Preakness shows it's no bluff that fans here know their racing

JOHN STEADMAN

May 18, 1992|By John Steadman

NOTEworthy Day:

All the furor over Preakness fans ignoring Kentucky Derby winner Lil E. Tee and making Pine Bluff the appropriate favorite reinforces the long-held contention that Marylanders, wise to the racing world, know more about the factors of betting on horses than bettors in any other state. It's amazing how many in the crowd came for lunch, the early races, bought their tickets and then went home to watch the running on television.

* As an act of gratitude, Tom Scott, former Virginia football All-American and New York Giant/Philadelphia Eagle, presented a check to Calvert Hall, his high school alma mater, for the purchase of a new set of goal posts . . . Damon Thayer came out of the starting gate (his first Preakness as PR director) with an impressive result . . . From the early performance by the new leadership at the Country Club of Maryland, and its hiring of Ron O'Leary as superintendent, the course condition will merit some kind of a Comeback of the Year award.

* Ex-Oriole John "Boog" Powell put it all so succinctly in saying there's enjoyment in being asked for an autograph because he "doesn't like the alternative." . . . Without being told, Orioles groundskeeper Paul Zwaska should take up the synthetic warning track and go back to gravel . . . Gordon Beard, retired Associated Press sports editor of Maryland and now a contributor to Orioles publications, is making encouraging progress at Montebello Hospital.

* The end of the "Babe" movie isn't going to make Henry Aaron too happy as it reminds the audience he broke Babe Ruth's career homer mark but needed 3,965 more trips to the plate . . . Plans are to make the "Orioles Gazette" available from vendors in the ballpark stands . . . Eric Blind and his crew had a full gate for the Preakness but the start was flawless . . . Oakland A's Mark McGwire, pumping shots out of the park with the rapidity of a howitzer, is eight games ahead of Roger Maris' record pace in 1961 when he ripped 61.

* Brian Jordan, a Milford Mill High product, is leading the St. Louis Cardinals in homers and RBIs and credits coach Don Baylor with much of his progress . . . Despite going against the Preakness, the Mazda LPGA tournament at Bethesda reported a crowd of 25,000 for its Saturday round . . . If you see a Maryland license plate reading "Tree" it belongs to John "Tree" Adams, former West Virginia tackle and son of John "Big Tree" Adams, a onetime Notre Dame and Washington Redskins player.

* Ex-Bullet Jack Marin, who lost in a congressional bid six years ago, is in the sports agent business . . . The player with one of the longest names on the LPGA Tour, Danielle Ammaccapane, has a swing that is the envy of golfers everywhere . . . Biggest shock on the radio waves is that a country music station, WPOC, could best sports-oriented WBAL in latest listener poll . . . Caddie rates at prestigious Caves Valley are $40 for those with an "A" rating, $35 for "B" and $30 for "C", which is a long way from what it used to be at Old Hillendale when Charley Betscheller was pro, Irv Schloss the assistant and Jim Doyle and Frank Cashen were the standouts of the caddie yard.

* The wedding and reception for Arthur and Dorothy Donovan's youngest daughter, Mary, reflected again from the invitation list how important old friends and teammates are to both of them . . . A week before the Kentucky Derby, Afro-American sports editor Sam Lacy said flat out Arazi, proclaimed by some as the horse of the year, would finish up the track . . . WTOP is getting along just fine in refraining from using Redskins, as in Washington Redskins, and refers instead, when its announcers are talking football, to the "Washington team and Super Bowl champions."

* The long Preakness lead-in by WBAL was highly professional, sparked by Jeff Rimer, Chick Lang, John Patti, Dave Durian and Jim West . . . Maybe Frank Robinson can use his Orioles influence to utilize Jim Elliott, who retired as a Sun sports writer, to sing the national anthem before a game. . . In case you forgot, it was 1955 when Chuck Thompson, the horse named after the man, was all set to give Nashua the beating of his life but, instead, became a late Preakness scratch . . . Oriole Advocates honor a first-class gentleman, but not a cream puff, when they salute Gene Woodling at a June 19 luncheon at Stouffer Hotel.

* We don't know the connection, merely the similarity in dates, but the king of baseball, Babe Ruth, and the king of rock 'n' roll, Elvis Presley, died on the same date, Aug. 16, but 29 years apart . . . Fred Funk's winning the Houston Open two weeks ago reminds that another Marylander, Billy Collins, won the same event in 1960 with a playoff victory over Arnold Palmer . . . You're getting to be a "young old-timer" if you remember when Dr. Dave Danforth, he of the "shine ball," coached the Loyola College baseball team and a kid who became a sports writer was the bat boy.

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