10/28/2004 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor

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Veteran's death a tale to make all shudder

I read with disbelief the Oct. 17 article "Incitatus truly deserved a better fate" about how this accomplished racehorse met his death: brought out of stallion duty to race again at age 11, after two years away from the track.

I am a Thoroughbred owner and have raced horses in California and Illinois. One of my biggest concerns about this industry is how we allow some of our horses to end their careers in such a tragic way. The racing industry is sorely in need of acquiring new owners and fans, and this is just one more incident to turn them off to our business.

It is stories like this that make me wonder why I continue in this business as well. I only hope there are more people who feel like I do, that these animals deserve much more respect than we give them, and especially after a long and successful racing career, a peaceful retirement.

Shawna O'Connor
Arlington Heights, Ill.

Full disclosure a must about horses at auction

I agree 100 percent with owner Satish Sanan and his efforts to get the truth about a horse who is at a sale, as noted in "Sanan devotes himself to task force" (Sept. 19) and "Sales panel talks reform" (Oct 21).

Typical of the garbage being tossed about is the following: I have heard that some people say that that you should not have to disclose the use of steroids because some horses need steroids because of a medical condition. Just tell the truth and our industry will be a better industry.

The sales companies are the ones that can dictate reform and make it stick. Make no mistake about it: Reform is needed.

Stan Fulton
Las Vegas

As celebrities, riders should be fan-friendly

Reading the Oct. 10 letter "In racing business, customer should be king," I was prompted to add my two cents' worth. I was introduced to horse racing four years ago by a friend and am now an avid fan. I even arrange my vacations according to where there is a racetrack.

Last month, Edgar Prado came to River Downs to ride in the Cradle Stakes. Two weeks later, John Velazquez was at Turfway Park for the Kentucky Cup. These are my local tracks, and both jockeys are of somewhat celebrity status around here. The public called out to Prado in the paddock and Velazquez in the winner's circle, offering congratulations, good wishes, thanks for coming, etc. Both jockeys completely ignored these people and never even looked in their direction, or anyone else's direction.

Just who do they think funds their winnings? The customer should indeed come first, and people like to be acknowledged for their patronage. Prado and Velazquez have much to learn from people like Pat Day and Stewart Elliott, who make themselves available to their many fans.

Diana Leeson
Cincinnati