The Shirreffs Interview: BC Classic Should Decide HOY

Hopefully many of you were able to read the unique interview that John Shirreffs gave this morning at Keeneland. If not, here are the highlights.

Shirreffs, who prefers to play things close to the vest, was gracious enough to answer questions from a group of about eight reporters for 45 minutes. He was pressed about a variety of tough subjects (many of them by yours truly) including Zenyatta's 2010 campaign, Horse of the Year, the weather at Churchill Downs, and many other things.

What made this interview more unique than others is that it was in a controlled environment. It was in a small room in one of the first floor Keeneland offices with a small group of us sitting around a table. It made things much easier than if we were standing outside of his barn holding recorders in front of his face. I think the environment enabled us to get much more out of the usually reserved Shirreffs.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the interview for me was when he talked about Horse of the Year. I knew by watching the Eclipse Awards last year that Jerry Moss was very upset about the outcome. I had never heard Shirreffs talk about it as openly as he did today.

"We were very disappointed. I thought they had a unique opportunity because of the situation where they could have split it. I think it was absolutely fair that Rachel Alexandra won the Eclipse Award; I thought that was great. But I thought Zenyatta was equally as great."

That comment was revealing, but what came next was even more surprising. He said Zenyatta should win Horse of the Year, win or lose next month's Breeders' Cup Classic.

"I would think it would be almost too much. For what she does for the industry for the last three years, I would say that would be a real slap in the face. Not only on performance but what's she's done for racing."

A couple minutes later I reminded him that Quality Road, if he wins, would have a pretty good case for Horse of the Year, as would Lookin At Lucky and Blame. To which he responded with a stone-faced glare:

"I think I said exactly what I wanted to say."

I left it at that because I knew how Shirreffs felt, but let me say this now: If Quality Road, Lookin At Lucky, or Blame win the BC Classic, there is no way they should be denied Horse of the Year. Taking the emotion out of it, Zenyatta would not deserve the award over those three based on the merits of this year's campaign. The key words are this year's campaign.

I know there would be a group of people who sentimentally would feel as though Zenyatta would deserve Horse of the Year no matter what happens in the Classic, especially those that felt she should have won the last two years. But Horse of the Year is not about 19-for-19 or helping the industry. It's about the current campaign and who has done the most on the racetrack in that given year.

Quality Road, Lookin At Lucky, and Blame all have done enough to be considered champions should they win, as would Zenyatta if she wins. That's what makes this year's BC Classic so special--it is a true championship race.

We can cross this bridge after the Classic, but I hope voters have enough objectivity this year to do what's right. Just because Shirreffs has an opinion on his mare, doesn't mean it's necessarily right.


Leave a Comment:

Meydan Rocks

Great post!!!

This is going to be a special BCC.

I can't wait...

15 Oct 2010 3:44 PM

I understand and sympathize with both positions. On the one hand, it seems crazy to think that you would fail to reward the horse who has done so much to bring racing into the spotlight this year. She has almost 30,000 fans on facebook, for goodness sake! And, just as track records, and "first x to do y" is taken into account when evaluating a campaign, so too I think you have to take into account the 19 or 20 straight wins, the record of consecutive G1 wins, the female earnings record, etc.

But, I also understand that typically the HOTY award has been about race track performance. And a clear-cut loss in the Classic would hurt her argument for the award, and help the others (if they win, that is--and not some crazy longshot)

That said, I think--and hope--she'll win the Classic again.

15 Oct 2010 3:53 PM

Enjoyed the interview.

I agree with Sherriffs regarding HOY for 2010.  It would be a hugely ignorant mistake to bypass Zenyatta again.  Look at what she has accomplished this year to attract fans back to racing.  Penny Chenery summed it up quite well when she said she had the colt and the Mosses have the mare of horse racing.  

Case closed.

15 Oct 2010 3:54 PM

I thought Sherreffs interview was wonderful.  He loves Zenyatta and it shows when he speaks about her.

I was impressed that he he was gracious about Rachel's HOY win, a classy fellow but I understand how he feels about getting HOY for Zenyatta.  The connections have an undefeated horse in 19 races and is as popular as a horse can get.  She has done a great deal for racing and she is a standout.  I don't have a problem with her winning it no matter how the classic turns out.  How many horses have been undefeated in their career?  Not many.  I know that HOY is for the current year and I understand that she has only run in restricted races this year until she runs in the classic. Quite frankly, I don't understand why she didn't run against males at least once after the way she handled the boys last year.  I don't think it would have stressed her at all, she just gallops past them.  I don't know that she will win this year's classic but it will be a fascinating race.  I really think she will get HOY no matter what the classic outcome is.

She's Zenyatta.

15 Oct 2010 3:56 PM
Jason Shandler

The case is far from closed. Just because she has a legion of fans does not mean she should win. Its about racetrack performance--nothing else. To deny one of the others because she is popular is insane. Hopefully, voters will be more objective than fans. That's what we're paid to do.

15 Oct 2010 3:58 PM

"but I hope voters have enough objectivity this year to do what's right."

If you want objectivity, take HOTY out of the hands of "voters" and devise a fair and impartial point system.  Otherwise, HOTY will remain what it has always been; a popularity contest.

15 Oct 2010 4:08 PM
Meydan Rocks

I also think that his comments comparing the difference between synthetics and dirt in terms of footing and the ability for the horse's foot to grip the substance below was revealing.  

"" On running on dirt versus synthetic surfaces:

“I think she prefers dirt. We didn’t have an opportunity to run her very often on dirt, but one of the things I always tell people about dirt vs. synthetics is that when horses run on dirt their toes really get into the track; their feet rotate so they can push off differently. It’s like when you get into a starting block on a track versus standing on the track flat-footed.”  ""

Also note: His comments about harrowing a wet churchill downs track vs sealing it in terms of his willingness to run her on a wet/sloppy track.

Good stuff...

15 Oct 2010 4:10 PM

Well from the first few comments on this blog there is a legit understanding as to why only certain people have a vote on awards of this nature, we are 3 weeks from the loading of these athletes in the gate and a trainer and a few fans who can't be objective about the fundamentals of award voting and understanding that you cannot win HOY with an uninspiring campaign when the best horse on your resume that you've beaten this year is a Grade II winning mare.  In the history of horse racing those aspiring to achieve HOY willingly campaigned their horses in a championship way. Santa Margarita, unknown race, Vanity, CL, Hirsch, and Lady's Secret virtually unknown races, when ducking known nationally significant races like the Pacific Classic, Hollywood Gold Cup and Stephen Foster cause her to be ranked low on a number of lists for HOY. Unfortunately undefeated is not a defining characteristic of Greatness, I.E. Pepper's Pride and her assault on Pepper's Pride record.  

15 Oct 2010 4:13 PM

I could almost hear you asking some of those questions Jason.  And it's a good thing.  It certainly shed some light on issues debated on here for a long time.

First, contrary to what some Z fans claim, it's clear Team Zenyatta has most certainly cared about HoY.  No doubt about that now.

I agree with you Jason and disagree with Mr. Sherriffs that if Blame, Quality Road, or Lookin at Lucky win they Classic, they will be HoY.  Zenyatta doesn't have HoY wrapped up.  However, if anyone else wins the Classic, Zenyatta would be my vote and I would be surprised and disappointed if she didn't win it.

I think Sherriffs clarified some other points of debate as well.  Some of the Zenyatta detractors continue to insist that she's either running in the Distaff or not running at all and will not be in the Classic field.  I think Sherriffs made his intentions clear.  Barring injury, Zenyatta will be going in the Classic.  They're not ducking the biggest race of the year.

As for scratching Zenyatta from the Churchill race last year, I think it should be clear.  It was her first race in over 6 months, Sherriffs wanted to run, but he had concerns over the track.  Had the maintenance crew done just a few things differently she would have run.

On Zenyatta's 2010 campaign,  I thought Sherriffs dodged the question a little, and his argument in avoiding males was weaker than his argument for not shipping.  After all, he did ship her to Oaklawn for a race that was supposed to be $5 million.  The only reason her critics give her little credit for the Apple Blossom is because Team Rachel completely backed out, and few Eastern based mares wanted anything to do with Zenyatta for just a $500,000 purse.  By the way, the Apple Blossom was the 2nd $5 million race Zenyatta ran in that Rachel very easily could have run in, but her connections held her out.  How many $5 million races did Rachel run in where Zenyatta didn't show?  If you add this year's Classic, that will be 3 potentially $5 million races that have been scheduled in North America over the last 2 years, and Zenyatta (is scheduled) will be a particpant in all 3.

Sherriffs claimed that Rachel's defection from the Apple Blossom didn't affect the campaign he set for Zenyatta the rest of the year.  However, I think it affected the way people viewed the campaign.  If Team Z had been holding a win over Rachel on dirt in their back pocket, there would have been alot less pressure to either ship Zenyatta or run her against males; at the very least, Team Z would have been immune from this pressure for alot longer, with the pressure perhaps only becoming strong in the late summer.  But that would have bought Team Z 3 or 4 months to bask in the Apple Blossom.  Without Rachel in the Apple Blossom, Zenyatta received very little credit, even though it did involve her shipping and did involve her running over dirt in a gr.1(which she won by one of her largest margins).

15 Oct 2010 4:18 PM
Billy's Empire

Jason, nice interview! Sheriff's gave some very good insight into how he feels about the mare, and you asked questions that not a lot of other reporters would ask, especially about cross entering in the classic and what would happen if it rained or there happened to be an off track. KUDOS to you mate.

15 Oct 2010 4:21 PM

I also want to echo what Monica said about Sherriffs' opinion of the 2009 HoY race.  He flat out said that Rachel deserved some part of the award.  No dispute.  He just believes it should have been shared.  That was always my opinion.  If I was a voting memeber and had to vote for just one, I would have voted Rachel.  It would had been a travesty had Rachel not won HoY, or at least shared in it.  And Sherriffs seems to agree.  But I do think it was sad that Zenyatta could not also have been recognized as HoY as well.  My opinion.

15 Oct 2010 4:23 PM
Mike in SB

Voters more objective than fans...yeah I believe that one. The Eclipse Awards are a joke as long as they are based on anyone's vote. Racing needs a series of races to settle championships on the track.

15 Oct 2010 4:26 PM

Great post and argument, Jason. Yes, the Horse of the Year Award is not the Lifetime Acheivement Award, though I have a feeling that's what will happen this year should Zenyatta not win the BC Classic. The winner of the Eclipse for HOTY should be dominant in the most tested of campaigns. I love Zenyatta, and consider myself a huge fan--that's why I wanted her to run in the Stephen Foster and the Whitney. I believed she could've won them both, and done so against some of the best horses in the country. Had she done at least that, it would make more sense why she should be in contention for the award. I don't personally believe she even deserves a nomination for running in races restricted to females and shipping out of her home state only once this year. Undefeated or not, she hasn't run against the best one time this year, and they're putting all their eggs in one basket in hoping Zenyatta should dominate in the Classic. I'll be rooting for her at Churchill, but I will always look at her campaigns as "what might've been."

15 Oct 2010 4:31 PM

oh here we go again. Seems the water in Cal is bad or the people are just - well never mind. Horse of the year is just that, Horse of th Year. It's not about a horses career it's about the current year.

As usual Zen's connection have taken the easy road and then expect to be rewarded. What is it that they don't get. From Jan 2010 until today Zen has done nothing to guarantee HOY. If she wins the classic, then she has as good a chance as any other horse.

I think this mare is terrific, shame her connections are to chicken to prove it. That's not on the horse, thats on them. Zen didn't even belong in the running last year. geeze..

15 Oct 2010 4:43 PM


Don't be so righteous. You have your opinion as to what HOY is based on, but it's not that cut & dried.  There are many people who have a vote (not the "fans" you noted with a thinly veiled sneer) who think the award should be based on the best horse campaigned as opposed to the best campaign. Certainly "the best horse" has to have a good year as well. Deride all you want, but this mare already has 5 Grade 1 wins over four distinct surfaces this year. None of the other horses you mentioned have done that.

15 Oct 2010 4:45 PM

I agree with fourcats it has been a popularity contest not based on track performances. There needs to be a ranking system like the BCS in college football, computer calculations and human votes combined.

15 Oct 2010 4:51 PM

Even the HOTY award will not be a show of enough gratitude and recognition for what Zenyatta and her owners have done for racing when we need more than ever to keep the public eye in horse racing. Keep this industry going by recognizing greatness!!

15 Oct 2010 4:53 PM
Diane J

If someone other than the big four (Zen, QR, Blame, LOL) wins the Classic, Zen should be HOY for 2010. Can we all agree on that at least?  :)

15 Oct 2010 4:56 PM

Yes, objectivity is key.  Objectively, the only way she can lose the BCC and win HOTY is if there are significant-upsets almost all Breeders' Cup races and she gets 2nd in the BCC.

15 Oct 2010 4:58 PM

Jason, its over!  All those that did not vote for her last year will vote for her this year!

15 Oct 2010 5:05 PM
19 For 19

Why the hell should the BC Classic decide the HOY in 2010? It sure didn't in 2009, despite the presence of the strongest field assembled in the U.S. all of last year.

The anti-Zenyatta double standard continues to dominate in Kentucky, and other points east. Sad that you folks aren't going to have this all-time great mare to kick around for much longer. You completely missed the boat on her back in 2008, and you've been bitter and condescending about it ever since (Beyer and Shandler being two of the main culprits). Meanwhile, she does nothing but keep on winning, and bringing more and more new fans to this dying sport.

She's getting MY Eclipse vote for HOY for the third year in a row, no matter what -- win, lose or retire before the BC. No other main-track horse will be a 5-time Grade 1 winner in 2010, something Zenyatta has already accomplished before the BC entries have even been drawn.

It has been a privilege to watch her run 19 times, without ever meeting her equal. It's time to return the favor with a long-overdue HOY trophy.

15 Oct 2010 5:05 PM

I don't agree with you!  The winner of the BC Classic last year did not win HOY.  This year is no different.  I agree with Mr. Shirreffs, Zenyatta should be HOY this year for all that she has done.  Has Quality Road won 19 in a row???  Has Lookin at Lucky??? No.  Zenyatta has.

15 Oct 2010 5:09 PM

Horse of the Year is a strange thing.  Didn't Charismatic win HOY and basically only won two races that year?  It should be a point system.

15 Oct 2010 5:13 PM
Jason Shandler

It's not a lifetime achievement award. Be objective. At least try.

15 Oct 2010 5:16 PM
Maggie Black

You got it there 19 For 19. Absoultley aggreed.

15 Oct 2010 5:26 PM

Well,  I can see Chef Shandler is back at work. Stirring the pot real good.  

"Can I have a burger with my beans'?

15 Oct 2010 5:26 PM

Zenyatta is clearly a great horse.

But it will be impossible to rank her objectively, even should she win the Classic, because of the timidity of her connections in designing her campaigns over the past two years, particularly this year.

And that, to me, is a shame.

15 Oct 2010 5:27 PM

I wish I could watch the BCC live on the TV, but I'll be at the Auburn homecoming game, hopefully I can find a way to watch live on nmy older brothers Droid ;) as of right now it would be tight between Lucky and QR about whose had the best campaign, despite all the trouble Lucky shows up all the time, Zenyatta's '10 campaign is the same as all her other campaigns, the reason she's never won HOY, she just doesnt beat top quality horses, why should Curlin have lost to her when she never faced males? and he made record after record that year, why should Rachel have lost to her when Xen only beat males 1x and Rachel beat them 3x making a record in nearly every race, if Lucky wins the Classic he's done much more than her same with Blame, and QR, I really dont see Zen being in teh top 3 to tell the truth, there are too many top class colts, personally, barring trouble Lucky wins (fingers crossed he doesnt get stuck on the rail or outside) he knows where they wire is, and how to get there on top, and he'll do everything he can to be in front when they get there, and Martin knows exactly when to let him loose, and he's got a monster turn of foot from ANYWHERE in the pack, he doesnt have to be in one certain position, enough said Ive stated my reasons why I think Lucky boy will win

15 Oct 2010 5:28 PM
The Rock

I read somewhere on drf where someone wrote an article stating that if all the favorites in the Classic had won and Unclo Mo dominated the BC Juvenile that he would need to be considered for this guy joking? And I hope he doesn't have a vote.

15 Oct 2010 5:29 PM
The Rock

Bob, he won 4 races, 3 graded. But that year was anamoly. Cat Thief won the BC Classic, and he was 3. Can you name the top older horse for that season off the top of your head?

15 Oct 2010 5:30 PM

I agree that part of HOY should be based on performance. However, I also believe that it should be based on what the horse had done for the sport this year. For example last year, Rachel brought huge national attention to the sport appearing in magazines and such. This year Zenyatta is doing the same thing. I do agree that if Blame Quality Road or Lucky wins they will mostly likely win HOY, but if all four of them should lose, Zen deserves it the most out of all of them

15 Oct 2010 5:31 PM
Meydan Rocks

On the surface the point system makes some sense.

Does anyone know if the Breeder's Cup Executive Committee has considered switching to a point system and taking the vote out of "human" hands so to speak.

I'm guessing it has been debated in certain quarters...

As an ASIDE:  It would have been interesting to see how a point system would have actually broken down Point Given and Tiznow's year in 2001.

15 Oct 2010 5:32 PM
zenyatta mondatta

Excuse me,  Didnt Zenyatta break some records this year?  Cigar and Citations record followed by Eclipse himself? Tying Peppers Pride, but oh, she hasnt done anything?  You people are a joke.  

Zenyatta will kick ass on BCC day , she will show your eastern boys up.  Then you all can be embarrassed together.

15 Oct 2010 5:34 PM

Jason you must admit that you have never supported Zenyatta and you have a huge east coast bias.  Anyone who truly cares about the sport (not the money) has to believe that Zenyatta deserves HOY. She is amazing and she has done wonders for this sport.  I believe she will win on November 6, but even if she doesn't there is no way Lookin at Lucky, Blame, or Quality Road deserve the HOY over her.

15 Oct 2010 5:37 PM
Bet Twice

We are in luck.  You have been the bastion of objectivity on this matter.  

Case in point, writing a blog expressing shock and demanding objectivity after John Shirreffs, Zenyatta's trainer, made his case for her winning horse of the year.  Crazy to imagine a trainer arguing the merits of his horse.

15 Oct 2010 5:41 PM
HOY Curious

I am just wondering?? Does the HOY award stipulate it is the best CAREER of the year or does the award stipluate HORSE of the year?? I am not trying to start a fight here but it seems to me that the HORSE that has done more for racing this YEAR is Zenyatta. WHile her campaign may not be back breaking (as some would like) and she doesn't travel all over the country and the world to prove herself to naysayer that will NEVER agree she is a good horse even if she ran on broken glass against the likes of Man O'War himself in the toughest field ever assembled. Fact of the matter is no matter how the hadicappers, naysayet=rs and Zen haters feel is ZENYATTA has done more to revive this failing sport with her running undefeated THIS YEAR than any other horse. IF the stipulations defintiely dictate on running career alone then I certainly stand down but if not then what's it to anyone if she DOES win?? I agree with GunBow (well said Man) wholeheartedly (should would have gotten WAY more credit if Rachel had shown up but she didn't and that is unfortunate as Z doesn't define who she runs against, she just shows up, runs, and wins no matter who she is in the tarting gate with, every time). If Zenyatta does win the Classic she desevres the win for HOY but even if she doesn't win, she sure deserves one hell of a look at the award anyway! Naysayers can gripe all they want but as good as they other horses are, they havent' run as consistently, won as consistently, or done mor for this ailing sport THIS YEAR than Zenyatta has done. PLAIN AND SIMPLE......TRUTH BE TOLD.  

15 Oct 2010 5:44 PM

Jason you've been in the kitchen too long.

must be ihop.

so much flip-flopping.

last year "one race doesnot the HOY make".


oooh, dizzy!

15 Oct 2010 5:50 PM

John Shireffs has forgotten more about horse racing than I will ever know.  I have the utmost respect for his ability to train and prepare horses.  Also, as far as I know, he is on the level and is not a cheater with medication violations.

That said, I did not care for his interview answers for the most part nor his excuses for not facing males or shipping.  Perhaps I cannot get over my own personal feelings regarding her schedule.  I do hope she wins the Classic and then HOY.  If she were to lose the Classic, I would vote for Blame, QR, or LAL if one of those wins the Classic.  If there is a big upset in the Classic and Blind Luck wins the Distaff, I would vote for her.

15 Oct 2010 5:53 PM
Mike Relva


Always the same from you. Another three weeks from now,you will hopefully go away!

15 Oct 2010 5:54 PM
Mike Relva


Well said.

15 Oct 2010 5:59 PM

Zenyatta has won 5 Grade I's on four different racetracks in 2010. I can't believe this racemare has run in two Breeders Cup Classic's and will be the morning line and post time favorites in all three of her breeders Cup appearances. Simply Spectacular!

15 Oct 2010 6:02 PM
Paula Higgins

Enjoyed the interview. Could not disagree with you more Jason. John Shirreffs is exactly right: win or lose the BCC she deserves the HOTY. You cannot have it both ways i.e. she won the BCC last year but they didn't split the award. Now we are supposed to believe that if Blame wins it, he deserves it over a horse that has accomplished what she has? I don't think so. For the record, ITA with Shirreffs on every comment he made. Rachel Alexandra did deserve HOTY, but a stuck in a rut group of people who couldn't think outside the box awarded it to just one of the two deserving horses. O.k. now is the year to make this right. Don't even go there about this being just about one year's record and not a "life time's achiebement award." The 19th race she won in a row happened this year. That's the beginning, the middle and the end of the story. IF she does not receive the award this year, it is because people have an agenda not to give to her, not because she didn't deserve it. I just hope sanity, persepctive and an appreciation of a mare for the ages will prevail. Objectivity is irrelevant when you have the obvious hitting you smack in the face.

15 Oct 2010 6:04 PM
Richard Patrick

Any athlete, team, whatever that wins all their games is special.  It is hard to go undefeated, I don't care if you're a 4th grade volleyball team.  

But, as much as Zenyatta has done for racing, and as fun as she is to watch, I am concerned that she has been limited to synthetics by her connections - virtually a specialist.  If she wins the Classic, loses to an outsider by a nose, etc - yes - Horse of the Year.  If not - then let's think long and hard before we crown her.

15 Oct 2010 6:08 PM
Keith Kohnhorst

Mr. Shandler: What if Zenyatta goes 9 wide in the Classic, makes a furious late run, but gets beat a half length by Quality Road, who gets a perfect trip behind the pace setters.  So do you vote for Quality road over Zenyatta?

15 Oct 2010 6:09 PM
Pam S.

I am a huge Zenyatta fan, but there is no sense arguing what the HOY voting is based on.  The award recognizes the horse with the most ambitious AND successful campaign in a particular year. Zenyatta could easily have been HOY in 2008 with her sparkling record and her BC win, but the voters rewarded Curlin for traveling, trying turf and winning most of his races.  She could have been HOY in 2009, but Rachel was bestowed the honor for her daring (though early-ending) season.  

This year, I agree several horses could be HOY with a BC win. I think Zenyatta could be second and still get it.  Beyond that, I'm not sure.  I do not blame John S. for promoting his horse.  Trainers do that.  And of course Team Z was disappointed their horse didn't win 2009 HOY.  Their horse, in completing her second undefeated season, had just become the first female to win the BC Classic, this while Rachel had already been in her stall for two months.  I think it is reasonable they were disappointed.

It's absolutely true that HOY is not a lifetime achievement award.  If it were, what horse currently running would deserve it more?  Not only is Zenyatta still running, she will be competing in the BC for the third year and taking her second tilt at the Classic.  What RA did was great for a 3yo filly, but what Zenyatta is doing is pretty darn good for a 6yo mare.  No wonder people love her.

But HOY?  It is what is.

15 Oct 2010 6:10 PM
Jason Shandler

I voted for Zenyatta for HOY in 2008 SGunne. Get your facts straight.

15 Oct 2010 6:10 PM

If we are talking about Blame for HOY why aren't we talking about Blind Luck?  

15 Oct 2010 6:11 PM

Being objective includes seeing the big picture as well as the details. For the voters, fans and anyone else that has not RECOGNIZED the absolute superiority of this Mare, well, that's their problem. They've had three years now to analyze her  and if they still think she comes up short of deserving HOY then I guess they have to live with the fact that years from now, they will look back and know that a horse like this only comes around once in a blue moon. Maybe people just haven't seen enough horses to know this. If you've been clocking horses for what ? 25 years, you haven't seen enough good ones  to know when the great ones  come along.

Jason, you have an opinion, and you have stuck to it. That's admirable I guess.

Always INTERESTING comments on your blog.  

15 Oct 2010 6:12 PM
Jason Shandler

Keith: Yes.

15 Oct 2010 6:12 PM

If Zenyatta wins the Classic and beats this great bunch of guys and then does not win Horse of the Year with a 20&0 record, then it should be done away with because it would become a farce!

15 Oct 2010 6:17 PM
al bundy

since we are playing what if here lets try this one.

haynesfield wires the classic beating qr the mighty zen and blame for a second time should he not be considered hoty?

15 Oct 2010 6:18 PM

You have a short memory Jason, which is not necessarily a bad think for a horse player.

Unfortunately, many people on this blog remember all your negative comments on Zenyatta and her chances leading into last years Classic.

As I recall you made a few wagers on the blog and lost on the Classic betting against Zenyatta. As we all know it really wasn't much of a contest.

Your credibility took a big hit. You continue to degrade Zenyatta and her

You talk about being objective and yet your analysis speaks to your lack there of.  You were absolutely certain she wouldn't win last year and have never really recognized publicly how wrong you were and are about her.

Telling us to be OBJECTIVE after your obvious foibles when discussing her sounds so pretentious that it is hard too really take you serious on the subject.

I mean really Jason, what possible explanation will you have when she wins again?

We are just nameless people on a blog, but you, you are supposed to be professional.  Who do you think takes the biggest hit on credibility as far as being objective (when you downgrade what is obvious to most everyone in the industry as greatness)?

Telling us too try and be objective... Lol, you are kidding, right?

15 Oct 2010 6:18 PM

I agree with Dakota. Zenyatta has won on different tracks, different weights, all Grade One events. Has anyone had a horse and attempted to win with that horse every time?

Of course you have. How did it go?

Bet maybe you had three wins in a row. Did you race in Grade One events? No? Well why did you not ship your horse to CA? Seems that the country thinks its a breeze to win Grade Ones there. I do not think it is possible for her to win the Classic again. Nothing against her, I just think it is impossible to do. If she does it she is the great horse that her best fans think she is. I would not bet on her in the Classic last year because I thought the field was too deep in speed and I did not think she was fast enough. If they did not give her the award last year they will use the excuse not to give it to her this year if she does not win. HOY should not be rated on what surface and who did not enter the race. The horse cannot control that. She can only run. Time will be good to her, the long list of Grade Ones will stand out. Good luck to all. As good as Blame is if he wins HOY after the year she has had I will cease to be impressed in the award.

15 Oct 2010 6:19 PM

Zenyatta is horse of the year, decade, and lifetime.  Dont worry folks, Jason will eat crow again, just like last year.  I will be laughing at all the fools back east, as Zen Master cruises in. As she does this, her new title will be best horse ever!

15 Oct 2010 6:21 PM

Jason -

I agree.  HOY is about racetrack performance for the current year.  None of your boys, while very, very good, have done anything close to what Zenyatta has done this year.

If Zenyatta loses the Classic, she will still have more Gr 1 wins (five) than any horse in the country, at four different tracks.  Also, no other horse this year, at the Gr 1 level, will have completed three three-peats over three (mostly) different tracks.

15 Oct 2010 6:23 PM
QH Pony

Nice article. It doesn't happen often but I completely agree with you Jason and especially the point, "It's not a lifetime achievement award" - I think that is the hang up here (or one of the bigger ones anyway). I am not anti-Zenyatta, or Team Rachel, or whatever people who won't agree with me want to call it but this is horse racing, not American Idol. That being said however, as a racing fan, I don't want to see other fans let down (the 1996 Pacific Classic still hurts) and more importantly, I don't want to bicker with them. So may the best horses win! :)

15 Oct 2010 6:29 PM

Jason said, " Just because Shirreffs has an opinion on his mare, doesn't mean it's necessarily right"

the same could be said about you--just because jason shandler has an opinion on HOTY, doesn't make it right.

zenyatta has raced as much or more this year than has quality road, blame, or lookin at lucky. they have all had fairly light racing schedule's in 2010.

if you go just on number of grade one's won this year, zenyatta, leads all north american horses racing.

if you try to say her grade one's don't count because the fields were weak, well than you have to discount all of lookin at lucky's races too, and every race but the whitney for blame and quality road.

who of merit has quality road raced against this year ? only blame, for sure; and the one and only time he faced competition, he lost.

the races he raced in were more prestigious than z's, but only  because of their historical significance, not because of the competition he faced.

the same goes for lookin at lucky--his 3 year old season hasn't been anywhere near as tough as summer bird's was last year. and who of merit has he beaten so far? super saver, the MTB of 2010? or maybe the field of the Indiana derby? lol

likewise blame has been lightly raced, and has only really faced stiff company once, against quality road...well, at least he won it.

the odds that any horse, no matter the competition, no matter the circumstances, goes 19 for 19, or even just 5 for 5, if you want to just discuss  this year, are pretty long--you're a handicapper; you know that.

you tell your readers to be objective--but maybe you should take your own advice. nothing you say about Z is ever objective. you start with the a priori belief that she is inferior and undeserving and then you cherry pick facts to support that belief.

HOTY should be for the horse that made the year the most memorable--this year there is only one horse who did that, and her name is not quality road, blame, or lookin at lucky.

i went back an watched z's BCC last year, and even though i knew the outcome and i had seen it before, i found myself shaking my head as they turned for home, saying, how in the world is she going to win this? even knowing the outcome, it still didn't look possible.

15 Oct 2010 6:33 PM

I guess in some people's minds Zenyatta will never measure up because of the synthetic tracks.  What a shame that some people cannot recognize true greatness when they see it.  Anyone who has seen her in person knows the truth.

15 Oct 2010 6:35 PM

Zen....all the way!

15 Oct 2010 6:36 PM

Jason- when is your next blog about another BC race?  Maybe the Turf or the FM Turf?

15 Oct 2010 6:38 PM
Afleet Treet


Good and thought provoking blog. I must admit I have to shout out to GunBow who we met at last year's BC! He always has a great objectivity to any blog!! GUN BOW are you going again this year??? We would love your handicapping expertise again! Even if it IS in a Karaoke bar the night before! Haha!

Thanks Jason for a great conversation always! Personalyl I think Zen WOULD desevre HOY if she won the CLassic and even if she didnt' it would be a close call. Just my two cents of course.

See you all in Kentucky!!!

And FWIW, John SHeriffs is a very humble and straight shooter...he was very accomodating and let us in to meet Zen the day after her BC Classic win. HE answered all our questions and left us alone with Z and Life IS Sweet for as long as we wanted to was obvious to us then that he cares about his horses VERY much.

15 Oct 2010 6:41 PM

Having said that Jason, I still think your cool. You love and bet the ponies and you speak your mind, right or wrong. You are my kind.

Your just all wet on the Zenyatta issue.

Keep on firing J., that's your best trait.

15 Oct 2010 6:43 PM
Linda / Maryland

Neither of those horses are half as good as Zenyatta.

15 Oct 2010 6:45 PM

you also have to look at the competition Zenyatta's been beating by heads and half lengths this year, who is Rinterval, what has she done? and Switch and St Trinians, yes good, but not the cream of the crop, and arent grade/group I winners to my knowledge, these mares arent near as good as QR, Lucky and Blame, so if she can barely run them down, do you really think she can run these three colts down? and in the Indiana Derby, Lucky sat at the very back of the pack, on a surface he didnt seem to be getting over very well, and just strolled home, Zenyatta, the same day or the day after, she ran her heart out from the same position as Lucky came down the stretch at a flat out gallop, whip and all, on a surface she loves, and Lucky was within a second of her time, if Lucky can stroll home in that time, and she's all out only a second faster, on even turms Lucky could beat her, he showed he can get over dirt, he showed he can get over the Churchill track, a surface Zen has never raced on, and she's never had a triple digit beyer on dirt, just giving you a bit more of my thinking, and if the track comes up sloppy? Lucky handles the slop much better at Churchill than at Hoosier

15 Oct 2010 6:57 PM

Jason, by the standards of the great horses of the past, neither Blame nor Quality Road has run a remarkable campaign this year. Their connections have chosen to go the Ghostzapper route: four or five carefully chosen races, ducking each other in their final preps for the BCC. Lookin at Lucky has run more races, but has more defeats. He would be a questionable choice for HOY even if he wins.

Let's also mention the sliding scale of Grade 1 wins when it comes to East Coast vs. West Coast horses. East Coast writers praised Ginger Punch to the skies because she had a career 6 G1 wins, although she usually beat weak competition in small fields.  Rachel beat G1 males, even if they were only Macho Again and Bullsbay. Zenyatta's G1 wins obviously don't matter as much.

The older horse title will rightly be decided in the BCC by Blame and Quality Road, but neither has had the kind of extended campaign that would make me choose one of them over Zenyatta.

15 Oct 2010 7:00 PM

Z's team has chosen to bet the farm on winning the Classic and the campaign has been based on keeping her healthy.It seems to have worked. How many other 6 year olds her size have been sound their entire careers? (If she loses to Looking at Lucky then he should be HOY. However, if anyone else wins and Blind Luck wins the Lady's Classic, she should win based on her accomplishments this year. Neither blame norQuality Road have had campaigns that com pare to her's.)

15 Oct 2010 7:00 PM

Say what you will, but the europeans rated Zenyatta over Rachel,and everyone knows if the voting for HOY were the next day after the BC classic, Zenyatta would have won. She was and is spectacular!

15 Oct 2010 7:07 PM
Driftin' Sage

Go Dakota!  Go 19 for 19!  Go Paula Higgins! So now I guess we need to say 'GO ZENYATTA!'... if she wants to get voted know, aother female story where they have to do twice as much to get recognized.  

15 Oct 2010 7:13 PM
Jim Chehardy

Zenyatta deserves to be the 2010 Horse of the Year.

I was reading where some sports writer stated her weakness. He said that Zenyatta has immense talent, has scared many challengers away so she’s not well versed against a big field of top class rivals.

Before the Breeders Cup Classic she won 13 in a row: Broke her maiden, won an allowance race, 7 grade 1’s and 4 Grade 2’s.  She beat some of the best horses in America and 2 good horses from Europe in the 2009 Breeders Cup Classic.

She came back this year and went 5 for 5, all Grade 1’s with 930,000 in earnings. I have been training horses for nearly fifty years and if this mare does not deserve to be Horse of The Year in 2010 the game needs a different way of voting. Good horses are usually consistent, to win 19 in a row against graded company is greatness and we are so privilege to be able to see this Phenomenon sitting in our own living rooms is some thing to be hold.  

15 Oct 2010 7:14 PM

I absolutely agree, whoever wins the Classic should be Horse of the Year. But, hopefully there won't even need to be much discussion after the race. Hopefully, Zenyatta blows them away again. And should she do that, I really hope no one is foolish enough to vote against her this year.

15 Oct 2010 7:15 PM

I could'nt agree more with this article.  HOY is about the resume THIS YEAR, and once again Zen has faced no one!  And if none of these horses win the Classic, don't overlook Blind Luck if she dominates the distaff.  Or even if Richards Kid upset in the Classic.  One of those would be in position to have the most accomplished resume for the year!  But I suspect the winner of the Classic and HOY will be either Zen, QR, or Blame!

15 Oct 2010 7:16 PM

Nice try Afleetalexforever.  I am continually amazed at the intellectual gymnastics some of the Zenyatta detractors resort to.

One line of their illogical reasoning starts with the statement that Zenyatta hasn't accomplished much of anything this year.  They back this up by stating that races like the Santa Margarita, Apple Blossom, Vanity, Clement Hirsch, and Lady's Secret are not equal to races like the Santa Anita Handicap, Stephen Foster, Whitney, Pacific Classic, and Goodwood.

They start with the one kernel that most would agree is true.  But it's where they go next, extrapolating from this frist truth, that simply fails any test of logic or horse racing knowledge.  What's this next step?  They try to make you believe that since the 5 gr.1 races Zenyatta has won this year are not as impressive as 5 gr.1 wins over males, Zenyatta should be compared to Peppers Pride.  How do we go from the Santa Margarita is not the Big Cap, to the Santa Margarita = a New Mexico bred-only race?  Seriously?  It's one thing to make the first point.  But are you so ignorant, so ill-informed that you truly believe 5 gr.1 races, even if only for females(older females), is no more impressive than than beating New Mexican bred females?

To support this comparison, these people point to the fact that Zenyatta has yet to face a gr.1 winner this year.  First, they just completely ignore the possibility(actually a reality) that Zenyatta's presence has scared away many a good horse this year(and in 09', and in 08'), and that the quality of opposition is directly connected to the high opinion other trainers and owners hold Zenyatta.  There's a reason why so many look at Spectacular Bid's walk-over in the 80'  Woodward as being so historic and a reflection of his greatness; the Bid was so good, no one wanted to run against him.

Winning races like the Santa Margarita, Apple Blossom, Vanity, Clement Hirsch(Chula Vista), and Lady's Secret might not be as impressive as beating gr.1 males repeatedly, but it was good enough for Azeri and Lady's Secret to win HoY, and good enough for mares like Bayakoa, Princess Rooney, Paseana, Susan's Girl, Gamely, and others to be considered great.  No one compares Azeri's 2002 HoY campaign with Peppers Pride's campaign, and it is equally ridiculous to compare Zenyatta's 2010 campaign with Peppers Pride.  Gr.1 races are gr.1 races, and Zenyatta has 5 of them this year and 13 for her career(record for a female in North America or Europe).

These critics are trying to make one believe that there are no differences among the  unrestrcited races.  Thus, the Santa Margarita, because it is closed to males, is like a female only New Mexico bred race or a Michigan bred race; if a race is not fully unrestrcited, then  it is like all other restricted races?  Say what?  Yes, since the Santa Margarita doesn't allow males, it is restrcited.  But in the traditional way of viewing female races, as a gr.1 it is unrestrcited.  People didn't make a huge fuss about the "restricted" nature of the races in the winning streaks of Personal Ensign or Azeri because most of their wins came in gr.1 races.  Although Personal Ensign only won one truly unrestrcited race, most still classified her streak as coming in unrestricted races.

I think there should be some differentiation made between Zenyatta's 19 races and the 16 races Cigar won; the fact Cigar won almost all of his races in fully unrestricted races should be recognized as being of more significance.  But in all respect to Peppers Pride, to equate Zenyatta's 17 graded stakes wins and 13 gr.1 wins to New Mexican bred races is far, far more egregious than comparing Zenyatta to Cigar.

15 Oct 2010 7:17 PM
Keep it real!

So NOW it comes down to who wins the Classic- how convenient.

Jason- you being objective is like saying oil & water mix well together.


You have your biased opinion- nothing more,nothing less.

15 Oct 2010 7:19 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Who cares about the bloody HOY !! It's Breeder's Cup time. Let's get the show on the road. We've got a lot of fantastic races to peruse, meander, explore and pontificate. Next BC race please !!!! Last time I looked, HOY was a vote, not a race. Besides, Zenyatta already has mare of The Millennium, and has already stated herself that she doesn't care about HOY. To quote Zenyatta directly, "All I want to do and care about is running on dirt again, real dirt. I'd like to be able to get into 4th gear for a change, maybe even 5th if it's necessary."

15 Oct 2010 7:19 PM


Zenyatta received a 104 for the 08' Apple Blossom on dirt, beating champion Ginger Punch(who would go on to win 3 more gr.1 races later that year) in only her 4th career start.

15 Oct 2010 7:22 PM

I think Horse of the Year means something different to everyone. I think Zenyatta has been the most spectacular racehorse on the scene this year. Why can't that be sufficient criteria for Horse of the Year? Is there somewhere where the criteria is specifically written out, or is this column again merely opinion?

15 Oct 2010 7:25 PM

The first sentence of the 6th paragraph should read:

"These critics are trying to make one believe that there are no differences among the  RESTRICTED races."

15 Oct 2010 7:27 PM

You know Jason your ego is a little big I think..

The man took time to have a interview and you run back to your computer and can't wait to tell us about Jason and his feelings just to get the last word in.. Why did you not bite your lip until after the race?

All this might be for not.. Ever think of that?

HOY awards are not handed out right after the race are they?

Enjoy her because after November 6th we will never see a horse like her again.

She is bigger than HOY!!!

No matter what Happens THANK YOU TEAM Z. GOD BLESS.

15 Oct 2010 7:31 PM

The award is for:

HORSE of the Year, NOT

CAMPAIGN of the Year.

It's NO contest, ZENYATTA is THE HORSE of 2010. Nobody else comes close.

15 Oct 2010 7:33 PM
Jason Shandler

Rachel had HOY locked up before the BC last year; that's why it wasnt a championship race. Everyone could see that. It was a historic 3YO filly campaign that we had never seen before. Get it over it people. There was no reason to split the award. It really wasnt even that close.

15 Oct 2010 7:37 PM

I totally agree with John. Last year's award should have been shared! This year, no matter what happens and I will be rooting for Z, whom I won alot of money on, in last year's Classic, HOTY should be her's! Look what she has done for this sport. She is a QUEEN! We are very lucky, to have her in our lifetime!

15 Oct 2010 7:39 PM
Jason Shandler

It's a blog Johnny. Im paid to give my opinions. Understand the concept?

15 Oct 2010 7:41 PM

We can't have a HOY from the west.  Lookin at Lucky is unfortunately in the same boat as Zenyatta.  

Blame and Ouality Road have both lost this year.  Both have about the same number of races as Zenyatta 5-6, and neither of the two are going to win the Breeder's Cup Classic.  Quality Road's biggest opponent has been Musket Man!  Let's see where that one finishes.  Quality Road was basically racing himself all year until Blame came along.  

It's Zenyatta's HOY to win or lose.  She needs to run up the track like Curlin or just not bother to show up like Rachel Alexander.

15 Oct 2010 7:43 PM

I think this will be a harder BC than last year some better horses but I'm not going to worry about it. I think Zen is just as good as she was last year if not better. I'm always standing and screaming, crying and praying scaring my cats to death anyway that won't change. Most of all I pray she comes back safe she's a once in a lifetime horse we'll never see again or at least I won't in my lifetime.

15 Oct 2010 7:48 PM
Mademoiselle Mondatta


Very well said Cheri!!!


15 Oct 2010 7:49 PM

I thought we had moved on from the ancient Romans cheering for the gladiators against the lions.  the "Great Handicapperssss" will not be satisfied until they see blood and Zenyatta is cooked the way Rachel was cooked and Blind Luck probably will be-or at least win frequent flier miles.  It seems Zenyatta's connections put her well being before HOY and kudos to them.  Some writers are just blood thirsty and will not give Zenyatta credit for what she has accomplished.  Three of my friends had stopped watching racing years ago because of the break downs and after listening to my repeated praise of Zenyatta and begging them "you have to see this mare" they are again watching racing.  I hope her connections keep putting her first and scratch her they feel the track is dangerous.  If she doesn't runshe will till be Queen Z to me.  I hope she just comes home safe and sound-and hopefully first.

15 Oct 2010 7:53 PM
Paula Higgins

To all of us who have made the case for Zenyatta being made HOTY- a big thank you. If you took all the points made for Zenyatta, and lined them up next to the points against making her HOTY, it's a slam dunk for Zenyatta being HOTY. Rachelfan, you are someone who clearly dislikes Zenyatta. For you, it isn't about loving horses in general, but about pitting them against each other in a supremely negative way. An indefensible position in my opinon. It is clear what you are about.

Gunbow, I made a comment on another blog about comparing Zenyatta and Pepper's Pride and their 19 wins. I called it a "spurious" comparison. It is. You are so right about "intellectual gymnastics." Great post, not that they will get it.

15 Oct 2010 7:53 PM

It's blatantly obvious that 99.9% of Zenyatta's detractors on blogs and the like say what they say, not because of real distain for the horse herself, but rather, the distain is for her overwheming legion of fans that they see as mostly unreasonable.

It's understandable from a Social Science perspective. At first, most of these detractors were probably honestly against her. They probably thought she was a bit over-hyped.

As time went on, her detractors started to notice that maybe she was THAT good.  By that time it was too late.

Those detractors had heard and taken to much heartache from her fans and at the windows.  They could never go back, too much had already been said and they were probably on the wrong side of the whole RA vs Z thing.

It was now personal and even though secretly they know they fight a losing battle they still have one more shot too prove us all wrong (their thinking).  Kind of sad, really.  But they made there bed last year or the year before and now they just have to lie in it and take what's coming.

They wait, Zenyatta wins, and it's too bad they never really got too enjoy her.

Maybe after Zenyatta wins the Classic for the second time, they will think to themselves, "next time I won't let myself get boxed in."

The sad truth is, there will never be a next time.

15 Oct 2010 7:54 PM
Jim C.

"Rachel had HOY locked up before the BC last year; that's why it wasnt a championship race. Everyone could see that. It was a historic 3YO filly campaign that we had never seen before. Get it over it people. There was no reason to split the award. It really wasnt even that close."

And we had also never seen a female win the Breeders' Cup Classic, a Championship race involving the best field of males assembled anywhere in 2009.  In th final stretch, Zenyatta crushed them all.

Let's test you objectivity and rationality, Jason.  Answer me one question, and do not dodge it.  Assume Rachel Alexandra was entered in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic.  Assume further that Zenyatta still won the race.  Under that scenario, who is Horse of the Year?

It's a fair question.  Following the Woodward, it was clear that Rachel was spent, and in no condition to challenge Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup (just as she was in no condition to challenge Zenyatta in April 2010 at the Apple Blossom).

15 Oct 2010 7:55 PM

"...the game needs a different way of voting."  I would say that with your 50 years of training Mr. Jim Chehardy you are absolutely correct.  

Why should someone like Andy Beyer even matter?  Because he has a press credential?  He's a member of some club? What does he know about training horses?  He's a fiction writer.  He looks for a story. It should be trainers, jockeys, and owners.  Enough with the press...let them watch on the sidelines along with all of the fans.

15 Oct 2010 7:56 PM

Very nice post Jason!

I feel that the Horse of the Year award will come down to the Breeders' Cup Classic. However, who gets the award will depend on the circumstances.

There are several possible scenarios. Suppose that Zenyatta wins the Breeders' Cup Classic under relatively little urging. She would win Horse of the Year.

Scenario B would be where Lookin at Lucky, Blame, or Quality Road win the Classic fairly and squarely over Zenyatta. In that case, whoever won the race would be Horse of the Year.

Scenario C is where Zenyatta runs into horrible traffic and just fails to catch either Quality Road, Blame, or Lookin at Lucky. In this instance, I believe that the Horse of the Year vote would be very, very close.

Finally, there is scenario D, where Zenyatta just fails to catch a 50-1 longshot, with Quality Road, Blame, and Lookin at Lucky right behind her. In this case, I feel that Zenyatta would win Horse of the Year.

I look at it this way. Perhaps Zenyatta has not been facing the best competition. However, it's hard to ignore the fact that she has won all five of her races this year, all five of them being grade I races.

Quality Road has won four of his five starts. Four of his starts have been in grade I company, of which he has won three.

Blame has run in four races this year, winning three. Three of four starts have been in grade I races, of which he has won two.

Lookin at Lucky has made six starts this year, winning three four of them. Four of his starts have come in grade I races, of which he has won two.

Jay Hovdey wrote a brilliant article for Daily Racing Form today, entitled "Sentiment Finally in Zenyatta's Favor." As the title implies, the very fact that Zenyatta has lost Horse of the Year twice in a row will help her chances this year, for sentiment will be on her side.


15 Oct 2010 7:58 PM
ruth meador

i think rachel alexandra should get horse of year once again and she did a good job this year in her 2010 racing was as is if she was revisiting her two year old racing season all over again.her owners did the right thing by retiring her because it was time for her to begin her career as a brrodmare and i am sure that her sons and daughters will do their mother proud on and off the race track.

15 Oct 2010 8:00 PM
Jason Shandler

Jim: I did not believe Zenyatta's campaign in 2009 was worthy of HOY, no matter who was in the Classic. It's thats simple. This year, because no other horse has done something like RA did in 2009, it is more wide open. Therefore, even though Zenyatta once again had a very conservative season, she would be deserving of the honor if she wins this year, IMO. If she loses, whether it be by a nose or 10 lengths, I dont believe she is worthy.

15 Oct 2010 8:05 PM
Paula Higgins

Thanks Driftin' Sage. Great post also Papillon. If my blood pressure ever gets too low, I am pulling out Jason's blogs on Zenny. I will never need medication. They do pay Jason to give his opinon, and he says it like he sees it, and so do we.

15 Oct 2010 8:05 PM
Mike Relva


Will make you a deal,I'll be objective when you are.

15 Oct 2010 8:11 PM

Hah! Classic interview by John Sherriffs. This guy must be in his own little world. To say Zenyatta should win HOTY win or lose in the Classic is a joke. This is not a lifetime achievement award, this is about 2010 and 2010 only. If you were to look at Zenyatta's campaign, not once has she faced off against top competition, and yes, if you want to win HOTY, you actually have to run against top competition, and here's the kicker, in an OPEN DIVISION. She has only run against female horses, and all but one have been in SoCal on the synthetics. If you look at the filly and mare division, outside of Zenyatta, who are the top other horses and where are they based? In the east (and Blind Luck runs primarily in the east). Sherriffs is delusional. Zenyatta is awesome, and her record speaks for itself, but you win HOTY by beating the best competition in the game, not by hiding so you can protect a record. And he once again he brought up flying over the rockies. Classic. What is the difference between flying at 22,000 feet and 32,000 feet? Maybe I should ask the trainer of Blind Luck; his horse seems to think they are the same...Basically, it is this kind of stuff that brings out the Zenyatta "haters." Zenyatta is a terrific horse, but when people start with the whole "best horse on the planet" and "one of the greatest horses ever, male or female," sensible fans are going to point out why we should withhold those comments, and that is with the use of facts. She may in fact be the best, but she has not run in the best races so it is hard to draw that conclusion. Had she run down Blame and QR in the Whitney...By the way, someone should remind Sherriffs that if Zenyatta fails to win the Classic and still win HOTY, this may be the first time ever a horse has been voted to the highest award WITHOUT actually beating a Grade I horse in that year.

15 Oct 2010 8:13 PM
Jim C.


This year, if Zenyatta loses by a nose to, say Espoir City, but finishes second in front of the rest of the field, she does not deserve Horse of the Year?  Really?  Good grief.  

Last year, if Rachel had run in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic, and Zenyatta still won, Rachel was more deserving of the Horse of the Year?  Really?  Why - because she beat Macho Again?  Good grief.


15 Oct 2010 8:16 PM

..."Quality Road, Lookin At Lucky, and Blame all have done enough to be considered champions should they win, as would Zenyatta if she wins. That's what makes this year's BC Classic so special-it is a true championship race."

Jason, are you singing a different tune this year?

What, last year's Classic didn't count because Rachel Alexandra didn't have to run in it. Oh, but you said it was just one race. But now that race means everything. You even said that if Rachel Alexandra didn't win the HOY for 2009 it would have been a travesty even after Zenyatta won last year's Classic. But this year she HAS to win the Classic all over again to gain your graces.

Jason, you should have a politician.

15 Oct 2010 8:17 PM
Paula Higgins

O.k everyone here is the reality, those who think Zenyatta is "unworthy" have only one last arrow in their bow: lose the BCC and she can't be the HOTY. It is all they have left to try and deny her the accolade she so much deserves. They keep adding new benchmarks/bars to raise/hurdles to overcome in their efforts to deny her the title. It must get tiring.

15 Oct 2010 8:20 PM

I see more and more people within the industry coming out and saying the very same thing that John Shirreffs said about Zenyatta being the 2010 HOY no matter where she finishes in the Classic.

I totally agree.

15 Oct 2010 8:20 PM

HOTY is not a lifetime achievement award, not who has done the most for the industry award, not the Susan Lucci award. The eclipse award for "Horse of The YEAR" is exactly that. Nothing more. Which horse had the best year?

Lookin At Lucky 6 - 4 - 0 - 1

$1,764,278 Won Preakness (GI), Haskell (GI), Rebel (GII), Indiana Derby (GII).

Quality Road 5 - 4 - 1 - 0 $1,260,000 Won Donn (GI), Woodward (GI), Metropolitan (GI), Hal's Hope (GIII)

Blame 4 - 3 - 1 - 0 $1,051,467

Won Whitney (GI), Stephen Foster (GI), William Donald Schaefer (GIII)

Zenyatta 5 - 5 - 0 - 0 $930,000

Won Santa Margarita (GI), Apple Blossom (GI), Vanity (GI), Clement Hirsch (GI), Lady's Secret (GI)

Lookin At Lucky has wins in the Preakness and Haskell and legit excuses in both his defeats.

Quality Road has three good GI wins but a head to head loss against Blame.

Blame won two good GI's, beat Quality Road head to head but finished a distant 2nd last out.

Zenyatta has five GI's but all against females and is currently 11th in earnings this year. She has done nothing wrong.

If one of these four horses win the Classic they lock up horse of the year. End of Story.

The horse of the year is there for Zenyatta this year...if she wins the Classic. More than the HOTY award if she wins the Classic she would be in the conversation for best horse of all time. It would be an absolute slap in the face if she were to lose the Classic and still receive the 2010 HOTY award. If she does not run in the Classic she would be lucky to be in the top 3 for HOTY with her current 2010 campaign.

15 Oct 2010 8:21 PM

Jason says   "Be objective. At least try."

Is that the same as saying Blame is better than Zenyatta?


15 Oct 2010 8:27 PM

An Eclipse is for the campaign during the year, not what came prior to it.  Otherwise, I nominate Alydar who should have won an Ecllipse.

If he wanted to lock up an Eclipse prior to the Breeder's Cup, Shirreffs should have let Zenyatta have a stellar campaign on all coasts, in open races such as the Whitney.  I belieive that she would have dominated any race she ran in.   However, she hasn't done that, and Richard's Kid has done more than she has in open company.  That makes him ahead in the Horse of the Year race.

15 Oct 2010 8:29 PM

All this arguing back and forth is a mute point. They asked John Shirreffs a question and he gave his opinion on HOTY. I happen to whole-heartedly agree with him, but lets all just wait and see what happens. I have complete confidence in the Queen. She has something I have never seen in a racehorse before, the sheer will to win no matter what. Her heart is so huge it carries her through every time. I hope we all get the opportunity to see it one last time. I personally would have had some other more interesting and less repetative questions for him if I was asking them, but oh well. I haven't seen the whole interview so maybe they did ask him some good questions. To still be focusing on Rachel Alexandra is kind of rediculous. How about "How does it feel to be the trainer of one of the best horses in the history of racing?" or "Where will Zen be spending her many years ahead of her and is there any decision or thoughts on who she may be bred to?" or "Did you notice how she was floating over the track at Hollywood on Thursday's work?" or "Have you ever trained another horse who loves their job as much as she does?" But that's just me. Looking so forward to seeing her one last time, but it is bittersweet because racing surely won't be the same for me for a long time to come. She is the ultimate escape for those minutes you get to see her before during and after her races in a very difficult time our country is in right now. So LONG LIVE THE QUEEN for now and forever.

God speed. I love you Zen!!!

15 Oct 2010 8:43 PM


Zenyatta did not win the 2009 HOTY award, despite WINNING the 2009 BCC.

Do you really think she will win the 2010 HOTY award by following the same steps she took in 2009, but then LOSING the BCC to Blame, Looking at Lucky or Quality Road?

If she wins, kudos to them. If she loses to any of the top three, we'd be looking at the most unlucky racing team, who would have incredibly squandered yet another opportunity for their awesome mare, because they have not taken the quality road to the award...and they will have themselves to...well, you know....blame...

Sorry...I've had too much time in my hands....

15 Oct 2010 8:45 PM
Mike Relva


Funny you should bring up Blind Luck,she hasn't faced males either. Why don't you do your homework instead of coming off always as someone with an axe to grind?

15 Oct 2010 8:49 PM

She will never run in the Classic. Jerry Moss is going to get cold feet at the last second and use any excuse to retire her unbeaten. There will be a problem with her flight (why are they waiting till the last possible minute to ship her?) or there will be something wrong with track (like a drop or two of rain on it). Given her timid 2010 campaign, if she doesn't run, she doesn't deserve HOY. I love this horse and am extremely frustrated that we'll never see what she could have accomplished if she had been given a chance.

15 Oct 2010 8:56 PM
Jason Shandler

He is better John. You will see in a few weeks.

15 Oct 2010 8:57 PM

Paula, what exactly are the new benchmarks? Pretty much every race she won this year she has won the past two years. That is a great achievement, but only when those are the top races that are offered. A new benchmark would have been to put her into open competition this year prior to the BC, but I guess that is too much to ask...

15 Oct 2010 8:58 PM

The one thing I liked the most about Shireffs interview was how he mentioned how "rough" races against males are for fillies & mares.

That just adds more perspective to what Rachel did last year, defeating G1 colts & older males in 3 of her eight races.

15 Oct 2010 8:59 PM
mike rullo


zenyatta needs to win the classic to Be named horse of the year.

I think she will finish 3rd in this years classic.

blame is the horse to beat in the classic.

if it's an off track she will probably scratch.

