Just when the track thought it had its problems solved, or at least shelved, a roiling night fog began to bedevil the meeting. One evening two weeks ago the crowd had to be sent home after the sixth race. "Aw, let us stay. We'll bet," fans shouted, though no one in the stand could see the finish line. Last Friday, the night of the $75,000 American Classic Trot, fog moved in again. Patrol judges stationed around the track tried to call the third race for the crowd as the field passed their vantage points. When the horses moved into the final turn the judge at the 5/16ths pole reported, "I can hear them but I can't see them." Some of the crowd of 11,794 saw the mare that finished first enter the winner's circle but no one saw her leave as fog smothered the track. The rest of the card, including the Classic, was canceled.
On Saturday fog shut Hollywood Park for the third time. A track official muttered, "Maybe we should have hired the guy who came to us after the first fog. He claimed he could call in winds to blow fog away. He said in 1941 he called winds up from Dallas to Winnipeg and sent them east to Moscow to freeze out Hitler. I asked him how he called the winds, and he told me it was the same way you call elephants—with your fingertips."
Perhaps turning off the fog is no more extraordinary than turning on the scent of your Christmas tree.