English View of New York Legislation, Daily Racing Form, 1910-09-04


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ENGLISH VIEW OF NEW YORK LEGISLATION. Over in Fuglaml people interested in racing. whJcfe means practically everybody in England, eatertala a very poor opinion of the ant i-racing legislation pro cured in .New York through the unwarranted pertinacity of Governor Hughes, li might be remarked in passing that there are not lacking people of the same mind in this country. As an Interesting exhibit of the slate of opinion in England the following from Li ndon Sporting Life of August 1 is her.- reproduced: "A dispatch to the Times announces that the New Fork Jockey Club, in concert With other racing organizations, have decided to abandon their efforts lo carry on lacing after tlie end of inis month. If this report proves to be true and there is. unfortunately, no reason why it should be questioned -American spoilsmen are face to face with a crisis which marks the culmination of a prolonged and bitter attack on horse racing in New York Stale. It is a complete and amazing victory for Governet Hughes and the legislators who have supported him in his onslaught against the turf. The Completeness of the victory is only too obvious: it is amazing because it hardly seems credible that in this twentieth century a civilized community can be found that will suffer itself to be trampled on in this fashion. Those of us who have v.alclied the struggle from a distance have lieeu astounded by the apparent feebleness of the defense. The attacking party seem to have bad a monopoly of organization, of adroitness, of enthusiasm. I hey have been w inning all tlie t ime. "The campaign began rather more than two years ago. when the liar! Agnew bills for the suppression oi betting on race courses w ere passed by I lie House of Representatives by a big majority. When ihe bills reached the Senate ihe governor and his supporters received a momentary cheek, because the final vote hi tlie Upper bouse resulted in a tie. and the constitution precluded the giving of a easting rote, Tlie governor at once seal a written message to the two houses of the Legislature, in which he said: "I again urge you to enacl appropriate legislation to abolish the existing discriminations in favor of race track gambling. The failure of the upper branch of your honorable body to pass the measures designed to effect this purpose, after their passage in the lower branch, can not be regarded as disposing of the matter. The constitution, with its per-emptory laaadate, still stands. The message eon-eluded with the appeal: I therefore urge you lo discharge a manifest duty, and to end tic discriminations iu favor of race track gambling, which Cupidity inspired and now seeks to maintain. Tbe result was a special session, in which the bills were re introduced, mid this lime I hey scraped through the Senate by a very narrow majority. "The effect of ibis legislation was immediately fell. Betting on the New York race courses became •i hazardous proceeding and many arrests were made. All that year racing was carried on in Ihe Empire Slate under dittieul i ies. Many meetings were abmi-di m il. at others the stakes were greatly reduced in value, and there was a marked diminution in the attendances. Bloodstock became a drug on the market and several American breeders sent vearlings to be sold at Newmarket. Tlie following season -that is to say, last year Mr. II. I*. Whitney. Mr. August Belmont, Mr. Keene and one or two other owners of race horses shipped teams over lo Kug- land, American sports me a were inclined to regard tflis move with concern and some annoyance, ami so Mr. Belmonl and Mr. Keene let it lie known that they did not intend lo desert the American turf. "In the meaatime, efforts Were made ill the law courts to obtain rulings which would to a huge extent neutralize the effect of Ihe Hart Agm w ai ls. These endeavors were in a measure successful, for it was held thai oral betting did not constitute book making, mil Dial betting only became a crime when it was accompanied by a record of the transact hill. This decision was hailed with a sig:i of relief by spoilsmen, but their joy was short lived, for immediately afterwards Governor Hughes was reelected lo another term of office. Thai was in No veasber, 1808. The governor ami his satellites quickly let it be known tliat they were not going to settle down under the rebuff mini iustered by the Supreme Court at Albany. Tiny began deliberately to mature their plans, and the upshot was Ihe recent panning of a bill which comes into force on September i. This new act not only Imposes the penalty of imprisonment on those who bet on race courses, but also holds the managers of a meeting responsible iu law if they permit belting to lake place. "The faddists have I bus achieved I heir avowed purpose. They have not only stopped betting, but killed raclne by making it an Impracticable sport. After the end of this month there is not likely to be any more rachag in New York State, unless and until ihe Legtetetnre can be persuaded to modify the law. and there is little likelihood of an Immediate relaxat ion. "When the Hart Agnew bills were panned iu 1808 Ihe example set by the New York Legislature was copied by other states of the Inion. Racing was throttled in California mid strangled in New Orleans. A veritable wave of fanatic lam swept over the country. Whether this further lead will be followed elsewhere remains to be seen. In any case Ihe effect will be far-reaching. Millions of dollars are invested in the stud farms of Kentucky. Virginia and California : other millions are sunk in the rue courses adjacent to New York. All this eapilal is now in jeopardy, even if it is not already lost. Thousands of men must inevitably be thrown out of employment. I k at the mailer from whatever point of view one will it is a deplorable Itusiness."

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1910s/drf1910090401/drf1910090401_2_9
Local Identifier: drf1910090401_2_9
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800