08/23/2001 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor


Serious players need substitute for TRN quality

Like all serious horseplayers, I, too, miss The Racing Network. I am now forced to watch and listen to the ignorant and endless chatter of the talking heads on Television Games Network because they are the only game in town.

I have complained many times to them, as I know others have, but they will not listen. They say they cannot show all of the races, but that is because they are talking all the time. Meanwhile, they continue to give their useless picks instead of showing races.

We don't want to see the post parade and a synopsis of each horse or hear the hosts talk about their underwear. Hard to believe, but they spent several minutes recently discussing one of the host's underwear. Just show the odds and the races! Serious horseplayers couldn't care less who they pick in any given race.

I suggested that if they cannot show a race because of time limits, at least show the results (scrolled across the bottom of the screen) of the race as TRN would do.

I also wonder why they spend so much time talking about a race that they cannot televise, such as last Saturday's Beverly D. from Arlington, because ESPN had the broadcast rights (on tape delay!). They should try to concentrate on the races that they can televise.

Since TRN is gone, I am stuck with TVG. I can only hope and pray that someone will pick up the pieces of TRN and try again for the sake of all serious horseplayers.

Donny Beckham - Irving, Texas

New Breeders' Cup race: How about a marathon?

I saw in Mike Watchmaker's July 25 column "How long is too long? 1 1/2 miles" that we have another member of the Thumbs Down on Marathons club.

Shame on Watchmaker. Doesn't he realize that cutting back these fixtures only motivates owners to breed for shorter distances? Racetrack managements are also well into this hysteria.

Our foreign brethren have seen fit to short-circuit this trend that started several years back. To their eternal credit, the Prix du Cadran and Ascot Gold Cup, among others, have been preserved.

It makes more sense to add a million-dollar World Thoroughbred Championship marathon race to the Breeders' Cup card, on turf or dirt, at a distance chosen by the B.C. Committee. The timing is perfect and what a reversal of form this would cause in breeding sheds and the carding of races throughout the world. This might even cause smaller tracks with animals of lesser quality to extend their careers by reinstituting the old marathon handicap series with their concurrent slower fractions.

Let's not forget that all industries, including the one we love, follow the money trail.

(P.S. Memo to Watchmaker: You still have time to return your season's pass to Ruidoso Downs.)

Al Grant - Maywood, N.J.

What's in a name? No vulgarity, please

The May 9 card at Hollywood Park included a first-time maiden by the name of Chingasos. A 2-year-old colt, he has since raced twice more in northern California.

The word "chingasos" happens to be a Spanish expression whose root is "chinga," meaning sexual intercourse in a crude and vulgar sense.

As idiomatic expressions in any given language go, a coinage is often created. In this case, the term "chingasos" translates in English into a crude reference to "the [expletive] big time."

I confess to not having read The Jockey Club's rules regarding naming horses. But I doubt that those rules countenance vulgarity, crudity, coarseness, or indecency in the matter of horses' names. If they do, then it is I who am out of step with the standards of the times.

On the other hand, if the rules and regulations do not permit an anomaly such as Chingasos, then I respectfully request that The Jockey Club look into the matter immediately. Hopefully, after due process is observed, the owner of the horse should be ordered to change the name.

Manuel M. Roxas - Las Vegas

Advice to the stewards: Don't punish the bettors

As a longtime race player who remembers watching War Knight win the Santa Anita Handicap just after the war, I have seen a lot of stewards in action. The worst call I ever saw was The Wicked North being disqualified from first to fourth in the 1994 Big Cap.

The race course is not a gentlemen's riding club, and we don't need stewards to agonize over how many angels can dance on the head of pin and whether a race outcome would have been different if a bunch of rowdy brutes hadn't bumped each other.

If a jock blatantly fouls, as in a stretch whip duel, then he or she can be dealt with by the stewards accordingly. The way the horses finish should be the way they finish, period. That is so self-evident that I wonder what the prissy rules committees are thinking about.

While I am at it, I also think that any horse who does not finish the race, for whatever reason, should be declared a nonstarter. There is a built-in conflict of interest between a trainer trying to sell a sore horse, and a helpless (hopeless?) bettor.

And finally, are beaten favorites urine tested? I have seen a number of seemingly inexplicable races during the past year or two involving odd form reversals and questionable rides.

Robert L. Shelton - Palm Springs, Calif.

Dutrow's achievements merit his enshrinement

At this year's Hall of Fame ceremony, we were once again reminded of what a truly wonderful family the sport of Thoroughbred racing is. Great horsemen and horses are honored, and their presence is felt by the contributions of their offspring and proteges. I have such a great passion for Thoroughbred racing and am so proud to be part of a sport with such great ambassadors.

One gentleman, Richard E. Dutrow Sr., known by all those close to him as "Dickie," belongs with those great ambassadors. He epitomized all the qualities that are deserving of such an honor. His devotion to the sport for 50 years included many outstanding accomplishments. His runners won more than 3,600 races, and he won training titles at numerous tracks, along with national training titles in races won. He also owned and bred a Grade 1 winner in Lite the Fuse.

Dutrow trained many different classes of Thoroughbreds, including claiming horses like like Guy, whom he claimed at 2 and won 45 races with before losing him to a claim at age 9. Guy never did get his 50th win, but I know with Dickie he would have. He also trained King's Swan, an ex-claimer who turned out to be a Grade 1 winner and earned more than $1 million. Simply stated, his record speaks volumes.

Finally, Jay Hovdey's Aug. 4 column about Richard Mandella, "Grad school reunion time," had a parallel in Richard Dutrow. Dickie's proteges are numerous, and over the last year or so, I believe 10 of his "sons" were on the leading trainer charts at East Coast tracks, including his biological sons Richard Jr. and Anthony. (In the Dutrow barn, Dickie referred to many of his employees as "son.")

As I look back, I cherish those times with Dickie. We lost him too soon. Let's not allow any more time to pass by. He deserves to be with the great ambassadors in the Hall of Fame.

Michael T. D'Angelo - Wilmington, Del.