That rare master in the mating of thoroughbred-blood lines to produce great race-horses, Major Foxhall Damgerfield, was known to deliver himself, when certain unethical procedures on the turf came under his notice; of the cynical observation:—
‘How strange so noble an animal as the thoroughbred should make blackguards of all who associate with him.’
The blanket character of the Major’s explosive indictment was grossly unfair, if only because it included himself; he was a kindly man whose passionate love for a great horse was hardly stronger than his tenderness toward an inglorious one. But he was, I fear, an exception, and a poor apostle. A racing-world which avidly accepted its heritage of his genius, successfully applying the breeding-principles which had made his success, found it expedient to forget the less practical precepts of his philosophy. It was a world somewhat embarrassed when suddenly brought face to face, not long ago, with a pronouncement very like the Major’s—and from a source not so easily disregarded.
The occasion was not without its drama. In Kentucky, home of the thoroughbred horse, and in that particular Blue Grass section of the state where so large a part of the population derives its living from the production of race horses, the biennial drive of reformers for repeal of the law safeguarding racing was on, and moving strongly.
As so often is the case in lawmaking bodies faced with a ‘reform’ question, the proponents of racing had the sympathy of a majority of the members of the State Legislature, but not the assurance that they would vote as they felt. The clergy of the state, apparently, was solidly behind the reformers; and the outlook was dark for the sport of kings.
At the crucial moment the Reverend William T. Settle, Episcopal rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Lexington, publicly gave his support to racing; the uncertain senators, bolstered by this happy opportunity to cite ecclesiastic warrant to their constituencies, did likewise, and racing won the day. Sometime thereafter the Reverend Mr. Settle called the racing-men about him, I am told, and gave them some very straight talk on what he would expect in the way of clean sport to justify the courageous stand he had taken in opposition to his brothers of the cloth. The particulars of his talk are still unrevealed, but may be inferred from the rector’s first remark to the assembled horsemen, which comes to me from one who was there.
‘Gentlemen,’ he began, ‘it has often occurred to me how noble a sport horse-racing might be, but for the owners, the trainers, and the jockeys.’
That remark crystallized a feeling that had steadily forced itself on me in a period of several years devoted to daily reportings of affairs of the turf.
Such service has afforded a very comfortable living, and has become more remunerative of late with the growing interest in horse-racing throughout the country. It has become more and more a service of pleasure, too; for appetite for a good horse-race is not appeased by feeding, while the years have brought an increasing fascination in tracing the traits, the high qualities, and the deficiencies of horses of the past as they reassert themselves in their sons and daughters on the turf to-day. To me no sport equals it. And since a frugal nature has precluded any unlucky plunging that might have soured an original passion, I may approach it still as an eager enthusiast.
The point of view, then, is that of an intensely interested observer who has come upon a remarkable phenomenon: the almost invariable degradation that occurs in men through association with an animal whose very contact, you would think, ought to breed honesty, fairness, and a spirit of kindliness.
The nobility of the thoroughbred horse is presumably unquestioned, even by those who have discovered an occasional rogue in the breed. It has a well-nigh universal appeal to the heart of man.
I have heard that Mr. James R. Keene, trained as he was in the battles of Wall Street to conceal his emotions, ‘threw himself on a sofa and shook with sobs’ when he received the cable saying that Colin had gone lame in England. 1 have seen an aged horseman, with tears in his eyes, soundly cane a young buck who had written in a newspaper that one of his selling-platers, a notorious quitter, ‘had a heart the size of a peanut.’ And at the Derby once I saw a woman steal away from a party of celebrities and disappear; they found her some time after, her arms clasped about the neck of the Derby winner. Years before she had romped in the fields with the brown colt’s grandsire.
In our part of Kentucky, at least, Black Beauty was accepted as a sound zoological treatise no less than as an excellent story. The inevitable motto beseeching divine blessing on the household usually shared space equally with a steel engraving of some equine hero, and some such inscription as:—
Après l’homme, le cheval le plus noble animal
Est rendu par ce Seigneur si juste et si égal.
Pleasant Blue Grass hills are dotted with tombstones erected over the bones of Futurity and Derby winners; and I well remember that our village preacher found inspiration for a sermon, which was quoted many a day after, in a newspaper poem by some unknown scribbler named Riley, which read:—
I love the hoss from hoof to head,
From head to hoof and tail to mane;
I love the hoss, as I have said,
From head to hoof and back again.
