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by Tom Nichol

Based on the 1956 episode of the same name from the
Adventures of Superman

[Author’s Note: Readers should be aware that there have been numerous changes in the sport of horse racing, and in the laws that govern the sport on both the State and Federal levels, since this episode was originally produced.]

More than a week had passed since Joey’s admittedly Pyrrhic victory in the Jupiter Stakes. The initial winner, Rover Girl, had been firmly disqualified after Superman, using his X-ray vision, had discovered that Rover Girl’s saddle had been illegally wired to give electric shocks to the horse, using a remote control device operated from the stands by bookie Luke Palmer. The Man of Steel had emphasized, however, that neither the jockey nor Rover Girl’s owners had had anything to do with Palmer’s vicious scheme. Furthermore, the owners had fully and willingly co-operated with both State and Federal officials in their investigation of the incident. Palmer and his two chief henchmen were now in jail, awaiting trial.

In the wake of the incident, Perry White, owner and publisher of the Metropolis Daily Planet, who had initially bought Joey in order to save his old schoolmate, Peter Thomas, and his granddaughter, Alice, from losing their farm due to debts arising from a drought and the resulting loss of crops the previous year, had generously decided to give Joey back to Alice, especially in view of the strong emotional bond between the two—so strong, in fact, that Joey had all but refused to run in the race until Superman had brought Alice to the race track! He pointed out that Joey had won what Perry had paid for him, plus enough left over to make a substantial contribution to the Metropolis Children’s Charity Fund. Although he had initially planned for Joey to make a continuing series of such contributions (along with the resulting good publicity for the Daily Planet), he had quickly realized that it would be cruel to keep Joey and Alice separated for any length of time—hence his decision to return Joey to Alice, whom he rightly termed “his rightful owner.”

With the race now over, Joey, Alice and her grandfather had returned to the Thomas family farm. Perry, along with Lois Lane, Clark Kent, and Jimmy Olsen, had come by for a follow-up visit to discuss the race and its aftermath. Shortly afterward, Inspector Bill Henderson of the Metropolis Police Department, who had co-ordinated the joint State and Federal investigation, had joined them to inform the group of what the authorities had discovered.

We found out that Palmer bribed one of Rover Girl’s grooms to insure that the electrified saddle he supplied would be the one that was used,” he explained. “He, along with Palmer and the rest of his gang, has been arrested, and is being held without bond.”

“What’s going to happen to them, Inspector?” Jimmy Olsen inquired.

“Plenty, Jimmy—plenty!” Henderson responded, his face stern and hard, his eyes like flint as he spoke. “At the very least, the groom will be tried as an accessory before, during, and after the fact of aggravated cruelty to animals, which is a felony. He’ll also be banned from ever setting foot at a race track again as long as he lives—even as a spectator!”

“Excuse me,” Alice put in, her own expression reflecting her lack of understanding, “but what exactly IS a felony?”

Perry, who was a trained lawyer as well as a journalist, replied, “It’s a crime which carries a penalty of more than one year in jail, Alice. If the penalty for a crime is less than one year in prison, the offense is classified as a ‘misdemeanor’.”

As Alice nodded her understanding, the Inspector went on, “The U.S. Attorney and our own District Attorney are currently discussing the exact charges to bring against Palmer, his sidekick, Sully, and the rest of his gang. At the very least, those charges will include assault with a deadly weapon, criminal intimidation, conspiracy, and a number of violations of both State and Federal gambling laws as well as that charge of aggravated cruelty to animals! One thing you can be sure of, though, Alice—Mr. Luke Palmer and his partners in crime will NEVER see the outside of a jail cell again as long as they live—NEVER!”

“GOOD!” Clark put in vehemently, and the others all agreed.

Lois then inquired, “So how is the farm doing, now that Joey is retired from racing?”

Peter Thomas, Alice’s grandfather, replied, “Well, Miss Lane, because of the publicity surrounding the race, news about Joey’s bloodline has gotten around. As a result, we’ve already received enough in advance breeding payments to pay for Alice’s schooling all the way through veterinary school!”

“Is that what you want to do as a career, Alice?” Clark inquired.

“Yes, Mr. Kent—very much so!” Alice responded. That way, I can be doubly sure that I can give Joey the very best of care for as long as he lives! Being able to care for other horses and large farm animals in addition to Joey will be the extra icing on the cake, so to speak!”

With a wicked grin on his face, Perry observed, “Well, Peter, I told you at the time I bought Joey that I wasn’t just HORSING around, didn’t I?”

“Yes, Perry, you did,” Mr. Thomas replied, “and you sure enough weren’t MAKING HAY!”

As the others all groaned in response, Joey, for his part, replied by giving out what could only be described as the proverbial “HORSE LAUGH.” His human companions all responded by bursting out laughing themselves. With that, the owner of the Daily Planet and his comrades said their goodbyes and began the long drive back to Metropolis.

Posted: September 21, 2022

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