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REFLECTIONS By Nelson Dunstan — Racings Popularity on Upgrade Horsemen to Fight Use Taxation Greentree Takes Earnings Lead Stables With Promising Babes NEW YORK. N. Y.. April 10. New York racing has never had an opening such as that at Jamaica on Saturday. Our early guess of the throng was 35,000, but we were not greatly surprised when told that, officially, it was nearer 46,000. Slightly over ,600,000 was wagered, but there is no telling how much was shut out, or how many refused to battle through the crowds to buy a mutuel ticket. Some may rant and rave about racing, but ; t I L ■ , [ j ; I I ; . i , , j j . ; it is obvious that greater numbers of the American people are taking to the sport with each succeeding year. The imposition of the "use" tax had horsemen freely speaking their minds regarding an unfair levy, but the surprising item of the day was the patience displayed by the huge throng when the grooms delayed proceedings some 20 minutes by staging a strike. Regardless of that, it was the harbinger of a season that will probably see many new records established. Just a day or two back we doubted if there would be a ,000,000 play any day this spring. We take that back— and quickly — for, if Saturday was an example, we can think of many days that will draw big throngs and larger play at the windows. On Saturday afternoon we talked with many horsemen regarding the "use" tax. Maj. Thomas McCreery, president of the Horsemens Benevolent and Protective Association, was determined to protest the matter and, if necessary, carry it to the Supreme Court. While there is no doubt that the horsemen would carry on, even if they failed to have the tax revoked, they resent it, especially for the reason that feed and their stable help are costing them more than has ever been the case in the present century. Others resent it because it is plainly discriminatory. We also talked with one of New Yorks foremost lawyers on the week-end, and he doubted very strongly that the city could uphold its right if the matter was brought before the courts. It seems headed right for the courts, for the horsemen appear determined to see it through. The Greentree Stable of Mrs. Payne Whitney has taken a long lead in earnings for 1944. With Devil Diver winning the Paumonok and Four Freedoms the Tropical Handicap, the popular stable was enriched by some 3,625. They not only hold a strong hand in the handicap ranks, but John Gaver believes he has some two-year-olds who are above the average. Last year the Calumet Stable was the winning owner with 67,915 and Greentree second with 35,770. It would not be surprising if these same two stables fought it out in the year upon us, for Ben Jones is also of the belief that he has some winning performers in all divisions. Other stables on Long Island have high hopes for some of their two-i year-olds. Hugh Fontaine told us that his Brookmeade string has quite a few likely babes, and Earl Sande chatted for a while to tell us that he had a group by Stagehand and Sceneshifter that contains quite a few that are showing promise. While most of the attention has centered on the 6,000 Pericles, Ed Snyder is handling a formidable band for William Helis. It is doubtful if Pericles will be seen before summer, but the Helis colors were on parade at Jamaica today. His Olympic Zenith, candidate for the Kentucky Derby, is not an eligible for the Experimental Free Handicap, to be run Wednesday. Some veterans are of the opinion that the three-year-olds are mediocre and that the Helis horse, who performed so well in New Orleans, would have had a royal chance of taking the honors. Bobby Permane performed one of the greatest jockey feats of all time when he scored a triple on Wednesday, then f ol-j lowed with five winners on Thursday, Fri-i day and Saturday. The American Racing Manual gives many instances of outstand-i ing performances by American and English riders, but while he did not score with all his mounts on any one day, his feat is worthy of listing. Gordon Richards, lead-• ing English rider, rode 12 consecutive winners in 1933, and it has not since been approached. But Permanes stunt of 18 wins out of a possible 32 in four days is also one for future riders to shoot at. The Camden lad will probably find tougher going in New York, but he could hardly be expected to keep up his Tropical Park pace.