Horse of the Year is Simple: Blame

I was going to write a recap of the Breeders' Cup but as expected the Horse of the Year debate has already become the focus of everyone's attention, and so I am forced to address the issue sooner than I wanted. Let me get this out of the way right now before it goes any further:

Blame should be Horse of the Year. Like last year, if you take the emotion out of it there is really no other way to go. It's really not even that close.

The people campaigning for Zenyatta are doing so out of emotion. I keep hearing that she should win because she did so much for the sport and she won 19 in a row. Both of these are true. Here's the problem with that logic:

Horse of the Year is not a popularity contest and it's not a lifetime achievement award. The honor is supposed to go to the best horse of 2010. And going by that criteria, Blame is the clear winner. Why? Here are the facts:

  • 1. Blame defeated Zenyatta head-to-head

It doesn't matter whether it was by a head or length or five lengths. He won the Breeders' Cup Classic in their only meeting. The margin of defeat is irrelevant. When Zenyatta beat St Trinians by a half-length, Rinterval by a neck, and Switch by a half-length, nobody held that against her. So her margin of defeat cannot be used to make a case for her. Did she run a good race? Absolutely. But this is sports and sports can be cruel at times.

Because none of the horses in contention for Horse of Year separated themselves during their pre-Breeders' Cup campaign, the Classic was a true championship race. I can almost hear the Zenyatta backers now saying that Rachel Alexandra won in 2009 without racing in the Breeders' Cup. This is true, but Rachel had the honor locked up before then. Some years that happens. Last year was one of them. What she did had never been done by a 3-year-old filly and she was very deserving of the award. Each year is different. For example, if a 3-year-old wins the Triple Crown next year, he will be Horse of the Year no matter what happens in the BC Classic. You can't make the excuse that Zenyatta should win this year because of what happened last year. That is sour grapes.

  • 2. Zenyatta did not do enough this year

The Zenyatta connections put all of their eggs in one basket in 2010. They did that by running a conservative campaign that included five filly and mare restricted races, only one of them outside of Southern California. As I wrote during the season, everyone was expecting them to A) race her on the East Coast like they said they were going to do or B) race her against males in California. They did neither of them. Therefore, she was forced to win the Classic to earn Horse of the Year.

If Horse of the Year was the goal, there really was no excuse for them not to run Zenyatta in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Pacific Classic, or Goodwood. Nobody said she had to run in all of them, but if she wasn't gong to go East, she had to face males at least once. As it is, she never defeated a grade I winner this year during any of her five victories. And she never defeated males. How is that deserving of Horse of the Year?

John Shirreffs was quoted as saying, "I thought a grade I was a grade I." We all know that isn't true. Not when the grade Is were all in restricted filly and mare races. Freddie Head said as much a couple weeks ago.

  • 3. Blame did more

He won the William Donald Schaffer, and then three of the most prestigious grade I races this country has to offer--the Stephen Foster, the Whitney, and the BC Classic. He also won in Maryland, New York, and Kentucky twice. He also showed up at Belmont in another top tier grade I race--the Jockey Club Gold Cup. The connections were judicious with their spots, but they didn't duck anything. They entered tough races--all races that Zenyatta could have showed up at. She didn't, and when they met for all the marbles, Blame won. Fair and square.

Again, the award is Horse of the Year, not the How Many Fans Did You Bring to the Sport Award or How Many Races Did You Win in a Row During Your Lifetime Award. The 19 straight wins, while a terrific feat, should be irrelevant during this debate. She wasn't 19-for-19 in 2010. She was 5-for-6. And when everything was on the line, Blame defeated her.

Anything less than Horse of the Year for Blame would be a "slap in the face" for the Hancocks and Al Stall Jr. Zenyatta has been great for the sport, but I'm pretty sure the Hancocks have also done a few things during their 100 years in the industry to better horse racing.

If you strip all the emotion out of it, Horse of the Year is pretty clear. Blame.


Leave a Comment:


Where does it say that you are supposed to take emotion out of it? I think it is a valid point either way. If you want to go your cut and dried way that is perfectly fine. Humans are emotional beings and if voters take into account intangibles then that is a fair way to vote too and you should accept it.

08 Nov 2010 3:27 PM

HEAR HEAR!  Very well put Mr. Shandler!

08 Nov 2010 3:29 PM

Maybe.  But it will be a close one.  Give it to Goldi

08 Nov 2010 3:29 PM


You said it all. I completely agree.

08 Nov 2010 3:31 PM
Bill Marshall

Hard to believe you could discuss Horse of the Year without even mentioning Goldikova.

08 Nov 2010 3:31 PM
The Bid

Zenyatta 5 grade 1 wins and 1 grade 1 second. Blame 3 grade 1 wins and 1 grade 1 second. For all intents and purposes  The BC classic was a tie, with Blame the edge on his Favorite track. Zenyatta Horse Of The Year.......

08 Nov 2010 3:32 PM
Jason Shandler

Goldikova is amazing. But HOY is an American award. No horse should win it by racing only one time in the country.

08 Nov 2010 3:35 PM

Goldikova, HOTY by a mile.

08 Nov 2010 3:35 PM

I have liked BLAM from the get go and it takes NOTHING away from ZENYATTA to have been beaten by such an individual.   However, i do think we are missing the boat here by not even mentioning the fabulous and DURABLE GOLDIKIVA!   Just because she raced in Europe doesn't mean she shouldn't be considered for this honor having crossed the pone to win the BC 3 times.   Something that no horse has ever done before.   And to the credit of her connections they have already announced they will be back!   That is an advanced "shot in the arm" for the Breeders Cup and they should surely take advantage of THAT for next year's advertising.   This mare has been nothing short of remarkable.   But I think we have our USA "blinders" on here in not even considering a horse who clearly is the class of this year's racing crop!   Tough, consistent and durable, she danced every dance asked of her and still came back for more.   isn't this just what the TB Breeders of the world should be working towards?

08 Nov 2010 3:37 PM
Billy's Empire

Goldikova will get her "Cartier" award. Blame will win the Eclipse award. And how bout Goldi coming back for a 4 peat!!!!!!!

08 Nov 2010 3:38 PM
milk n honey

Agree with you completely. Not going to make many friends but... Perhaps there needs to be a special "Peoples Choice" HOY award to satisfy Zenyatta's fans and connections.

08 Nov 2010 3:39 PM

Coming into the Classic, I told anyone listening that I thought the winner of this year's edition should be HOY. Even though I'm a big fan of the Queen, I played Blame on Saturday. Any horse talented enough to help me break even for the day is truly a deserving Champion.

I think the Breeders' Cup Classic should count a minimum of 50% towards selecting HOY. I don't think Rachel deserved it last year simply because she did not even show up for the big day. Curlin got beat in 2008 and still won HOY. He at least showed up. Big Horses run in the biggest race.

As they say, "You can't win if you don't play." Zen-Mama played. She lost. To the victor belong the spoils.

08 Nov 2010 3:39 PM
Darla Burton

You are so wrong on this one Jason...Have you seen the t.v. ratings....People did not tune in to see was Zenyatta.She is the true Champion! I totoally agree with The Bid....She deserves this award!  Why not reward her for what she does on and off the there's another reason she deserves the top award!

08 Nov 2010 3:41 PM

If Zenyatta had had a clean trip, it could be argued that he won fair and square. But Zenyatta's trip made victory impossible and yet she still almost won. She's a 6 year old mare, Blame is a 4 year old colt in his prime running on his home track. All of the people who attacked Zenyatta's win in last year's BCC because it was on her home turf seem to be ignoring Blame's clear home court advantage. I won't argue Horse of the Year for Zenyatta, the award is hollow to me. I once naively believed that Horse of the Year should go to the best racehorse. If that was the case, Zenyatta would have won the past 3 years. Few with an objective mind would argue Zenyatta over Blame as Horse of the Year and just as few would say that Zenyatta wasn't the best horse in the race. Keep your superficial award, but when we look back on this decade years from now, Zenyatta will be remembered in the same light as Man O War, and Blame as Upset.

08 Nov 2010 3:43 PM

Agreed, Jason! Congrats on your pick in the THS video too. I was doing a happy dance freakout when Blame won! He didn't even let her past him after the finish line. Biggest disappointment though was Quality Road. He probably should have gone in the dirt mile like everyone said, instead of the classic. Too bad that they are all retired now. We need more stayers in this sport. Oh well, have lots to look forward to for next year's derby trail with Uncle Mo! WOW!!!

08 Nov 2010 3:44 PM

I completely disagree with Jason.  His view is only valid if you think the Breeder's Cup Classic should always be the race that determines HOY and if you assume that racing against males is always superior to racing against females--if you accept male chauvinism, that is.  

Blame certainly did not "do more." How can you compare the likes of Quality Road, Looking at Lucky and Blame to Zenyatta?  I mention the other two horses just to show that if either Quality Road or Looking at Lucky had won, you would have said the same thing (that they should be HOY) even though none of them, including Blame, had an exceptionally great year.  

If Zenyatta does not win HOY this year, it will be an insult to any self-respecting female--horse or human--and to men who believe in gender equality.  

08 Nov 2010 3:44 PM

I completely agree that you should strip the emotion out of the voting. It makes it a lot more simple. Don't even look at who the horses are, just look at the victories:

Horse #1 - 5 grade 1 wins, one grade 1 second.


Horse #2 - 3 grade 1 wins, one grade 1 second, one grade 3 win.

The clear winner is horse #1.

Last year the debate was:

Horse #1 - Eight grade 1 wins


Horse #2 - Five grade 1 wins

Horse #1 won.

The horse that wins the Breeders Cup Classic should not automatically get HOY award. RA didn't need it in 2009, Curlin didn't need it in 2008, and Zenyatta doesn't need it now.

I am a big fan of Blame, he's a great horse, but I can't see him deserving HOY...

If you strip all the emotion out of it, Horse of the Year is pretty clear. Zenyatta.

08 Nov 2010 3:45 PM

Jason, you've been saying what I've been saying all along. Muttonchops summed it up perfectly on Saturday: "She runs soft races all the time!" Granted, Saturday's running made me respect Zenyatta finally, because she finally proved to me how good she really is. All the same, her connections (excluding Mike Smith) should've been more ambitious with her. If they do lose out on HOY, it's their fault.

08 Nov 2010 3:47 PM
Paula Higgins

I strongly encourage everyone to read Joe Drape's article from last night. Joe Drape works for the NYT'S. Go to Google News and look for it. The piece is entitled NOT PERFECT BUT STILL A CHAMPION. It is an eloquent case for why he would vote for Zenyatta if he could. He can't vote as he is a writer for the NYT's. It's against their policy. For those of you that judge awards based on inches and statistics, and like horse racing for the gambling aspect, well there is nothing I can say that will make a difference. I would vote for Zenyatta for HOTY in a heartbeat over Blame. There is no contest in my mind. I know which is the better horse and so do the majority of the American people and the people who actually work in the sport. Jason, it's the intagibles and our higher level of consciousness that separate us from the lower species, among other things. But it isn't on this basis I am taking this stand for Zenyatta. It is based on logic. I know who the best horse is this year for 2010. I also know there are no written standards for giving the HOTY Award. You can choose your standards and I will choose mine.

08 Nov 2010 3:50 PM

When will you old timers ever learn? When horse racing is dead and gone and only a few sheiks can afford to race their horses on their own tracks? WAKE UP! Zenyatta did what NO other human or equine has done in 30 years...brought mainstream attention to the sport and new fans tuned in, chimed in and showed up to watch her flick her ears as she plucked off G1 after G1 after G1.

The people that came were not 40 or 50 year old dudes who claim they grew up with their daddy's taking them to the track with their smarmy attire and crinkled up forms talking with arrogance about "their sport". I'm talking teens, 20 somethings, WOMEN and men of all ages and walks of life...across the country and internationally.

ANYBODY who watched that race on Saturday new she was the best horse running on that track that all day...sorry Goldi, the big kids go a mile and a quarter. Also how stupid does racing look (like FIGURE SKATING JUDGES?!? LOL) if Zen wins the Classic on her home track last year...does not get HOY but Blame who wins it on his (by a head over a mare who just ran up his butt 30+ lengths from the 1/2 mile on). Get real or retire with the game...

08 Nov 2010 3:50 PM
Trillo 19463

Thank goodness someone who can see beyond the hype! The quest for perfection fell short and Blame won the race and horse of the year...just because Zenyatta is a filly and ALMOST beat the boys does not make her horse of the year. ESPN's coverage was shamefully one-sided!

08 Nov 2010 3:51 PM

In no way should emotion be removed from this.  Yes, Blame did well, but did he really do anything to improve our sport this year?  No.  Horse of the Year should be made just that.  HORSE OF THE YEAR.  When we all look back on 2010 will people say WOW, remember how awesome Blame was that year?  NO... they will remember Zenyatta.  I think it is absolutely foolish to think that horse of the year isnt based on what horse MADE that particular year special.  And Blame wasnt that horse... So sad they are putting yet another perfectly healthy horse to stud duty... what a loss and another blow to the fanbase...

08 Nov 2010 3:51 PM

Jason I agree with the fact that Blame should be the HOY,taking nothing away form the big mare she was in fact 2 stride from that honour herself...with regards to the ride given to Z straight after the race i said to my friends as we gammbled and watched he was to far back and lets say a tad confident that she would get there.

Goldikova "4 peat" have to laugh we said why not after she won on saturday she is only 5 and until someone looks like they can get close to her we said go for it and first headline i see today on Bloodhorse 4 peat love it....

Jason and what do you think about the fact in recent times in regards to Breeders Cup races having seen 3 of the best horses to ever run on that stage all being fillies Goldikova,Zenyatta and the great Ouja Board.....thanks

08 Nov 2010 3:52 PM

Zenyatta is the clear winner- It doesn't matter that she ran only against females before BC, what matters is she ran, and she won---all her previous races- Blame did not-East coast, midwest, West coast, doesn't matter either--- she still won all previous races, Blame did not- But what I find totally offensive, is Mr. Seth in the winner circle claiming victory for Blame as Horse of the Year--How do you win a 5 million dollar race and have no emotion? Says volumes about the person, doesn't it?

08 Nov 2010 3:53 PM
Paula Higgins

One last comment, Seth Hancock should have politely declined to discuss HOTY when asked immdeiately after the Breeders Cup. His comments were as one sportswriter put it "Unseemly." This is the Seth Hancock I will always remember and not the Disneyfied version in Sceretariat.

08 Nov 2010 3:53 PM

The Bid: I bet if Zenyatta had won by a head, you wouldn't be saying that "for all intents and purposes" the Classic was a tie.

08 Nov 2010 3:55 PM

20 years from now people will still be talking about Zenyata.  As much as I like Blame, he'll simply be a nice statistic (unless he sticks around a year or two more).  If it's not Zenyatta, and you want to talk about race records, give it to GOLDIKOVA.

08 Nov 2010 3:55 PM
Billy's Empire

people, do you just ignore the fact that Zenyatta ran in "RESTRICTED G1 RACES" all year, restricted to fillies and mares, except for the only race she lost? Giving her horse of the year? She did not earn it.

08 Nov 2010 3:58 PM

If the Breeder's Cup determines Horse of the Year the honor should be called the "Whoever Wins the Breeder's Cup Also Gets This" award.  Blame is just another good horse.  Zenyatta was and is something more: a superstar and a legend, deservedly. Will Blame race till he's six, so fans can follow his career? No.  Blame retired the day after the Classic because of his value as a commodity, his potential stud fees. He will never give racing fans the thrills Zenyatta has given us. Zenyatta's performances over the past year thrilled the nation. Her second place run in the Classic was more impressive than Blame's win. On the way to the finish line, she beat horses that have beaten Blame, and she was inches away from defeating him too. Her second place finish was due to racing luck -- not to any lack of prowess. She showed herself to be  the best horse in the race.

I've read your column for some time, Mr. Shandler, and I've gotten  the impression that you have something against Zenyatta and her connections.  You've never had anything good to say about this fabulous, breathtaking mare. Your praise has always been grudging and lukewarm.

08 Nov 2010 3:59 PM

Well put Jason.

08 Nov 2010 3:59 PM
Diane J

Jason, I see you jumped straight to HOY.  I was hoping you would at least write a blog acknowledging Zenyatta as one of the best fillies/mares of all times, but I guess that is beyond you.  I think she proved she is not a polytrack princess. As to HOY, give it to Blame - he had a good year and let's face it, beging retired and sent immediately to stud is a prime example of how this industry works.  I don't believe fans have a place anymore in this industry, much as I love horse racing. He's only four and sound - think of the fan base he could carry over to 2011 if they continued racing him.  

08 Nov 2010 4:01 PM

Firstly, though I disagree with your pick for HOTY, I completely understand the argument for Blame as HOTY and respect that decision.  Many will disagree with my reasoning (though hopefully it will not turn nasty) that Z should win, but here goes:

You said "like last year" we should take the emotion out.  However, last year, I feel emotion was a HUGE part of the reason both mares were such great candidates for Horse of the Year.

I think Rachel was the deserving winner because she put up an impressive campaign AND she had the emotional factor going for her as well - a TRUE Horse of the Year: impressive on the track with the star power and emotional pull to energize the sport.  Like Zenyatta last year, and more so this year, Rachel captured the hearts and respect of fans in ADDITION to having a stunning campaign.

This year, there is no Rachel to contest Zenyatta for HOTY.  There is no other horse that comes close to her body of work on and off the track. Considering the minimal guidelines for HOTY voting, I think it's a mistake to leave out Zenyatta's off the track accomplishments this year - and in a close race with Blame for racing record, I feel those give her the edge.

Zenyatta has a HOTY-worthy record in 2010 AND she has that added spark as the cherry on top.  She has put together an impressive body of work on the track, while at the same time capturing hearts and respect with an energy and style that few in history have been able to match.  She has electrified racing and brought in countless new fans that the sport so desperately needs.

Again, because of the very subjective standards for HOTY, I think you almost have to take into account what she's done for the sport THIS year alone.  Add that to her impressive work on the track this year, and I think that makes her the "best horse of 2010."

Hardcore racing fans and handicappers often have a narrower view of the racing world, and  that's why some will push for Blame as HOTY.  But I think, this year, it's a mistake to ignore the bigger picture and the "emotion" that Zenyatta brought to racing this year.

If HOTY voting is to be an objective award, it's time for a point system so the winner is never in dispute.  As long as it stays a rather subjective matter, there is no reason to throw out the "emotion" many felt watching Zenyatta win this year and the "emotion" the majority of us felt watching her incredible drive to the wire in the 2010 BCC.

Again, I know this reasoning will not be respected by some of the very numbers oriented, black and white types, but as HOTY voting stands now, I see no reason to throw out the emotional aspects of Zenyatta's campaign and all that she's done for racing this year.

On the track, she has a great case for HOTY.  Add what she brought to racing as a sport this year - and who else could possibly deserve that title?  Horse of the Year on the track, off the track, and for U.S. TB racing as a whole.

08 Nov 2010 4:02 PM

Hey Jason,

 The criteria for HOY is to race once in North America, making Goldikova certainly eligible.  Her body of work for 2010 is ceratinly more impressive than Z or Blame in my opinion.

08 Nov 2010 4:02 PM
Sir Barton

(Horse of the Year is not a popularity contest)

Well at least it shouldn't be, but I've got a feeling this year may be different. Which is why I don't get anymore excited about the Eclipse than I do the Oscar's, Grammy's, etc.

End of the year awards? Meh.

08 Nov 2010 4:03 PM

Blame won't win it because he was the better horse. He'll win it because his nose hit the wire first. Zen with a jockey who knew better than to start the race in Indiana would beat him 9x out of ten, and you're QUITE anti-Zen biased to say Blame is better horse than her. Is that why she was able to catch up as fast as she did? Please, rewatch the race; just too late her head passes his after the wire. She was the winner, even if she wasn't 1st. Blame gets HotY because of east coast snobs like you; any reason to deny Zen is a good one. She's better than HotY anyway; will Zen or Blame be better remembered in 10 years? Yeah. Exactly.

08 Nov 2010 4:05 PM


Can you please explain the criteria for Horse of the Year? Are they written down somewhere for turfwriters to follow or are the judging standards subjective to an individual? Because the "rules" seem to change from writer to writer and year to year. If there are specific criteria, please list them for everyone to see.

08 Nov 2010 4:06 PM

I disagree with you on so many levels.  First,it does matter how much the margin of defeat was.  She is a late closer and anyone watching the race knows she was the best horse but could not overcome everything that occurred during the race. To her credit, she did not throw in the towel at any point in the race.  She never has, yet all the Horses in the Classic have at some point in their careers.  What is amazing is that Zenyatta got anywhere near the winner at the finish line, given the circumstances.  That, I believe, makes her a true Champion and Horse of the Year.

08 Nov 2010 4:07 PM

I do I agree with you.

However, Blame winning Horse of the Year doesn't set right with me.  Here is why and correct me if I am wrong in thinking so:

Last year, Zenyatta won the Breeders Cup Classic and the Classic is the race that determines Horse of the Year.  However, Rachel Alexandra won Horse of the Year even though she didn't even show up for the Classic, while Zenyatta did.  Why is it that now people are saying the winner of the Classic should be Horse of the Year, when last year they didn't.

Hopefully Zenyatta will win Champion Older Female Horse for the third time.

08 Nov 2010 4:14 PM

Completly dissagree. Zenyatta should have won that race. If she had her head up a little higher she would have. Heck, her foot was in front of both of them!

08 Nov 2010 4:15 PM

HOY is Big Z, The big Mare ran at more tracks than Blame, Blame 4, Big Z 5, Blame avg weight per start 120.6, Big Z 124.7. Big Z ran on both sides of the Mississippi, Blame stayed on the east. I sick and tired of the East Coast Bias.

08 Nov 2010 4:16 PM

I have to disagree with you; without the emotions and the excitement created this year (and in 2009 for that matter) by Zenyatta, what a dried up, plain, boring, group we would be.  My vote is for Zenyatta and I bet there are many others who stand with me.

08 Nov 2010 4:18 PM

Just want to comment to The Bid about Blame having the edge on his favorite track. Were you saying that last year when Zenyatta had won the classic on her favorite track? Would you have said it if Rachel had been in last year's classic and lost by a head to Zenyatta? Rachel still would have had the best year all around but I'm sure you would have said that Zenyatta won when the faced each other and should be HOY and it didn't matter if it was on her track and virtually a tie. I like Zenyatta, don't get me wrong, and I'm taking no sides in this year's HOY argument, but I think your argument of it being a tie and on Blame's track is a bad one.

08 Nov 2010 4:20 PM


The most poignant thing that you mentioned in your article is that the "criteria" for Horse of the Year changes from year to year.  Thats the problem!  The award is way too subjective.  Does it go to the best horse or to the horse that accomplishes the most in that given year?  For the 2nd year in a row I'm going to be on the losing side of the debate as to who should be HOTY.  Last year I argued that if indeed the Breeders' Cup is where you crown champions then Z should've won HOTY.  Those critical of my position argued that Rachel was a better horse and accomplished more and therefore was a just winner in receiving HOTY although she didn't compete in the Breeders' Cup although she was healthy enough to do so.

This year supporters of Blame will argue that he beat Z head-to-head, which he did.  But I would argue that Blame is not better than Z at a mile and a quarter.  This was quite obvious to those that watch the race "without emotion" as you put it.  I argued time and time again on your previous blogs that if Mike Smith allowed Z to linger 10 lengths or more behind quality dirt horses and then went wide turning for home he would lose the race and indeed that is what happened.  Yes Z lost but it wasn't her fault-I agree with Mike Smith it was his fault.  Most professional handicappers would argue that 9 times out of 10 Z would beat Blame going a mile and a quarter.  So, in the "subjective" realm of HOTY being for the best horse then Z has my vote.

08 Nov 2010 4:20 PM

Jason,  I believe alot of voters will vote with their emotiions this year.  I dont think Blame has it in the bag.   Al Stall said himself,  " I dont put to much in the HOTY stuff,  I know we have one awardd coming". (Champion older male)

Its still to early to predict the outcome, This year Zenyatta proved her self to the end.  Blame didnt beat her by lengths, he beat her by inches.

Whatever is going to be is going to be.  I think Zenyatta is in people's heart more this year than last year. One thing for sure,  she showed all you  biased naysayers that she is better than Qr , Haynesfield, LAL, Expoir City, MM, and the rest of them.  she came through all that traffic and made up all those lenghs, and she proved to Blame she is just as good as he is.  

I know it kills you all to have to admit that the west coast mare had it in her like she has.  I hope they decide to run her next year,  and run her against the boys in California if nothing else.  She needs to avenge this .  She needs to come back and break some more east coast naysayer's hearts.

No filly or mare will ever or has ever come an inch of comparison to ZEnyatta.   19-1 will never again be duplicated by any horse.  Zenyatta holds that record now.

As much as you naysayers cant stand to think of it,  She is greater than any filly or mare in history.

08 Nov 2010 4:20 PM

That is the criteria for voting for horse of the year . At least 1 race in the US

08 Nov 2010 4:22 PM
Red Rum

I do not want to consider whether BLAME is the most legitimate candidate and deserves this award, but I find it very hard to think that one of the great heroines in the history of horse racing can be retired without this honor. In my opinion something is wrong.

08 Nov 2010 4:22 PM
Gary at Rough Creek


You are way off.  

Like Tom Amoss said, this is Horse of the Year, not Horse of the Day.  Even on the day, I say that Zenyatta was the best horse in that field, and she proved it.

Zenyatta won Grade 1's on four different surfaces, including synthetic and dirt.  Her 2nd in the BCC by mere inches - after showing the first time around that she was having trouble with the track - was truly astounding.  Her move at the end of that race was powerful and breath taking.

Margin of victory does matter in her "defeat" in the BCC.  She was gaining, and one bob past the wire her nose was in front.  She was the better horse.  Run her and Blame in 10 grade 1's on dirt anywhere in the country, and Z wins 9 out of 10.

Blame won just three Grade 1's.  Two were at Churchill (and how about that stellar field in the Stephen Foster?), and one was at Saratoga where he was getting five pounds and barely prevailed over a horse that finished DEAD LAST in the BCC.  He was not much the best in that race, or any of his other (2) Grade 1 victories.

He proved his vulnerability on tracks other than Churchill by losing impressively at 10 furlongs to Haynesfield.  And Haynesfield's slogan after this weekend is "Thank goodness for Quality Road...Haynesfield was just 2nd last.

It is a particularly cheap argument to even suggest that Zenyatta ducked the best competition this year.  Her connections let everyone know well in advance that she would run in the 2010 Apple Blossom.  The purse was increased to 5 million.  Wasn't Rachel a

Alexandra the best horse in the universe according to some of you?  Zenyatta cannot be blamed for Rachel not being ready to be her best, and ducking the contest.  If you say that Rachel wasn't at her best, hell, she just ran as fast at The Fairgrounds as she had the year before, and she got a triple digit Beyer for the effort.  Not ready?  Scared is more like it.

Zenyatta also brought out the crowds.  She also dramatically increased viewership on TV.  With all due respect to Blame, the crowds weren't there to see him.  

So, for what she did for the sport AND on the track (didn't Switch come 2nd in her BC race?), for being the BEST HORSE IN TRAINING ALL YEAR, and for the last two years actually, it would be a crime - a CRIME - if she was not voted HOTY.

And, if you and some other insist on this lightly tested, little traveled colt being HOTY, look no further than your mirror for what's wrong with horse racing.  It's YOU!  You have to crap on real stars...but why?  Because Beyer speed figures are so  passe for predicting true class?  Because you hate California for some reason?  It's not logical.  Last year's BCC didn't matter, but this year it's the only race that matters.  Pathetic...and ugly.  

Zenyatta is - HANDS DOWN - the HOTY.  Whether you vote that way or not.

08 Nov 2010 4:22 PM

Excellently put, Mr. Shandler.

Zenyatta is an excellent mare and it's very unfortunate for her and her connections that for each of the past three years there was always someone who's done just a bit more, but that's life (and sports). I'm all for some sort of special recognition for her accomplishments, but Blame deserves Horse of the Year for defeating her and a lot of other strong competition this year.

Fortunately for the sport, Eclipse Awards are not fan-chosen, so I expect the right thing to happen again this year.

08 Nov 2010 4:26 PM

"Blame defeated Zenyatta head-to-head" - oh, really? Where? :)

If there was a real battle, real fight between those two, then well, Blame is Horse of the Year with no doubt. But in my eyes, Blame was just lucky to stay in the lead, and Zenyatta pretty unlucky during the whole race... Well, that's racing, you can say, but one fact is absolutely obvious to me: Blame is NOT better than Zenyatta! Few more yards, he would get caught no matter how horrible trip Zenyatta had. And that's why - forget the BC title, it often ends up in quite "strange hands", doesn't it? - Zenyatta is Horse of the Year to me. This year was all about her, all about her victories, her winning streak, her BC performance. That's what I will remember from 2010. Not Blame's BC victory, but that wonderful Zenyatta atmosphere in racing.

Say what you will, say anything about popularity contest (and HOY isn't that? You mean it?), but I think she DID enough and she DESERVES to be Horse of the Year. For me, she really does.

08 Nov 2010 4:26 PM
Lindsey S.

Sometimes an athlete comes along that transcends all of the stats and figures on a page.  Zenyatta is such an athlete.  That's all I have to say.

08 Nov 2010 4:27 PM
TB mare

What about last year when Zenyatta won all her races and the Breeders Cup, but they took HOY away.  So why would anyone say it should be Blame HOY.  He hasn't done that much this year to give the award to him.  Zenyatta was unbeaten all year, was he?

08 Nov 2010 4:27 PM

Last year, all we heard out of Zenyatta fan was that she showed up for the biggest race, the Breeders Cup Classic, and won, therefor she deserved to be horse of the year. So based on the criteria set forth by Zenyatta fan last year, I will have to agree with them this year and say Blame is Horse of the Year. Thank you Zenyatta fan.

08 Nov 2010 4:28 PM

Goldikova.  She's done what no horse, male or female has done, and she did it against the boys three times.  I'm done with Horse of the Year.  It's a gimme to east coast dirt horses.

08 Nov 2010 4:28 PM
Robin Bush

Hi Jason and fellow fans,

I believe Zenyatta clearly proved herself the best horse in the country on Saturday, and I do think she is one of the greatest Americans, at least, of all time.  But I agree that because of Zenyatta's connections' choices of races this year on top of the Classic loss, Blame's weekend win should give him Horse of the Year.  The Stephen Foster and Whitney are too important to ignore in addition to the Classic.

When it was announced Zenyatta would race this year and that she would "take on anyone" (quote from Mr. Moss), I was too excited to stand it.  But as the year progressed, I became very disappointed that she was given essentially the same campaign.  I don't believe the mare should be asked to run against males or outside California every time, but am I really supposed to believe that running in the Hollywood Gold Cup this year, for example, instead of the Vanity would have gutted her too much to be competitive in the Classic?  If they'd asked her to do one more thing differently than they did this year, her accomplishments would give more justification for Horse of the Year.

If her connections were so disappointed last year that Zenyatta wasn't named Horse of the Year, why did they choose almost all the same races this year?  They had to assume that no horse running in 2010 would stand out as much as Zenyatta, or as Rachel Alexandra did last year.  It just seems that they would have learned something from the last TWO seasons.

All that being said, I am SO appreciative of Zenyatta's people's kindness and openness to the fans.  Allowing her to be so accessible has been just fantastic.  I cannot fault them there.  I do believe they are wonderful for the sport.  I just wish they didn't say they were going to do one thing with the mare and then doing another so often.  

Finally, if they, especially John Shirreffs, believe that all the choices of races this year were in Zenyatta's best interests, who am I to criticize them?  Shirreffs surely seems to know how to keep a big burly mare healthy and happy for a long time.  But as for Horse of the YEAR, as in love as I am with Zenyatta and her impossible body of work, I'd have to grudgingly go with Blame.

08 Nov 2010 4:29 PM

JShandler.....Its a good thing this is Only your OPINION !!  Blame did not Do more as you say.  EVERY RACE Zenyatta ran in was a Grade 1.  Blame cannot make that statment.  Zenyatta's loss came on Blames home track and was by 4 inches.  Blames defeat came at the hands of a glorified sprinter by almost 5 LENGHTS !!  There either needs to be co-horse of the year, or Zenyatta outright.  Your statement of "The margin of defeat is irrelevant" is a joke.  Loosing to a week field and a sprinter at that is not irrelevant.  It is YOUR Opinion.  NOT FACT.  Zenyatta ran in all Grade 1's this year.  Not enough.....well then Blame running in 2 Grade 3's is not enough.  You are not being fair in comparing apples to apples.  Consider this one last fact.  Who has done more for Racing the entire YEAR?  Not Blame.  Its called horse of the YEAR...not horse of the last 4 months.  Like I said....this is your blog, and you sure have a right to your do I.....and I could be wrong....But I'm NOT.  I hope you are not to mad when Zenyatta wins horse of the year.  She brought fans out to the track and if we want to keep them, we better start rewarding YEAR long excellence and not 6 months long.

08 Nov 2010 4:31 PM

HOY should be an American horse. Blame is a great horse but Zenyatta is a greater horse.

08 Nov 2010 4:34 PM

If the honor is for the best horse in 2010, I believe Zenyatta was the best horse running in North America.

If Blame wins HOTY, though, I don't have a big problem with it. Zenyatta has moved beyond that.

08 Nov 2010 4:35 PM
Zen's Auntie

I thought the rules for HOTY are that they must race at least once in NA Jason?  

Rules are rules, just because its an "American" award lets not be Ruled by Emotion -  she raced once winning NA Race (3 peating a grade one against an open field of the best turf mileers). Doesn't that meet the stipulation?  How is Blame's (who I really like mind you) campain more prestigious than Goldikova's?  

Just saying if you argue for Blame then you should also put emition and americanism aside and hear the cry for Goldi as very justified.  

Take the "emotion" out of it - why the heck NOT Goldikova?

08 Nov 2010 4:37 PM

Zenyatta.  No contest.  Blame beat her, yes, but horse for horse, she is the better individual.  And actually, she beat herself.  Blame is a good horse, Zenyatta is a great horse.  When do you think you will ever again see a horse of either sex go undefeated in 19 starts from age 3-6 with that many G.1 wins?  I have been watching the sport and participating on many levels for 37 years and I have never seen anything like her.  

08 Nov 2010 4:37 PM

Jason you have just got to be kidding.  Do you actually know how to ride a horse?  If not you need to learn.  No emotions here, this mare is clearly the best horse I have ever seen run.  I dream of what type of ride she would be, would do just about anything to get on her back.  She has done so much for horse racing & you think Blame can compete with that?  If God owned a race horse it would be Zenyatta not Blame.

Miss Emotionless

08 Nov 2010 4:37 PM
The Fish

Blame won, but he wasn't the best horse on that day.  Sometimes the best horse doesn't win.  Zenyatta more impressive in defeat than Blame in Victory.  I hope they take her to the Dubai World Cup so she can go out a winner.  

08 Nov 2010 4:38 PM
The Rock

She's the best of her generation. She's the best I've seen since I've gotten into the game (1991). I won't compare her to horses that I've only seen on video since before I got into this game. She's done things I've never seen any other horse do.

With all that said, she is not Horse of the Year for 2010. But she's the best horse that I've ever seen.

08 Nov 2010 4:40 PM


I agree with you totally on Blame  for HOY.

There is a certain irony that the race that Zenyatta will be most remembered for, the one that will most define her greatness, is the one she was defeated in!  The wins over horses like Rinterval end up being pretty meaningless this year in comparison to the 2010 Classic.

All her connections had to do was race her once in something like the Pacific Classic. No shipping involved! If she had that as a win this year, which, again, based on her performance this week, I have a real hard time seeing her doing anything but winning for fun, along with this performance in the Classic, she would be a shoo-in for HOY.

So much for taking the safe route and preserving her undefeated record. It's a shame that she puts three years together like she did, and no HOY to show for it, but that does not change my mind on feeling that Blame deserves HOY.  

08 Nov 2010 4:41 PM

Maybe not so simple.

1) You have chronicled Z's margins of victory.  It seems almost like an attempt to trivialize them.  To be fair, then shouldn't you also document Blame's neck victory while receiving 5 pounds from QR?  Sorry I read later that you acknowledge that they were "judicious with their spots" while your whole logic evolves around questioning the Grade 1 choices Team Z utilized for their campagin.

2) I believe I remember reading Z agreed to meet Rachael (last years HOTY) in a $5 million showdown. I also remember Z entering the starting gate (she won).  To do so, she must have made the trip from CA to AK.  Then,  she made the trip from CA to KY.  I've never been good at math but I think she may have traveled more miles this year than Blame.

3.  Blame did more?  5 starts compared to 6.  One less win.  The lone loss was by 4 leanghts -- never a factor -- didn't really fire.  Z fired every time, won more, and traveled further.

That really isn't emotion -- just fact.  

08 Nov 2010 4:41 PM
The Rock


Good to see Goldikova come back for another year of racing. Although I think racing Zenyatta @ 7 may be a bit much, who knows with the former announcing that she's coming back for another year may spark interest from the Mosses to race her again. If not the whole year, maybe to Dubai for the World Cup and then breed her.

08 Nov 2010 4:41 PM

Let's agree to disagree. But for the sake of discussion.

The argument that Blame is HOY is credible but not a closed case. His body of work took a huge plunge at the B.C.C. I thought going into the race that Lookin at Lucky was the only one who had a legitmate claim at HOY with a win. Apparently, I was wrong.

Here’s why Zenyatta could be HOY. Not only did Zenyatta trounce the ‘top’ older males but so did the ‘suspect’ crop of 3yo's that everyone has been criticizing.  Fly Down and Lookin at Lucky were head and shoulders better than Musket ‘Mile’ Man and Quality ‘Should’ve been a Sprinter’ Road. At the end of the season, Blame beat nobody special in the Clark, and Whitney. He Lost the JCGC to a so-so horse. Hey St. Trinians and Rinterval could finish second to Blame too!

I think she is derserving based on her track performance and her intangibles. Let's face it, RA beat Zenyatta last year because she was the first filly to win the Preakness since Nellie Morse and the first filly to win the Woodward in its history. Those are intangibles.

And thus we have it. another Black Eye for Racing brought to you by BloodHorse magazine and its sponsor Claiborne Farms.

If she loses HOY it will be a travesty.

If I was Jerry Moss, and lose HOY in 2010, I would immediately send Zenyatta and her offspring overseas. If America can’t appreciate her accomplishments and what she has given to her sport. Than serve them with a cruel punishment. She has an outstanding turf pedigree and her traits would be served well in the European Classics, WHERE THE BEST HORSES RUN. The only pairing that interests me is with Sea The Stars, I can’t find a Kentucky stallion that intrigues me with her.

Ugh, Why can't she pin those ears!!

08 Nov 2010 4:41 PM

Well said, couldn't agree more.  

08 Nov 2010 4:42 PM

Jason - Your opinion is your opinion and you are entitled to it. I will abstain from joining the fray because there is no point to it. The voters will cast their votes the way they will and there is nothing one can do about it.

One statement you made puzzled me. It was regarding the quote of John Shirreffs about a Grade1 being a Grade1.

You said: "We all know that isn't true. Not when the Grade 1s were all restricted filly and mare races."

According to your words, one would assume that you think The BC Ladies Classic is not really a Grade1 race because it is restricted to fillies and mares.

I'm pretty sure that you didn't mean that the way it came out... or did you?

08 Nov 2010 4:43 PM

Take the emotion out of HOY ?????????

Horse racing thrives on emotion.

One of the problems with racing marketing is the lack of name recognition. How can a new fan connect with a horse that is here today and gone tomorrow. Zenyatta's team stayed the course and shared their wonderful mare with the world.

Over and over.

08 Nov 2010 4:43 PM

I think Goldikova should get HOY as well but she won't because all but one of her races were in Europe. That leaves Blame as the only remaining logical choice.

08 Nov 2010 4:43 PM

I much as I want Zenyatta to take the award.  You can't compare 5 resticted grade 1 wins and open 1 grade 1 second, to Blame's 3 open grade 1 wins and 1 grade open 1 second. The BC classic was this year's big race.  This past year her races were not those of a horse of the year.  Her connection took a gamble and didn't win.  Its a shame, but that is how it is.

08 Nov 2010 4:46 PM
karen williams

GOLDIKOVA deserves to be HORSE OF THE YEAR....sure she wont get it but she is by far the best horse anywhere right now.....

08 Nov 2010 4:47 PM
Tiznow Tim


you summed up exactly what I have been saying on facebook, some almost word for word. The only thing i disagree with is your opinion that Goldikova shouldn't win because it's an American award. Her year was better than either, but with that being said, your view is fundamental and objective. The complete opposite of what a lot of Zenyatta fans are using as basis of her winning. I'm a huge Z fan and wanted her to win, but she didn't and she had to win, to win HOY.

08 Nov 2010 4:49 PM
Jason Shandler

Seth Hancock said nothing wrong. You need to relax. He made sure to give Zenyatta her due. All he said is that his horse deserved it. Shirreffs was campaining for the award before the race. Hancock is entitled to his opinion, I'm quite sure he's earned it.

08 Nov 2010 4:52 PM
Destin Heath

To the Bid, Right on target! Zenyatta ran in 5 grade 1's through out the year, not her fault no one wanted to face her. She followed the same paths she took the previous 2 years and she did it with perfection. Blame  won 3 grade ones this year, barely beat quality road( who ran up track in classic) and was beaten by haynesfield... who was an also-ran saturday as well. Zenyatta's performance saturday in my opinion was her best race yet, she gave blame a head start nearly and still almost ran him down as she has every horse before

08 Nov 2010 4:52 PM

Good post - all G1's are not created equal, and Blame is clearly the more accomplished horse this year.  I've enjoyed watching Zenyatta's truly historic career but she's never managed to string together a season which stood on its own above every other horse's accomplishments in that calendar year.  

As for the comment stating that "for all intents and purposes, the BC Classic was a tie" - no, it wasn't.  For EVERY intent and purpose, the BC Classic was a victory for Blame and a loss for Zenyatta.  For us Zenyatta fans of all people to suddenly claim that a nose loss may as well be a victory diminishes all those races where Zenyatta cut it close against inferior competition and we all said "oh, that's just how she likes to win."  She won 19 straight by putting her nose on the wire clearly first every time she started, and she's now lost one by putting her nose on the wire clearly in second.  If a nose WIN is meaningful and valid, a nose LOSS is equally meaningful and valid.  We can't have our cake and eat it too.

08 Nov 2010 4:52 PM

and now word comes that Blame is retired...HOTY? I don't think so

Nobody heard of him before this year and now he will race no more

So give another HOTY to a horse that wasn't heard from the Rachel debacle?

No...if its not Zenyatta...then Goldikova or Awesome Feather...

08 Nov 2010 4:53 PM

Take the emotion out of it.  Look at the business and sport of racing.

Where will Blame be next year?

The Mosses brought this sport back to the people.  Time to think about all Zenyatta accomplished in her wins and her one defeat.  

What was the Breeders Cup all about the past two weeks?  One and only one horse, Zenyatta.

She earned the Horse of the Year in the Classic.  Did you not see her spectacular run?

Give it up to her and bring more attention and glory to racing.  Deprive her of the honor and racing returns to the usual doldrums.  Run and retire, run and retire, run and retire.

08 Nov 2010 4:54 PM
Jim M.

Taking nothing away from Blame, he won the BC Classic fair and square and is a terrific horse. However, I think the majority of people still feel that Zenyatta is the superior horse. You are going out of your way to knock Zenyatta. She NEVER threw in a clunker like Blame did earlier. And I also felt Rachael deserved the Horse of the Year last year. And yes, the Horse of the Year can and should consider what a horse does for the good of racing in addition to what they accomplish on the track. Just my opinion, not saying I'm right or wrong but Zenyatta would get my vote if I had one. Sometimes greatness just can't be quantified, but you know it when you see it. Apologies to Blame, but he came along the wrong year.

08 Nov 2010 4:55 PM

The funniest thing I have read in years is you of all people claiming to take emotion out of the issue of Zenyatta. You have just as much emotion as any of her supporters, it is just that yours consists of venom.  ;)

08 Nov 2010 4:58 PM

Zenyatta pure and simple.

08 Nov 2010 4:58 PM
Bob Bright

Jshandler, Blame wom the race and the HOTY should go to the best horse. Zenyatta was clearly the better horse. The only people who don't seem to get it are the cadre of handicapping wizards who don't know how to compute heart, bravery and determination. Most horses would have packed it in three jumps out of gate but she kept trying and lost by a few inches from an almost impossible position. If she hadn't had problems she would  have blown the race wide open and your blog today would be nothing but excuses.

08 Nov 2010 5:01 PM
Bob Z

You know something Jason....

Sometimes one can put out all the facts in a clear, concise manner taking everything into account ... like rules... and relevance and everything else that you used to make your point about Zenyatta and Blame....

... and no matter what you do some people are just incapable of understanding...

To save yourself some time and frustration... create a 1-2 line response that references all the facts you laid out above and when somebody brings up the same issues just paste it in to the response... and don't bother with it...

The issue is only 1 day old and it seems like its been talked about for a year already....

08 Nov 2010 5:03 PM

Blame gave up 3 lbs. to Zenyatta and he STILL BEAT her.  Blame blew away the field and then held off Zenyatta at the wire, 50 yards past the wire, and 100 yards past the wire.  Zenyatta made up a lot of ground? What about Dakota Phone no one has mentioned the fact that in the mile he walked out of the gate and was behind by more then 15+ lengths.  He then went 10 wide and blew by EVERYONE for the win at the wire.  Where are all the people amazed by what Dakota Phone did?  Zenyatta caught the perfect tiring track and had the entire stretch to catch Blame and couldn't do it.  Blame is the HOY. In all the races Zenyatta won this year name all the G1 winners she beat and then I will name the G1 winners Blame beat in his wins.  It is silly to even suggest a poly horse from California who has never beat males on dirt deserves HOY.  Please.

08 Nov 2010 5:04 PM

Why do people think Zenyatta had a bad ride and that is the reason she lost? Go watch the 2009 Classic; it is a carbon copy of her race from this year, with the exception being the dirt horses weren't spinning their wheels on a now defunct synthetic track, but instead were closing on a dirt track. Both horses had fine trips but Blame got to the wire first. Zenyatta always wins her races by a head or a neck, but Zenyatta fan only takes the length into account with her defeat. Zenyatta lost fair and square on the track on a fair surface. Get over it. This is horse racing. You don't win them all. Hell, the 3 greatest horses of all time, Secretariat, Man O' War, and Citation all lost in their careers. Blame is HOTY and he proved it in the Classic. If you want to cry and complain, send an email to Team Zenyatta and ask them why they put all their eggs in one basket. That is where the....BLAME....should be placed for her not winning the award.

08 Nov 2010 5:04 PM
Soldier Course

Jamtoday, re your last paragraph @ 8 Nov 3:59:

I've had the same feeling. I have the impression that Mr. Shandler would have found a reason to support some other horse for HOTY, even if Zenyatta had won this year's Classic. Now that would have been an interesting column.

08 Nov 2010 5:06 PM

You can make an HOY case for Blame or Zenyatta.  Just like you could for Rachel Alexandra or Zenyatta.  And Curlin or Zenyatta.  Either would be a deserving winner.  And that's without taking into account what Zenyatta did in past years, the unbeaten streak, that some feel she was cheated, all she's done for racing, and all that stuff. Put all that aside and just look at the cold facts.

Here is the description of the criteria for the award (from Wikipedia):

The American Award for Horse of the Year is the highest honor given in American thoroughbred horse racing. It has been awarded since 1887 to the horse, irrespective of age, whose performance during the racing year is deemed the most outstanding.

Horseracing is run in divisions, even though all the divisions compete for HOY.  If it was only the Classic winner, then two year-olds could never win (Sorry, Secretariat). Turf horses couldn't win (Sorry, John Henry). Who knows, one year the most impressive performance during the racing year could be by a sprinter.  Or a steeplechaser.

It's undeniable that almost all of Blame's foes would have mopped the floor with Zenyatta's.  Her toughest competitor St. Trinians was clobbered in her first and probably last try against males.  No argument that Blame faced MUCH tougher competition.

But by the standards of good older horses throughout the years, they didn't prove very impressive on BC day.  Quality Road, Haynesfield and Musket Man all finished up the track. What looked to be a great field of competitors on paper turned out to be....not so much.

Zenyatta can't be considered the "best" horse this year. The best horse was Blame, even if he's only best by a nose based on their one and only meeting.  But the best horse isn't necessarily the same as the one "whose performance during the racing year is deemed the most outstanding". Just as Rachel Alexandra wasn't necessarily the best horse last year or Curlin wasn't the best horse anymore by the end of the year. They won the award based on outstanding performance throughout the year.

For the entire racing year, the bottom line is Blame ran an abbreviated five-race campaign with two G1 wins until the Breeders Cup.  Zenyatta ran a six-race campaign with five G1 wins (okay against much weaker) and the two of them were separated on the track by a nose.

Yes, I would say that Zenyatta's performance throughout the entire racing year can be deemed the most outstanding for 2010 and she deserves HOY based on merit and not just sentimentality.

08 Nov 2010 5:07 PM

Seth Hancock has to lobby for HOY because it is an important award for a future stallion.  I don't see why people are so up in arms.  Zenyatta gave those who are her fans a great ride.  The people who can't appreciate her are the ones who have lost.  We have another horse who wins a big race and then is immediately retired.  Great.  Give him the award and hope he produces in the shed.  Academy Awards look nice on the mantle, but really mean little.  I didn't care who got HOY last year.  I don't this year.  Contrary to what many think, it doesn't mean he is a better horse. My favorite HOY's, other than Buckpasser, were the turf horses who won, because they are very underappreciated.  Zenyata's legacy will far outlive Blame's HOY.  Thanks for the forum Jason.  Just wanted to get this in before everything gets ugly.  Although you want to hear ugly, go to the Racing Post and see what their bloggers are saying about American turf courses.  

08 Nov 2010 5:07 PM
Tom Holmes

Zenyatta fans, if you want to blame somebody how about looking at the owner and trainer. They have had plenty of opportunities to run her on the dirt and they chose a small field at Oaklawn, next we all know that she is very slow out of the gate. Did her trainer ever address those issues? I'm a fan of the horse, but not the connections, if they really wanted to win horse of the year, let her prove it! In the end it was an unbeleivable race and Zenyatta's biggest strength ended up being her biggest flaw. Lack of early speed. Congrats to Blame and his connections.

08 Nov 2010 5:07 PM
Dallas from Texas

I will never understand what you people have against Zenyatta!  She had nothing to prove, she didn’t even need to show up at Churchill Downs…but she did.  By the way, I didn’t see your super horse RA at last years Cup or at this years Cup!  When you talk about emotions, obviously y’all are a bunch of emotionless folks.  When one thinks about it, that’s probably one of the biggest problems with horse racing today…no heart!  I can assure you non-Zenyatta people that if she does not get horse of the year, and y’all give it to blame, the new horse racing with fans of young and old will no longer exist.  I, like many others saw Zenyatta catch blame!  I saw her catch him even after being blocked in heavy traffic!  She is faster than blame!  She was by far better than any horse in that race!  What’s so amazing is if the table was turned and blame ran down Zenyatta but she beat him by a nose y’all would still be complaining.  You people would then be saying that he caught her and if there was one more foot to go he would have passed her!  Admit it you people, y’all just can’t accept her being the best horse!

I can say (and obviously no one out there could care less) that I will no longer have an interest in horse racing should Zenyatta not get horse of the year.  I can also say that I’ll not be by myself.  Hopefully you non-Zenyatta people will have fun with your horse racing industry next year after you’ve killed it!  Y’all are probably the same people that can’t understand why there is a statue of Barbaro out front of Churchill Downs!

Jason, since you are not a Zenyatta fan, and you are not a coward, please allow the readers to see how I feel, but if you do man-up, this last piece is for the connections of Zenyatta.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Thank you for allowing us to follow such a beautiful and magnificent horse.  All of you have been blessed to have the opportunity to be around greatness.  She is still undefeated in the eyes of the fans.          

08 Nov 2010 5:08 PM
Carole Hemingway



Carole Hemingway

Freeport, Maine

08 Nov 2010 5:10 PM
Jason Shandler

Tom Holmes: You're so right. All the moaners want to blame someone when she doesn't win HOY, they need to look at the connections. They promised a different campaign and did nothing of the sort. They gambled, and lost.

08 Nov 2010 5:10 PM
Dog Doc


The problem that you have is that you expect people to look at stuff logically. If they do, I don't see how they can argue with your logic. The statement of the classic being a tie is absolutely ridiculous.

I guess I would hope though that if I were in trouble that Alexaso would be on my jury!

Keep up the great work, and remember that common sense isn't very common.

08 Nov 2010 5:11 PM
Diane J

And Hancock has nothing to gain financially from Blame being HOY, does he? :)  Blame is HOY, Zen is the horse of the fans (not gamblers). Goldi is awesome, but one race in the U.S. does not qualify for her for our HOY, IMO. And if Zen's body of work cannot be considered, Goldi's 3-peat cannot as well (for those of you wanting her to be US HOY).

08 Nov 2010 5:11 PM

Ok all who say Goldikova... NO!! Look she is not even an American racing horse!! One win in America says nothing!! Screw if it was 3 in a row its one race won in America. Give her HOY in IRE or wherever so but for me its Zenyatta hands down.

08 Nov 2010 5:12 PM

I have to agree with you. Blame deserves HOY. If Zenyatta loses HOY, the only ones to blame are her connections. She has ran the same campaign for the last three years. If it didn't work the last two years, why would you run the same campaign this year? I respect what Zenyatta has done for the sport. However, I think she should be recognized with an Award of Merit or Lifetime Achievement Award, not HOY.

08 Nov 2010 5:12 PM

Very nice Jason its too bad nobody will be able to agree on this. Blame was the only horse I was truly worried about in this race competition-wise against Zenyatta and he proved me right.

08 Nov 2010 5:13 PM

Jason, now you can see why Zenyatta fans have made me sick all year.  There all about the love of THEIR horse but now turn ugly against a horse that beat theirs.  You Zenyatta fans are hypocrites and you are now reaping what you sow.  If you were smart you would be bragging about how great Blame must be to beat your precious Zenyatta but you can't see past your passion for Zenyatta to appreciate a horse that looked yours in the eye and left her in the dust.  Take a look at the tape and notice how Blame continued to run while Zenyatta looked exhausted and beaten.  Blame was the better horse that day and makes the point Jason and I and others have made all year.  When you take on the best again and again you lose from time to time.  Zenyatta by taking the easy path did nothing to make me feel she was ever a true champion.  Having never beaten males on dirt I haven't changed my mind.  True champions do not take the easy path they challenge themselves and rise to the occasion.  I guess Ohio State should just play Northwestern 19 games in a row and claim to be the best without taking on the SEC.  Blame won.  To the winner goes the spoils.

08 Nov 2010 5:14 PM
Rita Robinson

I agree with Ava, that was tasteless for Mr. Seth to declare Blame Horse of the Year in the winner's circle.  He had won the Breeder's Cup.  Did he forget where he was?  Emotions figure into everything we do.  Why not Horse of the Year awards?  I love Blame.  He's a great horse.  Horse racing needs a cinderella story that Zen couldn't quite pull off by herself, so let's help her along with Horse of the Year!

08 Nov 2010 5:15 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks Dog Doc. As a voter, we are expected to be objective. That's why we have the privilege of voting. Unfortunately, many writers and TV hosts in this industry are not. All I can do is keep it real. It's up to the other voters to keep the integrity of the award in place.

08 Nov 2010 5:15 PM

Blame is a fantastic horse but I do not think he deserves horse of the year. In his entire racing career, he ran 13 times. Only winning 9 with 2 seconds and 2 thirds. Zenyatta on the other hand ran 20 times with 19 wins and one second place. The only reason Blame beat her was because she ran out of track. She had him and we all know it. If Zenyatta is robbed of the title of HOY, Horse racing will have a hell of a riot on their hands.

08 Nov 2010 5:17 PM

If Blame wins HOTY, Zenyatta will be "robbed" again. I think it should be Zenyatta, and if it isnt you can expect a backlash- as well as there should be.

I have no respect for an owner (Hancock), who proclaims that Blame has won horse of the year. Excuse me, but isnt it voted on? He must expect an awful lot from his buddies. If Zenyatta looses, it will deminish all CREDIBILITY of the HOTY Award. Blame will NEVER have the legacy as Zenyatta. Zenyatta united this country. She did more for children, than most humans do, by giving them the COURAGE to FIGHT thier illness's, as illustrated by the many fan clubs, not just in this country, but all over the world. This is just an example of a couple of things that she's done for us humans that love her so much. What has Blame done? His legacy will be of a "spoiler". A horse who forever will be "blamed" for defeating Queen Zenyatta. He has not raced enough to really be declared a true champion. I would like to see him go 19 for 19. I believe that should Blame win, there will be a backlash like no other in the horse racing industry.

08 Nov 2010 5:18 PM

Blame is plain and who  is going to remember him in 20 years.  Oh and Draynay you are now on Blame's Band Wagon?  Dumbing Quality Road who finished last?  The one you said was going to win by 15 lenths and blow the field away?  

08 Nov 2010 5:19 PM

Livesouthwest, you make absolutely no sense at all.  Zenyatta didn't even run in the toughest races in California.  You can't win a few restricted races in California and come to the championships and get beat and then beg to be HOY.  She didn't win a race against a single G1 winning horse all year. Be real please.

08 Nov 2010 5:19 PM

Have fun with one or two season horses.

Oh, and thats if they remain healthy, motivated and sound.

Racetracks are going down the tube and there is a chance to recognize the people's horse.  Bring on the cheers and new fan-base.  

This is Zenyatta's time in horse racing history.  Let the fans vote and see who has earned HOTY.

08 Nov 2010 5:21 PM

Jason, I agree with you 100%.  Although I love Zenyatta, Blame definitely had the more ambitious campaign and therefore has accomplished much more. If Zenyatta was the better horse this year, her connections should have done more to prove that.  The BC indeed showed what Zenyatta was REALLY made of, and it's a shame she was not campaigned differently in order to showcase that and THUS earn HOY.  Will miss these two great horses next year.

08 Nov 2010 5:21 PM

Even Andrew Beyer says Zenyatta is as good as Blame.

and he didn't pick her to be in the top 4.  Whether she gets HOTY or not doesn't matter to me.  It is an award voted on by people like you and doesn't really mean anything in the end.  Zenyatta has done things for this sport that small people like you can only write about.

08 Nov 2010 5:21 PM

After Blame wins Horse of the Year, how about we make another award for Zenyatta so she doesn't go home empty handed. Lets call it the "Greatest Horse to go through the weakest campaign award." I'm telling you, she is a lock! Get over it Zenyatta fan. She is an excellent horse and she ran her heart out in the Classic. She proved she belonged with the best and that she is a top class horse. If only her connections realized this earlier, they would have given her the opportunity to compete for HOTY. Besides, after how devastated they were last year with the outcome, weren't they supposed to take a different approach this year so they COULD win the award? They did the same thing as last year but failed to win the Classic. She is truly a special horse and one of the top females to come around, but she is not Horse of the Year.

08 Nov 2010 5:23 PM

Blame's Blemish this year was way more embarrassing, he simply had a paid public workout and did not give optimum effort in a race where a lone speed horse (not a top handicap horse) Haynesfield ran away and hid from him after setting slow fractions. Zenyatta dealt with that same scenario every time she ran but always found a way.  In most sports the competition has to beat the champ on there home turf not the other way around.  Every horse in America was scared to go to California to take on the Queen

08 Nov 2010 5:24 PM


      Would you have been happy if Zenyatta had broken down? Answer truthfully now. And oh yea, MTB has been retired, so that will hopefully end all the hateful spew you have to say about him. Just a reminder- they havent voted for HOTY yet.

08 Nov 2010 5:24 PM

Who is the best horse in the country going a mile and a quarter on dirt?  

If the same Classic field were assembled and run 5 weeks from now who would be the favorite?

Sometimes the best horse doesn't win, but most of the people watching a given race know who the best horse was.

I cashed using a few horses on the pik 4's including Blame, but, I know he wasn't the best horse in that race.  Even the one's that were die hard supporters of Blame going into that race know it took a PERFECT STORM to beat the best horse in the race.  It happens.

HOY should go to the best horse when there has been no absolute standout campaign. But the truth is I really don't have much interest or put much stock into the award.  After all, wasn't Ghostzapper the best horse by a  no doubter the year he only raced in the Met Mile. He didn't get the award. So what, I know who the best horse was, and that is what matters to me.

Your own opinion is really what should matter most to each individual who takes this game seriously.  What YOU think is the most important vote, period.

I like Mike Smith and he seems like a fine human being, but, he made some mistakes in this ride and he took responsibility for it.  Good for him.

Garrett Gomez said he got the perfect trip (anybody think Zenyatta got the perfect trip?) and his horse ran the best race he has ever run for him.

It's horse racing and sometimes the best horse loses.  Was Mike Smith's ride the worst ever? No, (see either of Alan Garcia's rides the two previous trips aboard Al Khali), but, being honest it was a grade of C at best.  Now grade Garrett Gomez' ride?  What? A or A+.

It seems in most every race we can all be honest and say this was a good ride or a bad ride in a given race. Grading a trip in a race is what made Al Khali less than 6/1 in the Turf when he should have been 20/1 based upon the result of his last race.  Instead, objective race watchers saw the trip and then (as is often the case) overcompensated for the trip by betting him down into a rediculous underlay in the Turf.  With Zenyatta that can't happen. Everybody is DUG IN on their own side of this debate and there is no objectivity of trip in a race with Zenyatta.  

These people that say Zenyatta was beaten on the square by Blame are not what I call "seasoned" horse players or race watchers.  I am not sure what the original meaning was (sounds like something from the 1800's when racing around the town in a circle), but to me, beaten on the square has a different meaning.

Beaten on the square is what Affirmed did to Alydar or Sunday Silence did to Easy Goer.  Two horses going down the stretch head and head for hundreds of yards.  That's beaten on the square, imo.

Zenyatta was beaten by her rider plain and simple. No huge errors but it is in the minor details when the outcome is inches.  Mike Smith had more than a couple mental errors in judgement (and he knows it).  Those errors probably cost Zenyatta a few lengths, but who can say for sure.  One thing is for sure, those errors in judgement, cost her at least 10 inches and I find it hard to believe that anyone who watched that race with an objective eye doesn't believe that.

Did Blame beat Zenyatta in a fairly run race, NO DOUBT.  Did Blame beat Zenyatta on the square, NO WAY, NO HOW.

In a way it looks like that Draynay character was right.

Quality Road did beat Zenyatta.  Or at the very least, when Quality Road was going backwards into Zenyatta's path it cost her at least the 10 inches she was beat by.


The people who know how to be honest with themselves, if not with their peers, know who the best horse going a mile and a quarter on dirt is.

Blame ran a tremendous race and he earned my respect as a bonified grade I horse.

Zenyatta is a great race horse and there hasn't been very many of those, ever.

08 Nov 2010 5:24 PM
Windy City

Luv you Janson! You are a really brave man....I agree with you 1000%. I think Zenny's conn. robbed her off HOY for the second year in the row. And that's sad, I think she could have much better campaign.If she would show up in better races this year, no matter Cali, NY or Midwest.....she would have a shot at HOY now. I loved her race though, In my eyes her defeat gained her more respect than all her 19 victories. Blame should get HOY. History likes to repeat itself, almost 100 years ago Upset beat Man O War and now Blame will be forever "blamed" for defeating Zenny....

Off the subject, I'm really happy that Goldikova stays in training :-) During a season where you usually get "most-horses-are-being-retired" depresion, it's really something that brings a smile :-)

08 Nov 2010 5:25 PM

Dallas from Texas, What ?  She had nothing to prove?  Yes she did.  She had to prove she could take on the best males on dirt and win.  She didn't.  She ran a very good race but so did 3 year old Fly Down.  Had Zenyatta raced against Quality Road early in the year she would have been beaten.  Running against a improving Blame late in the year she was beaten.  Zenyatta was a protected horse with a protected record.  I would love to see her race next year and run in the best races against the best horses.  Let her prove it on the track she is the best next year.  Now that she lost there is no longer a record to protect.  

08 Nov 2010 5:28 PM
Zenny Fan

I like Blame - I adore and cheerish Zenyatta.  But Horse of the Year belongs to Goldikova.  No discussion here.  Blame's record and Zenyatta's record can't even compare.  Since she won the BC and all her other tough races it should be a clear decision.  She is clearly an Awesome horse.

08 Nov 2010 5:30 PM

Jason -

i have no clue if the rumor has any legs to it - but I heard that if Z is looking sharp in the coming week - she may be considered for the G1 Clark at Churchill. I know - probably unlikely - but would a Clark victory do anything to persuade you to Z's corner for the HOY?

While it wouldn't change the fact that she lost a photo to Blame - it would largely affect your point #2- that her campaign was insufficient and therefore she HAD to win the Classic.... just what if her campaign isn't over?

08 Nov 2010 5:32 PM

Excellent article Jason.  I couldn't agree more.  They gambled, rolled the dice and lost. Blame is your HOTY!  Congratulations to Blame.

08 Nov 2010 5:32 PM

Who said winning the BC Classic means you win HOY?  What happen last year?  The award is all subjective, oh know I was wrong the award is for the best East Coast Horse.  Can't wait till SA gets dirt and we see all these east coast horses coming over to run in the Big Cap and SA Derby.  I wonder why attendance was up this year at the BC?  Must have been the cold weather everyone likes! Couldn't be for a horse from Cailifornia could it?              

08 Nov 2010 5:32 PM

Thank you jshandler for telling it like it is.

08 Nov 2010 5:34 PM

From a European point of view, the Eclipse awards promises to be just as bitterly debated as last years!

I agree with what Jason says though, these awards should be objective and not influenced by emotion or popularity. If you wanted an emotive vote this year, then Tuscan Evening should be voted Champion Turf Female, but she won't be because (due to unfortunate events) Proviso completed a more outstanding campaign. But if you wanted to go on pure results, then Goldikova should be Champion as she beat Proviso (and Gio Ponti) pointless in the Mile.

Are the Eclipse awards decided solely by votes? The Cartier awards are also decided on a points basis, with more points being awarded to Classics and open company races. Goldikova is the clear leader ahead of Canford Cliffs now. I think some sort of points leaderboard would make things a lot simpler and more objective come January.

Re the campaigns of Zenyatta and Blame, this is a tricky one. I'm reluctant to reward the Mosses for their unimaginative and conservative campaign this year, when Zenyatta could have so many more interesting victories to her name e.g. Hollywood Gold Cup or Personal Ensign etc. However, I do think her role in capturing the publics' imagination should be rewarded. Perhaps a Lifetime Achievement Award or a new category in her honour?

I think if Quality Road or Lookin At Lucky had won the Classic, HOTY would be much more straight forward as the former would have won 4 open company Grade 1s and the latter would have won a Classic plus 2 other prestigious Grade 1s. I don't think Blame fully deserves the award, but I don't think Zenyatta does either.

Having said that, I'm fairly certain Zenyatta will get it, even if it's just to avoid the fact that otherwise should would have missed out 3 years in a row.

08 Nov 2010 5:35 PM

I haven't completely read your article Jason, but I really don't have to as I pretty much know what you think. The decision is not a SIMPLE one, period. Blame lost a huge 4-6 length race to Haynesfield in the JGC, a big blemish to his record. Logically and statistically, without subjectively classifying the horses in each race as we couldn't do that the previous years, Blame ran 4G1s lost 1, Zenyatta ran 6, G1s lost 1. (if I am off by 1 please correct). Also, Blame started a year with a G2 or 3, too. Numbers do NOT lie. Now his 1 MAJOR win was against an undefeated horse, but that major win was by 3 inches, hardly qualifying material for a HOTY given the fact he has already lost the numbers game with her. Now, add to these numbers, the number of miles Zenyatta traveled for races this year, the # of tracks she traveled to compared to Blame's numbers traveled, and you have another gap in favor of Zenyatta. Next, leaving the gender issue aside, think about the weight #s that were given to Zenyatta, etc, in races this years. Then, consider the fact that Blame raced on his OWN home court against a mare that didn't. Now I can also add the fact that Cigar, John Henry, Azeri, Skip Away all experienced the HOTY defeat with either no BC or loss in BC. And, to put a cherry on this with more recent years, remember our 2 recent HOTY winners didn't even show up for the BC, with one losing the other. Thanks for your time. (I realize the weight issue is not clear)

08 Nov 2010 5:37 PM

Where is the list of those that get to vote for HOY (I don't mean a list of organizations)?  Are there written rules for each category.

08 Nov 2010 5:37 PM

I disagree that an American award "has" to go to an American horse.  We invite them from other countries, we tout this event as what decides the HOY, AND Goldikova has come to this event 3 times, AND she has done the most worldwide.  I know the squabbling is beginning but Goldikova deserves legitimate consideration for the award.  And, the rules for the award make it legit.

08 Nov 2010 5:37 PM


    I hate to admit it but your logic is correct on HOTY.  As you can tell I am a Zenyatta fan.  However there is absolutely no question that Zenyatta's presence for the past three years has been a huge boost for the game and undoubtly bigger ratings for the Breeders Cup broadcasts.

By the way, Draynay must be one miserable person.

08 Nov 2010 5:40 PM

The trouble with the HOY award is it is to biased.Jason says to take out the emotion ,however if the emotion had been taken out in 2008 Zenyatta would have won over a good but not great year by Curlin (lost BC Classic ,still Won HOY)2009 RA raced against the weakest 3 year olds in memory not to mention the greatMacho Again to win HOY .I am sure ther were no emotions involved

08 Nov 2010 5:43 PM

There appeared then, without warning, Freddie Johnson, dressed in denim and fleece, standing in the crowd at the mouth of the barn, quietly insistent that he wanted to congratulate John Shirreffs and everybody in the Zenyatta barn for the fantastic job they had done with the mare.

“I told Al I wanted to come over here and do this,” said Johnson, referring to his boss, Al Stall Jr. “He said, ‘Freddie, I think that’s a real good idea.’ I know how hard these people worked to keep this mare so good for so long. She ran her heart out. She deserved that win. But I got hoarse hollering for Blame, ‘cause I knew once he took the lead it’s hard to pass him, and she was coming like a freight train.”

Shirreffs was busy bedding Zenyatta down, so Johnson approached Moss and extended his hand, and for the moment their hands clasped the disparate worlds embraced by the power and glory of the Thoroughbred racehorse came vividly alive in the chill of the Louisville night.

Johnson, 37, first went to work for trainer Frankie Brothers at the Fair Grounds as a 10-year-old kid before joining Al Stall. Johnson’s father, who maintained vending machines, was murdered on the job. His family home where his mother still lived, near the University of New Orleans, was wiped off the map when the nearby levee was breeched in the storm surge of that terrible August of 2005.

That same year, Jerry Moss, the kid from Brooklyn who made his fortune in the music business, married a model and considers himself as lucky as a man could be, won the Kentucky Derby with Giacomo. But now it was Johnson, who’d been around Blame from the moment he arrived in the Stall barn, offering words of consolation and praise to the man who owned Zenyatta.

“The day I knew he was good was the day he beat Gone Astray at Saratoga in the Curlin,” Johnson said of Blame. “After that Al said, ‘What do you think I should do?’ and I said, ‘Try the Super Derby.’ That’s what we did, and Regal Ransom got out there, nobody pressing him, and he just walked around there. So we gave him time off, let him come back as a 4-year-old, and look what he’s done.”

What Blame has done is as much as any older horse in recent history, winning the William D. Schaefer at Pimlico, the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs, and the Whitney at Saratoga in addition to the Classic. The only mark against him this year was the Jockey Club Gold Cup, when Haynesfield freaked on the lead and Blame could not catch him.

“The only reason Haynesfield got us,” Johnson said, “was we got up there the day before the race and he just stood at the back of the stall, just lookin’ lookin’ lookin’. I told Al something ain’t right. He’s not the horse I know.”

The horse Johnson knew put the Gold Cup loss behind him and showed up like a champion for the Classic.

“That’s just shows you,” Johnson said. “They can all have a day like that.

“Except her,” he added. “She never had a day like that.”


This is from the DRF.  Johnson works for Mr Stall Jr.  Shows some people still have class.  Then there is Dray

08 Nov 2010 5:44 PM
Monarchos Matt

Totally agree Jason- this race takes nothing away from Zenyatta's legacy, and she may very well have been the best horse of the past three years due to her longevity...however, she was not the best horse in any of those three years individually, and this year is no exception.

I loved what she did for the sport but those of you comparing the number of Grade I victories this year need to get a clue. Blame beat more quality horses in the Whitney alone than Zenyatta did in all her Grade I wins combined. Have some perspective. She needed to win the Classic to win the award and she missed by a whisker. Much respect, she'll win another well-deserved Older Female Eclipse Award and will go down as an all-time great. But this year, like the last three, there was a horse that accomplished more. In fact, I think the argument to be made for her was stronger last year, when she won the Classic.

08 Nov 2010 5:44 PM

Zenyatta is question.

08 Nov 2010 5:45 PM

Zenyatta should be horse of the year.Blame won on a track he clearly loves by inches.In the J.Gold Cup is was soundly beat by Hayesfield. Zenyatta is a female who blew by all the best in the world. She has brought more fans to the sport since the days of Secretariat. Last year she beat all the best in the classic and that was not good enough for horse of the year. In defeat she showed her greatness she is the best female horse to ever run. Blame is a nice horse but not great. Zenyatta thanks for all joy your brought to all your fans.

08 Nov 2010 5:48 PM
Pam S.

Many good arguments have been made in these responses, and it's going to be a LOOONG two months until the Eclipses are awarded, so I won't add much.  Just that I don't think it's really so cut-and-dried this year -- I think more voters than you might believe are going to give some weight to the intangibles that are so important in trying to promote this half-dead sport.  

Blame won the Classic and that's great; now he must retire after 13 starts because that's how it works, and unless his sire stats are outstanding, we will hear little from him again.  Will we remember Zenyatta?  Did you HEAR the crowd as she was walking from the paddock and onto the track?  If I hadn't seen it on TV I would not have believed it.  I respectfully ask my fellow racing fans, what do you think that was worth?

08 Nov 2010 5:49 PM

I think that far to many people are far to attached to Zenyatta to look at the whole situation objectively! Everyone is saying that, given a clean trip, Zenyatta would have won the Classic. Maybe so, maybe not. She never did pass Blame while they were cooling down either.

I also see an awful lot of people raving about how Zenyatta won more grade 1 races this year. The fact of the matter is, she ducked everyone that she could and stayed in SoCal all year, except for the Classic, which she did not win. Blame beat her to the wire, that's what horse racing is about, not who gets there second, but who gets there first! Also, on the same track, last year. Rachel Alexandra beat Zenyatta in HOTY voting. Rachel won more grade 1's, it's only fair, right? Looking deeper, Rachel also beat the boys three times (once in the slop), on three different racetracks, and once against older males. She also destroyed her female opponents. Zenyatta ducked pretty much everyone, right up to the Classic, which she did win, but it wasn't enough for HOTY. However, if she and Rachel had competed against each other even ONCE, and Zenyatta had prevailed, she would have been named HOTY, no question. She would have beaten Rachel, which clearly shows her superiority. There is no two way road with this! Blame beat Zenyatta this year, Blame gets HOTY, the exact same way that Zenyatta would have gotten it last year, had she beaten Rachel.

Horse of the Year is not a lifetime achievement award! Zenyatta's 19 race winning streak can not count in the voting, because she didn't rack up all those wins in one year! It also isn't a 'who brought more fans to the sport' award, though, if there was, she would certainly win it, no question.

The other thing I see here is a lot of people whinging about how Blame only beat her by a head. HE STILL WON! Face it, the head beat Zenyatta. I don't see anyone else squalling about how Affirmed only won the Belmont by a nose, and how Alydar was the best horse in the race! No, we remember it as Affirmed and Alydar, battling to the wire, and Affirmed got there first. It was the same thing with Real Quiet and Victory Gallop. Victory got there first, Quiet didn't get the Triple Crown. It's the way this game goes! As an aside, I never heard a single person complain when Zenyatta barley got her nose past Anabaa's Creation, and we still counted that nose victory as a victory.

I certainly hope that anybody who has the privilege of voting for Horse of the Year is more objective and critical than most of the people on here. All I can say is that Blame got there first when it counted. Maybe Zenyatta was the best horse there, maybe she wasn't. We'll never know! But that's how the game goes.

08 Nov 2010 5:51 PM

oh, you guys at the Blood Horse! I know you just publish these controversial blog posts because it increases your hit numbers tremendously, and thus your advertising revenue. I know you are secretly, in your hearts, rooting for Zen as HOY!!! But you can stick with your story if you must...

08 Nov 2010 5:51 PM

After reading the 4th sentence I realized the writer has no idea what he is talking about. He says,

"Like last year, if you take the emotion out of it there is really no other way to go. It's really not even that close."

You're right about last year. What Rachel did was deserving of the HOY because what she did no other 3 year old filly will ever do again. But what she did was beat the boys 3 times in GR 1 races and win 8 GR1's total. So of course she deserved it, she won more GR1 races.

It is however funny you mention that you need to strip away emotion, because it's your very own emotion that brings you to the conclusion that Blame should be the automatic HOY. Because he just so happen to win the biggest race of the year...barely! Because you can't possibly say he "did more". Oh wait, you did say that. But that's your opinion and certainly not fact. Let's take a look at the facts: (as sharg already pointed out)

2010 FACTS:

Zenyatta 5 GR1 WINS, 1 GR1 SECOND

BLAME 3 GR1 wins, 1 GR1 second, 1 GR3 win

Now, you did mention that this was not a lifetime achievement award. I agree. But look at the numbers above. Last time I checked 5 is more than 3. So where again did Blame do more? Let me guess, it's the competition? Ok, if that's the case didn't Blame lose to Haynesfield in the Jockey Gold Cup this year by open lengths? He finished second to last in the BCC. And how about Fly Down, he was in that race, too. Where did he finish in the BCC? Behind Zenyatta? And where was Quality Road and Lookin' at Lucky in the BCC? They all finished behind ZENYATTA! What's my point? My point is the best horses that Blame ever raced again were all beaten by Zenyatta, badly! So where again did Blame run against better horses? Fact is he didn't! And did you hear G. Gomez after the race? He said she is the best horse he's ever seen! He knows that he had a dream trip and she had her worst trip in 20 starts...and still about beat him. If that race is run 10 times she wins it 7 or 8. No question about it. I give Blame credit, he won when it counted. But believe me, if they ran that race again in a few months and Zenyatta had a half decent trip, Blame gets beat easily.

One final note! Blame never has and never will do for the sport what Zenyatta has done. My friend and I had successfully picked a pick 3 an a pick 4 and put $50 on Blame's nose to win (betting for value) and we were still screaming for Zenyatta to beat him!!! What's the point? The point is it's horses like Zenyatta who are once in a lifetime horses that keep the sport barely breathing. These are the true champions of the sport of Kings! To be honest, I don't really care who gets HOY, because as Mike Smith has said before, she's HORSE OF THE DECADE!

08 Nov 2010 5:53 PM

This is all about emotion.

But, let's look at the facts:

Blame won 3 Grade one races in 2010.

Zenyatta won 5 Grade one races in 2010.

Case closed.

When you look at emotion, my goodness, Zenyatta has simply captured America! People who I encouraged to watch the race, can't even remember Blame's name. Only those in the industry will. And Blame is a great horse too, but for me, there is no comparison.

Zenyatta has the "IT FACTOR!"

And Goldikova, well, unbelievable, but, most of her races are run overseas, and many racing fans don't follow those races. It would be very different, had she run most of them here, in the USA.

She is breathtaking.

Last year, I wanted Rachel to win, partly because of her incredible campaign, and the fact she won more races. It was a tough, tough choice. I would have been happy with a tie. This year, it will be cruel not to give the HOY to Zenyatta.

08 Nov 2010 5:53 PM
Keeping it simple

Can't we all agree that was one of the most exciting races we've seen in our lifetimes. Really, who cares who wins HOY. Zenyatta was sensational and Blame was game as ever. Would anyone consider Onion compariable to the Beast? Zenyatta WOW! What a Star!

PS- Jason, Draynay agrees with you. Something to ponder.

08 Nov 2010 5:57 PM

We lost a huge oppoortunity to break with old tired rules last year by not splitting the award between RA and Zen.  Blame is a good horse and yes, you can build a case for him.  However, if this industry stays rigid and inflexible, it will cause the loss of a huge piece of heart that piece that brings so many people to this sport.  The two major screaming exciting and champion level accomplished horses this year have clearly been Zen and Goldikova.  Give it to Blame...and watch the fans loose heart and leave.  Even in her loss by 1/2 a head, everyone KNOWS who was the best horse in that field, and the one who showed up as a real champion.  You voters are just not going to be able to easily get past that one! race in America is not enough? Or is that one more race, after another and another in America is not enough. Yes, I know it's about 2010. I also believe no voter will be able to effectively erase ALL she has done unless they just choose to reamin rigid because it's easier. Geez, get her on the ballot!!  

08 Nov 2010 6:00 PM

Perhaps the illness that is threatening the life of horse racing is that statistics have replaced passion.  Discount the passion and emotion that Zenyatta has illicited from prospective horse racing enthusiasts and you will have alienated literally hundreds of thousands of Zenyatta fans who simply because of her 'human' characteristics and allure would never have even turned on their TVs to watch a horse race before, much less visit a track.  Give the people what they want.  Make Zenyatta Horse of the Year and the newcomers will see that those of us in the industry are not 'The Tinman' who has no heart.

