Weighing In: Swaps Clearly Best in Notable Derby Score California Colt Wins Clean, True Contest Blazing Last Half Decided Nashuas Fate, Daily Racing Form, 1955-05-10


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» ■■■_ • •%■,...■.:. -t.1,1 "J, I Weighing In By f van Shipman Swaps Clearly Best in Notable Derby Score California Colt Wins Clean, True Contest Blazing Last Half Decided Nashuas Fate CHURCHILL DOWNS, Louisville, Ky., May 9.— The late Colonel Bradley, who knew what he was talking j about, is supposed to have said, "Give me a colt who can show a last quarter in a 10-furlong race in 26 seconds and Ill have a Kentucky Derby winner." For many renewals of the Churchill Downs classic, the Bradley formular has held good, but not this time. Last Saturday, the strongly favored Nashua not only had a far better last quarter on tap, but he was ready and able to show a final half mile in a couple of ticks under :50, sustained speed of the rarest kind. Still, that was not good enough, and victory in the "Run for the Roses" went to Rex Ellsworths sensational Khaled colt, Swaps, a leader every step of the gruelling journey. He literally ran the eastern "white hope" into the ground, drawing off at the finish as if he were still fresh and full of run. Captures Second Derby This invader from the West Coast, the first California-bred to-win since Morvich, although the California-owned Determine had been successful last May, came to Kentucky with the prestige of having already captured the Santa Anita Derby last February. But, as one who closely watched the running of that earlier feature, we can report that last week ends thrilling performance belongs in an altogether different category. This race quite simply suggests that Swaps is among the best American three-year-olds seen out in recent years. Piloted by the skillful and resourceful Eddie Arcaro," Nashua probed deep and persistently, searching for a weak spot of which to take advantage. On this memorable occasion, there was no weak spot; Swaps, trained to the minute by his owners old friend, Micha Tenney, and ridden with superb confidence by Willie Shoemaker, showed electric speed, impeccable racing manners and what appeared limitless stamina. Fine colt that he is, Nashua more than met his match, even the Belair colts best friends unable to quarrel with Saturdays verdict. Swaps victory may have astonished us visitors from Long Island, confident as we were in Nashuas innate superiority in this Kentucky Derby field. We may add that all the vocal together with the so-called "expert" opinion in and around Louisville was almost unanimous in predicting a more or less easy score for the husky Belair colorbearer. In the face of this assurance, however, the solid weight of many thousands of dollars revealed that the scales might be more evenly balanced than any of us had suspected. From the moment that the odds board flashed the sums being wagered on the various Derby candidates, it was apparent that Swaps was receiving the strongest kind of support. Early quotations even showed the Califomian as the favorite and Nashua a second choice. Unless Swaps backers were all displaying an unprecedented reticence prior to the • running, our only explanation for the flood of money supporting Rex Ellsworths colt is that it came from a Mexican "future book," attempting to "hedge" on steady, winter-long backing of a prominent California entry. Clean Running Throughout To begin with, let us say that the running of this 81st renewal of the nations foremost thoroughbred classic was absolutely clean from start to finish. Probably because of Nashuas and Summer Tans widespread fame, the field was relatively small. Unlike many previous Kentucky Derbies, this one saw no crowding, no hustling, while the tactics employed by the more prominent entries were such that the picture presented as the field passed the stands for the first time underwent no radical changes throughout the running. To any well placed observer, the race was clear as crystal, nor do we think it will stimulate the slightest argument, the facts being open to bat a single interpretation. Swaps, Nashua, Summer Tan, Racing Fool, Jeans Joe and Flying Fury — to mention the first half dozen past the finish line — every one of them showed the kind of race best suited to their particular abilities and talents, at least as far as those familiar with their style could judge. If any great race ever deserved to be called "true," this was it. As they left the gate to a perfect start. Eric Guerin shot Summer Tan across the track from the extreme post, but Swaps showed even more early foot and was in front well before reaching the judges stand, the extreme outsider, Trim Destiny, pacing him, while Arcaro had Nashua snug along the rail in third place. The clip was not overly rapid, the initial quarter caught in :23%. As they raced around the clubhouse turn to the backstretch, Swaps showed the way with Trim Destiny right at his heels, Nashua and Summer Tan both within easy striking distance. This quartet was well detached from a strung -out group headed by Cain Hoys Racing Fool. Still no sensational speed, and the second quarter in :23% for a half in Al2/. Down the backstretch, the picture did not change. And then at the half mile pole, reached in 1:12% — third quarter in :25 — Arcaro made a move, displacing Trim Destiny in the runner-up position. Between the far turn and the stretch turn, the favorite closed on the pacesetting Swaps, drawing nearly level at the three-eighths pole. The wily Shoemaker let out a wrap. Now they were really traveling, and had been since leaving the far turn behind them. Swaps on the inside and Nashua a tight challenger Continued on Page Forty Two 1 ; • 1 • • 1 • WEIGHING IN By EVAN SHIPMAN Continued from Page Fifty Two passed the quarter pole turning for home, and the watch showed 1:37, flat, that fourth pair of furlongs covered in :24%. a clip that few horsemen in the breathless throng expected to be maintained. Summer Tan, free and clear in third place and racing close up to the embattled leaders. now had his golden opportunity. Swaps and Nashua, as the fractions prove, had been at it hammer and tongs. Now was the time for what the French dub "le troisieme larron" to make his presence felt. But Mrs. Galbreaths good colt, try as he would, could never reach, and through the upper stretch the two leaders drew away. A little above the furlong pole, Arcaro. now driving desperately, had again brought Nashua almost level with his rival. A roar greeted the favorites apparent triumph. At the furlong pole itself, the ever-patient Shoemaker finally released all hold on Swaps, the Khaled colt sweeping to a clear lead with an authority for which you must take our word if you were not fortunate enough to see. That was the coup de grace : that was the race. Nashua never stopped trying, and Swaps only led him by a length and a half at the end, but — and may we emphasize it — that margin does not truly represent the amazing clarity of Swaps* score. In our eyes, the invader from the West was not only "handy" at the Derby finsh. but was also fresh and in shape to have gone on from there. How far? What does it matter? Far enough to leave any contemporary opposition, there or elsewhere reeling and staggering long before Swaps would be ready to call it a day. one-sixteenth turf course event. Included

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