"The racer," declared the Autocrat of the Breakfast Table one morning, "is most cultivated and reaches his greatest perfection in England."
Unfortunately for the American attempt to disprove this statement, conditions here appear, at the last moment, to be in state of flux. Zev seems to be itching too much for today's international race while My Own, who has been rushed in as a possible substitute, is said to be an erratic performer.
Whichever horse races, however, there are one or two alleviating circumstances which ma revive hope in the breasts of such faint patriots as are beginning to finger their wallets with uneasy smiles. The most important point of all is that Papyrus--correctly accented on the penult--will be under a distinct handicap in facing outside his native haunts. Why this should be so, aside from climatic reasons, is difficult to say; but it is a rule which seems to hold in almost every form of sport. Some of the most illuminating examples of the truth of this statement are to be round in Anglo-American golf competitions. Walter Travis won in England in 1930, and Harold Hilton duplicated his feat at least once in America, but except for these two, foreign invaders have very rarely triumphed over native sons. There have, of course, been others. Jimmy Wilde, for example, probably the world's greatest flyweight, could win anywhere, and the brothers Doherty of England were as easily supreme at tennis in their day as "Big Bill" Tilden is at the present.
In general, however, the rule holds good. Given two competitors of equal ability, the one performing in the midst of familiar surroundings has a fairly definite advantage. Papyrus, for instance, used to turf under foot, will be running on a dirt track--this afternoon. Taking these things into consideration, always assuming that Zev or My Own can hold his speed for the full distance, the weak-spirited may pluck up their courage. Doctor Holmes, after all, may net have been infallible.