08 Nov 2010 6:00 PM
Nona Yaron

Are you serious?  What did Blame do for the sport this year?  Nothing.  Did he bring in new fans when the sport really needed it? No. Did he break any records?  Uh No.  So he doesn't matter to most fans.  He doesn't matter.  What matters is that Zenyatta should be voted HOY or this sport will lose all those fans she brought in.  It will be a step backwards.  A vote against her is a vote against racing.  Yea, I'm a Zenyatta fan but this year I don't have to be afraid to tell other horsepeople that I'm a racing fan.  I've worked on the track and own barrel horses.  This sport has been hurt and it's coming around again.  Don't screw it up.

08 Nov 2010 6:03 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

draynay 06 Oct 2010 11:12 PM - Bet it all on Quality Road at 126lbs.  no other horse can carry the weight and match up with him.  And bet on Life At Ten to beat Zenyatta in the Distaff.

The draynay curse strikes again.

08 Nov 2010 6:04 PM

Big Surprise that Jason thinks Blame should get Horse of the Year!! Who would have thought it ??

Next year at this time, who is going to remember Blame even if he does win HOTY??  Zenyatta will go down in history as one of the most charismatic, famous and greatest racemares ever.  Blame gets retired after  racing for approx 1 1/2 he can go to stud duty and command a higher price due to his win in the BC Classic. Wonderful!  Nice colt but HOTY ???  Come On !!  Blame's owner was very ungracious and pompous in braying over his colt.  Blame's trainer showed far more class and was gracious enough to give Zenyatta her due.  Jason, no one is "bitter" about Zenyatta losing (you really don't get it)...she showed even in defeat that she is a great champion and as Bob Baffert said, she showed she is the "real deal." and not just a synthetic race specialist. As far as "taking the emotion out of it"...that's what it's all about.  The resurgence of horse racing and the passion people feel about this horse is truly amazing !  I never would have tuned into the Breeder's Cup on ESPN if Zenyatta had not been racing. As the ESPN commentators said "She brought the Show" and the huge ratings as it turned out!  Enjoy the debate over HOTY.

And try to relax yourself - not everyone has to agree with your point of view.


08 Nov 2010 6:05 PM

All of a sudden this year it goes to the one who wins the Classic?  Why didn't this criteria come into play in last years vot.  Personal opinion, there should not be any eclipse awards.  The voting is too political and very one sided.

08 Nov 2010 6:05 PM
Barbara W

I, for one, do not understand why the rules appear to keep changing. Another blogger referred to RA's declaration as HOY was "sewn up" before the BCC last year. This is a major gripe I have with all sports, not just horse racing: don't assign a "winner" until it's over. Last year Z was denied because RA had already "won"; this year she'll be denied because she didn't win the BCC. No matter what she does, it will never be enough for some people.

If you think Z fans are "bitter", it's because many can't see what is right in front of their faces:record crowds showing up to see the race of a lifetime. It's becoming more and more apparent that there is a huge gulf between the gamblers and the fans. Blame is a great horse, but he wasn't the one bringing fans into racing and the crowds to CD.

I agree with Dallas from Texas--the new fans will soon drop out. The racing establishment  complains about falling attendance and then disses the one horse  most responsible for increased interest.

08 Nov 2010 6:06 PM

Love your comments Travis! I think I will copy them and put them up on my Zenyatta HOTY 2010 facebook page which has been capturing 1 like per minute and is up to 1800 since 10:30 yesterday. That was the next thing I was going to do: look at all the horses (supposedly great ones) that Blame beat (and didn't w/Haynesfield) and see where else the loopholes were in these pro-Blame (oops I think I mean East Coast biased) HOTY opinions.

08 Nov 2010 6:08 PM

Argue for whomever you want to win Horse of the Year, but anyone criticizing Seth Hancock for stating an opinion about Horse of the Year is an absolute emotionally irrational idiot.  John Shirreffs can say before they even run the race she should be Horse of the Year no matter the outcome, but the owner of the BEST HORSE IN AMERICA who just won the biggest open company race - for you racing neophytes, that means its open to males and females - in the country can't state the obvious for fear of offending the sensibilities of the whacked out Zenyatta fans??? Wrong! Dead wrong!

Seth Hancock is a thoroughly decent man. To say he was umemotional in the winner's circle was to completely misread the look on his face and tone of his voice. I imagine his thoughts were with his father and mother. They would be so proud and thrilled!

As for all the new fans she brought to many will be packing the paddock and grandstands at Santa Anita next year? Not many, I'd wager. These are Zenyatta fans, and God bless them....but not many will be long-term racing fans.

I'm not a wealthy person by any stretch of the imagination, but I  DROVE a combined 3000 miles and took 6 hard-earned vacation days specifically to watch Zenyatta run this year. I think she's an amazing horse deserving of all the respect in the world, but I've been a racing fan for almost 30 years and understand this sport - for all its faults - is bigger than any individual and is all about identifying the best horse on the track. As far as American-based horses go in 2010, that's Blame.  He has the tactical speed to stay out of trouble and the grit to hold firm down the stretch. He doesn't have to come flying with a rush at the finish and hope to get up in time.  He got the better trip, in large part, because he's better.  

The best horse in the world is Goldikova. The Horse of the Year in America is Blame.

08 Nov 2010 6:09 PM
MK in FL

My thoughts are  that Zenyatta should be HOY. Blame had a great season and did defeat Zenyatta, however, what horse has done more for racing in recent history than Zenyatta. You can walk down "any street USA" and ask anyone if they know who Zenyatta is and they would say yes. She was in all the papers, magazines, and on so many TV programs. She should be HOY for doing for horse racing what no horse has done in recent history. The Mosses should be awarded for taking a huge gamble. They could have retired her after 19, but they went for 20 for the fans. If you ask me you can't even call that race a defeat. She just didn't cross the wire first, but she probably ran the race of her life! All hail the Queen !!!!!

08 Nov 2010 6:10 PM

slightly off topic, but I find it astounding that one of the best dirt horses america has produced was by a horse bred in ireland, street cry, who himself was out out of a mare that won the irish oaks, helen street, by troy, an english derby winner. in this day and age, when they are saying the two sides of the atlantic cannot meet, this is pretty amazing.

do you think zenyatta could have gone on the turf? was her size a reason why she couldn't go the early pace of a race? just too big to get round those bends. she looked like she should be jumping fences by the size of her.

personally, I think some people invest a little too much emotion in the hoty awards. is it really that important? however, whether zenyatta came up just a fraction short against blame is not the point for me. we have a horse here that has gone to the bc for the 3rd year running, won the classic the year before and was a head away from winning her 20th straight race. ok, not all top notch races but last year's bc was and so was this year's. blame has had a good year and beat zenyatta but basically he has been at the high table since june and got badly beaten once on the way. zenyatta has been on the go for three years and got beaten a whisker. if she doesn't get it, you want to take a look at yourselves really.  

08 Nov 2010 6:10 PM
In aint easy being good!

Rough year for Draynay he has been wrong all year and signed off of the kiss of death when he picked Quality Road haha he was dead last in the classic! Not 7th ....last! Next year should be promising! I think Zenyatta should race one more year with QR and Blame retiring who will beat her? She has brought alot to the sport like her or hate her. I am not a big fan of Z but what I saw on Saturday was the best race I have seen in 20 years!!! There was nervous excitment and that race delievered!

08 Nov 2010 6:12 PM
Jason Shandler

Stop with the East Coast bias nonsense. Last time I checked Blame lives in Kentucky, which isnt exactly on the East Coast.

Let me say this again clearly: Horse of the Year isnt about who will be remembered 20 years from now or how many fans that horse brought into racing. It's about which horse ran the best in that given 12 months. Very simple. Leave the rest of the stuff out of it and you will see which horse deserves it.

08 Nov 2010 6:12 PM

Sushyne, how can you say that about Blame and who he beat? I completely consider Zenyatta a great horse and she proved that in the Classic. Don't you feel that way about Zenyatta? So why are you ripping on who Blame beat? Unbelievable!

08 Nov 2010 6:14 PM
RA Fan

HOY should go to Zenyatta 5 G1 wins in 6 races.  Blame 3 grade 1 wins, one grade 1 second, one grade 3 win.

HOY should be determined by the class of wins male or female.  If you watched the race, you would have seen that if they had been on the same stride it would have been a dead heat.  Blame was stretched at the finish and Zenyatta was gathered 1/2 stride either way it would have been a dead heat.  For a horse to overcome the bad break, 20 behind, boxed in, horse moved in front of her when she went for the hole that opened up and still come that close to winning a race of that caliber shows she is a HOY is there ever was one.  If you take any other horse in that race with the trip she had they would not have come anywhere near that close to winning.  In racing the best horse does not always win, it is the one who has the best trip.  Blame is a good horse in his own right but he is only 4 she is 6 and as usual they will retire him before he can actually prove to the world that he can keep running and stay sound. If the people that vote on this actually take into account what it takes for any horse to run this type of race and stay sound over a career as long as Zenyatta's they would certainly vote her horse of the year, but I guess we have to wait and see what happens.  The BC Classic alone should not determine HOY it is called HOY for that reason.  

08 Nov 2010 6:14 PM

Draynay - I would hardly say Zenyatta looked exhausted and that Blame looked her in the eye and left her in the dust. Quite the opposite, actually. It was simply a case of the better horse having too much left to do - which, by the way, would not have been possible for any other horse in the race, including Blame. Blame got a better trip and he outlasted a better horse. Purely and simply. Watch the race again - with an open mind. She nearly did the impossible. And she left horses, as you put it, "in the dust" who beat Blame this year. As for the author of the blog - typical East coast bias. Show some class and give Zenyatta her due.

08 Nov 2010 6:15 PM
G1 Jimmy

5 of the past 10 HOY did not win the BC Classic.  It is not a slam dunk for Blame. If Blame's a sound horse why retire him, he's only had 13 starts?  Is Hancock hurting for cash? The BC is at CD next year.  We need stars is the game, the Moss's proved that!    

08 Nov 2010 6:15 PM

I know, let's take everyone out of the equation and vote Uncle Mo HOY!  Then nobody can be mad.

08 Nov 2010 6:16 PM

Jason, you are right.

The end.

08 Nov 2010 6:18 PM


Stradavinski, Boys at Tosconova and Quality Road?  Dude, you are the worst!  I guess you can say anything when you're hiding behind your keyboard.  Who are you?  Rachel a better 3 year old campaign than Secretariat? Dude, you're the worst!

08 Nov 2010 6:18 PM
Jason Shandler

Pletcher: “For me, the deciding factor in any close calls is head-to-head matchups,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, whose quest to train the 2010 Horse of the Year ended with the poor performance turned in by Quality Road in the Classic. “While I think Zenyatta ran an unbelievable race, had not only a tremendous year but a tremendous career, ultimately it should be decided on the racetrack. But I don’t get a vote.”

08 Nov 2010 6:21 PM

TXLonghornfan- Buena Vista may have something to say about that.  We will have to wit until the Japan Cup though.  But she runs any distance of ground and is always top class.  Then you have So You Think Down Under.  Just lost the 2 mile Melbourne Cup, which is still a handicap, but has won as short as 7 furlongs before I believe.  Another amazing horse.  To be best in the World, you have to look outside of just Europe and the US.

08 Nov 2010 6:21 PM

Jason.  I have to agree with pretty much all of your comments, save for the one about not considering Goldikova for HOTY.  I agree that OBJECTIVE analysis should be the basis upon which a vote is cast.  Perhaps there are more, but the only criterium that I am aware of is that a horse has to have one race in North America to qualify.  To discount this criteria is not being totally objective.  Maybe we should go to a point system like NASCAR uses in the Chase.  In the end, all the emotion is taken out of the equation.  I agree with you that so many of the media cannot remove emotion and bias from their analysis.  As for Zenyatta, here accomplishments are the stuff of what makes legends.  Her award is for what she has done for racing in the minds and hearts of the public.  If she has brought more fans to this most wonderful game, then give her an achievement award that is considered greater than HOTY.  I was disappointed to see her lose by one jump, but the fact remains, she lost.  I agree that it matters not the margin of defeat.  Everyone will have an opinion as to why and that, too, matters not.  Give credit to Blame for his strong performance and his connections for getting him ready to be in the right place at the right time.  Thanks Jason for keeping it real.

08 Nov 2010 6:22 PM
Richard Masson

"Horse of the Year is not a popularity contest and it's not a lifetime achievement award. The honor is supposed to go to the best horse of 2010. And going by that criteria, Blame is the clear winner."

What about last year? You can't have it both ways.

08 Nov 2010 6:23 PM
ruth meador

if not zenyatta ans then rachel alexandra should get horse of the year and not blame because blame did not do you can you he did do enough when he really did not do enough at all.and i think that zenyatta should get horse of the year and not blame because she did a whole lot more than blame ever did in his entire racing career and i think zenyatta should be given the regnition she deserves and should be her getting horse of the year and not blame getting horse of the year.and thats why it should be zenyatta being the 2010 horse of the year because she has given so much to her fans and has never disappointed them at all.thats why zenyatta should get horse of the year honor,s instead blmae getting them.

08 Nov 2010 6:23 PM

I adore Zenyatta and have traveled from my home in California to watch her race twice. She is the reason I returned to the track after a 34-year hiatus, including attending the Breeders Cup. No one is more crushed than I am that she lost. And I know so many of us feel that way. The heartbreak in the stands on Saturday was tangible.

Nevertheless, I agree with Jason that Blame deserves to be the Horse of the Year based on the fact that he beat her and a strong field. If she'd made it those last few inches and won, I would assert she'd earned the award. But unfortunately she didn't.

I agree with the viewpoint that the Eclipse Awards should honor the incredible impact Zenyatta has had on racing. It would be perfect to do that by giving the owner and trainer awards to Jerry and Ann Moss and  to John Shirreffs. This seems the best way to recognize what they have done for the sport, which is tremendous.

Zenyatta is one of the historic greats and belongs in that category. Lots of these horses have been beaten. Regardless of the fact that she may not be Horse of the Year, she clearly is a racehorse for the ages and her loss to Blame will never diminish that.

I will always feel fortunate to have seen her in person.

08 Nov 2010 6:23 PM

HOY - Zenyatta.  Absolutely. So Blame won a few races.  Lots of horses won a few races this year.  Who was the crowd cheering for last Saturday?  It wasn't Blame. Who brought crowds to the track and TV this year?  It wasn't Blame.  Who's done the most for racing this year?  It wasn't Blame.

Zenyatta is THE horse of this year.  Statistics don't change the facts.

08 Nov 2010 6:24 PM

Hey Bid-

The BC Classic was a tie? Stop It!!

08 Nov 2010 6:25 PM

"Taking the emotion out of it" is exactly what is WRONG with racing today.

Please.  Don't insult the heart of racing fans by taking the heart out of racing.

08 Nov 2010 6:26 PM
Keeping it simple

We all can agree to disagree. Blame beat Zenyatta in the biggest race of the year. Edge to Blame on this day and in the HOY voting. Please realize that Zenyatta is NOT a one trick pony and ranks as arguably the beat female horse to run and probably would rank in the top five all time among all horses looking through a bridle! God bless Zenyatta, keeping the sport alive

08 Nov 2010 6:26 PM

If nothing else we'll finally be done with the "Zenyatta deserves...." crowd after next January.  The award is Horse of the YEAR.  Not of the decade.  Not of 19 races except the last one.  No.  It is of the Year.

Blame has done more, beaten better, and most importantly beaten the "unbeatable" Zenyatta.   Her wins this year were far less impressive than his, too.

Sure, I thought she should have won in 2008, but Sherrifs & the Mosses took the safe route and put her in the Distaff to avoid Curlin who wanted nothing to do with the silly plastic track.

Last year again played it safe until they knew Rachel was staying home for the BCC.  Rachel beat more over more tracks in all conditions.  Zenyatta stayed on 3 California tracks and beat horses who had never run on plastic in the Classic.

Even then her fans whined that we should add her 2008 record to give her the 2009 Award.  Wanted to make it a "Lifetime Achievement" award.  Sorry, it is Horse of the Year.

Blame has earned it this year. Zenyatta has not.  

But Horse of the Year?  She only has her owners to blame.  It takes more than building a loud but often ignorant fan club.  

Zenyatta will get her lifetime achievement award in a few years when she's inducted on a unanimous vote to the Racing Hall of Fame. But I doubt most of her current fans will even notice.  

08 Nov 2010 6:26 PM

As always a fantastic article, based on fact Jason. I defended you on Toms blog, did you see that? I couldn't agree more, and it really is a moot point. Blame not only deserves HOTY, he will win HOTY. I have said once before, there were 4 contenders for the award going into the classic, Blame beat QR twice, Zenyatta and LaL. None of them has ever beaten him. While I love Zenyatta, and am thankful we had her, her career was soft overall, and her record very protected. She could have gone in any or all of the races you mentioned, and I would like to throw in the Stephen Foster as well. She did none of that. She stayed at home and raced against a mediocre(at best) group of fillies/mares. She didn't even take on the best Fillies/mares in the country. The debate will continue regardless, but it is pointless other than for fun. Blame is the HOTY.

To those of you who said you would vote for Golikova, I can see your point. She has fulfilled the requirements, but I don't think she will win award based solely on the fact that she is a Euro. She is a great champion and I personally will be fine if she wins it though.

Take care everyone, and until next time may they all come home safe.

08 Nov 2010 6:27 PM

Travis - No! No! No! read the article again. A Grade1 isn't really a Grade1 unless it includes males. If it is restricted to fillies and mares, it isn't really a Grade1 race, didn't you know that? Neither did I. :)

08 Nov 2010 6:28 PM

Shirreffs said that Zenbyatta was cooled out and recovered about 10 minutes after she got back to the barn.  She was not exhausted.  She threw down a final mile that was only 3/5ths of a second slower than the BC Dirt mile.  She threw down two 23 and change quarters to get back in the race,  Her slowest in her last mile was when she was coming around the turn and the super horse was backing up right into her and then as she was moving outside she had to wait for LAL.  That was a 24 and 4/5th quarter.  Then she closed in 24 flat.  Whether you guys like it or not, this is a racehorse.  Whether she is HOY is immaterial.  Each of her critics should at least admit that this is one hell of a racehorse.  And many just aren't.  Too bad.

08 Nov 2010 6:28 PM
Jason Shandler

You have to take emotion out of it LauaraCB or the award doesnt matter any more. Should Derek Jeter win MVP over ARod because he has more fans? Should the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA tourney go to the guy that is most popular with college basketball?

The answer is no. Get over it and accept it. She lost the race. Blame was better and that's it. Period.

08 Nov 2010 6:30 PM

Quality Road killed my Superfecta! Between last year's Classic and this year's performance it is almost like the horse is cursed.  I don't think he could have beaten Dakota Phone.  111 and change and he folds like a pup tent getting in Zenyatta's path.  

Blame beat her.  Mike got into her hard at the 16th (hitting her 10-12 times) and she would not move.  She ran well the last 50 yards.  Her antics finally caught up with her.  She gawks, her ears are stuffed with cotton, she needs a target.  

It took the best male in the county to beat the best female.  There is no shame in that.  She beat the Met Mile winner, Preakness winner, Belmont runner up, Jockey Gold Cup winner and last season's Kentucky Derby winner.  

HOY should, and has, been decided on the track.  

3 time "Older Female" who kept her form for 36 months and took her track with her is not bad.  19-1 is not bad.  

Jason is right.  Had she beat Blame 2 out of 3 and then lost by a head it may be different.

He simply beat her.  It was her to lose.      

08 Nov 2010 6:30 PM

This is pathetic. Is it too much to ask for Zenyatta fan to be gracious in defeat? I left the OTB Saturday with nothing but the utmost respect for Zenyatta and her effort, but you people are draining that out of me. Zenyatta had a chance in the Classic to win HOTY, but she came up a head short. ZENYATTA LOST. GET OVER IT. Give the credit to Blame for beating your horse and move on. She had a great, great career, and will always be remembered for it. Do you think not winning HOTY will affect her legacy? Why are you so insecure? If HOTY was that important, Sherriffs and the Mosses would have put her on a campaign for the award. They did not. GET OVER IT. If you want to be mad at anybody, direct it to Team Zenyatta who took their champion on a very conservative campaign. That is who you should....Blame. Have a little dignity people. It is horse racing. Horses lose. GET OVER IT.

08 Nov 2010 6:32 PM

BOB BAFFERT:  Going in I said whoever won Classic should be HOY if it was between , Quality Road, Blame, Lookin At Lucky and Zenyatta.  Only because of what they had accomplished this year. After the race I was more impressed with Zenyatta after the way she took the worst of it and still managed to almost get up on a very tiring track..Zenyatta proved she is the real deal.  She will  easily get HOY for her greatness she showed last night. She will go down as one of the great race horses all times. Blame is a really good solid horse but his Jockey Club loss will cost him HOY. You could make a case for him but she brought way too much electricity to the sport to ignore her this year.  It was a great race.

Two can play that game Jason ;).  Just being a Devil's Advocate

08 Nov 2010 6:32 PM

I can see the way the trend is going and it makes me sad.  The greatest racehorse of our generation is probably going to lose horse of the year to a horse that if he is remembered at all will be in the same context that Upset is remembered.  

08 Nov 2010 6:32 PM

"what did he do for the sport this year?"

Are you serious?  Reducing horse racing's most prestigious award in this country to a marketing popularity contests?

Heck, if that was the criteria, we should give the award to Secretariat.  He's done more to revive horse racing than Zenyatta ever has done.

But then he was a better race horse too.

08 Nov 2010 6:32 PM
no more bute

Zenyatta first. the rest nowhere.

08 Nov 2010 6:33 PM

This reminds me of the 2000 presidential election: Blame is the clear winner with his accomplishments, as was Bush with the electoral votes.  As Mr. Gore can attest, popularity doesn't stand for much.  I think Zenyatta is an amazing mare, and the things that saddens me most is that she didn't go out with a win.  But, last year Rachel Alexandra clearly had a campaign for the ages, and this year, Zenyatta beat all of the best but one.  If she's sound and healthy, I'd love to see her come back and have a more challenging schedule next year.  Dubai anyone???

08 Nov 2010 6:33 PM

What does Pletcher know?

He sure as he'll doesn't know Quality Road's distance limitations!

As for Draynay,

I hope you have a few 'signers'. You must've hemerhoged money this weekend!

08 Nov 2010 6:33 PM

i definitely agree blame should be hoy. he beat her in the only matchup and i keep hearing about zenyattas supposedly bad trip. she had a great trip only had to hesistate for half a second, blame actually went 4 wide on the final turn and zenyatta about 2 wide. blame also did something zenyatta never did and that is go between horses which if any horsemen know is much more daring than going around them.mike smith can cry about he messed up but he actually rode a gem and blame even after the wire and gallop out never never let zenyatta by him. but i do agree goldikova should win horse of the world. she ran in all the prestigious group 1's againist males and won them all except 1.

08 Nov 2010 6:34 PM

I agree with a few earlier posts. If RA did not need a BC Classic win in 2009 and Curlin didnt need it in 2008, why does Zenyatta need it now? The folks who last year said HOY doesn't come down to 1 race are now the same people doing the flip flop and saying Blame deserves it BECAUSE if his win in the classic. How many times did Blame get beat in his career? QR beat him. Haynesfield left him in the dust. NO HORSE has ever left Zenyatta in the dust. Not even Blame on HIS home track. I was there at Churchill. The conditions were miserable. Too cold to run these horses, especially at almost 7 pm?? Why the BC ever chose to go to this rat hole track in the middle of the South Central Louisville ghetto is beyond me. Churchill downs is officially the most overrated so called piece of american history I have ever seen.

08 Nov 2010 6:34 PM
k sweatman

Horse of the Year is not about recognizing the best horse. It's acknowledging the horse who accomplished the most in that year. That makes this a very contested debate because I can see the honors going either way. If I had to choose, I'd say Blame. Beating one of the greatest thoroughbreds to ever set hooves on a track is one hell of an accomplishment. Blame is a good horse who ran a great race and beat a legend. How do you top that? Zenyattas' connections lost the award by putting all their eggs into one basket and creating a do or die situation. Unfortunately, it turned out to be "die". Blame will always be remembered for his win over the queen, and Zenyattas' legacy will forever be tarnished by her loss in the BCC. Zenyatta had the ability and talent to be as great as legends like Secretariat, but her connections stayed away from taking risks. A huge injustice to Zenyatta because she had the gift, she was good enough to take on the best and win. She was robbed of the opportunity to prove herself. What a travesty.

08 Nov 2010 6:35 PM

Vince- I thought they sohould have campaigned her in Europe this year instead of the US.  She is bred to eat up the turf.  I wish they had done it.

08 Nov 2010 6:36 PM

Zenyatta did not run a Horse of the Year Campaign.  Blame did.  Even Goldikova did, tho her races oversees unfortunately dont count.  And as far as Zenyatta being one of the best mares of all times, she didnt have near the campaign that mares like Dahlia, or Lady's Secret, or All Along, or Goldikova, for that matter, had. And for all those saying she should have won because she was in front 2 jumps past the wire?  I suppose those fillies that she defeated by noses and heads could say the same thing, that their fillies were the best had the wire been 2 jumps earlier.  Can't have it both ways.

If Zenyatta had won those restricted races against fillies by 10 lengths, blowout wins, Id be much more agreeable to her maybe being Horse of the Year.  But she barely won them. Arguments against Rachel last year will go on for a long time, but her blowout wins by 20 lengths were something Ill never forget.

Zenyatta was very very good and very very exciting, and one of the best mares we've seen recently. But to give her Horse of the Year because of what she should have done would be a slap to the horse who actually did it.  

08 Nov 2010 6:37 PM
Dominic Campisi

This says it all no way blame every beats Zenyatta without a perfect trip. Please read.

Perfection Lost But Greatness Gained

Today we lost that sports moment in time we all cherish.  That thing in sports we all crave for.  Something to always remember.  Something unforgettable.  That thing you talk about as sports fans with friends and other fans that says we will always remember that, and wasn't that great.  Then the comparisons start about who was the best of all time, or what was the greatest moment.  Today America had a chance to have that moment.  Everything all week led up to that moment.  America got a chance to catch on late with the help of magazines and Television.  It was a story made from Hollywood almost Heaven sent in a time of need.  A feel good story in a year of uncertain economy turmoil and tabloid gossip.  The cheers, the fan fare, the dancing was all there right up to the starting gate.  But when the gate opened our hearts hit our stomach's.  As the first half of the race was completed we all knew it was going to have to be a real miracle for our hearts not to be broken.  Yes, this was her style but not this far back and not on this track and up against this field.  You could feel the race being lost coming around the turn for home.  No where to go and valuable time lost.  Then a small opening to the outside that will lose more time but it's the only chance we have.  She breaks free and can run, but looking at the field in front of her there is no way no chance against the best horses out there.  But then you see that stride.  That familiar move we have all seen before that has greatness written all over it.  One by One they all fall behind like a train just went by them.  Our hearts lift out of our stomach's because our heads say to us we have saw this before.  That phenomenal stretch drive like the other horses are standing still.  Unbelievable can this be the same horse that was at least 20 lengths back.  The same horse that was tied up starting around the turn.  One horse left but time is running short each stride a little closer.  She has caught the other horse and needs just one more stride.  But this time the great Zenyatta stride is too late.  She passes the other horse but the finish line photo finish shows she lost by a nose.  Again she gave us our money's worth.  She fought the travel, the media frenzy, the dirt track, the bad start, the 20 lengths down and still only lost by a nose.  The other horse had the perfect race.  No problems just had to hold on and not get tracked down.  One lost stride for perfection.  The other horse's owner says we had it all the way.  But the film shows different.  It was just a matter of time that came a stride to late.  Anything can happen in horse racing that's what made this 19-0 run so remarkable.  Any given day like today to many odds are against you.  While the other side had everything go completely perfect.  What we learned today is not about our hearts being broken but about the heart of a Champion we grew to love.  Who had no chance at all and just about pulled it off.  Her critics who said she couldn't run on dirt saw that she did the same thing she always had done. Even with the worst of odds this time.  Again one lost stride for perfection.  This race will never be about how Blame won.  It will always be about how Zenyatta lost.  When your perfect in sports everybody remembers and never forgets.  Who remembers the New England Patriots win streak because they ended up losing it in the Super Bowl a few years ago.  But they all remember the 1972 Miami Dolphins.  If Zenyatta would have won I can only imagine how the media frenzy would have been.  You could feel the let down from Churchill downs, the TV announcers, across America at that moment in time.  The winners circle seemed like a mortuary and Gomez the jockey almost apologetic.  We all knew who was the best horse out there that day.  Mike Smith the jockey can replay it over and over again.  If we just would have done this or that because he knew already what we all know now.  She is the best thing to come along in horse racing for a long time and probably the greatest filly who ever lived and he wanted her to have this sports moment so no one would ever forget.  Hopefully unlike the New England Patriots we wont forget.  Tonight Andrew Beyers and Jess Jackson breath a sign of relief her biggest critics.  What were they thinking when Zenyatta made her charge?  Again one lost stride for perfection.  What excuses will they come up with now.  It took all odds against her and a perfect race to beat her.  Don't you hate it when someone lucks out and doesn't have to answer for being wrong.  Today in this sports moment we lost perfection but we gained greatness.  It's about what we call in sports of having the heart to overcome impossible odds and not so much about winning but to give it your all and giving it your best.  We should all remember this day for Zenyatta never giving up and giving it all she had.  Again one lost stride for perfection.  But the heart that made her the Greatest Filly of all Time.  

Written by Dominic Campisi 11/6/10

08 Nov 2010 6:38 PM

Well Zenyattas damned if she does and damned if she doesn't. She won the Breeders Cup last year, and they didn't give her HOY. She comes in 2nd and that's still not good enough for people. What the heck if HOY is to go to the winner of BCC, then she should have received it last year. Or are people just changing the rules so she gets passed up again. She has won against the boys, ran on dirt. She has done what has been asked of her and then some. Please don't pass her up this year.

08 Nov 2010 6:39 PM
empire maker fan


this is a great article and I couldn't agree more.  Scanning thru the comments it just reminds me of why I was rooting (and betting) on Blame.  These Zenyatta fans still refuse to see the horse as what she is, a very good horse.  In my opinion, she ran basically the same race as she has done 19 times before, however she wasn't trying to pass Rinterval, St Trinians, Switch, Anabaa's Creation... she was trying to pass a tough, dirt horse on dirt.  I've watched the replay several times and I don't see all the "trouble" that she encountered.  Just an excuse thrown out by her fans (and jockey) to try and make up for the fact that they lost.  If Zenyatta had raced against top quality fields at least 2 or 3 times a year (open to males) I am very confident 19-0 would have never existed.  Rachel Alexandra won HOTY because she did things that hadn't been done before.  Blame should win HOTY because he won the big race.  No one else was doing anything special so how can it not go to that race winner?  If Zenyatta had swept all the tough races in California (the ones that included the males) then I could see the race not being a slam dunk for the Classic winner.

08 Nov 2010 6:41 PM

Jason I think Pletcher would be better served if he saved his comments for his own horses. What gives?  He burned a lot or money with his Friday to Saturday "freak shows."  Quality Road goes into the biggest race of his life off a 2 month lay off?  He preps him in the Met Mile?  More questions than answers.  

08 Nov 2010 6:41 PM
pam r

THANK-YOU!  I completely agree with you. I was thrilled to hear Zenyatta was coming back, but extremely disappointed when she didn't leave Calif. or run against males more.  Some people like to point out that greats like Secretariat have lost, but he also had numerous record breaking wins. I agree that she is a great horse, but not in the same class as Cigar, Citation, Secretariat, or Man O' War, as well as many others.  She may have been able to beat the males on other tracks, but she only had one chance to prove that, and lost.  People can say what they want about wether or not she may have won if they went a little farther, but at the predetermined distance of the race, her head was not in front.  And like someone else said, some of her races were won by that small a margin or even smaller; she's great if she wins by small margins, but it seems that Blame can't be.  

08 Nov 2010 6:42 PM
Mike Relva


I agree that Zenyatta's connections gambled and lost. Stated months ago on your blog that obviously connections would make their stand @ the Breeders.

08 Nov 2010 6:43 PM
Jason Shandler

He won 3 BC races Householder in case you didnt notice.

08 Nov 2010 6:44 PM

Freddie Head is not the most consitent person to quote.  Earlier in the year he said that 9 furlongs was Goldikova's absolute limit.  After the Breeder's Cup he said she can act up to 10 furlongs.  I hooe he is right and we see her in a 10 furlong race next year.  I won't hold my breath though.  He also said that Goldikova was better than Miesque.  Then he said Miesque was a brilliant two and three year old, and Goldikova was a little slow coming around.  Then he said tht he really couldn't compare them because he was only Miesque's jockey and he is much more involved with Goldikova.  Maybe his Dad told him he was crazy.  His Dad trained Miesque.

08 Nov 2010 6:44 PM
Meydan Rocks

Who was the 13th President of the United States?

Which horse won HOY in 1997?

Chances are unless you're a student of both "games" you wont know.

HOY's come and go and let's face it, most of them are forgotten 3 - 5 years after they retire.

I loved MINESHAFT but let's fact it... hello?

Give HOY to BLAME so his handler's can make some well deserved $$$.  Our sport is in the throes of a deathknell.  Hopefully Blame can spawn the next Zenyatta!

ANDREW BEYER said it quite eloquently....

Zenyatta secures her place in racing history!

08 Nov 2010 6:47 PM
Driftin' Sage

So...instead of slapping Blame's connections in the face, you want to haul off and belt Zenyatta's connection's in the gut?  WRONG! Horse of the year: Zenyatta!!!!!

08 Nov 2010 6:47 PM

Jason: I am now officially giving you 2 minutes in the penalty box for stirring..stirring...stirring the pot.

(For those of you poor unfortunates who do not understand the reference, it is a play on some of the penalties handed out in HOCKEY -- a sport which so far, thankgawd, has never pre-empted (or almost pre-empted) a Breeders Cup race.)

Anyways, to get back to my point: Jason!  Leave those Zenyatta-worshipers alone!  You should NEVER make fun of people's religious beliefs.

08 Nov 2010 6:49 PM

Fellow Zenyatta fans, don't let the loss get you down. Let them have their superficial award if it makes them happy. Zenyatta is the greatest horse in the world and they know it.

08 Nov 2010 6:50 PM

I don't particularly agree that it is simple to vote Blame Horse of the Year. If it were simple, you wouldn't have 100-plus comments in such a short time so you've already proved yourself wrong.

I think the idea that HOY is simple in certain ways personifies the racing establishment that has been constantly shooting itself in the foot ever since the 1950s when every other sport embraced television but racing didn't and has been suffering repeated publicity mistakes ever since. The vote may not be simple and I don't necessarily disagree that Blame should be HOY, but I think the Eclipse Awards need to figure out a way to make themselves better (like occasionally awarding co-HOY-awards as they should have last year), and maybe a Horse of the Decade award (Zenyatta in a romp because no one else now is even able to be kept in training as long just for starters). The Eclipse should not just do stuff the way they always have just because "that's the way we do it," like so many other things in racing.

And I also think the Shirreffs-Moss team should get some kind of special award for doing such a good job managing Zenyatta throughout her career. Last year, the argument for Rachel Alexandra as HOY was that she'd raced more and done more than Zenyatta. She had a great campaign, but very probably one that trashed her for this year-should that be rewarded? I also often wonder if her team had gotten Curlin earlier (like his 2-YO season) that they wouldn't have trashed him and he never would have been a good horse-he sure dropped off when he was four after a year in their hands. (and he even won HOY then in an incredibly mediocre season-another example of why HOY may not be all it's cracked up to be).

I feel the Breeders' Cup Classic should be treated as the championship race and thus maybe Blame deserves HOY (just as Zenyatta did last year). I think racing needs to play up its championship event wherever it's run (the rest of the world routinely ignores it except this year because of whom?), to get over its incredible bias toward certain surfaces, its head-in-the-sand thinking about so many of the things it does, and somehow figure out a way to honor certainly the most significant and publicized horse at least since Cigar with something even if not HOY. For once recognize what you have (a phenomenon) and do something to reward it. And that to me is what's simple.

08 Nov 2010 6:50 PM

OMG! I almost agree with you Jason. Almost :0)

Had Blame won all of his races this year, I don't think there would be any doubt that he should be HOTY. But he lost the JCGC to a G2 horse by daylight. Isn't that the kind of crap Z naysayers have been complaining about her running in races with? The JCGC didn't set up for him, and he lost by more than four lengths to a much lesser horse. That means a lot to me.

As for Z never beating a G1 winner this year, those G1 horses had the clear opportunity to face her, TWICE. First the Rachel/AB debacle. Then Blind Luck skipped the state and gave 10 lbs to avoid facing her. Her trainer even SAID that's why he wasn't running her in Z's race.

Personally, between the weight she has carried and her running style, I think she has been handicapped more than any horse I have seen in recent memory. At least in the past 20 years or so. I remember Sky Beauty, Cigar and Skip Away carrying 131 on an occasion or two. I think I've mentioned before that her consistency given her style of running is remarkable. No matter the competition or circumstance, I've never know a horse to do it successfully nearly ever single time. It just hasn't been possible, not even for the best horses.

So the horses have sometimes been carrying a great deal less weight, and always slow down the pace to compromise her chances of winning and it's never happened that she has lost against them. That is remarkable and as much as a handicap as running against male horses any day in my book. Why? Because most of the time, the males don't care and run faster times in general. It would be a cakewalk for a closer given the pace. And she might even have equal weight. There has been many a time, especially earlier in the year when she could have recovered from any effort she put forth, that I wished they had thrown her into the odd open race. Because it would have been easier for her to win. And there's no doubt, NO DOUBT, in my mind that she is the better horse and would have won.

That all being said, I maybe know why Jason won't go back and look at the race. He really only wanted Z to be beaten, and since that was the end result, what's the point in seeing how amazing she ran. He did concede that, but he gave no detail which leads me to believe he didn't even watch her until the stretch. And as long as she didn't win the photo, that's all he cared about.

It's rather funny. Jason, weren't you one of the initial people that railed against Blame's win over QR, because he got 5 lbs and won by so little? Strange that your opinion should change. BTW, where was QR? Draynay? Z almost ran him over as he impeded her by backing up and may, MAY as I don't know that she would have won, have cost her some distance.

Oh, Draynay? Blame didn't run away from Z; quite the opposite. Z was reeling him in at the end. If you can't see that, you must not have watched the race at all. She happened to pass him just past the wire, maybe two strides or one and a half. She just got there late. But it is funny that all of your predictions about the race were dead wrong and still you come on this blog and complain about Z zealots.

That all being said, Blame ran an awesome race! Perhaps the race of his life. Gomez did everything right and got a great trip. Now Z didn’t, but that’s racing and sometimes that’s the difference of winning and losing. Sometimes you can do nothing wrong and lose, and it’s just a matter of someone else doing things right to get there first. He and Z ran away from the rest of the field at the wire. Has he ever done that before? Or just had those small winning margins like Z? Maybe it took racing against one another to bring out the best in the other.

I am sad that Z’s streak is marred by a lose. But I am in NO WAY disappointed by her performance. How could anyone be? As soon as they hit the clubhouse turn, I knew she was too far back. Much farther back then she has EVER been. Smith was urging her to get closer, but later said she wasn’t used to and didn’t like the dirt hitting her face. Bailey noted as a commentator that Smith was ’working’ on her the first time they past the wire, to get her closer. I like what he said about her loss and less than ideal trip: ‘You just have to play the hand you are dealt.’ Very true. And Garret Gomez said it best perhaps when he was quoted, ’[Zenyatta is] the best horse I have ever seen.’ Amazing since he was sitting on a horse that just beat her for the first time.

Congratulations to Blame and his connections for their win. As laid out above, I would not be so sure he will win HOTY. It’s not about emotion, it’s about fact. And the fact is it’s not so clear cut. I think the vote will be split somewhat between the two horses, but Z will prevail.

08 Nov 2010 6:51 PM
bill marshall

Fortunately, we don't vote for a while.  This will be a much tougher vote than last year.  Both Blame and Zenyatta deserve much thought and thorough consideration.  But, if Goldikova is the "best horse in the world," as Andy Beyer and several of you have suggested, isn't the United States in the world?  The rules say one race in the USA makes a horse a qualifier.  We also need to look at a horse that I didn't find mentioned in this entire thread - Gio Ponti.  He is last year's grass champion and is a very good horse.  Last year, he came off his favorite surface and, racing beyond his best distance, was still second to Zenyatta in the Classic.  This year, he was on his favorite surface at a suitable distance and was decisively beaten by Goldikova.  If I had to vote now, my vote would go to Goldikova.  

08 Nov 2010 6:51 PM


A win in Dubai W.C. Would do nothing for Zenyatta. The natural dirt crowd would still have the questions.

The only question for Zenyatta is Who will be the lucky fella?

08 Nov 2010 6:52 PM

When historians look back on this era, Blame will be a mere footnote. Nothing against Blame, who is a nice horse, but the real story will be the amazing Zenyatta. Her incredible run to the wire in the BC Classic will go down as one of the most remarkable performances we'll ever see. Absolute brilliance on display, even in defeat, and she truly earned the respect of her doubters.

As for the accolade Zenyatta truly deserves. . . well, she may not win because of this lone defeat. But even though Blame might get Horse of the Year, Zenyatta was Horse of the Decade.

08 Nov 2010 6:52 PM

Zenyatta should be horse of the year. 5 grade 1 wins is impressive, and the ease that she did it is even more impressive. If you look at the Classic, Zenyatta was for more impressive than Blame. Blame had the perfect trip, whereas Zenyatta was blocked and way behind the field. The fact she made up about 20 lengths and still only lost by a head speaks volumes for her heart. Blame may have won, but Zenyatta was far more impressive and by far ran the best race. I'm not a Blame hater or anything, he ran the race of his life and is a good horse. But Zenyatta deserves horse of the year, it's that simple.

08 Nov 2010 6:54 PM

Well said, and I hope the HOY will go to Blame. The integrety of the HOY award will fall if it goes to Zenyatta.

08 Nov 2010 6:57 PM
Jason Shandler

ZenyattaFan: The ease in which she did it? Better go back and watch the races. St Trinians, Switch, and Rinterval would disagree. Not that the margins of victory or defeat even matter in this debate. A win is a win. A loss is a loss.

08 Nov 2010 6:57 PM
Larry Ensor

The arguments for Blame are compelling and sound if HOTY is determined strictly based on that criteria.  I feel that HOTY should be based on the horse's “body” of work in the given year and perhaps take into consideration the year before. I also feel that the horses impact for the greater good of the sport should be taken into consideration and its place in history. Yes, Blame won but by the shortest of margins and given the fact that some of the horses that tested him the most were far back in the placing my vote without hesitation would be for Zenyatta.  

08 Nov 2010 7:00 PM
Mike Relva


I'm trying to wrap my head around what goes on inside your brain. Now,you act as if you've always been on Blame. Let me educate you a little. You never liked him instead declaring what a great racehorse QR was and would be a lock. Don't use the SAME LAME EXCUSE you did earlier yesterday. You knew what post he drew and you still declared him a lock. As for "Fans of Z making you sick" ,YOU MAKE YOURSELF SICK! I think you are nothing but like a ambulance chasing lawyer,latching on to a winner after the fact! Individuals like Bill Nack believe Zenyatta is a mare of a lifetime,like many other trainers and writers that's REALLY CONNECTED. I would pay a alot of money for the chance to observe you spin some of your bs ideas regarding your always neg. slam of a truly great mare to these people. What drives someone to continually slam a horse that's done so much for racing? Do you think for a second the improvement of ratings for the Breeders' was a result of individials wanting to watch LAL,Blame,QR? I think someone as yourself is seriously disturbed to have an axe to grind over an innocent animal. I didn't select a winner over the weekend and I'm certain you didn't either,yet you always attempt to place yourself in the winners circle. You should be ashamed of yourself,cause the "expert" that you say you are would know without a doubt what Zenyatta did the other nite was nothing short of impressive! YOU HAVE MAJOR PROBLEMS,THE LEAST BEING YOUR INABILITY TO SELECT A WINNER!

08 Nov 2010 7:04 PM

I just went through all your posts Jimmy.  Where was the respect for Zenyatta?  Maybe I didn't read them right, but they were all basically calling her a loser.  There was no respect.  You sound like Dray and many others who have no respect for her.  If you have respect for a horse you say that.  You don't have respect for her fans and her connections you say that.  But I didn't see where you had much respect for the horse.  If I missed that, I apologize in advance.  I can't speak for other Zenyatta fans.  I have stated quite a few times that I could care less about HOY.  Blame had the perfect trip.  Zenyatta did not.  She lost.  That is horse racing.  But there have only been a few of her vociferous critics and name callers who have had the guts to step up and acknowledge what a racehorse she was.  There is only one person on here that really bothers me, and it isn't you.  I could care less what anybody's opinion is as long as they research and have an open mind.  I read everything I can on all racing and try to soak up as much knowledge as I can so I don't go off half-cocked.  I try to hold my tongue when people get smarmy.  I make my jabs every once in a while (like the super horse jab about Quality Road).  So many people said she could not hit the board.  So many people said she could not close on a group of dirt males.  She did and she did it on a tiring track (this information from Bob Baffert who ran horses on it) and even on a tiring track she closed in 24 flat.  All I would like to see is acknowledgement that these very people were wrong and she is one hell of a racehorse.  I personally don't think that is too much to ask.  Vote for whoever you want for HOY.  It won't change Zenyatta's life at all but it will be a big boost to Blame's stud career.  They could also have kept Blame in training for next year.  It would have done the sport some more good.  But only a few have mentioned that.  Oh well.  Enough from me.

08 Nov 2010 7:06 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

Footlick, regarding your 08 Nov 2010 6:32 PM quote from Bob Baffert... What does he know? He's just a Hall Of Fame trainer who knows a good horse when he sees one.

08 Nov 2010 7:09 PM

  On Sunday, I judged some classes at a local horse show.  It was a doubled judged show and the other judge and I were happy to find that in the end, our placings were nearly identical.  We did not know each other and come from different breeds, so this really says something.  One of the mothers of an eight-and-under competitor was very upset that her daughter placed second and insisted the little girl who won was "off course."  She was not and we tried to explain, to no avail.  I say this to show just how emotional people can become about little awards at a small, local competition, so it is not surprising that something like HOY can start some real fights.

That said, I believe we should take the high road.  The requirement is that the horse competed in ONE North American Race.  I say, give it to that other amazing mare, Goldikova.  I am a HUGE Zenyatta fan, and would love to see her get the award, but how can any one be unhappy if that valiant little mare is awarded it instead?

(And I agree, Jason, Blame's connections said nothing objectionable.  They should be proud of their colt.)

08 Nov 2010 7:10 PM
Larry Ensor


Pepples was given the 1985 Eclipse Award for turf distaff after winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf.  She beat 12 colts/horses and it was her only start in the US.  

08 Nov 2010 7:11 PM

In no one's book will Blame be ranked with the all time greats of Thoroughbred racing.  Zenyatta, on the other hand, definitely belongs in the same rank as Secretariat, Man o' War, Seabiscuit, Citation... I could go on, but you get it.  To deny Zenyatta HOY is wrong.  She had more to overcome in the Classic then the rest of the field, and she did so in an impressive way.  Any other horse in the Classic would have quit while they were still behind.  And she finished three-and-a-half lengths ahead of the Fly Down who finished third.  Show me any race in which Blame has come anywhere near that kind of performance.  

08 Nov 2010 7:11 PM

If you knew anything about me you would know that I am anything but bitter.

Saying that a "Grade1 is not really a Grade1" and saying that "not all Grade 1s are created equal" is not the same thing. Where have I said that I knew more than Freddie Head?

It wasn't difficult to accept "my horse" being defeated. Because of her running style, I've been preparing myself for this for over 2 years. I'm proud of the way she ran. She gave it all she had. What is there to be bitter about? There is no disgrace in losing narrowly to a very good horse.

I'm increasingly puzzled by your attitude towards the fans of Zenyatta. I know we can get carried away, but so can the people who do not think so highly of her. Yet, your responses to both sides are strikingly different. Hmmm! Sorry to be so slow on the up-take, I'm getting the not so subtle hint.

08 Nov 2010 7:13 PM
Pam S.

I have read quite a bit on this and other forums about running Zenyatta for another year.  Would you really take a 7-year-old mare who's a bit of a diva and doesn't travel well to Dubai??  The Mosses ran her an extra year as it is, her undefeated streak grew and she became more and more popular.  "60 Minutes" featured her, and I do think that's a cut above Vogue magazine.  She lost the BC Classic by a short head to a very nice horse, but hardly a world-beater, and now there is a hue and cry that she must again be passed over for HOY because he is so much better than her. ???  Why in God's name would the Mosses want to bring her back again?

Somebody proposed that Team Z be given the owner and trainer Eclipses in recognition of Zenyatta's career.  Nice idea, but I can almost guarantee you Todd Pletcher will get the trainer award, and the owner, I don't know, whoever owns the most horses.

You're never going to please everyone with awards like this, but I believe that if Zenyatta is "snubbed" again, there will be a lot more disgruntled people than usual.

If you ask me, the horse that should be brought back for another year is Blame.  There is no law that says he has to go to stud right now.  Maybe with a more substantial campaign, he could be HOY for 2011.

08 Nov 2010 7:14 PM

HOY is always a tough debate because of all the emotion that racing fans have for there favorite horse. Zenyetta deserved it in 2008 because Curlin was over the top the last few months of the year. Rachael deserved it in 2009 because of running against males and winning three times along with her eight wins. This year Blame should win the award because of his competition against all the top horses during the year and his victory over Zenyetta. The truth is that the only horse that Zenyetta won against that was worthy of the Breeders Cup is Switch. Switch wasnt even good enough to run in the ladies classic. Of all those 4 races in California and 1 in Arkansas the horses she beat werent even up to the Ladies Classic.

As far as the BBC was concerned, Zenyetta ran a great race and is one of the all time best. That race is what horse racing is all about. Zenyetta earned more respect in this one loss than she got in her other 19 wins. There just isnt too many horses to ever live that could of run the last mile of that race in 135. It was one of those races that all racing fans will remember. We will all see it a 100 times over the next 10 years. This level of competition is what people want to see and is what will bring horse racing fans back. I know that horses cant always run races like this and need some easier spots. When you bring the level of competition up to this level, it became a large national event. Goldi against Gio, Blame against Zenyetta was one of the best breeders cup ever. If horse racing wants to know how to promote this game then figure out how to get the biggest stars together a few times a year. Also figure out how to keep more of the good ones around at 4. Its not easy to figure out but if we had 3 other races as good as the Goldi and Blame races spread throughout the year. The national audience would be there. The sport has to engage the fans throughout the year.  

08 Nov 2010 7:14 PM

I just want to say I watched all of Zen's races this year . She is a Gift Horse to America She's an extradinary horse and we were all lucky to get to know her.I am on the east coast and wished she would have come here more. I watched the Classic and thought oh no she's not handling the dirt well especially in her face and I was ready to give up on her. Then all of a sudden here she come's with a heartstopping run and almost pulled it off. Most horses if they don't like it they stop right now and give up she ran her heart out. She never gave up what a true competitor!

08 Nov 2010 7:15 PM
Southern Chris

Jason, you brought up a hypothetical that any 3 yr old that wins the TC is HOTY no matter what happens in the classic. So lets say there's a TC winner next year and those 3 races are the only races he/she wins in 10 race campaign. Now there's an older horse that takes the Donn, Big Cap, Dubai World Cup, Stephen Foster, Whitney, Woodward, Arc De Triomphe, Breeders Cup Classic, and Japan Cup.

Who deserve and who wins HOTY?

08 Nov 2010 7:19 PM

Let's face it, all of the so-called big breeders and trainers have had it in for Zenyatta all along and were never going to give her HOY no matter what. This is why Horseracing is dying a slow death.  You do not give the fans what they want. Blame ran a few races and "retired" immediately so his owners can get their Stud money. Zenyatta has been a dream for the fans, her connections have shared her with the fans. None of you can stand that fact. Everything has to stand on "Tradition" with you. It may get very lonely up there with Tradition. 19 wins is some wonderful kind of accomplishement and she should be rewarded for it.

08 Nov 2010 7:19 PM

I was hoping not to see this sort of discussion so soon. It reminds me of the vitriolic RA vs. Z debates - and to both sides, what, in fact, did you accomplish? I learned nothing new on this site today. For the record, Zenyatta is one of my favorite Throughbreds of all time. I also applaud Blame for an incredible 2010. I'd like to see Zenyatta win HOY, but you know what? The day after it's announced, win or lose, I'll still go to work, and in the evening try to spend quality time with my family. And, if I'm lucky, next year I'll visit kentucky, and make it a point to see both great horses.

If this emnity was focused on drug policies, horse rescue or a uniform racing code, it would be energy well spent. And seriously, did anyone reading the above posts change their mind about HOY?

Personally, I'm starting to get excited about 2011 and Uncle Mo.

08 Nov 2010 7:20 PM

Watching Breeders Cup from Europe the performance of the stars in the Classic was disappointing. All Blame had to do was run a modest 2:02, and had the Classic been run in better time the big mare would not have been anywhere near the lead. Think of how far Monarchos would have been ahead of both of them i the Kentucky Derby on that very track. Zenyatta has been carefully matched so she didn't meet any serious opponents before the Classic, like last year. It just isn't so impressive, seen from outside US. Thank god for Uncle Mo - he was the true flagship horse of the Breeders Cup meeting. Why is it så unthinkable that he should be chosen as HOY?

08 Nov 2010 7:20 PM

Pas, what finish did you watch??? I am stunned at all the people here and other sites that say Z passed Blame just beyond the wire. The way they hit the wire she was never any closer. In fact in the gallop-out Blame was more than a length ahead. She was SPENT. I take nothing away from the valiant race she ran, but still, she came in second. I will say that in defeat, she was greater than she ever was when she won. She just happened to run into a monster that day who had more in the tank. Jason, well thought out and constructed article. Kudos.

08 Nov 2010 7:22 PM
Riley Bee

The HOY title should not be given to the horse who "did the most" but to the horse who "did it best."

Did Blame travel across country to face talented competition on a track he only raced on twice before? Did he close 20 lengths on the best males out there? Did he win five Grade I races?

No. I thought not. It was all Zenyatta.

Don't get me wrong, I think Blame is a great horse, but it seems to me that his connections are just in it for the money.

HOTY? For me, it has to be Zenyatta.

08 Nov 2010 7:23 PM
Jason Shandler

Southern Chris: And while we're at it, let's say hell freezes over tomorrow. Your scenario wouldnt happen in a million years. Let's keep it realistic.

08 Nov 2010 7:23 PM
Pedigree Shelly

         Being a Zenyatta fan , I'ts kinda hard to say but , maybe she doesn't deserve to be Horse of The Year ???   The reason I say this is because Zenyatta only left the West Coast once. also the races she won were against mediocre quality stakes horses ! She also didn't run in impressive times either ! I know Zentatta has done a world of good for the racing industry ,bringing in younger and new fans to the sport! She is a champion and a very special mare but this year , I'ts not enough for HOY :(

08 Nov 2010 7:23 PM

Maybe Haynesfield should be HOY as he beat Blame by daylight?  Hmmm?

Let's get serious.  If they run this race a month from now, which one are you going to be on?  Zenyatta's sub 34 second 3f runs are almost supernatural and she ran the final quarter on Saturday under 24 secs despite angling out and around horses.  She is clearly the best horse and for argument's sake, Blame is no Onion.

08 Nov 2010 7:23 PM

Blame proved to the world who is the best horse and should be Horse of the Year!!!

08 Nov 2010 7:26 PM
In aint easy being good!

Jason even though I owe you money you have been on a roll this year! Good job man I printed your Saturday picks off and they were good so thanks. I housed Vinyard Haven he was a bust .....thanks! Uncle Mo is the truth though that was easy money! As far as Zenyatta goes I think she should get HOY she brought so much excitment to racing and horse racing needs a horse like Zenyatta it was fun having her around and even though I am not a big fan she will be missed alot! She lost by a nose when the doubters like myself thought she wouldnt hit the board. I think she will win HOY due to politcs but we shall see. I also agree that she didnt deserve it last year but I think she does this year. Blame was great but he resume isnt that impressive in my mind. What he bascially did was beat Zenyatta on his home court which Zenyatta did at SA last year and she didnt get HOY!

08 Nov 2010 7:29 PM

I don't recall seeing any of the east coast dirt specialist male or boy race horses making the trip to California to take on Zenyatta at her home base track anytime this year. Why do people think her campaign was so weak when none of them came to her and raced her?

08 Nov 2010 7:29 PM


08 Nov 2010 7:30 PM
bben there

ok zenyatta fans. here is  the truth for hoy. how many grade 1 winners did she outrun this year?? ZERO till she ran in the classic, she was unbeaten. after the classic she was 19-1. her connections didnt really try that hard for hoy in my opinion. blame didnt duck anyone at any track he raced at. zenyatta didnt travel, he did! dont fly off the handle Z fans till she ran the classic this year I myself thought she was just kinda so-so. last years bcc was really lite in talent. the horse who ran second last year was a turf horse, she a poly expert. this year was good ole DIRT. what racing is supposed to be.she did prove that she is one of the great filly's of all time. cuddo's to blame and zenyatta for race of the year. HOY....blame

08 Nov 2010 7:32 PM
Southern Chris

Jason it is really ironic that you're claiming emotion should removed from the equation when you're using fallacy of defective induction. Every time you bring up what Freddie Head says to strengthen YOUR argument you only prove the premise is weak. It's   appealing to authority. Source A says that XYZ is true. Source A is authoritative. Therefore, XYZ is true. How logically weak, come with stronger arguments,

08 Nov 2010 7:35 PM

Blame is 2010 HOY, his campaign was better that's what the award is for. Zenyatta is only known to so many because she was the only horse marketed that way......sad that ESPN never even showed us the other horses that night...she only has her owners to blame (no pun intended LOL).  They were so cocky they flew her in a few days before the race instead of giving her timed works on the track to get used to the surface, outcome may have been different but I didn't see Blame letting Zenyatta go by him.  Sad that nobody in racing thought of marketing the other horses. Blame is a gutsy little horse with a good story too.  He would have posed for photos just like Zenyatta if racing was smart enough to market itself. And shame on ESPN and ABC for never letting the public to hear about any other horse in the Breeder's Cup. They tried to make it the Zenyatta show and it came back to bite them big time. And maybe having cameras shoved into her face constantly and the crowds constantly outside her stall is what made the nose difference in her race anyway..she isn't a petting zoo pony, she is a performance animal.

08 Nov 2010 7:35 PM

Blame is a good horse, I've liked him all along. But, let's get real-he couldn't close into Haynesfield in the JCGC. Zenyatta made up more ground than I've ever seen any horse do in the fifty years that I've been a fan of racing. She got beat half-a-head and was in front a stride past the wire. Who cares if she doesn't get HOTY? How many of you have seen a horse come flying like she did? She came within inches of being a TWO TIME BC CLASSIC winner. Stop the noise about who's the better horse and just take a long look at Zenyatta and what she brought to the game.

08 Nov 2010 7:37 PM

No one could come to California and race her because she stayed in all female races....Why didn't she take on the top males in California like Rail Trip??

08 Nov 2010 7:38 PM
Broken Tree

"You have to take emotion out of it LauaraCB or the award doesnt matter any more"

It really doesnt matter anymore as it is a very biased group of people whom get to vote on this and that "good"ole boys club will win in the end  so be it What was that horses name again   Barely? HOY would NEVER do Zen Justice and she has touched people in ways that the stuff shirts writing against her could never understand

Queen Z YOU are the horse of a lifetime THANK you to ALL your connections for giving us this year

08 Nov 2010 7:39 PM

The scores of Zanyata fans that did not want her to lose do not realize they indirectly did not want any other starter in the BCC to win. Not wanting other owners’ horses to win because Zenyatta is in a race is downright mean spirited. One of the worst traits an individual can have is feeling bad at the success of another. The Zenyatta fans have become so paranoid that they do not even realize that just as one swallow a summer doesn’t make, one horse doesn’t make a races or industry. The focus was on Zeyatta before and after the race. Trevor Denman should be suspended for his call in the final stages of the race. It is a good thing races are not decided in the media. The whole thing was disgraceful. Instead of blaming ‘Blame’ for Zenyatta’s defeat, Mike Smith requested that the blame to be placed on him. In so doing he diminished Blame’s victory. What a sour looser!

I watched the gallop out and at no time did Zenyatta pass Blame. In fact she looked a tire horse after the post. There is an award she deservers and she will certainly get. However, it is not HOY. If she had won the Pacific Classic or the Hollywood Gold Cup she would have been the favorite for HOY in spite of her loss in the BCC. Her connection chose to bypass those races for easier opportunities. If the truth is told she won 5 soft G1 races. It is ironic that her best race was her only loss to date. Give Blame the credit he deserves as he is the only one that showed the jewels to restored honor to his gender.

08 Nov 2010 7:39 PM
Saratoga AJ

I don't think I can go through another two + months of debating who will win HOTY. I thought last year would be the end all. Looks like another 2+ months of arguing.

Sure does keep the interest up.

For the record, yes, Blame probably deserves it. But Saturday's race made me a believer. That is not only just about the best filly or mare of all time, but one of the greatest horses of all time. And if she did somehow eek out the tally, I for one would not be disappointed.

Jason about a blog about what looks like a budding superstar...Uncle Mo.

I thought Boys At Toscanova was his equal going into the race. I was wrong.

Any other year Boys is 2 yr. old champ. Not this year.

Uncle Mo got a 108 Beyer. That’s the 5th highest number awarded this year. I can’t remember a two year old ever getting a Beyer that high. Can you? Boys got a terrific 101...and took a beating.

He ran the Juvenile almost a full 3 seconds faster than Awesome Feather did in winning the Juv. Filly. And that undefeated filly was all out while Mo was just galloping. Scary horse.

08 Nov 2010 7:39 PM
Ida Lee

Damn it!!! Your right....

08 Nov 2010 7:40 PM

If it was a mile and 3/16 he would have lost. It was one of the best races in a long time

08 Nov 2010 7:41 PM
Southern Chris

"And while we're at it, let's say hell freezes over tomorrow. Your scenario wouldnt happen in a million years. Let's keep it realistic."


Unless you're an all knowing and seeing God you can't say a horse winning those races in a given won't happen in a million years. Second of all, it's called a hypothetical question/scenario.

08 Nov 2010 7:42 PM
Bet Twice

HOTY typically is awarded to best older dirt males.  It has always been skewed in their favor -  Smarty Jones vs. Ghostzapper, Zenyatta vs. Curlin to name a few.  It is only in years where there is no accomplished older dirt male - Azeri, Favorite Trick, Point Given, Charismatic, Kotashaan and even last year with Rachel/Zenyatta - that the voters look elsewhere.  In the instances that three year olds have won the award, they usually had to beat top older males in the Classic - A.P. Indy, Tiznow, Sunday Silence - or win the triple crown - Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed (or do both).  

Arguments about Zenyatta's campaign are somewhat irrelevant because she lost to Blame.  As Jason points out, head-to-head match ups should matter (see Todd Pletcher's quote) and even if she'd won the Hollywood Gold Cup or the Pacific Classic, the only way she could have won HOTY was to duck the Classic.  Certainly that's worked before, but I'm glad she showed up and ran great, win or lose HOTY.

08 Nov 2010 7:43 PM

I don't care what anyone says.  ZENYATTA is Horse of the Year!!!  She should have been HOY last year.  She is the greatest mare of all times.  Anybody voting for Blame should be ashamed of themselves.

08 Nov 2010 7:43 PM

Who is the best horse in the country going a mile and a quarter on dirt?  

If the same Classic field were assembled and run 5 weeks from now who would be the favorite?

Sometimes the best horse doesn't win, but most of the people watching a given race know who the best horse was.

I cashed using a few horses on the pik 4's including Blame, but, I know he wasn't the best horse in that race.  Even the one's that were die hard supporters of Blame going into that race know it took a PERFECT STORM to beat the best horse in the race.  It happens.

HOY should go to the best horse when there has been no absolute standout campaign. But the truth is I really don't have much interest or put much stock into the award.  After all, wasn't Ghostzapper the best horse by a  no doubter the year he only raced in the Met Mile. He didn't get the award. So what, I know who the best horse was, and that is what matters to me.

Your own opinion is really what should matter most to each individual who takes this game seriously.  What YOU think is the most important vote, period.

I like Mike Smith and he seems like a fine human being, but, he made some mistakes in this ride and he took responsibility for it.  Good for him.

Garrett Gomez said he got the perfect trip (anybody think Zenyatta got the perfect trip?) and his horse ran the best race he has ever run for him.

It's horse racing and sometimes the best horse loses.  Was Mike Smith's ride the worst ever? No, (see either of Alan Garcia's rides the two previous trips aboard Al Khali), but, being honest it was a grade of C at best.  Now grade Garrett Gomez' ride?  What? A or A+.

It seems in most every race we can all be honest and say this was a good ride or a bad ride in a given race. Grading a trip in a race is what made Al Khali less than 6/1 in the Turf when he should have been 20/1 based upon the result of his last race.  Instead, objective race watchers saw the trip and then (as is often the case) overcompensated for the trip by betting him down into a rediculous underlay in the Turf.  With Zenyatta that can't happen. Everybody is DUG IN on their own side of this debate and there is no objectivity of trip in a race with Zenyatta.  

These people that say Zenyatta was beaten on the square by Blame are not what I call "seasoned" horse players or race watchers.  I am not sure what the original meaning was (sounds like something from the 1800's when racing around the town in a circle), but to me, beaten on the square has a different meaning.

Beaten on the square is what Affirmed did to Alydar or Sunday Silence did to Easy Goer.  Two horses going down the stretch head and head for hundreds of yards.  That's beaten on the square, imo.

Zenyatta was beaten by her rider plain and simple. No huge errors but it is in the minor details when the outcome is inches.  Mike Smith had more than a couple mental errors in judgement (and he knows it).  Those errors probably cost Zenyatta a few lengths, but who can say for sure.  One thing is for sure, those errors in judgement, cost her at least 10 inches and I find it hard to believe that anyone who watched that race with an objective eye doesn't believe that.

Did Blame beat Zenyatta in a fairly run race, NO DOUBT.  Did Blame beat Zenyatta on the square, NO WAY, NO HOW.

In a way Quality Road did beat Zenyatta.  Or at the very least, when Quality Road was going backwards into Zenyatta's path it cost her at least the 10 inches she was beat by.


The people who know how to be honest with themselves, if not with their peers, know who the best horse going a mile and a quarter on dirt is.

Blame ran a tremendous race and he earned my respect as a bonified grade I horse.

Zenyatta is a great race horse and there hasn't been very many of those, ever.

08 Nov 2010 7:43 PM

Tom, actually her head did get in front and then her ears went up and she started to pull herself up.  She wasn't trying to pass him on the gallop out.  It's what they let her do all year.  It became a bad habit.  But there is no way you can say she was accellerating in her gallop out, and she wasn't spent.  Using a gallop out as evidence about whether a horse would or would not have passed another is extremely inaccurate.  Shirreffs said she was her normal self 10 minutes after she got to the barn.

08 Nov 2010 7:44 PM
Pedigree Shelly

          I have an intelligent, way to solve the HOY debate , Give it to Uncle Mo !!! He reminds me alot of Favorite Trick ,the last two year old to win the Title !

08 Nov 2010 7:46 PM
Jason Shandler

AJ: Dont worry, Mo will be written about plenty more. I wrote about him when he broke his maiden by 15 and it got 48 comments. Seems not many were interested.

08 Nov 2010 7:46 PM

Welcome to the enlightened Zookeeper ;)

08 Nov 2010 7:47 PM

It's curious.

There is all this discussion about racing not prompting itself, not bringing in new blood, dying off in terms of public appeal.

In two months, grab someone off the street and ask them who ran in the BC.  I'm willing to lay odds that they'll be able to name Zenyatta but won't even remember Blame's name.

We're all up in arms about HOY but even if Blame wins it, no one outside the industry is going to give a crud.  The only name remembered will be Zenyatta's.

08 Nov 2010 7:51 PM
Pedigree Shelly

          This will be my last comment on the subject !! ( My Westie is dying for his walk ) :) Please Mr and Mrs Moss , Retire Zenyatta and make a date to AP Indy ! She's done enough !

08 Nov 2010 7:57 PM

Jason, your argument would have more force if you hadn't ended it with this:

"Anything less than Horse of the Year for Blame would be a "slap in the face" for the Hancocks and Al Stall Jr. Zenyatta has been great for the sport, but I'm pretty sure the Hancocks have also done a few things during their 100 years in the industry to better horse racing."

You can't reprimand Zenyatta's fans for being too emotional and tell them that what she's done for the sport shouldn't factor into the vote for HOY, when you then turn around and say that it would be a slap in the face for Claiborne because of what they've done for horse racing. That hardly supports your "Horse of the Year is not a popularity contest and it's not a lifetime achievement award" argument.

08 Nov 2010 7:58 PM


I'm overly sensitive but I found Beyer' s column to be on the 'chippy' side. After all, ha haad to spout of about the holy than though BSF's and how low he felt they were. I give him a big fat yawn.

He hates poly and let's face it poly brings more horses to the big race. SA '09 turned out to be a better field. Which ultimately means little.

08 Nov 2010 7:59 PM

So what you are saying is if Zenyatta had won the Pacific Classic and the Hollywood Gold Cup but sat out the BC Classic she would be a shoe in for HOY?  That's basically what RA did last year and except for one of her races they all were restricted to three year olds.

08 Nov 2010 7:59 PM
norma desmond

I just watched a video of the Jockey Club Gold.  Blame was soundly defeated by Haynesfield by more than 4 lengths. How can anyone believe he deserves HOY over Zenyatta?

08 Nov 2010 8:00 PM


My point system for evaluating who should be HOTY has no emotion in it.

Only G1 races in the U.S. considered.

Winner gets +10; Second gets +8; Third gets +6.

Points downgraded -2 for each restricion on race (age, gender and distance < 1 1/8).

Breeders Cup Classic gets +2 as the championship race of the year.

This method gives top honors to those horses who performed at the highest level at classic distances for the most number of races throughout the year.

With this method, Zenyatta gets 8+8+8+6+6+10 or 46 for her 6 2010 G1 races.  Blame gets 10+10+8+12 for his 4 G1 races or 40.  Gio Ponti gets 8+10+8+8+6 or 40. Quality Road gets 10+8+8+10 or 36.  Lookin at Lucky gets 4+8+8 or 20.  Goldikova gets 8 for her 1 G1 race.

Not a perfect method but fair, unemotional and rewards horses who race more often.  With this point system, Zenyatta has the highest score and thus would be my choice for HOTY.

08 Nov 2010 8:04 PM

If your logic holds true, then why wasn't Zenyatta Horse of the year last year after winning the Breeders Cup. She deserves it, and has done more for racing than any horse the last decade. Her record speaks for itself.

08 Nov 2010 8:04 PM

Footlick, seriously, what are you watching?? Post a link to what you are watching because every angle I've seen shows her behind Blame, at the wire and beyond. Even the Z loving guys on TVG said so, and they would be the LAST to admit such a thing. While she was wasn't accelerating after the wire, neither was Blame. Like any great endurance athlete, she has phenomenal recuperabilty. So it's no surprise Sherriffs said that. She's a physiological freak. But even physiological freaks empty their tank when pushed to the limit. Smith has NEVER hit her as many times as he did coming down that stretch. That extra gear that he always spoke about, you saw it! Sadly it still wasn't enough to make up the needed ground. Hey, I was yelling as loud as anyone for her to win. It just so happened she was second best that day, and it will cost her HOY.

08 Nov 2010 8:05 PM

If you are going to take emotion out of this then lets get a point system or something worked out that way it will be easy to see who horse of the year is. As the way it is last year RA was the horse of the year then. But you need to look at the sport as a whole, To me horse of the year is the horse who does the most for the sport. I think what the Zen's owners did was great it was like she was everyones horse. I think that needs to be done to get this back into the mainstream. anyway I think horse of the year really does not matter....yeah its nice for the owners and such but who really remembers who was horse of the year in 1985....people will remember Big Z for a long time.

08 Nov 2010 8:08 PM
Jim C.

Zenyatta edges out Blame in the final NTRA poll.  Not necessarily a representative sample, but I question whether Blame will have the base of support that Rachel Alexandra did.  Many East Coast scribes are already on the record for Zenyatta as Horse of the Year, e.g., Ed Fountaine, John Pricci, and Joe Drape.

08 Nov 2010 8:09 PM

If we ran that race again Zenyatta would win over Blame.We can run it 5 more times and she would beat him 5 more times. She had a horrible first 3/4 mile. She had to make up 20 lengths just to smell the last horses tail in the pack. If Blame had the same trip as Zenyatta he would finish mid pack at best. She was coming like a frieght train and grinding him down.Blame is a very good horse but Zenyatta is a great horse. You also cant take emotion out of racing. It is an emotional sport and thats why we all love it. Zenyatta brought people to the track that were not into racing. She created fans not only for herself but all of racing. That needs to be rewarded by HOY.

08 Nov 2010 8:12 PM
Atta Girl

Nov 8, 2010.  Got interested in racing last year with Rachel & Zenyatta. Her dance for her fans makes her so special.  If you say that she did not race any males this year,& therefore did not accomplish alot, then why did Blame only win by a head. Blame is a great horse & deserves HOY, but so does Zenyatta.  Eclipse better come thru with something (I would like to stay interested in the sport now, & sometimes more than One Horse deserves recognition). Love ya Zenyatta!

08 Nov 2010 8:16 PM


Don't blame Blame, but don't blame Zenyatta either. In the end it was still all about Z. Blame deferred & took a back seat. She ran the race of her life & proved her detractors wrong in every case. Like a hanging chad, she had been dissected as if under a microscope. Turns out the dirt is her friend (not so with Quality Roadkill. Go figure.) & the much to do about the boys, well, bring them on. With every stride she said "Take that & stop talking crap about me." This was uttered in a ladylike way, of course. First & foremost she is a lady - Queen Z.

As for those who respond herein on a regular basis, I would hope the relentless smackdown of Zenyatta will stop. You have lost the battle. She has made a mockery of your dissention. Enough already.

The Queen has spoken. Long live the Queen.

08 Nov 2010 8:19 PM

No, I still think it should be Zenyatta.  She won the Breeders Cup last yr. and she didn't win horse of the year.  I don't get it.... Blame has not done what she's done.

08 Nov 2010 8:21 PM

@ Larry E.

           I think you meant Pebbles :)

08 Nov 2010 8:23 PM

All things considered...weighing the interest that Z brought to racing...her 19/20 win record (5/6) this year..and being 100% fair in saying that she was better than Blame on the day....except that Mike contrived somehow to lose ...I would have to give Zenyatta HOY...if she doesn't win...we should never let Smith forget it ! Overconfidence !!!

08 Nov 2010 8:24 PM

Horse of the Year - was Zenyatta's to lose. I don't hate the horse- but her owners and trainer well...

They kept Zenyatta in training this year to "have fun" with her. Not a race different from other years. Why not come east? Heard a lot about flying over the rockys, so if it was a big deal why not have her be here sooner? If she "loved" dirt, and I won't say that after watching her run, why not run in the east coast?

Another GREAT Mare ran on a track she didn't like and WON - Personnal Ensign. She should have been Horse of the Year but wasn't. Does it make her less of a Great mare? NO.

I also picked Blame to win the Whitney and knew he would beat Zenyatta. To bad Zenyatta had to be hit so many times just to come in second.

08 Nov 2010 8:25 PM

Jason, it would be nice to discuss all the other topics raised by the 14 BC races, such as the numerous mistakes made by Churchill Downs and the bad decisions by the connections of horses like Paddy O'Prado.

By all means, let's use reason to choose HOTY. Both Blame and Zenyatta were campaigned too cautiously. Z's only loss is obviously much more impressive than Blame's only loss, and the poor BC showings by QR and Haynesfield do nothing to enhance Blame's resume. Winning restricted races has never been an obstacle to winning HOTY: remember Secretariat and Favorite Trick winning HOTY as two-year-olds? To go back farther, Moccasin won as a 2YO filly.

The choice is between Zenyatta, who will be an automatic Hall of Fame selection, and Blame, now retired (of course), who will never even be considered for the Hall of Fame. I've enjoyed watching Blame's progression this year, but he is not Horse of the Year.

08 Nov 2010 8:26 PM

A well written and overall balanced article. Thank you for that. I do think Goldi should be included in the discussion, she has not ducked competition and has accomplished what no other horse has - 3 BC races. Now, if you must take her out, Blame should absolutely get the reward. Lots of sour grapes running rampant though - if you use the logic that you have to consider what she do off the field (which I don't subscribe to) then why was she more deserving that Rachel last year? Rachel not only brought fans to the track, but she also had a more difficult campaign and accomplished so much more than Z.

08 Nov 2010 8:29 PM

If Blame wins HOTY I will finally lay my thoughts of this industry to rest and never watch another horse race again. Zenyatta is two years older than Blame and a mare at that.  She may not have the win to prove she was the better horse that day, but I think the reality is that was the greatest race Blame EVER ran and will ever run (not only because he's being retired at four... surprise, surprise) and he was still nearly beaten (and should have been easily beaten IMO) by a horse that had the worst trip of her career. Will many people remember Blame in 10 years?  No, probably not. Blame is a good horse, but ~good~ should not not make him a HOTY candidate this year.

08 Nov 2010 8:30 PM

Who is Blame.  He won 3 out 4 races this year and is being retired. Pleesseee.  Horse of the year?  NOT.  If not Zenyatta, then Goldikova.  Who will even know Blame.  Nobody!!! Z was the best and always be.  She will go down in history.  Blame will just be a footnote, if that.  Why should the BC Classic count anyway.  It did not count for Z last year and she was a female against males.  Zenyatta gave us thrills and excitement.  Again, Who is Blame.

08 Nov 2010 8:31 PM

I have read your article and disagree with you.

20 years from now when we go to the movies do you think the name of that movie will be Blame (who?) or Zenyatta??

The big mare won 19 races in a row-I really didn't see that on Blame's resume. 18 races? 17 races? I really don't think so.  Last year Queen Z won the Classic against all the well known guys and she didn't get HOY. Why would Blame get HOY when he won less than 19 in a row?

Queen Z should be HOY. To all of America she is HOY. She has done more for the sport than all of the other horses in the Classic combined. 3 years from now the sports writers will be saying, "who was Blame, why wasn't Zenyatta horse of the year with all the wins, what were they thinking"?? Think a little harder.

08 Nov 2010 8:38 PM

The Horse of the Year Award is totally subjective and the only criteria is that the horse raced one time in North America during the year.  Therefore, the voters can do whatever the heck they want.  The best horse does not always win the award and the horse who has done the most that year has not always won the award.  It really doesn't matter to me, Zenyatta is the best horse I have seen in my lifetime.  I just hate that the award seems important to the connections and they will not win it.  Claiborne Farm and the Hancock's are Kentucky Royalty.  There is no way they lose.

08 Nov 2010 8:40 PM
A. Evers

Blame should win horse of the year. He showed up in the biggest race of the year and was victorious. There is not going to be an asterisk next to his win that states Zenyatta got a bad ride, or didn't handle the dirt or lights or any other excuse. You don't win the Super Bowl by winning 16 games in the regular season, just ask the New England Patriots.

That being said. She should have won last year. She beat a knockout field, and over half the field came back to win Grade I races this year. She was the first filly to win the Breeders Cup Classic and was snubbed. Its been happening for years, and its going to continue to happen just get used to it.

The talk of competition seems to only apply when talking about west coast horses. I know you only have to run against the horses that are entered, but lets face it, what did Rachel beat last year? Mine That Bird in the Preakness who came back to win how many races? That's right, none.The three year old crop was putrid last year. Older horse, She beat Macho Again, who hasn't beat him? By this logic Lava Man should have been horse of the year. After all he swept all 3 major handicap races In California a feat that no other horse has completed.

In years prior, precedent has been set that you don't have to compete in championship races to win horse of the year. Really, what is the incentive for competing in the Classic other than a nice check if you win?

Lastly, for all of you saying oh she should have run here, or against the boys, or ship all over the country I have this to say. The connection took care of this horse. She never had an injury a set back because they looked out for the best interest of the horse, not just to make money and have media spotlight. Would racing fans liked to have seen Rachel maintain her form and compete at a high level into her four year old year, absolutely. Instead they raced her till the tank was empty and it had its effects on her. In this day an age where horses have a career of 6 races and they are injured and or retired to stud, lets celebrate a sound animal and her connections for not destroying this horse and allowing her to capture the hearts of horse racing enthusiasts, horse of the year or not.

If all else fails for the Moss' maybe they can send the entire Police discography to eclipse award voters to listen to while they sip on the wine Jess Jackson sent out last year.

08 Nov 2010 8:41 PM

Horse racing is about who beats who.  Who gets from A to B the fastest -- in the race of the year, when all the top candidates were in the showdown, the first horse to the finish line was Blame!

The connections of Z put all their eggs in one basket consciously!!

Scoreboard!  Blame is HOY.

