Travers: The Ultimate Head-Scratcher

As far as grade I races go, this weekend's Travers is as difficult as it gets. Here is just a sampling of what we, as handicappers, have to tackle:

*Only two of the 11 horses in here enter off a win, and one of those was a maiden.

*Several trainers have been quoted as saying something to the effect of "I wouldn't be surprised if anybody won."

*The second choice on the morning line, and possible post time favorite, Trappe Shot, was not even committed to the race until the morning of the draw because they were considering a sprint for him.

*The fourth choice, First Dude, was not committed to the race until he galloped over the track the day before the draw. By the way, he is also eligible for a first-level allowance race. And he adds blinkers for the first time.

*The co-third choice, Super Saver, is looking to rebound from two poor races and trying to shed the label of a fluke Kentucky Derby winner, by some.

*The Derby runner-up, Ice Box, is also coming off two bad efforts and nobody is quite sure what to make of him.

*The expected pacesetter, Miner's Reserve, might be scratched, leaving the tactical angle of the race up in the air.

*That maiden winner we were talking about, Admiral Alex, who has made exactly one start in his career, has a jockey who has been quoted as saying, "I would be surprised if he didn't win." Huh?

*Fly Down, the third Nick Zito horse entered, was the beaten favorite in the Jim Dandy and as good as he looked in the two races prior to that one, has been inconsistent this year.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is, help.

Let's face it, this year's 3-year-old season has been a head-scratcher from the start. It seemed that a different horse won every Derby prep and other than Lookin At Lucky, who wasn't exactly easy to figure out either because of his bad trips, there are no standouts. In fact, of the nine grade I races for 3-year-olds on dirt this year, he is the only two-time winner.

Back to the Travers. What to do? What to do?

On this week's That Handicapping Show, I picked First Dude. And even though I'm not going to back off him, it's a tentative pick, especially if Miner's Reserve scratches. One of the reasons I liked First Dude to finally break through is because I think he will be better if he has something to run at. If Miner's Reserve is not there to show the way, First Dude will inherit the lead, again, like has in the last three races. If he is on the lead early, he is still good enough to go the distance, but it will be more difficult.

As it is, I think First Dude has been a consistent, and unlucky, colt all year. I expect him to run big again and I trust that Ramon will give him a smart ride. I'm not sure what to make of the blinkers. If it moves him up, even a little, it should be good enough. But it could also backfire or make no difference at all. I also like that First Dude will again be a nice price.

I am curious to see what the price on Afleet Express will be. I like him, but I was surprised to see him as the co-third choice at 6-1. I'm hoping he is more like 8-1 at post time, and if he is I will play him across the board. He is a horse that looks like he is getting good now. This is his third start at two turns and I think he will run his best race. His speed numbers fit well in here against the top contenders and he stays with the hottest jockey around, Javier Castellano. He should be sitting right off the leaders, which is a nice place to be in here.

I also think it would be unwise not to use A Little Warm somewhere on your tickets. He is in just too good of form right now to leave out. He will probably be right around his morning line odds by post time, which is great odds for a streaking horse like this, so that is not an excuse not to play him. He too will be involved early and should be a factor all the way around.

I was thinking about using Super Saver, and might wind up doing so on the bottom end, but if I had to fill out my superfecta right now it would probably be with Fly Down. I'm willing to excuse his Jim Dandy because it wasn't all that bad an effort and he did have trouble in the lane, which probably compromised his ability to hit the board. Also, he has finished ahead of First Dude all three times they met, so I would be stupid not to include him.

There, that was easy.

I wish I had more time to get into the rest of the weekend, especially the King's Bishop, which is a very intriguing race. Instead, I will give my quick picks:

Ballston Spa: Maram

Victory Ride: Touching Beauty

Ballerina: Informed Decision, Rightly So exacta box

King's Bishop: D' Funnybone/Bulldogger straight exacta

Personal Ensign: Rachel by 5. Persistently to place/show

Pacific Classic: Battle of Hastings

Good luck to all. Who do you like?


Leave a Comment:


Well at least they are honest about what Miner's Reserve is about,IEAH couldn't shut up about Trickmeister being bought for this race and he was gonna wire the field. Instead he is facing Our Dark Knight on Friday. Also gotta love Ken Ramsey excuse for not running PP. What a poor excuse for an trainer!!!

27 Aug 2010 12:25 PM
The Rock

Travers: I had mentioned earlier that I thought Trappe Shot was the one to beat. But if Fly Down goes off at an attractive price, I'll give him a chance to redeem himself. If Admiral Alex wins, I owe Kent D a big apology.

Other picks

Friday - Pleasant Colony Stakes - Trickmeister

Bernard Baruch - Sudden War (ARG)

Saturday - Del Mar

Del Mar Mile - Enriched

Pacific Classic - Hold Me Back

Pat O'Brien - Crown Of Thorns


Race 1 - Aspire (Been waiting for him to come back)

Race 2 - Blazing Along (This year's Bulldogger for Baffert)

Race 7 - War Hoot (Like how this one ran at Gulfstream this year)

Balston Spa - Maram

Victory Ride - Kid Kate

Ballerina - Jessica is Back

Kings Bishop - D'Funnybone - Discreetly Mine - Hurricane Ike straight Trifecta

Personal Ensign - Miss Singhsix (Hoping Rachel and Life At Ten kill each other, but I highly doubt it. Just taking a stab at it). No money to be made here.

Del Mar Handicap - Falcon Rock

Good luck to all

27 Aug 2010 12:26 PM

Hi Jason;

Here are my quick picks. . .

TRAVERS: Afleet Express




KING'S BISHOP: Discreetly Mine

PERSONAL ENSIGN: Rachel Alexandra


PAT O'BRIEN: Smiling Tiger

DEL MAR MILE: Blue Chagall

What an incredible weekend of racing! Did you see Blue Chagall in the Wickerr Stakes last month? If so, what did you think of him?


27 Aug 2010 12:32 PM
Jason Shandler

Keelerman: The real question is, will you be picking MTB again in the Woodward? :)

27 Aug 2010 12:38 PM

I already gave you the longshot winner.....Admiral Alex.

27 Aug 2010 12:39 PM

I hope everyone puts there cash on Admiral Alex!!! Brings up the odds on Fly Down and Afleet Express

27 Aug 2010 12:50 PM


I'm just going by what the trainer said.  He also owns the horse and says he's the best in the race.  You believe what trainers and owners say, don't you?

27 Aug 2010 1:13 PM
Old Yeller

The only confident winner I see this weekend is Da Funnybone. I'm hoping for the old houndog Awesome Gem to pull it out again in the Pacific Classic ( love him ). Also hope Rachel wins big, real big to show she is BACK !

27 Aug 2010 1:44 PM

Gomez flies to the left coast, Leparoux stays at the Spa. There should be a winner or two between them ! Jose Ferrer flys up to Woodbine to ride a 15-1 shot in their feature on saturday ! Go Jose Go !

27 Aug 2010 1:48 PM

Del Mar:

Pat O'Brien: Crown of Thorns

Del Mar Mile: Enriched

Pacific Classic: Richards Kid

Del Mar Handicap: Falcon Rock


Ballaston Spa: Phola

Victory Ride: Rapport

Ballerina: Informed Decision  

King's Bishop: Discreetly Mine

Travers: Fly Down, A Little Warm, First Dude, Trappe Shot

Personal Ensign: Rachel Alexandra, Miss Singhsix

27 Aug 2010 2:20 PM
needler in Virginia

Your Personal Ensign pick?? No way. Life at Ten, I hope.

Cheers and safe trips.

27 Aug 2010 2:34 PM
Johnny Rube Acworth , Georgia

Travers Stakes selections:

1.Fly Down - Throw out his race in The Dwyer were no one was making up any ground in the stretch. The track bias should be different on Saturday (i.e. Blind Luck last week ) and he is much better than his last race indicates.

2.Trapp Shot - finished a good second to Looking at Lucky in the Haskel. There is no Looking at Lucky in this race. The late blooming 3 year old is in Top Form and should be considered.

3. First Dude - always a brides maid , never off the board and have to use him in my trifectors

4. A Little Warm - Not sure what to think , never heard of him until recent and not sure he will live up to the betters expectations . ?????

5.Super Saver & Ice Box have done nothing since their jaw dropping performance in the Kentucky Derby and have to throw them out of my bets ( may regret it !).

"May the horse be with you" H. Pack

27 Aug 2010 2:45 PM

Well according to LaPenta-Miner's Reserve is gonna run in the Travers even tho Zito prefers Smarty Jones then Penn Derby.

27 Aug 2010 3:05 PM

Admiral Alex is very interesting. From what I saw, he got to the lead in his last coasted easily. KD seems to pump his horses up sometimes, meaning reputation wise, but still the amount of confidence shown, by entering him here off a maiden win really interests me.

Jason I also like First Dude, I don't think he's a horse you can really leave off, though, this seems like a race where you just have to go with your gut. I also agree with you on RA and the general margin she will win by.

27 Aug 2010 3:09 PM
Mike Relva

Life At Ten for the win. RA is a super horse,but will have to be shown she can get 10f.

27 Aug 2010 3:24 PM

Of course I believe trainers and owners!!! IEAH said for 3 weeks how they bought Trickmeister for the Travers and he is gonna wire the field(He isnt even in it) Ramsay told the media on Monday the even tho he said Pleasant Prince was going to the Travers-1 min after winning the Ohio Derby,the horse refused to workout Sunday or Monday because he hates a wet track(Are u kidding me?) so he will not run

27 Aug 2010 3:39 PM

I hit the super in the haskell, but there I had no doubt that lucky would win and super saver would check in 4th. This time I am going to box Trappe Shot and A Little Warm, with Fly Down and Afleet Express in either order. I don't think Super Saver is back to his best form yet, and although I don't want to dismiss the ever consistent at hitting the board First Dude, I like Fly Down better, even if Zito's two have been throwing in some questionable performances.

I think the Personal Ensign will be close, but I'm going to go with the big spa upset and Life At Ten up in the final strides.

And poor Mine That Bird, from one bad decision to the next- grass (did he even work over it?), to taking on 3 of the top older males where the race was for 4th place for everyone else in that field anyway, to throwing him right back in at top class instead of trying to get a win in him with a drop in class. 3 strikes and... give him back to Chip Wooley.  Blinkers should be interesting.  

27 Aug 2010 3:46 PM
Abbie Knowles


I think Trappe Shot will win the Travers

Discreetly Mine the Kings Bishop

Malibu Prayer her race

And Life at Ten I believe will prove superior to Rachel over 10 furlongs!

But the main thing is that they all come back safe and sound!

May God bless them all and keep them safe!

Best wishes to you all

Enjoy this great weekend of racing!

Thanks for your columns Jason, they are always a good read!


27 Aug 2010 3:59 PM
Sammi P


1)Trappe Shot: Liked him all year no reason to back off now. Talented and still room to improve.

2) First Dude: Game, consistent, and can go the distance.

3) Admiral Alex: Went back and forth between him and A Little Warm. He has a lot to learn still and with only one race maybe has a disadvantage with this tough field, but he will play as my longer shot.

Victory Ride: Touching Beauty

Ballston Spa: Phola

Ballerina: Informed Decision

Kings Bishop: D'Funnybone

Personal Ensign: Life at Ten, just don't know if Rachel is going to like the 1 1/4

Del Mar Mile: Scenic Blast

Pasific Classic: Awesome Gem

Pat O'Brien: Smiling Tiger

27 Aug 2010 3:59 PM

If RA wins, it wont be by 5L,  

Pletcher trains fillies pretty good, So, you folks that think RA will win by 5 lentghts, What do you suppose LAT, Ms.Singix, are going to be doing, grazing  or taking a nap?

I say if RA does win,  the others are going to make her work for it.

I expect after this race with LAT and the rest, RA will be pretty much wasted before the BCC.  

I still go with LAT.

27 Aug 2010 4:30 PM
Pedigree Shelly

       Hi Jason , I watched your handicapping show this week and I'm curious as to why you didn't mention Trappe Shot in your Travers selections ?

27 Aug 2010 4:36 PM
Jason Shandler

Shelly: He is a talented horse and has every chance to win. But I dont like that they were back and forth about this race or the King's Bishop. I dont think they yet know what his best distance is. I dont think it is 10F. Ive been wrong before, in case you havent noticed :)

27 Aug 2010 4:39 PM
In aint easy being good!

The travers is a very tough race but you have to go with afleet express he was closing like a freight train his last race he is a star in the making. This will be his third start and he has a killer instict come on people hop on the bandwagon While you still can..Afleet Express to the bank! haha jason keelerman and MTB is him hit the board now that keeler is off him! But the real Queen which is Rachael is back and ready to roll I hope that she goes off at 4-5 because it will be easy money for me! Rachael by 6 at ten huh ...yeah right!

27 Aug 2010 4:57 PM
Mike Relva


I'm also going w/LAT.

27 Aug 2010 4:57 PM
Monarchos Matt

TRAVERS- very tough race but here are my thoughts:

1- Trappe Shot- Has the speed figs and the look of a horse sitting on a big race- looked like he would have easily outfinished both First Dude and Super Saver over another furlong in the Haskell, so I'm not worried about him getting the distance here. Tactically, I like where he will be sitting here from a stalking position- not too close to get caught in a speed duel but not too far off to have too much to make up either.

2- First Dude- consistent, experienced now and should be physically fit for the distance. Really like his chances if he can rate off the pace and not be forced to dictate fractions like he did in the Preakness. Seems to just be a bit tougher than Super Saver after beating him twice in a row, who he didn't get a chance to face in the Derby...which at this point is about all Super Saver has going for him.

3- Fly Down- Agree that his last race was better than it looked as he had horrible trouble in the lane and didn't get to stage his late kick which is pretty much his whole game. He'll have more distance which can only help...wouldn't be surprised to see him win this actually if Miner's Reserve, First Dude and A Little Warm get caught up in a speed duel.

4- A Little Warm- hard to ignore after his last two efforts, but unlike some others, I question whether he wants the extra furlong and will try to beat him as the favorite.

5- Super Saver- loves slop and loves to hang in the stretch, but he is the only horse to have one at this distance...but the more I look at this year's Derby, the more I think it was a really weak race. Throw out Lucky's performance as he never had a chance from that post and what do you have? Paddy O'Prado (great on turf admittedly but not really a dirt horse to begin with) and Ice Box? My point being he didn't really beat much...including any of the four horses I have listed above him.

Can't get behind the Alex colts at this juncture, but at the same time it wouldn't surprise me to see any of them on the board, this race is so wide open. Ice Box looks a cut below to me (see Derby analysis above).

PLAY: 3 horse exacta box with Trappe Shot, First Dude, Fly Down

Outright money on First Dude, Fly Down

27 Aug 2010 5:08 PM

Travers: First Dude

Ballston Spa: Phola

King´s Bishop: D´funnybone

Personal Ensign: Rooting for Rachel, but Life At Ten is not to be taken lightly.

27 Aug 2010 5:10 PM
Criminal Type

I had A Little Warm in the Jim Dandy and I'll stay with him in the Travers. I like Trappe Shot in there as well.

D'funnybone in the King's Bishop with discreatly Mine & Bulldogger.

In the Ballston Spa I like Phola & Maram.

Just a hunch, probably wrong, but I like Worsecasescenario in the Victory Ride.

Life at Ten beats Rachel at 10F in the Personal Ensign, And in the Ballerina, I'll take Jessica is Back and Devil By Design.

The Baroch is getting ready to go off but I will say, Whatsthescript.

Good Luck to all !

27 Aug 2010 5:14 PM

Ballston: PHOLA


King Bishop: BANK MERGER

Pacific Classic: USUAL QT

Molly Pitcher: MALIBU PRAYER

Personal Ensign: MISS SINGHSIX


27 Aug 2010 5:24 PM

My picks to win::

Trap Shoot in the Travers.

Richard's Kid in the Pacific Classic.

Informed Decision in the Ballerina.

Discreetly Mine in the King's Bishop.

And Life at Ten with a big win in the Personal Ensign.

27 Aug 2010 5:32 PM

I'd like to see RA win the PE. I think she's the best horse in the field. Everyone going into the BCC at the top of their game makes for an amazing race. Let the best horse win!!! LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!

27 Aug 2010 5:43 PM

Rachel will get the 10 furlongs easily.  She won't be rushed to the lead.  She has learned to relax.  You will see the difference.  

27 Aug 2010 5:44 PM


Why so negaitve about Rachel?

27 Aug 2010 5:45 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Discreetly Mine

Jessica Is Back

Afleet Again

Hold Me Back

Life At Ten

Ted from LA

27 Aug 2010 6:16 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

And Mine That Bird. Ted from LA, if you do get the job, don't be too hard on the Beav. Babe Ruth 1921 stats- 177 runs scored, 204 hits, 44 doubles, 16 triples, 59 home runs, 144 walks, 170 rbi, .378 average.

27 Aug 2010 6:33 PM

Pacific Classic: I hope Dakota Phone, with the dominican star Joel Rosario is an easy winner.

Travers is a difficult race, however, I think Ice Box will surprise to most of the handicappers.

27 Aug 2010 6:47 PM

Travers: A Little Warm.  Loved him before the Derby. Loved his first race this year.  My favorite of this class.

Ballston Spa: Maram and I'm gonna take a shot with Danzon

Victory Ride: Touching Beauty

Ballerina: Informed Decision

King's Bishop: Discreetly Mine

Personal Ensign: Life At Ten

Pacific Classic: Hold Me Back

27 Aug 2010 6:57 PM
Carlos in Cali

As I continue my streak of prophetic prolific picks ... [:)>

Here it goes:

Friend or Foe/First Dude/Trappe Shot tri-box,w/Ice Box & Fly Down underneath in superfectas.

Life at Ten/Miss Singhsix exacta w/RA underneath in tri's. Afterward,RA will be retired cuz' her season sucked! :)

Discreetly Mine marches on towards the BC Sprint with a win.He'll get a perfect trip & won't be on the lead setting crazy splits this time vs. Da'Funnybone like he did the last time they faced each other.

27 Aug 2010 7:06 PM

My Top pick for this weekend is not in the Travers, but in the Pacific Classic. I like the Carla Gaines trained, Temple City, to go wire-to-wire in this race. The son of Dynaformer looks like he'll be tough to beat on the front-end, especially after he set the course record at the mile and half distance, in the Cougar II, at Del Mar earlier in the meet. He also did it in an impressive fashion, going gate to wire. There doesn't seem to be any legitimate early speed to challenge Temple City  early on. Most of the contenders like Usual Q.T., Hold Me Back, Awesome Gem, Dakota Phone, and Battle of Hastings like to rate mid-pack or close. In the Pacific, it's assumed that Temple City will get the lead. If he does and relaxes nice and easy, he should 12-Clip around the track in a 2:00.00 flat and annihilate this field. I have a feeling this 5-year old is finally emerging into a beast, and will make a very nice account of himself tommorrow in the G1 Pacific Classic. In my humble opinion the race is for second. Hold Me Back looks like he can fill in the exacta spot, while Awesome Gem, collects the show dough. Final Finish: 4- Temple City. 7-Hold Me Back. 9- Awesome Gem. Just a note...In Temple City's last race, I have never seen a horse look better in warm-ups, than him. For the Travers, I picked my selection out of a hat, and I drew Trappe Shot, so I'm going with that as my pick.

27 Aug 2010 7:24 PM

Best Bet for Travers Day ~ in the King's Bishop ~ Bulldogger ~ blows them away with authority.

The Travers Pick ~ Friend Or Foe ~ bred to run all day, makes second start over the track, should sit perfect trip , Bombs Away!

27 Aug 2010 7:43 PM
Paula Higgins

I am rooting for Rachel Alexandra. Here's hoping this wonderful horse is back to form.

27 Aug 2010 7:56 PM

I'm soooo bummed that Lucky will not be in the Travers. I have loved him since last year! So, now I like A Little Warm and First Dude in the Travers.  I think Life At Ten will win the PE although I will be rooting for Rachel.

27 Aug 2010 8:08 PM

believe Trappe Shot key to race...would love to see Afleet Express get it done for Jimmy J. Fly Down can turn Lescano's hard luck meet 'em!

27 Aug 2010 8:37 PM

Ballston Spa: Maram

Victory Ride: Kid kate, and Worstcasescenario

Ballerina: Rightly so and Devil by Design

Kings Bishop: Bulldogger and Discreetly Mine

Travers: Super Saver, Afleet Express, Afleet Again, Admiral Alex

Personel Ensign: Persistently(if Rachel doesn't runs under a 2:03 3/5 then she doesn't belong in the field.)

Pacific Classic: Richards Kid, Crowded House, Isles Of Giants, Dakota Phone

Del Mar Mile: Scenic Blast, Enriched

O'Brien: Crown Of Thorns, Leaving New York

27 Aug 2010 8:47 PM

I've said in the past, I wouldn't be surprised if 3 different horses wins the last 3 colt races this year.  It looks like it'll be 2 out of 3 since LAL won the Haskell.  I do believe it's an unknown horse that will win the Travers.  I'm looking at Trappe Shot (no longer unknown) to take the Travers away from Ice Box.  Although I'm still an Ice Box fan and will put a lot of money on him (will wait and watch the post parage before I unload), I think Trappe Shot has a good chance judging from the way he ran in the Haskell.  I don't think the distance is an issue.

For the PE, I don't know if LaT can handle RA's speed but I would much rather see RA be relaxed and not get over extended in this race so that she'll be truly fit for the Classic.  I don't want any excuses from any horses come Classic time.  I'll be betting on LaT for the exact reason I stated, I have to go with my instinct that this is truly just a prep race for Rachel, to see if she can get the 10F distance.  So gamblingwise, the winner is LaT.

Pacific Classic : Hold Me Back / Awesome Gem with Dakota Phone, Temple City and Battle of Hastings

27 Aug 2010 8:50 PM
Matthew W

Will try to beat them with Afleet Express in Travers--tough call but I like the 6-1 odds/ran on into a staying pace in Jim Dandy/now gets more distance and (probably) a middle move (or three)--point is, I think he's the real deal/will get the racing luck that has eluded him of late--also like Super Saver but hate the post--still, will box him with Afleet Express while playing 'Express, win/ Richard's Kid at Del horse theory....7-2 ok by me....Kid Kate in Victory Ride--love her one turn kick....shocked they're going for the $ with Usual Q T, he's the bestest grass American miler, monster kick/little horse--not gonna pick him in the Classic/think they should try to beat Goldikova and the rest in the BC Mile/actually think they can do not think he's a 1 1/4 hoss, think Richard's Kid will expose them in the final 1 1/16....

27 Aug 2010 8:50 PM
Pedigree Shelly

         Jason, Thanks for hitting me back ! I think Trappe Shot will win the Travers ! I'm really disappointed in Ice Box ! If he doesn't show anything on Saturday , He,like Mine That Bird needs to drop in class !

27 Aug 2010 9:10 PM

SODAPOPKID: I don't know what's in that fountain drink you're guzzling, but I'll take some. Life At Ten, eleven, twelve or anytime of the day or night.

It's break out time for the big bruiser First Dude!

27 Aug 2010 9:37 PM

I am just going to watch all the races and see who wins..........

I like to many  horses in all  the races, So, I am just going to let the racing gods do what they

27 Aug 2010 9:41 PM
Joe P

Jason, I think Trappe Shot will win the Travers and Discreetly Mine will win the King's Bishop. A Little Warm and First Dude should complete the trifecta in the Travers. I think the #11 post will be the death of Super Saver. Miner's Reserve will tire trying to keep up with First Dude.  Fly Down will be too far back when Trappe Shot and A Little Warm come flying at First Dude in the stretch run. We know First Dude can handle the mile and a half. If Trappe Shot and A Little warm also like the mile and a half it should be a helluva stretch run.

27 Aug 2010 9:45 PM

What a fun weekend!  Nick Zito is my favorite trainer;  i'd love to see him 1st, 2nd, 3rd,  but I don't think it is in the cards.  I don't think that Super Saver is  a fluke, and that Todd will get him pointed in the right direction.  

Ballston Spa: Maram

Victory Ride: Worstcasescenario

Ballerina: Devil by Design

Kings Bishop: Discreetly Mine

Travers: A Little Warm, Super Saver, Afleet Again,

Personel Ensign: Rachael beats up on some good racemares

Pacific Classic: Crowded House and  Dakota Phone

Del Mar Mile: Scenic Blast

O'Brien: Crown Of Thorns

27 Aug 2010 10:10 PM

Life At Ten - PE

Malibu Prayer - MP

Discreetly Mine - KB

Dynaslew - Spa

Pretty Profilic - Ballerina


A Little Warm

Ice Box

Fly Down

Miner's Reserve

Friend Or Foe

27 Aug 2010 10:11 PM

Ballston Spa-Mekong Melody/Phola/Danzon

King's Bishop-Hurricane Ike/Latigo Shore/Bulldogger

Travers-Fly Down/Admiral Alex/Miner's Reserve

DelMar Mile-Scenic Blast/Meteore/Blue Chagall

Pat O'Brien- Crown of Thorns/El Brujo/Smiling Tiger

Pacific Classic-Battle of Hastings/Richard's Kid/Hold Me Back/Crowded House

Personal Ensign- Persistently just because of Shug.  But logically if Rachel is back and she stays the race is hers.  Life at Ten has won before at the distance and has speed also.  Miss Singhsix seems to appreciate the distance and would be helped if the pace is fast.  But it is hard to look past the two favorites.  I would probably just do a sentimental bet on Shug and just enjoy the race.

Good luck everyone!

27 Aug 2010 11:48 PM

The Travers definitely is wide-open, as is the other gr.1 $1 million 10 furlong race on Saturday, the Pacific Classic.

The Pacific Classic certainly misses Rail Trip and Misremembered, but it's not a bad field, and there certainly is value.

Like you Jason, I think The Usual QT is the best horse, but his mediocre form on synthetic(as opposed to turf) and his last place finish in the Sunshine Millions Classic make him suspect as the favorite. The key for him will be how he relaxes early.  In the Sunshine Millions he was rank early, and battled with speed horses like Enriched and Acclamation through a :46 half, which for Pro-Ride is like a :44 half on dirt.  Did he run-off because of the other speed or was it because he was uncomfortbale on the synthetic(think how Sidney's Candy relaxes on turf and Pro-Ride but looks uncomfortbale on dirt/Cushion)?  

