"I swear to god I never did mat," Patin told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He was unavailable for comment to SI. Dallas Keen, Valhol's trainer, stands by his jockey. "I believe my rider," Keen says. "The horse is legit. The horse is a winner."
Shortly after Valhol crossed the finish line at Hot Springs' Oaklawn Park, a member of the maintenance crew found what Oaklawn officials call "an electrical device" on the track. ESPN footage of the race seems to show a small object drop past Valhol's left shoulder as Patin rides the horse through the clubhouse turn after the race. Oaklawn won't pay Valhol's $300,000 winner's purse until the matter is settled. "I saw some video that was pretty damning," says Oaklawn spokesman Terry Wallace. "We feel like someone is trying to steal our reputation," says Wallace.
Valhol's chance of running in the May 1 Kentucky Derby is in doubt. Not since 1994 has an Arkansas Derby winner failed to run for the roses, but if there are more than 20 horses entered, Churchill Downs officials select horses on the basis of their graded stakes earnings, and without his Arkansas winnings the slender chestnut probably won't qualify. Valhol's owner, Jim Jackson, has threatened legal action if his horse is kept out of the Derby. "They're not only playing with my horse, they're playing with my reputation," says Jackson, echoing Valhol's doubters at Oaklawn.
Simpson Gets Mugged
Stick 'Em Up, O.J.
On April 13 O.J. Simpson found himself in hot pursuit of an assault suspect on the streets of Los Angeles. The LAPD's summary report reads: "At 1605 hours Mr. O.J. Simpson had just completed a game of golf at Griffith Park Course. As he was changing his shoes at the rear passenger door of his vehicle, he was approached by a Male Caucasian, 40-45 years, armed with a handgun. Mr. Simpson fearing for his safety offered the suspect his wallet. The suspect ordered Mr. Simpson to the rear of the vehicle. Mr. Simpson distracted the suspect and grabbed the handgun. A struggle ensued, however, the suspect maintained custody of the firearm. The suspect abandoned the attempt[ed] robbery and fled to his vehicle parked two parking stalls away. The suspect fled in a possible late model white van."
Simpson gave chase in his own van, but the assailant—whom the Juice said looked like "a regular solid citizen"—drove recklessly, running red lights. O.J. called the LAPD on his cell phone. The police told him to give up the chase, and he obeyed.
Simpson suffered a small cut on his right hand, but he says he inflicted some damage as well. During the scuffle he bit his attacker, who remains at large.
Quarterback Draft of '99
Bishop to Pawn
After a season in which Kansas State's Michael Bishop threw for 2,844 yards and rushed for 748 more, finished second in the voting for the Heisman Trophy and won the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's best college quarterback, it wasn't too farfetched for Bishop to declare last weekend, "Everybody in America knows what I can do." But the NFL's draft cognoscenti were not impressed. Bishop watched and waited while 226 players—including 10 quarterbacks and three punters—were drafted before the Patriots selected him in the seventh round.
The 6'1" Bishop has decent speed (a 4.7 40) and a cannon arm—he once threw a ball 93 yards in the air. He also knows how to win. His record as a starter in junior college and college was 46-3. The knocks on Bishop are that he has an unconventional release and improvises too much. Scouts say his future might be at wide receiver or defensive back, where he can put his athleticism to better use, or in the CFL. Bishop, though, insists he can play quarterback in the NFL. "I know I've got the tools," he says. "All I need is the chance."