FOOTBALL CRISIS (CONT.)
The College Football Crisis (SI, Aug. 6 and 13) is a constructive effort to improve college athletics and college football in particular. Much has been said and written in haste condemning the sport and those connected with it. In contrast, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED probed the core of the problem, exposing the "evils" to be more in the nature of errors in judgment. You have advanced a solution which thinking men will realize to be correct.
Here in the East we suffered the same growing pains several decades ago which other regions are now undergoing. That we met the problem and solved it is borne out by the present healthy condition of eastern athletics. Your nine-point code is one under which all conferences can live and prosper.
EVERETT D. BARNES
Eastern College Athletic Conference Hamilton, N.Y.
FAMILIAR TO NEW YORKERS
It was a pleasure to read your story on General Grant (SI, Aug. 13) and see the print of the general and my great-uncle Robert Bonner, driving the latter's famous horse, Dexter. Dexter was considered the fastest trotter in America at the time, and he boosted the circulation of Robert Bonner's New York Ledger enough to make his purchase price of $33,000 well worth it.
Lloyd Morris in Incredible New York says, "Any fine afternoon you could see the wealthy horse-fanciers driving...to 'the road,' as they called Harlem Lane. Their horses were very unlike the sleek, showy, beautifully caparisoned animals that figured in the carriage parade. The trotters had neither beauty nor grace. They were long, lanky animals, bony, slab-sided, gawky-looking; they were bred for speed and endurance. Robert Bonner, publisher of The Ledger, was the most celebrated owner of trotters [Dexter, Rarus, Maud S. and Jay-eye-see].... The names of these creatures were more familiar to New Yorkers than those of most politicians, scientists or authors."...
HENRY M. BONNER
September 2, 1956
Aw, Pat, now look what you went and done. Here it had gotten to the point where we only had to put up with one tear-saturated missive a week from some West-coastalibiartist (one word—as it will undoubtedly appear in Mr. Webster's next edition), and you had to write the most informed turf article of the year (Telemeter Mania, SI, Aug. 13)....
I hope they all get cash down when SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S Dream Race comes up.
Today I read a column—it was a ridiculous article by Pat Lynch—and was sick you would print such nonsensical writing. She tried to imply 1) that California sports-writers are liars and spread false rumors and 2) that time is no measurement of quality in Thoroughbreds....
•Pat is short for Patrick, not Patricia.—ED.
In Telemeter Mania you imply that Nashua is better than Swaps. I disagree. Nashua has'never won with 130 pounds, never won on turf, never set a world record and has not consistently placed in the money. However, Swaps has done all these things, and more. Also Swaps has won in Kentucky, Illinois and Florida, not only in California, as Author Lynch seems to think. The best thing you could do for your publication would be to lynch Lynch!
I am sick of reading nothing but criticism of one of the greatest Thoroughbreds ever to set foot on a race track, the incomparable, the perfect Nashua.
If a real Dream Race was possible, it would be between Nashua, Man O' War, and Citation. Not including (ugh) Swaps.
Against any living Thoroughbred, I'll put my money on Nashua any day.
I wish to commend most heartily the article on the subject of souped-up race tracks.
These excessively fast tracks that have come into being in recent years are having such a detrimental effect on the racers' legs that more and more cripples are being produced each year.
I hope that your magazine has initiated a crusade for safe and sane tracks.
PHILIP A. O'NEILL
Many thanks for Pat Lynch's enlightening article. It confirmed my suspicions.... Although Swaps is no doubt a fine horse, it's nice to know he's smashing those so-called world records with the help of a track set up for super speed and that the horses of yore, who had to moil along on slower tracks, weren't all a bunch of candidates for the glue factory.
Please count my vote in the affirmative for your Dream Race. And until Swaps and Nashua meet on the same track under the same conditions, I wish the Californians would stop their childish crowing. Incidentally, in this new civil war, where is the Combs and Ellsworth line? I'm a Nashua fan and don't want to be caught in enemy territory.
•Pat Lynch confounds horse geographers, declaring the equine 38th parallel to be a line which runs roughly 180 miles from Saratoga Race Track to Belmont Park. Reader Swift is deep in the Swaps zone.—ED.
Pat, one of the steadfast Manhattanites who is still awaiting the report on Davy Crockett's latest bear hunt before venturing forth to the uncouth lands west of the Hudson, says some very unkind things about California race tracks. Western writers seem to have been too enthusiastic to suit him in reporting the numerous occasions when a rangy chestnut Thoroughbred named Swaps broke world records this summer at Hollywood Park.
These records don't mean a thing, because race tracks differ and times vary in Pat's opinion, and to some extent he will get agreement from this area. But what I must disagree with are Pat's critical remarks, inspired after studying the preparation, composition, depth and care of California racing strips from his vantage point in the Belmont Park press box, 3,000 miles away, implying that our tracks are deliberately hopped up by the managements to create world records.
For Pat's information, Hollywood Park's track is made of sandy loam with much mulch worked into it to give it life and spring. It has a three-inch cushion on a firm, even base. The management constantly works with a track committee appointed by the horsemen to keep the racing strip as closely as possible to the way the majority of them want it, although Pat well knows, as do all turf writers, that no two horsemen have ever yet agreed on what a perfect race track should be.
The real questions that trouble Pat are: How good is Swaps and could he possibly be better than Lynch's pet, Nashua? Measured by time, Swaps must be pretty good, although time is not too important an item, we'll admit. Swaps smashed world records right and left at Hollywood Park but I'll be the first to say that he did it under the most ideal fast track conditions. The chief measuring rod of a horse's class is: Whom did he beat?
In writing of what he appreciates in Thoroughbreds, Pat said, "Long ago men must have sensed futility in their own quest for perfection and found expression for that hunger in the horse. The combination of heart, speed and stamina in a horse has always been their goal." To which all of us who admire Thoroughbreds and enjoy racing say amen.
Please, Pat, stick to noble sentiments like these and lay off our race tracks.
Hollywood Turf Club