12/14/2007 1:00AM

Letters to the Editor

EmailMemories of Antley ought to focus on the rider's best

It has now been seven years since Chris Antley died, and although the coroner's report did not indicate foul play ("Antley overdose confirmed," Feb. 4, 2001), the circumstances surrounding his death remain very suspicious, with many questions still unanswered.

Chris's problem with drugs is a matter of public information today, as it was when Chris was alive. He fought with this disease constantly and accepted the sanctions of the racing authorities without objection.

Chris Antley, at the age of 34, had achieved many milestones in his career as a Thoroughbred rider. That apparently has been lost or forgotten in the drug-abuse story. Those who have studied the problem of drug and alcohol abuse in racing have long realized that the problem is considered serious and common.

Isn't it time that the industry recognizes what Chris Antley achieved? Check it out. Let's remember the young man at the Belmont Stakes in 1999 with tears in his eyes in the middle of the Belmont track holding up the leg of the amazing Triple Crown hopeful, Charismatic.

Dominick Bologna - Queensbury, N.Y.

Fort Erie horseplayers getting shorted

Fort Erie racetrack may never again see the days of its past glory, with top horses competing for top-class purses and big-name stakes races during the summer. But the state of the facility and racing, as seen in the past year, has soured me, and many longtime racegoers, like never before.

Five- and six-horse fields are now the absolute norm, and the loss of Saturday racing for much of the season spoils weekend plans for many fans who can enjoy racing only on the weekend, and in many cases, only Saturday.

Even more troubling than the racing, in my view, is the state of the facilities themselves - from crumbing pavement in the parking lot and the track apron, to the eyesore of walls that are in desperate need of a paint job.

I am one person who has no interest in slot machines, and never liked the fact that the portion of the building that gave Fort Erie so much of its charm - with its wooden floors and bookmakers' chalkboard - was sacrificed for the sake of a bunch of slot machines.

New carpets were laid out, new machines installed, and seemingly no expense spared for the slot-players at Fort Erie. Don't longtime horseplayers deserve the same treatment?

Russ Dempster - Toronto