Suddenly, BC Classic is Full of Intrigue

For more than nine months the handicap division in Thoroughbred racing was about as exciting as the NHL in October. None of the supposedly top horses could string together consecutive grade I wins, leaving the Breeders' Cup Classic looking decidedly uninteresting.

Within a span of a couple weeks, all that has changed. Suddenly, the Classic has our juices flowing. It is now a must-watch race.

Most of the new-found excitement is because of what happened at Belmont Park last weekend. Havre de Grace smashed Royal Delta in the Beldame and Uncle Mo looked like the Uncle Mo of his championship juvenile campaign in the Kelso. The Jockey Club Gold Cup was not exactly a strong field, but having Flat Out get his grade I while defeating an in-form Stay Thirsty only added to a game-changing day in New York.

Meanwhile, out in California, Game On Dude did what he had to do as the favorite in the Goodwood to punch his ticket to the Classic. He's never been my favorite, but hey, any horse with two grade I wins and who is trained by Bob Baffert deserves another look.

One week before all of this, we also watched as To Honor and Serve crushed a pretty good field of 3-year-olds, and did it with ease. After a disappointing and injury-plagued season, he is peaking at the right time.

Now, with all due respect to Flat Out, Game On Dude, and To Honor and Serve, who have as good as chance as any, let's be honest--the Classic regained its luster largely because of the presence of Havre de Grace and Uncle Mo. Having a superstar filly and last year's champion juvenile pointing toward the race is just the shot in the arm it needed. With Blind Luck now on the sidelines, these are the two most popular horses in training and now they will square off on racing's biggest stage. There is no way of overstating the importance of that.

There is no way we can forget about Tizway, who despite missing the JCGC is still the top-ranked handicap male, in my opinion, and has run well off layoffs before.

Added intrigue could also be given to the Classic with the presence of New Zealand-bred superstar So You Think. The eight-time group I winner recently finished fourth in the Arc, but trainer Aidan O'Brien said a run in the Breeders' Cup is not out of the question. Stay tuned there.

And what about Acclamation? There is still a possibility that he could go in the Classic instead of the Turf. He has won five straight graded races, which is something nobody else can claim.

Another contender that could jump back into the picture is Giant Oak, who is favored to win the Hawthorne Gold Cup this weekend. Don't forget, he won the Clark Handicap at Churchill last November and is a two-time grade I winner.

Excited yet?

Here are the latest future book odds and a link to other Breeders' Cup race odds:

Acclamation: 25-1

Flat Out: 8-1

Game On Dude: 9-1

Giant Oak: 25-1

Havre de Grace: 3-1

So You Think: 6-1

Tizway: 8-1

To Honor and Serve: 15-1

Stay Thirsty: 11-1

Uncle Mo: 6-1







Leave a Comment:


I'll take Flat Out any day of the freakin' week at 8/1. However, we are weeks away and I'll keep a close eye on how he trains up to the Classic.

On another note, there are a lot of speed horses in here.

Acclamation (although he'll most likely in end up the BC turf)

Uncle Mo

Havre de Grace


To Honor and Serve

Game on Dude

Stay Thirsty

hmmm.... Flat Out is looking more and more better at this stage...

and Giant Oak at 25/1 with a win at Churchill? Again, I'll take these odds any day of the week.

Jason, who do you like so far?

07 Oct 2011 1:08 PM
It aint easy being good!

As far as a betting race this is fricken impossible I think I might put all 10 horses in a hat pull one out and put a $60 bet on a win place show and hope for the best I think all horses can win besides stay thirsty he has no chance!

07 Oct 2011 1:37 PM

Some great odds there if only my crystal ball was working.  Flashpoint @ 18/1?  Thanks for posting them.

Now if Frankel will only commit.  It's a shame that my pick for top 3 year old will be sidelined- Animal Kingdom.

07 Oct 2011 1:56 PM
Paula Higgins

My picks, in order, Uncle Mo, HDG, Tizway, and then Flat Out. It is going to be a very interesting race. My hope is we see Mo one more year.

07 Oct 2011 1:59 PM

Acclamation is one of the few I can find that is capable of consistently running a 2:00 (or sub 2:00) mile and a quarter.  He does not ship well and I don't think he is BC nominated. If the BC Classic "comes up synthetic" the day of the race he would be a good play.  

Havre De Grace.  No distance problems and she has a run over the track.  Consistently hits the board and will get 2-3 pound weight break.  She's just an awful nice grinder.  Not sure how she handles G.O.D. if he fires on the front end.  If the Dude does not break she may be long gone.

Not sure Game on Dude is the same horse outside of Santa Anita.  He obviously owns that track 3-3 routing.  

Stay Thirsty.  Love the breeding but he seems to fail outside of New York and his Kentucky Derby was just awful.  

How about Awesome Gem just for fun at 8!  He's a one horse traveling show.  I don't think he has 2 consecutive races over the same track.  He is what horse racing is all about and he even has a win over G.O.D. and Flat Out at 8!

He's this year's Well Armed (feel good story).  

07 Oct 2011 3:49 PM

Intrigue or not, the weakest field ever for the Classic unless So You Think really shows up.

07 Oct 2011 3:50 PM

Chucky has already started it.  That same lame argument about it being a weak field.  BS.  Uncle Mo was a great 2 year old who has regained (hopefully) his form and the greatest older female since Personal Ensign is in the mix.  And please don't pull that Zenyatta garbage.  Had Zenyatta ran HDG's races this year she would have lost 2 or 3.  They wouldn't have even run the Beldame since the track was a little muddy.

07 Oct 2011 5:06 PM

Wheres the rest of the field?There has been 12 or 13 horse fields every year since 2000,except 2003 and 2007.If the field is 10 or less the exotic bets wont be so attractive.Do you think Mo scared some of the connections of the other horses being considered?

07 Oct 2011 5:39 PM

I wish Baffert would take a shot with Coil.  Baffert now admits he made a mistake with the colt not scratching him from the Travers for the Pennsylvania Derby.  I thought he bounced back just fine against older in the Goodwood.

Looks like he will get some rest and be back opening day of Santa Anita (Malibu Stakes).  

07 Oct 2011 6:19 PM

I'm going with Twirling Candy if he makes the Classic.  With Mo in the lineup, I'm expecting 10-1 or higher.  

07 Oct 2011 7:39 PM

Good article Jason and you said a key line, "a game-changing day in New York."  And that it was!

I still pick Mo, Havre, Tizway, and possibly G.O.D. and R.O.I. in the Classic. Where is R.O.I. in this mix anyway is he in the Classic as yet?  R.O.I.'s name, I believe, prior to being known as Ruler On Ice, was Return On Investment, but to be 100% sure I have to check back with his breeder.  I thought he had told me that awhile ago but really have to check again, but cute name anyway.

Perhaps he was known as that at the farm prior to being sold to the Halls?

Can't get sold yet on Flat Out, although it is such a heartwarming story of him and his trainer.  Impressive though what Flat Out has overcome physically, like Mo.

Acclamation gets my "best consistency" award so far.  Kudos to him and would be so interesting if he is thrown into the Classic.

Best looking physical specimen out of all of them looks like Mo.  No "chestnut trifecta" in this Classic, No, No, No, the bays are looming LARGE!!!!!!  Good luck to all.

07 Oct 2011 7:48 PM
Pedigree Ann

I remind you all again that the sloppy/muddy track at Belmont accentuated the tendency at that track to reward front-running speed.

As to Uncle Mo, haven't we been to this party before? Horse wins a 4-horse one-turn mile race race in hand (after setting a modest pace), is bet down in a 2-turn, more competitive race, and falters in the stretch. Horse will be as unprepared for a 10f race with a contested lead as Quality Road was.

07 Oct 2011 8:02 PM
Paula Higgins

I think Mo is better than Quality Road, Pedigree Ann. Sylvester, quit with the Zenyatta wasn't so good rubbish. It is TOTALLY unnecessary to compare HDG to Zenyatta. They stand on their own, individual merits. It's too bad you can't appreciate both of them. But not unexpected in your case.

07 Oct 2011 9:37 PM

Pedigree Ann,

I see Mo and Quality Road as two completely different running individuals.  Mo seems to have much more intelligence, knows how to relax, certainly is not going to freak out in the BCC gate, and has another gear that Quality Road did not.  It all remains to be seen but I am hoping you are wrong about Mo and I think he can get the distance no problem.  I think he is the most sure-footed at Churchill out of all the mix even if not right on the front-running lead early.  No, he's not proven at 10f yet, but I think he has the substance to get it done.


I think as you that Mo will be retired regardless of the outcome of the BCC.  The retirement article seems to be a foreshadowing and has all the earmarks of Mo's early retirement.  I would love to see Mo stay around at age 4, but realistically it probably won't happen.  Hopefully he retires with his redemption as BCC winner.  At least he won't be plagued by Lasix and liver related enzyme issues and it might be the smartest thing they do for Mo as much as I hate to say good-bye.

07 Oct 2011 9:44 PM

I believe that So You Think, if he comes, will put in a good run and perhaps win the race. He has proven himself time and time again at a mile and a quarter, and the Churchill Downs main track usually plays kindly to turf horses. Win or not, So You Think's presence would make the race all the more interesting.

Twirling Candy also interests me. While it is very possible that he will compete in the Dirt Mile, I do believe that he is capable of winning at a mile and a quarter against the very best. Acclamation has shown us he is not an easy horse to wear down -- Champ Pegasus learned that last Sunday -- yet Twirling Candy was nearly able to do so in the Pacific Classic (gr. I), closing his final quarter in a brilliant :23 3/5. While he will be coming into the Breeders' Cup off of a bit of a layoff, I wouldn't toss him out of the mix.


07 Oct 2011 9:52 PM

I will be very interested to see how the BC Classic turns out. As a girl - I can't help but root for HDG to get the job done. In regards to the others, are there any concerns about Flat Out and the track? If I'm thinking correctly he didn't exactly put in a great showing in the Stephen Foster. I know that was back in June but I'm curious to see thoughts on that performance...

07 Oct 2011 11:31 PM

Is Sylvester related to AAF?  What a totally unnecessary and ill founded comment.  HDG isn't even in Zenyatta's zip code at this stage of her career--exactly what 2 races that HDG ran in would Z have been defeated?  Absolute nonsense.

Nonetheless, I do agree this Classic does hold a great deal of intrigue.  Personally, I don't think HDG will finish 1st or 2nd.  She will be facing a much, much tougher field that what she faced in either the Woodward or Beldame.  Now that Blind Luck is out of the BC I wouldn't be surprised to see her connections elect to go in the LC instead, figuring a win there might seal HOY.  But they won't be facing a slouch in Zazu.

I hope Acclamation does run in the Classic but doubt he will be there.  I would also consider So You Think but just have a feeling he won't be.   If either runs, they would be my top pick.  Otherwise, I'm going with Twirling Candy, Game on Dude and then Stay Thirsty.    

07 Oct 2011 11:47 PM
Jason Shandler

oso7: Let's not been so hasty. Sylvester has a point. Havre de Grace has had a better season this year than the mare had in 2010, without a doubt. And if she wins the Classic, she will have done as much as the mare in her career, maybe more.

08 Oct 2011 12:02 AM

Havre de Grace is a very nice mare and is having a wonderful year, but save for one race, her campaign has really not been demanding in an historical sense.

This year Havre de Grace has won the Azeri and Apple Blossom at Oaklawn(the latter a race Zenyatta won twice), won the Obeah and ran 2nd in the Del Cap at Delaware, and won the Beldame at Belmont.  If it wasn't for her win in the Woodward, this campaign wouldn't even be in the same area code as those of Lady's Secret in 86', Bayakoa in 89', or Rachel's 09'.

Now, if Havre does go on to win the Classic, then we could talk about her campaign among the best ever by a female.  Owning 2 gr.1 wins over unrestricted males, including a Classic, would give Havre something few females have ever had.  And I would agree that one could then rank Havre's 2011 above any one of Zenyatta's individual seasons.  

But Havre has to win the Classic.  If she were to retire before the Breeder's Cup or lose the Classic, Havre would only have 3 career gr.1 wins, and would have a losing record against her main rival.  And while winning the Woodward was a major accomplishment, it is trumped by Zenyatta's 09' Classic win; the Woodward is a nice race, but as Mike Repole has emphasized, it's the Classic that is North America's defining race.

08 Oct 2011 2:15 AM
Splits of 12

Tizway is still my pick to win the Classic. It's unfortunate he spiked a fever and missed the Gold Cup, but that's how racing goes sometimes. The good news is Tizway is improving and looks like he's primed to run the biggest race of his career. No disrespect to Havre De Grace or Uncle Mo, because, both are brilliant in their divisions, but neither of those horses can run with Tizway if he's right. The way he won the Met Mile from the 11 hole in a time of  1:32 4/5ths was nothing short of remarkable. The Woodward was equally impressive and I think he was flattered by Flat Out's victory in the Gold Cup. If all works out well I'm hoping Twirling Candy makes the race and he and Tizway hook up in a classic battle of East versus West.    

08 Oct 2011 2:16 AM

I am still going to take a stand against Mo until he proves me wrong going true route distances.  He is so much more suited for the 1 turn mile that the classic, but the money and stud fees climb durastically with a win in the classic and not the mile so I get it.  He just won't get my money.

Love HDG but not at 3-1.  If that holds or drops on classic day the trifecta will have to be the bet of choice with a group of males that will mostly cancel each other out.  I would rather see Mo and The Factor duke it out than see Mo do the Quality Road moonwalk over the home stretch at CD.

08 Oct 2011 2:32 AM

Gee.  Now I know that Zen should have come east for the Obeah.

08 Oct 2011 2:44 AM

oso7: She would have lost the Delaware Classic and the Woodward. No way would she have beat BL that day even though the race most likely ended BL's career.  Since the 2010 BC showed she can't beat grade 1 males on dirt, then she would have lost the Woodward too.  And if she had run in the Beldame she would have gotten beaten too since she can't run in the mud.  But throw that one out since her cowardly connections would've scratched.  Now everyone just sit back and enjoy HDG in the BC.  Watch how a real filly does it in the dirt.

08 Oct 2011 6:59 AM

Uncle Mo has no chance,he'll spit the bit at the 1/8 pole,this is not the best classic field we've ever seen but it's not a bunch of loosing ponys around a one turn mile.GOD will soften him up first.

08 Oct 2011 8:40 AM

Although I don't normally agree with Sylvester's way of putting things, I agree with his above point.  HDG's season this year would be similar to Rachel's 3 year old season if she wins the Classic.  Both would be among the greatest post 1975 seasons for a female racehorse.

08 Oct 2011 10:17 AM
Jason Shandler

Gunbow: Havre de Grace's campaign was tougher than Zenyatta's last year. No doubt.

08 Oct 2011 12:46 PM

Tizway looks like he's coming to deliver an "Invasor-esque" Breeder's Cup Classic performance. He'll be a very tough nut to crack and the distance is right up his alley at this stage of his career.  Uncle Mo,Havre de Grace and Twirling Candy are his main threats.  

08 Oct 2011 12:55 PM
Paula Higgins

oso7 you are right, they are wrong. HDG is a wonderful horse but not in Zenyatta's zip code. At least not yet. Well said. Gunbow got it right as usual. If she wins the BCC then we can talk about her season in comparison to a single season of Zenyatta's and Rachel's. As to her place in history, it still won't trump Zenyatta's legacy even if she wins the BCC. Zenyatta's place is secure.

08 Oct 2011 2:18 PM

It is sad that you guys just can't move on.

08 Oct 2011 2:57 PM

Here are my picks for today's stakes race:

Woodford: Havelock

Thoroughbred Club of America: Switch

First Lady: Daveron

Dixiana Breeders' Futurity: Gung Ho

Shadwell Turf Mile: Gio Ponti

Champange: Alpha

Frizette: Stopshoppingmaria

Jamaica: Brilliant Speed

Ancient Title: The Factor

Hawthorne Gold Cup: Rule

Oak Tree Mile: Mr. Commons

I hope Gio Ponti returns to the winner's circle today. But the longshot exiting the Woodbine Mile, Dance and Dance, looks like he could be tough here. It should be a great day of racing!


08 Oct 2011 4:03 PM

Flat Out is my pick to win. Tizway and Haver De Grace beat him but those races were at 1 1/8 miles. he'll have an extra furlong to catch them in the classic and theyll be tiring at the end. if haver de Grace couldnt beat females at 1 1/4 miles i don't think shell be able to beat males.

08 Oct 2011 4:15 PM

Black caviar just won her 14 straight.This sport is to crown winners as champions,not for writers to decide that her campaign was better because,.......

Zenyatta was 20-19-1-0.After  all the editors are in their cubicles she will be remembered as one of the best.

08 Oct 2011 4:45 PM
Paula Higgins

Sylvester, the BCC of 2010 showed no such thing. What race were you watching? Zeyatta beat the field with the exception of one by a half a head. On any oher day, Blame would have been toast. For a horse that wasn't handling the surface starting out, she gave the grittiest performance of any horse in my memory (maybe with the exception of Seattle Slew). She came from 16 back to almost beat the horse who had a free ride the whole way. As for not being able to beat Blind Luck, nonsense.  Such an assumption is groundless and not based in reality. Time to get over it Sylvester. Zenyatta was HOTY in 2010 and is #1 on SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S list of greatest female American horses. Lazmannick good comment about the Obeah LOL.

08 Oct 2011 5:16 PM

I don't think we have to hear anymore about the FACTOR.  He was NO FACTOR in his race vs. a bunch of average horses.  He got pressed by a 50 to 1 shot and folded like a house of cards.  Just another California pretender.

