Say this for Spend a Buck: He sure has made a few. By winning the Jersey Derby at Garden State racetrack on Memorial Day, the colt got $600,000 in first-place money plus a $2 million bonus for sweeping that event, the Cherry Hill Mile, the Garden State Stakes and the Kentucky Derby. Faster than you can say Conquistador Cielo, the following happened:
?Spend a Buck's career earnings shot to $3,998,509 in 13 races, vaulting him to second on the alltime tote board, behind 10-year-old John Henry, who has won $6,597,947 in 83 races.
?Cam Gambolati, whose stable pretty much stops at Spend a Buck, went from nowhere to second among trainers in '85, gaining on D. Wayne Lukas, whose 100 or so horses have won almost $4 million.
? Laffit Pincay Jr., 38, Spend a Buck's rider in the Jersey Derby, jockeyed himself to within a nose of $100 million in total purses, a milestone first reached earlier this year by Bill Shoemaker, who's 53.
And those big Jersey spenders aren't through yet. Should Spend a Buck win the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 27 and the Pegasus Handicap at the Meadowlands on Sept. 26, he'll get a cool million as well as at least $327,000 in first-place spending bucks.
CATCHING A BUG IN SAN FRANCISCO
Joan Benoit finished only 11th in last week's L'eggs Mini Marathon in New York (page 53), but she made some kind of track history two weeks earlier when she outran an 1,800-pound, 50-foot-long, 26-legged centipede in San Francisco. The Olympic marathon gold medalist finished first among the women in the Bay-to-Breakers race, a cross between an Alice in Wonderland costume ball and a Haight-Ashbury mushroom dream. San Franciscans call the event the world's longest moving block party.
This year's 74th running attracted a field of some 85,000—world-class marathoners Benoit and Rod Dixon, thousands of weekend plodders, Snow White drag queens, Silicon Valley girls clad as computer chips, 40 pairs of Blues Brothers, others decked out as monstrous green tennis shoes, mutant Crayolas and assorted grotesqueries that even Dr. Seuss wouldn't deliver. Cal's marching band strutted through the race, though the tuba section appeared played out at the end.
The feet beneath the Aggie Running Club centipede belonged to some of the strongest male runners in Northern California. "We're gonna squish all the ladies," the outsized chilopod bragged at the start. But Benoit wasn't deterred. "I knew it was just a bunch of fast guys with a cape over their heads and antennae sticking out," she recalls. Benoit says she was more concerned about a guy who ran out of the crowd dragging a mule on a leash.
The Aggie 'pede, which outlegged all centipedes—including one disguised as a lobster—was ahead of her for 6K. But at the summit of Haight Street, it curled up like a woolly bear predicting a cold winter and soon was passed by Benoit. With half a mile to go, well ahead of the other women and centipedes, Benoit pulled on a pair of lobster oven mitts, emblematic of her Maine birthplace. She crossed the finish line waving them like the Pine Tree State flag. "I wanted to join the party," she said.