Throughout the week I've been planning to stay away from The Usual QT under the premise that he's far better on turf than synthetic.  However, it appears he's going to get the perfect trip stalking Temple City, and could get the jump on the closers, which amounts to everyone else.  I believe he's either going to win as much the best or run  out of the money.

Jason, I have no problem with your Battle of Hastings pick.  I really liked his middle move in the San Diego, and he does have class.  In a field with little speed, he could have the opportunity to make first run at Temple City and The Usual QT.  Still, he always finds ways to lose the big races, and the San Diego field was much weaker than this.

Dakota Phone has also displayed a tendency to come up short in the big races.  I think he'll run well, but believe a few others are better.

I think the lone shipper, Hold Me Back, has a good shot at hitting the board.  I have followed this horse closely ever since seeing him win the Lane's End in person last year.  While a little inconsistent, he has run some big races in his career, including 2nds in the Travers(ahead of Quality Road) and Blue Grass, and he adores Polytrack, having just won the Dominion Day. 10 furlongs is his favorite distance.

The 2 horses I like for the win spot have opposite running styles.  Temple City is going to be on the lead, and he should be uncontested.  It's often hard to go wire to wire on synthetic, but he just did so in the 12 furlong Cougar when he set the track record.  He set a slow pace in that race, but he didn't crawl and the pace really shouldn't be that much faster tomorrow.  He's a big horse that appears able to run forever, and could simply run them off their feet.

Of all the quality closers, I like Crowded House best.  A group 1 winner in Europe, Crowded House is a big, robust horse who ran very well when 4th in the Eddie Read, his first US start.  The Eddie Read was at a distance a little short for him, and the Jimmy Durante course is about as far away from a Euro course as one can get.  I can see this horse coming with a powerful run late in the Pacific Classic.

I respect both Richard's Kid and Awesome Gem, however I don't think they offer much value.  Awesome Gem deserves much respect for a solid career and is coming off one of his best efforts, however I really think he's better on dirt and Cushion rather than Poly.  Richard's Kid is the defending  champ, and a repeat of that performance against a much better field(Einstein, Rail Trip, Misremembered) will win this race.  Yet, his form since Dubai has been modest, and he's not going to have much pace to run at.

I'll go with Enriched in the Del Mar mile, although I'm real interested in seeing Scenic Blast, and like Smiling Tiger, this year's Zensational, to win another gr.1 vs. older in the Pat O'Brien.

28 Aug 2010 1:12 AM

I was interested to know people's impressions on the Pacific Classic, general impressions.  Do you consider it a classic race, one of America's best races?  Did you consider it one of the best races when it was run on dirt, but not now that it's on synthetic?

I was going over a list of past Pacific Classic winners and their Beyers.  Wow, there have been some fantastic winners and the Beyers are very high.  To put it in perspective, Blame received a 111 Beyer for the Whitney, the race most consider the best of the year so far.

Best Pal- 118

Missionary Ridge- 109

Bertrando- 117

Tinners Way- 111

Tinners Way- 112

Dare and Go- 116

Gentlemen- 121

Free House- 117

General Challenge- 119

Skimming- 118

Skimming- 119

Came Home- 116

Candy Ride- 123

Pleasantly Perfect- 113

Borrego- 114

Lava Man- 109

On synthetic:

Student Council- 99

Go Between- 104

Richard's Kid- 107

If we give a boost to the synthetic Beyers, last year's Beyer is about average, but Go Between and Student Council are still at the lower end.

What's also striking is as good as these winners were, only Bertrando went on to win an Eclipse.

28 Aug 2010 1:39 AM

Rachel wins with ease and takes another step towards HOY.  First Dude wins by running away from a average field.  And the Pacific Classic?  Who cares?

28 Aug 2010 1:50 AM



The trainer of First Dude should take a page out of Speedy Bob’s book. He had no luck with Gomez and he took him down. He evidently has not heard the term “if you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.’ Would he replace Kent with Ramon on Paddy? Why change a winning combination? It’s a no brainer to change a loosing combination. Your hope that he will give the colt a smart ride suggests that his previous efforts were not. It’s not a difficult race to handicap. The distance should be the main factor. How many of the entrants can effectively get 10F?  Eliminate those you think cannot and use those that can. Ice Box & Fly Down are dead closer and should get the distance and they are due for a positive effort. Miners Reserve is bred for 10F and has speed. His best effort has been at the Spa and if he starts we could see another Holly Bull type victory. The rest are all suspect at the distance including the derby winner. I like MR and if he is scratched I am going to give Ice Box a last chance.

King's Bishop:

You evidently missed the debut performance of Bank Merger. If you did here is what occurred: He was left at the gates and trailed a long way last. Approaching the turn he started to motor like a human cannon ball and in a few strides gobbled up the leaders to win going away in 1:17 and change for 6.5F. This colt came from another zip code to win. SOB on debut and win going away in a smart time. He requires only minimal improvement to defeat these second level colts.  I need to tell you that in sprint races horses can allow weight but not give up an abundance of ground especially at the start. He is a big robust chestnut that was bred by Darley who are also the owners. He is no sprinter but displayed an abundance of class in his victory from seemingly hopeless position. I expect a speed duel to develop between the top three and when this colt gets rolling he should get by the leaders without much fuss. His sire Consolidator was a very fast son Strom Cat and his second dam was a multiple G1 winner. I suggest you amend your exacta as this colt is the real deal. Bank Merger all the way!

Pacific Classic:

Revisit the Eddie Read Stakes and focus on Crowded House. The distance of the Pacific Classic is what this colt requires. He must be more acclimatized as he literally came of the plane and ran in the Eddie Read. His ML of 20-1 makes him a most appealing prospect. Assuming he has not regressed  and he can perform on the synthetic he should be very competitive. He is my pick.

28 Aug 2010 2:03 AM
Matthew W

Last year...layoff....two starts in mid 90's....wins the Classic....this year...two starts off layoff...mid 90's....Richard's Kid on the money at Del Mar....Rachel all the way....Afleet Express in Travers/ good horse/good price/good works/good bye!....Discreetely Mine/Bulldogger box....and here comes Kid Kate--ca--ching!

28 Aug 2010 3:33 AM


I will give Super Saver another try across the board, even though I do not really care for his outside post position, also, he has won at the 1 1/4 distance, his last race was 1st back after a lenghty layoff. so Will see if back in any kind of form.

28 Aug 2010 4:23 AM


A correction to my post. The Bank Merger race that I referenced was actually his second career start and the time was 1:16 and change.

28 Aug 2010 7:06 AM

I'm sentimentally rooting hard for Crowded House in the Pacific, even though I've been an AG fan forever... and keeping up prayers for little Hugo Cecil to go home soon to a "crowded house"...go, baby, go!!!

I still like Super Saver at 1 1/4...Ice Box 'cause I loved his dam and anything Zito, 'cause, well it's New York and he's "Zito"

Love Bulldogger

Love Crown of Thorns

Love Rachel

All come home safe and sound.

28 Aug 2010 7:45 AM

The Pacific Classic:

Toss Battle of Hastings-Mullins 0/24 at Del Mar.

Toss Isle of Giant's-His speed will fade.

Toss Dakota Phone-The Usual QT & Richard's Kid have already beaten him this year.

Toss Temple City & Awesome Gem-No weight advantages this time.

Will bet Richard' Kid to win with The Usual QT, Hold Me Back & Crowded House underneath in the exotics.

28 Aug 2010 10:55 AM

Really surprised in all the Life at Ten picks.  Y'all may be right but I think Rachel wins by daylight.

28 Aug 2010 10:56 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

If Discreetly Mine loses, that will be the biggest shock. This is seven furlongs, which should be his ideal distance, and he is getting the hang of sprinting. He loves it. I think he's turned into a sprint monster. Look what he's done at the Spa. He appears to love it there. His last was outstanding. I think one of the Afleet Alex brothers has the best chance in The Travers and I'm taking Afleet Again out of those three but Ice Box keeps jumping out at me. He's due to stop clunking. Maybe this will be the race. I really don't think he's as good as some of these but he is still capable of jumping up with a big race. Obviously wide open race on paper. No pick is a bad pick. Any of the Zito horses is certainly capable of winning this race. Whoever wins jumps up to second ranking behind Lookin At Lucky on the dirt for 3yo. Wish he was here. Not everyone can travel all over and stay healthy. The Travers is definitely the most interesting race of the weekend. Also interesting is what is Rachel going to do. She should be ready now for a peak performance but this is a mile and a quarter. Interesting, especially if she gets eyeballed and has to put in the extra effort. Will she want to?

28 Aug 2010 12:03 PM
cat thief

Saratoga: I look for a track that starts out favoring speed and then dries out for the closers by Travers Time. P4:  Rapport, KatyNow, Beyondallboundarys with Rightly So, Informed Decision with D,Funnybone, Discreetly Mine with Fly Down, Ice Box, Trappe Shot, A Little Warm.  Those last two are 'now' horses with good numbers I have to use, but they pick up weight and have never been this far. 3x2x2x4 = 48 I'll use some saver win bets on Qualia and Bulldogger and Afleet Express.

Phola to pass em all and Hold Me Back for fun.

First Dude? Always gets passed

28 Aug 2010 12:09 PM
Jason Shandler

Coldfacts: Ramon a much better rider than Kent. Everyone knows that, except you apparently.

Dr. D: D' Funnybone 4-for-4 at 7 furlongs. How it is Discreetly Mine's ideal distance? Try reading some PPs.

28 Aug 2010 12:55 PM

Rachel by five? With Life At Ten nowhere at the end? I'm sorry, but did you not pay any attention to Life At Ten's last few races? Rachel may win the Personal Ensign on her class alone (she is easily the class of the field), but Life At Ten will show her a real horse-race, I'm certain -- Life At Ten is no slouch!

28 Aug 2010 1:06 PM

As I don't have a crystal ball, the opportunity to see them in the flesh (which to me is the most important element), or the stats I'll just stay tuned in.  Although for the Travers, I think Afleet Express and Fly Down will make a good showing.  Of course, Lookin At Lucky would have been my pick, but alas it was not meant to be.  All the best and safe home to all!

28 Aug 2010 1:06 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I didn't say anything about D'Funnybone. Obviously on paper he loves seven furlongs. I just said it was an ideal distance for Discreetly Mine, who I think is better. We'll see what happens. From what I saw in the last race, Discreetly Mine is the improving horse, and that was at the spa. I just think that he could be super sharp right now and found his niche. This is a rematch for the two at seven furlongs. D'Funnybone won the last one when he was peaked. I think Discreetly Mine will turn the tables. Try looking at some replays.

28 Aug 2010 1:35 PM
Jason Shandler

He's beaten him soundly twice, not once. I guess your replays dont go back that far.

28 Aug 2010 1:47 PM


"Ramon a much better rider than Kent"

The body of work and achievements of both riders should reflect who is better. Is there any category in which Ramon leads Kent?

My bad! Ramon is in the Hall Of fame and Kent is not. Ramon won three derbies, two Preakness and one Belmont and Kent has not won a Triple Crown race. Should I go on? Ramon has won many Breeders Cup races and eclipse awards and Kent has not.

I agree with you that I am really the only one that does not know. Let we express my gratitude for the enlightenment.

28 Aug 2010 2:11 PM

Travers:  Fly Down for the win.  The first and second place finishers in the Belmont often do well in the Travers.

King's Bishop:  D'Funnybone for the win.  I just like this horse and hope he wins.  

Pacific Classic:  Hold Me Back for the win.  I'm going with him by default = the track has been biased this meet in favor of his running style and post position.  

Personal Ensign:  Rachel Alexandra finishes 2nd.   She reminds me of her daddy and he didn't win at 10f until his third try at or past that distance.  

28 Aug 2010 2:18 PM
Jason Shandler

Ask any horseman who they would want to ride their horse, Kent or Ramon. The majority would say Ramon.

So I guess if you've won a TC race youre a better rider than someone that hasnt? Hmmm...

Stewart Elliott is better than Garrett Gomez I guess. I'm glad youve enlightened me.

28 Aug 2010 2:19 PM

I like Fly Down in the Travers. The pace might set up for him and he's had legitimate excuses in his three losses. He's also picking up the least amount of weight from last start out of the field.

28 Aug 2010 2:20 PM
Mike Relva


I liked LAT to win,but since you're picking RA,thanks! Now she's jinxed tomorrow.

28 Aug 2010 2:22 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Well it looks like it will be 2 out of 3 for D'Funnybone. The two wins coming at Belmont. The loss to Discreetly Mine coming at Saratoga today. No, I'm not that interested in a replay from a year ago in this case.

28 Aug 2010 2:22 PM

Trappe Shot has proven with each bump in class that he belongs in this race.

With Super Saver, A Little Warm and First Dude vying for the lead early, I would say it sets up perfectly for Trappe Shot, a horse who is not overly raced and in terrific form.

28 Aug 2010 2:26 PM

haha love your Rachel by five XD

good luck Rachel baby!!!

28 Aug 2010 2:40 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Dynaslew in Ballston Spa

28 Aug 2010 3:24 PM


tell me, how many of minshafts off spring have won at 1.1/4?

28 Aug 2010 4:17 PM
Paula Higgins

Dr Drunkinbum, right you were about Discreetly Mine!!!!!!!!

28 Aug 2010 5:26 PM

10 minutes to the Travers, I'll dump some cold cash on IceBox and hopefully he turns it hot!!

$100 win on 6

$20 win on 2

$5 EXB  6 with 2, 4

$1 TRIS :

6 with 2,5,8 with 2,5,8,7,10

2,6 with 2,6,4,8 with 2,6,4,8


6 with 2,4,7,8 with 2,4,7,8 with 2,4,7,8,5

2 with 6,5 with 6,5,8 with ALL

28 Aug 2010 5:46 PM

Jason - harking back to an earlier blog, just want to mention that Aces 'N Kings won the Sunny's Halo Stakes @LA Downs today -- 1 mile in 1:38:85 -- by 6 1/4 lengths!  His connections sure are bringing him along nicely.

28 Aug 2010 5:49 PM

Dr. D - great call on DM!!!  Glad you stuck to your guns! ;-)

28 Aug 2010 5:51 PM


heres a cold fact for you Afleet Alex offspring  LOVE SARATOGA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

28 Aug 2010 5:56 PM

Lost every bet up to the Travers.  Hit $10 exacta in Travers and Afleet Express to WPS.  My first good betting day since the Derby.  Very, very happy that Afleet Express won.

28 Aug 2010 5:59 PM
Derby Linda

Disappointed in the Travers althought exciting finish. Very slow for such a fast track.  Where has all the talent gone in the 3 yr old colt division?  Guess he is resting out in Ca.  LAL.

28 Aug 2010 6:06 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Afleet Express and Fly Down are tied for second in the division behind Lookin At Lucky. Then comes First Dude. Afleet Again is good but a notch below. First Dude looked best physically pre-race followed by Afleet Alex and Fly Down. A Little Warm did not look good physically pre-race. When he's ready to run he could still do something. Admiral Alex may have a future but is too inexperienced. I still think Trappe Shot is talented. Super Saver had some strong preps and then a good Derby but has nothing since then. Needs a big regroup. He's not as bad as he's been looking, or maybe he matured early with no improvement since, and needs time off and lower levels. Don't use that word, that five letter word. It's just not nice. Right Paula Higgins? And thank you for your nice comment Paula. I still say lookout for Afleet Alex offspring to do really well. So far they are maturing a little late for The Triple Crown but that can change. He still is the top prospect to sire a Triple Crown winner.

28 Aug 2010 6:14 PM

Afleet Express by a nose in the Travers! Fly Down finished second, with First Dude third over Afleet Again.

By the way Jason, I am kind of leaning toward Past the Point in the Woodward. . . perhaps I'll pick Mine That Bird for second. :)


28 Aug 2010 6:15 PM
Kit J

Congratulations Fran, the undying Afleet Alex FAN!

Javier Castellano is such an underrated jockey. Wonderful for him.

School is back in session so too busy to write or read. But really I haven't missed much. Things stay the same. :)  

Jason sorry for such a tough day. I guess that WAS the distance for Discreetly Mine, D'Funnybone finished last, right? What did you get Rightly So?  Miners Reserve stayed in so First Dude? And 7-1 on Afleet Express so you didn't go all in on him I guess? Anyway, very nice for Mr. Jimmy Jerkens!

28 Aug 2010 6:19 PM
Pedigree Shelly

        Jason , You were right about Trappe Shot ! I will keep my " Trappe " shut about him ! :) You had Afleet Express and First Dude ! I hope you did well !

28 Aug 2010 6:34 PM

Who trounced who today?  Where did D'Funnybone finish anyway?

28 Aug 2010 6:52 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Early Woodward pick- Mine That Bird, with the blinkers. You'll see a new man. Back in business. Time to quit monkeyin around. Blinkers is a good move.

28 Aug 2010 6:53 PM

What a group.  At least they beat 27 seconds for the final quarter.

28 Aug 2010 6:54 PM
Jason Shandler

Tough day Kit J? You must have forgot to read the article above you. Look at my Travers picks. Had the tri.

Track was speed favoring all day. Funnybone had no chance.

28 Aug 2010 7:23 PM

Pacific Classic at NTRA LIVE right now!  see y'all later!

28 Aug 2010 7:30 PM
Kit J

I meant you didn't get the odds you wanted on Afleet.

I did read the article, thus the comment about the 8-1 odds.

That's why I like to be where I can bet at the track after watching some early races and see how the track is playing.

It was speed favoring but the first two horses came from back in the pack didn't they?

You're a bit prickly.

28 Aug 2010 7:36 PM

In the Travers, you just saw the rank and file that will make up most of next year's G2 & G3 winners.  A few solid horses, but not a potential champion among them.  Trappe Shot looks like a miler who wants no part of the classic distance.

Don't forget about my baby Sidney's Candy, Dr. D.  He already holds one win over Lookin At Lucky.  Okay, it was on synthetics and 'Lucky had beaucoup trouble.  But if he beats him again, on the square in the PA Derby, Sidney's Candy vaults right to the front, no less than dead even with LAL, with Breeders Cup results the deciding factor.  Doubt they'll run in the same BC race though.

Cold exacta tomorrow: Rachel Alexandra/Miss Singhsix.  Life At Ten is the 2nd best horse in the race but the pace scenario doesn't favor her at all.

28 Aug 2010 7:47 PM
Jason Shandler

The 8-1 part was for the across the board bet. Had nothing to do with tri.

28 Aug 2010 7:49 PM

I had the tri in the KB, handicapped it as bulldogger and funnybone going at each other and will fade.  Was really surprise to see my pick DM taking the lead and holding off the longshots but I'm glad I single DM.  Hit a $3 tri on that one :)

I was looking for funny but never saw him.  I don't know where bulldogger finished either but I'm glad they didn't hit the board lol.

I think LAL locked up that Eclipse award against the colts with Afleet Express's win.  Only SS had the chance to take it away from him but SS didn't fire again.  I don't know what is up with IceBox, I was really expecting him to run huge against this field but maybe there's something wrong with him or his FD win was a combination of luck and lack of competition.  I don't know, but one thing is for sure, I won't unload on him next time.

28 Aug 2010 7:50 PM

I guess Mike Smith is going to have a decision to make in the Classic.  Jus joking.  Richard's Kid came from almost last at one point.  It's interesting the final quarter in this race was about 2 seconds faster than the Travers.  Those lousy west coast horses anyway.

28 Aug 2010 7:57 PM


Bulldogger and D'Funnybone were last and second last.  Make note.....with your tri win today you have already quadrupled Draynay's earning for the year.

28 Aug 2010 8:00 PM


Hmmmmmmmmm.  At least they'll start running in those G2 and  G3 races early in the year.  Who knows, by September they might even be trying G1 company.

28 Aug 2010 8:03 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   You do know about Twirling Candy don't you? He has looked impressive. I'm one that is also thinking that Sidney's Candy is going to be best at a mile. It's going to be interesting to see what he does in a dirt race or even a turf race at 1 1/8 or more. He did hold his speed well in The SA Derby though, and I don't think he could have been beaten that day, but Lucky may have been able to challenge with a clean trip. We know Lucky is a winner and one tough cookie. It looks like Sidney's Candy wants to run all out as far as he can go and is going to be difficult to rate. Blind Luck and Evening Jewel are ahead a lot of the males. Where they fit in I'm not sure. I still really like Afleet Express and Afleet Again but I think Fly Down is also going to be very special. We already know about Paddy. I think he is the top male turf horse in America but the Euros will be tough. I still think Lucky is the top 3yo on any surface despite Paddy's talent. Lucky is good enough to win The Classic. I said after Discreetly Mine's last race that he and Vineyard are the top sprinters in the world on dirt and I think they will be the favorites in the Breeder's Sprint.

28 Aug 2010 8:07 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Thanks. Now on to the Rachel and Life at Ten match. It will good to see both of them. I'm hoping for a rip roaring, jolly good, eyeball to eyball, rockem sockem race.

28 Aug 2010 8:22 PM

Laz, it's not out of the norm for a turf race to have faster closing fractions than a dirt race, especially when the horses are moving slower earlier.  And that's what the Pacific Classic was, a glorified turf race.  First to last was 5 and 3/4 lengths.  All congrats go to Richard's Kid and connections but he is just the type of horse that is alot better on Del Mar's quirky surface than he is anywhere else.

28 Aug 2010 8:36 PM

Both Candy's can run, Dr. D and on dirt or turf.  Twirling Candy will get his class test in the Del Mar Derby next week.  Sadler is trying to keep them apart.

28 Aug 2010 8:49 PM

You're not remembered nearly as much by how you start, Lazmannick, as by how you finish.

As for the Pacific Classic, that's a race for older.  They should run faster than three year-olds on the average.  But comparing those two surfaces is apples & oranges anyway.

28 Aug 2010 8:54 PM
Carlos in Cali

Well, luck in the Travers,but I'm glad Discreetly Mine keeps proving he's the one the beat come BC Sprint time. I had him pegged as the "one to watch" back in June on the 'Calling all sprinters' blog.

The 3yo male division looks pretty weak now,except for the gutsy & consistent LaL.

Jason,good call on the tri... but,D'Funnybone had no excuses today other than he probably didn't fire.The 2nd & 3rd place finishers came from way-off the pace,Discreetly Mine has simply turned into a beast as a sprinter and is a better horse than D'Funnybone now.

28 Aug 2010 8:55 PM


You're stretching it.  Forget about the Pacific Classic.  26.32 seconds (the winner's time) for our top 3 year olds contesting a $1,000,000 summer classic on a fast track with perfect conditions and nice early fractions.  What happened?  I thought that all the best horses raced at Saratoga in the summer.  I think there's a pretty good bunch running in California right about now.  Infact I just watched El Brujo, a Canadian Bred, win the Pat O'brien and he did it in roughly the same time it took Dicreetly Mine to run 6F in the King's Bishop.  No excuses for that final quarter at Saratoga.  Sorry.

28 Aug 2010 8:59 PM

Dr Drunkinbum

Vineyard and Discreetly are two top sprinters.  However, there is a mighty big mountain for them to climb called Majestperfection.

28 Aug 2010 9:07 PM
Paula Higgins

Back at you Dr Drunkinbum!! I want to chat with you when the BCC gets closer LOL!!! I am hoping you are high on my girl, Zenny. I still think LAL is the best 3 yr old.

28 Aug 2010 9:07 PM

WoW,  You never know what to expect out of those racing gods....

They sure will throw a doozy sometimes...

I guess Trappe Shot had rather stayed back and got a view of the scenery today...

28 Aug 2010 9:07 PM
Matthew W

Richard's Kid's journey through this year's preps to the Pac Classic was identical to last year's, complete with the lights out works--he gets the 1 1/4, needs Mike's wait it out style of race riding/closing--9-2 and thank you! So what if it plays like turf--those close finishes usually get it right--all you have to do is look at Lookin At Lucky--no, Richard's Kid is a good horse, period--as are those two Travers throw down horses, both whom deserved the win--here's to some good racing today! Here's to The Travers, it did not dissapoint, was just one helluva race! Don't sell Cali shoprt--fake tracks/REAL horses! Good luck to the ladies tom, think Rachel's back and ready to rumble/think the Classic is gonna be some kinda race--it's been a good year, and it's only warming up....

28 Aug 2010 9:18 PM

With regards to PC, I'm sure the excuse is the synthetic again, for some reason although Jason did say it's a speed favoring day at the toga so not sure how the draynays will spin that one :)  It looks like RK really needed a few races to get over his Dubai trip.  It was a nice win while going wide on the turn.  I was rooting for Awesome Gem, he was coming but just couldn't find a clean trip.  He was inside RK on the stretch and just couldn't make ground.  He is still an "awesome gem".

Got the Pat O'Brien too but it's just a "got my money back" trifecta lol, I'll still take it :)

Congrats to all that had winning tickets today!

28 Aug 2010 9:18 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   You're right. Majesticperfection is fast and 5 of 6 I think. He's in there. He can set fast fractions and finish well I believe. His last was the only one I saw, but very impressive. Natural stamina like Discreetly. Those three for sure. Any more?

28 Aug 2010 9:22 PM


Isn't that the truth.  Kind of reminds me of a giant mare I know.

28 Aug 2010 9:26 PM

Dr. D - have you seen ZK?  Didn't she say she would report on Rfo after the Thursday evening meetup?

Agree it could be a toss-up between Paddy & Sydney for 3yo turf horse; but there's a 4yo American turfer who's been extremely impressive and they'll have to meet up with him eventually: Get Stormy.  He's been hitting on all cylinders this year and looking gorgeous doing it!

28 Aug 2010 9:38 PM

Dr Drunkinbum

There's gonna be lots more.  This is a pretty deep division and the top contenders seem to change every month or so.  Remember a horse named D'Funnybone?  I think he'll be back.  I still like Hollywood Hit and we know there'll be a few from Cali (I guess I should whisper that).  This might be the toughest division top to bottom this year.

28 Aug 2010 9:56 PM


I'm here! Between the trip to Del Mar, all the racing today and reading all the comments posted while I was gone, I haven't had time to put two words together. RFO is looking and doing great. More details soon.

Congratulations to all the winners today. Great racing on both coasts!

