10/08/2010 5:58PM

Letters to the Editor Oct. 10


Stewards should keep DQ rate at a minimum

As far as disqualifications of a horse's actual finishing position in a race go -- as written about in Jay Hovdey's Sept. 12 column "Stewards often choose to see no evil," and the letter to the editor "Non-DQ at Del Mar raised question of game's standards" in the same day's paper - less is always better.

When there are doubts, the stewards should never disqualify a horse. If stewards disqualify too many horses, it changes what the horses are dictating on the track. And it gives the stewards too much control over who wins and loses a horse race.

When at all possible, the officials should let the horses decide, and let the natural order stand. This includes some bumping and traffic problems. Only when an action is clearly flagrant, and affects the order of finish, should a horse ever be taken down.

Twirling Candy should not have been taken down for bearing out on Summer Movie in the Del Mar Derby. It was impossible to say it altered the order of finish -- it is entirely possible that Summer Movie would have finished last anyway.

The only people who were hoping that Twirling Candy would be taken down from his first-place finish were people who didn't bet the race the way it actually looked on paper. They were hoping for a miracle or some very bad luck for the obviously best Twirling Candy.

If anybody should be rewarded, it is the bettors who handicap a race the proper way, and not those purposely betting longshots, hoping that the favorite falls down.

Wesely O'Brien - Sylmar, Calif.

Big Red on screen: Big boost for racing

I have to disagree with Steven Crist's opinion in his Oct. 3 column, " 'Secretariat' a good story, but not history" that the movie "Secretariat" "won't revitalize national interest in racing any more than 'Seabiscuit' did five years ago, but it can't hurt." I think the film could be a tremendous boon.

This is exactly the way racing fans are born. While I discovered the sport watching races on black-and-white television in the 1960's, I concede that is long gone. This new movie, though, may be the perfect vehicle to bring the beauty, excitement, and drama of Thoroughbred racing to the general public, especially young fans.

Any details that were changed for dramatic purposes in this exhilarating movie are far less important than how people outside the inner circle of racing feel when they watch this movie. The memories of seeing magnificent Thoroughbreds thundering down the track will remain in the minds of the viewers.

Those are positive images that are not conveyed to the public anywhere else. How many young people these days are ever taken to the track, or for that matter even watch the Triple Crown races?

This movie is a gift to an industry and it needs to take the ball and run with it. Disney is promoting this movie heavily. There have been no good family movies in a very long time. There is little buzz about any other movie. The timing is perfect.

It's time to look at the big picture. The racing industry does not have the resources to create this kind of publicity. We can't even quit arguing about Rachel Alexandra vs. Zenyatta long enough to use those horses to promote racing. This new movie might be just the shot in the arm a great sport needs.

Lois Sayre - Cottageville, W.Va.