01/04/2002 12:00AM

Letters to the Editor


True horsemen don't depend on 'medication'

The Dec. 30 letter from a breeder and owner, "Horsemen must reconsider drug mindset," was essentially talking about top-end trainers, who train expensive horses who don't need much help. When you get down to the next level of horses, I can name you many medications that can make a horse run out of his skin.

Nothing legitimate can beat conditioning, feeding, and placing. A trainer who doesn't have that ability has to use 18,000 drugs. How come it is always the same trainers who come up with bad tests? They should be ruled off for three years at a time - then see if they have any positives. (Scott Lake came up with a clenbuterol positive, then remarked it wouldn't hurt his career at all.)

The top trainers in this game all have small armies of assistant trainers, foremen, and night watchmen. You can't tell me they don't know what's going into their horses.

When auto racers go into the Indianapolis 500, they high-power their cars or are quickly forgotten about. For horse trainers to stay in the top echelon, there is always the temptation to use the high-test fuel.

Take it from someone who has had a successful career in racing without resorting to drugs: Being a horseman and conditioner is quite different from being just a trainer.

Allen Borosh

Linwood, N.J.

Luring converts with slots a low-percentage play

It is amazing that we still have people in racing who are still pointing to slots as the salvation of a dwindling game.

It would seem logical that for slots to bring people to racing, those people would have to view racing as a better, or a least equal, game. The only way I can see that happening is if the takeout on slots is higher than the takeout on racing.

Anyone buying that a 3-5 percent takeout slots game is going to increase the numbers of players interested in the 5-20 percent takeout proposition of racing isn't basing it on common sense. This is, like the Golden State Rewards program at Hollywood Park, an insult to intelligent players.

The theory of "introduce them to racing and they will come" has been the greatest marketing fiasco of the last 20 years. They come, they see, but they don't come back! And, lest we forget, tracks charge you admission to play their game. I bet the casinos are shaking in their boots. Unfortunately, from laughter.

Frank Romano

Van Nuys, Calif.

Pick four inquiry a case of NYRA blues

I read with great amusement that the New York Racing Association was launching an investigation as to why some pick four paid less than the parlay, and now NYRA is joined by the state racing and wagering board.

Right, like all the fans will now all feel safe in the knowledge that NYRA is on the case, as if.

Forgetting that the obvious conclusion to this "investigation" will be simply that "somebody had it," NYRA once again reveals its ineptitude in knowing that the people who patronize their racetrack are gamblers: gamblers who bet, and gamblers who are not stupid. But other than those who occupy the NYRA executive offices, there isn't a sensible horseplayer on the planet who actually thinks the short payoff on the pick four was anything more than a flush degenerate who sent it in.

A few months ago I had an issue with new computerized scratch board in the grandstand. No big deal, but I sent a letter. No response. So I sent three more. No response. I tried e-mails (six of them). No response. Finally I sent a FedEx to the chairman of the board. Still, no response. All along I just thought they had no clue who their customers are, and could care even less.

But now I know it's simply because they are far too busy "investigating" to be bothered with simple requests from their customers. Now it's okay. I can sleep tonight knowing that NYRA is on the case.

Kurt Paseka

Long Island City, N.Y.

Two nits to pick with trainer study

Marcus Hersh's Dec. 20 article, "Amoss strategy: Win, win, win," was a fair analysis of one of that trainer's methods for winning - namely, placing his horses in races they can win. Amoss is fortunate to have an owner who evidently doesn't fall in love with his horses, thus allowing Amoss unfettered studying of a condition book.

I found myself disagreeing with Hersh on two points that were basically irrelevant to the Amoss story, but which smacked of a novitiate.

1. Hersh wrote of "Monday, one of the slow days of the racing week." I wonders how many trainers, grooms, and hotwalkers winced when they were hit with that rap.

Monday starts new planning, every stall is extra dirty because of the previous day off, almost every horse has to be exercised, and there are myriad other chores to be handled on any given Monday.

2. Hersh described a "hanger" thus: A horse who "would run fast enough to win, but seemingly unwilling to run hard enough to win." If that isn't gibberish, I'll go back to my Latin and Greek. A hanger, of course, is a horse who comes from off the pace and looms but fails to sustain the bid and loses the race. Hangers are interesting horses and under certain conditions are a worthwhile bet, but that's another story.

All in all, the Amoss story was pretty good.

Jay Bart

Ocala, Fla.

Video head shots would give a cast profile

The Dec. 23 letter "Simulcast patrons need heightened visuals" was right on the mark is asking for better opportunities to view horses in the paddock and post parade, and I would like to get my two cents in.

I would love to see a close-up of each horse's head while in the paddock, identified with a saddlecloth number. It's nice to know what kind of equipment beside blinkers and wraps the trainer is using today.

J.W. Seman

Las Vegas

Public voice goes unheard in New Jersey

Offtrack betting and phone wagering were approved two years ago by the people of New Jersey. As I see it, nothing has happened. The people have spoken, so why are politicians holding this up in defiance of their constituency?

Louie L. Private

New Brunswick, N.J.

Superfluous wager profits track, not bettors

Why do tracks need to offer a $2 quinella when bettors can wager a $1 exacta box if they like two horses equally? In most situations, a $1 exacta payoff is comparable with a $2 quinella . . . so why continue to offer both of the wagers?

Having two pools enables the track to take their cut twice. In addition, there are twice the number of opportunities for the track to keep the breakage. To a bettor of any one given race, this amount is insignificant, but over the course of the year, millions of dollars end up as racetrack profits instead of in bettors' pockets.

Glenn Alsdorf

Chino Hills, Calif.