Here and There on the Turf: Dr. Johnsons Career His Narrow Escape from Execution. Fine Racing of His Daddy, Daily Racing Form, 1922-12-26


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Here and There on the Turf Dr. Johnsons Career His Narrow Escape From Execution. Fine Racing of His Daddy. Death Calls Turfmen. It may not be generally known, but it was only because there was no gun at hand that Br. Johnson is now making his reputation as a sprinter at Tijuana. When this fast-running gelding was in the Walter M. Jeffords" stable Mike Daly decided he would develop into a good jumper and was schooling him at Saratoga when he fell lame so badly that it was agreed the merciful thing to do would be to destroy him. Fortunately there was no one on hand who had a gun with which to kill the horse and he was taken back to the stable. There his thought to be hopeless condition responded to treatment and careful nursing made it possible to return him to training. Now he is going along in a fashion to suggest that he is one of the best sprinters that has raced over the far western track this winter. A. L. Briggs, for whom Dr. Johnson is racing now, obtained him from Mr. Jeffords in Maryland last fall and he has proved a wonderfully lucrative purchase. Dr. Johnson has started five times at the Tijuana meeting and after having been beaten in his first race, won three and ran third in the other. Each was over a sprinting route. Dr. Johnson is seven years old, a son of Sir John Johnson and Quack, by Ogden. He was bred by John E. Madden, who at the time had Sir John Johnson under a hase from the late Frank J. Nolan, for whom the big horse raced with remarkable success. Sir John Johnson was bred by the late Stephen Sanford Sr., at the Ilurricana stud, Amsterdam, N. Y., and is a son of Isidor and La Tosca II., one of the most remarkable of American matrons. Though attaining most of his fame as a sprinter, he was twice winner of the Merchants and Citizens Handicap at Saratoga and in his 1909 victory hung out a new track record of 1:58 for its distance. That year he was started nineteen times and was nine times winner. In another of his races he finished first, but was disqualified for a stretch foul. And Sir John Johnson earned his reputation as a sprinter in a jear when there were such fast ones racing as Roseben, Jack Atkin, Dreamer, Besom, Kings Daughter, Rose Queen, Demund, King Cobalt, Field Mouse, McCarttr, Nimbus and others of high speed. The versatility of Sir John Johnson was pretty well shown in 1909, when Dave Woodward won the Merchants and Citizens with him for the first time. His first start that year saw him a close thrid to Dreamer and Roseben at three-quarters. And it was shortly thereafter that Woodward told his friends to wait until he sent him to the post in the Merchants and Citizens. It was the general opinion that Woodward was a bit crazy when he expected the big colt to maintain his speed for a mile and three-sixteenths. He nally stretched out the distance until Sir John Johnson won at a mile, over at Sheepshead Bay, beating Dreamer, Nimbus, Montgomery and some others. Then it was on the occasion of his first start at Saratoga when, while rdien by Charlie Grand, he forced Jack Atkin out so badly in the stretch that he was disqualified after having been first home by a head. His next was a mile, in which he was beaten by Pins and Needles. Then he came back in the Merchants and Citizens to lead every step of the way for a mile and three-sixteenths and hung out the track record of 1:58. He wound up that year at sprinting again and returning to the Long Island tracks won five races in succession over the best sprinters of the day. There have been other cases like that of Dr. Johnson when a horse considered hopelessly crippled has been brought back and some of them as remarkable Old Rosebud, for instance, but all that saved the Tijuana sprinter was the fact that no gun was available to put him out of his misery. He is well out of his misery now, judging from his racing, and is thriving on his second lease of fife. Some years back Kewessa, one of the winners of the Harford Handicap, and a sprinter of great speed, was only saved because "Billy" j Oliver, his owner, could not bring himself to destroy the old fellow. Kewessa had always I been unsound, but Oliver brought him back I year after year until one afternoon he fell so desperately lame in a race at the Yonkers track that it was with great difficulty that he was taken back to the stable. Oliver was heartbroken over the condition of the old gelding and had him sent back to his Lakewood place, where it was decided he would be pensioned for life. Then the following winter old "Kee" was feeling so frisky that Oliver himself on his lead pony Billy cantered "Kee" at the end of a halter. Within a few days the old sprinters patched up leg did not bother him at all and he was just craving to run. So Oliver brought him back and he won some more races. Death has taken a number of men prominent on the turf during the last few weeks and the holiday season has been saddened by these turf bereavements. The latest loss to the turf is in the death of Edward J. Ryan, for many years a prominent figure on the New York courses. For more than a quarter of a century "Eddie" Ryan enjoyed the respect and admiration of his fellows of the turf and his loss will be deplored. In the old days of bookmaking Ryan devoted his talents to the speculative side of racing and his sterling integrity made him an outstanding figure. He was always foremost in any of the various charitable campaigns which are legion in a racing season, and during the war his efforts in the sale of Liberty bonds brought many thousands to the government. He was a liberal investor himself and was tireless in his sale of the bonds. Mr. Ryan had been in bad health for a considerable time and his death was not altogether unexpected.

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