Here and There on the Turf: On Turf Reforms Rule Changes Not Needed Silver Screen Menace Remedy is Suggested, Daily Racing Form, 1924-01-12


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Here and There on the Turf On Turf Reforms. Rule Changes Not Needed. Silver Screen Menace. Remedy Is Suggested. With the annual meeting of the Jockey Club all tucked away and no change in the personel of the officers one bit of routine of every season has been completed. There was no reason to expect that the meeting would result in any changes and, as a matter of fact, no reason to expect that other than routine business would come up for discussion. It is not usual at these meetings to do other than have a bit of a love feast and then, after it is all over, the stewards rather than the Jockey Club itself settles down to the business of governing racing for the next twelve months. There are some questions that will be considered before the season is opened, and it is possible that thejc will be some minor changes in the rules of racing, but there will be no drastic changes. There dees not appear to be any real need for! i drastic changes. The turf is ably and wisely j governed at this time and the sport is amply protected by the rules. Th3 question of the classified handicaps, the raising of the minimum weight, the time of! closing entries and the much-discussed question j of a better control of both added starters and scratches could a!l come in for a consideration and for rules, but most of these matters could readily bs governed by the individual association without any rule amendment. Surely it is possible under the rules for any racing secretary to put on handicaps under the classification that has been so wisely suggested by Walter S. Vosburgh. Conditions-could readily be written for any race that would fix the minimum weight at 105 pounds, or, in fact, any poundage that the secretary should desire. There is no fixed time for the beginning of the racing on any day and there is no good reason why any association should not fix the time of closing its entries. Each association is well within its right to fix scratch rules, but in the matter of added starters it is a different proposition. It is possible to add starters in stakes and, unless the condition was written into the conditions at the time the nominations were invited, it is hard to understand how added starters could be barred. As a matter of fact, it is open to argument whether or not this is a detriment to the sport. Of course, if the Jockey Club, on the suggestion of its stewards, should see fit to make amendments to the rules along any of these lines it would make it imperative on the racing secretaries that the change be made, but each association is only interested in furnishing a popular sport and, if it is found that changes would add to its popularity, it would be business sense to make the changes, whether or not they are made by the governors of the sport. It decs nst do to cumber up the rubs of racing with regulations that belong to track management, and there arc so many of these so-called reforms for the sport that are purely and simply questions of track management. While the classified handicap might prove a tremendous success at Belmont Park or Saratoga it might not do so well at Empire City or Jamaica. The minimum weight of 105 pounds recommends itself to every track, but undoubtedly more to some of them than others. And all of this applies to most of the other changes that have been suggested. It should be kept in mind at all tini2s that the associations have only their entertainment to sell the public and they should bs alive to any changes that will improve that entertainment. If the different associations can be convinced that this or that change will make the show more popular it is assured that the changes will be made without any rule changes. Time was when the turfman and racing was viciously maligned by fiction and now the silver screen has been guilty of a like offense. There is no denying that moving pictures, with their tremendous circulation, offer a wonderful advertising medium. There have . been many authentic pictures of notable races that never fail to thrill. It is well that the running of these races should be preserved on the screen. They arc a part of the history of the turf and a valuable part of that history. Any moving picture of racing is to be desired. But it is when racing is made the background for some harrowing tale of crime and disorder that harm is done. The stories of the crooked gambler and the boy who went wrong through his gambling, the sensational trick falls in the running of a race, the things that never .happen; these are the pictures that have a tendency to do harm in placing the sport in such a fahe light. The race course is an ideal place for the "shooting" of a picture, with its life and its crowds. It needs no actors to have an appeal, and that is reason enough for its being used frequently. But there must be no more misuse of the race courses to tell these sordid stories that are shown from time to time. AH of this could readily be regulated by the various associations if more care was exercised in granting permission for the filming of race track scenes. It would be easy enough to insist on having the scenario examined before permission was granted. If that does not have its effect it would be infinitely better if all fiction pictures were barred. Of course, it may be possible to dovetail a news picture of a famous race into a story of fiction that is undesirable, but at. least such a picture could not show pickpockets at work on a clubhouse lawn or the grotesque owners, trainers, jockeys and bookmakers that have never existed on any race track. The camera has its valuable uses on a race course, but too much care cannot be exercised in seeing to it that its uses are not to malign and present- false pictures of the greatest of all sports.

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