01/31/2003 12:00AM

Letters to the editor

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Toccet lost popularity vote over his owner

Dan Borislow, owner of Toccet, is brash, bold, and not afraid to take a risk. He says what's on his mind whether people like it or not. His full-page advertisements in the Daily Racing Form - challenging the owners of Vindication to compete in the Hollywood Futurity and urging Eclipse Award voters not to be hasty - told us that. He's a young guy with a passion for Thoroughbred racing and a bucketload of money to spend on it. But the thing is, old-school racing folks don't like that either.

That's why they didn't vote for Toccet as champion 2-year-old. Not because he wasn't the best horse - he was indisputably the hardest-working and most successful. But rather, it was because they can't stand Borislow.

To state Toccet's efforts in 2002 would be an exercise in redundancy and, alas, futility. We know what he did. Yet the voters overlooked his hard work, ignored his success, and purposefully voted against someone whose blatant arrogance would make Phippses, Vanderbilts, and Whitneys turn in their graves.

Numerous conversations with fellow racing fans before the Eclipse Awards were announced revealed the same thoughts. Toccet deserves it, but Vindication will win because Borislow has a big mouth.

Funny, I remember when racing thought the same of an outspoken, white-haired, California-based trainer who was considered as brash and bold as Borislow. Today Bob Baffert is warmly embraced as our sport's ambassador.

With Borislow, there's new blood and new money. And if he has his way - and he usually finds a way to get it - there will be a bold new attitude in Thoroughbred horse racing.

So, Mr. Borislow, take comfort in knowing that the bread and butter of this game - the horseplayers - know whom the true champion is.

To the voters: Hang your heads. You blew it. We know it.

By the way, Daniel Borislow isn't going anywhere anytime soon. You may want to start getting used to him.

Patrick J. Kerrison

Stewartsville, N.J.

Attention Eclipse voters: Use it or lose it

As I read with enthusiasm about the Eclipse Award results ("This year, the lady is the champ," Jan. 30), I discovered one troubling result: Several people within the three voting blocs saw fit not to vote.

The National Turf Writers Association had 27 abstentions spread through nine categories, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association had 12 abstentions in 10 categories, and Daily Racing Form voters abstained 19 times among seven categories, including Horse of the Year.

That makes a total of 58 votes in 14 of 15 categories not submitted from the supposed aficionados of racing.

One person who might have a right to be upset by all of this is Harry T. Mangurian, up for the award as top breeder. He lost by a vote of 2-1, losing the Daily Racing Form bloc by a single vote. There were four Racing Form abstentions in that category.

I suggest that anyone not submitting his full complement of votes be removed from the voting bloc and be replaced by someone with complete interest, and possibly more knowledge.

Maybe the powers that be can entrust racing's fans with having a say in the voting process. After all, we must possess some knowledge, as we are the ones keeping the game afloat.

Kevin Cox

Oceanside, N.Y.