15 Oct 2010 9:00 PM

Shirreffs wanted to split 2009 HOTY?  This is laughable.  I love the mare but she was not deserving of the 2009 HOTY.  Rachel Alexandra ran a three year old campaign for the ages.  

This year is different with no clear standout.  But if Zenyatta does not win the Classic this year she does not get 2010 HOTY.

15 Oct 2010 9:09 PM
Michael P

I don't understand the people saying she had an easy schedule. She won 5 grade 1's in a row against mare's only. Last I remember thats what she is. Also why should the champ go out of state I would think that if I had a horse that could handle her I would of come to her. I would think regardles of what happens she is HOY. And by the way all you nay sayers please drive up my odds and bet against her like last year.  

15 Oct 2010 9:18 PM
John T

Zenyatta has been to the post 19

times and each time she has come back a winner and most of them has

been at the highest level,Grade 1.

So then why can,t she be accepted

as a great racehorse by every racing fan like the way a Mam,O War

or a Secretariat is? It,s because of that dreaded word in North American racing ''Synthectic'' And

as we approach Halloween it,s like the devil himself riding across Churhill Downs on a black horse on a moonless night.What does the unbeaten Zenyatta in 19 races have to do to fix this awful problem? Well I guess there is only one remedy for it and that is to win the Breeders Cup Classic on original dirt.What are her chances?

I think her chances are excellent

because her two Grade 1 wins at Oaklawn she looked much more comfortable winning them than any race she won on a synthectic surface.Add the fact that her trainer has stated in the past she is a much better horse on dirt and

no one knows a horse better than a trainer her chances are very good.

So win or lose the Breeders Cup Classic I will be very shocked if Zenyatta goes down without a fight.

It goes with the territory of being to the post 19 times and are still unbeaten.

15 Oct 2010 9:18 PM


Thank you for aggreeing with John Shirreffs. You've even given an example of what NOT to do to a filly. Good job! :)

15 Oct 2010 9:20 PM

None of these horses have ran against anything better than what Zenyatta and RA ran against this year.   QR ran agaisnt the same competition as the girls did except for when he went up against Blame, and lost.  Blame went up against the same competition as the girls did and lost only to win against QR,  LAL ran against the same competition as the girls did and lost in the derby, and hell he hasnt even raced much at all this year.   It comes down to this,  QR, Blame, LAL,  all havent ran in any better races than Zenyatta has, HEr races have all been grade 1 races.   To me,  wether she wins or loses in the BCC , she should still be HOTY.   She ran in the same graded races as the boys, and hasnt lost any of them ,like the boys have,  they have all managed to lay an egg.   Dont forget,  A grade 1 race is a grade 1 race.  Other than these fab four,  I havent seen to many dirt competition for these to run against, other than each other.   Zenyatta is feared by most, so she cant really get a good field to take her on .   ONe thing all these boys have had on there side in most of their races this year that has really helped them out was space,  they wont have all this space in the BCC, some or most will get caught up in traffic and lay an egg.

15 Oct 2010 9:27 PM
Jason Shandler
15 Oct 2010 9:28 PM
Jason Shandler

PJJ: I wish I lived in the world you did. That would be fun.

15 Oct 2010 9:30 PM

Papillon Lucky was only lightly raced because he came down with a fever twice, he lost over a week of training before the Haskell, and still romped by more than 4 lengths over one of the toughest fields assembled this year, probably the toughest 3 year old field assembled, then he lost over a month of training, ran on a surface he barely got over and still came within a second of Zenyatta's time when she was all out and he was loping along

15 Oct 2010 9:31 PM

Jason- I was waiting for you to post that and add more fuel to the fire

15 Oct 2010 9:39 PM

Hmmmm,   I can see the mighty mare is putting some scare in here. Her prescence will  be breathtaking at CD this year.

Jason, make sure you get there in time to get your picture taken with Zenyatta.

15 Oct 2010 9:44 PM
Paula Higgins

Jimmy, the benchmarks are what she has to do to win HOTY in some people's minds. It's never about what she has accomplished for these people, but what she hasn't accomplished. It's just never good enough. I have a major problem with that. They just keep moving the goalpost.

If she isn't recognized this year, then horse racing is a sport with no soul, just people with a bunch of boxes they check off in their little Beyer world. No top 100 horse has her record in the history of racing.  There can be different reasons for giving this award from one year to the next. The reasons for giving it to her are obvious to anyone with a heart and a brain. When it comes down to HOTY does anyone really think there is any justice in giving the award to any horse out there running in the U.S. other than Zenyatta? Most reasonable people would say no. Sometimes the horse trumps the game and this would be one of them if she should lose the BCC. She has given so much to all of us, as well as the sport. It's time to recognize it. For those of you that think this is a sentimental pick, you are right and wrong. Her record is reason enough, her impact on the sport and the people who love horses is incalcuable. This is the year to recognize it, to think outside that small, closed world some of you function in, and to embrace the specialness of Zenyatta and her record. Jason, I wish you lived in the world I live in :).

15 Oct 2010 9:59 PM

All you people bashing Jason need to realize he's being objective while you're being subjective.  It's a pretty simple concept.  It has nothing to do with East Coast vs West Coast; it's about reporting the facts.  At least he has to guts to say it like it is.

15 Oct 2010 10:00 PM
Meydan Rocks

So She wins by 4 lengths in the BCC and loses out on HOY because her schedule was nothing but puffed up G1s.

Is this what I'm hearing?


OOOMMMMMMM......... Nov 07, 2010

15 Oct 2010 10:01 PM

Paula, you are wrong about me, I am stating my opinion that Lookin At Lucky is the best horse in '09, and FYI I rooted for Z in last years Classic, then I started hearing people comparing her to the likes of Secretariat, and Barbaro, and couldn't stand it anymore, I also couldn't stand the trash talk on Rachel, she is my favorite racehorse ever behind Barbaro, and if you go trash talking either one I'm probably not gonna like your horse anymore

and David Lucky's losses weren't due to him being the worst horse, they were due to him having the worst trips imaginable for a horse, we're lucky he's still alive as horrendous of a trip as he had in the Derby he could've gone over the rail and, broken his neck, as many times as he hit the rail in that race he could've easily broken a leg, and the SA Derby he had to be checked back to last coming into the stretch, and Paula I also hate the Lucky naysayers saying he isn't good because the 3 year old's arent the greatest in the world, he still demolishes them unless he's had to bad of a trip to recover, Zenyatta is beating low class mares by heads and necks, if she runs the same in the Classic she's not gonna get there against grade I males, I am stating the simple truth, and people just need to face it.......It's my opinion and I'll stick to it Im Lookin At Lucky all the way, no one's gonna put me back on the Zenyatta band wagon now...

15 Oct 2010 10:03 PM

Zenyatta the talent dodger.  Thanks Jason, finally someone tells the truth.  If Zenyatta shows up in the Classic she will be EXPOSED. 21 more days until Zenyatta is exposed for what she is.  Sherriffs your comments were sad at best.  Bring her to the Classic and run her.  I dare you.

15 Oct 2010 10:07 PM

In all due respect to Zenyatta - won't even be the best mare that shows up on BC day - that honor will go to Goldikova who Alan Shuback wrote "Goldikova, on the other hand, has never dodged the best of her own generation, the best of the previous generation, or the best of the next generation. Nor has she evaded males of any age. Nor has she stayed home in the Paris region and waited for horses to come to her."  

15 Oct 2010 10:07 PM


Zenyatta is going to win "Horse of the Year" (without having to win the Breeders Cup Classic)...and you can't do anything about it.

Let's put up that $1,000 bet that I asked you about a week ago. I'm flying into Lexington tomorrow morning. I'll meet you anywhere in Kentucky. You name it. I'll be there.

I will bet you $1,000. I will give you the money up front, and if you lose you will give me $2,000 (my money back and your money. You just tell me where to meet you. I'd rather bet than blog. I bet you that you would rather do that too.

15 Oct 2010 10:09 PM


You've started a fire here Bro and now I'm a bit nervous that Zenyatta may not run in the BCC (Heaven forbid) and be expected to be handed the HOTY award on a mere platter.  HOTY ought to be decided on the track (not in the realm of marketing and promotions or based upon rabid sentiments or celebrity status), therefore the performances of the prime contenders need to be stacked against each other and judged against the ideals of pure thoroughbred racing at the end of the season.

Last season Rachel Alexandra virtually locked up the title before the Breeder's Cup and Zenyatta had every opportunity to do the same this year by venturing outside her comfort zone (racing against overmatched fillies and mares -except St. Trinians- in California.  Again I say that a trip to Saratoga to the Personal Ensign could have won the day for her but Mr Shirrifs et al spurned the adventure and the opportunity to really set the racing world alight and now wants to be rewarded with HOTY without consideration of this year's Breeder's Cup Classic.  Is he/are they for real?  He is a good man but certainly could not be thinking straight, neither those who support his point of view.

This year's HOTY contest is much more contentious than last year simply because Quality Road lost by a head to Blame in the Whitney.  Should the "King" return to his dominant no-nonsense form of the early part of the season, with trainer Todd Pletcher leaving "no stone unturned" in preparing him (of which I'm supremely confident), there will be no denying him the 2010 HOTY crown.  He will crush this field, a la Ghostzapper 2004 ...and the "Ranagulzion" moniker will continue to appear here as a consequence (perhaps to the chagrin of Mike Relva and JayJay).  It will take a herculean effort from the undefeated 6YO mare to stop this crackerjack 4YO colt.  However if she does it all my wisdom will turn to hocus pocus and my moniker to Rumpelstilskin ...ha ha ha.

Zenyatta has a lot of "HOTY sympathy" "in the bank" (including mine) for which reason this is quite a volatile and dangerous issue.  I sincerely hope that it does not explode into a no-show for her at the BCC, given all the sentimentality and the rage/hostility of overly zealous Zen-worshippers and some fragile egos in this game.  The racing world was denied the satisfaction of a "cataclysmic" Rachel-Zen clash on the track while both horses were fit and in good form due to fragile egos in a stand-off.  Let not this year's promise of an exciting ON-THE-TRACK resolution of a knotty HOTY contest be spoiled by unreasonable sentimentality.

Kudos to you Jason on another very salty blog.  Keep on keeping them honest Bro.    

15 Oct 2010 10:15 PM

why should this year's Classic be such a decisive factor when last year it was 'just another race' according to last year voting for HOY??? Zenyatta beat last year's top older horse (Gio Ponti) and it didn't mean squat. Win, lose, or draw, the EAST COAST BIAS will always exist and all of Zenyatta's accomplishments seem to be ignored by those east of the Rockies.

15 Oct 2010 10:16 PM

Bring her to the Classic and run her.  I dare you.

Re:  And what are you going to do when she beats the boys?  Are you gonna go away?  

She's coming to the Classic, the question is , Is what are you going to do when she makes you eat your words?  Are you going to man up and confess you were wrong, Or are you gonna make like roach and scram???

15 Oct 2010 10:16 PM
Jason Shandler

Secretariat: I would rather bet you on the race itself. I have no control over what emotional voters will do if Blame, LAL, or QR wins, or if someone else wins. Or, if it rains and they scratch her. There is no telling what these writers will do. There is a faction out there that just cant be objective. Too many 'what ifs.

Im more confident in the race itself. I'll give you the same bet as Mike and Jayjay. You can have Zenyatta. I'll take the field.

15 Oct 2010 10:16 PM

Jason I understand the concept thank you.

Tell you what..

Gentleman's bet, Ill take Z you take Blame $100.00 straight up. Whoever horse finishes best wins..

You have my email..

Ill be in Vegas for the race..

Enjoy her their will never be another like her..

15 Oct 2010 10:17 PM

and also Paula, I will be happy for Z if she wins the BBC, I just dont see her being that good, I will realize she is that good IF she wins the BCC, but I just think she is way over her head this year, I wouldn't hate the horse if it weren't for all her bitter fans, and I cant exactly say I hate her, I just dont think she is as good as people think she is, before you Zen fans go making comments you need to think about it, alot of times your comment could drive away a fan she has, but may like another horse better that your bashing, and that fan of hers will not be cheering for her anymore, just think about your comments before you say them, because your comment might be drive away another fan, that's what happened to me, I was very excited last year she had won the BCC, but then the HOY argument got nasty, and Ive always favored Rachel more, Rachel is the reason I found Zenyatta enough said from me, I will only comment again if I get mad about something or I feel need be

15 Oct 2010 10:19 PM


And John has given us an example on how to avoid winning HOTY despite winning 19 in a row...

15 Oct 2010 10:21 PM

Re Afleetalexforever's comment "Santa Margarita, unknown race, Vanity, CL, Hirsch, and Lady's Secret virtually unknown races."

They can't be that unknown. They are all Grade I. Come on, get real.

So what if she didn't ship east. There was nothing stopping East Coast mares from shipping west to run against her, but they chose not to take her on.

That move she made in the Classic last year was the most amazing race I have seen since Secretariat's Belmont. Nothing can ever change that memory for me.

My main hope this year is that she finishes her last race without getting hurt. I don' want to see a Go For Wand or a Ruffian ending to this story.

15 Oct 2010 10:22 PM

Nor is she undefeated. Nor has she at least finished second in all the races she failed to win. Nor is she within 3 lengths as good as Zarkava, as proven...

Goldikova is definitely a great mare, but she ain't no Zenyatta.

15 Oct 2010 10:24 PM

I will be happy for Z if she wins the BBC

Re:  Zenyatta can win the BCC, but I dont see how she is supposed to win the  BBC.  

15 Oct 2010 10:25 PM
Bet Twice


Seriously?  The Haskell was one of the toughest fields assembled this year?  

Afleet Again won the G3 Withers and was soundly beaten in the Travers and the Penn Derby.

Trappe Shot has never had a graded stakes win.

First Dude has never had a graded stakes win.

Super Saver won the Derby but hasn't placed since.  He was diagnosed with severe bone bruising which might be why he performed so poorly after the Derby.

Ice Box won the Florida Derby but hasn't hit the board in his last 4 starts.

Our Dark Knight has never won a graded stakes race.

15 Oct 2010 10:26 PM
Mike Relva


Go ahead and continue talking utter nonsense. In another three weeks let's hear your lame spin.

15 Oct 2010 10:31 PM


You post the link for the anti-Zenyatta column in DRF.

Why don't you post the pro-Zenyatta column in DRF as well.

Remember, "be objective. Or at least try."

15 Oct 2010 10:31 PM

Zenyatta will speak for herself regarding this!She can talk the walk and walk the talk.It's all good she is a happy soul,HOY hands down!

15 Oct 2010 10:31 PM

Here is a really great link to read.

15 Oct 2010 10:33 PM
Mike Relva


Even as a huge Zenyatta fan,I've given RA credit and many times defended her. If you don't like Zenyatta,who cares?

15 Oct 2010 10:33 PM

Shirreffs is one in a million (just like his horse). So straight talking, down to earth. We need politicians like him. The world would be a better place. But I digress. Perhaps the theory behind HOY honors is evolving. You know, upon inception the rules are true & pristine. As the years go by the concept gets muddled & what was tried & true has mutated & become more involved. Sort of like the Oscars. Then some years there's the east v. west coast bias added into the mix. When you stir in the emotional aspect the 5000 pound gorilla has entered the room & the scale is tipped. Bingo.

15 Oct 2010 10:34 PM

What if a longshot wins the Classic with Zenyatta second or third and the "top males" somewhere in the rear? No one seems to have thought about that. Those colts have all lost races this year and could lose again. Saying Zenyatta has to win to be HOY is senseless. It's not just what she does, but also what the others maybe don't do.

And everyone is forgetting the amazing Goldikova, who is going for her 3rd BC win too! We are blessed to have had so many great mares competing in two consecutive years.

15 Oct 2010 10:34 PM
Paula Higgins

RachelFan, as someone who supports, and has always supported both Rachel and Zenyatta, I know a Zenyatta denier when I see one. I know what it means to defend both horses, because I do love them both. I never wanted one to beat the other unlike the old racing salts on here, where winning is the only game in town. I think you doth protest too much where Zenny is concerned and your respect for her is, shall we say, suspect. You are guilty of the same thing you accuse others of with Rachel: pretending to like Zenyatta but really reveling in anything negative said about her. Again, I love both horses and know when one is being knocked. As for Lookin At Lucky, he is a wonderful horse and the one that truly has a chance to beat Zenyatta in my opinion. He is very talented and Baffert trained and that says it all.

15 Oct 2010 10:34 PM

i am sick and tired of all of you that doubt the greatness of zenyatta she has never even been in a serious race she wins screwing around and tring to find the competition just watch her ears. nobosy wants to run agianst her so why ship around the country to take on the same horses. She is the best at what she does. And if you think to compare her to cigar and use the restricted company as an excuse then there should be no filly and mare races and all of them should run with no restrictions. There should be a point system but then how do you compare G1 for fillies with a G1 for boys. of short fields to fields with a lot of horses. JUst get real. and admit you are east coast Bias. Deal with it.

15 Oct 2010 10:41 PM
Mike Relva


Totally agree with you.

15 Oct 2010 10:43 PM
Jason Shandler

I never knew you west coast fans were so angry.

Listen people: If she wins she will get her HOY. If she doesnt, she won't. You have an undefeated horse, show some confidence. Stop trying to back into the award. Win it on merit.

I'll say it again; last year the BC wasnt a championship race. RA had it locked up after the Woodward. Everyone knows that. Her campaign was amazing and historic. Circumstances are different every year. This year, there is currently no standout, so it will be decided in the BC. It's very simple. There is no double standard or east coast bias. Just relax.

Stop getting angry and enjoy the race. If she wins, I'll tip my cap and say she deserves it. If not, you can still wave your pom poms. Nobody has to know.

15 Oct 2010 10:47 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

Let me get this straight.

a) If Zenyatta raced in more states, especially NY or KY, she would have more consideration as a top horse.

b)Horses racing in CA are inferior, except for when they go to NY or KY and only if they win big.

c)G1 races in CA are inferior unless a horse from NY or KY win them.

d)Synthetic tracks outside of CA are all weather tracks and are credible but synthetic tracks in CA are fake and plastic.

e)The dirt track in the Apple Blossom doesn't count since Zenyatta won over it.

f)Blind Luck was shipped across the country and gave 10 lbs to Havre de Grace in the Cotillion, because Jerry Hollendorfer said he thought they had a better chance there than staying in CA and facing Zenyatta in the Lady's Secret. Because of the shipping factor, Blind Luck wasn't ducking Zenyatta. Since Blind Luck has also shipped to the east more than twice she is no longer a CA based horse.

g) Multiple G1 winners Ginger Punch, Life Is Sweet, Gio Ponti, Einstein, Hystericalady, Rip Van Winkle, Music Note, Cocoa Beach, Twice Over, Girolamo, etc. all had a bad day or trip and that is why Zenyatta beat them.

These rule changes are as confusing as politicians extramarital affair excuses.

15 Oct 2010 10:48 PM
Jason Shandler

Fuzzy Corgi: You forgot to list the fact that she didnt race in the Goodwood, in California, at a more ideal distance, on the same day as the First Lady.

Everything else you have correct :)

15 Oct 2010 10:50 PM
Mike Relva


You have a habit of lumping ALL Zenyatta fans into one. If she doesn't win,and Blame,QR,or LAL wins,I won't post here or anywhere that she deserves the HOY. It's nice you're always objective when it comes to Zenyatta's fans.

15 Oct 2010 11:00 PM

We all can agree to disagree right?I think Zenyatta is great and has brougth so much interest to horse racing for all of us to enjoy!I just love her!

15 Oct 2010 11:02 PM
needler in Virginia

Okey dokey, for the sake of argument, let's PRETEND Zenyatta didn't win 5 G 1 races in 2010, but goes on to win the Classic. Is this enough to win Horse of the Year? I have to say "no"; one win does NOT a champion make, never mind that one win is in the Classic.

However, for the sake of argument, let's say Zenyatta DID win five Grade 1's and then go on to lose the Classic. Does that make her Horse of the Year? Well, doh! Can anyone else top that record for one year........filly, mare, colt, or gelding?? For my money, a loss in the Classic alongside the other five Grade 1 wins makes her HOY. Is there anyone ELSE stepping up to the plate with that record for 2010?

Alternatively, for the sake of argument, let's say Zenyatta DID win 5 Grade 1 races this year, AND that she wins the Classic......NOT the Distaff..... the Classic. Everyone got the parameters? Does that make her HOY? You betchum, Red Ryder! Does ANY other contender have that record?? If so, then show me......I'm waiting.

It would be a travesty that racing in general, and the voters for the Eclipse Awards specifically, to ignore the accomplishments that this mare has on her resume. Don't throw the size of the field, quality of opponents or any of that other crap at me. The simple truth is that, whomever you "like" better, Zenyatta is a standing-in-front-of-us-miracle with talent to die for AND, in my last scenario, 20 wins and an unblemished record. In my first alternate scenario, she comes out with 19 wins and one loss. Is there anyone out there that thinks Zenyatta should NOT be HOY under EITHER of those speculative situations?? If so, WHY???

On records alone, Zenyatta IS MY Horse of the Year, but I fail to understand how anyone can make a valid argument against her. Surfaces? Opponents? You hate her connections? You hate California?( I think there's LOT of that going on here!) You hate talent? You hate Mike Smith? You hate her racing colors? C'mon, people, PLEASE fill me in, 'cause I really don't get it.

Much as I disliked (a MILD word) Rachel's connections, she is a brilliant mare with her best racing year behind her.....for whatever reason. She thrilled us all last year; she is beautiful and graceful and faster than a speeding bullet, so what's not to like? Fine. Zenyatta is also a brilliant mare showing us her best year and we're bitching?? What sort of horse would it take to make the nay-sayers, happy? Errrmmm, maybe the REAL Pegasus??

Nope, Zenyatta's connections are nothing if not classy; her owners, her trainers, her jockey and the horse have done nothing but the best job ever this year, and I think that's worthy of recognition without anyone pissing on their campfire.

Cheers and safe trips.

15 Oct 2010 11:06 PM

The HOY award is based on the horse that has had the BETTER YEAR!!! This year the owner of Zenyatta decided to throw all of his eggs into one basket and hope to win ONE big race and that is the Breeders Cup Classic. Now for the past two years his plan has failed. What makes him think that the same startegy will work this year? My opionion is that whoever wins the Classic should deserve HOY. Because you have the best East coast horses that have been beating each other all year (QR and Blame). Who knows if these two horses can win against Zenyatta but the fact is that they are evenly matched. And the best East Coast horse (Zenyatta) has been facing the girls all year in easy competition now does that mean that Zenyatta will be extremly easy to beat or just meands that she is the best horse.

Unlike last year there is no clear front runner for HOY but let me tell you something whoever wins the Classic should and will be HOY. If Blame wins the classic and defeats the "Queen" then he has showed that he is the best out all of them and will be HOY or any other horse in the matter.

If Zenyatta wins then she has showed to everyone that she is the "Queen" and deserves HOY.

I am a Zenyatta fan and I will be rooting for her to win her 2nd Breeders Cup Classic and then being crown HOY for 2010. But if she does not win then she has no right to the crown. END OF STORY!!!!

15 Oct 2010 11:10 PM

Fuzzy Corgi:

Well said!!!!

15 Oct 2010 11:14 PM

Nice interview Jason.  You asked all the right questions and I think that John answered them as best he could.  I agree with you......the way the contenders are shaping up and entering the BCC, HOY should go to the winner.  There is definitely no way it has been decided yet and if for some reason is has then it would be a sham.  However, if none of them should win, who gets the award?  The 64,000 dollar question and perhaps a win by Gio over Goldi or Blind Luck would put them in the running.

15 Oct 2010 11:23 PM
Jim C.

"Listen people: If she wins she will get her HOY. If she doesnt, she won't. You have an undefeated horse, show some confidence. Stop trying to back into the award. Win it on merit."

Oh, you must mean the filly last year who backed into the award by ducking Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

And another thing Jason: while Rachel Alexandra's 3-year old filly campaign was great, it was NOT more ambitious than Winning Colors' campaign in 1988.  Jason, call me the next time a filly runs in the Santa Anita Derby, all three Triple Crown races, and the BC Ladies' Classic, and almost wins the last race against a Hall of Fame horse.  (And I think losing by a nose to Personal Ensign in November is more impressive than hanging on to hold off Macho Again in September).

15 Oct 2010 11:26 PM


Pointing to someone else's faulty logic, doesn't make yours any brighter. :)

15 Oct 2010 11:29 PM
Mike Relva


You stated you were happy/excited when Zenyatta won last yrs. Classic. That's not true for the fact weeks prior to that race you posted dozens of neg. comments regarding her. And if you can't like a horse cause you don't approve of what someones blogs that speaks volumes of your mindset.

15 Oct 2010 11:34 PM
Man o' War

Zenyatta lives in California; thus, she races there.  There is no older filly or mare Grade 1 winner for her to beat in California since she won every Grade 1 race for older fillies and mares on the main track above a mile in California this year herself!  Her competition only seems inferior because they had absolutely no chance to win a Grade 1 with Zenyatta in the race!  When she went to the Apple Blossom, Rachel Alexandra did not show up, something for which Zenyatta can hardly be blamed.  The connections of the rest of the East Coast mares were anxious for their turn at Rachel Alexandra, and their reticence to ship to California to meet racing's Queen is easily understood.  Zenyatta is not responsible for who she beat, as she beat everyone who showed up, but it IS her fault that she faced no Grade 1 winners!  She'd won all the California Grade 1s and scared away the Grade 1 winners from elsewhere.  Zenyatta is a mare for the ages.  God save the Queen!

15 Oct 2010 11:35 PM

Ok, I have avoided commenting on any of the BH blogs for a long time now, but this one I cannot ignore.  The point of the blog seems to be "What constitutes deserving HOTY?"  What a joke.  I love racing.  I am a young racing fan that has only been watching for about 20 years.  However, as far as I am concerned, the Eclipse Awards are a farce.  Get real...the WRITERS get to choose who the champions are??  I love writers; you bring racing news from around the country and world to a diehard fan stuck in raceless Missouri.  However, if there has to be a vote on who is the best, limiting the vote to only one section of the racing industry limits the validity of the award.  You cannot tell me that writers are all objective, that they don't have their own agenda in deciding who to vote for, that they are immune to hype.  Come on, that would be denying human nature.  We all are prone to such failings.  Why not open the voting to all the people who make up the racing industry?  It will never be objective, but at least it would cover a broader spectrum of opinion.

For RachelFan--I understand what you are saying about RA detractors taking away your affinity for Zenyatta, but keep in mind that it works both ways.  I would probably be more of a fan of RA if it weren't for the RA fans bashing Zenyatta all the time.  However, bashers are a small percentage of either side's fans, and my actual opinion of RA's talents (which I will keep to myself) have nothing to do with that, and I would not sink to berating the horse just because I don't like the people who post negative comments.

As for Zenyatta, my best wishes to her in the BCC.  Whether she wins or loses, she will be #1 in my heart.  She reminds me of why I love horses and horseracing, and I applaud her owners for letting her race through age 6 in a time when we rarely see horse past age 3.  Some see her narrow defeats as her being "all out" to win; I see a horse who has never really tried, but always gets there because she is so good.  Her ears are always pricked, and she's certainly not drenched in sweat, but whatever...the heart sees what it wants.  I hope I am right that she is the greatest ever, but if I'm not, I don't give a rat's behind...I will still love her :)

15 Oct 2010 11:36 PM

A championship race isn't a championship race if the possible champions owner decides not to run in it? Sorry I've heard it all now. Pure fantasy. On that basis, Curlin is still HOTY.

15 Oct 2010 11:39 PM

I thought the Shirreffs interview was terrific. He’s such a straight-shooter and shows tremendous passion for his horses. I realize that the hard-bitten turf writers are mystified by that, but it’s important to the public. 19 for 19, j’adore.


“if you try to say her grade one's don't count because the fields were weak, well than you have to discount all of lookin at lucky's races too, and every race but the whitney for blame and quality road.”

Because they are males, they don’t fall into the same category. The echo chamber has invented the term “restricted races” to describe the races Zenyatta has run in. The echo chamber acolytes completely ignore the fact that these races are Grade One races. They will tout a three-year-old while ignoring that the 3YO has run in “restricted” races, at least by the echo chamber’s definition. Yet they will continue to ignore it. Echo chambers create falsehoods and fallacies in politics, and they’re doing it here, too.


“If she isn't recognized this year, then horse racing is a sport with no soul, just people with a bunch of boxes they check off in their little Beyer world.”

Well said, and this is a huge problem with the sport. There’s a disconnect. The public is wild for Zenyatta but the numbers people, the ones who are never moved by a performance, who only care about their TVG accounts, are never going to get it. Their hearts don’t work that way. Their world is organized a certain way and Zenyatta certainly doesn’t fit into that. All the talk about HOTY and whether or not it’s a career achievement award, yadda yadda yadda, is SO similar to the Oscars. Actors who give career-defining performances are not given awards that year. So they muddle along until finally, the Academy goes, “Oh crap, you know who we never gave an award to? Cary frickin Grant!” So Cary Grant gets an honorary Oscar. Yes, because they HAVE those kinds of things. Or what about a year like 1950, when both Gloria Swanson and Bette Davis were rooked out of an Oscar for career-defining performances in Sunset Boulevard and All About Eve? A tragedy. In recent years, the Academy has steadfastly refused to reward phenomenally popular films, choosing instead to give the awards to smaller movies. It’s not necessarily the wrong move when you’re talking about what the award IS, but the entertainment industry depends upon the public and when the public tunes in to watch an awards show and has no idea what any of the movies are, you’ve created a disconnect.

The Academy is as tone-deaf to the public voice as those turf writers who vote for HOTY. They will hew as closely to their created rules as possible, even while forgetting the very basic fact that THIS IS A SUBJECTIVE AWARD. There is NOTHING objective about it. NOTHING. Changing things up and giving Zenyatta HOTY even if she doesn’t win the Classic wouldn’t mean that any rules were broken. It wouldn’t mean the end of the Eclipse Awards as we know it. It would simply be an extraordinary move to recognize an extraordinary horse. But based on what happened last year, when these idiots wouldn’t allow both Zenyatta and Rachel to receive votes, that ain’t gonna happen. The turf writers will stick to their guns, and the public will be mightily confused. And when Zenyatta retired, the people she brought to the sport will drift away. And who can blame them?

“But,” you say, “She had a conservative campaign. If she’s that great, she should have been beating males.” Let’s figure out what’s really going on here. See, she’s unbeaten. But rather than admit that she could just possibly be a great horse, all that you can discern is that she’s unbeaten only because she hasn’t faced good horses yet. This seems to be how the numbers people operate.

Zenyatta’s “conservative” campaign was virtually the same season she had in 2008, when Jason voted for her for HOTY. How is this year considered conservative, then, if 2008 wasn’t? Jason voted for Zenyatta over Curlin, who won four GI stakes, including the Dubai World Cup. Now he’s insisting that if Blame, Quality Road or Lookin At Lucky win the Classic, then they would automatically be HOTY. But Lucky would have won three GIs and only one in (what Zenyatta detractors like to term) unrestricted company. Blame would have won three GIs, and Quality Road would have won four GIs. Given that scenario, then the only horse who could even come CLOSE to what Curlin accomplished in 2008 is Quality Road. Yet still, Jason voted for Zenyatta over the Dubai World Cup winner. A bit hard to figure, isn’t it?

As for the sizing up of the fields the horses have beaten, just remember this: For three solid years, Zenyatta has won the majority of the GI filly & mare races in California. Unless horses ship in, exactly where are these GI winners supposed to come from? We’ve never seen this kind of domination before, so I suppose it makes sense that it never occurs to you guys.

15 Oct 2010 11:50 PM
Jason Shandler

Kelly: You must not be a sports fan. The writers vote for post season awards in every major pro sport. That's how it works. The writers are supposed to be objective; its part of our job. Unfortunately, the people saying Zenyatta should win this year even if she loses the BC are not being objective.

Jim: A loss is a loss. A nose, a length, 10 lengths. It doesnt matter. The rangers almost beat the yankees tonight Jim. They only lost by one run. Im sure you could call Ron Washington with a pep talk.

15 Oct 2010 11:57 PM

Kay @11:50 PM - yes!

16 Oct 2010 12:07 AM


"I never knew you west coast fans were so angry." You're kidding, right?

"Win it on merit" She HAS.

"Last year's BC wasn't a championship race" Only because your horse didn't win.

"Circumstances are different every year." True! So are your criteria.

"This year, there is currently no stand out." You're being funny again or somehow you have missed Zenyatta in your assessment of this year's horses. (Strange considering how obvious she is.)

"There is no double standard or east coast bias" You can't see that either. It may have something to do with sitting in the middle of it.

"Just relax." How can we when you keep pulling our chain?

"Stop getting angry and enjoy the race." Unlike you, WE WILL, because Zenyatta will mow them all down, like she always does.

"If she wins, I will tip my cap and say she deserves it." Frankly, my dear, by then we won't give a darn...

We will wave our pom poms and everyone will know that you really like humble pie.  :)

16 Oct 2010 12:18 AM
Jason Shandler

Thanks for making my point Zookeeper. Some of you guys need to step away for a minute. It's only a race, not life or death.

What in God's name will you do if your hero loses? Geez, I shudder to think.

Night night.

16 Oct 2010 12:25 AM

so a loss is a loss right, well then a win is a win. zenyatta has faced all that would get on the track with her yet some how that is not enough. what you are saying is that if a mare wins all the top races in her region/division she should only get division hounrs. What about azeri in '04' same races as zenyatta minus the classic but she won horse of the year.

16 Oct 2010 12:25 AM

Ok, please enlighten me as to how you feel you are able to make a judgement about my sports interest based on a statement about Eclipse Award a matter of fact, I am a sports fan (primarily football and hockey, if you need specifics,) and I do realize that this is how all sports choose their "champions."  However, I do not recall this being an argument about anything but horseracing, nor do I recall saying anything to implicate that horseracing is the only sport that does it this way.  I did not say, for example, "Horseracing is the only sport that decides their champions by writers voting."  I merely stated that I don't agree with it.  I don't agree with it in any sport, actually.  You say that it is your job to be objective, and I am sure you try your best, but you are human, aren't you?  That's kind of the point I was human is capable of being completely objective, whether they are paid to be or not.

16 Oct 2010 12:33 AM

Nicely done Kate. You took Jason too the woodshed in your second to last paragraph. Great job of pin pointing just how flawed a voting system to determine HOY is.  Whether it be turf writers or anyone else.

I think she makes a strong point Jason. Objective, indeed! Lol.

16 Oct 2010 12:34 AM

Swell. So last year's BC winner didn't win HOTY, and that was fine. But this year's HAS to win it, because that's the only fair thing!  Unless, I suppose, Zenyatta wins it, in which case everyone will have to scramble to think of a reason to not give it to her.

Zenyatta has brought me back to the track after a long absence, and has me on the verge of becoming a racing fan once again.  If she's denied HOTY because of petty politics, I have a feeling I'll go back to ignoring racing once again.

16 Oct 2010 12:39 AM
Paula Higgins

Thanks Kay and well said on your part as well.

At the risk of sounding like an anarchist, why not let the people in the industry vote, besides the sports writers? I think there should be a cross representation. People that actually work in the horse racing business, might value 19 for 19 alot more than someone who doesn't train and take care of these horses.

Jason, being objective is impossible under this system. Grade I's aren't weighted. They are simply Grade I's and technically all Grade I's  are equal. That's why they are called Grade I's without qualification. So, the writers on their own, without official standardization, decide what Grade I race is more important? You automatically assign a higher weight to racing with the colts than an all female race? What I want to know is where is that criteria in the racing God handbook? What gives you all the right to decide a mare racing against the best girls is not as good as a colt racing against the best colts? In other sports that you are referencing, the sexes have separate awards. Horse racing doesn't have that separation of the sexes. So you are punatively dinging the females if they don't race against the best males? Sounds kind of misogynistic and biased to me. It completely lacks logic AND objectivity, which you have been touting in this whole blog.

16 Oct 2010 12:45 AM


We will love her just the same... unlike some of you "fair weather friends" who keep jumping from one band wagon to another.

Night night! :)

16 Oct 2010 12:45 AM
Bet Twice


I think the lady doth protest too much about his "objectivity."  

You link to a page about Goldikova being the biggest draw at the Breeders Cup.  What bearing does that have on the HOY discussion except to take a jab at Zenyatta?  

I don't recall you linking to pages about the truly extraordinary Sea the Stars, who actually accomplished something remarkable in going undefeated, winning 6 G1 races as a 3 year old, at all distances.  

Where was the link last year explaining why Sea the Stars was a much better racehorse than our own HOY RA (though undoubtedly he was)?

There is no universe where Sea the Stars should have won the US HOY and clearly there is no universe where the turf miler Goldikova should win US HOY this year.  So why the link?  

The notion that Goldi is more of a draw than Zen is not only ludicrous, its insane.  Just curious, are you saying a mare who has raced in the US twice and competes in a division that has no meaning to US breeders or US fans is a bigger star then Zenyatta in US racing?  Are you saying that Goldi winning the mile turf (a race won 7 times by females) is as significant to US racing as Zen winning the Classic (never won by a mare or filly)?  

You reward Goldi's trainer for saying she's the best in the world (on turf, at a mile), but express outrage when Shirreff's believes he has the best horse.

Goldi is a sensational racehorse and may very well be the best in the world, but the idea that she is more meaningful to the BC than Zen?  Its simply ridiculous.

I actually agree with you about the value of the Classic, but man, cut the objectivity nonsense.  No one's buying it.

16 Oct 2010 12:45 AM

Great post Kay.  I agree with both you and John when you remind us all of what Zenyatta has brought to the sport during the past three years.  The title of HOY should, in all honesty, consider a horse’s body of work and accomplishments during the calendar year and in a way I hope that that is what the winner this year will have been……the horse with the best over-all record in 2010.

There are no clear cut leaders, but if none of the so called Big Four win the race I would definitely make a case for Zenyatta.  Examining the accomplishments of her main competitors so far this year, we have Quality Road who has not defeated a horse that either Blame or Zenyatta could not defeat, has lost to Blame in his toughest race of the campaign and though he has a 121 Beyer, the race he accomplished it in contained zero G1 winners on dirt.  The Woodward also was a weak field for what is a prestigious race and in my opinion winning it was no different than Zenyatta winning any of the races that she won this year.  Who was going to beat him?  Who was going to beat him in the Donn or the Hal’s Hope?  Outside of Musket Man who lost to Etched in a 99 Beyer race last weekend, how tough was the met Mile?

Blame, suddenly the new “Buzz Word Horse” after defeating Quality Road, bombed without any excuses in the JCGC, a race they definitely wanted to win to keep his HOY hopes alive.  Who else has he defeated that would send shivers up either Quality Road’s or Zenyatta’s back?  Maybe Battle Plan in the Foster, but he was injured sometime during that race.  Other than Battle Plan who else……Fraud Squad?  General Quarters?

Looking at Lucky is a great three year-old… this year’s standards, but who has he really defeated that would once again send shivers up the other main contender’s backs.  If Fly Down’s performance in the JCGC is any kind of a measuring stick for gauging one of the better three year olds against the older set, then I can rest my case.  LAL’s competition was no more difficult for him than Zenyatta’s was for her.  In addition, he skipped the Belmont and the Travers (the equivalent of Zen skipping the HGC, Pacific Classic and Goodwood).   Lucky didn’t exactly run away from G3 winner Theskyhasnolimit in the Indiana Derby, and he has never even faced older horses, certainly a concern when you consider that no three year-old has won the BCC without having faced older horses since Concern in 1993.

I will say this.  Like it or not for some people out there, Zenyatta has brought a lot of interest to the sport in the past couple of years.  Also, from a North American stand point, she is the face of the 2010 Breeders Cup.  Without her presence I wonder what kind of excitement would be generated for the BCC.

One other thing Jason……the Rangers lost by one……the Leafs beat them 4 to 3.

16 Oct 2010 1:00 AM


16 Oct 2010 1:06 AM
Fuzzy Corgi

Jason, you said "You forgot to list the fact that she didnt race in the Goodwood, in California, at a more ideal distance, on the same day as the First Lady."

By your logic, Zenyatta won at a less than agreeable distance for her so that makes her win even more impressive! I agree.

16 Oct 2010 1:10 AM
Jerry B.


    So Sherriffs is telling us that 'win or lose, HOY is a foregone conclusion?' Jason, please stick to your guns as a voice of common sense that seems to be shared by knowledgeable horsemen and everybody outside of CA. Your question was one that begged to be asked. The Z team has put Z in this position of 'all or nothing.' If she does not win the win the BCC and runs a good second to a longshot, maybe the writers would give her the benefit of the doubt despite her god-awful, so-called 'campaign.' Sherriffs has apparently jumped on the bandwagon of that 'other' writer over at NTRA who seems to be proposing 2 different scenarios to justify Z NOT winning HOY last year. They want it to be "Race of the Year" (Z's BCC win last year) trumps RA's body of work as a true HOY (based on a championship campaign and body of work over the course of 2009.)The other scenario, first proposed over at NTRA, is "Horse of the Career" to justify that Z is better than RA over 3 years! Again, how many times do I have to say it, the Z team has no one to blame but themselves for keeping Z in CA running against Grade 2&3 F&M's. If she loses, they may very well reap what THEY (and no one else) have sewn!

16 Oct 2010 1:12 AM

Excellent post, Jason & I agree with you 100%!  As great as Zenyatta has been this season, Quality Road and Blame especially have been equally great!  Not sure if I support Lookin At Lucky being HOY unless he wins the BCC, right now I don't think he has earned it, but he very well might if he wins.  I think Zenyatta will have a hard time winning the BCC this year against Quality Road.  I think he wins the Classic and HOY. He's just been too good this season.

16 Oct 2010 1:42 AM
Rubber Bands

How can you say Zenyatta is not a great horse? She is 19 for 19. And with her running style that makes it even more amazing. I don't care if she was running on trampoline, thats great. She has yet to be tested and probably never will. Even in this Classic she'll win with her ears perked and looking for competition. Who can give her a competitive race. Quality Road? No. Blame? No. Lookin at Lucky? Maybe, but not good enough for the Queen.

I shudder to think what the haters will do when Zenyatta wins.

16 Oct 2010 1:43 AM
christy tate

personally i think that Horse of the Year is a toss up between Zenyatta(sentimental choice), Quality Road, who has most definitely recovered from last year's

breeders cup, and Blame who has proven to be a very nice stakes horse. So, that's how i see it. i may be wrong, but whatever. i disagree that one race should decide who wins, but that a horse's whole season should be taken into account.

16 Oct 2010 2:01 AM

It's debates like this that take the focus away from the sport.

If Zenyatta runs, she runs. If she wins, she wins. If she loses, she loses.

If she loses, it'll be a sad for the sport, but then again, everyone can move on. They can still look at her career and enjoy the personality she brought to the racetrack, the memories she gave them, the achievements she made.

Either way, she's retired. A new horse will hopefully walk into the spotlight and will garner new fans (but hopefully not so vicious).

I will always remember Zenyatta, win or lose, she will always be the horse that got me really involved with this sport. Do I think because I love her that she should be 2010 HOY just because? No.

That's not fair to every other horse that is just as deserving. QR, LAL, Blame, they have all run their hearts out just like Z, and if come November, on BC Classic day, they have the edge, they deserve credit.

If someone wants to create a sentimental lifetime achievement award for Zenyatta, that would be wonderful, and she can have that and HOY '10 if she wins the Classic. Seems like a fair way to resolve this...

16 Oct 2010 2:12 AM

No matter the outcome of the Breeder's Cup Classic, I'd like to see you two boys (Shandler & Beyer) do the Dunk Tank thing for charity after the Classic.  It'll be a wet T-shirt contest for the ages and I bet you'll both have to be rescued so you don't drown.  

Time to start thinking about your blog topic for November 7th.  See ya then.

16 Oct 2010 3:19 AM

I really have mixed feelings about John Shirreffs.  As a horseman, he's as good as anyone at training a horse up to a big race - Baffert, Pletcher, Dutrow - he's in a class with any of them.  But when he makes a statement that Zenyatta should win HOY whether she wins the Classic or not, he just leaves me shaking my head.

Shirreffs and Moss made the decision to take on nothing but females all year, and almost all in California.  That's the bed THEY made.  And now they have to sleep in it.  

I'll agree to a point that Zenyatta doesn't need to win the Classic outright to finally be crowned champion.  But she MUST deliver an impressive performance when facing top competition to gain the crown, she can't just fold up in the stretch like Curlin did in 2008 - because he faced open company all year, and Z hasn't.  St. Trinians and Switch probably couldn't crack the top EIGHT in the Classic order of finish.  If Switch goes in the Ladies Classic, I'm not even seeing her in the trifecta, despite that she's a solid 3YO filly.  

So yeah, under certain scenarios, Zenyatta doesn't necessarily have to win the Classic.  If say, Haynesfield gets loose on the lead again, and Zenyatta delivers her patented monster late run and cuts drastically into that lead

not just plodding over the track like Blame and then just misses, I still think that's enough to win her the big trophy.  Because with just one other G1 win, Haynesfield doesn't have the resume for the year to win the championship over Zenyatta in a case like that - even if he's developed to the point where he might be the best older male now.  The award is for the whole year, not just the last couple months.  Now if it comes in say, Haynesfield, Twice Over and Espoir City, with all the top contenders out of the money, that's a different story and Haynesfield theoretically could win HOY.

But what if it's not Haynesfield that gets loose, what if it's Quality Road?  With three G1 wins over open company and a head loss to Blame, he has a championship resume, and Z would have to beat him to be crowned the champion.  If QR beats her on the square, then HE's the champ and Z goes home with Miss Congeniality for the third consecutive year thanks to Moss and Shirreffs totally unambitious campaign.

And please stop with the "She's 19-0 and she's done so much for the sport, but still hasn't won" argument.  It's pathetic.  It's 2010, people.  We're talking about the champion of 2010.  The two teams that play in the college football championship game get to play in that game as determined by a VOTE.  And even after that game, there's still a vote in at least one of the two championship polls. Now what if this was Penn State coach Joe Paterno's last year, and they make the championship game but are blown away by Alabama.  Should they vote Penn State national champion anyway, since Joe has won more games than any college football coach through his career and it's his last chance?  Factoring in the record of a an athlete or a team from previous years to determine who the champion is THIS year is absolutely ridiculous, and anyone who tried to make that argument would be laughed out of the room by serious college football fans.

If Zenyatta is good enough to win the championship this year, she'll do enough in the big race to sway the voters.  She doesn't have anybody outside the race to worry about.  Blind Luck's campaign simply wasn't of championship caliber the way Rachel Alexandra's was - she only beat 3yo fillies and not all of them.  That makes her 3yo filly of the year, unless Havre De Grace beats her again, and nothing more.

C'mon, if you're really Zenyatta fans, you should want to see her win that award on the track.  I believe she can do it, how about the rest of you?

16 Oct 2010 3:46 AM
Between Friends

"I never knew you west coast fans were so angry."

This may come as a surprise to you, but fans of Zenyatta don't only live in California. They can be found in all parts of the nation as well as Canada and overseas.

16 Oct 2010 4:25 AM

Jason, I agree with you 100%. I am a through and through Zenyatta fan, but I am very disappointed with the way her connections campaigned this year. What Shirreffs doesn't understand was that if they had just been a little more courageous with her earlier this year, she might very well have had HOY locked up by now, running in roughly the same number of races as she already has this year.

For instance, they might have run her in the Hollywood Gold Cup at 10 furlongs instead of the Vanity, or the Pacific Classic at 10 furlongs instead of or after the CL Hirsch at 8.5, or even the Goodwood at 9 furlongs rather than the Lady's Secret at 8.5.

Yes, the races she actually did run in were all G1s just the same, but with the possible exception of the Apple Blossom, none of them were really courageous choices, especially when she'd already won the Vanity, CL Hirsch and Lady's Secret twice before - each. The Beyer she earned in last year's BC Classic was better than the winning Beyer in this year's HGC, PC and Goodwood, and who really believes she would have lost to Awesome Gem (HGC) and Richard Kid (PC, Goodwood)?

I think Zenyatta is quite possibly the best mare I have ever seen in my 30 years as a racing fan (dating back to my first trip to a CA racetrack as a 9-year old at Hollywood Park) - I think her Beyers are misleadingly low (i.e. she only runs as fast and wins by as far as she needs to), but sadly, she has been campaigned with kid gloves and we'll never know just how awesome she really was.

In '04, I really questioned some of the races Wayne Lukas picked out for Azeri, but even when she lost those races (Humana Distaff, Met Mile, BC Classic), I really didn't think she lost any of her stature in the process. Based on her Beyer in the Classic, she would have easily won the Distaff earlier on the card, but Lukas and Paulson really took a chance. Even in defeat that day, she ran her eyeballs out to be 5th to a very talented field (Ghostzapper, Roses in May, Pleasantly Perfect, Perfect Drift, Funny Cide, etc).

OK, so back to Queen Z. If she wins, it's a moot point. If one of Blame/LAL/QR wins it, HOY has got to be theirs. They will have beaten every other candidate who mattered on the day that mattered.

Finally, "honorable mention" IMHO should go to Blind Luck, especially if she wins the Distaff. The way Hollendorfer has campaigned her this year is how horse racing should be - bold, adventurous, courageous. Even when she lost this year, I lost no respect for her.

But I digress. This Classic is shaping up to be as competitive as '88, '98, and '04. May the best horse win.

16 Oct 2010 4:44 AM

If Zenyatta wins the Classic, she not only should be voted Horse of the Year, but voted unanimously. Any voter who votes against her despite having won the Classic should have their voting privileges revoked for lack of objectivity. Something tells me there will be quite a few. They'll probably be the same people who voted for Raven's Pass in 2008.

16 Oct 2010 5:17 AM
Karen in NY


Your opinion counts for its merit in getting the facts out there. But really if Zenyatta does not win the BC classic she will still retains her crown. No other Horse this year can say that. She is the Queen and King of the Ball .

Who cares if she loses She has proven herself beyond expectations of what a Racehorse is capable of acheiving. She actually has set a new standard of excellence that I am not sure will ever be witnessed again. First Rachel retiring then Queen Zenyatta . It will be a sad day for sure to not have these two very unique and talented fillies to admire and watch race. Every once in a while GOD sends us a gift. Secretariat, Ruffian, Barbaro, Rachel and yes Zenyatta.

She does not need to win the BC classic. She has done it all already!

16 Oct 2010 5:29 AM

The greatest shame is not Zenyatta; the mare is absolutely amazing! Unfortunately her connections take too many easy roots.If Zeny wins BCC she should get HOY, but honestly, if her campaign last year had just been a little different (ie. running in the Pacific Classic as well as BCC) then she would have had a better shot at HOY.

No one get me wrong; this mare is amazing. every race she just lengthens that stride and just flies past everyone.

16 Oct 2010 5:33 AM

As far as Zenyatta being horse of the year. I have been very dissapointed the last 2 years in the voting. I was an avid racing fan the years before Ruffian died. When she died, it completely put me off of horse racing and I didn't get back into racing until the year Barbaro won the derby. The tragedy with him almost put me off racing again, but I stuck with it and have been blessed with seing Zenyatta. However, if she does not win HOY this year I will no longer be involved in horse racing. Of course I am only one person. so I guess my loss is not so great, but there is my feelings on the matter.

16 Oct 2010 6:19 AM


 "Zenyatta will be exposed."  I'm sure you said the same thing last year and when they turned for home you were jumping up and down with joy as she was being exposed just like you proclaimed. Funny thing happened, she showed everyone just what she is made of, only you and the other naysayers closed your eyes and refused to believe what you saw.

16 Oct 2010 7:34 AM

Baseball is still going on?  But, America's team the Red Sox are not playing!  HA!  Go Brethren!!

16 Oct 2010 8:04 AM

Bravo Jason!!  A man who hasn't been blinded by the fact that the HOY is NOT a lifetime achievement award!!  And if people are looking for a horse who has done far more than others this year, besides that disappointing loss in her last race, Blind Luck should be leading the pack!!!  Now there's a filly who ships all over, and isn't afraid to take on all kinds of horses!!  But going back to your argument for HOY, Zenyatta's campaign warrants against it, and if she doesn't win the BCC, she most certainly does NOT deserve the HOY!!

16 Oct 2010 8:46 AM

Wow. If Zenyatta loses the race she is not horse of the year give me a break.

16 Oct 2010 9:06 AM

Mike, there is another Rachel Fan, I know cause I post on the Rachel Alexandra Fan Site, I can promise to you that I never posted on blogs last year with this name mine used to have either something to do with Barbaro at times or my 23 year old NSH, I told my dad Rachel would win the Preakness, he didn't believe me, I told him Zen would win the Classic, he didn't believe me this year I told him Lucky would win the Preakness, he didn't believe me, now I'm telling him Lucky will win the BCC, he doesn't believe me, I wanted Zen to win last year, but this year Ive studied her competition closer, and been pushed away by the people saying she's the greatest horse to ever step foot on the track, I believe she is a good horse, maybe great, how she fares against top class, untired competition on a surface they can run on will define her true greatness, and whoever said that she's won all the CA grade I's this year on the main track, I believe there are more than 4 grade I's for f/m in CA, maybe I have formed an opinion about the horse due to the fans, as alot of other people do, people formed opinions of Rachel due to some of her fans, but until Zenyatta wins the Classic, I truly cant classify her with the all time greats, that's my opinion and you cant really yell at me for my opinion it's the opinion Ive formed watching every single one of her races this year, and I can say I didn't watch every single one of Rachel's races live on TV, I have only watched every race of Zenyatta's or Lucky's alot of times I've got stuff going on where  can't watch the races live, the only way I can watch the BCC live is if I can use my bro's Droid I already know that, I will be happy for any horse that wins the Classic this year, I will be esctatic if Lucky wins, I was esctatic last year when Zenyatta won I went around the house screaming my lungs out I was so happy, but then everything went nasty, and I haven't been able to view the horse the same since.....

16 Oct 2010 9:10 AM
Ron S

"Let me say this now, if Quality Road, Lookin at Lucky, or Blame win the BC classic this year, there is no way they should be denied horse of the year".  Imagine that, a horse winning the BC Classic should get hoy. An undefeated mare wins the BC Classic last year and is denied hoy.  Instead it is given to a filly that doesn't even show up at the BC.  She stayed in her barn back home munchin on hay instead. I guess it was just a case of wrong owner and wrong trainer. One other thing, if 19 for 19 is no big thing, than take your horse and go defeat Zenyatta.  Let us know how that works out for you.

16 Oct 2010 9:13 AM

I have to agree with Shirreff's but not with looking at the last 3 years. Zenyatta deserves HOTY on her merit this year. Classic or not she has won every race-in exciting fashion-all grade 1-I believe.

In this season she surpassed the record for undeafeated, consecutive wins in top races and as of now equalled the 19-0 record of a horse in restricted races.

I think the BC races were/are a great attribute to horse racing but they should not be the only race to decide the championshis FOR THE YEAR. They are only 1 race.

enough said-the classic should be great and I'm cheering for Zenyatta She should win if given a fair chance.

16 Oct 2010 9:15 AM
k sweatman

If Zenyatta doesn't win the BCC, it will be very close. There is no way she won't hit the board. That being said, how could a horse with 19 consecutive wins and an "almost had it at the wire" lose horse of the year? I don't think so. Personally, unless this mare has the worst trip of her career Nov. 6th, she will win. She's phenomenal, all heart, one of the best, past and present.

16 Oct 2010 9:16 AM

In my opinion the Horse of the Year award is about just that, the BEST HORSE OF THE YEAR! It does need to reflect the record of the horse or the competition. It is about what horse is the best! Zenyatta does have a perfect record this year. She may not have run against top horses but that is not her fault. She has won grade 1 after grade 1.   If they don't want to run against her it actually speaks volumes on her greatness.  They won't even enter for second money! But the distinguishing thing to me for HOTY is the "way" the horse wins. Nobody can even challenge her!  She has to give them all a huge head start to make it anything more than a gallop for herself.  She runs by every time like they are standing still and wins with her ears pricked.  Her superiority is obvious!  If she wins the Classic, there is no excuse for her not to win HOTY. She will have beaten all the others who are supposed to be so good. In the past the HOTY has been given to some who didn't have the most ambitious campaigns but did something spectacular. So why should it be different for her? It seems at times she is being held to a different standard and that is not fair! She loses credit for not racing males - but she is a female and since when do you have to beat up on males all the time to be considered great? She gets harassed about running on synthetics but what about other horses who didn't run on dirt - wasn't Sea the Stars considered one of the best in the world and he ran only on grass! It goes on and on....  You talk about objectivity Jason...?  You are are supposed to be a professional but you have been anything but objective when it comes to her. It actually damages your credibility that you are unable to recognize greatness when it is staring you in the face.  I just saw an interview with several top trainers who combined have forgotten more about racing than we will all ever know, and they ALL gave Zenyatta her due.  And as for HOTY, it is not and has never been "objective".

16 Oct 2010 9:33 AM

I wish I was going to be at the classic.  Win or lose, Zenyatta is spectacular.  I'm totally on Shireff's side; Zenyatta is the HOY no matter what.  It is going to be a true bittersweet moment when she leaves the track.

16 Oct 2010 9:39 AM


You should appreciate that the strategy of running a soft campaign and relying on sympathy/sentimental votes to cop the HOTY title is flawed.  The championship must be won on the track NOT by a 'political campaign'.  Also it becomes unsportsmanlike to denegrate the HOTY award when the flawed strategy fails repeatedly.  Come on, you know better than that.

