Chataway does not neglect to train. But he smokes (generally under half a pack a day during training, somewhat more in the winter) and he does not deny himself an occasional drink. The day after he paced Bannister, he wasn't quite sure what might be his normal pulse rate?which more dedicated runners virtually chart. He lacked the vaguest idea of his chest expansion. All in all, he seems to keep before himself the fact that he is a man who wrorks for a living (he's a junior executive with the Guinness brewery people in London) and who runs for the hell of it.
In the three-mile event at Vancouver last week, after running most of the race at an almost leisurely lag, Sportsman Chataway turned on his kick and won in 13:35.2 for a new Empire Games record and a dandy little gold medal.
In Louisville at Derby time, tradition is clasped in every mint julep, felt in every note of My Old Kentucky Home, sensed in the unbroken line of Derbies run on the same track every year since 1875. In Goshen at Hambletonian time, tradition hangs as heavy as the elm branches, but it is emotion in a low key, love without tears.
The race itself is not old. It startles people to learn that the Hambletonian?which sounds like 1850?was first run in 1926. That was the year Gene Tunney beat Jack Dempsey in Philadelphia. But Orange County, of which Goshen is county seat, is as steeped in the lore of the harness horse as Boston and Philadelphia are in the lore of the Revolution. Hambletonian, the sire from whom almost all trotters and pacers stem, and for whom the race is named, was foaled in Chester, just five miles from Goshen, and stood at stud there from 1852 to 1875. Goldsmith Maid, the most famous of all harness horses (see page 142), began her career at Goshen in 1865. In Goshen people talk of trotters and pacers the way people elsewhere talk of batting averages. In Goshen the harness-horse men, the lean, leathery men of the tilt-hat-and-squint-eye school, seem perfectly at home.
Last week at Good Time Park on Hambletonian Day a man said, "Big crowd." An old man nearby nodded.
"Big crowd," he agreed, "but it ain't a money crowd. They don't bet much. Down at Yonkers, that's where they bet. A million dollars a night. I don't know where they get all that money."
He looked across the track, across the green infield to the white rails beyond, and beyond the rails to the trees and hills, and he smiled.
"The people that come here," he said, "they don't come to bet. They come to see the horses and all." He waved his hand. "To see the spectacle."
But spectacles are not enough, and traditions die. Two days after the Hambletonian was run, Bill Cane, the tough-minded old man who took the race to Goshen in the first place, announced that next year's race may be the last Hambletonian to be run there. The Hambletonian Society will meet in October to decide. Probable new site? Bill Cane's new gold mine, Yonkers Raceway.