WHICH WAY DE JUDGE?
The Rick Barry option-clause case becomes, as Alice said, "curiouser and curiouser." Judge Walter Carpeneti ruled that Barry could not be held in a sort of involuntary servitude by the San Francisco Warriors of the NBA and could play with the Oakland Oaks of the ABA. The judge also decided that the damages to the Warriors amounted to $356,000 for the Barry jumping but said his court had no right to award such damages, and he doubted, anyway, if the Warriors could ever get it. "This last finding may be an example of complete futility," he wrote.
At first look, then, the case seems to have been a solid victory for Oakland, but Judge Carpeneti announced immediately after his verdict that he thinks his decision is unfortunate and rather hopes that he will be reversed by a higher court. "I would have preferred to find for the plaintiff [the Warriors]," he said, "but the law is such, I could not. It is a sad situation when a man like Franklin Mieuli [Warrior owner] could pioneer in bringing a sport to an area, take all the gambles, run all the risks, lose some $900,000 in the process and then—when success was beginning to come—see a competitor barge in and steal his star attraction."
The judge suggested that the Warriors appeal and even intimated that an appeals court might enjoin Barry from playing for the Oaks, pending its decision.
VICTORY IN ESCROW
The invitation was bordered in his green and gold racing colors: "Dancer's Image invites you to join in celebrating his victory in the 1968 Kentucky Derby, and his entry into Stud, at a dinner dance on Saturday, the seventh of September at seven o'clock, Lea House, North Hampton, New Hampshire."
Peter Fuller, the owner of the Derby winner who was drugged and later disqualified by the stewards at Churchill Downs, apparently is not choosing to believe the whole thing happened.
For that matter, the members of the Kentucky State Racing Commission, who must rule on Fuller's appeal, don't seem to be choosing to face up to the facts, either.
In the meantime, while the commissioners dawdle, the Derby purse goes undistributed. The $165,100 is still deposited in the racetrack's account in Louisville's Citizens Fidelity Bank & Trust Co. In the end, the money may force the Commission into making a decision. Quite understandably, the owners of Forward Pass, Francie's Hat, T.V. Commercial and Kentucky Sherry are looking for their share.
Fuller probably would settle for the glory.