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The writer notes that Secretariat's record time of 1:59[2/5] in this year's Derby is "only about eight seconds faster than that of Ben Brush, who won the Derby in 1896, the first year it was run over the 1¼ mile distance.
"That," he says, and one must tend to agree, "seems a meager return indeed for the millions of dollars invested over the years in the improvement of thoroughbred racehorses."
In contrast, he observes, today's human athletes are markedly better than those of a generation or so ago. "Track stars do not trace their lineage to Jim Thorpe or Jesse Owens," he says, "and no geneticist, so far as is known, can claim credit for Bill Walton."
He makes the point that since 1895 human runners have cut the world's record for the mile by roughly 26 seconds and that the Olympic record for the 1,500 meters is 31 seconds faster than the mark set by a Briton 73 years ago. "If this trend continues," he says, "in a thousand years or so a man may be able to run a mile faster than a thoroughbred can cover the Derby distance."
The editorial concludes that "the horsemen's obsession with genealogy has been a terrible mistake" and that the chance pairing of stallions and mares "will arouse much more interest among sports fans than all the mumbo jumbo about a colt's heritage."
"I hate to think," said one horseman, "that anyone in Kentucky knew that little about racing and breeding."
It's something to consider. Maybe.
THE BIGGER THEY ARE
The notion that the heavier the boxing glove the less it can hurt is all but universal in boxing. But according to a neurosurgeon, Dr. Harry Kaplan, the reverse is true. At a seminar held in Boston in connection with the AAU boxing championships the doctor reported that "using a heavier glove is like putting a cudgel in someone's hand, especially if the glove is made heavier by water or sweat. The bigger glove is more dangerous."