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But, hush, a friend of ours knows a guy who has heard of a guy who thinks more direct action is needed. He manufactures and places in strategic locations a fine imitation turtle that has under its soft, appealing shell a few nails driven through the baseboard and pointing up. Instead of a thunk, the sound is more like BLAM!
CLOAK AND STAGGER
After 18 years gathering dust in our national attic, the Smithsonian Institution, Exhibit No. 16020 will be returned to its rightful place in the Hall of Osteology, the natural history museum.
Exhibit No. 16020 is the skeleton of Lexington, the best thoroughbred of his age (1852-55) at two, three and four years and afterward America's finest sire. His 16 crops of 533 reported foals produced 238 winners. Lexington led the sire list from 1861 until two years after his death in 1875. One of his sons was Preakness, for whom the classic was named; three others were Preakness winners—Tom Ochiltree (1875), Shirley (1876) and Duke of Magenta (1878).
In 1878 A. J. Alexander, owner of Kentucky's Woodburn Stud, agreed to let the Smithsonian have Lexington's skeleton. The bones were disinterred, assembled, mounted, and for about 78 years displayed in a corner of the museum.
Then, in 1956, there was a reorganization of exhibits and old Lexington was packed away with other mammals under its rafters. One of the first to miss him was a racing writer for the Washington Post who went looking a few years ago and wrote a piece for his paper about Lexington's exile. Talk ensued of lending the bones to the racing museum at Saratoga, but nothing came of that. Finally, responding to the urging of the American Horse Council, Dr. Henry Setzer, curator of the Smithsonian's Division of Mammals, announced that Lexington would be dusted off and brought back downstairs. In October he will be once more on display.
There have been more dramatic stories of equine rescue, from Black Beauty to Disney's The Miracle of the White Stallions, but the Rehabilitation of Exhibit No. 16020 has the rattle of truth.
When Heather McKay turned professional earlier this year, she said, "I intend to retire without another loss." This was hardly good news for her competition, which might gladly have preferred a simple declarative sentence like, "I quit." Mrs. McKay, you see, has not lost to another woman since 1962.