Most Memorable 2010 Breeders' Cup Moments

To put a wrap on this year's Breeders' Cup, I put together a top 10 list of memorable moments. In the poll below, you can vote for your top three.

Jockey fight-This was one of the more astounding incidents I have seen in racing, especially on a national stage. To see a seething Calvin Borel lose his cool like that in the moments following the first Breeders' Cup race was a tell-tale indication that we were going to be in for a memorable Breeders' cup.

For what it's worth, I think Borel's punishment should have been more severe. I know $5,000 is the maximum allowable fine, but he should have been suspended. I like Borel, but there is no excuse, under any circumstance, to react in that fashion.

Awesome Feather's decisive Juvenile Fillies victory-Despite being 5-for-5 coming into the race, I was not a believer in this filly until she sailed past everyone in the stretch. It was nice to see a homebred from a fairly small operation and a veteran trainer from Florida win on such a big stage.

Filly & Mare Turf upset-Shared Account's 46-1 shocker had me reaching for the PPs to see what I had overlooked. Sure enough, I went back and looked and remembered that I picked her to win the Flower Bowl on Oct. 2 at Belmont when she was fifth. An opportunity lost on a filly that has been in good form for more than a year and should never have gone off at that price. Congrats to those that pulled the trigger.

Ladies Classic under the lights-The first ever Breeders' Cup race under lights was a memorable spectacle. Primetime racing for our biggest events is a no-brainer. The atmosphere takes on a whole different feel with night racing. It won't be long until the Derby is run under lights-possibly even in 2011.

Life At Ten debacle-If the jockey fight was one of the most astounding incidents I've seen, the Life At Ten incident ranks right up there with the most bizarre. To have jockey Jon Velazquez and trainer Todd Pletcher tell reporters live on TV just prior to the race that something was not right with the filly and yet not scratch the second betting choice in a $2 million race is very suspect. I'm not sure what will ultimately be determined by the subsequent investigation, but something clearly was mishandled. It certainly helped end a truly interesting first day.

Pluck's awesome Juvenile Turf win-I covered the Summer Stakes at Woodbine when Pluck showed a sensational turn of foot to stamp his ticket to the Breeders' Cup, so I was not shocked when I saw him roaring down the center of the course to open Day 2 of the World Championships. After watching the replay, I gained even more respect for the colt. Not only did nearly fall leaving the gate, but he encountered trouble on the first turn when Rough sailing slipped and fell, which forced Garrett Gomez to alter course. Last heading into the final turn, Pluck came four-wide into the stretch and ran all of them down. Amazing.

Uncle Mo dominates Juvenile-There is something extra special about watching a 2-year-old dominate the way Uncle Mo did, especially knowing that with any luck he will be back on the same track six months from now as the Kentucky Derby favorite. Since I was covering the race for the magazine and was fortunate to be in the paddock and trackside for this standout performance, it was the number one moment of the weekend for me. The energy of owner Mike Repole and his New York entourage made the Uncle Mo Show even more intriguing to watch.

Goldikova's three-peat-I somehow talked myself out of betting her after she drew post 10 earlier in the week. What an idiot I was. What can you say about her, other than she is the best horse on the planet?

Dakota Phone's Dirt Mile upset-A lot of late pick 4 tickets (including mine) were ripped up with this 37-1 shocker. Up until that point in the weekend, we hadn't seen a lot of winners from way off the pace. Seeing Dakota Phone roar from the back was pretty impressive, especially since he ws the longshot on the board in a pretty deep field.

Breeders' Cup Classic drama-The tension and excitement were truly palpable in the minutes leading up to one of the most anticipated races of this century. The amazing finish and subsequent hush of the crowd after it was over can only be described as surreal. It's one of those races where you will always remember where you were watching.


Leave a Comment:


Goldikova was the star of the Breeder's Cup in my opinion.  Can't wait to see Uncle Mo.  Stay healthy.

12 Nov 2010 3:10 PM


I thought this was an interesting race, after watching the replay.

Pluck's awesome Juvenile Turf win-I covered the Summer Stakes at Woodbine when Pluck showed a sensational turn of foot to stamp his ticket to the Breeders' Cup, so I was not shocked when I saw him roaring down the center of the course to open Day 2 of the World Championships. After watching the replay, I gained even more respect for the colt. Not only did nearly fall leaving the gate, but he encountered trouble on the first turn when Rough sailing slipped and fell, which forced Garrett Gomez to alter course. Last heading into the final turn, Pluck came four-wide into the stretch and ran all of them down. Amazing.

12 Nov 2010 3:21 PM
Chris Y

I wouldn't call the jockey fight memorable. It was a huge embarrassment and only confirmed the opinion of a lot of people about racing. I'm not sure what Calvin's problem is. A long suspension until he gets his issues resolved would be in order. Find it odd that at his home track he didn't get more mounts?

Life At Ten, with Candy and David's letter I think John and Todd are both in really hot water.

A lot of people were misled, a lot of money was bet on the mare. I cannot believe that our leading trainer in the Nation did NOT stop this. You could see the obvious concern on his face.

I think every race, the races under lights and the fact that it is back where it belongs all were very memorable.

12 Nov 2010 3:27 PM
Zen's Auntie

Well, I enjoyed this Jason thanks.  

I found it really hard to just pick 3 - Nice change up, who knew you were packing the slider??

I agree tcc Pluck was just stunning.

12 Nov 2010 3:32 PM
The Rock

The Classic is easily tops. So much anticipation was on that race to see what the outcome would be.

Its amazing how Goldikova's 3 peat is not necessarily an afterthought, but not the top story of the whole Breeders Cup. Any other year she definitely would've been the talk of the town entirely. I keyed on her with the 2nd through 4th place finishers only in the exacta's and tri's and i'm still sick that i didn't play the super and that The Usual QT couldn't hold off Gio Ponti for 2nd.

The Sprint is up there for me personally from a betting standpoint. I had Hamazing Destiny, who received the trip that I envisioned in the race and was just hoping that Big Drama would fold just a bit for him to nail him at long odds. He came up short, but the place and show payoffs were still massive.

Even though I ripped up my tickets into the first turn as Jaycito bolted, it was impressive to see Uncle Mo live up to expectations in the Juvenile. Exciting prospect for the spring classics. On a side note, the same could be said for Dancinginherdreams. What a filly this is! I can definitely see her competing against the boys in the spring time if she consistently puts in the type of performances she's produced in her first 2 starts.

I actually think the Turf was probably the worst race on the BC card. How did this race get so watered down since 2007? You can even go as far back as 2005. Its a 3 million dollar purse and hardly anyone wants to show up. The Win & You're In provisions in place for next year should be able to supply better talent for this race along with the other BC races.

12 Nov 2010 3:38 PM
The Rock

I don't think the fight was that bad. How many times have we seen benches clear in baseball games, basketball games, hockey & so on. Its uncommon to see in horse racing b/c its usually conducted behind closed doors. I found it refreshing. Of course suspensions & fines are warranted for both jockey's, but I think its being made out to be more than it should be. I was at a bar watching the Friday races with laptop and form in hand and other people started taking notice to the races from there on out. Some were actually trying to hand me money so that they could wager off my tvg account! lol. So at least where I was at, it sparked interest...

12 Nov 2010 3:48 PM
The Rock

That whole Life At Ten deal was a bunch of croc. Unfortunately I couldn't hear the interview, but if she was scratched, Unrivalled Belle would've been my replacement for her in the exotics. Situation was handled poorly and something must be done about it so that it doesn't happen again.

12 Nov 2010 3:51 PM

Thank you for changing the subject. Been a long week. ... BC Classic was most anticipated I can recall, and it lived up to its billing. ... Really liked the later post times and hope BC pushes the envelope a little bit more into prime time. CD a great venue for it.

12 Nov 2010 3:57 PM
Clyde Veltmann

Your comment about Calvin was WAY off.  You apprently have never ridden a race and been dropped.  Calvin's life was at stake as well as another rider and all three horses. are a hero for sticking up not only for yourself but also for your passion in taking seriously  the responsibility  in caring for those fine creatures that the Trainer and Owner are counting on you watching over during the race.  We as owners and Trainers would always want both the rider and our horse to come back same FIRST and secondly not jeapordize the safgety and health of anyone else.  A good A** Whuppin will make someone think twice before doing it again.  Back in the old days, there would have been some riders get together and teach Javier a good lesson.  Calin, you can ride for me anytime....don't lose the passion!

12 Nov 2010 4:11 PM

It was ALL about Goldikova for me, she was the STAR of the weekend and rightly so. While everyone else was focused on Zenyatta, I was more interested to see Goldikova! In my mind she had a much better shot at the three-peat than Zenyatta ever did.

That said, I think the most memorable moment of the Breeder's Cup wasn't even listed here! It was Goldikova's groom ... jumping up and down, shouting with joy and following her in a brisk run down the dirt track toward the finish line. Makes me tear up every single time. Such a beautiful and touching moment!

It really speaks to the connection the GROOMS have with the horses. I think someone needs to give the grooms the respect they deserve. They are often forgotten and ignored by the fans and the betting public, where the trainers and owners and jockeys are given all the glory. Must we remind that it is the grooms who are with the horses 24/7, tending to their every need. It is the grooms who know the horses inside out. And it is the grooms who have a stronger bond with the horses than most owners and trainers could ever HOPE to have.

So yes ... that was the most memorable moment in my opinion. I just wish it wouldn't be overlooked, but sadly that just seems to be the way our sport is.

12 Nov 2010 4:19 PM

I loved Awesome Feather's race.  I put money her to win.  She was one of my five winners in the two days of racing.  Of course the Classic was AWESOME!!! What a race, thrilling to final stride.  Love Goldikova.  Hope I can make it next year to watch her try for four in a row. (she was another of my winning picks).  In all I had a GREAT time at my first BC and I got my husband thoroughly hooked on horse racing.  All in all a great weekend!!

12 Nov 2010 4:21 PM
Billy's Empire

life at ten fiasco was crazy. I was lucky enough to hear the interview 8 minutes before post and change my bets, b/c I was all over LAT. How they did not scratch her is baffling. You could see the fear in LAT eyes when she was loading. she wanted nothing to do with a race that day.

12 Nov 2010 4:27 PM
Billy's Empire

Chris Y, Did you watch the replay of that race? The jockey that Javier interfered with first, I think Rosario, was OFF of his horse, hanging around his neck. That horse veered into Calvin and pretty much put the jockey in Calvins lap. I think Calvin helped him back onto the horse. How no one fell I have no clue. Calvin had every right to be pissed, especially after rallying to finish 4th after he basically gave another jockey a piggy back ride.

12 Nov 2010 4:37 PM

I agree with EquusFemina!!!  Goldikova's groom running down the dirt track cheering her on to win was just awesome!!  I just can't believe they didn't scratch Life at Ten.  That was crazy to put her in the gate after her jockey talking to Bailey & Co. before the race.  The BC Classic was as thrilling as it gets.  

12 Nov 2010 4:48 PM
Richie D

Wow...really Mr. Veltmann.  It is now okay to fight on live TV and threaten to kill a man.  This should have been handled behind closed doors.  Calvin obviously has NO class.  You can see that Garcia, who's safety was far more jeapordized then Calvin's, did not react in the same manner. Riding infractions happen on a daily basis and are not handled in this way.  What an embarrassing, black eye for horse racing.

The Life at Ten ordeal was yet another embarrassment for horse racing which actually borders on criminal.  Watching Velazquez live on ESPN just moments before post time telling Bailey that there was something amiss yet allowing the horse to be loaded into the starting gate was a travesty. Who protects the betting public??? It was obvious that he had no intention of pusing her once the gates opened so why allow her to be loaded. Of course NOTHING will come of this farce investigation that is ongoing.  Trainer, jockey, vets and stewards should all have to answer some serious questions but both Pletcher and Velazquez deserve severe punishment for their hand in bilking the betting public out of millions of dollars.    

12 Nov 2010 4:50 PM
Chris Y

Of course I saw it in person and from many different angles. But Calvin isn't the jockey police.

Let me say that Calvin showed no remorse and at least Javier had the decency to do so at the hearing.

Calvin has caused his share of near misses, particularly with his daring do on the rail.

We've ridden Calvin many times, but his attitude is just not the same as it once was.

If we start having fist fights after every near miss or incident then we'd have more fights and less races.  

IF the jock who was most endangered didn't want to go to the mat why should Calvin?

He was frustrated performance wise.

I'm curious where you heard the interview from Todd and Johnny before the race and changed your bets, TVG?

You weren't there?

12 Nov 2010 5:02 PM
Zen's Auntie

Richie - I understand that the betting public took it in the shorts here,  but I want to know..

Who protects the Horses? Shouldn't the TRAINER (based on the Jockey here)have pulled LAT? - Oh wait they blew it then its supposed to be the stewards fault? guess they weren't watching the ESPN feed.

Blame it on Lasix?? WTF really its inexcuseable.

As far as the fight goes - its all very well and good for hillbilly rednecks like myself to laugh and joke about it but honestly it looked bad to civilized folks perhaps new to racing especially with kids.  

It should have been handled better especially considering How long ESPN drug it out. They rode it out so far it was longer then the Tevis cup for Pete's sake.

12 Nov 2010 5:18 PM

Calvin confronted Javier since it was Calvin's horse that could have killed Martin had he gone off.  Javier threw the first punch.  Since when does a little yelling and confrontation warrant all this grief for Calvin?

Loved Goldikova's groom dancing along the rail, and I loved Goldikova.

Nothing else, though, will top Zenyatta's courageous charge from a foundering last to hitting the wire a couple of strides short.  She did pass him after the wire, contrary to what many say.  Go watch the video that doesn't cut off her getting her nose in front.

Pick the Classic from the list below.  You can see it in slow motion that she ran out of room.

Blame won the race fair and square and he's a good colt, but she did get to him.

12 Nov 2010 5:22 PM
Richard G

Jason: Why would you call a jockey fight your lead "memorable moment," as in worthy of being remembered? Quite forgettable. THAT'S the kind of thing that prevents people from becoming new fans. And racing under lights indeed "takes on a whole different feel" as in: 'We are so desperate for new fans, we'll turn pure sport into a reality TV show.' The climate necessitates it in Dubai (where virtually no one watches it on live TV); not so North America, and it isn't practiced (nor does it need to be)in Europe, South America, Asia or Australia. It just adds another factor other than the horse. When will bettors learn it's about the horse? Right, when it's too late.

12 Nov 2010 5:30 PM

I would have to say Dakota Phone.  Hollendorfer sent 3 horses with 1 being scratched.  Dakota Phone wins the mile with Blind Luck placing.  Does the guy just not put his horses where they can be competitive?  D-Phone has been mixing it up in all the big races in CA but coming up short against Rail Trip and the likes.  A little cut back in distance and one cashes a $50.00 win ticket.  

