Between Races: Turf Congress Reality in Maryland Advisory Board, Improves Status of Turf Finney Cites Progress Record, Daily Racing Form, 1951-05-23


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BETWEEN RACES * «e«-are PIMLICO, Baltimore, Md., May 22. — Maryland seems to have attained the nearest thing to a turf congress ever achieved in America. It not only works, but has aided racing in the Free State. It is credited with putting the sport on a more substantial footing than it has had in recent years. Tf. It isnt isnt, railed called a a turf turf nnneress. congress, but but is is Tf. It isnt isnt, railed called a a turf turf nnneress. congress, but but is is known as an advisory board. It consists of the leaders in every segment of the turf in Maryland save the Jockeys Guild. The board is "advisory" to the racing commission, the members of which usually consult the council before taking action of a major nature. Or, in some instances, it may ask the opinion of only one council member when some technicality is under consideration. The racing commission, of course, is not bound by recommendations of the council, but at least it does not act on partial evidence, or none at, all. The last chore of the council was to assist on legislative matters confronting racing in Maryland. The problems posed by suggested legislation were pondered and, after resolving internal differences, the council was able to present a model outline to the commission, and thus to the lawmakers in Annapolis. The councils ideas were so sound that the legislature adopted most of its program in principle, not through lobbying, of which there was none, but because the program made plain common sense. AAA The council numbers 11 members, and Maj. Gen. Milton A. Reckord of Pimlico is president. Other members are John D. Schapiro of Laurel, M. Hampton Magruder of Bowie, Harry Fluke andHumphrey Finney, representing the minor tracks, Janon Fisher, Jr., of the Turf Congress Reality in Maryland Advisory Board, Improves Status of Turf Finney Cites Progress Record of Council Jersey Courts Define Meaning of Return American Trainers Association, Goss Stryker of the Maryland Breeders Association, John A. Manfuso of the HBPA, and A. B. Highley, of the Maryland Harness Association owners of stables. Finney serves as secretary. The formation of this council was made at the suggestion of the racing commission, so it could consult with a body of men who knew intimately the problems of racing. The legislation, as mentioned, was the councils first major assignment. The modifications in the Maryland law has, among other things, made transfer of racing permits from one track to another possible in case of emergency, made building funds tax exempt and not subject to a federal levy as income, and has worked out a suitable arrangement for a differential in tax take between major and minor tracks. General Reckord remarked at a meeting of the Maryland Breeders the other evening that a spirit of cooperation among all hands connected with racing in Maryland had given the sport a much firmer foundation, legally speaking. , We dare say that if this same spirit is fostered and flourishes in the future, the problems of the sport in Maryland will be solved to the best interests of all concerned, and without airing private differences in the public press. AAA "We have never had all parts of Maryland racing so united," comments Finney. "The problems of racing usually are general, and what is good for one dapart-. ment of racing is good for the sport as a whole. While problems taken under consideration by the council are on a wide scope, they are not confined to management in particular. For instance, a fair tax bill can be just as important, or more so, to owners and breeders than to management, for a fair tax program in most instances insures a worthwhile purse distribution. The council has been just as effective in combating proposals which would be detrimental to racing as it has in advocating worthwhile reforms. Besides, such a body as the council can be of great practical value to the commission, and the long range effects of any decisions can be weighed and studied before decisions are made final. I dont know that the Maryland idea would be workable everywhere, but I am sure that the principles could be applied in any state. The council has, for instance, been able to resolve differences between thoroughbred and harness racing without recourse to public controversy. And the body qualified as an expert group of analysis and advisors on perhaps the most important problem facing racing today." AAA Legal precedents in cases of that widely used term "return" on stallion and mare booking contracts are not too clear, and it seems disputes are often arising. Last week in Jersey, a case was taken to the courts which helped toward clarification. The suit was brought by one E. D. Levinson against Meadowbrook Farm of Moores-town, N. J., the show place of Mr. and Mrs. F. Wallis Armstrong, Jr.. The contract specified that a mare to Easton would have a return if the mare proved barren • as of December 1. Levinson did not claim the return until after that date and, one word leading to another, the matter reached the courts, Levinson suing fpr the return. Continued on Page FhirM-Fowr . | BETWEEN RACES By OSCAR OTIS Continued from Page Forty-Four The court, in Newark, ruled in favor of Meadowbrook, holding that the return to be valid must have been claimed on Decem-ber 1, the date specified, and that it was not the responsibility of a stallion owner to keep track of a great many mares and ascertain whether or not they are in foal. AAA Finney, who testified as an expert in such matters as a friend of the court, remarked after the proceedings that it is somewhat remarkable that contracts are entered into by turf people.with valuable livestock without one or the other of the parties being aware of the true terms of a contract; "A return can mean anything, and often does," says Finney. "Most bitterness over return contracts arise from misunderstandings of the terms of the deal. I spend more time than I can spare ar-biting disputes which do not reach the courts. A few of the big farms in Kentucky have come to an agreement on the meaning of the term .return, but so far as I know, most other contracts vary and a return at one farm may mean a very different thing than a return at another. The crux of the matter is the two parties having a thorough understanding. People who book mares casually, usually are not so casual in their other businesses, and a lot of un-happiness and some lawsuits could be avoided if both parties reach an amicable understanding at the time a mare is booked There is no sensible reason why bookings to a stallion, and return privileges, should not be standard throughout the nation. Breeders, if they paid a bit more attention to some of their bloodstock dealings, would be a happier -group. Or, at least, some of them.

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