Stakes Analysis For Weekend of Feb. 6

Well, it's February, and even though the weather outside isn't exactly hot, racing is really starting to heat up--especially for 3-year-olds. There is solid stakes action from Santa Anita, Gulfstream, Aqueduct, and Oaklawn on the calendar, so let's take a look at some of the major races.

Let's start with the 3-year-olds first:

Robert B. Lewis, Santa Anita

Only seven entered for this two-turn Pro-Ride contest, but it's a good field. This one is being billed a showdown between Hollywood Prevue winner American Lion and the highly-regarded Tiz Chrome, who is undefeated in two impressive starts for Bob Baffert. Both are by Tiznow. There are some other decent looking colts in here, including Macias--also from the Baffert barn--and a pair from John Sadler runners, including Domonation who finished third in the San Rafael.

I'm giving the edge to Tiz Chrome here. American Lion is the only graded stakes winner in the field, but I wasn't overly impressed with his Prevue score. He worked pretty hard to beat an average group of 2-year-olds in that Nov. 21 race and now makes his first start off a more than two-month layoff. Well see.

While Tiz Chrome will be facing a much stiffer test than he did when winning the Stuka on Dec. 19, he comes in with the highest speed numbers, had a sharp five-furlong breeze earlier this week, has the Baffert/Gomez combo working for him, and has all the looks of a star in the making. Baffert is salivating over this guy, almost as much as Lookin At Lucky. He should relish two turns.

The Pick: Tiz Chrome to win, and an exacta key Tiz Chrome with American Lion, Tango Tango, and Caracortado, who is good-looking Cal-bred facing a stiff test but has a win over the course and at the same distance last out.

Las Virgenes, Santa Anita

No way I can pick against Blind Luck, who is probably the best 3YO filly in the nation right now and has two very good runs over this strip. Crisp and Evening Jewel both look like good fillies, but are a step below Blind Luck.

The Pick: Probably not a great betting race if you like Blind Luck, but I would take a shot on a cold exacta--Blind Luck with La Nez, who also likes to come from off the pace and her rider, Mike Smith, certainly knows a thing or two about that style. La Nez finished a solid third against the aforementioned Caracortado last out in the Cal Breeders Championship after a five-wide trip. Her speed numbers stack up well with Crisp and Evening Jewel, who will likely be lower odds.

Whirlaway, Aqueduct

Is anyone going to try to beat Eightyfiveinafifty here? Not me. Not against an ordinary field that includes only five challengers. Eightyfiveinafifty is getting a two-turn test from Gary Contessa, but I'm not sure we'll learn much against this group. We already know he is lighting fast, but he will probably be so far ahead of the field turning for home that he won't have to do very much in the stretch. As an odds-on favorite (probably around 2-5), I won't play this race, but I'll be watching closely to see Eightyfiveinafifty's performance. Did you see that work the other day? Wow.

Donn Handicap, Gulfstream

I love trying to beat favorites, but Quality Road is another one I just can't play against. He is just too talented on paper and is running on his favorite track, a place where he has three stakes wins and the nine-furlong track record. His quarter crack and starting gate issues are apparently behind him and I think he is the on his way to a super 4YO campaign.

With Quality Road certainly an odds-on choice, you have to find someone to play with him. I'll go with Dry Martini, who at first glance seems to be regressing based on his four straight losses. But he ran a good race in the off-the-turf Ft. Lauderdale, had a huge bullet work on Saturday, gets maybe the hottest rider in the county in Javier Castellano, and has excelled at this distance with four career wins at nine furlongs. He is also the highest earner in the field (more than $1.2 million).

The Pick: Quality Road to win. Cold exacta Quality Road with Dry Martini. Trifecta Quality Road with Dry Martini, Past the Point, and Dubai Gold, an improving claimer who won at the distance over the same track last out.

Quick picks in other stakes races are Never On Sunday, a group one winner in Europe making his U.S. debut in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and will likely be third choice behind Court Vision and Take the Points; Rendezvous in an upset over Misremembered in the Strub; and Interactif, who likely will be a heavy favorite in the Hallandale Beach Stakes on Sunday.

Good luck this weekend. Who do you like?

195 Comments

Leave a Comment:

It Aint Easy being good

Besides pyro, quality road has been my favorite horse in the past 5 years. I have backed him every race and if you want even money go beat the house on QR there is no way he is losing. He is a beast out there. If I were a horse I would buck in the gate so I didnt have to run against him! lol!

04 Feb 2010 12:26 PM
joe schmoe

Good to see Quarter Crack Road back in the game at his favorite track. Not much going against him so it looks like a cakewalk for Quarter Crack Road, Pletcher, and Company.

04 Feb 2010 1:17 PM
MRO

Quality Road's starting gate disaster in the BC Classic made me take notice of a horse that previously didn't tickle my fancy. After watching him bounce back last time out, I'm now a fan. Hope he has a monster race this weekend.

04 Feb 2010 1:24 PM
draynay

I expect Quality Road to be undefeated going into the Classic.

Rachel vs. Quality Road at the end of the year is going to be one of the great all time match ups talked about for many years.

04 Feb 2010 3:04 PM
Matthew W

Crome it! Baffert's gonna bring out another toy this weekend, a triple crown doll named Tiz Chrome--Yes, chalky, love Blind Luck/Crisp exacta---I thought she was #1 in nation before her 3rd in the Breeders Cup--in fact, Blind Luck's 3rd in the Cup was the biggest dissapointment (for me) that whole weekend--also Quality Road at The Gulf....and since we're talkin' 'bout fast horses, anybody seen Freaky, at Los Al, running faster than, I dunno, any quarter horse ever did?...

04 Feb 2010 3:06 PM
Matthew W

Dray, I get the Rachel part, but you had better make sure Quality Road gets plenty of one turn races, and NO tenth furlong! And we'll see if he's up to facing Rail Trip at, say, Saratoga....no, I only HOPE they're both gonna be in the Classic!  

04 Feb 2010 3:11 PM
It Aint Easy being good

I agree with Dray QR is a beast and owns 2 track records. He is one of the biggest horses I have ever seen and he runs his oppenents into the ground on a dry track. I dont see him losing a race unless it rains. He is going to have a curlin type season this year!

04 Feb 2010 3:50 PM
Jason Shandler

Looking forward to seeing Blind Luck establish herself as the one to beat in the Oaks.

04 Feb 2010 3:56 PM
Sam

Anybody like Soldier Field in the 8th Sat @ GP?

04 Feb 2010 4:06 PM
Jason Shandler

Sam: He'll be a nice price with Overcommunication and wildcat Frankie in there. Good luck

04 Feb 2010 4:14 PM
ALB

I love Tiz Crome! He's beautiful!! I hope him stretching out is gonna be key for him. Agree with Draynay about the Rachel vs. QR, THAT will be an awesome race to watch!!!

04 Feb 2010 4:23 PM
NancyC

Go Crisp!!

04 Feb 2010 4:48 PM
TerriV

Quality Road is a gorgeous monster and I'm behind him 100%.  After all his troubles last year, I hope he shines this year.  He deserves it.  

04 Feb 2010 5:07 PM
GunBow

I'm with you Jason taking Tiz Chrome over American Lion in the Bob Lewis.  I was on track for both the Prevue(ALion's last start) and the Stuka(Tiz Chrome's last start) and Tiz Chrome was way, way more impressive. American Lion won the Prevue on pure class, but appeared sluggish. On the other hand, Tiz Chrome was on the muscle from the start of the Stuka, demonstrated excellent tactical speed, and kicked home impressively. Tiz Chrome, by Tiznow out of a Woodman mare, is just as likely as American Lion to go a distance. So, I definitely like Tiz Chrome on top, but have real doubts about American Lion finishing even 2nd. I just need to see a little more juice or pop to view him as a major Derby contender.  Caracortado is a Cal-bred from more humble beginnings, but her ran well around two turns in the Cal Breeder's, a race he could have won by 5 with a clear stretch run.  I'm not familiar with John Sadler's #1 horse in the race, Dave from Dixie, but I have seen his #2 Domonation run 3 times and he is a very game little horse.  He had little chance in the San Rafael, trying to close into a very slow pace set by the good Baffert horse, Conveyance.

I'm very excited to see Blind luck in the gr.1 Las Virgenes. Her performance in the Starlet was the best by any juvenile around 2 turns last year and Starlet also-rans have been returning to win stakes all over the country.  While I think she should be very difficult to beat in the Las Virgines, I'm also excited to see Crisp. This John Sadler filly broke her maiden in remarkbale fashion, blowing the turn for home before re-rallying in the stretch to win going away. In the gr.3 Santa Ysabel at 8.5 furlongs, she was last early before a very slow pace in a small field. The race could not have set up for her any worse, yet she still cruised home in the stretch to win easily. Her speed figures are lower because of brutally slow early paces, but the fact she was able to rally into such paces proves she is a serious talent.  One thing to keep in mind about the Las Virgines is that there appears to be extrememly little pace.

04 Feb 2010 5:56 PM
GunBow

Matthew W:

I'm very familiar with the quarter horse Freaky. I was at Los Al for his win in the Cahmpion of Champions and again last Saturday night for his win in Trial #3 for the Winter Championship. This past Saturday, he did not break with his typical rocket burst, stumbling and being bumped before getting on track. Yet, he still won by 1.5 lengths, an enormous margin in QH racing, and with easily the fastest qualifying time. Those I've talked with at Los Al seem to feel he is the fastest QH they've seen. I posted his speed records on this blog after he won the Champion of Champions. And by just the numbers(times), he IS the fastest horse in Los Al history.

04 Feb 2010 6:01 PM
Mike Relva

I like Am. Lion for the win.

04 Feb 2010 6:53 PM
Carlos in Cali

Whirlaway: Lone speed kills in the inner-dirt @ Aqueduct,but I'm thinking 85ina50 will fold like a cheap tent.'Peppi Knows' for the upset special.

R.Lewis: I also think American Lion will not be primed just yet and is vulnerable in this spot.Tiz Chrome could be this good off of his sprints & minimal experience,but....I'll go with Macias and his recent 2-turn win on grass.He should be the fittest of the 3,gets the rail & Espinoza will try and steal it on the front end.How's that J-Woww?...

04 Feb 2010 6:53 PM
Householder

Jason don't think for a minute that Hollendorfer has forgotten Lite Light's 10 length win in the Kentucky Oaks.  Just don't tell Blind Luck she only cost $11,000 and she could give the "Dorf" a repeat.  I'm secretly hoping Santa Anita Derby but I know this is a long shot.

I think American Lion is an easy winner.  

60% chance of rain...forcasted snow level down to 5500 feet...Grapvine closing...Not sure how Tiznows do in the rain.

Nice training job on Quality Road to get his mind back in the game after traveling many many miles in a trailer.  Who on the gate crew gets to load him this weekend?  (e.g,. who drew the short straw?) Tough assignment.

04 Feb 2010 8:10 PM
AnneM

I am looking forward to watching Blind Luck return to the races.

She had back luck to lose the BC Junvenile Filly race. I am also hoping that Quality Road wins the Donn - He has overcome a lot and this will be his year.

04 Feb 2010 9:28 PM
Footlick

I'll take a chance on Caracortado.

04 Feb 2010 9:48 PM
Draynay

Christine Daae is still my pick as best 3 year old filly.  Blind Luck or no Blind Luck. Roll Quality Road roll baby!

04 Feb 2010 10:11 PM
predict

At first I was thinking as Carlos was about Macias, but I think with Baffert's big boy also in there the two should set this up perfectly for Caracortado. This is one serious gelding, improving and growing steadily; has already done the distance , something the big names here haven't, so I'll go with Caracortado, may be over estimating his chances here, but think he'll be coming strong and fast at the end.

Mikey likes him!

04 Feb 2010 11:09 PM
Ted from LA

I like Caracortado for the win.  I also saw Quality Road on Opening Day at Gulfstream.  He winked at me in the paddock.  He seemed confident.  He also bought me a beer after the race.  He is my favorite horse in training now.

04 Feb 2010 11:18 PM
Ranagulzion

Its all chalk this weekend folks.  Eightyinafifty should win on the trot.  Interactif on a common canter, Quality Road in workmanlike fashion over a gutsy Duke Of Mischief in the Donn, Tiz Chrome to stamp his class on American Lion and other assorted Derby pretenders, Misremembered is a cinch in the Strub and Blind Luck should inhale rivals in the Las Virgenes (too soon to crown her top 3YO filly, not with Bickerson looking so awesome and Hot Dixie Chick and the auspicious debutante Christine Daae waiting in the wings).  Long shot seekers will need a lot of luck and inclement weather to breakthrough.

05 Feb 2010 12:06 AM
GunBow

Similar to just about everyone, I like Quality Road in the Donn, but I do think any "superstar" label is, of yet, not earned.  The Donn, at 9 furlongs and at a track Quality Road has won 3 stakes, is ideal for him.  However, one must keep in mind that he has won exactly one stakes race outside of Gulfstream, and none outside of Gulfstream beyond 6.5 furlongs. In his two 10 furlong tests, he was simply outkicked in the stretch by better stayers(by Summer Bird and Hold Me Back in the Travers and Summer Bird in the Jockey Club Gold Cup).  Quality Road ran well in both defeats, and was playing catch-up in the Travers, but the fact remains that he has not proven himself a grade 1(winner) horse beyond 9 furlongs.

