Wendell Cassidy Ever on Alert for Ideas Beneficial to Sport: His Progressive Mind Has Made Hollywood Park into Birthplace of Innovations, Daily Racing Form, 1953-06-26


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Wendell Cassidy Ever oil Alert For Ideas Beneficial to Sport His Progressive Mind Has *" Made Hollywood Park Into Birthplace of Innovations HOLLYWOOD PARK, Jnglewood, Calif., June 22. — Wendell Cassidy, head of the racing department and presiding stewart at Hollywood Park, has come to be known as one of Thoroughbred racings most progressive officials for the numerous outstanding contributions he has made to the sport. Hollywood Park for years has been known as the birthplace of innovations benefical to racing, and several of these progressive ideas have emanated from the fertile Cassidy brain. Jack F. MacKenzie, Hollywood Parks vice-president and general manager from before the track was opened until his retirement early this year, pioneered the use of motion pictures of all the races each day, and this move is regarded as the greatest contribution of the past two decades to the sport. This progressive step has enabled officials, horsemen, jockeys and the press to determine just what happened in each race, and it naturally has greatly aided the officials not only in reaching just decisions, but also in submitting tangible proof to back them up. Pictures Highly Advanced. After the introduction of the movies to racing by Mackenzie, Cassidy took the innovation and carried it through several developments of the technical filming procedure. As a result, the pictures have reached such an advanced stage that practically every move a horse or rider makes now can be clearly detected and the check on the racing by motion pictures has now become a "must" at just about every major racing center. It was Cassidy who introduced such improvements on the filming of the races as the white starting gate and a special camera suspended- in front of the gate. Perfect pictures of the start are the result. The horses actions are clearly depicted, as well as every movement of the assistant starters in their loading: and handling. Cassidy also placed cameras at key positions around the track so that every foot of each race would be photographed to the best possible advantage. Last year, he and Robert Oswald, a technical expert on the filming of races, devised a series of wires which were suspended beyond the finish line. These created a grid on the screen, which, in effect, give the illusion of individual lanes. This enables the stewards motion picture review board to determine just how far certain horses might have drifted in or out in the stretch drive. Latest Contribution The latest Cassidy contribution to the filming of the races was introduced last winter at Santa Anita after going through its experimental stages at Hollywood Park. It is a remote control device which enables the official in charge of the motion picture review to regulate the speed of the motion pictures— to stop them- or back them up at will, and to turn the lights off and on from the small control panel at his hand. This eliminates irritating interruptions caused by repeated verbal instructions to the camera operator and is especially effective when jockeys are called in to view the pictures. The idea was immediately picked up by Cassidys brother, Marshall, executive secretary of The Jockey Club and steward at all the New York tracks, and is now in use at all New York racing associations. The latest Hollywood Park-Cassidy innovation has just been introduced at the current Inglewood meeting. It is a portable starters stand and is made of aluminum piping and is the regulation height of 16 feet. Unsightly Stands Eliminated Its advantages are multiple. It eliminates the unsightly permanent stands which, in the past, have been placed at locations where the races of varying distances are • started, and their removal makes for better vision when viewing the races. Economically, the portable stand saves many dollars in maintenance and painting as the original cost is only around 00. From a safety viewpoint, the removal of the numerous wooden stands eliminates another hazard for horses and riders. The Del Mar management is so enthusiastic about the portable stand that it already has decided to use it at the lorth-coming summer meeting. The Cassidy name has been synonymous with thoroughbred racing for over a half-century. Wendell is a son of the famous Mars Cassidy, who still is hailed as one of the greatest starters this country ever has had. Mars Cassidys proficiency is especially remembered because he worked in the days when the present automatic gates werent even in the drawing-board stage. Th youngest brother in the still very active Cassidy family is George, who is the starter at all the New York tracks and at Hialeah. He moved into his present position on the death of his father. Wendell Cassidy served in both world wars and he came but of World War n. as WENDELL CASSIDY a lieutenant-colonel after combat duty in the Philippines and Okinawa. He has held virtually every position around a race track that there is, and he also has been a gentleman rider and polo player of note. He was a high goal player with teams at Mid-wick, Santa Barbara and Riviera. His last official appearance on a thoroughbred was when he entered a race at Caliente in which gentlemen jockeys were in the saddle. It was called the Don Juan Handicap and Cassidy booted a 100-to-l shot named Burr Winslow into second place. In addition to his deep-rooted and all-inclusive racing background, he also brings to his present position a fine business knowledge. He came to California in 1923 with the Marland Oil Company, a firm which he helped to organize. As head of the land department, he participated in the leasing and developing of the famed Seal Beach and Kettleman Hills fields, when Continental Oil bought out Marland in 1928, he went into private business for a time as a consulting engineer.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1950s/drf1953062601/drf1953062601_38_2
Local Identifier: drf1953062601_38_2
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800