I love my God the first of all,
Then Him that perished on the Cross;
And next my wife, and then I fall
Down on my knees and love the hoss.
It was for shame, said he, that a ‘foreigner’ should have to teach us the need of recasting that old gasconade: ‘A Kentuckian bows the knee only to his God, his sire, and his ladies’; and closed with the conviction that this Mr. James Whitcomb Riley, though apparently a resident of another state, probably had been born a Kentuckian.
These things I recall because they speak the love and devotion which the nobility of horses arouses in men. The extent to which men can harden themselves to that nobility is quite beyond understanding.
A certain amount of deception is to be found, and is condoned, in all sports. Racing may not lightly be ruled out of court because it breeds deception, unless we also rule out tennis, for instance, because Mr. Tilden threatens a Lawford and surprises with a lob; or football, because the Harvard team finds effectiveness in a fake formation. Indeed, I know of no sport in which artifice contributes so little to success. To the man with true sporting instincts, no other game holds such inducements for laying the cards on the table and playing to win from the start.
But, I hasten to add, by success in the sport of racing I mean the winning of races - big races, if you like, where the winner’s purse is a fat one. Certainly that is where the best horses are to be found, and the true sportsman wants to beat the best. For the matter of that, I see nothing reprehensible in a desire to win a Preakness rather than a Paumonok purely because the stake is ten times as valuable.
When the object is primarily to beat the bookmaker rather than the other horse, however, then the entire color changes. Sport becomes a sordid business, and the sportsman becomes only a sport. It is then that the horseman begins to compare so unfavorably with his horse.
The first step is concealment of the true worth of one’s horse. The mechanics are obvious: when everyone thinks your horse will win, his odds are one to five; when no one thinks he will win, his odds may be one hundred to one or more.
Now I maintain that there is something distinctly sporting in the quiet preparation of a horse, and the ‘putting him over’ at long odds in his first appearance in public. It’s tabasco to the game. The matter of fooling the clockers—those eagle-eyed fellows with stop watches who line the rails at the first break of dawn to observe workouts —is a royal sport in itself.
Too often, however, that spice sharpens an appetite for long odds based on less defensible strategy. Since odds are in indirect proportion to the public estimate of the horse, and the horse has already revealed his quality in public, the plan suggests itself to restore public uncertainty by having him mix bad races with good ones; or, after he has definitely established his maximum powers, to make him run above that maximum by the use of unnatural devices.
It is easy to trace the development of trickery, deceit, and insensibility to kindliness in their natural growth from such practices. I am inclined to fear that they are steadily increasing on our race courses. We do not hear so much, nowadays, of fiery challenges and caustic acceptances. The thatch race, epitome of sportsmanship, has almost passed from the turf. The proud sportsman who owned he had a good horse, and defied his associates to trot out a better one, now too often courts contempt for his horse for the longer odds that contempt will bring. He declines matches, and ‘scratches’ from races when the issue appears to narrow into a match.
It is pleasant to think of a racing-world with more Johnny Harpers in it. It was Uncle Johnny who brought the immortal Longfellow to the turf with an open challenge, and sadly laid him away under the apple tree by his window when his career was ended. A cot in his horse’s stall was good enough for him, and no man’s wager against his horse went begging while his money lasted. He made his own ‘book,’ and warned each and every one that none lived greater than Longfellow, while he accepted the money they proffered to bet against him.
‘But,’ said a young man once, after watching his money disappear in Uncle Johnny’s satchel and waiting in vain for a slip, ‘how will you remember me when I come back after the race?’
‘Son,’ replied Uncle Johnny, ‘you ain’t comin’ back.’
On an average, it takes a novice about a month to become casual about the cruelties he sees inflicted on horses on the race track. It is a short time, especially since so many of those cruelties are needless.
A horseman will tell you that use of the whip is indispensable to getting the best out of many horses. That is probably true. The human race has no monopoly on indolence, and it is just another evidence of their humanness that many horses need occasionally to be reminded of the task at hand. But, also like human beings, horses resent prodding when doing theft best, and are likely to show that resentment with a pointed refusal to try at all. Your horseman will also tell you that scores of potential victories are turned into defeats in this manner. ‘He went to the whip and tossed the race away’ is one of the most common expressions to be heard where racing is talked.
