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"Filly Mignon"

by Sam Cornish

Vol. 4, No. 6,  1960

    HORSERACING WAS once rightly called "The Sport of Kings" because only kings could afford it, but with each passing decade costs have dropped until today it is a sport all of us can and should enjoy. If you know the ropes (or halters) you can even enjoy the races to the utmost without going anywhere near a track, or even a bookie. It's all a matter of the much-maligned, good old American knowhow.
    Instead of an orthodox racetrack, complete with admission prices, pari-mutuel windows, clubhouse reservations and the like, you can make your own track almost anywhere, as long as it's secluded--in your bedroom (or hers), on a living room sofa, in a hotel or motel room, in your jalopy, on a moonlit beach, the possibilities are infinite.
    Furthermore, America is currently well-stocked with some of the finest, blooded two-legged fillies and mares the world has ever known. It is wise to pick a blooded beast because unblooded ones have a lack of knowledge of the sport and are apt to bolt at the most critical moments.
    Track odds, of course, are important. They depend largely upon the honesty of your own self-appraisal and your shrewdness in selecting a suitable steed. Luck may be a factor, of course. There are times when you may catch the most blue-blooded filly in just the mood for a fast canter. But, in general, there is no substitute for wise selection through experience.
    Given experience, and with a bit more luck, the seasoned rider may find himself confronted with the opportunity of scoring in the daily double, or that even more delectable prospect of a three or four horse parlay. When he hits one of these, the average sportsman is usually content to retire on his winnings for a bit and nurse his memories against another such happy stroke of fortune.
    Such opportunities are in general to be found only where large numbers of unregistered fillies abound. Major sporting centers include our major population centers like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and the like. State capitals offer fine sporting chances, with Washington, D.C., and its immense stable a real hot prospect.
    But to return from the exceptional to the one-horse parlay. In approaching your betting choice, either in stable or paddock, it is wise, first, to study her conformation. If she is full of withers and trim of fetlock, if her rump is well rounded and not sprung, if her back is straight and her chest full, you've got yourself a bet, son
    Study of the face comes next. Delicate nostrils, easily distended for deeper breathing in the stretch, firm, soft lips and even white teeth are of vast importance. As for her eyes, they should be large, limpid and warm--that old balderdash about the "look of eagles" should be treated warily. If she has that look, then try to out run her. She may even want you to go studdy with her, or share the same stall on a still more permanent basis.
    Of course, some of the less fastidious horsemen don't bother about the face at all once they've checked the conformation and found it to their taste. But then, this article is not for them.
    Thanks to the tax-rise and other expenses of modern living, few among us can afford the luxury of a permanent stable, such as kings of old and millionaires of the more recent past so often could and did. The sport is wide open nowadays, and conducted on a far freer, more hit-and-miss basis. What we are trying to do is to eliminate the "miss", or at least to reduce it to a minimum.
    Should the worst happen, all our cities are equipped with hackey stables, where well-groomed fillies are for hire at any hours in the twenty-four. But somehow, laying cash on the line for a filly, however good-looking, robs the game of some of its zest, to say nothing of its savor. Such hackneys in general are only for the desperate, the unlucky. or the sportsman who is only in the city overnight yet cannot bear to be without his regular visit to the track.
    But the one-time sport of kings is now the sport of commoners. The game remains the same, and it is still the greatest sport of them all, as our current rapidly rising population proves beyond doubt.
    Furthermore, it is the only sport in which a happy stallion can enjoy both a swift gallop and the enjoyment of being at stud simultaneously!
    Why not visit your neighborhood track at the earliest opportunity?


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