Racing Needs to Take Advantage of Rachel/Zenyatta Showdown

There is a full weekend of stakes action on the calendar, including a trio of important 3-year-old prep races--the Sam Davis and Robert Lewis on Saturday, and the Southwest on Monday--but all of those races have been pushed to the background by the announcement that Rachel and Zenyatta will supposedly now meet in the Apple Blossom, which was moved back to April 9 to fit the schedules of both sides (Well, really just to fit Jess Jackson's schedule, but I digress).

I have to admit, I did not think the two horses would meet this early in the year, especially in this race, and I certainly did not see it coming after Team Rachel announced on Wednesday that they were not going. I am more than a little bit baffled as to why an extra six days would make that much of a difference for Jackson to do an about-face in less than 24 hours, but so be it. It looks like the race is a go and that is the important thing.

I certainly hope that horse racing is preparing a strong marketing campaign for this giant race. It can't afford not to. With the Apple Blossom now scheduled for Friday, April 9, I'm guessing it will have a post of about 6:30 p.m. or so Central time, which would allow networks to air the race in prime time on the East Coast. A full, hold-nothing-back advertising campaign should begin soon, and after making sure both horses come out of their prep races okay (hopefully), I would expect to see this showdown plastered all over TV, print, and the Web.

If the powers that be are reading this, please don't let this opportunity slip by. Though we would love to see these two horses meet again this summer at Saratoga and later at Churchill Downs for the Breeders' Cup, we all know nothing is guaranteed and anything can happen. This may be the only chance we get to see the two great fillies meet, let's not blow it. This is a golden opportunity to attract news fans to the sport and put horse racing back on the front page for a few days. Plus, with the Derby just three weeks later, we can parlay the momentum even more.  

Here is a novel idea as suggested by Digital Media Editor Evan Hammonds: Wouldn't it be a great idea to take the $5 million purse offered by Charles Cella, or at least a large chunk of it, and put it into the marketing campaign for the race? We all know how tight things are right now and putting that money back into the sport would seem to be a deed great "sportsmen" would consider (There's that word again). I'm not one to spend other people's money, but Jess and Jerry would certainly seem to have the financial wherewithal to handle such a proposition.

Whatever happens and however the marketing is handled, this showdown is a shot in the arm for racing, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Let's just hope those in positions of authority are able to maximize its potential.

To conclude, I would be remiss if I did not give out a few picks for the weekend:

In the Sam Davis I like Middle of Nite to improve off his good allowance effort at Gulfstream and Rule certainly is the one to beat, but I'm going with Schoolyard Dreams in an upset. He looked good in his allowance win last month over the same strip and has been working even better since adding blinkers for Derek Ryan. Now he gets top rider Cornelio Velasquez, who should be able to rate him just off the pace. I know Todd Pletcher wants to see Rule rate as well, but Im not sure that's going to happen from the rail. I would play Schoolyard Dreams to win and in trifectas over Rule, Middle of the Nite, and Uptowncharlybrown, who could come closing fast off a hot pace.

No change in the Robert Lewis, I still like Tiz Chrome to beat American Lion. I will use Caracortado in my exotics as well. The Southwest doesn't draw until Saturday, but I am already leaning toward Dublin to beat the California invaders.

Good luck this weekend. Who do you like?


Leave a Comment:


Agreed.  Very Poignant.  Like your selections in the Lewis.  Uptowncharlybrown spanks em in the Davis with Schoolyard Dreams filling out the exacta.

12 Feb 2010 1:58 PM

First, I like Zenyatta, no matter what you said on the live blog this morning... :) GRRR!!!

Second, I like Rule.

Third, Tiz Chrome we agree on but would not be shocked to see American Lion the winner.

Fourth, any California invader over Dublin. (No West Coast bias involved here :) you can plainly see.)

12 Feb 2010 2:05 PM
Ken Gray

I've already put a bug in the ear of the vice president of the HBPA at Fairmount,to open the park and put it on the large screen - thats the race of the century.

I also like Rule and Tiz Chrome to win.

12 Feb 2010 2:38 PM
Pam S.

Couldn't agree more with your sentiments, Jason.  Waiting until the BC for these two to meet seems like a poor idea considering how much things could change in seven or eight months.  Look how fast things have been happening in just the past week!

Since the 'Blossom is now scheduled for a Friday, I was thinking they could have a 4 or 4:30 Central post, but 6:30 would be that much better.  Are there lights at Oaklawn?  

Advertising for the big event should, of course, start slow and build in intensity as it becomes (hopefully) more clear that the race will actually happen.  After the successful completion of the March 13 preps both ladies are scheduled to have, they can start to go all out.  Using purse funds to finance the marketing sounds like a good idea to me.

I like Schoolyard Dreams but I'm basing it on his romantic-sounding name more than anything else.

12 Feb 2010 3:08 PM
Jason Shandler

No lights at Oaklawn Pam but I think there should still be plenty of light at 6:30 on April 9.

12 Feb 2010 3:10 PM

Great post, and I do hope the "powers that be" are reading. Please get this on TV, and not at half-time of a college basketball game or in the middle of Sportscenter or whatever. Put it on as its own TV event, and make sure that people know about it. It would be *great* if, as part of the build-up, they also worked each mare's prep race into a nationally televised show, but given the pitiful access to horse racing on any channel you can get without satellite TV, I'd say I'm not holding my breath on that one. How can we mobilize the people who visit these blogs to get in touch with real decisionmakers at the networks and/or ESPN?

12 Feb 2010 3:15 PM

Daylight won't be a problem.  Zenyatta will win this one.

12 Feb 2010 3:21 PM

Zenyatta will win on April 9 and caracortado will win the lewis.

12 Feb 2010 3:25 PM


 I'm with you on Schoolyard. What kind of odds do you think we might get? Is 4-1 possible?

12 Feb 2010 3:27 PM

I am jumping on the Rule and American Lion bandwagon.  As far as Oaklawn, I don't know that I can even watch it.

12 Feb 2010 3:28 PM
steve from st louis

While this is the biggest thing to happen to racing in the last 25 years, the rest of the country couldn't care less. And based on the marketing genuises at the Breeders' Cup, they'll probably want to split the races into two 4 1/2 furlong heats. Portable lights and prime time broadcast is the least the Arkansas Jockey Club can do.

12 Feb 2010 3:34 PM
Jason Shandler

longway: I think we'll get at least 4-1. Rule and Uptowncharlybrown will take more money.

Steve from STL: I have to disagree with you when you say the rest of the country could care less. In general, I agree with you that racing is not on the general sport fan's radar, but this race will be. I know a lot of regular folks, who could otherwise care less about horse racing, who have expressed interest in watching this matchup. With the right exposure, it could be huge for the sport. Like you, Im not holding my breath that it will be marketed correctly.

12 Feb 2010 3:46 PM
Virgil Fox

Regarding the race itself, at 9f I keep having visions of Hard Spun in the Kentucky Cup Classic (G2), 9f, Turfway Park, beating Street Sense, Stream Cat, and Cat Shaker.

Admittedly, a small, less than stellar field.

Hard Spun just kinda tugging Street Sense along all the way around.

Perhaps I'm stating the obvious.

I must agree with you, Jason - huge advantage to RA.

Larger field, 10f, advantage Zenyatta.

Regardless, let's hope the TV thing gets done. This is a one in a million opportunity for racing (one in five million I guess).

- Peace

12 Feb 2010 3:52 PM

As for the general, non-racing interest in a Rachel-Zenyatta showdown, it's interesting that I first became aware that the Apple Blossom matchup is back on from the ESPN ticker(or whatever you call the thing on the bottom of the screen that gives you updates).  Every few minutes, there would be the word "Horse" (instead of  NBA, NCAAM, etc) and then details of the Apple Blossom were provided.

If we in the industry make the biggest deal we can about this, the broader sports, and maybe even national news media will pick up on it.  I'm fairly confident that a significant buzz can be created in the sports media/among sports fans.  Getting it to the larger population, like how the Seabiscuit-War Admiral match race transcended not just horse racing but sports, will be hard.

12 Feb 2010 4:04 PM
Tim G

Agree Jason. This is in newspapers, sportsblogs and so forth. Not huge articles, but more than we've seen in the past.

I know here it's always at the forefront but out in the SW and West?  No.

Lets see what happens. No one can say it's the Zenyatta camp who are trying to dodge it anymore.  

The 6 days? An extra week of recovery from the prep?  Lets see if everything goes 'ok' in that race. I have my doubts.

12 Feb 2010 4:07 PM

Nine furlongs? Oaklawn?            

There will be plenty of daylight, most of it between Rachel and Zenyatta. . .

12 Feb 2010 4:07 PM

"Eric Estrada likes Zenyatta" picture Estrada with his CHiPs bike giving a thumbs up with Zenyatta.

That's my two cents.

12 Feb 2010 4:07 PM
Paula Higgins

Nola, LOL,  know how you feel about Oaklawn. I am thinking of asking my internist for a single dose of Valium to take 1 hour before the start. I have got to get a grip. I wonder if Quality Road will show up for this? Any thoughts on that anyone? I would not count him out if he did.

I wish this race was 1 1/4 and not 1 1/8. That is to Rachel's advantage tactically. They are going to have to get Zenyatta into gear alot sooner, which is not the usual for her. A larger field may help Zenyatta. I will be interested to see how they run their prep races. That may tell alot.

Jason, I think the reason Jess Jackson changed his mind is because both horses will be coming off 4 weeks from their prep races. He really couldn't say "No" because Zenyatta would have been coming back within the same 4 week period. Woudln't have looked great if he had said "No."

Yes, some money should be used to advertise it. Don't know if that will happen.

12 Feb 2010 4:10 PM
Ted from LA

Rule and Schoolyard Dreams in a deadheat.  Caracortado to win.  

12 Feb 2010 4:21 PM

Who else is going to be in the Apple Blossom? I'm truly not interested if it ends up a match race. I know there's a lot of money on the table, but they need to be quality horses invited/entered/put in the starting gate with these two giants.

I think Rule is the class, and I'm looking for Tiz Chrome to win.

12 Feb 2010 4:21 PM

So the April 9 date was not a typo?!

12 Feb 2010 4:28 PM

That's a great idea to put the 5 million back into racing through an all out campaign to showcase these phenomenal girls to everyone, not just racing fans.  In order to want to watch, people have to know, and care.  If these horses are revealed in all their glory, who could help watching them. And I believe I read that they'd like them to meet several times this season - there could be more than one opportunity.  Put them on TV, put them in the magazines and, most of all, figure out how to use the internet.    

12 Feb 2010 4:28 PM
Casey B.

I want uptowncharlybrown the local horse of monmouth!!! wooo!

12 Feb 2010 4:32 PM

I will believe it when I see it, so keep your fingers crossed that this race will actually happen.  If things look too wet, well you know Zen will scratch, but we know Rachel loves the slop.  So pray to the weather Gods, and Lord help us if either girl has a legitimate illness or injury that knocks them out of the race.  No one will ever believe the connections, especially Mr. Jackson.

As for the April 9th race date, I think they are half nuts to run on a Friday.  Most people don’t have time to go to the bank, cash their check, stop at the store and get home for dinner and watch the local news at 6:30pm.  Oaklawn should apply to add a week to its meet and hold the Apple Blossom on April 17th, a Saturday that will give a lot more people a chance to see it and another week for the ladies to prepare.

If they both do run on either date, my hope is that the connections of “Vodka” will try to stick their nose in the mix.

12 Feb 2010 4:36 PM

6:30 EST?

I can't believe it will be on a FRIDAY!

Will it be on TVG? I don't get HRTV & that's whose listed as showing it. I'll cry real tears if HRTV is the only TV station allowed to show it & I'm forced to watch a 2" version of the race of the decade on YouBet.

As far as moving the AB back a week to "fit JJ's schedule"...Oaklawn was in MUTUAL discussion with the Moss's & JJ it was the optimum date for both horses..

Run, girls, run!

12 Feb 2010 4:39 PM

This is the problem with horse racing.  Once it was announced that Zenyatta was going to run this year, the NTRA and other organizations should have been in talks with the owners to come up with a plan.  The only person that comes out of this looking smart is Charles Cella.  He knew if they put the money up, they would come.  He beat everyone else to the punch and for this Oaklawn will benefit greatly.  I will be traveling down there from NY for this race but I think you are only going to get the real horse racing fans.  If you put this race on a weekend in a big city with proper marketing, it would have been huge for the industry.  Instead you will get it on a Friday in Arkansas and it will be an afterthought on the average sports fans mind.  I'm sure it will be on TV but I agree that they are going to mangle this once in a lifetime opportunity!

12 Feb 2010 4:40 PM

steve from st. louis: as you know, the Olympics start today in Vancouver ... one of the biggest sports (and beyond sports) things to happen to Canada in a while.  And even with this taking over the sports pages, the next biggest headline in the Toronto Star was about the Rachel Alexandra / Zenyatta showdown...and this in a newspaper which has narrowed down its racing coverage to teeny, tiny, illegible race results at the back of the section!

More than one country DOES care.

The racing marketers better not blow this one.

12 Feb 2010 4:46 PM

The only kink in the Apple Blossom is the fact that it will be run on a Friday. If they run it at 6:30 it might be kinda ok for the East Coast but what about the West Coast? What are we, chopped liver? After all it's only our most illustrious racehorse, since Tiznow, going to battle against the East's mighty champion... :)

I'm lucky, I'm retired. They can run the race on Wednesday morning if they want to, but not everybody west of the Mississippi has the leisure of leaving work early to view this historical event. If Oaklawn wants this race to happen on their track they should be willing to have it on Saturday so every fan or potential fan has a chance to see it. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. :)

12 Feb 2010 4:46 PM

Good points in this story ... as for the race itself, no reason to make a prediction because hopefully we'll get to see who wins!

12 Feb 2010 4:50 PM


Quality Road can't race in the Apple Blossom.  It's for fillies and mares only.

12 Feb 2010 5:05 PM


Zen always raced 9 furlongs.  She only raced 10 furlongs at the BCC.  She will be fine at any distance.

12 Feb 2010 5:06 PM

Zenyatta will make the HOTY voters second guess themselves this year!

In the Lewis, Tiz Chrome should easily win it.

12 Feb 2010 5:19 PM

Oaklawn is offering big purses up to 10Th place. This could turn into one heck of a race.  Discount Zenyatta winning at your own risk.  You claimed she could not win the Breeders Cup Classic but win she did. Zenyatta has always found a way to win.  

12 Feb 2010 5:29 PM

To MFXH78 COMING FROM NY - I believe u just insulted the state of Arkansas and Oaklawn Park particularly.  Sure Mr. Cella beat everyone else to the punch but he's a great horseman and an excellent business man. It's amazing that Oaklawn Park can draw close to 70,000 people for the Arkansas Derby and Belmont Park can only draw around 30,000 for the Belmont Stakes.  Where are your true racing fans at now.  As far as marketing the race goes, I don't think you'll have to worry about that.  Oh and another thing, have you forgotten the names Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex, Lawyer Ron, and that 2 time horse of the year Curlin?  Where did they come from?

12 Feb 2010 5:32 PM

As glad as I am to see these to finally get together.  This couldn't have worked out any more poorly than it did for the sport. A Friday afternoon! No major network is gonna do a whole lot of coverage of this event. Why not have it that Sat 10th. with the Arkansas Derby, The Bluegrass is that day as well. You get huge network coverage for a race that should warrant huge television coverage. This debacle (the planning not the race) is just another example of how the people with power in this sport whom claim to care about the sports best interests really only have their own interests in mind. Yes! hardcorer fans like myself are gonna do whatever has to be done to watch but casual fans are not even gonna know this race took place.

12 Feb 2010 5:37 PM

Zookeeper- I suspect a lot of cubicles will be empty because the occupants will be at Oaklawn.

12 Feb 2010 5:50 PM


12 Feb 2010 5:57 PM

My husband and I, as well as two friends, are now stuck with 4 tickets to the Apple Blossom, dated April 3, which are worthless as seating for that race.  The tickets are nonrefundable and Oaklawn Park was sold out for April 9 before the announcement of the change in date was made.  We found this out after almost 6 hours of calling Oaklawn Park for April 9 tickets.

This is no different than buying tickets to a concert with an A entertainer and a B entertainer, then changing the date that the A entertainer will perform.

I think it is great that it appears Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra will meet, but our situation is totally disgusting.  Postponing a race due to weather is understandable, but to have no respect for those who bought tickets for a particular race is something different.

We are not new to this sport, as my husband and I have attended MANY horseraces at numerous tracks in the past 28 year.  But this tops it all.

12 Feb 2010 6:00 PM
Mike Relva


Two questions? Do you ever get tired of using the same neg. comments regarding Zenyatta/connections? Also, how does it feel to almost always be incorrect? You stated recently that Zenyatta wouldn't race in the Apple Blossom,remember? lol

12 Feb 2010 6:04 PM

I don't know if racing is allowed on Sunday's at Oaklawn but it would have many more viewers if it would be the day after the Ark Derby.  Can they keep the track open for a extra day for this great race?  No wonder horse racing is on the decline!!

12 Feb 2010 6:09 PM

I wish this would be on a sat. or somthing because people like me, have school, and what if its earlier, not at 6:30?

12 Feb 2010 6:09 PM

The hard part about a marketing campaign promoting the Apple Blossom is that there is always the very real chance one or both horses won't make the race.  Sure, that's just racing but I'm sure that goes into consideration from a marketing perspective as well as a network one.

Other than that, I agree 100% that this needs to be promoted to the hilt!  It's the best thing for the sport.  The last time I remember main stream media getting really involved in something race related for any length of time (not withstanding the tragedies of the sport) is when Cigar was going for 16 in a row.

Now, on to the weekends picks.

I like aptly named Caracortado to upset American Lion in the Lewis.

I love the way Uptowncharlybrown looks in action, I don't like his pedigree.  But I'm taking him over Rule.  I think Schoolyard Dreams could be a sleeper.

I like Mushka over Life Is Sweet in the Santa Maria, and the Baffert duo of Misremembered and Viscount in the Strub.

Does anyone bet against Blind Luck in the Las V?  Not me.  

I like You and I Forever over Munnings in the GP Sprint.  I also like Congressional Page to get in the mix.

And here's hoping Stardom Bound regains her winning form in the La Canada.

Enjoy a great weekend of racing everyone!

12 Feb 2010 6:27 PM
D.Moss (no relation to Jerry Moss)

Is anyone else nervous about these beautiful fillies racing against each other? Don't get me wrong I'd love to see them, but I keep thinking about Ruffian

12 Feb 2010 6:34 PM

I agree, even of those on us on the East Coast, they really screwed the pooch by putting it on Friday.

