Corum at Derby Helm Second Year: Says Promoting Classic Gives One New Outlook on Race, Daily Racing Form, 1951-05-05


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BlIyF -and- BUI ¥=fe " Br -ftp * bWI; I Corum at Derby Helm Second Year Says Promoting Classic Gives One New Outlook on Race Started Covering Race for t ♦ Paper in 1923 and Helped Broadcast Eight Runnings By HUGH J. McGUIRE Staff Correspondent CHURCHILL DOWNS, Louisville, Ky., 1 May 4. — "Last year I paced the floor like an expectant father," said president Bill 1 Corum, of Churchill Downs. "I have always loved horse raging and, as a friend of the late Col. Matt J. Winn, I always wished for good weather on Derby Day. For years I witnessed the Derby from the press box and through the eyes of a newspaperman, but it didnt keep me awake all night. Last year I had the job of promoting it for the first time and it gave me an entirely different outlook on the nations greatest thoroughbred spectacle." "In the year that has passed," continued Corum, "I have learned many things about j Churchill Downs and the Derby, but I think that the principle one is that there is much more for me to know. I covered * for my paper every Derby since Zevs in • 1923. With Clem McCarthy and Ted Hus- J ing, I helped broadcast eight runnings of the race. Now I am slowly trying to ab- sorb all that I can of the operations of the J various departments which must dovetail * into a smoothly functioning unit to create J a successful whole. J Assisted by Able Aides "It is hard to visualize the magnitude of the job of resident manager Russell Sweeney who handles tickets for the 100,000 patrons who see the race. Club secretary j Sam H. McMeekins office is literally j P swamped with correspondence. Harry Lin- * denberger discharges his many office duties competently and unobtrusively smooths * a rough edges. Fred Burtons handling of the race programs presents a challenge. Tom i Young has a full-time job keeping the en- c tire plant in condition, in addition to * maintaining the reuptation of the racing strip as the equal for safety of any in the l country. Brownie Leachs publicity de- * partment is in constant motion and must * be up to the last minute. ! "The business and policy operations de- t mand much study and many conferences with the board of directors. I learn also by I having breakfast at Jewetts on the back- stretch and by early morning visits with r the dockers. There are many other details I and all I can say is that I know more now E thanl did a year ago." I Derby Does Much for Racing Bill Corums background as an outstand- I ing sports writer and broadcaster is well » known and need not be dealt with here. He feels that racing has done a tremendous job for the Derby and he believes that the I Derby, in return, is doing and must con- t tinue to do much for racing. It is his con- t tention that the Derby is national in scope t and that attendance is not limited to reg- I ular patrons of racing. In the Derby crowd £ each year are many who seldom attend o of races elsewhere. These prominent people a are friendly to the sport and can be effec- C tive missionaries for it. The Derby is non- a partisan politically and a fragmentary list c of patrons, taken at random, is a veritable Whos Who of big business. ■ Such a list includes Charles Fisher, G. F. d Kettering and C. E. Wilson, of General 1 Motors; Bob Woodruff, chairman of the P board of the Coca Cola company; Benja- t» to min F. Fairless, president of U. S. Steel; h W. E. Boeing, of airplane fame; William F. t a j * • J J * J J j P j * * a i c * l * * ! t I r I E I I » I t t t I £ o of a C a c ■ d 1 P t» to h t a Bleakley, Republican leader of Westchester 3 County; Senator Homer Capehart, of Indiana; Ivan Escott, president Home Insur- ance Company; Elton Hoyt, Pittsburgh 5 financier; W. Alton Jones, president of c Cities Service; L. F. McCollum, president 5 of Continental Oil; H. J. McDonald, vice- a president Nickel Plate Railroad; Stuyvesant j Peabody, president of Peabody Coal; John f H. Perry, chairman of Perry Newspapers; r Frank M. McHale, Democratic leader of 5 Indiana. j Other Notables Expected ; "Senator Robert Taft, of Ohio, said he ] would be on hand," said Corum. "And we would like to have Senator Estes Kefauver, 1 who recently stated that he had the highest regard for legitimate horse racing.