Phar Lap’s greatest triumph, the Melbourne Cup

Phar Lap wins 1930 Melbourne Cup.Credit:The Age

Flemington on the day of the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s greatest race, once more proved yesterday to be the Mecca of the multitude. If the drenching shower of rain which fell soon after lunch did not threaten to dampen the social spirit, it happily came too late to divert the throng from Flemington, and so the Hill, the stands and the lawns and flat were crowded with good-humored people from all part of the continent.

There is nothing like the knowledge that a hot favorite is in the field to attract men and women who like to see a great race well run, but the broader aspect of Cup day is its social appeal. For most of the year a community lives to a considerable extent in watertight compartments. Flemington on the second Tuesday of November, however, is the natural environment for the give and take, the thrust and parry of humor in social intercourse. If you tell a yarn or crack a joke at Flemington, especially after the Cup race is run, it must be a good one. The veteran racegoer, who recalls the scene when Carbine, carrying 10 st. 5 lb., in a field of 39, became a national idol, is listened to with rapt attention. The man or woman punter who can lose with a smile and win with a cheer chants the keynote in a magnificent holiday chorus.

Caution was the feminine characteristic in fashions, and the coats and furs which dominated the dressing did not seem to cover up the variety of colors that lent gaiety to the parade below the Hill. Seen from the saddling paddock, where Phar Lap and his many chestnut rivals walked before their admirers prior to the race, the course presented a stirring sight. With the members’ lawn sprinkled with humans in the foreground, the Hill, where abides the spirit of Flemington in festive mood, suggested something of what one might imagine an old Roman amphitheater looked like when the gods smiled down on mortals making carnival.

Phar Lap winner of the 1930 Melbourne Cup.

Phar Lap winner of the 1930 Melbourne Cup.

But the race is imminent. Fifteen horses file on to the track for all to admire and criticise. They go to the barrier which runs back from the track into the training ground. There is a lull in the conversation. “They’re off!” It was a good start.

Spectators crane their necks for a view of their fancies. The small field quickly forms a bunched group on the rails. Temptation leads the way, and after a short distance has been run, Phar Lap is also in the van. As the horses clatter past the main crowd there is comparatively little mud flying from the grassy turf. Over on the flat the crowd moves fitfully from place to place. It is the only portion of the ground where freedom of movement is unlimited. They run in all directions, those people, in a sort of civil riot, which has for its object a changing view of the race.


The field gallops round. Al except the discriminating see their fancies in the lead. Into the straight heads this mass of glossy-coated, straining horseflesh, the horse of the hour prominent, preparing to make his run. Shadow King, the Comedy King bay gelding, is with him, and the big frame of Second Wind is observed among the leaders.

With powerfully measured gallop Phar Lap forges ahead. The shouts and yells of admiration are deafening. This beautiful horse has found a cherished place in the imagination of the people. Twice favorite for the Melbourne Cup – he is winning. Not a mad gallop this, but a finishing burst of speed which is unbeatable. He wins, with Second Wind and Shadow King second and third.

A great cheer rises from the throats of the multitude. For the race is over. The favorite has won. At last the horse in second place has justified his name. All there, in fact, have gloriously run their second Melbourne Cup.

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Trump’s cash woes mount as Biden laps him

It’s the state that sealed Trump’s victory in 2016. Now it could spell the end of his presidency. POLITICO’s Holly Otterbein breaks down where things stand in the fight for Pennsylvania.

Trump’s sprawling campaign machinery and his cash edge led then-campaign manager Brad Parscale to compare it to Star Wars’ “Death Star.” But Biden has hit new campaign heights, powered by a potent combination of wealthy Democrats and energetic small-dollar donors.

Certainly, Trump pulled off a victory in 2016 despite being outraised and outspent by Hillary Clinton. But the dire financial picture is worrying many Republican strategists, who argue a sitting incumbent should be better positioned and that the lack of money compounds the president’s polling deficit and his struggles with the coronavirus pandemic.

“The obstacles to victory are mounting and the clock is ticking,” said Ken Spain, a Republican consultant. “It will likely take a political earthquake to change the trajectory of this race.”

Here are the top things we learned from Biden and Trump’s latest campaign finance disclosures.