Apart from Quality Road, the other leading contenders will have a harder case to make for denying Zenyatta the HOTY crown should she run a creditable losing race in the BCC.  Quality Road fell only a head short in the Whitney while conceeding weight all around, including 5lbs to Blame.  The latter didn't do his bid any favours by being humbled almost five lengths by Haynesfield in the JCGC at Belmont Park.  Looking At Lucky has not really been inspiring especially as he still hasn't come out from under the shadow of the injured Eskendereya IMO (although his Preakness win was very impressive).  For Blind Luck to have a shot, she has to deliver a big time whopping to Life At Ten and hope that some credible outsider like Musket Man or the Japanese invader Espoir City upsets the BCC field.

For me, if Quality Road falls short of a Ghostzapper-esque performance, a St Liam-esque one will still do the trick, otherwise, Zenyatta for HOTY it will be based upon a ton of sympathy for what could have been for her ...she could conceiveably, quite comfortably have been going after her third successive HOTY crown based opon ON-THE-TRACK performances without any harsh type of campaigning.  Thats the truth.    

16 Oct 2010 10:04 AM

I don't understand?

If the Best horse should get HOY,

Goldikova must have it wrapped up then if she win's the mile.

Or Workforce if he win's the Turf, man No one have ever done that triple, Epsom Derby, The Arc and BC Turf. Sure beats Zenyattas mediocre campaign in So.Cal.

16 Oct 2010 10:23 AM
Old Timer


I enjoy your posts and respect your opinion. In some ways I do agree ... the HOY is just that.. Horse of thre YEAR.

Having said that, there is a lot of frustration out there. I think 19 for 19 said it very well. The Classic did not determine the HOY last time! In the end, in this particular year I respectfully disagree with what you said. Maybe I'll feel differently if Lucky or Blame wins BCC by 10 lengths.

By the way your offer to give Zenyatta and take the rest of the field... are you for real? That assumes either Zenyatta is even money or less or you are proposing a crazy bet. Why would anyone make that bet? She'll be a lot better odds at CD.

Lastly, is Draynay really Andy Beyer? ... with that Zenyatta bashing, he sure sounds like him.

I hope that  Zenyatta wins big and then the arguments will all go away (other than the few crazies like Dray and Andy). Considering the state of this sport today, she has done more than anyone to help the cause. Go Zenyatta. Go Mike. Go Mr. Shirreffs.

16 Oct 2010 10:31 AM

Fortunately, the horses don't give a rat's behind what we say or think.  Awards mean nothing to them.  

I have loved horses since I was a kid; owned, trained, and showed horses for quite a few years; lost my heart to Secretariat and Ruffian; and now I am head over heels for Zenyatta.  She has it all:  consistency, physicality, and personality.  She is an incredible physical specimen for her species and especially her gender.  She comes from behind and wins every race to give us thrills at the racetrack we haven't experienced in a long while. She's an animal who is trained, ridden, cared for, and loved by those around her.  Enjoy her and appreciate her for what she has done for horse racing.  We need to be fans, not fanatics of this great sport and these incredible horses who just do what they do every day.  All are worthy of our admiration and affection whether they win awards or not...some just rise to the top and make us cheer a little louder than usual.  Thanks, Zennie, for the chance to get really excited about a sport I have ignored far too long.  I'll see you in Louisville!!  We all will be feverishly handicapping, nervously betting, excitedly anticipating, and uncontrollably screaming as they make the turn for home.  What a moment that will be; and no matter the outcome, it will be bittersweet as we watch the last race of one of the greatest mares of all time.  Our horse racing lives have been richer because of her, and it will be hard to say goodbye.  She doesn't replace Secretariat or any other great horse in history; she merely adds her name to the list and lets her record speak for itself. There are many princes and princesses this year deserving of accolades, but there is only one Queen.


a fan in "flyover land" with great love for horses, appreciation for the passion of the fans, and awe at the simple beauty of the animals.  Thanks, Team Z, for a great ride!  Pun intended! :)

16 Oct 2010 10:49 AM
The Bid

I can't believe the hatred for Zenatta, I am from NY. Zenatta is 2010 HOY no matter what happens in 3 weeks, Lookin at Lucky is not even the best 3 yr old, Eskendereya was better, and if LAL does win, he still only has 3 grade 1 wins, and really, who did beat this year? a bunch of slugs, that's who, as far as Blame and Quality Road, the horse that they have beaten are not any world beaters either. Right now Zenatta has won 5 grade 1's this year, is unbeaten and actually draws fans to the racetrack, She is the One and only. I know at Churchill Downs she will finally silence all her critics and prove it on the racetrack, She will run them all down, like she always does in the shadow of the wire. and she will be a deserving Horse of the Ages, not just Horse of the Year........

16 Oct 2010 10:52 AM

Frankel was dominant winning easily.  And Twice Over won another Gr 1.  Imagine that.

16 Oct 2010 11:03 AM

you are right about that I believe...however, if zenyatta would lose, and when historians look back and see that one of the best mares to ever run on the track did not win a "horse of the year" awaard, the whole process will be a mockery.  It will be a mockery that Curlin robbed it, and then the same owner ran his filly next year into the ground in order to achieve it.  They should have a separate award for the "best" horse in training, and it wouldn't have been a problem last year.

16 Oct 2010 11:06 AM

Cmon all you naysayers on Zenyatta are baiting and switching. Jason, you know that RA ducked Zenyatta 3 times, including last year's BCC. Her previous trainer confirmed that last week. RA was and is the most overrated, overhyped animal that the east coast bias has produced in a while.  She beat nobody, the Woodward wasnt HOY race, it was only a grade 2 at best, dont kid yourself. THE BCC matters this year, and not last, give me a break.

16 Oct 2010 11:16 AM

The Bid,

Zenyatta is hated feverishly by some because of jealously.

Jealously is a very powerful emotion.

16 Oct 2010 11:33 AM


Shirreffs makes perfect sense.  

Rather than face Zenyatta head on in the Breeders Cup Classic last year, Rachel Alexandra sat on the sidelines.

Her overrated campaign included running mainly against the 3-year olds, not the strongest group of horses last year. She beat second-tier older horses in the Woodward.

No one horse has dominated the older horse division this year; Blame, Quality Road, and the other contenders have played musical chairs.  

They all seem to lack the stamina/ability to win at the classic distance.  With the possible exception of Blame, QR and the others, like RA, appear to be middle distance runners.

Zenyatta is a throw-back to the past greats.  She can win at the classic distance of 1 ¼ against the highest level of competition.  

Looking at Lucky has risen to the top of the 3-year olds, but they are not at the level of Zenyatta.  

The surface excuse distracts from the main point that RA and most of the current competitors are not classic distance runners.  They have not defeated the toughest competitors at the classic distance.  For example, RA and QA have racked up wins against mediocre horses.  Though they won some of their races by 12+ lengths, with high Beyers, they all were at less than the

1 ¼ distance.

Zenyatta can do what RA did: sit out the Breeders Cup and still win HOY.  If it is an off-track it would seem the handlers would not jeopardize the safety of Zenyatta by running her on a potentially dangerous surface in her last race of her career. They did not run her in the Grade II race last year at Churchill Downs.

Right now the shoe is on the other foot.  Last year the mostly East Coast pundits downplayed the Classic, even though it had more Grade I winners and a stronger group of horses than this year will have.  This year they want to make it look like more is at stake for that same race.  

Remember last year’s mantra of the naysayers who handed the HOY to RA -- the Breeders Cup Classic is just one race.  Regardless who wins, Zenyatta has won the most Grade I races this year.  

Despite the constant whining of a few pundits related to Zenyatta running on the synthetic surface, Team Zenyatta is still willing to make the trip cross country to run on the dirt.  That is a major gesture to support the industry.

If Zenyatta runs and wins or loses it most likely will not have to do with the quality of the competition or lack thereof.

16 Oct 2010 11:56 AM

After all is said and done, the bottom line is that Zenyatta has run at the highest level over three years against anyone who chose to take her on (or not). She has dozens of excuses of why she should have been beat at some point, but was NOT. On the other hand, most of the other horses, including some of the legends, needed at least one of those excuses of why they WERE BEAT.

And why all the disdain for JJ about RA's retirement. Does he owe any of the voters or those who agree with them anything because he got HOTY (twice). I guess JM paid off the wrong people or at least didn't appease them.

Let's just hope this years BC does not turn into a cold mud hole or a sealed pavement that compromises the safety of the horses. The last thing JM/JS want is Zenyatta to be another Eight Belles. They would rather let JJ have another defeated retired HOTY.

16 Oct 2010 11:59 AM

Old Timer: YES

16 Oct 2010 12:04 PM

FourCats, the HOY award/voting is not based on a popularity contest or Z might have won last year, but it was and is and always will be BASED ON FACTS. Womens figure skating used to be based on popularity but it is very difficult to base HOY on or as a popularity contest . . . There are some other very great, fine horses that are up for 2010 HOY of the year and my most popular horse is Blame. HOY 2009 is over and written in history. Amen.

16 Oct 2010 12:08 PM

This just in...Twice Over just won the Grade 1 Champion Stakes.

That makes it 9 Grade 1 races that horses have won this year after getting clobbered by Zenyatta in the Classic.

They have also finished second 7 times in Grade 1 races as well.

16 Oct 2010 12:12 PM


I am in total agreement with contents of your post on 16 Oct 2010 10:04 AM. Zenyatta is an exceptional mare that has been well managed. Her management has made a major contribution to her unbeaten record and the rest is share ability. I am of the opinion that Genuine Risk remains the best mare in the last 33 years. Her record reads (15 Starts: 10 - 3 - 2, $646,587) She won the KD and was runner in the Preakness, Belmont and Third in the Wood Memorial. That performance should have landed her HOY. However, it did not. Subject to correction, three of her five defeats came against colts. A 3YO filly was subjected to three G1 races against big strong colts in five weeks covering an aggregate of 31 1/2 furlongs. A feat that is not likely to be repeated did not land this brilliant filly HOY. Why should there be any concession for The Zen mare if she does not win the BCC? That said it would be a nice way or her racing career to end. NB: No 6YO has won the BCC to date.

I will be waging a long shot as my policy is spending a little to gain a lot. My choice is a 5YO Horse that has only made started 9 times with 7 wins. I think he will enjoy 10F as his million dollar earning dame got the distance easily. Revisit her win in the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Distaff. This horse name can etched on the cup at a big price.

16 Oct 2010 12:16 PM


Your post at 1:00 a.m. was spot one. What's good for the goose, is good for the gander. The two best older males, Quality Road and Blame, have faced each other just once. And they've been running on the same circuit. Lookin At Lucky, who is a terrific three year old, hasn't run against them. People say Zenyatta hasn't even faced top quality females. Who are they? Blind Luck. Absolutely. Her trainer flew her 3000 miles away and gave 10 lbs. to a very good filly that BL had beaten by a nose, to get away from Zenyatta. That's not my "spin"; that's what Hollendorfer said. I have no doubt if Zenyatta won the HGC or the Pacific Classic, people would have said that Richard's Kid and Awesome Again weren't anything special.  For the last three years, detractors have been searching for a horse, any horse, to claim is better than Zenyatta. They're not going to change now, no matter what she does.

16 Oct 2010 12:21 PM

Zenyatta is a better horse than Ruffian, Personal Ensign or Rachel Alexandra. Zenyatta hasn't lost to anyone ever. She is the best closer of all time and if she wins can always have a claim on the adjective "unbeatable"  which will mean even more 50 or 100 years from now when people look back. Nobody asks who did Eclipse beat because of the passage of time, and any complaints about Zenyatta's schedule will be forgotten with the passage of time.  Her record and her status will endure.

She is a whole lot tougher competition for Lookin' At Lucky, Blame and Quality

Road than they are for her.  These horses have made a name for themselves beating Musket Man and First Dude, not exactly Breeders' Cup Classic Champions, so forgive me if I'm not worried at all about any of them in the Classic.

The great Eclipse was 18-18-0-0 and Zenyatta is 19-19-0-0 heading into the Classic. Personal Ensign is so far away in the rearview mirror its not even funny.  

16 Oct 2010 12:24 PM

  If HOTY is already decided at the end of August, then why have a BC or any other racing for that matter, after August? Thought it was HOT Year! I am sure owners would save some money and time this way.

  Let's cancel the BC this year and just have the awards now.

 Yes, most of us knew the votes were in last year before the BC had taken place, it was pretty much advertised by the turf writers and voters. You didn't fool us.

It is old news that Zenyatta beat the same bunch plus last year in the BCC. It fell upon dead ears. Even though she gave them all a great chance to beat her.

 The Zenyatta camp has always stated their campaign. They stayed true to the race on the East coast this year even when they could have scratched after RA was going to be a no show.  The money to lure them was less why come? But come she did and she won the Apple Blossom for the second time. I know, it was a fluke.

 Then she was criticized for not going to this race and that race against the males. If you owned her, wouldn't you want a horse that still had some gas in the tank left before her final destination. Not even to mention a sound horse! One that would be around for the BC?  Maybe not, because many have no clue how to manage race horses especially one of this caliber. Who by the way, is still racing at age 6! How many were retired or broke down this year, not even completing their 2 year old season? 2 in one week here on the Oklahoma training track.  

 Also,you mean to tell me...that there were no other fillies or mares that could have run against RA here in Saratoga this summer? It took a non graded stakes filly to beat her? Her ability was questionable, still trainers kept their horses in the barn? While what, 4 other trainers had the guts to give it a try. Stays true, horses run against who shows up. No flying needed for the PE and they still stayed in the barn. Following your logic Jason, maybe Persistently should be HOTY. She did beat last year's HOTY. I mean really your objectiveness is questionable when it comes to Zenyatta and her accomplishments. Remember, she has carried major weight(in these times of racing) and spotted fields up to 13 pounds or more. Always coming from behind plus being wide yet not needing a pace and still winning. She is the only one, no one gives credit to when her ability might be impaired. Why is that? Try running with 13 pounds more than your counter part and giving them a head start and tell me how easy it was to catch up non the less,win.


16 Oct 2010 12:29 PM
Michael S

Zenyatta gets my vote.  

16 Oct 2010 12:29 PM

I bet it rains all day on Nov. 6th at Churchill Downs for the BCC. Then what? Zen's Pride doesn't race in the soup and all this arguing and defending does no good. Then its the Blame and Lucky's race since Quality Road doesn't like the slop either. How come no one thinks of that?

16 Oct 2010 12:46 PM

Frankel and Twice Over both won their races impressively today at Newmarket.

Frankel won the Dewhurst Stakes by an easy 2 1/4 lengths. Dream Ahead finished a disappointing fifth, beaten just under seven lengths. Saamidd finished last.

In the Champions Stakes, Twice Over won for the second consecutive year, finishing up 1 3/4 lengths in front of Vision d'Etat. Arlington Million winner Debussy ran third after setting a pedestrian pace, beaten only 2 1/2 lengths by the winner.

Unfortunately, neither of them are pointing to the Breeders' Cup. Frankel is done for the year, and Twice Over is being pointed to the Dubai World Cup next year.


16 Oct 2010 12:52 PM

Great article and a fine interview. I would have to agree that if Quality Road, Blame or Lookin' at Lucky won the Classic, he would probably merit the HOY - but unless it was one of those three - based on this year's campaign as we have to - then Zen should be the hands down choice. The Classic is one race and it alone should never be overweighted in choosing the champion who is, after all, the YEAR'S champion. I'll be sorry to see her retire but happy I was here to see her do her thing. Horse of the ages? That's not a given - but she's certainly ONE of that elite group. As for the comment Shirriffs made about the wasted opportunity that came out of pitting two superstars (Rachel and Zen) against each other instead of rejoicing in both of them - I've never heard him say anything as truthful or as right as that. I'm a Rachel fan, yes, but that takes nothing away from the fact that we were blessed with 2 incredible creatures at the same point in history. Most of us will be long gone and turned to dust by the time that ever happens again. I wish Zen good luck in the Classic and thank her connections for sending her out for us to enjoy. Both Zen and Rachel prove that racing is not dead and that, if the public is given a chance to really know and love individual horses, they will come to see them run. And that's about the most positive thing I can think of!

16 Oct 2010 1:07 PM

By the way, did anyone see Aikenite in the 8th race at Keeneland yesterday? A seven furlong main track allowance race, he was facing older horses and simply blew them to pieces.

He sat just off of a moderate early pace and drew off impressively to a 5 1/2 lengths victory, stopping the clock in 1:20.88, just .02 seconds off the the track record set by Informed Decision two years ago. Perhaps he has finally found his niche in synthetic sprints!


16 Oct 2010 1:11 PM

Actually, didn't JJ get HOY three times? Didn't Curlin win it twice? And then of course Rachel! Come on guys. Swallow it. It's over and no one paid anyone off to get it. Let's hope Zen wins it this year. I do think the body of work she performed all season has earned it.

16 Oct 2010 1:14 PM

I find your comment that this year's BCC is truly a test of champions interesting.  Why wasn't last year's BCC a test of champions?

16 Oct 2010 1:18 PM
Not 2 Ha P

If Zenyatta will not be this year HOY win or lose I think is a very big mistake cause aside from the great help she did to the racing industry it is the happiness of the racing fans watching her usual come from behind run and win the race and with a to-date excellent record of 19to19. Zenyatta should and must be the 2010 HOY win or lose.  

16 Oct 2010 1:20 PM

Its fair that Mr. J. Sherrifs commented that it is Zenyatta's year win or lose in BC Classic.

If she lose, it is the only lose she have this year. And if you look at her past performance, she dominates every race she had.

I love Lookin at Lucky and Quality Road, but they didn't dominate the races they run and/or they just run on less competent horses.

I believe, HOY 2010 is already decided, Zenyatta!

16 Oct 2010 1:23 PM
Paula Higgins

You know what, next year we are going to be real sorry that Zenyatta and Rachel are no longer racing. There will be a huge hole left in this sport, we can count on it. I strongly suggest that the people voting for HOTY don't add the adjective "mockery" to it as well. It is not the way to add fans or viewership. This year is the last opportunity to vote for Zenyatta as HOTY. If the industry fails to rise to the occasion this time, you will probably lose viewers and bettors, forget about gaining any. It will be one step closer to racings nuclear self-destruct button.

16 Oct 2010 1:56 PM
cat thief

The whole discussion is mute, and will be shown to be as Zenyatta flies past Blame and/or Lucky in deep stretch.  There's your tri...throw in Musket Man, Crown of Thorns and Morning Line for the show spot.

QR = wont handle Churchill especially at 10F, he should stick to Gulfstream-like tracks and 9F.

16 Oct 2010 1:56 PM
Pedigree Ann

"How can you say Zenyatta is not a great horse? She is 19 for 19."

So is Peppers Pride. Streaks mean nothing, if you don't face open company.  And let's face it; female races are not open. In my time I've seen many a great mare face the boys after dominating females; some of them ran fine with the guys, but some of them couldn't take the step up. Like Susan's Girl, for whom I have always had the greatest respect. So I have to say that just running with mares is not enough to prove 'all-time' greatness.

We in this country have been sold a bill of goods that somehow it 'damages' a female to run against males. Nobody thought that way 29 years ago when Easy Goer's dam Relaxing took on John Henry in the JC Gold Cup (she ran 3rd); she had beaten the guys in the G2 Gallant Fox the year before. Nor when Bayakoa faced the boys in the Big 'Cap (she ran 4th).  

I've been involved in this sport for 40 years, before there were Eclipse awards, when the DRF and TRA each named champions, often not the same ones. It has ALWAYS been that the same race that determines the overall championship one season becomes less definitive another. Like the Woodward in 1957, when top 3yo Sword Dancer beat top older horse Hillsdale a nose, versus the Woodward in 1973, when Prove Out beat Secretariat in the slop.

P.S. So many of the races now called G1s are not truly of that caliber. The committee has substituted a numerical formula for judgment and as a result, we have had serious 'grade inflation' going on for a decade and more. Is the Prioress S. truly of the same caliber as the Kentucky Oaks or the Alabama? I think not.

16 Oct 2010 2:04 PM
Jason Shandler

Dear Lord Paula, could you be any more dramatic? She'll win the award if she earns it on Nov. 6. If not, I somehow think we'll all manage to go on.

Pedigree Ann: Shhhh. You are making too much sense. These people cant handle the facts. They want the fantasy instead.

16 Oct 2010 2:06 PM
Not 2 Ha P

As clearly said, Rachel is a great horse but Zenyatta is equally great too.  Now that 19for19 Zenyatta is the remaining great horse running, hence, the 2010 HOY should and must be given to her, no buts no ifs.  

16 Oct 2010 2:06 PM


And just saying your horse should be HOTY will not make it come true; however, THAT logic you are ready and willing to buy...

Even after the WHOLE year team ZEN fans were convinced they did not care about the "stupid" award....

Voters will decide after the season is done. If she wins the BCC, she will be probably be the unanimous choice, as she should be.

16 Oct 2010 2:12 PM


Yes, Rachel sat out the BC last year.  She raced 8 times by the beginning of September.  Z raced 4 times by that time.  RA lost 150 pounds after the Woodward beating older males, a feat not ever done before.  She was only 3!  That's a big deal.  RA beat grade 1 males and you and others have belittled everything this tremendous filly did.  She was gutted at the end of the Woodward and people demanded she run in the BC and win to win HOY. It's really funny when a Z fan criticizes RA's competition but goes Bezerk if it is said about Z.  Let's face it, the same arguments have been used against both horses and the truth is when the competition is belittled, it is the only argument you can find.  What really irks me is the hatred I have seen on these blogs from the few who feel that RA was a mediocre horse because of who she beat and Z is the only one who beat good horses.  How lame that argument is.  It's just as lame to argue that against Z.  I do agree that Z should have raced against males this year.  I believe she would have prevailed but they have put all their eggs in one basket and that is not the horse's fault.  

As far as those berating Jason for his opinions he keeps this real.  He does not backdown and I admire him for that.  He plays the devil's advocate beautifully and his blog is always jumping.  One on here said he flip flops.  No he doesn't, not at all and by the way, the person who said Jason didn't admit he was wrong about Z last year....he wrote a blog admitting he was wrong.  He ate crow and didn't mind.

As for HOY, very good points have been made on both sides, good arguments all.  By the way, Jason's points are not mired in "east coast bias" he just feels HOY should be based on a challenging campaign. What's wrong with that?  As for this year's HOY i still think Z should get it and I think she will. QR, LAL and Blame are all good horses but Z is at the top of the heap.  If she wins the BCC how could she not?  But just think of the exciting year she could have given us if she had had a different campaign.  I'm not talking a back breaking campaign but one different from the 3 she has run.  I think she has been held back from a truly amazing year one that could not be called boring but one that would have prevented anyone from being a "naysayer".

16 Oct 2010 2:13 PM

Great post, Pedigree Ann!  Very well said and quite true.

16 Oct 2010 2:18 PM

Great post, Pedigree Ann.

16 Oct 2010 2:28 PM

The simple version is: if Zenyatta wins the BCC she should be HOTY.End of story.If she does not win its gets very complicated and depends on who wins and how the other contenders finish.I think Looking at Lucky has raced the most and certainly would deserve to be HOTY if he steps up,and beats all of the older contenders.If Blame or Quality Road nose out Zenyatta or Lucky,maybe /maybe not on who should be HOTY.I think any scenario where none of these 4 win ,Zenyatta will be HOTY on the popularity side of the vote.

I hope she wins so it is clear cut.The past 2 years she simply did not do enough against what Curlin and Rachel did.This year she is in better position because Blame and Quality Road have run campaigns similar to Zenyatta's ,just 4 or 5 well spaced races in preparation for the BCC.

GunBow tried to compare Zenyatta's campaign to Azeri's and Lady's Secret's  HOTY campaigns.The comparison to Azeri was on target-a lot of the same races. Azeri benefitted from not having a standout campaign from the 3yo and older male divisions. The comparison to Lady's Secret was a bit off!The Iron Lady did not win HOTY beacuse she ran in races like Zenyatta raced in.She won because she ran in races that Zenyatta,Blame,Quality Road,Malibu Prayer,Life at Ten,Just Jenda and others  all ran in:

Santa Margarita,Apple Blossom,Hemptstead(Now the Ogden Phipps),Shuvee,Molly Pitcher,Metropolitan,Whitney,,Iselin,Woodward,Maskette (Now the Go for Wand),Ruffian,Beldame and BC Distaff(when it was 10F).She raced males 3 times in the month of Aug alone before coming back a week later for the Maskette and then 3 more races.A campaign of 15 races ,13 grade 1's ,4 Grade 1 against males;never worse than a close 3rd.That is almost as many races as Blame,Quality Road and Zenyatta will have this year combined!Yes I know it was tough on her but what she did was monumental,the type of campaign we will never see again!

16 Oct 2010 2:30 PM

I simply cannot understand the seeminly haters of Zenyatta.  She is one of the top five Thoroughbred Racehorses OF ALL TIME. I am not from the West Coast and I realize this.  Everyone should just enjoy this brief moment in history that comes along once ever 25 or 30 years.  Look how long it has been since Secretariat, Affirmed, Seattle Slew, John Henry and others.  She does not have to prove anything else but I hope to God she wins the Classic.  I will be in the barn area and walking her to the track thanks to freinds.  I begged them for this honor.  I believe even if she wins the Classic the haters will find a way to give HOY to someone else.  No matter - we know who the best horse in the last 25 years is and that is Zenyatta. 19 without being beat on the level she raced will not happen again soon.  Also, I have not heard of a locked gate preventing horses to travel to California to face the mighty Z.

16 Oct 2010 2:33 PM

I am tired of people bashing Rachel for not showing at the Classic last year, it is not  her fault, and if your horse has nothing left in the tank after WINNING 8 races in ONLY 7 months, Zenyatta only ran in 5 races in 5-6 months....that's 1 a month, if that, and only 1 race against males, Rachel made a record in almost every race that year, like 3 in the Preakness alone, Zenyatta can't say that the only record Z broke last year was in the if your filly had run 8 races in 7 months, and had nothing left in the tank after that strenuos campaign, would you have forced the horse to run another race when there was nothing left for your horse to prove? I dont think so, if you would that would basically be called abuse...and btw Rachel beat Summer Bird by 6 under a hand ride, whereas Zenyatta beat him by less than 4 with a whip.....

16 Oct 2010 2:37 PM

Jason do we have a wager?

16 Oct 2010 2:41 PM

Really appreciated Johnny's comment about Zenyatta, "She is bigger than HOY!!!"  Great point about a GREAT race mare!

16 Oct 2010 2:44 PM


If Big Z can win back to back BC Classics she should get horse of the decade. I never dreamed she could actually win last year but if she repeats it will be unreal and a picture perfect way to close out her career. There would have to be a movie made about her someday. I do think Blame is going to be hard to handle back at Churchill though so she will have to run another huge one. Have interview up with Al Stall talking about Blame and also still have Mike Smith up as well talking Z

thanks for always having great stuff that get all talking.

16 Oct 2010 2:45 PM

Some wacked-out comments in this thread. Whew. ...

16 Oct 2010 2:46 PM

and just one more thing about Lucky that will let him win HOY if he wins the Classic...... (correct me if Im wrong on this that Im about to say)Lookin At Lucky IS THE MOST traveled horse this year, by year end he will have traveled cross country AT LEAST 10 times (from CA to Arkansas,from Arkansas to CA, to KY from CA, to CA from MD, from CA to NJ, from NJ to CA, from CA to Hoosier(not sure what state), from Hoosier to CA, from CA to KY, from KY to CA, and state to state once (KY to MD) if you ask me that's a VERY traveled horse, all this traveling and his only losses were due to horrendous trips, any lesser horse might lose from exhaustion with that much traveling, and even if he runs into a bit of a bad trip he can still win(Rebel

16 Oct 2010 2:51 PM

Fuzzy Corgi - You said everything I wanted to say.  The California races don't seem to count.  Anyone who watches the sport regularly sees California horses ship around and win so I don't get the disrespect at all.  Just follow trainers Bob Baffert, Jerry Hollendorfer and John Sadler.

16 Oct 2010 2:59 PM

All of a sudden it matters THIS year who should/could/might get Horse Of The Year based on winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic? Give me a break! No one gave a hoot last year even before Zenyatta was going in the 'Classic since Rachel Alexeandra "had Horse Of Year all sewn up" is how one journalist summed it up. Objective...yeah, right. If Zenyatta loses a nose, neck,head or even a length to Blame, Quality Road or Lookin At Lucky, she doesn't deserve Horse Of The Year? Sounds like there are already excuses NOT to give her the award. The great thing is, she'll always have her record, which will be 19 for 20 or 20 for 20 (imagine that!) which speaks for itself.

16 Oct 2010 3:03 PM

Regarding the comments about running in the slop for Breeder's Cup.  John Shirreffs stated the day of the race at Churchill Downs last year that he wanted them to harrow the track.  They chose to seal the track instead.  He stated in his interview at Keeneland this week that he would have ran her if they had harrowed the track instead of sealing it.  Why can't people understand there is a difference in running on a sealed track?  He and the owners made the decision to protect their horse.  I have heard it said by people in the business that they do not like running their horses on sealed tracks.  Why is that a bad thing?  Yeah, I know horses do it every single day but does that make it right or good?  If the track is sealed BC day Z will probably be scratched.  I would do the same thing if I owned her.  

16 Oct 2010 3:09 PM

The most entertaining part of this blog is listening to folks that obviously have less than a 10 year history lesson on the Sport of Kings trying to make points without any real context of the sports history, let alone the quarter century of the BC.

Why is it so obvious? Anyone who has TRULY followed the sport (not glanced at it) for decades knows that horses like Quality Road, Blame, Richard's Kid and Haynesfield are only mediocre horses (at a classic distance) compared to what has run at the top levels throughout history, let alone the BC Classic.

Quality Road is a quality miler, period. Compared to the best milers in history he is not even great at that distance.  He folds to real pressure everytime and any distance longer than a mile he would have no chance against the best with any other real speed in the race. After a mile and with every 1/16th added he becomes more and more average when compared to the best (just in the history of the BC).

Blame is a grade 2 horse in the context of history, no better. Richard's Kid, Haynesfield and the rest aren't worth mentioning again.

The only two horses that have any historical significance as far as their quality as Classic distance horses are Zenyatta and possibly LAL, as he is the only horse in the race with a chance to beat Zenyatta (and he is gonna need a bunch of racing luck to do it).

This whole campaign thing is hilarious.  Really?  Zenyatta needs to beat Richard's Kid in the Pacific or Goodwood to gain your confidence in her?


There was no and is no great campaign for Zenyatta to have run this year. Newsflash: There aren't any other U.S. based dirt or synthetic horses that are great.  None.  The only other horse besides Zenyatta with a chance for greatness is LAL.

Why should Zenyatta travel the U.S. beating up mediocre fields (whoever entered) when the connections knew it would all work itself out and the best would show up for the BC Classic?

She won the Classic against all comers last year. She will do it again this year.

How many times does she have to beat the likes of Richard's Kid during the course of a year to prove herself?

You will see this year because with that Churchill stretch she won't just win this race, she will absolutely dominate it.  The field, however, will still be made up of no better than an average BC Classic field, save LAL and Z.

Campaign, please... Use your eyes and your common sense and there can be no doubt who the best horse in training is.

Also, this whole idea about writers picking champions is a red herring.  Only in college football (which is a national disgrace for having no playoff) and olympic type sports do writers vote for champions.  They vote for MVP's and All-Pro teams and the like.

The NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL decide it on the field.  There needs to a dynamic point system in place in U.S. horseracing for all divisions and for all too see.  Then a trainer/owner could point for exactly the title they would like for their horse.

This bunk about one race shouldn't decide a championship is just that, bunk.  Zenyatta has won 5 grade 1 races this season (regardless of your opinion of those races they happened and they count).

Every horse that lines up in the gate of the Classic will have had to have earned that spot during the course of the season. So it's not ONE race, but rather the Championship race.  Does the Superbowl not count because it's only one game?

16 Oct 2010 3:13 PM

Jason, I'll save you the problem you seem to face concerning HOY. Zenyatta wil win the Classic with anywhere near a clean trip.In reading many of your blogs it's obvious that you fall into the Andrew Beyer catagory of Zenyatta being overrated, oblivious to the fact of 19 for 19 lifetime, including the '09 Classic, and five for five G I's in the current year. The basis for your opininon seems to be racing in California and her competition. Possibly you could keep in mind that her races have come at distances and tracks not favorable to her running style and carrying high weights yet she  kicks in and gets the wire with the heart of a true champion and ears pricked each and every time. As I recall your '09 HOY was a filly therefore you shouldn't be biased by the fact she has been racing fillies. Your Rachel bias seem evident and was reflected in the statement that your vote last season wasn't even close. That is somewhat interesting from a competition standpoint since the males that Rachel defeated were quite suspect and none were around in last years BC would speak volumes. However you continue to espouse the fact she hasn't faced males. But now, it's she hasn;t faced males this year. It didn't seem to be a problem in last years BC yet you continue in making that a major issue for this years voting. A mile and a quarter is dead in her wheelhouse, something that can't be said for most that will line up against her. Truly great horses win at classic distances as she did with ease last year and November 6th, 2010 has been reserved for a 20 for 20 Horse of the Year - the classic Zenyatta.

p.s. your offer to a previous poster to take the field against Zenyatta is very kind indeed - I'm sure Vegas would love those odds - pick a horse partner.

16 Oct 2010 3:16 PM
Jason Shandler

One of the top 5 Thoroughbreds of all-time? lol. Lynnhurst...Oh forget it. It's not worth it.

16 Oct 2010 3:16 PM
Jason Shandler

Anyone that wants a wager with me, email me directly. I wont do this over the blog.

16 Oct 2010 3:17 PM
Jason Shandler

mg: I will make a selection. Unlike you, it wont be until the FIELD is drawn. You see, handicappers wait until they have all the facts, they dont pick the race 3 weeks out. I'll teach you, just follow me.

Zenyatta is 19-for-19 right? She is the best horse in the country right? She will be the 2-1 favorite right?. You shouldnt have any problem giving me the field.

16 Oct 2010 3:23 PM

Well said Pedigree Ann.

With no dirt standouts this year, HOY will come down to who wins the Classic. What if Zenyatta, Blame, Quality Road, Luckin At Lucky fail to hit the board but Proviso beats Goldi? Should HOY go to Proviso?

16 Oct 2010 3:31 PM

I agree completely Shiznik with your 3:13 post. You said it perfectly!

16 Oct 2010 3:34 PM

"mg: I will make a selection. Unlike you, it wont be until the FIELD is drawn. You see, handicappers wait until they have all the facts, they dont pick the race 3 weeks out. I'll teach you, just follow me."

That's funny. Who do you think can show up that we don't already know about?  In this race all I need to know is Zenyatta is in the gate.  Done. Handicapped.  I had this one handicapped the second after the Moss's announced they weren't going to retire Zenyatta.  

In most cases Jason, you would be right, but this one needs no capping' for the win position and post position means nothing to Zenyatta and her connections.

My false teeth have been with me handicapping longer than you have been alive. Lol, handicapping a mediocre field against a great horse like Zenyatta.  Take all the time you need, sir.

16 Oct 2010 3:35 PM

I can't wait until Zenyatta is retired. Then maybe I won't have to hear about her all the time anymore.

16 Oct 2010 3:49 PM

Speaking of the Breeders' Cup, an update has been posted for sold out seats.

As of now with three weeks to go there has been a total of 22 sections in both Grandstand and Clubhouse that have been completely sold. This is in addition to the Suites in the 6th floor Jockey Club, Millionaires Row (4 & 6) and Finish Line Suites.

Get your tickets fast!

16 Oct 2010 3:51 PM

The facts of the Horse of the Year:

Zenyatta ran in 5 G1 for females races and won them all. Almost identical campaign as last year.

Lucky did the Derby campaign won the Preakness, the Haskell, and the Indiana Derby.  Last year Rachel Alexander won the Preakness, the Haskell, and the Woodward.  She skipped the BC Classic and still won HOY.  I was at the BC last year and saw Zenyatta win.  It was amazing. I was one that thought Zenyatta should have won HOY.  I don't know the details of how the HOY is picked but, think about this. If Rachel won last year without even going to the BC and Lucky had an almost identical campaign as her this year and wins the Classic. Then is there even a question of who should win HOY?

16 Oct 2010 3:54 PM


I thought you already had your horse...Blame.

What happended? Having second thoughts?

I know if Blame was my selection I would have second thoughts. And maybe third or perhaps fourth thoughts...

16 Oct 2010 3:54 PM
Linda in Texas

When ya'll consider all of the articles, the races, the winners, the losers, the fans, my goodness. And when thinking about the past year, which horse pops into your minds first, before you think about bias, left or right coast, favorites, trainers, jockeys, tracks, bets, or anything? Which horse is the first horse that comes to your mind?? That is still able to race at the age of 6 ??? And has won 19 out of 19?? Tell me.

I was wishing Quality Road the best but what has he won and who has he beat? If you are going to use the standard that Zenyatta has not raced any males on the right coast, then how many races has Quality Road, Blame of Lookin' at Lucky or any of the others mentioned here as candidates for HOTY won on the left coast? If there is no standard for a male horse to deserve to win HOTY when he only races on one coast,as opposed to a female horse that has only raced on the left coast then why suddenly are her talents dismissed?  If a male horse runs on one darn coast and wins and a female runs on the opposite coast and wins, then what is the next elimiating factor? I mean my heart is palpitating. I know i am not in friendly territory here with everyone and i am going with Old Timer and Paula Higgins and Zookeeper and Sodapopkid and Dr. Drunkinbum and many others. I am just trying to understand the reasoning of the comments i find unreasonable. It ain't easy.

What was the talk and banter last year at this time? Rachel Alexandra, bless her too, does not even run in the BC, and the horse that wins the BCC doesn't get it? And Rachel does? I don't get it. It boils down to something that is unspoken here. It is discrimination for a couple of reasons. I think some of the guys are worried that possibly the HOTY is going to another female 2 years in a row and maybe that is the gut wrenching issue, truth be told.

To say favorites, and i refer to Blame,Quality Road and Lookin' at Lucky in all of his races, who i was solidly pulling for, would deserve the HOTY even if they win the BCC,is contradictory.

By some folks reasoning and comments makes me wonder what horse not running in this year's BCC could possibly win HOTY using last year's reasons.

I mean, this is ridiculous.

Years ago, I told my soon to be ex husband, "what is good for the gander is good for the goose."

Judge agreed. Case closed, Next.

And Goldie, i just read your post, you said what it took me all these words to say. Should just ditto you and save time. But i am sending this anyway.

Many are just moving the hat around to see where the bean is going to show up next. It is almost comical. And heck yeah, i am biased. I came back to horse racing after leaving when Ruffian was fatally injured. It took a long time for me to get over her. Sent the Janney's a check in her memory, they sent it back with a beautiful signed 8 x 10 photo of Ruffian with a note,they could not accept it.  Then i come back and Eight Belles breaks down and is put out of her misery and pain, may they never be forgotten, but i stayed this time in their honor. And i will not relent in my support of what i really think is not only correct, but deserved and right.

In my own mind i think every horse is horse of the year every time one gets on a track someplace.

But those who win and win and win and stay in good shape and come back to race over and over, deserve special recognition.

I will submit this and hope i have not said an untruth in any of my statements.

Jason tells Paula, 'she'll' meaning Zenyatta, win the award if she earns it on Nov. 6. Where was Rachel last year??? She won it.

Like i said,moving the hat around

to find the bean.

On a sign inside a restaurant in San Antonio where i grew up was written "It was a brave man that ate the first oyster" same for me, "you have to be a brave person to post on Jason's Blog."

16 Oct 2010 4:01 PM
Mike Relva


Let me connect the dots for you,if you don't want to her about her,don't read the blogs. That's as simple as it gets!

16 Oct 2010 4:02 PM

As a racing fan for 35 years (since I was 8 and found my first book about famous race horses) I not only follow current runners but read everything I can find about the greats of the past.

Native Dancer is my all time favorite and I have read tons of information about him. I have NEVER before compared another horse to him.  That being said, what is happening with Zenyatta now reminds me of what I read about him.  They are the peoples horses, having tons of fans that follow their every move and storm the racetrack to see them run. They have an intelligence that can appear to give them a human like understanding of what is going on around them. On the racetrack they appear to be having a great time - running for the love of it. They seem to know they are superior and only do what is necessary to win, while giving an unbelievable thrill to all who are watching. It was said then that the Dancer knew when to start his run (so much so that he sometimes did it without a cue from the jockey)and he regularly pulled himself up once reaching the lead. Evidently Zenyatta does the same thing. Like they know the only way to have any competition is to give them a big head start, makes it fun for them and a thrill for all of us, right?  He was almost perfect but for a terrible ride by his jockey in the Derby. Now we have his great-great-great granddaughter Zenyatta, perfect so far with a very real possibility of remaining so. To me there are great horses and "all time" great horses. We have seen many great horses over the years but in my opinion the last "all time" great I saw was Spectacular Bid. I have been waiting for another to come along and I believe we are witnessing it with her! Win or lose in the Classic she has been something special that we may not see again in our lifetime! What a great time to be a racing fan!  

16 Oct 2010 4:04 PM
Linda in Texas

I did say an untruth, Looking at Lucky has been a ton of miles and to both coasts.

Next to Zenyatta i appreciate Looking at Lucky, a real trooper in every sense of the word, respect him tremendously and have since he came on the scene. And wish him the best and safe travels in the future.

16 Oct 2010 4:10 PM

Pedigree Ann,

Females racing against males. Yeah, what's the point?

Zenyatta has already taken on the best assembled male class in any race last year and beat them. Have you noticed that those horses have come back and won 9 Grade 1 races already this year? That makes that group of horses that Zenyatta beat the winners of 30 Grade 1 races.

And are you not content that Zenyatta is set to be facing racing's best boys again in Classic. Again.

Or perhaps did you want Zenyatta to face males in a race like last year's Haskell, where they was just one winning Grade 1 horse in the whole bunch?

16 Oct 2010 4:16 PM

Needler in VA:  Well said, indeed.

Kelly: Well written, and very thoughtful.  If people were more like horses the world would be a much better place.

Zookeeper:  Actually, I won't give a tinker's damn if anyone tips their cap or not after the fact. Should Zenyatta win or lose, we all have been very fortunate to witness two incredibly talented distaffers over the past few years.  Let's let the vitriolic spewing die the horrible death it deserves.

16 Oct 2010 4:17 PM
Jason Shandler

Funny that you mention grade I winning horses John. That "one" in the Haskell is one more than Zenyatta has beaten all year.

16 Oct 2010 4:19 PM
Mike Relva


LOL,seems like you said the same thing last year regarding Zenyatta not able to win the Breeders'. Good luck w/ that. LOL Maybe you will have the same reaction as you did last year after it's over when you went underground for awhile.

16 Oct 2010 4:20 PM

The BC Classic matters a lot, but it doesn't determine horseracing's championship.  It's like the equivalent of college football's Rose Bowl or Orange Bowl before they put in the phony "national championship" game. It's usually the second most important race of the year after the Kentucky Derby, but it's not for the championship all by itself.

Zenyatta should have been HOY last year, not because she won the BC Classic, but because she was the best horse, and beat the best competition on the track.  And a lot of voters agreed and voted for her in one of the closest HOY votes in history.  But more voted for Rachel Alexandra's whose campaign within her age group was one of the best in history.  (Beat the Derby winner, won the Preakness, demolished the Belmont winner)

You could have made a strong case for either.  I think Zenyatta's case was stronger, but the majority of voters disagreed and it's over.  Can we move on to THIS year already?

This year like in the majority of years, horseracing's champion will come out of the Classic because there are none of those standout campaigns by horses in other divisions that are more compelling.

No Favorite Tricks, no Kotashaans and no Rachel Alexandras.  Blind Luck barely beat Havre De Grace twice, lost to her the third time and lost to Switch.  That's not a filly even under consideration for HOY.

If Zenyatta wins the Classic, or even runs a very strong second, she'll likely earn the championship.  And in a year where there are no other outstanding campaigns to rival hers, that's how it should be won.

16 Oct 2010 4:26 PM


Hold that thought until about 6:50 EST on Nov. 6 then send it again.

16 Oct 2010 4:28 PM

Zookeeper:  I did not mean to imply the you were a vitriolic spewer - not at all.  That should have been a separate paragraph.

16 Oct 2010 4:28 PM
Mike Relva


Unlike Draynay,I don't go as the wind blows. If the big mare is in the gate it's over. Here's an idea maybe connections will reconsider and race her until she's twenty and winning at Saratoga so she will finally have your approval.

16 Oct 2010 4:30 PM
Mademoiselle Mondatta

Mon Deiu!!!  Reading all the bickering is MERDE!!!

The Mademoiselle will ALWAYS be a champ to those who love her and will NEVER be a champ (even if she wins this year's BCC by 50 lenghts) to those that don't. Cannot undertsand the need to fight about it. Funny thing is, SO MANY horsemen who have been training, owning, and working with horses for longer than most of these bloggers have been alive has previously stated Zenyatta is one of the best we'll ever see. Time for everyone to get over trying to convince their adversaries otherwise and just STICK WITH WHO THEY LIKE. NONE of us have a vote in HOTY so sit back, RELAX and enjoy the ride to the awards show on whichever horse you deem worthy.

It will be one wonderful ride for sure and hopefully nobody will get their feelings or egos hurt too easily if they don't win.

It's funny how a love of this sport and the horses that make it so divides and separates worse than a good bra or political campaign!

16 Oct 2010 4:45 PM

To all the people attacking Jason,

He is being objective. The races she entered this year are not the typical races of a HOY candidate. Other horses have been successful in the races befitting a HOY.

The fields she faced were weak...not a single GI winner yet. The fields QR and Blame faced were against males and did have multiple Grade I winners or at least multiple Graded Stakes winners.

How can people be so shocked? She didn't even run in the premier races in California, and yet, now you are all claiming that win or lose the Classic, she DESERVES HOY?

No. If she were the best horse in the country, she should have been regularly facing the best in her own state at least! She is a great horse, no doubt, but her campaigns have not been difficult at all.

I think the horse who had the most difficult and successful campaign

should win it. Her connections claimed at one point they didn't care about the award, now they have done an about face (like they have about her supposedly coming out of retirement to travel more.)

If they truly wanted HOY, they should have campaigned her as such. They did not. Don't complain now. They should have realized by now their formula of only one big race doesn't work.

And it's too bad...she is one of the best for sure.

16 Oct 2010 4:55 PM
Jason Shandler

Be careful Christine, you are making sense. Many of the Zenyatta fans dont want to hear the facts.

16 Oct 2010 5:02 PM

...He (Jason) is being objective."

God, that's great. I about fell off my chair and into the cat litter box on that one.

Christine, that made my day.


16 Oct 2010 5:18 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

Who has Zenyatta beaten?

20 G1 winners

14 G2 winners

6 G3 winners

13 listed winners

5 restricted winners

..and everyone else who has raced against her.

16 Oct 2010 5:23 PM

"...Following your logic Jason, maybe Persistently should be HOTY. She did beat last year's HOTY. I mean really your objectiveness is questionable when it comes to Zenyatta and her accomplishments. Remember, she has carried major weight(in these times of racing) and spotted fields up to 13 pounds or more. Always coming from behind plus being wide yet not needing a pace and still winning. She is the only one, no one gives credit to when her ability might be impaired. Why is that? Try running with 13 pounds more than your counter part and giving them a head start and tell me how easy it was to catch up none the less, win."

Anne 16 Oct 2010 12:29 PM

Be careful Anne, you are making sense. Many of the "I Hate Zenyatta" fanatics don't want to hear the facts.

16 Oct 2010 5:30 PM
Paula Higgins

Yup Jason, I COULD be more dramatic, but I won't go there. That's when I go nuclear and you ban me for life. There is no doubt where I stand. But as far as racing goes, if Zenyatta is denied HOTY, you WILL lose fan support for the sport. California fans won't understand it and we "Californians" in the other 49 states won't get it either. But, I don't think that is going to happen. I think most people in racing undertsand that this is their last chance to honor her and she will be awarded HOTY, whether she wins or loses the BCC. I know she will run a gutsy race no matter how it turns out and that's all we can ask of her.

Linda from Texas, loved your post. Laughed my head off at some of your comments.

16 Oct 2010 5:33 PM

Goldie- I knew that. :)

Christine- So who so far, in you opinion, has run a HOY campaign this year? According to Jason, you are making sense so I would like to know whose campaign this year is meeting your "sensible" expectations. Please don't answer with a multiple choice. Name ONE horse that stands out.

16 Oct 2010 5:35 PM

That makes it 9 Grade 1 races that horses have won this year after getting clobbered by Zenyatta in the Classic.

They have also finished second 7 times in Grade 1 races as well.

John 16 Oct 2010 12:12 PM

You all seem to keep talking about the horses that Zenyatta beat in the 2009 Breeders Cup Classic.  

How many of those Grade 1 wins after the Classic came on synthetics.  Pathetic arguments from jealous fans, I enjoy basking in the glow of 3 Straight Horse of the years being my favorite horse.  If looking at lucky wins it this year which i believe he will that will be 4 straight.  How many of you Zenites can say your horse has a HOY trophy, here's a better question, were you all sitting there with the sour puss face like Jerry Moss when it was announced that Rachel was the top horse in 2009. I love it.

16 Oct 2010 6:06 PM
zenyatta mondatta

I beleive the 100 voters that voted for Zenyatta last year for HOTY will give her their vote this year as well.  So we know she already has 100 votes for 2010 HOTY.   Steve Haskin said he didnt vote either way last year, but I bet he gives her his vote this year.  I guarantee, she has more fan writers going to give her their praises and vote this year.

16 Oct 2010 6:27 PM

Fuzzy Corgi,  Don't forget, Twice Over just won another grade 1 race today.    

We dont want the naysayers getting the benifit of any stone left unturned.

16 Oct 2010 6:30 PM
kathleen o

afleet, how many of your HOY choices have 19 wins..............oh yea, none.  

16 Oct 2010 6:33 PM

I'm surprised how many people think zenyatta should win HOY without winning the classic...that's simply not going to happen if one of the other key horses win. If she loses, she will not have beaten a g1 winner all year... this is horse of the YEAR we are talking about, from january to december, that's it.  For people who she think she should be honored for what she has done for racing, they are correct, its called the HALL OF FAME

16 Oct 2010 6:45 PM
Tom V

So how did that conversation with John go, oh wait.

Very strange how those who are on the side of the blogger and have negative things to say about Zenyatta et al have great posts.

I think she's great for the game right now.

Anything else is gravy.

16 Oct 2010 6:46 PM
Bet Twice

Pedigree Ann,  

Let's look at the "open company" argument.  I take open company to mean races open to all sexes and ages.  If you look through most of HOY winners who were either 2, 3 or female, very, very few of them faced "open" company more than once or twice.  Those that did tended to do it in the Breeders Cup Classic (as Zenyatta did last year and will again this year) and quite a few never did:

Azeri never faced open company

Point Given never faced open company

Charismatic never faced open company.

Favorite Trick never faced open company

Seattle Slew never faced open company (at 3)

Open company brilliance should give you the upper hand, but in the instances where there isn't a dominant older male performance, its an illusion that you have to repeatedly beat outside your own division to be considered HOY.  

Streaks don't matter unless in open company:

I seem to recall Personal Ensign getting quite a bit of attention for retiring undefeated (having faced open company exactly once).  Clearly, Azeri and Favorite Trick won HOY going undefeated never facing open company.  Everyone seems to get really excited when a three year old is undefeated going into the Derby (Seattle Slew, Smarty Jones, Big Brown, etc...)  

Comparing Zenyatta to Peppers Pride is just silly.  Going undefeated, even in your own division, is extremely rare.  Doing it for 3 years is pretty extraordinary.  Where that puts Zen in the pantheon of racing greats?   Who knows?  But Pepper's Pride?  That not only denigrates Zenyatta, that denigrates Ruffian, Winning Colors, Genuine Risk, Personal Ensign, Rags to Riches, Rachel Alexandra, Azeri and every other great racemare that primarily beat their own sex.

The G1 argument:

"So many of the races now called G1s are not truly of that caliber. The committee has substituted a numerical formula for judgment and as a result, we have had serious 'grade inflation' going on for a decade and more. Is the Prioress S. truly of the same caliber as the Kentucky Oaks or the Alabama? I think not."

How do you define "caliber"?  In the Prioress vs. Oaks comparison, are you saying distance is a criteria in the value of a G1?  The Prioress has spawned a few champion sprint fillies so what makes it less deserving of its G1 status?  The Apple Blossom is a G1.  This year's field was so-so but last year's was super.  Azeri won HOY, Zenyatta Older Mare Champion (2x) and Life is Sweet won the BC Distaff off of the races you suggest aren't worthy of G1 status.  How do you quantify value in G1's?  The Forego , the Vosburgh and the Met Mile aren't as popular or storied as the KY Derby or the Whitney, but I'd take Ghostzapper's Forego and Vosburgh over Super Saver's Derby any day.  Everyone would say the Derby is a tougher race than the Oaks, but who's saying MTB's derby win is more significant than RA's Oaks win?  I agree not all G1's have the same level of competition, but year to year it often changes.  Without objective criteria for why some races are more valuable than others, its a specious argument.  

16 Oct 2010 6:54 PM

Congratulations to Zenyatta's stabelmate 'Harmonious' for her wonderful win in the QE2 today.

John Sherriffs must be proud of her.  She beat out Evening Jewel and Perfect Shirl.

16 Oct 2010 6:55 PM

I agree with both sides; if QR or Blame or another horse wins the Classic, they should be deserving of HOY, but it would be a shame for Zenyatta not to win it at least once out of the last three years. That said, I think her connections should have thought of that earlier this season and raced her more ambitiously. If she had run against males and this year and lost the classic, she would have a much greater chance. Without a classic win, there is a gaping whole of a tougher win in her 2010 campaign

16 Oct 2010 6:58 PM
Race On

Yep, RA's campaign last year was unforgettable, too bad they ran her the way they did to get that one incredible year.  So sad to see a great horse ridden into the ground so that she would never be the same again.  If that is what racing is all about, I'll be looking into a different sport.  Queen Z has raced for three years and still looks so happy out there.  As other people have said, why are Zenyatta's connections being blamed for the "lackluster" fields she faced?  Shipping goes both ways and if the east-coast horses chose to not face her, why blame her people?  Win or lose she is HOY.

16 Oct 2010 7:02 PM

I hope everyone was able to watch the 2011 KY Derby winner break his maiden today in the second race at Belmont.  

16 Oct 2010 7:22 PM


Just like the January to December winner last year.

16 Oct 2010 7:24 PM


John came east to test the waters and show the world who the best in their respective divisions really are.  I qwonder what Pedigree Sally's take is on that.

16 Oct 2010 7:28 PM
zenyatta mondatta

Are we going to start holding all horses to the bar that poor RA had to set last year?  Only to come back and not be able to duplicate a percentage of it?    I dont call that setting a standard,  I call that more like a travesty.  Poor Rachel is the epitome of a mismanaged horse.   Dogged and rung out to dry in 8 months.  She set a bar that even at four she couldnt bring herself to be able to commit in.   Not her fault, but her connections fault.

Zenyatta, on the other hand has never backed down from her competiton, when they get up to her and try and look her in the eye,  Oh no,  thats when she kicks it into overdrive and goes for the gauntlet.  

Zenyatta is so good that when she came to Arkansas,  NO ONE wanted to take her on.  Cella had to get on the phone and ask people to nominate a horse to run against Zenyatta because no one wanted to take her on.

Its not that her competition is weak, ITs no one wants to take her on.  

16 Oct 2010 7:32 PM
Mike Relva


Great to see you on here,always interesting posts.

16 Oct 2010 7:36 PM
Mike Relva


Speaking of jealous,how are you? Your fav horse would still be running if she hadn't been used up last year! Trust me,you'll be sick in another three weeks.

16 Oct 2010 7:41 PM

Jason, I agree completely with your reply to one of the top 5 horses of all time, I firmly believe Barbaro was, and he wouldv'e proved it, people Barbaro was 6 for 6, then he broke down he would've and could've won the Triple Crown, after Barbaro would've been Secretariat, Curlin, Seattle Slew, and Cigar...I wasn't alive to watch Secretariat, but my parents of course were and he is by far their favorite, but I fell in love with Barbaro watching him romp in the Derby by 6 1/2+ lengths under a hand ride, I have to say I did cry the day he died....

16 Oct 2010 7:55 PM

Linda In Texas you amuse me Lookin At Lucky will have raced on both coasts by years out, true only one of those in the west, but how many 3 year old championship races are on the west coast? and really left coast?

16 Oct 2010 8:00 PM

Zenyatta's connections do want her to win the HOY Award. They're just not willing to do what (in their estimation) is not the best for her, in order to get it.

The mare doesn't know what an award is. She prefers carrots. Awards are not for horses, they are for the connections and the fans.

So for all who claim that the Mosses and Shirreffs are hurting her legacy... if Zenyatta could talk what do you think she'd choose: A tough life rewarded with an award or a happy life with lots of carrots?

And THAT, in my opinion, is keeping it REAL.

16 Oct 2010 8:01 PM

No matter what the queen does "Zenyatta" she is the Rodney Dangerfield of horse racing, at least with the east coast bias, that plagues the sport of kings. That is why I will be "praying" for her to win, and I am not a religious man ! The only way this super horse can get the recognition she truly deserves, is to beat the boys "again" ! Nothing could make me happier, as she is one in a million !

