Here and There on the Turf: California Racing. Influence on Breeding. some of the Old Glories. Mission of Tanforan, Daily Racing Form, 1924-02-04


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Here and There on the Turf California Racing. Influence on Breeding. Some of the Old Glories. Mission of Tanforan. The determined effort to bring racing back to California brings to mind the important -part played by the Pacific coast and the State of California in the thoroughbred production when racing flourished in the far West. The stamping out of the sport resulted in the closing down of many of the thoroughbred farms and one of the most productive of all thoroughbred centers all but went out of business entirely. A. B. Spreckek and some other few breeders who could well afford to continue in the production, though far from a suitable market, continued to breed horses that kept alive the fame of California as a thoroughbred nursery, but the prohibition against the racing had a devastating effect on the industry of breeding. Some idea of the vastness of the thoroughbred interests before there came the persecution by adverse laws is had in the operations of the late James B. Haggin. Mr. Haggin was the largest of all the American breeders and his immense Rancho del Paso nursery in California was the birthplace of some of the greatest of American thoroughbreds. Mr. Haggin also had the Elmendorf Farm in Kentucky, but it was Rancho del Paso that was the chief i breeding establishment. When Mr. Haggin was virtually forced, by reason of legislation, to confine his operations to his Kentucky farm the mares and stallions were moved from Rancho del Paso to Elmsn-dorf. As late as 1907 there were 483 brood mares at Elmendorf and of these 272 had been bred at Rancho del Faso, while many others were also brsd at other California farms and purchased by Mr. Haggin. There were thirty-five stallions and of these thirteen were bred at the California ranch and thirteen were imported, whib three others were from the far West; two, Horatio and Indio, being California bred, while the third, Gold Spinner, was bred by Marcus Daly at his Bitter Root Stud in Montana, The twelve bred at Rancho del Paso were Africander, Bendoran, Del Paso II., First Water, George Kesslcr, Hiero, Maxio, Montana, Reliable, "Sombrero, Thunderbolt, Waterboy and Watercolor. James B. Haggin did an immense thing for the American thoroughbred and the best of his accomplishments was in th2 State of California. He imported Watercress, the son of Springfield and Wharfdalc, by Hermit, and he proved a wonderful influence on the American blood lines. Other imported stallions in the establishment were Arkle, Bute, Dicudonne, Gcrcblein, Goldfinch, Greenan, Mimic, Order, Royal Flush III., Shapfell, Slave, Star Ruby and Toddington. The accomplishments of these stock horses is too well known to need reviewing here. And it must be remembered that these stallions were brought to this country for service in the far i West and those not imported by Mr. Haggin himself were purchased by him for service at Rancho del Paso. And James B. Haggin was only one of the breeders of that time. He was the largest breeder of his day, but California had many another breeder pf real importance in the thoroughbred world. Some of these were W. OB. MacDonough, E. J. Lucky. Baldwin, Burns and Waterhousc, H. T. Oxnard, Iceland Stanford, William and C. L. Booth, Gaston M. and R. Porter Ashe, S. G. Heed, John Mackey, Walter B. Jennings, Charles Kerr, J. T. Davis, J. G. Follansbee, A. J. Stemler, J. B. Chase, J. Naglee Burke, J. H. Magee, R. M. Brown, E. J. and A. W. Boeseke, Ruinart Stock Farm, Oscar Duke, T. J. Knight, C. H. Turner, C. Young, Atwood Sproule, E. J. Motoro, Charles L. Fair, R, E. De B. Lopez, John Arnett, Prince Poniatowski, S. and W. C. Mil!er, A. P. Miller, Joseph W. Taylor, A. M. McCollum, Otto J. Zahn, John C. Humphreys, E. Wilson, W. M. Murry, Thomas Fox, T. H. Boyle, E. D. Mc-Sweeney, J. A. Coleman, D. Bryan, Coalter and Irvine, D. P. and F. Tarpey, C. H. Kobicke, G. K. Rider, C. E. Farnum, S. T. Kennedy, U. F. Del Valle and A. -S. Knight. There were many others, but this list will serve to show just what the thoroughbred breeding interests amounted to in California. In the above list the name of A. B. Spreckels does not appear, but his Napa Stock Farm is still a nursery of importance and he is one of the prime movers in the effort to restore racing to California. And in addition to these breeders there were; several others in the far West that could readily be considered as in the California district. Marcus Daly, with his Bitter Root Farm at Hamilton, Mont., did more than any breeder of his day for the American thoroughbred when he made many important importations of English mares. Their influence on the horses of this country is still felt. S. E. Larabie at Deer Lodge, Mont., also did big things for the industr, and it was there that Ben Holladay was bred. Nevada had a number of breeders of importance, and it still has, but not in the numbers that obtained when there was racing in California and a ready market close at hand. George Wingfield still has extensive breeding interests at his Nevada Stock Farm arid he annually sends good ones to the market. W. R. Coe has been breeding extensively in Wyoming and principally for his own racing use. B. A. Jones has bred successfully in the far West, and Edward Cebrian, who recently conducted a dispersal sale conducted successful breeding on the other side. of the mountains. There are many others that continue to breed thoroughbreds in the far West, but much of the glory of California as a nurssry for the thoroughbred went with the banishing of racr ing. Racing is essential to breeding and the present campaign to restore the sport would mean the rehabilitation of that wondrous state in a thoroughbred way. The sportsmen who are behind Tanforan have done big things to bring back those glories and they are to be commended for therr fine eourage in what has been accomplished already. It is unfortunate that promoters with nothing at stake have sought to profit by what has been done at Tanforan. They have no interest beyond the racing itself. They have no breeding interest in view and they have only selfish ends to serve. It is well to always separate such enterprises from the meeting that was conducted at Tanforan at a tremendous expense for a real purpose. That racing is more than the sport itself. It is an intelligent effort to restore California to the turf as a thoroughbred section. Nowhere are there more natural advantages for the production of the b?st thoroughbred horse, and it is production that is the big thing back of racing after all. No figures are available of just what thoroughbred production meant to the State of California in the days when the industry flourished, but it is easy to imagine that it was of great value to the state. It surely brought in a revenue that was important, and merely as a business proposition it would seem that the driving out of the breeders was not exactly good policy. With racing back on a firm basis in California it would not be long before the far West would go far bcjond its most prospsrous times in a thoroughbred way. There are so many natural climatic advantages that breeders would be rapidly attracted and it would not be long before there would be another breeding farm that would eclipse the glories of Rancho del Paso or Santa Anita in their palmiest days. Racing is not .merely the running of horses about a ring. It is bigger and broader than a mere sport though the best sport of them all. It is the incentive for a great big industry and an industry that is more or less fathered by the country in that the army derives the best of its stock horses from the thoroughbreds. ! There can be no thoroughbred production without racing. It is sport that -is tremendously essential for the protection of the country, and the pity of it is that such an ideal state as California has been handicapped so seriously in the production by the laws that virtually prohibited racing. It is ihz devout hope that the sportsmen behind Tanforan will not find their efforts to restore the sport go for naught and that there will be the natural sequence of a rehabilitation of the breeding interests on the Pacific slope.

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