Left in the dust: Regarding Bill Gallo's "End Run," in the July 24 issue:
Is this the best dirt you can dig up?
The local management has done everything it can to chase horseplayers -- the comment from Arapahoe Park manager Bruce Seymore about people thinking "takeout" is what they're having for dinner is typical. Arapahoe has generated pathetic mutuel handles because almost everyone understands what takeout is. Simulcasting began because tracks saw it as "free" money -- how else would a SoCal track get anything from Colorado? So the simulcast facility could net two-thirds or more of the takeout, without any of the track's expenses (like purses, maintenance, staff, starters, stewards, etc.). Wembley's has been a huge beneficiary of this, but they've milked it to the bone.
Gallo's report had some nice color -- he writes well -- but he missed the story: Wembley's represents the absolute worst in racing or simulcast management. Incidentally, the weirdly named second-floor "Turf Club" arises from the closing of the former "Turf Club" facility that once existed next door to Mile Hi. That place was managed poorly, to the extent that it was nearly bankrupted by "friends" of management writing bad checks, and they finally decided they just couldn't afford to operate the facility.
Name withheld on request
The fat lady sings: Arp Park will succeed the year a three-legged burro wins the Triple Crown. Need proof? Look no further than Ak-Sar-Ben (Omaha, Nebraska). In the 1950s and '60s it was one of the premier tracks between Chi-town and the Left Coast. Million-dollar purses, lavish structures, respected owners/trainers/horses, etc. -- all gone.
Why? Basically, cultural changes: You know, the Now/Instant Gratification Generation. You don't have to study the Daily Racing Form to buy a lottery ticket. When dog racing (no jockeys and a fifteen-minute post time -- horses are thirty minutes apart) was legalized in Iowa, the ponies were soon doomed.
I worked at Centennial in the mid-'60s as a "call-taker" for the Form and am quite familiar with the "pari-mutuel" set. My late father was a member of the state-appointed hierarchy that controlled horse racing in the past in Nebraska. He was active for forty years, and every family member was somehow involved during his tenure.
His one-time prediction, "They'll bury us in dog shit," was truly prophetic.
Societies and cultures are changing, and if I'm allowed a guess, I'll say that in a couple more generations, horse racing will be discussed in the past tense.
Ready for takeoff: The coverage of the scandals at the Air Force Academy by this newspaper, and by many other news services nationwide, has been woefully one-sided. I thought yellow journalism died out a century ago. I wish for once that instead of people trying to tear apart the academy with all the popular slander you see in the news, there was someone who could stand up and actually provide an objective view of both sides...and you know what, even stick up for the academy cadets a little bit.
Regarding Julie Jargon's "Honor Rolled," in the July 17 issue, from someone who was there, people like Josh Moynihan and Andrea Prasse have divisive and venomous agendas that are all too easy to ride along with and write about. Whether it's truthful or not, it makes a good story because it attracts attention. Their stories get notice because it must be clear to everyone that they're the victims, right? Well, the 99.9 percent of us who went to the Air Force Academy and didn't assault anyone or do drugs, who didn't break the honor code, who are proud to have gone there and looked forward to serving our country, who are dismayed at the effusive negative partisan attention, who are grouped together and labeled as rapists and bigots...we're victims, too. Who's going to stand up for us?
Name withheld on request
Bottle of the bands: I read David Holthouse's "Beer Bash" article in the July 17 issue and was dismayed. The empty recycling bins are used for hiding behind, while all that glass and plastic goes in the trash instead. Wouldn't it be nice if something could be worked out whereby Bear and his crew could be given the dregs in exchange for their placing the containers in the recycling bins and setting them out for collection? They could also empty and stack up the used cups before they are tossed in the dumpsters, which would likely result in fewer pickups being needed. Everyone would come out ahead.