08 Oct 2011 5:48 PM

Please people, from now on don't mention the Factor in the same sentence as Uncle Mo.  Uncle Mo loves Churchill and has a big win at 2 turns there.  He will be the favorite and will win with ease.  He will go 134.5 and no horse can stay with that.

08 Oct 2011 5:57 PM
Ally Sheba

Sylvester, lay off Havre De Grace before you curse her. You don't even really like her, you're just desperate to find a female horse you can try to prove is better than Zenyatta. And before Blind Luck finished last in the Lady's Secret you were desperate to find a filly you could say was better than her.Why can't you just like a horse for who it is without trying to build it up just to put down other horses. If she wins the Classic all you'll be doing is saying how she's better than Zenyatta and putting Zenyatta down. That's the only reason you want her to win.  Leave HDG alone and go jump on Uncle Mo or someone else. You're not a real fan, you're just a Zenyatta hater. This year's Classic will be HDG's moment, Zenyatta has nothing to do with it.

08 Oct 2011 6:16 PM

oso7: Let's not been so hasty. Sylvester has a point. Havre de Grace has had a better season this year than the mare had in 2010, without a doubt. And if she wins the Classic, she will have done as much as the mare in her career, maybe more.

Jason Shandler 08 Oct 2011 12:02 AM

I'm sorry, Jason, I have to disagree with both you and Sylvester in terms of even beginning to discuss HDG in the same breath as Zenyatta.  She has 3--a total of 3--G1 wins in her career.  If she is able to win the Classic, that will be a very big step in calling her a standout and great filly.  But, even if she did, it only equals what zenyatta accomplished in the Classic.  Zenyatta won the LC and was narrowly defeated in her 2nd Classic try.  To say nothing of her towering record over HDG in terms of G1 wins and career wins.

HDG is a fine, fine filly but I don't believe she was our best filly this year or in the prior year.  That honor I hold for Blind Luck.  

08 Oct 2011 6:30 PM


"Cowardly connections"??  Yes, mighty cowardly to run in 3 straight BC Championships, twice against males and become the only distaffer to capture a Classic.  Sorry, but I find your comments are simply a joke, demeaning and ill-founded.  In the extreme.

08 Oct 2011 6:35 PM


Add this to the intrigue of the upcoming Breeder's Cup: what a breathtaking performance by the brilliant 2YO colt Union Rags in the Champaigne. Its a great thrill to spot 'em early and be the first one on the "waggon" ...I trust that you're on board 'cause if you wait 'til after the Breeder's Cup there'll be no room.  This is your no-doubt-about-it Breeder's Cup juvenile winner and winter-book faourite for the 2012 Kentucky Derby.

COLDFACTS ma brethren! where are you?  The Bernadini colt Alpha looks promising too but don't get your hopes up too high about him: the Derby will come too soon for his cycle of development (lets learn from Stay Thirsty and To Honour And Serve; I hope I wont have to go through the whole AP Indy/Bernardini debate next season).  More anon.

08 Oct 2011 8:23 PM
Afleet Treet

I agree with Householder...what about AWESOME Gem??? FOr an 8yo he is as gritty as they come and there is a reason they call him the ATM of West Point TBs!! LOL!

Jason what do you think? I am curious to hear your thoughts!

And how about Never Retreat today??? And GIO!!! WOooooooHoooooooo!!!

08 Oct 2011 8:27 PM

Gee Sylvester

I didn't even have to comment this time.  A few for your legion of detractors just explained that; (a) you aren't a fan and; (b) your hatred with anything to do with California racing.

08 Oct 2011 8:43 PM
Paula Higgins

Gio Ponti was great today. He really does have another gear when push comes to shove. Will be interesting to see how he stacks up against Goldie in the turf mile. Black Caviar may be the one to equal Zenyatta's stat. I think they are going for it. She is phenomenal. oso7, I think I love you. If you're a girl, I love you like a friend, LOL.

08 Oct 2011 8:58 PM
Paula Higgins

Gio Ponti was great today. He really does have another gear when push comes to shove. Will be interesting to see how he stacks up against Goldie in the turf mile. Black Caviar may be the one to equal Zenyatta's stat. I think they are going for it. She is phenomenal. oso7, I think I love you. If you're a girl, I love you like a friend, LOL.

08 Oct 2011 8:58 PM


If Uncle Mo goes 134 and change for the mile in the Classic I'll send $500 to Jason to give to you.

08 Oct 2011 9:21 PM

Harve de Grace is quite the filly. And she looks the boys in the eye and doesn't back down.

Her sire, Saint Liam, also won the Classic in 2005. And she surely is daddy's girl.

She has a large cheering section from up above including her sire and his breeder, Edward Evans. And Eight Belles, who shared the same owner (Rick Porter) and trainer (Larry Jones).

08 Oct 2011 9:56 PM

It amazes me how ignorant people are..They say these generalities like beat the boys...poly horse...cant get distance...she lost to boys in the classic.Look people...on times,,zenyatta ran great 3 or 4 times...thats it...but what you people are ignorant about, is why...reason 1= she ran mostly in cal...weak competion...she didnt have to run fast..Does that mean she wasnt great? NO!!!!!! ZENYATTA was a FREAK!! all you have to do is watch her run..EVERY RACE was, plop out of gate, jog for a while....ok, he wants me to run,i'll go last to fist in a furlong...ok i caught them..i'll just play and look around.... PEOPLE!! SHE DIDNT HARDLY TRY!!!! how you people cant see that is astounding...Ever here mike say she has gears she never even got to?  And i keep hearing how she lost the cup last year....REALLY?  watch the race she ran! That was the best race she ever ran! Did you see how far back she was? Do you people know how hard it is to do what she did? UNREAL!!!  SHE LOST? by a few inches? inches means she got beat? poly horse? her best races were oaklawn and churchill ..

08 Oct 2011 10:55 PM
Jason Shandler

KY Vet: You make good points. It's all the more reason why her connections hiding her in Cali was a disservice to her and her legacy.

08 Oct 2011 11:14 PM

Jason..they live i cali. the trainer trains in cali...they got to run against weak grade 1 competion in cali...who was it you think they were ducking? rachel skipped the cup. quack quack...zen beat the best at oaklawn right? Why didnt rachel go to cali, you should be the one to challege the champ, not the champ go challenge .Look..the one thing i wish, is for them to let her improve by getting on a roll.. they let her run 98s 100s...then asked her to run 112or more....this horse never showed it all....they never got to her bottom...AMAZING ATHLETE!!!!!The fact alot of people dont understand this is a joke...19 in a row? really?

08 Oct 2011 11:36 PM
Jason Shandler

Ky Vet: The "live and train in Cali" excuse went out the window after they won the BC in 2009. 2010 should have been a challenging season; instead it was one of the most conservative, non-challenging campaigns for a top horse in the history of the sport. She never faced G1 winner before the BC! Think about that. You cant get away from that fact no matter how hard you try. Facing Cali mares is akin to G3 races everywhere else in the country. Forget about RA, she has nothing to do with the campaign they set forth for the mare.

Pepper's Pride won 19 in a row too. Its a nice feat, but doesnt mean much to people who don't have pom poms in their hands. Competition is more important.

08 Oct 2011 11:57 PM


Havre has to start in the BC Classic.  Outside of the Woodward, She hasn't had a campaign like what Lady's Secret had in 86'.  Now, If Havre does start in the Classic, then by virtue of having faced unrestricted males twice, then yes her campaign would have been tougher than any one of Zenyatta's.  

But for Havre's campaign to be BETTER, she must at least finish 2nd in the Classic.  Then, it would be close between Havre this year and Zenyatta in 09', when she actually won the Classic.  If Havre finishes worse than 2nd, then Zenyatta's 09' definitely tops Havre's season, and Zenyatta's 10' should probably be ranked higher as well.  Zenyatta lost the Classic, on dirt, by a nose to the clearly best male dirt horse.  Blame would be the horse to beat this year as well, and I would feel confident he would beat Havre.  So, if Havre doesn't win or at least run 2nd, then no, her season is worse than Zenyatta's 09' and 10'.  Tougher, yes, but not better.

09 Oct 2011 2:16 AM

Great to see Gio win grade 1 win #7.  Since 2000, that puts Gio in a tie with Curlin and Lava Man for most gr.1 wins by a North American based male.

09 Oct 2011 2:18 AM
Matthew W

Please, Jason! She had an easy road, I agree--I saw her, inside the 1/8 pole, wait for Twice Over to pass her on outside, so that she could get out, and gather him in like it was a one-horse race--I saw her do that, I get the criticizms, but please don't compare her to Pepper's Pride, because that is cheap on it's face, and it doesn't wear well! Best 1 1/4 dirt filly ever--my opinion, I wanted to see her at Saratoga and blogged it--I thought Saratoga would've been the icing--The Ruffian, at 1 1/4--they just weren't a-gonna gamble at 1 1/8 v males, the streak had taken on a life of it's own--I get that and, like you, I would've liked too have seen her in NY--she was made for Belmont, but, I agree with K Y Vet, she was a Cali horse, preparing for the Classic, a race in which she faced off with all-comers, every once in a while a great horse comes from somewhere other than New York, although right now I'm all over a couple of N Y Bred two year old fillies, one dirt, the other one turf--and I like them a lot!

09 Oct 2011 2:18 AM

I support my California racing, and over the last 2 weeks we saw some good performances out here.  Creative Cause, Weemissfrankie, Zazu, Game on Dude, Dubawi Heights, Acclamation, Amazombie, Jeranimo.  

But there is no doubt those performances were overshadowed by Uncle Mo, Havre, Cape Blanco, Stacelita, Union Rags,My Miss Aeurelia, and Gio.  I don't see  a Cali horse being favored in any Breeder's Cup race with The Factor bombing.  Cali has never been shut out, but we'll have to really scramble like last year to pull one out(Dakota Phone).

09 Oct 2011 2:27 AM

Stay Thirsty's still the best 3-year-old and I think he'll come back to win the Classic or at least finish best of the 3-year-olds and win the award for his division. And I think Blind Luck will come back and win more races. Big Brown won his next races after doing what he did in the Belmont. Maybe some days they just don't feel like running.

09 Oct 2011 2:34 AM

Interesting results yesterday at Belmont Park, half an hour apart.

My Miss Aurelia--1:35.22

Union Rags-------1:35.55

(Both horses were fortified with Lasix).

09 Oct 2011 7:20 AM


Thanks for your inquiry. I know you are being starved of my insightful input consequently I have activated my keyboard.

With regards to Union Rags, below is a comment I posted in response to comments made about the colt by Criminal Type:

“I researched Union Rags pedigree before the Saratoga Special and fell in love with him. Sadly I did not make any money as the race was on a Monday. His second dam Terpsichorist captured my attention as she was sire by Nijinsky and she set a NTR for 11F at the Meadowlands. I have my doubts that Dixie Union will be the sire of note for a Derby winner”

With regard to Alpha, below are comments made by Alan Garcia:

“He was acting up a little bit in the gate and he broke a little slow out of there," Garcia said of the runner-up. "It cost me a lot the first part of the race, but he was running very hard at the end.”

Now to address your some of your comments:

“What a breathtaking performance by the brilliant 2YO colt Union Rags in the Champagne”

Impressive performance! However, the Champagne always seems to provide impressive performances but has not been one of the 2YO races that have produced a derby winner in the last 18 years. You are being warned to temper your excitement. In addition to the aforementioned, Gone West has not been a stellar broodmare sire of classic winners. His record is stands at zero. The grandsons of Northern Dancer are not stellar derby sires with only two being successful to date. Both of those grandsons were sired by Danzig. No son of Dixieland Band has come close to siring a derby winner of a Triple Crown race. It could be time for one to triumphant. The colt is talented but history is against him.

“This is your no-doubt-about-it Breeder's Cup juvenile winner and winter-book favorite for the 2012 Kentucky Derby”

Cast your mind back to the 1988 Breeder's Cup Juvenile. The over whelming favorite was impressive Champagne winner Easer Goer. (1:34.80) Is It True that he lost the BCJ?  Alydar defeated his nemesis Affirmed in the 1977 Champagne and we all know how the TC race turned out for both. Interestingly both colts were from the RAN sires line. Both Union Rage and Alpha dam line reflect the most successful son of Northern Dancer i.e., Nijinsky. There have been three winners of the Champagne/BCJ to date and none have gone on to win the Derby. There is no certainty in thoroughbred racing so be very careful. He could just be Drill by a Creative Cause. Wining winter book Derby favorites are equines of the past.

“The Bernadini colt Alpha looks promising too but don't get your hopes up too high about him: the Derby will come too soon for his cycle of development”

I see you are maintaining your theory about late development syndrome regarding horses from the A P Indy sire line. It must be embarrassing clear that your theory has been proven wrong by the COLD FACTS.  Let’s revisit the cold facts: Stardom Bound & Tempera from the A P Indy sire line won the BCJ Fillies. They were both voted Champion 2YO fillies. I guess they were spares the development syndrome. Rags To Riches the Kentucky Oaks/Belmont winner and Eclipse Champion Three Year Old Female was also spared. Bernardini U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (2006); Co-World Champion 3-Year-Old (2006) was also spared. The runners up in the 2010 & 2011 Kentucky derbies are from the A P Indy sire line. If you are incapable of providing verifiable evidence to rebut the aforementioned cold facts that have dispelled your late development syndrome theory, you are being issued with yet another cease and desists order.

Alpha did not look as fluent as he did in his debut victory. He appeared to be struggling with the track. He is bred to go long and I mean very long. Some horses can make successful transitions from maiden to G1while other can only perform creditably. To close into those fast fraction after being ranked and slowly out of the gatess take immense ability. I am encouraged by the Alydar/Affirmed Champagne result. It is likely that he will be switched to the Godolphin Operation and should improve significantly as a 3YO.

As usual I look forward to our pending exchanges on the crop of 2009.  One Love!

09 Oct 2011 8:00 AM
Linda in Texas

Glad for Gio Ponti, very nice comeback. And Union Rags, he is in it to win and i love to watch him.

And my surprise for the day was watching Dullahan come from 11th to over take Majestic City who looked to be a sure winner. Sudden burst of energy right when it was important. And i like knowing that Dullahan is a half brother to my hero from our sister state of New Mexico, Mine That Bird who many thought was a fluke. He won the Kentucky Derby! Dullahan is out of a Smart Strike mare, Mining My Own. And not to forget Dale Romans the trainer and Donegal Racing who own or campaigned Paddy O'Prado whom i will never forget.

We finally got some rain folks, 4 plus inches. Our scorched land might look a little greener in a few days but it is too late for many cattle ranchers.

Thanks Jason and have a nice Columbus Day everyone.

09 Oct 2011 9:54 AM

Jason, still you have missed the point that the connections of any horse cannot control "who" enters against them.  She did not face any grade 1 winners during the year because they obviously wanted to win so they avoided her. The really good ones often scare away the competition. One lovely grade 1 winner shipped OUT of Cali to avoid her, one real nice mare ran against the boys to avoid her and her trainer stated that fact publicly, and one wonderful grade 1 mare scratched out of a race against her. The planes still fly both ways too! You are biased into believing that the "eastern" races are more prestigious and therefore better, but exactly "who" are those super mares that she should have shipped to run against?  Obviously NONE of the connections of ANY of the mares thought they were good enough to face her and the boys in the Classic....  If it's your contention that she had to prove that she is great by facing the boys ALL year, that is rather a double standard since many great mares never or rarely faced the boys...even your dear Rachel did not race against the boys ALL year.  And exactly which "great" colts did she have to beat during the year to prove herself to you?  Quality Road was a fine colt but basically a miler.  Blame was also a fine colt but what major competition did he beat during the year?  Those are the only two who could have possibly enhanced her reputation and she did soundly defeat one of them.  If you saw the race then you should be able to recognize what an amazing run she made and had things been only slightly different, like not being 20 lengths back, she probably would have won. FEW horses would even come close to winning after being in her position early--hence people always saying that horse "lost all chance" when they wind up far back early.  You are the ONLY racing writer I have read that has never given her credit for that incredible race.....!  And now you are basically comparing her to Pepper's Pride (who also was a fine mare in her own right)....?  How sad!

09 Oct 2011 9:55 AM

Oso7, Gunbow, Lazamannick, P Higgins, Ally and KY Vet:  Your passionate defense of anything said about Zenyatta is intriguing.  It reminds me of Johnny Cochran during the OJ trial.  You stubbornly argue yet deep down you know what people are saying about your 'client' is true.  Any great older filly that runs on dirt should be compared to Personal Ensign. Period.  Her 1988 season puts all three of Zenyatta's seasons to shame.  PE won 7 (6 grade 1 & 1 grade 2) races at distances of 1, 1-1/16, 1-1/8 and 1-1/4 on four different tracks. One of them being a Grade 1 open race.  Zenyatta couldn't have done that on dirt. Impossible. Had Zenyatta raced exclusively on dirt her winning percentage would've been around 70-75%.  Granted I'm being a little generous since her actual percentage on dirt is 66% but logic is lost on you. Now if another great mare arrives who runs only on PVC coated garbage, then yes, she should be compared to Zenyatta.  But since CA is wising up and removing the rubber from their tracks, the chances of that happening are very remote. Now sit back and watch how a dirt loving horse like HDG does it.  I'm sure Moss & Shirreff will be with pouting faces.