28 Aug 2010 11:08 PM

Paula and Dr. D : Where are you two going to chat ??

28 Aug 2010 11:29 PM
Kit J

Did any of you hear Bob Baffert say he's missed a lot of time with LAL? I just caught a piece of the interview.

Anything we can find out from the Cal connected?

ZK, is he okay? Hope it's nothing important that put the race on hold.

29 Aug 2010 12:03 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Probably be chatting right here.

Thanks ZK for update.

29 Aug 2010 12:18 AM
Paula Higgins

JayJay, why here of course! I see four American contenders for the BCC. Zenyatta, Blame, Quality Road and Lookin At Lucky. Have no idea who the Brits are going to send.

29 Aug 2010 12:51 AM


Your very soft response to the part of Mr. Desrmeaux’s record that was highlighted proves you cannot justify your claim. In fact, I think in making such a statement you have done a great disservice to the great rider. His career achievements are listed below:-

(a) In each of his first three years racing in Maryland, he won more races than any other jockey in the U.S.

(b) He is one of only four jockeys to have won three national titles in a row.( 1987-1989)

(c) He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey  in 1989 & 1992.

(d) He is one of only three jockeys to have won the Eclipse Award in both the apprentice and overall categories.

(e) He holds the record for most wins in a year with 598.

(f) He was the first foreign jockey to win a Classic race in Japan.

(g) He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding apprentice Jockey  in 1989 & 1992.

(h) USA champion Jockey by earnings 1992.

(i) He received the George Woolf Memorial jockey award in 1992.

(j) He has won major races in several countries.

(k) He has won over 65 major races including five Triple Crown and three Breeders’ Cup races.

(l) He has over 5000 career wins.

(m) Inducted in the Racing Hall of Fame in 2004.

I cannot argue with you about the preference by horsemen to use Ramon versus Kent. However, the body of work and achievements above leave no doubt as to who is the better rider.

29 Aug 2010 12:58 AM

That's true Lazmannick.  As I remember, three great females all finished their seasons incredibly strong last year, and all three accomplished things that no other females ever had in previous years. Since they're all still active, hopefully we'll get to see just as strong a finish this year.

29 Aug 2010 2:36 AM

The Travers has had a strong recent history in producing photo finishes(08, 00, 99, 98, 97, 96, 94, 91, 88), and it did so again today.

Afllet Express proved himself a 3 year old of some talent, and his quick progression up the class ladder has been striking. This is a horse with the size and endurance to be a factor in major races at a classic distance.  Fly Down has yet to breakthrough with his big gr.1 win, but he ran well again and is clearly a classy animal.  The final time, and the last quarter in particular, were not impressive, but Afllet Express and Fly Down did finish well clear of the rest of the field.  Thus, overall I view it as a solid race, but a race that leaves Lookin at Lucky as the clear #1 among the 3 year olds.  

Outside of the top 2 finishers, it's hard to be enthusiastic. And I'm still waiting for First Dude to run to his hype, especially since so many proclaimed him the best of the generation after the Preakness.  He's clearly a nice horse, but at some point the horse must win a race.

Discetely Man deserves credit for setting fast fractions and still winning, but that final glacial eighth cannot be ignored.  Had there been a top-level closer in the King's Bishop, he would have inhaled Discretely Mine that last eighth.  And it wasn't like Saratoga's main track was playing unusually slow, with the Ballerina run in 1:22 and change(Discretely Mine 1:23), an earlier allowance run in 1:22, and 2 year olds running in 1:09.  My guess is that none of the gr.1 stakes at Saratoga will receive strong Beyers.

At Del Mar, I took a stand against Richard's Kid in the Pacific Classic but he simply was too classy and good on this day.  Baffert had him back on a cycle upswing 3rd race back from Dubai, and Richard's Kid clearly loves Del Mar.  Once again this year, the quality of the 2009 Breeder's Cup Classic field was validated.

And Del Mar again proves that whether the main track is dirt or synthetic, it is the quirkiest of the SoCal tracks.  In the 70+ year history of the Santa Anita Handicap only 3 horses have won the race more than once(John Henry, Milwaukee Brew, Lava Man) and in the 70+ year history of the Hollywood Gold Cup only 2 horses have won the race more than once(Native Diver, Lava Man).  Yet, in only 20 years the Pacific Classic has already produced 3 multiple winners(Tinners Way, Skimming, Richard's Kid).  

Crowded House ran the big race I was expecting to get 2nd, but Richard's Kid was simply better.  The fact Dakatoa Phone ran 3rd supports my belief that Del Mar's Polytrack is very similar to Santa Anita's Pro-Ride and that both are quite different from Hollywood's Cushion Track.  Dakota Phone had run 3rd in this year's Big Cap but ran very poorly at Hollywood, only to come to Del Mar to win the San Diego and run 3rd in the Pacific Classic.  On Pro-Ride, Polytrack and turf, Dakaota Phone is a tough competitior, but he's just a step below gr.1 horses.  The Usual QT demonstrated yet again that he is simply better on turf than synthetic.  Hold Me Back showed nothing; maybe this shipping thing isn't as easy as Blind Luck makes it appear?

In the supporting gr.1 Pat O'Brien, Joel Rosario on El Brujo played the role I expected Victor Espinoza and Smiling Tiger to play, lone pacesetter.  And with Espinoza bizzarely content to let El Brujo cruise on the lead, it was El Brujo who was able to go wire to wire and give Baffert a 2nd gr.1 win on the day and Rosario his 5th overall win.  Crown of Thorns was extemely impressive to be a flying 2nd; although his career has been heavily affected by injury, Crown of Thorns is a legit gr.1 sprinter, as reflected in 3 straight runner-up finishes in gr.1 races(including the BC Sprint).

A final note on the day's racing- the $260k gr.1 Golden State Derby for quarter horses was won by last year's Los Al $2 million Futurity winner, Good Reason.  Why is this relavent?  Well, Good Reason is a son of 1997 Horse of the Year(thoroughbred) Favorite Trick.  

I'm rooting and believe Rachel will run Life at ten into the ground, but 10 furlongs at Saratoga the last few weekends has been playing more like 1 mile and 5/16th; that final eighth and sixteenth are going to be very demanding, especially if Life at Ten runs a top performance.

29 Aug 2010 6:05 AM
Saratoga AJ

I ALWAYS give special attention to anything the great Hall of Famer H. Allen Jerkens enters in a race. And that now holds true for his son Jimmy. Add the unusual workout line leading up to the Travers, weekly long 6F and 7F works galloped out to over a mile+, a typical move by Jerkens Sr., (think Onion and Prove Out over Secretariat in '73, among so many others). JIMMY WAS TAUGHT BY THE BEST!  

So I pounded Afleet Express at the windows W/PL (along with the Discreetly Mine-Afleet Express DD) Bingo! Missed the exacta, but who's complaining?

Then got a good buzz last night with all the free drinks from my friends who I talked into doing the same!

Got a $20 DD on the Travers - Personal Ensign DD today. Need Rachel to prevail for the $30 double...X 10. Go Rachel!

Great day at the Mecca of Racing yesterday. Great crowd (45,000+), great weather, and loads of dolled up pretty ladies! Saratoga rules! :)

29 Aug 2010 9:17 AM

Thanks for checking in, Zookeeper!  I'll look forward to the details :-)

29 Aug 2010 9:53 AM

Good for Richard's Kid. But he's a pretty specific surface specialist and that surface isn't dirt.  If I were Baffert, I would forget the BC and point him to the Dubai World Cup.  Awesome Gem had a little stretch trouble but basically just stunk.  This despite him coming off his biggest win and reports he was working lights out.  Fortunately for him, two consecutive meets are coming up at his favorite track.  Plus, he even ran successfully on the Charles Town bullring.  I would take a shot in the Pomona Handicap at Fairplex.

29 Aug 2010 10:40 AM
Mike Relva


I think RA's a great horse,but I'm not sure about 10f. I think LAT will prevail today.

29 Aug 2010 10:54 AM
Mike Relva


I couldn't agree w/you more regarding Kent. He's won a couple of Kentucky Derby's. How many riders that are very good/great go their entire careers' that never win? Gomez hasn't won one to date.

29 Aug 2010 10:59 AM


As the third of the three I assume you mean Goldi.

29 Aug 2010 12:54 PM


I wouldn't discredit Gomez because of his lack of derby wins. Remember last year? POTN? He thought he had the race won before Bo-rail stole it coming up the rail. Losing to the King of CD and beating everyone else is nothing to sneeze at.

29 Aug 2010 1:00 PM
cat thief

Fly down closed against the bias and just missed against the ground saving Afleet Express.  5 wide turning for home he looked like a true 126lb toting 1 1/4 horse.  Will he go next in the Jockey Club Gold Cup or find a softer spot to prep for the Classic?

Afleet Express had an easy trip and continued on down the stretch, can't wait to see him in his next.

The rest: Ice box opened at 9/2???  Both he, and Super Saver need a drop in class or find a rainy day to run.  First Dude, best of the rest...has good cruising speed but not enough punch at the end.  He needs a change in tactics and or drop in class.

29 Aug 2010 1:01 PM

Cat Thief,

AE was about 4 wide on the first turn and came through willingly when space opened in front of him down the stretch. I'm not saying anything to discredit Fly Down, but it wasn't like AE had a MTB kind of trip.

29 Aug 2010 2:18 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


 I believe they will go for The Classic with Richard's Kid and rightly so. He didn't run well enough at Dubai last year and he has run well on dirt before. He's not a turf horse or an AW specialist. He is rounding into top form and can compete at CD on the dirt. I didn't bet The Pacific Classic but was still disappointed in Hold Me Back. What are they going to do with him? He was weak in the PC with excellent position. I have no hope that he can run at the top level. With Richard's Kid I will be very surprised if they aren't pointing to the Breeder's Cup Classic. Baffert will be there anyway, and it's a why not situation, and I think they do have the confidence that he can run at CD. He is getting very strong and has great stamina. He is in the top form of his career.

29 Aug 2010 3:16 PM

Afleet Express also checked on first turn.

29 Aug 2010 3:18 PM

I thought he ran darn well in the DWC, Dr. D.  true he was 7th, but only two lengths separated 1st through 7th.  Keep in mind, the DWC has a $10,000,000 purse, so even if he's only able to clunk up for fifth, the payday's huge.  Maybe he could also do that in the BCC, but at Churchill I have my doubts.  I think he's much more an AW horse than a dirt horse, but on the slower AW's like Polytrack.  He's never won a big race on dirt.  He's not as good on Cushion which plays much faster.  Dubai's Tapeta is somewhere in between.

If it were me, I would run him in the GII Fayette on Poly at Keeneland and then put him away until winter.  I might look for a minor stake on Golden Gate's Tapeta to prep him for the DWC again.

29 Aug 2010 3:59 PM

Was the sixth on Sunday at Saratoga a claimer or an optional claimer? I can't believe they ran Wow Wow Wow for a tag.

29 Aug 2010 4:09 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Good point. I forgot how big that purse is over there. If he handled that traveling part of it OK, they'll probably go back. You're right, 7th but only two lengths back is good enough if he can tolerate the traveling aspect. They could do both, if Baffert thinks he can run at CD. Too many unknowns for me. We'll just wait and see. I think he's approaching top form if he's not there already, so don't be surprised if they tackle The Classic. He wasn't as good as he is now when he last ran on dirt. Some can do AW and dirt, or AW and turf. A few can even do all three. I liked your last post, there definitely is a difference between different poly surfaces. He likes Del Mar that's for sure. They might take him to CD to try the track before they decide, and they might just enter him, and they might be happy with two Pacific Classic wins and putter around until the next one !!!

29 Aug 2010 5:17 PM

The ghost of Personal Ensign strikes at the Spa!

29 Aug 2010 6:07 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Rachel can go for The Ladies' Classic or retire. The Classic would be ridiculous. 1 1/4 is just a bit too much. Persistantly definitely looked great pre-race and ran the race of her life so far. Rachel should be credited for dusting off Life At Ten, and she of course would have won at 1 1/8. She looks pretty good. I think Blind Luck and Rachel will be a great matchup in The Ladies' Classic.

29 Aug 2010 6:14 PM
Paula Higgins

Disappointing but she ran a really good race considering how fast they had her going from the start. I was hoping Rachel could pull it off but I think the fast early pace and the distance were too much for her. I think Calvin should have stayed back in second. She might have had something left in the tank to hold off Persistently. LAT ended up with the same issue. I told my husband the pace was too fast 20 seconds into the race. I knew it would burn them out and someone at the back of the pack would blow by them. All in all, Rachel ran a good race considering how fast he had her going from the get go. I  think the way she was ridden was a problem that she almost surmounted.

29 Aug 2010 6:15 PM

I never thought Rachel can get the 10F, I don't think she will compete in the Classic.  Happy for Shug, his horse was running way before the turn and was gaining on the two with every stride.  Rachel went all out to try and get to the wire but she just have that distance limitation.  She's a true 9F horse and the Distaff is hers to lose.  The PE is the scenario RA will see if they chose to run in the Classic, but it will be much worse with QR there.

I don't know how else LaT could've run that race, on this day, RA is just a better horse than her.  I think she'll come back and meet RA again in the Distaff which will be interesting as it will be shorter.  Can a closer get RA again in a 9F, I think not.

29 Aug 2010 6:16 PM
Diane J

Who saw that coming - Persistently? I hate to see Rachel hit with the whip so much at the end of the race.  I've thought the distaff division has been more talented than the older horse division over the past 2-3 years. Some fillies don't progress from three to four, and Rachel may be one of those.  No one can take last year away from her - we may never see a campaign like that again.  I can't see her going in the Classic now.

29 Aug 2010 6:19 PM

Black and Red.

29 Aug 2010 6:20 PM
Kit J

I guess all those people who were being lambasted for saying Rachel could not get the distance were right?  She really looked like she was tiring.

Brave effort though and the time was slow they said?  

Very nice that the Phipps family won it eerie to see the silks crossing the line.

29 Aug 2010 6:24 PM
Kit J

I think Paula that the pace was quick but not suicidal. I think I have to agree with the analysts (for once) that Calvin actually gave her a good ride, she just got tired and slowed way down.

Wish it would have gone differently but now we'll have one supergirl in the Distaff and one in The Classic!  Lord willing.

29 Aug 2010 6:27 PM

Why on earth did Calvin let her go all out in the start?  He should have known she would get exhausted quicker.  Just think,  Shug sent Persistanly in just like he did PE and she won this one for him too.  Thats beautiful.    I am very dissappointed in Borel,  Although, the closers stay behind for a reason.   To CLOSE...

29 Aug 2010 6:28 PM

For all of you people who said  that Rachel couldn't get a mile and a quarter were proven to be wrong today. You didn't say that she had to do it in under 2:05 Don't run her in the Classic Mr. Jackson, she is not the same horse you had last year.

29 Aug 2010 6:29 PM
Mike Relva


Ok, I was wrong about LAT winning,but right about RA not getting 10f. You stated she would win by five. She's a great horse,but she won't be in the Classic now. You've given Zenyatta and connections' hell all year,wanna see what your comments on RA's loss will be. Calvin shouldn't have had her on the lead. Difficult for you to refute my point that we know Zenyatta CAN get the 10f.

29 Aug 2010 6:35 PM


If Rachel Alexandra happens to run in the b.c. Classic, she will have a tough time winning, she seem's to be more of 1 1/8 type of horse.

I just had a feeling that she would get beat by a longshot today.

Draynay, looks like Zenyatta like's the 1 1/4 distance a little more than Rachel does.

29 Aug 2010 6:37 PM
Sammi P

I didn't think Rachel could get 10 furlongs, but I did like the winner and she sure lived up to her name. I don't see Rachel in the Classic, she did good hanging around for second, but no way can she do that against the best in the country. There was no excuse other then the distance though. They didn't go all that fast, final time was a touch slower then both the Travers and PC yesterday. I do hope she can come out of this race in good shape and move on to better things, like 9 furlong things.

29 Aug 2010 6:47 PM

It's official now, Rachel just didn't come back as good as last year.  HOY is definitely over.  If she can't hold off Persistently at 1 1/4, she won't hold off Zenyatta or Blame, though she is a like a duck if she was lucky enough to get slop.

What do I do now if I'm Jess Jackson?  I forget about a fourth straight HOY, and shoot for the older female Eclipse.  And if you ask, how can she possibly beat out Zenyatta for that one if she can't even beat Persistently?  Here's how she could have an outside chance:  Jackson needs to forget his stupid "plastic tracks" obsession and challenge Zenyatta in the Zenyatta Stakes.  While I don't think Rachel would have had a chance in hell at Santa Anita, the Zenyatta Stakes is shifting to Cushion Track this year, the best synthetic possible for her.  And 1 1/16 is a whole different ballgame than 1 1/4, especially with no Life At Ten to tire her out.

But even if Rachel somehow pulled the upset, the one head-to-head win wouldn't be enough.  Even if Zenyatta lost that one, by winning the BC Classic she would still get best older female AND hopefully HOY, it would be a complete injustice if she didn't get both trophies.  But if Rachel went on to win the Ladies Classic and Zenyatta lost to Blame?

I think you would be looking at an interesting vote again.

29 Aug 2010 6:50 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Rachel still hasn't recovered from The Woodward, and to a certain extent never will. She won't be able to dig down that deep again. She needs a more reasonable path, at the right distance against the right competition. Rachel is a great lady, and I hope they do right by the horse in the future. I'm one that would have liked to have seen what she would have done had she not been sold. The Woodward was one too many races against the boys in a short period of time. The Kentucky Oaks was the greatest race she's ever run amd the happiest she has ever been. The mile and a quarter Classic this year would be a disaster. Wise up Janet Weiss. Personally I think she's done enough although I'd like to see her go out on a winning note at 1 1/16 or maybe 1 1/8. If not, that's OK. There's nothing wrong with retirement after all she has given to racing.

29 Aug 2010 6:53 PM
Mike Relva


How did the PE work out for you? Now,you'll do the usual and JUMP OFF the RA bandwagon. Told you yesterday you would jinx her.

29 Aug 2010 6:54 PM
Pam S.

Shortly before the PE, I told my husband, "Don't discount that Phipps horse.  They have had so many long-winded horses and they bred/owned Personal Ensign herself."  (He doesn't know all this stuff.)  After the first half-mile, I thought it was looking pretty good for Persistently.  With what she paid, I wish I'd been at a race book instead of on the couch!

Queen Martha ran poorly in the Molly Pitcher, but I didn't think too much of that.  Seems whoever runs against RA or Z is wiped out in their next race.  I just feel bad for Rachel; she tried so hard to hold on.  There is no need to retire her or skip the BC.  She can run in the Ladies Classic and stands a good chance of winning it.

Love and carrots to Rachel, for she is a great champion anyway.

29 Aug 2010 7:02 PM

Rachel is such a nice mare (obv.!) but as suspected she doesn't want any part of a mile and a quarter.  I'm sure she has a good shot in the Beldame at Belmont.

Congrats to Shug and the Phipps family.  What a great time to get a mare's first stake win in a race named for a family champion!

Also congrats to Gainesway Farm.  Their Afleet Alex sired the Travers winner and their Smoke Glacken sired the Personal Ensign winner.  They just lost Graham Beck so this must be really sweet.

29 Aug 2010 7:11 PM

I will be very interested to see the Beyer.

That was not a good time.

29 Aug 2010 7:12 PM

I'm happy for Shug and the Phipps and has money on her as a hunch bet, but sad for Rachel.  Life at Ten fell apart, but once again Rachel was outfinished.  I hope they point for the BC Filly/Mare.

29 Aug 2010 7:12 PM

My last minute change of bet from a Rachel/Persistantly exacta box to a exacta wheel with Rachel over Persistantly and Miss Singsix was not smart.

29 Aug 2010 7:18 PM

Dianne J is right.  Some horses don't progress from three to four.

Rachel ran a good race.  The fractions weren't all that quick.  I've said it before and I'll say it again--she is not a 10f horse.

29 Aug 2010 7:21 PM

jayjay, agree with your 6:16 comment wholeheartedly although I did think Rachel would win this one today by daylight.

The pace was not suicidal.  3/4's in 1:12.  Calvin road her fine and saved ground.   He also forced the horse he thought would be his main rival wide and ran her into the ground.  This loss was about distance limitations.  Rachel can run 12's for 9 furlongs.  Unfortunately for her, Blame and Zenyatta, and perhaps Blind Luck, can run 12's for 10 furlongs.

Nice effort by the horse though.  She was all out and ran her heart out.

29 Aug 2010 7:29 PM
Mike Relva


Sorry to disappoint but I stated here all week didn't think RA would get 10f. In all fairness,Calvin made a huge mistake by having her on the lead.

29 Aug 2010 7:31 PM
Kit J

longway, I think what that means in trackspeak is she won't win at that distance and she didn't. It means that she will tire and she did. Truthfully if she'd been up against Blame or some of those I think she'd have really been beaten very badly.

29 Aug 2010 7:33 PM

It's just a jump to the left.....

29 Aug 2010 7:39 PM
Mike Relva

I give credit to RA that she has a heart of a champion.

29 Aug 2010 7:44 PM


I also doubt she would've been rushed to the lead. That was pure stupidity. I think JJ and SA are going to change jocks now.

29 Aug 2010 7:46 PM

Kit J,

I was being sarcastic. I have said many times that Rachel wouldn't get a mile and a quarter.

I have to disagree with all of you who are saying Calvin gave her a bad ride. It was refreshing to see a jock actually give a horse their head and let them run. Didn't he do that in all of her races last year? On the other hand if I owned Rachel, Calvin would never ride her again. There was no reason for him to beat the living crap out of her the way he did. She was giving her all and it just wasn't good enough.

29 Aug 2010 7:55 PM

In the Personal Ensign Rachel had it pretty well her way.  She was hounded, but the fractions were not tough.  Her fractions through the mile were marginally slower than the Travers throughout every call.  The Travers race time for the final quarter was 26.63.  The final quarter actual race time today was 26.95.  Rachel was also a length further back meaning her final quarter was 27.05 seconds.  Speed held up all day in the sprints on the main track and when Rachel turned into the stretch with a 3 1/2L lead and had repulsed any chance that LAT had,  she should have romped.  At that point she looked home free but for the obvious spurt by Persistently as she closed ground rapidly from well back.  Still, at the eighth pole and even the sixteenth pole it looked like Rachel might hang on and it was only in the last 20 yards or so that Persistently flew by.  I counted 18 whips from Borel both left and right handed and 16 for Garcia on Persistently.  I always had a feeling that Rachel could get the mile and a quarter, but now, given the time, the final quarter, the easy lead, and the fact that she was run down by a horse that didn’t even compete in stakes through 2008 and 2009, I am thoroughly convinced that she is a 1 1/8th horse and that if she goes to the Breeders Cup, she should contest the Distaff.

Is this a time for the Zenyatta supporters and the Rachel disbelievers to gloat?  DEFINITELY NO WAY!  Rachel was very gallant in the stretch today and from the almost head on shot on TV you could see the stress.  She was asked to do far more than any other 3 year-old filly in recent memory and is now paying for that campaign.  Maybe now people will realize why so very few fillies try what Rachel did.  Maybe now all those that think that fillies and mares should contest a 1 1/4M race several times a year and at times against males will think twice and realize that it is not recommended, not if you want to have a horse that is going to be around for awhile.  Even Life at Ten coming off a 1 1/4M race had no punch left.

Although I am a staunch Zenyatta fan I feel really bummed out.

29 Aug 2010 7:59 PM

thomas 27 Aug 2010 8:47 PM

"Personel Ensign: Persistently(if Rachel doesn't runs under a 2:03 3/5 then she doesn't belong in the field.)"


Footlick 27 Aug 2010 11:48 PM

"Personal Ensign- Persistently just because of Shug.  But logically if Rachel is back and she stays the race is hers.  Life at Ten has won before at the distance and has speed also.  Miss Singhsix seems to appreciate the distance and would be helped if the pace is fast.  But it is hard to look past the two favorites.  I would probably just do a sentimental bet on Shug and just enjoy the race."

Congratulations!  Hope both of you guys placed real $ on your choice (even if it was "$entimental")!

It really is a great story that this year's edition of the race was won by Personal Ensign's own Connections. Much will be written about it.  And in truth, Persistently was given the better ride and ran the better race. Today.

Rachel ran a gutsy race and so did Life at Ten.  Neither did anything but her best.  I hope they both will have come out of it with no ill effects.  

29 Aug 2010 8:01 PM
Mike Relva


I agree w/you about being hit way too much,but disagree about putting her on the front. She should never been on the lead,a very bad mistake. Also,agree they may change riders.

29 Aug 2010 8:02 PM
cat thief

Just watched RA lose in the tenth furlong to a 20-1 shot, she better stick to 8-9 (okay 9.5 at Pimlico). Contenders for the Classic:  Blame, Lookin at Lucky, Flydown, Afleet Express, and Zenyatta.  Quality Road, Dirt Mile; RA, Distaff.

Back to Travers Day:  My best ride of the day award goes to J R Velazquez on Discreetly Mine.  Deciding to blast out and grab the golden rail before Bulldogger got there won the race.  Sub 22 and 44 flat and able to hang on...the rail was the place.  Agreeing with me are:  Rapport, Rightly So, and Afleet Express. Watch him move on the backstretch rail just like the 3 previous race winners.

29 Aug 2010 8:07 PM


What would you have recommended, that Borel let LAT go and dictate an easy pace?  As a pace setter if LAT would have taken the early lead she would have been a lot harder to go by then many might think.  I believe that Borel and Rachel’s connections realize this.  I also questioned JR for letting Borel dictate the pace, especially such a moderate one, but on Borel's part I think it was a brilliant move.  No one, and I mean no one, gave the other fillies a chance in this race.  I would think that everyone, including the connections, thought that this was a two horse race and as such you almost had the feeling that it was a match race.  Borel didn’t push her through suicide fractions.  The PE was even slower throughout than the Travers.  rachel actually came the final quarter in 27.05 seconds.  She just isn’t the same anymore.

