The most significant factor in the last four races Alysheba and Bet Twice competed in {prior to yesterday's Travers} is the 49 3/5 seconds time for the first half-mile in the Belmont Stakes. The half-mile times for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Haskell Invitational were 46 2/5, 47 1/5 and 46 3/5, respectively. The pace makes the race.

Alysheba lost the Belmont because Chris McCarron misjudged the slow pace, not beacause the horse didn't use Lasix. McCarron's more alert ride in the Haskell kept Alysheba in the race, but his indecisiveness at the top of the stretch cost him.

Andrew Beyer's skepticism and narrow-mindedness often make good press, but why must his negative attitude persist on desecrating a sport he supposedly loves? It is easy to be negative.

Mr. Beyer's accountability is in question after he contended that Alysheba needed Lasix to run well in the Belmont. In the Aug. 2 article about the Haskell, he recognized that Alysheba proved to be, along with Bet Twice, "the same consistent, tough competitors that they had been throughout the Triple Crown series." Five days earlier, he had ridiculed Alysheba's Belmont performance.

Horse racing is a sport of horses and men, judgments and conditioning, strategy and the will to win, not just speed figures and underhanded shenanigans. Alysheba and his trainer, Jack Van Berg, may have lost the Haskell, but their courage and sportsmanship were of championship caliber. James M. Mudd Silver Spring

EDITOR'S NOTE: Andrew Beyer, after this letter (of which he was unaware) was written, called Alysheba the best of his generation and predicted he would win the Travers Stakes.

Apple, Force-Fed

Well, folks, which New York team will be featured on this week's network broadcast of major league baseball? Based on telecasts so far this season on ABC's Monday Night Baseball and NBC's Game of the Week, it's obvious that network executives have no interest in reaching the millions of viewers who live west of the Hudson River. Week after week at least one, if not both, network telecasts are Mets or Yankees games. Recently, the Yankees were again featured even though their opponent, the Chicago White Sox, occupied the American Leauge West basement. Meantime, other pivotal afternoon games (e.g. Toronto vs. Minnesota, Detroit vs. California, etc.) were overlooked by the Big Apple execs.

For those of us who are not Mets or Yankees fans, it appears we'll only get to see our favorite team if, by chance, their New York games fall on a Saturday or Monday. It doesn't seem to matter that a New York team is involved in just one of the four division races or that most viewers would rather be exposed to the better teams and players in all four divisions.

If the two networks in question are truly the National Broadcasting Company and the American Broadcasting Company, maybe they should start acting like it. Ralph A. Blessing Washington

Stars Worth Salary

Jack Dale's letter in the Aug. 2 "Reader's Forum," claiming that today's baseball players are overpaid, is typical of so many letters I've read recently that basically portray current athletes as overrated, overpaid and selfish. It seems that older sports fans are so protective of their idols (in Dale's case, Joe DiMaggio) that when current athletes are mentioned in the same breath, these self-appointed defenders instantly launch lengthy assaults on the new kids on the block. This is most evident whenever significant records are threatened. Among the recent victims of these misguided attacks are Roger Maris, Hank Aaron, Pete Rose, Walter Payton and Larry Holmes. Records are made to be broken. Let's hope that youngsters like Eric Davis, Mark McGwire, Don Mattingly, Dan Marino, Michael Jordan and Mike Tyson are recognized for their own achievements instead of being treated like modern-day grave desecrators.

As for current baseball players being overpaid, no matter how enormously popular and talented Joe DiMaggio was, there was no way he could entertain the number of fans that current athletes do. DiMaggio was limited by the technology of the day. Don Mattingly and Mike Schmidt are admired by millions of fans across the country and even the world, through network and cable television, local and network radio and the huge number of print publications that cover baseball. Since fans ultimately pay the players, their salaries are correspondingly high. This also explains why popular and exciting players may get paid more than players with better skills but less flair. Theodore Chen Potomac

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