Dirt, a Real Sportsman, and a Great Weekend of Racing

Before touching on a great weekend of racing, let me start out by stating six sweet words that should have racing fans around the nation jumping for joy:

Santa Anita is returning to dirt.

It's the best news we've heard from the California racing industry in a decade. Sure there are a few California-based trainers that prefer the disastrous Cushion Track/Pro-Ride concoction that has occupied the legendary track for the last few years, but believe me, the majority of the horsemen in California, as well as racing fans around the country, are thrilled with the decision by Frank Stronach to end the synthetic experiment. I'm sorry it took this long, but kudos to Stronach for making the right decision.

We could debate the synthetic vs. dirt argument for days, but these are the facts: A) Handicappers prefer dirt, B) Despite the research, there has been no proof that synthetics are safer than dirt for horses, C) The Cushion Track/Pro-Ride at Santa Anita has been a problem from the very start, D) East Coast horsemen don't like to run their horses over synthetics and are more likely to ship horses to Santa Anita now that it is returning to dirt, E) The Breeders' Cup is better off being run on real dirt for a number of reasons, and F) Dirt racing is a truer test of horses' real talent.

Returning Santa Anita to dirt is not the end of California's racing problems, not by a longshot. The Oak Tree-to-Hollywood mess is disturbing, as are the consistent small fields due to a declining horse population in the state, the industry's financial woes, lack of leadership, and the waning enthusiasm for the sport in general.

But make no mistake: This was a huge first step.

Before I get into the star-studded Alabama, which along with the Whitney may be the race of the summer, let me first say this: Win or lose, I commend Jerry Hollendorfer and the connections of Blind Luck for taking the 3-year-old filly on such an ambitious campaign. Hollendorfer, who for some asinine reason that nobody can explain is not in the Hall of Fame, has taken his star filly to five different racetracks in six races this year, showcasing her all over the country for fans everywhere to see. Imagine that.

Hollendorfer is someone that gets it. As he told me yesterday, the lack of 3-year-old filly races in California is a major reason why he decided to take Blind Luck on such an ambitious nationwide campaign, but he also does not back down from competition. He feels that he has the best 3-year-old filly in the nation and has set out to prove it--on the racetrack. Not by hiding her in California and taking the easy path. He wants a champion and he knows the best way to do it is to beat Devil May Care head-to-head--even if he has to fly over the Rockies and have her out of his barn for a few days to do it. He is a real sportsman.

Anyway, I wouldn't be disappointed if Blind Luck won the Alabama but I am not picking her. As I said on That Handicapping Show, I simply think Devil May Care is a little bit better. She also has the advantage of having two wins over the track and is probably better suited for 10 furlongs. The way she won her last two races was ridiculous.

For value, I will use Havre de Grace in my exacta. The improving Tony Dutrow filly was beaten a nose by Blind Luck in the Delaware Oaks and before that beaten a neck by another terrific 3YO filly, No Such Word. She is getting good and if she improves even a little, can pull an upset here.

Because I have already rambled on too long, I will keep my Arlington picks very brief. I like Tazeez to pull the upset in the Arlington Million, with Gio Ponti and Tajaaweed filling out my exacta; Hot Cha Cha in the Beverly D., with Acoma to hit the board; and a Paddy O'Prado/Wigmore Hall exacta box in the Secretariat.

Good luck everyone. Who do you like?

563 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Patrick

Wow just wow.  Facts? If you're going to write a blog or be a journalist and talk about facts please hyperlink accordingly....

We could debate the synthetic vs. dirt argument for days, but these are the facts:

A) Handicappers prefer dirt...

I've been and a few of my friends have been crushing it on synthetic tracks after about 6 months of it being the surface.  I'll be sad to see it go.  

B) despite the research, there has been no proof that synthetics are safer than dirt for horses...

Please link to the research that has no conclusions.

C) The Cushion Track/Pro-Ride at Santa Anita has been a problem from the very start...

So throw the baby out w/ the bathwater.

D) East Coast horsemen don't like to run their horses over synthetics and are more likely to ship horses to Santa Anita now that it is returning to dirt..

Europeans are less likely to ship, and how many East Coasters went West in the first place?

E) The Breeders' Cup is better off being run on real dirt for a number of reasons....

But you're not going to give those reasons.  Nice platitude.

F) Dirt racing is a truer test of horses' real talent...

What dirt? Saratoga dirt, so Upset should be considered better than Man O'War, or Tampa Bay Dirt, or Churchill dirt, or Belmont Dirt. Horses spent how many thousands of years evolving to run on grass, but 200 is enough for them to now show their best talents on dirt.

Wow just wow!

20 Aug 2010 2:48 PM
Jason Shandler

Patrick: We did a couple different B-H magazine stories on the synethtic research. The results support what I wrote. Find it yourself.

While youre at it, take a poll from handicappers across the country, not your small group of friends, on whether they like dirt or synthetic racing better. Get back to me on that.

Your other points arent worth addressing.

Thanks for weighing in.

20 Aug 2010 3:00 PM
Ian Tapp

Hahahaha!! Patrick, seriously? The 1919 Sanford where Upset beat Man o'War by a neck while receiving 15 pounds?? That proves it-- dirt sucks.

20 Aug 2010 3:13 PM
steve Viuker

Just a quick and possibly naive question-

Why does Tapeta seem to work and not others?

20 Aug 2010 3:13 PM
Karen in Texas

I was glad to read those six words earlier this week! I'm also linking one of the articles that explains the difficulty in drawing conclusions from the statistics compiled on the safety of dirt vs. synthetic tracks.

cs.bloodhorse.com/.../cooperation-breakdown-by-eric-mitchell.aspx

20 Aug 2010 3:21 PM
Tom L

In my opinion, Patrick scored a knockout. He was right on every account. The fact that you refused to comment on the "other points" confirms it.

The only good  part of your article started with the Alabama.  

20 Aug 2010 3:22 PM
davec

Dirt makes better business sense, no doubt about it.    

20 Aug 2010 3:26 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks Karen. Maybe Patrick and Tom can learn something.

20 Aug 2010 3:28 PM
Ed

Wow - the dirt vs. synthetic thing really gets the players' juices going.  

Re catastrophic injury synthetic vs. dirt...the data as you've probably seen is still inconclusive....although the early data seemed to indicate fewer injuries on synthetic, that doesn't seem to be the case with more numbers...I think it will take more data to see any significance...and truly I think there are other factors besides surface that play into it....

Many horses that don't do well on synthetic run better on dirt, or at least 'handle' it better.  Hystericalady was such a filly....she would have trouble pushing off behind on the synthetic, and maybe for those horses that have problems with it, that is the norm.....surely though, horses that run well on synthetic do even better on the dirt....Zenyatta, and several others have made an easy transition from synthetic to dirt..Bob Baffert says that Zenyatta is 10 lengths better on dirt and that's saying something.  Baffert does prefer it for most of his horses.

Surely the grass horses take to the synthetic, and vice versa and the EU grass horses will translate to it easily....

Regardless of surface, I think a truly great horse, though maybe some of the grass ones are better suited to the grass...but the truly great ones should run on both synthetic and easily make the good transition to dirt....

Back in the day...we didn't have the synthetic vs. dirt 'thing' and for Secretariat, Buckpasser and Dr. Fager, Ruffian, Go for Wand.....that's just fine with me !

20 Aug 2010 3:31 PM
ABulldog

I like Gio Ponti on top of Rahystrada and Summit Surge. Then I'll do a pick 4 with race 7- 2,4,6,7, race 8- 1, race 9- 2,6,8,9 race 10- 6 for a $1. Good Luck.

20 Aug 2010 3:33 PM
blindluckfan

I think it is sad that many of  the handicappers seems to be dismissing Blind luck's chances tomorrow.

She has guts and ability and knows where the wire is - even if it is a win by a nose...Do I detect East Coast bias in the pick of Devil May Care?

20 Aug 2010 3:41 PM
Smoking Baby

 This years Alabama will very probably decide the championship for three year old filly.  It sort of reminds me of the Proud Spell/Music Note race of a couple years back.  I'm going with my gut and heart and saying Blind Luck will win.  I know Devil May Care may look better on paper (Music Note did also)but I just think Blind Luck will find a way to beat her.  Needless to say I'm not betting my future on this opinion.  Say what you will but I for one think Santa Anita returning to a dirt surface is GREAT.

20 Aug 2010 3:45 PM
Billy's Empire

A- Handicappers prefer less variables, making it easier to analyze and handicap a race, dirt form to synthetic form and vice versa makes this tricky. You really think the BEST horses won all of those races at the Breeders Cup being run on synthetic. Dirt horses 0-43 at BC on plastic.

B- As Jason, said, there have been numerous article's written on this topic. There is no definitive proof that synthetic is safer

C- they have cancelled racing days, had numerous drainage issues, and have had to switch surfaces already once. this track has been nothing but a problem

D-TRUE TRUE, Jason said more likely, which is much better odds than NEVER. The issue now will be if California can compete with the purses on the east coast and midwest. There has to be a reason to go to Cali. Oh, and to your point on Europeans shipping, they can run on Turf in the Breeder's Cup and dominate like usual.

E- 1.easier to handicap

2.has been run on dirt for 25 years, with the exception of SA, 2 times.

3.If you want to compare records and times, keep it an even playing field.

F-this one point could be debated, b/c I have seen some awesome Turf horses, but all of the "greats" have run and won on dirt

20 Aug 2010 3:49 PM
Anonymous

I am overjoyed to see that Stronach has some common sense to remove that horrible surface and now I just hope that the other tracks across the continent will follow suit.  Synthetic surfaces were a horrible decision for the racing industry and wasted tens of millions of dollars from racetracks, which could have been put to far better use - especially since the industry is struggling as much as it is right now.

I'm a firm believer that the reports issued regarding horse injuries on synthetics versus dirt are skewed to save the tracks from admitting they made a $10 Million+ mistake each.  I think that changing the surface back to dirt will eventually help increase the number of runners in the fields by giving owners and trainers more confidence in the surface and by reducing the injuries and other setbacks the horses receive training on the surface on a regular basis.

As an exercise rider and ex-jockey from a track that has a synthetic surface, I can state that the number of health and soundness issues increased a great deal from the introduction of the new surface.  The number of bleeders increased dramatically and a lot of horses that had previously been fine racing on the dirt surface started gushing after the switch to synthetic.  Of course, statistical information will never actually prove this since every vet claims horses bleed anyway so that all trainers can put their horses on the lasix program.  On top of that, the number of back and hindquarter issues and general soundness issues increased dramatically among the horses that I rode on the synth surface.  

Those that trained on a training dirt surface seemed to fair a lot better and is likely another cause for skewed statistical information.  Most trainers have clued in that they should opt for any other training surface available, especially with their injury-prone horses, and that obviously will affect the reports done about the synthetics.  All the same, not too many trainers or owners will actually voice their opinion about the surface since the tracks will simply take their stalls away for voicing a negative opinion.

Kudos to Stronach and again I hope that everyone else will start to follow suit in the next couple of years.  

20 Aug 2010 3:49 PM
DIRTBAG

HOW DARE YOU CALL BIG SANDY A DIRT TRACK? IT IS 88% SAND. SOME NERVE YOU HAVE YOUNG MAN! GEEZ

20 Aug 2010 3:55 PM
Diane J

SA to dirt is a good decision - I doubt we'll see more horses ship west to run on it except for the Breeder's Cup (when it's there), but I digress.. Blind Luck is my pick for the Alabama, Paddy for the Secretariat, Gio for the Million. Also, you just can't help taking a not so subtle dig at Zenyatta or her connections in any blog you do, can you?

20 Aug 2010 3:56 PM
Jason Shandler

Anonymous: Thanks for weighing in with your opinions. I wouldnt be so sure that other tracks are going to follow in the footsteps of Santa Anita however, at least not for quite a while. I am hopeful like you, but I just dont see racetracks plunking down millions to put in a new surface during this down economy--both in the industry and overall.

20 Aug 2010 3:57 PM
Taxman

All of you synth fans can crawl back into your spiderholes again. Dirt should be back at "The Great Race Place". Most handicappers will welcome it, not just the all-button freaks that play synth like a computer game. True champions should not be crowned on synth. Look at all the great horses we have watched the last few years struggle on synth. Plus add the true story of synth not being the end all be all for injuries and the case is closed. Maybe synth folks can peddle their surfaces to BP to clean up oil spills. My money goes back to SA now.

20 Aug 2010 3:59 PM
Jason Shandler

What are you talking about Diane? I didnt mention her name once in this blog :)

20 Aug 2010 3:59 PM
Billy's Empire

Blindluckfan,

Have you seen Devil May Care's last race? If not, watch it. I doubt his pick has anything to do with an east Coast bias since Jason lives in Lexington, KY. I can see Blind Luck charging down the track after DMC, but I do not see her pulling a Zenyatta and gobbling up ground to beat her at the wire. Should be a great race

20 Aug 2010 4:04 PM
Zookeeper

There are a few reasons why I'm glad that Santa Anita is returning to dirt, none of them very good:

1) I won't have to read anymore comments regarding "plastic crap".

2) Our KD hopefuls won't have to go east to prove that they can run on dirt.

3) We MAY get to see some of the horses from other parts of the country, east & mid-west.

4) Our good horses are less likely to be dismissed as "synthetic specialists".

5) It will remove ONE reason for the "east-of-the-Rockies-snobs" to hold their blue noses when referring to California racing, but only ONE. :)

If I could add to that THE SAFETY OF THE HORSES, I would have the most important reason to be happy about the change. Sadly, I can not because the reports have not only been preliminary (not enough data, not enough time) but they are contradictory.

In the BH article by Jack Shinar "Oak Tree Headed For Hollywood After All" one comment gave me pause... a great big pause. Dr. Rick Arthur, the CHRB's equine director and also a member of the Oak Tree Board said:

"This is one of the safest racetracks in America (SA) Its fatality rate is a QUARTER OF THE NATIONAL RATE."

These few words put a damper on my enthousiasm over not having to suffer through the put-downs of some on here and of the majority of the racing press pundits.

Since there is not a darn thing I can do about it... I hope that, whatever dirt they install at SA, it is the SAFEST possible.

20 Aug 2010 4:07 PM
Convene

Dirt might be best for Santa Anita. None of the synthetics they tried worked consistently, altho 2 Breeders Cups in a row without a catastrophic breakdown sure was nice! It just doesn't seem to manage a consistent surface. Otherwise, I tend to lean toward synthetics - but all stats will be skewed until they're based on horses who race/work JUST on synthetics. The worst part of them, for physiological and mechanical reasons, is hopping from dirt to synthetics and back again. Horses develop differently and move differently on each, so injuries don't seem surprising. Also, each dirt track is different from all the others - as we all know! Patrick echoes my comment on one count for sure: the horse, as a grazing animal, developed to run on grass. When you get down to the nitty-gritty of it all, turf is the truly "natural" surface (and it does have a better starter:breakdown ratio). Prejudiced? Maybe; I really do like turf racing, in part for that reason. Still, maybe dirt will be best at SA. I wait and watch ... The Europeans did support the BC best due to the synthetic track. They use lots of 'em other there and they work. Why they sometimes don't here is a question we need to answer. Woodbine in Toronto has proven safer. Perhaps climate is a more significant factor than previously thought, not to mention what lies beneath! As I said, I watch and wait ...

20 Aug 2010 4:09 PM
Monarchos Matt

Arlington Bets: (Can't wait to get out there tomorrow!)

Race 7- Exacta box with Armstrong Mill, Perfect Shower

Race 8- Exacta box with Paddy O'Prado, Wigmore Hall

Race 9- Exacta box with Eclaire de Lune, Hot Cha Cha and Ave, outright money on Eclaire de Lune and Hot Cha Cha

Race 10- (strategy depends on whether I have a live pick 3 or not and which one...but something like):

Exacta box with Gio Ponti, Tazeez and Summit Surge, exacta key Gio over Tajaaweed, outright money on Tazeez. (Will box all four with a live ticket for Gio only).

Pick 3:

$1 Paddy/ All (minus top 3 below)/ Gio

$1 Paddy, Wigmore/ Eclaire, Hot Cha Cha, Ave/ Gio

$1 Paddy/ Eclaire/ Tazeez, Summit Surge, Tajaaweed, Just as Well.

Good Luck!

20 Aug 2010 4:10 PM
ruffianruns

Jason!  You really know how to get blood boiling!  The mark of a good blogger!

I think it would help your argument to back up phrases like "The Breeders' Cup is better off being run on real dirt for a number of reasons" and "Dirt racing is a truer test of horses' real talent."  I really don't think those are really facts - they're opinions.  I tend to agree with you, but more backup helps when throwing out "facts."

When you say "Dirt racing is a truer test of horses' real talent," I guess you mean as opposed to synthetic surfaces, because grass shows true talent too.

I think the other items you listed are more factual, though.  Seems to me that most handicappers prefer dirt - they have more experience with it.  Also, from what I've read, it seems like the jury is still out on which surface is safer.  If "science" ever proves that synthetic surfaces are less fatal - multiple studies over time, I would have to support synthetics nationwide.  I don't care how hard it is for the humans to deal with.

SA has had problems with the surface, as Del Mar has had problems.  Also, there seems to be a real penalty for dirt horses on synthetics and the opposite isn't necessarily true, so it makes sense that dirt horse trainers won't run on it.  I've read about one dirt horse, and I can't remember the horse, where the trainer said that the horse actually did better on synthetics.  It stood out cause that was the first case I'd heard about.  Euro horses might do better on synthetics, but they have turf to run on.

I am drooling over the Alabama.  DMC seems like a monster, but I'm really hoping that Blind Luck can pull it off.  Thanks Jason for pointing out how ambitious her campaign has been.  She's a warrior.

Eclair de Lune in the Beverly D. for sentimental reasons.

20 Aug 2010 4:18 PM
Jimmy

Thank you Jason. Thank you for saying what all true racing fans feel about the synthetic tracks. Thank you for saying that you prove who is the best horse on the track against the best, and NOT by hiding away in weak races against subpar competition on a phony surface. Imagine that, saying you have the best horse, then actually putting your money where you mouth is and running against the best. Last time I checked, the Alabama is not the Breeders Cup. Jerry, what are you thinking? Don't you know horse racing is all about ONE race....But it is very refreshing to see a champion campaigned like a champion, like Rachel in 2009 and Blink Luck in 2010. Crazy, a top female horse, which happens to be a deep closer, leaving the cozy comforts of the west coast to take on the games best in the most historic track in America, Saratoga. It is always great to see when the sport is put first, and now we have one of the best races of the year this weekend. Good luck to Blind Luck, and even if she doesn't win, at least she took the shot. I can always respect that.

20 Aug 2010 4:18 PM
Smoking Baby

 Jason, do you think Keeneland will possibly follow suit and return to a dirt surface at some point?  I hope so.  Two of my favorite races have always been The Bluegrass in the spring and The Spinster in the fall.  I don't want to call them meaningless but they sure don't seem nearly as important as they once were.  Your thoughts?

20 Aug 2010 4:22 PM
Householder

Its Meadow Star vs. Lite Light minus MC Hammer's gold pants.  By far the best race of the summer.

I'll be rooting for Hollendorfer as I too think this is a very aggressive campaign as he's put Blink Luck right into Devil May Care's sandbox.

We'll have Devil May Care slowing it down once she makes the lead with Blind Luck running from off the pace.  

We may end up with another 7 minute photo decision.  

20 Aug 2010 4:27 PM
Kay

I love the thought that good horses should be able to run on any surface, while in virtually the same breath y'all complain that the really good horses have struggled over the synthetics. Interesting.

Personally, I want the best surface for the horses, for the bettors, for race fields, for horses shipping in, and for the country. I HOPE this new surface will be it but I worry that Stronach is going to get fancy and install some weird, experimental Martian dirt or something that will be even WORSE. Also, the drainage issue needs to be addressed, which means the track needs a whole new base. So hopefully, they will be starting from scratch and won't inherit previous problems with the new surface.

It was SUCH a huge mistake to make the synthetic mandate for all California tracks. It would have been much smarter to change either Santa Anita or Hollywood, and leave the other alone. That way, they could really get a sense for how synthetics were going to work while having the familiar dirt track as a fall-back. Really stupid knee-jerk reaction.

It's nice to think that more horses will ship in but I'll bet that after the dirt is installed, everyone will go back to the "Cali tracks are too hard" complaint.

As far as the Alabama goes, I'll take Blind Luck. I think Devil May Care could be slightly better but Blind Luck is just so gutsy. Totally agreed on Hollendorfer. What does a guy have to do to get into the HOF? It's a real shame about the Beverly D. Between the Tuscan Evening tragedy and Rainbow View's injury, the race is a pale shadow of what it could have been.

"What are you talking about Diane? I didnt mention her name once in this blog :)"

Jason = disingenuous (g)

20 Aug 2010 4:32 PM
Zookeeper

Jason,

Regarding your thinly veiled arrow directed at another CA trainer, I only have one thing to say: not all horses are the same and should be treated accordingly. :)

The more money bet on Devil May Care to win, the more money will be awarded to those who believe in Blind Luck. Since I'm one of them, I urge you all to bet on DMC or any wonderful filly other than my pick. LOL!

20 Aug 2010 4:35 PM
Zookeeper

Jimmy,

"Thank you for saying what all true racing fans feel..." WOW! How arrogant!

20 Aug 2010 4:42 PM
Jason Shandler

You're right Zookeeper, Jimmy should not have said that.

He should have said, "thanks for saying what 97% of racing fans feel." :)

20 Aug 2010 4:43 PM
Billy's Empire

good luck to all the folks going to the track tomorrow. I hope you all cash a ticket.

20 Aug 2010 4:50 PM
Zookeeper

Jason,

It's not so much the "all" I object to, it's the word TRUE. I noticed that your response omitted the "arrogance part" of Jimmy's statement.

20 Aug 2010 4:54 PM
Patrick

Jason you are comical, I must admit that. Your argument says "Handicappers prefer dirt" you say I should take a poll, 2 issues... I'm not the one making an ironclad statement, you are.  The onus of proof is on you.  2nd I think you should reword to say most handicappers.  Writing 101. Maybe that could be the title of your next blog.

@Itapp it was meant to prove a point that dirt racing might not be the truest test of horse.  I'm losing faith in the intelligence of people who post on these articles.

The only thing I've learned from all of this is don't go cheap when installing a synthetic track.  That's what was done, and they got their money's worth.

20 Aug 2010 5:05 PM
Maggie Black

I am very glad Santa Anita is switching to dirt, but that's just my opinion, think whatever you want to. For the Alabama, I'm going with Blind Luck and Devil May Care- the most obvious choices- for W/P/S as I prefer not to bet big. For the Secretariat I'm going with Paddy O' Prado, he just seems like the best choice for me and I have liked him since the Derby. Also, I agree with you Jimmy. Well said.

-Maggie Black

20 Aug 2010 5:14 PM
Maggie Black

Ack, Sorry for 2 comments, but I also agree with Y'all that Jimmy should not have said so of that.

20 Aug 2010 5:15 PM
Smoking Baby

 Maggie Black.  Good picks.  It's hard not to like Paddy O' Prado.  He's a good one and always runs his race.  He should be double tough.

20 Aug 2010 5:29 PM
swede

Jason; Got to agree with DIANE J abount what your intent was. More east coast bias we all know where the best horse-trainer are.

20 Aug 2010 5:37 PM
Rachel

Anyone who likes synthetics more has money invested in stock futures(LOL),

Thanks for saying what THIS racing fan feels!

I love Blind Luck, I'm not changing my mind. I love to watch her run, it's always with pure joy and that tail flying...She and Sydney's Candy are the best 3 year-olds this year.

I have liked Hot Cha Cha for awhile, I hope she gets this one.

20 Aug 2010 5:46 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Dirt, Slop, Mud, no more cancellations due to rain. I'm happy. Anyone else want a Mud Pie or a Dirty Mary to celebrate? I'm buying. His mudder was a mudder, his fadder was a mudder. Now we're back in business. Devil May Care has been spectacular. If Blind Luck can beat her then she is really something. I won't be shocked if Gio Ponti loses but if Paddy loses I will be. I would have liked to have seen Paddy go in The Million. I'm hoping I Want Revenge can win. Last year's Derby favorite who got scratched the day of The Derby. He wasn't going to beat the great Mine That Bird on that day anyway but his Wood win was unreal. Revenge has class. As far as your Zenyatta comment Jason-If she doesn't ship out until The Breeder's Cup and wins The Classic again, then they did everything right AGAIN. That is the goal, and that is what it's all about, and that is what will be remembered.

20 Aug 2010 5:46 PM
Jason Shandler

Smoking Baby: I doubt that Keeneland will change any time soon. I believe they own half of the Polytrack company.

Dr D.: I disagree. The BC isnt the end-all, be-all. You have to compete ALL year, not just in one race.

20 Aug 2010 6:03 PM
Draynay

Good bye to the synthetic garbage and all the records of horses who ran on the garbage.  It all goes under a 4 year experiment with the heading "who cares?" Plastic and horses who ran on it are already a distant memory.

20 Aug 2010 6:12 PM
Runfast159

I've already said it on another blog but I'll say it again: Hurray for the switch back to dirt at Santa Anita!  Enough said.

The Alabama could be a race for the ages type thing.  I love Blind Luck, just love her.  But in her last few races it looks like she'll go right on by the competition, but then she hangs.  I don't think it's a talent issue, I think it's a mental one.

Because of this, and the fact that she's shipping AGAIN, and the fact that DMC is at home at Saratoga, I have to give the edge to her.  

Hollendorfer is having a sensational year, if you can look past the tragic passing of Tuscan Evening.  I have to root for him and his little hard trying, come flying home from Zenyatta-land filly!

This weekend looks chalky to me: Gio Ponti gives me no reason to think he can't win the Million and Paddy should handle his field in the Secretariat.  

The Beverly D is a sad affair to me without Tuscan Evening, and now Rainbow View doesn't run.  I suppose Acoma is as deserving as anyone else.  

Here's to a safe weekend of racing!  

20 Aug 2010 6:13 PM
Mike Relva

JASON:

Ok,you're getting dirt tracks again,you should be happy.

20 Aug 2010 6:21 PM
Mike Relva

DR DRUNKINBUM

Your point about Zenyatta I totally agree. If she wins the Classic again,it will be SARATOGA WHAT!

20 Aug 2010 6:25 PM
ruffianruns

Jason -

I wonder what you WILL think of Zenyatta if she DOES WIN the Classic on dirt over the likes of QR, Blame, RA, LAL, and whoever else shows up.  I know you don't think she'll come close to winning, and you'll still remember her conservative campaign, but what will you think of her ability?

20 Aug 2010 6:35 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

With most horses yes, the BC isn't the end all, be-all, but this is a six year old mare who will have defeated males twice in the world's biggest race, and possibly still be undefeated depending on if she has two more races and what happens in the next. Ideally she would have travelled more, and I'm still hoping she does for her final two, and it appears that after going to Arkansas the last time they decided that The Classic was the goal. It's not a bad goal, and regardless of the poly track and less traveling debates Zenyatta would still go down as one of the best of all time, and in some fan's minds the best of all time. More races against males and a little more traveling could have squashed the debates assuming she won. A lot of ifs. Personally I'm thrilled to have seen what I've seen from Zenyatta. I'd rather see her still racing than to have been retired as they had planned. She's given us additional thrills, and I'm still amazed that she can do it with her running style. If she had traveled more it might not have worked out and she might be retired already. Another chance at a Classic win with a healthy Zenyatta is all I can ask for. How many mares have won The Classic? And these are Graded races she's winning, primarily Grade One. It's not her fault everyone was afraid to face her knowing defeat was nearly certain. It seems to me that you're already setting up your argument against her if she wins The Classic again !!! You should join the party. Her personality, running style, will to win, and the ground she can cover in a short period of time are phenomenal. It will be over soon and you will have missed out on one of the greatest experiences in racing history. It's not too late to become her fan. It's better than Superman, Indiana Jones, the Red Sox beating the Yankees coming back from 3-0, Buster Douglas flooring Tyson, Bobby Thompson's home run, every time she runs. She's an American icon in an era where hero's are difficult to find. If the founder's of the Constitution knew about her they would have stuck to monarchy. She is The Queen.

20 Aug 2010 7:07 PM
MonicaV

I'm as happy as can be about the dirt coming back to SA.  We have always had great racing at Santa Anita until the synthetics came in to play.  We had many an East Coast horse ship in for our big races and the BC had plenty of Euro horses there.

20 Aug 2010 7:10 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

The cancellations were due to drainage failure, not track composition. If the underlying problem is not addressed, with the deluge-like rains we experience in winter, the track will get flooded and training/racing days will be lost.

All tracks have problems when it rains too much, except properly functioning synthetics like Golden Gate's.

I don't know what the HP track looks like in winter, since the horses don't run there, but I seem to remember talks of moving the races there when the going was really tough at SA. So I assume that they did not experience the same problem. However, because of its location, right at the foot of the mountains, SA gets more torrential-type rains than HP does.

What I dislike about dirt-racing in adverse conditions is that they seal the track, because "the show must go on". NOT the best idea as far as safety is concerned.

I'm not saying that SA should not return to dirt and that synthetics are the way to go. I'm just saying that dirt, no matter how "holy" it may be, is not perfect either.

20 Aug 2010 7:12 PM
Jodie

I am glad Santa Anita is returning to dirt for two reason.  Maybe people will shut up about the synthetic versus dirt thing.  And Jackson can no longer use it as an excuse for ducking the Breeders Cup Classic.

I am torn between Blind Luck and Devil May Care.  But I am going with Devil May Care because I think Pletcher has a good record in training fillies. .  Look out for Life at Ten in the PE.

20 Aug 2010 7:12 PM
Criminal Type

I can't choose between these Devil May Care & Blind Luck in the Alabama, they are both really nice fillies. The only choice from a betting perspective would be to use them both and Havre De Gracein.

Im with Jason on Paddy O'Prado. I really like this colt, but I've always been partial to gray horses.

Eclair de Lune and Gypsys Warning in the Beverly D.

In the Million, I'll take General Quarters, again with the gray horse thing, and Gio Ponte, not in that order of course :). I must confess, I am not familiar with Tazeez and had to look up his pedigree. But he is trained by John Gosden. I'd be an idiot not to put a couple bucks on him.

Diana, I saw it too, your not alone. Jason is so deep in denial about Zenyatta's superiority, he doesn't even know he is lying <giggle>

Good luck to all, have a great weekend.  

20 Aug 2010 7:18 PM
Elizabeth

I was quite enjoying reading your blog. I for one was excited to hear the switch back to dirt. Perhaps California racing might garner a little respect, but I doubt much.

Anyway, I was enjoying my read until I reached this:

"F) Dirt racing is a truer test of horses' real talent."

Very much debatable and certainly not fact. That is your opinion. I can't help but think there is little east coast biased in there.

20 Aug 2010 7:31 PM
Ian Tapp

Patrick,

My point is that you literally could have picked 1 million other races that better support your argument than one from 1919 where there were other impacting circumstances and little to do with the "Saratoga dirt" that you insinuated caused Man o'War's loss. Favorites don't always win, regardless of surface. FYI, Man o'War beat Upset over the same track and distance 11 days before, and 10 days after, that lone loss.

20 Aug 2010 7:40 PM
Kay

ITapp:

"My point is that you literally could have picked 1 million other races that better support your argument than one from 1919 where there were other impacting circumstances and little to do with the "Saratoga dirt" that you insinuated caused Man o'War's loss. Favorites don't always win, regardless of surface. FYI, Man o'War beat Upset over the same track and distance 11 days before, and 10 days after, that lone loss."

And wasn't that all about Man O War getting off to a horrendous start because of the starting tape? Pretty sure he handled the track okay...

20 Aug 2010 7:55 PM
LAZMANNICK

Footlick

You're in the Chicago area.  Are you going to the Million?  If you do, have a good one.

20 Aug 2010 7:59 PM
LAZMANNICK

Gee Draynay

How come it took you so long to give your opinion on this subject?  I thought you'd be first to post.

20 Aug 2010 8:01 PM
LAZMANNICK

I thought that Man 'O War had a gate issue when he lost to Upset.  The track itself sure didn't have anything to do with it.

20 Aug 2010 8:04 PM
2:24

LOVE the return to dirt.  

Think Blind Luck wins Alabama.

Agree totally on Hollendorfer.

20 Aug 2010 8:11 PM
John Franklin

Quote from Jason Shandler:

We could debate the synthetic vs. dirt argument for days, but these are the facts: A) Handicappers prefer dirt, B) Despite the research, there has been no proof that synthetics are safer than dirt for horses, C) The Cushion Track/Pro-Ride at Santa Anita has been a problem from the very start, D) East Coast horsemen don't like to run their horses over synthetics and are more likely to ship horses to Santa Anita now that it is returning to dirt, E) The Breeders' Cup is better off being run on real dirt for a number of reasons, and F) Dirt racing is a truer test of horses' real talent.

Mr. Jason Shandler,

I'm glad you have put words in my mouth and told me what I like. So many assumptions on your part that I don't know where to begin to address your inflammatory statements.

20 Aug 2010 8:35 PM
Deborah

Yes, yes, yes!  The dirt is back at Santa Anita.  This is the best news for thoroughbred racing since Smarty Jones derby win!  Thank goodness good sense has prevailed.  Good luck Santa Anita!

Deborah

20 Aug 2010 9:03 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Mike Relva

  I'm not sure if I said welcome back from your sabbatical or not. I meant to. It's good to have you back with your fight for truth, justice, and the American way.

Kay

  It was insane and I was shocked that all of the tracks went along with the synthetic mandate without a fight in the first place. I did hear something about Martian dirt I think. Was it a mandate? I hope not. Could get quite expensive. If the Martians were still coming here they could just fill their pockets and turn them out on the SA track but I don't think any Martians have been here since the 1950's or 60's. I don't know why they stopped coming.

Zookeeper

   I don't like sealed either but I guess there is no choice. Hopefully the underlying issues with the track will be rectified.

20 Aug 2010 9:03 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

Great post regarding Zenyatta. Music to my ears! You won't convince the ones that are "tone deaf" but what the heck, they're the ones missing out, not us.

20 Aug 2010 9:08 PM
Rechelle

Jason, I agree with you 100% on the synthetic versus dirt situation.  I have never thought that the synthetic was safer for the horses and it was never adequately proven to be safer.  I think if the Breeders Cup is going to have races labelled "dirt" then those races should be run on true dirt.  Otherwise, they need to make new races for the 3 different surfaces.  I really don't care much if the Europeans ship in for the Breeders Cup or not, since the championship races help determine the American Eclipse awards (not necessarily win the Eclipse award, but helps if it's a close competition that year).  

To Blindluckfan, I don't think anyone is really discounting Blind Luck's chances tomorrow, I think it's more that she has run a lot of her races in California on synthetics, whereas Devil May Care has run on dirt her entire career.  Personally, I think Blind Luck will win tomorrow, I think she has a bit more talent than Devil May Care.  I have never thought DMC should've run in the Kentucky Derby, I never thought she was good enough to run against the boys and she proved me right in that race.  Blind Luck, however, as she grows up and gains experience and speed, I think will be able to run with the boys and win.  Blind Luck has the better race record and has higher earnings than Devil May Care as well.  They are both extremely talented fillies and either one will be champion 3yo filly this year.  

20 Aug 2010 9:21 PM
skyfire

Jason,

You write the truth, IMO. Dirt will help bring exciting horses to Santa Anita, and Baffert etc. will keep their top dirt race horses like Lookin at Lucky there. I don't think so many Calif. three year olds will travel out of state for triple crown preps.

Hollendorfer is a sportsman, and puts his horses in the top races; as you say, he gets what horse racing is about -- it was very sad when he lost his grass mare, and I wish the best to him and Blind Luck.  However, if Devil May Care had run in the Oaks, she would have won.  She is simply better, and will show that tomorrow.

20 Aug 2010 9:31 PM
Ann in Lexington

Hmmmm, so Franky doesn't have to deal with having Oak Tree at his precious track this October. Just what he wanted all along. Am I too cynical in thinking that he might know something about the asphalt 'rocks' showing up in one section of the track? Which made the horsemen think that the surface couldn't be run on, which led to the CHRB refusing Oak Tree a license to run at Santa Anita. A bit convenient, don't  you you think?

20 Aug 2010 9:57 PM
YanYarD

Hollendorfer better hope that Devil May Care isn't scratched from the race. If her connections avoid Blind Luck, Hollendorfer will promptly lose his status as a REAL sportsman.

20 Aug 2010 10:13 PM
jimthepimp

I read all of these comments and have even thrown my opinion around some in the past. The east coast vs west coast thing has really cranked up in the last couple of years. I have been critical of Zenyatta for her soft California campaigns. She is a great horse but has limited her legacy by her campaigns. RA 2009 campaign was what racing used to be. Dont duck nobody and push her to the limit. Her 2010 campaign is a disgrace for a horse of the year. Jess Jackson lost all confidence in his filly. The same people that love horse racing so much are the ones that are killing it. If the owners were pushing the limits with there horses they could get 60,000 people to come and watch an event. The idea that nobody wants to risk anything except for the Breeders Cup is what hurts our sport. The sport needs to be a season long event. In the NFL nobody watches much preseason because the level of competition isnt up to standards. If the NFL teams only played AA college schools until the super bowl, does anyone really think anyone would care? The NFL would only be on network tv for the super bowl too. The problem isnt just Zenyetta or RA want to take the easiest possible road but that too many owners will be doing the same thing. If the stars of our sport act like it is preseason then the fans support is also at preseason levels. To get the sport back in the main stream the stars have to act like stars. If recent history is any indication of future events then the horse racing business is in for further declines.

20 Aug 2010 10:25 PM
Pam S.

I was going to post comments about Santa Anita but Kay and Zookeeper already have expressed everything I might have said.  (Ladies, you're amazing....)

Except for one little thing:  I can only shake my head sadly at the amount of $$$ this track has sucked up.  I sincerely hope they get it right this time.  And if Dr. Rick Arthur's "one-quarter of the national rate" assertion is true, then I hope it gets even better.

Alabama:  Havre de Grace to upset both the stars!

20 Aug 2010 10:37 PM
Jason Shandler

Yanyar: Congrats on the most senseless comment so far.

Jimthepimp: Congrats on the most sensible comment so far.

20 Aug 2010 10:39 PM
Paula Higgins

Dr Drunkinbum, so well said about Zenyatta and the BCC. Perfectly put and indisputable. While I applaud the connections of Blind Luck for traveling with her, one size does not fit all. What works for a 3 yr old filly may not work for a 6 year old mare. Imagine that.

I will be honest, I have never been a fan of all synthetics. I do not believe they necessarily save life and limb. I wish they did and we wouldn't be having this discussion. The results have been really mixed sadly.

20 Aug 2010 10:54 PM
Zookeeper

John Franklin,

Jason makes provocative statements because that's what gets the blog going and keeps it rolling along at a lively pace. It took me a while to realize that. I used to get my feathers ruffled all the time. Now I simply enjoy the ride. If you think that what he said is wrong, disprove his assertion(s). The rest of us will benefit from what you have to say... or not.

If the only people posting comments were the ones who agree with Jason, the blog would fizzle out in no time and would be quite boring in the process. So please, opine away!

20 Aug 2010 11:14 PM
Paula Higgins

jimthepimp, interesting argument about NFL and AA college teams. There is only one problem, horses aren't people who throw balls for a living. People make a choice to play contact sports and accept the risk. Horses run because we want them to and it is up to their connections to make decisions in their best interest. I trust all trainers and owners try to do that. I am not going to second guess them. All horses are different and have different physical and mental issues/needs. As for the sport itself, viewership is declining for many reasons, the least of them is that the connections are trying to keep their horses healthy and well.

20 Aug 2010 11:16 PM
GhostTown

For those of you that think a dirt track at Santa Anita will bring east coast horses west again, you may either be suffering from delusions or you have just recently discovered racing.  I hope it does but the exodus was taking place long before the synthetics were installed.  I believe the excuse was because the California tracks were too hard and fast.  And Jimmy, are you saying since I really appreciate a good performance whether on dirt, turf or the dreaded synthetic that I am not a true racing fan?  Damn, I sure have wasted a lot of trips to the track these past few years.  I guess I should have stayed home instead of supporting the tracks, horses, owners and trainers that are within driving distance.

20 Aug 2010 11:21 PM
Footlick

Laz- thanks.  I have to work unfortunately.  I really wasn't even going to get involved in this blog because of the sniping and digs that will come with the subject matter.  As far as Arlington, they should be great races.  I think I'd take a Fallon double in the Beverly D and the Million, and Wigmore Hall in the Secretariat, but all races look pretty wide open so should be great betting.  I know they decided to point summit Surge to the Million specifically.  And even though Fallon's filly in the Beverly D isn't as accomplished, you might as well take a flyer  As far as the Alabama, I'll also take a flyer and pick Connie and Michael even though she has more of a chance of folding than staying.  She's going to run to her promise one day.  This would be as good a day as any.  Good luck all on the stakes races this weekend and on this blog.

20 Aug 2010 11:31 PM
TradingPlaces

Kay,

Not just a start, but a trip too. I believe when the tape went up he was facing the wrong way! Then he gets boxed in on the rail, and when he finally gets out and running the wire comes up too quick.

20 Aug 2010 11:33 PM
Secretariat

Blind Luck vs. Devil May Care

This is no challenge for Blind Luck. Why are they even making this out to be a rivalry? Blind Luck is going to completely dismantle Devil May Care.

Devil May Care just isn't the horse Blind Luck is.

Enough said.

20 Aug 2010 11:48 PM
Footlick

Ghost Town- nice post.

20 Aug 2010 11:54 PM
Jodie

What really annoys me about the synthetic versus dirt argument is that some seem to think that winning on synthetics makes them a lesser horse.  When in fact it is much harder to run and to win on it.  I will say it again a horse that is a Champion can  run and win on any surface.  Lucky,

Zenyatta, and Blind Luck have proven that.

21 Aug 2010 12:04 AM
Secretariat

Billy's Empire,

We'll talk to you tomorrow night when you have your tail between your legs and your wondering what the hell happened to "Devil May Care"

You've been watching too many Todd Pletcher videos.

Watch Jerry Hollendorfer take Todd Pletcher to school at approximately 5:48pm EST on 8/21/10.

21 Aug 2010 12:05 AM
Zookeeper

jimthepimp,

With all due respect, I so completely disagree with you that it's not even funny.

THE THING THAT HURTS THE SPORT THE MOST is a horse breaking down in the stretch in front of thousands of people on the site and thousands more watching on TV.

Pushing a horse to the limit is cruel and absurd. Taking risks may be fine when you're risking your own life but when you are risking the life of an innocent animal, the life of the jockey on its back and the life of the other participants in the race, your "paper" courage only serves the enemies of this sport.

Comparing horse racing to football is faulty, football players very seldom die on the field, horses do... too often. Every time one does we lose fans and potential ones. If I ever walk away from this sport, it will be because I have witnessed one breakdown too many. It will never be because too much care and attention was paid to the horse.

Maybe it's just me...  but I think that many here feel the way I do.  

21 Aug 2010 12:13 AM
Mike Relva

SECRETARIAT

I totally agree with you regarding comments to Billy's Empire. Blind Luck will win.

21 Aug 2010 12:31 AM
Jimmy

GhostTown, all I am saying is take results from a synthetic surface with a grain of salt. I happen to be a fan of natural surfaces, like the stuff horses have been running on since the beginning of the sport, and I would like to see horses excel on those surfaces before anointing them as great or champions. I fully support going to the races and supporting the sport in any way you can, so good for you for going to the track these past few years while Santa Anita toyed around with a failed experiment. In the end, I would like to see horses compete against one another all year and for the horse with the most talent and ability to win. With ZERO dirt horses winning a main track race the past two Breeders Cups, I have to think the surface had some kind of affect on the outcome, so it will be nice when a historic track goes back to a surface where all things considered, the horses will be running against one another and the surface wont be a big factor.

21 Aug 2010 12:34 AM
Zookeeper

Paula Higgins,

Your comment only came up after I posted mine. I see that once again, we are on the same side of the argument. I had much more to say but my post became a long, rambling, drawn out affair and I had to seriously edit it. One of the arguments I took out what the "free will" aspect of human athletics. I'm glad you made that point and did it so well. I also agree on the "duties" of the horse's connections. "Pushing to the limit" doesn't appear on my list either.

21 Aug 2010 12:41 AM
Mike Relva

RUFFIANRUNS

Great comments,but good luck with getting your question answered.

21 Aug 2010 12:49 AM
markinsac

THIS IS THE OBVIOUS MINORITY SPEAKING HERE:  I liked the pro-ride track at Santa Anita bettor than dirt.  When it was first installed, it was a come-from-behind bonanza.  It was the one track that i showed a profit on.  Golden Gate's track performed the same way.  Meanwhile, bettors continued to back front-runners.  About a year or so from the beginning of PR at SA, the jockeys and the public started to catch up.  The jocks weren't in such a hurry to get the lead any more, the first quarters in sprint races started going closer to 23 seconds instead of 22.  And the public started backing stretch runners, many would go off favorite.  Furthermore, because of the slower pace, front runners started winning again.  I guess what goes up must come down.

I'll miss you PRO-RIDE.  Love Mark.

21 Aug 2010 12:53 AM
Livesoutwest

jimthepimp,

I'll agree with you up to a point.  RA's campaign could fairly be called a disgrace up to now.  But I honestly think it's because they fell too far behind when they rushed to make the Apple Blossom, rather than being scared of competition.  And they felt they needed to start over almost from scratch and ramp her up the right way. I know the Rachel-bashers think I'm full of it but you know, I don't care.

The point is, now that she is right, in eight days she will finally join the company of one of the other female Eclipse winners from last year, Goldikova, in having taken on 2010 Grade 1-winning competition this year when she squares off against Life At Ten.  And five weeks later, she is expected to take on more 2010 Grade 1-winning competitors in either the Beldame or the JCGC at Belmont Park.

In fact, of the three older female Eclipse winners from last year, unless the announced plans change, only ONE of them looks like she'll enter the Breeders Cup without having faced EVEN ONE single 2010 Grade 1-winning horse.  There are no other 2010 G1-winning females campaigning on the West Coast.

And in fact, they only even made an attempt to face one ONCE.  

To me, THAT'S a bigger disgrace.

21 Aug 2010 1:09 AM
Aluminaut

What I want to know is if Santa Anita wants the dirt back from the souvenir freebie that I got a few years back?  

I haven't had a chance to do much handicapping; too busy.  Hope Blind Luck runs well.

21 Aug 2010 1:40 AM
LAZMANNICK

Footlick

America needs a dominating performance in the Million and I hope that Gio or General Quarters gets the job done.  The reason I say that is that I don't think the invaders are among Euro's best and if they come over and beat us, yikes.  The race I'm really looking forward to at Arlington is The Secretariat.  I'm really on Paddy's bandwagon and I hope he ascerts himself.  Regarding Arlington, Ive never been there but I love the Chicago racing atmosphere.  I think it's first rate.

The Alabama should be a classic.  I wonder if these girls are going to be good enough to challenge the older girls throughout the fall and into the BC.  I like this crop of 3 year old fillies.  At least you'll be able to see the replays seeing that you have to work.  You're right about the snippy comments.  Good luck.

21 Aug 2010 2:05 AM
GunBow

Agree with everything you said Jason about Hollendorfer and Blind Luck.  My heart is definitely with them.  But sportsmanship is not going to account for much if Devil May Care wins the Alabama, which, if she is truly championship material, SHOULD do given it's at her home base and on the track she won her most recent race over.  The problem with shipping all over the country is that it's not always rewarded; if Devil May Care wins, how many Eclipse voters are still going to have Blind Luck as the #1 3 year old filly? The answer, not many.

