History of American Thoroughbred, Daily Racing Form, 1922-12-24


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History of American Thoroughbred c ! , , 1 1 1 1 i : ; , . , Twenty-Eighth Installment. A better bred nor more gallant steed never struck the ground than Pryor, and in this contest well and nobly did he sustain the exalted reputation that his ancestors, on the maternal side, established upon the American turf by their glorious achievements, yearn long gone by. Ill ARS ALIA COURSE SLOVr. The Pharsalia course, at best a slow one, according to estimates of those who have trained and raced horses upon it, was not less than twelve to fifteen seconds slower than in its best condition. Yet the time made upon this occasion, if I have not beei misinformed, was better than any ever before made upon the course. This speaks trumpet-tongucd, and fully explains the superiority of the contestants and the excellence of their condition. There was but little betting at the commencement of the race and 100 to 15 was cr-fered in most instances. The lack of changes of variety in the race precludes the necessity of a very lengthy description. It was evident from tne start that the instructions to Pryors rider were, "Wait and win." He fulfilled them to the letter and rode the race throughout in a style that would have given credit to Gil Patrick. Pryor went off with the lead, but resigned it to Lecompte at the commencement of the backstretch and took a position about three lengths in the rear. These positions were but slightly changed during three and a half miles, the pace, however, visibly increasing in the second and third miles. In the fourth mile they were running at telltale strokes. Just after passing the half-mile post Pryor made his play and, by a terrific burst of speed, passed his competitor like a dart amid the most unearthly and deafening shouts I ever heard. The run home was at a rapid flight and exciting to a degree. However, Lecompte could not reach his wiry antagonist, whicli came to the judges stand a length ahead. The time of the fourth mile was 1 :52. The heat was run in 7 :47. The problem of Pryors ability to go another four miles was not yet solved to the satisfaction of his friends and, at the pace which it was certain Lecompte would carry him in the next heat, they well knew he had to be a trump. He looked, however, as if he could go to Salisbury, N. C, and his appearance and behavior, before starting for the second heat, inspired fresh confidence in his friends, who backed him heavily, at even money, to win. Lecompte was evidently not a little the worse for wear. AVhen he stopped he "blew out" strongly and heartily, but a short time before starting for the second heat he had a quick "sheep blow," which plainly indicated that he was tired. His conduct during the race impelled me to the conviction which I have expressed at the commencement of this report. Throughout the whole race gallantly and faithfully did he respond to each call made upon him but in vain. It was too evident that he was overmatched. The second heat was almost a repetition of the first, except that it was faster. This .astonished all who witnessed it. Lecompte Avas determined to do or die and Pryor was equally determined to allow him to regulate the pace until it suited his rider to take tho lead. At almost the same spot Avhere he mado his rush in the first heat Pryor came with a terrific dash and gave him the go-by at telegraphic speed, coming in an easy winner. About that time and for several minutes afterward it would have been somewhat difficult to hear anything drop. The time of the heat was 7:4434. Time of First Heat. First mile 2:00 Second mile l:r7 Third mile : 1:58 Fourth mile X.Wl Heat . 7;47 Time of Second Heat. First mile i:."o Second mile 1;5g Third mile i:5S Fourth mile 1:54 Heat 7:44 In July, 1S5G, Pryor was sent with Lecompte and Prioress, Mr. Ten Broecks string, to Glasgow, where the horses Avere set to training on Newmarket heath. The opinion was prevalent about the middle of the nineteenth century that the race horse of that day had degenerated both in speed and stoutness from his renowned English ancestry and that the tendency of the breeding of the day was to encourage speed at the expense of bottom, detracting from the stanchness and endurance of the race horse. The first of these assumptions, that the race horse of the nineteenth century, whether English or American, had degenerated from the famous worthies of the eighteenth, and if so, whether young training and short racing are the causes of such degeneracy, are matters well worthy of consideration. The theory of degeneracy was inspired in the main by wonderful tales at the time, relating to Flying Childers and Eclipse, of both which undeniably good and unbeaten horses it was commonly asserted and as commonly believed that they ran a mile in a minute. There is not a shadow of evidence to the point, however, but directly the reverse. It is all but demonstrable that the feat is a physical impossibility. TALES FROM WHOLE CLOTH. These wonderful tales, like the snowball, increased in their progress and a brief digression is necessary to unfold these romantic conceptions. It is related that Flying Childers gave Fox ten pounds over the Beacon course and beat him a quarter of a mile in a trial. Every turfman would naturally inquite if Fox could not have drawn up closer at the finish and few would place any reliance upon trials with substantial evidence to corroborate the report. It is also said that he ran a trial against Almanzor and Brown Betty, each under 128 pounds, over the round course at Newmarket, three and three-quarters miles and ninety-three yards, which distance, according to many accounts in print, "he ran in 6:40." To Re Continued.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1920s/drf1922122401/drf1922122401_11_4
Local Identifier: drf1922122401_11_4
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800