BRAVO, BIG TEN!
If there is one detestable TV practice, it is having that little man in the red hat ram through a commercial by calling time out in a football game. Now the practice has been stopped, in the Big Ten at least.
Meeting in Iowa City last week, conference athletic directors voted to stop phony time-outs for commercials. From now on, sponsors will be able to pitch their wares only during normal lulls in the game. This will be good news to anyone who likes football, but it will be especially welcomed by coaches whose teams have been stopped short of a score by a defense given time to reorganize during a commercial. "Television is entitled to coverage on the basis of giving the viewer the best seat in the house," says Big Ten Commissioner Bill Reed. "Our conference takes the stand it will not adapt the game to television but rather would have television adapt itself to the game."
Bully for the Big Ten! Other conferences and pro football, please copy.
A year ago Mike Venezia was 19 and the hottest rider in the country. As an apprentice jockey or "bug boy"—so called because of the program asterisk used to designate the weight allowance—he rode more winners than any other apprentice in New York history (SI, Jan. 25). Was Venezia destined to continue breaking records as a jockey? "I won't know," he said, "until I lose the bug."
Last April 24 Venezia lost his bug, and by last weekend, he was on a 38-race losing streak. "I got set down for 20 days," he says. "That's what happened." His uncle-agent, Al Scotti, gloomily agrees. It is true that a jockey's business suffers during a suspension, when trainers find he can be replaced, but Venezia's market crashed qualitatively the day the bug flew. Forgetting about a 93-to-1 shot (which ran fourth), the 20 horses he rode in his last four days as a bug boy—after the suspension—carried an average price of 5.45 to 1, just about as good as anyone could have. The next 30 Venezia rode, bugless, averaged 12.10 to 1. Venezia has just been getting bad horses. Almost all the trainers who entrusted 177 favorites to him in New York last year have decided that it must have been the bug and not the boy that won 177 times, including six in one day. This is the fossilized way most trainers think, and Venezia's manifest versatility and talent will not change them.
With the likes of Walter Blum and Milo Valenzuela riding at Aqueduct, there is little chance for Venezia to get good mounts in what veteran Bill Boland calls the "toughest ever" big league of jockeys. Tracks are running in New Jersey and Chicago, but Venezia's bridges to these lesser leagues are burned. He is under contract to Greentree Stable, which runs its horses in New York and not too often.
Science has at last found a way to automate bullfighting by electronically transforming a brave bull into a creature as docile as Elsie the Cow. In experiments on electrical stimulation of the brain, Dr. Jos� Delgado, a Yale professor of physiology, inserted fine wire electrodes into the brain of a ferocious Spanish bull, bred in the best tradition of the brave. The electrodes were centered in that part of the brain which controls certain functions of personality and behavior, and when triggered by remote control, electric impulses set off a behavior pattern.