11/09/2012 5:48PM

Letters to the Editor Nov. 11


BC officials fail to follow through on best intent

We racehorse owners and breeders are also huge fans. Most fans agree the competition on Breeders' Cup Day trumps all other days. Unfortunately, those who are supposed to be managing the championship day for our industry are not enhancing the power and prestige of the Breeders' Cup.

Breeder's Cup officials are thorough - at some things. Every year without fail every breeder of Thoroughbreds gets a nice packet from the organization. It is full of glossy papers explaining why it is essential for us to pay the hefty nominating fees on all of our foals for the championship race day. What the packets don't say is too often the year-end Eclipse Awards go to owners of horses who skip the Breeders' Cup event. Many breeders deeply resent not having a vote on Eclipse Awards after paying for the championship day with our nominating fees.

This year our championship day was again marred by inexcusable decision-making at the highest level. The television broadcast rights to all the races on Saturday were sold to NBC. Then the first championship race of the day, the Juvenile Turf, was completely omitted from national coverage. Amazingly, the day-in day-out promoting mainstay that does the heavy lifting for our sport, TVG, was excluded from being allowed to show the first championship race even after it was tossed aside by NBC like an old shoe.

It gets worse. When the time came for fans to watch the phenomenal racing filly Groupie Doll, in the Filly and Mare Sprint, NBC's sports channel was too busy to show her dazzling performance. Why? Because it was honoring another commitment. Their priority was - get this - the Delaware vs. Towson State football game, which was running long. Again, TVG was not allowed to show this hugely important race live. Amazingly, NBC also couldn't be bothered to run a ticker at the bottom of the screen (as ESPN does) and redirect viewers to one of its many sister channels for Groupie Doll's race. The owners and breeders of Groupie Doll and especially millions of racing fans deserved far better.

Racing needs a national commissioner. Someone must be empowered by all of us to make sure that what is best for our sport always comes first. There is no telling what will happen during next year's championships. Let's just hope we don't miss a big race involving one of our great stars because the NCAA Division II rowing championship is running long on the winning bidder's network. I'm not sure I could take that.

Jim Spence - Las Cruces, N.M.

I'll Have Another deserves top honor

I'll Have Another is the Horse of the Year. His 2012 campaign earned him more money in just four starts than Wise Dan accumulated in six starts because he ran in the classic races at the classic distances. Undefeated in 2012 -none of the other candidates is -- with wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness plus the Santa Anita Derby and Robert B. Lewis Stakes.

Without his untimely injury, I'll Have Another was bound to sewn up the Triple Crown with a win in the Belmont Stakes. If I'll Have Another did not suffer his career-ending injury he would not have bypassed the BC classic as most of the other major contenders did.  He is the only major Horse of the Year contender that has won at the classic distance of 1 1/4 miles in 2012.

Frankel, Royal Delta, and Wise Dan could have all sewn up horse of the year with a BC Classic win, but they all took the easy way and now they want the big prize. Game On Dude would have been a deserving Horse of the Year candidate, but his BC Classic loss sealed his 2012 fate.

The Horse of the Year should be earned on the racetrack by competing against the best in the classic races at the classic distances. Under these criteria I'll Have Another is the clear-cut winner. If you were an owner, which three Grade 1 races would you rather win on the year: the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby, and Preakness Stakes, or the Woodbine Mile, Shadwell Turf Mile, and BC Mile?

One more thing: When Zenyatta was named Horse of the Year for 2010, one of her selling points was who did the most for horse racing. Apply that same measuring stick to this year's voting and it is clearly I'll Have Another.

Richard Murray  - North Hills, Calif.

Cup cameras gave poor picture

I watched the NBC telecasts of the Breeders' Cup and was furious. I am sick of these championship races being ruined as the networks experiment with all these crazy camera angles. NBC's primary angles for most races made it impossible to follow all the horses.
Races need to be shown on a standard, traditional pan shot -- period, end of discussion.

If they want to show you all the high-tech, overhead cameras and so forth on the replays, that's perfectly fine and admittedly kind of cool and different. The live race itself, however, needs to be shown so you can best follow the entire field, not just the first few lead horses. This is not a new problem either.

Jeff Richardson - Lincoln, Neb.