Reflections: Nellie L. Wins Rich Acorn Stakes; Filly Born Cripple Comes Through; So Ben Jones Tells Her Story; A Babes Courage; Mans Patience, Daily Racing Form, 1943-05-21


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Nelson Dunstan REFLECTIONS Bv Nelson Dunstan Nellie L Wins Rich Acorn Stakes Filly Born Cripple Comes Through So Ben Jones Tells Her Ston A Babes Courage Mans Patience NEW YORK N Y May 20 20Class Class will tell and never was that more exemplified than when Nellie L defeated a fleet group of threeyearold fillies in the Acorn Stakes on Wednesday When the Blenheim II miss crossed the finish line Ben Jones turned to Eugene Mori and said That filly winning the Acorn gave me more pleasure than Whirlaway would have by winning an important stake Whirlaway is mj favorite horse but Nellie L has more than justified what we went through to get her to the races I have to run out to the paddock to saddle Quien Es but I will tell you about it when I iet back Some 20 minutes later Ben Jones was telling the story Warren Wright had always been keen to breed Nellie Flag to Blenheim n He awaited the foal with keen anticipation but you can imagine his dis ¬ appointment when the babe showed two hopelessly crippled legs At first the little thing could barely walk The legs would actually tremble as she tried to put her weight on them Mr Wright was so disappointed he de ¬ cided to sell her for 1000 But with her breeding he finally decided to keep her for stud duty and ordered me to do what I could about correcting her infirmities Mrs Wright named her Nellie L but none of us dared hope she could ever be brought up to the race she just Ben Jones went on to tell how by scientific plating they built the deformed front legs The filly was never quite sure of herself and suffered pain with every step But nature was playing her part and so were the plates made especially for her crippled feet Eventually came the day when she could run and run fast But would she stand up under training They waited for weeks but at Empire City on July 14 of last year they sent the beautifullybred babe out for her first race I shall never forget that day Ben says and if you look up the chart you will see it says she appeared sore going to the post The truth was that she had not yet learned to walk normally It was a maiden race and she ran seventh in a ninehorse field But the important thing was triat she ran the five and a half furlongs and the legs stood the pounding In her next start at Saratoga she not only moved up in company but won by four lengths from Eaglestone with seven others behind her When George Woolf and I were walking back to the jockey quarters Ben went on he said if Nellie could stand up she would win many a race But it was not until November that she won her second race and that was a 2000 claiming affair as J recall it In her first start of 1943 Nellie L won a 2500 claiming race at the Fair Grounds That was her last start in a claimer She won her next start a month later and then ran fourth to Bill Sickle in another sprint When we moved over to Oaklawn I sent her out in better company and when she ran Dove Pie to a nose at a mile and a sixteenth I realized her legs were going to stand up The race gave me satisfaction I can tell you but even then I was not convinced she belonged in top company In her next start she beat the Derby eligible Thisisit and two weeks later won from Whose and Sea Marirage Then she missed by a head in a sevenfurlong race against Ubiquitous but that was the race which made me decide to send her after the Kentucky Oaks It seemed unbelievable that the little cripple from the farm had sfcown Herself a racer so good and so game that she was capable of winning an Oaks But she had earned her chance and was going to get it It was a small field five in all but I cannot explain how happy I was when she came home by six lengths from Valdina Marl with the others down the track On dismounting Eads said She will have as good a chance as Askmenow or any other filly if you start her in the Acorn I had already made up my mind to start her but did not hold too high hopes she could beat the Headley filly Askmenow The public placed much faith in Nellie L in Wednesdays running of the Acorn Askmenow was the favorite and heavily played Opera Singer set the early pace with Best Risk in close attendance Nellie L was a forward factor and although a majority of the throng was calling lor Askmenow the Calumet cripple had found a track much to her liking and when she took command at the head of the stretch Beri Jones lowered his glasses and smiled as he said They Will never catch her now shes home It was a magnificent victory when you take all the facts into consideration To this day the French racing world still tells of Gladiateur who was badly injured in the paddock when a yearling They never knew which race would be his last But he went on with the courage of the thoroughbred of class to win 16 of his 19 starts Pain did not stop him any more than it stopped this Calumet filly In fact to watch her run no one would ever dream she was anything but sound After the races the boys in barn 41 were a proud lot They love Nellie L and smiled as Mrs Jones fed the filly and gave her a dozen pats on the neck Ben was as proud as a peacock jproud of Nellie L and he had every right to be A fillys courage and a trainers patience had been rewarded rewardedNellie Nellie L is one of the most fashionablybred fillies of the season She is by the imported sire Blenheim LT sire of Whirlaway Ocean Wave and other good ones of recent years Her dam Nellie Flag was one of the best of her sex a decade ago She was by American Flag out of Nellie Morse by Luke McLuke and won the Matron Selima Stakes and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes Like most fillies she failed to hold her own against colts as a threeyearold Nellie Morse dam of Nellie Flag was not so unsuccessful as her daughter against threeyearolds for in 1924 she won the Preakness from Transmute and Mad Play This is one of the outstanding examples of this generation that good race mares make good brood mares and also that class will tell Nellie L is not an eligible for the Coaching Club American Oaks and other important events As Ben Jones says We never thought she would get as far as this That she is not named for the Coaching Club is our loss But the gratifying thing to Mr Wright is that such a finelybred filly has come through against the best of her age and sex in the land

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