07/05/2007 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor


Month’s ban suitable price for horse abuse

In regard to the July 1 letter to the Racing Form “Rider’s punishment greater than crime,” I feel that Victor Molina’s punishment is very appropriate for what he did – kicking a horse. Mr. Molina’s display of anger in front of millions of viewers was inexcusable. It was just more negative publicity for horse racing. The general public already believes that horse racing is a form of animal cruelty.

(I do feel that the starter should have instructed an assistant starter to remove the rider’s tack from the horse. That may have served to defuse the situation.)

Now at least Molina has a full month to practice his anger management skills.

Ted Michelakos - Fair Oaks, Calif.

Rush of late money an outdated flaw

Racing’s management needs to put the game back into the hands of the players. One item that needs addressing is the tote system’s flaws.

Review the replay of the sixth race at Churchill Downs on June 29. The winner, Lifes Crown, left the gate at 9-1, made his move on the turn (now at 8-1), took the lead down the stretch and won . . . closing at 5-1 on the great American tote system.

As a professional, I had to make a choice about five years ago. I decided to place my wagers elsewhere, at a place where I could guarantee that the price at which I bought was the closing price. In short, my win wager was “matched” by another player.

Imagine our youths’ view of the Lifes Crown race. The new generation will not tolerate an outdated, flawed tote system with 15 to 28 percent takeout. Young players are attracted to poker websites. Each poker player calculates his percentage of winning. His wager is then calculated based on an absolute pot. There is no “late money” to alter his odds of return.

Are you listening out there, twinspires.com?

Ed Canavor - Mississauga, Ontario

New York barns an industry boon

There are so many different elements of horse racing that make the sport unique yet easy to criticize. Many of these elements draw negative attention from people who know very little about what they are writing or talking about. The drug issue, though, is one of great importance. As handicappers and fans of the sport, we should all want an equal playing field.

The security barns at New York Racing Association tracks have been the most successful attempt in racing to this date at leveling the playing field. I still do not understand why some people are so harsh about the concept. Many others have pointed out that horses need time to relax before a race, and that the same trainers who were winning before the security barns are still winning at the same percentage with the barns in place. I am willing to bet that the trainers complaining are the trainers you will find on suspension for their latest positive test.

If you really follow racing, the effects are somewhat obvious. Why do some trainers have tremendous success with horses at every other track in the United States but seem to struggle with their New York strings? The security barns are a step towards preventing those who want to break the rules from having an advantage over the honest guys working hard every day to make a living.

Are security barns the perfect solution? Of course not, but they are a major step in the right direction. With any luck, the rest of racing will jump on board and create a uniform set of rules that will help the cause.

Dan Stupp - Lawrenceville, N.J.