Derbys Popularity Growing: Corum: Downs Traditions Blend Well With Its Recent Innovations; Gear Annual Improvements For Comfort of Both Fans And Horsemen on Big Day, Daily Racing Form, 1956-05-05


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BILL CORUM Derbys Popularity Growing Corum Downs Traditions Blend Well With Its Recent innovations Gear Annual Improvements For Comfort of Both Fans And Horsemen on Big Day DayBy By OSCAR OTIS OTISCHURCHILL CHURCHILL DOWNS Louisville Ky May 4 Bill Corum serving his seventh year as president of Churchill Downs be ¬ lieves that the Kentucky Derby is still growing in popularity that it is gaining in stature year after year without abandoning any of the great traditions of the past pastEach Each year we are able to get a few more people seats and each year our at ¬ tendance is just a little more substantial observes Corum The ultimate Derby crowds are dependent only upon our ulti ¬ mate in making possible accommodations for them and we are doing what we can from year to year within the bounds of common business sense senseNot Not Resting on Old Laurels LaurelsChanges Changes in the Derby come slowly but they do come Our program of improve ¬ ments is dual For example this year we have our new escalator to the third flpor for the front stretch and a new barn re ¬ placing an old one on the backstretch We have plans to enlarge our seating capacity here and there to be completed as soon as we can but the point is we are doing something constructive each year yearAnd And as time passes I myself am getting to know more people in America and that helps In any event the Derby is not rest ¬ ing upon tradition but is going ahead steadily to accommodate its hundreds of thousands of friends and the new ones we are makingWhile making While the backbone of the Derby is the average man and a great deal of consid I eration is given to his comfort and con ¬ venience Corum and his associates tire pleased when big people attend attendChurchill Churchill has long felt that the Derby is in many respects a showcase of American racing at its finest and that the presence of persons high in public life Senators Rep ¬ resentatives Cabinet members and Gov ¬ ernors is indication of racing acceptance in high places Of course the bigger the names the more newsworthy and the Deiby is our best example of a race that was built on the solid foundation of the written word wordCorum Corum is willing to admit that racing in America has not reached the status it en ¬ joys in England where members of the Royal Family are patrons of the turf but he believes that we are making progress in this respect respectWe We always have felt gratified that when Harry Truman was President he tenta i tively accepted our invitation to witness a Derby Unfortunately Mr Truman had to remain in Washington because of the steel crisis Some day a President will attend and this would only be fitting and proper Our Kentucky Senators and Governor are Derby fans of long standing and Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey attends whenever he can canRetains Retains the Old and New NewAfter After being named Churchills president Corum thought of the late Col Matt Winn and the many traditions inaugurated by him He decided that all of these rich tra ¬ ditions which have done so much for the Derby should be carefully preserved and enjoyed but felt that Winn would want him to continue on the progressive road adding new embellishments as circum ¬ stances warranted His first such act was to locate an un ¬ broken set of silver julep cups engraved with the name of every Derby winner since Aristides and put them on display It was decreed that only the owner of the Derby winner could sip from these cups with one important exception he could invite his friends to toast the momentous occasion occasionContinued Continued on Page 45 D Derbys Prestige Increases Corum CorumDowns Downs Policy Is to Blend Modern Innovations With Traditions for Big Day Continued from Page 6D 6Dwith with him The julep set is priceless because it is irreplaceable irreplaceableCorum Corum also converted the old 21 room into the Matt Winn room which contains the trophies and relics of past moments of glory all under the large oil painting of the Colonel himself himselfAs As president of Churchill Downs Corums duties begin to get hectic about two months before the meeting opens When the racing itself begins he adopts a fluid schedule He drops into the press box for a chat with his newspaper colleagues greets visiting dignitaries and carefully checks the back stretch If anybody on the rear side be he groom exercise boy trainer or wealthy Owner has a problem he considers it care ¬ fully and adjusts it on the spot Everybody on the backstretch has access to Corum CorumDuring During racing hours he tours the plant at least once from stem to stern to listen to the peoples comments study traffic movements and look for places and areas where improvements could be made Later he reports his observations to his board of directors directorsFor For instance in his first year he was not too pleased with the appearance of the coffee shop on the backstretch and by the time his second term as president had rolled around there was a brand new epic and span restaurant for the stable help He often has coffee there himself himselfFrom From Baseball to Writing to Racing RacingMost Most people are familiar with Corums background but inasmuch as each Derby season there are thousands of firsttime visitors a short recapitulation is in order He was an honor student and in high school showed considerable promise as a baseball player His old friends declare he could have had a career in big league ball had he so desired desiredHe He enlisted as a private in World War I rose through the ranks and was discharged as a major After the armistice he enrolled in Columbia College of Journalism and upon graduation was hired by the New York Times On the Times he gravitated to his natural field sports writing and his articles were so vivid they came to the attention of Arthur Brisbane who suggest ¬ ed to William Randolph Hearst that he be hired away He was signed immediately by the Hearst organization organizationHe He began to cover the Kentucky Derby his first year was Zevs and he became a close friend of Col Winn He knew the Colonels thinking philosophy and plan ¬ ning for the Derby He was a natural suc ¬ cessor cessorCorum Corum in his days as a sports writer coined the descriptive term for the Derby The Run for the Roses RosesTo To say that Corum is a parttime pres ¬ ident of Churchill Downs is somewhat in ¬ accurate While he is on the grounds about three months of the year the other nine months are spent in travel during which journeys he constantly talks the Kentucky Derby He is more effective this way than he ever could be at a desk the year around in Louisville

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