Although Southern Illinois at Edwardsville and St. Louis have fine soccer teams, it seems rather odd that a team from the South should not even be mentioned. Clemson's team is undefeated and has won the ACC, championship for the second consecutive year. It is now ranked fourth in the U.S.
PLACING THE HAMBO
Your SCORECARD editorial ("The Hambo Moves," Nov. 12) moves me to answer points that are misleading, uncomplimentary to the fine people in the sport of harness racing or, in some aspects, untrue.
You are correct in asserting that "arguments for the move centered primarily on the expectation that more people would attend the race in Philadelphia than in Du Quoin, Ill." (Since you did not mention the Philadelphia track, it is Liberty Bell Park.) For the life of me, I cannot find anything wrong in doing your best to attract more people to whatever it is you are offering to the public. And in presenting the Hambletonian,' harness racing is offering its showpiece.
You also state that a condition of the award of the Hambletonian to Liberty Bell Park was that the fans would be able to bet on the prestigious race. True, and I say why not? Liberty Bell Park is the center of the largest concentration of the sport's patrons, and pari-mutuel wagering pays the freight for breeding and other aspects of horse racing, be it standardbred or thoroughbred.
You have a right to your belief that "the Society has made a serious error in judgment," but the remark that the commercial imperative has proved ruinous in other areas is a grossly fallacious statement if you are also applying it to harness racing. I presume by "commercial imperative" you mean pari-mutuel wagering. The steady growth of harness racing in attendance and wagering, particularly at Liberty Bell Park, is a monument to the sport's national appeal.
I take issue with the rash, unsupported statement that the move of the Hambletonian to Liberty Bell Park "turns a genuine classic event into just another $100,000 race." When the Hambletonian starts at Liberty Bell in 1975, it will be worth $200,000; did you ever hear of the Kentucky Derby?
By showing the event to more people who are harness-racing oriented plus producing far greater media exposure, we expect to make the race what it should have been years ago, a household word.
Finally, on the personal level, we agree that the Hayes family has devoted many years to the presentation of the Hambletonian and that they are indeed fine people. But so are the Rooneys and the Doughertys, who will play key roles in raising the Hambletonian to the high plateau it so richly deserves by presenting it where it belongs.
EDWARD S. HOGAN
Liberty Bell Park
I could not agree more with your comments regarding the Hambletonian Society's decision to move trotting's most prestigious race from Du Quoin, Ill. to Philadelphia in 1975. But equally distressing to me is that you chose to condemn the action after the fact, rather than bring the story to the people in advance of the decision making. Surely there are great numbers of American sports fans who would have prevailed upon the handful of men who control the future of the Hambletonian, if only they had been given warning that such a move was contemplated.
DONALD J. MACKEY
I protest your statement that the Hambletonian should be moved back to Du Quoin, Ill. It should be moved back to Goshen, N.Y., near where the great Hambletonian 10 himself was foaled on May 5, 1849. In many respects, William Rysdyk's stallion was the beginning of America's trotting world. The Hambletonian Stake was run in Goshen at Good Time Park from 1930 to 1942 and again from 1944 to 1956. Let's get the race back to where it really belongs.