06/03/2010 11:00PM

Letters to the editor


Racing sorely needs

a central figure

to maintain order

As a regular horseplayer, I love the Monmouth experiment (echoed in "Monmouth business booming" on June 3) for the same reason I enjoy betting Keeneland. Generally, there are full fields with horses from all over the country. Both meets test one's handicapping skills. Residing in California, I abhor our constant small fields and the decline of what was once the best racing with the finest jockey colony in the land. I prefer betting an 11-horse field at Monmouth over a five- or six-horse field at Hollywood Park.

The only solution for the racing industry as a whole is for the major tracks to realize they must reduce racing dates and work together to stabilize the sport while improving the quality of the product. For example, on Belmont Day, Monmouth should be dark unless it wants to open for simulcasting only. Make Belmont Park the place to go. What's wrong with reshuffling the deck of every race meet? It is idiotic that this summer Monmouth and Saratoga will be going head to head on certain weekends. The only solution is a national commissioner who dictates when every track is open or closed.

I like going to the offtrack betting shop on Wednesdays or Thursdays. What's wrong with having a couple of major tracks running on those days with full fields with decent purses while skipping one weekend day?

Anybody betting Churchill Downs can see the decline there, too. There is a crying need for a workable rotation among the major tracks. If these tracks continue to butt heads, the betting public (whose handle pays the freight) suffers, as do the racetrack owners. One laughable example of such internal struggling is all the problems in New York with the New York Racing Association and all the different offtrack betting companies in the state. That alone should be a wake-up call to every owner, breeder, and horseman out there that something needs to be done immediately.

John Czarnecki

Riverside, Calif.

Hall voting body

plays fast and loose

Just like every other facet of this sport, the Hall of Fame seems to be run by people who don't have a clue. Best Pal ("Azeri among four entering Hall," May 30)? Really? I would love to hear the rationale that voters used in electing him to the Hall of Fame over more deserving, more dominant champions like Open Mind and Safely Kept, not to mention Sky Beauty and all the other more deserving horses not even on the ballot.

Don't get me wrong, I love Best Pal -- he's always been a personal favorite of mine. But I also don't let my personal feelings get in the way of common sense. To say that Best Pal deserves Hall of Fame recognition, while champions like Open Mind and Safely Kept are still on the outside looking in, is a joke.

If Best Pal can get in the Hall of Fame, let's get some other durable, crowd-pleasing geldings in there as well. Horses like Affirmed Success, Buck's Boy, Evening Attire, and With Anticipation. While we're at it, let's throw in Da Hoss, Fourstardave, Great Communicator, Lava Man, Perfect Drift, Rossi Gold, Slew of Damascus, The Tin Man, and Yankee Affair. And what about Port Conway Lane? Doesn't a horse who raced through the age of 14 while making 242 lifetime starts deserve to be enshrined in the Hall too?

What the heck, let's open it up to all genders, not just geldings. That way horses like Heatherten, Majesty's Prince, Sefa's Beauty, Strawberry Road, The Very One, and Vigors can get in, too.

What's that you say? Personal feelings shouldn't get in the way of objective analysis when choosing Hall of Fame members?

My point exactly.

Gino Carlino

Oak Park, Ill.