P J. Cochran, a modest, unassuming San Mateo blacksmith, has the distinction of having shod more record breaking horses than any man living. In the days when racing flourished, horses were brought from far and wide to Cochran’s shop as the owner of every fast string of ponies had heard of Cochran as the originator of the famous Palo Alto shoe.
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Among Cochran’s prized possessions is a cabinet of horses’ shoes. They are shoes that were worn by kings and queens of the turf. Among them are names familiar to every follower of the turf. There are such record holders as Sunol, Palo Alto, Arion, Bell Bird, Azote, Abdell and Stamboul, every one of which is a record holder and everyone made its record while shod with Cochran’s shoes.
In the gala days of Governor Stanford’s famous Palo Alto stock farm, Cochran was the shoer, and no one but Cochran was ever allowed to put a shoe on any of Stanford’s fleet horses. Cochran knew every horse on the farm like a book and by designing special shoes for every horse he lowered their records many seconds.
In 1895 Monroe Salisbury took Cochran east to shoe his string of fast ones, among them were Alex, 2.03 % and Azote whose best record had been 2.07. Cochran made a long study of the horses’ needs and a few months later he had put shoes on them that enabled them to set a new world’s mare and gelding record of 2.01’4 and 2.04%.
P. J. Cochran was born fifty years ago, California being his native state. He has lived in San Mateo for the last twenty years. He learned his trade when a small boy and has followed it ever since. Prominent in fraternal circles Mr. Cochran belongs to several orders. He is a Mason, a Native Son and an Odd Fellow.