03/28/2003 1:00AM

Letters to the editor

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Pick six crew's jail terms seen as a bad joke

When I read "Harn gets one year for pick six fix" (March 22), all that I could do was shake my head and wonder if it could possibly get any worse.

One year at the local Club Fed.

This is an absolutely unbelievable outrage. These three clowns almost get away with stealing more than $3 million, and the ringleader gets a year in the local minimum security lockup, so that he can be "near family members." I'm touched. Does he get to take his blanky with him to bed at night?

This confirms what a laughingstock the racing industry's efforts at generating any sort of credible public image have become.

In some states (particularly back East) ticket-scalpers face longer jail sentences for trying to make a few bucks off some rock concert.

Heck, if all you are risking is the possibility of a year in the soft-touch lockup, everyone ought to try and steal next year's Breeders' Cup Pick Six pool.

Carson Horton

Portland, Ore.

Do white-collar cons have riches waiting outside?

I had awaited with great anticipation the outcome of the Breeders' Cup Pick Six scandal. After reading about the sentencing of the three men involved and Andrew Beyer's March 26 column, "Punishment hardly fits the crime," I am not pleased.

This country all too often looks the other way when white-collar crime is brought to the fore. The notion of "getting over" on one's fellow citizens and society at large is a temptation that too many people in this country see as a legitimate way of getting their piece of the action.

To give these three keyboard hoodlums the jail sentences handed down by Judge Charles L. Brieant not only insults every horseplayer who plays by the rules, but also sends the message that it's worth whatever risk is out there to involve one's self in crooked behavior. And, as noted in Beyer's column, there is still the manipulated Belmont pick six of Oct. 5 that has to be dealt with. Who knows how many other scams these three perpetrated? When they get out of jail, will there still be assets in their bank accounts that belong to other individuals?

I sincerely hope and pray that we are done with this scandal, and that it's not the tip of an iceberg.

Rob Madison

Henderson Nev.

Campo second to none on year's Hall nominee list

After reading the nominations to the Hall of Fame (March 20), I have one question for the people who nominated the gentlemen in the trainer category: Why is John Campo not among them?

I agree that Sonny Hine was a great trainer. I consider John Veitch a friend and also a great trainer. From what I know about Mel Stute, he is a good nominee too. Although all three have accomplished a great deal in the business, do any of their records compare with Campo's? I don't think so.

Among the many stakes Campo won were the 1981 Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Wood Memorial with Pleasant Colony. He also won the Santa Anita Derby with Jim French in 1971 and that same year won the Wood with Good Behaving. Campo won the 1981 Meadowlands Cup with Princelet, a horse he bought for $5,000. He trained both the champion 2-year-old colt and filly of 1973: Protagonist and Talking Picture. And let's not forget all the trainers who came from under his shed row: Nick Zito, John Parisella, Bruce Levine, to name a few - all top trainers in their own right.

I'd like to see a listing of the accomplishments of all the trainers in the Hall of Fame and compare them with Campo's accomplishments. The people responsible for choosing the nominees should put their reasons on paper and let the racing public see the reasons why nominees were chosen or why they weren't.

I think that it is a disgrace that John Campo is not in the Hall of Fame.

Anthony A. Stabile

Howard Beach, N.Y.

Lady's Secret should rest where she thrived

I wholeheartedly agree with the March 16 letter "Champion's death came when she deserved better," and I would like to take those sentiments a few steps further and ask, Why is one of the greatest mares of all time going to be buried in the desert, away from her fans?

I have been to the area that the Valley Training Center is located many times, and while the owners should be commended on the beauty of their property, it is very far from any recognized racing center. I submit that Lady's Secret's accomplishments demand that the racing industry and public never forget her contributions. For these and many other reasons too numerous to mention, but obvious to most racing fans, I think Santa Anita or Belmont, where some of her greatest races occurred, would be a more appropriate resting place for her.

I was very excited to hear about Chris McCarron, who was aboard Lady's Secret for her La Brea, El Encino, and La Canada victories, joining the management of Santa Anita. His enthusiasm and insight will be valuable additions. Let's see if McCarron can champion this very worthy cause. Come on, racing fans, let's get behind this and see if McCarron can carry this one across the finish line. That is what's great about horse racing: champions (equine and human), working together to provide great memories. Go Chris, and thank you, Lady's Secret.Frank Avilla

Las Vegas

Payoff posting confusion extends to network show

Recently, both Steven Crist, in his column "$2 standard: Rock-solid foundation" on Feb. 16, and Andrew Beyer, in "Everybody should post $2 payoffs" on March 12, wrote of the problems posed by different payoff denominations used at racetracks across America. Both hit the nail on the head.

Two Sundays ago, payoffs for the San Felipe Stakes from Santa Anita were shown on TV as: $2 Exacta 5-7, $49.80; $2 Trifecta, 5-7-8, $1,475.90. Although I realized these were meant as $1 payoffs, I couldn't help thinking about the Beyer and Crist columns recognizing problems in inconsistent mutuels. Racing fans and TV viewers deserve better. This wasn't solely the network's fault, as they probably are just as confused as the many fans out there with various payoff formats used by different race tracks. Perhaps someone at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association saw the San Felipe show and will address the problem, but I seriously wouldn't count on it.

Vince Piscitelli

Oakland, Calif.

Bring on first-time runners and let novices beware

Three March 16 letters to the editor complained that maiden races are unfair to the fans, allegedly because of a lack of information. Yet I have seen statistics from some tracks showing that the favorite wins maiden special weights about 40 percent of the time, as compared with 30 to 35 percent in other types of races. This means that the public actually finds it easier to bet maiden races as opposed to most other races on a typical race card.

Personally, I think that maiden races represent excellent betting opportunities. The ideal betting race would consist of 10 to 14 2-year-old first-time starters (the more the better). I often bet several hundred dollars when one of those races comes along. There are some professionals who make a living at the racetrack by betting nothing but maiden races. Maiden races can be beaten by someone who knows what he is doing. And anyone who doesn't know what he is doing should pass, not complain.

William Johnson

Arcadia, Calif.