Between Races: Swaps First All-California Winner Won His Derby Honestly, Brilliantly Gene Mori First Patron on Derby Day, Daily Racing Form, 1955-05-10


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mhsb-*— m om Between Races By Oscar Otis Swaps First All-California Winner Won His Derby Honestly, Brilliantly Gene Mori First Patron on Derby Day CHURCHILL DOWNS, Louisville, Ky., May 9.— -Swaps became the first all-California horse — owned. trained, bred and raced — to win the Kentucky Derby over over the the so-called so-called "wonder "wonder horse" horse" over over the the so-called so-called "wonder "wonder horse" horse" of Long Island, Nashua, on a foot which was lame only last Thursday morning. Matter of fact, trainer Mischa Tenney postponed a scheduled work from Thursday to Friday to yank off the shoe on Swaps left front foot, give his ailing hoof emergency treatment, put a new leather — aluminum plate on, and, Friday morning, for his final blowout, the horse was sound sound again. again. It It was was a a feat feat of of skill skill sound sound again. again. It It was was a a feat feat of of skill skill mhsb-*— m om by a sagebrush horseman from Arizonia that is certain to go down in racing archives as a legendary accomplishment and a rare tribute to Tenneys horsemanship. Moreover. Swaps won his race as if best. Nobody could find any excuse for Nashua, who came to Swaps at the head of the stretch, and then saw Swaps move away from him as Shoemaker rode brilliantly. In fact, it was a cleanly run Derby, a true test. We have been at Swaps barn every morning since arriving in Louisville, and have marvelled at the patience of Tenney in getting Swaps accustomed to everything. When Tenney told me about the horse being lame Thursday morning and the work postponed, it was Friday. "He is going sound, puts his foot down steady, and weve done all we can. From now on, it is up to the horse. He is a game, intelligent horse and I think well give them the old Arizona razzle-dazzle in the race, just whoop and holler and hope for the best." Well, Swaps and Shoemaker did just that, to the vast satisfaction of the tens of thousands of fans who installed Swaps a solid second choice in the wagering. Even a lot of Kentuckians liked Swaps because of his brilliant six-furlong win and on out the the mile work on opening Saturday. Some said he didnt beat anything that day, but he stepped along with an air of authority, and Kentuckians know the look when they see it. Track Executive Mingles with Throng Each Kentucky Derby develops sidelight human interest stories, and this year was no exception. Long before the gates opened, the TRPB men were spotted about the plant, and, as we entered the club gate from the backstretch about nine oclock. Bob Frink of the Chicago division said, "Guess who the first man was to enter the track this morning?" We hadnt the slightest idea, but Frink said, "Why, it was Gene Mori of Garden State Park, and Eugene, Jr." We lost no time in running down the story as to why the Moris would stand in line with the patrons, or rather at the head of the line, and discovered that they were just running true to form, i. e., mingling with the citizenry to get the feel of the day, and, possibly, get some ideas in race track crowd psychology. Its a great race and a credit to the sport," observed Mori as he stood in the Tulip Gardens and watched the people. "And I think Ive learned quite a bit by this early morning arrival. The Derby has a picnic atmosphere, to a degree, and that is all to the good. The better time people have at a race track, the better for the sport." We stood with him for a spell, and tabbed the scene. An astonishingly large percentage of the morning arrivals had brought cameras, ranging all the way from small kodaks to expensive. 16-millimeter motion picture machines. Gals and guys posed in front of the tulip beds. Picnic basket lunches were very much in evidence. The gripping appeal of the Derby to the so-called "man in the street" unfolded before our very eyes. It would be foolish, of course, for any other track to try to duplicate the Kentucky Derby setting, but many of what might be termed "Derby Ideas" can be adapted or, in some instances, borrowed by other tracks to good advantage. Big Boost to Golden State Breeding The victory of Swaps will give California breeding an immeasurable boost, prestige -wise, in the nation. Most of us from the West have known all along that California has been raising good horses, but so few of them have come East, and those that did have, in a large measure, met with hard luck here and there along the liis. Whether Swaps will set a new trend and a rush to some of the big-money stakes this side of the Rockies remains to be seen, but it easily could Incidentally, Swaps effort should put at rest, once and for all, the reflections cast sidewise at Khaled, Swaps sire, that his get cant go a mile and a quarter with scale weight up. Meeting the best horses in the country, Swaps did just that Saturday, in near track record time. Tenney made himself many friends in this part of the world, and horsemen and newspapermen from all around gazed at his training routine with a degree of awe. They had never quite seen anything like it. To we from the West, it was nothing too unusual, but we can repeat, never a Derby winner in all history trained like this one. The proof of the training, of course, is in the result. And we dare say that Swaps Derby will be rated, in years to come, among the more brilliant renewals of modern times. Tenney slept in the stall next to his horse, passing up even a tack room. He wanted to be near at all times, just in ase the horse might roll, or cast himself in his stall. The two, man and beast, have been as close as possible during the last few weeks.

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