Grandpappy Longden, still a tough man at 57, does not agree. "I expect to get days if I'm wrong," he said last week, "but I also expect to see any other rider get days when he's wrong." A few hours after offering this testimony Longden was suspended five days for careless riding. "It's like I said," he groaned. "It looks like they're out to get me and nobody else."
Jockey Don Pierce has a more plausible explanation for the difficulties encountered while riding at Santa Anita. "It is rougher, maybe, because the competition among the top jocks is so close," he says. "Also, this is a one-mile track instead of a mile-and-an-eighth, which means you have tighter turns."
Santa Anita's presiding steward, J. J. Tunney, says that proof the officiating is good lies in the fact that at this track there are more stewards' inquiries than claims of fouls by jockeys. A survey comparing the 1963-64 Santa Anita meeting and the first 55 days of New York's 1964 Aqueduct meeting shows that in New York there were 29 inquiries; 21 of them were foul claims by the jocks and eight were stewards' inquiries. At Santa Anita over the same period there were 21 inquiries, of which 13 were instituted by the stewards. "How can they say we are lax?" asks Tunney.
In any event, lax is no word to apply to Dr. Strub's brainchild, for Santa Anita is charging tensely ahead. Its fans even think that Bill Perry's Jacinto may be the western answer to Hialeah's Bold Lad and Sadair come Kentucky Derby time. And though Santa Anita may have an endlessly growing population to draw from and an all but captive audience, it never forgets the old Strub thesis about image and effort. Bob Strub obviously learned a lot from his father, and it wasn't dentistry.