10/31/2008 12:00AM

History Chalenge answers


1. Bryan Field wrote about Thoroughbred racing for the New York Times from 1923 to 1944. And, as early as 1923, the Times carried a story that referred to the Preakness Stakes as "the second classic in the triple crown of the American turf."

Field was likely the author, and in any event, his bylined story in the June 8, 1930, Times using the term "triple crown" came more than two weeks before the first use by Charles Hatton in Daily Racing Form.

In 1944, Field left the Times and was named general manager of Delaware Park. He helped make that course one of the most successful in the nation. He was the first to initiate strict security measures to limit public access to a racetrack stable area.

Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Field also served as a commentator and race caller for network radio. In the 1950s and early 1960s, he called the Triple Crown and other major stakes races for the CBS television network.

2. Damon Runyon came to New York in 1910 as a sportswriter for the New York American. He began writing poems and short stories and soon was being published in such national forums as McCluer's and Harper's Weekly.

Runyon - Earl Sande's biggest fan - published a series of poems about the famous rider in the 1920s, all of which ended with variations of similar wording: "Gimme a handy guy like Sande, booting them horses in."

At the height of his popularity, Runyon had a nationwide daily readership of more than 10 million. His most famous collection, "Guys and Dolls," became a long-running Broadway play in 1950 and a major motion picture in 1955.

Runyon died of throat cancer in 1946 at age 62. Like Sande, who died in 1968, Runyon was penniless at the time of his death.

3. Writing about the Kentucky Derby in his autobiography, "Off and Running," published a year after his 1958 death, Bill Corum said, "It's the best copy of all sports spectacles, the easiest to write about."

Corum had the difficult task of succeeding an icon, Matt Winn, when he took over the duties as president of Churchill Downs in 1949. During his nine years at the helm, he continued to write sports columns for the Journal-American.

Under Corum's leadership, the Kentucky Derby was televised nationally for the first time in 1952. In 1954, Churchill Downs joined the nationwide movement to install film patrol at racetracks to assist the stewards in maintaining fair and honest racing.

4. "Joe H. Palmer was the rarest class of sportswriters," a biographer wrote, "those whose writing can interest readers with no initial interest in the particular sport."

In hundreds of columns for the New York Herald Tribune, Palmer spun stories about the heroes of racing, both current and past.

"No man who wrote had more grace and charm; few men has less ease and leisure, for he wrote all the time," Red Smith wrote.

A collection of Palmer's columns about racing was published in a 1953 book, "This Was Racing," edited by Smith.

5. Jim Murray came to the Los Angeles Times in 1961, following a stint as West Coast editor of Sports Illustrated magazine.

For the next 37 years, he captivated readers with clever wording and phrases that many can still recite years later. Fourteen times, his peers at the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters named him "America's Best Sportswriter."

Unlike most modern-day sports journalists, Murray was a regular at racetrack press boxes - most often Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. And the first Saturday in May almost always found him writing his column from Louisville, Ky.

In 1990, Hollywood Park honored the columnist with the Jim Murray Handicap, renamed the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap following his death in 1998.