Here and There on the Turf: Question of Added Starters a Rule Change Needed Wideners Latest Purchase a French Boat Race, Daily Racing Form, 1924-01-25


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Here and There on the Turf Question of Added Starters. A Rule Change Needed. Wideners Latest Purchase. A French Boat Race. It is not likely that the reported proposal for amending the rules of racing to bar added starters in stake races on Jockey Club tracks will find much favor. The added starter may be an evil, as many contend, but a greater evil perhaps would be the inevitabh padding of overnight entries for stakes if the rules were amended as suggested. Padding of entries for big races and the consequent large number of withdrawals cannot be considered as any improvement over the present system. Now spectators may go to the track with the expectation of seeing a number of second raters perform and be treated to a pleasant surprise when a couple of real stars are added because of a change in track conditions overnight. On the other hand, with the added starter eliminated, a trainer who has an eligible in his stable will certainly name him in the overnight entries whether he has any real intention of. starting the horse or not. No trainer would deliberately ignore the chance that track conditions or other circumstances might change by race time to such an extent to justify starting a horse which, had conditions remained the same, would have remained in his barn. Under such conditions the racing associations would be subject to constant criticism on the score that the entries, which are in essence an advance notice of the entertainment to be provided, have falsified and misrepresented the sport to be expected. In a stake race for which a dozen horses have been named overnight three or four would generally face the starter. These three or four might be the poorest of those named in the overnight entries. Any change in the rules of racing must be an unquestionable change for the better to merit serious consideration. The question of added starters is an open one. The present system has its advantages and disadvantages. From the standpoint of the racegoers there is no serious objection to the added starter. The racegoer is the one person who makes racing possible and his interests should be considered by the ruling bodies when a question of changing the rules arises. The change in the rules governing claiming races, which went into effect last summer, was decidedly advantageous from the public viewpoint. It made for better racing, because it eliminated the old evil of racing horses below their class with the idea of protecting them under the auction clause. There is no doubt that a number of important owners and trainers were opposed to the virtual elimination of the selling race, but the public wanted the change and a majority of the turfmen abo desired it. The Jockey Club took a great step forward when that amendment was adopted. "While the question of rule changes is being discussed, it would be wise for the New York ruling body to consider that of computing of foreign winnings. The present rule winnings of foreign horses are computed on the normal of prewar rates of exchange. A horse brought here from France to race under the present r.ules would pick up penalties that would stop an elephant if he had met with any great success in his career abroad. The National Steeplechase and Hunt Association, recognizing this anomalous condition, amended its rules last fall to provide that the winnings of a foreign horse should be com-jputed at the exchange rate prevailing on the particular day that each race abroad was won. This was essential for the welfare of the cross- country sport during the coming racing season, as the large number of steeplechasers imported from abroad during the winter could not have held their own with the native jumpers under the old rule. Of course, there has been no such importation of flat racers, but enough horses for this branch of the sport have come from abroad recently to make some adjustment necessary. I- is not fair that an owner should be penalized for his enterprise if he brings a foreign winner to this country because the exchange rates happen to be in a chaotic state. The news that Istar, the star of the Cebrian dispersal sale, has been bought for Joseph Widener is another evidence that the Philadelphia sportsman means to take his place among the really important thoroughbred producers of the country. Already he has the nucleus of a great stud, i with the stallion Stefan the Great at the head. Istars breeding is of the best and she is a valuable acquisition for any breeding establishment. Istar is an eight-year-old by Von Tromp, son of Ben Brush and Cinderella, by Hermit. Her dam is Ishtar, a daughter of Sam Lucas and Isiac, by Roseberry. Through her paternal grandsire, Ben Brush, she traces to Austrdian and Leamington. The blood of Hermit ia close up in both branches of her pedigree. Istar has already been booked to the Widener stallion Stefan the Great for this year, and it is generally expected that this foreign outcross will be successful in her case. Considering the huge prices realized for mares of Istars class at the recent Newmarket December sales in England, Mr. Widener was fortunate to obtain the marc for such a pries as 5,000. Many American breeders would rather go abroad when they are seeking good matrons for their studs, but it often appears that they might obtain much better bargains at home. At times there has been talk about "boat races" on American race courses, but 0 far as is known there was never a real boat race on a track in this country. A few weeks ago, however, the jockeys at Maisons-Lafitte put on a boat race through the stretch at the French course. The Paris floods made this innovation possible. There were four starters, Guy Garner, Fred Williams, Frank Keogh and G. Allemand. The course was a hundred yards straight. Frank Keogh won by seven lengths from Allemand, thereby demonstrating that American riders are champions in aquatic sports as well as in the saddle. Unfortunately this great American victory will not count in the point score of the Olympic games.

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