08/10/2007 12:00AM

Letters to the Editor


Even as handle rises, some would contend widespread interest lags

The logic of an Aug. 5 letter to the Racing Form, "To gauge fan base, follow the money," was specious at best. The writer did correctly point out there are many easier ways to bet on horses than driving several hours to a racetrack. There are more wagering options available to bettors than ever before.

The writer estimated he was betting 25 times as much money as in the past. Surely many other bettors are also betting more, which accounts for the increase in handle.

Other factors, though, such as increased interest in other forms of gambling, the dependence on slot-machine revenue by many tracks, and diminished media coverage and public interest, clearly show an erosion of the sport's fan base.

William Manion - Fort Edward, N.Y.

Laurel leading bettors into promised land

I share the enthusiasm of Andrew Beyer's Aug. 10 column,"Here's a vote for Laurel's noble experiment," in regard to Laurel running its 10-day summer meet with a reduction in overall takeout to 11.4 percent.

Increasing the handle by decreasing the takeout can result in winning situations for both the racetrack and the bettors. Laurel is doing its part by reducing the take. It is now up to the bettors to do their part by betting Laurel.

Mark Lapidus - Owings Mills, Md.

Some show hosts pretty useless

As a longtime, serious female handicapper and lover of horse racing, I am fed up with tracks around the country hiring airheaded hot women to anchor their in-house simulcast broadcasts. The true handicappers I know are looking for real insight. We want helpful information, late changes, breeding tips, jockey/trainer stats, etc.

With the exception of the outstanding Jan Rushton at New York Racing Association tracks, these women are useless. They tell me nothing I don't already know, speak in generalities and tired cliches, and pick nothing but favorites right off the program. Wow, thanks a lot. I'd rather hear competent commentators, and I couldn't care less what they look like. It's not just coincidence all these women are attractive.

The Beulah Twins are worthless as far as real racing information. Arlington Park wastes valuable time on each broadcast with Lauren Masserella running around doing interviews that often have nothing to do with racing.

I much prefer someone like California's Mike Willman or Kurt Hoover, who give you tidbits that are not right from the program, such as trainer angles, sharp recent works, breeding history, and other tips that matter. When those other airheads come on I just hit mute.

Do tracks really think these women attract fans? I'd rather have no commentator rather than some pretty face with nothing meaningful to add.

Amber Hoban - Lincoln, Neb.