As for Santa Anita going back to traditional dirt, I'm supportive although I wouldn't have been outraged had Stronach kept Pro-Ride.  At first, I was quite hostile to the installation of synthetics.  The Pro-Ride at Santa Anita and Polytrack at Del Mar represented rather radical surface changes; in my opinion, those two synthetic surfaces play as closely to turf as they do to dirt.  

Now, with the change, even if Del Mar keeps it's Polytrack the two SoCal tracks with the longest meets, Santa Anita and Hollywood, will have dirt and the dirt-like Cushion Track.  I actually would have had no problem had Santa Anita picked Cushion Track rather than dirt, although if one is going to make a switch one might as well go all the way with dirt.

The one thing I definitely diagree with is that dirt is a truer test of a horse's ability.  Dirt is a truer test of a horse's DIRT ability.  Am I to assume that because Europe does not have important races over traditional dirt that they can't recognize a great racehorse?  Did Sea the Stars and Zarkava leave racing with their ability in question because they never ran on dirt, or was their greatness as evident as any great dirt horse?  While the margin of victory on synth and turf might not be as great, and track records may hold lesser meaning, but greatness is still apparent, whether it's Zarkava blowing by horses in the stretch of the Arc or Sea the Stars cruising to 6 well measured gr.1 wins.

I also will not be holding my breath waiting for a flood of Eastern horses to ship out West to run on Santa Anita's new dirt surface.  And if you study the fields for the last 2 Breeder's Cups at Santa Anita, the only race that really suffered being run on synth was the 09' BC Sprint, when Kodiak Kowboy, Fabulous Strike, and Vineyad Haven were all kept back East.  Some could also point to the absence of Rachel, but I personally feel that after the Woodward she wouldn't have run in the BC even had it been at Churchill; of course, it's possible they never run her in the Woodward if the BC was at Churchill.

I would be remiss not to write a few words on Arlington Million Day.  During my 10 years in the Midwest, my favorite racing day was Arlington Million Day.  I attended Million Day every year starting in 2000 with the exception of 01'.  This will be the first year since then that I have missed a Million Day.  With the Secretariat, Beverly D, and Million itself, the day represents North Americ'a most important day of turf racing outside the Breeder's Cup.  Over the last decade I saw amazing horses in fascinating races, including Beat Hollow win a 5 horse photo, Stroming Home dump Gary Stevens in the shaddow of the wire, Powerscourt cross the wire first 2 years in a row only to lose one by dq, The Tin Man win at age 8, Jambalaya win another 5 horse photo, Euros run 1-2-3 in 08', Gio Ponti win his 4th straight gr.1, as well as see Golden Apples, Astra, Heat Haze, Crimson Palace, Megahertz, Gorella, Royal Highness, Irredescence, and Mauralakana run big in the Beverly D.  The Secretariat has given us a glimpse of future American turf stars in King Cugat(2nd), Kicken Kris, Kitten's Joy, English Channel(2nd), Showing Up, Red Giant(2nd), and Take the Points as well as top Euros like Ciro, Shamdinan, and Winchester.

With a win in the Million, Gio Ponti could cement his position as one of North America's best turf horses of the last 2 decades. While I would like to see Gio get career gr.1 # 6, I don't think he's quite as good as last year, but he may not need to be because the field for this year's Million is not any better than the field last year. Tazeez would seem to be his toughest challenger.

21 Aug 2010 2:49 AM
Lost In The Fog

Jason, you're right in saying we could debate the synthetic vs. dirt argument for days, but contrary to what you listed THESE are the facts:

A) There is no data to support the urban legend that handicappers prefer dirt.  If that were true then the total handle figures for synthetic tracks would have seen a steeper decline than the total handle figures for dirt tracks - which they have not.

B)  Despite the knee-jerk opinions of biased turf writers such as yourself the preliminary research to date is inconclusive but does suggest that synthetic surfaces MAY indeed be safer.  It's certainly too soon to conclude that they are not safer.  

C)  The Cushion Track/Pro-Ride at Santa Anita has been a problem from the very start primarily because of the shoddy job done by Magna in installing it incorrectly.  The issue is the drainage not the surface itself.  Regardless Santa Anita's recent race meets have been among the safest in modern history.  Meanwhile the Cushion track at Hollywood Park has been virtually problem free and the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields has performed flawlessly.  Del Mar was a disaster with dirt and continues to be a problem with PolyTrack.  

D)  I agree that most East Coast horsemen don't like synthetics but I doubt the return to dirt at SA will result in a dramatic increase in East Coast horses shipping to CA.  That never happened much before synthetics and it won't change much now.  The shift to dirt may, however, result in fewer three-year-olds shipping out of CA to prep on dirt for the Triple Crown races.

E)  The profile of the Breeders Cup was elevated in Europe as a result of the two-year run at SA and more European horses shipped in as a result.  That was a good thing for both the BC and American racing in general.  A BC rotation that included synthetic tracks in the mix would have been the best overall situation.

F)  Saying "dirt racing is a truer test of horses' real talent" is just pulling an opinion with absolutely no basis in fact out of your rear end.

I'm not necessarily opposed to the switch back to dirt at SA but your set of "facts" doesn't serve as a reason for it.

21 Aug 2010 3:32 AM
Bellwether

A SMIG OF LUCK...MORE TIME N DUE BUY BE FORE RACE & GIO PONTI IS ONE OF THE GREAT ONE$ EVER a la MR. JOHN HENRY...THIS FREAK COULD RUN ON I95...ty...

21 Aug 2010 3:51 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Aluminaut

  Good question. They'll probably let you keep their dirt, but if Frank Stronach comes knocking at your door asking for it back, what are you going to do?

21 Aug 2010 10:59 AM
The Rock

Jason,

I have to poke a hole on your "D" comment about East Coast horses shipping west. They hardly came out here in the first place except when the BC was around. Even before synthetics, East Coast based connections didn't like running on west coast dirt as it was speed favoring. Other horses didn't take to it at all. I bet the Breeders Cup record for East Coast horses are just as bad on dirt as when they ran on synthetics.

21 Aug 2010 11:34 AM
lobieb

Here is my delima..DMC and BL I love both these fillies and do not want to see either lose.  Racing gods please have a DH.  Go both you gals.

21 Aug 2010 11:44 AM
Zookeeper

Lost In The Fog,

As far as I can tell, you're not lost at all. Excellent post!

21 Aug 2010 11:51 AM
whitecollarpimp

jimmy the pimp you are sooooo right on all counts. the best horses should all be racing one another four or five times a year in each division . here is my prediction, neither rachel nor zennyata will win the classic if they both even race in it.

21 Aug 2010 11:55 AM
Jose93

"F) Dirt racing is a truer test of horses' real talent."

In comparison to the muddling synthetics, yes, because synthetics have no basis as a racing surface anywhere on the planet. They are not like Turf, not like Dirt, they are like "Synthetics." But surely the comment shouldn't be left open ended to detract from great Turf horses?

What we shouldn't ignore is the hugely talented horses who have won and placed on a combination of surfaces through this messy time. Summer Bird in the BC Classic was an example of a horse who was never anywhere near his best but he ran 4th.

21 Aug 2010 11:57 AM
Goldie

Ann in Lexington - I agree completely with you about the "convenient" discovery of rocks near the finish line.  As you said, Franky will get his way about not hosting Oak Tree this year. I think I hear Austria calling him.....

Zookeeper - Well said in response to jimmythepimp.  Breakdowns are the absolute worst part of this sport, and the most off putting. Whyever would a responsible owner, or trainer, push their horse to the limits?  Look what happened to a very talented Rachel because of that.  I'm not sure she will ever be the same horse she was as a 3 year old. I know people complain about Zen's "easy" campaign,(all G1s I believe) but she's still sound and racing well at age 6.  Go figure.

21 Aug 2010 12:16 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper and Paula Higgins:

 I will just say that I always love the posts from both of you.

Lost in the Fog

  Nice, well thought out post, and your name is a great tribute to one of the best of all time.

21 Aug 2010 12:19 PM
Kay

Livesoutwest:

“I'll agree with you up to a point.  RA's campaign could fairly be called a disgrace up to now.  But I honestly think it's because they fell too far behind when they rushed to make the Apple Blossom, rather than being scared of competition.  And they felt they needed to start over almost from scratch and ramp her up the right way. I know the Rachel-bashers think I'm full of it but you know, I don't care.”

Sure. Give THEM the benefit of the doubt. Look, the New Orleans race was a perfectly good prep. Take out Zardana and Rachel wins by double digits. She got a good fitness test from that race. But before she’d even cooled out, Jess declared her out of the Apple Blossom and was throwing out the playbook. So don’t pretend that his ego wasn’t damaged by the double-whammy of Zenyatta winning the Santa Margarita and her stablemate beating Rachel on the same day.

“The point is, now that she is right, in eight days she will finally join the company of one of the other female Eclipse winners from last year, Goldikova, in having taken on 2010 Grade 1-winning competition this year when she squares off against Life At Ten.  And five weeks later, she is expected to take on more 2010 Grade 1-winning competitors in either the Beldame or the JCGC at Belmont Park.

In fact, of the three older female Eclipse winners from last year, unless the announced plans change, only ONE of them looks like she'll enter the Breeders Cup without having faced EVEN ONE single 2010 Grade 1-winning horse.  There are no other 2010 G1-winning females campaigning on the West Coast.

And in fact, they only even made an attempt to face one ONCE.  

To me, THAT'S a bigger disgrace.”

This is possibly the dumbest rationalization I’ve seen to this date. Congratulations.

GunBow:

“Dirt is a truer test of a horse's DIRT ability.”

Exactly. Stupendous that people seem to be overlooking this fact.

Lost In the Fog:

Great post!

“D)  I agree that most East Coast horsemen don't like synthetics but I doubt the return to dirt at SA will result in a dramatic increase in East Coast horses shipping to CA.  That never happened much before synthetics and it won't change much now.  The shift to dirt may, however, result in fewer three-year-olds shipping out of CA to prep on dirt for the Triple Crown races.”

Which I personally like because I’ll get to see the Derby horses run in the Santa Anita Derby. I just hope they get the surface right and the drainage issues solved.

Jimthepimp:

“RA 2009 campaign was what racing used to be. Dont duck nobody and push her to the limit.”

What you mean is, don’t duck anyone except the BC Classic field. But that’s okay, because it was in California and on the synthetic (or “plastic,” as the warm and sensitive Jess Jackson snorted when he declared her out of the race way back in the first half of the year). Sure, just conveniently leave THAT out.

Lemme see if I can figure this out. Last year, Rachel had a great year. And by the time September came, it was obvious she was the leading – maybe only – contender for HOTY. Everyone on the East Coast ignored Zenyatta because all she’d done was to beat fillies, right? She was a West Coast horse and synthetics or not, the East was used to just ignoring West Coast horses. Sure, give them championships but just not the big one. And it seemed to be going the same way last year… until Zenyatta entered the BC Classic, won, and put on a show that people are still talking about.

Suddenly, she was a legitimate contender for HOTY and you guys JUST COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. First the majority of you threw her out in the Classic. Then she won, and you were forced to tear down the Classic field and Zenyatta’s entire career. Which you are still doing this year. And you’re even angrier now, because Jess Darling made a host of mistakes with Rachel, Quality Road lost, and Zenyatta just keeps winning. But as far as you’re concerned, she’s having the exact same year she’s had the past two years. If it hadn’t been for that pesky Classic – if she’d won the Ladies Classic again instead of the Classic – then Things Would Make Sense. But you just cannot see how Zenyatta could be considered a HOTY contender. And even if she wins the Classic again, you still will throw out her entire career. Zenyatta’s Classic win changed things, but it didn’t change things for y’all. So you’re mystified, and more than a tiny bit frustrated. And that’s why you keep bringing up Rachel’s year. I think that deep down, you really, desperately need Rachel to bring some balance back to this wacky year. But would you REALLY give her HOTY if she wins the Personal Ensign, Beldame and BC Classic?

Because then we’re going to have a REAL argument.

21 Aug 2010 1:41 PM
Carlos in Cali

Different strokes for different folks,thats all.We all have our opinions,BTW.. I'm glad SA is going back to a dirt surface,but don't expect Eastern based horses to come for a visit.They rarely did in the first place.

I Want Revenge gets back to his winning ways,cruises over Gone Astray/Sir Whimsey

Blind Luck is a very good filly,but she won't get passed the best 3yo filly in America..Devil May Care crushes the field.

21 Aug 2010 1:42 PM
TradingPlaces

I know it's off the topic, but another Smart Strike by the name of Curlinello just broke his maiden first asking. You can tell he is green, but the potenial is there. Plus his is one handsome son of a gun!

21 Aug 2010 1:50 PM
Mike Relva

JASON:

Believe it or not,I agree with dirt tracks in CA. While I've always believed you are a very bright writer(and continue to),I disagree with your attacks on Zenyatta/connections. If she wins in Nov. then will you think they were WRONG for the path followed to the Breeders? At that point Saratoga won't be a factor and Zenyatta will be HOY.

21 Aug 2010 2:16 PM
Jason Shandler

Mike: Yes, even if Zenyatta wins the BC Classic I would have an issue with the way the connections handled her campaign. As I said many times, I feel there is more to the racing season than one race. To be the best, I feel as though you must face the best all year, not just point toward one race. That wont prove much, except that they were conservative all year and ducked the best races for the first 3/4ths of the season. There is nothing sporting in that. They said they were going to showcase Zenyatta to the fans around the country for her last season and have not even come close to doing that. It has been a major disappointment for many. And they did not do the sport any favors by keeping her in California this year. They had a chance to do something special in 2010 and failed, IMO. I could care less about HOY. It's about showing up all year and competing. Not about winning an award. And dont give me the stuff about she doesnt like to ship. That is hogwash. What is their excuse about not taking on males in California?

21 Aug 2010 2:24 PM
jayjay

KAY : Another great post !  I really enjoy reading your posts.

With regards to SA going back to dirt, it's obvious that everyone knows east coast horses will never travel here.  They will be exposed,  fear of losing is their real excuse simply because they know west coast horses are better.  What's funny is that none of these so called east coast racing fans would complain if the east coast horses stay east of the mississippi, no complaints if the east coast "beasts" don't fly over the rockies because they know they can't compete with the west coast horses.

Some people just can't help taking cheap shots at Zenyatta LOL

Livesoutwest : Disgrace you say ?  When NO horse wants to compete with her, you can't fault her.  You contradict yourself in your posts.  You posted before that Zenyatta has done what she needed to do, fly over to face anyone earlier this year and the G1 winners never showed up and that she no longer has to chase anyone and everyone who wants to face her needs to fly to her.  She's not ducking anyone, she's raced in only G1.  The fact is, everyone is ducking her.  No one is ducking Rachel and that's why she's facing a G1 winner.  Disgrace...LOL.  I agree with Kate, that's the dumbest rationalization I've ever seen on here.

21 Aug 2010 2:43 PM
Livesoutwest

What is it that YOU'RE saying, Kay?

That if Rachel wins the PE over G1 winner Life At Ten.  Then wins the Beldame or the JCGC over more G1 winners.  Then wins the BC Classic over even more G1 winners INCLUDING Zenyatta, who I reiterate has yet to be allowed to face EVEN ONE G1 winner this year.

Pooh pooh that as much as you like, you by deciding that it's the "dumbest rationalization" - it doesn't make it any less true.  Heaven forbid that we expect our great horses to occasionally face other great horses.  See Blame vs. Quality Road, Goldikova vs. Makfi & Paco Boy, Harbinger vs. Workforce, Blind Luck vs. Devil May Care, RA vs. Life At Ten, if you've forgotten what that's like.  I'll also reiterate that St. Trinians, gutsy as she may be is a winner of one graded stake for her entire career and can in no way be considered a great horse.

So anyway, getting back to Rachel you say that even if she does all that, we're going to "have a real argument"?

Gosh, I can't wait to hear it.

21 Aug 2010 2:57 PM
ruffianruns

"Even if every [NFL] team fielded only the minimum number of men, if football players died at the same rate as racehorses, 33 players -- more than two per week -- would die in the regular season alone.  That the NFL would tolerate such a thing is inconceivable, yet racing does just that."

-- Laura Hillenbrand, the Eclipse Award-winning author of Seabiscuit

"How We Failed Barbaro"

May 31, 2006

www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx

21 Aug 2010 3:00 PM
Zookeeper

Mike Relva,

If Zenyatta wins the BCC, the argument will still be the same: the award is for the entire year, not for just one race. They will still say that she only had paid workouts and that she didn't beat anybody the rest of the year. They will give the award to what they consider a "more worthy" contender, probably a male, who did all or most of his racing on dirt, east of the Rockies even if he fails to prevail in the BCC.

That's why I don't care anymore about that award. As far as I'm concerned, they can shove it...

If she wins the BCC AGAIN, people who already appreciate her will be the only ones to find that a monumental achievement. The rest will continue their eternal blather over her failure to ship numerous times to try and find better competition. Different year, same old platitudes.

Kay,

You said: "But would you REALLY give her (RA) HOTY if she wins the Personal Ensign, the Beldame and the BC Classic?"

YES THEY WOULD!!!

21 Aug 2010 3:02 PM
Zookeeper

Thank you Jason for proving me right. You said exactly what I posted you would say.  :)

21 Aug 2010 3:08 PM
Jimmy

I love how people like to point out horses like Quality Road lost and all Zenyatta does is keep on winning. You do realize that QR was beaten a neck by one of the top horses in the Country in Blame, right? Who exactly has Zenyatta run against that is the quality of a horse like Blame, or Musket Man, or even Haynesfield? St. Trinians, a horse that was crushed by Misremembered and 4 others in the SA Handicap? Also, you do realize that when you say "horses are free to come take on Zen," you are not exactly correct. Since Zenyatta only runs in races in the filly and mare division, male horses are not allowed to enter her races. Somewhat important when you try to make that point. But she does just keep on winning....

21 Aug 2010 3:10 PM
roryj

Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas...

Californian racing is dying on its feet...so lets vote for a return to the surface that meant that the horse ambulance was used in EVERY single BC until they ran it on synthetic...with 6 extra races.

There is no issue more important than welfare.

The ONLY fact in this debate is that the surface was not at fault..the drainage was.Look elswhere..Woodbine,Keeneland,Arlington and 4 tracks in uk ,1 in Ire,1 in France.

Personally I think the step back to the dark ages is more to do with the limeys coming over and cleaning up.We've never been good at getting beaten on home turf.

21 Aug 2010 3:11 PM
Livesoutwest

Jayjay,

Sorry I just don't buy your argument.  I don't think trainers of G1 horses are afraid to come out to California and face Zenyatta, though to be fair, I'm sure they're not anxious to do it either.  IMO, it's much more that they don't want to fly 3,000 miles to race over questionable synthetic surfaces for inferior purses AND have to beat an admitted monster to win.

And the ONE time they gave other top females a chance to face her outside of California in the Apple Blossom, there weren't any yet.  Rachel was still floundering, Life At Ten was still a minor stakes horse and no trainer in his right mind sends three year-olds against older in April.  So there just wasn't any top competiton ready to tackle Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom.  She would have made mincemeat out of all of them.

But there is now.

Now for awhile I was giving Moss and Shirreffs some slack, since both Dottie and John Shirreffs said in interviews that they would take a serious look at the Beldame.

But as soon as the Clement Hirsch was in the books, they're back to the same old crap arguments.  We don't want to ship, I'm not good at training my barn by telephone, Wah, wah, wahhhhh.

Because I can tell you that if Zenyatta entered the Beldame, the connections of Rachel Alexandra, Life At Ten, Blind Luck and Devil May Care would not scratch to avoid Zenyatta.  If that race was part of their plan to get to the BC, they would still go and let the chips fall where they may, win or get beaten by the big girl.  Those trainers are proving this month that they're more than willing to mix it up with each other.

I'll go along with the idea that they weren't ducking the top female competition early in the year by staying in California because there really wasn't any.

But they are now.

21 Aug 2010 3:18 PM
Bet Twice

Dear NFL,

Given horse racing's spectacular success at attracting viewers/fans/owners, etc... I thought I'd give you a little advice about how to better attract an audience.

1.  Only games played on grass count.  Any synthetic surface is phony and those games should be thrown out.

2.  Instead of playing for 5 months, you should play for at least 9, or better, 10 months.  

3.  None of the games that involve west coast teams will matter.  They are merely practice for games amongst east coast teams.

3.  What makes you the best team in the country should be largely arbitrary, decided by what a select number of journalist personally prefer.

4.  You get extra credit for playing storied teams.  Not necessarily better teams, but the ones with the longest history.

5.  Extra extra credit if you have a sensationally talented (but utterly unproven) QB who gets hurt in the first few games.  He will continue to gain support, even while he's not playing and you are losing games.

6.  Encourage your players to retire after one or two years.  If this is the result of injury, so much the better - more heroic.  Creating stars is a total waste of time.  

7.  Most importantly, and this is crucial to your future success, get rid of the National/World  Championship game.  The Super Bowl is an albatross around your neck.  Who cares about deciding who is  the best team on the field?  Why would audiences want to see this?  Much better to decide the best team over the course of the whole year, with a few arbitrarily selected games (they, of course, will change from year to year.)

21 Aug 2010 3:42 PM
ruffianruns

Zookeeper and Paula Higgins:  Ditto that.  Horse safety first.

Secretariat - I hope you're right about Blind Luck!

Mike Relva - Well Jason answered YOUR question!  I remember Jason's "Humble Pie" blog following Zenyatta's butt kicking in last year's Classic....  He wrote:  "Zenyatta is that good, and then some" and "Her performance in the Classic was legendary and if she is indeed done, a fitting way to cap an outstanding career."

He *did* say outstanding CAREER!  I think he's so disappointed that the Mosses didn't keep their promise to showcase Zenyatta that he's taking it out on her instead of them, despite the FACT that she's done everything her humans have asked of her.

Livesoutwest - I am totally with you regarding RA's campaign.  It wasn't what I expected, but for whatever reason (and I'd like to know what happened to RA) I think they had to start over and build her back up again.  I think she's rounding into form now.  Regarding your jab about Zenyatta, maybe she is having issues like RA had issues (who knows?), and they're managing her extra carefully to get her to the Classic.

Lost in the Fog - Well said.

roryj - Wow!  Thanks!

21 Aug 2010 3:50 PM
Jason Shandler

... And also NFL, make sure you have all your best teams play their games at home. Making them travel out of state, which could in turn jeopardzie their chances of winning, would not be in the best interest of the sport and ratings. You wouldnt want a national audience seeing all of your best teams either. That would be counter-productive.

And, make sure your Super Bowl winner from the previous season has the weakest schedule in the league the following year. Fans need to see the SB winner beat up on inferior competition to inflate their egos.

21 Aug 2010 3:51 PM
jayjay

Jason : If Rachel wins the PE and then wins the Classic, would you again vote for her for HOTY ?  If not, who would you vote for ?

21 Aug 2010 3:53 PM
Jason Shandler

Jayjay: Too much has been undecided as of yet to talk about HOY voting.

21 Aug 2010 4:00 PM
jayjay

LOW : Do you really believe that Team Z is ducking anyone ??  So it wasn't that they don't want to travel, they just want to duck the "top" horses ??  You can't be serious.  You and Jason and everyone else can pretty much live in your own world.  Your opinion about BCC not being the race where champions are made can all huddle together after that race and talk about your favorite horses' failure to win against Zenyatta.  I think you are all in the minority.  Yes, you have to race at top level during the year but that's all just to help determine if the dominant horse of the year doesn't win the Classic.  All the contenders have raced in top level company except for Rachel.  Zenyatta has only raced in G1s and unbeaten, Blame is unbeaten as well.  Blame is the HOTY just because he's based in the east coast (or east of the rockies.)

If Rachel doesn't run in the Classic, regardless if she wins the PE and the Beldame, she won't get the HOTY.  Blame will.  If she wins the HOTY with not winning the Classic, then you can just pretty much say that award is a joke.  Blame has beaten much much better horses than Rachel has ALL YEAR.

21 Aug 2010 4:06 PM
jayjay

LOW : You didn't exactly disagree with my comment about your contradicting yourself.  Here's the thing, the fact that RA was announced that she would run in the PE, everyone is now BACK on her wagon because they assume that she would rock the world winning the PE.  If she loses PE to LifeAtTen, everyone would go back to "well, she wasn't ready, she's not the same as last year, she's getting back to herself slowly" blah blah blah.  If she wins, everyone can say "I KNEW IT, SHE IS BACK"  It's the Draynay syndrome, you all have your hand on her wagon up until the race, then jumps in if she wins and let's go of it when she loses.  At least the Zenyatta fans stick to their horse no matter what the critics say.  This is what separates the fans of Zenyatta from the fans of the "flavor of the month".

21 Aug 2010 4:11 PM
Judy Loves ZENNY & MINE THAT BIRD

"Distant memory"? These horses will NEVER be fogotten! Thank God.

Maybe forgotten in your head :-) but who cares! LOL

21 Aug 2010 4:25 PM
Livesoutwest

Jayjay,

First, no more excuses for Rachel.  She's as ready as she'll ever be.  If Life At Ten runs her off her feet like she's run all her other opponents off their feet, I'll be the first to admit she's now the better horse.

Second, Of course Rachel needs to win the Classic to be HOY.  If she were to lose and still get the big trophy, I would be the first to agree the award would just be a big joke.

But what Kay was implying was that even if Rachel DID beat Zenyatta in the Classic, and beat top G1 competitors in two other races, she would STILL argue against Rachel winning HOY.  (And give it to Zenyatta?  If she lost to Rachel and didn't beat another top horse the rest of the year?)

On what planet is THAT going to happen?

21 Aug 2010 4:29 PM
LAZMANNICK

Bet Twice

All right!!!!!!!!!

21 Aug 2010 4:32 PM
ruffianruns

jayjay - I never jumped off Rachel's wagon.  I will always love her.  I will always think she is one of the best I've ever seen.  Her shaky start and her non-conventional route to get back up to speed only makes me love her more.  I love underdogs more than anything.  If Rachel loses to Life At Ten or anyone, I'll be more worried than anything - I won't be trying to think up excuses for her loss.  There are Rachel AND Zenyatta fans that stick to their horse no matter what.  It isn't wise to think in such black and white terms, no matter who eggs you on in one direction or other.

I love Zenyatta just as much, and I just don't understand people who can't like and respect both horses.

21 Aug 2010 4:40 PM
Mike Relva

JASON

Yes,the connections shouldn't promise something and not deliver,but it's obvious that intentions are to save her and make their stand in Nov. You see,it's a catch22,if she went on the road and lost,than Draynay and others' will crow she's no good. If they save her(as obviously so) and she wins the Classic AGAIN then it's still a slam of something. Know you'll disagree,but as a six yr.horse,would rather follow their path and maybe have her in top form come Nov. instead of using her up prior to the Classic. Haven't connections stated FROM DAY ONE the objective was the Classic? BTW,when Z. shipped for the A.Blossom why didn't annyone want to face her? No matter what,her amazing talent can't be ignored.

21 Aug 2010 5:04 PM
Mike Relva

Blind Luck and IWR winning today!!!

21 Aug 2010 5:10 PM
Kay

Livesoutwest:

“What is it that YOU'RE saying, Kay?

That if Rachel wins the PE over G1 winner Life At Ten.  Then wins the Beldame or the JCGC over more G1 winners.  Then wins the BC Classic over even more G1 winners INCLUDING Zenyatta, who I reiterate has yet to be allowed to face EVEN ONE G1 winner this year.”

I wasn’t saying anything. You need to read more carefully. I was proposing a scenario and then wondering how you would reconcile your ideas with that scenario. Because if the idea is that the HOTY award is for what a horse accomplishes throughout the year, and you’re going to vote HOTY to a filly who didn’t even RUN in a GI until August and only ran in three all year… well, do you see what I’m asking here?

“Pooh pooh that as much as you like, you by deciding that it's the "dumbest rationalization" - it doesn't make it any less true.  Heaven forbid that we expect our great horses to occasionally face other great horses.  See Blame vs. Quality Road, Goldikova vs. Makfi & Paco Boy, Harbinger vs. Workforce, Blind Luck vs. Devil May Care, RA vs. Life At Ten, if you've forgotten what that's like.  I'll also reiterate that St. Trinians, gutsy as she may be is a winner of one graded stake for her entire career and can in no way be considered a great horse.”

So Life At Ten is suddenly a great horse? Because she won a fairly weak GI on the East Coast and walked to win a G2 at 10F? Intriguing.

“So anyway, getting back to Rachel you say that even if she does all that, we're going to "have a real argument"?

Gosh, I can't wait to hear it.”

You just heard it, puppy.

Jason – wondering what you would do with that scenario. Would you be inclined to vote for Rachel if she won the Personal Ensign, Beldame and BC Classic?

Zookeeper:

“If Zenyatta wins the BCC, the argument will still be the same: the award is for the entire year, not for just one race. They will still say that she only had paid workouts and that she didn't beat anybody the rest of the year. They will give the award to what they consider a "more worthy" contender, probably a male, who did all or most of his racing on dirt, east of the Rockies even if he fails to prevail in the BCC.”

I love how this “the award is for the entire year, not just one race” meme has cropped up recently. What it does, of course, is completely dismiss the four GIs Zenyatta has won. And it somehow throws Rachel into the mix, which I find confusing. She hasn’t even RUN in a GI all year. So if she wins the Personal Ensign, Beldame and BC Classic, how is THAT considered a year’s worth of racing? I’m not advocating for any other option, YOU PEOPLE WHO CAN’T SEEM TO BE ABLE TO READ, I’m just wondering if you would all vote for Rachel if she won those races. And then how you would justify your hard-held notion that the award is for an entire year’s worth of racing and not just one race. And also the idea that Blame has run an entire year’s campaign is kinda bizarre. He ran in his first GI in June. That’s halfway through the year. By that point, Zenyatta had already won two GI races. So… is it just that you get to cherry-pick the races that count? I’m seriously curious here. Because the logic is terribly skewed.

“That's why I don't care anymore about that award. As far as I'm concerned, they can shove it...”

Boy, am I with you there!!!

Jimmy:

“I love how people like to point out horses like Quality Road lost and all Zenyatta does is keep on winning. You do realize that QR was beaten a neck by one of the top horses in the Country in Blame, right? Who exactly has Zenyatta run against that is the quality of a horse like Blame, or Musket Man, or even Haynesfield? St. Trinians, a horse that was crushed by Misremembered and 4 others in the SA Handicap? Also, you do realize that when you say "horses are free to come take on Zen," you are not exactly correct. Since Zenyatta only runs in races in the filly and mare division, male horses are not allowed to enter her races. Somewhat important when you try to make that point. But she does just keep on winning....”

But the discussion keeps changing. As soon as we say THAT, then YOU guys say that she needs to face males. So the goalpost keeps moving. As far as Quality Road losing, I wasn’t condemning him. My only point in mentioning it was how people hopped off the “QR would crush Zenyatta and is the greatest ever” bandwagon and hop onto the “Blame would crush Zenyatta and is the greatest ever” bandwagon. That’s all.

Livesoutwest:

“Sorry I just don't buy your argument.  I don't think trainers of G1 horses are afraid to come out to California and face Zenyatta, though to be fair, I'm sure they're not anxious to do it either.  IMO, it's much more that they don't want to fly 3,000 miles to race over questionable synthetic surfaces for inferior purses AND have to beat an admitted monster to win.”

So… the excuse is that they don’t want to ship? Interesting.

“Because I can tell you that if Zenyatta entered the Beldame, the connections of Rachel Alexandra, Life At Ten, Blind Luck and Devil May Care would not scratch to avoid Zenyatta.  If that race was part of their plan to get to the BC, they would still go and let the chips fall where they may, win or get beaten by the big girl.  Those trainers are proving this month that they're more than willing to mix it up with each other.

I'll go along with the idea that they weren't ducking the top female competition early in the year by staying in California because there really wasn't any.”

But is there NOW? I mean, Life At Ten, Unrivaled Belle, maybe Rachel… that’s it, right? The division isn’t exactly bursting at the seams this year. So why chase any of that when the goal is the big dance?

“But what Kay was implying was that even if Rachel DID beat Zenyatta in the Classic, and beat top G1 competitors in two other races, she would STILL argue against Rachel winning HOY.  (And give it to Zenyatta?  If she lost to Rachel and didn't beat another top horse the rest of the year?)

On what planet is THAT going to happen?”

I think YOU need to head to the Learn To Read Planet. Because I didn’t say that. Nor did I imply it. You inferred it, and the inference was mistaken.

21 Aug 2010 5:17 PM
Paula Higgins

My bottom line is this: if I owned a thoroughbred I would want a "Horseman" to train her or him, not a "Sportsman."

To Zookeeper, Dr Drunkinbum et al. thank you for your kind words and for agreeing with me LOL!

To all the posters whose name end with the word "pimp," I always know where you stand on the issue of sportsman vs horseman.

As for the NFL, any sport that is willing to take back Michael Vick, well, I couldn't care less whether it thrives or fails. It says everything about the sport and the values of people in it. I am certainly not going to support it. It's the modern version of the Roman Coliseum.

21 Aug 2010 5:20 PM
LAZMANNICK

Mike Relva

Hey bud.  As usual you're wasting your time.  Oh well, I guess we'll have to wait another three months or so and then it won't matter what any of her detractors say.  Did you watch Paddy's race?  This guy is on track for the BC Turf.  He's another one that a few on here don't want to give credit to.

21 Aug 2010 5:23 PM
Zookeeper

Is there anything more uplifting than Eclair de Lune winning the Beverly D.? How fitting!

21 Aug 2010 5:36 PM
2:24

Jimthepimp - right on.

21 Aug 2010 5:47 PM
jayjay

What were you saying ?? BILLY LOL

I think Blind Luck did a gobble gobble on the competition...the way she ran was ALMOST Zenyatta.  She'll be the one carrying the torch next year.  It's funny how these west coast horses just keeps beating up on the so-called "beasts" from the east coast.

21 Aug 2010 5:56 PM
merlinmerry

Blind Luck - 2010 HOY?

21 Aug 2010 5:57 PM
skyfire

Awesome race by Blind Luck -- she proved without a doubt that she is the champion!!  I though DMC would cruise, and I was wrong!!  How great to see Blind Luck prove it -- congratulations to Jerry Hollendorfer for giving her the chance!!! Bravo!!

21 Aug 2010 5:57 PM
Zen's Auntie

WOW nice race by Blind Luck.  I love I mean LOVE a closer.

21 Aug 2010 6:00 PM
Mike Relva

BILLY'S EMPIRE

Ok,so how do you feel about DMC now? My selection was on target!

21 Aug 2010 6:05 PM
Zen's Auntie

Gio looks great today, very relaxed I must say...

21 Aug 2010 6:08 PM
Tiznowbaby

Woo hoooooooo Blind Luck, you beautiful West Coast filly you!

21 Aug 2010 6:21 PM
Paula Higgins

Blind Luck is a great little filly. Very impressive. She is the best 3 year old filly without a doubt.

I Want Revenge, what happened there?

21 Aug 2010 6:25 PM
Pam S.

Bet Twice, that was really funny!

Well, the West won this showdown.  I thought DMC ran about the way she did in the Derby (not too good the last 8th) and I woundn't try 1 1/4 again.  Now Blind Luck -- she is just about out-Zenyatting Zenyatta!  Terrific performance from what is becoming an iron filly.

IWR may never be quite the same again; it was that kind of injury, wasn't it?

21 Aug 2010 6:28 PM
Steven

Hollendorfer doesn't belong in the HOF for the same reason Dale Baird doesn't.  Baird was a lot worse, but the principle is the same.

21 Aug 2010 6:31 PM
Diane J

Congrats to Paddy and Blind Luck - poor Gio just didn't see the horse sneaking up on the inside! I think Blind Luck is the top three year old filly in the division now.  I hope nothing is wrong with DMC and she just had an off day. With as hot as Johnny V. was at Saratoga today, I thought that might give her the edge over Blind Luck (but I still thought BL would win)!

21 Aug 2010 6:37 PM
Livesoutwest

The Alabama was a great race today and a great win for Blind Luck.  That's what you get when great talents challenge each other.  With all the talk about Zenyatta and Blame slugging it out for HOY and a few others with a shot if they finish strong, don't write off Blind Luck completely in that mix.  Hollendorfer isn't afraid to ship her anywhere and take on anybody.  

21 Aug 2010 6:40 PM
YanYard

After drinking out of this bloggers glass and making a comment that in essence agrees with his opinion of what a Real Sportsman is, he calls it the most senseless comment so far.

Point Made.

21 Aug 2010 6:44 PM
Zookeeper

Thanks to all of you who bet good money on a horse other than my pick; Blind Luck wins again!!! Do we really need TWO horses giving us heart attacks? YES!!!

With the crawling pace and DMC getting the jump on her, I thought her goose was cooked. Good call on Havre de Grace, Jason. Too bad you had the wrong filly on top. I didn't. Pretty good exacta! Thanks!

I didn't do as good in the Arlington Million... in fact I lost all my bets there because, like Gio Ponti, I never saw Debussy coming. How was that for a late kick? Tremendous!

I Want Revenge...One more proof of how hard it is to bring a horse back after a serious injury. I still like him a lot.  

21 Aug 2010 7:00 PM
sodapopkid

Congrats to Hollendorfer and Blind Luck?.   Again,   A California horse is beating an East Coast horse and horses.  I am sorry,  but the West Coast horses just keep getting better and better even though they run on synthetics.

I am begining to believe the synthetic surfaces must be the key to a great horse being trained nowadays,   Because they sure know how to win on conventional dirt,  after they have trained on the funky stuff as everyone calls it.

I think after a couple of years of great horses coming from the west coast,  I think the surface putdown may need to be reexamined.

21 Aug 2010 7:01 PM
Tamara G

Blind Luck is that Good! Mr. H so deserved this win after the tragic loss of Tuscan Evening. Remember  B Luck is a 3 year old and needs to travel to find races. The Queen has plenty of options and it's our LUCK she stays so close to home.

21 Aug 2010 7:09 PM
Rachel

Blind Luck...what a girl...cudos to Havre Grace and Acting happy, they ran their hearts out...

21 Aug 2010 7:14 PM
mr. toad

Santa Anita's installation of their synthetic track consisted of going the cheap route and using the wrong sand thus resulting in big drainage problems. The drainage was the problem, not the synthetic track itself. I hope Mr. Stronach finally gets something right in Southern California.  The barn area is an abomination over run by rats in delapidated barns.  I view this as another promise waiting to be fulfilled.

21 Aug 2010 7:18 PM
jimthepimp

I like that most people on here are having a good rational debate about horse racing and levels of competition that our stars are bringing to the sport this year. On my first post I was blaming the owners and think that is probably not the real root cause. My point is that horse racing will not survive with everyone just caring about the BC and taking easy routes to that race. Nobody wants to see these trumped up junk races that some of our stars have been racing in this year. Yes it draws 10 or 20 thousand fans but it just a local event. The only people that care is the local track that is hosting the event. No big media coverage and nothing to keep horse racing in the tv spotlight. And please dont give me that argument that we are just taking care of the horse. Owners can take care of there horses by giving them an easy race in between the more challenging ones. People will not continue to watch or get excited about a horse race if there is no competition. If you use that thought process then why not have all stakes horses run in low level allowance races as that would be better for the horse. This is horse RACING and that means it is a competition. The horses love to run and competition is about putting on big draw events. All owners should only run there horses if they are 100% physically and mentally ready for the challenge.

    The real problem here is that there is no national organization that looks to promote the sport and the competition levels. All sports try to showcase there stars. That is the only way to expand the sport. Also something needs to be done to get owners to take these chances. It isnt the owners fault that they wait for the breeders cup because that is where all the money is. Zenyetta made as much last year in the BBC as she made for her entire racing career. Nascar put in the 10 race championship and other sports have playoffs. Horse racing is dying and it cant survive off one event a year. Something needs to be done to save the sport. Maybe each BC race should have 3 or 4 races that you must compete in one and finish in the top 4 to get into the championship race. That would make horses qualify against each other and cause a little buzz. A sport is all about competition and without competition you have no fans. And please dont tell me how you are helping the horse or the sport by running horses against competition that isnt up to there level. The argument could be made that you are endangering the lower competition horses by putting your horse in the race and making them put out more than they are capable of.

21 Aug 2010 7:27 PM
jimthepimp

Once we have this national organization to help promote racing we should have a pool of money to draw the star horses during the year. Maybe even get the fans involved to vote on the net or by cell on who they want to see compete against eachother. Then the national organization could try to make it happen. Promote the stars and give them lots of oats and love. Stop trying to tell me that the best thing for the horse and horse racing is to have star horses run against inferior competition. That doesnt sound like horse racing but more like taking advantage of the over matched horses.

21 Aug 2010 7:43 PM
Meydan Rocks

Just wondering (as a racing enthusiast)...

Ghostown - You might be right however, don't you think it will be $$$$ is what will ultimately bring East coast horses west to Santa Anita? Look at how everyone scurries to the desert to try and pick the honorable Sheik's pockets in Dubai.

Billy's Empire - Did you bet your empire on your prognostication about the Alabama results? Does Mr Pletcher's comment of "she didn't fire" count as a reason to throw out the race?

Carlos in Cali - Does looking back at your last sentence about "crushing the field" make you wince?

Regardless of East or west coast affiliation, is it too much to hope for thoughtful posts such as the ones we get from the good Dr (Drunkinbum), Gun Bow, from

Mr Draynay?

His posts always leave me gasping for air when my solar plexus cringes reflexively after reading his posts.

Mr Hollendorfer's instincts were dead on about his filly. I wonder how she'll fare in the BC Ladies Classic?

21 Aug 2010 7:56 PM
sherpa

How deliciously apropos it is that Eclair de Lune and Debussy won at Arlington today...and tomorrow, 8/22, is the 148th anniversary of Claude Debussy's birth.

Coincidence? you be the judge...

=<;o

21 Aug 2010 8:23 PM
2:24

Would love to see Blind Luck in the Classic.  Fact is, there are very few horses that can get 10 furlongs effectively and she can.  It would obviously be a bit too much to chew for a three year old filly but it would be interesting as I think Blame and Zenyatta are the only other horses that would be effective at that distance on dirt.  If I were Rachel's connections, I would not be all that excited to face Blind Luck in the Distaff.

21 Aug 2010 9:04 PM
Pedigree Shelly

          It looks to me that Blind Luck is the best 3yr old filly now after her convincing win over Devil May Care ! Maybe Zenyatta should beware ?? I have a feeling this year's  BC Classic will be a race to remember !

21 Aug 2010 9:20 PM
Househholder

Oh what a great feeling to be among Blind Luck fans!  Secretariat, 224, I feel the love.  Come on Jason, you completely left her off your ticket?  What's the deal?  Hollendorfer runs to win (e.g., Lilly Fa Pootz!)

Quick you have 7  minutes to get a bet off on Evening Jewell!

21 Aug 2010 9:20 PM
Pedigree Shelly

          Jason , I forgot to tell you !! I really like your Handicapping show ! Very Informative :)

21 Aug 2010 9:39 PM
TradingPlaces

sherpa,

The only reason I know of the song and the composer is because of a scene in Twilight, but I was thinking the exact same thing about Eclair de Lune and Debussy winning today.

21 Aug 2010 9:43 PM
Zookeeper

My prior comment about Paddy O'Prado got lost in cyberspace, so here it is again: PADDY ROCKS!!!

jimthepimp,

You sure have changed your tune. Gone is the "push to the limit" mantra and I say good riddance! Somehow though you have twisted things to such an extent that you are NOW saying that Zenyatta entering a GradeI race is putting her competition in danger??? Make up your mind! I'm getting a headache trying to follow your convoluted logic. A Grade I race is just that, a Grade I race. The safety of the competition is the responsability of their connections, not Zen's and her team.

How much further are you gonna go in your effort to discredit Zenyatta, her career and her connections? On second thought... don't tell me, I'd rather not know.

21 Aug 2010 9:53 PM
John T

I really enjoyed the post by Lost

In The Fog,it was very well written and very well thought out.

Well done Lost In The Fog for pointing out that the main problem at Santa Anita is the drainage problem rather than the synthetic

itself.There are many different synthetic surfaces,Tapeta that was

introduced by forner trainer Micheal Dickinson seems to be well received at the tracks it is in use.Southwell in England use a fibre sand and in Ireland at Laytown they actually race on the sand by the sea and it is one of the most unique experiences I have

ever had,a day at the beach and going racing at the same time.

But perhaps the most common synthetic surface is polytrack used at my own local track Woodbine

and many important tracks throughout North America and Europe.Getting away from the racing

for a moment I know that Woodbine is saving about 750,000 dollars a year in maintenance compared with the dirt track they used to have.

What do I personally like most about the polytrack at Woodbine?It,s never having to study the racing form ever again for horses who like a muddy,slow,good,or sloppy track and all I can say is amen to that.

21 Aug 2010 9:59 PM
jayjay

ruffianruns : The post I made about Rachel fans were mostly towards LOW, Draynay and the other so-called Rachel fans that only claims to be fans when she wins a race.  I know for a fact that there are true RA fans out there, the ones that cares about the horse, not just because she won the HOTY.

jimthepimp : I thought your post was good until you started talking about horses running against inferior horses.  I don't know what your point is.  These are animals, not machines, you also forgot to take into account that most owner nowadays are investors, they look at their animals as a business.  Yes, you can make these horses run in top level ALL the time but as much as that would potentially draw crowds, what happens if they don't run that day ?  What happens if they get hurt ?  What do you think the "new" fans would do ?  Cheer ?? or would they be turned off and never come back again.  The injuries that horses suffer during the race are mostly related to their legs.  When Barbaro suffered the injury, they showed it on TV, his leg was dangling.  Do you think fans would enjoy that ?

I agree that there should be a governing body but what you're proposing towards the end of your comment is pretty much mandating that top horses only run in top level races.  Even the racing in the old times, they didn't run in every top level.  The "great" horses of the past did run in races where they dominated the competition.  The only difference this year is that owners have to keep in mind the breeding part of their animals.  You can't tell a business owner how to run their business.  I don't know what the solution is but if racing goes away because there's too many horses getting hurt, I won't be against it.  There's a lot of things wrong in this sport, but I don't think the horse needs to be the one to save it.  They already risk their lives every time they step on the track, whether it be training, workout or racing.

21 Aug 2010 10:00 PM
Bill Daly

Very impressive win by Blind Luck. Overcame a dawdling pace and outgamed an underrated Havre de Grace down the stretch. Diane J., I don't know whether Gio didn't see that Gosden horse, but that was some burst of speed that horse showed.  I think after making that big swooping move Gio didn't have enough left to hold off the other guy.  Great race.  Good to see Ron McAnally win the Beverly D.  Great ride by Jr. Alvarado.  James Graham looked good today as well. Thinking about IWR, he may never regain the form he once had.  Horses coming off serious injuries are risky bets to come all the way back.  I think Redding Collier looked and ran well, but he had a tough job to do.  He had to run down the lone speed and then hold off the posse.  Coa's horse was full of run.  Perfect set up for him.  Very nice win by Evening Jewel at Delmar.  The feelgood win of the day for everybody.

21 Aug 2010 10:01 PM
Zookeeper

sherpa,

I say delicious coincidence! YUM!

21 Aug 2010 10:02 PM
berttheclock

Yes, sherpa, "they" did try to give us the Arlington, did they not?  With Eclair du Lune winning, how could anyone overlook "Claude" Debussy?  Just love the dumb jock types at HRTV and TVG, who kept calling the horse's name "Doo-BUS-Eee.  Yes, you can continue wearing the suits and ties on TV at TVG, but, please start wearing dunce caps, please?

