Races For the Ages Starting to Come Together

Exactly six weeks from today the "Race for the Ages" is supposed to take place at Oaklawn Park. Whether or not Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta meet in the Apple Blossom remains to be seen, but we have reasons to be hopeful.

If you are wondering why there has been little promotion for the event so far, there are a couple of factors at work here. First, and most importantly, a television deal must be worked out to determine which network will carry the event. I was told by a source close to the situation today that an announcement should be coming within the next week about a major network signing on to carry the race. Once that deal is finalized, an advertising pitch can begin to take form.

The other thing to consider is the March 13 prep races for both horses. Before large scale advertising begins, logic would tell us that we need to make sure both horses come out of their respective races sound--Rachel in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes and Zenyatta in the Santa Margarita Invitational. Obviously, without the health of both horses, we have nothing. Hopefully, if and when both horses exit their races soundly and the connections give the go ahead, we will begin to see ads on our TV screens, and in our newspapers and magazines by Mid-March.

Because of the poor job that horse racing has done of promoting itself in the recent past, I am one of many who has been skeptical of how well this event will be handled. But we must remember this is a show being created by Charles Cella, the owner of Oaklawn Park, who is putting up $5 million of his own money to make it happen. Cella more than anyone else needs this event to be a success. Because of this, and the fact that he has been a successful promoter of his racetrack in the past and a positive influence on racing for many years, we should give Cella the benefit of the doubt that this will be done right.

Many have questioned Cella's decision to have the race on a Friday instead of a weekend. I may be in the minority here, but I think it can be a good move. For those of you that think it will be a late afternoon post, you are way off. I was told by the same source that the race will likely be scheduled for 6:45 p.m. CDT, which would make it a prime time event on the East Coast. If it were held on the Saturday or Sunday of that weekend, the Masters golf tournament might overlap the pre-race coverage. A Friday night horse racing might seem a bit unorthodox at first mention, but it will also have a new, exciting feel that could work out just fine.

The other exciting thing about the Apple Blossom is that we can expect a full field in the gate and it probably will include some pretty decent horses. This was insured by Cella when he created an enticing purse structure that will earn the third-place finisher $500,000 and guarantee $100,000 to the last-place horse. Who wouldn't want to show up with those crazy numbers?

So far, these 10 horses have been nominated--Bambera, Black Magic Mamma, Just Jenda, Justwhistledixie, Love To Tell, My Baby Baby, Stardom Bound, Striking Dancer, Sweet Repent, and Unforgotten--and Careless Jewel is also likely to throw her name into the mix. Bambera is a South American sensation who was last year's Horse of the Year in Venezuela and is 14-for-16 in her career. Clair Novak profiled the 4-year-old on ESPN.com.

So, as you can see things are beginning to take shape and we have a lot to be excited about. Let's remain optimistic and hope both stars remain healthy as we enjoy the anticipation over the next six weeks.

351 Comments

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The Rock

Jason,

Can you get any pp's on that South American import Bambera?

26 Feb 2010 1:38 PM
aspradling

I like the idea of a Friday evening race.

26 Feb 2010 2:22 PM
LDP

I actually like the Friday race too. A friend of mine had told me that they were probably going to have the race go off around 7 Central time, so I would get it at about quarter til 8pm. So, while it will probably be dark here, it will be just fine, probably sunset at Oaklawn. I also like the timing because I can go ride my horse and be back in time for the race!

I saw Bambera run in her last start and she was the definition of awesome. She, if nobody else, will provide a good honest pace.

26 Feb 2010 2:38 PM
longwaytomay

Jason,

I am with you as far as the race being held on Friday evening instead of Saturday. Competing with the Masters and the probable return of Tiger Woods wouldn't be very smart. People need to look at it from Cella's point of view. The track will be sold out for Saturday's Arkansas Derby regardless if Rachal and Z are racing that day.

If he holds it on Friday, then the track will be sold out two days in a row. That's being a smart businessman. For all the people who are going to say he is being greedy should look at who put up the money for the five million dollar purse.

26 Feb 2010 2:43 PM
mz

Jason: has Careless Jewel had any works since the debacle?

26 Feb 2010 2:43 PM
EKrueg

Wouldn't that be something if this South American horse came in and won the Apple Blossom? This feels somewhat like deja vu? Does the name Invasor mean anything to anyone?

26 Feb 2010 2:47 PM
Jason Shandler

mz: Careless Jewel has had 2 works, neither of them very impressive.

26 Feb 2010 2:55 PM
Pam S.

I understand Stardom Bound has been nominated, though her last race wasn't very good and she has a questionable record on dirt.  In a way I would love to see "Zenyatta Jr." in the field, though there is no reason to be optimistic about how she would perform.  It doesn't sound real promising, but I hope Careless Jewel is there too.  It would be cool to see the two pale gray Tapit daughters "bookending the field."  Unless Zenyatta would be further back.  If neither of the grays is there, I guess Bambera will have to provide the extra glamour and excitement.

I never thought the Friday date was such a disaster, and that's good news about the late post time and TV coverage.  As you said, though, Jason, stuff has to be kind of on hold until the preps are in the book.  Only two weeks from tomorrow for them, and I'm getting a bit nervous! I bet I'm not the only one.

26 Feb 2010 3:15 PM
MonicaV

Sounds sensational so far!  I'm so excited by this race and the addition of the South American star is wonderful.  This is going to be a heck of a race.  As I have said before, could be a surprise winner here.  You just never know.

26 Feb 2010 3:19 PM
Dave

Am i the only one who thinks it would be a disaster if one of the other entries wins this race (although i don't think it will happen).  The general public would look at RA & Zenyatta as being all hype.  

26 Feb 2010 3:27 PM
Zookeeper

Jason, Thanks for the much needed info on the AB. My first reaction to the race being on Friday was negative but after considering all the facts, I have revised my opinion. Over all, it is the best option: it will be on prime time for most of the country and has the best potential for maximum viewing. Now let's hope all the stars are aligned correctly for the race to be a resounding success for Mr. Cella, for Oaklawn, for Arkansas and for all the racing fans! Good luck and safe return to all the fillies and mares!

26 Feb 2010 3:33 PM
shamfan49

According to 'time and date.com' sunset in Little Rock, which is close to Hot Springs, will occur at 7:37 PM on Apple Blossom Friday. So it looks like I won't need a pair of night vision goggles to watch this historic race. I don't recall ever seeing lights for night racing at Oaklawn.

26 Feb 2010 3:38 PM
Forbidden Apple

It's friday night fights with the champion Rachel Alexandra defending her crown against the #1 heavyweight contender Zenyatta! I have written on a few blogs how it would be great to see posters made up and treat this like a showdown. Rachels speed versus Zenyatta's knockout punch. Jason, any word on an Apple Blossom/Arkansas Derby double? What about Sara Louise or a turf star like Pure Clan joining this historic race? Go Zenyatta!

26 Feb 2010 3:42 PM
1800s

BAMBERA !! WOW this truly is a race for the ages.

26 Feb 2010 3:46 PM
Miss Woodford

Actually Bambera's won 16 races, including the Triple Tiara and 2 out of 3 of the Triple Crown (her narrow loss in the Clasico Cria Nacional, on a weeks rest, was due to her jockey moving too soon). In total she has won 11 G1 stakes, from 1400 to 2400 meters. She started 14 times last year, as much as Zenyatta has in her entire career. She has become a sensation across Latin America.

She was brought to the USA with the specific intention of beating the best in the country, and her trainer, Pablo Andrade, has never backed down from a fight. Her prep will be the G3 Rampart Stakes, on the Florida Derby undercard. She would be a wonderful addition to the Apple Blossom field.

26 Feb 2010 4:06 PM
Brian Appleton

Vodka should throw in her two cents, then it would really be the greatest showdown in the history of the sport.

26 Feb 2010 4:10 PM
shawn maryland

wow vodka that would be nice ,   zenyatta, rachel, vodka, bambera, justwhistle dixie , sara louise,careless jewel, bring music note out of retirement and we havea race

26 Feb 2010 4:45 PM
Mike Relva

JASON

Great read you're on point,but many so called fans don't care about the health of either one of them,their only priority is seeing them in the starting gate regardless.

26 Feb 2010 4:54 PM
todd jackson

well this is a betting game so everyone whats your morning line favorie and projected odds ?

26 Feb 2010 4:54 PM
Fish

todd jackson:  Not sure who will be the M/L favorite but when they are loading into the gate Zenyatta will be the favorite with around 4/5 odds.

26 Feb 2010 5:17 PM
It Aint Easy being good

I am sorry but zenyatta has no chance. Rachael is in her prime and zenyatta is like jordan when he played for the wizards. Great for the sport though and cant wait for mike R and the rest of you west coast bloggers to eat your words in april. The good news is that there will be no excuses come april! It would be a sad day if they both got beat though! lol!

26 Feb 2010 5:19 PM
Jason Shandler

I think you're probably right Fish, Z will be a slight favorite. That's great too; I love beating favorites :)

26 Feb 2010 5:20 PM
carolyn

GOODNESS, This race is going to be something, Zenyatta can handle it though, I don't worry one bit about her, she will love the competition, Rachel could get boxed in if some of the others run like her, I sure hope Rachel and Zenyatta eat their 'Wheaties' cereal that morniing. lol!

26 Feb 2010 5:25 PM
carolyn

JASON

My nod goes to Zenyatta? She has never showed us what she can do if needed.

I keep thinking of the BCC and the Apple Blossom in 08.

26 Feb 2010 5:33 PM
It's been 31 years and is still 31.5 furlongs aways

Pardon me if I've missed something, but after watching the video of Bambera linked above (I know it was a championship race), but it's hard to get excited about a horse that ran 1:51 and a 14 second final eighth, despite jogging through the opening 1/4 in 25, and half in 24.75. Meanwhile we have Rachel, who ran 1:46.33 at his distance, and a 1:48.29 in a the woodward after a 22.85 opening 1/4. Plus Zenyatta is certainly going to catch a leader who runs a 14 second final eighth.

26 Feb 2010 5:44 PM
LDP

ShamFan,

    Sunset BEGINS at 7:37, that means it will just be starting, which means the race will go off eight min after the sun BEGINS to set. You will still have enough light to see the race.

26 Feb 2010 5:55 PM
YYZGUY

Jason

What did you see in Careless Jewels 2 works that you didn't like?

26 Feb 2010 5:59 PM
Zookeeper

Wasn't Zen post time favorite in the BCC? More humble pie, Jason?

26 Feb 2010 6:04 PM
Lori S

You watch, Rachael won't show!

26 Feb 2010 6:18 PM
Forbidden Apple

I completely disagree Relva, I care about the well being of all horses. It is not my job to know the ins and outs of a horses current health. That is the job of the groom, trainer, and vet.

Itsoeasybeing...., how can you say that Zenyatta is old and has no chance? How old are you, because you act like a teenager? Watch the replay of the Breeders Cup Classic wihout your blinkers, and you will see a horse giving a beatdown to the competition without breaking a sweat at 1 1/4. Do you believe Zenyatta's trainer when he says she is breathing fire? I can understand it if you prefer Rachel, but to say another horse is old just shows a simple minded thought process and zero respect.

26 Feb 2010 6:23 PM
Householder

We will soon be able to say "Two time winner of the Apple Blossom!"  

26 Feb 2010 6:35 PM
Mike Relva

IT AINT EASY BEING GOOD

"Eating my words",you mean like YOU DID LAST NOV. when you stated Zenyatta had no chance? lol You must be off your meds,stating Zenyatta is like Jordan when he played w/Wizards. TVG crew Breeders' Cup day remarked she wasn't even tired after blowing by the boys. She's a lightly raced horse on top of her game. I'll look for your lame spin on the 9th and again after the Derby! lol

26 Feb 2010 7:22 PM
MARCOS

FOR ME, I LOVE BAMBERA, IT DOESNT MATTER WHAT HAPPENED, IS VERY IMPORT FOR US (VZLA) THAT OUR QUEEN RAN.

26 Feb 2010 7:27 PM
MARCOS

I LOVE BAMBERA, FOR EVER.......

26 Feb 2010 7:29 PM
Jason Shandler

YYZGUY: Her four furlong works were in :53 and 52, nearly the slowest of both days.

26 Feb 2010 7:39 PM
Golden Gate

Oaklawn is buzzing for sure. I was there yesterday and there seems to be an even bigger hum to the air of excitement surrounding the everyday races.

Sparkling Electricity--is what happens when ten of the best female horses in all the world get together.

Talk about a way to get high--lol

26 Feb 2010 7:56 PM
John T

 I agree that the race should be run on a Friday because with or without Tiger Woods participating in the Masters it,s best to go up against that competition on the second day rather than the third day.With the cleverly laid out purse structure,besides the top two

there should be an interesting field.

26 Feb 2010 8:02 PM
skyfire

I pick Quality Road

26 Feb 2010 8:47 PM
GunBow

The cherry on top of the Apple Blossom will be Bambera.  I'm not sure how good she is(compared to North American stars), but she is extremely popular in South and Central America.  Just go to YouTube and see how many views and comments her races have.  I came across her by chance a month or two ago when watching past runnings of the Clasico del Caribe, which Bambera won this past year(defeating the best males from countries in Latin America and northern South America). Bambera will add some international flavor to the Apple Blossom, and will bring a fan base just as passionate as those of Rachel and Zenyatta.

As for Vodka, I have read that she is pointing for the Dubai World Cup.  A win in the $10 million Dubai World Cup would make Vodka the world's richest thoroughbred of all-time.

26 Feb 2010 8:55 PM
Mike Relva

FORBIDDEN APPLE

Ok! I'm not referring to knowing the "ins and outs of current health". I'm saying it's not a "reach" to believe that some could care less if they ran on three legs as long as they can cash a ticket. Are you gonna say you've never witnessed this? Right.

26 Feb 2010 9:37 PM
Bob Z

It's been 31 years and is still 31.5 furlongs aways,

I couldn't agree with you more...

Bambera did 3/4s in 112.75 ... 112.75?  ... for a mile and 1/8th race?

The half was done in 48.75?

When Rachel won the Haskell at Monmouth Park she did the 3/4s in 109..and then just accelerated away from Summer Bird finishing the 1 1/8 miles in 1 minute 47.20 just missing the track record for 1 1/8 miles...  and thats after being on or close to the lead with a fast pace... in the Woodward the same thing...even more so...

In the Apple Blossom if Rachel is on the lead at the 3/4s and its at 109... Bambera is going to be 10 lengths back.. nice horse and all but not even in the same conversation (league) as Rachel and Zenyatta...

Everybody should submit a post requesting to get the poll up on the main page...  let's get that started and see where everybody stands as to the outcome of the race...

Who will win the Apple Blossom?

Rachel

Zenyatta

By how much?

nose

neck

1/2 length

1 length

2 lengths

3 lengths

more than 3 lengths

26 Feb 2010 9:54 PM
Rechelle

Why is Sara Louise not nominated?  She's the last horse to beat Rachel and should have a chance to meet her again.  I'd love to see Stardom Bound & Careless Jewel there, but CJ's works have been pretty bad and I don't think she'll be ready for it.  Stardom Bound should run it, but I'm worried Dutrow & IEAH have ruined her, just like what happened the year before with Proud Spell (too many races too close together).  

Sara Louise should really be there.  Vodka won't be, she's going to the Dubai World Cup, from everything I've heard, same with Life is Sweet.

26 Feb 2010 9:57 PM
Jason Shandler

Rechelle: It should be noted that there are still two more weeks left for Apple Blossom nominations. Other fillies may still throw their hats in the ring.

26 Feb 2010 10:27 PM
Sheik692

To jshandler, that's the way venezuelan trainers usually work their horses, they give them a lot of gallops and slow breezes.

I'm not saying that Bambera will win... but, do you remember that a venezuelan trainer won the Kentucky Derby in 1971 with Canonero II? the

only official Canonero's workout before the Derby was an a half-mile in 53 4/5? it probably was the slowest of that day.

Please check the first part of the story here cs.bloodhorse.com/.../Viva-Canonero_2100_.aspx

26 Feb 2010 10:28 PM
Ranagulzion

Bambera is a nice filly, perhaps a grade 3 level performer but realistically she has no shot against the likes of Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta.  The one other mare that could give the big two a run for their money is Informed Decision.  For 5 million dollars and a shot at immortality its certainly worth stretching her out...but it seems that her connections are asleep.

26 Feb 2010 10:31 PM
draynay

I can't wait until this race is over and Rachel wins with ease and goes down as one of the greatest ever. Move over Secretariat.

26 Feb 2010 10:32 PM
Evergreen

All this excitement over the AB is great, but let's not sell this grand situation short. There will hopefully be a number of meetings between these great mares from April till October, not to mention these ladies meeting the boys. I'm taking the long view with this.

26 Feb 2010 10:35 PM
Jason Shandler

Sheik: The slow works I was describing for YYZGUY were that of Careless Jewel, not Bambera.

26 Feb 2010 10:38 PM
GunBow

Zookeeper:

I don't have a strong feeling about the Sham.  Most of the horses in the field made their last start on a weekday, and I'm only able to attend the races on the weekend.

I did see The Program run 4th in the Hollywood(Cashcall) Futurity, El Mirage King break his maiden at 6.5 furlongs on turf, Nextdoorneighbor run 4th in his 2nd start(a maiden race), Wolf Tail run 3rd in an optional claimer, and Alphie's Bet(2nd), Wolf Tail(5th), and Staightomidnight(7th) in the 8.5 furlong Cal Breeder's Stakes (behind Caracortado).  

The Sham is extremely light on proven ability but heavy on potential, especially potential to run at classic distances.  Of the 10 horses in the field, only Wolf Tail, Viva Macho, and El Mirage King have not won a race around 2 turns, and those 3 are all bred to run 2 turns.  

The horses with the best potential appear to be The Program, Kettle River, Outlaw Man, Setsuko, and Nextdoorneighbor.  Alphie's Bet merits respect for running 2nd to Caracortado in the Cal Breeder's Stakes, but Caracortado could have won that race by 5 had he not experienced traffic in the stretch(he won by 1.75).

The Program is a horse that was being hyped up 2 months ago, but he really hasn't stepped his game up since running a close 4th in the Hollywood Futurity.  He is consistent and certainly fits with these, but I feel that he has less upside than some others; at this point, I feel like I know what to expect from The Program, a solid but far from spectacular performance. If he were to win, it would likely reflect that the other less experienced horses failed to live up to their potential.

If Kettle River, Outlaw Man, Setsuko, and Nextdoorneighbor take another step in their development(something The Program has yet to do in his 2 races since the Hollywood Futurity), they should be able to handle The Program and his mediocre Beyers.  Kettle River generated alot of buzz winning a 8.5 furlong allowance with a Beyer of 90, and Eoin Harty's comments suggest he has some big plans for this son of Congaree.  

Outlaw Man lost a 9 furlong turf maiden at Churchill by just a head(before being dq'd) to none other than Doubles Partner, and then broke his maiden last out at 9 furlongs on turf at Santa Anita(running 4/5ths faster than did Setsuko on the same day at the same distance-but to confuse matters, Setsuko received a higher Beyer, 81 to 80, apparently based on his faster closing fractions).  The Ken McPeek stable is really high on Outlaw Man's distance capabilites, and from what I've read McPeek himself will make the journey out West for the Sham.  McPeek has run alot of horses at Santa Anita, including many in stakes, but I have yet to see him on track.  Clearly, McPeek has keen interest in this $150k yearling.  A big question about Outlaw Man is his ability to run on synthetic, given his 4 starts have come on turf(3) and dirt(1).

Dick Mandella is equally high on Setsuko running 9+ furlongs.  Setsuko is coming off a 2nd in the aforementioned turf race, and before that broke his maiden going 2-turns at Hollywood Park by 3. Setsuko is by the Mandella trained Pleasantly Perfect, a 3-time gr.1 winner at 10 furlongs, and will be making his 6th start around 2-turns.

Nextdoorneighbor is a son of multiple gr.1 winner Lido Palace out of multiple graded stakes winner Fencelineneighbor.  Nextdoorneighbor is trained by the flourishing Mike Machowsky(Caracortado), and is coming off a blowout 4 length win breaking his maiden at 8.5 furlongs.  Nextdoorneighbor has tactical speed, a weapon that could be key in a race largely devoid of speed.  The Program should get the jump on everyone breaking from the rail, and will likely be pressed by Straightomidnight with Nextdoorneighbor sitting 3rd.  The Pro-Ride can be harsh to frontrunners, but horses that stalk have been winning  their fair share of races, and Nextdoorneighbor should be able to get the jump on Kettle River, Outlaw Man and Setsuko.  The latter two have shown an ability to stay within striking distance of front-runners and they will need to do so tomorrow given what should be a snail pace in the Sham.

