Does It Get Any Better Than This?

If you're a racing fan, you can't ask for much more than what is on tap Saturday: three important Kentucky Derby preps and the season debuts of Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. The 3-year-old races will give us a much clearer picture of the top Derby contenders and set things up well for the final preps. As far as Rachel and Zenyatta, let's just hope they win and come out of the race in good order. The big prize in on April 9.

Let's take a deeper look at some of the action:

Tampa Bay Derby

This one is highlighted by the return of Super Saver, who established himself as a star in November when romping by five in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill. The WinStar homebred makes his 3YO debut after a three and half month layoff. Todd Pletcher said he's working better than he ever has and though he won't be fully cranked for his return, will be ready to run a winning race.

Of course, I am looking forward to watching Odysseus in his stakes debut. I loved his 15-length allowance win over the same track last month; his turn of foot was visually impressive and his final time was just off the course record without being asked for much in the final furlong. This will be a big step up for the son of Malibu Moon, as he not only faces Super Saver, but also Schoolyard Dreams and Uptowncharlybrown, who both ran well in the San Davis last month.

I think this one boils down to Super Saver and Odysseus. They will be the two favorites so I won't get rich, but it's the way I see it. Super Saver draws inside of Odysseus and without much speed in here, I expect him to go to the front. Odysseus will likely track the leader and I expect both of them to separate approaching the second turn. From there, we'll see who is better.

Ramon Dominguez gets the mount on Super Saver, which is never a bad thing, but Rajiv Maragh is based in Florida and is no slouch. Odysseus has an edge in that he has a win over the track and has some seasoning this year. Super Saver obviously has a big class edge.

Odysseus in a minor upset. If he doesn't run as well as I think, I have some major adjusting to do in my next top 10.

San Felipe

Like the Tampa Bay Derby, a field of seven was drawn, but it looks to be a much more difficult race to handicap. There are four graded stakes winners in here, led by Caracortado, who is undefeated in five starts and is the likely favorite.

But strong cases can be made for four others: American Lion, who adds blinkers, Interactif, shipping in from Florida to try synthetics for the first time, Sidney's Candy, the San Vicente winner who stretches out to two turns for the first time, and Dave in Dixie, who should be flying at the end.

I don't have a strong opinion on this race, maybe I will as the week goes on. I will likely just watch and see what comes out of it. I will be hoping that Caracortado runs well again and Interactif finally stamps himself as a true Derby contender. I wouldn't be surprised at all if American Lion or Dave in Dixie won.

Interactif has a couple things going against him: he tries the Pro-Ride for the first time and his speed numbers are a little below most of these. But I'm going to give the slight nod to him anyway. At first glance, the decision to ship him to California to run over a surface he's never tried before is kind of odd, but Pletcher has mentioned more than once that the Pro-Ride plays more like turf than dirt. We know Interactif likes turf. More importantly, he gets a rider switch from Desormeaux to Bejarano, which means he'll probably get a better trip.

If Interactif doesn't run well, I think it will be between Caracortado and Dave in Dixie, just like it was in the Robert Lewis.


Maybe the best race of the three Derby preps. Lookin At Lucky tries dirt, Noble's Promise makes his 3YO debut, and Dublin tries to prove himself. Uh Oh Bango is also a threat.

Based on the Southwest I think Dublin is going to be my selection. He made up a ton of ground on the winner after breaking slowly and having a wide trip. It looks like he will benefit from extra distance. I like the rider switch to Cory Nakatani, who is having a very solid meet.

I like Noble's Promise too, but more so down the road. This is his first start on dirt and season debut. If he wins while beating Lookin At Lucky and Dublin, he is the real deal.

Speaking of Looking At Lucky, he is obviously the one to beat. But I'll let him prove it to me one more time before I admit he is the Derby favorite.

New Orleans Ladies

Except for her work on March 2 when she lacked focus, Rachel has looked good since returning to the track. Handpicked by Asmussen and Jackson, this is an ideal comeback spot for her return. She stays at a track and distance she likes and faces only four. She could be 1-9 or less.

No way I'm picking against her, but if she were to get upset and you want to play exotics, I would use Clear Sailing, a filly who has been razor sharp for local trainer Glenn Delahoussaye. Clear Sailing has won both of her starts this year at Fair Grounds. A lightly-raced Empire Maker filly, she is a $255,000 2-year-old purchase with a load of potential. She threw in another bullet work, this one on March 3 when going four furlongs in :48.23. Shane Sellers knows his way around Fair Grounds too.

If forced to play this race I would do a straight exacta with Rachel over Clear Sailing.

Santa Margarita

This should be a nice, comfortable spot for Zenyatta's return, as she returns to the track and distance where she won the Breeders' Cup Classic in November. She has looked very good in her works.

Zenyatta fans always have a little more to worry about in her races because of her running style, which requires a good trip into the lane and good timing by Mike Smith. But if she runs her race she will make it 15-for-15.

There are a pair of grade II winners in here--Pretty Unusual and Striking Dancer, who comes off a win in the La Canada on Feb. 14. Also back from that race is the runner-up, Gripsholm Castle, an English shipper who makes her second start in the U.S. and could improve, and the third-place finisher, Floating Heart.

If Zenyatta were to be upset I would take Gripsholm Castle, who won twice in three starts in England (at 1 1/4 and 1 5/16 miles on turf) and really seemed to run well in her first start on Pro-Ride. With two more works over the track and in her second start of the year, she could move up. If that happens, she poses a threat. She also gets a 15-pound weight break.

Floating Heart also intrigues me but I won't bet the race, just hope that Zenyatta wins and sets up the showdown we all want to see.

Don't forget to join me and Tom for the live blog on Friday at noon where we can discuss the races in more depth.

Good luck to all and enjoy the great weekend of racing. Who do you like?


Leave a Comment:


Sidney's Candy will take the San Felipe. His high cruising speed is reminiscent of Quality Road, and should take this group gate to wire to establish himself as a serious derby contender out west.

11 Mar 2010 2:13 PM

Sidney's Candy over American Lion for Ice Cold Exacta in the San Felipe

11 Mar 2010 2:22 PM
Brian Appleton

An incredible weekend, even the Gulfstream Park Handicap looks good, plus Bickersons is running at Aqueduct!

Can't wait to see Rachel and Zenyatta back in action!

11 Mar 2010 2:29 PM
Frank J.

Super Saver in the TBD, American Lion roars in the San Felipe and Lookin at Lucky does it again. If one of the two are getting beat it's Rachel, playing catch up with training and the like, something just tells me she's behind the proverbial 8-ball here. The Apple Blossom couldn't shape up better for Team Zenyatta, she'll smoke Rachel.

11 Mar 2010 2:59 PM

I am so HAPPY that they put blinkers on American Lion. If he is more focused this time around I feel he is the the winner. In the Rebel I still love Dublin. It should be a great race if the LaL and Noble transfer well to the dirt. The Tampa is also load, heck the whole weekend is loaded. Does it get any better than this? Only twice a year, BC and the Derby. The only thing that can top that will be the Apple Blossom.

11 Mar 2010 3:04 PM
Sammi P

I have Dublin to win the Rebel. I like American Lion, but I'll be cheering for Interactif San Felipe.

I can't wait to see the Z Queen run again, and RA too. Zen is doing great, and I hope that RA is also in good enough shape to run a good race.

11 Mar 2010 3:22 PM

My picks:

Tampa Bay Derby;


San Felipe;



3.American Lion


1.Lookin at Lucky

2. Dublin

And the other races, you really can't go anywhere else then Rachel and Zenny.

11 Mar 2010 3:23 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Frank J wrong wrong wrong. I love the fact that you think all california horses are going to win. RA could take a nap wake up 5 mintues before the race and be those 4 horses give me a break. Dublin is a lock on satuday. UPCB in the tampa bay derby he is asking for more distance. Zenyatta unfortuately will win as well and will do so easily! Big Z wont know what to do though come april 9th when she goes back on the dirt its been so long since she has ran on dirt and will be spinning her wheels.

11 Mar 2010 3:36 PM

Very excited to see the classy "Zenyatta" run again!  I greatly anticipate another victory in the Santa Margarita for the "Queen!"  Go Team Zenyatta!  Your awesome!

11 Mar 2010 3:54 PM

I have been looking forward to this weekend for well over a month now!  This may be the most exciting three hours or so of racing we have seen in a while.

I don't think LAL or NP will win the Rebel.  Uh Oh Bango and Dublin will likely be my exacta box.  Both making their first starts of the year and first time on natural dirt... too much to ask.

I agree with SS and Odysseus fighting it out for the TBD, I will likely box them both over "Charly" for my tri.

I am far from worried about Rachel in her return, she should handle with ease.  Zenyatta however is in a much tougher spot facing decent competition with a huge weight difference.  I hope Mike doesn't compromise her with his patented 7 wide move coming into the lane.

My namesake shows my partiality in the SF, but I would look for AL to sit further off the pace that SC is likely to set, and improve on his second chance around two turns (along with the addition of blinkers which contributed to his sharp 5f in 1:00.0 work on Monday).

The Kentucky Derby winner WILL come out of this weekend's races.

I didn't even mention the 3YO Fillies that are going to run... wow, what a day of racing!

11 Mar 2010 4:18 PM

I think Rachel could take a nap during this Saturday's race and still win.  

I'm going with Schoolyard Dreams in the TBD.  

11 Mar 2010 5:08 PM

Excited to see the two great females, Rachel and Zenyatta.  I will get to see Zenyatta up close at Santa Anita along with the San Felipe.

Zenyatta faces the tougher field, with the Santa Margarita a grade 1, and will have to give a ton of weight to grade 2 horses.  Still, Mike Smith and John Sherriffs could not be sounding more confident and Big Z has been training very well.  The track profile favors her style.  

Pretty Unusual is the horse I would fear most, if she isn't over-the-top.  Pretty Unusual has already made 4 starts this meet, and she appeared a little tired in the Buena Vusta when 5th.  However, after running 3 times in a month between mid-January and mid-February, she has had a month off.  In a field devoid of early speed, she can sit in a tactical position, and demonstrated in winning the gr.2 El Encino that she can make a strong middle move from a stalking position.  She's a big, robust 4 year old; Zenyatta will have to run her down.

I'm also very excited about the San Felipe.  I think the Rebel has 3 bigger names, but from 1-5, the San Felipe is the strongest prep anywhere so far this year.  

Sidney's Candy, the brilliant winner of the 7 furlong San Vicente, is expected to be winging it up front, and there really isn't much other speed in the field.  If this race were on dirt or at Hollywood Park, I would pick Sidney's Candy to roll in this spot.  However, Santa Anita has been tough on front runners around 2 turns, so Sidney's Candy's biggest obstacle may be the track profile.  However, Sidney's Candy may be talented enough to overcome the track profile.  Of all the 3 year olds I have seen in person at the Santa Anita meet, Sidney's Candy has been the most impressive. He will be stretching out for the first time in the San Felipe, but he's by Candy Ride whose 4 year old son Misremembered just won the Big Cap while pressing the pace.  On talent alone, I give Sidney's Candy a big shot, but I'm concerned about the track profile.  My 2nd selection.

My choice is Caracortado.  His Bob Lewis run was strong and came off an easy win over Alphie's Bet in the Cal Breeder's Stakes.  He will be making his 3rd consecutive start at 8.5 furlongs and his 3rd start of the Santa Anita meet.  His style, laying mid-pack and then making a big move around the turn, is perfect for the Pro-Ride around 2-turns.  

