Newspapermen just naturally get him started, and he just naturally gets them started by dropping into conversation little rejoinders like "you don't know what you're talking about" and "you don't know how to run a newspaper." He calls them "bullies." He says it is his experience that "they don't gather facts, they slant facts."
Yet for all the abuse that is volleyed back and forth, newsmen wind up loving Saul Silberman, or at least respecting him. He has close friends among them. Milt Ellis, for one, is a regular at his home. Columnists Gordon Cobbledick, Ed Bang and Franklin Lewis practically begged him to stay in Cleveland. John S. Knight, the publisher of the Herald and owner of racehorses, has a box at Tropical. Saul finds he can take his troubles to Knight and get a sympathetic ear. Russ Harris and the racing editor of the
Miami News, Art Grace, say he is about the most honest thing going, and recently Jim Bishop wrote about him in the kind of glowing terms a proud, sensitive millionaire could appreciate. Julian Cole, the publicist, appreciated the column. He went running to Silberman. "What did you think of that, Mr. Silberman? Wasn't it great?" "He left out the part about me being in the Army," Saul replied glumly. "People are liable to think I was a shirker or something."
Years ago, when he was building houses, Saul Silberman made trips to New York and got an inferiority complex looking at the tall buildings. He wanted to work in New York. He thought he could move just as easily there as in Baltimore, "easier, maybe, because money is easier to get in New York." But he got over that. He became, instead, a man who built fancy turf clubs and passed out $20 bills to $2 bettors.
"I've lived a long time, and I don't think you can find anybody that knows me that would say I haven't played fair. I don't think anybody that made a real effort to find out would say I ever did an unclean, unfair thing in my whole life. But the things I've done in racing were done for the purpose of good business, pure and simple. Passing out the 20s, that's good publicity. It gives me a better image. At the same time, it's a pleasant way to get it."
So what is there left undone for Saul Silberman? A pic-eight? A plastic track? Green Stamps? Is there anything that would please him now, at 72—something that he would still like to do?
"Yes, there is," says Saul. "I'd like to win tomorrow's double."