Here and There on the Turf, Daily Racing Form, 1922-10-07


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Here and There on the Turf Short Distance Racing. Methods of Evasion. Good Riders Scarce at New York. One of the excellent Jockey Club rules of racing is No. 29, which reads: "After May 31 in each year only one overnight event for a distance of less than a mile for horses thres years old and over shall be given on any race day." Of course this is a prohibition against the trifling distances that are really no test of the worth of a horse. A further prohibition against short races is found in this rub which follows. It reads: "After June 30 in each year thfcre shall be no race of less than five furlongs." Bjut with these safeguards against such racing the eastern secretaries have found a way around the rules by putting on two-year-old races to fill their programs. Frequently, as was the case at Jamaica both Thursday and Friday, there were three of the six races at distances less than a mile. This is accomplished by having two overnight races for two-year-olds and a third for older horses at short distances. Of course, the stake races are exempt from this regulation and there is no regulation fixing the number of races that may be offered for any age division. The popularity of the short races is always attested by the number of entries they receive, as against the number that are raced over a mile or at a greater distance. It was shown in the fifth race at Jamaica Thursday when sixteen went to the post in a five-eighths Bcramble for two-year-olds. It might be well in the interests of the thoroughbred and the improvement of the breed if there was another rule prohibiting a five-eighths dash for horses of any age as late as October. By this time even the two-year-olds should be about ready .to race a mile. There could be an occasional sprint race. They have their place on a program, but when half of the card is made up of sprinting dashes the racing is below the correct standard. It is an easy way to fill a program, for it is not much of a trick for a horse to win a five-eighths dash. The element or luck enters so largely into such a scramble that almost any horse might be winner. And it is not much of a trick for a trainer to have a horse ready in October to race five-eighths, even should he be only a two-year-old, but just where such racing is calculated to furnish a genuine test of the thoroughbred is hard to understand. Time and again after the program book has been made up for a meeting the races over a considerable distance of ground fail to fill to the satisfaction of the racing secretary and he resorts to two-year-olds and sprints to furnish the entertainment. Such races are sure to fill well and it is often possible to split one and make it count double in filling the program. Such a condition should not exist and it would not exist if all of the associations would get together in a persistent effort to put on longer races. If the books issued were lived up to in the making of programs by all of the associations, the horsemen would soon come to a realization that they could no longer make programs to suit themselves and their non-staying horses. But just so long as there is not that combined effort among the secretaries there will be races run over these distances that mean nothing in the general scheme of improving the breed. The trainer now who finds that this or that secretary doe3 not offer him the short distances has only to wait until he finds one that will cater to his desires. He need not exert himself to have his horses fit to race a mile or farther, for the opportunity will come for them if he is patient. There should be no amount of waiting that would afford a chance for such racing, particularly in the fall of the year. The need for more good jockeys is being felt more now than at any time during the racing season. This is particularly the case in racing at Jamaica and it is largely caused by so many having gone to Maryland to ride at Laurel. From time to time riders corns on from Maryland to ride one horse and then take a night train back to be on hand for the following day at Laurel. This was done while there was racing at Havre de Grace, but there were not so many New York stables racing at that course as there are at Laurel. Fortunately for the New York racing public, Sam Hildreth has kept his horses and his jockeys in New York, and that assures two good riders in Earl Sonde and L. Fator, but so many of the other good riders have left that both of these stand out with greater prominence than in mid-season. Sande would stand out at any time or place and he is riding in marvelous form right now, but with so few good riders to oppose him, his mounts at this time are given a preference altogether out of proportion to their racing quality. He has time and again justified the confidence that has been placed in his ability, but it is a condition that could not exist with better opposition in the saddle. There are some other good riders still available at Jamaica, but Maryland has made serious inroads on the jockey colony and it is to be hoped that during the winter months there will be some new jockey developments. It is frequently the case that winter racing discloses a good rider, but they have not been developing as rapidly as the turf has bzen expanding and they have not been as lasting as some of the developments of years ago.

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