08 Nov 2010 8:42 PM

Beating Zenyatta by inches in the BC Classic does NOT a HOY make. Simply put, Blame got lucky.  Yes, Blame is a very talented horse but in ten years, who's record wins and careers will still be talked about?  Don't think it'll be Blame.  It wasn't Blame that was packing them in at the tracks.  Simply put, Zenyatta has done more for horseracing than ANY horse in YEARS.  Thats not an emotional statement, just a fact.

08 Nov 2010 8:43 PM

Jason, I agree that Zenyatta should have had a tougher campaign.  I'm disappointed that she didn't run more races against males and/or race at some eastern tracks.  That being said, I want to point out a flaw in pointing to her inferior competition in the Grade 1 races she entered.  Of course the other owners didn't enter their grade 1 winners against her - they didn't want them to lose!  Throughout racing history great horses face small, inferior fields because they scare off the competition.  Zenyatta has been scaring off her competition.  Blame hasn't scared off anyone.  And don't tell me voters never consider a body of work when voting HOTY.  Do you really think Cigar would have been voted HOTY in his final year of racing if there was no emotion involved?  How about Curlin (who was 4th in that BC Classic).  Zenyatta for HOTY

08 Nov 2010 8:43 PM
Mike Boatright

Blame blah blah.

How many grade 1 races has he won?

how many times has he been beaten?

how many races did he win in a row?

Now who is the better horse?

I say Zenyatta. Did all she had to to be great. BC decides horse of the year, well what about last year?????? East coast is so one sided and I have seen better horses come from the west coast over the last 40 years I have been in the racing sport. Jealousy get us now where people. Who has Blame beat can be asked as well, she beat the same.

08 Nov 2010 8:43 PM

Enough of this jibberish...bickering...and cry-baby smith crap! finer said!  You are 100% CORRECT!!!! Thank you.

08 Nov 2010 8:46 PM

Did anyone notice that Gomez seemed to drift Blame out into the middle of the track with about 300 yards to go? I think he did that so that Blame would see Zenyatta coming and dig in a little deeper. I think that it worked because as they crossed the wire Blame seemed to take off again. Great race!

08 Nov 2010 8:46 PM

Jason, Sharg listed the facts that show Zenyatta's season was better - objectively.  It is subjective to "judge the quality of the fields" to make the determination of the best season. So maybe some use emotion but you are using subjectivity. Blame didn't beat any top notch horses except Quality Road but he is off and on himself. Blame could have won the JCGC if he ran a race like Zenyatta just did, but he couldn't.  HOTY should go to the BEST horse and she has proven to be just that. She will be in the Hall of Fame I'm sure but I bet Blame will NOT be.

08 Nov 2010 8:49 PM

HOY - Who Cares?????  Zenyatta will be remembered by the fans as one of the greatest ever.  I have seen numerous comments on the blogs this past 2 years trashing Zenyatta and how she would be "exposed" if she ever raced on dirt against real competition.  WELL, I think she was "exposed" as the great racehorse that she is.  I don't see any other horse overcoming the trip she had and making up the ground she made up and almost winning the race.  Anyone who still does not respect Zenyatta after watching the BC Classic cannot be a true horse racing fan.  

08 Nov 2010 8:49 PM
Bet Twice

Footlick and Zookeeper,

I really admire your posts.

Jason says take the emotion out of it, but weirdly, he keeps going back to the well.  Maybe he explained it himself, "I wrote about him (Uncle Mo) when he broke his maiden by 15 and it got 48 comments. Seems not many were interested."  Welcome to no emotion.


"For once recognize what you have (a phenomenon) and do something to reward it. And that to me is what's simple."  I agree with you completely.  

It may not be HOTY, but while horse racing is patting itself on the back for being "objective" and awarding Blame HOTY, Seth Hancock is raking in a ton of cash and hanging the sport out to dry.  


Will Farish said Quality Road was the "most important horse to go to stud since A.P. Indy." That makes two of you.  

08 Nov 2010 8:50 PM
a rational voice

To the author: I appreciate that you articulated your argument for why you would choose Blame.  I also appreciate that you have opened this discussion so that those of us with no vote can express what we believe.  I cannot hide that I disagree with you, but I would like to thank you for enabling all of us to express our opinions.

I support Zenyatta for HOTY.  I don't have a vote, but if I did I would base my decision on different criteria than the author.  The regulations only require that a horse run in one North American race to be eligible.  There are no other requirements.  The award does not have to be restricted to accomplishments in the current year; it does not have to be biased towards male horses; it does not have to be biased to a horse campaigned primarily or exclusively on dirt.  Most importantly, it does not have to go to a horse that won in a head bob in one race.  

I would deviate from these criteria because I believe that dogmatic devotion to unjustified principles with no other considerations leads to anomalous results.  If I had a vote, I would consider (1) the difficulty and credibility of each horse’s campaign, (2) who they defeated and who defeated them, and (3) the “intangibles.”  This may sound like I am agreeing with the generally accepted principles of voting: male dirt horse from New York or Kentucky (hold that comment about you stepped out of your bounds and picked RA last year).  However, like I said above, I would not bias my evaluation of these criteria towards dirt male horses from NY or KY.  Additionally, I would add the intangibles criteria in order to capture the horses that have accomplishments that do not fit within the classic criteria.  

(1) Difficulty and credibility of the campaign

Firstly, this factor serves more as a process of elimination for the top contenders than as a deciding factor.  It is important that the contenders for HOTY won grade I races and competed at the highest level.  I do not think that surface or state should be determinative.  That is pure bias.  It is easy to make biased judgments because we don’t see a lot of crossover between California horses and New York horses.  Ultimately, we cannot say that in every given year the quality of all horses racing in California is less than those racing in New York.  Similarly, we cannot say that a horse who was great on synthetic is less talented than a horse who was great on dirt.  I appreciate the historical significance of racing on dirt.  However, I think it is narrow-minded to limit greatness to dirt.  I know I am going against the grain here, but I am a newcomer to the sport.  I started following when the synthetic era just began, and I do not feel beholden to natural dirt as the be-all, end-all of true horse racing.  

Secondly, I would not restrict my vote to what a horse did this year because that improperly narrows this factor.  I would certainly not vote for a horse who did not accomplish anything of import in the current year.  That is the whole point of the first factor.  However, this does not also require me to ignore what a horse did the previous year.  Zenyatta won her 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th races in succession.  That is much different than winning four races in succession.  Similarly, Zenyatta won her 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grade I races in succession.  It’s a bit more formidable than five grade I’s in a row against no other grade I winners.  It also does not take into account that she has won four other grade I’s, or that she raced soundly for three seasons, or that she was the first female to win the BCC, or that she was the first horse to win two different BC races…  These facts do, and should, change our perspective on what she has accomplished in the current year.  The reasons that most voters don’t take these into account is that they are used to voting on single season stud horses.  At a certain point, they forgot that some horses used to have multi-year campaigns.  

(2): Who they defeated and who defeated them

Blame defeated Zenyatta.  Blame defeated Haynesfield.  Blame defeated Quality Road.  Zenyatta defeated Quality Road.  Zenyatta defeated Haynesfield.  Haynesfield defeated Blame.  Haynesfield defeated Quality Road.  

The circularity presented by these race results muddles the picture because these horses all competed in the BCC.  Therefore, this factor should not be determinative.  Furthermore, its weight in the overall analysis must be reduced.

I do not think that Zenyatta should win merely because she defeated lots of low-grade fillies and mares.  I also do not think that Blame should win merely because he won a head bob in the BCC.  To be consistent, I must also state that winning the BCC should not be determinative.  I think the outcome of the BCC does not indicate that Blame is the better horse.  The BCC often determines who is the best animal.  Some years, it does not.  This is one of those years.  If you believe that a head bob is an absolute statement of superiority, then you must also believe that Haynesfield should be a runaway HOTY because defeated Blame by several lengths.  This discussion brings us to the third factor: intangibles.  

(3): Intangibles

Why did Blame lose to Haynesfield?  Because Haynesfield had a favorable loose-on-the-lead slow pacesetting win.  Is Haynesfield better than Blame?  Probably not unless he gets his ideal pace scenario every trip.  Similarly, Blame is not necessarily superior in ability to Zenyatta.  He received a perfect trip, favorable to his mid-pack closing style on a track he is familiar with.  Just because one horse has a style that makes them more likely to obtain a favorable trip in every race does not mean they are a superior race horse.  Rather, superiority belongs to the animal that overcomes obstacles that others would not be able to overcome.  

In addition to manner of running, I would also consider manner of winning.  Just as RA was all the more impressive because of her ability to run faster than any other horse could for every step of 1 1/8 miles, I believe Zenyatta was the better for the ease in which she overtook her rivals.  Unlike RA, Zenyatta does not have track records and speed figures to speak for her manner of winning.  It was visceral.  It is what made watching her better than watching any other horse.  It is what defined her greatness, more than her undefeated streak.  She closed ground in a manner that seemed physically impossible.  

I also think it is essential that Blame’s affinity for Churchill be considered out of fairness.  Zenyatta’s win in the BCC in 2009 was discredited because of the surface and because of her affinity for her home track.  Just because it’s dirt does not mean that home court advantage was not a factor.  Thus, I would put even less weight on Blame’s win in the BCC.

Finally, and most importantly, I think that Zenyatta being a female should be the deciding factor.  Zenyatta may be the greatest female thoroughbred of all time.  Blame is by no means such a superstar.  Rather, he is average or slightly above average and the best male in a year populated by horses of low quality compared to past years.  If we lived in a gender-neutral world, there would be no question as to who should win HOTY.  As it happens, male horses are born with physical and mental characteristics that make them superior racehorses to females.  It is no surprise that the best female horse we have cannot beat a male horse.  Say what you will about Zenyatta’s stature; size does not mean equal strength or mental state.  Given these differences, I would vote to recognize the animal that is the best not only of this year, but of any generation, regardless of whether it is male or female.  How could you choose a slightly above average male horse over the best female horse of all time?  Although male horses are faster on a straight spectrum, absolute greatness should be taken into account.  

I think that my last point deserves even more weight because it is a reflection of why this sport is so screwed up.  Everything is driven by the economic gain of breeders.  Stallions are inherently more valuable than mares.  Ask yourself, what makes a stallion most valuable aside from a win in one of the Classics?  A Breeder’s Cup win?  Yes.  An eclipse award?  Most definitely.  What it comes down to is that the whole industry is geared towards spotlighting stallions over fillies and mares.  Frankly, geldings are lucky to be counted as males.  I do not think that being male should make a horse more deserving of HOTY because males are usually faster on a straight spectrum.  I think that the HOTY should be a reflection of what horse was the best race horse.  

Furthermore, sticking to the old preference of males over females only serves to alienate more fans because the champions are inevitably whisked off to stud after one or two short seasons of racing.  Is it better to fill breeders’ pockets with some extra cash, or name champions based on intangible greatness?  I would say the latter because females or geldings will be more likely to be selected, and they are the ones who will return to the races after a championship season.  Unlike the journalists with a vote, my job doesn’t depend on having readers.  What will happen to the turf writers once all the fans are gone?  I’m halfway out the door.  I am disappointed that there are too many turf writers who express near-sighted, closed-minded, and unsubstantiated opinions.  I am even more disappointed that these same people want to diminish the legacy of the one horse in recent history that has been both successful and made accessible to fans.  I care because of Zenyatta.  If you take that away because you must robotically vote for the dirt male east cost champion, then you have also lost a reader and driven away a fan.  Who is the winner now?  

08 Nov 2010 8:50 PM

Simple, you say.  I say, you oversimplify.  Blame was lucky to eke out a win.  Zenyatta was much the best, and is the best horse on the continent.  I think it's a simple call also, and my conclusion is quite different from yours.  

08 Nov 2010 8:55 PM

Gladiator I was at the tiring track all day and it was set up perfect for closers.  The track was sticky and speed could not hold over 6 furlongs.  Blame saw her at the wire and did take off again.  Zenyatta was done at the wire while Blame took off again and she never came close to passing him even 100 yards past the wire Blame was still in front.

08 Nov 2010 8:55 PM

I've been reading some of the comments on here and well....some people just don't get it.  It was NOT Mike Smith's fault she lost, and he did NOT contrive to lose.  Give me a break.  To some on here, it wouldn't matter if Z won the triple crown, HOY last year and this year's classic, along w/last years, they STILL wouldn't think she should be HOY, and that is sad.  Those who blame Mike Smith, remember this is horse racing where ANYTHING can happen.  It simply wasn't meant for her to win that day.  Z never ducked competition.  She was a late bloomer as so many others are.  The older she got, the better she got.  Racheal was a wonderful horse, there is no doubt about that.  But who was retired suddenly, and for no reason not too long before the BC?  Who was ducking whom?  As for accomplishments, well Z's speak for themself.  'Nuff said.

08 Nov 2010 8:55 PM

We all remember how Dark Star and Upset went on to be HOY not those losers behind them, Native Dancer and Man'o War.  As far as last years BCC, take another look at those who finished behind Z and their accomplishments.  Needless to say, she also beat everything Blame beat including the one that beat him, Haynesfield.  Does anyone believe in their heart of hearts that if these two met again that Blame would win?  Seriously?

08 Nov 2010 8:57 PM

Hard to expect a winning effort off 5 races with restricted allowance fields.  John Shirrefs is too timid to campaign a top racehorse.  

BTW, Jason, isn't the top older filly or mare eclipse award open for debate?  I think Goldikova is more deserving off the one victory.

08 Nov 2010 8:59 PM

Footlick, I have a ton of respect for Zenyatta and at the end of the race (BC Classic), I turned to my friend and said "Zenyatta is incredible." I compare her run in the Classic to Seattle Slew's run in the JCGC. Zenyatta was incredible and to almost pull off that race was truly a memorable moment. I believe that in 30 years, if someone asks me about Zenyatta, that is the race I will show much more than any other win. She showed heart and determination, it is just unfortunate that we had to wait until her last race to see her go against the best on a dirt surface. I think the horse is wonderful, I just don't care for the people around her or the crazy Zenyatta fans. First off, her handlers only gave her one chance this year to compete against the best and that is just sad. She is a top class horse; let her prove it. Would you agree? Second, why can't Zenyatta fan accept the loss and celebrate her career for what it was? Why is there the need to trash Blame and make a ridiculous claim that Zenyatta should be HOTY, even though all of her wins were in races restricted to fillies and mares, and in the biggest race of them all, and her only time taking on the best, she came up a head short. I don't recall people on this blog questioning her head win against Rinterval or Switch. After all, she beat those horses by the same margin Blame beat her. Why is one a win and the other isn't? Blame won their only meeting, and also won the biggest race of the year before the Breeders Cup, the Whitney over Quality Road, who at the time was at the top of his game. Blame took his show on the road, and sure he got beat in the Gold Cup, but he didn't back down from any challenges and never took the easy way out. It was well known that this years Classic was going to decide HOTY if any of the big four won, so accept it and move on. Besides, do you really think history will not remember Zenyatta if she doesn't win HOTY? Most of the people on this blog are disgracing the game of horse racing and are belittling Blame's achievements this year. He is a very classy horse and he should be respected and acknowledged for his accomplishments this year. Zenyatta and Blame both ran their races, however, Blame came out on top. Deal with it and move on. Heart break is a part of horse racing, and that's what makes the game so great.  

08 Nov 2010 8:59 PM
Mike Relva


Hate is a damn strong word for people I'm betting you've never met and haven't done anything to you!

08 Nov 2010 9:08 PM

Mr. Shandler you made some interesting points, but I agree with very few if any of them, however, your blog was well written as always.

Blame raced until he was four, Zenyatta till she was six (it might be horse of the 'year', but the abiity to stay in the game that long should NOT be overlooked).

You said that Zenyatta's 19 wins came over a conserative career and didn't all occur just this year. Cut her some slack there, how could they all occur in one year? Personally I think that sounded a little unfair, just appreciate that she did accomplish that. This year she only raced in Grade 1's, and she won every one but the Classic, and everyone will agree she was the better horse in that race,yes she didn't hit the wire first and that is horseracing, happens every day, but it should still be taken into account. When you said it didn't matter how much Switch, St. Trinnians, Rintervel, etc. lost to Zenyatta, but it mattered how much Zenyattta lost to Blame: those horses were being effortlessly overtaken by Zenyatta, wheras Blame didn't effortlessly hold off Zenyatta, he got lucky and had some time left, but was not effortlessly holding her off, he was pedal-to-the-metal-and-pray.

No matter what the outcome is, Zenyatta has bettered horse racing. She has had more impact than Blame, and it would be a shame to see her lose the immortality she has earned as horse of the year, but she will be remembered and loved. That's horseracing. Racing is all about the emotion, without this love and passion I wouldn't be in the game. For now I'll leave it up to the voters :)

08 Nov 2010 9:08 PM

How could Zenyatta NOT get Horse of the Year, with or without the emotions? 6 years vs 4 years? 19 STRAIGHT wins verses 9 wins? Horse of the Year is not dependent on one race but the over all horse.  By far...ZENYATTA!

08 Nov 2010 9:11 PM

Tom- I'm sorry I have a different point of view than you do.  Their heads were not in sync, so one was going back as the other was going forward.  At the wire it was Blame, after the wire it was Zenyatta.  That's the way it goes.  As far as the gallop out, Blame's ears were still pinned back for awhile.  Zenyatta's shot up as she passed the wire and she started to pull herself up like they let her do all year.  Just my observation but I'm sure you know more than I do.  By the way, I don't give you any attitude.  You don't need to give me any.

08 Nov 2010 9:15 PM
mike rullo


why did you even bring this up?

did you listen to seth hancock??

the battle for horse of the year was settled on the race track.

racing is not dancing with the stars, the horses decide who the horse of the year is.

you know the horse of the year.


08 Nov 2010 9:24 PM

Does anyone want to tell me that Zenyatta has the same closing speed if she decides to run up front with the rest of the field? Do you want to insult our intelligence? Really?

Zenyatta's one dimensional racing strategy is exactly how Horse of the Century, Mine that Bird, won the Kentucky Derby. I told several people before the Classic that "if Zenyatta decides to run out front and win wire to wire THEN I'll compare her to Secretariat."

And you know what, I sure as heck think she could!

She has to exert less energy for 3/4 of a mile than any horse out there simply because of her size & stride which would allow ANY horse to have great closing speed. Blame ran from the gate and ran down the stretch. Zenyatta breezed for almost a mile and had her max in the tank.

I thought Zenyatta was going by Blame but a tired Blame dug deep to keep that from happening. I hear Zenyatta ran her heart out. What does that say about Blame who actually ran for a mile and 1/4???

Zenyatta had a great opening to get down the lane. Blame had to make his opening. That's what champions do. Zenyatta made her opening last year in the Classic and she was fantastic!

Zenyatta made her career in 1 1/16 and 1 1/8 races and if you'll notice in a field like last night's field, against a top field of colts, she wasn't in very good shape at the mile and 1/8th mark. She needed every bit of a mile and 1/4 to catch Blame and these are the realities of horse racing when you're up against great horses.

Blame only edged the great Quality Road in the Whitney because he carried less weight but one of the realities that can get you is what happened to Quality Road, trapped on the rail in dirt he couldn't grip. It happens!

You want to see how really great Zenyatta is, face better competition and face the "REALITIES" of racing, rate faster with all the other horses if you don't want to get "trapped" coming into the stretch, but if you do, be prepared for a little less in the tank at the end and see if you still have the same great closer. I feel horrible for Quality Road because if gets a perfect trip in that race, the HOY discussion would be different.

Horse racing is tricky. Just ask Secretariat! If he could've talked, I'm sure he would have told his connections he didn't feel well when they stuck him in the Whitney expecting him to perform like Pegasus.

I would just expect more objectivity and analysis from horse racing fans. If you want to be angry, be angry at Mr. Moss and Mr. Sherriffs. They calculated the REALITIES of horse racing and decided they wanted an undefeated record instead of giving this great mare a chance to overcome the unexpected.

Z was willing (AND ABLE!!!). They weren't!!!

08 Nov 2010 9:26 PM
Roberto Ramos

Jason, I'm sorry but I don't agree. Although it's true that Zenyatta didn't challange the males before the BCC, look what she did to them in the BCC. Unbelievable!

Please don't tell me you think Blame is a better horse because he was a head in front. He was up to his neck and you and all America know it. Under normal circumstances he will always run behind her; the BCC showed us that. He ran a very good race, she ran a great one.

She made the 2010 BCC a race to remember, not him. She became a truely great horse in the BCC.

Who have all the fans been following all year. Who is truely a once in a lifetime horse. What does she have to do to be recognized by the industry. Come on...You know that even though you give HOTY to Blame it will be a hollow title.

Truth is that when all the great horses are remembered, she will be right up on the first tier, Blame will be remembered as the only horse to upset the greatest racemare of all time; which by the way because of the 2010 HOTY criteria the industry didn't recognize.

08 Nov 2010 9:27 PM
Blame the Bias

EAST COAST BIASED AGAIN!!!! Had the Breeders Cup been at a different track, a neutral site(not Blame's home track) then Blame's victory would be quite decisive. Neither camp had a choice at where the BC was run but the advantage was clearly in Blame's favor. Was the advantage more than half a head??? possibly. Curlin losing at Santa Anita didn't cost him the HOY (and his campaign(and competition) that year was spectacular, wasn't it???).

08 Nov 2010 9:29 PM
Bill Daly

Jason, you got a lot of cojones trying to use logic on this crowd. Where's Rodney King when we need him?  You gotta stop making sense, man.  BTW, how many years does a horse have to be dead before being considered for sainthood??

08 Nov 2010 9:32 PM

This is how HOY is decided (MO)

if an East Coast Horse wins the BC thats on the east coast side they win HOY

If an east coast horse loses the BC to a west coast horse the East Coast horse wins HOY

IF an West Coast horse goes to the BC on the West Coast and Wins, and the East Coast Horse fails to show, the east coast horse wins.

so no matter what the East Coast Horse wins cause thats where majority of the voters are, the east coast. so im not going to even bother trying to defend Zenyatta cause it wouldnt be worth it

08 Nov 2010 9:32 PM

Jimmy- that's cool.  I just didn't get that from your posts.  So many people are so concerned with HOY and how Zenyatta fans make them sick, etc and etc they forget that there is a real racehorse there.  I'm glad you respect her because she, the horse, deserves to be respected.  Whatever you think of her fans or her connections is not my concern.  I try not to go overboard and try to present as logical and factual as I can.  There are people on both sides who are very closed-minded.  Anyway, sorry if I misconstrued anything.

08 Nov 2010 9:32 PM

couldnt have said it better myself. The connections of Zenyatta have only themselves to "blame" for this. Funny how last year when it became pretty evident Rachel Alexandra the great was going to win HOTY the Mosses and Zenyatta fans were all "oh we dont even care about that, its just an award but Zenyatta is horse of the century or the greatest horse alive and she is all that matters" and now we find ourselves in a nonsimilar yet strangely familiar situation. Her connections played it safe and it backfired. Blame should win hands down. As its been stated, this isnt a popularity contest. If you say Zenyatta is the best and the gets beat fair and square by an accomplished and consistent older horse then who are you to say he is not the best since he beat "the best" ? And to touch on all the fuss being made that she only lost by a head.....Zenyatta also only beat G2 winners this year by a nose, neck and whatever other short margins. You cant try and exploit Blame's win margin and then say Zenyatta just wasnt really trying or that she "knows" where the wire is....PLEASE. And interesting how noone really wants to mention how Mike Smith never stopped whipping her the entire length of the stretch yet people here made such a big deal when Calvin Borel used the whip excessively perhaps on Rachel in the Woodward. Zenyatta was all out and had a good pace to run at. Who's fault is it that she was so far behind since you guys like to point that out? Zenyattas? Mike Smith? How about she was a victim of her running style. Thats just the way it is.

08 Nov 2010 9:33 PM

HOY is a subjective award. Otherwise, there would be no voting. You can data mine all the statistics you want, but it is not cut and dried. You all are just feeding into the egos of the journalists and are losing sight of the greatness we witnessed on the track. I couldn't care less about who these people award in a cheesy ceremony.

08 Nov 2010 9:33 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

Joanna, regarding your post at 7:35 PM, please refresh my memory. What is Blame's riveting story?

08 Nov 2010 9:35 PM

This will sum it up for some others will miss the point. Remember in Rocky 3 when mick told rocky the fighters he fought were had picked? That is what I feel Zenyata competed against this year before the Classic. She didnt beat any Grade 1 winners before the classic and heres another thing I would be willing to bet that the mosses run her one more time this year just so she goes out a winner. That would be nothing but ego. PERIOD!

08 Nov 2010 9:38 PM
Doreen Espeseth

Let me reiterate what was so perfectly written before me....if you wanna take the emotion out, which is virtually impossible since we all LOVE racing, then just do the simple math...without getting into all the nuances of Blames home court and Zenyatta being 6, stick with the math, as a Grade 1 is a grade 1, which is why they are RATED~

Zenyatta 5 grade 1 wins and 1 grade 1 second. Blame 3 grade 1 wins and 1 grade 1 second. For all intents and purposes  The BC classic was a tie~

Zenyatta Horse Of The Year.......

And so I agree with Bill Marshall, as do quite a few other people~


08 Nov 2010 9:38 PM

Will Farish is a very experienced and wise horseman.  I agree Quality Road and all his talent going to stud will produce many stakes winners in the future and I believe he will get his Derby win as a sire that he would have gotten had he been able to race.  I look forward to seeing Quality Road next year when I come up for the 2011 Breeders Cup.

08 Nov 2010 9:39 PM

I can see both sides of this, and i love Zenyatta she is amazing, but i have to agree. Zenyatta's connections had their chance to make sure Zenyatta raced in races deserving of horse of the year last year, and they had their chance this year. Neither times did they change anything. She did so much for racing but think about how much more it could have done if her campaigns were more ambitious! It was her connections decision to lay it all on the line on Breeder's Cup day. Although I do believe Zenyatta is a mare deserving of this award and i'll be happy if she wins, i can see that Blame is the logical winner. It is just too bad Zenyatta has had to be involved in this debate three years in a row. Curlin, Rachel, and now Blame.

08 Nov 2010 9:40 PM
Mike Relva


Wow? You almost sound like the voice of reason,if I didn't know better. lol All you've done is slam her with your lame spins. And,take it to the bank,THIS IS ONE ZENYATTA FAN THAT TAKES HER LOSS FOR WHAT IT IS.

08 Nov 2010 9:40 PM
My Juliet

   Before the BC the HOTY discussion was Quality Road, Zenyatta, Blame and Lookin at Lucky. This year no one had the campaign up to that point to take HOTY from the others. It was to be decided on the track in the Classic. Blame won. He deserves HOTY.

   Zenyatta ran a tremendous race. She overcame a lot to take the close 2nd, and passed top male horses on dirt. It's been said she knows where the finish line is in every race. This time she wasn't perfect. But her heart and courage were. A lifetime acheivement award should be given to honor her record, an award that could start with Zenyatta.

   I don't think Blame's connections did anything wrong when mentioning the award. I think these owners/trainers knew it was close between these four great horses and the top award would come to this race. They weren't just celebrating the BC Classic win, but winning horseracing's top award.  

08 Nov 2010 9:40 PM
Paula Higgins

First, the ONLY criteria for HOTY is that they have raced once in the country. That's it. So your criteria Jason, may not be someone else's criteria. To say your criteria is the only legitimate set of criteria, is baloney. When horse racing gets its act together and sets standards then we'll talk. But until then your vote is based on your standards, which you arbitrarily choose. Just like everyone else who has a vote.

Secondly, Seth Hancock is entitled to an opinion. We all are. But a wise man, a courteous man, a man with any sensitivity to the situation would never have done what he did. Do not compare John Shirreff's comments to Hancock's. Where and when the comments were made is everything in this case. Hancock's timing was very inappropriate and he was called on it. We all know he is trying to turn Blame into his cash cow by claiming HOTY.

As for John Shirreffs giving "short and smug answers" to questions, you can't be serious. I think the more likely scenario is that he gives short shrift to those he feels have an axe to grind. Good for John. It's never pleasant dealing with animosity, barely concealed, during press conferences. You don't think he knows what you and others have written about him and Zenyatta? Guess again.

Speaking of which, everyone on the planet is praising Zenyatta for the magnificent, one for the ages race she ran. Everyone but you and Draynay. To dismiss her race as merely "good" is stunning in its deficiency and revealing at the same time. You want us to think you are leaving emotion totally out of your vote. Nonsense. Sometimes the reality of the situation is apparent by what is NOT said. Even Andrew Beyer  acknowledged the greatness of Zenyatta's race.

Stevebiscuit, well said.

Draynay, I overestimated you and I am sorry for that.

One last comment. Zenyatta remains at the TOP of the NTRA poll, over Blame. This was taken AFTER the race. Zenyatta has the heart of a lion and that is the bottom line for me.

08 Nov 2010 9:41 PM
Pam S.

To "a rational voice":

All I can say is wow!  Are you a lawyer by any chance?  Or a post-doctoral student?  That was very impressive.  Hope the sport doesn't lose you as a fan.

08 Nov 2010 9:47 PM

Thanks Bet Twice.  After awhile though I really start wondering why I do it-lol.

08 Nov 2010 9:47 PM

HOY is a very subjective award based on no consistent measurable factors. Two year olds have won HOY. Three year olds have won HOY. Capot won HOY by virtue of winning the Preakness and Belmont his three year old season. So let's just drop the "restricted" argument immediately. Let's get to the bottom line. Zenyatta is a better horse than Blame. Everyone knows it and if you don't believe me just ask Garrett Gomez who rode Blame. Blame beat no other significant horses this year that Zenyatta did not beat in the Classic less a 10 inch loss to Blame. Blame with a huge home court advantage. He loves Churchill Downs. Zenyatta won on five different racetracks east and west of the Mississippi. Blame three tracks all east of Mississippi. Blame is a nice horse. Zenyatta is a great horse. Had Zenyatta gotten crushed by Blame things would be different but he beat her a short head with a huge home court advantage. Lead that field over there a month from now and I guarantee you Zenyatta would crush Blame. Zenyatta is easily HOY.

08 Nov 2010 9:47 PM

1- Zenyatta ran HER race, in HER style and she was beaten. I read somewhere earlier today that she ran the first part of the race "as fast as" any race she has been in the last 2 years. The problem was there was quality speed in front of her.

2- Not a huge fan of Quality Road, but it was stated that he did not like the track much. That doesn't suddenly make him a nobody, as many very good horses haven't taken to the Downs- Skip Away & Easy Goer jump to mind.

3- Blame lightly raced? Let's see, he's 4 and raced 13 times, 12 in the last 2 years, correct? How many starts did Zenyatta make the last 2 years? 11, isn't it? And only 20 overall in 4 years. I most certainly respect her connections letting her mature before starting her career, but calling Blame lightly raced & Zenyatta not is the pot calling the kettle black.

Now believe it or not, Zen won me over on Sat. in a way she had not before. And the only quibble with her campaign that I think could be truly valid is why the Lady's Secret instead of the Goodwood? The Big Cap was out when she was committed to Oaklawn, and why run in the Pacific Classic on a track that she struggles over?

One other question, and this is genuine puzzlement, not sarcasm. If she's retiring to Kentucky, and it has been noted that she may not be the best traveler, then why did they ship her back to Cali for a month?

08 Nov 2010 9:47 PM

I think this would make an interesting debate:  who would rank higher?  Zenyatta on a list of greatest North American race horses in the last 100 years or Goldikova on a list of greatest race horses of all time taking into account horses from all major racing countries?  Or just Zenyatta v. Goldikova on the worldwide list?  If you ask that question, you'd have to think Goldikova would be much higher on the world list.

08 Nov 2010 9:48 PM
Mrs. Mary Zinke

Mr.Shandler, Will you be taking into account Blame's grade 3 win and his loss in the Jockey Club Gold Cup when you vote? I don't envy the  weighty decision your fellow writers will have to make. I guess your mind's already made up, and you're satisfied with your research.I saw that you said, "A win is a win", and there was Todd Pletcher's remark about HOTY being decided on the track. Do the wins include Zenyatta's 5 grade 1's? Does deciding this contest on the track include the JCGC, in your opinion?

08 Nov 2010 9:52 PM

your argument is ridiculous and oversimplfied. Why not give it to Haynesfield? He SMOKED Blame-You cant blame Zenyatta for who showed up in her G1's. She showed, anyone else could have too. Head, Neck etc. doesnt matter? Of course it does. She had a bad trip, behind 10+ horses. If the race was 1/16 more, she wins- she was the best horse- but as we know, the best horse doesnt always win EVERY race- Blame wasnt undefeated, and lost to another horse in the race. I think based on a bad trip, losing by a nose-vs a horse that also lost-by 4+ convincing lengths, I say it is Zenyattas-as the BEST horse.

08 Nov 2010 9:54 PM
cat thief

JS, your too logical and you're points are unrefutable.  However, Zenyatta is at least Horse of the Last 3 yrs if not Horse of the Decade.  60 minutes, Oprah, etc. didn't have Blame.  Blame may get nipped at the wire in his last race yet.

@Draynay  Northwestern has 3 Big Ten outright or co-championships since '95, We go to the 3rd or 4th place Big Ten bowl almost every yr since 2000. They aren't the doormat they were in the 80s and certainly not as bad as your (and JS's co-host Tom's) pick, Quality Road.

Zenyatta didn't beat males on dirt, Draynay?  QR sure looked beaten, whipped, and ready to retire.  So did the rest, except Fly Down kept clunking on like many other Zito horses.

Funny how Tom picked QR and Dray loves QR...I wonder if anyone has ever seen both of them in the same room.  HMMmmmm.

08 Nov 2010 9:56 PM

I vote for Zenyatta for HOY. It isn't Horse of 1 big race---it is Horse of the Year.  She has done so much for the industry this year.  The ratings were good for the BC because of Zenyatta.  Blame is a good horse, but my vote is for Zenyatta.

08 Nov 2010 9:56 PM

I totally disagree -- Zenyatta deserves HOY. She did last year when she won the breeders cup. Blame is a nice horse; he won a few grade one's but was he triple crown? No he was not. Where was he?  I hear people say he traveled. He won at the SPA and Churchill his home track sorry not enough. He is not HOY. Zenyatta won in Arkansas, Del Mar, Hollywood and Santa Anita- all various surfaces this year. She has changed racing forever and brought new energy to the sport year after year. Unbeatten in 19 races and she put away some really tough horses.. On Saturday I did see her blowing by Quality Road, First Dude, Looking at Lucky... and sorry Mike but had she received a better trip she was on her way past Blame. Zenyatta is something racing seriously needs, not only is she truly a beautiful horse, but she brings new PR and branding to the sport both as a great competitor and legacy. Its time to give her the award and recognition she deserves. Thanks to John Sherriff's and the Mosses for allowing her to compete again this year. They along with thier beautiful girl Zenyatta have opened new doors for racing in this very troubled economy.

08 Nov 2010 9:56 PM
John T

Zenyatta answered the question of

what was asked of her in the Breeders Cup Classic.Could she show up in a Grade 1 race on dirt against males?and the answer is yes

she showed up in a big way.Losing by a head to Blame does not diminish her fine effort in anyway

as that margin of victory always leaves more questions than answers

and there certainly is no shortage

of what if,s in this race.We know it was still a top class effort because of the record of the horses who finished behind her.

08 Nov 2010 9:59 PM
Gary Tasich

Zenyatta brought the crowd, increased attendance and handle. People went to see HER after the race. She's all the talk,a true champion and HOY. Blame can be called World Champion but his body of work doesn't compare. She was World Champion last year. Neither Rachel nor Blame have met her on her home court. Yet Rachel got HOY and the justification was the surface. She traveled across the country and ran spectacularly on dirt. There goes the argument for last year's boondoggle. Zenyatta is a winner even in defeat. Blame barely beat Quality Road and Musket Man in the Whitney. Got beat by Hayensfield and only got Fly Down by a couple in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He has a record of 12-9-2-2. Zenyatta put all those horses away at first asking. Blame had a couple of shots at them to beat them. Have Blame travel across the country and meet her on her home track then let's see what happens. If he wins, then he's deserving. Best older horse, yes. HOY, no! Even in defeat Zenyatta was the better horse. She got two hops after the finish. Intangibles like emotion to determine HOY? Seems like that's what the east coast dirt busters used to knock a great horse like Zenyatta last year. People will remember Zenyatta not Blame. She brought more to the game and the Breeder's cup than any other horse that competed. Go back to my first comments and when you consider the totality of the horse it's an easy choice for HOY. ZENYATTA

08 Nov 2010 10:00 PM

Horse racing should stop discounting and fearing emotion like it fears transparency and chases class away.

Embracing emotion (and transparency and class) would do a lot of good not only to horses but to the whole of racing. Emotion, class, transparency would help improve how horses are treated, how long they last, how well they run, they would improve racing and retain horse fans once Zenyatta is gone. Perhaps horse fans are not as prized for revenues as racing fans are as horse fans may not bet as much but they are healthy for racing if the industry wants to improve its image and business. A minimal amount of emotion toward horses and integrity would have prevented a Mike Gill from receiving an Eclipse Award as well as suspended trainers. Racing and its honors should not solely be about cold figs. No wonder racing is going to hell as fast as its horses. Showing emotion is considered a contagious disease by numbed characters who discount horses as nothing more than the inventory.

08 Nov 2010 10:01 PM
Bet Twice


I thought you'd need some cheering.  

08 Nov 2010 10:02 PM


I have rarely agreed with you, and on this point I still disagree. To do the things Zenyatta has done it takes a few years, most consecutive victories, highest earnings for a female racehorse in North America, 9 G1's in a row, 13 G1 wins, winner of 17 G1 races. That is amazing! I'm dieing to know what the time was for her final 1/8, that alone should give her some credit, she was eating up the ground! Best losing performance of the year, kind of like Precious Passion last year. The fact that she hadn't run against any G1 winners, it was because she won most of them, the horses she faced would have to go outside their comfort zones to get a G1 (such as go to the grass, run in a sprint or marathon, or take on the boys).

On another note, I do agree with you on Goldikova. Don't get me wrong, she is spectacular and deserves Horse of the World honors but one win in North America isn't enough, should be a minimum of 2 or 3. I'm glad they are bringing her back next year.

08 Nov 2010 10:06 PM

After arriving home from Vegas[cashed a couple of irs tix]I read this blog.

Truthfully I could care less what a bunch of beat writers have to say about one of the greatest racehorse of all time..

My eyes do not lie to me..

Jason really in your eyes the BCC did not matter last year after a filly ran a 4 month season?

After a 3 year old filly did something no other 3yr filly did?

Yet Z did something last year no other filly ever did as well..

Your very bias when your point favors you.

Like I said I really could care less she is one of the all time greats..

Blame ty for 1 yr QR ty for 1 year R.A ty for 4 months Curlin ty for 2 years..

Z TY for 3 years 19-1 and a style which will never be matched.

Drayray TY for many a laughs 0-4 for predictions.

08 Nov 2010 10:09 PM
Gary Tasich

Emily...The east coast horses can always show up in the West. But rarely do. There's no criteria that says dirt should determine anything. That charade was used to justify giving it to Rachel last year. Zenyatta proved she can do it on both surfaces. Zenyatta is "All That" and more....

08 Nov 2010 10:10 PM
Keith Kohnhorst

Zen's connections went all in on the Breeders' Cup and may pay the price. You can't have your cake and eat it too.  If Zen had gone to New York, where her detractors lived, and run in the Personal Ensign against Rachel, a race that would have been Zen's easiest victory ever, and skipped that abomination called the Clement Hirsch against horrible fillies on a horrible track at a horrible distance, she'd be a shoe in for HOY.  Zen's connections have only themselves to "blame."

08 Nov 2010 10:12 PM

This article defines everything that is WRONG with this sport. Take the emotion out of it and think about stud fees. Blame beat a broken down Battle Plan, a bored Quality Road and Zenyatta who was 30 lengths out of it first time around. Really? Watch the Classic again and the trip Blame had vs the trip Zenyatta had. Come on. She gets HOTY as it should be.

08 Nov 2010 10:13 PM
Bill B.

Well, it's a terrible shame that a horse of her calibre with the record she has will probably never win HOY. Another horse definitely deserved it last year over her and the same thing appears to be going to happen again this year and all of the blame (no pun intended) can be placed on her handlers who tip-toed through easy races the last two years thinking that all they had to do was win the Classic and that would be enough. Well, last year it wasn't and this year she didn't win it. I had tears in my eyes when she lost as I so wanted her to win, but she didn't and the rest of her year was not very special and Shirreff's comment suggesting that all grade 1's are equal is simply twisting facts and is rather silly. The grade 1 Ballerina is not exactly in the the same league as the grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup for example. It is possible that had she been closer earlier she might have won, but we will never know that. The logic on here is amazing sometimes. I particularly enjoyed a much earlier post in support of Zenyatta that stated Zenyatta won 5 grade 1's, Blame won 3 grade 1's and the Classic was for all intents and puposes a tie?! Well, first off it wasn't, but continuing on with this odd sense of logic, if the Classic was more or less a tie, what were the other races Zenyatta won this year? Under this thinking, nearly all of her races this year were ties as some had closer finishes than the Classic. Emotions really play havoc with logic sometimes. I so wish she had won because I wanted her to so badly and also so this debate would not exist again, but she didn't and she needed to in order to overcome not even facing a single grade 1 winner all year until the Classic. She was magnificent. Those who made the decisions as to where she should run were not. It's been an amazing two years with her and Rachel Alexandra, but to be honest, it was exhausting!

08 Nov 2010 10:14 PM

JC Robinson- She did run the first part of her race as usual.  But the plan, as I have understood by what I have read, was to have her closer than usual.

They shipped her back to California because she does not like change in her routines, and they need to gear her down before sending her to the farm.  I'm sure everyone who has worked with her would like to be around her while she is being geared down.

08 Nov 2010 10:14 PM

"Let me say this again clearly: Horse of the Year isnt about who will be remembered 20 years from now or how many fans that horse brought into racing. It's about which horse ran the best in that given 12 months."

First of all - Zenyatta did run the best in these past 12 months. But I'll let it slide because I know you were referring to the difficulty of their respective campaigns, and not which horse demonstrated superior ability. Secondly, where is the criteria stated for Horse of the Year? Just because that's what the award means to you, Jason, doesn't mean that you dictate how all the other voters cast their say. Some feel that Zenyatta's 5 Grade 1 victories on top of her national presence and gallant effort in the BCC earn her the nod. At the end of the day, just because you're lucky enough to have a vote doesn't mean this column is anything more than opinion. There are no strict guidelines for how to vote, which is why Zenyatta received so many last year when it should have been a slam dunk for Rachel. Though Zenyatta was the superior racehorse, Rachel's campaign was more impressive. The votes were split because the award means different things to different people. To me, Horse of the Year is about who is more impressive. And for 2010, that was Zenyatta.

08 Nov 2010 10:16 PM
Arts and Letters

My prediction - the voting will be very close, but enough people will vote with their hearts and Zenyatta will get it by a nose - rightly or wrongly.  I think there’s a case to be made for both Zenyatta and Blame (see the hundreds of posts above).  I suspect there will also be a surprising number of votes for Goldikova.  

Re: the quote “all G1's are not created equal” -- that raises something I’ve been pondering for a while now.  Does anyone else think the US has too many grade 1 races?  Australia has about 68 G1 races.  Canada has 6.  France has 27.  Great Britain has 31.  Ireland has 12.   Japan has 22.  

The USA has 112.  

Does anyone know why this number is so high?  Obviously, the more horses win grade 1’s, the more valuable they become.  Was there some kind of pressure through the years from owners and breeders?  How many G1’s were there 30 years ago?  50?  Why are there so many more of these races in the US than Australia, Britain, etc.?  I don’t think it can be based on population, since the US and Japan are very close.  Number of tracks?  Something else?

Personally, I think it would be better to have fewer, really prestigious races called G1.  Right now, there are so many US grade 1 winners that their value seems greatly diluted.  And, if that were to happen - say, the number of US G1’s be cut in half, I suspect that many of the races Zenyatta won would not make the final cut.  And, before anyone accuses me of having an east-coast bias, I’m from Canada.  If anything, I have a north coast bias.  :)  I know it’s not really fair, since a lot of the California races haven’t been around for as long and haven’t had a chance to acquire quite the same amount of prestige, but still…

That said, I do think Zenyatta was the best horse this year (and the last 2 years), and I want her to win HOTY, but I’ll understand if she doesn’t get it.  Her connections gambled everything on one race and lost.  If she doesn’t get it, I really don’t see how they can be surprised, given that they basically repeated the plan that lost HOTY honours in 2009.

08 Nov 2010 10:18 PM

JC Robinson- not to quibble but Zenyatta really raced only three full years, not four.  She started her first race as a three year old in November.  

08 Nov 2010 10:18 PM

Horseracing as entertainment in this country is sliding downhill. One of the reasons for this slide is that marketing (remember that positive press can be bought)has become more important than athletic talent. Knowledgeable fans are disgusted with all the hype that professionals in racing know is not true.  This laughable situation with Z is the case in point.  First and foremost, any race that restricts by any criteria except age should not be graded; restrictions bar true competition.  Secondly, why consider restricted races when looking for racing giants? Do we present HOY for best entertainer or do we reserve that HOY honor for the outstanding athlete for the YEAR (not one race)? Blame and Quality Road have outstanding racing records for the year, and neither of them needed any restrictions to achieve.  Don't cheapen racing's honors. Given the racing schedule selected for Z this year, we will never know how great she could have been. Just  being Silky Sullivan in filly and mare races is not enough for real honors.

08 Nov 2010 10:20 PM
cat thief

I love how Draynay thinks he knows what he's seeing/talking about.  Speed sure wasn't holding in the Dirt race preceeding the Classic...I didn't see Morning Line up on the pace from start to agonizing finish did I.

I didn't see MO stalk the pace the blow everone away did I in the dirt race just before the Mile.

I didn't see Big Drama blow out of the gate from the 1 hole and make them all race for second did I in the dirt race just before the Juvy.

Draynay, just own up to backing a miler in the Classic. He might sire some good ones if they get some stamina on the bottom side of their pedigrees.

08 Nov 2010 10:21 PM

Wow Jason, look what you started! I really hope everyone reads my post, because this needs to be said. I have always respected Zenyatta as a horse, but I have been very critical of her campaign the last 2 years. I always felt that a horse of her talent needed to be campaigned like a champion, something that was not. At the end of the BC Classic, I was a believer and she proved in that race that she is one of the best female horses of all time. She was sensational in defeat, and when faced with adversity, she passed with flying colors. I will say with confidence that she made believers of all of her critics, even Andy Beyer. What she did was tremendous, and I have all the respect in the world for her. With that being said, I am disgusted with the responses on this blog. Instead of celebrating this horse and her miraculous effort on Saturday, all I hear is crying for how she should still be HOTY. WHO CARES!!!!! Do you really believe her career will be forgotten or she will never rank with the best without that award? Are you out of your minds? Pop trivia, for all of you. Did you know that Ruffian, widely considered the greatest female horse of all time, has ZERO HOTY awards? Shocker, huh? How many HOTY awards does Personal Ensign have? ZERO! You act as if Zenyatta needs this award to validate her career. If you want to see her career validated, go watch the replay of the BC Classic. That is all the proof you need. This is so stupid and ridiculous. If someone asks you about Secretariat and why he is the best, would you rather run to wikipedia and show that he had 2 HOTY awards, or maybe go to youtube and show his Belmont Stakes? In all my years of following the sport, I have never heard anyone say that Secretariat is the best because he won HOTY twice. If it is not too much to ask, try to enjoy what Zenyatta did for the sport, and how successful of a career she had. She won 19 in a row, and while some may criticize the competition (me being one of them), she still won 19 in a row and came within a head of 20. That has to mean something. Look, you do not want to hear this, but if you take emotion of it this, Blame should be HOTY, but that does not mean Zenyatta is not great and that does not take away what she did in the Classic and the rest of this year. Stop crying for an award that will go to Blame, but try to be thankful for this amazing Mare and all she did for you and all she did for horse racing. Besides, I'm sure if you ask Zenyatta what she would want more, a HOTY award or a Guinness, I think we all know what she would pick.

08 Nov 2010 10:21 PM

Does anyone remember the 1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup?  Exceller beat Slew by the slimmest of margins, a race where Slew was seemingly beaten.  Fighting back to lose by the slimmest of margins turned out to be the greatest race Slew ever ran.  So, now, to lose by 4 inches and now she can't be HOTY?   RA didn't win last year's Classic and she was still named HOTY.

Last year's Classic was great, but this year's took my breath away.  Blame may have won, but watch the video again.  You'll see that she ran further then Blame and quite frequently, how does one forget the sight of that mare rolling like a freight train!  

And I have to agree with many others here - 10 years from now, Zen will be the horse everyone remembers, not Blame.

08 Nov 2010 10:23 PM

You can say what you, Mr. Shandler, feel and I can say what I feel. Blame, yes good racehorse,but yet against one undefeated FEMALE in the group. In most sports females would get somekind of allowance for being female. Zenyatta did not. She was taking it all in stride and lost. Horse of the year? Zenyatta. For performance and willingness, for heart.

Both good horses. But it goes like this....

Blame beating (any) big deal. Zenyatta beating (any) boys...Big Deal. Blame beating a big deal. Zenyatta go down almost beating the boys AGAIN....big deal!!!! Zenyatta should be Horse Of The Year!!!

08 Nov 2010 10:24 PM

Some of you folks are misguided in your arguments.  Blame beat Haynesfield soundly in 2 out of 3 meetings.  Haynesfield is a quality horse.  Blame should not be downgraded for losing to Haynesfield.  Hell, at least he showed up for the big dances.  In races that he won, Blame beat Quality Road twice, Musket Man twice, Haynesfield twice, and Battle Plan, among others.  Not one horse Zenyatta beat this year comes close to any of those.  And Blame beat Zenyatta head to head, fair and square.  I think Zenyatta is an all time great, but how could you vote for her for horse of the year with these things in mind?

08 Nov 2010 10:26 PM

Darn, this is something,  Over 300+ posts in just a little over 5 hours.  Looks like this is going to top the 1300 posts on another one of your previous blogs, Jason.

Although Blame won the race by a short margin, Zenyatta ran the best race. NO horse , Blame either could have come as far from behind as she did and only lose by a nose.  IF he could have done that he would have won the JGC.  Blame is a very great horse and he deserves Champion Older Male, but this year,  HOTY goes to the real champion,  Zenyatta.

You know, Jason, LIke last year.  The BCC isnt the final vote. It sure to heck didnt matter last year, as it wont matter this year.

Jason, YOu only have one vote in this dog fight, You cant account for the other 200+ votes.

08 Nov 2010 10:30 PM
Bill B.

In a way, all of this is rather silly. 5, 10, 20, 50 years from now no one is going to remember who won HOY, but they are going to remember a mare who won 19 of 20 starts including being the first female to win the Classic. Her place in history is secure.

08 Nov 2010 10:33 PM
Zen's Auntie

Since you asked WinnaPicka By observation we can say PLetcher knows how to get the VERY most out of 2 year olds. I must say he trains them to a fevered pitch and they are just SMOKING hot... maybe a bit too sharp.  

It is also apparent that he gets some of the best young horses in the country placed in his hands. One can also see that he has a dismal record keepig 3 & 4 year olds sound and peaking for the BC. So just as an observer thats what he knows. I dare say if QR had run the race Zen just did he would not have said what he did. LOL perpective is EVERYTHING isnt it?

Oh Micheal dont hold back now, tell us how you really feel about CD - LOL! just think the BC will be there again NEXT year.  I sure would like to see it back in At Santa Anita on the new dirt in 2 years.  

08 Nov 2010 10:35 PM
Kim R

I'm sorry but, I just don't understand the thinking here.  Last year Rachel earned HOTY and didn't run in the Classio.  The year before, Curlin was HOTY and he ran 4th.  HOW, after all Zenyatta has done for the sport of racing can she be denied AGAIN the title she so rightly deserves?  It just doesn't make any sense to me.  I'm not taking anything away from Blame; he ran a terrific race. But, I think Zenyatta is the one who should wear the crown.

08 Nov 2010 10:36 PM

Jimmy- that is very true.  That is what I keep saying.  HOY does not matter.  I have a friend who breeds Arabians and also has been involved in 3-day eventers.  He didn't even know much about her until I told him to youtube her BCC 2009.  He saw her BCC this year and said it was one of the greatest things he ever saw.  He could not believe she not only got back in the race, but closed as well as she did.  She should be celebrated for the horse she is.  Not for an award.

08 Nov 2010 10:36 PM

Awesome post Jimmy.

08 Nov 2010 10:36 PM
Mike Relva


Fire your comedy writer. It aint working! As for the remark about a dead horse,guess you know where you can go.

08 Nov 2010 10:38 PM

Agnete. if the time had been faster and the closer horses, such as Blame, had been forced to run faster to keep up with the pace, they would have run out of gas sooner. Leaving even less for Z to do, not more. Or so all examples of closers illustrates. The faster the pace, the easy it is for a closer to win.

Tom, first I watched the race. Then I watched the replays on the Bloodhorse site. When watch the actual race, they don't follow through with the camera until they are well past the wire. There's a gap from the wire to the gallop out. I don't know why. But in the replay they do.

08 Nov 2010 10:38 PM


Waxing poetically huh?  Good use of words but you fail to realize that in our culture awards do have value. You pose an eloquent argument but its meritless.

08 Nov 2010 10:40 PM

Well simply put!----Lindsay 08 Nov 2010 10:16 PM......"the award means different things to different people. To me, Horse of the Year is about who is more impressive. And for 2010, that was Zenyatta."

I do so agree! Yes Zenyatta's racing campaign was restricted by her owners except for the two Breeders Cup Classics. Is it the horses fault? No. Could she have done more than what she did if "given further rein"? Yes, I do think so.

How many people comment here that has never owned/trained a TB or even touched one that are making bad/unnecessary comments about one horse or the other,trainer, or even owner(s). Hum. It's not as simple as you may think!!

08 Nov 2010 10:40 PM
Racing Fan

Take the emotion out of the game and you won't have one.  Emotion is what keeps the owners in even when they are losing money and the bettors in even when they are losing. The owners and bettors pay the bills for the industry from the buying horses from the breeders to the trainers, farriers, shipping companies and vets.  The bettors keep the tracks open.  Lets hope they continue to have the emotions to follow horses like Zenyatta.

08 Nov 2010 10:43 PM
canadian fan

Blame beat grade one winners all year long.Zenyatta is the horse of my lifetime , wish they would have used her a little harder.Jason please give Draynay his own colum.

08 Nov 2010 10:43 PM
Zen's Auntie

Oh yeah and back from the 5th of October

"...I will go out on a WILD card with Dakota Phone in the dirt mile.  Hes in what the heck.  

Goldikova is a force and if she wins for the 3rd time it will be really something."  

Zen's Auntie 05 Oct 2010 5:50 PM

I LOve that Dakota PHone just saying!!

08 Nov 2010 10:43 PM
Gary Tasich

Keith Kohnhorst...your logic is flawed. We didn't see any of those horses or Rachel come out here to face Zenyatta. Wassup with that?? They even ducked her in the Apple Blossom. The Connections took care of Zenyatta and can never be faulted for that. Unlike Rachel's. Look what Zenyatta's connections acheived by putting their horse's health and welfare first. I guess we dispelled the dirt myth. If the east coast horses can't win on artificial, they are undeserving.

08 Nov 2010 10:44 PM

Melanie and others....I agree with you!!! Zen will be the one remembered more! Afterall, she drew more publicity! Is that not the name of THAT game?

08 Nov 2010 10:44 PM
Saratoga AJ

Well Jason I bet you'll get more than 48 entries next time Uncle Mo is the subject of your blog.

It's one thing to smoke your rivals in a maiden race, but quite another to put on a show like he did Saturday.

It should be an eventful Spring if he stays sound.

And "Triple Crown Talk" will have a real star to cover.

08 Nov 2010 10:45 PM
Jason Shandler

Racing Fan: Nobody is saying take emotion "out of the game." What I'm saying is, when it comes to postseason awards, in any professional sport, you must be objective as a voter. That is your job. Just because almost no writers liked Barry Bonds doesnt mean he didnt deserve his 5 MVPs Emotion in voting is a no-no.

08 Nov 2010 10:46 PM


Seriously? Rachel didnt need to go to the Breeders Cup last year because she had already accomplished more than any horse all year long. How can you people not see that? Or is this simply a smokescreen distraction tactic? This year had no standout superstar, but it did have 2, maybe 3 really good hoses who were all for the most part similarly talented and because of that, the BCC was a relavant championship deciding race. Besides, the BCC last year was on a surface that is not even natural to the sport and CLEARLY had a bias against dirt horses who went 0 for 43 and only a handful even hit the board. But thats neither here nor there...

08 Nov 2010 10:49 PM

BLAME= Horse of the year

ZENYATTA= Horse of the Decade

08 Nov 2010 10:49 PM

Very valid point, Footlick. Very valid point.  Those are very fine horses in their own right.

I was pretty irate when I posted my remarks earlier. I just find it remarkable that Mr. Hancock was attacked by so many leaving comments for his perceived slight of Zenyatta. In fact, he said, "I take no pride in beating Zenyatta." He spoke glowingly of Zenyatta and her connections...but he also said that the integrity of the sport calls for everyone to bring their best on race day. Maybe some new fans to our sport don't get that, yet. Maybe they will in time. For whatever reason - pure emotion, perhaps? - the only comment some folks elected to hear was his remark that the race for horse of the year had been run 30 minutes earlier.  Well, that was true.  

When horses don't meet on the track - like Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta - you have to apply subjective judgement. When they do meet on the track....well....this sport is all about - ALL ABOUT - who gets to the wire first.

Blame was giving Zenyatta 3 pounds. Blame knows where the wire is just like Zenyatta knows where the wire is. Do not assume she would have gone by him with a cleaner or more forwardly placed trip. If Zenyatta runs differently, then Blame runs his race differently...the whole nature of the stretch drive would have been different. Assuming Zenyatta would have prevailed is each viewer's right, but takes a big leap of faith. Wouldn't the extra energy she expended earlier in the race have affected her closing kick?  I don't know, but that seems logical.  Blame won on the track, and he should be Horse of the Year.

I heard an old man sum it up to a much younger man - probably his grandson - outside the paddock at Churchill Saturday night: "Boy, the race was a mile an a quawtah...not a mile and a quawtah and a little bit more. You don't say 'what if' in this game!"

08 Nov 2010 10:49 PM

Coldfacts, just because you're rooting for one hose doesn't mean you're rooting against the others. That's a very hard tact to take, all or nothing. It's just not true. And I've only heard one silly person say that Blame's win was fluke. Most Z fans know it's not true.

As for the gallop out, as I mentioned to Tom, go look at the replay after te original rece on the Bloodhorse site. You'll see where Z passes Blame before they start cooling out. And sorry, she in no way looked tired and spent at any time. Smarty Jones after the Belmont, RA after the WW - now that's tired! She walked off looking as if nothing had happened.

08 Nov 2010 10:50 PM

'Simply Amazing'    I guess some voters are voting with their hearts and emotions....

Zenyatta hangs on to top spot in final 2010 NTRA poll

08 Nov 2010 10:51 PM
cat thief

Has Z officially been retired? That's the safe move, can't have her being pulled up or going down.  But, Dubai is plastic now, and another thought...many plastic horses do well on turf. Curlin couldn't do it on turf, but how about Z targeting the Arlington Million, Arc, or the mile vs. Goldi trying for a 4-peet?

08 Nov 2010 10:52 PM

I don't think the word defeated, describes what b lame did to Zenyatta , not if you saw the race I saw. Yes Blame won the race, but no one who saw that race would say Zenyatta was defeated.

I think this is a perfect time for a match race. Who thinks Blame's connections would even give this a consideration. Not a chance, they know as well as everyone else here, he wouldn't stand a chance.

08 Nov 2010 10:52 PM
Jason Shandler

TXLonghornfan74: They were excellent comments. You made very good points.

08 Nov 2010 10:52 PM

To Racing Fan...I know of a track that continusly loses money every race season, thinks of shutting down, but thinks of the people, both fans and horsemen. Can you guess which track? Every one involed in the Thoroughbred horse industry wants to keep it all alive. Are you involved? I am!

08 Nov 2010 10:55 PM

By your logic, Jason, the Eclipse awards should go to the divisional champions named in the Breeder's Cup (which there has been some argument for, FWIW).  Honestly, I think I'd prefer it to this subjective method--and despite your claim of logic, HOTY is *not* and never has been an objective decision.  

It is a poor analogy to compare horse racing to baseball or basketball, where there are clearly defined championship series that clearly define champions.  You win the World Series, you are the champions.  Period.  In horse racing, you win the Breeder's Cup Classic, and've won the Breeder's Cup Classic.  Arcangues was not exactly HOTY material.

This is to take nothing away from the deliciously appropriately named Blame.  He is a very nice horse, to grossly understate things.  But, in a few years, he will be the answer to a trivia question: Who is the only horse ever to beat Zenyatta?  

It isn't that he'll go unrewarded for his remarkable 2010--champion older male is most certainly his.

Zenyatta, meanwhile, won more grade 1s in a row than any horse in history, period.  *ANY OTHER HORSE IN HISTORY.*  That's not a subjective statement.  Yes, her campaign this year disappointed me in that it was essentially a repeat of last year's--but she *still* has statistics on her side.  No, she doesn't have wins in what are considered the "Big Races" this year, but she wasn't out in G3 or ungraded company, either.

Blame is your typical HOTY--a nice older male who won the typical races.  He is, again, a very nice horse.  But a *lot* of horses have been "very nice."

Zenyatta has more fans, certainly, but that's not what makes her HOTY.  And this "Zenyatta should be HOTY" mantra of ours isn't because we get warm fuzzy feelings when the pretty Amazonian mare Spanish walks through the post parade.  

It's because she is a freak of exceedingly, exceptionally rare, brilliant talent, capable of defying physics in the last 300 yards of a race while winning against G1 competition over, and over, and over again--including 2010.

Do not let an emotional reaction to the fans' emotional reaction color perspective--a mare as exceptional as she is an exceptionally logical HOTY.

08 Nov 2010 10:55 PM

Let me see if I got this one right.  You want to give the HOY to Blame, a horse whom had the perfect trip in the Classic to just hang on in beating Zenyatta, a horse whom had to make up over 20 lengths and swerve out of Quality Road's stopping in front of her and still got up to Blame nostrils.

This is the same Blame that won a Grade 3 race over a bunch of nobodies, won the Grade 1 Foster over an injured horse, won the Grade 1 Whitney over a tiring Quality Road, and got thrashed by an average New York bred called Haynesfield in the JCGC.  And these two horses used as measuring sticks for the caliber of Blame's competition, Haynesfield and Quality Road finished second to last and dead last in the Classic.

And wasn't the horse that challenged Zenyatta in the race before the Classic, Switch, run second in a Breeders' Cup race?

08 Nov 2010 10:58 PM
Gary Tasich

Headline....."Breeder's Cup Attendance and Handle Increase".

Question begs to be asked....How much of this was because of Queen Zenyatta. wouldn't have happened without her! She held up her end...will the sport hold up theirs? Guess she can run on dirt after all. She went east and raced on the dirt....Rachel stayed home, got HOY and hit the wall in 2010. Kind of diminishes the stature of the award...doesn't it?

The Zenyatta team has exhibited such style and grace. Too bad the East coast never has demonstrated the same.

She is a true champion! It's a good thing she never had to read the tawdry press or blogs coming out of the East....She's a class act and deserving of HOY! But if she doesn't get it, she won't care. As far as she's concerned she got her target.

Awards like the Eclipse, the Oscar and the Nobel are losing their luster because of the politics and the quality of the recipient's work. Go Zenyatta!

If we're lucky....the Moss' won't retire her and will go east to whack whatever they decide to put up against her. We know Blame won't be there because he's already cut and run. Zenyatta...HOY!!

08 Nov 2010 10:59 PM

Let's see Quality Road was in 2 BC Classics, wouldn't go in the first time so was scratched, ran dead last the second time.  So much for Draynay's horse.  I WOULD SURE LIKE TO BE FIRST IN LINE WITH MY GOOD MARE TO BREED TO HIM. The TV viewers was up, the wagering was over the top, wonder why COULD IT HAVE BEEN THE INTEREST IN QUEEN Z!

08 Nov 2010 10:59 PM

TXLonghorn,  What the hell is three pounds to a 1200 horse?  That equals to about three apples and two carrots.  

I sware,  how people want to rewrite history every year when they want things to go their way.  

Accept it Mr. Hancock, LIke last year,  A BCC win doesnt make a HOTY.  This is like last year all over again, but this year Zenyatta is getting the better end of the the tally.

08 Nov 2010 11:00 PM
Jason Shandler

Predict: I stand corrected. Manny just beat you by a head. Sorry.

08 Nov 2010 11:00 PM
Just me

Jason,  Please note articles on this site and DRF.  Huge increase in BC TV ratings.  If this sport is going to survive we need fans.  Those people didn't tune in to see Blame and I guarantee they aren't talking about him around the water cooler today.  As a sport we look like, and are, idiots when we fail to recognize that we have what we have wanted all along, stars.  I don't really care who won what.  Show me where it is written that it is the horse with some specific edge winning this race or that.  Let's face it.  It is a judgement call.  Let's make a judgement that rewards our stars and brings more people to the track and tuning in.  Zenyatta has done a lot for racing, let's recognize that.  She deserves it and so does racing.  

08 Nov 2010 11:01 PM


I don't think you understood what I said.  I said Blame deserved to be called the best horse, based on his narrow head-to-head victory.   Zenyatta's trip was not overly troubled.  Unfortunately, she broke terribly slow and it took Smith forever to get her going.  

Whatever "trouble" she had was mostly of her own making.  It didn't help matters that her connections campaigned her against lesser horses all year, which I don't think was the best preparation for taking on the best on the biggest day.  I also thought that not breezing her at least once over the Churchill strip and getting her used to that dirt in her face was a strategic error.  More of Sherriffs', "I hate to be away from my barn in California too long" phobia, and I think it cost him.

Maybe the results would be different on a different day, different track, who knows?  But the one race is all we have to go on. Zenyatta could have entered any of Blame's previous races.  He couldn't have entered any of hers.  Whose choice was that?

But again, having the best (by a nose) horse is not the be all and end all for HOY. Compared to Zenyatta's year, I don't think Blame did as much to merit HOY and I base that mainly on a too-short campaign.  I believe only Ghostzapper and All Along won HOY off a campaign of five races or less. It wasn't enough for Zenyatta last year. I would agree that he deserved it if he won all five or at least made a furious run to almost catch Haynesfield in the JCGC. But he didn't. While both would be worthy winners, in my opinion, Zenyatta is a little more worthy based on her entire performance throughout the racing year.  It's true Blame clobbered all the best males in the Classic, but Zenyatta clobbered them too.

MK in FL,

Sorry couldn't disagree more about Zenyatta's campaign.  You say "the Mosses should be awarded for taking a huge gamble. They could have retired her after 19, but they went for 20 for the fans."

Oh come on now.  I'm sure they did want to win for the fans, but they also wanted the fame and the glory and the $3,000,000 winners share.  And a huge gamble?  Could anyone possibly have run a more cautious campaign?  They treated her like a piece of china they were afraid would break.  You can take excellent care of your mare and still let her reach her potential by regularly facing the best competition (see Goldikova)  As gamblers go, no one's ever gonna mistake Moss for Kenny Rogers.

08 Nov 2010 11:01 PM

Cat Thief I was there and speed did not hold past 6 furlongs.  It was a very tiring track and very sticky. The Dirt Mile was won by a horse that was 15+ lengths behind at the start and had walked out of the gate. First Dude, Haynesfield, and Quality Road all backed up dead tired on the stuff.  The longer they went the more tiring the track was.  The Dirt Mile showed that as the sun was going down and it became cooler and cooler the track was becoming more and more sticky.  You could tell by the large chunks of dirt that flew in the air later in the day. Mike Smith even commented on the large chunks hitting Zenyatta in her face.  The same thing happend to Life At Ten she didn't like the sticky track and refused to run. Uncle Mo was just so much better then the field but the track changed after that race at 3:55.  The Dirt Mile went off at 5:20 and by then it was much cooler and the water they put down was not drying causing the track to get sticky. By 6:45 it was very cool and very wet on the track and the sun had been down for more then a half hour.  It is not hard to figure out why all the speed horses had so much trouble as the day went on.

08 Nov 2010 11:04 PM

To TXLonghornFan74 and others: another factor that might of hurt Zenyatta besides the dirt in her face is that she had been training to race beyond the wire. She knows where the wire is and pulls herself up so she was trained beyond it (Bloodhorse). I think not that she is stupid and not knowing a race from a workout, but it could've played a factor as to why she did not get moving earlier on in the race.

08 Nov 2010 11:05 PM

The sad fact is the so-called racing experts made a mistake last year with RA and will probably do the same this year with Blame.  He is a quality horse but if he and Zenyatta ran against each other 10 times he might win twice.  He got a perfect trip on his favorite track and won a head-bob.  Z got the worst trip ever on a track she obviously did not care for and came up a nose short.  If Blame is named HOY at least his connections are smart enough to retire him so he does not come back next year and get laughed at like RA.  Maybe it should be a vote of the people, it's pretty clear the experts don't have a clue, if you don't believe me just look at some of there picks in the Big Races.

08 Nov 2010 11:06 PM
cat thief

Horse of the year 1998: Skip Away finished up the track in the Classic at Churchill. Beat out Awesome Again (was he 8-0 that year?) the Classic winner, and Silver Charm the Dubai winner.  Sonny Hines didn't have to bring Skippy back for '98, he had set a stakes record in the '97 Classic, but I was sure glad he did.  That was the summer of Skippy.  This was the summer of Zenyatta.

08 Nov 2010 11:07 PM
FL QueenZ Fan

If the winning of the classic warrants the HOY award,  then what happened last year.  Zenyatta won the classic and she did not get HOY. It is about how well they did over this year.  For the first time in a very long time, the racing industry has gotten noticed in a positive way, not from a tragice breakdown.  Zenyatta went out still at the top of her game. In my mind Zenyatta has earned.

08 Nov 2010 11:12 PM

Now everyone knows why I'm tired of arguing with the Z fans. No matter how much I think she's truly amazing and one of the best female of all time, Ihope she'll retired cause I'm too tired of her fans. You can't argue with them, they won't listen to logic. I agree on every point you made Jason. Blame deserves it

People saying that didn't heard of Blame before the Classic are people who are knew to the sport and only know Zenyatta. It's great to have new people in the sport, but after the Stephen fost and all summer long there was a LOT of talk and article about Blame, he was really well know, except to epople who only watched the BC 2009 and the BC 2010 and nothing in between

08 Nov 2010 11:15 PM
cat thief

@Dray,  watch Blame ride the dead, sticky rail all the way around right in the same path as QR. Then he pops out and splits Etched and LAL. The cheap speed didn't hold all weekend, but quality speed (not quality road) as is Morning Line, MO, Big D held up. Life at Ten is a diff. story (cramps?).

08 Nov 2010 11:17 PM

I guess Manny wins BOTY(Blogger of the year)

08 Nov 2010 11:17 PM

I still see people whining about her '19 race winning streak'! If this was about how many races a horse wins in their career, then we should slap Pepper's Pride with HOTY right now! She should have had it last year, if the case were true! HOTY can't be decided by how impressive a horse's last THREE years were. It's ONE year, people, get over the 19 race streak crap!

As for everyone going on about Haynesfield beating Blame in the JCGC, Onion beat Secretariat too... in his championship season, after he had won the Belmont by open lengths. Even the best can be beaten, and that goes for both horses!

Also, Blame beat far more grade one winners that Zenyatta did this year!

Keep in mind that this is ONLY for 2010!


Classic: 2nd to Blame, defeated Fly Down, Lookin at Lucky, Paddy O’ Prado, Etched, Musket Man, First Dude, Pleasant Prince, Espoir City, Haynesfield, Quality Road

Lady’s Secret: Switch, Moon de French, Satan’s Quick Chick, Emmy Darling

Clement L Hirsch: Rinterval, Princess Taylor, Spring Style, Dance To My Tune, Made For Magic

Vanity: St. Trinians, Zardana, Will O’ Way, Miss Silver Brook Cherryblossommiss

Apple Blossom: Taptam, Be Fair, Just Jenda, War Echo

Santa Margarita: Dance To My Tune, Floating Heart, Striking Dancer, Pretty Unusual, Made For Magic, Pretty Katherine, Gripsholm Castle

Total: 33 Horses

Winners of:

G1: 8

G2: 13

G3: 2


Classic: Zenyatta, Fly Down, Lookin at Lucky, Paddy O’ Prado, Etched, Musket Man, First Dude, Pleasant Prince, Espoir City, Haynesfield, Quality Road

JCGC: 2nd to Haynesfield, defeated Fly Down, Hold Me Back, Rail Trip, Tranquil Manner

Whitney: Quality Road, Musket Man, Haynesfield, Mine That Bird, Jardim

Stephen Foster: Battle Plan, General Quarters, Giant Oak, Demarcation, Arson Squad, A. U. Miner, Duke of Mischief, Honest Man, Macho Again, No Advantage

Schaefer: No Advantage, Timber Reserve, Bullsbay, Flying Private, Understatement

Total: 30 Horses

Winners of:

G1: 14

G2: 12

G3: 3

Please note that this doesn’t count how many times either Blame or Zenyatta best the horses (Ex. Blame beat Quality Road twice, it was only counted once)

If you take the Classic out of the equation, Zenyatta beat NO G1 winners, while Blame would have defeated 5. This clearly speaks to the class of horses that Zenyatta was facing out in SoCal.

I am in no way attempting to deny that Zenyatta is one of the best fillies or mares that we have seen in the last decade, perhaps even in a half century or more! Unfortunately, her campaign wasn't exactly a HOTY campaign! If she had faced at least one G1 winner, traveled out of the state, other than for the Apple Blossom (meaning ACTUALLY traveled, and come out east for some of the big races), or even gone against the boys in SoCal! To me, 5 G1 wins against less than mediocre company doesn't mean much. To me, and more than likely to some others as well, 3 G1 wins against stronger company means the same thing! And Blame did outrun Zenyatta in head to head racing! We have no idea if Zenyatta would have gotten past Blame if the race had been longer, perhaps Blame would have found another gear!

Let's all face it. Zenyatta's campaign was not a HOTY campaign, and she lost when it counted. Blame is HOTY.

08 Nov 2010 11:22 PM

Unbelievable!  In a time where thoroughbred racing in this country has reached the sink or swim point, our "experts" decide that Zenyatta is again undeserving of HOY.  Forgotten are the terrible days after the Barbaro and Eight Belles tragedies when racing was under attack by everyone from PETA to Congress.  When Zenyatta & her connections exploded onto the scene in 2008, she was a ray of sunshine on a very dark horizon.  From day one, the "experts" found fault in every aspect of this horse.  She was a poly specialist, she avoided competition, she didn't travel-I could go on and on.  Why our industry didn't celebrate its biggest star (and some may say savior) is beyond me.  Finally, last night I read in this very journal,  an editor comment that the very fans who are pulling our sport up from the very low levels it has reached-uneducated, biased, "newbies."  Both Blame and Zenyatta lost one race.  Blame lost by four lengths to a horse who has done absolutely nothing since.  Zenyatta lost to a Blame on his home track.  She mowed down his lead in a gutwrenching sustained drive and lost by a headbob.  According to the ESPN experts, Zenyatta would never be able to close on a dirt surface.  Despite losing by a headbob, I think she proved them wrong.  Unfortunately for Zenyatta, a Grade I isn't a Grade i in her critics eyes.  I guess it was her fault that she went to Oaklawn to meet RA only for that horse & her connections be a no show.  She is a six year old mare and her connections plotted a course that would bring her back to the Classic healthy. She came to the plate for three years & we all benefitted. Blame wins the Classic by a headbob and is hustled to the stallion barn the next day. Racing is  really going to benefit from that. If he had stuck around until he was six, would he have been running in Grade 1's and the Classic.  I dare not. Finally, how can you be critical of new fans to the sport!  I meet a family from North Carolina leaving  Churchill Saturday night.  They had a farm and own five retired thoroughbreds.  Their horses came from tracks like Finger Lakes & Laurel.  They knew their stuff & they knew racing and horses.  As I read Tom's blog last night commenting on Zenyatta's legions of devoted fans, I thought about that 13 year old girl from North Carolina carrying her Zenyatta poster.  All I can say is unbelievable!  

08 Nov 2010 11:26 PM


So true.

08 Nov 2010 11:26 PM
Mike Relva



08 Nov 2010 11:27 PM

I don't think it takes emotion or looking past 2010 to know which horse should be HOY.  It clearly is Zenyatta.  She had the award wrapped up going into Saturday’s race based on her 2010 record alone.  

Here is why:  

1) She had 5 G1 wins to Blame’s 2.  Some may think that open company G1 races trump f/m G1 races.  I might buy that on a 1-to-1 basis, but not on a 5-to-2 basis and being undefeated in one’s division vs. getting walloped in a race.  

2) She was undefeated; he took a shellacking in the JCGC.  Blame shouldn’t get a mulligan for his loss.  

3)  Zenyatta ran exclusively in G1 races this year; Blame did not.

4)  Zenyatta was a marvel of consistency this year and even in defeat her performance Saturday was nothing short of miraculous.  Many, many times I've read words written by Bloodhorse writers that a horse that didn't win a particular race was clearly the best. That was the case on Saturday. No other horse currently in racing today could have done what she did, not Blame, not anyone.  She was clearly the best horse in that race.  Anyone who can’t see that is blind.  

Regarding emotion, it sounds like emotion to me when someone says they are going to vote against her because they don’t like what her connections did or didn’t do.  This is about the horse, not the connections.  If that isn’t irrelevant, emotional voting, I don’t know what is. Reminds me of 2004 when some voters were mad at the Chapmans and voted for Ghostzapper out of spite…I remember one writer who admitted that in his column.  

Anyone who votes for Blame because they are mad at Z’s connections for not shipping her more are voting out of spite (read “emotion”) not because Blame is the better horse.   Zenyatta proved it on the track that she is the best thing in American racing today.   To suggest that she doesn’t deserve HOY is appalling to me.

08 Nov 2010 11:34 PM

Dray- maybe you should look at the pace of the Dirt Mile.  That might explain it.  1:09.2 for the 6 furlong split.  The Sprint was won in 1:09.  Morning Line could hang tough being near the pace but all those superior dirt horses in the Classic couldn't?  Maybe you should go back to the drawing board and come up with another excuse.  The super horse, aka "the beast",  should not have backed up.  But the real super horse uncorked a 24 second last quarter on that deep, sticky, tiring track, which by your admission got deeper and stickier and more tiring the longer they ran.  She ran her last mile in almost the same time they ran the Dirt Mile.  And she was in a 10 furlong race.  She ran on the same sticky, deep, tiring track that your vaunted dirt horses did.  What happened Dray????  Quality Road, Haynesfield, Lookin at Lucky, Fly Down, Musket Man?  They were all so much better than the plastic queen.  She wasn't going to hit the board remember?  She can't close on real dirt horses, remember?  They were going to expose her.  Remember?  It looks like she exposed them instead.  They had no excuses other than they weren't good enough.  Those are facts.  You are so exacerbating.

08 Nov 2010 11:34 PM

Before I read this, I was for the Zenyatta.  Now, reasoning through this, you are right.  Blame- horse of the year.  

08 Nov 2010 11:34 PM

Even though I'm a true Zenyatta fan and for all the right reasons I have already stated numerous times that if any of the big four win this race they should get HOY.  It's not that important to a lot of people anymore anyway.

What is interesting is that an award for the most popular horse should definitely go to Zenyatta.  The TV rating for the BC are just in.  These ratings were up because of Zenyatta, not Goldi. She had already raced before the measured time slot was on the air. I wonder how many people would have tuned in without the Queen. I wonder how many are going to tune in next year.

08 Nov 2010 11:36 PM


Quit making excuses.  What happened to all the other come from behind horses and how come Morning Line was at or near the front in the entire Dirt mMile and hour before?  You whine about plastic, then it's a track bias on dirt.  If the bias hindered Quality Road too bad.  It sure didn't hinder him in the Florida Derby nor did you complain about it.

08 Nov 2010 11:42 PM


"to be objective". Right, Jason, right.

That made my night.  

08 Nov 2010 11:45 PM

Wow! I have never read such denial! Zenyatta fans just can't accept that she lost. Excuses galore-Mike Smith blew it or we got a bad trip or the track or whatever. My god!!! Zenyatta ran the same race she has been running forever. She just didn't get there. Her trip was actually better than most of her other races.

08 Nov 2010 11:47 PM

Realizing once the BCC was over there would be a huge discussion of who should be HOY, this is what I wrote:

There is no similarity between 2009 and 2010.  Rachel Alexandra had already wrapped up HOY for 2009 before "championship" weekend.  No horse running in the BCC could come close to her record of 8 for 8 on 7 tracks, 5 grade 1's, 3 against males (all Grade 1's). Zenyatta came into the BCC 4 for 4, all in races restricted to females and all in Cal.  The best she could do was go 5 for 5 with 1 win over males.  It just wasn't enough.

It was a totally different story this year.  With no horse having an insurmountable lead in quantity and quality of wins, it was clear that the BCC would determine the 2010 HOY.  A win by either Blame, Lookin at Lucky, Quality Road or Zenyatta would wrap up HOY for the winner.  Zenyatta's strong 2nd place finish behind any horse other than these 4 would probably have earned her HOY despite the loss.  But Blame won the race.  It doesn't matter whether the win was by a head, open lengths or the length of the stretch.  Zenyatta can't be HOY over Blame when he won the single head-to-head match-up between them.

