view raw text
RACING IN FAR OFF ARGENTINA. Since the well-settled sections of Argentina, South America, are about as far eolith of the equator as the United States is north of the line all our winter months constitute the hot season of the southern Republic. November down there is as uncertain as March or April in northern United States, although even at that season of the. year the high schools of Buenos Aires, Montevideo Uruguay, Uesario, I.alsia Blancn and some of the other large cities arc playing "soccer" football, the "spring" tennis tournaments are on. all-around athletic events are being run oIT, the lonely baseball club is creeping out of its shell and horse racing at the great Palermo course of the Jockey Club and lesser centers is swinging into a strong gait which reaches out into a mad gallop in January. Since the founding of the Jockey Club over thirty ycirs ago, its magnticent properties, comprising its palatial home in the heart of Buenos Aires and the splendid racing grounds at Palermo, have been held as government trusts, to be returned to the state in i case they are diverted to any other uses thau those of racing and improving the breed of horses. Sunday races at Palermo were started in the early nineties, feast days being added in 1S9G and Thursdays in 1910. Various quarters for administration and social purposes were rented until 1S9G, when the luxurious Club House on Calle Florida, perhaps the most exclusive if not aristocratic avenue in Buenos Aires, was erected for over ,000,000 gold, with ,:;,000 put into the furnishings and 00,000 into the site. It is a massive three story and basement building, -with a stately, colonnaded entrance on Florida, and a lofty domed vestibule. The ground and first floors are devoted to clerical and ndininistrativc offices, the Headquarters of the famous Argentine Stud Book, and fencing, billiard, games and conversation rooms. The second floor contains a suite of magnificently furnished apartments, a great banqueting hall, with smoking and dining rooms. A circular domed ceiling, illuminated by hidden lights and supported by veined marble pilasters and handsome green marble col-umus, sheds Its soft light upon a sparkling fountain below which, in turn, is the center piece of the banqueting table around it. The walls are done in white and gold, with the panels of silk, the general scheme of the hall being in Napoleonic style. Everything culinary is relegated to the third floor, and there is a tastefully cquipied summer dining room on the roof. Yet. -with all this taste, comfort, convenience and magnificence, the Jocker Club has contracted to erect a ,000,000 house on a less contracted site than that occupied by tUo Florida Palace. Plaza San Martin, at the end of an avenue, a fine square of statues, dense Ghado trees and tropical plants, has been selected for the location of the new club house, which will have for its neighbors various legation and government buildings, the superb Plaza Hotel and several private palaces occupied by aristocratic Argentinos. The Palermo grounds in northern Buenos Aires are about half a mile square, the race course being one and three-quarter miles in extent, or three-fourths of a mile straight. There is an inner track for training. The magnificent stand for members contains refreshment, dressing and cloak rooms. Besides there were the special stands for the jockeys, trainers, and the paddocks and the general stand for the public, the latter accommodating 5,000 people. These, with the great sales yard, the massive Inclosing walks and elaborate iron entrances and other Improvements, represent an outlay of 1913.sh,000,000 In gold, or United States money. Besides the great ex-IK-nses connected with the administration .of these properties, th Jockey Club spends large sums in providing weekly and capital prizes for contestants. The most important of the latter are the Prcmio National, introduced for three-yenr-olds nearlv thirty years ago, and amounting to 0,000. besides some striking work of art. The race for this oldest and most valuable purse is run in October. In September all local horses are- free to enter the Premio Honour race, the purse being 5,000 and some object of art worth ,500 gold, and lu thesame month a 0,000 purse is hung up for three-year-old fillies and colts. An idea of the magnitude of the winnings during a season at Palermo may he gained by the figures for 1012. The horses? which gained the largest sums to their owners were: Sun Jorge, three races, 22,-4H: Mouehctte. four races. 