03/25/2011 5:34PM

Letters to the Editor March 27


Wood presents perfect spot for speedster

The March 20 article "Flashpoint may try stretching his speed," dealt with the possibility of trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. sending the colt to the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby. But why take on a big field there when he could take on a very short field in the Wood Memorial the next weekend? No one wants to run against Uncle Mo in the Wood, and Flashpoint would almost be assured of an easy lead in a short field. There is $200,000 for second money, and Flashpoint might do the same thing The Factor did in the Rebel -run away from his rivals -if given the chance.

Trainers Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas have not won seven Kentucky Derbies between them by not taking chances or giving their horses every opportunity. With his debut victory, Flashpoint has already proven he likes the Aqueduct track. He has sharp acceleration from the gate and was drawing off at the wire in both of his races while being eased up. Funny Cide took on Empire Maker in the Wood, and it was an ideal prep for the Kentucky Derby.

Mr. Dutrow: Step up to the plate, babe. It will be good for horse racing, and Flashpoint might be even better than you think he is. He has certainly earned the opportunity.

Richard Murray - North Hills, Calif.

Life At Ten's rider far from innocent

It's no wonder people hate lawyers.

Maggi Moss, a prominent horse owner, is also the lawyer representing John Velazquez in the Life At Ten debacle from last year's Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic. In the March 13 article "Velazquez disputes Life At Ten report," Ms. Moss called Velazquez a "scapegoat" in the Life At Ten affair.

I didn't realize, Ms. Moss, that "culprit" now is defined as "scapegoat."

Velazquez was directly responsible for telling millions of people on live television that Life At Ten was not warming up at all. Velazquez did not alert the veterinarian or stewards -- as is his duty as a jockey when he feels a horse is not warming up well and may not perform well because of something he feels is wrong.

Instead, Velazquez wasted millions of dollars that should have been refunded to bettors, because he knew the horse would not perform up to expectations. Velazquez should have been arrested just like trainer Greg Martin was back in 2005, for interfering with the outcome of a sporting event.

So Ms. Moss, Velazquez is not a scapegoat. He engaged in deceptive activity by not performing the duties of a jockey to the best of his ability, and he should be held accountable.

John Mooney - Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Steward flip-flops confound fans

As a 40-year-old lifelong race fan, I want to say that the non-disqualification in this year's Santa Anita Handicap was a downright travesty. Had Game On Dude been trained by any trainer not named Baffert, he would have come down and the inquiry would have lasted about a minute. The stewards' ridiculous logic that Twirling Candy initiated the contact was absurd as well, and I did not bet a dime on the race.

That is a problem that drives fans away: inconsistency by apparently blind stewards. Horses are taken down one day and then allowed to stay up the next day for committing the same infractions. Stewards have flawed logic in the reasoning that it's okay to foul a rival, as long as that horse finishes behind you. A foul is a foul, and where the horse you fouled finished should be irrelevant. Game On Dude hammered an admittedly weakening Twirling Candy and caused Setsuko to be bothered as well. That should have been a clear-cut, unanimous DQ, no ifs, ands, or buts.

Jeff Richardson - Phoenix