The Ottawa Journal from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on August 15, 1977 · Page 13
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The Ottawa Journal from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · Page 13

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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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Monday, August 15, 1977
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Page 13
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w I "till -3 Brancato has the axe sharpened lii li hi 1 Mark Kosmos may be a victim By Clem Kealey Journal Sports Staff This has been a tough season for Rough Riders veterans and it doesn't appear it's going to get any easier. Head coach George Brancato woke this morning with aa axe in his hand and he was going to the dark room to replay Ottawa's 27 to 17 defeat in Regina last Tuesday for the first time. The film was lost en route here and only arrived late last night. Brancato wasn't carrying the axe to cut film. If he sees what he thinks he's going to see then one head is going to roll and maybe two. Brancato knew two things for sure last night One is that running back Larry Cates' days as a Rough Rider are not, repeat not, numbered. "He's too good and too versatile an athlete to cut," the coach said. Cates can also play defensive half. Also, Brancato does want to take a look at running back Richard Holmes against Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Lansdowne Park Tuesday. So both Holmes and Cates will likely share a running back spot with Cates also returning punts and kick-offs and perhaps even seeing some duty in the defensive back-field. If Holmes dresses one American will have to be cut. Brancato wasn't naming names but he did say it would be a linebacker. Ottawa has four of them. They are all U. S. imports and the coaches have been concerned over Mark Kosmos' contribution throughout the pre-season and four regular schedule games. Brancato wouldn't name names but the vibes suggest that his popular captain could Join Tom Schuette, Rod Woodward, Gary Kuzyk and Rudy Sims, among others, as ex-Riders as early as this morning. The Minstrel fetches $9 million Taylor reaches deep for champion horse By MICHAEL STRAUSS N.Y. Times Service SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. A record price of $9 million for the syndication of a thoroughbred racer was reported Saturday when it was made known that E. P. Taylor, owner of the Windfields Farm, had purchased The Minstrel, Europe's champion campaigner. The purchase concluded a series of sessions involving Taylor, the leading breeder of stakes winners in the world, and Tom Cooper, who was acting on behalf of the principals controlling the 3-year-old son of Northern Dancer. An unusual aspect of the transaction was that Taylor, who conducts major breeding establishments in Maryland and in vthe Province of Ontario, was the original owner of the chestnut coll. After breeding The Minstrel, he sold him for $200,000 at the 1975 Kecneland Sales. Cooper made that purchase on behalf Of-the British Bloodstock Agency of Ireland. Under the training of Vincent O'Brien, The Minstrel achieved greatness. At the present time, his racing earnings amount to 333,644 pounds the highest or second highest income for a European thoroughbred, depending on how pounds are figured in today's market. That is more than $600,000. Until today, the highest figure ever paid for a thoroughbred was the $8 million spent for What A Pleasure last year. In 1975, Wajima was puccpased for $7.2 million for syndication purposes. The third previous highest price was the $6,080,000 for Secretariat, the former Triple Crown champion. The Minstrel, a well-built colt with a white blazed head whose dam is Fleur, is to be controlled by a 36-share syndicate. His racing prominence mostly centers around victories in the Epsom Derby, the Iirish Sweepstakes Derby and the Ring George V-Queen Elizabeth Slakes. He is closely related to the threat Nijinsky, a winner of the English triple crown. , 'In recent years, Cooper has actively engaged in making purchases at American thoroughbred sates. Representing the BBAI, he paid the highest price last month at the Keeneland Sales a $725,000 purchase of another son of Northern Dancer. At the Fasig-Tipton Yearling Sales just concluded here, the Irish horseman came up with the highest bids during the four-day session again for colts sired by Northern Dancer. Hi purchases cost him $375,000 and 4340,000. In view of, his sale of The Minstrel, the tallr among Saratoga's horsemen Saturday night was that Cooper now hatf the opportunity to become a bigger purchaser than ever of Americans top stock. Orantes beats Connors INDIANAPOLIS (UPI) It came more easily than Manuel Orantes ever expected. The Spaniard picked up his third U.S. Open Clay Court men's singles c'ampioriship Sunday with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over the top-seeded and hardhitting Jimmy Connors. "He was missing a lot of shots, but I also passed him at the net quite a bit," Orantes said. "I wasn't making many mistakes. I awas very pleased with my game, TMit I didn't exyct to win that easi-' ly." For Connors, his entire game lacked its customary thoroughness. "I might have been a step slow," he said. "Maybe I should have put more pressure on him, but I didn't have the pace, the "feel and the moves." Connors, the defending champion, took only four games from Orantes in the two sets. It took the 20-year-old Spaniard, ranked sixth worldwide, less than 75 minutes to pocket the $20,000 victory. Connors, ranked first worldwide, received $10,000. Connors said his opponent played "about as well as he did two years ago," when Orantes defeated him at Forest Hills for the U.S. Open crown. Connors, his frustration obvious throughout the match, resorted to curses and obscene gestures. Whether he was chiding himself or an umpire for a line call was not clear. 