Here and There on the Turf: Graded Handicaps Vosburghs Good Idea Ruling on Arabian Sentence Was Belated, Daily Racing Form, 1924-12-07


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Here and There on the Turf Graded Handicaps. Vosburghs Good Idea. Ruling on Arabian. Sentence Was Belated. It was some time ago that Walter S. Vos-burgh, handicapper for the Jockey Club tracks, made an exceltent suggestion for the direction of racing secretaries and it is well to again give it publicity. This is the off season for the secretaries of the summer racing grounds and it is the lime when they are employed in framing conditions for the races of the following year. The Vosburgh suggestion provided for the grading of handicap horses by secretaries in accordance with their winnings. There was not a full advantage taken of the suggestion during 1924. It is an idea that appears to be an excellent one and it ought to meet with the hearty approval of both the secretaries and the horsemen themselves. It will at once do away with, excessive weights in handicaps and at the same time have a tendency to bring the horses together in much better contests. There will be a top class, where there is ho limit on the winnings and then the different classes may readily be scaled down so that all will have a chance without taking up pounds over the scale. It is easy enough for secretaries to write into handicaps conditions restrictions against horses that have won in excess of a given amount. They can be arranged to fit the material on hand so that the champion will not have to be unduly burdened to make room for the horse that really does not belong. But this horse that does not belong with the champion need not be relegated to the plater division to find profitable employment. He is eligible for th; handicap that is framed for non-winners of 55,000 or of 32,500, or, in fact, cf any amount the secretary may decide upon to bring about a good contest. Frequently there have been sportsmen who prohibit the starting of their horses in claiming races, whib, as a matter of fact, their horses properly belong in such a division. They go on race after race chasing home the good ones and after a time it becomes discouraging. In another stable these same horses might pay the feed bills racing with other platers, but it has been prohibited. This graded handicap comes to the rescue and the desired races are furnished. The horse that has been sentenced to start only in handicaps by its owner has a chance to perform as ordered, but it meets those that had been in the plater division. He meets horses of middle-class excellence and has a real winning chance. The men with the handicap performers of the first division, horses of stake race class, have their benefit in the weight under which they race. No longer are they compelled to take up pounds oyer the scale. It is not a plea for the light weights, but it is one to do away with the excessive weights on tin top notch horses and at the same time the racing of the weights on the cheaper horses. It is a scheme that would bring th2 handicaps closer to the scale and without the wide range that is inevitable in the ordinary handicap that is open to horses of every class. Too often champions have been broken down by the excessive weights that become necessary to make room for cheap ones in a handicap. Another excellent reason for these graded handicaps is prolonging the usefulness of the horse. When a horse reaches its fourth year it only has two profitable lines of endeavor, handicaps and claiming races, except for the all too few weight-for-age races. If it has been a champion three-year-old, it comes to the races the uext year under a tre.- mendous disadvantage. It is at once at the top of the handicap division and it is inevitable that, if it races at all, it will have to be under imposts that are five or ten pounds over the scale. Any degree of success keeps piling on the weight until it Ls not long before the burdens bring a breakdown. This same horse, under the graded idea, may still be at the top of the handicap division, but does not have to be handicapped so excessively. It decs not have to carry burdens that will equalize its racing chanca with cheap ones. The amount of money won by a horse is almost invariably an index of its class. From time to time there would be found a horse that, for one reason or another, would become eligible to one of the cheaper grade handicaps, but that will all be taken care of by the handicapper. Such a horse would speedily" find his proper place. And, in this connection, it is entirely possible and more than likely that the trainer who had a horse eligible to a handicap framed for non-winners of ,500 would rather try in a higher class under mora favorable weight arrangement, than in the cheaper grade where he would be at the top. From every angle it would seem that these handicaps would be ideal. There have been some of them already, but it would be well if the secretaries everywhere would make a bet ter use of such races. Those that oppose it have earned enough to give them the right to be in the top division and there cannot be the wide difference in class that would otherwise exist. It is handicapped close to the scale weight and, under such burdens, there is still plenty of racing usefulness through its years in the handicap division. The stewards at Jefferson Park have found occasion to make another severe ruling an- the license of J. A. Mooney has been revoked. This is the second revocation at Jefferson Pari: this week, for Robbins lost his license Tuesday when his riding of Hayward threw McDer-mott and his mount, Foxmore, down. Mooney was banished for his riding of Arabian in the fifth race Thursday, in which D. Mergler, who had the mount on Cloister, the one to finish second, charged that Mooney had "coasted" in the stretch by grabbing his leg. The stewards not only revoked Mooneys license, but they barred Arabian, his mount, from starting again at the meeting. This latter action was taken by reason of the reversal of form that was shown Thursday, Arabian having been beaten a dozen lengths by Cloister in a previous meeting. It is wfll that the stewards should have made an investigation of this Thursday race, and they were satisfied of the guilt of Mooney, before they inflicted the punishment, but it is truly unfortunate that the action was not taken until the day following the incident.- After the finish of the race, Mergki made his charge against Mooney, but at lht time the stewards did not consider that the interference merited the disqualification of Arabian. Now that further investigation convinced them of the guilt, action has been taken. Of coursa it is better late than never, but, in the meantime, the owners of Arabian and Mooney himself, reaped the rewards of the foul ride, if there were any other than the purse. The stewards must have had ample evidence to make this belated ruling and, in a measure, it was a brave thing to do, for they are open to all sorts of criticism in not having disqualified Arabian after Mergler had made his charge. Of course it is pot known just what weight of evidence brought about this ruling, but it surely must have been more convincing than that offered by Mergler. In the meantime, Arabian and his owners took a purse to which they were not entitled and Mooney is credited with a winning mount that should not appear in his column. This is small consolation in comparison with the sentence, but, on the other hand, it is a bit rough on Cloister, his owner, and Mergler, his jockey, that they should be denied a victory to which they were entitled.

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