11/07/2008 1:00AM

Letters to the editor

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Zenyatta deserves top honors in year of female dominance

Whenever I read an article promoting Curlin as Horse of the Year, I have to grimace. My mind jumps back to an afternoon at Aqueduct when Barbara Jo Rubin became the first woman to ride a horse in New York. The male naysayers abounded, so the horse she rode - to victory - got away at 10-1.

Now in 2008, a year in which the distaff set has distinguished itself like no other year in memory, the cavemen among us refuse to open their eyes and admit that Zenyatta is indeed the Horse of the Year. She should be crowned the queen of queens and given the title - hands down. (Perhaps she chose not to compete with the males out of contempt for what was out there.)

Her gender mate, a mere teenager in human terms, Zarkava, danced down the stretch at Longchamp and embarrassed her opponents with her marvelous broken-field running and speed.

Another distaffer, Goldikova, obliterated the mere mortal males she faced in the Breeders' Cup Mile to put another vote into the ballot box for 2008 being "The Year of the Queens of the Turf."

And the star of the juvenile division was yet another female participant, the awesome Stardom Bound, who ate up her competition and would be odds-on against the boys of her age.

So, wake up fellas and admit when you've been defeated. Be gracious in your humility and humbly beg the queen's forgiveness as you bestow the deserved Horse of the Year Crown upon Zenyatta, the queen of queens.

Richard Helfman

New York, N.Y.

Synthetic safety trumps other factors

Andrew Beyer, in his Oct. 29 column, "Synthetic impact deeper than surface," expressed misgivings about a Breeders' Cup run over a synthetic surface. I beg to differ.

As a horse owner, whose filly won the recent Anoakia Stakes, let me assure Mr. Beyer that I felt far more comfortable after that race than I would have had the race been run on the old dirt surface. Having had a horse break down in a race last spring who was subsequently euthanized, I can assure Mr. Beyer that every owner is apprehensive about the condition of his horse until the trainer informs them that she or he came out of the race with no injury.

Nathaniel J. Friedman

Beverly Hills, Calif.