Here and There on the Turf: Some Early History. Racing Ever the Test. Answering the Enemy. British Columbia Law, Daily Racing Form, 1924-12-23


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Here and There on the Turf Some Early History. Racing Ever the Test. Answering1 the Enemy. British Columbia Law. Horses exposed for sale at Smith Field, an English mart for this noble animal during the reign of King Henry II., the twelfth century of our era, were pitted against one another to show their qualities. This, taken from "Blooded Horses of the Colonial Days," tells of how racing has ever been the test of the horse. This surely was not exactly racing for sport. It was racing lo demonstrate the superior qualities to buyers. It was the recognized and the only recognized test of merit and it telh eloquently of what racing meant in the production of tha best in the twelfth century. That is the answer to those who would attempt to cast a doubt on the importance of racing in relation to the breeding of the best horses. It was by those tests of speed and stamina that the thoroughbred horse was evolved. The horse that had for its parent root the Arabian and the Barb; the horse that by intelligent mating has gone far beyond the parent root from which it sprung. Without the tests that come with racing there never could have been this in horse breeding. The race course has ever been the only testing ground and it will continue to bs the only testing ground. And the improvement of the breed that comes from racing goes, much further for the improvement of the breed of race horses. That is only incidental to the improvement of the breed, It is an improvement of the breed right along the line and in that particular the turf has more to do with the supply of adequate horses for the army than any other agency. Long sines the thoroughbred horse has been recognized as the best horse calculated to beget mounts for cavalry and even in the other uses for horses in the army where speed, courage and stamina are essential it is the thoroughbred that begets these desired qualities. These are facts that do not admit of argument and they are some of the big things back of the greatest sport in the world. It was James I., who reigned from 1603 to 1025, who really introduced racing into England as a recognized sport of importance, though there were frequent races during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. James I. was an ardent sportsman and a regular patron of racing, which at that time was largely confined to private matches. He also gave prizes for these races. That was when racing became a sporf, but there still was and still is the big thing of improving the breed back of the sport. That is what makes the turf endure. That is why enlightened governments have fostered racing and in so doing have fostered the improvement of the breed. It was just as necessary as the building of warships and the recruiting of soldiers. The importance of racing in this relation to the needs of the army has only been recognized in this country within the last twenty years. That is generally recognized and it is still without a full appreciation and recognition. The late August Belmont did much to bring out the importance of the thoroughbred horse for the production of a suitable animal for army needs. He made many donations of richly bred stallions for the use of the government and his donptions, and others from oth?r I J sportsmen, had to do with the establishment iof army breeding posts where the thoroughbred has the stock horse used for breeding purposes. The Remount Association has, as the name suggests, organized for the purpose of properly remounting the army. It is comparatively in its infancy, yet it has done big service. It is composed of both army men and civilians and itsinfluence is far reaching. In spite of all this, from time to time, racing has been attacked viciously by those who can sec no good in the sport. Misinformed reformers, for revenue, have wrought havoc on many occasions until racing has bsen put on the defensive and too often apology was made for the sport, and the burden of proof was meekly accepted. There is nothing for which racing need offer any apology. It is the greatest sport of any country and it has, back of it, a national welfare that should demand the best support of every patriotic citizen. Thanks to what has been done for the improvement of the army horse, the racing has won itself into better graces in this country, but from time to time there conies unwarranted attacks and it is well at all times to be prepared to answer those who would stamp out the sport. It is well to, at all times, to keep in view all that is back of the racing itself and what it means to produce the thoroughbred horse. There need be no excuse offered for racing as a sport and when in addition to that there is the great public and patriotic good in the production of the best horses it should, as it has in many countries, have the hearty support of the government. Canada has had its own troubles in sustaining the racing in its domains and British Columbia has just come through one of the campaigns against the sport. The law makers of the Province, by a vote of two to one, cut the racing time to forty-four days and that limited racing season has to be shared by the various tracks. In that far western circuit there were several stables that formerly have found occupation for their horses for a season that carried right through from early spring to late fall, and this will be a great hardship on those sportsmen.- It is a circuit that is so far removed from other racing grounds that it was necessary to have long seasons to attract the horses and it is feared that this curtailment may result in some of the tracks being unable to operate. But in the meantime it is cheering to see that some of the other sections have a more enlightened idea of just what racing means and there have been some notable expansions of the turf. It is probable that the coming in of Florida through the meeting of the Miami Jockey Club, soon to open, will do a great good in restoring the thoroughbred horse to that state. Illinois is back in the racing column and Missouri is about to come back. The sections where racing has been conducted all have thriving sport and altogether racing has less cause for complaint than in many a year. While enjoying this era of prosperity it is incumbent on the various associations to build up their fences against the attacks that arc an ever present menace. The racing must be kept above reproach and must be of a character to emphasize the fact that the underlying principle is to better the breed of horses. I

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