Once again, the horse racing community proves they have a death wish.

Their one shot at glory this year and they bury it.

12 Feb 2010 7:11 PM

Oaklawn should be negotiating with ESPN and others for broadcast rights.  That would help offset the $5 million.  The deal should require broadcast of the Arkansas Derby as well (perhaps broadcast of the 'match race' could be re-broadcast as part of the AR Derby pre-race).

To whoever does horse race broadcasts--Would you please focus more on the horses and less on the owner, trainer, jockey 'human interest' stories?  The horses are the real show.

12 Feb 2010 7:30 PM

man ive been trying to get a reservation in at oaklawn because i only live 45 min away from hot springs!! but every thing is booked!!  i cant imagine how loud the screaming will be at oaklawn park April 9!

12 Feb 2010 7:31 PM
Aaron McC

I agree that this race could be potentially big for thoroughbred racing.  Though also just a small step in the right direction.  Racing's been sliding for decades as an important sport in this country.  

However, I'm not sure about some of the digs taken at Jess Jackson in this article and in others.  I mean,  Rachel's historic campaign would NOT have happened last year without Jess Jackson as her owner.  His choices, beginning with purchase her, in turn probably pressured the Mosses into putting Zen in the Classic, which has caused the passion for the two meeting this year.  Between his creative handling of Curlin (trying him on grass for possible trip to the Arc!?) and his handling of Rachel last year, the racing world should be praising this man.  Sure, he might be a little self absorbed, or a little awkward  - I don't know, I've never seen him or met him - but he seems to care about the sport and is willing to take chances.  

As for a four week layoff instead of three, I can see that making the right amount of difference - though I'm no trainer - both in rest and in preparation.  I mean Rachel hasn't been able to work because of weather, and she'll be facing friggin' Zenyatta. She'll need a prep.  But also some good workouts.  

So, I'm just sayin': cut Jess some slack.

12 Feb 2010 7:42 PM

Well said Jason, I hope this is hyped bigger and better than any race before. I just hope both show up and stay healthy in between. I look forward to being there and highly recommend Rocky's just out the front gate. Best Pizza and cold beer in town, for anyone coming to town.

12 Feb 2010 7:45 PM
John T

First,the Rachel camp decline saying that the Apple Blossom is too soon.Then they announce there is going to be a best 2 out of 3 races.The Moss camp say ''Gee that,s the first we have heard of such a thing''Then the Rachel camp

say 6 extra days should be enough for our horse let,s go for it.Let us hope for the sake of thoroughbred racing this race goes

off alright.

12 Feb 2010 7:48 PM

This should be a great event. I think there will be a full field of 10 for this historic event. The 10th place finisher gets 100,000 dollars so that should get the owners interested. If they market this right it will also help the triple crown that will only be 3 weeks away. Im an east coast guy but I give a slight edge to Zenyatta because she will be better conditioned for this race. Just hope they come home safe and it is close at the finish. I know that I want alot but these horses are both special and we will talk about them for years to come. One thing is for sure that I will be watching and wagering on this race. Not sure if I will cash the ticket though.

12 Feb 2010 7:54 PM

If it is on Friday, I won't be able to watch the race since for some idiotic reason TVG doesn't broadcast Oaklawn, Gulfstream or the Fairgrounds live. Since I already pay Direct TV an extra $20 a month just to get the package that has TVG, I am not about to pay to get HRTV on line and this is a race to watch on TV not a computer. I don't understand why the races from all tracks can't be shown on both horse racing stations.

12 Feb 2010 8:02 PM

Like Rachel in a post above said - I'm disappointed that the race is being run on a Friday.  I don't think they'll have any trouble getting on any one of the ESPN channels (The "Ocho" precluded, I hope!) But the chances of a major network getting behind this race during either the affiliates' syndicated programming or  - even if slightly later - into the prime time schedule - is pretty much nil, IMO.

That keeps the race out of the vast majority of general public viewing - which is where such a race between such champions should be showcased.

I have no doubt that Cella - who has already put up a losing money proposition for him and his track for the love of the sport - will market the heck out of the race.  NTRA (and even Breeders' Cup) would do well to latch onto a smart plan and possibly build on it should future meetings occur.

But will they?  Only time will tell.  We haven't been brilliant in recent years on the marketing of our greatest resources - the horses.  Maybe this will offer a new chance to bring the general public back from golf and NASCAR and to this great sport.

We'll see....but Zenyatta all the way to win.  Too many people (and you know who you are) left her for dead in the Classic, and ended up with egg on your face and crow in your gullet.  Bet against her at your own peril!

12 Feb 2010 8:05 PM

I agree about the Friday date.

The purse is huge. I can't see how a bunch of quality horses wouldn't be involved. 3-5 place pay better than winning most stakes races. I think the field will be deep and good.

Paula Higgins: The Apple Blossom is restricted to Fillies and Mares so Quality Road cannot be invoved.

12 Feb 2010 8:12 PM

First and foremost this race could be run on Monday and the whole world would watch. Second you people knock this race being in Arkansas on a Friday, check the attendance of all major tracks in the U.S. and compare them to Oaklawn. SA, AQU, GP and others do not come close.  Oaklawn is a business like any other they want two big days  Apple Blossom , AR Derby.  This track has been open since 1904 and in my opinion the only track in the U.S. growing.  Also look at the great horses that competed here since 1904.  The problem with all you fans is your jealous our owner can and will put up the money to draw them in.

12 Feb 2010 8:24 PM

Watch the movie Seabuscuit. Only a marketing campaign reminisent of this..can bring this wonderful opportnity to the public. No NCAA playoffs..NBA..NHL..let this moment shine for the horse racing industry..create that Seabuscuit surge..which happened a few years ago with a memorative movie..please..let it shine!

12 Feb 2010 8:24 PM

true,the race could be run on sat.but with the right amount of marketing and the word of mouth of all horseplayers lets make it work!We are proud of our racing at Oaklawn an we will show everyone our southern hospitality.Pray for the soundness of both horses.

12 Feb 2010 9:04 PM
Paula Higgins

I can't believe they are running this on a Friday. What are they thinking???????????????

12 Feb 2010 9:07 PM
Paula Higgins

O.k. so you were all too polite to correct me LOL. Quality Road can't run in the Apple Blossom because it's just the girls. This is going to end up looking like a match race even though it technically isn't. Don't love that.

12 Feb 2010 9:21 PM

carol,I also had tickets for april 3rd.You still have tickets for the Oaklawn Handicap. A very good race.I bought 4 seats to the Apple Blossom this morning for a total of 10.00. 2.50 per seat. Thanks rdo everyones jealous of us here at little ol oaklawn!!!LOL

12 Feb 2010 10:03 PM
Golden Gate

Yes as of today all of the inside seats have been sold out for Oaklawn on Friday April 9th. The phone lines were jammed/down until around 1 pm and then only open 3 1/2 hours.

Some of my friends bought tickets today (Feb. 12th) but now they are gone.One reason though Oaklawn decided not to have the Apple Blossom on Arkansas Derby day was that 95% of those Saturday tickets were already sold a month ago. They were trying to accomadate new people.

Also there are many concrete bleachers outside that if it is a nice day are just fine to sit on with a stadium pillow. Our weather changes here rapidly so wear layers.

The gates usually open at 11 am so if ya'll don't have a seat inside then better get in line there at 8 am at main gate if you want a spot on the rail or a seat outside.

It would be nice for people (like me) who bought April 3rd Apple Blossom tickets to get a refund of some type.

If anyone at Oaklawn is reading this how about if someone shows the April 3rd Apple Blossom ticket they get their gate entrance fee waved? And if you are feeling really generous in addition to free gate entrance a free soft drink and the ticket surrendered to the concession stand?

If you can't find a hotel in Hot Springs Benton, Arkansas is about an half hour away.

Also Little Rock is about an hour and there are some real nice hotels there and some nice things to see.

Also traffic will be horrendous and roads aren't made for this many cars so be prepared to come extra early. On big race days parking is at a premium.

And whatever you do plan on going down to Bathhouse row by taxi or hotel bus or foot. It is two lane in the shopping district there (it is great though so don't miss seeing it)

12 Feb 2010 10:09 PM
Saratoga AJ

Yes, Friday is an unusual day for a race of this magnitude.

But remember, one of the most anticipated races in history occurred on a TUESDAY AFTERNOON! The legendary match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral took place on Tuesday afternoon, November 1, 1938. And unbelievably, it is estimated about 1/3 of the all the radios (and 1/3 of the entire population) in the U.S. were tuned in to hear it! Even President Roosevelt interrupted a Cabinet meeting to listen in. The old Pimlico race track was packed. All on a Tuesday, a regular normal workday. Yes, Racing was alive and well in those days.

12 Feb 2010 10:28 PM
Diane J

To all of you who are complaining about the race scheduled for a Friday, you can thank Jess Jackson for demanding another week off for Rachel.  The Apple Blossom was orignially scheduled for a Saturday. Oaklawn is an awesome track and is beautiful in the spring. Oaklawn rocks!

12 Feb 2010 10:31 PM

dave in dixie a sleeper in the roberta b lewis.

12 Feb 2010 10:39 PM

Zenyatta will win I do believe. The HOY 2009 was fixed and Rachel Alexandra only won because of politics.It is totally unfair to Zenyatta and her great year.Okay, so Rachel Alexandra beat the best 3 year olds. Big Deal. Zenyatta beat them all! 3 year olds and older! And she has raced more too!

Do you think it is a coincidence that Curlin's owners won the HOY 3 years in a row????

Stuff like that drives me up the wall.

12 Feb 2010 11:03 PM
Matthew W

Jason I was there for Slew/Affirmed and Affirmed/Bid--ya know what? They were hardly promoted, that's right, even when racing was much bigger, they didn't know how to promote the sport--methinks these two amazons are as big as it gets for my 39 years in the sport--Here's to a great Apple Blossom, followed by an unbelievable Woodward, culminating with an unforgetable Classic--Racing is hurting, all over, and the world itself is hurting--along came not one, but two supermares--super--there has been only one horse in my lifetime I can remember who was called super--and Big Red of Meadow Stable came along at the right time, as well....

12 Feb 2010 11:18 PM
Paula Higgins

Saratoga AJ at least radio covered the Seabiscuit/War Admiral Race. I will be at work in Outpt. Surgery with no chance to see it as it happens, as will most of America.I hope someone posts it on Youtube. They should have made it a Saturday. It would have been better for visibility of the sport, viewership, and promotion.

12 Feb 2010 11:18 PM

Just because 2 good horses are racing, no big deal. I can't make any money on the race. It's all about more money for the owners,trainers and jockeys. Who are already rich. Whats in it for the betting public?

But wait, its Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra racing. Still no big deal. They are only a couple of horses.

12 Feb 2010 11:18 PM

As far as I know the owners of Zenyatta and Rachel have said they would like three races to determine who is the better horse.  So, for those of you who think they will miss the first race on April 9th there may be others between the two gals.

12 Feb 2010 11:31 PM
Lil Darlin

Last year everyone complains about the fact that they didn't race each other.  This year, either we don't want them to race due to threat of match race...OR we are now complaining about the date.  I refuse to complain - Oaklawn and the owners got together, figured something out and the girls are racing. Can't we just be happy that the race is FINALLY on?

13 Feb 2010 12:27 AM

At this point I don't know how I feel about how this shaked out. On the one hand, NBC is televising the Arkansas derby on Saturday and it seems silly not broadcast them both on the same day. On the other hand, it never works out well for the horses when racing makes a big to-do about these races between two champions. I think it's lovely to remember Seabiscuit and War Admiral, but my mind can't go there without remembering Go for Wand's BC distaff and Ruffian/Foolish Pleasure. The fact that this is not a match race puts my mind at ease somewhat, but I feel that Rachel Alexandra is being pushed back into form a little to soon. I just hope and pray it turns out like the Biscuit and the Admiral.

13 Feb 2010 12:44 AM

I have but ONE NAGGING comment on the show-down:  YIPPPEEEEEE!!  GO, GO, SUPER FILLY!!  WE DO LOVE YOU, BABY!  GO GET THIS SUCKER Z!!  

I kinda WISH that the showdown between Rachel and Zen will take place WITH COLTS.. suggestion: the WHITNEY HANDICAP.. Or is that asking too much??  For Zen, I mean.

13 Feb 2010 1:38 AM

Absolutely one for the ages!  Can't wait to see Zenyatta run by Rachel.....we'll be rooting for you Queen "Z" and Mike S.!  For the Lewis..go TizChrome...

13 Feb 2010 2:07 AM

For Saturday's stakes at Santa Anita.  I'm with Jason and really like Tiz Chrome in the Bob Lewis, and think Caracortado may have a chance to beat the highly touted American Lion for 2nd.  Maybe American Lion will show more spark or will stretch his legs out better around two turns.  Until he shows me a little more than he did in the Hollywood Prevue, I will wait before jumping on the bandwagon.  

The field for the Lewis is just 5 horses, so expect the pace to be very slow.  I really am having trouble seeing how the race will unfold, but I do think Tiz Chrome should get the jump on the others with his brilliance.

The Las Virgenes is another small field.  Like the Bob Lewis, unless you like a longshot, it's going to be hard to make alot of money on the Las Virgenes.  Blind Luck is the deserving favorite and should win her 3rd gr.1 race.  The one and only horse I think can give her a run for her money in the Las Virgenes is Crisp.  This John Sadler filly has demonstrated an exciting closing kick and has the ability to accelerate quickly.  The presence of pace horses in Summer Games and Switch and even Evening Jewel should make it a more honestly run race than the Lewis.

The field for the Santa Maria came up very salty.  It features the 1-2 finishers in the 09' BC Distaff, Life is Sweet and Mushka.  Life is Sweet loves Santa Anita, having won the gr.2 El Encino, gr.2 La Canada, and gr.1 Santa Margarita in addition in the BC Distaff.  Mushka came in to the BC Distaff having won the gr.1 Spinster(although by dq to the promising Proviso who just ran 2nd in the gr.1 Santa Monica).

While I respect both of these gr.1 winners, I really like a 5 year old mare making the jump from a listed stakes, St. Trinians.  Simply, in winnng the Paseana Cap', St. Trinians was as impressive as any horse I've seen so far during the Santa Anita meet(and I've seen 90% of the stakes).  She has excellent tactical speed but unlike other speed-types on the Pro-Ride, she just keeps going in the stretch, never tiring.  She has won all of her starts on synthetics in the US by blow-out margins, and I really think she will get the jump on both Mushka and Life is Sweet.

The pace scenario of the Santa Maria is hard to predict because both Czechers and Pretty Unusual, two speed-types, are entered in multiple stakes this weekend.  The fact that regular rider Chantal Sutherland is not on Pretty Unusual in the Santa Maria but scheduled to be on her in Sunday's La Canada, suggests that Pretty Unusual is doubtful for the Santa Maria.  However, Pretty Unusual drew the 14th hole in the La Canada, and it might be likely she actually ends up in Monday's Buena Vista with Chantal aboard.  The fact Czechers has Chantal for the Santa Maria(with Chantal being her regular rider) indicates she is more likely than Pretty Unusual to run in the Santa Maria given Pretty Unusual is the more accomplished horse and is 8-1 compared to Czechers at 20-1.  If Pretty Unusual was running in the Santa Maria, Chantal would be on her.  Czechers is also cross-entered in the Buena Vista, but without Chantal; if one remembers, Chantal is slated to be on Pretty Unusual in the Buena Bista, reinforcing the belief Pretty Unusual will bypass the Santa Maria for the La Canada or Buena Vista and than Czechers will run in the Santa Maria.  Confused? I am.

If we assume Czechers will run in the Santa Maria, expect her to be either setting the pace or right up with it.  I expect gr.3 Bayakoa winner Zardana to also be up with Czechers, with St. Trinians in a stalking position.  I envision St.Trinians pouncing on those two horses, opening up a lead, and keeping Life is Sweet and Mushka at bay.  At 5/2 on the morning line, however, it's not like St. Trinians is some big revelation.

The Strub is the race I expect some moderate to longer shots to get into the fray; of the 4 stakes, it looks like the one to make some money.  Misremembered deserves to be favored, but I'm not convinced he really likes the Pro-Ride.  His best races have been on dirt, winning the gr.2 Indiana Derby and missing a nose in the gr.2 Clark and his next best performances have been on the more dirt-like cushion track at Hollywood, winning the gr.2 Swaps and running 2nd in the gr.3 Affirmed.  He ran 2nd in the gr.1 Malibu on pure class and guts.  I think his speed and guts will put him right in the mix, but he shouldn't be lower than 2/1.

When the  Strub was drawn last week, it didn't really have much speed.   It appeared that Misremembered could fill in for the role that Papa Clem had in the San Fernando, and stalk Smart Bid and then outduel that horse to win the Strub.  The one week delay  produced one other speed horse being entered, the classy and hard hitting Acclamation.  The pace of the Strub still does not figure to be demanding, but Acclamation will make the jobs of Misremembered and Smart Bid more difficult.  

Is there a horse in there that could take advantage of the quicker pace?  Logic says Rendezvous, but I give Massone a shot.  Massone has been asked to run all over the country, on dirt, turf, and synthetic, and has almost always given an honest performance.  In his last start, the gr.3 Sir Beaufort on turf, he was blocked during the stretch yet still finished a flying 3rd to The Usual QT and I really think he could have threatened that horse with a clean trip. At 12/1 on the morning line, he's worth a look.

13 Feb 2010 3:09 AM

Regardless of how people feel about the owners of racehorses, most important is the well being of the horse. And at the begining of their campaign for the year they shouldn't be hussled just to make the "public" happy. For the big girls to have a couple of races against each other will eliminate the had a bad day thing, and add all kinds of excitement. For me am all excited and scared at the same time. They will both give their all I'm sure and would hate to see either one have their incredible hearts broken by loosing. Both are such spectacular horses. And am hopeful I will get to see both them this year. With that said Go Rachel!

13 Feb 2010 6:37 AM

I'm thrilled there at the thought of a three race series. With that said I'd like to see one of the three races contested at 1 1/4.  

13 Feb 2010 8:29 AM

The follow-up will be of more importance, racing has been able to attract many newcomers to the races with events like this. The problem is and always has been how to keep them interested and coming back, at this racing has failed miserably. Unless and until racing realizes that combining the entertainment of the sport with initiating the bew fan into the basics of handicapping oportunities such as this will come and go. Racing must focus on this blind spot if it is to achieve it's potential.

13 Feb 2010 8:44 AM

Tim G... I know that It is a big deal out here in Texas... I have friends who could'nt care less about horse racing asking me about it. I just hope that both horses make it soundly and that they win their preps... I like Zenyatta if there are five horses or more... But if Rachel Gets the lead all by herself and is allowed to run 23 seconds for the first quarter its all over.

13 Feb 2010 9:22 AM
Saratoga AJ


Sure, I bet Jess Jackson bribed the voters with free cases of Kedall-Jackson Wine!

Do you really believe that nonsense you posted?

Paula Higgins:

The video of that race will certainly be on YouTube. But probably even earlier on the BloodHorse and NTRA websites.

Maybe they can rig up a TV in the Recovery Room? :)

13 Feb 2010 9:47 AM

Yes, April 9th seems awkward, once I got the stars from the eyes, but I think we need to hold onto this and hope for the best, and hope at least one other filly accepts the invitation (I hope they invite Careless Jewel, though I know even "her" accepting is not even mildly realistic since she hasn't raced since the Ladies' Classic). Random observation: Everyone is saying this change was made for Jackson's favor. Okay, it was. But Moss had to agree, too--they couldn't just sneak Zen away and run her with Rachel. So, quit saying the obvious :). I agree with the majority that the race should be on Saturday. It would disrupt the stakes card on Saturday at Oaklawn but I think it would be good for attendance and racing overall if carefully planned. I won't go so far as to say to put it after Derby Day, then everyone will be talking about, yeah...the Preakness/possible TC. Every day proposed, whether seriously or at the rail or online by fans, will be hacked and debated to death.

So, sit back and watch the sparks fly, and then wait for the winner and 'runner-up'. And then wait for the great debate over why the 'runner-up' lost. :p

13 Feb 2010 9:59 AM

What is proven in this race will depend to a large degree with what other horses are entered. Oaklawn has to solicit a quality field as a match race will prove nothing. Does the change in the race name to "invitational" perhaps open the race to males? Z and RA MUST run against males soon or their appeal will be lost. They were both up for horse, not filly/mare, of the year.

13 Feb 2010 10:10 AM
The Rock

"Homeward bound! RA is loping along on the lead and has it in the bag but just when you think she's got no chance, here comes Zenyatta! Zenyatta is absolutely flying! It looks like she just jumped in at the 1/4 pole! Here's the wire............and Zenyatta has done it!"

Can't wait for this race. I've never seen a horse do what she's done. RA as well. But the Zen master just has a turn of foot that is just electrifying. She always shows up. I don't care if its a match race or a full field. After the BC Classic, this horse cannot lose.


You think she'll lose 3 times this year. I'm willing to put a friendly wager on that she doesn't. Ever. =)

13 Feb 2010 10:40 AM

May the powers that be allow for Canadians to be able to see this race televised. The only time that I have ever seen Zenyatta on television was in her Breeders Cup triumphs and Rachel during her Preakness run. It would mean a lot to at least have the chance to watch from my couch. 98% of the time most near me have to go to otbs to watch such races or wait until they are on youtube. It would mean a lot

For this weekend: Rule, American Lion, Blind Luck,

The San Vicente runs too and whether not he has a shot, I like Classical Slew or Sidney's Candy. I also hope that Lentenor wins his race this weekend. I kind of like the pedigree on African Moon as well. Should be a good day / weekend.

13 Feb 2010 10:51 AM
Monica V


Your attitude is amazing to me.  Most of us who are into this sport enjoy the races just for the thrill of it not just for the gambling.  To have two such incredible horses running against each other is exceptional and a once in a lifetime thrill.  The results are not written in stone.  You could still possibly make some money but no matter what, people will be talking about this race for years to come

13 Feb 2010 11:07 AM

Tara..with all due respect, it is horse of the YEAR, not horse of their career. Now, I'm just stating facts as I'm a fan of both horses (the fans of the horse on the other hand I can either take or leave)but in 2009 Zen ran in only five races to RA's eight. Zen pretty much stayed on dry synthetic surface whereas RA raced on many different tracks in all conditions. RA beat males three times to Zen's one. RA was only three years-old. A baby! Are you getting what I'm aiming at?

And I'm sorry, but I completely digagree with you on HOY being fixed.  That's completely insulting to the three seperate organizations who voted. Conincidence?  I believe so, but I highly doubt it was fixed.

13 Feb 2010 11:13 AM
Soldier Course

JJ said April 3rd was "too soon" for RA. So they move the race 6 days later, and that makes enough of a difference that he changes his mind? How long has it been since this filly ran? Six months, isn't it? Who are they kidding?  

13 Feb 2010 11:17 AM
Mike G.

I'm really skeptical about the matchup.  Like the Breeders Cup, I just don't think Rachel will show up.  I would rather see Zenyatta try to be the first female to win the Dubai World Cup.

13 Feb 2010 11:37 AM


    They have started the same amount of times, Rachel running six times as a two year old and eight as a three year old. Zenyatta raced twice as a three year old, seven times as a four year old, and five as a five year old. So all in all RA has started the same amount of times as Zenyatta, but over a shorter amount of time.

13 Feb 2010 12:00 PM
Paula Higgins

Barry, geesh, every party needs a pooper and you're ours.

13 Feb 2010 12:10 PM

Sometimes people tend to focus on the negative instead of the positive and no matter how perfect I think I am I can be just as guilty.  Many times I have taken for granted Saturday afternoon and a day of just playing the horses.  Lately, it seems we are unable to honor real achievement without dragging up the past to prove the amazing performance we just saw wasn't that special.  I have been guilty of picking on Zenyatta for more then 2 years now and many have felt that I have been unfair. To tell the truth I probably have been. I just don't care who the best horse on plastic is.  Do I enjoy her pre race dance? Yes. Do I admire her ability? Yes. But make no mistake a plastic horse is not going to beat the best dirt horse in the world on dirt.  After Rachel runs Zenyatta into the ground few will admit that what we just witnessed was one of the great races of all times.  Many will instead insist that the race was too short or that somehow Zenyatta didn't have a path to victory.  We will talk about the negative and forget the fact that we're watching the greatest filly ever and perhaps the greatest horse ever.  I guess what I am trying to say is enjoy the year and think about something nice to say about the sport in each post. My hope this year is to remind each and every one of you all year long that Rachel Alexandra is the greatest filly ever.

13 Feb 2010 12:18 PM

I spent 2 days getting tickets, hotel reservations, and traveling arrangements so I could see Zenyatta at the Apple Blossom on 4/3.  Now I have souvenir tickets,(non refundable) cancelled rooms, and a disappointed relative because Oaklawn bowed down to Jess Jackson and put the "RACE OF THE CENTURY" on FRIDAY 4/9! (I can't go on 4/9)I'm speechless but beyond disappointment. This was my only chance to see Zenyatta, I am not a Rachel fan and I live in the south, not the west. I guess I can read about it on the internet huh? No wonder racing fan numbers are so low...

13 Feb 2010 12:20 PM

Wow Mikey, they sold my non-refundable 4/3 tickets to you and made some more money off me and you're bragging about it. I wish I was sitting here p.o.'d with jealousy..instead of heartbroken because my shot to see Zenyatta is gone..@Bonnie; due to financial reasons I will never be able to attend a race in Fl,CA, chance to see the horse I love came and went...poof!

13 Feb 2010 12:49 PM
Ted from LA

The over/under on the # of times these two will race against each other is 1.  I'll bet the under.

13 Feb 2010 1:02 PM

Mikey, I stand corrected on my statement that the April 9 tickets were soldout before the big announcement.  I misunderstood what my husband said.  The remaining races that Oaklawn has on the weekend of April 3 are not worth a 12-12 1/2 hour drive from Ohio and the expense of the trip.  Oaklawn's big weekends are not what we are use to at Keeneland, with numerous stakes each day.  Besides that, we were coming to see Zenyatta run in the Apple Blossom.  My husband and I have attended races at Oaklawn in the past, but this leaves a VERY bad taste.  We will come this time, buy general admission, and stand for about 10 hours, but it will be our last trip to Oaklawn.  This shows no respect for the people who committed to attending the April 3 races by purchasing tickets. In fact, Oaklawn did not even mention the April 3 ticketholders in their announcement.   We are just thankful that we did not purchase airline tickets.

13 Feb 2010 1:38 PM

I like Dryfly in the Southwest. As far as the Apple Blossom...I think it will be close. But Rachel has a lot of heart. She's a fighter, and when she sees Zenyatta coming up on her, she'll dig in with everything she has.

13 Feb 2010 1:40 PM

I also hope that this gets HUGE coverage in the news. Horse racing gets absolutely no covereage here in Vancouver BC. We have 2 large newspapers and one of the more popular TV sportscasters actually owns a racehorse but yet never mentions racing in his sportscasts. I also digress. I am looking forward to seeing Zenyatta kick Rachel's butt! As for Mr. Jackson, I've said it before, he is a whiny child who stamps his feet until he gets his way. I don't think he does horse racing any favours. The Moss's just take it as it comes and don't make unreasonable demands, they're great. Bring on the race of the century, you go girls!

13 Feb 2010 1:59 PM

Why do you people bother listening to anything these moderators say? If they could handicap a race they wouldn't have to work here.

13 Feb 2010 2:07 PM


 If Rachel sees Zenyatta coming up on her she will then see her big behind going right on by her.

13 Feb 2010 2:15 PM
Jason Shandler

OK Tim, give us the winners this weekend you genius. For a guy who doesnt take any stock in what we have to say, you sure do come to this blog quite often. Beat it.

13 Feb 2010 2:42 PM
Mike Relva


I like Am Lion today. Do you really think Zenyatta will lose three races this year?

13 Feb 2010 3:01 PM
Mike Relva


You have a big mouth and never anything of substance to say!

13 Feb 2010 3:02 PM
Jason Shandler

Mike: You Z fans are very easy to rile up :)

13 Feb 2010 3:06 PM

LOL longwaytomay.....ra FINALLY

joins that exclusive club's long list:


13 Feb 2010 3:27 PM
My Juliet

  Noone can know who Will win the Apple Blossom, but I'll be rooting for Rachel Alexandra, the brilliant phenom filly who had a season in 2009 that wont soon be duplicated. I'm thrilled Rachel and Zenyatta can finally meet on the track, and appreciate connections of both for allowing it to happen.  

  I think it will be very close, these are two great horses. I've been thinking of the 1997 Belmont, Bob Baffert said Silver Charm would never let a horse get past him, that he didn't see Touch Gold until too late. I'm hoping Rachel can 'see' Zen coming if it comes to that.    

13 Feb 2010 3:55 PM

I have never in my life seen such moaning and groaning from so many people.  You are not happy about anything.  Instead of being happy that the race for the ages is finally about to take place, all u all do is complain.  It almost didn't happen at all and if it hadn't been for the brilliance of Mr. Cella it still wouldn't be. I haven't seen anywhere where "Keeneland", "Belmont Park", "Santa Anita", etc. had even made an effort to get them together.  The only other track making an effort was Houston.  Now instead you bemoan the fact that it is being run on a Friday and you won't be able to watch it or can't get tickets. How many of u actually watch races on a regular basis, especially the major stakes races?

CAROL IN OHIO - Are you too good to stand for 10 hours?  We do it all the time when we go to Oaklawn.  I'm sure there will be plenty of others willing to take your place.  If the day is nice, I figure they will open the infield and u can go and stand out there.  

TARA - Do u even keep up with thoroughbred racing on a regular basis?  If not, then u need to get your facts straight before u post anything, especially where Rachel Alexandra is concerned.

OH, buy the way, I am a Rachel Alexandra Fan.   I love Zen but for me it's "GO RACHEL GO".

13 Feb 2010 4:01 PM

For the big race, I just hope Rachel has had time to come to full form after her layoff so she can put on her best peformance. To decide the best of the two, I'd want to see at least 3 races over the season - but I'm delighted they are finally going to meet.

For racing, this is about as good as it gets! What could be better than having top-class stakes races and one super-race on the same weekend (I'm counting Friday evening as the beginning of the weekend)? It would be nice if some of that purse could be used for publicity and things to lure in the fans new and old. It would certainly show that both parties have indeed got racing's best interests in their sights. I live too far away to be there in person and in a country where racing on TV is woefully scarce but I'll be glued to HPI-TV and screaming my head off for Rachel to, "take 'em home, baby!" Hopefully those who can be there live and in the flesh will do so. Racing needs 'em - every one!

13 Feb 2010 4:31 PM

Don't worry..ra will "see"Zenyatta coming..and there won't be anything she can do about it....just like all the others

13 Feb 2010 4:41 PM

California had its Seabiscuit, now give us "normzies" ours--Rachel 4-ever.  Everyone knows that Kentucky breeds the best horses.  And it is time Zenyatta chase after RA's fine black butt like War Admiral succumbed to the great Seabiscuit--Zenyatta won't even get close enough to get the dirt kicked in her face. I'll be watching . . .

I am the luckiest person I know--I got the LAST seat to be sold at Oaklawn yesterday!  My husband has to stand up so I hope I'm sitting next to RA fans!

In all fair sportsmanship--honestly I just want to see every horse come out of the race sound and no one injured.  Unfortunately I was at Arlington Park the day Rene Douglas lost his career.  Peace out.

13 Feb 2010 5:00 PM


The infield is the only place one can go now,  but who cares if one can see the beautiufl Zenyatta and Rachel them both and I will get to see them, hope it is nose to nose and both girls both of them....

I am a new fan...cant wait until I can see them and I dont want either one ran into the ground....

13 Feb 2010 5:32 PM

Having the race on a Friday really is a big mistake.   Most people I know will be leaving work at 6:00 and will still be in rush hour traffic at 6:30.

An earlier argument to that day of the week was the mentioning of the great match race between War Admiral and Seabiscuit.  

That was 100 years ago when Horse Racing was actually loved by most of the country.  

These days we're being looked at as a Niche kind of Sport and we're "NOT" so loved by the majority anymore.

So....What's keeping this race from being held on Saturday April 10th ???   The Arkansas Derby right ??? what your telling me here is that they still don't want anything else to "Upstage" their biggest day of racing in Arkansas ???   So they have to have it on Friday ???

IMO...if the race happens on Friday then it will still "Upstage" the Arkansas Derby anyways because of the magnitude of it.

And also...

What ever happened to the "Take Back Saturday" promotion ???

You tried to get everyone on that Bandwagon and now you wanna hold the biggest race of the year on a Friday ???

It's no wonder our Industry is failing when we contradict ourselves this way !!!

Were our so-called leaders actually hoping that we would just simply forget about the "Take Back Saturday" deal or what ???

No wonder people would rather go to a Casino these days.

13 Feb 2010 5:38 PM

Ummm, Zenyatta is a Kentucky bred right?

13 Feb 2010 6:03 PM

I will be the first to plea ignorance about this subject.  But, isn't the Apple Blossom a handicape race?  I hope that the stewards will assign the same weight to RA as Zenyatta?  After all, she is the reigning HOY!  I can hear the excuses now-she isn't as big as Zenyatta. She is only a 4 year old, blah, blah.  

13 Feb 2010 6:09 PM
Ted from LA


13 Feb 2010 6:20 PM
Paula Higgins

Monica V and Edward thanks for the Quality Road information. I really can be an idiot LOL. Monica V, I hope you are right that Zenyatta is as competitive at 9 furlongs as she is at 10. I think the shorter the distance, the easier it is for Rachel.

Oaklawn, count me as one of those who is upset it isn't on Saturday. For your information I have been watching horse racing on TVG for 2.5 hours (not the Olympics) today. I watch horse racing as much as I can on my day off, while holding down a job, taking care of my family etc. If we were just casual viewers, we wouldn't be on this blog.

As for this being like a match race, yes in some ways it is. None of the other girls are going to be competitive. I would actually prefer that they were running with the boys. I think it would be a better race.

I will be interested to see how their prep races turn out.

The Robert Lewis was an eye opener. Caracortado was pretty impressive. What happened to Tiz Chrome??? I think then only sure shot for the Derby so far is Looking at Lucky.

13 Feb 2010 6:21 PM

Aaron Mc:  it's nice to read a reasonable point of view!!!  Without Mr. Jackson, Z is retired and none of this is being blogged!!

13 Feb 2010 7:35 PM

Very impressive win for St. Trianians in the Santa Maria. Will be interesting race to see her take on Big Z. This is a very dangerous mare as she just keeps moving forward off each win. Her geared down win makes you wonder if she could possibly upset Big Z in her comeback race when connections will obviously be looking ahead to Rachel at OP.

13 Feb 2010 7:36 PM

Oaklawn Fan-No, I am not too good to stand.  We do it all the time at Keeneland in order to take pictures of the horses in the walking ring.  But not for 10 hours and not since I am in need of knee surgery.  You might reach a point in life when you will eat your words.  Your smart remark was uncalled for.

13 Feb 2010 7:38 PM
John T

If the Apple Blossom takes place

with both Rachel and Zenyatta it should be a race for the ages because although people like to criticize Zenyatta for running mainly on a synthetic surface she is a past winner of the Apple Blossom beating the likes of Ginger

Punch.We all know Rachel likes dirt

so what a race it shoud be.

13 Feb 2010 7:39 PM
Saratoga AJ


As are both "4yr olds and up", RA and Zen will carry the same weight.

The weight for age/sex comes into play when 3 yr olds race against 4 and ups or fillies race against colts.

Normally I think there is a 3 lb allowance for sex, an 5 lb for age. The age difference weight allowance lessons as the year progresses and the the 3yr old gets closer to 4. The filly/colt allowance stays the same.

13 Feb 2010 7:56 PM

I'm a big Rachel Alexandra fan, but the more and more I look at this race the more and more I have a real bad feeling about it.

In fact, I hate it. I hate the whole thing. It is a trap and an ambush of the highest magnitude.

Please, Mr. Jackson - back out of it NOW - before it is too late.

For heaven sakes, man, you own the Horse of the Year - dictate the terms - don't be dictated to.

Take the lumps and negative press a while and come back later when the conditions are right.

As of the present, it would be almost impossible for Rachel Alexandra to win this race.

Stepping away and taking a non-emotional look at this situation I discovered:

1. Zenyatta appears to be in much, much better condition.  She just raced in the BCC in the first week of November and destroyed not only the two horses that Rachel beat, and please note that Summer Bird developed into a great 3 year old after his loss to Rachel, but the best horses in training to date with her ears pricked. Then they couldn't shut her down into retirement. And she has been in regular training since.

Rachel, on the other hand, was shut down after an emotional and taxing Woodward months earlier and after a year that completely drained her. She has had just a couple of workouts going 52 and 51 and change, which is rather pedestrian-like and according to some actually looked "fat".