There is no doubt that the horse suffers keenly from a stiff application of the ‘whip’—actually a leaded, ramrod sort of instrument capable of raising great welts. He remembers it, too. One of them remembered it on a spring day at Lexington when, being led to his stable there after having raced through the winter at New Orleans, he spied, lying on the ground, a Negro jockey who had given him a particularly vicious clouting in a race on the Lexington track the previous autumn. Rearing, the horse came down with both forefeet on the boy’s chest.
Fred Taral, premier jockey of the nineties, had good reason to know that the great Domino remembered his whip. A most complacent horse in his younger days, Domino always became so infuriated at the sight of Taral, after that rider’s cruel finish in the dead-heat match with Dobbins, that it was necessary to blindfold the horse whenever Taral mounted him afterward, and eventually he was retired to the stud farm with a reputation as a savage. He wanted to bite and kick everyone in sight. But within a fortnight after his arrival there he discovered that he was in friendly hands and became the gentlest of animals.
It is significant that the most conspicuously successful horseman on the American turf in the last two or three decades, John E. Madden, compels the riders of a majority of his horses to go to post without whip of any kind. When Mr. Madden boosted Winnie O’Conner into the saddle on Yankee in the Futurity, that jockey insisted on having a whip. ‘Well, if you must,’ said the whimsical Madden, and, going to a near-by tree in the paddock, stripped off a switch about three inches long and handed it to the jockey. O’Conner threw it down in disgust, went out, and won the Futurity. He admitted afterward that with a whip he probably would have lost the race in the tight finish.
Riders seldom seem to realize that a horse may be as anxious to win as they, and may know a great deal more about it. At least four jockeys who rode Exterminator during that horse’s notable campaign have told me that the easiest way to win a race on him was to let him win it himself. Application of the whip to force him to ‘make his run’ before he was ready had almost no effect. When the proper time came he went for his prey, and usually got it. I am quite sure that no person in grandstand or paddock had any keener thrill of competition than Exterminator and Boniface themselves had when those two old Trojans hooked up in their several historic stretch-duels.
The cruelties to crippled horses, particularly observed on the steeplechase courses, are even less understandable. Visitors to New York tracks must often have seen a horse led for a long distance, sometimes completely across the infield and out of sight, hobbling along in obvious pain on a leg that has been injured, perhaps broken. There is but one remedy for a race horse with a broken leg—quick death. And lest the finer sensibilities of the spectators be offended by the sight of it, he must hobble off in misery to a less conspicuous spot for the execution!
Occasionally, however, the break is at the hip, leaving the cripple powerless to move. It was in such an instance two years ago that a novice was sent to the infield with a pistol to dispatch a horse, at the finish of a big steeplechase stake. On the third shot, after two misplaced bullets had had no greater effect than to regale the crowd with the spectacle of a wounded and crippled horse trying to defend himself against a man with a pistol, he was finally put away.
Even bullfight audiences, rapacious as they are for gore, cheering when sharp horns sink into the flesh of a blindfolded horse, will not tolerate a prolongation of the poor animal’s pain, once the bull has struck. In Seville you will see a perfect barrage of bottles from the gallery when a picador’ attempts to remount a wounded horse. It is not pleasant to think we are less humane than they. Eventually, perhaps, all tracks will have ambulances, as some now have, equipped with slings and other appliances to lift an injured horse from the ground and bear him painlessly away.
The question of whether the entire steeplechase-game is not too cruel to justify its existence is not so easily answered. I may only say that the frequent falls and injuries make the watching of it an unpleasant duty for me. But at least our most hazardous courses in this country are smooth lawns compared with the course for the annual world-classic at Liverpool, the Grand National, where only three or four horses finish from a field of thirty or more—the others left scattered about the course, a panorama of bruised bodies, twisted legs, and broken necks.
But whether it be fiat racing or steeplechasing, it is not the unavoidable casualty that is most bewildering - it is the premeditated cruelty. It is the assumption that ownership of horses carries the privilege of treating them with the same mechanical consideration that would be given to a racing-automobile; the cruel custom of racing-associations in permitting tracks to become hard as flint, jarring the horses from hoof to mane so that an amazingly small percentage of them stand up under two seasons of racing, presumably for no other reason than that hard tracks mean sensational track-records and therefore front-page publicity; the patching and repatching of the stove-up victims of these hard tracks, in an effort to ‘get one more race’ out of them; the practice of ‘nerving’ horses; a neat operation which kills all pain in an infirm foot by the simple expedient of removing the nerve, and does no harm—until the nerved parts rot and the unfortunate animal throws his foot completely off, perhaps in the midst of a race.
