Some Australian Racing Lessons: Divisional Handicaps in Vogue in That Country Havo Much, Daily Racing Form, 1919-10-30


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SOME AUSTRALIAN RACING LESSONS Divisional Handicaps in Vogue in That Country . JIavo Much Merit. BY EXILE. Not so many years ago I was fortunate enough to see n good deal of rating in Australia, where the sport Is more popular even than here in this country. Nowhere does one come across more sKrts-men of the best typo than In the laud of the southern cross, that brilliant constellation which now seems so far away. Of eoursii there are good and bad points In racing In all countries. In Australia selling races are taboo: Just why It Is rather hard to Understand. In place of selling races Australia has a system or divisional handicaps; that Is to say. first, second and third division handicaps. Here Is a suggestion, one that may be looked upon with favor by the American powers that be. Why not division hnndicnps as written of by hnudicnpper Vosburgh some time since for this country? There Is a certain sameness prtalning to the daily racing bill of fare now In vogue thnt is rather apt to pall. In bygone days an occasional owners handicap found n place on the program, as did welght-for-aue races and races for all ages. These for some reason not altogether understood have been practically permitted to die out and the racing card is, or I should say was, up until most recently made up of n couple of two-year-old scrambles, two sprint races and two races run over the one mile and divisional distances. Happily, however, the executives are now- making some sort of endeavor to rehabilitate long distance racing and would make vastly more headway if larger amounts of money were added to the longer distance events, for tho reason that horses cannot continue long distance racing indefinitely. Now here is the advantage of the division handicap: Say two classes, each to be split Into three divisions class A far stayers, one and one-quarter miles to one and one-hnlf miles; class B, three-quarters to one mile each class to be open to all without haudlcnpplng fee. HORSES GRADE UP AND DOWN NATURALLY. Under the average ruling of the Kentucky Stnte Racing Commission a larger amount of money could be added to those racing In class A than Is given for those which compete In class It. Nothing more than a graded scale of moneys added according to merit. Owners and trainers would, of course, enter their horses for that class to which their speed and endurance entitled them. It. would bo the duty of the hnudicnpper to determine to tho best of ills ability to which of the three divisions each horse belonged, and after the weights were fixed In each class the entries divided Into three divisions, weights moving up automatically in eneli division, so that the top weight In all should not carry less than . wclght-for-ngo. Winners of any division to be penalized on their next appearance in public, two wins insuring a promotion. Correspondingly those which by their racing prove too high an estimate had been formed of their merits would drop down in the handicap. To say that long distance racing, after Latonia Cup and Championship days. Is not popular with the race going public is not true. The public desires long distance racing. It is presumably the horsemen who fight shy of it, but even they are not altogether to blame, for they well know that horses cannot bo kept on edge for long distance racing for any. great length of time, hence It should be tho province of the governing iwdlos to Insist on an Increase of money added to races run over such a distance of ground and thereby make a big stride forward in the development of one of this countrys best assets the thoroughbred horse. The inauguration of a system of division handicaps might be a big assistance ; In determining the rolntive merits of horses really fit for use in after years as sires. TWO-YEAR-OLD RACING IN AUSTRALIA. Another thing for which Australia is to be commended is the style and character of her two-year-old racing. In Australia excessive two-year-old racing is infrequent, nay, impossible, und is only carried on as u- means of education. An occasional stake race, such as the Maribynoni. Plate nt Flem-iugtou, is given and tills the race I saw the flying Traquetto win in the style of Man o War, but no such thing as two races for juveniles each day is thought of. In consequence during my stay down under I saw more fourteen, fifteen and-sixteen-year-old horses running and winning good races thaii I thought could be found in any one country. Never yet have-1 understood this .craze for two-year-old racing. Needless to say, this sort of thing tends to commercialize the sport, and once litis is d6w the end must surely come. The best of this year tj three-year-olds, such as Sir Barton, Mad Hatter and. Purchase, were not raced to excess, in their two-year-old days; neither, I am happy to say, .was this seasons, champion, Man o War. Think ,a bit. Which of them would in open market command the highest price for use -as a sire, the judiciously educated and raced youngster -which the following season developed into a great three-year-old, or the overtaxed youngster which exhausted his energies early in his career in being .sent out for everything in sight during "his first season on the turf? Doubtless the- fault lies, in the system, and this in part was the cause of the feeble opposition to Mad Hatter in tho running of the Latonia Championship.-

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