My initial reaction to the field for The Sham was to ignore it as a prep of any significance.  However, one just never knows.  Last week, I wrote off the San Luis Obispo field and then Bourbon Bay turned in a powerful and promising 4+ length romp.  There are a number of well-bred horses in The Sham and most of them seem to be crying out for distance.  While speed typically dominates the prep season, it is horses like Summer Bird and Curlin that usually rise to the top at classic distances. Maybe there's a Summer Bird in the Sham.

26 Feb 2010 10:59 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

Guess I should have known it wouldn't last laying off Zenyatta for awhile. You know what I can't wait to see? The excuse(s) you will find if things don't go your way Apr 9. BTW, Secretariat won't be "moving over" anytime soon.

26 Feb 2010 11:01 PM
It aint easy being good

Here we go again! This blog will be up to 300 post by the time its over. Haha Mike R ...your west coast queen has never been HOY and never will be because she is Horse of Santa Anita ....big deal! Your queen Z will be looking like Dunkirk after Quality Road waxed him. Same senerio here Rachael is just too good. I wish QR was running then he could smash these horses during and after the races! lol!

26 Feb 2010 11:30 PM
Sheik692

Sorry jshandler, my bad, I got confused.

Anyways, Bambera had a 53 3/5 half-mile workout in Puerto Rico before the Clasico de Caribe.

In Calder her first workout was on Feb 06, a 5/8 in 1:05, then, on Feb 13, she got another 5/8 with the unofficial time of 1:06 and her most recent one (Feb 22) was another 5/8 in 1:01.3/5, a quick time by venezuelan standards, in fact, it was the fastest in Calder that day.

You can see those workouts in www.youtube.com/watch

www.youtube.com/watch

www.youtube.com/watch

26 Feb 2010 11:35 PM
Steve

I wish I had $5 million of my own money to throw around like that.  In fact, I wish I had $5000 to throw around like that.

I look forward to the race, but the human battles over RA v. Zenyatta have been almost as entertaining.  So c'mon Jason, throw a few punches to get the crowd going.

27 Feb 2010 12:06 AM
Venceremos

I'm with skyfire.  Put Quality Road in there to give them all a beat down they won't soon forget.  Just don't let the SA starters load him.    

27 Feb 2010 12:17 AM
Ray

This will definitely be a race for the ages, and a very though one. I know Bambera has little chance. But just the fact of seeing her run against RA and Zenyatta is a dream come true.. As a Venezuelan, I'll be rooting for her.. She's our star and I wish her the best!

27 Feb 2010 12:24 AM
Zookeeper

GunBow,

Thank you so much for your analysis of the Sham. I didn't know what to make of it. I think it could be a good race even if no "standout" comes out of it. Good luck tomorrow and stay dry. :)

27 Feb 2010 12:43 AM
merlinmerry

Ah shoot. Draynay just totally jinxed Rachel by mentioning her in the same breath as the Tremendous Machine. It always happens. Dare to compare to HIM and your horse falters.

27 Feb 2010 1:11 AM
Freetex

I just hope RA and Zen successfully complete their prep races.  Just watching the them run in these races will be enlightening.  Their body language will reveal whether the racing spark is still lit.

If Zenyatta is dancing, its all good.  And RA's stare will be interesting.  What fabulous thoroughbreds they are and how lucky we are to have them return to racing this year.  

I wish the best to both connections and their charges.

27 Feb 2010 2:19 AM
GunBow

After having written what I did earlier, it all may be for not given SoCal is expected to receive about 2 inches of rain Saturday.  The rain is supposed to hit hardest earlier in the morning, but it's likely to drizzle throughout the day.  Hopefully, a 2nd Derby prep will not have to be postponed.

27 Feb 2010 2:34 AM
draynay

Mike, when she whips Zenyatta like a little pony and goes undefeated AGAIN and wins HOY AGAIN she will be the best ever in my mind. If the rumor is true and she is bigger, stronger, and faster then last year there is no horse on earth that can beat her.

27 Feb 2010 3:07 AM
Bellwether

FIRST THE PREP...ty...IF U HAVE EVER RACED ONE U NOE THE DEAL...GOOD LUCK TO ALL...

27 Feb 2010 3:38 AM
gailg

I'm scared to watch this race. I love both RA & Z and don't want either to lose. I'm gonna be sick either way and worse if Bambera wins. This is a race I won't wager on because I can't bring myself to bet against either. That being said, I wouldn't miss watching it for the world. Since they made the post time 6:45 CDT, I shouldn't even have to take the day off from work to witness this history-making race. I believe that makes it 4:45 PST?

27 Feb 2010 8:59 AM
Coldfacts

Jason,

I do believe you should amend your caption to read “The Match Race for the Ages” The race for the ages took place in Berlin in August 2009. (Men 100M World Championship Finals) In that race there were a number of firsts. Every finalist had gone below 10 seconds for the distance. The races contained three of the fastest men in history for the distance. In the end at least one dozen records were established including the amazing 9.58 WR. That race left millions breathless and looking for new adjectives to describe what they saw. Everybody had anticipated that if you have the three fastest men in history there would be fireworks on the track. The competitor did not disappoint. Second past the post ran 9.71 that represented the second fastest time in history; a time that would have won ever other 100M.

Does anyone believe this race will yield and memorable moments? Will both mares break the track record? Will the winner establish a world record? What is to be expected?

It’s easy to predict what will occur base on the running style of the main competitors.  Rachel will lead and Zeyatta will be 6-8 lengths last. Rachel will enter the stretch with a commanding lead and switch into overdrive. Zenyatta will close with her usual flourish but Rachel hold for a comfortable victory. A $5M purse for a meaningless match race does nothing for the sport

27 Feb 2010 10:04 AM
GreyK

Glad I won't have to leave work early to see the race.  The more I hear about Oaklawn and racing fans there, the happier I am about the race location.  Wish I could be there.  Glad to see Calvin riding there well ahead of the big event so it won't be like his bad day at Belmont.  Dray, I hope she wins by daylight, but when the big Santa Anita Special starts roaring up the track, I will be holding my breath until Rachel crosses the finish line first.  I hope you are right that she's better than ever because I don't think we've seen Zenyatta run to her limit yet, and that is a sobering thought.  And wouldn't it be a hoot if Bambera ran the race of her life and pulled the upset?  I work with a bunch of South Americans, they'd never let me forget it.  

27 Feb 2010 10:11 AM
Slew

C'mon folks...what I get from Jason is that...this race is going to be really BIG.  Carried by a national network...in prime time.  It appears that the sport itself will be the biggest beneficiary of this kind of PR.  I've lately done so poorly at predicting the derby preps last weekend, that I am not about to declare a winner in the AB yet.  Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra, however, are both the stars, and I can't wait to see what unfolds at Oaklawn.  Thank you Mr. Cella for adapting so well to provide what America has been so anxious to see.

27 Feb 2010 10:18 AM
GailG

I'm happy to know someone in the US horse racing industry has imagination and enough guts to follow through with it.  If more people in the industry had Charles Cella's guts and good advertising sense the industry might not be in the slump it currently suffers from.  As I have previously mentioned in other blog comments I have made, I can't believe the lack of sports media coverage the "girls" didn't get and that the voting board didn't see fit (as those in other Counties have) award both girls horse of the year awards.

27 Feb 2010 10:30 AM
cgc

hope this goes through this time....

I'm confused.  This is posted under Triple Crown Talk.  Is the Apple Blossom part of the Triple Crown Trail?  Might we see somebody come out of this race and into the gate on the first Saturday in May?  or is there another Triple Crown?  fairly new fan here...very confused!

27 Feb 2010 11:36 AM
Forbidden Apple

Draynay: SECRETARIAT is the king of North American Racing! Rachel is in the minor leagues compaired to Secretariat. I understand how you roll, with no respect. Your comments are completely distorted and laughable. Did you watch the Woodward closely when Rachel was gasping for air and desperate to hold off Macho Again? How can she possibly stop the Zenyatta train?

Good luck with your little girl Christina today, she will have to hold off a late charge from Bickersons.

27 Feb 2010 11:37 AM
MonicaV

It aint Easy,

I understand you are a Rachel fan as am I but Zenyatta was not HOY due to the voting of a small group of people.  I was a big Curlin fan but was shocked that he was HOY over Zen.  As to 2009, it should have been shared between the 2.  You can't make light of a mare who is undefeated no matter what surface she raced on.  She is incredible and has a huge will to win.  We all have been hashing it out when these two meet, although Lori told us that Rachel won't show and YYZguy told us a month or so ago that she will be in the breeding shed and not the  starting gate because obviously these two have inside info so why they are working Rachel and entering her in a prep race is beyond me.  That being said, none of us knows what the outcome of this race will be.  If we did, they wouldn't need to run it, would they?  RA and Zen are the best two but upsets have happened.  THere is no guarantee that Z or RA will win this although I'm sure one or the other will.  We all know that Draynay is a huge Rachel fan but he has brought up a good point as well as It Aint Easy.....Rachel is now 4 and had 5 months to rest and mature and by her works, it would seem she is eager to run.  More than likely, she will be better than last year.  Now how that translates against Zen....we will have to see but it is something to think about.  Either way, it's going to be a thrill to watch and may they both stay healthy and sound and give us the biggest race ever!

27 Feb 2010 11:39 AM
carolyn

Dray

You live in a fairy tale world, don't you?

Keep drinking that "fairy juice" you're tripping on, makes days go by quicker, doesnt it?

27 Feb 2010 11:48 AM
carolyn

"Never, and I mean Never, Underestimate ZENYATTA!!!!!

We have never seen her at her full potential yet!!!!

Remember this, Zenyatta is no "local lightweight" or "Metiocre Male" or "Flatlining Filly" that Rachel is used too.

27 Feb 2010 11:55 AM
Zookeeper

cgc,

When it comes to the rivalry between RA & Z fans, the Triple Crown takes a back seat until all have repeated what they have said too many times before. Some will even come up with new insults to throw at each other and the horse of the opposite camp. Welcome to the blogging world! Stick around, like the weather, the topic will change after a while but not until the whole thing has become totally outrageous. :)

27 Feb 2010 11:58 AM
carolyn

As we all know that Rachel has grown to a four year old now and has had a few months off to reccuperate, what do you think Zenyatta has been doing? I would expect she has been maturing alittle bit more and getting stronger as well. I'm excited  to see Zenyatta coming back on dirt and being a six year old doing it.....

27 Feb 2010 12:04 PM
Forbidden Apple

CGC, do not be confused the Apple Blossom has nothing to do with the triple crown races(KY Derby,Preakness,Belmont Stakes). I can not expalin why it is listed as triple crown talk.

27 Feb 2010 12:11 PM
longwaytomay

Jason,

 My ExpressBet account shows Christine as a scratch for today.

27 Feb 2010 12:36 PM
longwaytomay

Coldfacts,

 Wow, you have such a sunny disposition on everything that is horseracing. Why do you even bother to follow the sport?

27 Feb 2010 12:44 PM
Ted from LA

Jason,

You should do your next piece on the Canadian women's hockey team.

27 Feb 2010 1:23 PM
Jimmy

Hey Carolyn, also think of this. When Zenyatta has to run down the best dirt horse in the world, the 2009 HOTY Rachel Alexandra, she will be doing so on DIRT. No more running against dirt and turf horses on a synthetic track, where not only are the horses trying to beat Zenyatta, but they are also trying a new surface for the first time. And everyone should remember that as great as Zen is, she has never had to run down a horse as fast as Rachel before. And if Rachel gets a clean trip at a comfortable pace (anti-Woodward), she may be long gone before Zen can put in her run.

27 Feb 2010 1:24 PM
Cgriff

I don't know about all the endless back and forth of who will win...I'm more concerned about the weather!  I can't believe how many tracks are shut down again because of it today!  How are they possibly going to reschedule the Sham to make it an effective Derby prep timewise?  

On that subject - I do have worry that if there's rain in April - a sloppy track will not benefit Zenyatta.  We all know that Rachel is like a duck in the slop - but Zenyatta -so gigantic and so used to the synthetic - I do think that would really tip the odds against her.

I'm hoping for no excuses - good weather, fast track, additional speed on the front and closing speed in the back so that neither can catch a "sweet spot" in this.

Then we can test the mettle and see who wins round one.  Unless it snows in April in Arkansas.  God forbid!

27 Feb 2010 1:56 PM
Cicada

I have a entertaining question. What would you think the odds should be on Rachel, Zenyatta and if every other entry was coupled in the wagering?

Say 6/5 across the board?

27 Feb 2010 1:59 PM
Paula Higgins

Some of us need to remember to take our Prozac. C'mon folks let's get happy! We are so lucky to have these wonderful horses competing. Bambera should not be counted out imo. Anything can happen in a race and it doesn't always come down to who is the best. Also, slower work times for Bambera don't mean that she won't turn it on when she is eyeball to eyeball with another horse. Draynay, you are a true believer and I really like that about you. You too Carolyn. I love  both horses but my heart will always be a little bit with the old girl.

27 Feb 2010 2:05 PM
mr.ruffian

Forbidden Apple

Christine has been scratched from todays race.  She'll race tomorrow race 6 gp

27 Feb 2010 2:10 PM
MonicaV

Carolyn,

Zenyatta was a fully mature horse at 5.  Rachel was a baby at 3.  The difference between 3 and 5 is enormous as far as a horse's maturity.  That is not a slam to Zenyatta.  It is just a fact.  Rachel grew more in the last 5 months.  Why must you take eveything as a slam to Zenyatta?  When have I ever said anything against her? Horses usually come back better at 4 after a good 3 year old year.  Not always though.  Mares in particular can lose their form.  

27 Feb 2010 2:24 PM
MonicaV

cgc,

The Triple Crown blog is just talking about the Apple Blossom because of the horses competing in it are two of the best.

The Triple Crown consists of the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.  There has been no Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

27 Feb 2010 2:28 PM
MonicaV

Carolyn,

Everyone is aware of how great Zenyatta is and Rachel did beat more than "flatlining fillies" as you so nicely put it.

27 Feb 2010 2:29 PM
Friday Night Smackdown

It doesn't matter who's on the track, Zenyatta can not & will not get beat.Have you knuckleheads not learned a thing from watching her run the last 2 years. Dirt-synthetics,it does not matter to the Equine Train. Rachel will not be dealing with the mediocre Macho Again this time,in fact she will get her head handed to her by the Amazon Zenyatta.

27 Feb 2010 2:36 PM
1800s

it's simple.

if MachoAgain can catch up to rachel and lose by a neck, then im pretty sure Zenyatta can catch and Pass that over-glorified Sprinter Rachel

27 Feb 2010 3:15 PM
GunBow

Fully prepared this time that Santa Anita would cancel.  Another Derby prep goes down the drain.  

The good news, though, is that with the Sham scheduled for next Saturday, there will still be plenty of time between the Sham and the Santa Anita Derby(now 4 weeks instead of 5).  Unless the connections of some of the horses entered in the Sham were planning to run their final prep away from Cali and on March 27th(Louisiana Derby, Lane's End), the new rescheduled date for the Sham should not pose a huge problem.  In fact, the field might be better when drawn next week.  I wonder if any of the horses pointing for the San Felipe(Lookin at Lucky, Caracortado, Dave in Dixie, Sidney's Candy, American Lion) may now take a chance in the much weaker Sham?  The extra week may also allow for other comebacking or allowance/maiden horses to give the Sham a try.  

27 Feb 2010 3:59 PM
Mike Relva

FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN

Well said! RA is in my opinion a very special horse regarding talent,but with facing Zenyatta she's seeing something she never has before. Don't care what DRAYNAY says he's been wrong before!

27 Feb 2010 4:21 PM
cgc

thanks all....!  I am a Z fan (tho a johnny-come-lately to the whole rivalry, LOL!)  Really enjoyed the Derby, Preakness & Belmont last year (all races, really, but it is fun watching a series; esp the warriors who show up for all 3!)  looking forward to seeing Rachel and Z meet and (for the little its worth) I think it'd be great if they met more than once - fingers crossed.  From where I sit I think they are both remarkable ladies and I won't think less of whichever one comes in 2nd in the Apple Blossom (dead heat, anyone??)

Well, thanks for at least clearing my mind about the whole Apple Blossom/TC thing....

Good health and good running to all....!

27 Feb 2010 4:38 PM
MonicaV

1800's,

It's not that simple.

27 Feb 2010 4:48 PM
carolyn

Hey Jimmy, the word is "IF".

27 Feb 2010 4:50 PM
MonicaV

Well, I think we should all just wait and see what happens.  The race has to be run, then we'll see if Rachel is a glorified sprinter who beat nothing but flatlining fillies and only beat Macho again by a head.  It's THAT simple.  Say what you want but you have to wait until the race is run.  That will answer all questions.

27 Feb 2010 4:54 PM
Zookeeper

GunBow,

Prepared, but still disappointed. With the Sham rescheduled for next Saturday we are in of a great day @ Santa Anita next week. The Big Cap, the Kilroe Mile, the S.A. Oaks and the Sham. Wow! Let's hope the "weather gods" smile on us that day.

IF there's racing tomorrow, I'll be there. Santa Anita is at its best after the rain. Everything sparkles... including the air. :)

27 Feb 2010 5:09 PM
Edward

Bob Z - You cannot compare splits from 2 different racetracks(on two different continents!!!). For instance, horses are capable of running 1:07 and change at Churchill(Kelly's Landing, AhDay) for six furlongs(which seems otherwordly) but the same horses would have to run the race of their lives to crack 1:11 at Delaware Park. It's also why horses that have won a bunch of Grade 3 races and the like in what seem to be competitive times then enter a Grade 1 and get smoked. It's a useless comparison and the reason times need to be related to track pars and not across tracks. Its also why handicappers take into consideration class. I was as hard on Zenyatta's racing times as anyone but I was so with the knowledge that class and visual impression probably mean more in the end. Class refers to the quality of races won, not breeding. It is a good habit to get into respecting the historic stature of the races as opposed to rating the opponents vanquished. i.e., if a horse has one 5 Grade 1 races, don't get too slick trying to downgrade these races because you feel like the competition was soft. In the long run Grade 1's are Grade 1's and need to command a certain level of respect.

27 Feb 2010 5:14 PM
draynay

Let me just say this. Name the last horse to win a Triple Crown race and finish the year undefeated?  Should Rachel go on to race undefeated again this year and win HOY AGAIN this year why would you not put her in the same class as Secretariat? Do those 3 Triple Crown races have you so in love that you can't look at the entire career? What Rachel did last year was amazing.  If she does it again this year I will have no problem calling her the greatest.

27 Feb 2010 5:41 PM
tigerwoods

For those of you who think that Rachael has a chance in this race....just one question....Did you watch the BC Classic?   Zenyatta will win by at least 6.  I have been waiting to pound Z against RA for over a year now.  I hope the betting public gives me 2-1....and I am east coast bias BTW..

27 Feb 2010 6:36 PM
Paula Higgins

Draynay, if Rachel goes undefeated this year, I will put her in the same class as Secretariat. But they had better be significant races including the Breeders Cup.

27 Feb 2010 6:53 PM
Footlick

I just have to say that Dray's comparison of Rachel Alexandra and Secretariat was the biggest laugh I've had in  long time.  The two seasons can't even be compared because there is no comparison.  Secretariat would have chewed her up and spit her out.  Very comical, Dray!  Thanks for the laugh.

27 Feb 2010 7:37 PM
Footlick

And while I'm at it- Monica V, why are you on Carolyn's case, but Dray and It Ain't Easy can say whatever they want without a comment?  Let's spread the love around, lol!

27 Feb 2010 7:40 PM
Emily W

I can't wait for both Zenyatta and Rachel's prep races to see them after their winter of resting and growing!!! This is going to be awesome

27 Feb 2010 8:33 PM
Mike Relva

FOOTLICK

I agree. Mark my words,if RA were to lose one or two races this yr. DRAYNAY would forget her in about one second.With some there's NEVER any loyality.

27 Feb 2010 8:42 PM
Jimmy

Carolyn, I have no idea what your response meant. Please clarify. And as for Macho Again, apparently people only watched the stretch run of that race and ignored the fractions, because saying that Rachel could only beat Macho Again by a head is ignorant. Did you see the fractions Rachel was running and how every single horse made at least one run at her throughout the race? What about horses 2-4 that tried to run with Rachel through the first 6 furlongs? Where did they end up? If Zenyatta fans want to keep playing the card that Rachel could "barely" beat Macho Again, a Grade I winner, then how about Zenyatta beating Anabee's Creation by a whisker? Wasn't she 1 for 10 in the States with her only victory a low allowance race? And the most "dominant" horse to ever step on the track, the mighty Zenyatta, could only beat her by a whisker? If Zenyatta can barely beat an allowance winner, why in the world are you so confident she will run by the 2009 Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra? Come on. Get real.