The presence of Interactif has added extra intrigue to the San Felipe.  This is a perfect spot for him to finally employ a take-back and rally strategy; if ever there was a track that favors such a style, this is the one.  There are two significant negatives.  While a rallying style plays well with the track profile, the field doesn't contain much quality speed.  He will likely need American Lion to run like he did in the Bob Lewis and press Sidney's Candy if he is to win.  Second, shippers have not been doing well in Santa Anita stakes.  In fact, a start at the track has been a virtual requirement for a stakes win.  If I was certain Interactif towered over these horses in talent and class, I might think he could overcome not having a race over the track.  However, he doesn't appear anymore talented or classy than the other 4 main contenders.  For 3rd.

I'm not sold on Dave in Dixie.  His 2nd in the Bob Lewis was ok, but all he really did was sweep up after American Lion and Tiz Chrome ran each other into the ground.  Dave in Dixie has a style that fits the track profile, but I think there are others in here with a little more tactical ability, and that will be the difference.

I'm also not sold on American Lion.  I hope they decide to take him back in the San Felipe, because his best race was when he broke his maiden at Keeneland when laying slightly off the pace.  In the Hollywood Prevue and Bob Lewis, he displayed speed but was absolutely one-paced.  Until he shows that ability to accelerate again, I won't be picking him.  But he is a grand looking horse.  

11 Mar 2010 6:54 PM
Lil Darlin

I was thinking Odyssesu was a bandwagon horse and that he will be completely exposed this weekend...

BUT, the more I watch his allowance win, the more I am thinking maybe this guy can really run. Jason, you really got me re-thinkin' on this one...

Anyway, I think Super Saver may need a good race in him and I'm still ONLY re-thinking about Odysseus...Uptowncharlybrown in the TB, Dublin likes the extra ground and takes the Rebel, and Dave in Dixie finally breaks through in the  San Felipe.

Thank God I got my tax return, makes for less worry and more enjoyment when you have more in the bank.

11 Mar 2010 7:36 PM
The Queen and the Princess

Who cares about the Derby this year?? We have "Triple Crown races", all three in one, on April 9th ;-)

11 Mar 2010 7:51 PM
The Queen and the Princess

of course RA gets the Crown! :-)

11 Mar 2010 7:53 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Sidney's Candy and Lookin At Lucky are monsters. I'm sorry that the jockey change won't work out for Dublin but they shouldn't have monkeyed around. I don't know why I think something will happen to mess up the Zenyatta-Rachel matchup. Hoping I'm wrong. Zenyatta's classic win was one of the two greatest races I've seen. The other being Secretariat's Belmont. She's the Queen of the mellenium.

11 Mar 2010 8:42 PM

Steve, I just saw that someone on E-bay has a really nice looking RACHEL ALEXANDRA 14-Race DVD set (3+ hrs). Fans of hers may be interested. I've bought from this seller before a wonderful ZENYATTA 14+ Hr TIME CAPSULE and his products are A+++. Here's the E-bay link for seller HORSERACINGDVD on E-bay for the RACHEL ALEXANDRA DVD SET:

11 Mar 2010 9:22 PM

I agree lil darlin, Super Saver will be gone leaving little doubt who is the best in that weak race.

12 Mar 2010 1:51 AM
Frank J.

It Aint Easy, Apple Blossom 2008...nuff said.

12 Mar 2010 9:37 AM

I like your picks. There is just something scary about betting a horse who (a) is making his first start of the year and (b) has had a layoff over 3 months. Sure, Lucky and SS are deserving favorites in their races. But I don't see the value -- if I were to place a bet, I'd go with Odysseus and Dublin. It is hard to say how tough that allowance field was that Odysseus beat, but man did he look great doing it. Truly it doesn't get any better than this -- it will be a great weekend of racing.

12 Mar 2010 12:15 PM
Kate Harper

It Aint Easy,

Not hard to think California horses are going to win--just look at what they've done already in stakes races outside of California.  It's pretty clear they can transfer their form to a dirt track much more easily than the reverse for dirt thoroughbreds to synthetic.   Btw, Zenyatta will handle the dirt just fine as she clearly demonstrated in the Apple Blossom in '08, but my guess is RA will not be near the starting gate on 4/9 regardless of how she runs tomorrow.  Jess Jackson will never run the risk of being beaten by the best mare running if he feels his filly isn't dead fit and both he and Asmussen's quotes this week already demonstrate their reservations in running RA.

If the two great distaffers don't  meet until later this year, that's fine.  Zenyatta will win as long as the race is longer than 1 1/16th and then, hopefully, win her 2nd straight Classic cementing her legacy as one of the finest mares to have ever run in this country.  

12 Mar 2010 1:25 PM
Matthew W

Just unbelievable weather this weekend at the Great Race Place! Like Caracortado--Atkinson needs to exercise patience here, as Sidney's Candy will go--I like a Caracortado exacta, over American Lion and Sidney's Candy...also Zenyatta is giving lots of weieght, and they're really racheting down the pace out here, sorta like Austrailian Racing--all finish--eventually she'll get behind a horse who won't be caught--prefer that horse is named Rachel, or Gio Ponti, or Quality Road--in other words, I hope she gets #15 this weekend and lives to be undefeated another day!...Lookin At Lucky can go out to Arkansas--he already has the graded earnings, all he needs to do is finish--in other words, not a horse I would bet to win the race...Romantic Hideaway in the Cicada, will be a price and I will bite! for today, I am a turf race junkie, when they took them off the turf last Sunday at 'Anita, I went to Gulfstream, for their late pick four--caught two winners and a second on win bets,wish they could/would card more grass races out here-- so here goes my three turf plays today at Anita:...R3: ONLY two horses in here have won on the turf, my pick, #8 Pretty Kinzie, (12-1), has won TWICE out of three races on turf--Ca Ching! Will box with #5 Paleo and #4 Sky Chant, and play win/place.....R6: #3 Squeeze Me Tight, (3-1), I'll take that any day......R8: #3 Absolutlypositivly (8-1), (first time Rosario!), will play win/place and box with the two favorites, #9 One Man's Delight and #12 Turbulence...                                        

12 Mar 2010 1:44 PM

I'm skeptical about Super Saver.  His only impressive stakes win last year was on the rail at Churchill with Borel in the irons.  Since he broke from post 2 Borel didn't even have to try to get the rail.  

This is the same Borel who guided MTB to win the KD with the widest margin of victory since Assault.  The same Borel who guided a 91–1 shot to win the Stephen Foster.  The same Borel who had already won the KJC twice before.  I could keep going but think you get the point.

We'll see what happens in Tampa tomorrow, but I suspect Super Saver won't look like such a "star" breaking from 6 with a different rider.  So I'm going with Uptowncharlybrown or Schoolyard Dreams depending on how the track is playing.  

I'm playing the longest shots on the board in the Rebel and San Felipe.  I suspect those two races will finish chalky but it never hurts to try.      

12 Mar 2010 1:46 PM

Kate Harper,

I share your enthousiasm for Zenyatta but I would not predict another BC Classic triumph. We have no idea what horses will be lined up for that race. There could be an absolute monster in there other than Zenyatta. I'm just taking it one race at a time. Tomorrow she's going for 15 (!!!) in a row. That in itself is awesome enough.


I'm very puzzled by the entry of Erbeia in the San Felipe. He's a definite closer but, on paper, he doesn't look like he belongs. Mandella??? Same owners as Interactif??? If he was a front runner and Interactif a closer, I would understand the strategy. But it's the other way around. Anybody have any thoughts on that?

12 Mar 2010 2:12 PM
Mike Relva


Here's news,Super Saver isn't going to prevail Saturday.

12 Mar 2010 2:14 PM
Mike Relva


I ready recently your "motor mouth" comment on Haskin's blog where you stated that "RA will smash" Zenyatta".  You have a twisted view of reality. Thanks for the laugh! lol

12 Mar 2010 2:17 PM

You know, looking at the tapes again from last year it is shocking how hard Zenyatta had to run in the Clement H. in order to beat such an average horse. That is the horse you think is going to beat the best dirt horse in the world? Lol....

12 Mar 2010 2:19 PM
Jason Shandler

Zookeeper: Im not sure why Erbeia is in there. Seems odd, especially with same owners as Interactif. But I would never count out Mandella. Wouldnt be the biggest shock ever if he pulled off the upset. That race is so wide open.

12 Mar 2010 2:23 PM

All of you Dublin lovers are falling for the oldest trap in  horseracing. You are looking at how he closed like a freight train in the Southwest but you didn't look at how slow everyone else was running. I agree that he looked like all he needed was more ground but Dublin came home his last quarter in 25 and 1/5. Do you really think that is fast enough to win this weekend? He will have to improve alot to win Saturday.

12 Mar 2010 3:06 PM

No, it doesn't get better than this weekend!

I decided to actually really try to handicap these races before I read your column or anyone elses thoughts.

I have to agree pretty much straight down the list.  Here is where I'm at:


1. Caracortado

2. Dave in Dixie

3. American Lion

I have a theory, if a horse isn't doing anything wrong, pick him!  He's a proven commodity here.    I like Sidney's Candy alot, I just think he is a little under the caliber here, and he has to convince me on the distance. Interactif? Lost to Bim Bam who disappointed his next trip out. Not sure a move to synthetic will prove anything.




3.Super Saver

I think Super Saver runs a great race, but off of the lay off I don't think he beats Odysseus. I think UTCB will have more pace in this race to close into than the Sam Davis and he catches Super Saver.



2.Uh Oh Bango

3.Cardiff Giant

I can't jump off the Dublin bandwagon, that's for sure.   Uh Oh Bango ran his best Beyer his frist try at the distance, I like that. And Cardiff Giant, is a game colt who ran his best Beyer the first time on dirt.  

I KNOW I can't count out Lucky or Noble's Promise.  The former is HIGH on my Derby Top 12, and NP has been on it as well.  I just want to see this race and how they do coming off their lay offs and trying dirt.  I'm not big on picking horses to win first time on dirt, or coming off lay offs in good company like this.  If I'm wrong, I'll eat my crow.


1. Zenyatta

2. Floating Heart

I know, Zenyatta to win is really surprising....


1. Rachel.  

I wouldn't dream of picking against my girl..... :-)

12 Mar 2010 3:06 PM

Draynay you watched the wrong race.  Watch the one where Zenyatta is coming off a 7 month layoff, beats a grade one winner (in hand) who just rolled off 3 graded stakes victories including a win against grade I company. She's well rested, she's kicking the barn door down, and we've let team Rachel push the Apple Blossom date back.  "We are going to find what races Rachel Alexander is entered in and enter" (J. Moss).  Draynay we've have done all that we can do.  Put RA in the gate and let's go.  

12 Mar 2010 3:12 PM

I'm eager to see Caracortado run tomorrow!

12 Mar 2010 3:17 PM

Dublin closed against tiring speed.  This is Baffert's other horse.  Lookin at Lucky by daylight.  American Lion is bred blue.  He is worth another look. This is the best day of racing I have seen outside of the Breeder's Cup in a long time.

12 Mar 2010 3:18 PM

Erbeia has a great pedigree and since he's TC nominated maybe they're just thinking let's give it a shot. He improved greatly in his first race this year. Maybe it's a "why not?" kind of thing. We'll see.

