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Letters to the Editor
Breeders' Cup claims equality in global effort
Some clarifications are in order regarding the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships in Steven Crist's column "Putting the 'World' in World Cup" of March 26. Crist's contention that the Breeders' Cup conducts "an unfair . . . nomination system that gives Europeans a free ride and discourages South Americans through punitive supplemental fees" is incorrect.
When it comes to stallion and foal nominations to the Breeders' Cup program, there are no free rides. To nominate, owners of registered Thoroughbred stallions around the world pay a fee equal to their advertised stud fee, either through the Breeders' Cup Program in North America or through the European Breeders' Fund or the BCL/EBF Common Fund. Offspring of these stallions may then be nominated for $500, in all countries. Owners of all starters in the Breeders' Cup races are required to pay pre-entry and entry fees in order to participate.
Owners of South American stallions each year have the opportunity to nominate their stallions and the resulting foals to the BCL/EBF Common Fund, which encompasses all stallions and foals outside of North America and Europe. The same Breeders' Cup nomination rules and supplemental fees apply to South American-bred stallions and foals, as do the rules for horses bred in Europe.
In the case of Pico Central, a Brazilian-bred, following the transfer of his sire Spend a Buck to South America, the new stallion owners chose not to nominate Spend a Buck for the 1998 breeding season. Therefore, Pico Central could not be nominated to the Breeders' Cup program as a foal, and thus would have to have been supplemented to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships for 20 percent of the purse. By contrast, the stakes-winning Brazilian-bred Lundy's Liability, sired by Candy Stripes, is an example of a stallion and foal nominated to the program through the BCL/EBF Common Fund.
We continue to encourage nominations from South American stallion owners, and therefore improve overall global participation in the Breeders' Cup. To imply that the existing rules favor a geographic group of horses is incorrect.
Senior Vice President
Breeders' Cup Operations
Sheikh's convictions aren't deserving of scorn
The March 30 column by Andrew Beyer, "Sheikh must change or fail," was brusque and insulting to a man who single-handedly has done so much for the Thoroughbred industry. This is the same man who, after 9/11, made significant contributions to the families affected. In addition to sponsoring education programs for young people trying to learn about the Thoroughbred industry, Sheikh Mohammed has proven to be a visionary and innovator, not least in establishing the $6 million Dubai World Cup.
Our business is, and always has been, a business of opinions. That is the basic premise of the Thoroughbred industry: My horse is better than yours. Would Mr. Beyer attack Bobby Frankel, the most accomplished trainer in America, if he decides to run High Limit in the Kentucky Derby with just one race under his belt this year? I highly doubt it.
Let's be honest: It is tough to win the Derby under the best of circumstances. Can any of us say with certainty that Sheikh Mohammed's plan to train at Nad Al Sheba and bring a fresh horse with little seasoning to Kentucky is flawed? I believe it is the quality of the horse that matters most. A very talented horse could certainly ship in from anywhere and win the Kentucky Derby, no matter how few starts he had. Unlike Mr. Beyer, I am extremely confident that Sheikh Mohammed, with the quality of Thoroughbreds he continues to acquire, will be successful in his Derby quest with or without benefit of conventional prep races.
Mr. Beyer has gone out of his way to find fault with someone who is merely following his strong convictions. Does Mr. Beyer just as easily wish to criticize Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens for riding a female apprentice rider in a New York stakes race, or numerous others who prefer to do things differently?
Finally, since Mr. Beyer uses statistics, has the number of times a horse ran in the Kentucky Derby off one start as a 3-year-old (20 since 1937), been statistically significant enough to say it won't be done? I wonder how many of these 20 had earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 110 or better in their one previous start? I also have to wonder: If Bobby Frankel were to leave today for Dubai to train Blues and Royals off that 110 Beyer Figure, would the public not make him the Derby favorite without the need of another race?
Peter E. Blum
Omission on Hall ballot feels just criminal
How could the racing's Hall of Fame omit Criminal Type from receiving consideration for induction this year? With his recent passing, Criminal Type ("Criminal Type dies at 20; was 1990 Horse of Year," March 19) should have his achievements on the track reconsidered by those who nominate potential inductees for the Contemporary Male Horse category.
Criminal Type defeated both Sunday Silence and Easy Goer in his Horse of the Year campaign. He defeated champion and current Hall of Fame nominee Housebuster in the Metropolitan Handicap.
He is the only Thoroughbred Horse of the Year I can recall who defeated the previous year's Horse of the Year (Sunday Silence) and the following year's Horse of the Year (Black Tie Affair).
In 1990, Bayakoa and Go for Wand received champion honors, but not the Horse of the Year award. They are both in the Hall of Fame. In 1990, Sunday Silence and Easy Goer ran against and lost to Criminal Type, and they are both in the Hall of Fame. In 1990, Housebuster was a champion and is currently receiving consideration for admission.
I would like to hope that there is a horse heaven, and departed champions Criminal Type, Sunday Silence, and Easy Goer are all challenging each other for supremacy in that great beyond. Accordingly, shouldn't their accomplishments on Earth all rest side-by-side in the Hall of Fame?
Mark S. Miller
Fan laments lost chance for Lost in the Fog
As a Thoroughbred racing fan from northern California, I am immensely disappointed that Lost in the Fog has been removed by his connections from Kentucky Derby consideration ("Lost in the Fog out of Crown," March 19).
Lost in the Fog has clearly demonstrated enormous talent. What a shame that he will not be given the opportunity to get the distance and strive for racing's ultimate prize.