IF the first horse racing event held at Guangzhou's newly built track yesterday was not betting, as the authority would like everyone to believe, the city's mayor, Mr Li Ziliu, has undoubtedly put his own political career on the line. By allowing his inscription of ''Guangzhou Horse Racing Club'' - four golden Chinese characters each about a square metre in size - firmly mounted on the wall of the racing club, Mr Li's reputation has been closely associated with the fate of horse racing. Until recently, horse racing was strictly forbidden in China as it was considered a kind of gambling. Despite recent relaxation on cultural policy, horse racing has to be carried out in the name of charity. Yesterday's meeting at the newly-completed racing track, situated in the Tianhe district, was held in the name of raising money for the old people in the city. The 33.35 hectare track, billed as an ''international standard'' project, hosted a total of six events, each one sponsored by a business enterprise in the prosperous province. Colourful balloons were floating in the sky, tracking slogans that exhorted people to spend more on charity. When spectators entered the complex with a 10-yuan (HK$13) ticket, they were given a laisee packet which contained a one yuan note. Probably by coincidence, the first event ended up with the horses numbered one, two and three ranked first, second and third place. Although the commentator took pains to explain to spectators that the positions of the horses were decided by lottery, many spectators still believed the position had some meaning. Number one became the favourite number in the second race. Unfortunately for the club, the second event also ended up with number 1 horse winning the race.