Rich people, it has been noted, are different from the rest of us; they have more money. Also, it works out that the rich do get richer and the poor get you know what.
What happened at the Little Brown Jug last week served, among other things, to remind us of these verities. The Jug is the most important event of the year for 3-year-old pacers, and by the time the dust had settled over Delaware, Ohio and the nearly 40,000 fans had stumbled off through the ground cover of empty beer cans and losing pari-mutuel tickets, it was clear that money, and class, do tell.
For the victor was Keystone Ore, who was valued last fall at roughly $260,000 and who, if he maintains his winning ways, will be syndicated for around $2 million in the hopes that he will father a lot of youngsters just like himself. No bargain-basement horse this. And Ore's driver, trainer and part owner is, fittingly, that canny millionaire Stanley Dancer, who favors flashy cuff links, a diamond horseshoe tie clasp and the quickest route to the finish. Dancer—who has now won the Jug four times—and his wife each own 12�% of the colt.
So the Dancers got richer (by about $20,000 for less than four minutes on the track), which keeps them different from us; and the poor folks who had the audacity not to bet on Dancer and Ore got you know what.
Indeed, Ore and Dancer deserve one another. This year, Ore has had 23 races, won 16 and finished second six times. In his other start, he came in seventh after an equipment strap broke. For being the class of his class, Ore has mined some $366,000 since February, and there are several more rich races ahead this fall. For his part, Dancer has won about $900,000 in purses this year—his share just as driver is 10%. In a career that goes back to 1946, he has won more than $18 million. If Ore and Dancer can make music together one more time at The Messenger on Oct. 30, Ore will win pacing's Triple Crown (the other jewels being the Jug and August's Cane Pace) and Dancer will have had his fourth Triple Crown winner.
Dancer gets lyrical when he talks of Ore, who won $56,905 of the $153,799 Jug purse. "He has the best all-round disposition of any horse I've ever had," he says. "Sometimes horses that are so nice don't have the guts to be great, but he does." Ah, yes, the perfect true fairy tale—wealthy man has splendid, well-behaved horse; both are gentlemen and both work hard and together they make it to the top. Or maybe not.
There is a body of thought that Ore may not be the best 3-year-old pacer in the land. The other contender is Oil Burner, who as recently as a few months ago was thought not to have even enough speed to get out of his own way.
At which point last June, Oil Burner's owners, after buying him for $27,000 in 1974, unloaded him for $47,500. These are not fancy dollars for a Grand Circuit horse, and the owners wiped their brows in relief at getting rid of their turkey. And then Burner didn't get good, he got terrific. Since June he has won $291,707, and beaten some of the classiest 3-year-olds around, though he has never faced Ore. A not impartial source, Burner's driver Ben Webster says of his colt, "He's by far the best this year. It's one of those freak things." Who was the main undiscerning owner who dumped Burner? Stanley Dancer, of course. Or more precisely, his wife Rachel and her partner, Mrs. Hilda Silverstein of New Hope, Pa. But Stanley does their bidding. Says Rachel: "We're not unhappy. I made some money, the new people made some money and I wish them luck."
Because Oil Burner was not distinguishing himself (he earned only $4,700 in 1975), Dancer did not keep up the payments to make him eligible for the Cane, the Jug and The Messenger. But he and Ore may yet meet, perhaps in a race at Freehold. N.J., Oct. 16, or perhaps in California the next month.
Whatever, the aristocratic Keystone Ore proved himself at the Jug against tough enough company—most notably Armbro Ranger, who was voted best 2-year-old pacer in 1975 and who had whipped Ore in the prestigious Adios in August (and before that had been beaten by Oil Burner). As things go these days, Ranger was a cheapie. Veteran trainer and driver Joe O'Brien picked him up for $20,000. In 1975 Ranger turned heads by winning more than $100,000 and 14 of 21 starts.