1 , Orantes won the la st five games of the first set and brake Connors in the fourth and sixth gaunes. In the second set, 4le first four games followed servicfe, but then Orantes broke for a 3-3 lead and held his own service for a 4-2 margin. He broke Connors agyiin in the ninth game when Connors Imissed a volley after leading 40-15. u)rantes rallied to tie the game at deuce, scored wHh a passing, shot and clinched the matchwhen Covnors' volley try netted. Laura DuPont, Mathews, JU.C, took the women's singles title tend $6,000 with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Nancy Richey, 34, the six-time winner from San Angdlo, Tex. seeking to revive her '60s dominance of thi U.S. Open championships. V If Kosmos gets the final hand-' shake today Brancato's popularity will be about on a par with that of Son of Sam. It could be that free safety Al Brenner gets a goodbye kiss too. National Football League cut Mark Burke is here on a five-day trial and pressing Brenner for a paycheque. Last night, Brancato seemed to be leaning towards giving Brenner a one-game reprieve and make a decision after the Hamilton game. However, he admitted, this morning's film could force his hand earlier. Jim Foley definitely won't dress against the Tigers. He tested his jammed neck and told the coaches he's ready. But they'd rather wait a week and have him in even better condition for Riders' game in Montreal Since both Ottawa and Hamilton, last year's eastern finalists, have the same unimpressive I and 3 records it's not surprising that Bob Shaw began lopping heads at an even faster rate than Brancato. Shaw waded into his lineup with both blades flashing and five athletes were on the bread line this morning. Flanker Mike Eben was chopped and went down yelling and along with him went kicker Dave Pegg and linebacker Rick Konopka, both Canadians, and imports Pat Donley, a defensive end, and defensive back Craig Jensen. So Shaw, the CFL's coach of the year, isnt running any popularity contests either. His presence in the Hamilton locker room would be about as welcome as Anita Bryant appearing at a Gay picnic. Meanwhile Shaw added John Harvey to the Hamilton roster. The controversial Harvey had been earlier cut by Toronto and last week by the National Football League Cleveland Browns. Harvey is expected to play slotback against Ottawa here tomorrow night. In another surprise development in the CFL on the weekend the B. C. Lions released import middle linebacker Sam Cvjanovich. Cvjanovich went to the Lions in the trade which brough Ray Nettles to Toronto. And the Argos made another trade this weekend. They obtained Rudy Linterman, the slot-back from Calgary, for defensive half Wayne Allison. And all his fans in Ottawa will be happy to hear that Billy Roblnsoji is getting a look by Leo Cahill in Toronto. Chuck Ealey suffered shoulder damage in Toronto's win over Hamilton last week and so Dennis Franklin has been moved from his wide receiver position to quarterback. George Mira is another insurance man at that position. Cahill denied that Robinson has been granted a five-day trial with Toronto. The Argos coach said he only agreed to take an informal look at the ex-Rider after Robinson hajd phoned him requesting a tryout. It wasn't Gene 7s day PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (UPI) Everyone felt sorry for Gene Littler Sunday, even Lanny Wad-kins, the man who beat him on the third extra hole of a sudden-death playoff for the PGA Championship. "I truly feel sorry for what happened to Gene," Wadkins said in his opening remarks shortly after winning the final major championship of the year at Pebble Beach. "He's such a great competitor and a great person." Littler, who battled back from cancer to make his way on the tour and more recently from an agonizing back problem, went into Sunday's final round with a four-stroke lead. No One really expected him to lose it. By the turn, a pretty stiff breeze started up off Carmei Bay, and suddenly funny things began happening to Littler's game. He has been nicknamed "the Machine" by golf writers because of his methodical play. He was not methodical or very smart, by his own admission, when it counted, making four bogies in a row at one point to create & playoff with Wadkins. "I made a lot of bad decisions," Litter said later in a voice barely audible even though he was sitting in front of a microphone. "I mis-clubbed at least a half dozen times, which you can't do on Pebble Beach." Maybe it wasn't supposed to be Littler's day because once they started the playoff it was obvious Wadkins couldn't make a mistake and Gene couldn't get a break, which he desparately needed. Wadkins made a 20-foot putt on the first hole, which is a 382yard, par four, and that saved him the first time. They both birdied the second hole, which is a 502-yard par four, and then they went to the third, which is trickier than it looks at 388 yards and par four. Wadkins outdrove Littler and then flew the green, but his second shot stopped about 30 feet from the pin on the fringe. Littler's second shot was short, on purpose, he said, but it didn't quite get to where he wanted it. "That was unfortuate for me;" Littler said. "I had to hit through the grass to get to the ball and I