When Swaps beat Nashua last May in the Kentucky Derby and then returned, as planned, to California—with further meetings between the two great 3-year-olds unscheduled and unpromised—it looked as if the Derby would be the only conclusive test of this year's 3-year-old supremacy.
The Derby was a great race. But it did not seem to be the proper end to a story. The second chapter is the matchless match race reported in this issue. Few sports events have so captured the sports world's imagination. Fewer have so richly rewarded it.
After the Derby the need for another race between Swaps and Nashua was as clear as its likelihood cloudy: after the Derby, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (May 23) cited the fact that both colts were to be stabled in Chicago this summer and suggested simply that they meet again there.
In the June 13 issue SI announced the match race as an August 6 actuality at Washington Park. As it turned out, the complications which surround an event of this scope changed the date. The story otherwise, despite denials, remained true.
After the race, Ben Lindheimer, executive director of Washington Park and The Jockey Guild's "1955 Man of the Year," was talking with Si's Whitney Tower. "At the contemplation stage of the race," he said, " SPORTS ILLUSTRATED showed a compelling desire to bring about a contest everyone knew would be a credit to both sport and racing. Your magazine was, in fact, the spearhead.
"The race was above all in the public interest and I would have swum two rivers to bring it off. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED was in constant contact with me and the other principals, and through its editorial impact contributed greatly to an event which, speaking very personally, will remain as the most pleasant racing memory that I possess."
I feel sure that everyone who recognizes the best in sport shares a most pleasant memory with Ben Lindheimer.