"The money on Ben A. Jones came from Calgary, Canada," confides Tony Alessio. "You know, when Kefauver closed the 'action' in Chicago, all of what we call 'hot stuff' moved to Calgary. Ben A. Jones was originally 80 to 1 and we got a lot of action on him." Tony calls the Calgary wagers "informed money," and the mere fact that Ben A. Jones has trained up through the winter and spring and is likely to be among those present in the starting gate at Churchill Downs worries Tony a bit.
Needles, on the other hand, would be a "good" winner for the Alessios. "I was routed out of bed at 8 a.m. the other morning," says Tony. "A guy is on the phone wants to know if he can bet $20,000 on Needles—$10,000 to win, $10,000 to place. I tell him 'sure.' There is a very good friend of mine sitting right alongside him as he makes the call, and I tell him my friend will tell him how to make the bet. He seems stunned we will take the action and says he will call me back. He hasn't called back. Needles will be a good winner for us; we were on to him early. Fabius would be even better. If he wins, we'll have champagne."
Tony is planning to break away from T�a Juana long enough to see the Derby in person. His personal inclination: Head Man.
VISITORS' DAY AT PENN
Dressed in traditional gray flannels, natty blue blazers and the skimmer straws which Englishmen wear to disguise the fact that Englishmen simply do not believe in patronizing a barbershop more than half a dozen times a year, a quartet of runners from Oxford University "popped" into Philadelphia for the 62nd running of the Penn Relays. Ian Boyd, Donald Gorrie, Alan Gordon and the British half-mile champion Derek Johnson came over to scout the American talent (in particular, Pitt's fleet-footed Arnie Sowell, "a positive menace—unless you've got 30 yards on him") and at the same time to pick up a few trophies to add to the two rather faded 1914 and 1923 Penn Relay banners which hang in Oxford's ancient and dilapidated pavilion at Iffley Road track.
On Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium track which was pounded to beachsand consistency by 3,000 other athletes, the boys from Oxford did not disappoint. Under the watchful eyes of Arnold Strode-Jackson, anchor man of the Oxford team which won the four-mile relay back in 1914, and of 35,000 strenuously cheering fans, the Oxonians ran away from the field in the four-mile, came back an hour later with Johnson—his jet black hair streaming in the wind—making up a 10-yard deficit and thrusting on to win the two-mile event by 20 yards.
But the lads came a cropper in their other event, the distance medley. And wouldn't you know it was an Irishman who spoiled the Englishmen's show? Villanova's Ronald Delany from Dublin, undefeated throughout the indoor season, took over the baton for the running of the anchor mile with a two-yard deficit to Ian Boyd, Oxford's hope. It was just the position Delany wanted: for three and a half laps he hung at Boyd's shoulder and let the wispy 130-pound Englishman fight the wind and pace the race. When he had had enough of this dilly-dally pace, Delany spurted past Boyd on the back-stretch as though the Oxonian were treading water and went on to finish 20 yards in front, a grin the size of Baile �tha Cliath itself on his face.
Sportingly, the Oxonians offered no excuses, could find no reason for defeat other than the fact that they had "run very badly" and "weren't quite as good as we thought we were." But perhaps Mr. Delany inadvertently gave the reason for Oxford's defeat. Shaking hands with congratulators, he paused to listen to a Canadian who turned out to be not quite au courant in regard to the situation abroad.
"Mr. Delany," blurted the Canadian, "I hadn't realized you were from Ireland! How wonderful, you'll be running for us at the Olympics!" Removing his hand gently but abruptly from the Canadian's clasp, Mr. Delany stepped back an inch or so, and not in his usual self-effacing and gentle manner observed, " Ireland is not a part of the British Empire." And with that Mr. Delany turned sharply on his heel and sprinted off.
CRACK AND CRUNCH