But, yes, indeed, both horses left quite an "Impression", eh?  However, the move of the day was at the head of the stretch at DM by Espinosa.  Great footwork for Cassidy's marvel.

21 Aug 2010 10:17 PM
BZZZ

If Zenyatta, RA, Blame , QR, or LAL win the Classic, they'll be HOY no matter what they do before then. If none of them win, I don't know; maybe Blind Luck if she wins the Ladies Classic.

21 Aug 2010 10:40 PM
4LOKO

Gio Ponti always seems to have bad luck; someone always sneaks up on him. I still think he's the best. I think Blind Luck should take on Zenyatta and Rachel. She might beat them.

21 Aug 2010 10:46 PM
Exterminator

California has the best 3yr old colt in the nation. California has the best 3yr old filly in the nation. California has the best older horse in the nation (which happens to be the best filly/mare that has ever stepped foot on a North American racetrack).

Just sayin...

21 Aug 2010 11:03 PM
Will W

Right on, Jason, about Santa Anita returning to dirt. Patrick and Tom received from you what their comments deserved. This is a turn around all horseman, handicappers, and racing fans should celebrate.

21 Aug 2010 11:23 PM
Paula Higgins

jimthepimp, interesting post above and very good points. I don't disagree with your basic premise. A national organization is a good idea. But to me the most important issue in racing is that horses are not being bred for stamina, they are being bred for speed. Of course the trainers know this and race their horses accordingly. There are no Kincsems in this century. Is there a horse out there right now who could do what Rachel did last year and come back in another year and repeat? I really doubt it. Not even Rachel could do it. I don't think there is a horse racing now that could have that kind of campaign and do it again a year later and I am including Zenyatta in that statement. If we are willing to just have 1 yr wonders and settle for that, it can happen. But is that really best for the sport? A fan base needs time to build up. Having champions around for more than a year is good for the sport also. Perhaps what we need is a mixture of both and a true appreciation of both kinds of champions-short term (1 yr)and longer term.

One of the reasons Zenyatta is still racing is because they chose Grade I races that weren't going to run her through the mill. That doesn't mean that she had cake walks, she most certainly didn't. Some of them were tough and they were all legitimate. She raced whoever showed up. I think she is capable of beating any horse racing today. But she has longevity because of how she was raced.

You suggest a a schedule mixed of easier and tougher races. I don't think there is anything wrong with that idea and it is certainly doable for most horses racing now. In Zenyatta's case I think there are other issues and I know some people think they aren't valid but I disagree. I won't go there again however. We have hashed that discussion over, ad infinitum.

Sodapopkid, ITA that the west coast horses are none too shabby. Really impressive.

Happy to see Paddy O'Prado do so well.

21 Aug 2010 11:24 PM
just a fan

I wish the connections of Zenyatta would have been a lot more ambitious with her schedule. It would have been great to see her at Belmont, Saratoga or Churchill. Dirt and maybe even grass. A defeat in the toughest battles would not have tarnished her image or record. But chasing the same cast of suspect characters over and over again has left many with that sour taste.

21 Aug 2010 11:39 PM
Lost In The Fog

Blind Luck proved today who the best three-year-old filly is.  It was all the more impressive given the slow fractions she was up against.  Maybe Andrew Beyer won't adjust her Beyers down by 10-15 points this time like he did in his now infamous Delaware Oaks stunt.

And congratulations to Havre de Grace for running another great race against BL!  I think it's time to start talking about Havre de Grace rather than DMC as the second best in her division.

I threw out DMC completely as a false favorite (as I usually do with over-hyped NY horses) and scored nicely  singling BL over Havre de Grace and Acting Happy.  Thanks to all who contributed that DMC money to the exacta and trifecta pools. :-)

21 Aug 2010 11:46 PM
-Keelerman

I'm afraid that I Want Revenge was unimpressive again. Duke of Mischief romped in the Philip H. Iselin at odds of 16-1. Favored Redding Colliery finished second, with I Want Revenge back in third, beaten six and a quarter lengths.

At Saratoga, it was a two horse race in the Alabama. Unfortunately, it was between Blind Luck and Havre de Grace instead of Blind Luck and Devil May Care. Devil May Care had every opportunity to win, but just tired in the stretch. She looked like she just couldn't quite get a mile and a quarter.

Havre de Grace ran huge and almost defeated Blind Luck, but the Kentucky Oaks winner circled the field to win by a neck.

I was very impressed by Debussy in the Arlington Million. I'm not sure how fast he closed his final eighth, but it was under twelve seconds without a doubt. Gio Ponti ran well, but once again just couldn't quite hit the wire in front. Does anyone know for sure how fast Debussey ran his final eighth?

What a day of racing! After today, I have no idea who should be the 2010 champion turf male. There is no standout and the winner will likely be the horse that wins the Breeders' Cup Turf.

It's going to be a great 2-1/2 months leading to the Breeders' Cup!

21 Aug 2010 11:50 PM
Will W

Ditto as well, Jason, to your remarks in your blog response about HOY. Man, did that need to be said ! Showing up and competing is what its all about just as you maintain. The obsession about one year end race in the Breeder's Cup has caused owners and trainers to take far too many easy routes, pointing toward one horse race. As you said, who cares about HOY - let's see competition. I love to see Zenyatta race, but I'd love to see her much more in the East on dirt in Grade 1s against males and females. If doing away with the Breeder's Cup promoted more and better competition, I'd be all for it.

22 Aug 2010 12:04 AM
Footlick

Sherpa- great comment!!!!!

22 Aug 2010 12:15 AM
Footlick

Great racing.  Obviously Debussy was bleeding in Europe, as the rumors said.  Then Blind Luck running a great race at 10 furlongs, and Devil May Care fading again at 10 furlongs.   And Evening Jewel beating Harmonious.  As far as Zenyatta is concerned, bet against her at your own risk in the BC Classic.  She was still noticably underweight in the Vanity and whether her critics like it or not obviously didn't handle shipping back from Oaklawn well.  Spin it however you like, many turf writers noticed her being underweight in the Vanity.  She didn't handle shipping as well as they thought she would, so they changed plans.  I would have liked a more ambitious plan as many would have, but I have to believe they are looking out for the horse.  The Aga Khan has a filly named Rosnara who wouldn't load on a plane for a race in England.  They pointed her to another race and vanned her from France to England by chunnel.  She didn't run well, duh...... the Aga Khan usually doesn't do that.  He certainly didn't with Zarkava.

22 Aug 2010 12:34 AM
jim

Hello....where is Rachel Alexandra..........maybe fillies sprint?  of course in the BC. or maybe the fillies mile.

22 Aug 2010 12:35 AM
jayjay

Now that California horses are showing how they are the best in the nation, I can anticipate the east coasters will be saying :

"Well, we know they are good horses...this is exactly why we want to see them race in the east coast to showcase their talent"

Now keep in mind, there are quite a few on here that claims ALL the champions race at Saratoga, champions runs in the east coast and the "beasts" comes from the east coast, that california racing is a joke.  It just goes to show that a good management of horses, will produce a great horse.

Some people here thinks it's just all about after the gates opened, they need to learn more about horse racing.

With regards to I Want Revenge, I guess we'll start seeing the same folks calling this horse a fluke too.  Nevermind that he had a major injury, it's the fact that he hasn't won another G1 since.  That's their definition of a fluke.  What do you think Jason ?

22 Aug 2010 12:40 AM
maryann727

To Dr. Drunkinbum  ~ "She's an American icon in an era where hero's are difficult to find. If the founder's of the Constitution knew about her they would have stuck to monarchy. She is The Queen."  Loved what you wrote about Zenyatta, I love Zenyatta and what she represents to racing, in a word Exhilerating.  And stop all the nonsense about she hasn't proven herself because she hasn't run more dirt races.  Hogwash.  She is a superstar and we who appreciate her greatness, her uniqueness are a fortunate group.  One like her will not soon pass this way again.  Again, thankyou Dr. D. for a great post in Z's honor.

22 Aug 2010 12:48 AM
Monarchos Matt

Was live to five horses in the Million for the Pick 3 after singling Eclair DeLune and couldn't bring it home for what have been a huge payday... unfortunately I just realized tonight after the race that there was a French composer named Claude DeBussy who wrote a famous piece called "Clare de Lune".

Blame my lack of culture since this was already obvious to many of you, but I definitely would have had him on my ticket simply to test the sheer unlikelihood of such a thing ever occurring. I mean, wow, there's coincidence and then there's coincidence.....

I'm going to go listen to some obscure French compositions now to get ready for next Saturday.

22 Aug 2010 12:51 AM
LAZMANNICK

Kellerman

What does Debussey's final 1/8th matter?  The final quarter was timed in 25.16 (the slowest since the first) and he came from 6 lengths back meaning he ran a 24 second final quarter.  Actually Gio ran his slightly faster and he was 6 wide, losing ground after what I consider another bad ride by Ramon on him this year while Debussey had the rail trip, the one Gio originally had.  Debussey ran nice, but two starts ago in the Prince of Wales he got hammered by Byword and Twice Over, two serious BC contenders and at 25-1.  Today he did come back and beat Summer Surge who beat him in their last, but he was the 3-1 favorite that day.  There is no doubt in my mind that Gio was the best horse today.  The timing of reaching the front too early might have been a mistake because he sustained his drive for awhile, then he started to struggle just a bit or maybe started to pull himself up.  This is sad for top ranked American Turf racing.

On the other hand, Dale Romans was impressed with Paddy and is seeing signs of Kitten's Joy again.  Paddy just might be our best hope in the BC (I'm not giving up on Gio).  Sidney looks solid and I hope they point him to the Mile and a meeting with Goldi.  That would be great.

22 Aug 2010 1:02 AM
LAZMANNICK

This bit about the Moss's saying that they would showcase Zenyatta around the country this year is getting to be pretty pathetic.  To hear some say it, it's almost as if we're allowing her to come out of retirement and race this year, but only if she barnstorms around the county and faces males to boot.

Pathetic.  The Moss's can do what they want, when they want.  I hope she doesn't come east until the BCC and then I hope she kicks butt and then I hope all the HOY worriers that are against her are beside themselves preparing their pathetic little arguments about why she doesn't deserve the award, maybe stay up and grumble among themselves and bang their heads against the walls and wale on against plastics and Cali racing and how weak Cali horses are and whatever.  I don't think the true Zenyatta fans care in the least.  Winners have never had to care.

22 Aug 2010 1:54 AM
GunBow

Great day of racing, one for my heart(but not pocketbook because I was at work).

Alabama- I made it clear I was rooting for Blind Luck.  Having seen her run 5 times in person has made me a fan of the little, late-running filly.  And I'm really feeling Hollendorfer right now, one because I am still mourning with him over the loss of Tuscan Evening, and also because I respect his sportsmanship, especially with Blind Luck but with Tuscan Evening as well(she won the Modesty in Chicago and was going to run in the Beverly D..more about that later).

My pre-race fear was that Hollendorfer's sportsmanship and Blind Luck's amazing travelling would have been forgotten in a second had Devil May Care beat her in the Alabama, even if by a nose.  The talk wouldn't have been how Blind Luck was running in DMC's backyard, or that Blind Luck was making her 4th start outside Cali, but instead would have been about DMC having won the head-to-head, DMC having won 3 gr.1s to Blind Luck's 2, and DMC being the "clear leader" in the 3 year old filly division.  In short, I was worried Hollendorfer and Blind Luck's sportsmanship would have been shuffled aside.

With the victory, though, comes the spoils.  In refutation of my pre-race concerns, the Alabama was exhibit A for why trainers and owners should seek out the best to run against.  And I do hope everyone realizes how remarkable Blind Luck has been this year; she may not be Rachel, but wins in 3 gr.1 races including the two biggest races for 3 year old fillies(Kentucky Oaks and Alabama) and graded stakes wins in California, Arkansas, Kentucky, Delaware, and New York, on synthetic and dirt, is a sign of a special horse.  Throw in her 2 year old campaign, with 2 gr.1 wins, and Blind Luck is working on an outstanding career.  It should also be noted that Blind Luck has never run a poor race, and in her 4 defeats has always run in-the-money and never been beaten by more than a length and a quarter.

As for Devil Mar Care, she just never has been as consistent as Blind Luck.  She ran subpar in the Breeder's Cup, and then at the Fair Grounds, in the Derby, and now turned in an out-of-the-money performance in the Alabama.  One must also wonder that regardless of how strong she has looked at 9 furlongs, maybe she just doesn't want 10 furlongs.  In any event, Blind Luck has taken CLEAR control of the 3 year old filly division, and it would take another filly doing something extremely special to take the Eclipse from her.

Havre de Grace ran another strong race in the Alabama, proving her narrow loss to Blind Luck in the Delaware Oaks was not a fluke nor was it a matter of Blind luck running "down to the competition".  By raw final times, the Delaware Oaks deserved a 116 Beyer, but was downgraded because the number was seen as too high for Blind Luck but especially for the unproven Havre de Grace.  Thus, the figure both received was a moderate 94.  The Alabama signified that the Delaware Oaks maybe did deserve a fig higher than 94, and that Havre de Grace is indeed a serious filly.  She's a filly, like Devil May Care, that Blind Luck would have never faced had Hollendorfer not had the courage to ship cross-country.

And the above comment has nothing to do with the debate about pushing horses vs. injuries or with the debate over Zenyatta's schedule.  Ruffianruns quote of Laura Hillenbrand concerning the NFL equivalent of the thoroughbred death-rate, 33 players dying each year, is astounding.  On the push the horses vs. leave it to the trainers, I'll leave it to the trainers.  However, if a trainer like Hollendorfer believes his horse can handle more travel or a more ambitious campaign, so much the better.

Del Mar Oaks- With all the talk about Blind Luck having to face Devil May Care, we might have overlooked the 3 year old filly that might end up pushing Blind Luck the most for the Eclipse, Evening Jewel.  As with Blind Luck, Evening Jewel has proven herself across the country, on a variety of surfaces.  In the latter department, she's actually done Blind Luck one better, having won a gr.1 on synthetic(Ashland at Keeneland), a gr.1 on turf(Del Mar Oaks), and running 2nd by a nose in a gr.1 on dirt(Kentucky Oaks).  If it weren't for Blind Luck's nose(gr.1 Las Virgenes + Kentucky Oaks), Evening Jewel would actually be working on a 6 race winning streak, with 4 gr1s.

A model of consistency, the Cal-bred Evening Jewel won the Del Mar Oaks with a brave move diving down to the rail entering the stretch under Victor Espinoza.  Harmonious, a long, huge stablemate of Zenyatta, demonstrated her gr.1 level talent again(American Oaks), but also displayed a disconcerting lack of mental focus, drifting almost to the outer fence in the stretch in running 2nd.  However, Mike Smith, pulling his best Frankie Dettori on Swain impression, didn't help by going to the left-handed whip repeatedly.

Evening Jewel is unlikely to unseat Blind Luck for the Eclipse given Evening Jewel appears best on turf and because Blind Luck has beaten her in both of their meetings this year.  However, Evening Jewel is a serious horse.

Arlington Million- I have no doubts now that Gio Ponti, like Forever Together, has simply lost a half-step.  He ran well in the Arlington Million, making an eye-catching move to appear the sure-winner at the eighth pole.  It was very similar to his move in last year's Million, a move that brought him to the lead prematurely.  However, whereas last year Gio Ponti found an extra little gear when Just as Well and Stotsfold made late runs at him, today he had no response to the surging Euro, Debussy.

My initial impression after the race was that once again this year, Gio Ponti was best in a losing effort.  After all, he had to go 6 or 7 wide entering the stretch while Debussy skimmed the rail.  But on review, Debussy was best; 4th on the far turn, Debussy was shuffled back to basically last at the top of the stretch when every hole closed up.  Once a hole opened up, Debussy absolutely exploded to win as the best.  Once again we see the least preferred of 2 horses sent out by the same trainer(Gosden also trains Tazeez) get the win.  Anyone else notice how often this happens?  And what does this say about the superiority of the top Euro turfers?

Secretariat- Paddy o Prado cemented himself the best 3 year old turf horse at a classic distance.  A few years ago, wins in the two Colonial races and the Secretariat would have put him one race short(BC Turf) of a sizeable bonus for sweeping the 4 races.  

Certainly, with a win in the BC Turf, Paddy o' Prado could win something as valuable as any bonus, the Eclipse award for champion turf horse.  I suppose, like Kent Desormeaux suggested, Paddy could be considered for the 3 year old Eclipse, but like Evening Jewel the fact he is winning mostly on turf will likely be held against him.  

Some might feel that the Secretariat makes Paddy o Prado the best male turf horse in the US of any age, but I'm still dubious.  The time for the Secretariat was about 7/5ths of a second slower than the Arlington Million.  And while Paddy did close fast the final quarter, I can't ignore the difference in the final times, especially since top Secretariat winners in the past like Kitten's Joy and Showing Up ran times faster than the corresponding Arlington Millions.

I'm actually not ready to concede that Paddy o Prado is the most talented 3 year old turfer, although he is the most accomplished and deserves the #1 ranking among that group.  However, I do feel that at a mile, mile and sixteenth, and maybe even 9 furlongs on turf, Sidney's Candy could give Paddy all he can handle.  Beyond 9 furlongs, though, it's all Paddy.  

Beverly D- The race was bittersweet on so many levels.  First, could there be a better story than Arlington owner Dick Duchossois winning the race named for his late wife?  That's exactly what happened when Eclair de Lune crossed the wire first.  It's hard to imagine any win being sweeter.

Or how about Ron MacAnally, in the twilight of his career, jumping back on the national stage with a big gr.1 win?  MacAnally had envisioned Eclair de Lune doing something like this ever since he first received her.  He was hyping her up alot before her stateside stakes debut in the Santa Barbara back in April and had her take a big step when 2nd in her Beverly D prep, the Modesty.  Having seen her in person in the Santa Barbara, I really liked how this mare was put together and thought her Modesty effort made her the one to beat in the Beverly D.

The bitter in the bittersweet is that it was impossible not to be reminded about the loss of Tuscan Evening and her absence from the Beverly D.  And the results suggest Tuscan Evening would have been very, very difficult to beat.  After all, Beverly D winner, Eclair de Lune, and runner-up, Hot Cha Cha, had just run 2nd-3rd behind Tuscan Evening in the Modesty.  What is more, the horse that beat Eclair de Lune in the Santa Barbara back in April was, yes, Tuscan Evening.  It was easy for me to imagine Tuscan Evening out there stalking Romacaca, kicking clear at the top of the stretch, then holding Eclair de Lune safely by 3/4ths of a length.  At least the Dorf had the Alabama today.

Iselin- Unfortunately, it appears I Want Revenge will never develop into the horse he could have been.  He appeared to be travelling beautifully down the backstretch, but when asked to run around the turn it looked like he just didn't fully extend himself and legthen stride.  Maybe he just can't get the necessary extension, or mentally is afraid to really put his body down.  If he CAN'T physically do it, I don't see why he needs to be running.

22 Aug 2010 2:06 AM
Bellwether

JU$T A BEAUTIFUL SAT. OF HORSE RACE N COAST TO COAST...BLIND LUCK$ CARD..."HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL"...HEAR THAT MO$$...LONG LIVE THE KING BABY!!!...ty...

22 Aug 2010 3:02 AM
Bellwether

$UIT$...TIE$ & DUNCE CAP$!!!...i LOVE IT...LONG LIVE LADY LUCK!!!...ty...

22 Aug 2010 3:16 AM
Bellwether

ps...A HOR$EMAN NEED$ TO B A SPORT$MAN AL$O...EXPOSE & PROMOTE "THE GAME"...ty...

22 Aug 2010 3:32 AM
Danny from UK

Unlike most Europeans, I actually like dirt as a surface. Criticism from British, Irish or French saying it is "cruel" to run horses through such testing conditions is hypocritical in the extreme - have you ever seen the Cheltenham Gold Cup? They run for 3 and a half miles, carrying 11 stone 10 lbs, and whilst doing 30 mph, have to jump 6 1/2 ft fences. Anyone who complains about dirt being dangerous, should watch the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

As for the synthetic surfaces suiting "Euros" in the B.C - nonsense. Many horses here are bred from dirt performers and synthetic / dirt would come alike.

If the reason for the drive in artifical sufaces is to attract European horses - why bother? Would we ever run the Arc de Triomphe on synthetics to encourage Zennyatta and co to join in? Never in a million years.

On another note, I see Debussy won yesterday. I couldn't help thinking how many G1 winners have come out of last year's derby. Sea the Stars destroyed these horses with such ease - its only now becoming apparant how good that animal was.

22 Aug 2010 6:00 AM
John Henry D Great

I am regular racegoer to Santa Anita,at one 90 day meeting i went 62 times.Santa is raced during the winter,there are some years that almost 1/3 of the race days are run on off tracks.If you look forward to 3 and 4 horse fields this is the track for you!(dirt)Turf horses will not switch to the main track now that it is dirt so field size will stay small.East coast traners rarely send stables to the west coast when so many east coast tracks are a van ride away back east.

The trainers will start complaining about the new dirt track in no time.(they always due)it was at a fever pitch before they switched to synthetics.Dirt tracks are not even dirt tracks for the last 30 years all sort of things are added for drainage(wood bark,sand)i have alot to look forward too.

22 Aug 2010 7:38 AM
Leon

Jayjay & Mike,

The excuse for not shipping out of SoCal was good while the BC was run there. It made no sense to run on dirt if you were aiming at the biggest race of the year on synth, but 2010 is different, because the BC is being run on dirt. It makes no sense to keep your horse on a synth track 99% of the year.

Zenyatta is running on all G1's, but not against males. They preferred to give her two races with lesser purses against females (Vanity & Hirsch), one of them at a track & distance that has not proven to be the best for her, than one single race with a top purse (higher than the 2 races vs females COMBINED) vs good but not the most talented males at her home track (HGC), at a very suitable distance for her. That really turned me off.

I really enjoyed Blind Luck's victory in the Alabama. It was what horse racing is all about. I understand every horse is different regarding trips, but maybe Shireffs can get some advise from Jerry on what to do regarding shipping horses.

"Shipping is not always rewarded"...Well, if you take a look at the HOTY award winner the last 3 years, it proves that statement absolutely wrong. NOT SHIPPING is what has cost the best horse in the nation the award....

22 Aug 2010 7:40 AM
Leon

Jason,

Congratulations on the article. I could not agree with you more.

22 Aug 2010 7:57 AM
birdy1031

I understand the jubilation for some regarding the switch back to dirt and have two questions

1) Will this save California Racing from small fields, overwhelming workmans comp premiums and owners going for east for larger purses

2) What becomes of Hollywood and Del Mar. Will you then save your synthetic horses for thoses two meets and sit on them all winter.

I don't understand how having just the one track the circuit will help the majority. The minority of horses at SA in the winter that will use the dirt surface to prep for big summer races, will then go East and leave a big void in the quality of horses in Cali. I know this helps the big guns, but what about the guy who has the blue collar Cal- breds are they now going to run over all types of surfaces throughout the year?

22 Aug 2010 8:22 AM
jimthepimp

Zookeeper

Not all comments made on here are just directed at Zenyatta. RA has taken the softest route this year. You are way too defensive of one horse to see the forest. Im not a fan of either of the horses campaigns this year. RA could of probably won the Foster if she had ran earlier this year. Zenyetta had the Pacific Classic to win if she had wanted too. The bigger picture is how to change the decline in horse racing in this country. If Zenyetta runs in the BBC this year I will be rooting for her to win it again (Sorry Jason, hehe). That would be great for the sport. Year after year this sport has stars and the only people that care are the 1000 people trying to promote there horse. Someday someone will figure out how to promote the sport and bring in many new fans.

22 Aug 2010 9:55 AM
Trebloc

BLind Luck, WOW.......Paddy O'Prado three year old of the year?  Looking forward to making my first trip to Saratoga and hoping to see Super Saver win the Travers.  Six days and counting!!

22 Aug 2010 10:12 AM
Zookeeper

Devil May Care is a very good filly and just because she lost at 1 1/4 miles doesn't mean that she isn't a force to reckon with at a shorter distance. In fact, in such a race, I wouldn't "toss" her even against Blind Luck (and you know how I feel about the Cali filly). If both stay healthy and make it to the BC's Ladies Classic, the result could be different than what we saw yesterday. Notice that I said "could" NOT "will", because (unlike some) I'm never positive about the outcome of any race. It's more fun that way!  :)

22 Aug 2010 10:30 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Would you rather travel around to Timbuktu, and New York, win a couple of second rate races, and then not be right and lose The Breeder's Cup, or do it right and win The Breeder's Cup? Show me a trainer that wants his horse entering The Classic all worn out other than Jason. The best chance to win The Classic goes to Lookin At Lucky, Blame, or Zenyatta. This field is too good for a front running Rachel or Quality Road to win it. They aren't tenacious warriors like the other three.

Quality Road should be pointing to The Breeder's Cup mile, not The Classic. He can't win The Classic. He can be a superstar at a mile.

Blind Luck is really good but The Classic is the wrong race for her. The Ladies Classic is good enough. What's wrong with winning The Ladies Classic all of a sudden? Every race in The Breeder's Cup is a test of champions. Not just The Classic.

22 Aug 2010 10:32 AM
Zen's Auntie

Just a fan I suggest collgate, or crest  maybe listerene and tickets to the BBC in November....

the Beverly D was awesome, for the Duchossois family and for all the right reasons - still, I wish Tuscan Evening could have been there.

Poor Gio, he really looked good to me, just didnt hang on, rats.

Between Blind Luck, blame and Z i really think I should up my heart meds before November. Paddy, who is really so handsom,  was easier to watch withough angina.

Anyone want to go in on a case of AED's (automated external defribiulators) before November?  bet we can get them cheap if we buy in bulk.  I hope they have plenty of them mounted on the walls at CD it looks like they are going to need them.

22 Aug 2010 10:49 AM
Rachel

Jason, Ditto on your HOY comments.

I'm old enough to remember horse racing before there was a BC...sometimes I think it was better...there were genuine rivalries that ran all the big races because they were competing for the year, not one race.

22 Aug 2010 10:54 AM
Zookeeper

While the blog was still asleep, I re-read several comments while enjoying my morning coffee.

I was struck with the way SOME people take one incident and talk as if it is happening all the time.

Another thing I noticed is that SOME fail to enjoy what we do have and would rather complain about the lack of what they deem as "better".

SOME even went as far as saying that the Breeders Cup is a detriment to the sport. (?!?!?!)

SOME approve so much of the way Football is conducted that it makes me wonder how they figure that two sports so completely different should follow the same path to determine their champions.

... just some idle thoughts, as I sip my morning coffee, waiting for the blog to wake up.  :)

22 Aug 2010 12:02 PM
Erv

Wish Arl Pk would go back to dirt.

22 Aug 2010 12:13 PM
Mike Relva

LAZ

I agree w/ you. How was your weekend? Will be in Panama City Labor Day weekend.

22 Aug 2010 12:16 PM
rhoward

With respect to A.Beyer's number in the D. Oaks--it shows to all handicappers that his system has major limitations. His beyers for West Coast racing is biased lower. His Beyers for synthetics are horribly incorrect. That is why when synthetic horses go to dirt--most horses explode. Buyer  beware!

22 Aug 2010 12:57 PM
Mahuba

While we are talking track surface, would someone please educate me about the difference between Dirt Horses and Turf horses?  Not just the horses but also running style--and why.  Why is it better to have a slower pace and then a sprint race to the wire on turf?  etc.

thanks

22 Aug 2010 2:04 PM
Mike Relva

LOST IN THE FOG

Nice post from you! Regarding A. Beyer I NEVER pay attention to anything he says. Last yr. he stated Zenyatta was too slow to win the Classic. lol

22 Aug 2010 2:22 PM
bill

Mr. Shandler..your comment that keeneland owns 50% of Polytrack...is that true or just something you heard??And what was so disastrous about the surface at Santa Anita?It looked great at the last 2 BCups when there were zero breakdowns (for the 1st time).

Lastly..why is the 'BC better off being run on real dirt for a no. of reasons'?And what are they? Its hard to take you seriously if you aren't going to expand on something as fundamental as this.

22 Aug 2010 2:38 PM
The Rock

Lost In The Fog,

I think Evening Jewel would have something to say about being the 2nd best 3 year old filly in the country. She's two dirty noses from being unbeaten this year and has a G1 on 2 surfaces and a nose away from 3.

22 Aug 2010 3:07 PM
Ron

Can someone please tell how many horses were shattering sesamoids at SA and Delmar before the synthetics were installed? Please, also get me the number of horses which had shattered sesamoids on the synthetics at SA and Delmar.  Seems like I read about thoses injuries on a daily basis when those tracks were on dirt.  I cannot recall on single shattered sesamoid on the synthetic.   Those injuries are catostrophic.  I have seen more breakdowns, and have watched more destroyed horses dragged into horse ambulances than I really care to remember.  The last few years were very pleasant as far as that goes.

22 Aug 2010 3:07 PM
Thomas Fritzsche

Had Zenyatta never travelled outside California and/or raced on dirt I would accept some grumblings from bitter east coast kooks.  But she has done both and won easily both times. I know, Ginger Punch was coming off a long layoff.  There is always an excuse, right?  Zenyatta's had long layoffs and always won.  And it is such a convenient excuse but why did Ginger Punch go off at 2/5.  Because the layoff was going to be no problem and she wasn't facing anyone. Well, actually she was facing Zenyatta, an all time great. And if people had watched her first three races and really understood what they were seeing, Ginger Punch would not have been 0.4/1. Don't forget Zenyatta will be at Churchill for the Classic and realize the Mosses brought her back specifically for this race.  And if Quality Road and Rachel are entered they will likely be favored because of the East Coast bias that distorts the truth. I'll take 7/2 on Zenyatta gladly, she will win, and another lame excuse will be on its way from the east.

22 Aug 2010 4:14 PM
Jason Shandler

Bill: Keeneland owns half of Polytrack. Fact.

The BC attracts more Euros on the main track races, but that is the only positive. Not one East Coast-based horse won a BC race the last 2 yrs at SA. 0-for-43. That is not a coincidence. Dirt plays truer than synthetics. You have Poly, Tapeta, Pro-Ride, Cushion Track, etc. Too many variables. Each plays different.

22 Aug 2010 4:40 PM
Mark Sanders

Quote from Secretariat:

"Blind Luck vs. Devil May Care

This is no challenge for Blind Luck. Why are they even making this out to be a rivalry? Blind Luck is going to completely dismantle Devil May Care.

Devil May Care just isn't the horse Blind Luck is.

Enough said."

Secretariat,

You know your horse flesh. You know what the hell your talking about.

22 Aug 2010 4:40 PM
Kevin

Sealed racetracks and 3 horse fields.

I'm loving the "DIRT".

22 Aug 2010 4:44 PM
RHafner

JShandler says:

"Not one East Coast-based horse won a BC race the last 2 yrs at SA. 0-for-43." You have Poly, Tapeta, Pro-Ride, Cushion Track, etc. Too many variables. Each plays different.

Well Jason...you just answered your own questions about "just how good Zenyatta is". She wins on Pro-Ride, Poly, Cushion and dirt.

22 Aug 2010 4:53 PM
Livesoutwest

OK, Kay

You asked:  But would you REALLY give (RA) HOTY if she wins the Personal Ensign, Beldame and BC Classic?

My answer is, if she beats Blame, beats Quality Road, beats Lookin At Lucky and beats Zenyatta in the BCC, plus beats G1-winning horses in the two races along the way, hell yes, I would give it to her.  This year she would have as much claim to it as any of those other four if THEY won the BCC.  Because none of them have run a campaign like Rachel ran last year.  In fact, the closest thing to it in 2010 is Blind Luck's campaign, but that's not in the same league because it's come against only 3yo fillies.

So if the scenario with Rachel did in fact happen as you describe,   who would YOU give HOY to?

22 Aug 2010 4:55 PM
TradingPlaces

I must confess I was wrong on who was the better filly. I still believe, talent wise that DMC is the better of the two, but BL never misfires, and that in a race horse is hard to come by.

The fact the fractions were so slow made her win all the more impressive. She is a class act and a throwback. She takes on anyone anywhere and always shows up.

DMC did not run her race. Normally a horse that likes to stay close to the pace, she ran second to last yesterday. A horse like her you would think, would have readily assumed command of the lead with such a slow pace, but instead she just didn't seem to have her head in the game.

Paddy has really turned into some kind of monster. His win yesterday, though short in margin, was easy. It is time for him to take on his elders to establish himself at the head of the division.

22 Aug 2010 5:12 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

maryann727

  Thank you, and I agree that we are fortunate, very fortunate. It has been an honor and a privlege to be able to watch these amazing races. As a fan of closers, she is a dream come true. Better than any Saturday Afternoon matinee when I was growing up. The tension and suspense is always there. She is such a tease, making us wonder so many times if she can get there in time. I was so sad watching The Classic thinking there was no way she could get through there and win it. Then through the excitement and exhilaration and jumping up and down I injured myself. But it was worth it. It made up for Smarty Jones loss in The Belmont which was a polar opposite of emotions. Devastation Vs. Exhilaration. Zenyatta is a legend and hero to millions. I can only imagine how many spirits she's lifted in times of need. I know it's been a lot. I hope the magic continues through two more races, and that they then keep her in California for her retirement. She traveled twice to race but found that running on dirt was too easy, not enough of a challenge. She's a showman so she'd rather make it close. She also is not that fond of traveling. Are you going to tell The Queen that she has to travel more? I don't think so. Not unless you want your head chopped off, but she will do it one more time, for the good of the people.

22 Aug 2010 5:29 PM
-Keelerman

LAZMANNICK;

Thanks for your reply. I enjoy discussing the final fractions of all races and seeing how fast horses finished.

According to my caculations, both Debussy and Gio Ponti ran their final quarters in 24 seconds flat. Gio Ponti was a half length behind Debussy after a mile, and if they had finished in a dead-heat, Debussy would have run his final quarter in 24 seconds and Gio Ponti would have run his in about 23.90 seconds. However, Gio Ponti finished a half length behind Debussy at the finish, meaning that he ran his final quarter in 24 seconds flat.

Also, even though Gio Ponti did have to go six wide, Debussy got an arguably worse trip, getting trapped behind a tiring Quite a Handful in the stretch. Because of this, he was unable to make his run until very late, and was three lengths behind Gio Ponti at the eighth pole. This is why I am curious as to how fast he ran his final eighth.

Perhaps it was the first time lasix. Or perhaps Byword and Twice Over are just that much better than Gio Ponti, which seems unlikely since Gio Ponti beat Twice Over in the Breeders' Cup Classic last year. But whatever the reason, Debussy ran huge yesterday and is a possibility for the Eclipse award for Champion turf male, in my opinion.

However, you are right that Gio Ponti should not be forgotten. He can still get the award if he should win the Breeders' Cup Turf. The mile and a half distance may be too far for him, but he has time to get ready. Perhaps it was the bog-like conditions in the Joe Hirsch that caused him to lose last year, rather than the distance.

-Keelerman

22 Aug 2010 5:35 PM
Ted from LA

Hopefully the story coming out of Chicago Saturday is Dick Duchossois winning the race named after his deceased wife Beverly.

Ted from LA 15 Aug 2010 2:24 PM

Ted from LA really knows his stuff.

22 Aug 2010 5:46 PM
Kay

The 3YO fillies are really marvelous this year, no matter which surface they prefer. There's just something about Blind Luck's heart that Devil May Care doesn't seem to have. So the real race will be Blind Luck and Evening Jewel. Both of them are such scrappers. It would be ironic if the Ladies Classic turned out to be tougher than the Classic, but it could happen with these 3YOs. I also look forward to Harmonious staying on the same course with the rest of the field in her next start.

I realize that this week's meme about Zenyatta is the shipping thing, and that this is because Blind Luck ships. And she certainly does. She gets on a plane and she goes places. When you talk about East Coast horses shipping, you really mean vanning, which is NOT shipping. Hollendorfer said that Blind Luck is an excellent shipper. That's why you ship a horse. Because they can handle it. Zenyatta, conversely, is NOT a good shipper. There are some differences between her and Blind Luck, chief among them that BL is a three-year-old and Zenyatta is a six-year-old. Older horses bounce back more slowly. And she's so big that when she gets dehydrated from the return trip (yes, IT WAS THE RETURN TRIP, after the race), it takes A LONG time to get her weight back.

When they saw how much the Oaklawn trip adversely affected her, that's when they re-thought the earlier idea about sending her back to the East. Because if your long-term goal is the BC Classic, the closer you get to that Classic, the more careful you have to be so you are not derailed from your goal. She NEEDED the Vanity. And yes, she WAS still underweight. So if they had decided to ship her for her NEXT start, that would have probably been the Personal Ensign. But by then, you're in trouble because you KNOW you will need another prep before the BC, but if the horse is dehydrated and loses weight again, then you're up against it. And preparing for the BC Classic DOES take precedence WHEN THAT IS YOUR GOAL. How this isn't patently obvious to people is a true mystery.

Now. Talking about how the HOTY should be the horse who does the most throughout the year, and including Quality Road and Blame on there but excluding Zenyatta is kinda silly. She ran in her first GI in March. She's won four GIs. It's not like QR or Blame has been running in GIs since January. QR has run four times. I think Blame has, too. You see how that's the same?

And this year, yes, the year is ALL about the BC. But I don't think that's what is really going on here. We just don't have as many good horses. The top horses, sure; it's obvious who they are. But what about those horses in the middle, the ones who will jump up and win a big race when the big horses stumble? Not so many of those. Our big GIs should be filled with horses but we just don't have the depth.

22 Aug 2010 6:14 PM
Kay

Livesoutwest:

"My answer is, if she beats Blame, beats Quality Road, beats Lookin At Lucky and beats Zenyatta in the BCC, plus beats G1-winning horses in the two races along the way, hell yes, I would give it to her.  This year she would have as much claim to it as any of those other four if THEY won the BCC."

Okay. So your thing about the HOTY being the horse who does the most throughout the year wouldn't apply at all in this case?

"Because none of them have run a campaign like Rachel ran last year.  In fact, the closest thing to it in 2010 is Blind Luck's campaign, but that's not in the same league because it's come against only 3yo fillies.""

Good grief. Can you go five minutes without bringing up 2009? Yes, Rachel was awesome last year, at least until early September.

"So if the scenario with Rachel did in fact happen as you describe,   who would YOU give HOY to?"

For me, it would depend on what the other division leaders did. I wouldn't balk at giving it to a turf horse, or to Blind Luck if she wins her next start and the Ladies. It wouldn't be any sort of a rubber match for me because Rachel wouldn't have done enough. So I'd look elsewhere.

22 Aug 2010 6:28 PM
Mike Relva

LAZ

Your latest post regarding Zenyatta and Mosses' might be your best post to date,nice going.

22 Aug 2010 6:30 PM
Mike Relva

JUST A FAN

DEAL WITH IT!

22 Aug 2010 6:30 PM
Pam S.

I'm another one who doesn't understand why some people think the Breeders' Cup should be discontinued.  So that top horses will all run against each other throughout the year? I was not a racing fan in the pre-BC era, but everything I have read says that top horses were NOT running against each other, and that is why the BC was begun.

I believe huge purses are a major attraction to (the owners of) top horses, and I also believe moving the Cup to different parts of the country is the best thing for the fans.  I might die without ever having attended the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but I know that when the BC is in California, I can go to it.

I would really, really miss the Breeders' Cup if it went away.  And if times were flush (instead of sucky) and they hired me to market the event, I'd do it because I believe in it.  (Not that I wouldn't accept the salary they offered.)

22 Aug 2010 6:52 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

I agree with every point you made in your post of 10:32AM.

I'm glad there are so many different races in the BC for all types of horses to excel where they have the best chance. If ONLY the Classic is worthy of attention why bother running all the other ones.

This madness has been intensified by Rachel's ambitious campaign last year. Instead of realizing how much it took out of her, the "Coliseum Romans" are clamoring for more and are throwing stones at the connections for having learned a thing or two.

jimthepimp,

Think what you want, I don't care. Our approach is so fundamentally different that it is better to just leave it at that.

22 Aug 2010 7:02 PM
Livesoutwest

Kay,

So even if Rachel wins out  (Curious, would that include a JCGC win over Blame?) she still can't do enough to win your HOY vote?  What about the others I mentioned?  I'm assuming Zenyatta is a gimme for you if she wins the BCC, but what about the other three?  And you also say you wouldn't balk at giving it to a turf horse?  What turf horse has currently done enough to merit your vote for the trophy?  And please don't say Goldikova because no horse in the history of the award has won HOY off just one American race (which she hasn't won yet).

Looks like we only agree on one thing here.  Blind Luck has done enough to merit the award in the sense that Favorite Trick did the year he won.  However, this should be the BC Classic winners year, barring an Arcangues-like stunner.

22 Aug 2010 7:21 PM
2:24

Leon and jimthepimp:  agree completely with your last comments.

22 Aug 2010 7:36 PM
Zookeeper

Mike Relva,

Don't get mad and yell at Just A Fan, he/she is only parroting what has been said hundreds of times. I guess the parrrots think that if you throw enough against the wall some of it is bound to stick. Zen's connections will finally see the light, enter the mare in the Arc de Triomphe and kill 3 birds at once: travel east of the Rockies, compete against males and run on turf. Oh! but wait... that won't count for all parrots,  because the Arc isn't run on DIRT. Shucks!  :)  

22 Aug 2010 7:42 PM
Zookeeper

Livesoutwest & Kay,

Why not wait until the year is finished to argue about HOTY? There will be plenty of time after all the running is done. That way you won't be talking about events that have not yet happened and may never come to pass. Just a thought...  :)

22 Aug 2010 7:53 PM
LAZMANNICK

Kellermen

I enjoy discussing times, etc. with you too.  You are a knowledgeable and passionate poster.

Here’s a thought on Debussy’s final 1/8th.  It’s not entirely right on and is based on surmising several things, but I’ll bet it’s fairly close.

• The final quarter mile in the race was timed in 25.16 seconds.  If we divide this into two equal 8ths that would mean that each 8th was timed in 12.58 seconds (race time, not individual horse time).

• Given that Debussy was approximately 6 L off the lead at the mile pole that would mean that in finishing he ran his final quarter in 25.16 minus 1.2 seconds giving him a final quarter in 23.96 seconds.

• Gio would have been ½ L or probably .1 seconds further behind giving him a final quarter in 23.86 seconds.

• Let’s concentrate on Debussy and lets say that the STRETCH CALL in the chart is 1/8M from home.  At that point Debussy is 5 1/2L off the lead and when we attempt to calculate his final 8th we get this: ((12.58(race time) minus 1.1 seconds (5 1/2L) = 11.48 seconds)).

• This seems reasonable because Debussy ran his final 8th much faster than the 8th preceding it.  If we double the calculated final 8th it would read 11.48 times 2 = 22.96 seconds if he ran that fast throughout the final quarter, certainly faster than the original 23.96 seconds he was given when calculating his final quarter minus beaten lengths

Once again, it’s not on, but I’ll bet if the STRETCH CALL on the chart is the 8th pole it would be reasonable close.

Also, Footlick, who follows Euro racing closely, stated something about Debussy having bleeding problems back in Europe.  Maybe that wasn't the real Debussy back there and this is.  It will be interesting to see if they are going to race him in the fall turf races here or go back and maybe try the Arc if he's eligible. Also, Twice Over was always a very good horse, enough to keep their best honest.  He appears to be even better now.  Gio, I think might have lost a bit of a step, but I have to think that if he would have been reserved and cut lose a little longer, it might have been different.

22 Aug 2010 7:59 PM
jayjay

Leon : With any other horse, yes, I agree that it wouldn't make sense not to ship if the BCC is being run on dirt.  The thing is, you're talking about Zenyatta, I've posted before that her largest winning margins were on dirt.  I don't think Team Z is worried about her performing on dirt.  They are more worried about shipping Zen which would be taxing to her specially at her age.  I don't think QR ran in the west coast at ANY TIME last year and yet, they were still targeting the Classic on synthetic.  I don't think he has ever ran on synthetic.  I would guess because shipping would probably be taxing for him too.  Did anyone question that ?  No of course not because it's QR, the beast right ?

The only issue Zen would have in the Classic is if the track is sealed and it wouldn't be smart to risk her running on a sealed track if her connections don't feel it is safe.  I would rather that she stays home if that's the case.  I know, east coasters will have a field day about it but really, none of her fans would care. :)  Her fans and the experts with no east coast bias will salute, admire and put her through the HOF without any questions.  She is one for the ages, a true great horse that matches up with the other great horses in the past.  She has equaled Eclipse, people can twist it 10 million ways but the fact is, she won 18 straight undefeated...and most of the time, she comes from ALL THE WAY FROM THE CLOUDS.

The debate about the HOTY does not matter to Team Z or her fans, it's a minor award compared to what she has accomplished.  This is her last year racing, enjoy her last two races, you'll never see another one like her in our lifetime.  I guarantee it.

22 Aug 2010 8:00 PM
skyfire

Good posts Just a Fan and Will W -- thank goodness John Gosden travels with his horses -- that made for a great Million; thank goodness Jerry has shipped Blind Luck all year-- she has been given the opportunity to prove her superiority to everybody.

22 Aug 2010 8:02 PM
Kay

Livesoutwest:

"So even if Rachel wins out  (Curious, would that include a JCGC win over Blame?) she still can't do enough to win your HOY vote?"

Sorry. My assumption was that she would win the Personal Ensign and the Beldame, not the JCGC. With a JCGC win, I would be much more inclined to give her HOTY. But the first 3/4 of the year has NOT been a HOTY-type year. So if she beats fillies in her next two and wins the Classic, I'd look elsewhere. Not that I'd necessarily FIND another horse, but I'd give it a serious look before anointing Rachel.

"What about the others I mentioned?  I'm assuming Zenyatta is a gimme for you if she wins the BCC, but what about the other three?"

Blame, Quality Road and Lookin At Lucky? If they win their next starts and any one of the three wins the BC Classic, then yes. I'd vote for them. But as big a problem as YOU have with Zenyatta's year and probably wouldn't vote for her if she won the BC Classic (I'm assuming), I have that same issue with Rachel's year. And BTW, I have never said that the HOTY should be the winner of the BC Classic.

"And you also say you wouldn't balk at giving it to a turf horse?  What turf horse has currently done enough to merit your vote for the trophy?  And please don't say Goldikova because no horse in the history of the award has won HOY off just one American race (which she hasn't won yet)."

All Along came close, with her two U.S. wins getting her HOTY. And no, I would NOT give it to Goldikova. If there's one thing we can agree upon, it's that giving HOTY to a horse who has run ONCE in the U.S. is ridiculous. I hate when they get a divisional Eclipse off one race. Just saying that I'd be open to taking a look if, say, Paddy O'Prado goes insane and wins a bunch of races.

"Looks like we only agree on one thing here.  Blind Luck has done enough to merit the award in the sense that Favorite Trick did the year he won.  However, this should be the BC Classic winners year, barring an Arcangues-like stunner."

Well, I would tend to agree with you on that. Even though I wouldn't be inclined to vote for Rachel if she wins two filly races and the Classic, if Blind Luck falters and nobody else jumps up, then I probably WOULD wind up voting for her. Make sense?

Zookeeper:

"Why not wait until the year is finished to argue about HOTY? There will be plenty of time after all the running is done. That way you won't be talking about events that have not yet happened and may never come to pass. Just a thought...  :)"

Then what else would we argue about? We've exhausted the shipping argument. I hope (g). And when the BC dust settles, it'll probably lead to an obvious choice anyway, what with all of them pointing for it.

22 Aug 2010 8:11 PM
sherpa

Does anyone know why the Stewards scratched Spice Route out of the Sky Classic @WO?

