Here and There On the Turf: Race Track Promoters. Culver City Fiasco. Unsound Business, Daily Racing Form, 1924-02-10


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i Here and There on the Turf - ! Race Track Promoters. Culver City Fiasco. Unsound Business. One of the unhealthy features of the present prosperity of the American turf is the fact that the popularity of racing results in attracting a class of promoters who can do the sport no good. These men corns to racing in the handling of with little or no experience a meeting and, although their ventures almost invariably collapse before they have had any opportunity to do the turf any real harm, th3 horsemen are invariably the chief losers. A group of wealthy sportsmen who held no thought of possible gain arranged and carried through to a successful conclusion a "betless" meeting at Tanforan last fall. The meeting but it laid the was not a financial success, foundation for a real revival of racing in the state of California. These men were financially able to under-wiite any losses which might accrue from the meeting. They anticipated the financial failure of the experiment and were prepared to meet any deficit. The Tanforan meeting served as inspiration for a less wealthy and less altruistic group of promoters who proceeded to construct a track at Culver City, near Los Angeles. These promoters anticipated a great financial success and they did not bother "to make sure of enough financial backing to carry through their ambitious plans. The meeting began and after it had run a few weeks the racing was suspended. Much scurrying about in search of further backing ensued and the gates were again thrown open January 2G. This second attempt fa!hd more quickly than the first and the second closing last Monday will be final. The Culver City fiasco will do the movement to revive racing in California no particular harm. There need be no sympathy for the promoters, who probably sunk little of their own money in the venture, anyway. But the horsemen who took the promises of these promoters at their face value and went to the expense of shipping their stables to the incompleted plant are really deserving of some sympathy. The that went to Culver City for the most part were establishments that have tasted little of prosperity. They went to Culver City because they thought that they would have an opportunity to-win a few purses because of weaker competition than at the larger tracks. The competition was weak enough as it turned out, but the purses they won were not forthcoming. Racing is a great sport, but it is also a great business. An immense amount of capital is tied up in physical properties devoted to racing a still larger amount is invested in breeding stock and race horses. Many of the owners and trainers depend upon racing as a means of livelihood. These men are the ones who usually suffer from the collapse of a meeting. They are caught without the means of shipping their horses to a j i track where they might have a chance to earn their keep. These things happen, not because racing is commercialized, as some contend, but because it is not commercialized on a sound basis. A professional sport must be conducted on sound business lines if it is to endure. A profes- sional promoter who operates a racing venture with an idea of gain is generally emphasizing ; the sporting character of his plan when he ; discusses it with the horsemen. A great many horsemen who depend on , racing for a livelihood are nevertheless imbued with the true sporting spirit. They will listen to the rosy dreams of the promoters, believe the altruistic buncombe of this profit-seeker and ship their horses to the course with a feeling that they arc assisting in an important revival. These men who take a sporting chance should have some protection against unscrupulous promoters. Some way should be found to curb this epidemic of unsound racing ventures.

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