Eclipse Award Picks

Here's hoping everyone had a great New Year's and is refreshed and ready to go for a fun Triple Crown season. This will be the final post on Breeders' Cup Chat before the blog switches over to Triple Crown Talk next week. I'm looking forward to trying to find the 2010 Derby winner with you all. Should be a great ride.

Here are my Eclipse Award picks for 2009. As always, there are several categories that will spark debate, most notably Horse of the Year. Let's not go over that again. (We'll wait until Jan. 19).

Other categories that were close calls for me were 2-Year-old Filly, where I gave the slight edge to She Be Wild for her Breeders' Cup win; and Outstanding Jockey, where I chose Ramon Dominguez even though he is a longshot to beat out Garrett Gomez or Julien Leparoux. Dominguez had the most consistent year in my eyes.

There was no Older Male horse that stood out on dirt, so I think you have to give it to Gio Ponti even though turf horses rarely win this category. Champion Sprinter will be close between Zensational and Kodiak Kowboy, but Kodiak beat better in my opinion. Ventura probably won't win Turf Female over Goldikova but I think she deserves it. Her Woodbine Mile performance against the boys was one of the most impressive wins of the year, she won the Matriarch, and was beaten only a nose by Gio Ponti in the Frank Kilroe Mile. Goldikova is special, but I never vote for horses that race in the U.S. only once.

There you have it. Feel free to agree or disagree--that's what we're here for. See you all on the other side...

 

Horse of the Year - Rachel Alexandra

2-Year-Old Male - Lookin at Lucky

2-Year-Old Female - She Be Wild

3-Year-Old Male - Summer Bird

3-Year-old Filly - Rachel Alexandra

Older Female - Zenyatta

Older Male - Gio Ponti

Male Sprinter - Kodiak Kowboy

Female Sprinter - Informed Decision

Turf Male - Gio Ponti

Turf Female - Ventura

Trainer - Steve Asmussen

Jockey - Ramon Dominguez

Owner - Jerry and Ann Moss

Breeder - Juddmonte

Apprentice Jockey - Christian Santiago Reyes

Steeplechase: Mixed Up

412 Comments

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Sammi P

Horse of the Year - Zenyatta

2-Year-Old Male - Lookin at Lucky

2-Year-Old Female - She Be Wild

3-Year-Old Male - Summer Bird

3-Year-old Filly - Rachel Alexandra

Older Female - Zenyatta

Older Male - Gio Ponti, but Eistien is a close, close second

Male Sprinter - Kodiak Kowboy

Female Sprinter - Informed Decision

Turf Male - Gio Ponti

Turf Female - Goldikova

Trainer - John Shirreffs

Owner - Jerry and Anne Moss

Still unsure about the others, but rock solid with these choices

03 Jan 2010 1:37 PM
LDP

I agree with every single horse related award, which are probably the awards most care about anyways, lol. Rachel had the most impressive, brilliant, and consistent year. Her five best wins are enough to outweigh any others nominated for the award. Personally if a horse could win both eclipse awards for their age group, both RA and Zenyatta would win both female and overall older/3yr old.

She Be Wild deserves it she was one start away from going 4-4 I believe, and a win in the BC was a cherry on top of a fantasic season. Lookin At Luck, has nearly the same story as She Be Wild, except his loss came in by a short head in the BC and he came back to win the CCF.

Since Females can't win male awards or those awards can't be made into the overall best for that certain age, I would give the award to Gio for older males. Had Zenyatta stayed with the girls then he probably would've won the Classic. Also, because he was clearly the most dominant turf male he should get the Turf award too. Summer Bird with his NY grade one sweep should have dibs on top three year old.

I strongly agree with everything you said about Ventura, she should win the Female Turf award, while her sprinting rival should recieve the award for female sprinter.

Reluctantly I will agree with KK for sprinting champion, mainly because he did face better, and Zensation flubbed at the worst time in the BCS.

Mainly because I'm not a ppl person and therefore do not pay much attention to the egotistical ppl who run our sport, I will not comment on any of your human selections, even though most I agree with.

03 Jan 2010 1:47 PM
Teaser

Agree with all your picks except Horse of the year, I like Zenyatta and Trainer, I like John Shirreffs.

03 Jan 2010 2:06 PM
GreyK

All I can say is I hope you are right on every single horse, and I even like most of your human picks too.  

03 Jan 2010 2:17 PM
Tiznowbaby

I think Blind Luck did the most as a 2YO filly, and as Kodiak's best races were at a mile, I think Zensational was the best sprinter.

03 Jan 2010 2:37 PM
Ida Lee

Happy New Year everybody!!!! I very much agree with your list except for Trainer and Jockey. For Trainer, I think Jim Shirreffs because of Zenyatta and Life is Sweet, winners of BC Classic and Ladies. I doubt we'll see that again in the near future. Although Asmussen is an incredible trainer, IMO the photo goes to Shirreffs. For Jockey, I think Julien Leparoux's 3 BC wins puts him a bit ahead in my book. I don't have an opinion of the Steeplechase since I don't watch these races. As an aside, I'm especially pleased that you picked Kodiak Kowboy as Male Sprinter. I think this beautiful and talented boy doesn't get the respect he's earned so he better get his Eclipse Award because he has more than earned it and I, as well as many of his adoring fans, will be royally PO'd if he doesn't get it. (There, I got it off my chest.)

03 Jan 2010 2:39 PM
Mike Relva

HELLO JASON

Hope you had a great xmas. My selection for HOY is probably obvious,Zenyatta for the win.

03 Jan 2010 2:59 PM
Matthew

I believe that Zenyatta will have a chance to win the title of the Eclipse Award's Horse of the Year.

The reason is that Zenyatta was undefeated in fourteen out of fourteen races, and Rachel Alexandra was beaten when she was a two year old and undefeated when she was a three year old. This is why Zenyatta will become Horse of the Year for 2009.  

03 Jan 2010 3:57 PM
Zenyattathechamp

I agree with everything except for HOY. Zenyatta has that and RA will get it next year.

03 Jan 2010 4:27 PM
Paula Higgins

No argument with any of your picks. All good ones! I also won't argue HOTY because they are both deserving. How lucky did we get this year!?!

03 Jan 2010 4:27 PM
ILVSLEW

I think you are correct; however, Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra should be 2009 co-HOTYS...if not, then Zenyatta MUST be HOTY because of her brilliant BCC won, perfect undefeated, and untired horse she was! I believe she can beat Rachel in BCC because of her big size over Rachel? PLEASE let Zenyatta and Rachel are co-HOTYS, NOT one of them!!!!! Come on everyone including NYTA memebers, too.It is a fair, so let them do it!...If Zenyatta wins it, then Rachel will win one for 2010 season, too. They are the greatest fillies that ever lived since Ruffian, and Landaluce plus few other ones like Genuine Risk, Lady's Secert, and Rags to Riches, etc. God bless them all!

03 Jan 2010 5:01 PM
jay

You are dead on

03 Jan 2010 5:15 PM
MJ

Looks like a good list.  We could argue some of these categories all day.  So many great horses to choose from this year.

03 Jan 2010 5:26 PM
SmartyJonesluver23

Right on for HOTY and 3yo female for Rachel Alexandra. She deserves it.

03 Jan 2010 5:29 PM
Lil Darlin

Great list! Zenyatta definitely gave me chills at the BC, but Rachel gave me chills for a full 8 out of 12 months.  Both would be deserving, but if one has to get it, I hope it's RA in 09.

I hope Gio Ponti does get Older Male.  In any other year he'd probably have to be considered for HOY... the girls totally crashed his party.

03 Jan 2010 6:01 PM
Scarletandgraypimpernel

Can't argue with any of your picks, although I might have cast a slightly different ballot, i.e. Goldikova.

Quick Question--Since you don't believe in giving an Eclipse off of one win in the US, what do you think of Miesque being in the Hall of Fame off of only two one-win seasons here??

And a trivia question---What member of the Hall of Fame won only one race in the United States??

03 Jan 2010 6:03 PM
carolyn

Real good choices Jason, except I give Zenyatta HOTY.  Lets see, Zenyatta beat SB and Gio Ponti in ONE single race, she beat the best that RA beat all year, and in just ONE race, Yes, but that wasn't just ONE race, it was the world stage of North America's racing, it was the BCC,  Zenyatta didn't duck anyone that day, she put up and she shut up and WON,  Now thats impressive, RA should have been there too, she has raced and won on this surface before. JJ could have had her there if he didn't suffer from WOUNDED PRIDE and fear of ZENYATTA-ITIS.  Not a true Sportsman at all...

03 Jan 2010 6:04 PM
carolyn

I want to step away from this blog of awards to say, "CONGRATULATIONS" to Quality Road for a job "WELL DONE" and so happy to see he is back in TRUE FORM once again!!!

03 Jan 2010 6:07 PM
carolyn

" WAHOOOOO", Jason, You have opened up that darn big can of worms, haven't you???  Oh My, open up the gates because here comes the DEBATES.....HOTY...850+ blogs the last time Jason, probably that many more this time.....busy week ahead for you, Jason..

03 Jan 2010 6:26 PM
Edward

Looking Forward(instead of backwards) to the triple crown talk. Early on I will be rooting for Buddy's Saint representing Saint Liam(RIP). Maybe he will be the legacy of the Liam-StBallado-Halo.

03 Jan 2010 6:53 PM
LDP

Matt,

    HOTY is base only on this year and should have no bearing on past years. In that respect both have gone unbeaten and both beat colts. Thing is RA beat colts in three grade ones on three different tracks. She also beat her elders. She crushed her filly competition by ruffian like margins, set more stakes records, racing in more states over more tracks. She did more this season, so she should get HOTY.

03 Jan 2010 7:19 PM
Paula Higgins

I was also thrilled to see Quality Road back to his old self. Made my day. He is a wonderful horse and we haven't seen the bottom of him yet.

03 Jan 2010 7:22 PM
K.

Zenyatta is HOY period.  RA could never beat this mare.  Zenyatta beat the best males in the Classic in phenomenal fashion.

 RA barely won the Preakness and only because MTB had traffic problems.   The Haskell was set up for her by a suicidal duel on the front end.   She really didn't beat anything in the Woodward.  

  No way Asmussen outtrains Sherriffs.   I wouldn't even put Asmussen on a list of top trainers. In fact, imo he should be on suspension for way too many drug infractions.  My top 3 trainers of the year:  Sherriffs, Sheppard and Tim Ice.  

03 Jan 2010 7:22 PM
Footlick

I would probably give Blind Luck the nod for 2 yr old filly and Goldikova the nod for best female turf, since I don't have any qualms about giving a horse an award even though she only ran once in this country.  I don't think Ventura would have fared any better than the BC mile field did.  Goldikova would have won the Woodbine Mile too, imo.  I think conduit was a better horse than Gio, but not by much so either one would be fine with me.  As far as HOY, I don't really care.  It has been argued to death and I for one am very over the whole thing.  All three jocks that were mentioned are fine choices.  A little surprised you picked the Mosses as Owners of the Year?  The prevailing attitude on these blogs was extremely negative in their handling of Zenyatta, and I don't think you cared for they way they handled her year either.  I would have thought you would have picked Jess Jackson for targeting and going after HOY in Rachel Alexandra's campaign as a stronger case for Owner of the Year.  As far as Asmussen, I personally can't see giving an award to someone who's under suspicion as much as he is.  But there again, I'm probably not the majority. I would probably lean toward Baffert, but it's hard to argue with Asmussen's and Pletcher's numbers.  Steeplechase was such a disappointment this year.  Mixed Up was the only one to win two Gr 1's, but they were all so inconsistant.  

03 Jan 2010 7:35 PM
Footlick

Carolyn- yes.  Congrats to Quality Road.  I am looking forward to seeing Quality Road and Rachel Alexandra hook up.

03 Jan 2010 7:36 PM
Sienna101

i agree with everything except that Zenyatta should be Horse of the Year!!!

03 Jan 2010 7:48 PM
arlissholmes

Zenyattta is the clear choice for Horse of the Year.  She has never lost, she didn't duck the BC, and she would crush Rachel Alexandra at any distance from a m ile and a quarter on.  Zenyatta is the best American race horse since Barbaro.

03 Jan 2010 7:51 PM
Windy City

Happy New Year to Everybody!

I do agree on most of your list with the exception of Male Sprinter - that should go to Zensational. Also, the 2-year-old male - don't you have any warm feelings after watching Buddy's Saint? For me, a casual fan, his romps were quite impresive.... Otherwise - very well put together list :-)

03 Jan 2010 8:01 PM
Pam S.

Agree with most except I still wish there could be co-HOY's.  Since that can't be, I would vote Zenyatta.  Yes, it's for 2009, but overall the larger-than-life Zenyatta deserves racing's highest award.  

Ventura is certainly a fine mare and the sentimental choice as well, but I would pick the awesome Goldikova by a nose.

Trainer, well, I have nothing against Asmussen, in fact I like him, but I hate to see the award based strictly on the stats from his overwhelmingly huge stable.   I think Shirreffs did an awesome job with his much smaller operation, winning the two BC Classics, and I think it should be his year.  

03 Jan 2010 8:01 PM
Lil Darlin

K:

Rachel was only a half length off the pace in the Haskell, so how does a suicidal duel set up for her?  And she won the Preakness while setting the pace from a post no horse (male or female) had ever won from before.

If you think Zenyatta should be HOY that's fine, she is deserving, but you should also enjoy what you were fortunate enough to witness in Rachel Alexandra this year.  Horse racing is lucky to have them both.

03 Jan 2010 8:03 PM
Rachel

I agree with all your picks but the HOY. I think Zenyatta deserves it more because she beat most of the horses RA beat and others that were better horses. Zenyatta deserves it after all she has done in her career. RA is a great horse but I think Zenyatta is more deserving of the award.

Thanks!!!

03 Jan 2010 8:05 PM
Slew

She Be Wild ran soooo well, but why has everyone forgotten about Hot Dixie Chick? If the BC decided that result, maybe it should for HOTY too. I'm waiting for January 18th for HOTY.  They both deserve it.  I'm glad you chose Ventura; she's one of my favorites...but Goldikova may just take that category.

03 Jan 2010 8:07 PM
Anne M

The only changes I would make would be Blind Luck for 2 year old filly (she won 2 grade I's and her last race was very impressive) and Goldikovafor Turf mare. Too bad there isn't a catagory for best foreign horse competing in the Breeders Cup <vbg>

I think Rachel Alexandra should be HOY - she accomplished so much in one year. It would be a shame to deny her just because she didn't run in the BC.

03 Jan 2010 8:08 PM
LAZMANNICK

LDP

School starts soon.  Hope you do well.  I'm not going to be blogging much after today, but I do want to give my opinion about HOY.  I believe Jason's picks were pretty well right on.  Give Rachel HOY for her body of work.  That's fine, but in comparing the males she faced against those that Zenyatta faced would be like the following analogy......Rachel swimming the English Channel on a clear day with glass calm water and Zen swimming it with ten foot swells and 20 MPH winds.  In the end they both would have swam across the English Channel, but who had the most difficult challenge.....and the challenge should be what it's all about.....LOL and have a good year and hey, how about the Quality Road.

03 Jan 2010 8:13 PM
Curlin101

i strongly disagree with horse of the year. that should go to zenyatta. shes been unbeatable for 2 yrs, and this is her last chance to win. She's beaten the best of both sexes,So has rachel alexandra,but she hasnt been undefeatable for 2 yrs. Rachel will have her chance again next year, but zenyatta wont have another chance to win such high honors, which she definatly deserves.  when zenyatta won, she blew the others aways. but i guess thats just my opinion

03 Jan 2010 8:22 PM
TaraRose

I agree with all your picks and I agree that Rachel will get HOTY mainly because she's had a more impressive season than Zenyatta..I feel Zenyatta winning the Breeders Cup Classic was great on her part,but i would have liked to see her race more often,against more than just girls,and I Would have liked to see more out-of-state races on Zenyatta's part...I also would like HOTY to go to a horse that will stick around next year and isn't headed too the breeders shed

03 Jan 2010 8:27 PM
Pam S.

Slew, Hot Dixie Chick seems to be  a real nice juvenile, but like her stablemate RA, she last ran on Labor Day weekend, and only in sprints.  Had she won another race during what many fans and turf writers refer to as "fall championship season," maybe the Alcibiades, I would not hesitate to vote for her.  As it is, I wouldn't.

03 Jan 2010 8:27 PM
carolyn

Footlick,

You and I both know that if QR shows he is getting a whole lot better than he is now, then JJ sure will duck him too. I don't put to much into RA next season, I agree with another blog, that he stands to lose RA perfect ONE year record this year, from last year? JJ is going to cherry-pick her races very articulately this year.

I read on Courier-Journal.com that Asmussen said that they were in no hurry to race this year and that they haven't gotten any races mapped out that they were aiming at, only that JJ was shooting for the BCC at the end of this year at CD.  She will be lucky to race 5 times this year I bet? if she isn't retired early.

03 Jan 2010 8:28 PM
Jason Shandler

Hate to break it to you, but all you Zenyatta fans are going to livid on Jan. 18. Time to accept reality.

03 Jan 2010 8:29 PM
Art

It's a shame that such a great year ends like this, with people bickering back and forth about Zenyatta/Rachel Alexandra.  It's not like it matters one way or the other, either.  The backers of neither will actually admit that the other was more deserving anyway.  

As for the Mosses for Owner of the Year, Jason, I hope you're kidding.  What other good horse did they have besides Zenyatta?  What other race did they win?  Like it or not, the folks with WinStar, Juddmonte, and Godolphin had INCREDIBLE years where they won G1 races with multiple horses.  Eclipse Owner isn't "Which Owner Ducked Serious Competition for 11 Months Before Finally Sticking their Neck out Just a Little Bit in November, and had an Otherwise Crappy Year Where They Did Nothing"...Godolphin won G1 races with Vineyard Haven, Music Note, Parading, Seventh Street, Pyro, and Gayego, and also won important races with Girolamo, Regal Ransom, and Sara Louise.  To not give them the award just because they bought those horses instead of breeding them, or something silly like that, is criminal.  They were the most prolific owners in America, period.  

03 Jan 2010 8:32 PM
TAPITSGAL

i just read on here that someone compared Zenyatta to Barbaro, in my mind there is NO comparision...Zenyatta was good,but Barbaro is in a class of his own and you really can't compare him with Zenyatta

03 Jan 2010 8:32 PM
Leon

Agree with you on everything except the owners.

The Mosses were way too conservative in their handling of one of the best horses of all time, and it might cost them the HOTY for the second year in a row.

03 Jan 2010 8:39 PM
carolyn

Laz, You are "Right On" as usual. Zenyatta has amassed so much since her BCC win, I am so happy for her and her connections. I read on another website, that the Mosse's were in no hurry to send her to Kentucky, and Dottie said, that if Ann could have her way, they would keep Zenyatta in their backyard. You know Laz, they truly love that horse.

We witnessed history this year with Zenyatta, and we will never witness this again, I bet!!

03 Jan 2010 8:40 PM
carolyn

Jason, we won't be livid, We know it goes on quantity not quality, so RA ran in 3 more races to get it, give it to her, thats what she was bought for? who cares.  I ask you Jason, Is it going to diminish anything about Zenyatta if she doesn't get that award? No it won't. We need to award RA for her one good year that had 3 more races, right? but at the end of this year, and RA doesn't end this year as good as her last, then hey, we still have our beloved Zenyatta that we will still be comparing RA too. Also, in case RA flatlines this year, at least she will be remembered for her "ONE" good year.  Jason, Zenyatta has amassed so much since her BCC win, that hey, I would feel sorry for RA if she didn't get it. Zenyatta is a superstar, a famous racehorse now.

03 Jan 2010 8:51 PM
carolyn

By the way Jason,  I was told that the voters can vote any way they want too, It doesn't mean quantity over quality, it can be voted on EMOTIONS too.

03 Jan 2010 8:53 PM
LAZMANNICK

Hey Jason:

Hope you had a great holiday and all the best for the coming year.  Thanks for all these chances to blog and show our passion.  As Carolyn said, by chosing to have a blog regarding year end awards, namely HOY, you once again opened up the proverbial can of worms (should be lots of fun).  Your post about accepting reality should really get a lot of passionate people's blood boiling.  It no doubt will make for some interesting and outrageous comments.  I'm like Footlick, I really don't care who wins HOY.  What really matters was that we had such a tremendous year in what I thought would be a downer, especialluy with so many of the top starts retiring after 2008.  LOL

03 Jan 2010 8:55 PM
Mike Relva

JASON:

Remember you didn't give Zenyatta much  chance to win Breeders' Classic. I like her chances for HOY.

03 Jan 2010 9:07 PM
LDP

Laz,

    I am so tired of disagreeing with ppl by now I'll let your analogy go, lol. QR was not as flashy as normal, but still as solid win where he won as he pleased and finished quicker than he started. Can't wait to see him take the Donn.

03 Jan 2010 9:27 PM
Paula Higgins

Jason, while I agree that Rachel Alexandra is going to win HOTY, it won't change how Zenyatta fans feel about her greatness. Her Breeders Cup win said it all.  Rachel's paper trail for this one year is better, no argument and I am really looking forward to this year's races with Rachel. But I have no doubt in my mind as to who the better horse is at the classic distance, and maybe some of the other distances as well. I won't be livid. Zenyatta's greatness transcends any award.

03 Jan 2010 9:33 PM
Julie L.

There's an old expression Jason "never count your chickens till they're hatched". This goes with all categories as it may be very tight between She Be Wild and Blind Luck and Einstein could beat Gio Ponti for older male on dirt. As for HOTY well....

03 Jan 2010 9:34 PM
LDP

This will be my last little arguement statement.

It is not about who could beat who, since it never happened it can never be certain, so you must go on records, which brings me to my next point. People HOTY is Horse of THIS year and ONLY THIS year. It does not matter what Zenyatta did last year, and frankly if you put RA's record this year to Zen's last year, RA would still win. You must go on stats and be objective, and any person who is objective would give moment of the year to Zenyatta and HOTY to RA. Lastly, the fact that this year is Zen's last chance should have no bearing on what happens in the awards, NONE. The fact that RA will have a chance to get HOTY next year should have no bearing, since unforseen events, like injuries or not holding form do occure. HOTY is based on THIS year, NOT last year NOT next year THIS year, and the WHOLE year. In that respect RA wins hands down.

03 Jan 2010 9:36 PM
Brian Appleton

Great selections. I also hope Ventura wins over Goldikova. Older Male should go to Gio Ponti, if Zenyatta hadn't been in the classic he would have been the winner of five grade 1's this year on two different surfaces. Einstien can also be called a deserving winner due to his insane versatility. Unfortunetly I think his poor showing in the Classic will seriously affect his chances, plus his short loss in the Clark.

03 Jan 2010 9:44 PM
Paula Higgins

Carolyn, loved your comment that Ann Moss would like to keep Zenyatta in her back yard. If she were mine, I would LOL. The pure love the Ann and Jerry Moss have for Zenyatta is a wonderful thing to see.

P.S. Jason, I love Rachel too. She ran her heart out and at the end of the season, she needed a rest. Her campaign was phenomenal by ANY standards. In my opinion, neither horse diminishes the other. They are both jaw dropping, great horses. Rachel is unbeatable at the middle distances and Zenyatta at the longer distances.

Another jaw dropper was Goldikova. This was the year of the girls for sure.

03 Jan 2010 11:10 PM
Jodie

Zenyatta does not need an award.  She will go down in history as the first mare to win both Breeders Cup Classics and going 14 for 14. No one is ever going to take that away from her. I bet you won't see Rachel in the Classic next year no matter where it is run.

03 Jan 2010 11:40 PM
Steve Stan

I'll be glad when these awards are done and we can focus on the reality of 'our' game, as some so loosely use the term. All about performance on the track not the 'writers awards'.

With the industry headed in the present direction it may soon be that there are 3 writers and the rest of the voters will be Racing Secretaries, whatever is left of them.

I'm pretty sure that any of the parties involved will live regardless of who gets an award that is obscure to the general public.

Your one choice? Never would have thought that one. Strange to admire that one person. Guess you won't be writing negatively when the big suspension comes down, ha ha. Money talks, integrity walks.

03 Jan 2010 11:46 PM
Steve Stan

Even more important? With the two females out of the focus for a few months we can get rid of this ridiculous 'HOTY' term.

Like totally, fer shure she's a real 'hottie'. Lord help me.

03 Jan 2010 11:48 PM
pas

there are two horses that are really the only two viable candidates for hoty. RA and Zenyatta. while RA had a very good three year old year, that's basically all it was. for the most part, she ran in restricted races, races just for three year olds. even most of her races against the boys were restricted. Zenyatta faced any and all females that would take her on in any of the races she ran in. RA did face older males, but they were far from the best. Zenyatta beat the best field of the year in the BCC and became the first female to win that race and the first horse to win two different BC races. 25 years of really really good horses and that has bever been done.

another thing that really really factors into my thinking. RA was supposed to run in the Belmont stakes, but when she only just won the Preakness, her connections jumped to another race. Too long for her?  also, as Steve Haskin pointed out, Zenyatta was scheduled to ship out to Belmont and run in the Beldame to face RA, if RA entered the race. that would have been RA's track, surface and distance. but after her Woodward, she was retired. so no trip for Zenyatta. but it would have answered the question, so why would RA's connections not run her, or maybe choose the Woodward instead of the Beldame? hmm.

so i vote for Zenyatta for hoty. RA's had a wonderful three year old year for either sex. but Zenyatta faced the better horses by far.

04 Jan 2010 12:06 AM
pas

mike relva you are so right.

first RA was hoty way before the BC. I didn't know people had such amazing clairvoyance!

then Zenyatta wouldn't be entetred in the BCC, her owners would never risk her record to face the boys.

then, he entrance in the race was kind of a joke to her detractors. she couldn't possibly win, she just wasn't good enough!

then she won, and the argument starts all over again the way it began. it doesn't matter that Zenyatta won the BCC, RA is still hoty.

it really doesn't make any difference to argue. people will think what they want to think. even after the award is given there will be people that think their horse was gipped. all that really matters is how these horses made us feel in the end. i liked to watch RA run, but I can't tell you how I was cheering for Zenyatta in the BCC. some of her other races this year were spectacular, but that race was just brilliant.

04 Jan 2010 12:14 AM
jamesb

I think Rachel will (and should) get HOY.  

I do think Shirreffs should be trainer of the year but think Jess Jackson should get owner of the year.

I would give turf female to Goldikova.  I can't remember off the top of my head how many turf races Ventura won in this country but I think only one because the Woodbine Miles was in Canada.  So they both only have one TURF win on US soil unless I am wrong.  Goldikova's came in the better race.

2yo female I would give to Blind Luck.

04 Jan 2010 12:21 AM
raceon

The people that get to vote for the Eclipse awards know their reasons just like we know why we like the horses that we do.  I think it is rather unfair of Leon to criticize the Mr. and Mrs. Moss in their handling of Zenyatta. Their horse retired sound, beat every horse that was put in a starting gate next to her and did so easily.  RA had some really nice wins, but look at how she was after those races.  Wouldn't it be better if more owners were so concerned for their horses?  RA will most likely be HOTY, but we Zenyatta fans will stay true to our girl!

04 Jan 2010 12:49 AM
Sharon

I would definitely give the HOY to Zenyatta, 3 year old Female to Rachel, Turf Male to California Flag, Trainer to John Sheriffs, Turf Female to Goldikova, and 2 year old Male to Lookin at Lucky.

04 Jan 2010 1:12 AM
Greg J.

Welcome Back Jason,

      I agree with most of your selections, If I was going on my personal emotions, I would have Zensational in there, Along with Ventura, I would opt to take Mr. Shirreffs and really hope The Mosses win! Julien Leparoux should take home top honor for jockey.  Wish I could put Presious Passion in there somewhere!  Finally, Rachel will win Horse of the Year and deserves it, But, I guarantee Zenyatta's Year/Career will stand the test of time and is what people will really remember about this year, Not some Award...

Off Subject here, But, I am sick about Welker's injury for the Patriots, He is the heart and soul of my Pats, Terrible injury, Ugh...

04 Jan 2010 1:20 AM
Zookeeper

Hi Jason,

Hope you enjoyed the time off and that your Holidays were very merry!

As far as the Eclipse Awards are concerned you are probably right on most of them. As a Zenyatta fan I won't be livid if she doesn't get HOTY. Just a little sad...

Paula Higgins, you expressed my feelings better than I can.

Happy New Year everybody!!!

04 Jan 2010 1:49 AM
Pasturelands

I agree with ALL your picks, Jason, especially the HOY.  

RACHEL IS DESERVING OF HOY, and those who CANNOT ACCEPT it, please get a life and a pair of reading glasses too.  I think you may need to see the TV and the "written words" as in FACTS, more clearly.

And for the Record: NO, Zenyatta does NOT breathe "special air" different from other horses.  I thought idol worship died out in the Middle Ages.

WHY Rachel is deserving is no secret:  she had MORE victories, she had FASTER speeds, and she ran EVERYWHERE all year long against males (thrice) and females (5X).  If you can't find the GREATNESS in that feat, then I doubt you know what GREATNESS means.

In an age where the sturdiest colts go lame after three victories in a row (e.g. Smarty Jones, Big Brown, QR, SummerBird, I Want Revenge, War Echo, etc.), you have to say that RACHEL ALEXANDRA STANDS OUT.  She continues to win, regardless of who she runs against and where.  You know what the amazing part is: that what she's done, has NEVER been done before by ANY 3-YEAR OLD horse (male or female) in History.  SECRETARIAT himself would be jealous of RA.  LADY'S SECRET may be the Iron Lady, but she only started winning against colts when she got to be 4 years old.

To throw all that RA did, in favor of a horse that "just happens" to win ONE BIG RACE of note, is STUPENDOUSLY RIDICULOUS.  Its like voting for Serena Williams, instead of ROGER FEDERER as SPORTSMAN OF THE DECADE.  Are you using ANY sort of criteria for this?  I found myself asking the same thing to AP why in their SOY award, they put Serena #1.  Popularity contests are ALWAYS CRAZY.  Polls are populated by bloggers (and hackers) who vote ANYBODY they fancy, without much thinking going in.

