In a disputed purchase, the University of Kentucky has been awarded the late Elizabeth Arden Graham's Maine Chance Farm, 720 acres of rich lands that lie just outside of Lexington in the very heart of the rolling Bluegrass country. The university also owns 2,100 acres adjacent to Maine Chance—lands that are standing more or less idle, with pigs instead of Thoroughbreds as tenants. Someday, says the university, it might use its new property to contain an equine research institute. But these plans are distant, and their value to Fayette County—which gets not a cent of land taxes from school property—and to the entire Kentucky horse-breeding industry are tentative and somewhat random.
These conclusions are relatively even more evident since Rex Ellsworth, the California breeder and owner, heads a syndicate that also wants to buy the property—and use it. Not only would Ellsworth bring his 700 head of horses from California, but he also plans to invest $3.5 million more in improvements that would immediately benefit the community and the horsemen. One plan, for instance, calls for a year-round public training track.
He also wants to conduct yearling sales. Nearby Keeneland at present has a state monopoly on such sales, and has so staunchly supported the university's purchase that it has been named a co-defendant in a $30 million restraint-of-trade suit that Ellsworth filed last week. His group originally bid $1,942,000—$58,000 less than the university's offer—but Ellsworth maintains that he had an understanding with the executors that he could raise his bid if it were topped. The option was never honored. Curiously, the attorney for the bank handling the transaction and for the Keeneland and Breeder Sales Co. is the same man. Ellsworth has now raised his bid to $2,058,000 but has received no response.
The university avers it will hold on to its new acquisition. Whenever the "proposed equine research institute" is at last placed on the marvelous fallow lands, it might be appropriate for the initial research project to examine the decline of the Kentucky horse industry.
THE KING'S NEW SUIT
Moralists who study swinging England should find interest in the latest British athletic rationale. In one pronouncement, the Channel Swimming Association has declared that Linda McGill, a 21-year-old Australian, will not be permitted to swim the Channel in the buff. Whether nude or even just plain old topless, says the CSA, Miss McGill will not check out to standards of "appropriate swimming costume." Miss McGill thinks banning the skinny-dip trip is a raw deal, and plans to push off anyway sometime in the next couple of weeks—attired in goggles, cap and a coat of grease.
At the same time British tennis poohbahs are unofficially examining a plan that originated in Germany whereby a category of so-called "authorized amateurs" would be established. This reform (that's what they call it) would permit amateurs to license themselves as "authorized." They could then play for cash legally—just as they are doing now illegally—and yet they would still be accepted as 100% amateur. Having wallowed in authorized hypocrisy for so long, tennis apparently can now find no way out of its morass except through an even more ridiculous evasion of reality.
But the opportunities for this new morality are boundless. Surely Miss McGill can convince the CSA to let her proclaim herself an "authorized swimmer"—one who is quite naked, but who shall be accepted as dressed. Besides, the tax boys may be after the tennis players, but who's going to tell on Miss McGill?
SEE AND SKI