Saratoga Features: Twenty-One Stake Events Close for Entries March 10, Daily Racing Form, 1924-02-25


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SARATOGA FEATURES Twenty-One Stake Events Close for Entries March 10. Growth of Sport at Spa from John Morrissey Day to Present Time. NEW YORK, N. Y Feb. 24. A program of twenty-one stakes of the Saratoga Association for the Improvement of the Breed of Horses, entries for which will close on Monday, March 10, bespeaks eloquently of the progress of racing at Saratoga Springs; where the sport Avas inaugurated in a modest way in 1SG3. Though the events offered at this time have a standard of value that is quite high, they are overshadowed by the Hopeful, Travers. Alabama, Grand "Union and United States Hotel Stakes, which closed some time ago with a liberality of patronage that is an assurance of the success of the Saratoga meeting of 1924. It is a far cry from the days of John Morrissey, champion pugilist and later state senator, who gave the original meeting on the grounds now occupied in part by the organization of which Richard T. Wilson is the president. "Old Smoke," as Morrissey was called, advertised a program of races for August 3, 4 and 5, 1S63, and set down the title of "Proprietor," after his name. That he was owner and dictator as well was shown in many ways in the period when he was iu active command of affairs at the track which he naively described in the following language in his appeal for entries : "This track is short of a mile, but. for this meeting, once around is to be considered a mile." EARLY REWARDS MEAGER. That the rewards of racing were meager in those days is shown in the program for the opening day, which offered a three-year-old stake at mile heats, to which there was a subscription fee of 00 and a forfeit of 0. The association added 00. On the same day there was a purse of 00 for a dash of two miles for three-year-olds. The most ambitious race on the program was the Post Stakes on the final day. It was at three-mile heats and called for a subscription of 00, which was play or pay. The association bound itself to add 00 in the event of three or more starters. Veterans of the turf tell many stories illustrating the qualities of Morrissey. One of his duties was to see that none of the spectators in the stand stood on a chair during the running of a race. He never hesitated to supplement the work of the judges. There were no stewards in charge of American race meetings in -that period, the judges at the finish deciding all matters having to do with racing. If "Old Smoke", was satisfied that a certain animal had not given his best efforts he was not backward in hunting up an owner or a trainer and expressing his opinion of the performance in language that wras plain and forcible. These who knew Morrissey and those that came after him in the ownership of the Saratoga plant, and they included Albert Spencer, Charlie Reed and Gottfried Wal-baum, never thought the place would develop as it has; rivaling in beauty and completeness of detail any property devoted to racing in this country. SARATOGAS UNIQUE POSITION. Saratoga occupies a position in racing that is unique. The season at that point occupies the entire month of August, when there is no racing worthy of the name elsewhere in the Lnited States. This brings the best horses into active competition, tho cracks of the West matching strides with those of the East in fixtures, some of which are among the oldest turf events in the United States. Good racing programs attract crowds and Saratoga is the Mecca of visitors from every point of the Union, Canada and Cuba, while the session is in progress. Seven of the stakes closing on March 10 are for three-year-olds and over. The Saratoga Handicap and Saratoga Cup, each carrying an added value of ,000, are the most important of these. The former, inaugurated in 1901, when it was won by Rockton, has been the medium of notable turf battles. Roamer won it three times for Andrew I Miller, while Waterboy, Olambala, Purchase. j Sir Barton, Grey Lag and Prince James are among the other winners, the last named being successful last year. The Saratoga Cup, dating back to 1865 when it was won by Kentucky with the renowned jockey Gilpatrick in the saddle is one of the greatest of American Stake races. Kentucky won it twice. So did Springbok, Parole and General Monroe, while the veteran Exterminator, which is still going strong at the age of 9 and may enter the lists again this year, was successful in 1919, 1920, 1921 and 1922. My Own was the winner over Bunting and Prince James last year. The other features for three-year-olds and upwards are the Merchants and Citizens Handicap, ,000 added, at a mile and three- Continued from seisnth page. SARATOGA FEATURES Continued from first page. .sixteenths ; Champlain Handicap, ,500 added, one and one-eighth miles ; Delaware Handicap, ?2,f00 added, one mile, and the Amsterdam and Catskill Stakes, both claim-ins, with ,500 added, at one mile and seven furlongs, respectively. The stakes for two-year-olds arc eight in number, topped by the Saratoga Special, a real sporting event, as it is a race in which the owner of each candidate posts 00 and these stakes, together with the ,000 gold cup offered by the Saratoga Association, is the award to the victor. Among the events inaugurated at the time of the reorganization by AV. O. Whitney it has always furnished a fine contest. Goldsmith won the first offering in 1901. Sysonby was successful in 3904, Colin in 1907, Regret in 1914, Campfire in 191C, Tryster in 1920, Morvich in 1921 and St. James in 1923. The stake has beep worth as much as 1,500. This was the prize earned by Aristocracy when he lowered the colors of Broomstick and Stalwart The other events for juveniles, entries for which are due on March 10, are the Flash Stakes, value ?5,000 ; Troy Stakes claiming, ,500 added ; Kentucky Stakes fillies, ,500 added ; Sanford, value ,000 ; Schuylerville fillies, value ,000, and the Adirondack and Albany Handicaps, each of a value of ,000. Those for three-year-olds are she in number. The Saranac Handicap at a mile is the most valuable. It has a value of 0,000. The Miller, for entire colts and fillies, ,500 added, is a good test of a mile and three-sixteenths, while the Expectation Handicap, value of ,000. is for maiden three-year-olds at the time of entry. This race is a boon to those owners with a backward or growthy colt. The Mohawk and Seneca, both with a claiming condition, have an added value of ,500 each. If those who raced with John Morrissey in 1S63 could return to Saratoga for the coming meeting, the only reminder o other days would be the background of the unchangeable mountains and the waters whose qualities have been the same since they were first quaffed by aboriginal man and the beasts of the forest.

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