Reflections: Racing Throngs of 100,000 in Offing Jamaica Course Wholly Inadequate Jeep Proves His Ability over Route Blue Grass Final Test for Westerners, Daily Racing Form, 1945-06-01


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— • •— — — _____ i MBBM REFLECTIONS ■* — By Nelson Dunstan Racing Throngs of 100,000 in Offing Jamaica Course Wholly Inadequate Jeep Proves His Ability Over Route Blue Grass Final Test for Westerners NEW YORK. N. Y., May 31. A few years ago Senator John J. Dunnigan took plenty of ribbing for predicting that New York State would realize 0,000.-000 annually from horse racing. The senator had the last laugh, however, for, in 1944 the Albany strongbox received a deposit of 7,000,000. Not many weeks ago Col. Matt Winn advanced the opinion that the day was not far distant when throngs of 100.000 or more would attend a days races. The colonel was not necessarily talking of a Kentucky Derby, Classic Stakes or Santa Anita Handicap as attractions. Memorial Day stressed that point, for 76,649 spectators were at Santa Anita. 64,537 at Jamaica, and. to add just three more, 37,524 at Hawthorne, 42,000 at Narra-gansett gansetl and and 29.527 29.o27 at at Delaware Delaware Park. Park. Rac- Rac- gansetl and and 29.527 29.o27 at at Delaware Delaware Park. Park. Rac- Rac- MBBM ings popularity is increasing so rapidly that days of 100.000 or more are in the near offing. Consider what happened at Santa Anita. Back in 1940 Seabiscuit was to start in the Santa Anita Handicap. A victory in that race made him the worlds money-winning champion, and 74.000 were on hand to cheer on the California idol. Now, just five years later and on a day with no such magnet as Seabiscuit, the record was broken by 2.649. and this does not include members of the armed forces. The holiday at Jamaica was one of the most remarkable in New York racing annals. Hundreds who had journeyed to the track turned around and went home. Thousands on the lawn did not attempt to get to the windows but were satisfied to hold their place in a jammed area. At a track which seats slightly over 15,000 and cannot accommodate more than 30,000 comfortably, a throng of over 64,000 demonstrated once again that Americans are the most patient people on earth. Construction is impossible until the war is over, but when the day comes the Jamaica plant will have to be enlarged or scrapped entirely for a new and more modern course, in keeping with the trend. The only track in New York State capable of accommodating 50,000 is Belmont Park, and the original idea to stage all New York meetings there would have been a far wiser one than each track staging its own meeting. If racing crowds continue to be as large after the war — and wo believe they will — even Belmont officials will have to think of ways and means of enlarging their plant. Comment on the Wood Memorial must be made in two divisions, just as the race was run. In the first division Jeep gave an exhibition which demonstrated that he is a strong candidate for Derby honors. This son of Mahmoud could win only one of his nine starts as a two-year-old, but the manner in which he closed to win the Experimental and then the first division of the Wood Memorial definitely stamps him a much improved three-year-old and one capable of carrying his speed over the Derby route. Gallorette is not a Derby or Preakness eligible, but she is a filly who did exceptionally well as a two-year-old and has run first and then second in her two starts this season. She can hold her own with colts and will be a tough one to beat when entered in events exclusively for members of her sex. In running second to Jeep, she held on very well. Dockstader could not menace either Jeep or Gallorette, but cannot be ignored if sent to Louisville for the Derby. On their Wood showing. Flood Town, War Jeep and Greek Warrior must be eliminated from serious consideration. The surprise of the Wood Memorial came in the second division, when Hoop Jr. took the lead and maintained his advantage to the finish. It was difficult for those who had seen him run a dismal fourth to the filly Gallorette just a week before to realize that this was the same Hoop Jr. showing the way in the Wood. His time of 1:45 was four-fifths of a second faster than that of Jeep, but he was hardly as impressive in his finish as the strong-running Whitney colt. Alexis, who was favorite with the vast throng, closed strongly and on his showing is entitled to his chance in the Derby. Beyond those two there was not much to enthuse over, although Ox Blood was caught underneath the gate at the start and this may have accounted for his poor showing. In summing up the Wood. It was obvious that the East does not have as many strong contenders as was at first supposed. Veterans were of the opinion that if Pavot was eligible he would be a strong choice for Derby honors. Kentucky candidates will have their last important test in the Blue Grass Stakes Saturday. This race will decide the status of Free for All. and, with Burning Dream, Best Effort and others who have shown well to date, he will have to be at his best to win the one and one -eighth miles event. Regardless of who wins the Blue Grass, the Derby still remains one of the most open renewals of the past decade. Jeep has done all that was asked of him in his two outings this season, but he is by no means outstanding. Ricks Raft had to be scratched from the Wood Memorial, as. along with many of the other Helis horses, he is a victim of the coughing epidemic. Just how many will go from the East is a question, but even before the running of the Blue Grass Stakes it is obvious that a dozen or more will contest the Derby. Colonel Winn and his associates have again made it a "street-car" affair, but if times were normal there is no doubt in our mind that his prediction of 100.000 would have been realized when the Derby field goes to the post a week from Saturday.

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