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Old Man Curry Race Track Stories   By: (1876-1919)

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First Page:

OLD MAN CURRY

Race Track Stories

by

CHARLES E. VAN LOAN

THE BOOKS OF CHARLES E. VAN LOAN Memorial Edition

OLD MAN CURRY STORIES OF THE RACE TRACK

WITH INTRODUCTION BY L. B. YATES

OLD MAN CURRY

Race Track Stories

by

CHARLES E. VAN LOAN

Introduction by L. B. Yates

New York George H. Doran Company MCMXIX

Copyright, 1917, by George H. Doran Company

Copyright, 1915 6, by P. F. Collier & Son, Incorporated

Printed in the United States of America

My Dear "Purdue" McCormick:

It is customary to dedicate a book, the author selecting a good natured person to stand sponsor for his work. There are 100,000,000 people in this country, and I have selected you as Old Man Curry's godfather. When you reflect upon this statistical statement, the size of the compliment should impress you.

Then too, you love a good horse I have often heard you say so. You love a good horse in spite of the fact that you once harnessed Colonel Jack Chinn's thoroughbred saddle animal to a trap, the subsequent events producing a better story than any you will find in these pages. Nevertheless, my dear sir, they are respectfully, even firmly dedicated to you.

Yours very sincerely, CHARLES E. VAN LOAN

To E. O. McCormick, San Francisco, Cal.

INTRODUCTION

BY L. B. YATES

It is one of life's tragedies that as we go along we realize the changes that come upon almost everything with which we used to be associated. And this is noticeable not only in ordinary affairs, whether it be in business or in the home, but it obtrudes itself upon the sports or pastimes which we most affected in the days when some of us had more time or a greater predilection to indulge in them.

We so often go back to an old stamping ground expecting to find old friends or to meet the characters which to a great extent added to the charm of local coloring, and nothing disappoints us more than to find that they have all either gone the way of the earth or changed their manner of living and habitat.

I think this is brought more forcibly to mind when we view the turf activities of an earlier generation as compared with those more modern, because nowadays the game is played differently all around and doesn't look the same from the viewpoint of one who loved the spectacular and quaint figures that so distinguished what we might call the Victorian Era of American racing.

The sport of emperors has to a great extent become the pastime of King Moneybags. And there is no place for ancient crusaders like Old Man Curry, so he has taken the remnants of his stable and gone back to the farm or merged into the humdrum and neutral tinted landscape which always designates the conventional and ordinary.

He doesn't fit in any more. The cost of maintaining a racing stable is almost ten times greater than it was in the days when he and his kind went up and down the country making the great adventure. Racing has been systematized and ticketed and labeled in such a way that it is only very rich men who can afford to indulge in it. The tracks west of Louisville are all closed. The skeleton hand of the gloom distributor has put padlocks on the gates. Even if Old Man Curry was with us to day, his sphere of action would be limited, unless he elected to play a game where the odds would be so immeasurably against him that he would be beaten long before he started.

So it is that when Charlie Van Loan went away, he bequeathed to us the records of a peculiar nomadic people which are now almost like the argonauts and whose manner of living and happy go lucky ways are but a memory. It is strange that although the turf has always formed a prolific medium for writing people and has lent itself admirably to fiction, very few authors seem to have taken advantage of the opportunities offered.

As in other branches of sport, Van Loan was quick to see this and he gave us story after story of the kind that men love to read and chuckle over and retail to the first man they meet... Continue reading book >>




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