In England animals get more loving care than people, and even mice have their adorers. The National Mouse Club is 67 years old and has 375 members, including, of all things, 50 women. It holds 40 to 50 mouse shows a year, with anywhere from 200 to 1,000 mice on display. One mouse fancier maintains there is more fun breeding mice than there is running a horse stud farm, since the costs are less and everything happens so much faster.
Recently the National Mouse Club made news by appointing its first woman judge, a pretty, brunette secretary called Sonia Fryer. Miss Fryer first began to love animals at the age of 3 when a horse kicked her in the face just because she had pulled his tail. Judge Fryer at last count had 70 champagne-colored mice in her mouse stable located in the garden back of her Manchester house, but, as she herself admits, "You never really know from one minute to the next." She has won plenty of prizes, but her champion is a fleet mouse called Speedy Gonzales, who recently copped a cup at a show that sent his value up from 10 shillings to �2.
"A show winner," Miss Fryer says, "should have a good color, big, tulip-shaped ears, prominent eyes—the more they stick out the better—and a nice, racy look. The tail should be straight, set well onto the body and should taper like a whip. Its condition should be excellent and its coat shining."
To insure shining coats mouse handlers rub the mice every day with a silk cloth. A variety of food from bread and water to birdseed and meat also helps. Miss Fryer's mice have parakeets, tortoises and a dog as company, but no cats. "Cat is a nasty word," says Sonia.
Edwin Ahlquist, Ingemar Johansson's adviser, is talking up a Johansson-Liston fight to take place in Sweden this summer in Goteborg's 62,000-seat Nya Ullevi Stadium. A few details remain to be cleared up, like Sonny Liston's return-bout contract with Floyd Patterson, but Ahlquist is roaring ahead with his plans, including a ticket scale with ringside seats going for 600 kronor, or about $115. Ahlquist has already sold 40 ringsiders, so even if the fight doesn't come off he'll have at least one record to boast of—the highest-priced ringside seats in the history of heavyweight boxing. The previous top was $100.
BINGO IN FLORIDA
Tropical Park in Florida has begun to experiment with 10-race cards on Wednesdays, Saturdays and holidays, a device designed to squeeze more betting into a day's activity and, concomitantly, more revenue out of it. Gulfstream Park, which originated the idea and obtained approval from the Florida State Racing Commission, will also run the 10-race cards when its meeting begins later in the winter. Hialeah Park will not.
The reason for the increase to 10 races is not necessarily—or immediately—the added income. In Florida the three major tracks (Tropical, Gulfstream, Hialeah) split the racing season. The track with the highest mutuel handle gets its choice of next season's dates. Hialeah has led the mutuel parade for years, and therefore has held its meeting during the peak of the tourist season (1963 dates: Jan. 17 through March 4). Gulfstream's season comes later when sunbathers and horse-players are moving north with the spring. If Gulfstream runs 10 races on Wednesdays and Saturdays its mutuel handle could eventually exceed Hialeah's, and it would get the choice of dates. If that happens, Hialeah's superb schedule of stakes for 3-year-olds (an exciting and necessary prelude to the Kentucky Derby) will be disrupted, to the detriment of racing all over the country. Eugene Mori, chairman of the board of Hialeah, says his track will not go to 10 races a day. "Nine races is more than enough," he says. "In fact, we'd be just as happy running eight races a day."
We recognize that horse racing is a business, and that businesses like to make money. But it is also a sport, and that fact should never be forgotten. If income is the only reason for racing, the number of races per day could conceivably grow to 12, 15, 18, and our race tracks would become gigantic outdoor bingo parlors. The Florida State Racing Commission should put a stop to this 10-race nonsense right away. Or else change its name to the Florida State Bingo Commission.