29 Aug 2010 8:10 PM

livesoutwest : RA has no chance of winning the distaff division either.  She may have beaten LaT today but LaT still has a G1 win and she doesn't.  Also, Malibu Prayer also have a G1 in the Ruffian, and now Persistently has a G1.  Their strategy of going for the easy low level races will come back and bite them.  It was acceptable to run in the FDL to get a graded stakes win but they should've gone for the Ruffian.  She would've won the Ruffian and would have had a G1 win already.  Now all she has is a G2 win and ungraded stakes.

Even if she runs in the Zenyatta stakes and beat Zen, it wouldn't be enough.  Zen has already 4 G1s, regardless of getting beaten by Rachel, it wouldn't be enough.  RA ran against weaker competition than Zen all year so I don't think it would matter much.  

29 Aug 2010 8:20 PM

Mike Relva,

Look at her races from last year. She ran all the horses off their feet that tried to go with her and had enough left in the tank to hold off the closers. If she is allowed to run on a loose hold, and the race is not over a mile and a eighth, I don't think there are many horses that could beat her. Keep her at her prefered distance and let her run.

29 Aug 2010 8:29 PM

RA was whipped 15 times and Persistently 18 times from my count.  I know CB uses that "bang" whip and I hope Alan did too.  

Did anyone else see besides me that Persistently started running way before the final turn and she was gaining all throughout the stretch run.  I thought that was incredible, I don't recall a horse that started running that early (being pushed hard) and still won going away.  I thought Alan moved way too early but obviously he knew the horse well.

29 Aug 2010 8:30 PM

LAZ : I made a comment way way back about Rachel's 2009 as being a fluke, not as a bad thing but because every owner knows now what that kind of campaign will do to a horse.  SO even if they have a horse that can do that kind of campaign, owners would never try it.  So her 2009 will never be repeated ever, unless an owner decides they want a one year horse then yes but I hope NO ONE repeats it.  I guess that one (and only one) good thing that people learned from JJ's style of campaigning.

I hope RA retires this year, she doesn't have anything else to prove, she has given him and her fans a lot and more than she needed to.  She has earned retirement and a great life.

29 Aug 2010 8:34 PM

"The pace was not suicidal.  3/4's in 1:12.  Calvin road her fine and saved ground.   He also forced the horse he thought would be his main rival wide and ran her into the ground.  This loss was about distance limitations.  Rachel can run 12's for 9 furlongs.  Unfortunately for her, Blame and Zenyatta, and perhaps Blind Luck, can run 12's for 10 furlongs.

Nice effort by the horse though.  She was all out and ran her heart out."

2:24 29 Aug 2010 7:29 PM

Absolutely. Those who criticize Calvin Borel are off base. He just had no horse at the end.

I don't know why some people say Rachel should be retired now. The 1-1/8 miles of the Beldame (if she's sufficiency recovered from today), and the Ladies Classic are well within her scope of dominance. Winning the Ladies Classic would end her career on a high note.

29 Aug 2010 8:40 PM

TradingPLaces : I told LDP before that Rachel can't run any other way other than being in the lead or very close to it.  She's not a rateable horse, her style is to run her opponents to the ground.  She had that acceleration today away from LaT but LaT was spent, RA of last year would've gone on without going all out like she did today.

Calvin rode her the way he has ridden her, there's no way they can try and rate her against top horses, she has been used to being in the lead, she doesn't know any other way to run.

29 Aug 2010 8:41 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Have you seen ZK? Is she still worn out from shipping over to Del Mar?

29 Aug 2010 8:41 PM
Bob Z

Does Calvin get instructions from Asmussen as to how to ride the race...?

Are we saying that having Rachel on the lead (at that pace) was just something that Calvin decided right after the gate opened?

I was a little surprised to see them both take off from the pack like that... when  Life at Ten ran in the Delaware Handicap she ran the 3/4 in 1:14

Rachel ran it in 1:12 and after that Life at Ten didn't respond like she did in the Delaware Handicap...

LAT ran the mile in the DH in 1:38:1 and finished at 2:03:1...

Rachel did the mile in 1:37:54... and Persistently finished the 1 1/4 in the PE at 2:04:49...

So from that it would seem to say that Life at Ten would want to go slower for the 3/4s and then kick it in in the last 1/4 mile...

For Rachel ... I don't know... I have to sleep on it...

If she is running at 1 1/4 and does the 3/4 in 1:12:00 then she can get beat by a closer....

Is she does the 3/4s in 1:14 holding some gas in reserve in the tank... she would have to contend with a horse like Life at Ten who runs similarly to Rachel and would also have gas in the tank at the end..  the closers would be less of an issue with the slower pace.. (?)

Her next race is rumored to be the Beldame on October 2nd.. at 1 1/8.. so no problem there... Rachel will be Rachel....

... but what do you do at the Breeders Cup?

Do you put your horse in against the best and let the chips fall where they may ?  or put her in the Distaff at 1 1/8 where she would probably win...

I guess I would wait to see how she comes out of the Personal Ensign... obviously needs to be healthy but maybe this harder workout at 1 1/4 will make her stronger to try it again at the BCC...

Bottom line... I thought she ran a good race for her first attempt at 1 1/4... but it does look like the 1 1/4 is about the limit to what she can do...

So run against the best and come in 3rd or 4th (with an outside chance of winning - remember it is a horse race... anything can happen, thats why they run them...)

and you would have run against Zenyatta that everybody wants to see...(?)

... or just run in the Distaff where if you do win its totally expected...

And then there is the issue of what are Rachel's plans for next year... If the Breeders Cup is the last time she races that would factor into my decision too....

If this is her last race I would probably go in the Classic... her legacy is still way up there even if she doesn't win...

If the plans are to tun her next year, I might go for the Distaff and tackle the 1 1/4 mile classics next year....


29 Aug 2010 8:52 PM
Kit J

Sadly I think it has a lot less to do with Calvin and much more to do with the rest of the connections.

I do think that she's lost a step from last year and she just couldn't get that far. You could just see her and it was sad.

I do think however that Calvin just doesn't ride that well at Saratoga. He's barely getting any mounts now. Several trainers have backed off of him.

29 Aug 2010 8:58 PM
Meydan Rocks

Rachel is a Champion.

I think Bob Baffert once said that all horses could get 10f (depending on how it set up for them).

Back in the day when Pleasantly Perfect, Medaglia D’oro and Congaree were running, I alway had this nagging feeling that MDO was at the bottom of the top end of the 1 1/4 horses running at the time.  The great Bobby Frankel did a masterful job with that horse (MDO).

MDO was pure poetry in motion at a mile and 1/8th. His glistening coat and his high crusing speed (for me) were breath taking!  Even the brilliant Congaree (whom I thought was a smidgen below MDO at 1 mile 1/8th) won at a mile and a quarter.

Today, as Rachel shortened stride, I kept seeing flashes of her brilliant father faltering to Pleasantly Perfect at a mile and 1/4.

She will alway be a Champion!

She went down valiantly.

Viva Rachel...

Viva Rachel Alexandra!!!

29 Aug 2010 9:07 PM
Pam S.

I don't understand the criticism of Borel.  I'm sure he was riding Rachel according to instructions, not just doing what he felt like.  They tried to rate her and that experiment failed.  Everyone was saying they should just let her roll, they did, and she got nailed by a closer because it's not her best distance.  That's it!  And I don't believe she was "hustled" out of the gate, I believe she broke alertly and that's just how fast she gets out.  Can't see blaming Calvin for the ride.  Maybe for the urging, but in fairness this was a crucial race for RA.

29 Aug 2010 9:07 PM

Bob Z,

Rachel will never get a mile and a quarter against top competition.  She won't be running next year, either.  Oh, Jackson owns her--who knows what he'll do.  If he does what is best for the horse, she finishes this year and retires.

What would you think of her running in the dirt mile?

29 Aug 2010 9:11 PM

Yeah Dr Drunkinbum,

That van ride was a bear! Going wasn't too bad, it's the coming back that threw me for a loop. Now if only I can go off my feed and lose some weight, I'll figure it was worth it. :)

I'm bummed out that Rachel lost today. The distance did her in, as many of us thought it would. After running Life at Ten into the ground, she had little left herself. Great effort on her part and also on the part of Persistently. Glad for those connections. Sad again for Rachel. Didn't see what she looked like after the race. Maybe somebody who was there will report.

29 Aug 2010 9:24 PM

Dr. D - I haven't seen a comment from ZK since the one she posted last night.  :(

29 Aug 2010 9:25 PM
Mike Relva


Your last post regarding shorter distance I totally agree with you.

29 Aug 2010 9:29 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Bob Z

  Her legacy is there as a 3yo. Why throw her to the wolves in The Classic? Why would you want her in a race she can't win, and who knows what it would do to her. I don't know what this race will take out of her so I don't know that she will run in The Beldame for sure. She'll get enough out of today's race to train up to The Ladies' Classic which is what I'd do. Even that race is no cinch but she certainly can win it. Unless she gets nosed by Blind Luck which would be no surprise. Everything from this point will be based on how Rachel is doing, I feel certain of that. If she is ready to run in a Breeder's race then they will, otherwise they will retire her and try to make super babies. I doubt if they will run in The Classic. To go out with a win would be really nice. The Classic could be really bad for her physically and mentally and I can't see her winning it so there is no point. Rachel vs. Zenyatta is totally irrelevant at this point. I don't see why they would run her next year. Personally I think she's just about had enough. Let her enjoy life. She worked really hard to give us a fabulous Horse of the Year, year, but it took it's toll. One more race if she wants to then that is it. I want it to be a race that she has a strong probability of winning so she can go into retirement feeling like the Champion that she is. Walking proud into that breeding shed.

29 Aug 2010 9:36 PM
Kit J

Meydan I think it was either Baffert or Lukas who said that. But what they said was every horse can get the distance some can just get to the finish line sooner.

I really don't think every horse CAN win at the same distance, why do they say horses have optimal distances they run in? Why do we have sprint races and marathons?

If Rachel can be bred I think they'll retire her.

29 Aug 2010 9:40 PM
Paula Higgins

Kit J, I understand your point that the pace wasn't suicidal. But shortly into the race I knew there was going to ba a problem. 10F is not a distance she had run before and I felt she couldn't sustain the pace and hold off a closer at that distance. I felt the same about LAT. It is to Rachel's everlasting credit that she almost made it. But I agree that the biggest factor is the distance. Just a bit too long for her in the final analysis.

Now that everyone knows that the distance is a problem, run her in shorter races and then retire her after this year.

Here is my question: if her connections know she can't rate, why would they run her in a 10f? Especially since they know they don't have the same horse as last year. There would be no way she could go wire to wire at this point at 10f. Kind of doesn't make sense to me.

29 Aug 2010 9:44 PM
Mike Relva


Ok,waiting for your spin,can you please stay on topic and not divert to Zenyatta bashing?

29 Aug 2010 10:39 PM

The Personal Ensign was a very thrilling horse race (worthy of a Grade One at The Spa).  Congratulations to the "Personal Ensign" connections of the winning filly Persistently.  Rachel Alexandra ran Life At Ten into the ground, with Calvin Borel thinking like most of us that it was a two horse race.  The race was spectacular and the contested pace scenario (never mind the actual split times) set up perfectly for the surprise winner.  The Distaff group this year appears deeper than many previous years.   Forgive me but I can't help imaginning how much more awe-inspiring of an event it would have been if those cowardly connections of Big Z had the guts to ship in the big mare for the race.  It would have been the race of the year, to end all arguments.  I think that after the BCC at Churchil Downs some people are going to rue missed opportunities for undisputable all time status.  As someone wrote elsewhere, Rachel's 2009 accomplishments are cast in stone.  Nothing will alter her place in history as one of the best ever 3YO fillies, but her campaign in 2010 should've provided the racing world with a match-up for the ages against the undisputed Queen of synthetics, Zenyatta (whose worshipers also want her to be hailed as Queen of all time racing on Dirt).  The timing of the Alabama was evidently not good for the match but Saratoga's race should've been it, with no excuses from anyone. Now with Rachel being defeated by another hitherto unheralded filly, fans and the sport has suffered another black-eye.

It is a crying shame that we couldn't have a Zenyatta-Rachel Alexandra match-up.  Now it is almost certainly dead and all the lustre gone ...what a fragile sport even when the horses are fit and well.  Does anyone else feel what I feel?

29 Aug 2010 10:49 PM


You are dreaming when it comes to your ridiculous fantasy that Rachel has a chance to win the Eclipse for top Filly Mare this year.  To date she has run five times, lost three times, and hasn’t won a G1 race.  The first two losses aside, today she lost a G1 to a first time stakes starter that hasn’t even participated in a stakes race of any kind since 2008.  Her two earlier losses were against horses that probably won’t be contesting a BC race this year, in fact, maybe won’t be contesting a G1 or any kind through the balance of the year.  Rachel has a single G2 win with a chance at best of winning two G1 races.  Even if she won them, including a BC Distaff, the HOY she won last year would forever be tarnished.  Everyone keeps harping about her body of work last year remember.  What body of work would she have this year even in the F & M Division?

29 Aug 2010 10:53 PM

I have no interest in bashing Rachel.  The pace wasn't taxing and she got run down.  If she goes to the BC, she needs to go in the Distaff.  She is not a 10 furlong horse.  It will be interesting what the Beyer will be because he tends to upgrade her and QR's races.  She couldn't outfinish Persistently, and Queen Martha ran poorly in her next dirt start, so I want to see an honest Beyer for a change.  He always downgrades Zenyatta.

29 Aug 2010 10:55 PM
Kit J

I think they wanted to see if she could do it. I read somewhere that they were pointing her to the classic. Maybe they are like all of the others who think their horses can win at that distance and are in denial?

I read on another blog about Calvin's comments so went back and read the updated story here on the BH. I was disturbed by Calvin's remarks:

Borel said he felt the defeat coming.

“After we put away Life At Ten at the quarter pole, I didn’t feel any acceleration and I got worried," he said. "She wasn’t really there. I knew if anyone was running behind us, we were in trouble.”

Why oh why did he hit her so many times?  I know that is race riding and I don't usually have a problem with pushing a horse on. But that makes me think that she might not have even gotten second if he hadn't just laid into her. Someon also said she looked disinterested before the race and mentally defeated after, that doesn't sound good.

29 Aug 2010 11:14 PM

Rangulon,   Why is this Zenyatta's fault?  IF she would have been in the PE,  she would have done the same thing.  It was a good race,  RA set the pace and LAT kept her pushing then when LAT slowed and RA slowed, here came the spirit of Personal Ensign in one of Shug's own horses,  and she did what a closer does, and closed,  The same thing Zen would have done.  


29 Aug 2010 11:18 PM

Zookeeper, too funny that your post showed up just ahead of mine saying I hadn't seen a comment from you!

Footlick...indeed, the Beyers are going to be very interesting!

29 Aug 2010 11:24 PM


Not sure why you mentioned the Alabama.  It's restricted to 3 year old filles right?

I would love to have seen Zen and Rachel race each other. I even took the bait on the Apple Blossum.  But I don't think that it really matters anymore.  John Sh. , who so many are critizing these days, doesn't like to travel away from his other horses. If I were one of his owners, I would appreciate that. And, he has kept Zen, happy and healthy into her 6 year old year.  If Rachel had gone on a winning streak, maybe Zen would have come east. But not now.  With Rachel only having a grade 2 to her credit, she is the one that should be gunning after Zen , not the other way around.  

You talk about the cowardly connections of Zenyatta.  If Rachel's connections are so much braver, why don't they ship to Hollywood and race Zen at a mile and a 16th?  Rachel has won on synthetics before so what are they worried about?????

I'm happy that the Phipps won the Personal Ensign, it was very fitting.  I'm sorry Rachel lost.  But it irritates me to no end, that whenever Rachel LOSES , there are shots taken at Zenyatta and her connections.  That makes no sense.  

29 Aug 2010 11:31 PM

Hey, I didn't say it was likely RA could beat Zenyatta or win the older female award.  It's just that there are three options for her final prep:

The JCGC against Blame - after today not liking that one.  The Beldame which is the conservative approach.  She'll face the other top Eastern females, Life At Ten, Malibu Prayer, Queen Martha, who she's already beaten.  Or roll the dice against Zenyatta at a more favorable distance.  And if I'm Jackson I say hell, I lost my chance for another championship today, what do I have to lose?

29 Aug 2010 11:36 PM


You never seem to give up.  You've been wrong all summer with everything you’ve picked starting with the Derby, with Quality Road and several times now with Rachel.  You're also wrong about Zen's so called cowardly connections.  Personally this race today, the Pacific Classic yesterday and the HGC earlier in the summer would have been a piece of cake for her, but her target is one race only, the BCC.  Rachel is showing us now that there is only so much in the tank and her tank was all but empty before this year even started from what they did with her last year.  You still throw it out like they got the job done today but miscalculated regarding Persistently, a filly that is four, has run 13 times and had never won a stakes race.  Are you forgetting last race how tough Queen Martha was for her?  What happened to Queen Martha today?  You say that if Zen showed up it would have been the race of the year?  We thought we were all through that when Rachel didn’t show up for the AB.  Would you have preferred Zen to show up and make it even worse for Rachel?  In case you don’t get it, Zenyatta the plan is for Zenyatta to show up for the BCC, right on schedule.  That will be the race of the year and only because she will be in it. She is the mystery and will probably be the poster horse for this year's event.  Where will Rachel run and if Quality Road loses the Woodward, what BC race will he contest?

29 Aug 2010 11:37 PM
Paula Higgins

Ranagulzion, are you kidding? Why on earth do you think Asmussen should have raced Rachel against Zenyatta this year? That would have been a travesty, even at a shorter distance. I would never want to see Rachel humiliated in a race she has no chance in. Last year, a different story. This year no way. Not at ANY point this year in fact. Zenyatta's connections are not cowards and Rachel's connections aren't stupid or cruel.

Dr Drunkinbum, again we think alike. I wish they would retire her now or after one more race. They will never run her in the BCC, nor should they.

This horse has had an amazing and historic season in 2009 and she is one of the true greats. Time to let her be happy and retire.

29 Aug 2010 11:43 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Sounds like you're doing good !!  I hope that Rachel is doing OK. It will be interesting. I'm also interested in finding out how Runflatout is doing. Maybe someone that was there will report.

Paula Higgins-I agree. Makes no sense to me either. I imagine that THEIR thought process was to see if she could win at 1 1/4 so they could have confidence going into The Classic. It's possible they had doubts about 10f like we did but wanted to try to know for sure, but with her style, 10f would have concerned me. It's different with Zenyatta, she has a better style for 10f. Rachel has been mismanaged in my mind. Many would disagree. It's just an opinion and personal preference. With her running style, it's tricky. Easy to get her in over her head where she has to push to hard to keep the lead. She won't push as hard as in the Woodward again but she still has to exert more than she would like. She tried to hang on today. It was just too far. She's still a great filly though. A very talented front runner who if placed properly could have been undefeated since The Oaks. I have great admiration and respect for Rachel. I hope they do what's best for her.

29 Aug 2010 11:45 PM

Kit J

I counted 18 cracks with the popper whip (I think that's what he used).  A jockey has to encourage his horse to win or perhaps he will be in trouble.  I did notice that once Persistenly drew alongside and it looked like she would win, Calvin didn't whip her anymore.  And it's not like Garcia didn't get into Persistently either.  I think I counted 16 whips from him and he stopped when they drew along side and he knew their momentum would carry them across the line first.

29 Aug 2010 11:45 PM

sidekickflats and Laz- thanks for saying what you did so I didn't have to respond. ; )

29 Aug 2010 11:45 PM
Paula Higgins

Kit J, I think if this had been last year, I could see them trying 10F. I don't think they used the best judgment this year in putting her in a 10f race. But I think you are right they were pointing towards the BCC and hoping to get her there. I think it was a major case of denial because she wasn't where she was last year at the shorter distances, never mind the longer ones. I guess her fast works were giving them hope but I am a believer that works are not the whole picture. Clearly, they are not.

But I have to say, Rachel has heart and I love that about her.  She runs her heart out, always.

29 Aug 2010 11:51 PM


Too funny! Especially the  :(  LOL!

29 Aug 2010 11:51 PM

Dr. Drunkinbum,

I know you'll get my response to your comment:  See August 29 7:39pm.


I was at my old stomping grounds, Del Mar, on the 27th and 28th in Section 11 right over the finish line.  Bet you were closeby somewhere.  I was with an old buddy from San Diego that I met up with earlier in the meet to watch Zenyatta in the CH.  It was great to see him again.  Afterwards we went to my brother's for wine-tasting.  I didn't do too well handicapping; had a lot of 2nd & 3rds, then got off Cecil's horse that came 2nd in the Classic when he was using up a lot of energy in the paddock and post parade.  Hope you did well.


I understand what you're talking about, but I don't feel the same way that you do.  It would be a waste of Zenyatta's time to have gone to the PE.  The race would have been too easy for her, and might have been humiliating for poor Rachel, who ran a valiant race.  10 furlongs is just a bit too long for her.  Of course it would be nice for NY and the East Coast to see Z, but I'm happy to see her again in the west before she travels to Churchill.  

29 Aug 2010 11:56 PM

While I'm disappointed that Rachel didn't win today, I still think she ran a very good race despite the final time.

She was pressed throughout by Life At Ten, and she dispatched that very good mare I believe before the top of the stretch and drew well clear of her (10 lengths in the end).  

Now clearly, 10f is not her optimal distance, and the pace was solid enough that a closer (that she gave 6 lbs to) did catch her in the end.  So what?  Let's not resort to blaming her jockey, she just isn't a 10f horse.  But it was smart to point her to the PE to make that determination, now they know.  

Keep her between 8 and 9 1/2 furlongs.  She doesn't need to run in the Classic and since when is it a disgrace for a filly to run in the distaff????  That will be a hell of a race, RA and Blind Luck heading a good field of fillies and mares.  

29 Aug 2010 11:56 PM

I hope Rachel isn't wiped out for the year like she was after the Woodward. She looked really tired. She ran a good race and wore out Life At Ten. The distance was just a little too long for her to hold on.

30 Aug 2010 12:17 AM

Ranagulzion : I think you're off by about 4 months on your last comment.  Rachel is not and has not been in Team Z's plans since JJ backed out of the AB.  I think it's funny that Zen's connections are cowardly and you give all sorts of compliments to JJ.  The same guy who backed out of the AB, chose the FDL over the Foster (which I agreed with) and chose an ungraded stakes instead of the Ruffian.

How in the world did you come up with the RA vs Zen race at this time of the year is beyond me.  As I've said, JJ couldn't figure out how to manage Rachel this year because he can't accept the fact that Rachel is not the same as last year.  If I were to guess, JJ is more worried about his ego with regards to how Rachel's HOTY will be perceived because of her record this year than how Rachel is really doing.  Her true fans, not the "coliseum romans" (borrowing ZK's term) understands where she is and they pretty much accepted her limitations as far as the 10F distance.  They have acknowledged  that she's not the same and they still show their love and affection for her.  JJ, on the other hand, I'm not so sure.  His interview with DRF, he kept it open as far as next year is concern, don't you think Rachel has had enough ?

Give it up with the Zen bashing, Team Z has been vindicated with their managing of Zenyatta.  This is how you get rewarded when you put the horse first, the horse is happy and will perform for ya.

30 Aug 2010 12:32 AM
Fuzzy Corgi

I wonder what race JJ is going to have rewritten for RA now.

30 Aug 2010 12:35 AM

draynay, seeing that your predictions are pretty much always wrong, I'm glad that you think there's no way Zenyatta wins the Classic this year. I guess I'd better bet the farm on her!

30 Aug 2010 2:36 AM

Agree with what most have written concerning the Personal Ensign.  Rachel ran a valiant race, putting Life at Ten away through solid fractions, but found that last sixteenth to be a "bridge too far", especially over a Saratoga track that had been playing deep all week.  Clearly, having Life at Ten lapped on her made things more difficult for Rachel, but as others have pointed out, the pace, while solid, was far from suicidal.  Take Rachel or Life at Ten out of the race and I believe the other wins the Personal Ensign, but with both of them in the race they exposed each other as better middle distance horses rather than classic types.

As has happened in all of Rachel's races this year, a previously unheralded female horse jumped up in the Personal Ensign to run a career best performance, this time it was Persistently.  The Phipps breed classic horses, and that blood came out in the last eighth for Persistently.  However, it's not like Persistently set the stretch on fire either.

To me, the race was strikingly reminiscent of the 2004 Personal Ensign, the one and only time I have attended the races at Saratoga.  The 04' Personal Ensign feautured what had been the best female of the 2000s before Rachel and Zenyatta, that being Azeri.  Like Rachel, Azeri had a few questions marks as it concerned 10 furlongs, and like Rachel she was asked to win up on the front-end.  Like Rachel, Azeri was hounded through the first 6 furlongs, although in Life at Ten Rachel's early challenger was much better than Azeri's challenger, Roar Emotion.  However, Azeri's early splits were actually much faster than Rachel's, putting up a 46 and 1 half mile and a ridiculous 1:09 and 3 split for 6 furlongs.  Azeri was able to put away this early challenger, but like Rachel she had to deal with a Phipps runner through the stretch, Storm Flag Flying.  

With all respect to Persistently, Storm Flag Flying entered the Personal Ensign with far superior credentials, having already won 3 gr.1 races as well as an Eclipse.

Azeri fought with all her heart, as did Rachel, in the stretch but the pace and distance took its toll and she surrendered the lead in the final sixteenth.  By that point, she was breathing fire, with the final quater being run in 27 and 4, for a final time of 2:03 and 3.  Storm Flag Flying ended up winning by 1.25 lengths while receiving 6 lbs from Azeri.  Sound familiar?  

30 Aug 2010 4:35 AM


Given Rachel had entered the Personal Ensign 2 for 4 on the year, I don't see why the onus for a Rachel-Zenyatta showdown should have been on Team Z.  That being said, watching the final eighth of the Personal Ensign one of my first thoughts was that the race would have been tailor made for Zenyatta.  Had Sherriffs and Moss decided to go for it in the Personal Ensign, it's easy to think that Zenyatta, as a superior closer to Persistently, would have coasted on by that horse and Rachel in the stretch.  Had that happened, the detractors would have been quieted and Team Z would have 2 months to get her ready for the Breeder's Cup.  This is not a criticism of Team Z, but by putting so much of their eggs in the Breeder's Cup basket, they missed what turned out to be a great opportunity in the Personal Ensign.  Then again, with Zenyatta in the race maybe Life at Ten goes to the Molly Pitcher instead and Zenyatta has to deal with an uncontested Rachel?


