BUILDING ON THE WARREN WRIGHT LEGACY: 1951-1961
When Mrs. Lucille Parker Wright assumed control of Calumet Farm after the death of her husband, it could hardly be expected that the unprecedented success the farm had experienced during the past decade could be maintained. Calumet, however, was not an average farm and, although not to the extent as during the 1940's, continued to dominate racing for the next 10 years. From 1951 through 1961 the farm topped the list of Leading Money-Winning Owners five times with $3 million-plus years. In Hill Gail, Iron Leige, Fabius, and Tim Tam capturing the farm's fifth and sixth Preakness trophies. Bull Lea continued to dominate as a sire, leading the General Sire List in 1952 and '53 and the Broodmare Sire List in 1958, '59, '60, and '61.
A major chapter in Calumet's history came to a close with the retirement in 1960 and the death in 1961 of B.A. "Ben" Jones. Jones, certainly one of the greatest trainers of all time, had helped guide Calumet through an incredible 20-year dominance of Thoroughbred racing. As would soon become evident, his presence would be missed.
1950 - 1952
One of Warren Wright Sr.'s major ambitions had been to see Citation become racing's first millionaire. This occured some six months after Wright's death when 6-year-old Citation captured the Hollywood Gold Cup, sending his total career earnings to $1,085,760. Ironically, finishing second was Bewitch, the only horse to beat Citation as a 2-year-old. The $20,000 in second-place money made Bewitch the all-time leading money-winning female. The Hollywood Gold Cup was Citation's last race. He was paraded before his fans for the last time at Arlington Park on July 28 and then retired to stud. Returning to the farm with him were stablemates Bewitch and Coaltown.
Calumet returned to the top of the list of Leading Money-Winning Owners in 1952 with its fourth $1 million-plus year. The stable was led by Handicap Female and 3-year-old Filly Champion Real Delight. With earnings of $236,272.50, she won 11 of her 12 starts and gave Calumet its second National Filly Triple Crown. Hill Gail (c, 3) got off to a tremendous start in 1952, winning 4 of his first 6 starts, including the Santa Anita Derby. On May 3, he captured his biggest prize by giving the farm its fifth Kentucky Derby victory. Unfortunately, because of calcium deposits in his ankles, the Derby was his last race.
1952 - 1954
In 1952, three other Calumet horses had earnings in excess of $100,000. Leading the way with $268,745 was 3-year-old Mark-Ye-Well, which captured the rich Arlington Classic and American Derby. Six-year-old Two Lea contributed $174,550 in winning 6 of her 11 starts, and 3-year-old A Gleam chipped in $122,700, running exclusively on the West Coast.
Aside from racing, 1952 marked another major event in Calumet's history when Mrs. Lucille Wright married Hollywood screenwriter and producer Rear Admiral Gene Markey.
Although they would have been considered excellent years by most farms, 1953, '54, and '55 found Calumet in a three-year downswing. In 1953, Mark-Ye-Well (c,4) provided most of the firepower, winning 3 of his 7 starts, including the rich Santa Anita Handicap and the Santa Anita Maturity. Two other Bull Lea colts, Fleet Bird (c,4) and Chanlea (c,3), contributed $100,000-plus years. Fleet Bird collected $167,275 with 5 wins in his 16 starts. Chanlea, winner of the Santa Anita Derby, added $122,350 to the Calumet treasury. Real Delight (f,4) started only once, winning the Arlington Matron Handicap.
In 1954, Calumet dipped to fourth on the list of Leading Money-Winning Owners, its first time out of the top three since 1939. Running exclusively on the West Coast, the stable was led by California Derby winner Miz Clementine. She scored wins in 9 of her 13 starts, with earnings of $109,450.
1955 - 1958
In 1955, Calumet finished eighth on the list of Leading Money-Winning Owners with earnings of $438,590. This was the last year that Calumet raced on the West Coast.
In 1956, Calumet recorded its fifth $1 million-plus year and again captured the top spot on the list of Leading Money-Winning Owners. Fabius, a 3-year-old colt from Citation's first crop, led the stable in earnings with $227,818. After finishing second to Needles in the Kentucky Derby, he came back to give Calumet its fifth Preakness victory. Barbizon (c, 2) won 5 of his 6 starts in capturing the 2-Year-Old Colt crown. Bardstown, a 4-year-old gelding which did not start at 2 or at 3, won the Equipoise Mile and the Trenton Handicap en route to earning $173,050 for the year. Calumet's fillies were also well represented in 1956 as 3-year-old Princess Turia scored in 8 of her 19 starts, including the Kentucky Oaks and the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.
