Here and There on the Turf: Woodrow Wilson and Racing. a Firm Friend of the Turf. First Foal by Morvich. a Real Turf Puzzle, Daily Racing Form, 1924-02-05


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Here and There on the Turf Woodrow Wilson and Racing. A Firm Friend of the Turf. First Foal by Morvich. A Eeal Turf Puzzle. While the whole world mourns at the passing of Woodrow Wilson, it may not be g?n-erally known that in the passing of the war president there passed a warm friend of the turf. Had it not been for the stupendous happenings while Woodrow Wilson was president it is probable that his friendship for thz turf would have been better known. He had scant time to indulge in any pleasures while occupying the White House, but on two different occasions he found time to visit a race course. It was at an open-air horse show and race meeting combined, held at Arlington Park, across the Potomac from Washington, that Admiral Grayson induced President Wilson to take a little much-needed recreation. On the occasion of his first visit some of the horse show classes, were under way when he arrived, but he was able to stay long enough to see a race. After that visit Mr. Wilson expressed himself as being delightfully entertained, but remarked that he would have preferred seeing more racing. On this suggestion it was decided that if he should come again racing would be staged for the distinguished guest. Again he was induced to take a holiday and on the occasion of his second visit it was racing, and racing alone, with which he was entertained. There was no more interested spectator in the stands than President Wilson in th2 box that had been set aside for him, and as he was leaving he expressed himself as having enjoyed a delightful afternoon. The racing made him forget for the moment the stupendous work that had occupied all through his long term of office, and had it not been for that same stupendous, work President Wilson would surely have been a visitor at some of the other courses. George Washington himself owned, bred and raced horses, while there have been other presidents who graced the turf with their patronage and support, but in recent years Woodrow Wilson is the only other president that by his attendance and interest in the greatest of all sports gave his endorsement to the turf. The interest of Woodrow Wilson in racing will not be considered in the writing of his obituary, but to the turf itself it is a tremendously big thing, even though he had scant opportunity to enjoy the thrils that come in the battles of the thoroughbreds. The first foal by Benjamin Blocks Morvich has arrived at Miss Elizabeth Daingerfields i ; Haylands Stud. This is an item of breeding ; news which will attract considerable attention throughout the country. It will attract attention because breeders and turfmen generally will be interested in watching the stud career of .this 1921 juvenile wonder, which failed so i badlj as a three-year-old in 1922. Morvich will always be one of the real puzzles of the American turf. Opening his career i ; ; i with a surprise victory in a cheap selling race, he went on to score eleven straight wins as a two-year-old. Always there was a sharp division of expert opinion in spite of this impressive record. A majority of good judges discounting the unbeaten record of this unfashionably bred colt marked him down in their record books as a sprinter. They considered him the best two-year-old of a bad year and laughed when the Morvich partisans began to talk of a coming victory in the Kentucky Derby. The day of the Derby drew closer and closer and some wesks before the running it became evident that the leading rivals of the Block colt would not be able to face the starter. The influenza epidemic, in other words, was a much mora effective means of eliminating Morvichs Derby rivals than the colts own speed and quality. Morvich won the Derby of 1922 everybody knows that. Everybody also knows that he was unable to win another race as a three-year-old. There was a great deal of talk to the effect that the intensive training for the Derby had ruined the colt as a racing tool, but the consensus of opinion was, and still is, for that matter, that Fred Burlew really accomplished wonders when he trained the horse to go a mile and a quarter. The horses that made up that Derby, field have raced their way to oblivion they were selling platers pure and simple. Morvich was not a selling plater he was a stake horse over sprinting distances. A sprinter of real quality can beat selling platers over a distance, because he possesses a few qualities that a selling plater does not have, but let him try to beat a horse of real staj-ing ability and the result will always be the same. If Morvich had never been raced as a three-year-old if he had gone wrong at the close of his remarkable juvenile career there is little doubt that he would have become an excellent stud prospect. It will be recalled that The Tctrarch, Englands premier sire of sprinting two-year-olds, went wrong before he had faced the barrier as a three-year-old. His staying qualities were never tested and his wonderful juvenile reputation was never blasted. Nobody can tell what would have happened if The Tctrarch had gone to the post in the Epsom Derby and other big English three-year-old events. On the other hand everybody knows what happened to Morvich in the Carlton Stakes and in the Kentucky Special. It is that knowledge which made his stud prospects doubtful. It may" develop that Morvich can transmit his wonderful speed to his offspring. If he can there is no doubt that he will become an extremely popular sire among breeders for th market. Yearling prices are governed largely by the chances for a quick return, and a few sensationally fast Morvich juveniles next year, will go far toward establishing the Block horse as a stallion. Yearling buyers .for the most part will pick the youngsters which promise to develop into good money winners as two-year-olds. Many J of these two-j7ear-old sensations will never race successfully when the distances begin to lengthen out, but their sprinting qualities as juveniles will still make them profitable investments. These are the reasons that the arrival of this first Morvich foal is an item of such wide interest to-American breeders and racing men.

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