16 Oct 2010 8:03 PM

I can't wait to hear the excuses when a miler like Quality Road whips a plastic running mare.  20 more days until Zenyatta is exposed for what she really is.  Getting ready with all your excuses Zenyatta fans.

16 Oct 2010 8:04 PM


Black N Beauty who finished second didn't do badly either, gaining a length on Brethern in the last call and only losing by half a length in 1.08.4.  Some really good two year olds so far this year.

16 Oct 2010 8:05 PM

sorry Linda about correcting you I commented before I saw your next post ;) and when I posted my top 5, that was MY top 5 from horses I remember, or horses that I've done research on, or heard of from my parents (Secretariat, Slew, Cigar) please do not take that as an insult, no one will ever change my view of Barbaro, but Zenyatta is NOT one of the top 5 all time greats, neither is Rachel for that matter, and I LOVE Rachel with all my heart

16 Oct 2010 8:06 PM

The minute Zenyatta steps on the dirt at Churchill there will be 5 or 6 horse better then she is.  Having never beaten males on dirt she is out of her plastic league and will be exposed.  Mr. Moss pray for rain or your horse will be EXPOSED.

16 Oct 2010 8:30 PM
Jason Shandler

Not sure what youre talking about Rachel Fan. I never gave any top 5.

16 Oct 2010 8:37 PM

How is HOY a "popularity contest" ????? Rachel is equally as popular as Z. Same with SS and EG etc...

16 Oct 2010 8:40 PM

" Its about racetrack performance--nothing else."

Well 19 wins in a row is "racetrack performance" as far as I am concerned and she is the horse of the year regardless of the outcome of the Classic

16 Oct 2010 8:43 PM
Jason Shandler

mburry: For the 500th time, the 19-for-19 has NO bearing on HOY. It's not a lifetime award and last year has NOTHING to do with this year. She is 5-for-5 this year--all of them in female restricted races.

16 Oct 2010 8:48 PM

This debate doesn't even matter.  Those boys have NO chance against Zenyatta.  Jason can't even pick a horse to use against her.

16 Oct 2010 8:52 PM

Let's see whoever wins the Classic should be HOY, didn't work last year why should it this year!!  Blame, Quality Road and Lookin at Lucky have each lost races this year.  Only one horse has not Queen Z!  I feel this mare is a true wonder, I don't know if she will win again this year but I am grateful for the chance to see such a talented athlete run. I have seen a lot of great horses over the years, John Henry, Alysheba, Personal Ensign, Lady's Secret, Cigar, Easy Goer,  they have all given me a thrill but on top of the list is Queen Z.

16 Oct 2010 9:00 PM

The award is horse of the YEAR (2010). Last year, it belongs to Rachel because she's undefeated and win against boys in G1 races.

This year (2010) it belongs to Zenyatta. Win or lose in BC Classic, it is her year.

16 Oct 2010 9:14 PM


When Zenyatta wins the Classic in three weeks are you going to offer these people here who suffer from Zenyatta Derangement Syndrome a discount rate for group therapy?

16 Oct 2010 9:18 PM

Jason, is a full transcript of this interview with JS available anywhere?  I've looked in all the usual places and can only find the same "highlights" as here at BH.  Thanks.

16 Oct 2010 9:20 PM

Zenyatta seems to be the only horse in quite awhile that has done what no others running today has: scare opponents from even trying to run. Watching the Secretariat movie was undeniable to me: really really great horses scare opponents away...from Grade I races that still pay a nice amount for show and place... Also in a declining industry, this mare has brought non-racing fans into our arena...Facebook - she has over 27,000 followers! Oprah. Z has her own website...I think if she hits the board she should get HOY...if not, I still think she should. QR, Blame and LAL haven't set any track records or American records or world records...LAL only won one of the Triple Crown races. Give me a break. DULL.

16 Oct 2010 9:23 PM
Rachel O

Having read most of these comments, I conclude that most of us realize that Zenyatta is one of the greatest racehorses of all time.

The HOY award is ridiculous in that the Eclipe award voters cannot be "objective" about the criteria. There is no such possibility. How does anyone know exactly whether horses in one grade 1 race are inferior to those in another? Objectivity is impossible. Some days one horse puts in a great effort and wins, only to lose the next time out to what we might have thought was inferior competition.

Having won five grade 1 races in a row in 2010, to add those to a record of 14 wins and no losses, Zenyatta surely deserves HOY. If not, please throw out the HOY altogether. None of the colts headed for the BCC can boast of such a consistent record. They've been beating up on one another  and demonstrating their inferiority and inconsistency. Zenyatta is consistent. And GREAT!

That's all there is to it.

16 Oct 2010 9:25 PM
Bet Twice


Since you are a fan of Barbaro, you should understand why Zenyatta fans are so enthusiastic.  I could give you dozens and dozens of reasons why Barbaro isn't even in the top 100 of all time racehorses and you'd still think he was great.  Fandom is irrational.  Its feeling.  That's why its so fun.    

A bunch of us on this blog will be really sad if Zen doesn't win the BCC or out of our frinkin' minds with elation if she does.  How great is that?  Jason can make fun of us all he wants, but I'm thrilled I checked my cynicism at the door.  I've been to Super Bowls, NBA finals, BCS championship games, Olympic events - none hold a candle to her.  

Get on the roller coaster, its awesome!

16 Oct 2010 9:29 PM
Paula Higgins

Go to Facebook and type in Zenyatta. On her page is the W  (WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY) article about Zenny with a wonderful picture of her. The article is very well done.

16 Oct 2010 9:37 PM
Jason Shandler

Sherpa: I have not seen a full transcript. Check the Keeneland web site. They may have some additional stuff on there.

16 Oct 2010 9:39 PM

I can't wait to hear the excuses when a miler like Quality Road loses to a plastic running mare.  20 more days until Quality Road is exposed for what he really is.  Getting ready with all your excuses Quality Road fans.  


16 Oct 2010 9:40 PM
Paula Higgins

Bet twice, I hope you're a guy because I think I love you LOL! Great post. Rachelfan, besides the fact that I also love Rachel and resent any attacks on her (she's the greatest 3 year old filly in history), I also loved Barbaro. So maybe we do have something in common. ITA that he was greatness in the making. He was very special. When they had to put him down, I thought my heart would break.

16 Oct 2010 9:59 PM

@GoldenBroom - Quality Road owns three track records. Two were set as a three year old and one was earlier this year as a four year old.

16 Oct 2010 10:08 PM

One quick correction:  Sea the Stars was NOT undefeated- he lost his very first race.  

16 Oct 2010 10:10 PM

What a hypocrite you are Jason.  Now Zenyatta has to win the classic in order to win HOY.  But last year your favorite was a no show and still won Hoy.  Why always the double standards applied to Zenyatta?   How many times has QR and Blame raced this year?  Yes that is right less than Zenyatta and yet no one is complaining about thier lack of races.    What John Sherrif said was perfectly normal for a trainer to say and what idiot would expect him to say otherwise.

Did any one notice that Twice Over won another big race today, the same Twice Over that ran 3rd to Zenyatta last year and still hyphing Gio's big win the same horse that ran 2nd to Zenyatta last year?  They are still winning and yet some have the gaul to say Zenyatta beat no one.  

16 Oct 2010 10:14 PM

The minute Quality Road, Blame, LAL,  steps on the dirt at Churchill there will be 1  horse better than they are.  Having never been beaten by females on dirt they are out of their league and will be exposed.  Mr. Phletcher please pray for a helicopter or your horse will be EXPOSED.

A special "Thankyou" for Draynay's contribution to this story.

16 Oct 2010 10:16 PM

No one could be more right than Draynay!

16 Oct 2010 10:18 PM

Zookeeper your last post was right on the money.  The Moss's are not willing to toast Zenyatta just for an award.  If another owner last year had more consideration for his horse, we might have had the pleasure of seeing them both in the classic this year.  

16 Oct 2010 10:21 PM

Great stuff Bet Twice.  And you're right, there's nothing wrong with being a fan of Zenyatta.  Don't we want our stars to have has many fans as possible?  Isn't it great that we have a horse that transcends the sport?

16 Oct 2010 10:21 PM
Paula Higgins

Duh, I wrote above the W article on Zenny was very well done. It was and it turns out Steve Haskin wrote it.

16 Oct 2010 10:22 PM

Goldie--"Vitriolic spewing," I love it!  Those two words had me cracking up!  Thank you for making my day.

Bet Twice--I think you make some great points, which just leads back to the fact that there is no such thing as objectivity in voting.  

It will always be a matter of opinion...this race is better than that race...this competition is better than that is all subjective.  We are dealing with living creatures, not a math problem.  1 + 1 will always equal 2, but greatness in horseracing cannot be limited to who ran against who, or how fast they ran, or what kind of surface they ran on.  Those things are unmeasurable variables.  If I were a track runner who always won, but only ran fast enough to win because, hey, why should I push myself, would that make me less great than a track runner who always won but liked to show off by always running hard and breaking records?  I'm not saying that's what Zenyatta does, so please don't take it that way.  I'm just trying to illustrate why one cannot legitimately say he or she can subjectively choose who is the best.

Whoever posted the Jay Hovdey article, thanks a million!

16 Oct 2010 10:27 PM
Windy City

This is so true. HOY should be determined by the best whole year campain; not the "being undefeated in my region" aspect. Best horse doesn't have to be undefeated, but should have been tested. I love Zenny but she was never ever tested (maybe with an exception of one race last year, BC) But this year? I don't want to take away anything from her, her connections already took care of that department, but she was racing all over the same races and in the same lukewarm competition....I wasn't even excited waiting for her races anymore. I know, I know - 19 in a row and undefeated is something special, but it would be even more special if it would happen on different tracks (read not 90% in Cali).

And could somebody kindly explain to me what her connection mean by saying) "...We are on the other side of Rockies, we can't travel as eastern horses..." Does something happen to the horse when he/she flies over mountains?? Does the horse suffer some kind of a trauma when travels over mountains versus "flat" grounds?? Or maybe Zenyatta doesn't like to see the mountains through the window? Can somebody address that issue? It's really confusing. I'm not a racing expert so I may be wrong, but this excuse sounds little "fishy" to me...

16 Oct 2010 10:31 PM

Whether Zenyatta wins a HoY will be outweighed by her career achievements.

Win or lose the BC Classic, I think Zenyatta will go down as the horse(so far) of the 3rd millennium.  Combining talent, accomplishment, and popularity, these last 11 years will ultimately be viewed as the Zenyatta era; she was the most profound horse, the star of stars.  Rachel and Curlin will probably be looked back upon as the 2nd and 3rd most important horses of this period.  Next would be Tiznow and Ghostzapper, the former for his accomplishments the latter for his brilliance.  Smarty Jones and Barbaro will be remembered strongly for their Triple Crown runs and the amazing popularity they were able to draw over a short period.  Invasor and Point Given seem to be unjustly overlooked, but could have run with anybody.

I believe Rachel's 2009 will be looked upon as the most impressive season by a horse over the first 11 years of this century.  For most significant race, it will be Zenyatta's 09' Classic, topped only if she were to win the Classic again this year to retire an absurd 20 for 20.  

I actually thought Randy Moss, speaking during ESPN's telecast today, summed up Zenyatta's place in history quite well.  Even should she lose the Classic, she already has a very strong argument for being the best female in modern North American history.  Should she win the Classic, Zenyatta would deserve a place among the very greatest of either sex(which I interpreted to mean top 20 or maybe higher).

16 Oct 2010 10:35 PM
Jason Shandler

Windy City: No, you are perfectly within your right to question the "Rockies" comments. They have puzzled many of us. In the interview, Shirreffs dismissed the notion assumed by many (especially on this blog) that Zenyatta is not a good shipper. He said she is a very good shipper. It made some of us in the interview room even more confused as to why he keeps bringing up the "Rockies." It's baffling really. A top-caliber horse that is a good shipper, that has really had almost an identical campaign as she had in 2009. All we can assume is that they didnt want to test her until the last race of the season, again, for whatever reason. And as I wrote before, if they didnt want to ship her across the "Rockies," that was their choice. But at least race her in the top races in their own state. It's really been a baffling, conservative campaign where they are putting all their eggs in one basket. Problem is, Shirreffs doesnt see it that way. He somehow feels, despite the conservative campaign, that she deserves HOY even if she loses the BC because of her "service" to the industry. Too bad for him that HOY voting doesnt work that way. It's a yearly award. If she loses the BC she wont win HOY. That simple.

Go ahead Zealouts, say Im hating on her, Im east coast biased, blah blah blah just because I reported the facts. Im waiting...

16 Oct 2010 10:42 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

Sodapopkid - regarding your post at 6:30 PM, let's not confuse the naysayers with any facts.

16 Oct 2010 10:42 PM
John T

As mentioned by some on this blog

Frankel won the Group 1 Dewhurst

Stakes at Newmarket to-day in great

fashion.A week before his first race I started giving comments about him on True Nicks in the June archives on the third page under the title ''Epsom Derby True

Nicks Available''.For anyone who may wish to read them.Of course Frankel may have an injury or he might not even train on as a 3 year

old,but if none of that happens this colt is destined for greatness.

16 Oct 2010 10:43 PM
Bet Twice


I meant undefeated as a 3 year old, but you are 100% correct he lost at 2.

16 Oct 2010 10:49 PM

Windy City:

"This is so true. HOY should be determined by the best whole year campain; not the "being undefeated in my region" aspect."

You DO understand that if you're going to make this distinction, California isn't the only "region" in the country?

"Best horse doesn't have to be undefeated, but should have been tested. I love Zenny but she was never ever tested (maybe with an exception of one race last year, BC)"

Confused. By "tested," all I can glean is that the only way you can tell a horse has been tested is when it is beaten. See, I think this is actually an issue at work with Zenyatta. You don't think she's been tested because she's unbeaten. But there's another scenario: That she HAS been tested and she's passed all of those tests. I'm not sure why you don't think that a mare who carries 129 pounds and gives nine pounds and a ton of ground to the runner-up hasn't been tested. Or why a mare who is consistently running in short fields with ludicrous paces that are at a disadvantage to her hasn't been tested. She's just passed these tests.

"I know, I know - 19 in a row and undefeated is something special, but it would be even more special if it would happen on different tracks (read not 90% in Cali)."

And now we get to the heart of the bias.

"And could somebody kindly explain to me what her connection mean by saying) "...We are on the other side of Rockies, we can't travel as eastern horses..." Does something happen to the horse when he/she flies over mountains?? Does the horse suffer some kind of a trauma when travels over mountains versus "flat" grounds?? Or maybe Zenyatta doesn't like to see the mountains through the window? Can somebody address that issue? It's really confusing. I'm not a racing expert so I may be wrong, but this excuse sounds little "fishy" to me..."

I'm sure it does, because you didn't bother to read any further. Have you ever been in an airplane before? People can get dehydrated in a plane. I would hope I don't have to explain why, and that you can puzzle that out for yourself. Flying anywhere East from California isn't a short flight, and Zenyatta is a big horse. She got VERY dehydrated shipping back from Oaklawn, which is something that hadn't happened to her before. As a big mare, it took a long time for her to recover. She wasn't even fully recovered by the Vanity, but she won under 129 pounds anyway. Because she had had this problem coming back, they were loathe to ship her again, in case she got dehydrated again. She would have missed far too much training and she would have been off her schedule for the Classic. So they chose to protect the horse and keep her schedule.

Not that you'll pay any attention to this, or acknowledge it. Either people don't, or they call it an excuse. But a "reason" is different from an "excuse."

16 Oct 2010 10:49 PM
Bet Twice


We don't think you a hater, we just don't think you are impartial.  Secretly, we like that about you.

16 Oct 2010 10:51 PM
Mr Gold

Goldikova goes for 3 B C miles in  wins in a row and goes for her 6th G1 against the best milers male or female in the world. If she wins and Zenyatta looses she should be in contention for Hoy especially if Q R Blame or LAL do not win

16 Oct 2010 10:53 PM

If you were reporting the facts that makes you a reporter.  If you are a reporter and you are flustered or confused by an answer than why not use a follow up question and get specific about his Rockies comment?

If it's so odd and strange a comment, enough to make some of you in the room "confused" then why no follow up question to clear the confusion?  I don't get it.  A room full of journalists confused by answers in an interview and not one follow up question by anyone.  Hmmm.

16 Oct 2010 10:56 PM

There can be absolutely no doubt that the strength of the 3 year old filly division, on all 3 surfaces, resided in California.

Given this topic, it's appropriate that a John Sherriffs runner won the gr.1 QE2.  And make no mistake, Harmonious is an absolute beast.  She's huge, has a wonderfully long stride, and has apparently unlimited endurance.  Today, she showed improved early speed, which when combined with her powerful late kick, made her heads and shoulders superior to her fellow 3 year old fillies.  

I would encourage Sherriffs to enter Harmonious in the BC Female Turf.  With all respect to Eclaire de Lune, Ave, and Hibaayeb, Harmonious is the best American threat for the BC Female Turf.  Midday is going to be incredibly tough in that race, but Harmonious just might have the raw physical ability to pull it off.  The only negative about Harmonious is that her mental focus and sharpness is not quite equal to her physical ability.  However, given how lightly raced she is, it's only a matter of time until she becomes a full professional, and then watchout.

I wasn't able to bet the QE2, and didn't come on here before the race to tout Harmonious.  But I did absolutely love her in this spot.  And I was shocked when she was overlooked by all 3 of the handicappers on THS.  Jason, I know that everyone makes mistakes, but leaving both Harmonious and Evening Jewel off your tickets?  I proably would have lost money had I bet because I likely would have played the Harmonious-Evening Jewel exacta(and that would have been a tough beat with EJ getting nailed late) since Harmonious actually went off favored(I've always respected the handicapping abilities of the Kentucky bettor; they saw exactly what I saw).

West Coast fillies have now won the Kentucky Oaks, Alabama, and QE2, which represent the 2 most prestigious dirt races for 3 year old fillies and the most prestigious turf race.  Blind Luck, Evening Jewel, and Harmonious each won gr.1 races  on both "coasts" (counting Kentucky as Eastern).  

16 Oct 2010 10:57 PM

Yes, Sea The Stars was beaten by a horse called Driving Snow in his first race.

Driving Snow had started racing in the US at Churchill Downs, Indiana Downs, and Keeneland.

16 Oct 2010 10:57 PM


So what your really saying is that Zenyatta should have won HOY last year, right? I agree with you.  Please ask the Jackson's to send the trophy back west...

16 Oct 2010 11:02 PM
Jason Shandler

Shiznik: We asked about 100 follow up questions. If you ever talked to Shirreffs (im sure you havent) then you would know you can only get so much out of him. He gives short answers and often says he doesnt want to talk about certain subjects. He made it very clear he wants to be with his horse every morning and he cant be away from his barn for an extended period. The baffling part is that he keeps using the word "Rockies" in a context of it being extremely difficult to fly over that region when in fact we know it happens every day with horses.

16 Oct 2010 11:12 PM
Paula Higgins

I am not sure what John Sherriff meant by her being a good shipper. I thought he said at one point she came back a little sluggish? Maybe it was someone else who is connected with her that made that observation, but I know that was out there for a fact.

Jason, we do not know if she will win HOTY if she loses the BCC. Will the majority of people really deny her and her connections this honor, which she will never be eligible for again, based on one race? I am hoping not. We will find out if horse racing has a heart and a soul when the votes are tallied. Oh darn, there I go again, being melodramamtic.  

We do know how you are going to vote however and that is fine. But you are just one vote. Jason, I don't think you are hating on her, and I totally understand your perspective. It's a very clear point of view, but I do think you are wrong.

16 Oct 2010 11:14 PM
Jason Shandler

Paula: It's very simple. Someone (I believe it was Jennie Rees from the Courier-Journal) said that there has been a lot made of Zenyatta not being a horse that likes to ship or does well with shipping (or something that that effect). Is she a good shipper? Shirreffs responded very succinctly, saying she is a very good shipper.

I know that blows the theory of many people on this blog out of the water that she isnt a good shipper and you guys dont want to hear it, but it's true. The mare ships fine.

Shirreffs doesnt like to be away from California for any extended period and does not feel comfortable with an assistant taking care of her while he's away. That is a major reason why she didnt travel more throughout her career. Not so much because of her, but because of him.

16 Oct 2010 11:21 PM

Fair enough Jason, I only have read your posted interview.

You are right, I have never spoken Shirreffs, but I have spoken too Jerry Moss.  It's hard to get him too shut up.  Just kidding.

16 Oct 2010 11:26 PM

I think we know by now that you don't hate Zen, Jason. We are well aware that it is her campaign you object to, not her. We get it.

What I would like to know is what makes you so sure which way the voters will go? You may know, how you will or would vote but how do you know how others will? Not all voters share your view. If they did, last year would have been decided unanimously, but it did not.

For the '08 Award you voted for Zenyatta yet Curlin was HOY. Other voters did not agree with you then either. How can you be so certain that they will share your view for 2010?

16 Oct 2010 11:27 PM


The real truth is, the turf writers are being disingenuous when talking about Shirreffs' "Rockies" comment. These men and women aren't stupid. Far from it. They DO understand the point but they steadfastly refuse to admit it, because that would be one arrow out of their Zenyatta Criticism quiver.

Because seriously, if I understand it, how could they NOT?

The goal for Zenyatta has been the Classic. They made that clear early in the year, and they've made it clear ever since. They won't do anything to jeopardize her coming into the Classic in the best shape possible. So they didn't take the chance that she will have trouble shipping back.

Even if Zenyatta HAD run in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Pacific Classic and Goodwood, that still wouldn't give her HOTY with a loss in the Classic. The turf writers haven't shown any respect for the West Coast males, so if Zenyatta won those races they would still say that she hadn't beaten anything. Also, it's strange to me that this is SO important to them, but nowhere in the HOTY discussion is Richard's Kid, the horse who won the Pacific Classic and the Goodwood. He's won two GI races this year, same as Blame. So by the turf writers' logic, it stands to reason that if he wins the Classic, he should be HOTY. Right?

Lastly, somebody said that Zenyatta had not won all the GI filly & mare races on the West Coast. Here they are: Santa Margarita Hcp, Vanity Hcp, Clement Hirsch S, Lady's Secret S. For three years, Zenyatta has won all but two. Life Is Sweet won last year's Santa Margarita, and Nashoba's Key won the 2008 Santa Margarita. So I ask again -- where are all of these GI fillies supposed to come from if Zenyatta has won ten of the twelve GI races over the past three years?

Now think about THAT accomplishment.

Also, nowhere in any of my comments did I say that Zenyatta should get HOTY no matter what. Just wanted to point that out.

16 Oct 2010 11:30 PM


"I agree with both sides; if QR or Blame or another horse wins the Classic, they should be deserving of HOY, but it would be a shame for Zenyatta not to win it at least once out of the last three years. That said, I think her connections should have thought of that earlier this season and raced her more ambitiously. If she had run against males and this year and lost the classic, she would have a much greater chance. Without a classic win, there is a gaping whole of a tougher win in her 2010 campaign "

That is the whole thing in a nut shell.

Zenyatta is unquestionably an all time great. Her name will very deservedly go down as a legend, with all time greats like Man o' War, Citation, and Secretariat - and her record for modern wins might well last as long as Secretariat's Belmont record Belmont time.

That said, IF she loses HOY this year (and I honestly hope that she wins BOTH the BCC AND HOY honors, as I so want to see the grandness and the history of it so please do not take this as a knock on the Big Gal) - it will be because of the somewhat conservative campaign her human connections have chosen for her.

That campaign has kept her sound and sane at six years of age - but as with all things in life, there are always two sides to it. And the other side is - while it is filled with grade 1 wins that would be perfectly fine for most top fillies and mares - the campaign seems a bit weak for such a superb all time great mare.

But then again, ultraconservative campaigns seem to be the near norm these days for most top horses.  Quality Road and Blame have not been challenged this year,  any more than Zenyatta has save in their one race against each other.

Perhaps because I grew up watching horses like Secretariat, Seattle, Slew, the Bid, Genuine Risk,and Alydar and Affirmed in the 70's, today's horses just do not seem to race enough these days. No wonder we have not had a Triple Crown winner in so long - the colts have simply not run enough races to have the foundation and fitness to run three tough races so close together. Workouts are fine and important - but any human athlete can tell you that you get more from actual competition than from any workout. Why would that be any different from our fellow equine athletes?

Ah well. Let us all hope Zenyatta wins and wins big at Churchill - that she makes more history and finally gets her undisputed HOY. I know I will be cheering my head off for the Big Gal! And when she wins I will probably cry my eyes out, just like I did with her win last year.

16 Oct 2010 11:33 PM
Jason Shandler

Zoo: I dont know anything for sure (other than the Cubs will never win a World Series and that Barry Bonds is a cheat). There are dozens of scenarios that can play out in the BC. But let's be honest, if Quality Road, LAL, or Blame win the BC, how could you deny them HOY? It would be silly.

Now, if Zenyatta gets beat a nose of something like that, Im sure there would be many voters that would be swayed her way, and there would be a large segment that would want her voted in for sentimental reasons. But that's where being objective comes in, and I have faith that the voters will be just that. A loss is a loss, whether by a nose or 10 lengths. And if she doesnt win the BC and one of those other three do, she realy doesnt deserve the award. I think deep down you would agree with that.

16 Oct 2010 11:34 PM

"Shirreffs doesnt like to be away from California for any extended period and does not feel comfortable with an assistant taking care of her while he's away. That is a major reason why she didnt travel more throughout her career. Not so much because of her, but because of him."

Now that is the most insightful piece of information you have put on this blog. Why you waited I do not know.

That should answer alot of peoples questions about Zenyatta's schedule whether they like it or not.  

Mr. Shirreffs is clearly about the horse and not the glory. Much respect.

That's good reporting even if you weren't trying Jason, lol, just kidding.

16 Oct 2010 11:34 PM
Paula Higgins

Jason,  it may well be true that she ships fine or it may be that she doesn't (see Kay's post above). When they write a book about her, we will find out. You may be right that it is about John not wanting to leave his other horses to an assistant or he doesn't want to leave California, or there may be another reason. I don't know. It's fine. I don't have a problem with it. She is their horse. Just like I have no problem with the 2009 campaign of Rachel's. They wanted the best 3 year old filly campaign for her and they got it. It's all good. I think both campaign styles are good for racing. There is room for both. My only possible negative comment is that I would have retired Rachel after that season. But again, she is their horse and I know they love her as much as Zenyatta is loved by her connections. They thought they were doing the right thing by bringing her back for her fans, of which I am one. I have to go to bed now, so I can get back up to fight another day for Zenny.

16 Oct 2010 11:41 PM
Jason Shandler

lol Paula. Get some sleep :)

Either way, one thing is for sure, 2011 will be a lot different than the last two years. Who will we talk about after RA and Zenyatta are gone? I think a major reason they have sparked so much debate is because they are females. Here's hoping we have at least one good rivalry next year (and that they actually meet on the track).

16 Oct 2010 11:45 PM

Being a staunch Zenyatta fan, to me winning the BCC itself is the most important thing and should be because it is all about horse racing and this is going to be the number one race this year.  HOY and other awards are nice, but it is winning the actual race itself that will further define her greatness and solidify her position in the upper echelon of all time great fillies and mares, to be considered at least in the top two with Ruffian.  Both might not have had lengthily careers and they didn’t always face the toughest competition, but in the more important races when the completion was toughest, they were always the toughest horses.

If, for some reason, Zenyatta should lose the BCC (to one of her main competitors) and yet still be crowned HOY it would somehow leave me with a hollow feeling for the award, but not for Zenyatta herself and should not in any way take away from her

accomplishments.  On the other hand, should she win the BCC and somehow not be voted HOY, than to me the HOY award would definitely lose its credibility.

However, amidst all this talk and criticism and conjecture let’s not forget that this year’s BCC is one in which all the major players will line up and the major prize is not only the prestige of winning the race, but in doing so to be crowned the best in N/A this year.  It really doesn’t get any better than that.

17 Oct 2010 12:23 AM

To the Chairman of the "East Coast Bias Conspiracy":  I'VE GOT PROOF YOU ARE BIASED.  You mentioned that Rachel's 2009 campaign was "Amazing and historic"  like 10 times.  You have NEVER said anything Zenyatta has done is "Amazing and historic".  NEVER.  Let me give you some "Amazing and historic" stats about Zenyatta:  She's 19-0, She's won the most consecutive Grade 1 races in history.  She's come from dead last in almost of her races.  She's tied the record for most BC wins (with 8 others) and has a chance to be the first (along with Goldikova) to win 3 BC races.  She's the all-time money winning female, she's 6 years old!  Big Brown retired at 3, Rachel at 4, she's 6!  Haskins ranked her as the most physically dominating female horse in history, if she has to, she can run her last sixteenth in 5.5 seconds.  I think Rachel did her last sixteenth in the Personal Ensign in about 7 seconds. Zenyatta is damn smart. She has brought crowds back to the track like no other horse in the last 40 years.  Do you think you could muster up some words like "Amazing and historic" about Zenyatta, could you Jason?

17 Oct 2010 12:28 AM

I had Harmonious, Reggane and Joshua Tree.  A good day for me.

17 Oct 2010 12:45 AM

I admit to being a Zenyatta fan, but I would also point out that for those who are excited about Zenyatta sparking some temporary interest in horse racing among members of the general public, whether she is voted HOTY or not doesn't really matter.  The general public doesn't follow the Eclipse Awards.

Of all the scenarios I've seen mentioned, I don't think anyone has mentioned the possibility of a major upset in the Classic, with Blame, Looking At Lucky, and/or Quality Road running better than Zenyatta.  If Zenyatta doesn't run her race, and any of the other three run pretty well but lose, then I'd think one of those three would be voted Horse of the Year.

Unless of course that scenario happens and Goldikova blows away the competition in the Mile.  She's raced against top competition again this year, all against males, winning all of her 2010 races except one in which she finished second, setting a stakes record and coming close to setting a second one.  If she wins the Mile yet again, and in a fairly dominating way, then that would make the debate interesting, IMHO, with all the added controversy of her running only one race in the U.S. (though that didn't stop her from winning the Eclipse Award for Turf Female last year.  Would it be that different for HOTY?)

Having written that, I will be rooting for Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

17 Oct 2010 1:04 AM
Windy City

Thanks for your explanation Jason. I thought that I did hear it before that she ships ok, but I wasn't so sure. I think that they did what some people in office environment would call "a bare minimum to not to be fired", lol. Her "service" to the industry? I'm sure they meant to the California...I'm a casual fan and I have friends who are even more casual than me, and believe me the only name they remember is Rachel and Big Brown. It's a big shame because Zenyatta deserves much more than that. She will be an eternal enigma for most of the people.

Kay ~ wow, I'm glad that you don't sit in front of me, I think I would have to run for my life ;-)

Putting all of your affection and feelings aside, by being "tested" I don't refer to how she run in her races, only in what races she had run...As I stated above, they had chosen the easiest path for her. It's such a shame because I think she deserves to be in better races. Do you realize that she never been to Saratoga? And in her only visit to CD she skipped the race (another excuse that they didn't open the track only kept it sealed to be fast)But anyway,to be tested means to face many different opponents, on different grounds, in different conditions. That what I meant by saying that she was (almost) never tested. If you are still confused then maybe you are a more casual fan than I am ;-)

And yes, I have been on the airplane before. I know I'm going to puzzle you even more now, but imagine that I even took my two kids (3years and 8 months)for a ski trip to Colorado last winter...twice. And guess what? They loved the airplane :-) Nobody was dehydrated, lol.

I'm a very open minded person and very understandable. I just don't like if somebody is trying to tell me that this green couch is red. It's either you choose an easy patch to survive year with all the consequences or you challenge yourself. If you don't like to be challenged, then don't expect award.

As my personal opinion, I really hope she wins BC, I truly think she is a great horse but we never really got a chance to see how good she is. Her real value was compromised by taking the "easy way" by her connections, some call it "service" to the industry...  

17 Oct 2010 1:08 AM

Sorry Jason, I mostly don't buy your theory.

I'll agree with you to the point Zenyatta has to beat Quality Road on the square, with his four Graded wins against the best open company, three of them G1's and a near miss for another one.

But versus the other top contenders, Blame, Lookin At Lucky, Haynesfield and Richard's Kid all of whom have only one or two G1's apiece to her FIVE.  If she does make her patented late run and falls a nose or a neck short to one of them, especially if there are traffic problems, I say she wins the championship and the voters will deservedly recognize her as the champion based on her body of work for this year.

But she does at least need to be in that photo.  No one's going to hand her that Eclipse award for just showing up.

17 Oct 2010 1:17 AM

Jason, I looked deep down but I couldn't agree with you. I think she will win but for the sake of argument, let's say she barely gets beat by one of your 3 (and believe me it would be barely) I think she still deserves the award. I hope that doesn't make me silly. :) If she doesn't stumble at the start and unseat her jockey or if she doesn't have a nightmarish trip and one of them beats her fair and square (the way she beat Gio Ponti, last year) than I would understand the winner getting the award. She would still be MY Horse of the Year, the way she has been the 2 preceding years, but I would accept that the majority of the voters would have a different opinion.

As far as I'm concerned Zenyatta is a superior horse and she will prove it to all reasonable people on Nov 6. She has proven it to me 5 times this year and in every race in which she has ever run. If you are truly objective, you can't say the same about Blame, Quality Road or Lookin at Lucky. They are very, very good horses but they are no Zenyatta.

17 Oct 2010 2:42 AM


The cold facts aren't taken very kindly around here when it comes to "Big Z" and her flawed campaign.  you and I are agreed that Zenyatta is a great mare but just not the greatest on Dirt up until now.  It would be interesting to read Gun Bow's views on the rating of Genuine Risk.  I accept that she was as tough as nails though not as classy a 3YO Filly as Rachel Alexandra or Ruffian.

I don't believe that Etched has the class to make an impact in the BCC ...he's too slow from a Beyer speed point of view and lacking in top class seasoning.  An interesting long shot could be the "bridesmaid" 3YO colt First Dude that runs well everytime without winning.  He looked capable of rapid improvement in his last race and could conceivably spring a "Cat Thief-like" BCC, if you take a look at the race from a historical angle.  However, on observing Fly Down's JCGC performance it appears that the 3YOs have a mountain to climb here.  

For me there will be no stopping the return of the king, Quality Road in Ghostzapper-like or even Saint Liam-like fashion to cop the HOTY crown.  As of now Haynesfield and Blame are his prime dangers but I can see many tears flowing for a gallant Zenyatta when all is said and done.  At the ripe age of 6YO, running against stalwart 4YO colts I don't think that it is beyond her capabilities to pull it off, being an undefeated sort, but it is highly improbable given the level of talented colts that she'll be up against vis a vis her level of competition all year.

It may be a bit early to be speculating on the pace scenario of the BCC but I think that the classy speed horses (Quality Road Haynesfield, First Dude, Morning Line, Espoir City) are going to be very stubborn on the front end and the closers (Blame, Zenyatta, Fly Down, Richard's Kid, Musket Man, Looking At Lucky) will encounter traffic problems.  Also, some will be tempted to move early and find that their closing kick has been taken away because of the sustained pace of the race and the ones that wait may end up being too late.  

Best wishes to all and may the sport of thoroughbred racing come out the winner when the dust settles.

17 Oct 2010 3:34 AM

I think the "Rockies" comment simply refers to the fact that any trip from California to a Midwestern or Eastern track covers alot of ground; its a long trip.  The trip is so long that you have to cross the most significant mountain range in the continent (as well as a desert, a great salt lake, and the great prairie).  

The reference to the Rockies in emphasizing the distance that separates California from the "settled" United States goes back a ways into American history, to the time of the wagon trails and the westward expansion of Manifest Destiny.  

So, Sherriffs' use of the "Rockies" is old-fashioned and could be confusing to some; but no, he's not trying to imply that Zenyatta dislikes flying over mountains or that there is any difference between flying over a mountain and flying over a desert, or an ocean, or farmland, etc.  The way Sherriffs uses "Rockies" is simply meant to invoke distance.

Now, whether you think that making  2 cross-country trips in a year is really that tough is another question entirely.  I believe Blind Luck has made 5 such trips(will be 6 if she runs in the BC Distaff).

17 Oct 2010 5:07 AM

Glad someone mentioned she comes from the Great Native Dancer line and like him is the peoples horse.

I will always love Joe Talamo because he's on tape saying the only sure winner last year would be Zenyatta and I quote "without a doubt". Well, that's how I see it this year. She will win and I want the Moss family to have the HOY award but for me, I don't need it. She is the best I've ever seen because of the way she wins. People that know racing, understand how difficult it is to keep a horse in top form and how unbelievable it is for a deep closer to win continually, pace or no pace. I don't ever recall a true closer being able to do that consistanly. Someone enlighten me if you know of one. So, yes I believe she will win and yes she should be HOY just for being who she is. You will never in your lifetime see another like her. She is totally unique and no matter how good as a racehorse they are, the rest of the field aren't anywhere near her in class or ability.

On a lighter note, just watch the fun in the saddle paddock when those big macho stallions get a load of her stomping, snorting and breathing fire. Quality Road maynot be the only one to freak out!  Go Zenyatta! You dancing queen. Dance you way into the record book.

17 Oct 2010 5:13 AM

Arguably the fastest horse on the planet, the champion quarter horse Freaky, bounced back into form winning the gr.1 $150k Los Alamitos Inv Championship.  Making his first start in 6 months last time out out, Freaky tired late to finish 2nd, but he was in top form tonight.  

Freaky won the Los Al Championship by 3/4ths of a length(solid win margin for quarters) and ran the 440 yards in 20.97.  The time was just 3/100ths off the track record and represents the third fastest 440 yard winning time in Los Al track history; Freaky now holds the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fastest winning times at 440 yards.  He is alone on top at 400 yards with both the track record and the 2nd fastest time.  Freaky also set the 350 yard track record last year, but he no longer holds it.

What adds to Freaky's appeal is that his face is almost entirely white although his coat is brown; it almost looks like he has a white mask.  He's not particularly big or muscular, but he is fast and is a great finisher.

I've been lucky in my non-thoroughbred horse racing experiences.  When living in the Midwest where there was harness(standardbred) racing but not (top quality) quarter horse racing, I was able to see what was likely the greatest trotter of the era, Muscle Hill, and the greatest pacer, Somebeachsomewhere, as well as Rainbow Blue, Rocknroll Hanover, Mr. Muscleman, Peaceful Way, and Donato Hanover.

On my trips back to Cali in the mid-2000s, I saw the quarter horse stars Be a Bono, Whosleavingwho, Catchmeinyourdreams, and Carter's Cartel.  But Freaky may go down as the fastest quarter horse of the 2000s. It's been great to catch the 2nd half of his streak.

17 Oct 2010 5:43 AM


17 Oct 2010 6:45 AM

Simple fact is,  Zenyatta has ran in more grade 1 races this year than QR, Blame, and LAL.

Fact:  She won all of hers and the others have lost one.

So, there you have it.  Zenny has the undefeated season compared to the boys that do not.

It can't get any more clearer than this,  Unless you're in DENIAL.

17 Oct 2010 7:10 AM
Laura from Monroe GA

19 for 19 well said.  I wish everyone in horse racing could appreciate what she is - a gift that has lifted our sport.  I have friends who NEVER watched racing until I had them watch one of hers.  They talk about how exciting it is to watch her. I mean, have you EVER heard a crowd scream like that at any other horse race?  Say what you want.  If you are being negative at all about her, you've completely missed out on the gift that she is to anyone who loves this sport and loves horses.  That makes me feel sad for you - Zenyatta's biggest fan (and I'm not from California).

17 Oct 2010 8:28 AM

After reading the interview, I can say only that we learned nothing new.  We've already known how JS felt about the races and Zenyatta herself.  

Exactly what do you, Jason, feel you have learned that was different from what has been said all year?

17 Oct 2010 8:40 AM

PS...If you really believed the BC Classic should determine HOY, why did you vote for RA last year????  Face it...because she earned it during the year.  Same with Zen this year!

17 Oct 2010 8:45 AM
Saratoga AJ

If Zenyatta's 2010 was more daring, (leaving California and/or beating colts at least once anywhere), you could make an argument that she should be voted HOTY even with a BC Classic loss. But that's not the case.

Is there any doubt the "big three" colts, QR, Blame and LAL, raced tougher competition this year while having impressive 2010 campaigns? Of course not.

Therefore if the winner is any of the "big four" he/she should get the HOTY award. A win by a long shot? It will have to go to Zenyatta.  

End of story.

17 Oct 2010 9:01 AM


"If you really believed the BC Classic should determine HOY, why did you vote for RA last year????"

How can you ask that question after all that has been said? What exactly do you find that you can't understand from Jason's past remarks?

If you believe Zenyatta's 2010 campaign was as good as RA's 2009 year, you are in "Zenyatta worship denial".

17 Oct 2010 9:15 AM

I love Zen...I hope she wins, I believe she can do it, BUT it's not about doing good for the sport or having a winning streak! That's what Sportsmanship awards are's for having the BEST..the HARDEST...the most CHALLENGING year and beating the most horses at the top level...

If Blame, QR or LAL win, no way does she equal their accomplishments THIS year.

17 Oct 2010 9:28 AM
Fuzzy Corgi

A CA based / John Shirreffs horse prevailed in the QEII yesterday. Have the Beyers been adjusted to reflect that yet?

17 Oct 2010 9:45 AM

Jason.  A good and revealing interview.  But, I fail to see any reason for a debate right now.  Everything will be settled on the track November 6th, where it should be.  Then we can talk.

17 Oct 2010 9:59 AM
Diane J

As much as I like Goldi, I do not believe a European horse should be named HOY or even get an Eclipse for top female turf horse, based on only one race won in the U.S.  Europe has the Cartier award for their horses, we have the Eclipse Awards.

17 Oct 2010 10:05 AM

Footlick @12:45 AM - you had REGGANE??? wow!  I had not seen her name so much as mentioned in any of the handicapping articles/blogs.  Just curious...what made you pick her?

I definitely liked Harmonious in the QEII, but was surprised to see she was the favorite by post-time.  Her win was very, very impressive against that field.

17 Oct 2010 10:16 AM

Jason, I appreciate your response to my post. I'll stand by my statement - Zenyatta will win the the BC with anything near a clean trip. As for your suggestion that you will take the field in a bet since Zenyatta will be 2-1, I still find out of place - see if Vegas will give you that bet even up. In that case both Midday and Goldikova will be 2-1 or less are you willing to give the field against them ? As I stated - pick a horse - I've stated my conviction , where is yours ? Since you feel "handicappers" wait to see the final field, that by insinuation must mean only those with media credentials, it should be no problem since you are quite familiar, as am I and all other "handicappers," even three week out, who are the committed starters in the Classic barring a late entry of Europeans or set backs.

However, staying on point, your article is whether Zenyatta is HOY if she doesn't win the BCC. My opinion is that she is if she runs a credible race in the Classic. I see your assertion that others are deserving of the HOY award should they win this race and concur with that only if you are speaking of Blame, Quality Road or Lookin at Lucky. But I still find it intriguing that if you have no bias toward Zenyatta that you are placing so much emphasis on this years Classic when you gave it no credence last year. Even though we have an obvious difference of opinion on this matter I always enjoy your writing and wish you the best of luck on a successful BC.  

17 Oct 2010 10:16 AM
Mike Relva


Since YOU brought it up,can't speak for everyone,but I'm positive you don't "hate" her. Having said that I can make several compelling points that indicate you haven't shown her the respect she obviously deserves as a "once in a lifetime horse". That's ok you're in a minority of people in the industry with your opinion regarding her,that I've no doubt.

17 Oct 2010 10:38 AM

Joanie: I do believe Zenyatta's 2009 campaign was every bit as good as Rachel's 2009 campaign.  That's why I wondered, if so much hinges on the BCC, as Jason states this year...what happened last year when Zen showed up and won the BCC last year.  And I believe the 2009 HOY arguments should be shelved.  I do believe in the 2010 BCC, Zen's toughest rival will be Lookin At Lucky...he has the speed and can go the distance.  I like Blame, but he can bounce, especially against another closer like Zen.  I like QR, but I believe he has limitations.  And we still don't know which Euros will cross to the dirt.

Corgi: Didn't Poet's Voice win the QEII in September at Ascot?  He's a Godolphin horse.  Yesterday was the Group One Emirates Airline Champion Stakes  which was won by Twice Over and is trained by Cecil, a horse beaten last year by Zen in the BCC.

17 Oct 2010 10:55 AM

Through this mess I have enjoyed reading posts from courthouseguy, Pedigree Ann, and Christine.

Saw someone call Zenyatta one of the top 5 thouroughbreds of all time.  In my opinion, the top 5 would be, in no particular order, Secretariat, man o war, Citation, count fleet, and Dr. Fager.  In addition, in my rankings she could not pass the following horses even with a dominant classic win:  bid, native dancer, slew, Kelso, forego, affirmed, Damascus, buckpasser.  (sorry if I omitted some).  With another classic win I think you could argue with a straight face that Zenyatta is top 20 of all time, maybe top 15.  If she had a campaign that included wins or close races in the personal ensign, HGC, pacific classic and BC classic, maybe you could argue top 10 or 5 of all time.

17 Oct 2010 11:06 AM
Rachel O

Jason, I'll have to put you in a category, now, along with Andy Beyer. The two of you are short-sighted, in that you obviously cannot see the greatness in front of you. Andy is apparently furious because Z doen't fit in with his terribly clever numbers schemes, and he obviously resents that. You resent that Z's connections haven't sent her east. You downgrade the CA grade 1 races and complain about the poor competition. Well, why is the competition poor? Because the trainers are afraid of Z, that's why.

You know all this. So what is it with you? You haven't explained youself very well.

17 Oct 2010 11:08 AM

To all of you who think Zenyatta's connections should have been more "daring" and leave Calilfornia, do you feel the same way about Personal Ensign and Ruffian's campaigns too?  They never left New York.  I didn't see any east coast writers bemoaning that.  Double standard, I guess.

17 Oct 2010 11:10 AM
Old Good common Sense

Oh Please when will you Guys And Girls that still making a case against Zeniata Understand that Zeniata will be not only hoy but horse of the Century,BC Classic was designed as Championship race, and we know what she did with the competion as she will do it again.Zeniata ,The Mosses ,John and Mike what a team!!!!!

17 Oct 2010 11:32 AM

Convene 16Oct2010 1:14PM

Are You sure? Not even a sweet note or bottle of wine (Temecula has just as good at a better price). Anyway, the HOTY is subjective, therefore opinion. We know what they say about those, They are like ---holes, everyone has one and a lot of them wreak.

Don't get me wrong, RA is a wonderful horse who deserved HOTY (because of performance on the track) just as much as Zenyatta did (Twice).

I also understand the backlash from the fervor of some Zenyatta fans (God bless them, sorry if I offend some atheists)it can be fulsome.

Peace Out. Enjoy the ride.

17 Oct 2010 11:35 AM

I am just shaking my head at the repeated nonsense of those in denial who cannot grasp that a BCC win in 2010 justifying HOY does not equate to same in 2009.  There was a STANDOUT 3yo filly in 2009 who ran a campaign for the ages that we will not see again.

Zenyatta's 2009 campaign was nowhere near as challenging or accomplished as her competition for HOY in 2009 and her 2010 campaign has been downright boring.  And there is no standout in 2010.

Zenyatta is always going to have a question mark on her career and it's a damn shame and if HOY 2010 goes down the tubes for Moss and Shirreffs they have only themselves to blame.  

17 Oct 2010 11:43 AM

Jason and Draynay: Didn't anyone ever tell you never to argue with idiots because people can't tell which one the idiot is?  Its obvious to me you two aren't idiots although this blog is full of them. You people need to take off your Zenyatta colored glasses or quit drinking your Zenyatta flavored Kool-Aid and see her for what she is.....a CA plastic champion with too many asterisks beside her undefeated record.  

17 Oct 2010 11:46 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

You guys have all fallen for the oldest trick in the book. Just like any racing fan with any sense, Jason is a huge Zenyatta fan. He is using reverse psychology to get you to tout her accolades so he can wallow in her glory for days and days. He knew you'd fall for his "nothing up the sleeve, Zeyatta yadda, yadda trick" again. It never fails no matter how many times he pulls it out of the hat. "Thank you very much, you've been a great audience. Thanks for being such good sports."

17 Oct 2010 11:48 AM

GunBow, Lookin At Lucky is by FAR the most traveled horse this year he will have made 10 cross country trips, AND a trip from KY to MD, and not only that but he has lost training due to not just 1, but 2 fevers this year, on just guts alone Lucky could win HOY, how many other horses can say that they have a resime like that? and I believe I've heard several times he made up 19 lengths after all his trouble in the Derby, can Zenyatta say she has made up 19 lengths this year? no, Lucky will be carrying less than Zenyatta if  I am correct, and he has a DANGEROUS closing kick, he has shown us that time and time again, just putting up some facts about Lucky ;) he is due for some luck in a major race

17 Oct 2010 12:04 PM

bravo Sylvester ;)

17 Oct 2010 12:05 PM

I think Blame, Quality Road or Lookin at Lucky should they win the Classic would deserve HOTY. If they beat Zenyatta, why would Zenyatta deserve HOTY? Had she of had a difficult campaign this year, and won any race against top horses, I could certainly see where the Classic finish would not matter. But she didn't. She beat up on lesser fillies all year and stayed in California with the exception of one race. Blame, Lucky and Quality Road all ran harder campaigns against Grade I horses. If any of those four win, they deserve top honors. If Zenyatta loses, her connections have only themselves to blame. They are basing their entire shot this year on one race...and if she loses the Classic, she will lose top honors for the third time. They should have taken the kid gloves off with her, and then win or lose in the Classic she may still have deserved Horse of the year.

17 Oct 2010 12:19 PM


That's funny.  So if Zenyatta wins the Classic (which will most likely include Richard's Kid and did include Richard's Kid last year) she could be considered a top 20 all-time horse.

But, if she would have beat Richard's Kid twice (in the HGC and Pacific) during the season then maybe she could go all the way to the top 5.

Richard's Kid, really?

He is the difference between being top 5 all-time or if you don't beat him there is no way to get below top 15.

You sticking with that?

Like I said earlier "how many times does she have too beat the likes of Richard's Kid during the season to gain your confidence."

Apparently to 224, it takes three times during one season.  It takes three wins against Richard's Kid during a season to be a top 5 all-time horse, otherwise maybe top 20, lol.

What a campaign that would have been, lol.

17 Oct 2010 12:22 PM
Mike Relva


You know what they say,"takes one to know one". Did your formal education exceed grade school? lol

I have my doubts!

17 Oct 2010 12:35 PM

..."a campaign for the ages..."

Your hyperbole touches me.

You mean beating just one Grade 1 winners in the Haskell, no Grade 1 winners in the Martha Washington, Fair Grounds Oaks, Fantasy, Kentucky Oaks, or Mother Goose, just three winners of Grade 1 races in the Woodward, and four in the Preakness.

I count just 8 winners of Grade 1 races that Rachel Alexandra beat in 2009 to win the HOY.

Zenyatta came into 2009 as the defending Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic Champion and voted second greatest American racehorse to Curlin in 2008 and continued to be undefeated finally winning the Classic and beating the winners of 22 Grade 1 races in addition to two winners of Grade 1 races earlier in the year for a total of 26.

26 beats 8 any day except in the minds of RA fans and Jason.

17 Oct 2010 12:37 PM

Interesting how THIS year, the Breeders' Cup Classic is suppose to determine HOY.  It didn't make a difference last year when RA's connections refused to come to Santa Anita.  Last year's awared should have been split.

17 Oct 2010 12:37 PM

After reading many of the outrageous comments here from obvious east coasters bias, I can't wait to here there "excuses" for losing to a 6 year old mare who likes plastic tracks ! We'll see who has the last laugh Nov. 6th ? My $ is on the queen, "ZENYATTA",best horse since Secretariat, 20-0 baby !!!

17 Oct 2010 12:40 PM


You nailed it. It is because Zenyatta is a California horse that's why.

And the New York crowd think of themselves as  the center of the universe.

They cannot handle it.

Oh, by the way, Texas beat NY yesterday.

17 Oct 2010 12:40 PM

Sherpa- trainer/jockey combo.  Soumillon would not have come here just to take a stroll around the track.  So I figured it was worth a shot. She was a good horse last year and I figured there must have been some problems this year.  I had the 3rd horse too but didn't include the 2nd.  Stupid.

17 Oct 2010 12:43 PM
Mike Relva


Well stated. You forgot to mention that when he posts links to sites regarding Zenyatta they are always neg. never fails.

17 Oct 2010 12:44 PM

The "cross the Rockies" saying is meant to reference what California horses have to do to race outside of the greater southern California area for big races back east.

Contrast to this with say, Ruffian being vanned up and going down the turn pike in New Jersy for the Sorority...

17 Oct 2010 12:49 PM

Gun Bow,

Thanks for the update on Freaky. I haven't been to Los Al in years since I moved to the Seattle area. However, I do remember Tolltac, Dashingly, Denin N'Diamonds, and Sargent Pepper Feature.

17 Oct 2010 12:55 PM


"I do believe Zenyatta's 2009 campaign was every bit as good as Rachel's 2009 campaign".

I respectfully and totally disagree with you as did the HOY voters last year by a fairly wide margin.

But as you said, time to move on to this year. Since there was no spectacular campaign like RA's 2009, the HOY winner should and will be determined in the BC Classic. May the best horse win.

17 Oct 2010 12:56 PM


I just read an article by Jay Hovey on advocating championship honours (HOTY) for Zenyatta based upon sentiments.  It appears that the Zen-worshipper virus has begun to infect the handicapper-journalist ranks.  Keep on taking those immunity shots Bro.  And if you're running low check in with Dr Drunkinbum (LOL).  But seriously, Jay Hovey had the temerity to base his crazy logic upon the Lord Of the Rings Trilogy "Return Of The King" while mocking the king himself, Quality Road and taking a swipe at the retired Rachel Alexandra.

Racing has many dimensions which include having sentimental favourites and rooting for the horse of your choice.  Thats all good fun and sport.  However when it comes down to championship honours, the integrity of the sport and its high ideals must be guarded by upholding the purest standards of ON-THE-TRACK competition among the best.  Claims of running against Grade one competition is valid to a point but when the competition among "equals" gets stiff, if one is honest, not all Grade ones are equal in terms of the division and calibre of the competition (Distaffers, Juveniles, 3YOs only etc).  Therefore I'm trusting that good sense will again prevail in HOTY voting and that those who try to game the system with faulty campaigning strategy (seeking an easy route to the HOTY crown) will find that the consistent high standards of competition required to win the HOTY makes no exception ...may I say ...not even for Queen Zenyatta (the biggest/most contentious celebrity horse, of whom I'm also a big fan).  She's got to win it on the track.  These are my final comments on this blog.  

17 Oct 2010 1:16 PM

Fuzzy Corgi:

“A CA based / John Shirreffs horse prevailed in the QEII yesterday. Have the Beyers been adjusted to reflect that yet?”

Yikes! I sure hope they’re on top of that! Geez, Harmonious looked amazing. She looked great coming into the race and that move was just freaky. Looking forward to seeing her run next year.


“Joanie: I do believe Zenyatta's 2009 campaign was every bit as good as Rachel's 2009 campaign.  That's why I wondered, if so much hinges on the BCC, as Jason states this year...what happened last year when Zen showed up and won the BCC last year.”

I think we know the answer to that – bias. Because realistically, if you are really just looking at cold, hard facts and the only thing that matters is races in “open company,” as has been stated many times here, then BOTH Zenyatta and Rachel had only one “open company” race. Beyond that, Rachel did not step out of her age group except for that one race. She never beat older fillies, either. Those are simply facts. No judgment attached.

Saratoga AJ:

“Is there any doubt the "big three" colts, QR, Blame and LAL, raced tougher competition this year while having impressive 2010 campaigns? Of course not.”

Of course. Just because they are older males doesn’t mean they’re running in the toughest races. Just because they’re on the East Coast doesn’t mean they’re running in tougher races. Blame has won a grad total of TWO GI races this year. You are REALLY fine with giving a three-time GISW HOTY? That’s seriously sad, and it’s damaging to the sport. Heck, if Blame manages to somehow out-close Zenyatta (good luck with that) and Goldikova wins the Mile, I’d rather give it to her. And I’m one of the people who despises that angle. As far as I’m concerned, NONE of the three had better campaigns than Zenyatta. I am not old-school like you apparently are, and I don’t believe that the default is simply better. Lookin At Lucky would have also won three GI races, and only one in what you term “open company.” And I’m a huge fan of that horse! The ONLY horse who would sort-of deserve it is Quality Road, because then at least he would have four GI wins. But Horse Of The Year for running only a handful of times? Ridiculous.

Windy City:

“Kay ~ wow, I'm glad that you don't sit in front of me, I think I would have to run for my life ;-)”

Naw. I’m a kitten, really.

“Putting all of your affection and feelings aside, by being "tested" I don't refer to how she run in her races, only in what races she had run...”

I actually was not bringing any affection into it.

“As I stated above, they had chosen the easiest path for her.”

The easiest path is not GI races. I realize that the echo chamber is working furiously to shoot that meme all over the Interwebs, but they are GRADE ONE RACES. Not only that, Zenyatta has run in REAL handicaps, where she has received REAL weight. Show me one male older supposedly handicap horse who has even carried as much as the 3YOs carry. You won’t be able to find one.

“It's such a shame because I think she deserves to be in better races. Do you realize that she never been to Saratoga?”

