01/06/2006 12:00AM

Letters to the editor


New standards on medication boost business

Racing in Kentucky since two days of a trainer "boycott" at Turfway Park in September has shown increases in entries and all-sources handle (see "Turfway business booms," Jan. 4).

There is no doubt that Polytrack at Turfway Park, increased purses at Keeneland, and horsemen staying longer at Churchill Downs in November rather than shipping to Fair Grounds all played a role. Something that is being overlooked in the reporting of these successes, however, is the new mediation rules that are bringing Kentucky in line with the national uniform medication rules. Evidently the new medication rules are not a deterrent to racing in Kentucky, but part of the success story.

David L. Switzer, Executive Director
Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/ Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders

The new Gulfstream seems catered to slots fans

Reading "Unlike last year, a smooth opener" (Jan. 6), I gathered that at least some of my fellow handicappers visiting the new Gulfstream Park had sentiments similar to mine, as in wanting the old Gulfstream back.

Gulfstream's owner, Magna Entertainment, lobbied for and got its loyal patrons to vote for slot machines, and now the cat (or should I say snake) is finally out of the bag.

Magna's presentations of the new track had artwork that showed a beautiful building, but a decided lack of details. I kept wondering, "Where are the seats?" I thought, "Oh, they must be enclosed, as some tracks have glassed-in portions." Now the track is rebuilt, the stables are new, the workers' dorms are nice, but the middle-class racing fans are now told to pay $10 minimum for the privilege of sitting down to bet their money.

Slots patrons, will of course be given a seat free of charge, but not horseplayers. Without the money invested by horseplayers, there would be no racing, yet we are being treated as an underclass.

Media types, owners, and trainers will have half of the outdoor, undercover seats on the second floor facing the track, leaving the rest for horseplayers at $10 a seat. Magna management must feel that $10 is a small price to pay to support its vision. This is nonsense, plain and simple, expecting horseplayers to pay the freight for Magna's white elephant.

Al Boguslav
West Palm Beach, Fla.

Fans subsidizing NYRA bailout

Obscured in the middle of the Jan. 1 article "NYRA, state reach deal for bailout" was that the small bettor is being victimized again: The New York Racing Association is increasing the takeout on win, place, and show bets by 1 percent. This is counterproductive and defies all the recent studies that show the lower the takeout the better it is for both horseplayer and racetrack.

For those of us who aren't prepared to bet $2,000 a month through a NYRA One account, and thereby qualify for a rebate, get ready to pay more for the "privilege" of playing New York racing.

Steven S. Tyre
Temple City, Calif.

Danzig rarely got his just due from the public

I have been a big fan of Danzig's since he began his stud career at Claiborne Farm in 1981. He has been the Rodney Dangerfield of sires. Although his accomplishments as a sire and sire of sires has been proven, no one seemed to acknowledge him. He sired 188 stakes winners! This by only breeding to 70 to 75 mares a year. His offspring have also produced champions. His versatility for siring horses that could run on the dirt, grass, and even off tracks was phenomenal. He has certainly stamped his way into racing history, but the racing gods have never given him any credit. One always heard of Storm Cat, A.P. Indy, and others, but Danzig seems to be overlooked.

The Jan. 5 Racing Form article "Danzig euthanized" will, I hope, enlighten others so they will know the kind of horse Danzig was. And, just maybe, he will get the recognition he deserves from the racing fan and some media analysts.

I will miss seeing him during my trips to Kentucky. He always had a presence about him even when we saw him this past fall at Claiborne.

Rest in peace, Danzig. You will always be a champion in my eyes.

Anne Castle
Queensbury, N.Y.

In-home options two very different pictures

As a longtime racing fan, I was very happy to see Thoroughbred horse racing finally make its way to everyday television with an Internet betting platform. In the ensuing years, the players (Television Games Network and HorseRacing TV/XpressBet) have seemingly done their best to bring the racing fan Thoroughbred racing at its best. I felt the advent of both TVG and HRTV/XpressBet could potentially bring new fans to the sport.

And, in fact, that's just what TVG has done with my father, who was semi-retired and in need of a hobby. For the past six months he has been thoroughly enjoying both the TVG telecasts as well as the simple, trouble-free TVG Internet site. Unfortunately, his experiences with HRTV/XpressBet have soured him on the whole concept. For the past week he has been unable to make bets because of Internet problems and has complained about the poor follow-up on races on HRTV (i.e., not telling the viewer who has run second, third, or fourth until long past completion of a race has completed). TVG, on the other hand, follows up quickly and realizes the viewer wants to know results as soon as possible.

One can only hope that Magna loosens up and allows TVG to carry its racetracks in the near future, or I am afraid more new converts to Thoroughbred racing via television and the Internet will be turned off just like my father.

Robert Huweiler
San Diego

There's still time for New Year's wishes

I offer racing these New Year's wishes for 2006:

1. For all jockeys to have an accident-free year.

2. To hear and see what goes on during steward-initiated inquiries.

3. For tracks to reward bigger bettors better.

4. To see fragile, developing 2-year-olds not have to race.

5. That horses trained by the same trainer would always be a coupled entry.

6. For qualifying tournaments to the National Handicapping Championships to be held under the same format.

7. For all exotic bets to be no smaller, and no larger, than $1.

8. That the IRS would reconsider the 300-1 disclosure level on all exotic bets.

9. For friendlier parimutuel clerks.

10. For a nationally televised racing show every weekend.

11. For the entire racing industry, a prosperous new year.

Glenn Alsdorf
Chino Hills, Calif.