Once the group had the colt, they agreed on the name of Wajima at Yoshida's recommendation. It is the name of a 27-year-old, 6', 275-pound Sumo wrestler, Japan's grand champion since 1973. Wajima literally means "Circular Sea," but the wrestler has the reputation of being the playboy of the Eastern world. He is a high liver who drives a gleaming ivory Lincoln Continental.
DiMauro got Wajima to the races quite late. It was Sept. 21 of his 2-year-old season before he first ran, and he won. His debut had been delayed by that most common of horse injuries, bucked shins. Wajima ran only three more times and won once before being tucked away for the winter. One of the defeats was a very good second in the Laurel Futurity. Everyone assumed that he would start a march toward the Triple Crown and fight it out with the unbeaten 2-year-old champion, Foolish Pleasure. But after finishing fifth in the Bahamas at Hialeah at the end of January, Wajima developed a splint on the inside of his left foreleg and had to be taken out of training again, this time until June.
DiMauro had been a jockey for many years but had to quit when his weight got too high, and when he first started training he had to gallop horses to make ends meet. At one stage he had a one-horse stable, Eighteen Crosses—which was claimed from him. DiMauro claimed Eighteen Crosses back, only to discover that the horse had bowed a tendon. It took him a year to get Eighteen Crosses back on the racetrack. Then the horse won at first asking.
Slowly, DiMauro's career developed. In his biggest year before this one his horses earned a little more than $600,000. In 1975 the figure so far is more than $1 million, for in addition to Wajima he also trains Dearly Precious, the 2-year-old filly who has rattled off seven straight stakes and could well be the Ruffian of 1976.
When Wajima began racing again in June he won two allowance events and finished second in the Saranac and Dwyer Handicaps. Since then he has been spectacular, winning the Marylander at Bowie, the Monmouth Invitational, the Travers, the Governor and the Marlboro, in order. His next race may be the Woodward Stakes in New York in September or the richest handicap ever to be run in this country, the $350,000 National Thoroughbred Championship at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.
Late last Saturday Jim Scully watched the rerun of the patrol films of Wajima's Marlboro victory. "Well," he said, "he's worth every bit of that $600,000 now, isn't he?" And then some.