I think the Rachel to Hollywood Park idea makes alot of sense.  At this point, the only results that could fully redeem the year for Team Rachel would be to win the BC Classic and/or defeat Zenyatta.  If Rachel stays back East for the Beldame, that would leave the BC Classic as the only chance for Rachel to meet Zenyatta, and after today the 10 furlongs of the Classic makes that proposition dubious.

I like Rachel's chances vs. Zenyatta much more in the 8.5 furlong "Zenyatta Stakes" on Hollywood's Cushion than the BC Classic.  Cushion is far more like dirt than any other synthetic, so speed does well on it.  And the distance would be ideal for Rachel.  It's not like Team Rachel has much to lose at this point(whereas chasing Rachel down and running in the Beldame makes ZERO sense for Team Z).

30 Aug 2010 4:52 AM


Another thought on your so called race of the year......Rachel vs Persistently.

30 Aug 2010 9:46 AM


Glad you had a good time at Del Mar. It's a very special place. Too bad it's so far away for me, or I would go more often. I didn't do well either with my bets but it was so good to get out of the heat that I didn't care.

Dr Drunkinbum,

Runflatout is ready to go. Friday morning, he couldn't wait to get out and exercise. It was just a jog, since he had a work 2 days earlier, but he wanted to do more. Nothing official yet, but it looks like this coming Sunday will be THE day for his debut.

He was full of himself but still very sweet and friendly. Got to spend a long time gawking at him. In my eyes, he's the most beautiful colt ever. (Great objectivity on my part!) He's very kind... now let's see if he can run a little bit. He's ready! Fingers crossed that nothing else gets in his way. I get the feeling that my fingers will be permanently crossed from now on. :)

30 Aug 2010 9:46 AM

Lazmannick said it well when he referred to the race as a Match Race.  Most bettors thought the same before the race.  However, when other horses are entered, there is usually some early speed by others.  As the other three possessed no early speed, this race became a Match Race out of the gate.  The one who takes the lead has an advantage.  Borel did the correct thing.  However, it took one of Borel's best riding styles away from him.  One of his greatest strengths is in keeping his mounts out of internal duels, thereby, conserving their energy.  LaT didn't give him that option.  But, truly great conditioned horses should be able to handle 12s over the distance.  Thus, as many have mentioned, that extra eighth either appears to be beyond even the great RA or she has never fully recovered from her exhausting All Time schedule of a year ago.  She is still the Champ. Long live the Champ.

However, kudos to the Phipps team for their runner.  Well conditioned and I love that Deputy Minister dam side.  Those DMs love Saratoga.

30 Aug 2010 9:52 AM

Facts tend to be stubborn.

This is Rachel Alexandra's record against colts on a dry track. She recorded the identical Speed Figure of 92 on two tracks with a Track Variant of 8. She beat those equine marvels Mine That Bird and Macho Again while fully extended.

Rachel Alexandra is a very good racehorse. Zenyatta is a great racehorse.Zenyatta beat the best at 10 furlongs.

30 Aug 2010 10:03 AM
Mike Relva


As usual a "class" comment! You divert attention from the obvious and take another swipe at Zenyatta and connections. Nice going! I stated here last week didn't think RA could get the 10f and it didn't help matters much that Calvin had her on the lead. NEVER ONCE if memory serves me have you stepped up to the plate and admitted that your pal Jackson disappointed many by letting ego dicate over the well being of RA to agree to the A. Blossom and have to cancel plans. Forget about all the people they disappointed and the fans that booked hotels,airline tickets,etc. You give a free pass for that. Zenyatta was there for the A. Blossom,its not connec tions fault she had a less than steller field to run against. If you can't wrap your brain around the fact that connections will always do what's best for her,that's your problem! Why do you think she's still on top of her game at six? Maybe cause she's not run into the ground like RA. You can use your built in excuse to throw a slam at Zenyatta,but yesterday wasn't about her,it's about RA not being able to get 10f and her rider putting her on the lead,which was a huge mistake. Why don't you tell it the way it is. RA,while still a very good horse,was cooked last yr and isn't the same. Know you haven't noticed,but horses' aren't machines and sometimes when you run them into the ground,connections  face the consequences. Trust me,if Zenyatta is in the gate in Nov you will be attempting a spin after it's over!

30 Aug 2010 10:34 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Got it !! Thank you very much. Saw it live in London 1975, second row seats directly behind the announcer. Best show I ever saw. Except for maybe Zenyatta winning The Classic. Sounds like you had a great weekend at the track and beyond. Thanks for your response.

30 Aug 2010 10:55 AM

2009 saw a super filly who always put it all out on the track.  RA had one of the toughest 3yr old campaigns, especially for a filly, and she prevailed.  The challenge of the Woodward, however, took a lot out of her.  She hasn't carried that marvelous speed into 2010, but she has never stepped onto a track without giving it everything she had;  for is all heart.  If anyone had been watching Saratoga lately, they would have recognized that a lot of winners went gate to wire.  The strategy for most races was to get a jump on the rest of the crowd out of the gate.  That's what they did with RA. How many folks emphatically stated that RA was great, but simply not a 10f horse.  How much does a trainer get paid for putting a $10 million horse in the right races?  Why didn't the owner and trainer know RA would not be at her best at 10f?  Rachel gave everything she had in the Personal Ensign yesterday.  Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough.  When will the owner and trainer consider the horse before they consider the race?  What was more important...Rachel Alexandra herself...or the BCC?  I was broken-hearted for Rachel yesterday, not because she didn't do well,(she actually did do very well for about 9f) but because she is still being wrung dry.  It was a courageous attempt, but one I was never comfortable with since I first heard she was going into the PE.

At the same time I must say congratulations to Dynaslew...the dynasty continues after 33 years.  I still loves me my Seattle Slew.

While I wasn't impressed by Discreetly Mine before, I am duly humbled.  He ran absolutely great.  

And I'm still clinging to First Dude, waiting for him to become the bride instead of the bridesmaid.

All of the racing this weekend was stupendous.  I enjoyed every minute while my kids just groaned and barely tolerated my obsession with horse racing.

30 Aug 2010 11:13 AM

"Rachel wins with ease and takes another step towards HOY.  First Dude wins by running away from a average field.  And the Pacific Classic?  Who cares?

draynay 28 Aug 2010 1:50 AM"

I hear the Sound of Silence.


30 Aug 2010 11:26 AM

Andy Beyer had an article in the Washington Post about the race.  He basically says that Rachel is not the same as last year.  The Beyer for the race was a 93.

What annoys me is that he says in his article that Persistantly had never run in a stakes race before.  Evidently he didn't check his facts as she ran in the BC and is graded stakes placed.    He probably meant this year but it doesn't say that in the article.  

Google it.  Andy thinks that the Distaff would be demeaning for Rachel and the Classic would a mistake.  I'm not sure how running in a Distaff would be demeaning for anyone.  But Andrew Beyer annoys me quite frequently.....

30 Aug 2010 11:34 AM
it ain't easy being as wrong as draynay always is

Rachel wins with ease and takes another step towards HOY.  First Dude wins by running away from a average field.  And the Pacific Classic?  Who cares?

draynay 28 Aug 2010 1:50 AM

How anyone can be so wrong so often and claim to know-it-all is hilarious. After First Dude ran a bang up second in the Preakness where nay nay said he had no business being in the race the nay nay jumped all over him and declared him the next superstar. Hasn't won since. Couldn't have been more wrong. Last year even though she beat nothing much he touted RA as the best ever and a cinch to get 1 1/4 miles. Couldn't have been more wrong again. Add QR and his loss to the mix along with all his picks who have lost all year and I question why anyone here gives him the time of day.

It looks like he's left to Zenyatta bashing and hoping/praying she loses somewhere down the road. Anything else he touches fails.

Me i'm not one bit surprised RA lost again. Last year was a fluke. Qusetionable competition and the fact they ducked more difficult races to keep her unbeaten finally caught up to her. This should end all the talk about her but somehow I think the crap will still keep coming from a few.  

This is what happens when you drink the nay nay kool-aid,

"Rachel will get the 10 furlongs easily.  She won't be rushed to the lead.  She has learned to relax.  You will see the difference."

MonicaV 27 Aug 2010 5:44 PM

30 Aug 2010 11:39 AM

I probably need to clarify my above post.  I never thought Rachel would get a mile and a quarter and never expected her to run in the Classic.  What annoys me with the Beyer article is that he says that the Distaff (hate the Ladies Classic name) would be (if I remember correctly) humiliating for Rachel.  Such amazing mares such as Lady's Secret, Personal Ensign, Bayakoa, Paseana, Inside Information, Azeri and Zenyatta have won the Distaff.  How would racing in something with that much history be beneath her?  She loves the Churchill surface and she would have to worry about Blind Luck but her fans would love to see her.  Someone earlier mentioned the BC Mile on dirt.  I guess that would be an option but is it a grade 1 this year?

30 Aug 2010 12:01 PM

I see another loss by RA has shocked draynay into silence. Hallelujah!! I for one am going to revel in that silence until he comes back swinging, bashing, and ridiculing someone or some horse he didn't pick. For a guy who claims to love the sport he spends most of his time belittling the people and animals associated with it. I'd hate to see how he treats a sport or something he doesn't claim to love. The latest loss for RA confirmed once again what I see in her. Before I go on I want to point out that I thoroughly enjoyed her run in 2009. I was there cheering her on with each race. That being said I have always been suspicious of the competition she beat and her ability to get 1 1/4 miles. To watch her go 23.7 in the first quarter which is still a sensible pace and then run the last mile in 1:40.8 and a last quarter in 27 seconds says alot. She wasn't run into the ground she just doesn't have it at that distance. I would not be surprised to see her retired without another race.  

30 Aug 2010 12:16 PM

This for draynay's eyes especially,

All said and done RA STILL hasn't won a race that a previous G1 winning Filly/Mare was entered in against her. Now she's back to getting beat by a horse who has never won any kind of Stakes no matter how small. This has to be the worst record a previous years HOY has ever come back and run the following year. Forget calling MTB the fluke, the real fluke was RA in 2009 and her weak competition.

30 Aug 2010 12:26 PM

Hey folks, trying to catch up on this blog!

Zookeeper - Thanks for the update on RFO.

Laz - Thanks for your thoughtful comments yesterday at 7:59 PM.

Laz - And your comments at 10:53 PM:  "Rachel has a single G2 win with a chance at best of winning two G1 races.  Even if she won them, including a BC Distaff, the HOY she won last year would forever be tarnished."  I don't think ANYTHING can tarnish the HOY Rachel won last year!  She kicked butt last year and NOTHING can take away from that.

If it's rainy in early November, then Rachel might still go into the Classic, but now I'm hoping she stays away and goes into the Distaff.  If that happens my loyalties won't be divided in any way.  Go girls!

30 Aug 2010 12:39 PM
Meydan Rocks!


I hear you on your sentiments about Zenyatta running in the PE out East but I cannot bring myself to call the Mosses cowardly.

I just can't.

No one has a crystal ball but based on what I saw in the PE, unless Z threw in one giant CLUNKER, I cannot see a scenario where she would have come in 3rd behind the first two.

I don't know whether you've read this but Bob Baffert has claimed on record that she is about 10 LENGTHS better on dirt!

When I read that I thought it might been a misprint. And then I read it again else where.

Think about that for a full minute. Please.

Zenyatta? A full 10 LENGTHS BETTER ON DIRT?


I just need to see footage of him saying that.

Other than that, I think we'll just have to wait till November and PRAY that BLAME, ZENYATTA and any other contender brings their A game to claim the Crown.

The more I see,  (and barring a clunker or injury) the more I feel Z will be a force to be reckoned with come November in the Classic.

We'll see.


Thanks for the elaboration on all horses being able to get 10 furlongs.

30 Aug 2010 12:46 PM


Sorry I really meant the Apple Blossom not the Alabama.


It is disgusting to me as a thoroughbred racing purist that in a sport where contests and arguments are settled on the track that some connections consistently take the easy options, ostensibly seeking to capitalize on the defeats of those that take the route of competing with the best, pinning their aspirations on ONE big performance.  Then when their timid scheme fails to bring them the HOTY (which the great mare has the potential to have won a phenominal three years in a row with a more enterprising campaign) their supporters begrudge those who go the brave sporting route and clamour to be regarded as the best in a domain (dirt) in which they have only showed up twice in three years of racing.  I also am agrieved that the sport of kings (so in need of a lift) is denied the international spectacle that the Rachel Alexandra-Zenyatta match-up would have produced at a time when both horses are fit and well.  The PE showed that Rachel Alexandra is still a champion (by the way she turned back the challenge of the accomplished Life At Ten, losing few marks in defeat when considering the pace scenario, weights and quality of competition).  Persistently is a very good staying filly, enjoyed a wonderful coming out party and is one to be reckoned with for the remaining big Distaff races.


You're right, I have made some wrong calls this summer but I have the sporting courage to post my selections ...and truth be told those races have been quite knotty affairs not to mention that horses are not machines ...they have off days.  It is easy for you or anybody to say the PE, HGC or PC would have been a piece of cake for Zenyatta but lest you forget, we've recently witness a loss by Quality Road which should have been a piece of cake, both on paper and in hind sight, but until it is actually accomplished on the track, supporters and detractors enjoy only talk and unproven boastings.  It is fun all the same.


On the Zenyatta-Rachel Alexandra match-up, it is disingenuous for some people to keep mentioning the AB fiasco and assuming that Zenyatta could beat Rachel Alexandra in the PE when Big Z has not been allowed to show us what she's got on dirt this year against real competition.  The PE was a spurned opportunity because Zen's connection are saving their mare while other HOTY rivals risk competition with the best.  That sort of "gamesmanship" sucks IMO and does nothing for horseracing.  It is their prerogative indeed but when the strategy backfires as it has done over the last two seasons, supporters of Zenyatta should just accept what the results on the track say about the horse's place in history and stop clamoring for greater recognition.

30 Aug 2010 1:09 PM
Mike Relva


Zenyatta a force to be reconed with. You think??

30 Aug 2010 1:14 PM
Mike Relva


Wrong again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

30 Aug 2010 1:15 PM
Mike Relva


I agree with your comments. Don't care for anything Beyer says. Remember he stated last fall Zenyatta was "too slow" to beat the boys in the Classic. lol We know how that worked out. The only one that's wrong more often than him is Draynay. lol

30 Aug 2010 1:26 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Yes, fingers permanently crossed. That's what it's all about. He's going to have a very good career. Thanks for the update. Let's hope Sunday is the debut. I'm anxious to see him. I have a very good feeling about this one. Good luck !!!!!!

30 Aug 2010 1:29 PM

Footlick thank you for your post at 29 Aug 2010 10:55 PM. I agree completely with everything you said.

I have been surprised at how many are treating the "duel" between Rachel and Life at Ten as a speed duel, the fractions were honest but they weren't smoking. I was surprised that both Life at Ten and Rachel tired so much after such average fractions TBH.

The race showed that Life at Ten is not the horse everyone thought she was and settled the question (that wasn't really in doubt TBH) about Rachel and 10f (just as the Whitney finally put to rest the notion  that Quality Road is anything other than a superb dirt miler, maybe the best currently racing--which is nothing to sniff at BTW).

However, the obsessive hatred that rabid Rachelites harbor for Z is profoundly disturbing. I would have been happy for Rachel has she won, even though I bet on Persistently to win. And had Z lost in the Hirsch (or any other race), I can guarantee I wouldn't have posted anything disparaging about Rachel, --it is truly beyond me why Rachel's fans feel the need to disparage Z whenever Rachel loses, even though Z is 3500 miles away everytime.

The horse I really feel badly for, isn't Rachel or Z, however; it's a little, much disparaged gelding who would almost certainly have two jewels of the triple crown had the Preakness been half a furlong  longer (and the whole rabid Rachel thing would be considerably less so). If you overlay the 2010 Personal Ensign and the 2009 Preakness, it's eerie how similar they are to each other, except for the distance (actually, if you overlay the 2010 Firecracker and the 2009 KY Derby, they are eerily similar too, again but for the distance...).

Does anyone else find it curious that Pletcher doesn't seem able to win in New York?

Anywho, thanks again for your post.

30 Aug 2010 1:36 PM

"Runflatout is ready to go. Friday morning, he couldn't wait to get out and exercise. It was just a jog, since he had a work 2 days earlier, but he wanted to do more. Nothing official yet, but it looks like this coming Sunday will be THE day for his debut.

He was full of himself but still very sweet and friendly. Got to spend a long time gawking at him. In my eyes, he's the most beautiful colt ever. (Great objectivity on my part!) He's very kind... now let's see if he can run a little bit. He's ready! Fingers crossed that nothing else gets in his way. I get the feeling that my fingers will be permanently crossed from now on. :)"

Zookeeper 30 Aug 2010 9:46 AM

Zookeeper, what race is the trainer targeting for Runflatout?

30 Aug 2010 1:53 PM


I think what I meant in my 10:53 PM post yesterday didn't come out quite the way I meant it to.  I know Rachel won HOY last year and I have no argument with that.  She deserved it.  However, a lot of people beg to differ, and at one point, quite a while ago, I did too.  What I mean is that if she should get HOY based on winning her next two races and one of them was the BCC, I don't think that she would have done anough to get HOY this year and if for some reason she did, then it would validate a lot of the argumeents about east coast bias, etc. by those that still don't think she deserved HOY last year and received it unjustly.  Hope I made sense.

30 Aug 2010 2:07 PM

Dr. Drunkinbum,

Had tickets for the Roxy in L.A. in '75 but I was sick and couldn't go.  Saw it later in London.  This was at a time when I was a Senior at SDSU and doing lighting for San Diego Rep when it was new.  We rehearsed in a loft on 4th & Market.  I was young and broke, but that's where I met the guy that was great company at the races on Z day and this weekend.  I hadn't seen him since 1976, although we've been emailing for a year and a half.  What a great time we had.    

My brother singled Richard's Kid in the PC for his pick six and almost hit 5.  He had 2 seconds or he would have hit the 6. Only good if you're tossing horseshoes.

Thanks for the reply:)

30 Aug 2010 2:15 PM
the nays have it, she's not that good

Enough about RA already. Greatness is defined over a period of time. I happen to agree with the bushman. Getting beat by a horse who has never won a Stakes race in their life while finishing her last mile in 1:40.8 as someone else said is embarassing. That on top of the other 2 beatings she's taken this year and her previous lifetime losses make her a one year fluke. She had a great 6 months against really nothing. The rest of her career isn't barely more than mediocre.

30 Aug 2010 2:20 PM


Hope your colt runs well and gets an education in his race.  I know he's had the best preparation.  Go Runflatout!

30 Aug 2010 2:23 PM

"Little Polyetta" Blind Luck's Alabama was almost a full second faster than the Personal Ensign.  

And we all know what "Big Polyetta" can do at 1 1/4.  She would inhale RA at 1 1/16th,

1 1/8th, or 1 1/4.  The only way RA bests Zenyatta this year is at the Dirt Mile.

Jason.  Hollendorfer gets a show in the Pacific Classic with Dakota Phone who previously took the San Diego Handicap.  Yet, the hall of fame continues to snub this guy.  He has 5,726 wins with purses totaling 115 million.  He's won something like 35 straight Nor Cal titles at both GG and Bay Meadows.  And now his little filly is beating the best on their home tracks. He also has one of the more interesting new comers to graded stakes races in Lilly La Pootz.  (R.I.P Tuscan Evening-the most prolific horse in graded stakes wins this year)

The last I looked Dale Baird (R.I.P. as well) never won the Kentucky Oaks (twice), Santa Anita Handicap, or had anything entered in the Kentucy Derby.  Hollendofer is more than just wins.  Heetseeker, Hysterical Lady (how close was this one to Ginger Punch in the Lady's Classic in the goo?), Lite Light, Dance Floor...this is his 35-40 year career!

30 Aug 2010 2:23 PM

This is why Zenyatta might be even better on dirt.

In her first start on dirt she recorded a Speed Figure of 99 on a track with a Track Variant of 15. That was a Grade 1, the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn. She won "unhurried, going away" by over 4 lengths.

She is the only older horse in training today who has never needed an excuse.


30 Aug 2010 2:25 PM


Believe it or not, I'm a Zenyatta fan ... but perhaps unlike you, not a Zen-worshiper.  It frustrates me that we have not and will never see how great this mare is/has been (it is quite likely that she too is a tad past her best).  I know about 'doing right by the horse' and taking care of these graceful but fragile equine athletes.  I am a horse lover and enjoyed some of the most memorable moments of my youth on a thoroughbred farm.  However I also rocognize a kind of gamesmanship that is ultra-conservative and cowardly or timid, being disguised as 'taking care of the horse.'  I've been around racing for a few decades my friend and seen a lot of good horses campaign over many season in tough competition without being abused, therefore I do not buy into your spin on the Zenyatta campaign.  The owners have a right to do as they please and I have a right to my informed opinion as a fan Bro.  They are nice people, great to have in the game but their strategy sucks ...plain and simple.

Jess Jackson has not been faultless (I was very upset that he sent Rachel to the FDL instead of The Stephen Foster) but he's certainly displayed far greater enterprise in racing his charges Curlin and Rachel Alexandra while taking care of them over the years.  I do not agree with your position on Rachel's campaign last year, that she was "bottomed-out".  In the spirit of sportsmanship JJ tried to make the Apple Blossom date with Zenyatta but it was plain for all to see that Rachel was not ready whereas Zenyatta was still pretty much still on her Breeder's Cup level of sharpness (one of the reasons they kept her going this this year).  Why don't you accept that JJ was doing "right by the horse"?

It matters not to me who would have won the PE so long as the racing world were able to see these two champions match strides in the same race at the classic distance with both horses in good health and fully fit.  There was ample time for the "Zen crew" to take up the challenge and try to overcome some of the negatives of her padded resume by challenging the best on dirt at Saratoga in a race named for another undefeated champion.  That is something to frown upon in my opinion. JJ missed an opportunity with Rachel in the Stephen Foster and the Moss's/John Sherrifs missed ANOTHER opportunity to enhance Zenyatta's historical credentials and set the raacing world alight.  you may not see it as I do but I don't think that there is anything lacking in class with my opinion.  I have no malice towards the Mosses or John Sherrifs ...may they continue to do well and stay in the game ...only, they frustrate me with Zenyatta ...and I know that might give you some satisfaction (LOL)...Watching Rachel and LAT match strides and Persistently come from way out of it to run them down stirred up all my Zenyatta hurt feelings ...If you can't understand at least sympathize with me're a compassionate soul.


I apreciate your analysis.

30 Aug 2010 2:27 PM

RAnagulzion,  No one was holding a gun to JJ's head to run RA in the PE.

RA has had a very easy campaign in 2010,  she should have no problems at all,  IF her connections had not felt the least litte confidence that she could have handled it,  JJ wouldnt have ran her.  Do you think he enjoys all these losses this year?

30 Aug 2010 2:58 PM


It's a 6 furlongs Maiden Special Weight. We will find out more on Wed. or Thurs. when the post positions are drawn. I hope the race isn't over-subscribed. (More finger crossing!) There's a lot of 2yr olds that are rearing to go at this time of year. Many of them already have a race or two under their belt. I'm not looking for a win, just a safe learning experience for him. A good showing will be plenty good enough for me!

Thank you all for your good wishes. It means a lot! :)

30 Aug 2010 3:44 PM

Zookeeper - Will it help you to know that MY fingers will be permanently crossed too?  Good luck on Sunday!

Slew - Love your take on Rachel.

Papillon - As a rabid Rachel fan, I, too, don't understand the Rachel fans that have to strike out at Zenyatta or her connections.  Unfortunately, there are some Zen fans having too much fun attacking Rachel, too.  And get over it - Rachel won the Preakness fair and square last year and if any horse needs a race lengthened or shortened in mid-race (RA included) then they don't deserve the win!  And I love MTB!  It just wasn't his race to win.

Laz - Thanks, that clears it up.  Yes, I can't imagine Rachel able to do anything from here on out that could get her a repeat crown.  MAYBE beating Zenyatta twice - in CA and then in the Classic along with everyone else - but I really don't see any of that happening.

And some of you need to stop taking your dislike of certain commenters out on Rachel!  She doesn't deserve that kind of hatred and name-calling.  She can't help who supports her.

She's a Champion.

30 Aug 2010 3:47 PM

GunBow - Can you imagine the pressure of running in a race named for your grandmother?  I hope horses don't know what we think they don't know.  I keep thinking of that Far Side cartoon - the one where all these dolphins are in a pool and scientists are studying their language sounds.  One scientist is writing tally marks on a chalkboard next to four or five different Spanish phrases and says, "It's another one of those 'Habla Espanol' sounds."

30 Aug 2010 3:54 PM

No excuses for Rachel Alexandra.  She doesn't want 1 1/4 and she hasn't matched her top level from last year.  As much as I bash John Shirreffs, I will say that Asmussen hasn't done a great job of managing Rachel this year - and not for placing her in the Personal Ensign.  They ramped her back up slowly and carefully and now they wanted to see if they had a BC Classic distance horse and this was the time to find out.  The fact that she won the Preakness at only 1/16 mile less means it wasn't that much of a stretch.  

But Asmussen really blew it early in the year when he let Rachel get rusty in her stall at Fair Grounds when she couldn't train regularly because of all the rain.  As a result they were playing catchup all year.  And while I think the Personal Ensign was the right move, I don't understand why Asmussen didn't enter another speed horse to do the grunt work on the front end against Life At Ten.  Rachel could have sat third in the catbird seat like she did in the Mother Goose and swept past them and probably could have held off Persistently, though no guarantee.

I still think she's at least competitive with any horse in training at 1 1/8 or under.  The Ladies Classic would be a fitting end to her career, just like it was for Personal Ensign.  Though I hope they take a shot at Zenyatta first.

30 Aug 2010 3:54 PM

Just got back from spending two wonderful days at Saratoga!  I expected Super Saver to run much better then he did and I hope that he is o.k.  THe biggest winner all weekend was Gainesway Stallions!  

