The second of the Ellery Queen sports mysteries to appear in Blue Book magazine (September, 1939) may very well be the worst Queen story to date. The tale plods, packs too much overly-contrived plot into a few pages, and there is no real flow to the writing. The mystery turns out to be a re-packaging of The American Gun Mystery, with all of the cleverness processed out.
This one takes place on the West Coast: these sports stories highlight the bi-coastal nature of Ellery and Paula’s relationship.
At one point Ellery exclaims, “I’m not interested in racing. I’ve never even seen a race.” The enthusiasm shows. Which is too bad, considering the huge canon of horse-racing literature. Luckily, this was a low point in a four story experiment which the cousins never duplicated.