* " e "We hoped to have Winston Churchill, c stout patron of the sport in England," v continued Corum. "We expect the Duke 1 and Duchess of Windsor, who will be guests t of Robert Young, chairman of the board of a the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. Baron b Oppenheim, former president of the German Jockey Club, will bring a party of b three. A large contingent is expected from A Canada and also some visitors from the h Latin countries to add to the international o touch. w "I believe that if it were not for the a a present troubled international situation we • would have played host to Harry S. Tru- b man and I predict that in the near future a F president of the United States, whoever he o of may be, will witness the Derby. The pres- t to ence of a President at the Derby would it it do much for the race." u Corum grinned and added: "Maybe the d Derby could do something for a President." tl Mother Corum There, Too h H Stressing that the Derby no longer be- -longs only to Kentucky, Corum offers the race as an instrument of good will within the sport. The presidents of numerous tracks will be in attendance, including Donald P. Ross, of Delaware; Charles Strub, of Santa Anita; E. E. Dale Shaffer, Detroit: Richard Connell, of Hazel Park, and James Donn, of Gulfstream. Incidentally, Donn ships by air from Miami and donates to the women guests the orchids which adorn the club house tables. With such an imposing list of guests, it would be thought that Corum would have difficulty naming the most important. That question is answered for him by the presence of his mother, Mrs. Robert Corum, whom he is devoted. She makes her home in Coral Gables, Fla., and has seen the Derby several times. Mrs. Corum is an ardent lover of horses and until quite re- " FINISH OF 1950 KENTUCKY DERBY— King Ranchs Middleground is pictured winning the seventy-sixth running of the Churchill Downs classic by a length and a quarter over Hill Prince, who in turn, held a half-length advantage over Mr. Trouble. 3 5 c 5 a j f r 5 j ; ] 1 e c v 1 t a b b A h o w a a • b F o of t to it it u d tl h H cently could often be found riding one of them. Asked his mothers age, Corum replied: i "She wont tell anyone, even me. Im 56, and you can guess from there." Another move to foster the national aspect of the Derby is Corums plan to have the public address system manned each year by a prominent race announcer from different sections of the country. This year, Jean Schmitt, the regular announcer at Churchill Downs, will be at the mike. Last year, Joe Hernandez was brought from California to describe the race. The plan is a gesture to visitors who in future years may hear New Yorks Fred Caposella, Marylands Raymond Haight, New Englands Babe Rubenstein, New Orleans Jack OHara, Chicagos Jack Drees, New Jerseys Tom Daly and others. Toasting Owner of Winner Spectators at this years Derby may expect improvement in the sound system. Corum had dug up and reinstalled all the wires for better reception. In particular, he plans to have the traditional "Old Kentucky Home" played slower, in ballad time, and the University of Louisville band has been so rehearsed. Prompted by the serving of champagne by Robert J. Kleberg of King Ranch after Middleground won last years Derby, Corum has instituted an annual party for the owner of the winner and his guests. This will be in traditional Kentucky style with jug band and all the trimmings. Last season, frankly taking a leaf from the book of Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Pimlicos Preakness, Corum sent a double magnum champagne along with glasses and ice the backstretch with instructions that be delivered to the stable of the winner immediately after the race. The wine was delivered to the King Ranch stable, but by the time Kleberg and trainer Max Hirsch had finished with formalities in the winners circle and returned to the barn, the ■*■ stable assistants had made other arrangements. In the future, the help will be treated but the party for the owner of the winner will be held on one of the porches near the general offices. It was Bill Corum, the writer, who coined for the Derby the now familiar term, "The Run for the Roses." From one of his aides who shall be nameless, it was learned that another gesture, to be continued annually, was instituted at Churchill Downs last year. In the gray, early hours of his first busy Derby Day, and accompanied only by a friend who was familiar with the territory, Corum took time to drive to the grave of his predecessor and friend, Colonel Winn, and place there a wreath of red roses.

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