Post Time, Daily Racing Form, 1924-11-21


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i : i 1 i i 1 . Who will head the winning jockeys list this year? Racegoers do not seem at all concerned about the matter this season. Generally, about the. time the winter meetings are scheduled to open, there is considerable rivalry between two or three of the leading riders and much attendant publicity. At any rate, we have heard very little discussion of the subject. Last year at this time, Ivan Parke and Pete Walls were having a tight battle for the lead. The seasons leading rider is, as a rule, a pretty good jockey. Now and then a second, third or even fourth rater lucks his way through to the honor of heading the list. Of the actual leaders of the past thirty years. Willie Crump probably had the least claims to the accomplishment. Frankie Robinson and Grovcr Fuller were possibly the best riders to gain the leading position in that period. Tommy Burns, Winnie OConnor, Gene Hildebrand, Dave Nicol, Yince Powers and Ivan Parke unquestionably were topnotch .riders. There is every possibility that Parke may pull himself together and show the brilliant, consistent form he maintained last winter. His riding this fall has in no sense matched his work at New Orleans, in fact, ho seems to have been off form since the early days of the Saratoga meeting, when he turned in performances astride Klondyke that reminded of nothing so much as Tod Sloan. But some of the. accounts of Parkes handling of Altawood in the Bowie Cup l-ecently, mentioning bungling of the most .amateurish sort, cause one to ponder just why Mr. Widener congratulated Parke so heartily. Possibly, like "Air Plant" Casey, back in i the nineties, Mr. Widener was" overjoyed I that the jockey brought his horse back alive. , "Skeets" Martin headed the list in 1897. , In his prime wo would rate Skeets as high i as "Pony" McAtee. After a year or so in i England he probably classed up with Everett Haynes. Digressing for the moment, we shall not be . happy till some invading horse-owner from t Europe elects to bring Frank ONeill along ; to do his piloting. Frank was close to a really good rider in , his best years in America. But a friend of ours, addicted to travel, and a keen observer of some forty years of racing, tells us we 5 havent enjoyed our big laugh at an expatriated . American jockey until we have had I a look at ONeill. This gentleman avers that Franks riding , makes him think back to Marty Bergen. Marty used to win races, but if he was a finished rider, then President Coolidge is the last word in verbosity. Jay Ransch, Charley Reiff, Carl Mitchell, Guy Garner, Ted Koerner, Johnny McTag-gart, " Mack Garner, Happy Buxton, buster Fator, Cliff Robinson and Chick Lang, in their best moments classed about alike. None of them was brilliant for long. A few never were. They were just mechanically good j jockeys. Some had good seats, but wore lacking otherwise. A few, very few, had good hands ! None of their heads were overloaded wltn 1 genuine horsemanship. All had courage for e a time. We would have preferred Jimmy Butwell I in his prime, and, psychologically primed for a particular occasion, to any of those just t mentioned. Walter Millers niche in the ranks of good tl jockeys will always be a matter of contro versy. i i I , , i i . t ; , 5 . I , " j ! 1 e I t tl Many an unbiased critic never will be convinced that Miller was other than a creature of circumstances. That he was a post rider of the first water is simple proof. That, for a time, he had hands that horses liked to run for him, also seems above question. But in no other sense, in the opinion of these critics, was Miller a genuine race rider. He lacked judgment of pace, was devoid of strategy, was not a strong finisher and, above all, was not a true horseman. They assert that, aside from hands, he had no more in common with a thoroughbred horse than Benny Marinelli. And if you imagine Benny is a horseman born, watch him some day pulling up his mount after the finish of a race. If YOU are a horseman, with understanding of and love for a horse, you will get what we mean. He pulls one up with all-the feeling and sympathy the average delivery boy lavishes on a second-hand Ford truck. All of which reminds of a remark by Ballston McGonnigle one night in New Orleans. Aside from Ballston we shall not mention names, tor the parties involved ars good friends of ours and we question if theyd hurt, our feelings even to entertain readers or hearers. Some dozen or so of racing followers were grouped in a corner of the Grunewald lobby. All but two or three were veterans of the sport. They began their racing adventures back in the years between Luke Blackburn and Salvator the beginning and end of the eighties. Jockeys were the subject of the discussion Some of those present had seen every good rider from Bobby Swim, who rode Longfellow, down to Earl Sande. The good ones were being eulogized. Tha ones not so good were being bounced about in the frying pan of criticism. After two hours of uninterrupted, talk the group ran out of good riders. A wealthy newcomer to the sport, a gentleman well liked by everyone and seldom injecting himself into discussions of matters he knew little of, up to now had remained an enraptured listener. He was having thi time of his life hearing the names of Griffin and Taral and Hayward and Fuller and Sloan and Odom being familiarly bandied about, learning the shortcomings and the dashes of genius in each. The conversation lulled. The newcomer spoke up. "Boys," he said with a broad smile, "Ill tell you a great little jockey none of you has mentioned." And he named a lad, still riding actively and successfully, who for a brief period, was a winter, sensation it. wasnt. Chick Lang, if you must indulge a surmise. The racing lads smiled indulgently. All but Ballston McGonnnigle, who fairly guffawed his contempt And then his 290 pounds broko into a hearty laugh. "Frank, listen," said Ballston, "That jockey rides just like I dance. And no ladies ever knocked each other over to get the next danco with me." The newcomer bought grape juice and coca cola. It was only last winter. The scene is Upson Downs. The time more than a score of years ago. Said old Jock Ripanear to trainer Charley Casey, the lad who has since developed Sunny Man: "Have I got to make a hundred and ten to ride that filly o yourn today, Charley?" "Certainly, why not?" demanded Casey. "Well, I can do twelve without hittin the road. She aint got no chance nohow, so a couple of pounds over wont hurt none, eh, Charley?" "Nothing doing," insisted Casey. "You show up on the scales weighing ten with all your tack. Sweet Cider is going to win this race." "She aint worth a dime." sneered Ripan-tear. "If it was Marmalade we was runnin I wouldnt kick on bavin to do even five, but Sweet Cider Oh, well." Now because Ripantear had been busy for weeks telling all his friends and constituents the latter, more particularly about the pair of fillies in Caseys barn that had never been to the post, and of what a counterfeit Sweet Cider was and how Marmalade could run over the moon, tho Upson Down layer opened Sweet Cider at ten to one. But because Charley Casey had told a few friends that Sweet Cider would win this race the odds of the filly crashed like a brick chimney in an earthquake.- and when the saddling bell rang you couldnt get 3 to 5. Ripantear came into Sweet Ciders stall swearing as usual, but head down and muttering to himself on the injustice of a star jockey having to ride crows like Sweet Cider. He hardly raised his eyes as Casey gave him instructions. But when he did "Say !" he blustered, "this aint Sweet Cider?" "Sure, it is," smiled Casey. "But you told me the chestnut filly was Marmalade," insisted Ripantear. "No, I didnt," laughed Casey. "You kept my foreman from wagering on a winner one day and he vowed hed get even. It was him that crossed you up on the names of these fillies." "How-ly murrdthcr," moaned the jockey. "And I told all my friends this was no horse at all. I havent got a nickel on her. I ought to get her left at tho post for you smart guys." "Well, dont," warned Casey. "Mrs. Blink- irons got two dollars on her at 10 to 1 and if you dont win Ill tell her what to tell the old judge. Hed have you boiled in oil if you took one on her." And Sweet Cider distanced her company. But to his dying day jockey Ripantear did not forgive Casey.

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