Reflections: New York City Takes a Bite Horsemen May Protest Use Tax ODT Bars Louisville Travel Help the War Effort They Ask, Daily Racing Form, 1944-04-08


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JbtM »— ™ REFLECTIONS By Nelson Dunston New York City Takes a Bite Horsemen May Protest Use Tax ODT Bars Louisville Travel Help the War Effort They Ask NEW YORK, N. Y.. April 7. On the eve of the opening of the New York racing season, the City of New York, through the agency of the comptrollers office, posted a notice in the secretarys office at Jamaica that it would impose, or invoke, the compensatory use tax on every owner who sent a horse to the post at tracks within the corporate limits of the city. The ukase very plainly stated that the city would demand »— ™ the collection of 1 per cent of the value of every thoroughbred who appeared under silks, or, in the case of selling platers, 1 per cent of the price for which they are entered. As to the validity of this ordinance, we do not pretend to know. That must be left to the legal minds. Whether this tax is the result of the peeve of city management, which has been rebuffed in all efforts to blacken legalized horse racing, is a question. But it appears to us that it is nothing more than a further attempt to embarrass and handicap a sport which last year paid the state of New York 9,000,000 in taxation. This tax is not to be paid by the managements at either Jamaica or Aqueduct. They are not directly involved in so far as the city tax is concerned, but they will be handicapped if the horsemen refuse to race at either course in order to avoid what owners, especially small owners, consider an unjust and discriminatory, and possibly an illegal, tribute. As the racing organizations are not directly involved, it would seem to us that the Horsemens Benevolent and Protective Association, which was organized specifically for the purpose of improving the lot of horse owners, should protect their members to the utmost in this instance. The HBPA has been exceedingly active of late in demanding that racing associations increase purses and share their prosperity with those who make it possible to put on their daily programs. Here is an instance where they have the greatest opportunity to show their full worth. If they take up the cudgel to protect the rights of the small horsemen they will have the moral and rooting support from everyone who believes in the right of citizens, including horse owners, to earn a living without having an unfair tax imposed on them. If this is not a case where the racing associations must fight to protect themselves, it is certainly a case where the HBPA should put up a determined battle to protect the owners who put on the show. The Louisville region of the Office of Defense Transportation has asked this column to notify racing fans throughout the country that there will be no extra trains nor buses into Louisville during the Derby period, and that all of the hotels in Louisville have agreed to abide by ODT requests to refuse to accept reservations for hotel space for residents outside the area during the Derby period from April 29 to May 7. inclusive. They point out that the ODT has no authority to forbid the holding of any sporting event, nor any authority to direct hotels nor individuals in any manner. They stress, however, that it is their responsibility to insure the orderly movement of men and material for the war effort. Hence, their right to urge all Americans not to request railroad transportation, nor hotel accommodations in Louisville during the dates mentioned. Colonel Winn and his associates have emphasized that this will again be "street-car Derby." Only residents of Louisville and the immediate vicinity will be sold boxes for the most colorful of all American races. We wrote the Office of Defense Transportation saying we would be very glad to carry the item in this column. It is up to those who plan to go to Louisville to settle with their own conscience whether the trip is one of business or one of pleasure. To comply with these requests, the ODT informs us, "should permit the continuity of this historic event, without interference with the essential transportation of men and material needed for the war effort." When Pimlico opens next Wednesday ic will follow out the same pattern as of last year. The routine, evolved after many conferences with military, government and civilian agencies, means that the races will start at 12 noon, thus, with no interference to the rush hour traffic. The only exception will be on Saturdays, when there wilt be a 1 oclock post. All reserved seats for the Preaknese Stakes, to be run on the closing day of the meeting, have been sold.

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