Sport: It Pays to Be Pessimistic

Morose-looking Owner Ralph Verhurst sat outside a stall in Stable C at Chicago's Sportsman's Park one night last week and gazed critically at an eight-year-old brown mare named Proximity. He shifted his unlit cigar, his 225-lb. bulk, got up slowly and fed the mare a lump of sugar. He was asked, "How does she look?" Belgian-born Ralph Verhurst, who has been trotting Proximity since she was a three-year-old, was characteristically pessimistic: "Bad, bad. I don't think she's got it." Owner Verhurst happily turned out to be wrong.

When the time came for the first heat of the $15,000 Sportsman's Trot, Verhurst harnessed...

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