Farewell to the Iron Lady

This may be a contrived recreation of Oak Tree at Santa Anita’s decision to rename the Lady’s Secret Stakes the Zenyatta Stakes, but the immediacy of it and its knee-jerk nature suggest it could be a possible scenario. Whether it has any substance or not, it is an insult to Lady’s Secret and a lack of respect for her placing among the all-time great fillies.

Zenyatta is one of the great fillies of all time and should have a race named after her, but not two and a half weeks after the Breeders’ Cup and not at the expense of Lady’s Secret. Because of the epic nature of Zenyatta’s victory and the frenzy of emotions it stirred, it looks, at least on the surface, that the Oak Tree Racing Association, wanting to get a piece of the Zenyatta craze before Hollywood Park and Del Mar did, figured it better act fast. So why not rename the Yellow Ribbon the Zenyatta? Man o'War was not a grass horse, but has a top-class grass race named after him. It's the honor that counts.

Can’t you picture Santa Anita officials getting together immediately after the Breeders’ Cup Classic and having a discussion similar to this?

“Hey, we better come up with a race named after Zenyatta before Del Mar renames the Clement Hirsch the Zenyatta or Hollywood Park renames the Vanity the Zenyatta.”

“Yep, that’s a good idea. Let’s not rename the Santa Margarita, which is run early in the year and doesn’t have that fall championship buzz to it, and it's not our race anyway. Let’s rename the Lady’s Secret. Who’s going to care if we snub a filly who ran 23 years ago? Zenyatta is the ‘now’ horse. I’m sure people don’t remember that Lady’s Secret won three grade I stakes at Santa Anita in 1986 and clinched Horse of the Year honors here in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.”

Whatever their reason, the bottom line is that Zenyatta, like the designers on “Project Runway” is in and Lady’s Secret is out. Just like that. So, 10 years from now when someone mentions a filly that won the Lady’s Secret, the reaction will be, “Huh?” But who knows, by then, another great filly might have come along and the Zenyatta Stakes also will be a fleeting memory.

So, with one hasty decision, the “Iron Lady” has been turned into scrap metal. If this is how racing preserves its history, it won’t be long before its archival pages decompose and crumble in our hands.


The verdict is in. By a 2-1 margin, Eclipse voters will be able to write only one horse’s name down for Horse of the Year. So be it. Now, we just have to brace for the nuclear shock wave that will spread across the land when the overzealous supporters of the loser make a mad dash to their computers to express their outrage. I for one have already finished constructing my fallout shelter and will remain in hiding until the cataclysmic event has passed. And that will only happen until the first scent of roses cleanses the air and diverts our attention to the first Saturday in May.

Giving thanks

For the past year and a half, I have been writing blogs about different aspects of Thoroughbred racing, many from a historical perspective. On this occasion, I am writing a non-racing piece. Well, there is a little racing, but mainly it is an opportunity to give thanks to two people. So, you’ll have to forgive my indulgence. Whether you choose to stick around or not, this one’s for me.

First, I want to give thanks to my wife, Joan, without whom I would be drifting aimlessly through life, a lost soul and a vacant heart. I want to thank Joan for finding and nurturing that soul and filling that emptiness by becoming the essence of my very being. After 29 years of marriage, she still inspires every word and every thought that pours out of me.

From 1979 to 1981, Joan, a far more gifted writer than I’ll ever be, was the public relations coordinator for the New York Racing Association. During those years, we got engaged at Saratoga, celebrated our engagement at the Wishing Well restaurant near Saratoga with her entire family, sipped champagne in a quiet spot behind the barns at the Saratoga sales, and watched Spectacular Bid’s walkover and Affirmed’s Horse of the Year-clinching victory over the Bid in the Jockey Club Gold Cup from her office directly above the finish line. She later worked as communications director for Robert Brennan’s International Thoroughbred Breeders’ and was the media’s go-to person following Brennan’s purchase of Garden State Park. She has been my go-to person for 30 years and has always been there.

It was through her that I grew as a writer, and any rave reviews I’ve gotten from her over the years means a great deal more to me than any award. Joan also was a talented photographer, and had worked for the PR firm that handled all of NYRA’s non-finish photos. It was during her final year there that we met and my life began.

I had been on a slow, meandering journey to nowhere and everything fortuitous that has happened to me since those stagnant years toiling in the library at the Morning Telegraph and then Daily Racing Form I attribute to meeting Joan, falling in love, and embarking on a life I could only dream about.

The culmination came when our daughter, Mandy, was born. I could write an entire blog on all that Mandy has meant in my life, but I am hoping that my brief mentions of her throughout the years have allowed a small fraction of my pride to come forth.

Before this becomes way too maudlin to readers, if it hasn’t already, I just want to take this time to say thank you to Joan and Mandy for all they are and all they have given me, which is everything.


Leave a Comment:


I think the one positive is that people may google and/or Youtube Lady's Secret and discover how great she was.  She also kicked some boy's butts to get HOY honors.  Speed over a distance of ground...The 1986 BC Distaff at Santa Anita at 1 1/4...it was not hard to tell who her daddy was...and this was Lukas pre Winning Colors.  I would say she would be one of the top 5 filly/mares to grace this planet and probably the top filly/mare to weigh in at under 1,000 lbs.  But, based on Zenyatta's accomplishments, I think she can now be mentioned in the same breath as Lady's Secret, Personal Ensign, Bayakoa, and Azeri.  I think I still have the Sport Illustrated Cover with Lady's Secret.  I need to dig this out.

25 Nov 2009 2:25 PM
Big Fan

Steve, i'm sure many of the readers feel the same. We read you so often that its like we're all friends. And to hear about your family only seems right.

25 Nov 2009 2:27 PM

Great article Steve. I agree with creating a race in Zenyatta's honor. But, why at the expense of Lady's Secret? She was a champion in her own right and packed in the crowds many times at Santa Anita. I think creating a race in Zenyatta's honor would be more appropriate without taking anyaway from Lady's Secret.

25 Nov 2009 2:32 PM
Joan Haskin

AWWWWWW!!!! Thank YOU dear Steve!  It takes two to tango, and you tangoed right into my heart. And, you'll always be there.  And, believe me, fellow bloggers, he is a much better writer than I am.  Love ya, your wife, Joan.

25 Nov 2009 2:36 PM

Shame on the administrators of Oak Tree!  Lady's Secret is one of my all time favorites...as tough and gritty a comptetitor as you will ever see run on any track yet she was a tiny, feminine filly and her Dad's (Secretariat) best runner. She also beat the boys at their own game. Bet if Eugene Klein and her other connections were still alive and racing their horses in CA they wouldn't have done this. Again, this is just a horrendous move in my opinion.

25 Nov 2009 2:37 PM
Tim G

Steve, thanks for sharing that touching tribute to your loved ones. Means a lot and is a perfect example of what makes you a great writer.

As far as the renaming of the race?

I agree one HUNDRED percent. Zenyatta is great enough to create a race and name it after her.

What disrespect to Lady's Secret.

Cannot believe they did this. We wonder why people have the 'what have you done for me lately' mentality? Well there goes some of our meaningful historical perspective. Wonder how they'd feel if we all just took that attitude and said 'oh well, SA in danger of closing? Can't stop progress.'  

Two different mares but really, I think Lady's Secret would have given the Amazon a run for her money.

25 Nov 2009 2:40 PM
It aint easy being good!

Thanks steve and thanks for allowing me to respond to the hater that called me an idiot since I am the smartest handicapper alive! jk! Happy thanksgiving and thanks for the articles. I hope next year you will speak more of this hunch you had and speak of in the kentucky derby if you would have had one more sentence on mine that bird I would of had 250,000 o well great year of racing!

25 Nov 2009 2:41 PM
Bill Daly

Good point about renaming races to capitalize on the latest buzz. This happens all too frequently and probably has a lot to do with how we view [or don't view] our heritage.  We live in a disposable society where yesterday's heros are just that. To paraphrase Neil Diamond, " used-to-be's don't count anymore, they just lay on the floor til we sweep them away."

25 Nov 2009 2:43 PM
Lindsey S

I totally agree!  A good deal of the time I enjoy the history of thoroughbred racing more than what's going on currently.  It makes me very sad to think that future fans may never know who Lady's Secret was.  What a beautiful and spectacular filly!  She is more than deserving of a grade 1 race of her own!

25 Nov 2009 2:44 PM

Renaming the Lady's Secret --

I've been in sync with you on many occasions, and I have to wholeheartedly agree and echo you here. Crazy!  

25 Nov 2009 2:46 PM

I think Zenyatta should have had a race "created" for her, not renamed one. No respect for the past.

25 Nov 2009 2:54 PM

I agree 110%. Lady's Secret still deserves a race in her honor and her memory alive. As one of the best daughters of Secretariat (and we must not forget the lovely Terlingua, either) she gave me so many thrills and gave her sire a star.

25 Nov 2009 2:56 PM

Aw shucks, you two. I feel like I should look away for a moment :)

I feel much the same about my spouse 99.9 percent of the time!

Happy Thanksgiving.

25 Nov 2009 2:57 PM
Virgil Fox

Householder -  

Just what you said.

My first reaction was 'I wish there was a link to Lady's Secret's past performances'.

After reading the press release (but prior to reading Steve's blog) I went out for a smoke and started thinking about a few other 'Named' races - even a few named for key people that have made their mark on the sport.  As Steve mentioned, the Clement Hirsch was one of the first that came to mind.

I understand that OSA wanted to get it done and ride the wave, but maybe there was a way to do it without letting Lady's Secret drift off into the sunset.

But what do i know.

25 Nov 2009 3:02 PM
Mike Relva


Although I consider myself a huge fan of Zenyatta's have to agree w/you on this issue. Have a great holiday!

25 Nov 2009 3:04 PM

Honestly! Why the Lady's Secret? What a disrespectful thing to do! Steve, you're right, why not rename the Santa Margarita? It would be better than disrespecting another champion just because Zenyatta came along.

25 Nov 2009 3:17 PM
Dixie Union

Someone else is posting under the name Citation, so I'm going to change my display name to Dixie Union to avoid confusion. Now, about the renaming of the Lady's Secret. It made me extremely angry to see that they took away the name of the great filly from my home state of Oklahoma from her race. Not that Zenyatta doesn't deserve a race named after her, but it is disrespectful to the Iron Lady to just suddenly replace her. Of course, the Go for Wand used to be the Maskette, and the Personal Ensign used to be the Firenze, so Lady's Secret isn't the only great filly to get snubbed.

25 Nov 2009 3:18 PM

When I read about them changing the Lady's Secret to the Zenyatta it made me mad but with all the Zenyatta buzz now, I figured my disgust was a minority opinion.  So thanks for writing this - glad I'm not alone in thinking it's an insult to Lady's Secret.  Zenyatta deserves her own race but as you said, not at the expense of the Iron Lady.

I enjoyed the lovely tribute to your family.  I seriously doubt it's "maudlin" to any of your readers.    

25 Nov 2009 3:23 PM

In total agreement with you Steve....they could have kept the lady secret race and still given Zenyatta her own stakes race...when they talk about all the races that Zenyatta won in her career and the Lady's Secret is mentioned....some new race fans will say uh!

25 Nov 2009 3:24 PM


What a wonderful column!  I totally agree with your sentiments regarding Oaktree throwing the Lady's Secret out and giving it to Zenyatta.  They could have done something else but to disregard the memory of the Iron Lady is disrespectful.  So should all great horses be forgotten as the years pass?  There will always be new stars but to take away a stakes race named in honor of one of the all-time great mares is unforgivable.

As to your wonderful tribute to your wife, I am impressed and touched that you love your wife so much to write it on this blog.  After all those years, it is refreshing to see such love enduring and indeed growing.  I do have to say that it's wonderful you give your wife credit for your development as s writer and a person but I have a feeling that your wife wouldn't have picked someone who wasn't already a great person when she met you.  For all your wife did to influence you, she had a wonderful persona already because I've seen it in your writing and the way you express yourself and the way you think.  Yes, you're very lucky to have her but she, too, is lucky to have you.  Yes, I've also noticed the mention of your daughter and your love for her shines through in all you say.  Thanks so much for sharing those feelings.

25 Nov 2009 3:24 PM
Diane J

What a wonderful blog - you and your wife are lucky to have each other!  I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

25 Nov 2009 3:35 PM

She should have a race named for her or created in honor of her, but not at the cost of the Great Lady's Secret. Brian, the author of Zipse At The Track wrote a blog very similar to this one and is getting the same response. They should have never done this stupid split second decision.

25 Nov 2009 3:36 PM

Steve Haskin,

I was actually surprised to read this blog from you. In fact, I'm surprised that your surprised of this event.

Look through your "American Racing Manual" and you will see that this event happens on a frequent basis.

OakTree and Sherwood Chillingworth understand that Zenyatta is the most brilliant mare that has ever raced on this circuit since December 25, 1934.

From this point forward, every filly or mare that steps foot on the racetrack that lies at the base of the San Gabriel mountains will be measured against the legendary "Zenyatta".

The incomparable "Zenyatta" is at the pinnacle and the pantheon of all fillies and mares that ever raced. Ruffian is the only one that can be compared to her.

Lady's Secret is not comparable to Zenyatta. I've seen both in person. I have all their video footage. Zenyatta breathes different air. She is in a different area code all together.

Eugene Klein has been quoted and has said that Lady's Secret could not beat aged males at a mile and a quarter. His actions speak volumes. He was true to his word. He never entered Ladies Secret in the Breeders Cup Classic.

Mr. Klein wishes "Lady's Secret" had half the talent of "Zenyatta".

Ladies Secret was one of the great ones , but there are only so many Grade I events for fillies and mares at the OakTree meeting.

25 Nov 2009 3:41 PM

This Zenyatta worship has got to stop. Its bordering on ridiculous. The horse won five races this year and never left California. I'm not saying Zenyatta doesn't deserve to have a race named in her honor, but the Lady's Secret? Really?

25 Nov 2009 3:43 PM

Ive emailed Oak Tree to the Executive Offices (which can be found on their website) to express my outrage that they would change the Lady Secret Hd. to the Zenyatta Hd.  Our sport is being cheapened by the day, and this is just another rock crumbling, destroying the history of this sport which has been so rich.  Shame on Santa Anita.

25 Nov 2009 3:50 PM
Soldier Course

I hope Zenyatta is named Horse of the Year. At the same time, I do not agree with what has happened regarding the Lady's Secret Stakes. I just hope that the Eclipse voters do not hold this gaffe against Zenyatta. Mr. and Mrs. Moss were put in an untenable position when Oak Tree informed them of the decision.

25 Nov 2009 3:51 PM

Steve: excellent comments on the re-naming of the Lady's Secret.  When I found out about this, I wanted to explode but I didn't know where.  No disrespect to Zenyatta but jeeze louise, why disrespect a former HOY?

Also, it's never maudlin to say thanks to family and friends.  That's just being a Good Guy.  

25 Nov 2009 3:57 PM
Paula Higgins

Wonderful column Steve, Just lovely. ITA about taking Lady's Secret's race. Shouldn't have done that. Too soon and there were other options to honor Zenyatta, who also deserves a race in her name.

Your beautiful words to your wife and daughter gladdened my heart. Your humanity always shows through Steve and that is a great thing to see in this day and age, where people have become "disposable." You have alot of heart, decency and you write like a dream. Thanks for that.

25 Nov 2009 4:00 PM
Asst. Hotwalker

Why not call the race the Zenetta/Ladys Secret?

25 Nov 2009 4:00 PM

Apparently, the Californians who decided to rename the Lady's Secret to Zenyatta did not even stop to think about the great Iron Lady and her racing career.  She actually accomplished more than Zenyatta in her day.  This is such a knee jerk, out of control, what's in it for me moment.  It has nothing at all to do with the historical figures in racing.

25 Nov 2009 4:01 PM

Couldn't have said it better regarding Zenyatta and the Lady's Secret.  

25 Nov 2009 4:17 PM

I am thoroughly convinced that either Oak Tree or Hollywood Park needs to create a 9-10 furlong race for older fillies and mares called the Zenyatta Handicap/Stakes and let the Lady's Secret be. I never saw the Iron Lady run, but her exploits are legendary and she won the Distaff when it was at a mile and a quarter.

Sometimes I wish I knew what the Oak Tree people are thinking when they come up with such...interesting decisions.

25 Nov 2009 4:24 PM

Joan Haskins,

I knew you'd be like that!  What a great couple you two are!  Thanks for sharing!

