“We pooled our capital and met every day at noon in the Little Bar of the Ritz to make our selections for that day’s [steeplechase] races. We were aided and abetted by the bartender, Bertin, a devotee of the track, whose expertise was more occult than scientific. (He claimed he had invented the Bloody Mary back in the 20s to help Ernest overcome a nasty hangover.) We were not doing too well until early one morning, when Ernest phoned me to report that he had just received a call from Bertin informing him that he, Bertin, had gotten a call from a source in the Auteuil jockey room, recommending a horse named Bataclan in the seventh race, at odds of 27 to 1. Ernest and I collected as many francs as friends and credit could provide and bet them on Bataclan’s nose. At the last turn, our horse was running a distant third, and I had given up on him, when, to my astonishment, on the final jump the two leading horses took bad spills. Bataclan romped home the winner, and we harvested a Matterhorn of large franc notes.
‘Now, Hotch, you have learned one of life’s invaluable lessons,’ Ernest said. ‘Never doubt the honesty of a jockey-room tip.'”
Great story. The Little Bar was later renamed as Bar Hemingway, which it remains to this day. The Ritz knows a good thing when it’s got it.
And yes, that’s the same A.E. Hotchner who helped Paul Newman invent Newman’s Own spaghetti sauce.