Nice romp by Marsh Side in that one, btw.

22 Aug 2010 8:13 PM
jayjay

ZooKeeper : THANK YOU for that term, I've been trying to come up with something to define all these naysayers.  Coliseum Romans is a perfect term for those "horseracing fans" that only wants to see the horses run in TOP level, it's ridiculous.  Like I said before, they only care about the odds, the split times and anything to do with AFTER the gate opens.  

Notice how some folks don't even comment when horses dies ? or even get hurt ?  If they do mention a horse that was hurt, it was only when the horse is on a comeback trail and it's all about whether that horse can win again or not.  It's truly sad.

22 Aug 2010 8:20 PM
Zookeeper

Did any of you guys see today's Monmouth race where two horses had funny and similar names: Mywifeknowseverything and Thewifedoesntknow (I don't have the right spelling, but you get the drift). They came in first and second. The caller's (sorry, I don't know HIS name) description of the race was priceless!

22 Aug 2010 8:23 PM
Footlick

Zookeeper- come on now- you know if she ran in the Arc the real reason would be that she was ducking Rachel Alexandra, Quality Road and Blame.  :)

22 Aug 2010 9:11 PM
TradingPlaces

To weigh in on HOTY, to be honest, even Blame, who is IMO, the front runner for the award can be knocked down, but only if he is beaten. Two grade one wins this season against some some solid if not spectacular horses. He is unbeaten in three starts and seems to only get better with the distance.

Horses that can possibly knock him off right now, IMO are QR, LAL, and possibly RA. QR has not done too shabby this season. His accomplishments top almost anything any other horse has done this season. One cannot ignore his two grade one wins and the dominace that came with them. A loss in the Whitney, to Blame, is nothing to be ashamed of, a win in the Woodward will put him right back into HOTY talk.

I say LAL because he might just go to the JCGC. Baffert does not want to race at Del Mar for the Pacific Classic, a good alternative would be the JCGC, where he would be meeting with Blame. His Preakness and Haskell wins were dominant, if he knocks off the leading older male, while having won against the best of his class already, there would be no reason for him not to be considered the frontrunner for HOTY.

Rachel Alexandra does have some work to do, and she will start in the PE. A dominant grade one win at 10 furlongs will send out and undeniable message that she is back. If she wins that race she will have what no other horse in the top five or six in the running for HOTY have, a win at 10 furlongs in a Grade one. If she does win impressively, I don't see her going to the Beldame, I see the JCGC. If that field were to include both Blame and LAL, and she were to knock them both, she would put herself in the garden spot come the BCC.

Now here is where things get tricky. Zenyatta, providing it does not rain, is expected to show up. If any one of the senarios above play out we will have a frontrunner for HOTY, but that margin will be slim. Either the frontrunner at that time could make an unequivial statement that they deserve the award by, putting another win to an already sparkling set of wins. Or, Zenyatta or QR jumps up to take it all. Zenyatta could not be argued against for the award if she were to win against a field like this. She has the most grade one wins, which does put her in the running for the award, but the lack of competition and risks, has yet again, put her slightly behind. A win in the Classic is a must for her. For QR, assuming he wins the Woodward, he will more than likely be second in line behind anyone who wins the JCGC. If he were to take the Classic, there in no way he does not get HOTY.

So all as everthing currently stands, there are two pivital races leading up to the BCC this year. I would say all eyes on the should be focused on the PE, then after that the JCGC. The main race to watch is the latter, the winner of that race, unless it is some unforseen fluke, who has done nothing up until that point, will be the frontrunner for HOTY. After that it's time to see if that frontrunner can distance themselves from the rest of the pack, or will they be nabbed in the shadow of the wire.

22 Aug 2010 9:28 PM
ruffianruns

jayjay - Thanks for acknowledging true Rachel fans.

sherpa and Monarchos Matt - Those are the best posts ever!

GunBow - Thanks as always for your posts and thanks especially for calling out the stat I posted.  It IS astounding, and I was surprised that no one seemed to notice.

Zen's Auntie!  I'll take one of those AED's!  They will be cheaper in bulk!  I've said before that I might have to watch the BC from a hospital emergency room.

Congrats to all the horses running in a great day of racing yesterday!  I'm SO impressed with Blind Luck and Evening Jewel.  I hope DMC is OK.  Eclair de Lune's win thrilled me and the one that was missing broke my heart.  Amazing day and another great weekend next week!

22 Aug 2010 10:16 PM
John

I must commend Eric Reed and the connections of Rinterval for taking this up and coming horse out of the Mid West after losing a photo finish to Informed Decision in the Grade 3 Chicago Handicap on July 4th at Arlington Park.

Informed Decision, if you forgot, came into that race having won the Grade 1 Madison, Grade 1 Humana Distaff, Grade 1 Filly and Mare Sprint. Informed Decision had also won Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America, Grade 3 Presque Isle Masters and a previous Grade 3 running of the Chicago Handicap.

The connections of Rinterval wanted to take on the best and had the courage to go to California and race Zenyatta in California instead of demanding this champion and all time female great racehorse fly over the Rockies and race her at her home track. Imagine that.

The connections of Rinterval get it. They did not back down at competing against Zenyatta as others have. They did not hide from the fact that the greatest horse on the planet resides in California and has earned the right that 'all comers' must come to her and not the other way around. Imagine that.

They also know that Zenyatta has proved her greatness on the racetrack and not by proxy with the east coast biased media. Imagine that.

22 Aug 2010 11:05 PM
Paula Higgins

Bellwether, a "sportsman" better be a "horseman" first, or it won't matter much that he is a "sportsman."

Zookeeper, I LOL at your 7:42 post. Good one.

22 Aug 2010 11:06 PM
Lost In The Fog

The Rock,

Good point, Evening Jewel is definitely in the mix and I should have mentioned her.

GunBow,

Thanks for listing the specifics of what I like to call the "infamous Blind Luck Beyer incident" regarding the Delaware Oaks.  There is no better example I know of that illustrates the pronounced bias that Andrew Beyer holds against certain (usually California) horses.  Beyer's algorithm came up with a 116 BSF for Blind Luck but because he does not like the horse he "adjusts" it down to a 95 BSF.  But that's not the end of the story - it gets better!  On the same day, at the same track, two races earlier in the Barbaro Stakes, at the same distance, Beyer gave Trickmeister a higher BSF than Blind Luck.  Blind Luck's time was 1:43.34 and Trickmeister's time was 1:45.32.  That's not a typo. Blind Luck was TWO SECONDS FASTER but received a lower BSF!

As Mike Relva said above " NEVER pay attention to anything he says. Last yr. he stated Zenyatta was too slow to win the Classic. lol"

22 Aug 2010 11:10 PM
Paula Higgins

For those of you that think Blame is that much better than QR, you are wrong. He won by a tiny margin against QR. It could, and may well, play out differently if they meet up again. I just hope these two boys keep on running and running and running. So when Zenny shows up at the BCC in rested condition, she says "So long boys!" Then John Shirreffs will look like Einstein y'all.

22 Aug 2010 11:13 PM
Ted from LA

I'd give my right arm to win the Arlington Million (or to be ambidextrous).

22 Aug 2010 11:17 PM
sodapopkid

Monmouth Park track announcer is Larry Colmus.

22 Aug 2010 11:20 PM
Reinier

I don't believe dirt is a truer test of a horse's ability BUT

Because synthetics plays like turf, there is no need for synthetics.  Most tracks have a turf course.  

You're basically diluting the turf races with synthetic races because turf horses will be pointed to softer spots on synthetics and vice versa.  

That is the biggest reason why synthetics are not needed.  The names of the top 3 finishers in the BC Classic for the past 2 years have been the names of turf horses except Zenyatta.  

Where does that leave the dirt division when the BC is held on a synthetic track if there is only turf and synthetic turf?  

22 Aug 2010 11:29 PM
Mike Relva

JAYJAY

Great comments!

22 Aug 2010 11:41 PM
Zookeeper

ruffianruns,

I certainly noticed since it confirmed what I was SHOUTING  earlier about what hurts horseracing the most.

The stats are not only astounding, they are downright scary... and that may be why no one commented, except for GunBow. He's not afraid of staring facts in the face. The rest of us, look the other way and hope that the problem fixes itself. Those of us who care seldom speak out for fear of being branded as PETA followers.

P.S. Was I the only one rooting for that Spanish bull who climbed into the stands, trampling and goring everything in his path, because he had ENOUGH? He would have fared better in the Coliseum, the Romans would have given the thumb UP signal: spare his life! The good people of Spain saw things differently...

Jason, feel free to edit my bull comment. I always appreciate it when people save me from myself. :)

23 Aug 2010 12:23 AM
jayjay

TradingPlaces : I'm not sure how you can say that Zenyatta has "lack of competition and risks".  Who has QR ran against all year ??  Who has Rachel ran against all year ??  QR's last year is the only tough race he's ran all year and he lost.  Rachel's toughest race has not even run.

I just don't get that Zenyatta is always the only one that doesn't take risks.  Out of all the top contenders, she's the only one that traveled by plane this year, QR ran in his home track twice.  Rachel ran in ungraded stakes TWICE and lost one.  Come on now, be realistic if you all are going to argue.  HOTY is not something Zenyatta needs but if you're going to put her in the mix, then go back and watch ALL the races for each of the contenders instead of listening to the Jason's, Draynay's, Billy's and just assume that Zenyatta has the weakest campaign this year.  You all tend to forget who QR and Rachel ran against this year.

This type of argument is what I'm here for, I have to keep reminding all you Zenyatta doubters/haters and naysayers the FACTS.  I will continue to do so until she retires.

23 Aug 2010 12:27 AM
LAZMANNICK

Trading Places

Your analogy is priceless.  To be perfectly honest, all the contenders can do what they want.  The race that decides HOY is the BCC and if it isn’t then we’ll have another case of BIAS and the award will be more tarnished then ever.  It can't get any plainer or simpler than that.  The only thing that can change it is if another horse, not a current contender, wins the race.

Your marginal chance for Zenyatta winning the award even if she wins the BCC is priceless.   First of all, a grade one win is a grade one win.  Look at it this way.  If Zenyatta wins out she will have won SIX GRADE ONE RACES this year including the BCC.  Every one of five G1 races against filly-mares was open to Rachel or any other top mare to compete in but they chose not to (their choice).  The sixth would have been against the boys.  Included in her wins would be a major win over all the major contenders.  To not win the award after that would be pathetic.

The fact that you consider the PE a pivotal race leading up to the HOY is laughable.  Did you look at the entries?  Outside of Rachel and LAT, where’s the beef?  What does beating these horses have to do with determining anything other than winning a G1 race that is not particularly deep?  Up to this point Rachel has competed in unlisted and G2 races.  If she races in and wins the PE, do you honestly think she will compete in another race before the BCC?  I have my doubts, but if she does and it’s a G1 and wins, that would be Two G1 wins going into the BCC and if she wins it THREE GRADE ONE wins in 2010.  A loss in the BCC and she is eliminated.  A win in it and she’s still a contender only because she would have defeated all the major contenders.

Blame has only 2 G1 wins this year.  If he wins the G1 JCGC and goes to the BCC that would be 3 G1 wins.   If he wins the BCC that would be FOUR GRADE ONE wins?  And yet, once again, if he loses the BCC, HOY chance out the window.

If Quality Road wins the Woodward and goes into the BCC that would be 3 G1 wins.  If he wins the BCC that would be FOUR GRADE ONE wins.  Once again, if he loses the BCC, HOY chance out the window.

Lucking at Lucky so far has 2 G1 wins, both restricted to 3 year olds.  He also skipped the Belmont and it looks like he is going to skip the Travers.  I’m not sure of his schedule but it looks like he would have one more G1 race before the BCC.  If he wins that, that would be 3 G1 wins and a win in the BCC would be FOUR G1 wins.   Apply the BCC factor.  If he wins he’s HOY, if he loses, no chance.

This bit about Zen showing up providing it doesn’t rain seems right out of a comic book.  You put way too much emphasis on that CD scratch.  Would you risk running a valuable horse in a run of the mill race on a sloppy track when it was the horse’s first start of the year and you didn’t particularly have to race?  Some people said the track was sealed and they didn’t want to run her on a sealed track.  Who knows what the reason was.  All I can say is I doubt they would scratch for a BCC if it rains.

IMO, based on their records and their planned schedules, whatever horse goes undefeated from this point on and wins the BCC should be HOY.

23 Aug 2010 12:33 AM
Footlick

I would expect Zenyatta to run in the BC no matter what the track is like, just like they ran Forego on slop when they thought the race was important.  They were afraid he would be injured, just as they are afraid Zenyatta would be..  This would be Zenyatta's last race.  Even though I would be more in favor of her running in the BC Turf,  the Classic would be fine too.

23 Aug 2010 12:42 AM
Footlick

Laz- the last horse that I heard such strong rumors about bleeding was..... Miss Alleged, the BC  winner.  But her bleeding problems were rumored in her 3 yr old year.  Then she had sub-par races as a 4 yr old, but as she was coming off an injury nobody could be sure.  At that time Lasix rules were more strict and she had to bled for the stewards in the US, which she did in the DC International.  The rest is history.  She won the BC Turf and the Hollywood Truf Cup, I think it was called at the time.  She beat Qujest for Fame both times, but couldn't beat him the next year.

23 Aug 2010 12:56 AM
GunBow

TradingPlaces:

You pretty much summed up my take on the HoY.  Rachel basically has to win out from here, but if she does and the last win is in the BC Classic, then yes I agree that she should get it.  Unless they bomb in their preps, I agree that if either Blame, Quality Road, or Lookin at Lucky wins the Classic, they would get it.  Obviously, if Zenyatta wins the Classic, it's hers.

If a longshot wins the Classic, then who knows?  Assuming Zenyatta wins the Lady's Secret, I could she her winning, especially if neither Blame nor Quality Road win the Woodward or JCGC.  Blind Luck has an outside shot, but everything would have to fall perfectly.

23 Aug 2010 3:06 AM
GunBow

Marsh Side is some horse for course.  He loves that EP Taylor turf course up at Woodbine.  I saw him win the gr.1 Northern Dancer there last September on Woodbine Mile day, although my faith in him wasn't rewarded that day because he was dq'd and placed 4th with Just as Well the "official" winner; that ruling was recently overturned, and Marsh Side was given back his 2nd gr.1 win at Woodbine, having won the 08' Canadian Intl.

I loved the way Marsh Side looked and moved in the Northern Dancer, and was hoping for big things this year.  I eagerly watched him run twice on Pro-Ride at Santa Anita earlier this year, but he was listless in both.  After a 4th at Arlington, I had given up, but today he skies by 5 in a gr.2 at Woodbine. I would have to think he'll be tough to beat in the Northern Dancer, but I can never feel too confident with this horse.

By the way, too bad for Take the Points.  Hope he enjoys retirement. 3 gr.1 wins is not shabby.

23 Aug 2010 3:19 AM
Fuzzy Corgi

Leon said: "The excuse for not shipping out of SoCal was good while the BC was run there. It made no sense to run on dirt if you were aiming at the biggest race of the year on synth, but 2010 is different, because the BC is being run on dirt. It makes no sense to keep your horse on a synth track 99% of the year."

It will make a lot of sense if 'the horse' wins the BCC again. What some people seem to forget about when Zenyatta was scratched at CD last year was the reason. Her trainer stated all along that she would run unless they sealed the track. This is why a lot of trainers won't run their horses on it. I'm sure some people are begging for CD to come up really wet for the BC just so they can bag on any horses that scratch. Wet or dry, I just hope the surface is fair and safe for the BC this year. The last thing that the BC needs are any breakdowns on a showcase day.

As far as dirt returning to SA, I have mixed feelings. To say the track hasn't recently had its problems would be a lie. But SA is where the horses run during So Cal's rainy season. If any track in So Cal should be synthetic it's SA. I remember in January of 1993 we had torential rain every day from Jan 2-28. Nobody could train in the mornings because the track was closed. We had horses tack walking all over the place but nobody could train. When the rains finally eased up enough that horses could start training again, SA had to cancel races for at least a week because no horses were fit enough to run. Dirt or synthetic, I just hope that this time they create a great foundation for Santa Anita; The Great Race Place. Just like a building, foundation is everything.

23 Aug 2010 3:54 AM
bill

jshandler...

Given that Polytrack is a uk co. that put in numerous tracks and training facilities in GB and Ire long before Keeneland installed it..I find that very hard to believe...particularly when it ISNT backed up by 'fact' as you call it.

You still don't address the welfare issue of the last 2 BCups, which makes you even harder to take seriously.

Catastrophic breakdowns have been significantly reduced by synthetic whichever way you look at the stats.So, how can you call yourself a 'racing fan'..if you are content to see the horse ambulance at every annual 'world championships'?

23 Aug 2010 4:50 AM
Livesoutwwest

Kay,

You assume incorrectly about me.  I would definitely vote for Zenyatta for HOY if she won the BCC.  Any of those five including Blame, QR, RA or LAL would potentially be deserving winners, though RA needs to put her G1 wins on the board and she hasn't done it yet.  I favored Zenyatta for the award last year, even though her campaign stunk.  It stinks this year too, but so far Rachel's stinks worse.  However, she's at least poised to finish the year against stronger foes.  Blame has all of one G1 win, so he's not impossible to top.  QR has two G1 wins but lost to Blame.  Really, Lookin At Lucky has run the best campaign of any of them so far.  The horses he beat in his G1's, like Ice Box and Super Saver would still trounce Zenyatta's victims, St. Trinians included.

23 Aug 2010 5:09 AM
The Tamed Beast

Personally i am cool with Z staying at home at this point . I think that her team had full intentions of going after the HOY from 09 but when the 2nd stringer from Z's barn made short work of Rachel and she bowed out of the AB that changed the whole year for z and her moves where dictated by what Rachel did ( or didnt do in this case ) forget HOY for a minute if you east coast writers had to vote for older female right now who would it be? that in itsself just may be enough for team Z So why risk her with all the travel and for what   What class of Mares are going to get in the gate with her in Belmonte should she go? Cali Fans deserve to "hog" her all to themselves

23 Aug 2010 6:24 AM
Leon

Jayjay,

If that shipping excuse is true, why was Zenyatta shipped to Del Mar, to run on a quirky surface with a history of breakdowns, one neither her nor her trainer like, and for a lesser purse?

I'm a horseman, and I understand the need for a soft race for your horse every now & then. Just don't give me that tired excuse about shipping when you'd rather skip a $750K race at your home track (where you are UNDEFEATED)against good but not great males, and at a perfect distance for your champion horse, especially when that race still allows you to have plenty of time to come back fresh for additional prep races for the BCC.

Everyone repeats like a parrot that Zenyatta does not ship well, and I'm not buying it; correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it is no coincidence two of her largest winning margins have come in the Apple B, away from home.

This is no east-biased opinion; the reason why so many people question her connections is because of how conservative they have been. I'm sorry, but I think it is such a waste to settle for beating the Anabaa's Creation & Rintervals of the world when you have such a great champion as she obviously is.

Don't tell me you were not excited to see Looking at Lucky, Super Saver, First Dude & Ice Box in the Haskell; that Quality Road vs Blame match-up in the Whitney, or the Blind Luck vs Devil May Care Alabama... What kind of sport would we have if EVERY owner took the soft schedule approach, and just pointed their horses to the BCC?

That's why Jason hit it out of the park with his comments about Hollendorfer & Blind Luck, because they define what horse racing is about. Once again, I could not agree more with him.

23 Aug 2010 7:09 AM
ruffianruns

Zookeeper- come on now- you know if [Zenyatta] ran in the Arc the real reason would be that she was ducking Rachel Alexandra, Quality Road and Blame.  :)

-- Footlick 22 Aug 2010 9:11 PM

^ Now this made me laugh out loud.  Good one Footlick.

Congratulations to Kay and Livesoutwest for arriving, it seems, at some type of understanding.  At least Kay's last post seems to illustrate that. FWIW, this gives me hope for humanity.

These last few months are going to be one wild ride.

23 Aug 2010 7:17 AM
Rachel

I don't care Zen's not leaving Cali, I care she's not running in the big Cali races. (BTW, I ♥ her) Jimmy you made the BEST point that the boys can't chase Zen into the filly races, that was brilliant and funny!

I think Rachel is having a "softer" campain because they want her around for the fall...like Zen last year, she'll probably have only 5 starts before the BC, not 8 by first week in September like last year. Even if she wins the BC, I have a really hard time seeing her get a HOY this year (and I ♥♥ her)...

Dr Drunkinbum...Rachel not a "tenacious warrior?" Methinks you need to rewatch her 3 races against the boys last year and pay attention to the fractions, who's pressing who the entire race and especially who wins. ♥

23 Aug 2010 8:12 AM
Tony

It's good that the west coast will have a dirt alternative. But the Breeders Cup is not better on dirt.  There was a much larger European contingent on the poly at Santa Anita than there had ever been on dirt, and having the Europeans participate in the "poly" races make them infinitely more interesting than having essentially American dirt races.  The East Coast horsemen didn't ship west before Pro Ride and they won't ship west now that Santa Anita is returning to dirt.  When do you think Nick Zito is shipping to Santa Anita?

As for the preference for handicappers, that may be true....but in fact handicapping is handicapping and either you can or can't.  The Pick 6 pools in the west seem to reflect an ongoing handicapping interest regardless of surface.  

I do think much of the east coast bias against synthetics is the result of Curlin losing the Classic, but Curlin wasn't the best horse that fall, and Rachel not running at Santa Anita last year; while a reflection of Jess Jackson's distaste for Pro Ride, was obviously the best thing for a wringed out horse last fall.  Rachel was spent.  

23 Aug 2010 8:26 AM
Rachel

Zookeeper, I don't think it's that they "learned" a thing or two, I think in JMHO that in trying to get her to the Apple Blossom and realizing (at this point in time), she wasn't the "same" Rachel as last year, they just backed off to let a filly grow into her 4-year-old, still very young year. It could have been something as simple as shedding her 4 yr old deciduous incisors, maybe the permanent ones were taking awhile to come through and the bit hurt.. Just like they let Zen grow into her late 3 year-old year before they even started her because she wasn't physically ready, or backing off a 2 year-old because of shin soreness...

Yah gotta let a horse grow up somewhere along it's racing life...I mean most top-profile horses are retired before they even get all their adult teeth! ♥

So, Rachel won't have the spectacular year of last year, it's OK, it will still be a great BC this year!

23 Aug 2010 8:33 AM
Leon

Jayjay,

I'm also critical of QR's & Summer Bird's connections for not trying the SA synth before the BCC.

Look at last weekend's Iselin, won by long-shot Duke of Mischief. His last Beyer was awful for a G1 race (80), but he had the best Beyer @MP; and Super Saver had a distinctive advantage @CD with Borel for the Derby because of his previous graded win there, and because of his jockey's dominance at that track.

Besides his long & demanding 2008 campaign, the difference between winning & losing the BCC for Curlin might have been the fact that JJ sent him to MP for the 2007 Haskell in a losing effort, but was rewarded for it in the BCC that year; while he had never ran over the SA synth before his losing effort in the 2008 BCC.  

I don't mean to say that it is not possible to win first time over a surface, but the advantages of a win or two on the same track where the biggest race of the year will be held are obvious. Zenyatta's wins in the BC are actual proof of that; but in 2010, that advantage goes mainly to Blame. This is one more reason why as good as Zen's 2010 campaign has been, it has not been the logical route.

23 Aug 2010 8:39 AM
Billy's Empire

Good weekend of racing. Blind Luck looked awesome, and she ran a heck of a race. Now, onto the PE

23 Aug 2010 8:53 AM
The Rock

Thomas,

Ginger Punch was listed as 2/5 for the 08' Apple Blossom off of her daylight score in the Sunshine Millions Distaff @ GP, her first race since the BC Distaff score. She was rolling in there as sharp as ever and caught a paceless race to boot. No excuses for her loss in the 08' AP

23 Aug 2010 9:33 AM
berttheclock

Plus, to top off the great weekend of racing, Congratulations to the hard working Doris Harwood for leading her very fast gelding, Noosa Beach to victory in the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs.  Once again, speed kills.  If you ever want to beat the locals, send something faster than their local stars.  Remember Doris Harwood was the trainer who shipped Atta Boy Roy from Turf Paradise to CD, put Borel up, and won a $100,000er.  That was the race where the esteemed pundit and former HOF jockey, said "he didn't fit the race".  I, immediately, ordered more of his Handicapping tout CDs.  Yes, Mr Bailey, beware of any PNW shipper, even, if, they did take a detour through Turf Paradise.

23 Aug 2010 10:10 AM
Smoking Baby

Smoking Baby: I doubt that Keeneland will change any time soon. I believe they own half of the Polytrack company.

Thank you for that Jason.  I thought Keeneland had a vested interest in the Polytrack but wasn't sure.  Bummer.  Thanks again.

23 Aug 2010 10:21 AM
Smoking Baby

 Pau---La Higgins!!!

My bottom line is this: if I owned a thoroughbred I would want a "Horseman" to train her or him, not a "Sportsman."

OUTSTANDING!!!  I'm with you.

23 Aug 2010 10:40 AM
Smoking Baby

 Congrats to Blind Luck.  I'm glad she won the Alabama.  I really thought she was the best two year old filly last year and she's now the clear pro-tem leader of the three year old filly division.  Devil May Care just didn't fire her best shot but I'm not sure it mattered.  While I was hoping Blind Luck would win I'm not convinced there is quite that much separating these to wonderful fillies than the Alabama result would indicate.

23 Aug 2010 10:49 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

   I'm printing some of your recent priceless posts. Keep up the good work. Your honesty is refreshing. Your integrity is unparalled. You remain in the top two percent of human beings. I'm glad you're an owner. I'm glad you're a blogger. When enough is enough the greatest of the species rise to the occassion just as you do. Thank you.

23 Aug 2010 11:04 AM
LAZMANNICK

Fuzzy Corgi

I remember the problems S/A had over the years with rain and drainage.  Maybe now that they are converting back, they will re-install the dirt surface the proper way (whtever that is) and eliminate those drainage problems.

23 Aug 2010 11:08 AM
-Keelerman

LAZMANNICK;

Good analysis! Thanks! I'm fairly certain that the stretch call is always at the eighth pole, unless the distance is a mile and a sixteenth, a mile and three sixteenths, etc. etc. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that is correct.

This is changing the subject, but I had an interesting thought concerning the upcoming Personal Ensign Stakes. Although this is very unlikely, let's say that Life at Ten dominates and wins the race in a fast time like 2:01 flat. If this was to happen, do you suppose that the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Breeders' Cup Classic would become possibilities? I think that Life at Ten would run well in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, for one of her most impressive performances to date came at Belmont Park.

However, it may be next to impossible for Life at Ten to dominate in the Personal Ensign because I feel that Rachel Alexandra is finally approaching her peak for and will turn in her best effort of the year this Saturday. Throw in Unrivaled Belle and it's going to be a race to watch. What do you think?

-Keelerman

23 Aug 2010 11:10 AM
Mike Relva

LEON

Here's a "newsflash" for you,from day ONE Zenyatta's connections have stated the OBJECTIVE is the Breeders' in Nov. Whatever path they follow is their business! Unlike some owners/trainers,so called fans,writers'  her connections put her FIRST and to hell with what others' think!

23 Aug 2010 11:17 AM
JerseyTom

Wild pronouncements in here indeed. ... Dirt is fine, but anyone that believes people can't handicap and cash tickets on races on synthetic surfaces is nuts. It's all about following the circuit.

23 Aug 2010 11:17 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Rachel

  I made a mistake. I don't know why I said that the way I did. I do think that both Quality Road and Rachel are capable of being tenacious warriors and have proven that they can be. I was just thinking that they don't have the right style for this year's Classic. Especially if they are both in it. However I'm not sure the distance suits either of them also. I think one of the tenacious warriors with a closing style has a better chance, although I wouldn't discount the chances entirely of either Rachel or Quality Road running a tremendous race and winning, and it wouldn't bother me if either won. Whoever wins is going to run a tremendous race. My apologies for a poorly worded, quickly written post. Neither Rachel nor QR deserved that statement. Thank you for pointing that out.

23 Aug 2010 11:20 AM
Smoking Baby

 Seems it's a good year for California three years olds.  You've got Lookin' At Lucky & Blind Luck leading the divisions.  You've got Evening Jewel & Sydney's Candy representin' on the turf.  Not too shabby.

23 Aug 2010 11:23 AM
LAZMANNICK

Leon

Two of Zen's largest wins also came on dirt……so I don’t think they are afraid of it.

About shipping to Del Mar.....do you know whether they vanned her there or did they fly?  I can't say for sure, but I would think they used the good old van.  Do you not think it would be less stressful for a horse that doesn't fly well to drive rather than fly?

Regarding those $750K purses you’re talking about.  That’s a good point.  However, it works in reverse.  I didn’t exactly see a ton of EAST Coast horses fly west to contest the Hollywood Gold Cup and its 750K purse, did you?  And what about the million dollar Pacific Classic?  Outside of Duke of Mischief (just raced) and Hold Me Back, there isn’t a single east coast horse even nominated…..this for a million dollar purse.  What’s the excuse for this?  Synthetics?  I guess that all horses that race at all those Synthetic tracks in the east can use that excuse.

And as far as Blind Luck……..She’s still a young three year old filly, not a six year old mare…..big difference don’t you think.  I don’t know what her temperament is, but I am willing to bet if she would have travel issues, Jerry H. wouldn’t be traveling all over the place with her.  And you’re a horseman.  Surely you must have some insight into what Zen’s phantom issues are perceived to be.  What are they?  I would sure love to here the real story.

23 Aug 2010 11:26 AM
Afleetalexforever

I guess i am confused about why Zenyatta's schedule thus far has been so great. Lets see, Zenyatta 4 races all against females, Goldikova 4 races this year twice against males, 3/4 a track record and she's beaten about 10 more Group or Grade 1 winners than Zenyatta has.  Not sure whats so impressive to folks about what Zenyatta has done.

23 Aug 2010 11:30 AM
papillon

trading places--

to argue that rachel alexandra has a shot at HOTY this year is absurd. she hasn't raced anyone of note to date; has lost as many as she has won against that same un-noteable competition; and  she will be in her first grade 1 of the year in the personal ensign.

what is even more absurd is to then go on and argue that zenyatta will be struggling for HOTY, despite only racing in grade 1's this year and having more grade 1 wins this year than any of her HOTY competition, because her race competition has been as equally un-noteable as rachel's. if both compete against tin cans, then the tie break should surely be decided by considering which one hasn't lost to tin cans, at least.

rachel doesn't even have a legitmate shot for best older female this year at this point.

and even if east coast bias in the voting denies the best older female title to zenyatta (which i don't think it will), unrivaled belle and proviso have a much better claim on that title this year than does rachel.

if zenyatta wins the breeders cup, and ends the year with a perfect 20 for 20 life-time career starts, she should be the front runner for HOTY, especially since there isn't a truly stand out horse this year, besides her (although i wouldn't be surprised if she loses the HOTY popularity contest again ths year no matter what the outcome of her season, since the majority of voters are like jason--and I doubt anything zenyatta could do at this point would change his mind about her. even had she spent all summer and fall in new york, it is likely that she would still have had weak competition, because her races fail to fill--not because she is ducking anyone, but because everyone is ducking her. Also, racing males all the time at her age is a little unrealistic, unless you are trying to bring her into heat—she is a fully mature 6 year old female horse after all).

as for quality road, he didn't face any real competition until the whitney this year either (the met mile was predominantly against horses whose best distance is 7 furlongs, that extra furlong makes a huge difference, esp. when racing against a true and superb miler like quality road). when he did face legit competition, he lost. unless the rest of blame's year falls apart, and quality road morphs from the best miler in the country into a true classics horse in 2 months, quality road won't even win best older male.

LAL has a good claim for best 3 year old male, but unless he dominates older horses at some point, he wont be HOTY. plus, his not running in the travers will likely hurt him in the voting regardless, even for best 3 year old male.

i don't know who will win HOTY this year, but i do know this: if zenyatta wins the BCC and ends 20 for 20, and still loses HOTY, the shame of that vote will haunt the poor sap who is chosen HOTY for the rest of his or her career.

ps: kudos to blind luck and evening jewel, two tough little fillies that prove that price tags don't mean squat!  

23 Aug 2010 11:33 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

What you do with your horse, where you race them- there is a lot more to it than just being a sportsman or not. Archie Cross, assistant trainer to Jerry Hollendorfer, referring to Blind Luck's cross-country trips, "We wouldn't be able to do this if she didn't travel so well."  

23 Aug 2010 11:52 AM
ruffianruns

Zookeeper -

One of your earlier posts and, of course, all the football comparisons, triggered the memory of that Hillenbrand article, so I tracked it down.  I'm really torn about racing.  I love horses and I love racing, but I COMPLETELY get your post about one too many deaths will drive you from the sport.

And I was rooting for the bull, too.  I was sad that some kids got really hurt, cause their parents probably dragged them there, but any adults hurt...  hey fair is fair.

On a similar note...  I laughed last week when Sariska, the favorite, refused to race in the Yorkshire Oaks!  She just planted her feet and wouldn't leave the gate!  Woo-hoo Sariska!  I wish we could count on horses refusing to race when something was not right with them.  I don't even care if they're just being ornery.  We obviously don't know everything going on with them, and most of them will run themselves into the ground (for us).

23 Aug 2010 12:11 PM
ruffianruns

What about William Buick's weekend?  He wins the Arlington Million on Debussy in Chicago on Saturday and then wins the Prix Morny on Dream Ahead at Deauville on Sunday.  The BBC called it a transatlantic double.  I've heard about back-to-back Grade/Group 1's, but that it ridiculous!

23 Aug 2010 12:17 PM
Zookeeper

Leon,

You equate vanning from LA to Del Mar with flying across country??? A map may help you sort this out.

23 Aug 2010 12:22 PM
TradingPlaces

Jayjay,

I'm not a Zenyatta hater, I never have and never will be. I respect her as much as I do any other horse. My only problem is that I wish she would've been challeged a little more over her career. She had a good 4 year old year, but after showing her dominace against the best mares that year, she has been staying against considerably weaker. Last year the only race she finally came out of her shell was the BCC. This year, it was promised by her connections that she would go ahead and race on the east, that they would, in lack of better words, show her off to the fans of the nation. That has yet to happen, and it is a shame because she has so much to offer and is not being allowed to show her true brilliance accept for once a year.

Laz,

I'm well aware other horses can take other paths, this is but a projection of what I think is most likely will happen as everything stands now.

To you a Grade one is a Grade one, but to many others, if the grade one does not have the competition to match, then many question just how much that grade one really should weigh in the whole scheme of things.

IMO Zenyatta is in the hunt for HOTY because of the Grade ones, but because of her other horses facing fields that are much more competitive, they will tend to get the edge. Right now I would rank Zenyatta third or fourth. Cases can be made for both LAL and QR to still be ahead, due to the fact that many believe that even their losses came to much better horses than she has defeated this year.

The PE is pivitol because if RA happens to win, she will beat the now female LAT, giving one big statement that she is back and ready to roll. After that I do not expect the Beldame, I expect the JCGC, which is why that race will also be pivitol, though it would be even w/o her there. The reason for this is because the winner of that will be the frontrunner for HOTY, going into the Classic.

You are right however, that the Classic is the race where all the chips will fall. My last post was to illustrate the importance of other races leading up to the BCC.

23 Aug 2010 1:17 PM
Leon

Fuzzy Corgi:

Godolphin has spent a fortune trying to win the Ky Derby buying very talented 2-year olds, shipping them to Dubai, and then bringing them to Ky. It has been an exercise in futility, but I  guess they will be proven right if they ever win it too...

23 Aug 2010 1:25 PM
Kay

Paula:

“For those of you that think Blame is that much better than QR, you are wrong. He won by a tiny margin against QR. It could, and may well, play out differently if they meet up again. I just hope these two boys keep on running and running and running. So when Zenny shows up at the BCC in rested condition, she says "So long boys!" Then John Shirreffs will look like Einstein y'all.”

Heh. I think Blame is probably better than Quality Road at a distance. I also think Quality Road may have bounced a bit in the Whitney. He also worked SO quickly beforehand that it could have been detrimental. I doubt Pletcher will let that happen coming up to the Woodward. But given that QR is going to have to go 10F and the pace will likely be quicker than he’s faced, I would take Blame at that point. I think QR is a brilliantly fast horse and if there weren’t such great closers like Blame and Zenyatta, he could possibly carry that speed. I do wish they would run against each other one more time. I’d like to see a really sharp QR against Blame.

Zookeeper:

“P.S. Was I the only one rooting for that Spanish bull who climbed into the stands, trampling and goring everything in his path, because he had ENOUGH? He would have fared better in the Coliseum, the Romans would have given the thumb UP signal: spare his life! The good people of Spain saw things differently...”

No. You were NOT the only one. Too bad they had to kill the poor thing. He was the bull equivalent of the JetBlue guy (g).

GunBow:

“The fact that you consider the PE a pivotal race leading up to the HOY is laughable.  Did you look at the entries?  Outside of Rachel and LAT, where’s the beef?  What does beating these horses have to do with determining anything other than winning a G1 race that is not particularly deep?  Up to this point Rachel has competed in unlisted and G2 races.  If she races in and wins the PE, do you honestly think she will compete in another race before the BCC?  I have my doubts, but if she does and it’s a G1 and wins, that would be Two G1 wins going into the BCC and if she wins it THREE GRADE ONE wins in 2010.  A loss in the BCC and she is eliminated.  A win in it and she’s still a contender only because she would have defeated all the major contenders.”

Yeah, the math doesn’t seem to add up, does it? Providing Rachel wins the Personal Ensign (and I think she will), it will be VERY interesting to see where she goes next. If they REALLY want HOTY, I think that at this point they are going to have to go in the Woodward or the JCGC. If they DON’T want it as badly, then I think she’ll head for the Beldame. So I hope she wins the PE because then things get exciting!

Fuzzy Corgi:

“It will make a lot of sense if 'the horse' wins the BCC again. What some people seem to forget about when Zenyatta was scratched at CD last year was the reason. Her trainer stated all along that she would run unless they sealed the track. This is why a lot of trainers won't run their horses on it. I'm sure some people are begging for CD to come up really wet for the BC just so they can bag on any horses that scratch. Wet or dry, I just hope the surface is fair and safe for the BC this year. The last thing that the BC needs are any breakdowns on a showcase day.”

This is another thing that people seem to willfully ignore, just like the shipping thing. THE TRACK WAS SEALED. That’s why they scratched. Talk to other trainers who scratch when the track is sealed. There are a lot of them.

Livesoutwest:

“You assume incorrectly about me.  I would definitely vote for Zenyatta for HOY if she won the BCC.  Any of those five including Blame, QR, RA or LAL would potentially be deserving winners, though RA needs to put her G1 wins on the board and she hasn't done it yet.  I favored Zenyatta for the award last year, even though her campaign stunk.  It stinks this year too, but so far Rachel's stinks worse.  However, she's at least poised to finish the year against stronger foes.  Blame has all of one G1 win, so he's not impossible to top.  QR has two G1 wins but lost to Blame.  Really, Lookin At Lucky has run the best campaign of any of them so far.  The horses he beat in his G1's, like Ice Box and Super Saver would still trounce Zenyatta's victims, St. Trinians included.”

Ice Box had two good races, Super Saver had one. I don’t think they’re in her class, frankly. However, if I was forced to throw Zenyatta out of the HOTY picture, Lookin At Lucky would be my HOTY choice over Blame. For sure. Other than that, lookie! We agree!

Leon:

“If that shipping excuse is true, why was Zenyatta shipped to Del Mar, to run on a quirky surface with a history of breakdowns, one neither her nor her trainer like, and for a lesser purse?”

You claim to be a horseman. Really? Because then you would understand that VANNING is not the same thing as SHIPPING. Good grief. Haven’t we been over this and over this?

“I'm a horseman, and I understand the need for a soft race for your horse every now & then. Just don't give me that tired excuse about shipping when you'd rather skip a $750K race at your home track (where you are UNDEFEATED)against good but not great males, and at a perfect distance for your champion horse, especially when that race still allows you to have plenty of time to come back fresh for additional prep races for the BCC.”

It’s awesome that you, the horseman, knows SO much more about Zenyatta than John Shirreffs, the ACTUAL horseman who handles Zenyatta on a daily basis.

“Everyone repeats like a parrot that Zenyatta does not ship well, and I'm not buying it; correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it is no coincidence two of her largest winning margins have come in the Apple B, away from home.”

And for the three-thousandth time, it wasn’t shipping TO Oaklawn that wore her out. It was shipping BACK, when she had been through the ordeal of being in an unfamiliar place, having A LOT more attention than she had the first time, running a race, and then getting on a plane and coming back. She was dehydrated. She lost a lot of weight. There was turbulence. Think this is a lame excuse if you must, but then it just proves you are no horseman.

Tony:

“I do think much of the east coast bias against synthetics is the result of Curlin losing the Classic, but Curlin wasn't the best horse that fall, and Rachel not running at Santa Anita last year; while a reflection of Jess Jackson's distaste for Pro Ride, was obviously the best thing for a wringed out horse last fall.  Rachel was spent.”

Pretty much the same issue for Curlin and Rachel, it seems. Both their seasons were front-loaded. And if Jess Jackson thinks that it was the surface that got to Curlin, then he hasn’t paid much attention to what Dubai does to a horse. Cigar didn’t win the BC the year he went, either.

Rachel:

“Zookeeper, I don't think it's that they "learned" a thing or two, I think in JMHO that in trying to get her to the Apple Blossom and realizing (at this point in time), she wasn't the "same" Rachel as last year, they just backed off to let a filly grow into her 4-year-old, still very young year. It could have been something as simple as shedding her 4 yr old deciduous incisors, maybe the permanent ones were taking awhile to come through and the bit hurt.. Just like they let Zen grow into her late 3 year-old year before they even started her because she wasn't physically ready, or backing off a 2 year-old because of shin soreness...”

I didn’t have a problem with them withdrawing Rachel from consideration for the Apple Blossom. I have a problem with all the hoopla before, and with the WAY it was done – practically before she’d even cooled out. How she ran seemed to have nothing to do with the decision; it was the fact that she was beaten. Now, if they’d waited to see how she came out and THEN had withdrawn her, then I would think, “Oh, okay. That race didn’t give her enough conditioning and she really won’t be ready.” But they didn’t do that. So the inference was that Jess was more upset that she lost and it was the loss that made him declare her out. He didn’t even give Asmussen a chance to weigh in on it.

23 Aug 2010 2:41 PM
Rachel

I'd want a horseman who is a sportsman who is guided by sportsmanship! ♥

Sportsman:

2.A person whose conduct and attitude exhibit sportsmanship.

Sportsmanship:

2. Conduct and attitude... especially "striving spirit," fair play, courtesy, and grace in losing.

Horseman:

2. A person skilled in the care or management of horses.

23 Aug 2010 3:00 PM
Aluminaut

Zookeeper,

Horses have four legs.  If they have a serious injury while racing or training, they can't lie in bed like a Football player to recupe.  Read the Bloodhorse story about Nureyev for more info.  He was one of the lucky ones who had a paddock accident and recovered to remain a great sire.

People care about the horses.  I do--but I don't feel that it's productive to talk about breakdowns on a Bloodhorse mag blog except to say how a horse is recovering. Horses compete and sometimes run flat out because that's what they are bred to do.  As you could see with Quality Road, if a horse doesn't want to do something, like load in a gate, they weigh 1,000, 1,200 pounds, and it isn't going to happen.

Horses can get laminitis from rich feed while living a kick back life in retirement.  We have to protect them the best we can, but you can't give a carseat to a racehorse.  In my opinion and with respect.

23 Aug 2010 3:53 PM
Householder

Working class heroes.  Blind Luck cost $11,500 and Evening Jewell $8,000.  I think this is part of the Beyer figure as well.  

23 Aug 2010 3:54 PM
MonicaV

I don't know why Zenyatta would lose HOY if she wins the classic.  Would that make sense to anyone?  I hope not. People say they don't care about the award but I have never seen so many arguments about it amongst people who don't care.  In truth, it does not matter.  What ever horse is your favorite is your HOY in your heart and that is all that matters

I don't believe anyone on this blog does not care when a horse is injured in a race.  I don't believe that wanting to see certain horses race against certain horses means that they don't care for the welfare of the horse.  Anytime a race horse steps on the track, there is a possibility of injury and even death.  Yes, even in works they have injuries so bad they are put down.  It's a risk every single day.  I cannot believe that anyone would not care about that.  The loss of a horse's life is not meaningless, it means a great deal to many.  Especially to racing fans.  Saying otherwise is absurd when trying to make a point against somebody else.

23 Aug 2010 4:22 PM
Billy's Empire

Secretariat- I admit, Devil got beat, Blind Luck is the real deal, she proved it.

Now, this week, not one peep from you about Life at Ten, since she is part of Todd's stable

23 Aug 2010 4:34 PM
longwaytomay

Jason,

Polytrack is a joint venture owned by Martin Collins Internantional and KEENLAND. You are correct again kind sir.

I for one will miss the Pro-Ride at Santa Anita. With the help of some fellow bloggers from Cali, I learned to handicap the fake stuff better than dirt. There were angles that not everyone had figured out yet. I think all the horses that train on it run better on dirt. Have you watched the Cali shippers kick butt this year? Most of them trained on Pro-Ride.

23 Aug 2010 5:03 PM
Mike Relva

BILLY'S EMPIRE

Is your ego that of Draynay's that you can't admit you were dead wrong about Blind Luck? BTW I picked her(it's on this blog). lol

23 Aug 2010 5:36 PM
In aint easy being good!

All I know is that Paddy O Prado is a turf beast. I know the euro's are very game but Paddy hasnt really been put to the test on turf yet. This horse is going to be tough to beat in the breeders cup no matter what european horse he faces!

23 Aug 2010 6:05 PM
Mike Relva

LEON

Get a clue,Zenyatta's connections' can do what they want,period! They have and do place her BEST INTEREST FIRST before any whining fans!

23 Aug 2010 7:14 PM
Paula Higgins

Thanks Smoking Baby!!! I think there are quite a few of us that think like that thankfully.

ITA that Blind Luck is the real deal. Watched her race again and she is very impressive.

23 Aug 2010 8:03 PM
jayjay

Leon : When I say "shipping", I'm talking about a plane ride.  Shipping via a van or a horse trailer is totally different than shipping by plane.  Also, the issue Zen had by shipping was coming back from Oaklawn.  I don't know if you remember or chose to ignore it but Shireffs wasn't too confident in the Vanity because Zen wasn't herself after that trip from Arkansas and it showed in her workouts.

Yes, I was excited to see the colts run in the TC this year but what does that have to do with Zenyatta staying at home ?  You assume that if Zen travels east, the top horses would be kicking each other trying to get in the race with her.  JJ ducked Zenyatta remember ?  She's the one that everyone is NOW talking about winning the HOTY.  You question her year's campaign but never Rachel's or QR's or Blame's?  Come on now, at least be fair.  

So you're a horseman, I'll assume that you have vast and long experience as a horseman.  Can you please tell me why is it necessary for Zenyatta to run against males ?  If you own her, would you do that to her at age 6 ?  If you're targeting the biggest race (and I know a lot of you don't consider the BCC the biggest race) of the year, why would you take the toughest path to it ?  None of the other top contenders have been in tough races this year.  Team Z will do what's best for Zenyatta, you can all claim she's ducking the toughest races but I'll say the same old thing, if she had traveled to the east coast earlier this year, no one would've run against her unless they upped the purse to 1 million.  I don't get the push for Zenyatta to run against males, I don't get why it is necessary.  All of you who doubts her can continue to doubt her until she's retired and making wonderful babies that will dominate the racing world.

