Incentive of Argentine Racing: Conducted Mainly for Betting and Little of True Sportsmanship Manifested, Daily Racing Form, 1919-02-13


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INCENTIVE OF ARGENTINE RACING Conducted Mainly for Betting and Little of True Sportsmanship Manifested. I have not taken any part in the discussion that lias been going on about the value of racing stakes in tills country, for it seems to me that there is really no cause whatever for complaint except in regard to the various obsolete fees which certainly ought to be done away with. It is idle to run a tilt against the present state of affairs unless those who do so are prepared boldly to advocate the introduction of the totalisator or the licensing of bookmakers. I . do not gather that Lord DAbernons association is inclined to venture tints far out into the open. Unless for the purpose of v relieving the London ratepayer, I trust we may never see rating in this country as it is in the Argentine. To make Londoners understand what it would be, they would have to imagine race meetings in Hyde Park every Sunday and Thursday afternoon, with all possible facilities for gambling on. the "tote." Tint is what happens on the Palermo race course all the year round, and it is as much a iart of Buenos Aires as Hyde Park is of London. I have been at a good many Palermo meetings, and, of course, the novelty is interesting at first, but it does not take you long to find that the element of snort is almost entirely lacking. The monotony of seeing the same horses run twice every week on the same course would becoine intolerable if one did not regard them as nothing more important, individually,, than tile petits cliev-uux. In this country it would be almost impossible to get horses to face such an ordeal, and I have watched carefully at Palermo to see signs of some at least of the runners turning it up, but they all seemed like galley slaves, with no heart in them to rebel. This is the more remarkable, because practically all of them are trained on or near the same ground and witli little or no variety of gallops. They line up and start in a matter-of-fact, listless fashion, and hot in the paddock or anywhere else that I have seen do they display the fire and vitality which we are accustomed to see in onr horses when they are fit and well. It is the same in their stables, where they are as quiet as sheep, and it lias always seemed to me that the climate is the true cause of these conditions. It is- incredible that Diamond Jubilee, had he remained in. England, would ever have become the placid, tractable beast which he certainly was after a brief sojourn in South America. The horses bred there grow big, and apparently strong, but the soul of the British thoroughbred seems to have gone out of them and its fire fled. By no stretch of imagination can it be regarded as an exhilarating pastime to, see these spiritless animals opposing one another week by week always on the same course; but "the gambling public cares for none of these things any more than Gallio did when the Jews beat Sostheues in his presence. All that the gambling public of "B. A." cares for is to gamble. I do not dispute that there have been good horses bred in the Argentine, but it would need a Ravensbury to stand frequent racing under such trying conditions. .. That the Jockey Club find the municipality of Buenos Aires draw large sums from the totalisator percentage goes without the saying, but the racing is certainly not of a sort to .benefit the breed of horses or in any way promote the cause of sport. W. Allison in London Sportsman.

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