It's bad enough that the U.S. Postal Service has all those crazy abbreviations, such as MA for Massachusetts and MI for Michigan, but now try to decipher this list of the 10 leading hitters in the National League as printed in the Daily News of Hays, Kans.: Bckn, Mn, Prrs, Hrn, Vlnt, Mth, Cy, Bnc, Fly and Grss. Now try the American League: Jcks, Rdrg, Lm, Dvs, Kmp, Lyn, Crw, LFlr, Bll and Grr.
The death of Jockey Robert Pineda and the serious injuries suffered by two other jockeys in a four-horse spill at Pimlico last week have raised fresh concern about butazolidin. The anti-inflammatory drug had been given to Easy Edith, who caused the pileup when she snapped her left foreleg with Rudy Turcotte aboard. "Bute is like novocaine," said Turcotte from his hospital bed. "Without bute, if a horse starts to hurt, he will pull himself up. If he's numbed by bute, and can't feel anything, he'll keep running." Jockey Leroy Moyers, who had ridden Easy Edith in the past, was on her March 14 when she finished 10th and last at Bowie. He told his agent he wanted no more of her because "I didn't think she was a sound horse."
Jockey John K. Adams, critically injured last February in a fall from a bute horse at Bowie, agrees with Turcotte. Adams has particularly strong feelings on the subject because as a result of his spill he spent 21 days unconscious, two more weeks semiconscious, suffered a crushed chest and ran up a $50,000 medical bill. "The trainers know these horses are bad," says Adams, "and the vets just turn their heads. They think bute is a cure. If a horse has bad knees, for example, they'll give him bute and think he'll be all right.
"I rode 20 horses for one trainer who doesn't even bandage his horses," Adams continues. "They are all sore. Five of them broke their legs with me, and he told me I was bad luck for him. Another time, I remember trying to get a horse scratched at the gate because I thought he was sore. The vet told me to go ahead and ride him. Luckily, I could hold him together and we trailed the field. He broke his leg on the turn for home. Other jocks have been in the same position, it's not just me."
A Maryland humane society, the Defenders for Animal Rights, is trying to get together with jockeys to lobby for a bill in the state general assembly restricting the use of bute. Meanwhile, Maryland trainers continue to give horses bute tablets as though they were aspirin. "As a rule, I run all my horses on bute," says Tom Caviness, who trained Easy Edith. "First of all, my horses are claimers and are not 100% sound. But they aren't lame, either. And if I don't run them on bute, it would be an advertisement that they are sound and other trainers would claim them."
Brent Clark, a defector from the NCAA, offered lurid testimony about "bribery" and flesh peddling by NCAA investigators when he appeared as a witness before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (SCORECARD, March 13). When controversy arose about the charges made by Clark, who had joined the subcommittee staff only weeks before the hearings on the NCAA began, the subcommittee chairman, Rep. John E. Moss (D., Calif.), had three staff members investigate Clark's testimony. Last week, Rep. Norman F. Lent (R., N.Y.) made public the staff's confidential memorandum to Moss that discredits Clark's testimony. For example, Clark charged that an NCAA investigator had dropped a case when provided "with the services" of a woman. It turns out that the investigator, who was single, had gone on a blind date. Questioned about this, Clark claimed he had not intended to imply that the woman was a prostitute.
The same day that Moss got the memorandum calling Clark's testimony "deficient," Clark resigned, citing personal reasons. Some subcommittee members had been opposed to Clark's ever joining the staff because they believed they had a valid case without him. With Clark gone, the subcommittee should be able to devote its full energies to the main point of the hearings: Are the NCAA's enforcement procedures fairly and properly conducted?
THE RITES OF SPRING