12 Mar 2010 3:24 PM

In the Tampa Bay Derby, I was thinking Super Saver, but now (for reasons everybody will understand)I'll go with Odysseus, the most exciting horse in the race. Too bad Dray jinxed SS because I have him in my fantasy stables. Darn!

12 Mar 2010 3:47 PM

"You know, looking at the tapes again from last year it is shocking how hard Zenyatta had to run in the Clement H. in order to beat such an average horse. That is the horse you think is going to beat the best dirt horse in the world? Lol....--Draynay

He's baaaack!

You know, Lol, I don't have to look at the tapes again, and neither does anyone else, Lol, to know Zenyatta's jockey made a serious tactical error that day and left her with an almost impossible task. It's a testament to her ability that she was able to run fast enough to win.

12 Mar 2010 3:52 PM
Jason Shandler

I can understand why some of you dont like Dublin tomorrow. There are major question marks. I wasnt so much looking at his closing time in the Southwest (it was against a slow pace), but it was the bad break and wide trip he had. We will see. Looking At Lucky is certainly the one to beat.

12 Mar 2010 3:57 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Thank you jason regarding dublin he went 4 wide broke slow came back from surgery long lay off and finished 2nd cut the horse some slack! Dublin is going to be a beast like his afleet alex in the belmont its a classic. Yeah california runners are doing so well on dirt this year .....really like who? California horses never show up when it matters except for POTN once last year! No california horses will win big races on dirt including big Z in the apple blossom!

12 Mar 2010 4:20 PM


    Take a look at where the quarter pole is on the far turn, it's pretty far up, compared to most tracks. So, what you can draw from that peice of info is that Dublin was running around a turn for about a sixteenth of a mile, or a little more. His final three sixteenths was 18 and change, his final furlong 12 and change. The fact that the track is so tiring and the pole is farther back into the turn that it is on most tracks would explain the slow final quarters.

12 Mar 2010 4:25 PM

In the Rebel, I hope Looking at Lucky does well. I feel pretty confident that he'll handle the dirt. I like Bango also in that race. Has that horse run on enough tracks? This will be his 5th one in a 6 race career. Can you say "adaptable"? If the price is right... a small bet could pay well. I may take a chance.

12 Mar 2010 4:28 PM
Kate Harper


I was at Del Mar when Zenyatta won the Clement Hirsch and the fact she just got up at the wire was clearly the fault of Mike Smith, who misjudged the pace and how far back she was coming into the stretch, and had nothing to do with her abilitiies.  She hit the finish line going 40 miles an hour and ran one of the fastest last 1/8th of a mile in her career.  Moreover, her connections have long said she didn't like the DM surface so she won despite a poorly calculated ride and over a surface she didn't particularly like.

By all means, let me know what dirt horse is going to beat Zenyatta?  RA?  Maybe if the race were only a mile or 1 1/16th, but it isn't.  Quality Road showed a lot of run in his last race but he has repeated hoof issues so who knows where he'll be in the fall? Do you have someone else in mind? I still laugh at Jess Jackson's claim that Curlin floundered on the synthetic surface.  He merely ran the fastest 1 1/4 of his career that day and was simply beaten by horses with a better turn of foot.  Zenyatta can handle any surface and will whether it is at Oaklawn, Churchill or anywhere else this year.  

It Aint Easy--(being wrong so consistently) Ah, I guess you have forgotten Zenyatta already won the AB, winning her 1st G1 and merely beat the reigning distaff champion in hand.  She'll do the same to RA, assuming the filly is even there which is in considerable doubt at this point.

12 Mar 2010 5:28 PM

Matthew W

Race 6 today Santa Anita,

I'll try a win place on the 1,2,8,9

12 Mar 2010 5:31 PM
Mike Relva


Good post. By the time the Apple Blossom is over DRAYNAY,IT AINT EASY,others' will wish Zenyatta stayed in CA. lol

12 Mar 2010 5:38 PM
Mike Relva


Did you know that the race where you undermine Zenyatta's amazing talents,(C. Hirsh) Haskin remarked that few horses' would prevail in the situation where Zenyatta's rider placed her in an almost certain position to fail.

12 Mar 2010 5:46 PM
John T

It,s the return of the champions

week-end,Zenyatta,Rachel Alexandra,

and Lookin At Lucky,and all three

have major questions to answer.Will

the weight that Zenyatta has to give away be too much? Is Rachel wound up enough? And will Lookin At

Lucky be able to handle the dirt?.Throw in the Tampa Bay Derby and the San Felipe and it,s going to be a lot of fun analyzing this

week-ends racing once the dust has settled.

12 Mar 2010 5:47 PM

Dray, it was shocking how hard Zenyatta had to run to win the Clement Hirsch?  Really??  You find the oddest angles from which to analyze races. I notice you don't mention how easily she dispatched of the best BC field assembled in quite some time.  

I don't know who will with the Apple Blossom, much less if we'll get both horses in the starting gate.  The distance favors Rachel.  But you always say horses need to win at the "classic" distance and only Zenyatta has done that.  I would put a substantial wager on Zenyatta beating Rachel at a mile and a quarter...on dirt.  I hope we can put that theory to the test this year.

12 Mar 2010 5:49 PM
Paula Higgins

Is anyone but me worried about the weight Zenyatta is carrying compared to the others?? I wonder if this is going to be a problem for her? I hope not. Personally, I think it's excessive. Can someone please tell me who decides these weights?

Good luck to both Rachel and Zenyatta tomorrow.

12 Mar 2010 6:17 PM
Carlos in Cali

That's why I think Dublin will regress off his hard comeback race. He was pushed too hard trying to get into contention and that long,sustained run had to take something out of him. Tough race for a comeback,I say he'll bounce. His blazing workouts since are typical Lukas,he pushes his horses like no other trainer that I've witnessed. Then again,I won't be surprised if he wins because of the Lukas x-factor.

Looks like the TB Derby will have an off track,if so then Odysseus will not only win he'll romp. The 'Slews' love that type of track.

12 Mar 2010 6:21 PM
Carlos in Cali

It aint easy:

what races have you been watching? There's a long list of Cali horses winning or running big first time on dirt the last 3 yrs. Too many to mention on my part,but I'm sure someone will set you straight..didn't Conveyance just beat your wonder horse Dublin last out. Now 'Lucky will do the same thing.I can't believe some people still have that mentality,sheesh!

12 Mar 2010 6:34 PM

I like Cardiff Giant as the value play in the Rebel.  

Interesting little tidbit about the Tampa Bay Derby.  No trainer has ever won it twice.  The trainers of Odysseus, Super Saver, Schoolyard Dreams & Tuvia's Force have won it once each.  If race history holds up tomorrow, none of them will win so I'm playing the 3 other horses just in case.  Here's hoping the biggest longshot of the 3 pulls the upset.    

Good luck to all tomorrow.

12 Mar 2010 6:38 PM

It Ain't Easy Being Good-

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU on your last statement. Rachel will kick California butt! (To be specific, Zenyatta's!)

12 Mar 2010 6:40 PM

It Aint Good.  O.K. one more time.

POTN(Could have been the Poly Derby)

I Want Revenge (Fell out the gate in N.Y. and smoked the best that state had to offer)

Papa Clem (Thought he was a razor back on Win Willy's track)

Conveyance (Baffert's B squad drubs Dublin from the 13 spot)

Amen Hallelujah (Christine D prays for an Allowance race and wins)

Zenyatta's fourth start takes it to Ginger Punch (What is she 10-12 in front of the Eqlipse award winner on dirt?)

What big races on dirt are you talking about?

12 Mar 2010 7:07 PM

Ah yes Del Mar the "grave yard" of champions.  What "average" horse ended Cigar's phenominal win streak?  Is he in the record books for anything other than than this? Dirt or synthetics it is a very difficult track.

12 Mar 2010 7:21 PM

Draynay you watched the wrong Clement Hirsh.  Rewind the TVG DVD to the prior Clement H where she set the track record for 1 1/16.  

12 Mar 2010 7:35 PM

I just watched my tivoed Pursuit of the Crown and Jeff Siegel drives me bonkers.  He sounds like he's talking with a mouth full of toilet paper.  If he does his 'pretend jockey pulling back on the reins' gesture one more time I swear I'm going to reach through the TV and knock the toilet paper out of his mouth.  That's all I have to say tonight.  Carry on folks.

12 Mar 2010 7:36 PM
Mike Relva


You've got to be joking!!!

12 Mar 2010 7:42 PM
Ida Lee

No Sir it does not get better than this!!! Of course, the return of the Queens is exciting beyond belief.  I can't wait!! I'm annoyed at the weight put on Zenyatta but what are you going to do? She'll just have to make an actual effort to win this one instead of thinking about her next dance moves. And the lovely Rachel - Wow, she looks great as usual. I think she'll win this one even if she ran on 3 legs.  But, the prep races are going to be so much fun, especially with my Derby horse Lookin at Lucky running and winning of course. I also have a sweet spot for Caracortado - how could you not love a horse with a name like "Scarface". He's a beautiful and talented boy. Love him.  She Be Wild is running and so are two of my old favorites Cool Coal Man and Harlem Rocker. Wow - somebody pinch me!! I pray that all our beautiful and talented athletes finish their races in good shape and injury free.

12 Mar 2010 7:57 PM

This weekend I like Dublin, Odysseus, and Caracortado.

As for Zenyatta versus Rachel, I have always believed Rachel would win.  My confidence has wavered given Zenyatta's Classic win.  I also am skeptical of Rachel's connections already setting up their excuses.  I think that they have serious reservations about whether Rachel will beat Zenyatta.  I am going to stick with Rachel but wouldn't be surprised at all with a Zenyatta victory (if Jackson and Ausmussen even have the guts to face Zenyatta).  To denegrate either one of these incredible horses, i.e. the Clement Hirsch comment, is foolish and short-sighted.

12 Mar 2010 8:02 PM

Runfast, Rachel did win the Preakness.  That is a "classic" race at a "classic" distance despite being less than 10 furlongs.

12 Mar 2010 8:06 PM


You know, looking at the tapes again from last year it is shocking how hard Rachel had to run in the Woodward in order to beat such an average G-2 horse. That is the horse (HOY) you think is going to beat the best horse (the real champ)in the world? Lol....

12 Mar 2010 8:50 PM
It aint easy being good

I love the passion for your beloved Zenyatta who most of you posted would be horse of the year and was not. RA is the best horse that most of you will ever see and you will see the superstar win by 10 lengths tomorrow get your popcorn ready! Looking at lucky aka a california horse will not beat dublin tomorrow! Also I love conveyance!!! The only two horses i like so far are conveyance and dublin! I am more excited to see the new beast in town aka Dublin show how good he is tomorrow.....get your carmel corn ready! loL!

12 Mar 2010 9:34 PM


 With all due respect I feel that you are reaching. There are no excuses other than the fact that he came home slow. Dublin will have to improve by at least five lengths tomorrow if he is going to beat LAL. I'm not saying that he can't, I'm saying that he will have to improve alot if he is going to win tomorrow. JMHO

12 Mar 2010 9:46 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if after winning easily tomorrow, Rachel is retired with some extremely minor or phantom injury.  I have no basis in fact to say this, just a terrible gut feeling that the Rachel connections want no part of Zenyatta.  Hope I'm wrong.

12 Mar 2010 10:06 PM
Mike Relva


I'm not one of the individuals that stated Zenyatta would win HOY,but since you brought it up why don't you MAN UP TO THE FACT YOU GAVE ZENYATTA NO CHANCE LAST YR. WHEN SHE WON THE CLASSIC?