30 Aug 2010 3:57 PM

papillon- I really don't understand the "speed duel" statements either.  The fractions were well within her capabilities and she was doing them without urging. She just didn't quite stay the trip.   That happens.  She doesn't quite have the stamina.  I just want her to come out of her race fine.  Reports were that she looked very tired.  

30 Aug 2010 4:04 PM
Bet Twice

Didn't think there was any shame in yesterday's race, but certainly not the RA of last year.  She looked very tired in the photos of her walking back to the barn.  Her condition post race, much more than the race itself, made me wonder if she really wants to keep racing.  It was a little sad watching Persistently trot on her toes while RA hung her head.  

Did anyone else read reports of her running down in the race yesterday?  I think a blogger on NYT's site mentioned it.  DRF had a photo of her right rear wrapped.  Finger's crossed its nothing serious.

30 Aug 2010 4:10 PM

Zookeeper- We will all have our fingers crossed for you and Runflatout.

30 Aug 2010 4:11 PM


As always you make good points and I agree with many of them.  Your love of horse racing is displayed in every one of your posts.  I don't necessarily hold Quality Road in the same high esteem that you do, and probably never will.  In terms of ownership, I think Rachel has definitely been mismanaged though the JJ portion of her career.  They ran her in an aggressive campaign last year and got what they wanted, but the expense was high, at least from a horse lover's standpoint.  From a pure horse racing standpoint you might say they were successful.  To me that is no different than running a horse in claimers all its life, reaping whatever rewards that horse manages to give you, then disbanding it to whatever dreadful end might come when its career is over.  We all know of course that it will be different when Rachel's career is over, but once again, at what expense.

As far as the Moss’s, how can you call them cowards?  I could see if they would have chickened out as some might say and not contested the BCC, but they did not.  They entered and ran against a strong field in a race filled with uncertainty.  They accepted the Rachel challenge for the AB and showed up.  If Rachel wasn’t ready then so be it, but the Moss’s never displayed any degree of cowardness.   They ran their horse tough entering the BCC, but because of proper management Zenyatta didn’t need extra time off.  I think they are a tribute to the game and to horse racing in general and have displayed both emotion and feeling for Zenyatta.  My disputation with you was not about the horses, but about labeling the owners as cowards.

30 Aug 2010 4:13 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   That is unbelievably awesome. What a story. You and I were involved with theatre at about the same time !!! Glad you could reunite with an old friend and have a great time. Wow. I used to play the Pick Six. Had one 6 of 6, didn't pay much, and a bunch of 5of6, and just missed a 40k and a 350k. Haven't played it for quite awhile. It's a fun one though. Will probably be trying again with SA going back to dirt.

30 Aug 2010 4:31 PM
Mike Relva


You don't get it,cause like some ANTI-RA detractors I'm not pleased what happened yesterday. I respect her as much as I do Zenyatta or a five thousand dollar claimer. My issue is w/her connections. I don't like them. First,know you've noticed that I stated many instances that I didn't want RA running in the A. Blossom unless she was totally ready. Second,why place RA in the S.F. when she was already 0-2 this yr. She needed and easy race,not throwing her in the deep end. I'm unhappy w/the excessive whipping and Calvin placing her on the lead. This wasn't a "win" for me yesterday cause she lost. If Zenyatta lost many would be turning cartwheels. I've not a SINGLE ISSUE with RA. She's wonderful! All I've said is doubts entered in to thinking she would get 10f. You've got your opinion,that's fine.For me,it's wishing nothing but the best for RA.

30 Aug 2010 4:40 PM
Mike Relva


You latest post, A Tour de Force!!!

30 Aug 2010 4:43 PM


I guess I'm having a hard time figuring out why it's Zen and her connections responsibility to travel to the East or to travel to run against Rachel this year.

Last time I checked, they were gracious enough to agree to the AB date change, the distance change and the format change AND they showed up.  It wasn't right for Rachel and that's fine. Why is it alright for Rachel to not race but it's not ok for Zen to not race?

But since then, everyone in racing has known exactly where Zenyatta is based and where she was going to run (barring the delay at Del Mar) while knowing that she was aiming to be at Churchill in Nov.  At any point Rachel, Life At Ten, Unrivaled Belle etc could have come west to try to knock off the undefeated Zen.   Yet they didn't come.  So how is Jess Jackson not "cowardly" by running Rachel in an ungraded stakes in La. and at Monmouth?  Zen has been waiting around grade 1 races all year while giving weight to all that dared show up to race.  You can't argue it one way and not the other.  

The great Personal Ensign ran primarily in NY and wait for it , wait for it , DIDN'T ship to Ca. for the BC in her 3 year old year.  She could have gotten ch. 3 yr old filly if she had won that race , yet no one berates her campaign at all.

And in all of the post race comments from Jess Jackson, Steve AS. and Calvin Borel, not a one of them said,  "We're disappointed in Rachel's race, but it would have been so much better if Zenyatta would have come and raced today."

Something to think about.

30 Aug 2010 4:45 PM

Oh, poor Rachel. Calvin was kind of damned if he did. He set the tone from the gate but as he said afterwards, she was doing it easy. And based on the fractions, she was. 1:12 for 6F? The quarter splits went 23.3, 24, 24.2, 25.2, 27. At no point in the race did Rachel show her turn of foot. Last year, she would get separation from the field at the head of the lane and she would either keep widening, go at their same pace, or have just enough distance to hold them off at the wire. But this year, she’s not getting ANY separation. I’m not seeing that turn of foot. The Lady’s Secret didn’t look like a good race to me and based on the Personal Ensign, it wasn’t.

Rachel dispatched Life At Ten easily (not that hard to figure) but by that point, Persistently was already only a few lengths behind her. Rachel went so slow in the middle part of that race that she just couldn’t kick on for home. Not only did she NOT kick on, she ran her final half in 52.2 and the last quarter in 27, and the last eighth in 14. That is NOT going to get it done against top-class competition. She got the final mile in 1:40 and change. Compare that to Zenyatta, who ran the final mile of the BC Classic in 1:33 and change. About seven seconds difference. Even if you revise the splits because the track wasn’t playing quick, they still don’t add up to her being competition against better. She’s not doing anything in these races that is going to give her last year’s advantage.

I don’t know WHY she isn’t quickening. I sure hope it’s nothing physical or at the very least if it is, that they can catch it and stop on her. I hope to God she doesn’t go in the Classic. She tries SO hard every time and I don’t even want to think about her trying when she’s badly beaten. It’s not fair. The Ladies Classic seems like a better spot for her but even there she’ll have to contend with Blind Luck coming at her, and likely some pace with her as well. If she can’t achieve that separation I just can’t see this turning out well.


“I don't know whether you've read this but Bob Baffert has claimed on record that she is about 10 LENGTHS better on dirt!

When I read that I thought it might been a misprint. And then I read it again else where.

Think about that for a full minute. Please.

Zenyatta? A full 10 LENGTHS BETTER ON DIRT?


I just need to see footage of him saying that.”

All you have to do is stand near him when Zenyatta’s around. I think if he could get away with it, he’d steal her out of Shirreffs’ barn. The people who see Zenyatta train on a daily basis are just in awe of her.


“It is disgusting to me as a thoroughbred racing purist that in a sport where contests and arguments are settled on the track that some connections consistently take the easy options, ostensibly seeking to capitalize on the defeats of those that take the route of competing with the best, pinning their aspirations on ONE big performance.  Then when their timid scheme fails to bring them the HOTY (which the great mare has the potential to have won a phenominal three years in a row with a more enterprising campaign) their supporters begrudge those who go the brave sporting route and clamour to be regarded as the best in a domain (dirt) in which they have only showed up twice in three years of racing.”

Zenyatta – first female to win the BC Classic. First horse to win two different BC races. Unbeaten in 18 starts. Carried 129 pounds and 127 pounds twice. Gave 9 pounds to the runner-up in the Vanity. Has won twelve GI races, including a record-breaking 8 in a row.

There has never been a rule that a great horse has to run on one surface or at one specific track, or that a horse who doesn’t run at the track you pick out isn’t considered great. Now, if we’re making rules, I can make up rules that exclude Rachel Alexandra. However, as I am not a yappy troll, I will not do that.

“The PE was a spurned opportunity because Zen's connection are saving their mare while other HOTY rivals risk competition with the best.”

Well, seeing how exhausted Rachel was after the race, it looks like Zenyatta’s connections made the right decision. And you guys want Zenyatta to repeatedly face MALES at 10F and still be around for the Classic? That’s ridiculous. Rachel didn’t even face very good FEMALES and she laid herself down at 10F. That is NOT good for racing, unless all you care about is competition and to hell with the horses.

“Jess Jackson has not been faultless (I was very upset that he sent Rachel to the FDL instead of The Stephen Foster) but he's certainly displayed far greater enterprise in racing his charges Curlin and Rachel Alexandra while taking care of them over the years.”

That’s hilarious. In hindsight, it’s obvious that Rachel shouldn’t have run against the boys in the Foster. And just because a greedy owner repeatedly gets to the bottom of the fully-formed/trained horses he buys doesn’t make him any less of a moron.

30 Aug 2010 5:09 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

sidekickflats, Mike Relva

   That is a bit looney tunes don't you think, saying that running in a Breeder's Cup championship race is demeaning? Huh? Beyer used to be right once in awhile but lately you can pretty much assume the opposite is true of what he says. "toss Zenyatta" was basically saying she had no chance. The correct race for Rachel is the Ladies' Classic, and a win would be tremendous. She'd be facing Blind Luck and other quite worthy opponents and will have to run great to win. Let's she how she's doing first. She could be very tired and a little demoralized. She gave it her all. I think once she stopped getting whipped that she thought the race was over and she had eeked out a win. She didn't know that it's only over after 1 1/4. How many great females have been great at 1 1/4 anyway? Despite the time it was still almost a tremendous victory for her, and she's still great, and still a Champion. Life At Ten was really the disappointment. Wasn't it looking like it could be a fabulous matchup in the first part of the race. Hoping for another Affirmed and Alydar.

30 Aug 2010 5:22 PM

I too was somewhat perplexed by Andy Beyer's article.  He mentions that RA could not cope with the early pressure from a lessor filly, when I could have sworn that it was LAT that could not cope with RA.  He then says, nor could she cope with a "nobody" passing her at the end.  I could have sworn RA could not cope with the distance.  He never once mentions the fact that RA may have distance limitations (like her sire).  Nor does he mention that in conjunction with the 93 BSF.  Which of course, also does not take into account her distance limitations.  He merely talks about her fall from grace.  And odd too, since just 2 races ago she received a 110 BSF.  Oh, how quickly we forget. . .

That being said, I do not think RA is the horse she was last year, and was not going to be so at any time in the future.  It is not entirely clear to me that this race might set her back rather than set up for the Beldame.

30 Aug 2010 5:22 PM


The Rachel Alexandra-Zenyatta match-up isn't merely about Zen meeting Rachel.  It has a lot to do with Zenyatta's all time record on Dirt against the best.  Zenyatta can perform on Dirt but in 18 starts she's only run twice on dirt yet many Zen-worshippers want to rank her above other all time great Dirt runners including the great Personal Ensign.  My point is that a horse's greatness has to be demonstrated on the track, and surface matters otherwise don't be offended when she is accurately referred to as the queen of Synthetics.  That's the plain facts of her racing resume.

30 Aug 2010 5:48 PM

Ranagulzion - agree completely with you 2:27 post.

30 Aug 2010 6:03 PM
Paula Higgins

Kat, Kay, Dr Drunkinbum agree with all of you. Great posts.

Zookeeper, good luck Sunday with Runflatout!!! I will be rooting for you.

I want to make one statement, Rachel is not a good horse. She is a GREAT horse, period, end of discussion. What she did last year was historic by any standard. It isn't debatable. I hope if they run her, they choose races she has a shot in i.e. not 10F, not against Zenyatta. Let's see how she comes out of this. I think the Distaff at the Breeders Cup is something she could win and there is nothing shabby about it. Andrew Beyer needs a reality check. It boggles the mind he could make a statement like that. In case he didn't notice, there are some pretty impressive fillys currently competing. His comment undermines the race and racing in general.

Ranagulzion, I understand your point about wanting to see horses raced in a very competitive schedule. I do get that. I know Jason has been singing that tune for a long time as well. But I think asking Rachel, AT THIS POINT, to go out and race Zenyatta isn't the race I would pick for her. Last year, would have been an entirely different story. Pick a distance she likes, on dirt, against the girls. I think at a shorter distance, she would have beat Persistantly. She sure beat LAT no problem.

30 Aug 2010 6:21 PM


I agree completely that Rachel doesn't deserve to be maligned for losing yesterday. She gave more than she had. Only an idiot would berate her. Thankfully, the unkind comments are few. Most people feel really badly for her and are concerned that she may have been asked for too much AGAIN.


What is even more baffling to me than the idiotic statements of the RA-bashers, is your take of choosing this loss by Rachel to renew your assault on Zen's connections. Talk about misplaced anger!

If the "Jackson Formula" had been applied to Zenyatta, we may have had ONE great year instead of THREE. If the "Moss Method" had been applied to Rachel we may have had THREE great years instead of ONE. Which is better for the horses and racing in general? Think about it...  

30 Aug 2010 6:23 PM

Surface matters or is it size matters.  Whatever, we already know that Zenyatta is Queen of the Synthetics.  If she wins the BCC, which would be her third top G1 triumph on dirt, then she will also be called Queen of the Dirt.  That works for me.

30 Aug 2010 6:38 PM


Zenyatta's greatness has already been proven on the track.  Period. End of story.  She has won grade 1 races on 4 different surfaces.  If she wins the BC Classic again, she will be only the 2nd horse in history to win 2 BC Classics (and hopefully the first undefeated horse to do so :).   But even if she is retired tomorrow (heaven forbid) her place in history is assured.  There will be no footnotes in the history books because she ran on synthetics.

I am a HUGE Personal Ensign fan. I was lucky enough to see her in her amazing Distaff and I was screaming myself horse during the race. I initially was slow to embrace Zenyatta because people were comparing her to Personal Ensign.  What?? How dare they??  But Zenyatta is that good. I don't care what surface she raced on. Personal Ensign didn't travel to California and it was dirt at the time.  Should we penalize her for only racing in NY and KY?  I think not.  

The plain facts, as you say, are this.  On each of the surfaces that Zenyatta has run on, she has beaten EVERY horse that entered the gate against her. That's the plain fact.

30 Aug 2010 6:54 PM

Rachel ran a really good race, she just ran out of steam.  Earlier this year Calvin tried to hold her and make her rate.  That didn't work; she needs to run her own race.  That's what he did this time and for awhile there I thought she had it.  Whether she isn't the same horse as last year or can't win at 10 - she's still pretty darn good and a champion full of heart.  There is no reason she couldn't head for the distaff and be proud to run.  I will always love Rachel and wish her always the best.  I'd love to see her at Churchill in Nov. win or lose.

30 Aug 2010 6:55 PM

Dr. Drunkinbum.  "How many great females have been great at 1 1/4 anyway?"  

My favorite...Lady's Secret!!!  She ran 45 times!  1986 Breeder's Cup Distaff she ran them off their feet setting fractions of 46 and change at 1 1/4 finishing up in 2:01 and change. Not hard to tell who her daddy was. I still think this was one of Lukas' finest training jobs.  I think, like Personal Ensign she took the Whitney as well.  

And as far as Personal Ensign, how close was Winning Colors in being the first to defeat her in the Distaff?  She's no where to be found on the list of top 100 horses of all time. Although not her preferred distance she did motor through the most famous of 1 1/4ers.   My favorite though is the 1 1/8th notice she gave in the Santa Anita Derby.  Come and catch me and my fractions!  RA reminds me a lot of Winning Colors.  They all were/are great.  Speed over a distance of ground is hard to beat.

30 Aug 2010 7:02 PM

The Lady's Classic is not looking all that bad.  Churchill...the site of RA's complete dismantling of the Oaks field.  Throw in a great run over the track by this year's Kentucky Oaks winner Blind Luck and perhaps runner up Evening Jewell.  Put in Zenyatta who will be up for HOY honors and it could be the best race on the card!  

Leave the Classic for Awesome Gem, Richard's Kid, Blame, Quality Road, Rail Trip and all the other boys who take turns winning one big race a year.

30 Aug 2010 7:13 PM
Meydan Rocks

Mike Relva

I was standing in the crowd in "09 of November when Zenyatta won the BCC. I was probably 250 yards from the finish line.

I must tell you. I have NEVER been so shocked and speechless while witnessing the outcome of a horse race.


As it became obvious that she has won, I walked around in circles mumbling and shouting "she bleeping did it, she bleeping did it" over and over and over and over again to myself!!!

My shock had been reinforced earlier when I read Andrew Beyer's article on why she wouldn't and couldn't win.

Seriously, I was comatose on two feet!

That been said and to answer your question, yes "I think" she'll be a force to reckon with come November because in this horse racing game of ours nothing is a sure thing!


You are right. I have seen Baffert go and congratulate Z's connections before a race. It was at Hollywood Park. I wasn't able to see his demeanor close up but I'm inclined to agree that he would steal Z from right under John Sheriff's nose!

30 Aug 2010 7:53 PM


 Trust me, if you saw her at Oaklawn, you would have no doubt about how good she is on dirt. It was amazing.

30 Aug 2010 8:01 PM

Ranagulzion :  How can you claim that Team Z has taken the easy options.  You're arguing about Rachel vs. Zenyatta and you tell me Zenyatta's connections takes the easy option ?   I suggest you check the form again and see where Rachel has been running, then come back and tell the world that Team Z has taken the easy options.  JJ had picked two specially written races for Rachel this year.  If not for those weak races, she wouldn't have made the PE at all.

Team Z was probably upset about not getting the HOTY last year but if you take some time and think about last year's voting, who did the voting come down to?  It was between Zenyatta and Rachel.  Let me remind you again, Zen ran in the same races as this year.  If the real world out there end up choosing between Zen and Rachel, what does that tell you?  It means that Zen's campaign last year was good enough for 2nd.  This year, they don't care about the HOTY, they're after history, something that probably will never be repeated EVER, that is a mare winning the BC Classic back to back.

I say that Team Z is doing very well with their plans and doing very well managing their horse.  I can't say the same for JJ.

30 Aug 2010 8:16 PM
Carlos in Cali


30 Aug 2010 8:18 PM

Zookeeper, I don't know what to say.  I'm so excited that Runflatout has a race this weekend!  We won't count on a win (though he might!:-); but as you say, a safe trip and a learning experience (in that order) are what we'll hope for.  Anything more will be icing on the cake!

Do you know yet who will be his jockey?

30 Aug 2010 8:25 PM


I'm hoping for Rosario, he rides for Carla Gaines quite often. If he has another commitment, then it could be Bejarano who was going to ride him on Aug.7th, because  Rosario was out of town that day.  

30 Aug 2010 9:43 PM

Zoo, really??!!!!  wow, either one of the top 2 would be a coup!!  


Footlick, GunBow, the Beyers are in:  

Pacific Classic. 1 1/4 miles on plastic in 2:03:27.  Richard's Kid: 95 Beyer.

Travers. 1/ 1/4 miles on hallowed dirt in 2:03:28. Afleet Express: 105 Beyer.

Personal Ensign. 1 1/4 miles on blessed dirt in 2:04:49. Persistently: 95 Beyer.

How in the h*ll can that be explained???  Unbelievable!  If I didn't think it before, I have come to believe that Andy Beyer is a charlatan and his "numbers" are completely biased and meaningless. You can't even add the typical +5-6 to make this acceptable!

30 Aug 2010 10:06 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I hope it's Rosario. He should do whatever it takes to get the mount. They'll make a good team.

30 Aug 2010 10:36 PM

Speaking of Bejarano, was that fall scary or what? Unbelievable that he didn't get trampled. Only bumps and bruises. Amazing!

30 Aug 2010 10:42 PM

I don't see Zenyatta going in the Ladies Classic, Householder.  They've been pointing for one big race all year.  Moss isn't as obsessive about trophies as Jackson but he does want that HOY award and Zenyatta will only get it by winning the big race again.  And she deserves that spotlight.


You are correct that Zenyatta's camp was gracious enough to accomodate moving the date of the Apple Blossom, true.  In fact, Jackson should have told them he would make his commitment after the New Orleans Ladies race, rather than wasting everyone's time and then look foolish when he withdrew Rachel.

But as far as the distance goes, that was a concession from Jackson.  The AB was always traditionally run at 1 1/16.  That was the distance Zenyatta won it at last time.  Lengthening it to 1 1/8 was an accomodation for Zenyatta because they didn't want to face Rachel at 1 1/16.  Just pointing out that Jackson isn't always the one responsible for changing races.  

30 Aug 2010 10:49 PM


That just goes to show you that the rule of thumb for Beyers on synthetics as opposed to dirt should be 8 to 10 for route races.  When you factor that in, Richard's Kid would have run a 104 to 106 Beyer if the race was run at Saratoga.  There will be many that will disagree, of course, but that sounds good enough for me.

30 Aug 2010 10:52 PM


That also works in reverse.  Translated that would mean that Afleet Express's synthetic Beyer would have been 97 to 95 range and Persistently's in the 87 to 85 range.  Makes us appreciate what those Cali horses really do and how little Berey recognizes it.

30 Aug 2010 10:56 PM


When Zen won the AB the first time it was at 1 1/16M, not 1 1/8M.  I could see though why they wouldn't want to take Rachel on at the shorter distance at OP, because of the shorter stretch.  I don't have the dimensions but I think it is one of the shorter stretches for the big tracks.

30 Aug 2010 11:06 PM

sherpa- That's Beyer figures for you.  

30 Aug 2010 11:29 PM


Regarding the Beyers: I'm used to it by now. Too bad SA is returning to dirt. Our slow plastic horses can no longer sneak up and win against the faster dirt horses. LOL!

30 Aug 2010 11:31 PM

Right On, Sherpa,  I have said the same thing to myself earlier when I read RA beyers for the PE.  

Something dont sound  right with these figures......

30 Aug 2010 11:31 PM

Livesoutwest, where did you ever find that the distance of the AB was changed for Zenyatta? Do you have a source for that statement, because I've found nothing.

30 Aug 2010 11:47 PM


Come on, it's just common sense.  Zenyatta won the race at 1 1/16 when Rachel wasn't in it.  With Zenyatta, the longer the distance, the faster she runs - her Beyer at 1 1/4 was higher than anything she's run at a shorter distance.  Rachel on the other hand showed her distance limitations in the PE on Sunday.

So no I wasn't in the room for the negotiations and I can't give you sworn testimony that would stand up in court, but logically who do you think would be asking to change the race distance and make it longer, Rachel's camp ???

31 Aug 2010 12:11 AM

Kay you made some great points in your post at 30 Aug 2010 5:09 PM. Your comments on the splits was dead on.

ruffianruns, you are the quintessential rachel fan, even when you act like you are being gracious, you aren't. =/

i have nothing to get over and never said, nor implied, that rachel did not win the preakness fair and square: mine that bird has been called a fluke since winning the mile and 1/4 KY derby based mostly on his performance at shorter distances.

my point was not about rachel at all, but abouthim and how it is sad that with only a tad more track, not even a full furlong, we'd all have been spared that fluke nonsense most likely--nonsense which is really just cruel when applied to a horse who is literally running for his life.

had the preakness been a little bit longer, he's have likely to have won, and would be in a much less precarious situation today, especially since he would have beaten the "super filly."

many had a hunch that was the case last year, and now, after persistently's upset, it seems all but a certainty, yet he's still stuck in a loosing streak with the fluke label branded on his flank, running for his life. that truly breaks my heart.

obviously, the preakness wasn't his to win, since he lost it, but that doesn't make it any less sad that his mile and 1/4 derby win is considered a fluke, in no small part, because he hasn't had very many options to race at his best distance.

just because life is rarely fair, doesn't mean we can't feel sadness about it when it isn't.

i was not surprised rachel lost; i never thought she'd get 10 furlongs. likewise, i was not surprised when quality road lost, (though i think he had a better shot at 9 furlongs than rachel had at 10). and i don't think either race had any bearing on their respective qualities, other than confirming hunches about their distance limitations (however, i was a little shocked by the fact that she tired from splits that should have been right in her wheel house--that is worrying).

anyway, you would never ask a human marathoner to run the 50 yard dash and expect a win; nor would you put a human sprinter into a 1500 and expect a win. but for some reason, logic flies out the window with horses.

regarding rachel-bashing: i haven't really seen too many nasty rachel comments by zenyatta fans here or else where TBH, though i have seen some harsh comments from those pretty fed up with rachel's fans that are directed to those same fans, but most of those comments have gone out of there way to distinguish the horse from her supporters.

i think it all boils down to the fact that z's fans feel that (a) Z has already answered all the questions that rachel is only now answering (being 2 years younger than Z); (b) that Z will settle any questions on the track (with her ears pricked); and (c) that even if her detractors insist till their dying day that nothing she did/does amounts to squat, their saying it, doesn't make it so; whereas rachel's fans seem to suffer from severe insecurity complexes that require constant external affirmation/confirmation about rachel's "greatness," coupled with constant belittling of Z, to be assuaged...

31 Aug 2010 12:36 AM

Very well said papillon.

31 Aug 2010 2:00 AM


The 95 beyer for Richard's Kid was the lowest in the history of the Pacific Classic, with the next 3 other lowest figs coming from the 3 other years it has been run on synthetic.  In fact, looking at Beyers of the Big Cap, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Pacific Classic since 1990, the 7 lowest figs have come on synthetic.

To me, it's fairly simple.  The synthetic Beyers are more comparable to the Beyer scale for turf races rather than dirt races.  The turf scale tends to run about 6-10 points lower than the dirt scale.  Thus, the highest Beyer on dirt over the last 20 years has been a 128 while the highest on turf has been 119(Miesque), with the next higest a 118(Daylami).  Does this mean that the dozens of horses who have run 120 Beyers on dirt are superior to the likes of Miesque and Daylami?  Absolutely not.  It just means the scales used for dirt and turf races are different and not directly comparable.

Like turf racing, for synthetic racing early speed just isn't as valuable.  Thus, the paces are slower, and it's hard to produce sensational final times without sensational early fractions.  Yet even when the fractions on turf are sensational and horses run miles in 1:31 and 12 furlongs in 2:22, the Beyers still don't go over 120.