Strangely enough, the one offense which racegoers and racing-officials are least willing publicly to accept, and which trainers most vigorously deny, is one of the most common and, to some limits, the most defensible. I refer to the use of stimulants.
The question is a broad one, as broad as that which ranges from the morning cup of coffee to the opium habit. There was, for instance, that great English cup horse that had a notable racing career extending over several years, but always required his ale and porter before giving the best that was in him. The Prohibitionists may say that he would have raced with even greater success without it, but I doubt it.
But what becomes of the horse when he is dosed, as a reckless trainer once confided about a horse of his, ‘with enough nitroglycerin to blow up the grandstand’? What has become of the respect for horses when trainers debate over the merits of the respective drugs they use? And where is the noble sport of racing when the race itself becomes, not an issue between the blood of St. Simon and the blood of Lexington, not even a test of riding-skill between a Sande and a Maiben, but a Drug Store Derby between Heroin and Cocaine?
On the effectiveness of drugs in defeating form I take leave to quote the Honorable George Lambton, fifth son of the Earl of Durham. In thirty-two years as trainer for the House of Stanley (Lord Derby) he has won every great race on the English calendar, crowning his career last year when Sansovino won the Derby, an achievement for which the Earls of Derby had been striving for a hundred and forty years in vain.
In his Men and Horses I Have Known, Mr. Lambtort writes of a mare he bought at Newmarket in 1896, after she had beaten one of his own horses that he fancied.
‘She was pouring with sweat, looked very bad, and I thought that I could improve her. That evening, when I went to my stable, my head man remarked that the mare I had bought was a wild brute and had been running around in her box like a mad thing ever since she came home. This was the first doped horse I ever saw, although at the time I was quite unaware what was the matter. I gave the mare a long rest, and got her quiet and looking well, but she was no good. Charlie Cunningham bought her for jumping, but could dc; no good with her. He afterward put her in the stud, where she produced a dead foal.
‘But in 1896 doping was in its infancy, and it was not until 1900 that it began to be a serious menace to horseracing. Even then, although there were mysterious hints of its wonderful effects, few people knew much about it, or really believed it. After 1900 this horrible practice increased rapidly, and by 1903 it had become a scandal. I myself was still skeptical that any dope would make a bad horse into a good one. But very strange things occurred, and one constantly saw horses who were notorious rogues running and winning as if they were possessed of the Devil, with eyes starting out of their heads and the sweat pouring off them.
‘Three veterinary surgeons then told me that the practice was increasing very much, that it would be the ruin of horse-breeding and ought to be stopped. Then there occurred a case when a horse, after winning a race, dashed madly into a stone wall and killed itself. I then thought it was about time something was done, and told one of the Stewards of the Jockey Club what my three friends had said. He was skeptical as I had been, and declared he did not believe there was anything in it. At that time I had in my stable some of the biggest rogues in training, and I told the Stewards I intended to dope these horses. They could see for themselves what, the result was.
‘The first horse I doped was a chestnut, gelding, called Folkestone. This horse had refused to do anything in a trial or a race. He was always last and would come in neighing. I first of all doped him in a trial. He fairly astonished me, for he jumped off in front and won in a canter. I sent him to Pontefract, where he beat a field of fourteen very easily, and nearly went round the course a second time before his jockey could pull him up. He won a race again the next day, was sold, and never won again. I had told my brother, Lord Durham, who was not a Steward of the Jockey Club at the time, what I was doing. So much did he dislike this doping that he was inclined to object to my having anything to do with it. But when I explained that my object was to open the eyes of the Stewards, he withdrew his objection, but begged me not to have a shilling on any horse with a dope in him. To this I agreed.
‘I obtained six dopes from a wellknown veterinary surgeon. They were not injected with a needle, but just given out of a bottle. Their effect was astonishing. I used five of them, and had four winners and a second. Not one of these horses had shown any form throughout the year. One of them, Ruy Lopez, who had previously entirely defeated the efforts of the best jockeys in England, won the Lincoln Autumn Handicap with a stable boy up, racing like the most honest horse in the world. At the end of the Liverpool meeting I had one dope left. I had made no secret of what I was doing, and Lord Charles Montagu asked me to give him one of these dopes for a horse called Cheers, so I gave him my last one. Cheers had run badly all year. The following week he beat a big field for the Markeaton Plate with the dope in him, including a horse of my own, Adrea Ferrara, which I very much fancied.