09 Oct 2011 10:48 AM

Are people really comparing Havre De Grace to Zenyatta? If Grace wins the Classic she will undoubtedly be ranked among the best mares of all time. Last year's Breeders Cup Classic was a much much stronger field than this year's. Had Zenyatta stayed another year this race would have been easier than her 09 Classic. The Zenyatta detractors do have one good point and that's her 2010 campaign. There weren't exactly world beaters in those races. That being said I won't hold that against Zenyatta, for she doesn't pick the races. She could have run in the Big Cap, Hollywood Gold Cup, Pacific Classic, or even Goodwood during the year and I have no doubt that she could and would have won those races, especially considering that in 3 of those 4, the winners were horses Zenyatta had dusted in the Classic. It should also be noted that the races Zenyatta ran in last year were weak for just one reason: Zenyatta!  It's no coincidence that this year the Santa Margarita, Apple Blossom, Vanity, Clement Hirsch, and Lady's Secret have been chalk full of grade 1 winning fillies and mares including champion Blind Luck, possible 3 year old champ Zazu, and probable Horse of the Year Havre De Grace. I don't hold it against Zenyatta that her competition towards the end of her career started to dwindle. She showed me her greatness long before her 2010 campaign and I won't blame her for scaring away the competition much like The Bid did in the 1980 Woodward.

09 Oct 2011 10:58 AM


Facing mares in CA is the equivalent to running against G3 competition?  Really??  I guess that slouch Life is Sweet was a nothing even thought she won the LC.  Along with Switch, St. Trinians and the fact she ran by the entire field in last year's Classic as though they were all tied to a fence post, to only finish 2nd by an ever diminishing margin to Blame.

Even mentioning Pepper's Pride is disingenuous, but so typical of the Zenyatta denigrators.

09 Oct 2011 11:20 AM

Jason's sentiments about Zenyatta are mine: her connections did the horse and her legacy an injustice in hiding her in California and, I might add, running her almost exclusively on plastic surfaces. Zenyatta would have proved herself wherever and on whatever surface she ran, and I've felt that way since I saw her blow by Frankel's Ginger Punch in the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn in 2008 in her first start on the dirt.  Jason hit it on the money when he says the 2010 campaign should have been a dilly, but instead turned out to be as overly conservative, deflating a campaign as he'd seen for an elite horse like Zenyatta "in the history of the sport."  As witnessed at CD last November, Zenyatta clearly did not like dirt in her face, but adjusted quickly to that new obstacle and almost won her second BCC. If her connections had raced her regularly on a dirt surface, that initial dislike suffered at the worst of all possible moments might not have been a factor at all in the BCC outcome, and she would have remained undefeated. Furthermore, what a season of challenge it would have been in 2011 - one to suit Jason's thirst for top flight, competitive G1s - if a totally sound Zenyatta, clearly at the top of her game, had been left in training at age 7, run regularly on the dirt, and given a chance to redeem her only defeat - all while she contested with the likes of Havre de Grace and Blind Luck as older 4 year old fillies. All Sherriff would have had to do was just shadow the footsteps of Hollendorf and Jones, and what an incomparable year of competition the racing world would have witnessed. As much as I like those two fillies, I think Zenyatta would have caught them both in the Delaware Handicap and, unlike Havre de Grace, not shied away from facing the colts again in the Jockey Gold Cup as well as the Woodward. We never her bottom. Lightly used, she had plenty left for a 7 year old campaign. If any problems developed with the mare over the course of the season, Zenyatta could have been quickly retired or had her season cut back to a less demanding one. As for this year's BCC, the race is coming up more interesting than previously expected, but it could be made even better if Gio Ponti, the victim of a paceless Dubai Cup, soft and yielding surfaces in his American races, and the likes of Cape Blanco was added to the mix. If nothing else, his remarkable consistency, enhanced by his repeat victory yesterday in the Shadwell turf mile at Keenland, and the fact that his breeding indicates that he'd like the dirt earns him another shot in the Classic. But for Zenyatta he would already be a BCC winner and but for Cape Blanco he would be this year's Arlington Million winner. His presence would add an alluring bit of intrigue to the Classic, and a win would be an inestimable boost to his legacy. Hoping against hope, Clement keeps his options open and enters Gio Ponti in both the mile and the Classic so that if the turf comes up yielding Gio Ponti does not have to waste himself again chasing Goldikova home.

09 Oct 2011 11:26 AM

Ky. Vet,

Nice to see you again.  I remember you from the old MSNBC racing message board.  We didn't always see eye-to-eye back then, but we are in total agreement on the big mare and what she meant to this sport.

09 Oct 2011 11:26 AM
Jason Shandler

Racingfan: East Coast racing is better and more prestigious. It's a fact. I accept that Cali has nicer weather, beaches, and women. Now it's your turn to accept that racing is better on this side :) It's not the end of the world.

Yes, they could have controlled who they faced had they shipped her to NY. You can bet there would have been G1 winners there.

09 Oct 2011 11:29 AM

if uncle mo wins the classic he's still not going to be HOY. champion 3yr old but HOY ain't a lock for him

09 Oct 2011 11:41 AM
Criminal Type

Ranagulzion, YES !!!! I was right there with you on Union Rags from the very beginning. He was most impressive yesterday, expecially since he really did have to force the issue to get out off the rail so he could run. He took off like a rocket once he got clear. No one was going to catch him yesterday. He has a huge stride too. Also impressive was the way he has won each of his races with a different running style, which to me means he can run from any position he finds himself in. Javier is over the moon about his ability. He also has a nice little bankroll heading into the BC Juvenile. Only a couple grand short of a half million.

Ditto your comments regarding Alpha(who is way behind in earnings at 90K) He will probably develop into a nice horse, like to Honor And Serve, but clearly Union Rag's is the superior racehorse at this point in time. As Coldfacts said, I got the same explaination after Alpha broke his maiden. I wasn't impressed then and even less so now. I was not a fan of AP INDY or his offspring. Creative Cause's (323K)ability is also now in question after being beaten by Drill (238K), who I think will end up being most effective from one mile to 1 1/8 mile. His sire was a beast who's best distance was 9 furlongs.

09 Oct 2011 12:27 PM

I agree with Sylvester regarding Personal Ensign.

09 Oct 2011 12:30 PM
Criminal Type

Ranagulzion, He is already the Derby favorite in Vegas futures at 30 to 1 and that was before the Champagne.

09 Oct 2011 12:32 PM

Wonderful post, Will.

09 Oct 2011 12:37 PM


Dismissing synthetics surfaces as being substandard is also just another angle to dismiss Zenyatta.  Zenyatta already had demonstrated her ability to beat all comers at Oaklawn and did it in impressive fashion.  Or are you conveniently forgetting how she dismantled the reigning Eclipse winner, Ginger Punch, in the AB.

Where was all that 1st class competition in last year's AB?  Stuck in their stalls, of course, by connections too fearful or smart to run against her.  And that, of course, includes RA who lost to a Shirreff's 3rd stringer, Zardana.

The Mosses and John Shirreffs won't be sitting watching the BC with pouty faces, even if HDG manages to win the Classic, which I sincerely doubt.  Their legendary mare already is discussed among the greats of all time.  HDG has miles to go before reaching that stature and one win in the BC only puts her half way there, at best.  

09 Oct 2011 12:43 PM
Carlos in Cali

I think we saw the winner of the BC Dirt Mile/Clark Hdcp. in Tapizar yesterday.The Freak is back!

09 Oct 2011 12:57 PM

Thanks a lot Will.  Your comment made me laugh so hard I ended up spitting out my drink on the monitor. Her cowardly connections ducked the toughest races in CALIFORNIA in 2010 and now you suddenly think they would have entered the Del, Woodward and JCGC this year???  The 2010 BC showed she can't beat grade 1 males on dirt.  BL and HDG's time in the Del was faster than Zenyatta's in the 2010 BC and Mike Smith whipped her like a rented mule in the last 300 yards.  I'm still laughing.

09 Oct 2011 2:20 PM
Paula Higgins

Sylvester, what I know about O.J. is that he was guilty as sin. You can be sure Johnny Cochran knew it too. There is a huge difference in that I am not being paid to defend a criminal when I defend Zenyatta's legacy. Just fyi Sylvester, there would not have been enough money in the world for me to have defended O.J. KY Vet said it beautifully. Regardless of what you thought of Zenyatta's 2010 racing season, you KNEW that you were watching one of the great race horses because of how she ran her races. Her 2010 BCC was her greatest race, bar none. Even Andy Beyer got it. Jason, you are just so ticked off that they didn't race her outside of California, and on dirt, that you won't give credit where credit is due. I think the issue is you are mad at her connections. Why take it out on the horse? John Shirreffs is a very smart man and he had his reasons for not going east. Here is the bottom line, her career is over. When you add up all the stats and what you saw on the track, there is only one conclusion to come to and that is that Zenyatta was a horse for the ages. I am just grateful they gave her another year to race. Let me know when we have another mare racing at age 6.  Talk to me when HDG is still winning and racing at 5 or 6. She is a very fine horse, but not Zenyatta. By the way, what Pepper's Pride accomplished was not nothing. Stop holding her up as an example of the bar set low. She was one amazing horse by any standard. Linda in Texas I am glad you finally got some water. I know it has been awful there.

09 Oct 2011 2:28 PM

People...Jason is right. Zenyatta only ran fast 3 or 4 times..all the other races were just avg.....Jason goes on times...Rachel ran fast...Zeyatta just jogged....Zenyatta best races were outside cali, when facing was only time the asked her to run faster...Why do you think Rachel lasted not that long? why did zen last 3 or 4 years.......?  Zenyatta was not running HARD!!!! This is the difference people Dont get!!!....BELLAMY ROAD WAS BEST #YR OLD A FEW YEARS BACK!   HE tore himself up with that wood performance...POINT IS....there are times...and there is CLASS!!!!!

09 Oct 2011 2:50 PM

Uncle Mo has ZERO chance of being HOTY and believing otherwise is just plain foolish. A grade 2 and a Classic win might get him champion 3 year old but nothing more. Jason, I don't doubt that pound for pound horses racing on the east tend to be superior to those racing on the west. But given the extreme difference in quality of breeding it is pretty remarkable that California horses have done as well as they have over the years. From my observations, west coast horses shipping east tend to do better than east coast horses shipping west. This has been a trend for decades and has nothing to do with synthetic surfaces. All I can say is underestimate California horses at your own risk, for though our quality in day to day racing may be lacking a bit, our best horses can rival anyone.

09 Oct 2011 2:51 PM

Gee SLYVESTER, controversial boy wannabee.  I needed a good laugh today.  Some of these football games are hard to take.  Tell me about how hard the Beldame was this year for HDG.  Was it a tougher race than the Obeah?  How come when the chips were really down in the Delaware handicap HDG folded like a cheap suit?  There was no excuse for her loss.  She had the lead and was caught by a filly that didn’t even feel the whip.  Well there was the two pounds so I guess to you that nullifies the loss.  I have the utmost respect for Personal Ensign, but please, tell me about all the obstacles that she had to deal with in her Whitney win against two distance challenged challengers.  In her six races leading up to the BC Distaff she faced an average of 3.6 challengers, many of them the same.  Yes we know that Zenyatta lost the BCC on dirt so like your alter ego AAF states, she lost an open G1 race to males.  Yes HDG won the Woodward.  So did Rachel.  Put both those fields in last year’s BCC and tell me what kind of odds they would be and where they would finish.  I’m really waiting for this one.  Your problem is that Zen lost the BCC after her trip by a few inches, not half the stretch like you probably thought she would.  Come on now, I need another laugh.

09 Oct 2011 3:12 PM

Jason you're 100% right.  The restricted state poly champion was the most overrated horse of the last decade.  She couldn't travel, she couldn't race in the mud, she couldn't beat males on dirt AND she never won a single race EAST of the mississippi.  No wins at Churchill, no wins at Belmont, no wins in Florida or Maryland.  She was nothing more than a restricted California poly champion.  But the one thing that will forever be a STAIN on her legacy is the FACT they had to GIVE her a HOY award.  She wasn't good enough to earn it on the track.  Everyone knows the HOY was really Blame.

09 Oct 2011 3:15 PM

Hey Jason how come none of the California fans are talking about a 44 to 1 shot running The Factor into the ground ?  I guess he is just another California horse that needs to stay home in November.  I guess Blind Luck and Coil will have some company.

09 Oct 2011 3:17 PM
Aaron McC

GunBow - I agree with you for the most part -- with the exceptions of Creative Cause and Acclamation.  The first, bred to go long, who's also shown great speed, looks to be a legitimate threat to Union Rags.  And Acclamation, rating (albeit in second) for the first time in a while, then just looked to be toying with Champ Pegassus in the stretch, who was under a strong ride at the end of the Clement Hirsch.  

Impressed from the midwest,

Aaron McC

09 Oct 2011 3:54 PM

Most older horses stabled in California don't ship very often, usually only for the Breeders Cup. They don't have to since there's grade 1 races held at the Cali. tracks all year long. It's the 3-year-olds that need to ship for must-run-in races like the Triple Crown, Travers, Ky Oaks, and Alabama. The only must-run-in race for older horses is the Breeders Cup. All the other grade 1's for both males and females are the same equivalent in Cali. than in other states. And they're all just stepping stones towards the Breeders Cup.

09 Oct 2011 4:04 PM

Move on!!!

09 Oct 2011 4:25 PM

HDG cannot be compared to Zenyatta if she wins the BCC.   She will have to win 19 straight races and run in two BCC and a BCL to achieve that status.  On top of that HDG will never have the popularity that Zenyatta has.    Tough but thats life.   Zenyatta is in her privately owned area and zip code.   NO other female will touch her superstar status in NA for a long, long, time.  

Zenyatta has not JUST achieved her stardom on the tracks , she achieved her stardom through the hearts of her thousands of fans worldwide.     If HDG wins the BCC and retires this year she will just be thought of as another female because she ain't a Zenyatta.

09 Oct 2011 4:36 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks Guiness, that was touching. Let me get a tissue...I'll be back.

09 Oct 2011 4:53 PM


Do not hold Personal Ensign up as the standard for what a top female's campaign should look like.  That 1988, Personal Ensign ran at Belmont 4 of the 7 races.  She also ran at Saratoga and Monmouth.  That's the equivalent of Zenyatta running at Hollywood, Santa Anita, and Del Mar.  No Shipping!

Personal Ensign shipped once in 1988, to Churchill where she won the BC Distaff.  Why wasn't she in the Classic?  She was going for Horse of the Year against Alysheba.  Alysheba was in the Classic.  It was Personal Ensign's final race.  But no, they went to the Distaff.  Hey, it was ok for the standards of the time when no top female, except the Lukas fillies, challenged males.  But Rachel, Zenyatta, and now Havre are blasting it away.  

Zenyatta has made it impossible for any top female going for Horse of the Year to go in the Ladies Classic rather than the Classic.  Until I see a female both win the Classic, then run 2nd by a nose in the Classic(or better), Zenyatta's Classics are the standard of female excellence in the biggest unrestricted maintrack races.  

Havre's Woodward and Personal Ensign's Whitney were nice, but they weren't in the Classic.  Haven't you been listening to Mike Repole.  Outside of the Triple Crown, it's the Classic that matters far and above anything else.  Zenyatta was in 2 Classics.  She won one, and ran 2nd by a nose in the other.  Has any other female ever even run 2nd in the Classic?  The Classic! The most important maintrack race in the world!  Personal Ensign beat 2 horses in her 88' Whitney, solid horses, but horses that weren't in the Classic that year.

Much more demanding than Personal Ensign's 88' campaign was Lady's Secret 86'.  The Iron Lady started 15 times that year(more than twice the number of starts for Personal Ensign's 88'), won 10 including 8 gr.1 races!  She faced unrestricted gr.1 males 4 times, running 3rd in the Met Mile(ahead of champion older male Turkoman), won the Whitney, 3rd in the Iselin, and 2nd in the Woodward(behind Hall of Famer Prescionist).  The only thing missing, using today's standards, was a start in the Classic.  But it was definitely tougher than what Personal Ensign did.  Throw in that she ran in Califorinia, in the Midwest, and New York, and was 9 for 11 against females while carrying 129 lbs once and 126 lbs three times(Personal Ensign never carried more than 125 her entire career).  

But, Personal Ensign was undefeated while Lady's Secret was not.  But that should only matter to people waving pom poms.  After all, Pepper's Pride was undefeated as well.

09 Oct 2011 5:15 PM

Go get that tissue Jason!   It's about time you finally accept the truth.  

09 Oct 2011 5:26 PM

Nice to see the leader of Zoonie nation, "Oso" back with the regular drivel. Zenyatta supposedly is the best horse he or she ever saw run since Big Red.  I can name a few that are in that category by means of what they actually accomplished on the track. I guess you only watch horse races going on there at SA, HP or Del Mar.  

What do these obsessed people base their thoughts on, well I guess it would be a misguided thought process about all of what “would have, or should have or could have” happened.  Had the connections of the greatest synthetic horse since Nashoba’s Key (whom they ducked by the way) actually run her in races of consequence, then maybe there wouldn't be so much factual discussion about the lack of “quality, dirt racing, or stepping up in class more than once a year”.

