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Vic Zast

From the perspective of being an owner, an industry pioneer in corporate sponsorship, a track president and fan, Vic Zast writes the "Destinations" column for The Blood-Horse. His five-star ratings of international events have shed light on racing in all corners of the globe - from England, Australia, Hong Kong, Dubai to Japan.

Vic is a regular contributor to MSNBC.com, a columnist for the Illinois Racing News and has written on racing for ESPN.com, National Public radio and The Age, Australia's leading daily.

Vic makes his home in Chicago and lives in Saratoga Springs in August.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Penny Chenery’s Dress


(CHICAGO, IL – October 13, 2010) A Facebook.com friend to many horse racing fans is trying to mine gold with a pitchfork. Allan Goldberg, a 49-year-old New Yorker who loves sports of all kinds but especially those that involve four-legged animals you can bet on, remembered that he had something snuck away in his closet that might all of a sudden become interesting to people who are over the moon for the Secretariat movie.

That certain something is the authentic dress worn by the real Penny Chenery at Churchill Downs when her “Big Red” won the 1973 Kentucky Derby. The place to see it, or buy it, is Ebay.com. Goldberg won an auction for the dress at a charity event he attended in 1999. He paid $4000 – it’s not schmata. But it didn’t cost Penny nearly that much – maybe $30. Still, because of her fame and now the movie, Goldberg believes that it’s worth a small fortune.

Goldberg seems to have a pretty good handle on what sells and what doesn’t. His Ebay profile identifies 634 transactions, mostly involving electronics. This item is a beige Lord and Taylor shirt-waist dress with belt and knee-length pleated skirt. There’s a matching collarless jacket to complete the ensemble. Don Draper would dictate the bets for women who’d wear a get-up like this and light their cigarettes – it exudes good taste and a sense of traditional place that’s no longer in vogue.

Typical of what you get from Goldberg on Facebook are unrealistic predictions about his beloved Detroit Lions and quotes from Einstein and The Born Again Skeptic's Guide to the Bible. The Internet huckster bought Chenery’s dress for his girlfriend to wear to the Derby. But, in the end, neither she nor the dress got to Louisville. Seems that whoever buys Goldberg's treasure on Sunday will be the first person to wear Chenery's dress in 37 years, unless Goldberg himself has worn it.


Written by Vic Zast

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