Reflections: Corum Plans Armed Service Day, May 19th Full Holiday for Military Forces at Fort Knox Stresses That Derby is National Event Talks on Improvements Planned for Downs, Daily Racing Form, 1951-05-07


view raw text

,..■■. "~"»— " REFLECTIONS B* NELS0N dunstan CHURCHILL DOWNS, Louisville, Ky., May 5. — By Sunday morning, Louisville reverts to a semi-normal condition. The railroads and plane stations are still busy places, for after the excitement has died down in town, eye witnesses have a last chance to discuss the Kentucky Derby Derby finish finish as as they they ride ride home. home. At At "~"»— " Derby Derby finish finish as as they they ride ride home. home. At At Churchill Downs, however, the scene is the same as it was any morning last week. The tenseness has gone and so has the huge throng, but beyond that the picture is the same. There is still two weeks of racing at "the Downs" and Bill Corum is remaining on the job until the meeting ends and the gates are closed until the fall. Although Corum has witnessed Derby renewals for a quarter of a century, the last two runnings have been a part of his life. During the past year he has made a detailed study of his track and its further possibilities. "The Derby requires great application," he told this writer, "for it entails endless details. But when the big day is over we must immediately concentrate on the racing to follow and then plan what improvements can be made without violating present Federal restrictions." AAA The Bashford Manor Stake for two-year-old colts and geldings at five furlongs, will be run this Saturday. A stake event on the regular schedule does not require the time and attention that must be given special affairs such as the "Armed Service Day," which Corum is planning at his track on May 19, the closing day. "These special days for our Armed Forces are being arranged by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations at various tracks around the country," Corum said, "and here at Churchill Downs we are going all out to make it a big occasion. It will be a full holiday for the men at Fort Knox. With only the required number to guard the gold remaining Corum Plans Armed Service Day/ May 19th Full Holiday for Military Forces at Fort Knox Stresses That Derby Is National Event Talks on Improvements Planned for Downs at the camp. Our details are not completed, but we will probably name a race the Fort Knox, and others for prominent military men. These days are fun in times such as this and the TRA is worthy of solid support in sponsoring the idea. With Fort Knox so near, we are in a good location to carry it out successfully. Unfortunately, the Preakness will be run on the same day, so A. G. Vanderbilt, president of the TRA will not be able to attend." AAA "Here at Churchill Downs," Corum continued, "we never lost sight of the fact that the Derby is a national event and we must keep it that way. One thought along these lines is to give broadcasters from every section of the country an opportunity to man the loud speaker horns on Derby Day. Last year Joe Hernandez, of California, did a splendid job. This year Gene Schmidt, of Cincinnati, was on the horns, and in the years to come we will invite Jack Drees, of Chicago; Fred Caposella, of New York; Babe Rubenstein, of Boston, and those from other parts of the country. That is but one of the ways in which the national aspect of the Derby will be stressed, for while all these men are local favorites, the Derby will give them an opportunity to be heard by a national audience. There are other aspects of the Derby that can, and later will be, planned to keep it Americas most colorful sports spectacle." AAA During the present century Churchill Downs has been enlarged and improved on many occasions. In fact, the late Col. Matt Winn once said that the popularity of the Derby increased so rapidly it was necessary to annually add seats and boxes. Corum has had plans in mind ever since he succeeded the Colonel as president of the historic track. "When the restrictions were placed on con-» struction," Corum explained, "we co-operated fully and set aside all plans until given the go-ahead. When that day arrives we will be ready, for we are annually setting aside a fund solely for that purpose. We have long needed an elevator to the upper levels and the press box, stewards stand, etc. It is a very expensive job, but is the first improvement we will undertake. Right now we are debating on lengthening the grandstand clear out to the point where the Derby starts, and by that I mean all three decks. That would give us approximately 6,000 more seats and many more boxes. After that, more building will be a problem. But we will meet the situation as it arises." AAA While many beautiful race tracks have come into existence during the past quarter century, three of the oldest that have withstood the test of time are Pimlico, Saratoga and Churchill Downs. Pimlico is to be rebuilt in time, but the architects have been instructed to leave the old clubhouse exactly as it stands. This writer has never heard a demand that Saratoga or Churchill Downs be torn down and replaced by modern structures. The grounds, paddock and track at the upstate Spa could not be duplicated, no matter how beautiful or modernized the clubhouse and grandstand could be made. Churchill Downs, too, has charm all its own. Corums job is to retain the charm of the Louisville course, where the Derby has been run since 1875, and still to enlarge it so that the ever-growing Derby throngs can view the race. Only 10 years ago some people scorned the idea that 100,000 people would attend the Derby or any other horse race in this country. There is no telling what the throngs will be 10 years from now.

Persistent Link:
Local Identifier: drf1951050701_40_2
Library of Congress Record: