07/28/2006 12:00AM

Letters to the Editor

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Lack of consistency a contributing factor to track breakdowns

I am writing concerning the recent number of injuries at Arlington, Del Mar, and elsewhere ("Mainstream media runs with track story," Arlington Notes, July 7, "Injuries raise surface concerns," Del Mar Notes, July 23).

The sole blame goes to the track superintendents. They are continually changing the racetracks. If front speed is really good, they try to slow it down. Now the next day, front speed is no good and all you get is closers. So they try to even it out again and change the track for the third time in three days. Horses need a consistent surface to run on. You can't keep changing it. If you do, it results in injuries.

Leave the surface alone. If it is all speed, then closers have to find a new home. If it is the other way, then the speed horses should go looking for another track.

That might sound harsh, but wait until many more tracks have synthetic surfaces. Just as at Turfway Park, some will hate it and some will love it. Lots of horses will be going "track shopping."

Greg Loshkajian
El Cajon, Calif.

Fans would flock to old-timers day

As racing fans, we cheer our favorites, hoping to see that elusive Triple Crown champion or the next Horse of the Year.

In recent times, racing has been just plain unlucky. Often at the precipice of greatness, careers have suddenly been abbreviated and potential superstars forced off the racetrack with untimely injuries.

These horses go on to the breeding barn to be seen again only through the accomplishments of their progeny. Why not bring these horses back to the racetrack?

Can you imagine Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex prancing in step together on an August afternoon down the stretch at Saratoga? I would bet you would be hard-pressed to find standing room on the apron.

What true racing fan would not relish an opportunity to see their heros gracing the track once more as the sun glistens on aged withers and graying manes?

People of all ages would come to racetracks, from the East Coast to the West Coast, from Canada to Florida, to thank Ghostzapper and Serena's Song for memories indelibly etched in racing history.

Fathers and mothers trackside would tell their sons and daughters "you should have been there when" that colt or this filly ran. The tale of "Seabiscuit" proved that the audience wants to be told the story.

Racing has never been very good at promoting itself. But who among us would not jump at the chance to relive the moments that keep us going back to the racetrack?

Jimmy Dintino
Philadelphia