12/13/2002 1:00AM

Letters to the Editor


History rewrite by an owner seen as brazen

In the Sunday, Dec. 8, Racing Form, owner Dan Borislow pleaded his case to the Eclipse Award voters in a three-page ad about his 2-year-old colt Toccet, winner in five of seven races lifetime, with his most recent victory coming in the Remsen at Aqueduct on Nov. 30.

I have never seen anything more pitiful and money-driven. In a nutshell, Borislow compared his colt to the best 2-year-olds we have seen in the past 30 years. Further he claimed that if Toccet wins the Hollywood Futurity, he is going to "leapfrog" past champions such as Secretariat, Alydar, and Affirmed just to name a few of the horses he listed.

Are you kidding me, Mr. Borislow? Comparing Toccet to the horses you listed is an insult to the sport of kings. Don't get me wrong, Toccet is a nice 2-year-old, but finishing ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile didn't boost his chances for an Eclipse Award. He did have post 13 that day, but he needed to finish in the top five to make a case for himself.

Borislow went on to challenge the owners of undefeated Vindication, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He wants to wager $200,000 against their $100,000 that Toccet will beat Vindication in the Hollywood Futurity. He went on to say that "horse racing needs a true champion for the ages."

I'm sorry, but Toccet isn't in the class of the horses listed, and Borislow is in no position to be making such claims.

Salvatore James Coriale
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Carrying Eclipse banner for War Emblem

As Eclipse Award balloting nears, I pose a question: Why does everyone seem to have a problem with War Emblem?

Is it because they hadn't caught on to him before the Kentucky Derby? He has proven himself a worthy colt for the Horse of the Year. What other horse generated so much talk? He brought much-needed excitement and wonder to the Triple Crown campaign.

War Emblem helped make this summer's racing campaign exciting and hopeful. Unfortunately, he had a few bad trips. Should this be held against him? No. America expected him to race even when we knew he should not (i.e. the Pacific Classic). Eliminate that race and the question of his being the Horse of the Year would be moot.

When he lost his races, we had faith in him! Maybe America wanted a "War" horse to win to represent what we as a nation were feeling.

War Emblem ran exciting races, every last one of them. Watch the tapes again and listen to the announcers - even they wanted him to win! My grandmother was even talking about him. I feel it would be very unfair not to give him the honor of Horse of the Year. He brought so many new fans and generated so much material for the media to use. He is the one responsible for the rise in television viewership.

I was not a big racing fan until I saw him conquer the field on the Kentucky Derby (Yes, I had money on him!). I am just tired of everyone talking trash about him. He did so much for the sport this year, and for that he should be given the respect he deserves.

Rebecca Dabbs
San Antonio

Racing's slot subsidy low on list of priorities

The Dec. 12 article "Slot money could dwindle" showed exactly how pathetic the Thoroughbred racing industry has become.

If the business of racing cannot be managed in such a way as to generate enough customer interest to support its product, then it should go broke. This is, after all supposed to be a free-market system.

Frankly, I can think of a lot better uses of tax revenue from slot machines (which most people would obviously rather gamble on than the horses) than to subsidize the broken-down racing industry.

How about subsidizing the health-care industry so that the average American can afford to go to the doctor or buy the insurance that his employer won't or can't afford to provide?

How about subsidizing the airline industry so that air travel can be offered at a reasonable price to the traveling public without having so many of the businesses in that sector lose money each year?

This is done in almost every other industrialized country, which is why you never hear about SwissAir or Lufthansa or Japan Airlines going broke.

How about subsidizing the university system in this country? That way it might be possible to attend a respectable school and get a degree in some field that will allow you to earn a decent income without having a huge student loan to pay off when you get out of college. Then you can afford to buy that $250,000 house and drive that $50,000 SUV that keep the economy going.

How about using slot revenues to finance George Bush's war on terrorism? That way the federal government won't face the prospect of having to resort to a protracted period of deficit financing that would in all likelihood be followed by a hyper-inflationary economy such as we experienced in the late seventies after Vietnam.

Yes, I can think of a lot better uses for those much coveted slot machine revenues than to subsidize the Thoroughbred racing business.

Carson Horton
Portland, Ore.

Churchill window policy should be industry-wide

While I may be in the minority, I totally agree with the Churchill Downs decision to close betting windows when the clock reads zero minutes to post time.

It is refreshing not to see odds changing during the running of a race. At least now there will be less fear about past-posting enabled by glitches in the system or by mutuel clerks being able to cancel large bets after the gates have opened and the pools closed.

I have been handicapping and betting on Thoroughbreds for more than 50 years, and I do not feel at all inconvenienced by Churchill's decision. I hope the New York Racing Association and other tracks follow suit, but for some reason I doubt they will. Bravo, Churchill!

Chuck Seddio
Long Beach, N.Y.

Silence would make TVG golden

If the Racing Form wants to provide a public service, it should poll its readers how they rate the on-air talent of Television Games Network. I believe the talent is most annoying, absolutely non-informative for the things that matter, and a detriment to the growth of the network.

One has to hit "mute" until the race-caller is on the air. Even with less than a minute to post the TVG anchors are talking and aggravating people who really have no interest in hearing their frivolous comments. The productions are a total annoyance.

Compare TVG with what the New York Racing Association does with its cable presentation and you will appreciate the value of silence and the ability to see odds in the precious few minutes before the start. The NYRA show is excellent.

With the stock price for TVG's parent company, Gemstar-TV Guide, down to $3.12 from a 52-week high of $29, and with "Two Gemstar execs resigning," (Oct. 11), now is the time for the outfit to clean house. Seeing as TVG has lost $100 million since its inception in 1998, some positive moves are in order, and one such move would be to get those on-air analysts to go away, or at least cut down their chatter by 80 percent. They need to show information about a race coming up in six to eight minutes, not 18 minutes down the road.

TVG's top executives should get their resumes in shape if they don't get the show up to speed soon.

Alan Hirsch
Port Washington, N.Y.