pile that looked like the old exercise yard at Sing Sing..

The owner asked me to get on the platform and guess my weight. I gave a number and the digital readout was within a pound of my guess. I asked if I now qualified for a 10% discount. No.

The "big" rock, and the smaller one we took came to a total of 110 pounds. $50 cash would seal the deal. Easy. Well prepared with cash.

The rocks now sit in their places in the garden. They are snow white, almost glowing in the dark. Just what I wanted. But I'm beginning to see what must go through the mind of people who get their first tattoo. They want another one.

Perhaps there are rocks in my head. Bit I'm beginning to think another trip to Skyview might someday materialize.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Blinking Light

Money won is twice as nice as money earned.

I once read that the editors of 'Bartlett's Familiar Quotations' were considering adding movie and TV dialogue that has become colloquial into their august edition. I don't know if they ever acted on it. My own edition of Bartlett's is fairly old, so there is nothing from 'Cool Hand Luke' in there. I'm sure.

But why not? Certainly, "What we have here is a failure to communicate" worked its way into many conversations and speech after the movie became a hit. A list could be compiled of your own, and everyone else's favorites over the years. Even if the movie is ancient, there can be oft-repeated dialogue. Surely someone has recently said, or paraphrased Captain Renault's words to Rick after that plane took off with Rick's former flame and a dead Nazi major lay at their feet.

The possibilities are endless, but that's not the point of this posting. The lede refers to something Paul Newman said in the movie 'The Color of Money' as he played Fast Eddie Felson and was tutoring Tom Cruise's Vince in the art of the pool hustle. I've always loved the sentiment. And when I win by a wide margin at the races, I love it even better. Fast Eddie is Shakespeare.

This instance started with a phone's blinking light, telling me there was a message. Thank goodness I retrieved the message, because in about 90 minutes the value of the message would have greatly decreased. To zero.

If you read any of these postings, you might be familiar with The Assembled, five males who all once worked for the same company, who gather on a thoroughly irregular basis at Aqueduct, Belmont or Saratoga racetracks. Four of the five carry red, white and blue Medicare cards, and the fifth one is the youngster, fitting into the 50-60 year old demographic. The four all have great futures behind them. The fifth has a great future ahead of them. That's just the way it goes.

By extension, there is a sixth member to the group, who doesn't assemble with the five, but who is a good friend of one of the Assembled, Bobby G. The longtime friend of Bobby G. is a lawyer who actually owns horses. Well, owns one horse at a time, but nevertheless, by virtue of ownership, is on a whole other plateau. Not only is Richie smitten with the racetrack like the others, he is so smitten he's "in the game," as they say. He's like the fourth Musketeer.

I once asked Bobby G. didn't he ever want to go in partners with Richie and also own a piece of the tail? Bobby G. replied, "Are you kidding? It's bad enough one of us has the disease." Bobby G. is a retired surgeon, who sometimes see things with a medical metaphor.

Now when Richie owns a horse it is generally a New York Bred. The New York Breeding program was breathed into life during Governor Hugh Carey's administration. It helped jump start an industry in the state, that while it doesn't rival the Kentucky Bred breeding program, it does create opportunities for ownership and thoroughbred related services throughout the state. There are many breeding farms in upstate New York by virtue of the program.

There are restricted races that are just for New York Bred horses. A horse is a New York bred by virtue of the sire's mating of the mare on New York soil. The mare then generally gives birth to the offspring in New York. Two of the most famous New York Breds were Fourstardave, The Sultan of Saratoga, and Funny Cide, who won the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

Richie's horses have yet to be that famous, but they generally do break their maiden (win a race restricted to horses who have never won a race), and then advance through what are called conditions for horses who have won at least once. After beating other horses who have never won a race, the water gets a little deeper competitively.