Interestingly, this is nearly exactly what Jason has said.

Some of the comments from those saying Zenyatta should be HOY even though Blame was clearly in the running for the award coming into the race and he defeated Zenyatta, simply don't make any sense.

HOY has never been and should not be either a popularity contest or based on sentiment.  If this were so, Ruffian would have been HOY in 1975 and Go for Wand would have been in 1990.  Both these great mares were deserving, but in both years other horses finished the year with stronger campaigns.

In any commentary regarding "Horse of the Decade", Zenyatta will almost certainly top anyone's list.

The sad fact is that no matter how great Zenyatta is (and she is TRULY great), her connections never put together a HOY campaign for her.  Don't blame Blame.

08 Nov 2010 11:49 PM

JCRobinson, I don't recall the fractions of the raee, or the race itself, being fast. Moderate, maybe. But, 2:02? I wouldn't call that fast. And although they didn't post the times on TV as the race unfolded through the first quarter, and I can't find them for some reason right now, I remember the half in 47 and change and thought at the time it wasn't very fast. The final time was two seconds slower than what Z ran the year before in the BCC.

And I can understand that QR didn't like the track. Many very good horses have thrown clunkers there because the track can be difficult. But I have never seen a horse, not Skip Away or Easy Goer or Holy Bull for that matter, back up like he did. I think the last time I saw a horse stop like that, that didn't just pull up or break down, was Demons Begone in the 1987 KY Derby. He bled in the race before Lasix was legal to use in KY.

08 Nov 2010 11:51 PM

I have been a racing fan for a long time.  I've seen horses that deserve a championship lose it based on one race (With Anticipation-don’t even get me started) and many especially here would argue that that is the way it should be.  I disagree.  We have long had a bad way of choosing our champions and subsequently Horse of the Year.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons why our beloved sports suffers; good horses are retired young ; are kept in the barn more than they are raced;  and championships are given out based off of one race and not a campaign.

Maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention since I’ve been both disgusted and disappointed in some of the winners over the years but when did we start nominating horses to be the Horse of the Year.  That honor should go to one the horses that have been named champion of his/her division.   Not the popularity contest the  Eclipse wards have become.

Here’s the deal folks, there needs to be criteria and that criteria needs to be followed to earn a championship and then those champions need to vie for the HOTY honor.

1. Any horse up for championship honors had to run in a MINIMUM of 6 races during the year.

2. No foreign horse will be considered for a championship unless he/she makes a MINIMUM of 3 starts in the US (Sorry Goldikova..I love you..your race was spectacular..and you are a champion but like muttonchops mentioned during the broadcast, who here in the US outside of racing knows your name).

3. He or she should carry weight.

4. Unless a standout above and beyond appears in his/her chosen specialty (sprinting, dirt, turf, routing) the HOTY should race at all distances including a mile and a quarter.

5. The HOTY should race on all surfaces; in all weather.

6. The HOTY should travel.

7. The HOTY should face all comers; in full fields.

8. The HOTY should arouse the public’s interest in the sport.

9. The HOTY should SHOW UP

You see number 8 is a big deal for me.  I didn’t think that Rachel should have been HOTY last year.  She didn’t show up where she needed to be.  She bypassed the Belmont, she bypassed the Travers.  She was spectacular yes and her owner and trainer were brilliant with her career.  They found good spots for her and took advantage of weight allowances.  But in the end, she didn’t show up to the BC classic.  That’s where Zenyatta went.  That’s where Gio Ponte went.  That’s where the Derby and the Belmont winner went.

Should Zenyatta be HOTY this year.  As others have mentioned in earlier posts, we should take the emotion out of the decision entirely.  She didn’t do enough.  She only raced other fillies and mares.  She lost by what looked to me to be about 8 inches.  (Watch the tape boys and girls.  At the wire, Blame’s head is in front, one stride later and all those after, it was all Zenyatta.  Nothing was taken from her in defeat.)  At the beginning of the year in was all about Rachel.  Rachel whose first start was in a restricted stake not a grade 1 event.  Rachel who faced smaller fields.  Should Zenyatta be HOTY?  Let’s Look

1. Started 6 times, all grade 1

2. Carried weight

3. Raced at 1 ¼ miles

4. Raced on synthetic and dirt

5. Traveled to KY and to Arkansas

6. Faced FULL Fields

7. Everyone knew her name (she was on 60 minutes) and she filled stands.

8. She SHOWED up.  She came back in the Classic.  They could have entered her in the Ladies Classic.  She would still have been a 3 time winner and no one would have doubted that she would win but she took on the best.  You want to argue that she never faced a grade one winner.  She ONLY RACED in Grade 1 races.  Anyone could have entered those races.  I’d argue and say she faced better fillies and mares then Rachel did and she won.  You want to argue that she didn’t win by much, she didn’t need to.  All she had to do was win.  All she did was INSPIRE.

Let’s be honest.  A case could be made for Blame.  He has those 8 inches over Zenyatta.  A case could be made for Lookin at Lucky, Quality Road, and Gio Ponti.  In the end it should come down to the horses that are named champion (and I have long believed that we should have an award for the best foreign horse because both Tuscan Evening and Proviso raced here in the USA for the fans we need to keep here in the USA..but that is another post) as those I have listed invariably will be and it will be very emotional.

08 Nov 2010 11:52 PM

If you leave out emotions then you should watch Nascar go round and round. Of Course there are emotions and the public is very in tuned to a great performance of these magnificent animals. If you want new fans to horse racing I suggest to throw out the old ways of voting and look into the future. Politics and Old fashion ways keeps horse racing down. Wake up and look in the eyes of a true champion! She deserves not to be shut out of this Years HOY. Go Big Z!  

08 Nov 2010 11:53 PM

With regards to this article...yes, let's not get emotional. Let me see - did ESPN not state that the ratings for this Breeder's Cup - due to Zenyatta - almost triple? (where was Blame, or any of the others, in regard to this? Do you think this will happen again next year? Even this year, ESPN didn't go over to the races initally, due to a football game going overtime)  Blame now goes to stud for the money. We all got real excited about that. But, back to Blame being the HOY of the year...deservedly so, because this extremely talented, but, compared to Zenyatta, nonentity, and NOT the best horse (when seeing the whole race), won the Classic, by a nose. Well, racing is in its last throes, as you are well aware...gambling is easier and better at the casinos. Why not just go to the Nascar races? After all, there is no flesh and blood there - oh, other than the drivers of the cars....So - those of you at, especially the author of this article, - don't get upset when you lose your jobs do to the increasing disinterest in horse racing,....after all - this is not emotional. A once in a lifetime (at least for the last 30 years) horse comes along that captures the hearts of the multitude, deservedly so, by her record, and her races, and for many, many reasons, and when she is gone, so are the multitude of fans that were enamored....due to the attitude in the racing community as displayed by this  despicable article. What other horse has won 19 in a row, and a mare that delivered an unbelievable rally in her last, and most impressive, race against the best? Let Blame take HOY....and let the racing community continue with their downward spiral....they only have themselves to "blame."

08 Nov 2010 11:58 PM

Blame, a horse that beats Battle Plan after Battle Plan pulls up in the Foster.

Blame, a horse that gets clobbered by FOUR LENGTHS by an average Haynesfield in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Blame, a horse that's all out to beat a tiring Quality Road in the Whitney all the while getting 5 lbs. from him.

Blame, getting the perfect trip to just outlast Zenyatta, whom had the worst possible trip making up over 20 lengths and almost hurdling over a stopping Quality Road.


08 Nov 2010 11:59 PM

For all of my Blame fans out there, please join me and go rent the movie Meatballs and just chant along "it just doesn't matter" Mike smith blew it "it just doesn't matter" we got a bad trip "it just doesn't matter" if we had another 10 yards "it just doesn't matter" if they raced 10 times Zenyatta would win 9 of them "it just doesn't matter"- WHY? because BLAME WON!!!!!!!!!!!

09 Nov 2010 12:01 AM
Gary Tasich

If you want toe hear something really ridiculous check out the comments coming out of Pletcher & least D. Wayne is classy enough to leave the door open without offending anyone...I think his vote is with Zenyatta. 'nuff said!

09 Nov 2010 12:03 AM
Gary Tasich

Shiznick got it right....Quality Road cost the Big Mare....Blame? Who's Blame? Zenyatta...HOY...and it does matter to her classy connections. Will the industry hold up their end?

09 Nov 2010 12:09 AM

Pas and Footlick, get ahold of the over head shot which follows them through the wire, through the gallop out. She never heads Blame much less passes him. The Bloodhorse replay is shot at right angles to the wire so naturally when they pass the wire the outside horse APPEARS to be ahead. The overhead clears that up. No attitude Footlick, just setting the record straight. Last word is yours if you wish.

09 Nov 2010 12:11 AM

I could not agree more...My opinion is validated!  It became quite clear during the second half of the year that the Zenyatta connections had no intention of running her against males, or out of So Cal, or challenge her at all.  They were actually kind of conceited to think the Classic was "in the bag".  I thought before the Classic that if Zenyatta loses, it will make Jess Jackson look really smart, and the Mosses short sighted.  Jackson took Rachel out to face everyone, and Zenyatta was wasted on restricted company on the So Cal circuit.  No whining this year, Jerry, because you had the chance.  At any rate, Los Angeles got to enjoy her- that's what you wanted!  We all know that she's probably the best horse out there, but you have to go out and prove it.  In fact, after watching all those races, she appeared to be one dimensional,and I figured it would be her undoing one day, if she didn't learn to lay a little closer to the pace...

09 Nov 2010 12:16 AM

I agree completely, and I was cheering for Zenyatta to catch Blame in the stretch, but she didn't.  So it comes down to the season.  Blame spent his going head to head with the other major contenders for HOTY.  Zenyatta was kept in California (aside from her trip to Oaklawn) to race against mares and fillies--none of whom were in the Classic, or for that matter the Ladies' Classic.  Zenyatta should have been in the thick of it all season with her true peers:the boys.  She wasn't.  Think of the races we might have seen if she hadn't been held back.

09 Nov 2010 12:18 AM

I do believe that Blame is horse of the year not Zenyatta. I do not fault Mike Smith or Big Z. UI blame Moss and Sheriffs caudling during the summer season. I understood the prep in February and then going to the Apple Blossom for an eventual meeting with Rachel. Then it did not happen. All of sudden Zenyatta race schedule was the same again as it was the past three years. Her connections should have ran her in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Pacific Classic and the Goodwood instead Vanity, Clement Hirsch and Lady's Secret. Blame ran one hell of a race and had one hell of campaign. I understand the love for Zenyatta but when she faced males she lost.

Each year someone costs her HOY:




PS Goldikova in my opinion is a better horse because she consistantly faces males.

09 Nov 2010 12:19 AM

This is funny, i am a zenyatta fan. i say give blame horse of the year. give it to the establishment wHo seem to retire horses as soon as they win a big race. it seems like the human title like horse of the year has lost its value. in a sport that the human establishment continues to punish those that have done great things for the sport.if blame gets horse of the year great, it was a year in which i believe he has every right to be named fo the year. but decisions like this continue to devalue a onece great sport. a sport in which they could draw as much as an NFL team on a sunday DAYS long ago. This prehistoric decision will make racing look like a bunch of misfits that cant get something right,EVEN IF IT DESTROYS ITS ABILITY TO DRAW NEW FANS..

09 Nov 2010 12:20 AM

Hey 2:24

It may be better to be misguided than than to have a lack of knowledge.  How could anyone vote for a Horse who lost three of his first six races, including a straight maiden and a non winners of one.  He loses one of every three races he runs in and has raced only twelve times.  He is clearly a "Horses for Courses" at Churchill and got the photo on the last jump over Quality Road on a tiring Saratoga strip.  Haynesfield destroyed him on his home course, Belmont.  We will never know if Haynesfield would have won that race if he had not slammed the gate before the race which more than likely made him very rank early on in that race.  He then spit the bit.

You can't really say any of those things about Zenyatta and she left nothing on the track that night at Churchill.  She proved last year she could beat the boys and look at the list she left in her wake this year on the dirt.  Taking on the best in the Industry, on it's designated day, two years in a row isn't ducking anyone.  

09 Nov 2010 12:21 AM

I'm not so sure that Z didn't like the track. She didn't like it hitting her, but she seemed to take to the track just fine. Also, what hasn't been mentioned often is that she was shut out by the two horses on either side of her as soon as they broke. She got away slow, but I'm sure that just added to her margin behind the field.

I believe the LAT situation was a classic tie-up, as Pletcher described it. Maybe from the Lasix injection. So that would have nothing to do with the track. It started well before, in the padock. Hopefully, she'll be okay. I was just thankful that after JV described how she warmed up and still got her into the gate and broke, that it didn't turn into a Mr. Brooks incident.

09 Nov 2010 12:21 AM

Billy's Empire: remember if Lookin At Lucky had won the Classic, people were saying he would deserve HOTY. BUT, he ran in RESTRICTED races all year until the classic too - races restricted to 3 year olds only. So,"restricted" races only count against you if you are a female? There are no rules that say a mare has to beat up on colts all year to be the best horse of the year. And before the classic I seem to remember that Quality Road was the "best" older horse around, not Blame.  Who did he beat (not counting Quality Road) that anyone was really talking about or will remember in the next few years? The only reason Zenyatta did not face any other grade 1 winners this year is because they all ran the other way.  That is not her fault. And as I asked before, what races could she have been in that would have elevated her status the way some of you think she needed? Until Blame recently beat Quality Road, nobody was really talking much about him. Then Haynesfield ran away from Blame and suddenly maybe he is something...?  Some of you change your opinions on the horses after every race. Either they are super stand out individuals or they are not. There is a huge double standard being applied here and it is shocking to me. It  even seems to be becoming a case of prejudice against females, the west coast and synthetic tracks. I am hearing people singing the praises of Blame that were barely mentioning him before. If he is HOTY then we should have been hearing how amazing he is a long time ago.

09 Nov 2010 12:22 AM
Paula Higgins

TxLonghornfan74, most of the people on this site are not new to the sport. The writers who commented on Seth Hancock are definitely not new to the sport. I think Mr. Hancock backed up a little bit when he realized how harsh he sounded, as well he should.

Jason, sour grapes? No, not even close. When I tell you I was thrilled with how she ran that race, I mean it. So are most of the people blogging on this site. She ran the better race. The people at TVG said that as well. She has never run a better race. With you it's all about who crossed the finish line first, not how they got there. If you can look at that race and not see the magnificent race she ran, well you are one of two people on the planet. All those other writers you are dissing get it, even Andy Breyer :). You are the only holdout, you and Draynay. I noticed that Quality Road decided to sit this one out Draynay. Must have been very disappointing to say the least to have him beaten by a 6 year old mare that you hold in such low regard. She blew by him like he was standing still.

As for HOTY, it isn't even decided yet. So sour grapes don't apply, not yet. If she doesn't get HOTY, I think the more appropriate words will be "total disgust."

09 Nov 2010 12:24 AM
an ole rail bird

zenyettas story is impressive, heart warming, &the perfect human interest story, but blame won hoy, fair & square. 3 cheers for blame!!!

09 Nov 2010 12:25 AM
long time race fan

Boy are you wrong!  Blame couldn't

even come close to winning in a

couple races this year.  He is the

handicap horse but can't compare

with Zenyatta near perfection.  I saw many of her races this year.

Many times her opponents seemed

home free in the stretch only to have put on a unbelievable finish to grab victory from defeat.  Also

the Cup was NOT her best race.  She

seemed a bit listless dropping back

further she has all season only to

rally to test Blame to his fullest.

She the best horse for delivering a

top effort every face since Secretariat, and even he had some

bad days.  SHe ahs never had a bad day

09 Nov 2010 12:26 AM
Mary Lee

Blame will get HOY honors no doubt, but his name will be a passing thought.  Zenyatta will be remembered as Horse of the Decade, and her record 19-1 will stand for years to come.  Zenyatta will be remembered, HOY or not.  

09 Nov 2010 12:29 AM

Morning Line didn't win did he? The speed didn't hold.  A horse from 15+ lengths back circled 10 wide and won. The fact is the track was sticky I don't care one way or the other but it was.  Horses that held back ate the speed up in the Mile and in the Classic.  It's just the way the track was playing.  It set up perfectly for closers.  You could tell Haynesfield didn't like it the moment he stepped on the track. Both Quality Road and Haynesfield had never stepped on the surface and you could tell they didn't take to almost right away.  Life At Ten didn't even want to run on it.  It was a different track at night and speed horses didn't like it.  It set up perfectly for closers and the two best closers did well.  Blame was amazing and proved himself to be the best horse on dirt this year.  My hats off to Blame and I hope he and Quality Road have a wonderful time in the shed and produce lots of winners.  Quality won the Donn, Met Mile, and Woodward he has nothing to be ashamed of he had a great year and unlike Zenyatta beat males on dirt in open company.

09 Nov 2010 12:33 AM

I'm not sure why my previous comment from Monday afternoon supporting Zenyatta wasn't posted, since there was nothing offensive in it.  In any case, "Bet Twice"'s comment at 8:50 pm pretty much summed up my thoughts.

The only thing I would add is that it's unreasonable to take the position that the winner of Horse of the Year has to be the horse that took the most male older horse Grade 1 races (and even if it were, 3 of them is a pretty weak resume).  Zenyatta won 5 Grace 1's in her division.  

When the ESPY award for Athlete of the Year is handed out, if it's a female runner they don't insist that she's competed in the male division and beaten the best male runners.  Why hold horses to a different standard?

Zenyatta made the strongest positive impression on the most people this year and dominated her division.  Whose racing career will be remembered in 50 years?

09 Nov 2010 12:35 AM

I have not read one word on this page. None of it matters to me. Here's the thing. I have been waiting 37 years for this horse and now here she was. In 37 years if I am lucky enough to still be alive and waiting again, what kind of a travesty will it be for this incredible mare to have not been HOY? Will anyone alive in 37 years be talking about Blame? Will they even remember his name? Do they remember Onion or Prove Out and talk about them as one of the greatest of all time? It is simple. One of the greatest racehorses of all time MUST be horse of the year. Not a really nice top-notch colt in top form, who had a great trip, some good racing luck and a wonderful year, but who no way shape or form will be remembered as one of the all time greats. It's not emotion. It is logic. The greats must be rewarded. The greats go down in history. What Zenyatta did on Saturday absolutely solidified her as one of the greatest of all time. She is horse of the decade and likely the century.

09 Nov 2010 12:43 AM


What World do you live in?  Great Horses have Awards attached to their records and thereby, their Names.  The reason people remember Secretariat is that he was a Champion and, with the exception of Zenyatta, covered ground like no other.  Secretariat did not win every race but nobody will fault him for that.  People are not "stupid" for argueing that Blame does not deserve HOTY over Zenyatta.  Most likely, she was unfairly overlooked last year.  People don't understand how tough it is to keep a six year old Mare interested in winning.  Most who were good at three and four have tailed of by five and probably not even racing at six.  Zenyatta is an incredible Mare, in every aspect.  She deserves to be rewarded.

09 Nov 2010 12:43 AM

Isnt this great.The endless debate,Republican vs Democrat.We can all agree that Trevor Denman is the best announcer of all time.I could be wrong, but didnt that Dray guy say he wouldnt blog for 3 months if Zenyatta beat Quality Road?

09 Nov 2010 12:44 AM

Good call. The Eclipse awards and HOTY should represent racing success in 2010 only, and the criteria should be clearly defined by racing quality and not "star quality". Blame is HOTY, but The Hall of Fame is in both thier futures.

It's sad that because of cautious campaigs, Zen will never have been HOTY. There have been many deserving horses that weren't HOTY, but Zen will be remembered as being runner-up three years in succession.

There was another achievement that is being overshadowed: Looking at Lucky will likely win his second Eclipse award. If I'm not mistaken, you have to go back to Spectacular Bid in 1978'-79' for the last time a 2 year old champ repeated at 3.

I love Zen too!

09 Nov 2010 12:48 AM

Tom, the overhead I found was everything except overhead on the finish.  The angle of replay of the BCC race was such that it would make it look like Blame was never headed.  Writers from France and England all talked about her being ahead a jump after the wire.  I guess we were all mistaken.  I'm not going to argue.

09 Nov 2010 12:49 AM

Here is the East Coast Bias again. Blame got trounced in New York in the Jockey Club. He beat Quality Road who never won going a mile and a quarter in the Woodward. He survived a thrilling finish in the BC. Remember Zenyatta checked just slightly going around the far turn. I agree Blame should be HOY. But what happened last year. Who did Rachel beat? Who is Mine that Bird? She beat a soft group last year.

This year's BC Classic wasn't like Easy Goer having a clear bullseye on Sunday Silence and not getting by. She ran into trouble and didn't get a clear trip.

Blame never came out west. Remember Cigar and the Pacific Classic? He still won HOY even though he wasn't the same horse during the Breeders Cup at Woodbine. He got trounce in the Jockey Club too that year.

Curlin came out west. He was beat on so called plastic. His owner should have sent him out early and given him a race over the racetrack like they did in Dubai in the Jaguar Trophy. Why didn't they? They knew that he would have an excuse just in case he lost the race in the Breeders Cup, which he did. He still won HOY.

I would like to see consistency in the HOY balloting. Is the BC Classic a championship race or not?

There are many grade 1 races on the East coast that are just not justified. I am glad to hear that Santa Anita will install a dirt surface. Hopefully owners can be pioneers again and venture out west.

09 Nov 2010 12:50 AM

Draynay.  Get with it.  Morning Line didn’t win, he lost in a photo by a head and his early fractions were much, much faster than they were in the BCC.  Prop Quality Road up all you want.  The thing is since the Florida Derby he has never beaten a top G1 horse, losing to Summer Bird twice and now Blame twice.  His best races have been against G2 and G3 types.  Other than the JCGC, who has Haynefield ever beaten?  The simple fact is the track might have had something to do with their defeats, but why is that okay.  Why, when it comes to Zenyatta getting pinched back, having to check because of Quality Road, having to swerve in and out and wait to clear, have nothing to do with her defeat.  You can’t have it both ways, pal.  You always run others down saying they are making excuses.  What are you doing?  Quality Road beat Dunkirk because of a bias.  Let it go at that.  And with regards to life at Ten, she tied up.  They interviewed her jockey on track before the race and he said she wasn’t loosening up.  Blame might get HOY and good for him.  The best North American based horse finished second yesterday, not first and most certainly not the one that finished last.  

09 Nov 2010 12:57 AM


Stop this nonsense.  

Blame will never, ever win the HOY. Sure, he will get some votes.  But don't kid yourself-Blame has absolutely no chance of winning the HOY from Zenyatta.  Already, some of Zenyatta's greatest turf writing detractors have come out in support of her. Actually, Jason, I think your're the only person out there that is campaigning for Blame.

The only thing you have done is resurrected all the embittered and embarrassed Rachel Alexandra fans back to life with your nonsense.  They're using this as a proxy to get back at Zenyatta and her fans.

Anyone can see through this nonsense.

09 Nov 2010 12:59 AM

Draynay, speed was holding just fine. Morning line lost because he ran his 3/4 mile almost as fast as the Breeder's Cup Sprint. Just about every winner both days was right with the leaders at the top of the stretch. Zenyatta had everything going against her and she still almost won. You'll never see another horse like her in your life. Zenyatta=Man O War, Native Dancer, Secretariat, Seattle Slew. Blame=Upset, Dark Star, Onion, Exceller.

Let me know when Quality Road crosses the finish line.

09 Nov 2010 1:02 AM
Jim very simple when you see the video that Blame(a great horse) was on his knees begging for the finish line while the amazon was getting to him.

HOTY has to be a horse who was dominating in winning or losing for whatever reason.

If Blame gets HOTH its giving a child who was crying mommy where are you i need my candy.

09 Nov 2010 1:03 AM
Nick G

You're wrong, the criteria for the award is NOTHING.  There is no criteria, so when you say that it is for the best horse in 2010, that's just not true.  Therefore, there can be other reasons why you would vote for a horse other than a head to head loss.  Why was it acceptable for Rachel Alexandra to avoid Zenyatta last year?  She should not have won last year because they did not send her to face Zenyatta.  If she can't run over another type of surface other than conventional dirt, than in 2009 she should not have been Horse of the Year because that year's championships were conducted over a synthetic course.  However, the voters decided it was okay, and therefore Zenyatta got screwed last year.

09 Nov 2010 1:11 AM
Nick G

I agree with Mary Lee.  In the future nobody will remember Blame, but Zenyatta will forever be etched in our minds.  Not that I'm knocking Blame, but maybe they should bring him back next year if they want to make a legend.

09 Nov 2010 1:15 AM

Blame will be nothing more than a footnote in history alongside names like Upset, Dark Star, and Onion.

Just a footnote.  Nothing more.

...Upset, Dark Star, and Onion.

...Upset, Dark Star, and Onion.

09 Nov 2010 1:16 AM
Nick G

And one more thing.  The TV ratings skyrocketed this year and that was only because of Zenyatta.  This is what the sport needs.  And then she went out there and delivered to the audience by providing one of the most memorable races in Breeders Cup history.  

09 Nov 2010 1:18 AM

Jason, as you can see, the decision isn't simple at all. I don't care about the award personally, but to say that Blame is the clear cut victor is untrue. Many turf writers believe that Zenyatta had a better campaign because she racked up more grade 1's. The voters rewarded Rachel for a quantity over quality campaign, so why not Zenyatta as well? Zenyatta lost to Rachel, trailing by one grade 1 and winning the BCC. This year the tally is 5 to 3, Zenyatta. You said it yourself that it's not about one race, but overall campaign. If it was, Blame would be Horse of the Year hands down. I'm not saying he won't be Horse of the Year, but I think it's not as clear cut as you think. Maybe I'm being naive in thinking that the voters will be consistent and decide upon a criteria for Horse of the Year. Heck, maybe a few of them will display some objectivity this time. Does it come down to the Classic or overall campaign? Make up your minds!

09 Nov 2010 1:19 AM
Donut Jimmy

Blame is inarguably the BC Champion. the camera does not lie.

However HOY is another matter.

It is not just that the margin of victory was small, the two did not engage each other long enough to establish which was truly the better horse on the day. No fault attaches.

Another factor. - Blame never faced top horses on synthetic. Gosh, is he just another of those dirt specialists?

09 Nov 2010 1:34 AM

The guys at TVG said it best.  Where Zenyatta is concerned, the bar keeps being raised higher for Horse of the Year.  

09 Nov 2010 1:37 AM

You think Blame did more than Zenyatta? What about Goldikova? She did much more than Blame! If you say no to Zenyatta, then "Horse of the Year is Simple" because it must be Goldikova, not Blame. Either way, a mare is HOTY.

09 Nov 2010 1:49 AM

If ZENYATTA is Man O'War and BLAME is Upset, it would be a big disappointment not to honor the best horse of 2010.

If Queen Z stayed in California for most of her campaign and did not tackle the East, why did not those Eastern horses go to there to tackle her?

I am a big RA fan, but for now, Zenyatta for HOTY!

09 Nov 2010 1:49 AM

"The same thing happened to Life At Ten she didn't like the sticky track and refused to run. . .Life At Ten didn't even want to run on it."  

Draynay 08 Nov 2010 11:04 PM

The fact that you are ignorant about the controversy involving Life At Ten casts doubt on everything you've written so far about the condition of the track, Blame or Zenyatta.

LAT exhibited discomfort in the post parade and trainer Todd Pletcher recently said he believes she "tied up" with muscle cramps due to complications from her pre-race shot of Lasix.

Her problem had nothing to do with a "sticky track" and there are serious questions about why she wasn't scratched before the race because her jockey told the ESPN commentators she wasn't right.

09 Nov 2010 2:13 AM

I have been telling all of my racing buddies at work Zenyatta would lose this race. The owners and the trainer fell down on this one big time. Hats off to the jockey for putting the blame on his shoulders even though it was not his fault. Shame on the rest of the them for not taking the blame as well.

They only raced her at home and pretty much against horses she had already beat. Only on poly track, big mistake if you want the crown. They had the chance early this year to move her East on different tracks but they didn't. She has one running style and that's it. Get behind all of them and then sweep around and catch them. Didn't work this time as she hadn't been trained for a dirt track.

This is a real shame as I do think she could have won this race with the right preparation. The owners were so focused on the perfect win thing they never gave her a chance to step up. There is no shame in losing if the horse is giving all they got.

So now she goes off to be bred. Not all great race track mares produce great off spring. They have left it all out on the track.

Blame has earned the title. In the future I hope nobody else makes the same mistake.

09 Nov 2010 2:14 AM

Paula Higgins

Wow. Magnificent post.  Your 9:41 PM post hit it right on the head.  It's amazing how little respect some give to the one horse that has propped up the sport this year.  The TV ratings prove how important she is to racing.

09 Nov 2010 2:14 AM

America watched as the great undefeated mare fell short of her destiny by one jump.  The television ratings were over the top as far as charts.   Zenyatta brought horse racing back to America, at least for a time / moment.  Does anyone think Blame or any other horse in the (14) fields would have brought that kind of interest or TV ratings to horse racing.  We all know that answer. Plan and simply Zenyatta is HOY and frankly, horse of the decade.  If she isn’t rewarded HOY, we will lose all those millions of new fans she brought to the game that learned about her and rooted for her.  It’s not always about the race, which she lost by one leap, after 19 straight wins.  It’s also about the intangibles as well.  Zenyatta brought us all those special qualities these last few years.  We need to acknowledge this and reward her for her efforts. Not to do so will kill this industry once and for all…

09 Nov 2010 2:15 AM
Sam Not Spam

Goldikova is HOTY.  Zenyatta will just have to live with being a horse for the ages, and as for Blame?  Well it was obvious months ago he would be the BCC winner, but in five years time no-one will remember his 2010 campaign and use it as a standard by which to measure champions.

09 Nov 2010 2:27 AM

Say what you will - Blame will never be remembered in the same way Zenyatta will.  HOY to whoever - Horse who has done the most for a sport that needs a hero badly - Zenyatta.  Horse of the Decade. End of discussion.

09 Nov 2010 2:32 AM

Manny and Predict

Great posts.  Bang on.

09 Nov 2010 2:35 AM


09 Nov 2010 2:40 AM

Excuse me, but I didn't see a "60 Minutes" piece on Blame.  Zenyatta was the talk of 2010 just like RA was last year and Curlin in 2008.  Zenyatta will win by a LANDSLIDE, and Blame will win older male.  Stop the sillyness. Lets all hope that Uncle Mo stays healty because he is a man among boy and is TC worthy.

09 Nov 2010 4:43 AM

Well first of all HOTY honors should go to the horse that's had the best year overall.

Not the one who wins the Breeders.

As for Rachels HOTY honors last year, they were WELL deserved, even if she didn't go to the breeders, because she had the most ambitious campaign of ALL YEAR.

But I do belive that Zen deserves it this year....

09 Nov 2010 5:23 AM

ZENYATTA deserves Horse of The Year! Not only for her race record, her talent, but let's not forget that she had more to deal with because of her fame, and the industry's need to market her.

Think about the  impact on Zenyatta before the race having to tolerate the crowd's loud screams as she entered the public's eye. She was visibly affected while parading to and on  the track. This HAD to affect her pychie, delaying her settling after leaving the gate. This was a sacrifice made by the Zenyatta team that no other team had to, all in the name of track marketing and industry survival seeking the public's support.

Zenyatta is the best female horse, who if you haven't forgotten- takes on the added challenge.

09 Nov 2010 5:36 AM

Zenyatta Fans:

I'm pleading to you as one of you.  Let the 2010 HoY go.  Let it go.

I'm disappointed John Sherriffs brought it up so soon(I understand Seth Hancock doing it, he's got a stallion to market!).  You guys, Zenyatta has truly transcended a HoY vote.

For Zenyatta, the Classic wasn't just about 2010 HoY, it was about her legacy; it was about the totality of her career.  If we sit here and barb away about 2010, we're missing the bigger picture.  So, Blame is the 2010 HoY.  But who do you think the books will be written about?  Who do you think will be in the Hall sooner(if Blame makes it at all)?  Who will go down as not only one of the most popular horses in history, but one of the greatest as well, particularly among females?  Heck, even Andy Beyer concedes she just might be the greatest female in North American history.  Blame being the 2010 HoY is only one story.  Zenyatta solidifying her greatness is, in my mind, the much bigger story.

Don't you get it my fellow Zenyatta fans?  By engaging in a discussion over 10' HoY, you're going to be in the same position you've been in for the last 2 years, a no-win position, trying to "defend" Zenyatta against some perceived attack.  If we talk just about 2010, I'm afraid we'll find ourselves getting angry, or frustrated, and we allow Zenyatta's skeptics to avoid having to confront the fact she turned out to be alot better than they had thought and that her career accomplishments most certainly warrant a place among the very greatest horses of our generation, and among the very greatest females of any generation.

Zenyatta fans, change the debate from 2010 or rehashing 2009, to a discussion about 2008-2010.  For, it's only by looking at all 3 years that we can fully appreciate Zenyatta's greatness.  Zenyatta wasn't just about 2010!

Let 2010 go to Blame.  Let 2009 go to Rachel.  Both horses had great years those years, but those were the only elite years either one had.  Not so for Zenyatta.  As a 4 year old she was considered so good that many Eclipse voters, including Jason, voted her HoY ahead of arguably the greatest male thoroughbred of this young century, Curlin.  If one remembers Trevor's call of the 2008 Ladies Classic, Zenyatta was already "undoubtedly a living legend".

Zenyatta, as we all know, wasn't done.  She came back last year, won 3 more gr.1 races against females before tackling males in the BC Classic.  And guess what, we got the hollywood ending.  She crushed that field in the stretch to become the first female to ever win the race, and then was retired a perfect 14 for 14.  There were even two retirement ceremonies.  Most agreed that she was one of the greatest females ever, some believing she was the best.

But, as it turned out, she wasn't done.  She came again in 2010, and she picked up even more fans.  Unfortunately, what could have been a huge conquest was denied her when Rachel was pulled from the Apple Blossom.  That threw a wrench into Team Z's plans a little, and maybe after it they retreated into conservatism.  Racing against females or not,however, Zenyatta did win 5 gr.1 races this year, carried 129 and 127 lbs, won on dirt in Arkansas and on all 3 of the synthetic surfaces in SoCal, defeating all the females whose connections were brave enough to challenge her.  And then, in a $5 million race, on dirt far away from California, she defeats all the males, save one, losing by just a head. And since folks critiqued Zenyatta for having the "hometrack" advantage in last year's Classic, it must be acknowledged that of Blame's 4 most important career wins, 3 came at Churchill.  When we talk about 2010 HoY, this fact is somewhat irrelevant because all that really matters is who won, but when we are discussing Zenyatta's career in its totality, it's something that must be mentioned.

Zenyatta lost the Classic, and likely 2010 HoY, but more important to me is that, if anything, her legacy was actually enhanced.  In the history of the BC Classic, only twice has a female finished either 1st or 2nd, and Zenyatta is responsible for both!  As much as I respect Goldikova, she is the 5th female to have won the BC Mile(accounting for 8 runnings), showing the difference between females challenging males on turf at a mile and facing them at a classic distance on dirt(or even synthetic).  And think of all the great females in the BC era; Zenyatta is the only one to win a Classic and the only one to even run 2nd.

Jason is correct that the Moss' did basically put their 2010 HoY eggs in the BC Classic basket.  Unfortunately, one of her main rivals for the award beat her a head.  We can criticize the Moss' for not being more ambitious throughout most of 2010, but they were there when $5 million was put up at Arkansas and they didn't back down from running against males, on dirt, at Churchill(some of her detractors swore that she would never be in the starting gate).  And last year the Moss' could have gone the Personal Ensign route and gone out an undefeated winner in the Distaff, but they instead took the bigger risk and chose the Classic and the big mare gave us one of the great moments in racing history.  The fact that she came a head away from topping that is a testament to her amazing CAREER.

Just remember, 2010 is only 1/3rd of the Zenyatta story.  Her critics would like to keep the discussion segmented into individual years, like 2010 or 2009, because in each one they can point to a horse that, in their opinion, accomplished more than Zenyatta.  But Zenyatta is about 2010 AND 2009 AND 2008! She's not just about the 6 races of 2010; she's about those 19 straight wins(actually started in 2007) and that one, amazing, courageous 2nd.    

The 2010 HoY is about what happened in 2010.  If most voters believe Blame did most, so be it.  They have valid points.  But as a Zenyatta fan, I want to instead look at Zenyatta's entire career, from late 2007 until late 2010.  I acknoweldge Blame's great Classic win and his excellent 2010 campaign(although it was only 5 races).  But of greater historical significance is Zenyatta's career, a career that was about so much more than just 2010.

09 Nov 2010 6:20 AM
Make it easy for EVERYONE

I have an idea: maybe they should just forget about the Eclipse awards.  Save the money on the big, expensive "get-together" and little statues; donate that money saved to the Thoroughbred Retirement programs; and everyone can end the Season with their own HOY.  Seems like a much peaceful end to a Season and better start to a new one.  All in all...who really cares 5, 10, 20 years later?

09 Nov 2010 6:47 AM

One could argue that the BC races are also restricted;therefore, it is a Breeders' Cup Championship and not a national championship.

Not all stallion owners and owners of the babies can afford to pay the nomination fees at the required time. Not to mention the $90,000 it took to supplement horses such as Dubai Majesty.

09 Nov 2010 6:48 AM


Well written.

Actually, I too thought of the 07' New England Patriots.  The big difference is that Zenyatta was undefeated in 08' and 09' as well as having a great 2010 that did, unfortunately, end in a heartbreaking loss.  So, it's hard coming up with a football equivalent.

And that's why I suggested we Zenyatta fans focus on her career and not just 2010.  Let the 10' HoY fall as it may.  Zenyatta transcends 2010 HoY.  Sure it would be icing on the cake, but her legacy is secured with or without it.  I would strongly encourage Sherriffs and the Moss' to celebrate her career and view the 2010 HoY vote for what it is, a vote on the last third of Zenyatta's career.  And in that career, she won 13 gr.1 races, beat males in the 09' Classic, and lost the 10' Classic by a head to a 4 year old male in the prime of his career running on his home track. Pretty darn special in my book.

09 Nov 2010 6:48 AM
Lise from Maine


I have been reading conflicting reports regarding whether Zenyatta lost by a head, 3/4s of a head, 1/2 a head, and finally by a nose.

I have no idea which one is actually correct.

Furthermore, my analysis of that race is such that in my opinion the Zenyatta team, and that includes those who shovel manure, feed her, etc, should have met for a consultation session and decided on a different strategy.

According to statistical (study statistics) data regarding probablility factors, if one chooses to continue to "live off the edge" and continue the "same drama," then it is highly likely that one will lose at some point, and that is exactly what happened in that race.

It was a "high" risk to continue to race in the same manner, and there are consequences in using this same strategy.

Keep in mind that Zenyatta only won by half a length in her 19th race.

The better strategy in my opinion in this race would have been to move Zenyatta much, much sooner and allow her to lead and win by 10, 15, 20, 30 or more lengths.

This would have been the use of a different sort of drama, and I believe that her fans would have rsponded well. I would have most certainly.

This is not about blaming anyone but about learning from this experience.

Zenyatta's fans already know what she is capable of doing by coming from behind and winning so, therefore, a different strategy was called for at this time.

Thank you!

09 Nov 2010 6:53 AM

In 1990, Best Pal finished 2nd in the Eclipse award voting for champion 2 year old male behind Fly So Free.  In 1991, Best Pal finished 2nd(maybe 3rd) in the Eclipse voting for champion 3 year old male behind Hansel(and maybe Strike the Gold).  In 1992, Best Pal finished 2nd in Eclipse voting for champion older male behind Pleasant Tap.  In 1993, Best Pal finished 2nd in Eclipse voting for champion older male behind Bertrando.

Guess which horse is the only one of them in the Hall of Fame?  Best Pal.

Given how few females have ever been Horse of the Year( a list that doesn't include Ruffian or Personal Ensign), it's quite amazing for one to be runner up 3 years(if she does lose this year).

09 Nov 2010 6:59 AM

Delmarken:  lack of knowledge? What year did Blame lose three of his first six races?  Wasn't this year.  

09 Nov 2010 7:05 AM
Lise from Maine


I hope that Zenyatta is not retired.

She can come back and hopefully Team Zenyatta attempts some new strategies this time around.

Thank you!

09 Nov 2010 7:07 AM

Blame might be the better horse but the public never heard of him until he crossed the wire Sat evening.  Zen should get HOY for no other reason than she breathed life back into an otherwise dead sport.  

09 Nov 2010 7:08 AM

I've mostly had my say in the comment thread from Tom's LaMarra's original post, so I'll try and be brief.

It's Horse of the Year, not horse of the decade, horse of the century, or horse of my heart.  

The notion of the Classic being for all intents and purposes a tie is ludicrous.  If that's the measure, than for all intents and purposes Zenyatta tied a lot more races than she won this year - and throughout her career.  The finish line is an absolute, it doesn't matter where you are 2 lengths in front of it, or two lengths behind it.  Blame crossed it first (and not for anything, galloped out better). It's where you cross the line that matters. End of story.

Zenyatta beat exactly 0 Grade I winners this year.  Before the Classic she had 0 competition, despite having every opportunity to step up in class and take on the boys.  I can beat the average fifth grader in a foot race, it doesn't make me the next Usain Bolt.  The level of competition matters.

She also ran against those soft mares in short fields (admittedly not her fault more didn't show).  Don't discount the benefit of consistently short fields had on her record.  You simply can't run the table like she did with her running style against 12 horse fields.  There's too much trouble on a racetrack, eventually you run into it.  It doesn't matter how good you are.

She's a great horse, one for the ages, but in 2010, prior to the Classic, she proved little more than the 2nd coming of Peppers Pride.  She deserved better, but her connections, in my opinion, got more caught up in keeping her undefeated than proving to all of us all how good she really is.  Clearly their plan was to run up the record as easily as possible, and win the Classic.

By statistical measures (Beyers, BRIS Speed figures), she ran her best race of the year on Saturday and still lost.  Of course, along the way she proved she can run with the best of the boys, but the one that beat her (and beat better than she faced all year long) deserves the award.

If you truly think you can give the HOY award based on the strength of one race, give it to Goldikova.  Unlike Zenyatta, she won her race on Saturday, and unlike Zenyatta, she faced the best horses her country had to offer all year long.

09 Nov 2010 7:25 AM

Since the Eclipse award is based on subjective opinion, not facts, there is no way emotions will not factor into the outcome.  Exactly how many sportswriters actually breed, own and race horses?...and yet all the "real" horsemen believe Zenyatta earned it...except for Seth Hancock, who has a mega-financial interest in Blame.

09 Nov 2010 7:28 AM

Blame had a stronger performance in 2010 and he is the American HOY. Goldikova deserves the Eclipse Award as THE HOY. She has done a lot more than Blame or Z and she is amazing. Love that the connections will bring her back where as Blame is being retired after 1 year of racing.

I was at the BC and went to see mostly Goldikova and to see Z. I was disappointed i the crowd not giving Goldikova her due. They should have raised the roof with their cheers. She races the boys all the time and has won on different continents, set recoeds, and won many top races against top contenders both male and female. She doesn't dance but she races and she won Saturday by sheer grit and determination. What heart.

I am definitely back next year (thank god it is in KY, I am in NY) and am going to see Goldikova. She is a classic and one of the all time world greats. Hope she stays safe.

09 Nov 2010 7:36 AM
mike rullo


team zenyatta needed a better campagin to win hoy. they actually did a diservice to this horse.

she was a lot better than I thought,but they lost the race they needed to win hoy.

could she come back in the clark and beat older males??

09 Nov 2010 7:36 AM

Zenyatta defiantly deserves HOY, the ONLY criteria needed to be considered for HOY is the horse has to have at least 1 start in North America in that year. It’s doesn’t say anything about who they beat, by how much they won or lost by, what surface they raced on, etc. Just for what Zenyatta has brought to the sport of horse racing she should get it hands down!

09 Nov 2010 7:42 AM

@ Sango:    Well said!!

09 Nov 2010 7:55 AM


A perfect definition of a double standard is when Zenyatta defeats her rivals by a head, it is because she's the best of all time and the deserving HOTY... but when she gets defeated by the same margin, it is because of bad luck...hmmm...

People, Rachel defeated males 3 times, all in G1 races last year, and you still felt she didn't deserve the award. So in 2010, Zenyatta loses the only unrestricted race she runs in, and against one of the leading candidates for HOTY, and you still think she should win the award?

Get real!!!

She deserves the Facebook award, the most popular horse award, and most-twitted horse award, as well the award for the horse with the least objective fans in the world, but HOTY was decided on the track last saturday.

Send your complaints

to the Mosses & Shirreffs for always managing her campaign in the least challenging way. They obviously never learned what it takes to win HOTY.

The Bid,

I agree with you man, for all intended purposes, the 2010 BCC was a tie.

I agree with you so strongly, I took it a step further. I wrote to Equibase to let them now your point of view, and they think is so valid, they are actually thinking about changing Zenyatta's record to something like 14 wins and 6 ties, since she won by a half length or less about that many times.......


09 Nov 2010 8:01 AM

If she had traveled to New York and won the Personal Ensign (beating Persistently and Rachel) then she would be HOY no doubt.  She just needed one more dirt win somewhere east. Just too conservative of a campaign.

09 Nov 2010 8:01 AM
Harrison Bergeron

Blame was the winner of the classic.  I feel it will be just as close on January 17, 2010.


You're right, Zenyatta didn't win, but in her loss, she showed what she's made of. A whole lot more than your Quality Road.  The chart says a lot:

ZENYATTA unhurried despite a sluggish start, negotiated the first turn in the three path then angled out in the strip on the backstretch, began her rally once in the second turn, dropped towards the inside with less than three furlongs to go, steadied briefly and altered course outside QUALITY ROAD near the quarter mile marker, angled out once in the stretch for a clear path and closed fast while not quite able to run down the winner late.


QUALITY ROAD close up along the inside, moved off the rail on the second turn and stopped after six furlongs.


I'm sure you'll be riding in your chauffeur driven Maybach to the Eclipse Awards Ceremony in Miami Beach.  I'll be looking for your mug in the crowd, and if Zenyatta wins, I want to see your face.

Both Blame and Zenyatta are worthy.  I feel Zenyatta a bit more.

09 Nov 2010 8:04 AM

Thank you Jason Shandler....!

What a media freak show this has become.

09 Nov 2010 8:05 AM

Giving Blame HOTY, would be the same as the Dallas Cowboys,winning the Super Bowl. All talk-no action. And yes, I'm a disgruntled- In shock- Cowboy fan :(

09 Nov 2010 8:06 AM

@ Audrey

          Well said- thank you!

09 Nov 2010 8:16 AM

Zen fans,

Get real.

YOU will NEVER forget BLAME.

09 Nov 2010 8:21 AM

Blame should get Horse Of The Year.Simple as that.Yes Zenyatta won 19 races in a row.But i do not believe that cushioning her so she runs against the same horses and in the same state over and over again is what earns her horse of the year.And YES she brought new fans into the sport,but my question(and i believe it is a VALID point)is How many of those "fans" will stick around and continue to watch racing after Zenyatta's retired?

09 Nov 2010 8:21 AM

Quality Road couldn't get a mile an a quarter PERIOD 0 for 3 at the distance.

If Pletcher's so smart how come he didn't know that.

Haynesfield worked over the CD surface, no excuse.

Remember this race next year. is it just me or are the BC Classic's really formful?

09 Nov 2010 8:26 AM
Winnah Pickah


You were right about Quality Road! He did beat Zenyatta. He backed up on her so fast she had to swerve to the outside and re rally. So in essence, Quality Road did beat Zenyatta.

09 Nov 2010 8:29 AM

Quality won the Donn, Met Mile, and Woodward he has nothing to be ashamed of he had a great year and unlike Zenyatta beat males on dirt in open company.

Draynay 09 Nov 2010 12:33 AM

draynay you are a sad and sick man. You can't get yourself to admit that Zenyatta did beat males on the dirt in open company. She beat everyone she faced including Quality Road except HOY Blame on the dirt in the Classic. She beat 10 of them on the dirt in one race. Quit being such a jerk and either get off it or face the fact that she ran a terrific race, far better than you predicted. Your Zenyatta bashing got old long ago. You were dead wrong about her ability to beat QR and others in the Classic, man up or let it go.  

I agree with you Jason that Blame should be named HOY. It comes down to head to head racing and he beat Zenyatta fair and square. He also avenged his earlier defeat by Haynesfield doing it in the biggest race of the year. Those who are touting Goldikova are backing another tremendous Mare but she only raced once in the U.S. and only 5 times all year. As I recall last year there were some who made the claim that Zenyatta didn't race enough times to deserve the award and Goldikova should fall under that category if they truly believed it as well. There should be no contreversy like last year this time around. Blame is clearly the winner in my book.  

09 Nov 2010 8:31 AM

ZENYATTA!!!! HOY should go to Zenyatta!! Why are all you haters hating so bad? I don't get it!! She is unbelievable!! Why take something away from something so great!!! Look at what she has done for the racing industry!! It's because of her the racing industry is coming back to life!!! Remember THAT!!!  

09 Nov 2010 8:37 AM

Oh!!! I see how this posting thing works.....the blogger gets to post all the people supporting Blame and not Zenyatta!! I see the scam here and that is CRUEL!!

09 Nov 2010 8:39 AM
Billy's Empire

Zenyatta, 2009, runs in all filly and mare races and wins the Breeders Cup Classic, loses HOY vote.

Zenyatta, 2010, runs in all filly and mare races and loses the BC Classic, may lose HOY vote again. Like Jason said, they gambled staying in Californina in restricted races and they lost.

This is pure Zensanity.

Look, Zenyatta is one of the best horses of all time and I was lucky enough to see her race in person, but in a year when there was no TC winner, no filly breaking 85 year old records and winning by 20 legnths with ease, and many horses deserving of the award, the HOY should be decided on the track, and Blame won.

09 Nov 2010 8:41 AM

Everyone should review the race and  races and see what happened and not only who  hits the wire before making any statement.

Do you think is there any  other horse on that field would have done what Z did on the race? Put that effort on top of 19  previous races and   for sure you would have the thrill and say that she is the best horse that came around and horse of the year is just the start of the previous statement.

Zanyatta lost the race and the money came with it and not the title for the horse of the year.

09 Nov 2010 8:41 AM

Head added: "Goldikova appears to be improving with age as her Group 1 successes this year total five and have been over distances  of seven furlongs to 1m1¼f." This was a weirdly put statement and because I didn't read it right, I misquoted Mr Head.  He said a mile and 1 and 1/4 furlongs.  So, 9.5 furlongs.  Sorry for the misquote.  If I had read it in French it probably wourl have been clearer to me.  ;)

09 Nov 2010 8:50 AM

Shared Account is my HOY. That mare was the key ingriedient to my pick 4 that paid me over 17 grand. Goldikova is my second choice. I singled her in my other pick 4 and that one paid me nearly 4 grand.

I tossed any horse that the draynay curse eliminated in all my bets. By the way draynay how did your Borel andgle work for you this time? I recall you saying after the KY. Derby that you always put 50-100 bucks on him every time he takes a mount at CD. That and your claim to bet the house on LAL to hit the board must have cost you everything you had. Interesting that you now hide behind Blame's half a head thriller over Zenyatta to try and cover the fact that you couldn't handicap your way out of a wet paper bag.  

09 Nov 2010 8:54 AM
Don from PA/DE

At first thought and in the moment Jason, I agree right at the wire! I love Zen she is great ...maybe all Blame aside, but Blame, to my surprise is the winner and deserves this favor...Thanks for speaking up right in the Winners Circle time....Don

09 Nov 2010 8:59 AM

Blame was a shot in the pan and won the classic on his own track at Churchill.  Who the heck was Blame earlier in the year?  Where was Blame earlier in the year?  No where!!!!  Guess what, he's suddenly retired to make Claiborne some money becuase, unfortunately, Claiborned is a dying farm with Seth Hancock at the helm - no where near the influence of his father or grandfather.  Maybe his brother is really the son who should have been chosen to run Claiborne.  Anyway, I'm off the subject here.  Zenyatta was criticized for winning the Classic last year on her home track yet there is no criticism of Blame winning on the only track he could win on this year??????  Zenyatta handled the Churchill track even though nothing during the race went her way.  I recall not long ago that Quality Road was thought to be in the running for Horse of the Year and look where he finished in the Classic - last.  Why can't you Zenyatta blasters give her a break and admit she is an icon who we will never see again????  You're missing the point here.  We need more Zenyattas and less Blames.  I believe myself so fortunate to have memories of the great Secretariat raced and now I'm satisfied that I've seen the best distaffs in Ruffian and Zenyatta.  She deserves the designation of Horse of the Year!!!!!

09 Nov 2010 9:02 AM
Susan W

Traveling by plane and van shouldn't be considered as a criteria for HOTY, if you truly are just going by races won, yet I see it constantly mentioned.

Considering many of the top horses in this country and Europe have been female (Zen, Goldi, Rachel)running against "the Boys" doesn't hold quite the cachet you seem to think it does.

And the comment that Seth Hancock and family probably has contributed greatly to the sport has another, darker side. Go to the archives of Bloodhorse and watch "Losing the Iron Horse" again. Where did the "Iron Horse" of days past go? Unlike the Breeders in that series who seem to hold others responsible, I think they should also take responsibility and that would include Mr. Hancock.

I guess there are different criteria year to year. Blame's defeat in the JCGC by Haynesfield is a blot on his short win list that should not be overlooked.

In the cruel, kiss butt world of horse racing, where people actually pride themselves on unemotional, I have no illusions about HOTY.

I'll wait for the Hall of Fame induction of Zenyatta, when Blame will be relegated to a footnote in the history of a great race horse.

09 Nov 2010 9:06 AM

That's the link for the video every Zenyatta fan or non-fan should watch!

09 Nov 2010 9:07 AM

Thank goodness MTB has been retired. Thanks to his fluke win in the Derby he will always be a Kentucky Derby winner but he joins a short list of horses that NEVER won another race after the Derby.

09 Nov 2010 9:09 AM

I agree totally with you, Jason.  But as for HOY, I wonder if you would agree that her connections lost HOY for Zenyatta and not the horse herself.  You must agree that she really is a very good horse.  I was disappointed the whole year in the way they handled her.  Sure they coddled her and she could have ended up like Rachel this year.  But if only..  The undefeated record means nothing now only in the history books.

09 Nov 2010 9:12 AM

Isn't horse racing all about emotion?  Zenyatta has been denied horse of the year for the past 2 years.  She is still there and has done so much for racing.  She is a winner over the past 2 years and should be horse of the year.

09 Nov 2010 9:18 AM

We've all seen Queen Zenyatta and know she already rules as Horse Of The Year. She can't be compared and can't be denied any longer. She rules with her statistics, her fame, her presence, her style, her name, her fans. She is without a doubt Horse of the Year.  End of argument.

09 Nov 2010 9:19 AM


Horse of the Year isn't a popularity contest? Really? Show me where it says you can't take a horse's contribution to the sport into account – and Zenyatta's has been huge.

HOY for 2010 is Zenyatta, not your 'I didn't race in Jan, Feb, March, April etc' Blame. Zenyatta could easily have shared the honors with Curlin in 2008- she came in second in the voting and basically picked the wrong year to be great.

Then in 2009, Zen has a campaign the likes of which have never been seen in racing by an mare- again she picks the wrong year to be great with RA winning and Zen getting 90 votes.  

To Hancock, Horse of the Year is all about boosting Blame's stud fee by 50 grand when he stands at Claiborne next year. To the scribes in the east, Blame as HOY is a validation as to how much they hate Zenyatta.

Let's not play games- all the lip service as to liking her is absolute bs on the part of many in the east and Art Wilson himself said that on Inside Horse Racing- it's true.

I do agree that sports can be cruel- so can life, I'd also throw in that horse racing is a dying sport and it's too bad the the Zen/RA battle ripped apart so many fans as Andy Beyer said so well.

Instead of enjoying both horses and what they did on the track, rival fans made a bloodbath out of it- as if this decaying sport didn't have enough problems.

Blame raced in 3 states- as did Zenyatta. Blame won the Foster over a hurt Battle Plan who tore a suspensory ligament in his right foreleg WHICH WAS WHY HE WAS PASSED  at the end by Blame.

Blame carried 121 THREE times and WAS decimated in the JCGC by a NY Breed. It's fine for Blame to lose the JCGC by 4 lengths as long as he had the chance to avenge the defeat, but Zenyatta, who beats all the best males in the country minus a photo loss to Blame- that makes him HOY?

Jason, if you combine all the races of Ruffian and Personal Ensign you'd see that 98% of them were in NY with a jump across the river once. Personal Ensign left the NY/NJ area ONCE - JUST ONCE- to run in the BC Distaff- not the BC Classic- the Distaff.

She ran once against two spent males and dominated the race, Ruffian never left NY/NJ and even in Foolish Pleasure he wasn't the best three year old male. How many horses can everybody name here that PE beat in her first 9 races? Or name me the horses that Ruffian beat- come on?

I say these two because in almost every racing poll- Ruffian and PE are at the top for the females.


But for argument's sake, let's say the only thing that matters is what happens on track. Now, Blame is a very good horse, a cinch for champion older male. But this year, he beat a Grade 3 field in the W.D. Schaeffer. In the Stephen Foster, Battle Plan, tore a suspensory in that race and was retired when it seemed he would easily win- I mentioned this already.

In the Whitney, Blame was getting

five pounds when he beat Quality Road by a head and Blame was crushed in the JCGC- THAT is the HOY 2010? LMAO!

Here was a mare taking on the boys, traveling cross-country for the first time, over a cuppy racetrack where the winner had a tremendous home-court advantage. She was hopelessly outdistanced early in the race, yet lost by inches.

She did lose, but AFTER Curlin in '08- then RA in '09- both times Zen finishing 2nd in the voting, to suggest that Blame beats her as well in 2010 after HIS CAMPAIGN is absurd.  

09 Nov 2010 9:22 AM

Zenyatta did not have a bad trip.

Dead closers have to have everything go their way to get up in races, generally, which is why the fact that she was able to win 19 straight races speaks to her greatness.

But her trip was not appreciably worse than the trip she normally gets; it's just the horses up front were running much faster fractions than the horses in her other races were normally running. She dropped way out of it in last year's BC Classic, too, but when she came roaring up in the stretch she was facing a leader, Gio Ponti, who while a game horse, was racing a bit beyond his best distance.

In Blame she was facing a horse who likes a fight and who still had some gas left in the tank, hence the wonderful, driving finish.

Why is it necessary for some people to denigrate other horses' achievements in order to -- mistakenly, I think -- elevate their own favorite? Both horses ran great races; to me, Zenyatta proved more in defeat than she had in almost any of her victories.

But Blame is Horse of the Year. If Zenyatta's connections had run a less conservative campaign and taken on the boys in Cali once or twice (even if she lost), she would have a much stronger case. They went all-in on the Breeders Cup Classic and lost.

09 Nov 2010 9:24 AM

Hey Monty and Mike Relva,

yes, I was sure she was gonna lose. you were in line for 3-5, and got hosed! love it, shoulda listened to me, never bet a favorite. instead, cash HUGE on Dakota Phone (I did, sorry). when I read all the support for 3-5 on BC day at at this blog, I was sure to win. had Blame to close out the day in a pick three, and only missed one of my big pays, Midday stole a huge exacta from me when she bullied through. learn you lesson folks, bet smartly. oh, and who cares about horse of the year if one got PAID. but my vote, Dakota Phone, thanks Jerry H!

09 Nov 2010 9:25 AM
Ted from LA

I wonder what Ted from LA thinks about all of this.

09 Nov 2010 9:35 AM


while I agree that both the main and turf tracks were leaning towards favoring late runners, your attempt to explain Life At Ten's flop are laughable. have you not read all the reports about the HORSE'S PHYSICAL WELL BEING. I don't recall hearing Johhny V saying that the horse didn't take to the track, he said she WASN'T WARMING UP WELL. now we all know she was infirm. you had all that time to gather facts before you wrote, and you still bungled it. read and listen, then write.

09 Nov 2010 9:37 AM

By whatever criteria is used in making HOTY decisions perhaps Blame does deserve the award but I would like to comment on something you say in your blog. "If you take the emotion out of it." This is what is wrong with this sport, you want to break everything down into numbers, Beyer speed figures, synthetic vs. dirt, etc. etc. The average fan couldn't care less about that garbage they want to be emotionally involved with the animals, why do you think Zenyatta has such a huge following? Part of the reason a horse like Secretariat was so popular was that people could get emotionally invested in him they could approach him, visit him at Claiborne. Do you think all those children who loved him and had photos etc. cared what his speed figures were? (I know the Beyer speed figures weren't around then)The only thing Blame will ever be remembered for is beating Zenyatta in one race. He brought no new fans to the sport he did not generate the interest that Zenyatta did and no one will have the fond memories of him that they will of her. This sport needs emotion to survive, all these hard core gamblers are not going to keep the sport going so yeah, take the emotion out of it and see how long horse racing remains a viable thriving entity. Not long

09 Nov 2010 9:38 AM
Ted from LA

Well, since somebody asked, I think this weekend at Churchill Downs was one of the greatest weekends of racing I've attended.  I was near the winners circle on Friday and heard these two short guys yelling at each other.  I yelled, "Fight fight fight," regressing back to my childhood days, and the next thing I knew, they were throwing punches.  Zenyatta put on a show dancing to and in the paddock worth the price of admission.  I stayed long after Blame and Zenyatta finished the Classic.  I wanted to stay and watch Quality Road cross the finish line, but the ushers were asking people to leave.  Caracortado is horse of the year.

09 Nov 2010 9:41 AM

I see a 3-way HOY race:

Zenyatta: (6-5-1-0) All grade 1’s , All her wins against fillies, all synthetic, narrow gutsy second on dirt against classy field & top males (like last year)

Blame: ( 5-4-1-0 ) 3 grade 1’s, 1 Grade 3 and second in a Gr 1, blown away in his only defeat, though he did beat Haynesfield 2 out of 3 meetings. 2 of 4 wins on his home track.

Blind Luck.: ( 9 -5 -3-1) 3 Grade 1’s (including Kentucky Oaks) 2 Grade 2’s, Never off the board in 9 graded stakes races, crisscrossed the country racing 7 tracks, dirt and synthetic, heart pounding courage, heart and tenacity every stretch run irregardless of track surface and/or pace. Only raced once against older females (2nd), all other races against 3 yr-old fillies (I think, correct me if I’m wrong.)

Personally, I would vote for…wait for it… Blind Luck.

09 Nov 2010 9:47 AM

Goldikova for HOY here in the US after just one race this year on our soil?? that's why they have the Cartier. you guys didn't see Wesley Ward backers saying his two horses should be up for the Cartier after his wins at Ascot did you? Goldikova for US HOY???? please....

09 Nov 2010 9:49 AM

Draynay is right about two things: QR didn't like the surface(his jockey said so), and the track did have a closer bias. Big Drama was the only horse who won on the lead, a couple others came from close up, and as for the others:

Blame came from 7th

Dakota Phone came from last

Unrivaled Belle came from 5th

and look at what happened to the leaders in each dirt race:

Gabby's Golden Gal: 10th

Gabriel's Hill: 3rd(decent performance)

Malibu Prayer was last, apart from Life at Ten

Theysken's Theory was 6th

Hurricane Ike was 9th(though Morning Line almost won)

Big Drama won

Riveting Reason was 8th

First Dude was 8th

I believe that this indicates a closer bias. Now, this can't account for QR's performance, that is explained by him not liking the track, but one does not have to imply the track itself was against Zenyatta to boost her gallant second. It helped her, but it also helped Blame and Fly Down, so Zenyatta's performance isn't the result of track bias.

09 Nov 2010 9:50 AM


All G1s? against girls....doesnt fly buddy.

If she beat Blame then she had my vote also, but she didnt.

09 Nov 2010 9:50 AM

Zenyatta deserves either Horse of the Year or a Lifetime Achievement Award. The argument that the winner of the Breeder's Cup should be Horse of the Year is a weak one. If any horse deserved that honor, it was Zenyatta last year when she won the Breeder's Cup Classic, an unprecedented accomplishment for a mare. If that had happened, we wouldn't be having this argument today. Unfortunately, that was a lost opportunity. I frankly don't have a lot of faith in the selection process.

09 Nov 2010 9:52 AM
Cara (a voice for Zenyatta)

Ok, give Blame "Horse of the Year"; but how about a "Lifetime Achievement Award". Now I know all you men, serious betters, breeders, trainers, jockeys, owners, yadayadayada all agree on this one. I myself knew Blame was a threat & I'm not taking away from his accomplishments. He was one of the 3 horses I was really worried about. Let's see how many Grade I (east coast) winners he produces now that he is already retired. What's up w/ that?

Now I'm going to give Zenyatta a voice which is the only thing she is not capable of - speaking. She's obviously more intelligent than most humans!

"Mike, Mike, Mike; you hold me back further than you have in any of my other races then you figure out hey, I better let her go since these aren't fillies today, they're some of the top colts in the land. Don't talk about the dirt bothering me; weren't you the one who had to flip your goggles approximately 8 times on a dry track??? You finally let me go & instead of going immediately to the outside when I caught up you "jerked me into the middle of the pack where who knows what could have happened to "any" of us. Then you remembered, hey I better get out of this mess & go to the outside; duh!!! You proceeded to beat the you know what out of me with the whip like you've never done before when you realized you had screwed up. I forgive you for anything you did wrong because all that media hype got to your head; EXCEPT the part about whipping the h___ out of me for your mistakes!!" To err is human, to forgive divine; to have the talent, work ethics, unconditional love towards humans is to be a horse!! Note: this is the human speaking now - I saw the race & watched it many times over. I may not be a major stakes player, but I know horses. Look @ the finish line photo from the Houston Chronicle (ok article but very obvious the writer knew little about this mare or any of the other horses for that matter) & the photo finish says it all - Zenyatta's ears are perked up & she's got more gas in the tank; Blame's ears are pinned back & that boy is giving it all he's got left "after a nice trip". You're a great horse too Blame but let's face it - on any given day any horse can win & I'm sick & tired of you testosterone filled up men(don't think I spelled that right but really don't care since I'm not a sports writer or with the media) men zingin' Zenyatta!! Give a horse credit when they deserve it!! Too much media, too much everything!! As a horse lover, I'm glad the "Girl's" going to be able to retire, enjoy life & make some hell of a colts & fillies!! I'm not bias towards fillies & mares by the way. Barbaro, Secretariat, Smarty Jones, Lookin At Lucky, A.P. Indy, Storm Bird, Ghostzapper, Distorted Humor, Funny Cide, Man 'O War, Count Fleet, Mine That Bird (who never got any credit for placing in the Preakness & showing in the Belmont; then unfortunately went to Lukas), War Emblem, Real Quiet (RIP), Silver Charm & the list goes on & on....As far as trainers I think John is a great trainer but Bob Baffert is the man!! Ok, tired of typing, gotta work for a livin' so "'nuff said". If you don't like my comments, too bad. Last time I checked this was a free country & I believe we still have "freedom of speech" & the right to our own opinion.

09 Nov 2010 9:54 AM
Mike Puder

Aside from Blame's luck against Zenyatta, he had beaten a bunch of nobodies throughout the year. He beat a "dead horse" in Quality Road and was SOUNDLY beaten by HAYNSFIELD. Zenyatta was unlucky to receive a poor ride by Mike Smith and was the victim a lousy (slow) start. 2 more jumps and Zenyatta wins. When taken "as a whole" it's the entire year that counts. Zenyatta was the victim of her own rider and when Blame was beaten by Haynsfield he clearly could not cope. The HOY honors are clear to me: ZENYATTA is the clear and decisive winner, HANDS DOWN.

09 Nov 2010 9:56 AM

Z is the better horse. If she didn't have a troubled trip she wins easily. If they ran again in a smaller field or a match race would you bet on Blame after seeing this race, no way. She probably got a better Beyer fig in the race. She is the best horse of this century so far.

09 Nov 2010 9:58 AM

I know there is alot of Zenyatta fans out there. I wasnt really a big fan of hers, but she did gain my respect after putting in that good run to almost run down Blame. If there was any horse who definately deserves a HOY its her, but she doesnt deserve it this year. I think it will boil down to the prestige of the races that both Zenyatta and Blame had won. Zenyatta had every chance to race males on the west coast or even come east and run in some races she never ran in before such as the Beldame or Spinster. But her connections instead chose to keep her running in softer spots. The top 4 horses in the country was Blame, Quailty Road, Lookin at Lucky and Zenyatta. Whoever won  the Classic is going to win HOY. A similar arguement was made in 98 when Awesome Again beat Skip Away in the Classic, although Skip Away lost his last 2 races, what he did earlier in the year was enough win HOY. But if Silver Charm had won the Classic, he would have won. Another was Cigar. He lost 3 out of his last 4 races, the last 2 being very game efforts in which he almost won both and he would have due to questionable rides. Curlin same thing. The only poor he ran in '08 was the Classic and that was a good race he ran too, but got out finished by 2 turft horses and Tiago who is based on the west coast. So each year the voting gets tricky. Last year was real hard but I think Zenyatta should have won due to the fact she won the Classic. What if Racheal ran last year and lost? does she still win HOY based on what she did earlier that year?? Racing needs more horses like them to save the sport.

09 Nov 2010 10:04 AM

Ditto. Another thing you might add is that the Breeders cup was a two horse race in the first place. We all knew that the speed would kill each other and the closers (Blame & Zenyatta) would benefit. So, basically Zenyatta finished last. Just another way to look at it.

09 Nov 2010 10:10 AM

Well said Jason and I agree. Zenyatta's connections are well aware that the reason they lost HOTY in both 2008 and 2009 was because Zenyatta's campaign was not as strong as RA and Curlins. So what did they do this year? The same exact thing. You'd think they'd learn based on TWO YEARS experience.  Instead they have basically thumbed their nose at the voters. Then said that win or lose, she should be HOTY before the BC otherwise it will be a slap in the face. Who is slapping who here? They didn't have to leave CA and still put her in better races like the SA Handicap, Hol Gold Cup or the Pacific Classic. They didnt have to put her in all three, just one. Additionally there was no G1 stakes winners like Life As Sweet racing against her this year in CA. As to her BC race, alot has been said about it but IMO it wasnt any different than any of her previous races with one exception, she got beat by a better horse that day. Mike Smith in his post race interview said a lot of things, including taking the responsibility for her loss...but two things stick out, one she wasnt crazy about getting the dirt kicked in her face. Thats something she should have been prepared for. Were not talking about a trainer that is inexperienced with closers in a large field at CD...can we say Giacomo. Two Smith needed Blame to back up a little bit, but he didnt. At no point did Zenyatta get ahead of Blame. They underestimated the competition.

A lot of posters mention Blames loss at Belmont, okay, track was playing funky that day and anyone who watched knows that. Unlike some trainers, the horse was sent out to race even though conditions werent ideal and he still preformed well given the circumstances. As many here want to bring up the past, remember the Louisville Distaff? Blame was on his home track...okay...Zenyatta was on her home track last year and ?? According to her connections, shes better on dirt and loved CD and we should expect something spectacular. I will say this CD made sure that the track was as fair as it could be if not favoring closers. She had every chance to win and didnt.

Zenyattas connections had a choice, keep her undeafeated or do a HOTY campaign.  They chose to try to keep her undefeated, Quest for Perfection, gambled and lost. Zenyattas weak campaign cost her not only the race, which is also evidenced by how much Smith had to use the whip, but HOTY. Luckily, there is no standout for Older mare, so its not like she wont be recognised for her accomplishments.

Zenyatta is a great mare.  Its unfortunate that her connections dont understand/care what a HOTY campaign is and certainly makes trainers like Mott and McAnaly stand out.

09 Nov 2010 10:13 AM
Meydan Rocks!



All ZENYATTA  "zealots"; raise your eyes to the sky,

for your beloved Star has risen to join the pantheon of saints.

In the interim, her corporeal form shall remain here on earth to receive dignitaries and courtesy calls!

In basketball, there is something known as the MICHAEL JORDAN effect. The LARRY BIRD effect. The MAGIC JOHNSON effect.  

It is that "transcendent effect" that goes beyond the "calculus" which goes into computing HOY.

HOY is an important honor for our tiny sport which barely registers on the sporting nation's radar and/or screen.

HOY is for the merely mortal (but hey if she wins, thats fine too.. wink, wink).

But make no mistake about it....






09 Nov 2010 10:16 AM
Mike Relva


Yeah, and Zenyatta beat EVERY horse on the track except Blame.

09 Nov 2010 10:16 AM
Mike Relva


PAULA HIGGINS is correct,Zenyatta blew by your QR like he was nailed to the track. lol Years from now do you think they will even remember Blames,QR's name? BTW USA TODAY reported that ratings for Breeders' Cup TRIPLED. Wonder why? lol

09 Nov 2010 10:22 AM
Jeep Chick

I don't think that Zenyatta is as popular outside of racing or at least CA racing as people are led to believe.  Some people (outside of reacing)had never even heard of her until the 60 Minutes segment. And that probably accounts for some of the ratings for the Breeder's Cup.

I vote SECRETARIAT for Horse of the Year.

09 Nov 2010 10:22 AM

Well said, Jason.  But since you are dealing with emotion approaching religious fanaticism with many fans of Zenyatta, don't be surprised if you hear shouts or "Kill the Unbeliever" and see a mob with pitchforks and torches chasing you.  Zenyatta is one of the greatest ever and a thrill to watch even in defeat.  Horse of the Year is more about what the humans do with a brilliant horse.  Once again the Mosses have chosen not to run a winnning campaign, and I suppose once again we can expect sour remarks from them if once again Zenyatta doesn't win this award.  Three-peat!!    

09 Nov 2010 10:28 AM

Absolutely Incorrect-Enough Said

09 Nov 2010 10:30 AM
Mike Relva


Stop making bs excuses for QR. I don't hear you saying Zenyatta didn't like the track. If you really bet on a miler stuck in the one post that just illustrates your racing expertise.

09 Nov 2010 10:31 AM

I agree that Blame will and should be HOY.  However, I also agree with Draynay's prediction.  I'll bet that in fifty years, barring a stunning career at stud, Blame will be remembered by few and Zenyatta by many.  

In other words, Blame earned HOY, a worthy, but transitory title, while Zenyatta earned a place in history.    

09 Nov 2010 10:34 AM
Mike S

Weird how this "Draynay" character says that "QUALITY ROAD has nothing to be ashamed of" after finishing last in the Breeders Cup Classic, and yet he does nothing but disparage ZENYATTA all over the internet. Funny how being dead last, and totally giving up, is "nothing to be ashamed of," and yet The Great ZENYATTA is "not a very good horse" because she has a record of 20 starts, 19 wins, and a second by a nose!


ZENYATTA is Horse of the Year, undoubtedly, but she should have received the award in 2008 and 2009 as well.

09 Nov 2010 10:35 AM

So Blame gets it for winning the Breeder's Cup Classic - but last year Zenyatta didn't get HOY even though she won the Classic - the first female to do so.  Instead a filly that didn't didn't even run in the Breeder's Cup races (because by then she was a broken horse and her connections knew she would lose) was awarded the title.  If Zenyatta does not merit HOY, then I tell you who does - Goldikova.  She has been outstanding in her race career and has won a Breeder's Cup race 3 times in a row.  Not an "American" horse?  I believe the rules state that to qualify for HOY, a horse need only start once in the USA.  And Goldikova meets that qualification.

09 Nov 2010 10:36 AM

Let's see so far it is 15% agree with Jason and 85% think it should be Queen Z.  Too bad it isn't a popular vote from the fans who support the sport and the real champions rather than the talented sports writers who have little horse background. WE KNOW WHO THEY WOULD PICK. The horse who is the 19 race WINNER! And Draynay Life at Ten should have never raced that day she should have been scratched because she was tying up. The owners are lucky she didn't have a fatal reaction from trying to run.  Her trainer and the John V. said before the race she was not acting right, she should have been checked by track vet and scratched.  Racing her was unfair to the mare and the bettors.

09 Nov 2010 10:39 AM

how do you people not understand why there is no reason why zenyatta should recieve hoy?

this is not a popularity contest. it is based on how well you have done. the quality of the races you have ran in and the quality of horses that you have beat.

that is horse of year. if you don't realize that you shouldn't even be voting on it.

zenyatta did nothing special with this years racing season compared to the prior two. she did the exact same thing as usual and didn't do anything to prove that she can beat quality. go figure. i knew she wouldn't.

blame. thats it. that is horse of the year.

zenyatta does not deserve it.

09 Nov 2010 10:41 AM

Yup. As an icon of the sport said, albeit in a slightly different context: Who can he run by? HOY goes to the horse whose vanquished rivals rank the highest and that has to go to Blame. I also wonder whether perhaps going out and getting used to dirt kicked in her face might have given Zen the necessary edge. Blame always seems to come home filthy - but he no longer cares. He runs anyway because it's nothing new to him. Maybe the ultraconservative campaign to get the undefeated streak honors had enough down-side to make the difference. Is Zen HOY material? Perhaps. In fact, probably - but her campaign did not allow her to really show us everything she is. I'm sorry because I like her connections and I like the big mare - but I don't think she was given a campaign that let her show she's HOY-good. And as much as she's done for the sport - which is probably more than anyone has done in decades - I am disappointed that she was not sent out to whip the best of the best on her way to whatever win-streak she could get. Because, Classic win or no, if she'd done what I believe she could - and know she SHOULD - have done, HOY would be hers. Hands down! Blame took on everyone who showed up. Everywhere. And he ran his heart out on BC day. He deserves HOY. And I think Zenyatta deserves - with the highest honor possible - a special Eclipse award for having pumped incredible sparkle, life and love for our sport and hopefully given it a new and lasting lease on life. That, my friends, is no small accomplishment when you think how many human participants, with all their logic and innovation, have failed to do that!

09 Nov 2010 10:46 AM

Zenyatta beat the best last year no horse of the year . Why Blame this year. Rachel barely beat  subpar horses in the Woodward last year and come on the three year olds were not stellar. Goldikova over Blame.

09 Nov 2010 10:50 AM

It doesnt matter how great you are, how many grade 1 races you win or how you electrify the sport from the trainers, owners, breeders to the fans. If you are a west coast horse the rules are different for you. You simply cant do enough to win HOY.Been that way forever. I was born into racing and have been involved for 50 years. I am so sick and tired of the double standards. If Blame wins HOY it just proves my and many others point to that effect. Continue to take racing down the tubes. Without the fans racing is done. If racing likes the empty stands and the nobody cares to watch anymore then have at it. Anybody else but a west coast horse and connections can lose the BCC or not even show up with every excuse known to man but win it the previous year and remaign undefeated in Grade 1 races to come back and run second my mere inches and bring literally thousands of new fans and a renewel in racing interest and your not good enough? Why not just write the rule must be from the east and be done with it.

09 Nov 2010 10:52 AM

Without question Zenyatta is the Horse of the Year!  She had a brutal trip while Blame an absolutely perfect trip.  The Best Horse doesn't always necessarily win the race.  Zenyatta came across the country, ran on a different surface than she is familiar with, against the very best male colts in the land.  She spotted the field 25 lengths and just missed. Let Blame try that!  Zenyatta could have run in the Filly division won as she pleased and completed her career a perfect 20 for 20.  But her connections ran her against the very best this country had to offer and if anyone has any doubt who was clearly tons the best on Saturday I suggest that they watch the video again.  Mike Smith just gave her too much work to do.  That is NOT the horse's fault.  Without question Zenyatta is THE BEST.  And if they were to run again Zenyatta would be the overwhelming favorite.  Case closed!  

09 Nov 2010 10:57 AM

Once again, I am glad I am not an Eclipse Award judge because I am eminently unqualified to be that dispassionate.  I have not read all the comments and my question may already be answered - where is Goldikova in all this?  Will she get a European "equivalent" of the HOY award, or can she get it in America?  And if so, why is she not being mentioned?  I love my Queen Z but Goldikova has had a remarkable campaign.

09 Nov 2010 10:58 AM

mister.. do you really believe BLAME was the best horse of this year BCC? do you really believe it?

09 Nov 2010 11:03 AM

Oh, well said Gunbow!  Thanks for the much-needed perspective on this.  

09 Nov 2010 11:08 AM
Pam S.

Well, Jason, with all due respect, the premise of your blog -- that Blame is HOY and "it's simple" -- is way off, judging by the well over 400 responses thus far.  My preliminary tally shows a fairly significant majority of posters don't think it's simple at all and in fact they favor Zenyatta.

True, those posting their opinions don't have a vote, and Jason you do.  But as has been said before, it's only one vote.  I think this blog (along with the many opinion pieces penned by other turf writers who vote) should give you a hint that it's not likely to be a slam-dunk for Blame.

Look at last year.  Virtually everyone in the Western world with access to the Internet proclaimed Rachel the HOY after the Woodward. Zenyatta still got 99 votes.  This year, Blame is a good, workmanlike older horse, not a dazzler like Rachel.  So will Zenyatta get more votes, or fewer than last year?

Paula, ITA with you on Mr. Hancock.  He may have been overwhelmed by the great victory, but I doubt it since he had his wits about him enough to shamelessly plug his horse 10 seconds after the race went official.  Frankly, I expected more from "Kentucky royalty," and he did try later to make up for his gaffe.

