Between Races, Daily Racing Form, 1950-05-12


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IandJana»J . • Between Races . By Oscar Otis GARDEN STATE PARK, Camden, N. J., May 11. — Maybe it isnt the greatest aid to the public dissemination of information since since Gutenberg Gutenberg in- since since Gutenberg Gutenberg in- invented movable type, but the innovation of Marshall Bainbridge, Jr., the good-will man for this beautiful thor-oughbred establishment in inaugurating his weekly "horse clinics" certainly must rate an honorable mention. The "clinics" are weekly beefsteak feeds feeds at at the the Philadel- IandJana»J feeds feeds at at the the Philadel- Philadelphias ancient Pen and Pencil Club, where all writers, either turf of otherwise, plus a sprinkling of radio commentators are invited to sit down and engage in informal discussions with leading turf personalities. No questions are barred. The sessions are held on a Monday, when there is no racing at Garden State, thus insuring a full attendance. "Ive watched these meetings with a detached interest," comments Walter Donovan, vice-president and general manager of Garden State Park, "and think they serve a most useful purpose. Racing, • unlike most other sports, is often not too well understood, in all its technical phases and aspects, by even veteran turf writers. This is easily understandable because racing is so complex and has so many horses, each with an individual trait, as trainers and breeders will tell you, and there are so many owners and trainers and intangibles involved that I dont think any one man knows everything there is to know about racing, or ever will. But we can make an effort for a better understanding on the part of the public, and we feel we are doing this through the medium of the Pen and Pencil clinics. * There have been only two "clinical" discussions to date, and these have been so mentally exhilarating: that already they are the talk of Philadelphia. Invitations are at a premium, last Monday, for instance, starter George Palmer, jockey Jimmy Stout and Hugh Fontaine, now an official, but formerly a trainer, were put on their mettle under the "no question barred" rule of the clinic. The first meeting saw judge Edwin. J. Brown, steward representing the New Jersey Racing Commission, and Dr. Bill Miller, the state vet, not only explaining technical details, but answering queries as to their aims and objectives for the good of racing. Bainbridge feels that developing the interest of writers and radio commentators other than specialist turf editors will in the long run be of value, for all newspapermen and radio commentators like to get their facts right, and sometimes that is often hard if they know little or nothing about their subject. Turf writing on the Metropolitan newspapers is the most specialized of all sports coverage, being in that respect unlike baseball or football. Most every kid at one time or other has played either of the latter games. But few writers have ever ridden or trained horses, or punched pari-mutuel tickets, for that matter. The public relations program of Garden Continued on Page Forty-Three BETWEEN RACES By OSCAR OTIS Continued from Page Three State Park does not stop with the clinics. Garden State is perhaps somewhat unique in that it specializes in so-called "Viper" parties, an idea borrowed directly from industry. "Vipers," in case you didnt know, was a term .born of the war, and means "very important personages." Donovan and his associates invite groups of representative people to the track to see. "racing from the inside" and all have gone away impressed with not only the wholesomeness of the sport but also the fine service given the public. Some even learned items that can be put to good advantage in their own businesses. One such instance occurred when, a group of Jersey, bankers were guests of the management and were shown through the tote operation. The bankers marvelled that so much money could be handled so fast and with an error down to a decimal point of about a millionth. In fact, we understand there was an error of only .30 all last fall when millions of dollars changed hands. Among other groups shown the "racing industry" here have been the insurance people, manufacturers association, Traffic Club, Penn Athletic Club, the executive committee of the American Federation of Labor, and the Optimists. Add in the Yearly Fashion Shows: This years by the way, was held today under the sponsorship of Gimbels, a program rife with information other than the listing of the races themselves. And withal, a beautiful garden track which lives up to the official name of the track, and a tourist is inclined to agree that the Garden State public relations program is well conceived, thoroughly bite-grated, and can only result in a better public understanding. To test public reaction to Garden State Park, the track last year listed a page in the program asking for anonymous complaints and suggestions. "Maybe we are too close to * the picture ourselves to see the mirror as others see us," reasoned Donovan; "Maybe we eMid learn something tnm the cus tomers." The results have been tabulated and_it was surprising that of the 5,000 who took the trouble to fill in the blank, most were complimentary, and a few had concrete ideas which had merit, and which the management adopted. One "gripe" had to do with automobile exits, and the management called in engineers to pass on the validity of the complaints. The experts agreed with the customers,-that maybe they had something which had been overlooked, and the result fa that this season Garden State has two new exits which have greatly facilitated the outward bound flow of cars after the races. The new traffic plan necessitated an entirely new arrangement, including the paving of a private road, but it has worked far better than imagined. Horses and People: Garden State Park is joining some other tracks in providing souvenir post cards — mailed for the customers. . .E.Clay of Hialeah has suggested that good-will men of TRA tracks get together in Lexington just prior to the breeders sale there for organization purposes. . ."Lexington, the heart of the Blue Grass thoroughbred production country, would be ideal for the meeting," explains Clay... It is understood that the annual meeting of the press agents, which, by the way, is not a union qr a guild, but rather an association to effect an exchange of ideas as to how best to •improve the immense good-will racing now enjoys with the American public, probably will hold its annual meeting and convention coincidental with the yearling formal meeting of TRA. . .Keith Carter, TRPB head in the Middle West, is still receiving congratulations on his able policing of the Derby Day throng... "Incidents" were at an absolute minimum, reflecting a policy of utmost cooperation between the TRPB* and the staff of track superintendent Tom Young, and the Louisville and Kentucky State Police.

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