Despite the presence of stars like West and Brodie, hunch players who bet on names are apt to be more attracted to an unsung 21-year-old entrant who will be trying to qualify at Solana Beach near San Diego. Teeing off at about 15-to-1 odds is an amateur named Monte Carlo Money. Honest. And he comes from Las Vegas.
ASHES TO ASHES
In the 21 Olympiads of the modern era there have been many unforgettable moments but few that have provoked more than a smile. If you think about it, there has not been an honest-to-God belly laugh in 80 years. We nominate herewith as the brightest sparks of all the Olympic flames those larky English sailors, Alan Warren and David Hunt, who after doing wretchedly in the Tempest class in the Games just past, burned their boat on Lake Ontario.
Although Warren, the skipper of the luckless craft, is an undertaker by trade (in his own words, "a practitioner of the art of reducing solids to ashes"), he maintained at first that he had no hand in the burning. He claimed the fire started when his crewman, Hunt, a sparmaker, dropped a cigarette. Since the final, fateful race was sailed in 17-knot winds on slop-chop seas, there is no way the small, soaking-wet hull manned by Warren and Hunt could have burned to the waterline without prolonged exposure to a blow torch or some other elaborate assist. When the press twisted his arm and otherwise tried to wring the truth out of him, Skipper Warren confessed that the burning had been a deliberate coup de gr�ce.
Their Tempest hull was the oldest in the Games, the first to come off the mold of a now bankrupt English company eight years ago. Because they got their boat secondhand for a song, Warren and Hunt called her Gift 'Orse, and to goad her to glory, they glued a facsimile of a horsefly on her rear end. In the 1972 Olympics, Warren and Hunt won the silver medal aboard Gift 'Orse. This year, standing almost last with one race to go, they decided Gift 'Orse's time had come.
It was not an easy end. When Hunt ignited the charge of paint thinner they had planted in Gift 'Orse's forward buoyancy cell, it exploded violently, doing little damage. The second charge in the aft compartment in no time at all was putting out a massive plume of black, petro-chemical smoke, but still Gift 'Orse did not sink until the Canadian Coast Guard rammed her. "She was a great horse," Skipper Warren said in eulogy, "but old and very lame, so we had no choice but to put her down."
CHANGE OF VENUE
On July 14 Ogden Mills (Dinny) Phipps was named chairman of the board of the New York Racing Association at the age of 35. As if to celebrate the appointment, that afternoon his 2-year-old filly Squander won the $38,625 Astoria Stakes at Aqueduct—but that was about the end of it for Phipps on home ground. Over the next 23 days horses owned by Phipps or members of his family won five stakes, but at Hollywood, Monmouth and Arlington Parks, none of which are under Dinny's jurisdiction.
Last Saturday Phipps' Majestic Light won the $100,000 Monmouth Invitational in New Jersey and a few minutes later his Effervescing took the $97,500 Round Table at Chicago's Arlington Park. But in New York, where Dinny's Intrepid Nero was entered in the $81,375 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga, it rained and the horse was scratched.
Majestic Light is now the late-developing star of the 3-year-old season, having won $250,000 since late June, but of his six 1976 wins only one has been in New York. The moral of all this seems to be that a man who is without profit in his own camp should definitely try elsewhere. Phipps, however, is undeterred by the trend. Indeed, he will buck it by sending Majestic Light off in Saratoga's $100,000 Travers a week hence.