LARK ON THE RISE
Choosing a champion among 1960's 3-year-old Thoroughbreds has been an unrewarding job. Of the prime pretenders, Venetian Way was a flop after he won the Kentucky Derby, and Bally Ache has been as erratic as the path of a hurricane. Others are already retired to the sick bay. In Atlantic City last Saturday, however, T.V. Lark made his first start on grass and whipped probably the best handicap field assembled this year. This was the $100,000 United Nations, and when a colt beats the best of the older horses in this kind of weight-for-age race, over a mile and three-sixteenths, he deserves considerable respect. The race also confirmed what many horsemen have assumed: if someone battles it out with the front-running Bally Ache right from the start, the latter will not be able to last a decent distance. Intentionally ran with Bally Ache instead of letting him set a false pace, and Bally Ache had to hang on at the end to save third place. If T.V. Lark runs—and wins—in this weekend's Woodward at Aqueduct, again against older horses, the "classical" generation may have acquired an authentic champion
THE BULL BUMS
Monde�o, a tall, slim matador, strode toward the plumpish lady sitting in a barrera seat in Salamanca, the heart of Spain's bull-breeding country. "I dedicate the death of this bull to you, se�ora," he said, and tossed her his hat.
The lady was Mrs. Tighe ( Tiger) Nickalls, wife of a British horseman and journalist, and a member of a burgeoning Anglo-American social set on the Continent. The set is called, even by its own members, "the bull bums."
Bull bums follow the fairs during the bullfight season, and they are bums in name only. Most are well dressed and well off. They stay at the best hotels, eat at the right restaurants, think nothing of driving 600 miles in a day to follow their favorite bullfighter. The most conspicuous of this season's crop of bull bums is a 51-year-old bearded bachelor named Kenneth H. Vanderford. He has tooled his Karmann Ghia 10,000 miles so far this season, has seen 94 fights, expects to log 100. Vanderford, a Ph.D. in Spanish at the University of Chicago, worked for an oil company in South America for 17 years. He invested his money and graduated into bull bummery. "As long as the stock market doesn't go to hell, I can stay here," he explains.
In a baseball cap and sports shirt, the white-bearded Vanderford looks more like Ernest Hemingway than Hemingway, and he plays his part to the hilt. He is not averse to signing Papa's name for autograph seekers, a practice which caused the tolerant Hemingway to comment in Madrid: "I don't care if he signs my name as long as he doesn't sign checks." He doesn't.
Also on the circuit is Alice Hall, a 57-year-old retired Georgia school-marm. "Lady Hall," as she once was named by Spain's bullfight weekly, El Ruedo, speaks grammatically perfect Spanish with a cornpone-and-paella accent. She has been following the bulls since the debuts of Cesar Giron and Litri, and her filing-case memory can bring back a veritable Death in the Afternoon of facts and figures. She teaches Spanish in the winter, bums the bulls each summer.
There are others: Virginia Smith, a 28-year-old Long Islander, who has logged more corrida miles this summer than anyone except the ersatz Hemingway and a few matadors; the Honorable Christopher Beckett, a colonel in Her Majesty's army, who feels that bullfighting has deteriorated "because the matadors want to live until tomorrow"; and Diane Staebell, a 32-year-old U.S. Embassy secretary in Madrid who has pressed in her dreambook of memories three ears cut by Antonio Ord��ez, her hero. Hemingway himself is present this year, and so are a whole set of Lady Brett Ashleys who are more interested in the tight-suited torreros than they are in the bullfight itself.
THE EVER-NORMAL JACKPOT
What is home without a slot machine? An empty place indeed. Mrs. Dorothy Nogard, a 35-year-old divorcee of Fair Lawn, N.J. felt that her children and their little friends in the neighborhood would profit from a thorough knowledge of cherries, lemons and Bell Fruit gum. Explaining the presence of a full-size slot machine in her living room to a party of crusading police raiders, she said: "I let my own children—one 8 and one 12—and their friends play the machine with nickels that I supplied, and, of course, I took the nickels back when they finally got them out of the machine."