27 Feb 2010 9:07 PM
ksweatman

Everyone must remember how unpredictable horse racing can be. Every horse, regardless of how great they may be, is beatable on any given day. They can have a bad day, a bad trip, suffer an injury. That being said, I hope all the girls stay safe and run well. I would like to see Zenyatta win since all the glory seems to fall on Rachel Alexandra. Zenny is too old, too weak, too slow, she'll never catch Rachel, we shall see. They both could get beat, but I'm pulling for the old mare Zenyatta.

27 Feb 2010 9:23 PM
carolyn

.......ZENYATTA........

Making her 2010 debut on DIRT.

"DOING HER DAMAGE ON THE DIRT"

Now these fillies can see her back side......

27 Feb 2010 9:37 PM
Ida Lee

OMG!!! Venezuela has been a thorn on my side since maniac Hugo came into the picture. Now, they send Bambera!! This is one talented mare. And OMG Again...Have you seen how beautiful she is ... apparently not only are Venezuela's women gorgeous but so are their horses!! It's going to be really annoying if she beats our girls. But, seriously, this is a horse race ... does it matter who wins as long as it's a good race and everyone comes back sound and safe? I love Rachel and adore Zenyatta. To me it doesn't matter who wins or loses. Rachel and Zenyatta are treasures in their sport and have a guaranteed place in history. Their legends are secure.

27 Feb 2010 9:50 PM
Pam S.

Gun Bow and Zookeeper, I was also thinking the Sham might be better the second time around, and in any case it will add to the already good Big 'Cap card.  That's the good news.  But I just looked up the extended weather forecast for Arcadia for March 6 and it says showers.  That's the bad news.  I wanted to attend, but I don't wanna drive Friday from Las Vegas and have them cancel Saturday.  This is one rainy winter (in LV too), so I don't know ....

And as Cgriff said, please no rain in Hot Springs on April 9!!

27 Feb 2010 10:33 PM
Breezin

I can't wait for this race and am glad it's not during the work day!  I am leaning towards Zenyatta because, bottom line, nobody has been able to beat her. Period.  And until somebody does, she has always shown up and done what she needed to do to win.  She knows Oaklawn, and has won there. Furthermore, I think Zenyatta has the edge in the jockey department.  Mike Smith will have her in good position, measure the finish, and win by a length or so.  Rachel will be too close, too early and Borel will get her softened up.  And to be honest, the RA connections have just kind of rubbed me the wrong way since last summer.  Go Z!

27 Feb 2010 10:44 PM
jefrey

bambera first zenyattasecond and and rachel third , bambera is amazing

27 Feb 2010 10:56 PM
jefrey

beutiful race bambera will win shes is spectacular

27 Feb 2010 11:01 PM
Mike Relva

JIMMY

Let's hear your spin after Zenyatta wins the A. Blossom. Good luck with that! lol

27 Feb 2010 11:14 PM
CV

Rachel and Zenyatta both are terrific. Neither deserves to be picked apart as they have been here.

By the way, why is 6 considered too "old" to win anything? Isn't Presious Passion 7 years old? He seems to be running strong.

27 Feb 2010 11:57 PM
Jimmy

Absolutely Mike. I will try to put the same spin on it as I did when Zenyatta won the 2009 Horse of the Year....Zenyatta is a great horse, but you shouldn't underestimate Rachel. After all, she was 8 for 8 last year with 3 Grade I victories against males. You act as if running her down is a foregone conclusion. I am glad this will be settled on the track, but as good as Rachel was last year, she wasn't even fully mature and based on reports, she should be even better this year. Go back and watch her race in the Haskell or the Kentucky Oaks, and then rethink how easy it will be to run her down. I expect a tremendous race, but if Rachel can coast on or close to the lead, she will be very tough to beat.

28 Feb 2010 12:13 AM
jim

  Should be a match race winner take all

28 Feb 2010 12:27 AM
Draynay

Jimmy, Zenyatta fans seem to forget those facts.  I really laugh when they brag that Zenyatta will beat Rachel.  The horse has done almost nothing on dirt and they actually believe she can take on the best dirt horse in the world and beat her. It really is laughable.

28 Feb 2010 12:36 AM
Paula Higgins

Footlick, Rachel is growing and filling out, big time. Let's see what she can do this year before we say she doesn't rank with the immortals. Time will tell.

ksweatman, I totally agree with all you said. Anything can happen in any race, at any time. It can also happen before the race. Let's see if they show both show up. As we know, stuff happens and if either one of these horses has so much as a flea bite, they won't be coming.

28 Feb 2010 12:48 AM
Aluminaut

There's a Youtube vid showing Zenyatta with a cartoon bubble and she's saying, "You think my butt is big....Well, just wait.  It's going to look a lot smaller real soon."

Thought that was funny.  

It sure did rain today in L.A.

28 Feb 2010 1:25 AM
Mark

Bambera has absolutely 0% chance of winning this race. NO offense to your champion from Venezuela but lets all take a moment to stare reality right in its face and realize that nobody is going to ever defeat Zenyatta. Zenyatta will dispatch Rachel before the summer and then move on to her fall campaign where she will

wrap up 2010 HOTY by thumping Quality Road in The Breeders Cup.

28 Feb 2010 1:50 AM
GunBow

I knew the Santa Ynez was a strong race.  Amen Hallelujah received a 93 Beyer winning that race, which would equal a 100 dirt Beyer.  Look for Santa Ynez runner-up, Franny Freud, to be tough as well.  She too is back East and planning to run back on dirt.

Horses like Amen Hallelujah, Bickersons, Kays and Jays, and others are proving that moving between synthetic and dirt is not as difficult as the last two Breeder's Cups have made it appear to be.  Here's a few "rules" I have found helpful:

1) If a horse shows speed on synthetic and is still able to do well on synthetic, it will most likely move up on dirt.

2) If a horse is successful on dirt almost entirely because of early speed, it will likely be less successful on synthetic, particularly around 2 turns.

And it definitely does seem to be easier going from synthetic to dirt than the other way.  Of course, the population of cases is still very small and it would be a statistical stretch to claim significant results.

Even the much maligned winners of the last 2 runnings of the Santa Anita Derby(the only runnings of the Santa Anita Derby on synthetic), Colonel John and Pioneer of the Nile, DID have success on dirt.  Pioneer of the Nile ran 2nd in the Derby, ahead of 17 of his 18 rivals, while Colonel John won the Travers at the "most holiest of dirt shrines", Saratoga.  

Anyone who definitively claims that the Derby winner cannot come from Santa Anita or "fake plastics" is merely giving an OPINION, not stating fact.  2 runnings of the Santa Anita Derby, or any race for that matter, is simply too small a sample from which to draw valid conclusions.  After all, over the same two year span, the following preps have fared WORSE at the Kentucky Derby than the Santa Anita Derby:

1) Arkansas Derby, 2) Wood Memorial 3) Illinois Derby, 4) Blue Grass, 5) Lane's End....and every other smaller prep race besides the Florida Derby, Sunland Park Derby, and the Fantasy.  

During the 2 years Santa Anita has been a synthetic track, the Santa Anita Derby has been the 3rd most influential prep.  The rankings:

1. Florida Derby, Sunland Park Derby- 1 win each

3. Santa Anita Derby, Fantasy- one 2nd place finish each

If we go back to 2007, when the Blue Grass and Lane's End were the only major synthetic preps, we find that both the Derby winner, Street Sense, and the runner-up, Hard Spun, had their final prep on synthetic; Street Sense prepped in the Blue Grass, Hard Spun in the Lane's End.  Thus, synthetics have not had nearly as bad of a record in the Derby as some suggest.

Do I think the Derby winner will come from Santa Anita?  The truth is, I don't know.  However, neither does anyone else, regardless of their confidence or how often they repeat their opinion.  Anyone who completely eliminates ALL horses that prep on synthetics is simply doing an incomplete job handicapping.  After all, if the same principle were used for the Davona Dale, Amen Hallelujah would have been a throw-out.  Amen Hallelujah was making her dirt debut in the Davona Dale.  Even though she had been the only speed horse to finish anywhere near Blind Luck in the Hollywood Starlet(running 3rd) and was coming off a fast win in the gr.2 Santa Ynez, anyone following the above principle would have tossed her without giving it a thought.  Does that make sense?  Then why do it for the Derby?  

The fact is, 2 years is not enough time to make definitive conclusions, especially one that would automatically eliminate a quarter or more of the field.  If we were in year 10 or 20, then maybe I could understand.  But after 2 years?  If we base everything on the last 2 years, then we should only focus on horses coming out of the Florida Derby or Sunland Park Derby; let's just automatically throw out horses coming from any other race?

At the very least, I suggest trying to look at each synthetic prospect individually, and use all of one's handicapping skills to determine which are the best candidates to transfer their form to dirt(or even move up).  

Didn't we, as fans and handicappers, learn anything from last year?  I was guilty along with most others.  I declared that Mine That Bird had no shot at winning.  A horse running 4th at Sunland?  A horse without a victory this year?  A horse which accumulated all of his graded stakes earnings on Woodbine's synthetic Polytrack at age 2? A horse with Beyers in the 80s?  A horse trained by some guy named Chip Wooley? A gelding? Almost every historical indicator seemed to suggest Mine That Bird was a complete throw-out.  Yet, he won by the largest margin since Assault in 1946!

28 Feb 2010 2:29 AM
Pasturelands

Even if just Stardom Bound and Just Jenda will show up to challenge RA and Z, this gig is going to be BIG!!  I hope ESPN will televise this race.  

I can't see how a mere 15 minutes of one race can be such a big deal-- ESPN televises toboggan racing (what??) for 1 hour, so why can't something more INTERESTING than a small canoe be so DIFFICULT to arrange??  This is the RACE OF THE DECADE, for goodness sake!!

I just hope that Rachel will come out fine after the New Orleans ladies.  GO, GO, SUPERFILLY!!  

There is only one way Zen can catch RA-- by running in FRONT all the way like Summer Bird.

If Zen insists on running like a Closer, RA will run to the ends of Arizona by the 16th pole and it will be too late to catch her... This might be Mike Smith's DOUBLE PARADOX.  

Bambera and Careless Jewel, plus Just Jenda and Stardom Bound could spell disaster for the synthetic Queen Zenyatta...  some of these gals have been defeated by RA before, and they are NOT allowance-grade fillies!!  they are MEAN.

28 Feb 2010 2:32 AM
Pasturelands

True, Jimmy.  Zenyatta NEARLY LOST to Anabaa's Creation, an allowance filly.  If Zen can hardly defeat Anabaa's Creation, a FILLY and an allowance runner both, how can anybody say she will defeat a RACHEL ALEXANDRA on a DIRT TRACK?  

Methinks Zen's connections have let Zen's win at the BCC get to their heads-- the Apple Blossom will be on DIRT.  And unlike the BCC where 90% of the runners are not COMFORTABLE with the track, the AB will be populated with runners that are SEASONED on DIRT: Bambera, Just Jenda, Careless Jewel are all SPEED DEVILS on dirt, and not at all like the Helpless colts (SB, RK, Col John) you saw at the BCC...Zen may need lots of luck this time around.

And Rachel-- her BEST races have been against fillies and mares on dirt.  Her margins of victory range from 3 lengths to 20 1/4 lengths.  Also, NO COLT HAS EVER DEFEATED RACHEL ON DIRT.

GO, GO SUPERFILLY, RACHEL!  YOU CAN DO THIS!  This is going to be FUN!!  I hope they ANNOUNCE the channel that will broadcast this race, so I can get my subscription EARLY... WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!

28 Feb 2010 3:08 AM
GunBow

Speaking of synthetic/turf horses moving to dirt, Radiohead anyone?  He easily handled the Champagne winner, Homeboykris, in a Gulfstream allowance earlier on Saturday, with a very sharp time.

Now living in California, it is very insulting when some people put down or dismiss the horses you see in person on a weekly basis, giving it their all.  

Frankly, I think some of these people were the same people that dismissed California racing in the past, long before synthetics were installed.  I lived in the Midwest for the past decade and visited the tracks there as frequently as I could.  Although tracks like Arlington, Turfway, Woodbine, Keeneland, and Presque Isle also have synthetic surfaces, I have noticed that there simply isn't the same animosity for these tracks as there is for the California tracks.  Maybe it's because in Illinois Arlington is balanced by Hawthorne(dirt) or in Kentucky Turfway and Keeneland are balanced by Churchill while all 4 of the major tracks in Cali have a synthetic main track?

Whatever the reason, it does feel that there is quite alot of overlap between those who are anti-synthetic and those who are anti-California.  And I'll be honest, having grown up in California I can testify to how desperately California racing fans seek approval and respect from the racing establishment back East and how long the battle to seek approval and respect has been.  I can also testify to just how sensitive many California fans are to any suggestion of criticism or disrespect and how some are almost paranoid in seeing an "East Coast bias" behind everything. However,  it wasn't that long ago that running a race in New York was a virtual precondition to winning a year-end award.

The Breeder's Cup has gone a long away into balancing out regional biases in Eclipse award voting.  In the first year of the Breeder's Cup, 1984, we actually saw a horse, Slew O' Gold, who in any other year prior would have been the Horse of the Year after winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup, have to go West and run one more race.  Slew O' Gold failed in the Breeder's Cup Classic at Hollywood Park just as so  many California based horses had failed in past runnings of the Jockey Club Gold Cup(or Woodward), and the HoY went to John Henry.  

For once, the Breeder's Cup has forced Eastern horse to go West as frequently as Western horses go East in order to win year-end awards.  Devoid of the bias that came with running on their home tracks in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, or Beldame, or DC International, or Vosburgh, etc., Eastern horses haven't dominated year-end honors like they did prior to the Breeder's Cup.  Now, some Breeder's Cups are like 2007 at Monmouth, when Eastern horses dominated, some are like the 2008 and 2009 runnings at Santa Anita where Californian and European horses dominated(and NY horses fared poorly), and others are like the 2000 running at Churchill.

I will never forget my first Breeder's Cup at Churchill in 2000.  I was in my first year living in the Midwest, so I still had alot of attachments to the California contingent of horses. After the Breeder's Cup Distaff, a race in which the heavily favored California-based Riboletta flopped, a man walked by me mumbling out loud how the California horses had no chance on "his" track, a "real" track, and not some souped-up dragstrip.  Well, after War Chant won the Mile, Kona Gold the Sprint, and Tiznow the Classic, I desperately wished I would come across that man again.

And yes, I find it ironic now that California has tracks which prodcue slower paced races, certain Easterners emphasize early speed and speed figures but when California had dirt tracks that produced fast splits and final times, the emphasis for many Easterners was  "class", "style", and "visual impression".

28 Feb 2010 3:32 AM
shane

I really wish I could see rachels works....she looks amazing in the latest workout pics. Asmussen said she she put on AT LEAST 100-150 pounds and now you can see her cutting up that muscle. I really think you guys are fooling yourself into thinking Z will be able to cut a 25 first quarter and then catch rachel. She will need to make a middle 22 and change to get to Rachel and then close down in a 22 again. On the other hand Rachel has shown she can put up 22-23 throughout a whole race. The numbers just dont add up for Zenyatta. Zenyatta will need someone else to do her dirty work. Rachel only needs herself like Asmussen said....she is a showoff, she doesnt need a work partner or a horse to run at in a race, she will do it all on her own. I have respect for Z but I will be amazed if she is within 3 lengths of Rachel at the wire. Also Bambera has no chance of beating Rachel, beeter chance of beating Z because of her running style. Calvin will let Rachel loose early on the turn and Z better be right there or its lights out HOT SPRINGS.

28 Feb 2010 7:01 AM
carolyn

Jimmy

I am getting real, HOTY was voted for Rachel because of a select few biased turf writers. This is horseracing dude, any horse can be beaten!! just because she was awarded a biased award makes no difference on the track against these other horses. You need to get Real, not me, but you need to learn one thing, after the BCC, never underestimate Zenyatta.

I will put my money on this six year old mare in this race over top of any four year old or what age in here.

REMEMBER THIS, that award means nothing on the track. and remember, Rachel has been beaten twice before. Zenyatta none.

Do you think the HOTY award is a guarentee that she will win every race this year? You need to get Real, and for god's sake man, take off your blinkers?

28 Feb 2010 8:12 AM
Dawn in MN

I have not been commenting much these days because the people posting on this subject have been so vicious in their insults to one another.  The East coast West coast debate has generated a ridiculous number of keystrokes.  The debate has been nasty and immature at times.  I would not begin to be so arrogant as to predict whether Zenyatta or Rachael Alexandra will win the Apple Blossom.  It is entirely possible that the outcome will be decided by fickle lady luck.  So much can happen during a race that unless it is a perfect head-to-head race we won't truly know which mare is faster.  That's the reason we will be watching folks.  When the race is over the keystrokes will continue.  It's boring to read all the smack-talk between the Rachael and Zenyatta camps.  The race will not be decided your arguments.  It is unlikely that anybody's opinions will be validated when the race is over.  I will be pleased just to see them run in the same race, to see the race nationally televised and most importantly see all the horses come out of the race in good shape.  No matter the outcome it will be a success in my eyes because of the attention it is generating for Thoroughbred racing.

28 Feb 2010 8:57 AM
Ragsy

Anyone watch Queen Zenyatta's last video?  How enjoyable she is but her stable appeared dark,dank and dirty certainly not befitting a Queen of Racing. Zenyatta has made millions!!

Lentenor and Nicanor live in luxurious stables befitting a King.  Clean, well kept, great lighting...The Brothers have not made Zenyatta's dollars..

Going to the Apple Blossom yaahoo...it will be a picture taking day....

The beautiful Rachel Alexandra has raced at Oaklawn before and she too knows the track, kinda like comming home...if the weather holds clear and no snow or rain it will be a great day for racing..

Calvin Borel will do just great that day because he is one hellofajockey...

Mr.Jess Jackson I am so glad you bought Rachel just look at what we would have missed had you not....Thank You!!

28 Feb 2010 10:13 AM
Slew

Draynay, since Seattle Slew is the ONLY horse of the last century to complete the Triple Crown undefeated, I have no idea what you're talking about.  IMO, Slew was the greatest; facts show Secretariat was the greatest.  Secretariat lost at Saratoga to Onion later that year, while the Slew lost to J.O.Tobin late in the year.  Zenyatta is undefeated for her career; Rachel is undefeated for 2009 only.   2010 is still unfolding before us, and in horse racing...anything can happen.  Why can't we all just appreciate the fact that 2 of the greatest ladies in racing are still racing, and we'll finally get a chance to see them compete against each other, plus a slew (pun intended) of other great fillies.  Let's finally stop bashing each other, and start enjoying the opportunity Mr. Cella has provided.

28 Feb 2010 10:22 AM
Saratoga AJ

I have to chuckle at the overconfidence of both Rachel and Zenyatta fans. They are SO sure. The truth is none of you would bet your house on it...it is HORSE RACING after all. I like RA in this 9 furlong race, but I can envision a scenario where either can win or even a more unlikely scenario where they both get beat.

Very few people thought Seabiscuit could beat War Admiral, or Nashua could beat Swaps and practically nobody thought Alsab could beat Whirlaway, just to name three famous confrontations from the past. Racing history is full of the unexpected. It could happen in the Apple Blossom as well.  

28 Feb 2010 10:28 AM
Coldfacts

Longwaytomay,

It makes me very sad that you totally misunderstand my positions on some issues. I have owned and raced thoroughbreds. I am fasnated by anything equine. I just happen to view things differently. In Rachel’s last race she was fully extended to beat a group of sub standard G1 males. Zenyatta’s major competition in the BCC was running on a synthetic rack for the first time so she had the track advantage. Try putting Zenyatta in a turf race with top class company where she is at a disadvantage and she would get killed. Curlin was beaten by a group of washed up G1 horses when he left the comfort of the dirt. That said I like both mares, I just think they are not the best mares to grace the track in the US so I cannot get overly excited. I contend that mares like Regret and Genuine Risk make Rachel and Zenyatta look ordinary. Subject to correction Genuine Risk remains the only filly to start in all three Triple Crown Races. She won the derby and was runner up in the Preakness and Belmont. Many colts cannot manage these three grueling races in a five week span and this super filly took on the challenge. Regret won the Derby in what was her first start as a 3YO. I challenge you to find a trainer/owner that would start a colt much less a filly in the derby for his/her 3YO debut. Clearly Rachel has the more impressive resume as she has taken on more challenges and was more exposed to the possibility of being defeated. I hope the race live up to expectations.

28 Feb 2010 10:41 AM
JimP

Bambera!!!!

