08/14/2008 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor


Slap at late owner did injustice to a life in full

The reference to Louis E. Wolfson in the Aug. 10 letter to the Racing Form "Trash talk sullies fine colt's image" infuriated me. There's nothing wrong with being supportive of Team IEAH, but I find it particularly unkind, and unfair, to dismissively describe my late father as "a convicted felon."

His very minor transgression for having violated an arcane, never-enforced-since-inception in 1934 regulation for selling unregistered securities, for a "white collar crime," was not even financially detrimental to stockholders of public companies in which he invested and operated. Those who knew the circumstances still believe that he was railroaded and made a scapegoat for being an outspoken trailblazer, who was on Nixon's enemies list, and publicly declared "there are many more crooks on Wall Street than in horse racing."

He championed the causes of the disadvantaged and voiceless segments of our society his entire life. Respected scholar Dean Henry G. Manne of George Mason University wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

"While his life was noted, none of the major media seemed to recognize this man's true significance. Yes, the obituaries dutifully acknowledged that he was a serious and valued benefactor of children's health care, and that he devoted himself in later life to the cause of penal reform. But . . . they missed the big story. Wolfson's contribution to human welfare far exceeded the total value of all private philanthropy in history. He invented the modern hostile tender offer. This invention, which activated and energized the market for corporate control, was the primary cause of the revolutionary restructuring of American industry in the 1970s and '80s, and the ensuing economic boom."

Lou Wolfson passionately loved Thoroughbred racing and deserves much greater appreciation and recognition for his countless unheralded, behind-the-scenes contributions and, mostly unheeded, visionary admonitions to the sport, than the smarmy reference printed in last week's letters to the Racing Form.

Steve Wolfson Sr. - Ormond Beach, Fla.

Race fans deserve meeting of the best

Big Brown and Curlin are without question the two most recognized names in horse racing currently, and when you add their charismatic connections into the mix it makes for great conversation. Horse racing needs these two horses, and their friendly feuding camps, desperately to keep this sport we all love on the radar ("Curlin-Big Brown race unlikely," Aug. 15).

That being said, if both parties truly want to settle the argument as to who is best it must be done on the world stage, and since 1984 that has been the Breeders' Cup. Big Brown's team has said that the Breeders' Cup Classic is their goal, and hopefully Big Brown will oblige and get them all there. They have mapped out a plan that they feel will get their horse to that race in the best shape.

Curlin is the defending Breeders' Cup Classic champion and Horse of the Year, and his connections have stated they are not interested in a repeat effort at Santa Anita this year. They have expressed some concern about running the colt on a synthetic surface, as this year's Breeders' Cup will be. They have said they want to have Curlin accomplish what has not been done - originally the Arc de Triomphe and now possibly the Japan Cup Dirt.

Wouldn't the greatest sporting gesture, though, be for both these parties to bring these two talented horses to a showdown on American soil on the world's greatest day of racing ? If they want to help the industry and truly please the fans, what could be more exciting than a good old-fashioned gunfight at high noon to settle who is best?

How about a challenge to both parties? It doesn't matter what route you take to get there, just do the best by each individual horse and get them in the gate together Oct. 25. One thing is for sure: If this happens, no matter who crosses the wire first, everyone who loves horse racing will be a winner.

Jill Byrne - Louisville, Ky.

Grown men resort to schoolboy tactics

All this back-and-forth banter between the connections of Curlin and Big Brown is growing tiresome, and it's making both Jess Jackson and Michael Iavarone look like a couple of grade-school playground bullies. In the end, both are going to do what's best for their horses (translation: What can we do to maximize syndication value?), and no amount of flimsy challenging and counter-challenging is going to change anyone's mind.

What's sad is that this childishness would never have occurred if the arrogant, trash-talking Richard Dutrow Jr. would have learned his lesson after Belmont Day and kept his mouth shut.

David J. Oppedisano - Latham, N.Y.

Investigation keeps jockeys in limbo

I appreciated that the Aug. 10 article "Bell racing under a cloud" kept this story alive.

Basically, the seven jockeys ordered to leave Tampa Bay Downs in December 2006 are in jail without being charged. Same thing happens in Russia.

Why does the racing industry just sit back and do nothing? Those jockeys are part of the racing community, and racing should aggressively be pursuing this, demanding answers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation or have one of our congressmen find out what the heck is going on.

Two years is too long for this investigation to be going on. I believe the FBI has no case and is too embarrassed to admit it. The FBI acts as if it does not consider jockeys citizens and could care less if it closes this case or just shelves it and hope it goes away, since the racing community is doing nothing.

The FBI should be called on the carpet for its inaction.

Bob Lunny Wimberley, Texas

Fill-in caller at Ellis felt right at home

I would like to thank all the staff and patrons in at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., for making me feel so welcome in their time of tragedy.

I was not going to call after we all heard the news of Luke's death ("Race-caller Luke Kruytbosch dies," July 16). But after horsemen and announcers called to tell me the folks at Ellis were in a spot, I reluctantly agreed. What great people I encountered. From the food and beverage staff to the mutuels department, to the racing staff and beyond, I have never spent a better two weeks in this industry. Facing being relieved of my duties at a track closing in a couple of weeks, this was refreshing.

Thanks to all the on-air people for not lambasting me as well. After 20 years in the radio business, this was one of the hardest things I have done. Having never called before at such a large track, I learned so much.

Thanks again, Ellis. And God be with you, Luke. All your fellow want-to-be announcers will miss you.

Keith Nelson - Kansas City, Mo.