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Letters to the Editor: Dave Johnson


Dave Johnson | Horsephotos

By Dave Johnson

Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to the New York Times in the days following the GI Travers S. at Saratoga and was shared with the TDN.

Dear New York Times,

For 45 years, I have had the New York Times delivered to my front door. My day is not complete without reading the paper cover to cover.

I have in front of me the sports section of the New York Times for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Aug. 24 through Aug. 27.) In Friday’s sports…Aug. 24…four pages…huge stories about Urban Meyer, a full 20-inch column on Kathie Klages, a story and photo of La Liga players, several paragraphs on Peru captain

Paolo Guerrero and five paragraphs on Jimbo Fisher.

In Saturday’s sports full section…five pages…Aug. 25…huge story and photos of Jim Calhoun, half page and two photos of Bundesliga insider scouts, more news of FIFA banning the head of Palestinian federation, paragraphs on the new Bayern coach, paragraphs on a bus crash in Saskatchewan and Andrew Jones getting leukemia treatment. This was just part of the sports section on Saturday.

In Sunday’s sports full section…10 pages…Aug. 26…more than eight photos spread over three pages of Botaoshi, an Isner story and index details, a full page of cycling, a full page four photos and stories on two ball boys from the 1968 U.S. Open, of course current baseball, golf, soccer and tennis. There is a several-paragraph preview of South Korea and Hawaii to meet in little league, a note about Aryna Sabaleska in the WTA, the story of a draw for Manchester City, and several paragraphs on Brooke Henderson (a Canadian), Jocelyne Ourassa (another Canadian) and Nash Hataokia of Japan and Angel Yin of the United States.

In Monday’s sports section…seven-plus pages…Aug. 27…big stories and photos of the U.S. Open…golf, baseball, pro basketball, football Hall of Fame, Hawaii winning the Little League title, Brooke Henderson and Scot Paral in golf, six paragraphs about soccer, Sebastian Vettel in Belgium auto racing and Alejandro Valverde in cycling.

I guess that you have figured out where i am going with this by now, but here goes…

My question to you is: if there were a sporting event, nearby the city of New York, that attracted a paid crowd of 49,418, and since wagering is legal in many localities, a legal wagering handle of $52,086,597 was wagered worldwide on the card, wouldn’t there be more than zero words about this? The day before, the day of, the next day (Sunday) and the Monday after the gigantic weekend, there was not one single word in the four sports sections of the printed New York Times.

Not a word. Not one word about what was going on. Not one word previewing the day on Friday, not one word on the day of, Saturday. Not one word or photo the day after, and not a word in the Monday sports section.

It was the weekend of the Travers S. at Saratoga. The Travers (called the Midsummer Derby) was run on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. For your information, the Mets were at Citi Field that day, playing the Washington Nationals. The attendance was 29,868. The Yankees were in Baltimore, playing the Orioles, attendance that afternoon was 32,445.

My purpose is not to shake my finger or castigate or shame or punish the New York Times. I just want the New York Times to realize you missed a story this summer with Travers Day at Saratoga, and I hope that you will report more of what is going on in Thoroughbred racing.

The numbers don’t lie.

With those numbers of live paid attendance, plus network coverage on NBC of the featured races, plus the amount of money wagered worldwide on the event, the New York Times should do more.

Not one word. Not one word over Aug. 24, 25, 26, 27 in the printed New York Times sports sections about anything at Saratoga that monumental weekend.

I do not work for any racetrack or racetrack organization. I work for Sirius XM Radio.

I am a fan. I read the New York Times every day. Thanks for your time in reading my message.

Please reconsider your coverage of major Thoroughbred racing events.

Cheers/Dave Johnson

New York City

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