NO 3-YEAR-OLD CHAMPION?
I have refrained from joining in the discussions of Belmont's gross failure to let a fellow change his mind (always provided he ever wanted to change his mind) about running a horse named Swaps here in the East.
But now, after your two-column head over John McDonald's letter (19TH HOLE, May 30) I am a little sore.
McDonald says, "I would like to persuade you to take a stronger editorial attitude toward the Swaps-Nashua affair." What affair? Swaps beat Nashua handily, in a good race. McDonald continues to say "...we won't have a 3-year-old champion." Why not? Mr. Andy Crevolin took his Determine home last spring and we had a 3-year-old champion. We've had 'em for a good many years, and many times they have not been the winner of the Kentucky Derby. Of the last nine winners of the Belmont, only one, Middleground, failed to be named champion in his year. Middleground was beaten out that autumn by Hill Prince (1950).
McDonald continues, "Yet the Belmont worthies incomprehensibly insist upon rules that prohibit supplementary nominations to the Belmont Stakes." Well, Belmont's nominations for this stake are on Feb. 15, the same date nominations close for the Derby and the Preakness. If a man wanted in the Belmont, he knew how to get in. There were 118 horses nominated by people who did know.
Why blame Belmont? Maybe Mr. Ellsworth should be blamed, unless, of course, he intended to do just what he did do—take dead aim on the Kentucky Derby and go on home with it.
As for McDonald's suggestion for supplementary nominations, it does seem to me that, since we still use early closing stakes (perhaps their usefulness is over), supplementary nominations are debatable. Personally, I don't think supplemental entries are fair to the ones who have gone along the regular way, without waiting to see whether it was worth the risk.
And all this has obscured a fine piece of horsemanship on the part of everyone connected with Swaps in Kentucky. Everyone here hopes to blazes they come East for the autumn racing. Win or lose, they'd be great to have around.
New York Racing Associations
?For the very latest on Swaps and Nashua see page 20.—ED.
THAT CRITIC OF GENIUS
If Mr. George P. Stevens of New York—whose comment (SI, May 30) on William Faulkner's report on the Kentucky Derby consisted of the phrase, "Faulkner—phooie!"—wishes to read such simple prose as any dunderhead could understand, I might refer him to the
Daily Racing Form
. There, the only words of more than two syllables are the names of the horses themselves. It would be a classic struggle, but I think Mr. Stevens might fight his way through.