Reflections: Should Thoroughbred Club Coordinate Racing? John A. Bell III. Advances Idea on Retirement, Daily Racing Form, 1955-06-15


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Reflections By Nelson Dunstan • Should Thoroughbred Club Coordinate Racing? John A. Bell III. Advances Idea on Retirement Turf Congress Is Necessity for Industry NEW. YORK, N. Y., June 14.— Our mail brings a copy of the speech that John A. Bell m. made on his retirement as president of the Thoroughbred Club of America. Tnis writer nas been a member of the club for many years and naturally we are interested in all its activities. Bell is one of those young men who could have made good in any business, but, like his father, he was very much interested in . horses and decided to become a Kentucky breeder. In the first crop of yearlings he sold was Battlefield, who was bought by George D. Widener for ,500 and went on to earn 74,727. Bells speech was thought-provoking to say the least and his opening paragraph caught our eye when he said: "Thoroughbred racing needs an active organization dedicated to the welfare of the racing industry as a whole. Racing needs ah organization that can coordinate -the efforts of the various groups within racing. It is essential that the conflicting interests within racing work together for the common good." Back in 1942, after the convention of the Turf Committee of America, we suggested that a permanent racing congress, composed of all elements of the turf, be organized. The idea was well accepted in some branches of racing, but it did not get very far with others. i Every Group Separately Organized Bells address reminded us Of our own proposal some 13 years ago and whether he, or the Thoroughbred Club, will get any further is doubtful. In his talk he said: "Up to now, race tracks are chiefly concerned with problems of the race tracks, owners are chiefly concerned with the problems of owners, breed- 7 ers are chiefly concerned with the problems of breeders, and so on down the line. The same holds true for racing officials, trainers, jockeys, blacksmiths, the - press and all of the businesses allied with racing. Practically all of the groups I have just mentioned have their own organizations, but what group is truly representative of racing? What organization is directly concerned with the overall welfare of the thoroughbred racing industry? What organization is set up to function for the best interests of the thoroughbred industry as a whole? And what organization actually does function?" Had Bell stopped there he would have given his listeners considerable to think about, but he went on to answer his own questions and the club members seemingly agree with him, for they have now sent out a full copy of the address for everyone connected with racing to read. Answering his own questions, Bell said: "I dont believe there is such an organization. However, there-is an organization whose basic structure is such that it could function as a positive and powerful force to serve the best interests of the entire thoroughbred industry. That organization is the Thoroughbred Club of America." We are sorry that space, does not permit our quoting Bells speech in full? but he remarked that the club has approximately 700 members, each of whom is af-. filiated with racing in some manner. This membership represents track management, owners, breeders, trainers, veterinarians, racing officials, the press, jockeys, blacksmiths, feedmen, insurance men, members of sales organizations, member of rail, motor and freight transportation and many others. The "potential" is there, but whether the plan would work out is another question. There would be opposition in many quarters and the members of the Thoroughbred Club would be reminded that in every state the sport is under the supervision of racing commissioners. We hazard the guess that the National Association of State Racing Commissioners would be onegroup vigorously opposed to any single organization being designated to coordinate the various factions in racing and breeding. Round-Table Discussions Came Close We have always believed that our idea of a turf congress, which was advanced some 13 years ago, was a good one. Since then, however, many organizations have come into being. In the past two years we have heard considerable about "round-table" discussions in which representatives of many segments of the turf air their views. Whether that was a turf congress or not does not matter, but it was about as near to it as anything could be. The Jockey Club did not like the idea of these round-tables being called a turf congress and, in all fairness, our jockey club is the most representative body in the racing world today. Bell is an outspoken and well-meaning breeder, but his ideas are Utopian. Whitet he Thoroughbred Club of America is made up of men in many branches of racing, we doubt if they would get to first base if they were to follow Bells suggestions. He suggests that the club hire the most competent man available to serve as executive secretary, but even that would not sway some organizations who would resent their powers being usurped.

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