An Honorable Enterprise

Horsemen, people who breed and/or race thoroughbred horses, are entrepreneurs, small businessmen.

We invest considerable capital and thousands of hours of work in our business. Statewide, we employ a large number of people.

Producing a horse takes knowledge of pedigrees, nutrition, land management and the art of horsemanship.

We do not advocate gambling for gambling's sake (casinos, lotteries or illegal sports betting), but legalized betting has been associated with the thoroughbred horse industry historically. Every horse track in this country has parimutuel wagering and simulcasting of races. We do not advocate stand-alone betting facilities in Prince William County.

A thoroughbred horse track should not be viewed as just a "betting parlor." It is a place that allows horsemen the opportunity to race our horses, attempt to get a return on our investments and provide that form of sports entertainment to the public.

The Wilson family, operating as the Virginia Turf Club, is willing to invest a large amount of money to provide Prince William County with a first-class European style turf course and 100 days of live racing. Mr. Wilson himself is an outstanding breeder and owner of thoroughbred race horses. Live racing days are essential to the development, growth and sustenance of Virginia's horse industry.

The people of Prince William County, by 60 percent of the vote, have twice approved (in 1989 and 1994) a referendum permitting a racetrack in their county. Opponents apparently believe it is their right to re-argue this matter that has already been firmly settled by the voters.

Those who would deny horsemen the opportunity to do business in Prince William County are simply practicing discrimination against us. The concept of free enterprise should apply to our business as it does to any other legal business.

Please consider the effect you are having on horse breeders, owners, farmers, hay dealers, feed dealers, farriers, veterinarians, jockeys, grooms, trainers and local/state tax revenues when you decide whether you will work for or against the building of this exquisite race course in the Prince William countryside.

RONALD R. KILBOURNE

Prince William Citizens

for Racing

Dumfries

It's About Gambling

Equus Gaming Co. wants to build a gambling house in Prince William County that would cater to 2,000 people daily throughout the year. It would enable gamblers to bet on simulcast horse races anywhere in the world 11 hours a day. The facility would have live horse racing 12 percent of the time. It would have a restaurant and grill. It would disrupt traffic on Route 15.

New traffic would impede emergency and fire and rescue vehicles, which are ill-equiped to serve the proposed gambling facility. The local fire department advised county officials of its safety concerns. The track would use vast amounts of well water, the impact of which could potentially dry up wells for miles around.

This gambling business is slated for an agricultural area. Few residents within a five-mile radius want it. Supervisor Edgar S. Wilbourn III (R-Gainesville) is publicly against it. Petitions against the facility have been collected and delivered to county officials. Special use permits have been filed.

County officials seek businesses that would use few county services and have no impact on schools. They discount adverse effects on the few thousand residents in the northernmost part of the county. They would be ignoring their own "Rural Crescent" policy that was to protect the agricultural nature of the county.

What is this all about? It's about a gambling house, not a racetrack. But we don't want it!

EDWARD RISKO

Haymarket

No Welcome Mat

Label me a NIMBY. Yes, not in my back yard. The racetrack proposed for Northern Prince William County along Route 15 should not be built. Build it elsewhere; I will not tell other counties or neighborhoods how to run their affairs. Just keep it out of Prince William.

But this is my neighborhood, and I am interested in what goes on around here. My wife and I purchased a home on Bull Run Mountain for several reasons: quiet and beautiful surroundings, and a quality-built home for a fair price. Most of all, this appeared to be a good, safe place to raise our child, who will soon be born.

Now it appears that someone wants to come into my county, into our valley, and destroy the value of our home and make the area unsafe for our children and those who have to pass near this monstrosity on a daily basis.

Consider the additional stress placed in our local infrastructure with increased water usage, 2,000-plus additional cars per day on our narrow and already busy Route 15, and more stress for our volunteer-supported fire department.

Let us harken back to when the Walt Disney Co. wanted to build hereabouts. "Oh, lamentations," they cried, "our lives will be destroyed, property values will plummet." Amazing, I don't hear a peep from those across the mountain in Middleburg.

This time it is not their homes and property that will be devalued. What of our children? Consider the danger for them here from the criminal element operating at the proposed track or the drunk drivers weaving home at 11 p.m. every night of the week! "Let the poor souls of Prince William County bear those burdens."

So call me what you will. Just keep this racetrack, with its drunk drivers, gambling seven days a week, criminal element, light pollution, traffic congestion and property devaluation out of my back yard. Make no mistake, the neighborhoods in this area do not want this racetrack. It is not welcome, nor will be those who frequent it.

RICHARD R. MORGAN

Haymarket

On the Road to Recovery

I want to thank you for your coverage of the plight of the Himalayan cats that were confiscated from a Dale City home in April. I also want to thank the Prince William County Animal Shelter for doing what it could to save as many animals as possible.

My family added little Neelix to our home the day after you ran the follow-up story in July. These animals will need weeks of treatment for the ringworm and far longer in emotional work. Neelix was born at the shelter and hopefully will grow to be a beautiful cat. Right now, however, he is isolated from our household while he undergoes what could be weeks of treatment for his ringworm. In addition, he has a major umbilical hernia we will have to repair.

To the people who have adopted these cats: Bless you. Be patient and loving with your new pets. Once these cats learn people are good and after the ringworm is clear, you should have beautiful, elegant creatures to share your lives.

To Dumfries Animal Hospital: Thanks for the high quality of care you are giving Neelix. I know adopting him was crazy, but many of us are crazy.

To the woman who owned these pathetic cats: Shame on you. I hope if you ever get another pet, you will learn what spaying and neutering are. Leave the breeding to those who can do so responsibly. Too many irresponsible people create the unending mass of animals overflowing our shelter system. People like you give the good breeders who strive to preserve the integrity of their breed a bad name.

We are facing a long road with Neelix--physically, financially and possibly emotionally. I hope he will be able to bounce back from a lack of handling at such a young age.

Thank you for the coverage of the cats' plight. I am certain it is because of the paper that many found homes.

KAREN PEAK

Dale City