A Melodrama of the Mutuels

This originally was a long “sidetrack” in Charles Hatton’s post on Turkish Trousers. I decided it deserved a post of its own.


Hitching one’s wagon to such a luminous star [as Turkish Trousers] can be profitable. Recalled is the romantic story of Yo Tambien, immortalized as “The Queen of the West,” and English actress Anna Dacre’s love affair with the daughter of Joe Hooker.

It seems that one day Miss Dacre visited the stable and quite flipped over Yo Tambien. Pleased with her admiration for his pet, stable manager J. J. Grant told the actress the filly was engaged the next day and “look a cert.”

Miss Dacre raised all the cash she could and bet it all straight. Nothing dismayed when Yo Tambien got herself left at the post, she noted her pet’s name in the entries again several days later. All the treasurer’s rules against advancing the members of the troupe money had been broken by the time Miss Dacre concluded her appeal, and she came to the course with no more jewelry than a snow bird. Once again, she bet it all on Yo Tambien’s nose.

Yo Tambien First, the Rest Nowhere

Grant’s orders to jockey Dow were: “I am about to sell this filly for a big price. I want to see her crossing the finish before the others make the turn.” This time, it was Yo Tambien first, the rest nowhere.

Miss Dacre concluded that no horse could possibly beat Yo Tambien. She denied herself luxuries all winter to back the filly when she would reappear at three in the spring. The occasion was at Latonia, while the actress’ train was bound for Denver. In vain she thought to wire a wager to the track, or find a bookie, but time ran out as her train was delayed by the wreck of a freight. Luckily, for Yo Tambien was beaten a head by Bashford.

After that inauspicious beginning, Yo Tambien won 13 straight, and each time Miss Dacre placed her all on the filly’s nose. In one of these races, the Garfield Derby, she got 10-1. By midsummer, the salary Miss Dacre was drawing from the company began to look insignificant, and she resigned to pursue her new and lucrative career of Yo Tambien. Things were going so swimmingly that after the St. Paul meeting, the former actress gave herself a voyage abroad. She left a large sum to be wagered on Yo Tambien in the Bridge Handicap, with a New Yorker bookmaker who had instructions to cable her the result.

Miss Dacre arranged a dinner party for friends to celebrate, even before knowing the result. In late evening, a boy arrived with a message from the cable office. It read: “Madam: In accepting a cable from you this morning the clerk made the mistake of counting Yo Tambien as one word. Upon receipt of the additional fee, we will forward the message.”

Meantime, Yo Tambien, with daredevil Fitzpatrick in the saddle, had been forced into the fence and so lost the Bridge Handicap.

Miss Dacre’s incredible luck had held and Yo Tambien–the daughter of Joe Hooker, a horse with a bizarre background as a rogue banished from racing and rescued from a band of gypsies–had improved her life style beyond her fondest dreams.

This is an aspect of turf history you might find rather bracing the next time you are feeling temporarily crushed about some melodrama of the mutuels.

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