Here and There on the Turf: Appreciation of Kentucky Sportsmanship. Belmont Park Meeting Nearly at Hand. Steeplechasing One of Its Features. Belmont Stakes a Test of Stamina, Daily Racing Form, 1923-05-20


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Here and There on the Turf Appreciation of Kentucky Sportsmanship. Belmont Park Meeting Nearly at Hand. Steeplechasing One of Its Features. Belmont Stakes a Test of Stamina. Of all earths racing people Kentuckians have an equal right to love the thoroughbred, to applaud the tests of gameness and speed b;tween mans comrades of the ages, to glory in a triumph of a blue blooded aristocrat and to congratulate sincerely the horseman who •addles a Kentucky Derby winner. The turf has many traditions; some good, some bad. But while the sportsmanship, the splendid spirit of the old days lives, the conditions which have brought forth criticism are fast disappearing. Strictness in the stewards stand long since has driven out all who do not fellow the rules of the sport. Th? experience of the last few years has shown that racing of the high type and on the scale fostered by the Kentucky State Racing Commission, instead of being a drain upon the community in which it is conducted, is in reality a stimulus and an attraction, the benefits of which are now recognized and appreciated by the business interests of the various communities in which racing takes place. There can be no disputing the fact that racing enlivens and advertises a community as few other agencies can. It is looked upon as a wholesome out-of-doors amusement in much the same way that the theater dominates the indoors amusement field. The opening of the Belmont Park meeting next Thursday will give New Yorkers their first opportunity of the year to see the jump ers in action. The reinforcement movement in steeplechase horses which has been under way during the winter showed its effect in Mary land this spring and cross-country racing over the New York tracks should show a corresponding improvement. This branch of racing is generally popular with the public because of its spectacular features and the dearth of horses to race through the field last year somewhat injured it. At Saratoga several of the steeplechases were i failures because of the small fields and poor class of the jumpers. Toward the close cf the meeting a number of the programmed stee plechases were declared off. It is not likely that any such cond-Lon as this will arise this year. The winter importa tions of hurdlers and steeplechasers were numerous and more are expected before the racing season is in full swing. Several of thes ■ foreign horses have already started on this side and appear to be promising in comparison with the general run of steeplechasers that have been racing in this country in recent years. In England steeplechasing is largely con- fined to the winter months when the ground i i i is soft, and many infirm horses are ab!e to stand the rigors of racing which could nt be trained over sunbaked courses. In Ireland conditions are different and the infirm horse is a rarity in racing. This is the reason that most of the horses which have been purchased abroad for American owners are of Irish origin. There are plenty of high-class, sound English hurdlers and steeplechasers, but the prices their owners would demand for them are prohibitive. On the other hand, the Irish jumpers are apparently available at reasonabb prices. A real jumping strain can probably be de vetaped on this side in time, if horse owners who have colts and fillies of the proper build and conformation will train them for steeple chasing early instead of waiting untli they fail on the flat. A horse which might be a moderate plater on the flat mijjit have infinite possibilities over the jumps if he is turned to that branch of racing in time. With the Kentucky Derby and the Preak-ness Stakes out of the way the next important three year eld stake race for which the various cracks of the division may be starte-i is the historic Belmcnt Stakes. In tha: it is a race of a mile and three-eighths, as compared with the mile and an eighth of the Preakness Bfeiw and the mile and a quarter of the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes is a nearer an proach to the real Derby distance than either of ths great three year-old races whvh precede it. The Belmont Stakes is also a ,000 race and every owner with a three year-old of good class will possibly want to have a representative in the race. Wherever his horse finlihci in the Preakness Stakes or Kentucky Derby, if he went to the post, no owner is likely to take either of these earlier races as a final tesf.. Usually these earlier stake races serve to eliminate a number of Belmont Stakes eligibles, but, judging from the failure of the Preaknejs Stakes to deter owners from sending their beaten horses after the big Kentucky race, thw is less likely to be the case this year. Thi Belmont Stakes wil possibly draw fully as great a field to the post as did the Preakness Stakes. Only the fact that geldings are ineligible for the Belmont Stakes may serve to keep its field smaller in number than the Derby.

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