06/28/2007 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor

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Internet legislation may backfire in long run

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Act of 2006, addressed by Steven Crist in his June 24 column, "Threatening storm gathering offshore," is just another in a long line of meaningless and unenforceable laws that we have in our nation.

Watch the evening news, and it's pretty clear our gun laws are not very effective. The proposed new immigration laws being debated don't seem to make much sense. Sure, illegal immigrants from south of the border will shell out a few thousand bucks they all have just sitting around, to go back to a life of poverty for the right to come back in a few years.

Unfortunately, those who support laws like these don't seem to care if they work or not. They are perfectly fine just having them there. In the case of Internet gambling, they could actually be helping the very industry they were trying to hinder.

The elimination of remote wagering would be catastrophic to the horse racing industry. I suspect the vast majority of horseplayers who no longer have a consistent outlet to wager on the game they love will simply move their gambling dollars elsewhere. The likely place will be offshore poker sites and sports books.

Should this happen, I will personally stew in anger over our government telling me how I should spend my money and go find a hobby that is legal and less harmful than betting horses across state lines. Whiskey, cigarettes, and porn are on my short list.

All the while, the money of my fellow horseplayers will flow offshore, untaxed and unregulated. Does Canada have a guest worker program?

Michael Gabaldon - Las Vegas

NTRA supports government stance

Last week, Antigua threatened to withdraw its protections for intellectual property in retaliation for the loss of access to the U.S. gaming market in the long-running World Trade Organization dispute.

Those threats notwithstanding, the situation is far from dire.

The U.S. government remains on track to remove the WTO from the determination of who has access to U.S. parimutuel horse racing betting activity. The process of removing the United States' gaming commitments, which the U.S. government initiated earlier this year, is likely to conclude by early 2008. At that point, the U.S. government will no longer be obligated to provide market access to foreign gambling services suppliers. The question will once again be solely the province of U.S. federal and state law. Antigua's threats will not affect that outcome.

Antigua's request for authorization to retaliate in the amount of $3.4 billion, reportedly against U.S. intellectual property rights, will be subject to review by arbitrators who would reject the request once the United States completes the withdrawal of its market access commitments. At that point, the value of Antigua's rights arising from the dispute it initiated in 2003 would be zero.

If the United States seeks to compensate the European Union (and other WTO members) for the withdrawal of commitments on gambling services covered by the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services, it would do so by offering market access in other service sectors, not gambling.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association fully supports the United States' decision to withdraw its gaming commitments and has long advocated this action.

Peggy Hendershot - Vice president, legislative affairs, National Thoroughbred Racing Association

Rider's punishment greater than crime

In regard to the 30-day suspension given to jockey Victor Molina for kicking a horse at Philadelphia Park ("Molina punished for kick," June 28): Fine him, perhaps, but to deny his family income for a month is cruel.

Molina had showed no past behavior of this kind, and even criminals often get a break on first offenses.

If you or I got suspended from work, it would be for a few days, and the job would still be there. A jockey depends on business contacts and exercise rides. If he is absent, he loses them.

I believe the Philadelphia Park stewards acted on public outcry and did not use common sense.

Bob Lunny - Wimberley, Texas

Turf overuse bothers a fan

As a longtime player of New York racing, I read with interest Steven Crist's June 17 column, "A tidal wave of turf sprints."

I love turf racing, but far too many turf races have been carded at this Belmont meet with such dry conditions, and there have indeed been too many turf sprints. Many other players have commented on this sudden interest in all these sprints on turf.

I realize the New York Racing Association is trying to spice up the cards, but NYRA is overdoing it a bit.

I entered Belmont's handicapping contest last weekend, as I always do, and was very disappointed in the condition of the turf courses with still a month to go. I hope NYRA's racing secretary can adjust the way he is carding these races in the future, or else by middle of July these courses will be nothing but dirt with grass scattered in.

(Otherwise, by the way, I think NYRA is doing an excellent job.)

Richard Gaetano - Pompano, Fla.

A regal figure fondly remembered

When you work on the backside, some horses become your favorites. Like people, some horses are smart, some not so smart. Some horses are bullies, and some are precious. You've got your scaredy-cats, rascals, and a few who are downright mean.

But King's Drama was an elegant, regal specimen of a horse. He was always classy. You could count on him to be polite but reserved. It took some time really to enter his world. He would always get a twinkle in his eye when he saw Margie, the assistant to the assistant.

Although King's Drama was always polite, you knew when he finally let you into his inner circle that you were now part of a special group of his friends.

King's Drama recently died after an operation. He will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of watching his races or knowing him on a personal basis.

Dennis Nodine - Arcadia, Calif.