04/08/2011 7:17PM

Letters to the Editor April 10


Velazquez did right by telling public Life At Ten's plight

After reading the April 8 article "Velazquez agrees to a fine," regarding the $10,000 fine levied against jockey John Velazquez by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, I was both puzzled and intrigued. I will address only my puzzlement. The intrigue - well, I have come to understand that to be a big part of horse racing.

My puzzlement is precipitated by the judgment against Velazquez, the one person who, in my opinion, should not be punished for his behavior in the Life At Ten affair at last year's Breeders Cup Ladies' Classic.

Here's my reasoning: No matter what anybody who is a part of the racing industry thinks, it is the bettors who are responsible for all of you making a living, at least in the horse racing industry. The bettors - and I mean the $2 bettors who are the true lifeblood of the industry, all the way up to the heavy hitters - are the people who truly should be protected from fraud, doping, or whatever issues impact this industry because, were there no bettors, all of those comprising the industry would be out of a job.

At least Velazquez did the best he could to protect us, the bettors. He demonstrated concern for both bettors by informing millions, on national television, that things were, for lack of a better way of putting it, not quite right with the mare Life At Ten, and for the mare for not pushing her to a possibly catastrophic outcome.

At least we bettors had a fighting chance to make some alternative wagers to offset the negative situation, and, since this is always the code you hear from the racing industry, "We always want to do what is best for the horse," at least Velazquez did just that. I can't say the same for steward John Veitch, whose job it was to take action regarding Life At Ten's lackluster prerace condition, which resulted in her subpar performance.

Kudos to Velazquez for the guts he demonstrated by being honest before the mare's race on racing's biggest day and for having the class to serve as scapegoat for the entire unsavory situation. Could one thus conclude that honesty is not the best policy in certain situations in the sport of horse racing?

Martin Rogers - Saint Louis