This year's Kentucky Derby notwithstanding (see page 20), the best 3-year-old horse in the country may still be Brookmeade Stable's Bowl of Flowers, who won six of eight races and $198,706 last season, and in her first start of 1961 last Thursday casually galloped away from a field of four.
Elliott Burch, Bowl of Flowers' trainer and the same young man who helped to make Sword Dancer the Horse of the Year in 1959, stood by his barn at New York's Belmont Park the morning after the race and answered a few questions about his filly.
Q. The Brookmeade Stable had nominated Bowl of Flowers for the Triple Crown. Why did you decide not to start her in the Derby?
A. Mrs. Sloane [ Isabel Dodge Sloane, Brookmeade's owner] and I both felt that it was more important for her to win the Triple Crown for fillies, and we still think so. Bowl of Flowers will run in the $50,000 Acorn on May 20, $75,000 Mother Goose on June 10 and the $100,000 Coaching Club American Oaks on June 24.
Q. Some people have thought all along that Bowl of Flowers could have beaten this year's 3-year-old colts without too much trouble. Was a lot of pressure put on you to try the Triple Crown races?
A. Yes, although pressure is probably not the right word. An inordinate amount of interest might be a better way of expressing it.
Q. Neither Mrs. Sloane nor yourself has ever won a CCA Oaks, although you had a good chance in 1958 with Big Effort. How would you rate Bowl of Flowers with Big Effort?
A. I'd say that Big Effort was no such horse as Bowl of Flowers.
Q. Won't there now be "an inordinate amount of interest" to get her to run in the Preakness and the Belmont?