Here and There on the Turf: Weights for the Dixie. Range is Commended. Three-Year-Old Candidates Mad Play Has an Advantage, Daily Racing Form, 1924-02-02


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Here and There on the Turf Weights for the Dixie. Range is Commended. Three-Year-Old Candidates Mad Play Has an Advantage. With the announcement of the weights for the Dixie Handicap there is an awakened interest in the 1924 turf season, and these same weights will give the horsemen something to discuss until the horses themselves begin to perform again in Maryland. It is probable that before the Pimlico meeting there will be some revisions made by those who study the weights, though the fact that the Dixie will probably be run early in May suggests that it will mark the first appearance of some of the candidates. Handicapper Frank J. Bryan has devoted much time and skill to his allotment of these weights and, while it is natural that this deduction will meet with criticism, they seem to be eminently fair. There never was a handicap that pleased all hands and it is not expected that the Dixie will be any exception. Mr. Bryan has succeeded in building his handicap with only five horses carrying in excess of the scale, and he is to be complimented in reaching his conclusions with 133 pounds as the top impost. That is the Grey Lag weight and it is just five pounds over his scale weight in May for the mile and three-sixteenths distance. The others in the list that are required to carry more than scale are the three-year-olds Zev and In Memoriam, each with 129 pounds, which is just two pounds over the scale, and the three-year-olds Sarazen and St. James with 114 pounds, which is just two pounds over the seals for that age division. Those at scale weight are the old gelding Exterminator with his impost of 128 pounds and the four-year-old My Own with his burden of 127 pounds. Thus it will be se;n that, if the scale is right and Mr. Bryans deductions correct, Grey Lag is a three-pound better horse than the four-year-olds Zev and In Memoriam and the three-year-olds St. James and Sarazen. The same figures make Zev, In Memoriam, St. James and Sarazen equal over the distance in May and makes that quartet two pounds better than My Own and Exterminator. The scale of weights has endured a long time in spite of frequent attempts at revision, and for that reason it becomes a question of the skill of the handicapper. As a matter of fact, the scale of weights does not enter into serious consideration in the making of a handicap, except as a guide to the weights that should be carried with all horses equal. Thre is no reason why one horse should not give away both age and weight, and it is necessary in almost any handicap to properly bring the field together, but it is commendable that a handicap such as the Dixie has been arranged with a range from 133 pounds down to 90 pounds and taking in the various age divisions. That is a wide range and it should be sufficient at any time to take care of a handicap, even though there may be found some of the ninety pounds that may have scant chance. It is not fair to put the weights up on the others to make room for such cattle, and the horse that would not have a chance under 90 pounds in the Dixie with 133 pounds as the top weight has no business in the handicap. Probably most of the interest in the Dixie weights will center in Mr. Bryans estimate of the three-year-olds. That is of interest for the bearing it has on the three-year-old stake features, for which most of them are eligible. The two most important of the early spring are the Maryland Jockey Clubs Preakness of a mile and an eighth, at Pimlico and the mils and a quarter of the Kentucky Derby of the Kentucky Jockey Club, to be run at Churchill Downs. These races will both be decided in !May, but the Dixie is to be run before either one of them, according to present plans, and ; the handicap may serve as a final for one or the other three-year-old classics. There is no more painstaking student of form than Frank J. Bryan and his estimate of the three-year-olds of 1924 is of vast importanc2 at this time, but they will be amended by many another handicapper who makes a close study of the horses and their performances, but in the main it is not likely there will be any wide differences of opinion on what was shown in 1923. Some may question the wisdom of placing George Wideners St. James and Mrs. Vander-bilts great gelding Sarazen in the same notch, but it must be agreed that they were the ones that must head all the other three-year-olds. Sarazen was unbeaten, but St. James, by his victories in the Futurity, Saratoga Special and the United States Hotel Stakes, was the greatest money-winning juvenile of the year, and it must be remembered that in winning the Futurity at Belmont Park he took up 130 pounds and ran the three-quarters through the straight in 1:10 to be winner. That was surely the performance of a champion. There can be no quarrel in placing thess two three-year-olds at the top and there doesnt seem to be any good reason to ask one to give the other any weight. While Sarazen was unbeaten, he had never met St. James, and the son of Ambassador IV. had beaten the best that could be mustered against him in New York and better ones than Sarazen met. Where there will be plenty of discussion is in the rating of the other three-year-olds, and there are some that appear to have a shade over the others. H. G. Bedwells Senator Norris and A. H. Morris Rustic, each five pounds below the scale at 107 pounds, follow the top weights of the three-year-clds. The one sterling performance of Rustic during the ssason was a victory in the Great American at Aqueduct, while Senator Norris earned his place by virtue of his score in the second division of the Wal-den Handicap at Pimlico. The Walden is a mile and Senator Norris took up 112 pounds, while the Great American is a five-eighths dash. There will be many who consider that both of these have been put too high in the handicap when compared with others to which they ara required to give weight. Big Blaze, which has to his credit a score over St. James in the Grand Union Hotel Stakes at Saratoga, is in receipt of a pound from both of these, as is the Rancocas Stables Bracadale. H. P. Whitneys Transmute, winner of the Hudson and the Trc-mont, and the sensational filly Happy Thoughts are in the same notch, just a pound lighter, and besides these Sunspero, Gonfalon and Mino are all required to give weight to Stanwix, winner of the first half of the. Walden for the Rancocas Stable. That puts Stanwix in the handicap at 102 pounds and gives him a five-pound pull over Senator Norris and Rustic. " But there is one other from the Rancocos Stable that seems to have an even better place in the handicap. This one is Mad Play, the brother to old Mad Hatter. This fellow is handicapped at 101 pounds and, while he did not accomplish as much as many of the other juveniles named in the Dixie, his race with Wise Counsellor in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs should give him a higher place. In that running and under equal weights Mad Play raced the Kentucky champion to a neck and the race was run in 1 :37, the fastest time hung up for a two-year-old over the mile distance. There are many other assignments that furnish food for discussion, but with no further analysis it would seem that possibly Mad Play is a five-pound better colt than he has been rated.

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