Connors Corner, Daily Racing Form, 1951-05-14


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• ■ " — V|T| ■■■""" M Connors I Corner By "CHUCK" CONNORS Chief of Chart Correspondents 1 JAMAICA, L. I., N. Y., May 12.— I recently received a letter from Rev. Lawrence J. Flynn, pastor of Saint John the Apostle ■ • Church, Church, at at Hialeah, Hialeah, Church, Church, at at Hialeah, Hialeah, Florida. Father Flynn s views are so refreshing in the light of the many unjustified attacks on racing, that I have decided to devote my entire column to his letter. It follows: Dear Mr. Connors: During recent months much has been said and written about corruption ruption in in horse horse rac- " — V|T| ■■■""" ruption in in horse horse rac- racing. I myself have heard race-trackers condemned "in toto" as a bunch of hard-drinking, hard-living, unscrupulous characters whose "greed" overshadows improvement of the "breed." What amazes me most is the fact that a large number of those whose tirades I have heard and read know little, if anything, of the men and boys in the winners circle, the backstretch, or the stable area. There, Ive decided its about time that a member of the cloth came to the defense of the many fine folks who form the real backbone of racing in America. Some will ask what are my qualifications as counsel for the defense. To state a few, I am pastor of the Catholic church in Hialeah, Florida, and my church is attended by members of the racing fraternity from all corners of the nation. I know hundreds of jockeys, trainers, exercise boys, stable employees, and others who make their living at the tracks, and many of them are respectable fathers of good God -loving families. I have come in personal contact with men of all faiths, men whose honestly, integrity, and real charity have been proven to me countless times. On occasions, too numerous to mention, I have had racetrackers, many of them not even of my own faith, come to me with personal problems which revealed real, sincere consciences. In a word, I know from the record of many contacts that there are far more good folks than bad on the tracks. Just this past season, it might be interesting to note, I witnessed the sight of numerous racetrackers at daily mass; at the altar rail frequently to receive communion; in the lines at the confessional to help keep themselves straight: kneeling in prayer at different hours of the day; donating generously to the cause of religion week in and week out. I could go on and on, but the point I particularly want to make is that the vast majority of racetrackers whom I have met are "seven-day-a-week" Christians, while too often their self - appointed, self-righteous judges are "Sunday Christians" who are not opposed during the remainder of the week to accepting the "tips" and "donations" of the very folks they condemn as unmoral and un-Christian. Such things to me smack of rank hypocracy, and I detest hypocracy. Let me here emphatically interject that I am not making a case in defense of promiscuous gambling, nor am I defending the scandals which have from time given the sport of horse racing, like other sports, a black eye. My sole purpose in this letter, as stated in its beginning, is to come to the defense of the men and boys who work hard and honestly at race tracks, who love horses far more than they love mu-tuels, who, though much-maligned, I have found for the most part to be decent people, God bless them! Might I say too that I hold no brief against those who conscientiously are opposed to horse racing itself. I admire any man who sincerely follows the dictates of a right conscience. But the ones who irk me no end are those who sling mud in the eyes of others so as to hide the filth on their own door steps. In conclusion, I am not forgetful of the fact that racing has its Judases. But lets also bear in mind that all other businesses and professions have likewise had their share of Judases. There was a Judas, the original one among the Twelve Apostles. Did that make the rest of the Apostles betrayers? It did not. Rather it just put them on their guard. Eleven good men and only one bad one! Quite a fine record isnt it? I think the men and boys of the racing fraternity also enjoy a good record. The trouble is that the public as a whole, even including its own Judases, always remem- bers the name "Judas." But how many can sit down right now and rattle off the names of the other eleven "good Apostles?" I wonder! Have I made my point? I sincerely hope so. Your Friend, Father Flynn.

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