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Here and There on the Turf Havre de Grace Opening. Illinois Stake Closing. On the Scale of Weights. New York to Come Next. «J $ It is an old story now of how Maryland racing has grown to great importance on the American turf, but this season, more than ever before that fact is brought home with great force. The Maryland Jockey Club has always enjoyed great popularity and its prizes. from time to time, have induced the trainers for the more prominent of the sportsmen to have good ones ready for that meeting, but Bowie and Havre de Grace were looked upon more as the final testing grounds for the Pimlico stake candidates. This has all been changed in 1927, and, while Bowie had no end of trouble, by reason of the long spell of bad weather, Havre de Grace never before was so plentifully supplied with horses of the first quality. And these horses are not at Havre de Grace merely to make ready for Pimlico. They are at Havre de Grace because they have been attracted by the priies of the Harford Association and some of the trainers do not even contemplate moving to Pimlico at the close of that meeting. The present Maryland m seting conflicts with the opening of the New York racing year, April 25, and not a few of the New York horses now in Maryland will be back in New York for the opening at Ja maica. And the fact that these big stables begin campaigning at Havre de Grace means that the horses will be much further advanced when the New York season opens. With such a champion as Crusader fit and ready to race at Havre de Grace, with some of the best of the big band that Samuel C. Hildreth cam paigns for Harry F. Sinclears Rancocas Stable, with a big band of the H. P. Whitney stars, as well as those of Richard T. Wilson, Walter J. Salmon and various other of the New York sportsmen all scheduled to start at the meeting, it means that this meeting of the Maryland season will have a much greater importance than ever before. The opening, Saturday, was a tremendously big one and the sport worthy of that immense throng. New York sportsmen look upon Maryland now as a native heath and no longer are the good ones nursed along until a Long Island opening. No longer does one have to wait until the opening of Belmont Park before seeing the best of them in action and all of this tells of the robust health of the greatest of all the sports. Horsemen are reminded that the stakes of the Illinois Jockey Club are to be closed April 30. The Illinois Jockey Club opened its new Washington Park track near Chicago last year and, though there were many difficulties to overcome in the oftening, the meeting met with a success that assurer greater success this season. The meeting this year will continue from June 1 to June 30, a session of twenty six days, and the biggest event of that term is the re newal of the American Derby at a mile and a half. Last year this was a race of 00,000, but this year it has wisely been cut to 5,000 added. With the 00,000 prise the Illinois Jockey Club was seriously handicapped last year and there can be no such handicap in 1927 with thin sensible cut in value. In addition to the American Derby, there are five other special prites of ,000 each, so that the stake list for the twenty-six days reaches 0,000. The only running date for • stake that has been decided upon is that of the Derby. It is to be contested June 18. The other stakes that are to be closed are the Illinois Oaks, at a mile and an eighth; Robert M. Sweitzer Handicap, at a mile and an eighth; Washington Park Handicap, at three-quarters mile, and two races for the juveniles — the Debutante Stakes, at five and a half furlongs, for fillies; and the Homewood Stakes, of a like distance, for colts and geldings. With all the Illinois racing associations banded together and under the government of a central body, in which each is represented, the turf of the state has been brought back to a state of complete harmony that is sure to make it endure and make for a greater measure of success than was ever enjoyed in the best of the old days of Chicago racing when it was one of the greatest of racing points. The general raising of weights that is promised for 1927, may lead to some changes in the existing scale of weights. It may be demonstrated that in this country there is too much of a difference between the three-year-olds and the older division, particularly during the spring racing. That the difference is too wide in the opinion of some racing secretaries is shown by their arrangement of special weights in which the three-year-olds are brought much closer to the older horses. There is reason why the American scale of weights should differ more than it does from the English scale, from which our scale was built. In this country the young horses are, as a general proposition, raced more frequently than they are raced in England. It may shorten the life of racing usefulness and it undoubtedly does, but it brings about an earlier maturity. Many a juvenile might have been a better three-year-old if he had never been raced as a juvenile, but that racing has advanced him materially over the idler, if he stands up under the training and racing. Then this early maturity means, too often, that when a colt reaches four and just when he should have about reached his prime, he is beginning to slip back. The early maturity, by reason of racing, is taking its toll and the older divisions are not able to give away the weight that would have been possible under another method of campaign. There will always come horses to which the scale of weights means little and horses to which it means much. There will always be horses that will handle weight more or less successfully, while others of championship quality under light weight that are utterly-unable to take up the scale requirements. The scale should not be amended to take care of the horses that are unable to take up adequate weight any more than it should be amended to fit the natural weight carriers. It must be a scale that fits the average horse and there surely seems to be too wide a difference between the four-year-old and the three year old. It is remembered that some time ago at Brighton Beach, the late John Boden obtained excellent results in some of his conditions when he made the three-year-olds concede weight to the older horses. Of course that applied to maiden races and he contended, sensibly, that the three-year-old that had not yet won a race had a better chance to win one than an older horse that had been racing for a longer time without earning brackets. But the big thing just now is that the weights are to be raised. The amendment to the scale has nothing to do with this raising of the weights, but it is more than likely that the raising of the weights will discover any faults that may exist in the scale. On Thursday, New Yorkers will have their first taste of home racing when the United Hunts Association will throw open the Terminal course with a great day of racing. Then there will come a second day, at the same course, on Saturday, while Jamaica follows with its big opening Monday. The opening of the New York racing season is a tremendously big thing, no matter what has gone before, aDd it is no longer a question of counting weeks, but days, before the thoroughbreds will be in action again. Those devotees of the sport that could give the time to it, have made trips into Maryland rather than wait for the Long Island opening, but there are many thousands who were unable to make that trip and to them the opening on Long Island is the beginning of their turf year, j just a« the closing of Empire City in the fall completes their racing year. These are the ones to which the opening means most. These are the ones who have been counting the weeks and the days until the opening. That it will be a bigger one than ever before seems assured. There are more and better horses ready for the call to the post and there are more enthusiasts than ever be fore awaiting the opening.