12 Nov 2010 5:31 PM

Life at Ten situation was terrible.

First in the paddock, Pletcher said she wasn't acting right. The horse was very calm. Then the jockeys comment about her not warming up right. Maybe major fines handed down for both of them, and suspensions for both.

I say $250,000.00 fines. They both can afford it.Maybe next time they will put the horses 1st and not the thought of how much money they will make.

12 Nov 2010 5:41 PM
BC Winner

Clyde are you the same Veltmann of Equus Standardbreds? If so what horse do you plan to put Calvin on?

A bush track move. Hotheaded reaction and agree with the guys saying it was an embarrassment to racing. You are probably one of the same guys who want racing to be more like NASCAR, where they all fight at the drop of a hat.

I mentioned this a long time ago on a blog of Jason's. I don't particularly want to fight another trainer every time I think I got cut off or something else. It wasn't blatant dangerous riding, he made a stupid move like happens when guys are trying to win a race.

Race riding like one guy was doing last year and got crucified for when things went bad. Something these guys including Calvin do all the time.

The fight was not something that we see at this level of racing and we've fought that image for years.

Billy's Empire, go back and watch the replay. Martin was next to Bright Horizon Murtagh was up, Calvin was behind him so he couldn't have saved him. Talk about drama, jeez.  

I don't recall a fistfight last November when Calvin caused interference and was set down for 3 days, increased to 6 for a frivilous appeal.

12 Nov 2010 5:59 PM
Jason Shandler

It was my "lead" moment Richard. They are listed in order of the way the races happened.

12 Nov 2010 6:26 PM

The jockey fight was broght up on TV over and over again and even into the next day where it seemed that every chance the one commentator got, he brought it up.  I remember before Street Sense Calvin wasn't doing so great.  Street Sense helped bring him into the spotlight and then there was Rachel, Mine That Bird and a lot of good opportunites.  It seems that things have regressed rather rapidly for him and he has become very frsutrated.  Incidents like that happen a lot more than we realize.  The thing to do is settle it in the jocks room, not in front of so many people and a live TV aduience.  It was on non sports casts as well.

The other sour taste incident was poor Life At Ten.  It wasn't her fault.  She told them she didn't want to race.  And JR showed his concern, but gave me the impression that he should keep his mouth shut.

12 Nov 2010 6:31 PM
Ted from LA

I don't know.  I think the most memorable moment from Breeders' Cup was watching Draynay pick all losers, yet miraculously he wins money.  Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my $$$.

12 Nov 2010 6:33 PM
Richie D

Zen's Auntie - You're right, who does protect the horses.  I was concerned about the millions of "stolen" public dollars but the real concern is that they (Team Pletcher)ran a horse that wasn't physically ready to perform.  Shame on everybody involved.  I see a lot of finger pointing but I assume there will be no real conclusion to this issue.  Had ESPN not had Jon V miked would we even be discussing this today or would it have been swept under the rug?  A real low point for racing and on such a big stage.  Luckily it didn't end in an Eight Bells kind of way.

12 Nov 2010 6:35 PM
Richard G

@EquusFemina: TOTALLY! Goldi's groom was the warmest memory of the two days. Pure joy.

12 Nov 2010 6:38 PM
BC Winner

ruffianruns, obviously the stewards disagreed with you.

Calvin went after Javier, had him by the neck. If you watch the race Javier had the left rein trying to pull his horse back over. Javier was remorseful, Calvin was anything but. Javi walked away, Calvin kept pursuing it. If you watched the replay afterwards as those of us there and otherwise occupied had to do, Javier looked torn up and near tears. Not sure if you noticed who was escorting Calvin away but someone who has had more than his fair share of confrontations. Maybe keeping bad company.

I guarantee if LAT belonged to one of us guys we'd be fried right now.

Jason I thought there were some pretty neat things on Friday besides that fight.

Hope you enjoyed your moment with Mo. Six months is a lifetime in racing.

12 Nov 2010 6:52 PM
Richard G

@Zen's Auntie: I agree. LAT should have been protected. That probably happens more often than we know, but the jockey just got real and voiced concern for his mount on TV. Whoops.

@Jason: Yes, I realize your moments are in the order of the races. So, lead with Garcia's incredible athletic ability to remain on the horse when he was clearly out of the saddle. And where was Goldi's groom on your list? Talk about moments that will add fans to our sport!

12 Nov 2010 6:52 PM
Jason Shandler

Richard: You lead with those moments on your blog. This is my blog, my moments. Clear enough?

12 Nov 2010 7:00 PM

Great article Jason.  Excellent choices but I figured you winning all those wagers with the Zenyatta fans who frequent your blogs would've been up there too!

12 Nov 2010 7:07 PM
Jason Shandler

No need to rub it in Sylvester :)

12 Nov 2010 7:09 PM

So many good highlights and memories in this sequel of the Breeders Cup.

Uncle Mo's romp in the juvenile was quite impressive. Goldikova's quest for three ends with a dazzling victory in the Turf Mile. Dakota Phone shocked the tote board with a 37-1 score. Big Drama finally put it all together, to capture the Sprint gate-to-wire. Pluck looked ultra impressive in the Juvenile Turf Mile, and I can't say enough about Chamberlain Bridge's Turf Sprint score. But for me, the most impressive thing I watched was Blame and Zenyatta throwing it down like true champions, stride for stride, all out til the very end. I wasn't sure if I had come away more impressed with the tenacity Blame displayed in the final hundred yards, in not letting Zenyatta get by him. Or the fact that Zenyatta closed from over 20 lengths out on a loose cuppy track, where the mile was run in 1:37 and change only to be ousted by a short head, to an absolute monster in Blame. Its a close call and so will the H-O-Y honors.  

Here's a shout out to all those other horses who ran their hearts out but just came up a little bit short, yet helped make this one of the most unforgettable Breeders Cup in the history of the event.

Here they are: Soldat, Boys at Tosconova, Rogue Romance, Jaycito, Morning Line, Champ Pegasus, Smiling Tiger, Hamazing Destiny, Gio Ponti, The Usual Q.T., Fly Down, and last but not least, truly the most amazing racemare I've ever had the pleasure of seeing up close and in flesh. My hat goes off to you Zenyatta for making the Classic a race for the ages.      

12 Nov 2010 7:19 PM


12 Nov 2010 7:23 PM

I am thankful I could attend live and witness all these memorable moments.  CD is THE best venue for the BC and the powers that be should make CD the permanent home.

In reverse order:

Goldikova's three-peat. I was able to get a good photo in the paddock.  A plain, small mare who goes out and demolishes her competition.  If she was a big, good looking mare who could dance and prance on the track, she may be getting more press and attention. (This is not a knock on Zenyatta.) As it is, she goes out and beats all comers.

Uncle Mo's Juvenile.  A devastating run.  Sent chills up my spine.  I witnessed Arazi's run in 1991 and although Mo's run wasn't as visually impressive, Mo got a better Beyer.  Hope he stays healthy and can return on 5/7/11.

BC Classic drama.  Outstanding, Surreal. (Is there another word?)  I was at the paddock two races early and worked my way up to the fence.  You could feel the electricity in the air.  The whole paddock scene was indescribable.  Was able to get two nice shots of Zenyatta and then raced back to my seat (with a lot of others) to witness the race.  With the sun already set, the hues of color in the western sky painted a canvas of orange to pink to(dare I say green)to varying shades of light blue to confederate gray to royal blue to the deep blue approaching the night sky.  With the lights of CD, bathing the entire track, this was truly a race for the ages.  The racing gods were smiling.

Jason, I like the idea of moving the Derby to the evening under the lights.  I think this has the potential to market the race to an even wider audience if promoted wisely.  Keep pushing.  

As I have blogged before on, I won this year's fantasy stable game sponsored by Churchill Downs.  My wife and I will be guests of CD for next years Oaks and Derby.  Truly a dream come true.  I am very thankful!

12 Nov 2010 7:24 PM
Arts and Letters

"Goldikova's three-peat...What can you say about her, other than she is the best horse on the planet?"

According to the World Thoroughbred Rankings, she's only the 10th best.  What the heck are they thinking?  They put Quality Road ahead of her?  Rip Van Winkle?  I can't even say they punishing her because she's a miler, because they put Canford Clfifs in 6.  This make no sense.  I would have put her no lower than 3rd.

12 Nov 2010 7:27 PM

BC Winner, Yes, I disagree with the stewards on a number of things.  It really pissed me off that they would ignore the ESPN producer's call alerting them to Velazquez' very uncomfortable interview regarding Life At Ten PRIOR to the gate.  Think they could have taken an interest?

12 Nov 2010 7:43 PM

One thing that has to stop is this "ABC to "ESPN" thing. The MIch./Ill. triple OT game almost made me miss the BC Juv. race. (I didn't have "ESPN 3"). I totally missed the entire prelude to the BC Juv. Not happy. No Excuse!!!!!!!! Who's the idiot who made this deal with the networks? What if that football game went into a fourth overtime?????? Anyways,I did have Dakota Phone to win ($77.40)..but I only bet 2 bucks. Still, this was enough for me to end up positive on the day.

   If you need a new marketing who won't sell out to college me!

12 Nov 2010 7:49 PM


Congratulations on winning the contest. It's one of my favorites. Now that you have a target on your back, myself and the rest of the field look forward to handicapping you down.    

12 Nov 2010 8:09 PM

Dakota Phone was amazing and Uncle Mo and BAT were very impressive.  Goldikova?  What can you say greatest mare I have ever seen.

12 Nov 2010 8:11 PM

The big high light for me was the success of 3 owners Mike Repole, Bobby Flay, and Kevin Plank.  These are the type of energetic and wealthy young owners that are the future of racing!!  They love the game, and they will race their horses!

I hope Uncle Mo goes on and wins the Triple Crown.  I think he showed a dimension that we haven't seen in a two year old since Seattle Slew.  Kudos to you, Jason, on your early Mo blog.

Alan Shuback was right about Goldikova -  unbelievable horse (not just a great mare!)

12 Nov 2010 8:20 PM

Excellent choices, Jason, and it was very hard to pick only three. One more item comes to mind: what with the misloaded horses, the Life at Ten debacle, and the poor condition of the turf course, Churchill Downs did not exactly cover itself with glory. Perhaps the poorest performance ever by a host track. Let's hope they do better next year.

12 Nov 2010 8:33 PM

Besides the success for the three new owners, Mike Repole, Bobby Flay, and Kevin Plank,  I enjoyed the success of the classy farm Claiborne, and their horse, Blame.  This is the home of Buckpasser, Bold Ruler, and Secretariat, and it is their 100th anniversary.  They have been a great stud farm in the history of breeding farms, and I think Blame has every chance of being a top sire for them in the future.  

Unlike some bloggers here  I have no problem with  retiring a stud horse after a comprehensive year long 4 year old championship campaign. That has been a traditional practice for years (including Dr. Fager, Affirmed and Seattle Slew).

Racing  a stallion and mare is apples and oranges.  The cost of insurance for a stallion is prohibitive.  Claiborne has not had top commercial stallions lately and that is their bread and butter.

I personally feel frustrated when owners retire sound 3 year olds such as Street Sense, Hard Spun, and Zensational,  (and Secretariat, too!)  horses who could thrill us with new challenges in the older division.

12 Nov 2010 9:11 PM

skyfire-Blame didn't have the two and three year old years that those other three, as well as Bold Ruler and Buckpasser, had.  I would have liked to see him run another year, as long as he was sound.  But it is a business, and Claiborne can cash in on him now.  If his 5 yr old year turned out to be a bust, there goes the money.  It is a smart move on their part business-wise.

12 Nov 2010 9:59 PM

Luckily I saw Zarkava, Allez France and Dahlia, Dray.

12 Nov 2010 10:00 PM

To BC Winner

When you lose your passion for racing...get out of the least I am not afraid to use my real name and I am not with Equus Standardbred.  

12 Nov 2010 10:05 PM
cat thief

Putting 50 on Aikinite to show because some handicapping show hosts said he was a one-turn miler...I won't forget that.

12 Nov 2010 10:15 PM
Mike Relva


I think Pletcher and rider should have the book thrown at them.

12 Nov 2010 10:21 PM
Sally Rose

I will always always remember Zenyatta's last race. She didn't win, but to me she will always be champion of the racetrack. The one and only queen. I couldn't have asked for a better inspiration!

I found a love for Pluck. First of all, his name was simple but different. Then just the look of him on race day. You could see it in his face that he wanted to win. And he did, despite what my mum may have said.

12 Nov 2010 10:39 PM

I understand "most memorable" to mean the race we as racing fans and the general public will remember best in a decade or so, the race that carried the most history.

1. Classic

For me it is clearly the Classic.  First, it was just a great race with a great finish. For his part in the drama, Blame deserves much credit, and he is a deserving champion.  But Zenyatta made the race.  She was largely responsible for the superior ratings and the electricity in the crowd, and she was carrying the history of having won 19 races to start her career, attempting to retire undefeated by beating males again in the world's most prestigious maintrack race over a surface which she had never run.  For the Classic to be truly epic, she needed to either win or be in the photo.  She delivered, and the race will go down as one of the most exciting and consequential races of the last half century.  

The Classic, with the Zenyatta story, was so dramatic and captivating that all 4 pundits on ESPN's Around the Horn, none of them real racing fans, thought it was one of the best sporting moments they had ever seen.  When was the last time a non-Triple Crown race left such an imprint among the general public?  

So, for both racing fans and overwhelmingly so for the general North American public, the Classic will be the most memorable race.

2. Mile

I can see why some racing fans believe Goldikova's Mile to be the most memorable.  While Zenyatta lost, even if just barely, Goldikova succeeded in winning her 3rd BC Mile, being the first horse to ever win 3 BC Titles.  Not only did Goldi win, but she thoroughly dominated.  The icing on the cake was the footage of her groom chasing after her as she ran down the stretch; a truly touching image.  

However, given the Breeder's Cup was being run in North America, Goldikova's quest for 3 Miles just simply didn't capture the imagination of either the racing fan or the general public the way Zenyatta and the Classic did.

I can understand why many European racing fans, including Goldi's connections, were a little peeved that she was so eclipsed by Zenyatta in the run-up to the Breeder's Cup.  But what did they expect?  Zenyatta is a North American based and raced horse while Goldi has made about 90% of her career starts in Europe and only 3 in North America.  For the most part, American racegoers have had to celebrate Goldi from afar, and thus did not establish the deep personal attachment that comes with seeing a horse in person. On top of that, Goldi's European races were far less accessbile in North America than were Zenyatta's (for those who saw neither in person).  And as far as the general public in North America, the casual fans who either went to Churchill or watched on television, Goldi was a sideshow if, in fact, they recognized her name at all.

