Cinzano, the horse without papers who was banned by the Jockey Club and Steeplechase and Hunt Association, finally found a home among more than 8,000 Virginians at the Casanova point-to-point meeting today at Spring Hill Farm.
Listed simply on the program as a 7-year-old bay gelding, Cinzano carried Randy Rouse to his 11th Casanova Club victory and surely his fastest.
"He's some speedball," said Rouse, the 60-plus Fairfax sportsman who was winning his second straight Club and his ninth in the last 11 years. "The son of a gun kept throwing his head up and wanting to run."
Cinzano completed the 2 1/2-mile run over Casanova's 19 timber fences (many of them telephone poles) in 5:36.2. The course was rated "good" and "never better" by racing officials. Cinzano was 10 lengths ahead of Chadds Ford, while Virginia's top timber horse last year, Boca Bird, was third, another 10 behind.
Rouse, who rode Cousin Wes to victory in 6:22.1 last year, left Cinzano out at the start. He was on top at the first fence and stayed there through the fifth. "He ducked out on me a little," said Rouse, and Chadds Ford had the lead at the sixth. Cinzano was back on top at the 11th by three lengths and held it to the end.
Dr. Mark Gerard, a New York veterinarian, imported stakes winer Cinzano and a not-so-fast horse named Lebon. One of the horses died of a fractured skull. The surviving horse was registered as Lebon. In September, 1977, "Lebon" won on the flat at Belmont Park and paid $116 for $2.
An investigation satisfied authorities that Lebon, not Cinzano, had been killed. But the surviving horse has no official papers showing him to be Cinzano, thus the ban for life.