"The Derby Winner," in charge of Al Spink and George Munson, will start out next season with an improved cast and new specialties and accessories. The season opens Aug. 18, at the Grand Opera House, in [St. Louis.] The company goes North from here. Three State fair weeks are booked at Minneapolis, Minn., Topeka, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. Mr Spink has engaged Edward Giguere to play Arthur Dunn's old part of the Sport, and Blanche Bayer as soubrette...
-New York Clipper, May 18, 1895
[In 1890,] Al's interest in the paper waned as he turned to his other passion, the theater. He wrote and produced a play, The Derby Winner, which required a cast of 42 persons and six horses. It was a success in St. Louis, but on the road, the play flopped, and Al was wiped out financially. He used his Sporting News stock as collateral for loans he could not repay. Charles bought the stock, and the two brothers feuded, reconciling just before Charles died in 1914.
"The Derby Winner" was played by the St. Louis company at the Lansing last night. The audience was large, enthusiastic and political. There have been several plays by illiterate playwrights brought out this year and of them all "The Derby Winner" is certainly the worst. "On the Bowery," the play written and now being acted in New York by Steve Brodie, the noted Bowery bartender and all around tough, is a classic compared to this. The author of this perpetration is one Mr. Al Spinks, editor of a St. Louis sporting paper. Of course the play comes from St. Louis; there is no other spot on the globe that could produce quite such a play. The dialogue was fearful and wonderful, consisting of all the old gags shaken up in a hat and poured out at random. The characters utterly lacked consistency. The racing scene made one long to lay aside the tabernacle of clay. Beside this play the "Police Patrol" and the "Heroes of the Hook and Ladder" loom up as Shakespearean masterpieces. The play is not worthy of criticism and produces no impression except "that tired feeling." As for the actors, for their own sake we will not mention who they were.
-Nebraska State Journal, October 5, 1894