The year that is about to be in thoroughbred racing could be a memorable one. Seattle Slew is ready to return to action. Forego will be back in the fall. Affirmed and Alydar dominate an excellent group of 3-year-olds being pointed for the Triple Crown series.
If all stay healthy, the season should be the best of the decade.
Winter: Bowie completes its "Americanization" program by haming Brooks Robinson to be vice president in charge of Canadian Relations . . . Steve Cauthen makes a guest riding appearance in Ethiopia . . . Vickie Dutrow, Buddy Delp and King Leatherbury formally sign a non-aggression pact . . . Slew wins the Hileah Challenge Cup . . . Believe it takes the Flamingo . . . Silver Series wins the Campbell . . .
The Santa Anita Handicap goes to Affiliate . . . The Santa Anita Derby is postponed because of smog . . . Alydar circles the field to win the Florida Derby . . . Run Dusty Run runs second in Gulfstream's $750,000 Runner-up Stakes, a new event designed expressly for 4-year-olds whose first names are not that of the city in the state of Washington . . . Maryland's racing chemist discovers seven positives for Ritalin at Bowie, but the state racing commission asks for more time to study the situation . . .
Spring: Cauthen makes a guest appearance in Cambodia . . . Darby Creek Road captures the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland . . . Alydar closes with a rush reminiscent of Calumet's Whirlaway to overtake Affirmed and win the Kentucky Derby by a half length . . . Affirmed leads the Preakness all the Way . . . Darby Creek Road upsets the Belmont Stakes . . . Slew suffers his first loss of the year in the Metropolitan Mile under 132 pounds . . . Clem Florio completes a 27-horse show parlay at Pimlico . . . Charles Town residents approve Sunday racing . . .
Rosecroft and Laurellharness tracks are granted special permission to run 200 nights each . . . Marvin Mandel is named chairman of the Maryland Racing Commission, which deems Ritalin an "approved medication" it masked properly by Lasix . . . John Schapiro finds a sponsor for the Washington, D.C. International . . . It's Datsun . . .
Summer: Cox's Ridge romps in the Brooklyn and Suburban handicaps . . . A Secretariat colt bring $2,222,222 at the Keeneland Yearling Sale . . . Ceasar's Wish emerges as the nation's best 3-year-old filly . . . The Maryland commision names five more steward, all to serve on a once-a-week basis and to form a basketball team to go on tour in their spare time . . . Off-track betting saves New York City from bankruptcy by increasing the surcharge on each winning bet to 60 per cent . . . Ralph Nader is named President of Saratoga and Assiniboia Downs . . . Cauthen disappears in the Brazillian jungle after a guest appearance in the Amazon Derby . . . The state of Maryland finally unveils plans for Scaggsville Downs, a new $85 million plant to be dedicated to the revival of steeplechasing.
Chickie Lang, the jockey's agent, leads a motorboat expedition up the Amazon in an attempt to find Cauthen.
Fall: Forego, now 8, returns to competition in New York and wins the Woodward Handicap under 139 pounds, thereby eclipsing Kelso's earnings record by going over the $2 million total . . . Slew stays in the barn as his mysterious "coughing" ailment continues into its third month . . . Billy Turner is named as trainer for Queen Elizabeth . . . A Japanese horse, Takeshiba-Z., owned by the Toyota Corp. breezes by 17 lengths in the International . . . Datsun immediately cancels its sponsorship of the Laurel turf classic . . . Cox'x Ridge wins the Malboro Cup . . . Affirmed and Alydar finish in a deed heat in the Jockey Club Gold Cup . . . Secretariat goes to Japan to further his stud career . . . Bowie is sold by North Canadian Oil to Gene Casey for 77 cents . . . Casey turns the track into an outdoor movie offering special windows for betting on professional football.
Leatherbury, Dutrow and Dealt form a law firm and announce a merger of their racing stables to be called Monopoly-Parchesi-Backgammon, Inc. . . . Seattle Slew, despite having started only twice in 1978, and losing once, is named Horse of the Year . . . A sensational 18-year-old apprentice jockey named Steverino Cauthenez, rides the winner of all 16 races on the Christmas day card in Panama City, Panama . . .