"Our captors didn't know how to play but wanted to learn," Major Leaphard reported. "They were very friendly and seemed to like the game. But whether they'll take it up permanently I couldn't say." In any event, they'll never be the same again.
This is the season when harness-racing fans have their ears cocked forward for tips on The Hambletonian, the sport's premier event, which will be raced August 29 at Du Quoin, Ill. We can provide a couple of tips, having just had a look at the best Hambletonian 3-year-olds at Roland Harriman's Goshen meeting (SI, July 9). The first is that the fillies are very much ahead of the colts at this point and are a fair bet to remain so until The Hambletonian. The second is that Safe Mission, the best 2-year-old colt last year, has gone rank on Driver Joe O'Brien and may not mend his manners in time to outtrot a big, strong Hoot Mon colt named A. C.'s Viking.
If The Hambletonian were held tomorrow, our $2 would be on the nose of Impish, the mischievous wonder filly who trotted a 1:58[3/5] mile at Lexington last fall and easily breezed away from a first-rate filly field at Goshen in 2:02[4/5]—a record for the Coaching Club Trotting Oaks. In a second heat she was overtaken in the stretch by her brilliant stablemate, Sprite Rodney, but managed to come on and nip her at the wire. It appeared that Driver Frank Ervin, with the hard campaign ahead in mind, had Impish under a cautiously stout hold. As for A. C.'s Viking, he had two rough trips—once going three horses wide in the clubhouse turn—yet won both his heats with power and authority.
A TIME FOR WEEPING
Ask the man who owned one and you'll see tears in his eyes. It's a rare minor business page announcement that stimulates regret for lost youth, but last week the news that the name Packard has been lopped permanently from Studebaker-Packard Corporation brought a painful twinge to many an old beau.
The first Packard was built in 1899 at Warren, Ohio. In its peak year the company built 109,000 cars. There still are some 200,000 registered Packards tooling around, but production of them wheezed to a final end four years ago.
An older sister remembers, misty-eyed, that the open Packard, along with the Stutz Bearcat and Mercer roadster, was one of the top girl-bait automobiles of all time. "No equipage, not even the golden coronation carriage of the British royal family," she said, choosing her words with solemn care, "ever gave a girl the feeling of absolute swank that she got from sitting behind the hinged tonneau windshield of a phaeton, as it purred elegantly down the main street of town with the wind blowing free through her shingled bob."
Even the old Packard showroom had elements of magic. "You didn't just glance in the window," she said. "You spent time admiring the sturdy trunk rack, the massive headlights, the voluptuous feel of the heavy Safe-T-Grip steering wheel, the dashing custom-nickeled wire wheels, the snazzy spare in its canvas shield, the slick flowing line of the mudguards and adjoining running board, the yielding, sensuous feel of the chaste brown-leather upholstery."
And now the Packard is no more. Farewell, sweet Packard. Goodby, dear old girl bait. This isn't the right world for you, anyway.