28 Feb 2010 11:10 AM
Zookeeper

Pam S,

My extended forecast says only 20% chance of rain on Friday & Saturday next week. That doesn't sound like something to shut down racing. But it makes it a less enjoyable day @ SA. Let's hope it changes for the better.

What a dedicated horseracing fan you are, to come all the way from Las Vegas! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather cooperates and that you do come and enjoy a great day of racing at beautiful Santa Anita. :)

28 Feb 2010 11:24 AM
Forbidden Apple

Secreatariat is more of a Lamborghini and Rachel is more of a Mustang, there is no comparison. They are both of high quality, but won performs like a rocket.

Rachel will have no easy lead in the Apple Blossom, a fast pace is right up Zenyatta's alley. And dirt is not an issue for all of you who think Zenyatta can only win a synthetic surface. Team Rachel mapped out 4 or 5 races in the summer, but never chose a race until just before the Woodward. Zenyatta had no chance of running in the Woodward. And remember that the Breeder's Cup was placed on a synthetic track 2 years in a row.

The last horse I remember winning a Triple Crown race and then finishing the season undefeated was POINT GIVEN! He won the Preakness, Belmont Stakes, Haskell, and then romped in the Travers. What's your point Draynay? If Rachel is as brilliant as you think she is, then she should be able to beat some quality colts this year. Do you honestly think that at 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 Rachel could stand a chance against a horse like Point Given, forget about Secretariat?

Both Rachel and Zenyatta had pretty easy races last year. In my opinion Rachel was best in the Preakness, even though Mine That Bird has never won another race. Her win in the Haskell was on a speed favoring track against Munnings(a sprinter) and Summer Bird who was prepping for the Travers. Zenyatta's best race was clearly the Breeder's Cup Classic where she beat Gio Ponti, Einstein, Girolamo, and a much improved Summer Bird.

Even though Zenyatta is 6 and Rachel is 4, Zenyatta only has 1 more race in her career. And that one race (B.C.Classic)was pure domination, that is why I see Zenyatta beating Rachel by at least 2 lengths.

28 Feb 2010 11:35 AM
Zookeeper

GunBow,

Bravo!!!!

28 Feb 2010 11:53 AM
Monica V

Footlick,

I'm not on Carolyn's case and I did address It aint Easy's remark about Z not being HOY and as for Draynay, what would be the point?  He says what he does to get reactions, no point in encouraging it.  Mostly I sit back and laugh at many of the posts because,let's face it, this is all OPINION but sometimes I'll read a nasty remark that is uncalled for and untrue and I just can't let it go by.  

I do not trash horses or people but there are those on here that do and you know that.  You don't trash either but why should someone who does it constantly get away with it?  I blog here because I enjoy it and there are wonderful people on here and you're one of them.  I love hearing about your passion for European racing and your knowledge of racing in general.  This is what this blog is about.  It's not about making petty, nasty remarks.

28 Feb 2010 11:56 AM
Bettys

Like your post, Shane.  I too thought that the pictures showed a bigger, more awesome girl although she could not have gotten any prettier.  I love both but she is my favorite.  I could not possibly bet on this race.  I just want to experience it.  Please,Gods, keep all the girls safe.

28 Feb 2010 12:14 PM
Mike Relva

PASTURELANDS

You know when you say the "ME THINKS" you sound even more silly if possible! If you are going to compare the time "Zenyatta nearly lost" I can compare when MTB nearly run down RA and when RA nearly lost to Macho Again! You're a trip!

28 Feb 2010 12:15 PM
Pam S.

Zookeeper, I, too, hope it's not even a 20% chance later in the week because any rain makes me nervous.  In LV we have gotten three years' worth of rain in the past two months; it doesn't even seem like the desert.

Thanks to my indulgent husband (who will actually drive), I get to go to SA/Oak Tree and/or HOL usually 3-4 times a year.  With average traffic, we can get to SA in 3.5 hours.  If we don't go for the Big 'Cap, we'll go for the SA Derby (though for some reason we have caught poor weather for that race about four times).  Anyhow, see all you Cal. racing fans soon.

28 Feb 2010 12:18 PM
longwaytomay

Coldfacts,

 I apologise if I misunderstood what your position truly was. I guess the biggest problem I had was with your statement that the race was meaningless and would do nothing for the sport. I couldn't disagree more. I feel that the Apple Blossom could be just what the doctor ordered as far as the sport is concerned. If the powers that be don't do something very soon to promote this sport to attract new people then horsracing will soon be nothing more than a memory. One group of people that has never been aggressively pursued is women. Well what could be a better scenario than a race between two of the best female racehorses in recent memory. Promoted properly, this could be watched by as many people as a TC race. Tell all your freinds, co-workers, relatives or anybody that will listen about this race, and as a fan help promote the sport  yourself. If you are going to badmouth either horse then please don't.

28 Feb 2010 12:46 PM
LDP

Carolyn,

    Rachel was beaten when she was two years old, and just getting used to her larger than average frame. Zenyatta waited until she was nearly four years old, so honeslty if you want to judge take both three year old seasons side by side. In that case both ran undefeated as three year olds, but RA did so much more. I would bet that if Zenyatta had started her two year old year, or even three year old year, you would see a loss or two, just because she was used to her huge frame either.

28 Feb 2010 12:56 PM
Walt P.

First, I should note that Tiger is NOT likely to return in the Masters, so that is a non-issue with the Rachel-Zenyatta showdown barring anything unforseen.

That said, and especially given NBC is already scheduled to televise the Arkansas Derby on NBC the next day, if I'm Cella, I work a deal to get the Apple Blossom on NBC in prime time on Friday, April 9 from 8:00-9:00 PM ET/5:00-6:00 PM PT with a 7:35 PM CT local post for the Apple Blossom (as NBC can simply shorten "Dateline" from two hours to one and air "Who Do You Think You Are" following the Apple Blossom in most of the country at 9:00 PM ET/8:00 PM CT that night). It would make the most sense for NBC to show the Apple Blossom live because they are also scheduled to air the Arkansas Derby anyway, and if NBC got the Apple Blossom, perhaps further deals could be worked with Keeneland so the next night (Saturday, April 10), the Blue Grass and Arkansas Derby also air in prime time on NBC from 8:00-9:00 PM ET/5:00-6:00 PM PT (8:15 PM ET post for the Blue Grass at Keeneland, 7:37 PM CT post for the Arkansas Derby that would be the final race of the season at Oaklawn).

28 Feb 2010 1:35 PM
Paula Higgins

Forbidden Apple, yes Secretariat was a rocket (and number one in my book) but if Rachel has a heavy schedule and wins them all, she will be up there with the immortals and not just the greats. No two horses are the same. But you know when a horse measures up to another one. They don't necessarily win the same races, or win the same races in the same way. But when a super horse delivers, you know it, and if she delivers throughout the year, she will be up there with the top 5 horses of all time. So let's not say she isn't the equivalent of the top 5 horses/Secretariat in history before she has that chance.

As for Zenyatta, I love her and want her to win every race, including the Apple Blossom. NOTHING would make me happier. Not even fame or fortune. But if Rachel beats her, we all need to be grown-ups and acknowledge what we have seen. Personally, I don't know how this race is going to end up.

Saratog AJ you are absolutely right. Another horse could beat both of them. Depends how the race shakes out, if one of them is boxed in etc. It may not just come down to Rachel and Zenyatta.

28 Feb 2010 2:05 PM
Forbidden Apple

My mistake, both horses have 14 career starts. Regardless, to Monica and others, the amount of starts or Zenyatta's age does not make her an inferior horse.

28 Feb 2010 2:36 PM
JoeSchmo

People consider Rachel a baby at three.

Unless I haven't been on earth long enough I do remember they breed these darn three year olds every day. so if a filly is a baby at three, then why the heck is some of them in the breeding shed at three, Stop trying to be a smart alec, because you are only showing your lack of knowledge here.

And to the person that says since Rachel was awarded the hoty award she cant' be beat, think again smarty pants, she can and very well can get beat. I for one know her and Zenyatta are not prone to being beat. but Rachel A. has been beat before...And for Zenyatta, there is always a first time, but Zenyatta wouldn't let it be as easy as what RAchel has went up against before. That coming from seeing Zenyatta's "Save for last charge" she does.

28 Feb 2010 2:41 PM
Forbidden Apple

So if Rachel has another good year shi is one of the best horses ever! Okay, well what if Zenyatta has another spectacular year, is she going to be one of the best horses ever? You folks are talking about the top five horses of all time and in the same league as Secretariat. I love Zenyatta, but I am not simple minded enough and only thinking with my heart to say that she compares with Secretariat. Rachel has raced past 1 1/8 one time and she barely won over Mine That Bird. Zenyatta has raced past 1 1/8 one time and she delivered the race of her life. They do not call 1 1/4 miles a classic distance for no reason. Both horses have alot to prove before anyone starts calling them immortal or other worldly.

28 Feb 2010 3:11 PM
JoeSchmo

Rachel fans, I bet if and when she loses a race of two this year, some of you will drop her like a hot potato! You won't even utter her name in the same breath anymore. I am a fan of all race horses, not just these two. There are other horses out here that are just as good maybe even better than just these girls.

I would suggest that all of you start finding another horse or two to follow, because this could be a disappointing year for you guys if you are just following these two.

28 Feb 2010 3:57 PM
JoeSchmo

Triple Crown winners are the "IMMORTALS"  nothing else compares.

They are the one's that have proven the test of time and the ability to go far and beyond ordinary horseracing, they proved they could win in all three legs of the crown.

28 Feb 2010 4:01 PM
CCV

Rachel and Zenyatta are  the best female horses I've ever seen race, but they'll have to do a lot more to be compared to horses like Secretariat and other great male horses. If they weren't both females they wouldn't be getting as much attention as they are now.

28 Feb 2010 4:14 PM
CV

"Although tracks like Arlington, Turfway, Woodbine, Keeneland, and Presque Isle also have synthetic surfaces, I have noticed that there simply isn't the same animosity for these tracks as there is for the California tracks...Whatever the reason, it does feel that there is quite alot of overlap between those who are anti-synthetic and those who are anti-California."

--Gunbow

You're right, I've noticed this, too, although I'm not from California and have never lived there. In fact, I would go farther and say there is a distinct overlap between the anti-synth, anti-California, and anti-Zenyatta crowd.

The ironic part is that I've read some synthetic tracks contain 70% or more of sand. You know, as in "God's sand."

28 Feb 2010 4:46 PM
Paula Higgins

Forbidden Apple, yes, if Zenyatta has another year like last year, against the best, she is also up there with the very best. You know the probability that this is going to happen for either horse in a second full year of racing is iffy. But you know what, I am rooting for both of them. I am also rooting for Quality Road. We never know when true brilliance in an exceptional horse for the ages is going to show up. Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra are two horses that qualify. So before we decide they aren't the second coming of Secretariat/the greatest horses of all time let's give them a chance. So far they have done nothing wrong, but instead everything right.

By the way, some of you cynics are giving cynics a bad name. That means you JoeSchmo.

28 Feb 2010 4:52 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

Don't expect you to admit it,but if the Mosses' weren't generous enough to race Zenyatta AT SIX we wouldn't be having this conversation. Do you think for a second removing Zenyatta from the equation anyone would be putting up five million for RA to run others' in the Apple Blossom? I don't get it sometimes when you give facts regarding great horses' from years ago I'm actually impressed when you state something I didn't know. But,this side of you where you've never ONCE given props to connections for running Zenyatta this year,I don't understand. Last fall you stated repeatly Zenyatta had no chance,etc in either Breeders' contests. You even went as far to say your horse,Music Note would beat Zenyatta( I knew no way of that happening). Your statements were in conjuction that when Zenyatta faced males in Classic that the males were far superior,right? When she dismantled them you didn't give props. You went into spin control! Point is it's not connections fault Breeders' was in CA two yrs in a row. If Zenyatta lost Classic your spin would be "she couldn't win in her backyard". Right? If Zenyatta were to lose next month I'll be almost the first on here giving props to RA. Without Zenyatta there's no five million dollar race,tell me I'm wrong!

28 Feb 2010 4:59 PM
Bob Z

Trainer John Shirreffs, who is preparing Zenyatta for a showdown with Rachel Alexandra in the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park, has another “Z’’ mare to run against her at the Fair Grounds.

Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Horse of the Year, heads the nominees for the $200,000 New Orleans Ladies, a new mile-and-a-sixteenth race to be run March 13 at the Fair Grounds. The race, which will be her first since she won the Woodward in September at Saratoga, will be her prep for the Apple Blossom on April 9.

The 6-year-old mare Zardana, a Grade II winner trained by Shirreffs in California, is among the other 15 older fillies and mares nominated to the New Orleans Ladies.

“Mr. (Arnold) Zetcher, who is the owner of Zardana, suggested that we run her at the Fair Grounds, so that’s what we’re going to do,’’ Shirreffs said Sunday from his barn at Hollywood Park.

Zardana, who was bred in Brazil, hasn’t raced on dirt since beginning her career there in 2007 with three victories in sprints. In California, she has raced on turf and on synthetic surfaces. Overall, she has won seven of 18 starts, including three stakes in the United Stakes.

She closed her 2009 season with a victory Dec. 5 in the Grade II Bayakoa, a mile race on the synthetic surface at Hollywood Park.

Concerning the possibility that Zardana is coming to New Orleans to make Rachel Alexandra work before the Apple Blossom, Shirreffs laughed at the suggestion.

But he did say that he and Zetcher are aware that people will speculate about why Zardana is coming to town.

“I said to Mr. Zetcher, ‘Oh no, here we go,’’’ Shirreffs said.

Shirreffs said that a reason for sending Zardana to New Orleans is the lack of opportunities for older fillies and mares at Santa Anita.

The meet’s last stakes race for older females on the synthetic surface is the Grade I Santa Margarita on March 13, and that race will be Zenyatta’s prep for the Apple Blossom.

28 Feb 2010 5:33 PM
LDP

Joe,

    I'm guess that elimates horses like Man o War, Spectacular Bid, Dr. Fager, and Damascus from immortals right. I would say that those horses rank above most of the Triple Crown winners on just about anybody's All Time Top Ten List. Think about what you say before you actually say it.

28 Feb 2010 6:19 PM
LDP

Also, Joe,

    A horse is sexually mature at age two, but bodily wise they are nowhere near it. For that reason many other types of ride wait to train/ride their horses until age three or four. Racing is one of the only types that I know of that starts the training and even riding as a yearling. A horse is not fully done growning and maturing until between the ages of five or six, so yes, Rachel is a baby in her body. She is not fully mature, which is why what she accomplished is so great.

28 Feb 2010 6:22 PM
Magallanero

Rachel first by 5 lengs, zenyyatta second & BAMBERA third.

28 Feb 2010 6:38 PM
Saratoga AJ

JoeSchmo:

If "nothing else compares' to Triple Crown winners, how come only four Triple Crown winners were in the top ten of the top thoroughbreds of all time? Silly remark.

I would say that Man O'War, Kelso, Dr. Fager, Native Dancer, Forego and Spectacular Bid are as good as any race horse that ever lived. Wouldn't you?    

28 Feb 2010 7:11 PM
longwaytomay

Jason,

 Have you heard that IEAH is in negotiations to purchase a three year old that is on just about every top 5 list that's been posted? Please tell me it's not Eskendereya.

28 Feb 2010 7:27 PM
Mike Relva

SARATOGA AJ

I have to agree with you.

28 Feb 2010 7:51 PM
Jason Shandler

Didnt hear anything about that longway

28 Feb 2010 7:53 PM
longwaytomay

Jason,

 Michael Ivarone was on a radio show brodcast on syrius. He said they were in the free agent market when asked if they were looking to purchase any three year olds. When asked if he could give any hints he said that the horse was on everybodys top 5. He also said that if everything went well they would make an announcement in the next couple of weeks. Some have  speculated that the horse in question would be Eskendereya based on Zayats money problems.

28 Feb 2010 8:08 PM
helsbelles

One day, being fluent on all three surfaces will be a virtue... a standard.

28 Feb 2010 8:29 PM
helsbelles

The Zardana thing is very interesting... she is a big, confident girl.

28 Feb 2010 8:34 PM
carolyn

There have been more than TC winners in history that are immortals.

28 Feb 2010 10:11 PM
JoeSchmo

LDP

What are you trying to say? If we listen to what you're saying then why do they race horses at two and call them juveniles? Horses are completely mature enough to race at three years old, or why is every darn one racing at three?

I am a fan of all horses, but you act like Rachel A. is the only three year old filly that ever raced? If I'm not mistakened missy, they race "all" horses at three. And furthermore, not knocking the horse, but it was Rachel A. owner that put her in more races than your average owner does. Most owners are more sympathetic towards their animals. Now I am a J. Jackson fan, and root for his horses, but I am also open minded to the truth too.

28 Feb 2010 10:34 PM
carolyn

Jason

If you were to just take a quick quess, what horse do you think could be the one that IEAH could be trying to buy? or possibly going to buy?

28 Feb 2010 10:44 PM
JoeSchmo

I think that there is to much hype in Zenyatta.

I think that there is to much hype in Rachel A.

I am going to root in the Apple Blossom race for a long shot, because you people have made to much overrated hype with these two horses.

I like them both, and have no problems with the two girls themselves, but it has been to much overrated hype, they are just two racing fillies as I last read, there have been other fine fillies as well thru the years, and there are some mighty fine ones on the tracks for this year too. These two are not the only good fillies out there right now.

28 Feb 2010 10:59 PM
Mike Relva

JOE SCHMO

Is that a fact? Undermine them all you want, BUT THESE TWO are the only female horses' that's generating a five million dollar race.

01 Mar 2010 12:04 AM
Rachel fan

Its sad that people like JoeSchmo have no idea how special these two equine athletes are, Joe i'd ask you to name 2 fillies that ran at the same time with such magnificent race records or ran with the attention attracting style that both of these fillies have.  Everyone in the industry and not in the industry enjoy paying attention to both ladies and for you to downgrade them shows what type of unappreciative individuals there are that pay attention to horse racing.  Sad but true, we certainly dont need your sort of luke warm fanfare in this sport.  Move on to lacrosse.

01 Mar 2010 1:53 AM
GunBow

carolyn:

Of the top 5 Derby contenders, the most logical horse being sold is Caracortado.  He is a Cal-bed gelding, so he has absolutely no financial value beyond the racetrack.  His owners, the Blahuts, are a low-key older couple in partnership with Caracortado's trainer, Mike Machowsky. With Machowsky as part-owner, I wonder if in the event Caracortado is sold, one precondition would be for Machowsky to remain trainer.

If IEAH was to offer the Blahuts and Machowsky a large sum of money, it would be difficult for them(or most anybody) to turn it down given the lack of any breeding prospects.  If the offer was anything over $3 million, the logical move would be to sell, given it is unlikely that Caracortado would make that much on the track(although it is possible).  Of course, for some, no price tag could be placed on being the owner of a Derby horse.

01 Mar 2010 2:14 AM
GunBow

Did anybody watch the Crystal Water Handicap from Santa Anita?  Zookeeper, did you make it to Santa Anita?  I was there (starting with the 4th race), and came away very impressed with Compari.

Compari won the Crystal Water by over 3 on a turf course labelled "Yielding".  Clearly, this couldn't have been a typical yielding track because Compari ran the mile in 1:35 flat. He jumped out of the gate sharply, set honest fractions, and kicked home the last quarter in 23 and 2 to win with his ears pricked and Gomez sitting chilly.

I had wanted to see Compari run in person ever since he won the 6.5 furlong Sensational Star on turf by nearly 2 lengths earlier in the meet.  The Sensational Star was Compari's 2nd start after an 8 month break, with his first being an easy 2 length score in a 6 furlong turf event at Hollywood.

From these last 3 races, one would think Compari is, at best, a middle distance turf horse.  However, in his last start before being sidelined in April, Compari won the 9 furlong $250k Snow Chief Stakes(by almost 2 lengths) on Hollywood's Cushion Track.

The Crystal Water was Compari's 5th straight win, with a 3rd place finish last February 26th in his debut the only blemish in  6 career starts.  Compari is a 4 year old gelded son of Redatorre, who was a gr.1 winner on turf and a stakes winner on dirt.  Offspring of Redatorre have been running well at Santa Anita, including the Carla Gaines trainee, Red Sun, who like Compari is bred and owned(partially in the case of Compari) by the Harris Farms.  Compari is out of a Dixieland Band mare, Southern Charm, so their is damside quality to go along with Redatorre on top.

