frank g. jones
Frank G. Jones was a natural horseman and one of the great amateur reinsmen of the early 20th century. He was born in Niles, Michigan. Early in his life he moved to Iowa where he began a successful business career. He went to Memphis, Tennessee in 1893. There he became a friend and business partner of Immortal C. K. G. Billings. As a representative of the Billings' interests, Jones soon became one of the city's leading citizens and head of the city's street car system. In 1901, Billings and Jones were instrumental in establishing Billings Park, later known as North Memphis Driving Park. Murray Howe, a writer for the Horse Review and a 1994 Immortal, became race secretary. Constructed by Seth Griffin, the father of fast raceways, the oval produced 42 world records during a short lived era, including a 1:56 pacing mile by Dan Patch. Frank G. Jones later became the racetrack's sole owner.
Jones was, for over 20 years, the principal patron of Immortal driver/trainer, Edward "Pop" Geers. When the master reinsman was unable to drive or there were two horses in his stable entered in the same class, Jones would take the reins - making him possibly the sport's first "catch driver."
Outstanding pacers and trotters in Jones' stable included Etawah 2:03, Saint Frisco 2:01 3/4, Baron Grattan 2:03 1/4, Dudie Archdale 2:03 1/4, and Highball 2:03 3/4. In 1903, acting as agent for Billings, Jones purchased Lou Dillon, 1:58 1/2. The industrialist later gave the great horse to Jones as a gift.
Frank Jones' last winner, on the 1925 Grand Circuit, at North Randall, was Lady Alethaire. She was driven for him by a protege of Pop Geers, the Immortal trainer/driver Ben White. Frank Graham Jones died on September 11, 1927 at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 2000 Souvenir Journal