Jockey Club in Defense of Racing: Striking Points in Reply to Assaults in Effort to Repeal the Percy-Gray Law, Daily Racing Form, 1908-02-06


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, JOCKEY CLUB IN DEFENSE OF RACING. Striking Points in Reply to Assaults in Effort to Repeal the Percy-Gray Law, The Jockey Club made public last Monday its defense of racing iu the State of New York in i pamphlet entitled "The Truth About Racing." .t is an exhaustive review of the turf as conducted under the provisions of the Percy -Gray law, and a part of it follows: "Pacing needs no apology. in r may this in any manner be assumed to Ik- such. Bather is the aim in explanation id what it is. of its character and its class, of the manner of its conduct, of Its absolute necessity if the thoroughbred, and through him the entire horse product of this country. Ms to be made of larger worth bath te the breeder and the nurchaser. "Bacing is the only medium through whhh the comparative values of different strains of Idood are ascertained. it is the only determinative test whereby breeder and public alike may gain a relatively exact standard. Racing associations contribute their quota to this in the offering of prizes or stakes of many thousands of dollars, and by •ontinuiiig these stakes or prizes at the same distances and year after year over the same courses it becomes possible for the |n tency of some particular strain to assert itself or the mating along some certain scientific lines to prove its value. "The opjMinents of racing in the Empire State have tried for a long time to convince the farming and agricultural communities that in accepting the live per cent tax on tlie revenues of the racing issociatious may liecoine parties to an immoral compact. It has been persistently urged by those ■ha would regulate the affairs of others that moneys paid into the state treasury every year and through that channel diverted into the pockets of the farmer came from gambling sources. Nothing could iie further from the truth. The 46,000 which has been paid in for distribution in 1008 came as did tlie appropriations In former years from the gate receipts paid by the leisure loving patrons of clean sport and from the restaurant and program privileges — the open air and warm sunshine giving zest to appetites, while all are eager to know the mimes and owners of the horses carded for the events of the day. "There can be no controversy whatever as to the attitude of the Jockey Club toward betting or even wagering in the individual form. It frowns upon it in the one instance, and it antagonizes it in the general form. It has set Its face resolutely against any alliance with any speculation which may be incidental to racing, and it has taken effective steps toward the repression of any wagering which may even hy reflection be attributed to the presence of racing. It regulates the one so far as it is iNissihlc to do so and it utilizes all its efficient and competent authority to make. "Impossible the ether. "Statistics of the season that has gone prove more than words may the success of* its endeavors. For example, there were in 1007. tlie season just past. l.."7 races run on courses in New York state within the jurisdiction of tlie Jockey Club. Of these ].:,17 races, ahsoliilely no information whatever was received on 02:5 of them in poolrooms, thus making tlie laying of odds not merely hazardous to the ixxdrooni proprietors, but extremely unsatisfactory to their patrons. Tin- result of this voluntary and effective campaign was that tlie [toolrooms suffered tremendously and in many instances went out of existence entirely. "Nothing battel illustrates the effectiveness of this work voluntarily done than the recent and tlie present conditions existing. While racing was . going on in New York, there was in reality comparatively little being done in tlie way of gambling by the poolrooms. Their number was cut down marly seventy per cent, and the volume of their business decreased by nearly twenty per cent. more. "Immediately upon the absence of racing in this ; state, that is, its closing, under the statute on i November 15. last, wlfat were the conditions? The number of poolrooms nearly trebled. Pacing somewhere was accessary to their sustenance, but not racing in New York, because racing in • New York was so guarded that they were unable to obtain prompt and reliable information concerning it. Indeed, it is a matter of notorious knowledge to any person familiar with tlie subject, that every poolroom proprietor in New York state today would welcome any enactment which would make racing here impossible. It would not mean that racing would be abolished all over the couutry. nor would it mean that men would not wager on their" choices, but it would mean that the restrictions and the embarrassments put forward I by the Jockey Club would be eliminated. "Private wagering or betting, if you will, is ; an evil which it may be accepted, will be prae tfcteeV just so long as the taint of original sin is ; on men. Regulation is the remedy for this, a I regulation whicli will minimize and restrict. A prohibition in on- state will merely eliminate all 1 that is good and hearty and wholesome iu sporl without in other states eradicating the evils which 1 it is sought to combat. "The argument is urged constantly by the ene mies of racing that the present racing law is inconsistent: that it permits betting inside the racetrack enclosure, while Ix-ttiiig outside the fence is subject to severe punishment. To examine the facts underlying this specious argument is to forthwith establish its fallacy. .Continued on second page.; JOCKEY CLUB IN DEFENSE OF RACING. Continued from first page. "We have no law in force which declares betting ve ions in iis.lf. One may wager on a card game in his own home or at his club, or may bet on any athletic contest which he attends, without committing a crime. On the other hand, lie may not maintain or frequent a gambling dive or a poolroom without in. lining severe penalty. This wise distinction has Imcm applied by the legislature to racing conditions. Willi the recognition that human nature would not submit to a proposed total abolition. ol the in-liiict of speculation, the racing law con-lines and restricts such letting as is incident to racing and which is equally incident to every other test of speed or endurance to cerlaiu times and P laics. It confines the act of belling to race track incUisures. where ■ responsible and incorporated association, conducting its operations under state supervision and in a clean and wholesome manner, controls and regulates conduct, preserves order and suppresses and punishes violations of civil and criminal statutes. Obviously there is a vast difference between the act of belting under such conditions and tlie same act in a poolroom or gambling den. "It is no new principle in law or fact that what ntHy be an at one [dace