To us the news causes a pang of pain as sincere and acute as if this bookie were of our own flesh and blood. We didn't mean to say "bookie" with professional contempt, for to us, the thousands upon thousands that know him best, he is not only a gentleman gambler, but best of all a real man clean through.
There are some who believe in waiting until a chap passes to the bourn from which no traveler returns ere they give expression to his inner integrity. We like Leo Schaeffer primarily because we know-the kind of man he is. We also know of his philanthropic deeds, never carried on his coat sleeve, which would fill a book. He is a living example of "We only keep that which we give."
NASHUA VS. THE DANCER (CONT.)
Before you close the books on discussion of Nashua's merits, it might be apt to remind Jolene Boyd (19TH HOLE, NOV. 12) and other admirers of Native Dancer that two questions have to be answered to determine any competitor's degree of greatness: not only "What did he do?" but also "What did he do it against?" An unbeaten record means little if it has been achieved against obviously inadequate opposition.
A real horseman's first question, whenever a champion's name is mentioned, is not "How much did he win?" or "How fast did he run?" or "What weight did he carry?" The first question is "What did he beat?"
In the case of Native Dancer, the answer has to be, "Not much." Alfred G. Vanderbilt's gray, excellent performer that he was, had the misfortune to be the outstanding horse of a generation that provided few worthy opponents to test his mettle and, because of his injury as a 4-year-old, he did not race against enough horses of other generations to justify any conclusions.
His best opponents were Jamie K., an otherwise rather moderate horse who seemed to take a big jump in class when challenged by the "big 'un"; and Straight Face, who might have been a real top runner without his stiff knee.
On the other hand, Nashua beat a number of worthy opponents, not only of his own generation, but also of the one before and the one after.
His own generation was the best foaled in the U.S. since the golden crop of 1945 (Citation, Coaltown, Better Self, My Request, Billings, Ace Admiral, Bewitch, Miss Request, etc.). Nashua and Swaps alone would have been more than enough to make any crop outstanding. But the foals of 1952 also include Summer Tan, a real crack horse when he is right (remember last year's Wood Memorial?); Traffic Judge, hard hitting and nearly always providing a top effort; Royal Note and Royal Coinage, a pair of brilliant juveniles never able to show their quality in later seasons because of injuries; Saratoga, a real danger if he did not fret himself into nervous prostration before the start; Sailor, a fine handicapper until he broke down, etc. And Nashua beat them all.
He also licked such of his able seniors as Social Outcast, Find and Fisherman, among other excellent performers, and some of his skilled juniors, notably the route-loving Riley and Third Brother in The Jockey Club Gold Cup, a tough 2-mile test which the former Belair Stud star won twice, something no horse has been able to accomplish since Dark Secret in 1933-34.
FRANK TALMADGE PHELPS
?Mr. Phelps, well-known contributor to The Thoroughbred Record makes a stout case for a stout horse—but, for the record, Royal Note, now at stud, defeated Nashua as a 2-year-old in the Cherry Hill Stakes, giving away three pounds.—ED.