Thank you for indicating the winner of the Kentucky Derby; too bad we were not smart enough to bet it. No. 7 won the Derby and you showed on your May 8 cover two baseball players, one wearing No. 16, which, added, will give you 7, and, of course, Mickey Mantle, whose number is 7. In his fine paintings on the Derby in the same issue, Paul Davis also displayed the lucky 7—No. 6 on one jockey and No. 1 on the other jockey. And Whitney Tower's article pointed out that Proud Clarion "may be the sleeper of the whole lot." Thank you again for an outstanding job!
With the Preakness coming up, see what you can do for us in the way of a second chance!
THE BOYS AT MOORE FORD SALES, INC.
In handing out bouquets for the Kentucky Derby, don't forget Barbs Delight, who led for 1 3/16 miles. The pace of Barbs Delight was the challenge that made Proud Clarion run the third fastest Derby (2:00 3/5) in history on a damp track.
Barbs Delight is not the product of a multimillion dollar racing establishment, but rather the result of a dream on a shoestring. The fact that he appeared in the Derby at all is a tribute to the sporting blood of the owners and trainer who were willing to pit him against the biggest and richest stables in the country.
He was bought as a yearling at the Keene-land Sales by Gene Spalding for $5,000 and brought along patiently through his 2- and 3-year-old racing career by Hal Steel Jr., his trainer and part-owner (with Spalding and Guy Huguelet Jr.). He ran an outstanding second-place race in the Derby, on top of an impressive victory in the Derby Trial on May 2. Barbs Delight will certainly have to be reckoned with in the remaining two jewels of the Triple Crown.
JOSEPH S. WILE JR.
If America is ever visited by a people from some distant planet, I hope a copy of the May 8 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will be available for perusing. It will be more reflective of our true American ethic than our most celebrated documents and statements by so-called great Americans. Your laudable story, Taps for the Champ, will surely draw gasps of surprise and disbelief.
In the annals of journalism, no story I can recall has been more faithfully and objectively reported. Except for very subtle traces of regret, or sorrow, for the champion, you have taken adequate space to report an American tragedy minus the prejudice, hysteria, emotion and hypocritical indignation that has characterized nearly 99% of the news releases on Muhammad Ali. Not once did you portray the stripped champion as anything other than a dignified human being who is caught in the midst of a very unfortunate plight (or plot). Not once did you resort to the insulting "bracket reference" to Muhammad Ali that has been typical of almost all news media that insist on " Cassius Clay."
My view is only an opinion. Nevertheless, it seems to me that what you have done is representative of the ideals of religion, of America and of responsible reporting. My sincere thanks for giving us a news story that permits the intelligent being an opportunity to draw his own conclusions and prejudices.
THE REV. LEWIS P. BOHLER JR.
Episcopal Church of the Advent
Congratulations to Edwin Shrake, who let Cassius do the talking and kept his own editorializing to a minimum. I hope to wake up some morning and see on the front page of the paper a picture of Clay thumbing his nose at the rest of the world from the safety of Mecca or Cairo. Let the draftees who have no respect for their own freedom step forward for the oath, then march off in meek submission. It's wild self-delusion to think patriotism is going along with something the only alternative to which is jail.
It takes more guts to buck the system than to go along, and Cassius' behavior indicates why he has been a winner in every challenge he has undertaken. As for the eliminations to find a successor to his title, you may as well rerun the basketball NCAAs—without UCLA.
PETER C. BLAKE