RECESSIONAL FOR THE TWIN
The introduction of twin double betting to horse racing was frowned on by all who wish the sport well, but that did not prevent its establishment at tracks about the country. Now, it would appear, some of the tracks are beginning to find that it is by no means to their advantage and would like to get rid of it. Last week David Haber, Suffolk Downs president, announced he had permission from the Massachusetts racing commission to close out twin double wagering. He was congratulated by other New England track operators—at Rockingham, Narragansett and even the greyhound track at Revere, Mass.
The twin double, Haber said, "tends to encourage collusion," by which he meant the possibility of having a race fixed by gamblers, who buy up "live" tickets after the first half of the twin, and jockeys. But, in addition, Haber found that twin double wagering hurts the mutuel handle because too much money is tied up from the fourth through the seventh races.
Haber had considered the introduction of exacta betting on the day's last race. An exacta is a form of quinella in which the bettor must pick the first two horses in the order of their finish. It is a fixture at many dog tracks and, Haber thought, should stay there.
"I've decided," he said, and we applaud, "that racing doesn't need such gimmicks."
When President Kennedy appointed General Douglas MacArthur to mediate the power dispute between the Amateur Athletic Union and the National Collegiate Athletic Association the intervention of government was excused by the fact that the Olympics were upon us and the animosities of sport's officialdom threatened grave injustice both to our athletes and to our national prestige. The understanding, if not the hope, was that after the Olympics the AAU and the NCAA would get together like intelligent adults and solve the problem between them. Instead, there is now a move to invite politicians into the mess again.
On instructions from the NCAA, Texas Southern was forced to withdraw from the Mt. San Antonio College Relays, whereupon Hilmer Lodge, meet director, wired President Johnson and California senators asking for "immediate congressional hearings on this dispute, as neither side apparently will negotiate a settlement." After the meet, from which eight other colleges withdrew under NCAA pressure, six Olympic gold medal winners asked for government action to end the dissension, pointing out that the U.S. team which is to compete in Moscow in July will otherwise be "markedly weakened."
The AAU, on its part, is refusing to assign officials to the Coliseum Relays in Los Angeles on May 14, which would make it the first time that the meet has lacked AAU sanction. Certified AAU watches, important for acceptance of world records, are to be withheld.
Participation in sport is primarily for the young and agile. Its administration, unfortunately, is in the hands of the old and stiff-necked. That it should seem necessary or desirable to appeal to government for a permanent solution to the NCAA-AAU problem is disgraceful. We suggest that neither Congress nor any other federal agency has either jurisdiction or competence in this area.