At that point Orange County finally began work on the long-proposed expansion, as though to say, "We may not have a team but, look, we do have a stadium." Construction proceeded until recently, when people noticed that new steel beams supporting one end of the arena were distinctly bowed. Amid a chorus of denials of responsibility from architect, contractor, steelwork designer and others, a consulting firm was hired. Their report verified the bowing of the beams and cited 30 structural faults, including shaky stairways and inadequate bracing. The problems are correctable, engineers say, but how long will it take and how much will it cost?
Poor Orlando, without a pro football team to its name and with December's Tangerine Bowl game in jeopardy. Yet one local man, either an incurable optimist or a total cynic, sees it all as a great opportunity. Aware of the hordes of tourists that come to Orange County to visit Disney World, he proposes that the T Bowl's troubles be widely publicized. After all, he says, if a leaning tower in Pisa can draw crowds, why not a sagging stadium in Orlando?
HOGGING THE NEWS
The pig those Florida high school boys adopted as a mascot and which they said they planned to have as the main course at a postseason dinner (SCORECARD, Oct. 13) has gained supporters of its own. Eating the pig, its fans say, is a terrible idea, barbaric, possibly un-American. A Cleveland disc jockey named Larry Morrow talked of organizing a pignapping that would save the animal from its barbecued future, and he later offered football Coach Tom Sargent $200 for Big Red. Morrow spoke of stashing the animal on Larry Csonka's Ohio farm, since no clear-thinking Florida high school football player would try to get a pig-skin, even with pig inside, away from Csonka.
Other, less imaginative, critics complained to the school, and principal Donald Linton came under pressure to do something about the pig. Four state legislators offered to give the team a barbecue if they would spare Big Red. That idea fell through when Linton asked what they planned to eat at their barbecue. He added that there was nothing he could do about keeping the players from having the pig for dinner. After all, he pointed out with impeccable logic, they had paid for it with their own money.
NONWINNER AND STILL CHAMP
The eighth race at Belmont last Friday, the Firethorn, was an ordinary $20,000 allowance open to "3-year-olds and upwards which have not won $6,600 three times over a mile since April 26...." Such complex conditions, common in racing, are designed to bring together horses of roughly the same class, but sometimes a loophole lets a trainer slip a superior horse into an inferior race, which is what happened in the Firethorn. LeRoy Jolley, trainer of Foolish Pleasure, was casting about for something his colt could use as a tune-up before going to California for the $350,000 National Thoroughbred Championship on Nov. 1. Even though Foolish Pleasure had earned more than $711,000 this year and was only a few thousand short of $1 million for his career, he had won only twice since April 26—the $125,000 Kentucky Derby in May and the $350,-000 match race against ill-fated Ruffian in July. Under the conditions, he was eligible for the Firethorn and was duly entered. It looked like a soft touch for the Derby winner.
But nothing is easy. Danny Lopez, trainer of the good 4-year-old handicap horse Stonewalk, also had noticed the Firethorn. Stonewalk had earned $186,405 this year and nearly half a million in his career, but he, too, had won only two big races since April 26. Lopez entered him and then discovered that Stonewalk would be going against Foolish Pleasure. He tried to have his horse scratched, but it was too late. The two stars went at it, their class showing as they left the field 10 lengths behind, and the easy outing turned into an all-out stretch duel, with Stonewalk, to Jolley's chagrin, beating Foolish Pleasure by a nose.
Jolley's colt did pick up $4,400 for finishing second, which edged him over the $1 million mark, but the trainer wasn't so sure now about sending him to California. Maybe Jolley should keep Foolish Pleasure at Belmont and look around for another race for horses "which have not won $6,600 three times since April 26." He's still eligible.