10/23/2003 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor

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The top lights are all too often shooting stars

It was fitting that just after Andrew Beyer's Sept. 21 column, "Racing's marketing of its stars a failure," was published, we got the report that Candy Ride is "likely done for the year" (Sept. 22). This is a clear illustration of what the true problem is - lack of longevity of racing careers today.

How can a sport possibly promote its stars when those stars are blips on the radar that disappear just as quickly as they arrive? Do you think the casual fan really cares a lick about sire potential and huge consignment fees? Do you think the casual fan knows about or understands a supplemental fee that will keep certain horses from running in the Breeders' Cup Classic? Do you think the casual fan understands the root cause behind the "too fast too early" syndrome?

The clear answer to those questions is no, yet it is the casual fan who stands to be lured by more advertising and promotion. Try explaining to the once-a-year crowd why they won't be able to bet on Fusaichi Pegasus, Monarchos, War Emblem, or many of the other recent Derby winners, and see if they really care about any other horse running today that has big Beyer Speed Figures.

We can't blame the lack of promotion until there is a viable candidate to promote - a horse who is going to be around for more than two or three months. People love a winner - right now all we have are flash-in-the-pan runners.

Patrick Larson
Maple Grove, Minn.

Carroll showed essence of horsemanship

Recently, a horse owned by Pont Street Stables and trained by Del Carroll named Tap the Admiral passed away (Etc. . . ., Oct 23). This horse was a champion in the eyes of many.

In a short period of time, "Tappy" rose through the ranks and appeared on the brink of stardom till stricken with a disease that kills 80 percent of the horses it afflicts. Tappy overcame the most serious part of the disease, and as of a week ago started looking as though a long winter break may be in order. Then a relapse occurred and he sadly fell victim to the deadly disease.

In a sport where all too often we hear the negative side of the business, where people not that familiar with it see the devastation and destruction of these beautiful creatures, I would like all to recognize the work and effort put forth by Del Carroll in his efforts to save this horse, not because he was a winner but because he was an animal in distress.

I asked Del the day before Tappy's death about the condition of Tappy, and he was nearly brought to tears. Having spent 16 hours-plus a day tending to the horse, he knew the end was near.

Del Carroll is a true horseman. Pont Street horses are often are held up from racing because Carroll has them being checked for any minor irregularities. Today it makes sense. Although it is a sad time for Tap the Admiral fans, it is my honor to say thanks to Carroll and his stable for humanizing these animals. Having watched horse racing for 30 years, I find it reassuring that there are people in this game who really care about the great athletes.

Rich Rosenkranz
Levittown, N.Y.