12/07/2001 12:00AM

Letters to the Editor

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Network tracks get flagship in double dutch

I share the sentiment expressed in the Nov. 25 letter "A fan's wish list includes condolences." I, too, have a lack of sympathy for the failure of some of racing's best-known names to figure out the meaning of "fan-friendly." The corporate offices of Churchill Downs give good lip service to being concerned about the fans, but the individual tracks in the Churchill Downs Simulcast Network put the organization in the position of being a false favorite.

For me, "fan-friendly" means response in one of three ways

1. Correction of a problem, which is the most desired response.

2. Recognition of a situation with the promise to attempt to fix it.

3. Acknowledgement of fan comments with an explanation as to why the state of affairs has to be the way it is.

It has been my experience that, with the exception of Churchill Downs, the other tracks in the CDSN network choose a fourth option: Ignore the comments, and the pest will go away.

For the past 18 months, I have attempted to point out the incomplete - or a complete lack of - information for the probable daily double payoffs. The problem seems to be fixed at Churchill Downs, but not at other tracks in its organization. Three e-mails to Calder have gone unanswered.

Last weekend, after watching as the Calder signal showed the probable payoffs for only part of the fields in two doubles, I decided to give Hollywood Park a try. Surprise! It was even worse. The Hollywood signal was showing either nothing or the probable will-pays for only one horse. Am I the only one who complains about this, or does CDSN not care about double players?

Earlier in the year, I quit playing Arlington because of its inability to provide proper daily double information. The problem did not exist at Arlington before it became part of CDSN. It will be interesting to see if it gets its act together before next year's Breeders' Cup races.

Keeneland and the New York Racing Association have simulcast signals that are head and shoulders above CDSN's when it comes to providing daily double information. Those two organizations may not have graphics that are pretty, but they are consistent and informative. To me, that's being "fan-friendly."

Ron Stuart

Clearwater, Fla.

Was portrait of grief properly framed?

It was quite a disturbing image on the front page of the Nov. 28 Daily Racing From. On the surface the photograph of a distraught Tom Skiffington shows great sadness, but given a closer look, it exposes a side of the racing industry that is often ignored.

Each time a Thoroughbred takes to the track, there is a risk of injury. Seeking victory, owners and trainers willingly take this risk each day.

Skiffington watched his brilliant runner Spook Express break down during the the Matriarch at Hollywood Park. He knew the risk. He could not have known, however, that his grief would be captured on film, and printed in the Form.

Was the story enough? Did it need the picture? These are tough questions. I know that story and picture both have news value, but at times you have to ask, "Is it the right thing to do?"Joe Andreo

Albany, N.Y.