02/29/2008 1:00AM

Letters to the Editor


New Cup alignment seems more sexism than promotion

Words (almost) fail me as to Ladies' Day at the Breeders' Cup. Management may have consulted the advertisers, but this move is, frankly, insulting.

I don't care what women's causes are tied into this. What is this, the 1950s? This isn't the Kentucky Oaks, where Louisville shuts down for the day. Until the Breeders' Cup is run over Saturday and Sunday, most of ESPN's target audience will be at work. It comes across as: Hey, I have a great idea! Let's shove all the girls onto a day where no one will see them, but the Turf Sprint gets to go prime time immediately.

Talk about discrimination. Want your filly to take center stage? Sorry, gotta take on the boys. Why not move some of the boys' races to Friday and make Saturday Ladies' Day (and have a Ladies' Pick Five), if you really want to spotlight the fillies?

What makes more sense, if you're going to package something, is to move all the 2-year-old stakes to Friday. Package it as a preview to the future, etc. (Plus, in my opinion, those 2-year-old turf races are never really going to be Grade 1-caliber fields, although I'd be happy to be proven wrong on that point.)

Finally, changing the name of the Distaff to the Ladies' Classic is also an insult. Why not change the name of the Kentucky Oaks to the Ladies' Derby while we're at it? The Breeders' Cup Distaff has had a long and honored past, with many memorable runnings, including Lady's Secret on her way to Horse of the Year honors. It's a shame that it has now been renamed and shunted off to second-rate status.

Laura Ferguson - Louisville, Ky.

Friday grouping a foolish decision

My response to "Breeders' Cup Friday card now all-female" (Feb. 29):

You've got to be kidding me.

This is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. First Breeders' Cup Ltd. adds more races, ones that specialize way, way too much. And now, it totally changes to this format of only female racing on Friday.

Okay, so why not run 2-year-olds only on Thursday, races under a mile Saturday, turf races Sunday, and older horses going more than a mile a week from Tuesday. The Breeders' Cup people are really trying hard to make a mockery of the Cup, trying their hardest to mess up a good thing both by producing too much of it and dividing it up in a really foolish manner. Maybe next year between races we can play cowboys and Indians between the third and fourth races and have a jousting match between the fifth and sixth.

Leave it alone, please.

Mike Cozzi - Tinton Falls, N.J.

Recent changes veer from plotted course

Does anyone in Breeders' Cup actually gamble? With money I mean, not just with the Cup itself.

In creating an all-female race card on the first day of its two-day championships, Breeders' Cup has moved (and changed the name of) the BC Distaff, and that and other races will have marketing tie-ins focused on women.

I personally know and love many excellent female horseplayers. Problem is, they are outnumbered perhaps more than 20 to 1 by male horseplayers. And, with no disrespect, the per capita wagering is probably several times that ratio. But the Breeders' Cup in its infinite wisdom seems to be doing its best to turn BC Friday into a circus. Maybe they should have all female jockeys on that day also.

With changes like these and running at Santa Anita two years in a row, Breeders' Cup is breaking with strongly built traditions and much-anticipated venues that are (or were) the essence of what the Cup is all about.

Thomas A. Noone - Redondo Beach, Calif.

Filly maturing into a beauty

What a pleasure to read the Feb. 29 article "Dreaming of Anna looking like old self." I have been a huge fan of Dreaming of Anna ever since seeing her victory against males at Woodbine in 2006.

My hat is off to both owner Frank Calabrese and trainer Wayne Catalano, and I would like to say thanks for keeping her in training for a 4-year-old season. In this day and age, too many owners and breeders are more interested in breeding rights than in giving the fans what they want.

It was pure delight for me to watch Dreaming of Anna come back into form and start winning again, and even better was to see her go up against another filly of the caliber of Lear's Princess and defeat her. So once again, let me say: Thank you, sirs.

Carolyn Beverly Kenney - Benson, N.C.

No time to lose in steroid reform

Is anyone else who owns, bets, or follows racing as embarrassed as I am over the steroid issue? We now read that it likely will not be formally dealt with until January 2009 to give all parties time to consider how to address the issue, with the rationale that it would be too confusing to make a decision now ("Panel backs steroid ban delay," Feb. 2).

All the powers that be need to do is say, "Sixty days from today, no horse will be allowed to run with anabolic steroids in its system, nor will a yearling or 2-year-old old be allowed to go through any auction ring in the United States with steroids in its system unless for a medical condition that is disclosed before sale." To pretend it takes nearly a year to make a change is just silly.

How many more over-medicated horses need to break down or riders need to be injured before the issue is addressed?

What is also being ignored is the effect steroid use is having on foals of horses who ran overly medicated. But my fear is that, as with almost everything else in racing, nothing will happen until there is a public tragedy.

Greg Scherr - Monrovia, Calif.