Finally, since this year's HOY debates promise to be very similar to last year's, this might be a good time to comment, in general,  on the owners' desire for the award.  Last year, Jess Jackson so coveted it for his $10 million baby that he raced the heart right out of her in order to get it (without going to the BC).  The horse he purchased was outstanding, and we watched him make her average.  He got the HOY.  Is this what everyone wanted the Mosses to do with Zenyatta?  Well, the thing is, THEY didn't want the award that badly and I'm sure they still don't.

09 Nov 2010 11:12 AM

Oh, my goodness!  This blog was just posted yesterday and has over 400 comments.  I expected this as Z has very staunch fans.

For those ragging on Jason for his stance, he does not hate Zenyatta but he has clearly stated all year that her campaign was not a HOY campaign, they put all their eggs into the BCC. What would it have cost to have her run in the Hollywood Gold Cup?  Does anyone think she woudn't have won?  I think she would have run that the same as all her other races.  She is a huge mare with a huge stride and weight does not bother her.  She would havr trounced that field and would have had none of the restricted races argument.  One poster said Rachel didn't deserve HOY because she didn't show up for the BC.  She ran 8 for 8 last year, faced the boys 3 times and lost 150 pounds after the Woodward and you still think she should have run in the BC?  Killing her would have satisfied you that she deserved HOY?  Zen ran 4 times before the BCC.  That's a big difference.

As for HOY I think Zenyatta should get it and she probably will.  It really doesn't make sense that a horse like Z never won HOY.  Winning margins and trips have nothing to do with it.  She lost, Blame didn't.  The bad trips are all part of horse racing.  Sunday Silence is still considered inferior to Easy Goer because of the excuses for Easy Goer.  SS beat him 3 out of four times, that decides it.  Zenyatta was valiant in her defeat and who can really argue her greatness?  I guess those who thought a campaign restricted to fillies and mares is not enough and that is their perogative.  We all see things differently.  I hope she gets it not for her but for her legions of fans who have wanted this for her.

09 Nov 2010 11:16 AM
Ted from LA

Let me be the first to congratulate Draynay.  He called it that Mine That Bird would never win another race and he didn't.  I suggest Dray open up his own track and have patrons pick the losers, instead of the winners.  He'll make a fortune.

09 Nov 2010 11:21 AM

To All The 'Blame' HOY click above,

This is what your logic is;



THEN HE GETS 5 LBS FROM QR AND WINS A PHOTO, THEN COMES HIS 1,000,000 EXCUSES 'TRACK FAVORED SPEED' Jockey Club Gold Cup- THIS IS RACING- the track is always doing something- he ran- HE WAS TROUNCED.

Zenyatta raced in three states, as did Blame, Zenyatta raced at 5 different tracks, Blame at 4.

Is it the fault of the horse that RA, or anybody else didn't challenge her in the Apple Blossom? Zenyatta has twice won that race and the notion that she isn't a 'dirt' horse is rather imbecilic.

I do wish that St Trinians hadn't been injured in training- I think we would have heard a great deal from her BC Day.

Shirreffs- You should have run her in the HWGC- I said it months ago. But you still have time- run Zenyatta in the Clark- it is $500,000 and Zenyatta has plenty of time to rest- she'll decimate that field and the vote will be a landslide.

09 Nov 2010 11:29 AM

In my opinion Blame and Zenyatta should have a match race to see who should get horse of the year.  I wonder if Blame would show up?

09 Nov 2010 11:29 AM

It is not always about whether you win or lose, more importantly, it is how you ran the race that counts and that's what will be remembered for years to come no matter what sport we are talking about. Given the amount of adversity Zenyatta had to overcome in the BC Classic, she still managed to 'beat the boys' and come within a head of the winner.  That is a sign of superb achievement and divine greatness!!  Zenyatta proved herself that day on the racetrack.  Congrats to Blame for winning the race but I have to ask the question: if Blame had been placed in that same situation, do you think he or any of the other contenders could have overcome the obstacles like she did -- I highly doubt it. The voting process for Horse of the Year should be extended out to the American public.  The committee should have their say in the vote; however, the people should be allowed to have their say as well. By increasing people's involvement in the sport, this could undoubtedly bring horse racing to a new level.  We all love heroes and want to be involved and feel a part of their greatness. . . it gives us something to believe in.

09 Nov 2010 11:37 AM

Why is there the need to bring down Blame and his achievements? This is sad and really says a lot about Zenyatta fan. From all these comments, Zenyatta fan is so insecure about any horse that threatens her (e.g. Curlin, Rachel, Blame) that all you do is rip down their achievements. Are you not racing fans? Do you actually like the sport or do you only care about your horse? Show some dignity and class. All I hear is how Blame had the perfect trip and how he is a mistake winner like a Super Saver in the derby. Apparently you have never seen him race before; the horse can run. Go watch the 2010 Whitney Stakes. Zenyatta fan is grasping for anything right now to try and convince people why Zen should be HOTY. Sooner or later, you are going to have to deal with her losing the race AND the award, because both of those go to Blame. Get over it and stop crying. This is actually quite embarrassing. And for those of you who don't think Blame will be remembered, but Zenyatta will for eternity, think about this? Who is the only horse to beat Man O' War? Upset. Who beat Gallant Fox in the Travers at 100-1? Jim Dandy. People that are fans of the sport don't forget, so as long as people remember Zenyatta, they will always remember the horse that defeated her in her last race....BLAME. Get over it and stop crying, because only the Kleenex industry is happy right now. Show some class people and accept it.  

09 Nov 2010 11:38 AM
RA Fan

Zenyatta left the West Coast twice this year, she tried to meet RA in Arkansas, the race was even moved a week later to accomodate RA but she did not run.  I don't know if RA could have beaten her this year even is the race was moved 3 months out.  Zenyatta is a great horse no matter how you look at it.  RA was used up last year and I did not think she would have come back this year they way they ran her into the dirt she was pushed to hard by people that did not listen to her this was evident by her last race, she gave everyting she had to win as a 3yo. and not enough of a vacation before trying to come back to G1 company this year.  No matter who wins HOTY Zenyatta is the one of greatest horses of our time. I have been lucky in my years in the industry to see 2 greats (Big Red and Zenyatta) I don't think I will live to see another, but there is always next year, after all that is what keeps us in the business.  Big Reds Belmont still brings me to tears as Zenyattas Classic did for a different reason. The Hancocks have been in this business along time and have done alot for this sport but this is not really a reason to vote for Blame as HOTY if we are keeping emotions out of it.  In the BC they both beat G1 males so to say Zenyatta did not prove herself as HOTY is not a valid argument, she outran the same horses as Blame with a bad trip all the way.  She was away from her preferd surface he was at his home track, but that is horse racing..If you want to take just the Classic for HOTY then you have to look at the entire race not just the winner.  If you want to take the entire year as it should be then Goldikova should win, I don't care if she is not an American horse she has proven herself the entire year, the award called Horse of the Year not Americas HOTY, or Horse of the Breeders Cup Classic for a reason.  

So yes lets keep emotion out of it even though I would like to see her win you have to look at the entire year, every race and the company they beat do determine who should win.

09 Nov 2010 11:38 AM

@BobHutt - Brutal Trip?  Really?

At the rate this thread is progressing, we'll soon be reading about how Blame kicked her, or how Garret Gomez elbowed Mike Smith as he tried to get past.  Like the so-called "Brutal Trip", neither actually happened.

If you want to see a brutal trip, watch LAL in the Derby.  Zenyatta started slow, but she didn't get bumped at the start (a slow start and a brutal trip are not the same thing).  I'll give you that Quality Road (how disappointing was he?) came back on her a little, but it was far from brutal - and she got it over a track that favored closers.

What happened to her on Saturday is very likely what would have happened one or two other times over the course of her career had she not so often been limited to short fields and soft horses.  That's not on her though, that's on her connections.

09 Nov 2010 11:44 AM

Speed didn't hold all day? It's no wonder draynay is such a lousy handicapper and has proven it here time and time again.

"Gladiator I was at the tiring track all day and it was set up perfect for closers.  The track was sticky and speed could not hold over 6 furlongs."  

Draynay 08 Nov 2010 8:55 PM

"The speed didn't hold. It's just the way the track was playing.  It set up perfectly for closers."

Draynay 09 Nov 2010 12:33 AM

There were 4 races on dirt over 6f.

Speed held up just fine in the 1 mile Chulukki where both horses who finished 1-2 were on or near the pace the entire race never more than 1 1/2 lengths off the pace (only at the first 1/4 pole) and within 1/2 length the rest of the race.

Speed held up just fine for Uncle Mo in the Juvenile, he was only 2 lenghts out the first 1/4 mile, 1 1/2 out at the half, and the rest of the race was history.

Speed held up just fine in the Dirt Mile where Morning Line led virtually all the way setting blistering fractions only to get beat by a very slim margain. If speed wasn't holding well he would have wilted after blazing through those fractions.

The only race where speed fell apart was in the Classic where the two clearly superior horses just happened to be closers. This race was loaded with questionable speed that couldn't get the distance or couldn't carry it and win against superior competition when under pressure.

3 out of 4 races over 6f produced winners who carried their speed to the wire. The other race they were simply inferior to the two closers by a wide margain.

In all the sprint races speed either won or clearly dominated.

R1- Devil's Humor, tracked the pace and won going away.

R2- Aegan and Rapport dueled around the track and finished 1-2.

R5- Big Drama dominated wire to wire.

When there is a bias against speed you don't see speed horses winning every single sprint on the card as well. The track doesn't simply fall apart after you go 6f, in fact the last 6f of a longer race is run over the same surface as the sprints.

7 out of the 8 races over dirt produced runners who's speed carried them very well. Only man or woman oblivious to reason would not see that.

Track set up for closers? draynay go back to Handicapping 1 and try to learn something. You clearly have no handle on how to read a track.

09 Nov 2010 11:49 AM

gw_bushwacker said it best:

I tossed any horse that the draynay curse eliminated in all my bets. By the way draynay how did your Borel andgle work for you this time? I recall you saying after the KY. Derby that you always put 50-100 bucks on him every time he takes a mount at CD. That and your claim to bet the house on LAL to hit the board must have cost you everything you had. Interesting that you now hide behind Blame's half a head thriller over Zenyatta to try and cover the fact that you couldn't handicap your way out of a wet paper bag.  

gw_bushwacker 09 Nov 2010 8:54 AM

09 Nov 2010 11:52 AM

@ Tony who posted the following;  Rachel defeated males 3 times, all in G1 races last year, and you still felt she didn't deserve the award. So in 2010, Zenyatta loses the only unrestricted race she runs in, and against one of the leading candidates for HOTY, and you still think she should win the award?

Get real!!!

She deserves the Facebook award, the most popular horse award, and most-twitted horse award, as well the award for the horse with the least objective fans in the world, but HOTY was decided on the track last saturday.

Send your complaints

to the Mosses & Shirreffs for always managing her campaign in the least challenging way. They obviously never learned what it takes to win HOTY.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

1. 2009 HOY should have been split. If you want to go down that road- the best males that RA beat were trounced by Zenyatta in the BCC as well- and RA was finished racing after September 5th.

2. Life Is Sweet WON the 2009 BC Ladies Classic and she was TWICE defeated by Zenyatta in 2009- in the Hirsch and the Lady's Secret. I'm not going to go this road again, but since you brought all this up there is no way in hell ANYBODY can say that it really shouldn't have been a tie- they both deserved it.

3. In regards to females and racing, when did Ruffian leave the NY/NJ area? She raced across the river once in Jersey, I'm just wondering what I missed?  

4. Why did Personal Ensign only leave the NY/NJ area once- and that WASN'T to race in the BCC? 85% of her races were restricted races at Belmont and nobody was screaming about it at the time.

Now when you ask the professionals who were the two best females in NA- at the top of EVERY list will be Ruffian and PE-funny isn't it.

TWICE they put Zen against the best males in the nation- both times she beat all the best three year olds, and minus and it would have been all the older males as well, she LOST- I won't play the excuse game, THAT is racing and quite frankly I have read every excuse in the book regarding Blame losing by 4 lengths in the JCGC.

It really is pathetic that some can't see all that Zen has done in regards to who she has defeated.

They are so warped in a small cycle of spin that they can't stop going around in circles. All of the above posts are one of the reasons I stopped posting here.

WAY BACK I first started here with the Gotham- Jason and company threw out I Want Revenge- I joked with him about the show- I said he'd win the race and win it easy- he did, but then the bloodbath started on the Derby when I trashed Friesan Fire before the race-lol.

I said 'adios' after that, but I do thank FF for proving me 100% right about him.    


09 Nov 2010 11:59 AM
R. C.

The Moss's and John Sheriffs can be criticized for Z's campaign this year. A grade I victory over males, would have been nice to have in their back pocket

On the other hand, Blame's prompt retirement white, not unexpected, is disheartening. While I am not suggesting that a fit, sound, highly valued commercial stallion prospect be raced as a 5yo (sarcasm intended). Removing high level horses from the track does not lend itself to promotion of the sport, recruiting or maintaining racing fans

There is one very exciting way to solve the question of HOY. One that would continue to keep America glued to the racing scene......

Race them both again, this year.

Of course with other horses running, it is possible that neither Z or Blame win, that is racing. If that occurred we would not really be any worse off. Better yet, racing would continue to bask in its current spotlight.

The connections of Z and Blame have a unique opportunity to step up and promote racing in a most significant way.

09 Nov 2010 12:00 PM

Jeepchick, I guess ignorance is bliss.  That can be the only explanation for such a stupid statement.  From our box at Churchill Saturday, we meet folks from all over this country that came to KY for only one reason-to see Zenyatta one last time.  I mentioned earlier the family from North Carolina (where it is illegal to race and wager on thoroughbreds) that sat in the box next to us. I listened to a thirteen year old girl talk Beyer speed figures, sire lines, past performances.  And you know what, the kid was right on.  I loved her breakdown of Blame's loss to Haynesfield.  There was a couple who had driven nonstop all the way from New Mexico to see Zenyatta in her last race.  People came from all over this country and parts of the world to see that horse.Despite what the "expert" bloggers in this journal would like everyone to think, the vast majority of Zenyatta's fans are quite knowledgeable about racing. The sixty minute airing didn't create a fanatical Zenyatta legion, it just recognized a deserving star  and her connections for everything they have done to save our sport.  I take nothing away from Blame, but I think HOY will make a sad statement.  It will make his value as a stallion  increase, but what will it do for our sport.  Zenyatta stopped our sport from sinking to levels it could not recover from.  Not awarding her HOY would just reinforce the same mentality that got racing into that dire situation to start with.

09 Nov 2010 12:03 PM

The passion for Zenyatta is overwhelming and deservedly so.  She truly is the face of the sport in North American racing.  Fans that never followed the sport tuned in to watch the BCC and one reason why was because of Sixty Minutes, which was the greatest form of advertizing the sport has had in many years.  And make no mistake, Zenyatta’s career accomplishments earned the sport its recognition on Sixty Minutes.  It’s amazing how when a sport is dying a slow death, how many people show passion for big races like the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown races when there is a chance for a Triple Crown winner.  In truth people are looking for heroes and in this day and age we need true bona-fide heroes.

The Zenyatta following is reminiscent of the Sea Biscuit saga though on a different scale because of the differences in time and circumstances.  Her accomplishments have made people become interested again.  All this was especially dramatized by a spectacular race.  How many times have we watched a well hyped sporting extravaganza that didn’t live up to the hype?  Countless, and when the big game or event is a dud, we feel deflated.  This BCC more than lived up to the hype.  And the way the race unfolded was like Hollywood portrays horse racing in its movies, the star being countless lengths behind, making a big charge, the charge itself often an adventure of anxious moments, and the hero, or in this case heroine, just getting up in time.  This time the heroine didn’t get up in time, but in not getting there she still cemented her place in history.

Can you imagine……Andrew Beyer giving Zenyatta praise……the jockey on the horse that defeated her saying into a microphone on the way back to the winner’s enclosure that she is the best horse he ever saw.  The detractors can say what they want and I will always in a way respect their opinions because they are their opinions, just as I would have them respect mine.  But, in truth, some go overboard and in doing so are detracting from themselves and maybe, just maybe, their knowledge of this sport that we all love so much.

HOY is HOY.  The arguments over who should be HOY are often vicious, inane and outrageous because the award itself is a recognition of achievements and many feel that if a horse is shunned its achievements are denigrated.  That should never be the case.  A HOY award is voted on by the whims of the voters.  A legacy is earned on the track over a period of time.  HOY is a nice reward but I would rather have a legacy.  But for a couple of inches in last year’s Woodward and several in this year’s BCC, Zenyatta would most certainly have back to back HOY awards.  HOY fame can be so close and yet so far, but it is fleeting.  Most people aren’t aware of or forget the winners after a short period of time.  However, a legacy lasts a lifetime.

In saying this, many are dumping on Blame, one of the gutsiest most honest horses around.  When all others were folding their tents and caving under the pressures on Saturday he pushed on.   He showed his true class and ability by gutting out those last few yards.  He had given absolutely everything he had, Gomez made sure of that, and there was no more to give physically, just mentally and that’s what he did.  So as much as we want to praise Zenyatta, let’s also praise the horse that helped cement just how great she is, by showing how great he is.  If Blame is voted HOY, this year I will not feel cheated.

09 Nov 2010 12:04 PM
PF Gorman

Are you kidding me?  Put to rest  Kentucky provincialism, the racing world does not rise and set on Kentucky.  Note -- Racing, Breeding is conceded.  Blame did NOT do more.  If Blame is HOY, why did he lose the Jockey Club Gold Cup, by a good four lengths, and to a New York Bred.  And correct me if I'm wrong -- the Schaefer is Grade III.  Zenyatta had more starts, all Grade I's, and her campaign began with a challenge from the reigning HOY, which as events unfolded, did not materialize.  And she went on the road for that one.  Being willing to accept a challenge counts for something.  If Zenyatta did not take on the boys sooner, well... one can make the point that Blame wasn't tested on synthetics in his campaign.  Synthetics are  a fact of life in racing, in the USA and around the world. Zenyatta's head loss recalls  Seattle Slew's head loss to Exceller in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Slew would have claimed his second HOY save for a Triple Crown winner that same year, whom he defeated twice. (And Exceller -- the best horse never to be champion.) In the absence of a Triple Crown winner in 2010, HOY belongs to Zenyatta.          

09 Nov 2010 12:04 PM
Mike Relva


Do you REALLY believe that Blame will be remembered ten yrs from now? You're living in a fantasy world!

09 Nov 2010 12:05 PM
Donut Jimmy

The reason there were not Grade 1 winners in Zenyatta's races, is because they were DUCKING her. She can only run against the horses who line up with her. Could they have run against colts? Yeah they could, and look what happened to Rachel when they went to that well too often.

They took good care of her on our behalf. She lost the BC Classic but with honor and distinction. Blame is in the wrong year. Zenyatta, Goldikova, Blame in that order.

09 Nov 2010 12:08 PM
Mike Relva



09 Nov 2010 12:10 PM


You make excellent points. That is the same way I will remember Zenyatta.

It is all about missed opportunities. It is really too bad her connections made almost all the right moves, but failed to clinch the HOTY award.

It is the price they have paid for caring more about her undefeated record than providing her with the right challenges to show the world how great she really was.

09 Nov 2010 12:15 PM
Mike Relva


Are you joking? You really think Goldie has done more for racing than Zenyatta? lol Guess that's why rating were way up this yr. for Breeders cause of EVERYONE wanting to see Goldie run? lol

09 Nov 2010 12:18 PM
Pot Stirrin' Petunia

Okay, lets get real. I think that getting beaten takes away your chances for HOY if there are legitimate undefeated horses to choose from. Last year Rachel and Zenyatta were the two undefeated (on the year) horses.

So this year Blame, Zenyatta, and Goldikova all lost races (Goldikova only overseas, do they get to count against her?)

So HOY is obviously a choice between Awesome Feather and Uncle Mo.

So do we give it to the horse with more starts but some in restricted company, or do we give it to the horse with only 3 starts?

Lets get arguing this one people!

09 Nov 2010 12:18 PM

Shuvee great post. Leon?? The race was a tie? Really? Really Leon? Really?? Forget about all of this nonsense about Zenyatta not getting a good trip. What kind of trip do you think you going to get by lagging along 15 lengths back for most of the race and trying to have to pass a bunch of horses. Live by the sword and die by the sword! Denial is such an ugly thing.

09 Nov 2010 12:19 PM

If Zenyatta is not voted Horse of the Year, something is very wrong in our sport.  Blame is a great horse, however, everyone knows that Zenyatta is the better horse. She was better that day, even with the loss.  No other horse on the planet could have made up that kind of ground and lose by only a nose.

I thought the whole idea of Horse of the Year was to celebrate the best horse, without a doubt she is the best horse of the decade. You can't take that away from her because of one race.  If Blame was at 100 % wins coming into the BC I would maybe think twice, but he wasn't.  Please vote with your head and your heart. This great mare is what dream are made of and why the sport survives.  Without horses like Zenyatta, to keep the sport in the public eye, we would all be in big trouble.

09 Nov 2010 12:22 PM
Donut Jimmy

HOY emphatically IS a popularity contest.

There are no rules by which it could possibly be considered objective.

09 Nov 2010 12:22 PM
Bill Daly


Get off the Kalifornia Kool Aid and get a grip.  This is a horse we're talking about here not a goddess.  The kind of talk I read on this blog smacks of cult worship. That's why I made that quip about sainthood for horses. Zenyatta is a great mare, but that's all she is.  She's had a great career and will be remembered for as long as horses run races.  But let's not deify her, OK?

09 Nov 2010 12:26 PM
Robert is the final 2010 poll for the top Horses.  Please notice the headline.  It is you best clue as to who will be HOTY.  IT reads simply: "Zenyatta hangs on to top spot in final 2010 NTRA poll".  Zenyatta will be the 2010 Horse Of The Year.  Blame will finish 2nd and his supporters have nothing to be ashamed of.  He simply did not compete in  Grade 1's all year and Zenyatta did.  Say what you will about the competition, they are still Grade 1's and will be Grade 1's next year.  6 Grade 1's outweighs 3 Grade 1's and 2 Grade 3's everyday of the week and twice on Breeders Cup Saturday.

09 Nov 2010 12:36 PM

Zenyatta's the better horse,  but Blame did win so he should be HOY. And it wouldn't have made a difference if she would have come east earlier in the year and beat Blame or Quality Road. QR's irrelevant now after his last place finish in the Classic, and Blame won the Classic, the biggest toughest race, the one that counts the most and makes a horse a true champion. Zenyatta could've and should've won the Classic, but she didn't and it can't be rerun.

09 Nov 2010 12:37 PM

GunBow - You said it perfectly. As I type this, 520 comments have been posted on this blog and all of it is for naught because we, the commenters, do not get to vote. Those who do, will do what they do and the result will be known in January 2011. How it ends up will not be altered by what is said before or after the votes are counted.

What you said about Zenyatta and the three exciting years she gave us was absolutely true. The result of the votes will not change history. Whether Blame gets the award or not will not erase what we experienced while watching Zen run.

Like you, I wish that the battle would stop. It has no purpose because we don't get to vote and no logical (or illogical) argument is going to change anybody's opinion.

Like you, I urge the fans of Zenyatta to quit arguing and start celebrating. She deserves so much more than what she's getting in these endless debates.

09 Nov 2010 12:37 PM

Jason, just so you know I am wearing my 19 - 1 hat to the track today.  I have a lot of money to pick up from all the experts that bet me Zenyatta would win with ease.  Like I always said the history of the sport tells us the most difficult thing to do is beat G1 males on dirt. Rachel did it again and again and never lost while doing it.  Zenyatta in her lone attempt failed.  Blame was brilliant and Goldikova proved herself to be the best mare ever at the Breeders Cup.  I can't wait to get her poster and DVD when I walk through the gates next year. Go Goldikova !

09 Nov 2010 12:41 PM
zenyatta mondatta

Its no need in even bringing RA into this conversation anyomore, She wasnt good enough to stand her on, Zenyatta has absolutly made a mockery of Rachel. the best thing for all RA fans is to let her be.  Zenyatta is the best horse in raacing.  RA isnt a third of her .

09 Nov 2010 12:41 PM

What is "best" horse"? It's absolutely the career achievement award this year. There has NEVER been a horse (or mare, if you wish) like Zenyatta.  To deny her HOY will be an injustice very difficult to accept around the world. Blame is most definitely a great horse...let him hang around a few years so we can see what he's really made of.  His shorter career on the scene does not compare to Zenyatta's accomplishments.  

She cannot help the fact that she's the greatest ambassador for the racing industry since Secretariat.  She should be rewarded for that.

What is "best horse"?  In these troubled times for the racing industry, and especially with the much needed self-review since Eight Belles, it may be time to review the definition and the meaning of what a "best" Horse of the Year can be.

09 Nov 2010 12:44 PM

cherry (11/09/2010 12:11 PM)  

As it stands---Horse of the Year is a farce, broken, ridiculious. NOWHERE and I mean NOWHERE in the horse world is HOY 'VOTED' on. Absurd and very unfair. In ALL other disciplines it is EARNED. I have been a AHSA/USEF judge for 35 years, have bred, exhibited, and owned many many Horse of the Year's in my particular breed.

IT IS A POINT AWARD. (As is should be.)

If in racing, HOY was earned through a point system, it would be fair, stable, uncontestsed and none of us would be having this conservation. If grades 1, 2, 3, counted different points, and if individual races were also pointed on how many were entered, and how many were beaten, it would be so simple to calculate and award to the BEST, not to just the most popular. This award as stands is a very biased and totally meaningless mess, where a bunch of 'horsemen ?' vote their feelings, and there is no oversight of any sort. Unbelievable. In the real horse world, in some breeds winning a NATIONAL SHOW (the Breeder's Cup) can count for as much as half the year's total points, some breeds it counts only 1/4., some double points for a National.

On a points system, Zenyatta clearly wins HOY, and also did last year too.


09 Nov 2010 12:57 PM

I see some people taking shots at Quality Road. Do they really believe he is a last place horse? Something was obviously wrong with him. If it was just the distance he still would have been in the mix at the mile marker. He was struggling over that track for whatever reason and he wasn't the only one. His three track records is more impressive than most can say about themselves who were in that race.

09 Nov 2010 12:57 PM
broken tree


I do have a question for you (I dont agree with your opinion but that is my emotion ) Isnt YOUR opinion a emotion as well? What the mare did for the sport cannot be dismissed

09 Nov 2010 1:00 PM

Blame had a better trip and better luck than Zenyatta in the Classic.  He's a nice horse but no more deserving of Horse of the Year versus Zenyatta than Upset would have been of Man o' War.

09 Nov 2010 1:00 PM

@ Jimmy Why is there the need to bring down Blame and his achievements? This is sad and really says a lot about Zenyatta fan. From all these comments, Zenyatta fan is so insecure about any horse that threatens her (e.g. Curlin, Rachel, Blame) >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Jim- don't create a smokescreen.

1. I have never said anything cruel about RA. As a matter of fact, I said that her 2009 season was probably the best that any three year old filly has ever had in this sport. It is a shame that so many on each side hate the other- it is infantile and absurd- these are horses doing what is asked of them.

2. I never said that Curlin didn't deserve HOY in 2008- he did, so did Zenyatta, she lost the vote, but in many other years she would have won. Nobody has to destroy Curlin to prove anything.

3. Blame- This is racing- this is a forum to discuss opinions. Right off the bat the main contention from ANYBODY supporting Blame for HOY is his RECORD on the track.

Stating that he didn't race until the year was almost HALF over isn't ripping him apart. Nor his only having to carry 121 lbs in 3 of his 5 wins. It isn't ripping him apart to say he was damn lucky in the Foster, got 5 lbs and won a photo in the Whitney- they was trounced in the JCGC.

It is a discussion board and THAT isn't the record of a HOY.

Why don't we just make it;

'Horse For 3 Months Award'      

09 Nov 2010 1:00 PM

Why do Z fans always beat up on the other horses that pose a challenge to her? Its a little on the wierd side. They are horses they run and eat hay, so does she. She ran against blame and lost. Whatever campaign you guys are on needs to quit. if they would have raced more than once then we could really know, but the OWNERS of Zenyatta did not want to do that. that was their choice and they have to live with it. Please start looking at reality. SHE IS A GREAT MARE NO DOUBT BUT SHE DID NOT BEAT BLAME. NOW IF FLY DOWN WON THE RACE SHE MIGHT HAVE A BETTER CHANCE BUT SHE NEVER COMPETED IN THAT DIVISION UNTIL THE BCC AND LOST. CASE CLOSED.

09 Nov 2010 1:05 PM


he gave zenyatta 3 lbs case closed.

09 Nov 2010 1:07 PM

To rachela24.  You said that Zenyatta did not beat quality? She beat everybody she raced against in her career except one horse and she lost by 8 inches on a track she had never raced on and oh yeah it was against all males!!!  Had she lost by 8 lengths, had not been last at the 1/4 pole, and had no traffic issues, then I would agree she was no match for Blame.  I don't understand how some people have the opinion that Zenyatta somehow lost to this far superior animal. That would be like saying the Giants were a far superior team to the Patriots a few years ago because they won by 4 points.

Maybe they will not retire her and we can all do this again next year.

09 Nov 2010 1:07 PM

Saratoga Tony;

By statistical measures (Beyers, BRIS Speed figures), she ran her best race of the year on Saturday and still lost.  Of course, along the way she proved she can run with the best of the boys, but the one that beat her (and beat better than she faced all year long) deserves the award.

If you truly think you can give the HOY award based on the strength of one race, give it to Goldikova.  Unlike Zenyatta, she won her race on Saturday, and unlike Zenyatta, she faced the best horses her country had to offer all year long.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Speed figures are all that counts- they are absolute-lol.

What is 'all year'? What do you mean? Tell everybody......Blame didn't run for the first half of the year- then skipped several months, he was blessed winning the Clark when the leader was clearly hurt in the stretch- received 5 lbs in the Whitney and was blasted in the JCGC- YEAH- Blame is HOY.

The one good thing that comes out of this if Blame does win the vote- hopefully all the tends of thousands of new fans to the sport will walk away.

Also, Goldikova? LMAO! She is a one dimensional horse and the only time she ran beyond a mile in Europe the race was set up for her with rabbits. Had Goldie ran in the Classic- she would finish with Quality Road.

I like Goldie- she is a great horse, but she wouldn't hit the top 5 in the Breeders Cup Classic, nor the Arc- she is one dimensional.

09 Nov 2010 1:11 PM

zenyatta modatta,

Blame is now the best horse in racing. get over it

09 Nov 2010 1:12 PM
Lord Derby

I have to agree with Jason on HOY being Blame for 2010.  I do believe Zenyatta is the far better, more beloved, more famous, more awe-inspiring horse but unfortunately she didn't get to prove it on the track. That is what happens when you take one chance against a horse on their best track.  Everyone that thinks Blame stinks and/or believes that all Grade I races are equal in terms of difficulty should just study harder.  Z is a better horse with a much better career and I will remember her forever but Blame deserves horse of the year a little more this year...actually by a nose.

Horse of the year is aptly named.  She should have a new award created for her, should have races named in her honor (which she already has), maybe one day she gets a movie made about her career (they would have to get a Clydesdale to play her), but horse of the year for 2010...I think it goes to Blame.  

09 Nov 2010 1:13 PM


09 Nov 2010 1:14 PM
Fred Montreal

I truly wish there was no such thing as the Horse of the Year Title/ Award or whatever it is.

Each of us has our HOY and that is the reality. If your HOY is not my HOY, that certainly doesn't get rid of my HOY, or yours.

To make the evaluation/opinion of a particular group of people the authority or 'official' determination almost always limits you to only one HOY. How many times has this designation been shared?

Well, we all know that there are more than one.  This year, for example, there are at least three.

It may seem like this one-horse selection is necessary for things like history and records.

But is it?  And does it justify the exclusion and divisiveness is generates?

I love my HOY, and probably yours too.

So, here's to - The Best Horses of the Year.

09 Nov 2010 1:15 PM

Who really cares who gets HOTY. Is it going to make a difference to all you people. To most people, horse racing is all about making bets and winning $$$$"s. So lets go on to the next race please. Good luck to all who make a wager.

09 Nov 2010 1:16 PM


09 Nov 2010 1:17 PM

I vote Zenyatta, by a nose.

09 Nov 2010 1:17 PM


Desperation is what desperation is.  Keep on telling yourself the moon is made of green cheese and that's what you will believe, the moon is made of green cheese.  I hope you like dreaming of cheese because that's the closest you'll get to it.

09 Nov 2010 1:20 PM

Let's see, without emotion in the Breeders Cup would we have had the following events and stats occur:

1.  TV Ratings through the roof for the Breeders Cup.  Why do you think that happened?

2.  Breeders Cup handle higher.

Hmmm?  Was it because of Blame, Quality Road, or Lookin at Lucky, or possibly Goldikova?

3.  Zenyatta featured on 60 Minutes.  

4.  Zenyatta on Oprah's women of the year list.

5.  The noise level at Churchill Downs when Zenyatta danced her way to the gates.

6.  The roars and screams when she when into rocket blast on her run to the wire.

7.  You Tube video missives to Zenyatta.

8.  The fans who stopped their cars the "morning after", to watch the Queen graze and the applause that followed.

9.  The fact that she was cast out last year after WINNING the Breeders Cup Classic.

10.  The fact that Blame lost by 4 lengths to Haynesfield, not four inches.

Look, Zenyatta has a fan base throughout the entire country.  She's had many, many, visitors at Hollywood Park, not to mention all the media attention.  I still say if you miss this opportunity to acknowledge her as a great racehorse, (OMG can she run!), as the star of racing, and most importantly, her connection to the people, the sport will flail about and lost the big-time momentum that has occurred over the past months.

Give to ZENYATTA what she has so rightfully earned.  HORSE OF THE YEAR - QUEEN ZENYATTA!

09 Nov 2010 1:21 PM
Pam S.


I have to laugh at some of your comments.  They're so absolute!  Blame is HOY, without question, debate or discussion, and Zenyatta fans have nothing to say and are just "crying"?  Really?  Do you do much reading other than this particular blog?  And what Kool-aid are you drinking??

09 Nov 2010 1:23 PM

horse of the year reasoning by shandler cuts out the single most brilliant performence in 2010 in america Goldikova and it cuts out the most brilliant campaign of the last 25 years in america Zenyatta. it is along the lines of calling the breeders cup world championship but then not to acknowledge the results as such. what more than the world championesse 3 in a row? lobbyist of the industry, lobbyist of the sire guys.

09 Nov 2010 1:34 PM

I wish EVERY year was like 2008 and 2009, when the Breeder's Cup Classic did NOT factor into HOTY voting....but this yr it does and to me, the winner of the race deserves HOTY only because he is a god horse in his own right...would I agree to give it to Pleasant Prince or Musket Man if they had won the classic over Zee...not at they don't have the record Blame has in 2010....and rhis crap about how Zen 'helped racing and brought new fans"..hogwash....all the 'casual fans' who jumped on the bandwagon this summer won't look at another race till the the Ky Derby or BCup next yr....and most of them won't even remember Blame or Zenyatta or Goldikova's names a few yrs from now....

09 Nov 2010 1:39 PM

Blame?  How many of the general public even heard of him a few weeks ago?  He has been barely visible this year; why not give the honors to Goldikova or some other horse?  The HOY is pretty meaningless as far as I am concerned.  Show up, win one race and it's yours.  

09 Nov 2010 1:39 PM
Simply Majestic

Um, is it really necessary to rip into Blame and Rachael?

Just to be are ripping into HORSES.

I am SO TIRED of hearing people - mostly Z zealot's - put down  Blame, Rachael, Curlin and their accomplishments - blah blah blah.

Whatever happens, I'll remember ALL OF THEM in 10 years.

What Sourgrapes some of you have. Shame on you.

09 Nov 2010 1:41 PM
Will W

While all that is true, Jason, and I, like you, was badly disappointed that Zenyatta was not shipped East to contest with the males in the Grade 1s you mentioned that Blame ran in, it's also true that Blame was destroyed in the Jockey Gold Cup by Haynesfield, a horse that until the JGC was not mentioned in the same class with Blame, Zenyatta, and Quality Road. In the Classic Zenyatta was pinched back at the start, was sluggish and had trouble leveling off because she wasn't used to dirt in her face from trailing a big field, had to be urged along entering the backstretch to get close enough to contend in the latter stages of the race, had to steady briefly entering the stretch as Quality Road quit in front of her and was forced  to angle out around three horses before being set down for the stretch drive, and still just missed the win. Blame ran in mid-pack and had an untroubled trip. My concern before the race was that of Jerry Bailey's which he voiced to Mike Smith as he warmed up Zenyatta: that Zenyatta might be beaten by having to weave her way through a large field as a deep closer with many horses stopping in front of her. Who could doubt if she had been accustomed to dirt in her face and only trailed a 7-8 horse field, you would not be having to defend Blame's right to HOY honors in this column. All this contrarian sentiment from one who thought Rachel Alexandra deserved the 2009 HOY honors and who is not arguing out of the emotion of a Zenyatta zealot. Here's hoping Zenyatta comes back as a 7 year old and is allowed to contest with the males in the big Grade 1s. She deserves from her owner that opportunity at vindication. If it happens, she won't disappoint, and it would be fitting justice to this greatest of race mares that she win 2011 HOY honors.

09 Nov 2010 1:51 PM

Bill Daly:  I so agree ....they are cult like!!!  Maybe it's cause Zenyatta is from Calif?? She is just a horse....and I don't know about other places, but here where I live.....anyone that wasn't a fan of hers from the beginning didn't even know who Zen was (who watches Calif races on OTB if you aren't betting them?) until after the 2009 Classic...yea, she was sooo well known after the Ladies Classic....maybe in Calif...they all became bandwagon jumpers in 2010....and I don't 'get' what she has done for racing...those casual new'Zenyatta" Bcup fans/bettors won't be watching/betting in the dead of winter like us true horse racing lovers/players! For most of her fans, it was a one shot deal - unless she races at age 7.

09 Nov 2010 1:51 PM
Mike Relva


Seems like you're the one that should "get a grip". Wonder what you'll say after horseracing goes to the backpages of the news since Zenyatta won't be around racing any longer? Let's see what the ratings are next year in the Breeders. lol

09 Nov 2010 1:52 PM
Simply Majestic

@zenyatta mondatta - Phhhfff.  Sad you have to put down Rachael to build up Zenyatta.  

In 2009 (The year Rachael won HOY) I firmly believe at 1 1/4 miles and over Z wins, at 1 1/8 Rachael wins.  Rachael was HOY because her campaign was harder.

Grow up and complain about Z's connections.  I would have loved to see Z on turf, against boy, a cross-country campaign.  But they opted to do none of these things and bank everything on the BCC.

That's not Blames, Rachaels or Z's fault.


09 Nov 2010 1:52 PM

If all the ""thousands of new fans"" Zenyatta brought to the sport "walk away" if she is not named HOY, they are not really racing fans anyway, IMO, but just fans of one horse.

HOY is not a popularity contest. If it was, Smarty Jones would have won in 2004, and not Ghostzapper, although I don't think there is much doubt as to which one (Ghostzapper) was the better horse.

I still don't understand the need to tear other horses down when supporting your favorite. I was and am a fan of both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta, and also appreciate the grittiness of Blame. If you're a fan of the thoroughbred, seems to me you should appreciate all three of them, as well as the great Goldikova, of course.

09 Nov 2010 2:02 PM
Cowboy Adventure

What is 'all year'? What do you mean? Tell everybody......Blame didn't run for the first half of the year- then skipped several months, he was blessed winning the Clark when the leader was clearly hurt in the stretch- received 5 lbs in the Whitney and was blasted in the JCGC- YEAH- Blame is HOY.

JASON - I'm curious to hear your response on this comment?  I also think it is fair to ponder if Blame had another race coming up he would choke because you can't run against a monster like Zenyatta and move forward - name a horse that moved forward after running with her. On the other hand she appears to have come out of the race quite well. I guess we will never really know because after the race Blame was immediately retired...hmmmm

I think Quality Road had a more impressive year than Blame and I think Looking at Lucky will race next year which is even more impressive. Blame does not have enough races to be deemed great in my opinion. But that is just my opinion... I also think part of the problem is no one has really defined the criteria of what is required to get horse of the year. Your argument starts off on reasons why Zenyatta should not get it. You really only have one argument on why Blame should - so what is the criteria - is it who ever wins the the Whitney and the Classic during the year - are certain races needed to win in order to get the award. Do some count for more  - like is it by earnings. I mean what exactly is HOTY?  I mean really - Zenyatta will go down in history and be in the Hall of Fame - Blame can have HOTY. It just doesn't seem like a really important award...

09 Nov 2010 2:12 PM

Lot's of venom over a darn trophy, but that's OK as long as we keep perspective.  Debate is part and parcel of being a sports fan.  Thar being said... It is sad that the game will lose many stars to retirement after the BC, some of them prematurely.  Zenyatta owes us nothing.  She will go down as one of the all time greats and her narrow loss will be part of the legend.  Unfortunately, Blame will be whisked off to stud while still in his prime due to the almighty dollar and his attractive pedigree.  We will never get to see if he could have been great over time like a Zenyatta, Cigar or John Henry.  I sure hope Fly Down, Lucky and Blind Luck stay in training.

09 Nov 2010 2:14 PM

The decision on who is voted HOY this year is beyond Zenyatta vs. Blame.  It isn’t a contest between two horses, it is a contest between two sides of racing and regardless of which side of the fence you are on, people who have a vested interest in racing need to take note and make sure the right decision is reached.  On one side you have Blame; no one can argue that he had a great campaign this year, not brilliant, but very good.  He ran some good races and one great race when it mattered the most.  Blame was bred by very influential people in the racing business.  He was campaigned to create value after his racing days were over, which they now are.  A proper and traditional award for such a campaign is HOY, I won’t argue that and I can certainly make a case for Blame to be given the award.  With out owners and breeders such as the Hancock’s, racing wouldn’t exist as we know it.  On the other side you have Zenyatta.  She has captured the hearts of so many people.  She was featured by Oprah and on 60 minutes.  She has brought fans both young and old to the sport.  The people came out to Churchill to see one horse and that was Zenyatta, trust me I was there to see it.  I sat and talked to a couple who didn’t know anything about horse racing, they were just there to see the Big Z.  So in her own right, Zenyatta has earned HOY honors this season.  No, her campaign wasn’t as ambitious as Blame’s and no she didn’t win the “big” race.  However, her victories were not meaningless, proven by the big race Switch ran in the Lady’s Classic.  Giving her HOY isn’t traditional, and yes, it may be emotional as well.  But when it comes down to it, will racing reward tradition, or will it reward the horse that brought thousands of fans to the sport?  Either way, you can make a case.  However, you must remember that without fans, there is no sport.  No, the fans don’t get to vote in the race for HOY but by ignoring Zenyatta and saying that Blame is a lock, fans can vote in another way, by walking away from a sport which rarely offers them a champion like Zenyatta.  Tradition is all good and well, but if tradition is unable to change when needed, in 50 years, no one will remember what that tradition was to begin with.  

09 Nov 2010 2:14 PM

Quality Road should be Horse of the Year since he won the Woodward. Or does that only apply if their name's Rachel Alexandra? If Rachel had run in last year's Classic she would have finished in the same spot as QualityRoad did in this year's. But at least he showed up so he deserves an award for that.

09 Nov 2010 2:15 PM

Out of 3 Breeders Cup races, and 17 other ones, Blame's the only horse to ever hit the wire with his nose in front of Zenyatta's. He definitely deserves an award for that.

09 Nov 2010 2:19 PM

mine that bird's got a movie coming out. he should be horse of year.

09 Nov 2010 2:22 PM

Let's get real people.

The only reason Zenyatta brought so much public attention was because TVG and her connections took every opportunity to make some force-fed press release touting her as greater than Secretariat....and yeah...3 seconds off his record....I don't think so.

Her winning the Milady 3 straight years wouldn't have made much news. She had a whole network dedicated to her worship. Her connections tried to play the media game rather than the tough campaign all year game.

Several posters have attempted to claim that a GI is a GI no matter what, which is utterly ridiculous and wrong. Do you people know the history of racing? It will back me up and not you if you think filly racing is on par with male racing. Even funnier, these are probably the same folks who said Rachel's GI Woodward win was like an Allowance win even though the race contained several GI winners and the runner up of the Dubai World Cup.

So in their minds, the Woodward was not deserving of GI status, but the Vanity and Milady were....fields devoid of GI winners and GI in label only? Again....field full of GI winners is like an Allowance race....field devoid of GI winners a real GI....some logic!

The hypocrisy of Zen fans is insane. Blame's win doesn't count because it was by a head, yet most of Zen's nostril victories not only counted but were spectacular to boot?

Blame took on tough horses during the year, Zen did not. For those who will say GI fillies avoided her, please name one other GI female in Cali this year? Not to mention, they had ZERO EXCUSE to not enter the HGC, Pacific Classic, Goodwood, etc., not if HOY was their target.

If all the other contenders had to take on tough challenges all year, why should Zen get away with soft races COMBINED with a loss in the Classic to the horse who was a leading contender going in and ALSO BEAT THE SUPPOSEDLY UNBEATABLE!

There is a precedent in this sport. Zenyatta should not get special treatment at the expense of Blame, who earned his title. Everyone who is crying about how it won't be fair if she doesn't win it obviously doesn't mind being unfair to Blame.

Her connections are soley responsible for not getting HOY. They are not that bright if they thought they could manipulate the media to win the award rather than on the track in the BEST comeptition. Blame would have challenged her earlier, except how could he? When she was running in restricted filly races? It was impossible. He took on QR when he was at his best and won, and he took on Zen and won.

Sorry it didn't work out. She is a great horse. It's her conneections who couldn't see the light, and you'd think they would have after losing the award time and time again.

09 Nov 2010 2:25 PM

Mike Relva,

I think you are way off base with your "whatever" comment. you aren't involved with any of the winning BC horses in any way besides being a bettor...and that's how I quantify my BC experience. as a BETTOR, I cleaned up, so I don't care about a silly Horse of the Year debate. do you try and concoct a Horse of the Meet debate because you saw one horse win four in a meet @ Turfway? it's all BS, the connections don't care about you at all (see Life at Ten and her connections + the stewards letting you bet on an obviously infirm horse), why would you care about anything except your betting day? Zenyatta vs Blame, so what!!! only reason I'm watching, or caring at all is the betting, and don't forget it. and please don't start chiming in with the sentimental non-bettor rhetoric, we all know that there's no Zenyatta vs Blame argument without the betting dollar, and if we all don't know that, then we should all be ashamed. Dakota Phone, HOY 2010!!!

09 Nov 2010 2:27 PM

I am a HUGE Zenyatta fan. Her race in the Classic was fantastic, given the ground she gave up to Blame and the fact that she had to race wider all the way around than he did.

But.... you are right on all points.  Blame is 2010 Horse of the Year.

Zenyatta is Horse of the DECADE.  And then some.

09 Nov 2010 2:32 PM

@Bladerunnernyc - I never said speed figures of any kind were absolute.  My point was that those type of numbers (for whatever they're actually worth - and we probably agree in that respect) suggest that Zenyatta ran the race of her life, against the best competition she's ever faced, and she lost. That was my point, no more no less.  

If we could re-run the same race 5 times over we might get 5 different winners (although I, like many others, have serious doubts that QR would ever win), maybe Z wins the next 4.  But we can't.  We have 1 head to head match up (which again, Blame won), and a comparison of the fields they faced.  Is there any doubt Blame faced better?

And it wasn't my intent to suggest Goldikova should be in the conversation, instead I was simply curious who others thought was 3rd best this year.

Finally, I'd ask what makes a year?  Zenyatta ran 6 times, Blame 5.  Is there really a huge difference in your estimation?  6 races a year makes, 5 doesn't?  If my count is correct, Zenyatta only ran 5 times last year, does that mean she should have been a serious contender for HOY?  

What I'm not hearing is a well-reasoned argument why Zenyatta's performance on the track this year was superior to Blame's.

If the argument is who did more for the sport, or who the fans (myself included) have more affection for, then it's Zenyatta in a landslide.  If that's the criteria the voters apply, than I'm good with it, but if we look exclusively at what happened on the track this year (which is my personal criteria for the award - and I don't need it to be everyone's), then, in my opinion, Blame is HOY.

09 Nov 2010 2:33 PM

@Bladerunnernyc - One final note on your last post.  It would be fantastic if you proved correct and the new fans would stay if Zenyatta wins the award.  If that's true, than my personal feelings on who should win aside, I hope she does.

Perhaps I'm more cynical than you, but my guess is 95% of those who either came out to the track to see her, or watched her from the comforts of home don't know sites like this, where people like you and I can passionately disagree about a sport we both clearly love.  What's more, most don't know there is such a thing as the HOY award, and many of those who do will have lost interest by the time a winner is declared.

I believe that when she's gone, HOY award or not, most of those new fans will be gone too, and they'll stay gone until another horse captures their imaginations and stirs their passions.

09 Nov 2010 2:39 PM
Margin Matter's now?

Zenyatta has beaten far lesser animals by a flared nostril. When she does it means she knows where the wire is, but when Blame beats her by a clear head he got lucky?

Someone explain this level of circular logic to me.

09 Nov 2010 2:42 PM
Pedigree Ann

I do not want Zenyatta to be elected HotY because I do not want the Mosses to get the HotY statuette. They had a horse for the ages and they campaigned her like all they wanted was the older mare Eclipse. I do not want them to be rewarded for their timidity, because that would encourage other owners in the future to think that they, too, could get HotY taking the easy route. We are already too far along this path already and THAT is what is killing racing, not the lack of 'popular' horses.

09 Nov 2010 2:50 PM

I am appalled that the argument against Zenyatta to win horse of the year. Last year even though she won the BC Classic, she wasn't named and now because she lost she won't be named again?  She has won 5 for 6 GI Stakes this year.  Blame 3 of 4.  I don't see how you can NOT give it to Zenyatta.  While I absolutely adore Mike Smith, that was the reason she lost the BC Classic.  He should have had her in the race a hell of alot sooner than he did and left her with way too much to do once in the stretch.  Had that NOT been the case, she would have demolished Blame and left him in her dust, no doubt in my mind.  I am not speaking with any emotion other than anger.  What is it, people, that you just can't see that she will be considered one of the greatest horses in racing because of her record?  You'll be the idiots history will point to when the book is written on who couldn't acknowledge her greatness.  It's cut and dry to me that she should get horse of the year hands down.

09 Nov 2010 2:53 PM

@Bob - I think you've confused quality with quantity.

My contention (which I'm guessing is the same as many other's here) that Zenyatta lost to Blame is based on the fact that he crossed the finish line first.  Is there another criteria I'm unaware of?  The trip wasn't that bad (and she's way too good of a horse to make excuses for), and it's the kind of trip every deep closer faces when running against big fields of big strong colts.

For what it's worth, my belief that the Giants beat the Patriots is based on the fact they scored more points.

I'm not at all convinced that either horse is vastly superior to the other, but we only have the one race between the two of them, which even if you could convince me that Zenyatta didn't lose, Blame most definitely won.

What the race showed me is that Zenyatta was better than I gave her credit for, and was more than good enough to run with the best horses of the last 3 years.  She wouldn't have beaten them all, or at least not all of the time.  She'd likely have lost more than one along the way, but she'd have given better than she got.

The record wouldn't be what it is today, but if her connections had been willing to find her a tougher test from time to time (the quality issue again), we might be talking about whether or she should be collecting her 3rd in a row.

09 Nov 2010 2:53 PM


he gave zenyatta 3 lbs case closed.>>>>>>>>

Shane- If you're a lawyer, you'd lose every case.

Your rant above did absolutely nothing for Blame, as a matter of fact, he'd be better off if you didn't take his side.

This is the Horse of the Year- not the Horse For 3 or 4 Months. Blame made his first start when the year was already almost half over.

Battle Plan struggled home in the Foster after he was clearly hurt- he opened up 3 1/2 lengths and WATCH HIS LEAD- at 1:48 of the Foster, Battle Plan changes his lead in obvious distress- he's falling apart as he tore his suspensory in his right front leg.

HAD THIS NOT HAPPENED- we wouldn't be having this debate and Jason knows it. Had Blame lost the Foster, combined with his trashing in the JCGC, there would be ZERO debate here.

Minus that injury- Blame has no chance to catch Battle Plan- everybody knows that! THAT isn't the HOY.

Your 'case closed' is rather absurd. I'd be happy to bet you on who wins HOY- then we can close the case.  

09 Nov 2010 2:57 PM

Jason, I couldn't have said it better myself.  Word for word was absolutely correct!  The connections had a chance at proving she could be HOY during the season but took the easy road instead.  When she doesn't win they will only have themselves to BLAME, because Zenyatta most certainly had the talent, just too soft of a campaign.  And it is Horse of the Year, NOT a lifetime achievement award or personality award.  Bravo!!!

09 Nov 2010 3:20 PM
Mark the Shark

[i]Quality Road should be Horse of the Year since he won the Woodward. Or does that only apply if their name's Rachel Alexandra? If Rachel had run in last year's Classic she would have finished in the same spot as Quality Road did in this year's. But at least he showed up so he deserves an award for that.[/i]

This is the very BEST COMMENT I have read

Rachel Alexandra is as appropriate for 2010 Horse of the Year as she was for 2009 Horse of the Year (which equates to "not very...").

By the way, people, the award should be offered void of any "emotion" and should be based on "who did the most on the track during the year in question?"

There is no prerequisite that says a horse need have even raced once in America to win an Eclipse Award (see Singspiel, for example).

Even Andy Beyer, who can't stand Zenyatta, wrote the other day that "Zenyatta is as good as Blame" (which throws us right back to where we were last year).

Goldikova, by contrast, has FOUR Gr. I wins vs. males in 2010, and is still batting 1.000 in America.

Blame has THREE Gr. I wins vs. males in 2010.

As no less than FIVE of the past SEVEN winners of The Woodward were named Horse of the Year, I am going with the person above and casting my vote for Quality Road.

(and yes, I'm being facetious with that last part)

09 Nov 2010 3:20 PM

Blame did more? While he had a stellar career, and is a great horse, who will remeber him? Who will remember Zenyatta? Zenyatta brought people to horse tacing that didn't come for Blame, they came for Zenyatta, and support her, and WILL remember her, even in her loss.

09 Nov 2010 3:21 PM
Carlos in Cali

5 seconds into this when Jason stated he was "forced to address the issue sooner than he wanted",I knew where this was headed.Admit it Jason,you're not very fond of Zenyatta..especially her connections.So in essence,when it comes to Zenyatta you simply cannot be objective. BTW: I never knew they said they would campaign her back East.I do know Sheriffs mentioned they'd nominate Zenyatta to every race RA was entered in...grrrr! Threw down the Gauntlet!

Going into the BC,Zenyatta had 5 Gr.I wins- Blame had 2- QR had 3- Lucky had 3?. So,I think Zenyatta did separate herself during the pre-BC campaign. Oh,but wait! Her wins came in restricted races so they don't count. Really?..Really? So then let's go back to last year.RA's facile victories vs. 3yo fillies and her barely holding-on against the "fluke" MTB in the Preakness & catching a not-so-ready Belmont winner Summer Bird in the Haskell don't really count because those were restricted races,right? So,basically RA took HOY honors solely on her barely beating Macho Again in open company? Zenyatta beat a better group of older males in last year's Classic,but RA was HOY. It makes no sense, there's definitely a double standard and people keep raising the bar when it comes to Zenyatta/Cali horses, clearly.

How did Blame do more than Zenyatta? He took the easy route to begin his campaign in a Gr.III,then yes he entered tough races afterward... for male horses. Zenyatta raced in nothing but Gr.I races,albeit for F/M. A GR.I is a Gr.I., don't get it twisted.Plus,she didn't face Gr.I winning distaffers because: 1)She,Life is Sweet & Blind Luck basically won all of the Gr.I's the last 2-3 yrs. in California. 2)None of the top class distaffers wanted a piece of her in the Apple Blossom on dirt. And,it's not like Blame was running all over the country either.I've driven cross-country plenty of times and KY-to-NY is like driving from LA-to-SF,no sweat!

If I had a vote and I was relied upon to be 'objective',then I would take this into account:

Blame won a Gr.III & was clobbered in the "prestigious" JCGC by the glorified miler Haynesfield.. negative!

Zenyatta was undefeated and then took on the very best males on their preferred surface AND lostbythismuch.She was the better horse that day... positive! This is my opinion on the matter just like everyone else has theirs.

If you're being objective about it,HOY is clearly not set in stone just yet.

I hope this get's through Jason,it's not a stab at you. I'm just trying to show how one's opinion differs from another.

09 Nov 2010 3:24 PM
zenyatta mondatta

My goodness,  I cant keep up with all these posts.  If I leave for awhile then come back, its hundred or so more.  Just what the hell are you all gonna do without Zenyatta in 2011?  Look how busy she has kept you Jason and all the other east coast writers.  Life will be a bit slow from here on out. INstead of downing her, You writers ought to be thanking her for keeping your jobs busy. The way horse racing is going, you wont be busy like this for a long tome if ever.  Maybe when you folks get pink slips you'll think back how good Zenyatta was for you and the dying sport of horse racing.

09 Nov 2010 3:25 PM

Pedigree Ann and all those that hated Zenyatta's Campaign,

I don't know Mr & Mrs. Moss but I believe her campaign served another purposes.

I don’t think she was ducking anyone I think her connections took care of their own. California tracks needed her race days. She was a boom to attendance and handle. I think it had more to do with helping your friends rather than ducking competition. She went to Oaklawn Park and no one entered the stating gate. If she came to New York, or New Jersey the only two states that could’ve made a play for her she still would’ve been ducked, male or female. No one was going to run against her if there wasn't a large purse incentive I.e. B.C. Classic.

Lastly, She should be retired.There are no races for her that will improve her stature and who is around to race. All those 'great' older horses retired too.

The only angle I could possibly see would be a way over the top Dubai W.C. rest, train, run in the Arc, retire. That sounds ridiculous.

09 Nov 2010 3:26 PM


She might win if people like you can vote....but the fact remains that Blame was better than her that night and e gave her 3 lbs. And you ave been crying about Quality road giving Blame 5 lbs. HMMMM when the shoe is on the other foot you dont seem to like it so well. And the weight issue holds no 'weight' lol.

09 Nov 2010 3:32 PM

@ Saratoga Tony- Perhaps I'm more cynical than you, but my guess is 95% of those who either came out to the track to see her, or watched her from the comforts of home don't know sites like this, where people like you and I can passionately disagree about a sport we both clearly love.  What's more, most don't know there is such a thing as the HOY award, and many of those who do will have lost interest by the time a winner is declared.


Tony, my friend, you left a great post regarding these new fans, racing and the future of the game.

It is a pleasure debating you, but I will disagree on two minor points, it will matter when the vote comes in to fans like us. We didn't forget last year- when won't this year.

Last year should have been a draw- it would have been perfectly fitting and justified, but make no mistake- everybody was watching.

These 'new' fans won't be here on this page- that is 100% true for the most part, nor will they start gambling (I hope), but as they loved going out to the track, watching Zenyatta run, maybe many of them will come back, maybe they were inspired.

This shouldn't be much of a debate regarding HOY- as I said- you see Battle Plan is in clear distress at 1:48 of the Foster struggling to change leads as the pain is obviously ripping at him with the torn suspensory.

He had the race by 3 1/2 length and was opening up on the field- suddenly he is in distress- all talk of Blame as HOY goes down the drain if BP isn't injured here.

BUT the pain is just too much for him as Pletcher said- Battle Plan falls apart.

THAT is why we are having a debate- that injury allows Blame to win- then win a photo getting 5 lbs- then get creamed in the JCGC losing by 4 lengths.

I have watched the Foster at least 6 or 7 times- then the JCGC- there is no way that Blame is HOY.

09 Nov 2010 3:41 PM

listen, I'm not one for making a comment twice, but I will say it again, for good measure. the connections don't care about you or your betting dollar. Pletcher wins his first Derby, and how does he conduct himself afterwards? running a sick horse in the Ladies Classic? reminds me of Matz running a tied up Round Pond a few years back.

bet, win, lose, or nothing. whoever wins, the trophy won't be on your any of your mantles.

09 Nov 2010 3:42 PM
Mike Relva


FYI,I didn't bet on LAT. I lost a bet w/ Jason. So much for what you know.

09 Nov 2010 3:50 PM
Billy's Empire

I find it amusing that all of the sudden all of the Zen fans are trying to diminsh Blame's accomplishments. At least he did not hide in California and race filles and mares every race. You guy's are pathetic horse racing fans, if you can even call yourselves that. You did it last year with Rachel, claiming that all of the horses she raced were terrible, the Woodward was a joke, the Preakness was against a weak field etc., and now you are doing the same thing to Blame; he only started racing in May, ran in a grade 3, lost to Haynesfield and only won the Foster b/c Battle Plan got hurt. SAD SAD SAD. Give credit where credit is due.

I will say this, I loved to watch her run, and the BC was a great race, and she proved her greatness against the best in the world on dirt.

Her fans on the other hand proved that they are a bunch of sore losers, trying to spin this anyway they can to make themselves feel better about her losing.

09 Nov 2010 3:53 PM

During the Breeders cup race, there was a horse that kept tossing his head from side to side- not at all comfortable. Could someone tell me what horse that was? Was it Quality Road per chance?

09 Nov 2010 3:53 PM

Shane She might win if people like you can vote....but the fact remains that Blame was better than her that night and e gave her 3 lbs. And you ave been crying about Quality road giving Blame 5 lbs. HMMMM when the shoe is on the other foot you dont seem to like it so well. And the weight issue holds no 'weight' lol.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Shane, Crying? Don't be so absurd and infantile.

Seriously! Have an intelligent discussion- take a deep breath. I mentioned the fact that QR gave Blame 5 lbs- that is 100% true, and that Blame won the BCC, but crying?

Do you think this stuff up?

My contentions on Blame are simple and can't be refuted.

1. He was down 3 1/2 lengths deep in the stretch and only won the Foster because Battle Plan was badly injured. PERIOD- That is a fact. With  a loss there- it is OVER for him as HOY.

2. He didn't race for the first half of the year- 5 1/2 months- then skipped three further months.

3. He was destroyed by a NY Breed in the JCGC- look at the NY Post article today- even the writer there says that Zen is a slam dunk as the winner.

My point about the weights are that in 3 of his ONLY 5 races- Blame carried NOTHING and he got 5 lbs winning a photo from QR- it isn't crying- it is a FACT. If you want to keep grasping the fact that he won a photo against Zenyatta, and both were at almost equal weights- you stay on that theme.  

09 Nov 2010 3:54 PM
Ida Lee

The Queens of Racing, Zenyatta, Rachel and Goldikova, have made a sport who very few people care about anymore, exciting and vibrant. The greatest and most exciting races I remember in the last few years were all won by Fillies/Mares going back to Rags to Riches at the Belmont. Each one of these ladies is a Treasure. Does this mean that we can't appreciate an incredible performance by the incredibly beautiful and talented Blame? Of course not. He was stupendous in beating the great Zenyatta. So let's give him his due. (I don't appreciate his connections who came across as a bit obnoxious but I don't blame the horse.) Now, let me say this about the HOY. Rachel won last year without a doubt and Curlin won HOY the two years before then without a doubt. Why? Because they were campaigned to win HOY. Every race they had was for the purpose of making sure they met every criteria to win HOY. Zenyatta has always been at a disadvantage because her races were picked so carefully to protect her at all costs. Really, besides the BC races, has she been challenged? I think her connections did her a great disservice by not racing her against males more often and not bringing her in a few major Grade I races outside California. Rachel ran against guys 3 times in 3 major races and Godlikova I think has run against males 7 times. Even Blame was campaigned specifically for the BC Classic. Of course, he'll be HOY. I adore Zenyatta with a passion but when I saw her holding back as she usually does, I sat down to wait for disaster to strike, especially when I saw her stuck behind all those huge male asses with no daylight. So her lose did not send me into a fit of hysterical crying (like Rachel's first lose this year did). But anyway and anyhow, Zenyatta is and will always be my Goddess of Racing.

09 Nov 2010 4:02 PM
Mike Relva


Even Blames' trainer stated her got the ideal trip and he sill almost got beat by a six yr. old mare. Question? How long will Blame be remembered? lol

09 Nov 2010 4:04 PM

Pedigree Ann,

I applaud you for understanding the concept of horse racing! Jason the way I see it theres always next year for Z....Oh wait, Damnit I've been saying that for the past couple of years! Between Moss and sheriffs they've managed to do exactly what I said they would.....Her legacy will be "one of the better horses to run, who'll never earn HOY because of there conservative approach" Racing is a RISK and REWARD sport. You dont get the big prize (HOY) for a conservative campaign and a second place finish in the BCC.

09 Nov 2010 4:04 PM

Blame gave Zenyatta 3 whole pounds.  Wow.  Don't get me wrong, I actually like Blame and rooted for him to win in his prior races.

Keep in mind that Zenyatta is a 6 YEAR OLD MARE and Blame is a 4 year old horse.  She was the oldest horse in the race and she outran all but one of them, and that just barely. Kind of like Venus Williams coming out to take on Rafa Nadal -- on clay.

And why are all the Zenyatta haters so free to say the most egrigious things about her -- yet when her fans comment on another horse, they are zealots?  Just another double standard bias.

09 Nov 2010 4:05 PM

Thank Heaven I’ve never been completely devoid of emotion.


09 Nov 2010 4:06 PM

"The answer is no. Get over it and accept it. She lost the race. Blame was better and that's it. Period."

I disagree Jason.

Blame was NOT better, he had the perfect trip, she had to work harder and still came like a rocket passing quality horse after quality horse and still barely losing at the wire.  

Should she be HOY, I think she should.  Many think Seattle Slew's best race was one he lost to Exceller....You can argue the same for Zenyatta here.  She was magnificent in defeat.  No disrespect to Blame intended, he ran a great race, but my vote would not go to him.  

09 Nov 2010 4:08 PM

Here you go again with your nonsense. A grade 1 s agrade 1 no matter how you look at it. All I kept hearing before the Breeders Cup was how the Champagne was nothing more than an entry level alowance race and Uncle Mo beat a maiden claimer. So what! That's what happens when freaky horse shows up, they get ducked. Zenyatta won 5 grade ones in a rowand missed by a head in her sixth grade one. So RA should have been held to the same standard but she wasn't. She barely beat the Fluke, Beat an alowance field in the Woodward by not much, etc. You get the point. Uncle Mo annihilates whoever shows up without being asked for anything even close to his best so maybe he should be HOY. You make as much sense as Draynay. Blame got crushed by Haynesfield, QR got caught by Blame, Zentatta just missed catching Blame. Right there proves just the opposite of what you think. HOY is up in the air because horses a, b, c, and d all beat each other. So instead of the controversy that HOY causes each year the winner is the horse with the most grade 1 wins and her name is Zenyatta. If the bias is in again then just name Uncle Mo Hoy based on what he has accomplished and because he wins with such ease and gets faster the further he goes while being up front. Not one horse in this country has his talent so I think that has to mean something. So it comes down to Zenyatta ins based on having the most grade 1 wins(she can only face who shows up in the starting gate) or like I said give it to the fastest horse in the country, Uncle Mo. It didn't matter who ran in the Champagne, it's the how fast he ran without even being asked for his best and he faced the best 2 year olds in the Juvenile and did the same thing. Blame is awesome but Haynesfield cost him a very important grade 1.

09 Nov 2010 4:14 PM

If I had a vote, I would have to begrudgingly vote for Blame. I've been a Blame, Quality Road, and Zenyatta fan all along.  I love watching good horses run.  There is not another horse anywhere that could have come as close to winning as Zenyatta did after the trip she had.  I was at an OTB watching the simulcast and Zenyatta fans and non Zenyatta fans alike were shaking their heads and saying "WOW" what a horse.   It took a troubled trip for Zenyatta and a perfect trip and the best race he has ever run  (according to his jockey) for Blame to win.   It's too bad they are all going to be retired.  I would love to see Zenyatta face the boys again. Who do you think would be favored?   Blame?  Probably not.  Jason, I think Zenyatta fans would get off your case if you would just throw them a bone. She looked the best even in defeat.  And maybe thank her and her connections for increasing the interest in this troubled sport. ----  Hats off to all who kept their horses running after their 3 year old seasons.  Especially those who had banner years and did not need to run again.  Hats off to those who didnt have banner years and continued to race their horses for the love of the sport.

09 Nov 2010 4:18 PM
Bill Daly


Thanks for seeing my point.  This whole firestorm involves a lot more than Zenyatta vs. Blame.  I think what we have here are people with a not-so-hidden agenda and a huge inferiority complex. This is the stupid east vs. west debate thinly disguised as an argument over horses. There are apparently a lot of people in Cali who believe rightly or wrongly they have been discriminated against by the eastern press and the eastern "establishment" in general. I can certainly understand their love of Zenyatta and respect for her legend, but I don't understand the cult worship part. Frankly, I am an easterner who bears no ill will towards Cali whatsoever.  I think Zenyatta is one of the best things to happen to racing in my memory.  But these attitudes we see here on this blog reflect anything but love and respect and remind me of the "Love it or leave it" mentality that really annoys me. Is there no room for honest polite debate?  Why do people have to demonize others just because they don't agree?  I'll leave it there, but I just want to explain where I'm coming from.

09 Nov 2010 4:29 PM


Blame has had an amazing year. Yes it was good but even though Zenyatta stayed in California, she has still proven that shes got what it takes. You relook at that race again. You can't tell me that if Blame or another horse would have been in her spot 18+ lengths behind, that he or another horse could have made all those lengths up and finished as strongly as she did. If you could name another horse well than that would be amazing. But the fact is Zenyatta is the best of the best. But hands down all of us have to chose. Queen Z or Prince B? Chose. And if you relook at that race it shouldn't be that hard of a descision.

09 Nov 2010 4:34 PM

If Zenyatta does not win HOY - Blind Luck is the one that deserves it. She did more racing and traveling than anyone.

09 Nov 2010 4:37 PM
Gary D.

Your opinion is your opinion.

Zenyatta will be HOY.

09 Nov 2010 4:41 PM

Zookeeper + Laz:

I'm so with you guys!

I miss that first day after the Breeder's Cup, when there was peace on this blog.  And there was near unanimity.

Why, because the extremists had been proven wrong.  The pro-Zenyatta extremists were proven wrong because, in fact, Zenyatta is not unbeatable, she is mortal, of flesh and bones.  Wrong, and maybe more so, were the extremist Zenyatta critics, some of whom predicted she would never make it to the starting gate for the Classic, and if she did she would have no shot and finish behind horses like Quality Road, Musket Man, and Haynesfield.  For the first half mile of the Classic they must have been laughing their butts off about how "slow" Zenyatta is.  But my guess is their ego was being evacuated as she made her charge down the stretch.

In the end, the moderates on both sides, representing the majority of people, were proven correct.  The circumspect Zenyatta fans were correct in that she proved beyond any doubt that she could compete with the very best male horses in the world on dirt and outside of California.  Even in defeat, her legend grew and her legacy was solidified.

The modertae Zenyatta skeptics were also proven correct because she did not win, even if by only a nose.  These folks will likely be some of the people supporting Blame for HoY, but if the discussion were about Zenyatta's career and legacy, they would admit she's way up there. Ultimately, we're talking about slight differences of opinion between the groups of moderates.

So, if the discussion is about Zenyatta's career, I think things would be much calmer, but there would be alot fewer hits.  By making the discussion about HoY, it gives the anti-Zenyatta extremists another opportunity to argue against her.  Well, that draws a vehement response from the pro-Zenyatta zealots who are angry that once again their heroine is being attacked.  Well, then the moderate Zenyatta skeptics jump in, not to pile on, but to express their genuine belief Blame should be HoY and to point out the flaws in the arguments of the pro-Zenyatta extremists.  Well, the moderate Zenyatta supporters then feel the need to counter the claims of the extreme skeptics and to debate minutia with the moderate skeptics, and we have a free-for-all.

Jason is no dummy.  He saw that if the discussion was about Zenyatta's career and legacy, there will be alot of agreement and not alot of hits.  But make it about HoY, well he was 100% correct that it would draw the flies.  Also, as I wrote before, by making the discussion about 2010 instead of 2008-2010, the Zenyatta skeptics avoid having to praise the big mare for a great career and for talent they had failed to acknowledge, and can, instead, continue to critique the flaws of her individual years.  

09 Nov 2010 4:53 PM

SARATOGA TONY:  I absolutely agree with you...90% of Zenyatta's 'fans' discovered her this year,and 90% of those fans, not till late summer...they don't know about, or care about a 'dumb' HOTY award...if Zen IS are correct, they walk away until another horse captures their fancy and they can say they went to the Breeder's Cup/watched the Breeder's Cup to see 'their' horse race, once again....

09 Nov 2010 4:56 PM
Raye Source in NM

Taking nothing away from Blame, Zenyatta is the better horse and she showed it in the 2010 Classic.  If this race was watched, merely as a race on it's own merits, the horse players would have book marked Zenyatta as having a troubled trip and was definitely the winner otherwise.  She proved her class and superiority by closing an insurmountable distance in a short period of time, coming up short by a few inches.  Blame had a dream trip Zenyatta the nightmare.  She is unbelievable and truly the best to come along in a very long time.

09 Nov 2010 5:27 PM

Can we please stop with the "there should be a match race" comments. "Gee I wonder if Blame would show up" Well guess what? Zenyatta wouldn't show up either because the connections of both animals would not risk their horses in a race that would mean nothing.  Please people, post intelligent comments. And lets move on, Blame won, get over it.  

09 Nov 2010 5:33 PM
Mike Relva


Then I'm in the ten per cent.

09 Nov 2010 5:34 PM
Mike Relva


SPIN THIS,I've never slammed RA. I don't like her lousy connections. I've defended RA many times on many blogs and that's a fact. Don't lump ALL Zenyatta fans as some sort of crazy group,casuse if you do we can discuss many of the rude,classless comments many RA supporters have blogged regarding Zenyatta!

09 Nov 2010 5:43 PM
Arian Haxhillari

If winning the breeders cup is the criteria for the horse of the year this is simple run the horse on that only race make money and get nominated. As simple as that.  If zynyatta didnt go to that race Blame would not be as famous as today. I think zynyatta made him look better than we think. Loosing by inches isn't fare to establish the race of the year.

I think there is to much political behind this issue. Who ever owns Blame is going to do anything to glorify him for the sake of the stud fee. People be fare and look dipper before making any conclusions.

09 Nov 2010 5:43 PM
Point Given

You cannot take emotion out of a sport that is kept alive through it, and to suggest that is ridiculous.

I'm also offended that they retired Blame right away just so they could get as much as possible on stud fees. If that doesn't say anything about their confidence levels for his racing successes in the future, I don't know what does. A sound four-year-old who just beat a superstar should stick around to show what he's really got. The fact that he's not will prove nothing in the long run.

Zenyatta is a once in a lifetime horse and it will be ridiculous if she does not get this award that she has so earned.

09 Nov 2010 5:47 PM

Give it up with the "Who will remember Blame" comments. Like someone above stated; The Zenyatta fans will NEVER forget him! =)

09 Nov 2010 6:06 PM
Zenny Fan

Although Blame was a good horse - he is not a GREAT horse.  And that he will be remembered only for beating the Great Mare, Zenyatta once on a troubled trip and that will be all.  Just like Onion beating Secretariat.  Who remembers Onion??  And that both Zenyatta and Goldikova could mop the race track up with Blame 9 out of 10 times.  His owners know it and that is why they retired him immediately. Goldikova deserves the HOY and Zenyatta will be a GREAT HORSE with the likes of John Henry, Cigar, Kelso, Forego and the great mare Rufian along with the rest of the greats.  She has earned it and is loved by all.  Blame just got lucky!!!!!

09 Nov 2010 6:09 PM

Point Given: it was well known Blame was being retired before the race win or lose. And yes stud fees are important. It is a business after all.

One more thing that really bothers me. All this talk saying Blame should not be HOY because of where the horses he ran against all year finished in the Classic. I wasn't aware that Zenyatta ran against a different field in the race. If you use that logic against Blame, you have to against the mare.

09 Nov 2010 6:32 PM

who really cares

09 Nov 2010 6:32 PM

LEON - People on here are too busy beginning another 6 month long discussion on HOTY to take time to watch the video about Hitler reaction to Zenyatta's loss.

However, I don't care THAT much about HOTY, so I watched the video.

IT'S HILARIOUS!!!  Thanks for sharing.

09 Nov 2010 6:54 PM

Uh, no, Jason. You must be alseep at the switch. Zenyatta won 5 Grade 1 stakes during the season; Blame won 3, coming into the BC. In another dozen feet he would've still had 3. From the deep stretch she passed every horse in the race

until she ran out of track. He was

retreating back to her, not the other way around. In the beaten field was the 3 year old of the year Lookin At Lucky. She passed him like he was standing still. The other "big" horse in the field,

Quality Road, finished dead last. Is he chopped liver because he ran a lousy race on Nov. 6?  She also earned another singular honor this year: tied the modern day record for consecutive races won. Where's his equal achievement? By the way, this is horseracing. You CANT take the emotion out of it. Those hordes at the track  and on TV were HER hordes; half the fans who watched never even heard of  him. To deny her HOY by the width of a nostril is nonsense. Just like last year's HOY award was.

09 Nov 2010 6:59 PM

Billy-you have done your fair share of "fueling the fire" and "let's bait the Zenyatta fans", so maybe you are just reaping what you sew.  A few critics of Zenyatta had enough class to say, before they made a case for Blame, that they were wrong and Zenyatta not only ran an amazing race but proved that she couold run with the top dirt males.  But when the first things said are "She lost, get over it", you can't expect anything but backlash.  This backlash is what makes Jason's blog as popular as it is.  

09 Nov 2010 7:07 PM
My Juliet

    Mararacing, great post. I also wondered @ the dirt kickback, what affect that had. And can a horse be prepared for it.

    TxLonghornFan74, You're right, if Zenyatta came up sooner, we can't assume Blame wouldn't have held her off until the finish. As the winner, he deserves that. It reminds me of last year's Preakness. Comments that MTB was closing fast, if the finish line was farther Rachel A wouldn't have won, putting down her historic win by doing so.    

    Re the fans Zenyatta brought to the sport. I hope they are not only 'Zenyatta fans' but are 'horseracing fans'. I was surprised when hearing @100+ fans who gathered to see her graze on Sunday, and the mention how quiet it was at Blame's barn. She can be their fav, but it would have been a nice gesture for those fans to pay him the respect he deserved, to visit the BC Classic winner.  

09 Nov 2010 7:15 PM

Thank you for your 6:30 comment Jason.  Wanted to say that all day.

09 Nov 2010 7:26 PM

Who did Zenyatta beat?  How about Zardana coming off a win over 2009 HOY, Rachel Alexandra?  Or Switch, who beat probable Eclipse winner, Blind Luck?  

Note Zenyatta carried 129 pounds defeating a streaking St. Trinians as well.

09 Nov 2010 7:27 PM

Well done Jason Shandler; you've fanned the flames on which the blogosphere thrives. (629 comments and counting)

With respect, I do think your opinion regarding Zenyatta is biased.  I've read other columns of yours this year and for whatever reason, you seemed to be grinding an axe against her.  My guess is you are surprised Zen ran such a great race in the Classic, a horse race for the ages.  Her performance in the BCC defines GREATNESS!

We are all entitled to our opinions but to suggest that racing should not involve emotion?  Horses inspire emotion and without emotion racing would be a hollow sport--No need for the equine, just bet on machines.

One question, why are such negative posts such as Draynay's allowed?  Is he just a troll to cause controversy?

My vote for HOTY is Zenyatta, and that is a vote with my head and heart.    

09 Nov 2010 7:28 PM

It doesn't matter if Blame will be remembered or not. Horse of The Year can't just be given. Sorry, Zenyatta fans, but when it came right to it, Blame was the better horse in the Classic. Fair and square.

09 Nov 2010 7:30 PM
Megan Murphy

For all of those who have said that Zenyatta's connections ducked competition, those same connections were prepared to meet the great race filly, Rachel Alexander, this summer but Rachel did not show for the race. In Zenyatta's other races this year, connections of female horses were reluctant to meet the monster mare, Zenyatta, and did not enter their horses. Yes, she was handled carefully. We should thank our lucky stars for this since we were all (except for Draynay) able to enjoy Zenyatta in one of the most thrilling Classic races that we will ever see! Rachel Alexander did not receive the same thoughtful attention from her handlers.

09 Nov 2010 7:30 PM


09 Nov 2010 7:32 PM
Will W

Blame will be remembered for one thing: ending the longest winning streak in the history of thoroughbred racing and that of the greatest race mare the sport has ever seen.

09 Nov 2010 7:45 PM

Am I confused or does the road not run both ways....Zenyatta raced in only Grade 1's this year...she traveled to a much typed Arkansas Apple Blossom, a race to which many other Grade 1 fillies and mares were invited to attended and she traveled to Kentucky to a spotlight race that again was open to all graded winners.  true she didn't travel east...but no one else traveled west......

09 Nov 2010 7:48 PM

I strongly believed The Queen already have HOTY bagged.

BLAME won big races this year against tougher horses?

ZENYATTA only raced against fillies and mares?

And yet the race was only decided by a nose?

What kind of tougher division are you talking about?