Voting is not the same as "picking which flavor" ice cream you like at the moment.  Its an affirmation of your INTELLIGENCE, your PRINCIPLES, and "WHAT MATTERS MOST" to you.  

So, RACHEL gets my vote for HOY.  SUE ME, if you don't like it.

On a side note though, i can't vote at the Eclipse awards..too bad.  But we can SHOW our support for our favorite horses, can't we?

04 Jan 2010 2:23 AM
Deacon

You dissed Zenyatta in the classic and you are dissing her here. Gee, what a surprise. You are so predictable...........

04 Jan 2010 2:35 AM
RJPPDP

I agree with all your picks except jockey. I think Leparoux should win the jockey title because he won 3 breeders cup and him and Gomez numbers are similiar in earnings and GRaded stakes. I also agree on Rachel as horse of the year. The eclipse award goes the for the best horse from January until December. It does not mean breeders cup champion persay. Dancing in silks should be champion spriner for beating a high quality field in the sprint. Vale of York did beat Looking at Lucky. Lastly, if Goldikova deserves the female turf for the BC mile then Conduit should get a fair share. Zenyatta had a great year but it wasn't as great as Rachel's. She beat MTB at his peak. Beat Summer Bird as he was peaking. FInally destroyed all the females that got in her way this year. I know she did not go to the classic because Jackson does not the surface. If you ounish her for that, then the same should be for the Moss's for scratching in the Louisville distaff. Zenyatta proved she is not good in the mud. Remember, Eclipse is for horse of the year and Rachel had a much better campaign that of Zenyatta's.

04 Jan 2010 2:40 AM
Swapsfan

Although I'm a Zenyatta fan, I agree Rachel Alexandra should get HOY for her year's record. I would have voted for Mr. Shirreffs rather than Asmussen for the trainer's award. Asmussen won more races, but I agree with Pam that Shirreffs did a great job with his stable.  I hope Mixed Up does get the steeplechase award because he proved that it is possible for a horse to win Grade 1 races without Lasix.

I echo best wishes for Quality Road.

Also, thanks to TBH for the article about Chinook Pass turning 31.  I saw him race at Longacres although not the day he set his world record. I'm not a great fan of sprint races, but CP was fun to watch.  

04 Jan 2010 2:47 AM
GunBow

Jason, agree with most of your equine selections.  

2 yr old Fillies is tough.  She Be Wild won the BC, so she most likely will get the award.  And it isn't like she hadn't done anything before that.  I saw her romp in a listed stake on the Arlington Million undercard, and then she won the Arlington-Washington Lassie and ran a good 2nd in the gr.1 Alcibiades.  With this said, Blind Luck's performance in the gr.1 Hollywood Starlet was the best performance by a juvenile filly around 2 turns. Throw in that she won the gr.1 Oak Leaf and placed in the Breeder's Cup and gr.1 Del Mar Debutante, and the voting narrows.  Still, I fully expect She Be Wild to get the award.

Female Turf Horse- Part of me would love to agree with you and select Ventura. I'm a huge fan of the mare, having seen her in person win the gr.1 Woodbine Mile and gr.1 Matriarch.  Also, it's not just that she ran 2nd to Gio Ponti in the gr.1 Kilroe, she lost that race by the slimmest of noses, with Gio nailing her on the wire.  Had the photo gone the other way, then I really think Ventura would get the Eclipse.  But I expect it will actually go to Goldikova.  And I really would not have an issue if it did.  I was at Santa Anita for the Breeder's Cup, and Goldi was just sensational, overcoming a bad post, having to fall much further off the pace than normal, and then rallying wide, yet still winning with a 109 Beyer.  While I also am not a big fan of rewarding the  one-and-done Euroes, Goldi is something special and one must acknowldge that she did win 3 gr.1 races over the pond in addition to the BC Mile.

Older Male+ Male Sprinter- There really doesn't seem to be an option for Older Male besides Gio Ponti, who will definitely win the Turf Male Eclipse.  I know there is some sentiment for Einstein, and while I respect his career achievements, I simply cannot accept him winning an Eclipse for his 09' season on dirt/synthetic.  Perhaps voters were creative.  In 2002, Left Bank won the Older Eclipse award with just one race over a mile.  So, is it possible that voters maybe took Kodiak Kowboy for Older Male and Zensational for Sprinter?  In my opinion, both Zensational and Kodiak Kowboy are more deserving of an Eclipse than are horses like Einstein, Bullsbay, Macho Again, or Rail Trip.  Since Zensational is a 3 year old and pure sprinter, it would make sense, if one were to split up the awards with him and Kodiak, that he get the Sprinter and Kodiak get the Older Male.  

Horse of the Year- Rachel.  Zenyatta had the moment of the year, and her BC Classic trumps any single race Rachel won.  But Rachel put in the best season by a 3 year old filly since Beldame, and had more "wow" moments(Laz: sorry, but while I like Rags to Riches and rank her a clear #2 among 3 year old fillies this decade, Rachel's season was definitely superior.  Whereas Rags' Triple Crown victory basically knocked her out, with her running only one more time the rest of her career and never winning again, Rachel bounced back from the Preakness with a 19 length win in the Mother Goose in a time that shattered Ruffian's stakes record, a 6 length romp over the champion 3 year old colt in the Haskel in a time one-fifth off the stakes record, and then her thrilling Woodward when she turned back waves of challengers to become the only female of any age to win that prestigious stakes).  

While Rachel is my Horse of the Year, Zenyatta is my choice for female of the decade, and because I believe the females(Zenyatta, Rachel, Azeri, Rags) were superior(in terms of accomplishment- I'm not saying Zenyatta would have been able to beat Ghostzapper or Tiznow) to the top males, she is my overall Horse of the Decade. Perhaps Rachel will put in a 4 year old season that will vault her ahead of Zenyatta, but as their careers stand right now, Zenyatta's 2 excellent campaigns(08' + 09') give her the advantage over Rachel's great 09'(and her Golden Rod win at 2).  

04 Jan 2010 4:46 AM
Jose93

Horse of the Year - Zenyatta

2-Year-Old Male - Vale Of York

2-Year-Old Female - Blind Luck

3-Year-Old Male - Summer Bird

3-Year-old Filly - Rachel Alexandra

Older Female - Zenyatta

Older Male - Gio Ponti

Male Sprinter - California Flag

Female Sprinter - Informed Decision

Turf Male - Gio Ponti

Turf Female - Ventura

04 Jan 2010 5:11 AM
da3hoss

I think owner of THIS year is Jess Jackson who gave us (the fans and racing) Rachel & put her in the races she needed to run and risked her on an off-track & in the MUD (unlike Shirreffs & Mosses) and against males 3x to showcase she is the greatest USA 3-year-old filly ever (only  Busher can equal her and Busher did not win a classic).

I agree with your other choices, especially Ventura.

04 Jan 2010 6:20 AM
carolyn

LDP,

You don't have to explain anything to anyone,  Everyone understands how this system works.  This isn't the only blog that talks about the HOTY award, Gosh it's every were like the H1N1, not just on this blog.  LDP,  Zenyatta has been recognized so greatly with so many awards and rewards that hey, at the end of the day, I don't care if RA got that one award, look at what Zenyatta has recieved since the BCC, she is top voted, she has a race named in her honor, she is a starlet, and she and her connections have recieved some  pretty impressive awards so far. So RA ran in 3 more races and this qualifies her to recieve the hoty, then give it to her, I don't care. I still say Zenyatta is the better of the two, she proved the distance and she beat everything that RA beat (that was any good) in just one race. You know yourself,  that one little award isnt going to hurt Zenyatta's moviestar status at all,  Actually, it is probably the lesser of any(rewards) she has recieved so far, the HOTY award don't mean anything to her fans, she is ZENYATTA, and thats all that matters to them, not a horseracing award that is never heard about again after Jan. 18, or something anyone will be thinking about from now on, it isn't that big a deal to the world of fans of Zen's, it only means anything to sires, not broodmares,  Zenyatta's legacy is already etched in stone, that one award sure won't deprive her of anything, especially since RA ran in 3 more races to earn it. This award isn't voted on popularity, it is voted on how many races ran right?? so be it, give it to RA, thats what JJ bought her for and his intentions, she had to work hard to give this to him. Zenyatta's owners cared more for her than a HOTY award anyway, I promise you, Jerry and Ann Moss will not lose any sleep if RA gets this award.  Lets hope that at the end of this year, East Coast shows as much love and affection for RA that West Coast showed for Zenyatta.  First, Ra has to be proven as good as Zenyatta is at the end of this year. I wish her well.  RA may not even race after the HOTY awards, JJ has to much to lose if she can't keep up with Zenyatta's resume, I look for her to retire early. If she even races at all after the awards.

Steve Asmussen said, they were not in any hurry to race and that they don't have any races they were aiming at right now?  sure aren't trying to make a big comeback are they??

04 Jan 2010 7:22 AM
Calgirl15

My Picks....

Horse of the Year - Zenyatta

2-Year-Old Male - Lookin at Lucky

2-Year-Old Female - She Be Wild

3-Year-Old Male - Summer Bird

3-Year-old Filly - Rachel Alexandra

Older Female - Zenyatta

Older Male - Einstien

Male Sprinter - Kodiak Kowboy

Female Sprinter - Informed Decision

Turf Male - Gio Ponti

Turf Female - Ventura

Trainer - John Shirreffs

Jockey - Garrett Gomez

Owner - Jerry and Ann Moss

The others I'm undecided on.

04 Jan 2010 7:24 AM
Man O' War forever

Zenyatta for HOY. John Shirreff for Zenyatta and Life is Sweet in th BC. Plus he is a classy true horseman. The Moss's for actually showing up.  

04 Jan 2010 8:12 AM
HLLIKINS

Happy New Year everyone!

My picks:

Horse of the Year - Rachel Alexandra

2-Year-Old Male - Lookin at Lucky

2-Year-Old Female - She Be Wild

3-Year-Old Male - Summer Bird

3-Year-old Filly - Rachel Alexandra

Older Female - Zenyatta

Older Male - Gio Ponti

Male Sprinter - Kodiak Kowboy

Female Sprinter - Informed Decision

Turf Male - Gio Ponti

Turf Female - Forever Together

Looking forward to seeing how it all turns out.

04 Jan 2010 8:17 AM
jo

I agree with your selections. Rachael deserves HOY due to what she did all year. Zenyatta did not race outside of California. The only time she left California and went to Kentucky they scratched her due to track conditions. Rachael never scratched due to conditions. Plus Zenyatta didn`t beat much her first 4 races.The Breeders Cup was a very good race but one race does not make a champion. It just seems we forget about the whole year and put too much on the Breeders cup.Sure its also. great for the sport to see a horse go undefeated especially a female but we need to look at the whole year. That is just my opinion

04 Jan 2010 8:28 AM
mararacing

Happy New Year all.  Agree with most of Jason's selections. A couple I would change would be Einstein for Older Male instead of Gio Ponti.  Older Horse usually goes to a dirt horse and Gio Ponti never raced on the dirt.  Had the BC been on the dirt, then I could agree, but as it was on synthetic, have to give the nod to the only other consistant horse on the dirt which imo was Einstein. I agree with others here in regards to Asmussen.  I would give to Sherriffs for his BC double with Life is Sweet/Zen, or the late Frankel, RIP. Agree with Art, Godolphin for Owner. Too bad they don't have an up and coming trainer award cause Tim Ice did a great job with SB this year.

04 Jan 2010 8:56 AM
Pam R

I whole-heartedly agree with your choice for HOTY.  Rachel's season was nothing short of spectacular.  Zenyattta really had only one BIG race, and as impressive as it was, she never raced out of California or over an off track.  While Zenyatta stayed nice and dry in the barn, Rachel went out and threw mud in the boys' faces.  Not only that, but while Zenyatta did make history becoming the first female to win the Classic, Rachel had firsts and made more history , with most of her races being much older than the Classic.  I completely agree with LDP.  HOTY is based on 2009's campaigns, not 2008-2009.  Quite simply, Rachel did more and showed more versatility. I also wanted to point out that in the last Blood-Horse magazine of 2009, in a BEST Of: Readers' Poll, Rachel was voted the female of the decade, beating the second place horse by a little over five thousand votes.  The second place horse? It wasn't Zenyatta: she wasn't even third or fourth.  She was all the way down in fifth. I admit that I am a bigger Rachel fan, but if their campaigns were switched around, I would agree that Zenyatta deserves HOTY.  I thought Zenyatta should have won HOTY last year. But we can't change that, and she should not get it this year just to help make up for that, or because she is retiring.  It almost feels that if Zenyatta gets HOTY, it seems to encourage owners and trainers to take a easier campaign with your horse, just so they can continue to win.  I am not denying Zenyatta's abilities, but horse racing needs horses that travel the country, proving their versatility, and allowing a greater number of fans to see them.  Horse racing needs more Rachel Alexandras.

04 Jan 2010 9:23 AM
Billy's Empire

I like all of your picks Jason, but I like the little frenchman to win the Eclipse for best jockey. I think he won the most B.C races this year, got beat by Go Go on the last race of the year for earnings, and does not ride first call for top trainers like Gomez and Dominguez. Blind Luck will be tough to beat for 2yo filly as well, but that is why the voters vote. Rachel is HOY, no contest...

04 Jan 2010 9:40 AM
Don in Massachusetts

I agree with most of your list, except for owners and older male horse.

I think that Jess Jackson should get the Eclipse for Rachel Alexandra's 2009 campaign, while Einstein should be awarded the Eclipse for older male.

As far as Horse of the Year, I does irk me that Zenyatta fans constantly bring up her 14 straight wins over two seasons.  The Eclipse Award for HOY is for the 2009 body of work only.  I like Zenyatta too, and think in this very special year, both Rachel and Zenyatta should be co-Horses of the Year.  It certainly was an historic year, and this award should reflect that fact!

Also, Jason, you reported several weeks ago on Kip DeVille's struggle with laminitis, but have not kept us updated on his condition.  Is there any news?  I do hope and pray that he will improve!  

Thanks

04 Jan 2010 9:53 AM
Pam S.

Paula Higgins, great post about Zenyatta.  I really agree with what you said.  

04 Jan 2010 10:10 AM
Goober

Wow, Jason, I agree with you 100%! Those were all exactly my picks-great minds think alike!

04 Jan 2010 10:13 AM
Footlick

HOY is not a factual vote.  It is a judgement, unless the horses ran against each other.  And even then, to be fair it would have to be a best two out of three or something like that.  It's not fair to turf horses, who only get it if people think the dirt crop was not great.  It's not fair to sprinters.  It has and always will be a judgement call.  There are no rules stating that a horse has to run all over the country to qualify for HOY.  If there were then only Gio Ponti would be able to win it since he ran coast-to-coast.  There are no rules stating that a horse has to have a required amount of starts to qualify for HOY.  Someone mentioned Hot Dixie Chick as champion 2 yr old filly.  She never raced beyond 7 furlongs and ended her year in September.  But she was stellar while she ran.  Is she a bad choice?  No.  Are there better choices?  Possibly, but it depends on your opinion.  If you believe she was the best, then it doesn't matter she only ran 7 furlongs.  My favorite HOY vote was when Secretariat won as a two year old and his two year old filly counterpart, La Prevoyante finished second to him in the voting.  She went 12 for 12 as a two year old running in the US and Canada.  She was also the Sovereign winner as champion two year old and as Canada's HOY that year.  But the vote was still opinion.  Both horses deserve better than more rehashing of the same tired arguments.  Which ever horse wins it, fine.  It doesn't lessen the other.

04 Jan 2010 10:47 AM
MonicaV

Oh goodness, Jason!  Here we go again!  I do believe you cautioned everyone that HOY would be discussed later and not on this blog.  What amazes me is how important it is to some people.  So important that they post several times  and have to tear down one or the other horse.  Also, the connections are scrutinized as well.  Some people have great insight into what the connections are thinking and planning.  It all comes down to opinion and that's it.  That's why this debate will go on forever.  Nobody knows what the connections are thinking and what they will do.  That  is purely conjecture yet it is all stated as fact.  If you love Zenyatta, then you have to tear down Rachel, if you love Rachel, you have to tear down Zenyatta.  I'm not saying that is true for everyone but it certainly is true for some.  Both horses were marvelous this year no matter what anyone thinks.  Give credit where credit is due.  Slamming one to build up the other is just not sporting.  It makes all the fans look bad.

04 Jan 2010 11:15 AM
Slew

With such heated debate, for either Rachel A. or the Zen to LOSE HOTY would be a slap in the face to either horse and racing fans around the world.  They are both THAT deserving.  While we think about 2 yr olds...for the Triple Crown next year...consider the first race of Take Control out of Azeri by AP Indy...was not impressive in the post parade, was not impressive during the race...and then closed like a bullet for his first win in his first race.  I was duly impressed.  Im looking forward to seeing him in more races, especially races involving Looking at Lucky and Buddy's Saint.

04 Jan 2010 11:19 AM
stardustyrose

Hi Jason & everyone.  I agree with your picks but the HOY.  I believe it will be Zenyatta.  I believe the reason is because of just what Jerry Baley said on the BC Classic day.  RA COULD have run a harder race at Saratoga and ran the easier one..  AND she did not go to the classic AND she is not un-defeated.  

Here is a video I made.  This is NOT the video I am making for all of you.  

www.youtube.com/watch

NOW here is the list and I need more horses unless you guys are sastisfied........ ;-)  I need pics of the horses that are in upper caps........

Curlin

Tiznow  

WITH ANTICIPATION

The Tinman

Better Talk Now

Evening Attire

Kona Gold

Buckpasser

Native Dancer

Awesome Again

Ghostzapper

Zenyatta

MEGAHERTZ

Northern Dancer

Dr. Fagar

DAMASCUS

DARK MIRAGE

Seabuiscut

John Henry

Lava Man

Eight Belles

Barbaro

RA

Cigar

Easy Goer

Foolish Pleasure

Forego

Go For Wand

Holy Bull

Spectacular Bid

Victory Gallop

Danzing

AP Indy

Winning Colors

Still working on the song for this.  This is gonna be a long video.  That is why I made the one above for the time being.  I know you all have a fav in that video. :)

Love you all........  ♥

04 Jan 2010 11:25 AM
ALB

Agreed with your list, Jason! Well done!!!

04 Jan 2010 11:28 AM
bradanthony

ZENYATTA HORSE OF THE YEAR!

04 Jan 2010 11:40 AM
Denise

Good picks but I would vote for Einstein for older male and John Sheriffs for Trainer.  

04 Jan 2010 11:42 AM
sham1973

good choices- just disagree with the Best Owner...

Rachel Alexandra was the best horse to race in 2009 and deserves the award. She beat the best her sport had to offer on their PREFERRED surface. Clearly she should not be punished for not showing up for the Breeders Cup when the races arent even contested on traditional american surfaces and not one single "dirt" horse won and very few even hit the board. Oh and its Horse of THE Year, not Horse of the Last Two Years or "Horse of the Year Because Rachel can Win it Next Year Because She will still be in training but Zenyatta wont"

I dont even see what all of the fuss is about.

Dont like essays? Lets talk numbers:

5 Grade One Wins to 4 Grade 1 Wins

3 G1 Wins vs Males to 1 G1 Win vs Males

65 1/4 lengths to 6 1/4 lengths

Rachel also beat more G1 stakes winners and faced more horses.

CASE CLOSED.

04 Jan 2010 11:48 AM
sham1973

Forgot to Add:

Take the emotion out of it and think of it in terms of horse A and horse B

Horse A wins 8 races, 3 against males convincingly (considering her suicide paces in the Woodward, and Preakness) and then her utter domination in the Haskell and Mother Goose and Kentucky Oaks. 8 races, 7 tracks, 6 states.

Horse B runs 5 races and wins the big "race of champions" (nevermind that over half of the horses in the field were trying the surface for their first time) in her own backyard after facing soft competition for the rest of her campaign.

How can you seriously vote for Horse B ?

04 Jan 2010 11:54 AM
Phony JJ

At the end of the day concerning HOTY, it will be like this, RA wins the battle, and Zenyatta wins the WAR.  RA can have the "ONE" award for her "ONE" year, but Zenyatta is the queen and has amassed so much more than just a simple award for 3 extra races.

Zenyatta has her place in history, RA will be forgotten about next year if her resume doesn't equal up to Zenyatta's by the end of this year.   We Zenyatta fans will always be, Zenyatta fans.....

RA will always be remembered for her "ONE" good year. God help her if she (RA) doesn't win in the BCC this year. She will never live that down.  

04 Jan 2010 11:59 AM
draynay

Great list Jason, it's hard to disagree with any of your choices. I can only hope Rachel wins HOY it will be a sad day if a horse wins after winning 5 races all year on nothing but poly tracks.  Quality Road is still undefeated in Graded races on a dry track.  It was great to see him bounce back.  I look forward to watching him take the Donn.  We have 150 days until the Derby ?  Is it too early to pick the horse Calvin B. is on ?

04 Jan 2010 12:28 PM
Larrythejumpguy

Seeing that everyone has opinions on the flat side of racing which is covered extensively  and only a couple on the steeplechase side which is not.  For those who maybe interested in reading more about it check out Steeplechase Times, www.stpublishing.com/cms.  Their end of the season December issue recaps the year.  Excellent well written articles and stats. Remember these are Thoroughbreds, most of which raced on the flat and given second opportunities over jumps, hurdles and timber. Hurdles being shorter races and smaller jumps, Timber, as long as 4 miles over fences as high as 5 feet. Having worked with both flat and jumpers, IMO, it takes a far superior athlete to compete at the highest level, both horse and jockey. No disrespect to flat jockeys.  These horses race from 4 to 14, for those of you who think race horses are done after 4 or 5. Contrary to popular believe they rarely get hurt, in this country, and rarely suffer a fatal accident.  The race meets have as many as 50,000+ show up. The National Steeplechase As streams most races, www.nationalsteeplechase.com  The Steeplechase Times also does fabulous coverage of Saratoga in their daily Saratoga Special issues.  Great stories, coverage and pictures.  

04 Jan 2010 12:29 PM
Lil Darlin

Why is the distance thing still so high on everyone's list of "things a horse must do to become great?" And stop saying she didn't win at a classic distance...THE PREAKNESS IS A CLASSIC!

Rachel raced at 1 3/16 miles, setting the pace, and won, from the far outside post that no horse has ever won from before.  And does anyone think that an additional 1/8 of a mile would have made a difference in the Haskel, Oaks, Mother Goose?  Even in the Woodward, she re-broke after Macho Again came up alongside her and galloped out way past him.  Don't detract from her amazing accomplishments because you have concocted some subjective criteria in your head for a great horse.

If she is trained for it and raced for it, I really don't think people are going to have the mile and a quarter excuse to throw at her by the end of next year.  

04 Jan 2010 12:32 PM
Footlick

stardustyrose- you can usually find some pics on Google images.  There should be a pic at least of Damascas' Woodward win.  Dark Mirage is a little more difficult, but I know there is at least one.

04 Jan 2010 12:32 PM
Householder

Looking at Lucky looks to be the best 2 year old after the Cash Call.  Informed Decision looks to be the best all around female Sprinter on both dirt and a couple different synthetics.  I'm pleased to see that most of these raced the entire year.  Yes their are some BIG races are after August.

04 Jan 2010 12:35 PM
Householder

Shirreffs for having the best "Poker Face."

04 Jan 2010 12:38 PM
draynay

Things must be getting rough in California for some of you to be so impressed with 5 poly track wins.  Why would you give HOY to a horse with no wins on turf or dirt all year?

04 Jan 2010 12:40 PM
pas

i agree phony jj. i feel sorry for RA if she can't put in as good a year as this one was for her. or win the BCC. i seriously mean that. it won't be her fault, it will be the hype and her owner.

04 Jan 2010 1:04 PM
LAZMANNICK

stardustyrose:

Great work.  I can't believe that Lady's Secret, Precisionist, and Sunday Silence are not on the list.  Good luck and greatly appreciated.

04 Jan 2010 1:05 PM
Tsk

I am ALL for Zenyatta winning HOTY. I love RA but I feel that this year, since there can be only one winner, it should be the Queen of Racing. I have no problem with an award honoring one's achievements in a year honoring Queen Z for her career.

However reading some of these comments from Zenyatta fans almost makes me hope RA will take it. Talk about unclassy, uncouth behavior. Here we are again, bashing one horse for the sake for another. And of course Jason's inflammatory comment did not help matters.

People are sneering at RA so much and I just have to wonder why... why they are showing so much derision and downright loathing for an animal that, if they were actually in her presence, would probably swoon a bit.

Whatever. I really hope Zenyatta wins but I don't need to belittle RA's outstanding campaign this year to back up my opinion. And I think Zenyatta's humans would shake their heads at everyone who is doing so, particuarly those who say that RA will be forgotten like dust in the wind while Zenyatta lives on forever and ever in the hearts and minds of people.

My fault for reading Internet comments on the HOTY debate...

04 Jan 2010 1:41 PM
Footlick

Thanks Larrythejumpguy.  Just thought that they were a little inconsistant this year, but alot can happen in a steeplechase, so I'm interested in reading about them.

04 Jan 2010 1:46 PM
Footlick

HOY comments are very tired, guys.

Laz- there are alot of horses left off, but I don't really want to be the one to keep mentioning them and give even more work for stardustyrose.  Sunday Silence gets about as much respect as a racehorse as he got from the breeders in this country.  What a great sire he became.

I hope more people contribute.

04 Jan 2010 1:53 PM
lakota

Especially agree with Rachael Alexandra.  She ran on many different tracks and against tougher competition.  As for not going to the BC - Zenyetta would not have gone either if it was not at a home track.  RA all the way!!

04 Jan 2010 2:04 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

Here's a question? If Zenyatta's win over males is so easy,then why hasn't it BEEN DONE BEFORE?

04 Jan 2010 2:08 PM
stardustyrose

LAZMANNICK

They are now.  :) I am prolly gonna have to use two songs to do this.  Egaaaaaaaaaaaads. Will take a while.  I almost have all the pics downloaded.  

For all of you.  I am going to shut down requests for horses today at about 1:00pm my time pst.  IF there is a horse that you want get it in here so I don't miss any of you guys ;-)  I would hate to make this video and leave out one of all your favs..... Remember LEGENDS.  :) Here is the list again.  The TC winners will all be in this vid as well.  That is why they are not on the list.  Of course you prolly all know that right LOL.   :)  

Curlin

Tiznow  

WITH ANTICIPATION

The Tinman

Better Talk Now

Evening Attire

Kona Gold

Buckpasser

Native Dancer

Awesome Again

Ghostzapper

Zenyatta

MEGAHERTZ

Northern Dancer

Dr. Fagar

DAMASCUS

DARK MIRAGE

Seabuiscut

John Henry

Lava Man

Eight Belles

Barbaro

RA

Cigar

Easy Goer

Foolish Pleasure

Forego

Go For Wand

Holy Bull

Spectacular Bid

Victory Gallop

Danzing

AP Indy

Winning Colors

Alydar

Pine Island

Lady's Secret

Precisionist

Sunday Silence

Storm Cat

04 Jan 2010 2:08 PM
bellesforever

I love your picks!This has been a great year for racing and we should all be happy to have been able to witness greatness.

04 Jan 2010 2:09 PM
Mike Relva

PHONY JJ

How was your xmas? Great points! Hope you continue to post on NTRA,I can't stand that idiot"no it all" that posts there all the time!

04 Jan 2010 2:10 PM
gw_bushwacker

Zenyatta is my HOY. I only wish RA wouldn't have ducked the Beldame and a chance to face Zenyatta on the dirt. Then you would all know Zenyatta is the better horse.

I wonder if draynay will be bashing Quality Road and his slow fractions yesterday. Seems that all last year he belittled horses who ran those type of fractions. Now that his "chosen one" checked in with slow fractions I'll bet it doesn't matter anymore.

04 Jan 2010 2:12 PM
draynay

Zenyatta = retired poly runner from last year/ It's 2010 move on to horses that are running THIS year.

04 Jan 2010 2:26 PM
steve s

Somebody should speak up for She Be Wild as best 2 year old filly-give Wayne Catalano the credit he deserves-stop giving it to horse that has not earned it-Justice

04 Jan 2010 2:38 PM
LAZMANNICK

stardustyrose:

Did someone say Alysheba, Exceller and of course Ferdinand.  LOL

04 Jan 2010 2:44 PM
carolyn

Dray, whats really sad is that RA raced and won on synthetics before, no excuse she wasn't at the BCC, and speaking of turf, I don't recall RA running on any other surface this year than dirt. Although, she raced and won on "plastics" her first time and won.    RA will never match or compare to Zenyatta, and she has a whole year to try to, but likely won't... Zenyatta's fans know Zenyatta has nothing left to prove, but you RA fans have got to stay on pins and needles this year..and keep your fingers and toes crossed...

04 Jan 2010 3:05 PM
georgea75

Feliz año.

Mis selecciones:

HOY: Zenyatta

2YO M: Lookin at Lucky

2YO F: She be Wild

3YO M: Summer Bird

3YO F: Rachel Alexandra

Older M: Gio Ponti

Older F: Zenyatta

Sprinter M: Kodiak Kowboy

Sprinter F: Informed Decision

Turf M: Gio Ponti

Turf F: Ventura

Trainer: John Shireffs

Jockey: Garrett Gomez

Owner: Jerry and Ann Moss

Breeder: Judmonte

04 Jan 2010 3:19 PM
Zenyatta13

Horse of the Year: Zenyatta

2 Year Old Male: Lookin At Lucky

2 Year Old Female: Blind Luck

3 Year Old Male: Summer Bird

3 Year Old Female: Rachel Alexandra

Older Female: Zenyatta

Older Male: Gio Ponti

Male Sprinter: Kodiak Kowboy

Female Sprinter: Informed Decision

Turf Male: Gio Ponti

Turf Female: Ventura

Trainer: Tim Ice

Jockey: Ramon Dominguez

Owner: Jerry and Ann Moss

Breeder: Juddmonte

Apprentice Jockey: (I can't say much about this category so I'll stick with your choice)

Steeplechase: Mixed Up

04 Jan 2010 3:48 PM
The Beav

I really like your choices.  I believe that RA deserves horse of the year due to all her accomplishments.  It isn't her fault she never met Zenyatta.  That being said, I think Zenyatta is exceptional and I adore both these mares BUT lets face it, RA did more this past year than Zen.  Sorry Zen fans, I was at Santa Anita and saw Zenyatta do her thing and it was amazing!  BUT, RA gets my vote for horse of the year!

04 Jan 2010 3:59 PM
Brice

draynay:  Rachel could have bypassed the Woodward and faced the California Poly Champ in the Beldame Stakes on dirt.  Team Zenyatta was willing to ship to New York.  Why did not Rachel race in the Beldame?  Was it because Zenyatta would be there?

04 Jan 2010 4:01 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Good lord there are alot of zenyatta fans. RA is HOY hands down look at her body of work. Zenyatta never left Santa Anita. RA went to 5 different tracks and waxed everyone. She one by a nose and by 20 lenghts. She romped summber bird and broke track records. Zenyatta=Home field advantage. Do you think Zenyatta would of won at churchill um no do you think the owners would even run her at a different track um no. RA!

04 Jan 2010 4:10 PM
Jason Shandler

Brice: Contrary to what others have written, Zenyatta was never going to the Beldame. I asked Mr. Moss this specifically weeks before the race and he was as clear as clear could be: No Beldame. But hey, don't let facts get in the way of your argument.

04 Jan 2010 4:17 PM
Melissa

Phony JJ,

I wholeheartedly disagree with you. I, for one, will NEVER forget the Preakness, Haskell, or Woodward from this year, regardless of whatever else she does from here on out.

You say Zenyatta's fans will always be Zenyatta's fans. That's cool, and I respect that.

But it's also true the other way around. Rachel's fans will always be Rachel's fans.

Happy New Year!

04 Jan 2010 4:18 PM
Footlick

TSK- be fair.  Unclassy, uncouth comments from both sides.

04 Jan 2010 4:20 PM
LAZMANNICK

Tsk:

I like agree with you about horse bashing and in fact am guilty of it myself.  However, with regards to Zenyatta's fans making their comments.....go back to some of the other posts on this blog and other blogs an see how condescending and downright disrespectful some of the Rachel fans have been.  Take a look at what Pasturelands and Draynay have to say and then maybe you will see why the arguments get so passionate. Anyway, whoever wins, wins.  It still doesn't change how totally awesome both of these fillies are.  LOL

04 Jan 2010 4:22 PM
Mike Relva

JASON:

I agree with your point regarding the situation w/the Beldame,but I get a "kick" from the fact that so many that believed Zenyatta had zero chance to win Classic and then scrambled to find a "spin" later as to why she won. BTW,especially one of your readers that's always "spinning" when things doesn't work out. lol

04 Jan 2010 4:27 PM
LAZMANNICK

Footlick:

Just giving some ammunition, not that Stardusty needs any.  The problem is, it's like being a kid in a candy store.  There are so many great ones to choose from and Stardusty should be commended by all for doing this.

You're right about HOY.....It's getting tired, but I have a feeling that in the coming weeks it is going to get pretty hot and heavy.  Anyway, I'm sure there will be no winners or losers whatever the voters decide on.

Stardusty:

God bless you.  If for some reason you have trouble getting photographs, post it on the blog and we will help you find them.  LOL and have a great one.

04 Jan 2010 4:30 PM
draynay

Thank you Jason.  I am so tired of Zenyatta fans trying to change the FACTS.  The facts are Zenyatta scratched when faced with a off surface in Kentucky. That told me all I needed to know.  Rachel never scratched she ran in the slop and the mud and Zenyatta NEVER did.  Not one time in her entire career.  She ran on poly only never leaving the State last year racing just 5 times on plastic.  It seems we will have to continue to hear Zenyatta nonsense until April 4th when we will have to hear more California nonsense how the Santa Anita winner is going to win the Derby and California will then have a new hero.  Zenyatta was the best plastic runner I ever saw. The best dirt horse?  She wouldn't make the top 200 and that's a fact.

04 Jan 2010 4:34 PM
stardustyrose

LAZMANNICK

Boy you are right on time! LOL "This is IT"!  The final list.  If I don't get started on this video, it will be 2011 before it gets done.  Now all be patient.  This is going to take some real serious time  on top of all the other things that are going on.... Here is the FINAL list..... ;-)

Curlin

Tiznow  

With Anticipation

The Tinman

Better Talk Now

Evening Attire

Kona Gold

Buckpasser

Native Dancer

Awesome Again

Ghostzapper

Zenyatta

Megahertz

Northern Dancer

Dr. Fagar

Damascus

Dark Mirage

Seabuiscut

John Henry

Lava Man

Eight Belles

Barbaro

RA

Cigar

Easy Goer

Foolish Pleasure

Forego

Go For Wand

Holy Bull

Spectacular Bid

Victory Gallop

Danzing

AP Indy

Winning Colors

Alydar

Lady's Secret

Precisionist

Sunday Silence

Alysheba

Exceller

Ferdinand

Storm Cat

And notice the LARGE CAPS WENT AWAY!!!!! WA LA.... Thanks Greg for the help.  I may have trouble with these two... Alysheba & Precisionist....... hint hint.......  :)  

Do I dare ask for songs LOLOLOL!  Forget I said that...... ;-)  

Oh yeah.  I am going to do something on purpose.  I am going to put the SAME amount of pics in this vid for BOTH RA and Zenyatta  to keep everyone calm..  LOL..........

Love you all...... ♥♥♥♥

04 Jan 2010 4:36 PM
Footlick

Jason- when I reread your article about your interview with Jerry Moss, you said he said "No, I think she's staying in California".  That doesn't sound like a definitive no to me.  He left room to change their mind, especially if Jackson decided to run in the Beldame, which it was already being speculated that he would opt for the Woodward.  No disrespect, just a comment on what I read.  I wasn't there of course so it may have been "No Beldame" and you just didn't write it that way.  It seems he said that they were taking it one race at a time and could change plans anytime they liked.  I think it's more of how you interpret their previous actions and then extrapolate whether they would have shipped or not.  If you believe they would not have shipped, that's fine.  Rachel would have still had to beat Music Note in the Beldame and that may have ended up being a harder task than beating Macho Again and Bullsbay.

04 Jan 2010 4:36 PM
stardustyrose

One more thing.  I really hope that HOY gets picked soon.  I am going nuts!  Love them both!  Zenyatta, I hope gets it though.  :)

04 Jan 2010 4:38 PM
stardustyrose

Mike Relva......

I know what you mean about the idiot know it alls.  Dealing with one for a few months now.  Kicked that sucker to the curb!  :)  Hope your doing OK......

04 Jan 2010 4:40 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Dray I am with ya on everything...RA is a HOY lets move on to a new subject. My boy Quality Road is back get him on a dry track and he will give any horse a run for its money! Jockey of the year has to go to Calvin Borel he turned water into wine with Mine that Third! winning the oaks and the derby 50-1 should earn jockey of the year plust the fact on friday ramon dominguez punked me out $100 when he just jumped of the horse didnt even fall off from the one hole ......laim!

04 Jan 2010 4:40 PM
stardustyrose

I just counted all of those horses.  There are 50 of them without the 11 TC winners.  LOL.  

♥Zenyatta♥RA♥  Both good gals.. :)

04 Jan 2010 4:43 PM
funnycideoflife

I love the people who say "well Rachel Alexandra can be horse of the year because she'll be forgotten after 2009 while Zenyatta will be remembered forever." Seriously, people? I am in high school and have several "horse" friends that know who Rachel Alexandra is and appreciate her accomplishments. These same friends have NO IDEA who Zenyatta is.

One more thing, don't say that Rachel stopped running in September while Zenyatta was running until November so Zenyatta had the more complete year. Zenyatta didn't START running until the end of May, while Rachel had run FIVE times before Zenyatta had run ONCE. If January through May aren't important let's just end racing during those months because clearly they don't count.

I have nothing against Zenyatta but her crazy fans just insult Rachel like she isn't even a decent horse.

Sorry for ranting but some people on these blogs are just ignorant and refuse to recognize a good horse!

04 Jan 2010 4:51 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Either way Curlin was the best horse of the decade hands down! Someone name one better and have some earnings to back up there statement! I need some triple crown talk soon this RA versus Zenyatta is so last year! LOL!

04 Jan 2010 5:10 PM
Phony JJ

Mike Relva, I'm with ya dude, here and over there. Yes, I know what idiot you're speaking of...he thinks he is smart, NOT!!, always in caps, sickning. I don't even read all of his posts, so damn long like a book, same old stuff over and over,

He acts like the HOTY award is life or death, who cares if RA gets it, she ran in 3 more races, so give it to her, It sure don't hurt Zenyatta one bit, Damn, Zenyatta has a race named in her honor, thats good stuff, there.

Mike, We all know our gal has nothing left to prove, she proved it all this year.

It takes a damn great horse to win on synthetics and dirt.  Zenyatta ran her best on dirt....

04 Jan 2010 5:11 PM
Flynne

Horse of the Year - Rachel Alexandra

2-Year-Old Male - Lookin at Lucky

2-Year-Old Female - She Be Wild

3-Year-Old Male - Summer Bird

3-Year-old Filly - Rachel Alexandra

Older Female - Zenyatta

Older Male - Gio Ponti

Female Sprinter - Informed Decision

Turf Male - Gio Ponti

Trainer - Steve Asmussen

Jockey - Ramon Dominguez

Breeder - Juddmonte

Only did the ones I know quite a bit about -- and fully agreed with you on all accounts.

04 Jan 2010 5:12 PM
carolyn

Dray, what excuses are you RA fans going to have at the end of this year, expecially if she flatlines...or retires suspiciously early and never makes it to the BCC.

04 Jan 2010 5:13 PM
courthouseguy1999

Jason, I agree with your selections with the exceptions of:

* 2YO filly: Blind Luck - even though SBW won the BCJF, I think Blind Luck accomplished more over the course of their respective campaigns.

* Trainer: John Shirreffs. Respect Asmussen for his sheer numbers, but John training the Distaff and Classic winner does it for me.

* HOY - know you didn't list this, but...I am a huge Zenyatta fan, and have loved California racing ever since I moved to CA in '80, and as much as I want to point to the BCC and showcase that as my argument for why she should be HOY, logically, I think this has to go to Rachel Alexandra. I don't believe we'll ever see as ambitious a campaign for a 3YO filly as we've seen with her this year, and while I wish her connections would have raced her at Santa Anita, I do believe she had already done more than enough to lock up HOY after winning the Woodward. Had Team Zenyatta pointed her to the Pacific Classic, or the Goodwood instead of the Lady's Secret and she'd won both, I would have definitely been in Zenyatta's corner. As we know, her team took the conservative approach (until the BCC of course), and that's what hurts her. She had a great May-Nov, but the award is for HOY.

04 Jan 2010 5:13 PM
LDP

Since when did Polytrack become the same as Pro-Ride? Since when did winning an allowence equal winning a grade one? This is basiclly what people are trying to say is true when you say RA raced and won on synthetics. She won an allownece race, not a Grade one, and over Polytrack, which is completely differnt from Pro-Ride. Zenyatta won a Grade one on  dirt, therefore it safe to assume she could compete at that level, especially since it was one of her best races. Rachel's allowence win was as a two year old over a completely different brand of synthetic, plus it was not nearly as dominant as any of her wins on dirt. Quit trying to twist an allownece win into over Polytrack into RA being able win at grade one level on Pro-Ride.

04 Jan 2010 5:41 PM
LDP

gw_bushwacker,

    QR's fractions were not slow, the only quarter that was slow was his first. His final eighth was 12.42 and the furlong before that was 11.88. He also ran his first half faster than his first, running his last half in 48 flat or 48.08.

04 Jan 2010 5:44 PM
LDP

Pas,

   Nice spin you tried to put on the competition and openess of the races. Rachel may have raced in races restricted to three year olds, but answer me how many three year old fillies ever dare to venture out of their division to the best three year old males off of two weeks rest, then do it again against a Belmont winner? Then tell me how many after facing their male peers go to face OLDER MALES in SEPTEMBER! You didn't even see male three year olds in the Woodward this decade, they always race in the restricted Travers then wait until October to run in against their elders. For a three year old filly to raise the bar as many times as she did and to the heights she did and succeed is unbelievable.

Now onto your rediculous omition of the fact that four out of five of Zenyattas races were restricted, to FILLIES. You say to all fillies that come to meet her, yet you also leave out that the fillies she beat were nothing special and were the same ones race after race. The only female Zen faced this year that is noteworthy is Life is Sweet, other than that nothing special, until the Classic.

Carolyn,

    Obviously somebody needs to explain it, since people keep coming up with the same contradicting opinion. All I see is she was unbeaten over her career or she won the classic or she's not racing next year so she should win the award. I see those arguements over and over, so obviously the meaning of HOTY does need to be explained.

04 Jan 2010 6:15 PM
Lil Darlin

Mike Relva 04 Jan 2010 2:08 PM

If Zenyatta's win over males is so easy,then why hasn't it BEEN DONE BEFORE?

Mike - Same question, RA Woodward

carolyn 04 Jan 2010 3:05 PM

what's really sad is that RA raced and won on synthetics before, no excuse she wasn't at the BCC.

carolynn -

Excuse?  How about 8 races, 5 grade 1's, 3 against males, one against older males, and the comment by Dr. Bramlage that she was a tired horse (and rightfully so) after her Woodward? And if we want to talk excuses, how about Zen's owners for not racing her at Churchill in May (I'll give you a hint...it was an off track that Rachel romped over).   You can't say one camp made excuses while accepting excuses for the other. (Personally, I think both camps made the right decisions for their horses, as it was in the best interest of the horses.)

Also, there is always a lot of talk about the level of competition.  For all of you football fans, hopefully you'll see where I am coming from when I point out the following:

Tampa Bay beat the Saints

Kansas City DESTROYED the Broncos

The Lions actually won 2 games this year (Big improvement from 0-16)!

As the old saying goes...that's why they play the game. It's all about who shows up on any given day.  Both Rachel and Zen showed up every time this year. Obviously, I think RA is HOTY, simply because she showed up more often in many different venues.

04 Jan 2010 6:16 PM
LAZMANNICK

Carolyn:

LDP is right about pro-ride and ploytrack being different surfaces even though they are synthetic.  However, there is one overwhelming similarity to both surfaces......horses that race well on them also race well on grass and visa versa......Rachel performed well on it (1.09.3-6F).  That suggests that she could have performed well on the pro-ride and is one of the reasons why I question her connections from backing away from the Breeders Cup).  Of course, if she would have shown up she probably would have had to contest the BCC because Zen did.  I wonder if that had anything to do with influenceing their decision.....Ha Ha.  Just Joking....Rachel waisted her time with meaningless races early on and was over the top after the Woodward.  I guess that's why Zen's connections got it so wrong in only racing her 5 times and spacing her races.  It was clearly stupid of them because all it did was enable her to be at her absolute best when it really  counted......Still, you can't take anything away from Rachel's season.  It really was a good one.

04 Jan 2010 6:44 PM
Paula Higgins

Thanks Zookeeper and Pam S. for your nice comments! There is enough love for both girls and enough to admire in both of them if you choose to look for it, and you don't have to look hard. If Zenyatta doesn't win HOTY it is O.K. and I will be happy for Rachel's connections. Rachel is a deserving winner and it will not diminish Zenyatta one bit.

04 Jan 2010 6:49 PM
silverscrngirl

I have to agree with Summer Bird, he was fun to watch improve to a great horse over the summer.  I can not wait to see what She Be Wild does as a 3 year old in 2010 as well.  Luckin At Lucky had a fantastic 2 year old season, hopefully he can make it down the road to the roses in one piece.

04 Jan 2010 7:00 PM
Mike Relva

PHONY JJ

I agree w/ you  one hundred per cent. When you post again on NTRA hope you rail on that idiot!

04 Jan 2010 7:04 PM
Footlick

You all are spinning.  Get over it.

04 Jan 2010 7:05 PM
Householder

Talk about selective memory.  Zenyatta never left Santa Anita?  Perhaps you missed the 129 pounds she carried in the Vanity or the Clement Hirsh were she set the track record for 8.5 at 141:48 the year before.  It may be in the same state, but a 150 mile van ride down the 405 is "shipping" my friend. My high school friends don't know who Zenyatta is?  Tell them to get a TVG account.  I'm sure TVG still has some "Girl Power" posters and a DVD they can watch.  And your right...the synthetics make her close the final 16th in 6 seconds flat.  Spotting rivals 16-18 pounds, setting track records, blowing by Einstein and Gio Ponte.  It is all the "plastic" track that allows her to do this. What kind of a weight break did Zenyatta get in the Classic against males? I'm sure it was a lot, or at least what RA got. I know the Rockies are kind of hard to see over but good lord.  By all means lets get on with the Triple Crown and the drivel about the next CA "synthetic specialist" to lay down on the "blessed" dirt tracks known as Belmont and Churchill Downs.  

04 Jan 2010 7:05 PM
Mike Relva

LIL DARLIN

I'm fully aware that RA is something special,I've stated this on many blogs. My point is that when many gave Zenyatta zero chance to win Breeders' and after she did it the same individuals then whet into a "spin control". BTW I don't blame connections for not running Zenyatta on an off track back in May!

04 Jan 2010 7:12 PM
Mike Relva

STARDUSTY ROSE,LAZMANNICK

Hope you had a great holiday!!!!

04 Jan 2010 7:17 PM
LAZMANNICK

Draynay

If you're so tired with us Zenyatta fans then go to sleep.....wake up just before the Preakness so you an tout your latest Derby winner.  Of course, that will be after you see who wins it. LOL

04 Jan 2010 7:20 PM
pas

ldp....i didn't try to put any spin on the facts of the races. i stated that i thought that RA had a great three year old campaign. but it was just that, a three year old campaign. the fact is that all but one of her starts were in restricted company by either sex or sex and age. it's a fact. and plenty of fillies have taken on the boys in thriple crown and other three year old races over the years. I personally would have found it more interesting to see her run in the Travers and win that than the Woodward, but that's jmo.

and maybe the reason that most three year olds aren't entered in the Woodward, well no offense, but there's not enough glory to draw a group of horses to not skip from the Travers to the JCGC. the Traver's is the midsummer derby! and it isn't as if the absolute best and brightest older horses in the country turned out for the Woodward last year. funny thing is, i really wasn't detracting what RA did, so much as laying out the reasons why i thought Zenyatta should get the award more.

and like i said, any filly or mare 3yo+ could have faced Zenyatta in any of her races. and then any horse 3yo+ could have raced her in the classic. if they wanted to, they could have gone there to face her. if they didn't want to, for whatever reason, that's fine. but those are the facts.

as for beating nothing until the classic? well, i guess she got really lucky that day! she always closed, no matter what the pace in any of her races, which even the greatest horses i've watched had difficulty doiing - if they could do it at all. she got off to a bad start in the classic and had some traffic problems - either would throw a lot of good horses off. but by gosh, she closed and won anyway! she has got to be the luckiest horse ever to have done that in a very good time against a very good group of horses in a huge race. especially when she wasn't supposed to enter or win to begin with!

04 Jan 2010 7:24 PM
carolyn

The only reason Ra showed up at all these 3 other races is because Jj was ducking Zenyatta and the BCC and the better horse's that would be in the BCC,or the Ladies Distaff, Spin folks, I don't care, but what will you all make excuses about RA at the end of this year???

04 Jan 2010 7:28 PM
LAZMANNICK

Gee.....the last time I looked Rachel's races were restricted tooooo.....3 y.o fillies (not older)......3 y.o. colts that outside of Summer Bird and Take the Points (grass) NEVER WON A GRADED STAKES THE BALANCE OF THE YEAR.......and G-2 males.......Sounds kind of condescending doesn't it?  Of course those restricted fillies that Zenyataa raced against managed to kick butt when it came to beating the best older fillies the east had to offer.

04 Jan 2010 7:29 PM
pas

jason: my comments regarding Zenyatta shipping to Belmont for the Beldame if RA ran there was a direct quote from a Steve Haskin article he wrote on this site. it was a question and answer article where he offered respnses to what people were thinking. i didn't know anything about it until i read his comments. he said that all plans had been made for her to ship, but were called off when RA was retired for the year. i wouldn't have quoted him if i hadn't read it myself. i was surprised.

04 Jan 2010 7:32 PM
carolyn

Laz,

As usual , you are right on the money.

I don't care that RA gets the hoty, it still doesn't make her better than Zenyatta.

RA will never be a better horse than Zen is. NO way, No how.

RA has had only ONE GOOD YEAR, they act like she has been racing for three years of more.

At the end of this month, if RA gets the award then what?

Will it make her better than Zenyatta, NO

Will it give her own race name? NO

Will it give her a "TURFDOM" award? NO

Will it make her the richest earnings filly in NA? NO

Will it make her "UNDEFEATED"? NO

Will it make her resume better than Zenyatta's perfect resume? NO

What will it give RA?

ONE award for ONE good year.

04 Jan 2010 7:47 PM
MonicaV

Carolyn,

You seem to have a vendetta going on here.  I don't understand it.  Has Jess Jackson done anything to make you hate that horse?  I realize you love Zenyatta but there will always be people who will diagree with you and say nasty things, even when her perfection is there for all to see.

It would seem when one loves a certain horse they feel the need to defend that horse and I understand that but really, Zenyatta's greatness stands on it's own no matter what Jess Jackson does and it is purely your opinion that he did any ducking, it isn't fact.  Nobody ducked anyone but if it makes you feel better to think that, hey, go for it.  It doesn't diminish either horse.  I'm just glad I got to see them both and both of them deserve all the accolades they receive.  I was guilty of the same thing last year with Big Brown. I couldn't stand Dutrow so I couldn't support the horse until I watched his Haskell.  That horse was beaten but he showed his tremendous courage and heart and he won me as a fan.  It's sad you can't enjoy Rachel for the marvelous animal she is.  I hope you will come around one day as I did with Big Brown.

04 Jan 2010 7:52 PM
RB

 HOY should go to Zenyatta,she showed up for the big dance with the men!

Rachel is one fine filly but she just lasted over Macho Again.

Zenyatta went the 1 1/4 and won going away.

04 Jan 2010 7:53 PM
LAZMANNICK

Mike Relva:

Thanks Bud.  I had a good holiday and I hope you did too.  Lots of luck and good fortune in the new year.  LOL

04 Jan 2010 7:56 PM
Footlick

pas- I like your style.... levelheaded.  As for the continuous venom on both sides.... makes me wish Gio Ponti would win HOY.  Then we can quit rehashing the same things over and over and over and over and over and over and.... oh, sorry.  I just feel like I'm on a blog about perseveration or Asperger's syndrome.

04 Jan 2010 7:56 PM
Marilyn

Agree with everything!  You are right on!

04 Jan 2010 8:20 PM
PhonyJJ

Rachel has alot left to prove...

Zenyatta needed to prove what she needed to and she done it in the BCC.

What will happen when Rachel goes up against real competition, not the lower group that she has played with all this year(except SB)

When will she run on another surface other than dirt?

How many races this year will be at longer distances, will she race in before or if she races in the Breeder's Cup races at the end of the year?

Will she race in more than five races this year? Will they be cherry-picked?

Will JJ put her in the Travers or the Jockey Gold Cup this year?

Will she race against Gio Ponti or LIS?

Will she race  outside of the US?

Will JJ look for the toughest races with the toughest competition to see how good she can stand up to best of the best?

Come on, RA fans, answer our questions??? I got all day??

04 Jan 2010 8:23 PM
draynay

Carlyn what are you talking about ? No matter what happens this year no one can dispute that Rachel put up the greatest 3 year old campaign of any filly in the modern era.  That by itself makes her one of the greatest ever.  And she did it all on DIRT all over the country.

04 Jan 2010 8:24 PM
Melissa

I'm not sure why lots of folks have to be so hostile and bitter. They BOTH had a fantastic year. They are BOTH amazing horses. Why can't we all just accept that much as fact, and enjoy the beautiful memories they've given us?

04 Jan 2010 8:34 PM
helsbelles

"Zenyatta was scheduled to ship to Belmont Park to run in the Beldame Stakes had Rachel Alexandra showed up. All the arrangements had been made. But when it was decided after the Woodward to retire Rachel for the year that plan was scrapped and she ran in the Lady’s Secret instead."

cs.bloodhorse.com/.../the-answer-man-to-the-rescue.aspx

04 Jan 2010 8:40 PM
stardustyrose

funnycideoflife  Don't you have schoolwork or something to do?  Highschool LOL.  OK.  I was going to make a statement but I think that;

Householder... has just about covered it. :)

Come on you guys/gals. RA is a filly and Zenyatta is a mare.  This bickering over two brilliant horses is stupid.  They are both very talented horses and they BOTH deserve credit simply because they beat the boys.  As for HOY let's give it to Mr. Ed and then all of this bickering can stop.  

I believe that both of these presious gals are going to get whatever the whoever decides to give them LOL.   Come on.  Love them both.  I myself prefer Zenyatta but I love RA as well.  If it were up to me?  I would have it be a DEAD HEAT!  ;-)  

Love you all........ ♥

04 Jan 2010 8:55 PM
Rachelfan

I am amazed at the people saying that Rachel stopped too early in the year. These same people apparently can't remember that she had already won 5 races before Zenyatta even started (in May). She ran several more races than Zenyatta and won every one - defeating males 3 times.

She is an amazing horse and I am rather taken aback at all the nasty things being said about her.

We many never see a 3 year filly do as much as she did last year.

04 Jan 2010 8:57 PM
Jodie

I would not be surprised if Rachel wins Hoy she will be immediately retired.   Observing her present training and no races yet map out makes me wonder if she does not already have some issues.  She will never race in the BC Classic next year and you can take that to the bank.

04 Jan 2010 8:58 PM
sherpa

Jason, I sort of resent your advance depiction of Zenyatta fans as "livid" when the HOY vote comes out.  I think most of us are realists, and we can count.  The numerical imbalance of turf writers/NTRA Secretaries, etc. between the East and West coast ballots quite glaringly tilts in favor of Rachel.  No matter.

Zenyatta is the stuff of legends; and I do believe that all who have allowed themselves to "experience" her - in privileged person or by way of countless YouTube replays - will still be speaking of her in awestruck tones many years hence.

04 Jan 2010 9:19 PM
dbtoo

Stardustyrose I know you said it was a the final final list but can't you sneak Azeri in there?

04 Jan 2010 9:20 PM
Lil Darlin

Mike -

As my comment stated, I personally don't blame either of the connections for their decisions with their horses...EITHER, not one, no the other, but both.  The Mosses did what they had to do as did Jess Jackson, their horses both rose to the occasions and performed every time, so obviously they both did something right. I'm tired of hearing "Rachel should have shown up at the BCC."  After the campaign she had, she was done for the year.  It was an unprecedented season.  Not racing in October/November was not because of excuses, it was due to an awesome campaign that spanned 3/4 of the calendar year.

04 Jan 2010 9:30 PM
Greg J.

It Aint Easy being good,

    OK, Your line, "Either way Curlin was the best horse of the decade hands down!", Was great!  Out of nowhere, Too Funny!, It broke up the tiresome same arguments heard over and over, Zenyatta/Rachel or Rachel/Zenyatta, They are both great, Now on to the Triple Crown...

04 Jan 2010 10:04 PM
JJD95

Carolyn,

What races are you referring to with "all these 3 other races"?  Surely you're not suggesting that the only reason Rachel ran in the Preakness or Haskell or Woodward was to duck Zenyatta.  Are you?  Which three races are you talking about?  And, if one of the races you're referring to is the Preakness, do you also believe that Affirmed ran in it to "duck" Seattle Slew?

04 Jan 2010 10:28 PM
Jason Shandler

Pas: Steve may have been told something different by his sources. I was told Zenyatta would not be going to the Beldame by Mr. Moss himself.

It is easy to say that Zenyatta was being pointed somewhere well after the fact. If he had intentions of shipping her to Belmont, why didnt he come out publicly and say it? Doesnt make sense. Fact is, when asked, Moss said she wasnt going. End of story.

04 Jan 2010 11:35 PM
Aluminaut

Well....Yes, the Rockies are kinda hard to see over....And if running on the dirt mud is such a big deal, I guess many of you are fans of the 2007 Breeder's Cup.

Zenyatta's connections were smart to prep her in California on the sythetics because that's where the Breeder's Cup was held the past 2 years.

Rachel had a great year.

Zenyatta had a great year.

Jason, you've had a great year cause of the filly and the mare.

After the Eclipse awards there'll be a bit more fierce blogging...then the Triple Crown Races.

East Coast beware..A certain blogger has just unintentionally blessed the Santa Anita Derby winner.

Happy New Year to All!      

04 Jan 2010 11:44 PM
Tai90

I love to see that RA was ducking the BCC. Her year was over (Zen had not even started her in her first race until November of her three year old year).  Dr. Bramlage, the equine surgeon who happened to remove bone chips from RA's front ankle felt team RA had done the right thing in "putting her away for the year after such the  campaign that she had to let her bones recover.  (we wouldn't want a George Washington- not saying that is what happened to him-, Eight Belles or Barbaro.  Her owner took care of her and put her up as she is still growing.  This was why Zen did not run until late in her three year old year, her owners were doing what was best for her.  As for size being such an issue supposedly RA is 16.2 hands and Zen is 17 hands.  If the tallest horse won the most that would make betting so much easier (sorry Northern Dancer you would not do so well in the BCC). The Zen team would not run her over a wet Churchill track Derby Day...Zen was running for the first time in 09 and they were being cautious. Taking care of Zen and doing what was best for her.  Her campaign was basically against the same poor fillies over and over and in the BCC half of the horses were trying that surface for the first time.  RA did what no other three year filly has ever done.  Yes Zen did something no other filly has done as well but she ran one "big" race.  Look how poor QR did and he did not go through the rigors of the triple crown. (I realize he is a fractious horse but he is better after some down time) HOY should be RA. we will never see another like her again. Between grade 1 wins, tracks, states, males and  older males in THREE different races how could she not?

05 Jan 2010 12:02 AM
J.R.

I'll talk jockeys. I agree with you.  Ramon Dominiguez had the best year and accomplished more, regardless of money earned. On the other side of the coin, Julien Leparoux won 3 Breeders Cup races and was the leading money earner until the last race at Santa Anita on the last day of the year due to very questionable tactics used by Ron Anderson and Garrett Gomez which I think many are aware of. Ramon or Julien are both very deserving candidates.

05 Jan 2010 12:04 AM
pas

jason: i wasn't going to comment on your first post but you went back and added that second paragraph and made it more argumentative. i don't know why you did that.

anyway, while i don't discount what Mr. Moss said to you, i wouldn't be so dismissive of Mr. Haskin's comments either. He's been in the racing world for a very long time. and while i appreciate your blogs and articles, frankly, before i started reading this site i had never heard of you. i guess i'll be banned for that comment but i mean no offense. both you and he write for this site.

it's true that Zeyatta didn't run in the Beldame and hindsight is 20/20 and anyone can say anything. but isn't that the same of what you're saying? if Mr.Moss being the very nice sportsman that he is, found out that RA would not be going to the Beldame and therefore Zenyetta wouldn't be going either, he would say she wouldn't be going. the arguement could be made both ways. still, i tend to believe that Mr. Haskin has some kind of information that we are not aware of and only after hearing charge after charge against Zenyatta coming East to and ducking RA chose to share that tidbit. that's just what i think.

05 Jan 2010 12:16 AM
LAZMANNICK

Pas

I really like your post.

LDP doesn't seem to understand that anyone of eight or ten 3 y.o. males could have easily won the Woodward, it was that weak.  Where was Macho Again in the JCGC or the Clark (oh I forgot.  LDP said that he was over the top, tch, tch).  What I don't seem to understand is why she keeps on saying that Zen raced against the same fillies/mares.  What does she think that Rachel did earlier in the year?  If you look at the past performances there were many repeat competitors and many that couldn't even be classed as stakes horses.

It was the second half of Rachel's season that really meant something, not the Mother Goose or the Oaks or the weak races before them.  Still, it seemed to me that her connections tried all year long to make a statement by racing against males and then took the easy way out.  No one expected her to race against males to begin with, but if you are going to do it and brag about it, at least take on multiple G-1 winners or else don't brag about it, that's my stance.  Rachel should have raced in the Travers or the JCGC.  They were much more legitimate tests, and she had already defeated the top 3 y.o. male before so either race should have been a piece of cake, don’t you think?

Zen on the other hand defeated the toughest field assembled in N/A this year and did something no filly or mare has accomplished in 40 years.....defeat G-1 males at 1-1/4M on dirt.  I think that says volumes, but her detractors say it was only one race.  Maybe it was, but so was the 2008 BC Distaff and so was her clash with Ginger Punch in the Apple Blossom.  Sooner or later she should get the respect she deserves.

In the end both are gifted horses, there is no doubt about it and if Rachel gets HOY, I will support her.  The thing to remember is that Zenyatta already has her place in history and it is far more impressive than being HOY.  There have been dozens and dozens of HOY, but only a very select few in the history of N/A racing have accomplished what Zenyatta did.  LOL

05 Jan 2010 12:52 AM
Pasturelands

Carolyn,

If I were you, I would worry about Zenyatta.  I think they will breed her to ______ (fill in blank) this year.  No more racing in 2010 for her.

As for HOY, yeah, sometimes I wish MACHO AGAIN will get the award, so we can stop all this endless mind-bending debates.

One thing I admired about Rachel's 2009 performances-- she NEVER raced any horse twice. The only horse Rachel ran twice with in 2009 is MTB.  And BOTH TIMES, MTB lost to Rachel.  And MTB is a COLT, not a filly.

Zenyatta is as Dray said, the coolest horse on plastic, but she raced LIS, Anabaa's Creation, and other fillies at least thrice in 2009. They all lost to Zen, but Zen's margins of victory are still SMALL despite repeated runs.  

Rachel is AWESOME.  She is the ROGER FEDERER of racing.  I hope she will go down in History as the only filly to win HOY twice-- 2009 and 2010.

That will REALLY give the colts a run for their money.. LOL

05 Jan 2010 2:37 AM
LDP

Funny how that after one of the most amazing seasons put together by a 3yr old filly that RA still has something to prove, yet after ONE big race when the rest of her career was spent racing only fillies and almost always in Cali that Zenyatta does not. You ppl are delusional.

05 Jan 2010 6:05 AM
carolyn

Ra fans,  DO you read my first line or so,  I said,  I do not care that RA gets the HOTY. This is not about HOTY to me, this is about the BETTER HORSE, I say Zenyatta is, and that is fact. How can you all say RA is when she hasn't even raced yet for a second season,  You RA fans might be eating some crow at the end of this year, or before. And  NO, she hasn't won or participated in any BC races, so NO, she is not better than Zenyatta by far,  She is a 3 year old filly that had one great year, she hasn't proved the distances yet, or toughter competition. So again, Zenyatta is the better of the two. Hands Down.

05 Jan 2010 6:27 AM
carolyn

RA fans, You talk smack about Zenyatta only running in 5 races, Well, this is a new year and Steve A. just said that they were in no hurry to race RA and that no exact races are mapped out.  So, do you fans really think they are going to run RA 8 races this year and then go on to the BCC? (that is if she races at all), So you are all shooting off at the mouth about Zenyatta when RA don't even know when she will or if she will hit the track.  Don't throw stones at another horse because of her season when your horse is going to stay in the barn for who knows how long....If RA races this year, she will be lucky to run in 5 races before the BCC. Like I said, that is if she runs at all......

05 Jan 2010 6:37 AM
draynay

2009 Zenyatta = Plastic only and a one state wonder.

05 Jan 2010 8:52 AM
Gio Ponti

Gio Ponti deserves older male and turf... he has won 4 grade 1's, second in the Classic and Joe Hirsh (should have won, it was a complete bog!)Horse of the Year traditionally won by males, this year is a filly. Older male is usually dirt, so Gio is the exception similar to the females for HOY. He destroyed Einstein at Chicago (Arlington Million) and BC Classic. He has shown versatility, grade 1's from a mile to 1 3/8 (should have been to 1 1/2 with The Joe Hirsh), from rock hard turf courses (SA), to yielding (Arlington Million & Manhattan) to synthetic (Bested all the males for America's richest race. There is no case not to give Older Male or Turf to Gio Ponti. Gio has simply been dominant like no other male this year. Look at all the runners he beat, including Classic, Million, Manhattan, Kilroe and Man O War! Einstein was soundly beated and DID NOT WIN ON DIRT this year!

05 Jan 2010 10:53 AM
MonicaV

Jodie,

Thank you for that news flash.  

05 Jan 2010 11:24 AM
Leon

Carolyn:

The Mosses main concern was keeping Zenyatta's streak alive, while keeping her fresh and healthy. They succeeded at that, and they have been rewarded gallantly for their efforts. Kudos to them.

However, horse racing is about facing challenges and dealing with injuries when and if they happen. The same way Champion 2-year olds face longer distances and older opponents at 3, the truly great fillies & mares step out of their divisions to face their male counterparts. It is the nature of the game, the same way injuries are. Zenyatta is not a stallion waiting to make $100 millions at stud...If your horse is extremely talented, fit, sound and fresh, why retire him/her?

I just think that the Mosses could have accomplished so much more with her. We all knew she was good, but it wasn't until the Breeder's Cup Classic that we actually knew how good. Why did they have to wait until her very last race?

They did not truly test her before that race, and now they have left us wanting more too. She's sound and still in training, and a very fresh horse with just 14 races total.

Be honest: Are you 100% satisfied with Zen's retirement, after 14 races, and facing males once?

05 Jan 2010 11:28 AM
MonicaV

Phony JJ,

You needn't worry about those questions being answered.  Jodie told us that if Rachel wins HOY she will be retired immediately and you can take that to the bank.

05 Jan 2010 11:29 AM
Rachel Fan

Phony JJ,

I love your questions, here are a few for you to mull over,

When was the last time that Zenyatta faced still competition two races in a row?

How many Graded stakes winners did Zenyatta face in her four cup cake races before the BC?

How many times did Zenyatta run on a surface other than “Plastic” in 2009?

How many times did Zenyatta run on a surface other than “Plastic” in her career?

Why did John Sheriffs say that running against colts was too much for Zenyatta?

Why did John Sheriffs say that running 10 furlongs was too much for Zenyatta?

Why did Zenyatta only race in 5 races this year, were they cherry picked?

Why didn’t the Moss’s send her to race in races of historical significance?

Could Zenyatta have beaten Summer Bird on Dirt?

Could Zenyatta have beaten Gio Ponti on Turf?

Other than the classic which they were cornered to do how many tough races did the Moss’s look to put Zenyatta in?

Why was Life is Sweet the only Graded stakes winner to face Zenyatta in her first 4 races?

Why did she almost lose to Anabaa’s Creation?

Why did she run 9 furlongs almost a full two seconds slower than Rachel Alexandra on June 27th.  1:46.33 compared to 1:48.15.

Why didn’t she run more on Dirt or Turf?

Why did she scratch out of the Louisville, does she have to carry a lightening fast track?

Come on PhonyJJ, answer our questions, I will wait for your response.  

05 Jan 2010 11:43 AM
rhoward

Jason,

You were wrong about Zenyatta in the BCC, and you will be wrong in the HOY voting. Sorry, but have you heard the following? First time burned Shame on you, Second time burned Shame on me.

RA really ran in 4 decent races, the rest were toss outs.

05 Jan 2010 11:55 AM
Jason Shandler

Pas: I was not being dismissive of Steve. He is a colleague of mine and I respect his writing. We happen to disagree on the Zenyatta/Beldame thing, which is fine. We are entitles to have different opinions. Stop trying to make it more than that. Again, I believe she was never coming East based on my conversations with Jerry Moss and John Shirreffs, and the fact that they played things very close to the vest all year.

Believe what you want. Doesn't bother me either way.

05 Jan 2010 12:07 PM
it aint easy being good

thanks greg I am so tired of the same   damn thing. There will be a blog about lentenor and somehow it goes back to RA versus Zenyatta. I need some triple crown talk because I know nothing about 2010 crop besides lentenor who will be overbet every race even though I think he has a shot may 1st!

05 Jan 2010 12:09 PM
draynay

Zenyatta did not win a race all year on dirt and never in her entire career did she beat a male on dirt and you California lovers want to compare her to Rachel who beat males on dirt several times in G1 races? Really ? Rachel traveled around the country winning in numerous States and tracks and you want to compare that to a horse who didn't step out of California ? Really ?  It really is laughable.

05 Jan 2010 12:15 PM
Saratoga AJ

Jason,

Your picks are spot with the exception of 2 yr old Filly. I really like Hot Dixie Chick in that spot, even though She Be Wild will probably get it.

And of course the HOTY battle is the big one. It's a shame that both Rachel and Zenyatta came along the same year. But that's the key word... YEAR.

And from the various columns I have read, and my own research of the past performances of the last 100+ years, I believe that Rachel Alexandra had just about the greatest year, most impressive campaign (must include multiple wins over males) of any 3 yr old filly in history. Busher comes the closest, but she also lost 3 races in her HOTY season in 1945. It will be a long, long time before we see another 3 yr old filly have a year like RA's 2009, if ever.

05 Jan 2010 12:19 PM
Householder

Good point Aluminaut.  The synthetic to dirt mud angle was a good one for the 2009 Kentucky Derby.  Anything with a sub 100 Beyer was worth a look as well.  

05 Jan 2010 12:32 PM
Pam S.

Why have some folks written that Zenyatta would not have run in the Breeders' Cup had it been held anywhere other than California?  During the year, I read numerous quotes from Mr. Moss that she would indeed have contested the BC regardless of its location.  These were in several different racing publications/sites, and he was quoted clearly, no misunderstanding or misinterpretation possible.  

05 Jan 2010 12:32 PM
Billy's Empire

I just want to thank Jason for hosting this blog. it must be very hard to always have to bite your tongue and not get absolutley furious with some of the comments that are made here. I get mad as hell at some comments, but refuse to stoop tp other's levels to prove a point or trash a horse. Some poster's so a great job on this blog, other's have no clue what they are talking about and are just here to cause trouble. I can not wait for 2010 Road to the Triple Crown and a blog starts about things that may happen, not that have happened.

Jason asked you all to try to not talk about the HOTY debate, asked very nicely, and many of you are so stuck on stupid that you could not. This blog is about all of the horses for horse of the year, not just 2 horses, but again, here you all are, arguing like 5th graders, over something you have no control over. STOP... Worry about something else, like how socialism is going to take over our country, or why the hell the KY legislature put a 6% tax on alcohol...

05 Jan 2010 12:34 PM
Billy's Empire

Thank Saratoga AJ, facts. I love Facts. They end MOST arguments

05 Jan 2010 12:35 PM
LAZMANNICK

Pasturelands:

If you're going to make a statement at least try a little bit to get your facts straight.....When did Rachel face MTB twice?  She could have faced him twice if she had run in the BCC, just like she could have faced Summer Bird twice if she had run in the Travers or the JCGC.....Have you ever heard of Flying Spur and Afleet Deceit?  Seems to me she faced them twice this year.

As far as Zenyatta, she might have faced several fillies twice, but she also raced against and defeated the BC Lady’s Classic winner three times......Pretty impressive, don’t you think?

Regarding HOY........Rachel still has to win it the first time before she has a chance to be a two time winner.  I hope she does because it will give you something to be excited about this year, if indeed she continues to race.

05 Jan 2010 12:59 PM
carolyn

Look, Ra fans, you will go to your graves and still not want to give Zenyatta one ounce of credit, Right??  RA can have HOY, But Zenyatta is the better of the two....Live with it!!

P.S.  RA should have ran on syntheics this year, she had more experience on them than some of the other horses that took a chance on them...

Speaking of the Mosses, Yes, they are better owners than JJ, all he wants is his ego fix, thats what he bought her for anyway, because the year was almost up and he didn't have a horse to give him his ego fix with..At least the Mosses love their girl, and she ain't just a pawn on a chess board to them.....HOTY, is for ONE year, A LEGACY..is FOREVER...Zenyatta has amassed her legacy, RA has another year to go.  Hold yalls breaths..RA fans..

05 Jan 2010 1:21 PM
draynay

Jason I know you are tired of this but my buddy Ralph just brought up a very good point.  Rachel won on the tracks all the former greats have won on.  Zenyatta won on almost NO TRACKS all the greats won on.  The former greats of our sport won on DIRT tracks not plastic and recycled rubber.  Rachel's Accomplishments can be placed in historical reference while Zenyatta running nearly entirely on plastic cannot. She never won in Kentucky, New York, or Florida and never ran on the same tracks as most of the all time greats.  Rachel at 3 accomplished more then Zenyatta did in 14 races.

05 Jan 2010 1:26 PM
PhonyJJ

Hey RA fan,

Zenyatta don't have nothing left to prove, RA does.

Zenyatta is retired now, but as usual you RA fans have to back away from the truth, right? because truth is, You don't know and don't have a damn clue, Do you?

Furthermore, I asked you to answer my questions first?  Why haven't you?

Can you, Huh?

Can you answer my questions without trying to spin, because thats all you RA fans can do is spin,spin, spin.....

I got all day? RA fan, answer mine first?? You can't can you??

If you love them(my questions), answer them??

Zenyatta don't have another season, were waiting on you to answer for your horse RA...start answering???

05 Jan 2010 1:31 PM
Householder

Good point Lazmannick.  I would be carefull about bringing "Black Type" into this discussion.  Some called MTB a "fluke" and then added this to the list of RA accomplishments.  A better strategy would have been to say that MTB was the best 3 year old ever...until RA. Probably one of the better horses in the east that RA did not face was Music Note.  Now that RA is four lets pile some weight on and face some competition in her own division.  Zenyatta also took out the runner up of the 2007 BC Lady's Classic a couple of times.  And who gets to decide what races are of "Historical Significance?"  By skipping the Breeder's Cup the connections of RA found a race of greater historical significance? Tell that to the connections of Tiznow, Sunday Silence, Alysheba, and the countless others who won the BC Classic to be crowned HOY.      

05 Jan 2010 1:43 PM
LAZMANNICK

Gee Rachel Fan......

I’m surmising by saying STILL competition, you really meant to say STIFF competition, otherwise what you are saying is that Rachel’s competition weren’t moving, they were standing still Of course it sure looked that way when she ran away from them)......just joking

Unfortunately Zenyatta wasn’t eligible to race in the following TOUGH races Rachel competed in:

• The Martha Washington...(defeated Afleet Deceit)

• The F.G. Oaks...(defeated Flying Spur)

• The Fantasy....(gee, she defeated Afleet Deceit again)

• The Kentucky Oaks.....(defeated Flying Spur again and the second place horse ran 1-1/8M in a sensational 1.52.4)

• The Mother Goose....(a three horse race in which two horses cooked their goose to set it up for her.  She still ran very fast though)

• The Preakness....(Rachel defeated MTB by a diminishing length, Zen beat him by an eighth of a mile)

• The Haskell.....(Summer Bird got a great look at Zen when she roared past him in the BCC, possibly sizing her up for a future date in the breeding shed)

• Woodward.....(Rachel’s performance was awesome, but unfortunately for such a historically great race, the competition wasn’t)

All Zen did was easily win the toughest race of the year, and as the favourite.....BUT OF COURSE THAT WAS ONLY ONE RACE.

• Zen is better on dirt than Synthetics....(her sister Balance excelled on dirt and Zen easily humbled the best filly in N/A at the time on it and in only her fourth lifetime start)

• Could Zen beat Gio Ponti on turf?  I think she could, especially with the close relationship between the Pro-ride and turf.....but could Rachel?

• Rachel’s fastest 1-1/8M is 1.46.1 off a setup (last 1/8th in 12.4 sec.)

• Zenyatta’s fastest 1-1/8M is 1.46.4 (last 1/8th in 11.4 sec.)

• Zen almost lost to Anabaas Creation because of jockey error.  The six furlong time was 1.13.3, by far the slowest 6-F time in any of her races and she was still well off the pace.  When it was time to get moving, she got moving and turned sure defeat into victory.

Zen probably didn’t run out of State in 2009 because the BC was at Santa Anita, not because her connections were afraid that she would lose.

As far as a race of historical significance, what is more historical.....the 2009 watered down Woodward, or the BCC with all those G-1 and Group one winning males?

In spite of everything I stated, if Rachel wins HOY all the power to her and I really won't have a problem with it.  LOL

05 Jan 2010 1:43 PM
Tiznowbaby

Paturelands, you are mistaken about Rachel not racing any fillies twice in 2009. She raced (and beat)Flying Spur in the Fair Grounds Oaks and the Kentucky Oaks, and she raced Afleet Deceit in the Martha Washington Stakes and the Fantasy Stakes.

05 Jan 2010 1:47 PM
Greg J.

     Just a reminder to everyone, Did anybody actually READ what Jason wrote up above?, Here, I will refresh your memories, "most notably Horse of the Year. Let's not go over that again. (We'll wait until Jan. 19)".  I have yet to see anything new on this debate, Why?, Because it is impossible to do, Every Angle, Fact, Theory, Etc. has been covered to the point of nauseam. Thank God only 14 more days of this...

   On a positive note, I hope Lava Man enjoys his retirement regardless on what avenue that will be, I am glad this saga ended on a positive note with him now being sound and, While I didn't agree with his attempted comeback at all, I hope it might open some doors regarding the Stem Cell Treatment for others down the road...

05 Jan 2010 2:22 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

No offense,but you continue to repeat the point that Zenyatta is only a poly specialist,etc. You know and I know you really "took a bath" on the fact you put yourself out there by stating that no way could Zenyatta win two months ago.You were certain of that fact,it came crashing down on you like I knew it would. Then you   obviously had  to find something else to hang your hat on. One fact, I don't think you can dispute is connections aren't losing any sleep on the decisions that were made regarding Zenyatta's racing schedule for last yr.

05 Jan 2010 2:37 PM
Mike Relva

BILLY'S EMPIRE

I think you must be "stuck on stupid" cause last I checked the title of this blog is ECLIPSE AWARD PICKS,give me a break!

05 Jan 2010 2:42 PM
Billy's Empire

And I thought KY basketball fans were the ones with bad grammar, please please please stop using double negative's, ain't and sounding so darn_________ (fill in the blank)

"At least the Mosses love their girl, and she ain't just a pawn on a chess board to them.....HOTY, is for ONE year, A LEGACY..is FOREVER...Zenyatta has amassed her legacy, RA has another year to go.  Hold yalls breaths..RA fans.."

and

"Zenyatta don't have nothing left to prove, RA does."

"Zenyatta is retired now, but as usual you RA fans have to back away from the truth, right? because truth is, You don't know and don't have a damn clue, Do you?"

If you want to be taken seriously, write like an adult.

We all have a great deal of understanding what happened this year in Horse racing. It was awesome to see 2 fillies rule the sport in 09, and it is too bad that they did not race, BUT, let's take it for what it is. A great year.

Rachel dominated the East Coast, and Zenyatta dominated the West. Their running styles are quite different, and their owners are worlds apart. WHO CARES. The fillies were awesome and you all are on here trying to discredit one over the other. WHY? Does it make you feel good inside. Does it make you happy knowing you are disrespecting and diminishing the accomplishments of 2 of the best horses you have ever seen. It makes me sad that you folks on this board have so much hate and anger towards an animal. I hope you all take a step back and realize how childish this all is.

So you like Zenyatta! Yeah, thanks for playing

I like Rachel! Good for you.

But comments like those above are embarrasing.

No matter what happens, I will always remember both fillies and the joy and excitement that they brought to the Industry in 2009.

I will leave you with my 2 cents on the whole situation.

This is my opinion.

Rachel had a better year.

Zenyatta had a better career.

Rachel would win at 1 1/8!!

Zenyatta would win going any further!!

At a classic distance, Zenyatta would win, IMO!!

But both had great years, both set track records, and both beat boys.

05 Jan 2010 2:48 PM
Mike Relva

LIL DARLIN

I also appreciate the talent that RA displayed,although I don't like her trainer. But,some who treat Zenyatta as nothing more than a claimer know next to nothing about racing,period!

05 Jan 2010 2:50 PM
carolyn

JJD95,  Certainly you do remember that Zenyatta didn't start racing until age 4, so how could she have raced in the races that are for 3 year olds only... Why did Ra duck the Travers and the JGC....the Belmont, if she was so good...she could have left the others alone and shot for the these... will she be in any of these this year? things that make you go hmmm..

05 Jan 2010 3:02 PM
MonicaV

All this is getting tiresome.  The key to this whole issue between Zenyatta and Rachel is OPINION!  Everyone is throwing out facts but those facts can be looked at in different ways.  Isn't it interesting that some people see certain facts as ending any arguments and others see them the exact opposite?  What is really sad in this entire mess is that each side tries to diminish the other horse.  Why?  No matter how many long posts you write, how many times, facts or whatever, you will never change the minds of the people you are arguing with about it.  Everyone sees it the way the want.  End of story.  The fact of the matter is that both horses were undefeated in 2009 and that is really a fact that can't be argued.  Oh, yes, throw in that Rachel ran against the worst horses that ever stepped on a track and that Zenyatta beat up the same horses on poly.  Doesn't matter.  Zenyatta won the BCC, the first mare to do so and Rachel had a 3 year old campaign that has never been done before.  They are both a blessing to horse racing and we should all be glad we were able to witness it.  Stop belittling either horse.  They deserve better.  Hatred has no place in these discussions.  It makes all of us look horrible.

05 Jan 2010 3:08 PM
Rachel Fan

I would love to take a stab at your questions.  Does Rachel have a lot to prove no she doesn’t, being a filly mentioned in the same breath as Ruffian kinda puts her in a cloud basically by herself. No one ever compares Zenyatta to Ruffian, her mediocre beyer number of 97, 96, 95, 91 kinda cause that. Sorry to burst your bubble but try again.

What will happen when R.A. faces real competition, would you be referring to horses like the Graded Stakes winning, Gabby’s Golden Girl, Flashing, Four Gifts, Just Jenda, Mine that Bird, Musket Man, Big Drama, Papa Clem, General Quarters, Friesan Fire, Pioneer of the Nile, Take the Points, Malibu Prayer, Munnings, Macho Again, BullsBay, Asiatic Boy, It’s a bird or Summer Bird. Hmmmmmmmm, all quality horses that represent real competition that she beat, as a side point let me say that Rachel Beat Summer Bird on a surface he relished by 6 lengths and Zen beat him on a surface he detests so much he was transferred east to run by 3 lengths.  Seems like u didn’t have a point.  

Will she run on another surface? Naïve question considering she’s already run on synthetics before so what’s left, turf, the way she closes yeah maybe they will start her on turf.

How many 1 ¼ mile races will she run in? Most likely 2 or 3, The Personal Ensign and Breeders Cup Classic are most likely the best scenerios.

How many races total, most likely 6 I’d like to see her run in 6 races with plenty of space between them, all races are cherry picked, at least Jess Jackson doesn’t cherry pick races like the Milady and Vanity or Clement L. Hirsch and just continue to run his horses in the easiest spots.

Will she run in the Travers or JCGC? If you do research, naïve questions of this nature don’t need to be asked as she would not qualify to run in the Travers at 4, the JCGC would be close to the BCC to push her against older horses.  

Will she run against GIO or LIS? That would be up to the connections of the other horses, strange question.

Will she race outside of the U.S? Who cares we couldn’t get the connections of Zenyatta to ship her out of Cali and you’re asking if Rachel will be a world traveler.  

Will JJ look for the toughest races with the toughest competition? That is all Jess Jackson has done so far in picking races for his horses.  Maybe you wouldn’t understand that due to not understanding the fundamentals of the game but if you have two horses and both are eligible for the Travers and Woodward and one was more proven you would run the best horse in the most important race, that’s simple, on the flip side if you want your horse to face the lowest competition possible you’d keep her in Cali right. lol

05 Jan 2010 3:17 PM
Householder

Draynay brings up a good point.  "All time greats."  I think after 11 years it is time to add some horses to the Bloodhorse top 100.  Perhaps it is also time to right some wrongs of the past by including one of the few/great fillies to have captured the Kentucky Derby...Winning Colors.  But of course we will have to put an * by all who have run on synthetics.  We may also have to drop the last Triple Crown winner, because after all, like Winning Colors, he also campained at Santa Anita.  

05 Jan 2010 3:31 PM
Rachel Fan

The Martha Washington is a race that many 3 year old prospects and their connections use to further the path down the Oaklawn 3 year old filly trail, so yeah lets fault Rachel for the owner not putting her in open division races right after she turned 3.  I swear some things you people say is so outrageous its like not worth responding.  

Let’s jump to the oaks defeating the Grade1 winning Gabby’s Golden girl was impressive; oh she beat her by a handful of lengths.  Let’s look at Zenyatta’s first race the Milady, Life Is Sweet was there Grade 1 winner, but who else was there, Gambler's Justice, Champagne Eyes, Taste's Sis and Allicansayiswow.  So both face a Grade 1 winner. In the Preakness, there was General Quarters, Mine That Bird, Pioneer of the Nile, Friesan Fire, Take the Points, in Zen’s next race there was Briecat, Dawn after Dawn, Hot n' Dusty, Allicansayiswow Wow and Modification.  Not much need for discussion there huh, The Mother Goose was contested by Graded stakes winners Malibu Prayer and dual Grade 1 winner Flashing. (Your statement is she still ran very fast though, lol, 1:46.33 is blazing fast and she was in hand the last 1/16th of a mile, oh yeah and for the people that yell she has distance limitations, it really looked like she was going to hit a wall and just shorten her stride huh, lol.) Zen’s next race was the Clement L. Hirsch, facing Lethal Heat, Anabaa’s Creation, Life Is Sweet, Dawn After Dawn, Tidal Dance and Champagne Eyes, this was a nail biter I believe she ran a 96 beyer in this one, that’s allowance quality.  And who did she beat, oh yeah the same horses but Life is Sweet was back and threw in a clunker, showing her true quality huh.

Haskell, fast pace by Munnings didn’t bother Rachel she blew the field away by 6, oh yeah Zen beat SB by 3, hmmmm and who’s the best horse again.  Who did zen face in the Lady’s Secret, Lethal Heat, Cocoa Beach, Life Is Sweet, Anabaa's Creation, Made for Magic and Briecat, the Great LIS throwing in another clunker, a true quality horse huh. The Woodward against older established horses that were in form, 2009 Grade 1 winners and she ran them off their feet, Zen faces a field in the Classic that the majority of the horses were not used to her surface, therefore it should have been another game set and match for her, on dirt what would have happened.  Lol We all know.  And you can’t say she’s better on dirt due to one race 12 months ago.  Sorry

I am trying not to laugh here but are you comparing Rachel’s Mother Goose where Calvin Borel started celebrating 1/8th of a mile from the wire to Zenyatta’s all out life or death to get up to beat an allowance horse in Anabaa’s Creation, wow you really have to get a hold of yourself that is starting to get embarrassing.

Which race is more significant, I am going to say the race run for almost 60 years before the race ran for less than 30 years, lol but you might think different.

05 Jan 2010 3:35 PM
stardustyrose

dbtoo.....

Got the horse.  :)

Greg J.  Who is Azeri LOL.... I have never heard of this horse.  :)

Is it even safe to come over here?  Geeeeeeeeeeesh!  ♥Zenyatta♥RA♥  DONE DEAL!  DEAD HEAT!   ;-)

05 Jan 2010 3:44 PM
CV

"2009 Zenyatta = Plastic only and a one state wonder.

draynay 05 Jan 2010 8:52 AM"

I think the comment above, and the dozens of similar "nasties" this person has secreted everywhere on the Internet hating on Zenyatta embodies something unhealthy in the sport of horseracing.

As much as there are "Zenyatta Zealots" who dismiss the accomplishments of Rachel Alexandra, there also seem to be hordes of "Rabid Rachelites" like Draynay, who just can't concede the amazing achievements of undefeated Zenyatta.

And honestly dude, lose the ridiculous hate on synthetic tracks. God didn't make the carefully tended surfaces of dirt tracks any more than He did polytracks. There are substantial differences between synthetic surfaces just like there are with dirt tracks. That's something you just refuse to admit.

There's nothing about synthetic surfaces that *magically* allowed Zenyatta to win. In fact, her jockey and exercise rider said she really disliked the Polytrack surface at Del Mar.

New York Times turf writer Joe Drape wrote a November article that said: "The number of thoroughbreds in California who had fatal breakdowns has fallen by 40 percent since the state

switched from dirt to synthetic surfaces, according to a study compiled by state regulators."

