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Shoemaker a Rough Rider and He Likes It

Whatever else the Arlington-Washington Futurity had Saturday it did not have Bill Shoemaker, who had won the race so often in its six previous runnings that perhaps it should be renamed for him. A broken leg suffered in a spill at Santa Anita last January has kept Shoemaker off a horse for an entire year.

But if he couldn't ride in it, Bill was at least on hand as guest of honor Saturday and during his stay here he treated turf writers to some pretty candid observations on the American thoroughbred scene. To wit:

"If I rode in New York I could go on riding until I was sixty. The stewards in New York are so tough you have to ride your horse in a straight line. It's the easiest place in the country to ride in. It's a lot rougher in California and it makes for better racing, in my opinion."

Shoemaker claims that jockeys have to be more skilled to compete in the rough and tumble California style.

"You have to be prepared for anything out there. If you take your horse through a hole on the rail you'd better be sure nobody's in a position to shut you off. Do I think that's right? Sure I do. If you want to gamble you should be prepared for the risks."

Somebody mentioned a well known jockey who rides in New York and commented: "In that case he'd be great out in California. He's a rough rider."

"No he isn't" came back Shoemaker. "He's just stupid. He's always getting himself into situations he can't get out of. If there's any way to get into trouble on a racetrack, he'll find it. He's a nice fellow but a poor rider."

Shoemaker observed that the best rider in America today is Laffit Pincay, Jr., a remark which brought smiles to Camilo Marin, Pincay's agent. Marin, who has handled many of the great jockeys of the recent past, particularly the Latin America imports, broke up the meeting with his story of a day at the race with actor Vince Edwards, who was starring at the time as Dr. Ben Casey.

"He followed me to the betting window," said Marin in his Jose Jimenez accent, "and asked me who I liked. I tell him, bet what you like not what I like but he swiched to my horse anyway. The horse he liked wins and ooh is he mad. I tell him, 'Look, Veence, you can lose your money, but don't lose your personality. Just go out tomorrow morning and perform another operation and you'll get even. Me, I can't perform any operations so I'm out the 300 bucks."

--Robert Markus


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