THE QUALITY OF REMEMBRANCE
Saturday, May 5 was indeed A Day to Remember (SI, May 14), but less for the horse race in Kentucky than for the foot race in Los Angeles. It is always disappointing if a really not first-rate favorite wins a great race such as the Kentucky Derby. The history and traditions of the event carry the horse, rather than the horse making a contribution to the stature of the race. Needles is a game, sturdy and sometimes thrilling contender, but he lacks that quality of greatness that characterizes Swaps and Nashua. Perhaps it is Needles' seeming indifference. The great horses I have known—Man o' War, Native Dancer, even Tom Fool—all somehow communicated to their followers that sense of dedication to a great challenge every time they ran. You could feel it physically in the paddock.
The foot race was a different affair altogether. I doubt very much whether Bailey will ever achieve a four-minute mile again, or even come close. It was his countryman's great heart and superb will to succeed that carried Bailey to greatness for a day.
Landy himself is surely one of the most interesting figures of our day. His Hamlet-like analysis of the mind and matter of striving man, his matter-of-factness and his humble uncertainties are enormously appealing in an athlete. His dedication is only surpassed by that of Bannister. As performers, only the Hungarians can come close. And as a thinking man, constantly aware of man's physical inability to achieve what his mind can foresee, John Landy is a natural philosopher of some stature.
I am retired now here in Brooklyn, but still care deeply about the world in all its aspects. The world of sport has always been my own favorite, both as a spectator and as a not too indifferent participant, from schoolboy sports to old-age golf. SI was given to me by my alert daughter-in-law and I will ever be grateful to her.
GERALD SMITH SYMONDS
A PAT ON THE BACK to John Landy, the best ambassador of good will ever accredited. He talks like an angel and runs like a demon. If Australia has any sense, they will send him to Russia next. John would accomplish more in three-plus minutes than others have in three-plus years!
ON THE BUTTON
You hit hard and straight to the button with your issue of May 7.
To have Needles outside in full color was a fine bit of journalism, as well as a lucky one. Congratulations also to Whitney Tower for his very good preview of the race.
HERBERT BAYARD SWOPE
YOU ARE THERE
Very fine article, PREVIEW—THE KENTUCKY DERBY (SI, May 7). Although about 2,200 miles away from Louisville, I could almost smell the mint juleps and see the $6-combination windows. And when Mr. Tower had them coming down the stretch in his imaginative running account—although I was safely encamped in my living room—I actually reached back expecting someone to try to lift my wallet.
THE SPIRIT OF HORSE AND MAN
Thank you for the ANNIVERSARY picture of Omaha (SI, May 7). Not many people remember him, but, since he is "retired" near my home, in Omaha, he is a very dear horse to me. I had the pleasure of seeing Omahat, one of his "girls," win her first race last year at the Ak-sar-ben track, and it brought back much of the Omaha of younger days. Omaha is very old now but he still has the spirit of the fine race horse he was.
Much as I love horse racing and horses, that race between men (SI, May 14) was much the greater event of Derby day. I have followed Jim Bailey fairly closely and was very happy for him, although I was a bit put out that Ron Delany was given so little credit for the pacing job he did. But then Ron seldom seems to get credit that is his due.