25 Nov 2009 4:31 PM

I will never forget the day in the early spring of 2002 that you, Steve, came to my barn at Trackside. Trackside was pretty unknown to people outside of Louisville and I believe you got lost getting there from Churchill. With you were Joan and Mandy,  you had come to see a very unknown  Perfect Drift. I was shocked that the Steve Haskin had Drift on his Derby radar. Drift was looking out of his stall with a look of "Hey here I am!" As we walked over to his stall, before I could tell Joan and Mandy that unless you have a Peppermint he will EAT you, they were both well within his reach. I thought "Oh no this is not going to be good" To my surprise and relief Drift nuzzled his head into Mandy chest while Joan patted on him and never tried to bite. if that had been myself or Steve I know he would have taken a large chunk out of us. Tell me horses dont know!! I believe you were on a family trip yet you were still working, as a family. Your the best Steve, Thank you for your kind words and friendship over the years.

25 Nov 2009 4:36 PM


Please don't turn this into a comparison of Lady's Secret and Zenyatta.  It's about remembering a truly great race horse who raced a lot more than Zenyatta.  To belitte the Iron Lady's accomplishments in light of her race being taken away just isn't done.  

25 Nov 2009 4:44 PM

Amen, Steve. This is disrespectful to both Lady's Secret and Zenyatta. Both "ladies" are more than deserving of their own races.

25 Nov 2009 4:47 PM

The last time I checked, Lady’s Secret was picked the 76th greatest race horse of the 20th century in the Blood Horse poll about 10 years ago. From her Wikipedia article, “In 1986, four-year-old Lady's Secret became a dominant force in American thoroughbred racing. She defeated the nation's best male horses four times, winning ten of her fifteen starts that season, all graded stakes races. Eight of these Stakes wins were Grade 1 events.” Now ponder that, she raced 15 times! How many horses above the allowance level do that nowadays. What? Rachel ran 8 times and the Zen Mistress 5. She won 8 Grade 1s in one year! How many horses have done that? Like Lady’s Secret before them, both Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra will be in the Hall of Fame someday, just as both deserve to emulate their predecessor by winning HOY honors. Zenyatta does deserve a graded race in her honor. Rachel will also after she retires from racing. But not, please, at the expense of one so fabulous.

25 Nov 2009 4:50 PM

I totally agree (and emailed oak Tree this morning) about their decision to rename the Lady's Secret, especially so soon and at the expense of a great HOTY filly.

God Bless you and your wife & daughter...I feel the same way about my best buddy hubby of 23 1/2 years and the joy of my life, my son. I knew he was the guy for me when he cut down (himself) 3 acres of his beloved woods and trees to build me a barn for my horses...

25 Nov 2009 4:59 PM

I couldn't agree more Steve!  I thought the same thing when they renamed the Sir Barton the Barbaro Stakes.  I love Zenyatta, and I cried real tears through Barbaro's heroic fight, I love that people want to name races after these two....But not at the expense of the great Champions of the past!  For a sport that likes to talk about its Rich Tradition, this is a slap in the face!!!

25 Nov 2009 5:03 PM

Hey Santa Anita.... does anyone out there have a clue.  Obviously not much thought was put into this decision.  Admit you acted in haste and create a race for the "Mighty Z".

25 Nov 2009 5:09 PM

Steve you are all class and a gentleman! I disagree, Lady Secret had her time and turn, it is time to step aside and let the new rule the roost. I have been fortunate to watch both run; very impressive- but not to be disrespectful to LS, Zenyatta would have destroyed her on the race track. Nothing to be ashamed of- because i think she would beat anything with 4 legs.

25 Nov 2009 5:13 PM

I agree with everyone else.  I love Zenyatta, but I also loved Lady's Secret.  She was, without a doubt, the best of Secretariat's offspring and like him I am a Virginian.  Incensed though I may be, there is a face saving way out.  The damage is done for the "Lady's Secret" however they can change the Santa Margarita to the Lady's Secret.  At least both horses will still be honored.

25 Nov 2009 5:41 PM

Enough already,Zenyatta is a Great racehorse in Ca.If she wanted to be a legend like Lady Secret then she should have traveled like all the great ones.Maybe she is that good,I feel cheated because we will never know. As far as the BC win goes, I think last year proved the best horse doesn't always win.

25 Nov 2009 5:46 PM


I'm just calling it like it is. Judging horseflesh is by business. I'm a pinhooker.

Zenyatta is the most brilliant mare that has ever raced on this circuit since December 25, 1934.

Eugene Klein would be honored to be surpassed by this brilliant mare.

You have to keep in mind that you have been blessed to see this superstar.

Trevor Denman said it best: "SuperHorse". I haven't heard that term used since "Secretariat" graced the cover of "Time" magazine.

25 Nov 2009 6:10 PM
equine paparazzi

It seems silly to actually compare the two the horses. It is irrelevant to state Zenyatta could have beaten Lady's Secret or vice versa. Two great horses, both deserve races, it is stupid to bump one for the other. Oak Tree usually shows more intuition than this but Zenyatta's greatness has made alot of us a little giddy.

25 Nov 2009 6:19 PM

There is always someone that has to start diminishing one horse's accomplishments to showcase another's.

The Oaktree decision is just a cash-driven move to collect on the Zenyatta histeria.

Shame on them!!

25 Nov 2009 6:26 PM

Well...No offense to anyone, but personally I think that you are making too big of a deal about this.

Maybe they are showing a little favoritism by doing it so soon and somewhat suggesting who should be named HOTY (which is suspect), but it's not like they're trying to rename any of the Triple Crown races.   How many other races have been Re-named in the last 50 years ???  

And of course it would've been ideal if they kept the Lady's Secret and just added a new race named in honor of Zenyatta.  

But, if this were almost any other topic in horse racing we would be crying about how the "Powers That Be People" never want to do anything to Update or Upgrade the sport.   How they're always so slow to react and such.

So here's a case where Santa Anita is trying to do that (rather quickly) and now your giving them slack for it.

Maybe they are just trying to cash in on a good thing, but guess what ???   Your in a business that's "All About" cashing in on a good thing.

Why do you think that Movie Studios come out with DVD's so quickly these days ???   To "Cash In" and strike while the irons hot.

It's no wonder Racing can't win when everyone in it seems to want to cry about every little thing in it....even the good stuff.

Again though.....No offense to anyone.

25 Nov 2009 6:29 PM

Can they mess anything else up.  I want to see a race named afer Zen but not at the expense of Lady's Secret.  how soon they forget what she accomplished in her racing career.  Give Zen her "own" stakes and leave Lady's Secret Stakes alone.

25 Nov 2009 6:32 PM

Steve, thank you so much for writing this.

Lady's Secret won 25 of 45 lifetime races.  The great daughter of Secretariat and they want to sweep the Iron Lady under the rug.  It is so disrespectful.

Find another race to name Zenyatta for.  

25 Nov 2009 6:51 PM

Steve, you old softy! What a lovely post. I hope you get some tonight!LOL

As far as Zenyatta is concerned, I agree that taking Lady's Secret race away was not the thing to do. Why honor one great mare and dishonor the other?! First of all they could have waited alittle and two, Lady's Secret deserves a race, she was a great mare and earned that honor fighting tooth and nail every time she ran.

Shame on the track for doing what they did.

PS one of the things I give thanks is for your great stories. Please Mrs. Haskins, keep up the good work by inspiring your husband to do more great writing.

25 Nov 2009 6:53 PM

I could not agree more that a new race in Zenyatta's name should be created rather than to strip away part of racing's history.  I think it is great to honor Zenyatta, but to take that honor away from another horse in the process is disrespectful in my opinion.  Just my take - create a new race in her name.

25 Nov 2009 6:58 PM

I agree wholeheartedly!  Why not create a race for Zenyatta?  Why disrespect Ladys Secret?  I wasn't even alive when Ladys Secret ran, but from watching her races I know she was one of the best!  I love Zenyatta, but I feel the Oak Tree racing officials acted to hastily!

25 Nov 2009 7:05 PM

I'm suprised and disappointed Steve to see you just stirring up once again the resentment of what Zenyatta accomplished. I am so sick of east coast holier than thou preaching of what we do out here. Give us a break! Did you bother to find out what the Moss' said about this honor? No? It's on HP's FB page.

25 Nov 2009 7:06 PM

1- lady's secret was fabulous, but let's get real here, Zenyatta beat MALES in the richest race in N. America at a classic distance. Who cares that she raced in her state? If you really want to behold her power, go watch the post race gallop out, the outrider had NO chance and Kent D had to RIDE Summer Bird 3/8ths just in order to tell Mike congrats. Heck look at all her gallop outs, she does not TIRE.

Renaming the Lady's Secret was the WRONG thing to do. The right thing to do was just to name the main track after her, The Zenyatta Pro Ride Course.

I can here Trevor now, and away they gooo on their mile and a quarter journey over the zenyatta course!

25 Nov 2009 7:07 PM

Wouldn't it have made more sense to rename the Personal Ensign at Saratoga after Zenyatta, since Zenyatta broke Personal Ensign's record and beat about five times as many males as PE?

25 Nov 2009 7:10 PM

Steve -

I totally agree on the loss of the Lady's Secret.  I love Zenyatta - she most definitely should have a Grade I named for her - but why take away a recent (and I consider within 25 years recent) champion of the caliber of the Iron Lady?

I feel - and this is just a guess - that it was awarded as a "make up" gift should HOY go to Rachel.  Same with the "Big Sport of Turfdom" award - I keep getting the feeling that they are consolation prizes being tossed to the Mosses so that - if the vote goes down against Zenyatta - they won't be as disappointed.

As I said - it's just a hunch - but if it's not at least a part of that - what's the rush beyond just beating out Del Mar?

Happy Thanksgiving, Steve - and what an old romantic softie you are!  See you on the backside next Derby week!

25 Nov 2009 7:21 PM

Steve, you may thank Joan, or Mandy, but not both.

Happy Thanksgiving

25 Nov 2009 7:36 PM
Kim in Ky

Someone with more talent do me the favor of emailing this column with ALL comments to Oak Tree. What's next, renaming the tracks themselves to the fad of the week? It's like changing The Big House (University of Michigan's football stadium) to Rich Rodriguezville. (You can google him, he's their current but embattled coach). You just don't go messing with history.

25 Nov 2009 7:41 PM

After winning the BC Classic against males, why not rename one of the G-1 races named for a male The Zenyatta Classic.

After all Zenyatta is, as Assault’s post stated.......at the pinnacle and the pantheon of all fillies and mares that ever raced. Ruffian is the only one that can be compared to her.

Why penalize Lady's Secret, who will always be remembered as one of the best, a hardworking little pepper pot that is synonymous with guts, determination and hard work?

I say knock off another male, that seems to be what the fillies and mares are doing now days anyway.

25 Nov 2009 7:42 PM

kingmambo- I agree with your assessments of her gallop outs and renaming the course!  A much better idea than renaming a race.

25 Nov 2009 7:48 PM

Assault- I don't want to keep the debate going, but I just wanted to say I agree with your opinion of Zenyatta.  Thanks for saying it.

25 Nov 2009 7:52 PM
Steve Haskin

I cannot understand why some people feel compelled to start comparing the merits of horses. Where does all this antagonism come from? This is not about who is better, Zenyatta or Lady's Secret. Must some of you always make a battle out of everything. First Zenyatta vs. Rachel, which at least has merit, but became way too hostile, and now Zenyatta vs. Lady's Secret. This is about Lady's Secret and having a race named in her honor taken away. Period. It is not about who deserves it more, her or Zenyatta. They both deserve it. We have to keep some kind on continuity in this sport, and you cant keep changing names of races, especially this quickly and at the expense of a great horse. I'm sorry, but if this blog deteriorates into another pissing match, I will be forced to delete every such comment.

To all those who made rational comments about this, either way, or my Thanksigiving sentiments I thank you.

Have a Happy holiday.

25 Nov 2009 8:09 PM
Steve Haskin

Dave, you brought up a good example, although in a different context. You're not going to see NYRA renaming the Personal Ensign the Rachel Alexandra after Rachel retires.

25 Nov 2009 8:12 PM
Gina Powell

I agree with you, but that is California racing - they get everything wrong and just can't seem to get it right. They named a stake race after Bob Lewis now that had to be the worse. It is not like there are a multitude of owners that contributed just as much if not more than Bob Lewis every did.

25 Nov 2009 8:23 PM

Lady's Secret "She defeated the nation's best male horses four times, winning ten of her fifteen starts that season, all graded stakes races. Eight of these Stakes wins were Grade 1 events. No horse has won this many graded stakes races in one season since races became graded in 1973. Small and grey and dainty, and weighing no more than 900 pounds, she had great speed and true grit. Nicknamed "The Iron Lady," she was the first female to win the Whitney Stakes since ..."

I'd say she's earned the right to

keep her name on the race.

And Zenyatta derserves to have a graded stakes race created with her name...at Santa Anita.

25 Nov 2009 8:25 PM
Soldier Course

I hope that Oak Tree can find an honorable path of escape from this dilemma and restore the Lady's Secret Stakes. No one thought through the unintended consequences of the name change. Now Oak Tree is left with a sour return on the investment of its good intentions.

25 Nov 2009 8:29 PM

It's a huge disrespect to Lady's Secret and I'm so disappointed. Thank you, Steve, for standing up for a wonderful filly who deserved better than to have her race taken away from her. A race specifically created for Zenyatta? Fine, but this was wrong.

25 Nov 2009 8:32 PM

"After all Zenyatta is, as Assault’s post stated.......at the pinnacle and the pantheon of all fillies and mares that ever raced. Ruffian is the only one that can be compared to her."

That's interesting considering there was a filly better than Zenyatta that raced THIS season.

Was Lava Man the best horse since Secretariat too?

25 Nov 2009 8:34 PM
Soldier Course

I hope everyone in the Blog Stable has a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow. I feel that you're part of my family.

A special word of thanks to Mike Relva, who throughout this year, has made a point to make several nice comments about my posts in the Blog Stable.

Mike, you've made a difficult year a little brighter. Thank you.

25 Nov 2009 8:38 PM

Steve, your words are simply the best in covering all the topics of this blog!  I could not agree with you more on changing the name of The Lady's Secret race to the Zenyatta.  I love Zenyatta and I'm thrilled for her to be honored with a race, but not to so shamelessly sweep Lady's Secret's accomplishments under the rug.  As much as I loved Barbaro, I was offended when the Sir Barton was renamed for him.  Sir Barton deserves his recognition for being the first TC winner and part of the beauty of racing is it's history, but not at the rate they're going to embrace the newest buzz.  Of course, I'm happy to have a race named for Barbaro, but still... it was wrong.  I do feel like Zenyatta's record will stand the test of time, as Lady's Secret has, but give her her own race and don't take it away from Secretariat's daughter.

Your tribute to Joan and Mandy nearly made me cry.  Tears of joy, that is, for you to be sharing your feelings with your blog friends.  It's silly, but I feel like I've grown to know Joan and Mandy and have so much admiration and respect for them because of your obvious devotion.  How sweet!  You are a kind and generous man.  I hope you and Joan and Mandy (and Wes) have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

25 Nov 2009 8:41 PM

"I cannot understand why some people feel compelled to start comparing the merits of horses. Where does all this antagonism come from? This is not about who is better, Zenyatta or Lady's Secret. Must some of you always make a battle out of everything."


I agree with you that this is about Lady's Secret losing a race. The problem is that horse racing has a small, but amazingly passionate group of fans. This passion leads to emotional arguments rather than rational ones at times. Combine that fact with the realities of horse racing (only one winner in every race and a lot of losers) and its obvious where the antagonism comes from. Everything is a competition on the track and its the same when debating the sport off the track.

25 Nov 2009 8:49 PM
Steve Haskin

I will state this fact. I love Zenyatta as much if not more than any filly in memory. I believe she truly is one of the greatest fillies of all time. I love everything about her, including her trainer, owners, and racing manager, all of whom I feel close to. The night of the BC I was invited to dinner by the Mosses, along with John and Dottie and Mike Smith, David Ingordo, who picked her out, and Jeanne (who raised her) and April Mayberry. It was a magical evening, one I never will forget, especially when Jerry and Ann wrapped themselves in Zenyatta's saddlecloth. There were toasts and just a great time had by all.

I mention this to say to all those who are telling me to stop picking on Zenyatta or accusing me of East Coast bias to cease these ridiculous comments, because I'm tired of having to monitor all this, as are our moderators, and deleting comments that have no place on a rational blog.

So, I will repeat for the last time, I am absolutely nuts about Zenyatta and will not listen to irrational people telling me otherwise.

I am abstaining from voting for Horse of the Year, because I will not vote against either filly.

I hope this clears this up once and for all.

25 Nov 2009 8:50 PM

Steve- Hope you have a great Holiday also.  

25 Nov 2009 8:56 PM

Steve agree on all you said. Very nice article.I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and also a safe and well one.

