Passing of Leonardo II: Black Speed Wonder Leaves Sharp Marks in Turf Records, Daily Racing Form, 1921-07-28


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PASSING OF LEONARDO II. E : T Black Speed Wonder Leaves Sharp Marks in Turf Records. 0: of T ol ai an Time Test Applied to American vi Racing- Indispensable Weight s and Speed Show Worth. r P, ri b BY SALVATOK. The career of Leonardo II. is ended for the -present, if not forever, so far at least as racing is" concerned. His forced retirement, due to his J disabled underpinning, takes from the racing stage perhaps its fastest present figure. Those who saw him in his three-year-old debut at Lexington last v April will not soon forget the thrill lie. gave tliein v when he went to the half in 45 seconds, did the mile in 1:35, and finished the mile and a sixteenth, under restraint, in 1:42. Barring the similar displays that Man o War gave us last t year, nothing like this exhibition of speed has ever been given us by a three-year-old. and when we 1 remember that it occurred as early as April 25, its character is sharpened. Right there is the rub. April 25 was altogether too early for such an exhibition. Had the Kentucky Derby been run 1 that day, none of the others, in my humble opinion, would have more than known which way the son of s Sweep Ethel Pace went. Those who all winter had been fancying the colt for the Derby, after this race, were divided in their opinions. The enthusiasts had the classic all won but the shouting, and sonic of them were already doing that. TOO MUCH SPEED TOO EARLY. 1 The conservatives, on the other hand, began to hedge. Their idea was that Leonardo II. had j been hurried too much in his preparation. They were dubious about his lightness in he flank and , his appearance of a colt that was not just beginning a campaign, but had seen all the rigors of . one. It was one of the latter class of sportsmen -who said to me confidently, only a day or so j after the race: "Leonardo II. will not win the Dcrbv, mark my prediction. Nothing could have , beaten him had it been .run last Monday. But I will not be surprised if several do in the big race, two weeks hence." The prediction was verified, and in the light of what occurred then and subsequently it will be seen that these conservative critics were correct as, in nine cases out of ten they are apt. to be. Nevertheless, I refuse to recant my opinion that ; Leonardo II., at his best, ranks among the speed marvels of this time, and, though this he never definitely proved, had the other things needful to ! stamp a colt truly first class. Many hard things were -written and said of him because of his losing performances, but all of them were written 1 without full knowledge of the facts, that, in the : first place, he had been overdone in his pcrapara-tion, " and, in the second, Jiad become unsound. It was not lack of ability to handle weight or go ! a distance that caused Leonardo II. to falter, but lack of reserve strength and the pain of his ailing ; : limbs. Of course, it is true that he is on the greyhound ; pattern. But his conformation is really adapted for a stayer, and so is his action, which, despite his quite phenomenal speed and marvelous ! quickness away from the barrier, is not typically that of a sprinter. FUTURE OF LEONARDO II. Last season, as a two-year-old, and this one, at 1 three, Leonardo II. has stood out individually over p his opponents until in comparison they have for the J most part appeared commonplace. He was a magnificent thing to look at, cither in repose or action. Ho ought to make a superb sire. Of course he 2 will be given an opportunity as a sire. He conies s from one oi the dominant male lines of today, that 1 of Bramble, and while lie has no "figure," his maternal family, with its line of Troubadour, Hindoo, " Leamington and Glencoe dams, and on back c directly to old Maria West, qualify him. The - speed of Leonardo II. shown in that Lexington 1 race means little, according to some critics, because 1 it was something measured by the watch and "the 1 time tost is delusive." That dear old to-time-or-not-to-time " argument! Which, in racing affairs, may be compared as the free trade-protection argument in politics. Both are perennial and always good for another inning in default of something more binning to discuss. It is curious, how virulent, too, discussion of the time test can become. Oracles easily fall into the habit of calling each other names and ending precisely where they began. That it is difficult to tell just how