Congratulations to Alfred Wright for his splendid article on Alfred Vanderbilt ( Vanderbilt vs. Racing's Establishment, Aug. 12). The prominence you have given Mr. Vanderbilt for his ability to take a stand against harmful trends in racing today and "the stifling atmosphere of all officialdom" is truly refreshing. It is too bad that, after he came back from active service in World War II, his old job at Belmont was not returned. It surely would have been better for all of us who have enjoyed good racing before and hope to again.
MARGARET V. PERIN
Three cheers for Alfred Vanderbilt. Please prevail upon Mr. Vanderbilt to keep up the good work until steps are taken to give the public a racing program with some variety in it.
EVAN L. ELLIS
In the story devoted to my views on Thoroughbred racing, the figure of 35% purse distribution for Aqueduct, while correct, gives an unfair picture. Overall, the New York Racing Association distributed 41.19% of its share of the handle in purses at Aqueduct, Saratoga and Belmont. I would like to repeat that I feel it is necessary for the New York tracks to get the additional 1% we seek if we are to rebuild Belmont and maintain even the present purse distribution. The 5% allowed NYRA, now the lowest in the country, is threatened with being further reduced to 4% next year. No track can operate on that small percentage.
Furthermore, my suggestion for holding stakes values down to $50,000 was made in 1938. I think $100,000 added would bring that figure up to date now.
ALFRED G. VANDERBILT
Oyster Bay, N.Y.
APPLES AND ORANGES
I see that tempers have again become ruffled on the subject of fishing schooners vs. racing yachts (SCORECARD, Aug. 5 and 19TH HOLE, Aug. 19), and I think that the reason that this comparison frequently stirs up somewhat excited comment is that the boats themselves are so different that a true comparison really cannot be made. It is the old problem of apples and oranges.
It would be more constructive and realistic to consider the fact that each type has been developed for a specific reason and that in all sporting competition the best contests take place when the contestants meet certain established restrictions and, preferably, are rather evenly matched.
The J boats and the 12-meters are built according to certain class rules, which makes for good sport when they race in their own classes. The schooners Bluenose and Gertrude L. Thebaud were built to entirely different restrictions that provide for substantially greater dimensions, making for speed. Also, they meet certain commercial fishing requirements.
As one would expect from radically different boats, the best performance of each type is under its own conditions. The big fishing schooner probably could attain the highest maximum speed, especially when reaching, but I think there is no doubt that the J boats were a lot faster to windward and that normally a J boat would give a fishing schooner a bad beating around a triangular course.
The much smaller 12-meter, which, of course, could not stay with a J boat, except under light and fluky conditions, probably still would give the fishing schooner a good race around a course, including a reasonable proportion of windward work, but could not be expected to stay with the schooner on a reach in a strong breeze.
Ease of handling is still a matter of opinion, but of course both the racing types, the 12s and J boats, are arranged so that the sails can be very quickly handled. However, it takes a skillful crew to get the most out of them. I should think that the 12, being the smallest boat, would be the "easiest" to handle, while the fishing schooner would take the largest crew.