25 Nov 2009 8:58 PM


Congratulations.  29 years and still lighting each other's fire? ...way to go ...and happy thanksgiving.

The hasty debunking of Lady's Secret memorial race shows just how shortsighted and forgetful people can become in the euphoria of witnessing one sublime performance.  I agree that celebrating Zenyatta should not necessitate displacing the brilliant Lady's Secret.  Many fanatics of Zenyatta need to calm down and let good sense and sound judgment prevail.

25 Nov 2009 9:00 PM
Steve Haskin

Txhorsefan, thank you for those beautiful sentiments, I truly appreciate it. And thanks to all of you who have participated on here all year.

25 Nov 2009 9:03 PM

I so admire you. Happy Thanksgiving to you Steve and your family.

25 Nov 2009 9:11 PM

Steve you are truly a class act and a very gifted writer. I whole heartedly agree with you. I have been saying in these blogs for months about how contentious these bloggers are and how mean spirited they become. Both Rachel and Zenyatta are very deserving of HOTY and I for one wish both could share the award. But back to the Lady's Secret Stakes. Lady's Secret was one of the top 5 or 6 mares ever to race, she was brilliant and classy. I saw her run many times and she took my breath away. I believe that her race should remain at Santa Anita and that they should create a new stakes race in honor of Zenyatta and it should be run at a 1 1/4 miles. I think Churchill Downs did the same thing this past summer when they renamed a race. I do not remember all of the circumstances but I that was wrong in doing that as well. Zenyatta is special and she deserves a special race in her honor. Can you see someday renaming the "Ruffian"? This knee jerk reaction from the Santa Anita officials is definitely wrong.

In January, my wife and I will be celebrating our 40th anniversary and we will be going to Santa Anita. My wife loves that race track, as do I. Great memories.

Finally, I hope Hialeah makes it, there are some hallowed memories on those grounds........

25 Nov 2009 9:16 PM

Feels like taking a little history away when a race is renamed. I think it was being hasty to rename the Lady's Secret the Zenyatta. There wasnt a race named after a PERSON that could have been changed? I remember that the Sir Barton that was changed to the Barbaro, which I thought was bad because Sir Barton was the 1st triple crown winner. I dont even think that they run the Genuine Risk anymore. Wasnt the Regret renamed for Eight Belles?    

25 Nov 2009 9:20 PM

I love Zenyatta but not at the expense of Lady's Secret. It's too soon.

25 Nov 2009 9:20 PM


I think we are all nuts about you......Come to think about it.....I think we're all nuts period......To all, have a happy thanksgiving.

25 Nov 2009 9:21 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, Deacon, and an early happy anniversary. I think the race you're referring to is the long established La Troienne Stakes being renamed the Eight Belles. Another blow to tradition.

I echo your words on Hialeah.

Laz, the vast majority of us are nuts in a good way.

25 Nov 2009 9:25 PM
Lady's Secret

In the early days of the old Blood-Horse forum, I took the great Iron Lady's name as my nom de net.  Very disappointed with Oak Tree's move.  I just wanted to use the name again in her honor.  Happy Thanksgiving all!


25 Nov 2009 9:38 PM

Quote from Steve Haskin:

"You're not going to see NYRA renaming the Personal Ensign the Rachel Alexandra after Rachel retires"


Rachel Aleaxandra will never be Personal Ensign.

25 Nov 2009 9:39 PM
Kelly E.

I am outraged that the Lady's Secret has been renamed.  The Iron Lady was a mare for the ages and I cannot fathom that she is worthy of being replaced...no matter the reason.  Hopefully they will rename another race for her to replace this one.  Let's not forget our past champions!

25 Nov 2009 9:39 PM

And I truly thought I was the only one who was heartbroken over Oak Trees dision to rename the Lady's Secret Stakes. Lady"s Secret deserves to keep her stakes title. I was even offended when they renamed the Riva Ridge after Barbaro. I am just sentimental I guess.

25 Nov 2009 9:42 PM

So, this is not the first time a track changed it's name to honor another horse. I say, we may have to live with it, since, some other tracks have done it in the past. Look, we live in a world that is full of change, It was the motto of the newest president, "CHANGE" No, it does make it look like we are throwing out the old and in with the new. It is sentimental to everyone that remembers these horses for what they accomplished years ago. It's sad, but,if Churchill Downs done it before, then look for this to happen more often. Don't blame California, blame the world of "CHANGE" we live in, Everyday, something is changing, look at how much our world has "CHANGED", since these beauties graced our race tracks. Should we expect anything less. Give it time,everything "CHANGES".

25 Nov 2009 9:47 PM

No respect for Lady's Secret. That's a sad commentary.

25 Nov 2009 9:53 PM
Ida Lee

Mr. Haskin, I agree with you 100% When I first heard about the name change, it was the first time I've had a negative reaction with Zenyatta's name attached. I adore Zenyatta but Lady's Secret was a gem. I consider it an insult to both of these remarkable ladies because as I see it, they're not doing Zenyatta any favors with the racing fans.

25 Nov 2009 9:58 PM
Steve Haskin

I am all for naming a race after Zenyatta. She deserves it. Man o'War was not a grass horse, yet has a grass race named after him. So, why not rename the Yellow Ribbon the Zenyatta? It's the honor of it that counts. Or why not combine the two SA meets and rename the Santa Margarita or Santa Maria? Both are grade I stakes. There were other options.

25 Nov 2009 9:59 PM

Steve, long time no talk.

Loved you sharing your thoughts and expressions of love for your wife and daughter.

I also know how much the Iron Lady means to you. (remember I'm the guy who has ALL your books)

The thing is, these two are both great in their own right. Both have a great deal of meaning to a lot of people. It shouldn't BE about choosing one over the other, just like the HOY has become as well. We need to love and treasure EACH and every one of these special horses that we have been blessed with because we don't know if and when we'll ever see the likes of any of them again.

It is FAR too soon to toss the Secret out like that. Not the first precipitous decision made in California regarding racing.

We've lost a lot of history and tradition in racing this year and not necessarily in a good way. I really hope they rethink this, maybe Jerry and Ann could speak up on it.  If we forget our past, we have no future. If only the folks running these tracks and racing boards could get that message.

25 Nov 2009 10:05 PM

Steve, great piece...and, as with the majority here, along with your personal sentiment, I couldn't agree more heartily. I've been a fixture at race tracks all around this great country for the better part of 50 years,in one degree or another; spectator, gambler, owner and trainer, and have seen some of the greatest horseflesh that have graced these venues. As with any sport, history plays a very large part of this great game. For management of the current plants, so steeped in history themselves, to attempt to banish a very part of their own history is simply incredulous, and reflects the current state of affairs, so prevalent today, in the industry. The bottom line is the almighty dollar. But, at the cost of the individuals who have brought this great game to where it is?

This mare deserves to be mentioned in the same breathe along with the remaining top five of her gender.She deserves a race in her name, but in time, and respectfully, and not at the expense of another of that top five.

Great reading all season...a must for the average race fan. No one covers the sport better. I've been a big fan of your work for a long time, probably longer that either of us would rather indulge! Keep it up, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh, and as a postscript, for Assault .....compare Ruffian to Zenyatta?? I'm certain you meant that in its reverse form.

25 Nov 2009 10:07 PM

Steve, Is the Lady's Secret a bigger race than the other two you spoke of, maybe thats why they chose LS instead, I know Zen won it this year and last year also. Steve, has there ever been any other filly to win it both years back to back, if not, maybe that played alot into it too. Beats me, I did read were The Mosses were hesitant at first to accept this award. Maybe they felt the same way as everyone else did at first.

25 Nov 2009 10:12 PM

Steve Haskin,

I understand the idea of renaming another race (ex: Santa Margarita) for Zenyatta, but Sherwood Chillingworth thinks that it goes much deeper than that.

Sherwood Chillingworth and Santa Anita understand that it takes a "Horse of the Year" to replace a "Horse of the Year".

25 Nov 2009 10:14 PM

Thanks for voicing the dislike of changing the Lady's Secret to the Zenyatta....so soon!

And in case it hasn't been mentioned, wasn't the La Troienne also renamed recently? A lot of fans really like the races named for older horses - it's a nice connection to the past when current runners disappear in a year or two.

25 Nov 2009 10:17 PM

A kinder gentler post to make it past the deleter's finger.

First Happy Thanksgiving, joy and political correctness to all.  Let's just have a big dallop of TOLERANCE with that pumpkin pie.

I hope that satisfies the editor.  As my brain, conscience and heart lie writhing on the floor with the TRUTH.

This is how we lose our traditions-history-reality.  It's called the stifling of dissent.  There are no iron ladies left, and if there were they would be muzzled.  

25 Nov 2009 10:22 PM

I agree with Mokey. Zenyatta should have a race created for her. She deserves to have a race named in her honor and at the location of her greatest achievement. For Lady's Secret to be demoted in this fashion is unfair and undermines her wonderful accomplishments. Sad how such a wonderful horse can be forgotten so quickly. At least by some.

25 Nov 2009 10:24 PM

Steve..Just when I thought I couldn't love you more....well...I love you man.....You are the life of these blogs. I look forward to your blogs all year long.

You are such a class act. I love the fact that you and Joan have been happily married for so many years. The world needs this. I always feel a sense of pride when I fill out my daughters paperwork at school and can still say I am married to her father. It is truly quite the accomplishment.

Thank you for generously lending us your knowledge and talent all year long. We are privledged. Happy Thanksgiving to all my bloodhorse blogging buddies... You truly complete the horse racing part of my life...

As far as re-naming the Lady's Secret....What a bummer. I consider this industry so rich in history......will the Zenyatta Stakes be replaced one day by another spectacular filly??? New fans will never know who Lady's Secret was...someday, they won't know who Zenyatta was....

25 Nov 2009 10:30 PM

So....maybe a stupid question....but is there anything anyone can do to change this decision???

25 Nov 2009 10:31 PM
Steve Haskin

The Lady's Secret was inaugurated in 1993. That's only 16 years ago. If you are going to come up with a race and name it after a great filly, and that race grows into a grade I event, should you drop the name after such a short period of time?

25 Nov 2009 10:32 PM
Steve Haskin

Hey Karen2, luv ya right back.

And Monica, a belated thank you for your beautiful words.

25 Nov 2009 10:42 PM
John T

So many famous racehorses down through the years have had their stakes races taken from them by other famous horses that have come along,perhaps the same will happen to Zenyatta one day.You would like to think some stakes races like the Man O, War,Secretariat,and Ruffian

will never be touched but nothing is written in stone.Eclipse was one of the great foundation sires of all time and i,m glad to say the race named for him and first run in 1886 at Sandown Park in England is still going strong.

25 Nov 2009 10:44 PM

who cares who Zenyatta beat.Lady's Secret was a great racing mare who should be honored with her own race. She won in both coasts  more than once.

25 Nov 2009 10:55 PM

I agree....This isn't a who is better Lady's Secret or Zenyatta debate.  It is about honoring tradition and the legend that Lady's Secret is.  Zenyatta deserves a race named after her, just not THIS race. The same with those that insist on berating Zenyatta to uplift Rachel Alexandra and vice versa.  What we should be feeling is tremendous honor and joy at being able to watch these two amazing fillies in the same year.  It doesn't have to be one or the other except for those who have a vote for HOY, only then does a decision need to be made.  I know one thing I will be giving thanks for this year, I will be giving Thanks for having the pleasure to watch these two amazing fillies in one year.

25 Nov 2009 11:10 PM
Caroline S.

The whole point of naming a race after a great horse is so that they will be remembered long after. In renaming the Lady's Secret, Oak Tree is displaying utter contempt for this tradition. Let's hope future generations will show more respect for Zenyatta than they have for Lady's Secret.

25 Nov 2009 11:25 PM
Matthew W

Steve I wholeheartedly agree with you, Ladys Secret is not some everyday racemare! Santa Anita wants to capitalize on Zenyatta's "track-cred", and make their Breeders Cup prep have a little more bling, I guess--not necessary! I understand Moss's are ill at ease about it, right?...I say Santa Anita shame onya! Shame on you! You, of all tracks, of all the champions you harboured, in the name of greatness it's the Ladys Secret!

25 Nov 2009 11:40 PM

It may have been said before, there's so many comments and I don't have the time to read them all right now (will do so in the morning) but would it really have killed them to rename the Vanity instead?  0_0 Lady's Secret deserves to keep her race.

25 Nov 2009 11:47 PM

I do not agree with re-naming the Lady's Secret, she was a great mare in her own right and I think on her day...who knows..she beats anyone. This is not right. A totally new name and race should be called the Zenyatta.

25 Nov 2009 11:49 PM

Another excellent article Steve!  I agree also about the renaming.  It has been suggested by many that they initiate a whole new race for her which I think is a great idea...but isn't it true that if they did that it would not be a graded stakes?  The grade has to be earned over time and I don't think they wanted that.  They could have renamed a different race though in my opinion.  Also thanks for sharing about your family!  What a wonderful tribute to them!  Best wishes for many more wonderful years!  And lastly, what did I miss...?  By a 2-1 margin no option for co-horse of the year...?  So, it was being discussed and was voted on?  I guess I missed that.  Sorry to hear you are not voting but I am with ya--I wouldn't be able to chose either if I had to! Happy Thanksgiving to all!  

26 Nov 2009 12:41 AM

I am MAD

Zenyatta is a great one, but to re-name the Lady's Secret when there were other options is wrong on so many levels.

Both mares deserve a race. Shame on the powers that be, they fumbled this one.

26 Nov 2009 3:28 AM

Couldn't Agree with you more, its a shame that to many times we dump tradition for the newest fad. No disrespect meant to the great Zen but this is just wrong, there were so many other ways they could have gone with this. Beautiful tribute to your wife and family.

26 Nov 2009 5:09 AM
Dr D

I'll throw my voice in with the others; I was very disappointed when I heard the Lady's Secret was renamed. I love Zenyatta, but renaming the race was disrespectful not just to Lady's Secret, but to all the great racemares. Give Zenyatta her own race. I also hate the new name of the BC Distaff. Who comes up with this stupid stuff, a bunch of old men?

26 Nov 2009 6:01 AM
Soldier Course


I understand your feelings on abstaining for HOTY voting. It wouldn't surprise me if most of those eligible to vote felt the same way, that they couldn't cast a vote against either horse. But have you considered what would happen if a majority of those voters abstained? Hard though it may be, I think I'd have to cast my vote.

26 Nov 2009 7:36 AM

Steve, do you think that maybe after some consideration that they will find another race to name after Zenyatta, or do you think it will still remain changing the LS? I believe you have a point there, Steve, I believe they wanted to beat Del Mar and the other one first. I am with everyone, I believe they should name a race after Zen,  you know when they remove the older one's names it takes away the memories of the ones that were so good years ago. I can't believe ChurchHill Downs done it, WoW, thats why they all started doing it, I guess, when they see the grandaddy of them all dong it, What else can we expect. I believe over the next couple of years you will see more of this happening.

26 Nov 2009 8:19 AM

I'll be a bit of a pragmatist about this.

There are too many Grade 1 races across the country already. There is not enough money for fund the purses for these races as it it. Something has to give. Races will be renamed. (Witness the immortal Firenze getting her race changed to the John A. Morris in '85 which in turn was changed to the Personal Ensign in '97. The wonderful Maskette had her race renamed to the Go For Wand in 1992. The La Troienne was renamed the Eight Belles in 2009. The Sir Barton - at Pimlico - was renamed to the Barbaro in 2007).

On the other hand, if they had the money, it would be cool to write a 1 and 1/4 mile race for fillies and mares, name it after her, and earn that Gr. 1 status.

I wish they hadn't renamed the Lady's Secret because she's an all-time favorite (and an all-time great), but doing that does not diminish her accomplishments in any way. She's still the Iron Lady, she's still the horse of the horse, and she's still one of the best ever to grace a track.

26 Nov 2009 8:54 AM
Soldier Course


On this Thanksgiving Day I am thankful for the lovely tribute you wrote here to your wife and daughter. You are blessed to have such a wonderful marriage and family. I am a divorce lawyer, so I hear about bad marriages day in and day out. You've never taken your good one for granted, so pat yourself on the back.

26 Nov 2009 8:56 AM

The Lady's Secret should remain the Lady's Secret. She was also a HOY and should be respected as one. Zenyatta certainly deserves the recognition by having her own named race, but at the expense of another champion? I think this is disrespectful to Lady's Secrets' accomplishments. Like someone else commented... why not designate a race not already named after a famous racehorse? After all, these are the horses that this sport was and continues to be built on. Makes no sense to me.

