As a horse lover and owner I felt very badly about the destruction of the gallant and beautiful Ruffian (It Ended with One Fated Step, July 14). But I also felt anger. I have to wonder what would happen to many of these beautiful broken-down horses if they had not started pounding the turf at the ripe old age of 1½. Any horse owner should know that just because a horse is big and tall as a yearling does not mean that its bones are set and ready for the pounding from running on a track.
The real problem was the race. It was a spectacle à la Riggs-King, created by false pride and avarice, and it should never have taken place for the following reasons:
1. Most horse people know that match races prove nothing and more often than not have been extremely detrimental to the participants.
2. The track surface at Belmont was exceptionally hard and fast, with several breakdowns occurring the week before the race. Two track records, one of which was set in 1913, were broken.
3. If the New York Racing Association thought the race would attract a new younger audience that would become fans and bolster attendance, I am sure the results were just the opposite. Speaking for myself and I am sure many others, it will be a long, long time before I have any desire to go to a thoroughbred track again, and I have been an avid racing fan for 17 years, which is more than half my life.
4. Ruffian had never been in a truly competitive race before. To place an untested horse, which had previously broken down, in a match race—when she could have obtained additional experience and then met Foolish Pleasure in the Travers—was unthinkable.
William Leggett (TV/RADIO, July 14) said that New York Yankee announcers are not very good. But he compared men like Phil Rizzuto to the two great broadcasters, Mel Allen and Red Barber. The fact is that no announcer now working is as good as Allen and Barber were. I am a baseball fan and have traveled to many baseball cities and listened to many announcers, and I have found that Rizzuto is the best of all "present" announcers.
New York City
THE COURT RECORD
When anybody wins a Wimbledon singles title six times (A Centre Court Case, July 14), makes it to the finals eight out of the last 10 years, overcomes all the odds to beat young players in grueling matches, and with bad knees to boot, that person certainly deserves to be on your cover. You know who I'm talking about: Billie Jean King. You guys really blew it this time.
The article about Bob Watson of the Houston Astros and his inability to receive recognition in the All-Star balloting (All-American but not an All-Star, July 14) was an example of the farcical method used to select the starting teams.
When the voting is left to the fans, the teams are usually a conglomeration of the most-popular and best-publicized players rather than the ones whose performances warrant places. Watson is only one of many players in a similar situation. Surely the All-Star Game would be much more representative if the players and/or sportswriters chose the real All-Stars.
Once a year the fans are able to choose who they want to see playing in the All-Star Game. To take the vote away from them would be unfair.
Summersville, W. Va.
What provoked Mark Kram to attack Carlos Monzon, ridicule Joe Bugner, mock Gil Clancy and doubt Muhammad Ali (A Two-Ring Circus, July 14)? Is Monzon giving Ray Robinson a "hard night," as Clancy said, such a farfetched idea? Was Sugar Ray invincible? Did he "take dives" against Randy Turpin, Carmen Basilio, Paul Pender and Gene Fullmer? Granted, Sugar Ray was probably the greatest middleweight of all time, but Monzon is no bum, and he is not totally void of boxing skills. Carlos Monzon is a class fighter, and his record proves it.
ROCCO LA ROCCO
PIRACY IN THE EAST
Thank you for the story about the Pirates' John Candelaria (Another Keel Haul in the East, July 14). Around the Parade Grounds and on East 10th Street in Brooklyn, he is affectionately known as "Candy." Holy Innocents C.Y.O. and the Parade Grounds League and all of East 10th Street are very proud of John. Please keep us posted on his progress.
You somehow managed to write a whole story about Richard Petty (Of King Richard the Fast, July 14) without once mentioning the name of the car in which he has won the vast majority of his races.
J. D. OWENS
•As most buffs know, Petty drives Plymouths and Dodges.—ED.
FACT AND FICTION
Re your excerpt from E. L. Doctorow's new book (The Magic of Ragtime, July 14), I realize the author is taking a fictional family and bringing in factual material for a certain effect, but if his "factual" material is meant to be just that, I have found an error. According to my information, there is no way Rabbit Maranville could have played for the Boston Braves the same year that Charles Victor Faust was allowed to play for the New York Giants. Faust had his day in the sun in 1911. Maranville did not play in the majors until 1912.
•Doctorow took liberties with his "factual" material, moving people around in time and place to suit his fancy.—ED.
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