Having said this, I was totally impressed by Quality Road's physicality when I saw him on Breeder's Cup day. He was the only horse in the Classic that physically could stand toe-to-toe with Zenyatta.  I also believe that Quality Road can  win at 10 furlongs, although I still have doubts whether he can do it against the absolute best.  Thus, it wouldn't surprise me if he were to win a 5 horse Jockey Club Gold Cup but get beaten in the Classic when he faces superior pace pressure. Of course, Quality Road needs to remain sound(stay away quarter cracks), and he can still make alot of money even if 10 furlongs does prove too much, given that few gr.1 races for older males in the East are run beyond 9 furlongs(unlike California which has the superior series of 10 furlong races: Big Cap, Gold Cup, Pacific Classic).  The Donn should be a good 2nd step for Quality Road, given that a competitive field has lined up to face him.  If he wins as expected, and is impressive, then full speed ahead and perhaps he is on his way to fulfilling that superstar potential. A loss, though, would raise serious questions.

05 Feb 2010 1:12 AM
Ann in Lexington

With the type of field in this year's renewal, how long do you think the Donn will keep its G1 status? Last year's running at least had Einstein and a couple of G1-placed horses. This year we have Quality Road, whose G1 win was against 3yos, and a bunch of G2 or lesser types.

05 Feb 2010 9:53 AM
Runfast159

This is a weekend with some soft fields.  I'm disappointed the Donn came up as soft as it did, and QR looks like an easy winner here but I always like Delightful Kiss.  I hope he runs in the money.

I'm going to take a chance with up and coming Caracortado in the Bob Lewis, with American Lion and Tiz Chrome following.

No one beats Blind Luck unless she beats herself.

I give Take The Points an honest chance to upset Court Vision, but these 2 are clearly the best.

Interactif wins his debut.

05 Feb 2010 9:53 AM
It Aint Easy being good

Quality Road is a monster and if all shapes up well we could have the best breeders cup classic essembled. Think about it Quality road, zenyatta, Rachael alexander and the stars that will emerge from the triple crown ....cant wait. Finally we have amazing older horses for once! This is what racing is all about...stop retiring horses!

05 Feb 2010 10:24 AM
josue555

I too think quality road is winning and tiz chrome, but the whirlaway smells like upset to me and i could see afleet express winning that race most of the horse who have lost and got to a race in philadelphia to race and win, run big in their next race.

05 Feb 2010 11:10 AM
Top Turf Teddy

If I have been able to see farther than other men, it is because I have read the columns of Jason Shandler.

05 Feb 2010 11:29 AM
Tiznowbaby

Wow, Ted from LA, that story was...... romantic.

If everyone gets healthy (Summer Bird) and stays that way (Zen, QR, RA, MTB, MM), the handicap ranks will be so much fun.

can't go against Quality Road or the beautiful Blind Luck. Like Tiz Chrome. Don't like 85ina50

05 Feb 2010 11:33 AM
Jason Shandler

There's a good chance the Whirlaway will get cancelled by snow.

05 Feb 2010 11:36 AM
Billy's Empire

I am going with Caracortado, not b/c I think he will win, but b/c the horse's name means "SCARFACE" in Spanish, and is one of my favorite movies of all time. Apparently, he had a big cut on his head when he came to the trainer, and had stitches in his head. They would not allow the connections to name him Scarface, so he named him scarface in Spanish. NICE! This gelding has a similar story to Smarty Jones, who got all banged up in a starting gate accident before anyone knew who he was... Could get live odds on him.

05 Feb 2010 11:44 AM
Forbidden Apple

I completely agree with it aint easy being good, stop retiring sound horses for dollar signs in the breeding shed. I keep reading about the stud fees and auction prices decreasing. When a horse gets injured I understand, but when a healthy horse like Mineshaft retired I wanted to cry!

I can see 85ina50 getting pulled over by the stamina police in mid-stretch. And Delightful Kiss needs the race of his life to win the Donn.

Best bet: Take The Points.

Whirlaway-- Turf Melody 8-1

GP Turf Hcp.-- Take The Points 3-1

Donn Hcp.-- Delightful Kiss 8-1

Suwannee River-- Astrologie 4-1

Las Virgenes-- Crisp 4-1

RB Lewis-- Tiz Chrome 2-1

Strub-- Eagle Poise 5-1

05 Feb 2010 2:32 PM
Top Turf Teddy

12-Lady Shakespeare received no respect from the morning line fellow at Gulfstream (8-1).  What was he thinking?  This Woodbine shipper will love the distance and is poised for a most promising 4-year old campaign, beginning right here.  Get your bankrolls out folks, oh Suwanee, how I luv ya, how I luv ya........

05 Feb 2010 3:06 PM
Billy's Empire

I checked the weather, looks like 3-6 inches at Aqueduct tomorrow, tapering off in the afternoon, so who knows if they will run.

05 Feb 2010 3:16 PM
Fish

In the Robert Lewis I like Dave in Dixie.  He has experience at two turns and will be off the pace and closing at the finish.  Hopefully he can catch the overbet Tiz Chrome.

05 Feb 2010 3:30 PM
Top Turf Teddy

Essex - Oaklawn

5-Ready Set gets best figure and may have value in Hot Springs tomorrow in the Essex.  Ready Set GO!!!!!!

No Horse M/L TTT

5 Ready Set 6 3.70

6 Win Willy 5/2 4.35

1 Jonesboro 2 6.95

4 Spotsgone 6 9.94

7 Prom Shoes 8 13.02

8 Glamour Guy 4 13.61

3 Crook's Bodgit 20 18.33

2 Racing Bran 12 19.85

05 Feb 2010 3:46 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Quality Road is the easiest bet of the day. If anyone is going to bet tomorrow please a minimum of $100 bet with him to win. If he is even money you have to be the house!! He is fit and is at his favorite track if it rains go up to the teller and get your money back! lol! QUALITY ROAD BABY! If he loses I will take some heat thats fine but he wont. The only way he loses is if he scratches!

05 Feb 2010 4:23 PM
Billy's Empire

Musket man is running tomorrow, race 10 at Tampa.

GREG J., Footlick Race 11 at Tampa, wish us luck!!  

later ya'll

Have a good weekend, and I hope you all have a winner.

I am looking forward to St Trinias and Life is Sweet in the Santa Margarita...

05 Feb 2010 4:58 PM
Footlick

Top Turf Teddy- I like Lady Shakespeare, and also like Never on Sunday.

05 Feb 2010 8:05 PM
LDP

I disagree with your statement that AL was working hard to win. If you watch the replay or even look at some of the pictures, his ears are pricked before they have even crossed the wire. Once AL made the lead he shut down and cruised the rest of the way. Had he kept going at the speed he made the lead at he would won the race by daylight. Tiz Chrome is flashy and very talented, but AL, the more I look the more I like.

Every other pick I agree with you. I'm expecting Eightyfiveinafifty to win, but I'll sit back and watch what he does here before saying he's superman. QR, I hate it when ppl critisize his last win, just because he didn't look as flashy. His times were done easily and it was just a prep, which he won while pretty much sleeping. All they need to do is step on the gas in the Donn and it's game over for the rest of the field.

05 Feb 2010 8:53 PM
tcc

Jason:

If Aqueduct cancel's the Whirlaway will be rescheduled for Feb. 13th,

maybe by then they will have more horses enter?

05 Feb 2010 9:02 PM
LAZMANNICK

How can Quality Road plan on going to the Classic if he starts his season in February.......I thought that you had to keep your horse in the barn until late May if you wanted to race in the BC otherwise is will be tired and over the hill by Labor Day.

05 Feb 2010 10:49 PM
LAZMANNICK

I like Quality Road but I don't think he's a mortal lock.  If Past the Point steps up like he did in Culrin's Woodward, Quality is going to be in a lot tougher than most people think.  I expect Mambo Meister and Kiss the Kid to be settin off the pace and give a big run at the end with the Kid winning and QR fading to second.

05 Feb 2010 10:57 PM
Draynay

GunBow I see you are on the Quality Road attack but let me remind you he is undefeated in Stakes races run on dry ground. Maybe from now on he should just scratch like Zenyatta does when things come up wet so people like you wouldn't post nonsense that he is not able to go beyond 9 furlongs.  Quality Road will show up to all the dances and I feel sorry for any horse that decides to take him on. Lazmannick, QR doesn't win ?  Bet big for me, bet big. This is one time I would take 4 to 5.

06 Feb 2010 8:29 AM
cat thief

I'll try the Duke to pass all the speed in this race.  I'll try a 4 horse box for exactas and tri with Kiss the Kid, Mambo, QR, and the Duke.

06 Feb 2010 11:34 AM
Greg J.

FYI,

   I just heard unofficially that racing has been canceled today at Santa Anita, Under Water...

06 Feb 2010 11:39 AM
jim

just a point did anyone who watched the QR breederscup incident notice or hear the loud noise a helicopter just above the starting gate and when the chopper went away the settled down but by that time it was too late.

06 Feb 2010 12:15 PM
GunBow

It's time the CHRB thinks about doing something drastic with the Santa Anita winter meet.  Yes, it rained here in SoCal, but it was nothing like the series of systems that moved through 2 weeks ago forcing repeated cancellations at Santa Anita. The fact Santa Anita is cancelling its' Saturday program, with the gr.1 Las Virgenes, gr.2 Strub, and gr.2 Bob Lewis after a slightly above normal storm is utterly ridiculous.  I have not lived here over the last 10 years but have visited often and lived here from 1986-1999, and I have trouble rememberring a race card of such importance being washed out.  

One of the many problems created by the cancellation is that all 3 stakes races are part of a series of races, with the Strub a prep for the Big Cap, the Bob Lewis a prep for the San Felipe and then the SA Derby, and the Las Virgenes a prep for the SA Oaks.  If the races are pushed back a week, like it appears they will be, how many horses will remain entered given the Strub will then only be 3 weeks before the Big Cap? These days, there are plenty of trainers who view 3 weeks as too tight.

What to do? Santa Anita's main course, the pathetically ironic "all weather" Pro-Ride, has proven itself a complete failure against any moderate level of precipitation.  The single storm system that passed through Friday and into Saturday did dump more rain on the Southland than normal, but it is hard to fathom that it should have forced Santa Anita to cancel such an important day (as a side, I will not call Sanat Anita track superintendent Richard Tedesco a liar, but the rain totals he has been reporting for Santa Anita have been higher than the totals I have seen posted for surrounding areas on different weather services).

If Santa Anita cannot handle the wet weather, and this is predicted to be a wet winter out here, then I think something as radical as moving the meet to Hollywood Park might be justified.  Santa Anita is the most beautiful track I have ever been to(and I've been to most across the country), and it would be an absolute shame for it to lose its' days.  However, Santa Anita is doing a sadly good job losing days on its own right now, and how many more important days must be washed out before fans and horsemen have had enough?  30 miles away there is a very nice track that has an "all-weather" track that is actually living up to its name. Perhaps a worse shame than seeing Santa Anita lose the winter meet is for more days like this to be lost to weather when there is a substitute track less than an hour drive away.

Now, I'm not saying that a move should be made now;  it is just something to think about.  However, a few more days like today and there might not be another option.  I'm sure the folks at Santa Anita are working as hard as they can, but the track they are working with simply doesn't work.  At this point, the only thing they can really do to ensure more big days aren't lost is to wish and pray, because if this most recent (single)system caused a cancellation, many more bullets are going to be flying Santa Anita's way.  Why should fans and horsemen be depending on hopes and prayers when there is a track that actually works so close away? This is a question more people will be asking as more days are lost at Santa Anita. Think about it, what will Santa Anita do if a storm comes through later this upcoming week and dumps a few more inches? Will the Strub, Las Virgenes, and Bob Lewis be moved back another week?  Will trainers and owners even accept such a possibility, or will they start shipping their horses out?  Santa Anita's worst case scenario is becoming more and more likely.    

06 Feb 2010 3:25 PM
draynay

GunBow what did you expect?  Like Zenyatta, Santa Anita does not come to play when it gets wet.

06 Feb 2010 4:46 PM
LAZMANNICK

Draynay:

Believe me, I really like Quality Road for a lot of different reasons and personally hope he gets the job done.  But this race as a G-1 shapes up as too easy.  I can see an upset if one or two things happen like a stiff challenge for the lead and if that happens and QR still wins, GREAT.

06 Feb 2010 5:21 PM
LAZMANNICK

Dray:

Good luck.  This guy is going to be the BOSS MAN this year.  Now it looks like the BOSS WOMAN, Zenyatta might actually have ome competition.

06 Feb 2010 5:39 PM
Greg J.

One word about Quality Road, WOW!  What a performance...

06 Feb 2010 6:11 PM
AnneM

What a performance by QR in the Donn - I just wonder what he would have done if he had loaded at the Breeder's Cup.

06 Feb 2010 6:30 PM
Tiznowbaby

Wow! QR sure does like Gulfstream.