As with turf racing, for synthetic racing class seems to play a larger role, and early speed a lesser role, than it does on dirt.  This makes it more difficult to make accurate or revealing speed figures for synthetic races.  Is it a coincidence that those handicappers tied closest to Beyer speed figures have been among the most vocal opponents of synthetic surfaces?

31 Aug 2010 5:06 AM


In case I forget, good luck this weekend.

31 Aug 2010 5:07 AM


I agree that Zenyatta's place in history is made more confusing by the fact that an overwhelming majority of her races have come over a type of racing surface that is so new.  And yes, surface does matter, which is why one never hears Flawlessly in the conversation of greatest female horse of the last 20 years.

However, I think that with the exception of a few holdouts, most racing journalists and historians recognize Zenyatta as one of the very best female horses of all time.  For me, not only are her two wins at Oaklawn key(by the way, the two wins at Oaklawn represent her two largest margins of victory), but so are her countless wins over Hollywood's Cushion Track.  I know Cushion Track is a synthetic, but anyone who classes it alongside Santa Anita's Pro-Ride or Del Mar's PolyTrack is just ignorant.  Cushion Track is closer to the old Hollywood dirt track than it is to Pro-Ride, and it's probably closer to the old Hollywood dirt track than the Belmont dirt track is(there's alot of differences between "dirt" surfaces).

If one goes to the Daily Racing Form website and look for the top Beyers this year, 7 races run on Hollywood's Cushion Track make the list.  How many made the list from Santa Anita's Pro-Ride? Zero.  Why, because speed horses were performing so poorly on Pro-Ride, particularly around 2 turns, that eventually the jockeys caught on and would try to slow things down as mush as possible on the frontend.  At Hollywood on the otherhand, speed was actually a big weapon, even for route races.  At Del Mar, speed has been ok around one turn but not as good around 2 turns(which is why all of the Del Mar races to make the list of top Beyers have been sprints).

In my opinion, I think if someone believes Personal Ensign to be one of the greatest females ever, then they should have Zenyatta right up near the top of their list as well.  I dont' see how people can condemn Zenyatta for running so many of her races in California and only running against males once(so far) and not recognize that Personal Ensign only beat males once as well(and in a 3 horse Whitney not the BC Classic) and that 10 of her 13 races came at ONE track, Belmont.  Zenyatta has won as many gr.1 races outside of Cali on dirt as Personal Ensign won outside of Belmont on dirt.  If Zenyatta is going to be condemned as purely a synthetic specialist, then one would be equally justified to label Personal Ensign a Belmont specialist, or a horse for course.  To me, both seem equally stupid and/or ignorant.

31 Aug 2010 5:42 AM


31 Aug 2010 6:49 AM
Mike Relva


So,where are you at????

31 Aug 2010 10:28 AM
Meydan Rocks

This Draynay person is awesome!

Shows up and spouts vapidness and flees!

Great movie...


31 Aug 2010 11:12 AM

Laz said it all.  Zenyatta will soon be considered the Queen of Dirt.

Householder - Why point Zenyatta to the Lady's Classic??

Meydan Rocks - Your description of walking around in circles after the BCC last year SO reminded me of my first few moments and days after witnessing Zenyatta's amazing victory.  Every person I saw, I wondered:  Do you KNOW what happened today?  yesterday?  the other day?  Do you KNOW Zenyatta?  I felt like I was walking in a Twilight Zone episode - there weren't headlines in the newspaper, no breaking news alerts on TV.  I thought I was the only one besides you folks at the track that knew what happened.

papillon - I agree that calling MTB a fluke is nonsense and cruel.  Your bias about RA and Zen fans is clear.  I see good and bad in most hardcore Rachel fans and Zenyatta fans.  Each side has its share of freaks.  I have never trashed Zenyatta and I never will.  I love her, and I actually think she's the better horse.  I also think that Rachel had the better and more demanding campaign last year, although after the Classic, I wanted both Rachel and Zenyatta to be HOY.  This year is a different story, obviously.  The pain you feel over MTB, which I fully understand, I feel now over Rachel.  My worried feelings for her don't tarnish my love for Zenyatta one bit - it's not a zero sum game for me as it is for some other Rachel and Zenyatta fans.

31 Aug 2010 11:57 AM

I only have one thing to say……SHE’S NO ZENYATTA!

31 Aug 2010 12:28 PM

Me flee?  That is truly laughable as are most of the comments on here. Rachel locked up with LAT and the two of them went at it.  LAT is a G1 winning horse that had won 6 in a row and got CRUSHED by Rachel.  The pace of the race was set up for a closer and we have all seen it happen a thousand times.  There was some complete nonsense in another blog about Rachel retiring?  Anyone who even has those words come out of their mouth doesnt know racing.  Retire Rachel ? Lol.  How about retire LAT.  November is coming and there is nothing anyone can do about it.  We will soon see who the best horse is and remember he who laughs last laughs best.

31 Aug 2010 2:47 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The term "fluke" does not belong in horse racing. Wins are not an accident. Some people are even so out of touch as to call an entire season a fluke because the next season wasn't as good. Stepping on a safety pin is a fluke accident. Winning a  horse race is not. Expect a good race from Mine That Bird this weekend. He may not be able to beat Quality Road but leave him out of the exotics at your own peril. I won't know if he has some chance to beat QR until I see the PP's then see the horses prior to the race. I do believe that MTB will definitely show enough to be entered in The Classic.

31 Aug 2010 3:09 PM

Zenyatta already should be considered Queen of Dirt.  She's a good two-three lengths better on that surface.  Given a reasonable trip and clear weather, I just don't see anything beating her in the Classic, though those two things aren't a given at Churchill in November.  The dominant horse in Europe Harbinger is retired and I'm just not on the Blame bandwagon as a dominant horse yet.  I do think Quality Road will run a better race in the Classic than some may think off the Whitney loss.

31 Aug 2010 3:31 PM

I just think the Classic is shaping up to be very weak.  The Lady's race looks more appealing.

Rail Trip-Can he win away from Hollywood Park?  What's with his foot?

Awesome Gem-He wins like once every two years.  Zen blasted past him like he was tied to the 1/8th pole.  He lost the Long Ach Mile!  Nice blue collar gelding.  Perhaps he is just coming into his own at this stage of life.

Quality Road-What's his record around a 1 turn mile like Churchill.  Not convinced he will even make it to the Breeder's Cup Classic. Has foot/freak issues that seem to be behind him.

Blame-Probably will be the favorite or second choice.  Good horse. No knocks.

Richard's Kid-see Rail Trip and insert "Del Mar."

Zenyatta-How many horses have been required to repeat the Classic as a test for HOY honors?  Curlin finished up the track, RA didn't even attend.  Tall, tall order for Zenyatta. (Biggest Zen fan of them all).  A win would put her in with the top 5 females of all time.

Lookin at Lucky-Don't like this latest set back.  Not sure about 1 1/4 but would not toss based on the Smartstrike side of things.  I would play him.

31 Aug 2010 3:37 PM
Mike Relva


It's wonderful HOW YOU ALWAYS IGNORE BY DESIGN WHEN YOU'RE WRONG. I said I doubted RA could get the 10f. Why don't you step up to the plate and admit you're wrong again,instead of spinning???

31 Aug 2010 3:52 PM


Sorry Draynay, but I respectfully DON’T AGREE WITH YOU.  They didn’t GO AT IT.  The pace wasn’t suicidal.  The 3/4s was in a moderate 1.12.02, the mile was an almost pedestrian 1.37.54.  Each quarter in the race was run slower than the preceding quarter, rare for G1 horses.  LAT didn’t exactly stop until the jockey knew they weren’t going to get better than third at about the 8th pole.  And it’s not like LAT won multiple G1 races coming into the PE.  She won ONE G1 race.  And the winner, Persistently, had not even started in a stakes of any kind in two years.

Get over yourself.

Should Rachel retire?  I think they should race her as long as SHE WANTS TO RACE.  However, the mystique is over.  She’s part of the older filly and mare group that some say outside of Zenyatta is average.  She had her day and it was a great run, but from here on in, every race she loses, especially to unhearalded horses that hadn't even won a G1 race, takes something away from her legacy.

JJ has to think about Rachel, not about feeding his ego.

31 Aug 2010 4:10 PM


When's the last time you had a good laugh?

31 Aug 2010 4:13 PM
Mike Relva


Agree with you that the term "fluke" doesn't belong in racing. Great point. For those that use this term,they don't have any respect and shouldn't be called a fan.

31 Aug 2010 4:43 PM

Zookeeper - I just wanted to acknowledge how right you are.  The unkind comments have been few and most of the Zenyatta lovers have been understanding.

All the posts about Beyer Bias is really interesting.  Thanks all for discussing this.  So not only does Zenyatta have her racing style going against her - doing just what she needs to do to win - but she also has the surface bias going against her.  Let's hope some of this can get cleared up in November!

31 Aug 2010 5:41 PM

Jason, might I suggest Alan Shuback's current blog post on about Rachel as a good read on the Rachel/Zenyatta talk that always runs hot on this blog.  I found the comparison to the schedules of fillies and mares in Europe to be particularly interesting.

31 Aug 2010 5:48 PM

Thanks for the thoughts on the Beyers.  The whole thing just seems illogical to me - the clock is the clock whether it's at DMR or SAR.  

Oh, well. <grumble grumble>

31 Aug 2010 6:27 PM

Terrible news about Kantharos! Such brilliance! Not much details about the injury except that he fractured a leg, maybe we'll find out more later. Let's all hope he recovers well and that his life is not severely threatened. Very sad.

31 Aug 2010 6:51 PM

Beyer thought that Pioneer of the Nile was too slow to win the Kentucky Derby.  Beyer wrote a full page article the day of the Derby in the Daily Racing Form just to prove his point. POTN looked pretty good at the 1/4 pole until an even slower speed Beyer shot past him.  

Beyers has "no game" when it comes to synthetic to dirt runners.  Gunbow probably has the most scientific analysis on the topic.  Just take the synthetic Beyer and add 7 when they hit the dirt. Just call it Beyer-bow.  

And as far as the recent Blind Luck vanishing Beyers...I think Beyer just found out that the owners paid more for the trailer than they paid for the horse.  

31 Aug 2010 7:24 PM
Bet Twice


Another interesting angle on Zenyatta is her age.  I don't think a 6 year old has ever won the BCC, never mind her sex and the fact that she'd be repeating.

31 Aug 2010 8:27 PM
Bet Twice

To be clear, I do think Zen should go in the Classic, not the Distaff.  Win or lose, its a great finish to her career.

31 Aug 2010 8:38 PM
Paula Higgins

Dr Drunkinbum amen to your thoughts on the word "fluke." Well said.

I read Alan Shuback's column on Rachel and his comment that she was "always overrated" made me want to spit nails-at him. Rachel was not overrated last year. She raced a campaign for the ages. For him to make that gratuitously unkind and untrue comment based on this season shows a complete lack of perspective and questionable judgment.

Kantharos, what a shock that was. A horse with so much potential.

31 Aug 2010 8:48 PM
Mike Relva


I don't pay attention to anything Andrew Beyer says.

31 Aug 2010 8:48 PM

Householder : I don't think the Classic is coming up weak.  There are legit 3 yr old colts that are just starting to get better and I think they will all show up and try their best in the Classic.  We also don't know who the Euro contingents are, they could very well be a strong group.  And of course, there's Blame, I think he's going to be on top of his game come Classic time, I also think QR will be there too and will probably contest the lead with Rail Trip although I'm not sure if RT will actually make it as I still haven't heard where his next race is.

I think Zenyatta is on target and should go to the Classic just as Team Z has planned, I think Classic is a much much tougher race than the Distaff.

ZK : Good luck this weekend, I'll be rootin tootin for both of ya.  Give Carla a big hug for me please.

31 Aug 2010 8:57 PM

Too bad about Kantharos, really too bad.  I was looking forward to his future.

It's been a difficult week for Stonestreet.  I remember a year or so ago reading a small mention about JJ's health.  I can't help but wonder if that is why he wasn't at Saratoga on Sunday (on his wife's birthday no less. . .).

Wishing them all the best.

31 Aug 2010 9:10 PM


Before I forget, Thank you!  :)

31 Aug 2010 9:39 PM

Zookeeper- my fingers will be crossed for him and for you!!!

01 Sep 2010 12:11 AM

Draynay :

" The pace of the race was set up for a closer and we have all seen it happen a thousand times. "

Make that 982, the other 18 times, the pace didn't matter for a certain closer.

01 Sep 2010 1:11 AM


I think that Zenyatta is deserving of her celebrity status as one of the all time greats for her record on Synthetic tracks, not Dirt.  When racing surface is taken out of the equation such turf champions as Dahlia, All Along and Pebbles also join the fray with the galaxy of Dirt megastars such as Ruffian, Gallant Bloom, Personal Ensign, Go for Wand and Rachel Alexandra et al.  If you are focusing on the all time great dirt track fillies/mares Zenyatta does not belong at the top of that domain based upon her ONLY TWO starts on Dirt.  That does not amount to a condemnation of "Queen Zen" ...just the simple facts of what has been done on the track.  Personally I believe that her legacy has been dealt a great injustice by how sparingly she has been raced on Dirt and by competition that she has ducked.  Just thinking about what she would have accomplished by being allowed to compete in the PE last Sunday and very likely doing what Persistently did to Rachel Alexandra and Life At Ten should help you to see my point.  Such a scenario at Saratoga would have given the racing world what it has been waiting and clamouring for and the accolades to the winner would have sent Zenyatta's fame, reputation and all time status soaring into the stratosphere.  It would also have been a fitting tribute to Personal Ensign whom she would surpass forever without dispute in the all time rankings.  I was a mesmerized fan of Zenyatta after her awe-inspiring performance on the Pro-ride in the BCC at Santa Anita because I didn't think that she would (although I suspected that she could) win it.  This year I'm a frustrated fan and very upset with her connections for being so "blinkered" that they spurned a golden opportunity to showcase the great mare at the "Mecca" of racing, Saratoga and denied horseracing of a well needed shot-in-the-arm.

I know that some will argue that my position is unfair to the Mosses and John Sherrifs but when you have stewardship of a megastar such as Zenyatta your responsibilities extend to a wider public than your inner circle, whose opinion carry weight in the long run inspite of being ignored in the short run.  Also the management of a megastar racehorse includes that horse's reputation.  It is pointless arguinging for instance that "Esky" would have trampled this year's crop of 3YOs and broken the Triple Crown drought because he showed that potential repeatedly.  The same argument hold true for Zenyatta on Dirt.  

If she competes and wins this years BCC I may once again be mesmerized and awe-struck with delight (a very, very good feeling) because while I believe that she can I will not abandon Quality Road (the currently embattled King of Dirt) if he rebounds handsomely in the Woodward. He is the HOTY inwaiting IMO but I wouldn't "blame" others for trying to derail him.  That's what championship horseracing is all about ...earning your reputation on the track.  

Having said all that, I do wish Queen Zenyatta and her connections all the very best.  I remain a loyal but quite frustrated fan.        

01 Sep 2010 1:40 AM


01 Sep 2010 3:34 AM
I tell it like I see it

It's clearly obvious now why Zenyatta's connections haven't bothered shipping her east to face RA. They didn't have to beat her and they knew it. There are plenty of others who can and did beat RA. All shipping and beating her would have accomplished was excuses by the RA backers anyway. This way they sat back and watched horses clearly inferior to Zenyatta beat RA time and time again. I've seen it said many times that RA isn't the same horse as last year. What I see is her connections haven't been as lucky choosing/writing races for her as they were last year. This year having to go against older and better horses she just can't keep winning. In my book if RA isn't the same horse she was last year she's at least the same horse the year she was before when she got beat repeatedly. She's still got alot of talent, it just isn't as much as some people thought. They gave her too much credit for winning races last year based on the name of the race and not the quality of competition.

01 Sep 2010 8:41 AM
Mike Relva


One thing you can't ignore,we know what Zenyatta is capable of accomplishing on dirt.

01 Sep 2010 10:57 AM
Mike Relva


I'm only hoping that Andrew Beyer doesn't pick Zenyatta to win the Classic,I don't want her jinxed. lol

01 Sep 2010 11:00 AM


A six year old mare, racing at the highest level, is rarely seen anymore.  In fact it was rarely seen years ago, at least with the mare winning consistently.  Zenyatta is still at the top of her game strictly because of the way in which she has been managed.  Her goal this year is the BCC, and believe me, just the fact that she might enter the starting gate with a chance to win and remain undefeated will do more for racing on a high profile scale than if she would have run in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Pacific Classic, Personal Ensign or Jockey Club Gold Cup.

I have no doubt that if she would have run in the HGC she would have won and convincingly.  She crushed Awesome Gem in their one meeting and with authority.  She would have handled him again.  I have no doubt she would have won the Pacific Classic and with the same authority.  She crushed the winner Richard’s Kid convincingly the one time they met.  I have no doubt she would have won the Personal Ensign convincingly.  If you or anyone else doubts that she couldn’t out close Persistently even with those slow fractions, think again.

Going back to the HGC, and (one of either the Pacific Classic or the PE)……all at 1 1/4M.  Do you think it is important that she race in two of them and then come up empty in the Classic?  Including the BCC, that would be three 1 1/4M races in a span of less than 4 months.  Factor in the 2009 BCC and she would be asked to compete in four 1 1/4M races in a year, three and possibly four of them against males.  Show me any one of Quality Road, Blame, MTB, Rail Trip, or any other that would contest those races and hope to be successful not only in them, but in the BCC as well.  (AND THE LAST I CHECKED YOU ENTER YOUR HORSE TO WIN, NOT JUST TO COMPETE.)  The Jockey Club Gold Cup is going to come up strong because Blame and Rail Trip and maybe one or two other major contenders will be contesting it.  Why take them on then when she would take them on a month later?  What good for racing would a loss for Zen do leading up to the Classic other than have her compete in it with the revenge factor?  The BCC is where it’s at.  It will have national exposure and a win there would put her in folklore status. THAT WOULD BE THE BEST THING FOR RACING AT THIS TIME!

For that reason, and that reason alone, I commend her connections for taking the path they have.  To compete in all those races would surely lead to a burn out factor.  Does Rachel remind you of the burn out factor?

01 Sep 2010 11:04 AM

Jayjay, Footlick,

Thank you also! Your support feels great!

01 Sep 2010 11:32 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  It's becoming a bit of a stretch for Lookin At Lucky to make it into The Breeder's Cup Classic. He's barely doing anything right now. It may not turn out to be the dream field we had anticipated but if Afleet Alex has another bang up race he may be in there and provide some competition. Mine That Bird should be in there, and it is at CD. Does he need rain, I don't know. Rail Trip is iffy, and not good enough to win it anyway. You still have Zenyatta and Blame as the top two with QR a close second if he goes. Awesome Gem, I don't see how. Richard's Kid belongs and should be there. He's in top form. One or two others will pop up in the next month or so. With synthentic speed figures, we've know for a long time that they have no clue so you have to determine it yourself based on quality of competition and visually what they look like. We know you have to add points usually but how many depends on the individual race and horse. The Ladies' Classic is shaping up real nice as are the sprint and turf races. I still would love to see QR in the dirt mile. They want the Classic so that is probably what it will be, unless he doesn't dominate this weekend or zooms and closes weak.

01 Sep 2010 12:09 PM

Meydan Rocks:

“I was standing in the crowd in "09 of November when Zenyatta won the BCC. I was probably 250 yards from the finish line.

I must tell you. I have NEVER been so shocked and speechless while witnessing the outcome of a horse race.


As it became obvious that she has won, I walked around in circles mumbling and shouting "she bleeping did it, she bleeping did it" over and over and over and over again to myself!!!

My shock had been reinforced earlier when I read Andrew Beyer's article on why she wouldn't and couldn't win.

Seriously, I was comatose on two feet!”

I’m pretty sure we must’ve dazed our way past each other! I have never actually physically leaped up and down before. Never. I pogoed like an insane person. I’ve never heard the track actually buzz like that before. Even Baffert hung around afterwards and he had the same dazed look on his face. Also liked how the Euros, who totally tossed her, made an immediate about-face. They knew what they’d just seen.


“So no I wasn't in the room for the negotiations and I can't give you sworn testimony that would stand up in court, but logically who do you think would be asking to change the race distance and make it longer, Rachel's camp ???”

I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that Jess wanted the date moved, and the Mosses countered with the distance. I wish I could remember where I read that…


“ If Zenyatta is going to be condemned as purely a synthetic specialist, then one would be equally justified to label Personal Ensign a Belmont specialist, or a horse for course.  To me, both seem equally stupid and/or ignorant.”

Agreed. SO agreed! It’s astonishing to me that so many people try SO hard NOT to see how brilliant Zenyatta is. Why would you go to such lengths instead of just watching and appreciating? I think the BC Classic threw a lot of people for a loop because to them, that was the first real competition she faced. The numbers said she was just too slow. There were all those Zenyatta signs and it confounded people. Then she goes and wins like that and people just refuse to see the win for what it was. They try to diminish it and that’s where all these memes started popping up. And your Beyer discourse was utterly fantastic! It’ll be interesting to see where people put the so-called synthetic horses when they run on dirt at Churchill. Very interesting indeed.


“Meydan Rocks - Your description of walking around in circles after the BCC last year SO reminded me of my first few moments and days after witnessing Zenyatta's amazing victory.  Every person I saw, I wondered:  Do you KNOW what happened today?  yesterday?  the other day?  Do you KNOW Zenyatta?  I felt like I was walking in a Twilight Zone episode - there weren't headlines in the newspaper, no breaking news alerts on TV.  I thought I was the only one besides you folks at the track that knew what happened.”

Just ditto. And then I got home to find that all of my non-horse racing friends had posted videos of the Classic on Facebook. So if even folks who’d never seen a race can appreciate it, it’s astonishing to me when racing fans can’t.


“Zenyatta already should be considered Queen of Dirt.  She's a good two-three lengths better on that surface.  Given a reasonable trip and clear weather, I just don't see anything beating her in the Classic, though those two things aren't a given at Churchill in November.  The dominant horse in Europe Harbinger is retired and I'm just not on the Blame bandwagon as a dominant horse yet.  I do think Quality Road will run a better race in the Classic than some may think off the Whitney loss.”

I think so, too. He just didn’t have it that day and got run down by a very good horse who was already a GISW. I think Quality Road may have just worked too fast as well. I’d like to see him have more moderate, longer works. Maybe he’d be a bit sharper. I can’t imagine him getting beaten in the Woodward without Blame in there.


“Jason, might I suggest Alan Shuback's current blog post on about Rachel as a good read on the Rachel/Zenyatta talk that always runs hot on this blog.  I found the comparison to the schedules of fillies and mares in Europe to be particularly interesting.”

I took issue with that, actually. It doesn’t take nearly as long to travel from country to country in Europe as it does to travel up and down the East Coast here, much less to go from one coast to the other. We have GIs on each coast. They don’t have nearly the GIs over there so it makes logical sense that given the dearth of GIs and the ease of travel that their horses would meet more often.


“It's been a difficult week for Stonestreet.  I remember a year or so ago reading a small mention about JJ's health.  I can't help but wonder if that is why he wasn't at Saratoga on Sunday (on his wife's birthday no less. . .).”

I heard that his health is why he didn’t go to Saratoga. As much as I rail at the guy for his ego and his interminable press releases, I feel for him and his family and hope that he can get better. No idea what’s wrong with him, BTW. I did read somewhere that the injury to Kantharos was not life-threatening, so hopefully that’s the case.


“If you are focusing on the all time great dirt track fillies/mares Zenyatta does not belong at the top of that domain based upon her ONLY TWO starts on Dirt.  That does not amount to a condemnation of "Queen Zen" ...just the simple facts of what has been done on the track.  Personally I believe that her legacy has been dealt a great injustice by how sparingly she has been raced on Dirt and by competition that she has ducked.”

Blah blah blah. Yes, we all know this is the chosen meme y’all are spreading. SO bored with it now.

“Just thinking about what she would have accomplished by being allowed to compete in the PE last Sunday and very likely doing what Persistently did to Rachel Alexandra and Life At Ten should help you to see my point.”

Sure. Zenyatta ships to run 10F two months before the biggest race of her year, and then ships home. She’s wrung out, just like Rachel is right now and Rachel didn’t even ship. I realize you want to ignore how important shipping is, and how much it takes out of Zenyatta in particular, but that doesn’t change the facts.

“I know that some will argue that my position is unfair to the Mosses and John Sherrifs but when you have stewardship of a megastar such as Zenyatta your responsibilities extend to a wider public than your inner circle, whose opinion carry weight in the long run inspite of being ignored in the short run.”

No. First rule is, you take care of the horse. Yes, AT THE EXPENSE OF EVERYTHING ELSE. They don’t owe you anything. If you’re so thick that you can’t see her brilliance, then that’s YOUR problem.

01 Sep 2010 1:39 PM


While your case that Zenyatta shouldn't have competed in any one of the more difficult races you listed can be made convincingly, you go off the deep end with your closing comment:  

To compete in all those races would surely lead to a burn out factor.  

Yes, agreed, everybody on this list probably agrees with that statement.  But the thing is, no one here who is reasonable would expect Zenyatta to "compete in ALL those races".  That wouldn't be in her best interests and I would criticize Moss & Shirreffs for that.

No one is asking for that.  What most of us who like Zenyatta but disagree with her handling is asking for isn't ALL those races, but just A COUPLE OF THEM. For the entire year.  Just like Jess Jackson has his obsession with "plastic tracks", I'm convinced Moss has become completely obsessed with maintaining Zenyatta's unbeaten streak at any cost.  And that has been the governing factor in where she's run or hasn't run this year, moreso than what's best for the horse.  And while almost always taking the path of least resistance might be easiest on Zenyatta physically and made it possible to keep her in training an extra year, it diminishes her legacy and discredits the sport to never see its best athlete and one of its two most well-known stars take on the very best competition, except for one time in her career (hopefully twice at least come November).

