The day in 1954 when Noble Threewitt saddled Correlation to win the
Florida Derby, the entertainer Arthur Godfrey presented the trophy in
the winner's circle. Lipton tea was paying the bills for Godfrey's
radio program at the time. "Noble Threewitt," said Godfrey, who like
many others was smitten by the trainer's name. "I'll bet I could sell a
lot of teabags if you came on the show with that name."
Noble Threewitt's name would have been made to order for Dickens, but
he lived a long life that was as far from Blighty as you could get. He
was born in Benton, a speck on a map of southern Illinois; he tried
riding horses on the Kansas City fair circuit when he was a teenager;
and then he made a cross-country leap to Mexico, where he took out a
trainer's license when the Agua Caliente track was a playground for
Hollywood's glitterati. It was said that the 21-year-old Threewitt was
the youngest trainer in North America.
Threewitt saw the great Phar Lap win the historic $100,000 race
at Caliente, and when they made betting on horses legal on the West
Coast of the U.S., it became a ritual that if a track opened, he would
be there with his stock. He was at Longacres, near Seattle, in 1933;
Pomona, in California, a month later; Bay Meadows and Tanforan, by San
Francisco, in 1934; Santa Anita, on Christmas day 1934; Del Mar, 1937;
Hollywood Park, 1938; and Golden Gate Fields, 1941. Noble Threewitt,
wrote Pete Pedersen, a friend and racing official, "opened more tracks
than Frank Stronach."