06 Feb 2010 6:32 PM
Paula Higgins

Draynay I am with you as far Quality Road goes. He is an amazing horse and I think the best is yet to come. His race today at the Donn H. was fantastic. Don't get me wrong, I am beyond ecstatic that Zenyatta beat all the boys. But what a race that would have been if he had not had the gate issue. I think it would have been close.

06 Feb 2010 6:35 PM
Runfast159

Wow, what a crazy day of racing, or NOT racing if you are at Santa Anita...

QR's performance today was DAZZLING. He needs to get out of Florida now to get that bug off his back, but I don't doubt he is the class of the male handicap division this year.  Delightful Kiss hitting the board was nice....

What a disaster for 85ina50 in the Whirlaway!  I heard his bit broke, what a wild ride. I'm glad he will race another day.  I guess he ran into the outer fence.  Does make you question the intelligence sometimes....

How about the DQ of Take the Points?  I know he had to come down, but I think he was going to win anyways.  If YBC had enough to win he would have gotten through that hole quicker.  I'm sure Pletcher would have loved to have had that double!

Biggest disappointment on the day though was the cancellation at SA.  It was going to be a great day of stakes racing there and that throws everyones preps into a bit of a mess.

Was also nice to see RA in her workout.  She looks like a much deeper horse at 4, and she was working well in hand.  Can't wait to see her debut!

06 Feb 2010 7:25 PM
GunBow

Dray:

Shouldn't you have said that like Zenyatta AND Quality Road, Santa Anita doesn't do well when it rains?

And by the way, I aboslutely predicted Quality Road to win today, and win he did. And he was an absolute monster in the Donn, like I said he looked like before the BC Classic.  And I think he could have beaten ANY horse today, Rachel and Zenyatta included. And he probably could have beaten any horse today even if the Donn was at 10 furlongs.  The race was always Quality Road's to lose, but the scratch of You and I Forever made it almost inevitable.  

However, even today's win does not make me feel that Quality Road is deserving of the label "superstar".  Could he become a superstar? Absolutely.  Does he have superstar potential? Absolutely.  Has he won a two-turn stakes race outside of Gulfstream? Absolutely not.  Has he won a grade 1 outside of Gulfstream?  Absolutely not?  Has he won more grade 1 races than Take the Points or Court Vision?  Absolutely not.

To be considered a superstar, those last 3 questions must be answered in the affirmitive.  Quality Road needs to PROVE that he can take his Florida Derby/Donn performances on the road, and win consistently away from Gulfstream and in grade 1s around 2 turns.

Do I think Quality road can  win races like the Stephen Foster, or Whitney, or the BC Classic?  Yes, I think he has the talent to be  extremely formidable in such races.  But, he must actually go out and do it.  Like I wrote in my earlier post, the Donn is the perfect 2nd step for Quality Road ON HIS WAY to superstardom.  But he's not a Hall of Famer yet, and about that, there can be no doubt.

Dray, for someone that still demands more from Zenyatta, I'm surprised that you've crowned a horse that has won exactly ZERO graded stakes races at a classic distance and exactly ZERO graded stakes around 2 turns outside of Gulfstream.

And for the sake of being repetitive, I want to make sure that this nuanced argument is not taken as an attack on Quality Road like my previous nuanced post was. Far from being on "The Quality Road attack", I PICKED QR to WIN the Donn, and wrote that he has evry reason to become a superstar.  My point is that he actually hasn't done enough to warrant being in the Hall of Fame quite yet.  Quality Road has superstar talent and potential, but until his accomplishments match this potential, he isn't a superstar in my book.  

06 Feb 2010 7:39 PM
GunBow

While most of the attention should deservedly be on Quality Road's Donn, a horse that actually placed in 2 Triple Crown races, Musket Man, looked very sharp in winning the ungraded Super Stakes today at Tampa.  Although he only won by half a length, Musket Man was ridden very confidently, and showed the same determination he did last year when challenged down the stretch.  Given Musket Man is a proven warrior, and proven on the road, his return bolsters any already promising handicap division.  The one positive thing about a recession is that owners are forced to keep their horses on the track longer because the breeding shed just isn't as lucrative.

06 Feb 2010 7:48 PM
GunBow

Prepare for Quality Road's Donn Beyer to be over 120.  

Last year, when QR set the track record, it was a day when records were falling at other distances.  Today, the Gulfstream surface was producing times that were, if anything, on the slow side.  There wasn't another maintrack stakes race today at Gulfstream, unlike last year's Flordia Derby day, so that might explain a little part of the difference between Quality Road's time in the Donn and other times.  But it doesn't explain it all.

Allowance horses ran miles in 1:38 today, well off QR's mile split of 1:34 and change.  The only other race today at Gulfstream at 9 furlongs was for lower level claiming fillies and mares, and their final time was 1:53, almost 6 seconds slower than QR's Donn.  6 seconds equals about 48 Beyer points at 9 furlongs, so the claiming fillies running in the mid-70s would put Quality Road's Donn at 120.  

06 Feb 2010 7:59 PM
horselover

Wow...I've always been high on Quality Road...but even I'm surprised at how well he did!  He would have easily won at 10 Furlongs today...talk about being the class of the race!

06 Feb 2010 8:01 PM
GunBow

And Jason, congrats on hitting that Donn exacta!!  Your Dry Martini didn't exactly run a great race, getting beaten by over 12, but it was good enough for 2nd.  While QR was strutting away in the stretch, you must have been on the edge of your seat watching to see if your boy Dry Matini could get up!

06 Feb 2010 8:02 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

Yes,QR was very impressive today. If I wished could borrow a page from your book and point out the others' were way overmatched today,kinda like you did when you slammed Zenyatta's foes in the Breeders'. I'm certain after it's done you will wish Zenyatta NEVER LEFT CA. lol

06 Feb 2010 8:20 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks Gunbow. I didnt expect to get back $18. That was a nice price with a 2/5 on top.

06 Feb 2010 8:46 PM
tcc

Jason:

Good call on you're cold exacta,

Q.R. with D.M. AS I expected, I don't see any DERBY winner coming out of the Whirlaway.

06 Feb 2010 8:57 PM
Ranagulzion

With the return of the King in the Donn, I would suggest that the queens fight their battles in the Distaff division.  This is in no way a put down for Rachel Alexandra or Zenyatta but Quality Road's sublime talent as the leading older horse justifies the separation of colts and geldings from distaffers.  It would be no fun to see the superior brilliant male thoroughbred humble his female counterparts.  Quality Road is undoubtedly of the calibre of a Holy Bull or Spectacular Bid, in that he can sprint and stay while threatening track records at any distance up to 10 furlongs.  the best is yet to come but will anyone want to race against him from here on.  I suggest that his connection seriously consider a trip to Dubai, using the Curlin model of going well ahead of time to be acclimatised.  It would be "money for jam" (10 million $$ to be a cinch) on the international stage in the world's richest horse race.

06 Feb 2010 9:48 PM
Paula Higgins

ITA send Quality Road to Dubai. He certainly has a good shot at it. Musket Man was great today too. I was happ to see that.

06 Feb 2010 10:22 PM
Draynay

I agree Ranagulzion, Quality Road is going to show talent at various distances and have a throw back type year not seen in many years.  Don't mess with Quality Road this year. Quality vs Rachel... wow.

06 Feb 2010 10:32 PM
Tiznowbaby

Wow, GunBow, you're being awfully optimistic in expecting logic and consistency from Dray. Good luck.

06 Feb 2010 10:54 PM
Footlick

It is Feb 6th, right???  I just want to make sure I didn't miss the whole season and we're at the end of the year.......

06 Feb 2010 11:17 PM
GunBow

Quality Road's Beyer for the Donn is a 122.

It is a monster fig and every bit legit based on a Gulfstream surface that was far, far, from a "speedway".  Unlike his Florida Derby time and Beyer, no doubts here.

Like I said in an earlier post, QR would have beaten any horse currently running or training in the Donn.  And with such a performance, it is clear that QR has the talent to be an elite racehorse, maybe even a Hall of Fame type horse.  

But folks, Spectacular Bid?  Really? After ONE race with a Beyer over 113?  Let's keep some things in perspective:

1) It was at Gulfstream, a track QR has won ALL 3 of his stakes beyond 6.5 furlongs.

2) It was at a distance he had already proven he could excel at, 9 furlongs, the same distance and track he won his ONLY other grade 1.

3) The Donn field was decent, but included exactly ZERO gr.1 winners, besides QR.  So, going into the race, the field had a total of ONE gr.1 race to its name, that being Quality Road's Florida Derby.

4) With the scratch of You and I Forever, Quality Road was left with only Past the Points as a legit pace horse. We all remember Past the Points running Curlin to the brink in the 2008 Woodward, but that race was one and a half years ago and many disappointments ago for Past the Point.  Since then, Past the Points has not proven himself to be anywhere near a top animal around two turns.  QR was thus able to sit off a hopeless pacesetter and had absolutely no other speed to pressure him on the outside.  QR was able to sit in a garden spot, although he had to maintain strong fractions himself to do it.  I'm not sure Pletcher could have envisioned it setting up any better, although he probably would have preferred a half in :48.  But that's the only negative I'll say about QR's performance in the Donn, because even the dream set-up aside, it was nearly perfect.

5)  QR hasn't proven he can replicate this performance around two-turns outside of Gulfstream, and his style isn't ideal for synthetic surfaces.  Listen, QR wasn't going to win the 09' BC Classic.  Not that day at least; c'mon, the horse went bonkers and couldn't even load into the race let alone win it.  Even had he been on his best behavior, I really, really don't think he was going to win. The Classic had a full field and there was ample quality pace pressure.  QR had not been able to handle Summer Bird's stalking pressure in his two previous races at 10 furlongs, and in the Classic he would have been asked to run on a track that is BRUTAL to speed-types.  The pace of the Classic, with a half in a bit over :47, might sound on the slow side, but at Santa Anita it is almost impossible for a horse to win at 10 furlongs running even that fast.

As for the Dubai World Cup, well, it's a completely different affair altogether than was the Donn. QR looks like he can eventually win a gr.1 at 10 furlongs, but shipping around the world and running on a synthetic surface is probably not the way to do it.  And even if he runs well it would likely knock him out for a while.  In any event, such talk appears irrelevant because Pletcher seems committed to giving QR a little break and then returning in the Met Mile(which would eliminate him from the Stephen Foster).  After the Met, I would assume the Whitney, Woodward, and JCGC, or 2 of the 3 races would be on the agenda.  

With the Whitney and Woodward being at Saratoga, the one track QR has won a stakes besides Gulfstream, and with the distance for both at 9 furlongs, QR would be a very formidable challenge for any horse.  Of course, alot can change in 5 months, and horses have to stay healthy.  We can only hope to see a Woodward with the defending champ, Rachel Aleksandra, the great mare Zenyatta, and perhaps, finally,  a male in Quality Road worthy of the Hall of Fame as well.  Only time and repitition will prove if Quality Road is truly a great horse, a horse for course, or a quickly fading light(Candy Ride and his 123 Beyer in the Pacific Classic and then, poof, gone to injury).

p.s.

In placing QR's 122 in perspective, it is hard to remember when California didn't have synthetics and when horses actually ran big Beyers.  But Lava Man ran a 120 Beyer in the 05' Hollywood Gold Cup, then went on to win 6 more gr.1 races.  QR has a long way to go to being in his company.  Or what about Best Pal?  That Cal-bred ran a 123 Beyer when winning the 92' Big Cap, a 121 winning the 92 Oaklawn Cap, a 121 winning the 92' San Fernando, a 119 winning the 92' Strub, a 118 winning the 91' Pacific Classic, and a 117 winning the 93' Hollywood Gold Cup.  A 7-time gr.1 winner, Best Pal won gr.1 races at 2,3,4 and 5, and missed by a length at 6 and by a nose at 7.  Yet, he never won an Eclipse Award.

Speaking of Beyers, the mid-90s was a magical time.  Formal Gold ran 3 STRAIGHT Beyers of 124 or higher, Gentlemen ran 3 STRAIGHT races with Beyers of 126, 121, and 121.  Skip Away ran Beyers of 125, 122, 121, 120 and about a dozen more between 115 and 119(seriously, look up his past performances and Beyers in the book, Champions), and Silver Charm, Wild Rush, Will's Way,and Bertrando all ran Beyers of at least 123.  Then, in 1992, there was the little horse without a tail, Sea Cadet, runniing Beyers of 117 in the Donn, 121 in the Gulfstream Park Cap, and 118 in the Oaklawn Cap, and few people even remember him.  And this doesn't include Cigar, who earned a Beyer of at least 111 in all 17 of his final starts, and ran between 114 and 121 Beyers something like 15 times.

And I would hate to know what The Bid's Beyers were.  They would make any comparison between him and QR, with his ONE Beyer over 113, premature to say the very least.  Let's let the year unfold, and QR reproduce his Donn performance a few times before conceding the year to him.  Not being a hater, just being realistic.

And for the last words to be positive, cheers to QR and his connections for an INSPIRING win in the Donn. It was truly magnificent.

07 Feb 2010 8:40 AM
Saratoga AJ

There's not a horse in the country that will beat Quality Road this year if he stays sound, both physically and mentally. And that includes two outstanding distaffers.

07 Feb 2010 9:24 AM
longwaytomay

Gunbow,

 Your analysis of Quality Road was excellent. Nice call on the Beyer too, prelims give him a 122. Like you, I will not ordain him as the second coming of the Bid. If he can run like he did yesterday at other tracks then he will certainly have a chance to achieve the label some here are already giving him. I hope he does, but he will have to show me he is not a one track wonder.

Draynay,

 You have now posted at least twice now that you can't wait for a Quality Road v Rachel matchup. Your omission of Zenyatta in such a race shows how much of a child you can be.

07 Feb 2010 9:50 AM
Rachel

As one of only 2 Triple Crown Talk bloggers last year who still loved & totally believed in QR after his second race...!

I also hit the tri-fecta (thank-you, thank-you)...

Go Saints...

07 Feb 2010 11:39 AM
draynay

Mike let me know when Zenyatta takes on G1 winning males on dirt. Think it will happen before November?  I say the odds are 500 to 1.  You believe she will take on Quality Road ? Really ?  Not on your life ! No one cares what she did on poly ! Step up and take on Quality Road on dirt...lol.

07 Feb 2010 11:59 AM
Tiznowbaby

Gosh, I hope everyone enjoyed QR's two races because now he's on vacation for a bit and then pointing to the May 31 Met Mile. Sigh.

07 Feb 2010 1:07 PM
Footlick

Thanks GunBow for saying what I was thinking.  It was a great race, but one race against very overmatched horses. I didn't want to rain on anyone's parade, but it is a long season.

longwaytomay- it's Dray.  What do you expect.

07 Feb 2010 1:32 PM
Tiznowbaby

Saratoga AJ, will all those races be at Gulfstream?

Until he wins at 1 1/4, he's still only a fantastic 1 1/8 horse (not that that's a terrible thing). His breeding is better than Smarty Jones' for 1 1/4, but in two tries he hasn't done it. You can give him the Travers, because that was so much to ask, but he failed to win the JCGC and he certainly has more brilliance than Summer Bird.

GunBow, lovely analysis.

07 Feb 2010 3:18 PM
LAZMANNICK

longwaytomay

Draynay's clamoring for a Quality Road vs Rachel matchup is good.  I hope it happens because as soon as QR disposes of Rachel then we can get serious.  It will be on to the WOULD BE KING vs THE UNDISPUTED QUEEN and I wouldn't exactly back off of ZENYATTA at this time.

07 Feb 2010 3:32 PM
draynay

Longwaytomay do me a favor and write down races that Quality Road has won on dirt and then write down the races Rachel has won on DIRT. AND THEN write down the races Zenyatta has won on dirt.  And then maybe just maybe you will see why I consider Zenyatta a non factor.

07 Feb 2010 3:37 PM
LAZMANNICK

Quality Road's race was excellent and I was impressed.  However, there are some doubters out there.  The handicapper at GP thinks that his 122 Beyer is high and actually might be adjusted down a bit.  The reason he gives is that the 2nd and 3rd horses have never run that fast before and aren't true G-1 horses.  It is also interesting to note that as a G-1 race, outside of QR, the competition wasn't much as only Pass the Point (2nd in the 08 Woodward) and Helsinki (3rd in the 07 Travers)have ever hit the board in a G-1 race.  There were also two that have been in claiming races and another that is best on grass.  BRING ON SOME STIFFER COMPETITION although I don't think it will matter.  This guy is still the real deal.

07 Feb 2010 3:40 PM
CV

"longwaytomay- it's Dray.  What do you expect."

I have to echo that. Who else would drag Zenyatta's name into an unrelated conversation just so he could slime her? Answer: only Draynay.

As an aside, is it definite that a broken bit is what caused Eightyfiveinafifty to blow the turn and crash through the outside rail? I read his connections weren't sure if that happened on the course or afterward. It's scary to think what could have happened if he'd collided with another horse. Thank God he and the jockey are going to be OK.

07 Feb 2010 3:45 PM
Paula Higgins

O.k so the horses Quality Road raced were overmatched. That just means he beats the faster horses/Grade 1's by 4 lengths instead of 12. I think he would give the Queens a run for their money. He is the only male in their league in my opinion. I hope he is entered into the $5,000,000 race if the girls run.

07 Feb 2010 3:52 PM
TerriV

Quality Road ran a fabulous race.  He was magnificent, by far the best and showed us all exactly what he is capable of in any race he runs.  I'd love to see Rachel, Zen and QR test each other but none of the three would be diminished by a loss to the others. Each has shown us that they stand in a class above.  It would simply be a glorious sight to watch all three together.

07 Feb 2010 4:01 PM
Runfast159

I had been lukewarm on Quality Road going into the Donn, but you cannot argue against a performance like the one he threw down on Saturday.  Throw out the field, they were not of the same class.  QR's race was against the clock alone and the final time a measure of his class.

I don't believe he is a one track pony, any more than I believe Zenyatta is.  If they both stay sound this year I think we'll see that.

I'm glad the plan for QR does not seem to involve a trip to Dubai. I don't like that they've changed to Tapeta over there. If we can knock the BC for being at SA because of the synthetics, then we shouldn't be so anxious to send our horses over there for the same reason. Especially if we want them to be firing on all cylinders in the Classic in the Fall.  

07 Feb 2010 4:40 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

You were right about QR,I don't have a problem giving you that! But,if Zenyatta were to beat him on dirt you will come up with something,without giving fair credit to Zenyatta!

07 Feb 2010 4:56 PM
Mike Relva

SARATOGA AJ

I look at you like I do Watchmaker,I almost always bet against the both of you! lol

07 Feb 2010 4:58 PM
JCRobinson

How UTTERLY ironic is it that there were worries about Aqueduct cancelling in the snow and instead it's "sunny" Santa Anita cancelling their loaded card! Maybe I'll take that inner track anyday over SA and their flawed Poly. Of course it was done in the interest of safety, but I agree with GunBow- can they really afford to lose any more days, rather than moving the meet?

As for QR, also agree that he has MUCH to prove away from Gulfstream and on something other than a dry surface. After all, isn't the original belief 'a good horse can run on dry, wet and anything in between?'

07 Feb 2010 6:23 PM
carolyn

Dray, when is Rachel going to take on Quality Road? I bet Zenyatta takes him on on dirt before Rachel.

07 Feb 2010 7:11 PM
carolyn

I can't wait to see beyer's figures for Zenyatta on dirt this year.

07 Feb 2010 7:13 PM
2:24

Quality Road - wow.  Awesome.  Let's hold off on comparing him with The Bid though.  The Bid is universally considered one of the top 10 horses of all time.

07 Feb 2010 8:06 PM
PhonyJ

You don't have to worry Draynay, because she(Z) is going to show you and everyone else too.... Do you recall her win against GP, she can transcend well onto dirt from synthetics, she probably feels that she has a better footing on dirt. The question is Dray, how are you going to continue to downplay her after she wins races on dirt????  Are you and the naysayers going to man up and give her the credit she deserves, are you, I ask you? Or will you continue to come up with your belittlings and off the wall excuses....Of all the horses on the tracks today and the ones returning from last year, Zenyatta is the only one that I feel will be as good as she has been and even better...I can't wait to see her on dirt!!!

07 Feb 2010 8:36 PM
Footlick

GunBow- I loved Sea Cadet.  He was a favorite of mine, but you are right that few remember him.

07 Feb 2010 10:28 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

Let's see what you say at the end of the yr. regarding Zenyatta being a "nonfactor".   Can't wait!

07 Feb 2010 10:32 PM
Paula Higgins

TerriV, I love everything you said and how you think. Well done. Neither of the three would be diminished by a "loss" if they ran together. Draynay, you are wrong about Zenyatta on dirt and you will see her on dirt this year.

07 Feb 2010 10:32 PM
Greg J.

    A gutsy performance by Bim Bam to hold off Interactif today in the Hallandale.  Scary moment when Joe Bravo was unseated from Souma in the 7th at Gulfstream, Just heard from Gulfstream that he is fine, Good to hear...

    While Quality Road deserves all the credit in the world for his amazing performance and his 121 Beyer, The Highest Beyer given out since Midnight Lute' 124 in the 2007 Forego.  I also have to say Congrats to Musket Man and his connections for his victory in his first race since the Preakness! Like Quality Road, They both have 9 career starts, with 6 wins each and both have never been out of the money...

Sadly,  Just heard about Curlin's first foal passing away, She was just born 3 weeks ago, The filly was out of the Hawkster mare Zophie, A Shame...

07 Feb 2010 10:46 PM
LAZMANNICK

At least Payton can't blame the field goal kicker.  He can blame a ball dropper and then he can take a long look at HIMSELF.  SAINTS ROCK.

07 Feb 2010 11:15 PM
Ranagulzion

GUN BOW,

As usual your analytical postings make great reading. Well done.  However a major difference between your outlook and mine is that you are purely an after the fact analyist while I see diamonds in the rough.  I tell you this my friend about Quality Road; he has shown enough talent to be forcasted as a throwback to the likes of Holy Bull and Spectacular Bid.  Yes indeed the season is young and its several months before the Breeder's Cup 2010 but everytime he enters that starting gates on a dry track the track record will be under fire.  Suffer my cockiness just a little bit and remember that Ranagulzion said so.  I don't recall how many times Spectacular Bid broke a track record and on how many different tracks he did it but this guy Quality Road in his brief career has alredy done it three times on two different tracks at 6.5 furlongs (Saratoga) and 9 furlongs twice (Gulfstream Park) in a comparitively brief career.  I would guess that his percentage of track record runs per start puts him definitely in Spectacular Bid's league.  Common Gun Bow acquire a little foresight.  I know that today's thoroughbreds are very fragile and that one has to be a bit cautious with superlative ratings but hindsight is 20/20 vision as the saying goes.  Test your gumption a little bit and stick your neck out sometimes.  A fit and healthy Quality Road will scare away the competition for the rest of the year and then the doubting Thomases will be saying "whom did he race against?"  He will be racing against the clock each time he runs (pardon the pun).

One more thing Gun Bow, it is disingenuous to say that QR couldn't have won the Breeder's Cup Classic last November.  How do you know that pal?  This horse has extraordinarily high and sustained cruising speed and he is bred to act on dirt, grass or synthetics.  In the same way that it is unfair to Zenyatta to assume that she could have been beaten on her biggest day it is also unfair to knock down Quality Road's potential which you have not fully fathomed.  For all I know, Todd Pletcher had him primed for a big effort in the Breeder's Cup but it was just not his year, thankfully so for both super fillies Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra.  

Now the King has returned and everyone had better be prepared to give a bow (sorry Gun Bow) of honour at the season's end.  Catch the vision my friend.  

08 Feb 2010 1:14 AM
GunBow

Congrats to the city of New Orleans and their Saints.  God knows if any city in the US deserved something positive, it's New Orleans.  Maybe Detroit will be next... likely not next year but hopefully in the next decade.

As for racing, I made it to Santa Anita for the San Antonio Cap' before the Super Bowl.  Like the Donn, the San Antonio is a prestigious handicap with a rich tradition.  The names of the great horses that have run in the San Antonio is truly impressive, and includes Citation, Seabiscuit, Round Table, Discovery, Challedon, Coaltown, Ack Ack, Noor, Native Diver, Cougar II, Best Pal, Ancient Title, T.V Lark, Bates Motel, Ferdinand, Criminal Type, Bed o' Roses, Next Move, Ponder, Mark-Ye-Well, Kayak II, Rosemont, Hillsdale, Terrang, Hill Rise, Candy Spots, Pretense, Vigors, Tiller, Flying Paster, Judge Angelucci, Super Diamond, Crystal Water, Gato del Sol, Farma Way, Marquetry, The Wicked North, Alphabet Soup, Gentlemen, Free House, Budroyale, Cat Thief, Pleasantly Perfect, Congaree, Heatseeker, Well Armed, and my namesake, Gun Bow, who won it twice. (As a side, Quality Road reminds me soooo much of Gun Bow.  Like Quality Road, Gun Bow was a tall, big, physical specimen with tremendous early speed and would sometimes just run his competition into submission, including Kelso.  However, he also had some off days, and ultimately his off days, and a few narrow losses to Kelso, kept him from ever winning an Eclipse even though he ran some brilliant times and won about 8 gr.1 equivalent races.)

Also like the Donn, the San Antonio is run at 9 furlongs.  And while the Donn is a gr.1 this year and the San Antonio just a gr.2, the San Antonio had been a gr.1 from 1973 until 1989, and this year's field in the San Antonio had more gr.1 winners than did the Donn yesterday.  While Quality Road was the only grade 1 winner in the Donn, the San Antonio featured Marsh Side, Furthest Land, Mast Track, and the eventual winner, Richard's Kid.  In short, the Donn and San Antonio were similar class-wise.  Yet, this is where the similarity ends.