Yeah. We’ve been all over that. Some people think that in order to be a champion, a horse HAS to run at Saratoga. If that’s not a bias, I don’t know what is.

“And in her only visit to CD she skipped the race (another excuse that they didn't open the track only kept it sealed to be fast)”

Don’t confuse “excuse” with “reason.” John Shirreffs’ opinions on that matter have been well documented, but you detractors keep totally ignoring it because it messes with your protection meme.

“But anyway,to be tested means to face many different opponents, on different grounds, in different conditions. That what I meant by saying that she was (almost) never tested. If you are still confused then maybe you are a more casual fan than I am ;-)”

I’m the opposite of a casual fan, which means I recognize greatness when I see it. To date, Zenyatta has beaten 88 horses. None have beaten her. She’s won races on four different racetracks. And just because three of them are in California doesn’t mean they are the same. If you think all synthetic racetracks are exactly the same, then you are exactly the casual fan you claim to be. However, that doesn’t give you an informed opinion. A horse can only run against what shows up. And if you have a great, dominating horse,  then other horses are going to run away as quickly as they can. That’s what has happened with Zenyatta. Or have you forgotten that Blind Luck shipped to get away from her? Rachel Alexandra didn’t show up against her? Actually, NO East Coast fillies showed up when Zenyatta went to Oaklawn. Where, exactly, is she supposed to find this competition?

Males, I know. That’s what you all say. You absolutely cannot quantify Zenyatta’s campaign as great because she hasn’t faced and beaten every male on the planet. Well, that apparently is a condition you only have for Zenyatta. You certainly didn’t have that condition for any other filly. But Zenyatta is different. Why is that? And for the record, Ron Ellis said Rail Trip wouldn’t face Zenyatta in the Gold Cup if she entered. Beyond that, Zenyatta beating males in ANY of the West Coast races wouldn’t have meant anything to you people because you would have dismissed it as her beating up on West Coast cupcakes. The gender doesn’t matter. The coast does. It’s a bias, pure and simple. Nothing you’ve said has changed that.

“And yes, I have been on the airplane before. I know I'm going to puzzle you even more now, but imagine that I even took my two kids (3years and 8 months)for a ski trip to Colorado last winter...twice. And guess what? They loved the airplane :-) Nobody was dehydrated, lol.”

So you’re equating your fifty-pound children with a 1200 pound racehorse? That’s just bizarre. If you don’t understand how people and animals can get dehydrated when you fly, then that’s your problem, not mine. Do you know ANYTHING about what thin air can do to living things? You REALLY don’t get that, or are you just being disingenuous? I hope you are, because otherwise…

“I'm a very open minded person and very understandable. I just don't like if somebody is trying to tell me that this green couch is red. It's either you choose an easy patch to survive year with all the consequences or you challenge yourself. If you don't like to be challenged, then don't expect award.”

I realize this is confusing you, but I have not said – anywhere – that Zenyatta should get HOTY if she loses the Classic. I do think there are scenarios in which she DOES get the award if she loses, but I have not said that she should get it regardless. This is a little complex for you, isn’t it?

“As my personal opinion, I really hope she wins BC, I truly think she is a great horse but we never really got a chance to see how good she is. Her real value was compromised by taking the "easy way" by her connections, some call it "service" to the industry...”

People like you don’t understand her real value, which is a shame. I know how you all LOVE this “easy way” meme, but it’s getting a little embarrassing as her legend grows. It would be more advantageous if you were to stop listening to this nonsense and actually appreciate her. She has only one race left, and you would really be missing out if you hewed to these biases.


I think I love you. No... I know I do.

17 Oct 2010 1:16 PM
Gary at Rough Creek


Is HOY just all about numbers?  Like, who won the most Grade 1's, regardless of the quality of the field?  

Or is it about the HORSE OF THE YEAR?  Zenyatta already is the HORSE OF THE YEAR!

Lookin at Lucky?  Please.  A nice horse in a VERY slow crop.

Blame barely beat Quality Road, even getting 6 or 8 pounds.  

Who did Quality Road beat?  Oohhh, Musket Man.  Didn't Musket Man get dusted by that "FLUKE" Mine That Bird...every time they faced off?  


17 Oct 2010 1:24 PM

I think Blame, Quality Road or Lookin at Lucky should they win the Classic would deserve HOTY. If they beat Zenyatta, why would Zenyatta deserve HOTY?

Re:  All that changed last year when RA didnt have to attend the BCC to BE nominated for HOTY.   You cant rewrite history any time you want to.  NO WAY, NO HOW.

17 Oct 2010 1:48 PM

Hey Colin,  Needent worry,  it wont' go down the tubes again.  Like they say, "Third Times a Charm".

17 Oct 2010 1:52 PM

Dr Drunkinbum,

You're right!!! I got suckered-in again. Won't I ever learn?

17 Oct 2010 2:16 PM


Go back to your wall of shame and take your place next to Rachelfan.  That way the two of you can look across the isle at Draynay, and live out your plastic fantasies.

Saratoga AJ  Spot On!!!

17 Oct 2010 3:04 PM

Footlick: thank you for the response.  Nice reasoning. Who did you have in the 2 spot for your trifecta wager?  I can't imagine that "stupid" came into play at all. ;-)

17 Oct 2010 4:14 PM

What about Goldikova???  If she wins her unprecidented 3rd consecutive Breeders Cup Mile after a superb year against all comers and Zenyatta loses the Classic, she has my vote.

17 Oct 2010 4:29 PM

sherpa- I had Contradance in a tri box- all European.  I went 1-3-4.  Should have included a local.  I've never called myself a handicapper.

17 Oct 2010 4:38 PM

The feeling is mutual Kay.  Good stuff.

17 Oct 2010 4:47 PM
Helen Street

Shandler wrote:  "The baffling part is that he keeps using the word "Rockies" in a context of it being extremely difficult to fly over that region when in fact we know it happens every day with horses."

An excerpt from William Nack's book "Secretariat" (page 216):  "Pancho shipped Sham across the Rockies following the Santa Anita Derby, bringing him to Long Island..."

17 Oct 2010 4:59 PM


I agree.  My opinion is that if Ruffian and Personal Ensign are the standards of greatness for modern North American females, then how is Zenyatta not, at the very least, their equal?  Personally, I believe Zenyatta's accomplishments are superior, and I would rank her #1 of the 3.

I can understand those that bristle with the suggestion that Zenyatta deserves to be ranked with Secretariat, Citation, Kelso, Forego, Affirmed, The Bid, Slew, or even Cigar.  But do people realy believe that Zenyatta doesn't deserve a place alongside Personal Ensign or Ruffian?  If so, make the case.

17 Oct 2010 5:02 PM


I really, really like Lookin at Lucky.  I saw him in person in the BC Juvenile, Hollywood Futurity, and Santa Anita Derby.  I loved how he physically matured from the Futurity to the SA Derby.  He's pure class, a throwback to the days when the 2 year old champions ran on well at 3.  He's won 5 gr.1 races, on very different surfaces, across the country.  I was a big supporter of his when some others claimed he was just another "fake Cali plastic horse".  He was my choice among the 3 year olds throughout the Triple Crown trail and after.  I wish him the best in the BC Classic.  I'm also a fan of his jockey, Martin Garcia.

17 Oct 2010 5:12 PM

I really don't think Zenyatta deserve HOY on less she wins the classic. I agree with jason Quality road, blame, lookin at lucky and even Blind luck have done more than her and face better competition all of you that say she's done a lot for racing, maybe for california racing because she never went any where beside arkansa, and yes she is a good horse with a great record but this year I'm not impress with her campaing and record. even rachel alexandra in defeat did more by trying to go at least 10 furlong in a race + I don't think she's winning the classic any way.

17 Oct 2010 5:14 PM


Chairman: The Honorable Jason Shandler

Treasurer:  Draynay

Mission Statement:  To deny that  California horse, Zenyatta from becoming one of horse racing's greats. She must be expunged from the minds and hearts of all the new people she's brought to our sport.

ATTACK THE TRACK: Zenyatta races in La La Land, aka tinsel town. Slyly put Zenyatta and Lindsay Lowhan in the same sentence for effect.  As we know SoCal tracks are SYNTHETIC and we need to stress this.  

When some Zenyatta supporter gets on a roll comending many of her feats, here's what you say:

"19-0"  Why PEPPER'S PRIDE was 19-0!  Kinscem was 54-0 and she faced males in the Hungary Handicap!

"She has won the most consecutive grade 1 races".   Against who?  Gio Ponti is a nobody.  And who the hell is Clement L. Hirsch?  Hmmmm?

"She can close like a freight train".   Oh sure, but i clocked her going her first quarter in 25.2!

"She's brought many new people to the sport".  25,000 at Hollywood Park?  Back in the 1970's I saw 40,000 at Hollywood Park!

And now remember, at any time, inject the name they hate the most:  RACHEL! Keep reminding them that RACHEL won the HOTY in 2009 and they can't take it away!  J. Shandler always uses "amazing and historic" when describing RACHEL.  Use that phrase as much as possible.  After all, nothing Zenyatta has done is amazing or historic. And remind them that one Dallas writer called RACHEL the "HORSE OF THE DECADE".  Mike Smith tried to say that when Zenyatta won the Breeders Cup Classic.  But "Who" is Mike Smith?


She must be stopped in the BC Classic this year, the accolades have to end once and for all. Soldiers, it's time to march out into Bloggerland and out-shout the Zenyatta lovers.  Oh they make me sick!

17 Oct 2010 5:34 PM
Paula Higgins

Shiznik and Kay, keep fighting the good fight. You're both doing great. You too Gary from Rough Creek. Dr Drunkinbum, I would love to think that Jason is playing Devil's Advocate, but I think he is a "true believer"/means what he says, LOL. But yes, he keeps the blog lively that's for sure. His blogs are the most spirited in the entire world of racing, hands down. Ranagluzion, I understand and respect your well articulated and presented point of view. Don't totally agree with it. Regarding Jay Hoveday's article, I agree with his conclusion but think he could have mad a better case. The "Lord of the Rings" analogy was a stretch. Who knows why Hollywood does anything? I prefer to think we are a cut above that and have made a logical and coherent case for our girl.

Woohoo Harmonius! A new girl in town to root for. Not to worry Jason, we will find some other horse to be passionate about. Who knows, it could be a boy!!!

17 Oct 2010 5:41 PM

Gunbow,  I am with you on Martin Garcia.  I think he is a great jockey, I do believe one day in the future he will make it into the HOF.  Baffert got lucky when he nominated Garcia, wise choice.  Garcia got really lucky when he Baffert nominated him, what better trainer to work for than Baffert.    

17 Oct 2010 6:05 PM


I think the First Dude-Cat Thief comparison is really astute.  I'm not saying First Dude is going to win the Classic, but his form is very similar to Cat Thief's entering the 99' Classic.  And First Dude's racing style is nearly identical to Cat Thief.  Like First Dude, Cat Thief would be up near the lead early, look beaten at the top of the stretch, and then somehow hang around to get a piece of the trifecta.

As for Quality Road, I don't see Ghostzapper.  Instead, I agree with you're Saint Liam comparison.  That's the horse that I've been comparing Quality Road to, and I think Pletcher should closely study Dutrow's job with Saint Liam leading up to the 05' Classic.  

Early in Saint Liam's career, he appeared to be a fast but distance limited miler type.  After  losing to Peace Rules a couple of times early in 04', Saint Liam had a breakthrough race when he pushed Ghostzapper to a head in the 04' Woodward.  Saint Liam followed that up with a workman-like win in the Clark.  Saint Liam then crushed Roses in May in the gr.1 Donn, but when sent out to Cali for the 10 furlongs of the Big Cap, he faded through the stretch to be 6th behind Rock Hard Ten(Borrego, and Congrats among others).

So, there were still major questions about Saint Liam's ability to get 10 furlongs, and Dutrow didn't ask the horse to run 10 furlongs again until the BC Classic.  In between the Big Cap and Classic, Saint Liam won the 9 furlong Stephen Foster, ran 2nd by a neck to Commentator in the Whitney, and then won the 9 furlong Woodward in his final prep for the Classic.

Prior to the 05' Woodward, Saint Liam had been either on the lead or pressing it.  But in the Woodward, new rider Jerry Bailey took him back off the pace as a rabbit entertained Commentator up front.  Saint Liam swooped to the lead in the stretch and won easily.  As it turned out, Dutrow was in the process of transforming Saint Liam from a speedy 9 furlong horse to a horse that could rate and get 10 furlongs.  

With the scratch of Rock Hard Ten, the 05' Classic field was subpar, but Saint Liam still faced a tough task because he had to break way to the outside (with the starting gate at Belmont positioned on the clubhouse turn for 10 furlong races).

Intead of sending Saint Liam early, Bailey just guided him out of the gate and allowed him to gather his feet.  He settled Saint Liam on the outside in midpack.  Saint Liam was rating and doing it comfortably.  On the far turn, Bailey asked Saint Liam and he smoothly moved up to the outside of Flower Alley and then wore that rival down professionally throough the lane.  Saint Liam didn't dominate or run a huge number, but he did what he had to do in order to last the 10 furlongs.  I was at Belmont that day and didn't come away overly impressed, but it is a performance that has grown on me over the years.  And it was a strong training job by Dutrow.

Pletcher and Johhny V. seem to believe that Quality Road is best with a target.  Is it possible we could see Quality Road a few lengths of the pace?  The one hole I see in the Quality Road is best with a target theory is that his biggest speed number was earned when he was the runaway winner of the Donn, with absolutely no target to run at through the stretch.  Why would Quality Road need a target in the Whitney and Woodward but not the Donn?  Does Quality Road have the mentality to rate?  Does he have the stamina to be be able to set, pounce, and finish at 10 furlongs?  I'm not sure.  It's definitely a possibility, but I have some doubts. There's just so much speed lining up for the Classic, and with Churchill's long stretch...

I also think the Quality Road-Saint Liam comparison fits using Beyer speed figures. Ghostzapper earned 4 figs over 120, so Quality Road is simply not in his league in terms of pure speed.  But he fits with Saint Liam.  Like Quality Road, Saint Liam ran one huge 120+ Beyer, a 123 when 2nd in the 05' Whitney(Quality Road earned a 121 for the Donn).  Aside from that one race, Saint Liam didn't earn a figure higher than a 114, although he was consistently in the 110-114 range.  That's Quality Road's Beyer profile as well.  Quality Road has one moster 121 fig, with the rest of his top performances in the 110-114 range.  Their Beyer profiles are almost identical.

So, if Quality Road is able to find a way to rate and get 10 furlongs, I see him running like Saint Liam.  But it's still an IF.  The other horse I've compared Quality Road to is In Excess.  In 1991, In Excess won the 9 furlong San Fernando in Cali(116 Beyer) before going to New York and sweeping the Met Mile(117), 10 furlong Suburban(120), Whitney(115), and Woodward(116).  In Excess was a big, robust speed horse that could just run competition into the ground.

However, as impressive as those wins appear on paper, 91' was a year dominated by the American Championship Racing Series, and of In Excess' 5 stakes wins, only one came in an ACRS race against the best competition(Woodward).  Thus, when he won the 10 furlong gr.1 Suburban, setting the Belmont track record, he was not facing the best 10 furlong horses in the country(Farma Way, Festin, Jolies Halo, Unbridled).  In fact, earlier in the year In Excess faded to be 3rd as the heavy favorite in the 10 furlong gr.1 Strub and faded to be a badly beaten 4th to Farma Way, Festin, and Pleasant Tap in the Big Cap.  

In Excess' trainer, Bruce Jackson, had such little confidence in the horse's ability to get 10 furlongs against elite handicap horses that he ran him in the BC Mile instead of the Classic.  And by the way, the BC was at Churchill that year(Jackson was especially dubious that In Excess could get 10 furlongs against the best at Churchill, with its long stretch).  Jackson did try In Excess again at 10 furlongs in the 92' Big Cap, but In Excess was simply not the same horse and in any event Best Pal ran the strongest 10 furlong race I have ever seen in person(123 Beyer; Best Pal ran consecutive Beyers to begin 92' of 121, 119, 123, and 121).

17 Oct 2010 6:07 PM


"What about Goldikova???  If she wins her unprecidented 3rd consecutive Breeders Cup Mile after a superb year against all comers and Zenyatta loses the Classic, she has my vote."

This is a very strongly held personal opinion, but a horse who wins ONE race in North America should NOT get HOTY. I don't care how brilliant that horse is. But by your own reasoning, then Zenyatta should be HOTY no matter what happens because you want to give a career award to Goldikova. It HAS to be a career award, because she's been beaten this year. So why doesn't Zenyatta deserve a career award, then?


"My opinion is that if Ruffian and Personal Ensign are the standards of greatness for modern North American females, then how is Zenyatta not, at the very least, their equal?  Personally, I believe Zenyatta's accomplishments are superior, and I would rank her #1 of the 3.

I can understand those that bristle with the suggestion that Zenyatta deserves to be ranked with Secretariat, Citation, Kelso, Forego, Affirmed, The Bid, Slew, or even Cigar.  But do people realy believe that Zenyatta doesn't deserve a place alongside Personal Ensign or Ruffian?  If so, make the case."

I'd like to see that as well. And I couldn't agree more with your entire post.


Blind Luck has faced better competition this year than Zenyatta? Really? I love that filly and she's pretty close to being a mortal lock for the Eclipse Award as best 3YO filly, but she hasn't even taken on older fillies & mares yet. She hasn't beaten males and may I remind you, that is apparently the requirement for a female to win HOTY.

Or is that just in place for Zenyatta?


I think you have the beginnings of a fine Mad Lib there!


I actually think Hovdey was spot-on with his Oscars analogy. Hollywood does this all the time. There are actors who give career-best performances and don't win Oscars. Some of those actors are given honorary Oscars. Cary Grant never won an Oscar. Bette Davis and Gloria Swanson didn't win for their career-defining performances. Nobody thought the third LOTR movie was better than the first two but taken all together, the trilogy HAD to be recognized. Hence, the Oscar. What Hovdey was saying, IMO, is that that same kind of sentiment could be in play this year in the HOTY vote. I'm not saying that it's right or wrong, just that it's a valid discussion.

And ITA on Harmonious. She is SO green and now she's a MGISW on the turf. A bright future ahead for her.

Speaking of the popularity of Zenyatta, from Twitter:

@terrellowens @ Hollywood Park 2 see Zenyatta! She's 19-0, hoping she brings me luck 4 the rest of the season!


17 Oct 2010 6:20 PM


Brilliant & hilarious!!!

17 Oct 2010 6:33 PM
Pedigree Shelly

      I cannot wait till Breeders Cup Day ! If Zenyatta can win the Classic , I can say with confidence that she would be the greatest racemare of all time !!!!!

17 Oct 2010 6:41 PM
Mike Relva


Very impressive. A Tour De Force!!!

17 Oct 2010 6:57 PM

Honestly fewer and fewer people use common sense.

HOY usually goes to the best 3-year old and up male because the premier events for those horses are typically the most difficult. The races should be examined collectively and thoroughly.

When a horse dominates all year, the Classic is not the be-all end-all race. And why should it be? Volponi was certainly not the best the year he won the Classic.

When there is no clear-cut dominant 3-year old and up male, the Classic is the last important race on the schedule for the year, and thus would most likely decide championship honors.

Rachel Alexandra earned the award (she didn't back into it like some moron stated)because there was no dominant male horse, and ALSO because she ACCOMPLISHED things no 3-year filly did in a very long time. NOT ATTEMPTED -- ACCOMPLISHED! That is a big difference! A horse might attempt every major race that year...if they don't win those attempts, how can it count the same as attempting AND winning?

Some rabid Zen fans have attacked me and claimed she is better and more exciting than Secretariat. Ridiculous notions like that are what turns me off to the horse, her connections, and some of her fans...not all. Some are actually sane and simply enjoy her for what she is...A great horse, not THE greatest and certainly not greater than Secretariat or Cigar.

Out of 19 starts thus far, she has only faced males once, and yet, that one performance supposedly catapults her status above Big Red? Yeah...maybe in your dreams. Goldikova REGULARLY whips the best males in Europe in Group I's. I'd say that is far more impressive than a single victory over males run over a non-dirt surface detested by some in the field.

Much like every other year, her connections think one big effort is enough to win HOY, and if not, she was somehow robbed and they cry. Please! If she is the best, run her in Grade I's that actually have Grade I competition in the field. Since the filly/mare division in CA is so weak, that means she should have taken on future Hall of Famers like Richard's Kid. But no...apparently that's too much to ask.

Goldikova does it all the time and she has held up. If it's ok for her, why not Zen? Don't tell me a 17-hand high gargantuan mare can't run in the HGC or Pacific Classic. That's absurd. That is "backing into an award."

Shirreffs knows full well there are no great females out west. She would have faced GI winners if they faced males, but I guess simply by virtue of her being a female, she gets to be called the greatest horse ever without running in the best races in her home state. The rules that have applied to all the other greats don't apply to her. She doesn't even have to win a single premier race in California and bingo! She is better than Secretariat.

Where is the common sense people?? Not all Grade I's are the same! Back when Skip Away and Formal Gold contested the MassCap, that was a GIII. Well, that GIII is head and shoulders above the "GI's" Zenny has won this year. BIG DIFFERENCE!

If people can't understand these simple concepts that have been accepted for generations of racing, and now they suddenly want the rules to change just because Shirreffs says so, then I feel sorry for them.

These are the same people who made fun of Macho Again and Bullsbay, actual multiple GI winners, but now demand she earn HOY for beating Dance to My Tune and Switch.

I don't understand....make fun of Macho Again, but Switch is the new barometer of greatness? How can you make fun of real GI winners and then laud horses who have never won GI's???

The hypocrisy is sickening and I'm tired of hearing this crap.  

17 Oct 2010 7:20 PM


Pletcher and Johhny V. seem to believe that Quality Road is best with a target.  Is it possible we could see Quality Road a few lengths of the pace?  The one hole I see in the Quality Road is best with a target theory is that his biggest speed number was earned when he was the runaway winner of the Donn, with absolutely no target to run at through the stretch.  Why would Quality Road need a target in the Whitney and Woodward but not the Donn?  Does Quality Road have the mentality to rate?  Does he have the stamina to be be able to set, pounce, and finish at 10 furlongs?  I'm not sure.  It's definitely a possibility, but I have some doubts. There's just so much speed lining up for the Classic, and with Churchill's long stretch..."

Another great post! I feel like Pletcher is trying to wish Quality Road into needing a target, rather than thinking it to be so. He seems to think that Quality Road will not be able to stretch his front-running speed to 10F, especially down that long stretch with quality closers coming after him. But honestly, some horses just relax better on the lead than they do stalking, and he just may be one of those horses. The races when he hasn't set the pace have found him coming home rather tepidly. So it's possible that Pletcher is taking away this colt's one big weapon. He's taking Quality Road's race away from him. I'm doubtful it will work. Either he wants 10F, or he doesn't. Get him ready with gallops and longer works but don't change him. Not now.

17 Oct 2010 7:25 PM
Dog Doc

If she doesn't get Horse of the Year, at least she will probably get the Nobel Peace Prize.

17 Oct 2010 7:31 PM
Paula Higgins

Kay, it's not a good analogy and here's why. Hollywood/The Academy of Motion Pictures awards Oscars periodically for bodies of work, and not necessarily for the one time performance they technically give it for. They also award lifetime achievement awards for bodies of work. So they have two ways to try and honor deserving actors.

I contend Zenyatta deserves it for this year alone. No other horse out there has won 5 in a row in Grade I races. No other horse has one their 19th race in a row during this racing year. No one has won it spotting as much weight as she has to the field. No one has won it every single time coming from absolute last and off the pace. I think she deserves it on this year's record alone. If a male had done this it would be a slam dunk and there would be no discussion. I have a  problem with a sport that insists the girls have to race against the boys to have a credible case for HOTY. It's mysogynistic at the least and is punative in the extreme. Not one of the male horses racing this year will be remembered for their record this year, not one, win or lose the BCC. Zenyatta will be immortal because this year's record added to her legacy in a historically significant way. But if you look at this year in isloation, she still stands heads above the crowd, literally and figuratively. One last comment, my regard for horses significantly outweighs my regard for actors. As a group, they have better characters. Another reason I didn't like the analogy.

17 Oct 2010 7:36 PM
Gary at Rough Creek


And by the way.  Anyone who read my post here and thinks that I don't respect Musket would be absolutely mistaken.  I love the horse, and his tough consistency and versatility.

In fact, what would Jason do if HE happens to win the BCC?   Hmmmm...

17 Oct 2010 7:38 PM

Shiznik:  you miss the point.  Two wins against open company against males in historic races would enhance her legacy no matter what horses show up.  As would a win over Rachel and Life at Ten at Saratoga.  It's not about Richard's Kid.

17 Oct 2010 7:41 PM

Reading the comments made my night. So, Zen won the same races she won last year. Wow, I'm bored. I was so happy to hear this years classic was going to be her last race, I am so sick of her. It's like the same thing over and over and over again. If her connections wanted to win HOTY, they would have tried to put other races under her belt. Instead, we got snooze. Shame shame shame

17 Oct 2010 7:48 PM

Round and round we go!  

17 Oct 2010 7:50 PM

so you all saying even if Zenyatta loses fair and square she should get HOY, think about it this way HOY is the BEST Horse Of The Year, if she loses, how is she best? that means someone else is better than her, atleast I certainly thought it did, of course when she loses yall will drag out all your pathetic excuses.....Why even bother fight this fight right now? When she loses the Classic will have to fight it all over again...if she wins then Yes I will admit I'm wrong, if she loses No You will Not admit your wrong, as I said you will drag out your pathetic excuses....

17 Oct 2010 7:50 PM
Jeff R.

Zenyatta should win HOY for what she's done this year?  For skipping the Pacific Classic to race against the same tired Cali horses she has been trouncing for 3 years? Give me a break!

17 Oct 2010 7:50 PM
Linda in Texas

markinsac - if i had to bet to stay alive, i would be willing to put my money down that you are either a prosecutor or a defense attorney and you are talking to the jury!!! And the jury has just sent out a note to the Judge for clarification. Even if you aren't a prosecutor or a defense attorney you made your point. Good one.

Too funny and clever at the same time.

Gunbow - i hope people are reading and letting your posts soak in, you are a teacher at heart of all things horse and i appreciate all that you write. And especially enjoyed your mention of Freaky, too. Love those Quarter Horses and had a couple myself 40 years ago.

They were special.

One last thing, is it not just amazing that at this point, there are over 400 posts on this topic?

Have no clue how many words have been written, but hard to believe that so many different people have posted different angles on such a simple subject:

BC Classic should Decide HOY

Incredible. But fun, most of the time.

Thanks, Linda

17 Oct 2010 7:53 PM
Lucky One

Here is what I think:

Side bet,  If Looking at Lucky, Blame, or Quality Road beats Zenyatta in the Classic, then we will concede HOY for the first breeding to her.

17 Oct 2010 8:00 PM

I am just catching up with blog since Friday:  (Jason, you always are right on and cut right to the chase!)

Jerry B:  you are right.  Z's connections have campaigned her in a manner such that she  needs to win the big one to win HOY.  If they had taken chances like JJ did with Rachel,  if they had run her against males, even staying within Cali, they could claim that the BC is irrelevant.

John Sherriffs, you have only yourself to blame that Z hasn't locked up HOY by Sept. as RA did last year.

I would like to state that I think Z is probably the best mare I have ever personally seen, and likely is in the all time top ten of all racers, but I have to use the words "probably" and "likely" because of the campaign that Sherriffs chose for her ie.  she hasn't been given a chance to demonstrate it against the best.

I am not a JJ fan, but he did campaign his filly outside the box, and she earned HOY on the track.

17 Oct 2010 8:04 PM
Jason Shandler

Christine, 2:24, Blitz, Rachel Fan, skyfire: You all make sense but youre wasting your time. Most of these Zenyatta fans are just enamored with this mare and cant have an intelligent debate any longer. They are unwilling to admit her campaign has been ridiculously conservative and she would not even take on the best in her own state. And, they still want HOY because a few writers and Shirreffs thinks its owed to them.

Let's just wait until Nov. 6. Things have a way of clearing themselves up. Mr. Road will end this nonsense for us.

17 Oct 2010 8:11 PM


What multiple G1 wins did Macho Again and Bullsbay have?  Me thinks there's some crap in your statement.

17 Oct 2010 8:12 PM


If Zenyatta bores you so much, what are you going to do next year when she's not around anymore?

17 Oct 2010 8:14 PM

Zenyatta won a few races on plastic, who cares?  Rachel won some of the biggest races in the sport.  Until Zenyatta wins a open race on dirt (something Rachel did as a filly) no one cares about her plastic wins.

17 Oct 2010 8:18 PM
pam r

I completely agree with you.  Zenyatta's races this year didn't have the same degree of challenge/difficulty as RA's were last year, which I think is why she lost HOTY to Rachel.  Unfortunately, this year was again somewhat of a disappointment.  Watching her stay unbeaten was awesome, but the choice of races was disappointing.  A horse that shows her kind of talent, I think, should have been in bigger, more prestigious races.  Some people want to say that many of the top colts haven't beaten others of note, and while I'm not knowledgeable enough to compare all of them, as a rule, the males do tend to be a little better.  I think Zenyatta, without a doubt, has the ability to beat them, and should have had the chance to face them more than just the two races in which she will. That being said, wether or not the males may be as good in their races as Zenyatta was in hers, I do think that this years BC Classic, will likely determine HOTY, unless there is a huge upset.  No one horse's victories this year have been overwhelmingly dominating over the other top runners.

17 Oct 2010 8:26 PM

A lot of people need to learn how to read.


“HOY usually goes to the best 3-year old and up male because the premier events for those horses are typically the most difficult. The races should be examined collectively and thoroughly.”

They have been. See this blog, and elsewhere. People have called into question the fields ALL of these horses have been beating. However, apparently field quality only matters with Zenyatta. Why is that?

“When a horse dominates all year, the Classic is not the be-all end-all race. And why should it be? Volponi was certainly not the best the year he won the Classic.”

So you’re equating Zenyatta with Volponi? That seems odd.

“Some rabid Zen fans have attacked me and claimed she is better and more exciting than Secretariat. Ridiculous notions like that are what turns me off to the horse, her connections, and some of her fans...not all. Some are actually sane and simply enjoy her for what she is...A great horse, not THE greatest and certainly not greater than Secretariat or Cigar.”

Who did that here? It certainly wasn’t me. Nor was it GunBow, or any of the other rational and knowledgeable people. I realize that you want to enhance this hyperbole, but the rational people aren’t going to let you.

“Since the filly/mare division in CA is so weak, that means she should have taken on future Hall of Famers like Richard's Kid. But no...apparently that's too much to ask.”

Since this entire debate is about an East Coast bias, it wouldn’t have mattered if she’d beaten up on Richard’s Kid and Awesome Gem all year. In fact, those were two of the horses she beat LAST year and it didn’t mean anything to you people. Zenyatta could have won every GI on the West Coast and it still wouldn’t put her in front for HOTY, as far as you’re concerned.

“Goldikova does it all the time and she has held up. If it's ok for her, why not Zen? Don't tell me a 17-hand high gargantuan mare can't run in the HGC or Pacific Classic. That's absurd. That is "backing into an award."

The people who continue to compare Zenyatta and Goldikova just don’t get it. I realize that you only do this because your standard-bearer has been retired, but come on. You know this is stupid. European racing is substantially different than American racing. Some yahoo on here even suggested that Blind Luck had done more this year than Zenyatta. But she hasn’t faced males, or older horses. So you can see how this gets confusing.

“The rules that have applied to all the other greats don't apply to her.”

Now you’re getting it – oh. Wait. You mean the OTHER way.

“These are the same people who made fun of Macho Again and Bullsbay, actual multiple GI winners, but now demand she earn HOY for beating Dance to My Tune and Switch.”

This is where you need to learn how to read. Go back and count how many people on here think Zenyatta SHOULD be handed HOTY. Seriously, knock it off with your hyperbole and your slippery-slope reasoning. Go back and count how many people here have said Zenyatta is greater than Secretariat. Then try this on for size – fight the battles where they are waged. Don’t drag other battles into other fights. Okay?

“The hypocrisy is sickening and I'm tired of hearing this crap.”

Yeah, me too. So knock it off.


“Kay, it's not a good analogy and here's why. Hollywood/The Academy of Motion Pictures awards Oscars periodically for bodies of work, and not necessarily for the one time performance they technically give it for. They also award lifetime achievement awards for bodies of work. So they have two ways to try and honor deserving actors.”

Gotta disagree on this one! The point Hovdey was making is that it’s sentiment, and not quality, that had the Academy give the Oscar to the third LOTR movie. So just going off that pure analogy, it DOES work. He’s suggesting that there could be the exact same kind of sentiment that gives it to Zenyatta after three tries. Now, I doubt very much that it’s going to happen, primarily because it won’t be necessary. As Hovdey says, she’s going to win the Classic and she’ll be the deserved unanimous HOTY.

I’m not sure I agree with the rest of your post, although I’m not sure I disagree either. What WOULD throw a wrench into the proceedings is if she didn’t run, or if they chose the Ladies Classic, which they won’t do because she would have to be there earlier. But for the sake of argument, say she wins the Ladies Classic. Jason, for one, voted for her in 2008 over Curlin. Curlin had four GI victories in 2008. If Blame won the Classic, he’d have three and a pretty unimpressive “campaign.” Quality Road would have four, but he would have won the Classic. Interesting, isn’t it?


“Two wins against open company against males in historic races would enhance her legacy no matter what horses show up.”

No it wouldn’t, because it didn’t matter that she beat them last year. And it would be on the WEST Coast, which never counts towards Eclipse Awards.


“so you all saying even if Zenyatta loses fair and square she should get HOY,”

No. Learn to read.


“Most of these Zenyatta fans are just enamored with this mare and cant have an intelligent debate any longer.”

Well, since at no point do you enter an intelligent debate, then I suppose you’re right.

“Let's just wait until Nov. 6. Things have a way of clearing themselves up. Mr. Road will end this nonsense for us.”

Back on the horse, eh? Okay.

This is turning into crazysauce.

17 Oct 2010 8:34 PM
Jason Shandler

Kay: Im sorry, I fell asleep 25 words in. Can you repeat that?

17 Oct 2010 8:39 PM

We've been having a beautiful Fall in Ohio, I hope Kentucky is following suit and we have great weather for the 6th. Seems like the 3 big boys are prepping well and so is Z. Going to be VERY INTERESTING on here Nov 7th!!! (I'm rooting for Z to have to go all out to catch LAL and Blame...and yep, I think she very well could slip under the 2:00 mark). We'll see!

17 Oct 2010 8:45 PM

Jason, You're not being fair and you know it. Laz and GunBow cannot have an intelligent debate but Christine and Rachel Fan make sense??? Must you keep insulting the greatest part of your followers?

17 Oct 2010 8:51 PM
Jason Shandler

You're right Zoo. I stand corrected. There are few of you guys that write intelligently and are fair, especially the ones you mentioned. I just get so tired of reading nonsense that I lumped everyone together.

17 Oct 2010 8:54 PM
Paula Higgins

Christine, points of view are not "crap," even when they differ from yours. You have a lovely way with words. I am certain a Pulitzer Prize in Literature awaits you.

Furthermore, who on this blog ever said Zenyatta was greater than Man O' War, Secretariat or Citation? Not one person. I have never heard anyone say that. They did say she beat Citation's and Cigar's record of straight wins. That is indisputable. They have said they believe she is the greatest American female horse. How you extrapolate from that, your comments that anyone here believes she is greater than Secretariat et al., is beyond me.

Christine here is a thought from Aristotle: "It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it." I find the pro-Zenyatta bloggers much more open to discussion than the anti-Zenyatta bloggers who simply want to shut it down. It speaks volumes for their argument.

17 Oct 2010 8:55 PM


as usual I think your so correct, there was no reason for Zenyatta's connections not to run her in the big

races. They did the same thing last year and didn't like the outcome. So my question is why run the same lack luster campaign again. The horse seems to have unlimited potential, she always finds a way to win, I'm confident if they had put her in the top cali races there would be no need for this type of debate. She is head and shoulders above them, her connections are the ones that seem to be afraid to let her do her thing  

17 Oct 2010 8:59 PM


When u say Mr Road will settle this are you referring to Quality Road?

17 Oct 2010 9:07 PM
Jason Shandler

Yeah Johnny. QR, Blame, or LAL will win. Havent made up my mind yet. I will BC week.

17 Oct 2010 9:10 PM
Paula Higgins

Kay, I LIKED the third Ring movie LOL! I really thought it deserved the Oscar.

O.k here is the bottom line for me, Zenyatta deserves HOTY for whatever reason they want to give it to her including: her body of work with the 19th race coming in this year with her 5th straight win, a BCC win, or all of the above. People, think outside the box. She doesn't have to have a career like Goldikova, Citation, Curlin, Rachel, or any other previous HOTY to win HOTY. Her own record is unique, historic and special enough to warrant it. For those of you that have been in this business a long time, you either know better or should know better. To say all Grade I's are not created the same undermines the whole sport. They either are or they are not. You cannot re-weight/grade the race now that it is run. That smacks of revisionism of the worst kind in an attempt to invalidate her wins. Very poor form from some of you in that respect.

Her career is unprecedented. If you want to deny HOTY to her if she doesn't win the BCC, go ahead. It won't matter one whit. History will remember her as the legend she is, and no one will remember the 2010 HOTY if it isn't her.

17 Oct 2010 9:16 PM

Re:  Using Twice Over as example of top competition faced by Z.

His trainer says he will race next year because he so far hasn't done enough on the track to make it as stallion.  

Cecil:  "Hopefully, he'll stay in

training next year, because although he's won a lot of money, stallion-wise he's not highly valuable at the moment".

If his own trainer says this, I wouldn't use him as a recommendation for the quality of last year's B.C.


17 Oct 2010 9:16 PM
Tom FV

Zookeeper, at last an intelligent post! ;)

17 Oct 2010 9:23 PM

Thank you Christine! Your common sense is refreshing on this thread!

I'm all for someone enjoying a horse and letting their enthusiasm get the best of them, but some of the comments here are one nut short of a fruitcake.

Shirreffs had the whole year handed to him on a platter, it was his to map out a HOY worthy campaign. He was literally in the catbird seat. I thought we'd see him challenge his mare in races that raised the bar just out of reach of other top horses. That never happened, he piddled away the year and here we are with him all-in on the Classic. Blame and Quality Road have fewer G1 wins than Zenyatta but those wins are in open company against far tougher horses than the big mare ran in, so their G1s weigh heavier than Zenyatta's. In this case it's quality over quantity. Shirreffs has left himself one way to win HOY - Zenyatta must win the Classic. If she fails to do so, all Blame, Quality Road, and Lookin At Lucky have to do is finish ahead of her to win HOY. It's hard to believe with a horse of Zenyatta's caliber in Shirreffs barn that he left himself one option. It's really sad as even if she wins she is no lock for HOY.

17 Oct 2010 9:34 PM

Some handicapper you are Jason. You've basically already made your trifecta bet and it isn't even November. Have you so little faith in Zenyatta that she won't even hit the board?

17 Oct 2010 9:36 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

Markinsac - You asked "But "Who" is Mike Smith?"

Let me write this in crayons and use really small words so you'll understand. Mike Smith is a jockey or in other words a small man or woman who rides horses that race really fast. He has won lots and lots of races, almost 5,000. That is a lot of races. Many of the races he won have are worth a lot of money. Because Mike has been very good at his job he gets to ride a whole bunch of very nice horses. Some of the horses he rode to wins in very big races; Triple Crown races, 13 Breeders Cup races and even the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (G1), a tough to win race in Europe. If you need help, someone should be to show you where that is on a map.

Mike spent most of his career in New York, from 1989-2001, then he moved to California where he continues to be a top rider. In 2003 he was inducted (placed) into Racing's Hall of Fame.

I don't know where you got the idea that people who think Zenyatta is great hate Rachel Alexandra. That you even say such a thing tells me... well, I'll not say it because Jason will ban me for life. BTW, a few people who have called Zenyatta great are as follows: Gary Stevens, Jerry Bailey, Bob Baffert, Bill Mott, Penny Chenery, Ron McAnally, etc.

If you don't know who the above people are, you can Google them.

17 Oct 2010 9:38 PM
Paula Higgins

CBman, they didn't race her according to your plan because:

A)They didn't want to overextend her by racing the boys a la Rachel Alexandra, who had one historic year but was unable to make the BCC because of the intensity of her campaign. There was a lesson there, and they understood it even if some people didn't.

1)She is 6 years old and this is

  her third year in a row racing.

B)They were chasing a record of consecutive wins in mostly Grade I races in order to beat Eclipse's record.

C)Their main goal was the BCC because their hope is that she will be the first (and probably last) female horse to win it two years in a row.

D)California has been good to them and they want to be good to California racing fans.

E)John Shirreffs doesn't like leaving his horses to assistants for extended periods of time.

All of these are perfectly understandable and rational  reasons, whether you agree with it or not. For those of you that have a vote for HOTY, if you don't want to vote for her, then don't.

LAL is the one in my opinion who has a chance of beating her. He is a closer like Zenny, a Baffert trained horse, he won't mind the distance, and he is getting better.

17 Oct 2010 9:40 PM
Saratoga AJ


"The ONLY horse who would sort-of deserve it is Quality Road, because then at least he would have four GI wins. But Horse Of The Year for running only a handful of times? Ridiculous".

Oh really?

So I guess that since Quality Road and Zenyatta only ran 5 times each this year, and Blame only 4, and Looking at Lucky a whopping 6 starts this year, none of these horses have run enough to be a HOTY. LOL


17 Oct 2010 9:45 PM
The Rock


Leave Barry Bonds out of this discussion. =) Stop knocking on my Giants. Was that posted before or after they upset the phillies last night? lol

17 Oct 2010 9:55 PM
The Rock

So after this weekend, is it safe to say that all the Euro's should be covered when playing all the turf races on both of the BC days?

17 Oct 2010 9:57 PM

Man I really got sucked into this.

Living in Florida no West Coast bias just a true horse racing fan. Gulfstream and Calder are my tracks.

Anyway how many fillies won the classic prior to Z?

Who put up a career best beyer figure in doing it?

When did Oaklawn put in a synthetic race track?

Predictions Z wins will break 2:00.

Then after I will preach greatness and karma and that stuff..

Biggest threat LAL

Longshot Haynesfield  beat Blame.

Oh I know slow pace Z never had a 50 second half mile to run at..LOL

Nobody bet Z please let me get 7-2 I would die if it went to 4-1

17 Oct 2010 9:59 PM
Mike Relva


It's like an old Robert DeNiro movie,when someone complains to him,DeNiro says,"You're in this mess,cause you're in this mess". You complain about reading nonsense,yet you write alot of junk about Zenyatta and connections and expect to not hear anything back relating to fans that truly love this horse. You want carte blanche. That's not right. Why don't you take ownership every now and then instead of putting it all on Zenyatta's fans? You can't have it both ways!

17 Oct 2010 9:59 PM

Kay my friend, Who have Zenyatta beat this year please let me know, blind luck have face better competition than her, and just in case you don't remember or haven't her sunday silence didn't faces older horses until the classic and beat them when he did. I don't blame the horse cause she only do what their conection make them do but please, last year was so much home advantage, it going to be different now.

17 Oct 2010 10:17 PM

Hey Christine, So where was the great females running in 2010?  Are they the one's RA lost to?  Are they the great females that Zenyatta dodged?  But RA lost to....Please, you're starting to spin...

17 Oct 2010 10:25 PM

For over two years I had a dream.  My dream was to meet the great Zenyatta, not just watch her race but to meet  her in person, to touch her, to see her in her world.  You see, I'm 53 years old and have been watching horse racing since I was nine years old.  In all those years except for the Great  Secretariat years, I have never seen another horse like Zenyatta.  From her pre-race dance to her unbelievable ability to win no matter the pace, the competition, the weight, she just gets it done and with ease.  When a horse wins with her ears pricked, trust me, she is just cruising and having a good time.  I have two daughters that were never as enthusiastic about racing as I, that is until I showed them Zenyatta and everything changed for them.  So with only two races left, I decided I had to fulfill my dream and fly from Northern Michigan to California to see her and take my daughters with me so they could one day tell their kids, I met the Great Zenyatta!  So, we booked our flights, reserved our hotel and then, we called Hollywood Park to make our arrangements to meet Zenyatta.  Ignorance is not always bliss especially when you find out that you can't just stroll into the barns to meet the horse of your dreams.  Fortunately, I managed to get a email to the Great And Powerful Steve Haskin! The Night in shining armor forwarded my email to Dottie.  To my great and wonderful surprise, she told him she didn't want to see someone's dream not come true and that me and my girls could come on Friday before the Ladies Secret to watch her graze outside her barns.  So we flew out on Thursday from Northern Michigan and by Friday, we were at the barns of the Queen and, even spent an hour with the Queen.  Unless you have met her, you just cannot believe what it is like to see her in person.  First of all, she is breathtakingly gorgeous, unique, statuesque, inspirational and huge!  She is so regal and royal acting that you are hesitant to even approach her.  She would graze and then... she just stops, poses: staring off at something you simply just don't see.   And, I can't say enough about how gracious Dottie was, she stayed and talked with us the whole time, answering our questions and proudly telling us about all of the charity work that Zenyatta has done, and its enormous!  We were able to have our pictures taken with her along with Dottie and John and we actually got to touch the great Zenyatta!  You have never touched anything so soft in your life! She is so sweet you just can't believe it, all you have to do is look into her eyes to know that this statement is the truth, the most soulful eyes of any horse I've ever seen.  We left the barns that day absolutely numb and in awe of her as well as by the kindest of the people who allowed our dreams to come true, the nicest people you could meet.  They recognize how much her fans love her and they are willing to share her.  My bucket list is complete.

Ok, as far as this discussion, I would like everyone to think about this. Zenyatta is a huge mare, bigger than all the others out there.  As we all know,  the bigger they are the more chances of injury.  Traveling takes a toll on some horses and with Zenyatta, it was evident that she lost weight after the Apple Blossom and had still not gained it back when she raced in the Vanity.  So, if she traveled even two more times this year there is no way that she would have been ready for the BCC.  Facing the boys does take more out of a mare, it obviously cooked Rachel.  So does it make more sense to keep a horse healthy and racing for three years or, would you have all preferred that she was challenged hard for a year and then just retired. Myself, I feel blessed to have watched her for the last three years and I think her team has run the perfect campaign.  Would last year's Classic have been as exciting had she been beating up on boys all year, hell no. It was the unknown that made it exciting.  And this year, same thing, only it's, "Can she compete against the boys on dirt?"  It's the unknown that is exciting and I for one can't wait.  You see, I've been having a premonition about this ever since she was unretired and you are all about to see something you have never seen before!

BTW Kay, you are the women!

17 Oct 2010 10:47 PM


Your post of 17 Oct 2010 6:07 PM was brilliant. I really enjoyed it and always look forward to your comments.

The amount of information in your comments is astonishing! Where do you obtain your statistics? Do you have an extensive collection of Past Performances, or do you gather statistics elsewhere?

Keep up the good work!


17 Oct 2010 10:48 PM
Kevin A Burke

Just a few thoughts:

I just don't see Quality Road winning at the distance.

As for the three horses mentioned, QR, LAL, and Blame, true a win might give them horse of the year, but it still doesn't make them a "Z" or an "RA"

As far as "RA" and "Z" go, the greatest shame is the feeling that a fan must pick one over the other. So much, has been missed by so many, in not just enjoying both for what each have given.

"Z" has one more race to give, just enjoy it.

The "HOY" is an award that honors the present, but history is the judge of lifetime greatness.

Just a few thoughts,  

17 Oct 2010 10:57 PM

this years classic is more of a

championship race because its on

dirt. Believe it or not the races on synthetic were not seen as real

BC races. Zenyatta is hoy only if she wins or QR, Blame or Lucky don't win either. Shes a great horse who has been horribly campaigned. Could have won the gold cup or pacific classic or goodwood and this would be a mute point. She has to beat the boys to win hoy.

17 Oct 2010 10:58 PM

Mike Smith/John Shirreffs, I hope you read this: Please turn Zenyatta loose BC day and blow the field away so the arguing will stop!

17 Oct 2010 11:37 PM
Jason Shandler

Switching gears a bit, I have to admit after all these years I was wrong about one thing: Brett Favre...

He really has showed us what he's made of! Bada bing!

17 Oct 2010 11:51 PM

Fuzzy Corgi,

I believe Markinsac was being sarcastic.

Tom FV,

You mean my other comments weren't?  :)

18 Oct 2010 12:04 AM


GunBow and Lazmannick have encyclopedic minds. Kinda keeps us humble, doesn't it?


It not the only thing. :)

18 Oct 2010 12:15 AM

I’m a strong Zenyatta supporter, but I still have a hard time believing that John Shirreffs actually believes that she will win HOY based on her G1 wins this year and regardless of how she fares in the BCC.  Could it be that he’s campaigning?  If he actually believed this wouldn’t it be logical to enter Zen in the potentially easier BC Distaff instead of the Classic?  Regardless of all the talk and conjecture and accusations, this year the HOY title will and should be decided in the BCC itself.  Barring an upset, and this field seems to have a little more up front depth than the upset years in 1993, Arcangues, 1999 Cat Thief and 2002 Volponi, we are fairly certain to have this race won by one of the big four and if this happens then IMO the winner should get the title.

18 Oct 2010 12:16 AM

I love how all you neighsayers keep ignoring the facts that are repeatedly presented to you. Seriously, you all KNOW that if Zenyatta beat Richard’s Kid and Awesome Gem AGAIN that you STILL wouldn’t take her seriously. She STILL wouldn’t have done enough for you. Shirreffs probably knows this, too.

Lastly, Paula, on the Oscar thing. Here’s the big difference between the Oscars and the Eclipse Awards: The people who actually make movies vote for the Oscars. Actors vote for actors, writers for writers, directors for directors, producers for producers. They don’t have entertainment reporters voting for the awards. But in horse racing, the actual horsemen don’t get to vote. I think things would be a lot different if that were changed.

As for Lookin At Lucky, I adore that horse. I have since he was a 2YO. One of the most gorgeous horses I’ve ever seen, and as honest as they come. I’m not convinced he can get 10F, though. Oh, I think he’ll try his hardest and there are scenarios in which he CAN win a 10F race, but I just can’t see him holding off a closer like Zenyatta. I think that Belong To Me bottom line may jump up and bite him. I wish he’d gotten to the Travers. The Indiana Derby was a useful race for him but he’s had two races since May and he may lack that extra conditioning he’s going to need to motor all the way to the wire. I think he’s going to be an incredible 4YO, and hopefully they’ll keep him going.


Is that the best you can do? THAT’S your comeback? You’re slipping, man.


“Re:  Using Twice Over as example of top competition faced by Z.

His trainer says he will race next year because he so far hasn't done enough on the track to make it as stallion.  

Cecil:  "Hopefully, he'll stay in training next year, because although he's won a lot of money, stallion-wise he's not highly valuable at the moment".

If his own trainer says this, I wouldn't use him as a recommendation for the quality of last year's B.C.”

Well that’s some interesting reasoning. I’m dizzy just thinking about how you twisted that all up! One of the big reasons he’s not highly valuable is that his pedigree isn’t that spectacular. It’s solid, but it’s not like he’s Sea the Stars or something. So rather than being a MGISW (which he is), he needs to actually do MORE than the royally-bred horses who have done as much as he’s done on the track. The fact remains that he was a GISW going into last year’s Classic, and he’s a GISW this year. So his form held. I imagine they’ll point for the Dubai World Cup. A win there would be catnip for breeders, and it would put him over the top. Before you post quotes you don’t understand, learn a thing or two about racing.

Johnny: I love your gumption!!

Saratoga AJ:

“Oh really?

So I guess that since Quality Road and Zenyatta only ran 5 times each this year, and Blame only 4, and Looking at Lucky a whopping 6 starts this year, none of these horses have run enough to be a HOTY. LOL”

Since that’s not what I said, obviously not. Also, I have to correct you because this drives me crazy: None of these horses HAS. Not HAVE. Sheesh.


“Kay my friend, Who have Zenyatta beat this year please let me know, blind luck have face better competition than her, and just in case you don't remember or haven't her sunday silence didn't faces older horses until the classic and beat them when he did. I don't blame the horse cause she only do what their conection make them do but please, last year was so much home advantage, it going to be different now.”

Um… what? On the most basic level, Blind Luck has raced only 3YO fillies. In fact, the filly who beat her in the Hollywood Oaks, Switch, lost to Zenyatta. Blind Luck is a terrific filly and will be the 3YO filly champion. But just flying around the country doesn’t automatically mean better competition. That’s nonsensical. Kind of like the majority of your response.


Steve Haskin arranged that for you? That’s wonderful. I’ve been around a few great horses but I’ve never seen one like Zenyatta. There’s a real aura to her, both at her barn and when she steps into the paddock. So glad you got to experience that. And thanks, BTW…

18 Oct 2010 12:26 AM

Fuzzy Corgi: markinsac's post was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek. He knows "who" Mike Smith is. But thanks for your clarification. It's nice to be reminded just how accomplished & knowledgeable he is. He was the regular rider for the wonderful (HOY) Azeri. Interesting that he says Zenyatta is the best horse he's ever been on.

P.S. Totally dig your user name. LOVE corgis. Despite the fact they look like a fox grafted onto a dachshund.  ; )

Jeff: You stated that the BC races on synthetic weren't really "real". Then suggest if Z had won the Pacific Classic, Hollywood Gold Cup, or Goodwood, this whole discussion would be moot.   Huh?

18 Oct 2010 12:56 AM


I have to ask this - I hear so many people like yourself complain about Z's campaign.... BUT, what if she wins her 3rd straight BC title, and 2nd straight Classic? Will you still knock her campaign?  She will have done the remarkable - and I think that would 100% vindicate her (including last years) campaigns. Especially in a time where it is so common to see the good horses constantly on the disabled list.

18 Oct 2010 1:21 AM


Off topic, but did you see the second race at Belmont on Saturday, a MSW for two year-olds at 6F won by another potential Todd Pletcher star…….first time starter Brethern.  The time was 1.08.88 and he won from off the pace (2nd).  I know the track was pretty fast as allowance horses ran 6F in 1.08.26 two races later, but Brethern is still only two and it was his first lifetime start.  The second place finisher, Black N Beauty, was charging at the end also and was beaten half a length.  Could it be that Pletcher has the two best two year olds in his barn this year?


Thanks for the nice words, but you’re being too kind.  GunBow is the man, a wealth of knowledge and the ability to explain it like it really is.  I just try to contribute when I can.

18 Oct 2010 1:29 AM

Skyfire: you said using Twice Over as an exmaple of top competition faced by Z is a bad move because his trainer says he needs to do more on the track to increase his value as a stallion.

That is a function of his breeding. He is by Observatory, a contemporary of Giant' Causeway. While GC already has sired multiple champions and his sons are also in demand, Observatory has sired.....Twice Over. Not much to recommend him there.

18 Oct 2010 1:40 AM

I still say if Zenyatta shipped to the east other supposed better horses would have found somewhere else to race. Look at the fields Rachel faced this year. Where was the competition. Although she got beat, she was not the horse of last year and still other horses avoided her. So why ship Zenyatta? California based horses are shipping everywhere and winning, so the competition on the left coast can't be too bad. Races were open to any other horses to enter. If they didn't show up as they did not for Rachel in the east, that's horse racing.

18 Oct 2010 2:03 AM

Ok, I'm going to jump in this one more time...I can't resist.  I stepped back and pondered on all the comments for a while, and I can't help but notice a few things:

First, and a bit off the original topic, how is it that some people find it logical to tout RA as a great racehorse based on one year, and yet still say that Zenyatta, after technically 4 years of being undefeated thus far, is not great?  Yes, I'm stretching with that 4 years since '07 was just a maiden win.  Still, even if you want to call it 3 years, it doesn't make sense to me.  That is strictly aimed at those who want to say that RA is great but Zenyatta is not.

Second, Jason, seriously?  The implication that the persons who agree with you are the only ones that make sense and can have an intelligent debate is insulting.  I find it curious that your idea of an intelligent debate is basically people mimicking the ideas you've already stated.  I've not really seen anyone come up with a new arguement against Zen being HOTY other than what you've already stated.

Third, you really want to talk about objectivity?  Ok, some key points: Zen's races have been against other females, not males--believing that this means they are weaker just because of the sex difference is subjective.  Zen hasn't faced any G1 winners this year--could this maybe be because she is winning the majority of the G1 races for f/m in Cali, thus not giving the opportunity for any other f/m to become G1 winners?  If they can't beat her, how do they become G1 winners?  Again, this becomes subjective because if Zen wasn't beating them, they would become G1 winners, so to assume they aren't any good just because they haven't had the opportunity is, yes, subjective.  Synthetics vs dirt--subjective.  Cali vs the rest of the world--subjective.  Do you see how it cannot be an objective decision?

Tell me please who Blame and Quality Road have beaten because for the life of me, I can't recall any of the names, yet so many are insistent that they have raced in such quality fields that Zen's competition cannot compare.  As for Lucky, if he wins the Classic, by all means give HOTY to him because that would be impressive, but just off what he's done the rest of the year, no way.  Has he even faced any older horses?

As for the person who stated Blind Luck has faced better competition that Zenyatta, well, I'm speechless.  If anything, Blind Luck has proven just how good Zen is.  Blind Luck, too, is a deep closer, and how many races has she lost as a result of being compromised by the pace?  Now, how many races has Zen lost because she was compromised by the pace?

