10/11/2007 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor

EmailTrainer's punishment applauded as a start to widespread reform

Well, someone finally did something affirmative. A trainer was held responsible and punished accordingly: Patrick Biancone was suspended by Kentucky stewards after cobra venom was found in his barn.

In the Oct. 9 article "Biancone banned one year," Biancone's lawyer complained not so much that his client was falsely accused, but that the punishment was too harsh. He said, " . . . in other states, these are fineable offenses," and he's correct, but obviously that is not a deterrent.

I have spoken with three trainers I know very well, and all three said that if trainers had to give up their horses and if those horses could not run while they served their suspensions, that all illegal drug use would stop immediately. That's a pretty strong indictment of our current system, namely pay a fine and go back to work as usual.

I applaud the stewards in Kentucky and just hope they don't buckle under the pressure that will be imposed on them and let the punishment stand. I just hope all jurisdictions follow suit and finally put an end to a system geared not toward the best horse winning, but the trainer with the best vet winning.

Greg Scherr - Monrovia, Calif.

Such a penalty a long time coming

I want to congratulate the state of Kentucky for finally applying a penalty with some staying power and major financial consequences for trainers who seem to believe that rules of racing and welfare of their animals are for the suckers in the sport.

Jim Trudeau - Madison, Wisc.

A Spa visitor asks, 'Et tu, Bruno?'

As a visitor to Saratoga Race Course each of the past four years, I read with interest Steven Crist's Oct. 7 column, "NYRA franchise debate unnecessary," delving into the nettlesome politics involved.

Referring to Joe Bruno, leader of the Republican-controlled New York Senate, and the state's governor, Eliot Spitzer, Crist wrote that ". . . what no one can figure out is precisely what Bruno wants - other than to disagree with and obstruct whatever Spitzer favors, regardless of the consequences."

That's just great. On top of the other woes in our increasingly troubled world, we must now come to grips with having to decide what one Joe Bruno wants. Gee, Joe, what can you do for an encore?

John J. Marshall - Toronto