Here and There on the Turf: Some Real Sportsmen Vigilant and J. B. Joel Suggestion for a Dinner, Daily Racing Form, 1923-10-17


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Here and There on the Turf Some Real Sportsmen. Vigilant and J. B. Joel. Suggestion for a Dinner. Hildreth and the Committee. There has been much talk of sportsmanship in connection with the International match race of next Saturday, but unfortunately there has been considerably less of this rather rare spirit shown on either side of the water than one might have been led to expect. Nobody can question the sportsmanship of Benjamin Irish, who ran the risk of sending his Derby winner, on which he has placed a valuation of 65,000, across the stormy Atlantic to meet an American rival. He accepted all of the handicaps that the long voyage entailed and signed an agreement which would guarantee a contest, although a more commercially minded turfman might have been inclined to hope for a walkover. Nobody can question the sportsmanship of Basil Jarvis, who left his various other inter-, ests in England to prepare Papyrus for a single race on this side of the Atlantic He has shown from the start that he is out to win, not so much for the 00,000 that will go to the successful contestant as for the glory of a victory in the first of international races on American soil. These men are sportsmen in the best sense of that rather abused word. Whether they win or lose in their magnificently bold adventure on foreign soil the American public will hail them as men to be admired, and in the event of an English victory next Saturday the cheers will be as lusty and prolonged as they would be if Zev was the winner. Unfortunately this same spirit has not ruled -the utterances of some other Englishmen, or some Americans, for that matter. The wails of "Vigilant" in the London Sportsman have already come in for comment. His fears that flag waving and rowdy demonstrations would mar the chances of Papyrus are, to say the least, ridiculous. American crowds have always shown themselves rather inclined to place the foreigner on a pedestal in big international sporting contests. Nobody will forget the rabid American crowd that cheered Car-pentier in his unequal battle with Dempscy at Jersey City. Lui3 Angel Firpo, the Argentinian, has had no complaint to offer on the score of American sportsmanship. An American crowd cheered Anderson, the Australian, .in his tennis battles with the American Davis Cup team at Forest Hills. In fact, their partisanship on the side of the foreigner overstepped the bounds of propriety in his match with Til-den. A racing crowd is proverbially well behaved, and if there is any wild demonstration of partisanship Saturday it is just as likely to be for the invader as against him. The latest outburst of poor sportsmanship, however, is the parting shot of J. B. Joel the English turfman who sailed back to England Saturday on the Majestic. Mr. Joel apparently is in an unpleasant frame of mind what might be called in common parlance "nursing a grouch." He tried to buy Papyrus before the St. Leger for 00,000. A less sportsmanlike turfman than Mr. Irish probably would have accepted the offer, but this move to stop the international match failed. Mr. Joel made a flying trip to the United States; presumably for the purpose of seeing the international race. Returning a week before the date of the race he announced with an air of authority that trainer Jarvis would announce early this week that Papyrus had gone wrong and could not start. Trainer Jarvis promptly spiked this false rumor. His comments on -Mr. Joels remarks were milder than might have been expected, but this was only another example of the English horsemans sportsmanship. Mr. Joel has a right to his opinion that Papyrus is not a great horse. He has a right to express his opinion as to the outcome of the race. But he has no right to spread rumors that are so obviously spiteful. Mr. Joel and Vigilant should have a pleasant little dinner in London after the Majestic docks. They appear to be kindred souls, and possibly the few Englishmen that agree with their views of international racing and sportsmanship could be persuaded to attend this celebration; -Vigilantcould undoubtedly prepare a speech for such an occasion that would be a masterpiece. He could picture the . thousands at Belmont Park waving flags and yelling for the purpose of annoying Papyrus. He could portray the decay of the English bloodstock trade in event of an American victory. He could go on to praise the sportsmanship of the men who did everything possible to prevent Papyrus from leaving England. The cheers will hardly have died away when Mr. Joel will be upon his feet to recount what he saw in America. He might even disclose the source of his information that Papyrus is so lame that he can hartlly walk. A lot of American horsemen would like to find out about that. A horse that can work a mile and a half as easily as Papyrus did Saturday when he is in such terrible condition must be in truth a "wonder" horse. That kind of sportsmanship that prevented an elimination contest between Zev and My Own before the Jockey Club committee acted does not shed any additional luster on the history of the preliminaries of the big race. The committee did everything in its power to bring about such a meeting,, but S. C. Hildreth avoided the point at issue. Hildreths offer to race Zev against my Own at a mile and an eighth October 6 was a maneuver which succeeded in placing the onus of refusal on the shouldera of Admiral Cary T. Grayson, but nobody could blame the Washington sportsman for refusing the offer. A race at a mile andi an eighth could ha.-i demonstrated nothing as to the capabilities of either colt at a mile and a half, and even if My Own faced Zev and Been defeated in such a contest there would have been just as much doubt as there is now that the committee had made the proper choice. If Papyrus defeats Zev Saturday and there are plenty of horsemen of judgment who think that he will there will be a great outburst of criticism against the committee for its choice. Yet so masterly were trainer Hildreths moves that -the committee could not logically have made any other selectica.

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