04/23/2009 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor


New York action with Mullins far too lenient

The seven-day suspension handed down by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for the most recent violation by trainer Jeff Mullins is merely a slap on the wrist ("NYRA may sanction Mullins," April 22).

The board claims it "came down hard" on Mullins, but since the penalty is scheduled to begin conveniently on May 3, the day after the Kentucky Derby, Mullins is hardly affected at all.

A true and meaningful penalty for Mullins, a previous violator in California, would be for his horse I Want Revenge to have to miss the Derby. This would be the only way to show horsemen across the country that violations with medication, legal or not, will no longer be tolerated.

As it stands, Mullins will transfer horses to an assistant for seven days and basically get a vacation out of the deal. This should also be changed - if a trainer violates a rule and is suspended, all horses under his name should get the same penalty and be unable to race. No transferring to assistants or other trainers would be allowed.

The owner of the horse should also be penalized and have no horses allowed to race for the duration of the suspension. Some would say that this would "make an example" out of Mullins, if he were forced to miss the Derby. But for a trainer who has been caught cheating before, this would be in the best interest of cleaning up the best sport in the world.

Rob Tuel - Omaha, Neb.

Cup procaine case a drawn-out shame

The April 17 article "Stewards hear Wait a While case" showed another example of why our sport is dying. Our industry is fighting a poor image of excessive medication and just covering up violations is not the answer. No one, least of all the media, should be overlooking the fact that one of the nation's leading trainer used procaine for a horse in a Breeders' Cup race and was detected.

It is too bad Todd Pletcher's name was not found until the end of the article's fifth paragraph, as we operate under the "absolute insurer," holding a trainer responsible even in the lack of direct involvement.

It took the racing industry from an October race until mid-April to hold a hearing to make a decision over disqualifying the mare. The article further noted that, in all that time, no hearing had yet been scheduled regarding the positive results that could result in a penalty against Pletcher.

As all of us who understand and care are all too aware of the vast inequities in our industry. Either we have rules or we don't.

Bill Myers - Tampa, Fla.

Triple Crown time brings out notions

Here are one fan's thoughts this Triple Crown season.

1. To the broadcast media: Those of us watching race telecasts would like to see all of the races that run during a show. Fans who run home from a wagering facility to tune in do not want to miss graded races, as we have so often. Make the show about the races, not your faces.

(One face, however, that should have a greater influence in the telecasts is racing's best journalist, Jeanine Edwards.)

Racing needs a selling partner in the media who won't allow pre-emption of the start of the Travers show by the last inning of a blowout in the Little League World Series.

2. To track operators: It is arrogant and unfair not to offer 10-cent superfectas on Derby Day or Breeders' Cup Day and leave these large wagering opportunities to the wealthy.

Racing does a poor job of teaching the game, bloodlines/lineage, and handicapping. These things could possibly expand the interest of potential fans. Marketing too often uses the tools of "good times," alcohol, and rock music - not the sport.

3. Notice to fans: Get on Friesan Fire and pull for a caring horseman, Larry Jones. Root for his colt to cross the wire first and send a worthy trainer out of the business in style with the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

Steve Orton - LaGrange, Ill.

Carryover chase a tricky pursuit

At some racetracks, there is no superfecta wagering on races that offer the "super high five." Surely these tracks are banking on huge carryover pools that will boost attendance and wagering the following day.

With that kind of logic, why not eliminate pick three, pick four, and pick five wagering and just offer the pick six?

Glenn Alsdorf - Chino Hills, Calif.