much importance to attach to the time test is undeniable, especially in these days of scientifically constructed lightning fast tracks. That time meant little or nothing over the primitive "courses" of England in many respects still primitive could not but be true. This is proved by the fact that nobody, for the most part, so much as bothered about it. But with the advent of the American "billiard-table track" conditions altered and despite the continuous cry against it he who casts time out of his equation is going to regret it at least in American racing. SELLING PLATERS AND FAST TIME. The most embarrassing moment which the believers In the time test have to suffer is when a lowly selling plater beats a worlds record. That happens every once in awhile. And then wltat a shout goes up from the anti-time testers! As a matter of fact it is seldom that a selling plater does the trick except with u big pull in the weights, and it is as absurd to figure time without also figuring poundage as it would be to figure wind in a yacht race without calculations over the spread of canvas. Speed, and time, for short distances, rightly cut but moderate figure. It is speed and the capacity to sustain it that counts. Records nt sprinting distances seldom engage the attention of the thoughtful unless attended by some extraordinary feature. Even then tlioy :iro but of passing interest. But when we get "up to a mile and beyond especially beyond it is quite another story. The American Racing Manual see pp. 302 to , 30S contains an interesting "Record of Miles in l:i!K or better" which lists a total of 283 run up to , January 1, 1021. The names of the horses running these fast miles include many of no particular distinction. But when we begin to figure weight, see what happens! If we ask how many of these 2S3 miles run as fast as 1:38 were done with 120 I or more pounds in the saddle, there is a general 1 massacre of speedsters. Only 33 out of the 2S3 remain! And these 33 miles have been run by but twenty-five different horses, several being credited I with more than one. WHERE THE TIME TEST APPLIES. To afford an idea of the kind of class such feats I require, here are the horses credited witli more ; than one mile in 1:38 or better under 120 pouuds ; or more: King James, three; The Porter, three: Cirrus, Lucullite, Naturalist, and Omar Khayyam, two each. ; Do you find any selling-platers in this sextette of racers? I wot not. Now. as a matter of interest, let us take the ten miles in the table f 2S3 in which the highest : weights were carried, and see what sort of an 1 index of class it affords. Here they are: Horse. Age. Wght. Time. King James 133 1:37 Ilormis .... 133 1:38 Omar Khayyam 32 1:3S Lucullite 1 1"0 l:3Gv; " Naturalist King James 5 120 l:37i ; King James .j 120 1:T Sir John Johnson 5 120 1:38 Naturalist 1-S 1:30 Pennant 5 127 1:37 ; King James and fleruiis, the two fastest niilers under the heaviest weight, each having carried 1 133 -pounds successfully, certainly rank as two of t the grandest race horses that America has produced, the former having wou twenty-four races and 1 I ; ; ; : 1 ; ; 1 t 1 03,405. the latter twenty-eight races and 4,155. As for Omar Khayyam, which ranks third, having carried 132 pounds, while he won but twelve races and 7,010, that he was one of the best three and four-year-olds that has yet graced the turf is undisputed. We had only the other day a fine example of speed under the time test, coupled with weight-carrying ability, in the victory of Exterminator in the Independence Handicap at Latonia. Picking up 130 pounds, he ran the mile and a half in 2:30. There are no statistics available showing whether any other American race horse has ever run so fast a race at the distance under such a load of weight, but I think it doubtful. The nearest approach to it in England, according to the American Racing Manual, was the performance of Santoi, which carried 133 pounds a mile and a half in 2:31 at Hurst Park in 1001. Was Santoi a selling plater? Well, hardly. The Australian thoroughbred is by many con-; sidercd the best weight-carrier over a distance of ground of the present day. but the best thing he has technically to show is Wedding Days 2:30a, at six years, 110 pounds up; but the boasted pcrform-t a nee of the Antipodes H the 2:31 uf Poitrel, as a three-year old, under 120 pounds, aud Poitrel. as we all know, disputes with Carbine the popular hon-. ors of being the best horse ever bred south of the equator.

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