Racing is Often Attacked: Past Generations No Exception but Sport Always, Daily Racing Form, 1922-10-07


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RACING IS OFTEN ATTACKED Past Generations No Exception, but Sport Always Survived. Even as Far Back as 1857 the Tnrf Had Its Troubles Gambling and Cruelty Among the Early Charge. o "While racing has been the object of attack of many a legislature in the past decade or so all the trouble that has come to the sport has not been confined to tliis generation. Time and again there have been vicious attacks and, unfortunately, many of them have for a time prevailed, but always the sport has come back to its own. "Frank Foresters Horse and Horsemanship of the United States and British Provinces of North America," by Henry "William Herbert, and one of the most prized of early publications on the sport in America, deals with this persecution. This work was published In 1857, so that even at that time the turf had its troubles. Mr. Herbert says in his chapter on the attacks against the sport: "If the advantage to be derived from the thoroughbred horse depended on no more than his applicability to the turf and his fitness for racing purposes, I should not have assigned to him the prominent place that he occupies in this work. In fact, the race course was not, in the beginning, so much thought of as the scene for the display of his high qualities ; much less was racing considered as an end, for which the eastern horse "was imported into Europe by our ancestors. "It was for the improvement of the native Btock of horses in the various European kingdoms, by giving to them speed and endurance, in which no other breed can compare with them, that the Asiatic and North African horse was so eagerly sought by the mon-archs, especially of England, during the seventeenth and the early part of the eighteenth century. "At first the race course was resorted to solely as a method of testing the prevalence of superiority in certain animals, or breeds of animals, of those qualities of speed and endurance which can by no other method be so completely, so accurately and so fairly brought to the test. RACING SOON BECAME POPULAR, "Soon after the introduction of the thoroughbred horse this process of testing his qualities grew into a favorite sport with all classes of persons in England. Race courses multiplied throughout the kingdom and racing became an established national institution. "Thenceforth, in some degree, the objects of the possessors and breeders of race horses underwent a change ; and what had been the means became more or less the end. Horses in a high form, of the purest and most favorite strains of blood, were eagerly sought, and commanded large prices, for the purposes of sport and honorable competition, as was the case in ancient Greece at the period of the Olympic games. "At yet a later date a second change of the object has taken place and, with but few exceptions, the thoroughbred horse is now kept both in England and this country for the paramount purpose of money making, either by the actual winning of his prizes, or by his services in the stud after his racing career is finished ; for either or both of which objects the highest development of the two qualities, speed and endurance which can only exist in conjunction with thorough blood coupled with form and size, are absolutely required. "Still the first end of improving the breed has never been lost sight of, and racing has been always so constantly regarded as the only method of inducing the maintenance of studs of thoroughbreds and the continuance of a supply of pure blood. "Racing and race courses, therefore, are still, as they were intended to be from the first, the best and only mode of really improving the general stock of any country, although the animals employed may be kept merely, or generally, for the gratification of cupidity and the excitement of the contest the race courses patronized by the seekers of an amusement in which none but fools and fanatics can find anything intrinsically blamable or demoralizing. IT IS A NECESSARY CONDITION. "If it be admitted that the race courses are subject to occasional abuses, that is only to admit them not to be exempt from a necessary condition of everything human, not excluding religion itself. That they are peculiarly, or more than other institutions involving large congregations of men and women, subject to such abuses, is in no respect demonstrable or true ; and I will defy any person who has ever witnessed a general training in the steadiest and most straight-laced of the New England States, or a camp meeting anywhere, to say that he has not been directly cognizant of more gross immorality at either of these than he ever beheld on a regularly established race course." Dealing with the charge of gambling, which was made even in the earliest days of horse racing, Mr. Herbert says: "Two charges, especially of gambling and cruelty, have been brought against racing and race courses, both charges irrationally and unjustly, although most legislatures of America which seem to have an especial mission for legislating about everything which ought to be let alone and for letting alone everything that ought to be the subject of legislation have assumed the right of passing judgment on both these charges and prohibiting, or to the utmost discouraging, a noble sport directly tending to the improvement of the first and most valuable domestic animal and the development of the wealth, the resources and the power of a nation and the manhood of its urban and rural population. "The first charge is false as belonging particularly to racing or being especially stimulated by it. Men, it is known, who wish to gamble, will gamble on anything or nothing. They may certainly bet on horses running on the track and do so but they bet also on every athletic game; on many scientific games in which chance has no perceptible influence; on their own powers; on elections; on casual events; on drawing long straws; on the running of water drops down a window pane. "I have never heard it proposed to put an end to elections because men sometimes bet on them, although betting, in such cases, is not merely gambling, but barefaced bribery of the worst kind and as such intended yet it would scarcely be more absurd to prohibit elections than to prohibit contests of running horses."

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