Here and There on the Turf: Trysters Stud Prospects. Training and Staying. Decline of Distance Racing. Cause and Effect, Daily Racing Form, 1924-02-08


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Here and There 1 1 2 o on the Turf 3 3 : 4 4 Stud E 5 Trysters Prospects. Training and Staying. I G 7 Decline of Distance Racing. Cause and Effect. 1 1 2 2 The purchase of Tryst er by Robert M. Eastman and C. J. Fitz Gerald for breeding s Z purposes foreshadows th3 disappearance from A 4 the turf at the end of the coming season of 5 -one of the great disappointments of recent G years. Tryster finished his two-year-old season without a defeat. Great things ware expected 7 of him as a three-year-old, but he failed to live up to this promise. He turned out to be only a sprinter. Finally in 1922 Scott Harlan prepared him 1 to race in the Pimlico Serial Weight-for-Agc 1 races for J. Leonard Replogle and the horse : 2 3 surprised by winning -all three of them, in- z 4 eluding the mile and an eighth event that : closed the series. Mr. Harlan proved by this scries of successes that proper training would fit the horse for a i longer distance than he had been accustomed 1 to running. Last year he even managed to 1 j win the Empire City Handicap at a mile and a quarter with the son of Peter Pan and Tryst. : Tryster will always be remembered as a first-class sprinter, however, in spits of these iso-lated successes over longer distances. If he can transmit his speed to his progeny he will be a profitable investment as a stallion because, as was recently written of Morvich, a sire which can produce fast two-year-olds will always be in demand. "The chief reason for a discussion of Tryster, however, is the demonstration in his case that a sprinter can be trained to race successfully over longer distanc;s. This is undoubtedly true of all sprinters within certain distinct limits. A horse is foaled with or without the ability to stay, of course, but no horse is foaled in all probability with an inherited inability to race over a longer distance than five-eighths. With proper training a horse that is known as a sprinter may be trained to race successfully over any distance up to a mile-and a quarter, providing the competition is not too keen. By this it is not meant to imply that distance racing is open to all sprinters which are properly trained, but there is little doubt that it would be quite possible to take a rather large percentage of the horses which are being raced at present over five and six-furlong distances and, by a course of intensive training, make them fit for racing at longer distances. In other words, the decline of distanc3 racing is due just as largely to training methods as it is to any inherent tendency of the breed. Training for speed and not for bottom is the mode in these days and a horse which can racz successfully over distances greater than a mile in nine cases out of ten is able to do so not because he is conscientiously and skillfully prepared for such racing, but rather, be-caurc his stamina is so exceptional that he can overcome the handicap of faulty conditioning by his own natural powers. VThen the old timers begin to talk of the degenerate tendencies of the thoroughbred in these sprinting days they should give some consideration to this question of training. And when the guilt for the present lack of distancs racing comes to be fixed, the racing secretaries of the country will find it difficult to offer an adequate defense. If the racing associations would offer a preponderance of distance racing instead of the present preponderance of sprints, there is no doubt that for a time the programs would not fill properly at certain tracks, but in the long run trainers would make it thair business to find out how a horse should be conditioned for longer races if the shorter ones were not placed on the cards. In other words, the trainer is merely taking the easkst way out when he trains the bulk of his horses for sprinting. There are more races under a mile at all meetings than there are at greater distances and it is much more difficult to train a horse for the longer contests. No trainer is going to do harder work for less return and naturally when there are more purses offered for sprinters he is going to condition his horses for that class of racing. The time element has been stressed too heavily in these latter days of racing. A horse which can turn three furlongs in sensational time is looked upon as a prodigy, whereas the old quarter-horse breed undoubtedly had many representatives in its palmy days which could run a trifling distance in faster time than any present-day thoroughbred. Excessive two-year-old racing over short distances is another element in the situation. These too numerous opportunities for a quick return on yearling investments put a premium on speed that is undoubtedly injuring the staying qualities of the breed. Breeders for the market select matings for speed rather than stamina in a majority of cases becauss they know that a line which produces precocious two-year-olds is extremely popular among yearling buyers. A sprinting family will send a yearling to the sales upon which bidding will be spirited and the return large. A big yearling of staying lines will not attract such competition at the sales. He is not as attractive to the eye and a horseman will quickly see from his conformation that training him for successful racing as a two-year-old will be difficult or even impossible. An occasional horseman will be willing to gamble on such a horse, providing the bids do not go too high, but seldom, indeed, will any one go to 0,000 for a horse of this type. Thus the decline of distance racing is seen to be the result, not of any one particular thing, but rather the final consequence of a vicious circte which has been drawn around the turf by slow degrees. Excessive two-year-old racing has its effect on the yearling market; the yearling market has its effect on the market breeder; the combination of these two has its effect on racing in general but tracing cause and effect any further is much like the old sophist argument: "Which came first the hen or the egg?" The remedy if there is one lies in the hands of the racing secretaries. A reduction of opportunities for two-year-olds; a decrease in the number of races for older sprinters, and i sharp increase in the number of distance races offered should have a quick effect on the yearling market. With a decreased demand for precocious youngsters and a stimulation of the demand for horses of staying lines, the breeders would soon fall into line.

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