PBS Lunch Break

Okay, well it’s not really PBS, but if you’re a history geek like me, then you might find interesting this little tale about former WaPo publisher and Hope Diamond owner Edward McLean. The story goes, there was a fellow named Cy Cummings who wanted a job at a race track,…

In the course of their conversation, Cummings said: “You know that job out at Laurel race track is open. The former president (of the track) has died.”

McLean said: “Would you like to have that job?”

Cy said, “Yes I would like to have that very much.”

Ed McLean said: “I’ll get it for you.”

“How are you going to do that?”

“I’ll show you.”

McLean then picked up the telephone and called Colonel Matt Wynne, president of Churchill Downs Race Track (in Louisville), where they have the Kentucky Derby and who also was a principal stockholder in Laurel Racetrack.

McLean not only owned the Washington Post, he also owned the Cincinnati Inquirer, the big paper in Cincinnati.

When McLean made the call to Wynne, Wynne claimed the job at Laurel had already been promised to someone else. But McLean continued to advocate for Cy.

“Well,” he said, “I’ll tell you, Matt, if Cy Cummings don’t get that job, the name of Churchill Downs will never again appear in the Cincinnati Inquirer.”

Finally, after a long silence, Mr. Wynne said: “You can tell Mr. Cummings he’s got the job.”