California: An Illusory Attitude in West Noted Geographic Locale Factor in Prestige, Daily Racing Form, 1955-06-07


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Mtzzzsam*: California Iā€” By Oscar Otis ; 1 An Illusory Attitude in West Noted . Geographic Locale Factor in Prestige North Needs More Faith in Own Racing HOLLYWOOD PARK, Inglewood, Calif., June 6.ā€” Last week, this corner commented about the "lack of coverage" on far western stakes in the eastern news-t.ili;.i....i.miji.M.tuUj..jM ,iJ,,iM papers papers and and the the impetus impetus this this had had papers papers and and the the impetus impetus this this had had provided for, improvement of both racing and breeding in the state. We overlooked an important item, namely, that westerners themselves have to a great extent been deluding themselves as to proper appraisal of the horses racing within their own territory, on the one hand, an undue emphasis upon Hollywood Park-Santa Anita-Del Mar overnight programs, programs, on on the the other, other, an an unde- Mtzzzsam*: programs, programs, on on the the other, other, an an unde- undeserved cynical attitude toward the same horses on the northern tracks in the state. The setting in which a horse races ā€” the same hbrses ā€” has a relationship to public esteem and rating, which is not only unfair but which can lead to erroneous conclusions. The most vivid example that comes to mind occurred during the recent overlap between the close of Golden Gate Fields and the opening of Hollywood Park. In San Francisco, there were some printed observations to the effect that Golden Gate had the culls, so to speak, and Hollywood Park the cream. Some Discrimination Against Seattle Horses Also in the past, we have noted horses which raced in the Northwest grouped indiscriminately as "Seattle horses" as if they werent worth serious consideration, only to see these same horses hit a place like Santa Anita and race exceptionally well not only in overnights but also in stakes. This tendency toward self delusion can work both ways, as witness the case of Fleet Bird and his appearances a" few seasons back at Golden Gate. Because any horse runs fast at Golden Gate, and because most all standard distance American records were held at Golden Gate at that time, it was decided to card the traditional big race of the season, the GoldenGate Handicap, at. one mile and three-sixteenths, just so that the record would fall naturally into the tracks possession. It did, with Fleet Bird setting a new American mark of 1:52%, and the horse was built into a hero on the basis of this alone, even though trainer Jimmy Jones protested openly at the time that Fleet Bird was a long ways removed from being a top-notch stake horse. There may be good arguments to be cited against overlaps, although the majority opinion holds that the good points far outweigh whatever disadvantages might accrue, but the "cull" argument is of all the least valid. For even when there were no overlaps, on many days in the north we ourselves have seen typical "overlap" programs raced with no objections, the "good" horses, as they are styled, remaining in the barn. In the late fall of the year in particular, many of the .name" horses lay up anyway and freshen up for Santa Anita, regardless of the inducements offered in the way of stakes. The mere fact that these horses might be on the grounds does hot add,any prestige to the overnight programs, do what you will about it. It merely seems to, in the minds of those who dont quite think things through. There is a-solution to the "San Francisco" problem and one of the first steps is a greater confidence in the horses that do race there without con-tinuaj self belittling comparisons with southern racing. Bay Area Possesses Great Potential San Francisco is a long ways removed from even scratching the surface of its full racing potential. The expanding network of freeways couldnt be better for rapid motor transit if they had been designed with the race tracks solely in view. And, there are any number of things that could be done to step up the racing programs and their attractiveness to the public, with or without paying any attention to what happens in this end of the state. The San Francisco Bay Area is an empire unto itself. The minute it becomes self-sufficient, creates its own public equine idols, and assumes the faith which it Should in fine racing and good merchandising, the racing there will come into its own. We violate no confidence when we reveal that at least one San Francisco Bay area management would like nothing better than to offer full simultaneous racing against Hollywood Park, reasoning that by so doing, attendance and play, and, in all probability, caliber of racing would be upgraded. The happiest couple at the races Saturday were Mr. and Mrs. John D. Hertz. This aged but bright, cheerful and healthy couple persuaded Robert Lehman, New York banker, to become an owner and breeder of race horses, and one of the few whom Lehman has bred is Countess Fleet, a daughter of the Hertz sire. Count Fleet. Countess Fleet showed remarkably fine speed, running the six furlongs of the featured 5,000-added Milady Handicap in 1:09%, one tick off the track record. It was the fastest race by a filly of the meeting, and left no doubt of her high class. An angle much appreciated by the Hertzes, who arrived last week to spend the summer at Amarillo Ranch, was that Countess Fleet was piloted by Johnny Longden, the man who, several years ago, won the Triple Crown with the Hertz champion, Count Fleet, sire of the Milady winner. Countess Fleet didnt enjoy an easy task. She was off well, but had to dispose first of the Irish mare Sally Slipper and then Alibhai Lynn. She gained the lead at the head of the stretch but was unable to draw clear, and was driven out to sustain her advantage and , win by a half length from the fast closing Jet Lady;

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