Chronological Review Of Derby Day, Daily Racing Form, 1939-05-08


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1 1 ! 1 1 j ! ! 1 1 I 1 j i | i i ; ; I I I i : - [ » • - [ i ! - . i ; j . [ » j ; • [ j , : . • s ; s - i : : I ! CHRONOLOGICAL REVIEW OF DERBY DAY LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 6.— Derby Day dawned bright and clear. As it did some fifty persons were clustered in front of Churchill Downs main gates waiting for them to open and twice as many marked time at the entrance to the new 50-cent bleachers, but ready to rush for the best points of vantage. Even before daylight, however, much was going on within the Downs as a large crew of workmen put on the finishing touches to handle the expected throng. Horsemen, always early birds, set their alarm clocks an hour ahead, not that they had any particular desire to get up earlier than usual, but they were anxious to complete their training duties and have their horses safely put away again before Churchill Downs became overrun with visitors. Consequently the number of workouts was much less than usual. A chronological review of Derby Day activity follows: Six a. m. Gates were opened. The patrons waiting without, steadily filed into the grounds and rushed to the free grandstand facing the upper part of the stretch. It filled quickly, likewise the bleachers around the upper turn. The poor man got his break with these 50-cent bleachers, with their mutuels and 10-cent sandwiches, and he made the most of it. Seven a. m. — All seats in the free grandstand had occupants and the overflow began drifting through the passageway constructed under the track before the 1938 Derby, to settle in the infield. Early comers displayed much interest in the horses working out, many of them witnessing such activity for the first time. Eight a. m. Clubhouse patrons began show-1 ing up in increased numbers. The unre-1 served grandstand in this enclosure facing up the stretch soon was filled, as were the benches. Other persons idled the time away inspecting the beautiful gardens in the patios back of the clubhouse. Those who parked their cars in the stable area or who entered the course through the back gate had to sidestep several three-card Monte games as they came through the infield. Operators of these games appeared to be their own best customers. Nine a. m. No Derby declarations yet had been made, although stewards Charles F. Price and C. Bruce Head and racing secre-i tary William H. Shelley had opened their offices. Trainer Roy Waldron hadnt ob-; tained permission so far from Mrs. Ethel V. Mars to withdraw On Location. James Fitz-; simmons announced that he would await the arrival of William Woodward from Paris, Ky., where the chairman of The Jockey Club was visiting Arthur B. Hancock, before mak-■ ing a decision as to Challenges status. Allie Dettwiler, conditioner of Xalapa Clown, was ready to recommend to Mrs. Bessie Franz-heim that she take her colt out of the field, believing the son of Eternal wasnt up to the race as good as he could be. Ten a. m. Pari-mutuel windows all over the track opened simultaneously on order from manager E. A. Weidekamp for the sale of Derby tickets. Lines had formed behind each window and no one person could claim that he was the first to bet on the classic. The first holder of a box seat had taken his place. Training hours officially ended, but no horse had been seen on the track for three-quarters of an hour. Superintendent Tom Young put his track crew to work har- rowing and sprinkling the course. Eleven a. m. The University of Louisville band burst forth with its first selection. The musicians were grouped in the infield oppo-. site the clubhouse. Pari-mutuel windows opened for wagering on the first race an hour hence. Nearly 5,000 persons had assembled in the infield and the low-priced bleachers were nearly filled. No clouds had appeared in the skies, but a pleasing breeze came in from the West. Eleven twelve a. m. A hundred strong, the University of Kentucky band marched across the infield from the back stretch in tune with its drum corps, taking up its station near the U. of L. aggregation, Eleven seventeen a. m. Announcer Frank Ashley turned on the loud-speakers for the first time to inform the early comers that C. Calvin had been substituted for J. Mayer as the rider of Gravy Train in the first race. Eleven thirty-two a. m. Horses began ar-I riving in the paddock for the first race. No congestion had appeared anywhere on the grounds, but the crowd easily passed the 20,-000 mark. Only a comparatively few had arrived in the reserved sections. Eleven thirty-six a. m. James Fitzsim-mons