Early last week Jockey Milo Valenzuela was asked to ride Sadair, one of the favorites in Saturday's Arlington-Washington Futurity. A few days later Les Lear, Sadair's trainer, sent word to Valenzuela to forget it—he was putting Willie Shoemaker on the horse instead. Forget it, my foot, said Milo, and as Shoemaker and Sadair won a $134,925 purse he announced he was filing suit against Lear and Sadair's owner, Mrs. Mary Hecht, for $2 million.
After sourly observing four jockeys switch horses willy-nilly last spring just before the Kentucky Derby, we now are equally disturbed to see Valenzuela's plight, in which the situation is reversed. But it is patent that racing needs rules to control agreements between riders and trainers. To both it seems that business is business while ethics go by the board.
DON'T GO 'WAY MAD
Home in Puerto Rico last week, Golfer Juan ( Chi Chi) Rodriguez was talking up a hurricane, claiming the PGA had "barred" him from the U.S. Ryder Cup team because he was not born in the U.S. "I was hurt," said Chi Chi, hinting discrimination. "If they don't want me, there is no sense in my trying."
The fact is America's PGA wants Chi Chi—just as much as Great Britain's PGA wants South African Gary Player. But the PGAs do not make the Ryder Cup rules. Samuel Ryder did, in 1927, when he set up the trust establishing the biennial British-American competition. To be eligible, Ryder said, players must be "natives and residents of the U.S." (or Great Britain). And this, according to legal judgment, does not include such commonwealths as Chi Chi's Puerto Rico or Player's South Africa.
As greatly loved as any man in sport was Walter Augustine Brown, who died last week of a heart attack in Cape Cod Hospital. This love was but the echo of that which he gave to sport himself, for Walter Brown was passionately fond of every form of athletics in which man engages. He was most happily situated, therefore, in his positions as president of Boston Garden, the Boston Athletic Association, basketball's Celtics and hockey's Bruins. He had helped found the National Basketball Association and keep it afloat. For services to hockey, he was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
His ownership of sports teams was secondary to his fanship. When the Celtics or Bruins played at the Garden, Brown preferred to climb to one of the cheaper seats and lose himself in the crowd. There, without being conspicuous, he could cheer and rant and yell as he wished. That was why he was in sport—not for prestige, or money, or any other reason but the pure joy of it.