Alice Chandler -- In Her Father's Image
Date Posted: 9/21/2001 9:05:03 AM

The following is excerpted from Women in Racing: In Their Own Words. Published September 2001 by Eclipse Press.

My father (Hal Price Headley) turned me loose on the farm. In the summertime, I never came home until dinner time. On the farm there were a lot of men, workers. I guess I had people watching over me that I didn't even know about. It's a wonder I didn't grow up to be more spoiled rotten than I am.

One of the things I learned from the men who worked on the farm was how to shoot craps. They were good at it because that's what they did during their lunchtime -- shoot craps.

There was a race rider named (William) Smokey Saunders who had won the Triple Crown on Omaha in 1935. He came to ride for my father. The first time I ever saw Smokey I was nine years old and he turned the corner in front of the barn that the craps game was in. I was running around the paddock on my pony. He stopped and he said, "Are you trying to jump the fence?" I was highly unamused. And I said, "Absolutely not. And who are you?" He introduced himself. We got to be good friends. He was twenty-one years old.

Smokey was the one I cleaned out in the craps game. It was just one of those things. I mean, you get red hot, and you make all these passes. We kept raising the stakes. I couldn't lose. I won $600 and Smokey Saunders' car. All the guys in the barn, the grooms, were watching.

After it was over, the only thing I did was when I went home to lunch I bragged to Daddy that I had won Smokey Saunders' car. And Daddy said, "Give it back." He was trying not to laugh. So I gave the car back.

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