“Monroe Evening Times”, front page
Monroe, Green County, Wisconsin
Monday, October 27, 1947
ARLIE FROST, GREAT MAN OF RACING, DIES
Arlie Frost, Monroe’s great man of harness racing, is dead.
The heart that beat fastest when he was driving a straining pacer down the home stretch , tight to the rail, crossed the finish line at 1 a.m. today in St. Clare Hospital.
Death came in his 65th year as driver and trainer. He was 79. He drove his first race at 14.
Four weeks ago he was in a sulky for the last time. After jogging one of his string at Aurora Downs, Ill., he came home “to rest.”
Friends visited him in the hospital as often as he could have visitors. They were always fearful that the frail little man wouldn’t last the distance. He had been ailing for years. Yet he was always up there, up front.
He’s in the books, with Peter McKinney, in 1929 the world’s record holder for the 4-year-old pacer. Time: 2:09- 3/4, at Lexington. With Calumet Delco, winner of 10 straight he set the then world record of 2:04. With Knight of Strathmore, who in 1910 set a world record of 2:06-1/4 for 4-year-olds.
HIS LAST RACE
In 1942 he climbed into the sulky back of Jimmy Mc, a young pacer he’d never driven. He came in with a new state record for two-year-old pacers, 2:08-3/4. The grandstand crowd at the Green County Fairground gave him an ovation.
Then he quit. Failing eyesight forced him to give up race driving.
Quit? “He never quit!” said Willard Schuetze, one of Arlie’s co-directors on the fair association. Arlie was Superintendent of Speed for the Green County Fair more than a quarter century.
The wonder was that he didn’t quit. Not in 1942 but in 1900. Early in the century he was forced to go to Arizona in the hope he’d recover from tuberculosis. There, at Phoenix, he met another sufferer, F.B. Luchsinger of Monroe. [Memorial # 117442007]
It was Luchsinger who bought the Missouri-born Frost to Monroe. Monroe now claims him as its own. He was born October 30, 1867, at Booneville, Mo., the son of Alexander and Lucinda Post Frost. His father was a racing man and showman.
In Monroe he picked up asthma and most of the time he was racing on the strength of one lung. The grandstand crowds who nearly perished from excitement watching him brush home a winner probably never knew that.
STORY OF MR. BLACK
One way to tell the story of Arlie Frost is in terms of Mr. Black. Mr. Black was a dog, simply a small, black animal, an unprepossessing dog, really. But Arlie centered attention on him, and whenever the dog was about - and Mr. Black saw to that! – the small, black animal became an animated personality. Some observers thought it was Arlie Frost’s own personality, coming out in Mr. Black.
Great on the track and respected by the drivers, he also was a favorite in the shack they called the Superintendent of Speed’s “office”.
There the tough-hided racing drivers and the wealthy men who owned whole stables of horses would gather around to hear Arlie tell of the earlier days.
Never bombastic, the told his stories in a thin voice, more out of urging than from a desire to talk.
He recalled having to carry 50 pounds of lead to make up the required 150 pounds’ minimum weight for drivers.
WORE HIM DOWN
He found that carrying the weight to the scales before each race wore him down, he hired a strapping Negro boy for the job. Once, after four hard heats, Arlie was too tired to report for weighing-in. The boy puzzled a moment and then, thrusting the lead under one arm, he picked up Arlie with his free hand and deposited both on the scales.
Arlie said the boy went about his work like a “polite but eager bull elephant.”
How he learned that bull elephants were polite and eager remained a mystery, for Arlie never had much schooling. Not that it wasn’t offered – even insisted upon – by his parents, but Arlie rejected it. His father gave in and bought him a trotter. That started it.
In the next 65 years – ended only now – he trained and drove horses throughout the United States.
Peter McKinney [Memorial# 176987122], owned by F.B. Luchsinger, was perhaps his best pacer, but he had a great feeling for George Bleiler’s Knight of Strathmore, and for many others.
Acquaintances used to ask Arlie to name his favorite, and there was something meaningful in his answer: Young Hal. That was 40 years ago, but Young Hal, a cripple, Arlie said, was the gamest horse he ever had.
Arlie never married. One of latest girlfriends was a sweet filly, Judy Ann, that he owned with Louis R. Wolleson. He also was co-owner of horses with Willard R. Schuetze and Ben Zigler at various times.
In 1942, an Arlie Frost day was featured at the county fair and he was presented with a plaque, inscribed “Sportsman, gentleman and race driver. A man who loves horses and fair play. A true inspiration to the horse world.” It was then Arlie drove his record – and last- race.
At the end of this year’s Wisconsin season Arlie went to California with his great friend, Guy Crippin. Naturally they took a string of horses along. A few weeks ago he went to Aurora Downs where he served as official timer. He also jogged horses a bit and then decided on a rest.
Two brothers survive, Louis, Springfield, Ill., and Dr. Ward Frost, Bonneville; two nephews, G.A. Frost, Springfield, and Roy Frost, Independence, Mo., and one niece, Mrs. Dorothy Nelms, Springfield, Mo.
Funeral services will be conducted at 2 Wednesday in the Stuessy funeral home, with Rev. E.C. McCollow of St. Victor’s Church officiating. Mr. Frost will be buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
[courtesy of Deborah Krauss]
Grand Old Man of Harness Racing
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