Over-Rating Race Horses, Daily Racing Form, 1924-06-03


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Over-rating Race Horses By W. S. VOSBUBGH . 6 T f ol of j ■ 5 d; ■ x , ■ of . up * 2 G sj js is fl y 1 « 1 e r i, v f n - g C li i ., J i ti . _ y a t. ■ t» to • T j r ~ e j ,% , i d i. t to i- a a to o r 1 f e J. i f l ; E. £ * l t_ D. a -. to ie LS j_ y t jj . ; J of 51 i :e r a ;r i I . J. j j at t . I C. 9- , ™ , al : re i it. ; ]e : : as ls Mr. Chris Fitz Gerald often recalls how. f when a boy, he spent Sunday afternoons c reading racing news in "The Spirit of the Times" and his mothers remark : n "Youd much better be reading The Lives n the Saints." . i "I am," he replied. 3 "You are? Which saints?" inquired Mrs. F. "St. Simon and St. Blaise." i The truth must be told : Mr. Fitz Gerald I did not say that, but that is what he could t have said and would have said only that he had more reverence than the "hopeful" son 1 an English family who inquired of the t Archbishop of Canterbury, "Has your Grace ] ever considered how long it took to get old Nebuchadnezrer into condition after he came from grass?" 1 The above little controversy in the Fitz | Gerald family naturally leads us to con- sider a peculiarity of our racing public. It 5 the making a "saint" of every successful j race horse, investing him with infallibility ; i j i thus denying the possibility of defeat and, • when defeat overtakes him, attribute it to j every cause but the right one. A GREAT COMPLIMENT. In a recent issue your correspondent, "Sal- ; vator," gave me the credit of never having | made a "saint" of any race horse and his graceful pen could not have framed a greater , , I compliment. As I do not bet on races, I j | i have neither gratitude nor grievance in speaking of the merits of horses. My re- I fusal to join in adoration of every successful • racer is merely a differential dissent from the popular estimate. I have my doubts of the invincibility of any race hcrse. Where there is a good one there is generally another. In the last fifty years I have seen too many horses whose success has led people form extravagant opinions of their merit. but they have usually met their match. Longfellow had his Harry Bassett : Harry Bassett had his Monarchist ; Hindoo had his Crickinore ; Salvator had his Proctor Knott ; Miss Woodford her Troubadour; Spendthrift ; his Falsetto : Domino his Henry of Navarre ; Hamburg his Bowling Brook, Some horses have escaped defeat, owing I management — Salvator, for example. As | four-year-old he was unbeaten because ! his management refused to take any chances. During the Monmouth Park meeting of his . fou-year-old year 1890 he was nominated for ten different races and "scratched" each time. When I spoke to his trainer. Mat t " Byrnes, he replied : "Well, didnt I bring the crowd for you?" — meaning the attend- _ ance. Had Hindoo, Hanover and Miss Woodford been similarly managed, possibly . they might have escaped defeat. But they belonged to Dwyer brothers, who seldom, if f ever, "scratched" or dodged. HANOVER NOT RACED JUDICIOCSLY. Indeed, if anything, the Dwyers went to the other extreme. Had Hanover been raced 1 more judiciously as a three-year-old ho j might have had an unbeaten career. He ; was a great colt that spring and would 1 probably have been in any year. It is a l pleasure to see that, through his daughter r Rhoda B., he has made a profound impression upon the racing blood of England. . Two of them, Orby and Grand Parade, have won the Derby, another, Diophon is a i favorite for the Derby of the current year I ; and what, with Orpheu3, Diadem, Flying » Orb, Diadumenos, The Boss and Granely, • j j it appears as if Britains breeders are as 3 j ambitious to secure "the Hanover cross" as 8 j 1 her soldiers were of winning the Victoria 1 Cross. | The habit of over-rating successful race " ho *ses is not of recent growth. Ever since e can recall there has been some one horse e which has been declared "the horse of the • century"; but the habit has of late been i j I intensified. The effect is bad ; it puts a • I fr.ght into the trainers, who will not start t their horses against such a horse and thus s reduces the number of starters. It affects s speculation on events in which such a hon-s J starts. Too often it is found in the end i that his