Alfred Irwin (Butch) Taylor was a man with a way with figures. But it was thoroughbred racing that made capital of Taylor’s decision to give up his work as a chartered accountant and become a trainer. In the early 1940s, at about the time that racing was taking a firm grip on Taylor, he saw the need for an organization to look after the needs of owners and trainers. Thus, the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) was formed. Butch, naturally, was made president of the fledgling horsemen’s group and it was he who drafted the first purse agreement with a race-track which guaranteed specific percentages from the mutuel handle to be directed to race purses.
While Taylor had the wardrobe and the demeanor of a dedicated accountant, he was an accomplished trainer. He numbered among his friends some of the most influential businessmen in Canada, as well as Canada’s top sports figures. From 1945 through 1956 Butch trained horses for such Bay Street financiers as Eric Craddock and Don Ross. He also trained for a time for the powerful Lanson Farms of M.J. Boylen.
Known as the Caviar Kid because he always insisted on picking up the tab while dining with millionaires, Taylor got into the horse business in 1941 when he bought a thoroughbred named Floysan for $10 from Col. John Smallman, one of the powerhouses of Canadian racing. Taylor won 26 races with Floysan as he barnstormed tracks from Toronto to New Orleans to New England and back.
King Gorm, Risque Rouge, Sea Service, Air Page, Ocean Lane, One Sunday and Victory Arch are just a few of the outstanding horses that Butch nurtured into stakes-winning performers. Another stakes-winning performer Butch was most proud of was Ron Turcotte. “Without Butch Taylor’s help I doubt that I could have made it in the United States,” said Turcotte. “It’s not generally known, but when I wanted to try the U.S. after being leading rider in Canada, Butch made sure I rode the right horses for the right people. With that leg up it was easy to move into New York.”
Butch often explained to American horsemen that he wasn’t related “to the other Taylor from Canada, I only try to spend money like I am.” Butch joined the other Taylor, E.P., in the Canada’s Hall of Fame. He died in November, 1985, at the age of 79.