New York: How Great Would Vertex Be If He Was Was Sound?; Grey Lag Effort Superb; Had Something Left; Camden Handicap on May 23 His Next Start, Daily Racing Form, 1959-05-12


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New York By Bob Horwood How,Great Would Vertex Be If He Was. Sound? Grey Lag Effort Superb; Had Something Left Camden Handicap on May 23 His Next Start BELMONT PARK, Elmont, L. I., N. Y., May 11.— You would think that by the time a horse had reached fifth year, had raced successfully for four seasons, competing in major stakes, it would be possible for form a reasonably accurate estimate of just how good he is. In the case of Vertex, who races for Joseph J. Brunetti and his breeder, Frank Piarulli, we doubt that that is true. Immediately after the powerful, low-slung son of The Rhymer — Kanace, by Case Ace, had won Saturdays Grey Lag Handicap, experienced observers were asking, "What kind of a horse would he be if he were ever really sound?" In the Grey Lag, Vertex ran like a sound horse and one with a great heart, forcing a rapid pace for 6 furlongs, then staving off the strong challenge of Brookmeade Stables Big Effort to win going away after she had drawn almost level with him in the stretch. Yet the big fellow had appeared dead lame Thursday morning. Vertex feet, which have given him trouble from time to time since he first came to the race track, began to sting after he breezed a fast mile at Jamaica the previous Monday morning, but they responded to tubbing and he was able to blow out a half mile Friday morning and to turn in one of the best vraces of his career Saturday afternoon. After the Grey Lag, jockey Sam Boulmetis said that Vertex was still strong at the finish, which confirmed our impression that, though he was under a drive from the quarter pole, he won with something in reserve. Yet it seems most unlikely that the big fellow was really at his best. After all, Vertex had not started since his easy triumph in the J. B. Campbell Memorial at Bowie on March 28 and he had suffered that foot trouble immediately before the race. Possibly Vertex was at his best when he won the Campbell, in which he scored by six lengths under 124 pounds, six pounds less than he carried in the Grey Lag. He had been manifestly "short" when he won the Gulfstream Park Handicap by a neck over Amerigo eight days earlier and that race and the flight North may have been just what he needed. But the Campbell didnt tell us too much, there being nothing much behind Vertex. Excellent Form Last Fall The previous autumn, Vertex won the Idlewild Handicap by five lengths over Bardstown 17 days after he had beaten the same horse by a head in the Trenton. But in the Trenton, Vertex had raced with a prong of his bit sticking through his jaw from the start and in the Idlewild he came on the track with his coat dull and giving the appearance, at least, of being out of condition. A week after that event he. had little trouble winning the Pimlico Special. Early Monday morning, Vertex was on the road, vanning down to Garden State Park to appear in the Camden Handicap on May 23. That race can hardly be expected to tell us too much as he will presumably be racing against the same horses he has been beating all spring. The Metropolitan Mile a week later could tell us a bit more providing Vertex connections are willing tcr accept the impost Jimmy Kilroe gives him. We know that trainer Joe Piarulli fully believes in. his horse. We can only hope that this confidence is sufficient for him to be willing to allow the horse to take on the kind of tasks asked of Tom Fool and Bold Ruler. It says here that Vertex, whom we have never seen give anything less than was asked of him, could very well be the equal of any handicap horse of the last 20 years. In the Metropolitan and Suburban he will have the chance to prove his quality. Big Effort True to Her Name No mention of the Grey Lag would be complete without a wordvof praise for Mrs. Dodge Sloanes Big Effort, who finished with her head at Vertex rump, still trying valiantly after drawing level at the head of the stretch. The handsome daughter of Endeavour H., who outlooked all of her rivals in the post parade, including Vertex, seems at long last to have come into her own, confirming the great promise she showed in last years Acorn Stakes and Delaware Oaks, but which she belied in several other races. The Grey Lag was Big Efforts fourth successive fine race -since March 28. Incidentally, Mrs. Sloane must be pardonably weary of finishing second. After Sword Dancer was beaten inches by Tomy Lee in the Derby, Big Effort finished second in the Grey Lag and the same afternoon Oligarchy was second to One-Eyed King in the Dixie. It must be kind of frustrating. A total of 117 names of horses were dropped in the entry box for todays opening card at Belmont Park, which was 47 more than were listed on the program for the final Jamaica card. That is not necessarily an augury of good things to come. There were days like that last spring during the spring meeting, but there were many other days when the fields in all but the first two races were very small. However, the 117 entered today include quite a number of new names, though most of these are maidens of various ages. The second race, for instance, drew 20 maiden fillies and mares, including six also-eligibiles, and there is little doubt that most of these should have been racing in the lower claiming brackets long ago. New York owners, for the most part, seem far more reluctant than those in other areas to drop their unsuccessful stock into the claiming ranks.

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