This is a rare pre-Calumet era family photo purchased at the first Jimmy Jones' estate auction of December 2, 2001. No doubt, most of these early Jones' photos went into the archives of the National Museum of Racing, Saratoga, New York. This particular photo was sandwiched in a large stack of old family greeting cards and was missed. This photo is an original copy of two identical images that were sandwiched in that auction lot. Because I am retaining a copy for my personal collection, I am offering this one to the public. It is a standard sized, 5.375" x 2.275" real photo post card, common to that era. It is in excellent condition with the exception of little notch on the outside edge of the lower left hand corner (as seen in photo below). The back is a divided AZO type card. The placement of the marks in the AZO stamp box approximates the age of this real photo card to be in the 1904-1918 time frame, because there are four triangles pointing up in the stampbox.
There is no writing on the back of this photo, but it is to be assumed that the image is that of Ben Jones holding one of his horses who had just won, probably in the winner's circle of the old Juarez Track in Mexico. Ben began racing a string during the winters in Juarez during the latter part of the teens. I have other photographs of the Juarez track and the background in this particular photo seems to match that of Juarez. What is really interesting about this old photo is the picture of Ben as a young unpolished trainer. You can see, he is wearing work clothes and a wide brim hat which will later become one of his trademarks. No groom is in the picture holding his horse and, thus, may be assumed that he is doing much of the stable work himself. The stature of Ben is most impressive in this photo and he seems to tower over his horse. Joe Hirsch in his book, In The Winner's Circle, describes Ben in this way: "B.A. was popular with most of the horsemen," Jimmy says, "but he also had a fierce temper. He was six feet tall, and weighed well over 200 pounds under his Stetson hat. And he was so good rough-and-tumble fighter as I've ever seen." There were times when he and his good friend Ed Snyder, would clean out entire barrooms just for a lark. Certainly this description would match the picture of the man in this photo.
Look at the irons on that Jock, too. It shows the style of riding with longer leathers back at the turn of the century. I think the higher riding style of today is overrated and causes the modern jock to assume a seat much higher over the horse than in days past. This opens up modern riders to air resistance--not a good think in my view. If you look at old photos or newsreel footage, you will notice how much closer to the horse that jockeys of the past rode when compared to today's riders.
This photo will be sold with a certificate of authenticity, signed by me as its purchaser at the Jones auctions and as a possession of Jimmy Jones. Also, I will enclose a copy of the original estate auction bill, plus any other information, I deem pertinent to this photograph.