It's like a top championship boxer always facing the easiest competitors and only taking on the number one guy on those rare occasions mandated by the boxing commission. (Horseracing doesn't even have that requirement).  Look at Floyd Mayweather. He's undefeated but his record was compiled mostly against middle-of-the-road boxers or by waiting until his toughest opponents (Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosely) were near the end of their careers and could no longer effectively compete with him.  He's consistently ducked the toughest opponents like Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao, who tiring of trying to get Mayweather's name on a contract are fighting each other in November.  Pacquaio is so much more respected in boxing than Mayweather that it's not funny.  He's taken on all challengers and that's why he's not undefeated.  But his legacy in the sport is giant compared to Mayweather all around the world, there's no comparison.

And you know what?  I'm not totally convinced that the path they've taken with Zenyatta is actually in the best interests of the horse.  She is a very intelligent animal and only works as hard as she has to.  As Mike Smith has said, once she makes the lead, she thinks she's won and starts loafing.  I could see a scenario where a Quality Road or Lookin At Lucky or even a Sidney's Candy (who probably won't go in that race) opens up at the top of the stretch, and Zenyatta, not used to having to work so hard to overcome a tough competitor, leaves herself with too much to do.  And this will be a tougher race than last year because she'll be facing top opponents whose best surface is dirt.

Hope her cushy schedule doesn't backfire on them.

01 Sep 2010 2:48 PM
My Juliet

    I am disappointed Rachel A got 2nd place but I don't think we should have been too surprised. It was never cons. her best distance. It was ment'd here that her sire didn't do well at mile 1/4. I think she was tried at this to see if the Classic would be a good idea. Now it is clear the Ladies Classic would be the right choice. After RA beat up on the colts last yr I hoped she would be in that race, but as others have said the Ladies Classic is still a very respected race, no shame in this Star filly being in it.

   I enjoyed Jess's comments after the race, saying they were disappointed in the outcome but they were not disappointed in her. Well said.

    It is worth mentioning that Life at Ten was considered the toughest opponent this yr that either Rachel (or Zenyatta) has faced (As per DRF article 8/26).

This horse finished 10 1/4 lengths behind Rachel.

01 Sep 2010 2:56 PM

Well Zenyatta should get the perfect tune up for the Breeder's Cup with the Zenyatta Stakes and the whole Oak Tree meet moving over to Hollywood Park.  She sleeps in, has a light brunch, and hits the track by 5:00 p.m.

01 Sep 2010 3:05 PM


Ranagulzion is anything but thick. A little stubborn?... maybe. He has a definite set of opinions and is not afraid to voice them. I would have LOVED to see his face when Zen won the BCC last year! That would have been almost as good as the race itself. However a guy sitting next to me that day at SA was absolutely STUNNED! His mouth was just hanging open for the longest time... I found it delicious, considering that he had been pontificating about how Zen was TOO SLOW to win the race. Was that you, Ranagulzion? LOL!

Seriously though, I agree with you Kay, the horse must come first and the Mosses do not owe us anything.

Ranagulzion- The only time you get my blood boiling is when you call Zen's connections ugly names, not worth repeating. I think you are a fierce debater and that those tactics are beneath you. I really liked the last paragraph of your post of 1:40AM.  :)

01 Sep 2010 3:18 PM


I agree with just about everything you say.  At least you get it.  Some people don't and maybe they're the ones I'm talking to.  Personally, I would have tried at least one of those races, probably the HGC or the PE and then have a shorter prep before the BCC.  For sure I would have run in the HGC last year when she was five.  At her age now, keep her together for two more races.  Do what you have to do to keep her sharp and then in the BCC let it all hang out and empty the tank if she has too.

About the Moss'.  If you were in their position and had a top horse that was 18 and 0 would you not always be thinking undefeated?  I know I would.  But then the counter.....why enter the BCC last year which was filled with uncertainty?  Most people didn't think she would pull it off.  And outside of awards, etc., they still brought her back this year and were willing to tackle Rachel early in the season in the AB without really knowing that Rachel wouldn't compete.  They were willing to risk it then.  And there's still this year's BCC whioch promises to be tough.  It's hard to figure some time.

Regarding you think that he is going to make it to the BCC?  I'm hearing things and beginning to wonder.

01 Sep 2010 6:23 PM


I feel like you about Ranagulzion......knowledge and passion for the sport with many more good things to say than bad ones.  However I would have loved to have seen his face when Quality Road took it on the chin from Blame.

01 Sep 2010 6:29 PM

Hard to say about Lookin At Lucky or Rail Trip for that matter making the BC.  Their ailments are supposedly minor, but they didn't come at a great time.  LAL is still in the running for HOY at least, but RT's resume is too skimpy - missing the Woodward will cost him his shot at the championship even if he wins out.

I want to see the planned LAL/Sidney's Candy rematch in the PA Derby, so I really hope he makes it.

01 Sep 2010 7:13 PM


Not me, I was far too busy picking my own chin off the floor when Blame won that race. LOL!

01 Sep 2010 7:26 PM


“Just like Jess Jackson has his obsession with "plastic tracks", I'm convinced Moss has become completely obsessed with maintaining Zenyatta's unbeaten streak at any cost.”

Yeah, maybe. Although I’m not sure that “at any cost” works when they’ve run in two handicaps this year and are pointing to the Classic and not the Ladies Classic. But say she goes in the Classic and beats all those boys. This is an actual question for you – Would that satisfy you, or would you still think her career has an asterisk next to it because she didn’t beat them more than once in 2010?

Maybe the Mosses have an “all or nothing” mindset with Zenyatta, where her career culminates in the Classic. Like it was supposed to – and did until they kept her in training – last year. The alternate to that is an “everything but the kitchen sink/Breeder’s Cup” mindset, which Jess Jackson had with Rachel last year. We’ve seen how that has affected Rachel. I suppose the question is, would you rather have one great year, or three excellent ones? And maybe it’s just a matter of preference. Given how quickly our stars rise and fade, I’m kinda liking the latter.

“I could see a scenario where a Quality Road or Lookin At Lucky or even a Sidney's Candy (who probably won't go in that race) opens up at the top of the stretch, and Zenyatta, not used to having to work so hard to overcome a tough competitor, leaves herself with too much to do.  And this will be a tougher race than last year because she'll be facing top opponents whose best surface is dirt.”

I think that’s the only thing that can beat her, if someone has freaked and opened up at the head of the lane. But that’s assuming an awful lot about the other horses. None of them has really done that, and they certainly haven’t done it at 10F. If someone’s loose out there and is running the race of his life, then I can see Zenyatta running out of track. However, I also have a hard time seeing Mike Smith let that happen. He’s been pretty marvelous with pace on Zenyatta. I think it will take literally a phenomenal performance, something lights-out by one of these, to have that much ground on her turning for home.

“Hope her cushy schedule doesn't backfire on them.”

I don’t consider it as cushy as you do, but obviously I hope it doesn’t, either. I definitely see your point, though, and agree that she’s one cagey animal.

My Juliet:

“After RA beat up on the colts last yr I hoped she would be in that race, but as others have said the Ladies Classic is still a very respected race, no shame in this Star filly being in it.”

That’s for sure. The notion that the Ladies Classic is somehow beneath these horses is ludicrous and should never have been put out there to begin with. It’s not a comedown if Rachel runs in it. Heck, if Rachel highlights Friday and Zenyatta highlights Saturday, that’s a pretty impressive Breeder’s Cup. If Rachel can’t go 10F and is better suited facing fillies at 9F, so what? It’s not an embarrassment. Far from it.


“Ranagulzion is anything but thick. A little stubborn?... maybe. He has a definite set of opinions and is not afraid to voice them. I would have LOVED to see his face when Zen won the BCC last year! That would have been almost as good as the race itself. However a guy sitting next to me that day at SA was absolutely STUNNED! His mouth was just hanging open for the longest time... I found it delicious, considering that he had been pontificating about how Zen was TOO SLOW to win the race. Was that you, Ranagulzion? LOL!”

Heh. That’s awesome about the guy. He sure wasn’t the only one buying into the numbers! And this year, it’s been pretty much the same thing. Low Beyers, and people seem to be buying into it again. We’ll see what happens at Churchill.


“About the Moss'.  If you were in their position and had a top horse that was 18 and 0 would you not always be thinking undefeated?  I know I would.  But then the counter.....why enter the BCC last year which was filled with uncertainty?  Most people didn't think she would pull it off.  And outside of awards, etc., they still brought her back this year and were willing to tackle Rachel early in the season in the AB without really knowing that Rachel wouldn't compete.  They were willing to risk it then.  And there's still this year's BCC whioch promises to be tough.  It's hard to figure some time.”

I wonder… it seems that early in the year, they had every intention to accept and issue challenges. It seemed that her being 14-0 was good enough. But then the Apple Blossom fell apart, and honestly I don’t think THEY saw Rail Trip and the other West Coast males as anything much to handle, so then they just decided to face whomever was left in the Classic and try to get their undefeated. I certainly can’t argue with the fact that the schedule she’s on this year sure worked last year. So if they really thought that there wasn’t a giant they needed to take down early on, it kinda makes sense that they decided to wait until the big dance. They didn’t have to try and take Rachel down, and Quality Road hadn’t won the Met Mile yet… and it’s not like they ducked him LAST year. So doing that kind of thing early in the year made more sense than it does to try it later, when you really ARE trying to get to the Classic in one piece. It’ll be interesting to see who actually makes it to the gate for the Classic. We never seem to get all of them there.

01 Sep 2010 8:14 PM
Bet Twice

Baffert was quoted, saying that LAL is still just jogging.

01 Sep 2010 8:32 PM

Nope Kay, there wouldn't be an asterisk.  A championship is a championship.  Winning the BC Classic plus all the rest of her wins is as strong a resume as any other horse would have this year.  I want to see Zenyatta get her championship.  In a way, I'm almost glad Rachel's now eliminated this year, because now I can just root for Zenyatta to take it.  I would have really had mixed feelings and not sure who to root for most if both had shown up in the Classic.  

But her season does leave me a little sour.  Let me put it this way.  I'm a big LA Lakers fan.  They won a great championship final against the Boston Celtics.  But during the year they also had great games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James, the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant and many others.  Now imagine if pro basketball was run like horseracing and the league just said OK, schedule games against whoever you want.  If you want to play nothing but the New Jersy Nets and the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks all year, all on your home court, that's fine with us.  Just show up for the finals.  How excited do you think I would be to watch their season?

I think the obsession with keeping her unbeaten longer than any other horse snowballed as it got longer.  I think they should have been happy once they broke Personal Ensign's record and then taken some chances.  Okay, it will be a nice touch to break Eclipse's record, but it's not being publicized at all.  The country would be much more captivated by Zenyatta vs. RA, QR, Blame or Rail Trip when he was out here then beating the record of a horse that's been dead for 200 years or an obscure New Mexico-bred. Nobody ouside of horseracing diehards cares about Pepper's Pride's record or even remembers who she is.  

But it would be a sad thing for horseracing if after winning the BC Classic she never gets a chance to try turf like Secretariat did at the close of his career.  Or even better, close out on the highest note in the Dubai World Cup, where they wouldn't have to worry about the plane trip draining her for three months because it would be her last run.  And I think we'll never get to see those races because they think it's more important that she only runs where she's unlikely to lose, the BC Classic being the lone exception.

01 Sep 2010 9:08 PM
Carlos in Cali

Now that it's proven that neither QR or RA will be a factor going 1 1/4, let alone winning the BCC(like some of us thought since last year).Let's move on to the true contenders aiming towards this year's BCC,like Blame & Zenyatta. Sorry,but this yr's crop of 3yo's are not that good except for LaL. And,we'll see which Euros will show up,though I doubt their best turfers will try the dirt,especially if it's wet.

Blame is solid,but he can't out-kick the Big Mare.

Zenyatta,in her 2 dirt victories has unusually taken the lead far earlier than in her synthetics races. Hmmm... she's waaay better on dirt,especially with some pace to run at. The Amazon will  absolutely love Churchill Downs.. you've been warned!

Not that this is breaking news or anything.

01 Sep 2010 9:26 PM

Ranagulzion : " Such a scenario at Saratoga would have given the racing world what it has been waiting and clamouring for and the accolades to the winner would have sent Zenyatta's fame, reputation and all time status soaring into the stratosphere. "

So you're saying that racing against Rachel whose record this year is way below par, and LaT who has one G1 win supercedes the field that she beat in last years Classic which was against top level male horses ??  Seriously ??

I don't know what happened to you, you use to post really quite good comments.  Ever since you crowned Quality Road before the Whitney and called for him to annihilate the field ...and then he lost...your posts has been nothing but Zenyatta/Team Z bashing.  Did it really hurt that bad that your horse couldn't win at 10F and you're taking it out on Zenyatta's team because they have done the right things so far and are on target for the Classic ?  Come on, it wasn't Zenyatta that beat QR.  QR tried valiantly but he just can't get that 10F distance.  If what everyone was saying that QR can get the distance, he would've gone to the JCGC to try and avenge his loss and show his fans he is the real deal.

01 Sep 2010 11:44 PM

Quality Road is getting a 2 month layoff after the Woodward.  Interesting...

02 Sep 2010 11:57 AM

Quality Road runs great fresh.  The plan announced months in advance was to get him to the BC as fresh as possible.  Pletcher doesn't owe it to anyone to change his plans just because Blame finished a head in front.  What some horseracing fans just don't seem to get is that trainers use races, even G1's as preps for bigger races.  Does anyone really think his plan was "I must win the Whitney at all costs.  If QR doesn't win the Whitney, I've lost my chance at the championship.  If QR doesn't beat Blame twice this year, he can't be the champion."  And it's nonsense.  If they only meet twice and Blame's won the Whitney, but Quality Road wins the Classic over Blame and everybody else, who do you think the champion will be?  

IMO, Quality Road has faced the toughest competition of any horse this year.  Pletcher gets a lot of flack for "ducking" the Stephen Foster field and going in the "easier" Met Mile. And maybe the Foster field was deeper, but I think Musket Man is tougher than anyone who ran in the Foster, save Blame.  I think MM is one of the top half-dozen horses in training, at any distance.  If I had to rank them right now, it would be Zenyatta, Blame, Quality Road, Lookin At Lucky just like the NTRA poll and Musket Man would be fifth.  I don't think he's going in the Classic, but if he did, I wouldn't be shocked at all to see him win it.

And as for QR not being able to "get" 1 1/4, it's true he hasn't won at the distance yet, though he ran a competitive second to marathon distance horce Summer Bird in the Travers last year.  Guess who else hasn't won (or run) at the distance yet?  That's right, Blame.  And the logic seems to be that if Blame edged ahead of QR at 1 1/8, naturally he'll clobber him by much more when he gets him at 1 1/4, right?  And I say, don't be so sure.  First, QR was coming off a race where he was cut back to a mile, so he wasn't as well legged up for the 1 1/8 Whitney as Blame, coming off a race at that same distance.    Remember, there's no rule in horseracing that says you must win every single race to win the championship.  

And look at what happened at Santa Anita last winter.  Misremembered, who was off the board in his previous 1 1/4 attempt was beaten by a glorified miler named Jeranimo going 1 1/8 in the Strub.  All the "smart" guys said he had no chance to win the 1 1/4 mile Big Cap and look what happened.  Like I say, don't base your handicapping decisions purely on the results of prep races, even if they have a G1 tag.  If you do, you'll lose your shirt.

02 Sep 2010 1:56 PM

if quality road loses the woodward he won't be going to the bc he'll be going straight to the farm

02 Sep 2010 2:44 PM


Mine That Bird beat Musket Man twice last year. Did he win any awards for that?

02 Sep 2010 2:54 PM


When one good horse beats another good horse, there's supposed to be an award given?  Gee, I must have missed that, LOL!  Maybe we should just give all the owners and trainers an award after every race.  You know, like those kids' soccer tournaments where everyone gets a trophy?  Wouldn't want to hurt anyone's self-esteem.

But if the point you were making was that MTB was better than Musket Man last year, OK fine, no argument from me.  But it's 2010 now.  They've met once and Musket Man beat him by over ten lengths.  So I would say the tide has turned on that matchup.  It's true there are bigger races on the horizon than the Whitney?  Are you predicting MTB will turn the tables when he meets Musket Man next time?

02 Sep 2010 3:07 PM

Livesouthwest, no, logically I don't think that the Jerry Moss asked for a distance change in the AB. Logically, I think it's something Oaklawn came up with, along with a $5 million pot, to entice both owners into the ring.

Your mileage may vary.

03 Sep 2010 12:06 AM


Quality Road suffers a 'hiccup' loss (by a very slim margin) to a good horse, Blame, in the Whitney and you're convinced that he doesn't stay 10 Furlongs?  I wouldn't argue his case any further with you but let me hear from you after both the Woodward and the Breeder's Cup Classic.  Many of the great ones of the past suffered losses and bounced back: Dr Fager, Damascus, Secretariat, Spectacular Bid, Holy Bull etc, whats the big deal?

The same obtains for Rachel Alexandra.  Do you realize that the PE race could actually move her forward in terms of her conditioning?  Otherwise you haven't been in this game long enough Pal.

On the matter of my inferences about Zenyatta's frustratingly miserly campaign, why is it so difficult for you to see that the entire racing world would have been enraptured by presence of the big mare in the PE running against RA and LAT at Saratoga?  The cumulative effect of a win there on DIRT (Grade one) against the top two East coast Fillies/Mares following upon her 2009 BCC triumph would have catapulted her fortunes/all time great status into orbit ...that should be a no-brainer for those who have not bowed down at the "shrine of Zen-worship".  Geez.

03 Sep 2010 1:01 AM


I noticed that you've omitted I Want Revenge from your list of contenders for the BCC ...whats up with that ...are you disillusioned about him?  I have more confidence than you that IWR (one of your 2009 Derby bulldogs) will become a factor by November under the astute management of Rick Dutrow ...and what about that other AP Indy grandson (you love them so much) Rail Trip ...common Bro ...don't tell me all your eggs are packed in Zenyatta's basket?

I'm so looking forward to this years Breeder's Cup Classic ...sweet redemption for the 'King of the Dirt' Quality Road (and payback for all the jiving about Jose Adan LOL).  

BTW I wouldn't be so quick to write off Rachel Alexandra (her next race will be the key indicator of whether she's washed-up or setting-up to bring the house down at Churchill Downs).

Let the party begin my friend ...and keep the faith/ 'take control' with your AP Indy loved ones (LOL).

03 Sep 2010 1:24 AM
Mike Relva


Just one question? If you trained Zenyatta and the plan was to get to and win the Breeders' would you do ANYTHING to place her chances in risk by maybe not having her in top form by Nov? Just a simple yes or no will be ok! You and others' can continue harping on what could,should,would be,but the fact is it doesn't change or have a single consequence on what Z. connections' want.

03 Sep 2010 12:27 PM


Same old, same old.  At least your chin shouldn't hurt from hitting the table again tomorrow night like it did when your boy lost the Whitney and your girl packed it in in the Personal Ensign.  This is a telling race for QR though even though it ranks up there with the weakest G1's anywhere this year (actually I hope this isn't beginning to be a Woodward tradition).  If he manages to blow this one however, what next?

03 Sep 2010 3:50 PM
Jason Shandler

What would be next? He'd still go to the BC Classic and whip Zenyatta, if she shows up.

03 Sep 2010 3:53 PM


What do Dr Fager, Damascus, Secretariat, Spectacular Bid, Holy Bull etc, have to do with Quality Road?  I'm still trying to figure that one out.  If you do, let us all in on it.  As far as I know, they never crumbled every single time they met a top horse.

03 Sep 2010 3:53 PM

Awesome Gem is the most traveled of this bunch.  If HOY=most miles in transit he is an easy winner.  Good Luck Awesome Gem on winning the Breeder's Cup Classic.

03 Sep 2010 4:10 PM

I don't think so.  Zen isn't planning in going in the Mile.

03 Sep 2010 4:12 PM


If I trained Zenyatta we would not be having this discussion because she would be the most reverred horse on the Planet, bar none, with nobody hving any arguments about padded resume's and ducking competition on dirt or synthetic.  if I trained Zenyatta she would have been HOTY in 2009, 2010 and be a lock for 2011 after last Sunday's Personal Ensign.  The BCC 2010 would be gravy for the fans or lose.  I hope that answers your question better than a straight yes/no.

03 Sep 2010 4:43 PM

I've been away for awhile and trying to catch up.  I'm shocked about Kantharos.  How heartbreaking!  

Householder - Your POTN/Derby/Beyer post is really funny.  Why does Beyer get so much attention?

Paula - I've admired your posts for awhile.  I just read your take on Shuback's column - thanks for the warning!  I was pulling it up to check out.  Always overrated?

jayjay - Your post to you know who about pace and Zenyatta is perfect!  Thank you!

Ranagulzion - I get your disappointment about Zenyatta's schedule, especially because the Mosses were talking about traveling with her this year.  For whatever reason, they decided against it - I think Zen, like her mama, has some "head" issues and needs a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY set routine to keep her more stable.  I don't mean this to knock Zen at all.  Who doesn't have "head" issues?  Whatever the reason, this is the path they've taken and they're not changing it.  I hope you can let some of that disappointment go and prepare to be "mesmerized and awe-struck with delight."

Laz - Your post to Livesoutwest about the Moss' and risking the Classic last year and risking the Rachel race (before they knew her condition) is really good.  I also appreciate you understanding how some might want to see Zenyatta in another race like the HGC.  Now we know what she's gonna do and I just hope for good weather on Classic Day.

Kay - Thanks for ditto-ing my After Classic daze experience!  It was such a monumental moment for so many, maybe they should rename time!  B.C. is now "Before Classic"  and we are currently in A.C. time.  Just a thought.  I guess time would reset every year, huh?

03 Sep 2010 6:24 PM

Zookeeper - Every time I think about this weekend's racing, my stomach does flips about Runflatout.  I can't imagine what YOU'RE going through!  Best of wishes for your boy.

03 Sep 2010 6:28 PM
Mike Relva


Wrong again,QR is a great horse,but he's a miler.

03 Sep 2010 6:48 PM
Mike Relva


You live fantasy! If you trained her she would have been on the scrap heap a long time ago that's for sure. Why would connections run her last week in the mile an quarter when she's running the same distance in Nov. Oh,that's right,let's empty her tank now, so she's not at her best later. Yeah,makes perfect sense!

03 Sep 2010 6:53 PM
Carlos in Cali

Come on people,do you really believe either QR or RA will win the BCC?..I mean really?..

Both of them start getting leg weary after 9f and you expect them to hold on vs the speedy Rail Trip(if he goes,all 3 will be cooked),the salty Blame(10f should be his cup of tea) or the Big Mare,the most dominant closer in the game?. We're not talking about the Donn Hdcp. or the Mother Goose here,it's the BCC were the top horses from around the country throw-down,presumably at their peak.Plus,it's plain to see that both QR & RA shorten stride going 10f,they hit that proverbial wall.Can they win a 10f race?.. sure,against lesser opponents with minimal pace pressure.They need everything to go their way in the Classic,..good luck with that.

BTW-- both of them have a better shot in the Dirt mile.

03 Sep 2010 6:54 PM
Carlos in Cali


IWR has understandably been a disappointment since his comeback from an injury,he's obviously not the same horse he was last spring.I'm not giving up hope just yet,but I doubt he'll be a major player in the fall though...too bad.

Now,.. I hope you and your ill-advised cohort Cold Facts are through with your "AP Indys can't win TC races because of"(whatever) nonsense.

Save yourself some money my man,QR & RA have no shot "IF" they enter the BCC..none. Wait! maybe RA does if it comes up sloppy,her preferred type of surface.  :)

NAH! I take that back,she has no shot!

Stay thirsty my friend--- Shalom in the home.

03 Sep 2010 7:26 PM


Do you hear that loud roar.  That's us screaming at the top of our lungs for you.  Best of luck.

03 Sep 2010 10:15 PM

RANAGULZION :  Quality Road may have lost the Whitney because he had the "hiccups" but if you watch the race again, you can see JV looking back at who's coming because he knew he is in trouble.  He wasn't going forward after he dispatched the other horses, he knew that Blame would be coming and he didn't have the horse to sustain the lead.  Like LAZ's question, I'm not sure why you even mentioned the great horses of the past when talking about QR.  QR has not done ANYTHING worthy of crowing him the beast let alone being compared to the horses of the past.  I can understand rooting for him but for you and Jason and the others to crown him the best in the east is at the very least questionable.  The one time he faced a legitimate top horse, he lost.

As for the PE, I have no doubt that the world would pay attention much much more had Zen run in it.  The coverage would've been worldwide but it's ONE race, Zen can't save the sport.  She already gains attention whenever she runs, that's more than what other top horses have done for the sport.  I don't think the Zen vs. Rachel match up would've gained the kind of "attention" you're talking about, yes it will draw crowd but it wouldn't be anything close to what she will bring in the Classic because that's where her real competitions are, not in the PE.  I know you'll ignore this fact again but what's the point of her shipping east when her goal and last and MOST IMPORTANT RACE OF HER CAREER is in the east coast.  Any owner or trainer, if put in the shoes of the Mosses and Shireffs, would do EXACTLY the same thing they're doing at this moment.  Keeping Zen happy at home before shipping for her last race.  Think about it man,she flies east for the PE, ships back and then flies out again for the Classic.  If you're a true fan of Zenyatta, you should know that that will not work out for her.  Geez, I don't know how you can even argue about that.

04 Sep 2010 3:00 AM



04 Sep 2010 11:04 AM

I agree,  That was well said, JayJay.

I wonder if this weekend will end up like last weekend?  With a major upset?    I wonder will QR be defeated?

Hi, Laz and Mike Relva

04 Sep 2010 2:31 PM
Mike Relva


Hey,bud!! You should post more.

04 Sep 2010 6:35 PM


You are obviously acting like apologists for the connections of Zenyatta but I would ask you to consider how Blind luck has shipped around and stolen the hearts of her many admirers.  If I were able to influence the Mosses and John Sherrifs I would suggest that they close out Zenyatta's career with a shot at the Dubai World Cup next Spring.  It will be at 1 1/4 miles on a Synthetic surface in a truly international arena ...but I guess that you both have fallen for the idea that she has a phobia for shipping outside of California.  BTW what happens if it rains at Churchill downs in November ...must we also believe that she has a phobia for wet underfoot conditions?  Dubai would be a good "insurance policy" against that possibility and she would not be late for the breeding season either.  Things to think about, if you can take a break from the Zen-temple.  

05 Sep 2010 12:00 AM

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