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John Galbreath's agreement with Italian Marchese Mario Incisa to lease Ribot, the remarkably successful European stallion whose get finished second and third in the Kentucky Derby last spring and one-two in the Preakness, for another three to five years of service in the U.S. is causing angry repercussions in Italy. Desmond McGowan, Rome correspondent of The Morning Telegraph, wrote last week, "The loss of Ribot has done incalculable harm to breeding in Italy.... European breeders have been led up the garden path and they can derive little satisfaction in the fact that all expenses will be paid if they still wish their mares to visit Ribot in Kentucky.... Galbreath only made the offer as a sop to Incisa's conscience."
McGowan added that "All this talk about Ribot having turned vicious is a lot of nonsense." But Galbreath's reason for keeping Ribot in the U.S. is precisely that—he says the horse is too dangerous to ship. Olin Gentry, Galbreath's farm manager, agrees completely, and all observers here admit that Ribot has always been an unruly stallion, although he was perfectly well behaved on the racecourse. Ribot has been known to have some pretty hairy hysterics in something so familiar as a stable stall.
"A man would be a fool to get in a plane with Ribot," Gentry said last August. "You'd have to kill the horse if anything went wrong."
IT HURTS RIGHT HERE, DOC
The chief medical officer for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, embarrassed by scattered complaints that the Clay-Patterson fight should have been postponed because of Floyd's back ailment, has recommended that the Nevada commission make revelation of any ailment or injury mandatory. Commission doctors would then determine whether the boxer was fit to fight.
Medical Officer Donald Romeo's suggestion sounds sensible enough in theory, but there would be difficulties in practice. In the specific instance of the Clay-Patterson match, Patterson suffered no worse symptoms prior to the fight than he had before many previous bouts from which he had emerged not only uninjured but victorious (SI, Dec. 6). Moreover, back ailments are notoriously hard to diagnose except by the most elaborate examinations. Would a fighter admit the existence of a handicapping, but not disabling, injury that had escaped the examiner's attention? Not likely. What if commission doctors pronounced him still able to fight? He would then have exposed his weakness to his opponent. It would be necessary, at the very least, to keep such examinations entirely secret.