Weighing In: Quantity of Handicap Races Dilutes Quality Campbell One Secretary Who Makes No Gifts High Scud Reaches Peak as Others Tail off Delaware Was Geared for Speed for the Kent, Daily Racing Form, 1952-06-17


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. %, JB Inveighing in I ■ By Evan Shipman » Quantity of Handicap Races Dilutes Quality Campbell One Secretary Who Makes No Gifts High Scud Reaches Peak as Others Tail Off Delaware Was Geared for Speed for the Kent AQUEDUCT, L. I., N. Y., June 16. It seems to be the fashion to deplore the absence of good handicap horses this year, and, with the Edgemere coming up Saturday and the really important Brooklyn Handicap in the offing, offing, this this indictment indictment of of our our current current stock stock . offing, offing, this this indictment indictment of of our our current current stock stock could well be serious. Everybody admits that Spartan Valor tops the division, and many horsemen have gone so far as to describe him as a "great" horse, an estimate with which we are in accord. But after Spartan Valor, the critics say, what have you? Well, we will not agree that this division is as weak as the pessimists claim. We believe there are too many races, rather than too few good horses. At the moment, Spartan Valor is in Chicago, so you can rule his name out for both the Edgemere this week and the subsequent Brooklyn, but the point is that any other owner owner or or trainer trainer with with a a good good horse horse can can pick pick owner owner or or trainer trainer with with a a good good horse horse can can pick pick and choose so far as stake engagements are concerned. Naturally, they all are looking for a spot, and there are so many rich races each weekend that the best manage to avoid one another. If thoroughbred racing was as concentrated as 20 or 30 years ago, you would hear no complaints about this crop, a fine crop, but one diluted by country-wide competition for stake entries. Older, more conservative tracks, and in particular, any track where John B. Campbell is in authority, will not stoop to bidding for name horses by offering them attractive weights in rich handicap races. That practice, however, is not uncommon, nor can you blame the owner and trainer for taking full advantage of these opportunities. On the Metropolitan circuit and at Delaware, to name two localities where we are thoroughly familiar with the procedure, a horse is assigned the weight he deserves, and if that horses entourage believes there are easier pickings elsewhere, why then they are perfectly free to ship out. In the old days, there was no choice. You took it and liked it, because if you did not accept the weight assigned you by the handicapper, the only alternative was to rest in the barn. Spartan Valor is Americas top horse at present, but there are many others in training who are quite capable of giving him a race if the weights are wisely distributed. A handicap, by definition, should not be a gift for any horse. If the owners of a fine thoroughbred want to look for presents, they always have the cup races, where weight-for-age prevails, to fall back on. As we had anticipated. King Ranchs High Scud took the Kent last Saturday at Delaware, the Bernborough colt from Max Hirschs barn winning as he pleased. For three-quarters of a mile, it looked like a horse race, but once Ira Hanford — who, it may be emphasized, rode a cool, aggressive, confident race — detached High Scud from the bunch, he went on to score with impressive authority. All of us expected that the winners chief opposition would come from Jampol, winner of the Chesapeake and second to Blue Man in the Preakness, but Jampol, after racing prominently in the early stages of the Kent wilted badly when the real heat was turned on. High Scud was much the best as the race was run, but it is not fair to disparage Jampol on the testimony of the Kent. The colt definitely showed signs of the "wear and tear" and you may be sure that he will come back if granted a rest. Preparing any colt for our classics, the first two of which are probably scheduled too early in the year, is an arduous business, breaks many of them down, and when they are through with the preparation and the races, all but the stoutest appear as mere shadows of themselves. High Scud, whose public performance had not revealed much, always had the full respect of the canny trainer. He did not come to hand early, and, in the long run, that may be to his advantage. Now at the peak of his form. High Scud will encounter colts who have been "sweated for the brass," and who are inevitably on the down grade, just as the King Ranchs representative reaches his peak. With the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes out of the way, the rest of the rich features for the three -year-old division carry allowances conditions, conditions that will be all in favor of High Scud. We will not attempt, just yet, to compare him with Hill Gail. Blue Man or One Count, the classic winners, but we will say that this is a good colt, one from whom you have not heard the last. As a footnote, we will remark that High Scuds breeding is somewhat exotic, he being by an Australian sire and out of a mare whose grandsire was the French Epinard. Bernborough enjoyed a great reputation in his native land, and was, we understand, a noted stayer. Epinard, of course, was one of the fastest horses of the century, but, although granted every oppportunity, has not made much of an impression on present-day breeding. Speaking of speed, we were held late at Delaware Park last Friday night and, just before leaving the track, we saw the scrapers at work on the strip. "Oh, oh," we said, "fast time tomorrow." And sure enough, when a ,000 plater won the first race on the afternoons card in 1:19% we were well aware that records were about to be broken. Then, in an overnight allowance sprint, Bayard Sharps Hannibal smashed the watches with six furlongs in 1:09, and High Scud set a new track record in the Kent with a mile and a sixteenth in 1:4215. a mark he could have bettered considerably had he been seriously pressed in the stretch. We were at Delaware a full week, and we do not think that the strip was alike any two successive days. Mind you, it was perfectly satisfactory at all times, and we did not hear a complaint from horsemen. When Delaware was "cut up" and had a deep cushion, it was fine, and the strip was also perfectly safe when it had been ".skinned," as was the case when the Kent was contested. Trainers know that Delaware will provide a fine surface on which to race at any time, but those changes were a little hard on the amateur handicapper. We can assure that valuable character that any figures he may arrive at. based on Delaware time during the past week, are completely useless, smce the condition of the track changed from day to day, and was always technically "fast," there is no common standard that we can use. I Editors Note — Nelson Dunstan is visiting breeding farms in Kentucky, inspecting yearlings to be offered at the Keeneland and Saratoga sales. His columns. "Reflections" and "Sires and Dams," will be resumed next Tuesday.]

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