"We will train our horses, which are now used only to grass, in the American way, so that they can receive dirt in their faces and become accustomed to left-hand tracks, sharp turns and American horseshoes that grip," Wildenstein said. "It will be marvelous. In a year or two we will be sending horses to win all their best races, the Kentucky Derby, everything. We have much better horses here."
If Wildenstein's words seem a touch nationalistic, it's not surprising. Back in the mid-'70s he named another outstanding filly Allez France so that when she raced in England he would have the pleasure of hearing English bettors yelling her name—which means, of course, "Let's go, France." And building the American-style track, which is expected to be completed this summer, is an idea he nurtured for many years. In the Chantilly offices of the Soci�t� d'Encouragement, director Christian de Lagarde pointed to a wall map and told Gammon, "It will be here on the other side of the forest at Avilly-Saint L�onard. It will cost two million francs [about $240,000]." And there was the track clearly indicated. "If we didn't do it, Wildenstein would on his own," de Lagarde said. "If it's good for France, I am for it."
A couple of miles away from where de Lagarde spoke, Yannick Barbot, 20, All Along's groom, showed off his charge in her apple-green bandages and said he was eagerly awaiting a phone call from the Eclipse dinner in New York from Le Patron—The Boss. "Anytime the French win anything he calls right away," Barbot said. Le Patron is trainer Patrick-Louis Biancone, and if Wildenstein's dreams come true, Biancone and other French horsemen will be happily making many transatlantic calls in the future.
SARAJEVO '84: CONFIDENCE AT THE STARTING LINE
Whatever the verdict on the XIV Winter Olympics once they've run their course on Feb. 19, let the record show that an air of confidence reigned in Sarajevo as the Games were about to begin. At the Zetra and Skenderija ice arenas, for example, workers had things so well under control that at one point last week dozens of them sat around TV sets at both sites watching that old Hollywood chestnut Samson and Delilah. We are assured by usually reliable sources that Victor Mature doesn't sound a bit better dubbed into Serbo-Croatian. Meanwhile, the Sarajevo newspaper Oslobodenje was conducting an "Olympic smile" promotion in which just about everybody in town—taxi drivers, waiters, store clerks—was rated for courtesy and friendliness, with the widest smilers getting praised in print. Another Sarajevo newspaper reported that everything was going so smoothly that even the trains were on schedule. But maybe things were going too smoothly. The trains were leaving town largely empty because most folks had become accustomed over the years to their running late.
CALLING TIME OUT FOR A MUSICAL INTERLUDE
Mike Reid, the former Cincinnati Bengal All-Pro tackle who has become a successful country songwriter, has been nominated for a Grammy award for best country song for his current hit, Stranger in My House. The song, which is about a troubled marriage, was recorded by Ronnie Milsap, who has been nominated for a Grammy for best male country vocal. Reid says the song was inspired by a spat he had with his wife of four years, Susan, who was a waitress before giving birth to the couple's first child, Matthew Michael, last Dec. 17.
"A couple of years ago, Susan was working nights, and I was working during the day," Reid says. "With our schedules, we weren't seeing a lot of each other. I told her, 'Living with you is like having a stranger in my house.' As soon as I said it, I thought, 'That's a great title for a song.' So I left the room and wrote it down. Then I went back and continued the argument."