03/22/2002 1:00AM

Letters to the editor


Florida tactics showed poor sporting spirit

I just want to comment on the Florida Derby: In short, I was disgusted. I understand that men of wealth and power like Michael Tabor regularly dispose of high-priced things like we do a paper dinner napkin, but I was surprised to see trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Mark Guidry play the game with him.

Smooth Jazz wasn't the first rabbit to be used to torture a front-runner and himself in the process, but it seems strange to buy a horse and throw him to the wolves in his first race for you, possibly compromising his future, to try to win a "prep" race, especially with an entrymate who didn't have the credentials to win, even with the help.

Guidry certainly knew that he didn't have a chance to finish anywhere near the money, and I don't think he's destitute and needed the $60, or whatever, jock mount fee. It's one thing to ride a horse who won't take no for an answer and forces the pace. It's another to be asking your mount for all he has halfway up the backside.

I commend Booklet's trainer, John Ward, for being a total professional and not crying about it, actually blaming his own horse. I'm sure Shug McGaughey could have ran one of his many 3-year-olds against Mayakovsky to help Saarland in the Gotham, but he's way too classy to destroy the spirit of one of his horses to try to help another win what he rightfully considered a prep race, just as the Florida Derby is, for the Kentucky Derby.

For the record, my money was on Harlan's Holiday, so no sour grapes here, just compassion for the animals who make the lives of all racing fans a lot more fun.

I would expect the same from Pletcher and Guidry. Maybe I was expecting too much.

Joe Conte

Wilmington, Del.

Star treatment a new sort of Juice scandal

I was astounded to read the "news story" about O.J. Simpson at the races in Florida ("This day at the races stars O.J. - yes, that O.J.," March 18). No doubt a great many lowlifes attend the races, just like they do all sporting events, but they don't get publicized as though they were just another celebrity out for a little fun and relaxation.

In case anyone needs reminding, Simpson was found by a civil jury to be responsible for the deaths of two human beings, a fact strangely omitted from the Racing Form's story. In fairness to the two brutally slain people, this fact needed to be included along with the notation that Simpson was acquitted by a jury in the criminal trial.

Let's not forget that, to this day, Simpson remains the poster boy for spousal abuse and violence against women. Is this the kind of person we should be celebrating? Is this the kind of person we call a "star?"

Why you would choose to run this story and headline it as you did absolutely confounds me. At the very least, you owe an apology to all the people this story has offended, and they are many.

I clearly recall the words of Simpson to the press, following his acquittal in the criminal trial, when he said he would search, for however long it took, to find the killers of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. Apparently having completed his search at golf courses on both coasts, he has now chosen to continue his quest for justice at the racetrack. What a world!

When the World Trade Center has been rebuilt, and the mix of world politics has been well stirred for a decade or so, and all is forgotten, should I be surprised to read that another "star," Osama bin Laden, acquitted by a jury of his peers, was spotted in his usual turf club box enjoying a day at the races?

Thomas Berwald

Purchase N.Y.

Replacing Robbins shows gratitude these days

This used to be a great game. Now I read another case of a lack of class: "Team Tiznow - Cooper and Robbins - split" (March 13). It now seems that Jay Robbins isn't good enough to train Tiznow's little brother Tizbud. Anyone who knows anything about horse racing knows that Robbins did one of the best training jobs anyone could do with Tiznow. Robbins knew when his horse was right and when he wasn't.

From the outside looking in, everyone thought Robbins and Tiznow's co-owner, Michael Cooper, were great buddies, but I guess Robbins didn't have a big enough name to continue to train for him.

I would be willing to bet someone turned over in her grave when she read about this.

Bill Barisoff

Long Beach, Calif.

TVG gets last laugh

The March 3 letter to the editor "Tribulations of betting turning hairs gray" stated that "we all know" Television Games Network "is more of a comedy channel than a horse racing channel."

Actually, I find that statement extraordinarily incorrect.

TVG broadcasts races every day, including those from many of the top racetracks. The channel also shows the Arc de Triomphe, the Dubai World Cup, and other important international contests.

TVG is alone in covering the sales from Keeneland, Triple Crown workouts, and other such activities. This is the stuff, methinks, of horse racing.

Add to the mix that TVG not only offers such diverse coverage, but that it is a basic channel on the Dish Network, and it is easy to see that TVG is the best thing that has happened to the sport in a very long time. (By the way, if you're looking for a comedy show, try "The O'Reilly Factor.")

Some may complain at the, shall we say, sometimes cavalier approach of several TVG analysts, but it is this very informality that makes TVG so enjoyable.

And one more thing. The Racing Channel failed because too many racing fans were too cheap to pay a whole $25 a month for three channels of Thoroughbred action.

John Abraytis

Melrose Park, Ill.

Connections take note: Nobody's perfect

This is an observation about a race on which I had no money riding. I was just simply watching as a fan last Sunday.

Jerry Bailey lost the San Felipe, not Siphonic. When Kent Desormeaux and U S S Tinosa made their premature move on the turn, Bailey freaked out and started to send Siphonic.

I immediately called Siphonic done right then and there. I didn't know who was going to win, but I knew I could eliminate one.

Looking back on it, Bailey should have done exactly what Laffit Pincay Jr. did on Medaglia d'Oro. Wait.

On the turn I didn't know if Pincay was going to be able to do what he did. I didn't know if he was waiting or if he just didn't have the horse. At first, I thought Pincay and Medaglia d'Oro were done, but when he passed everyone on the inside in the stretch, it was then I marveled at an absolute flawless ride.

Bailey was terrible while Pincay was


Their riding performances are only one aspect of the situation The most interesting thing about this is that Bailey is taking over on Repent because he's the veteran and he's been there before.

Well, obviously riders are all human, and even Bailey makes mistakes to cost himself and his connections a win every once in a while, too.

Eric Isaacson

Indianapolis, Ind.