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Even Now, Turcotte Recalls 'Big Red' With Fondness

June 08, 1997|STEVE SPRINGER

What does it mean to ride a Triple Crown winner?

Jockey Ron Turcotte did so with Secretariat in 1973. Five years later, Turcotte wound up in a wheelchair, unable to walk as a result of a bad spill in a race.

While Turcotte would give anything to be able to get back on his feet, he told Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News that, to this day, the memory of Secretariat is a comfort to him.

"You never think it's going to happen to you," Turcotte said of his fall. "And if you did, you'd never ride in the first place. And if you never rode in the first place, you never would have gotten to ride Secretariat."


Trivia time: How far did the longest home run in major-league history travel?


Numbing numbers: They are not the kind of statistics one normally sees in regard to basketball.

Nor are they the kind one likes to see.

But with the Chicago Bulls threatening to win another NBA title, Chicago police must gear up for another celebration.

Last year, 40 fires were set in Chicago on championship night.

When the Bulls won the title in 1993, police recorded the following statistics: three people killed, 20 others shot, 197 businesses looted, 139 police cars damaged and 173 people charged with felonies.

So what's to celebrate?


Judge tees off on golfer: Criminal Court Judge Stephen Bevil was checking the scores from a charity golf tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn., when he noticed Clint Wolford was only five strokes off the lead.

Good golf. Bad decision.

Last year, Wolford pleaded guilty in the 1992 death of Rodney Walker. For his plea, Bevil suspended Wolford's four-year prison sentence for vehicular homicide on the condition he serve six months on work release. Wolford could work during the day, but had to spend the rest of his time at the county workhouse.

Wolford told the judge that he was only playing golf to improve a business relationship with a customer.

The judge didn't buy it. Wolford will serve the rest of his term in jail.


Shark nearly swam off: "I was one beer away from shutting the whole lot down. . . . I could have retired," golfer Greg Norman told Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post about the aftermath of his Masters debacle a year ago. "But I enjoy everything [about golf] too much."


Trivia answer: Thirty miles. Well, sort of. Hall of Fame catcher Ernie Lombardi of the Cincinnati Reds once hit a ball off Dizzy Dean out of old Crosley Field. It cleared a wall 387 feet away and landed in the back of a passing truck. The driver discovered the ball after he had driven 30 miles.


And finally: John McEnroe was never shy about acknowledging his talent on the tennis court; he is more humble about his ability in his other love: playing rock music.

"Mick Jagger can rest easy," he told the French sports daily L'Equipe.

While McEnroe is in Paris for the French Open, commentating for NBC and the USA network, evenings often find him playing at the Chesterfield Cafe, an American-style bar near the Champs Elysees.

One thing McEnroe likes about his rock music, as opposed to his tennis: "I can only get better."

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