Hot Springs Franchise Sought by Suffolk Group: Boston Association Among Three Seeking Racing Permit, Daily Racing Form, 1955-06-15


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Hot Springs Franchise Sought by Suffolk Group Boston Association Among Three Seeking Racing Permit HOT SPRINGS, Ark., June 14.— A fight for control of horse racing in Hot Springs | was out in the open today with one of two groups competing with Oaklawn Jockey | Club for a franchise identified as the Suffolk Downs interests of Boston. Suffolks entry into the battle, although rumored for some time, was confirmed at Little Rock last night by Edward J. Sullivan, Jr., public relations director for Eastern Racing Association, 7nc, which operates the East Boston track. Sullivan disclosed that his company is one of the bidders for a 10-year franchise here. A bid from another rival group was submitted by a Kansas City law firm which has refused to identify its clients. However, this bid reportedly was submitted by Kan-" sas City interests with Florida connections. Hot Springs racing has been operated since pari-mutuel betting was legalized in Continued on Page Forty-Fire Hot Springs Franchise Sought by Suffolk Group Boston Association Among Three Seeking Racing Permit Continued from Page One Arkansas in 1935 by Oaklawn Jockey Club headed by John G. Cella of St. Louis. State 3aw provides that only one franchise can be operative in any one county. Sullivans announcement came shortly after Pulaski chancellor Guy E. Williams ordered a 10-day recess in a suit to determine the validity of a 10-year franchise renewal granted Oaklawn last year. The state racing commission claims the franchise, granted by a predecessor commission, is invalid. The club filed suit to establish the validity. After a three-hour hearing yesterday, Judge Williams permitted Oaklawn attorney William J. Smith, of Little Rock, 10 days in which to file a written brief. A. written brief already had been filed by chief Assistant Attorney Generay Kay Matthews for the state racing commission. Three sealed bids — one of which came from Oaklawn as a precautionary measure in the event it should lose the suit — were submitted for the franchise. However, before they could be opened Oaklawn obtained a temporary injunction preventing consideration of the bids. The current hearing is to determine whether the injunction should be made permanent. Indicating that he has no intention of handing down a hasty ruling on a technical point of law, Judge Williams said: "I want to aim down the barrel before I let go." Cella was believed to be in Hot Springs today following his appearance as a witness in the Little Rock hearing yesterday, but he could not be reached for comment on the Suffolk bid. A Hot Springs group, headed by Clyde Halk, clothier, and Milan S. Creighton as co-chairman, was credited with "developing" the Suffolk bid. Halk, Creighton and Hot Springs attorney Marshall Carlisle were with Sullivan when he announced Suffolks interest. Sullivan said that if his company gets the franchise an Arkansas corporation will be formed to carry on racing and that Arkansas citizens will be associated with the enterprise. He said that a new racing plant could be constructed in time for the 1956 spring meeting. He said three sites are under consideration and an option is hold on one. * Construction of a new track would be necessary if the Suffolk interests should get the franchise, since Cella has said that ho one else will be allowed to operate the Oaklawn track. Sullivan said Halk was in Boston last Tuesday and met John C. Pappas, president of the Eastern Racing Association, and the board of directors regarding plans for the proposed new track. He said if the new track is built, 95 per cent of the employes — all except key technical personnel — will be Arkansas citizens. Sullivan said facilities of the track would be made available for national conventions and would seat delegates in excess of 10,000. Sullivan said the Suffolk interests would bring a better brand of racing to Hot Springs and promised that the track would do its share charity-wise. Cella charged at the Little Rock hearing yesterday, before Suffolk Downs had been identified as a bidder, that a competing syndicate seeking the franchise did not represent the best interests of Hot Springs. He said he had been approached by local interests "time and time again" to inaugu-* rate"a fall meet in addition to the 31-day spring meet. Such a proposal is planned by the competing Hot Springs syndicate for the new franchise. The wealthyiSir. -iJouis track * owner said his company had opposed two meets a year at Hot Springs as not being to "the best interests of all concerned." Just what connection requests for a second race meeting had with whether or not Oaklawn has a legal franchise, wasnt, immediately apparent. However; some Hot Springs interests apparently resented Cellas known lack of enthusiasm for fall racing. Cella said also that he had been approached about the possibility of night dog racing at the Oaklawn track. He said he also refused these overtures. Besides differences over the suggested fall meeting, Oaklawn opposed certain Hot Springs interests which proposed to change the 1955 season from five six-day weeks to six five-day weeks.

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