or at one time may not be at another. I aw-making assemblages have emlwHlied similar principles in statutes without number. Under our laws a sale of liquor upon one side of a town line may constitute a crime, yet on the other side be permitted with restrictions: an individual may undress within the confines of his residence, while the same act in the street a few-feet distant would render him subject to arrest; a in .in may freely destroy certain game birds and animals upon one side of a territorial line, yet on ihe other is prohibited from so doing. Like illustrations abound. •Casual examination will show that the present racing law was adopted by the 1MB legislature after exhaustive consideration and debate. The conclusion was then reached, and without doubt wisely, hat belting, like inloxication. could not Incompletely eradicated and that the pro| er solution of the problem in its relation to racing lay in a statute regulating and limiting the act and placing it subject to the control and f=ui«-rvision of official bodies. Hie legislature chose this in the place ol a drastic law einliodyiiig the complete prohibition of betting, which experience indicated would have ben honored only in its breach. Frequently sir,.-,. |806 tlo- legislature has refused to alter the statute and it stands Ml? substantially as then enac ted. That it deals efficiently with the various «|ii.sii.,ns involved may be gathered from the fact that like st :i1 nl.-s govern the betting incident to lacing in England, formally and France, where laws t.i which the IMS enactment conforms have sNmhI the test and onslaughts of a century. ••Despite the vocif. rous argument the racing law-is constitutional. No lesser a tribunal that the our t of Appeals has so determined more than i one.-. The federal courts have passed upon the • s:ime question in Ihe same way. In Ihe face of these decisions, it is difficult to understand any ■■BPMttaa that the present statute offends the constitution. There is a .significant fact connected I with the c:is s referred to aliove. In practically every one of the many actions in which courts of i lie state have considered and construed the racing law the racing associations interested have been opposed by the Associated Poolroom Proprietors. Able and indefatigable counsel have been employed I by the toolroom interests ill the attempt to pro-cuie an adjudication flint the Percy Cray law was . "There ate in New York State several racing , associations, all independent of each other, but working in harmony under he provisions of the ■ pcc Gray law. and all subject lo the rules and I regulations of Ihe Jockey Club. This Jockey Club is i Lhc paraujouAt body, it consisU of fifty members, , | « ! ! I , | 1 i i gentlemen prominent in every walk of life. Among them arc a number of manufacturers., merchants, brokers, bankers and miners, while others arc of the leisure class, all united in the common cause of clean sport. The Jockey Club elects a board of stewards and these in turn appoint the various officials, assign dates for meetings and conduct the general business of the turf. There Is a racing commission, appointed by the governor, to grant licenses to he tracks, and there is also operating under the auspices of the Jockey Club a bureau of breeding, inaugurated for tlie benefit of the farmer, who is being taught by scientific methods to improve his horses by mating cold-blooded mares with the thoroughbred stallions which have been placed for service throughout the state. Already forty-eight of these splendid stallions, many of them veterans of the turf, have been placed in thirty-six counties, while two more are awaiting assignment. "The Jockey Club in order to encourage the patronage of these horses last year offered premiums at the fairs for weanlings by them, and there is now more than 5,000 of a premium list. "Now as to the useful side of racing apart from the breeding industry itself. Last year there were in active training on the tracks throughout lie country 7.500 thoroughbreds, so near as exactlug inquiry has disclosed. The actual aggregate cost for maintenance of these horses was ,212,500. This represents the usual daily fee at , which is the trainers ordinary compensation for the care, stabling, feed and training of a horse. It does not take into account, tlie special retainers paid to men in charge of large establishments. Of this ,000,000 more than ,000,000 returns directly to the farmer for oats, bay, bran, straw and other feed and bedding for the horses, leaving out of calculation entirely that which returns to the agriculturist indirectly through the large army of attendants which the racing industry supports. "There are other items that mount up into the thousands rapidly and which are dispensed in various directions. There is, for instance, that of transportation. The annual exodus to Saratoga, for example, costs for the horses, exclusive of owners and attendants, not less than 5,000. and with special trains probably makes the amount foot up nearly 0,000 more. When racing in New York has ceased there is a migration to Louisiana and to California, and this in cost for the transportation of horses exclusively will reach the total of 75,000 each year. Add to this the fare for owneA. trainers and stable bauds, for they are not tak«u free, and to it expenses of shifting from track to track all over the country, and there is, according to the most reliable and conservative estimate, including the cost of the shipments of yearlings, a sum not far from another half million of dollars. "The growfh of racing In this state has surely l* en steady. Operating under the Percy-firay law and paying one twentieth of their receipts to the state for distribution to the agriculturalist, vast sums of money have been expended on betterments and improvements of the various courses and many valuable prizes have from year to year been offered for competition, sonic of them worth to the winner upward of 11,000. Many of these obligations are entered into two years in advance of the day set for the race and any interference with present conditions would mean easily a loss of a million dollars in the aggregate by the racing associations. "There is a moral obligation on the part of the state in this connection. Having surrounded the sport with every safeguard and having every reason lo believe in the permanency of the sport, these contracts with horsemen were made in good faith. They will be lived up to, no matter what may be the outcome of the struggle at Albany; but the question which naturally arises in the minds of justice loving persons is: Is it fair to destroy the property of any man or liody of men after having encouraged ils creation? The racing associations have always thought and are still confident, that they are promoting the sport with due regularity and well within the requirements of the law."

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