First, Quality Road won the Donn by a record 12+ lengths, broke his own track record, and earned a monster 121 Beyer(adjusted down 1 point from prelim fig).  In the San Antonio, Richard's Kid won by just a nose with the top 6 horses separated by less than a length.  The final time of the San Antonio was a mediocre 1:49, slower than the Sunshine Millions Classic last week and well off of Quality Road's 1:47 and 2 Donn time.  While QR received a 121 Beyer for the Donn, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Richard's Kid gets something as low as a 92 for the San Antonio.  That's a 30 point difference, or about 18 lengths, and visually such a discrepancy would appear totally legit.  

So, is Quality Road really 18 lengths superior to Richard's Kid?  Based on the above comparison between the Donn and San Antonio, I would have no problem answering yes, but with a caveat.  Comparing races on Gulfstream's dirt course to races on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride is literally like comparing apples and oranges.  One wouldn't be too off to suggest that the Gulfstream maintrack is as close to Epsom as it is to SA's Pro-Ride.  At Gulfstream, as the California dirt tracks used to be, speed is the dominant weapon, and it can kill.  At Santa Anita, especially around 2 turns, speed is almost a curse; I believe that going into today, only 3 horses had gone wire-to-wire around 2-turns on the maintrack so far at the current Santa Anita meet(over 50 races).  The bias on the pro-Ride is almost a complete flip-flop of what Santa Anita's dirt surface was like, or like the Gulfstream maintrack is now.  Thus, any comparisons between performances on the two tracks is complicated.

The anti-speed bias at Santa Anita was reflected by the pedestrian pace of the San Antonio, with a 6 furlong split in 1:13.  In comparison, the same split for the Donn was 1:09 and 4.  And even though it was a gr.1 winner, Mast Track, setting the pace of the San Antonio uncontested, he could still finish no better than 6th (Mast Track had won his grade 1 at Hollywood Park, whose Cushion Track is much more similar to dirt).

As should be expected, the field in the San Antonio finished well, running the final 3 furlongs in :36.  Given that Richard's Kid was about 6 lengths behind after 6 furlongs, his personal closing 3 furlong split was a sharp :34 and 4. In comparison, like most dirt races the pace of the Donn slowed the further they went, with a final 3 furlongs in :37 and 3  However, the :36 second final 3 furlongs of the San Antonio could not make up for the fact that the 6 furlong split of the Donn was over 3 seconds faster, 1:09 and 4 compared to 1:13, leaving the Donn with a final time 8/5ths faster than the San Antonio.

I would assume that most people are like me and feel that Quality Road's Donn was far superior to Richard's Kid's San Antonio.  There's little doubt that had Richard's Kid run in the Donn, he would have been competing for 2nd at best.  Then why is it that it is Richard's Kid being pointed for the $10 million Dubai World Cup and not Quality Road?  The answer leads us back to the differences between dirt and synthetics.

As talented as Quality Road clearly is, if the new Meydan Tapeta surface is anything like other synthetic surfaces, Quality Road's main attribute, his great speed, becomes far less decisive.  Throw in the fact that Quality Road is 0 for 2 at 10 furlongs, and you can start to better understand why Pletcher's plan is to bypass the Dubai World Cup with Quality Road.  

In contrast, Richard's Kid has a style, rate early and finish with a big kick, that dominates two-turn synthetic races.  So biased is a track like Santa Anita  to closers that Richard's Kid was able to win the San Antonio even though the pace was so ridiculously slow.  Naturally, Richard's Kid would have performed evn better in the San Antonio had the pace been faster, so give him credit for overcoming a poor pace set-up.  But had the race been on dirt, Richard's Kid would have had no chance with a 6 furlong split of 1:13.  Like so many of Zenyatta's races at Santa Anita, Richard's Kid was severely compromised by a slow pace in the San Antonio, but the anti-speed bias of the track gave him a chance, and he took advantage of this chance to just get up.

If Pletcher were to change his mind and point Quality Road to Dubai, I for one would put him at lower odds than Richard's Kid(favor Quality Road over Richard's Kid), but the spread wouldn't be nearly what the differences in their performances this weekend would suggest.  Not knowing other possible contenders beyond Gio Ponti, I would think Quality Road could be in the 3-1 to 5-1 range, with Richard's Kid maybe just a little higher at 6-1 or as high as 9-1.  However, it wouldn't shock me if the morning line maker would actually give the horses the same odds.  At 10 furlongs on synthetic, Quality Road would be playing Richard's Kid's game.

Yet if the two horses were to meet on dirt just about anywhere, Quality Road would be 4-5 and Richard's Kid 10-1 or possibly higher.  To the credit of Richard's Kid, he did beat Bullsbay on dirt in the John Campbell Cap' at Laurel early last year, so perhaps he is a horse equally adept on dirt and synthetic.  But even if he is just as good on dirt, the synthetic-level Richard's Kid is not in the same ballpark as Quality Road on dirt.  

08 Feb 2010 3:07 AM
Rachel

Ouch, comparing QR to The Bid or HB when QR has yet to win even once at 10 furlongs?

Tom Brady 3/4 Super Bowl Rings in 9 seasons

Peyton Manning 1/2 Super Bowl Rings in 12 seasons...was that an interception??...looked like BF there for a minute! LOL!

So glad we have the "inferior" Brady who apparently can do more with less passing yards, etc and play in the snow, wind, rain, on grass and astro ;-)

08 Feb 2010 7:39 AM
joe schmoe

Greatest Quarterback ever Jason? LOL, greatest choke ever!! You spent alot of time ragging on Favre then your choice as the greatest ever makes a bigger choke on the biggest stage in the game. That interception he threw was pathetic!! Manning doesn't have half the heart of most quarterbacks in the game today much less any of the best. I watched his interview after the game and saw how ho-hum he was about his choke and losing the game. There is little fire in his belly. The greats don't accept losing and this guy doesn't really care. He took no responsibility for throwing the dumbest pass of the year in the biggest game of the year. This guy wouldn't play if he had a hangnail, he's not tough enough to be the best ever and his oh-well we lost attitude

is shameful.

08 Feb 2010 7:47 AM
Draynay

Zenyatta take on Quality Road on dirt?  You would have to be crazy! The horse just posted a 2 turn 121.  I don't believe that has been done since Ghostzapper.  Quality Road is not beatable right now.  Smart horses want nothing to do with him. He just ran a 46 flat and 109 like it was nothing.  A healthy Quality Road is the horse to beat this year and there won't be any long lines trying to prove otherwise.

08 Feb 2010 8:02 AM
el

I hope that someone else noticed the difference in the gate crew on Saturday at Gulfstream, the way they handled Quality Road.  I think there professionalism and patience needs to be applauded.  When someone walked behind him and he kicked out, no one got excited, they just took lots of time, let him settle and walk into the gate all by himself.  They circled the other horses also, allowing them to keep calm while the situation worked itself out.  Had we been in CA it most likely would have been a repeat from last fall with the rough and impatient gate crew at SA.  Bravo gate crew!   You made a wonderful victory for QR possible by your professional handling.

08 Feb 2010 8:08 AM
Saratoga AJ

Tiznowbaby:

He also broke a track record at Saratoga by more that a full second in a 6 1/2F sprint. Almost unheard of. And even though it won't count of coarse, blew away the 6F record along the way by 3/4 of a second! And we are talking about a 146 year old track.

Then, his owner sent him into two 10 furlong races with little foundation and only the aforementioned one sprint race after being away 5 months. He finished third in the Travers, and a closer second in the JCGC to a horse that was peaking, Summer Bird and did it on class alone. In other words, Evans rushed him.

And then he proved to be the smartest horse at Santa Anita on Nov. 7th when he said "screw you guys, I'm not running on this crap" and refused to enter the gate.

Evans should have been more conservative and brought him back slower.  What do you expect from an owner that took him away from the trainer that nursed him back to health and developed QR in the first place, the wonderful Jimmy Jerkens.

Anyway, anyone who believes that either Rachel or Zenyatta could have beaten Quality Road in the Donn Saturday is dreaming. IF he stays healthy, and IF he stays sane, look out.

Remember, great fillies and mares can beat very good males. But not great ones. At least not without weight differences in access of the scale weights for age/sex. And heavy imposts (130's) are a thing of the past these days.

Can anyone name another horse (other than perhaps Swaps in 1956

and Secretariat's 1973 Triple Crown run if in fact that time in the Preakness was wrong) that broke 3 track records on such old and established tracks in the space of 6 races? 3 in 6 races?

That's a pretty impressive feat. And one very fast horse.

Mike Relva,

As always, I basically read your posts for a good laugh.  

08 Feb 2010 9:45 AM
Footlick

That's funny Saratoga AJ, because I was just thinking the same thing about your slanted posts-lol!  Oh well, to each his or her own.  Have a good day.

08 Feb 2010 11:37 AM
Carlos in Cali

Clearly,QR is a beast...@ Gulfstream.And at 9f or less.How many Gr.I route winners has he beaten?..From what Pletcher mentioned,he won't run a 1 1/4m race before the BC,if he stays healthy.Obviously,they know he's not really a Classic distance type vs. top class routers.

I said Peppi Knows would win the Whirlaway & that 85ina50 would fold like a cheap tent.But,damn.That horse is a speed-crazy maniac and not the brightest to ever look through a bridle.

Interactif had every chance to win w/the slow splits and perfect position throughout.But,just like in the BCJ Turf,he failed to go on with it.Seems to be more hype than anything about him right now.He will not be a factor IF he runs in the Derby. Interactif= Monba

This just solidifies what I've thought about Peyton Manning:  He's a great regular season QB,but his so-called legacy will be tainted by his awful,almost atrocious post-season play & record.He's no Montana,or Brady for that matter.Those guys get the job done from start to finish.His predictable play calling/audibles made the Saint's Defence look great. P.Manning= Favre in post-season play.

08 Feb 2010 12:59 PM
mr pibb

Quarter Crack Road is awesome. The only horse on the planet who has a chance against him is Zenyatta. At 1 1/8th I'd go with the Quarter Crack but at 1 1/4 I'd go with the proven winner at that distance Zenyatta. RA was last years news and will not go undefeated this year regardless of if Zenyatta or Quarter Crack Road are in the races against her.

08 Feb 2010 3:05 PM
Ranagulzion

Saratoga AJ & Draynay,

Bravo!!! re Quality Road.

08 Feb 2010 3:17 PM
Forbidden Apple

What are you smoking Saratoga AJ? Quality Road will not be beaten? So far he has beaten Dunkirk and Dry Martini. And remember that the track record at Saratoga for 6 1/2 furlongs was obtained with many question marks. Of course he was impressive in the Donn with no pressure up front, but nobody will beat him based on that one race. I hope he does ship to Dubai, because Gio Ponti will be closing very fast in the World Cup.

08 Feb 2010 5:44 PM
Mike Relva

SARATOGA AJ

Really? Likewise!

08 Feb 2010 5:52 PM
Matthew W

The CHRB has ALLREADY done drastic things with racing at Santa Anita: They are the reason we did not get Zenyatta/Rachel for the Classic, allready! And now they cannot handle any rain--HAHA! Serves them all bloddy right! Don't hear from them lately, guess with all the CRIMINAL court hearings, and all! Now the Moss's are moving East, for racing they are leaving SoCal, cuz SoCal has become LOW-CAL, after all those decades of clamoring for respect, along comes the Breeders Cup, granting championship status, and what does SoCal do? They go to plastic, and lose all that hard earned respect--No matter, Big Z will take care of bizz, and after seeing Quality Road Sat, I cannot wait for the fall/Summer!! And Saratoga AJ, you forgot one important "if", for Quality Road: IF he gets the final furlong, cuz so far he has given every indicatioin he cannot, vs the top tier, and you simply cannot toss out that fact! Yes, he looks lights out--at 1 1/8 in Florida--end copy! At 1 1/4 he's either watching Summer Bird's arse, or spinning around, blindfolded, pissing off Zenyatta before the Classic!

08 Feb 2010 6:00 PM
Matthew W

Draynay, you're running outta things to not like about Zenyatta....never beaten older males on dirt?? THAT'S your new one? Ah...ok, right! I like her in the Classic, cuz while Rachel has a chance, albeit a small one, to win the Classic, I would be confident playing against Congaree--erPrecisionist--errQuality Road! to beat them all at the CLASSIC distance! I'll take Rail Trip/Zenyatta, you can have Quality Road/Rachel Alexandra--good luck in the homestretch!--Not! Stamina doesn't suddenly appear in a racehorse!

08 Feb 2010 6:07 PM
carolyn

Greg J, Jason, or anyone on this blog,

Please tell me it isnt' so, Where can I read about Curlins first foal passing away. My god ,I hope someone or Greg J heard wrong, Not that beautiful little filly that was pictured on this website the other week? Where can I read about it, I'm gonna cry...

08 Feb 2010 6:29 PM
Saratoga AJ

Forbidden Apple:

I said I don't believe there's a horse that can beat him (on a dry track) IF he stays sound physically and mentally.  I stand by that.

The only two losses he's sustained in the last year, encompassing 7 races, were when he was "short" in preparation for 10 furlongs and both on off tracks. And still ran well even in defeat. Let's see how it pans out this year. You bet against him at your own risk.

And I'll say it again, nobody would have beaten him Saturday. 121 Beyers occur about once every 4-5 years or so.

