Here and There on the Turf: Fibre Skull Caps. Championship Questions. Whips for Starters. Fair Grounds Changes, Daily Racing Form, 1924-11-15


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Here and There on the Turf Fibre Skull Caps. Championship Questions. Whips for Starters. Fair Grounds Changes. From time to time it has been pointed out that the fibre skull cap is of great importance in race riding. There was one more evidence of the protection that is offered by these caps at Pimlico Thursday. Norman Kennedy, one of the foremost of cross-country riders, probably escaped possible fatal injuries by reason of this fibre skull cap. When Damask fell with Kennedy it was an especially bad tumble and it appeared for all the world as though the rider had been desperately hurt. Kennedy was badly knocked out and was carried from the field in the ambulance. At the emergency hospital at the track it was discovered that he had suffered a broken collar bone, but it was also discovered that his fibre skull cap had been cracked and in other ways had been battered to indicate it had absorbed1 much of the impact of his fall. Without the protection of the cap it would have been Kennedys skull itself that would have received these injuries. Fortunately for this good rider he always wears this protecting cap and it is safe to promise that he "will continue to be so equipped each time he goes to the post. Fatalities in race riding are comparatively few and probably that avocation will compare favorably with any other sport, in that connection, but with the skull cap there is at once a safeguard that will make race riding safer still. Fatal injuries in race riding have almost invariably come from injuries to the head and a fractured skull is the serious danger. This cap is practically an absolute safeguard against this injury. For that reason it would be well if every racing association insist on the use of these caps and have a stock of them on hand for the use of riders. Several jockeys, with an appreciation of the protection that is afforded, use these caps and, for the good of racing, it would be an excellent rule to require their use in all races. Year after year racing comes to an end with the question of the championship still in the air and 1924 is to be no exception. As far as the older horses are concerned it is just about agreed that Sarazen, Mrs. Vanderbilts remarkable three-year-old gelding, is king of them all, but his right to the crown is open to argument. With the two-year-olds there is nothing approaching a definite decision on just where the crown belongs. Had it not been that William Daniels Master Charlie met defeat in the running of the Pimlico Serial Weight-for-Age Race No. 2 it is probable he would have been accepted as best of his age. His victories in the Hopeful Stakes and in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, to say nothing of his other excellent races, gave him every right to first consideration. But then there is Marshall Fields Stimulus, winner of the Pimlico Futurity, as well as many another stake race, that has every right to dispute the throne with Master Charlie. Both were retired before the running of the Wjalden Handicap, which would have gone a long way toward straightening out the tangle. And there are others that will not race again this year that have shown speed to win a place among the champions, but the racing season will end with a difference of opinion as to just which one was best. Every once and so often there comes along a colt like Man o War, that is almost like Man o War, but i may be just as well for the sport to have this uncertainty as to the champion. It lends zest to the sport and offers food for discussion all through the long winter nights. This question of the use of whips at the starting post, by assistant starters, is one of great importance. As far as the racing in Maryland this fall is concerned, of course, there J will be no return to the use of the whips. It ; is a rule of the Maryland State Racing Commission and there is no hope that it will be amended during the present racing season. When it has been tried out right through the Bowie meeting it may be that the gentlemen of the Commission will come to the conclusion that it was a mistake to pass such a rule. It is a mistake to pass any rule that will hamper a starter in his work. There is always a chance for the governors of racing to call a halt if the starter permits in the abuse of horses by whips at the starting post. The starter, like every other official of racing is under the jurisdiction of these governors of racing, but the commissioners surely do racing no good when they tell the man filling the most skilled position in connection with the sport, how he shall fill his office. The rule abolishing the use of whips can only suggest one thing and that is that there has been an abuse of horses by the assistant starters. That is a charge that can hardly stand up on any race track. It may be that some starters obtain the desired results without the use of whips, just as some starters have better results with a "walk up" than a standing start, but after all what is required is results. There might not be occasion to use the whips more than once in a half dozen races, but when that occasion arises the starter should be permitted to use his own judgment. Time and again horses are walking up to the starting gate in pzrfect alignment when there would be a chance for a perfect start, but when the rule requires that the horses shall come to a stand that start is ruined. The jockeys must pull up and as they do so their mounts become restive; they wheel and lunge until there comes a wellnigh hopeless tangle and frequently a bad start results. The man who has spent a life time becoming proficient in his chosen profession should surely be permitted to carry on in his own way. It is the way that has brought him success and given him his employment. The rule is a bad one, just as any other rule is a bad one that will undertake to fix rules for this skilled occupation. And, as a matter of cold fact, it is likely that a canvas of the trainers would result in the restoration of the whip. It is promised that there will be many a jWelcome change in the conduct of the racing .at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans next winter. One of the changes that has been decided upon is a reduction in the price of admission. For the 1925 meeting the admission will be for men and for women, plus the war tax. I There is always danger in cheapening racing admission, but for the winter meetings, where so much of the patronage is local, it is always well to maintain popular pricas of admission. It is all very well in New York, with its vast public to draw from, to have the three dollar gate. It is possibb to have higher prices in Kentucky, with its infinitely greater patronage, but the Fair Grounds has only New Orleans and those attracted to New Orleans for its gate. It is fair and right that these native devotees of the sport should be encouraged by an admission that will put racing within reach of all. With the opening of the Bowie meeting almost at hand there is a constantly growing interest in the meeting that is to bring the Maryland campaign to an end for the 1924 season. Seldom before in the history of the Southern Maryland Association has there been horses of a like class engaged for what is to be offered. It is one track where there are no complimentary stake nominations. The horses that are named are made eligible with an inten- tion of being sent to the post. For that reason Bowie nominations have an importance that is not found at many another course. Time and again nominations are made with no real intention of sending the nominees to the post. But at Bowie the stake races have such a late closing that not only is there an absence of the compliment ary entry, but with few exceptions the horses that are named are fit and ready to be sent to the post. All of this means much for the racing that will bring the Maryland meetings to a close.

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