Shortly before the start of the Little Brown Jug, a man walked to the $50 win window at the Delaware ( Ohio) County Fair and spoke to the seller, who immediately set the machine to spewing out tickets. A distinguished-looking onlooker could not contain himself.
"Excuse me," he said to the horseplayer. "Do you mind telling me how much you bet?"
"Not at all. It was $10,000 on Governor Skipper to win."
"That's a sucker bet," said the onlooker. "You could win almost as much on a show ticket with far less risk."
Replied the bettor, "Risk? You only get a sure-thing horse like this to bet on once in a lifetime. So you bet him to win, see?"
"I still think it's a sucker bet."
"You," said the gambler, "don't know anything about racing."
"Yes, sir, you're probably right."
At which point the onlooker, high-rolling William Wirtz of Chicago, who owns all or part of the Chicago Black Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Stadium, the Bismarck Hotel, Chicago and Florida banks, a wholesale liquor distributorship, a furniture mart, as well as 47�% of Governor Skipper, the odds-on favorite to win the Jug, turned and headed for his box. The gambler went off in the opposite direction. Both, as it turned out, were on winning paths.
Governor Skipper, who until six weeks ago had just been one among a dozen or so excellent 3-year-old pacers but had then won six of seven starts, blitzed the record book in the next few hours while blowing the sulkies off all 10 of his competitors with two jaunts in which he was never behind. The colt, which enjoys the company of goats and is given one by Wirtz for every $25,000 he wins, set five world records. The most significant was his 1:56[1/5] clocking in the first of two heats (in the Jug, the first colt to win two heats is the victor), a record for 3-year-old pacers on a half-mile track. The old mark of 1:56[2/5] was set by Stanley Dancer's Keystone Ore at Saratoga last year. The Governor also broke the Little Brown Jug record of 1:56[3/5] established by Strike Out in 1972.