Racing in the Blue Grass State Safe: Senate Kills Bennett Bill, Daily Racing Form, 1924-02-22


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RACING IN THE BLUE GRASS STATE SAFE SENATE KILLS BENNETT BILL Upper House of Kentucky Legislature Rejects Anti-Betting Measure by Vote of 24 to 14 After Committee Reports It Unfavorably FRANKFORT, Ky., Feb. 21 Racing in Kentucky is safe. The senate killed the Bennett anti-betting bill this afternoon by a vote of 24 to 14. The vote was first taken on tha minority report of the committee on Kentucky Statutes No. 1, which had reported the bill unfavorably 5 to 1 at noon. One single senator on the committee brought in a minority report and the senate listened all the afternoon to the die-hard swan song of senators who favored the abolishment of racing in Kentucky. Reformers aided by a band of disappointed politicians have ben making a concerted fight against racing as an obstructionist measure to defeat all legislation proposed by Governor Fields during most of the present session of the legislature, which convened in January. While the race track question was decided in the primary last summer as far as tha Democrats were concerned, when the issue was fought out through the state between Congressman Cantrill, who favored the present system of conducting races in Kentucky, and Congressman Barkley, who asked for votes on the strength of a repeal of the anti-mutuel plan of betting legalized in Kentucky, the reformers brought the question to the legislating eannri it has resulted in one of the most bitter legislative battles witnessed in years. Friends of racing were lulled into the belief that the "reformers" lacked the necessary strength to get any adverse measure through the legislature. They failed to take into consideration the political angle. So it waa quite a stunner for the majority of them when the lower house on Wednesday, February 13, passed the Bennett measure repealing the existing pari-mutuel law, under which wagering on races in Kentucky is conducted. Votes in the lower house on certain "ripper" measures introduced by Louisville democrats disclosed clearly the direction from which the anti-racing measure received sufficient strength to enable it to pass tha house. It developed clearly that a half dozen or more Democrats, who have never been reconciled since the late Congressman Can-trill defeated Congressman Barkley in tho Democratic primary for governor, when tho dead leader came out boldly for racing and his opponent against it, intrigued with certain Republicans that if they the Republicans would vote to kill racing they would in turn vote against the "ripper" bill intendetl to cut off certain Republican patronage in the County of Jefferson, in which Louisvilla is the county seat. These "bolting" Democrats made good their promises, although tho "ripper" measure carried All Kentucky awoke with a start. Hera was a branch of its legislature passing a measure, if enacted into law, would destroy an industry worth millions and which had been the greatest advertisement the stata ever had at its command. No time was lost. The word was spread throughout these fertile lands, famed for a hundred years as the home cf the horse and the cradle of thoroughbred breeding. Tha response was instant and delegations poureil into this city to urge their chief representatives to undo the dastardly work of the lower house in its efforts to destroy one of tho states most cherished possessions. Todays action of the senate is the answer. And tonight all Kentucky is rejoicing; the Kentucky Derby and racing in general j is safe again.

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