20,555: Salina. seven races, 1,471.25; Hirondelle. eight races, 1913.sh7,500: Carlos XII.. nine races, 1,100, and the most successful stables were: Petite Ecurie, thirtv-four races. 51,272.50; La Guardia, nineteen races. 23,003.18; Alvear D.. thirty-one races 07,510; Don Gonzalo, thirty-nine races 77,375; Caseros. sixteen races, 27,S15, and Iceache, twenty-two races, 25.200. To meet the enormous outgo connected with the conduct and maintenance of these properties, the Jocky Club relies chiefly on the gate and gambling receipts, the sales of blooded race stock and membership fees. The entrance fee to the club is ,000 and tlie annual subscription S0. There are now about -1.000 members. Besides the horse racing at Palermo Park, there are fine courses at Belgrano, a beautiful and growing section of northwestern Buenos Aires: Rosario, 300 miles north, a handsome city of 200,000 people, and. after Buenos Aires, the countrys metropolis: and at Ilurlingliam, a thoroughly English village, half an hours ride on the Pacific road west of Buenos Aires. Tlie meetings at Rosario and Ilurlingliam are licensed by the Jockey Club; but the Huiiingham Club under which the latter are directly conducted is something more than a horse racing organization. It is twenty-five years old and its grounds not only provide facilities for horse racing, steeplechaslng-and polo matches, hut for the most fastidious cricketers and football players of the country-- At Ilurlingliam are also well appointed residential piarters for members who desire to live hjkhi the grounds anil enjoy, for any considerable length of time, tlie club provisions for exercise and recreation. As a breeder of the thoroughbred horse, Argentina stands high and it Is largely the Jockey Club as an organization which has advanced her to the station she occupies. Tlie business is uiore than thirty years old and has lieen furthered by the importation of some famous sires from England and France. Perhaps the most noted stud farms of the country are those known as Las Ortigas. Haras National and Haras San Jacinto. The most famous stallions imported to improve tlie Argentine thoroughbred were Diamond Jubilee, from, one of King Edwards noted studs, and Val dOr, purchased of the French breeder, M. Edmond Blanc: the former brought 50.-000 gold, the latter. 1913.sh0,000: The famous Ormonde was at one time owned in Argentina, largely through the influence of the Jockey Club, but was finally bought by lovers of running horse flesh in the United States for 50,000, an advance of 0,000 over the original purchase price. The importation of the great Cyllene 50,000 was an event in the history of Argentinas thoroughbreds. The latter was purchased for the stud "Ojo de Agua" and is the only stallion of the present day which has sired three winners of the Argentine Blue Riblion. Cyllene also holds the record for the past decade of tlie largets amount won in a season by the yroduce of one sire. The annual sale of the thoroughbred stock at the Palermo Hippodrome is a great event for buyers of pedigreed horses throughout Argentina, as well as for the fanciers of England and France. The prices naturally depend on the record made by the progeny of any special sire during the year preceding the sale of tlie yearlings. Among the highest prices paid of late years were two Kendals for 3,100 and 4,815 respectively: two sons of Diamond Jubilee. 3,580 and 0,000. and a Val dOr yearling for S.825. These sales of young thoroughbreds commenced tweuty years ago. the- number sold.- the total amount of sales and the average realized are shown below: Year. Number. Aggregate. Average. 1893 00 $ 55.025 030 1S05 173 09.130 575 1S9G 1S9 113,900 605 1S97 195 117.775 000 1S9S 213 150.125 020 1S09 li5 , 205,125 1,210 1900 172 200.0S0 1,170 1001 175 17S.300 1,020 1902 , 155 173.345 1,120 1903 235 399,320 1,720 1904 170 33.1.950 1,955 1905 272 592.S00 2,180 100G 3SG 805,750 2.245 1907 355 905,575 2,720 IMS 357 775.4SO 2,100 1909 413 1. 424.505 3.450 1910 4S3 1.543.G00 3,205 H. G. Cutler, in Thoroughbred Record.