Here and There on the Turf: New Use for Belmont Park Winter Racing and Riding, Daily Racing Form, 1922-09-17


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Here and There on the Turf New Use for Belmont Park. Winter Racing and Riding. It is one of the signs of the present prosperity of the turf that several of the hunt club meetings near New York are being revived. The Westchester Racing Association helped along materially when big Belmont Park was turned over to the United Hunts Racing Association for its election day meeting. This meeting had formerly been conducted at the Terimanl course, just across the way from Belmont Park. It is one of the best steeplechase courses in the country, but the grounds do not compare with Belmont Park and the accommodations for the racing crowd are, of necessity, much more limited. "itThe meeting, coming as it does after the regular racing season over the big tracks has ended, is sure to be a success and it is assured that Bslmont Park will be required, to properly take care of the big crowd. By that time many of the horses that confine their activities to the hunt club meetings will have been well seasoned by racing in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where several meetings are scheduled, and there will be no lack of good material with which to furnish the entertainment. It was the hunt clubs that kept interest in racing alive in New York when the tracks of the big circuit closed for two years. The tracks closed by mutual agreement on account of adverse legislation, but the hunt clubs went right along with their sport and in 1911 and 1912, though not one of the hunt meetings cleared expenses, they gave their meetings. That should always entitle these sportsmen to every consideration. Spring and fall are the real seasons for steeplechasing. Late autumn, winter and early spring are given over to it in both England and France. At those seasons of the year the ground is softer and in better condition for races through the field. When horses are raced over the jumps in midsummer the ground is baked and so hard that frequently it results in the breaking down of a good horse. Both spring and fall there is much less danger when the ground is naturally softer. It is for this reason that the steeplechase season abroad comes at those seasons of the year. It is at the winter race meetings that most of the new jockeys are developed. Hardly a year goes by that each one of the winter tracks does not come forth with a jockey find. They are for the most part little fellows who have been galloping horses and when the winter track is reached they are afforded their first chance at race riding. They are not matched against the bsst riders in the country, for the best riders, like the best horses, as a general proposition, go into winter retirement for the cold months. It is their holiday season and most of them have earned a rest. The little fellows at the winter tracks learn confidence. When it is in one df these little chaps they go on until by the time racing in Kentucky, Maryland and New York is reached they are not awed by any of the stars of the pigskin. It would be possible to name scores of jockeys who became nationally famous and who began modestly at either the old Fair Grounds at New OrUans or at Oakland, Ingleside, Ascot or Santa Anita, Cal. The winter track is a first-class school for the young jockey. Winter racing has a steadily growing importance, and when the sport is properly conducted, as it now is, it is a big factor in turf operations. The various associations that devote all their energies to this season are constantly improving their programs until better horses are attracted year after year arid there is naturally an opportunity, as well, for the fellow with the modest jlftlc string as for the leading winter stables.

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