Thank you to the several Zen lovers on here who really seem to have their heads on their shoulders...your posts are insightful and show you're able to think outside the box when it comes to measuring greatness.  Shiz, Paula, Kay, markinsac, Bet Twice, to name a few, I'd say you are more than holding your own in the debate :)

18 Oct 2010 2:07 AM

For everyone saying that Zenyatta should win HOY regardless of the outcome of the BCC (and I for one have serious doubts that she'll even be on the track at post time), put down the Kool-aid and take off your Zenyatta colored glasses.

19-0? Two words people, and they're two words that have been spoken over and over, yet the Zenyatta zealots scoff at them - Pepper's Pride. Did Pepper's Pride ever win HOY? Nope. Did she get a single vote for HOY? That I don't know, but I sure hope not, and if she did I hope that "journalis" had his/her credential revoked for shear stupidity.

In order to win HOY you have to beat the best, and this year Zenyatta has thus far beaten little more than restricted field after restricted field of glorified claimers and allowance horses. Check the PPs folks. It's right there in print for all to see.

Zenyatta's connections are obsessed with 1) retiring her undefeated and 2) winning HOY, and THAT is why they ran her in a powder puff campaign this year and why she only left CA for ONE RACE after Jerry Moss himself said that they'd be "all over the country" if the BC were at Churchill or in NY.

They could have showed the world what an awesome powerhouse she was but running her in unrestricted races against G1 winning males. They could have showed that she's not just a CA synthetic specialist by running in a race or two on the East Coast - Saratoga for instance.

They could have proved her greatness rather than leave so many unanswered questions.

Everything you need to know about their motives is summed up thusly: They ran her in the Lady's Secret for the THIRD straight year rather than face some decent - not great - colts in the Goodwood, same track, same day, just two races later. Case closed.

18 Oct 2010 2:19 AM

Jason, will you please explain to all of us just what campaign it would have taken for Zenyatta to rate HOTY in your opinion? WHO exactly have the other three beaten (other than Blame beating Quality Road once) that were of such great quality to make their campaigns rank so much higher? And if Zenyatta had run in the Pacific Classic or Goodwood you seem to be indicating that would lift her way up in rank. WHO would she have beaten that was so good as to elevate her status that much? Richard's Kid is a nice horse but nothing spectacular and she has already beaten him. Now as for fillies, WHO could she have beaten to elevate her if she had shipped? I simply dont believe she would get any more credit for a win against Life At Ten than she did for her wins in California.  So what did she miss? When she shipped to run against Rachel we all know how that turned out.  And Blind Luck just had a chance to run against her since she was already in California but instead they shipped to get away from Zenyatta. And we saw how that turned out. So, other than possibly Zenyatta running in the race against Blame and Quality Road, what else could she have done?  If she ran against so-so males and won you would simply say they were substandard so it didn't help. It appears to be a no-win for her. BUT the planes go both ways and Quality Road and Blame could have come out for the big Cali races. But they didn't need to ship when they had a grade 1 to run in right there and neither did she. So what is the answer? And lastly, if you want to blame someone for her lack of grade 1 competition, then write a blog on the poor sportsmanship of all the trainers and owners who have avoided running against her. We have all known where she would be and they all decided to run somewhere else.

18 Oct 2010 2:27 AM

It could be argued that considering if LAL, QR, or Blame win the Classic, they'll still have less Grade 1 wins than Zenyatta. Curlin lost the Classic and still won HOY, why should this be any different?

18 Oct 2010 2:33 AM
The Deacon

Always stirring the pot Jason, just can't let things be. You have been hatin' on the Big Mare for 2 years now. Gotta create another controversy with Zen. All she does is win races and capture the hearts of thousands. You're like the Grinch who stole Christmas............

18 Oct 2010 2:33 AM

Zenyatta is drawing all kinds of fans, far and wide.  Look who came to visit and meet the mighty mare, He went to see her on Sunday.  HEre is the link.

18 Oct 2010 6:58 AM
Stacey IN BOSTON (how 'bout them Pats?)


Really?! The MassCap?! Yeah, girl! Woo hoo!! *high five*

18 Oct 2010 8:00 AM
Kelly E.

I understand both sides.  But, I agree that it is the year's campaign that should dedide the matter.  Whether that last race of the campaign is in the BC or not is immaterial in my own personal opinion. That's why I thought Rachel deserved the win last year.  I would have loved them to split it, but that didn't happen - in the same way as they aren't going to change the timing of the Triple Crown.  Why should they?  But, we need to remember that it IS only this year's campaign and this is not a fan popularity contest.  The Eclipse voters will do their best. And may be the best horse win! :)

18 Oct 2010 8:13 AM

Two words to answer both Racingfan and stevebiscuit's questions: unrestricted company.

18 Oct 2010 8:20 AM
Gary at Rough Creek

Jason, Jason, Jason...

and all you other Zenyatta bashers;

Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.  You want things booth ways.  Z wins 5 Grade 1's, one in which she was supposed to face reigning HOY Rachel Alexandra, and that's not enough for you.  And yet you crow about RA winning last year's KY Oaks.  I know Grade 1 competition, and there was no 9 furlong, Grade 1 competition in that race!

So what if Z and RA had met in Arkansas, and Z won?  Well, we'll never know.  Like so much of the competition, RA's connections were scared off by the Big Z.  

And you now want to blame Z and her connections for a light campaign?  That's cowardly.

Zenyatta was pointing to the Classic last face the best at 10 furlongs.  And she won.  She ran in 5 grade 1's so far this year, and she won them all.  The goal was to repeat in the classic at Churchill.  And, so far at least, Z's connections have her in a mental and physical state of mind to be there and to compete on racing's biggest day.

Compare this to, oh, let's say Rachel's connections.  She never competed on racing's biggest day.  They ducked one (even though she had won on "plastics" in the past), and then they quit on her and snuck home this year.

Tell me Jason, and all you other Z bashers and JJ apologists, how can Zenyatta run against the best when "the best" keep running away from her...or they are not able to load into the gate?  

Zenyatta was there...and because of a wise campaign this year, one which SHOULD have seen Z face RA, Zenyatta is prepared to defend her title again.

None of the horses you mentioned as alternative HOY candidates are undefeated this year.   None are more accomplished THIS year or deserving of HOY than Zenyatta.  

18 Oct 2010 8:50 AM

First I must apologize to Fuzzy Corgi.  I had a brain fart, and had totally forgotten about Harmonious at Keeneland in the QEII.  (Who wudda thunk the QEII was in the USA?)

My point to Jason was that last year, he dismissed Zenyatta's win in the BCC stating that it was only one race and should not be used to determine HOY.  This year, however, he insists the BCC is the end all-be all in racing, and whoever wins it should be HOY.  That's a total 180 degree turn around and borders more on hypocrisy than objective reporting.

Seatariat: I loved your recounting of your trip to see Zen.  It was enjoyable.

Face it folks, arguing about HOY is totally ridiculous.  We have absolutely nothing to say about it.  It's sports reporters like Haskin and Shandler that get to vote...not us.  How long will the arguments continue?

Personally, I can hardly wait for the BC races...all of them.  I want to see the Euros come.  I want to see the champions emerge.  I want to enjoy all of the horses and skip all the animosity on these blogs.  And in my book, no horse is the US anywhere can touch Zenyatta or Rachel Alexandra with a 10 foot pole.  Their legends have already been cemented into racing history.

18 Oct 2010 8:59 AM
Fuzzy Corgi

Thanks for all of you who have educated me to the fact that Markinsac was making a funny with his 'Who is Mike Smith' comment. I thought that with my 'crayons and small words' sentence and 2nd grade style others would get that I was doing the same. Actually, I thought Jason would edit or remove my comment all together. Silly me.

Dakota - I love corgis too. They look like they were built by a committee. 'Corgi' being an old Gaelic word literally meaning 'dwarf dog', or a contemporary term meaning 'OMG, how can a 12 inch dog shed 10x their body size daily'. At least they don't drool.

18 Oct 2010 9:00 AM
Billy's Empire

Jason, you should just give up man! You will never be able to have an insightful and reasonable converstation when it comes to Zenyatta. You are a hater and have no right to have an opinion, negative or positive, when it comes to talking about Zenyatta. Have you not figured this out yet?? It has only been 2 years of complete mind numbing, bang your head against the wall comments.

Hey TOM VF, thanks for all of the kind words on the NTRA blog. You are quite the class act talking about people on other blogs. Pathetic.

18 Oct 2010 9:10 AM


Quality Road lost HOY on Aug. 7th.

HOY types don't set soft fractions on the front end and still lose.

Blame lost HOY on Oct. 2nd. C'mon didn't show up. Not enough decent races throughout the calendar year.

LAL, He has a chance with a huge Classic but his running style is similar to Z's so how does that help.

Zenyatta 5 Grade 1's already

The one thing that really irks me about the classic discussions is that no one is dicussing everything that will assist her.

1.) Contested Fast Fractions, she always run against soft paces. Haynesfield, First Dude and a few others will insure a good clip up front.

2.) Synthetic to Dirt, This has been a great angle for me all year. Keep ignoring it, I'm ok with that, really.

3.) Chuchill Downs Track Configuration, Zenyatta will get the longest strech run of her career.

Just what she needs another 400 feet to run you down.

If she loses the classic it will go down as one of the biggest upsets in the history of sports, IMO.

18 Oct 2010 9:16 AM
Billy's Empire

UH OH, Terrell Owens, AKA Draynay of the NFL, visited Zenyatta at Hollywood over the weekend. She is doomed. He has so much bad Karma Z will be lucky to even make it to the starting gate.  

18 Oct 2010 9:25 AM
Mike Relva


Tell you what,maybe her connections should copy what RA's connections did,right? RA's connections' used her racing value up in one year. Did you ever believe eight months ago RA would go out this year without a Grade 1 win? If you're displeased about the path they followed for Zenyatta,why don't you give them your Monday morning quarterback advice? lol

18 Oct 2010 9:47 AM

Just a reminder what greatness looks like..

18 Oct 2010 10:11 AM

I think Zenyatta deserves HOY win or lose this year......she has done more then any of the other horses that are in the least the older horses........... I do not think one race should be HOY honors. All of her competition as in HOY have lost a race. If Zenyatta comes in 2 or 3 there should not be a thought of she doesn't deserve HOY in my opinion she is top contender this year unless Maybe just a slight maybe someone breaks some track records at Churchill then maybe .......but Zenyatta has earned HOY this year

18 Oct 2010 10:22 AM
Pedigree Ann

Look, I still have the Cal-bred certificate, complete with registrar's seal, given to me when I finished my apprenticeship at the CTBA. I watched Cal-raced horses get shafted again and again when it came to championships - Native Diver, Cougar II, Exceller, Bastonera, etc. So don't accuse me of East-Coast bias; I was grinding my teeth over it before some of you were born.

I do not doubt Zenyatta's talent and charisma. I believe she could have won the Santa Anita H, the Hollywood Gold Cup and the Pacific Classic, and thrown in the San Juan Capistrano for good measure (I watched a mare, La Zanzara win that one back in the day). If she had had that sort of campaign, she would not need to win the BC Classic to be Horse of the Year. She would have accomplished more than enough.

But she didn't. She ran in the same mares' races against even lesser competition than she had last year (no Life is Sweet, etc.). She didn't step up after the BC Classic win, she stepped back. It was as if after his first such win, Tiznow had run only in Calbred stakes, until the next BC Classic. I am more frustrated than anything about Zenyatta's campaign. I wanted her to show us just how good she really is, but she wasn't allowed to. And for that I blame her connections. I feel like they have robbed her of her opportunity of proving her greatness. And they shouldn't be rewarded with an Eclipse statuette for that campaign, unless she wins the BC Classic.

And for your information, Kincsem won the Grosser Preis von Baden, that era's version of the Arc, three times. She also won the Goodwood Cup, the Grand Prix de Deauville, the Austrian Derby, the Hungarian St. Leger.., in fact, she hardly ever ran against females once her quality was known. Neither did Pretty Polly or Sceptre, for that matter. (And if you don't know who they were, go to and learn. In the age of the internet, such ignorance is inexcusable.)

18 Oct 2010 10:29 AM
Tony Rags

I hope Zenyatta win HOTY even if she gets embarassed in the classic, that way I wont have to read these dumb posts any longer. You Zenyatta people are so blind to facts. I cant understand why you nitwits can't understand that the award is for horse of the YEAR....the YEAR....the YEAR. Perhaps you people need to go back to school!!!!!

18 Oct 2010 10:46 AM

well kay at least blind luck try face the filly that everybody want to see her face Davil may care and didn't put for excuses that she want to stay in california, regardles of the result she went, and last year classic was a grass race look at the first 3 finishers, zenyatta a synthetic horse, gio ponti (grass horse),twice over (grass horse)the best dirt horse summer bird who his previous trainer said that he didn't like synthetic came fourth just like curlin did the previous year, if Quality road wins the classic every body is going to say what if he would have run last year.

18 Oct 2010 11:00 AM
Pam S.


What pathetic excuses are you talking about that the Zen fans will proffer "when" she loses?  Apparently you are not aware Zenyatta has never lost, so what pathetic excuses are you referring to?  Do you mean the ones put forth by the naysayers who keep insisting she'll lose and she never does?  You know, like not beating anybody, plastic queen, all out and barely got up, slow times etc.  She beats EVERYBODY, ALL THE TIME.  No pathetic excuses needed.  Got it?


Great post, and everybody else seemed to enjoy it too.  (Well, not everybody....)  Which is cool because sarcasm sometimes doesn't go over well.

18 Oct 2010 11:11 AM


So now it's just the classification of the race that determines greatness and HOTY? I thought it was the lackluster competition that has been everyone's gripe. Since there is no response on what super horses she needed to beat I have to say again, it is a no-win for her.  Those of you who can't see her greatness will always come up with an excuse.  And actually, I was asking Jason to explain HIS thoughts.

18 Oct 2010 11:11 AM

The Horse of Year award is more than just statistics.  It is and should be about emotion and inspiration.  If Blame or Quality Road win the BC Classic, give them divisional honors but Zenyatta deserves Horse of the Year for inspiring millions......As a longtime horse racing fan, I'm amazed at how many people (non-fans) ask me about Zenyatta and are now following her career.  As I stood on the benches at Hollywood Park prior to the Lady Secret, I learned that the women next to me had traveled from Phoenix (385 miles) and San Luis Obispo (200 miles) to see Zenyatta run. That's awesome!

18 Oct 2010 11:13 AM
Pam S.


Even if she wins the Classic, she's not a lock for HOY?  Are you serious?  Who's it gonna be?  I feel I should tell you it's not gonna be Rachel, and I'm telling you that because you sure sound like a disgruntled Rachel fan.

18 Oct 2010 11:20 AM


I'm afraid that I didn't see it, but I've heard a lot about it since then. He certainly looks promising at this time, as does Black N Beauty. Perhaps you already know this, but the winner is Super Saver's half brother.

Seeing that it is less than three weeks until the Breeders' Cup, I can't see either of them running right back in the Juvenile. However, the Nashua Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct could be an option. It is on the same day as the Breeders' Cup, but it would be much easier to run there than in the tougher Juvenile. Just a thought.

It appears as though Todd Pletcher is going to be loaded for the classics next year. And it isn't even January yet!


18 Oct 2010 11:24 AM

Funny - the BC Classic didn't matter a darn LAST YEAR! What's so different about THIS year?

(such hypocrisy!)

18 Oct 2010 11:24 AM


"Unrestricted company"??

You mean like Rachel ran in exactly once last year and won by a whopping nose while getting an 8 lb. weight break? Or do you mean like Zenyatta, beating the most accomplished field of male race horses assembled last year, while giving weight to arguably the best male (Summer Bird)Rachel beat?  

I understand the point you are hoping to make, but you're failing to acknowledge that while Zenyatta has been racing other females, she's also often giving significant weight breaks and carrying more weight than any of the top contender boys this year.  Weight is the great equalizer in horse racing. Just ask Rachel  when she had to give weight to allegedly inferior mares. Yet despite the weight, the lack of pace, being floated into the middle of the track, Zenyatta just keeps on winning, racking up FIVE Grade 1 victories this year.

Case closed.

18 Oct 2010 11:24 AM

Fuzzy Corgi: "corgi" could also translate into "great choice if you don't want the dog jumping up on a tall bed".  

I would provide a step-stool.  : )

18 Oct 2010 11:26 AM

unrestricted company? so that's the end all in determining Horse of the Year? Curlin's competition seemed to be restricted to ummm...Wanderin Boy. That was the best horse he beat that year. Zenyatta actually beat a champion that year(twice) and won the Breeder's Cup. I guess Azeri didn't deserve Horse of the Year either than? or Point Given? or Charismatic? or Favorite Trick? or Seattle Slew?  or Secretariat? or Native Dancer? or Count Fleet? or even Man O' War? These horses all won Horse of the Year at some point in their careers where they faced restricted company all year.

18 Oct 2010 11:35 AM
Tom FV

Billy, in the 15 or so total posts that would be that a lot of the people who think they are the most objective are the least so?

Or that several of the most negative people sound remarkably similar?


18 Oct 2010 11:40 AM

Jason,  I don't get your Favre comment.  Ha!

BC Classic results:  Blame (happy b-day  Clairborne), zenyatta (hoy),  QR (enjoy lanes end) and LAL (better luck next year).  All hit the wire in a photo.

2011 Kentucky derby winner:  Brethren

Patriots will win the Super Bowl

Zero Zenyatta Rachel Alexander blogs in 2011.

18 Oct 2010 12:01 PM
Smoking Baby



Billy's Empire

Love it.  Keep it coming.  You guys ROCK!!!

I just want to say one thing to be fair.  I was thinking the other day, what if Quality Road, Blame or Lookin' At Lucky were my horse, won the Classic yet didn't get Horse of the Year?  Honestly?...I know I would be truly disappointed and upset.  Having said this, I don't think it will be an issue.  I don't want to jinx it but I'm thinking Zenyatta will smoke these horses.

Jason, thanks for putting up with us and giving us this forum.

18 Oct 2010 12:02 PM

What the devil will we talk about next year?  It would seem that this entire year was one long discussion of Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra.  Pros and cons of both.  Nasty and hateful comments about two horses that could give a damn about what you think.  The two of them are above this bickering, thank goodness.  I truly do hope that Zenyatta wins HOY because she has never done anything wrong, she has only won no matter who she faced.  In my opinion, nobody else has had that good a year and I do realize that it has not been a stellar campaign but she has done what she was asked to do and certainly didn't have a choice in the matter.  I believe she will get it or there will be the "east coast" bias argument once again.  The horse is going to be in the Hall of Fame anyway so her legacy is cemented.  As far as Rachel is concerned, I love that horse no matter how dismal her year was.  Yes, one year of perfection that has been torn down to mean nothing to many of you when I just don't understand how you could trivialize her 2009 year because Zenyatta didn't win last year.  That is so unsporting yet you say HOY doesn't matter to you.  I have heard several times what inferior horses Bullsbay and Macha Again were to drive home the point that Rachel's Woodward was no more than running against claimers when that GREAT filly ran her heart out and gave all she had until there was no more.  How can you slam a horse that gave everything?  Rachel shouldn't even be discussed as she has been retired.  She is no longer a factor in anything.  Let her be.  God bless her and God bless Zenyatta for providing so many thrills and being so gorgeous to look at.  Just appreciate them and stop with the nasty comments.  Debating is one thing but hatred has no place here.

18 Oct 2010 12:02 PM

First off why in the world would John sheriffs be naive enough to take a shot a churchill like he did, "I dont know that they were looking out for the best interest of the horse" is what he said. This is bush league, and classless in my opinion.

18 Oct 2010 12:35 PM

I think that part of the problem is that the great double standard is that fans of Zenyatta weren’t given much and therefore whatever small morsel that the Moss’s gave to you is what you took and ran with.  Its wonderful that horses on the East coast don’t have such a low, almost bottom dragging bar, like the one that Zenyatta has been given throughout her career.  Examples of older horses, we’re not talking about the 3 year olds that face each other over and over again, but older horses like: Roses in May, Premium Tap, Pleasantly Perfect, Lava Man, Invasor, St Liam, Commentator, Curlin, Ghostzapper, Personal Ensign, and others than ran against legit competition, not in allowance quality Grade 1 races but in races that might have been labeled Grade II but with Grade 1 quality.  See that’s the majority of the problem with the Moss’s sheltering of such a good horse, the defining of a horse as being great is: “consistently taking on and beating other great horses” Zenyatta does not meet these criteria.  There are some out there that understand this concept; it’s not about Zenyatta the horse, its about her Coward owners who were looking to out do Pepper’s Pride.  They wanted to ride down this road of mediocrity, as true fans of horse racing you should be able to say, yes this horse is an amazing personality, but we have to be objective, we have to recognize that the campaigns have not been challenging and for a reason, the lack of faith that they show is glaring, they show a lack of faith in her ability to handle a challenging campaign, thus leading to losing HOY 2 straight years.  

18 Oct 2010 12:35 PM

The part that is a travesty to the horse is this is Championship horse racing and the way things are viewed have been that way for hundreds of years, and unfortunately the rules don’t change for 1 horse. 09 is over but I’ve said numerous times that Rachel Alexandra would not have been as impressive a horse to me or ended up being my favorite horse if Jess Jackson had taken her down the road of Oaks, Mother Goose, CCA, Alabama, Beldame, LC.  If she wins all of those races I would have certainly enjoyed her as an individual, but a part of the reason why she brought more race fans to the sport in the last 24 months is because of the taboo aspect of running a filly against males.  The almost 18 million that tuned in for the Preakness is something not seen in this industry in almost a decade, the hundreds of thousands of fans that she brought out to the track is unparalleled.  The average attendance at her races is well over 60k.  Her greatness was proven on the track, it wasn’t and isn’t if Rachel ran in the Preakness (she did and won), its not what if she ran in the Haskell (she did and won), it wasn’t if she ran in the Woodward (she did and won).  On the flip side the grief people gave Jackson for skipping the Belmont, Travers, BC and AB all decisions that were made in interest of the horse or his stable. Belmont, no rest she was not fresh, Travers he had another horse going, the travers beat 3 year old males or older males in the Woodward, the bc she’d run many more times than any other horse so she deserved a rest and the AB it was clear she wasn’t ready.  No one asks the same of Moss, SA Handicap, HWGC, PAC Classic, and Goodwood are all skipped and people yell it’s so she can be ready for the BC.  Unfortunately that is not the only race run of high quality all year. I applaud all of you that can be lead blindly by a man that has lied to her fans more than any owner in history in the last 24 months, I have very little respect for the connections of Zenyatta as a whole, lies and ducking and dodging, the Rockies and the highest mountain, she ships perfectly one week and the next she doesn’t ship well at all, most of you are like little puppies being led around by this man dangling treats in front of you, any excuse for her to not run is fine in the best interest of the horse.  

18 Oct 2010 12:37 PM

Fact is Rachel and Goldikova are champions proven over and over again on the track in numerous races against males, Zenyatta 1 time, and on her surface, one that the majority of the other horses she faced had never trained or raced on. So HOY in my opinion goes to the horse that has kept the best company and is most impressive on the track.  Let’s compare:

Zen: Switch, Reinterval, Taptam, St. Trinians, Dance to my Tune.

Quality Road – Mythical Power, Haynesfield, Musket Man, Blame, Warriors Reward, Duke of Mischief

Blame –Haynesfield, Quality Road, General Quarters, Arson Squad

Looking At Lucky – Noble’s Promise, Dublin, First Dude, Super Saver, Thisskyhasnolimit

Blind Luck – Evening Jewel, Switch, No Such word, Havre de grace, acting happy, devil may care.

For a 3 year old in Blind Luck to have faced much more competition than Zenyatta and fared very well traveling and not using excuses like the Rockies are too high, she is a much more deserving candidate for HOY in my opinion.

18 Oct 2010 12:37 PM


That was a very nice story you told.  May God Bless you and your family always.

Your two little girls are extremely lucky to have a Mama like you.  Some memories last forever and I am sure the girls will have the memory of meeting Zenyatta for the rest of their lives. As they get older they will also always have the special memory of how much their Mama loved them  (enough to fly them across the country to meet their hero).

Good for you sweetheart.

18 Oct 2010 12:52 PM

The fact is her connections have chosen to run Z down the path of least resistence, instead of chosing to TEST her and Challenge her by traveling (somehow 2 trips out of clai. just doesnt seem like alot to me) and putting her in more difficult spots. Her campaigns certainly dont evoke memories of Cigar and other GREAT horses which have been awarded HOY on those merits. Whats sad to me is that her connections have put her in a situation where she cant win no matter the outcome.....there will always be detractors and those who will wonder what if?

18 Oct 2010 1:01 PM
Mrs. B

Based upon your own logic, Zenyatta DID win the Breeder's Cup Classic last year and deserved to be HOY.

18 Oct 2010 1:03 PM

Whenever a track is sealed the best interest of the horse is in question.

18 Oct 2010 1:04 PM

Since I have been unemployed and had nothing better to do I decided to do some research.

First let me point out some facts for 2010.

-Blame has 4 races, 1 Gr. 3 and 3 Gr. 1'a with one Gr. one loss

-QR has had 5 races, 1 gr.3 and 4 Gr. 1's with 1 Gr. 1 loss

-Blame has raced at 4 different tracks

-QR has raced at 3 different tracks

-all have been on dirt

The horses that they have competed against together consist of 13 that had an average of 5 or 6 starts with no wins; they are Honest Man, Macho Again, Kiss the Kid, No Advantage, Giant Oak, Mine That Bird, Kensei, Colonial Causeway, Spin Master, Dry Martini, Delightful Kiss, Helsinki, Pass The Point, and Bullsbay. There are 6 allowance and maiden winners; they are Arcodoro, Convocation, Tranquil Manner, Suyeta, Timber Reserve, and Flying Private. There are 6 ungraded stakes winners; they are Jardim, Musket Man, Indian Dance, Demarcation, Edgewater, and Understatement. There are 11 Group 2 and 3 winners; they are Mambo Meister, Duke of Mischief, Tizway, Flydown, La Grand Cru, You and I Forever, Mythical Power, Hold Me Back, Rail Trip, Battle Plan, and Arson Squad. The Gr. 1 horses that they beat other than each other are General Quaters, who placed 1st in the Woodford Res. Turf Classic and the placed 6th in the Arlington H. and 7th in the Arlington Million after that. There was Warrior's Reward who won the Gr. 1 Carter H. on April 3, his only other win was an allowance in Feb. His latest race he was third in the Gr. 3 Phoenix S, and then there is Haynesfield. This is the only horse that has shown the ability and has improved. He has had 4 starts with 3 wins going from and allowance to the gr. 2 Suburban then to beat Blame in the JCGC, his grade 1 win. So can we really say that 2 of those Grade 1 horse are really Gr. 1 caliber? Haynesfield seems to be at the top of the stack there and QR has beat him in the Whitney even though he was second. Also the field size of their respective races were a good bit larger than any of Zenyatta's.  Blames:The Douglas S.S. 7 entries, Stephen Foster - 11 entries, Whitney - 6 entries, JCGC - 6 entries.

QR - HH - 9 entries, Donn - 9 entries, Met Mile - 8, Woodward 7.

Zenyatta's facts:

-Zen raced a 4 different tracks

-won five GR. 1 races without a lose

Her competition consisted of 0 Gr. 1 winners, 6 Grade 2 winners, 5 stakes winners, 7 allowance winners, 5 non-winners. She faced a total of 23 horses where as Blame and QR faced, collectively 47 horses, entered in their races. This is a huge difference in horses being entered in races, ie again you can't make people enter.

-She did not race males, but on the flip side Blame or QR have not face some of the top females. ie Zenyatta, Blind Luck, ect.

The argument for her coming east is moot because the others could have gone west. The only time they are willing to face her is in the BCC.

With all this said no Zenyatta's schedule was not ( and I am going to say) the same, but the facts speak for themselves. QR and Blame have not beaten really any better horses than Zenyatta has, just more of them, with the exception of Haynesfield because on paper he is the only one who is improving. They have raced within their on gender and not ventured out from their normal stomping grounds. When Zenyatta did they could not even get a full field. I was there. You can't make people race their horses. Even with the 500,000 offered in the Apple Blossom no one came. I can say this as far as being able to draw the racing PUBLIC, not the handicappers and writers, Zenyatta has  left them all in her dust. Who cares that she only raced in California. She has raced any and all of who showed up, and rose to the occasion EVERY TIME. The others can't say that. For 3 years she has made an explosion on the racing scene, and THIS YEAR even a bigger one, if you are saying QR and Blame's competition was stronger than hers I beg to differ with the exception of Haynesfield. Once again there was simply more of them.

Some "people" say that a horse from Europe is going to overshadow Zenyatta's presence at the BCC. He is the one in a "coma". People are buying tickets to see her run for history, and if she wins it will be 3 BC titles. Goldikove can't be, won't be and never will be the phenomenon that Zenyatta is. This is what makes her great, not just that she can win, but that she does it with class and style. Look at the numbers, has any COLT brought in any crowds the size Zenyatta does? 45,000 at the Apple Blossom what a boost to racing, 25,000 to Hollywood Park who usually has 4000. I know that HOY is supposed to be based on the campaign, but when you look at those three there is really not much difference at all in racing, if you are being objective. She does deserve HOY on her on merits. Not coming east, the tracks that were run at all are the same,in fact Zenyatta traveled farther than either of the boys. The one stand out is that she has no loses this year, and the others do. She also has 1 or more grade one wins than them.

And if we are going to get nick- picky about harder campaigns we need to take a long look at the trainer of the year award. I don't think anyone with violations in the current year should even be in the running. If you are trainer of the year you don't need to just to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. None of these awards are objective. This year only one horse has stood out beyond all others and that is ZENYATTA! :)She is the one when she steps out onthe track on Nov. 6 that will bring the rafters down, and God willing will topple the "goldposts" with her 20th win.

18 Oct 2010 1:29 PM


“Two words to answer both Racingfan and stevebiscuit's questions: unrestricted company.”

By your and the echo chamber’s definition, then, ALL races are restricted. The Jockey Club Gold Cup is restricted to three-year-olds and up. Two-year-olds can’t run. But let’s go with what you think you’re saying. By your definition, Rachel Alexandra ran in only one unrestricted race last year. As did Zenyatta. Not only that, but Rachel only stepped out of her age group once. You can keep blathering this nonsense all you want but all it means is that you’re missing out. You’re no racing fan. So it’s puzzling as to why you’re even bothering.

Kelly, Gary At Rough Creek and racingfan:

Hey, you’re using logic! That’s not going to get you anywhere here!

Pedigree Ann:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re better than all of us. However:

“I do not doubt Zenyatta's talent and charisma. I believe she could have won the Santa Anita H, the Hollywood Gold Cup and the Pacific Classic, and thrown in the San Juan Capistrano for good measure (I watched a mare, La Zanzara win that one back in the day). If she had had that sort of campaign, she would not need to win the BC Classic to be Horse of the Year. She would have accomplished more than enough.”

Okay. SERIOUSLY? Do you pay attention to all the West Coast bashing that goes on? Zenyatta winning those races would mean NOTHING. Because they’re on the West Coast, and the Eclipse voters have no respect for the West Coast horses. How on Earth would her winning any of those races make a difference? Then everyone would say that she just beat creampuff males and needed to ship and beat Blame and Quality Road. Do you REALLY think that goalpost wouldn’t be moved? You’re not stupid. Come on.

But even beyond that, it’s easy to say that she should just run in everything and be burned out and done by September. Like last year’s HOTY. What you people fail to acknowledge is that your goal may not be the goal of the connections. Sure, they want HOTY. Who wouldn’t? But they have to weight the importance of that with the way they take care of the horse. John Shirreffs is campaigning, and good for him. They didn’t do that last year. But there is simply no way they are going to change what they’re doing on the off chance that winning the Hollywood Gold Cup would mean a bloody thing to the voters. Because it wouldn’t. If winning these West Coast races is SO important, then why is Richard’s Kid not mentioned as a contender for HOTY? He’s won as many GI races as Blame has. So why IS that, exactly? I think the answer is clear.

Look, there are two issues at work here. Most importantly is the West Coast issue. There is always an automatic bias against West Coast horses. With the hasty installation of the synthetics, that just made the bias clearer. But there’s another, secondary bias, and that has to do with speed figures and style. Some people really don’t know how to look at a race, and the only yardstick they have is speed. How much a horse wins by, how fast he or she runs to get there. Track records are objective. Winning by open lengths, that’s objective. That’s why they all loved Rachel initially last year. Because she would win races by dozens of lengths and she would run fast. It sure looks impressive. Zenyatta doesn’t do that. She barely beats her competition, and she doesn’t run fast. So they just don’t get it. They can’t look at HOW she’s winning these races. They don’t pay attention to internal fractions, ground lost, weight given. Because the speed figures don’t acknowledge those things. All they care about is that raw number, which (ironically) isn’t even REAL. It’s MADE UP. They are using a handicapping tool to identify greatness, which completely misses the point.

18 Oct 2010 1:30 PM


That’s right about Brethern being Super Saver’s little brother.  I had heard that somewhere and forgot about it.  In a way I hope they aren't taking him to the Breeders Cup.  I hope that Uncle Moe passes the race also.  To me the BC juvenile races have hurt more great two year old prospects than helped them and the proof might be in how many juveniles that participated in past BC races ever became champions?  Too much hype.....perhaps too much tough competition before they might be ready.

I would race them to build up their strength and stamina and just as importantly their confidence, but I would be conservative when it comes to competition.  Put them in confidence builders and let them develop.  There are a lot of preparatory races and then actual preps for the big races the following spring.

My favorite horse was always Northern Dancer, a little guy with a snarly attitude and a big heart.  I remember when he raced at two.  He started his campaign in August at Fort Erie.  He had three races that month alone, but they weren’t tough demanding races.  After breaking his maiden he took on a tough sprinter named Ramblin Road (who after leaving Canada was a top sprinter in the mid west).  The Dancer lost that race (he was 6 to 1), and even though it was a stake it was still considered as a learning race.   He wasn't rushed to win.  They were just trying to judge his quality.  His eighth race that year was his first foray into the states, an allowance at Aqueduct when he faced Bupers, Buckpasser’s big brother and a 150K winner as a two year old (big money back then).  The Dancer beat him by eight.  His 9th and last start as a two year old was his toughest race up to that time, the Remsen at Aqueduct, then a late season two year old stake for late developers that didn’t participate in the Champaign.  But the thing to remember, it was his ninth race not his second or third or fourth.  The main competition was Lord Date and the Dancer beat him by an easy two lengths carrying 124 lbs. and leading all the way.  But it was the fact that they took their time with him that gave him the proper foundation.

The Kentucky Derby was his 7th race the following spring…….He lost his first, a six furlong allowance to Chieftain, than easily defeated Chieftain in a special three horse race at 7 furlongs by seven lengths.  He was ready for the Triple Crown trail……..had the proper foundation and wasn’t overly rushed to face the top horses.  His two month Derby trail was marvelous (March 3 to May 2)…….convincing wins in the Flamingo, an allowance, the Florida Derby, the Blue Grass and culminated in his two minute Kentucky Derby, the fastest up to that time and still the third fastest behind Secretariat and Monarchos.  Proper preparation and a lot of patience……those were the keys.  Today we are seeing too many two year olds, lightly raced but rushed to take on too much too soon.  Not every horse is a Curlin.  I just hope they race these guys but let them develop at the same time.

18 Oct 2010 1:32 PM

Run a tougher campaign and this would not be an argument Zenyatta connections.  How could you give a horse that reuns one challenging race a year HOY?  Look at what RA, Sea the Stars, and othe HOYs here and abroad had to overcome to be named champion.  Winning on Classic on your home turf is not sufficient.  Sorry.

18 Oct 2010 1:35 PM


What has Warriors Reward done since  April 3, his only grade 1 win, last out 3rd in Gr 3 company his only other win was an allowance race.

Musket Man - 6 starts, 1 first 3 seconds, 2 thirds, the win came in the Super Stakes in Feb.

Mythical Power- 8 starts 1 win in the Texas Mile Gr. 3

Duke of Mischief - 7 starts 3 wins in Gr. 2 & 3 races.

Arson Squad - 6 starts 2 wins both Gr. 3

Blame beat QR

QR beat Haynesfield who has 3 wins an allowance, Gr2, and JCGC for his 1st grade 1

Switch- Zenyatta beat

Evening Jewel - Harmonious beat

Super Saver did nothing after the Derby

Nobels Promise has not done much winning Like him though.

Dublin- 2 yr old yr. great this year sucked

General Quarters 1 grade 1 win the Woodford REs. Turf Classic then 6th in the Arlington H. and 7th in the ArlingtonMillion? 1 race wonder? same with Warriors Reward.

First Dude is still dreaming.

So who have any of them really raced if you look at the numbers.

Switch, Taptam are gr 2 winners and if Zenyatta had not been racing would have been grade 1 winners.  Just Jenda Gr. 2 winner only 4 were non winners of the horses that Blame and QR beat 13 were non winners.

18 Oct 2010 2:02 PM

I agree with Duchess..we are from the same era( Riva Ridge,Secretariat,Seattle Slew,Ruffian,Affirmed,Alydar,Spectacular Bid,Genuine Risk etc)..Today's horses just don't race often enough.With most of the top contenders having only run 4 or 5 races at this late time in the year,You bet the BCC should determine HOTY.You can not compare to last year because at the same point,the leading contender already had 8 wins and was undefeated.No one else could even be considered if they didn't win the Classic in that scenario.Zenyatta is so deserving of the big award but has not beaten one Grade 1 horse so far this year.I don't understand the trainer's statements of confidence in her at the same time the race selection is so conservative.For those that say Zen should win HOTY even if she loses the Classic consider this..what if its a wet track and she really doesn't like it ( who knows if she would)and ends up way back at the end behind every other G1 winner(not sure how many G1 winners will be in there) in the race.Should HOTY be a horse that did not finish ahead of one G1 horse all year?I sincerely hope nothing like that happens.I hope she wins and it will be a clear deserving selection for her as HOTY.If she does not win the voters have to select the best campaign overall for the they always do.

18 Oct 2010 2:02 PM

Fact is Rachel and Goldikova are champions proven over and over

Re:  RA didnt prove nothing over and over, get your facts straight.

She had a good 3 year old campaign, but she sure didnt do it over and over.  You can make a case about Goldi but not Rachel.   but Goldi is limited .    She is only a turf horse and she hasnt ran a 1 1/4 yet.   Maybe they ought to put her in the classic against Zenyatta and show us what she's really got.

18 Oct 2010 2:03 PM

Let's look at raw facts when determining HOY.


5-5-0-0, 5 Grade 1 wins

won on synthetic and dirt

won in the midwest and west coast circuits

Quality Road

5-4-1-0, 3 grade 1 wins, 1 grade 3 win

won on the east coast circuit (east coast horses winter in FL)

won on dirt'


4-3-1-0 2 grade 1 wins, 1 grade 3 win

won on east coast circuit

won on dirt

Lookin At Lucky

6-4-0-1 2 grade 1 wins, 2 grade 2 wins

wins on east, midwest, and west coast circuits

won on dirt

Personally, if you are looking at competition (and picking apart Z), the rest of these has not faced much either. Why? There really isn't much. The 3yo filly division may be the toughest overall.

Z has the better record overall (even if she loses, she'll only have as many defeats as the the winner (or less) if Blame or Quality Road win. She has won on 2 surfaces, while none of the above has raced on synthetics (it's a 2 way street)and she's racked up more G1 wins already than the other 3 could possibly end the year with.

Unless she totally flops AND one of these 3 put on a race for the ages, HOY is hers. On facts alone, not sentiment.

What is more interesting to me is this: We all know CD, unless the weather is bad, will have that track exceptionally fast. We know Quality Road can set quick fractions, and I think the pace will be quick..:46 and 1:10. We also know Zenyatta can close and come home exceptionally fast without being pushed hard more than an 1/8th at most. If she has to run hard for 3/8ths or a half mile, I honestly think she can come home in :34 or :45 and change. Does Secretariat's record fall? Does Zenyatta break it, or does someone else have to go that fast to beat her? Whatever the outcome, those boys better have the running shoes on. They'll need them to beat the 2010 hoy named Zenyatta.

18 Oct 2010 2:04 PM

Good stuff on your last post Pedigree Ann.

18 Oct 2010 2:13 PM


I agree with you. HOY should be be decided by the horse who had the best campaign in that given year. Don't get me wrong, Zenyatta is brilliant, but she hasn't beaten much this year. I mean Swich and Zenyatta battling down the stretch isn't exactly Quality Road and Blame locking horns in the final 1/16th  in a battle to the wire. So with that in mind, I would say that if Lookin at Lucky, Blame, Zenyatta, or Quality Road were to win the BC Classic, then they deserve HOY. But what if someone like Musket Man, Haynesfield, Richards Kid or some Euro Invader win the Classic. What happens next? Would either of those horses be up for consideration in HOY honors? As I've been handicapping the Classic, I'm not quite sure if LOL, Quality Road, or Zenyatta will even finish in the money. The now horses are Haynesfield, Blame, and Musket Man. The way Musket Man wound up around the turn in the Monmouth Cup last week, it looked like an audition for the Classic. If he makes that move again in the Classic, he'll be a freight train rolling down the stretch. Perhaps that freight will be worth 6 million.  

18 Oct 2010 2:20 PM

Really, the only way Zenyatta shouldn't get HOY this year is if some horse just runs away from her and she doesn't respond, like when Quality Road distanced the Donn field, Haynesfield ran away from Blame or Rachel blitzing any number of fields.  In a case like that, she wouldn't deserve it.  The diehards who say she should get it no matter how she does in the race just aren't creditable.

If her connections choose to face the top competition in the country only once during the year, OK that's their choice.  But if she's only going to face that top competition the one time, she needs to perform damn well against it. Just like she did last year. And this year, not competing against a filly who's running the 3yo filly campaign of a lifetime won't hurt either.

But realistically, can anyone picture Zenyatta not running well?  Her largest margins of victory have come on dirt tracks, and she gets a huge stretch run to stretch her powerful legs.  Plus likely an honest pace to run at. I can't imagine her NOT making a huge run on BC day.  Win impressively like last year, or even if she were to fly late and miss nailing the winner by a nostril - that should be enough.

18 Oct 2010 2:24 PM

Z fans,  Here is a cute little tribute to see for Zenyatta 2010.

18 Oct 2010 2:29 PM

I think John Shireffs's training and management of Zenyatta will go down as one of the most brilliant efforts in horse racing history.  To keep a horse - even a great horse - that happy, fit, sound and racing at her peak every time, for this long is an absolute marvel.  

I think she will win the BCC again year and it will be every bit as visually impressive as last year.  Here's the great news: this year's field will be tougher, she'll have to ship, and she'l have to run on dirt.  When she wins under these conditions, only total morons will continue to doubt that she may be the greatest ever.

18 Oct 2010 2:51 PM

Look out Jason!  You will call down the wrath of the pink shirt crowd if you dare to say "this year's campaign".  That's what tipped the scales against Zenyatta last year.  Team Zenyatta has done a superb job keeping her fresh, but they can't have it both ways; if another horse that has been tested more this year gives her the one three-peat they don't want: the only horse to lose HOY three times.  If she wins the Classic, there should be no doubt who the champion is.  If she loses, then the colt that beats her should get the nod.  

18 Oct 2010 2:58 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

Afleetalexforever - Only if a filly or mare faces males numerous times can she be a champion? I don't remember seeing that criteria before. Or are these standards only in place for Zenyatta? Do Ruffian, Personal Ensign, Azeri, etc. have to return their awards due to your new rules?

Face it, Rachel Alexandra had a spectacular 2009 campaign. She then had a lackluster 2010 campaign and has since been retired from competition. Zenyatta had a stunning 2009. She then stayed at the top of her game and had a stunning 2010. In doing so Zenyatta passed Citation and Cigar's record of consecutive wins in open company by two. All of her wins in 2009-2010 were in G1 races. If you find a consecutive multiple G1 winning campaign boring then horse racing in general must be a real let down. All of Zenyatta's races were announced well in advance so that anyone who wanted to race against Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra included, would have plenty of time to prepare and enter the race, or find an easier race somewhere else. Obviously a lot of trainers opted for other races. While the fields for Zenyatta's races have been small, at least they were races and not walkovers. Trainers admitted that they were entering their horses for 2nd money. Blind Luck recently took the 10 lbs. and another cross country trip to avoid Zenyatta. I for one would have LOVED to see a Zenyatta vs. Blind Luck race.

My big question is... Where were the eastern based horses? Zenyatta again went to Arkansas to face anyone in the Apple Blossom, even Rachel Alexandra. Rachel wasn't ready even after having the race moved to help her prepare more. So Zenyatta raced against everyone else... and won. Where were the eastern based horses? They stayed away. The argument of "Zenyatta can fly east to race" is tired. Planes fly both ways. Still the eastern horses ducked Zenyatta. John Shirreffs clearly stated "it’s tough to turn down a grade I race and take her somewhere else when California supports her and stables her and takes care of her.”

California fans thank you John!

18 Oct 2010 3:06 PM


You need to get your attendance right. The average attendance was not "well over 60,000" Mother Goose 13,352, Preakness 77,850, Haskell neaerly 37,000. That does not average to over 60 at each race.

18 Oct 2010 3:09 PM
Billy's Empire

Monica, I hate the Cowboys b/c I am a Redskins fan. Can I say that?

18 Oct 2010 3:42 PM


Many of your comments are inaccurate or inconsistent.

You state that Rachel Alexander “was gutted” because she ran 8 races.  That is about 1 per month.  You point out that she faced males in the Grade I Woodward, even though the horses she faced were not the top-tier in the older division last year.  She did not even run against the quality mares, such as Life Is Sweet.

Jackson last year stated that the reason RA did not run in the Classic was because it was on the synthetic surface, not because RA was worn out from the so-called tough campaign.  You seem to imply something RA’s handlers have not stated.  This year they brought Zenyatta out of retirement, in part to run against RA, on the dirt track at Oaklawn.  But RA was a no-show again.  It is clear that RA’s handlers never had any intention of running against Zenyatta, on whatever the surface.  

Instead they ran a clever campaign, running her against the 3-year-olds and second-tier older males, and avoiding the toughest race of last year, the Breeders Cup Classic.  Had RA ran against Zenyatta does anybody think she would have defeated Zenyatta at the classic distance of 1 1/4.  She would have lost and all the post-Classic Horse of the Year debate and comparisons would have been muted.  Even her fervent East Coast pundits/supporters would have had to give the HOY to Zenyatta.

RA is a very good horse.  Her string of 8 races in one season is to note, but one season does not make a career.  This year, facing older horses, RA showed what was maybe not as clear last year; she most likely is not a long distance classic runner.  As much as the 8 races they may have been pushing RA by running her at the 1 ¼ distance.  She may have been an overachiever.  Unless she was injured it looks like RA was retired because Zenyatta was unretired.  The prospect of having to run and lose against Zenyatta may have been greater than the need to keep her running.  If that is the case, the public is the loser.

Your statement, “I believe she would have prevailed but they have put all their eggs in one basket and that is not the horse's fault”, more aptly applies to Quality Road, Blame, and the others.  Remember last year the mainly East Coast pundits were saying the historic win by Zenyatta was just one race.  The same applies this year.  Zenyatta is the only one this year that is undefeated; with the most Grade I wins.  She dominates her division far more than any of the others.  This year’s Classic will help sort out the older male horse division, since there is not one horse that dominates.  

You need to get past asking that Zenyatta or any horse has to go back East or anywhere else to face the male horses.  There are no Alydars, Easy Goers running right now.  Most of the division leaders have already shifted to the West Coast horses -- Blind Luck, Looking at Lucky, and the others.  They do not need the East Coast stamp of approval.  The East Coast bias refers to the concentration of national media and the lopsided amount of votes that region has to determine the Eclipse Awards.  The same ones that use the media to hype their horses also have what amounts to a block vote for the Eclipse Awards.  Last year, they took the provincial route, voting for their local dirt-track poster girl.  Whoever runs the Eclipse needs to revise the voting process to have a more objective national and not partisan/regional vote.

It is possible that the very campaign and track surface many whiners complain about are what has kept Zenyatta still running.  At 6 years old, she has held form for nearly three years and is poised to run in a second Breeders Cup Classic.  Has there been any other female thoroughbred asked to do the same.

The biggest contradiction in the chatter is those that downplay Zenyatta’s Classic victory on the synthetic surface, against, as they say, the dirt-track runners.  These same people have no problem with expecting Zenyatta, who has run mainly on the synthetic tracks, to go East to run on the dirt track.  Many of the pundits who had no problem with RA sitting out the Classic last year are the ones demanding that she run this year.  Triple standards here.

Zenyatta has nothing to prove to no one.  At this late stage in her career, if the track is sloppy, it would not make sense to her in her last race and risk injury.

To your last comment, “I think she has been held back from a truly amazing year one that could not be called boring but one that would have prevented anyone from being a "naysayer".  The ones that have witnessed her in her 19 consecutive victories have no doubt that she has run not one but three amazing years.  She transcends all the labels.  Her tenacity and will to win match her towering size.  She has set the standard for all the rest to follow and will be the one they will be talking about 100 years from now.

18 Oct 2010 4:05 PM


Take your own advice sweetheart!

I said SOME Zen fans have stated that she is better and more exciting than Secretariat. Never did I say all, in fact, I said some appreciate her for what she is. Perhaps you should learn how to read?

Also, I never said that exact comment appeared on this specific blog post, rather I've been attacked on the Bloodhorse blogs and many other blogs over the last 2 years for arguing ridiculous and unfounded proclamations. You just assumed I meant this exact post, and then you had a viscious attack of diarrhea of the mouth. Again, take your own advice and learn how to read. Paula should as well. I NEVER SAID ALL ZEN FANS AND NEVER SAID THIS EXACT BLOG POST TODAY!

And I do believe if someone thinks she is better than Big Red, my opinion is that their opinion is crap....and we're all entitled to our you knock it off!

I made a perfectly reasonable point. She should have run in the best races in her home state if her connections wanted HOY. No excuse! If any other female not named Zenyatta won the races she did this year, rest assured that filly/mare wouldn't even be in the HOY discussion!

So go ahead and attack me some more because you are the only person who could possibly have a valid point. All hail Kay! The most knowledgable racing fan in the history of the sport!

18 Oct 2010 4:12 PM


“Run a tougher campaign and this would not be an argument Zenyatta connections.  How could you give a horse that reuns one challenging race a year HOY?  Look at what RA, Sea the Stars, and othe HOYs here and abroad had to overcome to be named champion.  Winning on Classic on your home turf is not sufficient.  Sorry.”

Okay. So if Blame wins the Classic on his home track, it doesn’t count. Got it.


“But realistically, can anyone picture Zenyatta not running well?  Her largest margins of victory have come on dirt tracks, and she gets a huge stretch run to stretch her powerful legs.  Plus likely an honest pace to run at. I can't imagine her NOT making a huge run on BC day.  Win impressively like last year, or even if she were to fly late and miss nailing the winner by a nostril - that should be enough.”

For the life of me, I can’t imagine her not running well. Mostly this has to do with precedent – she’s run well 19 times. She’s never NOT run well enough to win. Even last time, Mike Smith said she was a little off. She still won. She’s got enough of a move in her to get into position and she realistically has half a mile of pure motor. No other horse has shown that. Blame showed a terrific turn of foot in the Foster but in the Whitney, he was more of a grinder. And I haven’t seen him able to stretch that out as long as Zenyatta can. She is going to adore that stretch. She’s always a bit awkward coming off the turn and it takes her a few strides to level out, so now imagine her with that CD stretch ahead of her. She also finishes every single race strongly. EVERY RACE. Nineteen of them, in fact. One more thing. On dirt, the field is likely to be more strung out turning for home, which should mean less traffic for her. Anyone who thinks her trip in last year’s Classic was fabulous should go look at the race again.

18 Oct 2010 5:11 PM


“Take your own advice sweetheart!”

Why so angry?

“I said SOME Zen fans have stated that she is better and more exciting than Secretariat. Never did I say all, in fact, I said some appreciate her for what she is. Perhaps you should learn how to read?”

Perhaps YOU should learn that coming in and posting something hyperbolic and inflammatory is a tired old Internet trope. See, if you were responding directly to someone who said that, then I would not have taken issue. However, that’s not what you did.

“Also, I never said that exact comment appeared on this specific blog post, rather I've been attacked on the Bloodhorse blogs and many other blogs over the last 2 years for arguing ridiculous and unfounded proclamations. You just assumed I meant this exact post, and then you had a viscious attack of diarrhea of the mouth. Again, take your own advice and learn how to read. Paula should as well. I NEVER SAID ALL ZEN FANS AND NEVER SAID THIS EXACT BLOG POST TODAY!”

Then why post it here if it didn’t happen here? Do you understand what I’m saying?

“And I do believe if someone thinks she is better than Big Red, my opinion is that their opinion is crap....and we're all entitled to our you knock it off!”

Fine. Go tell THAT person. Don’t just go sputter and spew about something when nobody here said that.

“I made a perfectly reasonable point. She should have run in the best races in her home state if her connections wanted HOY. No excuse! If any other female not named Zenyatta won the races she did this year, rest assured that filly/mare wouldn't even be in the HOY discussion!”

Really? So if some other filly or mare had won all five GIs on the West Coast, carried top weight in two of them, and was running in the Classic, she wouldn’t be a HOTY candidate?

“So go ahead and attack me some more because you are the only person who could possibly have a valid point. All hail Kay! The most knowledgable racing fan in the history of the sport!”

That’s very kind, but there are many more knowledgeable people out there. You’re not one of them, mind you. But there are many. Also, Christine, if you consider debate as an attack, you should grow a slightly thicker skin. I have nothing against you. There are probably many things upon which we agree. But the tactic of inflaming people with hyperbole is not one of them. Respond DIRECTLY to what people are saying here, and then let’s debate, okay?

18 Oct 2010 5:19 PM

PJJ- saying Goldikova is "only a turf horse" is a great disservice to a great mare.

18 Oct 2010 5:20 PM

I keep hearing people saying that there is an East Coast Bias. This is entirely untrue! Or should I say at the very least inaccurate. It just doesn't exist as you believe it does. I know, I live in the East.

I believe it is a NY Bias. Because when people talk about horse running in the East, they really mean Saratoga or Belmont. When do they ever say "Has your horse ever run at Keeneland? What about Gulfstream?" It neveer happens. They mean NY. And believe me, that NYRA is a powerful thing. I live in NJ and I have seen the effect.

For how many years did they have the BC at NY tracks? Because if you were going to have the BC in the NE at all, it was going to be in NY. That's it! Monmouth is a beautiful track! And it took how many years for them to run there? Up until just a few years ago. They ran at Woodbine, out of the freaking country before bringing it to NJ! To Arlington, and didn't they have to build extra seating to accomodate the BC crowds? Monmouth has been ready since the BC's inception!

Back in the late 1980s I think, Garden State Park burnt down and they rebuilt it. I visited it just before it was resold and torn down and it was BEAUTIFUL! Not only was it a large, state of the art facility, but it had hand carved wooden horses and crystal statues everywhere. It was truly set up to flourish. It just never recovered.

I firmly believe that had the BC been brought to GSP back when it was rebuilt, it might have helped re-establish it. There used to be some important stakes races there back in the day! I don't know that would have saved it regardless, but it would have helped.

Still, anything being thrown to the NE goes to NY. Monmouth is doing well, but has a pittance of graded races in it's schedule compared to the NY tracks. Atlantic City Racecourse (that I've been to when it was still going) was dismantled. And The Meadowlands, I have no idea. They used to run a couple of big stakes there, because I think I remember Broad Brush or Jolie's Halo running in them.

So I think it's a NY bias, not a general East Coast Bias. I have no idea why. There are some course just as historic and important as the ones up there.

18 Oct 2010 5:53 PM
Mike Relva


Should,would,could. It's over,ok! It is what it is. I'll tell you this if she wins,some on here will STILL think she doesn't deserve HOY. You know why,many live in a fantasy world and are in love with their own voice. As far as PAULA,KAY goes I back them all the way,period!

18 Oct 2010 6:16 PM
Paula Higgins

Christine, take a chill pill. You have a right to your opinion, like all who post here, but I think a course in anger management would be helpful. Kay and I read very well by the way, and while we are on the subject, you need to learn how to spell. It's "vicious" not "viscious."

Kay, good point about who votes for HOTY vs. who votes for the Oscars. I wish they did that as well. I am actually wondering why they don't. A broader representation of the sport would be more reflective of a general consensus.

18 Oct 2010 6:22 PM

Another female not named Zenyatta won the races she did, her name is Azeri and guess what? she was Horse of the Year. Perhaps you've heard of her, Christine?

On this blog, in what seems to be a long time ago, I asked you to name ONE horse whose campaign was DOMINANT this year. I'm still waiting... could her name be Zenyatta?

18 Oct 2010 6:25 PM

Twice Over, Juddmonte owned.  If he was all that, he would be wisked off to stud.

18 Oct 2010 6:32 PM

Have you people lost your minds?  Quality Road is facing any and all in OPEN COMPANY races.  Zenyatta is running in RESTRICTED POLY RACES.  NOT THE SAME THING IS IT.  We will all see how good Zenyatta is when if they let her step on the dirt with Blame and Musket Man and Quality Road.  Prepare all the excuses because she is going to get whipped and whipped good.