Physically, Compari is wondefully built, well muscled but atheltic.  Trainer Martin Jones had Compari sparkling before the race, with the horse litterally bouncing when led from the saddling enclosure to the walking ring.  Compari is a common bay, but his coat had that shine that so often portends good results.  Compari has so far been tested in stakes restricted for Cal-breds, so he still has a few more ladders to go to reach the top.  However, he has everything one could look for in a break-out star, speed, versatility, pedigree, and he looks the part.  Cal-breds have been having a huge meet so far, highlighted by Bold Chieftain, Pretty Unusual, Bob Black Jack, Caracortado, Evening Jewel, M one Rifle, Acclamation, Unusual Suspect, Unusual Smoke, The Usual QT, and others.

What makes Compari's winning margin in the Crystal Water so impressive is that the horse that ran 2nd, Enriched, is a quality horse.  Although Enriched has yet to break through at the stakes level, he has been running well, finishing 3rd in the Cal Cup Mile(behind the Usual QT, who won 3 straight graded stakes races after the Cal Cup), 2nd in the On Trust, and 2nd in the Sensational Star(to Compari).  Enriched also ran well in the gr.1 Citation, losing to the promising Fluke by less than 3 lengths, and the Sunshine Millions Classic, beaten only 2 lengths.  Lava Man's little brother, who like his older sibling is trained by Doug O'Neil, was parked wide throughout the Crystal Water and did well to fight on for the runner-up spot.  I really think Enriched has the talent to win one of these Cal-bred stakes eventually.

Lasltly, congrats to Presious Passion.  One of the most exciting horses is back!  Great ride by Elvis Trujillo, getting away with a 25 and change 3rd quarter.

01 Mar 2010 2:48 AM
Pasturelands

WOOHOO!  This is going to be FUN!  I can't wait to pack my bags and go to Oaklawn in April.  I don't care if I have to sleep on the sidewalk.. OAKLAWN, HERE I COME!!

GO, GO SUPERFILLY, RACHEL!!  KICK ALL THEIR BUTTS!  WE LOVE YOU, BABY!!

01 Mar 2010 3:10 AM
Aluminaut

I agree with Mike.  The "methinks"

from Pasturelands was a bit over the top.  Too much time at the Renaissance Fair?  You be the judge.

About Seattle Slew getting beat by J.O.Tobin...It happened on July 3, 1977 at Hollywood Park in the Swaps.  I had just moved to L.A. from San Diego and I'll never forget the dusting that Slew took.

J.O. looked great.  Shoe was riding.  I'm not a Slew fan or a Shoe fan....but I love Zenyatta..

and Rachel's ok too....

01 Mar 2010 4:10 AM
LDP

Joe,

    Look it up! A horse is not fully mature until age 5 or 6 years old. A three year old is pretty much a freshman in high school based on body maturity, a two year old is probably the seventh/eighth grade sports guy. It is not that hard to understand. It is a simple FACT that you cannot arugue with and possibly have a single hope of being right.

01 Mar 2010 6:04 AM
Saratoga AJ

Mike Relva:

"I have to agree with you".

Now that's a first!!!! :)

01 Mar 2010 6:36 AM
MikeM

If Z can run down RA then I would have to give her serious consideration for "Best All Time".

01 Mar 2010 6:41 AM
Bob Z

These two are not the only good fillies out there right now....

Name me a couple others...

01 Mar 2010 8:20 AM
joe schmoe

Jason you gave the nay nay a break by re-opening the discussion on the Zenyatta/rachael alexandra race.

That gave him a chance to re-fuel his hatred and dissing of Zenyatta and the chance to avoid the fact that his "wonder horse" of the year this year christine daae ran a pretty slow race against weak allowance company sunday. All spring last year he ridiculed old fashioned and the likes for what he railed on as slow races. christine daae's race was run in those type of fractions on sunday.

I was waiting to see his spin on that. I was willing to bet that since it was a horse he liked those fractions weren't something he was going to ridicule this time around.

I actually will be pulling for Zenyatta to beat RA partly because ther nay nay is so negative to any horse he doesn't prefer. Sad but true and it takes some of the pleasure of just watching two great horses go at it. Too bad some people have to be so obstinate they take something away from a great event. I think a permanent ban if Zenyatta wins would be more than appropriate for that bum.

01 Mar 2010 8:22 AM
gw_bushwacker

Forbidden Apple,

I doubt Sara Louise will join the Apple Blossom field. She has already whipped the daylights out of RA so has nothing to prove there. Maybe somewhere down the road they might want to try their luck against Zenyatta but I doubt it very much.

01 Mar 2010 8:28 AM
draynot

I can't wait until this race is over and Rachel wins with ease and goes down as one of the greatest ever. Move over Secretariat.

draynay 26 Feb 2010 10:32 PM

You never cease to dissapoint nay nay. You are so predictable it's sickening. Now all of a sudden if RA beats Zenyatta who you have bashed for the better part of two years as a one trick california poly horse she's one of the greatest ever? Are you actuallty admitting how stupid your juvenile comments and assessment of Zenyatta has been for so long now? Now since it appears RA is going to face Zenyatta that beating her will make RA one of the greatest ever? The best part about this is that if Zenyatta wins then you have to be saying she's the one of the greatest ever and Secratatriat should move over for her.

01 Mar 2010 8:38 AM
slyder

On a different note I was thoroughly pleased to see Amen Hallelujah make the transition to dirt and run a a really good one in Bickerson's into the ground. Somewhere on this blog there is a person who takes great pleasure in beating up on California horses and this should quiet his crap for a few seconds anyway.

01 Mar 2010 8:55 AM
Billy's Empire

Shandler, did you have to go and open up this can of worms already? You couldn't of waited until the week of the prep races? Oh well, it is entertaining reading some of the rediculous remarks on the board. Some folks never cease to amaze me.

Onto Olympic Hockey, what a game eh?

Radiohead looked good, and the Euro crowd will be happy when Vale of York runs this Thursday.

01 Mar 2010 9:17 AM
Slew

One horse has been compared to Secretariat, never won a Triple Crown, and is an immortal-Ruffian.

Both Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra have been compared to Ruffian.  In my opinion, both have already earned more respect than they have received in these blogs.  They have both changed the history books of racing; neither will ever be forgotten. (That's called immortality). So let's just enjoy them both while we have the privilege to watch them run.

01 Mar 2010 9:34 AM
Footlick

Monica V- Maybe I'm just not into this anymore.  It's frustrating to hear all the ignorant things being said, all the comments designed to get people upset, all the same repetition.  So, I participate less and less.  If one person is going to get called out, all people should.  That was the only point I was making.  It was nothing against you.  

01 Mar 2010 10:03 AM
Billy's Empire

If there was a pickup game of mud wrestling, and Carolyn, Monica V, and Paula were all in the ring, who do you think would come out victorious?

My money is on Paula. Just like my money is on Rachel Alexandra. I think all 3 take Mike Relva for fun!

01 Mar 2010 10:57 AM
Footlick

I liked Radiohead's race too.  And Jason's filly looked good winning easily.  It's nice to see them in allownace races too instead of rushing them into a stakes race.

Billy-very funny-lol

01 Mar 2010 11:28 AM
carolyn

Thanks GunBow, I don't know about you but I kinda worry about a horse under these folks, IEAH that is. I guess it was the all the talk about Dutrow with BB, but he has had some winners recently.

01 Mar 2010 2:03 PM
Bob Z

One thing about Ruffian is that she never got a chance to run against older horses...

01 Mar 2010 2:09 PM
the_wiz

I too liked Radiohead's race Saturday. The fractions he ran were very good and he looked great doing it. My concern is his breeding and what it says about the ability to go much longer. Last year Musket Man outran his pedigree and proved very tough until he was hurt so there is hope for fans of Radiohead.

01 Mar 2010 2:17 PM
MonicaV

Forbidden Apple,

I never said Zenyatta was too old!  I merely said she is a fully mature horse. That's it.  She is fully mature, she is no longer growing.

01 Mar 2010 2:51 PM
MonicaV

Footlick,

I'm with you.  All this back and forth and nasty remarks are tiresom and boring.  I give up.  

People don't even read a post and understand what is said.  They immeidately jump to the defensive.

I will no longer contribute.  Best to you and I will be watching the Apple Blossom and will post on Steve's diary blog.  I'm giving up this blog until it changes back to the TC.  Zenyatta and Rachel cause too much unhappy stuff on this blog for me.  It gets really ugly and who needs that?

01 Mar 2010 2:55 PM
Paula Higgins

Billy's Empire, LOL I am not so sure that's a compliment. But those ladies are tough. I wouldn't want to get in a fight with either one of them. They are passionate about horses, so they are a breed apart, no pun intended.

01 Mar 2010 2:57 PM
carolyn

MonicaV

We all have opinions on here, some may not like what others say, no harm in opinions, this is what blogging is all about. I know all on here know more than I do, but I am passionate about a horse that some constantly critisize like Zenyatta. thats what makes people mad, that goes for fans of both of these horses. I do not reply back to some critizim, because I know they know more than I, but I just can't stand it when Zenyatta is trashed like some do, and you know who the ones are that constantly trash her. I actually like most of your posts on here  you do seem to be fair most of the time. I enjoy learning from others posts because I have not been following horseracing about two years, so I have alot to learn still.

01 Mar 2010 3:15 PM
Mike Relva

BILLY'S EMPIRE

Good idea! lol

01 Mar 2010 3:17 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNOT

Well said.

01 Mar 2010 3:17 PM
Billy's Empire

Paula, you are a breath of fresh air. All I am saying is that we are on the same page, I have your back, and like your posts. Go Rachel Go.

Monica V, see you on the other side...

01 Mar 2010 3:31 PM
Forbidden Apple

How does anyone know if Zenyatta is fully mature? Maturity is more than physical growth, I believe that she is still maturing mentally. As for Rachel, every horse is different, I do not know that she will be better this year. Maybe last year took something out of her. I don't think it did, but both horses still must show their dominance again this year. 2009 is over.

01 Mar 2010 3:49 PM
Billy's Empire

What do you all think of Zardana being pointed to run against Rachel? Seems to me that the Zenyatta camp may be trying to soften up Rachel so they are sending fillies that Sheriff's trains to run against her. Honestly though, I would much rather face Zardana than carry 130 pounds in the Santa Margarita. But Z has won with 129 before, so I see not too big of an issue.

I just want them both to win their preps so I can travel to Oaklawn on April 9th and watch history. Play golf, and then watch Dublin cruise to the Ark Derby victory...

01 Mar 2010 4:15 PM
TerriV

I love both Rachel and Zen.  The idea of seeing either one lose is not a happy one.  Still, I'm so excited to see this race for the ages.  There are very few opportunities to see such greatness.  I can't figure how this race will shape up with their two totally different running styles.  It makes it impossible to predict.  I do remember though that Seabiscuit was a closer; War Admiral ran in front and it was the closer who won.

01 Mar 2010 4:26 PM
Householder

Slyder.  Yes Amen!!!  Let the synthetic to dirt (Conveyance) drubbing continue.  IWR...the horse fell out of the gate and still took the Wood.  How good is Blind Luck?  She is still 10 in front of Amen Hallelujah at Hollywood Park!  Should be enough of the Christian D talk.  Baffert...the "Zen Master" comes back with a bullet 7 Furlong work for Looking at Lucky.  Score:  West Synthetic 2, East Dirt 0.  

01 Mar 2010 4:33 PM
Aluminaut

C'mon MonicaV.  Lighten up.  These blogs get way too serious.  Are you suggesting plastic surgery for the blog 'cause it can be ugly?

We're lucky that racing is getting so much attention.  Enjoy the good, the bad and the ugly.

Go Zenyatta!!! Go Rachel!!

 

01 Mar 2010 4:43 PM
Aluminaut

GunBow,

I was thinking the exact same thing re Caracortado.  If they haven't had offers yet, I'm sure they will soon.  Saw Scarface at Santa Anita, and his run was impressive.  American Lion also needed the race and he may improve from the experience.  He sure looked good in the walk from paddock to track.  

01 Mar 2010 4:50 PM
Bob Z

I think Zardana running against Rachel is probably 90 - 10...

90% because the race invited her and it fits her schedule and there aren't many races at Santa Anita for older mares...apparently  

and 10% to give Team Rachel another thing to think about... a little psychological warfare...

its a smart move...no harm..  

That is probably the first of many volleys that will start as the electricity builds...

01 Mar 2010 5:24 PM
Paula Higgins

Thanks Billy's Empire and back at you!

Shirreff's says he isn't trying to soften up Rachel with Zardana but it may have that effect anyway. ITA about the 130 pounds. Not happy about that. I wish we could say good riddance to this type of race.

01 Mar 2010 5:49 PM
Householder

Zenyatta holds the track record at Del Mar for 1 1/16.  She ran 1:41.48 with 124 pounds on her back.  I wouldn't count on the connections allowing RA to get a 10-15 length jump on her.  

01 Mar 2010 7:16 PM
Zookeeper

GunBow,

Yes, I was at SA Sunday and got a good look at Compari in the paddock area. He looked like a winner and ran like one. Wonder what he would do if challenged for the lead. I can't tell from the PPs, it looks like he takes off, leads by a length and continues on his merry way to win without having to fight to get to the finish line first. The only one that could have given him a fight was Red Sun and he was scratched. Different trainer but Harris Farm common owner. Both horses by Redattore...interesting! Definitely one to follow.

I looked for you in the paddock but I couldn't find a "tall white guy" with a head big enough to hold all that info you carry around! :) Maybe next time.

01 Mar 2010 7:25 PM
Zookeeper

Billy's Empire,

It was a very good hockey game! At Santa Anita, a good amount of people had one eye on the track and the other on their TV monitor and erupted into a big round of applause when team USA scored the goal to tie the game, with only a few seconds left in the 3rd period. No such eruption when team Canada scored the winning goal in OT. I had mixed feelings...happy for the country of my birth, sad for my country of choice. But yes indeed, it was a great game! Congratulations for a hard fought victory! Canada can be proud, eh?

01 Mar 2010 9:10 PM
Bob Z

Householder,

How do you see the race playing out?

What would be your strategy if you were each owner / trainer...?

01 Mar 2010 9:20 PM
LAZMANNICK

What's this with the NTRA voting Zen NUMBETR ONE.

01 Mar 2010 10:35 PM
JoeSchmo

Giant's Causeway really has put out some very impressive offsprings. I give that to the big boy, Very good genes running in his babes.

01 Mar 2010 10:46 PM
JoeSchmo

What's this with the NTRA voting Zenyatta NUMBER ONE?

Lazmannick

I guess they feel Zenyatta is the right one to put their money on.

I am shocked as well, because it looks like they would have backed RAchel A. all the way.

01 Mar 2010 10:52 PM
JoeSchmo

For us Rachel A. fans like myself all I can say is, The cat has got our tongues, we can't explain why Zenyatta is already number one in the poles,

What do you want us to say? We can't answer it either, thats why we haven't commented about it yet?

We are flabbergasted as well.

You won't get to many replies from us???

01 Mar 2010 10:57 PM
JoeSchmo

DARN It, the HOTY award must have been only good for last year because it sure ain't getting us Rachel A. fans no higher respect for this year. Since Rachel was awarded for the HOTY for last year, we should be on top this year, Aint' that what the award was suppose to do for us? Make us number one for all time? What darn good is the award for if it can't make us number one in the polls starting out this year.

Rachel was voted for the HOTY, that should put us on top?

01 Mar 2010 11:17 PM
Zookeeper

Could it POSSIBLY be that the NTRA poll reflects the people's opinion that Zenyatta is a better race horse? Naw! it couldn't be that. The voters must all be from California! That MUST be it!

(Tongue in cheek!)

01 Mar 2010 11:32 PM
CV

From what I've been reading, the Apple Blossom is generating its own stimulus project for Hot Springs and surrounding areas.

--The CEO of the chamber of commerce says he expects media representatives from around the world, including  "somewhere north of 800 press photographers. We have one confirmed network television deal and possibly a second.”

(Note: 800 photographers? for real?)

--Arkansas Online is reporting the FAA is bringing in a temporary air traffic control tower for Memorial Field airport in Hot Springs to handle the increased air traffic and private jets (up to 100) that are expected to arrive. They're also planning to close one runway to provide a place for the jets to park.

--Arkansas Matters.com says between 75,000 and 150,000 people are expected to attend, compared to the typical Arkansas Derby weekend crowd of 60,000 to 70,000.

--Arkansas Matters also reports 10 hotels have sold out so far, though 57 properties have room available. The Convention and Visitors Bureau is expected to launch a Web site to help people locate lodging.

Pretty cool for a horse race, huh! Sure wish I could attend.

02 Mar 2010 12:35 AM
LDP

Joe,

    If you actually would listen, many people thought Zenyatta had the best performance of the year in the Classic. It was because of Rachel's YEAR that she won Horse of the Year. I would say that many actually think Zenyatta is the better horse, but because she only had one big race to Rachel's four of five, she was given Horse of the Year.

02 Mar 2010 5:58 AM
LDP

Laz,

   NumbeTr one? lol. Since when did your spelling become as bad as mine :)

02 Mar 2010 6:00 AM
Slew

Hey guys...read the NTRA story...they polled ONLY 17 people. How do you arrive at ANY conclusion from such a small minority?  

02 Mar 2010 8:41 AM
Billy's Empire

What's this "we" stuff Kimosabe? I had no idea Joe Schmo was part of the Rachel Alexander camp.

"Since Rachel was awarded for the HOTY for last year, we should be on top this year, Aint' that what the award was suppose to do for us? Make us number one for all time? What darn good is the award for if it can't make us number one in the polls starting out this year.

Rachel was voted for the HOTY, that should put us on top?"

I will be sure to look for you and JESS JACKSON in the  winner's circle.

02 Mar 2010 9:11 AM
Forbidden Apple

Zenyatta is #1 in the NTRA poll because she actually showed up at the so called World Champioships, demolished her rivals, and remains an undefeated horse. The best horse does not always win the trophy. I like both horses, but against each other, it is crystal clear to me who is the most dominant horse at a classic distance. Look at how Rachel won the Preakness & Woodward against her toughest competition, not 3 year old fillies. And then compare how Zenyatta faired in the Classic against ger stiffest competition.

02 Mar 2010 9:39 AM
LAZMANNICK

JoeSchmo

Do you think that there's any possibily that the NTRA voted Zenyatta number one because.....a) They know what they are talking about.....b) That she is without question the BEST HORSE racing right now.

I personally think that it is both A and B.  LOL

02 Mar 2010 10:08 AM
carolyn

"WOW", This blog will blow your mind!!

I'm with you Lazmannick, 100%. I go with answers A and B.

Forbidden Apple:

I agree.

02 Mar 2010 10:52 AM
LAZMANNICK

Hey LDP

How you doooin?

02 Mar 2010 11:16 AM
Billy's Empire

I am a fan of both fillies, and they got it right. Zenyatta should be ranked number 1 right now. After April 9th, she will be number 2.

I can't wait to see Draynay in pink on Derby day... I have my flip video charged and ready.

02 Mar 2010 11:47 AM
JoeSchmo

Billy Empire,

That makes no sense. If Rachel was voted for HOTY she should rightfully be considered number one right now, and although you won't admit it, you feel as I do. Man up people, this is a smack in Rachel's face, I guess people at the polls must really acknowledged Zenyatta over Rachel. I guess it's true what they say, that that award is only good for the one year, and it don't mean a darn thing past the last year. I know Zenyatta is a massive running horse but I am surprised that she is so far ahead in polls already. Maybe the NTRA didn't give Rachel A. the most votes in the awards because they sure aren't putting her first now. Beats me.

02 Mar 2010 12:26 PM
LAZMANNICK

Billy:

If Zenyatta is number two after April 9th, then I guess that that means that Rachel will be no better than number three.  BTW, if you're so confident in Rachel then maybe you should get fitted for a pink dress.

02 Mar 2010 1:17 PM
carolyn

LAZMANNICK:

I am busting a gut laughing at your last post to Billy.

JoeSchmo:

Get a grip dude, it's only horseracing.

I am not surprised one bit about the polls.

Billy, Zenyatta is good at making people eat their words.

02 Mar 2010 1:48 PM
draynot

Billy's Empire,

Don't hold your breath that nay nay will man up and keep to his word by wearing a pink dress and hat on Ky. Derby Day. He's here for one reason only and that's to antagonize. All too often we have all seen him bash horse after horse for one reason or another then in the next breath what he bashed them for makes no difference if applied to his horse of the day. This is the only blog that allows him to spew his crap and I see there are now beginning to be more defectors to other blogs that don't put up with him.

02 Mar 2010 1:53 PM
Billy's Empire

I already have my "pink outfit" for Oaks Day, since we are celebrating the ladies and all, and I love the ladies. A little fun goes a long way on the board, and as you can all tell my posts have been a little more light hearted as of late, trying to get a reaction and make people chuckle a little. I think Carolyn got it right. Lighten up dude, it is just horse racing.

