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Letters to the editor
Former rider calls for reform of guild board
As a retired jockey and former co-chairman of the Disabled Jockey Fund, I would like to urge members of the Jockeys' Guild to do the right thing.
In light of information disclosed Oct. 18 in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, the current Jockeys' Guild management and two members of the board of directors need to be replaced.
It would appear that:
1. L. Wayne Gertmenian, chief executive of the Jockeys' Guild, used guild finances for purposes other than guild business, misleading guild members in the progress.
2. Others members of the Jockeys' Guild's management and its board of directors have also misled membership.
After listening to the Congressional hearing, I am more convinced than ever that something has to be done. Numerous issues were raised but no satisfactory explanations given. This lack of answers makes it impossible to have confidence in the current guild management.
Because of this recent information, current management and members of the guild's board need to be replaced. Only a new management team can salvage what is left of the Jockeys' Guild.
Coconut Creek, Fla.
Owner gives thumbs-up to a beautiful 'Dreamer'
After Steven Crist's pan of the charming film "Dreamer" (" 'Dreamer' doesn't rate with true tale," Oct. 22), I was going to scratch it off my evening adventures list. Good thing I didn't.
After a day's racing at Santa Anita, myself and a few grizzled hardboots (the type who look like Kris Kristofferson) went to the movies. There was simply 100 percent agreement: This film delighted us all. What's not to like? A standard horse-movie theme - a down-and-out horse and loving horse family overcome all odds and win the big one. We can never get enough of this, since it almost never happens in real life.
Dakota Fanning plays the precocious little girl who wins everyone's heart and steals the show - we expected this - and we weren't disappointed.
Other pluses: The film shows the difference between big-money operations and the small owner - we get to understand what a claiming race is. We are exposed to the delicate nature of racehorses, and the amount of care required. We even get to see a few decent Arab connections!
This is not a documentary, so let's lighten up. We all forgive an exercise rider taking the mount and a filly coming into the Classic basically on works. My fellow moviegoers and I get reality during the day, so we were all ready for a delightful, dreams-can-come-true story.
I recommend this to anyone who like horse racing movies - period.
Richard Holland, Holland Thoroughbreds Studio City, Calif.
Racing double feature can pack 'em in
In his column " 'Dreamer' doesn't rate with true tale," Steven Crist seemed to have lost any idea about the joys of Thoroughbred racing, because all he sees is the tote board and the mutuel windows.
Evidently, Crist has no idea about fiction or poetic license and thinks that if things can't be boiled down to Beyer Speed Figures and class ratings they have no place in life. Most people don't know a claiming race from the Hollywood Gold Cup, but they get a glimpse of the thrills of winning a horse race when they watch "Dreamer."
"Dreamer" is predictable and far-fetched, but it could generate a lot of new interest in horse racing. Racing always preaches to the choir instead of seeking new converts. Now racing can dream that a few thousand kids might want to go to the track after watching "Dreamer." That's a dream we seldom have.
Crist is right about "Laffit: All About Winning." It is a fabulous documentary and should be embraced by the racing establishment, but there is room for both films and the new racing fans they might create.
Englishman in New York has Cup ticketing gripe
I read with interest that Daily Racing Form writers and readers refer to the Breeders' Cup as the "World Thoroughbred Championships," as in the Oct. 23 letter to the editor, "Breeders' Cup should warm to global trend."
Debate about that could rage on and on. What I will say is that the event's organizers manage it as though the BC of Breeders' Cup stands for "Bloody Circus."
My comment refers to the shambolic ticketing system. I applied for ticket early in July. I finally got a letter from the "organizers" in mid-September to say that I had been allocated a ticket. When I rang them up to ask why I hadn't received my ticket, I was told that it is not policy to send out tickets until a couple of weeks before race day.
I explained that I was leaving England in mid-October to take in the Canadian International at Woodbine first, but they were not interested.
I left England without my ticket having been sent.
This is not the first time that this mismanagement has taken place at this event, and it is about time that it was sorted out.
Why is it that the people of America are able to send people into space and onto the moon, but they cannot send out Breeders' Cup tickets in time for people to receive them?
Lord of the Game deserved to be a contender
It amazes me that when horse racing is looking for a story and a horse for the everyday fan to cheer for, the infinite wisdom of the Breeders' Cup selection panel decided that the points really don't matter and excludes Lord of the Game from the Breeders' Cup Classic.
It's not every day a horse who was claimed for $10,000 even has a shot to run in a race like this, but this one had a chance to win. The prospect of an off track at Belmont was a good fit for him. His points were enough to get him in, but apparently defeating Perfect Drift in the Hawthorne Gold Cup and losing by only a head, to a horse with fewer points, wasn't enough.
Just a guess, but if Bob Baffert or Bobby Frankel were the trainer of this horse, it would be a completely different story.
I hope the selection panel will feel good about taking the next possible "people's horse" and not allow him to be showcased on racing biggest day, even though he earned it.