view raw text
— i € f ! Here and There on the Turf Changed Bowie Footing. That Big Steeplechase. Austins Winter Estimate. Harford Handicap Promise. • # While much has been done to improve the • footing cf the Bowie track and it is probably I ! better than ever before when the weather is I favorable, it has become a much more difficult track to run over when it becomes heavy and it takes much longer for it to dry out and become fast again. It was particularly unfortunate that there should come the long wet spell right at the beginning of the meeting, but it served to demonstrate that quality to the racing strip. The track seems to become deeper in the wet weather and it is more holding than it was when there was a greater percentage of sand in the mixture. Of course, the sand made Bowie , rather a difficult track for a horse to gallop over, but rain frequently beat down and packed , the sand until it became faster by reason of the wetting. Now, after the rain, it becomes deep and there is a tendency for holes to develop. The track has always been a problem, and a difficult one. for Richard Pending and he has learned something with each change be has made in the footing. It has been greatly improved from time to time and the fault that is found now, under the severe test that has l een made, will undoubtedly be remedied until the going is made uniform, if not for this meeting, for the season in the fall. Indications are that when the conditions of the big steeplechase prize are finally announced j it will he a race of possibly 0,000 value. It , was Bayard Warren that made such an immense jiurse possible when he agreed to con-tribute 0,000 annually to a cross country i fixture, the details of which he left to sport*- j men appointed by the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association. Before long the details will undoubtedly be made known, but an excellent proposition has been made already and that is that the different associations be permitted to bid for the race, with the one making the best offer ob taining the race. That is reason enough to hope that it will amount to 0,000 with the liberal Warren award and the funds that will come from nominations and starting fees. And it has also been suggested that for the initial running the distance be fixed at three miles. There has been a tendency in this country to have Eteeplechases over short distances. Two miles is a favorite route and the two and a half mile gallop has been considered a long race, while prizes for a greater distance are rare indeed. A prize of the importance of this new race 6hould be for a test that calls for all that is best in the steeplechaser and it is intended, if possible, to increase the distance over three miles in subsequent runnings. There is no good reason why the race should not grow to an importance, and a value in this country, that would equal the Liverpool Grand National at Aintree, which for so long has been the greatest of all the crosscountry fixtures. It is a race that cannot fail to do big things for steeplechasing. It will encourage sportsmen to put better horses to stceplec basing than ever before and it will also encourage the importation of the best foreign junipers obtainable. Without the incentive of such a race, there have been importations of importance from time to time. Then such a prize will induce the shipment of horses from the other side to try for the prize. The American sportsmen have been liberal patrons of the Liverpool Grand National and it is assured that both English and Irish sportsmen will try for such an American offering. Ed Austin, the veteran handicapper, has furnished William McG. Keefe of the Times-Picayune of New Orleans with his estimate of the horses that performed at that city during the winter months. There may be some who disagree with Mr. Austins estimates, but he has had an experience that makes his views of real interest. This is the Austin estimate of best horses in various divisions : Handicap division, Cotologo-nior, sprint, Noah; three year old, Boo; two-year-old, Sport Hallahan; claiming distance, Golden Billows; claiming sprint, Tester. Meritorious: Broadway Jones, Fred Jr., Old Slip, Justice F., Balboa, No Regrets, Super-frank, Long Point. There will be argument as to the reason for putting Cotlogomor over Broadway Jones in the handicap division, while many will take exception to the placing of Boo over Justice F. in the three-year old division, but this is the way they shape up to Ed Austin and he was on the grounds and is a shrewd judge. Boo never met Justice F. and up to the time the Daniel three-year old was sent to Tijuana he appeared to be the best of the three year-olds that raced at the Fair Grounds. True, Boo appeared to improve as the season progressed and the victory in the Louisiana Derby gives him a big importance. Then it must be admitted that in the 0,000 New Orleans Handicap CotJrgomor was in receipt of much weight from Broadway Jones and. until that ! running, the Bradley horse stood alone in the handicap division. But, with all that, the Ed Austin estimate is of real interest and it affords an excellent chance for interesting dis cussion. This 0,000 Harford Handicap, which is to begin the Havre de Grace meeting next Saturday, promises to bring to the post one of most notable fields that ever raced for the prize and it will be remembered that the same prize went to that sterling sprinter, Billy Kelly, three years in succession and that he was beaten by Exterminator in 1922. Noah, the best sprinter at New Orleans during the re cent meeting, was winner in both 1925 and 1926 and the name of many another good one is found in the roster of winners. But, for the running this year, are found among the eligibles such horses as Croyden, Whiskery, Afterglow, Pandera and Pantella from the Whitney string; Walter J. Salmons Flight of Time, the Rancocas Stables Silver Fox, Sweepster, Sankari and Cheops; Max Hirschs string of The Satrap, Terry, Nicholas and Social Mug, William Woodwards General Lee, E. F. Whitneys sterling old campaigner Joy Smoke and many another of the first quality. It is not expected that all of the stars will be on hand, but it is known that various of them have been coming along smartly for the running and there will surely be a notable field when the horses are called to the post.