Racing and 
World War II Conditions
Part 1 and Part 2

The colorful history of Tanforan, for many years, California's oldest existing track included a period during World War II when the infield was occupied by Navy barracks.

My sincere thanks to The History of Thoroughbred Racing in America 
by William Robertson
for permission to excerpt his editorial that we may re-live the moment.

Contrary to what might have been expected,
the effect of World War II on racing was to increase its prosperity.
There were some opposite effects, of course -- the difficulty of procuring strategic materials delayed construction of race tracks in New Jersey, where the sport had been made legal, and, at the request of Army officials, Santa Anita postponed its meeting --
 but the over-all trend was expansion.
The entertainment business in general underwent a boom in which racing participated --
 nothing to compare with the boom that was to follow the war,
but nevertheless quite remarkable at the time.
Racing's vital statistics, which had been in a gentle climb, turned sharply upward; purse distribution in 1941 reached a record total of nearly $18-million, more than $2-million greater than the previous year's sum., which also had been a record.

Another new era in thoroughbred racing was on the way,
and the stable which was to dominate the sport to an extent not believed possible under its modern, far-flung structure,
charged to the top for the first time in 1941.
Thirty-five horses carried the devil's red and blue silks of Calumet Farm into combat during the season, surging to a new record of $475,091 in stable earnings,
breaking the old Rancocas mark.
Leading the charge was Whirlaway, top money winner of the year, who by himself earned more than any other entire stable.
His winnings also would have been enough to make Ben Jones the leading money-winning trainer, and Blenheim II the leading sire. Eddie Arcarp ,missed becoming the leading money-winning jockey by a narrow margin, because he was under suspension a good part of the year, but he topped the stakes riders easily.
All of this, thanks to the one colt who, like Challedon, was elected
Horse of the Year twice in succession.

May 1, 1943: 
Count Fleet won the "street car" Kentucky Derby, for which no
tickets could be sold to out-of-town spectators due to 
wartime travel restrictions.

The wartime conditions under which racing had been conducted continued in 1944;
the effect, if anything was more pronounced.
 Race meetings were subject to approval by local War Man-power Commissions, which established ceilings on the number of personnel that could be employed,
and investigated to insure that none of them were vital to the war effort in other jobs.
Gasoline and tires still were rationed, and race meetings continued to be adjusted in locale so as to accommodate the transportation problem.

Nevertheless, a number of tracks reopened in 1944.
Hialeah and Tropical Park resumed their meetings, much to the delight of Eddie Arcaro, who swept the board in rich Florida stakes,
winning the Flamingo with Greentree Stable's Stir Up, and the Widener and Tropical Park Handicap with the same stable's Four Freedoms.
However, Arcaro scarcely could have been more pleased than young Bobby Permane, who on each of three successive days rode five winners
at Tropical. Hialeah registered the first million-dollar daily mutuel handle in Florida history, then surpassed it;
before the season ended, the record was $1,038,361.

Gulfstream Park, was purchased in bankruptcy for $100,000 by James Donn, who also agreed to assume the track's outstanding liabilities, held a meeting later in the year.

Racing was resumed in Delaware and Southern California,
after some difficulties on the West Coast.
Dates were granted to both Del Mar and Hollywood Park, but rescinded by the manpower commission, which later reconsidered and permitted a meeting at Hollywood beginning in November. More than 40,000 sport-starved patrons jammed the premised opening day, and new daily wagering records were set with headlong frequency.

After a Western record . . . . .

Part 2