You can bet on Blame all day in the BCC, I'll put all my money on Zenyatta.  You say he has the advantage because he's based there, that's even better for you.  In fact, come Classic time, Zen will even give him more advantage by coming from dead last.  Shouldn't you be happy with that ?

I honestly believe that you and the others that wants her to run against the boys wants to see her get over used and lose, that way you can say that she doesn't belong with the greats.  Well, that's too bad, regardless of whether she wins or loses her last two races, no one can take away her record matching career.  She is one of the greats.  Enjoy her.

23 Aug 2010 8:44 PM
Secretariat

Funnier than hell. Larry Collmus at Monmouth this weekend:

Mywifenosevrything vs. Thewifedoesntknow

www.youtube.com/watch

23 Aug 2010 8:48 PM
jayjay

Leon :

"  I'm also critical of QR's & Summer Bird's connections for not trying the SA synth before the BCC. "

You just so completely forgot to say anything about it in detail the way you did with Zenyatta.  It's funny how you say you feel the same way about QR and SB's campaign but not once did you comment about it in your post about Zenyatta.

23 Aug 2010 9:18 PM
jayjay

Here's a quote from east coast based trainer Dutrow about the synthetic surface in Saratoga and how a lot of horses get foot issues :

"  Dutrow said that Rail Trip has a foot issue or two, “which a lot of horses get up here. He’s a half-inch from being on top of his game. We’ll wait it out and do what’s best for him. He’s very close – he’s not there. "

Oh wait....toga has dirt...not synthetic.  My bad.

23 Aug 2010 9:33 PM
Mike Relva

AFLEETALEXFOREVER

It's always the same neg. slamming regarding Zenyatta. Question? What has RA done this year to date? Be a man for once lol and address my question! Step up to the plate and tell me. Has she won any Grade 1 races this year? Why do you ALWAYS ignore that?

23 Aug 2010 9:59 PM
jayjay

THANK YOU PAPILLON, at least I'm not the only one blinded by QR's and Rachel's EXCELLENT campaign this year...some people ignore those facts but when it comes to Zen, it's always the weak field argument.  It's ridiculous.

PAULA : I agree with Smoking Baby, I like your BOTTOM line :)

TradingPlaces : I don't know if you are or not but your arguments falls on the same side of the fence with the Zen haters.  How can you say that she doesn't take risks ?  She's the only one that has traveled to her competition, you ignored that.  She ran in a track (Delmar) that her trainer is not too keen about and at a shorter distance, against a top division opponent, you ignored that.  She only raced in G1 races (yes, even her very first start of the year), but you ignored that.  QR has not raced in any tough races until the Whitney, you ignored that. Rachel has not run in G1 yet, but you ignored that too.  

How can you point to Zenyatta as having the weak races and not taking risks.  Everyone who hates Zenyatta is now ignoring the year's campaign, something Jason said should be the determining factor for HOTY, not just the last race.  Here we are, talking about the last 5 races (woodward, jcgc, beldame, personal ensign and the zenyatta stakes) as the determining factor for winning the HOTY.  I have to give kudos to the zen haters, they never fail to come up with ways to bash zenyatta with.  It's hilariously pathetic. LOL

23 Aug 2010 10:18 PM
Paula Higgins

Kay, I agree with your points about QR. I think he is better at shorter distances. But when he has his A game, I think he is competitive at the longer distances as well. But I get your point that he is not exactly Zenyatta who positively thrives at the longer distances.

Rachel, you stated the obvious. My problem is with those that are more sportsman than horseman. The horse should always come before the sport. I think with most trainers that is the case. It's with some of the fans of the sport who lose sight as to which is more important. I think the professionals get it.

As for the bull and bull fighting, it is a barbaric "sport" and disgusting. I have no problem with the bull defending himself.

23 Aug 2010 10:36 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

ruffianruns, Zookeeper, Paula H.

   I always root for the bull. Like a true idiot I even did it in person in Madrid when I went to one bullfight for the experience of it when I was a young man. My one and only bullfight, I would never patronize another, and was lucky to escape with my life at that one. Someone shut me up and defended me as I was about to end up like the bull. The paella is unbelievably good though.

23 Aug 2010 10:37 PM
Footlick

ruffianruns- glad I could make you laugh.  Sariska's jockey certainly wasn't.  Did you see the look on his face?  

23 Aug 2010 10:55 PM
YanYarD

AFLEETALEXFOREVER

You said...I guess i am confused.

We already knew that, and half the battle to recovery is admitting it yourself. Good Luck the rest of the way.

To aid in your recovery go through Kays posts, they should remove the confusion you admittedly suffer from.

23 Aug 2010 10:59 PM
Kay

TradingPlaces:

“I'm not a Zenyatta hater, I never have and never will be. I respect her as much as I do any other horse. My only problem is that I wish she would've been challeged a little more over her career. She had a good 4 year old year, but after showing her dominace against the best mares that year, she has been staying against considerably weaker. Last year the only race she finally came out of her shell was the BCC. This year, it was promised by her connections that she would go ahead and race on the east, that they would, in lack of better words, show her off to the fans of the nation. That has yet to happen, and it is a shame because she has so much to offer and is not being allowed to show her true brilliance accept for once a year.”

She’s been staying against weaker? So it’s Zenyatta’s fault that the fields aren’t stronger? That doesn’t make any sense. What do you want them to do, wait until the entries come out and then go find a better race? And for the billionth time, SHE DOESN’T SHIP WELL. Therefore, THE PLANS CHANGED. Get it? I don’t understand why you folks can’t parse this stuff. You keep repeating the same erroneous nonsense over and over and completely ignore reason and explanation.

“IMO Zenyatta is in the hunt for HOTY because of the Grade ones, but because of her other horses facing fields that are much more competitive, they will tend to get the edge.”

You’ll need to rewrite that so it makes sense. Because what?

“Right now I would rank Zenyatta third or fourth. Cases can be made for both LAL and QR to still be ahead, due to the fact that many believe that even their losses came to much better horses than she has defeated this year.”

Hilarious. You may want to clue in the people who vote in the NTRA poll, since Zenyatta is leading Blame by a pretty healthy margin. Fourteen number one points to five, I believe the margin is. You pretending to be fair regarding Zenyatta makes as much sense as a fish riding a bicycle. I know the fact that Zenyatta has won four GI races drives you people mental, but that’s just a fact. You can dismiss them all you want (this new meme is ADORABLE) but it seems that there are others who aren’t quite as quick to do that.

Paula:

“Kay, I agree with your points about QR. I think he is better at shorter distances. But when he has his A game, I think he is competitive at the longer distances as well. But I get your point that he is not exactly Zenyatta who positively thrives at the longer distances.”

I do think there’s a situation where he can get 10F but I think too many variables have to go in his favor for him to successfully negotiate 10F against horses more suited to the distance. Conversely, pace doesn’t seem to affect Zenyatta or Blame, for that matter. So they are going to win those 10F races more often than Quality Road will. I think his and possibly Rachel’s best chance at this point is to try and run them off their feet. And I feel like neither trainer is going to allow that. They’re both trying to rate their horses and it isn’t working with QR. Not sure it’ll work with Rachel when she faces a hot pace. Say the Classic pace winds up being pretty quick and both Quality Road and Rachel find themselves further off the pace. That could be disaster for both of them.  Use that high cruising speed. Try to get a breather down the backside and then separation off the turn. That may be the only way to win, or at the very least put forth the gamest effort.

I also think that Rachel is going to take Life At Ten apart in the Personal Ensign, and I’m not convinced that’s the best thing for her heading towards the Classic. She’ll have a more legitimate pace there and a bigger field to contend with. And I doubt Calvin will get that rail trip, either (g).

23 Aug 2010 11:23 PM
TradingPlaces

Jayjay,

What top opponent are you talking about at Delmar? Rentrival? How is she even considered top notch? What graded stakes has she won? The best horse Zen faced this year was St.T, and she on her best day would not even come close to warming Blame,QR, or even RA up.

I also don't get how you think the Hirsch was a risk. She had won the race twice before this year, over the same track. It may be her least favorite of the three synthetics in Cali, but I seriously doubt her connections would run her in a race where they felt her safety was at risk. She has won at the distance tons of times and will race that same distance again in the Lady's Secret Stakes. No horse in that race, none was worthy of being on the same track that she was, none. It is not a risk when your mare is unbeaten at the distance, over the track and is racing a group of mares completely outclassed.

RA isn't even in my top five right now for HOTY, so I obviously am not a fan of her season thus far. I think she should've been in the Stephan Foster, and not the FDL, I think she would've won. However she has not and the only way she can get back into the discussion is a win in the PE.

You like to pick at QR's competition, well tell me who won the Islen last weekend? You may want to try and pick apart his fields, but the difference between his and Zenyatta's races thus far is that she could've entered any of the ones he has raced in, but he cannot do the same for her's. He opened himself to everyone, and has beaten every horse but one this year, while being in completely open competition. She had chances, but her connections never took them.

Stating that she has taken very little risk during her career, and none this season, is not hating. I respect her record, but the way she has been campaigned has left her open to questioning. Had she done even a little more last year or this year only those in complete denial could say she didn't deserve to be called great. I know she can do more and would love to see her shut up the real haters who actually do slam her.

23 Aug 2010 11:32 PM
TradingPlaces

Papillion,

I never said Zenyatta would struggle and as of now, never said RA has a chance of making HOTY. As things stand now she does not. However if you tell me that if she wins this race, the JCGC, and BCC she still does not deserve it then you are biased.

Zenyatta is not at the top now, and should not be ahead of horses like Blame or QR who have opened themselves to all comers all season while she has kept in shallow end of the pull, with what she has faced this year. She deserves to be in the discussion, but I feel, if she is to win, she will win it like she does most of her races, by closing in the final seconds. If she loses the Classic, her HOTY case is no longer there, if she wins she's it no doubt. That doesn't mean she is struggling, just that she will have to close for it.

23 Aug 2010 11:40 PM
Zookeeper

Monica V,

The last paragraph in your comment of 4:22 PM, must be directed at me, since I was the one who brought it up. I didn't just throw that in there for the heck of it. I was responding to jimthepimp's opinion that poor sportsmanship was the most hurful thing to this sport. I stated a very different opinion. If you think that something else is more detrimental to horseracing, please state what it is. I'll gladly listen.

"Pushing to the limit" is what I objected to, not competition between healthy horses who are not asked for more than they can give.

If you think that this isn't the place for a frank discussion on the subject, where should we talk about it? If WE don't address the issue and demand a solution to the problem, should we leave it to OTHERS to do so? The enemies of this sport will shut us down in a NY second if we continue to pretend that fatal injuries to horses is part of the course and should never be brought up in polite company.

Why did the industry finally do something about the abuse of drugs and the use of steroids? Public opinion and the refusal by some to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that it didn't exist or that it was inevitable, THAT'S what did it.

Sorry for the rant but attempts to shut me up usually have a contrary effect on me.  

23 Aug 2010 11:40 PM
Zookeeper

aluminaut,

Thank you for informing me that a horse has four legs.

Dr Drunkinbum,

I don't deserve any of the nice things you said about me, but thank you! and yes, paella is much better than bullfighting. :) Oh! and it takes a big man to admit a mistake or a poor choice of words. Wish I was as kind as you.(sigh)

23 Aug 2010 11:57 PM
Livesoutwest

Kay,

C'mon, you don't actually think that Ice Box and Super Saver aren't in a class with St. Trinians, do you?  She's a nice little mare but she was blown away by Misremembered & Neko Bay.  Those two nice three year-olds would also clobber her, as would all the top males.  Just because a horse finishes near Zenyatta doesn't all of a sudden elevate them to near-Zenyatta ability.  Zenyatta doesn't win her races by much, so it doesn't mean that the Rintervals and Anabaa's Creations of the world are almost as good as her.

Lazmannick,

Eastern trainers don't want to run in the Pacific Classic because the track is garbage.  You don't think they're ducking the immortal Richard's Kid, Awesome Gem & The Mighty QT, do you?  John Shirreffs didn't make his final decision to run Zenyatta in the Hirsch until the morning of the race.  Bob Baffert is now threatening to send his string to Saratoga next year if they don't replace the surface.  The Pro Ride surface at Santa Anita is falling apart and was deemed unsafe for Oak Tree.  Really, the Hollywood Park surface is the only good one of the bunch.

But why should the Eastern trainers ship there for the puny California purses?  The Gold Cup was downgraded to $500,000 (not the $750,000 you mentioned).  The Vanity was a measly $250,000.  I don't think the Eastern trainers are ducking the West Coast horses, even Zenyatta.  It's just not worth it to ship out for a subpar purse and/or a surface where their horses are risking life and limb.  But interesting that you mentioned Duke Of Mischief.  He's the one example that comes to mind of a horse ducking another top horse this year.  His connections informed the Churchill racing secretary that the Duke would not go in the Stephen Foster if Rachel Alexandra went in the race.

24 Aug 2010 12:30 AM
jayjay

ZooKeeper :  I believe her post was actually meant for me as I was the one that said other fans in here just don't care about the horses and I said that some people here don't care when a horse dies or gets hurt.  I still believe that, Monica on the other hand, I think is either a little too trusting or just very naive about some of the people on here.  Some people think it's part of the game that horses gets hurt, that it's paid for with insurance etc etc.  YES, I do believe there are people here who are like that and one of them is a very popular person on here.  He knows who he is.

TradingPlaces : One more thing, it's been posted here many many times (I can't believe people still miss reading it).  Zenyatta has beaten some horses that raced again and beat 2nd or 3rd level horses.  Tough Tiz's Sis ??  Zardana ??  

Again, you keep saying she's running against weak competition.  Can you tell me any horses that Rachel or QR has beaten that has won against 2nd or 3rd level horses ?

24 Aug 2010 12:32 AM
jayjay

TradingPlaces : QR raced twice in his hometrack this year.  Rachel traveled around finding the ungraded stakes and walkover races.  Again, Blame is the only horse that can match up with Zenyatta's campaign this year.  Be real about it, come on now.

When a horse like Zenyatta who's running style is coming from the clouds, shortening to 1 1/16 is a risk, there a risk of losing.

24 Aug 2010 12:45 AM
Fuzzy Corgi

LAZMANNICK - When it rains the track superintendant closes the track and they seal it. Sealing makes the ground hard and compact so that the water sheds off and hopefully doesn't wash any of the track away. No horses can train on a closed track. They will run the races in the afternoon but there is no training. As soon as the threat of rain is gone they will harrow the track to soften it up.

Even on a good track, like SA was at that time, being closed for training for 27 straight days makes a huge impact on the fitness of the horses. Walking in the shedrow for weeks on end just doesn't do it for a racehorse. CA rarely has storms lasting longer than 5-7 days so the loss of training in the winter is usually annoying but minimal. The synthetics allow training and racing to continue without interruption even if there is heavy rain. This is why I'm somewhat conflicted about the return of the dirt surface to SA.

24 Aug 2010 12:45 AM
Bellwether

$TEWART$ OF "THE GAME" HAVE BEN A$LEEP @ THE WHEEL SINCE 1958...THATS ALL CHANGE N AS WE SPEAK...LONG LIVE THE KING BABY!!!...ty...

24 Aug 2010 3:53 AM
sodapopkid

 Is it just me, or does Trading Places sound like LDP?

24 Aug 2010 8:50 AM
LAZMANNICK

Afleetalexforever

Have a good day.  Make sure you don't bite yourself.  If you do we'll never hear from you again and we would ALL MISS YOUR INSIGHTFUL ZEN BASHING!

24 Aug 2010 9:03 AM
Rachel

Aluminaut, good point about the "cushy life" and laminitis...we all know Barbaro's story...complications from his racing injury, as is so often the case...but how many of our younger posters know that, just in my lifetime, we've lost a Triple Crown winner and 2 Derby winners from Laminitis during their retirements at stud?

Secretariat

Foolish Pleasure

Sunday Silence

FP's story will break your heart. They all will.

24 Aug 2010 9:09 AM
LAZMANNICK

Kellerman

I think it’s now or never for Rachel and I’m willing to bet she’ll be at the top of her game.  As good as Life At Ten is, Rachel is good too.  Her problems still stem back to the last half of her schedule last year and culminated in a gut wrenching performance in the Woodward that took more than she actually had to give.  Hence, the lengthily recovery period, but of course we all know that.

I have always been a Zen fan, first and foremost, but excluding Rachel’s connections, I think she is a peach and all kidding aside, I felt really bad for her after the demanding stretch battle with Macho Again and the affect it had on her, the reports of her shaking after the race, and laying down in her stall for long periods of time, etc.  And why was she basically confined to her stall during her time off and not sent to a farm for a couple months?  Were they trying to hide something or was she just too rung out to even consider that?  Her effort in the Woodward could be equated to a human running a marathon and wanting to quit at the 20 mile mark and running the rest all out on guts and determination.  This was very demanding from a physical standpoint for sure, but I am willing to bet the mental affect was even more damaging.  The question is not whether she will be fit to run her best in the PE, it will be will she be mentally fit, as in when the going gets tough, the tough keep going.  Will we see that Rachel or will she decide she doesn’t want to really battle anymore?  We saw her give way in her first two races this year, to most shocking, but reflecting the point I am trying to make.  The FDL was a great confidence builder and the way she finally put a Queen Martha away in the Lady’s Secret was encouraging because she looked more and more like her old self.

The PE came up very light when considering all the nominations, and with some horses at their peak like Malibu Prayer opting out, I think we are seeing the pretenders and the contenders.  Two scenarios for the race:  (A) at some point a strong head to head battle between Rachel and LAT in which case one could put the other away say by the ¾’s –Mile pole and draw away with the other possibly even missing 2nd.  (B) Life at Ten going out  and setting the pace, (hopefully for her a reasonable one), with Rachel sitting behind in a very close stalking position and challenging and the two battling right down to the wire in a too close to call finish.  I don’t see LAT going all the way without a challenge at some point unless she gets one of those easy pace scenarios and measures her pace so that when the race picks up she has too much for Rachel to even get close.  Besides, Calvin doesn’t seem to have that kind of patience with her.  He might be a great rider at CD, but he isn’t close to the best at Saratoga and if he is too impatient he might even be more of a concern to Rachel than LAT or the other contenders.

My personal feeling is that if they get Rachel to relax, be patient and not make her move too soon and then cut her lose, she will dominate and continue on to the BCC.  A close finish or a loss and it will be the BC Ladys if she would even go to the BC at all if for any other reason than to compete for the Eclipse for Filly-Mare champion.  If LAT wins, I can only see the BC Ladys on the horizon.  She would go into the BCC with too much to do given her running style as I don’t think any filly or mare in the past 20 or 30 years would win the BCC on the front end all the way.  It's way too tough.  For what it’s worth that's my opinion.  I am eagerly looking forward to this race, actually much more than I am looking forward to the Travers.  Have a good one.

24 Aug 2010 9:51 AM
Slew

If the BC is not the "end all be all" why is every major trainer in the world training up to it...including Goldikova and now Debussy?  It seems to be the reason for the scheduling of most trainers this year.

Pre-synth...didn't East coast horses not ship west because the dirt was too "hard".  Wasn't there a major problem with fatalities?  If the costliest race track in the world spends their fortune on tapeta in Meydan, what are they really saying?  The problem for handicappers is that they seem not to comprehend it's more difficult to run (because it's deeper) on synthetic surfaces (and Belmont's sand) than on most clay based dirt tracks.  Few dirt tracks have similar composition.  Or perhaps handicappers still haven't realized that a synthetic-trained horse runs much faster on dirt.  Or that a dirt horse has not built up the appropriate muscle base to run on synthetics or grass.  Euro turf horse have synthetic training tracks.  Santa Anita has a major problem with installation of its surface, not the surface itself.  The statistics I have seen show less fatal breakdowns but more soft-tissue injuries that may be career ending on synthetics.  I don't believe they've been around long enough to reach accurate conclusions.

Personally, I'd rather side with the horse's safety than with the handicapper's inferiority complex.

24 Aug 2010 10:04 AM
LAZMANNICK

Kellerman

Another fact I didn’t mention about LAT or even Rachel running in either the JCGC and the BCC.  Remember, both these races are at 1 1/4M on dirt and I have to apply what I call the PRINCESSNESIAN FACTOR (which I have posted several times in the past).  EXCLUDING TURF RACES, since Princessnesian in the 1968 Hollywood Gold Cup, no filly or mare has defeated older G1 males at 1 1-/4M on dirt in a race open to three year olds and up.  Zen did it last year in the BCC, but for purists that was on synthetics.  Before Princessnesian you have to go back I believe to 1952 and Two Lea in the same race.  From what I can see it hasn’t been done in modern times away from California.  It has been done by 3 year-old fillies in the Derby, but this was against 3 year-old colts, not older horses.  For this reason alone, I think that anything other than the BCC would be way too ambitions so I don’t see either one in the JCGC if they are going to contest the BCC a month or so later.  I believe this is also why Zen's connections have decided to bi-pass both the HGC and the Pacific classic, both at 1 1/4M.

24 Aug 2010 10:12 AM
Mike Relva

TRADING PLACES

Your statement that"Zenyatta isn't at the top now" is unfounded at best.

24 Aug 2010 10:21 AM
MonicaV

Zookeeper,

That comment was not directed at you.  It was someone else who does not have your sensibility and intelligence.

24 Aug 2010 10:30 AM
LAZMANNICK

Trading Places

First of all I apologize if I came across too harsh.  I’m not tying to belittle your projection.  It was obviously well though out and makes a lot of sense.  However, I do get a little tired of Zenyatta always being the one to get the least consideration, even now less consideration than Rachel given Rachel’s projected schedule.

To me a grade one race is a grade one race.  That’s correct, but put it this way.  To the Graded Stakes Committee, which determines what graded status to apply to stakes races, a grade one race is a grade one race.  History has shown that the committee is not adverse to downgrading a graded race’s status based on the quality or class of the competitors.  To many, Zen has been racing in these so called cream puff G1 races for three years now.  And yet, none of them have been downgraded.  Therefore, a grade one race is a grade one race and if a horse, any horse, is victorious in the BCC and has a total of 6 G1 wins and the nearest competitors have 3 or 4, then that horse has done more than enough to be crowned HOY.

Many make light of the quality of Zen’s competition.  What about the others?  What about LAL.  This 3 y-o crop is by no means stellar, in fact I think it is one of the weakest in years on dirt.  He also IMO tarnished his image by passing the Belmont and the Travers.  Maybe they had reason to, but the fact is he didn’t compete.  He should have to do much more as in win a major G1 race against older and then the BCC.

QR has only had one difficult race and he lost it.  You can spin it any way you want, the Hal’s Hope and the Donn competition was no where close to being G1 competition.  The Met Mile was a challenge with Warrior’s Reward being a G1 winner.  But the fact is, he was a sprinter.  Musket Man IMO is good but not top drawer, so where was the competition you’re talking about.  In the Whitney he faced his best horse since Summer Bird, and what happened?  The same thing that happened against Summer Bird……he lost, but of course there are excuses.  There are always excuses.  He should also have to win out against tough opposition and from what I just learned it looks like Rail Trip is going to pass the Woodward, so how tough is that race going to be?

Blame’s Foster was tainted because of Battle Plan’s issues in the race and the time.  However, his Whitney was sensational and if he wins the JCGC, which at this point might include Rail Trip, he will be the leading contender.  Is he better than Zen to this point?  We can only make a comparison to Einstein last year being up the track in the BCC on a track he raced well on (Santa Anita Handicap) and rebounding after that tough race with a close defeat to Blame.  Some say he was over the top for the BCC, and yet he appeared fine a month later.  I know that was last year, but it still further legitimizes Zen’s ability.  Zen should still be HOY if she wins out her year with a victory over Blame.

Rachel has a lot to do.  She must win two G1 races going into the BCC and then win the BCC and if she does it could be argued that she deserves HOY.  However, as it stands now, she is no better than 3rd choice to even win the top older filly award.

I still stand by my prediction that of the five contenders (excluding Rail Trip at this time), based on their record, which ever one wins out should be HOY and if they aren’t voted HOY then that would be a travesty.

24 Aug 2010 10:51 AM
LAZMANNICK

Hey Kay

My name isn't Gun Bow.....Its's Lazman.  I think you got us mixed up.

24 Aug 2010 10:55 AM
Ann in Lexington (aka Pedigree Ann)

We can eliminate a lot the breakdowns on dirt tracks if we quit breeding horses whose bodies are too big for their underpinnings. Everybody "oohs" and "aahs" at the bulky 17-handers, loves that they are big, powerful-looking 'monsters.' Alydar must be better than Affirmed because he is bigger and more impressively muscled. Easy Goer must be better than Sunday Silence because he is bigger and more impressively muscled. Nowadays a horse who would have been considered average-sized (under 16h) 20 years ago is disparaged as 'little' and is judged inferior, even if he wins good races (eg Birdstone). The desire to have a bigger, more mature-looking yearling so it looks impressive at the sales has also been a part of this obsession with over-sized horses. The breed is being pushed beyond the optimum size for its function and more breakdowns is nature's way of telling us this. But we aren't listening.

Dirt, turf or all-weather - it won't make any difference if our breeders keep on in the way they have of late.

24 Aug 2010 11:23 AM
LAZMANNICK

Livesoutwest

That argument is as dumb as saying that Zen is ducking the immortal fillies and mares in the east. After looking at the PE lineup and what we can expect in the Woodward, I think east coast horses are even avoiding each other. Sorry.  I don't buy your argument.  California horses aren't afraid of anything in the east and it's been proven countless times.  The east coast horses had no problem going west for the BC.  Go back and let Kay straighten you out again.

24 Aug 2010 12:39 PM
Footlick

Livesoutwest- be fair.  St trinians was bounced around like a ping-pong ball in the Big Cap.  You can't hold that race against her.  As for those horses you mentioned- they would have to race her on synthetic, and I feel she would hold her own.  Another example of trying to compare dirt horses to synthetic horses.  You just can't say definitely that Ice Box and Super Saver are better than her.  You don't know.  You can't take dirt form and compare it to synthetic form.  She is a synthetic horse.  That is all she runs on.

24 Aug 2010 12:47 PM
Livesoutwest

Lazmannick,

Well call it what you want but Zenyatta's not there for the PE, and won't be there for the Beldame or JCGC.  Unlike the Eastern females not shipping out for the Hirsch (or males not shipping out for the Pacific Classic), has there been any complaint about safaty of the Saratoga or Belmont surfaces?  For that matter, have you heard any quotes from specific trainers about refusing to enter because they won't face Zenyatta, like the example I gave you of a male horse that wouldn't face Rachel?  Mike Mitchell was more than willing to send St. Trinians back for more against Zenyatta in the Hirsch before she came up sore, though he certainly would prefer that Z retires on schedule so St. T can dominate the California nobodies next year. No trainer is coming out and saying they're not running because of Zenyatta.  There's just no incentive to fly 3,000 miles to run on crap tracks for mediocre purses, especially in a year when the BC is on dirt.  However, on the other coast, Queen Martha's connections specifically said they were going in the Molly Pitcher and not the PE to avoid facing Rachel again.

Now none of this is meant to indicate I think Rachel is better than Zenyatta at this point in time.  In fact, if Z was going in the PE, I would bet the farm on her.  What better set-up could you possibly have than the second and third best mares in the country, both frontrunners, slugging it out on the front end while Zenyatta just gets to sit behind them and pick up the pieces of their brutal speed duel. And going a mile and a quarter on a dirt surface she prefers.  But then these are legit G1-winning females and you certainly can't let Zenyatta run against that caliber of mare or, God forbid, males.  That would be an unknown, and you can't actually take chances with Zenyatta, who knows what would happen?

Besides, Shirreffs says he's not good at training by telephone, so by all means let's deny Zenyatta her rightful legacy since YOU don't like to travel.  You know John, she's made you a ton of money, so why don't you clear the mothballs out of your wallet and hire a top-flight assistant that you CAN trust with the rest of your barn.  Do you think Asmussen even flinches about leaving the rest of his barn with Scott Blasi, a talented horseman in his own right, when he's on the road with Rachel or his other stars?  Do you think Pletcher worries about his barn when he ships and goes on the road for a big race?  Shirreffs is in fact a talented and knowledgeable trainer to be fair.  But as a manager of a stable, he is strictly amateur night compared to those guys.

As a Californian, I want to see Zenyatta finally get the big trophy.  I love Rachel, but she's already got hers and she can come back for one more year if they really want another one.  But the way she's being managed, I will totally get it if Zenyatta's denied her place in history. Get blocked in the Classic, make a furious run but just miss and Z's chances are toast.  And the sad part is that there was no reason it needed to be that way.

24 Aug 2010 1:45 PM
Livesoutwest

Yes Footlick, it's at least theoretically possible that Ice Box and Super Saver could tank on synthetics and lose to St. Trinians or Rinterval but I seriously doubt it.  These mares are already five years old.  St. Trinians has won one graded race in her career, Rinterval has never won one.  If they were going to rise to the stature of great females, let alone great horses they would have done it by now.  And if St. Trinians goes on a winning streak in California next year when Zenyatta's having babies and wins a bunch of G1's against females who couldn't win G1's anywhere else in the country, it will still be meaningless.

Sorry, but I think the idea that mares of this caliber could be even remotely competitive against the Derby winner and runner-up on ANY surface including asphalt, broken glass or hot coals is just laughable.

24 Aug 2010 2:05 PM
LAZMANNICK

Livesoutwest

I guess you didn’t hear about Rail Trip missing the Woodward because he stepped on a stone on that Saratoga surface.  Dutrow’s own words:  Dutrow said that Rail Trip has a foot issue or two, “which a lot of horses get up here. He’s a half-inch from being on top of his game. We’ll wait it out and do what’s best for him. He’s very close – he’s not there.}

Sounds very contradictory to me just like a lot of stuff you just spun.

About quotes from trainers refusing to enter because they don’t want to face Zenyatta.

Let’s see.  I guess you’re right.  They’re filling the entry box in every one of her races…….or are they?  Where are all these tough horses that their trainers are only so eager to send against Zenyatta?  The only time in recent memory she faced a full field was against the boys and we all looked on astonished when she totally destroyed them (of course people like you immediately went looking for your book of excuses which by the way is not hard to find……it’s always sitting on your lap).   Maybe that’s why her races aren’t chalk full of all these leading contenders.  Of course it doesn’t matter what so many of the sport’s leading trainers say in reference to Zenyatta.  I guess when it comes to you, they don’t really get it.

I also remember the quote from Duke of Mischief’s trainer.

I’ll bet after his race on Saturday the trainer is kicking himself for the Foster statement, at least as far as Rachel is concerned.  I’ll bet he wouldn’t want to go up against Blame any time soon though and probably didn’t then, so what’s your point?  Oh yeah, if Zen would have been in the Foster he would have sped to the entry box.

Queen Martha going to the Molly Pitcher to avoid Rachel Again?

Whose Queen Martha and of course she’ll be a lock to win the MP?  Why wouldn’t she avoid Rachel?  If I was her connections I would too.  Rachel isn’t exactly a plow horse you know.

Also, the HGC might be worth half a mill now.  Where were all the eastern stalwarts when it was worth a lot more?  Where have they basically been for any major Californian race?  They never did ship out by the boatload and when they do they usually are defeated.  Do horses like Medaglia d’oro and Cigar and Perfect Drift and Einstein and Harlan’s Holiday ring a bell?  Why should it be any differently now?  It’ll really make me laugh if Rail Trip wins the JCGC.  Then your statement degrading Awesome Gem might just kick you in the butt.  Once again, it’s okay for westerners to ship east, but not the other way around.  Those synthetic tracks you know.

Mike Mitchell was willing to send St. Trianians back against Zen if she wasn’t sore?

Really?  That’s not the impression I got and I can’t recall seeing a quote to that effect.  The fact that no trainer is coming out and saying that they are not running against Zenyatta is also totally absurd and definitely debatable.  The eastern ones already have their ready made excuses……synthetics and 3000 miles……and where were they for the Apple Blossom?  Of course you’ll spin that off somehow, but the fact is, it was a G1 race…..where was the eastern beef?

I wouldn’t berate the trainer of the BCC and the BC, one he trained from the beginning of her career, the other he took over from Bill Mott when she was spinning her wheels and turned her into a top stakes winner.  Bill Mott’s an exceptional trainer.  Maybe Sherriffs should get some credit not some snide, under the table remark.

As a Californian, I want to see Zenyatta finally get the big trophy:

Another really?  If it comes down to Rachel and Zen you’d like to see Zen get it this time?

And this crap you spin saying that none of this is meant to say that you think that Rachel is better than Zenyatta.  That’s a poor joke.  Why are you saying it then?  Of course, no one wants to face Rachel, but they’re all lining up to say they want to face Zenyatta but once again those darn synthetic tracks and all that traveling.

As a Californian you can say what you want.  Zenyatta get blocked in the Classic……at least we know she’ll be in the Classic.

24 Aug 2010 3:17 PM
Zookeeper

Monica V,

I apologize. How careless of me! My whole rant should have been addressed to Aluminaut, not you. There's no excuse... but I'll use the one that his/her informing me that a horse has 4 legs, so short-circuited my brain that I got stupified. Thanks for the undeserved kind words.

24 Aug 2010 3:18 PM
Zookeeper

Lazmannick,

Last year's Woodward was painful to watch for me. After the race, I remember stating that I hated the race and I still feel that way. While others were applauding the sportmanship of the connections and Rachel's domination over older horses, the only thing I could feel was sadness for a 3yr old filly who had been pushed to the limit.

Even after the effects became evident, some people are still thinking that the whole thing was great and that the connections were right all along. Many however, changed their mind and realized that the price Rachel paid was far too high.

On your post of 9:51 AM you expressed my thoughts far better than I ever did.

Well said, Laz! (a comment I always think, but don't always post, after reading what you have to say.)  :)

24 Aug 2010 3:43 PM
LAZMANNICK

Zookeeper thanks for the kind words.  I have always enjoyed and respected what you post.  You are fair, honest and knowledgeable and you show your feelings and aren't afraid to express them.  As sfor your statement about me, I feel the same not only about you, but also quite a few others on here.  Thanks and have a good one.

24 Aug 2010 4:25 PM
MonicaV

Zookeeper,

The words were not undeserved.  I think several of the bloggers on here think you're a wonderfully sensitive, caring, fair and intelligent person as is always reflected in your posts.

24 Aug 2010 4:34 PM
sodapopkid

Now Lazmannick,  Thats the way to tell 'em.  Thank you for a job well done.

Well written post and to the facts.

Keep up the great work!

24 Aug 2010 5:25 PM
Judy G ~ California

I echo this statement made by Ann in Lexington (aka Pedigree Ann)

"Dirt, turf or all-weather - it won't make any difference if our breeders keep on in the way they have of late."

Will "they" get their sh*t together before it's really too late?

I love going to the track, or watching on HRTV/TVG, but when a horse breaks down it takes the wind out of me! Heartbreak to the max! I hate it!

24 Aug 2010 6:10 PM
TradingPlaces

Jayjay,

Why are you trying to convince me RA should not be HOTY as of now? I realize she has had and incredibly weak season up until now. To put is short and bluntly, you are wasting your thoughts by trying to convice a person who already understands that as of now, RA should not be in the conversation for HOTY. My point is that if she were to win out, this race, the Gold Cup, and BCC then she would be, very much in the race, if not the winner of it. But she can only be considered in the race if she wins this and JCGC.

Again, you missed the point completely on QR. He has opened himself to any horse willing to take him on all year long, while Zenyatta has stayed in her own division facing fillies whose talent is nowhere near her own. Again, 8.5 furlongs is not that big a cut back to her. She has run at that distance many many times during her career. I could understand if the race was against a horse like a horse like QR, meaning a ton of speed, and probably is better at 8-9 furlongs, but she was against outclassed fillies. That is not a risk.

Laz,

You pick on QR's competition, yet Zenyatta has yet to face anything better than a Grade two winner this year. To go even further she has yet to open herself to completely open competition even once. QR has, in his case, one can actually say he is not responsible for his competition, because he gave every horse in training a chance to take a shot at him and they didn't. Zenyatta has not.

24 Aug 2010 6:13 PM
Leon

Mike Relva:

Owners always do whatever they please with their horses. They don't read blogs before making a decision; they even enter races they think they have a shot to win, when everyone else thinks they don't. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong.

We write and give our opinions as fans of the sport, and in this case the Bloodhorse & Jason gives us the opportunity to do so. If they win, kudos to them. If they end up losing, I will say "I told you so". No big deal one way or another.

If you dislike or disagree with my opinion, that's fine too. Just don't read my comments.

24 Aug 2010 6:29 PM
Leon

Zookeeper;

Please don't insult my inteligence. I've never equated flying thousand of miles to vanning a couple of hundred.

I presented a very valid question, because when you put the horse first, you'd rather run fewer times for MORE money & recognition. Why you would pass on a single $750K at your home track (where you are undefeated) vs not the greatest male competition, to run your horse twice (a bigger risk), for LESS money & recognition, one of them over one the quirkiest surfaces in the US, one her trainer does not like to the point that he would not even commit to the race until very late, is questionable.

The reason: they chose the soft route. They always prefer the soft route, because the BCC is all that matters to them, and that's what I criticize. If it works for them, fine, but this is exactly what is wrong with horse racing today...Too many horsemen taking the soft route for the easiest buck.

Just my opinion.

24 Aug 2010 6:46 PM
Footlick

Livesoutwest- I never mentioned Rinterval.  I've never called St Trinians one of the great females or horses.  All I asked you to do is be fair because she she got roughed up in the Big Cap and you were trying to compare dirt and synthetic horses.  Your response to me is very telling.  

24 Aug 2010 7:20 PM
John

Folks,

Time out.

First, there are some fans of Zenyatta that are trying too hard to convince her detractors on a nunmber of issues. Sorry, but your're wasting your time.

Second, I was really surprised that Rachel Alexandra is going in the Personal Ensign. I'll better Lazmannick on this one - I think it's a 'hail mary pass' by her connections.

I really respect them doing this and it has renewed the spirits of Rachel Alexandra fans.

And these (east coast) fans, thinking that Rachel is on the rebound, wanted a confrontation with Zenyatta. Badly. In their own backyard.

But something tells me that Rachel Alexandra won't win this weekend.

I just got that feeling.

In Rachel's first race this year against Zardana, I had a similiar feeling. I also had the same feeling that Blame would win over Quality Road, and Blind Luck over Devil May Care. These are probably the only winners I've had this year.

But I think it has to do with people not seperating their emotions and opinions with facts.

I believe this race is the last desperate attempt by the connections of Rachel Alexandra to convince others she is worth the 8 million that paid for her.

I believe this attempt will fail.

24 Aug 2010 8:13 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

TradingPlaces

    I saw that also-Curlinello, a 2yo. Very intriguing, and an early start on the season. Wow. Is he one to watch. Is it just me or does there seem to be more mouth watering 2 year olds than usual at this time of year? Ran the second race 8-21 at Saratoga, seven furlongs, debut race and won. His pedigree is awesome for the Triple Crown races. Todd Pletcher trained. To be another Curlin would be asking too much, however I personally like his pedigree better than Curlin's for the Triple Crown. Hope to see him there.

24 Aug 2010 8:20 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

This blog is awesome.

24 Aug 2010 8:20 PM
Footlick

From what I read in the DRF, it sounds like Clement may be targeting the BC Mile this time.  Interesting.

24 Aug 2010 8:26 PM
Livesoutwest

Lazmannick,

If Duke Of Mischief's trainer David Fawkes "wouldn’t want to go up against Blame any time soon though and probably didn’t then", then why did he?  Was someone holding a gun to his head?  He certainly msde his feelings clear about his unwillingness to face Rachel, as did Queen Martha's conditioner Patrick Biancone.  And I like Queen Martha a lot, but she's hardly the lock to win the MP you describe when she has to take on the runaway winner of the G1 Ruffian, Malibu Prayer.

As for the field sizes running aggainst Zenyatta and running against Rachel, I see little difference.  They've both been running against average six-horse fields. Advantage: neither.  As for Zenyatta scaring or not scaring off horses outside of California, it's really hard to tell when she's run outside the state twice in the four years she's been in training.  Yeah, I do think some trainers find Rachel more intimidating because they have to run against her on the pace.  You only have to deal with Zenyatta down the stretch.  That doesn't mean I think Rachel's better as of right now.  I hate to be redundant, but let me restate my point since you apparently didn't pick up on it the first time:

"In fact, if Z was going in the PE, I would bet the farm on her."

As for Eastern horses shipping out here, I never claimed that they did well out when they ran here in past years. I just said there's little reason for them to ship out now considering the track conditions & purses. I'm talking apples and you respond with oranges.

And as for the state of the California mutts Zenyatta's been beating up on, look no further than Made For Magic, winner of the 2010 G2 Milady, a race which Zenyatta won the previous two years. 'Magic was just claimed for $62,500.

24 Aug 2010 8:38 PM
Livesoutwest

Footlick, yes that's true, you never mentioned Rinterval and I didn't mean to imply that you did.  My point is that Class is a more important factor than Surface.

And that none of the horses that Zenyatta OR Rachel Alexandra have faced so far this year, including St. Trinians, Rinterval and Unrivaled Belle would even finish in the money in any of the top Triple Crown horses races on ANY surface.  And against older?  They all would have gotten absolutely destroyed in the Stephen Foster or Whitney or Met Mile.

24 Aug 2010 8:48 PM
Aluminaut

There was a French horse named *Boitron that had three legs after a racing accident.  He was fitted with an artificial limb in the rear and stood in California for a couple years.  I believe his best runner was named Agirlfrommars.

24 Aug 2010 8:51 PM
Kay

TradingPlaces:

“You like to pick at QR's competition, well tell me who won the Islen last weekend? You may want to try and pick apart his fields, but the difference between his and Zenyatta's races thus far is that she could've entered any of the ones he has raced in, but he cannot do the same for her's. He opened himself to everyone, and has beaten every horse but one this year, while being in completely open competition. She had chances, but her connections never took them.”

The meme that Zenyatta is somehow racing in “restricted” competition needs to go away. She’s running in GI races. End of story.

“Stating that she has taken very little risk during her career, and none this season, is not hating. I respect her record, but the way she has been campaigned has left her open to questioning. Had she done even a little more last year or this year only those in complete denial could say she didn't deserve to be called great. I know she can do more and would love to see her shut up the real haters who actually do slam her.”

I love that you can call into question a mare who became the first female to win the BC Classic, and the first horse to win two different BC races. Whenever you guys say stuff like this, it just exposes you for the haters you are.

Livesoutwest:

“C'mon, you don't actually think that Ice Box and Super Saver aren't in a class with St. Trinians, do you?  She's a nice little mare but she was blown away by Misremembered & Neko Bay.  Those two nice three year-olds would also clobber her, as would all the top males.  Just because a horse finishes near Zenyatta doesn't all of a sudden elevate them to near-Zenyatta ability.  Zenyatta doesn't win her races by much, so it doesn't mean that the Rintervals and Anabaa's Creations of the world are almost as good as her.”

Conveniently forgetting the absolutely horrendous trip this small mare had in that race. Doesn’t speak so well of your handicapping if you’re ignoring trips. But yeah, I’d take St Trinians over Super Saver and Ice Box any day of the week. Let’s see one of them step up and win the Travers impressively, and then run ANOTHER good race. Then I’ll reassess. But for now… not impressed. And thanks for the lecture, BTW. Duh. I know you can’t possibly imagine how I can hold these horses in high regard, but I do. Rinterval hasn’t beaten Informed Decision or Zenyatta, but she sure ran her eyeballs out in both races.

“John Shirreffs didn't make his final decision to run Zenyatta in the Hirsch until the morning of the race.”

Actually, scuttlebutt was that it was the HOUR before the race when they finally made the decision. That track is a freaking nightmare. It is literally made of pieces of carpet. So weird.

“For that matter, have you heard any quotes from specific trainers about refusing to enter because they won't face Zenyatta, like the example I gave you of a male horse that wouldn't face Rachel?”

Ron Ellis said he hoped Zenyatta didn’t go in the Hollywood Gold Cup, because he wouldn’t run Rail Trip against her. He said it on the TeeVee, too.

“Besides, Shirreffs says he's not good at training by telephone, so by all means let's deny Zenyatta her rightful legacy since YOU don't like to travel.  You know John, she's made you a ton of money, so why don't you clear the mothballs out of your wallet and hire a top-flight assistant that you CAN trust with the rest of your barn.  Do you think Asmussen even flinches about leaving the rest of his barn with Scott Blasi, a talented horseman in his own right, when he's on the road with Rachel or his other stars?  Do you think Pletcher worries about his barn when he ships and goes on the road for a big race?  Shirreffs is in fact a talented and knowledgeable trainer to be fair.  But as a manager of a stable, he is strictly amateur night compared to those guys.”

Wow. Talk about apples and oranges! Both Pletcher and Asmussen have nation-wide operations. John Shirreffs doesn’t. That’s an absolutely ridiculous statement. They are SET UP to travel. Stop bashing Shirreffs for doing his JOB.

24 Aug 2010 8:57 PM
Kay

Leon:

“The reason: they chose the soft route. They always prefer the soft route, because the BCC is all that matters to them, and that's what I criticize. If it works for them, fine, but this is exactly what is wrong with horse racing today...Too many horsemen taking the soft route for the easiest buck.”

They “always” prefer the soft route. Winning the BC Classic is the “soft route.” Okay. Now the REAL discussion is a global one, where we talk about how horses have gone from running every few weeks, to running once a month, to running every two months, to running every three months. It seems that only Zenyatta flourishes with that kind of a schedule (in that she runs her race every time and doesn’t wind up injured). But this doesn’t seem to be doing the others any favors.

Laz:

“I have always been a Zen fan, first and foremost, but excluding Rachel’s connections, I think she is a peach and all kidding aside, I felt really bad for her after the demanding stretch battle with Macho Again and the affect it had on her, the reports of her shaking after the race, and laying down in her stall for long periods of time, etc.  And why was she basically confined to her stall during her time off and not sent to a farm for a couple months?  Were they trying to hide something or was she just too rung out to even consider that?”

I was thrilled that she’d won, but horrified at how she had to win. She looked desperate and terrified. I didn’t know about the after-effects but it was certainly obvious that something was up with her. I know they take good care of her physically but I do worry about her mentally. I doubt she was physically hurt, though. But although she got a physical break, it doesn’t sound like she got a mental one. She’s certainly run better in her last two but she hasn’t really had to look another horse in the eye. Zardana and Unrivaled Belle were both still running down the lane. If Life At Ten runs her race (and is a better horse than I think she is), then Rachel needs to look her in the eye and pass her. That’s the true test for me.

“Another fact I didn’t mention about LAT or even Rachel running in either the JCGC and the BCC.  Remember, both these races are at 1 1/4M on dirt and I have to apply what I call the PRINCESSNESIAN FACTOR (which I have posted several times in the past).  EXCLUDING TURF RACES, since Princessnesian in the 1968 Hollywood Gold Cup, no filly or mare has defeated older G1 males at 1 1-/4M on dirt in a race open to three year olds and up.  Zen did it last year in the BCC, but for purists that was on synthetics.”

I just love this. Very interesting data!!

“To me a grade one race is a grade one race.  That’s correct, but put it this way.  To the Graded Stakes Committee, which determines what graded status to apply to stakes races, a grade one race is a grade one race.  History has shown that the committee is not adverse to downgrading a graded race’s status based on the quality or class of the competitors.  To many, Zen has been racing in these so called cream puff G1 races for three years now.  And yet, none of them have been downgraded.”

Not only that, but the first year Zenyatta won the Hirsch it was a G2. So that race was actually upgraded.

