Weighing In: Thelma Berger Always Dangerous at Aqueduct the Mast May Now be Equal of Jumping Champ Patrons Have Staunch Affection for Aqueduct Pronto Don Keeps on Winning; No End in Sight, Daily Racing Form, 1952-06-23


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. "■"" WEIGHING IN ■ By Evan Shipman ■* Thelma Berger Always Dangerous at Aqueduct The Mast May Now Be Equal of Jumping Champ Patrons Have Staunch Affection for Aqueduct Pronto Don Keeps on Winning; No End in Sight AQUEDUCT, L. I., N. Y., June 21. While we were forced to miss the Delaware Parks Georgetown Steeplechase Handicap, the event that had the greatest appeal to us, persnoally, of all those contested at various tracks yesterday, yesterday, we we did did see see a a fine fine contest contest in in the the . yesterday, yesterday, we we did did see see a a fine fine contest contest in in the the Fairy Chant Purse for fillies and mares at Aqueduct, a race that was unheralded, either by its value or the associations propaganda, but which, nevertheless, brought out a fine field and resulted in a thrilling finish. Joe Browns Thelma Berger, who may be regarded as a specialist on this strip, got up in time to gain a head decision from Marta. who, in turn, had been wisely rated to catch the pacesetting Who Dini. It was a pretty race, and, since it was a handicap and since that old master, John B. Campbell, had assigned signed the the burdens burdens for for the the five five starters, starters, signed the the burdens burdens for for the the five five starters, starters, "■"" weight must have played its part in the result. All of the Fairy Chant field, with the sole exception of Who Dini, have been nominated for the rich Vagrancy Handicap at Aqueduct next Saturday, a race for which the weights will be announced Monday. Thelma Berger, who captured the Beldame here last fall, carried 115 in the Fairy Chant, seven pounds less than Renews assignment, the latter a recent winner of the Top Flight at Belmont Park. In the Fairy Chant, Renew, who is hardly a consistent mare for all her class, appeared to be anchored by her burden. The Vagrancy will be at the same distance as the Fairy Chant, one mile and a sixteenth, and Thelma Berger and the Woodvale Farms Marta may well be the pair who will be fighting out the decision again. Both Palmer Heagerty and Bob Horwood appear to believe that Mrs. E. duPont Weirs The Mast is the "coming horse" in the steeplechase division. Mrs. Ogden Phipps Oedipus had been acknowledged the champion, but he was narrowly beaten by The Mast in his 1952 debut in the Temple Gwathmey at the United Hunts meeting, and The Mast gained a much clearer decision over Oedipus in yesterdays Georgetown, the latter finishing fifth in the field of eight. He was being asked to give The Mast, who won the Georegtown cleverly, seven pounds, and, on their respective records, that was an eminently fair appraisal — or so it seemed. Actually, The Mast is a better horse now than his record shows. Jim Ryan has taught him to fence, as he must if he is to win at Delaware, and he has more than a touch of class. Our guess is that the next time The Mast comes out against Oedipus, the handicapjter will place them on an even basis. The excuse could have been made that Oedipus was short on Long Island, but it could hardly have been made for his defeat yesterday. In the short space of a month, this columnist has covered races at four tracks, Belmont Park, Hollywood, Delaware and Aqueduct. These associations, obviously, are fairly well separated, but we have remarked a common tendency at all of them. Jockeys make a claim of foul on the slightest pretext, or often, as it has seemed to us, on no pretext. Operations are held up while the stewards examine a motion picture of the race, the crowd being left in unpleasant suspense. We have the impression that frequently the jockeys do not want to claim foul, that the idea never occurred to them until they are reminded of this privilege by a trainer or owner, who may be a little desperate at that moment. There used to be a penalty for what the books calls "a frivolous claim of foul," and we are inclined to think that if such a penalty were occasionally invoked, we would race off our programs with fewer uncalled for delays. While horsemen — Hirsch Jacobs is an example; he was voluable on the subject — are in accord with strictures made on the Aqueduct strip in this space, the great public that frequents our Long Island courses seems to hold quite a different point of view. A letter this morning informs us: "Aqueduct suits me perfectly, and suits by friends. We can see the races there, in contrast to the Widener chute at Belmont, where the horses are lost to us for most of the trip. We agree with you about Jamaica. It is a fine track. But Aqueduct, also, gives us a plain view of what is going on, and it will always be popular." We quote this letter be; cause it represents a widely held point of view. That point of view is not our own, but we all know that it is the patronage of a large public that causes race tracks to prosper. The indefatigable Pronto Don has done it again. This wonderful trotting gelding, whose score is now 20 straight victories if you overlook one disqualification, had an easy time last night in the elimination heat for the rich McConnell Memorial at Roosevelt Raceway. His driver, the ex-thoroughbred jockey,, Benny Schue, was simply playing with Pronto Dons opposition all through the mile, and when he turned the rangy chestnut gelding loose in the stretch it was all over except for collecting on the tickets. He has won the Transylvania Stakes at Lexington three years in succession; the Roosevelt Two Mile Trot, a race worth 0,000, two years in a row, and the Golden West Trot two years in succession. This is a real champion, nor have his rewards been negligible; Pronto Don is now, with the great mares, Proximity and Goldsmith Maid, one of the three trotters to have earned over 00,000 in competition. In the final for the McConnell, a mile and a quarter dash next week, Pronto Don will • meet a worthy competitor in Silver Riddle, but, should he be beaten, it will be a startling upset. [Editors Note — Nelson Duns tan is visiting breeding farms in Kentucky, inspecting yearlings to be offered at the Keeneland and Saratoga sales. His columns, "Reflections" and "Sires and Dams," will be resumed tomorrow.]

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