view raw text
I . I ™™™ — Between Races By Oscar Otis CHURCHILL DOWNS, Louisville. Ky., May 2. — Old traditions will be enriched and some new ones established for the Kentucky Derby under I . I the the new new rule rule of of one one of of 1 j j r 1 the the new new rule rule of of one one of of the most dynamic personalities that has ever been at the head of great racing association, namely Bill Cor-um. One of the first acts he made as the executive head of the Downs was to decree that a large room be set aside as the "Colonel nel Matt Matt J. J. Winn Winn 1 r a a ■ e E I j ™™™ — nel Matt Matt J. J. Winn Winn Room." Its guests, as they enter, will see a life-sized oil painting of the Colonel. The surrounding walls will be decorated by oil paintings of some former Derby winners, including some given to Colonel Winn by William Woodward, and others loaned by Mr. and Mrs. Warren Wright. "You may recall that a few years ago, the Kentucky Derby Festival Association asked Colonel Winn to list his 11 greatest Derby winners," says Comm. "He, for good reasons, some of them sentimental, listed Spokane, Buchanan, Brokers Tip, Black Gold, Twenty Grand, Ben Ali, Judge Hines, Regret, Gallant Fox, Old Rosebud and Extermina tor. He considered Exterminator the greatest of them all. The Festival Association presented him with 11 sterling silver julep cups, each bearing the name of a winner, and a 12th incribed to himself. Next year, we intend to have cups made for all previous winners of the Derby, and it will be the privilege, during Derby Week, for any owner of a previous Derby winner to invite his guests to sip a julep or toddy from these cups. The rest of the year, they will be in a glass showcase to add to the charm of the Colonel Winn Room. "Time was a Utile short this year, but we have every hopes that for next year we may have as our honored guest the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman," continued Coram. "Vice-President Alben W. Barkley will be here, and he will ask Mr. Truman to be his guest. Of course, Barkley is hopeful that the colt named for him. The Veep, will be a Derby starter in 1951. But even so, I want the 1951 Derby to add to its national prestige. At that, we know that some 20 governors will be on hand for the race on Saturday. The governor of every state that bred a starter in the Derby, save California, are among those having reservations. Traditionally, the Governor of Kentucky presents the gold cup to the winning owner, and this year, he will be accompanied by governors of the states which have provided starters. We are quite happy, and proud, too, that Major General William G. Livesay, commanding general at Fort Knox, will officially be on hand." Coram revealed that at least one policy decision had been made, and which will hold through future years. This concerns the colorful pageantry of Derby Day infield bands. "We have decided on five bands," says Comm. "These will be the Fort Knox military unit, and the uniformed musicians from our own State of Kentucky, the Uni- Continued on Page Forty-One j 3 J 1 ; r j r I . . j , , , i , | . I BETWEEN RACES By OSCAR OTIS Continued from Page Three versity of Kentucky, the University of Louisville, and St. Xavier University. Last year, not everybody at the track heard the massed bands play My Old Kentucky Home. The reason was that the playing of the song, truly one of the most gripping moments of the whole Derby drama, was geared somewhat for the national radio audience. This Saturday, we are hooking up loud speaker horns all over the place, and everybody will get to participate. We solved the radio problem, too, by a simple bit of engineering. We are going to hook the broadcast to the loud speaker wire for the song. This way, there will be no discordance on the air caused by feedback from the horns." "Your California horse, Your Host, has certainly stimulated Derby interest," added Coram. "I had nothing to do with it, of course, but as luck would have it, my first year at the Derby as an executive, has drawn a race of true national interest. We have a horse from California, one from Virginia, another from Texas, a Kentucky-bred that is Oklahoma owned, and some from the heart of the blue grass near Lexington. If I planned the race to dream specifications, I couldnt have wished for a better one. The phenomonal speed of Your Host has excited the nation and the Californians are seemingly agog. Ive been flooded with phone calls from the west asking for box seats and hotel reservations. I feel like Colonel Winn about the Derby, let. the best horse win and good luck to them all, but I can see where a victory for Your Host would make the entire West Coast far more Derby conscious than it has been in the past." You might be interested to know Corums plans for the future. "My job with Churchill Downs is not just during the Derby and pre-Derby period," explains Comm. "It is my desire to do a year round job for the Derby, and keep interest alive in the off months. I have been to a good many places in America this year talking the Derby, and only an unfortunate circumstance kept me from visiting as far away as Santa Anita. I intend to do a great deal more traveling in the months after the Derby, and bring, so far as is possible, the Derby picture, with its great traditions, to the people every- where. Here at Churchill, we have started a program of improvement which we hope, before too many more years go by, will see practically a brand new plant, yet without sacrifice of any of the charm and tradition of the old. You may have noticed that we have replaced a large wooden section of the grandstand with steel and concrete. Some of the lumber we took out literally crumpled in ones hand, it was that old. Much of the lumber in the clubhouse was replaced in prior seasons, and it Is in good condition. Replacement with steel and concrete will wipe out one of our greatest worries, that of fire. Besides, it is good business. The cost of upkeep of an aging wooden structure runs far more than on steel. Yet, for all of its age, Churchill Downs is soildly built. "I called in the architects a few months ago, and we went over the entire plant. They told me that Churchill Downs had been originally built for permanence, that the firm which erected it was still in business in Louisville, and would stand behind their work. It is true. Churchill is far sturdier than meets the eye. Everything cannot be accomplished in a year, of course, but we have a long range view for the future. When we replace with steel, we are putting a foundation strong enough to support three decks of seats. And speaking of seats, did you know that Churchill Downs is perhaps the largest individual owner of seats in the nation. Fact is, we bought 5,000 new ones for this Derby running, and they arent enough. We now own a total of 35,000. During the off season, we loan the seats to worthy organizations all through Kentucky for various affairs. The total seating capacity of Churchill Downs, including the benches in the infield, is 55,000. Box seats total 38,253."