No disrespect to Goldi or the BC Mile, but for North American racegoers and the general public, the Classic with its $5 million purse and 10 furlong maintrack distance is a more important and prestigious race than the $2 million Mile.  In North America, middle distance turf racing is largely a niche division, while maintrack distance races represent the glamour division.  Even in Europe, middle distance turf racing typically takes a backseat to races at classic distances; as a result, Sea the Stars was hailed above Goldikova last year as the best European horse.  Every so often, like in 1998 when Da Hoss won his second Mile after running just once in 2 years, the Mile overshadows the other Breeder's Cup races including the Classic.  More normal is 1988, when Miesque's dominant Mile repeat was merely a secondary highlight behind Alysheba's Classic and Personal Ensign's Distaff.  

I'm sure if the Breeder's Cup had been held in France, or if we were living in France, Goldi would have been the star of the show.

3. Juvenile

Uncle Mo's Juvenile was the first truly superior performance of the weekend, and really energized myself and others, setting the table for Goldi and the Classic.

We're a long, long way from the first Saturday in May, but Uncle Mo is the rare 2 year old that should have people thinking about the Triple Crown in November.  

I am reminded, however, of just how awesome War Pass looked when he won the Juvenile by open lengths and earned a Beyer of 113, the highest in the race's history and 5 points better than Uncle Mo.  The difference between Uncle Mo and War Pass is that War Pass was a brilliant speedster that just ran his competition off their hooves while Uncle Mo has learned to rate his speed and take cues from his rider.  I still think 10 furlongs will be pushing his pedigree, but his combination of speed and professionalism(ratability) make him special, and give him a real chance of pulling off the near impossible.

I'm sure if you polled the general public the most memorable would be:

1. Classic/Zenyatta

2. Jockey Fight

And that's the extent of their awareness.    

12 Nov 2010 11:07 PM
Richard G

@Richie D: I don't know the etiquette at CD, but in Dubai the trainers (to say nothing of the owners, often members of a royal family) call those shots. Perhaps only Frankie Dettori could get away with making that call. It seems to me Velazquez may have made his remarks on live TV (he can't be that stupid) in hopes Pletcher would hear and scratch LAT. But if Pletcher was also concerned, were the owners the problem? I understand the concern about the bettors, but what about the horse? Velazquez may be the good guy here: he was concerned about his mount. We should want that.

12 Nov 2010 11:35 PM

The Kentucky Derby, under lights - no, no, NO!  An utterly horrible idea.  And Louisville doesn't need all those drunks driving home in the dark.

13 Nov 2010 12:13 AM

skyfire, I'd have less problem with them retiring Blame if he'd had a big 3YO season too, but he was here one year and gone -- sort of like these horses retired at the end of their 3YO season.

13 Nov 2010 12:20 AM
Ted from LA


Well done.  Incredible.  Please tell us about your main picks.  Did it come down to the the Derby or did you have it locked before that?  I met a former winner of the contest in the third floor clubhouse a couple years ago on Derby Day.  I think he was in the Secretariat Room.  He kept sneaking out free mint juleps to Ted and Mrs. Ted from LA.  I hope you keep up this grand tradition.

13 Nov 2010 12:37 AM

You must have left before the 11th race Draynay.

13 Nov 2010 2:04 AM

seriously though how was dakota phone a long shot? lol i guess he was the forgotten horse

13 Nov 2010 2:55 AM

The entire BC two day event had me riveted to my tv. How I wish I were there!!!!

There were so many moments, that I need to get a copy of a DVD. Does anyone know of one being sold???

The most intense moment, was Zenyatta. I had great respect for her prior to the race. Last year I was a Rachel fan, but was fascinated watching her this year, time and again, winning, in that truly remarkable center wide driving stretch. Just making it. This time she didn't, and it was painful. However, I do believe this was her most incredible race.

Blame is to Zenyatta, as Upset was to Man O War, as Seabiscuit was to War Admiral.

13 Nov 2010 6:30 AM
New Orleans Lady

I wish I had the time to read this blog and all the's a very good topic.  In my humble opinion, Goldikova and her crazy groom was the most exciting and emotionally stirring race of the BC races. They both had me crying in jubilation. She would have my vote for the best horse in the world.  I've followed her races ever since she won the '08 mile. I truly hope she stays in training and comes back for a 4-peat. She may be just a plain, little bay mare, but she's a freak with unbelievable explosive power.

13 Nov 2010 8:20 AM

What some folks don't seem to understand is that years ago, a network cut an NFL game 4 minutes before it was over, to show a Heidi movie with S. Temple.  In those 4 minutes, the losing team scored several TD's and upset their rivals.  Since that fiasco, contracts for football games specifically state the networks CANNOT cut away from a game in progress.  I did resent ESPN showing the jockey brawl every 15 minutes for the duration of the Cup.  It was wasted time on sensationalism.  My top 3 moments were Blame and Zen fighting to the wire, Goldikova electrifying the fans with her turn of foot, and the come from behind Pluck sweeping the field.

13 Nov 2010 9:06 AM

Espn saying BC was on ESPN3 and not saying "online on ESPN3"...I knew, but how many didn't?


Rough Sailing dying

Life At Ten

Unbridled Belle beating my girl, BL, (though I knew there was a biggie inside UB)

Awesome Feather (thank-you $$$ girl!)

Shared Account courage

Pluck (I knew it, yippee)

Dakota Phone

Goldikova's turn of foot beating my boy SC...unbelievable filly.

13 Nov 2010 10:26 AM

Calvin Borel was fine, angry but in control, until Javier Castellano mouthed some flip response at him...sometime's a man's gotta be a man, Castellano should have shut his mouth and watched the replay first...he even admitted he had no idea what he'd done.

It was miracle nothing awful dead horses, no permanently crippled jockeys in wheelchairs.

13 Nov 2010 10:34 AM

I actually thought the fight between the two jockeys was good for the sport.  It shows they care about winning and finishing the race in one piece.  It was nice to see three young owners win some BC Races.  The BC Classic, was a classic!

The LAT matter was a real head scratcher.  Someone is going to end up being suspended, fined or indicted. Imagine paying $60K for your mare to enter the gate and not even run.  Yet,everyone watching ESPN knew the horse is not well.  WOW!

Biggest disapointments: Girolamo, Here Comes Ben, QR, Haynesfield and AZ Warrior.    

13 Nov 2010 10:39 AM

The Classic was the finest moment in the sport since Secretariat's Belmont.  And the scariest for the sport too for without Z we will fail to gain new fans and generate her excitement for the horses in this "sport" - the hush at the end was potentially for racing as we know it...  Before it's too late, will someone please try to figure out what not only happened to Life at Ten but also Quality Road -both "handled" by Mr. Pletcher -  odd they both didn't run in the biggest races of their careers? I believe there is a dark story here that even Z's brilliance won't be able to cover.

13 Nov 2010 11:08 AM

Altho' this may not be the exact venue to ask this but does involve the BC races.  Why did Trevor Denman call the BC races? Why didn't Tom Durkin? Right now, I'm watching HRTV's Inside Information on Big Brown and Tom Durkin calling the Triple Crown Races and the excitement he brought to calling the KY Derby race with his memorable quip 'Big Brown Bombing home'.  Trevor is so drone and repetitive that it's nauseating. How many times do we have to hear, 'they would need to sprout wings to get to ____' and '____ looks like they just dropped in at the quarter pole' and more. Please let Tom Durkin call the big races because he makes them memorable with his passionate and unscripted calls.

13 Nov 2010 11:29 AM

BC Winner - thanks for your post of 12 Nov 5:59 PM.

Of course, the jockey you mentioned who was "crucified" last year for doing what race riders do to win has to be Jamie Theriot.  I'm glad he found redemption at this year's BC, winning on 2 of 3 mounts.  I admire Bret Calhoun for keeping Jamie on the horses, while so many others had thrown him over (including Stall with Blame).

My favorite race Friday was Dubai Majesty winning the F/M Sprint.  She's such a beautiful and talented mare; and I find it very sad that she was sold off to Japan 2 days later.  May her foals come back to these shores to bite American breeders/owners in the a$$ one day!

13 Nov 2010 12:38 PM

The Life At Ten situation was pretty pathetic, Quality Road's non-effort last place finish in the Classic and Trevor Denman's call of the Classic were the negative highlights for me.  Todd Pletcher really bombed out badly in the two feature races on the two day program.

On the positive side, Blame, under a brilliant ride from Garett Gomez, holding the on-rushing Zenyatta at bay in the Classic was a thrilling finale.  Blame is a crackerjack colt indeed.  I hope that wisdom prevails in the HOTY voting because both he and "Zen" are deserving.

13 Nov 2010 1:37 PM

Girl Power! Goldikova's win, Unrivaled Belle's win and Zenyatta's near-win would be my top moments of this year's Breeders' Cup.

The low moment was another filly, Life at Ten, being allowed to race. We were out at Churchill Downs and had no idea what was being said by Pletcher and Velasquez about Life at Ten. We watched the DVR of it last night and were shocked they actually let that horse go to the gate. Thankfully she didn't break down. That's the only good thing to come of it.

13 Nov 2010 1:39 PM

Amy, don't kid yourself.  Zenyatta is awesome but give Blame his due.  He is a very good horse and would have held off Zenyatta even if they went around the track another time.  A flash-in-the-pan type of horse couldn't have beaten Battle Plan, Quality Road and Zenyatta respectively in the same season.  He lost badly to Haynesfield in the JCGC but the latter is no slouch himself.  Remember that "Zen" ducked the type of competition that Blame faced consistently all year long until the Breeder's Cup.  If one is honest, she might have been beaten in the same way long ago with stiffer competition.

13 Nov 2010 1:52 PM

The story of Breeder's Cup 2010 comes from 3 fillies/mares.

1. Life At Ten should not have entered the starting gate.  We all know whey she did, and I wouldn't be so quick to blame her rider.  That kind of economic pressure is intense.

2. Goldikova wins the Mile for the 3rd time.

3. Zenyatta closes in the stretch like an express train and almost catches the gallant Blame.  Kris S. in both pedigrees.

Footnotes for next year:  Uncle Mo and Awesome Feather!

13 Nov 2010 1:57 PM

I am a huge Pletcher fan.  I used to only watch the Triple Crown every year but when Rags to Riches won I picked his barn as a starting point to follow horses and the game. Now of course I follow as much of the game and horses from other trainers and barns that I can.

It is then with a real sense of disbelief that Todd and Johnny V appear to have let Life at Ten run in the Ladies Classic when something was clearly wrong. Pletcher is so caring and good with his horses I just don't understand how he would not have done the right thing and scratched her. I think they will both end up being reprimanded with strong arm and I have to say diservedly so if all plays out in just taking into account the pre-race comments from both of them. I hope I am wrong about them in this situation. Maybe there is more than meets the eye. I still remain a Pletcher fan all the same.

That said, the hightlights for me would be for Goldikova and her soaring charge and the precocious Uncle Mo. But first and foremost for the unforgettable courage and remarkable race that Zenyatta ran. I don't care what the turf writers say about Blame deserving HOY. He won the Classic,yes; his record this year is solid, yes; and maybe for many those are the reasons that matter most in deciding HOY. Maybe those simply are the guidelines.

But Zenyatta cannot be beaten in the hearts and minds of race fans of every type. Her legacy stands alone in an industry desparate for heros. She gets my vote for HOY for her own very solid body of work this year and also for my admiration for everything that she has done for the sport. She is what racing should be all about. And that should be a part of the factoring in for HOY. Racing would not have been nearly as exciting this year had she not been there to draw in crowds and inspire thousands and thousands of old and new race fans alike. Horse of the Year, Horse of the Decade, Horse for all the ages. That is Zenyatta.

13 Nov 2010 3:06 PM

It's hard picking only 3. I went with Uncle Mo because he did his thing, Gildikova because she also did her thing and Awesome Feather because over the past few years the calder 2 year olds are really tuning into top class horses every time they are privately puschased after a nice maiden score at a track that always was third rate. Just look at Cheyann Belief, Blind Luck, Homeboykris, etc. I really loved seeing Hollendorfer win with Dakota Phone. If anyone deserves to win big races it's definitely Jerry.

13 Nov 2010 3:13 PM


Off the subject, after watching your THS, I going to try and see if #3, and or #4 can get into an exacta box with the field (HolTrfCup). Just working on an experiment.

13 Nov 2010 5:37 PM
Richard G

@Ranagulzion: Finally, someone who acknowledges Gomez's "brilliant ride." The horses were equal; HE was the difference.

@TopFlight: Yep, don't want to forget how many drunks at night in a crowd of 100K+. Can't happen in Dubai - you can get alcohol in private dining suites only and not easily or cheaply, cabs are ubiquitous and buses from the track are free.

13 Nov 2010 6:11 PM
BC Winner

Sherpa   Jamie is an excellent rider and a real nice guy. Several trainers gave him a shot, like Lukas up in Saratoga right after the incident. You know though that a lot of owners put pressure on to ride certain jocks so I don't blame the trainers.

He rode both horses perfectly.

Had to jump with Chamberlain Bridge to not clip heels, those things happen it's almost unavoidable sometimes.

Dubai Majesty is a really nice mare, I agree that I hope they take good care of her.

How bout those former claimers?


whatever your name is.

CD is Blame's home track. He's great over that surface. First run on it for Zenyatta and I'd say if she had run over it before it woulda been a different story.

5 races is facing consistently better competition? Barely beating QR who obviously can't get the distance on a tiring track and losing to Haynesfield in a romp? Take a look at that picture. That mare coming from so far back and slow out of the gate, squeezed and taking up when QR started backing up so bad?  Blame would NOT have beat her if it had been even a jump further.

I'd still take the mare over the colt.

Well you all have a nice evening, I'm on to the real fun now.

13 Nov 2010 6:17 PM

The jockey fight is a non-issue.  People blow up, lose their cool for a lot of reasons.  Hell, Castellano's ride was a menace, so as far as I'm concerned, Calvin can hit him again.  And then, as far as I'm concerned, he should go after Pletcher and Velasquez.  The appalling disregard for Life At Ten's well-being by those entrusted with her care should result in the boom being lowered on Pletcher and Velasquez.  It was grossly unfair to a noble and gallant horse, and also, the betting public, who had no idea something was amiss.  Sickening.  

13 Nov 2010 6:45 PM

best moments: pluck, zenyatta, fight, unrivaled belle. just seen too many 2-y-os win easily and then fail to think uncle mo is a shoo in. goldikova great, but paco boy just couldn't handle the bends, otherwise clear second.

goldikova is the best turf miler in the (western) world. but she has failed to turn up for the european equivalent of the bc mile 3 years in a row now. she would have probably won it easily this year. but she didn't show. she was beaten by makfi in a G1 in france in august. she has the beating of paco boy sure enough. but that was all the competition she faced in america. and he didn't like the course.

what I am basically saying is. she is a star. but the bc turf races are so bad now, that shouldn't be the gauge you should measure her by. the bc turf races are dire now. let's hope pluck and paddy can put up a fight next year.  