Because of the Bobby G. connection, we hear a good deal about who Richie might have in competition. My first winner with one of Richie's horses was with a horse called Sweet Moving D, who broke their maiden on May 7, 2004. I was at the Finger Lakes race track in the Rochester area that year because my youngest daughter was graduating from Geneseo College. If the schedule allows it, a racetrack is always included when away from home. Bobby G. is in the picture from the winner's circle.

Richie, along with a partner who is not Bobby G., are also breeders. This means they own a mare who they contract a stallion to get in foal. The offspring can be kept, or auctioned. Richie and his partner keep. And because they are the breeders, they get to name the foal. In this case, because Richie's wife Donna is a very good dancer, Richie named the horse Sweet Moving D. Nice.

I've met Richie several times. Richie is a plain spoken Runyonesque figure who knows how to mark up a Racing Form and who also remembers Manny Kalish. I generally run into Richie at his box at Saratoga. I've also met his wife. Richie has been going to Saratoga way more times than the 14 times Adelaide tells us in 'Guys and Dolls' that her serially uncommitted fiance Nathan Detroit has been on the train headed for Niagara Falls, only to get off a little early, stepping off at the upstate community of Saratoga in the month of August. Adelaide, you might remember, stays unmarried till the end of the show.

Richie is protector of horses as well as an owner, breeder and handicapper. He stays away from claiming horses, and gives his horses great care and enviable retirement conditions after their racing is done.

Owning and breeding horses is not an investment that is going to generally return a profit in the financial sense. My guess is, Richie and his partner have won perhaps 11 times with different horses since that win in 2004. But no one ever has to be asked to smile in the winner's circle. Winning in horse racing is its own high.

Through the Bobby G. connection, knowing Richie has given me two of the highest win mutuel payouts I've ever gotten. What is now the second highest payout occurred on Derby Day in 2010. Before Super Saver won the Derby that day, Mighty Tuff barreled down the turf stretch at Belmont and caught everyone at the wire, paying something like $66.00 to win. And then I had Super Saver. It was good day.

All of this background for the blinking light story. Wednesday wasn't a nice day weatherwise, and by 3 o'clock I was finished with yard work and the sky was turning even nastier looking. Rain was a definite. In fact, at Belmont it had already started.

I noticed my telephone had a steadily blinking red light, telling me there was a message. Bobby G. had called perhaps a half hour ago and left me a message that Richie had Animal Posse in the 6th at Belmont, with one of the Ortiz brothers on him. Either Ortiz, Irad, or Jose, have been lights out at the Aqueduct racing this past winter. I think even nationally they were ranked one-two in winners. They are consistently top riders. This called for a wager. Winter hibernation was over.

A check of the XpressBets website and NYRA told me it was Jose on the horse, and despite the rain, the race was still carded for the turf. This is significant.

Having a top jockey on your horse means the agent for the jockey feels the trainer, Carl Domino, has got a potential winner in the race. I knew of Animal Posse, but had lost track of him. I had forgotten to get him on my Watch List that you can create through the Daily Racing Form website.

Turns out, Animal Posse is going to be starting for the first time, and that they are only one of two four year-olds in the Maiden Special Weight NY Bred Race. All this I didn't know, nor did I know what his workout tab might have looked like. I'm making my thoroughly modest wager as a fan because of just knowing the ownership.

New York Bred maiden races usually attract big fields. The breeding/ownership program has a lot of participants, and big State Bred fields are usually always assured. In this case, 12 horses, the maximum for the distance at Belmont on the turf, are going to be in the starting gate. I later found out on post-race call with Bobby G. that Linda Rice, a top New York trainer, had a horse on the Also Eligible list, number 13. This meant that if there was a scratch, her horse would draw in. Her first call jockey it turned out would have been Jose Ortiz. So, a scratch brings her horse in, and leaves the Animal Posse connections needing to look for a jockey who is not committed to the race. There is no scratch. There is a God.

At this time of the year, because all horses in the Northern Hemisphere are generally born by January-March, a four year-old horse competing against three year-old can be seen as an advantage. They are assigned higher weight on the scale of weights set by the Jockey Club, on the belief that they are generally bigger and stronger than a three year-old who is really not fully matured. But an unraced four year-old can be viewed with suspicion.

