All Season there has been a sharp split between racing people as to the relative merits of Nashua, the Futurity winner, and Summer Tan who has been his chief rival. Last Saturday the Summer Tan people had their innings. They saw their champion win the richest race in the world, The Garden State, by nine lengths. Although Nashua, retired for the season, didn't meet his competitor at Camden, the Summer Tan contingent believes it has seen next year's Derby winner.
Mrs. Russell A. Firestone's bay colt outran, outdistanced and outclassed his field in the "run for the lettuce" at Garden State Park. He earned $151,095.75 in 1:45 flat—more than most good horses bank in a lifetime of racing.
Arguments about the two top colts will go on all winter but there is no argument at all that they are both extraordinary. Nashua has earned the title, but there are many who feel that there isn't a pound of difference between him and Summer Tan. In fact there is even some out-and-out skepticism (not shared by me) about Nashua's ability to run a distance. Summer Tan proved, last Saturday, that he likes a route and as he came under the wire he certainly looked as though he might have gone on without effort.
One thing is certain. Handicapper Kilroe's weights for the Experimental at Jamaica next spring will be of greater interest than usual. These weights, assigned at the end of the two-year-olds' campaign, indicate what the New York handicapper thinks of their three-year-old potential. Another portent will be the price laid by Walter Marty in the Mexican winter book for the Kentucky Derby. My guess is that both these clairvoyants will rate them at equal weights and equal prices.
Summer Tan's time was a second and a fifth faster than Turn-to's last year in the first running of this event. The track Saturday looked sloppy as it rained hard until just before the race. But the Firestone colt, lucky in drawing number three post position, took the lead early and that was all there was to the Garden State. Eric Guerin never tapped him. The colt has now won $230,420.75, making him top money-winning two-year-old.
Second to Summer Tan was the long-shot Western colt, Simmy, owned by Mrs. D. P. Belz. His claim to fame was being second to Georgian in the Washington Park Futurity and his share of the loot was $53,993. Third horse was Cain Hoy's Flying Fury, winner of the Champagne, which had gone to the post as second choice with his stable-mate Racing Fool. A check for $35,494.75 was deposited to his account.
An interesting sidelight on the breeding of Summer Tan and Nashua is that the sires of the dams of each won the Kentucky Derby. Summer Tan is by Heliopolis from Miss Zibby by Omaha. Omaha is the 1935 Derby winner. Nashua is by Nasrullah from Segula by Johnstown. Johnstown is the Derby winner of 1939.