Basic logic dude. ZENYATTA didn't run on those races just for the sole purpose of letting horses like BLAME have their own spotlight even for a bit.

BLAME winning BC Classic doesn't changes anything regarding who will win HOTY.


1. That horse won't win 19 straight even if you race him until he die.

2. That horse will never, and I mean never come close to beating or even tieing the records and accomplishments that ZENYATTA had done.


So what if she is a filly? LoL xD


09 Nov 2010 7:49 PM
Pedigree Shelly

         I know this is off the subject but , I am so happy that Mine That Bird is back in New Mexico where he is loved and welcome with open arms :) I truly believe that Mine That Bird was Homesick ! For his trainer Chip Wooley and the backstrech people who cared about him ! Good Luck , Mine That Bird !!

09 Nov 2010 7:53 PM


Don't get it do you? True Champions don't lose three of their first six races.  Check some records, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Zenyatta.

09 Nov 2010 7:54 PM
Richard G

"The 'who will remember Blame' comments are so petty and assinine. All of you that are saying that will surely remember him well."

Gee, Jason, "assinine"? I'll overlook the misspelling, but aren't you the guy who said emotion should be taken out of it? So, now, you are disrespecting the comments of people who disagree with you?

As was stated earlier, you cheap-cigar-chomping, $2-window guys who rave about Pimlico back in the day will have only each other to talk to when the sport (and all its potential young female fans who were lost Saturday) is an anecdote and Churchill Downs is hosting rock concerts and serving as an amusement park to make ends meet.

You and many posters are displaying a remarkable lack of grace and class. So much for the "wisdom of the crowd."

09 Nov 2010 8:01 PM


More than "nuff said".  You may know Horses names but you sure don't know anything about race riding.

09 Nov 2010 8:09 PM
Richard G

I understand that in preliminary talks, both Zenyatta and Blame indicated they would prefer to not be named HOY because of the stench attached to the "award."

09 Nov 2010 8:10 PM
Richard G

@Michelle: How can Blind Luck win HOY by losing to - gulp! - Unrivaled Belle's first G1 win if Zenyatta doesn't win after destroying a G1-winning male field and losing to Blame by 4 inches? If head-to-head is the criterion, Blame is better than Zenyatta...and Onion is better than Secretariat, Upset is better than Man O' War....

09 Nov 2010 8:26 PM

Don't think it's very accurate to compare zenyatta's lost to Seattle Slew's lost or the lost of Secretariat against Onion. BOTH seattle Slew AND Secretariat faced big, hard competition before their lost and won really hard races (like the whole tc). The classic this year was the first time that Zenyatta was against a really hard field of great quality horses that weren't struggling on the track. I'm not thinking anything away from her, she'll really great and prove she could run with the best, but it's not like she won 6 time against G1 male before losing in the Classic

And the pace was pretty fast in the Classic, which give a head start to closers....the final stretch of Churchill Down is long, giving another head start to closers...AND Zenyatta was clear, just behind the leader, about 300 yards from home, FULLY asked by her jockey. No excuse here, she was exhausted.

Again, not taking anything from her, she's great and really gave everything she ever had, ran her heart out, but she lose fair and squair. Let's give the award to who it belong: Blame.

By the way, once more, Blame was on the news a LOOOTT of time since the summer. people saying they never heard of him it's maybe cause you're knew to racing and only saw Zenyatta races. that's why you didn,t knew any other horses in the field

and one last thing, for people saying how bad Blame, how slow and all, I'm sorry to say, but he beat Zenyatta saturday. If he was so slow, she would have won no matter what, like she did 19 time before against others weak competition? You have 2 choices here:

-accept that Blame is a champion too


-Your Zenyatta was exhausted and had trouble catching a bad horse

Your choice, if you chose to believe that Blame is a bad horse, it's like saying Zenyatta is bad too (since she was clearly struggling at the end to catch him)

09 Nov 2010 8:32 PM
Richard G

@GoldenBroom: well-stated. I do take issue with the comment about Goldi. She's just a wonder. She's a specialist, a surgeon, and that's OK (If Quality Road was running miles, he'd be looking a lot better). She wouldn't and shouldn't get American HOY, but her groom should get HOY as Human of the Year. "Take out the emotion"? Are you serious, Jason?

09 Nov 2010 8:34 PM

Maybe the Eclipse Awards should have HOTY be chosen by the fans instead of a group of a few hundred voters.

The vote is simple. Who is the better horse? Zenyatta is. Done.

09 Nov 2010 8:36 PM


Your posts have been brilliant; I have really enjoyed them! I found your post concerning Best Pal fascinating.

Zenyatta's run in the Classic reminded me of Native Dancer's Kentucky Derby defeat in 1953. The undefeated colt came into the race and was expected by most to win the race impressively and keep his undefeated streak intact.

Unfortunately, he ran into a rough trip. He was bumped hard on the first turn, ended up farther back than he was supposed to be, and ran into traffic in the homestretch. Despite giving everything he had to give, he fell a head short of catching Dark Star at the wire. He never lost again.

So the one race that Native Dancer lost came going a mile and a quarter and Churchill Downs.

The one race that Zenyatta lost came going a mile and a quarter at Churchill Downs.

Not that it has anything to do with Horse of the Year, but I found it fascinating. :)


09 Nov 2010 9:19 PM


99% of the Blame fans didn't even know about him before the Whitney and the ones that did were saying that he wasn't much becasue of his slow time in the Foster.  Their big horses back then were Rachel and Quality Road.  You still remember them don't you?  Now all you guys can jump on Uncle Moe until someone beats him then it'll be on to some other horse.  Zen fans will always be Zen fans.  Another 4 inches and we wouldn't even be hearing from the likes of you.

09 Nov 2010 9:26 PM

Zenny Fan, you aregood, right on. Blame got lucky since Zen was unlucky. Look how many times Looking At Lucky was soooo unlucky! So many times this horse should've won but his post position was not ideal. Zenyatta, while way off the pace, gave her heart 100%!!!! Look at the intervews with Mike Smith. (Bloodhorse) He is not blaming the horse, but blaming only himself! He hurts over this.

09 Nov 2010 9:33 PM
synthetic specialist/poly queen

still waiting for quality road to hit the finish line.. draynay --did he get there yet??.. you are gonna "wear" that call forever.. i know, i know --it was the track bias-- right??.. ok-- you convinced me (wink,wink).. you are funny..

09 Nov 2010 9:38 PM
mike stroh

please, it was like moses was standing at top of the stretch and parted the seas for blame. blame goes away from home and gets his saddled handed to him by ramon and haynesfield, should they get hoy. if this was a clear cut win, fine give hoy to blame. older female division this year was much stronger than male division has been since retiring most studs at 3 if not before. sorry but zenyatta is a clear cut winner, anyone who believes else is clearly not thinking clearly. but blame will probably win so claiborne can get a nice stud fee for just another stud. how about blame coming to hollywood park and settle this, oops sorry he's retired and owners would never risk there neck victory. some people say look at gallop out, blame still wins, didn't you see mike pull her up right away. if we had winners on gallop outs, every race would have a different winner.

09 Nov 2010 9:40 PM

Trainer Al Stall Jr. said he was extremely proud of Blame’s performance but took nothing away from Zenyatta.

“In defeat she didn’t lose anything,” Stall said. (Bloodhorse)

Still a great horse, but yea she did. She lost. Here I am days later, never knowing her personally, still upset. Zenyatta-good girl! Thank you!

09 Nov 2010 9:41 PM
Beulah Park Fan

If Zenyatta is overlooked again as HOY, it will prove to me that that award is given to the prestigous connections owning the horse, not the horse.  Rachel A, truly the best three year old (filly or colt) of the year, did not prove to be a great race horse this year.  Blame, ending  his racing career to begin stud duties will never be the racehorse Zenyatta is.  Both Rachel and Blame have owners who are well known contributors to the racing industry. They  deserve the recognition for their dedication to the sport..BUT...Zenyatta is a horse that comes around once in a lifetime and I, for one, am grateful to be so blessed as to share that lifetime.  The Mosses, Mr. Shirreff, and Mike Smith with this great mare  have given all of us a wonderful experience these past three years and I thank them all.  This is what HOY should be about.

09 Nov 2010 9:42 PM
Mike Relva


Well said and I totally agree with you.

09 Nov 2010 9:49 PM
Mike Relva


You might struggle too if you were twenty back getting dirt kicked in your face! You must not know much about racing.

09 Nov 2010 9:54 PM
Paula Higgins

People who say that Blame will be remembered along the lines of Upset and Onion are neither petty nor assinine. Instead, they are just pretty much right Jason. The problem is that you are so unable to acknowledge Zenyatta's greatness, you cannot see the forest for the trees.

Yes, Blame is a wonderful horse and he won the BCC through grit and determination. He has had a great racing year and he was a very worth opponent. But he will be a footnote in racing history when all is said and done. This wasn't Sham and Secretariat, or Affirmed and Alydar. This wasn't a rivalry for the ages. No, it was a mare for the ages, going for 20 straight, and the her competition was a very good colt who had a great year. He will be remembered as a spoiler by many people. The tepid response he got from the crowd after the race was an indication of how people felt.

This would have happened to any horse who beat her, but especially to a horse who only beat her by inches. The fact that she made a stretch run for the ages, and most of America wanted her to win her 20th straight race(except you, Draynay and Melissa), has fed into the perception that he is a spoiler. But take heart, Blame has no clue and never will. I am sure he is a sweetheart and everyone will love him at Claiborne. He will have a wonderful life.

As for what I will remember, I would be happy to tell you. It won't be Blame. I will remember a horse that ran the most incredible stretch run I have ever seen. I was certain she was toast before she started her run. I turned to my husband and said "Did you see that!" He said "I can't believe what I just saw." The truth is, I never expected her to win this one. I knew she was up against it. I just wanted her to make a good showing. Well, she did more than that, she blew me away along with the 11 horses she left in her wake.

09 Nov 2010 9:56 PM


Great posts.  I love reading everything you write.  I don't always acknowledge and comment, but believe me, it is a given that I appreciate your passion, knowledge and fairness.  I also love the way you deal with some of these characters, both for and against Zenyatta.

The first day after the BCC the posts were mainly a reflection of what people saw and their opinions were about what we all expected.  However, now things are starting to get out of hand a little and I hope that this doesn't turn into some of the venom we've seen in the past.

09 Nov 2010 9:57 PM

Beulah Park Fan: I agree!!!!

09 Nov 2010 9:58 PM

Idgebella,"she is just a horse...Where Im from nobody knew who she was...hasnt done anything for horse racing" Those are some of the most ignorant comments Ive ever seen on a blog!!Where Im from in Arkansas we knew who she was. 45,000 people on a friday in a town whose population is 50,000.Just a horse huh?180 percent increase in tv ratings.Just a horse huh?Watched the race with many young people who are now interested in going to the track,something the sport needs.Dont get what Zen has done for the sport??Wow!Blame will get hoy for what he accomplished,but dont sell Zen short on what shes done.Maybe the people"where you live"need a little more education in horse racing and what its about.At least Zens people kept her in training instead of retiring her for the almighty dollar like blames blueblood owners did.

09 Nov 2010 10:07 PM

I'm sorry. I am done talking about this.

This is just like our presidental/house/congress elections, The majority will get the vote, right or wrong.

I think this year, Zenyatta should have it. Yes, last year RA was rightly named for it. 2010, Zenyatta.

I'm tired. Maybe Zen is too. You know there is more to this life than winning or being great. Let's look forward to her babies!!!!!!

09 Nov 2010 10:08 PM

For all those now harping on the length of Blame's campaign- ie, "Horse of Three Months".  We had one, in 2004,  name of Ghostzapper.

Anyway, what would be interesting would be to have the Eclipse Awards done like the Cartier Awards, with the combination of objective (points earned in stakes races) and the subjective.

09 Nov 2010 10:27 PM

I keep seeing "Zenyatta did so much for the sport". The statement should be "Zenyatta COULD HAVE done so much for the sport" if it wasn't for the path she was taken on. Other than to racing fans, she was not very well known until recently. With her special personality and immense talent, she should have been hailed much much earlier. The ownership and trainer must live in their own little world on the west coast not to see this.

09 Nov 2010 10:30 PM
Bet Twice

GunBow and Keelerman,

Always appreciate your comments.  I love learning new things about horse racing.


Great perspective.  

Ted in LA,

Just awesome.

Pedigree Ann,

Is it better for horse racing that Blame retired at 4?  How about the Derby winner at 3?  

I happen to agree with Jason about HOTY (though I'd be fine if she got it too), but how you can say Zenyatta hurt horse racing with her campaign.  I think the numbers say otherwise unequivocally.

09 Nov 2010 10:43 PM
Hail to Reason

Thank you! Completely agree with what you said, finally a voice of reason and not emotion. Zenyatta was five for six this year and her Grade 1 wins were mediocre restricted races. She did not campaign out of her backyard until the end and by then too late, sorry. Her connections are to blame once again for her missing out on the chance to be HOTY.

09 Nov 2010 10:44 PM

Snow- Maybe to you the HOTY award is everything, but not to everyone. If it was that important, Team Zenyatta would have put their champion on a more ambitious campaign to win that award, something Blame's connections did. Besides, does a plaque in the Hall of Fame mean something? That is her award.

Delmarken- So you are arguing Zenyatta should be HOTY because she is six years old and still winning? I don't understand your post. Shouldn't HOTY go to the best horse with the best campaign? Her age is irrelevant when it comes to this award. She will be rewarded with a plaque in the Hall of Fame. That seems pretty good to me. By the way, you state that great horses have awards attached to their names. If Zenyatta doesn't win HOTY, you are saying she is not a great horse. I completely disagree and I am shocked you would say such a thing.

BladerunnerNYC- Zenyatta didn't race last year until May. So I take it from your post you didn't think she was deserving of HOTY in 2009 because of that, correct? You just used that argument with Blame. Last I checked, he won the Stephen Foster and Whitney, and those were both races Zenyatta was eligible for. Team Z turned those races down, and for what, to run in the same races she did the past 2 years against inferior horses. In regards to the weight, Blame was giving 3 lbs to Zenyatta in the Classic. Do you have a comment about that? And yes, he lost the JCGC. Big deal. He lost to a horse that loves the Belmont and was loose on the lead. What you fail to understand is when you constantly race against the best, you do suffer defeat. That is why only a few horses have retired undefeated. Yes, he came up short in the JCGP, but he also won 3 of the most prestigious races in America, the Stephen Foster, Whitney, and BC Classic. Zenyatta was eligible to run in every single race Blame did this year (the same cannot be said the other way around), yet she only challenged him in one and was beat. Get over it.

Pam S.- At least try to make an argument instead of writing nonsense. Do you even have a comeback? Prior to the BC, it was well documented that if any of the big 4 won the Classic, that horse should be HOTY. Blame won. Get over it. Had Zenyatta pulled that race out, all we would hear is she is HOTY because she beat the rest, period. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way and Blame won. He won 3 of the most prestigious races in the Country, placed in the Gold Cup, and in their only meeting on the track, he won. What am I missing?

09 Nov 2010 10:56 PM

I can't believe this. This is your game. How many times did you watch the race. Blame has a perfect path going all out.  Zenyatta is caught on the turn then looses more time making a side ways turn to the outside and still catches blame who was sailing has fast has he can from way back. Ask Garret what he thought.  He thought he had it and there she is. One more stride  that was it.  She made up all that ground. Bloodhorse this is your living come on.  Don't be a favorite call it like everyone saw it. Watch the race in slow motion a couple of times. No doubt if she is clear in the turn she would of passed him right up. She just had two many things to overcome this time. The Winner had a perfect race. Said and done be real watch the race!!!! Zenyatta has the greatest stretch closing I have ever saw.  It's to bad Garret Gomez can't say what he already knows.  Watch the race.!!!!!!!

09 Nov 2010 10:56 PM

Maybe the reason Zenyattas connections didn't run her against better is that she was barely beating the F&Ms she was facing. Yet Zenyatta fanatics claim she's the best race horse ever? I can sit here all day coming up with reasons why she is not.

09 Nov 2010 11:04 PM

If the history of HOY is examined in the Breeder's Cup era, Blame should not automatically be declared HOY despite beating Zenyatta in the Classic.  Curlin, Skip Away, and Cigar all were named HOY after losing the Classic.   Curlin and Skip Away did not even hit the board.  Also,

Slew o' Gold, Turkoman, and Bertrando earned divisional honors after runner-up efforts in the Classic to other horses within their division.  Granted, Arcanques was a huge longshot.  When Azeri won HOY in 2002, she never faced males that year. Her wins prior to the Distaff included the Santa Margarita, Apple Blossom, Milady, Vanity, Clement Hirsch, and Lady's Secret. Zenyatta's 2010 campaign was nearly identical.  When Cigar was HOY in 1996, he lost 3 of his last 4 starts including a head to head loss to champion 3yo Skip Away.  However, that was the year that Cigar won the inaugural Dubai World Cup, his 16th consecutive race, and became N. America's all time money earner.  Those milestones probably boosted his credentials for HOY.  Head to head victories don't always seal the deal for the winner--Seattle Slew vs. Affirmed (HOY) and Java Gold vs. Alysheba (champion 3yo).  With only 1 start required in NA to be eligible for Eclipse awards other factors than a single win over a competitor come into play.  That can include milestone achievements within that racing season such as consecutive wins, earnings record.  Also, amount of travel and different surfaces raced/won over should be considered.  Racehorses inspire emotion so emotion sometimes does come into play when making decisions when there are two worthy candidates vying for the same honor.  Would we want a championship that would be based on a point system with races restricted by age or sex having less significance?  I don't think many people would like that.  However, that is what is implied when Zenyatta is criticized regarding her campaign.

Why didn't Blame go to CA for the Hollywood Gold Cup or Pacific Classic? Planes also fly east to west.  I like the Hancocks.  It is heartwarming to see them win a prestigous race with a homebred.  However, voting against Blame for HOY would be a slap in the face to the owners is on the emotional side.  Zenyatta should be considered for HOY based upon 5 grade one wins, winning her 19th consecutive race during this racing season, becoming the all time highest money earning female, and winning over 3 different synthetic surfaces as well as dirt.  Nothing emotional in those stats.

09 Nov 2010 11:07 PM

Keelerman: I made the same comparison to Native Dancer's Derby the day after the race. Both heart breakers for sure! Unfortunately, that one loss kept him from getting all the credit he deserved.  I really hope the same thing does not happen to her. They were incredible!

09 Nov 2010 11:18 PM

Every year some horse wins the Whitney and the Foster. No biggie. Blame is lucky he faced Zenyatta because that's the only thing he'll be remembered for. Otherwise he's another Mineshaft, Lawyer Ron, Black Tie Affair, Left Bank... completely forgotten horses who no one remembers. But Zenyatta.... wow. A horse we will never forget. My generation's Secretariat. She does not NEED the acclaimation of the powers-that-be. Who cares about what they think? She already has OUR acclaim, and a special place in our hearts and memories.

09 Nov 2010 11:34 PM


Please, please, please!!

Write an article explaining that not all GI races are the same!

F/M Graded races (I, II, III)are not, have not, and will never be considered on par with open male graded stakes company!

I am so sick and tired of this untruth being posted left and right by uninformed fans. New fans may actually believe this to be true! Experts will not deny this. The whole history of the sport supports what I'm saying!

In terms of HOY, that is why it  traditionally goes to male horses. In order for a female to win the HOY award, not only does that female need a standout season, but that female also needs the male division to be ultra weak.

To add to that, a GIII can fill with multiple GI winners, and conversely, a GI race can fill with zero GI winners. In that case, which race has more meaning? Hmmmmmmm...gee, let me think?

Please write an article using fact and history to shut these people up. I'm sick of reading, "a GI is a GI no matter what and don't get it twisted!"

My response: That couldn't be further from the truth....especially when comparing GI F/M races to GI, GII, or even GIII open company male fields! This untrue nonsense needs to end!

Unless the GI filly field contains Ruffian, Go For Wand, Genuine Risk, Ladie's Secret, Zenyatta, Rachel, Bayakoa and Paseana, it's most likely far weaker than it's male counterpart.

09 Nov 2010 11:36 PM

Gallop out=Ice box.  We all know how that turned out.

09 Nov 2010 11:36 PM
Gary Tasich

Too bad Jason & Dranay...

Quality Road was Zenyatta's Achilles' heel...

According to John Shirreffs, "When Quality Road backed up in front of her (Zenyatta) and Mike had to alter course and take back, that was tough.  She's zig-zagging down the lane, looking for a path, has to check and go one more wide."

Zenyatta lost .6 seconds or 6 lengths during this time (splits were 23.60, 23.80, then 24.40, and then re-started her final charge in 24 flat).

In other words Zenyatta was going to win the Classic heading into the far turn but Quality Road caused her to lose it.

To paraphrase the immortal Shakespeare, "a tragedy." On the east coast you would say, "She got mugged."

Simply put, Zenyatta is Horse of the Year.....

09 Nov 2010 11:38 PM
Mike O

The one thing I still cant wrap my mind around is if thet didnt want Z to leave Cali much this year fine.But why not run against the boys out their?If she beat them last year who were they afraid of this year?To me a few grade one wins against males this year and this close second in the BCC would have  locked up HOTY for Z.

09 Nov 2010 11:38 PM


Please, please, please!!

Write an article explaining that not all GI races are the same!

F/M Graded races (I, II, III)are not, have not, and will never be considered on par with open male graded stakes company!

I am so sick and tired of this untruth being posted left and right by uninformed fans. New fans may actually believe this to be true! Experts will not deny this. The whole history of the sport supports what I'm saying!

In terms of HOY, that is why it  traditionally goes to male horses. In order for a female to win the HOY award, not only does that female need a standout season, but that female also needs the male division to be ultra weak.

To add to that, a GIII can fill with multiple GI winners, and conversely, a GI race can fill with zero GI winners. In that case, which race has more meaning? Hmmmmmmm...gee, let me think?

Please write an article using fact and history to shut these annoying people up. I'm sick of reading, "a GI is a GI no matter what and don't get it twisted!"

My response: That couldn't be further from the truth....especially when comparing GI F/M races to GI, GII, or even GIII open company male fields! This untrue nonsense needs to end!

Unless the GI filly field contains Ruffian, Go For Wand, Genuine Risk, Ladie's Secret, Zenyatta, Rachel, Bayakoa and Paseana, it's most likely far weaker than it's male counterpart.

If this came through twice, my apologies.

09 Nov 2010 11:40 PM

Well, Z did win more Grade I's, period. Ans so what Rachel was the first filly to do whatever.........Zenyatta was the first filly/mare to EVER win the BC Classic, but it didn't count for much. The BC Classic didn't determine last years winner, so it shouldn't be the "end-all" for this years either.

09 Nov 2010 11:42 PM

My goodness.....some bitter people on here. The race was 1 1/4 miles not 1 1/4 miles plus 50 or 100 yards. What left me most unimpressed is the time of the race at 202 1/5......I remember a little 3 yr old filly by the name of Genuine Risk that ran the Derby in a time of that caliber. This Race sure doesnt evoke memories of Cigar and his brilliant 159 2/5 over an off Belmont track in 95 for his classic win now does it? Boy what you people call GREAT horses nowadays is at best a weak argument.

09 Nov 2010 11:46 PM
Jim C.

Jason S. said: "The "who will remember Blame" comments" are so petty and asinine. All of you that are saying that will surely remember him well."

I agree with you on this one, Jason.  Blame will be remembered well for benefitting for a great trip on his home track, and for finished second to Zenyatta in Horse of the Year balloting.

10 Nov 2010 12:20 AM


Thanks.  And I agree completely with your comparison to Native Dancer's Derby.  So many similarities.  

10 Nov 2010 12:29 AM

As for HOY .Its a shame Zenyatta didn't win it last year. She was clearly the choice but voices of the so called experts swayed the choice to Rachel as the intelligent pick. Its unbelievable the horse of the decade won't be recognized horse of the year in at least one of these two past years. Its hard to deny Blame where it was so much easier of a choice last year for Zenyatta. Of course this year we have the same experts crowning BLAME within moments of the finish as horse of the year without allowing it all settle in. Again its hard to deny Blame the award wherin last year the choice was so apparent a mistake.

10 Nov 2010 12:29 AM

People who saw Man O War lose remembered Upset well, and it wasn't for being a great horse.

10 Nov 2010 12:46 AM
Gary Lynn

What world is that 1991...that of "The Little Prince"? Your were funny in 1991 and have evolved to be downright don rickles hilarious nineteen years later.

10 Nov 2010 1:14 AM
Pink Lady

Zenyatta don't need no award to prove her greatness. Everyone already knows how great she is, especially the haters out there. Haters only hate those who are awesome.

Blame should get the award. It might increase his stud fee, but it's useless to Zenyatta.

10 Nov 2010 1:32 AM
Bob Z

The problem with that is HOY is voted for every year...

So if HOY is about a horse that comes around once in a lifetime... what do we do next year when that horse is no longer racing?

What if they created a system where the powers that be could vote on the horse that they thought had the best year based on the number of times they won taking into account the level of competition...?

"BUT...Zenyatta is a horse that comes around once in a lifetime and I, for one, am grateful to be so blessed as to share that lifetime.  

The Mosses, Mr. Shirreff, and Mike Smith with this great mare  have given all of us a wonderful experience these past three years and I thank them all.  This is what HOY should be about. "

10 Nov 2010 1:43 AM

Funny how Zenyatta beat em all in the classic and didn't get HOTY. We'll, this year what comes around goes around. Zenyatta, HOTY. Sorry Blame, you aint no Zenyatta.

10 Nov 2010 2:03 AM

Shuvee, actually Z did have a bad trip. Not the worst, but bad nonetheless.

First, just after she broke she was squeezed back by the two horses on either side of her, dropping her back a little more than usual. Then, as Smith stated, she didn't like the dirt hitting her face so she didn't run as close to the field as she usually does. Then, when she finally did put in her move, she was steadied and slightly checked to get around a tiring QR.

Any one of those would cause any other horse to not run in the money AT ALL. The closest performance I can recall that is anything like this (what with the squeezing back at the start) is by AP Indy back in 1992's Molson Million. And I thought the fact that he came in third was an absolute miracle!

Also, the fractions in last year's BCC were almost identical until the mile mark. They were slower at 1/4 but faster at the mile and finish. This year, the field seemed to slow down a lot once they hit the stretch. So to say she just couldn't keep up with them is inaccurate.

But the fact is, if you had watched every other race she ran, you can visably see that she is a great deal further back than she has ever been. She had too much ground to make up into a pace that was falling apart at the end of the race.

Hey, that happens. It's part of racing. I'm amazed that it has taken these extreme lengths and not something more ordinary to cause a loss. But to say there were no extenuating circumstances and her trip was fine? That just isn't true.    

10 Nov 2010 2:42 AM

Katie, please go back and look at the time splits. The pace wasn't particularly fast. Matter of fact, I must be old, because I remember when running 45 and change halfs for 1 & 1/4 mile races was the norm. And certainly the finish wasn't fast. 2:02 on a supposedly fast track? No.

Also, I'm not sure where anyone gets the idea that she was exhausted after the race, other than just parroting what someone else may have said in spite. I don't recall at any point in the stretch drive where she was struggling or tired.

10 Nov 2010 3:49 AM

Laz, weren't there people even AFTER the Whitney, including Jason, that didn't think much of Blame's win because he won by so little and got 5 lbs? I seem to recall those comments.

10 Nov 2010 3:55 AM
Kate C.

If you "strip all the emotion" out of horse racing, what exactly do you have left?  Nothing I'd ever cry over or stand out in the rain or cold to go see.  Emotion is what brings us to this sport, and keeps us loyal through all of the disappointments and heartbreak. Yes, the 2010 awards will likely go to Blame, Pletcher and perhaps others whose contributions to the sport are measured by numbers and dollar figures only.  Zenyatta, John Shireffs, Mike Smith and the Mosses have done more for this troubled sport than anyone has since Cigar campaigned 15 years ago.  That, Mr, Shandler is also a fact, and bears some acknowledgment and gratitude from an industry which has benefited greatly from Zenyatta's stardom.  I do not think awarding Zenyatta Horse of the Year is such an outrageous, emotional gesture.  In 20 years, who will be remembered as one of the all time greats, and have a plaque hanging in the Hall of Fame, Blame or Zenyatta?

10 Nov 2010 6:31 AM

Best written comment Richard G:

"As was stated earlier, you cheap-cigar-chomping, $2-window guys who rave about Pimlico back in the day will have only each other to talk to when the sport (and all its potential young female fans who were lost Saturday) is an anecdote and Churchill Downs is hosting rock concerts and serving as an amusement park to make ends meet."

Wake up horse racing time to go to work.

10 Nov 2010 7:27 AM
campbell camp

Zenyatta should win Horse of the Year for the following reasons:

Blame's first race of the year was a GRADE 3.  All of Zenyatta's races were GRADE 1 races.  If this doesn't mean anything why do they grade races???

Zenyatta was second by a short head to Blame, HOWEVER, Blame was well beaten in the Jockey Gold Cup (frankly, spanked and hard) by Haynesfield who Zenyatta beat in the classic.  So if you consider Zenyatta raced 6 GRADE 1 including the Classic and Blame race 4 GRADE 1 including the can anyone say she isn't deserving.  

This doesn't take into consideration what she has done for the horse racing industry these last couple of years.

As far as the argument that her competition was soft...that was out of her control.  For instance, she was going to meet Rachel in the Apple Blossom. Well, we know what happened there.  How about Blind Luck for example, the trainer stated he would find another race if Zenyatta was going to run. You saw in the Classic why Zenyatta couldn't get any "toughs" to run against her.

There are plenty of horses that didn't win the Classic and still made HOY. Zenyatta should be one of them.

Respectfully yours,

A horse racing beginner

10 Nov 2010 7:32 AM

LAZMANICK: I'm not a Blame fan, QR, fan,Zen fan, etc...I like ALL good race horses......but...on a couple of boards I belong to, we have our resident "Zeetards" that rip apart every other good horse, even if they win a hard race, while keeping Zen on a pedestal for beating the likes of Rinterval and Anaaba's Creation, gets OLD after awhile.....they even knocked RA's historic 3 yr old campaign by saying she didn't 'deserve' HOTY cause she didn't race in a BC race...she didn't HAVE to....she sewed up the award in Sept.....a good horse is a good horse....sure we all wish Zen would have stepped outside cali/oaklawn sooner, but she didn't.....I for one, gained more respect for her in her lone loss than in all of her previous 19 wins....

10 Nov 2010 8:13 AM

I find your argument ridiculously distorted. Zenyatta dis beat males 12 of them in the Classic.

Your case for Blame is weak. His BIG win was versus a horse that finished DEAD last beaten a POLE in the classic.

His other Gr1 in Kentucky was against Battle Plan who was retired adter the race. Who cares if Blame ran in Ny Md and Ky? He was trounced by a NY BRED in the JCGC a horse that Zenyatta trounced Saturday.

Blame was on his home track, had a good trip, Zenyatta had to ship, had a less than good trip and lost by a longgggg nose/half a head.

If you take off the glasses Blame did VERY VERY little except beating a 6 yr old mare by life or death on his home turf.

10 Nov 2010 8:46 AM

and one last point, Zenyatta thrashing males last year in the classic wasn't enough to win vs RA who beat NOTHING all year, I mean seriously Macho Again was her big win, oh wait she beat Mine that Bird and Summer Bird and Tidal Pool too!  

Honest truth is that Blame is a very nice horse but not a HOY type. Reverse that head finish and Zenyatta wins in a UNANIMOUS VOTE!   Do the math

10 Nov 2010 8:49 AM
Mike Relva


You are correct

10 Nov 2010 8:53 AM

Just got done reading the blog. Im laughing my butt off. Jason, call us childish, emotional, asinine, whatever. I think you're clueless. I worked on the track for years, and have remained a fan for years since leaving it to raise my children. Believe me- if the voters for HOTY feel the same way you do- I will never support racing with my hard earned money again- and I know many who feel the same way. We're sick of it. But thats ok- because you'll still have the Draynays who are too cold to see the beauty in the sport and get all emotional over it.

10 Nov 2010 9:08 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

Hi Jason.  I think you are an excellent handicapper and an interesting writer but why in the world would you want to exclude emotion?  That is one of horse racing's strong suits.  

10 Nov 2010 10:30 AM

Mike Relva,

let me opine for a moment, if you would...I'm assuming that your "You might struggle too if you were twenty back getting dirt kicked in your face! You must not know much about racing." comment was about Zenyatta. If I'm correct in assuming, then I ask, WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT RACING? #1) She's been running this way every race of her life (and I mean every race, but you know that) #2) There's been quite a bit of speculation about the kickback that comes from synthetic racetracks, so at what point did the spray bother this animal before? (you know the answer to that question as well) #3) When you're as far back as Zen was in almost every race, you don't even start to feel the full brunt of the spray until reaching contention, and at that point, she was always too busy engulfing the fields she faced to be beaten by such a thing, and I've never once saw a horse rolling along with such momentum as she ALWAYS HAD just STOP IN IT'S TRACKS BECAUSE OF A BIT OF KICKBACK.

The horse lost, and for the very reason that most people who played against warned of....that another talented horse would get first run on the leaders and make the job slightly too hard for the animal to accomplish. I knew she'd hit the board, that's why I didn't play an exacta or tri. The kickback wasn't the reason she lost (you know that, dontcha Mike R ??), the race circumstance/competition level was. Challenge that if you will, but in your heart of hearts, you know you're wrong.

10 Nov 2010 11:21 AM

OK, according to my highly unofficial (and unbiased, of course) poll of the comments so far, this is a recap:


- Westerners (subset: Californians)

- Anti-rachelAlexandrites (it's-never-over-even-if-it's-over BUT see first subset in Blame-givers, following)

- Blame-Givers (subset: the Classic isn't everything -- but only for this year, don't bring last year up again); (further subset: woudda-been-different-a-few-steps beyond-the-wire)

- Zen is a Goddess (subset: those who go so far as to burn Breeders Cup blankets in front of the altar and chant "HOY HOY HOY")

- Zen is a Queen (Problem: didn't you guys fight a revolution against royalty?)(Further Problem: does this mean her first colt will be named either "William" or "Harry"? -- too scary to contemplate)

NOT PRO ZEN (never anti-Zen except for Draynay and he doesn't count)

- Easterners (including NewYorkers, the establishment and possibly, Kentuckians, but definitely including Jason S.)

- Blame / Quality Road / Blind Luck / Secretariat-the-Movie Horse Lovers (First Subset: those who believe there may have been some other racehorses running in the World this year) (Second Subset: Pro RAlexandrites - The past remains very shiny, shiny for them)

- Zen is a very, very good, possibly great horse BUT.... (subset: non-Moss gatherers --belief: they rolled the wrong stone this year -- Problem: isn't there a lot of rain in California so a lot of Moss can grow if it doesn't move?)


- The French (subset: Goldikova)


- Canadians (of course)

10 Nov 2010 11:22 AM
Tammy P

Last year it was said that Zenyatta had not done enough--even though she won the Classic last year.  Rachel won because of the competition she faced AND the way she won her races even though she did not go to the Breder's Cup.  Zenyatta should be HOY the year because of the way she lost.  How many other horses could come from behind and overcome all the problems she had in the race AND still lose by a nose????????????????-----to a horse 3 years younger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, Blame is good--obviously, but this girl is SO much better.  Look at how she lost---like a champion that she is.

10 Nov 2010 11:24 AM

My final 2cents on this fake award..

Jason you truly feel a horse that went 19-1 missing 20-0 by 6 inches and history reflects that she never received HOY to Curlin who did not win the BCC R.A who did not even run in the BCC and Blame who is yet another one year wonder with a loss.

Yes I understand the HOY concept but something just does not seem right with this.

Vanilla Ice,Right said Fred or Rolling Stones HMMMM...

We are all going to miss her and I would not be surprised if she came back for one more year..

10 Nov 2010 11:36 AM
Gary Tasich

Right on PAS...

10 Nov 2010 12:04 PM


Your name sake, who I was and still am a fan of, could have done so much more for racing in 2004 also.  He only raced 4 times that year, once in a G3, once in a G2, a G1 and then the BCC.  The reason, for the light campaign of course, was because he had issues.  But he could also have passed up races like the Iselin and the Tom Fool for the Foster and the Whitney.  Zenyatta had issues also, mainly mental ones, and she was also six years old.  To think that she could have done more for the sport is ridiculous.  Those big tough males racing this year could have done a lot more for the sport also rather than race in 5 and 6 race campaigns.  Zenyatta already did more for the sport than all of them combined.

10 Nov 2010 12:09 PM
Gary Tasich

To Mike O at 11:38

She set consecutive 3-peat records for races she had run previously by running in them again. She beat the boys in the 2009 Classic. What does she have to prove after that?

There's an old saying, "If it ain't broke don't fix it." Shireffs wisely chose the path he used in 2009 to bring her to the 2010 Classic.  

She's simply the best and she proved it!

The only way she doesn't get HOY is because the game board is tilted to the east, just like last year.

Let me ask you, "If you were Team Zenyatta, would you attend the Eclipse Awards this year only to be slapped in the face again?"

Team Zenyatta is a class act and will undoubtedly be there no matter the outcome.

Zenyatta should be HOY, if the voters are objective and that's what it all comes down to.

Thanks Zenyatta...noble warrior!

10 Nov 2010 12:19 PM

Blame ran a great race and if he wins HOTY he's as good a choice as any for those who take these awards seriously. However, jshandler's well known dislike of Zenyatta suggests that his support of Blame is more in gleeful delight at Zenyatta's loss than admiration of Blame's win. If this is an objective discussion of HOTY why no mention of Goldikova? She beat males, travelled extensively,and ran in and won group 1's against top competition including her one required N.A. win.

10 Nov 2010 12:23 PM


Good comments.  However, the dirt kickback was a factor, but it was also a factor for the others.  Being 20L back was definitely a factor because she had never been anywhere near that far back before. The obstructions are a given in a race like that and she had to deal with them.  This isn't the first time that a horse with her style of running has had to deal with them.  When Exceller was about 20 back of Seattle Slew and caught him in the ’78 JCGC it was in a way reminiscent of this BCC.  The difference though was that there were no roadblocks.  It was a six horse race and Exceller and Slew were two of the six.  He had a straight shot and ran unimpeded.  This BCC was different.  Zen didn’t get the chance for an unimpeded run, but that’s horse racing and she isn’t the only top horse that has been defeated because of circumstances like that.  It wasn’t the class of horses she was racing against that beat her either.  She is a better class horse than most of them as proven in the race.  Just look at the race and based on performance tell yourself which was the better horse.  I think without taking anything away from Blame, he definitely wasn’t better than Zen.  What really got her beat other than the obstructions was the fact that they waited too long, or at least she didn’t decide to start running until it was too late.   Again, that’s horse racing and hats off to Blame.  Too put it in tough terms, he managed to get the job done and Zen didn’t.

10 Nov 2010 12:24 PM

Blame will always be remembered...forever entwined with will mention her name and his name will immediately come to mind...just like Upset, Dark Star, and Onion.

PS For those dissing Blame for only destroying Haynesfield 2 out of their 3 meetings, please see the above...♥

10 Nov 2010 12:38 PM

Zenyatta is SO much bigger then HOY.

10 Nov 2010 12:44 PM
Bev C

Why didn't Blame travel to the west coast if they wanted him to be considered for HOTY . Also why did he only run on dirt he should also have ran on sythetic and why did he run his races this year so close to his home track? These are the same reasons Zen haters used last year

 another thing I am wondering about is Pletchers horses two favotire heavily bid and neither of them finished in a BC race . that being life at ten and quality road .

10 Nov 2010 12:45 PM

...and our beloved MZ...priceless! (except if Zen's a Queen, it would be Charles, not Harry or Will, correct? ♥)

I'm very proud of my East Coast connection to Zen through fellow New Hampshire-ite John Shirrefs...!

10 Nov 2010 12:45 PM


Good post.  Regarding respect for Zen.  I didn't gain any more respect than I already had, but I sure didn't lose any with the loss.  That's horse racing.  Her loss simply validates her career, not that it needed to be validated.  I was more worried about what garbage many would start spinning if she would have finished well back and maybe even off the board.  She defied the impossibile......almost.  But she showed her class and that's what I really wanted to see.

10 Nov 2010 12:51 PM

Thanks for the info delmarken.  I happen to know a little bit about both Secretariat (my favorite athlete of all time) and Seattle Slew (present for his Belmont Stakes victory).  Here is also something I know.  Secretariat and Seattle Slew lost races.  Secretariat lost his first race.  He also lost three races in his 3 year old campaign.  But he took on all comers, set records, and beat older horses on dirt and turf.  Seattle Slew also took on all comers, including Affirmed and Exceller, several times in his 1978 campaign (for which he did not win Horse of the Year). Comparing Zenyatta's 2010 campaign (which is the criteria for horse of the year) to Big Red or Slew is not a fair comparison.  

I do appreciate the condescending tone to which you question me though.  Thanks for your history lesson and say hi to delmarbarbie.

10 Nov 2010 12:55 PM

Zenyatta is the better horse and would win more match ups than Blame, any horse that could make the run she did deserves whatever award there is and that is the HOTY!

10 Nov 2010 12:59 PM

delmarken - I suppose that horses like Sir Barton, Whirlaway, Assault, Forego, John Henry, Cigar, Rachel Alexandra and/or Seabiscuit also would not qualify as True Champions under your definition.

10 Nov 2010 1:00 PM


Be honest...the crazy comments by the crazy zenyattists make you want to vote for Blame even more. It is impossible to take emotion out of it, isn't it?

10 Nov 2010 1:06 PM
it's my opinion and i'm entitled to it

I think they should vacate and take back lasty year's HOY so they have two to give this year, one to Zenyatta and one to Blame. RA proved what a terrible choice it was last year by getting beaten up all year this year until they finally admitted she just wasn't that good and retired her. Luck of the draw was with RA last year with the weak 3 yr old class and the weak older males that showed up to face her. Two this year far out trumps the mistake made last year.

10 Nov 2010 1:06 PM

If you take emotion out of anything nothing much happens. Emotion is and should be part of most everything in our lives. It is what drives people. Without emotion November 2nd would have been a different story. Without emotion Jason you would not be married with children. Without emotion nobody would care about anything. Without emotion there would be no HOY because nobody would care enough to cast a ballot. Emotion is part of every decision we make. What you are really asking is to take any emotion people feel about Zenyatta only and disregard it to make the vote turn out the way you want Jason. Nice try but I see through you like glass.

10 Nov 2010 1:21 PM
Capecod mike

if you take the emotion out of it there is no horse racing- a contested stretch drive with the crowd screaming- no emotion?

after several years of decline in our sport across the country along comes a remarkable animal and we are back in every major sports page across the country, on 60 Minutes, in Sports Illustrated, Oprah mag  etc. You think they will do the same for Blame...

Get real- Z is the horse of the year and probably the past decade

10 Nov 2010 1:27 PM


I'm speaking as someone who trashed Blame all year and still thinks Zenyatta deserves HOY more.  But your argument doesn't make sense to me.  What point would there be for Blame to fly out to California for the Hollywood Gold Cup or Pacific Classic.  To beat up on Richard's Kid and Awesome Gem?  What's the point?  There was only one great horse in the Classic division on the west coast, Zenyatta and he would have had no chance to face her.

If you want to apply that tired old "planes fly both ways" argument to Rachel Alexandra or Life At Ten or Unrivaled Belle, I'll agree with you there.  But Blame is blameless in this.  She could have entered any of his races.  He couldn't have entered any of hers. Her connections made that choice, now they have to live with the consequences, whatever they turn out to be.

10 Nov 2010 1:32 PM
Simply Majestic

Um, @It's my Opinion - Rachel's HOY was for 2009.

That year. 2009. Being last year.

It doesn't matter what she did this year, because that would count toward 2010 HOY.

And in 2009 Rachel did something amazing, whether you'd care to admit it or not.

10 Nov 2010 1:41 PM

Ever notice that last year Zenyatta did what no other female ever did, win the Classic, and Rachel Alexandra did what other females have done, win the Preakness, but the prize went to Rachel because the Classic doesn't matter.  Now because of one win, the so called unimportant Classic, Blame gets HOTY.  There has always been an east coast bias and a double bias against Zenyatta.  HOTY doesn't matter anymore.  Hand Blame his little trinket.  Zenyatta doesn't need it.  She has "great" coupled with her name and he does not.  Nor will he since he retired at 3.

10 Nov 2010 1:52 PM
Caue Caramori

I can't believe that someone actually has to write an article giving Blame the horse of the year championship. like there is any debate. It's obvious to EVERYONE that Z was the best horse in training this past year but the award is once again not suppose to be given to the most talented horse in 2010 but the one with the best race record. The way Zenyatta has been managed, the only way for her to win Horse of the year is by WINNING THE CLASSIC. She was much the best in the race and if they run it over she would win but Money Mike got his mare beat and well she is only the champion older mare once again. Blame won three Gr. 1s and beat Zenyatta in the championship game. He is the horse of the year. Props to Al Stall and the Claiborne team. I am not a fan but they won the award fair and square. If only we could re-run the Classic. If only Mike Smith gave her a hall of fame ride instead of a pinhead ride. its a tough pill to swallow and the fact that she has been robbed of the horse of the year title twice before, its even harder. but this year she REALLY DOESN'T deserve it. and SHE WON'T get it!

10 Nov 2010 1:53 PM

funny how some are comparing this horse race and the preceding season(s) to things in life like marriage, having children and such


Make no mistake, neither of the horses disgraced themselves in the race...and no amount of kickback, jockey error, or alike can be blamed for the beloved animal losing. IT'S CALLED HORSE RACING, AND I DON'T THINK EXCUSES CUT IT AT THE WINDOW!

It's my opinion, this one's for you


a shame that so many racing fans don't get it - but then again - maybe it's not such a's you guys who must be the ones making undeserving horses the faves at post time, and without you, I'd have no prices to play. keep debating folks, you don't even have a vote, and I wonder aloud whether Jason has one either.

10 Nov 2010 1:54 PM

Jason, if instead of Zenyatta that was Lookin At Lucky who had such a bad trip and came from so far behind to mow down the rest of the field and catch up to Blame like he was standing still only to miss by a nose, would you still be saying Horse of the Year is simple- Blame?

10 Nov 2010 1:58 PM
Bill Daly

MZ,  I enjoyed your recap immensely. I think you've pretty much nailed it.  You ought to do demographic studies and make some money.

10 Nov 2010 2:01 PM

Why was that filly last year given the award for beating Mine That Bird and Macho Man, but the big mare gets no recognition for beating the entire fields of the last two Breeders Cup Classics, except one by a nose? Where did Mine That Bird and Macho Man finish in the Classic? And where was the filly last Breeders Cup day?

10 Nov 2010 2:10 PM
Billy's Empire

she may of got dirt in her face for a furlong or less, that is it. She was too far back for 8 fulongs to get dirt in her face, and she too wide in the last furlong to get dirt in her face, so maybe turning for home she got dirt in her face for about 3 seconds, but that is it. Stop making excuses.

10 Nov 2010 2:15 PM

@ Drdruque,

Here is what you wrote:

"Otherwise he's another Mineshaft, Lawyer Ron, Black Tie Affair, Left Bank... completely forgotten horses who no one remembers." seem to be remembering then just fine....funny? I thought no onw would remember them?

Furthermore, certain Zenyatta fans' lack of respect for past champions is what makes me despise them. Any real fan who actually followed and enjoyed the sport over the years will remember almost all the horses. I know I do...why? Because I actually have a passion for the sport, whereas your passion seems to go only as far as the last few years in Zenyatta, and no other horse is even worth mentioning.

Because of people like you, I will always think of Zenyatta as a tremendous horse with some of the most disrespectful fans ever.

Stop dissing other horses!

10 Nov 2010 2:19 PM
Raye Source in NM

To emotionless, very well said!

10 Nov 2010 2:27 PM

Rachel: it is my belief that Liz will wait until Charles is-no-more so that the next King will be William (and/or Harry).  After all, who is more telegenic*?

(* not in a deer-in-the-headlights/ major car-crash way but in a Justin Bieber-ish way?)

Jason: can we start another betting thread: Charles vs. WillilamandHarry?

10 Nov 2010 2:30 PM

For those that think Zenyatta had a better year than Blame...

Zenyatta: 6-5-1-0 (5 G1 wins out of 6 G1s)

Blame: 5-4-1-0 (3 G1 wins out of 4G1s, 1 G2)

Zenyatta defeated 23 individual horses

Blame defeated 28 individual horses

Zenyatta's competition: 155-26-18-29

Blame's competition: 153-51-29-19

Competitors stakes record:

Zenyatta: 13 wins, 5 graded (all G2s), 8 ungraded

Blame: 40 wins, 30 graded (14 G1s, 9 G2s, 7 G3s), 10 ungraded stakes

Competitors record after facing them:

Zenyatta: 3 next out winners (2 non-graded)

Blame: 6 next out winners (5 stakes of which 2 were G1s)

10 Nov 2010 2:34 PM
T Carter

Let's take your biased emotion out of this.  Blame did not run a good enough race to beat Zenyatta if she had had a good trip.  A five length victory and maybe we could buy into your BS.  Zenyatta never ran a bad race.  Blame did or else he had on and off races with terrible consistency.  Say what you really want to say, " We will take any opportunity to vote against her regardless of the circumstances....maybe we can fool some into thinking Blame was better".    And by the way,  Goldikova is a miler, you really think that she could hold up for the extra quarter?  QR couldn't, and he could run a a good mile also.  You have to be able to go the mile and a quarter to be the champ.  You have to win it overwhelmingly to prove that you are better than Zenyatta under the circumstances,  Blame didn't and Goldikova couldn't.  

10 Nov 2010 2:36 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks for doing tha research Nancy. Wow, I think that pretty much sums things up. Just another strong case for the clear winner of this award.

But, be careful, you are presenting fact, not fantasy. For some, that is unbearable to consider.

10 Nov 2010 2:41 PM

Golden Bloom, with all due respect, Z is not the only horse--"Zenyatta did what NO other human or equine has done in 30 years...brought mainstream attention to the sport and new fans tuned in, chimed in and showed up . . ." I've been around the past 30 years+ and no doubt Z is an extremely gifted, charismatic, emotional mare who has contributed off- and on-the-track to the horse racing industry--HOWEVER, the Great Barbaro, who never got a chance to prove what he could have accomplished in a full lifetime, played his part EVERY DAY in my family. My father kept up on his career from start to the day he was euthanized--via any source of media he could find that covers horseracing EVERY DAY. Did Barbaro get HOTY? He gave his life to the sport. And my father passed over the Rainbow Bridge five days after Barbaro. Therefore, he is just one example, Z is not the one and only horse. Her legacy may just end up being another Silky Sullivan (know him?) or Peppers Pride. Great article for sticking to the facts and having the gumption to do so! Happy trails!

10 Nov 2010 2:46 PM

Jason--you are right on once again, you never disappoint me.  Zenyatta deserves to be HOY this year as much as I deserve to be president of the US.  Her connections finally took her out of her comfort zone, finally raced her against some real competition and what happened?  She lost.  The emotions were built out of all those races where she wowed everyone beating inferior competition by huge margins.  And if you watch her at the beginning of the race, she was not the same as we are used to seeing.  She looked clumsy and uncomfortable, had to work especially hard to get into her rhythm.  Smith even said she was uncomfortable with the track.  It's too bad, but these guys can't separate fact from emotion.  I couldn't help thinking I'd heard it all before when I was listening to Seth Hancock after the race making the case for his horse to be HOY.  Of course Blame deserves to be HOY.  It is not an emotional decision, it IS based on racing statistics.  Anything less is truly a slap in the face for one of racing's greatest family organizations.  Of course, they can always yank the queen out of retirement again and we can go through all this all over again next year.

10 Nov 2010 2:53 PM

Bev C, Pletcher has a terrible record with his horses at the BC (he has bad luck/loser) and that's why I never bet on his horses on BC days.

10 Nov 2010 2:54 PM

Blame deserves the award since he did win the big race, but Zenyatta deserved it last year and they gave it to Rachel, so why not give it to Z this year. Her loss in the Classic was more impressive than any of Rachel's wins last year, and Rachel was great. It was more impressive than anything any horse has done in recent memory.

10 Nov 2010 2:57 PM
Jason Shandler

Old Timer: Pletcher won 3 BC races this year in case you failed to notice. He is now tied for fourth on all-time BC wins by a trainer. Yeah, he's a loser. Just nonsense.

El: Thanks. It's comments like yours that reaffirms for me that I am speaking the truth. I

10 Nov 2010 3:01 PM


Blame won 3 G1s and 1 G3 just thought i clear that typo up for you. lol

10 Nov 2010 3:02 PM


you got another article coming up besides HOTY?? just wondering

10 Nov 2010 3:03 PM
Jason Shandler

That's what she wrote Thomas. Im going to write another blog on Friday

10 Nov 2010 3:04 PM
Harry Reason

<b>People, time to wake up:</b>

"Emotion" has exactly no place in the debate over Horse of the Year.

<b>The ultimate question is: "who accomplished the most on the track during the specific year?"</b>

As the B.C. Classic was a race which flattered all closers when the pace fell apart, nit-picking the end result of that affair doesn't even make sense.

<b>Goldikova lists 4 Gr. I wins vs. males in 2010, she set a track record, and she remains undefeated in the U.S. after still another dominant performance on B.C. day.

Nothing says that an Eclipse Award winner need ever have set foot in the U.S. to qualify for an Eclipse Award(see Singspiel).

There just isn't a valid argument against Goldikova being named Horse of the Year.</b>

10 Nov 2010 3:08 PM


Right on about people jumping on Blame's bandwagon after knocking him in the Foster (slow time) and Whitney (weight break).  It was even worse after his JCGC loss.  It just goes to show that there are lost of Chameleons out there.  Some of them waited so long to jump on Blame's bandwagon they still weren't sure whether they would or not until after the photo sign came down.  Lots of "I told you so's".

10 Nov 2010 3:17 PM
Harry Reason


I dare you to compile the same data for GOLDIKOVA:

Let me give you a start:

She beat 48 foes in 5 Gr. I wins out of 6 Gr. I chances...

10 Nov 2010 3:19 PM


When I scroll thru the comments, (reading the first few lines and moving on because I know what's coming) yours are among the very few that I read all the way through because you always make sense even when I disagree with you. (which is not often)

Your post of 10 Nov 12:51pm described exactly the way I felt before and after the race. I'm enough of a realist to know that she was up against it. Her winning the race would have made me happier but not prouder.

Rachel - Maybe there is something wrong with me, but when I hear or read Secretariat's name, Onion never comes to mind. What I think of is Secretariat's incredible presence, his beauty, his winning of the Triple Crown, especially his mind-blowing victory at Belmont. Onion? Nah, he's the farthest thing from my mind. Same goes for Upset and Dark Star. Only when reminded of who they beat do I think of them.

This is not a knock on Blame, hopefully he will be remembered for his grit, talent and heart, because he is a much better race horse than the other three upsetters put together.

10 Nov 2010 3:23 PM


What's you point.  You research is already in question.  You made a mistake on line three.

10 Nov 2010 3:23 PM
Jason Shandler

Laz: Her point is very clear. The stats speak for themselves. You just choose to ignore them. And when you take into consideration that Blame defeated Zenyata in their only meeting, there really isnt much debate. Sorry.

And there is no mistake. Nancy said he won 3 G1s out of 4. You just read it incorrectly.

10 Nov 2010 3:33 PM

Considering the race that Zenyatta had to run on Saturday & the "perfect trip" that Gomez was able to give Blame, Zenyatta wins Horse Of The Year based on her performance in the Classic, despite the few inches she lacked.

No Disrespect to Blame (LOVE him!) or Garrett's impeccable ride.

Blame? Outstanding colt & much improved over last year! Best Older Male by lengths!

C'mon. Seriously. Can anyone really be blind to who was the best in that race? If Blame gets HOTY THIS East Coast Gal will not be able to hide her disappointment. But I won't be surprised.


10 Nov 2010 3:42 PM
Jason Shandler

Who was best racingheart? My bank account says Blame. What does yours says?

In the end, all we can go by is who actually won the race. Not who had the best trip, who closed the best, who had dirt kicked in their face, who would have won if the race was 10 feet more, who the fans wanted to win, who brought ratings up the most, who Shirreffs said should win, who Oprah wanted to win, who will remembered the most 20 years from now, blah, blah, blah.

Horse of the Year is about who was the best on the racetrack that year. It's very, very simple. Blame faced better competition, won head-to-head, face open company, won the more prestigious races, etc. C'mon seriously, why are we even having this conversation?

10 Nov 2010 3:56 PM

He didn't win a G2 Jason.  Sorry if I'm trying to be Graded race correct.

10 Nov 2010 3:57 PM

Thanks for doing tha research Nancy. Wow, I think that pretty much sums things up. Just another strong case for the clear winner of this award.

But, be careful, you are presenting fact, not fantasy. For some, that is unbearable to consider.

jshandler 10 Nov 2010 2:41 PM

Careful Jason your emotion against Zenyatta is showing through.

10 Nov 2010 3:58 PM

Harry Reason: if I voted, I would have no problem voting for Goldikova for Horse of the Year.  I thought her race and year was amazing.  And I don't think there is even a valid argument that she is not the best horse in the world.  I also think that if you were ranking all-time great horses worldwide and historically, Goldikova would be ranked well ahead of Zenyatta based on her achievements.

10 Nov 2010 3:59 PM
Ian Tapp
10 Nov 2010 4:01 PM
Bill Daly

Jason, please put a fork in this one.  It's done.  Eagerly await your next blog!

10 Nov 2010 4:05 PM
Joey Chitlin, Pittsburgh, PA

C'mon seriously, why are we even having this conversation?

jshandler 10 Nov 2010 3:56 PM

Maybe because you wrote the blog and people have their own opinions?

10 Nov 2010 4:06 PM

Okay, I've had it with the constant put downs of Rachel Alexandra and her HOY award.  I have no problem with Z winning this year or the last two years.  I thought she would get HOY in 2008 but didn't and I thought she would beat out RA in 2009 because she won the classic and everyone was so high on that win.  Yes, it was fantastic and she is the only female to have won the BCC.  She is a great horse, no question.

I do not understand the constant put downs of Rachel Alexandra and how she didn't deserve the award.

8 races, 8 wins.  3 against males beating the KY winner, 2 Belmont winners and Big Drama who couldn't keep up with her in the Preakness and I do believe he won a BC race convincingly last Saturday.  She trounced the 3 year old male eclipse winner.  She broke the Mother Goose Stakes record for time and number of lengths set by Ruffian.  She was 1/5 of a second off of Secretariat's Track record while being EASSED.  Everyone says who did she beat?  Well, who did Zenyatta beat leading up to the BCC last year?  Did she beat any grade 1 winners this year?  That fact of the matter is, those horses had no control over who they raced but they showed up everytime and prevailed.  Why is it less of an achievement for Rachel than it is for Zenyatta?

There is one poster on these blogs who is the biggest MTB fan ever who hates Rachel's guts because she beat him in the Preakness and he too puts down her HOY award.  THis horse was tired when she ran the Woodward.  Tbere were grade 1 males in that race and you put them all down but remember one thing, they were OLDER.  She was a 3 year old filly running against older males and she won that race by a head on pure guts and determination.  How dare you trivialize what she did?  She worked so hard in that Woodward she never came back to what she was.  And for those who think she was fine after that race, she had to be off for six months and lost a tremendous amount of weight and yet you say she should have shown up for the BC, what she did wasn't enough.  Z had 4 races before the BCC all against females in 2009.  Rachel had 8 races, 3 against males in 2009 at the same time of year.  I realize how you love Zenyatta and I completely understand it.  She is a horse for the ages and I do hope she gets HOY but I do not understand anyone who can be so hateful and nasty about the greatest 3 year old filly ever.  It's as if your souls are rotted and tainted with hatred for an innocent animal who gave her all to the point of exhaustion.

How can you be so horrid?  I know that not all Z fans are hateful, most are wonderful people but the ones who take great joy in being malicious about Rachel really need to look at themselves.  Let's put things in perspective.  Saying such hateful things about Rachel does not make Zenyatta look better, it only makes her fans look bad.  Shame on you!

10 Nov 2010 4:09 PM


You're right, Nancy's "research" does sum it up. Zenyatta had 5 grade 1 victories while Blame had 3. Another words, she won MORE races! Let me say that again, so pay attention. SHE WON MORE RACES IN 2010! I will repeat that later too so you get it. In fact, you should write that down. I had to point that out because obviously you still have trouble with basic mathematics. And who cares that Blame beat 5 more horses than Zenyatta? I guess that makes the difference? And who cares what the horses that Blame beat did after their race? How does that matter? Every race is different. Maybe those horses were the favorites in a weak field? That "research" doesn't prove anything! But I realize that any argument that doesn't align with your own opinion is simply unacceptable. It's ironic that you say we should take the emotion out of HOTY when your very own emotion gets in your way of writing anything credible. You imply that the Zenyatta fans live in a fantasy world and are incapable to accept the "facts" but you refuse to see them for yourself. You say HOTY is about who DID MORE IN 2010. I agree! And while she lost the head-to-head (barely, and on Blame's home track) she WON MORE RACES IN 2010! PERIOD!

Did you write that down? I'm afraid you will forget! Clueless!  

10 Nov 2010 4:11 PM

Just to offer some contradiction to your 3 points:

1)  "Blame defeated Zenyatta head-to-head"

AND Haynesfield defeated Blame head-to-head in a G1 race.

HOY candidates only have to race in one North American race, and as pointed out by RA's 2009 campaign, that doesn't have  include the BC Classic. Zenyatta won 5 G1 races and had only 1 loss. Blame's record doesn't equal Zenyatta's.

And a side note, since you brought up RA's 2009 Award, "What she did had never been done by a 3-year-old filly." Zenyatta winning the BC Classic over males (many in that race were the same or considered better competitors than those faced by RA)had never been done by a female before either.

2) "Zenyatta did not do enough this year."

How does racing in 6 G1 races not meet the HOY requirement of racing in one North American race?

Oh, I get it - because YOU  set the standards for Zenyatta, and those standards include her "racing on the east coast" or "racing against males in California." And for Freddy Head to agree with you.

3) "Blame did more."

Zenyatta raced at 5 different tracks in 3 different states and technically traveled more miles than Blame. Again, seems like your standards for Zenyatta are higher than for other horses. Instead of insinuating that Zenyatta was ducking "good" horses by not coming east, maybe you should give more weight to Blame's loss to Haynesfield, who also finished well behind Zenyatta in the Classic. Or require your HOY to compete on the west coast.

You stated the following:

"Let me say this again clearly: Horse of the Year isnt about who will be remembered 20 years from now or how many fans that horse brought into racing. It's about which horse ran the best in that given 12 months. Very simple. Leave the rest of the stuff out of it and you will see which horse deserves it."

What I see is that Zenyatta has a better record and ran a better race in defeat than Blame did.

10 Nov 2010 4:15 PM
Jason Shandler

Travis: I didnt see what you wrote, can you say it again?

Not that it matters because the argument you make is very flawed, but weren't you in favor of Zenyatta winning HOY last year too? But RA WON MORE RACES. lol. Next.

10 Nov 2010 4:15 PM

Very nice post Nancy.  Fact are facts and Blame simply did more then Zenyatta and faced much tougher competition.  Maybe they can give Zenyatta California Horse of the Year?  19 and 1 is good but it's not perfect like Personal Ensign.

10 Nov 2010 4:16 PM
Gary Tasich

Jay & Dray seem to be in the minority and your arguments are one dimensional....too bad so sad.

10 Nov 2010 4:23 PM


Good point about Goldikova, but do you honestly think she is the best horse in the world.  IMO the honor of being called the best in the world should be based on the ability to run classic distances.  That is one of the reasons that purse money is greater for longer distances in the Breeders Cup races.  They are the true test of stamina.  Though Goldi is the world's best Miler, she is only one for three beyond that distance.  Why no Arc and other 10F and 12F starts?

10 Nov 2010 4:30 PM

I just give up!  It's to %#$& many posts to try to catch up on.  I cant leave the computer for a few hours or a day, if I do , I cant catch up.  

Where is Ted from LA? I wonder if he is having the same trouble.

ON a sympathy note, I wish to extend my condolences to 'Billy's Empire' for his emotional loss, I just read that 'Mine That Bird' has been retired.     I know Billy is taking it terribly.  I know he is bedridden with grief.

10 Nov 2010 4:31 PM

By the Jason,  I havent heard you say anything about Zenyatta's beautful performance in the BCC.

Tell me,  Did she impress you?  Did you have a different outcome of her after the race as to before the race?   What gives.....

10 Nov 2010 4:34 PM


There are a handful of Great Horses. To enclude every Horse that ever won a big race or got very good for a period of time into that group is just wrong.  

I wasn't questioning you, just pointing out your opinions are without merit.

Nice Handle, 2 for 24 in Breeders Cup Races.

10 Nov 2010 4:41 PM

Here is an idea, introduce a new award at the Eclipse Awards and call it the People's Choice Award. This award would go to a fan elected horse, not just for performance but to a horse that captured the hearts of racing fans. Examples of horses that should receive this award are Barbaro, Lost In The Fog, Big Brown, and of course Zenyatta. Horses like these need to be recognized for their accomplishents beyond the racetrack, especially horses that bring more people into the sport. This award would also alow racing fans to actively participate in the sport by voting. The truth is that in the Breeders Cup Classic two horses ran their hearts out. We need to celebrate them both, one for outstanding performance on the racetrack, one for capturing the hearts of millions, and both for giving their all in the race of a lifetime. Please discuss this idea, I would like to hear other people's thoughts about it. I am also in the process of contacting industry leaders about this idea. Tell me what you think.

10 Nov 2010 4:46 PM
Gary Tasich

If we were talking any other horse but Zenyatta...then the Jason arguments hold. But we're not and all the stat stuff is superfluous. She wacked 'em all but Blame and had him measured but for Quality Road. Simply put...Zenyatta is by far a superior horse and her accomplishments exceed Blames.

We are talking better horse here aren't we Jason? Your argument falls apart when you try to justify your selection based on this one race. Obvious choice...Zenyatta.

10 Nov 2010 4:51 PM
Jason Shandler

Gary: How does my argument fall apart? Blame won the race. All we can go by is outcome, not what you think would happen in another race or if horse X had a better trip than horse Y. Like Pletcher said, you have to settle it on the track. You cant say my arguments hold up BUT its Zenyatta so we should make an exception. Dont you see how biased that is? Its not fair to the Hancocks. They have 100 years in this sport. Zenyatta will be gone in 2011. Claiborne will still be there, as it has been for a century. Be fair.

10 Nov 2010 4:56 PM


Maybe you should go back and read my original post. Do a control+F and search my name. Re-read my blog. I was very much in favor of Rachel winning HOTY in 2009. In fact, this is what I said:

"You're right about last year. What Rachel did was deserving of the HOY because what she did no other 3 year old filly will ever do again. But what she did was beat the boys 3 times in GR 1 races and win 8 GR1's total. So of course she deserved it, she won more GR1 races."

Please tell me which part of that blog entry implies I was in favor of Zenyatta for 2009 HOTY?  

Seriously, go back and read what I wrote. I was 100% in favor of Rachel winning HOTY and felt Zenyatta wasn't even close in that debate based on 2009 campaign.

And where is my argument flawed? I like how you backed that up with solid evidence of my mistake.

10 Nov 2010 5:00 PM

Herein lays the problem. There is NO clear criteria for what exactly constitutes HOY Honors.These debates are useless and should not be taking place. Emotions, tangibles, intangibles ect ect should not be debated. Invariably no matter which way it goes there will always be hurt feelings and injustices felt on either side. A Mile race is 1 mile. Not a mile and a little bit. A mile and a quarter is in fact 1 1/4 mile. Not a mile and a quarter and a little bit. A Grade 1 race is a grade 1 race. Not a Grade 1 and a little bit. We do not have a plus or minus added to graded stakes races. We can not change what is just for convenience to help an argument either way.It is what it is.

We need, and there should be a point system in place. There should be no voting because then the above plays and has a huge political weight. Politics do not, and should not ever come into play in horse racing.That is why races are run in the first place.

In HOY Honors, and divisional honors only Grade 1 races should come into consideration and play. There also needs to be a point spread from first to second to third to keep it honest and the honest to goodness best horse wins HOY.Not one that bangs out multiple seconds and thirds against one who actually wins the most. 9 points for first in a grade 1 race. 6 points for second in a grade 1 race and 3 points for third in a grade 1 race. Then we have the BCC which according to most should weigh heavier but history shows us it is not the be all end all deciding factor nor should it be. Yet, we do want it to weigh the heaviest. Therefor, the BCC should be 15 points for first, 10 for second and 5 for third. No emotions, no politics and no shoulda woulda coulda's. Highest point earner wins. PERIOD!!

Under THAT point system, do the math. There is our HOY. End of discussion.

10 Nov 2010 5:11 PM
Bet Twice


"Horse of the Year is about who was the best on the racetrack that year. It's very, very simple. Blame faced better competition, won head-to-head, face open company, won the more prestigious races, etc. C'mon seriously, why are we even having this conversation?"

We are having it because you like blogs where you get 600+ comments.  

Since we are being chastised for a lack of objectivity, one might ponder whether turf writers, who are paid by magazines who are supported by advertising (check the home page for who does the most advertising - stud farms and gambling sites/info) are the most neutral.  But that's a whole other story...

10 Nov 2010 5:11 PM

jshandler wrote "Its not fair to the Hancocks. They have 100 years in this sport. Zenyatta will be gone in 2011. Claiborne will still be there, as it has been for a century. Be fair".

So now we have it. The REAL reason behind your stance. It's a political move. A political vote!

10 Nov 2010 5:18 PM
love to h-cap

well i am going to put my measly two cents in since this blog is obviously a "hit" by stirring up controversy and debate, which I am sure you are enjoying the ride like everyone in the media using a horse like zenyatta and not giving her the respect and honor, but merely exploiting her for their own means...

zenyatta, on and off the track is one of the most amazing creatures to stand on four legs. Blame is a great horse and no one can knock off Claiborne, but blame got the luck of the draw and just won from a horse that was 20 lengths behind in traffic and unfortunate ride for jockey m.smith- whom is to blame for placing in the classic- not the horse.

seems like nothing that zenyatta did will satisfy critics...

if zenyatta does not win hoy this year, despite tearing up what has to be the most toughest competition in bc (especially tough to handicap!,)I blame the east coast/atlantic bias and industry pencil pushers to let go of an extraordinary opportunity to save and help raise (as a legitimate sport, to name one example)thoroughbred horse racing in the united states of america, and especially recognizing one of the greatest horses ever. "They" are sinking slowly and slowly and will sleep in their own beds.


10 Nov 2010 5:27 PM

What does the longevity of Claiborne or the Hancocks have to do with HOY?  HOY should not be influenced by who the connections are, should it?  I have no problem with Blame getting it because he won the BCC.  But when you start to bring Claiborne and the Hancocks into it, then it starts to become political.  Connections should have nothing to do with HOY.  But maybe this just proved that the award is political.  In the end, just as I said, it's just an award.  More valuable to a stallion than a broodmare.  More valuable to a stud farm.  That's the reality.  I'll be happy for Blame and Claiborne.  But to vote because it is Claiborne is wrong.  

10 Nov 2010 5:41 PM
Carlos in Cali


I hope you know those kind of stats had no bearing on the HOY votes last year.

If you have the time,can you post that same type of research regarding last yr's. HOY finalists RA & Zenyatta.I can't wait for the results... thanks in advance.(insert sarcasm laughter)

10 Nov 2010 5:45 PM

But RA WON MORE RACES. lol. Next.

Re:  Same goes for zenyatta this year.  A grade 1 race is a grade 1 race.  Zenyatta has one more than Blame. Even with her loss, she still has one more grade 1 than he.

Quit taking it out on Zenyatta because she didnt travel much. she left her home state two times. Thats good enough.   And she not only raced males, she raced the whole damn bunch of 'TOP' males we had this year. She done better than any other horse or filly did.  At least her owners brave enough to run her in the Classic with these boys.  And she didnt back down, she gave us all a damn proud deserving race.   She beats out all those boys she went up against.  Especially QR. and the rest.

10 Nov 2010 5:45 PM

Why would how long owners have contributed to the sport have any place in the discussion?

Why would the fact that one horse will be gone and a farm will still be around be even brought up?

If those two arguments don't show partiality I don't know what does.

10 Nov 2010 5:52 PM
Gary Tasich

Jason...Now you're showing your east coast bias rooted in the emotional argument of the Hancock's being around for a hundred years. On that basis, Zenyatta should have won last year. She won the Classic. I'm simply saying Zenyatta is a better horse. She transcends the sport. If we were giving an award to the Hancocks, you win the argument. You're right, Blame won the race and you have bank, but that doesn't necessarily make him HOY. He is best older male. Zenyatta is best older female. Taking what Zenyatta has delivered to the sport compared to that of Blame, I'd have to vote for her. If you want to give the Hancock's breeder of the year, I'm with you. I think Shireff's got robbed last year and hope he gets trainer this year. But as far as Zenyatta and Blame, we'll have to agree to disagree.

10 Nov 2010 6:02 PM
Jill Baffert

So, if Zenyatta gets squeezed out of the gate, falls 20 lengths back, is one a very few horses that day to make up ground on a deep, exhausting racetrack, swings wide (thereby running a substantial distance further than the eventual winner), runs the last quarter in 23 4/5 and WINS by a nose she can then be proclaimed Horse of the Year?  How on earth can the difference of a few inches be the basis for denying Zenyatta this honor?  If she had won by three inches would that make her the clear choice and Blame clearly the runner up?  Apparently, Mr. Shandler, you don't watch Zenyatta's races closely.  Virtually every competitor she's run down has only been beaten by a small margin.  She appears to only do as much as she needs to win the race.  It looked as if there was no way she was going to win this time, but she still managed to find a way to almost get it done.  Seems to me, you are the one injecting emotion into the equation as your picks before the race show Blame to win and Zenyatta to run fourth. If Zenyatta doesn't win HOTY, the real slap in the face will be to her thousands, probably millions, of fans who have followed her career for the last three years. Can you imagine sending the greatest horse of our lifetime to retirement never having received her just desserts?  What a mind-blowing miscarriage of justice that would be!  Since you appear to be hellbent on quantifying the honor, figure out how much further Zenyatta travelled than Blame, subtract the margin of victory and see how far Zenyatta ends up in front of Blame.  Also, what's with the arrogance of telling the rest of us (the brilliant) Rachel Alexandra locked up the HOTY before last year's BC Classic?  To be clear.. last year a win in the Classic meant nothing.. this year it means everything.  Huh? That cagey crew aka the East Coast bias may have already ceded the race, but the rest of us dimwits thought the race for HOTY was still on.  I remember that debate very clearly and, at least in my experience, veteran jockeys, trainers, owners and gamblers were still unsure of who should get the nod even after the BC.  Props to you, though, for being both acturial and objective enough to know the outcome in advance of horses even loading in the gate for the Breeder's Cup.  This tired debate over Zenyatta's place in history is further confirmation that year end honors need a more equitable system in place.  A point system seems logical.  That way the results are based in fact and not corrupted by individual prejudice or opinion.  

10 Nov 2010 6:11 PM
Gary Tasich

Jason...Sometimes the referees blow a call, yet they make it up to be fair to the team they penalized incorrectly. Doesn't seem right but it's the right thing to do. Sometimes you may win the battle,yet lose the war. For all the right reasons, Zenyatta is a total package and should be recognized. Bad example to quote Pletcher, his horse is the horse that cost Zenyatta the race. He's also part of the east coast bias that I think was unfair in their judgement of Zenyatta last year.

10 Nov 2010 6:13 PM
Zen's Auntie

Just to show you can find numbers to support about any argument - and these are respected published #'s based on a formula they came up with in advance - not just my harebrained ranting - Here are the current rankings from the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance.

I did not make this up they know more than I do right??

1st Blind Luck with 850 then Zenyatta 750 and then Evening Jewel 640 then Proviso 590 then Blame 585. Followed by Unrivaled Bell 558 and DAKOTA PHONE 536! Followed by Paddy O Prado 520 and Looking at Lucky 505 then Dubai Majesty 495 and Switch 485.  Then QR is listed as 455 tied with Big Drama.

See what happens when you make the rules based on a formula (that they claim is pretty accurate for 7 years)  before you play which is the norm of course, sometimes you are surprised by the outcome.

Go check it out (the link is in the "tragic" TBA blog) if you think Im nuts these people have a very well explained system and it makes sense.  

10 Nov 2010 6:17 PM
Betty Mac


Zenjatta did not loose, she just did not get there in time.  I bet there beyer speed figure wll be the same. Enough politics give HOY to the Queen.

10 Nov 2010 6:21 PM
Zen's Auntie

Oh Bet Twice that was Low - LOL - even lifting the skirt of Advertising driven "journalism" is Tabooooo. Naughty you

10 Nov 2010 6:23 PM


I think your points were uniquely interesting and pointed.

Thank you.

10 Nov 2010 6:25 PM
Bet Twice

I hate it when you prove me wrong.

Great blog (as always).

Bring on Uncle Mo.

10 Nov 2010 6:40 PM
Bob Fritz

News flash, people--horse racing is in trouble and has been for quite some time. Zenyatta was the superstar that the sport needed so badly, and she lived up to that billing. I'd have to go all the way back to Secretariat to find a horse that captured the public's imagination like this. If she hadn't been forced to steady in traffic on the final turn, she would have won the BC Classic. Blame had a great season, and he's definitely the best older male of the year, but Zenyatta has to be HOY.

10 Nov 2010 6:55 PM

Bet Twice;

I'm glad you enjoy my posts! I've always enjoyed yours too.


10 Nov 2010 6:56 PM


You're entitled to your opinion, but I don't agree with you that the ability to run Classic distances should determine who the best horse in the world is.  Horseracing is a sport of specialists.  Dirt, turf and synthetic. Sprinters and marathoners.  Flats and steeplechasers.  I just don't agree that distance specialists are necessarily the best horses.  It is true that the most important series in American racing, the Triple Crown, is run at Classic distances.  

In this year, Goldikova blew away what many called the toughest BC field on the card.  She showed me she ranks with the greatest turf milers in the history of the sport, male or female.  If there was only one International HOY award, and not one for America, one for Europe, one for Australia, etc, it would be Goldikova, hands down.

As for Zenyatta, I love her, but neither she nor Blame would be ranked with the likes of the all-time great Classic distance horses like Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Citation, Dr. Fager, etc.  In terms of what she's accomplished and the notoriety Zenyatta's brought to the sport, yes she rates with any of those.  In terms of the ability to beat them on the racetrack, no.

She is the single greatest female  at the Classic distance of all time.  That should be enough of a legacy for any horse.

10 Nov 2010 7:01 PM
Mike Relva


Must be great to possess such a high level of racing knowledge,right? FYI being a long standing fan of her's I'm aware of her running style. My point is it's obvious she was having trouble in taking to the track in the beginning and was getting dirt in her face,it's pretty damn obvious. Are you going to tell me the twenty plus lenghts was by design? She still dismantled QR(DRAYNAYS can't miss,bet your house on selection)lol. As for what you won over the weekend,so what!

10 Nov 2010 7:03 PM
The Rock


Instead of posting how you knew Zenyatta wasn't going to win, why don't you focus more on your handicapping. You're last two picks finished dead last in the Ladies Classic & Classic! Better yet, why don't you find a price to give out instead of chalkin' it up with Pletcher trainee's?

I threw out Hamazing Destiny on this blog. What do you have to show for it besides your 2.40 to show on Boy's?

If HOY was voted strictly on Emotion alone, those FOB's would make sure Lentenor & Nicanor would tie for HOY. LOL

10 Nov 2010 7:11 PM

Jason I am sorry but cannot agree with you and this seemingly "good old boy" chauvanistic opinion.  It's draconian.  Blame is a good, tough horse but I believe Zenyatta is a better athlete.  Blame did not come into the BC Classic two years in a row undefeated.  Blame wasn't even around in the male Triple Crown last year.  He is no Curlin, yet they are so quick to slap a HOY title on him because he won the Classic? Zenyatta won the Classic last year but that was not good enough for "THEM."  Even Christina Olivares on TVG said as much.  Why is Street Cry one of the hottest sires now?  One of his offspring is Zenyatta is a main reason along with producing a Derby Winner in Street Sense.  Arch is not on that stratosphere, sorry.  And for Zenyatta to have run on the surface she was not used to in Blame's backyard and to come from behind and make up that much ground to catch his nose, now that was an athletic feat in itself.  Her and Rachel both deserved it last year.  All the articles and writers are saying she ran the race of her life in the Classic and it took nothing away from her, well then I rest my case.  Blame is just another good horse but Zenyatta exudes greatness.  She won more grade I's this year than Blame did.  I never thought the day would come when I could see a "Ruffian" but we have seen her in Zenyatta and in her as well we have also seen a "polytrack specialist" transcend racing.

10 Nov 2010 7:15 PM


I was being sarcastic. Do you really think I would actually write to Equibase to suggest something as ludicrous as that?

You need to address your reply to The Bid. He's the one still in denial....LOL...

C'mon, man!!!!!!

10 Nov 2010 7:17 PM
Jeff Moss

It is absolutely MIND BOGGLING to me that anyone could vote for Zenyatta in good conscience for HOTY.

Compare her career to Goldikova or Zarkava and you will see that she was coddled by her connections for her entire career.