13 Nov 2010 7:54 PM

Shocking, Life At Ten. Are there any up dates?

13 Nov 2010 9:42 PM
Richard G

@Dani: "Zenyatta...Her legacy stands alone in an industry desparate for heros. She gets my vote for HOY for her own very solid body of work this year and also for my admiration for everything that she has done for the sport. She is what racing should be all about. And that should be a part of the factoring in for HOY."

I thoroughly agree. Can someone please elaborate on the "official" determining factors for HOY. I've looked and can't find it (them).

13 Nov 2010 10:02 PM
Richard G

@LaurieK: "The jockey fight is a non-issue.  People blow up, lose their cool for a lot of reasons."

Not on national television and international online. Not good for our sport. The Euros (who kill each other at soccer matches) are just saying: "Well, there go the uncivilized Yanks again." To say nothing of the soccer moms and their kids from Cali watching Zen. Kick his a$$ in the parking lot if you must.

13 Nov 2010 10:24 PM

How can one not remember the Classic?  It's one of those visceral, emotional moments.  You know what's coming with Zenyatta.  Every race of hers has that butterfly feeling because it always feels impossible, and this time it was, but barely and breathtakingly.  Well done to both champions, Blame and Zen.

Claiborne's legacy and the racing community's love for Zenyatta and her connections, the connections' love for her.

Whatever your thoughts on the fight's participants, it was certainly memorable.  I had the online simulcast going in the background at work and found some video later and was shocked.  It will stay in my mind as memorable, even if unpleasantly so, as is that audible gasp of the crowd they managed to capture on air during the juvenile turf when Rough Sailing went down.  It's always a heartbreaking sound.

Pluck and Goldikova's charges (and her groom's!), Uncle Mo's brilliance, Awesome Feather defending Calder's honor from all the nattering naybobs, the enthusiasm of newer owners, Blind Luck's tenacity and Unbridled Belle's beautiful run.  She just seemed to be loving it.

There were dark moments, but boy were there some great ones this year.

((also, as for the Derby under the lights - for once a year fans, there's just something great about a Derby party out in the warm sun if the weather cooperates.  Especially for those of us in colder climes, it makes summer seem just that little bit closer!  Business wise, I suppose it makes sense))

13 Nov 2010 10:42 PM
Pedigree Shelly

         Zenyatta's lost I took a little hard !! The real highlight was Calvin and Javier's Sparring match !!

13 Nov 2010 10:43 PM
Paula Higgins

Slew, I am still laughing over the Heidi/S. Temple thing. OMG that is too funny.

Sylvester and Jason, not funny. Give it a rest.

Ted from LA you are absolutely hilarious.

My top three would be the Zenyatta/Blame stretch run.

Goldikova next. She was simply incredible. But don't try to get in her stall with her. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, she is not.

Uncle Mo, also fantastic. Can't wait to see him next year.

After that, the Life At Ten situation. The owner is saying now that she should have been scratched. The investigation is still ongoing and I think Pletcher and the jockey will not come out of this without some consequences. Personally, I think Pletcher is the one who has to be accountable.  He is in control. I don't know what he was thinking, but as someone said above, the financial pressure to race them must be enormous. Luckily, nothing bad happened to her.

As for the jockey fight, I am sure the incident on the track scared Calvin half to death and he just lost control. But, I agree with Jason on this. You cannot threaten to kill someone or assault them. I am just glad they had some strong guys there to prevent a blood bath. It reflects badly on the sport. This isn't NASCAR, thank GOD.

13 Nov 2010 10:55 PM

Shandler, you never even recognize or say anything about the great Zenyatta.  You continue to disregard, not mentioning that she has singlehandly done more for the sport of kings than all the other participants in the BC combined.  Thank God for Zenyatta!

13 Nov 2010 11:02 PM
Zen's Auntie

Shhh Thomas don’t tell anyone,  Dakota Phone got a price due to "Synthetic Bias Dismissal" heretofore knows as SBD.

Its surprisingly similar to the old version of SBD (silent but deadly) well at least it smells the same... when Hollendorfer brings a horse there is Rarely a reason to see 30+ to one

13 Nov 2010 11:04 PM
Kitty Darst

I also was troubled by the University of Michigan football game.  Something should be done so that this does NOT recur.  I will make a point about Michigan football though - its fans can be totally unreasonable.  We lived in Detroit for a few years, during which Sadat went to Jerusalem to see Begin.  Football fans did not get to see the Michigan kickoff - only - as Sadat/Begin was being shown live.  The next day, one local paper had the Michigan fan reaction on the front page, above the fold, with the promise that this would NEVER happen again.  Obviously, priorities were ALL WRONG.  Good luck trying to deal with Michigan football!

14 Nov 2010 12:10 AM

Arts and Letters:

Goldikova is rated a bit lower on the World Rankings because the World Raninkgs use weight carried in their evaluation of a performance.  Goldikova, as a mare, has been carrying less weight than older males like Paco Boy; Paco Boy has actually been giving her weight all year.

A perfect example of how weight enters into the World Rankings, look at the Breeder's Cup Classic.  Blame earned a 129(lbs) for the Classic, the highest rated maintrack race in the world this year.  Zenyatta was rated at 125 for the Classic.  Wait, but didn't she only lose by a head? Then why the 4 point(pound) difference in the rankings?  Well, evidently they decidided to give Blame one more point than Zenyatta because he won, even if only by a head(their Beyers were the same).  The other 3 points(pounds) comes from the fact that Blame carried 126 lbs in the Classic while Zenyatta carried 123.  Thus, an overall 4 point(pound) difference(still don't know why it isn't 3).

14 Nov 2010 2:00 AM

1. the Classic( what a race,fantastic)

2. Goldikova- simply the best

3. Life at Ten, what a fiasco. If this happens more than we know, then this event needs to bring this to the forefront of the racing authorities and something has to be done about it. If  bettors put $300,000 dollars on a horse to win and $1M dollars on exotics, and they let that money go down the drain for those bettors, all the while the jockey and trainer know something is not right with the horse, then people need to show their outrage at this situation and demand something be done. I just can't believe they( the trainer and the jockey) let this horse run. I know it's a tough position for the jockey to be in , but if the trainer knew, the jockey shouldn't have needed to say something. What were they thinking? I'm surprised that there hasn't been more public outrage. This is a far bigger black-eye for racing, than the punch in the winner's circle(but this is what gets all the media attention). Geesh! where are all  the collective media heads? Buried somewhere.

I'm saying this as a concerned bettor only, as I luckily did not have any money on her.

14 Nov 2010 2:07 AM


Hope you did use #3, Unusual Suspect, in the Hollywood Turf Cup.  And the #4, Buenos Dias, ran on well for 3rd.  If you had Temple City in the tri box, you could have hit big.

By the way, I'm sure the Grading Committee probably devalued the grade for next year's Hollywood Turf Cup the second Unusual Suspect hit the wire.  I believe Unusual Suspect was riding something like a 20 race losing streak.  But before being too harsh on him, take a look at his career in its entirety.  This is a 6 year old horse, not a gelding, who has made 55 starts.  55 starts!  He has run 14 times this year alone.  He had just run 2 weeks ago when a good 2nd in the Cal Cup Classic over Cushion Track.  

For all those people you think top horses are too babied and that trainers have become afraid of running their stars, take a look at Unusual Suspect and his trainer, Barry Abrams.  Blame, who some posters thought had a "comprehensive" campaign, only made 5 starts the entire year, and Zenyatta, my admiration aside, is the same age as Unusual Suspect but has made 35 fewer starts.

And it's not like Unusual Suspect is a bad horse.  With the win in the Hollywood Turf Cup, he now owns a gr.1 win and has gone over the $1 million mark in career earnings.  Nor is Unusual Suspect a terrible stud prospect.  He's by Unusual Heat, the top sire in California, and has proven himself in stakes on turf and synthetic, at sprint distances and "marathons".  

Something that adds to Unusual Suspect's working class hero persona is that he's a really small horse.  Coming down the stretch in the Turf Cup, Unusual Suspect was completely dwarfed by Temple City; Unusual Suspect would have had to climb up on Temple City's shoulders to look him in the eye.  The Turf Cup might not have been the best gr.1 race, but Unusual Suspect is a good story.

I also thought Temple City ran quite well.  I jumped on the Temple City bandwagon this summer, but he found the Pacific Classic a little too tough and he hated the dirt at Hawhtorne.  A tall, robust horse, Temple City is best at marathon distances, on either turf or Del Mar's Polytrack.  He actually also ran well at 9 furlongs on turf when dropping a close decision to the injured Global Hunter in the gr.2 American.  Temple City has had some injury problems, which is why as a 5 year old he's only started 15 times, but if he remains healthy he should be a big factor in turf marathons on the SoCal circuit.

Treat Gently didn't get a great ride from P Val, but she just wasn't good enough anyways.  In the end, she lost the Turf Cup by about as much as she lost the Turf Classic.

Finally, what a difference 6 weeks can make.  In the October 3rd Clement Hirsch, two lightly raced horses, Champ Pegasus and Where's the Remote, ran 1-2.  Champ Pegasus had broken his maiden in April of this year while Where's the Remote broke his on May 22nd.  Both horses seemed like they were headed for much bigger things.

Well, that was certainly true for Champ Pegasus.  A son of Fusaichi Pegasus out of a gr.1 winning mare, Champ Pegasus followed his Hirsch win with a solid 2nd in the gr.1 $3 million Breeder's Cup Turf.  Having won the Hirsch from the back of the field, Champ Pegasus displayed tremendous versatility by setting the pace of the BC Turf and holding off the likes of Bekhabad for 2nd.

On the other hand, Where's the Remote exited his Hirsch runner-up with a lethargic 3rd in a maintrack allowance race at Hollywood Park, a failed test for the BC Marathon.  Made the Turf Cup favorite today in his return to turf, Where's the Remote was basically eased and ran last.    

14 Nov 2010 2:31 AM

By the way, Unusual Suspect was but one of many Cal-breds that ran well on turf this year.

This list includes:

The Usual QT, Evening Jewel, Acclamation, Unusual Suspect, Bold Chieftain, Enriched, Compari, Liberian Freighter, Unzip Me, Colgan's Chip, Bruce's Dream, Soul Candy, California Flag, and Where's the Remote.

The first 4 won a gr.1 turf race, and the first 9 won a graded stakes on turf.

14 Nov 2010 2:40 AM

I find it funny that the "fight" merits mention among the most memorable races in this year's BC.  It just goes to show you that the media will go to great lengths (coverage of the fight) when it comes to drama.  They replayed the fight so many times on tv and this is during the live show, having said that though, I don't think we'll lose many "new" fans because of it.  I think Zenyatta's run took care of that.

So Todd and John says something was not right with the horse and they didn't scratch her ?  To me, sounds like the owner probably had something to do with it than anyone.  I don't know if the stewards were around when TP and JV were being interviewed but some blame goes to those two if they told the media that and not tell the stewards.  Greed?  maybe.

Thanks to all who bet the farm on Quality Road, it covered my bet with Jason and then some :)

14 Nov 2010 2:43 AM


You believe that Blame would have continued to hold Zenyatta at bay had they gone around again.  The Zenny Zealots are equally convinced that she would have caught him with a couple more jumps.

The truth?  We'll never know what could have happened.  You spend all year training a horse for the Breeders Cup, in the hopes of peaking on BC day.  For example, Todd Pletcher trained Quality Road up to the race because he runs so well fresh.  It didn't work, though drawing the Churchill rail of death didn't help.

Bottom line though, is they had one and only one chance to meet this year, that was Moss and Sherriffs choice.  And they met for a race set at exactly 1 1/4 miles, not 1 1/4 miles and a couple of jumps - everyone knew that going in.  And for that one race, Blame was set up better by his connections.  Garrett Gomez gave Blame a heady ride, but it's hard to fault Mike Smith too much for Zenyatta just not wanting to get started with the dirt flying in her face.  That fault must go to Sherriffs for not prepping her over the course.  He was out- trained by Albert Stall who did work Blame over the course.

We can speculate endlessly about what woulda, coulda happened with a slightly longer race, a better start by Zenyatta, her not encountering minor traffic woes.  But all we know for sure is the result. And the race was won fair and square.

14 Nov 2010 4:35 AM


From your list of top moments I agree with:

1. Zenyatta's courageous and brilliant effort against the victorious Blame in the Classic. Blame won the race, but Zenyatta proved  her undeniable greatness to everyone.

2. Goldikova's extraordinary three-peat. I eagerly anticipated watching her in the Breeders' Cup and was thrilled by her greatness as well. I think Goldi is a beautiful horse. Her beauty is in her eyes and the way she carries herself on the racetrack.

3.Uncle Mo's decisive win. I agree that he is special. May he stay healthy and sound! May he improve even more at 3 and contend for the Triple Crown!

I also want to add a couple of my personal favorite moments. I was thrilled with Big Drama's victory in the Sprint. He is one of my favorite horses to watch run. I,too, was glad he put it all together on the Big Day.

Also, I loved Goldikova's excited groom being shown. What a heartwarming moment! I also wanted to add my condolences to the connections of Rough Sailing. A very sad moment in racing! In regards to the jockey fight, I have never seen such an angry man as Calvin Borel was! But, I understand why he felt the way he did. I am glad this fighting is a rare occurrance on TV and in front of the public. One of the things I love most about jockeys is that they,for the most part, conduct themselves like gentlemen on camera and in front of the racing public.

Overall, it was a perfect Breeders' Cup. My greatest overall moment is getting to watch so many of the world's best horses and ours showcasing their talents in the same races. Thanks to all the connections of all the horses! Here is one racing fan who enjoyed seeing them all run!

14 Nov 2010 8:41 AM

As far as I know, jockeys presently reserve the right to dismount any horse they feel is not fit to run.  Johnny V.  did not do that.  It makes absolutely no sense to talk to a broadcaster and not a Vet.  On the other side of the coin, what would a Vet have discovered BEFORE the race?...the same thing they discovered AFTER the race...they found no reason to explain her run, which means they probably would not have scratched her.  

As to the brawl, it was unseemly for 2 jockeys known for their normally calm demeanor.  What amazed me was how many people it took to hold back a 110 pound Calvin...was it 5..or 7..or..?  That's an athlete!  And, as previously mentioned, Johnny V on Prince Will carelessly bumped into Martin Garcia on Romp, taking Romp to his knees, knocking Garcia into the air out of his saddle.  If he had gone down, Calvin's horse, to the flank of Romp, would have trampled and killed Garcia.  Something tells me that it was more of that scenario that caused the fight, rather than Prince Will costing A U Miner the win....which he did...but A U Miner was able to re-rally after the bump to show...after the DQ.  Meanwhile A U Miner reflected, "I coulda been a contender!"  