“My name isn't Gun Bow.....Its's Lazman.  I think you got us mixed up.”

Argh! Sorry about that. You’re just both so sensible and interesting that it’s easy to mix you up (g).

24 Aug 2010 8:58 PM
LAZMANNICK

TradingPlaces

Other than Blame, tell me what superstars Quality Road has faced IN HIS ENTIRE CAREER.  This year he has faced exactly ONE GRADE ONE winner before he ran in the Whitney.  WARRIOR’S REWARD was a nose winner over Musket man in the 7 Furlong Carter Stakes.  Last year it was SUMMER BIRD (twice) – both losses, CAPTAIN CANDYMANCAN (disqualified winner of the King’s Bishop) 7 Furlongs and Macho Again.

Now let’s see.  Going into the Whitney in 10 career races he had faced exactly FOUR GRADE ONE winners (one of them twice) and had defeated two of them and finished ahead of two others.  Counting the Whitney he faced two more in Blame and Mine That Bird.  That makes a total of SIX GRADE ONE winners he has faced in his career, actually defeating two of them and finishing ahead of two more, and was defeated by two of them, Blame and Summer Bird twice.  Of all the Grade one winners, only Summer Bird won multiple G1 races.

Why shouldn’t I question the quality of his competition?  In actual fact, he has only finished ahead of two G1 route winners in his career and they were MTB and Macho Again, both definitely not at their best.  The others he defeated were distance challenged sprinters, Warrior’s Reward and Captain Candymancan.  The toughies…….Summer Bird and Blame defeated him.

But of course…….he ran in open races.  It’s not his fault if no one wanted to challenge him.  Correct, but that works for others as well.  Where were Zen’s challengers?

There is no need for the connections of Zenyatta to make excuse for the races she has been in.  They chose to race in California, that’s okay.  The races she competes in are OPEN TO ANY FILLY OR MARE on the continent.  If the eastern horses don’t want to go west, that’s their prerogative, but they have always been welcome.  The celebrated showdown with Rachel didn’t materialize through no fault of Zen’s.  She stayed and raced.  But I didn’t see any of the other top eastern or Midwestern stars enter the race, a G1 at a fair distance and on a dirt track and with a big purse.

Two things many want to hold against Zen……this year not racing against males and note racing against males at 1 1-/4M as in the HGC, Pacific Classic or the JCGC.    Answer me this.  Other than in California, how many fillies or mare have tried males in G1 or even G2 route races ON DIRT or non turf anywhere in N/A this year and if you really want to get picky, how many have tried it at 1 1/4M?  I know of at least one that did in California in St. Trinians.  Go one step further and ask how come Rachel is going in the PE instead of defending her title in the Woodward?  The answer is simple.   For a filly or mare it’s really hard.  If she wins the PE what do you think will be next, the JCGC or the Beldame?  The only time I recommend trying males for any of them if they have their eye on the Classic is in the Classic itself.  That goes for Zenyatta.  She has defeated more G1 winners when she was four than Quality Road has faced in his life.  Total up the number of G1 winners, winners of Classic races, Eclipse award winners she has faced in her career, and then question her competition.  She intends on showing up for the BCC.  I don’t see why you keep on doubting her, but then that’s your prerogative.

24 Aug 2010 9:00 PM
LAZMANNICK

Leon

In talking about the HGC, I surmise that you thought that Zen should have run in it.  You stated against not the greatest male competition.  The race included Rail Trip.  Did youo feel he was soft competition before the HGC, or after?

24 Aug 2010 9:04 PM
LAZMANNICK

Kay

Thanks.  You're a peach by the way and I always read your posts and particularly love the way you get your point across.

Another answer to Livesoutwest's comments about Asmussen not flinching when leaving his stable with Scott Blasi.  I know for a fact he didn't flinch a couple of years ago when he was forced to sit out for a lengthly period of time.  In fact, he didn't have a choice.

24 Aug 2010 9:27 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Kay

  My feeling especially after seeing Rachel run her first few races this year is that she never ever again wants to feel like she did during and after the Woodward. What is going to happen when she gets in a situation like that again when she has to put forth that kind of effort again to win will be interesting. That is why she was looking to her right in her first few races this year. It was an "oh no" look. Her races prior to The Woodward she was able to win on talent, and that race shocked and frightened her. She still loves to run, that is apparent but can she put forth that kind of effort again? I want to make it clear that this is my opinion, not based on any inside knowledge or anything I've read, so I don't know if I'm off base or not.

24 Aug 2010 9:50 PM
jayjay

TradingPlaces : You missed MY point why Zenyatta has to run against male when the target is the BCC.  Just like QR, Zen opened herself to any competitors that wants to race with her.  I know someone actually thought I was talking about the males but I wasn't, I'm talking about her division, it's stupid to think that I would include the males in the races that Zenyatta goes in.

If QR is that good, why did he run in the Met Mile instead of the Foster ?  They already know that Blame was going to run in the Foster and they ducked him.  The Whitney shows they made a good decision then.  He wasn't opening himself up to competition, he was being placed in races earlier in the year where he can dominate.  It's called padding the record throughout the year, ensuring wins.  They took the easy path to the major races towards the end of the year and in the end, it bit them back.  The Woodward will come up weak again because Blame is running in the JCGC.  If he's after the best, why not run in the JCGC and avenge his loss to Blame ?  Everyone claimed he was "only" beaten by a head in the Whitney, why choose the Woodward ?  Let me tell you, they're ducking Blame and it's a shorter race.  Two losses to Blame would have ended their run for the HOTY and I don't think they want to be reminded of loosing to the same horse twice in consecutive races, just like last year.  He needs to run in the Classic distance, you can't keep prepping at 9F when your target is a 10F race.  Again, he is ducking Blame.  PLEASE explain that :)

LAZ / KAY : Once again, you both told 'em! hehe.  Thanks for speaking the truth and the FACTS, which a lot of the Zen naysayers keeps ignoring.  There are pretenders, like LOW that criticizes everything that has to do with Zenyatta but then have their pinky on the Zen wagon (with their little compliments on the side) so that when she wins the Classic, they can say I never let go of her wagon, I was a fan all along! LOL  What a joke.

24 Aug 2010 10:02 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

Two long months till the Breeders' Cup. The suspense is already killing me!

Kay, Lazman & Gun Bow - I really appreciate how you see the whole picture of racing and are eager to defend not just CA horses but any deserving horses. Sadly, your relevant facts and logic seem to be lost on quite a few people here. Thankfully the horses continue to run so that the haters can eat crow... and they seem to a lot. Apparently crow is quite tasty compared to the venom they spew.

24 Aug 2010 10:05 PM
jayjay

LOW :

"  And as for the state of the California mutts Zenyatta's been beating up on, look no further than Made For Magic, winner of the 2010 G2 Milady, a race which Zenyatta won the previous two years. 'Magic was just claimed for $62,500. "

The TOUGH field that QR beat in the Donn this year included 3rd place finisher Delightful Kiss, who ran at GG Fields in the Berkeley Handicap and couldn't even get the show money.

24 Aug 2010 10:37 PM
Jason Shandler

Jayjay: Dont you get tired of saying the same thing over and over and over again? And over. And over.

24 Aug 2010 10:49 PM
Mike Relva

JASON

Funny you should ask JayJay,it's kinda like the same thing over and over regarding Zenyatta and Saratoga.

24 Aug 2010 10:56 PM
Jason Shandler

Mike: Funny you should say that to me. Seems to me that I write articles and blogs about different horses every day.

24 Aug 2010 10:59 PM
Livesoutwest

Hey Jay Jay,

Since you're such a true Zenyatta fan, obviously much truer than me since you're willing to swallow any line her camp puts out, sort of like a horseracing Rush Limbaugh fan, I'm just curious.  How many times have you actually seen her?  Were you there for the Classic?

24 Aug 2010 11:02 PM
Livesoutwest

And also JJ, were you there for Z's retirement party at Hollywood Park?

24 Aug 2010 11:10 PM
Mike Relva

LIVESOUTWEST

Seen her two yrs ago in A.Blossom.

You what, at least JayJay has loyality unlike many so called racing fans. There is a difference.

24 Aug 2010 11:15 PM
Mike Relva

JASON

Yes,I'm aware that you write about other topics. Guess I'm preparing for probably having to hear about Zenyatta and Saratoga even if she wins the Classic.

24 Aug 2010 11:29 PM
Leon

Laz,

To answer your question, St. Trinians faced older horses in the Big Cap, and Devil May Care faced the boys in the KD; very nice fillies, but they're no Zenyatta, and they were not favored in their respective races.

If they did, why couldn't team Zen try the HGC? There was no shipping, vanning or skateboarding involved, it was far more money than the Vanity & Hirsch, and a lesser risk because it was one race instead of two, at a more suitable distance and at a track where she is undefeated. She would have even had more time between races.

Rail Trip is a very good horse, and and so is Awesome Gem. They're not world-beaters, but they would have been much better competition than Rinterval or St. Trinians.

In terms of a betting proposition, I'm almost certain Zenyatta would not have been 1-9 in the HGC, although I think she probably would have won as the odds-on favorite.

Kay:

The Breeders Cup Classic is not the soft route, nor have I suggested it; but if she had defeated Richard's Kid, Gitano Hernando or Rail Trip (all very good horses but no champs) BEFORE the BCC in the Goodwood, the Pacific Classic or the HGC, she would have nailed the 2009 HOTY award, no questions asked.

Their mistake is putting all of their eggs in the BC basket every year, and they have been penalized for that two years in a row, especially when you have had aggressively-campaigned horses such as Curlin & Rachel. I just can't believe they are doing it again in 2010.

I'm not bashing her; I think she's one of the all-time best. I'm frustrated by the fact that knowing how awesome she is, for three years they have settled for  the same challenge-less races, because they are the most conservative connections I have ever seen in horse racing. No males (even at home), no turf, no Dubai, no shipping, no new challenges. That's like having won 10 allowance races with a top 3 year old, and not trying the TC route.

I don't like RA's campaign in 2010 either, but it has been well documented that she was not on top of her game; she basically has almost no shot for HOTY. However, JJ entered her at a distance she's never tried (10F) in a G1 such as the Personal Ensign vs Life at Ten & Unrivaled Belle, GS winners and NO soft spot, he will decide whether to face boys later if she shows she's definitely back. I really appreciate that.

24 Aug 2010 11:32 PM
Zookeeper

Leon,

If I have insulted your intelligence, I apologize. I know that you are aware of the difference between Del Mar and New York. I was just making fun of part of the comment you posted on 23 Aug 2010 7:09 AM:

"If that shipping excuse is true, why was Zenyatta shipped to Del Mar..." It sounded like you considered Del Mar's distance equal to New York's. My poor attempt at humor obviously missed the result intended. I should have added a "smiley face" after my zinger, that way you would have known that I was teasing you.

As to the rest of your comments, I agree that we couldn't disagree more.  :)

24 Aug 2010 11:37 PM
John

Jason,

Sorry, but Mike is right.

I blogged once that Zenyatta is a much superior horse than either Blame or Quality Road with facts to back it up.

You came back with a proposed $500 bet on the Classic with Zenyatta versus both Blame and Quality Road.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

At least Jayjay can back up what he says.

24 Aug 2010 11:44 PM
Footlick

Leon- I'm sure I'll draw the ire of people but with the exception of Life at Ten, it's a pretty soft spot.

24 Aug 2010 11:56 PM
Livesoutwest

Aw c'mon Mike, this isn't like baseball or basketball where there's only 30 teams and if you like the Lakers, you have to hate the Bulls.  There are thousands of horses in training and you can be loyal to more than one of them.

But speaking of the Bulls, look at how they were managed.  Remember GM Jerry Krause?  And his famous statement that "players don't win championships, organizations win championships"  And his words to coach Phil Jackson at the start of the season "I don't give a damn if you go 82-0, at the end of the season it's over."  And it was over.  Jackson's contract wasn't renewed. Jordan retired in protest of that.  Pippen left as a free agent.

Do you think Bulls fans at that point should have said, "Bulls management is SO great. They're absolutely right, we don't need to compete for more championships right now.  We just won three, let's not be greedy and let's give other teams a chance to win.  Jerry Moss, er, Krause is  absolutely right to rebuild the team with a bunch of scrubs and some college coach who never coached a day in the league."

And I say Zenyatta's organization is doing everything it can to preserve their stupid unbeaten streak at the cost of championships.  They blew the last two, both of which they easily could have had, and now they're counting on winning a single race and if Zenyatta loses it, they've blown a third one, there's no margin for error.

And some of you guys question how I can possibly be loyal to Zenyatta if I dare to (gasp) criticize her management?  All I've got to say to you is, "remember the Bulls."

25 Aug 2010 12:02 AM
TradingPlaces

Jayjay,

It was annouced after the Donn, before Blame's connections had even thought of the Stephan Foster that, QR was annouced to be heading to the Met Mile, so no he did not duck him. You ask why the Met, well for starters it is the more prestigious race and it is a mile compared to 9 furlongs coming off a lengthy layoff.

25 Aug 2010 12:08 AM
TradingPlaces

Laz,

How many Grade one winners has Zenyatta faced all year? How is it ok for Zenyatta to be considered in the top when she has not faced one single grade one winner all year, but it is not ok for QR? He was put out there for any horse, male or female, and they did not show. Zenyatta has opened herself to females only. The double standard you are using is quite clear. If Zenyatta is queen for having yet to face a Grade one winner this year, then Blame and QR, must be considered over her, if beating Grade one winners this year is the tool you are using.

25 Aug 2010 12:14 AM
John

Leon,

Please.

The last NTRA rankings of 2009 HAD Zenyatta ahead 10-9 in first place votes, and 181-176 points overall.

The World Thoroughbred Rankings HAD Zenyatta ahead of Rachel Alexandra, 128-127.

Every poll from the Daily Racing Form to Bloodhorse to the Thorougbred Times to ESPN to the all the polls in Europe HAD Zenyatta as the winner of the HOY.

But, NOOOOO. She lost because of east coast media bias.

It didn't matter what she (Zenyatta) would of done. The east coast media was set on Rachel Alexandra as the HOY.

25 Aug 2010 12:14 AM
TradingPlaces

Kay,

Grade one races against who? Laz, and Jayjay love to point out that QR hasn't faced more than 2 grade one winners this year, that is two more than Zenyatta has face and yet she is worshipped while he is slammed.

I also love that you can call into question a colt that has set three track records, one this year, is tied for the second fastest time in the history of the Met Mile, and has face two more grade one winners than Zenyatta has this year.

I again love that you and others can call out a filly who won the Oaks, Preakness, Mother Goose, Haskell, and Woodward. All of which had either winners of grade stakes or grade one stakes that year.

25 Aug 2010 12:20 AM
LAZMANNICK

Leon

I just looked up St. Trinians.  She was actually the 3-1 favorite in the Big Cap.  She made a nice move coming from 12 lengths back to get to within 5 lengths back, went 6 wide into the stretch and actually lost a couple of lengths coming home.  I think she’s a good filly though.  However, when talking about fillies or mares against G1 or G2 males, I actually meant older horses, not 3 yo's against 3 yo's.  It’s pretty tough in route races.  The only reason I think Zen opted out of the HGC was just the fact that it was against males and they want to wait until the BCC before going there.  Older males are tough for females.  Who would have been favored if Zen would have ran in the HGC?  It’s a tough call.  Rail Trip was getting almost the same kind of reviews that QR was back then.  Zen might have been favored, but I doubt if she would have less than even money and Rail Trip might have been 2-1 or less.   Once again, just my opinion.

I read your comments about not liking Rachel's campaign.  It's not all that ambitious, but I think that maybe they are taking the right track.  Bring her along slowly and let her gain her confidence and maybe actually like racing again.  Another tough call.  She’s got to produce this weekend though.   Have a good one.

25 Aug 2010 12:35 AM
jayjay

LOW : Nope, never have but I will in October, her last race in California.  I'm not from Southern California.  I have a 4 yr old girl and I do work. How many times have you seen  QR or Rachel in person ?

It's not swallowing any line they put out.  They at least are honest as to what they want to do with Zen.  You on the other hand, just like to criticize her.  Do you even bet at all?  Or do you like to whine about great horses who you don't like ?  You really think I believe that you're a fan of Zenyatta ?  

25 Aug 2010 12:53 AM
John

Leon,

..."JJ entered her at a distance she's never tried (10F) in a G1 such as the Personal Ensign vs Life At Ten and Unrivaled Belle..."

Unrivaled Belle?

Leon, this horse looks like a very good horse running everywhere EXCEPT California.

She has finished either first or second in her last eight races from Florida to New York to Kentucky.

Except California.

In California she was off the board in the Grade 2 La Canada.

Also, your sentence speaks volumes of the competition that Rachel Alexandra faced in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and the Grade 1 Mother Goose last year.

Add that to Rachel Alexandra's win in the ungraded Martha Washington, her wins in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks and Fantasy, then her wins against just one Grade 1 winner in the Haskell, only 3 Grade 1 winners in the Woodword, and then just 4 Grade 1 winners in the Preakness and you come to the conclusion that Zenyatta REALLY should have been the HOY.

25 Aug 2010 12:53 AM
Leon

Kay & Laz,

A G1 vs fillies & mares does not carry the same weight as a G1 vs colts & older.

Let's assume for the sake of the argument that for some unexpected reason, neither Zenyatta nor Blame run in the BCC, and a long shot such as Ice Box (he'd be like 30-1) wins it.

If they have more or less the same number of wins in G1's, the HOTY will go to Blame, because winning the Santa Margarita, Vanity, Hirsch & Apple Blossom does not carry the same weight as the Stephen Foster, the Whitney, the Woodward & JCGC.

25 Aug 2010 9:14 AM
Livesoutwest

Some posters here are dissing Eastern trainers for not shipping to California to challenge in races like the Clement L Hirsch or the Pacific Classic.  Hell, Del Mar's not going to be able to keep the top barns they have now:

Del Mar officials have been adamant about not removing Polytrack and returning to dirt. Baffert doesn't see them changing their minds.

"They always say they’re not going to do it, but if they don’t do it, they'll see the quality of the racing continue to decline here," he said. "Right now, this track is different every day. I thought it was better last year than this year. But I quit complaining about it. I’m just going to do my own thing, and I’m probably going to go somewhere else next year. That’s the way I feel about it. A lot of my clients, they don’t want to come back."

Baffert wasn't sure to which track he would go next summer.

"I’ll go back East," he said.

25 Aug 2010 9:20 AM
Jason Shandler

That is correct John. The offer is still on the table. Two people have taken me up on it so far. Are you going to step up to the plate?

25 Aug 2010 9:41 AM
Jason Shandler

I couldnt agree more Livesouthwest. Why is horse racing the only sport where we HAVE TO root for everyone? Why isnt it ok for us to take one side and not the other? If youre a Lakers fan, you dont like your rivals. If youre a Yankees fans, you hate the Red Sox. And so on...

Zenyatta people get so bent out of shape if we dont root for her. Get over it people. It doesnt make us bad people if we dont root for her. Horse racing is based on gambling. If I pick MY horse, I hope YOUR horse loses. Got it?

25 Aug 2010 9:45 AM
Leon

Footlick: If Life at Ten wins the PE, Beldame & Distaff, and Zenyatta ends not running or  losing the BCC, LAT has a very good chance of winning the top older female award.    

What was your comment for the Whitney & Alabama? "With the exception of Blame, it is a soft spot for Quality Road?..."With the exception of Devil May Care, it is a soft spot for Blind Luck?

C'mon, man...  

25 Aug 2010 9:55 AM
John

Jason,

My point is that you didn't back up your claim that Blame is a better horse than Zenyatta with facts.

Just facts. Nothing more.

Money is money. People are willing to bet on anything. Just look at Las Vegas.

And, no, I work too hard for my money.

25 Aug 2010 10:11 AM
LAZMANNICK

Leon

I agree with your classifying G1's for males as different than G1's for females, but only to a point.  Unfortunately, many fans and the many in the media feel the same way too.  Realistically though, a male is a male and a female is a female.  For a males, winning  a G1 against males is no tougher than a female winning a G1 against females.  It would probably take as much guts, determination and power in relation to gender for the female to accomplish this feat as it would a male.  But for a female to crossover against males is much more difficult and should, IMO be seriously taken into consideration in HOY voting.

Regarding the number of G1 wins in relationship to the HOY winner.  My feeling is that based on this year’s results for the top five candidates (excluding Rail Trip who still might jump up), it would be virtually impossible for any of them to win HOY without a victory in the Classic.  However, if another horse, other than one of them wins the Classic, then it is a crap shoot.  If all the candidates win their next races leading up to the Classic personally I would vote for Blame.  Pretty well the same scenario for QR and LAL.  I think that both Rachel and Zen would have to win out plus win the Classic.

25 Aug 2010 10:21 AM
LAZMANNICK

Leon

"Footlick: If Life at Ten wins the PE, Beldame & Distaff, and Zenyatta ends not running or  losing the BCC, LAT has a very good chance of winning the top older female award."

Absolutely.... She would have accomplished much more than Zen.  The BC Distaff alone carries a lot of weight this year.  Even if Zen should win her next, that would be 5 G1 wins, with no Classic.  LAT, with two more G1 wins plus the Classic would finish with 4 G1 wins, but would have won the toughest distaff race all year.   I would vote for her.

25 Aug 2010 10:28 AM
Jason Shandler

What are you talking about John? There are no "facts" when youre giving your opinion on who you think is better. The horses have never met on the track so how can we say who is better? I think Blame and Quality Road are better racehorses. You think Zenyatta is. They are opinions. Now, if you have a strong enough opinion, you place a wager on it. It's called betting, or gambling. That's how it works. All of the other stuff is just talk. Back up your talk.

I said Blame was better than Zenyatta before he won the Whitney. Some of you called me crazy. How can you say a horse is better and he doesnt even have a G1 win? Now he has a G1 win. I obviously saw something in him I liked. And he had an ambitious campaign in which the connections havent ducked anyone.

25 Aug 2010 10:29 AM
Footlick

Leon- Again, I didn't make any comment about the Whitney or Alabama.  Do you want my opinion on those fields or do you just want to put words in my mouth.  Both those fields were superior to the PE.  Rachel Alexandra has one strong opponent.  Life at Ten.  If you want to say the field is strong- go ahead.  You said it is no soft spot.  I said with the exception of Life at Ten it is a soft spot.  Maybe Shugs horse will jump up and suddenly become a Gr1 winner.  Stranger things have happened and fitting since he trained PE.  But it is not a strong "field" and that is what I said.  If you can't see that, then you can't.  C'mon man.....

25 Aug 2010 10:35 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

The boss of the  white coat guys out at the funny farm: "Here we go again, out to Jason's Blog. Some guy was saying that Super Saver and Ice Box are better than The Great Queen Zenyatta."   The Big Guy: "Hey boss, do you think Jason will give us some ice cream again?"   Boss: "I doubt it, unless we pick up the guy that said Rachel and Quality Road are toast in The Classic, then he'll probably buy us  steak dinners."   The Little Guy: "Then let's get that guy !!!! Who cares about Zenyatta !!"  Boss: "Well, if we go all the way out there, we're going to have to pick up someone to justify the trip. We may as well get a steak dinner out of it."

25 Aug 2010 10:38 AM
LAZMANNICK

TradingPlaces

What are you trying to say…..that QR is a super horse?  Hey, if you think that beating up on a limited number of lower end G1 horses this year, being 2 to 5 morning line favorite in his toughest race this year and then losing that race, qualifies him as being a super horse, then I guess Quality Road is a super horse.

With regards to Rachel, first of all I’ve pointed out a few things about her but I haven’t slammed her lately.  In fact, I’ve been in her corner and trying to rationalize her campaign so I don’t know why you are so upset about that.  But if you think I’m still picking on Rachel, then I guess I’m still picking on Rachel, even though I don’t think I am.

Just one thing regarding Zenyatta and G1 competition.  We heard basically the same argument last year and yet she ran in a race with the winners of over 40 G1 and Group One victories and what happened?  And in that race she was the favorite, so knowledgeable people were betting that she would come through.  So I wouldn’t try to put too much emphasis on her competition this year.  QR has face exactly two tough G1 horses in three different races and lost each one.  If and when he ever does win against that type I’ll be first in line to give him credit.  Do you think you would give Zen credit is she wins the BCC this year or will you join the group and pull out the book of excuses or maybe even the book of slams?

25 Aug 2010 10:45 AM
Zookeeper

Jason,

For most of us, on this side of the argument, horseracing is NOTHING like other sports. We feel that betting against a horse doesn't mean we HAVE to hate it. I know that you like Gio Ponti very much, yet you bet against him in the Million. If he had won and you lost your bet, would you have booed him? Did you not praise Debussy's turn of foot although your money wasn't on him?

Betting is the ENGINE of our sport, but the HEART of it is our love, admiration and appreciation of the horses.

That's the way I see it and so do many others. In spite of what is said on here, I don't think we're all that far away from each other.  

25 Aug 2010 10:50 AM
Jason Shandler

I never came close to using the word hate Zookeeper. I dont have to root for every horse though. I can admire what she has done, but I am also objective, which very few of her fans are.

25 Aug 2010 11:00 AM
Zookeeper

Jason,

You did: "If you're a Yankees fan, you hate the Red Sox". My point was continuing your baseball analogy. Granted, you don't have to root for everybody but unlike in baseball, horseracing fans don't automatically hate the other team (as you imply in your comment). I did not say that you used the word "hate" in regard to horses.

25 Aug 2010 11:40 AM
Jason Shandler

No, I said, "If YOU like the Yankesss, YOU hate the Red Sox." Meaning sports fans in general. Thatt's how sports work in big rivalries. I am not a Yankees or a Red Sox fans. I never implied that I hate. Clear now?

25 Aug 2010 11:45 AM
John

Thanks Jason.

You just answered my question.

It's YOUR opinion.

Jason, many on this blog back up their beliefs with facts.

And Jason, with facts people  determine the Eclipse Award winners, Horse of the Year, and such. Unfortunately, opinion may have played a part in last year's awards.

Facts are what seperate this site with a lot of other sites where opinions dominate.

And speaking of this site - the last time I checked it wasn't Xpressbet or Betfair...

25 Aug 2010 11:57 AM
Footlick

Livesoutwest- Del Mar's surface is a mess.  I don't blame any trainer for not running there.

25 Aug 2010 12:07 PM
Zookeeper

Good grief Jason! I understand what you are saying, why can't you understand what I'm saying? Is it my french accent? lol!

I know that YOU, JASON do not hate. Both of US were referring to fans in general and my point was that horseracing is NOT like other sports and that its fans (usually) feel differently than fans of other sports. I wasn't talking about YOU PERSONALLY.

For the record, it was clear even before your last comment.  :)

25 Aug 2010 12:11 PM
Jason Shandler

Here's a fact John: Zenyatta won't come to New York to face the two top rated males and the top rated filly in the country. Dance around that one.

25 Aug 2010 12:13 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I have to admit that I said many times that "I hate the Yankees." I've never said I hate a horse. I suspect that Jason has said he hates a certain sports team but I doubt if he's ever said that he's hated a horse. He's entitled to his opinion and to root for whoever he wants to. Even if he says that Blame is better than Zenyatta, I don't have a problem with it even though I am a giant Zenyatta fan and think she's the best. I do have some difficulty understanding why someone wouldn't appreciate Zenyatta's amazing achievements. But that's their business, I just think they are missing out on one of the greatest experiences in sport and racing history with Zenyatta's streak and how she does it. I kind of feel sorry for people that aren't Zenyatta fans actually, but if you're a Blame fan you're going to get the same feeling when he roars from behind for the victory. Closers are exciting unless you're buying a car.

25 Aug 2010 12:21 PM
Leon

Thank you for understanding the points I' m trying to make, Laz.

What are your picks for the big races this weekend?

25 Aug 2010 12:46 PM
ruffianruns

Footlick - No, I didn't see Sariska's jockey - I haven't seen the race yet.

Laz - About the Princessnesian Factor:  The first horse I thought about to challenge you was Shuvee who won back-to-back runnings of the JCGC in '70 and '71.  But those races were run at two miles.  It's really amazing that at a mile and a quarter (on dirt), it's such a rare feat for fillies/mares to take on older males.

John - There really are very little "facts" in either direction.  There are interpretations of facts.  For example, the competition from G1 to G1 differs and people, operating from their bias, will see that competition as better or worse than others.

I think Jason, Livesoutwest, Leon, etc. have some good arguments and I think Kay, Laz, JayJay, etc. have some good arguments.  And I think you all should enter the Classic because it's obvious that you have the stamina to get a mile and a quarter.

And I hate the Cowboys and the Yankees and the Lakers and that woman who put that cat in the trashcan that wasn't found for 15 hours.  I can't ever remember hating any four-legged animal, but I LOVE some more than others!

And Jason just said that he admires what Zenyatta has done.  I hope that admiration continues when he's paying off all his BCC bets!

25 Aug 2010 1:01 PM
Zookeeper

I think I know where I made my mistake: it's when I used Jason as an EXAMPLE of how horseracing fans feel and behave DIFFERENTLY than fans of other sports. Somehow, the intent of my comment was twisted beyond recognition. Poor me! I'm soooo misunderstood! Sniff, sniff!

Now, I'm giving up on that and joining the new blog which already has its own share of utter misunderstandings. LOL!

25 Aug 2010 1:16 PM
sodapopkid

Who is the top rated filly in the NY you are referring to Jason?

I know you are not referring to RA?

If so,  I would like to know where she would stand in 2010 as being considered 'top rated'?   If it is Rachel you are referring to,  then I need to pinch myself and wake up from the last 8 months of sleeping.

Apparently,  You and I have been on two different planets.

25 Aug 2010 1:19 PM
Jason Shandler

S-A-R-A-T-O-G-A. That is where racing matters in the summer. Show up Zenyatta or there are no excuses. Period.

Sodapop: The fact that youve been sleeping for the past 8 months explains a lot. Now I understand.

25 Aug 2010 1:28 PM
ruffianruns

Dr D - I think closers are super exciting to watch and Zenyatta especially is super exciting.  I also think front runners are exciting cause you're sitting there wondering if they're gonna be able to hold on.  Presious Passion is one of those front runners that stops my breathing.  Last year's BC Turf was amazing and one of the best losing performances I've ever seen.  Hell, even the stalking strategy builds up the suspense.  I don't see how people can't fall in love with this sport.  I get chills just thinking about some of the exciting races I've seen.

25 Aug 2010 1:36 PM
Livesoutwest

This is Zenyatta's 4th year in training.  For the devoted fan you claim to be, Jay Jay, it's about time you got around to actually seeing her. "Planes fly both ways", ya know, LOL!  Kind of surprised you aren't just waiting for the BC after all this time.

Well, I saw QR kicking his heels up in the starting gate last year, LOL!  No, I've never seen Rachel in person, and I feel bad about that.  But heck, I've got to work to, you know.  My only chance will probably be if they bring her back one more year.

But then I don't claim to be as devoted a fan of Rachel as you claim to be of Zenyatta.  I guess if the criteria to measure how big a fan you are is if you're devoted to one horse to the exclusion of  others, and if your attitude toward her management is that to love the horse, you've got to love the connections, that would make you a bigger fan of Z then me.  I just don't agree with you.

But I've been rooting for Zenyatta since the Ladies Classic two years ago. I became a Rachel Alexandra fan after the Kentucky Oaks and have been ever since.  I'm disappointed that they've never met because I think championships should be decided on the track.  I blame Zenyatta's camp more for that last year, while I hold Rachel's camp more resposible this year.  I think they owe California a race and would love to see them shock the world and send her out to face Z in the Zenyatta Stakes.  Problem is, if their goal is the Classic & not the Ladies Classic, cutting back to 1 1/16 before the BC makes little sense.  I don't think it makes sense for Zenyatta either, but you already know my opinion about how she's being managed.

This year I added a third horse i'm rooting for, Sidney's Candy.  I think he's just dynamite, and after the PA Derby, I'm rooting for him to go in the BC Mile and knock the socks off Goldikova.  He's that rare animal capable of being a top G1 winner on dirt or turf.  He probably won't be 3YO of the year because he's not ready to go 1 1/4 just like Rachel wasn't ready last year, but next year I expect him to show Lookin At Lucky who's boss.

25 Aug 2010 1:44 PM
John

No, Zenyatta won't go to New York.

But her connections say she will go to Churchill Downs to meet them there.

Here's another fact - she raced in the Classic last year. The three horses you are talking about didn't.

PS - ruffianruns - we all make intrepretations as long it is based on facts. Other than that I could be of the opinion that Musket Man is a greater racehorse than Secretariat.

It holds no water if you can't back it up with facts.

25 Aug 2010 1:46 PM
Kay

Dr. Drunkinbum:

“  My feeling especially after seeing Rachel run her first few races this year is that she never ever again wants to feel like she did during and after the Woodward. What is going to happen when she gets in a situation like that again when she has to put forth that kind of effort again to win will be interesting. That is why she was looking to her right in her first few races this year. It was an "oh no" look.”

Interesting observation. She sure didn’t look happy when she was challenged by Zardana and Unrivaled Belle. So I really hope she and Life At Ten look each other in the eye. I don’t think they’ll be able to tell if she’s fully back mentally unless she can put a horse away who’s a real challenge to her.

Funny Corgi:

Thanks. Why do we all keep trying? Dunno. I guess I just like rearranging the same words into different patterns.

Leon:

“If they did, why couldn't team Zen try the HGC? There was no shipping, vanning or skateboarding involved, it was far more money than the Vanity & Hirsch, and a lesser risk because it was one race instead of two, at a more suitable distance and at a track where she is undefeated. She would have even had more time between races.”

Simple. Although this is REASON, so you may not like it. Zenyatta got very dehydrated and lost a lot of weight coming back from Oaklawn. Now unlike my beloved Jess Jackson, the Zenyatta folks are averse to press releases so they weren’t blathering about how much weight she’d lost and all that. But they couldn’t do much with her. She REALLY needed the Vanity, as anyone could see, and she was light before that race, too. So what YOU’RE suggesting is that she go into the Gold Cup, at 10F, against males, while needing a race? That’s insane. Timing is SO important for these horses, and it was clear for the Hirsch that Zenyatta was back to the right weight, that she was physically right again. So what YOU’RE suggesting is substituting one race for two. And then she would go, what, four months before prepping for the BC? That just doesn’t make any sense.

“Their mistake is putting all of their eggs in the BC basket every year, and they have been penalized for that two years in a row, especially when you have had aggressively-campaigned horses such as Curlin & Rachel. I just can't believe they are doing it again in 2010.”

You’re making a mighty big assumption here – that the most important thing to the Mosses is winning HOTY. I strongly and heartily disagree with that. Do they want it? Sure. Do they think Zenyatta deserves it? Absolutely. Would they trade a HOTY trophy for a happy, healthy horse? Nope. I don’t think you get what THEIR stake in Zenyatta IS. HOTY would be a nice garnish to a wonderful career. Sorry if you think that Zenyatta winning all these races is beneath her or something, but they don’t. It’s a different goal.

“I don't like RA's campaign in 2010 either, but it has been well documented that she was not on top of her game; she basically has almost no shot for HOTY. However, JJ entered her at a distance she's never tried (10F) in a G1 such as the Personal Ensign vs Life at Ten & Unrivaled Belle, GS winners and NO soft spot, he will decide whether to face boys later if she shows she's definitely back. I really appreciate that.”

Oh, OKAY. So go ahead and make all the excuses you want for Rachel, and then turn around and bash Zenyatta. Got it.

TradingPlaces:

“Grade one races against who? Laz, and Jayjay love to point out that QR hasn't faced more than 2 grade one winners this year, that is two more than Zenyatta has face and yet she is worshipped while he is slammed.”

Who’s slamming Quality Road? Not me. I think he’s a hell of a horse. I’d just like to hold off on superstar status until he gets some longevity. I would rather see him in the Dirt Mile, though. I think he’d be a monster in there.

“I also love that you can call into question a colt that has set three track records, one this year, is tied for the second fastest time in the history of the Met Mile, and has face two more grade one winners than Zenyatta has this year.”

When did I call him into question? By saying that I thought Zenyatta would beat him at 10F? Which is what I thought last year, too? Man, are you sensitive.

“I again love that you and others can call out a filly who won the Oaks, Preakness, Mother Goose, Haskell, and Woodward. All of which had either winners of grade stakes or grade one stakes that year.”

Where did I call out Rachel Alexandra? Seriously, go back and find it. Find where I said she didn’t deserve HOTY, or that her 2009 campaign was great. GO FIND IT. I’ll wait. And speaking of her 2010 campaign, no. I don’t think it’s been phenomenal. However, I also think it’s impossible for her to top what she did in 2009 so anything was going to be a disappointment. As I’ve said over and over again, I didn’t have a problem with her being declared out of the Apple Blossom. It just would’ve been nice for Jess to wait until she’d cooled out before making the announcement. And I’ve also said (OVER AND OVER AGAIN) that I think she will beat Life At Ten handily. Look, just because you’re a black-and-white kinda person doesn’t mean the rest of us are.

Jayjay:

So happy you’re finally going to see Zenyatta! You are definitely in for a treat…

25 Aug 2010 1:49 PM
Livesoutwest

Dr. Drunkinbum,

Dude, put down the sauce and sober up.  I said Super Saver and Ice Box, who are the best horses Lookin At Lucky beat, are better than St. Trinians or anything that Zenyatta beat.  NOT that they're better than Zenyatta herself.  That would just be ridiculous, get real.

25 Aug 2010 1:50 PM
Kay

Leon:

“A G1 vs fillies & mares does not carry the same weight as a G1 vs colts & older.”

But as Laz pointed out, if the horse in question is a female and you would like to have a horse who wasn’t wrung-out for the BC Classic, then it makes no damned sense to repeatedly run them against males. Do I think Zenyatta is superior to the top older males? Absolutely. But if she ran against these guys several times this year AND had to ship (I realize you utterly dismiss the fact that shipping can be draining), then they would NOT have a fresh horse for the Classic. Now taking that to its logical extreme, look at the “campaigns” that Quality Road and Blame have had. Quality Road has run four times. Blame has run three times. GI races are the logical spots for those horses (well, now. They certainly weren’t earlier in the year. Apparently). So running in GI races against their own sex isn’t going to drain them like it would drain Zenyatta. Also, they don’t have to ship. And sorry, but that IS important. Remember how Quality Road refused to get on the plane after the BC Classic last year? So they had to van him? Think about that.

“Let's assume for the sake of the argument that for some unexpected reason, neither Zenyatta nor Blame run in the BCC, and a long shot such as Ice Box (he'd be like 30-1) wins it.

If they have more or less the same number of wins in G1's, the HOTY will go to Blame, because winning the Santa Margarita, Vanity, Hirsch & Apple Blossom does not carry the same weight as the Stephen Foster, the Whitney, the Woodward & JCGC.”

Except that Blame isn’t running in the Woodward, so he will have three GI wins. This is pretty simplistic, because it isn’t just about how many GI wins a horse has. We would have to see who ran well in the Classic, and also how horses in the other divisions fared. So you can’t really make that kind of a blanket statement. But man, a total outsider winning the Classic would completely silence Churchill Downs!

Jason:

“I said Blame was better than Zenyatta before he won the Whitney. Some of you called me crazy. How can you say a horse is better and he doesnt even have a G1 win? Now he has a G1 win. I obviously saw something in him I liked. And he had an ambitious campaign in which the connections havent ducked anyone.”

Blame had won the Foster, which was also a GI. But this year, he’s run three times. Do you consider three races an ambitious campaign? Or is the number unimportant, and it’s the fact that he’s won the Foster and the Whitney? Does winning those two races automatically qualify him for an ambitious campaign? Running a top older horse in a GI isn’t necessarily ambitious. That’s simply where he belongs. Now, since all y’all have tossed Zenyatta’s BC Classic win, you can’t possibly think she belongs against males. That’s one reason this is so confusing.

“Here's a fact John: Zenyatta won't come to New York to face the two top rated males and the top rated filly in the country. Dance around that one.”

No dancing needed. Reasons instead, which have been repeated over and over again. Sorry if you equate reasons with excuses, but the rest of the world doesn’t. I realize that you mistrust every single word that comes out of Zenyatta’s camp, which is bizarre but whatevs. I would think that they have a pretty good idea about how to make it to the BC, having won two of the things with her. And if the BC is their goal, then it’s their goal. You and others seem to want to change the goal, and I think that’s driving you a little mad. You equated the goal of the BC with the desire to ship her. Two different things there. They had to change those shipping plans, but the goal (making the BC) remained the same. Now, I think it’s pretty obvious at this point that they want HOTY, but that it’s secondary to winning another BC race. And if you have seen her run this year, then I think you MIGHT be able to understand how much of this has to do with the journey. And just because that journey doesn’t include shipping her to take on males doesn’t negate it.

What’s intriguing at this stage of the year is that it’s patently obvious Jess Jackson is putting all of his HOTY eggs into the Classic basket. The way he’s been campaigning Rachel, another HOTY title is the only thing that matters to him. He’s been getting races carded, moving other races around and changing distances… it’s really obvious that the Classic is IT for him, and not just because it would be awesome to win it. He desperately craves that second HOTY title. I adore him, and will make him a character in a story. Because how awesome?

One correction, though. If Zenyatta were to face the top rated filly in the country, she would have to face herself. To whom are you referring?

"S-A-R-A-T-O-G-A. That is where racing matters in the summer. Show up Zenyatta or there are no excuses. Period."

So there are no horses who can be considered great unless they've run at Saratoga?

25 Aug 2010 1:51 PM
LAZMANNICK

ruffianruns

I thought of Shuvee and then the 2-mile distance came in.  I've done a lot of research in my spare time and have asked a lot of people and even raised it on posts checking to see if it had been done since 1968, and if so would someone point it out.  The closest I have managed to find is also from California and oddly enough the same race, the Hollywood Gold Cup.  In 1975 Cascapedia finish second by a neck to Crystal Waters.  In 1952 it was Two Lea in the same race.  I have Gallorette’s PP’s.  In 1948 she won the Whitney  when it was at 1 1/4M.  In 1946 she defeated Stymie in the Brooklyn Hdcp. At a 1 1/4M.  She also finished 2nd by a head or neck 3 or 4 times to G1 males at 1 1/4M on dirt.  Back in those days and even when Two Lea raced there was no official grading of races but projecting that they would eventually be rated G1 races as soon as the grading system took effect in the mid seventies, and not start out as a G2 and then later being elevated, I would consider them as equivalent.  It’s a tough task for fillies and mares.

25 Aug 2010 2:13 PM
Livesoutwest

Jay Jay,

You say (re: Moss/Shirreffs) They at least are honest as to what they want to do with Zen.  Sorry, I'm still rolling on the floor laughing.  First, they hold fans up and don't make a decision on running her in the Hirsch until hours before the race.  And in the time leading up to that race, Dottie & John Shirreffs both said in interviews that they would strongly consider the Beldame. Of course the day after the Hirsch, you hear this quote from Shirreffs:

Shirreffs seemed cool to the idea of sending Zenyatta to Belmont Park for the $350,000 Beldame Stakes on Oct. 2, saying he did not want to be away from his horses for too long.

"The only thing that concerns me is if I go to New York, do I go directly to Kentucky?" he said. "And how long do I stay away from the [California] stable? I'm not a good telephone trainer. We have to decide the best decision."

Yeah, that's typical two-faced talk from "Honest John" Shirreffs for you.

On the other hand, Jackson & Asmussen never hinted they were leaning to the Stephen Foster when they went in the FDR.  They announced weeks ahead of time they would go in the Lady's Secret and an offer was extended to Moss & Shirreffs to also go with the proviso that the purse would be made worthy of them if they did. (They declined).  And then Rachel's camp announced they would go in the PE a month ahead of time. Moss & Shirreffs could have gone there in a race that is perfectly suited for Zenyatta.  I think she would have galloped past a winded Rachel and Life At Ten.

So you want to tell me again which camp has been more honest?

BTW, Jay Jay, I do bet and cashed a nice trifecta on Zenyatta in the Classic.  Piece of cake, Zenyatta/Gio Ponti/ALL; Zenyatta/ALL/Gio Ponti.

Did you have it?

25 Aug 2010 2:14 PM
LAZMANNICK

ruffianruns post.....

"And I hate the Cowboys and the Yankees and the Lakers and that woman who put that cat in the trashcan that wasn't found for 15 hours.  I can't ever remember hating any four-legged animal, but I LOVE some more than others!

And Jason just said that he admires what Zenyatta has done.  I hope that admiration continues when he's paying off all his BCC bets!"

Great post.  About the only thing I would include would be the Miami Heat.  I also think that that woman should  be forced to sit in the trash can and place it in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

25 Aug 2010 2:17 PM
Kay

Livesoutwest:

"Well, I saw QR kicking his heels up in the starting gate last year, LOL!  No, I've never seen Rachel in person, and I feel bad about that.  But heck, I've got to work to, you know.  My only chance will probably be if they bring her back one more year."

I stood next to two morons at Santa Anita while Quality Road was throwing his fit. They thought it was hilarious. I explained to them why it was not, in fact, hilarious. If I'd had more room, I would've thrown something at them.

"But I've been rooting for Zenyatta since the Ladies Classic two years ago. I became a Rachel Alexandra fan after the Kentucky Oaks and have been ever since.  I'm disappointed that they've never met because I think championships should be decided on the track.  I blame Zenyatta's camp more for that last year, while I hold Rachel's camp more resposible this year."

To be fair, there was only one race last year that both Zenyatta and Rachel could enter -- the Woodward. And until she won the Woodward, she hadn't locked up HOTY. So it's hard to blame Zenyatta's connections for not shipping to run in the Woodward without knowing it would have such strong HOTY implications. We know this NOW, but hindsight and all that.

"I think they owe California a race and would love to see them shock the world and send her out to face Z in the Zenyatta Stakes.  Problem is, if their goal is the Classic & not the Ladies Classic, cutting back to 1 1/16 before the BC makes little sense.  I don't think it makes sense for Zenyatta either, but you already know my opinion about how she's being managed."

It worked LAST year, and I don't think a cut in distance is an issue for a closer. In fact, a closer going from 1 1/16M to 10F is a pretty solid bet. I worry a little about Rachel cutting back in distance for the Beldame. Maybe the pattern will work -- moving up from 9F to 10F, then down to 9F, then back up to 10F. But it's a much bigger risk for Rachel. At this point, I think they just want to see if she can get 10F, even against easier horses. If she wins the PE (and I think she will), it'll be interesting to see if they go all or nothing in the JCGC, or stick with the Beldame. I just love the Jess Jackson drama!

"This year I added a third horse i'm rooting for, Sidney's Candy.  I think he's just dynamite, and after the PA Derby, I'm rooting for him to go in the BC Mile and knock the socks off Goldikova.  He's that rare animal capable of being a top G1 winner on dirt or turf.  He probably won't be 3YO of the year because he's not ready to go 1 1/4 just like Rachel wasn't ready last year, but next year I expect him to show Lookin At Lucky who's boss."

I'd love to see Sidney straighten out, and let's see if that turf race helped. I do worry that they're thinking Classic with him. I'd rather see him go in the Mile or even the Dirt Mile, but then I want Quality Road in the Dirt Mile, too...

25 Aug 2010 2:20 PM
ruffianruns

Laz -

Thanks!  I too would love to dump that woman in a trash can in the Sahara!  Hmmmm....  I just wanted to pick a team from each sport and I *still* think I hate the Lakers more than the Heat, but not by much!

About the 1 1/4 miles on dirt challenge...  Considering the way it seemed that Jackson weighed "history" last year as he mapped out Rachel's campaign - defeating older males, etc. - do you think that there's a chance that he'll point Rachel to the JCGC just to try to push that envelope?  They'll have to see how she comes out of the PE, but, hmmm, now I'm wondering.  They'll probably just stick to the Beldame, but as others have pointed out, maybe that's the path they'll take trying to get HOY again.

