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Ah, well, there hasn't been a better argument all year for staying home and watching the game on television.
A DAY FOR WILLIE
Willie Shoemaker had the two best horses in America at his disposal last week, but he had to make a choice. He could stay at Belmont and ride Gallant Man in the $75,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup or fly to Chicago and ride Round Table in the $100,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup.
It was a dilemma new to Willie because, since last June, Gallant Man and Round Table have never run on the same day—and Willie has made himself a handsome summer by shuttling from horse to horse, capturing more than half a million dollars' worth of stakes races. Gritting his teeth, Willie decided to stay East and ride Gallant Man, and the choice didn't turn out badly at all. For one thing, he rode Gallant Man to victory in the Gold Cup; for another, Mrs. Elizabeth Arden Graham asked him to ride Jewel's Reward in the $156,500 Champagne Stakes on the same day's card—and Willie won that too. It was the richest day of racing in the history of New York State, and Shoemaker had earned himself $13,807. "I guess," he said quietly, "this was the greatest day I've ever had."
The victory of Jewel's Reward made it a great day for Mrs. Graham, too. Twice she had gambled with this horse, and twice won. She tried to dispose of him in the Saratoga Yearling Sales in 1956, but when the bidding reached only $3,500 she used her reserved bid and kept the horse. Then, nine days before the race, she entered him in the Champagne at the cost of a $7,500 supplementary fee. She has now won $234,295 with the colt, who needs only $40,000 more to become the richest 2-year-old in the history of American racing. She has almost trained the horse herself, putting scoopfuls of patience into him in Chicago and New York and supervising him all along.
Out in Chicago, meanwhile, in the race that Willie didn't ride, the Hawthorne Gold Cup was won by Round Table in track-record time—adding more fuel to the conviction of Californians and others that it is Round Table who deserves the title of Horse of the Year.
While the racing house stands divided, Willie Shoemaker has apparently made up his mind. He seems to prefer Gallant Man and expects to ride him in the Washington, D.C. International on November 11 against the best horses in the world, including Round Table. The West Coast, which has the Dodgers, the Giants and Round Table won't like it, but like any good shoemaker, Willie is sticking to his last.
4 O'CLOCK TEE
Porky Oliver and Julius Boros appeared on eastern television screens last Saturday afternoon at 4, playing golf. Oliver won, with a 62 to Boros' 68. An hour later the same match was televised in the Central time zone, and so on westward to the Pacific. Thus it reached most viewers at exactly the same hour—4 p.m. The match was on film, of course, and was actually played last November at the Phoenix (Arizona) Country Club. It was the first of 26 hour-long golf shows which ABC will broadcast on Saturday afternoons this winter. This Saturday Oliver will be challenged by Mike Souchak. As on certain quiz shows, the winner keeps playing as long as he wins.
All-Star Golf is the invention of Peter DeMet, the Chicago Pontiac dealer who first discovered that televised bowling matches have an almost hypnotic fascination for viewers. (Watching one more strike is irresistible, like eating one more peanut.) The contestants will include many top pros: Cary Middlecoff, Jack Burke Jr., Sam Snead, Ed Furgol, et al. The matches were actually played out in order, on sunny southwestern courses (for easy filming), and were played as nearly as possible under USGA rules.