The French Trotting Horse That Ate Artichokes

I.C. RapoportUncategorized1 Comment


(August 1959)

    Once again, my boss Paul Slade was off shooting a story in Hollywood or somewhere glamorous and I was asked by Stephane Grueff to accompany Match reporter Philippe de Bausset to Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury, Long Island to photograph a French  wonder, a trotting horse named Jamin who was not famous only because he won many races but because he loved to eat artichokes. And the newspapers made a real big deal about it – especially when the US Customs confiscated the bushels of ‘chokes’ that had accompanied Jamin on his flight to New York’s Idlewild Airport (now JFK).  After reading of the “cruelty” of the Customs Agents, hundreds of race fans delivered artichokes to the Raceway for Jamin’s eating pleasure.



Philippe and I interviewed the trainer, Jean Riaud, who would also drive the sulky in the race that night. Though I did not understand a word of what was being spoken between Philippe and Jean Riaud I got the drift that Jamin was ready to race and would win.



 New shoes for Jamin – not Charles Jordan…but…new

What Riaud did say about Jamin: “I was eating artichokes one day in France, where they are plentiful. “I kept the tails and fed them to Jamin. He liked them so much I began buying them for him. They were good for him too.”

Jamin wins

  JAMIN WINS! His owner rushes from the sidelines to congratulate driver Jean Riaud

I guess they were because after the half ton of ‘chokes’ arrived and Jamin ate his fill, he WAS ready to race.

That night, both Philippe and I put $5 bucks down on the big fellow and in an exciting race, he won. I made $22 and two pages in Paris Match.

In the early ’80s I read an article in the sports section of the New York Times that Jamin had died early that year on his farm in Normandy’.  Jean Riaud said at that time that ”… he was 29; his legs could no longer support him.

“Jamin was a great horse…


Jamin’s Owner embraces him as Jamin laughs and wants to know where’s his artichoke. Drive Jean Riaud looks on.