Mr. Jackson, Rachel Alexandra has never faced likes of Zenyatta. Zenyatta, on the other hand, well, the BCC speaks for itself.

What really scares me it that Zenyatta has never been beaten.  Say that again. She has NEVER been beaten. She has NEVER lost. NOBODY has EVER beaten her.

Further, her race here against the defending champion Ginger Punch was breathtaking. She also loves this course.

The original distance of a mile and a 1/16 looked favorable but then was stretched to a mile and 1/8 which indoubtedly will favor Zenyatta.

Then you have the motivation factor. Rachel Alexandre has EVERYTHING to lose in this, while Zenyatta has EVERYTHING to gain.

The Moss's took Zenyatta out of retirement for the specific purpose of this race.

Revenge and redemption are great motivators.

Pleae Mr. Jackson, let some more water pass under the bridge and come back when the conditions are much better.

You were backed up into a corner and trapped.

And this race is nothing more that an ambush of the highest magitude.

Back out before it's too late!

13 Feb 2010 8:22 PM
Left out in the cold

Thumbs down to the "powers-to-be" (Charles J. Cella - Oaklawn president & the Jacksons) for blackening the eyes of racing fans that spend hard earned money to help make this sport grow (without ticket buyers, tracks close down)! I am now a disgraced, spit-in-the-face owner of a non-refundable 4/3 Apple Blossom ticket. I keep thinking about the message that was being drove home over-and-over at the Eclipse awards...To keep the sport of kings & queens going, we need the support of the fans! No thank you. I am from Arkansas and I am ashamed of what Cella did to the horse racing fans not only here but those that were traveling from all across the nation. Sleep well and spend that money Charles J. Cella!!

I am a big Rachel fan but I had my heart set to have the chance to see the mighty zen.  Good luck to two of the best horses to grace our presence!!! Now I only wish it was anywhere else but here in Arkansas.

13 Feb 2010 8:25 PM
Jason Shandler

Edward: Dear God, that may be the weakest blog comment I've ever received. Dude, it's a horse race, not as war. Relax. If you're that scared, get a dog.

13 Feb 2010 8:30 PM

Tiz Chrome and American Lion are not going to be contenders for the Derby.  The "Tiz Now" late development trait was evident today.  Coracotado will be a legitimate contender IF he takes to the dirt.  Dave In Dixie also looks promising.

The Todd Squad is going strong with a dominating performance by Rule in the Sam Davis.  I believe that this will be Todd Pletcher's breakthrough year in the Kentucky Derby with Eskendereya, Super Saver and Rule.  Uptowncharlybrown still bears watching as he only started motoring when the race was almost over. He'll be better going 9 or 10 furlongs so keep him on the radar as this was only his third start.  

I hope that the connections of INFORMED DECISION have a change of heart about keeping her sprinting and prepare that mare to stretch out beyond sprints this year.  She definitely has the pedigree to go two turns with the best and the class to compete with Rachel and Zenyatta.

13 Feb 2010 8:36 PM


You hit the nail on the head. It is an AMBUSH!

13 Feb 2010 9:04 PM
Greg J.


    Seriously, Your comment was said as a Joke, Right?  

13 Feb 2010 9:05 PM

Wow, such heavy sentiments so soon for both Zenyatta and Rachel.

Jason, do you think there will be at least a six horse race?  Who might the contenders be?

13 Feb 2010 9:18 PM


    I would not be so quick to dismiss the two Tizes. If I recall correctly their last start came at Hollywood Park. That track plays more like dirt than any other Cali track. Today they ran over Pro-Ride, a surface that plays like turf and makes it extremely hard for horses on or close to the pace to win. You also add in the factor that these two were coming off two month layoffs and you have a recipe for a lackluster performance. Ship these two east and let them run on dirt and I have a feeling they will be this year's version of IWR.

13 Feb 2010 9:32 PM
Paula Higgins

Edward, you can be assured Rachel will be in good shape for the Oaklawn, or she won't be there. They won't run a horse that isn't 100% against Zenyatta and I believe the reverse is true as well. They have plenty of time to tune her up. I think she will be very competitive and she may win. This is not an ambush. Jackson and Asmussen were not born yesterday. But I agree that Zenyatta is in good shape right now and ready for bear.

13 Feb 2010 9:52 PM

carol,I dont want you to have a bad taste in your mouth about Oaklawn.You are welcome to my seats on Apple Blossom day.True,we dont run numerous stakes races each day but we have given you Smarty Jones,Afleet Alex,Rachel,And Zenyattas only race on real dirt so we have some pretty good racing.I really dont understand all the complaining going on about getting these two horses together.I thought thats what we wanted as folks that love horse racing!Anyway Carol,You can have my seats free so you can go home and say we are not such bad guys here in Arkansas,ok?

13 Feb 2010 10:42 PM
dr fager01

Give the guy some slack mike relva, BY THE WAY HOW YO DOWIN. but lets be serious and lets hope this race get some legit press, and lets hope rachel can handle the onslaught of a real racehorse. Rachel had problems with mine that bird and macho again. hardly top ten horses. rachel had help to win hoty but lets be real we all know what a real compettitor looks like, she is undefeated with a breeders cup classic win.

13 Feb 2010 11:12 PM

Edward, shh...

Man, your're letting the cat out of the bag. Now everyone will know and the race will be canceled.

13 Feb 2010 11:17 PM
Mike Relva


Hey! What do you think of Jackson Bend? I've liked him for the past couple months.

13 Feb 2010 11:55 PM

@Left out in the cold: Misery loves company....thanks for posting

signed, another left out in the cold

@Jshandling: it's late, I'm tired and it's bedtime...but your comment to Edward keeps playing in my mind..and I'm laughing so hard I can't go to sleep!!

On top of that I keep getting this image in my mind of JJ "backed into a corner and trapped"! wait, the image is clearer now..he's trapped between the barn wall and Zenyatta's big ole behind..

Anyway JS, thanks for making me laugh, I have really been depressed since Oaklawn kicked me in the gut..they won't be selling me any more tickets.....

13 Feb 2010 11:57 PM

I'm glad the race in on, again. I really can't understand why six days will make a difference in R.A. trainer eyes. Up to nine furlong R.A. has the advantage and after that Zenyatta will railroad the filly. A great race, no doubt!

14 Feb 2010 6:18 AM

My only problem with Oaklawn is the race caller, Terry Wallace.  Sheesh....I think Bobby Flay did a better job at Saratoga.  Maybe they'll import John Dooley from the Fair Grounds....better yet...Tom Durkin, my favorite.

14 Feb 2010 8:01 AM
Bob Z

Here is the way they are breaking down the purse share....

"Oaklawn spokesman Terry Wallace said the purse breakdown allocates...

50% ($2.5-million) to the winner,

20% ($1-million) to the runner-up,

10% ($500,000) to third,

6% ($300,000) to fourth,

4% ($200,000) to fifth,

and 2% ($100,000) to the horses who finish six through ten."

Zenyatta could come in fourth and make more than she would have if she won and the purse was at the original 500,000....

So by agreeing to run in the Apple Blossom on the new date and getting an additional 6 days rest

... if Zenyatta wins she will get 10 times the amount of the original purse.. anyway you slice it that is a Home Run for team Zenyatta....

How cool is that .... that the horses that come in 6th thru 10th are guaranteed 100,000?

Who are the other horses that might be good candidates for the race?

Flashing? Malibu Prayer? Careless Jewel? Ginger Punch?  Life is Sweet?

14 Feb 2010 8:47 AM
Golden Gate

I said this before and I'm saying it again. There are concrete bleachers at Oaklawn just outside the enclosed grand stand to sit on just bring a seat cushion and bundle up as it can be cold. (I'm guessing they will seat 5,000 people.

For anyone willing to get there early enough you can get a seat on these bleachers for your $2.00 gate entrance fee. Many times I have sat on them except when I'm jumping up and down as my fav. race horse comes to the finish line.

14 Feb 2010 8:54 AM

My gosh Edward, Dude, you may want to step away from horse racing for awhile.

I am a Zenyatta fan, but I know that JJ is not going to run Rachel in that race if she is not 100% up to par.

Dude, don't take this so personal, its horseracing.

JJ will retire her or run her later if she is not ready.

I am not a JJ fan, but I know for sure that he is looking out for her best interest. He knows the caliber of a horse that Zenyatta is.  He got the award for last year, he probably wont' kill himself and Rachel for it for this year.

Edward, I am a diehard Zenyatta fan, and not a big fan of JJ, but I will tell you this, Rest assurred JJ is keeping up with Rachel, if she is not running up to par, he will withdraw her and run her later or not at all, and rightfully so. JJ is not poor, so he isn't depending on that money to buy food with or pay bills, so he will have Rachels best interest at heart.

I understand your love and passion for your favorite horse, I do as well.

14 Feb 2010 10:02 AM


    I liked him all last year. I had a real tough time picking him or Winslow for the FofY, because I liked them both so much. Personally I think he'll do very well on the Derby trail, especially with Zito as his trainer.

14 Feb 2010 10:03 AM
ed doyle

Just One Question...How exactly does this help THE BETTOR? More money for the glamor part of the game...less for every day purses...shorter fields...lesser betting interest...continued economic problems. OH YEAH, more focus on the glamor part of the game. I keep forgetting how that's always helped in the past.

14 Feb 2010 10:23 AM
Pam S.


Reading your passionate post imploring Mr. Jackson to back out now or all will be lost, I decided you are wise to fear the mighty Zenyatta.  I also decided if JJ backs out AGAIN, no one will ever take him seriously in the future, no matter how great the next horse he purchases is.

Mark toothaker,

I think I'm more scared of St. Trinians beating Zenyatta than I am of Rachel!

14 Feb 2010 11:11 AM
Dave Johnson


Mike Mitchell wants to win the Santa Anita Handicap with her.

Her plans are to enter the Santa Anita Handicap three weeks from now.


Some of the west coast handicap horses are in Dubai.

14 Feb 2010 11:24 AM
Mary B in Md

I'm with the jockeys. Gary Stevens stated that Zenyatta will hold back and then run over RA. Mike Smith is looking forward to the race and has always said that he would run against anyone, anywhere, any time and that Zenyatta is easily the Horse of the Decade and will go down as one of the greatest horses ever. Zenyatta's connections have owned her since she was a yearling and have cared about her and have raced her lightly, starting her later than most horses and raced in California to support that state's racing community which is in trouble as it is everywhere. Just because Zen wasn't shipped all over the country to different tracks doesn't mean she's only capable of racing in Calif.on synthetic surfaces. The 2008 Apple Blossum on dirt at Oaklawn was devastating and was one of her best races. RA had surgery as a two-year old to remove bone chips and had a very tough racing schedule in 2009 against the boys. She had tough trips under Borel. I worry that this could be another Ruffian and think RA will have to dig down against the Zen goddess and push herself past a safe limit which could result in a catastrophic beakdown. RA simply  doesn't possess the natural athletic ability,strength, stride and stamina that Zenyatta has. It's really too bad that these 2 horses must meet. Couldn't they be champions in their own right? I saw Jerry Moss's and Mike Smith's faces when HOY was announced at the Eclipse Awards. I know they both want this race to show that Zenyatta should have been HOY. Zenyatta will win this race.

14 Feb 2010 12:30 PM


    When exactly did JJ back out of anything? Before the AB was even in anyone's mind he said no because he thought she wouldn't be ready in time. Remember this was in Jan at the eclipse awards. What happened Wed, was nothing new, he basiclly said what he said at the Eclipse Awards. When they gave him the extra week to prepare then he went ahead and said he would go. If you want to say he backed out of the BCC, he said months before the event that he was not coming and had no intentions of coming. Also if you look at his track record with RA, when he entered her in a stakes and said she would go, she went, he did not back out. However if you want to see backing out I recommend you look at what Zenyatta's 5yr old debut was to be. They flew her all the way to KY, entered her in the stakes, then when it looked like the track would be off they scratched her! Just incase you didn't know, by the time the race was run, the track was listed as good. She was all set to race and they scratch the morning of. That is backing out.

14 Feb 2010 12:31 PM

Retire these two great mares before they get injuired. Have Rachel Alexandra bred to Curlin as Mr Jackson planned. Zenyatta to be bred to A P Indy then in 3 years lets see what happens.

14 Feb 2010 1:00 PM


Tiz Chrome has already won on dirt and therefore deserves to be forgiven for a lackluster effort on the Pro-ride but in the case of American Lion its pure speculation whether he will move up with a transition to dirt and most importantly, whether he is an effective two turn horse (stamina influences do not run deep in AL's tail female family). It seems like wishful thinking that either of these will be the second coming of I Want Revenge.  As of now there is a huge question mark hanging over their readiness/ripeness for the first Saturday in May.

14 Feb 2010 1:27 PM

Mikey, thanks for your kind offer, but the tickets are yours to enjoy on the big day.  Please don't think I was downing Oaklawn, as I feel the track has really made great progress since we first went to Oaklawn in 1988; which has not been an easy thing to do with the difficulties horse racing has been experiencing for a number of years.  Progress has not been the direction that many tracks have gone. My husband and I just wish we had been able to go the year Heatseeker, Tiago, and Zenyatta ran.  Then, this would have been a bit less of a bitter pill to swallow.

14 Feb 2010 2:00 PM
Pam S.


Jackson allowed Charles Cella to go ahead with planning the big Apple Blossom showdown April 3, allowed him to announce it at a press conference, indicated he was "interested," racing fans were all atwitter for about two days, THEN he said, "You know, I don't think we can have Rachel ready so we won't run."  THAT is backing out.  He could easily have told Mr. Cella weeks ago, "Hey, why don't you hold off on making a big deal about this, 'cause I don't know if our horse will be ready."

Many fans -- even Rachel fans -- were disgusted and disappointed and said so on various blogs.  After all, the proposed matchup was two months away.  Reconsidering, JJ prevailed upon Cella to reschedule six days later.  In that time frame, Rachel could be ready, he said.  Now fans are complaining because the race is on a Friday.  Especially those who already bought tickets for the 3rd.  If Jackson backs out AGAIN, you can't tell me he gets a free pass.  I don't think so.

14 Feb 2010 2:15 PM
Paula Higgins

Mary B in Maryland, I will tell you what, if Zenyatta is held back for too long against Rachel, she won't win. They have to step it up a little earlier against a horse the calibre of Rachel. I am saying this with the assumption that Rachel is back to form when she gets to the Apple Blossom. But I agree, I think Zenyatta should win also.

St. Trinians is set to run against Zenyatta in her prep race. That should be interesting. St. Trinians is one good horse. I hope Zenyatta doesn't have to extend herself too much to win (I am assuming she will win), and then turn around and run against Rachel 4 weeks later. That might not be so good.

14 Feb 2010 2:27 PM


    It is speculation for AL, but he to deserves a second chance, since he two was able to win fairly easily over the synthetic track that plays more like dirt than any other.

14 Feb 2010 2:30 PM

LDP, Don't be giving JJ so much credit, lets see what happens by April 9, I for one don't see Rachel on that race track. The  reason they scratched Z that day was because of the wet tracks, also up until recently after being put in a corner did JJ start training Ra in the rain, remember they said she was behind in training due to the rain, but now they are having to train her in the rain, If my memory serves me correctly I for one don't think JJ was really shooting for a matchup with Z so early in Ra racing season. I for one cannot understand how Rachel could run her races in the rain and slop but couldnt train in them, now that his bluff has called out , they are having to train her in the slop and rain, also, by doing this , its sets up perfectly for an injury to sustain her so she cant race, doesnt' it. that is if she isn't up to par to race Zenyatta, then JJ can say she had an injury due to training in the rain and on sloppy tracks. He isnt' worried about the money we know that, because he already said earlier she was not going to run, then they gave him six days, I for one cannot imagine what six days will do for her, but we will see what happens on or before April 9, for all involved here.

14 Feb 2010 3:26 PM

A little late to this party, but on the marketing aspect..perhaps we need to look to the UK and how they are promoting this year's rubber match between Kauto Star and Denman.

1) A bus going to all the tracks with pictures of the protagonists to hype the race;

2) Selling scarves with the colors of Kauto and Denman so backers can show their support;

3) Not directly related to the matchup, UK and Irish racing types got together to do a charity song promoting the race meet all the while benefiting a number of racing causes.  The video is now on Youtube and someone really needs to have the NTRA take a look at it.  

14 Feb 2010 3:59 PM
Mike Relva


I certainly agree Jackson getting the Apple Blossom pushed back a few extra days for RA. Besides that Jackson feels a "sense of entitlement". Fact is,he talked about three races involving RA and Zenyatta WITHOUT CONSULTING THE MOSSES'. Connections of Zenyatta are just as important part of this as Jackson.

14 Feb 2010 5:40 PM

Out of all the newcomers (the three year olds, fillies and colts) coming up for their three year old season and for the returning ones from last year, I will wholeheartedly still put my money on Zenyatta.....To me, she is the real deal....through and through, and she will be a train on dirt this year!! The fact about Zenyatta is, We haven't seen the bottom of her horsepower yet!!!

14 Feb 2010 6:15 PM

Zenyatta fans have become the Oakland raiders fans of the horse world. I wonder why the two camps are so different in demeanor and attitude.  It's weird, I never thought I would see the day we were trash talking horses.  I pray for a safe and exciting race.  

14 Feb 2010 7:09 PM

nola, all I can say to your post is: you're wearing blinkers.

14 Feb 2010 7:37 PM

Paula and Pam,

After watching the video of the Santa Maria Handicap, I wonder if Garrett Gomez made the same mistake on Life Is Sweet that Mike Smith did in the 2009 Clement Hirsch Stakes, when he lagged back and was late starting Zenyatta's run.

With sharp competition from St Trinians, the Santa Margarita Invitational looks like it will be a terrific race and a good, pre-Apple Blossom tune-up for Zenyatta. Its 1-1/8 mile length should benefit her too, vs. the shorter length of Saturday's Santa Maria.

And hopefully, Mike Smith still remembers his Clement Hirsch lesson.

14 Feb 2010 7:58 PM

As has been said, both horses are the real deal. I am personally hoping for an upset--Life Is Sweet--no one can argue that! Wait, somebody could . . . I apologize for an error in an earlier blog--Zenyatta was foaled in KY--not a CA bred as I thought she. I now have a lot more respect for her. RA's pedigree is impeccible--my favorite horse will always be Northern Dancer and RA has surely made her great grand-dad proud, whether she wins or loses this "match race."  MY POINT: a match race is one in which only two (2) entrants compete. April's race should not be referred to as a match race, my friends, because it is a false perception. Match races were popular until discontinued July 6, 1975 (that evening my dreaming of Anna, daughter, was born), which is one reason I can't ever forget the date. That was the day the great filly Ruffian ran her heart out against the colt Foolish Pleasure. Horses will give up their lives for humans foolish pleasure.

