Here and There on the Turf: The New Racing Season.; Policing the Stables.; Guards Not Needed.; Growth of Steeplechasing., Daily Racing Form, 1924-04-27


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Here and There on the Turf The New Racing Season. Policing the Stables. Guards Not Needed. Growth of Steeplechasing. Hating is back in full swing. New York and Kentucky are under way after the long winter of idleness, and never was there an opening that promised better for the turf. Man-land has had its racing for almost a month and the manner in which the thoroughbreds were welcomed back was an index of what happened at Lexington and Belmont Saturday. The gathering at both of these courses was such as to make safe the prediction that the sport has begun one of the greatest neason? in its long and glorious history. And the Belmont opening was not the opening of the big racing season. It was the first •of the two days meeting of the United Hunts Racing Association. Tina ■ an organization that races under the sanction and rules of the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association, but it has grown to such importance that it may well be looked upon as the real opening of the season. The Jockey Chib season is to begin with thr meeting of the Metropolitan Jockey Cub at Jamaica Tuesday. Not in many years have there been as many fit horses at the beginning of a racing season. Thus far the general health of the thoroughbreds has been excellent and, as a general proposition, they are further advanced -than is usual at this titne of the year. When the horses are robust and strong it is not so much of a task to fit them for early racing. The horses have been robust and strung and tike early offerings are of a value to make it well worth while to have them ready early. The Dixie Handicap, to be run at Firulico on May 3, has a value of 5,-OuO in added money and it was one of the big inducements that brought the horses out early. Aad that is only one of the big prises. Spring racing has grown to such an importance that trainers cannot afford to wait until later ia the year. They must be ready for the early meeting; if they are to share in these plumy and to pas them up does not give the good horse his fair chance. "Armed guards have been set over Wise Counsellor.." This is the text of a news story that comes out of Louisvillx It makes good reading, but its hard to believe that surli is true. Of course John S. Ward is going to afford his three-year-old champion every protection, but Mr. Ward is not a sensationalist and it is hardly likely that he has found it necessary to protect the colt with armed guards. Unfortunately, from time to time horses have been tampered with by unscrupulous van-di | , but there never has, at any time, been reason for armed guards to protect a horse. It is a news item that suggests a constant menace to the sport by these criminals and t-uch is not the case. Many tracks have aided the horsemen materially in affording protection to the stables and the horses and it is well there should be proper police protection, but hardly armed guards. The stable that is properly conducted has a force well able to do its own policing. It is doubtful if there is a single ease of a , horse being "doped" or night ridden, or drugged in any manner on the eve of a race, that it could not be traced to an employe in . the stable. This makes it difficult for any armed guard to afford the protection that is i •ought. The trainer who has a capable and I jfffin1«KU iote» in his employ does not need I , . i I I any armed guards. What he must have is loyal and dependable stable hands, and, unless he has these, he is in constant danger and in a danger that armed guards cannot avert. It is well that trainers be held at all times accountable for the condition of their horses, and if this rule is strictly enforced there would be fewer of these wildly sensational tales of "sponging," "drugging," "doping" and "night riding." There are some stables and the most prominent in the bind, that have never experienced any of these raids. Stables where there would be reason for tampering with the horses. No purpose is served by tampering with a bad horse, though they should be afforded every protection, and the good ones for the most part arc in racing establishments where the grooms are dependable. By this it is not meant that there is no need for police protection. Race courses should be better protected before and after a racing day than while the sport is under way, but it is hard to understand how it is possible for a hors3 to even be approached when the stable hands are doing their full duty. See to the personnel of the stable staff and there need be little fear of marauders and there would be no need for armed guards. Monday the steeplechase stakes of the Saratoga Association will b? closed and it is already assured that this picturesque branch of racing will come into its own this year. It is remembered that but a short time ago it was found necessary to declare off some of the cross-country races at Saratoga, by reason of the lack of entries and the lack of interest that was shown by the patrons of stceple-; chasing. That can hardly happen again after the bril-liant manner in which the steeplechasing has begun this season. Entries have never been so heavy and the jumpers that have already been shown are of a better class than have graced our fields in many a year. Time was when steeplechasing was a most important part of racing and that time is coming back. The bringing over of made jumpers from France, England and Ireland has had much to do with this revival and the liberality of the various associations has made, the importations well worth while. It is entirely within the bounds of possibility that steeplechasing can be brought to such importance that Kentucky will take up the cross-country sport and there will be the consequent broadening of the field for this end of the sport. Efforts will be made to induce the two tracks that have no steeplechasing — Jamaica and Empire City. . -

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