Biden is spending more money and has more left to spend

Biden’s campaign raised $282 million in September to Trump’s $81 million, not only building up more cash in reserve but sending his spending into overdrive, outstripping Trump.

On TV ads in September, Biden outspent Trump more than 2-to-1, $173 million to $69 million, according to Advertising Analytics, a media tracking firm.

The spending disparity looks even worse in the three Great Lakes states Trump flipped to win the White House in 2016, where the president is now getting drowned out on TV. In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Biden outspent Trump by more than 4-to-1 last month. The disparity was little better in Michigan, where Biden spent $15.3 million to Trump’s $4 million.

The future advertising picture looks similarly dire for Trump, heading into the final two-week stretch of the campaign. Biden is has reserved $63.8 million in TV ads across 20 states, while Trump has booked $31.9 million, and the deficit could get worse as the campaigns adjust their ad buys. Trump has been regularly canceling prebooked ad buys in Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire and other states in the days before they are set to air.

Trump has gotten some cover on TV from a constellation of super PACs, who have filled in gaps for him. Preserve America, a pro-Trump super PAC largely funded by megadonors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, dumped $53.8 million into TV spots and more on digital ads, shoring up Trump in handful of states.

Where has Trump’s money gone? It’s hidden.

Eighty percent of Trump’s campaign spending in September — more than $100 million, out of a total of $125 million — was channeled through American Made Media Consultants LLC, a company that FEC filings describe as responsible for making and placing TV and digital ads for the campaign.

But FEC filings do not shed any more light on how that money was spent, as AMMC is not required to disclose its subcontractors. That means few public details on how Trump’s spending habits have changed in recent months. Trump’s filings in August also showed three-quarters of the cash he spent going through AMMC.

The group is the subject of a finance complaint for allegedly acting as a “pass-through” entity to obscure campaign disbursements, filed by the Campaign Legal Center. But Trump’s campaign has insisted that it is in full compliance with campaign finance law.

The original pro-Biden super PAC withers while another surges

Democratic super PACs experienced a real changing of the guard in September.

Unite the Country, the pro-Biden super PAC that buoyed Biden’s primary campaign when it looked like the former vice president might not make it, reported raising $4.7 million in September —not nothing, but far below the upper echelon of super PACs like Priorities USA Action, which raised $46.7 million (including $18.4 million from Mike Bloomberg) to back Biden in September. The Pro-Trump America First Action raised $43 million.

But those long-tenured groups were surpassed in September by a new power player fueled largely by Silicon Valley money. Future Forward, or FF PAC, reported raising $66 million from the beginning of September through Oct. 14, which it has used to suddenly become one of the top spenders on the airwaves in the final month of the election. (Recode first reported some of the details surrounding Future Forward.)

Dustin Moskovitz, a Facebook co-founder, gave the group nearly $21 million in that timeframe, and the super PAC took in significant funding from its nonprofit arm, Future Forward USA Action, which is not required to disclose its donors.

Big donors aren’t fleeing from Trump

Even as Trump’s campaign is outpaced by Biden in fundraising and in the polls, Republican megadonors aren’t leaving the president to fend for himself. America First Action was buoyed by major donations from Ike Perlmutter, the longtime chairman of Marvel Entertainment, and his wife, Laura Perlmutter, who collectively gave $21 million. Timothy Mellon also gave $10 million, and the group turned around to spend tens of millions on TV and digital advertising.

In addition, the Adelsons gave $75 million to the new pro-Trump super PAC Preserve America, which raised $84 million in total last month.

The cash that never came

Back in early September, Trump weighed spending as much as $100 million of his own money on his reelection bid, according to Bloomberg News. When asked by reporters if he planned to self-fund part of his run, Trump said, “If I have to, I would.”

But the money has not materialized. Trump has contributed just over $8,000 to his campaign this election cycle, according to FEC data. It’s a huge difference from 2016, when Trump contributed $66 million of his own money to his first presidential bid.

For comparison, rapper Kanye West loaned his quixotic campaign $3 million in September and contributed an additional $2.1 million this month, according to the latest FEC filings. West, who tweeted he’d be joining the presidential race in July, has now floated his campaign close to $12 million since he’s launched his bid and is qualified to be on the ballot in a dozen states as a third-party candidate.

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