26 Nov 2009 9:04 AM
Linda in Texas

Happy Thanksgiving Steve, Joan and Mandy. Anyone with a heart could tell that behind you Steve is a wonderful woman and the sensitivity she has honed in you and thus into your articles is so honest and refreshing. Now to the part of your article about the voting, yes, it is never too early to build a bomb shelter,as I am just now reading that there will only be one vote! I, of course, already pretty much realize what that is going to mean and how the voting will probably go. But to those of us Zenyatta supporters, we will always know who the real 'winner' is and as i have said before, there cannot be a loser so it will be up to her supporters to never quit cheering her accomplishments. I just disagree with the fact that there is not a more fair way to handle 2 great horses in 1 year. And i read that Quality Road is on his way to Florida. Funny how some take to one horse over another. I just like him. Circumstances always adjust our opinions, that is a given. Thanks for all of your articles and for caring not just about the numbers, statistics of racing and where a horse is at a certain spot on a racetrack, but for all of the behind the scenes happenings that bring a human side to the great sport of thoroughbred horse racing. Glad the BC Distaff won't have the authority to rename The Statue of Liberty to Lady something else.

Linda Joan in Texas

26 Nov 2009 9:22 AM
Steve Haskin

Carolyn, I think it's too late to go back now. You can't honor a horse and then change your mind, unless they change it to the Yellow Ribbon, a name that is expendable, but then you'll have some people who will criticize naming a grass race for her. You're never going to please everyone. I would say it's a done deal and that's that. It's not something I'm outraged over. It's just something I disagree with, not only as an admirer of Lady's Secret, but a historian of the sport. Also, I think they acted too quickly, as if trying to beat the other Cal. tracks to the punch.

26 Nov 2009 9:25 AM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, Soldier. I agree with you about being blessed.

26 Nov 2009 9:26 AM

Hello Steve,

I can't believe Lady's Secret is being disrespected in this way.

Maybe Mr. Lukas could use his influence and protest to the change.

26 Nov 2009 9:30 AM

Oops, thats supposed to be horse of the year, although horse of the horse has a ring to it.

26 Nov 2009 9:35 AM
Steve Haskin

On a less pleasant note, I am disappointed at how many posts I had to delete last night, because of mean-spirited attacks on people and horses, and crude, unacceptable language, which included a four-letter word. I really would like to keep this blog free of such malcontents, but I don't feel as if I, and the moderators, should have to scrutinize over every comment to make sure nothing offensive makes it on here. The vast majority of posters are terrific people, who have valued opinions, whether they agree or disagree with me. All of those comments are greatly appreciated. I just don't want to see the rest of them cause any unpleasantries.

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving, and let us remember two things in particular we have to be thankful for this year -- Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra.

(to the person who was so hostile in her criticism that Rachel's name is "always" mentioned before Zenyatta's by the biased "East Coast people," I hope this helps in making your Thanksgiving a happy one).

26 Nov 2009 9:40 AM

Btw Steve, shouldn't you be basting the turkey or something instead of moderating blogs? Get to work!

Thanksgiving blessings to you and yours.

26 Nov 2009 9:49 AM
Barbara W

What a beautiful column. Thank you, Steve.

One would think that decisions are made after long and careful thought. Apparently this one was not. I hope the "powers that be" are reading this blog.

Love and Thanksgiving blessings to all you fellow horse fans.

26 Nov 2009 9:56 AM

Hey Steve:

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and of course a happy Thanksgiving to all the posters......I know I've been over zealous in some of my posts at times, but you're right, we should feel blessed what two great race-horses competed so valiantly this year, a year that to be honest with you, I think out did itself in terms of interest and excitement......Just a thought on you comment about the SA people trying to beat the other tracks into naming a race after Zenyatta.....Of course the other tracks might gain some mileage by renaming a race the Lady's Secret(without doing a diservice to a past champion).  Just a thought and have a good one.

26 Nov 2009 10:01 AM

Man, Steve, I can't figure out why people just can't be happy (or give thanks) for being able to present their opinions in a forum where people understand about horse racing.  When I was growing up (when dinosaurs ruled the earth), I looooovvvvvved horse racing but there was no-one (repeat: NO-ONE) around to whom I could chatter about what was happening and what I thought about it.

These blogs are just plain beautiful, whether I agree with what is being said or not.

Hang in there, Steve.  We need this.  

Oh yeah: and happy (your) Thanksgiving.  Eat turkey.  Snooze.  Watch the parades.  And think about how wonderful it is this year that we have some great horses to remember.  

(even if Santa Anita forgets, we won't)

26 Nov 2009 10:08 AM

Hi Everyone,

I was born in 1984, so I'm too young to remember the Iron Lady, but from what I've read online and watched on You Tube, she sure was something special.

It's Thanksgiving. We all have something to be thankful for, and instead of this bitter, hostile arguing, let's all take some time to remember and be thankful for our favorite moments in this beautiful sport.

For me, I'm thankful for ALL of them. They are all beautiful, from the top stars, right down to the claimers at obscure tracks.

Be thankful for stars of yesterday, the stars of today, and the stars of tomorrow. They are around for such a short time- let's appreciate them while they are here.

As far as the great HOY debate- they are BOTH amazing horses, and they have given us a year none of us will ever soon forget. Let's be thankful for that.


26 Nov 2009 10:17 AM
Steve Haskin

Thank you, Linda, for your beautiful words.

Tiz, I leave all the turkey toil to Joan and my daughter's fiance. As a vegetarian, that's not my scene. Thank goodness for stuffing and Joan's sweet potato casserole. As for moderating, someone has to keep an eye on you guys. lol.

26 Nov 2009 10:22 AM

Whoa, Steve is right, can we give animosity a rest for awhile? It's getting to be too much and too petty for words. How many times or how many ways can you trash the horse you don't want to be HOTY? Good grief...let up.

Steve, lovely tribute to Joan. You put into words what a lot of us want to say to our spouses, so for that I thank you. You're both lucky (and Mandy, too) to have each other.

As far as the renaming the race...there is no sport that reveres it past more than horse racing. Sometimes that is good, sometimes not so good. This quick re-naming is going to make a lot of people mad, and I'm one of them. Honor Zenyatta with a race of her own, she deserves it, but not at the expense of one of racing's great champions.

What were they thinking?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone :)

26 Nov 2009 10:36 AM

Steve - You are so right. I love Zenyatta and felt she should have been HOY in 2008, and most definately earned it this year, but to name the Lady's Secret race Zenyatta is not just wrong it is  absolutely disrepectful of all the wonderful accomplishments of the beautiful grey lady. She was the best her Daddy ever had, she did him proud, and in a way, maybe all won't agree with me, it shows little respect for Big Red. Thank you for allowing us to voice our dismay at what Oak Tree has done. Maybe Del Mar can rename a race the Lady's Secret. Is that possible? Thank You.    

26 Nov 2009 10:46 AM


Happy thanksgiving to you and your family! Also, to everyone else down in the US (Our Canadian thanksgiving seems like ages ago...). I'm a little jealous about all of you having turkey dinners (or in Steve's case, stuffing and potatoes!) - that has to be just about my favourite meal.

I whole-heartedly agree with the blog. While I am far too young to have seen Lady's Secret run (I was born in 1991....lol), I know of her legacy and have always admired the Iron Lady's scope and talent. She deserves the honour of the race named for her - at the same time, as does Zenyatta! As an earlier poster said, creating a grade 1 race for older fillies/mares would be a great idea and encourage owners to race their wonderful mares that little bit longer.

Again, happy [American] Thanksgiving to you all! :D

26 Nov 2009 10:48 AM
very Windy City

what a nice article Mr Haskin! I always read your blogs, even that I post my comments very, very seldom. The truth is that when I have a bad day, I always sit and read your article...even for the fourth time :-) It always makes me feel better. I love people with possitive attitude, even when they are not talking about "happy" things; and you definitely have it. So here I am, sitting and enjoying your columns, having fun reading some really silly comments for the past 2 years (really, some people are nuts!). I really look forward for the future of this blog.

I'm sooo glad to hear that there are people on this planet who are capable of staying in happy marriage for that long, my truest and warmest Congratulations to You and your Wife!

I hope that I'll tie your record one day. I grew up with my mom, my parents divorced when I was 3 and for many years my only wish for Christmas was to have both parents together. I was crying every Christmas Day and lost my respect to Santa Claus because he was bringing me only toys. Now, you know that you both have given your daughter one of the greatest gifts parents can give :-) She's really lucky!

Given a chance of writing this on Thanksgiving morning, I would like to thank for having a wonderful family: a loving husband and two little baby boys (3y and 7 months, who love to watch races with their mommy); thanks God for horses - without their grace the world wouldn't be the same place, they put their all heart in what they're doing; and thanks for Mr Haskin, he "takes" horses, puts some love and affection and makes a great poetry :-)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Olimpia  

26 Nov 2009 10:56 AM

I didn't see it as being a "snub".  Rather, I perceived it as a beautiful well-deserved honor passed from Secretariat's great daughter to Zenyatta.  But, now that I see how many people are upset by this, the negative outweighs the positive and it's really not necessary to make this change.  And besides, the Lady's Secret honor is small potatoes to her.  When Zenyatta is posing in the Santa Anita walking ring towering over the crowd, you'll notice that while one eye is on her loyal subjects, the other eye has taken dead aim on that Seabiscuit statue.  She's wondering "what the heck is THAT guy doing up there?".  One day her likeness will look down upon us from that very pedestal from which Seabiscuit once reigned supreme!  And that's just the beginning...

Have a lovely and blessed Thanksgiving Holiday my dysfunctional BH family, and especially you and your beautiful loving family Steve.

26 Nov 2009 10:58 AM
very Windy City

Oh, Im sorry I forgot to mention that I also don't agree to the disrespect of the Iron Lady, I have never seen her, I was 5 when she raced but I saw all of her races on youtube....what a great soul and heart!

Too bad they do that, I loved Barbaro but was shocked when renamed Sir Barton in his (Barbaro) memory....This Sir Barton??? I couldn't believe it! I did read Man O War books, and Sir Barton was such a big piece of history, but I guess only for me. I couldn't believe they did that. In few years they'll get rid of Man o War, Secretariat and many others...that's so sad. Where is the respect for past champions?? Are they not good enough for now? Can we let them be forgotten because we found "new" champ? That's not fair, but I guess life is not fair either.

Anyway, I have to start making our turkey otherwise we'll have to get a flight and go to Mr Haskings for dinner tonight lol :-)

Happy turkey!

26 Nov 2009 11:09 AM
rolo from ky

ohh god get a room,lol  seriously 25 years that something.  u never see them many years anymor with the younger generation with all the temptation out there.  so good for you MR. HASKINS.

every GOOD man has a great woman in the background or at the local motel.lol

in your case MR HASKINS u have a GREAT  woman at home in your life and that sir is all thats needed.

I think u are a great writer and should be able to express your love of the horses and the 2 most important LADIES in ur life.

you SIR  are a credit to the game and more important to your wife and daughter.

ty MR HASKINS for letting me a ole redneck from KY  be a part of your thoughts and world as well here at Bloodhorse.

26 Nov 2009 11:18 AM

Steve, this is such a sweet and endearing article about you and yours....happy Thanksgiving to you and your family...a wonderful love story....

God Bless all during these times..

26 Nov 2009 11:26 AM

I'm changing back to Citation, people who can't tell me from the other guy or girl will just have to be confused I guess. Tiznowbaby, didn't I already mention the Maskette and Firenze having their names changed? It doesn't hurt to have it up there again for everyone to see though. I remember that I was furious at the renaming of the La Troienne and Sir Barton and told everyone who would listen about their accomplishments, the legendary foundation mare La Troienne and the first Triple Crown winner Sir Barton. To the person who first posted here, the Secretariat is a Grade 1 for tree-year-olds going a mile and a quarter on the grass, the Affirmed is a Grade 3 I think, and the Seattle Slew is run at Emerald Downs, I believe, and is thus a race of negligible importance.

26 Nov 2009 11:27 AM
Love'em both

By abstaining, do you not leave the voting to the possibly political partisans?  I would accept the results more readily, knowing that thoughful writers such as yourself have voted their conscience FOR the most deserving.  After all it is a vote FOR not against.  Hey, in a couple of years these wonderful horses will be mostly anonymous broodmares on some bucolic farm in Kentucky or California or Japan.   Where are Ouiji Board and Ashado now?  What thrills they also provided filly fans!

26 Nov 2009 11:30 AM

Steve, I have learned so much from your blog and really appreciate it..I am a non-horse racing person that loves horses..you have given me insight into what racing is all about...so a big Thank You is in order.....

26 Nov 2009 11:37 AM

A good year for racing...2 great classic fillies, great fillies in other divisions, an excellent training job by Tim Ice in taking an unraced gawky 3-year old and turning him into a great classic colt that in many other years would have won the HOY and ready to bring him back at age 4!.

Great training job by bringing Better Talk Now safely through his 50th and 51st start at age 10.

Great training job with Einstein, Gio Ponti and a number of others.

Wonderful for the industry Jess Jackson running RA against the boys where she belonged, the Mosses risking Zen's perfect record in the BC, Mine That Bird's trainer and owners giving away the Derby Roses to the "ordinary" fan...

Happy Thanksgiving to all and may your most difficult problem be the HOTY decision!

26 Nov 2009 11:44 AM

Steve, you know all this bickering back and forth with each other, yeah, it's good for the sport and I know the owners and their connections love seeing their horses admired like this, But, you know what, by the time Jan. rolls around, and with the awards and rewards and attention that my girl Zen is getting, that HOTY won't mean much, It's practically a shoe in that RA will get it, and so , if she does just because of a few more races she raced in, hey, so be it. Look, at all at what Zenyatta is getting now, She has cemented her place in history, My goodness, she is retiring with a legacy that so many owners and trainers dream of. I will be thrilled if she got the award, but if you have to go by the rules, so be it.  I think California is not thru honoring her yet. I bet it's more to come, I don't mean changing race names, I believe that the other tracks will want to  honor her somehow. Especially, since she was the West Coast gal. Next year when RA retires if her next year is as good as this , then someone will honor her the same way.   "THE RA/PREAKNESS",  "RA/HASKELL", or "THE RA/WOODWARD". Hey, that don't sound bad....

26 Nov 2009 11:58 AM

Although I don't post often, I'm a loyal reader.  This was a beautiful column (as always) Steve, but this one was extra-special because it reminded me that too often we forget to appreciate and thank those closest to us for being part of our lives.

As to the renaming of the Lady's Secret, in my opinion it disses both Lady's Secret and Zenyatta.  Those of us who love racing will remember Lady's Secret but new fans will probably never get to know who she was - it's a shame, but it's that simple.  We live in a throwaway society and all that's important is NOW.

All that aside - Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family, and all your readers.

26 Nov 2009 12:12 PM

Yes, and may we collectively give thanks for your many fine contributions to racing, Mr Haskins.  Thank you for including your personal thanks to your family.

Over the years, SA has done some strange things in getting caught up in the moment.  Many years ago a $16,000 plater named Pleasure Shack came out on a sealed track and exploded to set the six furlong record.  This was listed in the programs as the record, until, the day after the future Eclispe Award winning Chinook Pass equaled the time.  Thereafter, Chinook Pass was the only horse listed for that record, even though, the DRF still listed Pleasure Shack.  For quite a while, this made a great bar bet.

You are absolutely correct.  Keep the Lady's Secret and create a new quality race named in honor of the brilliant Queen Z.

26 Nov 2009 12:15 PM
Iron Man

The President of the Oak Tree board, Mr. Chillingsworth would not know the color of Lady's Secret if you asked him. If anything, Ca. should be thinking of a great race to name after the Legend and great trainer Bobby Frankel. Pacific Classic would be my pick. Zenyatta was great but only ran 4 times a year on powder puff schedule which was smart. Ladys Secret ran her ass off everywhere.

26 Nov 2009 12:16 PM

I mentioned earlier about renaming the Vanity the Zenyatta, and then I read something about the Yellow Ribbon.  Since the Lady's Secret is pretty much carved out to be the Zenyatta now, what would you guys think about renaming the Yellow Ribbon the Lady's Secret?  Would that even be feasable?


26 Nov 2009 12:24 PM

Great article, Steve.  I especially liked hearing about Joan's interesting professional life and your love of your family.  It is Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for my family. I am also thankful that Rachael A. won the very tough Woodward and thankful that Zenyatta finally got to race at 1 1/4 miles and won it so impressively.

I completely agree that to re-name the Lady's Secret is wrong.  Rename ANY Grade 1 for Zenyatta.  Remember, Zenyatta may not be HOY and what a crime for a HOY not to be remembered (in California where she was stabled) in a Grade 1 race.  It is wrong,wrong,wrong.  And The Zenyatta should be well over 1 mile in distance.

