Updated on 09/17/2011 10:00PM

Letters to the editor


Smaller bettors stung by notion they don't fit in

I have been a racing fan since I started working as a mutuel teller at a small racetrack in Lincoln, Neb., in 1999 at the age of 20. Since then I have been moved up the line, and now I am assistant racing manager. I was dumbfounded when I read Dick Jerardi's July 29 column, "My 2 cents: Dime supers should die."

While I agree everyone is entitled to their opinions on the dime superfecta issue, I don't agree with the final paragraph of the column. By saying "If you have less that $100, you should be sent home" from the track, Jerardi showed how much of an elitist game horse racing really is, or, I should say, how much he wants it to be.

Why don't you just walk around the track and slap people in the face?

The people with less than $100 in their pockets (myself included) are the people we need to come out to the track. Give them a chance to get to know the sport. If that's all they are comfortable betting each day, so be it. Let's not alienate customers just because they don't have as many bullets to fire as some others might.

As for the dime superfectas, they were offered where I work this summer, and they went over with rave reviews. They offer a great way to be introduced to exotic wagering at a reduced cost. If the bigger bettors are not smart enough to figure out the pools and the reasons for strange payoffs, then maybe they should stay out of our dime super pools.

Matt Eberspacher
Lincoln, Neb.

The game's smaller fish serve to fill pools, too

According to Dick Jerardi, "If you have less than $100, you should be sent home. Really, what purpose do you serve? Get out."

So fans of racing are no longer welcome to come out and watch racing if they don't wager at least $100?

It isn't any concern of Mr. Jerardi's what I bring to the track or how much I wager per race. I would also wager that tracks would rather lose his business than the hundreds or thousands of folks who go the track every day with $25 to $50, or the occasional visitors tracks are working to make repeat visitors with gimmicks such as the 10-cent superfectas.

Jerardi doesn't support racing with his snobbish attitude. It's that elitist attitude that keeps many casual fans away from the sport.

Mark Scott
New Orleans

Take a novice's money, but give him some respect

Dick Jerardi's argument regarding dime superfectas made sense, and since I don't play them anyway, their elimination wouldn't matter much to me. What did concern me was the elitism reflected in his last paragraph: Bettors with a bankroll of under $100 "should be sent home."

Not only are these words insulting, they are illogical.

This spring a longtime friend of mine convinced my wife and I to go along with him and a busload of fellow horseplayers from Baltimore to the Belmont Stakes. My wife and I had never been to the races before, but we had a blast.

Since our return to Pittsburgh, we have been going to Mountaineer every week, trying to learn the game. My wife, a librarian, has brought about a dozen books home on horse racing and handicapping. Jerardi should appreciate our dumb money being thrown into the parimutuel pot, even if it's only four or five bucks a race. This money essentially offsets the takeout for the pros and gives them the opportunity to profit. Without us, it would be just the seasoned handicappers against each other, and they would all start out 15 percent to 25 percent behind.

I'll be at the Breeders' Cup this fall, admittedly throwing around nickels like manhole covers compared to others, but paying my dues to learn the ropes. Isn't it a bit much to expect me to be inept and profligate in my betting? I don't mind losing (well, sure I do, but not enough to stop playing), but I don't need anyone sneering at me while pocketing the cash I leave behind.

Kevin Morsek

For racing as a spectacle, less is indeed more

Alan Shuback's July 31 column, "If foreign tracks can draw fans, why can't we?," on the dwindling attendance at American racetracks compared with the booming attendance at European tracks, was very interesting.

What Mr. Shuback failed to mention, however, was that we have far too many racetracks and racing dates in the United States. As a result the racing product is diluted and a day at the races is not the special event it is in Europe. When you consider that Ascot runs only seven days a year and Longchamp runs approximately 25 cards a year, a racing day at those tracks is truly special. It is certainly true that less is more when it comes to quality horse racing.

Russ Burghard
Melville, N.Y.

Stewards should heed call of New York announcer

In Belmont's ninth race on July 16, track announcer Tom Durkin repeatedly - at least four times - called attention to the winner, Brave Sir Robin, veering in on the place horse, Harry the Rock.

Normally, this is a wake-up call to the stewards at least to post an inquiry, which unquestionably they should have, but did not after this race. The betting public, involved in various exotics and wagering issues, was given a raw deal.

My recommendation is to nominate Tom Durkin as the public's steward and force an inquiry based upon his race call when the stewards fail to react properly.

Gary Zweifach
West New York, N.J.

Conflicts of interest show up every day

I was prompted to write by a June 26 letter, "Giacomo deal may give public wrong impression," suggesting a possible perception of a conflict of interest resulting from a business deal for the stud services of Giacomo.

Racing is full of conflicts of interests every day. The one that bothers me, and nobody seems to have a answer to, is the one of trainers having more then one horse entered in a race who are not coupled in the wagering because they have different owners. True, they have different owner connections, but how can there not be a conflict of interest? Sometimes one of the horses is owned by a trainer's spouse or family member - how can that be fair?

Robert Gomez Jr.