Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 255-4300
Sunday, August 27, 2000
78th Day


Phar Lap was a champion - a brilliant racehorse from The Land Down Under who came to the United States to prove his greatness in the Northern Hemisphere.

Tragically, the Australian equine star died suddenly before he completed that mission, but so intriguing was the uncertain cause of death that Hollywood made a movie about the story of his racing life and premature demise.

During the following decade, jockey Albert Snider, Citation's regular rider, went fishing with friends off the coast of South Florida and never came home. Among those missing from the boat on that ill-fated expedition was the father of former Arlington Racing Secretary Tommy Trotter.

Leap forward to another decade of memories and recall the banner headlines following the shooting death of a man at the top echelon of New York society. That, too, was the stuff of tabloids. William Woodward Jr. was a man whose own socially prominent bloodlines equaled those of his champion thoroughbreds. Killed by his wife in his own home, she said she thought he was a prowler.

"Great Horse Racing Mysteries" - a book by the tremendously talented turf writer John McEvoy - covers these three mysteries of the Thirties, Forties, and Fifties, as well as numerous others - some quite recent.

The author will be on hand from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Labor Day Monday outside the Gift Shop at Arlington International to autograph copies of his fascinating work. Copies of the book will be on sale where McEvoy will meet his fans.

The erudite McEvoy is well known nationally, but particularly recognizable in the Chicago area where he served as Midwest Editor and then Senior Writer of Daily Racing Form for many years.

He wrote the 1995 book "Through the Pages of Daily Racing Form" - an historical overview of American thoroughbred racing based on material that had appeared in that newspaper's first 100 years.

However, McEvoy has also published a book of poetry - "Legacies" - and he recently completed a crime novel with a horse racing background. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, McEvoy is also a former newspaper reporter and college English teacher. He and his wife, Judy, live in Evanston, Illinois, home of two of their children and all three of their grandchildren.

Do not assume that all the unsolved racing mysteries discussed by McEvoy in his book have been eroded by time. Locally, some younger racing fans might have been introduced to world of thoroughbred racing in time to recall the suspicious fire at Hawthorne Race Course in 1978. If not that, then perhaps the disappearance of the great stallion Shergar. Was Shergar killed by the IRA, or might he still be living in anonymity somewhere in Ireland?

We certainly know that the Calumet champion Alydar is dead, but exactly how, and more significantly why did he die? The case is still being investigated.

The case is now closed concerning the death of jockey Ron Hansen, but did he jump off the San Mateo Bridge or did someone force him? Inquiring minds want to know. So does McEvoy, and so will anyone who reads "Great Horse Racing Mysteries" - True Tales From The Track.


Yoshio Fujita's Lu Ravi, heroine of the Grade 3 Delaware Handicap in her last trip to the post and the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap before that, is scheduled to make her next start in the Grade 3 Arlington Matron Handicap Monday.


David P. Holloway Racing Stable, Inc.'s Bet On Sunshine, who dead-heated for the win in the 1997 Arlington Sprint with Kenneth R. Spraggins & Joe Lombardo's Hunk of Class, is set to defend his championship in this year's renewal. The Sprint is scheduled Saturday at Arlington International - the first of three successive days of stakes races.

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