Where is Sprint Rogers?

The supertout permitted by Laurel to conduct seminars on How To Beat The Races at this meeting appears to have disappeared. And his fans are asking for him. The courtesty desk gets several inquires daily; "When's Sprint coming back?"

No one seems to know. Not even the Laurel management, and old Sprint was to have been appearing five times a week before his devoted darlings in the grandstand this week, and last week, and the week before that.

"I think he called in and said a member of his family died, and he needed some time off, is one unofficial explanation given for Rogers lack of a current rooting interest.

But there could be other reasons. Sprint reportedly was appearing at the head of his informal classroom at Laurel free of charge, just so long as he could sell his handicapping material.He was popular; so much so that Laurel kept putting his name up in lights, on the infield tote board.

Then, yesterday I ran into a player in the grandstand lobby. He, too, was looking for Sprint. "I have a good reason." the player said, "for wanting to see the guy come back here. A damn good reason. And so do a couple of other fans I know Was he too fast for us?"

Could it be?

Could it be that Sprint Rogers had sprinted off the premises slightly ahead of time for all the wrong reasons? I reject that suggestion, of course, secure in the knowledge that racetrack touts are honorable men.

Rogers will return, I'm sure, but he is two to three weeks overdue and several of the players are becoming a little edgy.

Where is Sam Lerner?

The supersalesman of all Laurel ticket purchers was not behind window No. 93 yesterday and none of the mutuel clerks in the long gray line on the grandstand floor could alert me to Sam's whereabouts.

Lerner's been having more trouble laterly, he said recently. His window never does as much business as the others. Sam said that's partly because he's refined Clem Florio and Andy Beyer's figures to the point where he can beat the horses.

"But they're picking on me. "Sam sweared. "They've wanted to fire me ever since I quit giving out information when I was behind the 'change' window."

I had intended to encourage Laurel bettors to converge on Sam's window, to help save his job by assuring him a higher volume of ticket sales. Trouble is, Lerner's never at the same stand twice. And he roams about a lot. He lacks seniority, and I have a pretty strong hunch Lerner's not going to gather enough of that stuff to last much longer.

Where is Bed Pan?

Thirteen 3-year-old fillies were entered yesterday in Saturday's $40,000 added Anne Arundel Handicap at Laurel, but the name of the filly mentioned above was not among them.

A pity.

Bed Pan is owned by the Patchwork Stable, which has silks to match. Her sire is Run For Nurse. Her dame is Beware Below, by Sailor Beware. Her 2-year-old full sister is named This won'thurtabit.

Characters and color, That's partly what thoroughbred racing is all about. Or was all about. There's too little of it left.