I understand new and different technology can be hard for some people to accept and they scream and stomp their feet to resist it.

But fewer racehorse deaths = a good thing, to me.

And tearing down one horse to pump up your favorite doesn't further the sport either. I wish both of these amazing females could be Horses of the Year. I think that sentiment embodies the best spirit of racing fans, not the ugliness I've read here.

05 Jan 2010 3:44 PM
stardustyrose

LAZMANNICK...

Man is nice to have posts on here that can back up some facts.  I am  not an expert YET LOL.  Sometimes you gotta just put down the facts aye????  :)  Good Post.  

05 Jan 2010 3:46 PM
LDP

Pas it is also a fact all but one of Zenyattas races in her career were won on over synthetic aswell as in Cali. It is a fact that all but one of her races was 10 furlongs against male, and it took her until she was 5 to do that. It is a fact that this year in everyone of her races she had home court advatage. Be fair when you say restricted. Due to the soft handling of her connections over her career, Zenyatta's entire career was restricted. Zenyatta faced the best mares there were in Cali, which is not all that much outside of her stablemate. Then in the Classic, which was by all standards a magnificant win, she still held home court advantage over traveling, tired Euro's, and traveling east coast dirt horses. Rachel may have waited, but normally so do all other 3yr olds. Summer Bird waited to take on elders until one month after Rachel and raced them over a track he relished, Belmont. Rachel faced them in September at Saratoga, which has the nickname "The Graveyard of Champions" for a reason, and still prevailed. She beat three divisions worth of horses, which why, in the end, she should be crowned winner.

05 Jan 2010 3:47 PM
Two Ball Tommy

Julien Leparoux should win the jockeys eclipse based on his full body of work throughout the year. Plus he doesn't have first call for the top barns in most races and he won 3 Breeders Cups on Champions Day.

05 Jan 2010 3:49 PM
LDP

Carolyn

    This was RA's second season, her four year old will be her THIRD. She raced as a two year old, so that was year one, she had a fantastic year, which is year two. You also state the connections of RA aren't in any hurry to bring her back, and while that is true, you forgot to mention that they are targeting a return in March, which is why the FG just made up a new stakes race to lure her there. The race will be run on March 16 and is supposed to be the female version of the New Orleans H. Now this year RA raced about once a month, while she was in training. If she does the same this year, starting with March, she should have somewhere around 7 or 8 races. Her return would also be earlier than Zenyetta's who returned in late May.

05 Jan 2010 4:04 PM
It Aint Easy being good

My favorite moment for 2009 was when Draynay was banned from posting that was priceless. I bet besides RA versus Z post the draynay ban blog was def. up there in popularity! I used to laugh at draynay but he is right mine that third was weak, zenyatta doesnt deserve horse of the year and my boy Quality Road is a super freak!

05 Jan 2010 4:09 PM
Carlos in Cali stayingsuckerfree

Zenyatta= Legendary

RA= mud freaking paper champ/smoke & mirrors/will NEVER win the BCC..NEVER.

That said,notice how all of the *favorites* for Eclipse awards(except KK & RA) ran in the BC races.Who said the BC was insignificant in determining year end honors?..

And,..Take Control for my early Derby pick.Cardinals to win the Super Bowl.Lakers to repeat as NBA Champs.The Dodgers to get new ownership,and for Jason to get 'real' dogs.  :}   Oh,and for more 'fat bottom girls' strutting their stuff & peace on earth.

Those are my simple wishes for 2010.

05 Jan 2010 4:09 PM
Swapsfan

Yes Larrythejumpguy, let's talk about Mixed Up.  He's 10 and obviously still in good form.  My sister the dressage rider is fond of knocking Thoroughbred racing because the horses are "too inbred" and therefore prone to injuries; but this same breed competes (and controls) both 3-day eventing and steeplechasing, where many horses race into their double-digit years.  The Dec 11 '09 Chronicle of the Horse, in an article about the Colonial Cup, said that Jonathan Sheppard took Mixed Up off Lasix in 2009 after the horse nearly collapsed from a potassium imbalance.  And Mixed Up won two Grade I races this year.  I wonder if Mr. Sheppard would chance the same with his flat racers.

05 Jan 2010 4:10 PM
Jason Shandler

lol Carlos: Cardinals to win the Super Bowl? That Cali sun must be getting to you. Also, Lakers wont beat the Cavs. It's LeBron's turn (not that I care about the NBA).

As far as my dog---no you didn't just go there :) Come to think of it, I'd take the dog debate over this senseless RA/Zenyatta stuff right about now.

Cant wait for Triple Crown Talk!!!

05 Jan 2010 4:20 PM
funnycideoflife

Householder and Stardustyrose, I'm not going to respond to you because I could write some things right now that I have the decency not to say. When you don't have something nice to say, don't say it, right???

Carolyn, I have no problem with you loving Zenyatta as much as I love Rachel, but you can't say "Zenyatta is absolutely better than Rachel" is a factual statement. It's your OPINION. At this point in Zenyatta's career (beginning of 4 year old year) she had won TWO races. Rachel has won ELEVEN, with FIVE GRADE ONE victories. Don't put down Rachel to make Zenyatta look better. I'm sure they'd be racing around a paddock together the best of friends if they ever met. And what is your problem with Jess Jackson? Did he sell you a bad bottle of wine or something? I assure you, he is VERY grateful to own Curlin and Rachel, so leave him alone and stop making him out to be this egomaniac. Finally, stop saying that Rachel is never going to run again because they are returning her slowly. She got two months of vacation and she needs to be conditioned back into racing shape. If she's rushed, she WILL get hurt. Stop being so impatient!

05 Jan 2010 4:24 PM
Mike Relva

IT AINT EASY BEING GOOD

Correct me if I'm in error,but you stated like a million times Zenyatta had no chance to win the Breeders'. How did that one work out for you? lol

05 Jan 2010 4:49 PM
carolyn

LDP,

Steve A. said on another website, that they were in no rush to race RA, and that they have no races that they are aiming for, except JJ was aiming at the BCC at the end of this year at Churchill Downs.

I have nothing against RA herself,  I don't care for her connections at all. IMO, JJ could have and should have steered RA for the BCC this past year. RA wouldn't have needed to much training for it. Honestly, I would have loved to see how fast she could have went over the synthetics, RA was different than Curlin, she had raced and won on these surfaces, I think he proved a disservice to everyone by not having her in the BC races, any one them.

LDP, I am an avid Zenyatta fan, die hard one at that, but I will give you my honest opinion, leaving Zenyatta out of this equation here, but as far as RA at SA this year on synthetics, I honestly believe we would have seen a superb filly flying over SA tracks, whichever race, the BCC or the Ladies' Distaff, and not even putting her against Zenyatta, I just would have loved to have seen Ra give SA a shot. I honestly believe she would have done great...JJ should have given RA and everyone that chance...to see what she could have done...

05 Jan 2010 5:09 PM
carolyn

FunnyCide, Choke on your own words right! funny how you say that RA is coming back slowly because she has been off so long, yet, in the same breath you put down Zenyatta for coming back slowly this past year. Right!! also, after RA has been off so long, do you think that Jj will put her on any kind of a race track, maybe a not seasoned one, I bet not, I expect JJ will be just as cautious with RA this year, that the Mosse's were with Zenyatta last year.

And hey, you don't know what will happen with RA this year. do you?? So, don't give me your lectures, when the year hasn't started yet!! I understand you RA fans are nervous, yeh, you can have the hoty, but it's the rest of the year you all have got to worry about. Ain't it?

05 Jan 2010 5:18 PM
Carlos in Cali

lol Jason,...I kid because I care.A grown-man has a right to walk his dog w/out being ridiculed. J/K. Dogs rule!!!!

Stop the redundant madness!...let's get the Triple Crown Talk started,so people can dismiss the "Cali synthetics specialists" as hopeless and therefore jacking-up their Derby future-book odds....Papa needs some new threads.   BTW: I'm re-touching my year-long natural tan,in January,..unbelievable huh? Don't get mad my man,get even. You hear that?...the sunny streets of Pasadena are calling you.  brrrrr....lol. Peace out.

05 Jan 2010 5:50 PM
LAZMANNICK

Rachel Fan:

Do you actually believe what you just posted?  Now you are comparing Rachel to Ruffian and Zenyatta to what.....probably a plow horse?  Ruffian’s ten wins were by an average of better than 8-lengths.  She led at every single call in every race and controlled the pace, going exactly as fast as she had to go.  She wasn’t distance limited in her 3 y.o. season winning at distances 6-F, 7-F, 1-M 1-1/8M and 1-1/2M (she probably would have won at 1-1/4M too if she didn’t break down).

I’m not disputing the fact that Rachel had a tremendous season because she did.  However, it is not the be-all, end-all that you seem to think it was.  Her super fast Mother Goose was a 1-turn race and was set up by two fillies absolutely killing each other.  Belmont was super fast that day.  $7,500 claimers ran 6-F in 1.09 and change and every other dirt race was ultra fast.  When Zenyatta ran her 1-1/8M in 1.46.4, she did it around 2 turns, without other horses running suicide fractions to set it up for her.  Not one of the males that Rachel defeated outside of Summer Bird and Take the Points (on grass), won a single graded stake the rest of the year.  Calling Macho Again and Bullsbay (each one G-1 win) legitimate G-1 winning horses is a joke, simply because they are not. They had ample opportunities to win additional G-1 races so why didn’t they?  Saying the Rachel beat Summer Bird fair and square and that Zenyatta had a distinct advantage over him because of the surface is a pretty typical analogy.  When Rachel beat him he was cutting back in distance by 3/8ths, was coming off a 1-1/2M race, had won only one G-1 win and changed his running style on a speed favoring track.  If she was such a master over him (6-L win) then why didn’t she take him on again in the Travers or JCGC?  Did you know that Munnings can’t win past a mile and that Big Drama’s claim to stakes success was in the restricted Florida stakes program?  What did he do since?  All those 3 y.o. fillies that won G-1 races after Rachel whipped them, did any of them defeat older fillies or mares or did they just beat each other?  You seem to think that Rachel defeating Gabby’s Golden Girl is greater than Zen beating LIS.....wow.

I’m not going to talk about Zen’s competition, especially to one who thinks so highly of the Martha Washington.  I will say that Zen accomplished something very rare in winning at 1-1/4M against G-1 males and she did it as the favourite, not as a long shot.  Knowledgeable people expected her to win.  If you can’t respect that fact then so be it.  Her Beyers might not be as fast as Rachel’s, but Rachel has only one top Beyer if you can call 116 a top Beyer.  Zenyatta’s 112 Beyer is the best all time in N/A on synthetics and if it was converted to dirt would be in excess of 116.

If Rachel wins HOY, fine, in fact she deserves to win it based on her campaign.  Not too many Zen fans would have a problem with that.  I would hate to see what the reaction would be if Zenyatta won it.  Bridge jumping would probably not be confined to big show betters.

05 Jan 2010 5:50 PM
LDP

Carolyn,

    There is no actual race in aim, but it has been reported that they are targeting a return in March.

    I have no doubt in the fact that you are an avid fan, and that is an aspect I deeply respect, but you make statments, saying they are fact, when infact they are not. Zenyatta is better? That is an opinion. JJ did a diservice to the sport by not leting her race over synthetics? That to is an opinion, same as I think it was a diservice and huge mistake to host the BC at SA on a track that has a huge bias against dirt horses and for turf horses, for two years in a row. Now I could back that statement up, infact I have several times, but I am backing up an opinion, same as I do when I say I think RA is the better. It is also your opinion that she would've done well on the Pro-Ride, but after a tough year and traveling another 3000 miles, trying 10 furlongs for the first time as well as the Pro-Ride surface, a surface Zenyatta relishes, she may have put in a lackluster performance, which some could view as a diservice to the horse for pushing her to hard after an already very trying year.

I try as much as I can to bring facts, true facts to back up my statements, instead of making more opinions to back them up. You are dedicated and knowledgeable, but you constantly only bring unsupported opinions. If you could bring up more facts then you would be less likely to have more arguments and more agreements and persuasions.

05 Jan 2010 5:51 PM
carolyn

Goodness, it looks like things are starting out on the right foot for RA's jockey for the start of the new year. Borel is suspended...for 6 days, Darker days ahead...

05 Jan 2010 6:22 PM
funnycideoflife

Carolyn, Rachel is pointing toward a March, latest April return, so that's still two to three months before Zenyatta started her 2009 campaign. I'm not putting Zenyatta down for it, I'm saying people like you say that Rachel didn't race past September but fail to mention that Zenyatta didn't start until the end of May. I expect Jess Jackson to be no more cautious with Rachel than he was with Curlin. Unlike the Mosses, he tries to TEST his horses in EVERY race. The only "easy" race Rachel ran after Jackson bought her was the Mother Goose, and that was after she ran a grueling race in the Preakness. Yet, she still set a STAKES record for time and winning margin.

And yes Carolyn, I get nervous whenever ANY horses run because I CARE about them and their safety. During the BCC when Zenyatta was rank in the beginning I was FREAKING OUT that Mike Smith was going to pull her up because she looked so umcomfortable. Geez, I got knots in my stomach when Nicanor and Lentenor ran for the first time because I so desperately wanted them to make it back to the barn safely. So, yes, I am nervous for Rachel's 2010 campaign because as much as I want her to win, I want her to retire sound.

P.S. I don't understand half of what you say when you use double negatives and make up words. yeh? ain't? Want to borrow my copy of Strunk and White?

05 Jan 2010 6:22 PM
MonicaV

Carolyn,

I don't think there is anything to worry about as far as Rachel's year this year.  I'm not the least bit nervous.  I wasn't nervous when Zen started last year either.  I knew she would be just as great in 2009 as she was in 2008.  A perfect season usually denotes a rather superior horse don't you think?  They were both perfect in 2009 and there is no reason that Rachel's return should be anything less than stellar.  It would seem that you want her to fail.  Has it occurred to you that she might come back better than ever?  No?  As long as there are super stars like Rachel and Zenyatta, it's good for the sport.  Rachel is now 4 and she should be a little bigger and stronger than at 3.  She will have matured and should be as good if not better than last year.  You forget that Zen was a fully mature horse the last two seasons, Rachel was still a baby.  I love Zenyatta but I love Rachel too.  I don't understand the need to be so hateful about a horse that has done absolutely nothing to you.  This business about who is better is ludicrous.  It is a matter of opinion and quite frankly, nobody's life will change because of it.  My life will go on as before as will yours no matter who gets HOY or who goes down in history as the best of the two.  It won't make any difference in my bank account so I can't get that excited about it.  It doesn't matter in my world.  All that matters is that Zen retired sound and God willing, so will Rachel.  That's what matters.

05 Jan 2010 6:25 PM
sham1973

wow. some of you people seriously need to learn what the term "ducking" means. Rachel did not "duck" anyone by not going to the Travers. She had already beaten both of the top 2 horses pointing to the race (MTB and SB). If you are "ducking" someone it is usually someone you have lost to and dont want to face them again at that time because you concede you are outmatched. Also, from a business perspective, with as well as Kensei was doing there was no reason not to give him a try to make a name for himself (career wise) if he were to be successful. Also, if RA had run and won the Travers then you people would be saying she only won because it was an off track and "if it were a dry fast track clearly QR or SB would have won." or then you would say "well RA never defeated older males" . RA cant win with some of you ignorant people and that is why this discussion is pointless. Even Dr Bramlage said it was in her best interest to let her rest because of her 11 races in 12 months campaign. What is Zenyatta's excuse for never facing males until the Classic? And some of you keep hounding home the message she beat the best assembled field yet noone seems to recognize the odds were clearly in her favor. She liked the track and had previous grade 1 wins over the surface. You cannot definitively say she is the best horse of the year when she beats many of the same horses Rachel beat because it was her preferred surface and clearly she had a huge homecourt and surface advantage. RA beat her competitors on their preferred surface.  Also funny how now you people act like you dont even want Zenyatta to win HOTY because shes just so much better than any award. Reality must have set in and now youre trying to make up for your original denial.

Theyre both great horses and will both be in the hall of fame but only one had a great season and that one is the 2009 HOTY Rachel Alexandra.

And for the people hoping RA LOSES next year? you should be ashamed of yourselves wishing ill on a HORSE who has done NOTHING to you. Getting beat happens is what can happen when you CHALLENGE yourself and run an AMBITIOUS and HISTORICAL campaign. Id pick that over a boring safe career anyday. And to say RA wont start this year at all because her connections havent said where she will be running 2 months in advance?!! Seriously? And to the People saying she will only run 5 times before the BCC... if she does I can guarantee you those 5 times wont be against strictly fillies or mares and in the state of Kentucky.

05 Jan 2010 6:38 PM
MonicaV

Phony JJ,

"Zenyatta don't have nothing left to prove"?

Great sentence.

05 Jan 2010 6:47 PM
sham1973

On another note, it sure is interesting to think about what kind of campaign Zenyatta might have had if she had Jess Jackson for an owner. Wouldnt even be surprised if he wanted to run her in the SA Handicap and Dubai World Cup (considering she is the best synthetic horse in the country). And surely she would have faced males in 2008 or at least 2 times in 2009. What if, what if!

Looking forward to seeing Rachel Alexandra and Regal Ransom race again in 2009. Lets see how SB and others who ran on the synthetics came out of the BCC.

And whoever said Rachel should have faced older females...they had their chance! the WOODWARD was open to fillies and mares but NONE SHOWED UP. WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU!!! Denial must be a disease and its spreading like wildfire here

05 Jan 2010 6:47 PM
Householder

Triple Crown Talk!  Baffert may ship Lookin at Lucky east to Oaklawn or New York.  2 more preps is all he needs.  Liked the "stalking speed" I saw in the Cash Call.  Gomez had him into the race a little earlier than usual.  Stay sound Looking at Lucky.  Your one nice colt and you won't have the Breeder's Cup Juv. curse hanging over your head.

05 Jan 2010 7:36 PM
draynay

CV to be honest it is just total nonsense.  People like you and carolyn don't want to listen to the FACTS.  Zenyatta in her first 4 races beat 14 horses in total. 14 California horses on a plastic track.  BIG DEAL.  No history to compare it to or go back on.  She didn't win outside of California and her amazing race against the males was on a surface most were unproven on.  I have more respect for the filly who beat Curlin on DIRT at Belmont.  Zenyatta beat the males on her home track good for her but Rachel won where Man o War won and where Secretariat won and Zenyatta did not.  She ran on a plastic track many of us know little about and in a few years will be torn up anyway.  The one time she was to run outside of California it came up a little wet and they scratched her and sent her home afraid of a little mud.  Champions can run on any surface but not Zenyatta she never proved herself on a off track just on plastic and recycled rubber.  Rachel won a race the great Secretariat could not win can you say that for Zenyatta?  Zenyatta was a poly track one State wonder last year and that is all. Zenyatta never had the guts to take on males on dirt and retired having never beat males on dirt.  Rachel did it again and again and she is only 3.  Enough with the Zenyatta garbage she was a great poly specialist and that is all.

05 Jan 2010 7:37 PM
draynay

Azeri > Zenyatta

05 Jan 2010 7:40 PM
LAZMANNICK

Sham1973

To put it BLUNTLY.....Rachel took the easy way out when she raced in the Woodward and skipped the Travers.......That decision was up to her owners and all the power to them......But to say that she was going to compete against males in a G-1 race, take their time before they decided which race they would go in (the weakest one), and then brag about it kind of tarnishes what she accomplished.  Like I said before, no one expected her to take on males to begin with and the fact that she did is fine.  What really irks me is that Zenyatta defeated the toughest G-1 field of males this year and there are people on here who continuously try to dimish it.

05 Jan 2010 7:47 PM
draynay

Dear Mr. Jackson, I know Curlin didn't work out on turf but give Rachel a chance. A turf campaign and a Arc win would set the racing world on fire !!!

05 Jan 2010 8:40 PM
PhonyJJ

MonicaV, Pardon my words, not being said correctly.  Zenyatta doesn't have to prove anything else,or Zenyatta has nothing else that has to proven...

Is this better for you ma'm?

By the way, I'm still laughing at what you said about RA fan not having to answer those questions because Jodie said , she was going to be retired immediatly and we could take that to the bank....I got a kick out of that...

News flash folks...I wish RA well this year...no horse hater here...don't like the trainer or connetions..but have nothing against the horse herself....

05 Jan 2010 8:48 PM
carolyn

Dray, Dray, Dray,

Why must you always insult Zenyata so badly...Does her legacy scare you that much...If memory serves me correctly Zenyatta beat everything and (better that RA beat) all year in just ONE race...and she beat the Euro's and G-1 turf male too. Damn impressive in my book.  Other than SB and MTB, that was the best RA won against all year. by the time she beat the other ones, they had already faded to black as far as winning races. (other than a filly)

And Macho Again, I don't know why in the world he wasn't in the BCC, do you??  Damn, since he was the big boy she had to beat in the woodward,

Lets see, Macho Again in the BCC agaisnt SB, Gio Ponti, RVW, Regal Ransom, Einstein,Zenyatta, MTB....

Do you think he could have beat this G-1 bunch???

05 Jan 2010 9:09 PM
carolyn

Dray,

You don't have to worry about the Arc' De Triumphe,  Never will jj put her with that much competition...You are losing your mind with that one dude....RA cannot race on turf, synthetics, so, how in the heck can she go to the Arc, thats a mile and a half...on turf...READ MY LIPS...NEVER.NEVER.NEVER......

05 Jan 2010 9:15 PM
carolyn

Dray, while you're at it, ask Mr. Jackson to send RA to Japan next year and go up against Vodka and their horses, Lets send her to go up against Goldikova too...I know I'm waiting on this...can't wait to see if your wishes come true...

05 Jan 2010 9:19 PM
Footlick

Householder- I like him too.  I think he shows alot of maturity, more than alot of people on here.  He has nice breeding, is tractable and doesn't get worked up.

05 Jan 2010 9:26 PM
LAZMANNICK

Householder and Footlick:

Triple Crown Talk:

My early choices for the Derby at this time are Buddy's Saint, Lookin At Lucky and Take Control.  I know the first two are going to be amazing, but Take Control looks like he's ready to step up also. LOL

05 Jan 2010 9:41 PM
Saratoga AJ

Carolyn,

Tell me, I've been meaning to ask you, do you like Jess Jackson? Do you think he’s a good horsie owner? Do you think he was afraid of racing little Rachel in tough races? Do you think he is afraid of Zenyatta? I bet every day he thought about where he could race Rachel and not have to worry about Zenyatta. That’s why he went to the Preakness, Haskell and Woodward instead. Because Zenyatta would not be there.

Do you drink wine? I bet you would not like Kendall Jackson wine. Because it’s stinky.

And do you think that Zenyatta is the best horsie in the whole wide world? I think she’s a pretty good horsie too!

Please post more blogs. We hardly hear from you anymore.

05 Jan 2010 9:56 PM
Footlick

I also like Winslow Homer.  But he's an Unbridled Song, I think and they seem to be so brittle.  I want to wait and see with Buddy's Saint.  He sure has done nothing wrong, but I want to see how he progresses.  Take Control seems to have alot of upside, but it was only one race, so let's wait and see on him too.

05 Jan 2010 9:57 PM
Paula Higgins

Monica V you are so right. Both these horses were phenomenal and we were darned lucky to have them. Draynay, I don't usually argue with you, but Zenyatta is not just a poly specialist. She is one jaw dropping, horse for the ages. Ditto Rachel. We should not be ripping these two horses apart. If something happened to EITHER one of these girls we would be heartbroken. Look at it from the perspective folks.

05 Jan 2010 10:14 PM
LDP

Carolyn,

    RA is actually bred pretty well for turf. She has the push button acceleration that is needed in most cases to win turf races, and the normally easier first quarter/half would be more conductive to her racing style.

05 Jan 2010 10:21 PM
carolyn

Laz, you and footlick are always right on, I know LAL is going to be the one to watch, I really like him.

Poor Lava Man, I feel sorry for him, at least he is sound other than the foot issue, I hope they can find him something else to do since he didn't like retirement and wanted to run.

I am so happy for QR, and glad to see him back.

Laz and footlick, you two have been following racing longer than me, so I ask you two, what do you see as the outcome with QR, other than his one race back..I believe in him, I believe he is going to be alright. What do you guys think? I look forward to your input?

05 Jan 2010 10:34 PM
Zookeeper

After posting a comment 2 days ago, I went away for a little while. I needed a breather from the few rabid bloggers on here. When I came back, the same old arguments were still being rehashed and the insults from both camps are still raging on...and on...and on... And this is a blog for HORSEracing FANS?

So I'll come back when a new topic is on the table and a few people are in a better mood. Have fun you guys!

05 Jan 2010 10:45 PM
Tiznowbaby

Laz, I'm liking some Tiz Chrome. Went to Vegas right before New Year's, and for fun, I'm put my money where my mouth is. (And just to stay with the whole Tiznow theme, I put some on American Lion too).

05 Jan 2010 10:48 PM
Julie L.

Look, Draynay and others keep bringing up synthetic vs dirt well Zenyatta has answered that question by winning the Apple Blossom last year giving one of her best performances and beating some high class ladies in the process including Ginger Punch a champion. Now the issue of carrying a very high impost and winning well Zenyatta has answered that as well by winning with 129 lbs. on her back. RA has not done this. I take nothing away from RA but if we are discussing accomplishments then this fact should not and can not be overlooked. Winning margins are brought up often and though it is exciting to see a horse win by many lengths it is also exciting to see a closer who is perhaps as many lengths behind coming charging up and easily pass the horse in front. When Zenyatta did this in the Classic maybe some should go back and view it again and see just how far back she was and just how easily she shifted into another gear and caught Gio Ponti (a one time favorite for HOTY) and went past him with such little effort. This mare could have kept right on going and shows me that she could have run down RA.This does not mean that RA is not a great filly I believe she is and I look forward to her races this year and I hope that her winning ways will continue as her presence will fill the gape left by Zenyatta. Perhaps we will see back to back winnings of the Classic by fillies.

05 Jan 2010 11:07 PM
Lil Darlin

Mike Relva:

If the last part of your post from 05 Jan 2010 2:50 PM is directed at me, I suppose you are entitled to your opinion.  But please show me where I said Zenyatta is a claimer...I can't find it, but maybe I'm sleep-typing.

05 Jan 2010 11:57 PM
Winner

It's sad that Hot Dixie Chick didn't run more she was faster than she be wild; for those of you who are picking john shirreffs you are letting your emotions choose not the facts Steve wins hands down!!

06 Jan 2010 12:18 AM
pas

ldp...so? if the BC was held at SA for that year i would prep in CA too. why leave the state with the number of races they have and the nice purses? that wouldn't make much sense. why ship if you don't have to? if the BC were somewhere else i would understand your point. but as an end goal i would just stay there. that's just being smart.

i know the distance of every one of Z's races and who she faced. no secret and i never disputed that. although she didn't have a home court advantage unless you mean her home court was ALL of CA. other than that her races were only restricted by gender except for the BCC. so i am being fair.

if you really really want to be fair take a look at the weights that Z and RA carried over the distances they ran. RA almost always got a break and Z only once in the BCC. her first two starts of this year were particularly impressive in the weight she was carrying against her competitors. a lot of horses never see 129. great horses have lost for that very reason against lesser horses so it's not out of the question. now i know they are different ages and RA ran against males so she got more of a break. and i think that's fair so i'm not disputing that. but that's just something else i took into consideration. i'm sure that's what Eclipse Award voters think of too because history has shown that older horses always have first chance at the biggest honors. only when one doesn't stand out does it fall to a turf runner or 3yo.  

as for the BCC do you have the same opinion when the west coast or southern based horses have to ship in for the east coast BC races? Euros will always be tired from shipping because they are based overseas. but a majority of times the BC has been held on the east coast. if it was no big deal for Z to have shipped to NY to meet RA, then it should have no bearing on any horses shipping west for the BC right?

and i have no idea what you are referring to about Saratoga. it's just a saying about it being the graveyard of favorites that gets thrown into play when a good horse loses. plenty of good horses have overcome that superstition.

but it is interesting that so much weight is given to RA's Woodward and so little to Z's BCC. i see a difference for sure but the other way around. but for arguement's sake, throw both of those races out. now what do you have? a 3yo filly who went undefeated against 3yos and an older mare who ran in a few handicaps and also went undefeated against older mares. who would you give the award to? especially considering how terrible everyone thought the 3yo crop was after MTB won the Derby. Something to think about.    

06 Jan 2010 12:56 AM
Steve Stan

Goodness, you people must have been horrible students to have in class. Does not follow instructions well. Discussion about the HOY to follow.

Does this draynay guy have himself on repeat? I'm tired of him NEVER saying anything different. BROKEN RECORD thinking if you hit people over the head enough with your opinion you'll change theirs? Is your forehead flat?

The person, believe it was LDP who says they're dealing in facts and not opinion? Actually no, unless you're on the inside of one of the camps you're dealing in opinion. Fact is comparable statistics and the statistics on the horses cannot be compared side by side. Anything being done with either horse in future is pure speculation on anyone other than the connections part. Even the voters are VOTING based on THEIR opinion and THEIR take on review of the information available.

This comment? " I have no doubt in the fact that you are an avid fan, and that is an aspect I deeply respect, but you make statments, saying they are fact, when infact they are not"  That statement is absolutely the most arrogant comment I've ever heard. You are no more privvy to facts or information than the other person stating their OPINION, because that is what it is for BOTH of you.

You can look up every stat on the planet, but you cannot compare the two horses who never ran against the other. The facts are skewed either by human beliefs, track, weather conditions etc. Cannot compare times on different tracks, cannot compare speed figures so it comes down to personal belief of the voters. Not hard core facts at all.

06 Jan 2010 1:29 AM
Pasturelands

Carolyn,

Heck, even Dr. Bramlage, the NTRA Vet, agrees that a vacation is long overdue for RA, considering how she was running 8 wins in 9 months! SummerBird tried to run 6 times, and he got lame on the 6th try (see Japan cup).  THAT is how PHENOMENAL Rachel is.  And she is NOT a colt, but a filly!!  

So, you get the answer:  Rachel DID NOT DUCK the BC-- she just got some rest.  Its NOT a retirement.  