Truth be told I believe everyone has an appreciation for Zenyatta, what people don’t appreciate is the overly obsessed notion by some that there was some level of greatness  that others can’t achieve.  Maybe it would have been more appropriate for Porter/Jones to continue running against fillies only all year long so she could come into the BC absolutely 100% fit and fresh, similar to the campaigns of Zenyatta in 2009 and 2010.  But thankfully we saw something refreshing, and it was nice to hear Steve Haskin acknowledge it during Mr. Porter’s interview on  Bloodhorse, when Porter said: “On paper we’re really better than all of the boys” Haskin said “I love hearing that” sadly though, that was never a thought process with Zenyatta’s people until Rachel forced their hand.  When asked will she run against males at 10f for 2 years straight the answer was: “No, the distance would be too hard on her, and facing males would be asking too much” this was the norm therefore ducking the top 4 races for Horses in Cali.  Lowering the bar and allowing her to gallop past Rinterval and Anabaa’s Creation and Hot N’ Dusty over and over again was the most important thing.  Scratch out of the Santa Margarita due to ducking Nashoba’s Key, ducking and scratching out of the Louisville due to light rain, and never facing the top horses in California in Cali’s top races leave her career lacking.  Somehow the likes of Laz and Oso and others find a way to spin that into something else altogether fictional or imagined.  Oso meet Will, Will meet Oso, both of you seem overly delusional about facts.  After 7 retirement parades and parties it would have been difficult to come back in 2011 Will, but I can guarantee you they would have put her through the same campaign, all restricted races against fillies in Cali.  Only the naïve would ever even mention top races in the East for Zenyatta, remember how they did the imaginary nomination for the Beldame.  If they didn’t ever realistically plan to run in the Beldame at Churchill why would one think she would have run in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Will the toughest race she ever ran in during the regular season was the Apple Blossom in 2008, with 1 Grade 1 winner in the mix, the rest were optional claimer type workouts for her.  Never would they have shipped to Delaware to face 3 Grade 1 winners in Life at 10, Blind Luck and Havre De Grace. Whatever you are on that would give you the ability to make such a statement, please pass that information on to my private email.  I’d like to know what that is.  You think Zenyatta would have caught the two fillies in a race she would have never run in, just like as Laz put it she would have won the 2010 BC had she not “beat herself” as he stated at HRN, or as Oso puts it, Quality Road backed into her face, causing her to check badly and lose 10 lengths, amazing that Trevor never mentioned that, although he was only watching and calling 1 horses’ race that day in what was arguably the most bush league and classless displays by a race caller in the history of the sport.  Go back to the drawing board.  You 3 put your heads together in a little huddle and come back with better arguments.  Its great that someone calls those weak cali races what they really are, allowance races at best.  Oh and Laz, compare the 2010 BCC with its 2 proven Grade 1 10 furlong winners with 1 win each at the distance with proven middle distance horses who will be running in the 2011 BC.  So misguided and confused are you, had Zen run in the BCLC as previously planned I am sure you’d call that 2010 BC a weak race also.  

Last kudos to Hollenducker for finally shutting down and resting his filly who he has run into the ground literally.   The question is “Is Blind Luck the new Life @ Ten. Will there be an investigation as Mr Hollendorfer put a horse in the starting gate for the Lady’s Secret that obviously showed him prior to the race that there were issues. Todd Pletcher had no idea Life at Ten was not right. Hollendorfer knew his horse had issues and still took over a million dollars out of bettor's pockets. Will it go ignored is the question.  It seems we’ve heard nothing about the collapse of this filly in her last race running dead last. Kinda just trotted around the track.  Kinda put on the back burner the same way that Mike’s Smith torrid use of the whip over 25 times on Zenyatta in the 2010 BCC was, as long as you’re  from the west, and certainly not the best, you get a pass.

09 Oct 2011 5:31 PM

Thanks Guiness, that was touching. Let me get a tissue...I'll be back.

Jason Shandler 09 Oct 2011 4:53 PM

For a man who loves this sport and should hope for its continuance into the future, your smug cynicism is disappointing.  My guess is if Zenyatta had been a NY runner from the outset, your turn would have been entirely different.  Nonetheless, your and the rest of the minority view that she was overrated will turn to dust in the future.  Zenyatta has earned her legacy and none of the dismissive, condescending comments by you or others will ever change that.  Why not embrace a horse who brought so much goodwill to this industry instead of tearing her accomplishments down?

09 Oct 2011 5:32 PM

Well the Zenyatta fans are all riled up now. Unfortunately, sometimes the truth hurts, and the truth is that Zenyatta was a very good California mare, and nothing more. Did she have the talent to be one of the best? Absolutely. But you don't make your case for being the best by saying how you "would have" beat this horse or you "could have" beat that horse. That is all I hear about Zenyatta when people try to put her in the same breath as the all time great horses. It is sad and unfortunate the way she was campaigned, but a flawless (well, almost) record was more important to the Moss's than actually beating top competition in top races. Does everyone realize Zenyatta DID NOT beat a Grade I winner in 2010? Do I need to say that again? Oh yeah, that is right, she could/would have easily beat Grade I horses in top races. And for a horse that basically always raced in California, can anyone explain to me why her record was 0-0 in the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, Pacific Classic, and Goodwood Stakes? For the best horse on the planet to have that record in the best races in California is surprising, to say the least.

Look, Zenyatta was a terrific horse, there is no denying that, but the facts are she lost when she faced Grade I males on dirt. And for all of you that say her times were not impressive because of her competition, that only works when you run against top competition, not in races restricted to fillies and mares on synthetic surfaces. It is unfortunate that her connections kept her in those races to achieve an inflated record, but that is what happened and it can't be changed. Zenyatta will always be remembered as a terrific California mare (for those of us that can be objective when evaluating horses), but what is the most disappointing to myself and others is what could have been. Unfortunately, we will never know.

09 Oct 2011 5:47 PM

These comments are the reason, that i make a living on this game...people dont understand the animal. They are not machines people! Horses are very fragile animals..You people jump on the bandwagon AFTER a horse runs great. Ignorant people put down great horses like the factor, dialed in ,stay thirsty,on and on...PEOPLE! there is a reason mcleans music hasnt run...his great race hurt him....the factor WAS a freak...running fast hurt him...Dialed in WAS great....he had problems....THIS IS THE GAME!....I LOVE UNCLE MO! but he ran too good last not going to bet race because HDG and FLATOUT are coming into the race perfect! good races..but not too good........EACH RACE DOES SOMETING TO A HORSE!

09 Oct 2011 5:49 PM

Sadly Guiness, Zenyatta in 3 years of racing was known mostly in the 91006, 92014, & 90028, (all in cali) 40202 (KY), she was seen twice in the 71901 (AR) area code but only twice for a couple of days.

HDG has been seen and stabled or has run in the 71901, 19801, 40202, 11003, 12866, 19020 thus far in her career. Huge difference.  

09 Oct 2011 5:52 PM

Thanks, Gunbow, for your rational response to nonsense.

09 Oct 2011 5:52 PM


Yes, I've missed your comments (enigmatic though they may be sometimes).  Dixieland Band has proven to be one of the most successful broodmare sires of Kentucky derby winners and I believe that he could breakthrough into the Derby-winner-producing-sire-line category if Union Rags stays healthy.  Bear in mind that the colt is being conditioned by an outstanding conditioner in Michael Matz who has been there and done that (with Barbaro of course).

Of all the 2YO futurity races I believe that the Champaigne has historically produced the most Derby winners, notwithstanding that its been a long time since we've had a Chamopaigne/Derby winner.  Over the last 40 years, that is, since 1971 it has produced six Kentucky Derby winners: Riva Ridge, Secretariat(he was disqualified), Foolish Pleasure, Spectacular Bid and Sea Hero(1992). Destiny beckons Union Rags and I'm gonna enjoy the ride along with fellow poster CRIMINAL TYPE.  There is still room on the waggon for you Bro. but if you wait until after the Breeder's Cup Juvenile to be convinced you may suffer the indignity of being regarded as a "waggonist" (johnny-come-lately-supporter) LOL.  

09 Oct 2011 6:08 PM

GunBow your statements make no sense at all and you are completely full of BS.  The Woodward doesn't matter ?  80 years of history gone just like that ?  The only thing that matters is the Classic ?  Tell Blame that nonsense.  Her biggest claim to fame is winning a Classic on a surface only she could run on.  The minute she stepped on dirt she got whipped and boy did she get whipped... over and over.

09 Oct 2011 7:08 PM

Mo can be HOY if he wants it.  If he wins the Classic by 5 or more he is HOY.  If he wins the Classic and then runs in the Cigar Mile and wins he is HOY.  There is no doubt in my mind that Mo is 5 lengths better than any horse running.

09 Oct 2011 7:21 PM

Great post Gun Bow!  And thanks for clearing up the fact that you are clearly biased Jason (not like we couldn't tell anyways).  I love the tradition of racing and the famous old time races myself.  But you seem to think that "who" is in the race actually determines if it's a grade 1 or not.  If the competition is not "good enough" then apparently the grade doesn't matter - unless that only applies to Cali races or only Zenyatta's races, which is suspect is the case....?  You still didn't answer the question as to what "great" mares she should have shipped to run against? If you have no answer than it appears that it does not matter what she would have done we would still be having the same conversation.  And what makes you so sure that all those east coast grade 1 winners would have faced her - they may have gone elsewhere too...?  You are so upset with her connections for "ducking competition" but why aren't you upset with the connections of all the others who ducked her and looked for spots they had a chance to win in?  Just sounds like sour grapes to me....

09 Oct 2011 7:24 PM


Where did I write that the Woodward or Whitney don't matter.  Those are YOUR words, not mine.  I made a simple point, and hopefully you can follow.  The Woodward and Whitney, while important races, are not the Breeder's Cup Classic.  Now go ahead and make a mess of interpreting that again.

09 Oct 2011 8:01 PM

For the record, my opinion, and the opinion of those racegoers out in Cali that I associate with, is that Zenyatta's 2010 campaign was far too conservative and did a disservice to the mare.

I commented a few blog topics ago that her campaign should have been Santa Margarita(prep for Rachel showdown), Apple Blossom(couldn't control Rachel changing plans), then either the Foster or Hollywood Gold Cup(a poor field led by the over-blown Rail Trip), Personal Ensign, Goodwood, and BC Classic.  That would have been a campaign for the ages, for a female.

09 Oct 2011 8:07 PM

Thank you 2:24.  I was beginning to think that I, Jason, Draynay, Jimmy and AAF were the only sensible ones on this blog.

09 Oct 2011 8:15 PM
Paula Higgins

Jason doesn't need tissues because you have to have a heart to cry. Ditto Draynay, AfleetAlexForever, and Sylvester. Gunbow another fine post. You too Racingfan. Jimmy, she could only beat who showed up. Not one of the Grade I horses from the east shipped west to take her on. Why in GOD'S name should she have had to chase them around the country? You are not looking at the other side of this issue and it is a valid one. It is irrational to place the burden on Zenyatta and her connections to race against Grade I horses, especially when ducking her was their Number 1 objective. They weren't about to fly across the country to take her own, knowing full well they had no chance.

09 Oct 2011 8:24 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


    Why don't they embrace the Great Queen Zenyatta instead of trying to take every opportunity possible to tear her down? It's because they never embraced her before and their jealousy of the majority that did has driven them insane. Thus the term "insane with jealousy" was coined, and we can see it in action to this very day on this bery blog. Only open and perceptive minds can truly understand greatness, and every race they either said, " I hope she loses today," or "she'll lose today because it's impossible for any horse to come from that far off of the pace and win everytime, or "why should I root for her now since she'll probably lose the next race, it's too late for me to enyoy life to its fullest." So they missed out on one of the greatest experiences in the history of the world, and they are saddened by it and lashing out in disgust at every opportunity in the blind faith that somehow it will diminish her greatness and they no longer will have to feel so sad and so angry for not having been a part of it.

09 Oct 2011 8:25 PM

You know what really is the icing on the cake that shows us how good Zenyatta is??   Because it takes all her fans only a few seconds and a few short sentences to bring out her greatness and it takes AfleetAlexForever six or so paragraphs to try and put her down and discredit her.     Keep on  AAF,  You're only discrediting yourself more than you can ever discredit Zenyatta.

Zenyatta's legacy is forever etched in stone.  What about yours?

09 Oct 2011 8:26 PM

Uncle Mo at 6-1 in his first attempt at a mile and a quarter..Okay??  But No Way he wins the Classic off a 1 mile prep at Belmont Park against horses that are the best he has ever faced. At the wire it's going to be Flat Out, Game on Dude & Tizway, maybe Stay Thirsty.  A mile and a quarter always separates the sprinters from the true did for Rachel Alexandra.

09 Oct 2011 8:34 PM
Go For Wand

The Classic field certainly looks interesting, but I'll being tossing quite a few horses come BC day. Stay Thirsty is 0 for 3 outside NY and was trounced both times at Churchill. Tizway was pummeled at Churchill last year in the BC Dirt Mile. Acclamation doesn't run well outside of California and Flat Out doesn't win outside of Belmont--although I may toss him in my Superfectas. But remember unless you're Cigar or Saint Liam (I think there was one more but these two come to mind right now), the JCGC winners have not had good luck in the Classic.

Uncle Mo while he has won at Churchill has not ever faced the kind of competition he'll face in the Classic. If he makes the Superfecta it would a surprise. He's by Indian Charlie who couldn't handle 10f and only sired one runner (Fleet Indian) who could win at 10f. He strikes me more of a miler and he really didn't beat much in the Kelso. I've never been a fan of this horse because he's never really proven himself and besides it's hard to get excited about a horse who won't even make 10 lifetime starts and will likely be retired after the Classic anyway.

As for Havre De Grace, this is a big mare and she's already proven she can handle the track and the boys. I won't count out Giant Oak either as clearly loves Churchill. I'm not sure Ruler On Ice will handle Churchill but he'll definitely prefer the distance. To Honor And Serve and Wilburn, while talented, I feel need some more battles under them first and I don't know if they're up to handling what they'll face in the Classic.

With So You Think he would definitely be interesting if he handles the surface. Game On Dude I'm curious about as we've not seen him run outside of CA this year. There's no doubt he's definitely as game as they come.

09 Oct 2011 8:55 PM


In naming the six Champaigne/Derby winners I omitted to mention the great Seattle Slew. You rightly stated that none of the three winners of the Champaigne/Breeder's Cup Juvenile double has gone on to win the Derby. Lets look at the cold facts: of the three neither War Pass nor Uncle Mo started in the Derby for health reasons and Timber Country finished a creditable and close-up third to Thunder Gulch and Tejano Run. Therefore the odds aren't that strongly against Union Rags breaking through if he reports healthy to the starting gates at Churchill Downs. Given that the Breeder's Cup is at Churchill downs this year, a win on that surface should be a very significant step forward for the Dixie Union colt.


It appears that Mo came out of the Kelso fine.  I don't expect him to regress in the BCC.  It was only his second off the layoff and that strong run at a mile should be adequate to set him up for the Classic.  Tizway stands in his way and you ignore that one at your peril: he's coming to run huge my friend.  I agree that Havre de Grace and Flat Out are to be respected (the filly moreso) but Tizway is still the Bighorse in town and watch for a super effort from Twirling Candy.

09 Oct 2011 8:56 PM

Gunbow: the 1988 Distaff had equal if not better horses than the 1988 Classic.  Personal Ensign,  Winning Colors, and Goodbye Halo were all stars.

09 Oct 2011 9:04 PM

There they are...AAF and COLDCUTS...for years ive read the incompetent posts..AAF for years loves the midwest horses. "i know rick porter!" OLD FASHIONED IS THE BEST!!!! Tell them what you posted aaf when Zenyatta shipped to oaklawn, to run against GINGER PUNCH....TELL THEM! I remember sir....for all of you who dont know, AAF thinks of himself a writer..he has/had his own website, posts these longwinded articles all over the place.....AND NEVER PICKS A WINNER!...he must have sometime, the law of avg. and all...he is the worst picker ive ever seen..but he knows rick porter, so love all of his horses......COLDCUTS....cannot even think of where to start..years ago i told him bernadini would be worth over 100 million...he hated him..he said candy  ride was way better breeding....he posted one where the horse couldnt win because of his COLOR!! Im not kidding....He goes on breeding, but never picks the best breeding...."that horse wont win because the race is on a thursday,and no horse with that sire has ever won on that day unless the 3rd letter of his name has an L in his name......WACKYCUTS!

09 Oct 2011 9:56 PM

2:24, I'm often on board with you, but I think you're wrong about '88.

In the Classic you had:

Alysheba, who that season had won the Strub, San Bernardino, Big Cap, Philip H. Iselin, Meadowlands Cup and Woodward

Waquoit, winner of the Brooklyn Handicap and JCGC and 11 other stakes in career

Seeking The Gold, winner of Super Derby, Peter Pan, Dwyer and second in Haskell and Travers

Forty Niner, 2YO Champ and winner of Travers, Haskell, NYRA Mile and second in Woodward

Cryptoclearance, stellar at three in in 88 winner of Paterson Hdcp and Hawthorne Gold Cup

Personal Flag, winner of Suburban and placed in three other G1s

Cutlass Reality, winner of Hollywood Gold Cup over Alysheba and Ferdinance and winner of Californian, Bel Air, San Diego and Goodwood.

Lively One, winner of Swaps and Santa Catalina, second in SA Derby, Goodwood, third in Super Derby

Slew City Slew, winner of Salvator Mile, track record in Polynesian, second in Meadlowlands, third in Clark.

That's a salty field.

09 Oct 2011 10:50 PM
Paula Higgins

Dr Drunkinbum you are a wise man.