‘By the following year, doping was made a criminal offense. Some people think there is a great deal going on now. I don’t believe it: the penalty is too severe, although it is possible there are trainers who will take the risk.’
The thought comes that perhaps opposition to horse-racing, and the laws occasionally enacted through the efforts of that opposition, may be partly responsible for the reprehensible ways of so many who are engaged in it.
Our turf-governing bodies are so enmeshed in the political alliances necessary to them if they are to avoid obstruction in the courts and legislatures that discipline and regulation are often impossible. Offenses, rather than being thoroughly aired and denounced by public punishment, are too often hushed up in the fear that they will furnish food for the reformers. Star Chamber inquiries bring forth mysterious verdicts, and by rumor the offense becomes worse than it actually was. Thus the vicious circle.
Racing in America has had its splendid days. The overworked young-and-growing-country apology with which we still explain away so many of our national gaucherie: is nowhere cheaper than when used to justify our racing when it is not what it ought to be. Our turf has too many fine traditions for that. They reach back to the time, even before we were a nation, when the man who was to become the country’s symbol of integrity, and its first President, participated in racing and served as steward at numerous race-meetings.
All the world knows how England’s Lord Rosebery placed the winning of the Derby on a parity with the winning of the Premiership; but in Maryland they will tell you rather of their own Governor Bowie of the seventies, and how he forgot his politics when Crickmore ran for the Dixie Handicap. The Governor mated his mare Katie with the noted stallion Eclipse and confidently predicted a great racehorse as the fruit of the union, because ‘Katie wanted me to have a good hoss so bad she broke three wagon-tongues and five sets of harness when I tried to make a work mare of her.’ Katie’s yearling was turned out in the Governor’s hundred-acre cornfield, and -neighbors remonstrated with him for ‘wasting a thousand barrels of the finest corn in Maryland,’ but the Governor replied that he hoped to raise a colt worth more than all the corn in Prince George’s County. And he did, for when Catesby, Katie’s son, won the Saratoga Stakes the Governor refused ten thousand dollars for him.
But that is only half the story. Eight years later we find Catesby’s son, Crickmore, carrying Governor Bowie’s colors in the Dixie Handicap. It is Maryland’s greatest race, inaugurated in 1870 at the opening of old Pimlico with the Governor as president of the racing association. Crickmore wins, and all Maryland toasts a Maryland-bred son of a Maryland-bred sire who ‘has shown the New York gentlemen that we can breed a race horse once in a while.’ And when a henchman comes up with a message about the state election, the Governor cries: -
‘Oh, the Democrats will sweep the state; Pinckney White will win. But confound your politics! A man who has won the Dixie Stakes with a colt of his own breeding doesn’t think of anything else.’
State rivalry found its warmest expression, and sportsmanship reached its highest level, on the race courses of that period. In Washington diplomacy shared attention with the thoroughbred, and high Government officials accepted it as an honor when called upon to serve in the stand at the nearby Benning course. It was at Benning in the eighties that three United States Senators Hearst of California, Wolcott of Colorado, and Wetmore of Rhode Island -were Stewards for the afternoon when the Clerk of the Course reported that a gentleman from Virginia, who was to take part in a special race for amateurs, was not in good condition to ride.
‘Tell him to mount,’ directed Senator Hearst. ‘No gentleman from Virginia ever got in a condition where he could not ride a horse.’
From the Virginia valleys came powerful Eole, who bowed to Governor Bowie’s Crickmore in the famous Dixie Stakes, and later to-the great Hindoo in the Coney Island Cup. Strangely enough, both Hindoo and Eole, like Governor Bowie’s cornfield prodigy, were sired by horses (Virgil and Eolus) that had been reclaimed to strengthen the thoroughbred family after having been consigned to inglorious ends as buggy horses. The strict disciple of the Stud Book may deplore such things, just as the strict disciple of the Book of Etiquette doubtless deplored ‘Messrs. Phil and Mike Dwyer, of Brooklyn and vivid memory, who owned Hindoo. But note their rugged sportsmanship, as set down by W. S. Vosburgh in his Racing in America, wherein he recounts the amusing controversy between the two Dwyers and Frederick Gebhard, owner of Eole, following Hindoo’s victory: —
‘Mr. Gebhard was terribly disappointed, as he thought his horse unbeatable. Social feelings entered into the controversy. Mr. Gebhard was aspiring, while the Dwyers prided themselves on being no better than their neighbors. "If you will come to the Union Club, I will match Eole against Hindoo for five thousand dollars a side to run the race over," said Mr. Gebhard. "If you will come over to our butcher shop, we will match Hindoo for ten thousand a side to run the race over,” replied Mr. Dwyer.’
