Dan Smith (American, 1865-1934)
DIAMOND JIM BRADY'S HORSES
Watercolor, 28" x 63"
Signed, dated 1905
Diamond Jim Brady, known for a gluttonous appetite and an intense love of diamonds and jewels, entered the horse racing game by purchasing Major Daingerfield and Gold Heels from Phil Dwyer for $10,000. Brady, not wanting to be seen as someone unacceptable to do business with by customers who might object to his horse interests, placed his racing venture in the name of his friend, F.C. McLewee, in exchange for 20 percent of the winnings. After numerous wins and the purchase of another stable, Brady's celebrations and flamboyant parties unmasked his horse interests. With members of the Jockey Club rumbling, after the 1902 season they outlawed silent ownerships of racing stables. Brady placed his stable on the auction block and held a party in honor of his retirement from racing. By the time it was over, the 50 guests had consumed 500 bottles of champagne and every lady received a diamond brooch while every man was given a diamond-studded stopwatch.
The dog pictured here was known to bite the diamonds off Brady's shoes. It was estimated he sometimes wore as many as 2,500 diamonds at a time, living up to one of his famous quotes, "If you're going to make money, you have to look like money."