01/30/2009 12:00AM

Letters to the Editor

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Debate detracts from greater story of a horse on the rise

I was very disappointed to see Mr. Richard Dutrow's response to Andrew Beyer's Jan. 28 column in the Racing Form ("Dutrow expresses ire over column," Jan. 31).

Reading his comments, it seems as though he is lost in the forest and can't see the trees. When This Ones for Phil was purchased for six figures two and half months ago, he was already a stakes winner on the dirt and stakes-placed on the turf, with earnings of almost $100,000. (Considering the cut in the purses at Calder this past meeting, that was a feat in itself.)

Mr. Dutrow should have considered himself lucky, having a proven and still-upcoming young horse added to the barn. As the horse is now a maturing 3-year-old, it didn't seem like a total shock that he ran a terrific race on Sunshine Millions Day. The fact that he returned only a $25.40 public mutuel attested to that fact, too. He certainly had a dream trip (as noted by Dutrow himself) and a brilliant ride from Edgar Prado.

It is a shame that the focus now seems to be on Dutrow and not a nice up-and-coming horse. Calder continuously has showcased many such stars (Big Drama, In Summation, Blazing Sword, and Chatter Chatter, to name a few). I also think that it is a shame the two and a half months that had passed since This Ones for Phil left my barn was not enough time to have the name and colors of the new owner, Paul Pompa Jr., in the program. Time would be better devoted to the horse, This Ones for Phil, and his new owner in the risky business of horse racing, where any race can be the last - and all the knocking be put aside.

Kathleen O'Connell - Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Miraculous efforts make faithful stray

I greatly appreciated Andrew Beyer's observations on the racing last Saturday at Gulfstream Park in his Jan. 28 column, "Latest supertrainer feat raises suspicion." I have been reading Beyer since 1975, and he has never more correctly described the state of the game quite like that column, which noted that a "distrust has corroded the very foundation of the sport."

Horse racing has been my primary adult gambling passion, and I have always wanted to go full time in this game. Now retired at age 53, I won't because of a handful of trainers and other conditions that overwhelm the game in the 21st century. I now focus my plentiful gambling time and dollars on sports betting.

Why horse racing cannot be cleaned up - when you consider that all customers pay an average of 20 percent on every bet they make, plus the untold amounts of casino money handed to racetracks - is simply baffling to me. It would seem the industry does not realize how relatively good it has it in today's economic environment.

I truly believe everyone wants to make this game successful considering the diverse involvement aspects of this sport/industry. The entire show, however, is being "speed-dueled" into oblivion by a handful of individuals who seemingly flout the rules. Check the declining wagering numbers for proof. People my age who want to play but refuse to are everywhere, waiting and hoping for things to change.

It's high time for the racing press and mainstream media to question further and report on the daily happenings of horse racing that fail to pass the smell test. It can only help to improve the game.

Everyone has heard the banter over shaken investor confidence for the past eight months on Wall Street. Well, that market is heaven compared to playing the horses today.

Chuck Seeger - Fort Myers, Fla.

Game not painted strictly by numbers

If Andrew Beyer overlooked a first-time Rick Dutrow starter who knocked him out of his multirace wagers, as may be suspected from his Jan. 28 column, maybe he should be kicking himself and not the trainer.

In the past, I worked for both a small stable and a leading stable. Basically, the larger stables never go wanting for any veterinary treatment, blacksmithing, or quality feed. Even with all of those resources, trial and error wins out in the end.

Dutrow admitted that the changes, patience, and luck went their way with This Ones for Phil in last weekend's Sunshine Millions Dash. Frankly, the improvement was not that far-fetched. Breaking it down to numbers, I think 10 Beyer Speed Figure points can be explained by the barn switch, 10 points for the 2-year-old-to-3-year-old angle, and 10 to 15 for the Calder-to-Gulfstream angle. Calder's surface can be one of the trickiest in the country, and switching over to a glib, "big-day" Gulfstream strip can cure some problems for many horses, not just those trained by those whom Beyer called "miracle workers."

I use Beyer Figures as a tool in my handicapping, but they don't always tell the complete story. Humans can't be taken out of the game, and they have to be a major factor in breaking down a race.

Scott Smith - Williamston, Mich.