26 Nov 2009 12:31 PM
Marilyn K

Well, Zenyatta has gotten her reward for the year...she wins over Lady's Secret.  It was only 23 years ago and I'm sure many of the turf writers who vote for Eclipse rewards fondly remember Lady's Secret and will be angered by Oak Tree's rash decision.  This might just turn enough on-the-fence voters ( and even some leaning towards Zenyatta)to Rachel Alexandra.  If Rachel has another brilliant year next year and gets HOY 2 years in a row, Zenyatta will become obscure history in much, much less than 23 years.  What a shame!

26 Nov 2009 12:45 PM
julie o

I am grateful this Thanksgiving for all the blessings in my personal life, too numerous to mention individually.  Thank you Steve for your thoughts- I love that about your columns.  Sometimes they bring back dimming memories of my old Thoroughbred warriors.  Sometimes they amazingly capture my thoughts on racing present.

 I love Zenyatta, like one loves art and perfection.  She was amazing.  But to take away Lady's Secret's race is just WRONG.  There are so many California races that aren't named for anyone- why not rename the Vanity?  When a horse is so memorable that a race is named for them (even if the conditions of the race don't fit the horse like the Gamely), the name should be left alone.  The track hosting the race should include on the program a short biography and picture of the horse to promote new fans falling in love with the history of the sport.

 I wonder how many fans over the years have looked up Lady's Secret and fell in love with her?  She was fabulous and still deserves her own Grade 1 race.

26 Nov 2009 12:58 PM
Jack Frazier

Zenyatta is indeed a great mare, perhaps the greatest of her generation, however, to rename the Ladys Secret is an abomination.  Too often racing forgets its heroes and discards them as quickly as yesterdays news.  What Ladys Secret did over the many years that she raced is a testament to her greatness. She did not have to carry her track with her and won races from New York to California with tenacity and moxey not seen today.  Zenyatta is a great mare but she has won her races in and on California tracks.  Ladys Secret ran against the girls and the boys with equal greatness and did dodge anyone.  It will be a travesty if this race is renamed. Shame on Santa Anita for even considering it.  Why not just create a race in Zenyatta honor and keep her name and Ladys Secrets as well for the public to remember, otherwise, somewhere down the road she will be snubbed as well.

26 Nov 2009 1:16 PM

All of this bickering is NOT good for the sport. It's actually very devisive and harmful.

However if people want to do so there are certain blogs that encourage that. Encourage beating each other up and censor those who don't agree with the blogger promoting that kind of interraction.

To me? If you want that type of action, go to those blogs,  comment until the moderator takes umbrage with something you say that doesn't follow his opinion. If you want to curse or badmouth others? As long as it's in line with that guys opinion it's anything goes.

Now if you want honest, sincere discourse with good vibes and gentle kind feelings about the horses, connections and the sport, insightful blogs that are historical yet timely as well? Controversial subjects with a human and humane touch, a dislike of posturing and controversy just for effect or to be 'cool' slam style internet bloggers?

This is the blog for you.

Biggest difference of all?

Steve Haskins is one of the MOST respected writers in the industry, by the industry.

Steve has friends in the highest of places, all the way down to the common hardworking men and women in the industry.

Know which one I choose.

Renaming a race for Zenyatta? A bit preciptious, a bit disrespectful to the wonderful Iron Lady.

Someone talking about who did this, old men? No those are the tradition bound people who a lot of you say are ruining the industry because they honor tradition and history.

Too many G1's? Not really. Some races that are not G1's should be (Arkansas Derby).

carolyn, I know you're new to the sport and welcome.  But, I can tell you if the Preakness is renamed ANYTHING, you won't want to hear what's said by those of us in the industry who revere the Triple Crown races.

Hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving. For most of us it's business as usual so have helping of Turkey and all the fixins for all of us too!

26 Nov 2009 1:16 PM

It is too bad that a new handicap or possibly a stakes race that would have been named after Zenyatta race couldn't have been proposed rather than doing things the way they did. Lady's Secret was a magnificent racehorse and her race needs to retain her name. I agree - things like this should be thought through more thoroughly. Zenyatta is certainly deserving of a race named in her honor, but maybe this wasn't the best choice.

26 Nov 2009 1:17 PM
Steve Haskin

Wow, Windy City, thank you so much and for sharing that with us.

Fortunately, Rolo, we already have a room. I just have to remember where it is. lol. Thank you very much for your thoughts.

Thanks again to all for your wonderful comments. They are all greatly appreciated.

26 Nov 2009 1:24 PM

Lady's Secret's race belongs to Lady's Secret.

Zenyatta deserves her own namesake race.

The board for Horse of the Year doesn't get it.  This is the fans' year for selecting both Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra.

What an opportunity to showcase horse racing.

Your words regarding your family represent you as the man we all know you are through your writings.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, to the folks on this blog and the Bloodhorse.

26 Nov 2009 1:43 PM
Matthew W

Then why haven't they named the Big Cap "The Spectacular Bid"??.....there's tradition there---lost! Nobody knows who won the Zenyatta, everyone knows who won the Ladys Secret!

26 Nov 2009 1:47 PM
Matthew W

It should be the Vanity, at Hol, which was her home track....even if Hollywood Park goes away, the Vanity would still remain--change THAT to the Zenyatta...they should've thought this out better, but Santa Anita jumped the gun--for what? A little more name recognition?...Wrong play!

26 Nov 2009 1:51 PM
Matthew W

Gosh Darned those guys, Steve! In a weird way that somehow tarnishes the thought of Zenyatta---unfairly so, on the eve of her much-anticipated farewell to racing, from her home track dear old Hollywood Park, this Sunday...

26 Nov 2009 1:58 PM

Belmont Park should name a race after Lady's Secret and pronto. After all, she won many of her biggest races there.   While Belmont is at it, they should name a race after Seattle Slew; it's a blemish that he's got one race named after him, a very minor turf sprint at Keeneland.

I'm disgusted at the renaming of the Lady's Secret - it shows a true lack of appreciation for racing's history.

26 Nov 2009 2:08 PM

Hi Steve - Thanks for the above information about renaming the Lady's Secret.  In my opinion it is dishonorable to both horses.  Lady's Secret was a great horse, she wasn't named the iron horse for no reason.  How they could do that to a HOY is beyond comprehension.  I for one will send an email to Santa Anita about dishonoring Lady's Secret memory.  If they get enough negative reaction they might reconsider and come up with a totally new race named after Zenyatta for the 2010 season.  She overwhelmingly deserves the recognition, if California does not do it, then there is no reason why any of the other racing jurisdictions in the country can't do it.  

Also, it is great to read a public column by a man thanking and paying accolades to his wife.  Bravo!


26 Nov 2009 2:17 PM
Mike Relva


Have a great holiday! Also, I can't "wrap my brain around" individuals that tout themselves as racing fans,but take pleasure from slamming horses. They don't "connect the dots" that we are more than lucky to have seen two of racings' best with Zenyatta and RA. Yet,some of the same wonder why racing is in decline. Having been privileged to see these two "super horses" I take from it the opinion of knowing I witnessed something very special. Steve, thanks for your splendid insight,always enjoy learning something from reading your blogs/books.

26 Nov 2009 2:41 PM

I have to agree with you Steve, renaming the Lady's Secret after Zenyatta is as stupid as renaming the Riva Ridge after Woody Stephens.  

26 Nov 2009 3:51 PM
Michael Paulson

Happy Thanksgiving Day Steve,

Great article and right on point. It seems that people forget the past too quickly and it's a shame to dishonor 'Lady's Secret' by this emotional 'knee jerk' reaction to honor 'Zenyatta,' which unfortunately doesn't properly honor her tremendous accomplishments this year.  Though not surprising, as I've personally experienced this with 'Azeri.' A HOY and three time champion that won every major Grade 1  'filly and mare' graded stakes race in California over 2002 and 2003 in such a dominate way, that she 'cantered' across the finish line in nearly every race, has 'not' one race named in her honor in California, and only a Grade 3 race in Arkansas for all of her accomplishments. But then again, my father, Allen Paulson, who has bred and raced more HOY and Breeder's Cup champions still does not have a race named in his honor after nine years since he has passed away. Steve, thank you for all of your great work for horse racing, as you are a 'gem' in horse racing journalism.

26 Nov 2009 5:24 PM

It would be shame for Hollywood to beat Santa Anita to the punch since Zenyatta's greatest feats were accomplished at Santa Anita.  That and Hollywood Park will likely be bulldozed as soon as the economy turns around a little, sometime in the next 2 to 10 years, so why let Hollywood Park take the Zenyatta name when the track won't exist in ten years?  

26 Nov 2009 6:25 PM

I'm still mad that NYRA got rid of the Riva Ridge S.  

As for the Zenyatta, I agree with those who think a new race should have been created for her, or else take the Santa Margarita.  What's the great honor of having a race named after you if that race will be named after somebody else a few years down the road?  

Which brings me back to being mad about the loss of the Riva Ridge S.  Grrrrr...

26 Nov 2009 6:47 PM

As soon as I read that the Lady's Secret had been renamed, I was appalled. NO race that has been named for a past super horse should ever be renamed. Either rename a plain-jane named race or create a whole new one. I personally think a brand new one should have been created in Zenyatta's honor. Can you imagine changing the name of the Man o' War to a horse of the more modern era? Sacreligious! (And why is it run on grass? Did he ever run on grass? Just wondering.)

26 Nov 2009 6:50 PM

I fully respect Zenyattas accomplishments; she is a filly for the ages.  

BUT there are two filly’s I have seen race LADY’S SECRET and PERSONAL ENSIGN.

I can tell you this Zenyatta would be HARD PRESSED to close LADY’S SECRET “THE IRON LADY” speed and PERSONAL ENSIGNS unwavering closing punch cannot be equaled.

Frankly in a three horse race I am not sure who would win.  I do know who would be third and with all do respect it would be ZENYATTA.

26 Nov 2009 6:52 PM
Bella Bella

All this is for California and Oak Tree to help vote Zenyatta in for HOY. It's all a ploy that will end up backfiring on them. The mare isn't HOY and they want to take Lady's Secret off. Nice try. Rachel will win now thta there is not a split vote. She ran way too hard against DIRT horses and beat them. Zenyatta is awesome but is basically a turf horse.

26 Nov 2009 7:00 PM

Andrea, this isn't the first time this has been done. Churchill Downs done it too. I couldn't believe it either, and this probalbly ain't the last you will hear of this. I don't think it should reflect on Zenyatta, she is  in her stall , she didn't twist their arms. Next year, they will name more races or change one. I believe this won't be the last time. I don't think this should make people turn against the horse herself,

26 Nov 2009 7:47 PM
Mike Relva


Guess you were asleep or something when Zenyatta blew past Ginger Punch and co. last yr. in the Apple Blossom ON DIRT!

26 Nov 2009 8:02 PM
Mike Relva


I've always been a fan of AZERI,just wanted to express my displeasure that she will not remain in USA. I think it's a crying shame!

26 Nov 2009 8:07 PM

Hey Steve, Just when I think you can't top your previous blogs - you keep surprising me. I am very glad that you posted the blog about Lady's Secret & the injustice done to her in having her race renamed, I think you speak for most of us. Lady's Secret will always have a place in my heart & home as her plate from American Artists hangs in my living room with those of some other greats. Whenever someone enters my home & comments how beautiful the plates are I always draw their attention to Lady's Secret & retell her many wonderful feats. She will live one thru her many fans.   Thanks, Kathy

26 Nov 2009 8:41 PM

Steve, I am going to ask you this question, because you are much wiser and a little older, and I value your opinion more, The question is, How many of the award voters do you think vote from the heart or vote by the rules, or is there a stipulation that you HAVE to go by, or is it just what one you want to vote for in general?

26 Nov 2009 8:51 PM

Steve, I have a lot to be thankful for this year, and way up there on my list is that I discovered bloodhorse.com (thanks to a spunky little brown gelding) and MOST especially for your articles and blogposts here.  Silly me, I didn't know there was a whole world of thoroughbreds/racing and fans on the internet!  I feel so much richer for it.

So we are to give Mrs. Haskin the credit for your inimitable writing style?  I'm cool with that! Thank you, Mrs. Haskin!!! AND Mandy :-)

Dearly as I love Zenyatta, I have to agree with you about the re-naming of The Lady's Secret.  I think SA made a mistake, and I wish the Mosses would reconsider their acceptance of the honor (if it isn't too late).  What I have learned in studying pedigrees and reading about the Greats of thoroughbred racing is that the History of the sport transcends any other aspect of it.  I have learned that long-time fans of the *horses* care very much for the honorifics applied to their equine heros/heroines - particularly HOF or HOY - and rankle at any disrespect toward them.  It would have been so much better to educate the NEW fans of Zenyatta about the preceding and comparable greatness of Lady's Secret - her record, how she came to be called the "Iron Lady" and her stellar heritage.  Zenyatta deserves a race named in her honor, but it should not be at the expense of another truly great racemare who earned the honor as well.

I'm sure the SA authorities were looking to attach the many new fans of racing who begin with Zenyatta; but they won't keep them if they can't also teach that she, too, is one of many in the historic procession of great runners. And that they, the fans, can take part in that history as well.

Sorry I went on so long.  Thank You for all the wonderful writing!

26 Nov 2009 9:08 PM

Racetracks are far too quick to toss tradition and history aside in exchange for the flavor of the day.  

The Lady's Secret/Zenyatta race is just another example of tracks exploting  the waves of emotion  which follow events both good and bad.   The La Troienne/Eight Belles and the Sir Barton/Barbaro changes are just two anothers.

It really is a dis-service to a truly great race mare and one of the few females to be named the  Horse of the Year.  Incidently Oak Tree, that is something that Zenyatta has yet to achieve!

26 Nov 2009 9:11 PM
Steve Haskin

Hi Michael, thanks for your comments. I couldn't agree more with your displeasure that Azeri has not had a race named after her. How soon people forget just what she meant to California racing, especially Santa Anita. And they forget how you could have easily retired her after her spectacular win in the Distaff. She came East and ran some fantastic races, including that amazing victory at Oaklawn. And she ran a terrific race in the BC Classic against a super field. I hope this gross omission is rectifed in the near future.


26 Nov 2009 10:05 PM
Steve Haskin

Carolyn, there are no rules for voting. You can use whatever criteria you wish. I believe there will be a lot of voters who vote from the heart.

26 Nov 2009 10:07 PM

Another time and another place maybe ?   Before the use of drugs in horse racing (that we know of) I witnessed the greatet filly I have ever seen on a racetrack live.   RUFFIAN

And believe me Zenyatta or Rachael don't compair !

26 Nov 2009 10:59 PM

Hello Steve,

A happy thanksgiving to all! God has truly blessed us this year with the amazing RA & Zen.

It’s a wonder that we still have racing fans, when tracks are pulling fast ones like this. Really, how hard would it have been to name another race after Zenyatta.  Just makes me want to scream foul.  She truly was an iron filly, the likes we will most likely never see again.  

God Bless

Linda in Erie

26 Nov 2009 11:00 PM

Right on Steve. This decision to rename the Lady's Secret ranks right up there with the way Elton John "rededicated" his great tribute to Marylin Monroe (Candle in the Wind)to Princess Di after her tragic death.

Then and now, it was/is a disservice to both great ladies and both great horses.

John could have written another song, and they could have found or created another race.

26 Nov 2009 11:37 PM
Dr. Fager

Steve Haskin,

Azeri wishes she was Zenyatta. Azeri won HOY because the Breeders Cup Classic fell apart that year.

Remember the Pick 6 scandal?

Santa Anita knows talent and they didn't replace the "Lady's Secret" with Azeri for a reason.

Azeri wishes she could win the Breeders Cup Classic.

Azeri wishes she could beat Ghostzapper, Roses In May, Pleasantly Perfect, etc...

Put Ghostzapper on the Pro-Ride and he is going backwards.

I know how good Ghostzapper was.

Ghostzapper could never "quicken" like Zenyatta. He would be destroyed by this mare on the Pro-Ride. Ghostzapper had a "very" high cruising speed.

27 Nov 2009 1:43 AM

Horse Racing is such a great sport. The history and tradition of it rivals any other sport there is.  I'm in my mid-20's and I love horse racing. It got in my blood at an early age, and will never leave me...I wasn't quite old enough to remember the Iron Lady when she was running (Alysheba is the first great horse I remember seeing on TV).  

In my opinion, renaming the Lady's Secret is not right. It's totally disrespectful to a phenomenal horse. Anybody that missed seeing her run 23-24 years ago like I did, check Lady's Secret out on youtube and if you don't get goosebumps after watching her Breeder's Cup romp, then your skin is on too tight.