14 Nov 2010 9:05 AM

You really want to rip on Calvin when Javier like Jerry Bailey said "made a right turn without putting his blinker on?"...Wow..Yeah maybe ESPN over did it a bit, but Garcia probably would have been taken off on a stretcher bc of Javier's stupid move, but hey let's get on Calvin for causing a fight..and I think it was Javier who threw the first punch..Wow

14 Nov 2010 10:07 AM

Vince- I see your point and when I see a horse like Goldikova finish like that, I am more inclined to realize that any top class Euro can outkick most of our horses easily.  So while Goldikova's kick is impressive, to me it is a European kick.  We see lesser Euro's come here and decimate our horses in the stretch.  Take nothing away from Goldikova, who is a brilliant racehorse.  And take nothing away from her performance.  And the mile was a great field by our standards, but probably lacking by Euro standards.  It was still a visually impressive performance.  It is a mystery to me that she doesn't contest the European mile championship.  I know it is considered a stamina test though, but she showed a little more stamina this year.  Maybe next year as they are planning to start her season later.  We will see.

14 Nov 2010 10:55 AM


You're absolutely correct, the race was 1 1/4 miles, not a jump longer and Blame won it fair and square.  In the speculation of what could've been, I hold the view that had Zenyatta gone faster earlier her closing kick would have been compromised.  She ran her usual race and true to her style of negotiating traffic and meandering past retreating horses in her hell-for-leather closing rush.  She just got beat this time by the level of competition and a very good colt, Blame.  Had she hooked him earlier in the stretch he would've fought back as indicated in the gallop out past the wire.  Zenyatta never headed him once and he was not gonna let her pass him ...that was a figment of someone's immagination.  Its all on camera.

Yuo know, the more i think about Quality Road's non-performance, I believe that it should also be the subject of an inquiry.  This colt has never run so badly ...never ...and I don't buy the argument that he was beaten by the track condition (cuppy) or track bias (favouring closers).  His performance kindof mirrors Life At Ten's (less exaggerated perhaps for being a day later, but still suspicious to me).  He did appear to be training off since the Whitney but his exercise preparation gave no indication that he would run so poorly, therefore an inquiry is warranted IMO.

14 Nov 2010 11:36 AM

good for calvin going after that fool castellano.  Martin Garcia could have been killed or even worse paralyzed because of castellano and his careless riding.  Ask Rene Douglas.  police your own.

14 Nov 2010 12:34 PM
Mike Relva


So now we are dragging out the excuse bag,right? Zenyatta was not that far back by DESIGN,and she blew by everyone but Blame,period!

14 Nov 2010 12:52 PM

For me it was Goldikova's groom running and jumping on the dirt track while she ran by.  Watching that burst of joy and true happiness and love made me feel it too.  It was marvelous.

14 Nov 2010 1:48 PM

My most memorable moments:

1) The Classic. I don't think any of us will forget this race any time soon. Absolutely one of the greatest stretch runs I've ever seen.

2) Goldikova's 3rd win in the Turf Mile and the reaction of her groom. Fabulous! No matter how hard I try to see the jet engines connected to her butt, I can't see them. I know they are there... that acceleration is the absolute proof. What a little mare that could!!!

3) Hard to choose between Uncle Mo and Pluck. I give it a dead-heat. Incredibly impressed by both of them. Different surface, different trips, equal promise!

Although I truly enjoyed these two days of excellent racing, this BC was far from perfect.

RIP Rough Sailing. Trying to please a Brit caused your fatal injury. My deepest sympathy to the connections. Heart-breaking loss.

Shame on Todd Pletcher for running a horse who wasn't right. Any hands-on trainer would have known that something was very wrong with Life At Ten and would have  scratched her. Why leave it to the jockey, the vets or the stewards? The responsability lays squarely on the trainer's shoulders for seeing to the welfare of the horses under his care.

The fight? Not as big a deal to me as the incident that provoked it. Castellano almost cost the lives of three horses and two other jockeys beside his own. Calvin chose the wrong place to express his outrage... but he had every right to be THAT mad.

14 Nov 2010 1:50 PM
Zen's Auntie

Dang it, Buddys Saint was just euthenized.  That Sucks.

14 Nov 2010 1:51 PM
Paula Higgins

I am so sorry about Buddys Saint. That is just awful. I hate this.

14 Nov 2010 2:43 PM

Just a couple of comments a week later.  looking back, goldi's groom running down the track really sticks with me, what a wonderful moment. i wonder if there is a video clip of it.  rough sailing dying, it has not been mentioned much and not at all on the natl broadcast (understandably so i guess). after seeing the clip of prince will i am etc, it really is amazing no one was hurt or killed.  the whole life at 10 thing, it was very odd. why did velasquez and pletcher talk about it on tv if they weren't going to do anything? granted velasquez did not push her and just let her gallop but those bets should have not been allowed, a lot of people lost money. i was going to bet on her but i had the benefit of seeing the broadcast, those there didn't. uncle mo, he was awesome, as was unbridled belle. of course z's race...  i thought i was going to pass out afterwards, it was like the wind had been knocked out of me.  i couldn't believe it, she came so close.  all in all it was a great 2 days. i think for me though, goldikova was the star. i even like the fact she is not very friendly, kinda funny. little and grouchy - and man can she run. her size and ability compared to z's size and ability, it's pretty amazing. not to take anything away from z obviously, but compare their strike lengths!  i hope goldi stays healthy and can continue being the most amazing horse.

14 Nov 2010 2:46 PM

i just read about buddys saint. so sad. is it just me or is this happening more and more often these days.  rip buddys saint.

14 Nov 2010 2:48 PM

Footlick : I'm curious why the european mile championship is considered a stamina since it is going a mile?  I'm also curious what you mean by "european kick" ?

Ranagulzion : QR came out of the race fine, his fees were set at 35K.  If he was injured or something was wrong, there'd be all kinds of talk about it.  The fact is, he just got tired, end of story.  I still don't believe he belongs in the top level as shown by his performances against top level horses.  The weak G1s he won allowed his owners to charge 35K though so good on them.  What I find funny is that the horse who beat him in the Whitney and trashed him in the Classic is also going for 35K.

Finally, it's amazing how people are still talking about Zenyatta's run.  It's just amazing to me because people just forget the fact that she's a 6 yr old mare and she beat a pretty good field of young colts in their prime and almost beat Blame.  Truth be told, if she was 1 length closer at the start of the race, she would've won by 3/4 lengths and Mike would be pulling her up as she hit the wire.

14 Nov 2010 3:00 PM


Put it like this bud, those that picked Zenyatta were within inches of winning.  The experts that picked Quality Road and were on his bandwaggon for months were only about 30 lengths wrong with their guaranteed pick.

14 Nov 2010 3:56 PM
Mike Relva

I'm saddened to hear of another loss,regarding Buddy's Saint. Sad.

14 Nov 2010 4:27 PM

Can everybody stop bashing Quality Road please? How do you think his fans like me feel to see people attacking his ability and distance capacity and everything? That wasn't the best of QR we saw in the Classic. Could he have won if he ran his race? Who knows. But the poor horse doesn't deserve all this criticism. About the stud fees for him and Blame.. Arch isn't exactly an exciting sire, is he? On topic, I loved Pluck's race. I love Pluck, he could be a superstar.

14 Nov 2010 6:14 PM

footlick, thanks for your reply. I always like to hear your views. very informed.

you know, the us had better watch out with this breeders cup. just when it seems it could not be topped, that is precisely when the fall comes. blame gone, zenyatta probably gone. what older horses will be there next year? and as for the turf. well, the bc turf used to be the best turf race of the year. not anymore. the us had no credible challengers over 12 furlongs. that is what annoyed me about the paddy o prado decision. he could have won that race, but they went for the classic and you saw what happened. snow fairy won a G1 today in japan. on a proper, wide course by 5 lengths. if the japanese get their act together, there will be no more european turf horses coming to the bc.

for the bc to continue as the world championships, they need to put up some credible challengers on the turf. maybe pluck can do it or paddy next year. but what the hell happened to us turf racing. euro imports and second-class home breds. hope it changes. japan, hong kong and dubai will fill the void if you don't shape up.        

14 Nov 2010 7:09 PM


a lot of english tracks have uphill finishes. and I mean uphill, they are pretty steep. it demands stamina. also, newmarket for example is a straight mile with a steep uphill finish. no coasting round bends. ascot has either a straight mile or a mile round one very sweeeping bend. the horses very definitely have to get a mile.

as for european kick, I think he means that this is the way euro races are run, it is all about the finishing kick, not the fractions a horse runs. straight tracks with lots of space, some straight, no excuses. on turf europe is a hard school.

btw, I would love to see us horses have a go at english tracks. noble promise tried in the summer but failed badly. didn't have the kick. but zenyatta I think would be a fantastic horse and would win for sure. never seen a horse that fast in the last 2 furlongs.    

14 Nov 2010 7:28 PM
Mike Relva


LAZ is on the mark regarding his post whether you like it or not. All we heard was what QR would do to Zenyatta in the race. Right. lol

14 Nov 2010 7:55 PM

Mike Relva, Jayjay, Lazmannick,

We'rwe not making excuses for QR,  just reflecting on a very lack lustre performance that was uncharacteristic of the horse.  Don't be so one-track-minded and jaundiced in your view of Zenyatta that you can't objectively admit that a top class horse like Quality Road ran way below his best fact the worst race of his career.  All I'm doing is trying to assess why he ran so poorly.  its time to stop the Zenyatta crusading now and recover some objectivity.  The Classic is over and she was beaten fairly and squarely by a very good colt.  Blame no one ...not Mike Smith, not her usual slow start, not her traffic problems ...those have all been the usual obstacles she has overcome against softer competition.  Get real folks.  Talking about losing by photo-finish or that Quality Road came in last doesn't alter the cold facts.  I laid my "famous" moniker on the line with a solemn promise that if she won the race with QR in it I'd be the "hocus pocus" idiot on these blogs but lo and behold RANAGULZION is still here and who's to BLAME?  no one but Zenyatta.  Is that what's bothering you folks?

14 Nov 2010 8:32 PM
Dog Doc

Rachel would have run the... Oh, sorry, that was last year.

The thing that was the most memorable to me was the building excitement. It kept getting more and more intense until the Classic where I believe most at home were on the edge of their seats. It got worse of course during the race. I imagine some people weren't breathing, others were hyperventilating, and probably everyone was tense during the last strides waiting to see if she could pull it off, whether they were Zenyatta fans or not.

One thing I could live without was the seemingly constant mention of the heavyweight fight with Calvin's serene visage filling the screen. Is it just me, or did he look like the scrawny thing in The Lord of The Rings? I think he kept screeching, "my precious", but they turned the sound down.

The thing that really burns me up though, is that Michigan won in triple overtime. I'm a Michigan State grad and fan, and nothing is better than Michigan losing.

14 Nov 2010 8:38 PM
Dog Doc

Hey Jason,

I think Calvin could have taken him if the fight was seven rounds or more. He's a great closer, and I think he would have boxed his ears off. He might only fight on dirt tracks, but I think he would be tough on poly, too. The Downs is his track, and I think a knockout would have occured.

14 Nov 2010 9:08 PM

Ranagulzion,  What did Zenyatta lose?    It looks like to me she gained more in four inches behind than she would have if she'd been four inches in front.  What does that tell ya?   I dont hear the world singing the praises of Blame, Do you?   No, they arent, she done so great in her four inches behind and all that she made up and left the all the other boys standing still when she made her run for all to the finish line that the four iches dont mean a thing to most people, including the one's that didnt think she could do it.    Blame is a great horse, but lets be honest here, He isnt being looked upon in winning because he didnt beat her by much. Her run is far greater than his.  Thats what stands before the fans and many more in their eyes.  You all said that the colts would pass her by lengths,  Show me one of them that has ever passed her by lenghs.  No has, the one time that one did get ahead of her , he only got by her by 4 measley inches.  what happened to those lenghts that all these males were going to leave her in,  I think she left them not the other way around.  

14 Nov 2010 9:17 PM

Ranagulzion (and others) : You guys are all over the Zenyatta fans when we talk about her and when I say something that is the TRUTH about QR, you all whine.  You love to criticize zen fans but you can't take it when someone criticizes your horse.  

QR is NOT a top level horse, his record this year is much much weaker than Zenyatta's.  It's not a knock on the horse, it's just who the horse is.  His fans claimed him HOTY in the summer, called him the beast of the east.  When the real races were ran,he didn't perform.  The only time he performed well was when facing weak horses.

I'm sorry but there was nothing he did that impressed me, this is my opinion of QR and I will stand by it.  Ranagulzion had his opinion of Zenyatta not even hitting the board, someone even said she won't run in the Classic.  In the end, the best horse of two turns out to be the mare, by a wide margin.

When I criticize your horse, you call it crusading for Zenyatta.  You can't even consider that what I'm saying is true.  Can you tell me which horse he beat in all his G1 had any impact all year or was even mentioned in the top contender discussions ?  If you're going to talk about Zenyatta's weak campaign, I think you should look at QR's campaign this year.  He didn't travel and had a lot of rest.  Just being real here...

14 Nov 2010 9:34 PM


I'm not making excuses for Quality Road either.  Thee simply aren't any.  I will say that since his Florida Derby if you look at his so called tough races where his opponents weren't soft, he lot every one of them.

14 Nov 2010 9:40 PM


It bothers me a lot that Quality Road performed so poorly in the Classic. He clearly wasn't himself.

This is what I dislike about these crazy debates, people posts stupid things because they are mad at what somebody else said. Sad!!!

BTW, if Arch was a more sought-after stallion we might see more horses with the stamina and grit of Blame and Zenyatta. They have a common ancestor, Kris S. Food for thought in that big brain of yours...

14 Nov 2010 9:58 PM
Paula Higgins

Quality Road is a really good horse with bursts of brilliance. The BCC was not his race. His post position and the distance were not his cup of tea, and maybe he too, didn't like the cuppy track.

Ranagulzion, I guess what is bothering us folks is the lack of respect accorded to Zenyatta's amazing stretch run by some people. There is losing by inches and there is losing by a mile. All things are not equal. How you run the race is important, and in this case, historic.