18 Oct 2010 6:33 PM

BTW, Mike Smith was also the regular jockey for my main man Lure! Love that horse!

I saw him win the 1993 Caesar's International Invitational at Atlantic City Racecourse. I got to see Shug and Mike and Lure up close, in the paddock and after they won.

Kinda funny story. Anyone who knew how Lure ran, knew he was a front runner. So he was on the lead, and just as they hit the final turn, he suddenly lost the lead and Fourstarsallstar burst ahead. It was completely uncharacteristic of Lure and no one knew what hapened.

But Mike got after him and he came roaring back along the hedge turnng for home to win the race. I just remember the guy sitting behind me screaming "Bring him home Smitty! Bring him home!"

Fourstarsallstar, the poor perpetually second placed horse, did indeed get second. And although Star of Cozzene was favored to win I don't even remember where he finished.

Turns out that although Lure always raced with a shadowroll, he still jumped a shadow and lost ground before coming back to win. I got to see him in KY back in 2001 when he was still at Ashford, and he looked as lovely as he did when he raced. I think I shocked the groom when I showed no interest in seeing the bigger stars of the stable for him. LOL!

18 Oct 2010 6:34 PM

Lisa I enjoy schooling amateurs like you who dont understand that the facts are right there in front of you here are the numbers:

Top attendance numbers for Rachel

Kentucky Oaks 109k

Preakness 78k

Haskell 37k

Woodward 31k

La troinne 117k

Personal Ensign 33k

Thats 405,000 people and the ratings for the preakness was over a 17 share.

average 67,500

Top attendance for Zenyatta:

BC 55k

AB 45k

LS 26k

CL Hirsch 20k

Vanity 12k

thats 158,000 people and on average of 31k less than half of the people Rachel ran in front of, Rachel brought regular everyday fans back to horse racing and main stream america loves her.   Zenyatta's build up to the Breeders cup in 09 was lackluster, and the crowd was worse, the .68 share tv rating was the lowest in the history of the breeders cup. So we see that Zenyatta really garnered national attention, at least a few hundred thousand watched the BC, while almost 18 million watched Rachel in the Preakness.  

18 Oct 2010 7:20 PM


I really like the comment you posted today @ 1:32pm regarding 2yr olds who are asked for too much, too soon. I agree with everything you said. It not the first time... but I thought I'd let you know.

Sadly, it starts with the sales of 2yr olds in training, who are not given time to recoup from that ordeal, are rushed to the races and, if they show any talent, are thrown to the wolves to fend for themselves without proper preparation. Then we wonder how we lose so many to injury, either that year or at the beginning of their 3yr old season...

18 Oct 2010 7:34 PM

The only arguments accepted here are when it's about NOT recognizing Zen's accomplishments, any other arguments whether it's about HOTY or about being one of the greats.

Nice posts cigarsmom and FuzzyCorgi.

Liza : Way to go tearing apart AAF's nonsense lol.

18 Oct 2010 7:43 PM

Well, I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion-no matter how biased & tainted it may be.  On the subject of popularity contests, I would have thought awhile before making that quote.  In 2008, Curlin selection as HOY was just that-a popularity contest.Strike one, he lost on the turf in a less than stellar performance to Red Rocks. In the Breeders Cup Classic, he was inhaled by two Euros.  Strike two. After the loss to Red Rocks, who did Curlin beat? No one remembers. Strike three! So don't say it is a popularity contest.  By all rights, Zenyatta lost her first chance at HOY to Jackson's PR machine, not Curlin's ability.

18 Oct 2010 7:51 PM
Matthew W

Shirreffs was close to Frankel, and Bobby was the king of Eclipse posturing--maybe you're reading things into it, or maybe she's not at her tops? I do agree with their lament over the Eclipse snub--they weren'e even given the chance of a shared-vote-box on the ballot--that option was voted out--despite a rather glossed over knowing that the vote is/has/will always be East Coast Biased by way of shear numbers, gimee a break! For SO many reasons I wish Zenyatta to blow their doors off--yummy! And 4-1 ca-ching! and thank you very much for doing it again, Big Z!

18 Oct 2010 7:52 PM


Thank you, what a wonderful compliment.

I told John Sherriffs when I met him that I always regretted not going to meet the great Secretariat and I wasn't going to miss out on seeing a horse as great as his mare Zenyatta or have my girls miss meeting her as well. The three of us still keep pinching ourselves.

18 Oct 2010 7:53 PM
zenyatta mondatta

From what I have been reading, You almost need to wear a coat of armour to get in on this heated conversation,  And to think we have this contentious word slinging to take us through to January 2011.     "And it's gonna get alot more heated"......Have Mercy!!!    

Paula Higgins, You are a true testament to being a fan.   Zenyatta and her camp couldnt ask for a more standout, true to the end fan than you are.  

All you true Zenyatta fans are and have been amazing for the sport and for Zenyatta.   You never back down from speaking your true feelings and thoughts about her.  Most of all,  You devote your heart and time in defending her.

You make Zenyatta proud to have fans such as you.....

"Long Live The Queen"

18 Oct 2010 7:54 PM
Ted from LA

Interesting top news story on  I believe this is the first time a potential horse of the year met a jackass just before the Breeders' Cup.

18 Oct 2010 7:54 PM

Footlick,  I am a great fan of Goldikova. Dont think I aint. But, I have only known her to run on turf.   If she has ran on any other surface, by all means ,please enlighten me.  I sure dont want to take anything away from her.  I am a fan of hers.

18 Oct 2010 8:01 PM
Mike Relva


At least T O keeps his act together in his personal life unlike an ex football player today that was arrested for domestic battery and then driving his car off a cliff in sunny CA.

18 Oct 2010 8:08 PM
Matthew W

Give Shirreffs his swagger--just like Bud Delp, in his plaid pants, John Shirreffs gets to hold court with his queen! Let him talk the talk, he's earned the right--the whole world will be watching, and he had a whole lot to do with that....

18 Oct 2010 8:14 PM

We're about to see a stacked and fantstic race in the Breeders Cup Classic this year,

Theres Zenyatta, Blame, Haynesfield,Quality Road, Lookin at Lucky, Musketman, and Etched in one race, hopefully we get good weather,

There will be plenty of time to worry about Horse of The Year later

18 Oct 2010 8:15 PM
Paula Higgins

Zenyatta Mondatta, thank you very much for your kind words! I love Zenny and I admire and appreciate her connections more than I can say. Their care and love of this brilliant horse has been beyond awesome. I am very grateful for that. The joy Zenyatta has given us is immeasurable. I work in a field where I see some things that are pretty sad (I am a R.N.,) so to have her to watch, follow and root for, has been a joy. The picture of her with John Shirreffs and T.O. on the main page takes your breath away. She is just so jaw droppingly gorgeous. Plus, she is a sweetie. No one could ask for anything more. (Jason, if you say one thing about me being dramatic.....) Again, thanks for your nice comments and back at you!

Love you Mike Relva!!!Thanks for your support!

Draynay, geesh!!!!!!!!!!

18 Oct 2010 8:27 PM

PJJ- I will enlighten you on your use of "only" which implies that Goldikova is less in some way because she races exclusively on turf.  If you did not mean to imply that then only should not have been used.  That is the only reason I replied.  

18 Oct 2010 8:36 PM

AfleetAlexForever,  Now give us the attendances for Rachel's races in 2010!!   Big difference, Right?

18 Oct 2010 8:39 PM

I must admit, I got a bit lazy reading all the responses so I apologize if this has beaten to death.  HOY is a tough vote because the qualifiers per voter will vary.  The other issue (well I have this issue) is over the caliber of horse/quality of field in said race.  If we are saying a Grade I field is soft and using that to degrade the win at such a level than I think we need to go back and reevaluate how we grade races and what the conditions are cause in my mind when you say Grade I, it should be the top of the crop.   As that is my logic, I see things pretty black and white for the moment...Zenyatta has run in 5 Grade I races in 2010 and has won them all.  Quality Road has run in 4 Grade I races and has won 3....Lucking at Lucky has the most starts but least Grade I wins.  Blame the least starts this year with 4 starts and only 2 Grade I wins.  I think those stats are correct.  Anyway, based on "my logic"  Zenyatta would be hard to pass over.      

18 Oct 2010 8:44 PM

Thanks JayJay

I just can't stand people who are so smug about talking trash about things that can be proven wrong. I guess that is the teacher in me. 60,000 at every race. Yea, Right.

18 Oct 2010 8:47 PM

skyfire- he doesn't have the bloodlines.  Unlike many of their other horses, he is not fashionably bred.  Cecil is targeting the Dubai World Cup, I believe.  

18 Oct 2010 9:31 PM

Blame is one of the "now" horses?  Compared to what was expected of him when he finally got his try at 1 1/4 miles, he couldn't have been less impressive.  But at least he should outfinish the plodding Richard's Kid who won't even crack the Super Hi-Five.  Haynesfield definitely qualifies as THE "now" horse.  He showed me he doesn't have distance limitations and can run all day long if not pressured.  Of course, what are the chances that he won't get pressured in the BC Classic?  Ummm, not so much.  I love Musket Man, but he needs some bad trips by the top dogs to have a prayer of getting home first.  However, this is horseracing and stranger things have happened.

18 Oct 2010 9:55 PM


Did you know that Rachel's Preakness attendance was the lowest in decades. The attendance this year was 95,760. The attendance for 2008 was 112,222. Matter of fact I can't remember when the attendance for the Preakness ever was that low.

18 Oct 2010 9:59 PM


Sorry to tell you this, but Zenyatta's drew over 32,000 for her Hirsch at Del Mar this year, which beats Rachel Alexandra's Woodward.

18 Oct 2010 10:05 PM
Pedigree Ann

I can't believe the inanity I'm reading. Have you people been watching racing for more than 5 years? Yes, the criteria for deciding who gets Horse of the Year ARE OFTEN DIFFERENT from year to year. Normally, the top older dirt horse (including 3yos who face and defeat their elders) is the HotY. And no, he doesn't have to run in the BC Classic to win if his campaign has demonstrated his dominance of the division (eg. Holy Bull, Mineshaft). But sometimes, there is no standout in the division; then if the best in another division has an outstanding year, they can get the votes. A 3yo without victories over their elders, a turf horse, an older mare, a 3yo filly, even a 2yo (although I'm not sure I approve of 2yos getting it). The breeding industry has been bleeding the older horse ranks dry for a number of years by early retirements, so these 'exceptional' years became more common recently than in the past.

Zenyatta's got her Older Mare Eclipse in the bag. That's what winning mares' races gets you. Unless she now demonstrates her dominance over the very nice colts we have in the open division this year as well, she should not get HotY.

The argument that the Mosses and Sherriffs were 'taking care of her' by running her in, for example, the Vanity instead of the Gold Cup, is incredibly lame. She's bigger and stronger than most of the males out there. What are the boys going to do, tease her for being a tomboy? Get real. If she was fit and able to race at Hollywood's summer meeting, she could have run in the Gold Cup. Her people were 'protecting' an artificial accomplishment they treasure for some reason, i.e. The Streak.

I wish they understood that losing when you face the top competition is not the end of the world. Dwight Stones set records in the high jump three times and won 19 national championships. But from his trips to the Olympics, he came away with only 2 bronze medals. He is still considered one of the great high jumpers. Native Dancer lost the Kentucky Derby, but he's in the Hall of Fame, not his conqueror Dark Star.

18 Oct 2010 10:16 PM
Mike Relva


Here's some great news before you absorb the bad news in losing in the next couple weeks. I'm taking my act, flying to CA tomorrow morn. for some much needed rr from this blog. Won't have time to post comments for the rest of the week. lol BTW,noticed TO is on the right horse,guess he didn't have to to pose with Blame or QR. lol

18 Oct 2010 10:23 PM


I’m glad to see you’re alive and well.  I hope you’re over your basketball injuries.

I regret the fact that your favorite horse Rachel has been retired.  Truly, it was a sad day for racing, but personally I think they made the best decision.  I think that now that she’s retired, thankfully sound and presumably happy again, maybe you can stop shilling her, especially even going so far as to compare attendance figures with Zenyatta.

Without trying to denigrate Rachel and/or her popularity, I think you should re-access your reasoning behind those attendance figures you were schooling Lisa about.  Some observations and corrections to your post………

• First of all, all those people that attended the Preakness, the Kentucky Oaks and the La Troienne (also run on Oaks day) didn’t show up just to see Rachel.  These events annually draw huge crowds.

• The 2009 Woodward was a big draw specifically because of her and the 31,000 that attended, was 9,000 more than attended Curlin’s Woodward in 2008 and 10,000 more than attended Quality Road’s Woodward this year.  After that your argument gets kind of shaky.

• Rachel drew a nice crowd for the Haskell of 37,000, but this year Looking at Lucky drew 41,000 and in 2008 Big Brown drew 45,000.  What happened in 2009 for the crowd to be off compared to the year before and the year after?

• Regarding the Personal Ensign, 23,347 attended this year (not the 33,000 you erroneously reported), down considerably from the 45,000 that were on hand (and still in town I presume) for the Travers the day before.

If you want to compare some numbers, try these.

• Zenyatta’s Lady’s Secret this year drew 26,000 like you reported.  However for Rachel’s Lady’s Secret at a track that was set up for her (even the inflated purse), drew only 12,859.  How come?

• When Zen raced in the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park (the only track where both raced), she drew 45,000.  When Rachel raced there last year in the Martha Washington she drew 11,881 and in the Fantasy 11,941.

• In the Clement Hirsch you must have gotten your numbers crossed.  32,536 were in attendance, not the 20,000 you reported.  Zenyatta still must have been a good draw.  The next day, a Sunday, 15,913 showed up.

• It’s true that 12,000 showed up for the Vanity, but it’s interesting to note that only 4,700 showed up to see California’s top handicap horse, Rail Trip, the day before.

And if you think that 55,000 showed up on BC day to see Zenyatta, you're wrong.  It was BC day.  People came to see all the horses.  Like the Preakness and the Oaks, it was the event that drew the crowd, not necessarily a particular horse.

18 Oct 2010 10:28 PM


You need to remember that the figure for the La Troinne was not just to see RA. She was on the undercard for the Kentucky Oakes before the Derby. Alot of people bought 2 day packages to see the Derby. Figures are not always as black and white as they appear. That is padding her numbers with others who were there for the Derby. That also applies to the 2009 Kentucky Oakes. She was not the popular horse she was after that race. That was the race that jump started her career. Most people did not know about her until then and again that was the day before the Derby. So those numbers are really not true figures that apply to just RA's race. And to be fair the 2009 Preakness not all were there to see RA run, there were many there that wanted to see if MTB would take the second leg of the triple crown, and by the way I don't need schooling in fact finding. Two Statistics courses were required for my Masters, but thanks for the attempt at proving that those numbers were valid. You can't, you would have to ask everybody who they bought a ticket to see. The others were specific races in which RA was the big draw they would be a much more valid account of people just buying tickets to see her.

18 Oct 2010 10:31 PM

There is no doubt, Zenyatta is great and totally deserves the HOTY

award.  She has been true and consistent throughout her racing years including this one---who else can say that?? All I can say is GO ZENYATTA GO!!!!  There will be more fans on her side than the fans of all the other horses there.  Maybe that will give her the wings to fly!! Love that girl!!

18 Oct 2010 10:32 PM
Mike Relva


I bet you ACTUALLY THINK you're the only one on here that can distinquish what HOY means. Wow!

18 Oct 2010 10:34 PM

I just don't buy the Eastern bias argument, and I'll remind everyone that I live in California.  If the so-called Eastern bias was such a decisive factor, Kotashaan a California-based turf horse, never would have won HOY, an award turf horses rarely win wherever they hail from.  Sunday Silence would have lost HOY to Easy Goer, once hailed as the next Secretariat, on the grounds that his huge Belmont Stakes win outweighed Sunday Silence's narrow margins of victory in their other battles.  And then there was Criminal Type who spent most of 1990 based out of California and beat out East coast-based Unbridled, the only horse ever to win both the Kentucky Derby and the BC Classic and NOT get HOY.

Sorry, I think this whole "Eastern bias" thing is a myth.  Rachel Alexandra won last year not because she was the best horse (she wasn't). But because she captivated the whole sports-watching nation and not just horseracing fans starting by winning the Preakness and then beating G1 boys twice more.  Whether we horseracing fans like it or not, the Triple Crown series is really the only thing in horseracing that most casual sports fans know or care about.  By comparison, the Breeders Cup is much less important to the general sports fan who has only a casual interest in horseracing. Until Zenyatta made history by winning the BC Classic, most non-horseracing sports fans had no idea who she was.  Not her fault and not her connections' fault.  Just a reflection of how this sport's popularity has declined since the glory days of Seabiscuit and Man o'War.

In my opinion, the "Eastern bias" had no bearing on Rachel Alexandra winning HOY.  And if Zenyatta runs her usual powerful race in the BC Classic, she'll bury that myth in the grave right next to where Dosage as a predictor of Kentucky Derby winners is currently buried.

18 Oct 2010 10:34 PM

I have my doubts she'll enter the gate in the Classic.  Why do you think Shirreffs is already campaigning for HOTY?  He knows she's going to lose this one.  He also knows she won't win the Distaff either.  LAT and BL will both smoke her.  In the Classic she's running for 5th.  He summed it up with his begging for HOTY even if she loses this one (which she will). Don't look for her to start people.  Her desperate run down of 3 year old Switch on plastic was most likely her last race.  

18 Oct 2010 10:35 PM

Isn't it amazing how Zenyatta looks so dignified and T.O. looks like a school boy allowed to pet the big horse (but only if you're a good boy T.O.)?

18 Oct 2010 10:35 PM


I really hope you guys aren't as dense as you seem.

It should be obvious that I mean - unrestricted company = this year, the boys haven't had a chance to try to beat Zenyatta since they WEREN'T ALLOWED TO ENTER a single one of her races thus far.

If she doesn't win the BCC she doesn't get HOY if the voters understand anything at all about the sport they cover, and Zenyatta's connections will have only themselves to blame.

Every race up to the BC has been restricted to FILLIES AND MARES - is that clear? Let me say it again. This year, all of Zenyatta's races thus far in 2010 have been restricted to FILLIES AND MARES - NO BOYS ALLOWED. And in all those races there were two - or maybe three - legitimate challengers, and she barely beat them! And I'd bet the farm that had St Trinian not thrown a shoe in the stretch that she would have beaten Zenyatta in the Vanity.

Team Zenyatta have put all their eggs in one basket and that basket is the BCC. If she doesn't start or doesn't win, it's over. No HOY. You simply CANNOT win HOY by beating claimers and allowance fillies and mares all year long, I don't care what grade the races were. I'm sorry Mr Moss and Mr Shirreffs, we are quite simply NOT that gullible.

And while we're on the topic, considering the quality (or lack thereof) of the fields that ran in all of Zenyatta's "G1s" this year, I'd think the grading committee would seriously consider downgrading at least some of those races.

19 Oct 2010 12:03 AM

Seriously, because of all this talk over the past year and a half I'm beginning to resent Zenyatta. Some of you people are crazy. It's a horse an a sport. It's not life or death. I feel bad for the horse because she has wimpy connections. Her greatness will forever be in doubt because her owners refused to take on the best competition year after year. After the Classic, she should have ran in the Dubai World Cup, Hollywood Gold Cup then maybe came east to Saratoga or Belmont. There's no doubt she's a talented horse, I just feel she wasn't given the proper chance to prove it. Yeah, the BCC, but that's one race. All of but two of her starts have been in California or on synthetic surfaces, come on. I was disappointed when I heard she wasn't coming east to Saratoga or whatnot for one race during the summer because quite frankly, I've never seen her and wanted to. If she wins the Classic again I'll give it to her, she should defenitely be HOTY but I don't think she can win. The field will be too tough and she's not fast enough.

19 Oct 2010 12:50 AM

Right on target Kay!

19 Oct 2010 12:56 AM

I can't believe some people are still trying to fault Zenyatta for who she has raced against this year. Can it not be understood that neither she nor her connections have any control over who enters to run against her? If all the other grade 1 winners do not want to face her what is she supposed to do about it? This is getting ridiculous! No horse can be judged inferior if others refuse to run against them - it is actually a huge compliment. What other horse that is racing this year has scared away their competition?  Yeah she could have beaten Richard's Kid again in the Pacific Classic or Goodwood but then you all would just say he isn't that good either. Shipping wouldn't have helped so that excuse can just be put away. There are NO other females that she could have faced that would have elevated her in any way. Blind Luck would have been the closest but she just bypassed that opportunity and stayed within her division as well. It appears that Zenyatta is being faulted only for not having raced Blame or Quality Road yet since they are the only stand outs right now that could possibly elevate her status. And they have faced each other only once so who have been their super tough competition for this WHOLE year? She couldn't even have faced Lookin At Lucky since he has not raced outside of his division yet. So all this nonsense about her campaign is due to her not being in that one race or not facing those two horses yet? Again I ask, what super horses have they beaten?  Ridiculous!!!

19 Oct 2010 1:26 AM
Between Friends

The facts are right there in front of you, too, Afleetalexforever, but you insist on ignoring them.

The *La Troienne (please learn how to spell the name of a rather well known foundation mare correctly) was run the same day as the Kentucky Oaks featuring Blind Luck and the Churchill Downs infield was open for pre-Derby partygoers. In addition, Churchill Downs was making a donation to the Susan G, Komen Fund based on their attendance on that Friday and probably did everything in their power to bring in as many fans as they could.

19 Oct 2010 1:40 AM

Footlick,  I think Goldi is like Zenyatta, I believe she can run on anything.  I do think she is at her best at a mile though.  Goldi is a tough driving filly.  She has been running at her best and giving her best for more than "one" year.   She's great...

She has my full respect..

19 Oct 2010 5:52 AM

Ted from LA,  

So true about TO.  Now if Zenyatta had met some winners likes of Larry Bird, Tom Brady and Bobby Orr, that would be a story.        

19 Oct 2010 7:21 AM

Kay - great post! Hoping for good weather and the track will take care of the rest. The distance and the long homestretch...Queen Z by 2 1/2 and pulling away...with her EARS UP!

19 Oct 2010 8:42 AM
Rachel O

Enough already. Any award that produces such controversy should be sacked. Time for all of us to stop this and do something useful.

19 Oct 2010 9:25 AM

If everything depends on winning the Classic this year why did Zenyatta not get HOY last year after winning the Classic.

She too was unbeaten in all her races, look what happened to Rachel after the Woodward she was ruined, she was incapable of running in the Classic.

Ironic that the HOY award was given to a horse that had lost the JOY of running after being whip beaten run into the ground and mishandled.

The Mosses care about Zenyatta that is why she did not start racing until she was almost 4 years old.

If she does not win HOY then I am done with horse racing and I have been a fan since I followed Brigadier Gerard who was brilliant.

I was heartbroken when I went to see him run at York  and he was beaten by Roberto, he still was the best horse I have ever seen and still has the highest Timeform rating.

Zenyatta is still the best horse no matter what happens at Churchill Downs.

19 Oct 2010 9:27 AM

Hmmm Jason, you sound as if you are not too objective and rather east-coast, RA, biased. First of all, did Lady's Secret and Azeri win the Breeder's Cup Classic as a means of securing HOTY? No. Did all of the BC Classic winners I just looked up win HOTY? No. Case closed. We saw what awarding a horse for 1 superior year of performance proved--she came back a flop. Zenyatta has proved time and time again that she deserves this award regardless if it is for this year only or her career, or if she wins or loses the BC Classic. Each year she gets older, each year she risks her life, each year she shows up, each year she wins, not loses, but wins. I do hope, however, that she beats the boys AGAIN to close the mouths of ALL of you who are using that "only for this year of performance" argument. Compare the HOTYs and BC Classic records for the past 30 or more years and you will open up your minds.

19 Oct 2010 9:56 AM
Michael V

Did Zenyatta not win the Classic last year? How many have won it twice? Duh! I agree with Mr Shirreffs.

19 Oct 2010 10:25 AM

Jason, I agree with you that HOTY is not a lifetime achievement award, nor should it be. History already knows Zenyatta's place.

.....BUT, I agree with several other bloggers that THE BC CLASSIC did not determine HOTY in 2009, and unless someone other than Zenyatta wins and also breaks the mold of what a BC Classic margin of victory looks like, she should not be denied.  If she were to lose by a nose and again get edged in the vote, then I would have no reason ever again to care who wins that award, because you could once again chalk it up to bias.

I would have liked to have seen one east coast race in NY or perhaps the Foster, but that didn't materialize.  She went to Oaklawn to face RA and it never happened, yet Z gets labeled the slacker.

Thank God Zenyatta's fans are as passionate as they are, because the hate and bias spewed by her detractors is disgusting. All she ever does is run (and win). She doesn't control who lines up in the gate. Perhaps if MOSS was as despised as JACKSON, he would get the brunt of the venom, but to point it at Zenyatta is classless. She is as good as it gets and will be missed when she walks off the track for good.  No horse since Secretariat has brought more kids to our sport than Zenyatta.  Some had followings (see Smarty Jones for example), but not to the extent of the Queen, and she has done it in spite of a gross lack of national coverage in an era of maximum media exposure. The four-letter network should be ashamed and it's programmers can go straight to the four-letter place they deserve.



19 Oct 2010 11:00 AM

Regarding the 2009 HOTY, Rachel Alexandra definitely had that locked away well before the BCC. A 3 year old filly wins 8 races, 5 of which are grade 1's, 3 of which against males (Haskell, Preakness, Woodward), 1 of which older males (Woodward). Not to mention a few track records! With a campaign that grueling there is no way she had anything left in the tank to face Zenyatta or anyone else in the BCC.  But the bottom line is that she did what no filly has ever done before or ever will do again! And that is why she deservingly won the HOTY even after Zen won the BCC against the best field of the year.

It doesn't mean Zen didn't have a great year. Of course she did. She remained undefeated and beat the best crop of male horses in the world. It just wasn't enough to overcome what Rachel had already accomplished.Period! But the point here is that if Rachel had not accomplished such an amazing feat, Zen would have easily won HOTY!

Now here we are in 2010, Zenyatta still doing her thing. Just winning...EVERY RACE SHE ENTERS! Oh and they all happen to be Grade 1 races. But this year, Zen doesn't have a Rachel Alexandra to compete with for HOTY. Yet, many people believe Quality Road, Blame, and Lookin' At Lucky could still win HOTY for just winning BCC? Are you kidding me? In my opinion, unless any of those three horses had run a campaign like Rachel did last year, none of them could even be close to being HOTY over Zen. And let's be honest with ourselves here, QR, Blame, and LAL have not run a campaign in 2010 half as good as what Rachel did in 2009. Therefore winning the BCC should not justify HOTY honors over Zen. Why you ask? Because IF (and that's a big IF) Zen loses the BCC, she will be 19-1. If QR wins, he would be 9-4(9-3-1), If Blame wins he would be 8-2(8-2-0) and if LAL wins his record would be 10-2(10-1-1). So even if those horses win this ONE race, Zen should NOT BE DENIED!

19 Oct 2010 11:45 AM

In my opinion Zenyatta is a great mare with an amazing personality. I love her gentleness. Likewise, Rachel Alexandra is a great mare and I love everything about her. Rachel at 3 was still a baby but what she accomplished will likely not be seen in our lifetime again. Zenyatta and Pepper's Pride at 19 for 19 both have achieved a career level of consistent excellence that is almost impossible to attain. Yet Zenyatta's fans look down at Pepper's Pride because she did it in "New Mexico" against 'substandard competition'. The point is she accomplished in her sphere the same thing Zenyatta did in hers. Those of  you sensitive to West Coast bias exercise a bias of your own towards other geographies. I don't know how Pepper's Pride would have fared on the east or west coast or Canada, but I salute her for what she did. I will say that to compare a 16 hand 3 year old filly to a 17 hand 5 year old mare that is as large and powerful as a stallion is not being very objective. I totally understand your love and pride in Zenyatta but it has blinded many of you to a filly that is legendary. So many of you denigrate her accomplishments because her competition was 'second tier older males' but by the same yardstick celebrate Zenyatta's accomplishments against lesser individuals because 'everyone was afraid of Zenyatta'.  

The viciousness of the attacks some on these blogs make against others taint Zenyatta and racing itself. I will probably regret having finally expressed my opinion about this but it has gotten to the point where I don't even want to read the blogs anymore. Can't we celebrate these fabulous horses for what they are without tearing down others and ridiculing horses that go out and leave it all on the track just because we ask them to?

I know Zenyatta's connections feel that she should have a HOY on her resume; and maybe she should, if the voters feel that she compiled a HOY record this year. But to have to content themselves with an early Hall of Fame nomination and induction (and I feel certain that will happen) without a HOY award is not a slur on Zenyatta.

19 Oct 2010 11:55 AM
Pedigree Ann

Livesoutwest, do you know that there are still people who argue that Alydar was a better horse than Affirmed? and that Easy Goer WAS a better horse than Sunday Silence? The Bluegrass breeding establishment certainly felt that way, and let one of the great sires of the century go to Japan. They still don't appreciate The Lava Dude for his accomplishments, although that possibly has something to do with the anti-synthetic track bias that is the focus of a lot of anti-Zenyatta talk as well. There are a lot of the hard-core bettors and speed-figure sorts who despise synthetic tracks and will disparage any horse who excels on them almost as a reflex.

19 Oct 2010 12:25 PM

What about Curlin being horse of the year two years ago after he lost in the Classic?  Zenyatta was undefeated then and should have gotten the award, but because he broke the earnings record on hyped up purses, he wins it.  

19 Oct 2010 12:30 PM

Jim C.  Yes...Winning Colors'  Santa Anita Derby was spectacular.  Can you imagine entering a filly in a Derby prep?  No where to be found on the Blood Horse Top 100.  What a huge oversite by a bunch of sports writers.  I can't imagine that RA's place in history would be the same.  I doubt the average American can even name a Preakness winner other than Secretariat thanks to Disney but after all RA did all her magic in the East and never once set foot in the West where it now appears that her main rival was located.  Go back any decade and there will be a lack of respect being paid to horses from the West by East Coast writers.  Swaps in the 1950's is another one that comes to mind.  But at the end of the day, whether it's Bayakoa, Azeri, Sunday Silence, Lite Light, Blind Luck, or Zenyatta, the West continues to dominate whatever "next greatest thing" the East has going.  Zenyatta will be no different.  She may not win but she will make a good accounting of herself.  

19 Oct 2010 12:33 PM


You may or may not be correct in stating that the eastern bias is a myth.  However, this has always seemed strange to the voting for top filly or mare category, one east coast voter actually gave a first place vote to Icon Project over not only the BCC winner Zenyatta, but even over her stablemate and BC Distaff winner Life is Sweet.  Some said that the voter actually made a mistake, but if I remember correctly the voter later said that it was not a mistake.

19 Oct 2010 12:33 PM


Considering the quality of the Woodward this year and last and the Donn, maybe the voters should downgrade them also.

19 Oct 2010 12:36 PM

Love Lookin at Lucky and have loved him since seeing his second start on the "Zenyatta" undercard at Del Mar.  But, I think his resume is a little thin for HOY even if he wins the Breeder's Cup Classic.  Lot's of restricted three year old races this year.  I'm looking forward to his four year old year (Big Cap on dirt!!!).  18 months of really good form.  Cudos to Baffert and most likely 3 year old of the year.  

19 Oct 2010 12:40 PM


I too respect Pepper's Pride for her accomplishments.  It doesn't matter where she raced or who it was against, the key is it was against her own kind in terms of class and quality levels.  She might not have accomplished these feats against open company fillies and mares or even against males, but she did what they asked her to do......every time.

However, I don't think it's the Zenyatta fans that are down grading her accomplishments as much as the non-Zenyatta fans who continuously denigrate PP's exploits as a way of trying to say that Zenyatta has basically defeated nothing.

19 Oct 2010 12:48 PM


If you honestly think that Zenyatta barely beat her fields this year, then you’ve got no idea how to watch a horse race. While she didn’t beat them by much, it’s the WAY she did it that was impressive. St Trinians wasn’t going to beat her. Rinterval wasn’t going to beat her. Switch wasn’t going to beat her. Seriously, take off your rage glasses and learn how to watch a horse. Then you might figure this out.


I think there IS an Eastern bias, but I’m not sure it came into play for the HOTY vote last year. There is no way a sane person could have voted Easy Goer HOTY over Sunday Silence, even if Easterners thought he was the better horse. He didn’t prove that throughout the year. And I am a HUGE Easy Goer fan, BTW. I wanted him to prove he was the best, but he didn’t. There's also a difference between people thinking he was a better horse, and voting for him. The bias exists when we’re talking about which horses are leading HOTY candidates. You’ve seen this all year. Horses have to go East to prove their superiority. They have to run at Saratoga, apparently. Zenyatta won’t be considered even one of the greatest FILLIES of all time unless she beats males on dirt at Churchill Downs. There is a definite Eastern bias that doesn’t always have to do with the Eclipse votes, although I will say that the fact that the majority of voters are in the East does mean that margins are larger than they would probably be otherwise.


“Yet Zenyatta's fans look down at Pepper's Pride because she did it in "New Mexico" against 'substandard competition'. The point is she accomplished in her sphere the same thing Zenyatta did in hers.”

Nobody is doing that here. Not sure why you’re so angry at this particular place…

19 Oct 2010 1:06 PM
Jason Shandler

Yeah Laz, ONE voter chooses to go another way and that constitutes an east coast-bias conspiracy. Gimme a break.

Kay: Newsflash: She barely won a couple of her races, including her last. If you cant admit that, you really have blinders on.

19 Oct 2010 1:32 PM

Stacey: "You simply CANNOT win HOY by beating claimers and allowance fillies and mares all year long, I don't care what grade the races were. I'm sorry Mr Moss and Mr Shirreffs, we are quite simply NOT that gullible."

We?? Are you an Eclipse voter? I sincerely doubt it. I don't believe any self-respecting member of NTRA, DRF, or the TWA would take such a histrionic tone.

If you actually ARE a voter, I apologize, but now I have even less respect for the "integrity" of the awards than before.

19 Oct 2010 1:48 PM


I thought you didn't watch Zenyatta's races because they are so boring... So, how do you know whether or not she "barely" won?

I can assure you that nobody was yawning at HP last time she ran. Maybe her running style is not your cup of tea but to use her margin of victories against her seems a little myopic to me.

19 Oct 2010 2:08 PM

Laz -

That vote for Icon Project was a complete mistake, according to Duke Dosik of Daily Racing Form, who made the mistake.  He had also voted for Zenyatta for Horse of the Year.

Check this link:

19 Oct 2010 2:12 PM


Yeah.....I guess I got it all wrong.  It was just some crazy voter that was supposed to be responsible for at leat trying to get it right that thought that Icon Project was better than the two best mares in the country.

19 Oct 2010 2:17 PM

I don't think it's so much that "horses have to go back east to prove their superiority."  It's that horseracing fans, writers, and Eclipse award voters want to see the best face the best - that's what makes the sport great.  In my opinion, the best field assembled this year was in the Whitney, with the Quality Road/Blame/Musket Man/Haynesfield matchup, though the latter was a non-factor due to breaking through the gate before the start.  I thought it was a much better field than the Stephen Foster field, though some here disagree.

Okay none of those four boys are likely to be Hall of Famers like Zenyatta.  But they are the best competition out there this year, in what admittedly is not an all-time great year.  Though Lookin At Lucky seems to have matured enough that he belongs with them.  And they're all based back East.  There was really no incentive for their trainers to ship them out West for the big races here.  The California purses have been reduced, and there would not have been an opportunity to face Zenyatta, if that's what they wanted.  

In talent, this year's California males lag badly behind the Easterners by comparison.  And it's not that Zenyatta wouldn't have proved much beating them because they're based in California or they run on synthetics.  It's because they're not great horses.  The only reason Richard's Kid and Awesome Gem are winning G1's is because the better horses like Rail Trip, Misremembered and Neko Bay all got hurt at some point.  And it's not like any of THEM are world-beaters either.  But the latter pair destroyed St. Trinians.  Okay, she had a troubled trip in the Big Cap, though not AS troubled as Zenyatta in the Santa Margarita, and Z managed to overcome the trouble just fine.  But that's the only race we have to judge St. Trinians on versus something approaching top competition, and she wasn't very impressive.

My point is most fans aren't holding it against Zenyatta because she didn't run on the East Coast, though it would have been great for the sport if she did.  But her connections chose to keep her in California at a time where California runners just aren't very good.  That's not her fault and not her connections fault.  But by choosing to only take on the best runners in the country the one time this year, she absolutely must turn in a lights- out performance to finally gain horseracing's biggest award.  It was their choice, we'll see if it works out for them this year.

19 Oct 2010 2:18 PM
kathleen o

Jason, she wins by as much as she needs to, if you can't admit that, they clearly you are the one with blinders.  

19 Oct 2010 2:23 PM
kathleen o

zipssecret........I've mentioned that, but my post didn't show.  Just how is it that Curlin didn't have to win the Classic, yet still won HOTY?

19 Oct 2010 2:35 PM

Jason - Re you last comment to Kay.  She barely wins most of her races.  She comes from so far off the pace that she cannot win by much.  You keep saying a loss is a loss -- well the same goes for a win is a win.  You seem to have lots of respect for Blind Luck who usually only wins by a nose, neck, or head.  I have lost what little repect I ever had for you.

19 Oct 2010 2:36 PM
Billy's Empire

Thank god negative nellie and his act will be gone for a while. Be careful going over those mountains... Hope you are a good shipper.

19 Oct 2010 2:41 PM


Yeah, I guess I was a little unclear there and can see how one might think I was giving myself a Eclipse vote. Rest assured however, I am not an Eclipse voter. You can maintain whatever level of respect you had for the awards before you read my post.

By "we" I was referring to knowledgeable, unbiased racing fans.

Histrionic tone? Well, I don't think so but whatever, dude.

19 Oct 2010 2:45 PM

Jason, Blame "barely" won the Whitney while getting 5 pounds and having to run down a sluggish Quality Road and you declare him better than Zenyatta.

Zenyatta runs down horses who still have plenty of fight in them while conceding weight. The Vanity being the prime example. Oh, and she does it with her ears pricked, she's not all out like Blame.

19 Oct 2010 3:13 PM
zenyatta mondatta

WoW, all this negagtivity against a mare that is 6 years old and undefeated.  This is whats wrong with this sport and why it's losing its fanfare by the day.  Instead of putting down the best horse in racing in the US, we should be praising her. I guess the foreigners look at us and shake their heads.  

19 Oct 2010 3:19 PM
Jason Shandler

Yeah, that's the problem with our industry; that everyone isnt in love with a horse. Gimme a break.

19 Oct 2010 3:22 PM


By "we" you were referring to knowledgeable, unbiased racing fans? Based on your prior posts, that description is completely inapt. But whatever. Dude.

19 Oct 2010 3:47 PM

Good one Zookeeper!

I know YOU weren't yawning in the stretch!  LOL!

19 Oct 2010 3:51 PM

Jason you have blinders on if you think that she was running all out. Who cares by how much. A win is a win and 1 1/16 is not her best distance. You need to do some admitting to yourself. This mare has never been asked for all she has to give. She may not have raced the toughest fields, but those colts have not run in any B busting fields either. If your are going to compare you need to be fair. In the Donn the field that QR beat had 8 entries, and 5 are still non-winners,Mambo Meister has 9 starts and 2 Gr. 3 wins, Duke of Mischeif has 7 starts and 3 firsts in GR 2 & 3 races. My point is 2/3 of the field are non-winners. At the time that the Whitney was run the only Gr. 1's were QR and Blame, Haynesfield had won an allowance and a Gr.2. MTB a non winner and Jardim won an ungraded stakes. And as far as winning "not by much" Blame only beat QR by "not much". Yes QR has set records, but he has also been run very sparingly. If you are honest with yourself the type of runner Zenyatta is does not preclude her to breaking records. All I'm saying is fair is fair. QR and Blame combined have raced against 47 horses 13 of those nonwinners and 6 allowance and 6 ungraded stakes, 11 GR. 2 & 3 winners. 36 are the same caliber that Zenyatta has raced. She has only faced 23 separate opponents. She faced 6 Gr. 2 winners, 5 ungraded stakes winners, 7 allowance winners, and 5 nonwinners. She did not run against Gr.1. None entered. The boys have each faced 1 grade 1 winner other than each other. Warriors Reward Won his Gr. 1 in Feb. in the Carter H., and has done nothing since, and General Quarters who won his on turf (since surface seems to be an issue also)and has done nothing since. So where does that really leave you as far as competition? The only difference is the 2 grade ones, that are no longer running at that level or are hurt, and Blame and Quality Road, and they have met only once.

19 Oct 2010 4:13 PM

Jason, you ask us to be "objective" yet, when you write your articles, you are not "objective," nor are you when you interact with us "Posters!"

Look people (the nay-sayers)if you want to focus on being "negative," why don't you talk about the reasons for the bizarre season?  Ie... breakdowns, retirements (unexplained), top stallions dieing due to laminitus etc... ?  That's were the negativity is in the industry.  Don't put it on a Horse that is Remarkable in every way.  How can you find fault in a 6 year old mare that is UNDEFEATED? Not only undefeated but, making history after history? Zen deserves every ounce of praise, she's earned it!  Same thing with Team Z!  They have done such a marvelous job keeping her at the top of her game, "Happy," sound and she still loves her job! How can you knock that?  BTW.. for a few, last I remembered, Rach is retired and then, whisked away from her fans with no explanation!

19 Oct 2010 4:21 PM


Neither were you!!! Even when I watch a replay, and I know the outcome, I lean way to the right as if that's gonna make a difference. The joy and excitement she bring to a race is out of this world and I'm so glad we shared it. :) Less than three weeks to go... can we take it one more time???

19 Oct 2010 4:25 PM
Jason Shandler

DinkyDiva: I've said this 100 times and I'll say it one more time so you understand. This is professional sports. Not everyone has to like every horse, even Zenyatta. I know that is hard for you to believe. I respect what she accomplished and there is no doubt she is a top class horse. But I happen to object to the campaigns the connections have sent her on the last two years. I think in sports it is most fun when we see the best face the best. It's what makes sports intersting. I dont get any joy out of watching a star beat up on the same inferior company race after race without being challenged, just for the sake of breaking a record.

People want to talk about the industry "losing an opportunity" to showcase its star; well, I happen to think the connections played a major part in that by not challenging her. You can only get outside sports fans interested when you see the best face the best; not the best face grade II females in California race after race.

In summary, dont make me out to be a bad person because Im not drinking the Zenyatta kool-aid. I have my opinion and I voiced it. I didnt disrespect the horse in any way. Go ask Red Sox fans what they think of Yankees fans. Go ask Eagles fans what they think of Cowboys fans. You want to see disrespect, go on another sports blog. This doesnt qualify.

19 Oct 2010 4:49 PM

Jason,  She is going up agaisnt the boys on dirt at CD,  Isnt that challenging enough?  I dont see any other fillies or mares, running or retired willing to take these males on on dirt this year.  Her connections are risiing alot by running her in this race.  Although, no other filly or mare is as good and big as she is or more determined to take on this task other than Zenyatta.   Please with all the "she hasnt campaigned"  hard enough.   What do you call running against the worlds best,  "small potatoes".  I am going to borrow your own words here and say, Gimme a break...

19 Oct 2010 4:59 PM

That "everyone isn't in love with a horse" may not be THE problem with this industry but it is certainly not helping it either. The constant belittling of Zenyatta, her connections and her fans cannot possibly be for the benefit of the sport.

19 Oct 2010 5:04 PM
Jason Shandler

One race sodapop. I was talking about the other 10 months of the year.

Get it now? Im done talking about this subject for now. You should move on too. Try talking about the other BC races, you might like them. Ive never seen you comment on anything but Zenyatta.

19 Oct 2010 5:05 PM

Jason. Look, perhaps I mis-spoke a tad bit, I am not making you out to look like a "bad guy," I never said that.  The only negative thing I said towards you was about you being "objective," when it is clear that you are "subjective!"  And, you like to stir the pot, persae!

I understand "rivalrys!"  Believe me: the first football game I ever went to was the "Raiders vs. Niners," a month or so ago and I had never seen so many fights at a venue! I understand that!

My point was, stop trashing on this gift, this Mighty Mare!  She is "positive" for the industry in every way possible and so, was Rachel!  Between the two of them, many fans have been born and will continue to be fans.

How can you say "You want to see disrespect, go on another sports blog?"  I don't need to go to another sports blog to see negativity, it's all right here on your site.  

BTW... I'm not the only one posting things to you about this topic!

Nor is it directed directly towards you, it's towards all the nay-sayers.

19 Oct 2010 5:07 PM

Stacey: Running against the boys are NOT the norm.  She dominates her division, you see it as a weak field races but the fact is, NO ONE wants to go against her.  Blind Luck even dodged her.  

Tell me besides Blame, which other horses have raced against top level races ?  QR ??  How about you youtube the Hal's Hope, the Donn and the Woodward and tell me which one of those fields have a G1 this year ?  Blame is Zenyatta's top competition this year, LAL is the other.  If you to talk HOTY, those 3 should be considered.  QR is NOT in the running based on the quality of horses he beat, Haynesfield would be above him because he beat Blame.  Blame beat QR and Battle Plan and GQ and MM.  

Zenyatta has raced and won on 5 G1 races this year, regardless of what YOU think about the quality of the field.  I don't see anyone else running in exclusively G1 races this year.

It's all a moot point because Zenyatta will win the BCC and then you guys will have to find even newer things to bash her with, or some of you will backpedal doing 360 and say you've always been a fan.  Only because you're out of things to bash her with lol.  Pathetic I say.

19 Oct 2010 5:12 PM

This year Zenyatta has denied 5 other fillies or mares the opportunity to become Grade One Winners. If Zenyatta wasn't in the races, safe to say the horses that ran second to her would be Grade One winners now.

Also, the opportunity to showcase/ compete, on the track goes both ways Jason. Where were the all the other Grade One winners, not one of their connections thought it sporting to take up the challenge, I wonder why.

Hollendorfer even admitted that he takes Blind Luck out of California to avoid Zenyatta. How did that work out by the way? Oh yea, in your world that was a sporting gesture.

19 wins.

19 Oct 2010 5:15 PM

I give up!!! See you later, when the conversation is about some other horses whose connections meet Jason's approval. Said horses will be very talented and I will join in the celebration of them... but I guarantee you, not one of them will be anything like the AMAZING ZENYATTA!

19 Oct 2010 5:25 PM

Jason : No one is asking you to like Zenyatta, but if you're going to be "objective" about her races this year, be "objective" about the other contenders too.  Stop drinking the QR koo-aid, Zenyatta's is better.

You make yourself look like the bad guy when you solely focus on Zenyatta.  Your comments towards her seems to be coming from seeing a lot of her fans enjoy her and I don't think you can stand it.  

You enjoy seeing others comment negative posts towards Zenyatta and you call them "making sense", when it's a comment from a Zen fan...we're drinking Kool-Aid.  How about your try to be objective and look at the other side.

QR is a miler and has a better chance winning the Mile instead of the Classic...with that comment, I bet you'll tell me to learn about horse racing again.

How about you and Stacey read cigarsmom's post at Oct 18th 2:04 PM together where she posted the top 4 contender's races this year.  Oh wait, yeah, she didn't run against the boys.  LOL

19 Oct 2010 5:26 PM


I agree with every word you said concerning Northern Dancer, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and such. Isn't it incredible how frequently two-year-olds used to race?

Here's a little comparison I created. The first group is a list of famous race horses, and next to their names is the number of starts they made at age two.

Seabiscuit - 35

Stymie - 28

Alsab - 22

Carry Back - 21

Whirlaway - 16

Equipoise - 16

Cicada - 16

Count Fleet - 15

Sword Dancer - 14

Susan's Girl - 13

Grey Lag - 13

Colin - 12

John Henry - 11

Round Table - 10

Man o' War - 10

Bold Ruler - 10

Alydar - 10

Secretariat - 9

Citation - 9

Native Dancer - 9

Spectacular Bid - 9

Affirmed - 9

The following list contains champions from the last few years, along with their number of starts at age two. . .

Rachel Alexandra - 6

Lookin at Lucky - 6

Ashado - 6

Point Given - 6

Funny Cide - 3

Ghostzapper - 2

Invasor - 1

Smarty Jones - 2

Midnight Lute - 1

Of course, not all great racehorses ran extensively at two; Kelso, Forego, Zenyatta, Cigar, and Curlin didn't race at two at all.

This seems to be occuring more and more as of late, with Horses of the Year Azeri, Mineshaft, and Curlin, not to mention Zenyatta, not racing as two-year-olds at all.

There's a reason why Street Sense remains the only Breeders' Cup Juvenile/Kentucky Derby winner. It's not an easy feat to pull off. You have to show that raw talent and speed at two in order to win the Juvenile, and the stamina, courage, and tenacity to fight your way to victory in the Kentucky Derby.

Along similar lines, the three Breeders' Cup Juvenile winners following Street Sense (War Pass, Midshipman, and Vale of York) were all injured the following spring; canceling any plans to run in the Kentucky Derby. Is the Breeders' Cup Juvenile really that trying?

Last year, following the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, I was a bit leery of Lookin at Lucky. He was so good at two, winning five of his six races, that I couldn't see him holding his form all the way into the classics.

However, it appears as though he has only gotten better. Was the fact that he had six starts under his belt at two the reason that he was able to excel this year at three? It's going to affect every horse differently, but I would much rather see a horse going into the Juvenile with four starts than two.

However, every horse is different. Take Favorite Trick as an example. He won all of his eight starts at two, culminating with a decisive victory in the Juvenile. His brilliant campaign earned him Horse of the Year.

But at three, things went sour. He won the Swale Stakes easily enough, but finished third in the Arkansas Derby behind Victory Gallop, beaten two heads for everything. Sent off as the second choice in the Kentucky Derby, he finished a badly beaten eighth.

He was never quite the same again. He won the Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes by a head and the Jim Dandy by a nose before finishing fifth in the King's Bishop Stakes. He succeeded in defeating his elders in the Keeneland Breeders' Cup Mile by three and a half lengths, then finished eighth in the Breeders' Cup Mile, which was his last race.

I could go on all day with my "for instances" and "for examples", but this post is long enough already.

In short, I believe that if a horse is ready to race as a two year old, they should do so; however, I do believe that they need to be slowly brought along, gaining valuable experience while they slowly mature, rather than running in the Breeders' Cup off of one or two starts.

Just like Northern Dancer. :)


19 Oct 2010 6:17 PM

Agree that the West has the best 3 year old fillies.  Evening Jewell runs third to Harmonious who closed the last furlong in 12 second and now has 4 wins out of six starts.  No telling how good this one is as she switched leads a couple of time in mid stretch. Sherriff's barn is pretty deep.

The Evening Jewell connections are going to put Evening Jewell right back on dirt for another match race against Blind Luck in the Ladies Classic.  Either could have won the Kentucky Oaks at the same distance. Much to like at odds of 10-1 or higher.

19 Oct 2010 6:34 PM

Jason.well are brave.

19 Oct 2010 6:44 PM

There are true horsemen and people that think they know a lot about horses. One of the miracles of Queen Z is that a 6 year old mare still wants to run!! And let me tell you when a mare doesn't want to compete it is all over.  I will be on top of the world if Z wins the Classic again, but if she doesn't I will feel fortunate to have seen her win against all comers 19 times. HOY is just icing on the cake, we have seen a great horse run the last 3 years and it will be a long time before we see another like her. Safe trip Queen Z and Good Luck.

As a RA fan I am sorry to see her retired without the great fanfare she deserved.  She gave her all in an  outstanding 3 year old year. She deserved the cheers of her many followers when she was retired.

19 Oct 2010 7:05 PM

T.O should have gone to visit his 3yrs old son who he have never meet instead of Zenyatta.

19 Oct 2010 7:29 PM

jayjay are you nuts ?  Quality Road is winning G1 open races !  Not restricted races.  17 more days until Zenyatta is exposed for what she really is.  I can't wait.

19 Oct 2010 7:51 PM

Kellerman…………..Great post

They sure don’t make them like they used to or maybe it should be they sure don’t train horses like they used to or maybe we should go one step further and say that they sure don’t strategize like they used to.  One of the problems I guess is money.  The BC Juvenile used to be a million, now it’s two million……it’s pretty hard for some with a potentially good horse to turn away from the chance at a winner’s share of 1.2 mill, especially when some of these trainers have to know that some of their competitors have been rushed to get a slice of the pie.

Another great example of proper two year old management is Buckpasser……a horse that made his mark in route races.  That being said he made 8 starts at two (his first 6 no longer than 5 1/2F) and didn’t even run in a route until his final start, the Champagne, a race that he won easily because he was properly prepared.  That preparation led to him losing his first race at three, an allowance sprint in 1.08.4 to his stable-mate Impressive (a top sprinter who won 8 times that year), and then he reeled off 15 straight victories, which extended on into his four year-old year.  It’s ironic that his streak ended at 15.  His 16th start was his only race on grass, the Bowling Green.  He finished third while carrying 135 lbs.  He came back and won the Suburban in his next and without that grass race might have also tied Citation and Cigar for 16 straight wins.

I guess now we can try and pick the winner of the turf sprint.  Yikes.  I don’t have a clue (about the turf race that is).  Just joking.  Great talking to you.

19 Oct 2010 8:44 PM
Meydan Rocks

Has anyone read this blog by ERIC MITCHELL of this publication? It's a great read...

19 Oct 2010 9:10 PM

Kay and Paula,

You put words in my mouth and then tell me not to be angry? You attack my spelling (one word) as if my entire post was filled with spelling errors....and what does that have to do with the debate you claim to stick to so well? Surely you can keep this about racing, right? Or did I make so much sense you had to look for other ways to discredit me?

You are the ones who attacked me by saying "learn how to read" when in fact you are the ones who didn't read what I wrote! I specifically said not all fans, and yet, you failed to acknowledge that I didn't include all fans. Whatever, you two know it all, and I, a fan of over 30 years knows nothing. Ok.

And Mike, Azeri won HOY after competing in 8 races (not the 5 thus far Zenyatta has entered.) And the other big reason?? There was NO STANDOUT MALE HORSE WORTHY OF THE CROWN OVER HER CAMPAIGN. War Emblem and Left Bank didn't have as consistent or brilliant a campaign as she! Her brilliant win in the Distaff sealed ther deal. Shirreffs thinks Zenyatta has already earned it without even competing in the Classic, which will be her 6th race IF she runs, which hasn't happened yet.

I feel sorry for Jason having to read all this nonsense! The precedent that has been set over the last 100 years means nothing to you people. Suddenly all the rules have changed. You no longer have to earn a championship, you just have to use the press and make it into a coronation. I'm not buying it, and many other are not either. I know, though, none of us knows anything about racing if we don't agree with you. Those types of statements are what makes some of us detest Zenyatta fans.

I've been a passionate fan of racing my whole life. I don't need Kay, Paula or Mike Relva to validate that. You people complain that those who don't love Zen are bad for the sport, but you don't realize that your desperate attempts to force others to agree with your opinions make them feel the opposite way! You can't fool people who have seen actual championship campaigns. Thus far, I haven't seen that this year in Zenyatta. I don't care how many people gang up on me. It won't change the history I've seen with my own eyes. For example, Cigar's 1995 campaign. That was a championship season!

19 Oct 2010 9:15 PM


I said Buckpasser made 8 starts at two.  I stand corrected.  It was 11 and yet he still didn't run in his first route race until that 11th, the Champagne.

19 Oct 2010 9:21 PM

Oh sorry, make that 9 total starts for Azeri in 2002, not 8. Along the way, she defeated Spain, Farda Amiga, Imperial Gesture and Mandy's Gold. She competed from January through October, a much more taxing season than Zenyatta has endured this year.

And again, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, she won because there was no standout male.

Here is a link to her lifetime past performances:

19 Oct 2010 10:08 PM

Who's the standout male this year Christine??

19 Oct 2010 10:34 PM


I’m sorry that US PEOPLE get it wrong and am certainly glad that you came along and set the record straight.

• Last time I looked, Ghostzapper was HOY in 2004 on FOUR starts and didn’t run his first race until July 4th, ran in the G2 Tom Fool against 3 horses, the G3 Iselin against 3 horses, the G1 Woodward and the BCC.


• Charismatic won in 1999 despite being entered in a CLAIMING RACE, winning only 4 of 10 races (1 a DQ win in the claimer) and not racing after the Belmont in early June.

• What about Favorite Trick in 1997, winning it as a two year old.  He won 2 G1 races that year, the Hopeful and the BCC.  All year long he defeated horses that were basically never heard from again NONE OF THEM EVER WINNING A G1 BEFORE OR AFTER THE BCC.  Don’t you think that Skip Away was a better choice or Formal Gold?

• You’re right about Azeri being brilliant.  The thing is she won exactly the same races that Zenyatta has so far this year without running in the BCC.  In the BC Distaff she defeated the 3 year old filly champ Farda Amiga who won a total of TWO G1 races that year, the Alabama and the Kentucky Oaks, and had a lightly race campaign.  It’s funny you knock Left Bank.  He won the Whitney and the Tom Fool in 2002, both with 121 Beyers before his untimely death.  Ghostzapper only got a 120 Beyer in his four race HOY year in the Tom Fool and Blame and Quality road got 111 Beyers this year in the Whitney.  Your slogging Left bank doesn’t say much about them, especially Blame and Quality Road.

You’re right about Cigar’s campaign.  While you’re at it compare Blame’s and Looking at Lucky’s and Quality Road’s campaign to past champions also.