09 Oct 2011 10:53 PM
Paula Higgins

Gunbow, Zenyatta was 6 years old in 2010 and in my opinion she was not quite the horse she was in 2009. I think there were reasons John Shirreffs picked the races he did. They did not want to burn her out a la Rachel Alexandra since the plan was to get her to the BCC in 2010. Some people who watch horse racing mistake them for machines instead of what they are, animals. Go figure. 127 people thought she should be HOTY so they did something right.

09 Oct 2011 11:04 PM

Paula, Zenyatta could only beat who showed up, provided they were a filly or mare. And most likely, an owner wasn't going to run their filly/mare against Zenyatta unless they were proven on a synthetic track. You must have forgotten to include this bit of information in your response. Also, your argument would hold more water had she raced against open competition. Then any horse could have shown up. As it is, in 2010, the only time she did race where any horse could show up, she lost. Does anyone wonder why all of her other races that year were against restricted competition...

Guiness, nothing will change the minds of the Zenyatta zealots, even when people display the facts in an objective manner. It is actually quite sad and doesn't speak very highly of the Zenyatta fan. You are going to believe what you want to believe, and that cannot be changed. Too bad, but for a horse that was 0-1 against open competition on dirt, I have a good idea of what her legacy will be...At least she will be known as the only horse to win HOTY based on the popular vote. That must count for something.

09 Oct 2011 11:40 PM


That was a very long post you wrote in once again explaining, this time in your own words, that you just don't get it.  Next time just write......I just don't get it.  That way you will free up some time to advise Mr. Porter and Mr. Jones.  Maybe you should tell them not to let Gracie train on that plastic stuff.

10 Oct 2011 12:05 AM


I agree, I don't believe Zenyatta was as good in 10' as in 09'.  Things started getting tough for her, and in all 3 of her final wins she struggled to beat horses inferior to those she had defeated in previous years.  Rinterval was not a gr.1 horse, and Switch has failed in all her attempts at a gr.1 around 2 turns(but a 2-time gr.1 winner at 7f).  St. Trinians in the 09' Vanity might have been as good a synthetic female as Zenyatta faced, but unfortuantely that was really the last big race she ran(did win the gr.2 Milady this year but was dq'd).

Before the 10' Classic, I picked Blame to win with Z 2nd.  I thought Blame was at the peak of his career and was running over his home track.  I truly believed that if Z was the same horse she had been in 09' she would win, but I didn't feel she was.  But that's debatable.  She still ran a remarkable 2nd half of a race and was beaten by a horse in Blame that had repeatedly won close finishes over top competition(Misremembered, Battle Plan, Quality Road) and who would've won the Classic by open lengths had Z not been in the race.

10 Oct 2011 1:22 AM

why should zenyatta have spent her whole career running against males when no other female ever has. 2 breeders cup classics was enough. No female ever did that before and probably never will. lets see how Haver de Grace does, probably wont even hit the board, shes a very good filly but the classic is the hardest race for any horse to win. Flat Out is my pick to win it.

10 Oct 2011 2:03 AM

Jimmy,  WRONG again.  Zenyatta wasn't voted HOTY by popularity.  She was voted HOTY because she won all her races (all 19) of them and saved her very best race for last, the 2010 BCC.   Do you really know how hard that is to do Jimmy?  Go ask Harve De Grace how hard it is to win race after race against females?  She and the others can tell you that its not easy and impossible to do.  Jimmy you have to admit that in the 2010 BCC Zenyatta was the very best performance of either of those horses,  she beat all the rest of them like they were tied to a post.    Go bark down some other horse's tree Jimmy because Zenyatta has fans and her many fans came because she is and is a symbol of a true filly/mare that is truely a legacy and will always be.   You let me know when you see a filly or mare run for three years and never lose a race and on her 20th race only lose by inches.   You give a hollar when (if you live that long) if you ever witness anything like her again in your lifetime.    

10 Oct 2011 5:57 AM

Let's see here.

This year's field in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, was one of the strongest ever. The first three finishers were females.


A horse that beats mainly female horses, is running against inferior competition. This is the reason Goldikova keeps beating males in America, then gets beaten by females in France. It is probably the same reason only one male has ever beaten Zenyatta but more than one female has beaten that other female horse. This also explains why My Miss Aurelia recorded a faster time than Union Rags while winning by the same margin on Saturday.

Long live the superior gender!

May their East Coast bastion be praised.


10 Oct 2011 6:34 AM

Great post Jimmy! For once I agree with Footlick, let's move on from yesteryear's overhyped overrated nag and talk about this field which includes a real deal mare.

10 Oct 2011 8:21 AM

Dr Drunkinbum while racing on the west coast was over hyping the mare for passing Cherryblossommiss in the stretch time and time again running pedestrian times and barely getting up at the wire to nip horses exiting optional claimers. We had a fantastic filly taking on and beating males, and breaking records set by the legendary Ruffian.  Please let me tell you that there is no jealousy, ever, Rachel did things that Zenyatta never could have accomplished, defeating males more than once was one of those things, winning races in such devastating fashion in an open gallop that it was scaring off her male counterparts.  See what you don’t get is that its much more difficult to show class over and over again while stepping up in class than going into the starting gate with optional claimers, and making a 7 wide move to get up by a head.  If anyone in their right mind can look back and her pps and see who Zenyatta faced and feel that she shouldn’t have been undefeated then well they would sound as stupid as the comments coming out of Del Mar’s President’s mouth that Steve Haskin spoke of as stupid. Did anyone feel that she would lose to Anabaa’s Creation, or Pretty Katherine, or Made for Magic or St. Trinians or Switch or Rinterval.  Those are the names on her 2010 resume that she boasts.  What about those either overmatched or medicore fillies and mares was supposed to make some one think “Oh yeah she’ll lose today”, in her 2010 CL Hirsch she ran slower than $5k claimers at Tampa Bay, factual statement.  Lastly let me say, to be great you have to beat great horses on a consistent basis, not be led through a weak f/m only campaign to champion one race all year long.  For further indication as to how to do this please see, previous HOY winners, Tiznow, Cigar, Curlin, Invasor, & Rachel Alexandra, they faced top ranked competition and challenges over and over again, throughout the year, the first 4 campaigned hard and still showing up for the BC winning the Classic.  Sadly again something Zenyatta was incapable of.  So please believe no jealousy, the jealous came at around 9 eastern in January of 2010 when the announcement was made: “And the winner of Horse of the Year is, Rachel Alexandra.”

10 Oct 2011 8:53 AM
Criminal Type

Ranagulzion, I would be curious to know what you thought of Animal Spirits win yesterday in the Bourbon stakes in his second start. The fact that his dam is a daughter of Mr Prospector/Personal Ensign got my immediate attention. Scary race, though. I read this morning Here Comes Frazier was shipped to Rood and Riddle last night with a fractured hock. I hope he makes it. Thank god Julien was not hurt badly.

Also, wondered if you saw Unbridled's Bella break her maiden in front running style at Calder yesterday. She is a half sister to Chelokee and Salute the Sarge.

There are a couple more two year olds Ive been waiting to see on the racetrack. One is Lost in the Fog's half brother who is owned by IEAH and recently named D'Pepjo. The other is Eight Belles full brother named Unbridleds Way.

10 Oct 2011 9:03 AM

Yes, Paula is right.  Brilliant, true post by Dr. Drinkinbum and it is sad for those who will never allow themselves to enjoy what the great mare gave us.  

10 Oct 2011 9:43 AM

My exacta...So You Think and Havre de Grace...with no doubts...unless Snow Fairy came, then I'd have her 2nd with HDG 3rd.  Battle-tested and wiley, they're all world class athletes.

10 Oct 2011 9:43 AM
Linda in Texas

Can we change the darn subject here and quit dissing Zenyatta for God's sake.

I need to mention and hopefully question someone who can explain to me the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland, Race 8 on Sunday.

Here Comes Frazier, the 8 horse, was ahead the whole way and running full out when bumped at his right rear by the 2 horse Animal Spirits, it startled the heck out of Here Comes Frazier and he clearly was violated. I cannot believe after rewatching that race that Animal Spirits was rewarded First Place with Albarado aboard.

I TOTALLY DISAGREE with the Stewards on this one. It took Here Comes Frazier's total concentration away from doing what he was supposed to do and that was attempting to win the race wire to wire which he was clearly in the process of doing before he was so rudely interrupted.

I am really unhappy (and that is mild word for me) right now and then to read this morning that HCF has a double compound fracture of his hock, guess what that is going to mean? That is wrong. There was plenty of room for the 2 Animal Spirits to get by without bumping Here Comes Frazier. I did not see the front on photo of the race, it was not shown. If the 2 was bumped by another, then they both should be disqualified. And reward the win to Here Comes Frazier.

Right is right and that was wrong.

That was blatant. Pure and simple.

And decisions like rewarding Animal Spirits the win is what ruins racing for me, the video tells it all. What a waste of a super race horse.

10 Oct 2011 9:55 AM

It is amusing that AAF's hatred of everything in CA extends to even Blind Luck and her connections.  Previously, Jerry Holledorfer was being heralded for his ambitious campaign of his top filly.  Now he is condemned for "running her in the ground".  No, that term would apply to Jess Jackson and Steve Asmussen's handling of RA.  BL will likely return to racing next year, hopefully, the top mare running.  She is, imo, a better filly than HDG and I am sad we won't get to see her run in the BC.  But I look forward to see her demonstrate her greatness next year.  I doubt she is going to remain stall bound for 5 months like someone else who was once great--at least as a 3-year-old.

10 Oct 2011 9:56 AM
Linda in Texas

CORRECTION before i get lambasted - It was NOT the 2 horse that bumped Here Comes Frazier, the bumper did not finish in the top 3

and i don't know who he was could not read his number.

I still think for the 2 horse to benefit from that incident is wrong.

The whole darn race should be thrown out.

No respect at all still. Some things are accidents, some aren't.

10 Oct 2011 10:07 AM

I just wonder what people really feel is more difficult. To keep a horse in the barn and run every 3 months while keeping very little form, (as seen by pedestrian works and slow race times) while knocking off optional claimers and then showing up razor sharp at the BC for 1 race. Or to campaign a horse tough from Jan-Dec, keeping a horse fit with nice workouts to be able to run at the top level of the game with High end targets spread throughout the year, a Spring objective a summer objective and a fall objective. (btw, see the campaign of HOY front runner HDG, not the mismanagement of Blind Luck, or as Larry Jones stated “putting her out there to not get beat”)

This is the fundamental truth about comparing her to other horses. Her career is mediocre in comparison to a horse like Invasor or Curlin, what was accomplished on the track is not even in the same stratosphere. Its like dealing with pee wee football compared to the NFL. Horses like Cigar or Citation have been brought down to the level of a horse that routinely struggled to get up to beat optional claimers people.  Do you understand how that legacy plays out.  Citation, Cigar, Curlin, Invasor, and others ran in open company proving their greatness. While Zenyatta had in 20 career lifetimes starts optional claimers enter and contest her races 16 times. Lava Man is in my opinion the greatest California horse I’ve seen in my lifetime, couldn’t win an allowance race outside of Cali, but at least showed up and contested the top California races.  How can you call yourself king or queen of Cali and St Trinians showed up to contest the HWGC while Zenyatta watched the race from her stall. Its pathetic and so are the majority of her fans.

I do however give major kudos to Gunbow for being honest about the fact that her campaign was the stuff of “Allowance Legends” throughout the year.  Never stepping up and establishing a name for herself.  She was virtually unknown in 2008 and 2009 until winning the classic, Rachel won HOY and was the media darling until she retired in Sept of 2010 and then Zen was on 60 mins and finally hit main stream.  But if the Zoonies tell the story she was all horse racing was about for 3 years, although not making her first start in 2009 until almost June.  Spin it however you need to.  We’ll continue laughing.

10 Oct 2011 10:21 AM

Zenyatta, Zenyatta, Zenyatta. She is already retired. Let's quit talking about her and concentrate on the theme of the blog, this year's Classic. As a matter of fact I'll give my 1-2-3 on each BC race:

Classic: Uncle Mo, Havre de Grace, Tizway

Dirt Mile: Caleb's Posse, Jackson Bend, Twirling Candy

Filly and Mare Turf: Aruna, Stacelita, Dubawi Heights

Turf: Sarafina, Acclamation, Gio Ponti

Juvenile: Union Rags, Creative Cause, Currency Swap

Juvenile Fillies: Millionreasonswhy, Grace Hall, My Miss Aurelia

Juvenile Fillies Turf: Stephanies Kitten, Bourbon Street Girl, Lyric of Light

Juvenile Turf: Shkspeare Shaliyah, Finale, State of Play

Ladies Classic: Royal Delta, Zazu, It's Tricky

Marathon: Drosselmeyer, Birdrun, Alma D'Oro

Filly and Mare Sprint: Tamarind Hall, Turbulent Descent, Switch

Juvenile Sprint: I'll Have Another, Vexor, Trinniberg

Sprint: Trappe Shot, Euroears, Calibrachoa

Turf Sprint: Black Caviar, Havelock, Regally Ready

Mile: Goldikova, Courageous Cat, Turallure

Good Luck.

10 Oct 2011 10:27 AM

tiznowbaby - perhaps you're right.  The Classic field was a good one in '88, likely on par if not better than the Distaff.  My point should have been that the Distaff wasn't a field on nobodies and the three top fillies were superstars.

10 Oct 2011 10:37 AM
Linda in Texas

I AM NOW WRONG on 2 counts. Beat me with a whip.

I just found and read the entire article on the Bourbon Stakes and McPeek said that "Leparoux hit Here Comes Frazier with the crop and he had never been hit before with one because he was so fast."

That makes me sicker. It looked to me in the race that he was bumped and if i could see the front photo of the incident i could tell better. I was not zeroed in on HCF's jockey.

It does not make this any better for the horse or my feelings.

I am not watching racing today.

10 Oct 2011 10:39 AM

oso7, I too get a chuckle out of AAF's feeble attempts at diminishing the Queen's greatness. He focuses all of his energy on the bad and conveniently forgets about the good. He's been saying time and time again that Zenyatta has faced nothing but allowance horses, citing Cherryblossomiss, Anabaa's Creation...etc. That would be the equivalent of me saying all Rachel Alexandra ever faced were a bunch of Persistentlys, Classofsixtythrees, and Queen Marthas, all of whom were allowance horses or former claimers. For some reason, Zenyatta gets the flack and Rachel gets a pass. Ruffian beat just one grade 1 winner and never ventured further from New York than to New Jersey, yet I don't see AAF tearing down her reputation. Great horses need to beat great horses over and over again? Is that what Curlin was doing to that superhorse Wanderin Boy throughout 2008? Why wasn't Rachel beating great horses in 2010? Is she not great anymore?(For the record, I think both Curlin and RA were great and I don't hold the latter part of their campaigns against them). Dr. D nailed it, AAF's jealously is clear, and his hypocrisy is clearer. He takes every opportunity to tear the mare down and has done nothing more than make a fool of himself. For a human being to harbor so much resentment of a beautiful animal such as Zenyatta, I truly pity him.

10 Oct 2011 11:01 AM
Criminal Type

Linda, the way I heard it from the trainer is Here comes Frazier shied from the whip, and was not bumped bny anyone. He had never been hit before and it sent him right into the rail.

10 Oct 2011 11:04 AM
El Kabong

Been a while kids but its great to see all the love is still in this room. Jason, If there is one writer who could turn a cub scout meeting into a gangland riot, it's you.  

Now, would some of you bat toting heavy hitters put a Tigers uniform on and quickly head to Texas. My Tigers could use some heavy stick right now.

Anyone out there taking advantage of "Columbus Day?"  Like a filly in the 4th at SA named Hannah G. May get a price on her may not. Brad Free opened his pie hole in his race notes.

KY Vet, nice to see you got your cap lock issues worked out and thanks for the "Coldcuts" remark. very funny.

Coldfacts, don't always see eye to eye pal but you were the first, and I mean the first, to spot the talent in Shackleford last year. Keep it up.

Dr.D if I follow your Freudian analysis correctly, then the human behavior, driven mostly by unconscious irrational drives to recognize Zenyatta's greatness will not only be met with great resistance, but are indeed the result of an early childhood event, perhaps a piggy bank blowout win bet on the Santa Anita Derby that went awry. And that the current state of mental disturbance of those who would deny Zenyatta's her place will only be relieved through your professional guidance to resolve this obvious conflict between their conscious view of reality and this repressed event-the piggy bank incident- are brought to light and recognized as separate events unrelated to one another? Interesting, I like it.

10 Oct 2011 11:06 AM
Smoking Baby

 I'm with Ivan.  Can we simply agree to disagree and stop talking about Zenyatta already?  Niether side is going to change the other's mind no matter what tack they take.  We've got a Breeder's Cup to handicap and I for one can use some help from some of you folks.

10 Oct 2011 11:07 AM
Smoking Baby

 Criminal Type.  I've had my eye on D'Pepjo since last year's Saratoga Sale.  He just had a nice half mile out of the gate at Monmouth Saturday and should be sitting on a race at some point soon.

10 Oct 2011 11:10 AM

AAF,  And we'll continue to laugh at you.   Zenyatta made her legacy in just three years at six years old,  What is going to be your legacy?  Will you leave one?   Or will you always be known as her achilles heal or should I say the one person that envied her and her connections because you didn't own her or train her?

10 Oct 2011 11:11 AM
Linda in Texas

Ivan - thank you, i now have my homework for today instead of watching racing. I plan to study each one of your 1-2-3 picks on each BC Race. I do like Black Caviar and remember the first race she won. Beautiful.

