05/20/2010 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor


Hollendorfer feats make fine candidate for Hall induction

As Jay Hovdey recently pointed out in his May 9 column, "Three Oaks make good foundation," Jerry Hollendorfer this year joined a select group of trainers to have won the Kentucky Oaks three or more times. With Hollendorfer winning his third Kentucky Oaks this year, he joins Woody Stephens (five wins), Ben Jones (four), and D. Wayne Lukas (four) in that select club.

Hollendorfer has won the Kentucky Oaks with Lite Light (1991), Pike Place Dancer (1996) and Blind Luck (2010). As Hovdey wrote, "Three victories in the Kentucky Oaks. That looks pretty good on a r sum , especially when you've won another 5,000 or so races on the side."

In addition to the Kentucky Oaks, Hollendorfer has won such other Grade 1 races as the Coaching Club American Oaks, Haskell, Hollywood Futurity, Hollywood Starlet, Humana Distaff, and Santa Anita Handicap.

Stephens, Jones, and Lukas are in the Hall of Fame. Not only is Hollendorfer not in the Hall of Fame, he was not even deemed worthy of inclusion on the ballot this year. Gary Jones and Robert Wheeler were the only trainers on the 2010 Hall of Fame ballot. Hopefully the Hall of Fame committee will put Hollendorfer on the ballot in 2011.

Jon White - Monrovia, Calif.

California facing drought of talent

I am sure most people are aware of the serious problems we are having in the horse racing industry, particularly in the state of California.

I was a licensed horse trainer in California for more than 10 years and have been very involved in horse racing, as I have a great love of horses and have a lot of respect for these athletes. Because I chose to spend time as a mother with my children, I stopped training horses, yet I have remained very involved in the horse racing industry.

Currently, I am a licensed jockey agent working at Los Alamitos Race Course. Because of some physical injuries to myself and my husband, I am not able to put in the time that I would like to. But I must say, in the last 10 to 15 years, this sport has taken a turn for the worse, and if something is not done soon it will be over.

There are too many pencil-pushers making rules who have no idea about horses or what this sport really entails. This is making trainers do things to their horses that were not even thought of years ago, when horse racing was much more of an honest sport and people had integrity and pride in their jobs.

As much as I loved training horses, you would never get me to do it now. It has become the veterinarians who are training the horses, while most of the people known as trainers have no knowledge of the basics and are not qualified for the job description. There are very few true horsemen left in this industry. All the trainers are looking for someone else to blame, or trying to blame a racetrack's surface, when in reality it is because of their incompetence.

Leslie Navarro - Cypress, Calif.

Private sector must take the lead

Why should racing receive a bailout from the government ("Paterson plan for NYRA aid calls for $17M?")?

Owners will pay millions to purchase a 2-year-old. A farm will pay millions for stud rights. Why can't the multimillionaire businessmen who own the best horses put their own money into track management and ownership? Enough of the government subsidies.

The horse owners are so self-indulged and tight that they cannot bail out their own sport. They will purchase a horse for $5 million but not have a place to race.

Dana Andrade - Scottsdale, Ariz.

Fort Erie still needs some fixing up

A couple of years ago, I wrote to the Racing Form to express my concerns regarding the state of Fort Erie Race Track, as well as the state of the racing being offered at the border oval.

A parking lot with gaping holes, a crumbling track apron, and a sea of dandelions when you walk in are simply things you didn't see in the track's glory years.

After I sent my letter came the announcement of the possible stoppage of live racing at Fort Erie, which, in part perhaps, explained why major repairs to the building were not being made.

An early-season trip to Fort Erie this year revealed the problems of a couple of years ago still remain. At the same time, slot players are treated to new machines, facility upgrades, and countless player incentives, clearly pointing in the direction Fort Erie's core business continues to be drawn.

Let us hope that Fort Erie Race Track's new management team has, as part of its business plan, included a strategy for returning the track to its once proud appearance.

A little patchwork and some weed killer would be a positive first step.

Russ Dempster - Toronto