De Luxe, Calumet’s first best

“While on the Kentucky Derby subject, it is interesting to recall that after last year’s unexpected win by Ponder the banner line over the Louisville Courier-Journal read ‘Ponder, Calumet’s 2nd Best, Wins Derby.’

Who do you suppose the first best was a year ago? Tickets to the last New Year’s game if you can guess it.

It was De Luxe, a son of Bull Lea and Nellie L., by Blenheim II.

De Luxe is about the only mistake that Plain Ben ever made in his judgement of a horse. Even after Ponder won the Derby, surprising him as well as the multitudes, he insisted that De Luxe would prove better than Ponder before the year was out.

Well, the record shows that De Luxe never won a race any longer than six furlongs during ’49, none of them stakes.

When Paul Ebelhardt was here recently this observer asked him recently what had happened to De Luxe, and he began telling me about his six-furlong activities. We asked Ebelhardt if he recalled the Louisville Courier-Journal banner line.

He didn’t, but said that De Luxe had taught the Calumet management a lesson.

‘We thought we ought to fire him as a 2-year-old at the farm. He had suspicious ankles, but we didn’t. Now we’re going to have to do what we should have done a long time ago.’”
(Paul Lowry / Los Angeles Times, 02/19/1950)


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