14 Nov 2010 10:33 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I'll give you my take on the great Quality Road but I first want to say that the Life At Ten fiasco was horrible and we're very lucky she didn't lose her life. If she would have really run, it's not likely she would have survived, her temp would have been too high. I feel terrible about Buddy's Saint. And I want to know why extra water was put on the turf track Friday night causing Rough Sailing his life. Quality Road- Is a brilliant race horse, and was probably one of the greatest milers of all time, but sadly we hardly got to see him at his best distance. From what I read (I think a workout report), QR was an angry horse leading up to the BC. In my opinion he was unhappy with his last few races, and the CD surface despite a bullet workout, and his overall training regime. He can rate to a certain extent but he loves to go all out, which he can do from 6 1/2f to a mile, and even up to 1&1/8 at GP. He wants to run, not lollygag along. He was pointed to the wrong race, and trained to run 1 1/4. A good example of a trainer and owner not understanding a horse's niche, or understanding it but hoping he could win at 1 1/4 to enhance stud fees. The one hole didn't help either but they were able to get off the rail fairly early I think. Basically a horse that was very frustrated by not being able to run the way he loves to run. I seriously doubt if anything was wrong with him physically although it can't be ruled out completely. Passing on the JCGC was a very bad move. It would either be a conditioner or show that he wanted no part of a mile and a quarter, and an audible could have been called to run him in the mile. I think the best race of his career was the Met Mile, then he has to run two taxing races at 1 1/8 which he didn't like, then he had no 1 1/4 prep, and is thrown into a 1 1/4 race with a 63 day layoff. Originally, early in the year I thought that he could run in The Classic and maybe wire the field with a magnificient performance but the routes at the Spa in The Whitney, and Woodward showed me that it was highly unlikely that he could win The Classic. I would have absolutely changed course at that time, taken the 63 days off but trained him for speed and entered the dirt mile in the BC.

14 Nov 2010 11:00 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Calvin would have cleaned his clock in the first round. That was intense rage with massive adrenaline. I thought he was going to act like Popeye, toss off those guys holding him like ragdolls, turn JJ into mincemeat, and eat him with eggs for breakfast.

14 Nov 2010 11:03 PM

Quality Road is standing for the same $35K as Blame because American breeders generally value Brilliance (speed) over Classic (staying) ability when it comes to sires.  That's too bad, but that's the market.

As far as the what would have happened if Zenyatta had gotten moving a smidge earlier, it's sheer speculation. Maybe she accelerates past Blame. Or maybe he digs in for the last 200 yards the way he dug in for the last 50 yards.

We'll never know, we only know what is.  And that is that Blame is the 2010 BC Classic champion.  But that's an entirely different distinction than HOY, we'll see soon enough what the voters think.

14 Nov 2010 11:28 PM


15 Nov 2010 12:52 AM


Right On.  Good points and I'm afraid that I am one of the greatest offenders at times.  Nobody actually has anything against a horse.  It's either that horse's connections or, as we're seeing on here, other posters.  Regarding Quality Road......personally when it comes right down to it I feel bad for him.  His best distance definitely is at a mile and that's where he should have been.  Dr. Drunkinbum's analogy perhaps sums it up best.  Good horse, wrong race.

15 Nov 2010 12:52 AM

ps...THATS BOTH DCCS...ty...

15 Nov 2010 12:57 AM

KNOT TO WORRY FOLKS...THE 2009 CLA$$ I$ OWN ITS WAY...MITE BEE TWO FREAK$ N THERE!!!...#9...#9...#9!!!...ty...

15 Nov 2010 1:09 AM

Dr. Drunkinbum is in fine form tonight.  And I agree with his insightful analysis of Quality Road's road trip in the Classic.

15 Nov 2010 3:46 AM

On the subject of Quality Road, it doesn't shock me that a horse that imploded on BC day last year and didn't even make it into the starting gate would run a clunker.  

Quality Road won 4 grade 1 races in his career, so obviously he had talent, and until last weekend he had been quite consistent.  However, it is also true that in the biggest races of his career, against really top level horses, and especially when going a distance, he was either beaten or threw a fit.  Additionally, in the Classic he had to run a distance beyond his scope, had to face three other speed horses, and had to break from the rail.  Clearly, he is better than what he showed in the Classic, but if he truly was a great horse he never would have run that bad.  If Zenyatta simply got beat, fair and square, then Quality Road simply ran last, fair and square.

15 Nov 2010 5:08 AM

One thing I keep reminding myself is that Zenyatta is a 6 year old mare.  Blame is a heck of a horse, a 4 year old male in the prime of his career.  And he is a superb closer.  Go back and look at the Clark, Foster, and Whitney where he just enhaled quality frontrunners in deep stretch.  Blame has faced some good competition, and just crushed them in the stretch.  Yet, in the Classic he lost 2 lengths to a mare in the final eighth and about 4 during the entire stretch run.  

So, Zenyatta was making up ground on the best male closer in North America.  And personally, it did appear a jump or two after the wire that Zenyatta reached even terms(would have been a head bob).  In the gallop-out, however, Blame was clearly in front.  One reason is that Mike Smith, knowing that he lost, was pulling Zenyatta up while it appeared Garrett Gomez was busy celebrating before pulling Blame up.  It isn't unusual for a winner, even one that was losing ground at the finish, to gallop out infront of everyone because its jockey was standing up in the saddle, and celebrating by waving his hands or pumping his fists.  But in all honesty I haven't seen a conclusive video of the gallop out, and it really is irrelevant anyways.

What we can all agree upon is that Zenyatta was making up ground on Blame as they hit the wire, but that Blame did get his head under the wire first.  Regardless of the gallop out, I find it amazing that a female horse could make up so much ground on the best male stretch runner of this generation.  Before Zenyatta came around, when had we seen a female horse do that before in a Breeder's Cup Classic?  

15 Nov 2010 5:22 AM

First, let me ask that no horse be disparaged...they were all great just to qualify to be at the BC.  In my opinion, QR is a fantastic miler.  He was placed in the wrong race.  He should have been in the dirt mile....same with Espoir City.  Neither horse can get the 10f easily...both can burn up the track at a mile.

As to Life at Ten...dear owner, trainer, jockey, stewards, and's awfully stange...there is no Buckpasser in her lineage...but that's all I'm seeing from all persons connected to LAT.

And I misspoke regarding the track incident citing Johnny V as Prince Will's jockey when it should have been Javier C. My apologies.

College football overtime should be changed to sudden death OT, same as the NFL.  Three OT's is ridiculous when no championship is on the line.    

15 Nov 2010 7:56 AM
Mike Relva


Yes,i'll admit QR didn't bring his best game. Will also say for two months I said QR is a miler,trainer Ron Ellis stated the same on TVG.

15 Nov 2010 9:13 AM

Thanks Vince.  I try.  It is true about the Japanese luring horses away with double purse money and paying expenses, etc.  Snow Fairy ran an amazing race and if they feel she is up to it they will consider the Japan Cup.  

JayJay- I believe the QE2, which Poet's Voice won this year over Rip VanWinkle is considered Europe's mile championship.  I believe it's last 4 furlongs are run on a steep incline uphill.  So even though it is a mile, horses have to have stamina to win it.  The interesting thing is that winner's of the QE2 have not been very successful in the BC Mile as a whole.

A European kick is a very fast last quarter mile.  As Vince said, they are trained to be held up and then explode.  Explosive runs are what they are known for.  Lesser Euros have come over here and run away from our top horses in the stretch.

Ranagulzion-when you come out making brash bold statements, you have to reap what you sew.  The horse you said was going to run away from everyone didn't.  You have no problem coming down on other people.   As for your moniker, it wasn't much of a bet.  As far as blaming Zenyatta for you still blogging under your "famous" moniker, she held up her end just fine with an amazing stretch run.  She has alot of class.

15 Nov 2010 9:37 AM

I’m intrigued to know which race people mean when they refer to the “European Mile Championship Race” that Goldikova is supposed to have skipped.  There is no such thing!

The closest thing we have in Europe to a Championship Day is Arc day in October but there is no Mile race on the day - Goldikova won the 7f G1 Prix de la Foret that day.

15 Nov 2010 9:57 AM

Dr Drunkinbum,

I appreciate your insightful response about Quality Road.  i do agree that he should have gone in the JCGC but felt that the trainer knows best.  I disagree however that he is strictly a miler.  His Donn Handicap performance was the most sublime by any horse all year.

Jayjay & Lazmannick, Your argument attacking the level of competition faced by Quality Road should really be applied to Zenyatta, if you could be honest and objective for even a moment on this issue.  QR faced weak fields because he scared the opposition and even then, he blew them away with "runaway" Beyer speed figures and respectable margins of victory.  Now apply the same consideration to Zenyatta and tell mke what do you come up with.  QR lost because he competed with the best that showed up and he only lost narrowly to Blame.  His Breeder's Cup performance is a complete throw out IMO, whether you see it that way or not.

Paula Higgins, Zenyatta gets a lot of respect but you and others crusade for her as if she won the Classic when in fact she ran her usual gutsy/phenomenal race BUT was beaten, facing her once-a-year serious competition.  Most people can appreciate the 19 straight winning streak but that has an anoying context for you folks.  Lets be honest about it.  I can share my thoughts freely because I'm as much a fan of Zenyatta as all of you but I value being a purist in the sporting sense.

15 Nov 2010 10:27 AM
Zen's Auntie

Zoo I totally agree - gotta get ya some MORE Kris S - really good stuff.  

I have a Kris S mare bred back when he was in FL shes neraly 21 was a winner dirt and turf 6f to 9f raced 3 years from woodbine to GP retired sound has had 10 foals and still has the NICEST soundest legs I have ever seen on this kind of retiree. Beleive it or not she still rides nice too we dont use for riding much but the daughter takes her out under saddle for a walk / jog now and then she loves it!

While were are on selection to fix desireable characteristics I have to repeat that I feel like QR has lingering mental issues.  I agree that he should have been lead down a path that suited him better mentally. He is a front runner and teaching them to rate does require that the horse be mentally in the game and can be very frustrating to a horse that isnt.

So much talent but very fragile in his head - a horse like this needs to be used and pionted in a direction that creates happiness not a constant challenge or correction.  Its no use to force them they have to want to do things - like a mule.

On the other hand from what I have been able to find out Blame has always been workman like and a gentleman in his traing and a pleasure to be around.  That is nice to hear.  It doesnt surprize me in the least.

Oh dear listen to me go on, its Just and opinion of course.  

SOUNDNESS, both mentally and physically and a long useful racing career that could lead to   another OTT life - these are qualities I dont really see emphasised in TB's I wish they were more common traits selected for in breeding.  It would help the ones that need to find a job after they are done racing.  

15 Nov 2010 11:51 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  If I insinuated that QR is stricttly a miler, then I apologize but I don't think I did. I do believe it is his best distance though. I know that his Donn is his highest rated race and a great race but his Met that was rated a few points less was better in my opinion. I don't want to squabble over details. He was great, but I don't think he was a great 1 1/4 runner. I think he was a tremendous miler, and great at other distances also, covering a wide range of distances. A barn doesn't always make the right decision whether they know best or not. Choosing the correct race is not easy. To run in a prep or not run in a prep choice is not easy. QR had proven over and over that he ran great fresh. That's not really the issue to me. The issue is that they wanted to gamble that he could win The Classic to increase stud fees. They lost that gamble but it still may have been worth the risk. They probably had nothing to lose. His stud fees eventually will be determined by how his offspring do anyway. And if they get the 35k now, then that's great. QR is very special. My disappointment comes in not seeing more of what he could do at a mile. I was thinking 1:32, and I wanted to see that. Whatever happened in The Classic, he was nowhere near top form on that given day.

15 Nov 2010 1:16 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Thank you very much


  Nobody's perfect. So you made a bad pick. Everybody does it. We know that you also make good picks. That's the way it is with everybody, win some, lose some, except for one person who somehow manages to be wrong everytime, which is nearly impossible.

Zen's Auntie

  Very nice post with some really good points. I do think that QR is a little stubborn, and really takes to disliking certain tracks for whatever reason, and he was unhappy. Some horses can still give their best unhappy, some won't.

15 Nov 2010 1:24 PM

Goldikova'a a nice horse, but her people are really annoying the way they're always saying she's better than Zenyatta. The two of them can't even be compared; Goldi's a grass miler and Z's a classic distance runner. If they want to prove Goldi's better than Z they should have run her in the Classic. If they ran her in the big race she'd have a 3-peat - 3 last-place finishes.

15 Nov 2010 1:25 PM


Whoa ...did I touch a nerve or what?!!  Closet crusaders coming out of the woodwork for Zen?  In case you didn't get it RANAGULZION survived the "bet".  You should've said it before now that you didn't think gambling on my "famous" moniker was much of a bet and I would've upped the ante ...and guess what? ...still be around to anoy all the Zen-crusaders (LOL).

Seriously, nobody doubts that Zenyatta ran her race but it was quite obvious to the honest observer that Quality Road didn't fire his best shot.  All we're doing is exploring why and you folks are getting all antsy because there's no excuse for Zen's loss ...even by a head.  Zen needs no excuse because she lost no marks in defeat IMO, so calm donwn.

15 Nov 2010 2:09 PM

Ranagulzion : It's not an attack, it's a fact.  He didn't beat much in the races he won.  Half of his wins were on his hometrack (Draynay's Donn Handicap).  You talk about crusading ??  You're the one that can't accept the fact that QR is a pure miler, I've been saying it since before the Whitney but you keep telling me he's a monster.  

You would rather bash Zenyatta because you can't accept the fact that QR is capable of tiring.  I told you, he just got tired.  He should've been in the BC Mile, nothing wrong with a G1 BC Mile win.  If there was anything wrong with him, it was probably the long rest.

15 Nov 2010 2:10 PM

I think it's a joke how the media continued to glorify the Borel/Castalleno fight after it was done. A 32 year-old female trainer by the name of Diane Alvarado, who just took her trainers license out a year ago, wins her first BC race for IEAH Stables and goes unnoticed. The trophy presentation was cut short as well as the interview with the winners, because of the the melee. The training job she did with El Dafeer had the potential for a good story, but ofcourse, got derailed because of the fight. I hope Calvin and J.J., called this young lady and offered her a formal apology for stealing the spotlight with their tasteless and unprofessional behavior. This is a young trainer on the rise, and I felt she should have gotten a lot more exposure, for winning the BC Marathon. Another bleep for the media in their coverage of the sport of kings. Maybe someday they'll get it right.    

15 Nov 2010 2:31 PM


I am not saying that Zen's competition was even as good as those that QR faced in the Donn and the Woodward even though Switch managed to finsih second in a BC race, while none of QR's opponents can make that claim.  What I am saying is that Zenyatta still stepped well above the level of her competition when she had to.  I say this without deparging any onther horse other than to say that she did what many of you didn't believe she could and still she gets dumped on.

Once again, my apologies about QR's performance.  As far as the horse, I feel for him.  No horse should ever have to finish last, ever.  That's how I feel.  The truth though is only two horses really stepped up in this race and they are the ones that are taking the bulk of the abuse.  Crazy isn't it.

