Dedicate's and Eddie Arcaro's Monmouth Handicap last week would have been the 73rd instead of the 22nd if Jersey bluenoses hadn't persuaded their legislators that there was something immoral about racing. After horse racing was closed down in 1893, gulls raced each other for fish over the old Monmouth plant on their way to sea until 1946. Today the crews of freighters in the Atlantic Ocean can almost watch their investments from the crow's nest with good binoculars on a clear day.
Dedicate and Eddie Arcaro made it perfectly clear that they were much the best and took in $72,625 net for the mile-and-a-quarter run. It was an effort perfectly synchronized between horse and man. Arcaro let Lofty Peak keep the lead, but not by too much, only drawing away at the top of the stretch. Eddie used his whip slightly but authoritatively on the stocky, spunky little 5-year-old son of Princequillo and wound up three and a half lengths ahead of Third Brother in 2:01 4/5, a full second speedier than Arcaro won by when he rode Nashua to the Master's other Monmouth Handicap victory in 1956.
The track was rated fast last Saturday, but the day was gray, lowering, with intermittent thunder showers, subduing the atmosphere but not the enthusiasm of the 35,356 patrons. Monmouth, one of the picture courses of the East, is decorated with flora and the fashion world's fillies. Though slightly damp, they looked fresh and fit in the walking ring before the race, where Dedicate's fine condition was also evident.
After the race Arcaro said: "Dedicate ran very easily today—as easy as I ever saw him run. He looked like a winner all the way, and I had no doubts. He is a very good horse and in very capable hands" (referring to the trainer, not himself). It was the first time Eddie had ridden Dedicate this year, and the horse had plenty of hard luck, as well as some good fortune, before he met Arcaro (who had beaten him twice this year). He suffers from corns regularly; he is an orphan; he was crowded into the hedges in the United Nations and the International last year (maybe he's an isolationist); and he was twice beaten in Belmont's Suburban Handicap, by a head in 1956, and a neck this year. Nevertheless, the 5-year-old now has won $453,975.
Monmouth Park is not only as pretty as ever, but it is faster than before, and the management is getting the horses off more quickly than they used to. Like the California tracks, Monmouth seems to have had a shot in the loam, and the horses there have been running as if on orange juice.
—M. R. WERNER
Clich�s fell around last week's Arlington Classic as fast as the Chicago rain. Anyone referring to the Classic without the use of the word "rich" was blasphemous. When describing the subsequent winner, Clem, it was felonious not to call him "the lone invader from the East." On the day of the race the clich� machines puffed their last foggy breaths by calling the race "the magnificent mile." The truth was that before the mile had arrived the magnificent had passed.
Major American races are now blocked off into weeks. There is Flamingo Week, Florida Derby Week, Kentucky Derby Week, Preakness Week, all in honor of the 3-year-olds. This spring a great deal of time during these weeks was spent by humans worrying about the condition of horses. Classic Week allowed horses to worry about people. And, for drama, Classic Week was among the best.
By Tuesday everyone knew that Bold Ruler, once pretender to the crown as the nation's top 3-year-old, had developed splint trouble and wouldn't run.
On Wednesday, 85 hours before the Classic, drama developed with a thud. Willie Hartack, America's leading jockey of 1957, committed the painful and embarrassing misdemeanor of falling from a horse. Anyone seeing the films of the fall would have wondered if he would ever ride again. Examinations of wet X-rays on Wednesday seemed to indicate a fracture of the 12th dorsal vertebra and a possible fracture of the 10th rib. The news of the fall brought a cascade of sentiment to Hartack's bedside at St. Joseph's Hospital in Elgin, Ill. America's premier horseback rider, Eddie Arcaro, called immediately. One New York telegram read, "Dear Willie, as one of your ardent admirers, I never bet on horses, only on you. Did very well in the Derby. Get well soon so I can win again. But make a complete recovery." It was signed, "A friend."
On Thursday, after dry X-rays had been viewed, Hartack was not in as serious condition as expected. He had a fractured transverse process of the third lumbar. He had been scheduled to ride the Classic favorite, Calumet Farm's Iron Liege. As Hartack walked briefly and stiffly down the hospital corridors, Calumet Trainer Jimmy Jones fidgeted continually at Arlington Park. "I hope that boy gets well. I talked to him on the phone and he thinks he might ride the Classic. As soon as he says he's well, I'll send a horse around to pick him up."