You have read of the Americanization of Emily. At Bowie, the last year or so, we were treated to what is supposed to be the Americanization of Elaine.
Unfortunately, the transformation never became complete and Elaine Roberts, the $48,000-a-year president of the Prince George's track, recently returned home to daddy, in Toronto, despite having finished very much in the money in Maryland.
Now, a few months later, Big Daddy also has left the local racing scene. Kenneth Roberts apparently has stepped down as the $50,000-a-year chairman of the board of Gibraltar Pari-Mutuel, Inc., the outfit that operates Bowie and Freehold Raceway in Freehold, N.J.
When Bowie opened Tuesday, the program's list of track official's and corporate executives revealed little.
Oh, there were plenty of asterisks and dagger marks on the page. An Southern Maryland Agricultural Association, Inc., which runs the track under the Gibraltar banner. A dagger mark meant the person was on the board of the parent corporation.
But no names surfaced on the program as successors to the Roberts father-daughter duo.
There was "E. B. Casy," better known as Gene Casey, the Maryland millionaire who had owned "38 per cent of nothing" at Bowie through to these many years of Canadian corporate dictatorship.
Along with Casey's were the names of J. T. Eyton, J. F. Kay, M. A. Jacobs and B. F. Ruben.
Then, early Tuesday afternoon, "M. A. Jacobs" appeared in the press box along with Joe McLoone, the new track president, and with Casey, the new chairman of the board of Southern Maryland.
M. A. Jacobs said he was Marshall Jacobs, a New York attornery who owned, with not much luck, a couple of thoroughbreds. Jacobs further identified himself as the only American director on the board of North Canadian Oil, Ltd.
This is no mean feat, evidently, because the Canadians out there in Calgary, the parent company's headquarters, are not easily stampeded into giving an American much rein in the decision-making process, although there are 10,000 stockholders, most of whom are residents of the United States.
Jacobs acknowledged Bowie and Freehold are "at the bottom on North Canadian Oil's corporate ladder." The tracks, he said, are controlled by Footdex of Canada and are a "grandchild" of Hambro of Canada.
The intricacies of such a corporate diagram make interpreting the past performances in the Daily Racing Form seem like child's play.
There are those who believe the controlling stock in Bowie is held by a bevy of lost Bolivian tin miners who once toiled for the Patino plutocrats in Le Paz. For all anyone knows, J. T. Eyton, J. F. Kay and B. F. Ruben really are those Bolibian miners who refused to sell out to North Canadian Oil.
Perhaps, until they do, until they are persuaded to relinquish their holdings for an all-expense paid ski weekend in Banff, we are committed to Marshall Jacobs, who admits he "doesn't know enough yet" about the Bowie situation to suggest how racing at the track might be improved.
Jacobs, however, is going to have a survey made, probably to determine why Elaine left and why Casey is smiling.
Casey knows better, of course. He has been brought along to help introduce three Bowie figureheads in the last three or four years. Asked how he felt about the most recent change, the gentleman from Gaithersburg replied: "I'm always happier . . . in the beginning."
Area fans have long since learned not to give the Canadian conglometrates the benefit of any such doubt when it comes to their interest in Bowie racing.
Jacobs, for example, talked of improving Bowie's rundown plant, but he couched his hope for the future on the track's ability to earn enough money to pay for these improvements. That is not going to happen in the near future, not when Bowie is making a point of only $35,000 a year despite offering more racing dates than any other track in the state.
What Bowie needs in a gusher of money from North Carolina Oil to make the local joint clean and respectable. Until then, it doesn't matter who is listed as what on the program.