California: Dick Nash Ages Longden Three Years; South African Observes Yankee Turf; Raps Banning of Imports as Harmful, Daily Racing Form, 1959-05-14


view raw text

BI_JliL_jM California By Oscar Otis 1 Dick Nash Ages Longden Three Years South African Observes Yankee Turf Raps Banning of Imports as Harmful HOLLYWOOD PARK, Inglewood, Calif., May 13.— "I plead nolo contendre, meaning I neither confirm or deny," remarks veterans rider Johnny Longden when informed that the new and authoritative edition of The American Racing Manual had changed the date of his birth from 1910 to 1907. "Actually, Ive fibbed about my age for so "many years I dont know when I was born, and whats more, I couldnt care less," added Longden. "If they want me born in 1907, it is okay with me. And as for those rumors about me retiring, let me clear that up, for I must .have been misunderstood in an interview some months ago. They had me hanging up my tack at the end of the Hollywood Park meeting. What I said was that I had been giving the matter some thought and would give it some more after Hollywood Park. But theres nothing definite — yet." Curious as to the change from 1910 to 1907, a change which added three years to Longdens official age, we find it was made on the authority of Dick Nash, press attache and accurate statistician of Santa Anita, who officially informed Daily Racing Form that 1907 was correct. "Our man B. K. Beckwith, who has a daily morning radio program from the stable areas at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar, interviewed Longden at Del Mar last summer, and pinned him down on the point," says Nash in citing HIS authority. "We have it on a tape recorder where Longden admitted to the 1907 date." So much for that. But Longden may have been only partially awake, for he drinks tea, not coffee, for breakfast, and Beckwith is such a persuasive interviewer that Longden might have blurted out any date just to satisfy the man and get the interview on another track. So, as of now, 1907 is the official date, but backstretch speculation, and argument, has not been entirely suspended. Breeding Empire Declines One of the most charming visitors ever to visit Hollywood Park is Mrs. C. M. Beckett, 68, and one of the best known thoroughbred breeders in South Africa. Her observations include some shrewd judgment of horses and the people around and about horses. In regard to the closure, in general, of South Africa to imports, she says, "Its a pity, for the results already are becoming manifest, more sprinters and less stayers, more cheap horses, fewer good ones. A free exchange of blood, as dictated by ones best judgment, is a must for any improvement of the breed, or at best, to prevent its deterioration." Commenting on the item that she is gradually selling out her thoroughbred holdings, which once numbered 100 and is now down to 10, she said, "I have six sons, and not one is genuinely interested in continuing the bloodstock farm operation. In a way, I am glad, for I believe that unless one has a real flair, or affinity, for thoroughbred racing, one should not enter into it until mature." On inbreeding: "One of South Africas largest breeders, now deceased, kept pretty much to himself, line bred, inbred, and mixed his own stock up to the point where he pretty much, line bred himself out of business. The results were fine for a while, but the end result, the inevitable, came much soonor than most anybody had anticipated." Mrs. Becketts visit to America, her first, has a dual purpose, to observe, for mental stimulation even though she does not expect to benefit by noting American methods inasmuch as she is dispersing, and two, to study American tobacco production methods, for, in addition to her horse operation, she has a large acreage in tobacco. After a fortnight in Southern California visiting local farms, she will spend a month in the Carolinas on a tobacco plantation there. America Big; Too Fast Asked her real purpose in coming to this country, she said, "Well, Ive read all my life about America being bigger and better, and I wanted to see for myself. Its big, all right, but Im not quite so sure that in every particular it is better. Its awfully fast, and while the opinion is my own, maybe if more Americans took time out for the leisure of racing, for instance, and savored out its enjoyment and pleasure values, you Yanks might not get a rocket to the moon as quickly but you would have a far fuller life here on earth." The lady has a point. Horses and People: Hollywood Parks stable area "entry board" has acted to speed the closing of entries considerably. . . . Whenever a race has six horses in it, or enough to make it "go/ that race number lights go up on a panel and trainers ponying to and from the track can keep posted on "whats doing" in the entry box. . . . Hollywood finally has adopted the eastern system of putting a diagram of the track atop each race on the program, and with an arrow designating the starting point. . . . Its a small .point, and the benefit of which escapes me, unless it might be of help to new racing patrons. . . . Tuleg, home from Kentucky with Tomy Lee, will be fired, and has a chance of making it back to the races come winter at Santa Anita. ... He bowed, and rather badly, at Keeneland. . . . Walter Dauchy, director of racing at Pomona, Stockton, and Fresno, mans the public desk here at Hollywood and answers countless questions.

Persistent Link:
Local Identifier: drf1959051401_7_1
Library of Congress Record: