My fellow bloggers, I humbly stand here before you to eat some crow, take the heat, face the music--whichever cliché you want to use that suits such an occasion.
So here I am to say, I was wrong: Zenyatta is that good, and then some.
As most of you know, I was very outspoken in the days leading up to Breeders' Cup Classic. I did not believe she was good enough to beat the best males in the world. I was skeptical because her numbers did not match up to many of her 12 rivals and she was attempting something she had never done before. And, quite frankly, I thought she had regressed a bit from last year.
All week, some (not all) of my colleagues, namely Tom LaMarra, tried to warn me that sometimes numbers and data do matter when it comes to great horses. We had friendly banter with one another, as well as with many of you on the live blogs. It was all in good fun, but I still refused to listen.
And so now I must stand here like a man and say I was wrong about the mighty Zenyatta. Her performance in the Classic was legendary and if she is indeed done, a fitting way to cap an outstanding career.
Watching Zenyatta in the post parade and in the early stages of the Classic made me even more confident that she was not going to win. She seemed a bit headstrong to me and dropped back even more than usual in that opening quarter mile.
I saw Zenyatta weave her way through horses rounding the far turn and was well aware that she was about to launch her patented wide move when they straightened away. But I was only half-looking because I was too focused on the horse I picked, Gio Ponti, who was ahead in upper stretch and still moving very well approaching the sixteenth-pole. I just knew he was going to win.
Ah, but Zenyatta was rolling like an express train, as Trevor Denman would say, and there was no stopping her now. As she flew by Gio Ponti with her huge strides in the final yards and went on to win under an enormous roar from the crowd, I could manage only a devilish grin. Not only did I lose my bets, I knew I'd be hearing it from all sides.
So once again, I am here to say I was wrong. Congrats Zenyatta, you are that good.
She is that good--but she still isn't better than Rachel (smile). OK, I know, there is plenty of time for that discussion.
But why do I have a feeling the Horse of the Year talk is going to start right now?
By the way, thanks to everyone for joining the handicapping contest, we had a big turnout. It is going to take me a few days to tally up the totals and announce the winner, so please bare with me. I'll be back mid-week with that info, as well a full Breeders' Cup wrap-up.