“Johnny Huffman, who until recently trained the famous Kendall stable for the noted Western race track plunger Chris Smith, is now racing his own string, which includes Ceverton, Van Buren, known in Chicago as the little “jack-rabbit,” Forest Rose, Voldora and others, at the course across the river. Huffman’s wonderful success with Yo Tambien, Maid Marian, Dollie McCone and the rest of Smith’s flyers established his reputation as one of the very best trainers on the Western circuit.
When he took charge of the Kendall stable the true merit of the great Yo Tambien was almost unknown, and he cannot be given too much credit for developing her. Yo Tambien’s magnificient pedigree, she being out of Marian, the acknowledged greatest broodmare in the world, makes her extremely valuable when her racing days are over. This was well known to Smith when he purchased her and he knew she was a safe investment whether she proved a breadwinner or not. It did not take Huffman long to demonstrate what a high-class mare she was.
If Smith had followed his trainer’s advice he would to-day be as well-fixed financially as he was when his stable was sweeping everything before it at Garfield Park a year ago. That year the Kendall Stable wound up the racing season at the head of the list of winning strings on the Western circuit. Smith’s gambling propensities were too much for him, however, and he had nothing to show for the $60,000 won by his horses. He then mortgaged the stable to Leo Mayer and Joe Ullman, the bookmakers, and their claims are to be settled with the sum received for Yo Tambien, who is now for sale.
Huffman separated from Smith because of Mayer’s interference in the management of the stable. When the settlement took place Johnny offered $3,000 for Maid Marian, after her racing days are over. Smith had soured on his trainer, however, and refused. Gen. W. H. Jackson of the Belle Meade stud made a deal recently with him for the mare on the same conditions, but paid only $2,500.
Huffman thinks Smith made a big mistake matching Yo Tambien against Lamplighter and Clifford. “The mare can defeat them both all right, but she should not have been sent against them after a hard season’s campaign and especially over the Hawthorne track,” said he yesterday. “She never did run well over the going at the Cicero course, while it has been just the opposite with Clifford. Then again, Doggett, who rode the mare, used spurs on her, which I never would allow when she was in my hands. They make her nervous and excitable and, as she is a very high strung animal, it can be imagined what a handicap it was to her, with Doggett continually, no doubt, digging them in. Yes, sir, under favorable circumstances I am positive Yo Tambien could show her hoofs to Tammany, Clifford, Rudolph and Morello in a match race. I may be mistaken, but I think she is the greatest performer of them all.”
Unlike Smith, Huffman is well fixed financially. He owns one of the finest farms around Greenville, Ill., and will divide his time between there and East Side this winter.”
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11/18/1893)