view raw text
REFLECTIONS By Nelson Dunstan New Jersey Futurity Thrilling Race Monmouth Will Be Beautiful Next Year Atlantic City Track Challenge to Spa Assault Will Next Appear in Chicago OCEANPORT, N. J., June 27. We journeyed here on Wednesday to see the New Jersey Futurity and, not only did we see one of the best races of the season, but also a race track which, when completed, we daresay will compare in beauty with any in the East. In the New Jersey Futurity, Peace Harbor, the winner, and also Pipette, who ran second, were by sires standing in New Jersey. Peace Harbor is just about one of the best two-year-olds to show around these parts this season. He was bred by the New Jersey breeder F. Wallis Armstrong, whose Meadow-view Farm is located in the Skeeter State. He was bought last year by Mrs. Dodge Sloane, first lady of the turf, for 2,500. For a time it looked as if Pipette was to be the winner, but, with a tremendous burst of speed, Peace Harbor was up to win by a neck in 1:05 Vs, a new track record for five and one-half furlongs. Pipette, a brown filly by Piping Rock, gave a splendid account of herself to finish second. This daughter of Piping Rock was bred by the well known New Jersey,breeder W. H. LaBoyteaux, whose Hop Creek Farm is located at Holmdel, N. J. It was indeed unfortunate that Monmouth Park had to open when their construction was far from completed. They were originally scheduled to open oh June 10. Due to bad weather the building was so hampered that they finally set it back to June 19. It is our honest belief that had they canceled their entire 1946 meeting and completed the plant for 1947 their attendance and mutuel handle would have been far higher than it is at present. Some people have gained the impression that, due to the disappointing attendance and mutuel play, the track is not going to be a great success. We do not agree with this viewpoint at all. When the clubhouse is completed and the landscape gardeners have had an opportunity to add the finishing touches, this will be a track that New Jersey can well be proud of. Some of the horsemen racing there tell us that there are quite a few holes in the racing strip. That, too, will be corrected in time, just as the Garden State officials had to do considerable work since last year to offset the complaints of horsemen about the racing surface at Camden. Monmouth Park officials were too hasty in opening their track, but the New Jersey race fans must know that if they have patience they eventually are going to have one of the finest race plants to be seen in the East. While in New Jersey we had a long talk with some of the officials who are interested in the track that will open at Atlantic City on June 22. Architect Sloan stated that this plant would be 98 per "cent completed before racing gets under way there. We looked at the plans of the entire layout arid it is our opinion that this "ocean playground race track" is going to make a far greater impression with New Jersey racegoers in 1946 than has been the case at Monmouth. The element of time has been in favor of the Atlantic City officials. Another item greatly in their favor is the greed of New York politicians in taxing racing in the Empire State to the hilt. The Atlantic City track, with its fine stakes. program and the fact that it is only 14 miles from Atlantic City itself is going to issue a real challenge to New York State for the patronage of both horses and fans. At the moment, it takes about twice as long to get to Monmouth Park as it does to Jamaica, but, in the month of August, it is going to take about three times as long to get to Saratoga as it will to Atlantic City. And, when you get to Atlantic City, it has so many more attractions than Saratoga will ever have that we believe the new track on the Jersey side will draw to capacity throngs. The decision of Max Hirsch to pass up the 0,000 Empire City Stakes on Saturday does not come as a great surpise. Assault has had a strenuous campaign and it is surprising that he has performed so remarkably well when his bad hoof is taken into consideration. Hirsch has stated that, in all possibility, he will not appear again until the running of the Classic at Arlington Park on July 27. This means he will miss the Massachusetts Handicap in Boston and also the Choice Stakes at Monmouth Park a week from Saturday. It was a certainty that very few three-year-olds would have appeared against Assault in the Empire City on the week-end. This division flattened out considerably after the running of the Belmont. On occasions, the absence of an outstanding champion will often make for a better field, and let us hope that will be the case in New York on the week-end. In offering 0,000 in added money, the Empire City officials did their best to secure a good field, but, even with Assault out of it, we doubt that they will get more than six to the post. There was some talk before the Chicago season opened of the top horse in the handicap not being asked to give more than 20 pounds to his competitors. Apparently this plan fell through, for yesterday Armed, the handicap champion of the country, carried 132 pounds to be beaten by Witch Sir, at 110, four of which was overweight, and Old Kentucky, at 106, in the Equipoise Mile. Strangely enough, it was not so much the weight that beat Armed, for the charts say he was "slow to reach his best stride and outrun early, moved up boldly approaching the stretch, was taken to the inside for the drive, lacked racing room during the last eighth and could not overhaul the leaders." It was the first time the Calumet champion was beaten since he ran six furlongs at Pimlico on May 3. From that race he went on to carry 130 pounds successfully in the Dixie and Suburban Handicaps. On the occasion of his defeat at Pimlico he also carried 132 pounds. Witch Sir has been a consistent performer this season, but it was at Tropical Park, on March 30, that he was beaten 20 lengths by Armed in a race at a mile and one-eighth. It was this race, undoubtedly, which earned him such a chunk of weight from the Calumet horse in the Equipoise. Armed will be heavily weighted in the Stars and Stripes Handicap on July 4, and in this race he also will have his job cut out for him, as there probably will be opponents who will be in there with considerable weight in their favor. We doubt that weight is going to stop him at this distance, but the trouble with the handicap is that weight is likely to give many of his opponents an advantage that is out of proportion. It is just too bad that the Arlington officials did not go through with their plan of a 20-pound span between the top and bottom horses.