Diane says that her husband, (who has not only known many famous jockeys, but also had a pleasant encounter with Queen Elizebeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, while working in England), was an exercise boy for a famous stakes horse back in the 1950's, "Colonel Mac". He's seen nearly all the great racehorses who have raced in Southern California the past 60 years. His favorite horse was "SWAPS", from the 1950s, whom he says was "a super horse".
One of the reasons John thrives in his career is the fact that he has a natural talent for communicating with all animals - he's a top class expert with horses and dogs! Diane says that "as a right-brained, intuitive man", John can look at horse's eyes and other body language, and read it. It's a gift, like being an artist or a musician."
She goes on to say "John has often known when horses weren't right. Some have been very seriously ill or injured. This used to happen when he was galloping horses in Epsom, England. He once told a trainer, "this colt doesn't seem right today". He knew something was wrong as soon as he got on him. The trainer told John to take him out anyway, that he was okay. John did, [and] the horse dropped dead of a heart attack 5 minuets later. He was only 3 years old!"
"Racing animals are given the very best of care, veterinary, feeding and exercise in 99% of all cases. To treat these valiant animals otherwise is to assure being a loser or worse."
The silver lining to John's non-verbal rapport with animals is that he has the ability to pick winning racers. In addition to owning race horses, he's won some big races, including big stakes races at Del Mar. Diane says that John consistently picks winning horses based almost solely on their physicality in the paddock. He watches the big national dog shows every year and picks around 80% of the winning dogs from the start!
The talent and intuitive communication with animals is not only a gift enjoyed by John. Diane says that she also enjoys handicapping, looking at beautiful horses in the paddock, reading their body language, and that this intuition often results in picking a winner!
Now, as much as I love animals, I would be rendered penniless if I put money on their ability to win a race - I have no such knack or luck...