14 Feb 2010 8:12 PM


    I almost wonder if JJ was bluffing in order to get the extra week. I think he knew Cella wanted the spotlight, and that if he made it clear that he wasn't going to race RA in the AB if she didn't get the extra week, that would take off the spotlight. Proposing a three race series would also remove the spotlight from Oaklawn, since they would not be getting the first Zen/RA match up. JJ is a very clever guy, so in a way I think he was bluffing a bit to get what he wanted.

14 Feb 2010 8:27 PM


    It's called hype. Nobody had any reason to get excited and then got PO because what they assumed would happen didn't. Expressing "interest" is about as good as nominating a horse to a race, actually no, it's not even as good. He might have contemplated going, but he didn't ever confirm it, do you see the difference, between thinking and confirming. I can think about going riding tomorrow with a bad back, but will I, probably not. JJ can think about going to the AB with a short horse, but will he, probably not. Now, if he backs out now, then you will see me livid, furious, and POed as any fan in either camp can possibly be, why, because this time he confirmed it.

14 Feb 2010 8:33 PM


Love the blinkers analogy. It keeps someone focused on the opposite camp and prevents one from seeing the infractions of one's own camp.


Believe me the mud flies from both sides. It isn't right no matter who does it.

14 Feb 2010 8:35 PM


    So, what your saying is you think that JJ is hoping she get's injured? Sorry to be blunt, but that is a very very ignorant way of thinking. Also, until JJ proves otherwise, by backing out of a race when he has confirmed he will enter, I will give him the credit, since as of now he has had RA and Curlin in every race he confirmed them for. Also, don't give me the wet track crap, which is what that is, crap. That track was listed as GOOD by the time the race was run. They balked when they thought it was going to be wet, and didn't wait until later in the afternoon to see if the track had improved. Also, by the time RA ran that very same day, the track was fast, if I recall correctly. They balked when the conditions were not optimal, just like they will probably do if the handicap they are pointing to stays a handicap and gives Zenyatta 130lbs, which to a fully grown and devloped moster like her, is not all that much.

14 Feb 2010 8:40 PM

The purpose of a handicap is to level the playing field. By assigning more weight to Zenyatta, the powers that be would concede that she is the superior horse. How does that work out for you LDP? So lets burden Z to give RA a chance? WOW!!!

14 Feb 2010 9:59 PM


Relax! St. Trinians is not going in the Santa Margarita [Zenyatta would crush her anyway].

As Dave Johnson said (above). Mike Mitchell is running St. Trinians in the Santa Anita Handicap.

If she skips the Santa Anita Handicap, she will be running in the Apple Blossom.

14 Feb 2010 10:22 PM
Paula Higgins

John, it looks like you're right and it will be Santa Anita for St. Trinians. But as for her being crushed, I don't know. I think she is a very nice horse and should not be underestimated.

CV, we think alike. Zenyatta is so special she still managed to win with a not so perfect ride by Mike Smith (sorry Mike). But against a fit Zenyatta, they have to approach the race a little differently in my opinion. In other words, don't let Rachel get too far ahead. Stay closer to her. Zenyatta can do it. The thing is, I don't think they have ever really asked her to stay close to the lead.

You know, the bottom line for me is that none of the horses get hurt. Everything else is gravy.

14 Feb 2010 10:44 PM

As far as I know, St Trinians has never run on dirt. She loves synthetics. Mike Mitchell would be better off running her in the Big Cap. Boy would that liven it up! She is a very, very good mare. Depending on the competition (which may be a little lackluster this year) I can see her running away with it.

My cup runneth over!

14 Feb 2010 10:44 PM

Yea.....just what we need a 5M purse for an egomaniac owner.  This will really play well with the politicians that all racing jurisdictions are trying to obtain various concessions to keep our industry alive.  You're giving 5 million dollar purses and are crying poor mouth!  What a joke!!!

14 Feb 2010 10:56 PM

I had the great good fortune to be at S.A for the $5 mil. B.C.  A birthday gift from my son, who unfortunately couldn't go, as he had to work.  I don't think they have any idea of what Zenyatta's abilities are regarding class or distance.  She won going away & didn't even break a sweat.

I have the utmost respect for the way the Mosses & their trainer have handled this incredible mare, giving her the time to reach her growth & not starting her too young.  A horse of that size can be started way to early with tragic results as we all know.

I have followed her career since her first A.B. win & find her abilities truly amazing, & it's easy to see that she likes what she's doing.  The other jockeys who have ridden against her must know what it feels like when the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse are breathing fire on the back of your neck.  And I don't think Mike Smaith will ever forget his admitted almost-disastrous mistake in the Clement Hirsch.

Racing fans would do well to remember that USA Today hired 14, count them, 14, 'professional' handicappers for the B.C. & not one picked her.  I'll be at the OTB on Apple Blossom Day.

14 Feb 2010 11:08 PM


I see you are a J,Jackson supporter all way around. I don't care what the man says or does you are going to support him.

The way you support him and reword his actions, sure doesn't sound like what he says or said.

I guess this is what makes horseracing so political, right??

14 Feb 2010 11:20 PM

Silverlady, I too am amazed at Zenyatta? I cant' fathom how anyone can say that these other horses will do her in, have they forgotton the BCC? Well, I haven't and I have seen and read about these other horses coming up this year, and hey, they don't worry me when it comes to Zenyatta, she loves what she does, and she has loved every challenge she has met,

She will take on any of these with a breeze, The thing most people seem to forget is that she hasn't showed us everything she has got, I can't blame JJ either, he has watched her and he knows what Z can do.

I guess this will be the year that Z really earns her respect.

When she takes down some of these on dirt. I think this is what everyone has been wanting to see, and then give her her credit where it is due.

14 Feb 2010 11:28 PM

Carol,offer still stands.Me n my buds always stand.Just got seats to say we had some!Thanks for the kind words.Our racing has gotten better thanks to efforts of Cella.We are proud of our little track here in Arkansas.So please come down n watch the Apple Blossom n then the Arkansas Derby on Saturday.It will be some great horse racing and I promise you will have a blast!!Just pray for the health of both horses so the race happens.

14 Feb 2010 11:37 PM


Your blog name fits your comment to a tee.

14 Feb 2010 11:43 PM
Mike G.

I give up.  I've lost count trying to track the number of excuses from you Rachel supporters.  You don't seem to have much faith in your horse.  But you can relax - she's probably not going to show up anyway.

15 Feb 2010 12:44 AM

Lame again,last time our "egomaniac" owner gave away 5 million it was to Smarty Jones.Not real bad publicity for horse racing now was it.Tracks seek concessions cuz they dont keep up with the times(slots,gaming,etc.)Sad but true.So thank goodness we have an "egomaniac" here at Oaklawn to keep us going in tough times.

15 Feb 2010 12:49 AM
Monica V


This is horse racing.  The horses actually have to run the race before the winner is decided.

15 Feb 2010 1:45 AM
Mike Relva


I mean no disrespect to you,but I wonder if situation were reversed and it was MOSS NOT CONSULTING with Jackson,if you would write it off so easily?

15 Feb 2010 1:48 AM

LDP, i really don't understand the bias you have against Zenyatta and an off track. is it only based on that one start last year that she was supposed to make at CD? Shirreffs clearly said they scratched because he wanted her first start of the year to be on nothing less than a perfect track. i thought he was just being cautious with her premiere. has it happened other times?

15 Feb 2010 3:28 AM


    I'm talking about the Santa Margarita, which I don't believe RA is in, so what race are you talking about? If its the AB, I have no problem with them changing it to scale weights because at equal weights we will see which of the two greats is better. In the Santa Marguriata, there is no competition for Z. She is by all accounts a monster in size and ability, I know most of us are scared to see a horse carry weight, but Zenyatta is 6, a fully matured and developed mare. 130lbs is not going to slow her down.

15 Feb 2010 9:23 AM

LDP, good posts, especially pointing out that Zen has "earned" her high weights like ALL the greats do.

Ta Wee carried 140 lbs.

Beldame was assigned 140 lbs, but her connections refused to run her at that weight...

Twilight Tear carried up to 130 lbs

Princess Doreen carried up to 133 lbs (in that race the nearest COLT carried 113 lbs), raced 90+ times on 10 tracks for 5 years, against the boys 60+ times winning somewhere between 25-30 times against the boys.

Gallorette raced at equal weights against the boys.

Busher, Sky Beauty, Regret...

To all of you who have a hair...JJ speaks his mind, so what, at least what you see is what you get like Curlin racing at 4, Rachel running against the boys and HOPEFULLY at least 3 times against Zen and all comers...

15 Feb 2010 9:53 AM

I see Edward (scissorhands) is taking the lead on the excuse wagon if RA loses. No doubt we will be seeing more of the same from both sides before and after the race is run. Load them up and let them rip, let the chips fall where they may. I don't think one race defines who is better no matter what the outcome, just who was better that day or who got the cleanest trip.

15 Feb 2010 10:42 AM
Mary B in Md

Paula Higgins,

You are absolutely right when you  stated that if Zenyatta is held back for too long against Rachel, she won't win and that Mike will have to step it up a little earlier against a horse the calibre of Rachel. Mike learned his lesson from last year's Judd Hirsh, stating afterward that he underestimated the field and moved too late, barely winning. In the 2008 Apple Blossum Zenyatta was 15 lengths off the pace and Mike said that he didn't want to be that far back, so he made his move and within 3 strides was too far in front. This mare's huge stride is unbelieveable. I guarantee that Zenyatta will be making her move earlier in this year's Apple Blossum.

15 Feb 2010 11:28 AM
Forbidden Apple

Does anyone actually believe that St. Trinians is better than Life Is Sweet or Zenyatta? This horse was running for $10,000 last year in England. She loves the synthetic surface and had a racing edge of recency on saturday. I will be shocked if she wins the Big Cap. Jeranimo was the most impressive horse at Santa Anita over the weekend and he will bury St. Trinians in a race.

Has anyone even considered that another horse besides Rachel Alexandra or Zenyatta could run a big race in the Apple Blossom? I think Zenyatta wins this race in hand like she always does. But I am not convinced that Rachel is an automatic for second place. It will be very interesting to see what other horses show up for this race. That is if it even happens. Zenyatta will not run if it rains and Rachels camp might backout for no reason at all.

15 Feb 2010 11:52 AM

pas- he was being cautious.  Most trainers really don't want to run a horse on a sealed track if they can help it.  And the race was not an important one in the scheme of the rest of the year.  But it continually gets brought up and thrown in Zenyatta's supporter's faces that she was scratched, and the BCC continually gets downplayed as just a synthetic race.  That's the game that is played on here.  It doesn't matter because half the time they just want to be contentious.  The bottom line is that they were watching out for their horse and doing what they thought was best. Somehow that has been twisted into being bad.

15 Feb 2010 12:38 PM

carolyn, carolyn, carolyn,

You are setting yourself up for a big heartbreak if you deny the possibility of Zen ever losing. I love her also and I do not want to see her beaten but, history tells us that even the greatest horses have tasted defeat and sometimes it is at the hand (or the hoof) of a lesser horse. Upset and Onion come to mind.

As far as the politics involved in horse racing, I try very hard to look beyond it. We already get enough of it from Washington. The words, actions and attitudes of owners are really not what racing is all about. Owners do not run, HORSES do.

15 Feb 2010 12:39 PM


    There is no bias. Do you not see me pointing out that I think Zenyatta is great enough to carry these weights? That is called confidence in the horse. I know she is great and I think it is stupid for an owner to baby a horses as great as she is? Great horses race with weight and under any track condition. Now that I say that I know every Z supporter will come rushing up and say, well RA didn't run in the BC and she ducked that surface. Again, I point out she was never entered, so she did not duck, two the pro-ride surface is extremely bias, and plays the least like dirt of any of the other surfaces in Cali. Zenyatta has run on fast dirt and has proven that she can handle it, so why should a proven champion be afraid to run on a wet track? The connections of Man o War wouldn't back down, neither would Beldame, Lady's Secret, Ta Wee, or any other great of the past. If they proved themselves on the surface they ran no matter the condition, no matter the weight.


    I wouldn't care, and I would right it off, why because generally Zenyatta does not run back in three weeks, especially while going cross country. I am all about track records, and what people actually say. I'm not going to assume that something is going to happen until it is confirmed.


    Where have I supported JJ in a place where he has shown to be hypocritical? He has shown a track record to do what he says he will do. He said he would bring Curlin back at four, he did. He said he would try him on turf, he did. He said he was going to Dubai and he did. He said he wanted to race BB and he tried, and even when BB didn't make the Cup he still stayed, despite his better judgement. Another thing is he allowed Curlin to carry weight. The highest Curlin carried last as a four year old was 132lbs in his first race in Dubai. His competition carried 117lbs, meaning he gave them 15lbs. Notice that was in his first start of the season. Also, this is my opinion, but that competition was as good as anything Zenyatta will face in the Santa Margarita. Zenyatta is an all around bigger horse, and she is now more mature then Curlin was when he carried weight. The 130lbs should not be an issue.

You say the way I reward he actions, well exuse me if the man has done everything he has said he would do. I reward a person who sticks to their guns and has proven time and time again that he will race his horse against all comers. He did it with Curlin, and he will do it with Rachel.

15 Feb 2010 12:42 PM


Sorry, I thought you were talking about the Apple Blossom. I should know that your intense sense of fairness would never allow you to approve of such a weight advantage be given to Rachel. How foolish of me!

15 Feb 2010 1:17 PM

Forbidden Apple, St. Trininas, is good, but she is no Zenyatta, I say to her connections " Bring it on" She will never take down the damn queen of synthetics, Queen Zenyatta. I agree with you all the way around....

15 Feb 2010 1:18 PM

I'm praying for an upset whether St. Trinians, Life is Sweet or a "new kid in town."  Since this is NOT a match race, it is a horse race and we all know anything can happen! I bet my $ on Summer Bird in the Belmont last year and walked away a happy woman.  A horse can get boxed in, etc., etc.

God bless and good luck to ALL horses and riders in the Apple Blossom--maybe neither Z or RA will show up.  I will be there no matter if either are there or not.

15 Feb 2010 1:41 PM
The Legend

So what have learned from this weekend? Hmmmmmmm let's see.

Tiz Chrome and American Lion cross them off ot your Derby list of contenders. Oh and how about Charly Brown he ran like a catoon character another one to cross out and put him on the pretenders list too.

Now I want to talk a little about the Zenyatta/Rachael race. Let me make this prediction. It won't happen on April 9th. Zenyatta will be ready to go but I know something is not going to be right with Rachael. I don't trust Jackson or his trainer. They both know that Zenyatta would dust their filly especially this early in the season.

Oh and one more thing don't put to much into Rule's win at Tampa he beat absolutely nothing just as he did in the Delta Jackpot.

15 Feb 2010 1:47 PM


    Get over yourself please. I call them as I see them. When RA enters the NO Ladies, if it's a handicap, I expect them to weigh down RA too. I don't expect them to give her as much as Zenyatta, though they might, just because of her blowout victories last year. If I were to estimate what they were to give her I would say 127lbs-130lbs. Why, do I expect them to go lower, because RA has not carried over 121, I believe, and she is only four, not six, which is the age that a horse is supposed be fully developed. If they gave her 130lbs I would not mind it, why because in every single one of her victories against fillies not named Zenyatta she has trounced them. If you think I bais, fine, I've got plenty more that say I'm fair and knowledgeable.

15 Feb 2010 1:56 PM

If MachoAgain can catch Rachel, then im sure Zenyatta can pass her

15 Feb 2010 2:12 PM


Where did your post of 1:56 P.M. come from? I should get over myself for saying I'm sorry and praising your sense of fairness? Help me out here...I'm befuddled!

15 Feb 2010 2:13 PM


    I'm sorry, I mistook you words for sarcasm, which is shown in abundance most of the time on this blog. My mistake, I'm sorry.

15 Feb 2010 3:18 PM


OK, I feel better now!

I know I can be bitingly sarcastic at times but in this case I was sincere. Peace!

15 Feb 2010 3:39 PM
Lil Darlin

carolyn 14 Feb 2010 3:26 PM:

"...they are having to train her in the slop and rain, also, by doing this , its sets up perfectly for an injury to sustain her so she cant race, doesnt' it. that is if she isn't up to par to race Zenyatta, then JJ can say she had an injury due to training in the rain and on sloppy tracks."

Training a horse to get injured...yeah, that's a logical conclusion to draw.  Seriously, do you think before you type?

As for the 6 days - if the Wood was 6 days closer to the Derby, how many trainers would opt for a different prep schedule?

15 Feb 2010 4:36 PM
Mike Relva


I wouldn't write off Uptown just yet.Finishing 3rd isn't like finishing last.

15 Feb 2010 5:13 PM

We will see LDP? when it comes to JJ and his "Word". Its alot more competition out there this year for a 4 year old to take on, I know most of these newcomers won't face Rachle because of the age difference ("Whew" I know JJ is glad) and he will continue to put her in races where as other than zenyatta they will be metiocre horses ( the only reason for Zenyatta is because he was put in a corner). RA may come back this year and be great! or she may comeback not so great, but we will see with both horses.

15 Feb 2010 5:16 PM

Lil Darlin, I expect you Rachle fans to be just that Rachel fans, but I don't put to much in what JJ has to say, he knew Curlin well and how he would come back, but he can't say the same for Ra and how she will come back this season, also the Rachle fans sure are on the defensive, seems like you are more worried than Zenyatta fans are, like JJ probably is and rightfully so, there is no horse out there this season that I'm afraid for Zenyatta  to race , I know she is that damn good!!!

15 Feb 2010 5:42 PM

"NEVER, and I mean "NEVER" Underestimate Zenyatta!!

We have never seen the bottom of her yet! I always remember two races of hers the best,

The 08 AB with GP..

The BCC, both of which you naysayers gave her "ZERO" ability to win, and what happened?????

15 Feb 2010 6:09 PM


    I am sorry. I actually wasn't meaning to say you were sarcastic, just that most on this blog are, including myself at times. So when I read your post I thought that was how you were being. Again I'm sorry for the mix up.