Where have they been? Sick? Hurt? Hard to handle? Certainly one, or all of those is a possibility. Turns out Animal Posse is a gelding, generally done to a horse to quiet them down and allow them to be trained.

But a Maiden Special Weight race means there can be no claiming. So, there is no indication from the ownership that they are willing to part ways with the horse. A few weeks ago at Aqueduct I noticed an unraced horse in a $40,000 Maiden Claiming race who had been bought at auction for nearly $300,000. The air went out of that balloon since the auction. I forgot to see if anyone claimed the horse. They didn't win.

Turns out Animal Posse is rated at 8-1 in the Morning Line, the initial odds that the track's oddsmaker thinks their chances are. An 8-1 shot is not really a long shot, and certainly not a favorite. The distribution of money bet causes all odds to fluctuate up or down. More money on a horse, the lower the pari-mutuel odds. Relatively little money, the odds soar up.

By the time I made my modest bet and tuned to XpreeBets on my computer to watch the race, I was glad to see the race did indeed stay on the turf despite the light rain, and that the odds on the 3 horse, Animal Posse, were an astounding 23-1. Large fields can keep the odds up on some horses, but I wasn't expecting this.

And it wasn't post time yet. The odds kept drifting up like a hot air balloon as post time approached. 36-1; finally 43-1. Jesus, I've got money on a 43-1 shot! They don't usually win.

A 6 furlong race (3/4 of a mile) is a sprint, somewhat like a 60 meter dash in track and field. The start is everything. Blow the start, and you're cooked. Animal Posse is breaking from the three hole in a 12 horse field. This is good, and the jockey is good at all aspects of the game, so when Animal Posse immediately gets out well, and surges to the front, well, there's only one way to win now. All the way baby.

A lead with a relaxed look is wonderful. And Animal Posse is clicking off fractions of 22 3/5 for the quarter, 45 3/5 for the half, so far leading significantly at every pole. The Belmont turf has been producing course records of late, so even horses that may not be world beaters are setting fast times.

Into the stretch, when a horse is expected to change leads, meaning land on their opposite foreleg first for the straightaway run, Animal Posse appears to have handled the gear shfit, and despite feeling Whatstotalkabout bearing down on them, is not backing up. If anything, they are accelerating, while the other horse is gaining. At 43-1, there's nothing wrong with second, especially with win bets backed up with a place bet.

The wire looms, and no one is quitting. Animal Posse prevails by a very big nose, A Jimmy Durante nose, or half a head really, a margin that's visible even without the photo.

Four years-old and you win your first start. You either go up from there, or toil in the next condition and drive everyone nuts. But the moment is now.

When I see Richie next time at Saratoga I will have to bow heavily to the maven. Last year I caught up to Richie in his box. But if you know anything about how finicky they are at Saratoga and protective of the people in the boxes, you know you can't be wearing shorts, and you have to get past a picket line of ushers.

Last year I was wearing shorts when I manged to reach Richie in his front row box. I approached from the apron side, and blew past the girl at the steps. After discussing the next race with Richie I got up to leave by going up the inside steps. When a woman usher spotted me in shorts she nearly got bug spray out to shoo me away.

Shorts or not, Belmont, Saratoga or at home, an $89.50 winner with a $31.40 place price over the favorite ridden by the other Ortiz is sweet. And even in the rain, wearing raincoats, no one has to be asked to smile in the winner's circle.

And money won is twice as nice as money earned.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Bluest Blue Blood

First, I guess it would be best to start off with a scholarly understanding of what a "blue blood" actually is. Or, who a blue blood is. We've heard the term, now let's go to the OED.

Turns out it is Spanish in origin, Castilian to be precise, signifying a person with no Moorish or Jewish ancestry. A high-bred person. We get it.

