08/04/2006 12:00AM

Letters to the editor


Former chair refutes account of California deal

The statements attributed to Ingrid Fermin of the California Horse Racing Board in the Aug. 3 article "Frankel cleared on old charge" were erroneous and consistent with the irrational and prejudicial actions of the racing board under the Fermin administration.

Why does the board want to attribute the settlement with trainer Bobby Frankel over a 2000 morphine positive to a prior board and a prior executive director? Why does the current board want to backdate the settlement? I can only surmise that it is an attempt to continue its ineffective and biased administration of California racing

The article stated that near the end of 2004, I consulted with the racing board's executive director, Roy Wood, regarding a possible settlement with Bobby Frankel. Not only is that not true, but I was not even a member of the California Horse Racing Board during the final quarter of 2004. Furthermore, I was not chair at any time during 2004. [See editor's note below.]

The settlement was negotiated and consummated by the current board at a recent meeting. There was no settlement with Frankel until the current board negotiated and effectuated it. There were internal discussions regarding possible resolutions, but not only was there no settlement consummated during 2003 (my year as chair), but it is inconceivable that Frankel's attorney would allow there to have been a settlement in 2003, yet not have it implemented until 2006.

The statements attributed to Fermin about the settlement with Frankel is not the first time that the racing board has attempted to mislead the public or keep it in the dark. A case in point was the protocol initially established (and since changed) by the board's Medication Committee and the chair when the information regarding the blood gas tests taken at Del Mar in 2004 was given to the racing board. This protocol included not publishing the results of the tests. As a result, the public at large remains unaware of numerous trainers whose horses were found to have higher-than-acceptable carbon dioxide levels in their bloodstreams. Among those were four trainers who train for the two of the members of the medication committee. Should committee members have recused themselves from discussions regarding these tests based upon this conflict?

Why doesn't the California Horse Racing Board stand accountable for its acts and stop hiding the ball?

Roger Licht
Los Angeles

Editor's note: In a correction on Aug. 4, the Racing Form acknowledged the erroneous time frame described in the original article.

Bordonaro whacked by stewards' call

One has to love the carefree attitude exhibited by Del Mar steward Scott Chaney as quoted in Jay Hovdey's Aug. 2 column, "It's hard to have all the angles." Chaney summed up the decision to disallow the claim of foul by Alex Solis, Bordonaro's rider, against Jon Court, rider of Pure as Gold, in last Sunday's Bing Crosby Handicap, by saying, "That's life."

It's great he can be so flippant about a decision that certainly affected thousands of fans wagering hundreds of thousands of dollars on the outcome of the race, not to mention the owners and trainer of Bordonaro.

That trainer, Bill Spawr, by the way, really does right by that horse. Bordonaro was rested and freshened for the race, trained perfectly leading up to the event, and all set to give his best. In fact he was all set to blow right by Pure as Gold as they turned into the stretch and then the fight left Bordonaro rather suddenly.

Hovdey wrote "Bordonaro's head flinched. . . ." Not only did his head flinch, but he was completely thrown off stride and lost his action for a moment. Somehow, Bordonaro recovered and fought bravely for second. Did Chaney also not watch the horse's action? Does he know anything at all about a horse's movements and what they indicate?

Apparently, the TVG video indicated, according to Chaney, "It does appear . . . Bordonaro does get struck." Well that really reassures those of us wagering our hard-earned bucks at Del Mar. Thanks for the update.

Marc Bonagura
Green Brook, N.Y.

Crosby complaints wrong road to take

Will Bill Spawr and the owners of Bordonaro quit crying and graciously accept defeat in the Bing Crosby Handicap ("Spawr still angry with Bing Crosby ruling," Del Mar Notes, Aug. 4; "Complaint filed over Crosby," Aug. 5)? The stewards made the right call.

Extending the controversy is taking away from the great story of Pure as Gold's trainer, Jack Carava, claiming a horse and winning a Grade 1.

Charles Garcia
Inglewood, Calif.

New York story needs two chapters

Steven Crist's Aug. 5 column, "Only NYRA had the goods," hit the nail on the head in its last sentence. The sudden interest in the Aqueduct/Belmont/Saratoga franchise by all the bidders de jour is grounded firmly in the long awaited slot revenue from Aqueduct and perhaps Belmont. The quality of racing in New York is the furthest thing from their collective agenda.

It's a safe bet that slots will never come to Saratoga Race Course. No one in attendance cares about anything except the races being run at the track that day, aside from a handful of people who pay attention to the simulcast races and, of course, the Siro's crowd.

Maybe it's time to consider seriously separating the three tracks into two franchises. Saratoga stands apart from the downstate tracks in more ways than I can list. It and Keeneland stand together far atop of the North American racing world in terms of the quality of racing, physical elegance, and the overall experience. These elements will take a backseat once slots arrive downstate.

The New York Racing Association is best suited to retain the Saratoga franchise. Let all the for-profit interests bid for the downstate tracks' franchise.

I hope the new governor and legislature get this.

David J. Oppedisano
Latham, N.Y.

Slot money can be returned to bettors

I have heard so much talk about slot-machine revenue sending purses through the roof. I have yet to hear a racetrack executive mention the idea of uses this revenue to lower takeout. Am I missing something?

William Fosher
Lahaina, Hawaii