Liability Law to Blame: Governors of Eastern Racing Fear Personal Responsibility Act, Daily Racing Form, 1910-08-05


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LIABILITY LAW TO BLAME GOVERNORS OF EASTERN RACING FEAR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT. Formal Announcement of Suspension of Racing Expected to Follow Meeting of Stewards of Jockey Club Today. New York. August 4. — The Sun makes the positive ftati nitiit that the Coney Island Jockey Club lias called off its fall meeting scheduled to begin at Shoopsbcad Hay August 28 ami that the employee* of the hi;; track at the 15ay have heen notified that their services would no longer lie required. The Corny Island Jockey Cluh. as a fori oration, is already under indictment for conspiracy and the case is expected to coiue to trial in October. For this reason the directors, it Is believed, did not care to run further chances of prosecution under the directors liability law that is a new feature of aliti-lacing legislation, Formal announcement of the decision to suspend racing in the state Septeuilicr 1 is expected at a meeting of the Jockey Club stewards at Saratoga tomorrow. When Saratoga winds up at the end of the month some of the leading owners, including August Bel-mom . will race their horses on the Canadian tracks and elsewhere until the eastern season closes. Many of them will k ep their horses, including many year-linns, in training until next spring, when turfmen Loi c there will be a change for the lietter. The race tracks have been running in this state for more than thirty years. When the Ives pool law was revealed in 1N94 it looked for a time as if the sport was killed. The passage of the Percy-Gray laws a year later, however, built up the sport to such an extent that the tracks enjoyed enormous profits. The state collected u 5 per cent, tax on gross receipt! each year and in 1987 this tax amounted to ij.250.OO0. Then came Governor Hughes ciusade against betting in lyos. which was the be-ginning of the end. A prominent member of the Jockey Club is ■anted as follows: "The last two years have wrought embarrassment and finally disaster upon the local turf. Drastic legislation has blighted racing as a sport, racing plants as property and made gentlemen in the directorates of racing organizations amenable to imprisonment tor the transgressions of others regardless of personal acquaintance with the trans-grossor or their offenses. "The Hurt -Agnew law repealed the Percy -Gray law and made wageriag on turf sports a crime. The courts ruled that oral betting or the showing of odds did not violate the law. Then came the Agaew-IVrkins enactments, which were framed to cover oral betting and make directors of racing grounds liable for betting of any kind anywhere upon the property they control. People who go to the races will make wagers, and that fact, coupled with the directors liability law. passe,] by the last session of the legislature at Albany, makes it expedient for the officials of the metropolitan race courses to dose their gates. No gentleman identified with a racing association is willing t take the chances of being imprisoned, because, through ignorance or malicious intent, individuals to him unknown and beyond his control and survcil lance, make a wager of which indubitable proof is obtained. Such a transaction might or might not be a •rrame up. and yet proof thai it occurred would jeopardize tlx liberty of an innocent director. Blackmailers or unscrupulous peace officers could avail themselves of the opportunities to bum? or exact tribute, which the liability law affords, and nobody among the officials of Jockey Cluh tracks is willing to expose himself to methods involving indignity ami danger. ••Eminent legal counsel say the law will not stand the test of constitutionality. But there is no turf-niau whs is willing to become the subject of a test, hence, on September 1. racing will stop ami the stop may be Derma nent, Unless the next legislature provides relief for racing organizations they will go out of existence, and their magnificent and valuable parks will go on the real estate market."

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