W.C. Heinz, whose account of the breakdown of Triple Crown winner Assault’s full brother became a racing classic, died Feb. 27 in Bennington, Vt. He was 93.
A general sports writer as well as a novelist, Heinz was in the press box July 27, 1949, at Jamaica in Queens, N.Y., when King Ranch’s homebred 2-year-old colt Air Lift either stepped in a hole or turned his left front ankle shortly after the first quarter mile of the 5 ½-furlong race in his first start. It wasn’t long before the son of Bold Venture, out of the Equipoise mare Igual, showed signs of distress. Heinz’ account of the incident, "Death of a Racehorse," appeared in the New York Sun.
Heinz, who was born near Mount Vernon, N.Y., also reported on boxing during the time that sport, along with horse racing, commanded headlines. As a novelist under the pseudonym Richard Hooker, Heinz collaborated with H. Richard Hornberger to write MASH,an account of a mobile army surgical hospital during the Korean War that was made into a popular movie and television show.
Heinz is survived by a daughter, Gayl, and a granddaughter.