Reflections: Will Middleground Join Triple Crowners?" Winter-Trained Horses Were Much Best, Daily Racing Form, 1950-05-09


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REFLECTIONS By Nelson Dunsian- Will Middleground Join Triple Crowners?" Winter-Trained Horses Were Much Best Your Host Was Game, but Lacked Stamina Withers May Attract Some Derby Starters NEW YORK, N. Y., May 8. Middleground is now the only three-year-old in America who can win the "Triple Crown," but whether he will follow in the footsteps of Assault remains to bs seen. Not one iota of credit credit can can be be taken taken from from the the King King Ranch Ranch credit credit can can be be taken taken from from the the King King Ranch Ranch horse, who ran second in the Derby Trial and then came on to a glorious victory in the Derby. But there is no denying the fact that Hill Prince, who is a very slow beginner, was in close quarters at the upper turn, had to go around horses before entering the stretch and then was interfered with by the fast tiring Your Host, who failed to live up to the expectations of his loyal California supporters. In fairness to Your Host, he gave everything he had while he was still in the running, but, like Olympia, Olympia, and and quite quite a a few few other other extremely extremely • Olympia, Olympia, and and quite quite a a few few other other extremely extremely fast horses, he just could not hold the pace when the others charged at him. In this writers opinion, there were at least four starters in the Derby who were hopelessly outclassed before the race started, but that happens almost every year. The question now narrows down to whether Middleground can repeat his victory over the trio who finished -behind him — Hill Prince, Mr. Trouble and Sunglow. Oil Capitol, in our opinion, was a much sharper horse in Florida than he was in Kentucky. This years Kentucky Derby served as a testimonial to horses who were winter-trained, rather than winter-raced, for the first three to finish spent their winter months in the Carolinas, or on the farms. Max JJirsch followed the same plan with Middleground that he did with Assault in training him at South Carolina and then sending him to the post for the first time in an allowance race at Jamaica. Hill Prince entered competition for the first time in a handicap event at Jamaica on April 5 and, after a lay-off since last September, Mr. Trouble made his first appearance of the season on April 14. Ben Jones apparently likes to race his three-year-olds during the winter months, for last year Ponder started as early as January 3, the day on which he won a maiden affair for three-year-olds at Tropical Park. By the time Ponder came out to oppose 13 others in last years Derby renewal, he had run no less than seven times. Theory, too, started his 1950 campaign in Florida and it was these races which eventually led the Calumet trainer to the thought that his horse was not of true Derby material. Although no announcement has been made, we are of the opinion that Ben Jones will send Theory to Chicago, rather than to the East. In almost every year, there are three-year-olds who await the Derby horses when they arrive at Baltimore for the Preakness. It was back in 1944 that Cavalcade defeated Discovery in the Kentucky Derby, but when the caravan of sophomores moved over to Pimlico, High Quest, a stablemate of Cavalcade, was awaiting them. It is now history that High Quest defeated Cavalcade, with Discovery third. Through supplementary nominations, there will be a few three-year-olds who are likely to take on the Derby performers, and not the least of these is Mrs. Andy Schuttingers Ferd, who was the three-year-old that defeated Middleground in the latters first start of the current season. That race at Jamaica on April 11 was a six-furlong affair and it- will be interesting to see how Ferd fares against the Derby winner in a race at one and three-sixteenths miles. Other Preakness starters who were not seen in the Derby are Mrs. James Carsons Kinsman and Mrs. W. H. Labrots Balkan. These horses, along with Ferd, were supplementary nominations at ,500 each, so it is-a certainty that they will go. Should they upset the "Triple Crown" aspirations of Middleground, we would have to narrow it to Ferd, although adding in the same breath that we doubt a renewal of the result when this pair met at six furlongs. The Preakness, of course, is the next major objective of the three-year-olds, but there is a question as to whether anf of the top performers at Louisville will answer the bugle for the 5,000 Withers which will be the feature event at Belmont on the week-end. Middleground, Hill Prince and Mr. Trouble are all eligibles for this one mile race which will have its seventy-fifth running at the Elmont course on Saturday. Only two horses in history have been able to win the "Triple Crown" and the Withers, and they were Sir Barton and Count Fleet, but, with 5,000 in added money, the one-mile event has become an important one in its own right and it may attract one or more of the sophomores who showed to such fine advantage at Louisville. The Withers closed with 60 nominations and on the list are many of the horses who have demonstrated their ability at one mile. Not the least of these is the Californian, Your Host, and, we might add, the Futurity winner, Guillotine. Among the others on the list are More Sun, Lotowhite, Navy Chief, Quiz Show, Lights Up, On the Mark, Ferd and the Vanderbilt fillies, Bed o Roses and Next Move. Some of these horses would deserve consideration at one mile, even if the field included the trio who ran one-two-three in the Derby. Three-year-old fillies will add to the Belmont picture with the running of the 5,000 Acorn, to be run Wednesday. Undoubtedly, Alfred Vanderbilt will send Next Move, winner of the Prioress to the post, and, at the weights, she should be returned an easy winner. This race, though important in its own right, is a prep event for the 0,000 Coaching Club American Oaks, which will be run on May 27 at one mile and three furlongs. In that race, which is considered the most important for members of that sex and age, Vanderbilt will undoubtedly start both Next Move and Bed o Roses, who was the two-year-old filly champion of 1949. The West is sending on Aris Mona. We witnessed her victory in the Kentucky Oaks, and she impressed us as a game miss who will take plenty of beating at any distance. In the Kentucky Oaks, she defeated Won-dring and, although she had five pounds the best of it, she would not give an inch to the Dixiana miss, who is regarded as one of the best in the Midwest. Regardless of the all-powerful entry of the Sagamore chieftain, we look upon the Coaching Club as one of the best races that the Belmont officials will offer this spring.

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