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HORSEPLAY WITH THE PURSES
Desperate for money to fill potholes in its streets and collect the garbage that piles up in them, New York City is on the verge of turning to legalized off-track betting as a source of funds. It is a move that is deeply disturbing to most of the horse racing fraternity, who fear that reduced attendance at the tracks, and therefore lower purses, will result.
Stable owners have been talking about this informally (and angrily, because they have not been consulted). Better horses, attracted by better purses, they feel, will run at Maryland and New Jersey tracks, and the quality of New York racing will thereby deteriorate. They have not been officially told what percentage, if any, of the city's take will be fed back to the tracks, already gouged heavily by the state, to maintain attractive racing, and they have about as much confidence in political promises to give the horsemen a fair shake as they have in political promises to reduce spending and cut taxes.
In all fairness to a fine sport, Mayor John V. Lindsay should consider his moral obligation to contribute substantially to the game he wants to tax. In the long run, taking and not giving will prove to be bad business as well as unjust.
THE SPORT OF POLITICS
Everyone expects anti-apartheid demonstrations to take place in the United Kingdom this summer, when the South African cricket team begins its tour on June 6. Now, on a news interview TV program, Prime Minister Harold Wilson has endorsed the demonstrations—though cautioning against violence or such sneaky practices as shining a mirror in a South African batsman's eyes.
Well, a general election is coming up soon and Conservative opponents of Wilson's Labor government were quick to respond. Said Peter Hordern, Conservative M.P., "Is this not as near incitement to trouble and interference with the peaceful enjoyment of millions of people as it is possible to find?"
And Ronald Bell, Conservative M.P., had this to say: "I do not question his sincerity for a moment but I question his sanity."
POLICE ON THE PISTE
When the world's first teleferic, the Aiguille du Midi, was finished in 1924 a French writer named Bourseiller reflected the opinion of his day when he declared that "ordinary people are very cautious and they'll never launch themselves down icy slopes at 30 miles an hour, off balance on two wooden planks. Man is not a chamois!"