1957 and '58 proved to be excellent years at Calumet, with both years finding the farm at the top of the list of Leading Money-Winning Owners. The 1957 group of 3-year-old colts was one of the greatest ever-with Gallant Man, Round Table, and Bold Ruler joining the Calumet threesome of General Duke, Iron Liege, and Barbizon. After General Duke, considered the stable's best runner, was scratched, it was left to Iron Liege to present Calumet with its sixth Kentucky Derby triumph. Five-year-old Bardstown collected 4 wins in his 6 starts, including the Widener Handicap and the Gulfstream Park Handicap.
In 1958, Tim Tam won the stable's seventh Kentucky Derby and sixth Preakness, as well as the Champion 3-Year-Old Colt title. He might very well have become the farm's third Triple Crown winner; however, in the Belmont he broke a sesamoid bone in his right foreleg. In an amazing display of courage he held on for second. Tim Tam was joined by 3-year-old filly A Glitter, Iron Liege, and Bardstown in assuring a successful year for the stable.
1959 - 1961
As the decade drew to a close, Calumet experienced what was for them an off year in 1959. Most of the action was provided by 7-year-old Bardstown which, despite soundness problems, won 3 of his 5 starts, including the Widener Handicap. He was joined by Ohio Derby winner On-and-On, which contributed $101,088.75 as Calumet dropped to tenth on the list of Leading Money-Winning Owners.
On-and-On returned in 1960 to score victories in 5 of his 17 starts and to post earnings of $270,480 as Calumet climbed back to sixth place among money-winning owners. In 1960, Ben Jones announced his retirement and left the stable in the care of his son, Jimmy.
For the twelfth time, 1961 found Calumet atop the list of money-winning owners. Leading the stable was Beau Prince, a 3-year-old Bull Lea colt. With total earnings of $194,392.50, he captured the American Derby and the Travers Stakes in succession en route to winning 5 of his 18 starts. Yorky (c, 4) counted the Widener Handicap as one of his three 1961 victories, and Pied d'Or took 8 of his 21 starts, including the Camden and the Princeton Handicaps.
The era closed on a sad note with the death of Ben Jones on June 13. Jones' accomplishments in his 20 years at Calumet had been close to miraculous. He would be greatly missed.
Ben Allyn Jones: 1883-1961
Ben Allyn Jones was born in 1883 in Parnell, Missouri. His father, the town's founder and owner of the Parnell Bank, had visions of his son someday replacing him as the bank's president. Ben Jones had other ideas and soon embarked upon his dream to be a race horse trainer. His early experience came in the rough bush circuit throughout the Midwest and West, with his first victory at a recognized track record in 1909 in Oklahoma City. In 1932, he was hired by Herbert M. Woolf as trainer for Woolford Farm and, in 1938, won his first Kentucky Derby with Lawrin.
In 1939, Warren Wright Sr. made one of his most astute moves when he hired Jones to take over the Calumet stable. During the next 21 years, Ben Jones established himself as one of the greatest trainers of all time. He trained 5 Kentucky Derby winners for Calumet (Whirlaway, Pensive, Citation, Ponder, and Hill Gail) and 2 Triple Crown winners (Whirlaway and Citation).
Four of his horses (Whirlaway, Twlight Tear, Armed, and Citation) received Horse of the Year honors. During Jones' tenure at Calumet, the stable led the nation in earnings a record 11 times.
In 1947, he assumed the title of General Manager of the Racing Stable but continued, with his son H.A. "Jimmy" Jones, to train until his retirement in 1960. Ben Jones was elected to the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1958. He died on June 13, 1961, at age 78.
Horace Allyn "Jimmy" Jones: 1906-
There is an old racetrack saying that champions beget champions. This was certainly proven true in the case of Horace Allyn "Jimmy" Jones.
The son of Hall of Fame trainer Ben Jones, Jimmy joined his father as an assistant trainer at Calumet in the early 1940's. In 1947, his father assumed the title of Racing Stable General Manager and named Jimmy as Calumet's trainer.
Together with his father, Jimmy Jones was trainer of Triple Crown winner and racing's first millionaire, Citation. Jones also trained Kentucky Derby winners Iron Liege and Tim Tam. In all, he saddled 30 winners in races worth more than $100,000. Other notable stakes winners which were trained or co-trained by H.A. Jones include: Armed, Barbizon, Bewitch, Coaltown, and Two Lea.
Jones retired from Calumet in 1964 to become Director of Racing at Monmouth Park. He was elected to the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1959.
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