06/15/2001 12:00AM

DRF's Letters to the Editor (6/17)


Point Given

yet to meet

the real champ

Everyone from the horseplayers seen at the clubhouse every day to the President of the United States declared after the Belmont Stakes that Point Given could be something special after his triumphant victory.

He made Grade 1 winners A P Valentine and Monarchos look like cheap claimers. But before everyone heads to a future book to bet Point Given in the Breeders Cup Classic at odds of 5-1 or less, don't forget a big colt called Tiznow won the Classic last year and will be there again this year to defend his crown.

Though Point Given looked visually impressive drawing off to his four wins this year, one has to question if he still duplicate Beyer Speed Figures of 114 and 111 in a position in where he has to earn his victory.

Last year, Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus won his starts as a 3-year old going away, but simply did not fire in the Breeders' Cup as the favorite.

This year, Point Given has not been in an intense stretch dogfight, while Tiznow has proven time and time again that he refuses to quit in the heat of the moment. He did not allow eventual Dubai World Cup victor Captain Steve to get by in the Goodwood and was all heart when he simply did not let the world's best horse, Giant's Causeway, to pass him in the long stretch at Churchill Downs in last year's Classic.

Many will argue that Point Given has a slight edge over Tiznow because he has raced over the Belmont Park surface, location of this year's Breeders' Cup, but Tiznow can carry his track. He has run well from the beach of Del Mar, to the bayous of Louisiana to the twin spires of Churchill Downs.

Bob Baffert and Point Given should enjoy their moment. Come fall, low-keyed and quiet Jay Robbins and his horse of the year, Tiznow, will be set for a showdown that could carry the same impact as Sunday Silence and Easy Goer in 1989.Christopher Ado

Torrance, Calif.

Remarks reveal

trainer's faults

When D. Wayne Lukas was denied the spotlight, as he was during the recent Belmont Stakes buildup, he couldn't help himself. So he went on a diatribe against Chris Antley ("Lukas speaks out about Antley," June 10), who was to be honored at Belmont Park.

An old proverb describes Lukas and his tasteless remarks about the late jockey:

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.Gary Peasley

Pacific Grove, Calif.

Criticism of Antley

ill-conceived, ill-timed

D. Wayne Lukas's inner feelings toward Chris Antley were in poor taste on the eve of the Belmont Stakes. It makes no difference if they were earnest, they were better left unsaid. Lukas is supposed to be a icon of our industry, but this this was clearly nothing more than ego getting in the way, a poor reason to grab some Belmont headlines. The industry does not need back-stabbing comments, especially when the person being defamed is deceased. Its no wonder our industry is viewed skeptically by others when the biggest man in our sport over the past 20 years stoops to this low level.

D. Wayne Lukas, you should be ashamed of yourself for these public comments. Accent the positive, not the negative, and maybe our sport will recapture its greatness.

Merrill T. Howe

Robbinsville, N.J.

Lukas owes apology

to rider's family

D. Wayne Lukas's comments about Chris Antley were cheap and unnecessary. But notice the timing, two days before a Belmont in which Lukas is running a horse with zero chance. Hmm . . . maybe his remarks brings the media to a barn which they would otherwise have no reason to visit on Belmont Day? Lukas can't stand to have a televised race run without his face on screen.

Lukas owes the Antley family an apology, privately, not in the media, but he doesn't work that way. I had little respect for Lukas as a horseman before, now I have no respect for him as a person. Greg Scherr

Monrovia, Calif.

Belmont Day pick

made it a dream date

The night before the Belmont Stakes I had the weirdest dream. In my dream, I opened up my Daily Racing Form to read that Brad Free, renowned Southern California handicapper, picked Balto Star to win the Belmont!

Now, this is a dream, so bear with me. In this bizarre article, Free stated that Balto Star, a son of Glitterman who had previously defeated the likes of Halo's Stride and Jamaican Rum, might be able to wire the field for a full 1 1/2 miles. Free believed that the horse, beaten by 32 lengths in the Kentucky Derby, could leave both the Derby and Preakness champions behind in his gallop to victory. Ridiculous I know, but like I said, it's a dream.

So after I woke up, giggling and shaking my head in disbelief, I booted up my computer, got to the DRF Web site and clicked on "Selections." Well, you have to be a subscriber to get Free's expert picks. Then my corner newsstand was fresh out of Forms. So I never did find out who he picked to win the Belmont, but I know it couldn't have been Balto Star. I mean, Brad Free is from Southern California, so it had to be Point Given, right?

Can anyone out there, who actually paid their money, tell me who he picked?

Jerry Hauck

Studio City, Calif.

Six races added up

to lifetime thrill

Many thanks to Steven Crist for giving two friends and me a thrill on Belmont Day. We followed his pick six choices ("Stakes-rich pick six could play to small bettor," June 9), with alternates, and came within a horsehair of having a share of the guaranteed $1 million jackpot. At least we got our $128 back with a $130 consolation payback.

Being at Belmont to share a superior day of racing - and breathlessly following the pick six until the 11th race - will stay in my memory for the rest of my life.Howard Kronish

New York City

Triple Crown celebration

tempered by loss

Last weekend the Thoroughbred racing industry closed the chapter on this year's highly successful Triple Crown. There were increases in attendance, handle, and television ratings throughout the series. But along with these many successes and gains, there were also the inevitable losses.

One loss, that will be remembered by many, long after Monarchos and Point Given have left the racetrack, is the loss of racing's friend Glenn Webster.

It is the passing of this great man that will linger in many peoples hearts and minds for the rest of their lives.

Glenn was not only racing's friend, he was the horses' friend, and he was my friend. He was a valued horseman and a priceless insurance policy for anyone who climbed aboard a horse at Churchill Downs.

But most importantly, Glenn was a great person. He made every morning brighter, with his warm smile and gracious manner. Glenn brought more smiles to people's faces than the twin spires themselves.

He was, simply put, was a perfect gentleman. A gentleman who is greatly missed. A gentleman who is heaven's gain.

Mark Hennig

Garden City, N.Y.

Editor's note: Glenn Webster, a longtime outrider at Churchill Downs, died after having a heart attack on May 4, Kentucky Oaks Day. He was 43 and had worked at Churchill Downs since 1986.