Manuel Ycaza, the Panamanian who was once considered racing's most daring jockey, appears to be regaining that title—the hard, i.e., expensive, way. Last week he won the $119,200 Jersey Derby by six and a half lengths on Dr. Fager but was disqualified and placed last for herding the field on the first turn (page 26). Ycaza was given a 15-day suspension by the Garden State stewards. That, together with one he received earlier at Aqueduct, means he will be grounded for more than a month.
Before this recent outburst of rough riding, Ycaza's reputation had changed considerably. According to knowing horsemen, the fearless kid who two years ago would take almost any risk to win a race for the $2 bettor had become a more cautious and less effective rider. Security may have had something to do with it; he had gotten rich enough to worry about crippling injuries. Other jockeys had even more to do with it. "We got wise to him," one said not long ago. "He used to come into a tight spot and scream, 'I'm in trouble, I'm going down.' And usually we'd open up a little for him. Then we realized that he was overdoing it, and we stopped giving him the holes to go through."
As the holes closed in front of him, Ycaza began taking to the overland route and winners became scarce. Trainers felt he perhaps had lost his nerve, and he stopped getting good mounts. Now he appears out to prove he is the Ycaza of old. Last Saturday, when some jockeys were discussing his disqualification on Dr. Fager, one of them said, "I don't feel sorry for Manny or the horse's owner. You ask for trouble when you use Ycaza."
This kind of talk can only be soothing to Ycaza. He won't win any popularity contests, but he probably will win more races than he has in recent years.
HAVING A BALL
The big hit on campus around Central High School in Minneapolis these days is Ricky Raski. Ricky is the premier pinch hitter on Central's baseball team, and though he has never actually struck the ball his record is well-nigh perfect, largely because he is 39 inches tall. Opposing pitchers have managed to find his 14�-inch strike zone just three times in 20 at bats this season. Last week Washburn High publicly dared Ricky to swing. They brought in seven players and bunched them near home plate. Washburn's pitcher was, in effect, the lone fielder. But Ricky kept cool. The pitcher threw four times, and Central's specialist had his 21st straight walk. "My average may be .000 officially," he said. "But I like to think of it as 1.000."
BLOWING THE WHISTLE IN DIXIE
Oglethorpe College of Atlanta signed its first Negro athlete last week—William Sheats, a 6'5" forward from all-Negro Harper High.
Another ray of hope in the dawn of a new era, or words to that effect?
Not exactly. Leonidas S. Epps, the basketball coach at Atlanta's Clark College, said Sheats had previously signed a letter of intent to attend Clark, a Negro institution.