12 Mar 2010 10:16 PM
Vale of York

San Felipe

1st. Sidney's Candy

2nd. Caracortaccobell

3rd. Dave in Dixie


1st.Lookin at Lucky

2nd. Nobles Promises

3rd. Dublin  Sorry D. Wayne

Tampa Bay Derby

1st. Odysseus

2nd. Super Saver

3rd. Uptown

12 Mar 2010 10:43 PM

Lazmanndick you have to be joking? You can have your own opinions but you are not allowed your own facts. In the Woodward Rachel beat 2 G1 winning older males.  Zenyatta struggled to beat a horse that is really nothing but an allowance winner.  Now she is suppose to run down the greatest dirt horse in the world right now? It is laughable that you people claim to know so much about the sport.  Zenyatta has been beating up on a few poly horses.  She has done nothing to speak of on dirt and somehow will take on the top horse in the world and beat her? Have you people learned nothing. Some of you have so much to learn. Just take my hand and let me guide you to the place called draynay knowledge and expertise.

12 Mar 2010 11:27 PM


Cardiff Giant



San Felipe


12 Mar 2010 11:27 PM

Mike Relva- why would you expect that?-lol

12 Mar 2010 11:31 PM

Paula- I actually thought they would give her 130.   I think the spread is fair given her accomplishments compared to the accomplishments of the others.

12 Mar 2010 11:38 PM

Um...Odysseus was more than a full second off the course record in his last out.  I take it you are not a runner as a full second off a record is nothing to write home a horse race its something like 5 or 6 lengths behind the record.    

12 Mar 2010 11:57 PM

responding to it aint easy being good. nobody in horse racing uses the word lock. if you want i will tell you a story about a lock dublin looks to have a ton of talent but do not forget about the luck factor

13 Mar 2010 12:03 AM

2:24 - I never said anything about winning "classic" races.  I was just talking about distances, and I really don't care if RA ever wins at a mile and a quarter.  She's brilliant just the way she is.

13 Mar 2010 12:53 AM


Could there be a Win Willy in the Rebel?

13 Mar 2010 4:16 AM

It ain't easy:

Although I cannot provide a formal statistical analysis, the anecdotal evidence indicates that California synth horses have been having solid success running back East on dirt.

Amen Hallelujah, Bickersons, Kays and Jays, Conveyance, and Freedom Star all went from Santa Anita and won a graded stakes race first start back on dirt(in Midwest and Florida).  Cardiff Giant also ran 3rd in the Southwest, capping a 1-3 finish for Cali shippers, with Conveyance winning the race.  In contrast, horses making their first start on Pro-Ride coming from dirt have really struggled in satakes races at Santa Anita.

13 Mar 2010 4:17 AM


    I do not mind. I've just been looking at different races and noticed that most of the times in the Southwest, over the last few years have been slow. Smarty Jones, the unbeaten speedster, who nearly won the Triple Crown ran a slow final quarter in his Southwest. One has got to wonder why such a good horse would do something so average. The fact that that pole is so far back into the turn would explain it.

Last year I ran track, and one of the drills involved running, full out around a turn. Believe me, it was tiring as all get out. It is much harder to keep your speed up around a turn than it is to on a straight.

You couple that with the fact that Dublin had a wide trip and was closing on a track that was playing to speed all day, and what he did was impressive.

13 Mar 2010 8:37 AM

Ok, this is getting on my nerves so much. People, who really thinks that if Macho and Annaba's Creation were at their best, and were to race, that AC would win? At his best, Macho was a grade one horse. Not a spectacular one, but he was. He proved that last year. After the Sunshine Millions he ran four very good races, three of them Grade ones. In those four races he recorded 2 wins and 2 seconds. Last year he proved that when he was on his game he was a very good horse. His one critism, throughout his career has been his consistency, that is it. If he were consistent there would be no arguement here.

Now, I know for that rant I'll catch all kinds of flack, even though I'm just trying to point out the obvious. Out of the two horses that Zen and RA had their close calls with, Macho was the better of the two. MTB was even better than AC. AC has done nothing since the Clement Hirch, and to be fair neither did Macho. But in all honesty, RA did face the better horse in each of her close calls.

13 Mar 2010 8:49 AM


 You may be right, we will see what happens today. I think this is a terrible race to try and handicap with so many question marks concerning several horses. I won't bet it, but I am looking forward to watching. Let me give you an unasked for piece of advice. Don't ever let people on this or any other blog get on your nerves. Some people post the things they do just for that reason! They are trolls. Don't let it bother you, you are smarter than that.

13 Mar 2010 9:45 AM

Girls Going Wild !!!

Cicada...Fuzzy Britches...this race might get cancelled/postponed due to wind/rain.

Honeybee...Bella Diamante...many in here doing 2 turns first time.

Fla. Oaks...Miss Afleet Alex

Inside Info (Sunday)...Honchis`n Ponchis

Hopefully the 2 big girls win as well.

13 Mar 2010 10:10 AM

Look for Uptowncharlybrown to run a big race at Tampa. He's adding blinkers and should be closer to the pace after a solid 3f gate drill. He likes the track and will be running late.

13 Mar 2010 10:12 AM


Quit making excuses for Macho Again.  If what you are saying is true, then a Macho Again at his best would have trounced Rachel (and personally I think that he wouldn’t beat her if they raced ten times).  And if you want to dismiss him then how can anyone dismiss that other G-1 Stalwart, Bullsbay (another totally over-rated horse who would never beat Rachel and who hasn’t shown anything since his Whitney).  As far as condition though, surely one of the two had to be at his best.  If they weren’t, then why did they race again later in the year?  As far as Anabees Creation……she ran a great race against Zen.  She just got beat by a better horse who only made it close because of jockey error.

Draynay’s analogy of the AC race is a joke because he is missing the one thing that is common to both Rachel and Zen and that’s their ultra strong will to win.  Rachel proved that when she dug down in the Woodward and Zen proved it in the AC race and especially in the BCC.  When you get to the level these two are on, all things being equal, that is the one thing that really does make a difference.

PS….. My post earlier to Draynay was with tongue in cheek just to show him what a moronic statement he made.  The problem is that it really is like to talking to an air vacuum.

13 Mar 2010 10:24 AM


Believe me, after reading your posts there is one thing I have learned.

13 Mar 2010 10:26 AM
Ann in Lexington

If we had real handicaps anymore, Zenyatta would be toting 130 or more; isn't she at least 5 lbs better than the wfa? She's a big horse, she can carry it without a problem. Forego won at 10f under 140, and he had bad ankles.

13 Mar 2010 10:39 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

To answer your question Paula. The weights are set by Jenny Craig, Richard Simmons, and a Weight Watchers executive. I don't like it either but the connections chose the race and don't seem to be worried about it. The Great late Robert Frankel pulled at least one horse I know of out of a race after his horse's weight was too much higher than the rest. I believe the weight difference is way to much but maybe that's the only way to get a field.

13 Mar 2010 11:23 AM

Hey GunBow

Before synthetics, the quality of racing on the Santa Anita/Hollywood circuit was always considered first rate and took a back seat to none of the other circuits in N/A.  Then with the introduction of synthetics the perception of a lot of people is that racing on the coast is not as good anymore.  Personally, I don’t think that the quality of the horses and their ability to win changed over night.  It is still at the same high level and the west coast horses continue to prove it by winning on any circuit regardless of whether it is dirt or synthetics.  Maybe some of the ship-ins just aren’t that good (when compared to west coast horses) to begin with.  LOL

13 Mar 2010 11:24 AM


The only ones who compare Macho and Anabaa only do it to be argumentative. It wasn't the quality of Anabaa that nearly got Zen beat. It was the timing of her run on her least favorite track.

It is a tribute to Rachel's talent and heart that she prevailed in the Woodward. She won because she refused to lose, not because she was facing a weak field.

That's the problem with these senseless arguments. Too many resort to lessening the other horse or its competition to elevate the horse they prefer. Why can't it just be that a person likes one more than the other?

Well, I'm off to Santa Anita. The weather is perfect and the racing should be outstanding. Hopefully I'll see Zenyatta win her 15th in a row and watch Rachel Alexandra as she makes mincemeat out of her competition. The question is: can my nerves take it?

13 Mar 2010 11:55 AM


What do you think Rachel was beating up on last year. No more than whaat you claim Zenyatta was beating up on.

13 Mar 2010 11:57 AM


It is a bad race to handicap, but if I were to have a top three it would be chalky as all get out. Dublin, LaL, and NP. Thanks for the compliment. It's not specific ppl who aggrevate me, it's those that can't admit what is true and refuse to like them both. I like RA more, but I still like Zen.


They are not exuses. If you bring up Macho's three year old year you'll actually see he was not a bad colt. He did quite well that year, except for the fact he would throw in some weird bad performance now and again. As a four year old Macho was a very good horse when he was on. Very good horses don't win the NO handicap and Stephen Foster then place second in the Whitney and Woodward. Plus you throw in that he alread had a good record over Saratoga and was an improving horse at that point, and you have his finish in the Woodward. If you want to argue that he and MTB are not better horses than AC, knock yourself out.


You make so much sense. They both had problems in their race, and it was only the heart and talent that got them across the line first.

I just hate it when ppl try to demote horses that are graded stakes winners to the level of AC. Macho is a very good horse when he is on and so is Bullsbay and MTB. My post was not meant to trash AC, it was simply to point out the fact that AC is not the same caliber of the other three. Are the former three world beaters, no, but they are graded stakes winners, and all three have had a performace that has put them across the wire first in a Grade one.

I really wish people would stop, because I am also getting tired of all the arguing.

13 Mar 2010 12:29 PM


It' all about the competition.  When Macho was good at three he was good against three year olds,  but he had trouble with the top ones in the division.  He has always been inconsistent because so far in his career he has lacked have the overall quality needed to rise and stay at the top. His Whitney was good because of weak competition.  His Foster win was only because of the trouble that Einstein had in the race otherwiase he would have been second again.  In the Woodward, who did he face other than Rachel?  DaTara, Bullsbay?  These are not top drawer horses.  A horse like Macho can best be described as being Salty (good and at times tough, but not top level and often inconsistent).  The term is also used with high prices claimers or horses.  IMO on Macho's best day he would never beat good G-1 horses, especially if they were at their best.  he just isn't good enough. LOL

13 Mar 2010 1:40 PM
Mike Relva

I like Uptown Charly,N. Promise,and Caracortado for the wins.

13 Mar 2010 2:48 PM
Mike Relva


Hey! Draynay is a riot,isn't he?

13 Mar 2010 5:48 PM

RA has a cakewalk this weekend, no cpmpetition at all. No excuses if she doesn't win by 10.

Zenyatta is up against it with the outrageous weight assingment given her. A victory by any margain would be outstanding.

Hope they are equal weights when they face each other. Anything other than that would be a joke.

13 Mar 2010 5:58 PM


Your not getting the point. Out of the two who is better AC or Macho? Nothing else freaking matters. Macho is the better, that is not debatable.

13 Mar 2010 6:02 PM

Odysseus was amazing!! I was on his bandwagon from his first race and I'm not jumping off of it!

13 Mar 2010 6:36 PM

Very good warm up race for Rachel Alexandra.  She should move up nicely off this run.  I believe that is was good for John Shirrif's Zardana to be in the race, making her get what she needed out of this race.  Now its unto the big contest folks.