08 Feb 2010 7:31 PM
Saratoga AJ

Footlick:

I don't know who is less enlightening, you or Relva. I can tell you both have been racing fans for at least a couple of years or so. Keep up the humorous comments! :)

08 Feb 2010 7:40 PM
Ranagulzion

Carlos in Cali,

I see you're still scoffing at Quality Road.  Where are your "bulldogs" buddy? Last thing I heard is that they were nothing but a pack of "poodles".  Do you really believe there is any horse in on the continent that can test a fit and ready QR up to 10 furlongs on dirt?  Suggest one that is not Zenyatta or Rachel Alexandra.

Also, you are still knocking the unlucky fleet-footed colt Eightyfiveinafifty as if Pepi Knows would have stood a chance against him.  Get real Carlos, Pepi Knows was gifted in the whirlaway by the misfortune of "Eightyfive" and he will have to improve by leaps and bounds to merit any serious consideration for the Derby.  Thankfully Eightyfiveinafifty will be back soon to silence all the doubters.

Interactif is by no means a hype, he's a very good 3YO that needs to be rated from off the pace.  It is also likely that he needed that race to move him forward but he's certainly no Monba.  Be prepared to eat lots of crow.  So far you've touted Pepi Knows and Macias.  Tell us who else you like for the Derby (LOL).  

08 Feb 2010 8:45 PM
Jason Shandler

I agree with you Ranagulzion. Carlos must have had too many of something this weekend with those comments. And you're right about Interactif. He is for real, just needs to come from off the pace. He is a one-run horse. I'd love to see another rider on him. And finally, Carlos' comments on Peyton are the most absurd. I wont even address that nonsense.

08 Feb 2010 9:08 PM
Paula Higgins

I think Quality Road is a beast. I think he could beat Rachel at 1 1/4. Zenyatta, alot tougher and that is even on dirt. Not so sure about that guys.

08 Feb 2010 9:10 PM
Footlick

Saratoga AJ- Defending yourself by insulting other people is extremely enlightening and humorous also.  As far as high Beyers, look at Gun Bow's post earlier in this blog and be enlightened.  The 90's had quite a few horses running those Beyers, not once every 4-5 years.  And many of those horses repeated them.  Let QR repeat his figures a few times before we hold a coronation ceremony.  Don't throw accolades around off of two races last year, one race this year and two of those races being at Gulfstream and the other one a 6.5 furlong race.    He has to earn those.  Hopefully he will.  But maybe only unenlightened people can see that those accolades have to be earned.  By the way- are you related to Dray?    

08 Feb 2010 9:18 PM
carolyn

I agree with you Paula! We havent' seen the best of Zenyatta yet!! but we will soon, and I firmly believe she will not dissapoint...she never has.

08 Feb 2010 9:25 PM
Mike Relva

SARATOGA AJ

I think the minus twenty weather you experience must have frozen your brain! You don't know half of what you think you know. I've been a racing fan longer than the two yrs you mentioned. Doesn't matter if you've been a fan(or in your case so called) for forty you aren't impressive.

08 Feb 2010 9:46 PM
Mike Relva

SARATOGA AJ

If you knew everything like you envision,then it would've been clear that Commentator ran a 120 beyer just two years ago! So it's not "every four or five yrs".

08 Feb 2010 9:49 PM
Mike Relva

CARLOS

Looks like you got a smackdown. Ouch! lol

08 Feb 2010 9:51 PM
Greg J.

Carolyn,

   Very sad to say, It is true, Curlin's first foal, A filly out of the Hawkster mare Zophie, Passed away last week, She was born on Jan.12. A Death Report was received but not processed on the filly.  Really have not seen any other details, Too Sad...

    Then I just read about Thorn Song dying on August 2nd, A week after he bolted at Del Mar with Mike Smith on him.  Zayat collected $2.75 Million in insurance money, But, Nobody seemed to know he was dead? DRF reported Aug. 13 that Thorn Song had been sent to a veterinary clinic with severe abscesses in both front feet and Mike Mitchell said at the same time that Thorn Song was unlikely to make the Breeders' Cup, "It's a small chance" Mitchell told DRF on August 13th. At the time of these comments, According to Zayat and the Bank check,  He had been dead for eleven days at the time of the comments? Just makes NO sense at all...

Sorry to Stray....

08 Feb 2010 10:48 PM
Paula Higgins

This is very sad about Curlin's filly and Thorn Song. Hate this part of racing.

08 Feb 2010 11:07 PM
Footlick

Greg J- thanks for the info.  And that Thorn Song was dead but they kept acting like he was alive???  Strange.

08 Feb 2010 11:21 PM
Mike Relva

GREG J

Thanks for your update,I'm very sorry to hear about Curlin's foal. I'm very sad to hear about Thorn Song,please let me  know if you hear anything else.

08 Feb 2010 11:22 PM
Footlick

Carolyn- Zarkava had her first foal.  A filly by the Aga Khan sire Dalakhani.  She is booked to Sea the Stars next.

08 Feb 2010 11:22 PM
GunBow

Ranagulzion:

What do you want me to say, that Quality Road is as good as Holy Bull and Spectuacular Bid?  Because I'm not.  Yes, I like to wait for a horse to accomplish a little more before comparing it with two Hall of Famers.  That means I lack courage or foresight?  That just doesn't make any sense.

Does Quality Road have the tlaent to accomplish what Spectacular Bid and Holy Bull did?  Well, frankly it's too late for Quality Road to equal what the Big did; QR would have to win 20 more stakes races, and it's unlikely he'll even make 20 more starts.  However, Quality Road can still have a Holy Bull or Ghostzapper type career.  So, I'm with you on that.  But if your stance is that Quality Road is ALREADY equal to those horses, well I couldn't disagree with your opinion more.  

So, if you want me to start commenting about how Horse X is the next Citation after two starts, you're barking up the wrong tree.  However, I've never been opposed to commenting about how different horses have the POTENTIAL to be as good as some horses from yesteryear.  But I don't like throwing the "great" or "superstar" words freely and loosely.  

After watching Rachel win the Oaks in person, I wrote from a hotel lobby computer that I want my epitaph to read "He saw Rachel Alexandra".  As obviously impressed as I was with Rachel, I wasnt' ready to say she was already superior, in talent and accomplishment, to Ruffian, Susan's Girl, Personal Ensign, or Busher.  However, I did say that if she were to reproduce such a performance and win a few more grade 1 races, something, by the way, I thought she had the ability to do, then it won't be long before such comparisons are appropriate.  And, I now do believe that Rachel had the best season by a 3 year old filly since at least Beldame in the first decade of the 20th century and that she belongs right up alongside Ruffian.  But, she had to actually go out and win the Preakness, Mother Goose, Haskell, and Woodward.

Perhaps you want me to start touting horses more, perhaps horses coming from the allowance or maiden races, getting behind them early and discussing their potential.  That's fair.  But there has been a reason why I really haven't been able to do that.  For the last 10 years prior to this October, I have lived in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area and had to drive AT LEAST 4 hours to see ANY graded stakes race.  And drive I did.  I drove to Turfway for Lane's End and Kentucky Cup days, Woodbine for the Woodbine Mile and Canadian International days, Arlington for Million day, Hawthorne for Illinois Derby day, Mountaineer for West Virginia Derby day, Churchill for the Derby/Oaks and Breeder's Cup, Pimlico for the Preakness, Belmont for the Belmont and BC, and to the Cali tracks when visiting my family.  With no special internet passes and without TVG or HRTV, I just haven't been able to view more than the stakes replays shown on Bloodhorse and DRF.  If folks start discussing a certain prospect I might check the race out on YouTube, but I really don't like to get into endless discussions about horses that have proven nothing; as such, I guess I'm a little of a horse snob.  But I really don't like all the yammering and debating that goes on about horses that have made one semi-impressive start; I would rather discuss stakes events and more established horses.  And I've always been like that, and actually liked handicap racing much more than 2 year old racing when I was just getting into the sport.

However, now that I am living in SoCal and going to the races every weekend, Im starting to see alot more non-stakes racing in person, where I can really evaluate the horses.  Just go back to the blog around Dec 19th and read my posts about Hollywood Futurity day.  I made it clear that of all the 2 year olds that day, I thought Tiz Chrome was most impressive and that Clutch Player was an exciting prospect.  When a horse like Clutch Player then dies, to an extent it reinforces my natural tendency towards caution and away for hyperbole and largely pointless debating.

None the less, when I commented on opening day at Santa Anita, I mentioned another impressive Baffert maiden, Concord Point, a horse that has subsequently been sold.  And a few weeks later I posted about how impressed I was with St. Trinians, an older mare that just won the listed Paseana Stakes.  A horse with speed and the ability to finish, I think St. Trinians could be a surprisingly dangerous opponent for Zenyatta if they should meet in the Santa Margarita.  In no way, however, would I claim that St. Trinians deserves to be ranked in Zenyatta's league, given St. Trinians has about 8 gr.1 races to go before being worthy of such a comparison.  However, I will say that St. Trinians has the POTENTIAL to be very good, and maybe even give Zenyatta a real race.

Finally, when it comes to predictions and prognostications, I've never claimed to be a great handicapper. I think I'm a decent handicapper, but I will admit that I'm not good at betting, the skill of translating the handicapping into money.  In fact, I really haven't bet much the past 5 years; most of my money went to travel, with seeing the top horses in person a higher priority than the betting side of the sport.  Additionally, other than the stakes races, I would rarely be familiar with the allowance, claiming, and maiden horses, let alone all the local jockeys and trainers at whatever track I happened to drive to.  Now that I'm in SoCal and watching racing on the same circuit repeatedly, I've started to build up a much stronger knowledge of the intricacies of the horses, jockeys, trainers, and the tracks.  Still, I'm just not that big on betting.  Sometimes, it gets in the way of my enjoyment of the horses and the stakes racing, the reason I like to go in person in the first place.  

And by the way Ranagulzion, Quality Road wasn't going to win the BC Classic, not on that day.  He was in the field, he made it to the gate, he didn't load.  The horse had a meltdown.  He took HIMSELF out of the race. Even had they loaded him again, there is no way he could have run a winning race. That much I know.  In terms of how he could have run if he was on his best behavior, it's all opinions. I have my opinion, and you have yours. And that's the end of that.

09 Feb 2010 1:38 AM
GunBow

Wtf about Thorn Song?  How sad!

09 Feb 2010 1:39 AM
GunBow

As high as Quality Road's 121 Beyer is, it is not the fastest Beyer of the last 20 runnings of the Donn.  In 1991, a brilliant prospect, the undefeated Jolie's Halo from the Happy Alter barn, crushed his Donn field in similar fashion, winning by something like 8-10 lengths.  His Beyer was originally a 125, although I think it ultimately settled at 122 or 121.  In his next start, he won the then gr.1 Gulfstream Park Cap at 10 furlongs easily with I believe a 117 Beyer.  Those in the East believed he could be the next superstar.  Meanwhile, in Cali, folks there thought they had the next superstar with Farma Way, a horse that had swept the 7 furlong San Carlos, 8.5 furlong San Pasqual, 9 furlong San Antonio, and 10 furlong Big Cap all with Beyers between 115 and 118.  The two met for the Oaklawn Cap, along with Derby and BC Classic winner Unbridled coming off a 117 Beyer drubbing of Housebuster at 7 furlongs.  Then it poured at Oaklawn and the South American mudder, Festin, stole the show and won the race.  

However, when the same crew, and Summer Squall as well, met for the Pimlico Special on a dry track, Farma Way ran Jolie's Halo into submission, winning the Special by 3 with a 122 Beyer.  In a great handicap division, Farma Way would lose Horse of the Year when he lost photo decisions to Marquetry in the Hollywood Gold Cup and eventual HoY Black Tie Affair in the Iselin while conceding weight.  With Farma Way's narrow defeats, the Cali transplant horse, In Excess, who had dominated NY handicap racing winning the Met Mile, Suburban, Whitney, and Woodward, appeared to have the HoY title until his trainer, Bruce Jackson, oddly entered him in the BC Mile instead of the Classic and he finished  8th.  

Festin would go on from the Oaklawn Cap and after the Pimlico Special win the then $500,000 Nassau County Cap by 7 lengths w/ a 122 Beyer at Belmont and then later the Jockey Club Gold Cup but failed in the BC Classic.  Ultimately, the Midwest based Black Tie Affair got the HoY after winnning the BC Classic w/ a 120 Beyer.

As for Jolie's Halo, he returned in 1992 and although not the same, he did win the gr.1 Iselin.

As a side, Stephen Got Even earned a 120 Beyer winning the 2000 Donn.

09 Feb 2010 2:09 AM
Draynay

Saratoga I agree 100% with you.  What you saw in the Donn was a superstar performance by a superstar horse.  He is not beatable right now and may not be all year.

09 Feb 2010 6:45 AM
Saratoga AJ

Relva says:

"If you knew everything like you envision,then it would've been clear that Commentator ran a 120 beyer just two years ago! So it's not "every four or five yrs".

Commentator did the 120 in the 2005 Whitney H'Cap in August 2005....according to my math that's 4 1/2 years ago, genius. Maybe you're the one with the frozen brain.

