01/08/2010 1:00AM

Letters to the Editor


Rachel, Zenyatta the true contenders as decade's finest

Ghostzapper may have been the fastest of the past decade, but to anoint him as Horse of the Decade, as Steven Crist did in the Jan. 2 DRF Weekend pullout section, is premature.

After a year, 2009, that saw perhaps the greatest filly and mare of all time, Crist was overlooking the obvious. Ghostzapper is nowhere near the all-time greats, but Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra are among the best female runners of all time, especially on the dirt. What filly or mare in the past 50 years accomplished more than they did?

While the "sheet" and Beyer Speed Figure boys love Ghostzapper, I put him in the Skip Away/Holy Bull category - excellent horses on their day, but hardly the best of their generations. Rachel and Zenyatta did what few female horses ever did, regardless of Beyer numbers. Either one of them should be crowned Horse of the Decade.

Russell Burghard - Melville, N.Y.

Gulfstream puts up barrier to progress

The Jan. 3 preview of the new Gulfstream meet, "Season of change begins," noted that the track's new president, Ken Dunn, had called one of his "major goals right off the bat is to make Gulfstream Park's simulcast signal the most popular in the country this winter."

I'm confused. Doesn't he work for Frank Stronach? And doesn't Stronach covet his control over the Gulfstream signal, not to mention his sway over the Santa Anita, Fair Grounds, Laurel and, come spring, Churchill Downs signals? Let's not forget his inventions the Sunshine Millions and Magna 5.

Here in Pennsylvania, we're no longer allowed to bet on any of the above. Well, unless we use an advance-deposit wagering operation that permits it, or travel down to an OTB in Maryland. (My own theory is that one reason Pennsylvania in particular isn't getting the signal is so Stronach's OTBs in North East and Frederick, Md., can get the business.)

So if Mr. Dunn finds himself perplexed as to why the interesting cards, full fields, and popular jockeys at Gulfstream Park aren't resulting in a great handle this year, I would suggest he check with the boss.

Susan Lord - Lancaster, Pa.

Fair Grounds can do without moldy oldies

My friends and I have been racing fans for 40-plus years. Just recently, our favorite racetrack, the Fair Grounds, began feeding through its sound system a satellite radio station that plays mellow oldies from the 1960s and 70s.

What a great addition to the ambience at the nation's third-oldest racetrack. We now get to hear incessant elevator and grocery-store music from the National Anthem through the final race.

Perhaps Churchill Downs Inc. can continue the practice at its home track in Louisville this spring. Just imagine Cat Stevens and "Moon Shadow" blaring from the speakers as they saddle up for the run for the roses.

Charlie Chapple - Hammond, La.