flubbed it. At best, it was a chancy shot." The ball went only aboiit 10 feet and left Littler a putt of about 18 feet. He missed it and then Wadkins, who had come out to eight feet from the fringe on his third shot, made the putt that won him lifetime exemption in the PGA Championship, five-year exemptions in the Masters and U.S. Open, places in the Ryder Cup competition, the World Series of Golf and the World Cup. More . important, he gained 10-years exempt status on the tour. What it did to Littler was break his heart. Wadkins knew it and after jumping in the air for joy he went over to console Gene. "I don't know what I said exactly," Wadkins said. "I knew -how bad he must have felt and I wanted him to know how I felt about him. ' 'v 1 1 Jubilant Lanny Wadkins A rest might, be as good as another change At the risk of belaboring the football situation to the point of boredom when, after all, the season will be with us until the snow flies, the signs of early panic in the Rough Rider camp deserve some comment. With rare exceptions airlifts have benefited only airlines. Now George Brancato is insisting Riders .aren't into any airlift but bodies keep coming in and, more to the point, it appears bodies will be going out and we have to wonder if this overhaul of the Riders might not be a little pre mature. Riders did not have a good game in their opener against Montreal and they had a terrible one in Toronto. After that Toronto performance It was obvious that a move of some kind had to be made to give the club the Idea that the season had indeed started and the games were for real and it was time to start producing. Then came a good win over the Argos and a not so good performance under trying circumstances in Regina and that added up to a rather dismal 1-3 record for the defending Grey Cup champions. Now 1-3 certainly isn't good but Riders have been worse at this stage of the campaign and finished In the money. And they've done it without wholesale change. A lot found wanting The veteran's have been the hardest hit after last year's Grey Cup win and throughout this season Brancato has shown little inclination to go very far down the road with the veterans. It was deemed in by GeYald Redmond the off-season that Rod Woodward had lost too much and so he went to Calgary. Gary Kuzyk was found wanting and the word on Tom Schuette was that he too had lost that step. Rudy Sims was in the same category and gone. Now it's Mark Kosmos and Al Brenner who have caught the ey jf Brancato and we have to wonder just how much qp many veterans can have lost in a year. . ! It's something Brancato has always wondered about too and he's always had the philosphy he'd rather move too soon than too late. We remember him saying after Hughie Oldham was dropped, and again when Rhome Nixon was given his walking Bapers: "It's a strange thing," Brancato said then, "but I've seen it happen so often. A veteran player will have a good year, sometimes even a great one and then just overnight lose it. I don't know why it happens but It happens. I could name-a dozen." V Since then George has named close to a dozen lUders he felt had suddenly come to the end of the li me. And so far it seems as if he's made few mfatakes. All-stars cut by Riders have generally notfound welcome mats out for them with other CFL teams. Always unsettling Dropping veterans, popular ones, always has an unsettling influence on a football team and coaches of course take that into account when that final decision has to be made. Sometimes a little unsettling is what's needed but continuing change often prodvees less than the desired effect. Sometimes, for tta sake of continuity, it's better to wait for that pro fren veteran to prove over a distance of ground that tfhe old skills are just not there any more and won't come back no matter how hard he tries. H Frank Clair vas a great believer in going with the guy he knew'father than a newcomer. It used to be a sore point w'th Ottawa fans when Clair would look at a newcomer, bring him back and look at him again and theii decide to go with what he had because, as Frank Vised to say: "He really doscp't know our system ytfct." There were timesVwhen we had to feel Ottawa . must have had the m-st complicated system in the world. Other teams b.vnight in backs on a Wednesday and played them 4n the weekend. With rare exceptions Clair wanted five-day trials to last u month. Took Clair sotnr timv Part of that could have been that it took Frank that long to get the newcomer, fixed well in his memory, not his name mind you, but his number. Billy Van Burkleo was backup quarterback and punter for two years before Frank slopped hollering at the bench to "get 27 ready" (number 27 had been Billy Cline) every time Russ Jackson appeared to be shaken up. But if Riders were reluctant to change horses in mid-stream under Clair, they haven't been under Brancato and at this point who's to say which was the better system. Clair's teams were always around at the finish and so far Brancato's have too. Brancato's way is definitely better for the program sellers and we just hope, for his sake, he'll be proven right again if he decides to rebuild in mid-season. But for the veterans on this Ottawa club who arc gone, or are about to go, we feel sense of loss. They have been good football players and good people and we hate to see them go. Coaches are not supposed to be sentimental, just winners. Sportswriters can afford to want to see the veteran do it one more time, and we confess that is the way we sec it at this stage of the season. 1 J- "

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