Kirstein laughed. "Silent Billy? The longest sentence I ever heard him say was, 'Eh.' "
Count de Montesson and a small party flew in from Paris for the race. Their arrival was greeted with less than warmth by Kirstein, who believes the French Revolution fell a little short. "He's a cold fish," growled Dayan's owner. "He's royalty, and that stuff is dead, only he don't know it. The only royalty I know is a horse that can race under two minutes."
Ignoring Kirstein, the count made plans for a few days of celebrating in Las Vegas after the race. "I'm going to lose all the money I win," said Une de Mai's trainer-driver, Jean-Ren� Gougeon. "I don't know this Super Bowl. I have never seen him. On paper he surely looks good. But Une de Mai looks very calm. That is good. She will have a very good race."
In spite of the experts and flaunting tradition, the fans sent Super Bowl off as the 4-5 favorite. Among them was Rochester, Jack Benny's ex-all-round man, who said, "You can't pick against the Bowl."
As expected, Dayan came swooping to challenge for the lead, but as they came out of the turn Super Bowl was on top and everybody else fell into line. "I was just teasing Billy," Dancer said later. Halfway through the backstretch Une de Mai made one small move: up on the outside from fifth place to fourth, but then the mare fell back a bit, and she was never heard from again.
When they passed the half-mile mark in 59[4/5], Dancer figured he was in for an easy ride. All the mature horses were waiting for someone to challenge, but none did. Not until they straightened out in the stretch, when Flower Child came pounding from fourth place to chase Super Bowl to the wire, only to lose by three-quarters of a length. Oppy, a 57-1 long shot, was third, followed by Dayan and then Une de Mai.
"I guess Super Bowl is for real," said Jim Dennis. "He sure wasn't short tonight."
Super Bowl won in 1:57[4/5], his 12th mile under two minutes this year, which is a record for all harness horses. The winner's purse fattened his 1972 earnings to $439,211, which wiped out Nevele Pride's previous single-season record. The American Classic will be Super Bowl's last race before retiring to stud. Albatross moves on to Hollywood Park for the $50,000 Western Pace Nov. 24 and the $100,000 American Pacing Classic Dec. 1, and then he will be retired.
"Between them," said Dancer, "they will be just short of earning $1 million by the time they finish this year. That has to be some kind of a record. With them gone, I don't know what I'll do next year. They are going to be an awfully tough act to follow. But, you know, I've got some darn nice yearlings down on the farm. There's this one Nevele Pride colt...."