(from Santa Anita release)
Noble Threewitt, who turns 96 on Saturday, will also officially retire from training after a career that has spanned parts of eight decades. He will be honored in the Santa Anita winner’s circle following Saturday’s fifth race and be joined by his wife of 73 years, Beryl, as well as a large number of family and friends.
Threewitt, who rode races at Kansas state fairs in 1930, became North America’s youngest licensed trainer at the age of 21 in 1932. He trained many stakes winners and his best horse was Correlation, who won the 1954 Wood Memorial and Florida Derby. Correlation ran fifth with Bill Shoemaker aboard, as the favorite in the ’54 Kentucky Derby. He followed that by running second in the Preakness.
Among the career leaders at all Southern California tracks, Threewitt ranks eleventh on Santa Anita’s all-time trainers’ list with 425 wins. In April of 1956, Threewitt won with an unprecedented nine consecutive starters at Tanforan Racecourse in San Bruno, Calif. He was leading trainer at Hollywood Park in 1959, ’60 and ’61. He was also leading trainer at Golden Gate Fields in 1970.
Other stakes winning horses trained by Threewitt include Theresa’s Tizzy, Old Topper, Devoted Brass, Hairless Heiress, Debonair Junior, Hula Blaze, Cuzwuzwrong, King of Cricket, Try Sheep, Sea Eagle, Perizade, Honey’s Gem and Speedy Edie.
Threewitt sent out his final starter, Threeatonce, to a third place finish in a $12,500 claimer at Santa Anita on Jan. 26.
Even more than his training accomplishments, Threewitt will perhaps be remembered for his tireless work and contributions on behalf of those who staff the backstretches of California’s racetracks. As a six-term president of the California Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and a 16-year national vice president, Threewitt contributed more to health and welfare of backstretch workers than any other figure in California racing history.
Threewitt remains the president of the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation, which he helped found. It provides free medical and dental benefits for stable employees and their families out of the Santa Anita clinic that bears the trainer's name. Threewitt will also continue to spend time daily at the clinic, as he has over the years, without compensation. A similar clinic is available to workers at Bay Meadows in San Mateo.
Threewitt, whose parents were separated when he was a young boy, has always empathized with those in need.
“It’s easy to forget your roots. I’ve tried not to do that,” he said.