George was born in January of 1916 outside of Chicago, IL. Both parents emigrated from Croatia, so my father likes to say his dad was the first Croat baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ. He doesn’t like it when I point out Grandpa Papa was born American. Still, Croatian roots are deep and strong.
Staunchly Catholic, his mother hoped he would be a priest. His father hoped for help in the family bootlegging operation. George, however, was independent and had his eye on the race horses from a young age.