Between Races, Daily Racing Form, 1950-05-04


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Between Races By Oscar Otis CHURCHILL DOWNS. Louisville, Ky., May 3. — The "Coram Luck," as it is begin-ing to be known, is holding firm, despite the deluges of recent ► days, and the forecast of more rain to come. Whether it will be a fast track or not for the Derby on Saturday remains. to be seen, but, regardless, a field embracing most of the top contention will be in starting gate. Most owners took advantage of. todays mud to "find out" whether or not their horses liked it, and most everyone did. In fact, the results were in the main so gratifying that track superintendent Tom Young figures he may have to use an auxiliary gate at the quarter pole. The regular gate will get away 14 horses nicely, while the auxiliary will accommodate six. Hallie-boy, who. made something in the way of Derby history by vanning in from New England at the last moment, will make the fifteenth starter, according to Youngs present equine nose count. Two of the Derby starters, and choices, have given good account .of themselves in the Churchill footing. Your Host was on the track for a gallop this morning, and trainer Harry Daniels, asked if the horse was displeased, quipped, "He was almost laughing." Daniels added that he didnt know how Your Host would go in the mud, inasmuch as the horse had never started in it, but, insofar as the main railbirds were concerned, the gallop was answer enough. Yesterday, between races, Hill Prince worked a smart mile and disclosed a positive relish for the slush. Naturally, most everyone would ratiier see the Derby decided on a fast trace, as there is a notion, and with good foundation, that fast track races usually are more truly run than those in the mud. Yet one of the attributes of a real champion is the ability to handle himself on any kind of a track, and, as some say, win on anything from a concrete highway to a plowed field. Hence, while the weather may have some bearing on the Derby Day crowd, it will have practically none on the intrinsic merit and caliber of the Derby itself. Reuben White, better known on the race track as Ruby, will be sending liis tenth Derby field away Saturday, but actually the man has participated in every Derby getaway since 1924. He worked on the ground crew for a number of years with Bill Hamilton, and took over the post at Churchill Downs as head starter back in 1941. That was the year, incidentally, when the first Derby field ever was dispatched from the then new electrical starting gate, which was pioneered on the West Coast by Fuett. The Churchill Downs people did not adopt the device for its getaways right away, but, once the gate had proved its merit, Col. Matt Winn quickly ordered one for all Downs starts. A check of Derby starts since the introduction of the electrical gate has shown every one good. In fact, one has to go back to 1939 to find one officially labeled "bad" by DAILY RACING FORM chart callers, this being the Continued on Page Forty-One BETWEEN RACES By OSCAR OTIS Continued from Page Three year that Johnstown won after swerving: to the inside at the break from number five position. Despite the marvelous safety and uniformity of getaways assured by the modern .electrical grate, White is taking- no chances in at least two respects. He will not abandon the recall flag, whereby a gent stands down the stretch in the middle of the track, ready to wave the riders down in case the "go" was, for some reason or another, not official. The other is that he will insist that electricians check the batteries on the gate on Derby morning. No machine, however perfect, will operate properly without care, and there have been a few instances, including one at Keeneland, where batteries were allowed to deteriorate without apparent proper checking and, while the results were far from unfortunate, White quite understandably wants none of such happenings for the Derby. Incidentally, White is one of the few American starters in this day and age who has had ample experience in starting from the old open webbing, and we say that, if he had to, hed get em away fast and good by most any method. Al Wellman of the Detroit Stable is not partial to yearlings but he picks up one every now and then, and his 00 purchase of last year at the Breeders Sales, a mistake buy, by the way, has caused him to change his mind. It seems that Wellman showed up at the last years vendue for want of something better to do, and, in a jovial mood, decided to help the bidding along in a dull spot on a filly by Equistone from the Messenger mare, Copperette. Much to his surprise, for he thought the filly would sell for perhaps ,000, the horse was knocked down to him on his 00 bid. He named her Copperstone, and her races at Keeneland were good enough to convince him that maybe he has a stakes prospect in the barn. Copperstone was not nominated for any early closing two-year-old stakes, but Wellman plans to name her for most everything in Detroit to which she would be eligible, and will give her a chance to live -up to that promise. In any event, Wellman has a far better than an 00 horse in his barn, and the experience has caused him to toy with the thought of becoming a bidder in earnest this summer. Apprentice rider Phil Kozycki is making another start here after overcoming handicaps that would have daunted any but a most fearless young man. Kozycki was stricken at 12 with polio, and after five years of fighting determination, he conquered the malady and became a jockey. He was doing rather well when he launched out as an apprentice more than two years ago, only to run into another misfortune. His contract was held by C. H. Trotter, who disappeared with jockey Al Snider while fishing off the Florida Coast. There was a legal tangle, which dealt with the item of whether Trotter was legally dead or not, and this technicality grounded him on major tracks. After two years, the whole affair was straightened out, and he is now under contract to Phil Reuter. Kindly officials gave him six months grace on his apprentice allowance. As his agent, Dan Hickey remarks, "the boy can ride, and a kid as game as he is deserves a break." Horses and People: By a stroke of good fortune, the tulip beds in the clubhouse will be in full flower on Derby Day. Track superintendent Tom Young, an expert on horticulture as well as racing strips, has the Downs more beautiful than ever this spring . Stake books are being distributed here for the Hollywood Park 20-day summer meeting opening June 17. A total of 90,000 is earmarked for added money events during the summer period, the most important single race being the 0,000 added American Handicap ..Jerry Mc-Nerney, turf editor of Louisvilles Courier-Journal, has checked the Derby records for the past half century, and has discovered that 70 per cent of all Derby winners had enough early speed to either set the pace or lay up close to it within striking distance Juliets Nurse is the favorite for the Debutante Stakes at a full five furlongs on Saturday.

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