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POLITICIANS AT SEA
"Oh, when will you ever learn? When will you ever learn?" goes the question in a once-popular pseudo folk song, and the answer, when it comes to many legislators, can only be never. If there is any single fact that experienced boatmen are aware of, it is that age has nothing to do with competence at the helm. The way to make a good sailor is to start him young, the younger the better. Yet the first and only thing that the legislators of New York State can think of to put in a prospective bill for the licensing of boat operators is a restriction on their age.
This magazine is frequently appalled at the incompetence of many of those who put to sea in pleasure boats. It may one day even be ready to concede that power to restrict them to the beach be granted to some responsible and informed national agency—perhaps the U.S. Coast Guard. Right now, however, it sees no greater peril facing the sport of boating than the likelihood that it will be fouled up by legislative landlubbers.
THE HORSE MARKET BOOM
If you would like to buy a fashionable Thoroughbred these days be prepared to face the fact that prices for the best of them are wildly inflated. The trend began late in July when the annual yearling sales at Kentucky's Keeneland produced record prices. A record gross of $4,743,800 was paid for 271 horses, an unprecedented Kentucky average of $17,505 per horse. A Bold Ruler colt brought $170,000, the most ever paid for any yearling anywhere.
The action switched to Saratoga early in August, and there Keeneland's price was bettered slightly, when 212 yearlings averaged a record $17,763. The magazine The Blood-Horse commented: "A billy goat on a shank would have started at $2,000."
In October, E. P. Taylor held his annual prix-fixe sale of half his yearlings at Willowdale, Ont. Two years ago no one would pay the $25,000 he asked for Northern Dancer, whereupon Taylor raced the colt himself and won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and a batch of other big stakes. So it was that this year Jean Louis Levesque, another Canadian millionaire, paid $100,000 for a full sister of Northern Dancer. That was the highest price ever paid for a yearling filly at public sale.
Not all high-priced animals return their board and keep, and oldtimers like to point out that the most famous colt of them all, Man o' War, was a $5,000 bargain and that Miss Cavandish, a 3-year-old filly who has earned $280,000 and is still going strong, could have been had for a mere $1,500 in 1962. But then, of course, even a hamburger used to sell for a nickel once upon a time.