By Dick Jerardi
Bobby from the Bronx is 77 now.
He is the president and CEO of Twenty-First Century Group LLC, a structured settlement company. He has been an owner and breeder for 37 years and is the president and CEO of Uptowncharlybrown Stud LLC. He is a producer of “Back To The Future, The Musical” which will debut on Broadway this summer at the Winter Garden Theater.
And that is just what Bob Hutt, recently elected as PTHA president, is doing these days.
There was his upbringing by a World War II master sergeant who “raised me like a soldier which I resented and I went the other way with my children where I gave them everything without earning it. Quote me to any parent who made the mistake I made `Dad, up in heaven, you were right and I was wrong.’ You don’t know that until you learn life’s
“There was his teenage stint as a general in color wars/camp counselor at Makowsky’s in the Catskills.
“That was Camelot for me,” Hutt said.
When he was 16, there was his first visit to a race track, Monticello Raceway. “I bet $2 to show on a trotter named It’s Freezing,” Hutt said.
Unfortunately, the horse broke and ended up on a highway next to the track. “$10 million later, I’m still trying to get even,” Hutt said. He later spent time at Yonkers and Roosevelt Raceway before going to Belmont Park with a friend who had had some high class horses there.
Around 1985, Hutt bought his first horse, a maiden $15,000 thoroughbred.
“I was a really smart businessman,” Hutt said. “I think I paid $38,000.” Hutt decided to get out of the claiming game and concluded he wanted “new cars, not used cars.”
The theory was he would buy young horses at auction and they would head right to the races without any expenses.
“I want everybody to understand you’re not born with wisdom or experience,” Hutt said while laughing at his naivete.
So he went with his trainer Richie O’Connell to a February 2- year-old sale in Florida. He had a budget of $150,000. Wanted to buy four horses. They bought three and Hutt had around $25,000 left. Without his trainer’s input, he decided to start bidding on a filly. He eventually got her for $24,000. The trainer was not pleased.
The other three either could not run or got injured. Hutt said he was just about out of the game
The fourth horse, named Midnight Destiny, raced 105 times, with 25 wins, 29 seconds and nine thirds from 1989 until 1995.
She was on the Jan. 28, 1992 DRF cover, the article about an upcoming race at Garden State Park titled “A Date With Destiny.”
There was Carey’s Gold, the horse that nearly swept the 2001 Florida Stallion Series. There was R Betty Graybull who won stakes in New York and New Jersey.
And there was and is Uptowncharlybrown the colt that dominated in his first two starts in late 2009 and early 2010, the tragic death on April 12, 2010 of the colt’s trainer Alan Seewald and the subsequent brilliant stallion career that has made his owner proud and certainly would have made his original trainer just as proud.
“Alan was one of the greatest guys you’ll ever meet, both as a trainer and as a human being,” Hutt said. “Everybody who knew Alan loved him.”
Seewald was his friend and racing mentor.
“Without Alan Seewald, Bob Hutt wouldn’t be here today racing,” Hutt said.
Seewald told Hutt early on that Uptowncharlybrown “is the best horse you’ve ever owned.” Seewald just called him “the Chestnut.”
Like all of his horses, Uptowncharlybrown was selected for Hutt by legendary Monmouth Park clocker Gate Artis who Hutt can’t praise enough for his insights into young horses. The colt was sold at OBS April for $57,000, doubled that on the track and has been paying off ever since at stud with such outstanding progeny as Wait for It, Downtowncharlybrown, Midtowncharlybrown, Midnightcharly and Dixie Serenade.
And there is 2023, why Hutt ran for PTHA president and, now that he has been elected, his vision for the future.
“I’ve had a good life and I’m in the last chapter,” Hutt said. “I look forward to every day. I decided I would like to give something back to the next generation the same as my father gave to me.”
“That was the reason. I feel that change was needed. I’m a transparent guy. What you see is what you get. I’m Bobby from the Bronx. I’ve been in business for a long time. I built three businesses from scratch without any help. I look forward to the challenge in working with the staff of the PTHA, the board and Jeff Matty. I think we are going to accomplish a lot.”
If there is live racing at Parx, Hutt is never hard to find. He sits at the same spot every day with his trainer Eddie Coletti and however many people can fit at the table.
“I make no concession to age whatsoever,” Hutt said. “I think with age you acquire wisdom.”
So, now that he is president, what would Hutt like to accomplish?
Specifically, he would like to help lower the average age of the racing fan.
“What I would like to do is introduce a new generation of racing fans to the game, give some education and the best way to do that is to get them to ask questions,” Hutt said.
Hutt would love to see a “Breakfast at Parx” when the warmer weather comes while having some of the owners, trainers and jockeys get interviewed to show “that we’re not like the other professional sports where you have to pay for an autograph.”
And perhaps, Hutt said, by sharing what it is like to win a race, a new generation might become interested enough to get involved in the sport.
“For me and anybody that’s ever walked into that winner’s circle, you’re actually walking on air and I don’t care if it’s winning a graded stake or it’s a low level claimer,” Hutt said. “Every time feels like the first time for me and I think that’s the way every owner feels.”
“It’s a sport that we love. We’re a family on the backstretch. We celebrate together. We grieve together. And I just want to make this a better place.”