13 Mar 2010 6:52 PM
Mike Relva


Well, a CA horse won the Rebel on dirt. Also,although RA was probably not in top shape she should have won today,even eighty per cent of herself one would think that's enough to beat the field she faced. BTW did you NOTICE ZENYATTA WON? lol lol

13 Mar 2010 7:10 PM

Hey GunBow

Two more examples of California based horse showing their stuff in the east with Zardana and Lucking at Lucky.  I hope you were at Santa Anita today.  I watched on TV and couldn't help but notice Zen pose in the walking ring.  She's quite the babe.  LOL

13 Mar 2010 7:11 PM
Mike Relva


Did you notice the results today? Guess what? You will "hang yourself" with your insane remarks about Zenyatta's chances in the Apple Blossom like you did the Breeders'.  You still think RA will beat Zenyatta????????????

13 Mar 2010 7:17 PM
Mike Relva


How did you like the races today with RA's and Zenyatta? lol Oh,what happened to Dublin? lol You always give me a laugh! lol

13 Mar 2010 7:19 PM
Mike Relva


What were you crowing about RA gonna win by ten today? lol

13 Mar 2010 7:21 PM

More examples of THE WILL TO WIN and how the good ones seem to excel when it is gut wretch time:

• ZARDANA…..She could have quit when Rachel didn’t and they were eyeball to eyeball, but she kept on (those six year old mares sure are great aren’t they?).

• RACHEL……She never gave up and whether or not she was short, something just didn’t seem right this week leading up to the race.  It appeared that some of her connections seemed less confident than usual.  I hope she comes out of the race in good shape.

• ODYSSEUS……The announcer gave up on him when he started dropping back on the turn and it looked like he wouldn’t even make the board, but Rajiv never gave up and neither did the horse.  I still can’t believe the photo.

• LUCKING AT LUCKY……It appeared that he had to check on the backstretch or maybe Gomez pulled him back, but when he made his move he was awesome.  In spit of that he showed that he has ultra class when he drove on at the wire after a long drive.  Definitely a top two Derby contender.  (DUBLIN ran a great race.  I truly think that the bounce factor (second off a layoff took effect).  I think from here ion in he’ll be a top five Derby contender as will Noble’s Promise the forgotten horse.)

• ZENYATTA……..She really is special and for those that want to say that she’s just a poly specialist, quit being so narrow minded.  (Poly specialists did well today on conventional dirt…..Zardana and Lucking at Lucky, and so will Zen when the time comes again).  That wall of horses looked awful imposing in the stretch and when it appeared that she was going outside and then Smith suddenly yanked her inside, it actually looked like she was panicking.  Then she straightened out, gathered herself, and from there to the wire she showed just how great she is.  I noticed Smith looking at her left front leg in the backstretch after she pulled up, the one she planted when she pulled out.  I hope she’s all right.

As far as Zen supporters taking it out on the Rachel supporters, I sure hope that this doesn’t happen.  If either one of these two didn’t run today the day wouldn’t have been as special.  All I can say is that they both left everything on the track.  They both gave everything they had.

13 Mar 2010 7:27 PM

"Zenyatta struggled to beat a horse that is really nothing but an allowance winner.  Now she is suppose to run down the greatest dirt horse in the world right now?" --Draynay

Gosh, you're right, Dray! It was ZARDANA who beat Rachel today, not Zenyatta, who by the way, won her own debut and is now 15-0.

On to the Apple Blossom.

13 Mar 2010 8:03 PM

Speaking of tough horses, what a terrific performance by Looking At Lucky! He actually jumped in the air and almost stopped mid-race, then got going again on the outside and surged up to win.

Who was it on here who said "Toss all the Cali horses?" ;)

13 Mar 2010 8:15 PM

Nice prep for Zenyatta.  As usual, won without taking a deep breath, going inside this time, giving a nice amount of weight.  Rachel looked short, and Zardana ran a great race.  As long as Rachel's ok, she'll be tougher next time, but her head was cocked again.  I hope all is well with both of them as they cool down.  Nice race by Looking at Lucky, as well as Sidney's Candy in his 2 turn debut, and a great run by Interactif, and Odysseus looked really good, Jason.  I'll keep excusing the smack about Zenyatta in the Live blogs-lol.  What a great weekend of racing.

13 Mar 2010 8:33 PM


I got your point.  Macho Again might be better than AC, but so what.  He's probably better than Zardana most days too.  But who won today?  It just goes to show us that on any given day a horse can step up and race far above its normal capabilities and when they do its really tough for any horse to beat them.  A look back at some noteable upsets in history proves my point.  When AC ran against Zen she gave a top effort and would have beaten a lot of horses that would probably beat her in other races.

13 Mar 2010 8:45 PM

Well, If Ra wasnt' ready for this with Zardana, she sure to hell won't be ready to go up against Zenyatta anytime soon , if ever. I look for her to retire soon.

13 Mar 2010 8:45 PM

Rachel had a nice tune up race ON DIRT and Zenyatta still hasn't touched the stuff.  Enjoy the spoils today but it's only March.  HOY will be decided in Kentucky this year and I have no doubt Rachel will be the winner in the fall and will win HOY AGAIN.  I will see you all at the Breeder's Cup and I want to see if all you Zenyatta fans still have that smile on your face.  The dirt is waiting.

13 Mar 2010 8:46 PM
Paula Higgins

Well, it looks like the weight didn't hurt our girl!!! Zenyatta just ran her usual drop dead gorgeous race. I mean, what does it say that she can carry that much weight and still win convincingly?? I can't tell you how much I love that horse.

Rachel ran a game race but she is not up to her peak conditioning. I hate to say it, but I am wondering if she isn't the same horse she was last year. I hope that isn't true but I am thinking she is having some issues. I will be surprised if the Jacksons run her in the Apple Blossom. She just isn't ready to beat Zenyatta. But you never know, maybe this was a a good prep race for her. She cam close to pulling it off.

13 Mar 2010 8:50 PM

Hey Draynay:

And how did your day go?  As usual your Draynay knowledge was BANG ON.  Regarding Rachel I'll cut you some slack.  We all know that she's suffering from a terrible case of DRAYNAYITIS.  I feel sorry for poor Super Saver though.  What did he ever do to deserve you in his corner though knowing you, you'll be jinxing some other poor three year old next week.  LOL

13 Mar 2010 8:52 PM

Kate Harper- I've said that about Curlin's BC loss before, but nobody cared.  Thanks for thinking the same-lol.

13 Mar 2010 8:56 PM


When Zenyatta kind of threw her head up before she dove toward the rail, it didn't appear to me she was panicked. I thought she was just running up on the horse in front.

I don't know how common it is for a 17-hand horse to be as agile as she is. When she dove into the rail she actually accelerated in front of an oncoming horse, passed the horse that had been in front of her (Pretty Unusual, I think), then accelerated into the outside path in front of Pretty Unusual and ran past the horse that finished second.

As the announcer said, "If you didn't have goose bumps you don't like horse racing."

13 Mar 2010 9:04 PM
Mike Relva


Do you think her leg is ok?

13 Mar 2010 9:28 PM

This is where DRAYNAY comes up with a sob story...his last post is priceless. The ego is just unbelievable.

13 Mar 2010 9:42 PM
It aint easy being good

Mike R its all good bask in the glory I said that califorinia horses dont win the big races and I really dont think these are big races mike they are preps. RA lost big deal its a prep. Dublin lost big deal it was a prep. I still like dublin but after hitting repeat about 15 times today on the tampa race I have to get on the Odyeseuss bandwagon while there is still time. That was AWESOME! Jason saw it for 2 weeks so yeah MIKE R have your glory in the preps come talk to me may 1st, preakness, belmont and breeders cup when your phony PLASTIC RUNNERS DONT SHOW UP!

13 Mar 2010 9:46 PM
Paula Higgins

I have watched this race several times and Zenyatta didn't look scared/panicked and her leg looks fine. I should look so good. This horse doesn't panick about anything. Just adore her.

Watched Rachel's race too. It wasn't bad. She came pretty close to winning it and after a 189 days lay-off that isn't bad. Let's see how this shakes out.

13 Mar 2010 9:47 PM


Zenyatta didn't appear lame cantering and walking right after the race. Perhaps Mike was looking to see if she had gotten clipped by any of the other horses who were close? I don't know.

"HOY will be decided in Kentucky this year and I have no doubt Rachel will be the winner in the fall and will win HOY AGAIN." --Draynay

You seem kind of angry Dray. Is everything OK?

Also, you seem to have forgotten the date of April 9. Does this mean you think Rachel won't meet Zenyatta until Nov. 6 this year?

13 Mar 2010 9:49 PM

Well, what can we say for our girl Zenyatta. 15-0 now thats damn perfect and who can say otherwise. Lets look at her and RA campaigns, the MOsses have been critisized for her handling, but after seeing Ra today,, I will give the Mosses my utmost respect on handling her so well, THAT  she has came back at six, and winning her fifteenth race, still as usual , unbeaten.

I hope Ra will come out of this better, but I have my speculations, I do not forsee her in any race with Zenyatta anytime soon. Who knows what JJ will do next. I don't think he wants to lose twice to a Shirreffs trained horse. It will take RA awhile if ever to try to out do Zenyatta.

13 Mar 2010 10:09 PM
Forbidden Apple

What happened to the beloved Dublin? Itainteasy, you say big deal with a convincing loss, regroup pal and find a new horse.

Draynay, Itainteasy, Pasturelands, Ldp, wake up and smell the sweet victory by Zenyatta. So much for your knowledge and expertise, thank you all for the many laughs. You are all correct about Zenyatta and her chances on dirt, she will not be good, she will be great!

Woo hoo, zip zap, rah rah, and whatever else Pasturelands says, go Zenyatta go!

13 Mar 2010 10:23 PM


Obviously you didn't get my point and to be honest I'm tired of being nice right now. If you don't get after I explained it over and over, you'll never get it, only because you and every other Z fan want to argue over how great Z is and how bad Rachel and her competition is.

13 Mar 2010 10:27 PM

Am I blind, or do I not see any RA fans on here blogging today, since the big upset. Where are you Rachel backers at, come on give us your excuses. We are looking for them. Cat got yalls tongues or has Zardana got your tongues, gosh, I guess if Team Zenyatta was only running Zardana in the N/O race to "size Rachel UP', then they got their answer, right? I think Rachel A. don't want to race anymore. I think they asked to much of her last year.

13 Mar 2010 10:28 PM

Sorry to see Rachel lose, but it was a great day of racing, especially for the "fake" Cali horses running on dirt.  As a person who has been watching these horses run on a daily basis for the last 6 months, it was very rewarding.

Zenyatta is truly something special.  The crowd was probably close to double what it was last week for the Big Cap.  I was able to get real close to Z when they brought her to the paddock, and then had a great spot in the enclosed saddling area; I was all the way to the right, and must have seen Zenyatta circle in front of me 15 times.  She is an absolute beast.  I remember her being big when I saw her in the Breeder's Cup, but that was next to big males like Quality Road and Summer Bird.  Next to other females, she just towers.

While it was a great day for Cali horses across the country, there was one negative; it was the fans at Santa Anita's reaction to the New Orleans Ladies.  Rachel's race was shown on the big screens in the Santa Anita paddock area, when the paddock was filled to the brim with people out to see Zenyatta as she was saddled and led into the walking ring.  When Zardana made her huge move up to Rachel on the turn, the paddock erupted, and it seemed like most were rooting for Zardana.  When Zardana crossed the wire first, many were pumping fists and shouting in excitment.  

