Definitions of Class, Daily Racing Form, 1924-01-29


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Definitions of Class BY SALVATOR. i i , , ; 1 , r . . : - i : i , 1 . : c " 1 2 My eye chanced, a morning or so ago, to Call upon a list of track records lowered dur- " ing the past season over the different metro- , politan courses. It was not exactly an in- , spiring exhibit. In the language of the con- temporary cartoonist, none of them really "mean anything." And this despite the fact that in one instance the new record established was not merely a track record, but a new American record, and at the most representative of all racing distances, to wit, one mile. The record referred to is, of course, that of Cherry Pie, which, over the Belmont Park course, last September, raced eight furlongs in 1:35, displacing the mark of 1:35, established by Audacious, also at Belmont Park, in June of 1921. Audacious was then a five-year-old and carried 11S pounds, while Cherry Pie was three and carried 113 pounds. In former years, much excitement attended the reduction of the American mile record. When Ten Broeck ran his historic mile in 1 :39 3-4, the first ever known in 1 :40 or better, way back in 1S77, as the American Racing Manual justly remarks, "he electrified turf enthusiasts." And the thrill the performance communicated lasted for years, until at last Racine got down to 1:39 1-2 in 1S90. IN TEN RROECKS DAT. It was in Ten Broecks day that my then juvenile system began to thrill over the high-mettled racer, and I obtained plentiful reac-tionst superior to any that a galvanic battery could impart, from both his mile and Racines by which time I had become well-nigh blase in many respects, hut by no means sufficiently to resist the vibrations that a mile in 1:39 1-2 sent pulsing through the atmosphere. Racine, which was owned by tho late Governor Leland Stanford, of the Palo Alto Stud, in California, and raced on lease by T. H. Williams, was a that I mean .to spin a yarn about- some day, so I will not pause upon him now. He was a wonderful racer, aside from the fact that he set a mile-post in turf records. Thereafter, once he had broken the ice the record suffered many shocks. And gradually the public ceased so much to he agitated. The most terrific reaction was to Sal-1 vators mile in 1 :3;1 1-2, which followed as it were veritably on the heels of Racines feat. The whole world rocked and reeled over that performance. Our stodgy British cousins pretended that it never fazed em, but underneath their skins, studiously hidden from the Yankee eye, they all "took notice." SALYATOR IN ADVANCE OF ErOCn. m Salvator was so far in advance of his epoch that simply he lost it while as for the old gentleman with the hour-glass and scythe, in the words of the poet, "Panting Time toiled after him in vain." Roamers mile was the first one subsequent to Salvators that had a real thrill to it, for the cood and sufficient reason that it was the first one that beat it the job having taken eighteen years to bring off. And there will never be anything like a similar thrill until Roamers mile is beaten. Which bids fair to be not soon. Ten Broeck! Racine! Salvator! Roamer! Two of them super-horses in all the term implies ; another Roamer lacking not much of that estate ; and the fourth a speed marvel truly, of many a startling exhibition. But Cherry Tie ! The performance of Cherry Pie is a great argument in favor of the classic British contention that "the time test is illusory" as a test of class. Think of Cherry pie and "class" in the same breath not only but the same day, week, month or year, if you can I confess I cannot. The kind of Cherry Pie with class was the kind that mother used to make. A crust so rich and flaky that Lucullus would have bartered all his Asiatic satrapies for just a bite of it. A filling of ox-hearts, of a flavor to intoxicate the gods, dripping deiciously in their own ineffable juices and with just a soupoon of k-mon to give them a bouquet Fresh from the oven in a big airy summer kitchen, where 1 I used to idle away halcyon hours watching the mysteries of its manufacture, with the 1 j June breezes blowing through, the humming j of bees in the clematic vine over the window, the air all a-whirr with bird-wings and a-twitter with bird voices ; and, in the mornings when the early stillness had not yet been profaned, - often with the echo of hoof-beats from a race-track close at hand. That, kind reader, was a Cherry Pie with class ! Alas, in coming years, how many disillusionments was I destined to suffer when; out in a rough, callous, cold and dreary world I sought a similar article. To encounter need I describe it? a crust made in a factory out of boiler plate; and "inards" " , , 1 1 j j whereof the chief component was pits. Which, biting unsuspectingly down thereupon, your incisors, and eke your molars, suffered such damage as the most skilled dentist might with difficulty repair. And thats the kind of Cherry Pie that at present holds the American mile record in a race. In the language of the immortal bird that perched upon the bust of Pallus, "Simply that and nothing more." The fascination of "life on the turf" is provided chiefly by its glorious uncertainty and its perplexing problems. Of the latter is Cherry Pie. How can literally, how CAN a beast with such speed and the ability to carry it for a mile a truly prodigious distance in these days, my masters be so utterly and absolutely without pretension to a stitch of "class?" NOT WITHOUT FRIENDS AND DEFEND I suppose this winged steed is not without friends and defenders. He has, I believe, tl fair owner. An able trainer. Jockeys of famo bestride him, as a rule, when he prances to the post His swipes and stable lads may dote upon him. Between them, I doubt not, they could and will provide him with a glowing alibi, illuminated, gilded and handsomely framed. But does that matter? Are alibis necessary for horses of class? Especially for Cherry Pies of class? Nay, nay, Horatio. The holder of the American mile record, in a race, may look like a toothsome dainty, if we accept the alibi. But when we bite into it that lid of boiler plate, those awful pits ! What then is "class" in a race horse? How shall we define it? Ask me not, who am no Solomon come to judgment. Ever since I was knee-high to Ten Broeck I have heard attempts at the definition of class. The authors of these definitions have ranged through every rank and scale of humanity, on the turf and off. And as a rule they have ended by saying. "Well, you know what I mean." Which I did. But they could not tell in words, nor could I. Something like two hundred years ago there lived a little old weazened bachelor in tho Prussian town of Konigsburg. He dwelt in a little old house with an old-maid sister or so. He wore a snuff-colored coat and a three-cornered hat. He sat all day with his nose which was long and sharp thrust between the leaves of many ponderous and dusty tomes, and whenever he laid one of them aside, it was to seize a huge quill pen and blacken many sheets of white paper with laborious effort and long words. HIS AFTERNOON WALKS. At a stated time each afternoon he went forth for a walk, on .the ramparts of the city, as a rule attended by somebody like himself, with whom he held discussion upon the long, laborious words that he had been committing to paper. This went on for years and years. Finally, the said words were publish in a book. The title of this book was, "A Critique of Pure Reason." The authors name was Immanuel Kant. I have read the book. It was hard work, but I live to tell of it. According to the philosophical form charts, all modern metaphysics is based upon it. Well, it may be a far cry from Cherry Pie to Immanuel Kant ; and then again it isnt. For this fusty, musty old philosopher unfolded, as the basis of his "Critique of Pure Reason," that the best of what we know is not excerpted from hooka but founded upon our intuitions. And this brings us clean around, full circle, to the question under debate j ; which is to say, "class." It isnt a matter of words, but of intuitions. . Even Kant broke down in his attempt to define convincingly just what intuitions are. And just so we all break down when we attempt to define class. But intuitively we , know when a horse really has it. In the misty mid-region where thoughts and emotions refuse to crystallize into formulas that we can put into words, our intuitions are -born. And it is there whence our feeling for "cluss" in a race horse, what it means, what it is, what it always must be is derived, We cannot express it in words, but "You j know what I mean."

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