declared Challenge from the Derby, leaving Johnstown to carry the William Woodward banner alone, Twelve four p. m. The first race was run. All unreserved enclosures were jammed and packed, including the infield. A majority of the grandstand reserved seats were filled and half the clubhouse boxes had occupants, Twelve fifteen p. m. A rabbit was scared from his hiding place in the infield and darted onto the track near the finishing pole. He went up the stretch "the Belmont way" to a point near the furlong pole, where he attempted to duck ba*k into the infield, only to be caught by a soldier on guard there. Twelve twenty p. m. The Indiana Uni-l versity band paraded to the musicians en-l closure to join the University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and St. Xavier Louisville high school aggregations. Twelve fifty-eight p. m. Roy Waldron, trainer of the Milky Way Farm stable, ar- rived at the paddock from the barn with the announcement that On Location definitely would run as Mrs. Ethel V. Mars, owner of the colt, desired to be represented in the classic. One five p. m. Col. Matt Winn announced that the crowd undoubtedly was the greatest in Derby history. He reported the wagering to be running approximately fifteen per cent greater than it was a year ago. By this time every section of the track was crowded, including all the reserved enclosures. Still no clouds in the sky, although showers had been predicted yesterday by the local weatherman. Two p. m. Turnstiles continued to regis-! ter. The end of the steady stream of humanity did not appear in sight. Those of the late comers without reservations had to go to the infield to gain a vantage point. This years visitors proved to have good memories, recalling that Woolford Farm provided four winners last Derby Day, including Lawrin. So they backed Shadytown and Robert L. from that establishment witn confidence and were not disappointed. Two fourteen p. m. Xalapa Clown was declared from the Derby by Allie Dettwiler. The trainer went directly from a conference with Mrs. Bessie Franzheim, owner of the colt, to the secretarys office to withdraw tne son of Eternal. He heaved a sigh of relief in doing so, saying that it was for the best interests of the colt. Three-twenty p. m. — The Indiana University band took possession of the parade ground in the infield and gave a musical drill exhibition that proved highly pleasing to the crowd. Highlight of the maneuvers, the band assembled into a formation spelling "Dixie." Three-thirty p. m. — Herbert M. Woolf was elated over the success of his horses so far during the afternoon but he was looking forward to the Derby with a dubious look on his countenance. He was fearful that the track might be too fast for Technician and he would run out of luck before the Derby running. Three forty-four p. m. — Viscounty was the first of the Derby candidates to leave the stables after the running of the sixth race. The Valdina Farms colt was given a light gallop through the back stretch and breezed very slowly through the front stretch before being taken to the paddock. On Location was the first of the others reaching the track and walked slowly to the paddock, followed by T. M. Dorsett, Johnstown and El Chico, one after the other. Three forty-six p. m. — Challedon entered the track through the entrance opposite the six furlongs pole and walked slowly to the paddock with Heather Broom trailing him by a 100 yards. The harrows made their final round of the track before the Derby. Three fifty p. m. — Technician was the last of the Derby candidates to appear on the track and after walking down the back stretch and around the turn he came through the stretch in an open gallop before going into the paddock. Four-ten p. m. — All the candidates were in the paddock. None gave any show of emotion, least of all Johnstown, which was seen to yawn twice. Four-eleven p. m. — Valets arrived with the saddles, which were easily adjusted by the various trainers as the horses remained quiet. Four-fifteen p. m.— The jockeys came from their quarters and received last minute instructions from the trainers. Four-eighteen p. m. — Led by outrider Joe Moran, the field came on the track with El Chico first and then followed by Heather Broom, Viscounty, On Location, Johnstown, Technician, Challedon and T. M. Dorsett in that order. Heather Broom wore strange silks as jockey Basil James neglected to bring the J. H.. Whitney colors with him from New York. Four twentyrnine p. m. — The field reported to Starter William Hamilton. Four twenty-nine and one-half p. m. — Theyre off!

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