from Dec 10, 1919 Horse Review
IF I HAD A BOY
By J. I. MARKEY
There are cheaters to be found on our race tracks; conscienceless men who, through unfair means, seek to take advantage of circumstances for their profit. But admitting this to be true-Can it be claimed for any business or sport that all of its devotees are wholly honest and honorable?
It strikes me that race-track cheating is a penny-ante affair as compared with what is going on in so-called "big business," as well as our "labor .organizations." At any rate, followers of the sport who entered it with clean minds have no need, or excuse, to fall from grace as a result of race track influences. Our boy would learn that honesty among the racing contingent was rewarded by admiration and respect. So, why should he, seek to emulate the discredited element connected with the sport?
Did it ever occur to you that the lure of the race track is based more largely upon sentiment than anything else? That real affection for horses and a desire to see them in contests of speed alone makes racing possible?
Racing—at least harness racing—never was, I and never will be, a mere money-making proposition, the majority of its devotees following breeding and the turf because they find in the animal to the which they are so sincerely devoted an object upon which they can lavish the impulses of their feelings. And that's why the race track humanizes so many men; makes ordinarily cold-blooded ones of serious affairs thrill with the excitement provided. That, too, is why' they throw aside their cares and their conventional manners and become brothers in the great fraternity of horsedom.
I instinctively, our boy would learn to know and feel these things. And won't you agree that they would be an asset in any business or profession that he might choose? I sincerely believe so, for it would broaden our boy; he would see big and little men playing a game after the same fashion, and from each he would learn profitable lessons.
The very nature of racing is strife, yet how rare are the enmities that result from the constant efforts of owners to have horses good enough to defeat their fellow owners! And drivers fight bitterly against each other heat after heat, and year after year, yet remain friends and companions. A few petty jealousies, and rarely, feuds, are engendered; but on the whole I think that we get along together after a kinder and more brotherly fashion than do many professed Christians in their church affairs.
No—I haven't a boy. But if I was so fortunate I would want him to love horses, and from them secure the pleasure that they have given his father, not the least of which was brought about by the friendships acquired among the vast and varied human elements which the race track draws into it its fold; rich men, poor men, beggar men, and a few thieves—each and all, as I have learned, better men, kinder hearted, more sentimental than the average of mankind.