Advance Guard Once More: "Figuer" System Doomed Great Race Horse at Stud Failure., Daily Racing Form, 1922-06-22


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j j i ! ! j j I I j ! j j I j : ; : , ■■ j I ! j j ! i j j ! j : j j . I | ! ADVANCE GUARD ONCE MORE "Figure" System Doomed Great Race Horse to Stud Failure. ♦ But Irish Lad, of Same Line, Sired Pellsie, Winner of the French Oaks. « BY SAI.VATOR. Recently I contributed 10 Daily Racing Form some reminiscences of that grand race horse Advance Guard, inspired by the fact that a colt from one of bia daughters had been twice a winner in good company and that this colt was probably the only racer carrying his blood now on the American turf. This being due to Advance Guard ■ exile to the Breeding Bureau of the Jockey Club, OSJ the morrow of his retirement irom the turf, because, coming from a native American famiiy, minus or.e of the Bruce l.owe "figures." he wms considered worth! ss for breeding purposes by thoroughbred breeders, then in the full flush of the original "figure" frenzy. I deplored his loss to the Am irican thoroughbrea stud and point d out the many fine performers which had come from his line. One of these latter w.:s no 1 ss a horse than Irish I ad. and I mentioned the fact that this stallion, taken to Krance, had proved a successful sire there- prompting the thought that had Advance Guard met a similar fate lie might nave had a similar h stiny. Scarcely had these observations got into print before the news aras cabled across the .Atlantic that Pellsie, a da«ighier of Irish Lad. had won the classic 1rix de Diane, the French Oaks, at Chantilly, "with the greatest esse," the value of the stake being about |26,00t, with hB.000 extra to the winners breeder. FALLACIES OF "FIGURE" SYSTEM. The incident, of course, lays fresh emphasis upon the fallacy of "figure" fanaticism and ihe propaganda inspired by it. Had Irish Lad remained in America there is little doubt that lie would have been left unpatron-ised by American breeders. But be happened to have an owner, the late II. l* . Duryea, who was passionately attached to him, and Mr. Duryea, deciding to transfer his turf affiliations to Prance, exported Irish Lad thither with the happy results above noted. Will this incident and the numerous other ones which reveal the many losses that the American stud has suffered through "figure" folly teach our breeders anything? It may be hoped that in time their constant recurrence may. Ami they again it may be as-. sumed that this is doubtful. The "figure"" organization is a strong one, its fuglemen occupy, many of iliem. high places and the propaganda on behalf of it. having the strongest of all raisons detre, a commercial mainspring, is always "on the job" and overlooks no bets. American breeders nave so long been taught, told, lectured and hectored about the sublimely omnipotent and miraculous results attained by doing their breeding problems In "figures." together with the horrible tics that attend the use of animals belonging to the native American families, that the lesson is bard to unlearn. But gradually the "logic .f events" may achieve what nothing else can. If so, s nie of the damage clone may be belatedly repaired. But In such cases as that of Advance .card it is Irreparable. Reverting again to that glorious horse it may be noted that but for the unwisdom of Alex Shields, who then owned a controlling interest in him. the s m t Great Tom and Nellie Van might have gone b the Btud in this country under auspices that would have warranted him at least a fair trial before he was thrust into the oblivion of the Breeders Bureau. Both James R. Keene and the Bella Mea le Stud made effers for him, Mr. Keene offering 3,000 after the last race of his career, the Autumn Weight-for-Age race at Morris Dark in li t 2, in which be defeated Wyeth. winner of that years American Derby, and that good horse Blues, running the two miles and a quarter in 3:57%, cantering in eight lengths ahead of Wyeth, which was fifteen lengths ahead of Bines. SHIELDS REFUSES TO SELL. Considering that Advance Guard had cost but 31,390 when Shit Ids claimed him out of a selling race as a two-year-old and in the interim had won over SGO.iXH, one would have thought that such an offer as Mr. Kcenes, in especial, woidd have been accepted, for the horse then was in his sixth year, the most tremendous tasks had been asked of him and he had reached that point where it was top weignt for him practically every time he started. However, a price of 5,000 was placed upon him, and, of course, it was not met. He went amiss before the next spring and never raced again. When scld three years later, while bid off at ,500. he really changed hands for but ,000. So the loss to Shields, and to E. II. Thomas, who owned him in partnership, can be easily calculated. "The time to sell." an old horseman whom I formerly knew was fond of enunciating, "is when you have a buyer." As he was noted for the many profitable transactions of this kind which be had brought off, the maxim always stuck in my memory and experience has amply verified its application. Only the other day Daily Pacing Form printed an entertaining story about the shrinkage in value, in one year, of the Irish horse The White Knight, from 00,000 to 0,500. Turf history is a honeycomb of similar instances. Their moral goes unheeded because few turfmen are aide to "let go" at the "psychological moment," when the letting is good. No — they must, in ninety-nine casts out of a given hundred, hang on all the tighter. And then, in a short time longer, it is only by frantic efforts and heavy loss that they can let go at all. So it always has been, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

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