I just can't believe they renamed her race...it upsets me.  Obviously Zenystta's a great one, but like so many others have said on here, why not create a new race for her?  Great horses of the past are the reason we all respect and follow the stars of today...It's totally wrong to push them aside like this.

Steve, thank you for your column, you're a heck of a writer and I appreciative of this forum where fans of this great game like myself can voice their opinions.


27 Nov 2009 2:57 AM
Cathy Bowlds

Steve, I kind of agree with you on that they snubed the Iron Lady. She was horse of the year in 86 going back east, clearly defeating the boys a time or two and came back to Santa Anita and crushed the Distaff division in pre-polytrack era.  That is one race I think I would have left in tack.

I bet NYRA doesnt rename the Personal Ensign, the Rachel Alexander stakes!

27 Nov 2009 3:35 AM
Ann in Lexington

Cj, the Personal Ensign has been severed from its history enough by now. This race was originally the Firenze run during Aqueduct's section of the fall championship season. When Aqueduct lost its midfall dates, the Firenze was moved to the Saratoga meet and renamed the John A Morris. Only after that was it renamed for Personal Ensign. But the name of one of the best mares of the entire 19th Century was obscured for it to happen.

27 Nov 2009 8:56 AM

I had been undecided up to this point on either of the girls, and I dont believe that you punish the horse because of the owners(RA not coming to the BC)but this is enough. I do believe that Zenyatta should have a race named after her, but the Ladys Secret is not it .Just another attempt to keep Z's name in the media until the voting cause they may not believe she can win it. voting CANNOT be based on emotion. Yes it was great what she did, but over all to me what Rachael did was more impressive.To remove Lady's Secret name from this race is a terrible Idea and Z just lost any chance of me pulling for her. Way to go whoever decided to do this name change, you just cost her a vote.

27 Nov 2009 10:52 AM
joe c.

Riva Ridge lived his three and four year old seasons in the understandable shadow of stablemate Secretariat.  The final kick was renaming the Riva Ridge the Woody Stephens.  Woody deserved a race, but why insult the memory of these past champions?  Ditto Creme Fraiche to the Hal's Hope.  Honor our champs, but not while denegrating the past.

27 Nov 2009 11:06 AM
Simply Majestic


Yes, I'm afraid for you Rachael Alexandra's CAMPAIGN this year does put her on the same level, if not above, Personal Ensign.  

ONE RACE does not a season make. Sorry - hate the game not the player.

And I agree that either Belmont or Saratoga should take the opportunity to have a race for Lady's Secret now, in addition to the Personal Ensign, and CREATE one for Rachael Alexandra.

27 Nov 2009 11:06 AM
Lil Darlin

Let us give thanks for rational thinking individuals like Steve Haskin.

Thanks, Oak Tree..like fans needed yet another reason to get fired up this season!  The debate that has gripped the horse racing world this year, RA v. Zen, has already somehow managed to bring out the worst in many. Renaming the Lady's Secret was like pouring gas on a bonfire.  This knee jerk reaction is an insult to the Iron Lady, an insult to Zenyatta, and an insult to horse racing in general.

27 Nov 2009 12:16 PM
Pam S.

I feel that Oak Tree did get "caught up in the moment" with the renaming.  But surely they did not anticipate so much negative reaction from fans.  I agree that Lady's Secret has been slighted, so let's look at the options:

I think everyone's first choice would have been a new race for Zenyatta, but with the purse cuts, horse shortage, no room in the schedule for another G1 for females, and general sad state of affairs in CA racing, the Oak Tree people decided against that.  

They could have renamed the Vanity at HOL or something during the SA winter meet, but that's not their decision to make, is it?

How about this:  Rename the Yellow Ribbon for the great Lady's Secret.  It's a G1 with a very expendable name.  Or give the Iron Lady her original race back (they might look silly, but oh well) and then rename the Goodwood for Zenyatta.  Her greatest moment was beating males in the BC, and this is the male prep for the BC.  And it's also a very expendable name.

Thanks to Michael Paulson for offering his perspective.  I agree that Azeri should have a race named for her in CA, and that the late Mr. Paulson should be honored as well.  How hard it is to please everyone!  All horseplayers (me too), make a "Thanksgiving resolution" to push more $$$ through the windows to fund some extra races!  And to those who just love the horses but don't wager, try it, you might enjoy it!

Happy holidays to Steve and to all.

27 Nov 2009 12:34 PM

For Shame, Oak Tree, For Shame! Why not rename a lesser known stakes? Or better yet, create one in Zenyatta's honor? She deserves her accolades, but so too does Lady's Secret. She was one of the great fillies of the modern age. No wonder racing is in trouble if we disrespect our previous champions like this...

27 Nov 2009 1:31 PM


Regarding renaming the Lady's Secret after Zenyatta, you took the words right out of my mouth. It's a wonderful and fitting gesture for Zenyatta to have her own race, but it shouldn't be at the expense of another horse. I've always been opposed to this.

I remember the same thing happened a few years ago with Sir Barton's race. The beloved Barbaro certainly deserved his own race, but there is now no stakes race, to my knowledge, named after the first Triple Crown winner.

Change the name of a race which doesn't already have the namesake of a horse, but I say never go from one horse namesake to another.

27 Nov 2009 1:42 PM

Great artical Steve, I agree with you 100%. Keep writting, I'll keep reading!

27 Nov 2009 2:24 PM
Mike Relva


Obviously you are "another one" that doesn't believe in giving credit to ALL horses. Rather,you sink to the level of slamming them. Nice work!

27 Nov 2009 3:44 PM

I guess next year they will take another race name and give it to RA, when does this stop.

27 Nov 2009 3:55 PM

First, thanks for the charming tribute to your wife.  You are a credit to your sex.  And absolutely right about the rush to re-name this race.  Of course Zenyatta should have a race in her honor but not at the expense of another great champion.  

27 Nov 2009 4:38 PM
Mike Relva


NO WAY RA is above what PE accomplished in her great career.

You're dreaming!

27 Nov 2009 7:18 PM

The running of the Clark I think very emphatically shows how good Zenyatta is.  Einstein couldn't stay with her and the Whitney and Woodward cometitors were no threat to Einstein, even on their supposed home soil and with the Einstein coming of a clinker.....Zenyatta is very definitely one for the ages, maybe top two or three distaffers all time with Ruffian and Personal Ensign, but in her way, so was Lady's Secret who will forever be in any top ten, and maybe even top five.......Keep the Lady's Secret as it is and at some point give Zenyatta HER RACE.

27 Nov 2009 7:48 PM
Jordan S

Dr. Fager, you have proven with your comment that you know absolutely NOTHING about horse racing, and should stay away from the message boards. Ghostzapper couldn't quicken like Zenyatta, and instead ran at a very high cruising speed? Are you serious? Go back and watch any of his races as a 3 year old, when he was a sprinter, and then get your foot out of your mouth. He used to drop 15 lengths back in a 6 furlong race, and then would come flying to win by 10 lengths. The BC Classic showed his versatility by him going to the front and kicking away from the field. Ghostzapper may very well have been the fastest horse since Spectacular Bid! Go to youtube and try to watch some of these horses before you make asinine comments, and while your at it, change your name from Dr. Fager, since you have NO clue about the history of this sport. Your comments are insulting to the real horse racing fans.

27 Nov 2009 7:53 PM
sky fire

Oak Tree renamed the Lady's Secret to capitalize ($$$)  on Zenyatta without regard for history.  Oak Tree is supposed to be for the benefit of racing!! Ha! it's about $$$.

The best way to send a message is economically -- boycott the Zenyatta next fall(not the horse, whom I love); don't bet the race.  

That is all this mercenary group of executives understands-- $$$.

27 Nov 2009 8:10 PM


It took Oaktree 7 years to name a race after Lady's Secret, despite her winning HOTY, while winning 25 out 45, and more than 10 times in SoCal.

It took them 2 1/2 weeks to kick Lady's Secret to the curb, and proclaim Zenyatta HOTY. They did not even wait for the actual voting.

That's was wrong!

27 Nov 2009 8:22 PM

The verdict is in.

109 disapproving votes  


12 approving the move by Oak Tree Racing

I've never had such a lopsided result on any poll at my blog.

Thanks to Mr. Haskin for taking the ball and running with it.  Hopefully Oak Tree will now reconsider.  

Zenyatta deserves a race of her own but not this soon.  Why oh why,

couldn't they wait until after The Eclipses?

27 Nov 2009 8:57 PM
Matthew W

I think Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra are likely the two best distaffers in my fifty years, I'll put Glorious Song and Ruffian in there and no others!

27 Nov 2009 9:42 PM
Matthew W

When Rachel Alexandra repelled Bullsbay at the 1/8 pole, then had enough left to get there before Macho Again-as a three year old filly--that put her in the Busher league....when Zenyatta got out, then ran down Gio Ponti like it was Lethal Heat---that put her in the Busher league....no other filly in my life I have compared to Busher, these two might very possibly be the best two.....

27 Nov 2009 9:50 PM
Mike Relva


Well said!

27 Nov 2009 10:36 PM
Lady's Secret

Where was Macho Again in the Clark today?

He finished a clunked up 9th.

The Macho Again connections targeted the Clark and took the time to get him ready for it.

Where was BullsBay?

That Woodward was weaker than hell. Now wonder why Jess Jackson moved Rachel Alexandra from the Beldame (where Zenyatta nominated) to the Woodward.

27 Nov 2009 10:47 PM
andy Klein

As far as renaming the Lady Secret , Zenyatta what do expect in a country of greed an self indulgence, duh! We so soon forget the greats of yrs past, especially the fillys an mares.  I love both of these great female nags an also some of the other ones, like Goldikova an of course Rachel Alexandra.  She's my choice for HOY for 2009 just by her work record. Be nice to give um both the HOY but the thoroughbred industry is no different than any other enterprise in this country...we've always done it this way , why change.  I am glad to hear that you are proud of your wife, Joan an daughter Mandy...behind every great man is a woman but if he's a failure he did it himself.  I'am a great guy in my own right, an I am not a failure in my eyes an thats all that counts, in my opinion.  Keep on keepin on Steve! Enjoy your comments most of the time.  

27 Nov 2009 11:42 PM

What a shame that another race named for an historic race horse is changed!

Express your displeasure (nicely, of course) with Santa Anita.


28 Nov 2009 6:11 AM

Lady's Secret,

    Have you ever heard of something called form? Look at Macho's and Bullsbay's numbers before the Woodward and at the time. Bullsbay had just run the best race of his life in the Whitney and brought that same race into the Woodward. During the begining of the year Macho was doing great, do not forget he beat Einstein in the Stephen Foster, then came back to place second in two more grade ones, while running a career best race in one of those. It was AFTER the Woodward both horses bounced. Bullsbay just got done making his second cross country trip of the year after the BC to come to the Clark, plus, like many did last year bounced the race after the Cup. Macho bounced badly in the JCGC after running the race of his life in the Woodward, yet before that had been the picture of consistancy all year. By the time the Clark came both were over the hill.

28 Nov 2009 8:54 AM


Both Macho Again and Bullsbay are G-2 at best.  Good horses keep their form all the time, not when it is convenient.  Macho only beat Einstein in the Foster because Einstein was in repeated trouble throughout the stretch.  When he finally got loose, he closed like a rocket but didn't have nearly enough room.....Watch the race and read the form, they don't lie and they don't make excuses......If it wasn't for trying to justify rachel's season, you probably wouldn't even bring this up.

28 Nov 2009 9:38 AM
Joanne Kraft

Jerry Moss should not have agreed to the renaming of The Lady's Secret.  Lady's Secret was one of the greatest race fillies of all time and did not deserve to loose the honor of having a major stakes named after her.  Shame on Santa Anita and shame on Jerry Moss.

28 Nov 2009 10:16 AM
Monica V


Zenyatta is superb, nobody is arguing against that but Lady's Secret was an amazing horse in her own right. This is not about who is better, it's about taking away LS's race as though she never existed.  Haven't we seen enough of this insanity about who's better?  This is 10 times worse than last year's Big Brown vs Curlin.  I don't understand the necessity to trash another horse and belittle their accomplishments in favor of another. Zenyatta's career and legacy stand on their own.  How can one argue with perfection?  But why does that have to diminish another great horse?  I'm sorry, I just don't get that.  These horses are a part of history now.  Nothing anyone says or thinks is going to change that and why can't each horse be given their due?  Why does one horse have to be "the best" at another's expense?

28 Nov 2009 12:29 PM


    I would bring this up because not all horses, no matter how great can carry their form. The great Secretariat even lost and the only reason ppl bring those up is to justify his greatness. Macho has been consistent all year up until the Gold Cup and so was Bullsbay when on dirt, up until the Clark. On their best day both are capable of winning Grade one races. And quite honestly where did I mention RA or even Zenyatta. You state you only come to defend Zenyatta, yet when I don't mention either one of them you come at me. Please back the heck off. I sit and watch you trash RA while you say your only defending Zenyatta. I have seen posts of yours where you ONLY mention how weak the competition was that RA has faced and how badly she would do against greats. You say this crap w/o even mention of Zenyatta, so please, don't tell me your not bias when you sit there and jump down mine and others throats when nothing has been said of either of the mare. I am fed up with your crap, I really am, so please, just back OFF.

28 Nov 2009 1:31 PM

It is a Disgrace to rename the Lady's Secret! I was in Saratoga when She beat the boys in the Whitney. She was a Great filly. There were plenty of other races they could have renamed. That's just dumb.

28 Nov 2009 1:54 PM

What a huge disappointment that the Eclipse voters couldn't get out of their own way and initiate some change in this sport that would truly acknowledge a rare historical moment worthy of flexibility.  It remains a total mystery to me that this industry can break with tradition under some circumstances, then turn  totally rigid and apply a blind eye to events that truly warrant it.  It's such a shame that their decision will only perpetuate this ridiculous trashing of one filly over the other.  I guess that's the fodder they think holds the greater value.  A lot of myopia going on here...............

Steve, what is the percentage of women Eclipse voters to men?

28 Nov 2009 2:20 PM

Monica V I agree with you 100%..I don't get the constant comparing... What people need to think about is what happens when another great filly comes along and they re-name the Zenyatta classic??? These horses are all part of racing history... and enough about Rachel and Zen already...not every blog has to turn into a war....there are other blogs about that...this one is about the Iron Lady...

28 Nov 2009 2:39 PM
Saratoga AJ

Of particular note is Flashing won the 1 1/8 mile G-1 Gazelle today at Aqueduct easily by about 6 lengths crushing among others Stardom Bound and Unbridled Belle. This is the same Flashing that was beaten 31 1/2 lengths in the G-1 Mother Goose back in late June by Alexandra the Great.

Another feather in Rachel’s cap, and just another comparison consideration for the HOTY voters.

28 Nov 2009 3:27 PM


What's it matter that it took them 7 years for Lady's Secret or 2 1/2 weeks for Zenyatta ???

Your point about the 7 years is just my proof of my first post about the "Powers That Be People" taking way too long to Update or Upgrade anything.

Now they're doing it quickly and still taking slack for it.

Also, as I questioned in my first post...How many other races have been renamed in the last 50 years ???

Others on here have mentioned several such as the Sir Barton and the Riva Ridge.

It may have been right to name one in honor of Barbaro, but was it right to delete the one that belonged to the first Triple Crown Winner ???

Which leads me to my next question...

Have they "EVER" renamed a race appropriately, without any controversy ???

I grew up around Beulah Park (unfortunately), in and out of the business for 35 years and Ohio has a race named after "Bobbie Bricker" and I still don't have a clue who it was.

I'll be amazed if and when anyone in this business ever gets anything done right the first time.

28 Nov 2009 3:43 PM

This is not the first OR last time in the future  that you will see this race name changing, All I can say is get used to it, because it ain't over, there is more on the way, It may not seem fair, but it ain't unheard of either. CD done it, so you can expect others to do it too. When and if we ever get another triple crown winner, look for the Secretariat race name to change. I just wouldn't doubt it.

28 Nov 2009 4:06 PM

Saratoga AJ

Nice race by Flashing beating a moderate field.  To bad that Stardom Bound doesn't appear to have it anymore (her only race off synthetics) and Unbridled Belle beat who?  By the way, in the Mother Goose which one was Flashing, the one with SACRA on her side or the one with FICE......LOL

28 Nov 2009 4:46 PM

Geez LDP

You went to great lengths to defend Macho Again and Bullsay right off the bat......There were others in the race, I didn'hear you defening them.  By the way, Einstein did a lot of travelling before the Clark.  How come he doesn't rate an excuse?

