Noble Threewitt, whose iconic training career began prior to Santa Anita Park's opening on Christmas Day, 1934, will officially retire as a trainer on his 96th birthday Feb. 24.
A tireless worker for the less fortunate on the backstretch throughout his career, Threewitt saddled his first winner, Crackerjack, at Caliente Racetrack in Tijuana in 1932. He won his first race at Santa Anita on the fifth racing day in 1934. He became the oldest trainer to win a race in North America at the age of 95 on April 22, 2006, when his Threeatonce won a maiden claiming race at Santa Anita, paying $6.40 as the second choice. Threewitt was the youngest trainer in North America when he began at Caliente at the age of 21.
“He’s a terrific guy and certainly a good trainer,” said fellow trainer Leonard Dorfman, 84, who worked for Threewitt from 1947 to 1953, when he developed his best horse, Correlation. Correlation won the Florida Derby in 1954 and finished sixth as the 3-1 favorite under Bill Shoemaker in the Kentucky Derby that year.
In recent years, Threewitt, who resides in San Gabriel, also saddled graded stakes winners Devoted Brass, Old Topper and Theresa's Tizzy. He won training titles at Hollywood Park in 1959, 1960 and 1961, and at Golden Gate Fields in 1970.
“I was with Noble when he won with nine consecutive starters at Tanforan in 1956,” Dorfman said. “I started working for him when I was about 16, in the fall of 1947, and we’ve been friends ever since.” Threewitt has more than 2,000 career victories.
Born in 1911 in Benton, Ill., Threewitt served six terms as president of the California Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and 16 years as a national vice president. A former jockey who rode at Kansas City fairs in 1930, Threewitt watched the immortal Phar Lap run at Caliente in 1932. He attended the grand openings of all five of California's current major tracks.