15 Nov 2010 2:35 PM


Another reason why this year’s BCC stands out for me.  Go back to Ferdinand's and Alysheba's dramatic BCC in 1987.  Ferdinand had the lead in late stretch and Alysheba came from way out of it and just missed by a nose (another step or two and he’s the winner).  That BCC race and Tom Durkin's exceptional call for the ages……"and the two Derby winners hit the line together" will forever stand out in my list of great horse races and great calls all time, the same as the dramatic and eerily similar stretch run in this year's addition.  Zen's and Alysheba's BCC records are also similar, a win and a loss in a photo, and yet I don't recall anyone ever disparaging Alysheba as well they shouldn't, not if they want to consider themselves horse racing fans.  No one should dump on Zenyatta either.

It’s fair game to dump on Zen fans.  Heavens knows many of us have been obnoxious at times with our constant cheerleading.  Zen lost a horse race, simple as that.  Similar results happen in dramatic fashion every day and no one really pays attention and if they do they forget about it as soon as they start to study the PP’s for the next race.  But this one happened on one of racing’s biggest days and Zen did what so many smugly said she couldn’t do.  That’s what makes this sort so exciting and that’s what gives people the right to voice their opinion.

15 Nov 2010 2:50 PM

Can we please move on the Breeders Cup?  Its starting to get boring hearing the same agruments over and over.  Zenayatta lost, let's get over it.  We have the Delta Jackpot coming up and two graded two yr old stakes races the following week.  Let's start looking forward to the 2011 KY Derby!

15 Nov 2010 3:16 PM

SPLITS of 12:

Great point about Diane Alvardo getting unfairly overlooked.  A 32 year old female trainer winning a Breeder's Cup race so early into her career is a big deal in a sport that hasn't always been kind to women.  Just read the excellent book "Tarnished Crown" for a feel of what it was like for women in the mid-80s.

15 Nov 2010 3:21 PM

I get so tired of hearing all the people complaining about certain things that happened. The Life at Ten incident was unfortunate....but what amazed me is that the stewards never even posted an inquiry after the race. It seems to me with all the info on video before the race started and her never being a factor whatsoever in the race, she could've been declared a non starter. Bets would've been refunded, and the investigation could've been launched into what/if any actions should be taken. Just a thought, as I'd rather be a part of the solution thsn the problem. On a much more positive note.....Shared Accounts victory was amazing....congrats to Kevin Plank/Sagamore Farms! It's young influental owners like him who the sport needs.

15 Nov 2010 3:47 PM
Zen's Auntie

Thanks DD I agree some can give thier best physical effort even if unhappy. Its rare though, and is hard to make last at the very least.  

I always wonder if they arent even deeper than the good performances - that perhaps if they were handeled differently might even better.

Splits of 12 you are so right about the glaring missed opportunity to showcase  Ms Alvrado - what could have been a moment of inspiration for young TB trainers both M&F was eclipsed by the "reality TV / Jerry Springer" mentality so previlant today. Ick...

Laz - nice flashback to the Ferdinand Alysheba race ...GOOSEBUMPS, thanks.

15 Nov 2010 4:00 PM

I received my copy of The Blood Horse in the mail today, always a happy event, as the pictures are so outstanding. At first I was taken aback by the cover photo which doesn't show how the race truly ended. The chosen shot shows Blame ahead by a full neck and some. After pondering on this for a few minutes, I came to realize that if the BH had chosen a side view of the horses as they crossed the finish line, Zenyatta's presence would have completely obliterated Blame, except for his head. It would have been a photographic symbol of reality. In defeat, Zenyatta's phenomenal performance overshadows Blame's gritty victory.

The front cover photo is beautiful though. Both horses, giving it everything they have. Each jockey as one with his mount. "Thriller in the Night" indeed!!!

15 Nov 2010 4:03 PM
bill marshall

The "best horse on the planet" deservfes to be Horse of the Year.

15 Nov 2010 4:06 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I don't know if this will help or not but here's my Top Seven Handicapping Rules:

1. Never drink before noon (Eastern Time) on race days.

2. Never bet 2-1 or less.

3. Never bet a straight exacta unless you bet the box also.

4. Never start a Pk3 with a low odds key.

5. Never mix beer, wine, and hard stuff on race days until all of the races are over.

6. Never drink Bacardi 151 on race days or any other time.

7. Never make big bets on tilt. Reduce bet size when losing.

15 Nov 2010 4:30 PM

QR's only limitation is 1 1/4...that's fine, he's great at lesser distances! just take it into account in your breedings and you'll do fine, he's gonna throw a lot of brilliant babies...

15 Nov 2010 4:36 PM


1)  Nobody hits a nerve with me on this blog anymore.  I'm just tired of obnoxious, smug people who even when they are wrong can't admit it.  I didn't know that your moniker was so important to you.  I'm glad you got to keep it.

2)  I am not a closet crusader. I've supported Zenyatta vigorously on these blogs until I got tired of beating my head against the blah blahs and the arrogance of people who want to act like they are experts.  All it takes is respect for the horse.  There have been many speed figure players who would not even put Zenyatta in a ticket, but they were gracious enough to say that they were wrong about her.  There were people who swore up and down that she was way too slow to be competitive on dirt.  These were people who acknowledged that they were wrong and they were stupid for leaving her off their exotics.  Not much of that respect really happened here, Paula is right about that, but then I didn't think it would.  I could care less what somebody thinks of her connections.  But you can't hold that against the horse.  I only blog occasionally now.  If that makes me a closet crusader, then go ahead and call me that.  

3)  Unfortunately, your posts reinforce what I think.  Just smugness and the willingness to rub salt in other peoples disappointment.  But alot of that goes on here, you certainly are not the only one and certainly not the worst.  I get the feeling you feel it is wit or humor.  Maybe it is and I just don't get it.  Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Dorothy Parker I get.  Tallulah Bankhead I get.  But, that's why there are so many different people in the world.  As far as chilling out- I have my Laphroaig right here and am very chill.  No worries.  BTW- what about Snow Fairy!

15 Nov 2010 4:51 PM

Slew- very funny quote about Buckpasser-lol.

15 Nov 2010 4:53 PM

pNewmarket- I have seen the British call the QE2 the European mile championship.  I have heard British trainers and writers disparage her because she has not once come to run in it.  My opinion the European championship race for a mile is the Marois.  But I have heard otherwise for quite a few years.  It is not an official "championship" but seems to be with many.

15 Nov 2010 4:59 PM
Zen's Auntie

I was just what iffing and thinking what if...

Quality Road got a different campaign this year.

How how good (or rather  How Much Better even) would QR be considered Today if allowed to take more of his "natural course" just dreaming here but...

Maybe stay mile, mile and an 1/8th (Takes ALL his losses out) and stayed with Jerkens who seemed to get the quirky colt a little better. But the change is still doable with Pletcher too.

And while Im dreaming say QR  stayed mostly Belmont and Gulfstream Even saratoga at the mile or another track like that, hard and sandy to carry the speed.

Just to really paint a pretty picture lets say his last race before the BC wasnt so far back Lets say it was at Belmont 10/3 smashing Tizway taking a throw at the Kelso Gr 2 at a mile and lets say he won by open lengths, which Im thinking sure he would have.  

Ok so then hes really on track after that for the BC at CD hes just beat these guys handily at the mile and now lets say they Ran in the Dirt mile and held off Dakota Phone, (even a tad earlier in the day may have kept the track from being so sticky) and I think QR could have made at least as good an effort as Morning Line, But lets just say he wins going away as he is a happier and fitter horse.  

He could in MAJOR contention for HOTY too right now ...

Oh no wait,

If you take QR out of the Classic, and he wins the Dirt mile ...

Maybe Zenyatta makes up 7 more inches on Blame and then...

LOL wonder what a shrink would say about this kinda dream??  

15 Nov 2010 5:24 PM
Zen's Auntie


Snowfairy ROCKS and Slew does show a sharp turn of finger - there I giggled too

15 Nov 2010 5:27 PM


I quote you, "Nobody hits a nerve with me on this blog anymore.  I'm just tired of obnoxious, smug people who even when they are wrong can't admit it."  

Now you're in denial.  I read your vitriolic post in its entirety and am genuinely sorry that you're so upset and disappointed (presumably about Zenyatta's loss and that some people give Blame his due).  I think that you take the rough and tumble of opinion exchanges on here too seriously.  Relax, its a mixture of serious discussion and good fun.  As for the "moniker bet" don't take it so much to heart.  Gun Bow suggested in one of his blog posts that I post under the hybrid moniker "Ranagulstiltskin" in acknowledgement of my humiliation as a handicapper, picking Quality Road and Haynesfield as my exacta pick in the Classic (last and second to last respectively).  No problem.  I'll eat crow for that but why can't we discuss Quality Road's non-performance without some people feeling that we're disrespecting Zenyatta?  Does every conversation about the post-mortem of the BCC have to be about her?  QR definitely didn't fire on the big day yet some people think that gives them licence to scorn the horse and berate his past performance and his proposed stud fee (don't get me started on that one) when in fact he has consistently been the fastest horse around two turns on dirt ON THE PLANET.  Obviously my handicapping genius took a major hit in the Classic but in this game we take our blows and rebound.  One of my favourites Big Drama won the Sprint decisively, I also picked the trifecta in the Juvenile (Uncle Mo, BaT and Rogue Romance) and strongly touted Awesome Feather in the Juvenile Fillies.  Its all in the game Footlick so lighten up.

15 Nov 2010 6:28 PM
Sir Barton


I wasn't a believer in Awesome Feather either, but she changed my view with that win.

As for Dakota Phone, I'm still kicking myself over that one. I had him in my exacta and tri, but didn't have any WPS action on hind. *palm, meet forehead*

15 Nov 2010 6:58 PM
Paula Higgins

Ranagulzion, I know who won the BCC-Blame. He ran a very gutsy race. I also know who ran the better race-Zenyatta. She had more to overcome. No, this was not her usual come from behind race. She was having issues with the surface in my opinion and was further back than normal. But let's give this topic a rest. I can appreciate both horses without any problem. Blame is a wonderful horse. I wish they weren't retiring him. I really hope they don't retire Zenyatta but that remains to be seen.

Dr Drunkinbum, I read somewhere on the internet that Quality Road was having issues while training. No one ever specified what they were but it was out there. I wish they weren't retiring him either. Makes you appreciate the Mosses and Mr. Jackson.

15 Nov 2010 7:30 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Great Buckpasser line but it was Pletcher's responsiblity to be more on top of that one. I think he was trying to figure out what to do and just ran out of time. I hate the NFL's OT. I would say no field goals allowed in OT, and you go until someone scores a touchdown even if it takes three years. Battle for 4 quarters, win the toss and kick a field goal doesn't cut it.

15 Nov 2010 7:33 PM

Ranagulzion= Vitriol?  LMAO with that one.  Let's talk about Quality Road.  The horse was lackluster at Saratoga.  If you follow figures, his thoro-graph number was the fastest ever recorded in the Donn.  If you believe his figures, he went from a -7 to a -5, then after successively slower numbers, you would be thinking that the huge number earlier in the year knocked him out.  He was not coming back to form.  Mr Pletcher decided to train him up to the race so the horse was fresh.  But it is a difficult task to bring a horse up to a 10 furlong race by works alone.   He had run well twice off of layoffs, but the races were 6.5 furlongs and 8 furlongs.  It's a whole different ballgame at 10 furlongs.  I would think you would have to have a horse who doesn't have any questions about their ability at the distance.  He ran like a short horse to me.  And when a horse is short on conditioning and might have distance issues, they very well may run the worse race of their career.  That is my take on it.  I had Zenyatta, Blame, LAL and Fly Down boxed in my exotics.  If I thought QR or Haynesfield were contenders, I certainly would have used them at their odds.  Quality Road was a horse who had brilliant ability, and if he could have run on turf would have been a superstar 7-9 furlong horse in Europe.  I don't believe his Classic tarnished him at all.  It is a race he wasn't prepared for and maybe not genetically equipped to handle.  Other opinions I've seen have said he has no guts, so when he has to run a race that is not ideal, he gives in.  I don't agree with that at all.  I just think he was on the decline since Gulfstream and was never going to regain that form.  He wasn't a toss for me because he didn't have the talent.  He was a toss because, imo, he was off form.

15 Nov 2010 8:10 PM

The Queen Elizabeth II is arguably the most important mile race in the world, as well as probably one of the three most important races in Europe, the others being the Epsom Derby and the Arc.  Since the best grass horses in the world are almost always Europeans, it's probably the closest thing to a "world championship" for milers that a single race can be.

So yeah, it is curious that Goldikova hasn't tried it.  And that's no slight to her or her connections.  She's faced the toughest competition in Europe AND America, male and female in almost every race and dominated almost all of them at one time or another.

But that's why I disagree with KautoStar, even conceding his superior knowledge of European racing.  Like Zenyatta, Goldikova ran a near-identical campaign to last year.  True it was a much tougher and much more ambitious campaign which in Goldikova's case ended in a monumental record-setting triumph.  And that may be enough to win her the Euro HOY.

But just like last year when she lost out to Sea of Stars, Goldikova is competing against another dual Classic (Epsom Derby/Arc winner) in Workforce - and he demolished the Epsom Derby field. And I suspect that will outweigh Goldikova's campaign again.  

Obviously the Arc would be too long for Goldikova, but if they lose the top award again, they may regret not running her in the QEII, and hopefully they'll do it next year.

15 Nov 2010 8:19 PM

Prediction:  If Zenyatta wins HOY, and I think she would be a deserving winner, they will announce her retirement.  If she loses, she'll go on for at least part of the year, either for a full campaign or to just enough let her get win number 20 in a big race and then breed her.  And the logical choices for that big race are either the Santa Anita Handicap or the Dubai World Cup.  If she is kept in training, I would think they'll work her a few times over the new dirt surface at SA and then decide.  She clearly hated the dirt in her face at Churchill.  

If the idea is to go for one more big win and then breed her this year, the DWC actually makes a lot of sense.  I think she would love Tapeta, despite others' opinions here. The obstacle is Sherriffs who would need to be dragged kicking and screaming to spend a month in Dubai.  He can't stand to be away from his barn very long, and I'm sure he wouldn't want Zenyatta to be out of his care for that long - can't blame him for that, I wouldn't either.

15 Nov 2010 8:34 PM

Zen's Auntie.  Like the way you think on Dakota Phone.  Did you cash on our other gal Evening Jewell?...and Switch showed up as well.  It was an all out "girl fest" even against the boys.  Even the Cal Bred UnZip me shows against the boys in the Turf Sprint.  With the exception of two races Saturday, the Juvenile and one other, the California based horses were all over the board.  Turf Classic...Come on!  A place against Euros!  Who knew?