19 Oct 2010 10:37 PM
Meydan Rocks

On Richard's Kid skipping BCC article in DRF....

Baffert says...

"“This Classic will be the biggest and most historic because of the mare,” Baffert said. ”Can history be made? Can she compete against the best on dirt?”"

Is this hyperbole or not?

19 Oct 2010 11:59 PM

The truth is Zenyatta has legions of fans BECAUSE she is so good, not just because she's cute. You're implying that she's just popular and therefore fans want her to win HOY because they just like her.  I am having a lot of fun being amazed and appreciative of Zenyatta.  You are having a lot of fun putting her down. Despite that Jason if you went to see her she still would kiss you and wouldn't hold a grudge.

20 Oct 2010 12:42 AM
Windy City

just catching up on the posts from Saturday ~ KAY ~ if your racing knowledge is as good as your "copy and paste" abilities, I think you should be voted HOY :-) And I have to admit, you didn't skip any races (I'm sorry, posts :-) East, West or Midwest! KAY for HOY! :-))

20 Oct 2010 1:26 AM

Draynay, just because it's an open Grade 1 doesn't mean that the competition must be strong. Case in point being Mine That Bird. If he belongs in the Whitney and the Woodward, then so do horses like Switch, St. Trinians, Rinterval...etc

20 Oct 2010 4:46 AM

Jayjay and co,

I'm going to say this one LAST time.

Just because I don't think that Zenyatta deserves HOY doesn't mean that I'm not a fan. I think she's terrific, I just think that her connections got too caught up in her undefeated record and refused to test her for risk of losing it. They are also clearly obsessed with winning HOY and think they can trick the racing community into thinking that just because she's undefeated against weak fields of fillies and mares that that's somehow good enough.

I would LOVE to have another great mare to live and breath for! At the ripe old age of 14, I was trying to raise enough money to hire a hit-man to whack Angel Cordero after the Preakness! Ok, not really, but you get the idea. I LOVE watching great fillies and mares beat up on the boys - LOVE IT!

For last year's BCC I was babysitting my nieces, ages two and three, and had them watching the race right at my side (NO DORA THE EXPLORER FOR YOU TONIGHT!). I was glued to the TV and don't think I remembered to breath from the time they started loading the gate until Zenyatta crossed the wire. The second the race was over I was on the phone to my cousin who used to cover NE racing for the Bloodhorse and had an Eclipse vote until she moved to the UK. We were both over the moon to see another girl beat the boys in one of the top races of the year.

Now turn the page to this year, Jerry Moss himself said that if the BC were at Churchill or in NY that "we'd be all over the country". But did that happen? No. Disappointing. Instead, Zenyatta stayed in CA - except for that ONE race in LA - and ran in the same races restricted to fillies and mares. They took NO CHANCES with her at all. They did not test her and thereby give her the opportunity to show that she CAN beat any horse that loads in the gate with her, male or female, east coat, west coast and everything in between. She showed us the same old same old - that she can beat any filly or mare that lines up against her on a synthetic track in CA. And one field of colts and gelding on that same synthetic track in CA. And two fields of fillies and mares on the dirt in LA.

If you think about it logically and objectively, she simply has not shown true greatness. She may in fact be great - maybe even The Greatest, but Jerry Moss is more concerned with retiring her undefeated and trying to trick the Eclipse voters into handing her a HOY title than he is in giving Zenyatta a chance to win it outright and show the world that NO HORSE ANYWHERE can beat her, and to give horse racing and its fans an undisputed champion and Super Horse.

19-0 is a staggeringly difficult accomplishment, whether for Zenyatta or Pepper's Pride or any other athlete (just ask my beloved NE Patriots). There are 1001 ways to lose a horse race - though actually, Quality Road might have invented #1002 in last year's BCC (my nieces were all over him for being so naughty). I have been watching racing for long enough to know that the best horse doesn't always win for any number of reasons, so going 19 for 19 is extraordinary. But, and you knew the but was coming, have you stopped to think that we can only name two horses that have gone 19-0 in their careers and they're both mares? And one of them only faced small-market NM-breds? Why no males?

Man 'O War was not undefeated. Nashua was not undefeated. Secretariat was not undefeated. Seattle Slew was not undefeated, etc etc, yet are they looked upon as anything less than great? Not in the least. The fields they faced were not restricted to only males or anthing else, yet the only reason anyone remembers the names Upset and Onion is because of who those two horses beat in one race in their otherwise unremarkable careers. Losses in no way diminished the bright stars that the Great Ones were, so what is Jerry Moss afraid of? I don't get it.

Champions take risks. They take the hard road. They leave it all out there on the field, win or lose. For that reason I think Rachael Alexandra was proven a greater champion than Zenyatta as were Genuine Risk, Makybe Diva, and currently Goldikova among others.

Is Zenyatta actually better than ALL of the horses I've named in this post? Maybe, but that's the problem. We will never know because of Jerry Moss' selfish ego and shortsightedness, and that really sucks. Jerry Moss has cheated us out of the opportunity to possibly all come together and bask in the glow of not just the greatest Mare in N American racing history, but maybe even the greatest Horse in all of racing history. But, we'll never know. All because of a desperate effort to preserve an undefeated record.

Thanks Mr. Moss.

20 Oct 2010 9:01 AM
Billy's Empire

Yeah Christine!! Good Posts. Azeri is one of my all time favorites. She was awesome, and she DESERVED HOY honors, unlike a mare whose connections think it should be handed to them on a silver platter. If she wins the classic, she deserves the award, but only after she actually faces some good competition.

I just posted on the "NEW" blog about these damn Zenyatta nuts, and how her fans are making actual racing fans despise the Zenyatta machine.

Any bloggers going to the Breeders Cup?

20 Oct 2010 9:32 AM

seatariat -

I wanted to thank you for your post about taking your daughters to visit Zenyatta.  Good for you!  I made a similar trip, driving from Albuquerque to Phoenix, picking up my cousin, and then driving to LA.  I figured it's her last race in CA and I'm so close and even though I have no money, I'm going to find a way to get this done.  I don't want to live with my regrets!  It turned out to be the trip of 100 lifetimes!

I also helped organize a group of bloggers (Zookeeper, Jim C., Aluminaut, and Peggy) and with Steve Haskin's help we also visited Zenyatta the day before the Lady's Secret!  Were you there at the same time we were?

We arrived around 9 AM and chatted with Steve Willard and Dottie and John.  We watched Zenyatta warm up, then we all headed to the training track to watch her gallop.  We came back to the barn and while Zenyatta cooled down, Dottie entertained us with stories.  Then we saw Zenyatta's bath and watched her graze.  After she went to her stall, Dottie again visited with us.  I talked to Mario, her groom, Michelle, the assistant trainer, Dottie, Steve, and John, and I can tell you that I couldn't have been more impressed with Zenyatta's humans.  We ended up leaving the barn around noon and then ate lunch in the cafeteria on the backside.  I don't know about anyone else, but I was pretending that I belonged there!

One of my favorite moments was with John.  I had brought Zenyatta two six packs of Guinness.  I was pretty sure I had the right kind, but I didn't know if they would even accept it for whatever reason.  I put it in the office, and then John barks:  "Who brought the Guinness?"  I shrunk like I was in trouble, but I couldn't hide because all the group members immediately pointed at me!  I sheepishly raised my hand.  He came over with a huge smile and said something like, "That's so awesome!  That's her favorite kind!  Extra Stout!  That's so cool!"  and then he fist-bumped me!  Course I have no proof, cause no one seemed to get it on any kind of film!  But I was floating.

I envy you, though.  You got to touch her!  I think because our group was so big, they didn't want to offer that, but we did get a picture with her in the background.  How selfish of me to envy you at all!  I will never receive a more perfect gift.  Zenyatta amazes me, Dottie amazes me, the whole crew amazes me.

Your description of her beauty is spot on.  Thank you again for sharing your experience.  What a wonderful gift to yourself and your daughters!

And then she won the next day!  A dream.

20 Oct 2010 10:30 AM

Stacey : I'm sorry but what's so wrong about being caught with the undefeated record ?  

I don't get you and your cohorts arguments about wanting to face the "best" when none of the "best" were racing against each other.  QR and Blame didn't race each other until the latter part of the year.  Why is it that Zenyatta is the only one that gets your attention as far as racing the "best".  Care to explain that ?

20 Oct 2010 11:06 AM


Like I mentioned on an earlier post, Zenyatta raced in exactly the same races that Azeri did in her HOY year in 2002.  After winning an allowance race and losing the G2 La Canada to Summer Colony, Azeri ran in the Santa Margarita, Apple Blossom, Milady (Zen skipped this one this year though she won it easily the past two years), Vanity, Hirsch and Lady’s Secret.  Did you notice that when Azeri lined up in those Cali races her main competitors, Affluent and Starrer (both of whom she beat multiple times that year) were mainly west coast horses also and the other Cali horses were mainly minor stakes or allowance winners?  Do you think that all those Cali horsemen and women rallied around her and made sure that the best horses raced against her?

You mentioned Spain, but Spain had a weak year in 2002 winning only two G2’s against modest competition.  Farda Amiga was one of the lowest ranked three year old filly champs in recent memory.  Mandy’s Gold was the actual 6trh choice in the 8 horse BCC and was defeated like a 6th choice usually is, but about a dozen lengths.  And what about the Distaff?  Last I heard Zen is passing the Distaff and running in the BCC against the Little Boys.   Azeri’s BC Distaff field was a good one with Summer Colony, Mandy’s Gold, Take Charge Lady, Imperial Gesture etc., but the fact is I have a hard time comparing that field with the 2009 BCC.  This is not meant to denigrate Azeri.  She was great, but not all of her competition was.  Like Zenyatta, she could only race against the competition that dared line up against her.  And as far as the male competition this year compared to 2002, please show me the difference.  Quality Road got a 121 Beyer and people shout it out.  Left Bank got back to back 121 Beyers and apparently he was not that good.

20 Oct 2010 11:38 AM


Because Zenyatta is the only one who has a legion of nitwits who know little to nothing about racing declaring that she's the best that ever was and that she has NOTHING to prove.

20 Oct 2010 11:47 AM

As one of the many NITWITS or THEM PEOPLES siding with the Big Mare, I totally agree that she has to win the BCC in order to be voted HOY.  If one of the other so called big four win it then they should be HOY and there is also a possibility that if Haynesfield wins he could be HOY.  However, if none of them win it and the HOY still comes out of the BCC race then this is who the champion should be......I'll spell it out ZENYATTA.

20 Oct 2010 1:02 PM

It looks like the QR and Blame camp took a page out of last year's Breeder's Cup Classic winners book...lightly raced, lots of rest, picking their spots.  

RA had the most difficult campain ever?  I find this hard to believe.  Perhaps the most difficult of 2009 for a filly.  Lady's Secret raced 45 times and she lost about 1/2 of those!  

Go back to the 50's and take a look at Swaps or Nashua.  Now those are campains for HOY with even a match race included between the two after Swaps took the Kentucy Derby and Nashua the Preakness and Belmont.  

20 Oct 2010 2:14 PM

Every time a horse enters the gate, the possibility for defeat exists. Horses don’t pick their competition. Even though you admit Zenyatta doesn’t choose her competition, somehow her owners DO. And because her owners have only chosen to hide her in restricted California synthetic races, she deserves no credit for continuing to win.

Beyond the obvious echo chamber blather is the steadfast refusal to listen to what people are actually saying. Just because Jerry Moss – your villain in this scenario – said they wanted to send Zenyatta all over the country doesn’t mean it was going to happen, and there’s been enough documentation about WHY it didn’t happen. However, any reason for why they didn’t go where YOU wanted them to do gets completely ignored. Actually, ANY defense of this mare gets ignored. And what’s truly amazing is that she needs to be defended AT ALL. The intimation seems to be that she’s only unbeaten because she hasn’t been tested. Apparently, defeat means that a horse HAS been tested. That’s one reason y’all are going on about how Goldikova is a great horse, but Zenyatta isn’t. Because Goldikova has been beaten, she has shown true greatness. So to you, Zenyatta isn’t great because she hasn’t been beaten. That makes it easy for you to diminish every race she’s ever been in. And after you’re done doing that, you simply can’t possibly IMAGINE how anyone could consider this mare great. Of COURSE it doesn’t make sense to you. You’re in the echo chamber.

What you just can’t fathom is the notion that this is an extraordinary situation because this is an extraordinary horse. You have your little boxes where your great horses reside, along with their high speed figures on dirt. That’s easily categorized greatness to you. But Zenyatta’s not as quantifiable, and you just aren’t capable of recognizing that. Instead of celebrating her, you bash her. However, it seems like the tide has made a definite left turn. The closer we get to the Breeder’s Cup, the LESS important a Zenyatta victory becomes to people. I’ve never seen anything like it. Is it a response to Beyer’s whiny declaration? Dunno. But there have been several turf writers coming out in the past week who recognize Zenyatta’s uniqueness.

You take it for granted that racing will survive no matter what. You don’t think the sport needs new fans, and you don’t think Zenyatta is drawing new fans. But geez, even on THIS blog, people have posted their stories about seeing Zenyatta. The access to this mare has been remarkable. If you really don’t think this is going to do any good for racing, then you don’t subscribe to the idea that even ONE new fan is a step forward. The ONLY thing that matters to you people is numbers. And given the amount of positive Zenyatta press in the last week, it’s driving you barking mad.

All we have to do to know that is to look at Stacey’s rage:

“Because Zenyatta is the only one who has a legion of nitwits who know little to nothing about racing declaring that she's the best that ever was and that she has NOTHING to prove.”

Lame hyperbole. Sweetheart, I’ll go toe to toe with you on racing knowledge any day of the friggin week. It’s due to the breadth of my knowledge that I am able to appreciate Zenyatta. Actually, horsemen are far more impressed by Zenyatta than most lay-people. So what does that make YOU?

20 Oct 2010 2:21 PM


I almost agree with you.  I think if Quality Road beats Zenyatta, even by a whisker, he's HOY based on running the hardest campaign and the head-to-head victory.  But if one of the other big boys only beats her by such a narrow margin, with only one or two G1's apiece, then they haven't done enough for the year to beat her out of the HOY award.  They need to beat her decisively, like Zenyatta beat Gio Ponti.  The winning margin doesn't need to be huge, but there needs to be no doubt who was better.  Quality Road is different because he won three G1's, nearly won a fourth, plus a GIII against open company.  That's the toughest campaign in the country this year.  And if he didn't beat a bunch of world-beaters, sorry, this year there weren't a lot of world-beaters to beat. The horses he beat were still the most accomplished we had, from a so-so crop.  Obviously he needs to beat Zenyatta and turn the tables on Blame to get the trophy.

20 Oct 2010 2:29 PM

Billy's Empire,   There's one of you under every rock.

20 Oct 2010 2:34 PM


Right on!  I agree with almost all of your post, except I believe Zenyatta WILL deserve HOY this year if she wins the Classic or probably even if she runs lights-out in it.  And yeah, it's almost the same campaign as last year when she lost.  But this year her connections have calculated that there isn't another great campaign where she has to do much more than that to overcome it.  This year, there's no Curlin winning the Woodward, JCGC and Dubai World Cup.  There's no Rachel Alexandra winning the Preakness, Woodward and Haskell.  This year, if her campaign includes six G1 wins topped off by the Classic, it's fair to say she ran the best campaign, even if not the hardest campaign.

And in a way, that's too bad.  If  Gio Ponti had won the DWC and then put together a great campaign like last year, or Lookin At Lucky had beaten G1 open company, it would have almost forced Zenyatta's connections to take them on by now.  I think it gnaws away at Jerry Moss that his arch-rival Jess Jackson has won three straight HOY trophies while he's got zip.  I think he wants that award BADLY this year, and I completely disregard the opinion that it's meaningless to him.

20 Oct 2010 2:54 PM

Stacey -

As a Zenyatta fan (and a Rachel fan), I appreciate you elaborating more on your viewpoint.  I'm referring to your post from this morning at 9:01 AM.  I can understand the frustration with the campaign part.

I don't understand some of your statements/arguments in your prior posts, but I guess I won't go there.  In your post this morning, I appreciate that you gave a long glimpse into your thoughts and feelings about Zenyatta and then discussed your frustration with the campaign.

I've felt that frustration about Zenyatta's campaign, too.  I guess I just finally figured that at this point they were aiming to complete the three three-peats, which might not be impressive now to you, but I think will show a body of work in history that is impressive.

I personally think that she would have had no trouble winning three Goodwoods, and just that little change wouldn't have taxed her too much.  However, she already had the two prior wins in the Lady's Secret and wanted to complete another three-peat.

Just my take and how I'm trying to understand Zen's connections.  Part of me finds it hard to argue with her connections keeping a big girl like her healthy and racing for so long.  And a part of me wonders what could have been.

I think she'll prove a lot about her greatness when she blows by the boys again!  Have you thought about doing a repeat Classic with your nieces?  I bet they might enjoy it a little more now that they're a little older!

20 Oct 2010 3:12 PM


Great points.  I'm just trying to be realistic.  The problem right now is.....where have all the good horses gone.  When looking at past years and in particular past decades, the lack of depth of top talent currently competing in the handicap division certainly pales in comparison.  That shouldn't take away from our current stars.  There just aren't enough of them.  Personally I think that Zen would have  been a top competitor in any era, maybe not undefeated, but to me she still would have had the ability to win a lot of top races.  Quality Road would have been tough also and Blame would have held his own.  Unfortunately now a 121 Beyer is so rare that we fall all over ourselves going googly eyes over it and yet they were commonplace not that many years ago.  The three year old crop is another matter.  It's pretty sad when possibly two of our best three year old males (Paddy and Sidney) are grass horses.  I do think the two year old crop, if they don't screw them up, is going to give us a better than average three year old crop next year.

20 Oct 2010 3:15 PM

It's not a great crop Lazmannick, agreed, but there's some potential showing now.  I think Sidney's Candy is a star on any surface, turf, dirt or synthetic, as long as it's 1 1/8 miles max.  Like Rachel Alexandra, he has a distance limitation.  I think it's too bad he didn't get to face Lookin At Lucky a second time, he might have beaten him again and taken the 3YO Eclipse away.  And I do think Haynesfield is really coming into his own.  Next year when Zenyatta and Quality Road are retired, I think he can be a dominant horse.

20 Oct 2010 3:31 PM

Truth is if Zenyatta steps foot on that dirt at Churchill and steps into the gates at the Classic she is going to get whipped and whipped good by some very good dirt horses that have no fear over a protected poly horse running from behind yelling wait for me !!! Wait for me!!!

20 Oct 2010 3:48 PM

Last comment here until after the B.C. Scoreboard Zenyatta haters 19-0. You can find fault with any horse out there, any of them, but who's got the perfect record ? If you don't like Zenyatta, good, we don't want you to. Spend your $ on some other pretender Nov. 6th. This horse has done more for horse racing since Secretariat, 37 years ago ! If you don't like or agree with Zen fans that's your opinion, we don't agree with yours either. Regardless of what happens Nov. 6th, Zenyatta is a true champion, and best mare/philly of all time.

20 Oct 2010 4:09 PM

Draynay - Can I have your phone number so I can call you and gloat when Zenyatta destroys your boys on dirt?  You can call me 1-800-YOU-LOSE.

20 Oct 2010 4:16 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks Monty, that was touching. Please bet your house on the greatest mare of all-time.

20 Oct 2010 4:21 PM

Draynay sounds like a racing fan that doesn't know where the food goes in and the waste comes out. I have heard of people getting things backward but Draynay takes this to new heights.  How many horses has he spent any  time with to hone his expert skills and opinions, my guess would be exactly none. Queen Z doen't need an amateur like Draynay in her camp, she has thousands of true horsemen there.

20 Oct 2010 4:28 PM


I love Haynesfield and always have.  I think it's great that the NY breds are getting stronger and stronger every year.

I love Looking at Lucky....since his first race.  He's as honest as they come and has had a lot of issues on and off the track to deal with.

I love Blame though I don't think he's the real deal like a lot do.  To me he's just a good honest work horse who's always going to give you his best.  He really hasn't run a bad race.

I think that Sidney is much better on grass than conventional dirt and if they can get him to relax and keep within himself he might get the longer distances, sort of like a Buck's Boy a decade or so ago.

Paddy reminded me of Kitten's Joy until his last.  He had no excuse but I do think he will imporve off that race and might be our best distance turf threat.

I'll also be honest.  I have never been a fan of Quality Road.....why, I don't really know.  It probably has a lot to do with the Florida Derby and him beating Dunkrik (who was my favorite 3 year old).  I absolutely deplore a track bias, especially in big races, and it ticked me off that that had as much or more to do with him defeating Dunkirk than actual talent.

probably the division with the greatest overall depth right now is the three year old filly division.  there are lots of good ones there.

20 Oct 2010 4:41 PM

Stacey : How about you pick a horse ?  If you know anything about horse racing you would know that she is one of the greatest of all time.  You work so hard to discredit her, how about you check all of the past great horses of the past and spell out how many races they ran where there was REAL competition.  And then....and then, find one great horse of the past that's a mare that RAN against the best male horses ALL THE TIME.

I'll wait for your reply...thank you for your time.  I suggest you learn about the horses of the past before you start calling people nitwits because when you start posting nonsense, you end up looking like a nitwit.

20 Oct 2010 5:40 PM
Carlos in Cali

17 days until Zenyatta's farewell lift-off and in 17 days her detractors will all come tumbling down.

That's fine,you're not a fan.. I get it. But,to be so blind as to think she's not a once-in-a-lifetime type of horse on the track(nevermind her uber superstar status),just goes to show how jaded some folks can be. For instance: "Her campaign has been" ..blah..blah..blah! Like I've said all along,she'll be there when it matters most. And seriously,who is her biggest threat? Maybe Blame,but he needs the perfect set-up,plus he got clobbered last time going 10f for the 1st time. QR?, nope! If Blame caught him @ 1 1/8 then Zenyatta will inhale him @ 1 1/4 without a freakin' doubt. Also,he's 0-2 going 10f,not his best distance that's for sure. The other supposed opponents are not even in the picture except the tough-as-nails 3yo Lookin at Lucky.

Rain or shine the Mare will be ready to go in the Classic. Although, she's never been on an off-track while Blame,QR & LaL have all run well over it, there should be no excuses.None!...  oh,wait! Some have mentioned that QR dislikes mud,or something like that. Ha! I hope they don't scratch him.

20 Oct 2010 8:17 PM


OMG Dottie spoke about your group, she was really touched. We were there from 2:00 until 3:00 and we were so lucky that the only one other person there was a gal that took a ton of pictures so that she could do a sculpture of the Queen. This team has done so much for the sport, they should be admired not questioned.

20 Oct 2010 8:44 PM

News Flash:

Stacey is right!

A dictionary has been found in a museum in upstate New York that gives guide lines for stewards and also defines GREAT.

great: raced at an old mud hole in New York and got beat, preferably by a nondesript horse, ie: Onion or Upset or Persistently.

Therefore if you won the race you beat nobody, but if you lost and had an excuse your GREAT.

2010 HOTY is obvious, it can't be Zenyatta, but Rachel has a legitimate chance at it again.

I don't know how she won last year, she was undefeated. Maybe they made an exception because she met part of the criteria, understandable.

Oh what fun. :)

20 Oct 2010 8:59 PM
Meydan Rocks

WHO HAS ZENYATTA BEATEN? Jeremy Plonk weighs in on our lively discussion from afar....

20 Oct 2010 10:25 PM

That's funny Draynay, isn't that what Blame was saying to Haynesfield?

20 Oct 2010 10:59 PM

Here is a link for all Zenyatta naysayers to read,  See, they arent afraid of rain.

20 Oct 2010 11:02 PM

Zenyatta going 2 turns has never run 6 furlongs faster then 114. Even if she came home Flying in 48 seconds she still wouldn't do better then 202.  She has no shot. She will be exposd.  Hey Jason, Dominguez has a Derby horse huh !

21 Oct 2010 1:57 AM

Ok- Queen Z has her fans and her non-fans.  The fact is she is good.  He record shows that.  Her connections are smart. They watch her before, durring and after her races.  They play it smart. Whether you like her or not, she has done so much for the sport. I imagine that her popularity helped to spark more interest in the Secretariat Movie.  A living legend on the big screen and a champion living now.  Win or loose, Queen Z has already captured many hearts.  Her fans will love her regardless. But the win will be the icing on the cake of her career. She already is in a league of her own.  Face it, since the 70's there have been champions, but none stand out like her.  I also think that the HOY should have been split last year - this year it should be Queen Z.   Not to recognize her for the champion she is would be a slap inthe face to her, her connections, and the thousands of fans she has, as well as the fans of horseracing.

21 Oct 2010 9:51 AM

seatariat - Thanks so much for responding.  Please email me at pics.cec at gmail dot com if you care to elaborate!  You also went to the race, right?

21 Oct 2010 1:02 PM

The pace will be quick this time Draynay, which will set it up perfectly for Zenyatta. She'll mow them all down, rain or shine.

21 Oct 2010 1:46 PM
Meydan Rocks!


Quality Road’s records put him among all-time greats


21 Oct 2010 2:07 PM

Draynay she did better than 202 last year..

She did 2:00 2/5

Anyway please do not bet her

Hoping for 4-1

21 Oct 2010 2:11 PM


First off, I wasn't comparing Zenyatta to Ghostzapper. I was  pointing out that Azeri raced nine times to Zenyatta's five races thus far. Nine cannot equal five no matter how much you want it to.

I don't think filly/mare races are comparable to open handicap male races. Ghostzapper won HOY off only 4 races because all 4 efforts were ridiculously brilliant, beyond spectacular, and against males...the traditional HOY candidates.

Are you implying that 5 filly/mare races are comparable to 4 major events for males? The fourth being a record-setting win in the Classic? I don't think they are. Do you? Because the industry has never given more weight to filly/mare races over males races.

People keep making all these points, but they don't seem to be looking at each year as a separate year with its own set of candidates. HOY is relative to that year only. In some years, Ghostzapper's 4 races wouldn't have been enough to overcome a horse with say a terrific 9-race campaign. However, that particular year, his performances earned him the title.

That doesn't automatically mean Zenyatta's limited wins (like Ghostzapper's) are definitely enough to earn the title this year. Her wins, to this point, don't compare at all to his wins, so the comparison you're trying to make isn't the same.

Once again, the males in 2002 had a few good wins, but clearly not enough to deny Azeri. If she only raced 5 times, I highly doubt she would have garnered the award. She won because the male division was weak in terms of great "campaigns" and because she worked her ass off all year. If there were males who deserved the title that year, Azeri would not have been crowned HOY even with her terrific campaign. However, that was not the case.

This year, Blame, Quality Road and Lookin at Lucky are the obvious candidates. They have been consistent, QR even set a track record. The races in which they have competed carry more weight than the filly/mare races in which Zenyatta has competed. If Zenyatta had 8 wins (a fair comparison to Azeri at this point in their respective years going into the BC) then I would agree that she worked her ass off to earn a CHANCE at the title. But a filly/mare has to do a whole lot in a given year to surpass deserving male candidates, which I believe there happens to be this year.

It's all relative. THIS YEAR ONLY, I'm looking at the campaigns run by each candidate. To say that Zenyatta has already clinched the title, like Shirreffs has, is utterly pompous and wrong. I truly find it amazing that the greatest horse to ever come from California will have a resume devoid of the Hollywood Gold Cup, Goodwood, Pacific Classic, Santa Anita Handicap, etc. I thought those were the premier races in California. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the Vanity carries just as much as importance as they do, and all these years of being a fan I misunderstood.

21 Oct 2010 2:19 PM

My answer to Jeremy Plonk who has Lookin at Lucky, Quality Road, and Blame faced?  Lookin at Lucky had his chance to enter the Pacific Classic and skipped the Swaps, Quality Road has been slumbering at the Spa and beating up on Musket Man! and Blame...well he just got beat by who?  With the exception of Lookin at Lucky they all have been doing nothing but racing the clock.  Will this be good enough?  We will see indeed.

21 Oct 2010 4:08 PM

Blah blah blah.  It's like 1950 all over again.  We get it the West is weak and inferior.  Now the East has the whole "magic dirt" rally cry.  It's like dismissing the Santa Anita Derby as a prep.  Continue to toss it as the smart handicappers look who ran second, third, fourth for their Triple Crown bets.  Get back to me on where the closest horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed, ran.  It wasn't Florida, New York, or Arkansas.  I don't know but I would say over the last 20 years it has not only produced the Derby winner, but a few Preakness and Belmont winners as well.  

21 Oct 2010 4:19 PM

Zenyatta The Horse of a Lifetime has NOTHING else to prove to ANYONE!!!!  As a horseowner, I could not imagine having an undefeated horse muchless it being a filly/mare.  People need to snap back into reality and truly realize what she has accomplished. I am a fan to alot of great horses..Barbaro, Monarchos, Bernadini,Curlin,LavaMan, etc...but even the great sometimes has things thrown their way which causes a loss.  Zenyatta seems to overcome whatever is thrown at her.  I have never heard of such jealous, hatred words being said about a horse that has way outperformed her competition...time and time again.  Ignorance is bliss.  When Zenyatta won last year's BCC it was undescribable.  Not even the caller thought that she could reach the wire and snag the win!!!  Listen to the race caller again.  I don't think calling a horse's win unbelievable and a performance that we will NEVER forget...something to bash her record over.  Wake Up People....Zenyatta is looming...gonna make another unbelievable stretch run.  And oh the stretch at Churchill is long and sweet!!!  Zenyatta will love Churchill Downs and prove YET AGAIN that this BIG MARE don't laydown to anyone!!  It's all about karma....GO ZENNY GO!!  I will be there to cheer you home.  This Churchill Downs horseowner is ready for another Breeder's Cup Champion repeat!!!!!  Repeat these words:  Zenyatta already is a BCC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

21 Oct 2010 6:26 PM

Christine said "Maybe I'm wrong....  and all these years of being a fan I misunderstood."

FINALLY, she says something that actually makes some sense!

21 Oct 2010 8:51 PM

Dirt Johnny... DIRT !  She is slow on dirt.  No one cares what she did on plastic.

21 Oct 2010 10:19 PM

Hey Christine

First of all I’m not wearing rose tinted glasses or blinders and I'm definitely not trying to imply that Zenyatta is an automatic winner of the HOY.  Far from it.  I will say that she is the leading candidate at this point though.  Maybe not based on the quality of her competition (I don’t believe last year’s winner faced the toughest competition either just like the majority of this year’s candidates), but based on the fact that she in undefeated and has earned all her victories in G1 races.  I consider her one of the big four with Blame, Quality Road and Looking at Lucky.  If any of them win the BCC they should be HOY.  They would get my vote for sure and if they didn’t win it, it would tarnish the award for me.

However, if none of them win it then I feel that Zenyatta should be the winner.   Her overall record in G1 races would be best and if you feel that her G1 wins are not legit G1’s than state your case with the Graded Stakes Committee.  As far as overall weight to a division…….that’s a good point, but then how did Favorite Trick, a two year-old, win it in 1997 over Skip Away and/or Formal Gold (who rang up 126,124 and 125 Beyers in his last three races).  Favorite Trick’s competition was not G1 worthy, but he was UNDEFEATED, which obviously carried a lot of weight with the voters.  You don't always have to be the best horse.....where have we heard that before.

I’m also not comparing Zenyatta to Ghostzapper.  I’m just saying that not all HOY campaigns have to consist of multiple tough races and have to be based on a January to December season.   GZ raced in 4 races over 4 months, two of them not even G1 races and in both those races faced only three competitors and NONE of them had won a G1 race.  Tell me that the G3 Iselin is a major race.  Then tell me that the G2 Tom Fool is likewise a major race.  Why didn’t he try the Foster instead of the Tom Fool and why not the Whitney instead of the Iselin?  Those are major races.  Why didn’t they take him out west for the Hollywood Gold Cup or the Pacific Classic?  I know that those suggestions are ridiculous, but they seem to be okay for a horse like Zenyatta.  Up until the Woodward, GZ’s season was hardly HOY worthy.  His other two races were much more difficult and were both spectacular, but it took the BCC win to earn him HOY.

You stated that you thought Azeri was brilliant, at least I think you did or maybe it was her 2002 year that you were referring to.  I agree, she was brilliant, but I also think that Zenyatta is brilliant.  Azeri had a great campaign in 2002, but she also started the year by winning an allowance race and losing a G2.  After that she was undefeated in seven races, but there is a parallel to Zenyatta.  If you take the next six races after the G2 loss, they were virtually the same races that Zenyatta has raced in (except the Vanity) and other than the Apple Blossom (like Zen) her season was confined to California until the BC Distaff.  She won those six races against virtually the same competition.  Yes, Affluent who finished 2nd to her three times in a row was a G1 winner but on turf and in a sprint, not in a route on dirt; and Starrer won a couple of G1’s the following year when she was a much better horse.  On top of that Azeri didn’t travel east.  She remained in her comfort zone.  She didn’t travel east again until her final race, the BC Distaff, and it was the DISTAFF she raced in, not the Classic.

That was good enough for her to win HOY when clearly the best male candidate Left Bank was having a HOY type of year until he became sick and a couple of months later died.  Hats off to Azeri.  But how could you say that Quality Road’s and Blame’s years so far are better than Left Bank’s up to this point?  You can’t because they weren’t and he out ran them to boot.  So why should Zenyatta be considered any different than Azeri?  Would it be her number of starts?  So far she has had five starts which compares to Blames 4 starts, Quality Roads 5 starts and Haynesfield’s 4 starts.  And true, LAL has made 6 starts, but weren’t they all restricted to three year olds and hasn’t he so far only won two G1 races?

Have a good day Christine.  I enjoy posting with you.

21 Oct 2010 10:23 PM

Handicapping based on an article Meydan Rocks? Good luck with that.

22 Oct 2010 12:04 AM

Well, now we have heard it all.  I have been asking those who are saying that Zenyatta is not deserving of HOTY and/or that they are disappointed by her campaign - WHO should she have raced that is so stellar that she would have suddenly been elevated in status to a "deserving" HOTY.  I have not received an answer yet.  But now, as it turns out, it is not her coddling campaign or her "mediocre" competition that causes her to be unworthy. It is the fact that she did not run in the most "prestigious" races like the boys did. So, evidently just being present in certain races regardless of the level of competition in the races and whether you win or lose, is what qualifies one to be Horse of the Year! Now we know for sure that no matter what Zenyatta does, those with blinders on will never see her greatness and will try to discredit her in any way possible, even if it defies logic!

22 Oct 2010 1:36 AM


Didn't running in "prestigious races" in spite of the lack of true competition work last year?

22 Oct 2010 10:47 AM

Racingfan : I agree, some were crowning QR before the summer as the HOTY lol and then he loses to Blame and everyone starts jumping off to different horses but they all have something in common, discrediting the only horse that's undefeated, raced only in G1, carried the most weight in a race this year and traveled outside of their home turf...over the rockies even.

I can't think of ONE horse that even came close to any of that...isn't that funny ?

Draynay : That was actually funny, except she wasn't yelling " wait for me!", you misheard...she was yelling "HERE I COME!" and the boys will wet their hooves trying to run away from her or get out of her way. LOL

22 Oct 2010 10:56 AM


You say slow I say 2-0

Sherifs[sp] says she is better on dirt do not know what his motive would be to B.S us..

I remember after Tiznow won his second BCC and Chris McCaron[sp] saying that some horses are just smarter than others you have to agree she knows were the finish line is.

Anyway please do not bet her hoping for 4-1

Z/LAL exacta

Good luck and only time will tell.

Longshot pick of the day is Goldikova getting beat by Sidneys Candy.. I really think they are sandbagging him..

22 Oct 2010 1:59 PM

Zenyatta at 1:14 for 6f,  I'll take her.  Blame's first attempt at 1 1/4...he had to slow himself to a crawl.  If Haynesfield was clocked at 1:38 for the mile and Blame was 6-7 behind him...well you can do the math.  Now using the "fuzzy math" method I would predict Zentyatta to be 1/16 miles ahead of Blame as she can run a 1:42 for 1 1/16th.  Remember this is a 1 mile oval...the type Zenyatta has ran her whole life.  No "wide sweeping turns" that extend forever.

Unless they are entering Lady's Secret, who was quite capable of 46 and change and 109 splits going

1 1/4,  I don't see a pace problem for Big Z.  Are you suggesting that QR is going to set some kind of quick fractions and go 1 1/4? Zenyatta won't or can't catch him as he runs the last 1/4 in 28 sec? I'll thank you for your money in advance.  

It's the Euros that I would be most fearful of ending Zenyatta's streak.  Something that can actually run a 1 1/4 with a similar closing kick.  I hope we can get some kind of "rundown" on these "invaiders."  

22 Oct 2010 3:29 PM

" ZENYATTA " Horse of the " DECADE", and when she wins Nov. 6th,she'll be the 2nd greatest horse of all time, next to Secretariat ! Enough said ...

22 Oct 2010 5:18 PM
Meydan Rocks


You tickle me pink! Don't I owe it to myself to explore any and all handicapping angles?

And watch out now. The esteemed writer of that article might be hurt if he read your question.

So my friend, I say yes (partially) to handicapping from an article! Hehehe

And don't forget that the writer was quoting Mr Farish's trumpeting of QR world beater status PRIOR to him standing at Lane's End.

More facts as opposed to hyperbole ay? ;-)

Plus I have to rational like all the clear eyed Zen bashers who say that she hasn't beaten anyone.

Quality Road FOREVER (Right Draynay?)

22 Oct 2010 5:40 PM

Householder I am asking you to WAKE UP.  Quality Road is a multiple open G1 winner on dirt.  Zenyatta has never even raced on dirt vs. open company.  To think she has any shot at all is just plain nuts.  It will be a full field and Zenyatta going wide is not a option.  By the time she swings wide the race will be over.  Thanks for playing.  Z will be exposed in 14 days.  Get all the excuses ready boys and girls.

22 Oct 2010 5:52 PM

Quality Road Classic winner and 2010 HOY.  Take Quality to win and LAL to place.

23 Oct 2010 1:08 AM

your clear eyes are going to become teary eyes when Quality Road folds in mid-stretch and finishes 4th.

23 Oct 2010 1:08 AM
Jim C.


On 10/15 @ 11:57 PM, you stated: "Jim: A loss is a loss. A nose, a length, 10 lengths. It doesnt matter. The rangers almost beat the yankees tonight Jim. They only lost by one run. Im sure you could call Ron Washington with a pep talk."

Jason, I took you advice and called Ron Washington.  I told him that, just as with its horse racing, New York is overrated.  Guess what, Jason?  Texas just finished off NY, tonight.  

23 Oct 2010 4:12 AM

Draynay I usually skip your posts these days but I caught a couple this time. Didn't you say the same things last year?!  And don't I recall you saying that if Zenyatta did win you would stop bashing her?  So much for that huh?

24 Oct 2010 9:09 AM

Racingfan - I don't remember Dray ever saying he would stop bashing her, but he did say this, one year ago tomorrow:

If Zenyatta wins ANY race Breeders Cup week I will wear a pink hat to the Derby that says, "I WAS WRONG"

-- Draynay 25 Oct 2009 12:40 AM

Don't think THAT happened.

24 Oct 2010 1:20 PM

I will stop "bashing" Zenyatta when they get her in the dirt and race the boys.  Until then she is a protected horse with a protected record.  She doesn't race males and she doesn't race on a off track?  Give me a break the greats of the past did it on dry ground and wet the fact that she can't fly or run on a wet track tells me all I need to know about this plastic champion.  I don't even think she will be in the gate at the Classic.  Mr. Moss will come up with a excuse or his horse WILL get whipped.

24 Oct 2010 11:56 PM

Draynay, you do realize that Lookin At Lucky was at one point a non-winner of an open grade 1 race on dirt? Did that indicate that he would never be one? Had Zenyatta finished up the track in her two performances on dirt I'd agree that she may be a synthetic specialist. But that's just not the case. There is absolutely zero evidence to support the claim that Zenyatta doesn't like dirt.

Oh, and I'm interested to hear your response to ruffianruns's post. This oughta be priceless.

25 Oct 2010 1:49 AM
Mike Relva


Do you really believe yourself? lol

25 Oct 2010 2:45 AM

draynay you are an imbicile. try reading Zenyatta's past performances just once. you claim she has "NEVER" run faster than 1:14 in a two turn race. you couldn't be more wrong, but that's nothing new.

25 Oct 2010 11:04 AM


I am starting to wonder I think you are trying just to get a reaction out of people.

If this is not the case side wager "I say she makes it to the gate"

"You say she does not"  

25 Oct 2010 5:04 PM

I have always said Zenyatta is the Queen of plastic but I have also said WHO CARES?  Watching her barely run down average horses leads me to believe she has NO BUSINESS running against Quality Road and LAL.  Do you really think she can beat late running Blame?  Laughable.  Get ready with all the excuses after she gets whipped.  IF Moss dares to put her in the race.  I still say he is going to come up with a last minute excuse not to run her.  He knows she has no chance.

25 Oct 2010 5:16 PM
Mike Relva


I agree w/ Draynot. Also,you talk a brave game considering how off you were last year with predicting Zenyatta would lose the Classic.

25 Oct 2010 6:22 PM

Mike I have to admit I had no idea how many horses can't run on that plastic stuff.  Race after race all the dirt horses didn't even have a chance on that stuff.  The record says it all.  Zenyatta is a poly specialist and nothing more.  Most horse can't and most owners WON'T run on the stuff.  Zenyatta has no shot on dirt vs. the best dirt horses in the world.  All she is going to do is eat Kentucky dirt.

25 Oct 2010 9:17 PM
Mike Relva


It's amusing how many of the well known people in the industry such as HOY trainers think Zenyatta's a once in a lifetime horse while you don't.

25 Oct 2010 9:40 PM

Dranay please tell all your friends and family what you are telling us please..

Hoping for 4-1

Scared of the side bet???LOL

25 Oct 2010 9:42 PM

Draynay, since you are so confident this shouldn't be a problem.  When zenyatta wins will you agree to start every comment with "I was wrong. Zenyatta is the greatest, she is the queen.

25 Oct 2010 10:10 PM

Draynay - Just to make sure we get this on the record.  You said:  "Zenyatta has no shot on dirt vs. the best dirt horses in the world."  So you think this field is the best in the world?  The best on dirt.  Can you please name the horses that you think are the best dirt horses in the world?  QR?  Blame?  Espoir City?  LAL?  Which ones?  I just don't want to hear that this field is one of the weakest of all time after Zenyatta blows their doors off.

25 Oct 2010 10:15 PM

Draynay- How many strict dirt horses were there in the Classic? Summer Bird finished 4th, not bad for a horse who couldn't run a lick on the surface. Regal Ransom only seems to run well when it's against Blame. Girolamo is a sprinter and let's face it, Mine That Bird's position wouldn't have improved much had the race been on dirt. The rest of the field were either turf horses, who as seen in 2008, take well to Santa Anita's Pro-Ride, and horses who can run on both dirt/turf and synthetic ie Richard's Kid, Colonel John, Awesome Gem, Einstein, and Gio Ponti.

So, by my count, only 3 true dirt horses performed poorly on the Pro-Ride last year. So much for your theory on Zenyatta's poly advantage. Face it, most the horses Zenyatta beat lost simply because they weren't good enough, not because they didn't take to the track, because they did.

Oh, and Zenyatta beat Ginger Punch by 8 lengths on dirt in hand. If that doesn't tell you she's a better runner on dirt then you're a lost cause. Just don't be surprised if Zenyatta wins with something left.

In regards to QR, LAL, and Blame, Quality Road couldn't even win at a mile and an eighth though he was given soft fractions. He belongs in Dirt Mile, not the Classic. I can't criticize LAL all that much because I have nothing but respect for the horse. I just don't think he can step it up that much from his Indiana Derby performance to beat the best horses in the world. Blame ran down QR, sure. But he did so while being given 5 pounds and QR falling asleep on the lead. Blame was all out to run him down and only got there by a head. Many of you like to point out how Rachel Alexandra's Fleur De Lis was faster than the Stephen Foster. Even Jason said that she probably would have beaten Blame. Well if that's the case, then Blame is in a world of trouble. Watching him struggle to make up ground on Haynesfield, who was being eased up, convinced me that the horse is either overrated or can't handle a mile and a quarter.

Compared to these three Zenyatta has (1)Beaten better horses, (2) won at a mile and a quarter and on dirt, and most importantly (3) has won 19 races without being fully extended in any of them. So not only did she win the Breeder's Cup Classic last year, but she did it with her ears pricked and she opened up a good 6 lengths on the field after the finish. Just imagine what kind of an advantage that long stretch at Churchill Downs is gonna give her. Heck, she can even go wide in the turn and she'll still have enough time to correct it. But if she saves ground and doesn't run into traffic I guarantee you she'll win by an open margin. In a way, I feel kinda sorry for you Dray, because you never really seemed to enjoy this amazing mare like most of us have. And even if she loses at Churchill Downs(don't count on it though), we'll still be grateful for the years of memories she's provided for us. She's accomplished so much already that I seriously doubt another will come along and match her record(against non-new mexico breds) any time soon.

25 Oct 2010 11:04 PM

Stevebiscuit? Without being extended? Did you not notice she has been whipped 30 times in her last 2 races?  She was extended to beat nothings.  You think she is suddenly going to run down G1 winning males on dirt?  Zenyatta has never won ANYTHING on dirt over 9 furlongs.  How is she going to win by magic? She barely beat St. Trinians and that poor horse threw a shoe.

26 Oct 2010 12:34 AM

Unlike last year this year's Classic field is every bit as good as 2004.

26 Oct 2010 12:36 AM

"Zenyatta has never won ANYTHING on dirt over 9 furlongs"

Neither has Quality Road or Blame, I guess you'd better throw them out too.

26 Oct 2010 1:36 AM


1) There are two horses pointing for the Classic who are proven winners on a non-turf surface at 1 1/4, Zenyatta and Haynesfield.  All the others are stretching to do something they've never done before.

2) Whether this year's Classic field will shape up as a better one than last year's is open to debate.  However, I think it will be tougher competition for Zenyatta, because she'll face at least three top horses, Quality Road, Lookin At Lucky and Haynesfield whose best surface is dirt.  By contrast, Zenyatta faced the best field assembled all year in last year's Classic.  But the race was on Pro Ride, while the best horses in the race were either turf or dirt specialists.  The synthetic specialists in the race were second-rate.  The best male on synthetics, Rail Trip, was on the shelf with an injury.

3) Nevertheless, Zenyatta has won by her biggest margins on dirt, and according to reports, she trained like a tiger over the Churchill strip last spring.

To sum it up, Zenyatta will face the toughest competition she's ever faced, but will get to do it over a surface which has flattered her talents greatly in limited chances.

26 Oct 2010 3:14 AM

Isn't funny how these so called plastic running horses comes to the east and wins, wins, wins, on traditional dirt,  Only to be  showing the east coast horses up.

Hmmm,  I sure would hate to live in Draynay's fantasyland head.  It ain't no telling what kinds of weird stuff goes on up there.

26 Oct 2010 6:24 AM
Mike Relva


You know as well as I do that the past two years the connections of Zenyatta had no control where the Breeders were held. Guess you will say it's their fault it was in CA. Zenyatta beat the BEST the Classic had to offer last year.

26 Oct 2010 10:38 AM


Only because Zenyatta is in it.  Personally I can't see Blame, Looking at Lucky or Quality Road beating Roses In May or Pleasantly Perfect.  Just who exactly have they beaten that would even be in the 2004 Classic?  Even the Perfect Drift of 2004 would kick a few butts this year and he was nearing the end of his career.

26 Oct 2010 11:10 AM

Come on Laz!  Don't start downgrading the field now!  Let all the Zen haters hype the field all they want!  Let them hype how she can't possibly win!  I'll take Draynay's take:  "This year's Classic field is every bit as good as 2004."

These naysayers will still start with all their excuses when Zen blows by them all, but at least we have the worst on record!

26 Oct 2010 12:45 PM

Lazmannick you have to go back to Spectacular Bid to find a horse who has broken more track records then Quality Road.  Look for Quality to control the race much like Ghostzapper did in 2004.  Zenyatta will not be a factor and will not hit the board unless she jumps the fence and runs into it.

26 Oct 2010 12:45 PM

Zenyatta won't have to chase down Quality Road because he will be stopping in the lane.  He'll come back to her.  Lookin at Lucky will be moving late too but not quite as late as Zenyatta so he gets the first jump on her.  She'll tag him at the wire.  Blame will have had to slow to a crawl to get the 1 1/4 so he finishes off the board, up the track.  

26 Oct 2010 1:09 PM

Draynay.......What about all the track records and stakes records that you said Rachel broke?  You forgetting about her already?

Ruffianruns......I hear you.  Of course I had my tongue in my cheek when I said all this stuff to Draynay.  We all know he's always right don't we?

Mike Relva......I hope you had a good trip.  Let me know how you made out.

26 Oct 2010 1:10 PM


I just watched Z last 2 races and you are wrong she was whipped 134 times not 30. St.Trinnians[sp] not only lost a shoe I believe I saw her left rear hoof fall off.

Also in last years BCC Z was the only horse running with the wind all the others were running into the wind..

On top of that Z is not going to be able to were her special Air Jordan shoes with air cushion stability.

TY Draynay for opening my eyes for the last 19 races I thought I was watching a really great horse.

26 Oct 2010 2:07 PM

Both Mike Mitchell and Martin Garcia said that they were beaten fair and square in the Vanity. The shoe had nothing to do with it.

26 Oct 2010 2:29 PM

Johnny what you have been watching is a great poly horse.  Until she wins a single open G1 she is nothing more then a poly specialist.  She has 0 open G1 wins vs. males on dirt. Zero. And she will always be at 0.  Rachel did more as a 3 year old.

26 Oct 2010 2:42 PM
Meydan Rocks


"I have actually seen people rise to grapple over the called or so-called greatness of Zenyatta, one fellow grabbing another's shirt collar, the both of them falling onto a table and knocking over the hundreds of empty beer bottles, or so it seemed. It's true that the world could use a horse hero because horses don't talk back. But why argue when you can go bet?"

26 Oct 2010 2:47 PM

I feel sorry for Mike Smith.  After Zenyatta gets whipped everyone is going to blame him for a terrible ride.  No one will have the guts to say she just wasn't good enough when facing top horses on a real surface. 11 more days until she is exposed.

26 Oct 2010 2:48 PM

Why are you all arguing with this Draynay clown? His lack of knowledge on horse racing has been proven conclusively,with his own words over and over again.

A wise man once said: never get into an arguement with an idiot, he'll just drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

26 Oct 2010 2:51 PM
Mike Relva


I know I'm wasting my time by asking you this,but how many times have you been right so far regarding Zenyatta losing  her nineteen races? BTW Sixty Minutes is doing a story on Zenyatta Sun. nite.Wonder why they didn't call RA,Blame,QR? lol

26 Oct 2010 3:35 PM

You see!  Even yanYarD agrees I am a man of experience.  Listen to a expert if you want to cash tickets.  BAT is a superior horse in every way. And Quality Road and LAL will hit the Exacta for you.  Goldikova will win.  Wow.  There are 3 races you don't have to worry about because I was nice enough to give you the winners.  You can thank me later.  It's not often you get inside info from a expert but I think Jason's blog deserves my expert opinion because he has to listen to so many of you Whine about average California horses.

26 Oct 2010 3:41 PM

Boy, do I sure wish this Draynay horse was in the race.  Say what you want about me, take your jabs but when you are eating that good ol Kentucky dirt that I will be slinging in your face making my tremendous stretch run, don't come crying to me. I suggest you take a back seat with the rest of the "guys".  I will be in the winner's circle claiming my fame.  When you "guys" catch your breath..come talk to me.  I will be amongst TEAM ZENYATTA and all my fans...waiting....waiting like I always do!!    

26 Oct 2010 4:27 PM
Mike Relva


Interesting you don't mention RA anymore.

26 Oct 2010 4:43 PM

Quality Road can't get  1 1/4 unless he runs the last 1/8th in 28-29 sec.  Blame is too slow.  It's the Euros and those 3 year old Japanese horses that run 1 7/8 miles (as part of their Triple Crown) that Zenyatta has to fear the most.  She gonna look over and say why is this horse hanging around. They should be out of breath by now.

26 Oct 2010 4:45 PM

I don't mention RA anymore? You mean the current HOY?  The greatest 3 year old filly ever?  She is no longer racing haven't you heard?

26 Oct 2010 6:20 PM

Zenyatta's used to running down horses who have plenty of kick left. This should be no problem.

26 Oct 2010 8:09 PM
Mike Relva


Totally agree with you. Some live in a fantasyland.

26 Oct 2010 9:59 PM

I just got done watching Z race this year at oaklawn on the dirt..

In super-slow-mo you can see Mike Smith getting of Z and actually carrying her across the finish line..

27 Oct 2010 9:26 AM

I feel sorry for Mike Smith.  After Zenyatta gets whipped everyone is going to blame him for a terrible ride.  No one will have the guts to say she just wasn't good enough.

Draynay 26 Oct 2010 2:48 PM

If she gets beat it will be like what nay nay did to Desormeaux when the Big Ole Browneye got whipped by all including a mere Maiden in his Belmont flop. Excuses excuses excuses.

27 Oct 2010 2:25 PM

Even win Zenyatta whips the field of boys again, "east coast bias" will be out in full force, with many excuses! 1) It was a weak field 2)she was in heat that could'nt pass her, 3)the track was too dry/soft,4) she bulled her way through, fouling, you get the picture ? This once in a lifetime mare is the Rodney Dangerfield of horses, regardless of her undefeated record. She belongs to the west coast, where she is appreciated ! Long live the queen, the rest of the "field", their just pretenders ...  

27 Oct 2010 2:49 PM


Hey bud.  Can I have some of that kool-aide you're drinking?

27 Oct 2010 3:29 PM

Johnny, Mike carried her across the wire in the AB? Dude, you must be joking, right???  If not, I suggest you take off the glasses and look at the race again.  

27 Oct 2010 4:59 PM

You're cracking on Big Brown?  The undefeated Kentucky Derby winner?  Winner of the Haskell ? Really? Crazy.

27 Oct 2010 7:14 PM

Hey Dinky

I think John's joking and trying to act sarcastic.  Check out his 2:07 PM post and you'll see what he really means.

27 Oct 2010 7:58 PM
Mike Relva


BTW I agree with LAZ. You have a difficult time w/accepting someone that doesn't agree with you.

27 Oct 2010 9:39 PM

Draynay, Big Brown was the most overrated Derby winner of all time. He beat nothing.

28 Oct 2010 12:23 AM

"Until she wins a single open G1 she is nothing more then a poly specialist."

Draynay, just answer me this. If Zenyatta wins the Breeder's Cup Classic, what will she be to you? And don't say "she won't win", the question is, what if she does?

28 Oct 2010 12:31 AM
Tom F V

Big Brown?

Wonder why he went downhill so fast? :)

To all you experts, horses who only do what they need to do to win don't leave themselves on the track never to perform well again.

28 Oct 2010 1:15 AM

Laz, I think you're right.  Johnny, I apologize for jumping on you.  I like the reverse psychology tactic!  lol

BTW Laz, go to the other "site" and check out what I posted and let me know what you think.  :)

28 Oct 2010 2:00 AM

No worries Dinky you gave me a laugh as well..

Life is fun.

28 Oct 2010 1:57 PM
ra doubter

just like it should have decided the HOY last year the classic will decide it this year.

29 Oct 2010 3:34 PM

Don't crack on Big Brown. Crack on Flukes like MTB and Super Saver.

30 Oct 2010 4:24 PM

Why must emotion be taken out of the equation?  It seems to me that, from a perfectly valid point of view, Shirreffs' assertions make sense, and voters can use their vote in whatever way they see fit.  As anyone who has ever been thrilled to the core by a great performance will tell you, the powerful emotion the sport can evoke is elemental to its appeal and is a big part of what makes it relevant to those who love it. Leaving it out of the HOTY equation seems particularly ill-advised and rather soulless to boot.  

31 Oct 2010 10:13 PM

"But Horse of the Year is not about 19-for-19 or helping the industry. It's about the current campaign and who has done the most on the racetrack in that given year."

1) Umm where exactly does it say that. That is NOT the criteria for HOY.

2) What exactly has blame done? For all the talk of Z's G1 Wins and who has she beaten, BLame has a total of 3 grade 1 lifetime wins, all since june, and aside from the BCC, has only beaten 1 grade winner (Quality Road) in those 2 wins and LOST a grade 1 to Haynesfield. His campaign was hardly difficult.

08 Nov 2010 1:36 AM
ZENYATTA forever!!!

I love Zenyatta and I don't care thaat she lost to Blame. I understand that Blame has had a great season but so did Zenyatta. I believe it should go to her. She did sooo much this year. I was heartbroken that she lost the Classic but the race she put in is unforgettable. I mean, come on, watch it. That strtch drive was simply breathtaking.

08 Nov 2010 9:05 AM
Jason Shandler

Gladiator: I thought Denman's call was pretty unprofessional myself. He admitted in a recent article that he was indeed biased and he didn't think there was any problem with being that way in that particular race. I bet the other 11 owners would disgaree with you there Trevor.

11 Nov 2010 2:51 PM

Blame won but Zenyatta was the best horse in the field.

Even if Blame won HOY, only the very few would even regard him as a better horse than Zenyatta.

It was the mare's first run at that track while Blame loves and trains at that track.

22 Nov 2010 4:44 PM

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