Weighing In, Daily Racing Form, 1952-06-04


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- Weighing In ■ By EVAN SHIPMAN BELMONT PARK, Elmont, L. I., N. Y., June 3. — Yesterdays column was devoted to an appreciation of Armageddon, the Alsab colt who. be- [cause of his impressive victories in the mile Withers and the nine-furlong Peter Pan Handicap, must now merit most serious 1 consideration in Sat-lurdays Belmont j Stakes, final leg of the American "Triple • Crown," and, in this j columnists h u m b 1 e opinion, the most im- portant race, the most relevant to breeding, of the trio that form this test of class. Of -course, there will be no "Triple Crown" winner this year. Hill Gail, after winning the Kentucky Derby, is on the shelf, with "an ankle," and will not be sesn in action again until late fall, if then. Blue Man, not caring for the Churchill Downs strip, and, perhaps, encountering trouble during the running, was third to Hill Gail and Sub Fleet at Louisville, and then went on to trounce the latter colt most convincingly at Pimlico in the Preakness. Will Blue Man also take the third round? Or will Sub Jleet repeat his Derby race to finish ahead of the Blue Swords colt when next they meet this week-end on Long Island? Or, finally, will Armageddon, whose special fondness for this Belmont strip is incontestable, beat them both, now that the Alsab colt is at the top of his form and will be racing over a track that suits him to a "T"? Sub Fleet, a son of Count Fleet, the champion who made life difficult for Blue Mans sire in his year, was not entered for the Peter Pan, but trainer Hod-gins did find a spot for the Dixiana home-bred in a seven-furlong allowance race immediately preceding: the feature on the week-end program at Belmont Park. Only five went to the post in this dash, all of them three-year-olds of what might be described as "the second order," with the exception of Sub Fleet. They were all weighted at 120 pounds by the conditions of the race, except Heap Big Chief, a useful Apache coltywho carried 117, and who wound up the winner by a neck from the favored Sub Fleet, his time being a very creditable 1:23% for the distance. Heap Big Chief, under a hustling ride by Conn McCreary, forced Trick Pilots pace until the stretch in this ■sprint, then came on to take command and had enough in reserve to stall off Sub Fleets ultimate, and not too serious, bid in the final stages. The winners victory came as no great surprise. He has always had the reputation of a fast and fairly game colt, while this race was regarded as just a useful prep for Sub Fleet, whose great objective was known to be the Belmont Stakes.- Sharp for 12 furlongs is not quite the same thing as sharp for seven furlongs. Inevitably, one must make a comparison between Heap Big Chief and Sub Fleets allowance race at seven furlongs and Armageddons nine-furlong Peter Pan Handicap. We will not pretend that the result of such a comparison is conclusive, but it is, at least, plain. Armageddon, racing on the head end all the way, turned in faster fractions at each pole than those shown in Heap Big Chiefs shorter race, and Sub Fleet, unlike Armageddon, was reserved well off the early pace until the final quarter. They both ran this final quarter at about the same rate, but it should be emphasized, and we repeat, that Armageddon had been forcing Golden Gloves fast pace all the way, while Sub Fleet was a trailer until he made the one move. Armageddon, under a real drive, it is true, pulled away from his more lightly weighted competitor in the final sixteenth, which Sub Fleet, who was put to no such extreme pressure by Steve Brooks, could not quite reach. We are not pretending that a comparison of these two races will tell the story in the Belmont. Nevertheless, it may be useful. A study of Armageddon and Sub Fleet in the paddock before their races left us with the feeling that they are very much the same type of thoroughbred. Both colts possess the trim, rather compact model, short backed, rounded quarters, well-placed, sloping shoulders that has come, almost, to be regarded as an American type. This conformation makes for adaptability, quickness, and, occasionally, it can stay the route, but it does not resemble in any particular the typical "staying" three-year-old familiar to the English and French turf followers, as one glance at the imported Olympic or Big Dipper will convince you. The latter are built on rangier lines. They lack the initial speed of our homebred colts, and, perhaps, they may not ever, during the course of a race, be able to reproduce any such sensational fractions, but, over a sweeping course with easy turns, many of them can ran all day. Armageddon Continued on Page Thirty-Seven I WEIGHING IN By EVAN SHIPMAN Continued from Page Four and Sub Fleet are primarily fast; their staying: ability has been built by skilful training: on a foundation of speed. Count-Fleet, sire of Sub Fleet, is everywhere acknowledged as one of the three "great" modern American thoroughbreds, the others, of course, being Man o War and Citation, but Alsab, parent-of Armageddon, has had far less general recognition, although, we may assure you, this stallion has staunch partisans in high places, John B. Campbell, secretary and handicapper for The Jockey Club, has always been one of Alsabs greatest admirers. We recall very well that, even after Count Fleets brilliant career at our tracks had come to an end, Campbell insisted to us that Alsab was "the greatest since Man p War," the veteran horseman citing the-weight carried and the horses beaten by the son of Good Goods to bolster his argument. Although very nearly contemporaries, Alsab and Count Fleet never met, and any comparison appears to us invidious; it is enough to say that both were among the finest examples of the American thoroughbred, and, today, it is. indeed encouraging fo remark that they have both proved capable of reproducing their own quality. .

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Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800