Nor is all sportsmanship on our race courses ancient history. We need not go to the dim past to find the courtly Captain Cassatt climbing into the Stewards' stand at Belmont Park, immediately after a race won by his most beloved filly, Flying Fairy,. demanding that she be disqualified for bumping another horse on the stretch turn and roundly abusing the officials when they permitted the result to stand and tendered him the purse! It was only the year before last that Admiral Grayson won the admiration of every racingenthusiast when he sent his colt, My Own, to Belmont Park in the belief that he was to race against the English Derby winner, Papyrus, and took the verdict without a whimper when he learned that it was not to be.
Dr. Grayson had been the chief sufferer in the hopeless mess that had been made of the eliminations to select the American colorbearer for the international match, and had taken his colt into retirement in Maryland, smarting from the snubs of the Jockey Club. Then the emergency came. Zev, the selection of the committee to represent America, had 'gone wrong.' There was not another threeyearold available that was considered in the same class with Papyrus. Dr. Grayson immediately ordered My Own out of his stall and put him through a long hard workout over a heavy track, with full knowledge that such hurried conditioning might mean the end of his racingdays; a special train was sent, and the next morning the colt was at Belmont Park, luckily fit and ready to run. But in the meantime Zev had undergone a miraculous cure, and a fresh decision to place America's hopes in his care after all was unhappily not accompanied by notification to Dr.
Grayson, who learned from a newspaper, en route to the track for the race, that his colt was not to run in the most talkedof turfevent the country had ever known.
Some time later the Jockey Club voted Admiral Grayson a very fine silver cup in testimony of his sportsmanship. Being a sportsman, he doubtless accepted it without untoward comment. At any rate his affection for horses and his ambition to breed a great one had not been touched, and last October he had the pleasure of seeing Sarazen, a son of his own horse, High Time, crowned king of American thoroughbreds with a victory over the best horse France has bred in a generation.
And so we find, in any year, some traditions worthy of the old ones, some examples of what racing might be if men were' as fine as the horses they race. It is only that they come less often, it seems, in times when the horse must struggle against a public opinion that would restrict his activities to more commercial pursuits.
Certainly the nobility of the race horse is more truly upheld in England, for instance, where racing is strongly entrenched and strongly governed under the patronage of the King himself, than over here, where the sport ekes out an existence under a kind of temporary and semilegal license.
The Englishman takes his racing straight. Pope may sing how 'Newmarket's glory rose but England's fell,' and John Bright may oppose the Queen's Plates and express his complete pain and disgust when the House adjourns for the Derby, but Sheffield men still walk eighteen miles to Doncaster and eighteen back again, feeling well rewarded if they bring home a handkerchief that has wiped the sweat from the St. Leger winner. They like to tell how Queen Anne who, as
Dean Swift wrote to Stella, 'drives furiously like a Jehu and is a mighty hunter like Nimrod' was much put out when her Pepper and Mustard both failed to win back the gold cup she had given to be run for, but died peacefully when her Star was successful, in four fourmile heats, on the afternoon before her passing. They are proud who were at Epsom to pat King Edward on the back when he led his victorious Minoru through the Derby throng, and saw him smile later inside his cordon of police when a wag shouted, 'Never mind, Teddie, we '11 come and bail you out.'
They approve Bismarck's remark to Disraeli, 'You will never have a revolution in England so long as you keep your racing,' and they are sure that the splendid groan to which Disraeli con confessed in his memorable 'blue ribbon of the turf' passage was evoked not so much by news of the defeat of his cherished West Indian motion as by the Derby victory of his still more cherished Surplice in the colors of another.
Small wonder that political writers seriously considered a Tory restoration, with Lord Derby as the new premier, when that diehard leader won the Derby last summer!
Such support for racing affords the governing bodies of racing the background for stern discipline. That stern discipline, perhaps, is the cure our turf needs for most of its ills.