Now knowing how rare it is, it might be a possibility.  This game is so damn NERVE WRACKING!  I just hope and pray my girls stay healthy.

25 Aug 2010 2:54 PM
LAZMANNICK

Livesoutwest said.....

"And as for the state of the California mutts Zenyatta's been beating up on, look no further than Made For Magic, winner of the 2010 G2 Milady, a race which Zenyatta won the previous two years. 'Magic was just claimed for $62,500."

Wow!  Do you know that in the past decade, TWO KENTUCKY DERBY winners raced in claiming races for $62,500.  MTB and Charismatic (did it in his HOY campaign).  They weren't deemed good enough to be claimed, but they ran in claimers.  I guess that legitimizes Made for Magic as being a top horse.

25 Aug 2010 3:00 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

   You didn'tr make any mistakes !!!!  Snap out of it.

25 Aug 2010 3:03 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

ruffianruns

   I know what you mean. Especially when you have a bet on a front runner and they are setting ridiculous fractions and they hand on for the win. You know they can't last and yet they do. Big surprise moment.

25 Aug 2010 3:04 PM
Livesoutwest

Lazmannick,

Charismatic and MTB ran in claimers BEFORE they achieved success, not after.  What a ridiculous argument.

I'll make this prediction for you.  Other than St. Trinians (maybe), not one horse that Zenyatta will have faced before the Breeders Cup this year will go on to win a single G1 race in their career, ever.

However, there will be multiple G1 winners coming from the ranks of the opponents of Blame, QR, RA and LAL.

And that's sure not Zenyatta's fault.

25 Aug 2010 3:17 PM
LAZMANNICK

ruffianruns

Pointing Rachel to three G1 races in 2 months is very ambitious, JCGC or not, especially when the quality of the competition is going to be stronger and deeper.  I don't think JJ would consider the JCGC if he's considering the BCC.  His target is obviously the BCC and he wants to go in it with as much horse as possible.  Beating the boys in a JCGC and losing the BCC is not the way to go, so I think they'll try and play in conservatively as in Beldame, then depending on wins or losses it'll be the BCC or the BC Distaff.  Just my opinion.

25 Aug 2010 3:23 PM
ruffianruns

Dr D - Your last post just flashed me back to the Woodward last year.  OMG!  When they set that 22 and change opening 1/4 mile, I just about died.   I couldn't believe she was able to hold on.  I still shiver thinking about it.

Zookeeper - I second Dr D's second to last comment!  Unless you forget to tell us when RFO runs....

25 Aug 2010 3:27 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

LOL! I wasn't truly in it. Just having fun!  :)

25 Aug 2010 3:34 PM
Billy's Empire

John, here are a few facts in regards to last years HOY voting

rachel was 8-0 beat males 3 x

zen was 5-0 beat males 1 x

first filly to win WOODWARD:RACHEL

FIRST FILLY TO WIN PREAKNESS IN 85 YEARS: RACHEL

FIRST MARE TO WIN BCC (25 YEARS) ZENYATTA

FACTS SAY THAT RACHEL HAD A BETTER YEAR. IT IS HOY VOTING.

ZENYATTA HAS A BETTER CAREER SO FAR.

STOP WHINING, THIS WAS OVER IN JANUARY

25 Aug 2010 3:39 PM
LAZMANNICK

Livesoutwest

Why don't you include the BCC?  We all know the answer to that one.

Regarding your statement…..other than QR being defeated by Blame, how many horses have Blame, QR, LAL and RA (defeated not faced) so far this year have won G1 races?  In fact, include faced if you want.  For LAL you can exclude any 3 year old unless they race against older company.  

As far as cliamer, what does it matter?  The fact that they raced in claimers should be sufficient.  

25 Aug 2010 3:57 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper, ruffianruns

   I'm going to start proof reading agaain. Did you hear anything at all about the Tuscan Evening autopsy?

livesoutwest

  I guess I misunderstood. I'll switch to Shirley Temples when I read your posts. Sorry dude. By the way, Super saver and Ice Box are both a long ways from being better than anyone Zenyatta has beaten. There are a bunch of them in last year's Classic alone plus others I'm sure. At this point anyway. The refrigerator and super saver both have a lot to prove. We'll see how they do. I like both but they have to step it up in a big race again, and not just rest on Derby laurels.

25 Aug 2010 4:46 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

ruffianruns

   Speaking of shivering, there is a two year old colt named shivermetimbers. I like that name, oh blimey, he'll win some treasures fer sure laddy. Mark my words or I'll walk the gang plank.

25 Aug 2010 4:50 PM
Livesoutwest

Because this year, the BCC is expected to be a common race for Blame, QR, RA, LAL AND Zenyatta, Lazmannick.  So why would Zenyatta's connections be singled out for any special credit for facing tough competition in the BC?  

My point was that the other four connections are racing their stars against horses THIS YEAR who either are G1 winners or will be in the future.  Maybe there's a chance St. Trinians will win a G1 someday but trying to do it for the first time at six years old isn't very common.  Especially when you consider Hollendorfer will have incentive to keep Blind Luck at Santa Anita for the big winter races since that track is shifting to dirt.

My point was that of the five, ONLY Zenyatta's connections are sending her up against nothing but cheesepuffs.

25 Aug 2010 4:53 PM
Livesoutwest

Dr. D,

I said Super Saver & Ice Box are a lot better than anyone Zenyatta's beaten this year.  The original point of all this was that Lookin At Lucky has run a better campaign so far this year than any of the other HOY contenders. Of course Z beat better in last year's Classic, but 2009 is over, it's a new year, time to turn the page and focus on this year's championships.

But heck, you're still drying out so I'll cut you some slack.

25 Aug 2010 5:19 PM
Kay

Billy:

"FACTS SAY THAT RACHEL HAD A BETTER YEAR. IT IS HOY VOTING."

You might want to tell that to the crazies who voted for Zenyatta. FACTS did not win HOTY for Rachel. A SUBJECTIVE VOTE DID.

I can shout back.

Livesoutwest:

"On the other hand, Jackson & Asmussen never hinted they were leaning to the Stephen Foster when they went in the FDR.  They announced weeks ahead of time they would go in the Lady's Secret and an offer was extended to Moss & Shirreffs to also go with the proviso that the purse would be made worthy of them if they did. (They declined).  And then Rachel's camp announced they would go in the PE a month ahead of time. Moss & Shirreffs could have gone there in a race that is perfectly suited for Zenyatta.  I think she would have galloped past a winded Rachel and Life At Ten."

I adore how you just utterly ignore the reality of the situation. Obviously, you think Shirreffs is a liar and a lousy trainer. You think the Mosses are liars. I get it. You have some personal vendetta towards them. However, there ARE reasons for why Zenyatta didn't ship. You just refuse to acknowledge them. Now what trainer in his right mind is going to ship to run in an ungraded race, when their horse is the divisional leader? When the Apple Blossom meeting fell apart and Zenyatta won it, that really ended any pretense at a rivalry.

"So you want to tell me again which camp has been more honest?"

Sure. The people who didn't declare their horse out of a race THEY demanded before she'd even cooled out.

Looks like you've got your teeth into your new thing. Okay. Swell.

"Because this year, the BCC is expected to be a common race for Blame, QR, RA, LAL AND Zenyatta, Lazmannick."

Had to re-read that. For a second, I thought Lazmannick was pointing for the race.

"So why would Zenyatta's connections be singled out for any special credit for facing tough competition in the BC?"

Uh, because they DID? She's going to be the only horse in the field who's actually WON one of these things. She singled herself out for being the only filly or mare to win the BC Classic. So... what are you trying to say here?

"My point was that the other four connections are racing their stars against horses THIS YEAR who either are G1 winners or will be in the future.  Maybe there's a chance St. Trinians will win a G1 someday but trying to do it for the first time at six years old isn't very common.  Especially when you consider Hollendorfer will have incentive to keep Blind Luck at Santa Anita for the big winter races since that track is shifting to dirt.

My point was that of the five, ONLY Zenyatta's connections are sending her up against nothing but cheesepuffs."

Which, of course, assumes that they get to choose their competition. Which they don't. They enter, other horses enter, we see who shows up. Your constant obsession to bash Zenyatta for not facing the horses YOU think she should face is bordering on nuts. I've never seen this type of nitpicking in my life. Okay, you don't want to believe Zenyatta has accomplished anything. That's great. But geez... this is really getting silly. Rachel Alexandra has been beaten this year. Twice. By horses who were not GISWs. Zenyatta hasn't been beaten this year. Quality Road and Blame aren't doing what you demand Zenyatta do. They are running IN THEIR OWN FREAKING DIVISION. But you want Zenyatta to do MORE than all the others?

Bizarre.

And I'm guessing that your complete silence to my previous posts means that you agree with me. So thanks.

25 Aug 2010 5:26 PM
Mike Relva

LIVESOUTHWEST

I could give a damn if you illustrate loyality to Zenyatta,she has people that's REAL Fans. Connections didn't blow anything. The objective was stated early that primary goal was getting to the Classic in Nov,period! Don't hear you RAISING THE ISSUE ABOUT RA NOT RUNNING IN GRADE1 RACES THIS YR!!!!!

25 Aug 2010 5:31 PM
ruffianruns

Dr D - I don't think the Tuscan Evening results are out yet.  I keep scanning the news and haven't seen anything other than the reports that she's being looked at.  It's still so unbelievable.  It really is unbelievable!  I just keep thinking of what Hollendorfer's day would have been like last Saturday had she been around.  She might not have won, but most likely she would have, and Jerry would have had quite a day.  Is there a stat for the number of G1 scores on the same day at different tracks?

Shivermetimbers:  I *love* that name!  I hope he does well.

25 Aug 2010 5:31 PM
Mike Relva

JASON

Since you're on the Saratoga thing again let me say(and illustrate) the obvious bias you have toward Zenyatta. (1) PRIOR to his first Grade1 win,you make the unfounded statement,"Blame is better than Zenyatta". When I read that my first impression was thinking this is something DRAYNAY would say. (2) Three months ago you tell SodaPop Kid not to "whine" when Zenyatta doesn't win HOY. Maybe you are blessed by owning a crystal ball. (3) Making sure we all were aware you wouldn't be watching the Vanity,writing it off. (4) Practually ignoring after Zenyatta wins the Vanity and breaks Cigar's record. (5) Always slamming horse and connections for the path they follow. Question? Are you going to say im incorrect regarding when Cigar,as a six yr. old shipping everywhere,including Dubai that HE DIDN'T TAIL OFF? Can you say all of that wasn't a factor? You're a very accomplished writer and I've often stated I admire how you "slice and dice" when needed,but this Saratoga issue when you punish the horse, illustrated like a kid on a playground that doesn't get their way,they pout by taking their ball and going home. If Zenyatta wins the Classic,Saratoga won't be a factor. How many Grade one's has RA entered and won this year to date? Like not competing in the Breeders' last year she get's a pass!

25 Aug 2010 5:53 PM
Livesoutwest

Mike,

Well, Rachel Alexandra is running

in G1's this month and probably next month.  Against real G1 winners.  Blame, Quality Road and Lookin At Lucky have already done it.

Zenyatta?  Uh, not so much.

Kay,

You're partially right.  I do think Sherriffs is a liar but still a good trainer, they're not mutually exclusive. Bill Clinton was a liar, but a good President.  No question Shirreffs has taken excellent care of Zenyatta and kept her in tip-top shape.  He deserves all the credit for that.

But for what ends? An entire year of bush-league competition except the BC Classic?  Yes, they tried to make the Apple Blossom matchup happen, credit them for that.  But trying to make just one big race for the entire season prior to the championships isn't good enough. I'm not impressed.  It's unworthy of Zenyatta.

And your response to my statement:

"So why would Zenyatta's connections be singled out for any special credit for facing tough competition in the BC?"

Uh, because they DID?

(Sigh) No Kay, nobody has.  The BC hasn't been run yet this year.  I'm talking 2010, 2009 is over.  I agree with you and most bloggers here that Zenyatta should have won it last year (though not the year before)  But Rachel was also a deserving candidate and the majority of the voters went the other way - get over it already.  You can't take either of their accomplishments from last year and add them to their qualifications for this year.  It's a whole new ballgame.

It's great that Zenyatta's being pointed to the Classic again, but so are the other four top contenders plus Rail Trip, who has the potential to join their company. Z's connections don't deserve any special credit beyond what's given to the others for pointing to the biggest race in the country.

25 Aug 2010 6:06 PM
LAZMANNICK

Livesoutwest

I answer to your BC question, it’s simple.  The winner of the race will have defeated what should be the winner of a lot of G1 races in future.  Why do you want to exclude it?  It doesn’t make any sense.  Who won the last BCC?  Who other than Zenyatta (and LAL at 2) even contested a BC race of any kind last year, or the year before?

Other than that, what’s your point?  I'm not saying that the horses that Zen has faced are top drawer horses.  I never did.  I am saying that many of the horses your big stars have faced aren't exactly top drawer either.  What tough horses did they really face this year?  Where are the G1 wins from their competitors so far?  How did you feel about Blame before the Whitney because of the slow time in the Foster?  You bring Rachel into the mix.  For the first time all year she is actually facing a G1 horse.  Without running her down, she’s the defending HOY and she is racing in unlisted races.  Is that okay?  She couldn't even beat Zen's stable mate.  Your humbling opinion of St. Trinians is a joke.  She is one of the top mares on the continent, recognize it and accept it.

Are you questioning Zen’s ability to compete against these horses?  I wouldn’t go there, not even for a second.  There is not much to go on concerning common opponents but you can make a comparison between Blame (Zen’s biggest challenge IMO) and Zen when going back late last fall, nine months or so ago.  How did Blame do against Regal Ransom?  How did he fare against Einstein?  How did Zen fare against them?

25 Aug 2010 6:57 PM
Livesoutwest

One more thing, Kay,

If you think it's "borderline nuts" that I should expect Zenyatta, a two-time divisional champ, to take on something more than G2/G3 females, okay, call me crazy.  I'm obviously WAY out in left field compared to the entire racing world on that one.  You never hear racing columnists saying those things (Jason, Steve Haskin, Bill Finley.  What an outlandish thought.  Whatever was I thinking?

And I expect Quality Road and Blame to do something I'm not expecting from Zenyatta?  You mean like facing actual competition?  Kay, I'll point out the division those two are running in is called Open Company.  Anyone is eligible to run in it.  A-N-Y-O-N-E.

And for the umpteenth time, I'm not bashing Zenyatta.  Nothing would make me happier than seeing her finally get her well-deserved HOY trophy while enjoying watching her connections LOSE AGAIN.

25 Aug 2010 7:02 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

livesoutwest

  Lookin At Lucky had a tremendous campaign this year. If Garcia was on him sooner we might be looking at a superstar. Well, I think we are anyway. He is really good. I don't care about HOY at all, never have. I do care about the Triple Crown and all of the big races but what it all adds up to to select voters at the end of the year means nothing to me. I can't even comprehend why people have been talking about HOY months before the year is even over. When the year is over then it makes since to squabble, but in May, June, July, August, months before even the Breeder's Cup?????? Wow. Maybe you can explain. I'll mix up a double Shirley Temple so I'll be ready.

25 Aug 2010 7:35 PM
Jason Shandler

It's very simple Mike. If they dont step out of their little box and refuse to take their horse on an ambitious schedule, she will always be thought of as a good horse, not a great horse. Soft schedule leaves them open to criticism.

They had every opportunity to show up at Saratoga and failed. No excuses. None, except those damn Rockies, I mean.

25 Aug 2010 7:56 PM
Kay

Livesoutwest:

“You're partially right.  I do think Sherriffs is a liar but still a good trainer, they're not mutually exclusive. Bill Clinton was a liar, but a good President.  No question Shirreffs has taken excellent care of Zenyatta and kept her in tip-top shape.  He deserves all the credit for that.

But for what ends? An entire year of bush-league competition except the BC Classic?  Yes, they tried to make the Apple Blossom matchup happen, credit them for that.  But trying to make just one big race for the entire season prior to the championships isn't good enough. I'm not impressed.  It's unworthy of Zenyatta.”

Well, I don’t happen to think that GI company, including two handicaps where she carried more weight than any of these boys will ever carry, is bush-league. It seems to be an all-or-nothing thing with you. You want her to just go face males at 10F all year, which simply isn’t feasible. You know, I think we’ve all been pushed into defending stuff that we wouldn’t ordinarily defend. Thanks, Internets. Would I like to see Zenyatta face the boys or ship to run in the Beldame or whatever? Sure. But I also understand what they’re doing, and what the priorities are. And so I’m okay with it. You, on the other hand, are not. Yet you still have respect for the horse and for what she’s accomplished. Does that sound about right?

“And your response to my statement:

"So why would Zenyatta's connections be singled out for any special credit for facing tough competition in the BC?"

Uh, because they DID?

(Sigh) No Kay, nobody has.  The BC hasn't been run yet this year.  I'm talking 2010, 2009 is over.  I agree with you and most bloggers here that Zenyatta should have won it last year (though not the year before)  But Rachel was also a deserving candidate and the majority of the voters went the other way - get over it already.  You can't take either of their accomplishments from last year and add them to their qualifications for this year.  It's a whole new ballgame.”

Ah. Okay. I misunderstood you. From what you were saying, it sounded like you were talking about 2009, since she hasn’t run in this year’s Classic. So we agree that we’re BOTH not taking their 2009s into consideration and strictly talking about 2010. Given that, Rachel shouldn’t be anywhere NEAR a HOTY candidate. Agreed?

“It's great that Zenyatta's being pointed to the Classic again, but so are the other four top contenders plus Rail Trip, who has the potential to join their company. Z's connections don't deserve any special credit beyond what's given to the others for pointing to the biggest race in the country.”

Agreed there. While we’re not including back-class in the discussion, the fact that she has already won the race makes me believe that this is a valid path for her. I get that you want her to prove herself more than once. That isn’t quite as important to me.

And regarding Lookin At Lucky, I definitely think he’s the leading 3YO. However, I don’t think he’s done more than anyone else this year because he hasn’t faced older horses yet. It’ll be interesting to see how he stacks up, although we probably won’t know until the Classic.

“If you think it's "borderline nuts" that I should expect Zenyatta, a two-time divisional champ, to take on something more than G2/G3 females, okay, call me crazy.  I'm obviously WAY out in left field compared to the entire racing world on that one.  You never hear racing columnists saying those things (Jason, Steve Haskin, Bill Finley.  What an outlandish thought.  Whatever was I thinking?”

No. What is “borderline nuts” is the way you count GISWs. I’ve just never seen such a thing before. You and anyone else have a perfect right to expect whatever you want. But when it starts to blind you to what Zenyatta’s accomplished, well… I think that’s kinda sad.

“And I expect Quality Road and Blame to do something I'm not expecting from Zenyatta?  You mean like facing actual competition?  Kay, I'll point out the division those two are running in is called Open Company.  Anyone is eligible to run in it.  A-N-Y-O-N-E.”

Right, but you’re ignoring the fact that Quality Road and Blame BELONG in that division. Zenyatta would stepping UP into it. Ergo, she would be at a disadvantage. Now, the only time she’s stepped up she’s won. I expect her to do that again, and I think it’s sad that you and others think her legacy (or whatever) will have been diminished because she didn’t repeatedly thrash males. What other great fillies REPEATEDLY beat males in GI races? Rachel won three last year, but she also didn’t make the BC. Zenyatta’s connections want to make the BC and nothing you can think or say will change that. So what you’re attempting to do here is to change the motive, and because you can’t, it’s driving you a wee bit mad.

“And for the umpteenth time, I'm not bashing Zenyatta.  Nothing would make me happier than seeing her finally get her well-deserved HOY trophy while enjoying watching her connections LOSE AGAIN.”

Um…. Okay….. that’s weird…

No matter how much some people ache to imagine that Zenyatta won't be considered a great horse, what she's accomplished has already put her there. Sorry, but it's true.

25 Aug 2010 8:04 PM
Mike Relva

JASON

That's your opinion,but I've no doubt that Zenyatta's place in history is safe as a "great" horse.

Far too many others',writers,trainers,etc label her as such.

25 Aug 2010 8:06 PM
Mike Relva

LIVESOUTHWEST

Nice not to let knowledge get in the way by ignoring the fact this is RA's FIRST Grade 1 contest this year.

25 Aug 2010 8:09 PM
Richard

Jason: Why be so adamant about Zenyatta shipping East when Eastern horses don't ship West? I have no problem with a horse's connections placing them where they run best. Tactics are part of sport. Tactical advantage is sought in all sport. It can fail, too, so it's a fair consideration, certainly not a sure thing. Ask Jess Jackson retrospectively if Curlin should have been targeted for the Arc or the second BCC to cement his legacy. That he still won HOY doesn't make his fans (I'm one)- who wanted to see him in the Arc as I did at the Dubai World Cup - happier. If Zenyatta wins the BCC, it is "ho hum" and if she loses, it's "I told you so" for you? In truth, I think Blind Luck has been showcased because that was the only way to get her the attention that would otherwise have gone to Devil May Care and others. That was a tactical decision, too. And an aside: some days ago, Steve Viuker asked rhetorically why Tapeta seems to work and other synthetics not so much. I covered last year's entire season at Meydan and never witnessed a serious injury, let alone a breakdown. As to why: 1) the drainage issue seems to be the key as there is little rain in Dubai during racing season; and, 2) while it is hot in Dubai, the through-the-day temperature variation is less proportionately than at Santa Anita. Also, the surface at Meydan was monitored and controlled personally by Michael Dickinson. I'm surprised more tracks haven't tried Tapeta since the evidence from Meydan and the few other tracks that use it indicates it is safer and less susceptible to weather variables.

25 Aug 2010 8:13 PM
LAZMANNICK

Livesoutwest

Your talk about the three year old crop this year is laughable.

Other than LAL, what 3 year old is not only going to contest the Classic, but actually be a threat.....as in make the top five?

25 Aug 2010 8:14 PM
LAZMANNICK

Mike Relva

G R E A T   P O S T.  I have to say.  that's about the longest post I can recall seeing you write.  

25 Aug 2010 8:22 PM
Jason Shandler

Richard: The top handicap horses are on the east. That's why she should ship. That is, if they wanted to face the best, which is obviously not the case. Hell, they didnt even want to face Rail Trip in their own backyard, or any males for that matter.

If they dont want to ship that is one thing. But how can they excuse not running in the top handicap races is Cali?

I'll wait for the spin. Go ahead spindoctors...

25 Aug 2010 8:26 PM
LAZMANNICK

Livesoutwest

The 2010 BCC hasn't been run yet this year.  The 2009 BCC was run nine months or so ago, ancient history I guess.  Actually when you started your crap way back when it was only run a few short months previous.  Let’s see.  The Donn was way back when…..Feb 6 wasn’t it, so let’s forget that big Beyer.   That’s ancient history so let’s discount it.  After all, it will have been run ten months before the BCC.  And oh yeah, since that time until the Woodward, QR has made two starts.  Wow.  Not exactly a campaign at risking even more defeats.

I like the way you dismiss the Apple Blossom.  That shows your desperation.  And that ultra garbage spin about inviting Zen to go cross country for the Lady’s Secret, as Kay said, an unlisted stake.  Oh course JJ’s going to extend the invitation.  He knew Zen’s connections would have turned it down.  But what if they wouldn’t have?  Then what would your spin be?  If JJ really wants to face Zen why doesn't he put up some money himself.....challenge the Moss's.  See how fast they would respond.  And who are you to call Sherriffs a liar?  Do you think he cares what someone like you thinks in how he runs his horse?

25 Aug 2010 8:35 PM
LAZMANNICK

Dr Drunkinbum

Your point about you not caring about HOY is actually right on.  HOY is a vote, not even a race.  In terms of actual tangible competition it is a phantom race, out of every one's control (I think).  Personally, it's great to talk about, spurns a lot of conversation back and forth.  All I care about at this point is the BCC with a full field on a fast track and all the major competitors competing.  That's what it's all about.

25 Aug 2010 9:07 PM
Richard

Well, Jason, Zenyatta remains undefeated and, as in boxing, you have to defeat the champion to win the crown, and the champion usually chooses the venue. I cannot peer into her connections' minds to understand why they have chosen this path, but I believe it is valid. Why? Because it is working. As in all sports, it is the won-lost record that counts at the end of the day. To say nothing of the boost she gives to young - especially female - fans of a sport desperately in need of people interested in something other than the handle. Personally, I'd like to see her get three starts, go 21 and 0 and have people debate for an eternity if she should be mentioned alongside Man O' War, who was 20 and 1 (P.S. I think this could be the game plan, so choose wisely.). And, by saying the best horses are in the East, you do display an Eastern bias. That simply hasn't been proven the only place it matters - on the track.

25 Aug 2010 9:27 PM
TradingPlaces

Jackson didn't invite anyone, that was monmouth who invited both RA and Zenyatta to the Lady's Secret.

25 Aug 2010 9:48 PM
Livesoutwest

Lazmannick,

The Lady's Secret and Molly Pitcher invitations were extended by Monmouth Park, not Jess Jackson.

And we're talking about the championships for this year.  Are you going to spot the Yankees two games in the World Series because they won it last year?  Do you understand how professional sports work?  It's a new season, and the championships are decided based on what's accomplished THIS year.  It's not a like giving a career achievement award to Meryl Streep at the Oscars.

And at this point of this year, Zenyatta's beaten nothing and Rachel Alexandra's beaten even less.  If for some unforeseen reason, say the country went to war and the season ended tomorrow, I don't think either would be voted the champion.  I think Blame would get it based on strength of competition.  Nothing that Z or RA has faced this year would finish within five lengths of Blame's foes Quality Road, Battle Plan or Musket Man.  Even though three year-olds Lookin At Lucky and Blind Luck have accomplished more within their divisions.  However, Rachel is still building her resume against quality competition.  Zenyatta is expected to close out the year against the same flotsam and jetsam she's been beating forever.  

I would just love it if someone unexpected, say a Careless Jewel were to unexpectedly enter the Zenyatta Stakes and make Zenyatta work her tail off to win the race.  This is for her 19th consecutive victory and a tie for the legendary Eclipse's unbeaten record.  And I want to see her get it, but I want to see her have to work to earn the victory, and not just have it handed to her against more little league competition.

25 Aug 2010 9:49 PM
TradingPlaces

rufianruns,

I think it depends on how she wins the PE. I think if you see an easy, 3-5 length victory she'll go to the JCGC then onto the Classic. If we see close all out finish where she either finishes a close second or a slight winner, she'll head to the Beldame and the Distaff.

One thing about RA is that she can hold form for quite a while, though it also takes her a bit to get to top form. Even in her Woodward, where she seemed to bounce a bit, the form she had going into the race gave no idication of dropping off. Remember that she was able to hold her form, and actually improve upon it in from the Preakness to the Haskell.

25 Aug 2010 9:59 PM
Richard

Lazmannick,

That was a good observation. I do believe, however, Zenyatta would get the vote, though I have written in an upcoming publication that Blame is now a serious contender should the frontrunners falter (or the Easterners decide to just stick it to Zen again).

25 Aug 2010 10:09 PM
Livesoutwest

Richard, what you say is true, but in the United States the recognized champion is the Eclipse award winner for Horse of the Year, not the Breeders Cup Classic winner.  If that were the case, Volponi would be a champion.  Alphabet Soup would be a champion.  Cat Thief would be a champion.  Arcangues would be a champion.  There is no playoff system in horseracing, so the championship is decided the same way it's officially decided in college football - by a vote.

And like it or not, agree with it or not, regardless of how little she's done so far this year, horseracing's defending champion is Rachel Alexandra.

25 Aug 2010 10:11 PM
jayjay

livesoutwest :

" Jay Jay,

You say (re: Moss/Shirreffs) They at least are honest as to what they want to do with Zen.  Sorry, I'm still rolling on the floor laughing.  First, they hold fans up and don't make a decision on running her in the Hirsch until hours before the race.  "

Now I'm laughing so hard myself.  They announced right after the Vanity that it would be very very close to race time when they make the decision to either run or not, all the way leading up to the Hirsch, not one journalist can get a confirmation from Shireffs because he already said it would DEPEND ON THE CONDITION OF THE TRACK.  You of course ignored that fact.

I did have the trifecta in the Classic, and I didn't have to go ALL horses at the bottom.  That was  an easy race.  I can't believe you went ALL for the show spot LOL.

25 Aug 2010 10:11 PM
jayjay

TradingPlaces : Met Mile might be more prestigious and that's fine for his breeding life but we're talking about you and Jason and others calling him the "beast" of the east, but he gets a pass because he was coming off a layoff, he gets to pick an easy race.  An "easy" race!!!  You and all the naysayers wants Zenyatta to ship all over and run against males, but your beast needs an easy race coming off a layoff.

Think about that for awhile before you comment.  BTW, are you LDP ?

25 Aug 2010 10:26 PM
LAZMANNICK

Livesoutwest

In saying what I did about the 2009 BCC, I wasn’t talking about HOY credentials.  I was simply trying to state that Zen is equal to the competition.  In nine months nothing has changed I believe in that regard.

Nothing Zen beat last year during the season would finish within five lengths of Blame either with the possible exception of Life is Sweet.  However, when comparing the merits of both…..Einstein was totally crushed by Zen in the Classic.  One month later he was within a fast closing neck of defeating Blame.  If you’re thinking of spinning the synthetic track…..Einstein won the SAH on it earlier in the season.  If you’re thinking of saying like many have that Einstein was over the top, then he must have really been over the top in the Clarke.  Regal Ransom defeated Blame handily in the Super Derby.  When he faced Zen in the Classic she crushed him.  Regal Ransom was not new to synthetics having trained and raced on a version of synthetics in Dubai.  This is old news, but it sounds like you’re worried that Zen won’t be adequately prepared for the BCC.  By restating what happened last year I think you can see that whatever Blame can do, so can Zenyatta.

What quality of competition has Rachel built her resume against so far this year?  Queen Martha?  The over matched FDL field?  It couldn’t have been her first two races.  She lost them remember.  Outside of Life at Ten and Rachel, The PE is a disappointingly weak field.  With regards to Life at Ten, if Rachel loses to her, it’s game over.  I happen to think that LAT is another version of St. Trianians and Rachel should defeat her.  Her record actually compares to St. Trinians.  She has one 100+ Beyer and has beaten the reformed claimer Jessica is Back coming hard at the end.  Other than that she has beaten the same type several times in fact.  Her resume looks good only because of the less than stellar quality in the F & M division, in the east.  Blind Luck perhaps gave you a taste of what I mean when she defeated Devil May Care who had been beating up on virtually the same group of New York fillies the past few races.  LAT did put it to Unrivaled Belle, but honestly, none of the fillies LAT has defeated at any time curing her career would be competition for Zen.  So other than trying to get 1 1/4m I don’t see how this race will make Rachel BCC ready or at this time based on her year even BCC worthy.

Your comment about Careless Jewel suddenly entering the race is a scream.  Like yeah, she really made LIS work last year didn’t she, like in coming from 17 lengths out of it near the far end of the back stretch and win going away.

At this point this subject is totally exhausted.  So is your constant statements that all you want to see is Zenyatta do something.

25 Aug 2010 10:49 PM
LAZMANNICK

jayjay

Funny you should say that about Trading Places.  i was thinking the same thing myself.  If it is good for her.

25 Aug 2010 11:06 PM
jayjay

Latest NTRA poll :

 1 Zenyatta (14) 6-M 4-4-0-0 190 1

 2 Blame (5) 4-C 3-3-0-0 166 2

 3 Quality Road 4-C 4-3-1-0 133 3

 4 Lookin At Lucky 3-C 5-3-0-1 130 4

 5 Rachel Alexandra 4-F 4-2-2-0 113 5

 6 Blind Luck 3-F 7-5-1-1 87 7

 7 Paddy O' Prado 3-C 8-4-1-2 34 -

 8 Gio Ponti 5-H 6-2-3-0 24 6

 9 Proviso 5-M 4-3-1-0 22 9

 10 Life At Ten 3-F 4-4-0-0 20 -

LAZ : It's just a gut feeling and yes, if it is her, glad to see her back.  Not sure why she left in the first place.

25 Aug 2010 11:15 PM
Mike Relva

KAY

Funny how you always state you aren't Zenyatta,but you call her trainer a liar. I've got the million dollar question for you. Have you ever told a lie in your life? Cause I'm merely saying if your answer is no,you must be the only one in the world that never has!

25 Aug 2010 11:55 PM
Richard

One final comment about Zenyatta: Mike Smith has said repeatedly that he has never found the bottom of her ability. I would have to believe that and also believe that we will see something special and defining about her by season's end. We should stop thinking about her next race and start thinking about a field that will be loaded as present runners will allow for her last one.

25 Aug 2010 11:58 PM
Mike Relva

KAY

You wouldn't be by chance MARY IN VT. would you? You certainly write the same!!!!!!!

25 Aug 2010 11:58 PM
Mike Relva

LAZ

Thanks for your kind response. Your posts are always clever,insightful and to the point.

26 Aug 2010 12:01 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

livesoutwest

 I'm glad you mentioned it. You got that right-college football's system for determining the champion stinks to high heaven. Maybe the finalists for HOY should do the same thing that college football should do. Have a playoff. You would have already seen Rachel and Zenyatta racing against each other, and Zenyatta would have won and been HOY. Good idea. Glad you have your thinking cap on this time.

26 Aug 2010 12:10 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

LAZMANNICK

  The Apple Blossom is a heck of a race, and Zenyatta traveled all the way out there to win it twice. Did you notice that you couldn't even see her breathing after the last win there? No wonder she said right after the race, "I sure like this dirt. It's a lot easier to run on. Piece of cake. Not too fond of airplane food but the surface is phenominal. How does anyone ever lose on this stuff? Can I go workout now?"

26 Aug 2010 12:15 AM
John

Jason,

...she will always be thought of a as a good horse, not a great horse."

Jason, now there you go again.

By whom, Jason?

You amd maybe a handful of disappointed east coast turf writers with perhaps a scattering of the most bitter of Rachel Alexandra fans.

She has already been voted the greatest American female racehorse in the last fifty years by the readers of this site, Bloodhorse.

The Daily Racing Form also a similiar poll and Zenyatta again won by a landslide over Ruffian, Personal Ensign, Azeri, Lady's Secret, and Rachel Alexandra.

Further, both Racing International and Jon White of HRTV says if she wins out her last two races she will and should break the glass ceiling for female racehorses and enter into the top ten of all time American thoroughbreds.

Did I also mention to you that Eclipse Award winning journalist Joe Drape of the New York Times has called Zenyatta the perfect racehores, and Claire Novak of ESPN.com has called her The Horse of the Century.

Jason, with regard to Zenyatta's all time greatness - the train has already left the station.

And you missed it.

26 Aug 2010 12:15 AM
Livesoutwest

Well if you feel the subject is exhausted Lazmannick, you can stop replying.  I'm assuming no one's holding a gun to your head.

First, I will agree with you (shocker) that Blame was nowhere near Zenyatta's class last year.  I don't think he could have beaten her on any surface.  Zenyatta reached her absolute peak in last year's Classic and nothing on dirt or synthetics could have touched her.  And Blame wasn't close to her league.  It's also true that at one point as you say, Regal Ransom was better than him.  But that was then and this is now.

This year, Zenyatta may still be at that peak.  I can't tell until she faces something that will make her work.  The races against St. Trinians and Rinterval aren't true gauges.  She could have won either by more if Mike Smith had ridden her more aggressively.

Blame has drastically improved.  But I'm not convinced he's in Zenyatta's class yet.  The slow Foster time tells me he's not a world-beater.  He hasn't proven to me yet that he could handle Zenyatta.

As for Rachel, she's "still building her resume" means she's building it now.  She hasn't done enough to even be in the HOY conversation at this point.  But win two G1's on top of the Fleur De Lis and Lady's Secret and the 2nd in the La Troienne and she at least moves into consideration.  If the 2nd G1 happened to be a win over Blame, she would move to the front of the pack, right behind Zenyatta.  

And Life At Ten is at least the third best older female in the country right now.  She's won a G1 plus a $750,000 G2 that's triple the purse of the G1 Ruffian, Vanity or Zenyatta Stakes and is on the verge of becoming a G1, I'm guessing as soon as next year.  I don't agree with your comparison of her to St. Trinians or Rinterval for that matter, neither of whom has ever won a G1 or anything close to a $750,000 race. I think LAT is a class above them and would give Zenyatta a tough target to catch.  She is easily the toughest female RA has ever had to face.

As for Careless Jewel, I don't think she's coming back this year anyway, but Cushion Track is totally different than Pro Ride.  Those who expect similar results because they're both synthetics don't have a good grasp of how these tracks really play.  As for Life Is Sweet, keep in mind that she was the ultimate Pro Ride specialist and was no more than an allowance winner on any other surface (look it up if you don't believe me).

But bottom line here is I'm going to assume Zenyatta is still the best horse until she shows me she's not.  But championships are built over a whole season.  Becuase there have been so few head-to-head matchups between top horses this year, that makes the season a short one.  In Zenyatta's case she only gets one race against top competitors to get the job done.  Hope it's enough.

26 Aug 2010 8:28 AM
Billy's Empire

Jayjay, are you really trying to say that the Met Mile was an easy race? Really?

Kay, If I was a HOY voter and saw all of those facts I listed but not a horses name next to it, the decision would be fairly easy. It is just tough for the Zenyatta fans to see b/c you are blinded by the fact that she is undefeated. I give the mare all the credit in the world for her record, and I am not asking for a world tour, but her connections need to grow a pair. Keeping her hidden in California, running in glorified grade 1's against MSW and allowance level horses is a joke. RUNNING her in a race named after her is a JOKE. FANS just want more that 1 ambitious race per year. It is not a hard concept to figure out. The excuses are flying out of that barn now like I have never seen.

For the last time, horses don't ship WEST b/c the purses and tracks are terrible. If the tracks were good, they would not be changing Santa Anita, and Baffert would not be complaining about Del Mar. Sherriff's would not have to make a last second decision on whether to run on a track with his champion b/c the surface is horrible. Who wants to ship to Cali to be handcuffed to synthetic tracks?

I will end with this. IF Zenyatta ships to CD, to run on dirt, her preferred surface, and loses, her connections and campign will be questioned for a long time. I know the "FANS" won't give a damn, but the historians will. There will always be the thought that she is a synthetic champion.

For all of you, and me, I would like to see her win so we can end this tiresome never ending debate. B/C if she loses, Jason is going to have a field day, and a huge pay day.....

26 Aug 2010 8:55 AM
Jason Shandler

lol John. Claire is 24. Im glad she's the authority on Horse of the Century.

She is the Horse of the Century in California. No disagreement there.

26 Aug 2010 8:57 AM
sodapopkid

Dr.Drumkenbum, Loved your post about Zenyatta after the AB. and you are correct.

Excuse me, Jason,  But Zenyata isnt considered just the Horse of California,  I live in the east and she is my horse of the year, state, country,  Now, I have other favorites too, I just think Zenyata is that EXTRA special horse that we will only see once in a lifetime....

I say it again,   I live in the East, but there sure isnt any East Coast bias here.    

ZENYATTA FOR PRESIDENT IN 2012!!!

26 Aug 2010 9:16 AM
Leon

Kay:

The Vanity was on June 12, the HGC was on July 10.

They chose to give their spent & dehydrated horse LESS time between races, to run for LESS money & recognition. They also preferred to van her to a track not even her trainer likes (while using a 2-year old to "test" how the track was...now THAT's putting the horse first) to give her another race for LESS money & recognition. So their spent & dehydrated horse had to run TWICE for less money while travelling to run on a questionable track, when she could have run at home just ONCE for more.

They can say all they want about putting the horse "first", but their actions speak louder than words.

26 Aug 2010 9:33 AM
Leon

Kay:

I understand it is not wise to ship all over the place while facing the boys at 10F 7-8 times a year.

Zen has already proven she can beat fillies and mares all the time, while having fun with them. So they will face boys just ONCE all year? Not even at home?...Well, that's good enough for just about any filly, but not for Zenyatta...If you want to call her the best of all time...especially when there is another filly who set the standard the SAME year, when she defeated boys 3 times, all of them in G1 races, while shipping to 7 different tracks.

The BCC IS the most important race of the year, but showing you can beat REAL competition more than once every 12 months is what horse racing is about, if you want to be mentioned in the same breath with Dr. Fager, Damascus, Forego, John Henry & others.

26 Aug 2010 9:58 AM
Leon

Kay:

One more thing. I don't bash Zenyatta. Never. She is great, and I don't miss any of her races on TV.

I bash her connections. Always. They need to grow a pair. She deserves it.

26 Aug 2010 10:03 AM
LAZMANNICK

Livesoutwest

Someone's holding a gun to my head......

A good point about Zenyatta being at her absolute best in last year’s BCC, especially after running all those so called tin can races leading up to it.  Could it be that her dirty rotten liar of a trainer who doesn’t trust anyone to look after his horses even when he goes to the bathroom, and who is so gutless…….could it be that maybe, just maybe, he knows how to bring a horse up to its absolute peak and when the race is over doesn’t have to go to his book of excuses?  What he then has to prepare himself for are further criticisms and reasons why all the others were up the track, everything from the track surface to problems during the race, to being injured, to being over the top or just didn’t run their race today or the jockey didn’t ride him properly.  Could it be that a man who won double BC races last year and a BC race the year before, has never been accused of using a needle or a syringe, just happens to know what he is doing and if he makes a statement about his horse being quirky that maybe he is actually telling the truth?

Regarding Blame (a horse I have always thought was the best in his division going back to early in the year) here is also a thought.  He has improved in every race for sure.  The slow Foster time means absolutely NOTHING.  The proof was his step up victory in the Whitney.  Competition is where it’s at, not the times.  The better horses in the Foster were arguably as good as the better horses in the Met Mile, maybe even better.  However, in each of Blame’s last two races he was fully extended as in I don’t think there was anything left.  In Zenyatta’s last couple she was stretched, but we all know just by looking at her that there was one hell of a lot more left.  Her last race I think she measured the finish line herself.  If you look closely at it, it appears that she gave an extra little spurt about 20 yards from the wire, on her own, just to make sure she got there.

Because a purse is $750K it makes the competitors in the race more important?  It sounds like that is what you are trying to say.  I guess then that the million dollar Pacific Classic is going to be the most important race now over the next few weeks then.

Before you trash St. Trinians again…..are you forgetting that she completely humbled Life is Sweet earlier this year while that one was at the top of her game coming off a win in the Distaff?  LIS the so called ultimate Pro Ride specialist was defeated handily on the Pro Ride.  You think LAT is above them and would give Zen a tough battle to catch her.  I remember the Sixty Sales Hdcp at Hawthorne.  Jessica is Back gave her, her toughest race all year and she only got up in the final strides and she was all out.  Jessica has since won a G1, a cheesy one at Calder at 6F.  This after having run in several claiming races during her career.  Do you think Jessica would be a worry to Zen?

Careless Jewel has foot issues that keep on recurring and might not ever come back, but even if she did and was at the top of her game, your assumption that she would give Zen a tough race is laughable.  Look closely at her record.  What stalwart horses did she ever defeat?  Her greatest victory was over Milwaukee Brew, the same Milwaukee Brew that will be in the PE and with the only chance to upset if Rachel and LAT go at each other.  Milwaukee Brew has had a lot of chances.  She is not a top drawer filly and even if she did win this weekend it wouldn’t be because she was better, it would be based on the other’s mistakes.

Rachel.  I completely agree that this is an important race, but for HOY aspirations the race is void of top competition.  Only two good horses are in it.  It can only be used as a building block.  If she wins fine, but she must also win another G1 and then the BCC.  If she did that against the top competitors, I wouldn’t be upset if she was voted HOY.

26 Aug 2010 10:42 AM
LAZMANNICK

Mike Relva

I think you're making a mistake in the way you are judging Kay.  She's one of the top Zen supporters and I think that maybe she was trying to be sarcastic when she made her remarks, or maybe she wss paraphrasing someone else's statement.  She definitely could never be mistaken for Mary in VT.

26 Aug 2010 10:45 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

How anyone can call an honorable man, one of the most decent men in the game a liar is beyond my comprehension. John Shirreffs is a great man and trainer. If you go around calling everyone that changes their mind about something a liar, I'd hate to see what your face looks like from getting thumped all the time. Cat Thief, Arcangues, Alphabet Soup, Volponi are all champions. Cat Thief was in the money in 16 Graded Stakes, and won the Classic. I think all won the Classic, and are the Champion for the year they did so. sodapopkid, thanks for your nice words.

26 Aug 2010 10:56 AM
Mike Relva

LAZMANNICK

I'm sorry and NOW see your point.

I hadn't been paying attention.

26 Aug 2010 11:06 AM
LAZMANNICK

Livesoutwest

Life is Sweet ran exactly one race on dirt, her first and it was a disaster.  The next phaze of her career was turf.  She ran fairly well on it and in 5 starts had 2 wins and 2 seconds including a G2 second and an ulisted stakes 2nd.  All of her other wins were on the Pro Ride.  She might have had wins at Delmar and Hollywood except that she had to run against Zenyatta.   I would like to have seen her try a few more races on turf but then she was with Mott, a top turf trainer at that time and if Sherriff didn't race her on turf anymore then maybe they think that she wasn't going to get any better on it and kept her on synthetics.  I agree, the Pro Ride surrface was her best.

26 Aug 2010 11:10 AM
sodapopkid

but showing you can beat REAL competition more than once every 12 months is what horse racing is about,

Re:  Yeah,  So why is the 2009 HOTY running in her first grade 1 race almost 12 months to the day she ran in her last grade 1 race.

Speaking of running in good competion only once a year.

26 Aug 2010 11:18 AM
Mike Relva

JASON

One other thing I wish you would answer. How do you spin the obvious fact that so many great trainers and writers declare Zenyatta truly a great,not good horse? It's not as if I'm lying when I've stated this. Jim Cassidy believes Zenyatta is in the same league as Ruffian for example. Can you say I'm making this up? What about the fact last yr Zenyatta was voted by Sports Illustrated in second place behind S. Williams as female athlete of the year? Question? Why would any trainer empty the tank now when the Classic is coming? What sense would that make? There's no question her place in history is safe and I'll bet we will never see a horse that's currently 18-0.

26 Aug 2010 11:24 AM
Mike Relva

JOHN

Great post and I agree.

26 Aug 2010 11:31 AM
LAZMANNICK

Mike Relva

I wonder where Mary of VT is.  I haven't seen her post in ages.  Maybe she's changed her name.  Shoot me an e-mail when you get a chance.

26 Aug 2010 11:56 AM
John

Jason,

Further, Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith rode Azeri, one of only three female HOY's, in fifteen wins out of eighteen races.

Mike Smith says Zenyatta is by far a greater racehorse than Azeri ever was.

Mike Smith also rode Holy Bull, the 1994 HOY, in all but one of his races.

Mike Smith says Zenyatta is by far a greater racehorse than Holy Bull ever was.

Mike Smith even rode the 1998 HOY Skip Away (#32 in the all time Bloodhorse list).

Mike Smith say Zenyatta is by far a greater racehorse than Skip Away ever was.

Taken from a  Hall of Fame jockey that is a close to any horse possible-this speaks volumes.

26 Aug 2010 12:05 PM
sodapopkid

John,  I love what you are posting,   I think Mike Smith would certainly know more than any of us what he is talking about...

AGREE, 100%

26 Aug 2010 12:12 PM
Jason Shandler

Comparing Zenyatta to Skip Away is silly. Just silly. Smith rode Skip Away once. You think he is a little more attached to Zenyatta? Use your brain John. Zenyatta isnt in the same league as Skip Away. Not in the same ballpark.