The good doctor never recommended rest for Zen.  Don't ask why.  Who would rest a horse who has ALREADY RESTED half the year earlier?  So Zen had the strength (and more) to run in the BC.  The fact that the BC is AGAIN on plastic, makes it TOO EASY for Moss to pass up.  Even JJ agrees-- and is it too MARVELLOUS if Zen won??  I mean, she's the ONLY synthetic-runner in the field, how can she lose??

I know the Eclipse awards is a GAMBLE, and you never know what hand you will be dealt with.  So, I wish for RACHEL ALEXANDRA the best, and pray she wins.  If she doesn't, well, that will be nice too.  But in my mind, she is the DESERVING Horse of the Year 2009.  No other deserves it as MUCH as she does.  She's NUMERO UNO!!

By the way, did you see that video of Medaglia?  Cute as buttons.  Love him to death.  Wish I had one that looks like him.  Perfect conformation, nice coat, strong feet, gentle temper, EXCELLENT HORSE!!  Rachel got maybe, 80% of Medaglia, and only 10% of her mom, Lotta Kim.  Explains a lot why Rachel is good.

06 Jan 2010 2:53 AM
Mike Relva

LAZMANNICK

I also like Take Control.

06 Jan 2010 8:13 AM
gw_bushwacker

Champions can run on any surface but not Zenyatta she never proved herself on a off track just on plastic and recycled rubber.  Rachel won a race the great Secretariat could not win can you say that for Zenyatta?  

draynay 05 Jan 2010 7:37 PM

Once again nay nay you show your ignorance of facts. Zenyatta has won on dirt, your claim that she hasn't is wrong. Furthermore Zenyatta won a Breeders Cup Classic and Secratariat never did so the answer to your question is yes we can say that.

Ra won't get through the year undefeated. Quality Road by your standards (not mine) ran a horribly slow race last out. I'm wondering why you aren't bashing him like you did others all year last year when they ran those type of fractions.

06 Jan 2010 8:37 AM
draynay

carolyn carolyn carolyn, Zenyatta is a California poly horse.  No wins at Churchill, Belmont, or Saratoga.  A regional poly winner good for her.  Rachel won where all the other greats have won.  Zenyatta did not.

06 Jan 2010 8:54 AM
Billy's Empire

I am going out on a limb and picking an unraced Irish Emperor from the barn of DWL. Maybe, just maybe, Wayne will get his Mojo back. If not, then Dublin. He will be much improved since having his surgery to remove a partially paralyzed esophagus. Let's see if Wayne has em ready at Oaklawn. They have been working lights out.

06 Jan 2010 9:05 AM
Slew

Larrythejumpguy....I've watched some steeplechase races this year..saw Mixed Up not do as well...but the races themselves scare the bejeezus out of me...for horses and jockeys.  Kept closing my eyes, and can't bring myself to watch.  Kudos to those who actually accomplish in these events.

HOTY...It's not just that Zenyatta won the BCC, it's the way in which she won that brought tears to everyone.  Gio Ponti was no push over; he was tearing up the track.  And she looked as though she was ready to go around again. And everyone was rooting for her, and everyone loved her.

Rachel already beat the 3 year olds that were running in the Travers.  Stop downplaying her competition in the Woodward.  Those older males were heavyweights; it was like David taking on Goliath...or didn't you notice the muscles expanding on Macho Again as he tried to catch her. And yes, she was spent after a very tough race during which she led most of the way.  And everyone was rooting for Rachel, and everyone loved her.  Both females are awesome, and both females are deserving.  They both defeated some of the best males both physically and psychologically.  They both earned my respect and admiration...forever. Girl power!

Though overseas...Sea the Stars wowed me.

TC hopefuls...think Take Control will be a major contender with Buddy's Saint and Lucking at Lucky, but don't be surprised when some hot 3 year old fillies like She Be Wild or Hot Dixie Chick are entered.

Superbowl??? (here comes the "I hate them" comments).  Watching Dallas moving up. Go 'Boys!

06 Jan 2010 9:08 AM
stardustyrose

LAZMANNICK....

Love to come over here and have you post everything that I wanted to say!  Yeah the Travers.  That is what is gonna hurt RA. I think they are really looking at that one.  She is a tremendious horse no matter what happens  but Zenyatta will go down in the history books with the other 61 horses that are going in the video.  Of course I am putting Rachael in there too. :)

Anyway.  Must be the weather or something.  All of this back & forth bickering sounds like the British Parlament!  LOL  

And whoever is trying to compare Rachael OR Zenyatta to Ruffian wowowowowowowowowowowow!  OK I guess there are some on this blog that know nothing about race horses.  I don't claim to know it all but I do know this.  ♥Ruffian♥ cannot be topped.  IMO

♥Ruffian♥  Queen of the GALS in the last 100 years..... :) I am pretty kicked back but when people start going after horses like Ruffian, Secretariat, Citation and those horses, then it is time to head over to U-tube and rock out with MJ.  :)  That is where it starts getting stupid.  

Still love you all though...    

06 Jan 2010 11:21 AM
It Aint Easy being good

Lazmannick there is a good tiznow horse that ran at SA to keep an eye on I forgot its name though. Mike R I threw in Z in all my bets just because she had home field advantage. If Z ran anywhere else she would of got smoked! Bottom line is that champions run on dirt!

06 Jan 2010 11:31 AM
funnycideoflife

LDP, we think alike : )

06 Jan 2010 11:35 AM
draynay
06 Jan 2010 11:37 AM
sham1973

I am not diminshing what Zenyatta did. I am simply stating facts and the facts are she was the only proven horse (of the top and even longshot-but-still-have-a-chance-contenders) with any kind of success over the ProRide and even synthetic surface. Synthetics and Dirt are not the same thing: that is a fact. So to say she is the best horse in the U.S. because she beat "the strongest field assembled of the year" is not factual. It means she is the strongest on that surface. I am a college runner. If I for example run all of my races on the standard Division1 college track surface (which is a sythentic material) and then go to another location for a "championship" event that is run on sand and I get beaten by someone who runs on sand all the time does not make that person who beat me a better runner or the best of everyone else who is unfamiliar or doesnt handle the different surface. It means you are better on your preferred surface. The BCC proved Zenyatta is better on Synthetic surfaces that any other horse in the race.

However If I and the majority of my competitors race primarily on dirt (or turf) and I beat them 3 times at the top level it is much more likely I am better than they are on the surface (which is the surface predominately used in US racing). Which is why the premature introduction of synthetics has caused longshots and turf horses and synthetic specialists to excel in the "championship" event while the true dirt horses are at an obvious disadvantage.

This is my last post. It is impossible trying to educate some of you people.

06 Jan 2010 11:40 AM
CV

To be honest, Draynay, I've NEVER read comments that match the hate and ugliness of yours in regard to Zenyatta, anywhere on the Web.

I don't pretend to understand how you can dismiss factual information about fewer horses dying on synthetic tracks as "nonsense." Likewise, I don't understand how you refuse to acknowledge factual information about how there are differences between those surfaces, just as there are differences in dirt or turf surfaces.

Rigid, blind ideology fueled by hate doesn't promote the sport of racing; it turns people off.

To paraphrase you, "Enough with the Zenyatta garbage you have spewed everywhere." Leave her alone.

06 Jan 2010 12:22 PM
Rachel Fan

Carolyn, For such a beginner with very little knowledge of horse racing or it would seem very little common sense also, you continue to spout off insult after insult towards Rachel Alexandra and Mr. Jackson.  You put some statements out there without anything factual to back them up and what you say actually sounds like its coming more from a grade school child.  We recognize that Zenyatta may be the first horse you've loved but you're way over the top and its quite annoying.  Some feel that the horse thats not their favorite should have done this or that to earn HOY.  Zenyatta fans feel that Rachel should have ran in the Travers instead of the Woodward and should have traveled to the BC instead of being allowed to rest. So there are two points.  Rachel Fans feel Zenyatta should have ran more than 5 times this year, should have ran in the Louisville instead of scratching due to rain, should have faced males more than once, should have ran on dirt at least once this year, should have traveled, should have sought out competitive races, (Milady, Vanity, C.L. Hirsch and the Lady's Secret) where she faced all of 14 horses in those races dont seem very competitive at all, considering Rachel faced 12 colts in one race.  There are 6 issues that they have with Zenyatta's connections.  But those are valid issues, you have not once stated a valid issue other than you just dont like Jess Jackson, whom you dont know.  It would be good if you could post just one issue that you feel you have with Rachel's Campaign or something other than you dont like Jess Jackson very much. Thats not a valid issue.  Maybe you should take a step back and tone down your comments and dont make them so imflammatory, because you make yourself and the other Zenyatta Zealots look awful. Let's try to at least stay on task and not talk about how much you dont like the owner.  I mean there are Rachel fans that could take offense to Jerry Moss's accusation that they were going to ship to the Beldame, we all know that is a total untruth, he was quoted in an article as saying they were staying in Cali back in June, think im lying here is the article.  Everyone thinks everything is spun towards Rachel, its not Moss is the one who said on the 26 they were coming east and then all of a sudden Rachel pops a 1:46.33 at Belmont without effort and here is Moss's response two days later.  So no Jason wasnt lying he was telling the truth, Moss said a long time ago Zenyatta wasnt shipping but then after the BC, I guess he forgot that what he says is on paper because he then states we wanted to come to the Beldame. HAHA, No you didnt you were scared of the trouncing that Zenyatta would have taken from a fit and healthy and fresh Rachel who had already faced colts twice and beating them didnt affect her at all.  Here is the article Read and weep Zenyatta fans, Im laughing at it.  www.bloodhorse.com/.../zenyatta-rachel--duel-unlikely-before-bc

06 Jan 2010 1:28 PM
Rachel Fan

LOL You people really make me laugh. Pas says “why leave the state with the number of races they have and the nice purses?” Milady 150k, Vanity 300k, C.L. Hirsch 300k, Lady’s Secret 300k. So the 4 races in Cali are worth a tad bit over 1 million. The Delaware H 1 Million, Ogden Phipps 300k,  Personal Ensign 400k, Beldame 600k, so in the 4 races she could have run in out in the East they were worth 2.3 million but you think it is smarter on the connections part to keep her in Cali and run in races with Nice purses, I mean are u people serious.  Please view it as it is, it was the connections knowing that she was a closer who needed to run on synthetics who it plays best for, if she had come East she would have lost to Rachel in the Beldame if she had run in the Personal Ensign she would have be trounced by Icon Project and probably would have barely hit the board in a couple of other races, that’s why horses in the East don’t go undefeated and no one expects to because the level of competition is incredibly high, you have 3 or four Grade 1 winners in each race, in Cali you might be lucky to face 1 G1 winner so yeah she’s undefeated she certainly should be.

06 Jan 2010 1:40 PM
Rachel Fan

stardustyrose, hate to break it to you but the bloggers that are comparing Rachel to Ruffian are only following the path of those analysts like Steve Crist who in his blog Rachel 111, Zenyatta 104, but..."of course that's an incomplete comparison between the performances turned in Saturday by Rachel Alexandra in the Mother Goose and Zenyatta in the Vanity. The figs tell us how fast, relative to the speed of the tracks at Belmont and Hollywood Saturday, each ran from point A to point B, but don't incorporate a lot of less-quantifiable factors: the inherent differences between dirt and synthetic racing; the individuals' different running styles, the difference between a developing 3-year-old and a mature 5-year-old; the debatable effect of the higher weight carried by Zenyatta and the ground she always loses with her wide, late move; or the fact that Rachel Alexandra was clearly geared down at the end of her race.

Having said all that, and with all due respect to an undefeated champion, Rachel Alexandra's performance was clearly the more purely brilliant of the two, as is her 2009 campaign to date. In her last three starts, over the three Triple Crown tracks, Rachel Alexandra has won the Kentucky Oaks by 20 1/4 lengths, beaten males including the Derby winner in the Preakness, and won the Mother Goose by 19 1/4 lengths. Has there has ever been a more impressive trio of achievements by a filly in the first half of a 3-year-old campaign?

Ruffian won her first five starts as a 3-year-old by a combined 37 lengths, including the Acorn, Mother Goose and CCA Oaks. Rachel Alexandra is 6 for 6 this year, winning by a combined 59 lengths."

So it seems you have issue with a professional who made the comparison too huh.  Make sure to send him an email and show your dislike for him as a professional drawing that comparison.

06 Jan 2010 1:48 PM
draynay

GwBushwacker Quality Road took the lead and did what he had to do. He took control of the race from the start and no one really pressed him to go any faster so what do you want him to do?  He won with ease and never saw the whip what more could you ask for?

06 Jan 2010 2:06 PM
Billy's Empire

dray, thanks! that is the best article I have read in regards to the HOY Debate. Pretty much sums it up. Thanks Andy Beyer...

It is amazing to me though that horses coming from a dirt track are 0-43 at the BC. Too Bad the Breeder's Cup got it wrong in 09, but it looks like they got it right in 2k10.

By the way, the Churchill Downs website to buy Derby and Oaks tickets is terrible. Do not waste your time being timed out and told that the server is down....

06 Jan 2010 2:19 PM
Householder

It Aint Easy being good.  Your probably thinking of American Lion.  Tiznow out of a Storm Cat Mare.  Nice pedigree...give him a little time.  

06 Jan 2010 2:21 PM
Householder

Perhaps the economy in New York is not as bad as in California.  The Santa Anita Handicap went from 1 million to 750,000.  The tracks here are an economic mess.  Santa Anita may have a new owner next week, Hollywood is finished, and Bay Meadows is a pile of rocks. Sen. Dean Flores got a bill passed, at the request of the track investors, to take more out of the exotic handle for day to day operations.  It is certainly the end of racing as we on the West Coast know it.  

06 Jan 2010 2:35 PM
gw_bushwacker

draynay,

In regards to QR I wouldn't ask him for anymore than that. Keep that in mind before you go bashing horses for running what you perceive as slow fractions as you have done repeatedly in the past. That was my point entirely on that subject, I knew it wouldn't matter when it was a horse you tout but if it wasn't one of your chosen ones it would have.

06 Jan 2010 2:39 PM
Michele

I don't agree with Zensational, although he is one of my faves, He didn't win the BC Sprint!

ZENYATTA HORSE OF THE YEAR!!

Sorry Rachel fans, it was Rachel ducking Zenyatta not the other way around. Rachel could have been pointed towards the BC from the beginning of the year.  They ducked out of the Championships.

A great horse can run on any surface. Zenyatta was going to run in Kentucky & she has run on dirt.

06 Jan 2010 2:42 PM
joe schmoe

Here's a very relavant quote that appeared in Steve Haskins Blog "Answer Man To The Rescue" NOV 18, 2009.

"Whatever articulate and poetic word you wish to use for synthetic surfaces, Zenyatta was scheduled to ship to Belmont Park to run in the Beldame Stakes had Rachel Alexandra showed up. All the arrangements had been made. But when it was decided after the Woodward to retire Rachel for the year that plan was scrapped and she ran in the Lady’s Secret instead."

Stop with the poly only crap, Zenyatta was scheduled to do the travelling just to beat RA on dirt and put all the questions to rest. It was RA who ducked out of the meeting and Zen went in the Lady's Secret instead. The simple fact is that RA's connections wanted nothing to do with Zenyatta anywhere and orchestrated a course to purposely avoid her. They found races that looked good on paper and her resume all the while ducking the best in hopes it would be enough to win HOY without facing the best horse out there in Zenyatta. That alone in my book disqualifies RA as HOY.

06 Jan 2010 2:52 PM
Jason Shandler

She wasnt going to the Beldame Joe.

06 Jan 2010 2:57 PM
slyder

draynay,

So now all of a sudden you are on the Andy Beyer bandwagon? For a long time now you have bashed and belittled his Beyer figs and claimed they mean nothing when they were cited against a horse you liked. The best example I recall is how you bashed Curlin and Wanderin Boy who ran far better figs than Big Brown. Then Andy Beyer knew nothing in your mind. Now that he likes RA for HOY he's suddenly a genius to you?

This is so typical of you, kinda like bashing Old Fashioned mercilessly for running slow fractions last year but then when one of your faves (Quality Road) does the same recently it isn't a bad thing at all. You should keep a collection of your comments on this blog then go back and see just how many times you change your mind on something depending on whether or not you like the horse. You could put together a book the size of War and Peace with all your contridictions.

06 Jan 2010 3:03 PM
joe schmoe

So you say Jason. I guess others differ in what they know. It's up to us to decide who we want to believe. If you are a RA fan for HOY it would be you, If you are a Zenyatta fan for HOY it would be someone else.

06 Jan 2010 3:07 PM
Mike Relva

IT AINT EASY BEING GOOD

Now I know you are out of your head if you believe that Zenyatta would get "smoked" if she ran on dirt. Tell me,did she get smoked when she blew by Ginger Punch and company   in the Apple Blossom ON DIRT in '07? Also,last time I checked she's the first female to win the Breeders' Classic. You know what they say about opinions don't you?

06 Jan 2010 3:17 PM
Rachel Fan

Joe I am not sure if you couldnt find the link earlier but here it is again. Here is the article Read and weep Zenyatta fans, Im laughing at it.  www.bloodhorse.com/.../zenyatta-rachel--duel-unlikely-before-bc

there was no Beldame ever in Zenyatta's plans.

06 Jan 2010 3:21 PM
Mike Relva

RACHEL FAN

Regarding your latest neg. post about Zenyatta you mentioned speed figures. Guess Andy Beyers' little world crashed when Zenyatta won in November considering he stated on several occasions that Zenyatta's Beyer figures weren't fast enough to possibly win against the males. lol Obviously you don't know a great horse when you see one!

06 Jan 2010 3:24 PM
carolyn

Look RA fans, I don't care who gets the hoty.  No, I don't care for JJ,  He should have trained RA for the BCC this year because she had at least "ONE" time raced and won on synthetic surfaces. Yes, in my opinion, he ducked Zenyatta and the better competition that would be in the BC races last year 09,  You have your opinion of him and I will keep mine...By the way, I saw him at the end of the woodward race and Christina Oliveris of TVG network,  she asked him about going to the BCC now, and JJ said, No , because the other horse had the advantage....Which means he knew Zenyatta would beat RA in SA.

Thats why all of the RA fans put Zenyatta down, you all know she would have never beat Zenyatta on synthetics,   but I had more faith in RA than that....she should have been given the chance to try it....Do any of you RA fans want to comment on JJ own words after the woodward? If you watched the woodward race, then you saw the same that I saw...

06 Jan 2010 3:29 PM
draynay

CV I have no hate for Zenyatta at all.  Horse racing greatness is about comparing the present with the past to see how the horses today measure up with the greats of the past.  Rachel accomplished things no other 3 year old male or female had ever done.  We have 100 years of history or more to compare what she did and the tracks she did it at.  With Zenyatta we have NONE of that.  All year she ran on tracks none of the greats ever ran on.  She didn't win a single race on dirt all year and never won East of the Mississippi in her career.  She was a great poly horse, well there aren't that many poly horses compared to dirt horses.  She was the best of a very small field compared to Rachel who faced many more horses that were bred for dirt.  Rachel is a great poly horse, the best I have ever seen but we don't give HOY to a horse with no wins all year on turf or dirt.  Let's face it Zenyatta is no Azeri.  What she accomplished on a poly rubber track means little to me when so few horses run on it compared to dirt.

06 Jan 2010 3:31 PM
Rachel Fan

I hate to break it to you that want to have this illusion that Moss was serious about coming to the Beldame but here are the two articles that were posted within 72 hours of each other www.ntra.com/content.aspx. In the first interview on 6.27, before the Mother Goose was run, Moss says: “"there's a good chance" Zenyatta would leave Southern California to race this year and that he "would very much like" to see his mare face Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra. "Obviously, we take it race to race, obviously we hope we do well today, we hope we come out of the race fine," Moss said. "[Shirreffs] is going to need a week to see how she's come through this ... then maybe we'll say something about where our next start will be, and it could be out of the state for certain." "If the two horses are ready and at the top of their form, I would very much like to see a race between the two of them," Moss said. Moss added that he shares Jackson's negative view of synthetic racetracks. "It's just that I'm a Californian, I moved out here from New York a long, long time ago," he said. "I like the people. This is where I live. This is where I race mostly." "We want to win that this year if it's possible," Moss said. "The horses have got to perform, every step has got to be the right one. We're hoping and praying she gets through today well ... we hope both horses do well throughout the year and we can meet somewhere."

Then all of a sudden on the 29th there is an about face.  www.bloodhorse.com/.../zenyatta-rachel--duel-unlikely-before-bc, “We’d love to meet Rachel Alexandra, and I’m sorry she apparently isn’t coming to the Breeders’ Cup,” Moss said, alluding to comment by Rachel Alexandra’s co-owner, Jess Jackson, that he didn’t want to run her over “plastic” (synthetic) surfaces. “As owners, we plan for the Breeders’ Cup,” continued Moss. “That is where championships are supposed to be resolved. My brain is fighting my heart on this, because I’d like to give Zenyatta every chance to remove any doubts about her place in history, and Rachel Alexandra would be a challenge. She’s an amazing talent. We’d like to meet her, but we don’t want to swerve out of our program, because we still have the Breeders’ Cup foremost in our sights. “So while we remain open, right now we’re planning to go about our business, which is to go to Del Mar for the Clement Hirsch (gr. I, Aug. 9). We may run against the boys at some point, and we’re open to meeting Rachel Alexandra perhaps after the Breeders’ Cup.” “Every venue has its idiosyncrasies that are risky,” noted Moss. “We had a very bad experience with Giacomo going to the detention barn at Belmont, which threw him out of his game for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). He went nuts (finishing seventh, beaten nearly 18 lengths). At Saratoga, you have the detention barn, plus tight turns that would compromise Zenyatta given her running style of coming wide from behind. “Last year, people wanted us to run against the boys in the Breeders’ Cup, and I’m glad we didn’t because the quality of the fillies and mares in the Ladies’ Classic (gr. I) was tremendous. Maybe this year that will be different. I’m not saying which Breeders’ Cup race we’ll run in yet, because I don’t have to. But what we need to do, and how (trainer) John (Shirreffs) operates, is to have her at her peak for the Breeders’ Cup.”

NOW who was scared of who. lol

06 Jan 2010 3:45 PM
stardustyrose

Rachel Fan ...

You left one thing out that is important.  Ruffian was undefeated.  RA is not.  I love Rachael.  I love Zenyatta but when it comes to comparing either of them to Ruffian, it is time to hang out with MJ. :)  I do see your point though.  

♥Ruffian♥  ;-)

06 Jan 2010 4:31 PM
Jason Shandler

Joe: I can only go by what the OWNER told me. Silly me.

06 Jan 2010 4:32 PM
Householder

Mike Relva...My last Zenyatta comment!  The Apple Blossom was only Zenyatta's 4th start (Maiden, Alw, Grade 2, Apple Blossom-1).  To dismantle Ginger Punch in such a fashion after traveling to a foreign state, and first trip on dirt...Even Draynay would have to say that this was an "ok" run!    

06 Jan 2010 4:41 PM
CV

"What she accomplished on a poly rubber track means little to me when so few horses run on it compared to dirt."

Oh, so ANY horse that runs on a synthetic track, at any time in their lives, is deemed unworthy no matter what caliber horses they defeated, no matte how impressive their victories were and no matter what historic precedents they set.

What. Blind. Dogmatic. Nonsense.

By the way, the "greats" of yesteryear typically ran almost double the number of races that modern horses do today. They ran without the benefit of modern technology in shoes and other improvements, including improvements to dirt tracks themselves.

By your logic, that would mean Rachel Alexandra and every other horse running today is inferior to the "greats" you speak of. Like I said, nonsense.

06 Jan 2010 5:01 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

Guess you were asleep when Zenyatta WON BY HER GREATEST MARGIN ON DIRT IN APPLEBLOSSOM. I don't hear you giving credit to that.

06 Jan 2010 5:02 PM
Steve Stan

Rachel is a great poly horse, the best I have ever seen but we don't give HOY to a horse with no wins all year on turf or dirt. Quote. Draynay.

Sir I don't think we give the Horse of the Year award. Particularly not the we who are fans.

This is over, neither contender is a stud so there really isn't a need for all this debate. The former HOY who was female, sold at auction for a nominal amount as HOY's go. With the status of the market right now I can't think it makes a big difference to anyone. Guess just something for fans to bicker over.

Will it really matter to anyone  in a year, two years or 10 years? Zenyatta will be in the HOF Rachel will as well as long ss she doesn't run this year and poop out. That is a much bigger honor, much more prestigious in our industry than any HOY award could ever be.

With the exclusion of candidates this year, some of the bizarre picks in years past? It's easy very easy to dismiss the Eclipse awards.

Like Favorite Trick winning HOY, some of the trainer picks, some of the jockey and owner picks or exclusions. Total politics resulting in little credibility.

Sorry Jason, I know you're a voter. Since you aren't a nominator though and can't agree with some of the exclusions maybe you can see what I'm getting at?

06 Jan 2010 5:06 PM
CV

Rachel Fan and others are suggesting John Shirreffs lied when he said Zenyatta had been nominated to run in the Beldame.

Art Wilson, assistant sports editor for the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group, wrote a November column about the issue: www.insidesocal.com/.../zenyattas-camp-wanted-to-meet.html

In the comments, he said, "I know John Shirreffs and I trust the man's word. If he told me they would have raced in the Beldame if Rachel had shown up, Zenyatta would have been there."

Apparently, Jason heard something different.

I think we need to stop accusing both sides of lying, ducking, etc. Why is it so hard for people to celebrate both of these terrific horses?

06 Jan 2010 5:18 PM
Jason Shandler

Yeah CV, I did hear something different. It was from the OWNER telling me she wouldnt be going to the Beldame. Not accusing anyone of anything. Just repeating what the OWNER told me in the weeks leading up to the race. I could care less what someone from the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group wrote.

06 Jan 2010 5:24 PM
funnycideoflife

stardustyrose, you can't discount Rachel just because she is not undefeated. Is Colin considered to be better than Secretariat or Man O'War? I love Ruffian dearly, but I don't consider her untouchable just because she never lost a race she finished. I mean no insult in the following statement, but much of her aura of greatness resulted from the match race and the unrealized potential she had. Ruffian's mystique should not be used to override Rachel or any other outstanding filly in the future.

06 Jan 2010 5:24 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

If Zenyatta had won all of her fourteen races on dirt you still would have a spin. When things don't work out for you it's always an excuse.

06 Jan 2010 5:44 PM
pas

Jason: when did you speak to Moss? was it in the July interview you wrote about? how do you know things didn't change between when you spoke to him and when the Beldame was run? don't you think it's possible that something could happen that could pressure Moss into sending Z to NY for the Beldame? things change in a heartbeat in racing. why would it be any different here? my gosh, it wasn't until october. that's plenty of time for something to change, especially if it's a matter of the public pressuring the two owners to come together for a race. i don't know why you find it so impossible for that to have happened? you may have just not had the information when it went down and Haskin did.

Rachel Fan: you don't think $300,000 is a nice purse? you must be a multimillionaire! besides when do any of these big owners do things strictly for the money. if that was the case RA would have gone for the Belmont and Travers. it's still enough money to stay put and prep on the very surface where your end goal will be run. it's that simple. i'm not saying it's how i'd do it, i'm just saying that i understand why they did it and it's a smart decision. if i have a choice to ship far away or not to ship, i would choose not to. especially if i could just stay put for the race i was aiming for.

06 Jan 2010 5:59 PM
Footlick

Carolyn- I thought QR ran well in his first race back.  Gulfstream has a timing glitch for some distances, and that was one of them.  Thoroughbreds, unlike Quarter Horses, get a run out of the gate before the timer starts.  But at Gulfstream at QR's distance there is no run, so I didn't look at the times as much as how he ran.  He looked relaxed and strong to me.

06 Jan 2010 6:23 PM
Footlick

Steve Stan- Rachel Alexandra will be in the HOF regardless of her 4 yr old year.

06 Jan 2010 6:26 PM
Lil Darlin

Perhaps the economy in New York is not as bad as in California.  The Santa Anita Handicap went from 1 million to 750,000.  The tracks here are an economic mess.

Householder 06 Jan 2010 2:35 PM

Householder -

Please do not take any offense by this, but as a NYS resident I almost laughed/cried/both when I read this comment.

I really hope things aren't THAT bad in Cali economically!  I work for a unit of local government and have watched every line of revenues tank this year.  Foreclosure rates are THROUGH THE ROOF!  And, there are rumblings that the Belmont Stakes is in jeopardy (!?!?!?!?!). When you look at the dire situation facing residents of both of these once proud states, it kinda makes you put things into perspective...we really shouldn't be so concerned with tearing each other down over horses.  

Or, maybe the horrible financial realities are a cause of the ill will toward fellow man and horse.

Either way, misery loves company and from an economic standpoint, it sounds like Cali and NYS are in the same boat. Let's just hope our beloved sport can weather the storm without too much damage.

06 Jan 2010 6:41 PM
Steve Stan

Footlick you're right because they'll retire her with an injury if she throws in a clunker.

A mediocre two year old season an excellent 3 y.o. season may do it.

06 Jan 2010 7:12 PM
Footlick

funnycideoflife- IMO Ruffian's reputation was more than mystique. Youtube her races and you can see how devastating she was, but I'm assuming you already have youtubed them.  With the exception of the race where she broke down, every race she ran in resulted in a record. It's not a criticism of any other horse, but Ruffian's reputation is well documented on the track and will stand up to any.  You are right that Rachel Alexandra should not be discounted because she isn't undefeated, just as Zenyatta shouldn't be discounted for running out West, being undefeated in her career and winning the deepest Gr1 race this year.  But people discount one horse to prop up the other.  It's all very old and tired.  Or maybe I'm just old and tired-lol!  

06 Jan 2010 7:18 PM
Householder

Lil Darlin I would cast my "Humanitarian Eclipse Award" in the direction of trainer Kathy Walsh who went before the Inglewood City Counsel and tried to save Hollywood Park.  She along with Jack Van Berg argued that local Inglewood residents would loose jobs (which could lead to foreclosures...which we have plenty of) if the track were to close.  The counsel remained steadfast on development (Low income housing? or retail?)despite her drawing a stong parallel to Bay Meadows, which had been slated for similar development, but now sits as a pile of rubble (her words...I have not been past the site in quite some time) when the property values took a 30% dive and lenders cut money to developers.  Mind numbing bickering regarding synthetic vs. dirt is the least of our worries. Californians may all soon be watching the Derby preps from New Mexico.    