15 Nov 2010 8:49 PM

But Alysheba got to come back and avenge his loss to Ferdinand.  What he take 2 out of the next 3 meetings?  And then they both lost at Hollywood to a much lighter horse.  

Mike Smith can join the other hall of fame riders like Gary Stevens on Real Quiet and Jerry Baily on Cigar who failed to calculate the pace of a race and paid dearly.

As far as Real Quiet and his babies.  I think I found my early Kentucky Derby wager.  Coil.  Bob Baffer/Mike Pegram connection.  Showed some early speed in breaking his maiden in 1:10 and change the other day.  You heard it hear first.  COIL.  

15 Nov 2010 8:57 PM


I agree with you. It's time to move on from the Breeders Cup and focus in on the 2011 Kentucky Derby.  

15 Nov 2010 10:16 PM
Paula Higgins

Dr Drunkinbum, ITA. I agree that Pletcher was like Hamlet-to run or not to run, that was the question. He just couldn't make his mind up quick enough. In human medicine, if something doesn't seem right, it usually isn't. In neuro we call it being "a half a bubble off." Can't quite put your finger on it, but something is wrong. Maybe the same should apply to Vet medicine and horses.

15 Nov 2010 10:19 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Paula Higgins

   Something was going on with QR. I think what I read is that he looked "angry." He wasn't a happy camper, whatever the issue was. Personally I think it was the barn's refusal to give him Guinness. They gave him root beer instead and he was mad. "I don't want no stinkin' root beer, I want the real deal. They give Zenyatta Guinness. Why can't I have Guinness? Oh, I forgot, she's The Queen, whoop-tee-doo. Well I say it's high time that everyone got Guinness not just Royalty !!! I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore !!! Equal rights !! I want my Guinness !!!! Or I'm not gonna run in your darn Classic. Now put that in your root beer."

15 Nov 2010 10:43 PM
J. S. P.

Y'know, maybe this could be another reason Calvin has issues with Javier...

Javier Castellano at Saratoga this year: 54 wins, $3,166,933 in earnings

Calvin Borel at Saratoga this year: 4 wins, $483,905 in earnings

Bottom line: Castellano rode carelessly, and was fined and (correctly) suspended.  He isn't the first jockey to do this, and unfortunately he won't be the last.  As much as I like Calvin, however, his actions showed a complete lack of self-control and professionalism...

15 Nov 2010 11:02 PM
Zen's Auntie


I always like Evening Jewel she Liked the CD dirt and was one of my favs I cant wait to see her stretch back out on the turf though which I think is her calling.  

speaking of good CA horses and good gals racing in general I see Wasted Tears may head for the Matriarch grade 1 back home at Hollywood the 26th - FUN! I love that little turf tigeress

16 Nov 2010 12:15 AM

Trebloc, SPLITS OF 12:

I agree, let's get on to the 2011 Derby.

Ted from LA:

In the contest, I was tied for third, 28 points down, going into the Derby.

Trainers: Pletcher, Zito

Jockeys: John Velazquez, Garrett Gomez

I was alive with seven horses:

Power horses: Super Saver, Ice Box, Paddy O'Prado, Lookin at Lucky, Sidney's Candy then Jackson Bend and Discreetly Mine.  Devil May Care was not in my stable but she had my trainer and jockey (Pletcher, Johnny V.).

I needed my power horses to come in 1,2,3 with either Lookin at Lucky (jockey), Ice Box(trainer) or Super Saver(trainer) to win to maximize my points. Needless to say it happened.  They updated about 9PM that night, I had 120 points that day and won by 21 points.  A lot of research and a lot of luck. On the Derby, I usually do a 4 horse ex box and hit it.  I left out Sidney's Candy and used my top four.

We'll be in an infield box suite, no clubhouse, but if you're going next year, I'll BUY you a mint julep.


Thanks for this article and discussions.  I use as one of my main research sites for the contest.

If anyone wants to get into a great fantasy stable game for 3 year olds leading up to the Derby try  It usually begins Fountain of Youth weekend with stable entries beginning a couple of weeks before.  I'm getting back in next year and try for a Derby Double.

16 Nov 2010 1:12 AM

LIFE @ TEN/john veitch SMELL$ REEL BAD...PLEA$E???...ty...

16 Nov 2010 6:26 AM


16 Nov 2010 6:33 AM


16 Nov 2010 6:39 AM

Dr D. (still luv ya!even though I cannot see handing the ball to the other team once you've already scored.  I prefer the NFL sudden death by TD OR FG (it means they got down the field to do it).  While Pletcher needed to do something, I really don't like the fact that everyone is dumping on him...from the owner to the jockey to the stewards, etc.  They are ALL responsible.  Johnny V. was the last person with her.  He should have dismounted.  And how could the stewards remain so deaf and dumb to ignore ESPN's broadcast?

And in case everyone forgot, QR and Espoir City had a royal battle going for the first half of the race along with First Dude and Haynesfield.  They simply tired each other out...

something I predicted would happen between QR and EC, not First Dude or Haynesfield who I thought would stay midpack to start.  My trifecta was Zen, LAL, and Haynesfield.  I thought Blame and Zen would tangle earlier in the race since they are both closers.  Fly Down was a slight surprise in that his final kick beat LAL, who was starting to lag.  All I know for certain now is that the Classic was a spectacular race...disappointing for some; revealing for others.  Blame was sensational, and Zen remains unbelievable.

16 Nov 2010 7:57 AM

Householder - Coil won very nicely Saturday at HP, I've added him to my Fantasy Stable and will keep an eye on him. He's by Point Given and is physically imposing also. Well worth watching. Only 2 races so far but I was impressed by him.

16 Nov 2010 9:29 AM


Thanks for the heads-up on Coil.  Impressive maiden win.  He's by Point Given out of a Theatrical mare.

Speaking of football, I'm leaving Thursday to go see the Buckeyes mash the Hawkeyes.  GO BUCKS!

16 Nov 2010 9:49 AM

Considering that we FINALLY are giving some respect to the 2YO's who happen to prefer turf in NAm -- yay! Pluck and the fillies! --  how soon before some of our 2YO's will be targetting the DARBY at Epsom instead of the DERBY at Churchill Downs?

I'm still in mourning from when Curlin didn't get to the Arc.

(and I'm sorry Australasian fans -- I like your races too but let's start with baby steps ... )

And yes, before anyone says it, I think Nobles Promise was noble and I LOOOVVVEE Wesley Ward and his 2YO's (plus Cannonball)

16 Nov 2010 11:20 AM


Your post of 15 Nov 8:10pm was very levelheaded and insightful.  It makes a lot of sense, that is, QR coming up short for want of a prep race leading up to a 10 furlong race after a nine week freshening.  Perhaps that's it.  I still don't think that he's ineffective at the Classic distance based upon both his attempts at the distance last season, his awesome performances at 9 furlongs and his pedigree which is more stamina loaded than both Smarty Jones and Raven's Pass (sons of Elusive Quality that won big in the Kentucky Derby and Breeder's Cup Classic respectively).

Don't you agree that our discussion becomes more civil and rational when a certain mare is left out of it?  Just an observation.

16 Nov 2010 11:46 AM
Mike Relva


Yes,QR wasn't himself,but tell me I'm far off the mark when I state if Zenyyatta were running on three legs half the people on this blog wouldn't see it as a problem?

16 Nov 2010 11:53 AM
Fran Loszynski

I love Zenyatta but we can't forget Blame won the Breeder's Cup, he shouldn't be known as the racehorse that took away Zenyatta's 20th win. That's not fair to Blame. It's alot like Birdstone was the horse that stole the Triple from Smarty Jones, when Birdstone's young were awesome, Mine That Bird and Summer Bird not to mention Birdstone himself. It's human nature to revel in the favorite's limelight- but that horse did something right to win. Blame Breeder's Cup Winner, end of story.

16 Nov 2010 12:17 PM

Zenyatta's stretch run was the "most memorable" Breeders Cup moment. Never seen a horse with gears like hers. To me, she runs like a locomotive. She starts out slow, builds momentum, they load more coal into her (on the backstretch) and then a tremendous machine-like move from the top of the lane to the wire.

16 Nov 2010 12:40 PM

California Based Horses.

BC Sprint-Smiling Tiger Show

BC Turf Sprint-Unzip Me Show

BC Mile-The Usual Q.T. Show

BC Dirt Mile-Dakota Phone Win

BC Turf-Champ Pegasus Place

BC Classic-Zenyatta Place

I don't think CA had a Juvenile Turf runner.  But did have Jaycito in the Juvinile.  

BC FM Sprint-Switch Place, Evening Jewel Show.

BC LDS Classic-Blind Luck Place.

Champ Pegasus was a shocker in the BC Turf.  Great record but those nasty "low Beyers" scared away the betters.  

16 Nov 2010 12:57 PM

Dakota phone had hit the board his last 5 out.  3rd in the Santa Anita Handicap and 3rd in the Pacific Classic.  I think Gayego, Mine that Bird, and Tizway got a little out classed is all.  The line maker was a little off on things.  Switch and Evening Jewell 15-1?  Switch had beaten a 9-5 favorite (Blind Luck) and had placed against a 4-5 favorite (Zenyatta).  

16 Nov 2010 1:02 PM

trackjack.  The Theatrical side of COIL is interesting.  I say long with some tactical speed.  I don't think we will see him sprinting again.  He is certainly bred well.  

16 Nov 2010 1:49 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I was expecting JV to dismount and was surprised and disappointed when he went into the gate. Life looked sick as a dog. You're right-everyone that had the info that could make a decision was at fault. No one wanted to make a decision for fear of being criticized probably. Everyone acted like it was a tough call. It was an easy call. JV and Pletcher are most at fault because they know the horse, and know that there was something wrong. There was something very wrong. Lesson learned I hope. Same with the turf condition early Saturday. Horse racing is life and death. You have to learn from mistakes.

16 Nov 2010 2:28 PM
In aint easy being good!

The race that I love watching is uncle mo domination! He is a beast and he could of ran around the track again he is light years ahead of the other horses! Its sad that breeders cup juveniles never pan out in the derby but mo is the man! GOldy was also impressive when the announcers said her comes goldy I was like where??? Then in a blink of an eye she romped a very good turf field like they were standing still! Goldy has afterburners on her feet and agree that she is the best Mare of all time hands down!

16 Nov 2010 2:40 PM
J. S. P.

Bellweather: Huh?

16 Nov 2010 3:18 PM
In aint easy being good!

Haha the top 7 handicapping rules are great whoever posted that.

Rule #1) Never bet on an empty stocmach the booze will hit you that much faster!

Rule #2) Dont go to the windows and change your bet because some yahoo has some insider information.

Rule #3) Bring more information with you dont rely on the form.

Rule #4) If the horses has front bandages automatic toss!

Rule #5) If the horse has never ran before automatic toss!

Rule #6) Watch the bloodhorse show these guys know there stuff!

Rule #7 before you bet see who draynay likes and then toss it! Your exacta will be alot easier.

Rule #8 Dont handicap (edit)

Rule #9 Dont listen to hank on tv he is brutal!

Rule #10 Dont bring your ATM card!

16 Nov 2010 3:54 PM
Ted from LA

Speaking of football, I'm leaving Thursday to go see the Buckeyes mash the Hawkeyes.  GO BUCKS!

trackjack 16 Nov 2010 9:49 AM

I wouldn't bet Draynay's money on this one.  Hawkeyes by 10.

16 Nov 2010 4:00 PM

Life at Ten...bizarre is right.  Does Churchill not have track vets to protect the public's betting interests?  I don't know if I can fault either the trainer or the jockey.  They don't care who wins or loses money on their horse.  Now if it breaks down that's another story.  The jockey IS obligated to ease the horse or jump off and the trainer should not be running injured horses.  But once again, where was the vet?    

16 Nov 2010 5:46 PM

I hope when I grow up, I can finally understand Bellwhether. Because at 25, I aint there yet. lol.

16 Nov 2010 7:07 PM

jsp...Huh??? HELL...WAKE UP...

17 Nov 2010 4:02 AM


What can I say?  You called it right on the Euro HOY.  But hey, good for Goldikova!  Serves Workforce's connections right for stiffing America on a race they could have easily won, hard turf or not.

17 Nov 2010 6:49 AM

Sodapopkid: Don't bet on it.  At 67 and sober or drunk, I still can't make heads or tails of bellwhether.  

Dr D: so glad the funny man came back.  Last year, they wouldn't even give QR the root beer so he threw a hissy fit.  This year, he said, "I'll teach you to not deny me!"

17 Nov 2010 10:42 AM
Screen Prospect

Goldikova .. Simply the best. Its ok Zen fans there is nothing wrong with being second best mare this year.

17 Nov 2010 9:42 PM
mike rullo


I guess you believe quality road is a miler now after what you saw in the classic.

18 Nov 2010 7:37 AM

Ranagulzion- Sorry for the late response, but work and finishing a couple of paintings tied me down.  I feel that if everything went perfectly for Quality Road- whatever that would be- he could be effective at 10 furlongs, similar to Precisionist.  But faced with other horses better equipped to run the distance, he would not be as effective against them.  I know he has run great 9 furlong races at Gulfstream, but his performances this year at Saratoga makes me believe he is a more dominant miler who can travel a quality 9 furlongs.  It mystifies me that so many supporters of his get bent out of shape when he is called a miler, as it is the ultimate compliment for an American stallion to be considered a superior miler but could go farther.  As I said, he would have been a great 7-9 furlong horse in Europe.

18 Nov 2010 9:37 AM

I based my bet on Shared Account off her whisker defeat at the hands of Proviso who turned out to be quite a dissapointment in the Br. Cup. Clearly this horse had a much better than 46/1 shot. Sometimes things just work out.

23 Nov 2010 2:58 PM

Goldikova was the most thrilling and exciting of all the BC races.  What a turn-of-foot, what acceleration, what a horse!!! The little engine that could. So glad to know she is staying in training, as is Gio Ponti. It has been so depressing with all the recent retirements, so many; and yet here she is, the best horse and not retiring. How ironic. And, her groom running down the track was so inspiring and full of raw emotion and uninhibited that was some  great publicity to showcase on national television that horseracing is fun for everyone and you don't have to bet to enjoy the racing.

24 Nov 2010 11:28 PM

Ok whats with the figting going on near the beginning? No not the jockeys fighting I mean the fight between Richard and Jason. Really there are better things to be aruged about.Yay Godikova and Uncle Mo! And poor Life At Ten! And hooray Pluck!

11 Dec 2010 10:38 PM

Goldikova the best horse in the world? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Do you people even know what her record would be if she ran against real champion routers in Europe?

She fit the mile like a glove. That great kick of her would be but a stagger if she ran 10 furlongs or longer.

Goldikova is a great miler but that is a class lower than a top router.

19 Dec 2010 1:24 AM

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