Here and There on the Turf: New Yorks Racing Season. Now Long Enough. Long Beach Project. Revival in Texas, Daily Racing Form, 1924-02-16


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Here and There on the Turf New Yorks racing Season. Now Long Enough. Long Beach Project. Revival in Texas. The lengthening of the New York racing season for 1924 from 154 to 158 days was not unexpected. There have been rumors that such a move was contemplated for a considerable period of time. The action of the Jockey Club in placing these extra days at the beginning of the season instead of at the end is to be commended. Although spring weather in the metropolitan . district is fickle and uncertain, it is much more likely to bz bearable in the spring than in the fall. In the spring the racing public is anxious for the opening of the season after the long winter lapse and even bad weather will not keep the crowds away from the track, but in thz fall the situation is quite different. Surfeited with the sport, the public is likely to allow cold and unpleasant weather to exercise a great effect on attendance. It was sound psychology to open the racing season earlier rather than to continue it into November. The longer season, as announced Thursday, should not be extended any further. Beginning the season any earlier than April 29 would not be wise and extending it beyond the end of October could serve no useful purpose. November weather is excellent for football, but two hours and a half or more in the open, which is necessary for a racing card, is much too long as a general thing. Football games are played once a week and the fields where they are contested arc not miles away from the center of the city. There is more protection from the elements for football spectators than for a racing crowd. In the old days of racing in the metropolitan area the racing was continued until well along in the winter and some of the old timers can recall plenty of racing in blinding snowstorms at Jersey tracks. But those days are past, and it is just as well. No useful purpose is served by carrying the racing season past the logical time of closing. Little, has bc;n heard in recent months of the projected race track at Long Beach. At last reports the sponsors of this project had definitely decided to proceed with construction, and it was intended to ask for dates after thz close of the regular season. Empire City always closes the New York racing season at the end of October, and the Long Beach course would have to run during the month of November, if it were to run at all. Long Beach is some twenty miles from New York and, while the transportation facilities are adequate, it is doubtful whether a sufficient number of people would make that long trip daily in such weather to make the venture pay its way. The enthusiasts who attended the United Hunts racing after the close of the regular season last fall were glad when the days sport was over so that they could take refuge in the heated cars of the Long Island Railroad for the return trip. The cold, damp Long Island weather in November is seldom pleasant, and at Long Beach, which is much closer to the sea than Belmont Park, it would probably be even less enticing. Competition of the Maryland tracks during the spring and fall has been a decidedly serious handicap to the New York courses for several years. The mutuel tracks of the commonwealth to the south are able to offer much greater inducements to horsemen than the metropolitan courses and the quality of the sport on the New York tracks has suffered in consequence. There are always plenty of inferior horses to fill the claiming races on the card, but there is always a corresponding dearth of stake horses. The owners of these high-class thoroughbreds will naturally go to the tracks where they have the greatest money winning opportunities. With the expansion of the breeding industry there should be a more adequate supply of high-class horses within a few years, but there is no immediate prospect of improvement. Consequently the minor stakes of the spring and fall meetings on metropolitan courses during ths period of conflict with Maryland will continue to be patronized by a class of horses considerably below that for which the events were designed. There is no remedy for this condition except a more adequate supply of stake horses. The New York tracks cannot raise the stake values to compete with Maryland under present conditions and it is not altogether desirable that such a move should be made, even if it were possible. There should be enough owners of good thoroughbreds who have the best interests of New York racing at heart to keep enough stake horses in competition on Jockey Club tracks during these periods of conflict. The report from New Orleans that a revival of racing on an ambitious scale is contemplated in Texas may mean a great deal to the project for the establishment of a strong western governing body. Racing in Texas might well serve the purpose of filling the gap between the close of Kentucky racing and the opening at New Orleans. Located, as the Lone Star State is, it would be possible for horsemen shipping to the coast for winter racing to earn part of their shipping expenses by stopping off at Dallas on the way. Horsemen from the West who plan to race at New Orleans during tie winter could well afford to stop off there also for a few days of racing. If the proposed Western governing body is to be made a really effective organization it is essential that enough racing organizations should be affiliated with it to maintain a regular circuit, it is likely that the New Orleans courses will be affiliated with this ruling body, if it is carried through, and, with racing at Chicago and St. Louis during the summer, a schedule could be arranged which would cover a considerable part of the year.

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