Here and There on the Turf: Breeding in New York Jockeys and Weights Lesson in Futurity Patching Up Cripples, Daily Racing Form, 1924-01-10


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Here and There on the Turf Breeding in New York. Jockeys and Weights. Lesson in Futurity. Patching Up Cripples. With Robert L. Gerry joining the ranks of New York breeders there comes another important nursery to the stage. Long ago New York held a place as the native heath of the thoroughbred horse and its advantages for the rearing of horses cannot be questioned. But Kentucky was looked upon so long as the only real thoroughbred horse state that one forgets about New York. The late Gen. Stephen Sanford bred some of the greatest horses that American turf has known up in the snows of Amsterdam. Gifford A. Cochran, with his Mount Kisco Farm has sent many a good one to the races. Willis Sharpc Kilmer demonstrated at his Sun Briar Court at Binghamton what was possible in New York. James Butler has East View Farm near Tarrytown and there are several others, so that Mr. Gerry is making no experiment. The Gerry Farm in Delaware County, known as Aknusti, has every natural advantage with its rich pasture lands and its many clear streams. His start should insure a fairly good crop of sucklings in 1925, and Mr. Gerry has a way of doing what he starts out to do in a fashion that promises big things for his latest venture. It was Mr. Gerry who conceived the international match and it was largely through his efforts that it became possible. There is no more ardent sportsman and he is going after the real thrill when he proposes to breed his own horses. Cyclops, his young stock horse, is a colt of great speed and of a size and substance that recommends him for his new duties. The mares, for the most part, are young and stoutly bred and, with the luck that is needed by the most studious breeder, Aknusti has a chance to bring new fame to New York as a thoroughbred state. It is promised that at th2 meeting of the Jockey Club there will be a suggestion that an amendment be made in the ru!es of racing fixing 105 pounds as the minimum weight .to be carried, except in handicaps. Just how such a change would be received remains to be seen, but it is a change that would have its advantages. Too often, with a view of having his horse in as favorably as possible the trainer will seek such races where the allowances bring his weight as far below 100 pounds as is possible. Then he will employ a light, inexperienced jockey for pilot. Sometimes he is rewarded by a purse, but more often the little lad has not the weight and strength to do his mount justice and better results would have been obtained with a ten pounds heavier boy with more experience. A thoroughbred is not worthy of the name that is not capable of carrying 105 pounds as wehVasiie -would carry 90 pounds and that is another argument in favor of such a rule. Then the little fellow who is chosen only because of his poundage is too often a menace to the other riders and the other horses in the race. He is utterly unable to contrcl j his mount. All he is expected to do is to leave the post running and not fall off. If his horse swerves out, or swerves in, his puny efforts could not correct the fault and it is a fault that frequently brings disaster. Of course, it must ba admitted that there are some of the light boys, and boys that scale well under 100 pounds, that are capable of controlling their mounts, but they are in such a small minority that it does not enter into the argument for a higher minimum weight in the programs. All of this is well and it may be necessary to fix a minimum weight rule, but, as a matter of fact, under the existing rules it would be possible for any secretary to so frame his conditions that the minimum weight would never be less than 105 pounds. It is al up to the racing secretaries and both this reform and the classified handicaps could be written into any meeting book and still be well within the present rules of racing. It is confidently expected that when the last returns are in for the Futurity to be run in 1926 it will be found that the nominations at least total those received last year for 1925. There are still distant points to be heard from, but with a present total of 1,482 the list is a gratifying one. It reflects the prosperity of the breeding industry in this country possibly better than any other medium. There are still some of the breeders who do not seem to realize the advantage of taking nominations in this great future race, but they are in the minority and as a general proposition the Futurity is a fairly accurate index to the extent of thoroughbred breeding. Any breeder who produces thoroughbreds for the market can ill afford to deny his produce eligibility in such a race as the Futurity. It is an engagement that at once greatly enhances the value of the foal and business sense demands the nomination. The sportsman who is breeding for his own use is attracted, for the reason that to breed a Futurity winner has been the crowning ambition of them all. Thus it is that the Futurity, and all like races, are always sure to attract a big nomination list. It is cheering to know that Richard T.. Wilsons good colt, Wilderness, at this time gives promise of coming back to the races this year sound and right. The son of Camp-fire and Genesta is now a four-year-old and it is only the fact of his having bad feet that prevented his being much more prominent on the American turf. When he was right this celt raced so brilliantly that many good judges pronounced him best of his age, in both 1922 and 1923. Unfortunately he was not able to keep his big engagements by reason of his infirmity, but he has all that a good horse should have except the feet. It is an eld adage, "no feet, no horse," but Tom Healey has been patient with Wilderness and he has hopes that his care will be rewarded this year. Should Wilderness come back, as is hoped, there will have to be some revision of handicap figures before the 1924 racing season is eld. And hope is also held out that Willis Sharpe Kilmers Exterminator will be seen under racing silks again. This grand old gelding, by his brilliant racing, has been one of the most popular of turf idols, and it would be a big thing for the sport if Henry McDaniel can restore him to racing condition. There never was a horse of more honesty or more courage. He won over all distances and under all sorts of weights. As a matter of fact, it was the weight that brought about his retirement. His old legs, that seemed of iron, finally gave way under the excessive burdens he was required to shoulder and the wonder of it was that they did not give way much sooner. Exterminator may be brought back, just as other old geldings have been brought back after having been forced into retirement. If McDaniel is successful in his efforts to restore the old fellow to soundness he will have done a tremendously big thing for racing. With the prospect of a big boom in steeple-chasing this year by reason of the greatly in- creased number of cross-country horses in training, it is just possible that there may be a dearth of good riders. It is so long since steeplechasing flourished in this country that few riders through the field have been made and many of the older ones have died off or outgrown the saddle. Already overtures have been made for an importation of riders, as well as horses, and it is possible that we will have foreign jockeys as well as foreign jumpers. W. Smyth, who rode so well through our fields last year, was an importation and if others of his kind are sent over, it will keep the best of our own home talent busy. There should be plenty of occupation for good steeplechase riders this year.

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