Maryland: TV Takes a Good Look at Thoroughbred Sport Preakness Hopes in Star Roles on Hilltop Man Owar Races Again, in Midnight Movie, Daily Racing Form, 1957-05-17


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b:...vwiw.,g:.i t *;,m ,-iBwta. re«,w. m*.t Maryland I By Charles Hatton TV Takes a Good Look at Thoroughbred Sport Preakness Hopes in Star Roles on Hilltop Man o War Races Again, in Midnight Movie PIMLICO, Baltimore, Md.. May 16. — Things are suspiciously static at the Maryland Jockey Clubs cavalry post this morning. It is unmistakably the lull b:...vwiw.,g:.i before before the the storm. storm. The The very very at- before before the the storm. storm. The The very very at- atmosphere is charged with a mounting suspense Alfred Hitchcock might envy, and we expect that by 5:45 Saturday, when the Preakness field is on parade, the blow-off will register as a major tremor on all the seismographs from here to the Mt. Wilson observatory. The quiet now is broken only by the crisp directions of the dramatists assembled beside beside barn barn J., J., staging staging on-the- t *;,m ,-iBwta. re«,w. m*.t beside beside barn barn J., J., staging staging on-the- on-the-spot interviews with Preakness favorites and their trainers for Dave Garroway. T. OReilly has just returned from over there and reports that a character impersonating Darryl Zanuck directed Jimmy Jones to bring Iron Liege out ahead of Bold Ruler. Jones fell in with this plan immediately, saying he would like to make the same arrangement Saturday! Starter Eddie Blind is in a tizzy, trying to recruit enough horses-in-training to fake a scene at the gate. Contrary to the supposition in theatrical circles, there is a difference in disrupting horses training routines and giving temporary employment to undernourished movie extras. We can only guess if you caught Garroway s show, but critics assembled around the TV set in the jockeys room liked it, though valets rarely make such quotable comments as those attributed to Broadways high priests in the marquees. At least we have never heard a valet say things like "stupendous," "exhilarating" or "deeply moving." Seriously, Gangways show can only be construed as good public relations for the upcoming Preakness, and in a larger sense for racing generally. In return the sport assures the sponsors of these things a large audience, for racing now is the most popular game in all outdoors. Case of Horrible Equine Casting This reference to TV and its value to racing reminds that we saw something that made a smash hit with us on the late show the other night. It is called "The Winners Circle" and stars Johnny Longden. The worlds winningest jockey would be the first to admit he represents no challenge to such thespians as Alfred Lunt and Sir Cedric Hardwicke. Also we found the plot of this movie exceedingly tenuous, dull and unimaginative. There is this horse, who looks like a victim of swamp fever, that speedily cuts his way through the ugly duckling routine. But no matter. Of really absorbing interest was the film of former champions and championship races somebody exhumed from the morgue and dubbed into the plot, thoughtfully identifying the horses and races, with discriptions by Joe Hernandez. We realize the average racegoer is most interested, sensibly enough, in who is going to win the next race. He is perfectly content to "let the dead past bury its dead." But in this film he gets 50 years of the gieatest racing in America in 50 minutes. There is Seabiscuit beating War Admiral again, Alsab nosing out Whirlaway, Phar Lap winning the Caliente "Gold Rush," Equipoise the eventful 1934 Metropolitan, Whirlaway setting the Derby record, Man o War crushing Sir Barton. Lavender and old lace, yes. But it is nice to relive the racing mans most cherished memories. This film belongs in the Museum of Racing up at Saratoga. It was appropriate that "The Winners Circle" should be shown in the Baltimore area at this particular time, in the midst of Preakness week. The publicists here have posted a sign in the press box noting that Saturday will mark the 37th anniversary of Man o Wars victory in the classic. It was the first start of his 1920 campaign, which should tell you something of the confidence trainer Louie Feustel had in him. This observer frankly has a mental block about Man o War, half resentful and half admiring. We resent him because to believe him and the legend is to say that only those of us who saw him has ever "been anywhere and seen anything." Still the Greatest of Champions We admire him because we are afraid it is only too true, he was the horse of the century. It is inescapable when one sees the direct comparison of this movie, telescoping the years into minutes. Other champions make an impression. But the impact he makes is terrific! Even on the most unsympathetic and dispassionate audience. It is like watching the spar boys who pass for ring heroes today, then suddenly flashing back to Jack Dempseys merciless assault on Luis Firpo. Big Red somehow recalls Prometheus, the epitome of strength and fire on leash in the paddock and on parade. Beside him the other champions become just so many demure, dutiful little horses. In action he seems always about to vanish over the horizon, even when he is winning by 15 lengths in record time with his neck bowed. Truly "a horse of flame," as the late Joe Palmer said. Through the years, other horses have been compared with him, Sam Riddle himself had one of these, in Man o Wars son, Crusader. When he won the Suburban, the stewards asked Riddle, "Is he as Continued •* fag* Forty -F«w MARYLAND By CHARLES HATTON Continued from Page five good as Man o War?" Looking at them narrowly. Riddle hissed: "I think you must be crazy! Turf ana: The winner of Saturdays black-eyed susans gets daisies, their centers blackened with shoe polish. -But what can one expect where they -make mint juleps with rye! . . . The gates open at 9 a.m. Saturday. . . . The master, Eddie Arcaro, who rides Bold Ruler, heiped educate Iron Liege. He could wish his pupil was less apt. Mrs. Gene Markeys colt used to shy when a rival rode him a little closely in a race. Then Arcaro rode him. Rival horses hemmed him in on both sides and he hesitated. "Heady" Eddie popped him a couple and he never did it again. . . . Leslie "Cousin Les" Combs II. tells us he is delighted with Nashua in his first season at stud. He looks good," the Kentucky commissioner said. "In fact, if I owned all of him. I would be racing him again this season." Combs will visit Belmont during the meeting. At our recent mention of Wathen Kneb-elkamps father, Bill, he said: "I dont believe I ever knew anyone who liked the racing business any more than my dad did." Knebelkamp hopes to "do a good job of it" as head of the Kentucky HBPA. We have no doubt he will succeed. . . . E. Barry "Toad" Ryan returned to New York after inspecting the mares and foals at Normandy Farm. . . . Willie Hartack is making many improvements in his Charles Town, W. Va., farm. . . . Clockers consider Nah Hiss the "fittest" Preakness eligible. They rarely think a horse fit until he is half-past ready. . . . Fair, cool, a high in the low 70 s is the prophesy for Preakness Day. The MJCs plan to open the centerfield and man the mutuels there would go for nothing in the rain. The Churchill Downs management has announced no European rings nor other distinguishing features for its winning post, though several other tracks have installed them because of the Shoemaker incident in the Derby. Stubborn, eh? ... Ed Sparrow recalls that Vice-President Charles Curtis attended old Havre de Grace to present flowers to Ed Burke and Jim Milton for not having missed a day at their posts there in 20 years. . . . Gough Thompson tells us he prefers his CCA Oaks candidate, Miss Lightfoot, to his Preakness aspirant, Inswept. . . . Mrs. H. C. Phipps tells us she will be present for the Preakness. Missed last Mondays Prep, in which Bold Ruler made a successful tour of the Hilltop. . . .The horse Preakness, for whom the race was named, was a notorious rogue. Finally was shot in a fit of anger. Made quite a scandal at the time.

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