Relva again:

"Doesn't matter if you've been a fan(or in your case so called) for forty you aren't impressive".

Well actually I have been a rail bird for close to 50 years now.

09 Feb 2010 6:58 AM
Saratoga AJ

Gun Bow,

I agree with your 2/8 3:07AM post...there are similarities between you namesake's running style and QR, with perhaps QR laying off the pace a bit more. QR appears to bigger horse in size, from what I remember of Gun Bow. Certainly broader if not taller. GB was a bigger horse than Kelso, though.

And as far as the Kelso/Gun Bow rivalry, I'm not sure you can call the beating Kelso gave Gun Bow in the 11/11/64 Washington DC International a narrow loss. (4 1/2 lengths "Drew out handily") That race was for all the marbles...the last big race of 1964. Had Gun Bow prevailed, he would have been HOTY, and Kelso would not have won his fifth, and final HOTY title.

Kelso did the same thing to my old favorite, Carry Back a couple of years earlier. Carry Back beat him only twice out of their seven memorable meetings. I was present for four of their confrontations. The 1961 Woodward, 62 Metropolitan Mile, 62 Surburban H'Cap and 63 Woodward. Always 50,000+ would show up to Belmont or Aqueduct for those big races. Now they are lucky to get 10-15,000.  

Those were the days!  

09 Feb 2010 8:54 AM
draynay

Thanks Ranagulzion ! Quality running over a 120 at 2 turns has not been seen in a while. Mr. Pibb Zenyatta runs 1 race at 1 1/4 on a plastic track and suddenly that is her distance ? Let's see her do it on dirt.  I DARE her to do 1 1/4 on dirt! I double DARE her.

09 Feb 2010 9:29 AM
Forbidden Apple

After one race now Quality Road is a racing immortal, I don't think so. I do not even think he is the best miler around, and forget about him getting 1 1/4 miles against Grade I competition. I'll say it again, I hope that he ships to Dubai for a good beatdown at 1 1/4. Ranagulzion is also drinking way to much QR punch. Here is a short list of horses that QR will have to face in the coming months.

Gio Ponti

Bribon

Summer Bird

Albertus Maximus

Friesan Fire

The Pamplemousse

Giralamo

Mambo In Seattle

Charitable Man

Buddy's Saint

09 Feb 2010 10:28 AM
carolyn

Footlick, Thanks for the info on Zarkava's foal, I hope and pray she will be fine, I hope she is just like her mama! I am so excited to hear she will be bred to my boy STS, I love him, I hope one day Z will be bred to him.

I am so sorry to hear of Curlin's foal, she was darling to look at, I guess that happens more than we think it does. I am an animal lover, gosh, I know I couldn't work around these foals everyday and not get physically and emotionly attached. I just couldn't do it. Kleenex don't make enough tissues for me for that, I wondered about Thorn Song, It saddens me so, Why does it have to happen, it's just a shame.

I am sad to hear that SB will be leaving Tim Ice, I love SB, and Tim has done so much with him, and made him what he is today. Damn, this is to much sadness for one week, I guess this is the life of horseracing....

09 Feb 2010 12:12 PM
Saratoga AJ

Draynay,

After all the blog arguments we had over Curlin, it's ironic we agree on the virtues of Quality Road (and Rachel for that matter).

If he stays healthy, I believe our current opinion will be validated. He has limitless potential.  

09 Feb 2010 12:27 PM
MonicaV

Carolyn,

I'm with you on the death of Curlins' first foal.  It's hard to understand when you have seen a photo of her running and looking on top of the world.  To hear of a racing thoroughbred such as Thorn Song's death is hard to take as well.  They are such beautiful and spirited creatures and the little filly had only a few weeks of life.

Too sad to think about.  I always mourn the passing of the retired horses as well.  It is just heartbreaking to think they are gone.  A very good friend of mine actually sent me a sympathy card when Secretariat died because she knew how hard I took it.  Only a true horse lover knows what I mean.

09 Feb 2010 12:59 PM
Footlick

Wow- that is quite a shock.  Tim Ice did a great job with Summer Bird.  Now he only has 6 horses in his stable. I wish him all the luck and I hope owners start to fill his stalls soon.

09 Feb 2010 1:30 PM
Greg J.

This story gets STRANGER every moment...

The Good News is that it seems "Thorn Song" is indeed alive, Even though Zayat cashed in a $2.75 million insurance claim last fall!

"I know the horse hasn't been put down," Mike Mitchell, Thorn Song's California trainer, said Tuesday. "I just checked with my vet and he said he has not been put down and he has a chance of standing as a stallion." Mitchell said he had not been involved with Thorn Song since the horse left Del Mar and could not speak to the circumstances of the insurance claim...

Zayat claimed a loss on Thorn Song on Aug. 2, 2009. The check from North American Specialty Insurance Company states that the payment covers "HORSE MORTALITY THORN SONG LIMIT LESS DED."

Zayat, What a piece of work!!!!!

Great to hear about Thorn Song being alive...

09 Feb 2010 2:36 PM
Carlos in Cali

Ranagulzion

Pletcher's plan calls for QR to NOT run a 1 1/4 race until the BCC,that should answer your question regarding if he's unbeatable @ that distance.I read it as him being very vulnerable at that distance vs. elite competition and will avoid such horses til then.The 'bulldogs' were either retired because of injury,or are making a comeback because of injuries.It's only January my friend,remember that.

85ina50 is and will turn out to be a sprinter, miler at best.Nothing wrong w/that.Plus,I never touted Peppi Knows..just said he would win the Whirlaway(which he did @ 8-1),against that speed-demon.Maybe it was a blessing in disguise he ran-off,his handlers can hang-on to that Derby dream for a couple of more weeks.As far as Macias goes, I said he'd win the postponed RF Lewis @ Santa Anita.Now it looks like he's going in the Southwest @ Oaklawn,watch  him win for fun.As of now,I like Ron The Greek as a Derby hopeful.You and Jason keep touting Interactif the turf horse,but he will NOT make the Derby field.Maybe they can swoon Pat Day out of retirement,or take him back and choke the run out of him,or better yet,why don't they castrate him,that might calm him down enough to where he'll settle off the pace.Especially grueling fast splits like he saw last weekend,lol. 2words---Jose Adan.

Here it goes Jason:

Peyton Manning career stats. 98'-09'

Reg. season----Post season

games:192      17

wins: 131      9

td's: 366      27

int:  181      18

QBr:  95.2     87.5

Like I said,he's a great regular season QB,but his post-season play is awful and not up to par,considering you and others think he's the best ever.Am I missing something here?...stats don't lie.He's no better than Brett Favre when it comes to post-season play.Read it and weep.

Relva....you back seat cheerleader!See,I'm not the only one amused by your posts,lol.

09 Feb 2010 3:29 PM
Ranagulzion

GUN BOW,

Thanks for a very thoughful response to my zealous support/defence of the brilliant 4YO colt Quality Road.  I can see that you're a true connossieur of the sport and I'm in awe of your dedication to the game.  I believe that we share a common purist passion for observing and enjoying the best that thoroughbred racing has to offer and really do relish the exchange of viewpoints.  Much respect to you Bro.

Every great thoroughbred shapes his/her own identity in terms of running style, durability/longevity, consistency, versatility, speed, gameness and propensity to win etc.  Quality Road will not be a carbon copy of Holy Bull, Spectacular Bid or Ghostzapper in any respect but he is making a name for himself as he continues with his propensity to smash track records at different tracks.  Admittedly it is still early days yet but all I am saying is that he has already demonstrated that he's that type of horse.  QR is no Jolie's Halo or Farma Way, he's much better than those.  That's my opinion now and its gonna be fun to see it played out on the track as the season progresses.  One of the things that I like about the QR ride is that it doesn't matter who shows up to challenge him.  Quality Road vs the clock will make a great spectacle and carve out a special niche for him in the Hall of Fame when all is said and done.

09 Feb 2010 3:39 PM
carolyn

I hope that Summer Bird's owner's arent making a mistake...I wish they would leave him with Tim.

I hate to see horse's that are in their prime of racing have to up and get accustomed to new trainers, barns, surroundings, and hotwalkers,bathers etc. They have feelings too. and SB always looked so content with Tim, Damn shame.

09 Feb 2010 4:07 PM
It Aint Easy being good

haha I luv that there are Quality Road haters on here. The horse ran over a 120. When has there been a beyer over 120 in the last 2 years? Something I think is kind of funny is that you didnt hear pletcher complain about a fast track at the donn this year. Watch out zenyatta and RA because KING ROAD is here! I am with Dray I dont think a filly can match up to QR and is the best horse in the country right now! Finally its all coming together for him!

09 Feb 2010 4:08 PM
carolyn

Wait a minute, is my head spinning or what? Is Thorn Song dead or alive? Are we being jerked around or what? I want to really think he is alive, can anyone prove this? I sure hope so. My goodness, if Zayat forged his death report then that could mean prison, "OUCH"

Please let it be true that he is alive and doing fine. Please update with more information, asap!!

09 Feb 2010 4:14 PM
GunBow

Tim Ice losing Summer Bid is tough to take for a person like me on the outside.  It's hard to know the personal relationship problems that might have existed, and I haven't been following Oaklawn day-to-day to see how Ice has been doing.  So, without all the facts, I can't pretend to know the full reasons for the Jayaramans' decision.

Yet, I can't help but feel sad for Tim Ice.  His relationship with Summer Bird, and his rapid rise as a trainer, were two of the more feel-good stories of 2009, a year that, on the track, was probably as exciting and historic as any this decade.  From what I saw, it seemed that Ice truly loved Summer Bird and that Summer Bird's well-being was professional priority #1.  

As a related note, how do you think Jimmy Jerkens felt watching the Donn?

09 Feb 2010 4:15 PM
Jason Shandler

Carolyn: There are other factors that were not made public about the situation to remove horses from Ice. I'll leave it at that.

Carlos: I wont even address your comments on Manning being just like Favre. If you want to keep living in your fun, little fantasy world, I will not deprive you of that joy.

09 Feb 2010 4:17 PM
carolyn

Well Jason, I'll leave it at that, because you are on the inside and can get the inside info, So, I know you would know. Thanks for filling us in, it puts things in a little more perpective.

It just proves I guess, that everything that shines ain't  gold...

09 Feb 2010 4:34 PM
carolyn

Jason, also, now you have my brain racing, I will just wait and listen in the coming days, weeks, months, to see what news becomes available on this matter.  News always leaks out somewhere. Right?

09 Feb 2010 4:40 PM
Jason Shandler

Yes Carolyn: I dont really want to get into specifics on this subject, but with enough digging you can find out on your own what was a major factor in the decision.

09 Feb 2010 4:46 PM
GunBow

Ranagulzion:

Thanks for your kind response.  I know where your're coming from and love the passion.  I wish more people in the US had the same love for these magnificent atheletes and the sport of horse racing.

Quality Road has so much upside and talent, and is capable of doing more great things.  There is every reason why a person would get behind him and root him on.

For me, I get most passionate about a horse once I've seen it run in person.  A couple of examples.  I watched Rachel Alexandra on the internet early last year and took note of how awesone she looked in winning 4 stakes in a row(including the Golden Rod).  I respected her going into the Kentucky Oaks, but seeing her in person for that race increased my admiration for her exponentially; it was that experience, seeing her in person, that took me from observer to fan.  Although I didn't come on this blog and tout her up as the next Ruffian after the Oaks, I thought she had that potential and was in a nervous sweat as she came down the stretch in the Preakness.

The second example is Zenyatta.  For 2 years I had admired her from afar, but my trips to Cali never coincided with one of her races. However, I was able to make the Breeder's Cup this year, and being at Santa Anita for the Classic was simply magical, and made me a much bigger fan of Zenyatta than I had been.

For me, seeing the horses in the paddock/walking ring, on the track, and then in the winner's circle(if victorious), creates a bond for me, a bond that I just can't get watching on tv or the internet.  

As it concerns Quality Road, I cherish having seen him in the paddock and walking ring before the Classic.  Obviously, I would have liked to have seen him actually race, just to say that I did.  I am sure that had I been at Gulfstream for any of his races, but particularly the Donn, my enthusiasm would be even greater.  The effect of seeing a horse run in person is a bias I have; I develop a stronger rooting interest for horses I've seen at the track.  I'm sure I am not alone in this, which is why even the very best of turf writers develop a regional bias if they are assigned to a particular circuit.

Ultimately, excitement for a horse is great for the sport.  While I don't agree with the mentality of someone like Draynay, who believes that in rooting for Horse A one has to root against Horse B, the passion of supporting an individual horse is a great thing, and vital to the sport.  To an extent, the Draynay philosophy should have a small place in the sport- just look at the success of the movie Seabiscuit and how the debate between his and War Admiral's supporters made their 38' Match Race one of the great events in American sporting history.  And just think about the interest and excitement that would accompany a matchup with Rachel, Zenyatta, and now maybe Quality Road?  Too much passion for a horse is a good thing.  

