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Armed Photo

     Below is the framed and matted photo of one of Jimmy Jones' favorite and Calumet's better race horses, Armed. The horse which eventually broke Phar Lap's all time money winning gelding record.  This framed photo was purchased at the last Jimmy Jones estate auction on August 16th, 2002. The frame measures 12.5" x 15" with the actual photo at 8" x 11". It shows what may be a California backstretch scene of Armed with exercise rider on top, dressed in California style western hat and cowboy boots; and Jimmy mounted on pony-horse to the inside. On the back of frame is inked in handwriting: Armed, McMillan up;  Parnell, H.A. Jimmy Jones up. Evidently his pony horse was named Parnell, after his hometown in Missouri. This photo will be sold with a certificate of authenticity as me as purchaser, a copy of the sale bill and any other pertinent information of value.  Price: SOLD

If interested in this item's purchase contact me at:  dahart@centurytel.net

Armed

     A big brown gelding from Calumet Farm, Armed, was unplaced only once in 18 starts, and he got fourth money on that occasion.  He won 11, and in ten straight races carried 130 pounds or more.  One horse in one race (Buzfuz in the Sunshine Handicap) shared equal weight with him, and was defeated.  In every other start Armed was making concessions to every rival.  He earned $288,725, equaled or broke four track records, lost one race in track record and another in world record time.  A good year for any horse, it was sensational for a former lead pony.  Not very promising as a two-year-old, and of studdish disposition, making it virtually impossible to train him, Armed had been sent back to the farm to be gelded.  He could have been raced earlier, but Calumet was more than adequately supplied with running stock, so the ex-colt was utilized as a lead pony for a time.  He came out as a three year old for a brief campaign of seven starts, of which he won three, for earnings of $4850.  After finishing unplaced in his debut as a four year old, Armed launched a fantastic streak, extending over three seasons, of 36 successive races during which he never failed to get part of the purse.  In the remainder of 1945, he won six in a row, finished second four times in succession and completed the season with four more victories.  Only three of his ten wins came in stakes--a division  of the Sheridan, the Washington Park Handicap and Pimlico Special (beating First Fiddle and Stymie)--and his earnings of $91,600 were not exceptional for that season.  He didn't carry epic weight, his only really big burden having been 135 pounds in the Fall Highweight Handicap, in which event such packages were not unusual;  Armed finished second in the renewal won by True North under 140 pounds.  At the end of the year, Armed was runner-up to Stymie in the voting for best handicap horse.  In 1946, Armed won his first two starts, then was second by a neck to B.A. Murphy's Concordian in the McLennan Handicap, carrying 128 pounds to 116 on the winner.  In those days weights for the Widener Handicap, like those for its Western counterpart, the Santa Anita Handicap, were assigned far in advance of the running, and Armed already and been allotted 128 pounds for Hialeah's big race.  Concordian, however, had gotten into the Widnener with an assignment of only 109, so Armed was required to accept a 7 pound shift in favor of the horse who had just defeated him.  He beat Concordian by four and a half lengths, and professional as well as amateur handicappers have been chewing their pencils over that one ever since.

