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THE TRA'S TROUBLES
The best-policed sport in the United States is flat racing, and the reason is the Thoroughbred Racing Associations. The TRA's police agency is headed by ex- FBI man Spencer Drayton, who sees to it that racing keeps its fingernails manicured and its face washed. Last week, for reasons best known to themselves, two major track owners gave TRA a good kick in the teeth by resigning.
The two are Eugene Mori ( Hialeah, Garden State) and Mrs. Marjorie Lindheimer Everett (Balmoral, Arlington, Washington). They were sore, they said, because Drayton, heretofore in charge of security, recently was named executive vice-president of the over-all TRA. "We felt," said Mrs. Everett, "that racing's security arm should be further separated from the administration of the sport. And just because Spencer Drayton is supposed to be a good policeman doesn't mean he's any good at anything else. Who is Spencer Drayton to tell tracks what to do when he has nothing at stake?" Mori was less outspoken. "I have a high respect for Drayton," he said, "and I never intend to hurt anyone. I thought our resignation would sort of blow over pretty quickly."
This last is not likely. There was a strength in the unity of the TRA; it encompassed 48 tracks. Now, thanks to the Mori-Everett pull-out, TRA will have about $100,000 a year less income and no tracks in Florida or Illinois, both major racing states.
TRA prestige, which had been at its highest, obviously is not helped by these losses.
But it cannot be said Mrs. Everett and Mori have gained any dignity by their exit. Mrs. Everett, in particular, departed with a gratuitous mot: " Drayton couldn't track an elephant in the snow." To which Drayton retorts: "When a few individuals want a code of standards but one that doesn't apply to them, when they are not willing to contribute their own talents to the national interests of racing, they are acting selfishly."
In the coming season a lot of horse owners are going to ask themselves if they want to play in a game where part of the gang picks up its marbles (and its money) and goes home if it can't have its own way.
LET BARNEY DO IT
It is going to be a long, hard winter for the ragtag collection of youth and age known as the United States national amateur hockey team. Hardly a year has gone by since the U.S. beat the Canadians and the Russians for a gold medal in the Winter Olympics, a victory that was worth two sputniks and a lunik in terms of international prestige. Now the team is ready for another year of competition with the same Canadians and Russians, and the outlook could not be worse.
Only 16 players, one 60 years old, showed up at tryouts in the Boston area recently, and only one or two of them are good enough to qualify. Jack McCartan, the superb goaler for the U.S., has turned pro. Jack (Gundy) Kirrane of Brookline, Mass., captain of the Olympic team and a strong, hard-nosed defenseman, can't afford to leave his job in the Brook-line fire department. Billy Cleary will not be able to play. He is in business now and, like Kirrane, can't afford the time off.