28 Nov 2009 4:48 PM
RA & Venture

I would vote Rachel A as Horse of the Year and give a special Eclipse to Z for unbelievable career.  I don't believe that Z had the same demanding "year" that RA had.  She was Horse at the End of the Year; her fabulous achievements deserve a special Eclipse

28 Nov 2009 4:52 PM

SaratogaAJ, Flashing is not valid for evaluating Rachel's talent in my opinion, because not only did Rachel beat her bably in the Mother Goose, Malibu Prayer also demolished her in the same race, and does anyone really think that her successes prove Malibu Prayer's ability? I doubt it. Also, that wasn't Unbridled Belle, that was Unrivaled Belle, a completely different horse.

This is not an endorsement of Zenyatta for Horse of the Year, just me expressing something that has bugged me for a long time.

28 Nov 2009 5:46 PM
Soldier Course

Joanne Kraft:

I don't believe that Mr. and Mrs. Moss should be blamed in any way for the Oak Tree- Lady's Secret debacle. They were put in a very awkward position.

When Oak Tree informed them of the decision, the Mosses would have never presumed to tell that organization how or how not to bestow its honors. At that moment all they could do was be gracious. To do otherwise would have been crass.

28 Nov 2009 6:32 PM

Steve, I agree with your comments. No one would argue the merits of Zenyatta but at the expense of a horse that ran 45 times and won 25? The Iron Lady should never be forgotten by the racing world and there should always be a race for fillies/mares in her honor. Lady's Secret was magnificent by a racehorse for the ages.

As for Zenyatta, another race in her honor would be fine.

28 Nov 2009 6:55 PM

Steve said it all. Lady's Secret won HOY...Zenyatta has some stiff competition and hasn't won that honor yet. Restore the Lady's Secret!

28 Nov 2009 7:08 PM

Steve, what a great tribute to the women in your life!!!  You show heart in horseracing and also give us a peek into the window of those who support and love you in your personal life.  Thank you!  The story, and the sharing of the story, is what really makes the difference between the mundane, and what is real.

28 Nov 2009 8:39 PM
Simply Majestic


Uh, don't really have to dream, I saw both.

FAR more impressed by RA.

28 Nov 2009 10:05 PM

We can't blame the Mosses or Zenyatta for the race name change, neither one of them did anything wrong. If I'm not mistaken, They said that Jerry Moss wouldn't accept it right away, Maybe in that time frame he called the son and family that trained/owned LS, and maybe they gave him their blessings. We don't know, and I haven't heard that they have a complaint about it at all. Jerry Moss isn't one out to make a name for himself, so I bet he called the Lucases, first. We all don't know the whole story, Furthermore, anytime that you have someone or something that trumps another, you always make the latter the first, No, it may not seem fair, but, what in life is fair anymore anyway, NOTHING. Two things in life that will never change, Paying taxes and death, those two things surely we won't have to worry about changing, now or in the future, but everything else has the power and ability to change.

28 Nov 2009 10:58 PM


    Einstein wasn't brought up, I was actually thinking about his luck after the race. Ever since his Clark win last year he can't get the racing luck to get another dirt win. He does have an excuse, he just wasn't brought up. I defended both Macho and BB because they were being put down. Macho may have gone 2 for eight, but let me see he ran also ran first or second in four races and in the money five times. Also look at his form going 9 furlongs a Saratoga, he has NEVER finished worse that second. This year, after the Alysheba he ran three grade one races, never finishing worse than second, his best coming in his runner up finish in the Woodward.

Bullsbay, you have the nerve to knock a horse tha has run ELEVEN times this year ELEVEN?! Don't tell me you didn't you did on Jason's blog. You also knocked Macho too, but to try and diminish a hard knocking horse like Bullsbay is LOW. You try to get little facts like 2 for 8 and 3 for 11. Well did your forgot to put in that Bullsbay also finished on the board in six of those starts, and in the money seven of them. You also forgot to mention he did this while racing literally from coast to coast.

You want me to stick up for Einstein fine, where do I begin, he in eight starts took two coast to coast trips, has grade one wins over two surfaces, and is a grade two winner on dirt. The only bad race he really through in was an out of the money finish in the Classic which was unexplainable. Again he retured to CD, his favorite dirt track, and yet again was a game and unlucky third.

As someone else pointed out, there are very few horses that can hold their form against the elite for an extended periond of time. If they all could there would be no reason to even race at all there would be no upsets and every horse would be unbeaten. Form matters, no matter what way you twist it.

28 Nov 2009 11:38 PM
Joe Davis

I have to agree, this name change business is pure opportunism.

I can say , that having seen Lady's Secret live many times at New York tracks, that the filly was absolutely stunning looking on the racetrack. Films can't do justice.

29 Nov 2009 3:53 AM

OAKTREE's re-naming of the Lady's Secret into the ZENYATTA STAKES is a bad mistake.  They just shot Zen's HOY campaign in the HEAD!!! LOL. LOL.

Zenyatta doesn't have a 2009 race campaign, she has a HOY campaign (e.g. "Zenyatta" day, "Rachel Who?" shirts, and Zenyatta stakes, etc.)!! LOL. LOL

Actually, Zen's connections are CUNNING: They "cut corners" on Zen's 2009 campaign by making her win ONLY one big race, the BC, and then they "PLAY UP" that ONE WIN by orchestrating all this HOY HOOPLA over nothing--HILARIOUS!

They know it, as well as I do, THEIR horse DIDN'T DO ENOUGH to even contest HOY honors, much LESS win it..Zenyatta's ONLY claim to HOY rests on her SINGLE win at the BC Classic. Nothing more.

That's the reason why Moss is so desperate-- all this "OAKTREE faux-pas" happened with HIS blessings, of course.  This POLITICAL MANEUVERING happened As Bloodhorse's Steve Haskin said, "..just two weeks after the BC win, and at the expense of Lady's Secret.." HOW GROSS!!  

Moss couldn't postpone this TRAVESTY coz HE NEEDS THE MEDIA PUBLICITY--Zenyatta's ONLY chance to seize HOY is NOW when people are STILL CRAZY over her BC win. So before the "people" can come to their senses, Moss has to make them "sign on the dotted line" and get Zen to be HOY.  Regrets can come later.. at the public's (AND Lady's Secret's)expense.

NTRA is RIGHT:  Why not wait for AFTER the HOY awards to rename ANY race into Zenyatta?  Why "JUMP THE GUN" and PRESUME THAT ZEN WILL WIN THE HOY 2009??  It is PRESUMPTUOUS, on OAKTREE's part, and Moss's part too, to do something like this.  They should somehow "rein in" their OVER-ZEALOUS AMBITION for their mare.

As for me, I have always been "RACHEL FOR HOY 2009". Rachel is an OUTSTANDING filly, and her magnificent constitution, coupled with her brilliant 2009 victories against G1 males and fillies, are ONE-OF-A-KIND.  She TRULY deserves HOY, coz she earned it.  And, Unlike Zen, she doesn't need MEDIA PUBLICITY to cement her HOY status.

29 Nov 2009 4:02 AM

Steve, what a beautiful tribute to your wife.  Thank you for the privilege of reading it.

As to Zenyatta and Lady's Secret, someone needs to put away the kool aid.  Zenyatta is a great mare, but someone how people have lost all perspective, and this is the latest example of it.  What is happening in racing?  Are we turning into a celebrity culture, where only the "now" counts?  That's dangerous.

Lafitte Pincay (the HRTV commentator) said something interesing yesterday when he mentioned that all year, Rachel Alexandra carried racing on her back---and two months later, it's only Zenyatta.  That is not right.  Ten years later, Lady's Secret is being forgotten?  Not right.

Racing is all about patience and perspective, and this wild mania is not only not good for racing, but ultimately, not good for Zenyatta either in that it is creating a great deal of resentment of her.  And the last I heard, no one asked the horse.

(Before any Zenyatta fans get mad at Lafitte, I think he was commenting on this disturbing trend, not the Z v. R controversy.)

29 Nov 2009 9:58 AM

Copnsidering there are only 4 female HOTY winners ever, (I believe), going up to 5 this year...I think it's inexcuseable that each one doesn't have a race in their honor...how hard can it be?

Twilight Tear


Lady's Secret



29 Nov 2009 10:25 AM

Lazmanick, agreed. LDP comes off as 'schooling' folks who are ten times more knowledgeable about the game than she is.

Blogs, comments and so forth written with conviction are one thing but a relative new to racing person talking as if everything they say is fact, is misleading to the people who really ARE brand new to the game. There's a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Life will teach the delineation.

Everyone has their own opinion, but people who dismiss those like Michael Paulson etc, then try to turn it into a cheerleading session for their favorite horse, when THAT isn't what this blog is about? Or telling people to back off turning it into a personal platform etc, what place does that have here? Particularly when the person doing so has no personal investment in racing and it's just about their own 'issues'.

No amount of reading, studying and writing as though one is an expert can replace practical experience or decades of studying the sport ala Steve Haskins, Michael Paulson or any of us who have that.

This blog is about they Lady's Secret being renamed. It's about the fact that Zenyatta is deserving of a race of her own at some point. Yet not at the expense of another great horse. It's about how some of the greatest have not even been awarded that honor. It's not about any other horse who isn't involved in that discussion.

Why? Because horses that are still running do not have races named after them, usually (trying to recall if ever, Steve?). That is reserved for retired horses, deceased horses etc. NOT horses coming back to run next year (supposedly) . It is a career reward, not a seasonal reward.

29 Nov 2009 10:34 AM

hey Steve, thanks for mentioning Rags in your other article...one of the best fillies to not win HOTY...her win in the Belmont over arguably the best 3 year-old crop in many year, the world ranking filly in 2007...her own great year against her peer group, losing only that year in a hard fopught effort with a bad leg...loved that filly.

29 Nov 2009 12:23 PM
Matthew W

They're not gonna bring Zenyatta into the paddock today--they don't want her to think she's running today--she'll still probably start rototilling the track in her nervousness! Last chance to publicly view her....ifya go see her, race five, The Mailet, 6-1--might buy ya a burger'n'a'beer!

29 Nov 2009 12:27 PM

Has anyone checked out the BloodHorse.com polls lately, I didn't think so, Seems like RA fans can't get above Zenyatta's at all, and all the other polls have Zenyatta leading the way, I am fully surprised, I thought the world stood by RA more than that. The polls close Monday night. I am really shocked, especially after her big jump last weekend, then Zen's came back strong and continue to climb. I'm not picking, I am just shocked.

29 Nov 2009 12:27 PM
Matthew W

Year of the Filly! Ventura goes out on top yesterday--considering how much Goldikova was shuffled back in Breeders Cup, I really think she couldda given Goldy a race! And Vodka won Japan Cup, not her best distance, I believe, and she bled--Vodka was a top mare, just a top mare and one of Japan's all-time greats! When you condider Vodka, Goldikova, Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta and Ventura--that's some band of sisters to have raced at the same time in history...

29 Nov 2009 1:00 PM
Matthew W

Hunch bet, Hol race 8: "Tiger Blitz"....

29 Nov 2009 1:03 PM

Why do so many in racing want to give things to Zenyatta she didn't earn.  She was a California poly horse with no wins at Belmont, Churchill or Saratoga in her entire career.  She stayed in California won the same races she won last year against 14 horses in total and then ran a fantastic Breeders Cup.  5 races on a poly rubber track does not make you horse of the year compared to what Rachel did.  Will we ever see a 5 year old horse go 5 for 5 again.  YES !!! Will we ever see a 3 year old filly come close to doing what Rachel did THIS YEAR...no.

29 Nov 2009 1:13 PM
Jordan S

Carolyn, do you think those polls may be slightly biased towards Zenyatta? After all, she just won the BC Classic and everyone is coming to her defense to try and pump her up for Horse of the Year. As we all know, these polls are completely voluntary, and this is the time to try to "pump up" Zenyatta's chances for Horse of the Year. As every Rachel fan (and logical Zenyatta fans) knows, Rachel had the better overall year, and is the deserving winner of the hardware. We don't need to spend all day and night making ourselves believe one race makes a HOTY and voting on irrelevant polls which will not change the outcome. If you compare the 2 campaigns, it is quite clear who the winner is. As much as people try to think it is, the BC is not the Super Bowl, and when you put the dirt race on "test tube material," it becomes even less of a determining factor. Zenyatta's win was incredible, and I am not taking anything away from her, but one race is not HOTY. Rachel is the rightful winner.

29 Nov 2009 1:48 PM


    Get some backbone and actually direct your post at me! You know dang well I'm gonna see it. Oh and tell me how am I schooling people? I've met plenty of others who have told me that I'm actually not rude at all, passionate and hot headed but not rude. I say what I feel, if you don't like it then don't read it. Also let you know, I might be "newer" to racing, but to horses in general, not in the least. I see Zen fans go absolutely insane on these blogs, saying that there is an east coast conspirecy against the west, that we all hate Zenyatta, blah blah blah. Tell me how a person who has picked Cali horses three years in a row for the Derby is bias? Tell me how admiting you were wrong about Zenyatta winning the Classic is schooling and arrogant? Opinionated, yes, arrogant, heck no. Learn the difference.

29 Nov 2009 2:40 PM

I was looking over the charts for the last two Breeders Cup Classics at Oak Tree.

Raven's Pass circled horses much the same way Zenyatta did, yet ran the race in 1:59.27. THAT'S 1.35 SECONDS FASTER THAN ZENYATTA'S TIME OF 2:00.62! Now that means the first FIVE across the wire, Henry the Navigator, Tiago, Curlin and Go Between all would have finished ahead of Zenyatta based on  the time of the races on the exact same surface.

UH OH! Maybe that great race wasn't so spectacular after all.

29 Nov 2009 2:51 PM

I am puzzled as to why you refer Zenyatta as a Iron Lady? To me she would have had to have raced more than she has to be called that. I personally think she had a really easy season to finish her career with. I'm not knocking what she's done but I don't think she deserves to be called the Iron Lady.

29 Nov 2009 3:15 PM
sweet terchi

Dray, We may see a 5 yr old go 5 for 5 sometime in the future, But a UNDEFEATED, 5yr old? That is a big maybe. Zenyatta did race outside Cali,on dirt and won. Not to take anything away from the beauty of RA, but her connections will not even try her on synthetics ONCE. So, can she handle the surface? We will never know unless she's given the chance.

As much as I am in Zen's corner, Even I don't agree with re-naming a race for her. Lady's Secret earned that, and for it to be taken away is not right. (Reminds me of where I work. The title of the building goes to whoever gives more money. Used to be when a building was named after a person it was for life. Well, times have certainly changed.)

We need to realize that we may never again have two outstanding female horses racing at the same time, and while we did, it was a sight to behold! I consider myself lucky to have seen it.

29 Nov 2009 3:43 PM
Mike Relva


You have your opinion,I have mine!

29 Nov 2009 3:58 PM
Mike Relva


Every post you sound the same,anti- Zenyatta. In your "small world" you refuse to acknowledge greatness. Guess you think horses w/ a perfect 14-0 career record,with two Breeders' win thrown into the mix,w/one of those being the first female EVER to beat males in a Classic isn't a big deal?  Great trainers with knowledge that's above your head for sure is of their opinion that Zenyatta is a "superhorse". Guess they are wrong,too!

29 Nov 2009 4:04 PM
Mike Relva



29 Nov 2009 4:06 PM

LDP, part of my post was directed at you the rest was directed at those who continuously try to hijack these threads. Like Pasturelands, Draynay et al.

This blog was NOT designed to start the Zenyatta, connections trashing. It was not written as a platform to talk about the form of the horses that RA ran against, nor to bring up the Horse of the Year subject again. ENOUGH already to all of you doing that.

Furthermore, Young lady? I have socks that are older than the years you've been alive, let alone been involved with horses. I have HORSES older than you are that I've bred, foaled and raised. I have horses that passed from the infirmities of old age long before you were born.  You have a consistent theme of talking down to people. More so on the other blog than this, but still have noticed you telling us all exactly how it all is.

As for learning the difference of anything? I've forgotten more about horses, human nature and behavior than you've started to learn. It's obvious that you are oblivious as to how you come across to people. I believe I recall way back you telling others that things they said aren't necessarily taken the way they may have meant.

As far as not reading the constant criticism of Zenyatta and hyping of other horses that are irrelevant on this particular blog?

WHY after Steve ASKED you all to cease and desist with it do we have to continue to wade through it?

PLEASE Steve, enough is enough, I'm sick of it on every blog that we try to discuss the REAL things that are affecting racing.

