Turf Racing in this country has been given the royal nod by Queen Elizabeth. By accepting the invitation of John D. Shapiro, president of Laurel in Maryland, to run her black colt, Landau, in the Washington, D.C. International in November, the Queen gave a booster shot to racing over grass in this country.
American turf racing is growing in popularity everywhere. Belmont and Santa Anita inaugurated grass courses this year and about a dozen tracks now have grass features, which until quite recently could be seen only at Hialeah. But old Maryland gets credit for creating our first real international race.
Two years ago the mile-and-a-half turf stake for three-year-olds and up was inaugurated at Laurel. An invitation affair, it drew horses from abroad because of proper timing and the fact that the race was run under conditions familiar to the invaders: a walk-up start and a grass course. An English colt, Wilwyn, was the first winner. Then came Worden II, Pennsylvania owned, but a French-bred-and-raced horse. This year the royal colors—purple, scarlet and gold—may well come through. Landau is a triple-stake winner, a son of Dante from the great mare Sun Chariot. Nearco is his grandpappy.
FIRST EQUINE EXPORT
Never before have the colors of a British reigning monarch been seen on a foreign course. Not even in the days of Edward VII, Elizabeth's greatgrandfather, who, as Prince of Wales, won many a Derby and one Grand National. Modern British royalty's interest in racing dates back at least to Charles II, who made Newmarket Heath his country playground and important in racing annals. His niece Queen Anne inherited his enthusiasm and promoted Ascot, which is to this day a royal demesne.
As interest in turf racing grows in this country we will, of course, develop horses which run well on the grass. To date, the top turf runners in American stables are mostly foreign-bred, with Hasty House Farm's English-bred Stan, the top 1954 horse. It is possible that the triple turf stake events at Atlantic City in mid-September will turn up some native horses which can compete with Landau, and other foreign-breds.
On September 15 two stakes, one for American-bred and one for foreign-bred horses, will be run off. Then the first four in each division will be invited to run in the $50,000 added United Nations Turf Stakes September 25th, with no added starters.
A sprinting Canadian-bred, Canadian-owned mare, Canadiana, just played with the rest of the 19 girls in last Saturday's Vagrancy Handicap at Aqueduct. Ironically, she is not entered in the richer and more important distaff test, the Beldame, on September 18th.
Only significant thing about the $144,820 Washington Park Futurity last Saturday was the defeat of Royal Note, the 2-5 favorite ridden by Arcaro.
Andy Crevolin, owner of the Kentucky Derby-winner Determine, was suspended by the California and Illinois Racing Boards, pending hearings later this month. His injudicious tape-recorded interview which appeared in The Blood-Horse had the results a more astute man might have anticipated. As we noted here last week, Crevolin gave the impression that his horses might not try to win if things were not to the stable's liking. Subsequently, Andy said he didn't really mean it, but the damage was done. The two state boards have done the only thing they could do under the circumstances. The bright side of the affair is that it aired the question of "qualifying" horses. Maybe some good will come of it.