10/21/2004 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor


Blackout turns technology against fans

As a rabid horse racing fan, I usually take my kick in the teeth and then come back for more. The situation examined in "A pitched battle over NYRA signal: Impasse over in-home betting rights," (Oct. 21), about New York Racing Association signals not going to mid-Atlantic tracks, is probably the worst ever, though. I usually always defend NYRA and was until now vehemently against Magna Entertainment Corp taking it over. Now, I'm not sure.

It appears that the MidAtlantic Cooperative is trying to get a deal done. It also appears that NYRA is snubbing its nose at the cooperative and in turn the fans. It is ridiculous that I can't play the Belmont fall meet. Imagine if the World Series were broadcast to only 75 percent of the country.

I work in information technology. I have four computers, cable access, routers, etc. I choose, though, not to wager online or via phone. I like the communal atmosphere of the track. I like the ink from the Racing Form staining my fingers. I like finding that instant friend who also got nosed out of a perfecta by Pat Day, etc.

Only in horse racing could a customer convenience - account wagering - be turned into another kick in the teeth.

Brian McLean
North Andover, Mass

Signal fiasco typical of management ineptitude

So, "Boycott hits Belmont handle" (Sept. 24) by 20 percent. Well, duh.

This ongoing dispute between the New York Racing Association and mid-Atlantic racetracks if proof the horse racing industry is run by people who have no regard for the horseplayer. It started with the restricting of account-wagering on Gulfstream last year to a company run by the track's owner, progressed to the idiocy of having Monmouth Park be the site of the Breeders' Cup (talk about inept management), and now this Belmont fiasco (hopefully their handle will drop 50 percent). Plus, last month HorseRacing TV decided to spend the whole day showing the Delaware County Fair harness races and instead of broadcasting Monmouth and Pimlico.

As a fan and player for over 40 years, I find that the people who run racing never cease to amaze with their total disregard for the player and incompetence.

Gerald Calderone
Toms River, N.J.

Funny thing may happen on way to Eclipse dinner

Steven Crist's Oct. 17 column, "Eight alive for Horse of the Year," was right that a 40-percent win record from Funny Cide would not quicken anyone's blood. I don't see, however, how he could not be given the award with victories in the Classic and Jockey Club Gold Cup. It would be a travesty.

Charismatic won only three races in his championship year, and I think that the Gold Cup and Classic are comparable to the Derby and Preakness. Funny Cide's campaign has been a throwback to many years past. Horses like Seabiscuit and Exterminator (and even Ferdinand in 1987, who won only 4 of 10 races) did not win all of their races, even after becoming stars. They ground out long, sustained campaigns over many races and tracks, with a fighting chance each time, and then when it counted pulled out a grand victory.

Unlike horses like Pleasantly Perfect (with four starts so far this year) or Ghostzapper (three), who combined will have made fewer starts than Funny Cide this year even after they run in the Breeders' Cup, Funny Cide has taken the hard road, running strong and being competitive each time he stepped out on the track.

If anything, people should be thrilled to award a tough campaigner who ran from January to October, with resounding wins in the Gold Cup and perhaps the Classic to top off a Grade 3 and allowance wins and hitting the board in two other Grade 1's and three Grade 2's.

As a fan of Kitten's Joy, if he wins the Turf I support him over any horse who wins the Classic. But if Kitten's Joy doesn't win the Turf (though I sincerely hope he does) and Funny Cide does win the Classic, Funny Cide would be one of the most deserving Horses of the Year in a long time.

Catherine Conk
Woodbridge, Va.

Drug offenders should have names writ large

Please allow me to offer the following suggestion regarding an Oct. 3 letter to the editor of Daily Racing Form, "Owner should be given utmost scrutiny." I believe the following is something that should be adopted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and all of racing's other regional governing bodies.

When trainers are repeat offenders in the use of illegal drugs at our racetracks, or if they are under the instructions of their owners to use these drugs on their horses, the blame is on both of them.

I believe that the names of the trainer, horse, and the date of a positive test should be displayed on the big matrix board at racetracks for all racing fans to see. This will put an end to the widespread use of illegal drugs. I don't believe our Thoroughbreds say to their trainers, "Got milkshakes?"

The time has come for racing fans and the public to see these gross offenders for what they really are. If we all band together, I believe that we can put back some integrity that is so sorely missing in the horse racing industry.

Mary Frances Rowe
Hemet, Calif.

A Huevo's comeback a tale of fine madness

Too often we read about the bad things in the sport: Drug positives, horses going to slaughter, etc. But "A Huevo crushes Classic in W. Va." (Oct. 13) told a very positive story. Here were an owner and trainer who overcame adversity to claim the jewel of West Virginia racing.

Trainer Michael Dickinson has done a phenomenal job getting A Huevo back to the races. He has once again lived up to his nickname of The Mad Genius.

Joe Vacek
Freeland, Md.

Talking heads should watch their mouths

No matter what anyone says, people listen to analysts on television. That is dangerous when Television Games Network analysts give out multi-race plays, because it isn't like the local paper. It is in more than 23 million homes.

There are many people who copy TVG's plays. Whenever someone on the air is correct, payoffs are well below the parlay price. That ruins it for horseplayers who actually handicap and should get more reward for their work.

Analysts should inform viewers about racing, not give multi-race plays.

Rusty Willis
Algonquin, Ill.