Steve Cauthen is coming to Maryland. The 16-year-old wunderkind will be at Pimlico when the Baltimore course opens Monday, March 21. He will meet the public from 11 a.m. until noon, then ride a full card of nine races during the afternoon.
There is a strong possibility, however, that Cauthen will be in action here before that. The young Kentuckian has ridden Turn and Count in that colt's recent appearances, and Turn And Count will be one of the favorites at Bowie on closing day, Saturday, March 19, in the $100,000-added John B. Campbell Handicap.
One of the few achievements to have escaped Cauthen is a victory in a $100,000 stake. He is not likely to pass up such an opportunity. "I'm fairly confident he'll be here," racing secretary Larry Abbundi volunteered yesterday. For $100,000, you can bet on it. Cauthen, meanwhile, continues on a schedule that would appear to be too demanding for any 16-year-old. He was at Golden Gate Fields Saturday for the $150,000 California Derby and at Santa Anita Park for the $273,550 "Big Cap" Sunday. His mounts finished last in both events.
Tuesday, Cauthen was at Hialeah for the opening of that Florida meeting. His appearance created a controversy because Gulfstream Park, which closed Monday, charged that Cauthen's "commitment" to Hialeah had included a promise not to ride at Gulfstream.
Yesterday, Cauthen was back at his favorite stomping grounds, Aqueduct in New York.
It would seem that, for all his early maturity, Cauthen is being asked to make everybody happy. He is about to become a millionaire, many times over, but it would be nice to see him get a day off once in a while. At 16, he has time, even though he loses his five-pound apprentice allowance May 27th.
The day-to-day threat of a strike continues at Bowie, with Mabel speigle right in the middle of the confusion.
Speigle is the track's switchboard operator.
"Ordinary I get a few calls each day, asking information," she says. "Now, each day, there are hundreds. Many of the racing fans seem to have a one-track mind. They say they keep hearing we're not running, so they want assurance we'll be open when they get here."
Most affected are groups planning to have a "day" at the races. The track is unable to guarantee anything during this stretch. The extensions not to strike have been on a 24-or 48-hour basis.
Bowie will be open today. Negotiations between the track employees' union and Maryland's three major tracks will resume at 10 a.m. today, aided once again by federal and state mediators. Today also is the "deadline" for electrical workers and the American Totalisator Co. to reach a contract agreement.