Sorry about my temper, i have Irish, German, Italian and French in my bloodlines and i have fought myself all my life.

10 Oct 2011 11:20 AM

I forgot to add in my last post that Zenyatta won all those races ,including the Breeders' Cup Classic, on synthetic surfaces, because see was traveling on a synthetic surface while all the other runners in those races had to travel on a different surface. It is relevant.

10 Oct 2011 12:59 PM


I agree.  Let's look forward, not backward.  Some will still be debating Zenyatta before, during and after this year's BC.  

Keep your eye on the 2 y.o. Secret Circle running today in the Jack Goodman Stakes, 6F, race 3 at Santa Anita.

A good looking, well bred youngster trained by Bob Baffert.  Along with Union Rags, he gets my Derby Fever raging.

10 Oct 2011 1:30 PM

Linda: regretably, Here Comes Frazier did not cross the finish line with his rider.  There are no honorary wins, for Go For Wand, Ruffian, or Barbaro.  There will be none for Frazier. I really didn't see a bump.  I don't know if he shied from the whip or lost his concentration for that moment.  But at the moment he bumped the rail, no horse was near him.  (but he did look spooked).

AAF: you need to get a're boring me to death with your obsession about Zenyatta.

It's 2011.  Wake up and watch the pretty horses running today!  The big mare doesn't give a damn about you or your over-blown opinions.

10 Oct 2011 2:09 PM

I also believe Zenyatta was not at her best in 2010;  from my observations, there seemed to be a concern over her left front shown by Mike Smith before and after the Santa Margarita.  Her work times had tailed off a bit also.  But, look at the show -- heck she was the show -- that she put on at Churchill Downs!  That is greatness.  

Dr. D has analyzed the situation perfectly.  Funny how, whenever Jason's blog has stalled, he whips out Zenyatta's name... instant infusion of LIFE!

Gunbow, I think I inadvertently captured your image before race#3 two Saturday's ago (dark green shorts, grey t-shirt?).  I had zoomed in on Rosario going to the walking ring;  he fit snuggly into the armpit of this very tall young dude... had to be you.  Of course, 3/4 of your head is out of the shot.

10 Oct 2011 2:31 PM
Matthew W

The advent of the Breeders Cup has changed the status of many races, and, yes, that includes the Woodward---what was the most important race for HOY, is today "Whitney-B", nothing akin to what it once was, that is plain fact! I am from the West Coast, and I root for our horses--not to the point that I am trashing Eastern Horses--The track is where you discern the class of horses--this blog is where you discern the class of racing fans!

10 Oct 2011 2:38 PM
Mike Relva


Laughing? What, at yourself?

10 Oct 2011 2:58 PM
Mike Relva


If you actually take Grace will bet you she won't win. Unlike some of your pals I'm not all show and no go. I'll bring my money.

10 Oct 2011 3:03 PM
Mike Relva

AAF, it didn't matter how slow she ran she won nineteen in a row. What happened to RA last yr? Drained from the yr prior and couldn't beat second tier horses.

10 Oct 2011 3:05 PM
Smoking Baby

 Mathew W.  I like the way you think.

10 Oct 2011 3:36 PM
Crickett Hoffman

I guess no one paid any attention to the Quarter Horse-like fractions The Factor had to face.  No horse could withstand those fractions and not get cooked.  So it was a 45-1 long shot.  It was a long shot with a hot kamakazi early run.  Even Baffert hadn't seen fractions like that since his days at Los Alamitos.  What I saw through the binoculars was a horse moving too fast too soon.  The only thing we can say is we now know his achilles heel: his inability to rate.  

Acclamation is, as far as anyone knows, going to go turf at the Breeder's Cup.  He's bred for it.  He's happy on it.  Better to run on what makes them happy.  Unhappy horses tend to bomb.  (Zenyatta loathed Churchill's dirt.)

10 Oct 2011 3:39 PM

I Like Candy:

I didn't make it to Santa Anita that Saturday(Oct 1) until race 4.  

10 Oct 2011 4:08 PM
Pedigree Ann

Matthew's got it right - the Woodward as run at Saratoga is a farce. If it were back at its historical distance of 10f (1956-1972, then 1978-1980, when the Marlboro Cup took its place as the 10f prep for the 12f JC Gold Cup), then it would make some sense, a proper prep for the JC Gold Cup. But with ALL of the big dirt races for older horses in NY at 9f until the JCGC, none of the East Coast older horses get a proper preparation for the BC Classic.

10 Oct 2011 4:18 PM

Some cool results at Los Al the last 4-6 weeks.

Last month, the popular Feaky, now 6, won the gr.1 Go Man Cap' over track record holder Chivalry and a number of other top older males.  Freaky, who has been favored in almost every race the last 3 years, was viewed by many, including myself, as incapable of beating the very best anymore, and was sent off at about 7-1.  Freaky didn't post a time comparable to those he posted in 09', and instead won on heart and toughness, getting up in a multi-horse photo. I was one of many fans who, as is almost tradition for a Freaky victory, stormed the winner's circle after the race.  Freaky is a true people's horse.

Then, last night, 7 year old millionaire Jess You and I beat a strong field in the gr.1 Boniface Los Al Invitational.  Jess You and I was a g.1 futurity winner at 2, won the Champion of Champions in 08', won multiple gr.1s in 09' before tailing off and being supplanted by Freaky, and won multiple gr.1s last year when sent to Oklahoma.  Quarter horse racing is extremely demanding, so it's quite amazing when a horse is able to maintain his form at the highest level for more than a few years.  Jess You and I is building a career close to the likes of a Be a Bono, the first thorughbred star I ever saw in person.

10 Oct 2011 4:22 PM
Criminal Type

Smokin Baby, I've been waiting for D'pepjo since then too. I knew about the work on saturday, he is in my virtual stable. I exchanged emails with someone at IEAH regarding him months ago. I even suggested a couple names. Spun in a Cloud was one. In my opinion, much better then the one he finally got. I knew he was in florida with eddie woods and supposedly was going to wesley ward's barn when he left there. I love Hard Spun and knew he would do well at stud. Another Hard Spun im watching for is the colt out of the full sister to La Ville Rouge, Barbaro's dam.

10 Oct 2011 4:47 PM
Linda in Texas

Trying to stay away from agitants, I cannot help but remember last week end that Rapid Redux was pulled from his race. Not for any injury. He is now reset to go for his 18th win this coming week end.

You know, i will be the first one to keep cheering for him until he makes his mark in the books.

I won't needle anyone because of who he raced, where he raced or on what surface he raced.

He is a $2,500 claimer and a big beautiful horse. No one told him that he isn't running on the right or wrong surface or on the right or wrong track and against right or wrong horses.

He is running because he loves it, was bred for it and is being campaigned by Mr. Cole who i hope is getting a big kick out of all of his wins. I sure am. Thanks Mr. Cole and trainer and Rapid Redux from an honest fan.

10 Oct 2011 4:50 PM

You "friends" have to learn what a great horse looks like...not one person has mentioned the fact, she never got a pace to run at...yet once mike asked her, she went from last to first in an eigth of a mile! then she played ears up...she hardly ever tried!!RIGHT AAF?  By the way, back then AAF said ginger punch would beat zen easy...poly horse! haha.but he does know rick porter! hows that workin for ya? remember the horse he said was superstar? old fashioned

10 Oct 2011 4:51 PM

Wow, is it groundhog day already???? Jason writes a blog, and the Zenyatta conversation comes up again. 90% of the stuff we worry or talk about in life is stuff we can't change. We can't change the past, but we can try to predict the future. Let's stay relevant and start talking about the biggest weekend in American Racing, the Breeders Cup. PLEASE!!

Rachel was HOY 2009. Zen was HOY 2010. Both were awesome. End of story.

Yesterday was the literal meaning of flying frenchman, at least that is what I thought when I saw Leparoux flying thru the air into the Keeneland grass. Hope he is ok. He went to Dr today at 1pm.

Anyway, let's all try to be civil adults and keep to the task at hand next go around, the present and the future of racing, not the past.  Have a good night folks!

Oh, and like Durkin said about Uncle Mo, I would like to say the same about my big homie TAPIZAR, HEEEE'S BACK!!!

10 Oct 2011 4:55 PM


Yes, that 88' Distaff was a strong field.  No questions.  Everyone remebers Winning Colors in the race, but few forget how well Goodbye Halo ran.  Goodbye Halo was right there with the two Hall of Famers, losing by just 3/4ths of a length.  Keep in mind Goodbye Halo was a 7-time gr.1 winner, on both coasts, and beat Winning Colors in a gr.1 earlier that year.

The talent of Goodbye Halo is one of the reasons I rate Bayakoa's 89' campaign as one of the best ever by a female.  No, she did not face the boys, but she won 9 of 11, including 7 gr.1s(she was 7 for 7 in gr.1s that year and 12 for 13 in gr.1s from 89'-90').  In 89', Bayakoa won races at Santa Anita, Oaklawn, and Hollywood before finishing off her season with gr.1 wins at Belmont, Keeneland, and Gulfstream.  

And while Goodbye Halo did beat Bayakoa in the Chula Vista(now Clement Hirsch) when Bayakoa ran her only bad race, Bayakoa beat her 6 other times that year and never by less than 2 lengths.  

Additionally, in that race at Belmont, the Ruffian, Bayakoa had to face Hall of Famer Open Mind when that horse was on a 10 race winning streak(with 7 in gr.1s) including the Triple Tiara(Acorn, Mother Goose, CCA Oaks) as well as the Kentucky Oaks and Alabama(and BC Juvy Fillies the year before).  Bayakoa won by 3 and a half.  

Then, in the BC Distaff, Bayakoa not only defeated Goodbye Halo and Open Mind again, but she also beat multiple coast-to-coast gr.1 winner Gorgeous, and Hall of Famer Winning Colors. That 89' Distaff featured 8 gr.1 winners(out of 10) with 7 being multiple gr.1 winners, and 3 Hall of Famers.  Although hounded by a 3-horse Lukas entry, Bayakoa won by 1.5 lengths in 147 and 2, for a Beyer of 115.  When Bayakoa won the Distaff again the next year, darkened by the Go For Wand tragedy, she ran a Beyer of 113 while not being asked through the stretch.  

In her career, Bayakoa won 3 times under 127 lbs, and consistently ran fast, posting big Beyers and winning margins and fast times like 141 and 3(Apple Blossom by 4), 132 and 4(Hawthorne by 4), 147 and 1(Vanity by 5), and 147 and 4(Spinster by 11), with that Distaff topping things off.

10 Oct 2011 4:59 PM

Now, if only Zenyatta had run in the 2008 BC Classic... those Euros wouldn't have know what hit 'em.  Not to mention, Curlin who?

10 Oct 2011 5:01 PM


Quit saying LAZ in your long, yawn, yawn, boring, night-all dissertations.  I only approve of knowledgeable posters using my name.  That goes double for Sylvester.

10 Oct 2011 5:16 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Queen Zenyatta is happily grazing for two on splendid grass while we mere mortals continue to wallow in the mud. Zenyatta ran her heart out everytime and did the impossible race after race- winning from dead last everytime. No closer in history has come close to her race record. As a dancer she was unparalled putting anyone on Dancing With The Stars or dancing at the bars to shame. Not even Gene, Gene The Dancing Machine from the Gong Show could match her eloquent yet firey dance numbers.

10 Oct 2011 5:23 PM

Criminal Type,

Obviously Animal Spirit's victory in the Bourbon was fortuitous and not particularly earth-shattering. He does have a number of things in his favour, not the least of which is the fact that he's trained by the very patient conditioner Al Stalls of 'Blame' fame. He is also bred for a distance of ground with his dam being full sister to Our Emblem, sire of Derby winner War Emblem.  He could therefore develop into a serious triple crown candidate next season.  The colt that finished third, Lucky Chappy should also have caught your eye, coming from last with a sustained run, not far behind the winner. He's a grandson of Saddler's Wells, bred with the Rasmussen factor(inbreeding within the 1st five generation to a superior mare through different offsprings: Lalun, dam of Bold Reason and Never Bend). He is bred for turf but could do well on Churchill downs dirt IMO.

Regarding the progeny of Unbridled Song, my observation is that the more talented they are, the more likely that their legs are brittle as glass. These colts/fillies by Unbridled Song are good for about four starts (if you are lucky) then comes the heartbreak due to injury. Sorry, I'll toss them from my triple crown calculations no matter how much promise they show.

10 Oct 2011 5:33 PM
Afleet Treet

How did this go from a 2011 BC CLassic topic to a Zenyatta/ Rachel Alexandra/Havre De Grace/ Blind Luck comparison? Hasn't that been discussed, argued, debated and revisited enough already? Everyone will always disagree so it is time to draw a line in the sand!

KY Vet,

I too remember you back in the old MSNBC days!! It's nice to see you and afew other familiar faces here from those days...we had some great discussions back then didn't we? I think Coldfacts was there as well as AfleetAlexForever, Oso7, myself and maybe a few others from around here. Nice to see you!

As for the BC CLassic....I think that So You Think is a monster and a master at a 1 1/4...his Arc run was very indicative of that as were his previous races. If he can handle dirt at Churchill he will be one to watch out for. I think Uncle Mo can definitely handle 2 turns and is classy enough to do it with that high cruising speed of his. I would expect that he and Gracie are near to each other throughout the race and which one will get the better run turning for home will be exciting to see.

In other BC races I am very interested in Creative Cause (UGH...I know another CA horse)...this colt is a monster and Mike Harrington has done a great job with him thus will be interesting to see how he does and I hoep he does well! I too like Trinninberg (then again I was a real sucker for his sire Teuflesberg so I am not surprised).

I pray we get to see 8yo warrior Awesome Gem show either the Classic or the Dirt Mile....he is a FABULOUS horse who I happened to spend several days with when he shipped up for the Longacre's Mile and he ships like a dream (as if he were simply moving from one stall to another) and right now you'd never know he was the flesh he is an exceptional animal who deserves ALOT more respect then he ever gets and remember he too (GULP) is a CA horse but a shipping warrior who has racked up more miles than any horse in training these days and who has raced agains some of the most awesome competitors ever! He may not always win but to face the likes of Curlin, Zenyatta, Einstein, Midnight Lute, Lava Man, Goldikova, Well Armed, Gio Ponti and SO MANY more! He has ran from 1 mile to 1 3/4 miles..., on 3 different surfaces (4 different Breeder's Cup races over 3 different surfaces), at 10-12 different race tracks....he has ran against 2 Dubai World Cup winners, multiple Eclipse award winners, 2 Kentucky Derby winners, and ran in races from allowance to Classic level. I for one (I knwo I am probably alone in my thoughts supporting a CA horse) would certainly NOT be bummed at all to see HIM take the glory...but I have to wonder...woudl anyone else really be as excited or would the discussion quickly revert to excuses for why this horse didnt' win or that horses didnt' win or the surface, competition, comparisons be too much of a distraction?

Kind of bummed that Never rretreat weill not be making the trip! I reallly like her! What about the F & M Turf? Is it Stacelita's race to lose?? And the BCLC....who will win that one??  

I would be curious to hear the opinion of those level headed posters who can weight in about him and lend their thoughts...Gun Bow...Jason....Linda In Texas...Slew....Dr. Drunkinbum....Lazmannick....Zookeeper....Anyone?

10 Oct 2011 6:03 PM

"You let me know when you see a filly or mare run for three years and never lose a race and on her 20th race only lose by inches."

Guiness 10 Oct 2011 5:57 AM

Pepper's Pride. 19-19, as in all victories, zero defeats. Game,Set,Match. Thanks for playing.

But yeah, it is time to move away from the Zenyatta bashing. It is just too easy to rile up the Zenyatta fans. She was a synthetic superstar for the ages, and with synthetic surfaces going the way of the dodo in southern California, her legacy will remain intact forever.  

10 Oct 2011 6:46 PM
Matthew W

I just think with the way the Classic is shaping up, Acclamation should go--HOY is his if he wins, and he could lay off Uncle Mo, and open up on them in the stretch--and Harve De Grace will come on, then HOY will be won by the better horse--Both are deserving--they are the two best horses, a filly and a Cal-bred who doesn't use a whip, I hope they decide to run him on dirt--if the ARC winner goes in Turf Classic he has little chance--go in the Classic, get a wide draw/speed on outside, handle the dirt, then show them who's HOY--he keeps surprising me, keeps running lights out, can you say Black Tie Affair?

10 Oct 2011 7:04 PM
Aaron McC

Billy's Empire - Indeed! Speaking of the future -- with Mo (probably wont come back next year, but we can hope), Tapizar, and To Honour and Serve looking strong off their respective comebacks, and Animal Kingdom poised to return, it looks like next year could be great for the 2009 crop.  

And any word on Premier Pegasus or Pluck??  Thought PP was back on the worktab recently, but Equibase has nothing in the last 60 days.

In any case, if these survive the winter, 2012 could be a phenomenal year!!

10 Oct 2011 7:06 PM
Matthew W

Pedigree Ann, no, it became the odd race out, they didn't want two 1 1/4 preps at Belmont...even if it were still at Belmont, still 1 1/4--it still would be a prep-race, and The Woodward Stakes used to be so much more--it was the HOY race....

10 Oct 2011 7:07 PM


Forgot to put the other Go in Go Man Go Handicap, the race Freaky won last month at Los Al.

And Be a Bono was the first quarter horse star(not thoroughbred) I saw in person.  The first thoroughbred star I saw in person was Bayakoa.