     At Tropical Park, with 126 pounds up, Armed took both sections of the Double Event Stakes, setting a new track record of 1:48.3 for 1 1/8 miles in the first one, and duplicating exactly this performance a week later, conceding 15 pounds to Occupy and 18 to Historian, his nearest pursuers in the two races.  Shipped up to Maryland, Armed found the combination of 129 pounds and a drop back to 6 furlongs too much for him as Bobannet (116) defeated him by more than a length in the Harford Handicap at Havre de Grace.  Five days later, however, Armed picked up the same weight and set a new track record of 1:43.1 in the 1 1/16 mile Philadelphia Handicap, as Elpis ran second and Bobanet third.  Again going up in weight and down in distance, Armed was defeated in Pimlico's 6 furlong Jennings Handicap; with 132 pounds, he finished fourth in a blanket finish to New Moon (115), Brookfield (122), and The Doge (117), beaten three necks for it all.  Under 130 pounds each time, he won the Dixie Handicap by three and a half lengths from Stymie (124) then moved up to New York and took the 1 1/4 mile Suburban by two and a half from Reply Paid and Stymie, before heading west for Chicago.  Armed had bounced back immediately from his previous defeats, but he lost three in a row in Chicago.  The first was the same story--more weight and less distance--as under 132 pounds, he was third in the Equipoise Mile won by Louis Schlosser's Witch Sir (110), with Old Kentuck (106) second, Armed finishing less than a length behind the winner Historian, with an 18 pound concession, beat him by a neck in the Arlington Handicap, won in new track record time of 2:01; then Mrs. L.S. Donovan's Fighting Frank, with 21.5 pounds advantage beat him by daylight in the 6 furlong Quick Step Stakes.  Armed won his next two starts Chicago (both with 130 pounds up) but his experience was a factor leading to establishment of weight ceilings and maximum spreads at Arlington and Washington Parks in the future.  On Aug., he won the Sheridan Handicap in 1:35, a Washington Park record for a mile.  On August 21, 1946 in the Whirlaway Stakes, appropriately enough, Armed brought his lifetime earnings up to $342,875, thereby replacing Phar Lap as the world's richest gelding.  On Labor day, he set a new track record of 2:01 in the Washington Park Handicap, which he won easily by nearly four lengths.  His trip to Rhode Island, where, still at 130 pounds, he finished third to Lucky Draw and Pavot (both at 123) in the world record Narragansett Special, closed out Armed's campaign.  As was true of the horses who were to join him in the race for the top of the financial rankings, however, his career still had several seasons left to run.*

* The History of Thoroughbred Racing in America, by W.Robertson


     The racing regime of Armed offers a nice study on the Jones' racing philosophies of how often a race horse may be started.  This training/racing question has always fascinated me, since I came from a Standardbred racing background where we would ideally like to race our harness horses every 7 days.  As I soon found out when I made my breed transition, a 7 day racing cycle in the Thoroughbred is unheard of in these modern times.  I would like to suggest by my study of Armed and the Jones' racing schedules that such close racing was more the norm over 50 years ago than an anomaly.  A properly conditioned Thoroughbred that has a depth of foundation (slow long miles) in his training can actually thrive from such close racing. Race a modern Thoroughbred as close as 2 days apart as Armed was, and you will see a race horse knocked for a loop mentally and physically. The modern Thoroughbred is simply not trained to withstand such stresses. No doubt, this is a primary reason why Thoroughbreds cannot hold their form. One good racing effort often knocks them off form until they can make a physical recovery weeks later, if not months.  Much can be derived from studying the racing campaign of this champion Handicap horse. Below are tables of Armed's lifetime races by year, showing days between starts.  One must take into consideration the many reasons why a trainer may start his horse. Much of the time, he is waiting for the proper stake race or overnight race with the right eligibility conditions.  Soreness problems and sickness can also be a factor and just a general gauging of when a horse may be sharp.  When studying Armed's racing schedule, one has to have an open mind, but trends can be seen. 

 

1944 (three year old Campaign)  7 starts with a 42 day break and a 47 day break.

Date of race

placing

Race length

Days between Starts

       

Feb.  28

1st

6f

 

March 4

1st

7f

 4 days

April 15

2nd

6f

42 days

May 3

8th

6f

18 days

June 19

1st

6f

47 days

June 26

4th

6f

  7 days

Nov. 4

6th

6f

  8 days

1945 (4 year old campaign)  15 starts with an average of 11.6 days between starts.

