03/29/2002 12:00AM

Letters to the Editor

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Magna grade rates less than cum laude

Magna Marketing 101:

Jack up the parking, create a wonderful atmosphere for secondhand smoke, cancel the longtime tradition of bringing your own food into the track.

Then monopolize the market on in-home betting, making sure that the player must have two accounts to play California racing year-round.

Magna needs to understand that horseplayers are not locked into playing their tracks. Its marketing department must have an in-house contest as to what idea will drive the most fans away.

The latest bit about satellite television is the most insulting yet. What fan is going to spend $300 for equipment and $1,200 a year in order to watch the races? It was a 1-9 shot that Magna would not use the Dish Network, as does Television Games Network. They must want the roofs of our houses to look like Mt. Whitney.

In addition, the XpressBet slogan "Anytime . . . from anywhere" is flat-out false advertising. I cannot play the day's races at Santa Anita before I go to work at 7 a.m. Pacific. And the weather vane giveaway has to go down, in the annals of useless giveaways, as one of the best.

If you treat people badly enough, they will go away.

Thom Mitchell - Balboa, Calif.

California can be a leader with dollar diplomacy

Racing fans in California are indeed getting ripped off, as noted in the Feb. 19 letter "Caveat for Californians: Watch your wallets." We pay too much to park, too much to get in, too much for the program. If you are 62 or older, or disabled, and on a fixed income and would like to get out for some fun, the cost is very unfair.

As a disabled person, I would like to get to the races as often as possible, but we are treated as if we are made of money. Three dollars off on Thursday - big deal.

We can walk into a grocery store here in California and buy a lottery ticket for a dollar. Why can't we buy a ticket on a horse for one dollar?

Bettors out here were told back in 1999 that all bets would be lowered to $1, even the daily doubles and pick six. We find ourselves still waiting.

It's a real shame. We here in California could be the leaders in getting things right and helping racing in other states into the future.

Cecil Williams - Bakersfield, Calif.

New Yorker won't put up with bad apples

As a resident of New York and horseplayer for 40 years, I had been praying that New York City Off-Track Betting would be sold to Frank Stronach's Magna Entertainment. I thought that Magna would be much more user-friendly than the existing bureaucratic mess. How wrong I was.

I purchased the equipment for The Racing Network and had it for months after having prepaid for a year's service, and now it is defunct. I understand - business is business, and I can't blame Magna for a previous owner's shortcomings. But now Magna has purchased the company, switched the letters from TRN to RTN, and has the gall to charge $100 per month. Are they kidding? Why does the serious horseplayer continued to get abused? Why not $25 per month?

The mistake of TRN was to have a staff telling us what we already know when we just want races. I purchased Dish Network for Television Games Network, and I have to shut off the sound to watch. Does anyone in the marketing of racing realize that you can not push the game through having personalities push the product? All I want is nuts and bolts when it comes to TV. The people who run Magna are out of their minds if they think they will sell their product for $100 a month.

Chuck Seddio - Long Beach, N.Y

World Cup fever just may be spreading

The Dubai World Cup is a date that I mark on my calendar every year as a must-watch, as it attracts the best horses from around the globe to compete on a spectacular stage.

Over the past six years, the signal was picked up by a minimal number of outlets, making it a chore for the average race fan to watch the races, let alone place a wager on the event.

I am not sure what was so special about this year, but apparently Dubai has now become cost-effective for wagering outlets. The handle was up a staggering 37 percent this year ("World Cup card handle soars," March 27). More than 600 outlets simulcast the races, allowing the entire racing world to watch and wager on some of the greatest international racing of the year.

What amazes me is that there were no American entrants in the World Cup. Sure, there were names familiar to the American fans such as Street Cry and Shakee, but by no means was there a crowd-pleasing hero such as Cigar or Silver Charm in the running.

It's wonderful that this tremendous event has finally caught on in the United States, but a shame that it took this long, and a shame that more Americans didn't participate in the racing this year.

This event should never be missed by any race fan, and finally the U.S. outlets are making that possible.

Ask Jerry Bailey. He has never missed a World Cup, and I am sure that if the U.S. outlets continue to provide the exposure and opportunity to its fans, not too many racing fans will miss another one.

Michael A. Pribozie

Johnstown, Pa.

Canani's mastery goes unjustly overlooked

When will the horse racing industry recognize the great career of one of the most underrated trainers of his generation: Julio Canani?

While the media lauds the achievements of the Frankels, Bafferts, Motts, Mandellas, and McAnallys, we seldom hear such accolades for one of the most talented and successful horseman of his era, the Peruvian-born Canani.

Does the Hall of Fame recognize merely the accomplishments related to Triple Crown events? For over 30 years, Canani has been a master craftsman on the toughest circuit in the country, winning numerous graded stakes, not just in Southern California but throughout the racing world.

It is time for the Hall of Fame to appreciate fully just how great this man has been by enshrining him in Saratoga.

Ron Wasserman - Los Angeles

If only the horse had wings, too

In 25 years of going to the races, I've had all kinds of things happen to the horses I bet on. I have had them run through the rail and in to the infield. I have had them to go into the parking lot. I have had them break the gate and try to go back to the barn. But Sunday, March 17, was a first for me.

At the Fair Grounds, as my horse was battling down the stretch, a goose walked under the rail right in front of him after narrowly avoiding the eventual winner. Of all the excuses I have given my wife over the years for losing, this might be the best one yet! I wonder if the trouble line in the Form will read "ran over goose"?

Jimmy Cordova - Grand Cane, La.

Editor's note: Footnotes in the chart for the first race at Fair Grounds on March 17 mention that at least one horse "ran over a duck."