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Nowadays Jimmy Slattery works for the Buffalo parks department and treasures his reputation as a former champion of grace, skill and probity. The other day, as Maxie was preparing to leave Syracuse, where he has been playing a nightclub engagement, Jimmy spoiled Maxie's punch line. He brought suit for $500,000, alleging defamation of character.
Spectators at the Youngstown (Ohio) Horse Show applauded enthusiastically two years ago, as a three-gaited mare named Silver Rocket danced around the tanbark; the mare's rider, tiny Mrs. Eileen Bachtel, applauded inwardly too—as an old hand at exhibiting saddle horses she felt that her mount was performing handsomely indeed. But Silver Rocket finished out of the ribbons. The judge was blunt about his decision: "I just don't like white horses." The rider's husband, Dr. David H. Bachtel, was just as blunt. Said he, bitterly: "I'm not going to show any more horses here." But Mrs. Bachtel took the loss with a pensive smile.
There was no denying the fact that Silver Rocket was being knocked down everywhere because of her color; the mare had come into the world with a silver-gray coat and a black mane and tail and had been a distinctive animal as a two- and three-year-old. When she was four, however, her coat faded to white, and by the time she was five her mane and tail had faded too. But at Youngstown it had suddenly occurred to Mrs. Bachtel that any platinum blonde showgirl—Silver Rocket included—had only to visit a beauty parlor to become a brunette. The Bachtels had hardly gotten back to their farm at North Canton, Ohio before she was off to the drugstore to buy packets of hair tint. Last winter she stirred up one batch of color after another and dabbed a sample of each on Silver Rocket's sides—the mare looked like something from an opium eater's dream before Mrs. Bachtel finally mixed the tint she wanted.
The final head-to-hoof procedure was a job calculated to give even Charles of the Ritz pause. Mrs. Bachtel scrubbed the horse with quarts of peroxide solution and slapped on hair tint with a paintbrush. She finished the job off with a lanolin treatment which made the mare's coat shine. The horse seemed delighted by the project; as it progressed she acted "more and more like a French poodle." When the work was done she was a gleaming copper chestnut with four white stockings and a white blaze down her face. The results have been splendid. Silver Rocket, now renamed Painted Doll, has been doing very well on the horse show circuit—in fact she won both the 15.2 class and the Three-Gaited Stake at the last Youngstown show.
Mrs. Bachtel, who also has pure white hair, has not "even been tempted" to try a color rinse herself. Nobody knows better than she how much work is entailed—Painted Doll, she has discovered, has to be touched up every six weeks to preserve her fashionable good looks.
When Stanley St. Clair Sayres, 60, died in his sleep at home in Seattle last week, the most successful coalition in the history of speedboat racing came to an end. Sayres, a prosperous auto dealer, was the center of the alliance—the financial angel and organizer. Around him he gathered Designer Ted Jones, Builder Anchor Jensen, Drivers Lou Fageol and Joe Taggart and Mechanic Mike Welsch. Over a span of five years this combination in various forms completely made over the sport.
In 1950 they built the flat, wide-nosed Slo-Mo-Shun IV, first of the prop-riding three-point hydroplanes and a complete departure from the traditionally deeper cigar-shaped Gold Cuppers. With Mo IV and her sister Slo-Mo V, built in 1951, they brought the world water-speed record back from England, where it had been for 13 years, took the Harmsworth Trophy, world powerboat championship, back from a 30-year residence in Detroit, and also wrested the American Gold Cup title away from Detroit, which had ruled competition since 1916.
Dedicated as he was, Sayres was a difficult man. He feuded with Jones who broke with him to design for rivals in 1952. He battled with the race committees over their rulings and frequently snubbed the Seattle press. On the other hand he had the unquestioning loyalty of his pit crews and drivers and admiration from his Detroit opponents to whom he made available the rare Rolls-Royce engines that Fageol had hoarded for the Slo Mos.