A pilot program to train Vietnam veterans and disadvantaged persons for careers in the standardbred industry has been started by Bernard Hammer, executive secretary of the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission. The commission hopes thereby to ease the unemployment problem and increase the number of skilled grooms available.
Chances for trainees to become grooms are almost 100%, Hammer said.
"When a man leaves our training program," he promised, "he will have a thorough understanding of every phase of harness racing. We will screen them to find the best prospects, with priority openings going to disadvantaged persons or veterans who either have a background in caring for horses or those showing a deep interest in horses." The program, a special 12-week course developed by Penn State University, is open to both men and women. The Animal Science Extension of the university will provide instruction in the feeding, management, conformation and breeding of horses.
A STAR IS ABOUT TO BE BORN
When baseball holds its annual free-agent draft June 5, first choice is expected to be David Clyde, a left-handed pitcher from Houston's Westchester High School. Tales about Clyde are as tall as those about every team phenom from Clint Hartung to Nolan Ryan.
He has pitched eight no-hitters, including two in a row, and has averaged two strikeouts per inning this season.
Lou Fitzgerald, a Phillies scout, watched Clyde pitch recently but said, "I don't know why I'm here. We won't get a shot at him. We don't draft until second."
Said Dodger Scout Ben Wade: " David Clyde is the best-looking pitching prospect I've seen in the free-agent field. I mean the best ever, and I've seen a lot of them. I just wish we had a chance at him, but he'll be long gone by the time we get to draft."
There is little doubt that Clyde will be drafted by the Texas Rangers, who desperately need pitchers. But will they send him to the minors for seasoning?
"It would be a waste of time to send Clyde to the minors," says Doug Osburn, a Rice University baseball coach who has followed Clyde since his Little League days. "He knows everything there is to know about baseball. About all he could learn in the minors is how to order meals on the road."