Racehorses exported from New Zealand, just a few days from Australia by sea, are winning all the big Aussie races, and the local punters resent it. They are telling this anecdote: "New Zealanders are the best in the world at doping horses. Why, when one of their leading trainers was coming over with a team of horses on the M.S. Wanganella, he accidentally took a bottle out of his pocket with his handkerchief. It fell on deck and smashed. The Wanganella got in nine hours early."
THE RUSSIAN HOTFOOT
Impelled by the Pavlovian conviction that man is just a hunk of meat with habits and by their desire to excel in sport for propaganda purposes, the Soviets have taken out a patent on a device to get sprinters off the blocks a little quicker than the starting pistol does.
The device, the invention of I. D. Hakutny, is reminiscent of the illegal electric buzzer that jockeys have sometimes concealed under their saddles. The device is, in fact, just that, an electric buzzer activated by the noise of the starting pistol. The blocks are of metal, and the sprinter has metal contact points in the soles of his shoes. Firing the pistol short-circuits the current, and this, says the patent, gives "added stimulation at the start [and] strengthens the speed of the takeoff." The sprinter, in other words, is shocked into action. Hakutny's description urges further that his gadget is ideal for "deafened sportsmen."
Deafened, silenced and brainwashed.
THE BIG HUSTLE
The hustlers are back in town (Johnston City, Ill., population 3,900). From all over the country they have drifted in—old hands like New York Fats, Boston Shorty, Weenie Beanie from Baltimore, Tuscaloosa Squirrely and Daddy War-bucks. Not to mention that rising young hustler, Superstitious Aloysius.
The lure is the second annual World's Pocket Billiard Tournament, which began last week at the Cue Club, owned by George and Paulie Jansco, and ends November 18. At deadline there were 46 entries. "I invited Bo Belinsky; the baseball pitcher," George said. "He's a pool hustler, too. But Bo wired me he had a sore thumb."
Prize money is $10,000 but the hustlers couldn't care less about that. The action on the side, in which they bet against each other, will provide the important money. The action was slow at first. The hustlers' backers were late getting to town. Many hustlers don't like to bet their own money.
"This is ridiculous," said New York Fats, elder statesman of the cult. "Why, these moochers don't have a yard without their backers. One of those punks wanted to play me for 50 bucks a game. Imagine!"