Judges Stand: Winn Sees Successful 44 Season Points Out some Racing Pitfalls Chicago, N.Y. Meets on 43 Scenes near-Record Derby Field Predicted, Daily Racing Form, 1944-04-10


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JUDGES STAND By Charles Hatton Winn Sees Successful 44 Season Points Out Some Racing Pitfalls Chicago, N. Y. Meets on 43 Scenes Near-Record Derby Field Predicted LOUISVILLE. Ky., April 8. Churchill Downs appeared quite deserted, j The wind swirled the snow around the fa- ] miliar twin spires atop the ancient stands. , Deep within the venerable stadium, however. 1 desk lights glowed, t typewriters clattered j noisily, phones rang , incessantly and a staff , of clerks moved about , briskly among the , desks. Running a , gauntlet of outer of- • fices, we came pres- ently to Colonel Winns . cheerful inner sanc tum, elegantly furnished in massive antiques of the federal period. The portly figure of the white-haired Colonel sat hunched over a rolltop desk, wheie he was signing things tediously. Swiveling about at our intrusion, he boomed a cordial greeting, motioned to a chair and leaned back at a comfortable angle. The conversation was all of racing. Winn now is the doyen of Americas turf impresari, with a half-century of experience catering to the race-going public. The Kentucky Derby is his "masterpiece" of course and currently occupies most of his time. On his recent winter odyssey east, he devoted his talents to Empire City, Laurel and Lincoln Fields. As an operator of race courses in Kentucky, Illinois, New York and Maryland, the guileful octogenarian has a better grasp of the racing situation generally than most of his contemporaries. The 1944 turf season is beginning in all these areas and in New England. Winn is of the opinion it will outstrip even 43 as to patronage and assistance in War Relief. Circumstances rather than mere wishful thinking generates this optimism. "Winning this war is our first concern, of course," the Kentuckian said, "and racing has a splendid war record of aid to Army and Navy Relief, the Red Cross, USO and other agencies, contriving at the same time to cooperate with the governments transportation authorities." Winn does not regard racings present preeminence among American sport* as some temporary, war-time phenomenon. He sees nothing synthetic in this wave of popularity. On the contrary, he expects it will increase after the war. *It is only natural a few mistakes have been made, but these will be rectified in due course," the colonel reflected. "Racing should avoid repeating its mistakes and profit by its experience." He noted that the thoroughbred industrys mechanics have undergone many changes in recent years. For one thing the tracks, trainers. breeders, jockeys, mutuel clerks, et al, have become far better organized. Winn believes no harm and possibly some good will come of this, if the various groups are reasonable and exercise foresight m their relations. He considers dates a matter of utmost importance. "I have seen a good many tracks come and go," he said, "and it is my observation that when the sport declines in some area in which it has flourished, the blame can be ascribed to dates, oftener than not." He takes a dim view of futurities in this era of tremendous race track business, except at meets such as Keeneland s and Saratogas in the old days, which he characterizes as "horsemens propositions." Winn accounts Kentuckiam the most discriminating of turf enthusiasts. Racing and the thoroughbred, he explains, is an integral part of the lives of so many of the states residents. The fact that the Kentucky Derbys potential drawing power has been circumscribed by transportation regulations has not precipitated a slump in box reservations. "It seems everybody in the Three Falls cities plans to be present May 6," Winn chortled. Most track managements anticipate that the summer campaign in Eurasia will necessitate the same convergence of meeting as in 43. At any rate, there will be no departure from last year in the scenes of the various New York and Chicago meets. The Derby is not Winns only achievement as a turf promoter. In 1904 he organized the American Turf Association and acquitted himself so skilfully in opposing the Cella -Condon confederacy he won the formers admiration and was employed to bring peace between the warring track factions at New Orleans. He was instrumental also in placing Empire and Laurel on firm foundations. The Colonel was somewhat of a firebrand in those days. His conferee, pan OSullivan, described him as "the only Irish diplomat in captivity." He has mellowed in recent years. For decades, he has read himself to sleep nightly, persuing Lecky, Macauley and Don Byrne. He stilt 1% among racings most entertaining | | raconteurs and can make the rafters ring with a recital Rabelais himself could not surpass. Few aside from his associates are aware of it, but Winn is a pretty shrewd judge of horseflesh. He has witnessed all the Kentucky Derbies. He was the first to perceive Alsabs inherent capacity and describes him as "the most remarkable horse I have ever seen." He imagines the Derby field this spring will number "about twenty," even after such prelims as the Wood, Chesapeake, Blue Grass Stakes and Derby Trial have eliminated the usual amount of chaff.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1940s/drf1944041001/drf1944041001_8_1
Local Identifier: drf1944041001_8_1
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800