06/19/2008 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor

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Belmont fallout showed hint of a gender gap, after feet did the talking

In the wake of the Big Brown flame-out, it was interesting that nearly all of the June 15 letters to the Racing Form supporting Kent Desormeaux's actions in the Belmont Stakes came from women, while those condemning his ride in the Belmont all appeared to be from men. So I guess all the men think about is their pockets.

Whatever - and we may never know exactly what - transpired, the old horseman's adage of "No foot, no horse" seems to have been confirmed. For Big Brown has obviously always had chronic problems with his feet. The first sign was his debut being on the turf. The second sign: The long gap from Saratoga and his reappearance at Gulfstream. Third sign: The lengthy gap between the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby. Fourth sign: glue-on shoes. Fifth sign: confirmation of a quarter crack that, from what the photographs in the May 29 and Juneo4 Racing Forms showed, was old, not new, and a really bad one at that. Then, because Richard Dutrow Jr. couldn't put the required work into his charge before sending him 1 1/2 miles, he was too sharp on a very hot and humid day and ended up being a short horse, with one of his glued-on shoes adrift.

An Olympic 100-meter champion could not beat anyone if he had a stone in his running shoe. Nor could a Formula One car, with a flat tire, beat a Mini. So criticism of Kent Desormeaux is quite absurd, for he did racing a favor by easing a horse who was going nowhere.

Robin Dawson - Toronto

Dutrow's spectacle could only help sport

Now that Big Brown has lost his bid for the Triple Crown, his trainer, Rick Dutrow, is being criticized for his Muhammad Ali-like proclamations of greatness on behalf of his horse. Well, Muhammad Ali brought the boxing game back to life, and Dutrow brought more interest in the racing game.

He had people talking about Big Brown who had never known the name of any racehorse. He bragged about how great a horse Big Brown was, and he was right twice, in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. As the saying goes, "Two out of three ain't bad."

Horse racing needs its more colorful participants in the public eye in order toobuild interest, so I think that racing owes Rick Dutrow a thank-you for creating interest, even if some people were offended.

John Buonagura - Floral Park, N.Y.