06 Jan 2010 7:33 PM
CV

Jason,

Judging by your rather defensive answer, I think perhaps my point...that different people heard different things from different connections...was missed.

I don't see the need to put down another sports/turf writer either.

I think the "You Lie" stuff and attacks on one horse or the other has gotten way out of hand. Jan. 18 can't come too soon.

06 Jan 2010 8:26 PM
Footlick

Householder- Your words are so true.

06 Jan 2010 8:35 PM
Jason Shandler

CV: Your point was not missed.

Ask yourself this: If Mr. Moss was indeed planning on sending Zenyatta to the Beldame, why then did he not make it public? Why didnt he tell the media he was going to send Zenyatta East and put the ball in Jackson's court? If he truly wanted to face Rachel in the Beldame he could have very easily forced the other sides hand. Instead, he told many writers, including myself, that he had no intention of sending his horse East when the BC was in California. Any explanations for this?

06 Jan 2010 8:35 PM
LDP

Pas,

    She had the advantage of having the Cup run on her favorite track two years IN A ROW! That is what I don't like. It is unfair to make the majority of horses in America run a championship race over a surface they never have run over. Dirt is the surface almost all championship races in America are run over, the only reason not all are run over dirt is because Cali is to stubborn to admit the mistake they made when they installed synthetics. I would not mind SA hosting the Cup, if it had a DIRT TRACK. I could seriously care less about the shipping, unless a horse like Curlin or RA has spent their year running nearly all over the country anyhow, that is when it becomes an issue. My problem is not shipping, it is that DIRT horses, which make up the majority of horses that race in America, were forced to run over a foreign surface two years in a row, when Zenyatta had the Cup on her favorite track practically in her back yard for two years straight.

You want to talk about weights, well ok. Well when Zenyatta had a year like she did in 08, and is still unbeaten in 09, is still running against a relitively weak division of older F/M's in Cali, then I'm not surprised she was given 129, or that she managed to win. She is an amazon running among outclassed rivals, who really thinks that 129 will have an effect on her. RA was three this year, which right there should tell you why she did not have to carry much weight. This year will probably be much different, seeing as how she went unbeaten last year.

06 Jan 2010 8:43 PM
LAZMANNICK

Carolyn:

Good to hear from you and I hope you had a wonderful holiday.......As for Saratoga AJ saying tongue in cheek that he hopes you blog more because we hardly ever hear form you.....I'm glad you are blogging because Saratoga hasn't been bloggin much lately and someone has to pick up the slack.

Regarding Quality Road.....I think he's the real deal.  I don't think they wanted him to go to the lead in the Hal's Hope, given the slow opening quarter.  When nobody else seemed to want it JR kept him up front and mangaed to keep him under control early on.  This was key because his style is to run up near the front and horses that will need that closing energy as the race progresses.  The last half of the race was exceptional and even though GP is notoriously kind to front runners, I believe horses were running well from off the pace so the way in which he opened up was very encouraging.  He should be able to do well at the classic distances . He will be at or near the top of all competitiors this year. LOL

06 Jan 2010 8:55 PM
carolyn

Laz,  My holidays were great! I hope yours were the same.  I ask footlick this and I will ask you the same. Gio Ponti is up for two of the Eclipse awards: Older Male and Male Turf horse, what do you think his chances of recieving both awards are? I like Gio Ponti.

06 Jan 2010 9:10 PM
LAZMANNICK

It Aint Easy being good :

Tiznowbaby mentioned Tiz Chrome.  Do you think that could be the one?

06 Jan 2010 9:10 PM
LAZMANNICK

Sham 1973:

I understand your point about the differences in track surfaces and of course, they are very important.

This is why I think that you can still say that in spite of the fact that Zenyatta’s career was basically on California synthetics and the BCC was on the Pro-Ride, it should not diminish what she accomplished, and why she should still be considered as possibly the best horse in America.

• Zenyatta’s ability on dirt:

a) Zenyatta won on dirt in scintillating fashion in the past.  I know it was only one race and I also know it was not this year, but the fact is she won convincingly and she defeated the reigning distaff champion at the time and in only her second race of the year and 4th lifetime start.

b) Zenyatta’s family raced well on dirt as evidenced by her top quality sister Balance (6 wins including 3 G-1s’) and Wheres Baily (5 wins including the Remington Park Oaks)

I believe that these facts are clearly indicative of Zen’s ability to race top quality races on dirt, anywhere, anytime.

• Ability of the BCC field to run on the Pro-Ride:

a) Gio Ponti won the Sir Beaufort Stakes 1.34.3 (off the turf).  He clearly liked the surface.

b) Twice Over Synthetic winner in GB.

c) Summer Bird (time for the BCC 2.01.1.....Travers time 2.02.4....shows his ability to run on this surface and his time was fast enough to win the 1-1/4M Hollywood gold Cup on synthetics at the same distance)

d) Colonel John won multiple graded races on this track and also won the Travers on dirt.

e) I can go down the list and make a case for every major horse in the BCC to perform well on this type of surface, plus those who ran well on it and also won big races impressively on dirt.

I think that this shows conclusively that Zenyatta didn’t have an advantage in the BCC like many seem to think.  She was simply better and the public knew it by making her the betting favorite.  The fact that she ran so well on dirt, last to first Apple Blossom, and defeated a top class field that included a champion conclusively proves that she can master that surface.

This should qualify Zenyatta as being eligible for the title, Best Horse in America.  Whether she is the best, or if Rachel is the best cannot conclusively be proven, but she certainly has earned her right for this consideration.  LOL and hope you win a lot of races.

06 Jan 2010 10:18 PM
pas

ldp: when it was announced a few years ago that not only would SA have the BC two years straight AND that they were converting to the polytrack, i too was livid. for the most part they had it installed and then fixed just before the '08 BC leaving it practically untested. that's a bit too unsafe in my opinion. but it was done and there was nothing that anyone could say or do to change that.

but i can't blame Z for that or any other horse that might do well on that surface. it isn't as though they changed the venue just for a horse or two. they did it for other reasons. so although it may have benefitted Z i cannot blame her. blame the BC officials for making that decision. they and a few racetracks around the country have embraced artificial dirt surfaces. repeating the facts about dirt vs. polytrack won't change what the situation is.

further, if any horse wanted to get a handle of the track that they would be running on in the BC all they had to do was ship out early and train there. a few horses did that. or ship real early and run a race or two there. that's been done by Euros running over here in the past before the BC Turf races. or skip the BC races altogether as RA did.

btw, i don't have a problem with RA skipping the BC in general. she ran a hard year and needed to be put up, and from the very beginning JJ said he wouldn't run her there. but it has become the year end championships for every division and short of injury we expect the really good horses to be there. so to not go does stand out. she may have even won whatever race they put her in had they scheduled for the BC ahead of time. we'll never know.

06 Jan 2010 10:20 PM
pas

durnit! sorry i forgot the weight issue. 129 is still a pretty high weight nowadays however you cut it. you could have a superhorse running against claimers and that weight is still high. i think the highest i ever saw in the past 20 years was what, 131? not too much higher and that was Cigar and Skip Away in their final years of racing at 6 i think. and Skippy nearly lost that race because of the weight to an unheard of horse. so weight can be a serious factor no matter who the horse is and who they are racing against.

the only reason this year might be different for RA is because now she may have to race in some handicap races. last year she did not, it was all weight for age.

06 Jan 2010 10:32 PM
pas

CV: thank you for letting me know I am not crazy! that i didn't just read things into what was written that wasn't there. that someone else was reading something the same exact way I was. thank you!

06 Jan 2010 10:36 PM
Aluminaut

Let's just lay off Dray for a while.  I'm sure he has a "Checker's Speech" somewhere on the back burner and we don't want that on the blog now, do we?

Who knows? Santa Anita had a problem with the Pro-Ride not draining a while before opening, and the next Breeder's Cup here in California might interest Michael Phelps....East Coast horses can just grab on to a piece of floating tire or plastic and waterski to the finish line.  

Let's all just grow up and move on.  Those of us that can, that is......

06 Jan 2010 10:40 PM
LAZMANNICK

Rachel Fan:

Why don't you let up on Carolyn?  I know that she doesn't posses the wealth of knowledge that you have, but like you, she has a right to express her opinion.

06 Jan 2010 11:05 PM
LAZMANNICK

Rachel Fan:

The most weight Rachel ever carried in a race was 122 lbs. and this was as a 2 y.o.  When she was a 3 y.o. she maxed out at 121 lbs.  This pales in comparison to the 130 lbs. that Ta Wee (Dr. Fager's sister) carried as a 3 y.o. in the Fall Highweight when defeating males.  She did it again in the same race as a 4 y.o. this time carrying 140 lbs., and would also win a race carrying 142 lbs.  If you want to make some comparisons to Ruffian, try Ta Wee.  This would seem a much more logical choice than Rachel.

06 Jan 2010 11:21 PM
LAZMANNICK

stardustyrose:

You display tons of class and fairness to all.  Keep it up, you are always so refreshing. I also have a feeling that you know what you are talking about.  If you need any help in gathering info for the video, don't forget to let us know.  LOL and have a great day.

06 Jan 2010 11:47 PM
CV

"Ask yourself this: If Mr. Moss was indeed planning on sending Zenyatta to the Beldame, why then did he not make it public?...Any explanations for this? "

I don't know Jason. A couple other writers, Steve Haskin and Art Wilson, think Moss' trainer did have that plan. I guess it's your OWNER vs. their TRAINER in that regard.

I don't agree that any of Zenyatta's connections could "very easily forced the other side's hand." I don't see anyone "forcing" Jess Jackson to do anything, and it's evident now he had no intention of running Rachel after the Woodward, or skipping the Woodward for another race. The Beldame wasn't high profile so it didn't fit into his preferred campaign.

And to be honest, I think it was the mile & 1/4 distance of the Breeders Cup Classic that put him off that race, because Rachel had already run and won over a synthetic track at Keeneland.

07 Jan 2010 12:23 AM
draynay

No Mike that is exactly the point. If Zenyatta won 14 races and won at Churchill, Saratoga, and Belmont she would be considered the greatest Mare ever.  But she didn't and she didn't even try. Why? Because of a little mud that's why.  Her scratching at Churchill made her less of a champion to me.  Zenyatta was a fair weather horse.  Rachel ran in the mud and faced the top 3 year old in the mud.  Rain or shine Rachel ran.  Zenyatta packed it up and went home.  Zenyatta the poly specialist couldn't handle a little rain.  Zenyatta will always have a special place in racing but she will never be looked at like Rachel because she never beat males on dirt like Rachel. Rachel went to Saratoga and took on older males in a G1 race and won.  How many times has that taken place in Saratoga's 147 year history ? Fillies don't beat older males we have a 150 years of racing history to go back and see that it is very very rare. Zenyatta as a filly or mare never beat males on dirt.  She has one win on a poly track against mostly dirt horses.  Good for her, I don't rank her any higher then Goldikova.  Both are great but neither of them were ever able to take on the boys on dirt and beat them and Rachel at 3 has done it 3 times already.

07 Jan 2010 7:52 AM
Footlick

What I like about Quality road is that they can place him wherever they need to in a race.  He's as comfortable on the lead as he is stalking.  It should be a great year if he, Rachel Alexandra, the Birds et all stay healthy.  I don't see a problem with Rachel Alexandra on the turf, but Dray mentioned the Arc and  that distance in Europe might be a stretch- no pun intended.  If he wants to point to a race on Arc day, I think the Opera might be more appropriate.  I know it's against fillies and mares, but it is always a high class field and I'd rather see her in contention,  She'll have to be able to run on soft turf, though.  

07 Jan 2010 9:22 AM
Footlick

Laz- you are very valiant in your defense of Zenyatta.  I have made a vow to stay out of it.  I have accepted the fact that people are going to vehemently hate Zenyatta for whatever reason.  You know, the British didn't think Zarkava was anything special, even when she dwelt at the start of the Vermeille spotting the field 4-5 lengths, then won as easily as always beating their vaunted DarReMi in the process.  It took her race in the Arc to make them admit she was something special, coming from 17th, breaking from the dreaded 1 hole, weaving through tons of traffic, then cruising up the stretch for her facile win.  I thought that after Zenyatta's BC win, people could at least admit what a special animal she was, but I was mistaken.  Instead, the hatred and bashing just intensified.  Oh well.  That's what a racing fan is all about in the US, I guess.  I can't wait to get of this subject because reading so much hatred and meanness in regards to horses and to other bloggers makes me sad.

07 Jan 2010 10:20 AM
draynay

Footlick I agree.  Quality Road is very talented and I think he goes to the Breeders Cup undefeated this year.  Rachel has already had one of the greatest 3 year old campaigns in history.  Where does she go from here?  Sure she could win the Jockey Gold and Woodward and races like that but that would almost be expected. Why not put her on the path to the ultimate greatness.  The Arc and its modest pace would be no problem for her and would cement her as the greatest ever with an Arc win.  If your going to reach for the stars why not grab them ?  Is she that good, well who is running this year that is better and more proven then her ?

07 Jan 2010 10:23 AM
LAZMANNICK

carolyn:

I think that Gio Ponti's chance of being named top Turf Horse and top Older Horse are pretty good and would be surprised if he wasn't.  The only competition he might have had for both awards was from Einstein.  Unfortunately for him, his season tailed off and I think that this took him out of the running.  As for the rest, Conduit has a chance at repeating as top Turf Horse based on his BC Turf win.  If Precious Passion would have won the BC Turf, he would probably have been named top Turf Horse simply because Gio chose not to compete in that race.

It is rare for a horse to be named top Turf Horse and Top Older Horse.  In fact, going back to 1971, only John Henry in 1981 accomplished this feat.  He was also voted HOY that year as well.  The only other triple winner that included the turf category was Secretariat, but instead of Older Horse he was named top 3 y.o. to go along with the Top Turf and HOY awards.

I believe that Gio Ponti is most deserving and he should get at least one of the awards. LOL

07 Jan 2010 10:59 AM
CV

"Zenyatta will always have a special place in racing but she will never be looked at like Rachel because she never beat males on dirt like Rachel." --Draynay

What you meant to say there is "she will never be looked at like Rachel by the rabid fans of Rachel Alexandra who attack and hate on everyone else."

Normal people can recognize and appreciate Zenyatta's accomplishments.

Like Footlick said, the ugliness embodied in yours and others' attacks on this horse is unfortunately a big part of racing fandom today. Maybe it's a reflection of the ugliness in our politics, the "I hate you because you think different than me" ideology. Whatever it is, it isn't good for racing.

07 Jan 2010 11:02 AM
Footlick

Dray- Reaching for the stars is great.  If she's going to win the Arc, she has to be able to win at 13 furlongs here.  The Arc stretch is what kills most horses.  It's uphill and the turf, by US standards is soft or worse.  The turf races in the US would not be run under the same conditions. As far as a modest pace, you again have to look at the course and the conditions.  What seems a modest pace here may not be when you take that into consideration.  Longchamps is a very quirky difficult course.  If they really want to do that, they should campaign her in Europe this year.  That would give her the best chance at winning and they could really see what race would be best for her.  I would applaud them if they sent her either for a campaign or even just a race.  I could be wrong, Dray, but I've followed European racing for a long time and I still think the Opera would be a better fit and still be a huge challenge.  I would love to see her based over in England or France this year and see what she could do.  And I would wish her great success.  I just think the Arc would prove a bit long.

07 Jan 2010 11:02 AM
LAZMANNICK

Footlick:

The subject will start to change dramatically (at least expand into something else) as the 3 y.o. races begin and 3 y.o. careers start to take shape.  This should begin as early as this weekend at Gulfstream.

This is exciting because as much as we like some of the 2 y.o.'s we saw last year, there are going to be others, some probably haven't even started yet, who are going to come out of the woodwork.  Every year we wait to see how competitive the crop is going to be and if the next Secretariat or Ruffian is going to emerge.  Hopefully there will be some keen rivalries, but of course with rivalries come arguments and then bashing and so on and so forth.

What is the saying:  Same Stuff, different day. LOL and I hope you  had a great hliday.

07 Jan 2010 11:19 AM
Footlick

CV- I didn't single out anybody because I try not to do that.  But you are right that people seem to be getting less and less tolerant of different viewpoints in society in general and here on these blogs.  I can be as passionate as anybody, but I try to be fair and balanced.  I think that this type of behavior is very prevalent on blogs where the identities of people are hidden.  There are people who post under many different names on these blogs , for whatever reason.  It seems a foolish waste of time to me, but, to each his own.  It's the same thing when people post in caps.  In blogging, posting in caps is the equivalent of yelling and screaming.  It's just rude.  I just think that people need to regain their respect for other people and other views and defenseless animals who run for their owner's and trainer's glory and our viewing pleasure, and because that's what they have been bred to do.

07 Jan 2010 11:25 AM
Footlick

Thanks Laz- hope you had a great holiday too.  I liked alot of 2 yr olds this year, so I am excited about seeing who will emerge as the year progresses.  And, as they say, leopards don't change their spots!-lol.

07 Jan 2010 11:27 AM
LAZMANNICK

Carolyn:

Going back to top Older Horse and top Turf Horse awards.  In 1993 Kotashaan won top Turf Horse and HOY, but as strange as it may seem, didn't win top Older Horse.  That went to Bertrando. LOL

07 Jan 2010 11:54 AM
GreyK

I think Zenyatta will always be remembered as one of the greatest ever but Draynay makes the best argument for why Rachel will be HOY.  It's not a Lifetime Achievement Award, folks.  It's the best of 2009, the horse that accomplished the most in that voting year.  That's why Curlin won last year and why I will be surprised if Zenyatta wins this year.  She didn't run outside of California, she always had a nice easy commute, she didn't change barns and trainers: in short, she had nothing like the challenges Rachel surmounted all year long.  Zenyatta raced twice at age three and then was left to rest and grow.  That's why she is still around to thrill us at five.  I wish they would race her next year too, she still looks like she wants to run.  Maybe then you could convince me that she should be HOY.  But this year belongs to the other filly.  

07 Jan 2010 12:44 PM
draynot

I find draynay's constant drivel about dirt and poly almost amusing some times. The way he goes on and on wanting you to believe that all poly tracks are the same and because Zenyatta ran in California she didn't win over different kinds of surfaces shows his ignorance of the facts. That's nothing new but the fact is she ran and won over multiple different surfaces this past year. None of them were the same. No two dirt tracks are the same either. He makes it sound as if they are all alike the way he rambles on. If you believe all dirt is the same ask a farmer what he thinks. The fact is that both Zenyatta and RA won over multiple different surfaces this past year. Anyone who thinks differently is ignorant of the facts.

Furthermore RA may have won a race or two that no Filly ever has but it's diminished due to the fact not many have even tried and none of them were one of the top 2 or 3 biggest races of the year like the Classic was.  It could very well have been done had their been more attempts and in the right year where competition was weaker or more inexperienced like it was this year.

07 Jan 2010 12:46 PM
slyder

"Zenyatta will always have a special place in racing but she will never be looked at like Rachel because she never beat males on dirt like Rachel." --Draynay

Never is an all encompasing word. Your statement means that NOBODY will ever look at Zenyatta as a better horse. I'm here to call you a liar when you make a statement like that mr. nay since I don't hold Rachael in the same light as I do Zenyatta. In my opinion Zenyatta is the superior horse. Like it or not, there goes your never mr. nay-negative.

07 Jan 2010 12:53 PM
LAZMANNICK

GreyK:

I am a staunch Zenyatta believer and defender, but I agree with you and strange as it may seem, I agree with Draynay.  Rachel, simply put, had a tremendous year and based on her agenda and the fact that she had a clean slate, she is a most deserving winner if, indeed she does win HOY.  However, what I don't agree with is the bashing.  it is okay to compare and maybe even belittle one's season, but not outright bash and that has been prevelent at times on here and other blogs.  Again, I am guilty myself at times, I don't deny it, but by admitting that it doesn't make it right on my part.

HOY is a great honor, but it is only an honor and should in no way dimish the accomplishments of others.  As far as the be-all, end-all, some like to believe it is and how some think that it might forever make a horse go down in infamy.......quite frankly that is usually not the case.  A case in point even from this decade. If I mentioned a horse named Left Bank, how many would be aware of him, and if they are aware of him would they realize that he was the 2002 HOY as well as Older Horse withut looking it up......Zenyatta will always be remembered as one of the best ever smply because of what she accomplished.  Rachel will also be remembered as one of the best ever, but not because she would be HOY (if she wins that award), but because of the fact that she won the Preakness and defeated males three times. LOL

07 Jan 2010 2:02 PM
bsinboots

How can the brilliant Zenyatta, undefeated in her career and only female to ever win the BC Classic, retire without being HOY?  Ridiculous, and a travesty if it happens. Say what you will, but the general public will only think our sport more of a farce than they already do if she doesn't win. Period.

07 Jan 2010 2:37 PM
carolyn

Laz,

I myself do not care if RA gets the award, I, like you are a Zenyatta fan. I always looked at RA as a great filly, but I get upset when some on here act like Zenyatta was nothing, thats why I said things back about RA.

I will admit that I don't like RA connections, never have, but as far as the horse herself, I watch all her races and really admire her.

If they would treat Zenyatta with respect, the rest of us would do the same by RA. most on here won't.

I think that Zenyatta is the superior horse between the two. I am looking at Zenyatta's career and her BCC win agaisnt the world...It took one great horse to be able to win like she did, and especially after having so much trouble at the starting gate.

07 Jan 2010 2:57 PM
Householder

Pas.  The 129 she carried in the Vanity was the highest of any winner in 32 years!  She was spotting some double digit pounds. Even Ferdinand and Alysheba got beat in the same race at Hollywood Park to a much lighther horse.  I also don't think she got much of a weight break from the boys last go around.  What was she 122 to the boys 124-126 at 1 1/4?  

07 Jan 2010 3:00 PM
stardustyrose

LAZMANNICK.....

Thanks :)  I try to get along with everyone but it isn't easy.  Boy did I blow up in Jason's new blog.  My Lord why do people have to  be so damn cruel?  Do they not have anything better to do than to bash bash bash?  I am still looking for good pics of these horses.... LOL hint hint.  Jason it is OK to give out my email to LAZMANNICK.  :)

Alysheba

Exceller

Ferdinand

Storm Cat

Azeri

Precisionist

07 Jan 2010 3:43 PM
draynay

Zenyatta did not even average 5 races per year.  5 races all year and you think that deserves HOY ? All of them poly track wins in California and you really think that stacks up to what Rachel did all across the country ?  Really ?

Come on its a no brainer.  If Zenyatta was a 5 year old with no previous wins and did what she did this year you wouldn't dream of comparing that to what Rachel did would you.  But what she did at 3 and 4 doesn't matter for HOY only what she did in 2009.  Last year you are hanging everything on one race on a poly track.  Give me a break. Zenyatta was a fair weather horse who never won on an off track and never won at Churchill, Belmont or Saratoga.  She beats a group of mostly dirt horses on a poly track and all of you are jumping up and down.  Goldikova did it back to back against males and I don't hear any of you going crazy for Goldikova.

oy

07 Jan 2010 3:44 PM
Mike Relva

HELLO CV& FOOTLICK

I enjoy your comments and believe that you two as well as LAZMANNICK bring some great points to this blog!

07 Jan 2010 3:46 PM
draynay

Slyder when both horses are retired and the top 100 is rewritten watch where Rachel ends up and then watch where you poly specialist ends up. Taking the boys on in the dirt in the mud matters.  Where was your one trick poly pony when the track came up a little muddy?  Oh, I remember now she was back in her trailer heading home.  Heaven forbid should she get a little muddy.  What a joke.  I DON'T hear ANYONE comparing Zenyatta to horses like Secretariat, The Bid, or Affirmed. You know why?  Because she didn't win where they won on DIRT.  I hear people all the time talk about Rachel and the all time greats but how do you compare a poly specialist that never beat males on dirt to the all time greats ?  You can't !

07 Jan 2010 3:53 PM
Mike Relva

RACHEL FAN

If I didn't know your anti Zenyatta slams seem very similar to an individual that all of a sudden vanished after writing tired,worn out slams on Zenyatta before her win two months ago. The reader had to "eat her words" after Zenyatta's victory. Here's something to think about,last nite on HRTV'S ACROSS THE BOARD trainer James Cassidy who previously was an asst. trainer for Ruffian stated that ZENYATTA reminded him most of the great RUFFIAN. He discussed RA in detail,but Zenyatta reminds him most. That's coming FROM SOMEONE THAT HAS PERSONAL INSIGHT!

07 Jan 2010 3:54 PM
Footlick

Hi Mike- thanks for the compliment. I always enjoy yours too.  I try, but I have to really bite my tongue alot of times.  Just trying to stay out of the battle.

07 Jan 2010 4:33 PM
LAZMANNICK

Mike Relva:

How are you doing?  I gather from your latest post that we have a new blogger named Draychel.....Just joking.  LOL

07 Jan 2010 4:37 PM
funnycideoflife

Footlick, I agree with you completely about Ruffian's greatness, I'm just saying that her death created a moat between her and all other fillies. Many people are "afraid" to rank any other filly ahead of Ruffian because they think it would be disrespectful, which obviously isn't fair to Rachel and others.

07 Jan 2010 5:01 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

It's interesting that  the great Secretariat is NOW in "your good graces",but last yr you were critical of him in some of your comments. I think you are clever in much of your posts,but it's obvious that you can sometimes slam a horse and when you need to support an arguement all of a sudden that same horse is your "best friend". Did you notice my post regarding James Cassidy's remarks on Zenyatta?

07 Jan 2010 5:14 PM
CV

"The fact is that both Zenyatta and RA won over multiple different surfaces this past year. Anyone who thinks differently is ignorant of the facts."

--Draynot

Thank you! That's exactly the point I've been trying to make, only to have Draynay & Co. regurgitate the "all poly tracks are the same" nonsense. Multiple tracks = Multiple tracks for both, not just one.  

@ Footlick

I didn't mean to imply that your comment related to one person, only that it was about the overall acrimony. I probably could have written it more clearly.

@Mike Relva

Thanks for contributing that tidbit about the former assistant trainer of Ruffian saying Zenyatta reminds him most of his great filly. That's how she struck me, too, when I first saw her on TV.

Ruffian was bigger than her peers, just under 17 hands. Zenyatta is 17.1, towering over her contemporaries. Ruffian was a dark bay, almost black color, and Zenyatta is a very dark bay as well.

Zenyatta and Ruffian both can/could be excitable, but both are/were generally good tempered -- Zenyatta more so than Ruffian.

Interesting that Ruffian's former assistant trainer sees those similarities, too.

07 Jan 2010 5:39 PM
nola

Shout out to Einstein and QR.  I still love you.

07 Jan 2010 7:28 PM
Footlick

funnycideoflife- I do agree with that.  There are people who would let that influence their opinion on her either way, being afraid to question her greatness, and also being afraid to acknowledge her greatness.  I'm glad you appreciate her.

07 Jan 2010 7:50 PM
LAZMANNICK

funnycideoflife:

I don't know if you have ever seen Ruffian's PP.  They are simply awesome.  It seemed that she totally dominated every race no matter at what call in the race and at what distance the race was run, and she ran as most are well aware from 5-1/2F to 1-1/2M.  Only in the Sorority as a 2 y.o. was there a brief challenge and then she strode away to a 2 1/2L win.  She led at every call in every race and won by an average of better than 8 lengths. I have seen the PP's from a lot of great horses, but when I look at Ruffian's I really find it hard to believe.  Even at that, it is difficult to make comparisons to her and other great horses for many reasons, one of them being the so-called strength of her competition, the other that until the match race she never raced against males.  My answer would be that the ease with which she dominated at every call and then ran away suggests that competition or males wouldn't have been a problem. And when analyzing her stride in various videos, it was amazing, long and powerful.  She really was one of a kind.  LOL.

07 Jan 2010 8:05 PM
stretchrun

Does the Breeder's Cup, and the fact that a horse only has to win that one race to be considered for an Eclipse, annoy the crap out of anyone else? I mean really....it's a L-O-N-G year of races!

07 Jan 2010 8:16 PM
Mike Relva

STRETCHRUN

No,it doesn't annoy me cause I THINK ZENYATTA DESERVES THE ATTENTION SHE GETS! Here's a newsflash,not everyone's a Zenyatta hater!

07 Jan 2010 9:17 PM
LAZMANNICK

Stardusty Rose:

I don't know if Jason will let me forward my e-mail to you but here it is:

Vprocee@cogeco.ca

I've got photos of most of the horses you are looking for and some good ones of some of the others.  LOL

07 Jan 2010 9:43 PM
draynay

Mike I have said many times Zenyatta is the greatest poly horse ever.  What else can you claim?  What else can you say ?  You can't claim she is a great dirt horse or turf horse can you ?  She is what she is a great poly specialist.  She never did much else so what more can I say except she is the best poly horse ever?

07 Jan 2010 10:26 PM
carolyn

Why is it that this is the only year that the Breeder's Cup races mean so little to some of you? Is it because Zenyatta won it so easy? Is it because RA didn't run in it?  It does not make any sense that all the other years it is the championship race at the end of the year, unless your horse loses in it or don't run in it at all..then all of a sudden the BCC and BC races aren't worth anything. Pure BS? is what it is. The Breeders'Cup races are for the end of the year championships.  WoW, Jj is already looking forward to the BCC at the end of this year, isn't he?? I read that on a blog to( Steve A. said that).  Funny how they don't mean anything one year, but will mean something any other year.

I guarentee, that this snubbing is why JJ isn't in the finalist as owner of the year.

07 Jan 2010 11:22 PM
Footlick

CV- Don't worry about it.  I'd really just like to try and stay away from the whole Zenyatta/Rachel feud.  It's just so stale.

Laz- I think funnycideoflife does know how great Ruffian is and appreciates her.  He(or she?) is right in the fact that because of her breakdown people may feel that they can't rate a horse as high as they rate her.  Horses that break down on the track carry a different mystique with them.  Go for Wand proved herself before her breakdown, but some like Eight Bells or Barbaro still had things to prove before they are put on the same level.  But they have the mystique of what might have been going on.  I understand the point funnycideoflife was making and it's valid.  

