Reflections: Belmont Dream Track an Actuality; New York to Modernize Three Plants; Changing Belmont Stands Debatable, Daily Racing Form, 1955-05-04


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Reflections : ■ — By Nelson Dunstan ; , w Belmont Dream Track an Actuality New York to Modernize Three Plants Changing Belmont Stands Debatable NEW YORK, N. Y., May 3— Governor Harrimans signature to the bill making The Jockey Club plan law in the Empire State authorized the most progressive move that has been made since Belmont Park was originally built and opened in 1905. What j was referred to as a "dream track" is about to become a reality, but as Marshall Cassidy, secretary of The Jockey Club, said, "Now the real work begins." How long it will take to complete the plan in its entirety is a question that even George D. Widener will not attempt to answer when questioned on the point. The final draft for the physical changes must be made before work can. get underway. It is planned to borrow 5,000,000 from the banks. Belmont Park will get a goodly share of this, but it is a question how much will be allotted Saratoga and to Aqueduct, provided, of course, that Aqueduct goes along with the plan. If so, Jamaica will eventually be sold. It is safe to say that after the meeting now in progress, the work at Belmont will be started. Whether the fall meeting will be staged at the Elmont course or transferred to Aqueduct is not • known as yet. If possible, we believe the Belmont officials will endeavor to conduct the fall meeting at their own track. " Readers Favor Smaller Racing Oval * During the past two weeks we have Received letters pertaining to The Jockey Club plan from metropolitan readers. These letters, we must say, are not sufficient in number of be a true reflection of racing fans desires, but they indicate that the majority would welcome a reduction of the one and one -half mile racing strip to one mile and a furlong. They also indicate that the fans are satisfied with the present location of the - grandstand and clubhouse. The writers see no reason why the structures should be torn down and new ones built on the other side of the track. That is a matter best left to the Belmont officials and the architects. No one can improve on Belmont racing, not, at least, until the industry produces more top horses and reduces the number of cheap ones that now clutter the stables and make the assignments a headache for those who are charged with the responsibility of allotting space to owners. That is the problem indeed, for in any given number of horses produced, only a small percentage are performers of quality. / New York tracks have been under fire for many years, but it is remarkable -how much new construction has been completed by tracks throughout the country during the same period. It is natural that the newer tracks should have many modern conveniences that are lacking in the older plants. The latest to institute improvements is Churchill Downs, now under the guidance of Bill Corum. Corum and his associates have given much thought to the sprawling structure at one of the oldest trades now in operation. They plan to replace all the wood with steel and concrete and that phase of the work is almost completed with only one section remaining in its original form. The installation of escalators will be followed by a sprinkler system that will cost about 00,000. Sprinklers in the back-stretch area at Belmont have already been installed, and there is probably no track in the country with more modern quarters for the grooms. The New Jersey tracks are all up-to-date. The construction of a new clubhouse at Hialeah, built two years ago, increased the clubhouse patronage considerably. Naturally the New York officials are hoping that attendances will increase at the three New York tracks that will operate under the new plan. . Arcaro Returns to Acton in Acorn Eddie Arcaros double suspension has now expired and it is expected that the crack rider will t be seen in the Acorn Stakes in New York Wednesday and, of course, in the Kentucky Derby on the week end. He has kept physically fit by exercising horses in the morning and playing golf in the afternoon. While Ted Atkinson gave Nashua a splendid ride in the Wood Memorial, Arcaro will be atop the Belair colt in the Derby. There was a time when Isaac Murphy held the Derby record with three victories and there was plenty of commotion when Earl Sande tied that figure. On the week end, Arcaro will be shooting for his sixth victory. Should he prove successful, he will have a splendid opportunity to add to his record in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Arcaro rode in the Derby for the fifteenth time in 1954, a record for any rider in the Blue Grass classic. His first Derby victory was with Lawrin in 1938, and he followed with Whirlaway, 1941; Hoop, Jr., 1945; Citation, 1948, and Hill Gail in 1952. He still has one record to tie in Derby competition and that is winning two renewals in succession — a feat which only Isaac Murphy and Jimmy Winkf ield accomplished.

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