More than 20 years ago—in 1939, to be exact—before Vanderbilt had taken over the reins at Belmont, he wrote an editorial on racing for Turf and Sport Digest. In it he listed 16 goals for the rapidly growing Thoroughbred racing industry. A number of these have since become such standard operating procedure at racetracks everywhere that few people realize they were once just a fancy in the mind of an idealist.
Among Vanderbilt's suggestions were:
?A thorough physical examination for every horse just prior to a race.
?A uniform examination to qualify for a trainer's license.
?A nationwide policing agency for racing.
?Better protection of stable areas.
?Improved sterilization methods for racing equipment.
?Better accommodations for stable help.
Twenty-five years later, however, other suggestions of Vanderbilt's are still in the talk stage and, in the case of two of them, the trend has been in the opposite direction. No stakes race, he says, should have an added value of more than $50,000, with more stakes for lesser sums; and the sport should curtail, but not totally abolish, 2-year-old races before April 1.
The Establishment can expect to hear more from Vanderbilt on these subjects, as well as the others which have since become part of his crusade. He is a spokesman to be heeded, for many feel about him the same way Frank E. (Jimmy) Kilroe does. Kilroe is the director of racing at Santa Anita and a man regarded from coast to coast as one of the ablest officials in the sport. A few weeks ago he said, "Looking at it from the standpoint of racing officials, owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys and the facing press, I would have to say that Vanderbilt is the most respected man in racing today. He is articulate and has a definite point of view on everything. Mind you, I don't think he is always right, but then nobody is."