COME ON, VERDICT
The Kentucky Derby drugging case has finally gone to the jury. Having read or heard an estimated 1.5 million words of testimony, the five-man Kentucky State Racing Commission must now decide whether to back up the Churchill Downs stewards who found that Dancer's Image was drugged and that Owner Peter Fuller should be denied the winner's purse, or to accept the contention of Fuller's lawyers—that the tests which found Butazolidin in the horse's urine were badly made and inconclusive. If the commission now finds, as expected, enough evidence to support the stewards' original ruling, Fuller will doubtless take his case on to Kentucky's Franklin Circuit Court. There, it is to be hoped, Judge Henry Meigs will dig deeply enough to unearth explanations for the odd post-race behavior of some of the leading figures in the case, including Fuller's veterinarian, his two trainers, and even two of his lawyers.
So, apparently, we must leave to the slow and due processes of law the resolution of a scandal that should have been dealt with long ago by the Kentucky racing authorities themselves.
Next year Canada will issue a stamp honoring the ancient sport of curling. So it pays, after all, to let a few things slide.
AGAINST THE BIRDS
For $10,000 Joseph H. Fink will see to it next month that the tens of thousands of starlings that normally roost in downtown Washington, and particularly along Pennsylvania Ave., will not participate in the inauguration of Richard M. Nixon as the 37th President of United States.
Fink will supervise an eight-man crew in the spraying of 96 trees along the inaugural parade route with a compound that irritates birds' feet and offends their smell (but not the President's or ours). He developed the compound 22 years ago, and now, from his "National Bird Control Laboratory" in Skokie, Ill., he sells more than $700,000 worth of it every year. He has bird-proofed, among other things, Plymouth Rock, the statue of King George V in Brisbane, Australia, and every U.S. inaugural since 1953. He is too little appreciated.
UP IN THE AIR
When NBC-TV outraged the public by switching from the New York- Oakland game to Heidi, blowing a spectacular finish, did CBS-TV learn anything? Well, the Apollo 8 astronauts are scheduled to make a live telecast from 100,000 miles up, on their way to the moon, just before 3 p.m., Dec. 22. That would be well into the second quarter of the NFL Western Conference championship game to be carried by CBS. Who will be left hanging? Astronaut fans. The space pictures will be taped and shown at halftime. Even though that may enrage majorette fans.
PROCESSED DATA BOWL
Woroner Productions, Inc. of Miami, which gave us the alltime heavyweight championship tournament by computer ( Rocky Marciano beat Jack Dempsey in the finals last year, SI, Sept. 16) and is giving us the alltime middleweight tournament this year (Marcel Cerdan, Stan Ketchel, Jake La Motta, Sugar Ray Robinson, Dick Tiger and Tony Zale are still in contention), will presume next year to discover the alltime greatest college football team.