While I understand why many fans at Santa Anita would root for Zardana, given she is trained by Sherriffs and is based in SoCal(just ran 4th behind St. Trinians and Life is Sweet in the gr.2 Santa Maria), I was surprised by how many were truly happy with the result.  The fact it was Zenyatta's stablemate beating Rachel made it that much sweeter for many.  

The "party-line" before the race has been: root for both Rachel and Zenyatta to win.  But when faced with the real prospect that Rachel could lose, and to a Cali shipper from Zenyatta's barn, many at Santa Anita dropped the party line and resorted to a regional bias.  For those Cali fans that have trouble with how Zenyatta is disrespected by folks back East, and how she was overlooked for 2 Horse of the Year awards, I don't think Cali fans can claim the high-ground anymore.  It's hard to know if those happy with the result of the New Orleans Ladies were happy that Rachel lost or happy that a Cali horse won, but it probably was a mix of the two.  I'm probably being a little too hard on the Santa Anita crownd, but I definitely was taken aback by how many were happy to see Zardana beat Rachel.

As for the Santa Margarita, Zenyatta did just what she had to do to win, and nothing more.  Once Mike Smith saw the race was over, he just let her coast to the wire.  

Watching a Zenyatta race in person is like a roller coaster ride.  Because of her style, there is this great tension for most of the race.  Today, Zenyatta remained at the back of the pack until the far turn.  Then, when Zenyatta starts making her run, the crwod noise grows, and reaches a crescendo when she starts passing horses.  Today, Smith waited for room on the inside, guided Zenyatta neatly behind Pretty Unusual, and then asked her to dive towards the rail when Pretty Unusual started to fade.  For such a massive horse, Zenyatta displayed great agility in weaving her way through traffic.  

Although Zenyatta did not appear to be running that fast, she still hit the front in midstretch.  By this time, the crowd noise was so loud I couldn't hear Trevor.  By saving ground, Smith had guided Zenyatta to the lead with little effort, and she was literally toying with the competition down the stretch.  It was an ideal beginning of the season.

The final time for the Santa Margarita was a solid 1:48 and 1, and compares favorably with the San Felipe.  Still, I would expect a Beyer under 100, with it perhaps being Zenyatta's lowest Beyer for a stakes race.  The final eighth of 12.45 is good, but not great for Pro-Ride.  Zenyatta will need to be better for the Apple Blossom, whether Rachel is at her peak or not, but all signs suggest Zenyatta will be up to the task.

15 and 0.  It really is hard to believe!

People can put any spin they want to on Rachel's loss, but let's be honest, it was incredibly surprising.  I don't think Rachel ran poorly; she tried like hell and clearly Zardana is a quality mare.  But it shocked me to see Zardana blow right on by Rachel at the top of the stretch.  To Rachel's credit, she fought all the way to the wire while probably "short".  

One would have to think that Rachel will get alot out of the race.  Jess Jackson and Steve Asmussen were clear before the race that Rachel was far from being 100% and might need the race.  However, I think most would have expected Rachel to win easily even if 75%.  Obviously, it is too early for Rachel fans to panic, but there is reason for concern.  It goes without saying that if Rachel doesn't improve considerably in the upcoming month, Zenyatta will blow her away.

It's hard to know if Rachel ran poorly or if Zardana is that good.  I like the way  Rachel finished 11 lengths clear of the 3rd horse.  Yet, the time for the New Orleans Ladies was a tick slower than Secret Getaway ran when winning an optional claimer.  The irony could be that Rachel will get a higher Beyer for the N.O. Ladies than Zenyatta.  Of course, I take synthetic Beyers with a grain of salt.

As for Zardana, let's give her credit for a big effort.  Flores asked her to move early and she responded well. Zardana could have folded when Rachel refused to quit, but she never did.  Zardana did fit the profile of a successful synth-to-dirt runner, with her speed less of an asset on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride.  If one had looked one start back from the Santa Maria, you would have seen that Zardana had won the gr.2 Bayakoa virtually wire to wire on Hollywood Park's dirt-like Cushion track.  Zardana's early speed, which was less of an advantage at Santa Anita, allowed her to stalk Rachel and then pounce on her when asked.  Jerry Moss commented after the Santa Margarita that Zardana is a horse he will have his eyes on for the Apple Blossom.

The day had started sadly for Sherriffs, with the retirement of multiple gr.1 winner, Life is Sweet.  But what an afternoon he had!

p.s.: When I walked to my typical viewing place for the Santa Margarita (on the apron, 2nd row from the top), guess who I ran into?  None other than John Sherriffs.  Kid you not!  He was waiting for the start right there on the apron, and amazingly people either didn't notice him or decided to give him space.  I went up to him and wished him luck and congratulated him on Zardana's victory. Sherriffs smiled politely, but was definitely on edge.  I could see that he relaxed some once he saw the pace was going to be legit.  As Zenyatta crossed the wire, Sherriffs quickly made his way up the apron towards the winner's circle.  However, he was kind enough to give at least 3 women a hug on the way.  When Zenyatta made her way back to the winner's circle, the crowd was riveted; Smith even rode her past the winner's circle and up the stretch to give the grandstand another opportunity to see her and pay their respects.  It was magical.  She is truly a California treasure, and should be a national treasure.  One of the greatest females of all time, without a doubt.

13 Mar 2010 10:31 PM
Paula Higgins

Draynay, Zenyatta will do even better on dirt. I would bet on it.

13 Mar 2010 10:43 PM
My Juliet

   Not easy to see Rachel lose today, after a perfect year. Coming in second is nothing to be ashamed of though, after a 6mo lay-off. Steve and Jess said she was only at 85%, that they were "concerned about her fitness level" going into the race. A lot of questions, have to wait to hear from them. She'll always be Champion to me, and to her many fans.  

   Zenyatta was amazing. That horse IS like a freight train.

    Lazmannick, Thank You for the comment about fans, you have class :)  

13 Mar 2010 10:47 PM

GunBow- that was the official last quarter on the chart taken from the fractions.  I know Zenyatta was 10 back at the 6 furlong mark.  Was she ahead at the mile?  Otherwise her finishing fraction would be faster, albeit still without any effort.

LDP- Zenyatta fans aren't the only ones.  I know you are tired so I hope you have a great night and wake up refreshed and ready for another fun day of blogging :)

13 Mar 2010 11:18 PM

GunBow- you forgot to add on plastic!

13 Mar 2010 11:19 PM
Mike Relva


It wasn't me that said "get your popcorn ready, RA going to win by ten". I think you're a sore loser! You even excuse your beloved Dublin,nice spin! Well a CA horse beat him! Keep setting them up and I'll knock em down, you foolishly stated on Haskin's blog that RA would "smash" Zenyatta. Appreciate ALL THE MATERIAL YOU GIVE  KEEP IT UP. lol

13 Mar 2010 11:32 PM
Mike Relva



13 Mar 2010 11:34 PM

Assmusen said, If he thought Rachel A. would have lost today, he would not have ran her. That means she was running good enough to win in his eyes, she just got beat by a better horse,thats all, quit making excuses for the winning horses, they and their owners and trainers can rejoice in their good luck today too. I am not going to rob the winners from their excitement. We wouldn't be robbing RA and her connections today if she would have won, would we?

13 Mar 2010 11:35 PM

Wow, Zenyatta was awesome.  What a champion.

As for Rachel, even Secretariat got beat when he wasn't tuned up for certain races.  Rachel is not Secretariat, but her human connections let her down for this race.  I hope her greatness isn't tarnished but I also hope people like Draynay will now stop picking and choosing historic incidences of great horses losing to bolster their favorite horse of the moment.

It is clear to me that what sets Zenyatta apart is her will to win and her uncanny intelligence.  She really knows what is going on.  I will not ever bet against her on synthetics, dirt, grass, glass, styrofoam or any other surface she races on.  She may one day get beat but even those of us that thought Rachel would beat her need to stand up and acknowledge her greatness.

As for the 3 year olds, I had the exacta in the Tampa Bay Derby and think the 1-2 finishers will be horses to be reckoned with.  Lookin' at Lucky was very impressive and has to be looked at as the Derby favorite.  Dublin was disappointing.

13 Mar 2010 11:37 PM

Me upset? Don't be silly.  Rachel off a 6 month layoff looked very good.  She got the rust off and can now move forward with her training. Zenyatta won but it was nothing more then a plastic win.  Until she wins something on dirt who cares. Yawn.

13 Mar 2010 11:50 PM
Paula Higgins

I think Zardana was in peak condition and Rachel was not, two main reasons for Zardana winning. Rachel still ran a great race. I am a Zenyatta fan, no question. But I love Rachel too and was disappointed by her loss. In fact, I was stunned. But I was heartened by the fact that she was close and almost had it. She wasn't third or fourth. Let's remember something here: she hadn't raced for 189 days and her training has been on a tight, less than ideal schedule. She raced the boys all last year. Those races weren't a day at the beach. That has to take its toll. I really hope they give her time to bounce back and get to peak conditioning. Until she is where she needs to be they shouldn't race her, period. If this were me, there is no way on earth I would race her against Zenyatta in three weeks and I wouldn't care what anyone thought about it. My horse would come first.

Zenyatta is beyond amazing. There are just no words to describe how wonderful she is and how lucky we are to see her. Congratulations to all her connections.

BOTH horses are National Treasures in my book.

13 Mar 2010 11:55 PM

GunBow, thanks for you first hand accounting of seeing Zenyatta today.

I watched hours and hours of racing coverage from home.  One of the things that I heard was that the crowd at the Fairgrounds gave a rousing cheer to Zenyatta winning today. That's what real racing fans would do.

So, my heart just about stopped when Rachel ran today.  I knew, most of us knew, she was not cranked up. I had a sick feeling when they were walking to the gate that it wasn't going to be her day.

Asmussen is taking the "blame" for not having her ready.  But obviously it is hard to bring a horse back from such a long lay off. I heard the stat that 4 of the 5 fillies/mares that have been named HOY have lost their debut races the following year.  Interesting.

Clearly, we expect much of Rachel.  Perhaps more than is reasonable as she is mere flesh and blood afterall.  Her loss does not diminish her greatness in my eyes.

14 Mar 2010 12:16 AM


Your race narratives are the best. Thanks so much for painting pictures with your words and giving us such good insight into the day's events.

14 Mar 2010 12:43 AM

As I wrote in my earlier post, it was a good day for horses moving from synthetic to dirt, and specifically, Cali shippers.

In addition to Zardana pulling off the New Orleans Ladies stunner over Rachel, there was the sensational runs by Lookin at Lucky and Noble's Promise in the gr.2 Rebel at Oaklawn.

Both Lookin at Lucky and Noble's Promise were making their first starts since running 1-2 in the gr.1 Hollywood(CashCall) Futurity.  Although the Hollywood Futurity was the deciding race for the juvenile Eclipse award, it earned a Beyer of only 83.  In fact, although Lookin at Lucky won 3 grade 1 races and was a nose away from a 4th, his career best Beyer going into the Rebel was a 91.  And while Noble's Promise had won the gr.1 Breeder's Futurity and run 2nd in the gr.1 Hollywood Futurity and 3rd in the gr.1 Breeder's Cup Juvenile, his top Beyer going into the Rebel was also a 91.  So, both horses not only had to run on dirt for the first time in the Rebel, they had to prove (to some) that they truly were fast enough to be Triple Crown contenders.  