15 Feb 2010 6:25 PM


    He was not even put in a corner, he was the one who wanted the date pushed back and he got it. Also since you don't seem to get the significance of six more days how about I educate you. That is six more days that RA can jog or gallop, limbering her up, and another work to sharpen her up. I actually ride horses and show them competitively, and I hate it when shows in our circut are placed only one week from each other. The extra week I get to prep my horse for a show the better I feel, why because if I get two weeks, then I normally give my horse 2-3 days off before I start prepping again. If they take away just one week, then that means I can't give my horses the rest they need, then build them back up to show for. One week makes one heck of a difference.

15 Feb 2010 6:31 PM

Hasn't anyone noticed that the Apple Blossom was changed from a handicap to an invitational...and all horses will carry 123 pounds?

15 Feb 2010 6:42 PM
Lil Darlin


Rachel, Zen, I don't care what camp you are from.  To accuse an owner, trainer, whoever of training a horse to injure them is a horrible comment to make.  That wasn't a defensive comment of mine, it was a reaction to what I believe was an unfounded and disturbing comment to make.  Period.

15 Feb 2010 7:18 PM

Slew, thank you for the information.  It will be some kind of race.

I won't be able to breathe..

15 Feb 2010 7:47 PM
Pam S.

I noticed the changes to the Apple Blossom.  I guess they don't want to put a lot of weight on the two superstars, because one of them winning would be the best outcome as far as attracting new fans.  But even though the money is great, I wonder who will want to take on the Amazons at level weights?  I'm thinking they will have to send pretty many invitations to have a good party.

15 Feb 2010 7:59 PM

LDP, bravo for challenging all the folks who think Jess Jackson and Steve Asmussen never think of anything all day long except how to rile the Mosses and pretend Rachel Alexandra is hurt or deliberately try to hurt her to avoid Zenyatta. Ridiculous.  Zenyatta can win by daylight and Rachel will still be a great champion.  Ditto Zenyatta if it's Rachel at the wire.  Jackson got his way on the Apple Blossom and if the horse is ready, they will run.  Zenyatta is an amazing horse, and I don't think we've seen close to an all-out effort from her.  I was happy when Rachel took home HOY because I think she started with fewer physical gifts and triumphed every time.  No doubt Zenyatta is capable of beating Rachel but that won't make the kook wing of her fans happy.  They need for the Eclipse voters to storm Asmussen's barn, snatch the trophy, horsewhip the entire staff and then kill themselves for choosing Rachel.  Maybe the powerful odor of sour grapes and vengeance would dissipate after that.

15 Feb 2010 8:55 PM

Mikey, if you are serious about selling your tickets, we would love to buy them.  We had planned to travel to Oaklawn to see the Apple Blossom anyway.  This race is too big to miss!  But please do not sell them to us unless you are absolutely sure that is what you want to do.

I am even more excited about this race than I was about Street Sense and Hard Spun meeting in the Kentucky Cup Classic.  That isn't an equal comparison, but we will always have the highest respect for the 3-year-old fillies and colts of 2007.  What a talented bunch!  Surprisingly,there wasn't that big of crowd that day.

By the way, did you go to Oaklawn the day that Heatseeker, Tiago, and Zenyatta ran?

15 Feb 2010 9:06 PM


Your comment had me rolling on the floor! Thanks for the good laugh I got imagining the scenario you described. On second thought, maybe it's not a bad idea...(just kidding!)LOL

15 Feb 2010 9:33 PM
Paula Higgins

Look, we need to realize that Jess Jackson/Steve Asmussen and Jerry and Ann Moss/John Shireffs have nothing but the best interests of their horses in mind as they plan their races. Neither horse is going to run if there are problems or they are not in good shape. The risk of injury would be too much to risk. That's the way it should be. Let's give these owners and trainers the respect they deserve and they DO deserve it-all of them. We are really lucky to be sitting here in our armchairs while they take on all the financial risk, and yes, financial loss of racing horses. They do it because they love the sport and horses. We should be thanking all of them for these spectacular horses, for racing them, and taking such good care of them. I think these pot shots at Jess Jackson are simply wrong on every level. He was very gracious at the awards ceremony and you are hearing this from a Zenyatta fan. So let's stop attributing bad motives to every move he makes. Please.

15 Feb 2010 9:35 PM

It looks like only recently that Rachel started to train in the rain, but yet she hadnt' been able to train due to the rain, Answer that one????  Start Sugar Coating this one RA fans?

15 Feb 2010 9:53 PM

It shouldn't be a mystery as to when the Rachel vs. Zenyatta race will occur that Friday.  OP has a first post of 1:30 CST on weekdays and this could be either the 9th or 10th race, meaning 5:30 CST or so as the gun time. For those thinking Zenyatta needs more distance, remember she easily handled divisional champions at 1 1/16th at this very track 2 years previous and has the necessary turn of foot.  

As to the comment from St. Louis, still waiting on the marquee race from Fairplex/Fonner or whatever that track from IL is called. Will see if it can top the 70k attendance Oaklawn routinely has on Derby day.

15 Feb 2010 10:19 PM
Teddy K

What happens if one horse completely destroys the other horse in this race and puts an exclamation mark with her win as to her superiority - do we still have a discussion of who's better or does the argument just go away.

And, then, will any remaining races between the two die a slow death.

By the way, I was thinking of a complete thrashing by Zenyatta over Rachel Alexandra.

15 Feb 2010 11:06 PM

I put my money on Zenyatta over any horse out here today.

She is going to be even better on dirt like she was her first time on it in 08.

Teddy K, you won't hear nothing but excuses when Zenyatta outruns Ra. Can't you see, they are already setting the stage for them. You won't hear a pin drop after that...It will be the only thing to make the naysayers hush...

I can't understand why all the Ra fans are so defensive, they are going to race three times this year is what JJ said. So if one loses first, then they still have two more races to go.....I love it..They need to put St. Trinians in here with Ra and Zenyatta.

Zenyatta loves competition, the bigger and faster, the better for her. I want to see Zenyatta open up her full horsepower and show the naysayers what she got!!!and what she is really made of.....

15 Feb 2010 11:45 PM

I somehow get the feeling that on April 9th we're going to see what a sham the Horse of the Year voting was.

16 Feb 2010 1:14 AM

Carolyn, Why train in the rain (hmm, sounds like a song) more than you have to...besides, there's rain and then there's RAIN. Now it's merely "rain" of Biblical proportions...LOL! Besides, RA had a couple of decent works to get her going before the rains came back...

Zenyatta, who I love, BUT her connections wouldn't run last year on a fast drying dirt track, while Rachel beat the colts by 6 1/2 in the slop in her best Beyer of the year 116 and just 0.21 seconds off the stakes record.

16 Feb 2010 5:43 AM

Teddy K, obviously you have no sense of the great rivalries, like Dr. Fager/Damascus, Easy Goer/Sunday Silence. Affirmed/Alydar, Ferdinand/Alysheba if you feel the need to "thrash" another great horse...

I must be old, I always had my favorite in those rivalries, but I never vilified the other horse or hated their connections with a rabid intensity...I was just darn happy to be seeing it happen in "real time" and not in a book!

16 Feb 2010 5:52 AM
Forbidden Apple

I wish Curlin was still in training, he would have his work cut out for him against Rachel and Zenyatta. He as a nice horse, but I never thought he was a champion for the ages. Zenyatta,Gio Ponti, and Bribon are my favorite horses in training at the moment. But some people here are acting like Rachel is chopped liver. Her speed is scary good and her natural talent and heart will take her a long way down the stretch. Rachel ran 8 races last year and was a tired horse before the Breeder's Cup. She did not skip that race because of a synthetic racing surface. I love Zenyatta, but give Rachel her due respect. And I still do not understand how someone can even mention St. Trinians as possible competition in the Apple Blossom or in the Big Cap.

16 Feb 2010 10:13 AM
Karen D

I totally agree that racing does not know how to promote itself.  But what baffles me is the comment about Jerry and Jess kicking their purse money into the advertising fund. Racing took in $14.7 BILLION dollars of wagers in 2008. If they don't have a few bucks left over to promote themselves, then something is wrong with how the business operates.

A greater sporting gesture would be for everyone involved in this sport to be much more concerned about the welfare of the horses they are making money off of. This is no knock on Jerry and Jess.  They already get it.

16 Feb 2010 12:16 PM

The rain in New Orleans earlier this year was a drenching rain as they got 5 inches in 2 hours, repeatedly, and it washed away part of the track.  December and January rains were devastating falling into a bowl that's lower than sea level, has no where to go, and depends on pumps to get dry.  The current rainstorms have not been as traumatic, and that's why Rachel is now able to work in the slop.  As to everyone else...the race will happen when it happens, and no amount of blog rudeness will change that.  Ease on up folks.  2009 is over and done...let's look forward to a great 2010 season.

16 Feb 2010 12:22 PM

I will be more than honored to give Rachel her due respect. At three years old she was asked to do alot and by the time her last race was it showed it had taken alot out of her, She is a great filly with alot of heart and yes, she did have a tough campaign for one year, but I will not say she is a better horse than Zenyatta, the thing about Rachel is we saw what she could do, as for Zenyatta we have never saw what she is capable of yet!, Zenyatta gets better everytime she steps onto the race track, she constantly amazes and whoo's everyone, now when a horse can give you the thrills and shivers and constantly is still amazing everyone at 6, then you can only respond as stating she is listed in the category as one of the leading fillies of all time or should I say horses of all time, for the ages.....I think what makes Zenyatta so good, is she was allowed to mature before her racing career started and she has a mack truck figure like Ruffian had, thats not to say she can't break down because all of them can...It looks like Zenyatta loves what she was bred for, Running.

16 Feb 2010 4:09 PM
Mike Relva


Can you spell "DRAMATIC" ! Loook,Asmussen has placed himself at the public's disdain by his own hand!

16 Feb 2010 4:22 PM
Mike Relva


YES,I GOT IT! Zenyatta's camp scratched her last yr due to wet track. How many times do you feel we have to be reminded?

16 Feb 2010 4:27 PM

Am I the only one who gets the feeling that Zenyatta fans HATE Rachel Alexandra and her connections? All they say is how Rachel is nothing compared to Zenyatta and Zenyatta loves greater competition so she'll obviously beat Rachel and Rachel is just a plain little filly that got lucky in all of her races and did not deserve horse of the year. Geez, it's just a freaking statue for Jess Jackson's mantle. Get over it!

Now, I sense the uproar from Zenyatta fans claiming I am ignoring Rachel fans. Well, Rachel fans have NOT been nasty and do not hate Zen or her connections. Even Draynay has not called out the Mosses and John Sheriffs. Yet, everything Jess Jackson and Steve Asmussen do is for their own ego and they don't care about the welfare of their horse and blah blah blah. BUT, when Zenyatta's owners do something "conservative" it's in the best interests of the horse. Sorry, but you can not have it both ways. If it was acceptable for Zenyatta to scratch from a race to avoid a wet surface to protect her, then it is fine for Rachel to not run at the Breeder's Cup due to synthetic surfaces that Jess Jackson does not trust and because of fatigue from a hard 2009 campaign, but to Zenyatta fans, Rachel's welfare does not matter to her owners, so she MUST have been ducking Zenyatta! So typical...

16 Feb 2010 4:28 PM


My only objection to your post is that you paint all Zenyatta fans with the same brush stroke. Not all of us are loons. Actually, very few of us are the way you describe a Zen fan. Please be fair in your assessment, otherwise you accomplish exactly the opposite of your intended goal, which I believe is: that RA's fans are of a higher order.  

16 Feb 2010 5:53 PM

Right On, Zookeeper, thats what ticks Z fans off and has the Z fans firing back. It is the higher order approach from RA fans. Not all, but quite a few.

16 Feb 2010 6:16 PM

Zookeeper, I'm not suggesting that all Zen fans are crazy, simply that they treat Zenyatta like a goddess because she is undefeated, 17 hands, and paws the ground before she races, so Rachel by default is an inferior "mortal." They are both fantastic! I'm mostly referring to a select few in my "stereotype." You are one of the fair fans.

...FYI to the people who love Zenyatta's "dance" so much and think it means she is "having fun" more than other horses. It is most likely her way of expressing excitement. I saw Rachel show her own excitement before the Mother Goose by trotting around the paddock as she heard the cheers. Just because Rachel doesn't give a performance doesn't mean she doesn't love what she does. Even when she dumped Calvin before the Woodward, she was cantering in place, suggesting her excitment to run. If you don't believe me, watch her last workout before the KY Oaks on youtube and try to tell me that Rachel doesn't enjoy her "job."

16 Feb 2010 6:23 PM

I see this blog is quickly degenerating into the same stuff as the HOY blogs.  It's really a shame too.  Rachel and Zenyatta are the two best horses right now and Quality Road is coming up there fast if he continues improving.

Zenyatta is beyond words.  She is such a fantastic horse and is perfect.  I don't know how people dispute that.  It's ridiculous to say she's just a synthetic horse.  She is a wonder, a true wonder. She is gorgeous and has a great peronality.  What a gift.  

Rachel is also a gift.  Possibly the best 3 year old filly ever.  Her record stands on it's own she needs no one to defend her.  These two girls are magnificent but they are capable of losing for various reasons.  The AB may have an upset winner, who knows?  Absolutely, these two are the best that will be running that day and someone previously mentioned Upset and Onion.  Man'O War is widely considered the best horse to ever run but he was defeated by Upset in his only loss.  It happens.  A loss to either horse will not diminish either of them, they are still the best.  Big Brown was a "foregone conlusion" to win the triple crown.  Another great horse going down in defeat but still a great horse.

I am truly sad that some people on the blogs are so angry and nasty about either horse and saying things to make light of their accomplishments.  The parts that are laughable are the ones suggesting that Jess Jackson would train Rachel in the slop so she would get injured and pull out of the race because he's afraid of Zenyatta.  Calling out "you Rachel Fans" and telling them what they think and feel and what they will do when RA loses.  I'm so happy that some people have the ability to know exactly what others feel, how they react and what their motives are.  How totally ridiculous.  It's certainly everyone's right to have an opinion but I think that assuming you know what other people feel or think is outlandish.  If you feel Zenyatta is the greatest horse ever I can understand that.  She certainly is worthy of the title but to make light of the accomplishments of Rachel is just not sporting and uncalled for.  She is also a wonderful horse.

This is a new racing year and I sincerely hope that none of the horses are injured and run to their full potential.  It's a great sport but let's not make it look so petty when these animals give their all and do what they are bred to do.  They don't give a damn what you think, they only want to run.

16 Feb 2010 7:01 PM

Yeah, this is the right time for RA vs Z.  RA has been off for a while, and just starting her training for the year;  she may not be in top form right now so Z has a distinct advantage since Z has never stopped her training.  Even if RA wins her next race at FG, it will certainly not pose the challenge that a 'match' with Z will have so it proves little (or nothing) about her readiness to meet Z.  Who are we kidding?  How much is RA guaranteed to run such a race with minimal preparation?  After all, Z has the most to lose -- Z is our international possibility at this time so a defeat by RA will 'tarnish the rose'. Hence, I sense a 'fix', given all the factors. Marketing will have to be very aggressive to convince many of us that this race is a true indication of anything except money-grabbing. Shame on the Mosses for being so arrogant and shame on the Jacksons for being so greedy.  

16 Feb 2010 7:08 PM


You are absolutely correct.  The bashing has come from both sides but it is just a very few people.  Those are the ones that gleefully bash whatever horse they don't support.  It seems to be important to them to do that but it makes the fans of both look bad.  There are just a few, maybe four or five but they are the loudest it would seem.  Neither horse deserves it nor do the fans of either horse.

16 Feb 2010 7:22 PM


Great comment, I was at OP on Monday and several of the regulars were hoping Terry Wallace has his game on that day. Loved him as a kid calling some great, great races there but he has had his struggles over the last couple of years. I was listening to one of his calls earlier in the meet calling my horse in front to the wire then changing to the right horse. My colt was 6th, wrong call and no check tough to swallow. I can tell you everyone at Hot Springs is pumped for 4/9

16 Feb 2010 8:27 PM

Zenyatta has opened at -125 and RA at -105 in some books for the Apple B.

16 Feb 2010 8:58 PM


 You must have been selectively reading the posts for the last year if you really believe what you said. There have been plenty of idiotic statements on both sides.

16 Feb 2010 9:09 PM


You make way too much sense... Like you I cringe at some of the comments on this blog and others. The temptation to come out swinging is sometimes very hard to resist. The bashing of horses is particularly obnoxious to me. The fans can defend themselves, the horses cannot.


You did not "suggest" that all Zen fans are crazy, you declared it loud and clear. Try to reread your post with an open mind and tell me it isn't so. As to your last comment about Zenyatta being regarded as a goddess...she deserves that. Let her have it. AND no, Rachel Alexandra is not a mere "inferior mortal" in my eyes, she deserves every single accolade she gets and much, much more!


As a sister Zen fan, I regret to tell you that you have made some of the more offensive comments. I may be wrong but I get the feeling that you are a very young person and that your emotions get the best of you. Don't take this the wrong way, please. I understand your zeal... it's just that some things are better left unsaid because they are not based on facts.  

16 Feb 2010 10:29 PM

"Well, Rachel fans have NOT been nasty and do not hate Zen or her connections."

Hmm. So I really haven't read nasty comments calling her "Chickenyatta, Poly Zen, poly pony," or "a glorified Pepper's Pride?"

And I haven't read nasty comments posted here alleging Zenyatta's trainer doesn't care about her health and just wants to make money off her?

And there haven't been any comments slamming the Mosses, who own Zenyatta?

funnycideoflife, with all due respect you must have selective vision not to have seen the constant tearing down of Zenyatta and her connections. It went on last year and hasn't slowed down in 2010.

As to your statement..."And even Draynay has not called out the Mosses and John Sheriffs."

Actually, he's done that many times, usually ending with a rant about "dirt, dirt, dirt" and so on.

I've said it before, real racing fans (of Rachel and Zen) don't feel the need to bash competing horses to pump up their favorite.  

17 Feb 2010 1:49 AM

I agree. DO EVERYBODY A FAVOR -- get ESPN, NBC, or FOX to do live coverage of the AB on 9 april.   That way EVERYONE WILL BE HAPPY -- fans can watch the AB on tv, Cella will get money from the broadcasting rights, and the industry will reach more audiences.  A win-win deal.  I don't care HOW, just get the networks to DO IT.