success was due to advan*:tious or r f c n n i 3 i I t 1 t ] 1 | 5 j i j i • j ; | , , I j | i I • ; I ! | . t " . f 1 j ; 1 a l r . a i I ; » • j j 3 j 8 j 1 1 | " e e i • j I a • I t s s J i r fortuitous conditions and it is chen discovered that "he never beat a good horse." C The racing world now rings with the name d and fame of Epinard. He has been canonized fc as the latest equine "saint" — "the best horse f in Europe." His credentials cannot be well r denied. His Stewards Cup with 118 pounds t was a fine performance. The Cambridgeshire e is considered the hardest race to win of all a English events. Many great racers have t tried, but few have won the race for which Gladiateur, Blue Gown, Sterling, Melton, Bend Or and Peter essayed in vain. leaner- j cost won it, so did Polymelus, See Saw, r Plaisanterie, Jongleur and Rosebery, but to . win it a horse must overcome great odds. j Some great seconds have marked the Cam- bridgeshire running. Blue Gowns second in 1S68 with 126 pounds was considered a mar- velous performance for a three-year-old ; Sterlings 123 pounds in 1871 was another — in fact, so impressive that I recall the Eng- £ lish papers of the period referring to it as J "Sterlings Cambridgeshire." His dead heat j for second place with Allbrook, to whom he J conceded two years and thirty pounds, was a tremendous performance. But Sabinus, the 5 winner, to whom Sterling conceded a year and four pounds, was a "crack" that season. He had won the City and Suburban, the 1 Metropolitan, the Beaufort Cup and Ascot Gold Cup. The Cambridgeshire field was of i immense quality. Two Derby winners. King- | craft and Favonius, the Cesarewitch winner Corisande and the subsequent Ascot Gold Cup winner Henry were all starters. j CAMBRIDGESHIRE RECORDS. ] Epinards second with 128 pounds is a rec- ord in the Cambridgeshire — for a three-year-old. But Bindigo has the record for the I greatest weight among the "runners up" for the Cambridgeshire. He won the race of j 1S83, as a three-year-old with 94 pounds. In | 1884, with 114 pounds, he ran second to | Florence, four years, 127 pounds; in 1885, i with 134 pounds, he ran second to Plais- ; anterie, three years, 124 pounds ; But in 1887 hi carried 130 pounds into second place: donation, three years, winning with 104 pounds. Thus in four essays, Bendigo won once and was three times second. Some very high weights have been car- . ried for the Cambridgeshire. Bend Or, four years, carried 134 pounds in 1881 ; Melton, four years, carried 133 pounds in 1886 ; St. iatien, 4 years, carried 136 pounds in 1885 ; I-a. Fleche, four year3, carried 133 pounds in j 1893 ; while the famous horse Peter, five years, in 1881, Foxalls year, carried 140 j pounds — as Cardinal Wolsey says, "There was the weight that pulled me down." FOXHALL BEATEN IN TRIAL. Yet the late Sir John Astley says that in i the spring of that year 1881 when Foxall I was being prepared for the Grand Prix de I Paris, this same horse, Peter, gave Foxhall J thirty-five pounds and a beating in a trial gallop over the Lime Kilns at Newmarket. • Sir John and Sherrard, Foxhalls trainer, weighed the riders after the trial and there 5 was no mistake about the weights. As Fox-- hall, three years, 125 pounds, defeated Peter five years, 140 pounds, for the Cambridge-9 shire, Foxhall, between May and October, must have "come on" with a vengeance. Should Epinard be defeated here, I hope he will be acclaimed as generously as Papy- rus was last October, when the crowd at ; Belmont Park cheered him to the echo. If [ Epinard wins, Rene Viviani can offer a tribute ; Ande Tardieu can edit "an apprecia- tion" ; Leon Daudet can present an article ; Jossph Caillux an epistle ; Gabriel Hanotaux l ran write an essay, and M. Poincare can, in his ecstacy, forget reparations and com- - pose a palinode on the Germans. Let us 3 hope that we have horses capable of giving » him a good race at his reception and in 1 their behalf, allow me to offer a respectful 1 perversion of Mr. Tennyson : For Arab, Barb and Turk are we. And some with disputed pedigree, But Americans all in our greeting to thee, ■ Epinard !

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1920s/drf1924060301/drf1924060301_16_6
Local Identifier: drf1924060301_16_6
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800