Here and There on the Turf: How Vigilant Helps. the Back Kick of Abuse. on Princely Prizes. That Ineligible Rule, Daily Racing Form, 1924-01-20


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Here and There on the Turf How Vigilant Helps. The Back Kick of Abuse. On Princely Prizes. That Ineligible Rule. With a recollection of how Vigilant in The Sportsman of London bitterly assailed the sending of Papyrus to this country last year, it is only consistent that he should now be up in arms against the visit of Epinard this year. Fortunately his tirades had no effect-on .the decision of that sterling sportsman Ben Irish owner of Papyrus, and they surely will have no effect on Pierre Wertheimer, owner of Epinard. It is unfortunate that The Sportsman, for so long a respected publication of the turf, should give space to the narrow views of the present Vigilant, who, as a matter of fact, has made the writings under that nom de plume a mere joke of what they were when the name meant something. Time was when the Vigilant column was one that. was widely read, and for good reason, for it was a carefully written exposition of turf matters of vital interest. Now the name means nothing and the attitude taken in the coming of Papyrus last year and the proposed coming of Epinard this year is so unsportsmanlike as to have no place in any publication, let alone The Sportsman. If the respected Vigilant of years back found it incumbent to give sound reasons for not sending either Papyrus or Epinard to this country his views would be given serious consideration. In fact, his opinions might make a sportsman pause before sending his horse across the Atlantic. But the present Vigilant con. fines most of his space to abuse of American sportsmen and their methods. It is abuse that puts him outsida the pale as a sportsman himself and at once discredits him with the sportsmen of his own country. One of his pleas against sending Papyrus was that his defeat might jeopardize the standing of the English thoroughbreds in the market, in the event of defeat. This was. so utterly cowardly that it probably won many an English sportsman over to the exportation of the Derby winner. Now his abuse of the sportsmen of our country will probably have the same effect in the case of Epinard. Resorting to a bit of expressive American slang, "his knock is a boost." Let him continue to see red whenever a real sportsman considers his horse better than the best of any country and is willing to prove it and the continuation of international races will be secure : for all time. Thus far he has unwittingly helped international . races tremendously by an attitude that must be contradicted by the best sportsmen of any country. He has made it incumbent upon , thess sportsmen to prove that they are not as i they are pictured by Vigilant, for his definition of a sportsman in this controversy is a weird one, and one that any man should resent. , Abuse is no argument and is the essence ol cowardice. It may be of interest to others than Vigilant, and possibly to Vigilant himself, to know that : : . , i , : from 1905 to 1923 inclusive, a period of nineteen years, there has been more than 1,009,-000 distributed in purses and stake races on the North American continent. "This includes the racing in Canada, Cuba and Mexico. He sends up a wail of the prostitution of the thoroughbred by enormous values. He would call a halt on behalf of the noble animal. In the same breath he speaks of the "greed for gold" of the promoters of the international races. Does this money distribution suggest a greed for gold? Does it not glorify the "noble animal" more substantially than the cowardly suggesting that there should be no contests between the best of each country? If there existed the greed for gold why should this gold be awarded the thoroughbred himsslf? There is no greed for gold in the hanging up of a value of 00,000 when one of 0,000 or possibly even 0,000 would furnish the attraction, and as good an attraction. We have a different way of showing our appreciation of a good horse than merely hanging a laurel wreath about his withers and telling of his mighty deeds. Ours is a more substantial way of showing appreciation, and the thoroughbred is made more valuable every year of American racing. The thoroughbred is worthy of tha abundant awards that are offered. It is well that the lacing associations, instead of putting this gold in their pockets, hang it up for races. Back of it all is the desire to make . the American thoroughbred pre-eminent. That is surely a laudable desire. There is no fear that the American thoroughbred cannot hold his own with those of other countries. There is no fear that he will lose prestige in these international matches. There is not the business reason advanced by Vigilant, that a defeat might in-i jure the value of our thoroughbreds. We are willing to meet them all, and it is our desire to meet them all. To that end tempting values " are offered to induce these foreign horses to invade our turf. They will be treated with every censidera-, tion and courtesy, as Basil Jarvis will testify, and they will have just as many well wishers on this side of the Atlantic as they would have at Epsom. We will know how to take a defeat if it should come, and there is no sum too great for the winner. If this constitutes a "greed for gold" then the international matches come under that stigma. The newest rule promulgated by the stewards at the Fair Grounds is rather a commendable one. This is the regulation that a fins of 5 will be imposed for the entering of a horse in a race for which it is not eligible. Frequently there have been such entries, and unless the ineligibility is discovered by the racing secretary before the running of the race complications easily arise. It is not often that a trainer will knowingly enter a horse that is ineligible, but that in no sense relieves the situation of complications. Then there have bcn trainers who have been guilty of deliberately, attempting to deceive. For such as these the punishment is hardly adequate, but intent is hard to prove, and the small fine is not too severe a punishment for those that are careless. It is a rule that should make the trainers know their horses better and know racing better, while it will lift a considerable lead from the racing secretary, who is the most overworked official on any race course. With the elections to the Hunts Committee of representatives from various sections of the country one more step has been completed for the government of the races that come under the jurisdiction of the National Hunt and Steeplechase Association. Then comes news of the engagements of the steeplechase riders for the year, Avhiie the amateurs are beginning to take out their certificates. All of this presages a good seascn for steeplechasing. That was assured with the subscription plan of last year, and the number of horses that were imported by that fund makes certain plenty of opportunity for crosscountry riders. The stables that make early contracts arc wise, for unless new riders are made or experienced ones imported there will not be enough capable jockeys to fill the demand.

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