07/24/2008 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor

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Decision on Rose shows a lack of careful thought

As an avid race fan, owner, trainer, and breeder, I cannot understand the logic in the decision regarding Jeremy Rose reported in the July 24 article, "Rose's penalty cut to 90 days."

To suspend him initially for six months and then reduce it to three months only shows that some of the leaders in racing are not responding to the increasing need for forethought and creativity in this evolving industry. With decisions like this, years ago we probably would have eliminated 10 Hall of Fame riders.

Rose is not a close friend of mine, but I do know him personally as a good person. He is, as everyone knows, a good rider. He loves animals of all kinds - just go to his home. Last year he flew a horse from Utah to Maryland to give to a friend as a riding horse.

When something happens in a negative way, we must be smart and creative enough to make a positive out of the situation. The Rose decision had an impact on the livelihoods of many families. Delaware Park is without one of its leading riders. Some owners and trainers may not have the same success.

Just imagine permitting him to ride after a one-week suspension. Then, for a month or two or three, depending on the severity and impact of the infraction, he must donate a percentage of his earnings every week to a charity in the Thoroughbred industry, such as the Thoroughbred Charities of America, or any of the Thoroughbred retirement organizations mentioned in Jay Hovdey's July 25 column, "Time for a raised conscience," that need financial help.

What Rose did was obviously an unfortunate incident. We need not punish foolishly, though. I do not believe his act of striking a mare with his whip affected the outcome of the race. The trainer of the horse involved spoke out on Rose's behalf, and the horse is okay. We must protect, enhance, and serve the Thoroughbred industry in a more intelligent and thoughtful way. It is incumbent on racing's leaders to do so.

Michael T. D'Angelo - Woodbury, N.Y.

Lava Man's place fixed in galaxy

The July 20 article entitled "Up-and-comers try to reach top rung" might have been just another good article providing analysis about a top upcoming race in the Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar. What made the article highly insulting was the reference to Lava Man as an "ex-star." What exactly does that mean?

Is he comparable to someone who belongs on "Celebrity Fit Club" or "The Surreal Life" on VH1? I don't think so.

He's a seven-time Grade 1 winner who has done something Curlin has not, which was win a Grade 1 on turf and dirt in the same year - the very same year that he did what no one else could previously do and swept the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Pacific Classic. He has won three Hollywood Gold Cups and two Santa Anita Handicaps. He has done all of this off of a $50,000 claim.

Ex-star?

While his retirement may be announced shortly ("Lava Man's career may be over," July 23), Lava Man will always be one of racing's greatest and most permanent stars.

Mark Miller - Boston

Career might revive with footing change

Is it me, or does anyone else see what happened to Lava Man? He was on a winning streak on dirt, and his great speed and heart were taken away by synthetic racing surfaces.

This horse needs to be on dirt - everyone can see this. He does not need to be retired, he needs to be shipped and kept in the Midwest or East where he can run on dirt tracks. There are many graded and listed stakes he could win or compete in on dirt. Yes, he pulled off some turf wins, but he is a dirt horse.

Ever since the synthetic tracks became mandatory in California, Lava Man has gone straight downhill. His style goes against every synthetic track.

I urge trainer Doug O'Neill and Lava Man's owners to get him back racing on dirt - where he belongs.

Dan Cronin - Cincinnati

Fan looks ahead to changing colors

With the opening of Saratoga, is it too early to begin thinking about the best two days of the year - Breeders' Cup Friday and Saturday?

I have one complaint about Breeders Cup days, though: All the saddlecloths are the same color - purple. It would make the races much more enjoyable for anyone offtrack, I believe, if the saddlecloths followed the color pattern that they do every other day of the year.

Isn't the reason that the color pattern was established, for the simulcast audience, and isn't the vast majority of Breeders' Cup handle offtrack? So why change the procedure and make it harder to follow the horses, on the day when most of us bet more multiple combinations and more money?

I will still enjoy the day immensely, though, even if I don't know which purple cloths are in the photo for fourth and which outside horse I should be rooting for as down the stretch they come.

Bob Kerwick - North Providence, R.I.