06/27/2002 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor

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NYRA head's rip of jock agents uncalled for

Memo to jockey agents throughout the land: Don't bother to set the alarm. Really, just go ahead and sleep in - apparently you are no longer needed. The King has spoken.

Barry Schwartz, chairman of the New York Racing Association, was quoted in the June 16 Racing Form ("Agents file suit to change jockey rule,") as saying of agents, "They're the part of the industry that puts the least amount up. Their contribution is about zero."

Angel Cordero, you are a Hall of Fame rider, but I guess John Velazquez can do it on his own. Your apprentice rider, Neftali Galarza, couldn't possibly learn anything from your years of riding experience, could he?

Steve Rushing, maybe you forgot to introduce yourself to Barry when you and Edgar Prado made that very successful trip to Saratoga a couple of summers ago.

John Breeden, if Jeremy Rose left his Eclipse Award for outstanding apprentice at your house, please return it to him.

Joe French, Harry Vega will have to order his own plane tickets to Dubai to ride Xtra Heat next year.

Ron Anderson, Jerry Bailey can just draw straws when deciding which of five runners to ride in a six-horse field in a Grade 1 race.

Gerald Delp, it's probably just a coincidence that Mario Pino is leading the jockey standings in Maryland and is sixth in the nation. The switch to you had nothing to do with it. How could you possibly help? Being the son of a trainer to be inducted in the Hall of Fame this year, and knowing your way around the winner's circle as a trainer yourself? Nope. Schwartz thinks your contribution is about zero.

Schwartz thinks the jockey agents in New York are out to "run racing in New York - or should I say ruin racing in New York."

Memo to Mr. Schwartz: You owe every jockey agent in New York and every jockey agent in the country an apology. Your remarks were offensive.

Jockeys are a pretty smart bunch. If they didn't need agents, they wouldn't have them. But do you know the number of successful jockeys who do not have an agent? Zero.

Michael Dempsey

Falls Church Va.

McCarron's not finished improving the game

Chris McCarron evidently took his cue from fellow Bostonian Ted Williams - hit the long ball one more time for the fans and then go home.

A racegoer could count on Chris McCarron. I knew I could bet on his mounts without a flicker of doubt as to his intentions or his preparation. He rode a few winners for me as an owner over the years, too. I even bought a used car from the man.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have watched him work at close range. We did some video and television work together. No jockey could match him for clarity, insight, and an original point of view in an interview before or after a race. He never acted like he was doing you a favor.

We served on an industry task force together in California, and he brought the most energy and the best ideas to the table.

He treated a five-dollar Nassau like a Breeders' Cup Classic . . . talk about putting on a game face.

Racing's loss can become racing's gain. Chris plans to attend to improving the lot of his fellow riders, which is an admirable cause.

I am sure there will be many areas where Chris can make his talents useful to the sport in the days ahead.

Chris McCarron, moving like a winner.

Dan Kenny

Lexington, Ky.

Working-class outfits need support from bigwigs

We constantly hear that the different groups that control and promote horse racing will provide relief for escalating costs and small fields. Recently the issue of providing assistance for trainers facing unreasonable costs for worker's compensation has been in the forefront.

On any given day you will find 50 to 60 percent of all races in northern California are under-$20,000 claimers, the majority being $8,000-$20,000 with purses of $7,000 to $14,000. Unless you win every other race you can't break even.

The fact is that the little guys provide the majority of horses to support racing. It doesn't affect The Thoroughbred Corp. or other large owners if insurance costs them an extra $10 a day per horse, but it certainly takes its toll on smaller owners. Any organization that is serious about helping should do something positive, and do it now. Racing can spend millions on advertising, but with small fields it will lose the interest of the betting public.

Many races with California-bred incentives have only one or two statebreds in the field. If they don't win in claiming races they get zero dollars. The state should start by distributing this money to the Cal-breds in the race regardless of their finish.

Someone should compute what the odds are on these Cal-bred entries ever cashing in on the incentive. What happens to this money? I suspect it is added to the pool to increase purses on stakes races, which is counterproductive when it comes to filling the daily race cards.

Smaller-scale owners are in racing for the love of the sport. They'll never be able to go out and buy a Kentucky Derby winner a month before the Triple Crown, but their undying commitment to this industry should have some reward and help from those who control it.

I know many large owners do a wonderful job maintaining the interest of the public with horses like Cigar, Silver Charm, Real Quiet, and War Emblem, to mention a few. I know they support many organizations that provide for retired racehorses, etc. The industry could simply not work without them and we are blessed to have them. It is not their problem or responsibility to provide for the rest of the industry.

Unless large organizations like Churchill Downs and Magna Entertainment can come up with some real solutions for smaller owners, they, too, will understand the concept of diminishing returns on their investments.

George Hawranik

Fallbrook, Calif.

As long as you're cashing, quit your whining

It comes as no surprise that horseplayers have found another reason to complain ("Post-bell odds-dropping needs immediate solution," Letters to the Editor, June 16).

Give me a break. It wasn't so long ago that a patron wasn't even given the opportunity play multiple tracks unless you took a trip to Las Vegas. Believe me, I've known a few heavy hitters in Vegas who, when they laid a bet down on a track 3,000 miles away, made a significant impact on the host tote board. No one seemed to notice or care then, why now?

The dropping of odds is a part of racing luck. You may not get exactly the return you had initially expected, but you get a return. You cash your ticket! Isn't that the point?

William Wehr

Burlingame Calif.

Stop squabbling over bonus and do the right thing

Shame on Russell Reineman and The Thoroughbred Corp. for not addressing the issue of the Sportsman's Park bonus money when the deal was made for War Emblem. It's really not sportsmanlike to fight over the money in court after the fact.

Why not resolve the matter another way? Why not donate the money to several different racehorse retirement foundations and be done with it? Then all involved would be heroes.

Marla Zanelli

Encinitas, Calif.