American Soldiers Witness Derby: Hundreds of Doughboys Will Have Story to Tell of Amazing Scenes at Epsom Downs., Daily Racing Form, 1919-07-18


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AMERICAN SOLDIERS WITNESS DERBY Hundreds of Doughboys Will Have Story to Tell of Amazing Scenes at Epsom Downs Hundreds of American soldiers and sailors will have another good story to tell the home folks when they get back the story of the Victory Derby writes the London correspondent of the Associated Press This was their chance to see the worlds greatest classic and every officer and man who had the day free joyfully seized it itIn In popular interest the Derby is to England what the annuil baseball championship series is to the United States But no national event over there is anything like it The race of course is the cli ¬ max and it focuses everybodys attention but Derby day has so many other elements of interest beginning with the long gay pilgrimage from Lon ¬ don to Epsom Downs and including a public picnic and carnival on the grounds that the only thing one can faintly compare it with in the United States is what barbecue day used to be during the big race day at a southern county fair fairIt It is a great festival shared in by all kinds of people from king to beggar Interest in the Derby which was revived at Epsom this year for the first time since 1914 was nothing short of remarkable The warworn people seized upon it as an oppor ¬ tunity for a kind of peace celebration For weeks they talked about it and read columns about it in the newspapers The feverish excitement probably was due to the pentup nervous emotionalism gen ¬ erated by the war But Derby day was the safety valve valveAIL AIL ATTENDANCE RECORDS BROKEN BROKENNever Never in the history of the race has there been such a huge attendance An old bookmaker who the number of vehicles alone was not only a record but a record twice over overThe The Victory Derby differed from the Derbys of others years not only in the size of the crowd but in the presence of so many men and women in military uniforms Tommy Atkins was all over the picture Also demobilized Arry wearing his silver service badge with Arriet on his arm There was a large sprinkling too of the Dominion troops particularly Canadians and Australians and not a few French and Italian uniforms were in evidence evidenceNone None enjoyed themselves more thoroughly how ¬ ever than the American soldiers For one thing the Derby was more of a novelty to them than to their overseas cousins and their interest was pi ued in a hundred ways They were a trifle awed perhaps by the immensity of the thing Only London could furnish such a crowd Almost as far as the eye could reach the great sweep of the downs was a surging mass of people peopleSixteen Sixteen big stands and the mammoth grandstand which were all packed and running over held only a fraction of the enormous gathering The mile and a half course of the Derby was lined solidly with spectators on each side every foot of the way and scores of thousands congested the infield swarming like ants among the gaudy tents of the side shows the bookmakers booths gipsy caravans and vehicles of all descriptions

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