09/11/2008 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor


Modern tinkering might rob majesty from Triple Crown

A Sept. 7 letter to the Racing Form, "Triple Crown needs modern thinking," suggested changes in the weight carried and spacing of Triple Crown series. As both a dedicated fan and horse owner, I hope I am among a resounding chorus of: No!

I understand the frustration of racing fans over the long Triple Crown drought, but there is a reason why so few horses have accomplished this feat over the years: It's very, very difficult. That's why it's such a huge accomplishment when it does happen.

As a boy growing up in the 1970s, I thought we could have a Triple Crown hero every few years. We all know how wrong that assumption was.

As for the letter's suggestions that further spacing might tame the ire of animal rights groups by cutting down on high-profile breakdowns, that is a pipe dream. First, we have no evidence that the spacing, weight carried, or distance of these races have anything at all to do with the breakdowns of any horses in the series in recent years.

Second, what these groups seek is nothing less than the total demise of our great sport - reductions in breakdowns will not change that.

Finally, the letter suggested that racing should adopt changes in the spirit of Major League Baseball's change to interleague play. This is an "apples and oranges" situation. While it is true that the American and National leagues did not face each other in regular season play until a few years ago, they do so now on playing fields of the same specifications, with the same rules of play, etc.

The Triple Crown is difficult, maybe almost impossible to achieve. That's why it's special. Let's leave it alone.

Jonathan Rosenthal - Santa Monica, Calif.

Arlington proves to be his kind of track

Over the Labor Day weekend, I took a trip to Chicago to see Wrigley Field and Arlington Park. After going to Wrigley Field on Saturday and Sunday, I couldn't wait to go to Arlington Park on Monday. When walking into Arlington, I could say only one thing: Wow.

This is the most beautiful racetrack I have ever walked into. Officials from the New York Racing Association and New York politicians - who seem to show up only on Belmont Day and Travers Day - should go to this facility to see how a racetrack should be run.

The staff at Arlington could not have been more friendly. From the lady at the admission gate to the employees walking around the track to the tellers - who keep their windows open so you can bet the simulcast races, unlike in New York - and the people who were serving the food, which was good and reasonably priced. It was a fan friendly and family atmosphere with no one cursing or smoking marijuana.

While I was there I got a chance to meet my favorite racing analyst, Jessica Pacheco, with whom I spoke a few times during the day, and who couldn't have been any nicer or more accommodating with her time. It was nice to see that the image you get of her on television monitors is the same you get in person.

I was impressed to see a racetrack operated the right way, and I am looking forward to going back.

Danny Hamer - Brooklyn, N.Y.