The Suburban and Its Winner, Daily Racing Form, 1923-10-25


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The Suburban and Its Winner 1 BY SALVATOR. , down in Mstory for this year of grace 1923. How -xjd it is to have so good a horse as Grey Lag with us! How urgently, how he "stands out" like a colossus- among vgmies, or words to that efect Grey Lag ""ay be accepted by the most critical as a rreat race horse. I can find only one cause nr captious comment that he wears those aisfiguring and detestable blinkers. If they were removed from his handsome head, what more couid one desire? He does such solen-did things and does them in such a superb way. DEATn OF COLOSSL It is true, of course, that if we had a few more Colossi on the scene, lie might not seem quite so much like the imposing statue that in the dim vista of antiquity dominated the habor of Rhodes not only, but the imagination of the world as it then existed. Various delvers into the dust-bins of the past give various measurements for the Rhodian colossus. According to some of them, of an iconolastic turn of mind, by modern canons, and particularly in comparison with the skyline of Manhattan, it would attract little attention. According to others, whose bump of veneration for "the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome" is more highly developed, there should be no discount upon its time-honored position among the Seven Wonders of the World. Perhaps if we had a few Troubadours, Salvators, Henry of Navarres and other Suburban winners of the past now with us, Grey Lag might not seem so wondrous a hteed. But as the said desiderata are minus quantities, who can object to rating the son of Star Shoot and Miss Minnie among the Seven Wonders of the Turf? Do not press me to enumerate the other six. I would require time to pick em out, satisfactorily and besides that, smitten with doubt and fear, I would probably want to revise the list after it had gone to press. Let me, therefore, stick to Grey Lag, whose position is certainly secure. If there is any American thoroughbred now active, that is, or approaches the estate of a wonder, he "it is ! GREY LAGS RECORD. It is always a pleasure to reiterate something pleasant. Also a famous philosopher, to wit, Vauvenargues, has made the statement that "To praise parsimoniously is a sign of mediocrity." The best way of praising Grey Lag is to present yet again the condensed tabular tesume of his turf career to date, which has been often printed in Daily Racing Form, but looks so good in print that I know of nothing that can more fittingly "start back." So here it is: Year. A. Sts. 1st. 2d. 3d. Unp. Won. 1920 2 13 4 5 2 2 7,202 1921 3 10 9 0 1 0 57.430 1922 4 6 5 1 0 0 26,937 1923 5 5 4 1 0 0 20,930 Totals 4 34 22 7 3 2 28,4G9 Since passing into the hands of Hildreth, Grey Lag has been raced with the acme of astuteness and conservatism. The thirteen races that were taken out of him as a two-year-old were not an index of what was to come. He was not the best two-year-old of his year, by a considerable, though a better One than his record of only four wins in thirteen starts made clear. But ever since he has been a better race horse than any other of the runners of his own age that in 1920 seemed his superiors. Today he virtually can play with any of them that still remain upon the scene. Grey Lag, as race goers say, "has everything" everything that a great race horse I should have ; and only one thing that one shouldnt, namely, those blinkers. He has prodigious speed, high courage, thorough honesty, no false notions, and a persistent ambition to deliver the goods. When he doesnt do so, there is always "a reason." It is either the partiality of the handicapper to "giving him the limit" or something equally honorable. The beauty about him is that ho takes the limit so cheerfully and comes home in front He now has the proud distinction of having won the three premier handicaps of the American turf the Suburban, the Brooklyn and tiie Metropolitan. In this respect only Whisk Broom II. ranks with him. The latter accomplished his feat in one season, whereas Grey Lag hasnt But we may say that Whisk Broom II. "went over" in almost the worst handicap year in Metropolitan turf history ; while, if the handicap horses of today are not wonders aside from Grey Lag they are much higher in class than th cattle that Whisk Broom II. spreadeagled so superbly. SUBURBAN NOT A GREAT RACE. But having said this for the grand horse that Mr. Madden bred, that Messrs. Sinclair and Hildreth own and race and that Mr. Sande, for the most part, rides, it is impossible to add that the Suburban of 1923 was a great race. It was so only as an item in the winners greatness not otherwise. Indeed, contemplating it, one can only echo the biblical words : "The glory has de- j parted !" Six starters, of which three, or fifty per cent came from the Hildreth hippodrome. We may not particularly enthuse over any of those which didnt. Only Snob II. calls for more than naming by name, and it is quite evident by now that whatever he may be in the way of speed ho possesses little class. Mad Hatter, when he chooses, can do some brilliant running. He was used as a pacemaker for Grey Lag in the early stages of the race and then subsided. Mad Hatter, I believe, has won considerably more money than Grey Lag, but the difference between them is instructive. One is a great racer, the other occasionally runs what looks like a great race. The rest of the time he runs shocking ones which great horses dont do. Not truly great ones. A GLORIOUS PAST. Only six horses to start for Americas premier handicap, and three of them from one stable ! And only five started a year ago ! " Tis true tis pity and pity tis tis true." There is no necessity of harking back to a glorious past, with all its thrills and pageantry, its resounding names and thrilling footfalls that still leave behind them not only swift pulsations in the hearers retrospective inner ear, but a luminous track across the records page. We need not forget these things :nany of us, indeed, cannot and we need not compare them with those of today. But we can ask the question. What can be done to restore the Suburban to its old estate? Can anything? Or is that impossible? going to starve slowly to death and at length die of that insidious and incurable complaint, General Debility? It is "up to" our racing doctors to decide. Let us humbly hope that they will and that their decision may rejuvenate the patient. By so doing they will do more for their country, by far, than by inaugurating another 0,000 Futurity or Derby at least according to the present deponents lights. .

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