08 Jan 2010 9:42 AM
Rachel Fan

Stretch run, it absolutely waters down and invalidates what a Horse of the Year campaign is about. Especially putting it on a synthetic surface.

See I am not a Zenyatta hater, quite the contrary, she came to my track and won the Apple Blossom and I thought wow she could really be something, but all of the small calculated risks her connections took, well it became outrageous.  They wouldnt have run her in the Classic if Sea of Stars came over, they waited till they knew exactly who was coming before making a decision.  They were never coming East to face the Monster that is Rachel the Great. So am I upset or do I have issue yes I sure do, I am upset that she was handled with dainty kid gloves, and run in meaningless races against lower tier optional claimers, horses who had not even won a race, allowance and Grade III horses at best, and yeah people would or will say what about LIS, that’s one horse and you can mark my words when I say LIS either will not run in the BC this year or she will finish up the track to legitimate Grade 1 dirt horses.

I mean think about the discussion if Zenyatta runs in and wins the Hollywood Gold Cup, Pacific Classic and then the BCC.  I mean people want to “Give” her this award so bad, especially for the connections who are good people.  Well no matter what the sentiment 1 race doesn’t make a year.  And just because the Moss’s are nice doesn’t mean that HOY gets given to their horse, the horse has to earn it all year long.  I think there is a huge double standard that people live by when it comes to JJ, he’s done nothing to anyone but give us 3 of the most exciting years in horse racing memory.  And he realizes that horses lose and therefore he puts his horses in tough spots to accomplish greatness.  And that is really what this is about, greatness compared to perfection.

Some have compared Zenyatta’s campaign to Pepper’s Pride, some consider it silly, others consider it valid, one person’s perspective is kinda their reality, I wouldn’t compare the two, although I will say that other than her BCC, BLC, and Apple Blossom, this mare ran in the weakest division of horse racing in her region, and faced the least resistance of any HOY candidate in recent memory.  1 race will never make a year (Let me Repeat that: “1 Race will NEVER make a year”, and that is why I have said all along that Summer Bird’s campaign trumps Zenyatta’s, laugh if you like and argue if you like but his 3rd place Arkansas Derby, 1st Place Belmont, 1st Place Travers, 1st Place JCGC, and 4th Place BCC would almost in any other year trump a horse that won 1 Grade 2 and 4 Grade 1’s in the races that she ran in.  I mean seriously (Milady, Vanity, C.L. Hirsch, Lady’s Secret) vs (Ar Derby, Belmont, Travers, JCGC) hands down there is no comparing these races.  The worst part about it is the feeling that just because she stayed in training that she should be a front runner, that’s sad, if you flip the situation and think back to Curlin’s campaign, if Jackson had run him in the New Orleans H, Oaklawn H, Stephen Foster, Whitney and BCC, that would have caused so much flack and even more hating of Jackson, now off that campaign, Curlin would have been a much fresher horse and may have given a better accounting of himself, unfortunately this same view was not held by the Moss’s they wanted Zenyatta to be perfect in the easiest scenario, never really testing her, I mean the Classic was impressive because she made it hard on herself breaking on the wrong lead but its still her home track and fav surface and she is a closer.  Put her on dirt 6 times this year against legitimate Grade 1 horses and we find out what type of horse she really is, the Zenyatta lovers realize that they Moss’s didn’t have confidence in her ability to win on dirt because a Careless Jewel, Music Note, Hystericalady, Swift Temper, Icon Project, and especially Rachel Alexandra getting loose at the top of the stretch with a late kick would bury Zenyatta this is why she raced primarily on synthetics, common sense tells you that if in 13 out of 14 races she raced on a surface made for closers and if in 11 out of 14 races she faced the weakest and most unimpressive competition you’ll ever see, that her connections knew she was vulnerable. Think about it, she had to get up to beat Anaaba’s Creation by a desperate all out life and death head. What happens in that race when its on dirt and Careless Jewell hits the top of the stretch in front by 10 lengths, it’s laughable to think that some feel that Zenyatta would beat Rachel Alexandra at any distance.  On dirt I scoff at that, here is a list of legit horses that in 2009 would have if on dirt hurt the Moss’s feelings due to a loss in her career record log.  

Careless Jewel – 3 yr old, Flashing – 3 yr old, Music Note – 4 yr old, Sara Louise – 3 yr old, Icon Project 4 yr old, Seventh Street 4 yr old, Rachel Alexandra 3 yr old.  Now before the Zenyelots go off, I am not saying she would have lost any specific race, what I am saying is that horses lose and any of these horses firing their best shot in 2009 would have beaten Zenyatta (ON DIRT) some might think different but that is my opinion.  The sad part is you weren’t able to find out if she could handle the rigors of a true HOY campaign, because she was put through a HOC, or Horse of California campaign. Sad but true and not very impressive at all.  But we come to expect that from the West Coast, there is not much quality out there, and so the fans of horses like Zenyatta get into debates on message boards and really can’t talk about legit Grade 1 winning horses, they have to lower their expectations and argue about horses who placed in Graded races.  Shameful but true, this horse finished 3rd in a grade II or a grade III, that impresses them.  What is Horse racing coming to when a HOY candidate beats horses like modification, Allicansayiswow, anaaba’s creation, champagne eyes, Hot N’ Dusty and all in the same state none the less.   Alas we have Jess Jackson to make the game enjoyable and fun to watch.  BLAH

08 Jan 2010 10:14 AM
Azeri All the way

So much talk about Zenyatta, this is comical, Azeri did so much more than Zenyatta in so many more places. Azeri was tested, proven and thoroughly defined, while Zenyatta was so ... well ... protected every inch of the way. Zenny's connections would benefit from studying Azeri's playbook. Going for "perfect" in your own backyard is a cheap substitute for "tested" and "proven" hither and yon. That is the precedent set by many a deserving HOY in years past, and that is the precedent that must be lived up to now.

08 Jan 2010 10:57 AM
carolyn

Rachel Fan:

Apparently, the Eclipse voters do not feel the way you do, or maybe they wouldn't have snubbed JJ as owner of the year. Seems to me if they thought like you think, he would be nominated for that award.

08 Jan 2010 1:58 PM
CV

"Some have compared Zenyatta’s campaign to Pepper’s Pride...But we come to expect that from the West Coast, there is not much quality out there...the sad part is...BLAH"

                                   --Rachel Fan

That my friends, is the sound of Mid-America/East Coast bias. Four (4), yes FOUR vertical screens full of nastiness aimed at Zenyatta!

The sad part is Rabid Rachelites like yourself think it's OK to rip and tear at Zenyatta to pump up their beloved Rachel.

It isn't enough for you to celebrate both of these champions. No, the Rabid Rachelites must crush Zenyatta and step over her body to elevate their favorite.

THAT is what is so sad, Rabid Rachel Fan, sad and bad for the sport of racing. BLAH, indeed.

P.S. Peppers Pride is a retired New Mexico champion who raced from 5 1/2 furlongs to one mile. She never ran a Classic distance of 1-1/4 miles and of course, never faced champions from here and overseas. Zenyatta did both.

08 Jan 2010 2:13 PM
Householder

Azeri All the Way.  So by your playbook Zenyatta should have shipped to the Apple Blossom and skipped racing the males and opted for the Breeders' Cup Distaff (the only other time Azeri shipped during her 4 year HOY season). Unlike Lady's Secret and Zenyatta what is glaringly missing from Azeri's HOY "playbook" is a race against males (and as the Culin camp demanded last year a race at 1 1/4 to be exact).  Azeri's HOY season...Vanity, Clement Hirsh, Lady's Secret.  Sound familiar?  But then again, these were on dirt so they are no longer considered "Historical."  

08 Jan 2010 3:06 PM
Mike Relva

AZERI ALL the way

How come Mike Smith has stated several times that ZENYATTA IS THE BEST HE'S EVER BEEN ON? You do realize he rode Azeri,right?

08 Jan 2010 3:10 PM
Householder

Azeri won the Vanity at age 4 and 5.  Zenyatta won the Vanity at age 4 and 5.  Mike Smith rode both...end of story.  I won't bore everyone with Smith's Zentatta quotes.  

08 Jan 2010 3:14 PM
funnycideoflife

LAZMANNICK, I would NEVER question Ruffian's greatness. Frankly, anyone who does has no right to be voicing their opinions on this blog or any blog. Like I said before, I just don't think it's  fair that some people don't ever want to rank another filly ahead of Ruffian because they don't want to disrespect her memory. Ruffian will ALWAYS be VERY VERY special, (heck, she even has her own hospital) but that does not mean another filly in the future cannot surpass her accomplishments.

Footlick: For the record, I'm a she. Thanks for backing me up. : )

08 Jan 2010 6:19 PM
Footlick

funnycideoflife- No problem.

08 Jan 2010 8:24 PM
LAZMANNICK

funnycideoflife:

I apologize for the way I came across.  I know you aren't questioning her greatness.  I'm just trying to put a spin on why I think that Ruffian is seperated from the pack.  LOL

08 Jan 2010 8:25 PM
LAZMANNICK

CV

Regarding Pepper's Pride never running the Classic distance of 1-1/4 miles and never facing champions from here and overseas. Zenyatta did both......

Actually Rachel hasn't either.  LOL

08 Jan 2010 8:30 PM
Footlick

Laz- you do like to stir things up-lol!

09 Jan 2010 10:47 AM
LAZMANNICK

Footlick:

Got to do something to keep awake.  LOL

09 Jan 2010 3:12 PM
carolyn

LAZMANNICK:

I always look forward to your posts on here or anywhere, You know your stuff and you don't back down. I thank you a whole lot because I haven't been following racing but a few years and you aways come to my defense, I really appeciate it so much, I expect a few others on here are in the same boat as I am, but just don't want to admit to it.

09 Jan 2010 4:22 PM
CV

"Actually Rachel hasn't either."

                           --LAZMANNICK

True, but I've made a point of defending Zenyatta while never attacking Rachel Alexandra, because I detest that mean-spirited vibe. It's as if people have dragged their ugly political arguments over to this contest, too.

I cheered for Rachel when she ran in the Preakness. I didn't see her Haskell and Woodward live on TV because my cable provider didn't carry them, but I would have cheered her on then, too.

I like Rachel. I think she's amazing.

It's just that I "connected" more with Zenyatta, maybe because of her out-sized personality and maybe because she physically reminds me of Ruffian. And also because she never, ever gives up, even when she's so far behind it looks impossible. Zenyatta never quits, she just runs faster.

I see the true heart of a Thoroughbred in her. So, when people attack her, I call them out.

09 Jan 2010 4:25 PM
draynay

CV no one is attacking Zenyatta.  The facts are the facts.  She is a fair weather poly horse.  She traveled thousands of miles and when the track came up a little wet they packed her up and sent her home.  That was her chance to prove herself as a true champion but she packed it up and went home.  Rachel ran in the mud and beat the best 3 year old horses in the country in the mud.  That is what real champions do.  Rachel beat males on dirt 3 times and Zenyatta has never beat males on dirt.  Who is the better horse?  Clearly the best in 2009 was Rachel Alexandra.

09 Jan 2010 5:34 PM
CV

Edit: Just to be clear, I'm not calling you mean-spirited, Lazmannick. I'm referring to the uglier HOTY attacks I've seen launched on a variety of blogs.

09 Jan 2010 6:10 PM
carolyn

Lazmannick is in no way mean-spirited. Laz, happens to be someone that knows their stuff and don't take BS about the horse's that he/she believes in. I highly respect Laz, footlick, Mike R. and any and everyone that respects both horse's and all horses and don't just target Zenyatta, the reaon we/they come back with a rebuttal is because of the way that some just attack Zenyatta like yesterday's garbage, That makes everyone come back packing heated exchanges. I think Rachel is a great filly, but she doesn't overcome Zenyatta by far, Zenyatta has had a outstanding career, one that many trainer's and owners only can dream of..

09 Jan 2010 7:15 PM
LAZMANNICK

CV

No problem.  I enjoy your posts and I think I know exactly where you are coming from.

I'm a staunch Zenyatta fan and for what I believe are the right reasons.  That being said, it might seem like I have a profound dislike for Rachel.....that is not true because I think that she really is special.  I also cheered for her in the Woodward, especially the way she dug in when Borel kept after her.  So if you think that I am attacking Rachel, I’m not and you can go back and read a lot of posts and try and show me where I was vicious against her in particular.

I am attacking the false quality of her competition, the quality of this year’s Preakness (the weakest field in a long time), the quality of the Woodward (maybe the weakest for such a prestigious race) and even the Haskell, though Rachel certainly did whip everyone, but don’t forget that Curlin also lost this race and the winner of it won’t go down in history as an all time great.  She won these races against males because the competition was weak.  She won her races against 3 y.o. fillies because she simply outclassed weak fields.  It happens all the time, that’s horse racing and I don’t have a problem with it.  If people want to call the victor of such races an all time great, that’s their prerogative.

Where I have a problem is when certain bloggers (usually the same old group) feel they have to attack everything that Zenyatta has accomplished.  They attack Zenyatta for scratching in Kentucky because of the track surface and yet conveniently have nothing to say about Rachel skipping the BC because she didn’t like the track surface.  It is true that many of the fields Zenyatta raced against weren’t exactly stellar, but neither was the strength of the competition that Rachel raced against.  When I said (and neither did Rachel) it wasn’t meant as a slight to Rachel.  It was in response to the blogger who made the original remarks about Pepper’s Pride and comparing Zenyatta’s accomplishments to her accomplishments, in other words a derogatory slight to both.  It turns me off when these same bloggers attack Zen’s accomplishments in the BCC and look for a dozen ways to diminish the quality of the field or their ability to adapt to the surface.  In other words they simply have to do it.

That’s why I get as passionate as I do and if anyone thinks that I am attacking certain horses or their connections then it’s their prerogative to think that.   For many years I have always admired the sport and the participants in it.  I love evey horse and feel their pain when they are injured and breakdown.  Where I have a huge problem with some of the critics.  Have a good day and LOL.

09 Jan 2010 8:51 PM
LAZMANNICK

Hay Carolin:

Keep the spirits up.  Good to hear from you.  LOL

09 Jan 2010 9:57 PM
CV

"CV no one is attacking Zenyatta.

                                  --draynay

OK, let's look at some of the *milder* stuff you have posted on a dozen different blogs. "Zenyatta is a fair weather poly pony...a poly fiber recycled rubber horse...she barely caught an allowance winner at the wire..."

And of course, you uttered the ridiculous statement I debunked earlier, that "Zenyatta is little more then a glorified Peppers Pride."

Didn't take me long to find those, and I've read nastier stuff you posted but didn't find it quick enough to cut and paste here.

Of course, there was a classic post from you on the Paulick Report (that made me laugh out loud!) in which you ranked Rachel Alexandra ABOVE Secretariat, Man O'War, Count Fleet, War Admiral, Affirmed, and possibly Citation.

The other commenters on that site were taken aback at that whopper, to say the least.

Here's something else from that same blog. Another person noted that, "HOF jockey Gary Stevens has said that Zenyatta is the greatest racehorse he has EVER seen (and) Bob Baffert has said that Zenyatta was the greatest female racehorse of all time."

And finally, there was this from a commenter named Ray (Paulick?) which sums up the whole HOTY debate: "Rachel is a great filly who ran the far better campaign this year. Zenyatta is a great mare who beat far better horses this year."

Oh, I also found you were BANNED for a time on this blog and a few others, lol. It appears you didn't learn much from that experience.

09 Jan 2010 11:58 PM
carolyn

CV:

Remember this, It is more of us Zenyatta fans then there is Rachel fans. RA fans are in a very very small minority it is about a handful of them compared to the world of Zenyatta fans.  It may come down to RA getting the HOY for her "ONE" year, or it may not, Either way if, her owner nor  jockey was considered  enough for the nom. I would at least considered CB for his great job with MTB. I was and am flabbergasted that he was not up for the nom (for what everyone thought that he would have been due to RA) for her anyway.  I am beginning to think that if you award RA for HOTY, then why not her connections (jockey, owner, stables that house her) and whatever. Either way, RA fans will continue to put Zenyatta and her world of fans down, because it is the only way they can boost Rachel up, they cannot give credit to Zenyatta because it is against their code of ethics, I suppose.

Zenyatta is the queen CV, and we are her fans and we will give her the credit she deserves even if Ra gets the award, I promise you, it will not affect Zenyatta one bit.

My goodness, look at what Zenyata has amassed since winning the BCC, I don't blame the others, I would be jealous too.

10 Jan 2010 10:17 AM
draynay

OK, let's look at some of the *milder* stuff you have posted on a dozen different blogs. "Zenyatta is a fair weather poly pony...a poly fiber recycled rubber horse...she barely caught an allowance winner at the wire..."

Which part of what I said is not true?  Did the horse EVER run on an off track ?  Did it not require a picture 2 races back to see if she won at the wire ?  Have I not said over and over again she is the best poly horse ever???  What else can you say about her besides that ?  She didn't race on anything all year but poly.  She proved herself king of the poly what else has she proved ???

10 Jan 2010 11:45 AM
carolyn

Zenyatta proved herself "Queen" to the world when she won the Breeders' Cup Classic, thats what!! She went up against a better field of horses than RA went up agaist in all her races combined. First of all, Any trainer/owner that wanted to take a chance of the $5 million purse could rightfully do so, as long as they realized who they would race against, that being a superb group of horses from around the world, and of course Zenyatta. It's not Zenyatta's fault that JJ was scared his filly could not win on Zenyata's stepping grounds, those are his words to be exact, because after the woodward he told Christina O. that the other horse had the advantage, meaning his filly would flatline against our girl Z.  Tim Ice, Wooley, and Bob Baffert and the others took the chance, instead of backing down, SB, was no synthetic horse either but Tim said he trained well on them, hey, he came in the money, he gave it what he had, and he didn't dissappoint. You do not snub the BC races wherever they are held. Believe you me, I promise that down the road, they will be held in SA. again.

10 Jan 2010 12:42 PM
CV

Rachel, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, poly, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, Dirt, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, Rachel, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, Zenyatta bad, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, Rachel, Rachel, Rachel.

                                         --Draynay

I think that nicely sums up all your comments. Kinda tiresome, if you ask me. ;)

10 Jan 2010 12:56 PM
MonicaV

Carolyn,

You seem to see things one way.  When Jess Jackson made that remark at the Woodward, Zenyatta had raced 3 times, Rachel was on her 8th race.  Rachel had raced on Poly once and every synthetic track is different.  Jackson shipped Curlin last year because he felt it was best for the sport.  Curlin was the star attraction last year, they needed him there.  Mr. Jackson didn't feel the need to this year and why wouldn't an owner want his horse to have every advantage?  He was not afraid to run her against Zenyatta, he just wanted things equal.  Why must it always be ducking and fear?  

11 Jan 2010 10:44 AM
MonicaV

Carolyn,

Also, the BC races have been run for 26 years.  I was at the inaugural and several others.  How did they determine the best horse prior to 1984?

11 Jan 2010 10:45 AM
MonicaV

Draynay,

You and I both know that Zenyatta ran on dirt and was stunning doing it.  She could run on any surface and you know that.  You cannot take away her greatness simply because she ran on poly in all but one race.  Her one race on dirt was her best.  Who is to say she would not have been even better had she run on dirt?  She probably would have been.  You are correc that she never ran on an off track.  Could be that she doesn't handle slop well and that's why she was scratched at CD.  She's an extremely big horse so she may not handle it well but it still doesn't mean she's anything but fantastic.  

11 Jan 2010 10:50 AM
MonicaV

Carolyn,

How do you know there are more Zenyatta fans than Rachel fans?  

11 Jan 2010 10:51 AM
Mike Relva

MONICA V

How DO you know there's not?

11 Jan 2010 5:42 PM
Rachel Fan

Monica V, apparently she cannot run on any surface as she was scratched due to rain showers back in May on the 1st, (looks to me like if the surface is not lightning fast she can't put forth her best effort, i've heard people say she could run on glass if she had to, well apparently not as they scratched her out of a race due to rain showers but 45 mins after that race Rachel romps by 20 1/4 lengths.  hmmmmmmmm,  I also find it amazing that the new world rankings are out and Zenyatta as a 5 year old is rated 1 pound higher than the 3 year old, still growing and maturing Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta rec'v her 128 lbs from her BCC win and Milady start, Rachel earning hers in the Oaks, Haskell and Mother Goose. Again an indication as to which is the superior horse.

And please stop talking about a race that occured 21 months ago, do people really feel that the 2008 Apple Blossom has anything to do with what she is currently capable of, if you do then you might want to think again.  The key to your statement is the word “Probably” the connections had every chance to prove she was a champion on dirt, remember dirt and turf are where champions have been crowned for the last 100 or so years, this new synthetic thing just started a few years ago, as for stunning, lol, she beat Ginger Punch a horse that was starting to be cranked for a hard 2008 campaign and there were no other notables in the race as was the case in 12 out of 14 of her races, not a really strong argument there.

CV you seem to not have anything relevant to say, you are wasting people’s time with your rants against Dray, you should email him and say what you have to say instead of continuing with your elementary school tirades.

Carolyn, you seem to be Zenyatta’s biggest fan, but at the same time have the least amount of knowledge, Zenyatta faced one of the most talented fields ever assembled at the BC this we agree on, what you fail to understand and may never understand is that these horses were good on their own surface. SB, MTB, Giralomo and Regal Ransom, all dirt horses didn’t stand a chance, Twice Over and Rip and Gio, well Rip was ailing and he and twice over had been chasing Sea of Stars all year, Gio was set up nicely for the race and his form transferred over, CJ, Richard Kid, Awesome Gem and Einstein of those only Einstein was a legit G1 caliber horse this year on synthetics, so there was her competition, Gio (grass horse) Einstein (versatile).  So you have to understand that this risky move that they took entering her in the Classic, well it doesn’t look as risky huh, maybe it does to you Carolyn and maybe you don’t even have any idea what I am talking about but these are the facts not an opinion.

12 Jan 2010 8:20 AM
Footlick

Rachel Fan- I wish you would take your own advice.  Every post of yours is exactly the same.  And you feel that you can tell other people that they are wasting people's time?  You have an issue with everyone who makes any positive comment about Zenyatta.  Become a fan of horse racing and appreciate both for what they are- magnificent animals who ran wherever their owners put them.  Please put your negativity to other uses.

12 Jan 2010 12:49 PM
Mike Relva

RACHEL FAN

BTW bet that world ranking made your week! lol

12 Jan 2010 12:49 PM
Dr. Greenthumb

Rachel fan-those Are your opinions NOT facts.Everone has them.Try again.

12 Jan 2010 1:33 PM
carolyn

Jess Jackson will have to learn that he doesn't make the rules in the horse racing industry.

Monica, Did you watch JJ after the woodward? I did, and I know what the man said, I will say it again. "We are not going to the BC because the other horse has the advantage"  He was saying he already knew Zenyatta would be at SA in one of the BC races, and he was not going against her in SA because he knew he had a snow ball chance in hell of beating Zenyatta at SA, and he knew that could tarnish RA reputation.....I am putting this on every blog so the world can be refreshed as to what JJ said in his own words.....Yes, he did indeed "DUCKED" Zenyatta. Bad thing about it is, had he not wasted his time in the grade 2 competition he was running against in most (not all)of the races he put RA in(too avoid Zenyatta) he could have been training her on synthetics (that she raced and won on before, or similar) and she could have went up agaisnt Zenyatta in the biggest  race of the year, the BCC...where the biggest purse and best competition from around the world could have ran against...Oh, bad word, RA couldn't be put in that race , could she, with the distance and the foreigners she would have to face....only a real filly could take that challenge on...and she did, and won.....P.S. Why would Zenyatta come east, when the biggest race and the toughest race was being held in her own state, if JJ wanted to prove what he had, he should have come west, he lives out there....by the way, Rachel was no stranger to a surface other than dirt. her first time on poly, she won on it......

12 Jan 2010 2:00 PM
joe schmoe

Ra will get beat this year. RA will not win the Breeders Cup Classic in 2010. it's as simple as that.

12 Jan 2010 2:59 PM
LAZMANNICK

Rachel Fan

We're still yawning.

Have you checked the WORLD THOROUGHBRED RANKINGS lately.  Zenyatta's still ahead so what else is new.  I know, I know, like you I get tired of hering that too.

Yawn! Yawn! Yawn!

12 Jan 2010 3:57 PM
CV

"CV you seem to not have anything relevant to say, you are wasting people’s time with your rants against Dray, you should email him and say what you have to say instead of continuing with your elementary school tirades."

Others here think my comments are relevant, so I think I'll ignore yours. lol.

After all, it was the same mile-long rant trashing Zenyatta and her defenders that you've already posted many times.

It's sad you don't seem capable of saluting the terrific achievements of both Rachel and Zenyatta like I do.

In fact, you seem a bit frenzied, Rachel Fan. Perhaps you should do something to chill out.

Oh, and you guessed wrong. I have a college degree. :)

12 Jan 2010 4:16 PM
carolyn

Something more for RA fans to choke on, The World Thoroughbred Rankings have voted Zenyatta ahead of RA, damn, I'm beginning to believe if RA don't get the hoty, then she won't have won any polls, especially like the "WORLD" has voted for Zenyatta since her win in the BCC. The chairman of the WTR said, they were voting for Zenyatta for hoty.

12 Jan 2010 10:49 PM
LDP

Carolyn,

    It wasn't like Zenyatta was voted ahead of RA by ten points, take the zero off the end of that ten and you have how much the world voted Zenyatta ahead by. With an easy Classic win on her own surface, I am not surprised they put her ahead, they count synthetics and dirt as the same thing, and her performance was fantastic. You couple that with the popular belief that a great older horses has the advantage over a great three year old and it's not hard to see why she was voted ahead.

13 Jan 2010 6:14 AM
LDP

Also and this is to all of you, back off of Monica. She is a voice of reason among all of this maddness. Her posts are always fair and well thought out and she asks legit questions at times they need to be ask. She is always polite (I don't think I've ever seen her get rude on any of these blogs). There is no reason to get snippy with a person who did not rant or fly off the handle.

13 Jan 2010 6:23 AM
carolyn

LDP,

Since Zenyatta has been on top of the world since her BCC win, rankings,polls, etc. etc...I think everyone including me are starting to feel sorry for RA and we don't care if she gets the hoty, because she ran in three more races to get it. But it's one thing you RA fans will have to admit and that is the BCC is a very important race, unlike what most of you have said, and I dont care if it's one point or ten, ever since the BCC the world has put Zenaytta ahead of RA. Yes, since she ran in 3 more races, if the voters give it to RA so be it, it sure doesnt' take anything away from Zenyatta, actually it puts more pressure on RA for this year 2010......I hope she don't disappoint???? If RA gets the HOTY, it will be by a slim margin, pity,and east coast biases...

13 Jan 2010 1:38 PM
Footlick

I have no problem with Monica's blogs, but as we all know everybody has the right to respond and say whatever they want, fortunate or unfortunate as that may be.  There are so many more unpleasant blogs here than was responded to Monica's posts. As far as great older horses vs. great 3 yr olds- the Europeans see 3 yr olds beat their best older horses much more than they do here.  I think they know what to look at in that regards, since their top rated horse by quite a large margin is a 3 yr old.

13 Jan 2010 2:09 PM
Draynay

I can't believe you people really want to give a poly specialist with 5 wins on the stuff HOY.  It really is nuts that one great race in your minds means she should win despite EVERYTHING Rachel accomplished this year again and again.  How sad.

13 Jan 2010 2:55 PM
Phony

People who question if RA can ever be better than Zenyatta? The answer is No!!

Why? you asked,  Because RA will never retire with both BC wins.

She will never retire "Undefeated"

She will only be remembered for "One" good year.

She will be defeated again in 2010!

If she races at all, thats a big if...she will only run in 5 or 6 races at the most.

So all of you who are condemning Zenyatta's schedule last year? wait til you see RA schedule this year, if she races at all....

It took every thing out of her to win the last 3 races she was in...on her belly to beat Macho Again....Zenyatta would have wiped the floor with RA on any surface.....

13 Jan 2010 6:39 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

You know what is also sad? That after Zenyatta spotted the ENTIRE FIELD something like twelve lenghts and she won in the style she did and some want to treat her as if she's a claimer. That's sad!

13 Jan 2010 9:23 PM
Draynay

Phony is your name?  It suits you.

13 Jan 2010 10:09 PM
Phony

DRAY:

In response to your post?

" I can't believe you people want to give a poly specialist the award"

For one thing, a very talented horse that is and has been leading in all polls since her win in the BCC, isn't just considered a "poly specialist" only to small subject minds like your's.

You see, the world looks at the mare as a beauty to behold,and a champion race horse.

Now be it, that the filly is indeed a very special one, but in the world's eyes, the mare took on the world and won,

Always remember, because they come around at the end of this year to, and that the Breeders' cup races are very prestigious races and are looked upon world-wide in that honor.

So if you plan on seeing your beloved RAchel racing in the BCC at the end of 2010, Don't be putting the BC races down today, and especially where we decide to hold them at.

Your filly isnt guarenteed a shoe in the BCC or BC races yet????

She will have to be proven good enough to be "in it to win it" right???

13 Jan 2010 10:40 PM
draynay

Phony not one horse in two years that ran on dirt before the Cup races on poly won a race.  Running on poly for the Breeders Cup was a bad joke and decided nothing.  I want to know who the best DIRT and TURF horses are each year.  If you want to know who the best poly horse is hold a POLY championship. Asking dirt horses to compete on a poly track is crazy and doesn't work.  HOY is not for poly only horses and all year Zenyatta was nothing more then a poly horse.  And still after all this time NO ONE is willing to tell me what she did besides winning the Cup on the poly track that earns her HOY.  Somebody tell me what she did that earns her the award.  Anyone ?

16 Jan 2010 9:04 AM
Carolyn

So everyone of Ra fans, hope that out of the turf writers that sent their Eclipse ballots in, hope that RA got one extra vote to give her the nod over Zenyatta. I heard 39 of them didn't even participate or send their's in because they didn't want to vote agaisnt Zenyatta or RA, and it is only about 280 voters in all.

16 Jan 2010 3:05 PM
Aluminaut

Tell me how you sleep.....

For Dray after the TVG announcement today.

17 Jan 2010 1:23 AM

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