03/23/2007 12:00AM

Letters to the Editor


New York fans would benefit from clean sweep

In his March 3 column, "Place your bets on New York's future," Steven Crist made the New York Racing Association the hypothetical 2-1 favorite to run New York's Thoroughbred racing in the future. Most of us who go to the races in New York choke at this thought.

We, the fans, need a change badly. Any new team that comes in will, at least initially, listen to the fans and give us some things we need, whereas our pleas now fall on uncaring ears. We need a new and innovative spirit that will brighten up an always-dreary experience at the downstate tracks. NYRA has been here too long, and you will find only a handful of fans who think differently. The laundry list of its customer-service flaws is far too long to go into here.

We need operators who will put themselves in a fan's shoes for a day, and certainly not take advantage of us by raising the already-high takeout.

Scott Mayheu - New York City

New bosses likely same as the old

It is interesting to watch the dance that the politicians are doing in New York regarding the awarding of the franchise at the end of the year.

Having watched "blue ribbon" committees in the past, I know this much is clear: Before the first witness is called, the final cut of the drama has already been edited and is ready for distribution. The result is determined, and then the committee will find a way to (rationally or irrationally) come to the predetermined result. And guess what? Whoever gets the franchise, there will be two winners: the franchisee and the political hacks.

There will also be two losers: the horsemen and the very people who make this game run, the horseplayers. How do I know? Because these two groups are always the losers. Yet we go on, wandering in the desert with no Moses to lead us out. Higher takeout, no slot machines, etc.

Can't New York's horsemen see that slots would be up and running if the New York Racing Association would just say the tracks belong to the state? But it won't, so the politicians have spent years driving NYRA out of business, and the horsemen are innocent saps whose leaders think they have a say in the matter.

The horseplayers are worse, especially those who submit to the disgrace of not only takeout, but the additional surcharge of offtrack betting outlets. The money generated by slots should go to lower the takeout, but it won't, and horseplayers will stay losers. None of us can win unless we band together to stop these outrages now, or there will be no game to play in the next generation.

Russell A. Weber - Amityville, N.Y.

State must lead in ending abuse

On Jan. 16 of this year, representatives of Equine Advocates, a horse rescue organization, were informed that a number of Thoroughbred horses on a farm in Coxackie, N.Y., were not being cared for and looked very bad. The horses were in a paddock visible from the road. (The farm also houses a large population of Thoroughbred mares and foals who appeared to be receiving adequate care.)

When Equine Advocates personnel arrived, they concluded the horses in question were malnourished and at great risk. With a severe freeze due that night, it was imperative that they be moved immediately. Equine Advocates agreed to take three of the six endangered horses, and another good soul volunteered to rescue three horses. A farm employee "signed out" the six horses.

Bill Barnes, a veterinarian in Saratoga, agreed to board the three rescued by Equine Advocates at his clinic, and was a great help caring for the horses, one of whom had such severe rain rot and infection his life was at risk. Two of the horses are now at my farm in Schuylerville and one is at the Safe Home sanctuary in Chatham, as he needed considerably more care and attention than the other two. (Pictures of these horses are visible at www.Equineadvocates.org.)

Why tell this story?

Whoever ultimately runs racing in New York must enforce a code of ethics that prohibits people from racing in New York, or elsewhere, if they abandon horses or otherwise abuse them. To be influenced in any way by the fact that these people might fill race cards is to perpetuate the problem and encourage its continuation.

The much-worn phrase "doing what's best for the horse" should be the guiding principle here.

Jeffrey Tucker - New York City - board member, Equine Advocates

Flexible bans carry little sting

Racing continues to coddle and accommodate its rule -breakers. Like trainer fines and suspensions, jockey suspensions have become a joke.

Garrett Gomez will start serving a five-day suspension on March 28 - with a parole day on the 31st so he can ride in Dubai (Santa Anita Notes, March 21). Shouldn't there be a significant penalty for riding infractions? When stewards hand out five, seven, or 10 days, shouldn't the offenders start serving the penalty right away, regardless of the upcoming stakes schedule? Otherwise, just fine them for infractions and forget days.

If I were to be sentenced 20 years for robbery, maybe I could ask the judge to start my sentence when I'm 85.

Arthur DeToro - Jaffrey, N.H.

Aqueduct in need of slots solution

A die-hard New Yorker, I have in the past two years discovered the wonderful world of horse racing. At least once every two weeks, sometimes more, I'm at Aqueduct. My blood rushes with mental stimulation when I pick up the Daily Racing Form at the newsstand.

In regard to the letters to the editor on March 18, I agreed wholeheartly with "New York program needs seasonal aid," and felt complete disdain for the the thoughts on the same subject contained in "Winter blight leaves fan cold."

My question is this: What can a concerned, caring New Yorker do to try help with the actual accomplishment of putting slot machines in Aqueduct? The track is known all over the world, and to see it run down, needing a paint job, and bathroom renovation, to say the least, is very disheartening to every true-to-heart racing fan.

Frank Accardi - Westbury, N.Y.