10/15/2010 5:41PM

Letters to the Editor Oct. 17


Quad Q cuckoo, but smaller bet units make much sense

I agree with Steven Crist's Oct. 10 column, "Quadruple Quadfecta is a bad gimmick bet," that Frank Stronach's proposed wager (picking four superfectas in a row) is ridiculous.

Horseplayers are not looking to hit one ticket for zillions. We'll settle for an occasional 10, 20, or 60 thousand, and maybe a million once in a while (right now sugarplums are dancing in my head over Thursday's carryover at Belmont). The difference is that we can at least come close to these things. We may miss them because we took a horse off a pick six ticket to cut costs, or didn't combine three tickets that together had all the right horses, but at least the potential is there.

Still, I don't think all Stronach's innovations are bad. Sunshine Millions is the fourth-best day in racing (under Breeders' Cup, Belmont Day, Derby Day, and above the Queen's Plate and Preakness). And, as Crist noted, "Stronach's tracks championed the generally unpopular Super High-5." Well, I will try for and sometimes have hit pentafectas (the same first-five-horses bet under a different name), though with a small ticket. (My rule: Whatever the pentafecta combination, make sure you do an exacta or triple or dime super in case you're part-right.)

Speaking of dime supers, I wonder if Mr. Crist ever noticed what happens at around 10:45 Eastern on, say, a Sunday night. It's post time for the 10th at Balmoral Park, the one race with a 10-cent pentafecta. At two minutes to post, the pool hovers at $1,500. By the time the gate is moving, it goes up to $10,000 or $20,000. And this is when the whole East Coast is supposed to be tired (or at least tapped out).

To me, it's just more proof that what horse racing needs isn't more bets but lower costs. People love 10-cent supers, and 50-cent pick threes, pick fours, and triples. This year Hollywood even took a cue from Balmoral, and made its high-five a 50-cent bet.

Stronach and the other powers that be should lower the pick six unit to $1 (and what was wrong with that 50-cent version that was at Laurel for a while?). This would allow horseplayers to put together a ticket with a lot less struggle, and probably a lot more success.

(And if a dime is too little for someone, there's always the repeat button.)

Susan Lord - Lancaster, Pa.

Non-DQ stance reeks of self-interest

I had to laugh when I read, in the Oct. 10 letter "Stewards should keep DQ rate to a minimum," the words "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."

I had no bet on the Del Mar Derby and watched TVG's coverage as unbiased as anyone could have. I think it was one of the worst "no calls" I have ever seen in horse racing.

That letter surely was written by someone who cashed on Twirling Candy. Be thankful to benefit from the stewards' decision and leave it at that.

Rick Berend - Las Vegas

Shocking name no joking matter

I am writing to object to the lack of morality in the naming of a 2-year-old colt who won a maiden race at Belmont Park on Wednesday, Sept. 29. The name, Tazered, is objectionable on many levels.

Let us start with the fact that hundreds of people have died in the United States subsequent to the use of tasers in the hands of law enforcement, according to Amnesty International, which has been tracking their use.

The weapons, originally advertised as a non-lethal alternative to using a firearm, have become more acceptable among police as a form of subduing those under arrest.

The use of this name by the horse's owners suggests that they too find the use of tasers acceptable. They apparently get a kick out of the thought of somebody being tasered.

Being tasered is considered to be a joke by a segment of our society who have not dealt with its serious repercussions. I do not find the use of tasers, which shock people with massive jolts of electricity, to be amusing or sportsmanlike. This type of weapon is banned in several countries.

The Jockey Club should revoke the name of this horse because of its objectionable nature. The horse may have just as well been named "Shoot 'Em Up," "Torture," or "Cruel and Unusual Punishment." These owners should have more respect for the sport.

Meyer Cohan - Rye, N.Y.