10 Oct 2011 7:13 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

El Kabong

  Queeck Draw McFreud, I like your Freudian Slipper- If the shoe fits .....

I Like Candy

   How true, how true.


  It's your question that was brilliant.


  You're correct, Gio Ponti was amazing. He's another with a big heart.

10 Oct 2011 7:31 PM

Jimmy,  Wrong again. How many BCC or BCL did PP ever run in?   I think you need to let that stuff go.   PP never was or will be the horse Zenyatta is.  

10 Oct 2011 7:40 PM
Jason Shandler

I like how your mind works Jimmy. Come back here more often.

10 Oct 2011 8:02 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Afleet Treat

  I love Awesome Gem. He probably will run in the dirt mile, or Classic, and a win in either would be fantastic, and really, the greatest story of all. The old man oughta teach those young whipper snappers a lesson and take the championship. I'm one that thinks the Classic will be a strong field so it would be an upset but not impossible. Awesome Gem might be just getting started.

10 Oct 2011 8:06 PM

I like how your mind works Jimmy. Come back here more often.

Jason Shandler 10 Oct 2011 8:02 PM

Re:  You would Jason.  Like they say,  "Misery loves company".

10 Oct 2011 8:34 PM
Jason Shandler

Guiness: Any more tear-jerking comments about your favorite mare today? We cant wait. You write so eloquently and it tugs at our hearts, especially when you talk about how much she touched you. Such passion.

She lost. Get over it.

10 Oct 2011 8:41 PM

PERSPECTIVE my friends!!! You are all talking about great filly hdg. beat the boys, twirling candy is great.This horse that horse...LISTEN! Take a look at the what the beyer figures are tutorial in the says 100 alw horses------115top stks horses.......fact is there are no stars that are great right now.....thats why uncle mo brought so much excitement..he ran one of the best 2yr old beyers ever108.....and top beyer in his 3 yr old year at a mile or over 118....the filly is running in the classic because the older division is so weak...PERSPECTIVE PEOPLE...

10 Oct 2011 8:53 PM

Matthew W:

Acclamation is definitely the best horse in California.  He has beaten the best middle distance turf horses, the best long distance turf horses, and the best maintrack performers out West.

Analyzing his 5 race win streak, 3 gr.1s and 2 gr.2s, there has been real quality behind him in all but one race.  That race, the first in the streak, was the Jim Murray, but Acclamation did win by 7.  Next out in the Whittingham, Acclamation beat Celtic New Year, who has since won the gr.2 Del Mar Cap', and Bourbon Bay, a horse that came into that race with 4 gr.2 wins and who would go on to win a gr.3 at Del Mar.

After the Whittingham, Acclamation won the Eddie Read at 9 furlongs. That day, he beat Caracortado(3rd), the next out winner of the gr.2 Del Mar Mile, and runner-up Jeranimo, who this past Saturday won the gr.2 Oak Tree Mile in 1:32 and 3 for a 108 Beyer(highest turf Beyer all year).  By the way, Acclamation won the Read by over 3 lengths.

In the Pacific Classic, Acclamation defeated the clearly 2 best maintrack performers out West, Twirling Candy and Game on Dude.  The latter won the gr.1 Goodwood 9 days ago.

The one notable name missing from Acclamation's resume had been Champ Pegasus.  Champ Pegasus was the best turf marathon horse out West last year when he won the Del Mar Cap and Hirsch before running 2nd in the BC Turf.  Champ was on track for a big year, beating Bourbon Bay in the San Luis Obispo, but the trip to Dubai threw things off as he emerged injured.  Champ got a nice prep in for the Hirsch, and while he did run big in the race, Acclamation was in full command through the stretch.  

Acclamation may not have faced any Hall of Famers, but there have been some nice horses behind him, particularly these last 4 races.  The quality of the fields he has beaten has been validated by how many have come back to win stakes races later.  No question, Acclamation has been the best horse out West this year.

10 Oct 2011 9:00 PM

Gunbow.  Thanks for the memories regarding Bayakoa.  One of the best race mares I have ever seen.  North American earnings record and perhaps consecutive or most graded stakes wins in a year by a filly/mare until you know who. 18 months reign of terror.  She did lose to Rhulmann (Moss') who held the dirt mile record at Santa Anita as well as Criminal Type (eventual HOY) in the Santa Anita Handicap.   I think it was her third start in 60 days and just 3 weeks after the Santa Monica?  She certainly had that come catch me attitude...and most could not up to 1 1/8th.  

10 Oct 2011 9:06 PM

AAF- you better re-check your facts because the truth is that "slow" Zenyatta set 3 stakes records and 1 track record!!  And that is not easy to do for a deep closer when everyone tries to crawl on the front end to have something left to battle her with in the stretch!!!!!!!!

Dr D - the only other closer in history with a record like hers just happens to be her Great-Great-Great Grand-sire Native Dancer (I like to think that's where she got it--LOL) who was 21-for 22 with his only loss by a head at Churchill Downs also.... :-(

10 Oct 2011 9:11 PM

Jason, maybe I should send you a case of Kleenex.

What did she lose Jason?   She lost by a few inches.  But she still got the end award, she was awarded the 2010 HOTY.  So she didn't lose anything in defeat , she actually gained more than most people would have thought she would. In the end,  she gained everyone's respect.

Now,   I'm upset that the Arc winner isn't coming to the US.  

Why do the foreigners shy away from the NA BC races so much?   Why aren't they game?

10 Oct 2011 9:11 PM

The "East" is still pissed off about Meadow Star and Easy Goer. They just got beat by better horses from the West.  One of them a Hollendofer filly. Who are you going to send this year?  Careless Jewel?  Life at Ten?  HDG has had a more difficult campain then Zenyatta?  Get me a tissue.  She's spent 3/4 of her time at the same track.  Blind Luck gives her 10 pounds and Blind Luck gets beat.  Go figure.  Puts some Zenyatta weight on HDG and let's go.  So you beat Mucho Macho Man and you've raced in the best race because it is in the East?  What was that HOYs name again? The one that got put away early because "We don't like synthetics."  Give me a tissue.  

10 Oct 2011 9:14 PM

The second round of pitchers were just about empty when Jason, with a fist full of cash in one hand, slammed down his beer mug on the Blame Game Bar and pronounced to all the Zenyatta debaters, "She lost.  Get over it."

Secret Circle was hand ridden by Rafael Bejarano to an impressive 5 1/2 length win in 108.27 in the Jack Goodman today at SA. He's now 2-2. According to DRF, Bob Baffert will put him in the BC Juvenile Sprint at 6F on Nov. 4.  By Eddington / Ragtime Hope by Dixieland Band, look for him to blossom next spring in longer races.  Right now, Baffert will give him a "taste of the Derby" by bringing him to CD, keeping him happy at 6F and taking the Juvenile Sprint.

10 Oct 2011 10:03 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


 That's very interesting. I think I'll try to get some reading material on Native Dancer. Thanks.

10 Oct 2011 11:45 PM
Bob from Boston

Ted from LA says, "We'll be right back with more er... STUFF...".

11 Oct 2011 12:00 AM
Paula Higgins

Sylvester, anyone who calls a horse an "overrated nag" on this blog, or any other for that matter, should be banned for life from posting here. That's reprehensible you sorry excuse for a horse racing fan. You brought the conversation to a new low with that remark. Jimmy, uh I didn't forget to mention anything. Your point is irrelevant. Why should it matter to any trainer whether their horse ran routinely on synthetic for her to show up and race Zenyatta? According to you and your fellow chronic complainers, Zenyatta didn't run enough on dirt. You can't have it both ways Jimmy.

11 Oct 2011 12:01 AM

Of course the fillys and mares zenyatta raced against were nags, most females are even ones who have won grade 1's (someone has to win those races if theres no good females to enter and usualy theres no more then 2 good ones running in any given year)., the ones havre de Grace blind luck and Rachel ran against were nags too. What made zenyatta so good was, unlike the others, she never got beat by a nag and never turned into one like rachel and BL. most females cant even make it thru one whole season without falling apart, much less three, and she ran the same way against the best males in the world as she did against the nags, the competition never affected her performance.    

havre de grace will not do well in the classic because the distance will be too long. Blind Luck was turning into a nag by the time of the Del. Hdc. and HDG still couldnt beat her on her home track, BL won that race by default since HDG couldnt get the distance and the rest of the feild were full-fledged nags like Life at Ten. And the 3 pound weight excuse was lame, she should have carried 10 pounds more than BL like zenyatta did against the nags. If she couldnt win that at 10 furlongs she wont be able to in the classic. With the shape shes in she could probably beat anyone at 9 furlongs or less, but the extra furlong will turn her into a nag. she should stick to the distaff.

11 Oct 2011 12:46 AM

Ranagulzion/Criminal Type

Union Rags has far more speed in his pedigree than Alpha. Most of his sire’s progenies have displayed good speed. His dam sire Gone West also produces horses with a lot of speed.  There is also some amount stamina from the dam side as Gone West was the sire of Belmont winner Commendable and Jodar who finished in a dead heat for first with High Chaparral in the BC Turf Classic. Gone West son Elusive Quality sired the speedy Derby/Preakness winner Smarty Jones and multiple TR setting Quality Road. He also sired the Australian sensation Sepoy.  There is no doubt that Union Rags has inherited a lot of speed and it was on display in the Champagne. He is heading to the BC Juvenile as the anti-post favorite and rightfully so. Is he scaring away any of the top colt that have the credentials to enter? I do not think so. Like Uncle Mo before him, he might be ahead of most right now but the first Saturday in May is approximately 7 months away.

I will not jump on his bandwagon as I think the runner up in the Champagne barring something unforeseen will be the better of the two over as distance of ground. His pedigree is stellar and he has shown enough in two starts that indicates he has an abundance of ability.  He was not folding up like a dead bird in the Champagne. He kept running and that a signal of heart a requisite asset for greatness. His dam sire Nijinsky needs no introduction. He was North America’s leading Broodmare sire in 1993 & 1994 and remains the only sire to have a winner of the Kentucky and Epsom Derbies in the same year.  Nijinsky is the dam sire of Snuggle the dam of Belmont winner and two times winner of the JCGC Colonial Affair. His son Mascot Ballet is the dam sire of Belmont winner and 2011 JCGC runner up Drosselmeyer.  Nijinsky was an exceptional horse and I have no doubt that broodmare sired by him is likely to produce the next US Triple Crown winner.

Alpha’s sire Bernardini has to be one of the best freshman sires in recent times by the share number of graded winners.  Alpha is impeccably bred and should he run to his pedigree a drought could be broken. Both of you regard Alpha as a nice horse in the mode of To Honor and Serve. THG is more than just a nice horse right now. Name me a 3YO on either coast that has covered 9F in 1:47 and change on either dirt or synthetic? Of the  2011 derby preps contested at 9F only the SA Derby and Bob Lewis  held in CA broke the 1:49 mark as both were completed in 1:48 plus. Sorry Uncle Mo fans he did not break 1:49. THG seems poised to deliver on the promise he showed as a 2YO and must be considered a very dangerous horse in the BCC. Uncle Mo will not out run him over 10F as he is bred for  that distance and is at a stage of rapid improving at an ideal time. Alpha is a much better bred colt than THS as his dam was sired by a son Of the immortal Northern Dancer. Eight of ND’s sons have been broodmare sires of winners of TC races. Alpha will have no problems effectively staying the distances of the TC races. The same cannot be said about Union Rages. In spite of Alpha’s loss in the Champagne and the collective low regard for him stated in your respective posts, I am sticking with him for the long haul as his pedigree is just too good to give up on. A Nijinsky dam associated with a talented horse equates to endless possibilities. I implore you to keep an open mind and do not be overly impressed with flashes of brilliance at the expenses of exceptional pedigree associated with early signs of ability.

11 Oct 2011 1:01 AM

Now,   I'm upset that the Arc winner isn't coming to the US.

It is a shame but given the change in ownership before the Arc it was inevitable she would either head to the Japan Cup or be finished for the year.

Why do the foreigners shy away from the NA BC races so much?   Why aren't they game?

I hate to break it to you but the Breeders Cup is not held in the same esteem overseas as it was 10/20 years ago.

The Turf has turned into a bit of a farce. Both Dangerous Midge & Red Rocks were well below Grade 1 standard in Europe.

The new Champions day at Ascot has also given european trainers a much easier option in terms of travel. As there is only a 3 week gap between the Ascot and the BC, the horses that do back up often find it hard to produce their best form after crossing the pond.

I am a great believer that any european trainer who wants to win a Breeders Cup race has to train their horse specifically for the race and not go there as an afterthought.

11 Oct 2011 1:25 AM
Linda in Texas

KY VET - now that sounds so much less in our faces to call us 'friends'. I just read your post. I know you mean well, it's just getting a little close to crunch time and i think a lot of us are trying to anticipate who will be best and who will be beat and we are all getting a little freaky.

Or at least i speak for myself.

11 Oct 2011 1:38 AM

If I found a lamp on a beach and rubbed it and had just 3 wishes this is what they would be...

#1 To live a life where I was able to attend the races everyday instead of having to work! lol

#2 Mike Smith to have Zenyatta closer going into the first turn of Churchill on Breeders Cup Day.


Hoping DRAYNAY was watching and knew where a loaded gun was with one bullet in it as he sat there watching Quality Road fade badly and Zenyatta reaching the finish line first!! Now thats what I call CLASSIC!! LOL

11 Oct 2011 2:56 AM
Criminal Type

To whoever asked about Pluck, He worked 4 furlongs in 49.20 on the Tapita surface at Fair Hill yesterday.

I know I am opening a can of worm's but here goes. I for one have had enough of the Zenyatta debate. She's retired, it's over.  Whether your a fan or not, you have to respect her. She is part of history now. Period. Same goes for Rachel. I was never a fan of The RA connections, but I respected the horse's ability. They were both "managed" very effectively by their owners and trainers, although Rachel less so considering her 4 yr old year. Zenyatta runs 20 times and loses to ONE horse and people write off her whole career as average. To say Zenyatta never beat anyone is just stupid. I can almost hear Gio Ponte screaming "who you callin nobody?"

You know what I find most interesting about this blog? The denial. Denial=when you don't even know your refusing to see the truth. Refusing to aknowledge the facts and the convoluted excuses people make to justify "their" horses performance or lack there of. Some of the comments are just exasperating in their ridiculousness. They stick to the same horse or offspring of said horse blindy even when those offspring never live up to their hype or potential, until the next overhyped offspring of that horse comes along.(you know who you are) The pontificating has reached new heights. Maybe some of you need to get your own column considering how your comments run on. If you need 6 or 8 inches of blog space to make your point, then you might want to reconsider your position.

11 Oct 2011 5:36 AM

My goodness Paula.  It sounds like your Easy Bake Oven broke. Any horse that receives the press and attention Zenyatta got leading up to the BC and then loses is overrated and overhyped. Now you, Mike Relva, LAZ, and Ally just need to sit back and enjoy the HDG show coming up on November 5th.

11 Oct 2011 9:11 AM
Smoking Baby

 Didn't Zenyatta win something like SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS?  Believe what you want, like her, don't like her but that's nothing to sneeze at.  

 This is just a thought and I could be wrong but if the synthetic horses are expected to perform well on dirt also wouldn't you agree that they are expected to be MORE versatile than pure dirt horses because they have to perform on two different surfaces?

 And why is it only Zenyatta (a mare who carried 129 pounds successfully and showed up to two Breeders Cup Classics to boot)who gets questioned?  Why isn't anyone saying "Goldikova never beat males on dirt so she's no good?"  The plain fact is, if Goldikova was raced in California we'd be hearing "Let's see her win on dirt beyond a mile."  Not a doubt in my mind.

 Sorry about the rant friends.  Just my opinion.

11 Oct 2011 9:13 AM
Linda in Texas

Dr. Drunkinbum, Paula Higgins, Slew, ABF and more, you all are always the voices of reason and staunchly faithful to your feelings. I do admire that trait in so many.

Billy's Empire, who knows where the tide turned on the subject of this blog. Doesn't take but 1 word to set off those who are for her or agin her. I believe one of the blogs of Jason's had over 500 postings when the topic was 'her.'

Bob From Boston has certainly been quiet.

Today it is quite foggy in my little town so guess which horse is on my mind, Lost In The Fog.

Yeah, i know that doesn't have anything to do with the price of eggs in China. Just thought i would mention him. Brave Fella.

The older one gets the more one has to remember. :)

And i am on board with any and everything complimentary when the following two words are put together: Awesome Gem. He certainly is.

Give credit where it is due and i certainly agree.

Thanks Jason

11 Oct 2011 9:14 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Bob from Boston

   Thanks for the smile and the chuckle and the extended laughter. Perfectly worded memory and statement of current affairs.

11 Oct 2011 9:30 AM

Amen, Paula.  It isn't just Sylvester's reprehensible words, both he and AAF have labelled the Mosses cowards. How specious and denigrating can they get?  I guess they are forgetting who exactly failed to show up in last year's Apple Blossom.  Or even which connections offered to run in the Beldame but Jess Jackson was too busy selecting 5 potential races to run RA in, so they stayed in CA instead.

I suppose if they repeat their redundant nonsense long enough, they believe they'll convince someone, anyone that there is truth in their words.  But there's none.

11 Oct 2011 9:52 AM

Rachel Alexandra was never a nag.

11 Oct 2011 10:59 AM

Zenyatta was never a nag

11 Oct 2011 10:59 AM

"Sylvester, anyone who calls a horse an "overrated nag" on this blog, or any other for that matter, should be banned for life from posting here. That's reprehensible you sorry excuse for a horse racing fan. You brought the conversation to a new low with that remark."  Paula Higgins

You go girl!

