A porter and his bettor
One of the lesser-known facts about Prince Aly Khan, killed in France last week (see page 16), is that he was one of the biggest gamblers in the world. He bet often and he bet big. Most of the time he backed his own horses, as if to Vindicate his judgment of blood stock, but one of his greatest killings, �50,000 ($140,000), was a bet on Suzy Volterra's Phil Drake in the 1955 Derby at Epsom.
Aly bet mostly in Britain, where bookmaking is legal. When he was at the race courses himself, he bet with bookmakers at the track. When he was out of the country, he bet through George Criticos, the Greek-born head porter at London's Ritz Hotel. Criticos, who had been making bets for Aly since the Prince was 18, estimated that he placed at least a quarter of a million pounds in wagers for him over the past 30 years. Aly would bet up to �10,000 ($28,000) on a horse, usually "each way" (i.e., win and show). He would call or cable Criticos to place a bet, suggesting the price he should try to get. More often than not the bet ended up with Jack Wilson, Ltd., a bookmaking firm run by Dave Davis and "Beau" Goldsmith in London's Dover Street.
To the last, Aly's favorite races were the classics in which it is possible to bet at long odds months in advance. For the Derby June 1 at Epsom he had bets (now void, under British bookmaker rules) of �50,000 on his colt Charlottesville.
Over the years, Aly won about as much as he lost—good betting, as any steady gambler can attest. Although bookmakers had to wait for their money when he was out of the country, he died owing not a single penny. "When he lost," said Bookmaker Davis, "he never complained about jockeys or anything like that. He was a very good loser."
In the bag
"Hey!" chirps an ad in the Sunday funnies. "Baseball teams and fans! Boys and Girls! WIN A $20,000.00 BASEBALL PARK FOR YOUR TEAM OR LEAGUE FREE!" All the Boys and Girls! have to do to be the first on their block to own four grandstands, two dugouts, fences ("keeps out little kids"), a backstop, a pitching machine, an electric scoreboard, a press box ("For reporters, radio-TV announcers and VIP guests"), night lights, etc., is to send in the most "empty" candy bags. While the contest is a team affair, the company warns that it is "the most bags per player" which determines the winning team. "What really counts," they add, "is initiative and good old-fashioned teamwork." And, conceivably, a good old-fashioned box of bicarbonate.
The price of deer
Texas ranchers may be raising the wrong kind of livestock. The state fish and game commission reports that in one area deer brought a net return of $153.28 per head last year in fees paid for hunting privileges, whereas the return on cattle, sheep and goats was only $28.82 per head. What's more, deer require no capital investment other than land. And the same land which can support one 750-pound cow will support six deer.
He blew the whistle
When angry soccer players in Sydney, Australia threateningly surrounded Referee Eric Ilk, he yanked out an ultrasonic dog whistle and gave one quick, inaudible toot. A German police dog, standing by for just such an emergency, rushed out from the sidelines and frightened the players away.
Off the old block
Toots Shor's son Rory attends a private school in Manhattan called St. David's, where the faculty and boys take lunch together. Recently a teacher noticed that Rory, not content with merely passing the food around the table, was on his feet serving each boy personally and acting the gracious host. "How nice!" was her instinctive reaction. "Like father, like son."