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■ ■ —- , , » r 1 REFLECTIONS ■*■ By Nelson Dunstan ~" Boxholder Protests Intruders at Belmont Hamilton Director Writes About Congestion What fs Wrong With Infield Betting Booths? Pro and Con on New York Betting System NEW YORK, N. Y.. June 9. A copy of a letter written by a Philadelphia business man to Vincent G. McCarthy, assistant secretary of the Westchester Racing Association, has been sent to us It reads, in part: "Gentlemen: "Gentlemen: It It was was thought thought you you might might be be r ■ ■ —- , , 1 » "Gentlemen: "Gentlemen: It It was was thought thought you you might might be be interested in my reason for not applying this year for the box which I held for the past two years at Belmont. At no time during these two years was I able to give my box card to parties of friends with any assurance that they would be able to obtain the use of the box. The ushers usually were far away and apparently* permitted non-card holders to enter and remain in the box. even after my friends presented the card. It became so embarrassing that I discontinued the practice and made use of the box only when I could could personally personally be be there. there. About About 50 50 per per cent cent could could personally personally be be there. there. About About 50 50 per per cent cent of the time I had embarrassing discussions with the intruders, with little or no help from the ushers to get the use of my own box. The worst instance of this situation was a day toward the end of the last meeting, when my wife and some friends arrived a little before me at the track Four men were sitting in the box. They refused to leave and carried on a by-play of ridiculing conversation about my wife when she insisted on entering the box. Fortunately. I arrived and managed to clear the box of the undesirable intruders, but only after using threatening language." There have been complaints along the same lines for several years, not only about conditions at Belmont Park but at the other Neio York tracks. In fairness to the track officials, it may be said that the shortage of help contributes in some degree to the situation, but we must add that the ushers uho are available are not co-operative. Probably, Belmont Park has at least 10 applications for every box, and the management will not be concerned because the Philadelphian , who wrote the letter we quoted, give up his for this season. Nevertheless, boxholders are entitled to what they pay for. This includes not only the space, but freedom from other annoyances. Only a few days ago, one of Americas biggest horse owners urns sitting in his box. behind which a group of men nas standing. One of these men held a cigarette so close to the owners neck that he could feel the heat from it. When he politely asked the smoker to hold the cigarette farther away, the response was abusive language from the man, who was cluttering up an aisle that should have been kept clear. During the past week we received many letters on the subject of congestion at Jamaica and endorsements of our idea that the centerfield should be opened, and benches, betting booths, etc., be placed out there when the throng is beyond the capacity of the stands and lawn. One letter came from J. J. Conway, managing director of the Hamilton Jockey Club, at Hamilton, Ont. He says: "Your article in Daily Racing Form and your suggestion regarding congestion on race tracks prompts me to send you some scenes illustrating our problem, prior to 1940, when we installed centerfield mutuels, benches, etc. extending from the back of the odds board, with sellers and cashiers on opposite sides I , which we use on Saturdays and holidays when excess attendance bulges across the racing strip. We find that many of these patrons seem to enjoy wandering about the scenery which we have developed in the centerfield." We wish we had the space to use the photograph that Conicay sent us of the Hamilton centerfield before and after the betting booths were installed there. The landscaping is done so strategically that it enhances, rather than detracts, from the view of those in the grandstand who look across the track. We seen no reason for jamming thousands of people on the lawn, as they do at Jamaica, when the situation could be partly rectified by a practical use of the centerfield for patrons. It may be that material for such construction cannot be obtained until after the war, but, with the rapid growth of the sport, it certainly will be necessary then, in fact, it is more than necessary right note. . N. R. Barrett of Flushing, N. Y., writes to say: "Contrary to the opinion expressed by you with reference to the new rule for closing the windows at post time, I find it good. I understand the rule was adopted to circumvent fraud by individuals posted in a position to buy tickets after the start. If it stopped this, it serves some good. Any fraud in connection with the mutuels tends to impair the value of my ticket." We, too, have heard this poppycock about fraud being perpetrated by individuals posted in a position to buy tickets after the start. If the stewards neglect to press the button closing the mutuels promptly at the start, that is one thing! But, even then, if some one icould explain to us just how this fraud could be operated we icould very much like to hear it. Our stand is that the neio system is little more than an invitation to those who accept ivaqers within the confines of a race track. Writes Arthur Kay of Brooklyn, N. Y.: "I am in thorough accord with your objections to the new wagering system, for, after watching it. I am convinced that just as many people are shut out as was the case under the old system. As an example, suppose, after I buy my ticket, my horse runs away? What redress have I? You will probably say that the officials would scratch my horse and therefore refund my money. But they did not scratch Ox Blood when he was hurt at the gate in the Wood Memorial. The horse ran last, as you know, but what redress was there for those who bought tickets on him? We have received about as many letters from those favoring this neiv system as from those against it. If it has some good points, we still insist it also has bad ones. It is our opinion that Ox Blood should have been scratched from the Wood Memorial, but we will await the day of a runaway before attempting to answer that point.