Jobie Arnold Dies at Age 80

First female handicapper and successful horsewoman lived in Midway, Ky.

On July 21, 1960, three young women appeared on the popular television show, “To Tell the Truth.” All three claimed to be Jobie Arnold, the country’s only female racing handicapper. By asking questions, a celebrity panel tried to figure out which of the three contestants was telling the truth, earning prizes for a contestant if they were successful.

When asked, only one of the three—Arnold, of course—correctly knew the ownership of Calumet Farm.

Arnold died April 12 at her home in Midway, Ky. She was 80.

A native of Versailles, Ky., Arnold, whose real name was Betty Jo, grew up on a farm and took four horses with her to the University of Kentucky, where she graduated with a degree in journalism.

Arnold was the granddaughter of Paul Anderson, former dean of the University of Kentucky College of Engineering. Another grandfather, Ben Kenney, owned a farm that became known as the Old Kenney Farm, later owned by George Widener. Her father, J. Paul Anderson, was a state golf champion in both Kentucky and New Jersey.

Arnold contributed to The Blood-Horse and Thoroughbred Record and was a public handicapper for the Miami Herald and Lexington Herald-Leader. She once served as publicity director at River Downs.

In Sports Illustrated in April 1961, a large photo of Arnold on horseback appeared with the headline, “The Prettiest Picker,” The article mentioned how at the current Gulfstream Park meeting Arnold was leading 15 male handicappers with her selections.

Arnold was also an accomplished breeder and rider.

“I started riding in shows at the age of three,” Arnold once said in an interview. She had a small racing stable but most of her horses were hunters. She once operated Hobby Horse Farm in Florida, where she bred and trained hunting and saddle horses. She sold that farm to Buddy Jacobs, nephew of trainer Hirsch Jacobs, but continued to operate Hobby Horse Farms near Tryon, N.C.

Arnold is survived by a son, Don, of Hot Springs, Ark.

Funeral arrangements are pending.