Skier Nancy Greene and Golfer George Knudson have bought shares in a horse that may start in next month's Kentucky Derby. In fact, a number of people, including Shelley Berman and Lady Iris Mountbatten, have rushed to get some of the action—if you can call it that. The horse, a Canadian filly named Annabelle, has raced four times in claiming events, and her best effort so far is a third at Greenwood.
A Toronto newspaperman, Paul Rimstead, and a photographer, Fred Ross, bought her at public auction last June for $1,100. They had had several drinks before their purchase, and the filly has led them to have quite a few since. For example, the new owners gave Annabelle a swinging coming-out party at Fort Erie last summer. Jockey Club officials looked on with very dry smiles but said nothing in view of Annabelle's following. On several occasions the filly appeared on television, and a Dixieland band was hired to accompany her to the races. Recently Rimstead and Ross decided they would exhibit Annabelle at Louisville. To meet the expenses, however, it was necessary to sell shares in her (the shareholders will be considered owners for one race only, the Derby), which called for another party. A suite in Toronto's most distinguished hotel, the Royal York, was rented, and mint juleps were served up (300 went down in 30 minutes). Annabelle arrived at the party via the freight elevator. She was subdued, and the rumor was that she was under heavy sedation, though with Annabelle that can be difficult to tell.
Rimstead and Ross hope to sell 5,000 shares in Annabelle at $1 each. Nobody will be allowed to buy more than one, but it is apparently hard to restrain the speculators. "We sold 500 shares the first day after Annabelle's party," Rimstead said.
The person least amused is the Director of the Ontario Securities Commission, Harry Bray. He has declared that selling shares in Annabelle is illegal "without first filing a prospectus."
A prospectus on Annabelle's worth? Aw, that would ruin all the fun.