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With virtually the entire horse racing fraternity speculating over the prospects of another meeting of Nashua and Swaps, it was good to see the owners of the two fine champions officially get in the act—as they did last week. From Lexington, where he had just finished playing host to Rex Ellsworth during the Keeneland yearling sales, Leslie Combs II, front man for the Nashua syndicate, announced the eastern champion's late summer and fall racing schedule, and just to make sure that all hands understood what he was talking about Combs topped off the announcement with an obvious challenge to his departed house guest: Here's our schedule, gentlemen. If you want Nashua, come and get us. The schedule calls for four races: the Atlantic City Handicap this week, the Saratoga Handicap Aug. 25, the Woodward Stakes at Belmont Sept. 29 and the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Oct. 13.
Informed of Nashua's racing schedule, Ellsworth issued a few comments of his own from Chicago's Washington Park. He said Swaps was being pointed for the Washington Park Handicap Sept. 3 and the United Nations Handicap at Atlantic City Sept. 15. However, Ellsworth, in his first public reference to another match race, had this to add: "...there will be ample time...this fall, aside from these two events, should Nashua and his interests care to meet Swaps in a special race."
This sort of cross-country talking is all very well, but with Ellsworth and Combs feinting for position SPORTS ILLUSTRATED still maintains that the ideal race in which to bring Nashua and Swaps together—along with the leading 3-year-olds Needles and Fabius and any other deserving runners-would be a special mile-and-a-half invitation event at Belmont some time this fall. In other words, the "Dream Race" (SI, July 30).
This much is apparent: Combs is openly challenging Ellsworth. Ellsworth is challenging Combs. Since both have admitted that they would like to match their colts in a rubber event, it is to be hoped they will get together and agree on a date and place (if not Belmont, why not Garden State?). What an announcement that would be for the racing fan!
GOLF ON THE ROCKS