09/06/2013 4:29PM

Letters to the Editor Sept. 8


Game On Dude has the goods of a champion

Each year in every sport the champion is decided when the top teams meet at the highest level. Unfortunately for horse racing, that is not always the case. A champion can be crowned by skipping the top races and avoiding running against the top horses. In American horse racing today, the classic distance is 1 1/4 miles, and most of the Horse of the Year winners of the recent past have won at that distance.

Now in the new era, we crown horses champions in their divisions who skip the major races in that division. How can a horse be champion turf horse and not run in any of the major turf races of a distance of at least 1 1/4 miles? All of the true turf champions have proven themselves at long distances and have never ducked the top competition. The Breeders' Cup Turf, at 1 1/2 miles, is the major turf race of the year for turf horses in North America. There are many other turf races throughout the world at long distances, such as the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and the Dubai Sheema Classic, that attract the top turf horses of the world with the rich purses. Those races are run at distances that make true turf champions prove their stamina. The sportsmen who run their horses in these races are not ducking anyone, and they are sending their horses around the world to face top competition.

Wise Dan was voted Horse of the Year, champion older male, and champion turf male for 2012 and never ran at a distance of 1 1/4 miles or longer. I'll Have Another was undefeated in 2012, earned more money than Wise Dan, and won America's greatest horse race, the Kentucky Derby, at 1 1/4 miles.

Game On Dude is on track to become Horse of the Year for 2013. He has three Grade 1 wins at 1 1/4 miles and has ducked no one. Where do you think Game On Dude will be running on Breeders' Cup championship day, in the $5 million race or one worth less than half that?

If Wise Dan doesn't run the classic distance of 1 1/4 miles against Game On Dude to earn Horse of the Year honors, then horse racing and its fans are the real losers. I do not question that Wise Dan is a good horse, but his 2013 résumé to date is unworthy of any Eclipse considerations.

Richard Murray - North Hills, Calif.