Reflections: Fleet Breaking Swords Heart?; That Man O War-John P. Grier Myth; Did Cavalcade Ruin Discovery?; Equine Broken Hearts the Bunk, Daily Racing Form, 1943-05-12


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Nelson Dunstan REFLECTIONS By Nelson Dunstan Fleet Breaking Swords Heart Thaf Man o WarJohn P Grier Myth Did Cavalcade Ruin Discovery Equine Broken Hearts the Bunk NEW YORK N Y May 11 11At At the moment the turf world is tensely following the progress of Count Fleet and Blue Swords In both the Derby and the Preakness The Count was the winner with Blue Swords second and already we are hearing if they dont be careful Count Fleet will break Blue Swords heart just as Man o War broke John P Griers heart For 23 years that story about Big Red and his speedy rival has been revived as the result of one horse showing clearly that he has the Indian sign on a rival But as for one breaking the heart of another it is the bunk and a followthrough 01 tne careers 01 tre unaeraog cieany supports our contention It may be that a human athlete such as a foot runner or a fighter will be discouraged at repeated meetings with another who proves himself superior Some horses are quitters but no champion can be put in that category kFor if he was a quitter he could not be a champion and we are speaking only of champions here One horse may run another dizzy one may cause another to drop back but that does not say that the winner is going to break the losers heart A horse with a broken heart would be of no further use as a racer so let John P Grier himself show what a myth has been built around his meeting with Man o War Man o Wars last race as a twoyearold was in the Belmont Futurity He Von by two and a half lengths from the Whisk Broom II colt John P Grier Throughout the winter months Man o War was even more tne suoject ot conversation man was uount x icet in tne winter now behind us He came out to win the Preakness and then took the Withers His fame soared and when he started in the Belmont Stakes his only opponent was Donnacoria whom he defeated by 20 lengths In his next start the Stuyvesant Handicap his only opponent was Yellow Hand He won by eight lengths at 1 to 100 By that time he was being called a superhorse the greatest horse ever seen on the American turf And then came the Dwyer Stakes and for the third time only one horse came out to oppose him This one horse was John P Grier the colt who had run second to him in the Belmont Futurity of the year before John P Grier had won three races as a twoyearold but even so the fame of Man o War had become such that no horse of his age was accorded a chance with him But that meeting proved to be the only time in which Man o War was to have his neck stretched And the sight of a horse actually giving Biff Red a battle was one which forever ma remain In the eye for those who were fortunate enough to have seen it That Dwyer Stakes of 1920 was one of the greatest battles between two speedsters of all time Running head to head veterans gasped as the clocks showed 23 46 109 and then 136 for the mile But at the mile post Big Red lengthened that grounddevouring stride and although the heart was willing the leg power and the muscles were not equal to the occasion and Grier dropped back a beaten horse Man o War thundered on to create a new American record of 149 and in the days to follow that old turf expression His heart is broken was heard about John P Grier But was it Grier went on to establish a new track record in the Aqueduct Handicap and then won the Annapolis Handicap one and onehalf miles the Edgemere and Sir Walter Handicaps As a fouryearold Grier finished second to the crack Grey Lag with such mighties behind him as Exterminator Mad Hatter Audacious Paul Jones Blazes and Captain Alcock We ask you do horses with broken hearts go on to create track records and defeat such gamesters as Exter ¬ minator and Mad Hatter No They do not For it took a champion to finish ahead of either one of them No horse with a broken heart could come within the shadow of the Exterminator who is today regarded as one of the greatest American racers of all time The Man o War John P Grier case is by no means an exception Back in 1934 it wilt be recalled Cavalcade defeated Discovery in the Kentucky Derby and although both were beaten by High Quest in the Preakness Cavalcade was once again in front of Discovery They went out to Chicago and Cavalcade was once again in front of his archrival If ever one horse was the shadow of another that horse was certainly Discovery as a threeyearold But did it break his heart Indeed it did not Discovery went on to be one of the best handicap performers of the year to follow and just one of his great feats was the winning of the Brooklyn Handicap in 1934 1935 and 1936 Another famous rivalry was that between Salvator and Tenney Salvator defeated his swayback rival time and time again and still Salvator was to have his nemesis for in the three times they met Proctor Knott was in front of him But did the defeats have any outward effect on Salvator No indeed they did not for in his farewell effort on the turf a onemile test against Raveloes record of 139 Salvator streaked through the eight furlongs in 135 a new American record that was to stand for many years Horses with broken hearts as said above do not go on to create new turf records History is replete with rivalries down through the years It has of ten been said that it was unfortunate such a horse as John P Grier had come out in a year with Man o War A more recent example is that of Whirlaway and Alsab Both have had arduous campaigns and although there has only been three meetings between them there is no sign that either one has weakened due to his meetings with the other They will in all probability meet one or more times this year and it is our prediction that they will be hard fought contests every time they come together The greatest asset of any horse is speed but speed alone is not enough courage must go with it and beyond the quartermilers we cannot recall one champion whose speed was not matched by that will go win which is the hallmark of horses who were above the average A horse may be defeated by another one time and time again but in the vast majority of cases history shows that they will come back to race the same horse just as stubbornly as in previous meetings So with all the tak that Count Fleet may break Blue Swords heart we cannot find one case in the racing of bygone years where a horse could actually be said to have had a broken heart due to the fact that he was repeatedly defeated by some one horse in particular

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