12/04/2009 1:00AM

Letters to the Editor


Renaming stakes just might cause unforeseen backlash

Well, Zenyatta has gotten her reward for the year. She wins over Lady's Secret, as Steve Crist noted in his Nov. 29 column, "Lady's Secret deserves better."

Her championship year was only 23 years ago, and I'm sure many of the turf writers who vote for Eclipse Awards fondly remember Lady's Secret and will be greatly annoyed by the Oak Tree Racing Association's rash decision to rename the Lady's Secret Stakes as the Zenyatta.

This just might turn enough on-the-fence voters (and even some of those leaning towards Zenyatta) to Rachel Alexandra. Oak Tree should have created a special race for Zenyatta.

If Rachel has another brilliant year next year and gets Horse of the Year honors two years in a row, Zenyatta may become obscure history in much, much less than 23 years. What a shame.

Marilyn Keller - South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Beloved champion worthy of better

I agree with Steve Crist's Nov. 29 column, "Lady's Secret deserves better," regarding the renaming of the Lady's Secret Stakes at Santa Anita to the Zenyatta.

I love Zenyatta and have seen every one of her races (and cashed a bet on her maiden race), but why throw the Iron Lady under the bus?

It's bad enough that she is buried in the desert versus at the track like she belongs, but why this race? Why not any number of other races that could have been named for Zenyatta? It's bad enough that we don't have a significant race named after Seattle Slew, but now this?

Frank Avilla - Portland, Ore.

Total recall shows governor's stance

How ironic that the governator showed up at Hollywood Park for the ceremonies honoring Zenyatta ("Schwarzenegger: Racing needs help," Dec 2).

First he vigorously campaigned against a referendum that would have allowed racetracks to install slot machines. Then, he signed a bill that will allow racetracks to increase takeout to 25 percent. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Terminator - the governor who has killed horse racing in California.

William B. Johnson - Monrovia, Calif.

Woodbine trainer gets zero tolerance

I just read the "Penalty stings" item in the Nov. 26 Woodbine Notes, about trainer Terry Jordan and the suspension of Hollywood Hit after a positive test for a sedative banned on race days. I have no sympathy for the trainer, though I have sympathy for the horse's owner if he didn't know what his trainer was up to. Jordan has admitted using the drug but figured that by post time it would have been cleared by the horse's metabolism. Boo-hoo, it didn't.

Given the bad press that horse racing has endured during the past several years because of the use of drugs (steroids, etc.), it seems inconceivable that the industry accepts that drugs are used during training. This reminds me of bicycle racing, where drug use was rampant until the bad publicity led to more serious controls. In some sports, out-of-competition testing is also enforced. Horse racing should follow suit.

I was happy to see, in the Nov. 22 Woodbine Notes, that jockey Jono Jones had a suspension reinstated to 15 days after a second appeal. He should have accepted his good fortune when it came his way. This is another issue in horse racing: the inevitable appeals and slow process to deal with them, so by the time penalties take effect they have no relation to the original infraction.

Horse racing needs to implement a more rigorous process to make penalties stick. Publicizing them should be a first step.

Manuel Buchwald - Toronto

Tracking Frankel had many rewards

Living in Southern California, I went to Santa Anita for the first time in 1975 and have gone every since. I watched Bobby Frankel saddle and win for 34 years. Perhaps his greatest achievement, to me, was in 2003 when he won a record 25 Grade 1 races.

Last year, Bobby won the Hollywood Gold Cup. The horse was Mast Track, and Bobby was the owner, breeder, and trainer. The horse paid $23. I bet it. Thanks for the memories, Bobby.

Fred Jimenez - La Verne, Calif.