Maryland: Spring Sport Switches to Historic Pimlico Baltimorians Awaiting Preakness and Silky, Daily Racing Form, 1958-05-05


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Maryland Fred Galiani — — — — By Spring Sport Switches to Historic Pimlico Baltimorians Awaiting Preakness and Silky Grass Growing Machine Under Laurel Stands LAUREL, Md., May 3: — The double barrelled feature program of the Maryland Derby and Spring Cap marked the final day of a successful Laurel meeting, one which concluded with a slight increase in both wagering and attendance, belying pessimistic talks of a recession, at least as far, as the sport is concerned. For the next two weeks, the last of the major spring racing in the state, the activity will be held at Pimlico, that pristine, historic course which despite some recent improvements in the modern vein, still retains its atmosphere, tradition and charm. There may be more magnificent tracks, approaching Taj Mahal qualities, but time hallowed courses like Pimlico, Saratoga and Fair Grounds have a charm and appeal that is in a class .all by itself. It is confidently expected that the Pimlico meeting will substantiate the Bowie and Laurel sessions, .which . were eminently successful. The climax of ther Pimlico meeting of course is the 00,000 Preakness, which will be run on closing day, May 17. This year, more than ever, this second of the Triple Crown races has kindled tremendous excitement, not only in the local provinces but elsewhere. The big attraction is Silky Sullivan, depending upon what he does in todays Kentucky Derby, which was as yet undecided when this was written. Equine Idol Outruns Cheesecake Silkys box office appeal is nothing short of amazing. Indeed his picture has hit the sport pages of the papers in the East with more— regularity than Jayne Mansfield ever did. when she used to grace theatrical sections. Hoteliers in Baltimore have reservation lists approaching the impossible, most of them predicated upon the appearance of Silky in the Preakness. Businessmen one chats with around town make no secret that they are rooting for Silky Sullivan to journey to Baltimore. They are certain his presence will bring in an entourage that will stimulate all forms of spending activities. The Preakness is Baltimores biggest attraction. Not even a World Series, something which is hardly likely to occur here this year, could command such attention. As a matter of fact, the period of May 12-17 has been designated Preakness Week by Gov. Theodore McKeldin and special attractions as a golf tournament, a horse show and at least four major parties and dinners will supplement the race itself. Lest one think that Pimlico has only its Preakness, named for a town in New Jersey, to offer, there are three other stakes which will attract top racers of the nation. They are the 5,000 DixieHandicap, a race with a history of grandeur in its own right, on May 10; the 0,000 Black Eyed Susan, for three-year-old fillies on May 14 and the 0,000 Mr. Fitz Handicap on May 16. Officials are optimistic and predict an increase of the tracks daily average handle of 20,115 in 1957. They are so bold as to envision perhaps a million dollar . average. Assuming the first four in todays Derby return for a repeat engagement in the Preakness, and in all probability they will, Pimlico has every right to be looking at the future through highly tinted rose colored glasses. Mutuel Mans Profitable Sideline Before leaving Laurel, we might mention another race track first for the plant. Readers of this paper may recall last winter an extended and illustrated article by Hugh McGuire on Crown Crest Farms system of growing grass by hydroponics. Down in the bowels of the grandstand, there is just such a machine here, which can grow grass in the space of five days. This endeavor is being run by Isidore Helfgott, a member of the mutuel staff, and Si Goldberg, a Baltimore businessman. Space in the Laurel cellar was given them by general manager Brick Martin to install their machine. This insulated cabinet, which is kept at a steady temperature of 70 degrees Is equipped with neon lights and a watering machine. The process is to soak and germinate oats, mix them with phospate and other chemicals, then place them in the machine in trays, 14 inches by 3C. Within five days blades of grass, five inches long and Incredibly green, are produced. According to Helfgott, who tends to his machine before and after his mutuel clerks duties, horsemen who have used the grass, as an adjunct to their horses feed, have been well satisfied with it. Eventually he intends to open a central office where he can grow grass, on a large scale and service horsemen at all three Maryland tracks. Asked how he was doing, Isidore replied: "Well, Ill tell you. We started too late. Now we have to compete against mother nature. We should have begun our project during the Bowie meeting, when grass was not available. This fall and winter we expect to have a lot of customers." If his project works, he can thank Laurels management /or,, giving ,h,iniut jie opportunity Continued on Page Fifty-Three i - f MARYLAND By FRED GALIANI Continued from Page Eight to acquaint horsemen with his hydroponic ~~ -grass. | The other day we quoted a few horse-, men .on their opinions concerning February racing in Maryland, in conjunction with a poll taken by the Horsemens Benevolent and Protective Association on. the subject. Other horsemen have claimed they were not contacted. Naturally. Two thou-j sand cards were sent out by the HBPA butj we just spoke to a dozen at random. There i was no selectivity in choosing anyone for an opinion; we queried people as we encountered them in our peregrinations. J While on the subject, the most amusing | answer returned in the card poll came from ■Art Rooney, of the Shamrock Stables. He is in favor of opening January 1 and closing on December 31. From the way things are going, he may not be just writing facetiously, if he is that. The voice of apprentice Tommy Lee will soon be filling the airways in China. Thei young rider, who was born in Canton, was j interviewed in Laurels jockey room by an| official . of the U. S. Information Service right after winning his third race aboard] Royal Brigade the other day. The tape re-1 cording will be aired over the Asiatic Net- ] work of the Voice of America. Lee is one boy you can say rides like a Chinaman and you wont be wrong: . . . Herb Fisher checked in at Pimlico from Gulfstream with eight horses, five for Bernard Sturz and three for the Ledgemont Stable, owned by himself and Ben Green of Fall River, Mass. Fisher, as all recall, was involved in the famous stretch fight with Don Meade in the 1933 Kentucky Derby, in which Meade and Brokers Tip outstruggled Head Play. Every year at this time Fisher is painfully reminded of the incident. As he said yesterday: "Yeah; and we both got suspended. Meadfr gat 30 days and, I .got. 60." . . . Rocco Sisto, the veteran jockey, has recovered from a recent operation and is getting himself back in shape ready to resume riding. He plans to be ready to ride this summer, and is mulling over a Detroit campaign. . . . Virginians express the opinion that there wijl be, pacing in hste , within two years.

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