HISTORICAL NOTES: Boots & Saddles

A onetime shoeshine boy died in Brooklyn last week and, by way of mourning, a $2,500 plater named Sunny Al was scratched in the eighth race at Tropical Park that afternoon. The former bootblack was Anthony Aste, 88, founder of the Griffin Manufacturing Co. (the world's largest makers of shoe polish) and owner of the old Ascot Stable. In six decades on the American turf, Sportsman Aste, "the King of the Bootblacks," had made his mark with a colorful personality and many a better horse than Sunny AI.

$50,000 or Nothing. While still in school, Tony Aste, born in...

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