We've heard the term WASP, a term you don't hear much of anymore, but one that also implies high breeding, with no foreign elements: a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

George Weymouth recently passed a way at 79. Mr. William Grimes's obituary of him in the NYT is filled with word clues that tell you Mr. Weymouth was a blue blood, without ever using the word in the text. It is a masterpiece of respect and sly fun.

The headline, although not written by Mr. Grimes, gives us a solid clue of what is to come. "...Horse Enthusiast and Bon Vivant..." Out quotes use the words "fox-hunting," "polo,"  and "steeplechase." Like the commercial for Dos Equis beer, that shows a bearded man of cultural bearing and distinguished age, flanked by two beautiful, compliant looking woman, with the tag line, "The most interesting man in the world," you are about to read the obituary of the world's bluest blue blood.

Culling from Mr. Grimes's text:
  • Mr. Weymouth became nicknamed "Frolic" after a family dog that died soon after he was born.
We have to assume, the family dog was also a pure-bred. Nicknaming your kid after a dead dog has got to be something rich people do. And they wouldn't do if the dog was a mutt.
  • Mr. Weymouth's fatherr was an investment banker, and his mother was a du Pont, Dulcinea Ophelia Payne du Pont, herself known as Deo.
Not being named Doris can count a lot toward earning blue blood points.
  • George led the polo team at Yale to a national championship in 1957. He graduated from Yale in 1958, admitting in later interviews he couldn't read, write, or spell.
Does the NCAA still sanction polo? Would they drug test the horses and the riders now? Talk about a legacy admission.

Mr. Weymouth could boast of a lifelong friendship with Prince Philip, who we know is still alive, having driven his wife, the Queen of of England, Elizabeth, and the Obamas from the helicopter that landed on the royal grounds, back to the castle. The Prince is reported to have loved George so much he allowed him to romp through the royal park anytime with his horse or carriage.

That is a friend in high places. The Queen of England's husband. And just drop over anytime with your horses and carriage. That is some checked luggage, given that Mr. Weymouth was an American living on the Pennsylvania, Delaware border.
  • Mr. Weymouth began collecting antique carriages, which he drove daily. The carriages were pulled by four horses, and apparently Mr. Weymouth was a highly skilled horseman at what was really a difficult task.
Guiding a carriage hitched to four eager to run horses. At Belmont race track one year (could I as a horse player ever be labeled a horse "enthusiast?" I doubt it.) before a prestigious race for fillies, the Coaching Club American Oaks (the equivalent of the Belmont Stakes for fillies) there was a demonstration on the track of a coach being pulled by four horses. It was Tally-Ho all the way. The spectacle looked like the side of a box of Thomas' English muffins. No one cared a wit.
  • George was fond of long distance carriage driving. He once drove a coach from the Knickerbocker club in Manhattan to Saratoga, stopping along the way at his good friend's house in Tarrytown, David Rockefeller. 
Mr. Rockefeller is still with us, so we wonder if he'll be making the trip to pay his respects to his carriage-loving friend.
  • A back injury eventually made it impossible for Mr. Weymouth to keep driving a horse-drawn coach. He got around using crutches from the Civil War, 
Old money used old wood.

Nowhere in the obituary is Mr. Weymouth described as holding a job of any kind. He did use his money and influence to amass a great deal of property as a conservation effort to keep it from being developed. He befriended Andrew Wyeth and learned to paint, even painting a portrait of Prince Philip.

Other words that Mr. Grimes uses, as well as quotes from other sources, close out the complete picture of Mr. Weymouth.

bon vivant...
toff of the old school...
amiable dilettante...
amusing swell...
flamboyant eccentric...

The closing quote Mr. Grimes uses to sum up Mr. Weymouth, "No one has had more fun out of life than I have,"  has a way of making you happy for the guy, and perhaps just a bit envious. Given a high-end lifestyle, Mr. Weymouth didn't outlive his money.

As I get even older, I want to be just like George.