June  2

5th

6f

 

June 27

1st

7f

25 days

July   3

1st

7f

  6 days

July 14

1st

7f

11 days

July 21

1st

6f

  7 days

Aug   8

1st

7f

18 days

Aug 18

1st

7f

10 days

Sept   1

2nd

6f

14 days

Sept   3

2nd

1 miles

  2 days

Sept 17

2nd

6f

14 days

Oct    6

2nd

1 1/8

14 days

Oct  20

1st

1

14 days

Oct  30

1st

6f

10 days

Nov 10

1st

1 1/8

11 days

Nov 17

1st

1 3/16

  7 days

1946 (5 year old campaign) consisting of 18 starts, averaging 13.5 days between starts

Jan    26

1st

6f

 

Feb     6

1st

7f

11 days

Feb   16

2nd

1 1/8

10 days

March  2

1st

1

14 days

March 23

1st

1 1/8 miles

19 days

March 30

1st

1 1/8 miles

  7 days

April 15

2nd

6 f

16 days

April 20

1st

1 1/16 miles

  5 days

May    3

4th

6 f

13 days

May  10

1st

1 3/16 miles

 7 days

May  30

1st

1

20 days

June  26

3rd

1 mile

27 days

July  20

2nd

1

24 days

July  31

2nd

6 f

11 days

Aug    3

1st

1 mile

 3 days

Aug  21

1st

1 1/8

18 days

Sept    2

1st

1

12 days

Sept  14

3rd

1 3/16

12 days

1947 (6 year old campaign) consisting of 17 starts separated by an 87 day break with a 9.8 day average before break and a 13.2 days between starts after the break.

Feb       1

3rd

6 f

 

             8

1st

6 f

7 days

           15

1st

1 1/8 mile

7 days

           22

1st

1 miles

7 days

March   1

5th

1

7 days

           22

1st

1

21 days

           --

--

-----

---

June   21

2nd

6

87 days Break

          28

2nd

1 mile

  7 days

July     4

1st

1 1/8

  6 days

           19

1st

1

15 days

Aug      9

2nd

1 mile

21 days

           20

1st

1 1/8

11 days

Sept      1

1st

1

12 days

           22

2nd

6 f

21 days

           27

1st

1

 5 days

Oct       9

1st

1 mile

12 days

           31

3rd

1 3/16

22 days

1948 (7 year old campaign)  6 starts averaging 9.2 days between starts. Two months between 1947 and 1948 campaigns.

Race Date

Placing

Race Length

Days between Starts

Jan   2

1st

6f

 

       15

2nd

1

13 days

Feb   2

6th

6f

15 days

        11

3rd

7 f

  9 days

        14

3rd

1 1/8 miles

 3 days

       21

4th

1 miles

 6 days

1949  (8 year old campaign)  12 starts with an average of 12.7 days and 13.5 days on each side of inter-year break 

Feb        9

3rd

6 f

 

            17

3rd

7 f

8 days

March    8

1st

7 f

19 days

            19

3rd

1 1/4

11 days

       -------

         -------

        ----------

           -------

May       2

1st

6 f

44 day break

              5

3rd

1 1/16

3 days

            21

2nd

7 f

15 days

June     20

7th

6 f

30 days

            30

1st

7 f

10 days

July        4

2nd

1 1/16

  4 days

           23

3rd

1

19 days

            -------

         ------

         -------

            ------

Sept        5

2nd

1

62 days break

1950 (9 year old campaign)  Four months break between 1959 and 1950. Six starts with an average of 15.2 days between starts.

Jan       2

2nd

6 f

 

         14

1st

1 1/16

11 days

          21

2nd

1 1/8

  7 days

Feb     1

6th

1 1/8

11 days

March  1

2nd

1 1/8

29 days

           22

1st

1 1/16

21 days

     Note that out of 81 starts, 22 races were raced 7 days or less between its last race--that is 27% of Armed's lifetime races. The closest of these were the September 1st , 1945 race, a 6 furlong Chicago Handicap ($22,000) where Armed finished 2nd.  Two days later on September 3rd, he raced in the mile and a quarter $57,000 Washington Park Handicap where he again placed 2nd, finished driving.  Let it, also, be noted that after a 14 day rest from his September 3rd race, he again placed second in the 6 furlong, Fall Highweight Handicap ($10,000) at Belmont from which he shipped from Illinois. He kept his form throughout. If ever there was an example of how a race horse, carefully prepared with a solid foundation, could hold its form under close racing, this is it.

 

©2002 Ahart Racing, Unltd.