The reason JOCKEYS will be shut down at ANIMAL PLANET is coz they failed to capitalize on the HORSES -- they tried to imitate American Idol-type reality shows, with jockeys instead of wanna-be singers and dancers.  SHIT! What they shudda done is tone down on the drama (who cares if MIKE SMITH has marriage-phobia?), and focus more on the HORSES-- their lives, their daily routines, their personality quirks, etc.  I mean, yeah, CHANTAL SUTHERLAND is kinda cute, and GARRETT GOMEZ is the top honcho guy, but listening to them narrate their sob story every week is just LAME.  The show FAILED to connect the Jockeys to the HORSES-- the primal reason why the jockeys are in business.  The horses are shown, but only as a BACKDROP to the riders riding them. HELLO?  The HORSES have MORE fans than jockeys do, just go ask LENTENOR or RACHEL ALEXANDRA. Who did they get to write JOCKEYS 2nd season?  Simon Cowell?  obviously, whoever the writer was, he has NO idea about the horse racing industry...

Actually, the show was GOOD in the first season.  Very exciting, edgy, gritty, with a CNN-style of realism to it.  When the 2nd season came round, they could have introduced HORSES to add another attraction, but somehow, they ended up imitating the World's BEST GROOMER reality show.  You can't blame the viewers for not watching the 2nd season-- who wants to see MORE of Chantal and Mike Smith arguing about their wedding? or about Joe Talamo and his reckless spending? or about JON COURT and his bad luck?  WHO CARES?  Sometimes I wonder if ANYBODY is actually DIRECTING this show at all.  Don't these people WATCH their own shows??

I watched the first season of JOCKEYS until the final episode, but my cable got disconnected when my room buddy moved out.  I got to see parts of ep2, but the fan reviews were starting to go bad.  When I finally got my own cable, they chopped off JOCKEYS. BUMMER..  I just wish they'd give HORSE RACING another show on ANIMAL PLANET.  I will miss JOCKEYS.


If only I had 1 coin and a wishing well, I would wish for the AB to show up in ESPN... wish, wish

17 Feb 2010 3:39 AM

Zookeeper, I am not so young, I am young to horseracing. I have not been following it but about two years. No, I do not know as much as you all do, but I can read when a fine horse like Zenyata is put out like yesterday's garbage. I for one feel Rachel is a great filly,but she is not superior over a horse as Zenyatta. And as far as my comments go, the reason I say anything back is because others have came out so offensive towards Zenyata, I'm not the only one who gets offended, but I will let the horse's handle it on the tracks, where it should be settled, we all need to stop with the "my horse is better than your horse", truth is, none of know how the other horse is going to perform this year.

I do appreciate your fairness, you need to speak loud and clear to the Rachel fans as well. Alot of them do enough bashing as well.

Truth, I never say anything about another horse or Rachle until someone discredits Zenyatta.

I do not care for Rachels connections, thats my choice, nothing to do with the horse.

17 Feb 2010 7:20 AM

Zookeeper- Zenyatta fans were called kooks on the live blog too, I believe.  These horses have had divergent careers and hugely divergent running styles and have run on totally different surfaces for the most part.  I remember I was told one time by more than one on here that I couldn't compare European turf horses to dirt horses when comparing Zarkava's and Goldikova's 3 yr old years to Rachel's.  Why can we compare Zenyatta and Rachel then?  They are just as divergent as European and American horses. Zenyatta had run on three totally different surfaces last year and runs like a European, Rachel runs on dirt and doesn't run like a European.  To compare times or margins of victory is absurd if you understand the difference between surfaces and running styles. And yet, the Beat Goes On, because people don't want to understand.  They just want to tear down and want contention.  It's tiresome.

Monica V- I don't think it ever rose above the degenerated state.  It's like a huge body of water behind a dam, pushing until it finds a crack and bursts it way through.

17 Feb 2010 9:28 AM

I haven't gone to any other horse racing blogs but the Bloodhorse ones so I have no idea what has been said other than what has been said here so I was quite surprised to see some of the comments that have mentioned elsewhere.  Isn't that insane?  I can't believe adult people can say those things.  That's just unbelievable to me.  I've only been blogging here for a couple of years and it has been a real eye opener.  I've been around racing a long time and had no idea of the attitudes of some.  It's so not necessary to be so hateful.  I truly feel that the people that are so openly hateful are just miserable human beings to begin with and they want everyone else to be as well.  I am just thankful for some of the wonderful people on these blogs for their vast knowledge and love of this sport that they share so willingly.

THere are too many to name but they know who they are and you are the reason I keep coming back.

17 Feb 2010 11:29 AM

Folks, if people here seem to think that Zenyatta fans are crazy and nasty - just wait when she wins the Apple Blossom. They are going to come hard and fast at everything Rachel.


17 Feb 2010 11:51 AM


You're right, some people just don't want to acknowledge facts. Sometimes, it's hard for me also, when the facts do not support my side of the argument. I try to keep an open mind...I don't always succeed.

Did you read the article about Goldikova returning to training after a 3months rest? She is being pointed to a possible 3peat in the BC Mile. What a treat it would be to see her again in 2010!

17 Feb 2010 12:23 PM
Forbidden Apple

For me I am a little bitter because Steve "Mr. Suspension" Assmussen is treated like he is a genius for training another Horse of the Year. We all know that he only had this horse for 3 races and only because his arrogant owner spent 12 or 15 million dollars on one horse. When some credit needs to be given to the breeder and to the original trainer, Hal Wiggins. Jess Jackson and Godolphin are the George Steinbrenner's of horse racing, they like to throw $ at the pursuit of a championship. For this reason I salute the owner's of Zenyatta, Buddy's Saint and Caracortado for not being sellouts. But in this business I do understand that anything goes when you have disposable cash and.

The 2009 Horse of the Year voting is over, so me and other Zenyatta fans need to stop crying over her being second. I think John Shireffs is a wonderful horseman, but they should have tested their monster against the colts much sooner. Even though I know in my mind that Gio Ponti and several other's are far superior horses than Mine That Bird and Mach Again. I don't care if the Classic was run on glass or on the moon, it was an effortless performance at 1 1/4 miles for $5 million.

17 Feb 2010 12:35 PM


Well said! It is the "saner" faction on here that keeps me reading also. The more I learn, the more I realize that I know very little compared to some. They help me be more analytical and less emotional. They see things that escape me completely and their comments are ALWAYS very logical and NEVER nasty.

On the other hand, there is a lot to be said about emotions. Nothing compares to the utter elation of watching our favorite horse win a great race. That is something that BOTH Rachel's and Zenyatta's fans share... yet, it's tearing some of us apart. It's a shame!


Reverse the outcome of the Apple Blossom... same result from the opposite clan of "crazies". Sometimes I find myself wishing that this race would never happen. No matter the outcome, some of the comments will be insufferable.

17 Feb 2010 1:07 PM
Z's a dancing Goddess

After the verdict passed down by 133 voters, folks like Funnycideoflife and Pasturelands were honestly expecting the Zenyatta faithful to bow down in deference to RA and her unsavory connections, acknowledging her "superiority" as HOY by proxy.  And Mr. Moss especially was supposed to don a genuine smile to indicate his great pleasure that his undefeated Breeders' Cup Classic Champion was passed over once again for a Jess Jackson horse.  So imagine their surprise at the realization that the opposite of what they were expecting has happened, that the Zenyatta faithful have become even more strident.  I wonder why Funnycideoflife felt it necessary to "inform" us as of what exactly Zenyatta's dance means.  I very much doubt that person could provide a single shred of information of any value pertaining to Zenyatta, other than to show his/her own bias.  And yes, Zenyatta is a dancing GODDESS!  

17 Feb 2010 1:36 PM

Zookeeper- I am also very excited about Goldikova racing again and coming back for a 3rd BC Mile. That's exciting news.

17 Feb 2010 1:44 PM

Z's a dancing Goddess,

Yes it was a bitter pill to swallow but I finally got it past my throat and I'm looking forward to watching the Goddess dance again on March 13 at Santa Anita. I wonder if Trevor Denman is researching new superlatives to describe Zen's flight to the wire.

17 Feb 2010 1:58 PM

First of all, let me state right now that I do feel Zenyatta should have been HOY, TWICE.  I cannot say Rachel was a "sham" because she was brilliant.  But let's not go there because it's been hashed over and over and over.  There are 50 million reasons RA shouldn't have won and I have heard them all but in the end it's just a statue like any other trophy that collects dust and is forgotten.  It really has no signifigance and no one will remember in a year or two.

Secondly, I am amazed that Zenyatta fans and Rachel fans have to be enemies and act the way some of them  do.  It is just apalling how both sides spew such hatred and venom.  Does it make them feel good?  Why does saying such horrible things about the horse and the connections so important?  Does it lift up their horse and make them better?  No.  It only makes the fans look ridiculous.  All the fans and not all the fans are like that.  With all the horror in this world why must some make this war in a sport that is supposed to provide thrills and make people happy?  I just don't get it.

17 Feb 2010 2:03 PM


I knew that would make you happy since you have said many times that you are a big follower and lover of European racing.

If she makes it here and wins it again it will be BC history. Three wins has never happened in any category. Whether she does or not, I will never forget her incredible turn of foot... And that's coming from a rather ordinary looking horse. But, put her in a race and there is NOTHING ordinary about her. I was fortunate enough to see her in person twice at Santa Anita. The first time, I didn't pay too much attention to her before the race. The second time, I couldn't believe that such greatest was hidden inside (to borrow Steve Haskin's words)in such "a plain brown wrapping". Unforgettable!!!

17 Feb 2010 2:17 PM

Footlick or anyone, Have any of you heard if they are going to run St. Trinians on dirt or just synthetics? I am curious.

17 Feb 2010 2:21 PM


All I can do is repeat what I've heard: Her connections are considering the Big Cap at Santa Anita. If that doesn't pan out, they are looking at the Apple Blossom. Her past performances show that St Trinians has never run on dirt. Even in England, all her races were on synthetics except for one, which was on turf. She appears to love here in California (on the track type that some have called plastic, rubber or crap) and has won all of her races, 3 at Santa Anita and 1 at Hollywood Park.

It will be interesting to see what her connections decide to do. Both races mentioned are a tall order and show great confidence on the part of the people involved. Whether it is warranted or not remains to be seen. I liked her very much in the Santa Maria last Saturday. Is she Big Cap or Apple Blossom material? We shall see...  

17 Feb 2010 3:21 PM

Oops! after posting my last comment I turned to the news portion on this website and found all the answers to your question, carolyn. I hope you did also.

Mike Mitchell's words were very encouraging. If she runs in the Big Cap it will really spice it up!

17 Feb 2010 3:31 PM
Chest Splitter

After Zenyatta rolls past Rachel in the Apple Blossom,they will retire RA citing some false reason(s) just to save face.

17 Feb 2010 3:53 PM

Zookeeper- Yes.  Goldikova has always been held in very high regard by Freddie Head.  He ranks her with Miesque, and on one occasion said he thought she was better.  

Carolyn- as far as I know, there is no dirt in St Trinian's future.  She is a synthetic horse through and through from what I've heard.

17 Feb 2010 4:02 PM

Chest Splitter,

Since you seem to know in advance who will win a race and (amazingly) what the connections will do afterwards, do you have any stock market recommendations for us? Or is your gift of prophesy limited to horse racing? If it is, you must be making a fortune at the betting window.

17 Feb 2010 5:07 PM

When people are suggesting that Rachel is being worked in the slop in an attempt to get injured and have an "excuse" to duck Zenyatta, I have to admit I got a little pissed and starting ranting because it is such a terrible comment for anyone to make.

Maybe I'm biased for seeing Rachel run in person twice (and being extremely disappointed to expect to see Zenyatta run on KY Oaks day and not have it happen), but I truly believe that Zenyatta fans insult Rachel much more harshly and are more critical than Rachel fans are to Zenyatta.

How many Rachel fans have said that Zenyatta didn't deserve to win the Breeder's Cup? ZERO, we have all admitted it to be a fantastic race, yet almost no Zenyatta fan thinks that Rachel deserved or earned Horse of the Year, like her campaign was not special at all. All of her wins were "lucky." Jess Jackson is considered an egomaniac for not acknowledging Hal Wiggins, but the Mosses are just supporting their horse by giving a toast to Zenyatta while Jess Jackson was accepting HOY and saying that Rachel "won by proxy." I just feel like there is this double standard for Rachel because everybody hates Jess Jackson so much for having an opinion.

P.S... Rachel Alexandra will ALWAYS be a goddess to me, even if she never runs again : )

17 Feb 2010 5:13 PM

Zookeeper- I thought I just read that the Apple Blossom is not an option according to her trainer.  I could be wrong.

17 Feb 2010 5:31 PM

IT is a long way to April 9, Anything can happen

Expect the "Unexpected".

17 Feb 2010 5:57 PM
Mike Relva



17 Feb 2010 6:06 PM
Z's a dancing Goddess

To the best of my knowledge, "people" did not say that Rachel is being trained in the slop in order to intentionally injure her, but rather ONE person (namely Carolyn) said it.  If you have a problem with it, and rightly so, then take it up with Carolyn.  Do not insult ALL Zenyatta loyalists by unfairly smearing us with a broad brush.  Funnycideoflife, you sound like a frustrated RA fan who is coming to the realization that your wonderful Mr. Jackson pushed this 3yo filly so hard in order to win HOY for himself, that as a result she quite possibly has no further future on the track.  But please, do not take your frustrations out on us Z fans... we just want to see her dance.  "Every step she takes is magic...magic...MAGIC!"

17 Feb 2010 6:19 PM
Z's a dancing Goddess

The HoY title is awarded by proxy, as defined as an authority or power to act for another.  Every internet poll showed that the public supported Zenyatta for HOY over Rachel.  That is just a fact.  I don't mean to be rude Funnycideoflife, but your comment that no Rachel fan has stated that Zenyatta didn't deserve to win the Breeders' Cup Classic is just silly.  The outcome of that race was decided on the track, not voted on by a select few.

17 Feb 2010 6:31 PM

funnycide of life,

ONE (1) misguided person made the comment regarding RA training in the slop and the imagined evil intentions of her connections. You have every reason to be angry at the absurdity of it. You also have every right and many, many reasons for your preference of Rachel Alexandra. She certainly deserves it.

Where I beg to differ with you is that more insults are directed at RA than at Zen. Could it POSSIBLY be that you are more sensitive to those against RA & connections than you are to those directed at Zen & connections?

Have I seen your name attached to a rebuttal of a rude/insensitive/inane comment from a RA fan?

In your post of 5:13 you couldn't resist a snide remark towards the Mosses and again piled more false accusations on the back of most Zen fans. And YES! YES! YES! I have read ad nauseum as Zen's detractors poo poo'd her win in the BCC. If you haven't, maybe a visit to the eye doctor is in order.

Finally (and this will be my last comment to you in this matter, because obviously I'm not getting through) if Rachel Alexandra is YOUR goddess more power to you, MINE is Zenyatta. It's a free country. To each his/her own.    

17 Feb 2010 6:59 PM

Mike Relva,

Wonderful post.  I know that only  few Zenyatta fans say things that a little harsh but you've never been one.  There are only a handful but they are very LOUD.  One cannot condemn all Z fans, it just isn't right.  That goes for Rachel fans as well.

17 Feb 2010 7:12 PM


That post to Chest Splitter was superb.  As most of us know, you cannot predict a race because there are so many factors that affect the outcome.  As I have said, we may see an upset, you just never know.  It has happene before and it can happen again.

17 Feb 2010 7:23 PM


You're not wrong. I posted my comment of 3:21pm before I read the article in the news section on this website.

Can't wait to see who else, beside St Trinians, is planning to run in the Big Cap. Misremembered? Jeranimo? Do you know?

17 Feb 2010 7:24 PM

I think we will see a different Moss this year.  When asked if there was any objection to pushing back the Apple Blossom a week in response to Jess Jacksons request, Moss just said "If that is what is needed."  "We are going to find what races RA is entered in and enter" (Eqlipse Awards).  Sounds like they awoke a sleeping giant and her name is Zenyatta.  

17 Feb 2010 7:35 PM

Zookeeper- Baffert said he is thinking of running Richard's Kid also before shipping him to Dubai.

17 Feb 2010 7:54 PM

Everyone here, By the way Jackson was making remarks about not wanting to run in the AB, to me he was plainly not ready to run Rachel against Zenyatta yet. I think he would have rather done it later than sooner, Thats why I said what I did. He had not been training her in the rain, before he was put in this position, now he is training her in the rain, and thats why I said what I did about the injury, Not that I was looking for an injury, but it could be a reason if he wanted to pull out of  running in the AB, The money is nothing to him, but winning is...I'm not saying he is going to do that, just things werent looking good as to what he said before all the hooplah bashing before he agreed to the AB, I sincerely do not believe he wanted to run agaisnt Zenyatta this early, I still don't.

Actually it could go for both horses, not just Rachel.

Anything can happen to horses that run and train on sloppy surfaces.

17 Feb 2010 7:59 PM


I couldn't resist. It infuriates me when people KNOW for sure what other people think, what they will do and for what reason.  I have never met Mr. Jackson, never talked to him and I DEFINITELY do not know what he is thinking and why he does what he does. I very much doubt any of us on this blog do.

Thanks for your support. Many here share our views, on both sides. I tried ignoring the loons but they did not go away...

17 Feb 2010 8:07 PM

After the deal on Thorn Song,

They collected his insurance, and said he was gone, but he was in a barn getting treatments.

I say this is why I dont trust some owners. Its all politics as usual. I don't trust all polititians.

17 Feb 2010 8:15 PM


One thing about Baffert, he's not afraid of competition. Hope we get a good size field. The purse has been lowered from 1 million to 750 thousand dollars. It's still high enough to attract many good horses. Would hate to see the Big Cap lose status as some have said it already has.

17 Feb 2010 8:16 PM
Jason Shandler

Carolyn: I admire your passion, but with all due respect, please learn the facts before you write accusatory posts. If you knew anything about horse insurance you would know that it is very common for insurance companies to pay off on horses who are not yet dead. There are policies that state "loss of use," which entitles owners to collect on horses that are disabled or gravely sick. Zayat was not at fault in this case and followed all procedures. Dont you think if he did something wrong he would have been caught? I mean, it was a high-profile case. A couple of publications misreported that Thorn Song was dead when he was in fact not. It isnt Zayat's fault that this was done. He cared about that horse deeply I was told by several souces who would know.

17 Feb 2010 8:21 PM

Zookeeper- Baffert loves the game.  And he always has runners.  And he is usually smart about where he runs them.  I hope the Big 'Cap doesn't lose it's gr1 also, but only time will tell.

17 Feb 2010 8:32 PM

Jason, No, I did not know any of this, "Loss of Use", what happens if the horse gets better and rehabilitated and goes back to running again, and the insurance has paid out, or does it guarantee TS never goes back to racing and he only goes to stud? How does that work, Jason?

