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GOSSIP OF THE TURF. John E. Madden, who is training his splendid string of horses at Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky., several days ago made the interesting statement that he knew of a four-year-old which can beat either Hermis or McChesney doing anything from running races to eating oats. Hermis and McChesney, as all turfmen know, are generally considered the champions of the east and west, respectively, and no turfman of any prominence or experience has heretofore dared to dispute the claims of their owners and admirers. Mr. Madden, however, says that Gunfire, the Hon. "William C. Whitneys filly, is by long odds the greatest racehorse in the world. "Mr. L. V. Bell, the owner of Hermis, is a warm, personal friend of mine," said Mr. Madden recently, "and I have never seen McChesney, and of course, cannot criticise him for that reason, but I will go on record as saying that I consider Gunfire the superior of any living thoroughbred, and that must include both Hermis and McChesney." The track at the Downs, Louisville, Ky., has been deep in mud for the past week, but several trainers are rushing their charges along. There are over 400 horses now quartered at the track, and nearly all of them are getting their daily work-outs in the mud. Of course, very few have been set down yet, but from now on there will be activity every morning. The rail birds are beginning to gather, and the Louisville "dockers" can be seen every pretty morning at the track side. This alone is an indication of active preparation. W. Phillips, who has charge of Fred Cooks large stable, is busy these days. He has probably one of the best prospective lot of two-year-olds that will be campaigned in the west this year. The older division of the Cook stable are well known campaigners. They are Omdurman, Alee, Haviland, Ouden-arde and Bessie Spahr. The three-year-olds, or derby candidates, comprise Linguist, Len-din, St. Minor and Marlin. They have all wintered well, and by the way they are taking their gallops it looks as if they will stand training. The best of the two-year-olds in this stable that have shown are Father Talent, by Bermuda Gratitude; Sam Stevens, by Victory Tootsie; Gabriel by Gay Lad-Mildred, and Coroner Kelly, by Bough and Ready. These colts have done quarters in 28 seconds in the deep going that has prevailed at the Downs all winter. Phillips says about ten of the Cook stable will be sent to Kinloch Park to take part in that meeting. The rest of the stable will remain in LouisviUe for the spring meeting. There is a tip out that McGee, by White Knight Remorse, one of Corrigans derby candidates, is about the best looker at the Downs and that he has worked sufficiently well to justify stable talk about the colt. The following is taken from the Canadian Sportsman, of March 13: "The question has often been discussed among Canadian turfmen what the result would be if anything were to happen so that Messrs. -W- Hendrie- and - J. E. Seagram-were to retire from the racing game. They are such extensive breeders and generally have so many horses in training that their absence from the game would seriously hurt the home meetings, It is therefore a pleasure to be able to announce an important addition to the list of Canadian owners in the persons of Messrs. R. and A. W. McKenzie, sons of William McKenzie, president of the Toronto Railway Company. "The new stable will be known as the Kirkfield named after Mr. McKenzies birthplace, also the name of his summer home in the Trent "Valley. John Nixon has been engaged to train their horses, which, at the present time are, Maiden, b. g, 5, by Lissak Mag Rapture; Wire In, ch. c, 4, by Wickham Lady Lightfoot and the two-year-old War Whoop, his full brother. These two last were bought from Harry Giddings, the well known breeder of Oakville,. Ont. The price paid for the couple was ,000, a record figure for Canadian bred thoroughbreds. Wire In has been often alluded to in these columns. He has a number of really good races to his credit. On two occasions he won at a mile over the Fort Erie track in 1:40 J beating some of the best horses at the course. He is bred to stay and he has proved his ability in that direction. War Whoop is of course an unknown quantity but has very much impressed those who know the colt well and have had many opportunities of seeing him. We understand it is the intention of his new owners to reserve him for next years Kings Plate, and if good wishes count for anything the Mckenzie Brothers will be richly freighted. The horses left Memphis this week with trainer Nixon who is one of the best and most careful men in the business." It must be very gratifying to Mr. J. E. Madden, of Hamburg Place, to have the first Derby of the year won by a daughter of great young stallion, Mirthful. Mr. Madden nominated Witfull for the New Orleans Derby, and in proof of his foresight this game filly scored a hollow victory, running over her field and winning by eight lengths. Her dam is Response, a Longfellow mare, and owned by Clarence Mackay, who will no doubt share Mr. Maddens delight at the excellent showing made by Witfull. Witfulls triumph renews the interest that CONTINUED ON FOURTH FADE. GOSSIP OF THE TURF. Continued from first page. every American has in Acefull another Mirthful colt, sold by Mr. Madden to Whitney and Duryea, and now owned by H. B. Duryea. Acefull will carry the hopes and