Eastern Racing Danger: Much of the Daily Scandal is Purely Imaginary, Daily Racing Form, 1907-10-29


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EASTERN RACING .DANGER. MUCH OF THE DAILY SCANDAL "IS PURELY IMAGINARY. Necessity for More Effort on the Part of Chairman August Belmont How His Former Appeal Was Made. f New York, October 2S. In the winter of 1005 and 1900, the writer was cooling his heels in the AValdorf, in company with a half dozen other tur reporters awaiting the outcome of the agitation aroused by the efforts at Albany to harass the face tracks with legislation. Recent utterances of the Rev, Dr. Slicer made it necessary to see August Belmont at his home In Thirty-fourth Street, near JIadison Avenue, to learn if he would say anything regarding the much-discussed question. Dr. Slicer had declared that bettiug at the race tracks would be shorn of much of its objectionable features, the Jockey Club stewards having promised him that they would- do all they could to cut off poolroom information and in other ways cripple betting in the city. . It was almost impossible to see any one of the Jockey Club stewards and obtain an Interview. But by the merest good fortune August Belmont was seen entering Ills home by one of the nevspaior men detailed to watch his comings and goings, and a committee at once made a rush from the Waldorf, some two blocks away, to the home of the chairman of the Jockey Club, and were fortunate enough to find him comparatively free from the incessant demands upon his time which a business man must endure. One of the reporters, however. Air. Belmont declined to talk to, and asking each of the others which paper ho represented, the great turfman checked off upon the fingers of both hands the various papers and eliminated the representative of the objectionable journal who like a gentleman withdrew, when he found that Air. Belmont would not consent to say anything with him as an auditor. Later on, that reporter obtained from one of his friends present, some Idea of what Mr. Belmont said. and. of course lie used it. but it appeared iu a distorted form because of the hostility between the owner of the paper and the financier.. The reporter was net to J la me, for that. , Then followed, with Air. Belmont as the speaker, one of the most interesting talks on the then critical situation that the newspaper men had ever heard. He went on to show how tlie enemies of tlie turf were ravenous to seek any opportunity to put into a hole the person thought to be responsible for the compromise proposed to avert the pending legislation which would have crippled the turf. Tlie discretion of th6 reporters was asked as a matter of self interest, if for no other reason, he said, because each man there present lived by reporting turf matter. "This const.-wit agitation is harmful to the institution," Air. Belmont said, "and it is only a question of a short time until there will be no races to report unless you one and all try to eliminate the features which challenge attention from tho turfs enemies. Distorted and exaggerated betting reports arq harmful. Stories about this or that race being pulled are bad. Dont you suppose that we arc on the watch all. the time for fraud j It is a dreadful thing to suffer under false charges when one is innocent, and we are bound to protect the reputation of every man connected with the tnrf if only to show that it is not tlie nest of fraud that is charged.". This, and much other matter of interest, Air. Belmont talked of, and the thinking men who composed that group of reporters felt the sense of justice which animated Mr. Belmont in his almost supplicatory remarks that the turf should not be pilloried. Just now the racing situation seems to call for another interview with tlie chairman of the Jockey Club. Charges of foul work on the turf are of almost daily occurrence. Air. Belmonts time is too valuable, and his enormous enterprises are too vital to permit him to personally attend the races more than once or twice a week. The same applies to Air. Keene. Nearly all the other stewards of the Jockey Club, however, are frequent visitors. The Hitchcocks rarely miss a day. Air. Knapp comes down often. The stewards stand each day at Belmont Park has been occupied by two men well-verscd in racing matters, vigilant when foul riding is going on, and good judges of form, for both S. S. Howland and Harry J. Aforris, the two stewards at the meeting just closed, know as much as the average steward at. least. Both have been, and Air. Aforris still is, an owner of horses. Usually the third man in the stewards stand has either been F. R. Hitchcock, II. B. Duryea or Thomas nitch-cock, Jr. Klsewhere, II. K. Knapp, P. J. Dwyer and Andrew Aiiller have been stewards right along. All these men are horsemen, and all know tho ins aud outs of horse racing. They know, better than the average race track visitor, the ills of horseflesh because they have been all through that. They know that a horse or a mare might one hour before a race be all right as to health, but on tho verge of a contest they know there might come a little change in the aspect of the animal which means defeat. A sudden increase in temperature would mean something wrong. This would not be so bad if it was seen iu time, but, unluckily for some, that change has not always been promptly detected, aud the horse runs and is badly beaten. 1 Next day there develops an illness until then not suspected. Days of anxiety for tlie trainer and owner follow. Sometimes the horse dies, more often he recovers. But the bad race he ran goes on record and the "depe-keepers" mark-in red ink on their foot-note of tho charts: "This is not the. horses race. Watch the betting next time." They never learn of the illness of the horse. All they know is that several weeks later, perhaps, the racer comes out fully recovered, runs his race and wins. Then they howl for somebody io be ruled, off. This is the sort of criticism that Mr. Belmont and his associates deprecate. They, beinc horse owners themselves, know the faults of horse-llesh, which are more sudden and less easy to predict " than those which attack human beings. The poor horse cannot talk, hence, when he is ill or on the verge of it, tlie only real indication is the temperature. The moment his oats remain in the fcedbox not licked up clean, is an anxious one for the horse trainer. Tho suddenness of Rosebens Illness, which so much alarmed the whole racing world recently, was great. One Saturday night, "Dave" Johnson told Dally Racing Forms representative he was anxious to race Colin at weight for age at Belmont Park at six or seven furlongs. On the following Afonday he was plunged in gloom when Frank Weir telephoned to him that his great money-earner was In a very bad way, as tho result of having struck a stone in Ills race in the Flight Stakes at Sheepshead Bay, and blood poisoning was feared. Johnson did not appear at the track for several weeks after Roseben was so afflicted. He is now on the high tide of prosperity again and the large betting transactions attributed to Mm on Friday are true. Reverting to the turf situation, it Is day by day becoming more serious. The dally papers charge bad riding to this and to that jockey. . The Gold Lady Instance is made much of. A. Ii., Aste informally Continued on eecond page.. X EASTERN RACING DANGER. Continued from first page. told the stewards that his mare was badly ridden. In the west the stewards or judges would hardly wait for an owner to complain if the bud race was run there. The faet that Knapp was in trouble in June last in Montreal comes against him now. Still, he is, when on a reel good horse, .one of the best Jockeys, especially over a distance "of ground. His work on Noalon ill the two long-distance races at Belmont Park was worth the price of admission. Nealou is so good tempered that he was easily waited with until Knapp thought It time to go on for the money. His work on Charles Edward, when that colt was at his best, could not be improved upon. Other races involving good hands and head are to the credit of Knapp on the metropolitan circuit. All this would seem to make It only fair to him to give heed to his claim that when Gold Lady was beaten, it was not his fault, though the great majority blamed him for it. J. J. Burke.

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Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800