As far as my stance on Rachel, this is my opinion, and you can all take it for what it is worth. I have said numerous times, at 9 furlongs, unless Presious Passion is in the race( I know, turf male, just an example of running style), Rachel is going to lope along up front and Z will not catch her in the stretch. At 10 panels, I see Z going right by. If I am wrong, it will not be the first time, but that is my story and I am sticking to it. Trust me, I am not the only one that thinks this way.

LAZ, how about this. If Zenyatta wins, I will have a shirt made that says, Zenyatta Beat RACHEL, and ALL I GOT WAS THIS STUPID SHIRT! It will be pink with green letters. My friend owns a screen printing company in the Ville, and I will make sure I have it made and ready to wear at the Bluegrass stakes the next day, and I will even try to get on the TVG camera's for you all to see.... BUT IF RACHEL WINS, what will you do Laz?

02 Mar 2010 2:27 PM
Billy's Empire

Desert Party is racing on Thursday. First race in almost 10 months.

02 Mar 2010 2:36 PM
LDP

Laz,

    I'm doing as well as can be expected. School is only getting harder and we are selling a horse of mine, which of course I'm not happy about. I'm blogging away on my blog, and am half the time astounded by what I read on others. It's amazing how childish the ones at NTRA get.

How is everything with you

02 Mar 2010 3:12 PM
LDP

Billy's Empire,

    Thanks for the update! I've been wondering when he would return.

02 Mar 2010 3:13 PM
LAZMANNICK

Hey Billy:

If Rachel wins I'll put on my horse costume and race around Oaklawn with a big sign pinned to my tail saying "Beware!  A Jackass is on the Loose".  Of course we all know that I'll never have to do that, but for you Rachel supporters it's the thought that counts.

02 Mar 2010 3:20 PM
LAZMANNICK

LDP

I'm doing fine.  I've been sitting back reading the blogs but not responding much lately.  It's the same o' same o' if you know what I mean.  It's sad to hear that you have to sell one of your horses, especially knowing how you feel about them.  It really is like losing a close friend.  Hope schoool doesn't get discouraging.  Keep at it and LOL.

02 Mar 2010 3:27 PM
Mike Relva

JOE SCHMO

Deal with the fact Zenyatta's number one in the polls. If that's upsetting,then it will be worse after April 9.

02 Mar 2010 3:32 PM
Mike Relva

LAZMANNICK

How's it going?

02 Mar 2010 3:33 PM
LAZMANNICK

Carolyn:

It sounds like you're doing alright.  I've been reading what you've been writing and some of the comments that others have made (especially Pasturelands) haven't been too nice.  Keep your chin up.  There are a lot of us that are in your corner.

02 Mar 2010 3:34 PM
funnycideoflife

Is civility POSSIBLE on this blog? There is no need to insult others. The bloggers calling their "enemies" childish better take a look in the mirror to see the real juveniles. How said that members of both "sides" have such a deep hatred for each other. There should not even be "sides"! Both horses are fantastic, and I pity those who fail to give each horse her due credit.

02 Mar 2010 4:35 PM
Jason Shandler

Funnycideoflife: You should know the answer to that question by now :)

02 Mar 2010 4:37 PM
Aluminaut

'Cide--At least most of us don't have to worry about where to park our lear jet or hovercraft on AB day at Oaklawn. I won't be there anyhow.

Looks like heavey rain is forcast for Los Angeles on Saturday.  Big Cap cancellation?

02 Mar 2010 5:35 PM
funnycideoflife

Jason, I try to be hopeful! Can you imagine the days following March 13th if one of them doesn't look strong in victory, or even loses? These bloggers are circling vultures just waiting to attack anything, including each other! As wonderful as Rachel and Zen are for racing, they seem to bring out the worst in some people on here :(

Maybe we should go back to Triple Crown Talk, that's a much more peaceful debate : )

02 Mar 2010 5:43 PM
Householder

Zenyatta is # 1 because she carried more weight, had more hand rides, and has beaten more Eclipse award winners.  Can't wait to pile 130 on RA.    

02 Mar 2010 6:16 PM
My Juliet

  I think Zenyatta being first in the poll has to do with when her last race was, compared to Rachel's. People have short memories these days. If the Woodward were run @ the time of the Classic, I think it would be more even, maybe Rachel coming out ahead, based on the whole year.  Her race was 2 whole months prior to Zen's last race.

02 Mar 2010 6:52 PM
LAZMANNICK

Hey Mike Relva

My computer crashed the other day and I lost my e-mail files including your e-maile address.  Send me an e-mail when you get a minute.  Have a good one.

02 Mar 2010 7:43 PM
LDP

Laz,

   I hope my blog is on your daily check list, lol. School isn't discouraging, they just keep upping the level. Right now I'm working on a six-eight pg research paper, and my topic is synthetics. You already know where I stand on that, lol. Yeah, we actually found a buyer tonight, who will probably have him by this weekend. It is hard. Tray is more than a friend, but is as close to a child as I can imagine.

02 Mar 2010 7:51 PM
carolyn

WoW, Life is Sweet is headed to Dubai. I hope she will come back in good shape and it don't take a toll on her.

Gosh, I hope she wins it!!!

02 Mar 2010 10:34 PM
Footlick

My Juliet- loved that horse that you have named yourself after!  Great battles with Red Cross, I think her name was.  Very fast fillies there.  I believe they shaded 21 a couple of times for the first 2 furlongs and routinely ran their first quarters in 21 and change.

03 Mar 2010 12:04 AM
carolyn

As far as the polls go,

People know the way Zenyatta will come back, What they don't know is the way Rachel will come back.

And in my opinion, that says alot for Zenyatta.

But I'm just a little more partial to the big girl Z.

Furthermore, we will all see how they are coming back with their prep races,

03 Mar 2010 8:07 AM
Pasturelands

"If Zenyatta were to lose next month I'll be almost the first on here giving props to RA.  MIKE RELVA."

REMEMBER YOUR WORDS, Mike.. I expect you to GROVEL good when Rachel wins the AB.  No "I am sorry" crap.  I want SNOT and TEARS + GROVEL.  Nothing less.

haha.  Bet you will retract..

Wish you made this DARE during the HOY 2009 great debate.  I would have witnessed you GROVEL this January, when Rachel not Zenyatta, won the HOY :-)  haha.  Put your money where your blog is, Mike.  

Unless I slept while Zenyatta was crowned HOY 2009, there is NO BASIS for the Z-lots claim that Z will defeat Rachel.  Z has never raced on dirt for 2 years, and she will be competing against a younger but tougher RA who is also, ironically, the HOY 2009.

How can Z win?  In the BC, the Pro-ride is her advantage. In the AB, what is her edge??  the NTRA poll?? Gimme a break...

Believe it or Not, "methinks" is a real word.  For shame, ALUMINAUT + Mike R!  Bet you don't know what "dictionary" is too.

JOESCHMO, NTRA polls are just polls-- Even if Rachel is 2nd at Nada-poll, she still won the WAR:  she won the Eclipse HOY 2009 award!  Rachel is in the HISTORY books, man!  WOO HOO!! That is something nobody, no CAROLYN or LAZ or Mike Relva can take away from Rachel... WOO HOO!!  EAT YOUR HEART OUT, Z-LOTS!!!!

As for the other runners in the AB:  the toughest competitor just left for the Sta. Anita handicap-- St. Trinians.  That leaves Bambera, Careless Jewel, Stardom B, Just Jenda, Clear Sailing.. Sara Louise? to challenged Z and RA.  Just Jenda and Sara Louise alone are explosive, add Bambera, and its gets really dangerous..

But, I can't imagine any of them actually having the speed nor grit to catch RA, even Sara Louise.  

I have seen the AB 2008 and though Z won, I can say Ginger Punch is not in the same caliber as RA.  Ginger lost 2 other races in 2008, and was never a HOY candidate.  RA is THE HOY 2009, and I think she will perform far better than GP did.  GP was a front-runner, but she stalled right before they hit the 16th pole-- a trajedy-- and had to watch as Zen and Brownie coasted by her.  

Rachel, if she rates nicely at the start, has an Atomic-bomb kick at the end.  It will take maybe 3 Zenyattas to outrun her.  The only horse with a good shot to outrun Rachel is not a female, but a male -- Quality Road.

GO, GO SUPERFILLY Rachel!  QR IS NOT AT THE AB, SO GO SLAUGHTER THEM ALL!!  WE LOVE YOU, BABY!!

03 Mar 2010 10:15 AM
Slew

It seems to me that the people who know the least about horses and racing are the ones trying to out-slug each other with the most insults.  Get a grip folks.

1.) Both Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra are 2 of the best fillies I have ever seen. (yes, Ive seen a lot of great fillies, but these 2 are re-writing the history books).

2.) Love them both and cannot predict who will win the AB...which might be why the race is being held...we don't know who will win. (Where did I put that crystal ball?)

3.) It's an invitational, not a handicap...all horses will carry 123 pounds.

4.) The NTRA included only 17 people in its poll.

So sorry to disrupt all of the insulting crap with facts, but someone had to do it.

03 Mar 2010 11:45 AM
Footlick

Better you do it than I, Slew.  I've given up.

03 Mar 2010 12:06 PM
Footlick

Sometimes I feel like I'm in one of the circles of Hell in Dante's Inferno.  This is the bombastic repetition circle of Hell.

03 Mar 2010 12:10 PM
sodapopkid

It doesn't matter how many they polled, what matters is they were polling Zenyatta ahead.

I bet if they polled more people it would still be Zenyatta ahead.

They were probably all from California? Right?

And Zenyatta didn't have any help getting her votes here.

03 Mar 2010 12:25 PM
carolyn

Footlick, How you doing today? fine I hope,

Now that Santa Anita is going back to dirt do you forsee any of the other ones following suit?

And how many tracks do we have in the US that is "other" than dirt tracks?  

03 Mar 2010 12:44 PM
Forbidden Apple

Pasturelands, do you think Zenyatta will forget how to run because she is now headed for a dirt race? Buy some common sense, this horse can run on dirt, synthetic, turf, glass, even the moon if they sent her there. Rachel's owner is the one who was afraid to switch surfaces in the 2009 B.C. Classic. Rachel's only advantage is her speed at 1 1/8. But do you actually believe that other horses in the race are going to give her an easy lead?

Santa Anita is a complete disaster at the moment with more racing days being scratched every week. If the Big Cap goes, I am taking Jeranimo again. He was very impressive last time and he was a good price too. I hope the Terminator and other politicians give every California track a chance to switch back to real dirt. By the way, did Bay Meadows close because they could not afford a synthetic track?

Carolyn, I believe there are 7 synthetic tracks in the U.S.A.: Santa Anita, Hollywood, Del Mar, Turfway, Keeneland, Presque Isle, and Golden Gate. Maybe more, but these are the ones that I can think of.

03 Mar 2010 2:22 PM
Zookeeper

Forbidden Apple,

Let's leave the Terminator out of the track business. That would definitely screw it up forever! :)

As far Bay Meadows closing, I don't think that the synthetic mandate had anything to do with it. It was sold to a development company, the same that now owns Hollywood Park. They closed it down to do what developers do. Then the "fit hit the shan" with the housing industry and Bay Meadows now lays in ruins. So much for the free enterprise Mr. Stronach keeps ranting about.

03 Mar 2010 2:52 PM
carolyn

Forbidden Apple:

Thanks for the info on the tracks, I wasn't sure and by the time it would have took me to look it all up, I knew I could find out faster by asking you folks on this blog.

By the way Forbidden Apple, I sure hope Pasturelands takes your advice and goes and buys some commonsense. I guess some people thinks Zenyatta is just going to be standing there and not running at all, Personally, after her beautiful performance in the BCC after the trouble at the gate and she still went on to zoom past that field, and we are going to question Zenyatta, they need not worry about Zenyatta, Mike S. will have her in tow.

I think Zenyatta is going to show the world what she can really do if needed.

Pasturelands:

You need to remember one thing, through all of Rachel's races, she has never came up agaisnt a horse like Zenyatta?

And as we speak, Rachel isn't the only one of the two that is in training, Zenyatta is too. And Bambera is also.

For a five million dollar purse, They are all getting in some good training.....

03 Mar 2010 2:52 PM
LDP

Forbidden Apple,

    One more track is Arlington.

03 Mar 2010 3:48 PM
RAEASILY

big red,cigar,sun.silence,easy goer,alysheba,curlin,zenyatta,personal ensign,azeri,winning colors,lil e tee,heathertan,snow chief,silverbulletday,ap indy,mag d'oro (big daddy),seattle slew,...just a small list of nice horses i've watched race live over the last 35 yrs or so..oh yeah RACHEL ALEXANDER 7 times..  the game has changed over the years and EVERYONE is entitled to there opinion and i respect (most) of em!  with that said RACHEL is the second greatest horse i've ever watched live..BELIEVE.    btw # 1 is the first on list...c-ya @ finish line 4-9 spa city!!

03 Mar 2010 3:56 PM
LAZMANNICK

Carolyn

Arlington Park and Woodbine also have synthetic tracks.  One of the things about synthetics is that they are not all alike.  From what I know about Woodbine is that their synthetic track is very kind to to turf horses and also has a great safety record.  LOL.

03 Mar 2010 3:58 PM
Mike Relva

PASTURELANDS

First,I KEEP MY WORD! Second,You DIDN'T give props when Zenyatta won last Nov. after you posted prior to the race that she would lose. Did you forget about that? Oh,right! Cigar won Dubai at SIX. Zenyatta is a lightly raced horse. So don't try and play the card that she's old. Did she look old four months ago when she dismantled the boys? lol Question? What will be your excuse if Zenyatta wins April 9? "The door swings both ways".

03 Mar 2010 4:14 PM
carolyn

All Bloggers:

Since so much smack has been said about these "other" track surfaces, why in the world is there so many of them and countries like Dubai switching to them, It looks like they would be running away from them since there have been so many complaints?

03 Mar 2010 4:35 PM
Pam S.

Carolyn,

Your question about the switch to a synthetic track in Dubai is a good one.  I have wondered about it myself.  After all, the shiekhs can afford to hire whoever won the Nobel Prize in chemistry and have him make a special track for them, if they want!  They went with Tapeta (same as at Golden Gate), which I think has a pretty good reputation.

I read, too, that they are hoping to attract more European horses, who mostly do well on synth., to the World Cup races.  It's hard because Euro horses have their "down time" in winter and early spring, for the most part.  But the huge purse and a friendly track surface may, in time, bring more of them to Dubai.

03 Mar 2010 5:06 PM
My Juliet

  Footlick, I don't rem that filly, do you rem what race it was? So glad you remember My Juliet, she was special, a once-in-a-lifetime horse. She regularly beat colts, set a track record at Keystone 6 1/2 furlongs that lasted @20yrs. When she won the Eclipse Award it was for Best Sprinter, not Female Sprinter. Not sure when the award changed. I'm glad it was like that back then (1976) for a filly like her. Female Sprinter would not have said enough. Btw, liked the 'circle of hell' comment-too funny :) But don't 'give up' on the craziness!

Aren't sport rivalries fun.Yankees vs Red Sox, Eagles vs Cowboys,  Rachel vs Zenyatta... can only imagine how the blogs will be After the prep races, then After the AB....

03 Mar 2010 5:10 PM
Slew

John Gosden was interviewed on HRTV.  He said that European horses race on turf, but train on synthetics.  He believes the surface is kinder to the animals than a dirt surface, and allows the horses to sustain longer careers.  Keep in mind that synth training tracks are flat level tracks.  Turf tracks in Europe can be hilly, and not level at all which could be grueling.

03 Mar 2010 6:08 PM
Zookeeper

Pam S.,

Golden Gate and Hollywood Park are functioning very well. Different synthetics but both satisfactory. The only Americain horses likely to succeed in Dubai are the ones that are familiar with this type of surface. Oh the irony of the largest purses in the world won by what some call "plastic" horses!

P.S. The weather forecast now is 40% chance of rain on Saturday. :( It doesn't look good... I'm distraught!

03 Mar 2010 6:22 PM
Aluminaut

Pasturelands,

Yes, I know methinks is a real word. It has it's place when you're playing Shakespeare or at a Renaissance Fair.  You were probably trying to be cute, but it came off kinda smarmy.  I graduated SDSU w/a Theatre Major and a minor in English Lit.  I kinda fell into business when I moved to L.A. w/a bunch of Theatre friends.  I'm the only one not in show biz (shoots were so boring).

So's this blog sometimes.

Just tryin' ta have fun....Lighten up!  Go Rachel!!  Go Zenyatta!!!

03 Mar 2010 7:23 PM
Aluminaut

Oh..Um..I may be wrong, but I think the training track at Hollywood Park (home of the mighty

Zenyatta) is dirt.

03 Mar 2010 7:26 PM
Aluminaut

Just asked a painter friend to borrowing their stir-stick...

About Quality Road----he saw Zenyatta loading in the gate and wanted no part of the race.

Just kidding...He was my pick for the Derby before being scratched cause of the quarter crack.

03 Mar 2010 7:40 PM
Footlick

My Juliet- Red Cross was based at Philly or Monmouth, I think.  I know they raced each other a few times.  

03 Mar 2010 10:56 PM
Footlick

Carolyn- other people have answered your questions, so I won't add to them.  I'm fine, thank you.  Hope you are doing well too.  Golden State and Hollywood don't have problems with their synthetics, so I don't see them replacing them.

03 Mar 2010 10:58 PM
jon

I am wondering why the Apple Blossom isn't simply a match race between Zenyatta and Rachel? People are a little overconfident especially given upsets we've seen in the past. I can think of Onion, Prove Out, Rags to Riches (who beat an overrated colt in the Belmont). Remember the sure things such as Arazi?

The unthinkable could happen and there could be an upset in which neither Rachel or Zenyatta wins. That's why I think there should be a match race, not just hope that each filly could win based on last year's efforts. I wonder who will upset the two? That would be interesting to say the least. A match race would settle the RA and Zenyatta question better than an upset in an invitational.

04 Mar 2010 10:20 AM
Mike Relva

JON

Here's news for you,I've stated this for a year a match race won't happen,and it shouldn't!

04 Mar 2010 5:45 PM
sodapopkid

Mike Relva:

we may not even see a race yet (April 9) let alone a "Match" race.

You are dead on correct! It will not be a match race, and it shouldn't.

According to J.Jackson and S.Assmusen, if things arent' better in their eyes with Rachel she may not race in the AB, maybe later, I suppose.

04 Mar 2010 7:39 PM
Mike Relva

SODAPOPKID

I agree! It will never happen w/ a match race.

04 Mar 2010 10:30 PM
PJJ

GEEZ, RA may be getting ready for her first date to Mr. Stud Muffin Curlin, if she can't get herself together and in shape the way Jackson and Assmussin want her by  by April 9,

"What the heck are we going to hear next out of Team Rachel?

Nothing will shock me at this point.  "NOTHING"

04 Mar 2010 11:12 PM
Lil Darlin

Wow, this is still going?

05 Mar 2010 5:56 PM
Forbidden Apple

PJJ, I agree that anything is possible from team Rachel. They have already won their horse of the year, so what do they have to prove? I mean any horse that beats Mine That Bird and Macho Again in the same season sounds like a Hall of Famer to me. In my opinion they have everything to prove on the race track. Someone wrote that she is a better horse than SEATTLE SLEW, CIGAR, EASY GOER, & SUNDAY SILENCE. What? Of course that is an opinion, but one that is highly hallucionogenic.

Just read the headlines, ZENYATTA sparkles in her 6f work. She went 1:11 4/5, look out!

05 Mar 2010 7:47 PM
PJJ

"WOOHOO" The six year old mare is getting down baby!!! Look out folks, because it ain't no stopping this damn train called Zenyatta.........And she is on her way to dirt..."GOOD GOD, I HALLELUJAH".....

Forbidden Apple:

Well, if she were better than Seatlle Slew,EAsy Goer, and the rest of them, they wouldn't be so concerned with her works right now. Damn, they are tripping on something to come to that conclusion.....

05 Mar 2010 9:52 PM
Pasturelands

MIKE:  Just remember to APOLOGIZE this time, as you promised, when Rachel wins the AB.  

I keep noticing that even if Rachel won HOY 2009, there is absolutely no respect for her, especially among Zen fans.

From a logical standpoint, Zen actually is still a synth specialist, with very little experience running against colts.  She remains undefeated because she keeps running against SMALLER fillies and mares in the same state of California over and over again...I call this a "My little pony and Friends" Syndrome-- Zen merry-go-rounding with the same bunch forever.

