view raw text
i Jills ** ™"™M™ JUDGES STAND By Charles Hafton Preakness Choice Living on Borrowed Time Cant Beat Hoop With Pot o Luck, Jones Hoopers Mercurial Fortunes at Auctions Derby Started With Sensitive Stall Gate LOUISVILLE. Ky.. June 12. Hoop Jr. continues the "hone of the year" in turf circles. Sir Gallahad III.s doughty son eliminated some intended Preak- ne a starters in the Derby and softened up others. His connec- i tions tions feel feel sure sure he he will will beat beat Pavot Pavot and and Poly- tions tions feel feel sure sure he he will will beat beat Pavot Pavot and and Poly- Polynesian over the Hilltop on Saturday, and racing folk throughout the country are hailing Fred W. Hoopers gallant little bay colt as a potential American "Triple Crown" winner. Few know that it is only by a minor miracle that he is alive, to say nothing of being so lively. Last summer he and three other horses were loaded into a van at Garden State Park to be shipped to Hoopers Circle H Ranch, in Alabama. Somewhere along the route the van careened around a turn turn too too sharply, sharply, toppled toppled into into a a ditch, ditch, and and ™"™M™ turn turn too too sharply, sharply, toppled toppled into into a a ditch, ditch, and and the colt destined to win the Derby was pinioned on his back beneath the other horses. In the melee of threshing hoofs that ensued as the frightened occupants of the van struggled to regain their feet, one of them literally put a foot through Hoop Jr.s side. He still bears the scar, and the underlying nerves or muscle tissues seem to have been damaged, so that it causes him discomfort if the saddle is not adjusted in a certain manner. This and his chronic ankle sometimes combine to give him a most unusual gait when he walks out for exercise. Railbirds are always surprised at his suppleness after he has broken away to breeze or work. Then he appears to be on springs. Ben Jones wants no more of Hoop Jr., for a while, at any rate. One imagines many of the Calumet trainers friends now wish they had taken him more seriously when he said, upon his arrival at Louisville from Hialeah many weeks back, that: "Hoop Jr. is the horse we have to beat." So it proved. Pot o Luck was second by so disparaging a margin that the affable Missourian says now he is sure "Hoop Jr. would still have been in the lead another lap of the course." This observer believes that if the colt from the "Deep South" strips for the Preakness in the same fettle in which Ivan Parke brought him up to the Derby, the only way George Woolf can hope to head him off with Pavot is to employ the technique he did when Seabiscuit beat War Admiral. That is a large order. Ivan Parke and Fred Hooper have set a rather Herculean task for Hoop Jr., too, in attempting to capture the "Triple Crown" on successive Saturdays, with 2.000 miles of travel for good measure. But the dapper Idahoan is confident that "Junior" will win the Preakness in the same spectacular style he did the Derby, "breaking in front and improving his position from there." Parke, incidentally, was a clever judge of pace in 1923 and 1924. when he was the leading American jockey, and he still has the knack, guessing the Derby time of 2:07 "on the eye," as dockers say. He fancies that Hoop Jr. might have bettered this if it were necessary, and scarcely anyone who saw the race doubts that he could. Hooper has been among the most liberal yearling buyers of recent years and is enjoying some well-deserved luck. He paid 6,000 for a colt by Blenheim II.— Triumph II. at Keeneland last August, and a few days later rejected 0,000 for him, a sum that does not loom so large, however, when one remembers the profits tax. This youngster sports the grandiose name of Triumphal, is an attractive individual himself, and has a brother foaled this spring, who is as graceful as a fawn. Then there is a black filly by Bull Lea, from Little Wichita, who cost 6,000. Her name escapes us at the moment, but Parke is enthusiastic about her. Hooper paid 9,200 for yearlings at the sales last summer, although he had bought three of the 10 foremost "yearling failures" of the preceding season. The Kentucky Derby was "commenced" from the stall starting gate, and the half doors were closed. But Col. Matt Winn and starter Ruby White were not taking chances of leaving any of the field at the post. The Bahr Stall Gate Company sent a technician to the Downs to check and double-check its mechanism. The locks were loosened and the "bite" reduced to the point that the doors flew wide when any of the Derby entrants so much as sneezed at it. The actual start was one of Whites best, the race remarkably free of interference. This last in contrast to the Blue Grass renewal. As fields for the "Triple Crown" events become progressively smaller through the processes of elimination, there should be no excuse for crowding in the Preakness or Belmont. hu I"rfin: The Kentucky Derby attendance, reported at 76,118 u?h£h f ££"52 u° Sh0Uld know almost tlebled the crowd which saw the English Derby the same afternoon. . The Derbv also rans only blemishes were on their records. . . . Lydell Ruff 2ff »?° rCUSfS f01 Jeep The colts smart two-year-old sister Mush h Mush, is to make her debut soon at Belmont Park Ben Jones still can acquit himself handily, as a Downs heckler Sm V- Coi E, R- Bladley a borough sportsman al-leady is looking ahead to another Derby and another son of J Z i1 ; * • T.he D,°Wns Probablv "M have a centerfield board on on which to post jockey changes in the fall. . . . Arnold Kirk- «VTm atf Chfles T0™ and Timonium. riding his first race at the latter track on Labor Day, 1941. and his first winner at BZ11 1? 1942- • • Walter Haiht tells us tha Bobby Edens is the current Charles Town leader. He will have ninfST anhel tW° m0nths and rode ei%ht dinners SL • days at Pimhco. Many have tried to lure Edens to the "big time, but he seems to prefer being "king of the half-milers " . . . Equifox outclassed his Churchill Downs Handicap rivals The wretched race track determined Nick Burger to forego an attempt to repeat in the Churchill Downs Handicap with Traffic Court, who is pointing for Washington-Arlington stakes.