Here and There on the Turf, Daily Racing Form, 1924-03-27


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Here and There on the Turf Enforcing the Rules. Injustice of Influence. Wise Counsellors Double. Pimlico Oaks First Filly Stake. No sooner had Joseph A. Murphy announced the withdrawal of his ruling against jockey . Harry Gray than the announcement comes that Gray will make application for a license from the Kentucky Kacing Commission. Of course, on paper the fact that the drastic ruling against Gray had been withdrawn by judge Murphy clears him and leaves him an eligible applicant for a license. Ordinarily that would be all there was to it, but this withdrawing of the punishment by judge Murphjr is done in a way that was peculiar, to say the least, and it suggests that he lifted the punishment without being satisfied that Gray had been sufficiently punished. He concluded his announcement of withdrawing the ruling by saying, "However, this jockey has twice prostituted his license, once under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Racing Associations and again at Cleveland, and I am reserving the right to vote against license to him at tracks that are or may hereafter be under my jurisdiction." This is a withdrawing of the sentence without an acquittal. Whether or not this will be taken into consideration by the Kentucky Racing Commission when Gray makes his application remains to be seen. Officially Gray was restored to good standing by judge Murphy, but if his whole announcement is taken into consideration by the commission it could hardly issue the license. It would seem that judge Murphy, when he still is of the opinion that Gray has not been sufficiently punished, should have continued his sentence, even though his associate judge at the time of the ruling has since did. It was Fred .Gerhardy that served with judge Murphy when Gray was disciplined, and it will be remembered that he was killed by "slim" Webb at Akron, Ohio, last October. There should always be absolute proof of fraud before sentence of banishment from the turf is passed in any case. It is the most severe punishment that can be inflicted. But when the offense merits the punishment there should be no backing down from the sentence. It is presumed that Gray was thoroughly investigated before he was virtually barred off the turf. Nothing has happened since, as far as is known, to mitigate his offense. The fact that he has served a part of that sentence docs not satisfy the laws of racing. A conviction brought the punishment and there is no reason to bslievc that it was not merited. Too often pressure is brought to bear on the governors of racing on behalf of this or that offender and too often this pressure brings about reinstatement of those convicted and scntenc;d for fraud. This is all wrong, for it tends to bring the laws of the sport into disrepute and it emboldens others to offend. The rules of racing must mean just what is set down in the book of rules. These rules must be enforced by men of force and integrity who will not be swayed, no matter what the pressure may be, to have them slighted. The offender should not by reason of influence of any character, be permitted to play fast and loos2 with these rules, yet year after year there are those outside of racing who interest themselves on behalf of offenders. It is all wrong and the way to keep racing above reproach is to insist at all times on a fair and impartial enforcement of ths rules. The unknown little apprentice rider and the trainer from the bushes must be treated with the same consideration as the champion jockey and the champion trainer. All men are equal on the turf and under the turf, and that axiom must prevail for the good of the sport. It is of great interest to New York racing that William Woodward will come to the turf this year with such a strong stable. His horses are being fittsd by James Fitzsimmons at Aqueduct and the string contains several that give great promise. Mr. Woodward has long been a valued devotee of the turf, but too long he did not occupy the position he should in a racing way. He has a Maryland thoroughbred breeding establishment of importance in the Belair Stud and, in addition to those he breeds himself, he was a liberal buyer of yearlings at Saratoga last August. With Aga Khan heading his three-year-old division and Sir Ronald, a 0,000 brother to St. James, as possibly his best two-year-old, there are many others that can hardly fail to be heard from in the top division. Just now Aga Khan is being pointed for the Kentucky Derby, and there were races run by him last year that would make him a potential eligible for the big Kentucky race. Mr. Woodward has always been one of the most valued members of the Jockey Club and the prospect of his racing silks coming into greater prominence is of high importance. It is pretty well assured at this time that John S. Wards Wise Counsellor will be seen under silks in the running of the Preakness Stakes at the Maryland Jockey Club at Pimlico on May 12. It had b;en the general idea earlier in the year that this Kentucky champion would be reserved for the Kentucky Derby, but plans have been changed and now he is slated to go after both, should he train satisfactorily. Sir Barton enjoys the distinction of winning both a Preakness Stakes and a Kentucky Derby in 1919. That year the Kentucky Derby was run on May 10 and the Preakness Stakes followed on May 14. For the running of the races this year the Preakness Stakes will be decided May 12 and the Kentucky Derby not until May 17, so that, as far as time between the races is concerned, there is a greater advantage this year than was enjoyed by Sir Barton in 1919. And these two notable victories could hardly have "knocked out" Sir Barton, for he followed them by winning both the Withers Stakes and the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. It is known that several others of the candidates will try for both 0,000 races and Wise Counsellor will not want for notable traveling companions when he- returns to Kentucky after the Preakness. The Maryland Jockey Club is to stage the first Oaks of the year at the old Pimlico course on May 8, and the entries for this race, as well as for the Preakness Stakes and various other stakes of the old Maryland Club, are to close April 8. Already it is assured that the field for the Oaks this year will be a good one and it is probable that some of the fillies that are sent ! to the post in that race will be seen four days later trying against the colts for the rich Preakness Stakes. At this time one of the eligibles that is attracting attention is Happy Thoughts, in the Xalapa Farm Stable. This fleet miss is making ready for the racing at Havre dc Grace under the watchful care of James McClelland and Roy Waldron. Happy Thoughts is meant for the Preakness Stakes, but the Oaks will be her first important engagement and her future campaign will be decided on her showing in the ,000 race for fillies.

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