view raw text
W E I G H I N G I N EVAN shpman BELMONT PARK, Elmont, L. I., N. Y., June 7. Assuming that you agree to some extent with our often expressed opinion of this seasons three-year-olds, the story of Saturdays Peter Pan Handicap is not High Guns victory, handy as was the King Ranch Heliopolis colts score in the nine -furlong test, but rather the com plete, total defeat of Mrs. Elizabeth Persons Porterhouse, until the week end the likeliest kind of candidate for the imminent and all-important Belmont Stakes. To say that we were stunned by Porterhouses dismal performance in the Peter Pan is" putting it mildly. By now, you are well aware of what happened, but here is a quick review of the essential facts. In a race with no pace whatsoever, Jet Action and Fisherman showed the way, while Porterhouse, of course, the heavy favorite, was in perfect position directly off the leaders. At the head of the stretch for the drive, the entire field of seven was spread across the track, opening out like a shaken fan, but when jockey Willie Boland called on the choice, there was literally no response. Long before the furlong pole, it was evident that Pprterhouse would never get up, while High Gun, who until the final bend had jogged along well to the rear, came on to dispose of Fisherman and Diving Board at his pleasure considering the snails pace at which this feature was run, we had almost said, "at his leisure." AAA Now lets go back a little. Last week, in his final five-furlong work for this engagement, Porterhouse had sulked, completing the brief distance in 1:04 and a fraction, an ominous preview of what was to come. That bad trial was duely reported, but no attention was paid to it in this Porterhouses Peter Pan Loss Stuns Friends Distress Signals Were Out Before Race Colt Lacked Condition as Seen in Paddock Alibhai Get Prominent in Stakes East, West space, nor did we give you any warning that all might not be well with last seasons champion. Our only excuse for this negligence is that Porterhouse has never been what horsemen term "a good work horse." He has often refused to extend himself in the morning, while his appetite for competition in the afternoon has always been the very opposite of the disinterested nonchalance he shows when the chips are not down. After the fact, it is evident that we erred in not taking that bad work seriously enough. In the paddock and on the walking ring on Saturday afternoon, we made another mistake. Porterhouse did not strip well. The colt was distinctly "tucked up," very light in the loin, nor did his coat or eye reveal the evidence of top condition. Again in extenuation of our own own lack of foresight, we will remark that Porterhouse, at best never a "picture colt," had also appeared light and overdrawn on the occasion of his recent brilliant return to action here against aged sprinters. For both Long Island starts in that six-furlong dash and again on Saturday the little Endeavour II. colt could not compare, on the score of obvious condition, with the splendid appearance he had made before his one -and only California start at Santa Anita last March. So you see, many warning signals had been thrown out. We did not heed them. AAA As plainly as a colt can, Porterhouse told us that he was not in shape to give his true measure in that Peter Pan renewal, a race won by High Gun in the slowest time since the stakes inaugural. The favorite was merely the husk, the shell of himself Saturday, and it will be a miracle if trainer Charley Whittingham for all his skill can restore his charge to condition during the few remaining days separating us from the Belmont Stakes. Having been so wrong once, we are not yet ready to commit ourselves boldly on Porterhouses subject again, but we cannot recall a similar deception unless we go back to Equipoises failure in the Chesapeake Stakes at Havre de Grace or the complete and utter defeat of the gray French colt Xandover, in the French Derby at Chantilly, both these races now nearly a quarter of a century old. The immediate reaction at the sad sight of Porterhouses downfall was one of sympathy for Mrs. Person and Charley Whittingham. Owner and trainer had every right to entertain the highest hopes for their colts future, a future that seems as certain last week as it now appears dubious. AAA Laudy Lawrence, the well-known continental horseman, who selected the Hyperion stallion, Alibhai, for Louis B. Mayer, could hardly have chosen a better moment for a visit to this country if his wish is to see the produce of the imported horse thoroughly tested here in important fixtures. At Delaware Park on Saturday, Foxcatcher Farms Alibhai Fairy Chant colt, Chevation, captured a spirited renewal of the Kent Stakes from a large, well-balanced field of contemporaries, while on the same afternoon, out on the Pacific Coast, little Determine returned to action with a smashing victory over a select group of western sprinters. Both William duPont chestnut colt, now a serious candidate for the Belmont Stakes, and the diminutive Kentucky Derby winner, reflect great credit on their sire, and they both may succeed in travelling much Continued on Page Forty WEIGHING IN I By EVAN SHIPMAN Continued from Page Forty-Eight farther than his get are ordinarily supposed to want to go. After watching Determine at Louisville and elsewhere, few if any horsemen will criticize Andy Crevolins colt on the basis of stamina, while Chevations pleasing win on home grounds was earned with a powerful run in the final stages of Delawares mile and a sixteenth stake. A part of the credit here, of course, must go to the Foxcatcher colts dam, the Chance Play mare, Fairy Chant, a classic winner in her own right and an extremely stouthearted campaigner in the farms colors. AAA On the occasion of Lawrences first visit to Belmont Park this trip, last Friday, his own handsome Count Fleet four-year-old, Beau Gar, went to the post in the six-furlong Ballot Handicap, feature of the off-day card. Trainer George Odom had the colt in replendent condition, and he appeared to fit well in the small field at the weights, but when it came to running, Joe Browns Matagorda scored with something to snare, while Beau Gar wound ud trailing at the finish. We mention this dash because the tactics here were the same that were to cause the downfall of several highly regarded colts in the far more important Peter Pan the following afternoon. In the Ballot, jockey George Glassner, undoubtedly riding Beau Gar to orders, got his mount away promptly and then kept him, under a strong hold, just off All at Onces very moderate pace. All down the backstretch and between the turns, Glassner had Beau Gar under strong restraint, then, at the quarter pole, the boy went directly from a pull to a drive. And now Beau Gar, as sb often happens and was to happen the next day with many of the Peter Pan field, simply did not want to run. He flattened out, finishing "nowhere." Since Beau Gar is a free-running colt, would it not have been wiser to allow him to set his own pace? The owners of Fisherman, Jet Action and Diving Board, all failures in the Peter Pan, may be asking themselves the same question.