Now It Can Be Told:
The Sung Hero of the $150,000 Laurel International a couple of weeks ago was Jockey Jorge Velasquez, who booted Fort Marcy to victory, upholding U.S. racing prestige and collecting $10,000 in pay.
But the Unsung Hero was Baltimore Cabbie Daniel Watchinsky, 45, who picked up Jockeys Velasquez and Ron Turcotte at Friendship International Airport when their plane was 90 minutes late from New York. Watchinsky booted his 5-year-old taxi 15 miles to the track in about 15 minutes, on the rail all the way, and got them there one minute under deadline for entering the race. A friend met them and paid off the taxi while the jockeys dashed inside.
After the victory, Velasquez agreed that Watchinsky had saved the day and said, "I geeve heem nice teep if he steel there."
December 7, 1970
Well, this is to remind Velasquez that Watchinsky is still there—right at the old international cabstand at Friendship—and he still ain't got that nice teep.
Down in Campbellsville, Ky. Sheriff Junior Sprowles refused to take a Breathalyzer test when he was stopped for suspected drunken and reckless driving and his license was suspended. So how can a man be expected to do any sheriffing when he can't drive a car? Well, that's lawman Sprowles chasing down crime over there now. On his horse.
I've Got a Secret: I
"My deah," Gloria Swanson confided to an interviewer, "I was never—never, ever—a Mack Sennett bathing beauty. Never, never, ever. I can't, and never could, swim." Sorry, Gloria, but it won't do. Swimming is not now, and never was, a prerequisite for being a bathing beauty. Never, never, ever.
I've Got a Secret: II
Bailey Howell has hammertoes. Philadelphia Trainer Al Domenico confided that Howell has four on each foot, which he figures could be a league record. Same rule as above: straight toes have never ever been a prerequisite for playing basketball. Or being a bathing beauty, for that matter.
Scene: The American Shoals off Florida. The second annual Duck Key Sailfish Tournament is under way. So far, this is not exactly the most exciting event in the world.
Then, along come Charter Captain Bob Lowe and Illinois Industrialist Eric Bley in a borrowed 20-footer. And along comes the East German cruise ship V√∂lkerfreundschaft, headed for gay old Havana. Light plane buzzes the ship as a signal and off the liner jumps Karl Bley, who wants U.S. asylum and was set up for the escape by brother Eric. Three other East Germans quickly spot the plot. Do they turn Karl in? No. They go splash, splash, splash.
Back at dockside, Skipper Lowe was calm. "All the federal agencies are a little huffed up because they weren't let in on it," he said. But, listen, about the unexciting tournament: "You might say I caught and released four before the fishing day started. But I couldn't count any of them."
The Two Saddest Sport Stories of the Week:
Consider Alex Sotir, football coach at Johns Hopkins, where the students hate football but love lacrosse (crowds of 10,000 in a 5,000-seat stadium and all that). Last week the Hopkins gridders played Western Maryland with the prospect of bringing home a fourth straight conference title. Local boosters hired a bus to take students to the game and 13 signed up. At the field the crowd was generously estimated to be 400.
And Hopkins lost, 36-20.
And Sotir came home and quit. Hooray for Sotir.
And let's hear a ragged little cheer out there for Marty Blake, president of the ABA Pittsburgh Condors, who came up with this nifty promotion. Blake gave away tickets to the game: 10,192 of them, worth some $35,000. And the freeloading fans filled the place, right?
Wrong. About 8,000 people came.
And the Condors went out and lost to the Floridians, 122-115. "Our team just plain stunk," he said.
Blake has not resigned. Yet.
First, Mario Andretti crashed his fancy new Formula I racer during the Grand Prix of Austria. Car owner Andy Granatelli cabled some U.S. newsmen that the thing was demolished and that most of what was left was snatched off by souvenir hunters. Next, trying to play down his crash, Andretti allowed as how the car wasn't really damaged all that much. Enter Indianapolis sportswriter Ray Marquette, who got into a big hoo-ha with Granatelli over how badly the car was hurt. And pretty soon a truck pulled into Marquette's driveway and the driver unloaded 80 pounds of junk: the ravaged remains of a Formula I Monocoque chassis. "I had to pay $5.67 freight for it," Marquette howled to Granatelli. "You got a bargain," growled Andy. "After all, I paid $12,500 for the damn thing."'
Most Artistic Sporting Quote of the Week:
From collector Alec Wildenstein, who bid a world-record $5,544,000 for a Velàzquez oil: "It is not a gamble. A horse may sell for five or six million dollars and then break a leg. That is a gamble."