"Where does all this antagonism come from? This is not about who is better, Zenyatta or Lady's Secret. Must some of you always make a battle out of everything. First Zenyatta vs. Rachel, which at least has merit, but became way too hostile, and now Zenyatta vs. Lady's Secret. This is about Lady's Secret and having a race named in her honor taken away. Period. It is not about who deserves it more, her or Zenyatta. They both deserve it. We have to keep some kind on continuity in this sport, and you cant keep changing names of races, especially this quickly and at the expense of a great horse. I'm sorry, but if this blog deteriorates into another pissing match, I will be forced to delete every such comment.

To all those who made rational comments about this, either way, or my Thanksigiving sentiments I thank you.

Have a Happy holiday.

Steve Haskin 25 Nov 2009 8:09 PM"

Now I'll just get back to the world that is real for me and a fantasy for most of the rest of you.

29 Nov 2009 4:12 PM
Tim G

Joanie, really you can't compare it that way.

The race sets up differently and the big mare is known for running down to the level of her competition, only doing what she needed to do. However, she won the Classic, the first female to do so and the story from Steve was about the fact that she's deserving of having a race named for her but no more deserving than Lady's Secret.

Personally, I'll be glad when the Eclipse awards are over and done with. Then the few people who keep this stuff stirred up, about the same number who actually watch the program, will find a new bandwagon to jump on. It’s been talked to death and has become ridiculous.  

Even though the author of this blog asked you guys to knock it off? You rudely refuse to do so. Why is it rude? Because some of us know it's becoming detrimental to racing. Such anger and vehemence about horses, connections etc that most of you do not, will not ever know or have any contact with? A subject that is fought about constantly and will be forgotten in a couple years, a subject which permeates every single blog even if that isn't the subject? Come on, find somewhere to talk about it where it's wanted or has to do with the specific subject matter of the blog.

Most of us in racing are moving on, planning for next year, the next track or finishing out this year and plotting strategy for our Derby prospects etc.

Some of us like to read what Steve has to say and be able to comment on THAT subject, read others comments on THAT subject.

Maybe head on over to the blog that's known for promoting that bickering, twisting what some actually DO say.

29 Nov 2009 4:34 PM
Steve Haskin

Ash, read the story again. No one called Zenyatta the "Iron Lady." That was Lady's Secret's nickname.

Ky. Fan, I just came on here after a day's breather, and you are absolutely correct. It's like an epidemic that can't be stopped. Once again, this blog has deteriorated into verbal warfare, and my pleas have gone unheard. If this bickering and regurgitation of the same nonsense continues by tomorrow morning, I will have to have the moderators remove it. If you wish to continue debating the renaming of the Lady's Secret, feel free to do so. But if the Zenyatta vs. Rachel or the Zenyatta vs. Lady's Secret wars persist, I have no choice but to shut it down.

29 Nov 2009 5:02 PM
Saratoga AJ

Mike Relva:

Glad to see you do have the modern conveniences like cable TV. Based on you previous comments, I was beginning to wonder! :)

29 Nov 2009 5:12 PM


    I was not the first to even utter either Zen's or RA's name. I defended MA and Bullsbay, since they were put down. Laz then came on with the assumption I only did it to bloat RA's season, which was actually not the intent. The intent was to illustrate that form does not always hold from one race to another. You go back to my first post that Las addressed and see if I mention either one of the top two fillies once. I never did, I came back at him when he came at me, not the other way around. This wasn't even about either filly until he made it so. I am actually sorry I let myself get so riled up because I had every intention to not fight and bicker and have this blog turn into a World War Three. That being said I apologize to everyone, especially Mr. Haskin for having to read the argument. What I won't apologize for is sticking up for myself and two other horses that didn't deserve to be used as punching bags to diminsh another certain horse.

29 Nov 2009 5:13 PM

Tim G:

I agree...it's time to move on. This blog battle has basically become a California vs the rest of the country battle.

Just think, if there was no synthetic tracks, there would not have been the HOY controversy that took place the last two years. It's all about that big mistake.

29 Nov 2009 5:34 PM
Mary in VT

I must agree wholeheartedly with the furor over renaming the Lady's Secret after ANYBODY. This made me sick, but I am not surprised. It's not good enough to try to steal Rachel Alexander's HOY honor away from her on the strength of one pretty race, now these folks reach back through time to snatch a prestigious race from a previous HOY winner as well.

Zenyatta mania has gotten quite out of hand. On the surface, her career stats look like they are way up there, but when you consider the majority of her races appear to have been carefully selected to NOT test her and to protect and add on to her perfect record vs. prove the horse's ability beyond any shadow of a doubt, those stats lose quite a bit of their luster for me.

I don't think there is anything particularly difficult about separating Rachel and Zenyatta on many levels. Zenyatta is 5 for 5. Her Classic win was very pretty, but I am not buying the best Classic field in years nonsense. The fact is that it wasn't even close. But we've been over that.

Nor did I care for the way the BC Classic day media coverage went from one seemingly contrived pre-produced sound bite to the next. No one sounded authentic, and I think it all hurts Zenyatta. When you toss out authenticity, you toss big gobs of credibility out too.

Steve, with all due respect, I do think if you can't or won't separate these two horses in order to cast a HOY vote, you should do more than abstain. I think you should give back your vote. Or I would agree with the committee removing voting privileges from abstainers because they need historians to apply the lens of history now more than they may have ever needed it before. In my opinion, if you don't vote, you let them down. I'm not saying it would be fun, or that you would enjoy it. Saying 'yes' to one of these great horses definitely does mean saying 'no' to the other one. But it's because you wouldn't take it lightly, and would only cast your ballot after much rational analysis and soul searching that your vote would mean something. Please reconsider not voting on HOY.

It was nice to see the good women behind the man acknowledged.

Peaceful holidays!

29 Nov 2009 5:37 PM


Do not be insulting LDP and saying that her ideas aren't valid because she hasn't owned horses for dozens of years and is relatively new to the sport because of her age. I, too, am a teenager and you best not be belittling us because YOUNGER fans are necessary to keep horse racing alive. YOU need US. I may have only been a passionate fan for six years, but I will admit that I have more sense and knowledge than people on the blogs two and three times my age. I'm not being boastful, I'm being honest.

Back to the actual topic of this blog, to say that giving Zenyatta a race embraces the present totally destroys the wonderful history of this sport, which includes Lady's Secret. Besides, has Zenyatta even been officially retired? I, for one, will definitely not forget the Iron Lady, even though I was not alive to see her race.

29 Nov 2009 7:29 PM
Soldier Course

A bit off the rail here, but thought this was interesting.

Singer Julie Andrews' grandfather, Arthur Morris, worked in the coal mines in the UK. The mines had "pit ponies", horses who would haul the coal in carts deep in the mines. In addition to his work in coal, Mr. Morris also liked to write poetry.  

He wrote a delightful poem entitled " A Pit Pony's Memory of the Strike". In the poem, the miners go on strike, and the "pit ponies" are hauled out of the mine for a break during the strike. They are given freedom in the fields and paddocks. And there is a horse race - with the pit ponies running!

You can find this gem of a poem in Julie Andrews' "Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies", just published.

29 Nov 2009 7:55 PM


The fillies and mares that have been horse of the year (some pre-Eclipse): Miss Woodford, Imp, Beldame, Regret, Twilight Tear, Busher, Moccasin, All Along, Lady's Secret and Azeri.

Miss Woodford has an ungraded stakes in her honor at Monmouth. Beldame has a GI at Belmont. Regret has a GIII at Churchill. Busher has a GIII at Aqueduct. Moccasin has an ungraded stakes at Hollywood. All Along has a GIII currently run at Colonial. Azeri has a GIII at Oaklawn.

Currently, Imp, Twilight Tear, and Lady's Secret have nothing in their honor.

29 Nov 2009 8:06 PM

Mr. Haskin - I just went back to read your Aug. 9 blog: "The Red Horse and the Iron Lady" and it reminded me how much you revered Lady's Secret and why this re-naming of her race by OTSA must be especially difficult for you, who "knew" her up front and personal.

Folks, there are countless other blogs where arguments - even unto flame-wars - are permitted and even welcome.  Not here. Steve Haskin writes to us from a higher plane where ALL horses are loved and respected, so let's please try to keep the commentary equally respectful.  The efforts of those who have tried to calm things down and stay on-topic (you know who you are) are most appreciated by those of us (I suspect we are Legion!) who mostly just read.

To KYFan: I have admired your fair and insightful comments. I hope you will continue here and share more of your experience with this blog as time goes on.

29 Nov 2009 10:38 PM

Steve, Away from all this bickering, I have a question? Do you know or have a link to Zenyatta being paraded today at Hollywood Park, I was out of town and didn't get to watch it. I have looked all over the Internet and can't find anything, Please, if anyone knows a link that has the pictures or video of today's parading , can you paste it on here, Thanks so much,

29 Nov 2009 10:48 PM

funnycide, I'm not putting her down. That is coming from her, and a bunch of others posturing and continuing this debate that Steve has repeatedly ask to STOP.

Why mention other horses that are totally irrelevant in this particular topic? What the heck do Macho or Bullsbay have to do with ANY of this? Furthermore it's irrelevant WHO actually said anything first. To say anything at all is piling on and disrespectful.

Just DROP the dang thing for now on this blog as requested by the only one who matters, STEVE HASKINS.

I came on to express my opinion that both mares are/were deserving of having a race named after them although it seems a bit too soon to do so for Zenyatta. I saw the Iron Lady run, I know her trainer and knew her owner. She was a very special horse no doubt. I've seen Zenyatta too, she is a special mare who undoubtedly will get all of her accolades over time and should have a race named after her. HER own race.

I can only tell the both of you that sure, you're entitled to your opinion but nothing speaks for experience and I'm not sure when it became okay to lecture people who, face it, know FAR more than the youngsters who think they know everything. See the comments made to both Steve, Michael, myself and several others who have been around the race track for DECADES.

Sad that those who think they know EVERYTHING really don't know that much at all. Sure you may have read about it, but frankly girls, if you knew half as much as you think you do you'd have the respect and common decency to keep these discussions to the subject at hand and not as a platform to pontificate about horses which are NOT the topic of discussion and tell people something that you believe, yet STEVE has said will shut this blog down.

Like several have said, there is a blog on this same site, that apparently perpetuates that. Steve's does not.

29 Nov 2009 11:23 PM
Horse Radish

I'm all in favor of renaming races:

The "Man O War" becomes the "Sol Lipschitz Memorial" (one hell of a lawn-party thrower, and pal of the track's chairman.

The "Secretariat" becomes the "Bo Derek Ten" (furlongs) --hey, why not?

The "Whitney" becomes the "Ralphie's Derby" --won it on-E-Bay.

The "Kentucky Derby" becomes the "Kentucky Colonel Stakes" --

money talks turkey.

The "Pacific Classic" becomes the "Schwartzenegger Classic" --"Vare's' de camera, I'm sooo beautiful!"

Etc. etc, etc....

29 Nov 2009 11:54 PM
The Peacock

And just when it looked like we'd get through this blog without a dray comment...nay! Steve you're so right about the negativity...has me wondering if there is a democrat/republican angle to any of this thinking. Sherpa, let your name be your guide to a profitable winter in New York...drop the h and you have a 'bug' to hug...three wins/one place from six starters in the five to eight to one price range...three wins/two place   from sixteen starters at higher odds...userp.

30 Nov 2009 3:09 AM
Mike Relva


My comment regarding cable,was trying to inject some "East Coast sarcasm". Sorry you missed my point!

30 Nov 2009 7:55 AM


Thank you so much for speaking up. I can't begin to tell you how fed up I have become with the constant bashing and disrespect from the same individuals I have read on  BH blogs. Steve I applaud for not putting up with the childish nonsense. I hope these few don't spoil it for the many of us who come to learn and share.

Anyway, I'm happy a race has been named in Zenyatta's honor. However, I believe it should have been done without removing Lady's Secret name.

30 Nov 2009 8:32 AM

Tiznowbaby, thanks, I knew there was more, but didn't have time to research...

Soldier Course, what a neat post...going to go find it now!

30 Nov 2009 9:15 AM
Steve Haskin

Well, I have two choices. I can sit here and keep checking the comments and deleting a good deal of them or simply shut down this particular blog to comments. If anyone has anything constructive to add, I advise doing it in the next hour. Because many people still pay no attention to my pleas for civility, I feel I have no choice but to put a halt to it. Believe me, I hate doing this, because most everyone has been great. But I simply cannot monitor this any longer and continue deleting hostile and personal comment after comment. With December approaching, I would like to extend my warmest thanks to all of you who contributed in the spirit of the blogs all year and offered your opinions and kind words. They are greatly appreciated.

30 Nov 2009 9:38 AM
Tim G

I certainly enjoyed reading your take on this Steve. Also that of people who have weighed in, in a positive way.

Of course we all may compare the Lady to Zenyatta since that was whose race was replaced. There's a way to do so respectfully though.

Before you shut it down, I've gotten a little befuddled with all the rhetoric. My question to you is: What race would you have preferred Zenyatta have named after her? Or, like myself, would you have preferred a G1 being created and maybe one of the current G1's that drew a very small field, re-graded as a GII or GIII.

Thanks and keep on writing, we'll keep on reading.

I for one appreciate a kinder/gentler blog.

Got to admit Steve, it makes those of us with families like yours and my own, appreciate them so much more when we see this stuff.

30 Nov 2009 10:01 AM
Steve Haskin

Tim, as I wrote in the blog, I suggested they change the name of the Yellow Ribbon, because that is a meaningless name, and just as prestigious as the Lady's secret. Also, the regular SA association could change the name of the Santa Margarita or Santa Maria, both grade I's

30 Nov 2009 10:27 AM
Steve Haskin

There seems to be a glitch in shutting down the blog to future comments, such as having all previous comments deleted, which I dont want. So, although the moderators and I are tired of having to delete comments, we will leave it open. But, please dont make it harder on everyone, because all hostile, inappropriate comments will be deleted.

30 Nov 2009 10:33 AM

I really have to thank you Steve for taking the time to actually monitor your blog.  The NTRA blogs

have become war zones, and the attacks have often been not only sarcastic, but downright vicious, ignorant and crude.

So sorry that you have to shut down a blog, but we do understand.

Hopefully, the future will hold polite conversation and discussion, rather than the vitriol

to which the HOTY argument has been reduced.  In a blog about Lady's Secret, I'd rather discuss the Iron Lady than rehash the HOTY.

30 Nov 2009 10:40 AM
Tim G

Thanks Steve, that's what I thought you had said, but not sure if anything changed during the course of events.

Yellow Ribbon is probably great, especially since it was named after a song.

It's a major prep for the BC, albeit on Turf but for 3 and up fillies/mares? Sounds like a good deal. The other two as well, but they have a bit more of a history so????

30 Nov 2009 10:44 AM
Linda in Texas

Steve, i looked up Lady's Secret to read her bio. First sentence described her as 'small and grey and dainty weighing no more than 900 pounds, she had great speed and true grit. Nicknamed "The Iron Lady", she was the first female to win The Whitney Stakes since 1948. She won The Breeder's Cup Distaff. Her lifetime winnings were $3,021,325. She died suddenly at the age of 21 giving birth. She never reproduced one like herself.' But she was her daddy's girl, that is for sure. She indeed deserves to keep her entitled race. I wonder what her winnings then of $3,021,325 would equate to today. And lastly i believe to forget the past will only serve to dilute the future. And i, too, have socks myself like KYFan. Thank you Steve. Hope this was civil.

30 Nov 2009 10:51 AM
Tom Jackson

Hey Steve - here at Monmouth we have the Lady's Secret Stakes [albeit ungraded], but also the Lady's Secret Cafe for after race coctails. Great article!

30 Nov 2009 11:50 AM
Soldier Course


Hope you find the book. I found mine at B&N, and Costco here also has it.

I found out about Julie Andrews' grandfather's poetry in her memoir "Home", published last year. Oddly enough, she doesn't mention that Arthur Morris is her grandfather in her collection of favorite poems. If I had not read "Home", I wouldn't have caught this.

30 Nov 2009 12:03 PM
Steve Haskin

Please do not send in any more comments on this blog. The moderators will be shutting it down shortly. Thanks again for your participation.

30 Nov 2009 12:35 PM

What a bummer that Mr. Haskin should have to resort to this. Leave it up to a few to ruin it for the rest of us.

30 Nov 2009 1:29 PM
Steve Haskin

I'm doing it for the moderators as well. It's not fun for them having to delete comments constantly.

30 Nov 2009 1:33 PM

Love ya Steve....really do enjoy your stories...

03 Dec 2009 7:42 PM

lady z worked today 12/7/09...yes zenyatta check workouts 50.2

07 Dec 2009 7:28 PM

That means they endorsed Zenyatta “Horse of the Year “neglecting rachel !!

13 Dec 2009 2:20 AM

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