Why did she run in ANY races exclusive to filly and mares this year?  

Because her connections cared more about keeping her "perfect" than challenging her.  

By no doing of her own of course, she became the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. of thoroughbred racing.

If they REALLY CARED about HOTY, the hand-writing was on the wall from last year.

Run in the Foster or the Pacific Classic or the Woodward and you don't leave it up to the voters.

Beat small fields all year against California females and four horse fields at Oaklawn and the voters are going to vote against you when you lose the Classic.

(And considering we all hear how she is 17.2 hands and bigger than most colts, why didn't she run against the boys more??????)

Hell, if I had a vote, I would rank them:

1) Blame

2) Uncle Mo

3) Goldikova

10 Nov 2010 7:19 PM
Mike Relva


I can ALWAYS count on you for a laugh w/ your absurd comments.

10 Nov 2010 7:21 PM


A G1 race vs fillies & mares is a restricted race in which neither colts nor older horses can participate, which is why a just point system would emphasize wins in OPEN G1 races in which fillies & mares, colts and older horses can participate. Under such system, Blame's 3 G1's in open company would still outpoint Zenyatta's wins in restricted G1's. The fact is both Looking at Lucky and her lost the only unrestricted G1 race they were in, while Blame won 3 of them. That's why he will be voted HOTY.

If Zen's connections wanted HOTY so badly, the Hollywood Gold Cup, The Pacific Classic & The Goodwood were all unrestricted G1 races in California she could have easily won, but the fact is they chose to take the easy route, and the sad thing is, they had already lost not one, but two HOTY awards because of that.

Do you know how many times Goldikova has faced males in open company? 12 TIMES....No one is accusing her connections of taking the easy route....

If you'd like to blame the guilty culprits...You have The Mosses & Shirreffs...Point the finger at them...

10 Nov 2010 7:29 PM
Jason Shandler

The Hancocks comment was written tongue-and-cheek because so many on here said she should win HOY because "she's done so much for the sport." My point was, if that is the basis for the award, I think the Hancock's horse would win in a landslide. Trust me, Im not political, especially not when it comes to horses. That one of the reasons I dropped out of the NTWA.

10 Nov 2010 7:41 PM

Blame now joins the most forgettable list of horses that ever won the BC Classic...

Arcangues, Cat Thief, Volponi and now Blame.

Arcangues, Cat Thief, Volponi, Blame

Arcangues, Cat Thief, Volponi, Blame

All together now...

Arcangues, Cat Thief, Volponi, Blame

10 Nov 2010 7:47 PM
Jason Shandler

I wont forget him John. Nor will my bank account. Your $2 souvenir ticket might be forgtotten however.

10 Nov 2010 7:53 PM

Paula: Please don't put words in my mouth.  I didn't mention in either of my posts who I was cheering for in the race, nor did I say anything against Zenyatta.   My problem was with some of the logic people are using against Blame.  

Anyways this has gotten way out of hand.  Thank you Jason for a well written and logical article and as tommorow is Remembrance Day in Canada I was also like to say lest we forget.  That is much more important then who will be HOY.

10 Nov 2010 7:53 PM
Bet Twice

The Rock,

You have to give Draynay credit.  What are the odds of picking the last place horse in both those races?  If you told me Quality Road and Life at Ten would finish dead last (assuming I didn't know they were his picks), I would have laughed at you.  Its a little like a super power.  He uses it for evil, but its awe inspiring just the same.

10 Nov 2010 7:54 PM


No, I don't trust you.

And how do you know that the Hancock's comments weren't tongue and check. How do you know it wasn't a cheap two-bit carney bark or a used car salesman pitch to persuade the voters to vote for their horse as HOY and thereby grubbing as much stud fees for Blame as possible?

And a landslide?  Now you're giving yourself away on the political angle.

Come on, Jason.  You can do better than that.  

10 Nov 2010 7:59 PM
Bet Twice

Zen's Auntie,

I really didn't think Jason would post it.  He proved me wrong though and I'm eating my hat as we speak.  

I wish I didn't like his blogs so much.  It's like a bad habit.  Weirdly addicting and totally exasperating.  

10 Nov 2010 8:00 PM
Jason Shandler

John: I meant my comment regarding the Hancocks was tongue-and-cheek, not theirs. I thought that was pretty clear. I gave my reasons why I think Blame is the better candidate. Sorry that you disagree. Blame earned it fair and square. You should try to respect him instead of all of this nonsense about how he will be forgotten.

10 Nov 2010 8:02 PM


I know you made money with Blame.  Enjoy it.  I also know you made money with others on this site. I won't begrude you on that front since I didn't take your bait.

Again, congratulations to you and Blame.

But, dude, show a little respect to perhaps the greatest female racehorse in American history and one the greatest racehorses of all time.

Even the most critical of Zenyatta's critics are doing even that.

10 Nov 2010 8:05 PM

Ms Baffert,

The message I wrote to Kelley has the answer to your point system suggestion.

I would love to have a point system in place that would force owners & trainers who are SERIOUS about winning the award, to run in OPEN G1 races, so we could have a HOTY decided on the track, because the main candidates for the award would have met more than ONCE a year, so that we can eliminate ONCE and FOR ALL the travesty of taking the softest route possible all year.

Blame could not run in any of the races Zenyatta won before the BCC. Zenyatta could have run in ANY or ALL the races Blame won. They only met ONCE because that is what her connections chose to do; Zenyatta had 2000 mts to pass him, and she could not, regardless of the reason, and he was one of the strongest contenders for the award; so yes, the award was decided head to head on the track.

Please stop pointing the finger at the writers & the media for what's happened to the great champ and the HOTY award. The Mosses were never SERIOUS about winning it, because they cared more about her undefeated record. They are the only ones responsible for this TRAVESTY.

10 Nov 2010 8:09 PM

I thought turf writers were supposed to be experts. Heck, anyone can look at the final order of finish and say the winner was the best horse. Fact is, Zenyatta was the best horse and I would expect turf writers to be able to recognize that based on their assessment of how the horse ran, not just simply looking at the numbers like a drone. It shouldn't be that simple, if it is, the vote should be left to the public. Do the voters vote who the best jockey was by simply looking at who's at the top of the list? No! Put a little more thought into it slackers!

10 Nov 2010 8:10 PM


I'm not denying Goldkova's greatness, but maybe the Europeans are.  How come they don’t have her ranked first?  

People want it different ways.  What would it be……best at what you do, or the best overall?  I’ll take a classic distance type over a one dimensional type anytime.  That’s why the Arc is at 12F, the Triple Crown races are all routes, the Dubai World Cup’s top race is at 10F on dirt and I believe 12F on turf and in the Breeders Cup, the crown jewel race, the BCC, is at 10F and the Turf is 12F.  A true test must not only be speed, but stamina as well.  If they want Goldi to be recognized as the world’s best then bring her back in the BC Turf at 12F because right now to me a mile specialist is no different than a synthetic specialist.  There are too many questions to be answered.

10 Nov 2010 8:11 PM


I know where you're coming from, but you can't call Blame forgettable.  All things aside, he is leaps and bounds the best male horse racing this year, has never missed the board and has proven his class and ability.  I know I won't forget about him and not becaue of Zenyatta.  I just hope he is a successful sire because he just might help to put some stamina back in the game.  That's if he doesn't get sold to overseas interests like a lot of other horses have been.

10 Nov 2010 8:18 PM

Bet Twice,

that is a super power indeed. Draynay should start a reverse tout service, as his record is long and distinguished. on a serious note Dray, why haven't you hired a friend to bet for you, throwing out you opinions? 60/40 split your way, he or she pays any taxes incurred (because you'd be bankrolling). you'll certainly cash more often. I'm being dead serious.

10 Nov 2010 8:19 PM

Zenyatta was very popular but I do believe Smarty Jones, Barbaro and Funny Cide attracted a lot of new fans to the sport as well. Some people seem to have short memories here.

Blame will always be remembered as the horse who beat Zenyatta, just as Upset is remembered as the horse who beat Man o'War, Dark Star as the only horse to beat Native Dancer. That is not a bad place to occupy in history.

There is no doubt Zenyatta is a great horse. But because of her cautious campaigns, it is really hard to place her properly in the pantheon of racing greats, IMHO. I think she was up to much greater challenges, but I believe the Mosses got too enamored of the winning streak. She may have lost another race or two facing colts more than twice, but it certainly would not have reduced her stature; in fact, I would argue, it would have enhanced it.

10 Nov 2010 8:19 PM

Blame will probably get it and deserves it; and Zenyatta needed another race against colts to build a better case this year.

But the compromise winner could also be Uncle Mo, so dominant in his three race career (limited campaigns are all the rage these days)

Or Goldikova for the sum body of her work in three U S starts over three seasons.

All very good horses.  Though considering that Arch raced 7 times and Blame 12 times, modern race horses are not around long enough to build fan support for racing as Zenyatta did by coming back another season.

By the way I feel bad Mike Smith takes the blame. Zen's running style was going to cost her a win here and there had she been managed less tightly. All the great ones have lost a race here and there - but did not lose their aura of greatness.

10 Nov 2010 8:23 PM
MK Allen

I could not agree more with this article. I feel that the entirety of Blame's 2010 campaign is tougher and grittier than Zenyatta's 2010 campaign, where she ran in the same old races on the same old tracks against fields she's blown away time and time again. Blame, however, didn't wait for the challenges to come to him. He went looking for them.

Also, why isn't anyone so excited over Goldikova? That makes three BC Mile wins in a row for her, against males, and she's going for a fourth next year. She's an international sensation who has proven herself worthy of more (in my opinion) than Zenyatta and any other American horse this year.

10 Nov 2010 8:27 PM

Delmarken - I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you were trying to be funny and really know what the handle 2:24 means.

As to your ridiculous comment, if you don't think that Forego, Cigar and Whirlaway are amongst the all time greats, I can't help you.  Hey, Kelso also lost 3 of his first 6, I guess he's not an all-time great.

Since you are so certain there are only a handful of all time greats, let me give you two handfuls of all time greats that are considered greater than Zenyatta - Secretariat, Man O War, Citation, Count Fleet, Dr. Fager, Kelso, Forego, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Native Dancer, and Spectacular Bid.  If you want to throw in some foreign horses, how about Sea Bird, Brigadier General, Ribot, Mill Reef, and Phar Lap just to name one handful.

10 Nov 2010 8:28 PM
Zen's Auntie

Bet Twice,

Oh here take my ketchup, it helps.  

I learned a lot selling "space" years ago.

Jason’s Blogs are especially addictive aren't they? Who wants dry and polite when you can have juicy and contentious?  

Wave if you need the Heimlich

I like the way GO MO rolls off the tongue myself

10 Nov 2010 8:39 PM
cat thief

After comparing a list of HOY winners with a list of Breeder's Cup Classic winners and my memories of triple crown near misses back to '88, I believe HOY doesn't necessarily go to the Classic winner.  2001 HOY Point Given: Did he face older horses?  1999 HOY Charismatic: Was he even the best 3 yr old (Derby, Preakness, lost Belmont to Lemon Drop Kid who also won the Travers and was 6th in the 99 Classic)?  2003 HOY Mineshaft had a heck of a summer, but was injured and Pleasantly Perfect beat Medaglia d'Oro in the Classic.  2002 HOY Azeri, a filly, had a fantastic year and had to have one to even be considered for the award. The last female to win HOY had been Lady's Secret in '86. There were many good older males that year, but none were dominate enough to deny her. I don't remember her facing males that year, I believe her connections waited untill she was past her prime in 2004's Classic where she finished a respectable fifth to Ghostzapper.

1998's HOY Skip Away failed in that year's Classic to undefeated-that-year Awesome Again (6-0 in '98 including the Whitney and Hawthorne Gold Cup). Many feel this was a make-up vote for 1997's HOY award being given to the 2yr old Favorite Trick.

I've said it before, 2003 was Mineshaft's year...1998 was the summer of Skippy...1994 was Holy Bull's year (Concern won the Classic)...2010 was the summer of Zenyatta.

10 Nov 2010 8:54 PM


Blame beat who? Oh yeah Zenyatta once when she had a tough run...And he won what? Kentucky Derby? Preakness? Belmont? Etc... Let him run next year and make his point. A great horse beat once? Not too late for a match race...

10 Nov 2010 9:02 PM

Blame can get his HOY.

Lucky is 3Yr. Old Champion.

Zenyatta?  Tom Amoss of TVG said it

best:   "Horse Of The Decade."

10 Nov 2010 9:05 PM

jshandler wrote:

"Who was best racingheart? My bank account says Blame. What does yours says?" Later on you also said to John, "I wont forget him John. Nor will my bank account. Your $2 souvenir ticket might be forgtotten however."

Jason, please tell me you aren't trying to convince people that you are a good handicapper by choosing post times second favorite betting interest? LOL Seriously, I had $50 on the nose of Blame and was happy to collect the $310 for that win bet and also happy that my $24 .50 cent pick-4 that paid me just under $4,000. ($3,898.05 to be exact). And not to mention earlier in the card I played $2 across the board on Dakota Phone in the Dirt Mile which paid nicely and a sweet little Trifecta in race 8 keying on Goldi that paid $250. Suffice it to say I had one heck of a ROI but you wanna know something interesting? Even though I had $50 on Blame to win and knew the will-pay for my pick 4 would be dramatically higher if he won than it would have with Zenyatta, I was still screaming my head off for her to win the race!!! What's my point? My point is that even though I bet for value I still recognize greatness when I see it. Make no mistake, Zenyatta will be remembered for the great mare that she is, arguably one of the greatest thoroughbreds to ever step on a racetrack! The reality is that Blame beating Zenyatta is no different than when Upset beat Man O'War or when Onion beat Secretariat. One victory over those horses meant absolutely NOTHING! Ask most people who are not in the business if they know who Onion was or if they ever heard of a horse named Upset. Surely 98% of them will have no idea. But ask them who Man O'War is or Secretariat and they will surely tell you two of the greatest thoroughbreds EVER! Same thing applies to Zenyatta. In 20 years from now people will remember Zenyatta, they will most likely not remember Blame!    

10 Nov 2010 9:14 PM
Paula Higgins

Jill Baffert, very well said.

Melissa, my reading comprehension is just fine thank you. I know EXACTLY what you meant.

In any other year, Blame would be a very deserving winner. No argument. He is a wonderful horse. But not this year. The vast majority of people know it should go to Zenyatta. Whether the voters do the right thing or not remains to be seen. I understand the case for Blame and Claiborne. I get that it is important financially for Claiborne. Personally, I think whether Blame gets it or not, this little guy will bring them a chunk of change in stud fees. It's just not a good enough reason.

Last year, when it came down to Rachel or Zenyatta I totally agreed that one way or another Rachel had to be awarded HOTY. I wanted the award split, but racing has tunnel vision and they never even put that idea on the table. This year it is crystal clear where the award should go, and it should go to Zenyatta.

10 Nov 2010 9:19 PM

The Europeans have no problem voting sprinters or milers as their Cartier Award winner if they feel they were that dominant.  We will have to wait and see what they think of Goldikova and if her BC Mile win holds any water with them.

10 Nov 2010 9:20 PM

I'm glad your comment was tongue and cheek Jason.  I was a little worried.

10 Nov 2010 9:21 PM

Carlos- I don't have exactly the same set of stats but what I have is for 2009. Rachel's record and strength of competition is superior to Zenyatta's.

Rachel: 8-8-0-0 (5 G1 wins, 2 G2 wins, 1 ungraded stakes)

Zenyatta: 5-5-0-0 (5 G1 wins, 1 G1 win)

Rachel defeated 47 individual horses (24 were males)

Zenyatta defeated 25 individual horses

Rachel's competition: 338-89 (26.3 win %)

Zenyatta's competition: 204-52 (25.4 win %)

Competitors stakes record:

Rachel: 55 wins, 13 G1s, 21 G2/G3s, 21 ungraded stakes

Zenyatta: 31 wins, 16 G1s, 6 G2/G3s, 9 ungraded stakes

Competitors record after facing them:

Rachel: 5 G1s, 1 G2, 6 G3s

Zenyatta: 1 G1

10 Nov 2010 9:24 PM
Mike Relva


Regarding your last post. Are you really the one to give a lecture on being objective? Please.

10 Nov 2010 9:30 PM

Thomas - thanks, yes that is a typo! Blame won 1 G3, not 1 G2.

Harry - Goldi's record doesn't need to be compiled, it is clearly heads above any horse running this year. But of course you know that!

10 Nov 2010 9:32 PM

Everybody stop with the "Zenyatta passes Blame after the wire".That never happened!! I got this race recorded on my dvr and I have watched the blimp shot of Blame Zenyatta stretch run through the wire about a dozen times and Zenyatta never passes Blame. Sorry Zenyatta fans, you can't hang your hat on that one. Whats next???

10 Nov 2010 9:39 PM

Everyone should watch a replay of the race.

Then tell me...did you not see the entire group of leaders fold rounding the far turn?

It wasn't like the inaugural running of the Classic when Wild Again set suicidal fractions and held on...the entire first tier of horses threw in the towel.

Every horse who hit the board closed from way out of it, so in reality, she only had to make up the ground on Blame, who was never more than five or six ahead of her. Most of the rest of the field did the job for her by quitting. Passing tired horses isn't impossible to do.

Half the field quit, and all but Blame continued on.

If the leaders kept going and she literally had to reel them in, that would be more impressive than passing a large group of horses who totally threw in the towel. All this talk about how she had a terrible, impossible trip is absurd. She had a typical trip of a closer, and all the "she has never needed an excuse" has fallen by the wayside in favor of more excuses than I've ever heard.

And I love how Zen fans refuse to acknowledge that Blame was jostled in between horses down the lane, which probably cost him a stride or two as well. Funny I don't read too much about that, but rest assured if Zenyatta had to bully her way through horses, that would be cited as an excuse of why she lost a stride.

It's okay people, keep insulting Blame and calling him only makes Zenyatta look worse, since you're implying she was beaten by a not-so-great horse in slow time. How does this flatter her, please explain?

10 Nov 2010 9:40 PM

I've previously posted my opinion and now feel compelled to respond to a few comments.

Del Marken: What Blame did or didn't do before 2010 has no bearing on this issue (just as what Zenyatta did in 2008 or 2009 does not).

Re: the many comments on Zenyatta's "brutal" trip; well said Saratoga Tony.  Any problems with Z's trip speak to her being off slow (as usual) and her running style.  A horse can fall 15 lengths behind in a small field of inferior foes, go wide and win by a nose (or head, or neck); it's a much more difficult thing to do in a large field of Grade 1 horses.  The fact that she got up to be 2nd and lost by only a head is truly amazing.  However, her trip was not much tougher, at least in regards to traffic issues, than Blame's.  He had to squeeze through a very tiny hole at the top of the stretch to get clear running.  It was Blame's superior tactical speed (he got "first run") not Zenyatta's tougher trip that made the difference.

You said it true Bonnie R - Zenyatta is indeed "Horse of the Decade" - It is truly unfortunate that she was never permitted to muster a HOY campaign.

Bob - Zenyatta did not beat Grade 1 winners in her previous starts this year; then she lost to a horse who has.

Chris - I am in 100% agreement with your posts.  Well stated sir.

Travis - It simply does not matter that Zenyatta has won 5 races and Blame "only" 4.  Who did Zenyatta beat in those 4 races?  Who did Blame beat?  Oh yeah, he beat Zenyatta.

10 Nov 2010 9:47 PM

Funny thing is this, Quality Road win tickets and Zenyatta win tickets were both worth the same amount at the end of the race.

10 Nov 2010 10:02 PM

The Rock, I sat right next to Sir Barton and he will tell you I cashed quite a few tickets.  I bet big on Noble's Promise and that money carried me a long way !  Betting on Gomez a few races didn't hurt either.  I am still spending Plunk money.

10 Nov 2010 10:06 PM
Gary Tasich

Check out Wikipedia for each horse especially Zenyatta and review the records she set and horses she beat. A sampling to knock your socks off:

Zenyatta has won 17 Graded stakes races including 13 Grade I events and has defeated 5 Champions of 8 different awards: Gio Ponti (2009 Older Horse and Turf Champion), Sealy Hill (2007 Canadian Horse of the Year, Champion 3 Year old filly and Champion female turf horse), Summer Bird (2009 Champion 3 Year old), Ginger Punch (2007 Champion older female) and Espoir City (2009 Japanese Dirt Champion).

In Zenyatta's 20:19-1-0 racing record she has defeated multiple Grade I winners including: Quality Road (2009 Florida Derby, 2010 Donn Handicap, 2010 Metropolitan Handicap, 2010 Woodward Stakes); Lookin at Lucky (2009 Del Mar Futurity, 2009 Norfolk Stakes, 2009 Hollywood Futurity, 2010 Preakness Stakes, 2010 Haskell Invitational); Colonel John (2008 Santa Anita Derby, 2008 Travers Stakes); Richard's Kid (2009, 2010 Pacific Classic Stakes and 2010 Goodwood Stakes); Mine That Bird (2009 Kentucky Derby); Einstein (2009 Santa Anita Handicap, 2008, 2009 Turf Classic Stakes, 2009 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap); Tough Tiz's Sis (2007 Lady's Secret Stakes, 2008 Ruffian Handicap); Cocoa Beach (2008 Matriarch Stakes , 2008 Beldame Stakes); Music Note (2009 Beldame Stakes, 2009 Ballerina Stakes, 2008 Gazelle Stakes, 2008 Coaching Club American Oaks and 2008 Mother Goose Stakes). European Multiple Group I winners Rip Van Winkle (2009 Sussex Stakes, 2009 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, 2010 International Stakes) and Twice Over (2009, 2010 Champion Stakes, 2010 Eclipse Stakes).

Grade 1 winners: Paddy O'Prado (2010 Secretariat Stakes); Haynesfield (2010 Jockey Club Gold Cup); Awesome Gem (2010 Hollywood Gold Cup); Girolamo (2010 Vosburgh Stakes); Hystericalady (2007 Humana Distaff Handicap), Life Is Sweet (2009 Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic), Romance Is Diane (2006 Hollywood Starlet Stakes), Double Trouble (2008 Santa Maria Handicap), Santa Teresita (2009 Santa Maria Handicap) and Carriage Trail (2008 Spinster Stakes).

Reads like a who's who..'nuff said.

10 Nov 2010 10:08 PM

Please excuse the typo in my last post.  The automatic spelling feature on my phone switched Brigadier Gerard to Brigadier General.

10 Nov 2010 10:09 PM

Thanks for posting those stats Nancy. When you compare the two campaigns HOTY is obvious: Blame

Just like last year when you compare the stats of RA and Z.  RA was the obvious choice.  

You Z Zealots need to blame her connections.  They took the easy rode and wrecked.


10 Nov 2010 10:38 PM


Like I stated earlier we have Grade 1 races. Not Grade 1+ or Grade 1-. You can not just decide a Grade 1 race is only a true Grade 1 race when it suits your argument. Are you suggesting now there should be no Filly & Mare Grade 1 races? They should all be Grade 2?

10 Nov 2010 10:44 PM

There as a post, oh, about 700 posts up, back towards the top. It mentioned the distinct deficit of G1 races in other countries (excluding America, obviously). I honestly don't believe that anyone on this blog can say that Zenyatta faced very highly regraded competition this year, SAVE the Classic. Now, why were those races she ran G1's, if there were no G1 caliber horses in them? Why are some races G2 or G3 and they have fantastic fields? Perhaps the racing circuit in general needs to step back and take a look at their grading system. Perhaps races should be assigned grades AFTER they're run, or, at the very least, after the field has been drawn. A race that doesn't have G1 caliber horses wouldn't be a G1 race! A race that is currently G3, but that has a stellar field, would, by default, become a G1. This would certainly even out the playing field for HOTY, because the horses would actually be facing G1 competition. (Now, I can see an exception being made for juvenile races, because nobody really has any idea what caliber of horses are in the field).  

Just as a side note, how about finding Canada some more G1's? Or even G2 or G3's at a track other than Woodbine? :)

10 Nov 2010 10:46 PM
Yvonne and Maurice Kirby

Hi- Zenyatta is not only Horse of the Year but of the century!!!

10 Nov 2010 10:51 PM

Jason, aren't you glad you brought us all out of the woodwork?!  I am enjoying your blog and know Steve H. and usually participate in his blogs but never yours.  How about this for a perspective.  My husband is an elite runner and was New York's Runner of the Year in 2001.  He watched the Classic with me and he clearly, from a runner's viewpoint, thought Zenyatta was the best horse in that race.  Had it not been for the strange sluggish start she would have passed the inches of Blame's nose.  She got up there, despite traffic, and looked Blame in the eye and said I am just as good as you little boy.  And this after having been outside all day greeting fans to boot!!!!!  All the others were in their barns until race time.  I still really don't think people realize the full potential of her level of athleticism and keen awareness.  Curlin had it, Afleet Alex had it, it's inexplainable, as if they are on another plateau.  My heart goes out to the Californians, her groom and Mike Smith who rode her brilliantly.  If she truly retires this is a void so big, so empty....

I wonder if Bob Baffert is still explaining to my Lucky (I love Lucky) that what blew past him on Saturday was a freak of nature!!! HA!

10 Nov 2010 10:51 PM

I wonder if that really was Jill Baffert?  If it was she had a good point.  Why did the BC Classic mean everything this year but last year meant nothing?  If that was the case why did Curlin win it in 2008?

10 Nov 2010 11:16 PM

One more time:

Filly and mare races are not on par with open male stakes company!

This is not even up for debate! It is FACT!

Not all GI's are the same. Horseracing 101!

10 Nov 2010 11:17 PM

Agreed!  Well written!  Blame should be the HOY for 2010.  I believe Z is a great mare, but I also believe her campaign was carefully selected so she would most likely remain undefeated.  She wasn't tested like a serious contender for HOY.  The mare that has campaigned like a champ is Goldikova.

10 Nov 2010 11:26 PM

OK RECAP UPDATE after 200/300 more posts:

more words

less sense

SOLUTION: get field - water until mud - everyone WRESTLE - winner gets to pick HOY - losers all go to nearest Bar, drink, mutter and swear re: winner's choice, drink some more, eventually forget about HOY, drink some more, also forget why they're all covered in mud, go home happy.

(However: watch out for those sneaky French -- GO GOLDIKOVA!)

10 Nov 2010 11:43 PM
Richard G

@mz 10 Nov 2010 11:22 AM: That was one of the few bits of fun in this discussion. Especially the Canadians.

11 Nov 2010 1:09 AM

Horse of the Year simple Jason? I think not! Use some objectivity this time around!

11 Nov 2010 1:11 AM
Richard G

So, Jason S, I have a question for you: Since you seem to believe the HOY should be won on the track, for which horse did you vote for HOY 2008: Curlin (5-2), or Zenyatta? If it was other than Zenyatta (7-0), there goes your argument for Blame.

11 Nov 2010 1:19 AM
Richard G

@swaps: the trainer decides strategy; the jockey executes. Zenyatta had the "running style" chosen by John and executed by Mike. Zen just showed up and did her job.

11 Nov 2010 1:22 AM
Richard G

@Bob Fritz: Thank you for echoeing my comments and concern. I had a Final Turn posted on Real Quiet just after one on the Secretariat film. Those two posts garnered over 70 comments. Three posts bracketing them were about the "industry" and they got fewer than 20 comments total. IT'S ABOUT THE HORSES!!!

11 Nov 2010 1:26 AM
Jim C.

Looks like Jill Baffert set you straight, Jason.

11 Nov 2010 1:44 AM

Please stop it Nancy.

Good Lord, you make this stuff up.

For the record the horses that Zenayatta beat alone just in the Classic last year have come back and won 9 Grade 1 races.

And Nancy, after last year Zenyatta beat the winners of 26 Grade 1 races as opposed to just 8 for Rachel Alexandra.

Zenyatta won the Grade 1 race winners count 26-8.

Nancy, please do your homework.

11 Nov 2010 3:00 AM

Sorry Blame people, but losing to a very average horse called Haynesfield, whom finished second to last in the Classic, by FOUR LENGTHS in the JCGC, beating a bunch of nobodies in a Grade 3 race, and then struggling past a tiring Quality Road, whom finished dead last in the Classic, all the while getting 5 lbs. from him in the Whitney is a slap in the face to any horse that has won the HOY previously.  Even with Rachel Alexandra. Your hanging your hat on Blame because of a nose difference in the Classic even though he had the perfect trip while the horse he beat had the worst possible trip. Go ahead and hang in on the Classic because his 2010 campaign is nothing to hang on to.

11 Nov 2010 3:24 AM
Bet Twice


I'm too lazy to vet all of your stats, but I can tell you at a glance your info on Zenyatta/RA is nonsense.  Quantity is not quality and as this blog has shown us, open company victories matter most.  In 2009, RA never faced older females, so all we've got is open company.  Zen beat the BC Distaff winner in Life is Sweet (a horse RA never raced).  RA beat the three year olds twice (Mine that Bird and Summer Bird) who Zenyatta also defeated in the BCC.

RA and Zenyatta faced open company exactly once, so we are comparing Macho Again and Bullsbay to Gio Ponti, Twice Over, Richard's Kid and Einstein.  Here are the open company G1's in 2009:   RA's competition - Macho Again won a G1, Bullsbay won a G1.  In terms of Zenyatta, Gio Ponti won four G1's, Einstein won two G1's, Twice Over won a G1, Richard's Kid won a G1 (remember we aren't including the three year olds).  Zen faced a far tougher field in the BCC than RA in the Woodward.

Zenyatta's competition in 2009 went on to win quite a few G1's in 2010.  Her numbers for 2009, post BCC will be slight, because it was at the end of the year.  RA's are better because she wrapped it up the first week in September.  However, RA's competition and RA herself, didn't fare that well this year.   Macho Again never placed in another race.  He was demolished by Blame in Clark (7th) and again in the Stephen Foster (10th).  Bullsbay never won again - he too was beaten by Blame, this time in the Schaefer G3 (4th).  In looking at Zen's numbers post BCC, off the top of my head, Gio Ponti, Richard's Kid, Twice Over, Quality Road all won numerous G1's in 2010.  

RA was very good for one year, Zenyatta has been very good for three.  RA and Zen did extraordinary things last year (first preakness vs. first BCC) and I wished they'd jointly been awarded.  History has not born out that RA was the better race horse.  She was brilliant one year.  Let's leave it at that.  

As John Shirreffs said, (paraphrasing) horse racing lost a wonderful opportunity to support and promote two brilliant fillies, making history.  Instead, they pitted them against each other.  Its a shame.  

11 Nov 2010 3:30 AM
J. S. P.

detadavis writes: "AND Haynesfield defeated Blame head-to-head in a G1 race."

One common thread I've noticed in many comments made to this blog are references to Blame's loss to Haynesfield in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.  What seems to be (conveniently) forgotten, however, is that Haynesfield also finished fourth in the Whitney Handicap which Blame won.  So in reality, Blame had defeated Haynesfield two out of the three times they've met.  And that ain't bad. :)

Oh, by the way: Haynesfield's lifetime earnings are $ 1,116,981, with a lifetime record of nine firsts, 1 second and 1 third in 14 starts. No, he's not an "elite" horse, but he's not a $4,000 claimer from Finger Lakes either...

11 Nov 2010 7:00 AM
zenyatta mondatta

All you people that want to say Zenyatta isnt deserving of the HOTY award,  You are eating your own words.  Remember, a win in the BCC isnt a guarantee win of the award. Quit aciting like you are smarter than you really are, you're not.   Last year you people set the ground rules and the year before that no horse automaically gets HOTY just for winning the BCC.   You made it this away, LIve with it.   Zenyatta is the true Horse of The Year for 2010.

11 Nov 2010 7:39 AM

Paula Higgins and 'Z' fans, You can go check out the online petition were you can sign the petition to show your love and support for Horse Of The Year.

In your search bar on your computer just type in 'Zenyatta Petition' it will give you different links to sign it.

11 Nov 2010 7:45 AM
Saratoga AJ


Maybe it's time for the racing fans to have a say in the HOTY voting.

The fan voting should constitute  25% of the input. The other 75% should come from the three groups that currently do the voting, 25% each from The Turf Writers, the DRF and the NTRA.

It's a good way to let the racing fans get involved and have a say, without losing too much of the traditional method of choosing the year's best horse.

Your thoughts?

11 Nov 2010 8:23 AM

856 comments--LOL! I hope this isn't the only blog-fodder until January!

11 Nov 2010 8:27 AM
Jason Shandler

I think its a terrible idea AJ. As we've seen, the award would become a popularity contest. In no other professional sport are postseason awards determined by fans.

11 Nov 2010 8:52 AM


A fair point system must be about competition, and restricted G1 races cannot carry the same importance as an open G1 race.

A G1 vs females would still be a G1, but it would not have the same weight for the HOTY award as a G1 win in a race where every worthy candidate for the award can actually compete.

Blame could not run in any of the races Zenyatta or Looking at Lucky won this year, while either one of them could have entered the Stephen Foster, the Whitney, or even the JCGC. This is why Blame's wins carry so much weight.

If someone is serious about implementing such system, they should designate the most important open races as qualifying races for the HOTY award, and that way we will have our better horses facing each other throughout the year; isn't that what the sport needs? Good competition and head-to-head match-ups in the biggest races more than once a year?

I think it is stupid to decide the award based solely on who won the BCC, or based on a bunch of G1 wins vs restricted company, because it does not promote what everyone wants to see, which is competition at the highest level, and awards being decided on the track, not by a popularity vote.

11 Nov 2010 9:12 AM
Saratoga AJ

It's still only 25% Jason. Perhaps 10% would be OK? Remember the majority of the input criteria would remain the same as it is now.

I understand your reasoning on "popularity vote". But is it not popularity of certain horse(s) that contribute to any racing year's success? Is the fact that when a certain horse gets exposure beyond just the races themselves he/she elevates the interest and becomes somewhat of a celebrity? Rachel being in Vogue Magazine last year, and Zenyatta appearing on "60 Minutes"

last week are prime examples.

Maybe it is time for "popularity" to play a small role in the HOTY Award? And to make the awards system a bit more fan friendly?

Just a thought.

11 Nov 2010 9:21 AM

@Zenyatta Mondatta - I think you're over simplifying the ground rules as you call them.  What I believe came out of last year's voting (and the year's before too) was that you don't need to win the Classic if you've already amassed the best body of work for the season.  By now, I think most rational minds agree that what Rachel did last year was nothing less than extraordinary - even without the Classic.

What Zenyatta accomplished ON THE TRACK this year prior to the Classic was little more than ordinary (you can't rationally think the body of her 2010 work, including ABSOLUTELY ZERO wins over other Grade I winners, suggests she deserves the award).  She ran a previously perfect year against sub-par competition.  Let me compete in the 100 yard dash against 4th graders, and I'll go 5 for 5 too).  Her connections instead chose to go all in on the Classic, and she got beat.

Was she good enough to run with and beat the boys in 2010?  Almost certainly.  Is it at least possible that she ran the best she's ever run, the best she ever will run, and still couldn't quite get past the top Colt.  Yeah, the reality is, that's possible too.  

Champions aren't made on opinions, 60 minutes, or Oprah, they're made on the racetrack where, regardless of whether you believe Blame got lucky (do you really think a multiple Grade I winner who beat other multiple Grade I winners all year long got lucky?), Z got a bad trip, simply ran out of race track, or any of the 10,00 other opinions as to why she's not 20-0, the one absolute and undeniable fact is that Blame crossed the finish line first.    

With the Classic behind us we have two horses, each with a single blemish on their 2010 records (both 2nd place finishes).  One horse raced the best horses in the country all year, the other raced 2nd rate mares.  They met head to head one time, and Blame won.  He didn't win by much, but he won.

Is Blame the better horse?  He could be.  He probably isn't, but I've yet to read anything close to a viable argument that Zenyatta had a better year on the track.

Based on what Blame accomplished on the track in 2010, if he's not horse of the year, Zenyatta certainly is not horse of the year.  Make your case for Goldikova, hell, I'll even listen to arguments for Awesome Feather at this point.  I might even buy into Blind Luck or Unlce Mo, but Zenyatta?  This year?   Spending most of the season as the best player in the minor leagues and then being the losing in pitcher in game 7 of the world series, does not make you MVP.

Speculate all you want about what might happen IF they raced again...and again...and again, but what we think would happen (and we probably agree) and what actually happened aren't the same.  As been pointed out numerous times already in this thread, Zenyatta qualified for all of Blame's previous races, he qualified (Filly & Mare restricted) for none of hers.  In a perfect world all Grade Is would be created equal, but I think we all know that's not remotely close to reality.  

For those knocking Blame for his loss to Haynesfield; If Blame is to be diminished for losing to Haynsefield, does it not diminish Zenyatta as the horse that lost to the horse that lost to Haynsefield?  It's ridiculous.  

The adage is that sooner or later they all lose.  If Big Z, for all of her greatness had run more than twice against big fields of big colts, with her late closing style, she almost certainly would have lost a couple of more. They all do.  After only two races, she's already down to 50% against top competition.

@Saratoga AJ - I'm not sure I want the public (myself included) to have any part of voting for HOY.  Based on what I've seen written in these threads, there's far too much blind devotion and ignorance to suggest any rational thought would play a hand in the voting.  For what it's worth, I hate that the public gets to vote for MLB all-stars too.  Of course, it wasn't the public who gave Jeter another Gold Glove, so I suppose that's not any better.

What I'd personally prefer is an Eclipse People's Choice Award.  Let the people vote for the horse they love, regardless of why they love her/him.  Last year it might have been close, this year, it's clearly (and deservedly) Zenyatta.  

HOY should be more clearly defined along the lines of the horse that achieves the highest level of excellence from the starting gate to the finish line.  I thought the votes got it right last year with Rachel, and the year before with Curlin.  I'm confident they'll do right by Blame as well.

11 Nov 2010 9:48 AM

Maybe we could make the criteria that a horse has to run at least one race in each of the three parts of the country, East, West and Midwest.  They have to make at least one start on dirt, one on turf and one on synthetic to make sure that out HOY can run on any surface, and barring injury they have to compete in the BC no matter what surface it is run on.  And then the horse with the most points is the HOY.  Just assigning points to races is fine but then there comes the subjective decisions of which races are worth more.  This way, they have to run in a variety of races.  This will also disqualify any foreign horse coming to run here for one or two races.  then there is no danger of them even being able to be considered ;p

11 Nov 2010 9:51 AM
The Rock


Its funny how you make money on picks you don't post on here. But like I said before, throw out a longshot pick and prove that you can stay away from the chalk. Even though Noble's Promise was 9/2 ML, he still went off the favorite. Everyone had him.

11 Nov 2010 9:56 AM
Jason Shandler

Saratoga Tony: It is people like you that renew my faith in this blog. And just when I was about to give up. You get it, dude. Well done.

11 Nov 2010 10:08 AM
Tom FV

I've stayed away from the fray for a few days, busy with other things :)

I just have a question about your logic Jason. Are you saying that one race makes all the difference?

One horse beating another in one race gives that horse HOY?

How things change from one year to the next. It seems that these very things occurred in 2008 and again last year yet made no difference to the political process called the Eclipse Awards.

People who are saying Blame may win HOY but will be forgotten and mentioned only in the same breath as those who upset beloved horses considered as the elite of the racing game are quite correct.

Most people still regard Birdstone in that manner as well as Onion, Upset etc. Those horses are never mentioned on their own, always the caveat of beating a special horse.

Jason you and everyone else who talks about this are basing your decision on emotion. IF Blame had defeated every horse in this race and then took on Zenyatta to beat HER head to head you could say it was clear-cut. However, he had not done so and that is where the whole issue becomes clouded.

Maybe a fan based vote is emotional, but so is a NTRA, DRF, NTWA vote.  There's no way around it.

Maybe a combination of voting by actual MEMBERS of the racing community, similar to the Academy Awards or Emmy's?  Or a combination of the current voters and industry members?

Also, as I and so many others said before, Quality Road is not a classic horse, what say you and the Draynay's of the blogworld now?

11 Nov 2010 10:10 AM
Gary at Rough Creek

Jason, and all the rest of you Zenyatta haters...

Your bulbs certainly are flexible, but extremely dim!  Consistency from year to year - or even post to post - is problematic for you isn't it?

Zenyatta did more on the track to show her greatness this year than Blame did.  She won more grade 1's, and on more different surfaces than Blame did.  She thus showed more versatility.  Contrary to the opinions of some, I believe she was compromised by both surface and short distances in some of her races in California.  And yet she still won.  It was a greater risk to her unbeaten streak to race short against top class sprinter/milers than to take on any male in the world at 9 - 10 furlongs.  Look what Switch came back and did in The Breeder's Cup.  Did ANY of the foes that Blame beat in his two prior Grade 1 victories perform well in The Breeder's Cup?  How about LAST and SECOND LAST!  That shows more about the class they faced than all of Nancy's fancy numbers (which to her credit, are actual numbers, but the conclusions she wants to draw from them are specious at best).

Zenyatta carried more weight than Blame, and still won.  

And as far as numbers go, how about this one...Zenyatta tops the NTRA poll by numbers this year.  Or these numbers...attendance, TV ratings and handle were all up  for the BCC.  Did Blame do that?  No, not in your darkest, most contorted minds could you claim that those numbers were due to Blame.  

You know, the grit and determination that Zenyatta showed in her narrow defeat was an opportunity to be gracious and hail a deserving champion.  It was an opportunity to highlight her accomplishments and her positive contributions to the fans and the sport.  But Jason, you took that opportunity, you spit on it, and you threw it on the ground.   And you continue to stomp on it, like a spoiled little boy who refuses to grow up.

Good for you cashed a check on Blame.  But you must give thanks to Quality Road for your victory.  Had he not thrown out the anchor after six furlongs, and stopped right in front of Zenyatta, costing her 0.6 seconds to regain momentum (something many good runners CANNOT even do), Zenyatta beats Blame by 2 or 3.  So good for you.

But you will NEVER, EVER prove to me that Blame was the best horse in that race.  Not because of any irrational love of Zenyatta (I wanted Musket Man to win!), but because the facts are the facts.  I saw the race in person.  Zenyatta was the best horse in the race, and she's the best 9 - 10 furlong horse in the world.  She keeps proving it on the track.      

11 Nov 2010 10:19 AM

I agree. As much as I would love to see Zen have it, people have to remember Blame also won a handful of Gr I races this season as well. But anway, there is alwasy Hall of Fame for Zen.

11 Nov 2010 10:19 AM


Finally you are making some sence. Lets not forget though by your premise, that the Classic races are indeed restricted as well so by your design they then would/should about carry as much importance as a Grade 1 filly & Mare. One is determined by age and one is determined by sex. Doesnt that seem rather defeating of our sports prime spotlights to you? Again, we are back to a Grade 1 is a Grade 1 as we have no other Grading system in place and those races were indeed graded as a 1 for a reason. The guidlines for HOY would have to be over hauled of which I do 100% agree they should be and list only certain true open company races to count which would again, leave out the classics due to their restriction of 3 year olds. It's a bit obsurd.

11 Nov 2010 10:19 AM


If you want to start making Rachel and Zenyatta comparisons, this is just for you.  Save it in your scrap book:

Rachel Historical

According to my calculations, Rachel defeated 77 horses in her 13 victories.  Let's break them down:

Grade 1 winners:

*Dream Empress (Alcibiades Stakes)

*Gabby's Golden Gal (Acorn Stakes, Santa Monica Handicap) *Gabby's Golden Gal also won the listed Sunland Park Oaks*

*Mine That Bird (Kentucky Derby) *Mine That Bird also won the Grade 3 Grey Stakes, the listed Silver Deputy Stakes, and the listed Swynford Stakes*  

*General Quarters (Turf Classic, Blue Grass Stakes) *General Quarters also won the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes*

*Pioneerof the Nile (CashCall Futurity, Santa Anita Derby) *Pioneerof the Nile also won the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes and the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes*

*Take the Points (Jamaica Handicap, Secretariat Stakes)

*Malibu Prayer (Ruffian Invitational Handicap) *Malibu Prayer also won the Grade 2 Chilukki Stakes, the listed Cat Chat Stakes, and the listed Lighthouse Stakes*

*Flashing (Gazelle Stakes, Test Stakes) *Flashing also won the Grade 3 Nassau County Stakes*

*Summer Bird (Jockey Club Gold Cup, Travers Stakes, Belmont Stakes)

*Macho Again (Stephen Foster Handicap) *Macho Again also won the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap, Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes, and the listed Derby Trial*

*Bullsbay (Whitney Handicap) *Bullsbay also won the Grade 3 Alysheba Stakes and the listed H. E. Johnson Memorial*

*Da' Tara (Belmont Stakes)

*Jessica Is Back (Princess Rooney Handicap) *Jessica Is Back also won the listed Nancy's Glitter Handicap and the restricted Ocala Stakes*

Grade/Group 2 winners:

*Sara Louise (Top Flight Handicap) *Sara Louise also won the Grade 3 Pocahontas Stakes and the Grade 3 Victory Ride Stakes*

*Just Jenda (Molly Pitcher Stakes) *Just Jenda also won the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks, the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes, the listed Monmouth Beach Stakes, listed Serena's Song Stakes, listed Tiffany Lass Stakes, and listed Brandywine Stakes*

*Musket Man (Illinois Derby) *Musket Man also won the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby, the listed Super Stakes, and the listed Pasco Stakes*

*Big Drama (Smile Sprint Handicap) *Big Drama also won the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot, the listed Ponche Handicap, listed Red Legend Stakes, restricted Florida Stallion In Reality Stakes, restricted Florida Stallion Affirmed Stakes, and restricted Florida Stallion Dr. Fager Stakes*

*Papa Clem (Arkansas Derby, San Fernando Stakes)

*Friesan Fire (Louisana Derby) *Friesan Fire also won the Grade 3 Risen Star Stakes, the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes, and the listed Louisiana Handicap*

*Munnings (Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship, Tom Fool Handicap, Woody Stephens Stakes)

*Duke of Mischief (Oaklawn Handicap) *Duke of Mischief also won the Grade 3 Phillip Iselin Stakes, the Grade 3 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes, and the listed Iowa Derby*

*Asiatic Boy (Maktoum Challenge - Round 3, UAE Derby) *Asiatic Boy also won the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint, Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas, and listed Al Bastakiya Stakes*

*Cool Coal Man (Fountain of Youth Stakes) *Cool Coal Man also won the listed Spend a Buck Stakes, listed Lord of the Night Stakes, listed Albert the Great Stakes, and listed Skip Away Stakes*

*Made for Magic (Milady Handicap) *Made for Magic also won the listed Las Madrinas Handicap*

Grade/Group 3 winners:

*C.S. Silk (Arlington-Washington Lassie) *C.S. Silk also won the listed Addison Mallory Stakes*

*Four Gifts (Delta Princess Stakes, Eight Belles Stakes) *Four Gifts also won the listed Charles Town Oaks*

*War Echo (Silverbulletday Stakes) *War Echo also won the listed DRF Distaff Stakes*

*Peach Brew (Arlington Park Oaks) *Peach Brew also won the restricted Oklahoma Classic Lassie and the restricted Oklahoma Classic Distaff*

*African Skies (Princess Margaret Stakes)

*Be Fair (Lake George Stakes)

*Terrain (Arlington-Washington Futurity) *Terrain also won the listed Mountaineer Juvenile*

*It's a Bird (Lone Star Park Handicap, Spend a Buck Handicap) *It's a Bird also won the listed Plagiarize Stakes and the restricted Sunshine Millions Classic*

Listed Winners:

*Best Lass (Prairie Meadows Oaks)

*Smokin Bayou (Colleen Stakes)

*Sweet Relish (Cinemine Stakes)

*Afleet Deceit (Double Delta Stakes)

*Hello Again (Dixie Belle Stakes)

*My Spanx (D. Wilhite Memorial, Lone Star Oaks)

*War Tigress (Caressing Stakes)

*Bon Jovi Girl (Fairway Stakes, Blue Hen Stakes, Susan's Girl Stakes)

*Atomic Rain (Long Branch Stakes)

*Bunker Hill (Princeton Stakes, Go for the Green Juvenile, Continental Mile)

*Ask the Moon (Lighthouse Stakes) *Ask the Moon also won the restricted Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship*

*Yes She's a Lady (Deceit Stakes)

Restricted winners:

*Affirmed Truth (Rainbow Miss)

Zenyatta has beaten 88 horses in her 19 races to date.  Among the vanquished are 20 Grade 1 winners, 14 Grade 2 winners, 6 Grade 3 winners, 13 listed winners, and 5 restricted winners.

Grade 1 winners:

*Tough Tiz's Sis (Lady's Secret Stakes, Ruffian Handicap) *Tough Tiz's Sis also won the Grade 2 Hollywood Breeders' Cup oaks, the Grade 3 Hawthorne Handicap, the listed Harry Hensen Handicap, and the listed WinStar Oaks*

*Romance Is Diane (Hollywood Starlet Stakes) *Romance Is Diane also won the Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap, the restricted California Cup Juvenile Fillies, and the restricted California Cup Matron Handicap*

*Ginger Punch (Personal Ensign Stakes, Go For Wand Handicap, Ogden Phipps Handicap, Breeders' Cup Distaff, Ruffian Handicap, Go For Wand Handicap) *Ginger Punch also won the Grade 2 First Flight Handicap, and the Grade 2 Louisville Stakes*

*Santa Teresita (Santa Maria Handicap) *Santa Teresita also won the restricted Santa Lucia Handicap*

*Double Trouble (Santa Maria Handicap) *Double Trouble also won the Group 2 GP C T and C G da Rocha Faria in Brazil*

*Hystericalady (Humana Distaff) *Hystericalady also won the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Stakes, the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap, the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap, the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap, the Grade 2 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks, the Grade 3 Azeri Stakes, and the listed Gonzalez Memorial*

*Cocoa Beach (Matriarch Stakes, Beldame Stakes) *Cocoa Beach also won the Group 3 Clasico Jose Saavedra Baeza in Chile, the Group 3 Clasico Juan Cavieres Mella in Chile, the Group 3 Seleccion de Potrancas in Chile, the listed UAE 1000 Guineas in Dubai, the listed UAE Oaks in Dubai, and the restricted De La Rose Stakes*

*Music Note (Mother Goose Stakes, Coaching Club American Oaks, Gazelle Stakes, Ballerina Stakes, Beldame Stakes)

*Carriage Trail (Spinster Stakes) *Carriage Trail also won the Grade 3 Doubledogdare Stakes, and the restricted De La Rose Stakes*

*Life Is Sweet (Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic, Santa Margarita Handicap) *Life Is Sweet also won the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes, and the Grade 2 El Encino Stakes*

*Gio Ponti (Shadwell Turf Mile, Man o 'War Stakes, Arlington Million, Man o' War Stakes, Manhattan Handicap, Frank Kilroe Handicap) *Gio Ponti also won the Grade 2 Virginia Derby, the Grade 3 Sir Beaufort Stakes, the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes, and the listed Bourbon Stakes*

*Twice Over (Eclipse Stakes in England, Champion Stakes in England) *Twice Over also won the Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam in France, the Group 3 Craven Stakes in England, and the listed Foundation Stakes in England*

*Summer Bird (Jockey Club Gold Cup, Travers Stakes, Belmont Stakes)

*Colonel John (Travers Stakes, Santa Anita Derby) *Colonel John also won the Grade 3 Sham Stakes, the listed Real Quiet Stakes, and the restricted Wickerr Stakes*

*Richard's Kid (Goodwood Stakes, Pacific Classic, Pacific Classic) *Richard's Kid also won the Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap, and the listed John B. Campbell Handicap*

*Awesome Gem (Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap) *Awesome Gem also won the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap and the Grade 2 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes*

*Mine That Bird (Kentucky Derby) *Mine That Bird also won the Grade 3 Grey Stakes, the listed Swynford Stakes, and the listed Silver Deputy Stakes*

*Rip Van Winkle (Juddmonte International Stakes in England, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in England, Sussex Stakes in England) *Rip Van Winkle also won the Group 3 Tyros Stakes in Ireland*

*Einstein (Turf Classic Stakes, Santa Anita Handicap, Turf Classic Stakes, Gulfstream Park Turf Stakes, Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Stakes), *Einstein also won the Grade 2 Clark Handicap, and the Grade 2 Mervyn Muniz Jr. Handicap*

*Girolamo (Vosburgh Stakes) *Girolamo also won the Grade 2 Jerome Handicap*

Grade 2 winners:

*Dawn After Dawn (La Canada Stakes) *Dawn After Dawn also won the listed Wishing Well Handicap, and the restricted Moscow Burning Stakes*

*Kettleoneup (Falls City Handicap) *Kettleoneup also won the Grade 3 Sixty Sails Handicap, the listed Pippin Stakes, and the listed Autumn Leaves Stakes*

*Bear Now (Cotillion Handicap) *Bear Now also won the Grade 3 Selene Stakes, the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Distaff, the listed Ontario Matron, the listed HIll N Dale Stakes, the listed Duchess Stakes, and the listed Hill N Dale Stakes)*

*Briecat (Bayakoa Handicap) *Briecat also won the listed Las Madrinas Handicap, the listed Chandler Stakes, and the listed Arizona Oaks*

*Lethal Heat (Hollywood Oaks) *Lethal Heat also won the Grade 3 Santa Paula Stakes, the restricted Real Good Deal Stakes, and the restricted Fleet Treat Stakes

*Made for Magic (Milady Handicap) *Made for Magic also won the listed Las Madrinas Handicap*

*Regal Ransom (Super Derby, UAE Derby in Dubai)

*Striking Dancer (La Canada Stakes)

*Pretty Unusual (El Encino Stakes) *Pretty Unusual also won the restricted Melair Stakes*

*Just Jenda (Molly Pitcher Stakes) *Just Jenda also won the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks, the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes, the listed Monmouth Beach Stakes, the listed Serena's Song Stakes, the listed Tiffany Lass Stakes, and the listed Brandywine Stakes*

*Zardana (Bayakoa Handicap) *Zardana also won the listed New Orleans Ladies Stakes, the listed Clasico Luiz Alves de Almeida in Brazil, the restricted Swingtime Stakes, and the restricted Osunitas Stakes*

*Switch (Hollywood Oaks) *Switch also won the listed Torrey Pines Stakes)

*Satans Quick Chick (Raven Run Stakes)

*St Trinians (Santa Maria Handicap) *St Trinians also won the listed Paseana Handicap*

Grade 3 winners:

*Indescribable (Arlington Matron Handicap, Cardinal Handicap, Doubledogdare Stakes, Kentucky Cup Distaff)

*Brownie Points (Ouija Board Handicap) *Brownie Points also won the listed Cimarron Stakes, the listed Martha Washington Stakes, the listed Stonerside Stakes, the listed DeBartolo Oaks, the listed Remington Park Breeders' Cup Oaks, the listed Iowa Distaff Breeders' Cup, and the listed DeBartolo Memorial Handicap*

*Sealy Hill (Bourbonette Oaks) *Sealy Hill also won the listed Glorious Song Stakes, the restricted Woodbine Oaks, the restricted Bison City Stakes, and the restricted Wonder Where Stakes*

*Super Freaky (Providencia Stakes) *Super Freaky also won the listed La Habra Stakes*

*Be Fair (Lake George Stakes)

*War Echo (Silverbulletday Stakes) *War Echo also won the listed DRF Distaff Stakes

Listed winners:

*Fleet Caroline (Sun City Handicap)

*Lemon Drop Mom (Go For Wand Stakes, Ghost Goblin Stakes, Winter Melody Stakes)

*Model (It's In The Air Stakes)

*West Coast Swing (Prairie Meadows Oaks)

*Taste's Sis (Kachina Handicap)

*Anabaa's Creation (Prix Isonomy in France)

*Tidal Dance (Ladies Stakes, Affectionately Stakes)

*Dance to My Tune (La Lorgnette Stakes) *Dance to My Tune also won the restricted Jammed Lovely Stakes*

*Taptam (Pippin Stakes, Wigwam Stakes) *Taptam also won the restricted Valor Farm Stakes and restricted Martanza Stakes*

*Will O Way (Corte Madera Stakes, California Oaks)

*Rinterval (Wintergreen Stakes)

*Princess Taylor (CTT & TOC Handicap)

*Emmy Darling (Landaluce Stakes)

Restricted winners:

*Kris' Sis (Osunitas Handicap)

*Silver Z (Warren Thoroughbred Stakes)

*Gambler's Justice (Melair Stakes, CTBA Marian Stakes)

*Champagne Eyes (Santa Lucia Handicap)

*Moon de French (Adoration Stakes)

11 Nov 2010 10:23 AM
Zen's Auntie

Blu good comment.

Look if we are still going to discuss HOTY realisticly there are other horses to consider.

I will admit my bias straight up, I LOVE Zenyatta and my heart wants to give her Not only HOTY but Immediately induct her to the HOF and have her do a TB Charities Tour. BUT...

I keep saying the whole thing is not so SIMPLE.

The first problem is that The HOY remains undefined I demand to have a set of criteria to go by if we are being asked to take emotion out of it and understand the choices.

Second If all this open company stuff is prerequisite why do we even have F&M races as Grade 1's ??  

Obviously you can skip the BC races and the classic completely and still win.

Is it the Horse of the Year @ a mile and 1/4 or can milers or even sprinters be considered if they are the best at what they do?  

How many races do you need in the year?  Is 5 enough is 6 is 8 or 10 even if you lose a few, better?  is it better to go to BC or chose select graded races around the country.

If you are going to decide it on the track and head to head matchups supersede all other accomplishments you must tell us all this in advance so the choices when voting seem more logical. I do know that you stated this before the BC Jason so I commend that as far as letting us know what drives at least your vote. Its so opinionated though, so now if we can just hear from the rest...

A clear set of rules is needed.

Whatever the defining factors are fine - but Otherwise Why not take a name from a hat from all the deserving horses.  Goldi, Blind Luck, Blame, Zenyatta

Saratoga AJ Jason may think its a terrible Idea but I dont - You know If Another group or Body wanted to take over sponsorship of HOTY or more likely another title award like it and had $ to back it up they sure could. I agree fans would feel more involved if they could have a legitimate vote.  

Let’s face it the way it is right now HOTY is a writer’s award given to a good horse popular with writers and slanted towards the hometown favorites of where MOST of these writers are from.

Maybe TB charities (or TVG or HRTV they have a huge fan base or whomever I’m just rambling here) could establish a Peoples (or players) Choice award best TB Race horse of the year. They know who you are if you play.

Remember Fans the HOTY award does not define a horse. It is a writer’s favorite award with a ridiculously vague set of criteria. And even when it seems so right You can’t always get what you want in your heart.

Speaking of Heart my 17 year old Daughter is still kinda sick and heartbroken. She cant even watch the replay with me so I can show her how Zenyatta does define the impossible. But I did get her to watch Pluck and Mo and Dakota Phone with me and we are really looking forward to MOVING forward knowing Zenyatta is the best horse we have ever watched - I have made the poor child watch endless race replays.

@ Sara I took the time to read your comment and WOW congratulations that is the single most far fetched analysis of the classic I have heard so far.  

Let it go people Hate and bias and even the need to see the Big Mare Win HOTY - Ya'll join me and just be Happy that all of them 'cept Poor Rough Sailing made it home alive!

Or we can settle it like MZ said its an option.

11 Nov 2010 10:29 AM

Manny - your math is off, way off.

Flashing - 2 G1s

Gabby's Golden Gal - 1 G1

Mine That Bird - 1 G1

General Quarters - 1 G1

Pioneerof the Nile - 1 G1

Take The Points - 2 G1s

Summer Bird - 3 G1s

Macho Again - 1 G1

Bullsbay - 1 G1

That's more than 8! As for the total for Zenyatta, you may be counting Life Is Sweet's 2 G1s three times instead of one as Zenyatta beat her three times.

11 Nov 2010 10:32 AM

Saratoga Tony - fantastic post in my opinion.  Just when I thought my head was going to explode reading blog comments, yours was a breathe of fresh air.  Well reasoned and well done.

11 Nov 2010 10:42 AM


Hi:  In the mortal words of Trevor Denman.....This Is Unbelievable

It really amazes me how much interest Zenyatta has created throughout the horse racing world both here and abroad.  I can’t count the number of blogs and the thousands of comments that have been posted since the BCC.  HOY is up for grabs, but to be honest, I really don’t care.  Accomplishments and legacies are where it’s at for me.  However, it is really difficult at times to get over the pettiness of some (both for and against Zenyatta).  I wonder what these same people’s reactions would be if Quality Road would have made the charge and not Zenyatta.  I wonder what kind of over blown allusions we would have to listen to if Zenyatta would have won.  It’s a never ending sometimes vicious circle.

What many don’t want to admit is the tremendous interest that Zenyatta has created for this sport, and not just over a short period of time.  To be dismissed so quickly is like I said, unbelievable, because in affect what they are doing is dismissing the sport.  They better hope for new heroes and fast because the biggest one since Secretariat is galloping off to the breeding shed.

11 Nov 2010 10:45 AM

Please dont forget that in the Classic, BLAME gave Zenyatta 3 lbs....he carried 126 and she carried 123. He beat her while giving her weight. He was the better horse that day.....I dont really think weights really affect a big horse like Zenyatta but he still gave her 3 lbs.

11 Nov 2010 10:48 AM

I have always admired Zenyatta and recognized that she is a great mare. Zenyatta's connections are justifiably proud of her but their fixation on running her record past Pepper's Pride has actually done Zenyatta a disservice. Zenyatta is so much more than 19 victories. Z's last race in my opinion, solidified her greatness in ways none of her previous races have, even in defeat.

I watched Zenyatta and it seemed  to me she was not comfortable at all. She seemed stressed and nervous in the paddock and going to the track. I don't think she liked the surface but she adjusted and tried her best. Why did her connections not bring her to CD earlier than two days before the race so that she could acclimate herself and get a feel for the track? I think people who are used to travel assume the animals can just hop off the plane and run their race.  This trip for her was more stressful than a day trip to another California track. I think this was another disservice to Zenyatta.

I don't think that was her day but still she gave it her best effort. What heart. Mike Smith has nothing to be ashamed of; he didn't cause her defeat he was urging her to pick it up quite early, she just wasn't responding. It wasn't her day. That happens sometimes.

I happen to think Zenyatta has not been robbed of HOY in '08 or '09. The fact is that HOY has not been awarded for 2010 yet. I don't know how that vote will turn out, no one does.

Fellow Fans, please stop tearing down other horses. They all go to the track and risk it all for us. All this defensiveness about Zenyatta actually detracts from her and that is a shame.

11 Nov 2010 10:50 AM

@Tom FV - I'm one of those who believed QR would get the distance without issue.  And as much as I'll buy that maybe the 1 hole didn't play completely fair, I've come around to thinking 1 1/8 was probably his limit.  He could probably could have gotten 1 1/4 on his best day, but only then.  

He would have, I think (opinions aren't the same as facts), been the best horse in the mile.

11 Nov 2010 10:50 AM

2:24 I agree with you!

11 Nov 2010 10:55 AM

I guess I have one question....what do Zenyatta fans want everyone else to say?

We have said that we now believe that she is great....but we are still called Z haters when the facts of racing are pointed out.  

It is not the mare.....I believe that in another trainers hands this year we would have seen a great campaign because to be the best you gotta beat the best you can find. And you have to look for them....not expect the best to come to you. She should have been entering races to scare people away. I would have been kicking everyones A$$ with her. Challenging people to run their horse against her. and having her wipe em up. Maybe it would have been harder on her, but isnt that also a test of greatness? The knock on Ghostzapper is that he barely ran.....but when he did he ran great but will not go down as the greatest because he was so coddled....same for Z.

11 Nov 2010 10:56 AM

@Nancy - I'm afraid Bullsbay, Macho Again, Summer Bird and Mine that Bird don't count.  Or at least that's what I heard last year after Rachel beat them.

11 Nov 2010 11:10 AM
Tom FV

Saratoga Tony, 2:24, Jason, Draynay, Billy et al. Funny how fantasic and intelligent your posts are----to each other. :)

Yes what I said about popularity contests is true and you know that better than anyone Jason. Just happy to see you're still being so objective. :) or in this case LOL.

But I'm in a great mood so I'll leave it at that.

11 Nov 2010 11:10 AM
Golden Gate

Keeping my emotions held in I think Zenyatta should be Horse of the Year

11 Nov 2010 11:16 AM

Lazmannick - the list includes horses from 2008 and 2010, which has nothing to do with 2009. On the other hand, it's this very list that shows why Zenyatta will be inducted into the HOF.

11 Nov 2010 11:16 AM

Come on Nancy.  Be real.

The horses that Rachel Alexandra beat accounted for just 8 Grade 1 winning races.  

You can't list the number before she raced them and after she raced and then completely go just the opposite for Zenyatta. That's dishonest.

If you want to use your reasoning them add the 9 Grade 1 wins on top of the 26 for a total of 35.

See, no matter how you cut it Zenyatta still beat the winners of Grade 1 races over RA by a count of 35-13.

Do your math over again.

11 Nov 2010 11:35 AM

@Gary at Rough Creek - Your arguments contain very little in the way of fact, tons of biased, unsubstantiated opinion, and one factually inaccurate statement for good measure:

Zenyatta did not carry more weight than Blame.  He spotted her 3 lbs.

I think Switch is a very good horse, and believe she was the best that Zenyatta faced prior to the Classic.  I will say nothing bad about her, but you're hinting at a rewrite of history a bit here.  Like Zenyatta, she didn't win her BC race either.

You suggest that the horses Blame beat weren't that good based on where they finished in the Classic.  I would suggest they just as likely were tired horses coming off of much tougher campaigns.  Want to take it further?  Blame ran them into the ground, and they had nothing left in their respective tanks.  Hell, it sure looked like Haynesfield ran himself into the ground in the JCG.  

Is that what actually happened?  Again, probably not, but my goofy theories are as much fact as yours - insomuch as they're not.  How many of the horses Zenyatta beat actually made it to the Breeders' Cup? One last time, how many Grade I winners in the races she won this year?

As for the polls you sighted.  Again, OPINION POLLS, not based on anything?  What was the purse for winning the NTRA poll?  Where can I see a photo of her Oprah trophy?  I'd really love to who is riding who).

Clearly the folks who give out these end of season awards need to do a better job of defining the criteria.  If it's a lifetime achievement award with a nice little (*) for mostly-soft competition, or an award for which horse makes me feel warm and fuzzy, it's Zenyatta.  If it's for what happened in 2010 from gate to wire, once again, it's Blame.

11 Nov 2010 11:38 AM


Jason seems to forget that over in England the racegoers (fans) ARE a part of the voting for their Cartier Awards.

11 Nov 2010 11:40 AM

There is certainly a NEED and the fans DESERVE a People's Choice award that THEY determine who gets it.   And are allowed to have emotions about their is what brings newbies into the Sport and keeps the rest of us here.   Not ALL of us are handicapper/bettors, some of us just LOVE THE HORSES.   And Yes we get invested with emotion....why do you think virtually an entire nation held their collective breath and rooted for BARBARO to do the impossible one last time and just SURVIVE his injury?   The day we take emotion out of this equation is the day we should all just go and play the slots.   As a life long horse owner/rider, you can't be around these creatures and NOT get emotionally involved.  To those who just look at them as WIN ticket...well I feel very sorry for you.    ZENYATTA did something BLAME did NOT do.......she won the hearts of millions of people who do not normally pay attention to our sport.    As for BLAME.....I'm very happy that he gave a big one to the Hancock family and Clairborne farm......and AMERICAN institution.   They have poured their hearts & souls into the sport for generations.....and we sorely NEED people like them who keep on trying to breed to IMPROVE the breed.    If BLAME gets HOY, I will just think of it as an award for the CLAIRBORNE connections.

However it comes takes NOTHING away from the GREAT ZENYATTA!

11 Nov 2010 11:45 AM

If keep reading on this blog Blame supports using Blame's competition as a measuring stick for his claim as HOY.

A horse that get's beat by four lengths to an average run of the mill NY bred Haynesfield and staggers across the finish line to beat a tiring Quality Road yet getting 5 lbs from him is not a HOY candidate.

End of story.

11 Nov 2010 11:48 AM

Completely off topic, guys -- Just finished watching the Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa - I used to be able to say that it was great that the only soldiers we needed to remember were from years ago -- not anymore -- "LEST WE FORGET"

Sorry but it makes some of the angry comments here seem even more silly.

Guys: keep it civil.

11 Nov 2010 12:03 PM

  Maybe yet a new petition ( LOL)should be started for a summet meeting to take place and put in place clear defined rules and guidlines for HOY with a point system so this rediculas debate and stained voting system could be eliminated.To establish a clearly defined HOY critaria so everybody going in knows in advance what exactly their horse needs to accomplish, how, and where with what points system in place.

 Then in addition, a peoples choice award. Let those of us that breed these horses, train these horses, condition these horses, ride these horses, own these horses, and the ever so important fan base of these horses have a say.I believe it would go a long way in letting  the new, old, horsemen, or casual fan be able to have a voice and feel they can be actively involved. Lord knows we need to keep the interest and grow the interest. I in no way am saying at this juncture some spur of the moment trumped up award is good enough for Zenyatta this year. In addition to her HOY then yes. However, I'm not sure even that is her just deserts for what she has accomplished both on, and off the track. In reality, in this day, we all really do owe her alot for what she has done for racing as a whole.

 I am ever so thankfull she came in my lifetime and I got to see it all from start to finish.From her first out to her last. What an incredable thrill she has been. From chuckling at her paddock antics, her kind demeaner, to her absolutelly thrilling stretch drives she delivered each and every time. Thankyou Zenyatta!

11 Nov 2010 12:08 PM


You're being petty and that's what I'm trying to show you.  Saratoga Tony said that the horses Zen beat this year were the equivalent of him winning a race against a bunch of four year olds.  Really?  What do you think we saw with Rachel last year?  Restriction to races against under achieving three year old fillies and not having the gumption to face older fillies and mares……beating up on inferior three year old colts that other than Summer Bird and Big Drama (sprint) have done nothing of distinction since and not much before……..facing off against second rate G1 older horses that won a single G1 before she met them and nothing else since? The fact is you bring Rachel into a 2010 discussion for HOY.  Where was she when the challenge was on the table in the Apple Blossom?  All these so called tough horses that Blame raced against this year?  The last I looked the toughest of them finished many lengths behind Zenyatta also.    

11 Nov 2010 12:10 PM

I've been reading articles and blogs from all over the world.  Many think that Blame will be HOY because of the Classic.  But they also acknowledge Zenyatta's performance in the race.  Many of therm were not convinced of her because of the inferior competition she faced.  Many wanted her to travel to Europe and race and prove her greatness.  Most have said it was one of the greatest races they have ever seen a filly/mare run against males in a distance race.  They said the amount of ground she made up was astounding on a tiring track.  That she could run her final quarter in the time she did was incredible given the circumstances.  They praised her performance, as many of you have, even though they may feel that Blame still deserved HOY.  Maybe too many here still talk about her like she doesn't belong.  It's just a matter of respect for the horse.   And many of you don't have that or haven't expressed it.  But, as Jason said, that is sports.  You don't celebrate a great effort in America.  It's just win or lose.  Or if you are interested just for betting, it's cashing a ticket or not.  That's why he started this blog right away, while the hurt was fresh with the Zenyatta fans.  That's why he basically said she lost. get over it.  So he would get almost 900 contentious blogs.  He could have written a blog praising both horses and written about HOY later.  But that isn't what he does.  We all know his views and we all know the territory we are getting into when we read a blog of his or comment on one.  You can't complain about his views or who he comments to or about.  It's the way it is.  If you are looking for praise or validation of her performance you will have to wait.  It may come at some point or it may not.  That is just his choice.

11 Nov 2010 12:13 PM

@Jimmy - If Blame is diminished by his loss to Haynesfield (over a heavily speed biased track), then Zenyatta is diminished further still through her loss to the horse that lost to that "run of the mill NY bred".  Did you watch that race?  Despite my disdain for opinions based on near nothing, do you think Zenyatta catches Haynesfield over that track?  I say not a chance, but I don't need that argument because when the ran in the same race, Blame beat her.  That is, and will always be the reality.

It's been nearly a week now, and I still haven't seen one well-reasoned post for why, based on what happened on an actual racetrack in 2010, Zenyatta should be horse of the year.

Z-votees, take a step back from trashing Blame for long enough to tell me what your horse did (again on the track, not on Oprah) that deserves the award.  For arguments sake, if I was convinced the award shouldn't go to Blame, why should it go to Z over Goldikova, Blind Luck, Looking at Lucky or a small number of other horses who beyond argument took the more challenging road to the Breeders' Cup?

Why Zenyatta?  Perfection against nearly nothing is nearly nothing.

11 Nov 2010 12:15 PM
Zen's Auntie

Awe look,  the horse racing comentator girls on Race Day America are Talking HOTY making an argumnet for Zenyatta to win this morning on HRTV based on her "body of work".  

They both agreed that its impossible to take emotion out of it. Mentioning Since breaking her maiden Zen has never raced in a grade 3

You gotta Love all this right?

11 Nov 2010 12:16 PM
Zen's Auntie

Ok just one more thing here, as questionable as some of the ESPN coverage was in camera angle and other things mentioned. I thank them VERY much for the stride analysis on Z in the closing kick.

It was EXACTLY what I was hoping for and close to what I had estimated.  

26.3 feet - the longest I have ever heard of documented. Phenomenal.

11 Nov 2010 12:22 PM


I'm not saying restricted G1 races would not carry ANY weight; they just would not carry as MUCH weight as an open G1 race; and fillies & mares who defeat their male counterparts would get bonus points, a bonus that would be higher when defeating older horses than just 3-year olds.

Let me give you an example:

Looking at Lucky goes 6-6 as 4-year old, winning all G1's in open company, including the BCC & Dubai Cup. Uncle Mo wins the Triple Crown, going 6-6, all G1's vs 3-year olds, and does not race in the BCC. Awesome Feather also goes 6-6, all G1's, wins the The Triple Tiara, and the Ladies Classic. As you see, both Uncle Mo and Awesome Feather finish 2011 with an undefeated record.

Who wins HOTY?

In my opinion, Looking at Lucky, because the responsibility of challenging the best older horses lies on the connections of the horse who is running in all restricted races; if you don't take on them, it is because you are not SERIOUS about winning HOTY.

This why horse-racing must enact a system that promotes and rewards those horses that step out of their comfort zones; females & 3-year olds that do not challenge older horses should not have an advantage in a point system that will try to establish who the most-deserving HOTY should be.  

All I'm saying is that the current system leaves a lot to be desired; it is full of controversy, and a lot of people claim is biased. The HOTY does not mean much for a lot of people, but it translates into a lof of money in stud fees for the winning horse, and historical recognition as well as added value for the winning older horse, colt, fily or mare and its connections.

Once the rules are in place, everyone would know exactly what it takes to win the most important award a horse can win in the industry. It is about time horse racing got serious about forcing owners & trainers to COMPETE for the benefit of the very industry that is providing them with so much money & recognition.

What do you think?

11 Nov 2010 12:27 PM

First its important to define what Horse of the Year means.  Horse of the Year means what you’ve done the entire year, on the track, now all of a sudden for Zenyatta the exception is made that she brought a lot of people to horse racing, maybe, maybe not the numbers and ratings still have her far far behind Rachel and what she did during the last 18 months, Rachel was known and is known nationally in the homes of race fans and non race fans alike, Zenyatta has been known to these types for 2 weeks.  Thankfully she got her time in the media spotlight or else im sure Moss would complain about that also.  But the connections of Zenyatta don’t understand what top class championship racing is from January – December, they have tunnel vision and that was all about the word undefeated and the Breeders Cup for the past 3 years. Jerry Moss was asked to talk about why his horse deserved HOY in 2009 and went on to describe how she was undefeated for her career and how she won the 2008 Apple Blossom, now either Moss is naïve or just unsportsmanlike in the way that he tried to garner the award, but that can be said of each of the campaigns they put together against Minnie mouse competition in California, and in all of the lies he told about shipping in 09 to face Rachel and then shipping period in 2010.  Unfortunately this same issues is what caused her to lose the Classic, her being unprepared to face the best and deal with the dirt or kick back.  Taking nothing away from Zenyatta ever, my respect for her grew to the level of respect that I have for Rachel and that’s saying a lot because Rachel was put to the fire a number of times.  Breaking from the gates and passing the Clubhouse the first time I knew she was not enjoying the kick back, and that’s painful to see.  Again taking a horse out of its comfort zone is difficult at 3 years old, 4, 5, and wow I mean 6, that blame is pointed directly at the connections for their mistakes.  They didn’t make many in the 3 years she ran but the one that caused her to lose the Classic is just as big a gaff as Jess Jackson rushing Rachel back to try to make the Apple Blossom deadline. And yes as much as some of you try to make it look like the Moss’s are perfect their decisions to focus on 1 race all year long was WRONG, it was wrong to not allow us to see her be challenged by Grade 1 horses, if you’re an NBA star how much does beating college basketball players solidify your credentials. I was there at the BC I wanted to see history, but more than anything I feel Zenyatta is great because she was asked to lay it down and get in her belly, sadly for just the second time in her career, (the first time against St. Trinians) Overall that’s the loss to true fans of Championship racing, last year Rachel and Zen should have faced off 2 or 3 times, this year 2 or 3 times, no one should have been scared, but egos got in the way (Moss scared in 09, Jackson scared in 2010)

11 Nov 2010 12:28 PM

Both had reasons to duck the other, I wouldn’t have shipped east to face Rachel with any horse in 09 especially after seeing her break 2 of Ruffians records in the Mother Goose, and I wouldn’t have brought a struggling horse in Rachel anywhere to face Zenyatta this year so there were excuses all around and they were legit.  The problem though with the Moss’s is that the record was so important to them and now it means nothing, but they were not willing to test her in races that meant something.  For example, what does a three-peat mean to you, or even back to back, Curlin Back to Back in the JCGC, that means something, Goldikova Back to back to back in the BC Mile, that means something, ducking every race of consequence on both coasts, not asking them to travel, but you ducked the HWGC run at your home track. Let me say this if she runs and wins that or is impressive in that race and finishes second, she’s got HOY wrapped up unanimously, without a doubt, but you can’t put all your eggs in the BC bowl, because its just 1 race honestly yes supposedly the top race in the country but you know what its only been run for 25 or 26 years, and what you now have is 0 wins against open company in 2010, Zero wins in a race where a Grade 1 winner started.  And you are begging for HOY on the merit of 19/20, well im sorry that’s not good enough because you couldn’t beat Pepper’s Pride who was 19/19 and never lost, and you didn’t beat personal Ensign because she retired undefeated.  So ask yourself who is to blame here, point the finger at the Moss’s for the most uninspiring 3 years of racing we’ve seen, which led to her only getting 2 weeks in the media, and to sheriffs for not preparing this wonderful mare to be ready to deal with running against Grade 1 quality horses on dirt.  Sorry there was no 3 year old Switch or optional claimer Gambler’s Justices in the field. It was her first time against a field of legit grade 1 winners on dirt and she failed to get the job done, But it certainly wasn’t her fault or due to her lack of effort, her class is what kept her from being embarrassed, her connections certainly didn’t help but more so put her so far behind the eight ball it reminded me of Jackson’s blunders earlier this year.  Both West coast guys, both made mistakes, that’s part of the game.  Horse of the year was decided on the track, not back during the 60 mins broadcast where they gave Zenyatta five mins in the spotlight, Blame is your rightful deserving Horse of the Year,  Im just saying!!!!

11 Nov 2010 12:28 PM

Manny - of the horses Zenyatta defeated in 2009, please list the 35 G1 races they won in 2009.

Lazmannick - I did not bring Rachel into the conversation, Carlos did and he asked for stats and they were supplied.

Saratoga Tony - love your posts!

11 Nov 2010 12:33 PM
Pam S.

Hey Jimmy,

Don't tell me to get over it.  I posted that Blame being voted HOY this year was not an absolute certainty like you said it was, and there are about 700 people just on this blog who will back me up, not counting the professional turf writers.  So what I posted was hardly nonsense.

The Zenyatta critics keep posting the same old tired arguments they did before the Classic.  But it's after the Classic.  Zenyatta raced on the sport's biggest day and biggest stage, against the BEST dirt routers in the world, horses her critics did NOT expect her to be competitive with, had a crappy trip and struggled with the track like last-place Quality Road did, and she lost by INCHES??  You don't think that won anybody over??  Yeah, she's a 6-year-old mare, still racing at the top level.  You see any other females of any age in that race?  How about last year??  And you think all that matters is those INCHES??

You share Jason's viewpoint, that's fine.  But understand that HOY voting is not a done deal, because you and Jason won't be the only ones voting, that's all I'm saying.  You won't hear me declaring, hey, slam-dunk Zenyatta, sure thing, no reason to even have the voting.  That's because I'm intelligent enough to realize that it's not ENTIRELY a game of INCHES.

11 Nov 2010 12:34 PM
Ted from LA

I think the criteria for Horse of the Year needs to be more clearly stated.  For example, what if the candidate only resembles the backside of a horse.  Does that candidate still garner consideration?  Because if so, I throw my vote to Sarah Palin.

11 Nov 2010 12:36 PM

@LAZMANNICK - I believe I said 4th graders, but I suppose my point was the same, but until this point I've only mentioned Rachel (Curlin too) to illustrate that each year is different.

It's the Z-ealots that are mostly chiming in with buh buh buh but Rachel as a crutch for what Zenyatta didn't do this year...  That argument is so last year, and has zero baring on the 2010 award.  