11 Oct 2011 11:18 AM
Ian Tapp

Blame won

11 Oct 2011 11:41 AM

boar- Danedream's original goal was the BC, but her connctions explained that she was coming to hand so quickly they decided to reroute her to the Arc, which is more important to them.  Then a 1/2 interest was bought by the Japanese.  If she runs again this year, she will probably run in the Japan Cup or maybe Hong Kong.  

11 Oct 2011 12:26 PM

NICE!!! Good work Ian. Moving on.

So the QEII this weekend, I know of 3 horses running for sure, Summer Soiree, Winter Memories, and Kathmanblu. Should be interesting. Sumer Soiree is going to the lead, KAthmanblu will be stalking the pace, and winter memories will be sitting in the back of the pack waiting to pounce. Since these are my top 3 favorite fillies of 2011, I am torn as to who to bet on. WM will be a big favorite, and SS should be 2nd choice. KAT is coming off a last place finish, but I think third off of a layoff could be good for her. Going to be a fun race to watch.

11 Oct 2011 12:44 PM
Jennifer in Columbia

I love to read the badinage between all the horse racing fans here; however, I am so tired of this rehashing of the Zenyatta is a nag crap. Can all parties just agree to disagree and move on? Arguing is not going to change anyone else's opinion, and it is a boring waste of time. We have so much to talk about with the upcoming BC, which is full of rich, interesting contenders. Let's talk about them and leave these old debates alone. I beg of you all!

11 Oct 2011 1:25 PM

Smoking Baby we agree.  She was the Queen of restricted California state poly races.  And  I NEVER expected her to win on dirt East of the Mississippi.  I knew she would lose.

11 Oct 2011 1:42 PM
Ally Sheba

Chad, Havre De Grace will prove in the Classic that she's not a nag. She'll be considered in the same league as Zenyatta after the race. If she doesn't win she'll finish close. And there was nothing wrong with Blind Luck before or during the Delaware race. Whatever went wrong with her happened afterwards. Havre De Grace only got beat by a nose that day by a really good filly, so she's already proved she can get the distance. Blind Luck at her best was just as good or better than the horses who will be in the Classic.

11 Oct 2011 2:41 PM


We also know your picks are still running in last year's Classic.  Yes, Zenyatta did lose a victory by a margin of inches but she certainly ran better than your and AAF's top pick, QR who was some 20 lengths in arrears.

Moreover, I think you are conveniently forgetting Zenyatta won the AB twice, including the dismantling of the reigning Eclipse holder, Ginger Punch.

My suggestion is you, AAF and Sylvester huddle up and come up with something new to criticize.

11 Oct 2011 2:54 PM
Paula Higgins

Thanks everyone for your support for Zenyatta. Very much appreciated that I am not alone I this. Sylvester, regarding the Easy Bake Oven: the only thing I want to cook is your goose, you Turkey. FYI everyone, there are NO nags in horse racing. They all do their best for us however they finish the race. That statement is true just like there is no crying in baseball. Enough said. I am moving on-I think.

11 Oct 2011 2:59 PM

Afleet Treat;

I have been a fan of Awesome Gem for years, and I always cheer him on wherever he runs.

I don't believe that a good performance in the Breeders' Cup Classic is out of the question for this remarkable old gelding.

His racing record by year stands at this:

Year: Starts: Firsts: Seconds: Thirds:

2011 8  2  2  1

2010 8  1  2  1

2009 9  2  2  1

2008 7  0  2  1

2007 9  2  4  1

2006 6  2  3  0

Thus, it is safe to say that he is having his best year since 2007, when he won the San Fernando Stakes (gr. II) and finished second in the Pacific Classic, Goodwood Stakes, and third in the Breeders' Cup Classic (all gr. I).

Unlike many of the horses shooting for this year's Classic, Awesome Gem has proven himself time and time again at ten furlongs. To date, he has competed in eleven ten furlong races, with victories in the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) and Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II).

I'm hoping that Churchill Downs turns into a sea of slop for the Breeders' Cup Classic. After all, Awesome Gem blew up a bunch of trifectas in 2007 when he rallied for third behind Curlin and Hard Spun in the Breeders' Cup Classic, leaving the likes of Street Sense and Lawyer Ron behind him. Perhaps -- just perhaps -- the old gelding will hand his younger opponents a stunning defeat under the lights at Churchill Downs next month. There have been bigger upsets before.


11 Oct 2011 3:06 PM

Footlick, you been doing any good on publichandicapper this year? I am in 172nd place, 35% winners. Maybe we can get these bloggers to join to see how they stack up...

11 Oct 2011 3:07 PM
Afleet Treet


THANKS SO MUCH for your response! I too have been a huge fan of "Gemster" for years and it was an amazing experience to spend a few days hanging around him. He is an amazing horse and it is even more amazzing that as an 8yo he is still so competitive. He may not always win but he sure runs his heart out every time. I LOVE HIM! I have some incredible pictures of him if you wish to see them...I posted them here under his blog there....and also have tons I can share via email (or Facebook), which is there as well...:

It's nice to see I am not the only one who is crazy about him...he sure has faced some top class competition hasn't he? And with you pointing out STreet Sense, I stand corrected...he has ran against 3 Kentucky Derby winners, not 2.

GOOOOOOO GEMSTER! I swear if it plays out the way you explained I will be in tears of joy (and probably holding a nice ticket) and excitement to see a horse I have long loved and logn supported (even against the odds) was SO amazing to see him up here for the Longacre's Mile, to see him storm home over the local hometown hero and even better to ply him with MANY carrots for a race well run! HE is as classy as they get! Thansk again for your response!

11 Oct 2011 4:30 PM
Carlos in Cali


Too bad you,Jason & Co weren't astute enough to also cash Ex,Tri & Super tix. Sucks.

11 Oct 2011 4:54 PM

Billy- I have to say I haven't taken American racing very seriously this year, so lots of times I take longshots on top for the Public Handicapper. I have many horses in the money but do not have the winners on top.  I'm $44.20 down. I see no reason to choose a short pricced horse whether I think it will win or not because I'm not betting real money.  But I've done well in Europe.  Glad you are doing so well in it!

11 Oct 2011 4:55 PM

I just have to sit back and laugh! This is about this years BCC and the talk is still a majority about Zenyatta. Win lose or draw that is the proof in the pudding. This alone proves what a great horse she is. Not one blog stays on topic; nor are they even close to having as many hits as last year. Zenyatta is great the detractors prove it. they can't shut up about her!

11 Oct 2011 4:57 PM
Jason Shandler

Tonka: She lost. Get over it.

11 Oct 2011 5:00 PM
Mike Relva


There are no nags, but alot of idiots.

11 Oct 2011 5:04 PM
Mike Relva


Please let me know WHEN Blame gets into the HOF. lmao

11 Oct 2011 5:10 PM


There are no nags, but alot of idiots.

Lol.  Funny how they group together as well.  No matter how much they're taken to task for their lunatic statements, they just keep coming back for more.

11 Oct 2011 5:24 PM

SO, that lose defined her.

11 Oct 2011 5:45 PM

I just read that Blind Luck is to be sold at the Keeneland November mixed sale.

What do you think, Jason? Any thoughts?


11 Oct 2011 5:52 PM

SO, that lose defined her.

tonka 11 Oct 2011 5:45 PM

Yes, in their eyes, 19 wins didn't matter.  Just a loss by an ever diminishing margin is what is important.  That is why their disparaging comments are as laughable as they are.

11 Oct 2011 6:16 PM

"She lost, Get over it"

Is that all you know, Jason?

Jason,  Everytime I hear you say these boring little words you spit out you make me want to scream.


11 Oct 2011 7:27 PM

oso7.  I seem to recall Jess Jackson playing with the dates and distances of the Apple Blossom to improve his chances as well.  Zenyatta's camp pretty much said were not concerned bring it on.  Then, all of the sudden Rachel Alexandra is not ready.  

11 Oct 2011 8:38 PM

She lost, Get over it"

Is that all you know, Jason?

Jason,  Everytime I hear you say these boring little words you spit out you make me want to scream.


Guiness 11 Oct 2011 7:27 PM

Makes me want to scream, "Get over it you handful of denigrators.  You will never change her spot in history, no matter how hard you try to find an angle to diminish her."

11 Oct 2011 8:42 PM

oso7.  I seem to recall Jess Jackson playing with the dates and distances of the Apple Blossom to improve his chances as well.  Zenyatta's camp pretty much said were not concerned bring it on.  Then, all of the sudden Rachel Alexandra is not ready.  

Householder 11 Oct 2011 8:38 PM

Yes, Householder, you are correct.  Jess Jackson asked to move the date up a week to give his filly more time.  Then he backed out completely.  Hard to imagine beating Zenyatta if RA can't manage to beat a 3rd stringer in the Shirreffs's barn, I suppose. He probably made the right call in never facing Zenyatta.

11 Oct 2011 9:33 PM

Dr D - glad to hear you may have an interest in the great Dancer!  He was awesome and is my all time favorite even though he was before my time.  There are 2 great books on him out there--I have them both.  One is part of the Thoroughbred Legends series sold thru Exclusively Equine.  If you do read up on him at some point, post your thoughts if you will...

11 Oct 2011 10:00 PM

It's ashame that horses can't speak. Where is Mr. Ed when you need him?

Zenyatta and her best friend, Tasty Temptation, have reached their own resolution of the conflict between Z's and Rachel's fans.

Tasty is related to Rachel as both she and Rachel have the same sire, Medaglia d'Oro. And they are best friends and don't even care about the supposed rivalry.

Give it up people and let's enjoy another Classic Race with a terrific field.

And yes, let's cellibrate a third year of the fabulous winning fillies. You go girls.

Harve de Grace is a powerhouse and she is the real deal.    Larry Jones, who weighs 200 lbs., gallops her himself and she really has blossomed under his care. I have never seen any female so closely resemble her father (Saint Liam) in so many ways unless you compare Terlingua to Secretariat or Layla Ali to Mohammad Ali. Incidentally, Saturday Oct 15th has been declared Havre de Grace Day by the govenor of Delaware Park. Rick Porter will be at the park signing artigraphs this Saturday.

14 Oct 2011 5:46 PM

So I know I'm late on this, but a lot of these posts crack me up. First of all, a majority of them have absolutely NOTHING, ZIP, ZILCH to do with this year's BC Classic, which is what this blog is about. Regarding that, I'm still doubtful about Uncle Mo at 10f. And to the person who said he'll go a mile in 1:34 2/5, at that rate he'll defeat Secretariat's track record, which if he does, if he goes that fast for a mile in the Classic and wins, I'll give you $1,000, seriously that deserves some prize. But I know that's not happening. My choice is Havre De Grace. I think she has been more spectacular that any male all year long, and her Beldame was my favorite race on Super Saturday. She was geared down, so comparisons to Uncle Mo's mile in the Kelso, are ill-informed, as Uncle Mo was actually running, and Velasquez pushed the Go button on him. Grace was eased down and still pulling away in the final furlong. Had she been full throttle, her time would be much, much faster. She's my single, the only horse I give any chance to beat her as of now is So You Think, but he's not confirmed, so she's my single. My two cents on the Grace v. Zenyatta issue, no comparison. Grace is great, but she's absolutely no Zenyatta, Zenyatta eclipses her in just about every way. In fact its ridiculous to even suggest such a notion that Grace is greater. If she has another great campaign, she can be talked in the same breath with Zen and Rachel, but as of now, its absolutely ridiculous.

15 Oct 2011 11:37 PM

One other thing gave me a great chuckle was the comments, I think made by Sylvester who insists that Personal Ensign is the gold standard of females. Well first off, the name is a dead giveaway for a person with a youtube account name known as "sylvestergreyhound" who's common practice is to comment about how Zenyatta is not as great as Personal Ensign and never will be, and one of his cheap insults to Zenyatta is calling her "suckyatta" yeah how about some effort? Before his name was "jamesgreyhound" and when he was shot down with no comeback by another commentator on youtube, he changed to Sylvester. I find the whole notion of her to be the absolute gold standard a tad on the ridiculous side to. Yes her 1988 campaign is quite good, but it wasn't all that challenging. She faced fillies and mares who were hopelessly overmatched. There are only two I remember by name that she faced in 1988, they were Winning Colors and Goodbye Halo, and both were in the Distaff, Colors also the Maskette. And her lone win against males, came in a field with only two males, who weren't right for the Whitney, Gulch, great horse, was a sprinter, all his major victories, other than the '87 Wood Memorial, came in sprint races, and King's Swan, a hard trier for sure, but a crowd favorite, not quite G1 caliber. And to top that off, she was given a whopping SEVEN pounds, the males carried 124, she carried 117, and still it wasn't a walkover, had she carried more weight, she may not have won that Whitney. The race was clearly her's for the taking, no question. Zen only got three pounds in the Classics, 126-123. There was no need to even consider the G2 Molly Pitcher for Ensign, yet they ran her there and naturally won. Plus she rarely ever left Belmont, yes her schedule was akin to Zen racing at HOL, SA, and Del Mar, running at BEL, SAR, and Monmouth, Zen shipped more than she ever did, going twice to Oaklawn and finally Churchill. Then the issue of the Distaff instead of the Classic. I'll always consider her Distaff one of the best races I've watched, and an unforgettable performance, but the people who want to say that her having screws in her legs was why they opted for the easier race are kidding themselves, as she showed in the Distaff, she was going to run her heart out no matter what, and I think she could have won. But that route shot her HOY chances. Lady's Secret accomplished more IMO, running double the amount of races in '86, 15 to Personal Ensign's 7, and winning 10 of them, facing males 4 times, only winning once, a walkover in the '86 Whitney, but wasn't disgraced in the other efforts. Yes she ran in the Distaff also, in another thrashing, but her campaign up to that point had some major weight to it already, more than Personal Ensign's IMO. And as it proved enough to take HOY. So yes Personal Ensign is great, but she is not the absolute gold standard for fillies, she didn't race past 4, and just as sylvester likes to pan Zenyatta's fans for hailing her as the gold standard, well the same argument can be flung at him for being Personal Ensign's little fanboy. Everyone has their likes, and some may find fault's with them, but all that matters is that that's who they like. Final thought: The fact that people still debate over Zenyatta and talk about her a year later just proves her greatness, that she can still strike up cnversations, on completely unrelated topic boards.

16 Oct 2011 12:05 AM
Greg R

Some overall factors to keep in mind re:  Classic.

1) I don't think BC history favors horses that have run well in both Woodward and Jockey Club and then tried the BC Classic the same year (with few exceptions).  That is just too much of an effort to sustain.  (However, those three races are farther apart than they used to be, so who knows if that still applies.)  Havre De Grace ran on THOSE DAYS, though not in both exact races, and possibly ran TOO WELL in both, so this probably counts against her.

2) The principle of "horses for courses" seems to apply even more at Ch. Downs than at most other tracks.  That is why I'd have favored Blind Luck over H D G if BL had stayed in form and they had met in BC in either race.  If BC were at Belmont, different story.  Proven form at C D also gives me hope for Uncle Mo, although he is by Indian Charlie, a superior speed sire.  Once in a while, a speed sire has a great breakthrough with the one horse that transcends those limitations.  Gulch, top sprinter, had Thunder Gulch, Derby and Belmont winner, etc.  Mo hasn't had chance at 1 1/4 and shorter preps have been the steppingstones he needed after hiatus.

3) A Classic winner obviously doesn't need to win its prior start, but it needs to run well (hit the board) in a well-rated race within a reasonable period before the BC.  I fear this lets out Tizway, even if he IS the most talented older horse.  

This will be a tough one to figure out!!

-Flat Out is on a roll, likes 1 1/4 mi. and bounced out of last start with good energy, but class comparison........?

-Uncle Mo is easy to root for, but better suited to Met Mile next year if hangs around?  

-Twirling Candy is much overlooked, but capable of putting it together on the big day with his talent?

-As for So You Think, I applaud Coolmore's ongoing sportsmanship in trying repeatedly, but do High Chapparals have any record on dirt?!

We shall see!

18 Oct 2011 12:02 AM


Rachel A. = most overrated horse of the year ever...couldn't run 10f even if you give her a ride, same class as Quality Road...mostly 8 to 9 furlongs horse.

Uncle Mo = another overrated sprinter that has no business running at 10 furlongs..."not 100% will be the excuse"...would have won if if if if...uhhuh

Gracey = going to get mugged in the first turn and will be running scared the rest of the way...will not even try....

The contenders are:

So You Think

Await The Dawn

Game On Dude

Flat Out



25 Oct 2011 12:34 PM

Gracey now ranks up there with Zenyatta? what a joke...she finished behind Blind Luck 4 times ...and TWICE at 10 furlongs.. on top of that the handlers of BL avoided where does Blind Luck rank?


FORGET ABOUT IT!! oh better yet


25 Oct 2011 6:34 PM
Ms Easy Goer

Did everyone forget that HDG was beaten by Blind Luck several times? She will NEVER be a Zenyatta. But they will never meet on the track so let's move on to current stars. I wouldn't be surprised if Uncle Mo won but I am sick of the mouths of his connections so I will root for Flat Out and Game On Dude. Mostly I want GET STORMY to do well as well as the NY Breds WeeMissFrankie and Giant Ryan. And of course, hope Mike Smith wins LOTS of races. What a great two days of racing coming up. I am excited!

04 Nov 2011 10:46 AM

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