Three Maryland owned Derby/Preakness eligibles were being watched with interest.
Gay Bit, owned by Bruce Livie’s Bobanet Stable, a winner of seven straight before getting a break, was the favorite going into the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. Mrs. H.J. Mohr’s Royal Prince, one of Maryland’s top juveniles, was back in training. And Director J. E., owned by Ella K. Bryson, was also a multiple stakes winner at 2. An offer of $75,000 had recently been rejected for the colt at Hialeah Park.
The only one to make it to the classics was Gay Bit. The gelding finished second in the Louisiana Derby before going off as the longest shot on the board, at 25-1, in the Derby, where he was sixth of 16. He finished slightly better in the Preakness when fifth of seven, missing fourth by a head. Stymie was 5 lengths back in sixth.
The Editor’s Saddle-Bag returned, with Humphrey Finney explaining the hiatus while working for the war effort with the Coast Guard: “It has been a long time since this column has appeared in The Maryland Horse, the writer thereof having been engaged in business where publicity was frowned upon. Of late, however, we have been working on a special assignment, that of arranging for the sales of many hundreds of horses, owned by the Army, some used by the Coast Guard and declared surplus. . .” Finney’s diary covered two months of extensive travel as the horses were being sold.
One entry was posted: “December 13. Departed Virginia Beach today, spending most of the day driving down through North Carolina to Morehead City, where we stopped at Fort Macon. The next couple of days were spent travelling by boat, truck or jeep to visit the outlying patrol stables. . . Got caught on the Carolina Banks in the worst snow in 20 years, 15 inches on the level, thus delaying our activities somewhat.”