But in the interest of distinguishing this year from last:

I won't disagree that last year's crop of 3 and 4 year olds was probably weak by historical comparisons, but it's the same crop that Z beat in the Classic last year.  Were they measurably better by the time they faced Z?  I doubt it, but I certainly can't prove it.

At the end of the day, they were what they were; the best 2009 had to offer.  Whatever that was, Rachel took them on, and she beat them, some more than once.  All the while, Z's team played it safe, stock piling just enough chips to go all in on the Classic.

This year's crop, I believe was more than a little better, but Zenyatta's connections didn't allow her to take them on until the end of her season.  Again they went all in.  This time they got beat.  If racing against mostly 2nd rate competition and beating a weak field (by BC standards anyway) wasn't enough, should going all in and losing be enough to win the award?

Until now, it was you talking about Rachel not me.   Did I miss something?  Is someone claiming Rachel should be HOY in 2010 too?  If we're starting a Rachel vs. Z in 2010 argument, then OK, I'll take Z this time.  If we're not, it's Blame.

11 Nov 2010 12:39 PM
Zen's Auntie

while we are on awards

Congratulations to - KyTB Owners Horseman of the year and  George Woolf memorial Jockey of the year award winner Calvin Borel.  

Well certainly has passion part down right?

11 Nov 2010 12:48 PM
Tom FV

Tony, as a good friend of mine said, "horse of the year should never have to be explained to the casual race goer"

Zenyatta wouldn't, Blame will.

Based strictly on performance and leaving heart and feelings out of it? Certainly not Blame and maybe neither. Logic has rarely figured in racing. Not even the most astute handicapper can totally disassociate feeling. They can't beat a certain trainer or jockey, they get beat everytime they go with this or that etc. Even THEY put feeling into it.

If we didn't we'd not be human, some people on these blogs who are saying leave emotion out of it are the WORST about leading with their emotion. Whether that is dislike, the need to be right all the time or love it's still there for everyone to see.

Footlick, well put. My vague response to Jason about popularity, my original comment was similar to yours.

11 Nov 2010 12:48 PM

This is what John Pricci had to say about HOTY:

"Among the arguments made here several weeks ago about voting for Zenyatta as 2010 Horse of the Year regardless of what happened in the Breeders’ Cup Classic; that transcendent horses need to be recognized.

Whether you accept it or not Zenyatta is HOTY in more ways than one.

Recall that there is no Horse of the Year guidebook to consult.

There will be no expounding further on what a Horse of the Year resume is; voters need to settle that question within their own conscience and let the heavens fall.

I’ve surfed the Internet for Thoroughbred storylines in the wake of Zenyatta’s “Quest for Perfection,” and it’s been heartening to see all the positive reaction following such heartfelt disappointment.

Because of Zenyatta‘s hulking presence, the lead-up to this year’s Classic was unprecedented."

Jason until there are clear cut guidelines this will always be a debate. Until they say that the intangibles can not be weighed in you have your school of thought, but many others have another. Hopefully what is best for racing all around will be done.

11 Nov 2010 1:06 PM
Bill Daly

I'm a big believer in horses for courses and like most of you can recount tales of horses that moved way up over certain racetracks. I think the most accurate and fitting tribute to Zenyatta is how well she ran over a racetrack she had never raced over.  She almost beat Blame on his favorite track.  That should place her talents in context and certainly means more than any award. I'm not saying this to placate anybody or to add to the insane HOY clamor. Just sayin' she's as good as advertised. That should be enough for anybody.

11 Nov 2010 1:24 PM
Zen's Auntie

Wow too much Coffee - ok since you asked Shane and it is still unclear to me how the HOTY is decided I will tell you why I feel like Zenyatta should be considered for this award.

This year in her body of work she broke MANY World records. This year  alone. While I admit her entire career sets her up for these record breaking opportunities I say race a Super Horse till 6 and see if it can be done again. This is what makes a HOTY not 3 grade 1 wins – look here:

March 13th won her 15th in a row a grade G1 spotting the 2nd place horse 10+ lbs.

On April 9th she showed up Over 1000 miles from home to face the Reigning HOTY who couldnt make it and won her 2nd Grade 1 of the year tying  Cigar, Citation and  Ribot for most consecutive modern day TB victories.  

On June 13th she broke that World Recognized record with 17 consecutive wins.  In doing so in a grade 1 race she also succeeded in  tying the World record for most grade 1 wins in a row.

On August 7th she Broke the world record for most consecutive grade 1 wins with her 18th consecutive  Victory tying the record of Bayakoa for most grade 1 lifetime won by a filly or mare. Tying the great Eclipse (remember these are Eclipse awards ) for most consecutive wins

On October 2nd she Broke that record of Bayakoa winning her 13th Grade 1 and also surpassed Eclipse to rise to 19 in a row.  She also surpassed the great Ouija Board for all time earnings by a NA female racehorse

On Nov 6th she came over 2000 miles to race in the BC Classic and lost her first race to place 2nd by a short head earning enough $ to surpass all Female race horses in Earnings.  

Now I have left my emotion out of it and just looked at what she has accomplished - these are WORLD records set this year.  

Save Goldikova , who threepeats at the BC turf mile - no other horse in the running for HOTY has set any WORLD records this year now have they?

11 Nov 2010 1:27 PM

Somehow,somewhere,at any day,even the best get beat. Blame won. They all ran a great race!! Smith rode her like she always rides. Great jock!! But Blame won! Thats all there is too it!!  

11 Nov 2010 1:42 PM

Right on, MonicaV.  Very well put.

11 Nov 2010 1:44 PM
Moon Star

Jason, it's wrong of you to tell fans of Zenyatta not to feel emotion towards her when all you've ever done is bad mouth her like you're her jealous ex-lover. If that's not emotion than I don't know what is!

You're the only writer still saying negative things about her. After her performance in the Classic nobody doubts her talent any more, even Beyer called her great. Nobody else had anything personal against her, they just didn't think she was good enough to compete with top males on dirt until she proved them wrong. But you still won't acknowledge how great she ran because your dislike of her is personal, and that's pretty weird because she's just a horse for pete's sake!

11 Nov 2010 1:45 PM
Jason Shandler

Where did I ever tell you guys not to show emotion Monn Star? What I wrote was, emotion has no place in the Horse of the Year voting. Big difference there.

I have nothing against the horse. But if it makes you feel better, I will send her a Christmas card and some apples next month. And, maybe a few condolance peppermints after the voting in January.

11 Nov 2010 1:57 PM

@Zen's Auntie - Yours is the first post I've seen that makes a rational argument for Zenyatta stemming from on-the-track accomplishments.

I would argue, however, they speak more for a lifetime achievement award than Horse of the Year.  What you listed are the cumulative results of an impressive career.  

My problem is that without the context of recent history, what she did this year is win 5 races against mostly soft competition.

My belief is that HOY consideration should be limited to what happens on the track over the course of a single calendar year.  Had any of the streaks, accomplishments, etc. occurred in totality in 2010, I'd be on board, but I wouldn't suggest a baseball player who sets all-time records for home runs and RBIs win the MVP award in a season where he only hit .260, and drove in 40 runs.

Seasons stand alone own.  Historic careers are built on consistency and excellence.  While clearly achieving the latter this year, I don't believe she was them most impressive at the former.

11 Nov 2010 2:16 PM

The Breeders Cup is over and what I thought ALL YEAR would happen did happen.  Zenyatta couldnt win against males on dirt.  Now it's time  to switch gears and get back to Triple Crown Talk !  Uncle Mo was simply amazing and now is the time to start talking TRIPLE CROWN.  Can Mo go 1 1/2 ?  Will his speed carry him the distance and will BAT improve enough to make it a race with the amazing Mo?

How many days until May ?

11 Nov 2010 2:17 PM
Paula Higgins

Ted from LA, LOL the one thing you cannot say about Sarah Palin is that she homely, whether you like her or not.

11 Nov 2010 2:25 PM

Funny thing is this, Quality Road win tickets and Zenyatta win tickets were both worth the same amount at the end of the race.

Draynay 10 Nov 2010 10:02 PM

Did Quality Road's last place finish ticket pay more than Zenyatta's 2nd place finish?

11 Nov 2010 2:28 PM

Trevor Denman needs to stay in California. Wow! He sounded like someone died when Zenyatta lost. His call of "Blame by a head and Zenyatta second" as his voice was cracklin was classic! Hey Trevor, Blame's victory was un-be-liev-able!!!!!!!!!!

11 Nov 2010 2:43 PM
Billy's Empire

"Restriction to races against under achieving three year old fillies and not having the gumption to face older fillies and mares……beating up on inferior three year old colts that other than Summer Bird and Big Drama (sprint) have done nothing of distinction since and not much before……..facing off against second rate G1 older horses that won a single G1 before she met them and nothing else since?"

Laz, do you feel better buddy. Basically, in Lazmanick's world, the 3yo campaign of 2009 does not count b/c no one was good? Your statement is so friggin off base it is not funny. She beat up the 3yo boys, beat up the 3yo girls, and then beat up older males. There was no one left for her to race excpet your handle with kid gloves Zenyatta on a plastic track.  I love how you call 3yo colts inferior to a 3yo filly. YES, THEY WERE, BECAUSE RACHEL WAS AWESOME IN 2009 and destroyed everything in her path.

Zenyatta faced second rate allowance horses for 3 years with the exception of 3 races, maybe 4. What's your point son? I have more respect for Rachel and her 2009 campaign than I ever will for Zenyatta's 3 year campaign

11 Nov 2010 3:06 PM

Blah, blah, blah

11 Nov 2010 3:38 PM

Jockey Club Gold lose to a mediocre Haynesfield (where again did he finish in the Classic?), you are not HOTY.

11 Nov 2010 3:39 PM
Ginger Punch or Just Ginger

For Centuries horseman have raced the "best against the best" time and time again, and have bred "the best to the best in hopes of producing the best".  Those  horseman are truely the Sportsmen.  The real shame in all this is that Zenyatta throughout her career was NOT given the ultimate opportunity to prove that she was the best.  Her Classic race demonstrated to me her enormous courage and heart.  If her connections had had enough faith and trust in her they would have given her the opportunity to prove over the duration of her career that she deserves to be concidered the greatest of all time.  For example take Goldikova she has raced 21 times, 15 wins, 3 seconds, 2 thirds, out of the money 1 time.  She has raced in MANY of the most prestigious races in Europe and consistantly against males.  Zenyatta's connections have been obsessed with keeping her perfect...perfection is deeper than that.  Champions become Champions when they meet the best time and time again.  What a shame, a travisty...questions will always remain for me.  Oh, by the way The Claiborne family and Mrs. Dilschneider are TRUE Horsemen & Sportsmen.  CONGRATULATIONS TO THEM AND BRAVO TO BLAME who would not be headed even AFTER the wire on the gallop out. rock on girl!  Now that the big Z has been beaten MAYBE her connections will keep her racing next year and truley give her an opportunity to prove that she can be great.  After all most (except Personal Ensign) eventually get beat it's the path they take that proves greatness.

11 Nov 2010 3:52 PM


See, this is where these debates lead to. Eventually one gets driven to making statements one would never make under normal circumstances. One insult follows another and valiant horses get spoken about like they are worthless.

The saddest thing is that the vote hasn't taken place yet, we won't know the result for over two months and nobody mouthing off on here has any real say in the matter.

I don't know who will get the award and neither does anybody else. All I know is that I saw an incredible race in the BCC and that I won't ever forget it, no matter what people on here are reducing it to.

11 Nov 2010 3:57 PM


Laz already did that.

Quick recap...Zenyatta beat the winners of 3 Grade 1 races prior to the Classic.  Then she beat the winners of 22 Grade 1 races in the 2009 Classic. Then Life Is Sweet won the Ladies Classic for another Grade 1 race, then the horses that Zenyatta have come back to win 9 Grade 1 races after she defeated them.

Simple math. 3+22+1+9=35.

11 Nov 2010 4:01 PM

Pam S.,

Rest assured, Blame will NEVER, and I mean EVER be voted HOY over Zenyatta.  Sure, he will get some votes.  Can't help that part since the world is an imperfect place. But it won't even be close. I believe Zenyatta will garner approximately 70-75%.

Here's another thing to watch.  As the days, weeks, and months go by and the voting for HOY gets closer, Blame's win in the Classic will slowly fade from people's memories but Zenyatta's reputation and legacy will increase dramatically, if there's even room for that.

11 Nov 2010 4:07 PM

Uncle Mo = Eskendrya

He has won 3 races wow lifetime achievment award..

11 Nov 2010 4:09 PM
Zen's Auntie

Fair enough Saratoga Tony, so we agree that it takes a lot of horse to break 4 world records setting a standard that all will be judged by for years to come?

Yes it’s a career finish for the ages but the records fell THIS year right?

Ok so then in the face of falling world records will you at least join me in the next logical choice?  Not my man Blame but Goldikova.  

What small thing has she done? Winning 5 for 6 Racing all comers some F&M mostly Open losing to only 1 horse and setting 1 stakes record and 1 world record (3 peating the BC mile) and breaking Miesques record of most  Grade 1’s  for a European female?

The only blasted rule that I can find that defines consideration for HOTY voting  is having 1 NA start so by the vaguest of rules she is eligible right?

I LOVE Blame please understand I’m all over this Kris S 3 back as a winning sound useable horse argument I really have loved him all along.  I just don’t see that his triumphs are that overwhelming by comparison.  I do think based on his package of skills he could be campaigned to true greatness but instead he will have to throw it in the shed.

I really like this colt (nothing I have said anywhere belittles him in any way) his class and manner and pedigree I think the world of Claiborne - always have.

I just feel like, when you really think about it its NOT SIMPLE.

Leon, and others I totally agree an evaluation standard is needed

11 Nov 2010 4:14 PM


I feel like a million bucks.  There were lots of other horses racing in 2009 with great credentials that never got to race against the HOY.  A lot of them were older fillies and mares.  I'm sure they would have liked to, but they never really got the chance.  I guess if everyone would have known what the Woodward field was going to be like before making their commitments elsewherre we might have finally had a decent field.  Even the Clark was a far tougher race.  Have a good dream tonight Billy.

11 Nov 2010 4:24 PM


You're exactly right of course.  Of course this blog about Blame deserving HOY was up even before Quality Road got back to be unsaddled.  I would far rather have a blog telling us about Draynay's betting exploits.  Apparently, in spite of the picks he gave us, he made a lot of money.  I'm proud of him.

11 Nov 2010 4:29 PM

TomFV - your comment illustrates my frustration with some Zenyatta zealots.  You lumped Saratoga Tony, Billy's Empire, Jason and I in with Draynay because you perceive us as Zenyatta haters.  If you actually read the comments posted by us you would see that, with the exception of Draynay, none of the others listed are Zenyatta haters but merely people who believe that Blame should win HOY based on 2010.

As for me, after the Breeder's Cup, I posted that I was in awe of Zenyatta's performance and that I think a strong argument could be made that she is one of the top 20 North American thoroughbreds of all time.  Then, I read a ton of posts denegrating Blame including one particularly inflammatory post that Blame could not be a true champion because he lost 3 of his first 6 races (albeit not in 2010 which is I thought what we were talking about).  I then listed many true champions who had lost 3 of their first 6 races.  delmarken responded that there are only a handful of true champions in horse racing and intimated that Zenyatta was one of them.  I then listed 11 North American horses and 5 worldwide horses who would likely be considered by most to be better than Zenyatta to combat delmarken's comment.

I have great respect for Zenyatta.  As stated, I believe you could make a strong argument that she is the greatest North American mare of all time and one of the top 20 North American racehorses of all time.  Does that mean she should be HOY.  No.  Not based on this year.  Does that mean she is better than Blame?  Historically speaking, I think so, she has accomplished more.  On the track, I suspect if they met three times this year that Zenyatta would win 1 or 2 of the meetings.  However, I only was able to see them race once this year and Blame won the race fair and square.

I apologize if my comments do not seem intelligent to you or others.  I certainly do not claim that I am more intelligent than any other person on this blog.  However, I would posit that, on this subject, I believe my opinion to be more reasonable than some.  

11 Nov 2010 4:41 PM

Switch the trips between Zenyatta and Blame in the BC and tell me that Blame gets there and wins the race - seriously.  Anyone who still believes that Zenyatta cannot beat males on dirt is an idiot.  She was too far back and had too much ground to make up.  I recall that she passed several very nice male horses on the dirt -even the mighty QR.  Zenyatta was "exposed" in the BC as the great racehorse she is.  

11 Nov 2010 4:58 PM


I think there's a horse out tomorrow called Dream On.

11 Nov 2010 5:19 PM

@John - let's meet back here after the votes are tallied. My belief is that not only does Blame take the award, but Zenyatta will receive fewer votes than last year.

@Zen's Auntie - the records you listed fell this year, but it took 3 years to reach, and HOY is a one year award. Still, the logic is the bear I've read.   There is a mentality that Blame is an also ran that got lucky. While of course nothing could be further from the truth, if not him, then yeah, I'll go Goldikova, but I don't see the writers getting on board.

@Michelle - while not perfect, Z's trip was far from brutal, or even bad. You're right though, Blame wouldn't have won from that far back, but of course Z always runs from the back. Blame runs from just of the pace. If (here we go with that word again) he did find himself that far back, he's either hurt or got bumped at the start. Of course that's not what happened. He ran how he always runs, and Z ran like she always runs, and he beat her.

11 Nov 2010 5:42 PM
Zen's Auntie

"...She looked pretty marvelous in Defeat"  

Bill Mott 11/11/10

11 Nov 2010 5:44 PM
Carlos in Cali

All I know is this:

Blame won a total of 4 Gr.I's along w/a measly Gr.III race,was soundly trounced in the "prestigious" JCGC and never carried much weight until the BCC.

Zenyatta won a total of 5 Gr.I's and carried macktrucks on her back.Her only blemish this year & her whole career is a loss by a dwindling couple of inches in the Classic.It's not like Blame was pulling away from her,beat her by open lengths or was the better horse.It came down to a head-bob, a virtual dead-heat.

You can bet the voters will take these facts into account & will cast their ballots 'objectively' this time.

HOY is NOT so simple!

Folks,pay no attention to the man behind the curtain... err- Jason! He loves to instigate.  LOL

11 Nov 2010 5:45 PM

Who did more for racing this year Zen or Blame couple of years from now no know will ever hear of Blame while Zen will go down in history

11 Nov 2010 5:47 PM

Michelle says switch places between Zenyatta and Blame and Blames loses. What? That is what it has come down to Michelle? Really? Common! Seriously? These Zenyatta posts are EMBARRASSING!

11 Nov 2010 5:48 PM
Saratoga AJ

Moss has not totally ruled out Zenyatta racing again.

How's this scenario?:

Why not keep her in semi training like last Winter, and let her go out a winner in her last race in the oldest and most historic and famous West Coast race of all...the "Big Cap"...the first "Hundred Grander"..the Santa Anita Handicap in March. Go out a winner in style, beating the colts in her last race.  Go out a winner just like perhaps the most famous West Coast based horse in history, Seabiscuit did when he finally won the Big Cap in his last race in the Spring of 1940.

One warm up start in a filly and mare stakes race, then on to the SA H'Cap for her last horrah. I know the California Racing Assoc. would love to see the attendance that March day at Santa Anita.

On dirt. And she wins big. Beating the colts in her last race.

How's that for an exclamation on her great resume?

Just like Seabiscuit.

Great way to go out, wouldn't you say?


Please, next time you write a blog again like the one @ 10:23, please do me a favor. Break it up into chapters. This way I can take a break and come back later to finish it! :)

11 Nov 2010 5:55 PM
Mike Relva


No,your wrong! You fell on your face with selecting QR to win. Tell me,genius was QR money in the bank?

11 Nov 2010 5:59 PM
Zen's Auntie

Come back Special! - I'm glad to hear Larry Jones is coming back

11 Nov 2010 6:02 PM

HoY is ZENYATTA.  She did everything asked of her winning 5 top class races and losing by a whisker in the BC Classic. BLAME was well beaten in the JC Gold Cup.  You gave the HoY last year to a horse that did not even run in the Classic, so don't put all the emphasis on it now to decide the award this year.  

11 Nov 2010 6:04 PM


Talking of betting exploits, was there a strange exotic bet on who comes in last and that's where he made all his money?

All joking aside, something was not right with QR for him to stop this badly.

11 Nov 2010 6:09 PM

I would like to point people in the direction of this post on another blog:

It analyses all of the Group/Grade 1 winner's Goldikova has beaten in her Group 1 victories (not including Group 1 races where she was placed but still beat other Group 1 winners e.g. French 1000 Guineas, Prix Jacques le Marois etc).

As you can see, it is an astonishing total and the majority of the horses defeated are males. However, her female races such as the 2009 Prix Rothschilds are still incredibly strong races, and certainly offer far better form than any of Zenyatta's distaff races this year.

I've said before, I find it difficult to reject Zenyatta for the third time in a row but from an objective point of you, her form and campaign this year has not been HOTY esque. She faced no Grade 1 winners prior to the Classic, raced only in restricted races (does anyone really doubt she could have defeated Awesome Gem and Richard's Kid?) and lost the one top class race in open company. From a sentimental point of view, yes she will probably win HOTY but she did not have a campaign worthy of the award. Blame her connections for that.

And BTW, being a 'miler' is no handicap when judging a top class horse. A champion sprinter is still a champion, likewise a champion stayer. A champion miler is still a champion, and with her achievements this year, Goldikova is undisputedly Cartier Horse of the Year.

11 Nov 2010 6:36 PM
Ted from LA


Of course something was wrong with Quality Road.  Draynay picked him to win.  I was surprised he broke from the gate.

11 Nov 2010 6:40 PM

I cannot believe they have retired Blame so soon.  My gosh.  Here is a mare running at six, Goldi is going to run at six. We have a young strong male retiring so soon.  

We have enough studs in the breeding shed, what we need is more horses running and showing their greatness like Mosses and the Wertimers have done.   Claiborne already has Blame's sire in there, they could have waited another year on Blame.  Qr shoudnt be retired yet either.     Thats whats wrong with this sport.  They need to keep their good horses running longer.   That sure is embarrasing that the mares running longer than the males.  

11 Nov 2010 6:53 PM


I want a copy of Draynay's new booke:  "How To Pick Winners When the Races Are Over"...........I especially want to read the chapter..."This Dirt Is No Good"

11 Nov 2010 6:55 PM

Saratoga AJ.......I know.  It even put me to sleep.

11 Nov 2010 6:57 PM
Mike Relva


I think as usual you illustrate you know little at best!

11 Nov 2010 7:01 PM

Even if Zen doesn't get HOY...which would be a huge black eye for the industry...Zen will go down as one of the greatest race horses in history. Blame is a great colt but he will be forgotten like so many before him. The Zen haters can ramble all they want about whatever they want...but at the end of the day...there is nothing they can do about it. Zen is the winner where it counts and where it the hearts of the fans...

11 Nov 2010 7:03 PM

Ridiculous to have fans' input for Eclipse awards????  How odd because part of the vote on the Cartier awards comes from fans.  I guess the Euros out-class us again.

11 Nov 2010 7:13 PM


I guess the curse took longer this year. It didn't affect QR until the turn for home. The jinx-master has lost some of his power.

11 Nov 2010 7:19 PM


Amazon won't carry them. Not enough interest.

11 Nov 2010 7:22 PM
screen prospect

Zen does NOT deserve it.

Goldikova was 3 and beat the best in the world. Their preferred distance. She was 3 they were colts and older horses as well. She avoided NO ONE.

Golikova at 4 went head to head. It didnt matter if they were colts or mares. Older younger. Group 1 grade 1. Ducked no one.

Golikova at 5 same deal.

If you want to Blame anyone blame Zen's owners. Zen DID NOT face the BEST on their preferred surface. Zen did NOT face the best in America on any given week.

WHERE was she in the Steven Foster?

Where was she in the Gold Cup?

She was running on synthetic. A surface on the way out. Her competition questionable. He season was almost perfect. It was not good enough.

Zenyatta would have been the best I have seen. Golikova exemplifies what racing is about. To be the BEST. Not to be conservative. TO BE BOLD. GREATNESS is FEARLESS.

Zen is a great horse. She has her place in history.

Zen does NOT deserve HOTY.

You know where to place the Blame.

Good call Jason.

Hope Your BC was profitable.

11 Nov 2010 7:24 PM
Mike Relva


Just more boring,lame broken record junk you spew.

11 Nov 2010 7:28 PM

What a bunch of stuff and nonsense. Only two people on here up to this point, Jill Baffert if that is really her and one other have or ever will win either a Breeders Cup race or an Eclipse.

It was a wonderful two days of racing and a great race in the Classic as it should be. The publicity Zenyatta has brought to racing has been great, the infighting and childish name calling has been painful.

The blog writers who keep perpetuating it should be ashamed and aware that long after the Zenyatta fans have moved on or the fair weather fans of anyone except Zenyatta, those writers will only have the diehard racing fans and industry connections to try and deal with.

What's really ridiculous is all the tough talk that is going on by certain so called handicappers who insist on being rude about the comments, particularly those Zenyatta's fans are making. Remember these are handicappers and people who wouldn't know Mr. Potato Head from a good racing prospect. If so they would take all of those millions they're winning and invest in a horse and I bet they'd be hoping they could get one just like Zenyatta.

11 Nov 2010 7:32 PM

Horse of the Year is Zenyatta.

Case Closed.

11 Nov 2010 7:36 PM

Walter, I would say Draynay, Billy, Gladiator and company are the types who have to find something negative to say about other horses, since their picks rarely come in.

Similar to a small child who, when corrected, tries to find something bad about the parent or teacher. Actually it's quite humorous ---  in children at least.

11 Nov 2010 7:38 PM

Saratoga AJ;

I think that seeing Zenyatta run in the Santa Anita Handicap would be spectacular! That scenario sounds great!


11 Nov 2010 7:43 PM

Here's the deal...Blame did not have a HOY year.  He lost to an average New York bred called Haynesfield by four lengths.  He beat an injured horse, Battle Plan, in the Foster whom was pulling up.  He struggled to get by a tiring Quality Road all the while getting 5 lbs from him. And Blame, on his own home turf, was all out to just hang on to beat Zenyatta whom had the worst, yet greatest second place finish in horseracing history.

Blame does not, nor will not win the HOY.

Matter of fact, if you take Zenyatta out of the equation I still would not vote for Blame as HOY.  I would vote for Goldikova.  If you would take out Goldikova out of the equation I still would not vote for Blame as HOY.  I would vote for Uncle Mo.

Blame is not, nor will be the HOY.

11 Nov 2010 7:44 PM

Clearly, you have no idea what you're talking about.  Blame is a good horse, but not a great one.  If you take into consideration the run Zenyatta made, you must be on some other planet if you think Blame is deserving of this award.

11 Nov 2010 7:54 PM


I have to disagree with you.  The matter isn't quite so simple this year.  The argument for sharing the title is much stronger than last year because of the following considerations:

1) The comparison between Zenyatta's and Rachel Alexandra's campaign and achievement was like chalk to cheese.  "Zen" had only the Breeder's Cup victory in her favour last year.

2) This year, although Zenyatta lost in a photo finish, there is little doubt that she's Blame's equal and should lose no marks in defeat (her only loss of the season).

3) Blame didn't do his HOTY bid any favours when being humbled by Haynesfield in the JCGC.  In fact he lost several marks in that defeat IMO.

4) Zenyatta won all her other Grade 0ne engagements, albeit that they were in weak and restricted competition (except for the Vanity w/ St Trinians).  She won them all, narrowly but pulling the proverbial train.

5) Although Blame's claim to fame is that he captured the "scalp" of the "Dirt/Synthetic monarchy" in "His Royal Highness" Quality Road in the Whitney and "Queen" Zenyatta in the Classic, the latter has dwarfed his impact by the way that she has captured the hearts of the Racing Fraternity, like no other thoroughbred in recent times (including Rachel Alexandra last year).

5) Her celebrity status is not empty because she won 19 straight races and proved ON-THE-TRACK that she was the best of her generation in ability, whether on Dirt or Synthetics, although she wasn't given a fair chance to silence all the doubters more often.

6) Comparing the campaigns of both horses show Zenyatta running and winning one more race than Blame did, and in fairness, although he ran all his races in open company, he had no choice being a colt (a point that should be considered in order to be fair since a filly/mare shouldn't be penalized for competing in her distaff division).  The only penalty would be in the perception that she ducked open company and even competing against the best of her division, as in the Personal Ensign at Saratoga, to game the system.

7) The HOTY title, being a celebration of the champion horse of the season, might run into credibility problems if it fails to honour/celebrate a worthy champion that,through no fault of her own, was not allowed to capture the title without controversy for a third straight year.

8) I feel that Zenyatta should be crowned this year, inspite of the reprehensibly faulty strategy of her "bone-headed" connections (I mean that they were stubborn, inflexible and without foresight, causing the Mare not only to be stuck in California but also to be stuck on 19 wins with Pepper's Pride).

9) In order to be fair to Blame and his connections, he should also be crowned, thus sharing the title.

This is a very different situation from last year.  I think that Quality Road was the only horse in the BCC that could outrightly neutralize Zenyatta's claim to the HOTY with a narrow victory over her because of his record coming into the race.  Blame's JCGC loss severely hampered his status, hence our current polemics/dilema.

Let the title be shared this year.  Both horses deserve it. Plain and simple?  Maybeso maybenot but this will make everybody rest and breathe a sigh of relief.  

11 Nov 2010 8:10 PM

Now it's time  to switch gears and get back to Triple Crown Talk !  Uncle Mo was simply amazing and now is the time to start talking TRIPLE CROWN.  Can Mo go 1 1/2 ?  Will his speed carry him the distance and will BAT improve enough to make it a race with the amazing Mo?

How many days until May ?

Draynay 11 Nov 2010 2:17 PM

Let's see how these horse's you named do at the 1 1/4 Derby distance first, then you could talk about the 1 1/2 Belmont distance for these horse's. Read's like these might be your early choice's.

11 Nov 2010 8:15 PM
My Juliet

   The Champ Rachel Alexandra's HOTY last yr. has been ment'd & I'd like to add this. A lot has been said @how much Zenyatta has done for U.S. racing in the past 3 yrs. John Sherriffs even said it was a reason to give her HOTY this yr. The truth is no horse did more for racing last yr than Rachel Alexandra. She brought new fans to the sport & energized old ones. Kids showed up at her races with homemade signs, adults bought hats & t-shirts to show their support.'Vogue' even featured her with a full page photo & article. Rachel led the fan polls, Rachel set the racing world on fire. Some track lifers said she was simply the best racehorse they had seen in decades.

    Rachel A deservedly won HOTY for her outstanding year on the track. The perfect 8 for 8, 3 Gr1 wins against males, setting many records, making history. When it was time to discuss HOTY, I don't rem anyone ment'ng what she did for horseracing, all the fans she brought, how she energized the sport like no horse in a long time. Why...because her record on the track in 2009 was enough.  

11 Nov 2010 8:19 PM

Billy's Empire,  How are you holding up since MTB has retired? lol...

11 Nov 2010 8:20 PM

Zens Auntie

Thankyou for a great insightfull post.

Saratoga Tony

Your right, her accomplishments are definatelly a Lifetime Achievement award.  She is amoung the bar that all horses will be measured by forever. She will go down forever as one of the greats.

So she should recieve HOY, The Peoples Choice AND The Lifetime Achievement award. Now we are getting closer. lol

11 Nov 2010 8:23 PM

How about Uncle Mo for Horse of the Year?

11 Nov 2010 8:28 PM

Saratoga AJ -Keelerman

I know it's been mentioned a few times already and I know it probably wouldn't happen because of the timing, the age thing and maybe the travel, but what better way for Zenyatta to go out than to go to Dubai and the World Cup.  The race intself is only a little over four months away, it's on synthetics, the supposed world's best will be there,  I guess it's too much to hope.

11 Nov 2010 8:28 PM


Is that you?  Glad to hear from you.  I guess in a way we are all children at heart.  Hhave a good one.

11 Nov 2010 8:33 PM

I guess I'm not the only sap here who wants Zenyatta to race again.

God, yes. Please, Zenyatta race again.

I don't care where she finishes.  The world loves her.  

11 Nov 2010 8:43 PM

Laz- it's on a plastic track.  So it will just enhance her reputation as Queen of Plastic.

11 Nov 2010 8:46 PM


Read my posts again!! I have never said anything negative about Zenyatta so make sure about something before you post it! But I have said alot of negative things about the nonsense her fans are spewing. Oh and by the way relva the one thing I do know is that Blame beat Zenyatta and I got a $100 to win ticket still to cash. BAM!!!!

11 Nov 2010 8:47 PM

That's right people....keep on calling Blame an average horse.

All you're really saying is that Zenyatta LOST TO AN AVERAGE HORSE.

Nice work Zenyatta fans. Make her victory seem less....she couldn't beat an average horse no one will remember. She didn't have to make up 20 lengths on him...maybe five at best.

The leaders quit, that average Blame passed them, got jostled, bullied his way through, fought off Zen and won.

Do you people think about how you're undermining not only her performance but also her legacy? By making fun of the entire field, you're admitting she couldn't beat crappy dirt horses who could only manage to go 10 panels in 2:02 and change. Idiots!

All I know is that Big Red closed from FAR back, ran each quarter faster than the preceding one, and set the track record which still stands. It's not impossible to close from way out of it, and he had to make up 15 lengths on Sham, who did not quit like the leaders of the 2010 Classic did.

Now there is the greatest that ever lived!

11 Nov 2010 9:17 PM

Zen's Auntie,

Man O' War had a 29 foot stride, and at the Kentucky Horse Park, they have a memorial showing this.

Pretty cool, huh? Also Secretariat was documented as having between a 25-26 foot stride.

11 Nov 2010 9:26 PM


I'm a big fan of Goldikova too, and she really surprised me how she absolutely destroyed the toughest field on the BC card.  However, she's unlikely to win Cartier Horse of the Year.  As Lazmannick pointed out, she isn't at the very top of the European rankings, though she should move up off the BC win.  Makfi (who beat Goldi) and Canford Cliffs to name two are both rated higher and I suspect both would have also defeated all the Americans in the BC Mile.  However, by pulling off the Epsom Derby/Arc double, Workforce should be hard to deny for the Euro HOY.

11 Nov 2010 9:36 PM


We are on the same page with a point system and a outlined defination to the requirements for HOY. By the posts above the general consences seems to be the same. So how do we actually get it done so we arent just typing about it?

Jason, such generosity! Sending Zenyatta a Christmas card and a box of apples for Christmas and possibly as a extra cherry on top a couple mints after the voting was done and all. Gosh.

11 Nov 2010 10:00 PM

"Could they have run against colts? Yeah they could, and look what happened to Rachel when they went to that well too often."

Yeah, Donut Jimmy - but it didn't happen to Goldi! It's a subjective thing. Fillies and mares race colts all the time overseas. Not to argue - but I thought that should be pointed out.

11 Nov 2010 10:01 PM

Well if it's all about the Breeders Cup then why didn't Zenyatta get HOTY last year?  I don't think it's emotion.  She's an amazing competitor and has proved that.  What else do you need?  Rachel got it last year, and she's a great racehorse, but she's not Zenyatta.  Give me a break with your logic.

11 Nov 2010 10:16 PM

I made my post 300-400 comments back stating that Blame should be HOY.

Now i'm going to tackle something that i do not think anyone has mentioned:


11 Nov 2010 10:16 PM

One final afterthought: it's HORSE of the year, not male of the year or female of the year. Doesn't that suggest that each has to best the other?

11 Nov 2010 10:16 PM

TCC: Uncle Mo will get the 1 1/2. He has Arch in his pedigree LOL

11 Nov 2010 10:18 PM
Zen's Auntie

As Much as I Love watching her race Guys, I think its time to let her do something else.  3 years at the top is enough to ask of her.

She is sound and safe and I will tell you what - I dont think I could stand anything ever happening to her on the track.

Still, in my dreams she makes a comeback and kicks butt like we all know she would.

I am still numb that I wont ever get to see that kind of run out of the greatest Mare ever again.  

I think free style dressage demos all over the country might suit her. Less stress and low chance of injury and a chance for me to show up and touch the great mare.

This bonus year of Zenyatta has been a great gift to all of us.

But... if work times for her start showing up in my inbox..... ;^)

God Bless all the Thoroughbreds.

11 Nov 2010 10:22 PM
Mike Relva


Your act was way old a long time ago,you mask your inability to pick a winner by attempting to tear down a great horse.

11 Nov 2010 10:35 PM

Michelle; we can't switch the trips between Blame and Zenyatta.  If these 2 faced each other in large fields 10 times Blame would always be in a more tactical position and Zenyatta would always be at the back of the pack.

I will agree with you that Zenyatta was exposed for the great horse she is.  Too bad she didn't have more of that exposure.

11 Nov 2010 10:37 PM

LAZMANNICK: we can only  hope.

A prayer or two probably wouldn't hurt.

11 Nov 2010 11:16 PM

All you Zen haters - What does Zenyatta have to do to earn your respect?  I just don't get the disrespect and the hatred.  She raced in the BC Classic in 2009 and 2010 against males and finished in front of numerous very nice horses - oh wait 2009 doesn't count since it wasn't on dirt - I forgot.    

11 Nov 2010 11:37 PM

Gladiator - you are entitled to your opinion just like I am entitled to mine.  I am not on here bashing Blame, Quality Road or any of the other horses.  I simply believe Zenyatta was the best horse in the race and with a better trip would have won.  Wrong or right that is what I believe.  I am not blindly defending her like some of the nonsense I have seen on these blogs.  She got beat fair and square but to say she was totally outclassed or overrated is just wrong.    

11 Nov 2010 11:53 PM

We have a Jimmy imposture on this blog. Jimmy with the message at 11:48 am today (11 Nov 2010), you need to change your name. For the record, that was a different Jimmy than myself, the one with the well developed ideas based on facts, and the facts that state Blame should be Horse of the Year. By the way, great posts by Saratoga Tony. You my friend know what you are talking about. Keep fighting the good fight, although it is nearly impossible to get through to Zenyatta Fan. Also, did someone on here really write that Uncle Mo is the next Eskendereya? Really? Way to be optimistic about next year...

Pam S. First off, there are not 700 people on here supporting Zenyatta for HOTY. There are 15 people cranking out 30 posts an hour a piece. Big difference. Also, they are extremely passionate fans, which is quite alright, unless that passion overrules common sense. As for your line about inches not being a big deal, why don't you tell that to Real Quiet, a horse that lost the tripe crown by an inch. How about Native Dancer or Zenyatta, horses that lost undefeated records by inches. How about Alysheba in the 1987 BC Classic. He would be a 2 time HOTY and 2 time BC Classic winner if it weren't for those few inches. Inches are a little more important in the game of horse racing than you give credit. But once again, I DO AGREE that Zenyatta was awesome in defeat, and her performance we incredible, but this blog is about HOTY and that title goes to Blame. When people are not blinded by emotion, they can see that too.

11 Nov 2010 11:55 PM

Awesome post My Juliet!!!!!!!

11 Nov 2010 11:56 PM

Manny - no. I asked you for the list of the 35 G1 races won in 2009 by the horses Zenyatta beat in 2009. Not 2008, not 2010, just 2009.

If Lookin At Looky won by a head over Zenyatta, I wonder if Jill Baffert would be writing what she did. I tend to think not.

11 Nov 2010 11:59 PM

For all those who doubt Zenyatta, because of Jockey and trainer error, I will remind you she still won 5 Grade 1s thi year vs 3 for Blame, Blame lost heade to head with haynesfield who was nowhere to be found in the BC. I am simply glad to be alive and witness to the greatest horse to run since Cigar, Ruffian, Spectacular Bid, and of course Secrateriat(who by the way did lose 4 times) Blame is very talented, no doubt, but he did not do enough, and lost to horses he should not have.. '

She did her job, Jockey did not.. don't blame the horse ;-)

12 Nov 2010 12:33 AM
Richard G

Laz: As someone who covers racing at Meydan, the DWC would be plain stupid for Zenyatta. She doesn't need the purse. She has nothing to gain and everything to lose with respect to her legacy (ala Curlin's second BCC). To even go, she would have to ship in early February and run a prep race (again, ala Curlin). Tapeta is a very different surface than the synthetics she has raced on. AND the last two years, the previous year's runner-up won. Zenyatta will stay at home and watch Lizard's Desire win it. Please everyone just let her be and find a new hero(ine).

12 Nov 2010 12:38 AM
Richard G

@My Juliet: "Some track lifers said she was simply the best racehorse they had seen in decades."

Then they must have been imprisoned. They said the same thing about Big Brown, Rags to Riches, Smarty Jones, Silver Charm and gawd knows how many others. Time for YOU to let HER go, too. She was a one-year wonder, not a four-season 19-1.

12 Nov 2010 12:49 AM

To all of you who keep crying that all G1 races aren't the same, listen up, they are. Although there are different qualifications for Entry, such as Open, Age and Gender restricted. Stop crying about who Zenyatta beat in her G1 races, they don't give that money away, you have to win.  They tried every tactic to beat her and weren't able to.

The fact is in a twelve month period she twice took on the best in the world in an Open G1 race and her performance speaks for itself, one convincing win and one narrow loss.  If you think she got beat, thats fine from a gambling viewpoint but anyone who knows talent and True Greatness would never even consider that Blame is a better Horse. Who has performed better in the last two Classics than Zenyatta?  If Blame had been pinched at the start and found himself far back I would wager, no guarantee, he could not have run the successive 23 and 24 second Quarters Zenyatta did to get back in the race.  There is only one Horse capable and you all witnessed it, Her name is Zenyatta now give what she deserves.

12 Nov 2010 12:50 AM
Saratoga AJ


Not a bad idea except for it took her connections 3 years to come east of the Mississippi. What makes you think they'll ever fly half way around the world?

At least in the SA H'Cap they don't have to fly anywhere.

12 Nov 2010 7:17 AM

@manicomio - You and others need to stop pointing to the JCG as your best case for why Blame should not win the award.  

Two points I'd make.  Haynesfield (a good horse in his own rite) caught a track that couldn't have suited him better and the field worse.  It's unfair to him to discuss him as an also ran.  He's better than any horse Zenyatta beat  prior to the Classic in 2010.  He was any easy pick in that race (lone speed), and my educated guess is he would have finished well in front of Zenyatta if her connections had put her in that race instead of running her against another soft field of restricted company.  The quality of competition argument cannot be won.

Taking all of that out of the equation, once again I will simply point out, Zenyatta lost to the horse that lost to Haynesfield.

Where does that leave us?

12 Nov 2010 7:25 AM

A little bit more of my thinking on what I'll call the Haynesfield problem.

As a hypothetical - what if Zenyatta's connections had put her in the best fields all year.  Fields that would have most definitely included Haynesfield.  Assume that like Blame, she beats him once, loses once.

While Zenyatta is doing this, Blame's connections chose the easy route; running against allowance company (in very soft G Is), and winning.  Not always by a lot, but winning.

Finally all 3, Haynesfield, Blame, and Zenyatta meet on the same track.  Again, flip the outcome again.  In this alternative universe, Zenyatta wins the Classic with Blame finishing a short neck behind and Haynesfield nowhere in sight.

Under this scenario would anyone seriously claim that Blame should by HOY?  I'd venture to say that anyone suggesting it not be Zenyatta would be ridiculed.  

The thing is, this isn't what happened.  Exactly the opposite (the reality of 2010) is what happened.  Only the names have been changed, and love her as we may, we can't give undeserved awards to Zenyatta simply because her name is Zenyatta.

If Z and Blame could switch 2010 seasons, there wouldn't be an argument in the world for Blame to win HOY, which tells me, there really isn't one for Zenyatta.

12 Nov 2010 7:55 AM
Will W

One would have to be simple to buy this argument for Blame as HOY.

12 Nov 2010 8:22 AM
Billy's Empire

Sodapop, I am doing great, thanks for asking. I am glad that he is finally retired. It only took 4 embarrassing losses to get him there, but hey, it is not my money.

Relva, I learned from the best buddy, YOU!

2:24. Thanks for the post.

Chris, I had the winner of half of the BC races over the weekend. My horses come in often. Sorry to pee in your sandbox.

12 Nov 2010 9:11 AM
Jclson( Fan of Nicanor)

Blame is not the Horse of the year Sorry Because of one race he won makes him Horse of the Year.  Look what Zenyatta has done for your industry look what blame did.  You go ahead and put Blame as Horse of the year on paper.  What us true fans saw on the racetrack and for the last two years  We know who is Horse of the year.  NO matter what you put on Paper Zenyatta will be Horse of the Year in us all.

12 Nov 2010 9:24 AM
Jclson(Fan of Nicanor)

I think they should give Zenyatta a well deserve retirement. She has done so much for the owners and trainers and all us fans.  I will miss her dearly but she is 6 years old going on 7 .  Let her be a horse.  We don't want noting to happen to her. We all remember Barbaro and Eight Belles.  We don't want nothing to ha pp en to her.  

12 Nov 2010 9:28 AM
Abigail from Canada

Jason: I respect your point of view on this and there is no question that Blame is a nice colt. But do you not think that awarding this Eclipse as well as all of the others would be less hurtful to the industry, fans and racing community if there were OBJECTIVE criteria? I am a teacher and I'm absolutely horrified to discover that clear criteria for nominating a horse have never been established. Couple this with the East-West imbalance in voters and it seems to me that this becomes entirely subjective. As ajn educator, I want you to know that when you evaluate students this way, it becomes both personal and potentially damaging. What are your views on this, Jason?

12 Nov 2010 9:40 AM

Television ratings nearly tripled from last year???  I would say that's deserving of consideration for the lady who did one thing that racing desparately needs - a horse that stayed in the game long enough for the world to take notice.

As for Claiborne, lest we forget what happened to BC Champ Ferdinand.  There had to be a reason Arthur went his own way.  

Goldikova - one US race, to honor her would be a diservice to all the horses that graced our US tracks this year (and as this article points out, we can't count her prior years' performances).

I was never a fan of Zenyatta's campaign.  I so wanted to see her and experience her on the east coast.  But her BC made me a believer that she should win despite my personal frustrations.

PS  Both horses raced in 3 states this year and 4 tracks.....

12 Nov 2010 9:41 AM
Richard G

Laz: As a regular at Dubai's Nad Al Sheba who now covers racing at Meydan, the DWC would be plain stupid for Zenyatta. She doesn't need the purse. She has nothing to gain and everything to lose with respect to her legacy (ala Curlin's second BCC). To even go, she would have to ship in early February and run a prep race (again, ala Curlin). Tapeta is a very different surface than the synthetics she has raced on. AND the last two years, the previous year's runner-up won. Zenyatta will stay home and watch Lizard's Desire go for it. Please everyone, just let her be and find a new hero(ine). And when you're tired of all the vitriol in response to this post, check out Haskin's classy Nov. 11 tribute to Zenyatta.

12 Nov 2010 9:46 AM
Will W

I posit it was harder for Zenyatta, a deep closer, to win those paceless 1/16 CA races on synthetic than it would have been for her to win the Stephen Foster, the Whitney, and the BC Classic against the likes of Blame, Quality Road, Haynesfield, et al, in longer races on dirt with plenty of pace. She caught Switch in one of those affairs - something Blind Luck, another deep closer - could not do. The BC Classic set up beautifully for her, and she almost overcame being pinched back at the start, a never-before-faced  difficulty in leveling off while having serious dirt in her face from a large field, a staggering 20-25 length deficit, being hustled along as she entered the backstretch to get back in the race on a deep and cuppy racetrack, having to steady briefly entering the stretch with Quality Road quitting in front of her, and being forced to angle out wide  around three horses before being set down to try to run down Lookin' at Lucky and Blame, who had an unimpeded, rail saving trip in mid-pack, on his favorite race track. Obviously, Blame could never match that feat. In a shorter 7-8 horse field who could doubt the race would have seen a different outcome. The only question entering the race was the one posed by Jerry Bailey, and it was the same question he wrestled with last year, i.e., in a large field could Zenyatta win without "cutting some edges" as Bailey felt she could not run wide, circle such a large field of quality colts, and come out the victor. Shame the race wasn't a 1 1/2, and Bailey's query would not even have been an issue. Perhaps, the greatest race ever run by a horse in defeat against Blame who was but the best of the rest and who bounced badly against a lesser horse, Haynesfield, in the Jockey Gold Cup. As for Zenyatta, she's never heard tell of the word "bounce." Here's hoping she doesn't win HOY honors if it proves an incentive for Moss to bring her back in 2011 for a little vindication. I'm sure the emotionally devastated Mike Smith wouldn't mind, and it goes w/o saying the racing public wouldn't mind seeing again the greatest race mare in the history of the Sport of Kings and the best thoroughbred since Secretariat.

12 Nov 2010 10:06 AM
Jason Shandler

Abigail: If Blame wins HOY it will not hurt the industry one bit. There problems in racing go way deeper than a few fans getting their feelings hurt, trust me on that. Keep in mind that HOY is about what the horses did on the track that season, nothing more. No matter what Z fans will try to have you believe, that's the only criteria. It's about performance on the racetrack--not Oprah, attendance, obsession, etc. Performance. Plain and simple. The industry will survive if/when she doesnt win.

12 Nov 2010 10:17 AM
Will W

Jason, post those World Thoroughbred rankings again. You inadvertently posted them in reverse order. And that from a Rachel Alexandra fan devoid of emotion.

12 Nov 2010 10:35 AM
Chris Y

Glad you removed the comment about the "industry doing the honorable thing". It isn't us selecting the Horse of the Year.

Writers aren't known for always doing the honorable thing, not if it messes up a story.

12 Nov 2010 10:39 AM

There must be two Chris's posting here. The Chris the posted at 9:17 is right on, although it seems you are ripping on Zenyatta when in fact in an earlier post you were calling out some of us posters for ripping on horses- you said and I quote  "I would say Draynay, Billy, Gladiator and company are the types who have to find something negative to say about other horses" Um, Chris is that not what your post at 9:17 is doing?

Will the real Chris please stand up!!

12 Nov 2010 10:45 AM

These World TB Rankings have Quality Road tied in third place with Makfi and Workforce!!!

This is supposed to be convincing? Talk about grasping at straws.

12 Nov 2010 10:54 AM
Frank A.


I think you must think about what you are voting for "Horse of the Year". Blame is a good horse and ran a good race, Zenyatta carried the racing world on her shoulders all year and is completely deserved of the honor. If you put it all on the Classic, then why did she not win it last year or why did Curlin win the year before.

Blame won 3 Grade 1's, got beat by a block in New York, Zenyatta wins 5 Grade 1's and gets beat a nose, I do not think it is emotion it is fact she carried and will continue to carry the racing world with what she did.

12 Nov 2010 10:54 AM

For anyone who is questioning Blame for only beating Haynesfield on 2 of 3 occasions.  Do you honestly think Zenyatta would have caught Haynesfield that day coming from farther back than Blame?  I doubt she would have.  But we won't ever know because her connections decided to run in a restricted race that she had already won twice instead of the JCGC.

12 Nov 2010 11:09 AM
Karen in Texas

I was waiting for the World Thoroughbred Rankings after our BC results here in the U.S. It isn't surprising to see Blame toward the top, but the placement of several other horses seems odd. To me, neither Goldikova nor Zenyatta should be as far down (sharing 10th?) as they have been placed.

12 Nov 2010 11:10 AM
Billy's Empire

World Rankings Blame 2nd

Zenyatta tied for 10th.

Now, I am just waiting for the responses to this. These should be great.

12 Nov 2010 11:20 AM
screen prospect

I think a horse called AP Indy wont HOTY with 1 win in the Belmont and 1 win in the BCC.

Each year is different.

Michelle. Z won the Distaff and the BCC NOT 2 BCC.

SaratogaTony  If Zen would have ran in the Foster or the JGC and ran second I think it would have helped her.I also think it was Blame's first time stretching out in the JGC?

Zen fans said this is the best BCC field in 10 years. Some said longer. Blame won it. Now you try to disrespect it.

Blame beat one of the greatest horses ever (some here think).

Blame HOTY.

12 Nov 2010 11:23 AM
Zen's Auntie


Thanks Im glad you told us that - 29 feet thats is amazing I had heard Big Red was 25 or so (this is many years ago too)but ESPN said hers was over a foot longer.

Of course, I dont really trust anything they broadcast as ESPN will throw about opionin like it is documnted fact without stating as much.

12 Nov 2010 11:33 AM

@Chris - Re: Trevor Denman

I'm inclined to agree with you as far as the call of the race is concerned.  Like Zenyatta's connections did for 2010, he put all of his eggs (for the race anyway) in Zenyatta's basket.  I guess why not?  Last year he was praised for his call.  This year, it was as if it never occurred to him that another horse might win the race - at least until seconds before one did.

I could probably dedicate 10,000 words to what's wrong with just the broadcast aspects of thoroughbred racing, but for now I'll leave you with 2 simple improvements:

Bring back Tom Durkin.  He's the best in the business, bar none.

Get rid of the entire ESPN team (save Bailey) and find some real horsemen.  They all suck.  Greenberg is a hack when it comes to the NFL and it's worse ten times over for racing.  Rick Riley...I have no words.

12 Nov 2010 11:33 AM
Chris Y

Gladiator, I'm the Chris who posted the comment you referred to re the people ripping up horses.

I wouldn't do so. My posts were 11/11 7:30 ish. As I said then, I know of one other person writing on here who can speak first hand regarding Eclipse, Breeders Cup wins and HOY.  Possibly add Jill Baffert if that is indeed who that truly is.

Here are the facts as I see them. Zenyatta is the greatest race mare of all time. I've seen up close and personal some of the very best.

Another fact? As we all know, some of us better than others, the horse who wins the Classic doesn't always win the HOY Eclipse award.

I also posted a comment which didn't make it on, asking if Jason et al have seen the comments by Dell Hancock regarding Zenyatta and further commented that his early comment regarding Claiborne being around for a hundred years and will be around forever may not necessarily be accurate. They, like all family farms have had to reinvent themselves a few times already.

In addition I commented to Billy that he wouldn't be able to get close to my sandbox, assuming his comment was directed to me. Thus the addition of my initial to clear up any confusion.

It seems quite odd that suddenly the World Standings mean so much when the argument just a short time ago was how irrelevant they are.

12 Nov 2010 12:01 PM
LM Horizon

The race Saturday epitomizes the true nature of Horse Racing - grit, determination, the ability to dig in when all seems lost and go eyeball to eyeball with a great rival - both Horses deserve the respect of all true horsemen. Blame didn't back down but Zenyetta proved that she is one of the best too - she came from 15 lengths behind going into the far turn and missed by just a nose (photo finish)- WHAT A RACE. So Jason, I believe that maybe you should re-evaluate your definition of what makes a good horse and KEEP THE EMOTION OUT OF IT by acknowledging that BOTH HORSES RAN

A RACE FOR THE AGES (Quote from Steve Haskins).

12 Nov 2010 12:10 PM
Zen's Auntie

Uh, Screen Prospect, how can you say Jason has made a good call when he has HOTY is going to Blame while you outline a pretty good case for Goldikova?  Can you explain I'm confused?

KTQ no argument from me - but Just FYI Zenyatta ran at 5 different tracks in 6 races.  Santa Anita, Oak Lawn, Hollywood 2x, Del Mar and CD traveling about 7750 miles in the process. Wow thats far huh?

12 Nov 2010 12:14 PM


12 Nov 2010 12:22 PM
Nola Ross

after the BC it wasnt Blame that was being cheered it was Zenyatta.leaving emotion out of it, I had never even heard of Blame until a week or two before the BC.  are you guys crazy?  Zenyatta should have been HOY last year and HOY this year.

12 Nov 2010 12:32 PM
Zen's Auntie

Jason, oh that was convincing. Just like ESPN...LOL.

The TBA rankings based on a formula not voting still has him 5th with Blind Luck 1st ya wanna draw straws to see who gets it?

Just to show opinions vary and you can get info to support different angles The TRA poll closed with Big Z as #1  

Just saying.

on a more forward thinking note.

Bandbox will be in the grade 2 Remsen Nov 27th at 1 & 1/8th - where he will meet to Honor and Serve - just a little news that might actually matter for the future. Seeing as how your busy putting cattle scoops on the Blame Bandwaggon you want I should send a welder over?

12 Nov 2010 12:33 PM

1. Blame depeated Zenyatta head-to-head.

Of course he won.  He is supposed to be the BEST dirt horse in America.  The odds were in his favor.  He has a PERFECT TRIP and he was on his favorite track and surface.  What surprise me he won JUST by a head.  Sorry, I am just not impressed enough.  Zenyatta is a magnificent horse and even in her ONLY defeat she was REMARKABLE.

2. Zenyatta did not do enough this year.  

Six races for a six year old mare versus 5 races for a four year old colt.  

Oh, really a win in the Hollywood Gold Cup or Pacific Classic will proof her greatness over Blame .  Well I am not quite sure.  She has proven to all that she can beat any horse on the synthetic in California.  Remember, according to her critics, she is a synthetic specialist.  Winning the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic against the best horses from US as well as Europe was a sufficient proof.  Are the horses who ran this year in the Pacific Classic and Hollywood Gold Cup better than the horses she beat in 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic?

You are saying that she did not travel enough.  Zenyatta traveled this year to Arkansas and of course to Kentucky.  This year she probably earned at least 4,000 miles of frequent flyer for those trips.  That is probably half of the miles that Blame did this entire year.  Even though some criticized John Shirreffs for carefully selecting Zenyatta’s races, I salute him for keeping her sound and healthy.  Last Saturday this 6 years old mare ran her heart out and gave her fans a last thrilling performance.  It’s a shame that the career of our 2009 HOTY, Rachel Alexandra was too short.  Imagine the excitement of the sport if she were able to race until she is 6 years old.

3. Blame did more.

Prior to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Blame won 2 grade 1 races and Zenyatta won 5 grade 1 races.  She won four grade 1 races in California, the Lady’s Secret, Clement Hirsch, Vanity Handicap (which she carried 129 lbs.) and Santa Margarita.  She also won grade 1 in Arkansas, the Apple Blossom.  

How can someone truly justify that the two grade 1 races that Blame won were more important than the five grade 1 races that she won.  Her grade 1 races were lower than his grade 1 races.   Something is WRONG WITH THE SYSTEM.  If those 5 graded stakes that she won were not actually grade 1, then they should be changed.  BUT, for now the fact is, ON PAPER, they were grade 1 and grade 1 is grade 1.

4. Zenyatta had more accomplishments.

She surpassed Cigar and Citation with 19 straight win.  She is the only female horse to win and came in second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  She gave so much to this DYING sport.  She brought the attendance up and new fans at the race tracks (Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, Del Mar, Oaklawn Park & Churchill Down).  It’s obvious that her participation has been a significant contribution to the success (attendance and money wagered) of the Breeders’ Cup for the last two years, particularly THIS YEAR.  I wonder what will you be doing once this sport is gone.  If we continue to make a wrong decision this sport will definitely head to the graveyard.  The voter must search their souls and ask themselves, who really deserves the HOTY.  Zenyatta is a great horse and a bona fide ambassador for this sport. Certainly the racing’s MVP in 2010.  It will be a slap in the face if she does not get the HOTY.

12 Nov 2010 12:33 PM

I think Zenyatta will win the HOY vote, and will be a deserving winner. But I think it's petty how a lot of posters are denigrating Blame. Zenyatta's trouble around Quality Road was minor, nothing like how she got shuffled around in the Santa Margarita.  As has been pointed out, Blame also had to squeeze through an opening at the top of the stretch which cost him a stride or two.  Neither of these minor incidents had much of a bearing on the finish.  

Now Zenyatta dropping something like 300 lengths back at the start obviously was a huge factor, but that was trouble of her own making - trouble Sherriffs might have prevented had he shipped her out a week sooner and breezed her a couple of times and let her get used to the Churchill dirt in her face. That surface is nothing like Cushion Track or the Hollywood training track, which John unfortunately found out the hard way.

But I find it really galling that a few of the more extreme Zenny Zealots are accusing the Blame camp of "cutting and running" away from Zenyatta by retiring him because they're "afraid" to face her again. Please. Moss and Sherriffs had FIVE other chances to take Blame on this year, while giving him NO chances to face her. They don't need Zenyatta anymore, they capitalized on the one and only opportunity the Z camp gave them.

It was just like last year when Jess Jackson reluctantly said yes, if Zenyatta would enter the Beldame, he would also point Rachel Alexandra there.  And instead of jumping on that offer with both feet, Sherriffs hemmed and hawed and griped about how he hates detention barns and doesn't like to ship.  And then when he finally got off the dime and said okay look, we nominated her, we bought the plane ticket, it was too late.  Jackson already decided to go in the Woodward.  See at that point of the year, Rachel had already run a seven-race campaign, and she didn't need Zenyatta.  By contrast, Zenyatta had run all of three races, and she really needed Rachel.

So yeah, I believe Zenyatta deserves to finally win HOY.  But if she doesn't, she will not have been "cheated" out of the award.  Her connections will have no one to blame but themselves - again.

12 Nov 2010 12:34 PM
The Rock

"The Breeders Cup is over and what I thought ALL YEAR would happen did happen.  Zenyatta couldnt win against males on dirt."

Draynay 11 Nov 2010 2:17 PM

How conveniant that you leave out the rest of your horrible opinions for the whole year and magnify on the only thing you got right. And to stay true to form, you're on the Uncle Mo bandwagon.

12 Nov 2010 12:39 PM

Thank CHris! Exactly what I've try to say. Z fans stop saying how bad Blame is cause Zenyatta lose to him (while carrying less weight). Sure Blame is not a Super horse, and the fact that Zenyatta lose (it was close, yeah, i agree, she's a really really great mare, i agree too), but the fact that she barely catch up to him, while Blame is no Citation or Spectabular Bid, just prove that she's not the best horse of all history

And why are you Z fans calling everyone a haters? I saw maybe....1 person, 2 top, who say something against her. All the rest you call ''haters'' are just saying that she's not the best in all history. You can be incredible and not be better than Man O'War, it's not a shame.

12 Nov 2010 12:52 PM

As I suspected, Jason, the source of your bias is now patently clear. In your 10 Nov 2010 4:56 PM comment, "It is not fair to the Hancocks.  They have 100 years in this sport. Zenyatta will be gone in 2011.  Claiborne will still be there, as it has for a century.  Be fair." That comment speaks volumes.  The whole matter comes down to a good old boys club in the Bluegrass.  How unfortunate for racing fans, horse trainers, owners and breeders -- all of us who love the sport.

No one makes a tongue in cheek comment like that as you stated in a subsequent comment.  No, it was intended as originally written by an injudicious thin-skinned, short-fused and biased writer.

12 Nov 2010 12:52 PM
The Rock

Saratoga Tony,

I agree with the ESPN crew. They're not good at all. I find myself on either TVG or HRTV prior to the running of the BC races. They're just not good. Their post race interviews are horrible. Why not just use the TVG feed (as much as I can't stand Todd Schrupp saying "America's horse racing network, TVG" prior to every big race? I'd really like Laffit Pincay III anchoring, with Matt Carothers, Ron Ellis, & Kurt Hoover.

I disagree with Tom Durkin though. Back in the day, he was the best announcer. But now, when he gets excited during a call, his voice cracks noticebly. You can just tell he's struggling with it. Denman is still #1 in my book, although when he gets on the big stage with his calls he adjusts his style for whatever reason. Maybe to appeal to the general public. If he keeps this up, I hope they switch him with Tom Dooley from Arlington/Fair Grounds. This guy really has been stepping it up lately. I know its an american event and they're going to use announcers from North America, but I would really enjoy David Rafael from Hong Kong or Terry Spargo from the Dubai World Cup feed. So efficient and they bring great excitement to the races.

12 Nov 2010 1:00 PM

Screen Prospect - I did not say Zenyatta won 2 BCCs.  Where did I say that???  She won the Ladies Classic in 2008, won the BC Classic in 2009 and placed in BC Classic in 2010.  I am just asking why so much disrepect and hatred for this horse?  All I see is hatred, excuse making and total disregard for every race she ever ran in.  Why can't you haters just admit that you are wrong about her?  We would respect you more.  Say it together now, we were r-r-r-r-r-r-r-WRONG.  By the way, Turkey Day is in 2 weeks I suggest some of you eat a big fat crow.

12 Nov 2010 1:02 PM

If you take the emotion out... May as well use computer-generated horses and bet on that.

12 Nov 2010 1:12 PM

I thought I had the HOY nailed down after the Classic.  Then I went back and picked up the form.  Blame beat who?  Quality Road.  Quality Road made a career out of beating up Musket Man who's last win was a February Stakes at Tampa.  Quality Road's other wins came against Dry Martinini, Mythical Power, and Tizway.  Probably one of the most over hyped and in the end most disappointing stories of 2010.  Blame also finished ahead of Fly Down who now rides a 5 race losing streak.  Blame drops a race to Haynesfield who's resume looks good against horses like Giant Moon and Bad Action and a former great I Want Revenge.  The fact of the matter is, Quality Road, Haynesfield, Fly Down, as the Classic demonstrated are just not that good.  Blame came across a weak Whitney and Stephen Foster.  Then ran one big race this year, the Breeder's Cup Classic.  He did not travel west (No Santa Anita Big Cap or Pacific Classic on his resume).  In fact his resume is very thin against Grade 1 males at the classic distance.  Like Zenyatta last year one big race does not earn HOY.  

12 Nov 2010 1:20 PM

Jason summarized the issue well.There are good arguments for and against both horses but it comes down to wins in open races.That is why Curlin and Rachel won over Zenyatta the past 2 years.In 2008,Zenyatta had no wins against males.Curlin had won  the Dubai world Cup and other open races.Last year Rachel had 8 wins to just 5 for Zenyatta.They both had a G1 win at a classic distance against males,but Rachel had 2 more G1 route races wins against males,one against older males totally unrestricted..when was the last time a 3yo filly did that?..think of Busher or Twilight Tear(60+ years ago).

While Zenyatta got the option of running in open races or races restricted to females,Blame did not.If Zenyatta had also won one of the West Coast open races,her case would be stronger.As it stands,she beat no Grade 1 fillies this year and has no win against males.Tough but just not fair to give her HOTY over Blame who beat her fair and square.Zenyatta didn't have a bad trip ,she just didn't like the dirt.She was remarkable in overcoming that struggle and performed well in defeat.No one made an issue of dirt horses running on synthetics as a "bad trip" in teh last 2 BC's.Surface differences /preferences are just a part of horse racing.It caught up with Zenyatta this time.

12 Nov 2010 1:28 PM

Your article is perfect.  You nailed it.  Thank you for looking at all of the facts and writing a non-biased masterpiece.  Blame rocks!

12 Nov 2010 1:32 PM

You're welcome Jason.  All this Zenyatta crap is making me more than a little sick.  Frankly, I'm glad we won't have to deal with this after this year.  I was so excited to see her lose the Classic that I yelled so loud I got a nosebleed.  Seriously!

12 Nov 2010 1:38 PM

Maybe Blame is deserving of the HoTY honours, but a few years from now, it will be Zenyatta that we remember.

12 Nov 2010 1:50 PM

Spin this around Z freaks.....(by the way, I hate coming off like I don't respect her and have to argue against her.  It's just you all are so blind.  Did you watch any other races besides the one's she ran in?)

Pepper's Pride is as good as Zenyatta.  Go ahead and argue.  The points you are about to make for Zenyatta only strengthens our case for Blame.  

This should be great.

12 Nov 2010 1:52 PM

Livesouthwest, I'm sorry but that line of thought doesn't really come into it when choosing the Cartier Horse of the Year.

First of all, Goldikova won 5 Group 1s, 4 of them in open company (the most of any horse) and her only defeat came at the hands of Guineas winner Makfi. Unfortunately, she didn't get the chance to avenge her defeat. Go onto almost any European racing site and the vast majority of people believe Goldikova would smoke Makfi if they ever met again. Don't forget she was running on atrocious ground just two weeks after her Prix Rothschild win.

Second of all, she broke the record of most Group 1 wins by a European horse in winning 12, two more than the previous record holder Miesque won.

Her handicap rating also takes into account the mares allowance, so if you adjust the weights she actually comes out at 128lbs, which I believe is the same as Makfi and Canford Cliffs.

Third, she has amassed the most points with her Group 1 victories, and so combined with the judges' and publics' votes she almost certain to get HOTY. Any other result would be a travesty as no other horse accomplished what she did. She should also get Champion Older Horse, although Harbinger arguably put up the single most stunning performance this year

In any normal year, Workforce would be a very strong candidate, and may still win Champion 3 yo. However, whilst his two victories were stunning in how different they were (record breaking 7 length romp on fast ground in the Derby and gritty courageous head win of soft ground in the Arc), the form of his two races is not exceptional. The Derby in particular is shocking, especially when compared to most of Goldikova's runs.

Although 10/12 furlong horses usually have the edge on ratings and accolades compared to milers/sprinters/stayers, I'll be extremely shocked if Goldikova isn't awarded HOTY as quite frankly she deserved it!

Just to point out the last 10 winners:

2009 : Sea the Stars (IRE)

2008 : Zarkava (IRE)

2007 : Dylan Thomas (IRE)

2006 : Ouija Board (GB)

2005 : Hurricane Run (IRE)

2004 : Ouija Board (GB)

2003 : Dalakhani (IRE)

2002 : Rock of Gibraltar (IRE)

2001 : Fantastic Light (USA)

2000 : Giant's Causeway (USA)

The majority of those were middle distance horses but Rock Of Gibraltar was a champion miler as was Giant's Causeway. Zarkava and Sea The Stars both won at distances from 8 to 12 furlongs.

12 Nov 2010 2:25 PM

I think you can make a great case for either Goldikova or Workforce as Euro HOY.  And had Harbinger not gotten hurt, he would have also been right there.  

The key will be how much the voters over there will count a race outside of Europe.  Goldikova ran an outstanding campaign, but the only marquee race she won that stacks up to the Epsom Derby or the Arc was the BC Mile and that took place here in America.  If the voters heavily factor that in, she has a great chance.  If they don't she's probably second best.

It's kind of like the 2008 American HOY vote between Curlin & Zenyatta.  Curlin's biggest victory that year was in Dubai.  Technically, I don't think that's supposed to count, but it obviously influenced the voters anyway. If he doesn't win the DWC, combined with his crash and burn in the BC Classic, I think Zenyatta would have won HOY that year.

12 Nov 2010 2:53 PM
M. Kern

If the selection for the HOTY is just flatly based on a vote from each qualified voter, then, there is something wrong with the system.  There should be a protocol perhaps in terms of standard questions and answers, check marks or by points that each voter must follows.  A group of people who are experts in this sport should put together that protocol.  If HOTY is the highest level of award a horse can achieve in a year, then it should encompass the overall achievement of the horse on the track as well as the horse’s contribution to the sport.  Also, it should include the horse’s contribution to the racing fans.  How can we exclude the racing fans?   Who really finances this sport?  Would you rather see your fans go to the track or the casino?  If we don’t have such a system then a horse that wins each year will be subject to criticism for the award.

12 Nov 2010 2:56 PM
Soldier Course

Carole, re your 12 Nov 12:52 post:

Yes, Mr. Hancock took his opportunity in the winner's circle to remind everyone just who he thinks matters in this sport.

I remembered those days in 2004 when Smarty Jones's owners were referred to by some as "blue collar". This, despite the fact that Mr. Chapman owned eight successful automobile dealerships around the Brandywine River Valley before he passed away.

I'll take Mr. Chapman's blue collar over Mr. Hancock's blue grass any day of the week.

12 Nov 2010 3:07 PM

I really don't think anyone hates Zenyatta.  I think if you feel that you are taking these arguments too seriously.  I don't think anyone on this blog hates Zenyatta.  I believe they all respect her for the great horse she is.  Being in an argument discussing HOY and opting for Blame does not mean they hate her.

12 Nov 2010 3:23 PM
BC Winner

"I was so excited to see her lose the Classic that I yelled so loud I got a nosebleed.  Seriously!

el 12 Nov 2010 1:38 PM"

MonicaV you might want to rethink your comment. There are a lot of Zenyatta haters on here posing as Blame and racing fans.

There are arguments for and against each horse in the Horse Of The Year contest for what that's even worth.

I just betcha that 9 out of 10 times Zenyatta would beat Blame. No way Smith would let her get that far out of it again. Yep Jason that was further back than they intended and further back than she should have been with this group. Could she have been closer up I'm certain of it.

You know there's good losers and good winners and theres sore losers and bad winners. I think we have a real mix of that on here.

12 Nov 2010 3:43 PM


BC Winner is correct and I'm sure that el wasn't the only one with these EMOTIONS. Take off the rose-colored glasses. The Zennyphobia is rampant on the side of people who insist they are impartial, clear-headed, fair and un-biased.

12 Nov 2010 4:03 PM

more blah blah blah

12 Nov 2010 4:30 PM
Richard G

...and, Jason S, you never answered my question about your 2008 HOY vote.

12 Nov 2010 4:47 PM

I just took an exhaustive poll regarding all the blogs on this site.  Now understand that it is a "Blame" for HOY site.

People in favor of Zenyatta for HOY = 65%

People in favor of Blame for HOY = 32%

All others = 3%

The people have spoken.

12 Nov 2010 4:54 PM
Jason Shandler

Richard: I voted for Zenyatta in 2008

12 Nov 2010 4:56 PM
Jason Shandler

They spoke last year too John. Zenyatta was the overwhelming favorite amongst bloggers in the 2009 HOY debate. Luckily, the turf writers were the ones that voted and awarded the title to horse with the unquestioned best season.

12 Nov 2010 4:58 PM

Livesouthwest, the system of choosing HOTY is not the same In Europe. Throughout the season, points are awarded for Group 1 race wins. Now some races, such as Classics and I believe open company races are awarded a higher number of points, but Goldikova is at the top of the leaderboard in that division. So one tick for her.

The award is also decided by a panel of racing experts AND the votes of Telegraph readers. And as she has very strong support from both quarters I really don't see how she can't win.

Yes Workforce won the Derby, but it's not the be all and end all. New Approach was champion 3 yo in 2008 after winning the Derby and two other Group 1s, but was passed over in favour of Zarkava, who was undefeated and won the Arc. Furthermore, Workforce flopped badly in the King George, and whilst he redeemed himself in the Arc, it's hard to forget that defeat.

As far as I'm aware, all of a horse's races are considered throughout the season, and so winning Group 1s abroad can actually strengthen a case. Goldikova was leader for HOTY before her third BC Mile win, but with that record as well, she's really the overwhelming champion.

I also just wanted to say that I enjoy reading your posts, I think your long one re Zenyatta was very balanced and sensible

12 Nov 2010 5:06 PM
zenyatta mondatta

Billy's Empire,   I will tell you why they have Blame ahead of ZEnyatta, its only because he nosed her out by a few inches.  Also,  they cant have a female above Goldikova, thats putting her down.     Open your eyes, its clear.  they have had it in forZenytatta forever because they want Goldi on top of all females.  

12 Nov 2010 5:08 PM

Wow! Jason, you voted for Zenyatta in 2008.  Zenyatta did not win.  This is a perfect example why there should be a protocol for the voters to follow.

12 Nov 2010 6:18 PM

It may have been the best season but it certainly was not unquestioned. I suppose that the  members who actually voted for Zenyatta last year all had a gun to their head or were all absolute idiots. Sheesh!

12 Nov 2010 6:40 PM

The Rock

Tom Dooley could make paint drying seem like an all time exciting event.  I always like tom Durkin but he has been around for a long time, seen it all and done it all maybe too many times.  Trevor is Trevor.  But the most exciting announcer for me is Dooley.

12 Nov 2010 6:53 PM

Most international rankings weigh a horse as they see them competing at equal weight in a race.  Older fillies/mares usually get a 3 lb allowance, so you usually add 3 lbs to their weight in order to get an accurate performance comparison if they were in a race together.  So Blame is 129, and Zenyatta;s adjusted ranking would be 128.   The same with Goldikova.  Maybe this is different, but that is my usual understanding of how it is done.  KautoStar could probably elaborate.  I tend to deal with Globeform and they are constantly reminding people of that.  

12 Nov 2010 7:39 PM

I think most turf writers learned a very valuable lesson last year and will be determined not to make the same mistake again.

12 Nov 2010 7:53 PM

Anyone who gets this far down the list is a glutton for punishment. But I add my voice to those who vote Zenyatta as HOY. I saw her lose, and it broke my heart. But I find solace in the fact that long into the future there will be few who remember Blame. But it wouldn't surprize me if a movie is made about Zen. I saw Zen up close, even touched her at her barn in Hollywood Park. At that moment I realized that I had never seen a more beautiful animal. Add to that, she is so calm and friendly. She showed no anxiety from being petted by a total stranger. Zenyatt will forever be ranked among the great ones.

12 Nov 2010 7:59 PM


Oh I see! makes a little more sense now. However I'm still puzzled by QR's ranking, the same as Work Force. Is there a similar 3 lb allowance for 3yr olds?

12 Nov 2010 8:02 PM
Pedigree Ann

Nola Ross, if you had not heard of Blame until 2-3 weeks before the BC, you have no standing to make any pronouncement about HotY. You obviously have not paid any attention to top class TB racing throughout the year. Not aware of the Quality Road/Blame matchup in the Whitney? A Zenyatta-fan, not a racing fan.

Blame came to notice a year ago when as a 3yo he beat older rivals, including the good horse Einstein, in the Clark H, after having won the Fayette H at Keeneland. He was expected to be one of the better older horses of the following year, 2010, and he followed through.  

12 Nov 2010 9:18 PM

Hi everyone. Katie, I'm on your side--I'm tired of the Z fans, too. (I love Z--she's a beautiful creature--and fast, but some of her fans, in my opinion, are more than one brick short of a load). Why were they allowed in the paddock area to flaunt their cardboard signs--example, in one of Z's races the fans were allowed to spook Rinteval, make the field in that day's race one less horse that could have possibly been competition. Her fans get away with "murder." Classless . . . that type of classlessness hurts the sport of horse racing--IT IS TIME TO MOVE ON. Perhaps the world needed Z just like they needed Seabiscuit in economic hard times . . . but its over. After the vote in January we have the Kentucky Derby--horse racing goes on despite a decline in popularity--the "blame" for that is another story. In any case, in 2011, there will be several new ponies in town! Find a new hero or heroine!

12 Nov 2010 9:33 PM

In theStates 3 yr olds get a 5 lb allowance so that is what I would add.  Also remember that the ranking is for their best performance usually.  But again Kauto Star could tell us more.  

12 Nov 2010 9:40 PM

P.S. I wanted Z to win the Classic and I was very sad all afternoon when she didn't BUT I am a gambler and do my handicapping and I had my money on Blame--in fact I got the tri as I had Blame, Z, and Fly Down. You know why I didn't bet on Z? Z was kept in the stall for 4 days, probably because some of her fans can be overbearing and the Mosses have to take so many precautions with her (3 police escorts). Blame warmed up on Friday, I watched Blame and he was ready to race on Friday! He had spunk and gave his exercise rider a hard time, even biting his lead pony in the ass . . . shaking his head--these are all signs of a racehorse who knows what he was gong to be asked to do--Blame was raring to go on Saturday. We'll never know if Z was because she was coddled as usual. Also, after the race when Z was lead back to the barn, her groom shooed away the publicity seekers as she had her head hanging low, nearly to the ground, not because she knew she lost a race--she was filthy dirty because she ran her butt off. It was a sad sight to see, but she got beat. Blame still had a race in him after the BCC.

12 Nov 2010 9:43 PM
Pedigree Ann

"This year in her body of work she broke MANY World records...

"March 13th won her 15th in a row a grade G1 spotting the 2nd place horse 10+ lbs."

OOOOO, ten whole pounds. And you think no horse has ever won a mares' G1 spotting 10 lbs? Heavenly Prize won the John Morris (Personal Ensign) giving 19 lbs to second. In winning the Vanity H, Azeri gave 16 lbs to the second. Other Vanity winners who made significant weight concessions the second horse include Silver Spoon (23 lbs.), and Bayakoa (13 lbs). This puts Zenyatta in good company, but is nothing unprecedented.

"On April 9th she ... won her 2nd Grade 1 of the year tying  Cigar, Citation and  Ribot for most consecutive modern day TB victories."

This is a falsehood, and I wish people would quit repeating it as though it were gospel. If by 'modern' we mean post-WWII, then Camarero's streak of 56 consecutive wins in Puerto Rico is still the tops.

On June 13th she broke that World Recognized record with 17 consecutive wins."  

Recognized by whom? Guiness? I think not.

"In doing so in a grade 1 race she also succeeded in  tying the World record for most grade 1 wins in a row."

The US and Canada are the only countries that have 'Graded' races. Other countries have 'Group' races, and the criteria for awarding such status is very different in the US from what it is in the rest of the world.

"On August 7th she Broke the world record for most consecutive grade 1 wins with her 18th consecutive  Victory..,"

See above.

".. tying the record of Bayakoa for most grade 1 lifetime won by a filly or mare."

And Bayakoa was never HotY because despite her excellent record versus mares, she couldn't beat boys.

" Tying the great Eclipse (remember these are Eclipse awards ) for most consecutive wins"

Nope. Most consecutive wins belongs to Camarero, see above.

Now you are going to call me a Zenyatta-hater, but I am not. I am merely pointing out to you that believing and re-telling this propaganda, that may or not be relevant or even true, does your mare no good in the eyes of serious students of the sport.

12 Nov 2010 9:47 PM

Hear ye