Between Races: Splitting Stakes Tradition at Pimlico Bulky Fields Said a Measure of Greatness Woods Cites Case for Rich Stake Race Triple Crown Entry Blank is Suggested, Daily Racing Form, 1951-05-15


view raw text

"sSI ■ i* * BETWEEN RACES * «cm ore PIMLICO, Baltimore, Md., May 14. — Ancient Pimlico has been prominent in the news in recent days for two reasons, first, its proposal to split the Preakness if there are 18 or more starters, a remote possibility at the moment, and second, its attempt to card a sort of "super" three-year-old event event a a week week from from Saturday Saturday which which event event a a week week from from Saturday Saturday which which would bring the leaders in the Preakness and Kentucky Derby together. The notion that two nine-horse races would be more truly run than one 18-horse event was partly the reason why Pimlico made its announcement of a possible split. Other reasoning ran that splitting is a tradition of Pimlico, the Preakness itself having been divided in 1918, War Cloud winning one end and Jack Hare, Jr., the other, and the Futurity in 1922, when Alfred Johnson won both divisions with Blossom Time and Sallys Alley. Even the Jervis Spencer Steeplechase was separated into two divisions not many years ago. As to whether split races make for a more truly run race, opinions vary and, we might add, at times violently. "We certainly meant to cast no reflections on any race this year with more than 12 starters," says Dave Woods of the Pimlico staff, "when we announced we might split the Preakness. It is just that dividing stakes at Pimlico has precedent, and we of the Maryland Jockey Club think it is a good idea. Moreover, our track isnt as wide as some of the newer major American tracks, which is a factor to be taken into consideration." AAA The Pimlico stand has caused, as we noted, a considerable difference of opinion as to the relationship of the size of the field to the running of a race. There Splitting Stakes Tradition at Pimlico Bulky Fields Said a Measure of Greatness Woods Cites Case for Rich Stake Race Triple Crown Entry Blank Is Suggested are many of sound judgment who take the opposite view to that of Pimlico, contending that the larger the field, the greater the chance for a thoroughbred to prove real greatness. Says one, who prefers to remain anonymous, "I always am reminded of the Englishman who came over here to see the 1948 running of the Kentucky Derby. Asked for his impressions, he replied, Ive never seen so many people and so few horses. That was Citations year, when only six horses started. One of the attributes of a great horse is his ability to overcome trouble and come on and win. It is the cheap horse, the one lacking in true heart, who, after getting into a jam or in close quarters, fails to rally. That is why, when going back over the records of such a race as the Kentucky Derby or Preakness, I always am inclined to give a bit more prestige to the winners in years when the fields were large. Nor does it necessarily mean that a big field results in a rough race. The Kentucky Derby this year was run cleanly, but Ive seen some two- and three-horse races that were rough. Ive even seen one horse shut off, and badly, in a match race. Perhaps the classic example of this was when Seabiscuit beat Ligaroti at Del Mar. That was marked by more trouble than the last three stakes with large fields that I could mention. Dr. Charles Strub, out at Santa Anita, will not split his stakes, and you cant accuse the good doctor of not giving away money to horsemen in liberal amounts. Splitting is not primarily a question of finance, but one rather of broad viewpoint. Something can be said on both sides." AAA In his new brochure signalizing the seventy-fifth running of the Preakness, Woods states the case for the big purse rather convincingly. Commenting upon the significance of the Preakness, he says, "There is an old saying around the race track that the best horses end up in the stables of the richest people. This is explained best by citing the case of a man of moderate means with a real good horse in his barn. He sold the horse for 0,000, and when friends asked why he let the horse go when there were so many opportunities ahead for the horse to earn several times his sales price, he remarked, Fifty thousands dollars never bowed a tendon. The owners who can afford to pay high prices for racing stock are important to a prosperous continuance of the sport. There also is the obligation of a racing association to the public. It is plain good business for a track to highlight its meeting by offering at least one extravaganza. It focuses attention on the track and gives the customers at least one outstanding race in which they can see the best horses. Its good for the patrons and its good for racing." AAA Woods adds the clincher to that point of view by concluding, "Finally, because such rich races as the Preakness attract the best horses, they have a fundamental effect upon the entire thoroughbred breeding industry, one that extends to the agricultural life of more than half the states of the Union. The winner of the Preakness, Continued on Page Thirty-Eight _ £ a a -j p c v p n I ] I sj a as j I n n I j c, p w ; t, u up t] ri n t] n 0 of jr |, £ t 77 w w c p C p it n n p to * In to 0i of tc to t E ti tl "| p p; BETWEEN RACES By OSCAR OTIS Continued from Page Forty-Four Derby or Belmont almost always establishes formula for a practical breeding theory. The qualities which the breeders seek to produce in a horse are tested in actual competition, and the correctness of the various theories are -proved or disproved. AAA John Wester, sports columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, remarks that it might be a good idea if nominations for the "Triple Crown races were made as a single unit, thus obviating such a situation prevails this year, when the first five horses across the line in the Derby were not eligible for the Preakness. "The idea has a lot of merit," comments Woods, "but think any initiative in this matter should come from Churchill Downs. It might be possible for an entry blank to be made which would remind an owner of the othei two races, regardless of which track made the nomination cards. It is a fact that the "Triple Crown," as a unit of three races, is taking on more and more prestige with the American public. It would be necessary, however, to make a change in the conditions of the Belmont, which does not permit geldings to compete. To my way thinking, however, the barring of geldings is rather academic, because a gelding hasnt won the Derby since Clyde Van Dusen. and only seven have won in its runnings. There hasnt been a gelding win the Preakness since 1914, when Holiday won from Brave Cunarder and Defendum. Only five geldings in all have won the Preakness." Why so many owners of Derby contenders failed to nominate for the Preakness is not known, but we imagine was due to lack of awareness of the significance of the "Triple Crown," an awareness which, happily, the Thoroughbred Racing Associations is setting out to bring the attention of horsemen and public. any event, even if Belmont did not wish alter its conditions to permit the entry unsexed horses, it could still be possible consider at least a mention of the other two great spring sophomore races, the Derby and the Preakness on the nomination blanks. We gathered from Woods that Pimlico would seriously consider "going along." At least, Websters ideas provided food for thought, to mint a plirase.

Persistent Link:
Local Identifier: drf1951051501_44_3
Library of Congress Record: