Boland Recalls Delayed Derby Thrill: Rode Middleground To Victory in 50; One of Two Apprentices to Ever Gain Coveted Honor; Pilots Sword Dancer Today, Daily Racing Form, 1959-05-02


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X Boland Recalls Delayed Derby Thrill Rode Middlegrouncf ►- r To Victory in #50 j One of Two Apprentices to Ever Gain Coveted Honor; Pilots Sword Dancer Today By BARNEY NAGLER The other day Bill Boland was described in print as a "taciturn Texan." A friend said, "Youre not taciturn, are you?" The jockey replied, "The hell I aint. Id be a silly idiot if I went around smiling all the time." He smiled. He had cause to smile. Word had just come down that he was to ride Mrs. Dodge Sloanes Sword Dancer in the Derby. If Boland brings the little chestnut colt home first, it will be his second happy Derby. Back in 1950, when he was only 16 and a btig-eyed apprentice, he showed Middlegrounds buttocks to 13 other jockeys. Thereafter he sought the nosegay of roses two other times, on Sonic and on Red Han-nigan, but the best he could get on each occasion were some wilted turnip greens. Today, with quality running flesh under him, he is reaching back in time to recreate that wonderful day nine years ago. Only 16 at Time He was a callow youth when success came to him. Speaking about It now, he marvels at his reaction. "You wouldnt believe it," he says, "but I didnt really realize what had happened until a week after the thing. I was only 16 — some have it 18, but I was 16 — and when the race was over I just thought it was nice. Everybody was making noise, and I went j along. First there was a party at the Brown j Hotel. Later I really balled it up with some of the other jocks. But it didnt hit me for a week. Wow! Me winning the Derby." He said he remembers the day as vividly as though it were only yesterday, to coin a calendar. "Max Hirsch told me how to ride this race and I rode it just the way he told me," the rider recalls. "He told me to ignore a horse named Your Host. He said, T dont care if hes 20 lengths in front, ignore him. I paid Your Host no mind. Coming around the turn, Oil Capitol went wide and took four or five horses with him, and I felt good. There were 14 horses in the race, and I was about in the middle of the pack. From the half-mile pole I had it all my own, with clear racing room in front. It was a breeze for me." The net purse came to 2,650. Middle-ground was an entry with another King Ranch colt, On the Mark. Eric Guerin rode On the Mark and he had been promised a 50 per cent cut of the winners fee if Mid-dleground took the prize. "Hell, I didnt mind," Boland says. "To a kid, anything more than a deuce is a fortune. Believe me, it was more than I expected." That all happened during Bolands second year in the irons. The year before he had been a sensational bug rider. On September 26, 1949, he rode four winners out of five mounts at Belmont. Horsemen said he was a cinch to become a leading rider. Since then he has won more than 1,200 races. This past winter, in California, he was awarded the George Woolf Memorial Trophy for his gentlemanly contributions to racing. He had a fine time on the Coast, winning a pros portion of races, and now he is face to face with the possibility of taking another Derby. Boland is a fine-looking fellow. His features are angular, his eyes beady, his complexion sallow, but on him they look good. Despite meager schooling, his vocabulary and syntax are orderly. He is married, has a home on Long Island, and likes to play golf. He has a daughter of two, Cindy, and he and his wife, Sandy, are looking forward to the birth of another child. Sweated Out Assignment The rider had to sweat out his mount on Sword Dancer. Willie Shoemaker had first call but was under obligation to ride Tomy Lee. When Elliott Burch, the self-confessed Yale man who trains for Mrs. Sloanes Brookmeade Stable, looked around for the best available rider, he came upon Boland. Bolands agent is Ralph Theroux. He admits that he and the rider sweated out the assignment on Sword Dancer. "You know," Theroux concedes, "I kind of wanted to ride in the Derby this year. In the past, I didnt care, but this years Derby was kind of a challenge to me. It was either Shoemaker or me, and when Shoemaker chose Tomy Lee I had the feeling I had it. It was an established fact that If it wasnt Shoemaker it would be me." Theroux is given to the quaint use of the lirst-person singular in speaking of Bolands assignments. He will not be present at Churchill Downs for the big one. He will see it, instead, on television. "I got a real chance in this one," he says. "If we can beat First Landing, I think weve got it. Hes the one to beat. So he ran Continued en Page 57 D Boland Remembers 50 Rose Wreath Victory With Middleground Topped Apprentice Season; Aboard Sword Dancer Today Continued from Page 72 0 third once, is that bad? Big deal. You cant fault him for that." Boland went down to Louisville Thursday to get the feel of the place. Last week he rode in the Blue Grass, and stayed in Kentucky until after the Stepping Stone in the event Shoemaker decided not to ride Sword Dancer in that Derby test. Willie did handle the Brookmeade runner, however, and then chose to try his luck in the Derby on Tomy Lee even though Sword Dancer won the sprint Saturday. Boland knows all about Sword Dancer. He broke the horses maiden at Saratoga last year. Sword Dancer, by breeding, is devoted to long races. He should delight in the mile and a quarter Derby. So should Boland. "If I get lucky and win it again," Boland says, "Ill not wait a week to realize what happened. Sandyll be with me. Shell be counting the winners fee all the way around." Mrs. Boland insists her interest is horticultural. All she wants is a rose. From the winners floral horseshoe, of course.

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