06/08/2007 12:00AM

Letters to the Editor


Owner expressed wrongheaded notion about horsemanship

In the June 3 article "Digger in Belmont since Street Sense is out," Larry Roman, Digger's owner, said owner Jim Tafel and trainer Carl Nafzger "should be ashamed of themselves" and added "they don't care about the game" in deciding not to run Street Sense in the Belmont Stakes.

I am sure Tafel and Nafzger do care about the game, but they also care very much about the horse. Running a horse 1o1/2 miles after two grueling races like the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness makes no sense (no pun intended) at all. Why ruin a horse for such a poor reason? There was to be no Triple Crown in contention.

I commend Tafel and Nafzger for their decision. It has restored my somewhat failing faith in the human race.

Diana Leeson - Miamisburg, Ohio

New York could stand racing consolidation

I would like to respond to Steven Crist's May 20 column, "N.Y. governor doubly wrong." Crist was right in criticizing Gov. Eliot Spitzer's recommendation of different groups running Belmont Park and Saratoga, an idea that is ridiculous. But Spitzer's idea of shutting Aqueduct and running 46 weeks at Belmont has merit.

Crist stated that "the cost of winterizing Belmont may well exceed the value of the franchise." A bit exaggerated. First of all, parts of the first and second floors at Belmont are already enclosed. The betting public has moved offtrack in winter, so the accommodation of 1,000 patrons on weekdays and 3,000 on weekends need not be a great undertaking. The selling of Aqueduct property to developers would help pay for renovations.

Crist went on to state about Belmont: "The massive building faces due north, which keeps the sun out of your eyes in summer and fall but turns the place into a frozen, shadowy fortress in winter." Is Belmont in Antarctica or globally warmed New York? The New York Racing Association cancels on very cold, windy days, and winter racing is conducted on tolerable winter days.

As for the idea that "historic and popular racing surfaces would have to be replaced," the two turf courses can be left alone, and we can retire Secretariat's 1 1/8 miles and 1 1/2 miles in 1:45.40 and 2:24 with a synthetic surface thatocan be paid for with the profits of slot machines.

Maintaining two dinosaur, gigantic tracks onoLong Island is impractical, especially when Belmont Park is filled to capacity only once a year, twice when the Breeders' Cup comes to town. Spitzer is not doubly wrong, but half right.

Carl J. Fratello - West Babylon, N.Y.