02/01/2008 12:00AM

Letters to the Editor

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Many share blame in sorry story of mare's demise

On Saturday night, Jan. 26, a 13-year-old mare named Planting Time returned from a five-year, 11-month layoff to compete at Los Alamitos Race Course for a $2,000 claiming price at the distance of 4 1/2 furlongs.

Much to the chagrin of the fans, bettors, and horse enthusiasts who were in attendance or watching this race on Television Games Network, Planting Time broke down around the far turn and was euthanized after the race.

I am absolutely disgusted with all involved - Planting Time's connections, the stewards, the track veterinarian, and Los Alamitos management - for allowing Planting Time to compete, only to break down on the racetrack and meet her unfortunate and unnecessary demise.

As an owner and breeder - someone who makes his living in the sport of Thoroughbred racing - as well as a horse lover, I am completely shocked and revolted this barbaric act was allowed to take place.

The amazing thing is that the mare was in for a $2,000 claiming price. Did her owners need the money that badly? The cost to bring her back off the layoff and train her must have been more than she was running for.

Can anyone mean to tell me her connections could not have found her a home? Why was this allowed to happen?

In my 25-plus years on the racetrack, this is far and away the most blatant example of animal cruelty I have seen.

I really believe that every last person involved should come under severe scrutiny and/or be fined and punished for this inhumane act.

Aaron Hesz - Hollywood Hills, Calif.

New York coupling needs therapy

I am sick and tired of coupled entries in New York. This is especially frustrating in the winter, when Gary Contessa, Rick or Tony Dutrow, or Bruce Levine seem to run entries in every other race. What can a player do when he has a strong positive opinion about one half of the entry and a strong negative opinion about the other half?

The New York Racing Association may claim its hands are tied, but is it lobbying the state? I am sure others are just as aggravated as I am. Let's go, NYRA!

And to those conspiracy theorists who claim the longer halves of uncoupled entries win more often than not: Do yourselves a favor, bet them!

William Fosher - Lahaina, Hawaii