09/16/2007 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor

EmailPassing the Belmont for Saratoga goals proved to be sound

To all the people who criticized Carl Nafzger for not running Street Sense in the Belmont Stakes, let's look back at the race's top-flight competitors in the past 11 years - four of them Kentucky Derby winners - and see what they have done after the Belmont.

Silver Charm: Did not race for nearly six months.

Real Quiet: Did not race for eight months.

Charismatic: Broke down in the Belmont.

Commendable: Ran four more times and was retired without having won again.

Point Given: Ran two more times and was retired.

Sarava: Did not race for a year.

Empire Maker: Ran once more and was retired.

Birdstone: Ran two more times and was retired. (The second-place finisher that year, Smarty Jones, never raced again.)

Afleet Alex: Never raced again.

Jazil: Ran three more times and was retired.

It's obvious that Mr. Nafzger made the right decision. With the exception of Silver Charm and Real Quiet, not one of them ever won a race at 4 (although, granted, this year's winner, Rags to Riches, still has the chance).

Mr. Nafzger should not be criticized, he should be commended for doing what was in the best interest of the horse. It was precisely that superior horsemanship that brought about Street Sense's Saratoga triumphs in the Jim Dandy and Travers.

Steven Cedroni - Providence, R.I.

New factor stymies fans old and new

Recent letters to the Racing Form, such as "A well-kept surface surpasses all others" and "Dirt tracks weren't culprits" on Sept. 9, have dealt with the newest challenge for handicappers in an already-complex game. I ask: Did racing really need this third surface that we've all been hearing so much about? Jelly cable and wax? What? Seabiscuit himself is rolling over in his grave.

With retreating crowds and dwindling handle, shouldn't we be trying to simplify things so as not to intimidate prospective newcomers and frustrate lifelong racegoers?

Peter Kyte - Cambridge, Ontario