Letters to the Editor: June 18, 2014

The truth about the Triple Crown

The third stage of the horse ra­cing Triple Crown is about New York gam­blers and not about a fair race, the wel­fare of the horses or fair­ness. It’s about driv­ing up the bet­ting odds and mak­ing a fin­an­cial killing.

The own­er of Cali­for­nia Chrome, Steve Coburn, had it cor­rect that the Bel­mont Stakes is a sys­tem­at­ic­ally un­fair race. Those were not the rav­ings of a sore loser. The Ken­tucky Derby and Preak­ness are about ra­cing and the beauty of great races. They are not about a fab­ric­ated, con­trolled and col­luded race based on greed and money.

There is col­lu­sion to pre­vent the fa­vor­ite from win­ning. The oth­er horses sand­wiched in Cali­for­nia Chrome, just like they did to Smarty Jones 10 years ago.

The se­lec­tion of the horses is also a setup based on the same prin­ciple of build­ing up the gambling odds. Rest­ing gam­blers’ in­di­vidu­al fa­vor­ite horses and not par­ti­cip­at­ing in the oth­er two races cre­ates an un­fair field for the horses.

The dis­tance is even a factor. The Preak­ness is a mile and one eighth, The Ken­tucky Derby is a mile and one quarter, but the Bel­mont Stakes is a mile and one half. This gives an un­fair ad­vant­age to res­ted horses that did not par­ti­cip­ate in the oth­er two races.

There is a cul­tur­al dif­fer­ence between the North and the South. As a north­ern­er who worked in the South in Bal­timore, I can define the dif­fer­ence. The Preak­ness is laid out more for the av­er­age per­son with its ac­cess­ib­il­ity, in­form­al­ity and sense of be­long­ing than the oth­er two races. It is a work­ing­man’s derby as op­posed to a soph­ist­ic­ated so­cial event. You no­tice this ap­proach was not tried in Louis­ville be­cause the tra­di­tion is too strong for the gambling in­terest to over­come.

The only way to make it a truly fair Triple Crown and a fair Bel­mont Stakes is to re­strict the horses to only those who par­ti­cip­ated in all three races. That’s fair­ness, not the il­lu­sion of fair­ness cre­ated by the New York gam­blers. This will nev­er hap­pen be­cause money trumps tra­di­tion in the real world.


Fox Chase

Sup­port for vet­er­ans

Our le­gis­lat­ors in Wash­ing­ton must stop play­ing polit­ics with our vet­er­ans. This is es­pe­cially true of Vi­et­nam War vet­er­ans.  Will these policies carry over to our vet­er­ans of present-day wars?  Will they, too, be­come pawns? Vet­er­ans have few friends in Wash­ing­ton.  Today’s vet­er­ans will face what we are up against, little to no sup­port.

When our men and wo­men in uni­form come home from con­flicts abroad, they are met by the news me­dia, hand­shakes by politi­cians and photo ops.  Parades are or­gan­ized by vet­er­ans groups for a “Wel­come Home.”  Most of these vet­er­ans groups com­prises Vi­et­nam vets. They make up for the wel­come home they did not re­ceive. The Vi­et­nam War offered them only shame and then they were for­got­ten.

Pres­id­ent Calv­in Coolidge said, “A na­tion that for­got its fight­ers and de­fend­ers will it­self be for­got­ten.” Many vet­er­ans suf­fer with can­cer, brain in­jury, and post-trau­mat­ic stress dis­order. Nor­mally, these dis­eases are not no­ticed, and in some cases go un­treated un­til they be­come severe.  Our Con­gress needs to wake up and provide equit­able VA be­ne­fits.                       



Save our plan­et now

I am a re­tired mil­it­ary of­ficer with a back­ground in health­care and edu­ca­tion. Man­kind may now be des­troy­ing the plan­et and it may be too late to stop it.  Does any­one care? Un­less we care more about the fu­ture of our sur­viv­ors and the oth­er spe­cies with whom we share the plan­et than we do about our own im­me­di­ate grat­i­fic­a­tion, we will des­troy the plan­et.    

The timetable for that may be much short­er than any­one has pre­dicted, es­pe­cially once we get past the “tip­ping point.” Where will life be found when the earth can no longer sus­tain it? What are you will­ing to sac­ri­fice to save the earth? We must all get be­hind whatever it takes to lower green­house gas levels, re­duce acid­i­fic­a­tion of the oceans, and re­verse the melt­ing of the po­lar ice caps and gla­ciers.


Ox­ford Circle

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