Cafe Reviews


Page 15 of 28

"As far as ability, there's not that much difference between a lot of the guys at Turf Paradise and the big names," he says. "Put Shoe on Fallbrook Flyer and what do you have? That's not to take anything away from him. But it all depends on the tools you have to work with."

Sodowsky says she has tried to get Keene to quit racing. A few years ago, she stopped trying.

"I realized how fascinated he still is with the thrill of riding and of winning," she says. "I kind of imagine the end for him will come on the track. He'll probably go in a crash. That's how he'll go."

TURF PARADISE IS the perfect name for this track at 7 a.m. The early morning symphony of the resident birds meshes sweetly with the smell of fresh coffee and cigars.

A handful of railbirds, horse owners and trainers watch horses and their jockeys go through their workouts. Some tote a stopwatch, a pair of binoculars, a notebook.

Jack Keene, his humorously long, unlighted cigar in his mouth, sits atop a thoroughbred. "I'm gonna ride until they kill me or I just die," he says. "I hope I go quick. I don't want to become an old man."

He nudges the horse and leads him onto the track. He glances at the empty grandstands, at the lush infield landscaping, at the galloping mounts.

"Welcome to paradise," Keene says to no one in particular. "Welcome to paradise."

"Riding got stuck in Jack's blood. That's why he's still doing it, I guess."

Keene's one or two mounts a day are usually average or below average. Fallbrook Flyer is below average.

Even his sex life is a loser. He's a gelding.

"What was it that Mark Twain said? `You want a completely honest horse race, you'll need an honest human race first.'"

"I still didn't know my eye was laying on my cheek. It's a bad sign when everyone comes up to you and says, `Goddd!'"

"Welcome to paradise," Keene says to no one in particular. "Welcome to paradise."

DISREGARD previous correx
This is the third and final version.
Thanks, cj


Fallbrook Flyer finally won a race April 28. Jack Keene was aboard.
"He's hardly a great horse, that's for sure," said Fallbrook Flyer co-owner Deb Meredith. The public apparently agreed--the 46-to-1 long shot paid $94.80 on a $2 ticket.

"But Jack did wonders with him," Meredith added.


Pub:Publication:Phoenix New Times
Info:nv-59-90 Category: News Shorts
Page: 99
Keywords: Military
Correction Date: Correction:


Young Jay Knauss once was captivated by the U.S. Army ad campaign that exhorts the youth of America to "be all you can be!"

Now, he's had all he can take.
In late 1984, Knauss was a down-and-out senior at Arizona State University watching late-night TV to pass the time during Christmas break. Knauss, then 23, was another college student struggling to get by. He was broke, facing another semester of borrowing money from family, friends and working a full-time job. His circumstances looked bleak, but he had only one semester to go.

A commercial came on that broke his train of thought. A father was hugging his son. The son was going into the U.S. Army to get a little discipline and a wad of cash to pay for his education. The ad was seductive.

It didn't take much time for Knauss to make up his mind. He decided that green was his color of choice--the Army and school greenbacks.

Five years after enlisting, however, Jay Knauss still is being hounded for a mistake the Army admits making.

A screw-up in pay on his last check in the service gave rise to a fight with the Veterans Administration, military bureaucrats and, ultimately, the loss of a $100,000 savings program. Now, he is facing the power of the U.S. Attorney's Office over a disputed debt of only $38. And the government is claiming immunity from being sued for its errors.

The key to this mess? A $600 check Knauss never received that turned into a debt he could never repay. It cost him. And, it must have cost Army officials a bundle trying to recover, but they say they will not comment on Jay's problems--even with his permission.

"I got screwed out of school and had to sell everything I had because of their incompetence and errors," Knauss says.

JAY KNAUSS ENLISTED for a two-year service stint starting in April 1985 because of a program called the Army College Fund.

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Penelope Corcoran