03/08/2008 12:00AM

Letters to the Editor


Romero's deeds on and off track worthy of Hall spot

In the upcoming election for this year's Racing Hall of Fame class, a particular nominee comes to mind. Randy Romero, racing's "Ragin' Cajun," finds himself among the elite riders of his generation, including Alex Solis and Edgar Prado ("Nafzger, Prado among 12 Hall finalists," Feb. 24), but some things truly set Randy apart.

He captured three Breeders' Cup wins in as many years, and no true racing fan can deny the chill they felt watching Randy and undefeated Personal Ensign flying out of Churchill's dusk-covered stretch to outfinish Winning Colors in the 1988 Distaff. One cannot forget the masterful ride of Go for Wand in the 1989 Juvenile Fillies or Sacahuista in the 1987 Distaff. There was a bad day, too: Romero was aboard for the awful breakdown of Go for Wand in the 1990 Distaff that left the rider injured.

Romero is a true champion, not for his 4,294 wins, riding titles at eight different tracks, and six-win days at Churchill, Keeneland, and Fair Grounds, but because he is a true horseman. Last spring, I had the honor of meeting Randy and his wife, Cricket, at the home of a mutual friend. He truly took the time to indulge a wide-eyed college student about the sport we both love so dearly. We spent hours looking through albums of winner's-circle pictures, and there was a glimmer in his eyes as he told stories not only of races, but of friends and people who elevated his life and career along the way. The return investment to racing has been tenfold in the young riders Randy continues to mentor.

Randy Romero represents the best aspects of Thoroughbred racing: a champion rider, a humble friend and colleague, and a teacher for the sport's future leaders.

Jason O. Richey - Louisville, Ky.

Cup format offers prime potential

When Breeders' Cup Ltd. decided to shift the Breeders' Cup events for females to Friday to make that Ladies Day ("BC Friday card now all-female," Feb. 29), there were a couple of factors that many overlooked:

1. With the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita this year and next, it presents ESPN with a chance to showcase the Friday races in East Coast prime time. In order to do so, there need to be marquee events on Friday, which the Distaff (now Ladies Classic), Filly and Mare Turf, and Juvenile Fillies do. Those races and the others for females can now air on ESPN following "SportsCenter" in a three-hour broadcast from 7 to 10 p.m. Eastern.

2. Much more importantly, with nine events now on Saturday, Breeders' Cup can now offer a 10-cent pick nine on those races, which I would do with a $5 million guaranteed pool. Such a move makes the Cup attractive to lottery players with the lure of potentially winning millions on a dime wager. With the event at Santa Anita, I would look to have it run from

3-10 p.m. Eastern, between ESPN's normal college football telecasts (the noon game staring that week at 11:30 a.m. Eastern and the prime-time game from the Pac-10 and pushed back to 10 p.m. Eastern). The later showtime would probably also mean more money wagered.

It the Cup airs at a later time this year and next, and is successful doing so, I suspect whoever gets the 2010 event will be required to make it a nighttime affair. The potential handle from Asia and Australia alone make it worth it anyway, in addition to the additional exposure of the Friday races on a night television options are often limited.

Those who think the BC should go Saturday-Sunday forget one thing: The NFL dominates Sundays, and it would be suicide for the BC to go head-to-head with pro football.

Walter Parker - Philadelphia

New arrangement raises possessive ire

I'm mad as hell, and we don't have to take it any more.

There seems to be a misconception that Breeders' Cup Ltd. and those who took control of it a few years back own it. They don't. Those of us who have been betting on it since the beginning - who can recall every score, every near-score, every triumph, and every tragedy - are the real owners. And we shouldn't let the event we love be dismantled in front of our eyes.

While I had accepted the addition of a second day, figuring I could pick and choose among the new races, I cannot and will not accept this ridiculous rearrangement that effectively obliterates a quarter-century of greatness. What a shame. I wish I knew what we could do. I do have a couple modest suggestions for starters.

Henceforth, let no one, under penalty of eternal bad racing luck, ever refer in speech or in print to the Breeders' Cup Distaff as anything but the Distaff. And let no one pretend the Win and You're In program is to be taken seriously. Don't drink the Kool-Aid, people. And media: Don't pass out the cups.

Kyle Newcomb - Delmar, N.Y.

Fan trumpets the sound of Dooley

It is time to make room in the ranks of elite race callers to include the voice of Arlington Park and Fair Grounds: John Dooley. He belongs in the class of Trevor Denman and Tom Durkin. While Denman is a clear No. 1, Dooley is closing the gap. His descriptive calls and clever use of words make him a joy to listen to.

While nobody paints a clearer picture of a race than Denman, Dooley stands alone in bringing drama and excitement to the races he calls. I beg all race fans to go on YouTube and listen to Dooley's call of the 2007 Arlington Million, or Gorella's 2006 Beverly D. But above all, you have to hear his call of Pyro in last month's Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. It was a classic.

Jeff Richardson - Lincoln, Neb.