Despite this limitation, it escapes me as to why Zen loyalists are still so confident she will defeat Rachel, the HOY 2009, who won against males THRICE and destroyed the Kentucky Oaks field and almost had a "walk-over" at the Mother Goose, when half the field scratched on the day of the race!!  That is how GOOD she is.

All things considered, Rachel could be the Best Horse to come along since Spectacular Bid raced off into the sunset.  She could even be equal to the grat SECRETARIAT.

Why all the Rachel nay-saying?  Blogs like this are UNBELIEVABLE.  Dray was right.  It is insane.

FORBIDDEN APPLE:  Just answer my question-- what is Zen's advantage in the AB?  obviously, not speed.  not the dirt track (she hadn't raced on dirt for 2 years!).  She can dance, and RA can't?  Duh.

Rachel's biggest threat is QR, but he's not in the AB.  No female can catch Rachel, I tell you. NONE.

When Rachel moves up to challenge, she overtakes in about 2 sec.  No time for any filly to offer resistance.  Just ask Malibu Prayer or Gaby's golden gal.  

If Rachel kicks in her 22sec final furlong, no closer can catch her either.  With Zen's 24 sec last furlong kick, Zen won't get there in time.  She won't be alone, though-- Sara Louise, Just Jenda, and Peach Brew also didn't get there.

ALUMINAUT:  My wife wouldn't exactly call me cute.  Handsome, yes.  If you would believe that.

Wait till you see the horrible spellings here-- makes you wonder if everybody in this blog is ABOVE 18.  Let alone, aware of such things like "Renaissance fairs".  

06 Mar 2010 8:36 AM
PJJ

Pasturelands:

I see you are up to your S.O.S self over here too.

At least you come over here so you can read Mike R. and Laz, you know, the folks that know what they are talking about. You must believe me when I told you about how they know what they are taliking about, because you have come over here behind them.

I see you still living in last years world, but you are about to get your bubble busted. Yahooooooo, hot diggity dog, I can't wait.....

06 Mar 2010 2:00 PM
Mike Relva

PJJ

How it going? Great to have you over here!!

06 Mar 2010 4:18 PM
CV

I should know better than this, but what the heck...

"If Rachel kicks in her 22sec final furlong, no closer can catch her either.  With Zen's 24 sec last furlong kick, Zen won't get there in time."

--Pasturelands

None of us know whether Zenyatta, or Rachel Alexandra for that matter, "will get there in time" because we're not psychic.

What we DO know, is that Zen ran the last quarter of the 2009 Clement Hirsch in 22.49 seconds.

We also know she ran the last quarter of the BC Classic in 23 seconds.

Just to emphasize that point, it was 23 seconds for the last quarter...not the first or second quarter...of a 1 1/4-MILE RACE.

Also, Zenyatta wasn't running full out when she hit the wire and wasn't winded afterward.

Stop making up trash to bash a horse.

06 Mar 2010 6:07 PM
CV

Well, one site said Zenyatta ran the final quarter of the 2009 Clement Hirsch in 22.49 seconds, and another said 22 1/5, which I think would be 22.20 in decimals. I don't know which is correct, but anyway, the point remains.

06 Mar 2010 6:27 PM
PJJ

Mike R.

I see ole S.O.S has followed you , if not for you and Laz, he won't know one thing about horseracing. I see since Zenyatta is putting in them great timed workouts and Rachel's workouts are questionable, I can see some RA fans are keeping a "zipped" lip, I guess its not much to say when you see a six year old mare putting in a good workout like that, and won't even blowing hard when she stopped. Zenyatta hasnt' even showed what she is capable of , but I believe she will show us April 9, when she leaves 'em in the dust. She is one beautiful force of nature. Keep'em straight, MIke.

06 Mar 2010 6:57 PM
LDP

PJJ,

    Look who is talking. If you knew anything about workouts you would know that RA came home extremely fast. 22 and 3, her final three in 35 and change and her final furlong in 11 and 2. I can understand not like some over zeleaous RA supporters, but get a grip, questionable? Terry had RA under a choke hold until the final three furlongs, and when she was let out she kicked butt.

06 Mar 2010 7:33 PM
carolyn

CV:

You speak the truth. So don't hold back from speaking the truth. I agree with your posts 100%.

People that want to downplay Zenyatta are only fooling themselves, in actuality they know different.

They are both exceptional horses, but for a mare @ six doing what Z is doing, is truly great.

06 Mar 2010 7:36 PM
carolyn

Jason:

I am always reading and discovering new things about horseracing, I havent' been following it about 2 1/2 years now. I have a quick question,  I was very curious and I know you will have an  idea and someone on this blog may also, but I know you will for sure because you are around it so much. My question is , Within one year Jason, how much does it cost to maintain and care for one of these racehorses? with everything involved with each one , how much would you guess it cost's these owners? Just for one?

06 Mar 2010 7:56 PM
LAZMANNICK

Maybe after watching St. Trinians struggle as the favorite in the Big-Cap against a fairly weak field people might gain a better understanding of just how great Zenyatta has been.  None of the horses in the Big-Cap today would have competed strongly in the BCC......Also, after watching Just Jenda, Aftleet Deceit and War Echo (all past competitors of Rachel and all DIRT SPECIALISTS) run up the track Freedom Star (a ship in from synthetic track races) and a horse that really couldn't warm Zenyatta up, are we still going to hear the ability to race on dirt vs synthetic nonsense?

06 Mar 2010 8:23 PM
LAZMANNICK

PASTURELANDS

What year were you planning on celebrating Rachel's victory in the Apple Blossom, 2011 or 2012?  Maybe she should shoot for 2012.  Then she would be the second six year-old mare to capture the event in the past three years.

06 Mar 2010 8:32 PM
Footlick

LDP- Has Rachel Alexandra ever closed her last furlong in a race that fast?  Or just in this last work.  Horses do lots of things in works that they don't do in a race.  That's why it is a work.  For Pasturelands to make a statement that states Rachel Alexandra has faster last quarter fractions than Zenyatta by 2 seconds is a little misleading, and you should know that.  As for Rachel's work, it was erratic, and many knowledgeable people in the industry expressed concern about it.   I'm taking a wait and see attitude.  Parts of it I didn't like, parts I did.  But telling people they don't know anything about something serves no purpose.

06 Mar 2010 10:29 PM
Footlick

Laz- my thoughts exactly about St Trinian's and Freedom Star.  I do find it amazing how many people just want to tear Zenyatta down no matter what.  Everybody keep saying Rachel Alexandra gets no respect, but I don't see alot of respect flowing to Zenyatta either.  Maybe it's a two-way street.  St Trinians ran exactly like I thought she would run in that field.  She has looked great against lesser company and caught a short Life is Sweet prepping for the World Cup.  None of those males would have been competitive in the BCC, and she bit off a little more than she could handle at this time.  There is a big difference between the all-weather competition in England and the horses in CA.  She wasn't running against Gitano Hernando, but she is a nice filly.  She should win a few more this year.

06 Mar 2010 10:38 PM
CV

Carolyn,

Thanks, I actually haven't posted much because like Footlick, I get tired of the back and forth. Rachel and Zenyatta are once-in-a-lifetime horses for their owners, trainers and jockeys so I think we should celebrate them both.

It just gripes me when I see people making up stuff to bash a horse. No one who does that is a real fan of racing, in my opinion.

06 Mar 2010 11:11 PM
Aluminaut

Carolyn,

You really don't want to know what it cost to keep a racehorse in training for 1 year.

Actually, it depends on where you keep them (State, track, training center or farm and ship in to race), how much your trainer uses the vet.  Race day meds, shoeing, and if your horse has a setback, well....a few years back it was about $24,000 a year.  Now it can easily be 30,000+.  Yikes!

07 Mar 2010 2:35 AM
Pasturelands

LAZ:  You never LEARN, do you?  After you so WRONGLY proclaimed Zenyatta would be HOY 2009, Rachel HOY 2010 and that Rachel will be retired to breed, now you are proclaiming Rachel will not win the AB this year.

One word for you: HA!  If you were a weatherman, LAZ, you would have been FIRED by now.  NONE of what you predicted came true.

One thing I am sure of:  YOU never celebrated Zenyatta's HOY 2009 victory party... and one more thing, what do you suggest we will do to the ZENYATTA STAKES RACE?  I bet they have taken it down, and gave its old REAL name back, the LADY'S SECRET.. since ONLY HOYs have races named after them, and Zen is not one.

Poor, poor LAZ.  Take Carolyn and Mike Relva with you, and play house.  Less thinking is better for you.

FACT IS: RACHEL ALEXANDRA is the HOY 2009, AND future TB Hall of Fame.  No other horse in 2009 won more G1 races, nor raced more times against the opposite sex and won.  And Rachel did it at age 3, when most fillies are still growing up.  Those are NOT opinions, they are FACTS.

Rachel can run upside-down, sideways, or backwards, for all I care.  But until she actually loses a race, Its NOT FAIR to second-guess this super filly.

Zenyatta is a champion mare, but until she races and wins 3 TIMES against MALES, she will NEVER be in the SAME LEAGUE as Rachel.

NEVER. EVER.  And no APpoll can change that either.

CV:  you are right, we are not psychic, and I don't claim to have a Craigslist of future winners either.  But you, technically, also know only as much as I do.

Let's call it a truce.  Since you don't know as much as I, let's just agree to disagree.

Clement Hirsch?  LOL.  If Rachel won by a head, Zen won by a whisker-- against Anabaa's Creation, a maiden claimer!  

It doesn't matter if Zen ran 22s at the Hirsch.  She will need to do MORE than that to win over Rachel.  Zen almost lost to a maiden claimer, even at that speed.

IF I could choose, I would rather lose to a MACHO AGAIN than to an ANABAA'S CREATION, anyday..

07 Mar 2010 5:54 AM
PJJ

LDP:

I am not expecting RA fans to do anything different than what you are doing now?

What do you think of a six year old mare thats running with timed workouts like Z is?

RA can prove herself in her first race next week, she is going up against a real horse the month after, provideing she attends. From what I have been hearing, anything can happen up until then.

LAZMANNICK:

How's it going? I have been telling Pasturelands for a long time how you and Mike R. knew what you are talking about. He knows, he has had to follow you two over here so he can continue to learn about horseracing,by reading you and Mike R. posts. His partner is probaby on here too.

Keep'em straight LAZ!!

I agree with your previous posts laz. But it's unethical for RA fans to give Z any credit. They know! but they can't bring themselves to do it. I believe it is against their religion or something they just can't fathom this mare that is so unigue (Zen). Look at Vodka, she is six and beating the crap out of everything on the tracks too. I look for her to win in Dubai. I hope LIS,can out run her and win it , that would be fabulous!

07 Mar 2010 7:32 AM
Zookeeper

Laz,

Do not confuse the "dirt fanatics" with FACTS. LOL!

07 Mar 2010 12:27 PM
Zookeeper

Pasturelands,

After suffering trough some of your posts, all the WOO HOOs, GO BABYs, WE LOVE YOU RACHELs, GO KICK BUTTs, I had assumed that you were a very young teenage girl. (No offense to you LDP, you don't act like that!) Now I find out that you are a grown up (???) married man? You sure had me fooled! LOL!

07 Mar 2010 12:38 PM
LAZMANNICK

Hey PJJ

How are you doing?  Apparently some people never change or should I say some pastures never change......At least by the sound of it he/she knows a little bit about playing house and that means that finally we can say that he/she knows a little bit about something.  LOL

07 Mar 2010 2:53 PM
Forbidden Apple

Pasturelands, Zenyatta can run on dirt, that is a fact. Zenyatta's advantage is her huge powerful stride, her trainer, her HOF jockey, and her determination to win. This horse loves her job, she is always happy and looks forward to race day. She won her Breeder's Cup Classic in 2009 without even breathing hard. She is still improving with age and that should scare you and your little girl Rachel. Do you have a Rachel's My Girl tattoo yet? And you said that Rachel's the bomb until she gets beat. I can read English, and I can see that she has 3 defeats on her race record. Wake up pal

07 Mar 2010 3:07 PM
LAZMANNICK

Hey Pasturelands:

It sounds like you are having your usual great day which means that once again you’re getting it wrong.

As for me saying that Rachel would be HOY in 2010, I must admit that I don’t remember making such a statement.  In fact, I really didn’t think that we would see her racing this year and from some of the comments I’ve been hearing, maybe we won’t.  As for stating who would win the AB, you made a pretty profound statement to Mike Relva that Rachel is going to win it (check one of your earlier posts).  In answer to your question……why am I sure that Zen will win the AB?  The answer really is quite simple.  Taking nothing away from Rachel and any other horse currently racing in N/A, Zenyatta is the best horse PERIOD!

Besides making one of the greatest efforts all time in the BCC (a filly actually holding up her run in mid-stretch to let a colt run by, this after experiencing all kinds of trouble, then taking off and thoroughly trouncing that colt and others), maybe you should go back and take another look (a serious one) at the Anabees Creation race (you know……the race you continuously harp about).  Given the circumstances, Zen’s determination and confidence in winning that race should show you just how great the GREAT MARE is.  In fact, if you interchange any horse racing into that exact same scenario, I don’t see any of them with the ability to overcome that situation.  LOL Pasturelands.

07 Mar 2010 3:25 PM
PJJ

Pasturelands:

How many races has Rachel lost?

Now, How many races has Zenyatta lost?

Between both of the girl's last race, How was Rachel breathing?

How was Zenyatta breathing?

Zenyatta was 5, and not breathing hard, and she is showing that she has no plans on slowing down, She had a workout the other day and after she ran , they say she wasn't even breathing hard, now that tells me that this baby has a whole lot of horsepower that she is ready to let loose.

My money goes on Zenyatta over any other horse colt/filly out on these tracks today.

07 Mar 2010 3:42 PM
CV

"Since you don't know as much as I, let's just agree to disagree...Clement Hirsch?  LOL.  If Rachel won by a head, Zen won by a whisker-- against Anabaa's Creation, a maiden claimer!"

Well, I certainly don't know as much about USING ALL CAPS and LOL as you do, but that's not really something to brag about.

As far as Zenyatta's performance in the '09 Clement Hirsch, you seem to be the only one here who doesn't know her jockey made a serious tactical error that day. It was only Zenyatta's closing speed and sheer guts that got her to the wire before Anabaa's Creation.

07 Mar 2010 5:09 PM
LDP

PJJ,

    Unlike you I am a fair person, which is why I think a six year old, doing what Zenyatta is doing is fantastic, I think she is fantastic. I just happen to not be a fan of her owners or the track she continually runs on. I can find fault with each of Zen's and RA's competition, but at the same time can comend them for doing things no other fillies have done before them. Zenyatta, on paper is Queen of California, though IMO she is much better than that. IMO she is one of the greatest mares to ever set foot on a race track, my opinion however is that RA is the better of the two. My reasoning is RA constanly has proven with her times that she is more that just "good." As a three year old, a baby, she is not supposed to be able to do what she has done. She has room to grow still, bodily while Zenyatta is pretty much done growing now.

I also agree that anything can happen, which also applies to Zenyatta too. Most big time Z supporters seem to forget that and just put it on Rachel, well it applies to both. Z could be working out great then step on the track and get beat by the weight, or traffic, or another overconfident ride. I doubt it will happen, the same way I doubt RA will be beaten by her this year, but anything can happen.

Footlick,

    I didn't make a huge deal about her fractions. PJJ came on here basiclly bad mouthing Rachel and acting like Z had put the Rachel fan "in their place." Just because we don't talk much or blow as much smoke as he is willing to doesn't mean we are intimidated. I know RA does not close her races in that fashion normally, but to even do that in a work is pretty darn good. I don't normally see two 11's for the final furlongs in a work by many. IMO her work appeared eratic because Terry had a choke hold on her because Depaul was going so darn slow. She is used to doing her own thing by herself, instead of having to be choked back behind another horse. Personally had she just been allowed to go out by herself and do her normal 12 clip she probably would've gone much smoother.

PJJ deserved what I told him, because honestly if you want to go and call all of RA's work questionable you either do not pay attetion or don't know all to much.

On Pasturelands, I'll be blunt, he annoys the living heck out of me and so do people like him on the other side of the fence. He routinely twists things and it is embarassing. I do not try and twist things, if anything I try to bring up facts way to often, which is why I get so upset with those who can only bring "what they feel" into a debate. I am overly blunt, and I may shoot off at the mouth, but I spout off facts when I do it, unlike some.

07 Mar 2010 5:58 PM
sodapopkid

LDP:

You are going to say Rachel is better of the two? Is that because she had a pushing owner that made her do things that no ordinary owner would ask of a horse, that they cared about, or just to make a name for himself. Me I don't care for people like that. HE may have ruined her , and he knows it.

I'll take owners like Zenyatta's,you make fun of them for caring for her,but Hey, were do you see Rachle at six. At least Z owners have brought her back to do it on the dirt, which all naysayers have complained about for so long. They are not questioning Z works are they?  Quit calling Rachel a baby at three, other colts and fillies are running races at three, I think it is the norm, right?

But yes, she was ask to do alot at three because she was bought by a shrewed owner that wanted to make a name for himself, most don't put their horses thru that. but most can probably do the same if asked,but don't forget, she was all but dead when she came off the tracks after the woodward.  

07 Mar 2010 7:34 PM
Footlick

LDP- I'm not going to argue.  Many knowledgeable people in the industry thought that the work was not what they wanted to see and was questionable, so they must not know anything either and haven't paid attention in all their years in the industry.  But stating your opinion and telling somebody they don't know what they are talking about and don't pay attention are two different things.  You don't have to belittle anybody.  Yu can rise above that.  As I said, I'll take a wait and see attitude with that work.  As far as fans talking, both sides talk equally and bad mouth equally.  So please don't put it all on one side as so many people here do.  There are just as many loud RA fans as Zenyatta fans.  And once again I seem to be drawn into contention, so once again I will take another short hiatus.  I'll keep reading, but will try not to be sucked into responding-lol.

07 Mar 2010 8:18 PM
PJJ

LDP, I could care less what you think or say to me. I overlook posts like yours, I read posts that stay the same (evened out) and not jumping back and forth like yours. I am glad you love RA so much, that is good as is the love most have for Z. This is a free country and this is yours,mine and our rights. In your mind you can believe RA is better than Z, I for one don't see it, but thats you not me.

07 Mar 2010 8:22 PM
LDP

sodapopkid,

    Where did I ever make fun of Zenyatta's owners? I have stated many times that I did not like their handling and the way Moss acted at the Eclipse Awards but never have I made fun of them. In fact show me where I have made fun of anyone.

Rachel at three is a baby, it is a FACT. You can look it up in any one of my 10 encyclipedias. A horse is not fully developed until the age of six. It used to be five up until only a few years ago. So Yes Rachel is a baby. That is the reason that a three year old colt actually will lay back until the JCGC in October to take on more developed older males. Since, at four many horses will pick up weight and muscle. This is the reason why three year olds stay with three year olds and two year olds with two year olds and horses four and up with their own group. Horses do very little growing after they get about halfway through their four year old year, which is why four and older is fairly equal.

Jess Jackson took risks, which is what owners of the past used to do, so I guess all of them are jerks for wanting to show off and test their horses as well. Jess Jackson was also already well know for Curlin and his handling of him. I really don't get how pushing and testing Curlin was Ok, but with Rachel he is a greed, selfish Son of a Gun.

I am not saying run your horse into the ground, I am saying test your horse. Zenyatta's owners failed to do that until the 11th hour last year and Moss wonders why he did not get the award. It wasn't ever about who was better, it was about who was most accomplished and who had done more.

07 Mar 2010 9:10 PM
Mike Relva

SODAPOPKID

I agree,I'll take Zenyatta's connections ANYTIME over Ra's connections.

07 Mar 2010 9:38 PM
Mike Relva

PASTURELANDS

You talk about LAZ being incorrect about Zenyatta to win HOY. What about you STATING ZENYATTA HAD NO SHOT IN THE BREEDERS' LAST YEAR? Do you remember?

07 Mar 2010 9:40 PM
Mike Relva

PJJ,LAZ

Hey you guys. I'm not sweating the Apple Blossom,we know lightning gonna strike!

07 Mar 2010 9:42 PM
sodapopkid

LDP:

I am not going to turn this into an argument. We are all grown adults here and some dont' want to keep reading arguments.I will forever stand my ground and say this,

I will take the owners of a horse like Zenyatta's anyday than a an owner like Rachels. JJ is famous for buying horses that are already trained and then running them and claiming victory (curlin, Ra) he has probably got his eyes on one out here now he is getting ready to buy in case RA pans out. Thats his business. I , for one like the connections of a horse that can bring her back at six years old and let her show her stuff the way she loves too on you alls favorite surface, "DIRT", she has come back just for this purpose, I don't think anyone can say nothing but good things about that, Other than RA fans of course. Zenyatta is  like a disease to RA fans and to Team RAchel. And to think J.Jackson wants to race three times with Zenyatta, I can't see them torturing RA that bad. Once will probably be more than she can handle. And I am not picking or argueing , I am soley giving my utmost opinion the way I see it.