26 Aug 2010 12:15 PM
LAZMANNICK

John

Great post.  Skip Away aside......at least we know that Zenyatta is better than HOY and HOF Azeri and Holly Bull.

26 Aug 2010 12:24 PM
LAZMANNICK

Livesoutwest

If you're reading my post you know I meant Milwaukee Appeal and not Milwaukee Brew, her sire......I guess when someone is holding a gun to your head it makes you say strange things like when I agreed that Life is Sweet's favorite surface appears to be the Pro Ride (I almost choked on that one).

26 Aug 2010 12:42 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Who's the better judge of a horse's talent, the rider or the writer? Interesting question? Or is it obvious??? Maybe not. Both could have their own bias.

26 Aug 2010 1:05 PM
Jason Shandler

The writer is objective.

26 Aug 2010 1:09 PM
Kay

Livesoutwest:

“And like it or not, agree with it or not, regardless of how little she's done so far this year, horseracing's defending champion is Rachel Alexandra.”

Um… weren’t you the person who said that we start 2010 with a clean slate? Maybe I think that because above, you said:

“And we're talking about the championships for this year.  Are you going to spot the Yankees two games in the World Series because they won it last year?  Do you understand how professional sports work?  It's a new season, and the championships are decided based on what's accomplished THIS year.  It's not a like giving a career achievement award to Meryl Streep at the Oscars.”

Mike:

“Funny how you always state you aren't Zenyatta,but you call her trainer a liar. I've got the million dollar question for you. Have you ever told a lie in your life? Cause I'm merely saying if your answer is no,you must be the only one in the world that never has!”

I certainly did NOT call John Shirreffs a liar! I was quoting Livesoutwest, who repeatedly does that.

“You wouldn't be by chance MARY IN VT. would you? You certainly write the same!!!!!!!”

Nope. We are separate.

Richard:

“One final comment about Zenyatta: Mike Smith has said repeatedly that he has never found the bottom of her ability. I would have to believe that and also believe that we will see something special and defining about her by season's end. We should stop thinking about her next race and start thinking about a field that will be loaded as present runners will allow for her last one.”

And that’s what people are missing with her. It’s pretty obvious that she hasn’t been fully extended yet. Even in the BC Classic, she gets the lead pretty easily and then those ears go up. I’ve never seen her flatten her ears or stick her neck out, or level out and have to really run. When she gets to the horse in front, she just has these few really powerful jumps and then she’s at the wire. It’s pretty remarkable, but if people are focused on times and margins and speed figures, then I can see how they’d over look HOW she’s winning these races.

Billy:

“Kay, If I was a HOY voter and saw all of those facts I listed but not a horses name next to it, the decision would be fairly easy. It is just tough for the Zenyatta fans to see b/c you are blinded by the fact that she is undefeated.”

The facts still stand – people DID vote for Zenyatta for HOTY. So you can try all you want to turn the award into something objective but the FACT is, it is subjective. You would have voted for Rachel. Awesome. That doesn’t suddenly make it objective. Get it?

Leon:

“The Vanity was on June 12, the HGC was on July 10.

They chose to give their spent & dehydrated horse LESS time between races, to run for LESS money & recognition. They also preferred to van her to a track not even her trainer likes (while using a 2-year old to "test" how the track was...now THAT's putting the horse first) to give her another race for LESS money & recognition. So their spent & dehydrated horse had to run TWICE for less money while travelling to run on a questionable track, when she could have run at home just ONCE for more.”

You still don’t get it. I’ll speak slowly. So she comes back from Oaklawn. She’s dehydrated and she’s lost weight. She needs time, which she gets – almost two months from the time of the Oaklawn race to the Vanity. But she’s not training very seriously. Now, they didn’t take out a press release to tell people, but everybody knew what was going on with her. So they can’t get the weight back on and get her super-fit to fire big in her next start. When she runs in the Vanity, it’s obvious that she needs the race. That race moves her forward. Then, she can actually TRAIN for the Hirsch. She puts the weight back on and muscles up. So the two months between the Vanity and the Hirsch see her getting obvious fitness from her works and gallops.

What YOU wanted her to do was to come back from Oaklawn, spend THREE months instead of four (plus a fitness race) to try and get her fit and then run her 10F against males? And then what, wait THREE months until the Lady’s Secret, while dropping drastically in distance? She really needed the Vanity. It got her physically back to where she needed to be, and mentally as well. She trained much better for the Hirsch. So what you want to do is put her completely behind the 8-ball and then ask her to defeat males at 10F in the middle of the year, when the real goal is the Classic in November. That’s an enormous risk. Because that way, you only have two races to work with. So if you train a horse who needs races to get mentally and physically fit, then you are an idiot for doing that.

Laz:

“A good point about Zenyatta being at her absolute best in last year’s BCC, especially after running all those so called tin can races leading up to it.  Could it be that her dirty rotten liar of a trainer who doesn’t trust anyone to look after his horses even when he goes to the bathroom, and who is so gutless…….could it be that maybe, just maybe, he knows how to bring a horse up to its absolute peak and when the race is over doesn’t have to go to his book of excuses?  What he then has to prepare himself for are further criticisms and reasons why all the others were up the track, everything from the track surface to problems during the race, to being injured, to being over the top or just didn’t run their race today or the jockey didn’t ride him properly.  Could it be that a man who won double BC races last year and a BC race the year before, has never been accused of using a needle or a syringe, just happens to know what he is doing and if he makes a statement about his horse being quirky that maybe he is actually telling the truth?”

Yes. THAT.

Mike:

“One other thing I wish you would answer. How do you spin the obvious fact that so many great trainers and writers declare Zenyatta truly a great,not good horse? It's not as if I'm lying when I've stated this. Jim Cassidy believes Zenyatta is in the same league as Ruffian for example. Can you say I'm making this up? What about the fact last yr Zenyatta was voted by Sports Illustrated in second place behind S. Williams as female athlete of the year? Question? Why would any trainer empty the tank now when the Classic is coming? What sense would that make? There's no question her place in history is safe and I'll bet we will never see a horse that's currently 18-0.”

You can keep saying it over and over but it seems to fall on deaf ears (g). I’ve been amazed at how many horsemen are in awe of her, and to me, that speaks volumes. To hear Bob Baffert gush over her, Ron Ellis, any of these guys, it’s something. The Euro trainers and riders after the Classic just bowed to her. They knew what they had seen. They act like little kids and all they want to do is be around her. Someone posted a YouTube video of her coming to the paddock for the Hirsch and as she makes her way from her barn, all you see are trainers, hotwalkers and grooms lined up taking pictures of her. They are simply gobsmacked. I think it’s fantastic.

26 Aug 2010 1:20 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Good one Jason !!

26 Aug 2010 1:34 PM
Mike Relva

KAY

This one is on me and I'm sorry. My mistake didn't read it clearly.

26 Aug 2010 1:35 PM
Mike Relva

JASON

Jim Cassidy(who should know) puts Zenyatta in the same league as Ruffian. Do you agree or disagree? I'm asking since Cassidy was with Ruffian. He should have an idea,right?

26 Aug 2010 1:45 PM
Jason Shandler

I have no problem putting her in the same categoty as some of the best fillies ever, but dont try to sell me on putting her in the top 50 of all-time.

26 Aug 2010 1:47 PM
Mike Relva

I think Zenyatta is the best horse in the country at this moment!

26 Aug 2010 1:50 PM
Livesoutwest

Not even in the top 50, Jason?  I think Zenyatta was the best horse in training for all of 2009, not just the best female and still is in 2010 until proven otherwise.  Maybe that doesn't translate into the best horse since Secretariat, but not even top 50?  I think you're underrating her quite a bit.

Kay,

Yes, Rachel Alexandra is the defending champion, just like the Yankees are the defending champion of baseball.  The term refers to the horse that won it last year.  It has no effect on who the  eventual champion will be this year.  It would be nice if horseracing's championship was decided by a playoff system and not a vote, because I think Zenyatta would have emerged on top last year, but we have what we have.  But keep trying to catch me in contradictions if you want to. I'm not going to make it easy on you though.

26 Aug 2010 2:05 PM
Draynay

Mike, you believe Zenyatta is the best horse in the country on dirt? Really?  I assume you believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny too?  Slowyatta post a 84 Beyer and you think she is a top horse? Funny.

26 Aug 2010 2:06 PM
Livesoutwest

Sorry Dr. D, but you're misstating the facts.  Horseracing's US champions have been determined by the Eclipse awards since 1971, when DRF, TRA & the National Turf Writers Association all merged their separate awards into one agreed-upon championship.

What that means is Arcangues was not the champion of 1993, it was Kotashaan.  Alphabet Soup was not the champion of 1996, it was Cigar.

Cat Thief was not the champion of 1999 it was Charismatic.  Volponi was not the champion of 2002, it was Azeri.  The voters made the determination that other horses had accomplished more throughout those years, enough which outweighed winning horseracing's biggest race.

And like it or not, that's what happened last year.

26 Aug 2010 2:22 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I don't think any Zenyatta fan who has been really listening to you would try to sell you anything positive to do with Zenyatta. You've already shown that you're a Zenyatta Tight Wad. Are you saying that there is no female race horse in history in the Top 50? If that isn't what you're saying then which female would you put in the top fifty? Objectively speaking of course. Or not.

26 Aug 2010 2:25 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Kay

  It is fantastic, and especially all of the top trainers that have trained fabulous horses who are goo-goo eyed over how talented Zenyatta is. Some people get it, the lucky ones. Pity the poor souls that are blind to the magnificience of this astonishingly talented creature. I'd like to take her out for dinner, dancing and a movie. I'm sure she could teach me a thing or two on the dance floor.

26 Aug 2010 2:29 PM
My Juliet

   Only 3 more days until the Champ returns to race at Historic Saratoga.                               Rachel's campaign so far might not look like what is expected of reigning HOTY. What is important is to consider the condition this horse was in after the Woodward last yr. Returning to training only late Jan, she was not at 100% physically even during the first 2 races back. So the Fleur de Lis was her actual return to @100% fitness level. That wasn't until June. Steve commented that last yr he received this filly 4 days after her Oaks win, just 10 days from a classic race against colts. How this year would be, and needed to be different. I did think her next race would be tougher but the Lady's Secret was next with another impressive win, and here we are looking at the Gr1 Personal Ensign at a mile 1/4. It was mentioned a full month ago RA would be pointed to this, proving they are not 'ducking' any horse. Also to the delight of her many fans who could make arrangements to see her.  

26 Aug 2010 2:46 PM
LAZMANNICK

None of the BCC winners in 1993, 1996, 1999 and 2002 deserved to be HOY just because they won the BCC.  Three of them were ridiculous longshots and each horse that did win HOY won it deservedly because they had better records.

This year, because of the way it is shaping up,no horse is way in front of the others and if they race their planned schedules and win out, then they will all enter the BCC with a huge chance of winning HOY if they win that race.  This is definitely one year that the BCC should determine HOY.

26 Aug 2010 2:48 PM
LAZMANNICK

Dr Drunkinbum

And I bet she wouldn't step on your toes.

26 Aug 2010 2:50 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

If Secretariat would have won The Belmont on synthetics his Beyer would have been 101. Beyers don't count for synthetics because they are way off. That is why so many Beyer enthusiasts are losing their shirts and pants when they bet against California horses shipping east. With the dirt returning to SA, at least those Beyers should be in the ballpark again. It's going to be the best Triple Crown in years in 2011. SA has major preps and we will now be able to decipher performances relevance for The Derby a little better now for horses prepping at SA. I fervently hope that they install a safe track, not a souped up speed favoring hard track for faster times. That would be disasterous. Steve Haskin called Oaklawn, Saratoga, Churchill Downs, Tampa Bay, and Calder safe, well maintained dirt tracks. Isn't it interesting that he left Gulfstream off of that list. Numerous complaints were made by trainers of Gulfstream being too hard at times. Where did the fastest times come from?-Gulfstream, but to the detriment of horses's health? I don't know the stats, but hard surfaces are bad.

26 Aug 2010 2:53 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

Fair question. One thing I do believe,after she wins the Classic you will find every spin you can to not give her credit.

26 Aug 2010 2:57 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

livesoutwest

   Those horses were VOTED the top Eclipse award. That is all you can say. You could call them The Champion if you want and I won't argue, but it doesn't mean that any horse that did get the most votes isn't A champion race horse. Maybe it's a semantics problem and no horse that doesn't win the Eclipse Award can be called a champion. Maybe I don't know the rules of expression of a horse's talent or achievements. I'll try to look it up on Google.

26 Aug 2010 3:00 PM
sodapopkid

You're right, Kay,   I wouldnt want a horse to get spent now when they are headed to the Classic in November.   Why make a horse run in a mile and a quarter race now, when they dont need to tire themselves out so soon on that distance....Pity the fools....

John Sherreffs knows what he is doing .  It doesnt look like he has made any mistakes yet with Zenyatta.  She will be fit as a daisy for the Breeders Cup Classic.

26 Aug 2010 3:09 PM
Jason Shandler

Of course she'll be fit, she hasnt gone anywhere.

26 Aug 2010 3:13 PM
LAZMANNICK

Sodapopkid.

Great point about being fit and the 10 seconds it took for Jason to AGREE WITH YOU.

Being fit isn't going to be her concern.  Her age is.  She'll be close to seven (the age when most of the stallions in this race will be working on their second or third crops).  She is also a little more cantankerous, a little more bossy.  Hopefully she'll be in thr right frame of mind, free from any aches and pains and in her usual condescending BUTT KICKING MODE.

26 Aug 2010 3:21 PM
My Juliet

   Sodapopkid,

      With your philosophy, no horse should run in a mile 1/4 race during the year, only during the BC? So the NTRA should do away with those races, or the owners, trainers, horses would be fools?

26 Aug 2010 3:23 PM
Livesoutwest

Hey Lazmannick, you finally said something I have zero argument with.  

The only debate will be if there's another Argangues/Volponi-like upset in the BC Classic.  Because there is no dominant turf horse this year like Kotashaan, or even like Gio Ponti last year.  There is no dominant two-year old, like Favorite Trick.  Would it go to the SECOND place finisher in the Classic?  Would it go to the horse with the most G1 wins before the BC (Zenyatta)?  Would it go to the horse that beat the toughest competition?  (So far, Blame)  Or the horse that was most dominant in his/her own division?  (Could be Blind Luck, especially if she wins the Ladies Classic.)

26 Aug 2010 3:24 PM
Jason Shandler

My Juliet: You dont understand, Sodapop doesnt watch or care about other races. Only the races that Zenyatta runs in matter. She is the only reason horse racing exits. Dont you know that by now?

26 Aug 2010 3:34 PM
LAZMANNICK

Livesoutwest

If that happened then Blind Luck.  Here is a classic example of the good side of horse racing.  A horse that started in claimers, worked her way up, travels all over the place, takes on all comers, wins at different distance and at a lot of different tracks, and her division has some depth to it.  If she wins out and the others falter, definitely.  In fact even if they win out she would still have to be strongly considered.  It's supposed to be all about the body of work also. If favorite Trick could win it, so could she.  I wouldn't complain, not in the least.

26 Aug 2010 3:45 PM
My Juliet

    Sodapop, I know you're GaGa over Big Z by your comments.

    Jason, what is your expert opinion on this. A lot has been ment'd @Blame being better than Quality Rd after the Whitney. Since Quality Rd carried 5lbs more and only got beat a slim margin, doesn't that make him the better horse still.(If both had equal wt, or QR had even 1-2 lbs less, QR wins that race)

26 Aug 2010 4:02 PM
Jason Shandler

My Juliet: They are both superb horses with different running styles. I do think the 5 pounds made the difference in that particular race. I cant wait to see them face one another again. I wish it was in the JCGC but is looks like QR will sit that one out and wait for BC. We'll just have to wait until then.

26 Aug 2010 4:15 PM
LAZMANNICK

I can't wait either as in BCC....see which one will get second.  Actually second and third place money is pretty good in that race.

26 Aug 2010 4:32 PM
sodapopkid

Excuse me, Mr. Shandler,  but I beg to differ with you.

Every weekend and I have my own special room were I go to to watch Saturday's and Sunday's horseracing.      I get on the website to find out what time they are going to start up so I wont miss them.    I get TVG, I watch all the time.  not much during the week unless somehthing special is coming on like a Friday or MOnday race.  

I will be "tuned" in to the tv this week to see all the races on Saturday,  and I will be watching the  PE on Sunday on TVG.  IF I cant get to watch them , I look to see who won them on the websites,  BH, NTRA, TBTIMES, DRF.COM,  

So, yes, I do watch more than just races Zen is in, Although, she is my favorite.  I love horse racing even if Zen isnt in them..........What kind of a sport would I be, if I can only watch Zen run,  I love horse racing to much to not watch them all( when I can.).

I am more "intuned" to horse racing than you think apparently. lol..

26 Aug 2010 4:43 PM
sodapopkid

My Juliet,  Jason just let the cat out of the bag, That was a top-rated secret held in honor by the C.I.A,  the secret is now out, Its true,  ZENYATTA IS THE REASON HORSE RACING EXISTS.....lol.

Jason has exposed the truth...

26 Aug 2010 4:47 PM
sodapopkid

Juliet,   I wouldnt be running a horse in a 1 1/4 race so close to the BCC if I am shooting for the classic.   Too much Too soon,  If I were, I wouldn have ran them in that distance much earlier in the season.

I agree with J.Sherriffs about not running in that distance until in Nov.

26 Aug 2010 4:52 PM
sodapopkid

Lazmannick,  Yes,  Her age will be of concern.  I just want whats best for her.  I still believe, she can handle the boys and take them down.  

Then Jason has to pay up big time,  all them bets he will have accumulated when he said she couldnt/wouldnt do it..lol

26 Aug 2010 4:59 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Lazmannick, sodapop

  I don't know if her age will be of concern. She's in good hands, being properly managed. And look at George Blanda, Tom Watson, George Foreman. She should be able to handle those young whippersnappers. I'll let you know how the date turns out. It's a definite maybe. She has to get permission.

26 Aug 2010 5:54 PM
Mike Relva

JASON

I had ZERO problem giving you the entire field against Zenyatta. When you're on the right horse it's not a consequence. lol

26 Aug 2010 6:03 PM
Footlick

Even though it won't happen, I'd rather see her prep in the Goodwood.  They know she can run 10 furlongs, so I don't think they feel the need to run her at that distance.  But the Goodwood would be nice.

26 Aug 2010 6:08 PM
Richard

Jason: Again, the RECORD matters. Zen remains undefeated, apparently much to your irritation. The only reasons she should not be compared to Skippy are: 1) they are of a different era, and you cannot compare Jack Johnson with Muhammad Ali with validity; and, 2) more importantly, they can never meet. But you are so annoyed with Zen that you are forgetting the greatest fun of horseracing as a sport - and I again fall back on the boxing analogy - is the comparison that can never be a reality. Zen can be compared with ANY champion because, like it or not, Jason, she is currently an undefeated champion. As for S-A-R-A-T-O-G-A, why ship her other than to make you happy? It would not help her WIN, the only goal that matters. As for facing males, the last horse I saw do that to satisfy the vanity of writers was a nice filly named Ruffian. Men and women are different. So are stallions and mares. Have a good life, Zen: you've got nothing to prove.

26 Aug 2010 6:39 PM
Leon

Sodapop:

So close to the Classic? The HGC was in July...!!!

Maybe 3-year olds should start skipping the triple crown races too...12F in June...That's too much of an effort so close to the Classic too...Blind Luck should have never ran in the Alabama...Imagine...10F in August...And all those owners

that entered their 3-year olds in that little million-dollar race at Saratoga on Saturday must be out of their minds...

Kay:

You can spin it all you want. A horse that is spent and dehydrated does not need a race, it needs time off. Their strategy has been EXACTLY the same for 3 years, whethe she was on top of her game or not.

They don't want to face males before the BCC, because they are afraid it will throw off her form. Period.  

No guts.

26 Aug 2010 8:26 PM
Leon

My Juliet:

It is not Sodapop's philosophy. He's only borrowing it from a well-known owner-trainer team.

26 Aug 2010 8:31 PM
sodapopkid

NAPO-Leon,  Who are you speaking of RA or Zenyatta?

26 Aug 2010 9:48 PM
jayjay

Mike Relva / Dr. Drunkinbum : KAY never called Shireffs a liar.  She was quoting livesoutwest.  That's how she replies with her comments.  I think KAY was the one that said Shireffs should've won the Eclipse award last year for trainer.  She's a big big fan of Shireffs, as I am.

26 Aug 2010 9:55 PM
LAZMANNICK

Of all the strategizers that pointed towards the BCC in 2009, some coming from across the land, a few even crossing the Atlantic, at least we know of one that got it right......and boy did he ever.

26 Aug 2010 9:58 PM
jayjay

Billy Billy Billy :  Yes, the Met Mile was suppose to be the easier of the two (the other being the Foster) but you're right, that's right, I said you're right.  I should've said they picked that race because they THOUGHT it was an easy win but they didn't think about Musket Man.  I would say another 8th of a mile and MM may have caught him.

Mike R / Dr. Drunkimbum : Sorry for my previous post, replied too quickly without reading Kay and Laz's replies in which they already cleared about the "liar" stuff. :)

26 Aug 2010 10:13 PM
Mike Relva

LEON

When was Zenyatta"spent",explain that one to me.  You don't know much about racing,do you? Why don't you call Zenyatta's connections and give your "expert" advice,so they can tell you what you can do!

26 Aug 2010 10:17 PM
jayjay

Jason : What happened to QR being the "beast" of the east ?  Don't you remember that article you wrote just a few months ago ?  Now Blame is on his level, no longer a beast  eh?  Just like My Juliet said, he gave Blame 5 lbs and only got beat by a neck.  If you believe that 5lbs made a difference, why isn't he running and beating up Blame in the JCGC ?  I say he is ducking Blame, and you can't deny that fact.  In fact, Blame will probably give weight to him in the JCGC, no reason at all not to run in the JCGC except for the fact that they don't want to lose twice to the same horse this late in the game.

26 Aug 2010 10:23 PM
LAZMANNICK

Leon

You're too much.  Your fascination with Zenyatta facing males is through the roof.  How many fillies or mares have faced older males in a G1 route race on dirt or synthetics this year?  I'm waiting.  Other than St. Trinians in the SAH, how many others?  How about our reigning HOY.  She always seems to get a pass.  She got the hardware last year, why hasn't she been defending it in anything other than what she has raced in this year?  And don't mention the PE because that's a crock.  Exactly one serious contender all year.  What a great 2010 resume.  Why don't you rant on any of those other great fillies and mares other than Zenyatta?  Oh excuse me, you can't because there really aren't any.  Why don't you spin your crap on Quality Road who has raced exactly TWO TIMES since February?  Why don't you rant on some of the other trainers that won TWO BC races last year and three in two years?  OH excuse me, you can't because there aren't any.  Why don't you save your ranting until after the BC races or are you afraid that just maybe Zenyatta might win the BCC and then you'll have to stay up nights to think up a new rant?  Give them a break.  they don't owe you anything.

26 Aug 2010 11:31 PM
Livesoutwest

Jay Jay,

You are too much, dude.  Zenyatta skips the Big Cap, skips the Stephen Foster, skips the Gold Cup, skips the Pacific Classic, skips the Personal Ensign, skips the Beldame, skips the JCGC, basically skips anything where she would have to face another horse with a pulse and you're just fine with the Moss/Shirreffs excuses.

"We're not looking to climb the tallest mountain", "How many times do you want to ship across country?", "I'm not a good telephone trainer." Yada, yada, yada.  Okay, maybe technically Shirreffs didn't tell any bold-faced lies.  But when you come out and say you're strongly considering the Stephen Foster or the Beldame and then when the previous race is done and you're asked about plans for the next race and you abruptly pull back from statements you made before - well maybe it's not a lie, but you can call it whatever you want.

But regarding your statement about Quality Road, Todd Pletcher announced his plans for QR way back at the Belmont meet.  He told the racing world that Quality Road would run in the Whitney, run in the Woodward, and then train up to the Breeders Cup.  So how does that equate to ducking Blame???  If Albert Stall wants another piece of Quality Road, he's known where to find him for two months now.  For that matter, if Shirreffs wants to wants to take on Quality Road with Zenyatta, he also knows where to find him.

Where do you find Zenyatta?  I dunno, check with Shirreffs a couple of hours before the Clement Hirsch and see if he's made up his mind yet.  BTW, even if he wanted to, could Pletcher have entered Quality Road in the Hirsch?  Or the Vanity? Or the Santa Margarita? Or the Apple Blossom?  Or the upcoming Zenyatta Stakes?

Who's ducking who?

27 Aug 2010 2:20 AM
MonicaV

Leon,

Actually, I think Zenyatta raced several times in 2008.  I think it was 7 times?  Maybe 8.

27 Aug 2010 10:42 AM
LAZMANNICK

Livesoutwest

Read my following post:

LAZMANNICK 26 Aug 2010 11:31 PM

There should have been a post script to you.  Have a great day.

27 Aug 2010 10:58 AM
sodapopkid

Livesoutwest:

You are too much, dude.  Rachel skips the Apple Blossom, skips the Stephen Foster, skips the Gold Cup, skips the Pacific Classic, skips ,skips the Woodward, skips the JCGC, basically skips anything where she would have to face another horse with a pulse and you're just fine with the J.Jackson excuses.

Re:   If you fans can live with RA's skipping of all these,  Zen fans can too.  "Whats good for one is good for the other".

27 Aug 2010 11:25 AM
Mike Relva

LIVESOUTHWEST

You don't get it,do you? THE GOAL FROM DAY ONE IS THE CLASSIC. I don't have issues with them for ALWAYS doing right by her. You need to realize you aren't in this game,it's their decisions. You,like myself and others' are in the parking lot!

27 Aug 2010 12:10 PM
LAZMANNICK

Sodapopkid

That a boy.  Give it to them but good.

27 Aug 2010 12:37 PM
Kay

Mike:

“This one is on me and I'm sorry. My mistake didn't read it clearly.”

No problem! My posts are thousands of words long anyway (g).

Livesoutwest:

“Yes, Rachel Alexandra is the defending champion, just like the Yankees are the defending champion of baseball.  The term refers to the horse that won it last year.  It has no effect on who the  eventual champion will be this year.  It would be nice if horseracing's championship was decided by a playoff system and not a vote, because I think Zenyatta would have emerged on top last year, but we have what we have.  But keep trying to catch me in contradictions if you want to. I'm not going to make it easy on you though.”

Actually, you ARE. Because this is what you said:

“I said Super Saver & Ice Box are a lot better than anyone Zenyatta's beaten this year.  The original point of all this was that Lookin At Lucky has run a better campaign so far this year than any of the other HOY contenders. Of course Z beat better in last year's Classic, but 2009 is over, it's a new year, time to turn the page and focus on this year's championships.”

And now you’re on this whole “Rachel is the defending champion” tear. So which is it? Either there’s a clean slate, or there isn’t. If there is, then ther’s no need to mention last year. At all.

Also a correction:

“I would just love it if someone unexpected, say a Careless Jewel were to unexpectedly enter the Zenyatta Stakes and make Zenyatta work her tail off to win the race.  This is for her 19th consecutive victory and a tie for the legendary Eclipse's unbeaten record.”

She’s already tied Eclipse’s record.

Leon:

“You can spin it all you want. A horse that is spent and dehydrated does not need a race, it needs time off. Their strategy has been EXACTLY the same for 3 years, whethe she was on top of her game or not.

They don't want to face males before the BCC, because they are afraid it will throw off her form. Period.  

No guts.”

Genius. Look, prior to the Breeders Cup facing horses all year was important if you were concerned about championships. But the Breeders Cup has changed all of that. You obviously don’t know a thing about horses. Yes, Zenyatta DID need a race. It was called the Vanity. She hadn’t been working that great and she had lost weight and she needed the race. Based on her appearance in the months since, that was the right decision. She needed it, she moved forward, she put the weight on. What YOU are suggesting is that she waits another MONTH and then runs 10F against males, when she’s behind the 8-ball. That’s ridiculous. And you can’t tell me you’d do that with a horse of your own.  Sorry to break it to you, but their goal is the BC Classic and they are taking the path that will get them there with a fresh, fit horse. You know… like they did when they won the thing LAST year.

Livesoutwest:

You are definitely getting crankier!

“You are too much, dude.  Zenyatta skips the Big Cap, skips the Stephen Foster, skips the Gold Cup, skips the Pacific Classic, skips the Personal Ensign, skips the Beldame, skips the JCGC, basically skips anything where she would have to face another horse with a pulse and you're just fine with the Moss/Shirreffs excuses.

"We're not looking to climb the tallest mountain", "How many times do you want to ship across country?", "I'm not a good telephone trainer." Yada, yada, yada.  Okay, maybe technically Shirreffs didn't tell any bold-faced lies.  But when you come out and say you're strongly considering the Stephen Foster or the Beldame and then when the previous race is done and you're asked about plans for the next race and you abruptly pull back from statements you made before - well maybe it's not a lie, but you can call it whatever you want.”

First of all, it’s “bald-faced lies.” Secondly, if somebody says, “I’ll consider doing that” and then does something else, it’s fairly obvious that the person considered the other thing but decided against it. Now if the statement had been “We are going to do that for sure” and then the plans were changed for no apparent reason, well… then that’s a problem. But saying you’re going to consider something and then not doing it doesn’t make you a liar. It makes you rather thoughtful.

“But regarding your statement about Quality Road, Todd Pletcher announced his plans for QR way back at the Belmont meet.  He told the racing world that Quality Road would run in the Whitney, run in the Woodward, and then train up to the Breeders Cup.  So how does that equate to ducking Blame???  If Albert Stall wants another piece of Quality Road, he's known where to find him for two months now.  For that matter, if Shirreffs wants to wants to take on Quality Road with Zenyatta, he also knows where to find him.

Where do you find Zenyatta?  I dunno, check with Shirreffs a couple of hours before the Clement Hirsch and see if he's made up his mind yet.”

Wow. Really? So the fact that the Del Mar surface changes hourly doesn’t mean anything to you? Have you ever been around a racehorse? The MOST important thing is to keep Zenyatta safe. Timing wise, they HAD to make the Hirsch. However, if the track hadn’t been safe by the time of the race, they would have scratched her. Everybody who was there who was even remotely plugged in knew that was going on, that there was a very good chance Shirreffs would scratch her. But the track, which was a total disaster earlier in the day, was much safer later. I realize that you think this is some kind of a weird excuse, but it’s not. It’s called taking care of your horse. And are you REALLY calling out Shirreffs for not making up his mind while staying completely silent on Jess Jackson? Really?

“Who's ducking who?”

Nobody is ducking anybody. Every trainer is getting his horse ready for the Breeders Cup. That’s it. The time for gamesmanship is over. We’re two months out. It’s time to put the finishing touches on these horses. I guarantee you that Pletcher isn’t thinking about anything other than his horses. Asmussen is only thinking of Rachel. And Shirreffs is getting Zenyatta ready. That’s it, dude. Calm down.

27 Aug 2010 1:30 PM
Leon

I only "rant" vs Team Zenyatta because I'm having a difficult time keeping track of all their excuses...Zen's fans talk about her not facing males because it will throw her off her form, because they are only pointing at the BCC, because it is too close to the BCC, because she was spent & dehydrated after the AB, because she does not ship well, because of a sealed track, and because of everything else her team feeds the media.

I completely agree RA's 2010 schedule has been unworthy of a HOTY, but at least her excuse is obvious for everyone to see. She pursued one of the most aggressive campaign ever followed by a 3-year old filly, by defeating males 3 times in G1 stakes, in an undefeated 8-0 campaign, in a span of 6-7 months, while travelling to 7 different states.

That's 3 times more than Zenyatta's team has been willing to run vs them, in a campaign that spans 3 years and almost 20 races.

Zen's camp is the best proof of what RA accomplished last year. They know perfectly well the toll those races take on fillies & mares, and that's why they take the soft route...And yet, people still cry bias & foul when they talk about the reason Zenyatta lost the HOTY award in 2009.

I don't need to apologize for wanting to see the best vs the best MORE than once a year, and as you can see, I'm not the exception.

27 Aug 2010 1:55 PM
TradingPlaces

Monica,

I believed she raced 7 times.

27 Aug 2010 3:12 PM
Mike Relva

LAZMANNICK,SODAPOPKID

Good going!

27 Aug 2010 3:28 PM
Mike Relva

LEON

I also don't need to APOLOGIZE for supporting connections doing right by their horse,more owners' and trainers should. FYI,I never had any illusions that RA wouldn't win HOY last year. Knew her accomplishments were difficult to deny her. You'll have to wait till Nov to see her shipped, after the Classic you will wish she stayed in CA. lol

27 Aug 2010 3:50 PM
sodapopkid

napoLEON,  This is 2010, This is the very first grade 1 race RA is entering for this year, the hell with last year,  Zen won the BCC last year, but you dont want to keep comparing that to her this year, Right?  You cant, because unlike RA , Zen has come back without excuses,  she don't need to, why?  because she just wins, .  Zen never lost before the BCC and so far she hasnt lost after the BCC.   You throw stones at the champ because she is going for 19 straight, but you see RA ridiculous 2010 return as fine and dandy,     You want to give RA all the breaks and passes,  yet , Zen wins and runs in nothing but grade 1 races all season but you put her down because she doesnt ship well,   But yet, thats not a good a excuse as what RA has done or should I say ,not done.  

Considering the way RA has returned with 1000 excuses out of Jess Jacksons back pocket full of excuses, we are suppose to just acccept it, Right?   Wrong,  RA is four years old and Zen is six, big difference.   Zneyatta is great because she is managed correctly,  RA is not great because she has been not managed correctly.  

27 Aug 2010 4:22 PM
Leon

Sodapop,

My name is Leon. No need for name-calling.

I have called RA's 2010 campaign weak and unworthy of a HOTY. What else do you want? But, once again, the difference is she FACED males 3 TIMES. That's the new standard.

I never "throw stones" to Zenyatta, because I think she could run males down any day of the week, while Smith is reading the form...I also think she would be amazing on turf, because of that great kick of hers.

The stones are thrown to connections who settle for the easy, soft, no challenge, gut-less route. Zenyatta deserves better than that.

Steven Crist just posted this article on the DRF site:

www.drf.com/.../no-matter-what-rachel-alexandras-2009-set-stone

You probably won't like what he wrote, so you might not want to read it.

Mike Relva:

I will admire Zen if she wins the Classic, the same way I admire her every time she runs. I only wish she had connections who had a pair more than once a year.

27 Aug 2010 5:01 PM
Livesoutwest

Kay,

First, you're right about Eclipse.  The 19th win beats his record and ties Pepper's Pride's record.  I stand corrected.

I only brought up last year in response to this statement from Richard:  

Well, Jason, Zenyatta remains undefeated and, as in boxing, you have to defeat the champion to win the crown, and the champion usually chooses the venue.

And I wasn't willing to let it stand uncorrected (I'm funny that way)  Again, Zenyatta's not the champion and it's irrelevant that she's undefeated.  She COULD have been the champion two years ago.  She SHOULD have been the champion last year, when she was clearly the best horse.  But in the eyes of the voters, her pattycake schedule didn't make her as worthy of the award as the horses who won.

Zenyatta's a talented mare, but one thing she can't do is enter herself against tougher competition.  (Actually she tried, but Shirreffs caught her and took her pen away.  You can't slip anything past John, he's a sharp one.)

And yes, Shirreffs clearly cares about the horse, nobody can say that he doesn't. But if he and Moss wanted nothing but the best for her, he wouldn't have let her step within 100 miles of that embarrasing and hazardous excuse for a racing surface at Del Mar.  For your run-of-the-mill stock maybe, but not for Zenyatta.  Del Mar is Southern California's boutique meet and I just have the feeling it means too much to Moss to not have the opportunity to show off his prize mare to his well-to-do pals in the turf club.

27 Aug 2010 5:09 PM
Kay

Leon:

"Zen's camp is the best proof of what RA accomplished last year. They know perfectly well the toll those races take on fillies & mares, and that's why they take the soft route...And yet, people still cry bias & foul when they talk about the reason Zenyatta lost the HOTY award in 2009."

Here's the difference -- I don't. While I personally would have voted for Zenyatta had I gotten a vote, I had NO problem with Rachel being awarded HOTY. I don't know how many times I have to say that, although it's obvious that you detractors want to write your story a certain way and people not falling in line with your character development throws that off.

Think "excuses" all you want. I happen to not consider any of those things excuses. Difference.

And holy CRAP my posts are long. This one should be refreshing.

27 Aug 2010 5:59 PM
LAZMANNICK

Leon

What is Rachel's obvious excuse? Were at the end of the EIGHTH month of the year, 1 full year since the Woodward and her last G1.  What's the excuse.  If she's so ready to go now then why not the Woodward?

27 Aug 2010 6:06 PM
jayjay

SODAPOPKID : LOL, nice posts!  Thanks!

livesoutwest :  Just like you're questioning Zenyatta and your babble about her not facing the tough horses, it goes both ways.  If QR is that tough, regardless of what their plans WERE, the FANS have the right to see him run against the best and not DUCK them, isn't that what all you naysayers keep saying about Zen ??  All the east coasters and YOU who keep wanting Zenyatta to face the best, needs to be calling for QR to face Blame again to show that he is the best.  

What was that comment from Jason and others...the BCC is not the end all be all right ???  Why would he wait for that race, a race that they say don't really make a champion.  Now it's okay for QR to wait until the BCC to face his toughest opponent.  Call it what you want, he is ducking Blame.  JCGC is more prestigious than the Woodward IMO because it's at a classic distance.  If QR is going to go to the Classic, he needs to have at least ONE race at its distance.  You all call him the "beast", if that's true, he can run 2 10F back to back and win easily.  Summer Bird did it last year and beat the "beast" twice.  Some say, a horse gets better at age 4 so I don't really see any issues with him going after Blame in the JCGC, none, who's ducking who ?

Zenyatta's team have announced where they are going way ahead of the race they were pointing to.  Anyone can come to her if they want to race her.  Your comment about QR not being able to race in the female division races is dumb.  QR is not the best horse in the east, that's a FACT.  Why would Zenyatta go after him when he's not of any importance to their plan.  At this point, QR's chances of winning the Classic is close to nil, let alone running in it.  I will give it to him as being the best miler, but as far as the Classic, you have seen in the Whitney, when he faced a legit top horse, he couldn't sustain his lead.  He folded.  Whether it was the 5 lbs or he wasn't ready (even after a long rest), the fact is, he lost to Blame and at this point in time, common sense says he can't get the Classic distance.  Your double standard is laughable.

LEON : Your rants about Team Z is ridiculous simply because you obviously don't care about the facts.  If you are really an owner, then the things that Team Z "fed" the media should make sense to you.  You of all people should understand what it takes to put the horse first, not the race.  The fact that you are accepting JJ's excuses for taking care of RA this year because he ran her to the ground last year shows your bias.  You want to see Zenyatta pushed at the age of 6 so that YOU can be satisfied.  If Team Z did what you and Jason and the others have been asking her to do, fly all over and race against males and she loses, all of you would be celebrating and commenting how she was never great.  There wouldn't be any admiration for taking risks, or going after the males, or giving credit to the connections.  Your call for her to do all of that was just to see her lose so that you can say "I told ya, she was never that good".

27 Aug 2010 8:01 PM
LAZMANNICK

Leon

I read the Crist article.  I happen to think it was spot on.  I have never had a problem with Rachel winning the HOY award.  Her body of work was exceptional.  So what if the Preakness was void of the major stars that had to bow out because of injury.  It was after all the Preakness.  The Haskell, Monmouth’s signature 3 year old race was what it was, not a bad race, but once again, other than the Belmont winner cutting back in distance there wasn’t a single other top 3 year-old male competitor.  Like Zen this year, Rachel can't be faulted for the lack of major competition in those races.  It was the same for the Woodward.  It’s not Rachel’s fault that it happened to be possibly the weakest Woodward in terms of competition in recent memory, hell, in long range memory for that matter.  It's just the way it turned out although I have a sneaking suspicion that if the Woodward would have come up with more legitimate competition, Rachel’s connections would have skipped it.  I also think that in many other years over the past 20 Zen might have won HOY based on her campaign, not all but many, but of course, the writers would have to vote for her.  I really don’t see, in going back over the years, where a horse has won four consecutive G1 races, finished undefeated and also stepped out of it’s sexual comfort zone and at 1 1/4M defeated the toughest group of male horses assemble in N/A that year and didn’t win the year.  Zen has accomplished a lot of things during her career.  Having a season like 2009 and not winning the HOY was probably another first.  In any even, Rachel won, good for her, but I think that the trashing that both horses have been subject to has to stop.  Let them race where theyu want, chose their opponents and hopefully they will mett in the BCC.

27 Aug 2010 8:03 PM
jayjay

Good question LAZ, it seems that except for Zenyatta, it's OKAY for the other horses to take their easy path this close to the BCC.  Everyone that claims Zenyatta is ducking has their head turned away when talking about QR's and Rachel's races.  And all of the naysayers are pushing each other trying to get on Blame's wagon because he really is the only legitimate North American horse that can beat Zenyatta in the Classic (still don't know who the euro contingents are).  I've accepted that fact, although it wouldn't be a big surprise if Zenyatta pulls away from him in track record time.  It will be refreshing not to hold my breath from the top of the stretch to the finish line while slamming my desk screaming in my head "GO ZEN! GO ZEN!"

27 Aug 2010 8:09 PM
jayjay

LEON : Here's something you obviously don't know about Zen fans.  We never questioned RA's win last year.  In fact, I've said many times in the past that she deserved it because there no spinning what she did last year.  If you have some time, you should read all the Zen fans comments in ANY of Jason's blogs and 90% of them shows that it's all responses to people like you who likes to put her connections, her races and herself down.  I commented about her 2 losses this year to Draynay but it was more to throw it back to his face that he can't predict anything.  I have been wishing for JJ to run her in easy races all year because I want her fit and ready for the Classic if she makes it that way there's no excuse of "well, she's not the same horse, she's not ready blah blah blah".  In fact, I was wishing for all top contenders to take the easy paths for the same reasons.   I did comment about RA not facing males at all this year as a response to the naysayers asking why Zen isn't facing males.  Of the two, who should we be asking to face males more, the reigning HOTY who SET the standard or Zenyatta, the one that didn't get the HOTY ?  Be honest.

27 Aug 2010 8:24 PM
sherpa

"Zenyatta skips the Big Cap, skips the Stephen Foster, skips the Gold Cup, skips the Pacific Classic, skips the Personal Ensign, skips the Beldame, skips the JCGC, basically skips anything where she would have to face another horse with a pulse and you're just fine with the Moss/Shirreffs excuses."

I'm just wondering why Z should have to travel long distances - or even around the block - to beat the other top horses one-at-a-time when she can wait for the BCC and beat them all in one race.

It's like this: You take a bucket of fresh milk (races) and wait patiently to let all the cream rise to the top; then skim off the cream, beat it good and you've got whipped cream.  yummm  ;-)

27 Aug 2010 9:01 PM
sodapopkid

Leon,  I read the post way before you posted it on here.  You have never heard me or Zen fans complain about what RA done last year,  The only thing I have ever said is that all the males she beat that was any good or good enough to get entered in the BCC , Zneyata beat them all at one time.

My problem for RA is 2010, Everyone wants to milk this  three year old campaign to death.

Its a year since her last grade 1 race, She has had plenty of time to recouperate from last year, So , that dont fly no more.

Zenyatta won the BCC, and has continued to win since. Ra had more time to come out of her problems than Zenyatta ever did.

I excused Ra after her first race, but thats the only one, this being a grade 1 race in almost a year is unbeleivable to say the least.

Zenyatta hasnt had a break, she ran and won the BCC and has been running and in training ever since, but yet, she is suppose to be problem free, and yet, Ra gets all the free passes with sympathy,  RA deserves less sympathy in 2010 because she is younger than Zenyatta, and had plenty of rest.

So, this 2010, Ra has had a very lite campaingn compared to her last year's campaign, I agree with Crist all the way, No one can take away her 3 year old campaign, nor do they want to..But if you are going to have compassion for a four year old, then my goodness, how can you not show compassion for a six year old who hasnt lost a race and is even passed cigar and Citaition's record, and Eclipse himself..........

27 Aug 2010 9:01 PM
Mike Relva

JASON

Here's a question. Would your life be any better off if you had your way to push a six yr. old horse,just to say you had your way? You have amazing writing talent,don't turn into the "Skip Bayless" of racing.

27 Aug 2010 9:10 PM
Mike Relva

SODAPOPKID

Very,very good post!

27 Aug 2010 9:16 PM
LAZMANNICK

sherpa

Right on!  I'm still laughing.  

27 Aug 2010 9:21 PM
sherpa

Thanks, Laz, for getting my silly little analogy.  But that's exactly what Z did last year and I DO believe she can do it again BECAUSE she has the patient Connections.

27 Aug 2010 9:53 PM
ruffianruns

sherpa - Your cream analogy is funny and a good way to explain the Zen team strategy!

27 Aug 2010 10:40 PM
sodapopkid

Sherpa, Agree with you all the way,

I loved how you made the analogy into reality because some have a hard time with words when it comes to Zenyata. They are blind sided.

I'm speaking of her detractors.

28 Aug 2010 8:32 AM
jayjay

I've never thought RA will get the 10F, just like I didn't think QR would get 10F.  They won't get the Classic distance and I think they're going to be in deep if they try.  I think the Classic will have the best and true classic distance horses like Blame and Zenyatta and 3 yr old colts : LAL, FlyDown and Afleet Again.  Hopefully the euro contingents will be top class again.  It will be a great Classic.

29 Aug 2010 7:34 PM
Richard

So, now that Rachel has lost the race she was eased into to win, where are all the Zenyatta haters who criticize connections wisely managing her career? One more time: fillies aren't colts and mares aren't stallions - unless they are named Zenyatta. Her consistency at her age is amazing. Rachel's year - and her inability to run 1 1/4 - is the proof. Have a Guinness on me, Zen!

29 Aug 2010 8:06 PM
Mike Relva

RICHARD

Agree with you,but will add Calvin had no business having her on the lead.

29 Aug 2010 10:36 PM
Bob Z

Jason,

I'm not arguing but I don't think I understand...

If she is a member of the class of the best fillies ever  (How many are in this group?)   ... but not in the Top 50 all time horses...

What fillies do you have in the Top 50 Horses category?

Just wondering where your cut off is for a filly that makes the Best Filly list but dosen't make it to the Top 50 Horse list...?

Not arguing, just trying to understand the thought process...

I have no problem putting her in the same categoty as some of the best fillies ever, but dont try to sell me on putting her in the top 50 of all-time.

jshandler 26 Aug 2010 1:47 PM

30 Aug 2010 11:32 AM
bill

Keeneland is the U.S. distributor,not 50% shareholder of Martin Collins Int. manufacturers of polytrack..according to their website. You are not an objective writer Mr Shandling....

Despite calling this a BC blog,you refuse to address the issue that the only 2 BCs when there were no catastrophic breakdowns on track, were both run on synthetic...Whilst rejoicing in a surface that is single handedly responsible for all the negative publicity this sport receives...

There would be no need to keep bute legal if synthetic was mandatory.

After all it is illegal in every other major racing nation...none of whom race on dirt.

30 Aug 2010 5:58 PM
Judy Loves Zenyatta ~ California

To you Zen haters ~ picture this, she's enjoying her Guinness (sp) right about now, not worried one bit about what YOU ALL think! LOL

Jealousy is an ugly thing, ya know! Takes up a lot of energy, too. ;-)

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