Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The Sleepmaker
by [?]

“Perhaps race-horses may be a little out of your line, Mr. Kennedy, but I think you will find the case sufficiently interesting to warrant you in taking it up.”

Our visitor was a young man, one of the most carefully groomed and correctly dressed I have ever met. His card told us that we were honored by a visit from Montague Broadhurst, a noted society whip, who had lavished many thousands of dollars on his racing-stable out on Long Island.

“You see,” he went on hurriedly, “there have been a good many strange things that have happened to my horses lately.” He paused a moment, then continued: “They have been losing consistently. Take my favorite, Lady Lee, for instance.”

“Do you think they have been doped?” asked Kennedy quickly, eager to get down to the point at issue, for I had never known Craig to be interested in racing.

“I don’t know,” replied the young millionaire, drawing his eyelids together reflectively. “I’ve had the best veterinary in the country to look my stable over, and even he can’t seem to find a thing that’s wrong.”

“Perhaps a visit out there might show us something,” cut in Kennedy, as though he were rather favorably impressed, after all, by the novelty of the case.

Broadhurst’s face brightened.

“Then you will take it up–you are interested?” he queried, adding, “My car is outside.”

“I’m interested in anything that promises a new experience,” returned Craig, “and I think this affair may be of that sort.”

Broadhurst’s stable was out on central Long Island, not far from the pretty and fashionable town of Northbury. As we passed down the main street, I could see that Broadhurst was easily the most popular of the wealthy residents of the neighborhood. In fact, the Broadhurst racing stables were a sort of local industry, one of the show-places of Northbury.

As we swung out again into the country, we could see ahead of us some stable-boys working out several fine thoroughbreds on Broadhurst’s private track, while a group of grooms and rubbers watched them.

The stable itself was a circular affair of frame, painted dark red, which contrasted sharply with the green of the early summer trees. Broadhurst’s car pulled up before a large office and lounging-room at one end, above which Murchie, his manager and trainer, had his suite of rooms.

The office into which Broadhurst led us was decidedly “horsey.” About the place were handsomely mounted saddles, bridles, and whips, more for exhibition than for use. In velvet-lined cases were scores of glittering bits. All the appointments were brass-mounted. Sporting prints, trophies, and Mission easy chairs made the room most attractive.

Before a desk sat Murchie. As I looked at him, I thought that he had a cruel expression about his eyes, a predatory mouth and chin. He rose quickly at the sight of Broadhurst.

“Murchie, I would like to have you meet my friends, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Jameson,” introduced Broadhurst. “They are very much interested in horses, and I want you to show them about the place and let them see everything.”

We chatted a moment, and then went out to look at the horses.

In the center of the circular group of stalls was a lawn. The stalls of the racers in training were large box stalls.

“You have certainly trained a great horse in Lady Lee,” remarked Kennedy casually, as we made our way around the ring of stalls.

Murchie looked up at him quickly.

“Until the last few races, I thought so,” he replied, stopping before the stall of the famous racer and opening the door.

Lady Lee was a splendid three-year-old bay, a quivering, sensitive, high-strung animal. Murchie looked at her a moment, then at us.

“A horse, you know,” he said reflectively, “is just as ambitious to win a race as you are to win success, but must have hard training. I keep horses in training eight or nine months out of the year. I get them into shape in the early spring and am very careful what they eat. If they get a vacation, they may eat green foods, carrots, and grass in open field; but when we prepare them for the ring or a race, they must have grain, bran, and soft foods. They must have careful grooming to put the coats in first-class condition, must be kept exquisitely clean, with the best ventilation.”