wagers of every lover of sport in this country in the English Derby. His chances for this classic race are excellent." "With Acefull, Mexican, Skilful, Bardolph and others winning rich stakes in their two-year-old form, and "Wit-Witfull capturing the initial Derby of the new year, there seems every assurance that Mirthful will this year add new laurels to those already gathered by his sagacious owner, J. B. Madden, who stands in the front rank as a breeder and trainer of thoroughbreds. The two-year-old filly Rowena, winner of last Saturdays Bell Stakes at Oakland, possesses a pedigree whose component bloodlines are of really exceptional interest. Being by Altamax Picnic, Rowena is obviously a full sister to Maxnic, which has long since conferred no mediocre measure of. credit upon the alliance which produced himself, and is again to the fore with Rowena. Concerning Maxnic, it may be well to point out that, despite the comparatively disappointing nature of his eastern campaign of 1902, it is barely a twelvemonth since universal turfdom was duly appreciative of the prowess which he showed in capturing the valuable Western Produce Stakes. This very victory, as a matter of fact, doubtless cost Maxnic at least one important eastern victory by reason of the substantial penalty entailed by the Pacific Slope achievement. Good riding material here is growing scarce owing to the departue of such boys as Burns, Bullman and Waterbury, says a San Francisco exchange of March 15. Bonner, the colored light-weight, is doing good work in the saddle and has a large number of followers. He is under engagement to Charles McCafferty. The showing of Precious Stone in the Bell Stakes, was a great disappointment to G. B. Morris. In his previous efforts the colt ran out, but Bullman generally controlled him. He always went to the outside fence. It is the general opinion that Bear-catcher is the champion youngster. Unfor tunately the Ferguson two -year-olds were not .engaged in stakes. It was the original intention to sell them in New York. As a result Bearcatcher cannot compete in the events. Jockey Odom left for New York last Monday, where he goes to sign a contract for second call with Alex Shields. He is to receive ,000 for his services, and there are some rich promises if he can pilot Advance Guard to victory in some of the big fixtures in which he has been entered. After the papers are signed he will go to Memphis, where he will ride McChesney in the Montgomery Handicap. He has also agreed to pilot Sweet Alice if she is sent there to bid for the Tennessee Oaks. He said that if he sees a fair amount of work ahead of him he may stay for the entire meeting at Montgomery Park. This means that there is very little chance of his being seen at Bennings. Fred Foster, the turfman, received a cablegram from his representative in Germany saying that he had bought for Mr. Foster the Brooklyn Handicap winner, Dr. Rice. Dr. Rice was once before owned by Mr. Foster, who sold him to Baron Bleichroder, the Berlin banker. The recent death of the baron caused the offering on the market of all the barons horse interests except the horses in training, which must fiinish their German racing engagements. The cablegram further said that Dr. Rice had been shipped to America. Wax Taper and W. B. Gates were given a stiff mile and a furlong work last Tuesday at Clinton Park, Little Rock, and the results makes Wax Taper an extremely doubtful starter. Captain Rice may start him as a matter of sentiment or as a forlorn hope, but carrying not more than 100 pounds, he was decisively beaten by W. B. Gates in 2:02 J. The time was fair enough, as the track was a bit sticky and holding in spots, but the old son of Candlemas pulled up so sore and his bad legs filled up so rapidly that it seems impossible to expect him to stand the severe pounding of a hard race. Gates did his work very nicely and will probably carry the Rice colors. Superintendent Mills of the Melbourne Stud, Lexington, Ky., has taken up the fol- lowing two-year-olds and is giving them light exercise: The Black Eagle, blk. c, by Rainbow Raven Wing, by Jim Gore; Prince Danger, ch. c, by Prince of Monaco Pani-que; Bright Arch, b. c, by Rainbow Ferona, by Glenelg; bay colt by Rainbow Tresmont, by Tremont. The Black Eagle stands 15 hands 2 inches high and weighs olose to 1,000 pounds. The other three colts are all highly promising youngsters and well engaged in stakes. G. B. Morris has declared Sombrero out of the Metropolitan Handicap. Clerk of the Course, H. G. Crickmore, of the Westchester Racing Association, received the information several days ago. In the same j mail Mr. Morris sent word to a friend in New York that his chief reliance in the great Westchester special would be the I three-year-old Slave, by Ayrshire LEs-clave. Through President Thomas H. Williams, of the New California Jockey Club, the well known racing Arm of Sanford and Son has engaged jockey Clem Jenkins to ride for them in the east during the coming season. M. H. Tichenor and Co. have bought of J. V. Shipp Sunny Slope farm Midway, Ky., the two -year-old bay filly Carmelita, by Linden Agnetta, by Woodlands. Price ,500. Sallie of Navarre, daughter of Henry of Navarre Sallie McClelland, owned by Captain S. S. Brown and C. F. McMeekin, has foaled, at Oakwood Stud a chestnut colt by Sir Dixon. Sallie of Navarre never raced and this is her first foal. On account of her royal breeding her colt is quite valuable.