Another man making his first pilgrimage to Du Quoin was Dick Richardson Jr., whose colt Golden Sovereign had come from preseason obscurity to prominence. In 13 starts this year the handsome chestnut had won eight times and finished second on four occasions. Richardson was happy enough with Sovereign that he skipped a final tuneup at the punishing Indiana state fair track and headed straight for Du Quoin, where he had some flashy workouts. Ned Bower, the trainer of Anvil, put the stopwatch on one of those exhibitions and announced that the horse had turned a 1:57 mile. "I heard he went that fast," sniffed Richardson, attempting to temper enthusiasm. "If he turned a 57, he'll go in 53 in the Hambletonian." But Richardson's confidence ebbed with the delay, and on Wednesday and Thursday he could be seen glumly searching the sky for signs of sunshine while Golden Sovereign stood idly in his stall, his nose pressed against the cage of an electric fan.
Meanwhile Haughton went around like a man in charge of a 12-to-l shot that might win, but only if a lot of other horses got sick. He talked about how the Hambletonian had never been kind to him. In his first go at it 25 years ago, a bridle snapped just as the starting gate pulled away. His luck had not been much better since. This year he showed up with another typical tale of woe. His trip to Du Quoin started badly in Long Island with a well-meaning assistant locking the keys to his car in the trunk. It ended seven hours later with his motel reservations being lost. In between there were missed and delayed airplane flights, arguments with clerks and general aggravations.
But luck changes. Christopher T. won the second division in impressive style from the eighth post as Golden Sovereign tired in the stretch and just managed to hold on to second place.
In the finale Anvil took the lead at the quarter pole but Dancer quickly urged Nevele Diamond to the front. Going down the backstretch Golden Sovereign was parked in seventh place and never would be a threat while Christopher T. was sitting fourth. They stayed that way until the three-quarter pole when Diamond gave up the ghost and Sing Away Herbert edged briefly into the lead. Halfway through the stretch, Haughton eased his colt on top and no one around him had any fight left. The old pro surveyed the situation on each side of him, leaned back in the sulky and gave a look that said, "Well, boys, it's Billy's day today."
It just proves that everyone likes a fair, only it takes some people longer to find out.