07 Mar 2010 10:41 PM
sodapopkid

LDP,

Also, if you keep considering a filly/colt is still a baby @ three, then why are they running them at three. They must be fully matured enough to do what is ask of them or they would'nt be running them for the past 100+ years at three, right? So, you can take that jive elsewhere, because that aint't gonna fly. Maybe you should write to all the horseracing tracks, owners, trainers. NTRA, and so on and tell them not to run race horses at three because they are still babies. Let me know the response you get back....lol!

07 Mar 2010 10:50 PM
PJJ

Mike, Laz,

I am not sweating the AB either. I know about that lightning strike that will be coming down the track like she did in the BCC. She loves competition anyway, it lets her flex her long strides out and release that horsepower she has hidden in her legs.

Mike Smith will know where to bring her up and when, they don't have that to worry about, do they Mike?

I wish RA well, and she is a great filly, I have more of a pity for her because of her connections.

07 Mar 2010 11:14 PM
LDP

soadapopkid,

    You just did turn it into an argument. You will hear trainers actually say that a horse is still a baby at three, which is why they need to mature. Many horses, Zenyatta included will WAIT until late in their three year old year to start. A sound horse is a sound horse and those that mature faster do naturally. It is a fact that she is still a baby, a fast maturing one, yes, but nevertheless a baby. You can not argue with a fact, because in all honesty in makes you look like an idiot, which I don't think you are.

The rest of this is not an argument, merely a debate. I will give Zenyatta's owners their due on bringing her back at six, and though I think they did for reasons other than sportsmanship, I go ahead and just be happy she is back. She is not a disease to me, I like her a lot, just like RA better. Zenyatta is anything but a disease, and I seriously doubt JJ is worried about racing her.

On the dirt, yes I do like that better. I hate hate hate hate hate synthetics. They have caused more problems then they have gotten rid of. From an injury standpoint, yes they have dedcuted them, but as many point out, they are new and state of they art being compared to a dirt base several decades old. You look at DelMar's injury record and you will see it has inclined every single year after its installation. If it keeps going the way it's headed it will reach it's dirt high in about four or five years.

08 Mar 2010 5:56 AM
LDP

Footlick,

    Today, and for quite a few more I will honestly not feel like arguing either, but because I'm so upset its easier for me to take my mind of things with a debate, much easier. I'm not putting the blame on one side, I know it comes from both. Right now I'm in a state of shock, so the only way to really come out of it is type out some of the frustration here.

08 Mar 2010 6:00 AM
Mike Relva

SODAPOPKID

I agree with several of your comments like about connections. I have ZERO doubt that Zenyatta's connections truly love her. And if some think that's a crime the hell with it! I buy into alot you're selling,but will say LDP has much knowledge for her age,she's truly a fan of RA's.

08 Mar 2010 8:33 AM
Zookeeper

A baby horse is called a foal. A 3yr old is not a baby horse. A teenager, maybe. I'm pretty sure you would object to being called a baby, LDP. You are not fully matured but you are not a baby. Neither was Rachel last year.

I'm sorry you're so upset right now. What's going on? You say you're in shock... are you sad because one of your horses had to be sold? Sad and mad are not the same thing. Although some people use one emotion to fight the other... Is that what's happening?

08 Mar 2010 11:38 AM
Slew

Pasturelands...you've spewed nothing but venom on the NTRA blogs...guess they tone you down here.  Thank you Bloodhorse.  It appears to me that you do NOT recognize the difference between final 1/4 mile (two furlongs). and a final single furlong.  22 is the time for 1/4 making it 11 for a final furlong. Both RA and Zen have earned our respect.  Bashing either one shows a complete lack of understanding for the sport of horse racing, a lack of respect for the very beautiful and graceful creatures that give reason to this publication, and a total ignorance that fails to even vaguely amuse anyone, much less give credence to anything you have to say.

08 Mar 2010 11:41 AM
Footlick

LDP- I don't know what's going on but I hope everything works out!  Just hang in there, whatever it is.

08 Mar 2010 12:02 PM
carolyn

I think we all can agree on one thing.

We have passionate fans on RA side and on Zenyatta's side. Now, dammit that we all can agree on!!!

08 Mar 2010 1:25 PM
Forbidden Apple

LDP, I am a Zenyatta fan and I completely agree that the HOY voting was over before the B.C. Classic because Zenyatta was not entered in tougher races sooner. If she had run outside of her division for one race before the Classic, she would have been horse of the year. But you are wrong about calling Rachel a baby. Two year olds are considered babies on the backstretch. And even two year olds are not really babies, it is just a term used to describe them. They are very green and some are eager to learn. I would call a 3yo a young adult. I don't care what you want to call either of them, there is a horse race on April 9 worth $5 million and Zenyatta will win.

Sodapopkid, you asked a very good question, why do they race horses at 3 if they are still growing? The answer is the almighty dollar. I agree with racing horses at 3, it's racing the 2 year olds that I have a problem with. Since everyone is so geared up with the triple crown races, most trainers and owners choose to train hard at 2. They want a so called foundation under their horse. I like trainers that take it easy on 2 year olds and wait to train harder at 3.

The Apple Blossom is on dirt and both horse are older than 3 so what is everyone arguing about? No more excuses, this race is a go, enjoy it!

08 Mar 2010 3:20 PM
RAEASILY

forbidden apple, that someone you are reffering to is me. my comment was those were the best horses i've watched live..i will assume you've eyeballed em as i have to make your ''halloucionogenic"" comment.how bout this?, april 9th turn off your computer,come to o.p. sec L  row 8 (just come to finish line,cant miss it) tell the usher who u are.   he'll get my attention i assure ya and i'll be glad to show ya better than i can tell you..your not dealing with a rookie son..ur opion is appreciated as well..see ya then?  oh yeah bring plenty of $ if ur a gambling man?  save ya a trip to windows..looking foward,peace out.

08 Mar 2010 4:15 PM
Aluminaut

Hi All,

Can't believe this blog is still active!  

For Pasturelands and LDP--I admire your passion for Rachel and would like to see her win her prep race by daylight while under wraps.  This would give her confidence and help her relax for the AB.

Zenyatta, The Big Mare, the 'Freight Train Comin' runs confident, and has her eye on the competition through most of the race.  Horses are prey animals, but have advantage because of their speed, size, and herd dynamics. Zenyatta runs like a predator.

Rachel looked scared and tired toward the end of the Woodward. (Could just be that white eye-ring.) She is an exceptionally fast and brave Thoroughbred.  She'll need to keep it all together for a mile and an eighth on 4/09.  Can Fire catch Air?  

Go Rachel!!  Go Zenyatta!!!  Go Bambera!    

08 Mar 2010 5:50 PM
funnycideoflife

People denying LDP's assertion that 3 year olds are babies are wrong and should not be attacking her. There is no other sport in which a three year old horse will be ridden, because they are still GROWING. At my barn, we have had an OTTB since he was four. He is now six and we STILL call him a baby. "Baby" does not just mean physical growth, it also means mental. We usually excuse this horse and the other green lesson horses when they do something "stupid" because of their age and lack of maturiy. I tend to think of Rachel as an "old girl" now that she is four, but in actuality she probably would not have been broken to the saddle until this year or next had she been any other breed.

08 Mar 2010 6:04 PM
LDP

Baby is what I call a three year old, since many three year olds in the diciplines I work in are just starting to be broken. A teenager as, Zookeeper put it would be the better term. But in that sense they like myself are still maturing, bone, joint and muscle wise. A five or six year old is either nearly done or completely done growing.

Zookeeper,

    If someone were to discribe me in terms of body you would compare me to blind luck. I'm not overly tall, more average in height and I am a very lean bodied and light framed person. At this point I doubt I'd grow anymore or gain a whole lot more weight. IMO you can't in most ways compare a horse to a human, because the differences in how we grow and develope are some many. You can try to gauge, which is why I will consider a two year close to the maturity of a seveth or eighth grader, a three year old a ninth or tenth grader and four year olds as juniors and seniors in high school. Even then it's tricky because once a horse really starts to mature it's like you see a monthly differnce.    

    On the emotion thing, I was and still am upset. I led my horse, that I brought back from skin and bones, trained from scratch, onto a trailer. I took him off that trailer and put him in a stall, while trying to reassure him that these new surroundings were ok. I stayed and talked to his new owner and couldn't cry the whole time I was there because I didn't want to make her feel bad. I'm upset at having to sell him and mad at the situation that caused it. I still can't really cry, because I have school, where nobody really understands or cares how much I love horses, plus I have work to get done. At home everyone will try to be nice and understanding but until you feel that tear, like your heart is literally being pulled out of your chest, you don't get it.

08 Mar 2010 6:12 PM
Pam S.

Pasturelands, I don't really mind you being a rabid Rachel fan and "talking" to her like you would talk to your date.  But what is this about only naming races for Horses of the Year??  You know that's not true.  Ruffian was never a HOY, or Go for Wand, or Personal Ensign.  The issue is, they renamed a race for Zenyatta and she is still running.  I sure wish that was the biggest problem racing had to deal with!!

If I were a horse, I would rather have Zenyatta's connections than Rachel's, and I'm one who has never really minded Steve Asmussen.  While I'm on the subject of SA, wasn't it odd how, after Rachel's work last week, he made some positive statements about her, then turned around and said "I am very worried about her fitness level."  What were we supposed to think?

But Rachel worked again today and I haven't heard anything negative about it, so I guess it's time to start looking forward to Saturday, for Saturday will tell (part of) the tale!!

08 Mar 2010 6:14 PM
Footlick

LDP- I assumed that was the reason, but I didn't want to just jump to the conclusion.  You are going through a grief process, and as such you have to let yourself grieve.  Even if it's in the middle of the night, you have to let it out so you can cope.  Otherwise it may burst out as something else.  Take some time to grieve properly.  It will help.  I hope you know my thoughts are with you.  

08 Mar 2010 6:58 PM
Mike Relva

LDP

I'm very sorry to hear about what's happening with you,just wanted to express that.

08 Mar 2010 7:13 PM
My Juliet

  Regarding age equiv I rem learning for horses, it's x 5(dogs x 7). I've always thought that meant a 2yr old=10yrs,3yr old=15yr

4yr old=20yrs, 5yr old=25yrs,etc.

Baby at 2, Teen at 3, Young Adult at 4, Adults at 5. This is what makes it so dissapointing if a thoroughbred retires at 3. So much else could have happened, we'll never get to know.

   Sodapopkid,(cute name btw)

everyone is entitled to an opinion of course, but one thing you said I think needs changing-"most can

probably do the same if asked..."

How many times has a 3yr old filly had a season like Rachel's. She won HOTY for it, and deserves our respect. There have been racing lifers who've stated she's the best they have ever seen. Those of us who get goosebumps when we watch her, Pasturelands stating he has her race videos on his phone, I had 3 small pictures of her on my dashboard, Draynay's non-stop

enthusiasm, RAEasily saying she already belongs with the legends; the signs, t-shirts and caps worn for her, 12yr olds talking about her like others do Miley Cyrus (prob Taylor Swift now)I guess either you feel it or you don't.  

   LDP, my thoughts go out to you regarding your horse. I had to say goodbye to a horse I had @age 13, I remember it was so hard. Your comments are great on here, I

think many people enjoy them.  

08 Mar 2010 7:42 PM
Zookeeper

LDP,

Animal lovers understand what you're going through. All of us at some time or other have experienced the loss of much loved companion & friend. There is nothing one can say to make it better, except that I understand and sympathize with you. You may be small  in stature but you are strong and courageous in character, where it counts. Hang in there! The pain will lessen...

08 Mar 2010 7:53 PM
Mike Relva

PAM S

Good post,but I don't care for Asmussen,he's a real 'prize".

08 Mar 2010 8:37 PM
Footlick

Vodka has just retired.  She bled again in her race in Dubai.

08 Mar 2010 10:29 PM
carolyn

LDP:

I feel for you. That has got to hurt like hell. As Footlick said, You have got to let it out, cry all you need to cry, crying is the beginning of healing. Can you see him anytime you want? If so, pay him a visit when you can. Gosh, I can only imagine what you are going thru, I gave away a dog of mine one time and it hit me like a ton of bricks later that day, and it hurts. You go and see him when you can, it will make you feel better.

08 Mar 2010 11:40 PM
Mike Relva

FOOTLICK

Hey! Many of us miss your posts.

09 Mar 2010 8:30 AM
MonicaV

LDP,

I read about your horse and knowing your passion and love of horses I know you are taking this hard.  You are, without a doubt, the most unusual teenager I have experienced.  I thought you were joking when you said you were in high school!  I have always read your posts over the last year and enjoyed them and came to enjoy them even more when I discovered that you are so young.  You express yourself well and you have a great knowledge of horses and know your horse racing almost as well as some of the "old timers".

This current situation with giving up your horse is but a bump in the road in your lifetime.  We all go through losses in life because that is part of living but we come away from the experience better for it because having been that close to an animal, you will always treasure that time you had and be glad it happened for those are the things in life that make it worth living.  How lovely for you that you had that colt for the time you did and you will always have those memories that you can visit anytime you want.  He will never be lost to you as he will always be in your heart.  Take care Lani, it's so nice to know that there is someone like you in this world.

09 Mar 2010 10:55 AM
LAZMANNICK

Hey LDP

Keep it together.  LOL

09 Mar 2010 12:06 PM
LDP

Hey guys,

    I'm not good at expressing much except for bluntness. I'm good at locking up most of what I feel, but thank you all. Tray is actually the second horse I have had to say farewell to, for very similar reason. Pixie, my morgan, was the first.

Monica,

    Surprised I was a teenager? lol. I would've thought my hot temper and impatience would've given that up. Thank you.

Carolyn,

    I can visit him for about two weeks then he, with the rest of the stable will go to PA and won't be back by November, at which time I will be in VA in college.

09 Mar 2010 3:11 PM
carolyn

LDP:

I am so curious at what college in Virginia will you be attending?

09 Mar 2010 5:02 PM
LDP

Carolyn,

    Virgina Intermont. Big time into horses, lol. Just what I'm looking for.

09 Mar 2010 6:25 PM
Lil Darlin

LDP,

Good for you to bring that horse back "from skin and bones," as you put it. I'm just about an hour away from Green County, NY where Ernie Paragallo had a farm full of mistreated horses...didn't see the horses myself but heard it was puke-worthy. The only saving grace for those horses is that people like you exist, so as a lover of this sport and the athletes that make it possible, thank you.

09 Mar 2010 7:00 PM
Footlick

Thx Mike.  I really try to post off and on now.  I try to stay away from the Zen/RA feud, only interjecting when I feel I have to.  On Vodka, she also bled in the Japan Cup that she won, so this was the second race in a row that she bled.  I'm glad they are doing the right thing and retire her. Now she will be bred to STS.  Other than that my focus is on St Nicholas Abbey and Passion for Gold in the European classics.  Also trying to find a few runners who are under the radar there.  Over here, each race seems to bring forth another contender-lol.  

LDP -good for you about the college choice.  Right up your alley.  I'll put a bet down you graduate with honors-lol!

09 Mar 2010 8:38 PM
LDP

Lil Darlin,

    I got Tray four years ago, when he was only just turning four. Today he is 16.2 hands and probably weighs over 1200lbs. He is the definition of a muscle man. When I first saw him his coat, which is now on of the reddest chestnut colors I have ever seen was a dingy dull rust color. His front feet were so long, overgrown and splayed that it took nearly 2.5 years to actually get them to were they could be kept looking like normal hooves. He was so thin I could see most of his ribs and his hip bones. I have before shots and more recent shots, from a couple months ago and you would not believe he was the same horse.

Footlick,

    Lol, Thanks. It's not going to be any surprise that I'll be majoring in Equine Studies. I'll probably taking a lot of farm management, breeding, and training classes too.

09 Mar 2010 9:29 PM
carolyn

LDP:

That sounds like a very nice college. I live in VA. I am pleased to know that we have colleges like that, Well, I have been living in VA all my life and it's a whole heck of alot that I don't know that is here. Thats a shame isn't it, when you don't know of some of the nicer colleges and schools that your state has and you have never heard of them.

09 Mar 2010 9:42 PM
Zookeeper

LDP,

How smart of you to go into a field you are passionate about. So many people spend their whole life doing a job they hate. Bravo! for choosing a career that will make you happy. Sharp girl!

09 Mar 2010 9:55 PM
LDP

Carolyn,

    I believe it is a small private college, so it wouldn't be well known. It's located in Bristol, if you live anywhere near there, maybe it would ring a bell.

Zookeeper,

    Thanks. I wouldn't be able to stand a job w/o animals. I can't have an office/desk job where I can't get up an move. That would annoy me way too much. An outdoor job working with horses is what I would want to do most.

09 Mar 2010 11:01 PM
Forbidden Apple

Rachel Alexandra is not a baby anymore, although she might have a better chance of winning the Apple Blossom if she was coupled with her daddy.

Funnycideoflife, I understand what you are saying, but thoroughbred racing is a business. The Triple Crown races and the Breeders Cup races do not hand out ribbons to the winners. First people were saying that Zenyatta was getting old and now some are saying that Rachel is a baby. Forget about the horses age, this is a race between 2 champions.

RAeasily, do not be fooled by Rachel's wins over Mine That Bird and Macho Again. She is a nice horse but to compare her with Seattle Slew, Easy Goer, Sunday Silence, Cigar, I'm still laughing. She could not even beat horses that are racing today at 1 1/4 miles. I will not be at Oaklawn Park on April 9, I will be right here in Saratoga Springs,NY. I never said you were a rookie handicapper. You like many others are just flattered because Rachel is a filly and she beat up on some very weak 3 yo colts last year. Her races were strategically mapped out and she won them. Newsflash, 2009 is over, we will see what she has in 2010 very soon. Please take some of your $ and buy some respect for Cigar. Go tell him that you think Rachel could beat him and he might come out of retirement.

10 Mar 2010 1:36 AM
CELLAGREATFELLA

I LIVE 30 MILES FROM OAKLAWN AND WILL BE AT THE  RACE APRIL 9TH I THINK RA WILL WIN THIS RACE BUT I HAVE WATCHED BOB TAKE HOME 2 BIG BAGS OF MONEY WITH THOSE POLY TRACK RUNNERS THE LAST TWO SATURDAYS SO POLY VS DIRT WHO KNOWS JUST HOPE BOTH OF THESE HORSES COME OUT OF THE PREP RACES SOUND SO I CAN SEE HISTORY AND GET SOME GOOD PICTURES CELLA YOU DA MAN.BRILLIANT

10 Mar 2010 8:02 AM
carolyn

No, LDP, I don't live anywhere near Bristol. I live in central VA. I live more closer to colleges like Liberty University, I am so happy for you that you can attend a college that is "Right Up Your Alley" sort of speak, where you can be involved and learn your passion, which is horses.

I know you will enjoy it, Hey, you won't be to far from Kentucky, horse capital of the world. Maybe you could go and see Curlin. I know you will be busy, but it's a thought. I know I would be tempted to drive over into Kentucky and see all these horse farms, I know it is a state or so over. People with a passion for horses , like you have, that won't be a terrible idea, you probably have already given it consideration.

10 Mar 2010 10:31 AM
REASILY

forbidden apple,she beat up on weak three yr olds huh? well she also beat up on belmont park..maybe this will ring a bell? 6-29 elmont new work race 9..the three horse follows fractions of 22.57,44.66,1.08.86,1.33.60 gallops the last 1/8th while being rubbed on neck and head and finishes up in 1.46.33...news flash that happens to be the second fastest time for that distance ever at belmont park, second only to BIG RED,oblivously a stakes record in a g-1,and by the way crushed RUFFIAN'S record for leghth of victory. keep laughing cuz ya bear hunting with a switch son.

11 Mar 2010 3:34 PM
RAEASILY

yeah i caught it..make that 6-27..btw is that old enough for you?

11 Mar 2010 4:23 PM
Forbidden Apple

Raeasily, is Rachel still a bear after today? How can you compare Rachel's times in 2009 to the times that Ruffian ran more than 30 years ago? Call Pasturelands and you two can get a Rachel's My Girl tattoo together. I don't hunt animals and I would never shoot a bear. If Rachel is a bear then Zenyatta is an elephant, good luck pal!

13 Mar 2010 10:56 PM
RAEASILY

f-apple  kudos man,i was DEAD WRONG and admit it..congrats!!

19 Mar 2010 4:17 PM

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