"WOW", I learn more and more everyday on this post.

17 Feb 2010 8:32 PM

Jason, it just goes to show how the media can sometimes do more harm than good, especially when they don't have all the facts.

Or if they don't follow up on what they report.

17 Feb 2010 8:37 PM
Jason Shandler

Carolyn: Once the insurance company pays out on the horse they become the owner, even if the horse survives or goes back into training, generally speaking. Each case is different.

17 Feb 2010 8:54 PM

Please ban carolyn from blogging here.  she is misleading everybody, and insulting innocent fans-- specially Rachel fans. It is time she is taught a lesson, and until she learns it, she cannot barge into this blog, with her INANE assumptions.

18 Feb 2010 2:52 AM

I wonder WHO gave anybody the impression that Rachel won't run again??  It sounds more like a WISH than an ASSUMPTION, to me.

Rachel had 2 workouts already-- and she is not limping around in both.  SummerBird is the lame one, but I've never heard anyone say he will retire.  Rachel, in contrast, had 2 TIMED workouts, and EVERY Zen fan is hooting that she will be retired to breed.. HOW IS THAT???

I agree with FUNNYCIDE-- Z fans are HARSH to Rachel, much more than Rachel fans are critical of Z.  I am a Rachel fan, but I've never said Rachel is a GODDESS or that she "breathes UNIQUE AIR from the others".. or any of that crap that Z fans are RIDICULOUSLY saying about Zen.  Rachel fans even praise Z.  But I have never seen any Z fan who praised Rachel or even admitted that she is GREAT.

RACHEL, for the record, is and will always be One of the Best FEMALE dirt horses in the History of TB racing.  She has NEVER been defeated by any male horse, in the 3 times she raced them.  And she set speed and margins of victory records, as a 3 year old.  That, folks is the GOLD STANDARD for a TRUE HORSE OF THE YEAR 2009!!

My only wish is that People give Rachel the credit she deserves-- it aint easy being a champion.  Go ask ALEXANDER MCQUEEN, if you disagree...  so stop BASHING Rachel, coz that girl worked VERY VERY HARD to win this HOY award.  If you won't do it for JJ, do it for the filly....

18 Feb 2010 3:12 AM

Jason, I keep reading on some blogs about the speculation that Calvin may not be aboard RA this year? Have you heard the same thing? I KNOW you would KNOW if anyone would. If not who would JJ select to pick up the mount. Maybe Robby Albarado since he was Curlin's jockey?

18 Feb 2010 7:58 AM

Pasturelands- I'm staying out of the Rachel/Zen tussle, but I agree with you about Alexander McQueen.  A huge loss to the fashion industry.  He was one of the most brilliant, innovative designers and his runway extravaganzas and battles with  John Galliano to see who could be the most outrageous and over the top reinvented the runway show.  And hidden under all of that was one of the most brilliant tailors fashion has ever seen.  I truly hope he is at peace now.  A great loss and a great tragedy.  RIP Mr McQueen.

18 Feb 2010 9:58 AM
Forbidden Apple

The back and forth between Zenyatta and Rachel is good for horse racing, this means that people care and have an ongoing interest in this game. A rivalry has been formed even when they have never faced each other. Would it be better if more horses retire sound for no reason at all like Mineshaft and Curlin? This is setting up like a prize fight and I love it. I am also a boxing fan and I would love to see Oaklawn park promote this event like it was Ali vs. Foreman in Africa! With retro posters sent out around the country and offered for sale to the public. Rachel has the speed and Zenyatta has the knockout punch.

Rachel Alexandra had one great season of racing and that season of 2009 is over. This is a what have you done for me lately sport. I see it in this year's KY Derby talk, after every little stakes race people think they have found the next new racing star. This sport needs the best versus the best, the Apple Blossom matchup needs to happen. Let these two horses look each other in the eye in the paddock and then let them fight it out down the stretch!

18 Feb 2010 10:26 AM

"I agree with FUNNYCIDE-- Z fans are HARSH to Rachel, much more than Rachel fans are critical of Z...."


OK, let's look a your record. Here's what you posted on (another blog) on Jan. 18, after Rachel won Horse of the Year.

"I just wish JERRY MOSS, that old P----, acknowledge RACHEL WON THE HOY 2009


"He even needs to THANK lots of people, coz his OVER-RATED MARE, ZENYATTA got nominated for the HOY. If this were an ordinary season, Zenyatta WON’T EVEN BE MENTIONED (much less voted) for HOY. With the kind of LESS-THAN-STELLAR performances of Zenyatta in 2009..."

Did you somehow think calling Jerry Moss "and old p----" and denigrating the undefeated Zenyatta falls into the category of "Rachel fans even praise Z?"

In fact, Pasturelands, your rude, ALL CAPS ugly campaign against Zenyatta can be found across a number of racing blogs. The next time you want to decry such nastiness, start with yourself.

18 Feb 2010 10:37 AM


I give up! I'm sick of this! Trying to talk reason to some of you is an exercise in futility. Have fun, whatever childish game you're playing on one side or the other. Ugliness knows no boundaries.

18 Feb 2010 10:57 AM

Over-rated?  For many that believe that Zenyatta is the greatest female racehorse of all time (Jon White of HRTV, the past CEO of Santa Anita, the track announcer of at Hollywood Park, Mike Smith, Gary Stevens and on and on) only to lose to the MOST HYPED racehorse of all time - Rachel Alexandra seems like the CRIME OF THE CENTURY!

Even the Europeans are asking for an explanation.

Just wait for about 6:40 CST on April 9, I can't wait for Zenyatta to pose herself on the backstretch at Oaklawn Park patiently waiting for Rachel Alexandra to get her sorry rear off the track so she can enter the winner's circle.

18 Feb 2010 11:16 AM

Jason, perhaps the Apple Blossom is promoting itself this year.

Sportswriter Harry King wrote a column headlined "Race Puts Spotlight On Oaklawn" for the Southwest Times Record (online) of Fort Smith, Arkansas.

It reads: "The caller from Saudi Arabia wanted to know how big an aircraft is too big for Memorial Field in Hot Springs.

'We handled Vice President Cheney’s 757 and loaded up a couple of 727s with about 370 people for a Promise Keepers march in Washington,' airport manager George Downey responded.

Not big enough.

The horse-crazy sheiks travel in a 747, something akin to Air Force One...

Already a big weekend because of the Arkansas Derby on April 10, every major hotel in the city is booked. Linked through the city’s convention and visitors bureau and Oaklawn, a new Web site —  — should be up and running today with references to accommodations in Arkadelphia, Mount Ida, Benton, Bryant, and Little Rock. Soon, the site will be the source for visitors, even listing restaurants that accept reservations."

I can't be at Oaklawn, so I hope ESPN realizes the race has broad appeal so they will decide to show it live.

18 Feb 2010 11:25 AM

Pasturelands, Go play with your pal NoCommonsense. "Birds of a feather, BLOG together". Your posts on another blog are very very critical of Zenyatta, so speak of misleading, yeah, you got room to talk.

18 Feb 2010 11:49 AM
Forbidden Apple

We are all adults here, please do not take your ball and run home to tell your mommy. Someone asked to have another person banned because they do not care for what they were reading. This is a free country and people on here are writing about a sport, not about national security.

18 Feb 2010 1:05 PM
Z's a dancing Goddess

CV:  BRAVO, and well done!  I give you a standing ovation for calling out Pasturelands, and providing the evidence to back it up.  He/she wrote something even more disturbing just a few days before the BBC, which appeared on both Jason's and Steve's blogs, involving Zenyatta and an ambulance (GOD FORBID!) that still has me reeling in disgust.  I won't post it, because that hideous comment does not need to see the light of day ever again.  Another blogger that deserves to be put in the "nasty" category is AFLEETALEXFOREVER.  So, when RA fans like Funnycideoflife decry the "meanness" of Z fans, they are NOT keeping things in perspective.  Some RA fans have been downright scary, morally offensive, and hateful.  They make Z fans seem tame by comparison.  But, like Zookeeper said, perhaps they are only sensitive to what they perceive as being an attack on Team RA.  And maybe to some extent they are even in agreement with what is being said by their camp against Team Zenyatta.

18 Feb 2010 1:30 PM

I'm done responding after this, it's not worth the effort...

Someone said that I'm frustrated that Rachel was pushed too hard last year and will never run again. Quite the contrary, I am glad she got a much deserved break and I get a sense that she wants to run after her workout this morning. What people are missing from me is that I have no animosity toward Zenyatta at all. I watch the TVG reel on Youtube of all 14 of her wins all the time. In fact, I am so happy that I finally see people LOVING racehorses. I beg of you Zenyatta fans to please support her, and the same of Rachel fans toward Rachel!

My biggest complaint is the double standard that I feel Rachel suffers from. Rachel gets six months off and her detractors claim she should be ready by now and that there is something wrong for her to need this much time off. Yet, when Zenyatta got six months off after the 2008 Breeder's Cup, the Mosses were doing right by the horse, so it was no big deal. Jess Jackson is a coward for choosing the Woodward instead of the Travers, but Zenyatta gets to run in the Lady's Secret instead of the Goodwood with no complaints. My PERSONAL opinion is that Jackson is castigated for testing Rachel in the "wrong" races and tiring her out, but the Mosses are heroes for running Zen in races she had won before and then taking a chance in the Breeder's Cup Classic because they were protecting her for the year. I will definitely admit that Rachel fans have constantly brought up Zen's light schedule, but nobody has never called it "bad" or "wrong," just conservative. However, every race Rachel runs is not the right one. Jess Jackson always took the easy way, whether it be by choosing the Preakness over the Belmont or the Woodward over the Travers.

My point is that Jess Jackson and Steve Asmussen are always making the wrong decisions but the Mosses and John Sheriffs are always right. Nobody questions the Moss's motives but everything Jackson does is for his ego. Do you expect me to believe that if Jackson owned Zenyatta and decided to race her at six instead of retiring her that everyone would applaud and say he was being a sportsman? Of course not, he would be threatening Zenyatta's safety for his own gain. I'm surprised he hasn't been called selfish and greedy for bringing back Rachel at four instead of retiring her after winning Horse of the Year.

Please don't think I hate the Mosses or John Sheriffs (I love watching his Youtube videos, there are really cute ones of Zenyatta drinking Guiness and of a sleepy Life is Sweet!). I just don't think Rachel gets her due because of the unfounded hatred toward her connections. As Virgil would say, Peace!

18 Feb 2010 2:14 PM

A final note, anybody who hates an innocent horse has bigger problems to contend with than handicapping the Apple Blossom...

18 Feb 2010 2:20 PM
Z's a dancing Goddess

Funnycideoflife, I think the best answer to give as to why a double standard exists between the Mosses/Shirreffs and Jackson/Asmussen, if indeed it does, would be "You reap what you sow".  The Mosses are humanitarians who do things for the community without ever flaunting it.  And, Ann Moss is active in rescuing race horses.  Shirreffs is a down-to-earth likeable person, and a Vietnam veteran... a person you WANT to root for.  Asmussen doesn't come off as being all that likeable.  But, I doubt HE ever worries about it.  And, I am sure you are aware of his history of drug positives.  Mr. Jackson, as demonstrated by his attempt to orchestrate a 3-race-series without the inclusion or notification of the Mosses comes off as being incredibly arrogant and self-serving.  Also,

maybe the fact that Mr. Jackson buys ready-made horses and declares them as his own making, as he did with both Curlin and Rachel, rubs people the wrong way.  I have heard similar things said about Sheikh Mohammed.  I wonder if that disturbs you?  Or, is it only what is said about Jackson/Asmussen?  Not knowing you, I have no idea where this sensitivity comes from.  Maybe you are affiliated with them in some way, which would explain it.


18 Feb 2010 3:42 PM

Z's a dancing Goddess,

I agree that the Mosses and John Sheriffs are extremely likeable people, and Jess Jackson and Steve Asmussen much less so, but I don't agree with those views affecting one's perception of a horse. Would people have disliked Secretariat if his owner had the same personality as Jess Jackson as opposed to Penny Chenery? Secretariat obviously didn't need any help from his owner to be loveable, but is it fair for a horse's reputation to be helped or destroyed by who pays the bills?

P.S. I don't mind that the Sheikh goes on tremendous spending sprees because he clearly loves his horses (unfortunately, they often live better than some of the people in Dubai). I do oppose, however, that he retires the best ones after their three year old year. Creating brilliant but unproven foal factories doesn't help racing, just the sales.

18 Feb 2010 4:36 PM
Mike Relva


What has Carolyn done to you? If anyone needs to be banned,it's you! You have zero respect for anyone that has a differing opinion than yourself!You state that "it's time Carolyn is taught a lesson". Question? When are you gonna be taught??????

18 Feb 2010 4:51 PM
Mike Relva



18 Feb 2010 4:57 PM
Pam S.

I have not yet gone to the Apple Blossom website that CV told us about, but just the fact that there is one shows how much anticipated the race is.  As time goes on it will get REALLY exciting.  The racing gods need to let both Rachel and Zenyatta win their preps on March 13 so that nothing will temper that excitement.  I almost wish they weren't racing or training, just standing in their stalls wrapped head to toe in cotton so NOTHING goes wrong before April 9.  (Yeah, I know, not practical.)

18 Feb 2010 5:11 PM

What if they both get beat ala Ferdinand and Alysheba?  Then what a mess we would have.  I would give the edge to Zenyatta coming off a layoff over RA.  3 months, 7 months, she's been there before.

18 Feb 2010 7:49 PM

Householder, let's try to be positive and assume that your hypothetical scenario won't happen : )

18 Feb 2010 10:18 PM
Z's a dancing Goddess

I think a raceshorse's connections contribute to a majority of what a horse blossoms (no pun intended?) into.  I praise the Mosses and John Shirreffs for allowing Zenyatta to develop into the happiest, dancingest, prancingest racemare ever.  Yeah Zenyatta!

18 Feb 2010 10:44 PM
Forbidden Apple

Rachel ran in eary September, as of now that is a 5 1/2 month layoff, not 7. A layoff does not mean a horse is hurt or has less of a chance in the next start. Stop making the layoffs a factor, the best horse will win the Apple Blossom.

19 Feb 2010 9:52 AM
Bob Z

Blood horse should start a poll like they did for horse of the year...

"Who is going to win the Apple Blossom and by how many lengths?"





1/2 length


2 lengths

3 lengths

more than 3 lengths

19 Feb 2010 11:54 AM

funnycideoflife.  Agreed I will stay positive.  However, what if it is a dead heat?  Forbidden Apple.  I was refering to Zenyatta's 7 month lay off.  Her first start after the Nov 3-4 Breeders Cup was the May 23rd at Hollywood like six months and 2-3 weeks.  She made easy work of Life Is Sweet who owned the Santa Anita Winter/Spring meet picking up 3 of 3.  I know...I know...Life is Sweet is no RA.  I'm not saying this.  Rather, a well rested Zenyatta, is a Grade 1 winner over Grade 1 competition.  That's tough for any horse male or female.  I would simply favor Zenyatta based on this.

19 Feb 2010 7:53 PM

CV + MIKE RELVA + DANCING GOD:  Why you so UPSET?  Did I accidentally say that Zen is NOT the best horse in the world, hehe.  You are afraid of RAIN on your parade??  

Its YOU that need to GROW UP-- you look at Z with PINK-COLORED CONTACT LENSES, and envision a world wherein ONE-RACE WONDERS and LOUD WHIMSICAL BLOGGERS like Carolyn ARE IDEAL.  You FORGIVE Moss for "snubbing" Jess Jackson at his once-in-a-Lifetime BIG NIGHT, but you won't forgive anyone typing in CAPITAL LETTERS.  What a crock. Why CV, are you going NEAR SIGHTED already??  and don't go HIGH AND MIGHTY on me-- that "I HAVE MORE EXPERIENCE than even STEVE HASKINS" line is GARBAGE.  I don't need HELP to figure out WHO IS SMART, and who IS NOT...

Its about time we give CREDIT where credit is due-- Rachel is HOY 2009, AND she deserves it.  As for my comments about Moss, it is TRUE:  MOSS WAS RUDE TO JACKSON-- and his comments about Rachel stopped SHORT of actually calling Rachel a PHONY WINNER. But nobody calls MOSS a phony, do they MIKE RELVA??

Fact is, you three + Carolyn is the same bunch who kept BLOGGING the wrong things:  Jackson is phony, Rachel is going to retire, Rachel will lose HOY--- ALL OF WHICH NEVER MATERIALIZED. Carolyn even spread rumors that Rachel will be hurt before she races!

People like carolyn who have NOTHING TRUE to say on this blog, should be BANNED like Draynay was.  But to his credit, Dray was one of the best handicappers I know (though he is wrong 15% of the time!) and his ban was only temporary.  Dray's accurate handicapping of the WOODWARD was good.

By the way, nice blog, Jason!  its been a long time since I blogged in here.  Nice to be here again.

20 Feb 2010 4:13 AM

Pasturelands, you have descended into complete incoherence. I haven't posted any of that nonsense you attributed to me.

Also, here's a tip for writing on the Internet. Using ALL CAPS all the time makes you look childish.

20 Feb 2010 4:49 PM

Pasturelands, When you point your finger at someone else, your other four fingers are pointing back at you.

You are speaking of yourself, because you are the only one guilty  of saying childish and insensitive things about an innocent horse(Zenyatta) on another blog. You and your pal NoCommonsense101 are nothing but Zenyatta haters and now you're on here trying to look oh so innocent, yeah, I wish they could read your posts on other blogs.

20 Feb 2010 5:18 PM
Mike Relva


CAROLYN is on point. You hate Zenyatta,and anyone that hates an innocent animal is sub human in my book. Get your mindless facts correct,I've NEVER said anything cruel regarding RA,although I don't care for connections,especially her trainer.When she won HOY,I NEVER went "off the deep end". I keep things in perspective! What about your stupid blogs I saw prior to Breeders' where you gave Zenyatta no chance. Remember that?  I'm waiting for your spin if Zenyatta beats RA,cause we know you and a few others' won't give credit to the Zenyatta camp. Also,if you think for a moment Draynay is a great handicapper,you're nuts. How many horses' did he jump on/off last yr. prior to Derby????????? I have GREAT RESPECT FOR RA,THAT'S SOMETHING YOU WON'T EVER SAY ABOUT ZENYATTA!

20 Feb 2010 6:49 PM
Forbidden Apple

Does anyone on this blog live in Arkansas?

23 Feb 2010 9:43 AM

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