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"It's not really so strange," says Lear. "I was born on a farm in Grafton, N. Dak. and grew up with horses. Had 'em around all the time, rode 'em and loved 'em." Lear played his college football at the University of North Dakota, and after his stint in the National Football League he became a player-coach for the Calgary Stampeders.
"After a few years up there," says the old guard, who is now 47 and weighs 267 pounds, "I guess they got wise to me and fired me, so I went back to full-time horse training. I've had a license for 16 years."
Mrs. Hecht, unlike such smile-smooth winners as Mrs. Phipps and Mrs. Richard duPont, looks upon Sadair's Garden State success as something less than the big moment of her racing life. Was this your greatest thrill? she was asked. "Hell, no. I liked winning the Saratoga Special," she told Garden State representatives. "That was winner take all. Why isn't this race the same?"
Looking about as the huge Garden State crowd applauded her horse and Jockey Ycaza, Mrs. Hecht said, "We came here in the spring and got such lousy treatment I never wanted to come back." She looked aimlessly at the track officials loading the Sadair contingent with prize loot, and added, "The only reason we came back this time was for the check [$181,020]. Where is it, anyway?"
Mrs. Hecht will get her check, all right, and Sadair will gather many a friend and backer between now and the 1965 Kentucky Derby. In the months before the big day in Louisville her horse and a lot of other colts will be put to severe tests. Most of them will show, under trying conditions, that a useful, winning 2-year-old does not always make a classic 3-year-old. Bold Lad will discover whether he is to be the first son of Bold Ruler to head his division at a mile and a quarter. Sadair will find out if it helps to be the son of a South American sire named Petare who won his first race at Hialeah just four days after flying in from Caracas, then never won much of anything. A son of Ribot named Tom Rolfe is one that is worth watching, as are two Greentree colts named Groton and New Act and Mrs. Marion duPont Scott's Bosun, an unlucky colt who was forced to drop out of The Garden State when he came up with a slight stomach disorder.
But, as the chart below indicates, the early Derby favorite is Bold Lad, and then Sadair. For the time being, the rest are way up the track.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]