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A breed apart

February 10, 2007

The coverage of Barbaro and his death, with emphasis on T.J. Simers' column and the over-the-top excesses of some of the horse's fans, draws attention from the real story.

There are many reasons given for the decline of horse racing, which has been my favorite sport for nearly 50 years.

That familiar phrase "improving the breed" is a joke. When I first started following racing in the 1950s, horses running 20 to 30 times a year, 90 to more than 100 times in a career, were not that unusual. Today a horse that manages 40 lifetime starts is a candidate for the Iron Horse award.

The human race owes a debt of gratitude to the horses that have served us so well over so many centuries. But in the case of the thoroughbred, we have not given our equine friends the care they deserve.

JON L. BREEN

Fountain Valley

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