However, both clearly had class.  Although many synthetic races like the Hollywood Futurity and Breeder's Cup Juvenile have bunched finishes, typically class does rise to the top.  It is very telling that most of the stakes at the current Santa Anita meet have been won by horses with proven stakes form.

The Rebel demonstrated beyond doubt that both Lookin at Lucky and Noble's Promise have ample talent/speed to go along with their extensive back-class.  

After Jason interviewed Ken McPeek, I wrote that I was fairly confident that Noble's Promise could transfer his form to dirt.  Actually, given that Noble's Promise has excellent tactical speed, I commented that he probably will be even better on dirt than synthetic.  My only question about Noble's Promise, both then and now, concerns his stamina, and more specifically, his ability to get a classic distance.

As for 8.5 furlongs on dirt, Noble's Promise was clearly up to the task.  Noble's Promise was extremely sharp in the Rebel; he used his tactical speed to get a good stalking trip, accelerated impressively when Dublin ranged up on his outside, and then spurted away from that rival to open a clear lead in the midstretch.  For a seasonal debut, and firt race in almost 3 months, Noble's Promise was very impressive in the Rebel, in stark contrast to the comebacking Super Saver in the Tampa Bay Derby.

As good as Noble's Promise was, and he was very good, Lookin at Lucky was clearly the best horse in the Rebel.  I was surprised that Garrett Gomez had Lucky back in 5th early on, and that he was only a length or so ahead of stretch running Dublin; I had thought before the race that Lucky would need to use his tactical speed and get an early jump on Dublin if he were to beat the D Wayne Lukas horse.

Although Lucky was further off the pace than I had anticipated, he was always moving smoothly for Gomez.  While Cali horses have been having recent success moving to dirt, there are no guarantees.  I applaud Bob Baffert for bringing Lucky back East now rather than waiting until the first Saturday in May; if nothing else, it gives us fans and handicappers a better feel for Lucky.

The effortless way Lucky was moving early in the race convinced me that dirt was not a problem for him.  Yet, as confident as I was in him during the early part of the race, I had pretty much conceded the race when Lucky checked on the backstretch, and lost about 3 lengths.  The timing of this incident appeared to be most inopportune.  It was when Dublin was making a strong move on the far outside(a move that appears premature in retrospect).  Gomez asked Lucky to maintain an advantage over Dublin, and Lucky responded in push-button fashion, moving rapidly with that horse to engage Noble's Promise and the other speed.  It's not clear on the video what caused Lucky to check; the charts indicate that Lucky jumped over/across the back heels of Noble's Promise.

After being forced to check, I thought Lucky had lost all chance to win. Lucky had a ready-made excuse if he would have lost focus and run up the track.  While Lucky didn't experience the same trouble that Buddy's Saint did in the Fountain of Youth, Buddy's Saint completely quit after the trouble, and Lucky could have very easily done the same thing.

Lookin at Lucky, however, did not quit after checking.  In fact, he appeared to almost instantly recover, quickly finding the smooth stride he had displayed up to that point.  As well as Lucky responded to the adversity, Gomez might have responded even better.  I am sure that Gomez was tempted to immediately gun Lucky once he had recovered; Dublin was rolling at that point and Noble's Promise had swung into action and taken the lead.  

Against temptation, Gomez sat chilly and allowed Lucky to pick up steam on his own.  And Lucky could not have been moving any better around the turn.  As Noble's Promise and Dublin hooked up on the lead, Gomez had Lucky moving effortlessly, ranging up on the outside.  Dublin surprisingly ran out of gas in midstretch, but Noble's Promise had plenty of run left.  I doubt there is another 3 year that could have run down Noble's Promise after being checked at such a crucial moment.  However, that is exactly what Lookin at Lucky did.  Lucky would have had every excuse had he tired late, given the trouble and the fact he was making his first start in 3 months.  Instead, Lucky just kept picking up steam, finally collaring Noble's Promise at the wire.

The Rebel was a sensational 3 year old debut for the 3-time gr.1 winning juvenile champ.  Dirt proved to be a non-issue; if anything, Lucky appears to move better on dirt than synthetic.  The way Lucky was able to finish, with a final sixteenth in :6 flat(he actually might have run his personal final sixteenth in under 6, a remarkable accomplishment), suggests that the 9 furlongs of the Arkansas Derby will pose little trouble and that the classics are within his range.  Lookin at Lucky is versatile, has tactical speed, the ability to accelerate, a solid closing kick, the trainer, and the breeding.  The blinkers appeared to help him with his only flaw, his tendency to lose focus and pull himself up once he makes the lead.  

I think we now have a clear Derby favorite.

As for Dublin, people can spin it however they want, but he simply could not keep up with Lucky and Noble's Promise down the stretch.  Dublin did have a wide trip again, but he really didn't have to come that wide into the stretch.  Some may point to the fact Dublin was running off just 3 weeks rest and claim that he "bounced".  While it certainly is possible that Dublin regressed a bit, one should remember that Lucky and Noble's Promise were making their first starts in 3 months.  If scheduling/time between races had a role in the Rebel, I tend to think that Dublin, running back in 3 weeks, was not any more compromised than were Lucky and Noble's Promise, racing off the bench.  Throw in the trouble that Lucky experienced, and I just cannot understand how anyone could claim that Lucky was not superior to Dublin, at least in the Rebel.  The best horse on this particular day most definitely won the Rebel.

The Rebel appeared to be a 3 horse race going in, and the 3 big horses lived up to the hype.  Lucky and Noble's Promise were particularly impressive, returning from layoffs and trying dirt for the first time.  Those two horses were 3 lengths clear of Dublin.  Again, I just don't see any major excuses for Dublin beyond the fact he simply got outrun by two faster horses.  Perhaps, the fact the Southwest had been postponed a week and run just 3 weeks ago did have a small affect, and perhaps Robby Albarado moved too soon.  I still consider Dublin a top Derby contender, but I have to rate Lookin at Lucky and Noble's Promise ahead of him.

My preliminary Beyer figure for the Rebel is in the 100-102 range.  I love that Lucky and Noble's Promise ran the final sixteenth in about 6 seconds.  The final time of 1:43 flat was solid, but not spectacular.  Older allowance males ran the same distance 2/5ths slower while the Honeybee was 3/5ths slower.  If the Rebel were to have received a big Beyer, it would have needed to be about 1 second faster.  Still, given that Lucky lost a few lengths when he checked, it was a strong race and a wonderful seasonal debut. Finally, if the Beyer is around 102, it would suggest that Dublin did not bounce but simply ran right back to his Southwest(rather than improving as many expected).

14 Mar 2010 12:44 AM


You're right.  Maybe panic was the wrong choice of a word.  I'm just going off watching the race once without looking at a replay.  Maybe saying something like "Man, I better get my butt going here," would have been a better choice.  It's amazing how she knows what winning is all about.  Given the circumstances.....the fact that she gave away all that weight, ran her way out of serious trouble and still DIDN'T FEEL A WHIP was something no other horse currently racing is capable of doing. LOL

14 Mar 2010 12:45 AM

Hey Mike Relva

I watched Smith pulling her up in the back stretch.  I noticed the way in which he sort of leaned forward and looked at her left front leg.  Maybe it was nothing and I was just imagining things but it's not something you see a jock do unless he/she is concerned.  Hopefully it's just a case of my imagination gone wild.  LOL

14 Mar 2010 12:49 AM

Us Rachel fans are still out here.  There isn't any need to make excuses in my mind (and im sure a lot of other Rachel fans agree).  She wasn't up to the task today, there is no excuse.  

On that note though, just because she has not won every race of her career, does not by any means lessen her ability.  Curlin was great, but Curlin lost.  This does happen to many great horses every once in a while!

Zardana put in a very good performance today, and Rachel was just second best today.  Keep in mind, Zardana is a graded stakes winner, and raced 4 weeks ago.  

I think part of what a lot of people arent seeing here is that horses, just like people, can't stay in shape and be at their peak in every race.  You wouldn't expect Michael Phelps to prepare for the Olympics in 3 months off a 6 month layoff....but thats what we were all asking Rachel to do.  Zenyatta didn't have (or need) this type of layoff due to the campaign she ran last year.  That doesn't make her better just because shes in better shape, it just means that shes been trained differently and is at a different spot in her career.  Z didnt even race when she was 2.  Jackson did a great thing giving RA time off to let her regain her form and grow.  

On another note, Zenyatta ran beautifully today.  One qualm I do have with her however is that I don't think she has ever been tested.  The horses she faced today were nothing special, I doubt many of us had ever even heard of any of them before today.  To her credit, she did give them a lot of weight, but thats handicapping, those horses were not anything close to her level, and it showed.  She's an amazing mare, but I'd like to see her tested.  She could have been in the Breeder's Cup, but it was at her home track, her favorite surface.  She beat dirts horses and a great turf horse.  I'm not knocking her BC race, because it was amazing, mind boggling really. I'd just like to see her when the other horses she is facing are on their favorite track and surface, and she is not, the opposite of the usual if you will.

One thing that I haven't seen mentioned but I've heard a lot of clamor about is Sherrifs decision to run Zardana against RA today.  What was he thinking?  It didn't seem a logical decision for the horse in particular, a graded stakes winner like her would normally seek out another graded race.  The Ladies, was basically inaugurated this year due to RA's need for a prep race. So why did he send Zardana to Louisiana...hardly the capital of horse racing, for an ungraded race.  The only reason i could pick out was to race her against Rachel.  He certainly didnt need to gage RA's ability, i think we all (Sherrifs included) saw enough last year to know what shes capable of.  The only reasons i can see (and id love to hear other opinions, maybe im not seeing something) is one, he wanted to wear rachel down before the apple blossom, or two, he wanted her to lose, which ostensibly would make Z's perfect record look all the better.  

Rachel needed the race, but no trainer wants a gutwrencher like that for a prep of one of the most important races of the year.  Anyone that watched the race could have seen that Rachel tried her heart out, gave everything she had, and didnt give up doubt she will be exhausted.  Surely she will have gotten what she needed out of the race, but probably at the cost of not being ready for a battle with Z on April 9.  

It was always going to be a push to have her ready then, it was a rush just to have her ready for today, and her last few works left something to be desired.  Hindsight is always 20/20, surely asmussen sees she wasn't ready for today, she was fighting Calvin throughout the first half of the race (watch the replay, his legs are straight, butt down, and pulling her back the first 1/2 mile - not a good start for her, and you could tell it was gonna be tough when she was expending that kind of energy fighting with him.  

I'll be interested in any case to see how she comes out it, though I highly doubt that we will see the showdown on April 9.  But would any of us really want to? Both are great horses and I certainly wouldnt want to see RA or Z race against the other when either one of them or the other was not 100%.  

All in all, whether she just wasnt ready, tired herself fighting, or just plain isnt as good as Zardana (which i highly doubt) today she wasn't the best, and it shouldn't be held against her.  A prep race is really meaningless and all of you that think that because she lost she isn't as good as she was last year or shes just not the same horse, sound quite ignorant.  Wait and see, let her get in shape, and then judge after a few races.

Grats to Lookin at Lucky, Odysseus Sidney's Candy.  Lookin at lucky answered everything he needed to, and Odysseus looks like the real thing...can't wait to see how he comes along this year!

