Reflections: Belmont Park Opens for 34-Day Meeting Top Horses in All Divisions to Compete Withers, Peter Pan, Belmont Hold Spotlight Handicap Stars Point for 0,000 Suburban, Daily Racing Form, 1951-05-14


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REFLECTIONS Ry no» n dunstan NEW NEW YORK. YORK, N. N. Y.. Y., May Mav 12.— 12._Rp1. Belmont D-l a n-i. r #__. •» j la .• -.«, will »__i ,__*„__*, „ NEW NEW YORK. YORK, N. N. Y.. Y., May Mav 12.— 12._Rp1. Belmont Park opens Monday and that is just another way of saying that for the next 34 days Long Island fans will witness the utmost in a month of racing that is equal in class and quality with that staged at any course throughout the world. England has its its Epsom Epsom and and Ascot. Ascot, France France its its Lone- its its Epsom Epsom and and Ascot. Ascot, France France its its Lone- Long-champ, and Australia its Flemington; but none of these tracks have a finer setting than Belmont and we say that even though the officials at the Elmont course like to play down the word "beautiful." One of the reasons that it is beautiful is that nearly 40,000 plants are grown for each meeting and these "have to come into bloom in time for the opening day each spring and fall. Probably there is no track in the world in which so many spectators visit the tree-studded paddock to see the horses saddled and also in which fashionably dressed models show their beautiful gowns and hats just as they do at Ascot in England and Longchamp in France. This year there will be an added fillip in a colorful celebration for this is the 2,000th birthday of Paris and on this opening day Belmont officials will pay tribute to that old world city of France. It is expected that the wife of the French ambassador will be on hand to present a trophy to the winning owner of the Toboggan Handicap, the traditional opening day feature at Belmont. AAA During the meeting, Belmont will stage 15 stakes on the flat and these events have been increased some 0,000 over those of last year, while the overnighters have been upped over 60,000, which means that the Elmont course, which has been a perennial leader in money dis- Belmont D-l a n-i. r #__. •» j la .• Park Opens for 34-Day Meeting Top Horses in All Divisions to Compete Withers, Peter Pan, Belmont Hold Spotlight Handicap Stars Point for 0,000 Suburban tribution for many years, will disburse over 00,000 more at this spring meeting that it did a year ago. During the first week, there will be five stake days for after the running of the Toboggan comes the Fashion, the Swift, the International Steeplechase Handicap and, on the first Saturday, the time-honored Metropolitan Handicap which was inaugurated in 1891 and has been won by many of the handicap stars down through the century. The Swift is the first stake for three-year-olds and at seven furlongs it has been designed as a prep for the Withers and the other three-year-old events to follow. The Swift is another one of the traditional Belmont events for it was first run in 1885. Last year, Ferd was the winner and in the Withers bowed to those outstanding performers of the three-year-old ranks, Hill Prince and Middleground. There was only one horse in history to win both the Swift and the Withers and that was Hanover back in 1887, just 64 years ago. The race was not run from 1911 to 1926. The Swift winner has usually been a top sprinter rather than one who qualified for the later events at the longer distances. AAA Three-year-olds have always played an important part in the competition at the Belmont spring meeting and that can be stressed greatly this year due to the wide-open condition that prevails in the sophomore ranks. The Preakness will be run this Saturday and whether that -.«, »__i ,__*„__*, „ will bring any clarification of the muddled situation that exists at present is a question that only the future can answer. A week from Saturday, or May 26, the Withers at one mile will be the feature and this 77-year-old race is the first of what many call "the Belmont Triple," which is completed with the Belmont Stakes and the Lawrence Realization. Only twice in the long history of these three races has this "Belmont Triple" been won by one horse and they were Man o War and Zev. Then again only two horses in history have won the "Triple Crown" of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont and then the Withers and they were Sir Barton in 1919 and Count Fleet in 1943. In the Withers last year, Hill Price gained a step in his ultimately being declared the three-year-old champion by defeating Middleground. The Peter Pan, which is also exclusively for three-year-olds, will be run this year on Saturday, June 9, at one and one-eighth miles. This race is the last prep for the Belmont Stakes, which will be run on June 16, and is the third and last leg of the "Triple Crown." AAA At this writing, the Belmont Stakes appears to be as wide open as the Derby was and also as the Freakness is this coming Saturday. The Belmont is called "The Test of the Champion" for the reason that while the Derby is at one and one-quarter miles and the Preakness at one and three-sixteenths miles, the Belmont asks the last ounce of stamina as it is at one and one-half miles. Whoever is the ultimate winner, it is certain he will have to face much stiffer opposition than was the case with Man o War in 1920. Judging by the Derby field and the many who flattened out before the mile pole was reached, there is still a big question just how many of this years Continued on Page Thirty-Six ; ■ i i ■ 1 ! ] ] ; ] i ] 1 i j i t i £ c i t t s c a a j j t c $ r t g g r REFLECTIONS By NELSON DUNSTAN Continued from Page Forty crop of three-year-olds will negotiate one and one-half miles, and the Preakness running Saturday will add little to proving this point. Man o War had only one opponent in 1920 and that was Donnacona. Big Red won as he pleased, with the throng yelling "Let him run. Let him run." And had jockey Clarence Kummer given Big Red his head, there is hardly a doubt that the track record would have been much better than the 1:14% he negotiated. Today, 31 years later, the record still stands. Only two fillies have ever won the Belmont, Ruthless scoring in the inaugural running in 1867 and Tanya in 1905. For the past 46 years, no member of the weaker sex has triumphed in the Belmont, but this year the highly regarded How, winner of the Kentucky Oaks, is an eligible although this writer doubts that she will be sent out to oppose the colts. AAA While the three-year-olds will dominate much of the Belmont spotlight, there are many other races which will have direct bearing on the various championships of the season. The 0,000 Coaching Club American Oaks has long been regarded as one of the most important races in the land for three-year-old fillies, and at one and three-eighths miles, is a searching test of the staying qualities of members of the weaker sex. The 0,000 Acorn Stakes, which will be run on May 23, at one mile, is a forerunner for the fillies pointing for the Coaching Club. The 0,000 Metropolitan Handicap on May 19 is at one mile and, while rich in its own right, it is designed as a prep for the 0,000 Suburban Handicap which will be staged on May 30 at one and one-quarter miles. Two-year-olds will also have their innings at Belmont with the Fashion Stakes for fillies on May 15, the Juvenile Stakes on May 21 and then the two divisions of the National Stallion Stakes, the fillies competing on June 4 and the colts on June 13. Before the Belmont meeting closes, steeplechasers will also have their opportunities, with the Meadow Brook Steeplechase Handicap being run at two and a half miles on June 14, this being the last jump event at the Elmont course and to be followed by hurdle and steeplechase races at the Aqueduct meeting.

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