03/16/2012 4:20PM

Letters to the Editor March 18


Breakdown focus should be trainers rather than tracks

After reading "Jockey Club to publish injury data for 15 tracks" (March 7), I feel the Jockey Club has dropped the ball with the statistics on horses breaking down in America.

The trainers are the most important stat in breakdowns. Far too many times we see a trainer drop a horse way down in class, and many times the horse breaks down and is vanned off or euthanized on the track. There is nothing worse than everyone being wary about a big drop down in class and then to have their worst fears confirmed when a horse breaks down. If a trainer regularly has horses break down, he should have his license pulled. A trainer's breakdown record should be one of an owner's number-one concerns before choosing a trainer.

The Jockey Club, the Association of Racing Commissions International, and the rest of the powers that be who are in charge of the integrity of racing should seriously start earning those large salaries they are making. They need to get their heads out of the sand and do the job they are paid to do. The horses are paying those salaries with their lives sometimes, and they deserve better. Racing fans deserve better.

In addition, universal medication rules in every jurisdiction - eliminating confusion among trainers who don't know where they might stand from state to state, something we have all been seeking for years - would be very easy to do. The Jockey Club should get together with the Graded Stakes Committee and set up a date and a place for a meeting with all the state racing commissions in the country. Let them have two days to work things out and then have them sign on to the universal rules. Any state that does not sign on no longer has graded stakes. I have a feeling that things would get done in a hurry. People have a funny way of coming to an agreement when the correct pressure is applied.

Glenn Thompson - Aiken, S.C.