10/14/2011 4:19PM

Letters to the Editor Oct. 16

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Dutrow penalty seems excessive in overall context

Having known the Dutrow family (parents Dickie and Vicky) since 1977, and Rick and his brothers Tony and Chip since 1985, I feel compelled to comment on the severe punishment meted out to him by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board ("Dutrow banned 10 years," Oct. 14).

True, Rick has often been his own worst enemy, both in his personal and business life, but revoking his trainer's license for 10 years seems an unduly harsh punishment. I say this not so much in defense of Rick's repeated violations over the years, but rather to question the fairness relative to the plethora of big-name trainers who may be severely violating rules on a regular basis while both regulatory authorities and racetrack administrations look the other way, or ignore their actions.

Steve Wolfson, Sr. - Ormond Beach, Fla.

California lacking in leadership quality

Racing in California is now facing damaging infighting.

The Thoroughbred Owners of California and the California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association are fighting for the power to represent all horsemen, as noted in the Oct. 9 article headlined "Familiar look to '12 dates."

To choose sides would be equivalent of picking one's poison. What difference will it make? There simply are too many spoons in the soup. Trainers and owners are, and always will be, a complex bunch,with far too many diverse opinions.

All anxieties should be put to rest. The Internet assaults are stupid, the radio talk shows ridiculous.

The best of leadership does not come from greed, selfishness, or an absolute need of power.

Individual agendas should be put aside. Any organization that doesn't have full respect cannot succeed in search of optimum results. Both the Thoroughbred Owners of California and the California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association have lost the opportunity. Major dissent will always remain.

Control is not leadership. Racetrack management is not leadership. The power of an errant bureaucratic system,  the California Horse Racing Board, is not leadership. They only demonstrate the need of fair and equal representation.

True leadership can come only from good ethics and principles, of which I currently see little. My opinion of leadership is a person who brings all people together in good common cause. Who in California racing has such virtue? Maybe I am looking for a saint for the hopeless and despairing.

What should be a common goal in California is to once again have the best year-round racing in the world. That is not a far reach. The process can begin by simply stopping the unjust bickering. Maybe a single leader of high character or special task force should be appointed; maybe Gov. Jerry Brown is the one who should be petitioned. Someone must take earnest control of the lunacy now facing racing in the state. Too many people think they are the proverbial straw that stirs the drink.

Harry Hacek - Hollywood, Calif.

Cup needs ability to grab a brass ring

On Monday, Oct. 10, NBA commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the NBA season, leaving ESPN with a serious void in its schedule for Friday, Nov. 4. That gave Breeders' Cup Ltd. the chance to take advantage of a golden opportunity.

In this case, in meant the possibility to work with Disney, ESPN's owner, to move the Friday Breeders' Cup telecast from its scheduled 4-8 p.m. Eastern time slot on ESPN2 to a 7-11 p.m.  Eastern time slot on ESPN, filling the void left by the NBA lockout that canceled a planned doubleheader on ESPN.

This might have required some unplanned changes to both the Friday and Saturday Cup programs, so while the Turf and Classic would remain on Saturday, the Friday program might be altered to present the best that can be offered to what would be a larger-than-originally-expected audience.

Some people anticipated as long as a year ago that the NBA lockout would reach its present stage, but there may have been no way until now that Breeders' Cup could have realistically planned so far in advance for such a scenario.

As it turns out, ESPN has apparently decided to move a college football game scheduled that Friday for ESPNU to ESPN or ESPN2 to replace the vacated NBA doubleheader. While unfortunate, it also shows that Breeders' Cup Ltd. needs to be in position to be able to pounce very quickly should a situation like the NBA lockout ever come up again.

Walter Parker - Philadelphia