Having read Mr. Richard Ballantine's letter (19TH HOLE, Oct. 16), I feel compelled to reply. To say that the magnificent performance of a champion like Damascus was "a tawdry performance worthy of a $75 nighttime handicap on a Midwestern carnival grounds" is absurd. I grant that it somehow seems unfair to force the pace with horses (Hedevar, Great Power) that were never intended to win; nevertheless, this strategy is permissible on the racetrack. Any sprinter must expect this when attempting a distance race. Concerning the other jockeys shouting at their horses and thereby exciting Dr. Fager—once again, this happens in most any race. It was not a brand-new tactic designed specifically for trial in the Woodward Stakes.
As for informing the betting public of the strategy to be used by the entries, anyone who bet Dr. Fager to win (presumably Mr. Ballantine did so), anyone who went to the track that day to see the race, or who had enough interest to write a letter of complaint about the tactics utilized, must certainly have been aware of the purpose of the entries. I myself thought Dr Fager's jockey would lay off the pace in an effort to conserve him for the finish. However, this did not occur and, therefore, no one can say whether Dr. Fager would have run a better race in this manner. At any rate, Damascus proved himself the better horse in the race. Unfortunately, every winner is accompanied by one or more losers and, in this case, the losers appear to have been Dr. Fager and Mr. Ballantine.
I do not feel that Dr. Fager's status as a true champion is in doubt. I feel the race should be viewed as an encounter of the best horses in training and not as a means for the $2 bettor to win 80�. Certainly there is always the desire to back one's choice, but there is no reason to offer excuses should he lose. Barring any mishap, there will be another day for Dr. Fager and, hopefully, for Mr. Ballantine as well.
Prospect Park, Pa.
The degree to which Mr. Stanley V. Wright's opinion (19TH HOLE, Oct. 16) on the proposed boycott of the Olympic Games by black athletes is "humble" has no relationship whatsoever to its accuracy. If Mr. Wright would take the time to talk to ghetto people or even read the surveys of white opinion, he would revise his figures drastically. His own selfish interest in this matter as one of the U.S. Olympic track coaches is enough to render his opinion unworthy of consideration.
As to the other letters on this matter from the so blatantly "liberal," "good," "well-meaning" white majority of your readers, they are full of the same old meaningless clich�s that are altogether useless to the vast majority of black people struggling for their freedom. I for one support Tommie Smith and applaud him as a genuine hero in this struggle.
JAMES H. SPRINGER
The Bronx, N.Y.
I read with great interest your note in the October 9 SCORECARD entitled "Low Men on the Totem Pole." At issue is your statement that the Super Sow Award was "invented" by Georgia Tech Offensive Line Coach Dick Best wick. I consider Bestwick one of the nation's finest coaches. Nevertheless, I must point out that, according to an article from the Oct. 5, 1966 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the idea for the "Hog" award was instead invented by Pitt's offensive line coach, Jim Royer. Bestwick was a member of the Pitt coaching staff last year, and it would be my suspicion that the idea was smuggled from Pitt to Georgia Tech.
It's tough enough when you're losing, like we are now at Pitt, but when you can't even get credit for inventing such things as the Hog Award, then you've got to wonder if there's justice in this world.
University of Pittsburgh