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California Harness Review - April 1937 Hoof Beats
By Jimmy Huntsman

CALIFORNIA had nine fairs with harness racing as an attraction in 1937. This was an increase over 1936—when there were but six meetings. The coming season will present additional members. This is all well and fine, but the dates must not conflict with one another—as they have—for the proper advancement. This condition will no doubt be remedied for '38.

In '36, Stockton opened (Aug. 22 to 30), then came Sacramento (Sept. 5 to 14), and Pomona (Sept. 18 to October 4). Fresno opened (Sept. 29 to Oct. 4), while Pomona was running. Santa Rosa (Oct. 8 to 12), and Del Mar (Oct. 10 to 18), conflicted with one another.

The last season ('37), Ukiah and Merced had the same dates (Aug. 6 to 8). Del Mar opened a day later (Aug. 7 to 15). Santa Rosa came in Aug. 10 to 15, and so these two meetings, although many miles apart, conflicted once more.

The "Big Three" continued, as always, in harmony with one another, as it should be—a shining example for the small fairs that are just sprouting wings. Tulare opened (Sept. 4 to 18), three days before, and closed a day after Pomona opened. Fresno opened its fair Sept. 21 to 26, while Pomona was holding forth.

These nine tracks, and the additional tracks that will operate in '38, located as they are, form a nucleus for a circuit that I have long hoped and talked for. 1 still look forward to a Great Pacific Circuit.

And now, before I go into the statistical departmentmay I take a moment to say that Santa Anita just pulled down the curtain today—March 14—with a run for charity—charity to aid those who lost possessions during the recent floods and charity for those who take a final fling with the "Goddess Chance."

In the "home town tattler," there were three writers who couldn't get together on the grand total of the "take" for the season just ended at S. A. One said the figures reached in excess of $37,500,000; another said $36,656,640, and another nearly $38,000,000. Take your pick—the smallest amount is astounding enough. What price glory? Yes, there is a price for glory—Santa Anita has turned on plenty of glory and collected along with it.

Is there a harness horseman in the audience that wouldn't be interested to take a part of such a feast a‑la sulky? Is it impossible to have such crowds and such betting with harness racing promoted on a similar scale? I think not.

John Public and his wife turn out and wager that kind of money in fifty odd days. Gentlemen, the public wants to bet! I don't know about other parts of the country, but that's the situation out here. They don't care if it is running horses or hopping frogs, but a chance to lay some money on the line—and they don't want to be all days about it.

As I have said before, those who would like to get on the band‑wagon with plenty looking for seats (meaning the public)—those (the harness promoters) will do more than they've been doing to see that harness racing goes National in putting on harness contests strictly dash events from the barrier. No other way will do. Give 'em handicaps, claiming races, dashes up to two miles. How much more must the harness horsemen be shown to prove that their system of heat racing is long over‑due for the heap? How many years must the public put up with our antiquated methods ? Of course, if it is to remain the sport of just a few—and that is the way they want it—then I guess I can put up with it. I don't have any horses to race—­probably never will have under the present system.

The following is a list of sires that were represented with one or more performers that were heat winners in California, in 1937.

There were 63 sires represented by 39 trotters and 56 pacers for the nine California meetings: Ukiah, Merced, Del Mar, Santa Rosa, Stockton, Sacramento, Tulare, Pomona and Fresno. A total of 365 heats, (173 trotting heats and 192 pacing heats) were won by the 95 horses. Twenty­eight sires had performers that won 5 or more heats.

The sire list with credits is as follows:

To compare this list of sires with the one for 1936: there were more trotters and fewer pacers, and just one more performer in '36 to win heats than in '37. It also cornparOs nine meetings, as against six meetings in 1936, which were Stockton, Sacramento, Pomona, Fresno, Santa Rosa and Del Mar. In 1936, there were 58 sires, represented by 45 trotters and 51 pacers. A total of 339 heats were won by 96 horses, or 149 trotting heats and 190 pacing heats.

Pegasus B. headed the list then, as he did the past season. In '36 he had three trotters to win 28 heats and three pacers to win 11 heats, or a total of 39 heats. Volomite was second, with 22 heats credited to his get, which were pacers. Mr. McElwyn, with three trotters and one pacer, won 18 heats for third place. Jim Logan placed fourth with three pacers to win 17 heats.

Twelve sires had representatives to win ten or more heats, including the four mentioned above.

There were 22 sires that were represented with performers to win five or more heats in 1936.

Due to the conflict in dates I am using but four of the meetings of the past year to name the drivers that won five or more heats. There were eighteen to get in the list. They are as follows:

The fastest trotters and pacers for the 1937 season as to sex and age are as follows:

Trotters—Stallion, Doctor Bob (2.023/4); Mare, Santa Margarita (2.013/4); Gelding, Leon (2.011/4); Three‑Year‑Old, Louise the Great (2.06); Two­Year‑Old, Mr. Leon (2.101/2).

Pacers—Wayne Hedgewood (2.001/4); Santa Paula (2.011/2); Buddy Maxey (1.593/4); Santa Anna (2.08); Marietta Worthy (2.081/2).

In the May issue I hope to present other statistics pertaining to the '37 season of racing in California.