NAMES IN THE NEWS
Congratulations to the newest member of the Massachusetts Racing Commission and to the latest basketball recruit signed by Southern Methodist. If their names are any indication, Robert J. Furlong and Ollie Hoops should enjoy great success. A tip of the hat, too, to Cornerback John Outlaw, who is retiring from the Eagles to work on his master's degree in criminal justice.
And three big cheers for a pitcher-outfielder for DeKalb High in Waterloo, Ind. who hit two homers and pitched a 16-2 victory in the first game of a doubleheader against Southside High of Fort Wayne, and then slammed two more homers and a bases-loaded single to help account for a 13-3 win in the nightcap, giving him nine RBIs for the day. Attaboy, Ty Cobbs.
And let's hear it for a 3-year-old filly who won her first race at Penn National, which had to close down for a day during the crisis at nearby Three Mile Island. Her name? Melt Down.
Is a racing greyhound with the improbable name of Joe Dump the greatest in history? Last week at Greenetrack in Eutaw, Ala., Joe Dump equaled the record of 27 straight wins set by Real Huntsman in 1951, and a lot of the Greenetrack fans, who have dubbed themselves "Dumpsters," think Joe Dump is the best ever.
Named after his owner, Joe Fallon, a former bulldozer operator, Joe Dump is just a shade over two, yet he already has racked up 36 wins, four seconds and one third in 44 starts. He won his 27 straight in only 172 days, while it took Real Huntsman 427 days. Quick out of the box from any hole, Joe Dump has led all the way in his last 15 races. His average margin of victory during the streak has been six lengths, and nine lengths in his last 10 starts. After every win, he receives two marshmallows as a reward. His admirers include Bear Bryant, whose son, Paul Jr., is the general manager of Greenetrack.
Still there are those who sneer at Joe when they compare his record with that of Real Huntsman. Real Huntsman raced over seven tracks and at four distances. Joe Dump has run only at two tracks, Pensacola and Greenetrack, and, moreover, all his races have been at a single distance, [5/16]ths of a mile. "There was 20 times more fanfare made over my dog than over Joe Dump," says Gene Randle, who owned Real Huntsman and who lives in Alabama. "I flew him all over the country. He went to visit people in hospitals, was on TV several times and was a regular on the banquet circuit. When we went to banquets, he always sat next to me. When I got on airplanes, he sat in the next seat. He had his picture made with more airline stewardesses than any animal in history. It was a real mess. I got sick of it."
Wobbler syndrome is a spinal disease that afflicts about one of every 300 thoroughbreds. In a typical case, the bones that encase the spinal cord slip into each other, compressing and damaging the cord and causing the horse to lose control of his limbs. When the horse can no longer stand, he is destroyed. Until recently there was no remedy, but now, thanks to Dr. Barrie Grant, head of the Equine Division at Washington State's Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Pamela Wagner, assistant professor, and Dr. George Bagby, a Spokane spinal surgeon, there is hope.