09/10/2010 5:24PM

Letters to the Editor Sept. 12


Non-DQ at Del Mar raised questions of game's standards

I learned the following from the Sept. 8 article "No DQ, but plenty of questions," regarding last Sunday's Del Mar Derby.

The stewards did not speak to any of the riders before making their decision into whether the victory of Twirling Candy should stand.

"I don't know what insight they could have imparted in this case," steward Scott Chaney said.

Chaney and fellow stewards Luis Juaregui and Kim Sawyer decided that taking down Twirling Candy, in the words of Chaney, would have been "unjust."

"Clearly the 6," Chaney said, referring to Twirling Candy, "ducked out and took [Summer Movie] out. . . . But it happened so far from the wire, and it's hard to argue that it cost him the 6 3/4 lengths he finished behind the fifth horse."

Can someone explain something to me?

1. If Twirling Candy interfered with Summer Movie, who cares if it was going down the backstretch or near the wire - interference is interference, isn't it?

2. Why wouldn't the stewards do their job and due diligence and speak with the jockeys, especially Victor Espinoza, who had told reporters he was "lucky to stay on," and that his mount "came back limping," isn't this relevant information in making an informed decision on whether to disqualify the winner?

If Espinoza had been knocked off the horse, would the winner not have been disqualified because the interference was so far from the wire?

Finally, if Twirling Candy had not interfered with Summer Movie, who is to say Summer Movie would not have won, or even come in second or third?

When the stewards become mind-readers and have their minds made up before looking at all the evidence, there is something very wrong with racing, especially with the stewards at Del Mar. This decision to leave this horse up is an absolute travesty and shows the incompetence of the racing officials in California.

Michael Infurna - Red Bank, N.J.

Sport suffers broadcast blues

Not too long ago, ESPN was gung-ho about increasing coverage of horse racing. So much so, they scooped up the rights for two days of Breeders' Cup racing. At the time, there was the promise of more coverage for the sport. Yet, two Saturdays ago, Travers Day at Saratoga, and again a week later for the Woodward, ESPN was nowhere to be found. With the multitude of channels at its disposal, not a single camera from ESPN was to be found at the site of summer's best racing.

Maybe the biggest shame is that while ESPN was showing the WNBA to five or six viewers, or showing a four-hour, six-inning Little League game, it missed showing one of the best stretch runs of the year when Afleet Express got his nose in front of Fly Down to win the Travers.

When racing columnists write about the problems currently found in the sport, subjects range from track surfaces to drugs to casino-supported racing. Rarely is one of the biggest issues with racing touched: television coverage. Aside from the Triple Crown and the two Breeders' Cup days, racing on television is sorely lacking. Sure, there is an occasional prep race shown, snuck in between replays of World Series of Poker shows from five years ago, but for the most part, racing on TV is a figment of our imagination.

Until racing finds a network that actually cares about it, it will continue to drift further and further away from the American sporting scene.

Rob Tuel - Omaha, Neb.