09 Feb 2010 4:50 PM
Mike Relva

CARLOS IN CALIF

Obviously Jason is amused by your posts. lol

09 Feb 2010 4:51 PM
Mike Relva

SARATOGA AJ

I think you should re check Commentators' beyer for two yrs ago.

09 Feb 2010 4:52 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

Yes,you were correct so far about Quality Road. Yes,I agree he's that good. But,if Zenyatta were to race and beat him ON DIRT,no one,includingmyself wants to hear any "spins".

09 Feb 2010 4:54 PM
carolyn

Lord have mercy, just what are you naysayers going to say when Zenyatta beats 'em on dirt, God, I can't wait, She has made you eat your words before,and she will do it again, About Zenyatta, all I can say is "WoW"!!!! She never ceases to amaze me, and what is the most exciting is she has not showed us what she is really made of and what horsepower she really carries in them legs of hers....

09 Feb 2010 5:33 PM
Saratoga AJ

Mike Relva:

According to Andy Beyer's column yesterday, Commentator ran a 120 in the 2005 Whitney.

www.washingtonpost.com/.../AR2010020801843.html

But he did win it again in 2008.

Look, either way 120+ in route races are rare indeed. Let's see what QR does the rest of the year.

09 Feb 2010 6:34 PM
GunBow

Saratoga AJ:

Mikle Relva is correct that Commentator ran a 120 Beyer in the 2008 Whitney.  He also ran a 123 in the 2005 Whitney, the race you were referring to.  Saint Liam also ran a 123 in that 2005 Whitney, given he was only beaten a nose by Commentator.  Earlier in 2005, Ghostzapper had run a 122 in the Met Mile(after running 128, 124 and 120 Beyers in 2004), and Lava Man ran a 120 winning the Hollywood Gold Cup.  As others have mentioned, Midnight Lute ran a 124 Beyer in the 2007 Forego Handicap at Saratoga(but at 7 furlongs). Other big figs this past decade were run by Candy Rode(123), Aptitude(123 in JCGC), Aldebaran(122 in 03' Forego), Congaree(120 twice), Medlagia d' Oro(120), Xtra Heat(sprinting), and Left Bank(121 for both the 01' Tom Fool at 7 furlongs and 01' Whitney).  In 1999, Artax ran sprinting figs of 123, 123, and 124.  His rival, Kona Gold, ran figs of 123, and 119 twice.

And yes, Kelso beat my namesake fairly easily in the 64' DC International, and with that win deserved his 5th HoY.

09 Feb 2010 6:38 PM
Mike Relva

HI CAROLYN

At least you,myself and a few  have the insight to appreciate a "superhorse" when we see one. I enjoy your posts.

09 Feb 2010 6:40 PM
LAZMANNICK

Saratoga AJ & Mike Relva

According to the archives, Commentator's Beyer in the 2008 Whitney Hdcp was 120.   He also put up a 119 at Gulfstream earlier in the year when he won a mile race BY 14 1/2 lengths.  Those were the two highest Beyers for route races in.  CHALK UP ONE FOR MIKE RELVA.

09 Feb 2010 8:04 PM
GunBow

I wouldn't necessarilly view Tod Pletcher's decision to point Quality Road to the Met Mile, Whitney, and/or Woodward as an admission that he is affraid to run Quality Road 10 furlongs.  The fact is, there just are not alot of rich, graded 10 furlong stakes races for older males on the East Coast anymore.  

The Gulfstream Park Cap is a grade 2 but now at 8 furlongs instead of 10(for $300,000 I think that would be easy money for QR), and the 9.5 furlong Skip Away is just a gr.3 and worth $100,000.  The Pimlico Special is once again not scheduled, the 10 furlong Suburban is a gr.2, the Brooklyn is also just a gr.2 and at 12 furlongs, the 10 furlong Saratoga Cup was discontinued a few years ago, the Stephen Foster is at 9 furlongs, the 10 furlong Hawthorne Gold Cup is rich but just a gr.2, the 9.5 furlong Washington Park Cap' is also just a gr.2 and is now on synthetic.  Outside of the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Breeder's Cup Classic at Churchill, all the rich, gr.1 10 furlong races for older males are on synthetic (Big Cap, Dubai World Cup, Hollywood Gold Cup, Pacific Classic).  

Unless Pletcher wants to go out of his way for less money and less pretige, it makes sense for Quality Road's first 10 furlong test this year to be in either the JCGC or BC Classic.

09 Feb 2010 8:32 PM
Mike Relva

LAZMANNICK,GUNBOW

Thanks!!

09 Feb 2010 9:32 PM
Mike Relva

SARATOGA AJ

Not bad for someone that's been a fan for "just a couple yrs.",right?

09 Feb 2010 9:35 PM
Mike Relva

GREG J

It's at least good news about Thorn Song. I never liked Zayat anyhow.

09 Feb 2010 9:42 PM
draynay

forbidden apple, If Quality Road ran against that entire field you mentioned he would be a 4 to 5 favorite.  The horse is unbeatable right now face it.

09 Feb 2010 10:51 PM
Steve Stan

LOL 89 different trainers (including the doc himself)since they've owned horses might also tell you something.

09 Feb 2010 10:53 PM
Forbidden Apple

Quality Road might be 4-5 because of all you Pletcher groupies, but you will all be eating chalk. He wants no part of a 1 1/4 mile race against a Grade I field on synthetic or dirt. He will be a good miler on dirt or poly, and maybe a champion on the TURF! His sire was an absolute lawnmower. I am still not convinced that he is even the best miler on dirt. Bribon, Vineyard Haven, Albertus Maximus, and maybe Girolamo should make it to the Met Mile.

09 Feb 2010 11:52 PM
Saratoga AJ

Relva, Lazmanick & Gun Bow:

Look, I am only going by what the man who created the Beyer Speed figures said in his column yesterday in the Washington Post.

I don't know where you get your info from.

Sorry, but I have to believe the CREATOR and not you guys. Period.

READ IT AGAIN! Write Andy Beyer and argue with him, not me.

Ciao.

www.washingtonpost.com/.../AR2010020801843.html

10 Feb 2010 6:26 AM
LAZMANNICK

Saratoga AJ

Sorry to offend you or hurt your feelings......After what Beyer said about Zen in an earlier column, maybe you should read what others have to say.  He obviously has problems getting it right lately.  LOL

10 Feb 2010 12:17 PM
Mike Relva

SARATOGA AJ

Well,none other than Beyer himself,didn't give Zenyatta a prayer in the Breeders' last year. We all know how that worked out!lol

10 Feb 2010 12:26 PM
Saratoga AJ

Relva,Laz & GB:

Looks like the link did not post properly in my last entry. Check my entry yesterday @6:34PM for access to Beyer's entire column.

What I originally said is a Beyer figure like the one posted by QR Saturday may only occur every 4-5 years. And got ragged on for saying it. So to quote Beyer yesterday:

"On Saturday at Gulfstream Park, Quality Road ran spectacularly to win the $500,000 Donn Handicap by a dozen lengths in track-record time. He ran so fast that he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 121 -- the best performance in a race at one mile or longer since Commentator won the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga in 2005".  

So there you have it. I don't want to debate if a 120 is the same as 121, etc. So let's just say this horse is very fast, as evidenced by him setting 3 track records in his last 6 races. And time will tell if he's as good as some of us think he may be. Health, as always, is an issue.

And I also stand by my comment concerning how an in top form Rachel or Zenyatta may do against a QR in top form. I subscribe to the theory that GREAT fillies and mares can (and have) beat  VERY GOOD colts. But not GREAT colts. Not without weight advantages well in excess of scale. And they just don't assign 130+ imposts anymore.

So, in other words, QR may be the best horse in the country right now. That's my opinion.

Again, time will tell. But what a great year we may be in store for!

10 Feb 2010 1:11 PM
Saratoga AJ

Laz & Relva:

I'm also not going to debate Beyer's ability to pick winners, or what he thinks or thought of Zenyatta. That's not the topic.

If you don't like what he wrote yesterday, or think he's wrong in what he said, tell him...not me.

10 Feb 2010 2:24 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Carolyn and apple boy: QR would crush your beloved Zenyatta....she would be spinning her wheels in the dirt plus she is going to be 6 now. Its like "All DAY" Adrian Peterson running against jackie joyner kersey! HAHA ..she would get smoked! All Day!

10 Feb 2010 2:26 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Saratoga AJ you sum it all up in the last post at 1:11pm thank you everyone should just read his post. Poor zenyatta after 3 good years she still will never get HOY! Zenyatta reminds me alot like the vikings!

10 Feb 2010 2:33 PM
carolyn

Easy B Good, You were one of the one's that said she wouldn't win the BCC right? Don't put her out to pasture, Lets just wait and see on the tracks if he ever dares to race her, I put my money on Zenyatta if I were a betting person....

10 Feb 2010 4:12 PM
It Aint Easy being good

No I said initially she has no chance then I saw a bunch of dirt horses running on plastic and changed my tune. I do like the big Z I just have a horsecrush on Quality Road he is the man and I am sort of glad he scratched that day because I dont think he would run well on plastic either!

10 Feb 2010 6:43 PM
Mike Relva

IT AINT EASY BEING GOOD

SO you think Zenyatta would get beat? This comes from the individual that thought ZENYATTA HAD NO CHANCE IN BREEDERS! lol

10 Feb 2010 6:47 PM
Mike Relva

IT AINT EASY BEING GOOD,AKA(it's easy being wrong)

Now you're trying to spin it. I think you change like the weather!

10 Feb 2010 7:13 PM
Householder

How did we get on a Zenyatta vs. Quality Road trip?  Are either nominated to the Triple Crown?

10 Feb 2010 7:44 PM
Householder

How about top 10 Derby rides or something during "down time."

1).  Willie Shoemaker aboard Ferdinand at 56.

10 Feb 2010 7:51 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Household go back and read the title of this blog it is about Quality Road. Yeah zenyatta won the race but still wasnt crowned HOY like you all said she would be! The body of work wasnt there and she did nothing special but be a bunch of dirt horses. I still like big Z but Quality Road is the horse of 2010....PERIOD!  

11 Feb 2010 11:12 AM
Tim G

Good grief, it's FEBRUARY 11th!!!!

Horse of February maybe, not horse of 2010.

Please spare me the insanity of the uninformed.

11 Feb 2010 1:56 PM
Saratoga AJ

I don't believe anything has produced more passionate debates on the Racing Blogs than Rachel and Zenyatta. Throw in what appears to be a freak of a colt in QR, and maybe a couple of very good 3 yr. olds left standing from the Triple Crown series in Spring, and this could be a year to remember.

If there was ever a time when Racing needed a boost, and the ability to attract more fans (and better track attendance), it's now.

11 Feb 2010 2:37 PM
steve s

Fastest or best Turf horse

Take The Points

11 Feb 2010 2:41 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Tim G it is Febuary the derby is in may people blog get over it! Saratoga I agree that this year will be very exciting with good older horses and hopefully a new emerging 3 year old star. I think weith breeding $$ down and stars like curlin, RA and zenyatta coming back that more owners will think twice before retiring their horses!

11 Feb 2010 3:19 PM
Tim G

The point is, you're proclaiming QR the horse of 2010. Not a dang thing to do with the Derby, which I am well acquainted with.

Talk about jinxing a horse.... We talk about Derby prospects, potential winners of other races but a declaration like that? Purely to be inflammatory.

THAT was my point

11 Feb 2010 4:11 PM
Mike Relva

SARATOGA AJ

That might be the only thing we agree on,I also like Quality Road and think he's something special.

11 Feb 2010 5:08 PM
Mike Relva

IT AINT EASY BEING GOOD

Find one blog that I ever said Zenyatta would win HOY.

11 Feb 2010 5:10 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Oh Tim G I thought this blog was titled Stakes analysis of feb. not triple crown talk either way Quality Road will be HOY this year to bad for zenyatta!

15 Feb 2010 1:57 PM
Forbidden Apple

Quarter Crack Road horse of the year, keep dreaming. Maybe sprinter of the year if he can make it through the season under Pletcher's regime.

Jeranimo just won the Strub in 1:47 4/5, does that make him a horse of the year candidate?

16 Feb 2010 2:58 PM
It Aint Easy being good

How about RECORD SETTING ROAD forbidden apple! QR is a beast and you haters need to crawl back under your 10 cent bet hole that you came from.

18 Feb 2010 1:49 PM
Forbidden Apple

Its so easy to assume,

I actually had a very good win bet on Jeranimo. Good luck with your horse of the year Quarter crack. He should be 3/5 in the Met Mile. That's a great bet!

18 Feb 2010 7:54 PM
Householder

Quality Road had his chance to "crush" Zenyatta.  Instead he chose to do the "American Ghost Dance."  I know everyone was a little fearful of big "Z" and certainly looking over their shoulders at the 1/16th pole but come on.  He never made in in the gate.  Now we're left with could of, should have would have, from It Aint Easy being good.  Unreal.

18 Feb 2010 7:58 PM
Forbidden Apple

Redding Colliery ran 1:47 1/5 on monday at Laurel. WOW, this must be another horse of the year candidate! I am not a hater, I just don't like it when folks start making another horse immortal based on nothing.

19 Feb 2010 9:43 AM

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