HARNESS RACING—Yonkers Raceway finished its summer season with a week of richly stuffed purses. Producing few thrills but top money was the $113,812 Hilltop Trot, richest single race for trotters, won by Blaze Hanover, driven by Joe O'Brien to a length-and-a-half victory over Willowood. Next night Bright Knight, at 22 to 1, took harness racing's biggest purse, the $123,712 Empire Race, with a three-quarter-length victory over Chipman's Heel in a fast 2:03 2/5-mile pace.
With the closing of Yonkers, Roosevelt Raceway opened its season with the $50,000 International Trot, won by artichoke-eating French champion Jamin, whose victory was greeted by cheers and the strains of Le Marseillaise (see page 24).
HORSE RACING—Jamaica, which opened to an overflow crowd of 15,000 in 1903 (when William C. Whitney's Blackstock won the first Excelsior Handicap) and has seen some of century's finest horses run (including Exterminator, Man o' War, Gallant Fox, Count Fleet, Native Dancer, Bold Ruler), presented its final program last Saturday to 34,521 before shutting its gates to make way for a housing project. The big race for the closer was the $113,300 Brooklyn Handicap, an upset won by Chilean-bred Babu, who finished three quarters of a length ahead of favored Sword Dancer (see above). Replacing Jamaica is the $33 million setup at Aqueduct, scheduled to open in September.
GOLF—In a climactic finish in the PGA Open at Minneapolis Bob Rosburg, six strokes off the pace going into the final 18, won his first major championship by shooting a blazing five-under-par for the first nine in the final round and a 72-hole finish of 277. Jerry Barber, the little pro from Los Angeles who was front runner from the beginning, bogeyed the last two holes for a final round of 73, and a second-place tie with Doug Sanders, both were one stroke behind the fast-finishing Rosburg (see page 42).
August 9, 1959
TENNIS—While the backbone of the U.S. Davis Cup team, Alex Olmedo, Barry MacKay and Earl Buchholz, took a week of rest, Ian Vermaak and Ray Weedon made the Southampton Grass Court championships on Long Island an all-South African finals. Vermaak, who beat Olmedo a week earlier at Merion, Pa. before losing to MacKay, overpowered his 19-year-old countryman to win 6-1, 6-4, 6-1.
Australia won the North American zone Davis Cup finals in Montreal when their new doubles combination, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson defeated Cuba 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, for a 3-0 lead in the three-out-of-five series. Australia will meet Italy in the interzone series at Germantown, Pa. on August 7.