14 Mar 2010 1:15 AM

Hey LDP:

You know that I'm a die-hard Zenyatta fan, always was and always will be.  However, I’m not gloating over the fact that Rachel lost today.  Far from it, in fact I find it kind of sad.  My concern is that she might not be the same horse.  Maybe the Woodward really did take a lot out of her because a normal Rachel wouldn't have been passed in the stretch by a Zardana type horse once she made the lead, not after running behind a good but not spectacular pace.  Hopefully she is sound both physically as well as mentally.  Sweet dreams.

14 Mar 2010 1:17 AM

As for how Zenyatta looked after the race, I remember thinking as she was returning to the winner's circle that I have rarely seen a horse look so fresh and strong after just winning a grade 1.  If Mike Smith had detected anything wrong with Zenyatta, there's no way he would have jogged her past the winner's circle and half-way up the stretch the wrong way.

Rachel's loss highlights just how hard it is for a horse to remain at its peak for an extended period.  The fact Zenyatta has won all 15 of her starts over 3 years is truly one of the greatest accomplishments in racing history.  She, like many horses, could have lost her debut, or lost the 2008 Apple Blossom when meeting champion Ginger Punch while making only her 4th career start and first on dirt, or lost the 2009 Milady while making her first start in 7 months, or the 2009 Vanity when she carried 129 lbs, or the Breeder's Cup Classic when she faced males for the first time and tried 10 furlongs for the first time.  Like Rachel, Zenyatta had a ready-made excuse for the Santa Margarita, coming off a significant layoff (over 4 months).  On top of that, Zenyatta was coming back after having been retired and having participated in 2 public retirement ceremonies, and had to carry 127 lbs, spotting the field from 12 to 16 lbs. I don't care what surface a horse is running on, posting a 15-0 record is truly remarkable.  And no matter what happens from here, Zenyatta should always be celebrated for this amazing start, a start that includes 9 grade 1 wins.

Just like with Zenyatta, whatever happens with Rachel this year won't take away from what she did in 2009.  Her season last year was truly one of the greatest by a female thoroughbred, and arguably the best ever by a 3 year old filly.  While I think Zenyatta's BC Classic trumps anything Rachel did, and believe Zenyatta has a stronger career resume, Rachel deserved to win the 2009 HoY.  No one can take this from her.

14 Mar 2010 1:19 AM

Zenyatta's the best of this era hands down. All it took was Zardana to beat RA so she better just keep on ducking the real HOTY. Draynay seems to conveniently forget that Zenyatta already won the Apple Blossom in a romp,her largest margin of victory by far. The Zenyatta camp could care less if RA shows up in Arkansas because they already proved RA can be beaten. Zenyatta could carry 140 and not get tired winning a grade 1. She definately reminds me of Cigar during his winning streak.

14 Mar 2010 1:30 AM
Matthew W

Still I think they should not have prepped 1 1/8, giving weight, and they had to make a left turn--they HAD to--the streak demands you to win at all costs--I'm hoping John doesn't get a back strain, he'll be feeling her legs for days--as for Rachel--a great prep, she needed one--not Zenyatta! 1 1/8 will only take away her edge--if she goes 20 for 21, it'll be like the original Big Red--I'm thinking she'll have a lot to do at Oaklawn, thinking Rachel will atone for her opening-season loss--I'm also thinkin' thats the one and only time anybody gets Zenyatta, who trusted Mike and followed his (stern) lead today, and I also would like to state my opinion, that they blew it when they didn't allow for a shared-vote in the Eclipse ballots--after going 7 for 7, they were told they needed to win the Classic for HOY--not their fault the horse that won HOY did not compete in Fall--they only did what the voters had told them--they won the Classic, also while you shouldn't get votes for the previous year, you should get votes for having been on top for a second season, there's a difference, many greats, like Alydar and Easy Goer, did not stay great at four--I'm saying they blew it, they should've allowed for a shared vote as a voting option--I'm hoping Zenyatta gets them all in the Classic--Quality Road, Summer Bird, Gio Ponti, Lookin At Lucky, and Rachel Alexandra the great...just hoping Zenyatta's ok, that's a big load to be turning right angles with--as far as the Rebel--that was a horse race--also was blown away by the Pletcher colt at Anita--he has a beautiful stride, very correct--Sidneys Candy is fast--he runs like a sprinter/middle distance type--Interactif is on my short list, and he's near the top! Caracortado, I would not go to Kentucky--he's a gelding, why suffer the trip?...Better to try them in Maryland, My Maryland....Lookin At Lucky! C'mon! He ran down a real pro, Nobles Promise--Thw West is loaded--I love Interactif in SA Derby! And Baffert's gonna be tough on Kentucky Derby Day, no?!

14 Mar 2010 1:43 AM

I am not too sad over Rachel's loss today-- maybe she needs it to get her focus back.  

It was Asmussen's fault actually-- he had been IRRESPONSIBLE in allowing Rachel to rest for 5 months with almost no workouts, then suddenly bring her back in a month of 'CRASH' workouts.  Its like a kid going on vacation for 2 months, then cramming for the exams in 5 days!!  They obviously OVER-ESTIMATED Rachel's capacity to win!  

If it were up to me, I'd fire Asmussen, or at least get HAL WIGGINS to co-train Rachel.  After this fiasco, its best to let the REAL PRO, Hal Wiggins, do the training with Rachel.

Otherwise, its okay.  Rachel is still my girl!!

14 Mar 2010 1:45 AM

I left my house this morning feeling really confident that Rachel Alexandra would win her race by a few lenghts. I was a lot more nervous about Zenyatta. As it often does, in horse racing, things turned out differently than I expected. You guys know by now that I am absolutely bunkers over the great mare, so let's just say that I was delirious when she won again. Rachel's defeat made me sad. She got beat by a tough, talented mare at a time when she wasn't fully prepared. It's a shame. Hopefully, she'll be back to fight and win many more days.

Odysseus wrenching a victory from the jaws of apparent defeat was one of the most amazing thing I have ever seen. There should be NO doubt now that he IS a Derby horse. Tough beat for Schoolyard Dreams. Super Saver ran well, in spite of the Draynay jinx.

Looking at Lucky was fantastic. It was a close one but with the problems he had it's amazing that he managed to win. Not bad for a California "plastic" horse. (Sorry! I coudn't resist.)

Sidney's Candy did what is often impossible: win wire to wire at Santa Anita. Impressive! Interactif is another one to pay attention to. At a longer distance he will be very dangerous. Caracortado did not embarass himself. Maybe he needs a faster pace. We'll see.

In closing RIP Google Me, a 3yr old, who suffered a catastrophic break down, right after the finish line. He was euthanized on the track. Very sad... Took me a long while to recover enough to enjoy the rest of the day. Zenyatta's win helped a lot!

14 Mar 2010 1:58 AM

Some thoughts on the San Felipe and Tampa Bay Derby.

Not sure exactly how to interpret the San Felipe.  The 3 horses I expected to run well did so, although the order of finish was not quite what I had envisioned.  Sidney's Candy, the most impressive 3 year old I had seen at the Santa Anita meet, actually exceeded my expectations in winning the San Felipe.  Winning wire to wire around 2 turns is not a frequent occurrence on Pro-Ride.  So, just by doing that, Sidney's Candy deserves alot of respect.

What tempers my enthusiasm for this is the fact he got away with the frist 6 furlongs in 1:13 and 2.  For the first 3 quarters, all Sidney's Candy was asked to do is run steady :24 and 3 splits, an easy task for a horse as gifted as him.  Still, I loved the way Sidney's Candy was able to spurt away from American Lion, Interactif, and Caracortado.  I also loved that he ran his 4th quarter in :22 and 3, a remarkable internal fraction, and the final sixteenth in :6 flat.

With his speed, my gut feeling is that Sideny's Candy will be better on dirt; at the least, I think he can be equally effective on dirt as he is on synthetic.  He will definitely have to run faster early fractions on dirt, but his performance in the San Vicente suggests he has the ability to do so.  The final time of 1:42 and 1 was a shade faster than gr.3 level allowance (older) males ran earlier on the card, and the final 5/16ths in :29 and 3 made up for the slow early pace.  One thing I have found out, no pace is slow enough on Pro-Ride; only really talented horses can go wire to wire around 2 turns.  I'm not sure if Sidney's Candy wants anything beyond 9 furlongs, but he will be difficult to run down in the Santa Anita Derby and figures to be a pace factor, if nothing else, in the Classics.

Interactif ran a sneaky good race in the San Felipe.  I was a little surprised and disappointed to see him so close to the pace, but ultimately it probably worked in his favor for this race.  Interactif appeared beaten on the turn, when Sidney's Candy snuck away and Caracortado ranged up outside of him.  Yet, Interactif never quit, and just kept plugging away.  Although Joe Talamo had the race well measured on Sidney's Candy, Interactif was getting to him late, and fell only a half-length short.  The performance validated Pletcher's decision to send him here.  One should also keep in mind that shippers have been struggling in Santa Anita stakes, so Interactif is likely to be even sharper for the SA Derby.  His final sixteenth of :5 and 3 in the San Felipe was very strong.

Caracortado looked like he was going to easily get 2nd on the far turn, but he really flattened out.  Of course, Caracortado was actually running fairly well in the stretch and only appeared to hang because Sidney's Candy and Interactif were running ridiculously fast.  None the less, Caracortado just didn't have the same pop he displayed in the Bob Lewis.  The much slower pace of the San Felipe certainly harmed his cause, but he was always within striking distance of the pace and had a good, although wide, trip.  Pace and trip will likely decide the SA Derby given how equally matched the top contenders are.

American Lion disappointed once again.  I wanted to see him further back, but with the slow pace probably would have struggled anyways.  What makes American Lion's performance so poor is that he was close to the pace but was passed by Interactif and Caracortado.  Maybe a return to Keeneland for the Blue Grass will spark him?

Dave in Dixie, who had the perfect trip in the Bob Lewis, had no pace to run at in the San Felipe.  Still, he showed very little.  I wasn't high on him going in, and am certainly not now.

Tampa Bay Derby:

Honestly, my first inclination is to throw out any horse coming from this race.  Visually, the race appeared to fall apart in the stretch, with horses staggering up and down but no one doing any real running.  The 4th quarter took :25.68, and the final sixteenth was run in a tepid :6.89.  

Odysseus and Super Saver, the 1-3 finishers, both looked dead on the turn.  The fact both were able to hang around is probably a bigger testament to the mediocrity of their competition.  I have to believe that if Lookin at Lucky, Noble's Promise, or even Dublin were in the place of Schoolyard Dreams, Odysseus wouldn't have been within sniffing distance of the winner's circle.  

Having said this, I do give Odysseus credit for an extremely game effort.  After he was passed by half the field, he had every right to spit the bit.  But, he never did.  Yes, others like Schoolyard Dreams and Gleam of Hope hung, but for such an inexperienced horse to keep fighting like Odysseus did, does say something.  One would expect Odysseus to keep improving, but make no mistake, he will absolutely have to if he is to be any factor in the Derby.  Jason, I hope you made some money on him, but there's no way you should have him ranked #1 this week.

Schoolyard Dreams looked at the top of the stretch as if he was going to romp, and even after hanging appeared to have still won at the wire.  The photo was almost cruel for his connections.  Clearly, this is a nice horse.  But, I don't like the fact that ALL 7 horses in the field were separated by less than 4 lengths at the finish.  Gelam of Hope, at 42-1, was right there in 4th, and even 112-1 Slammy Boy was only beaten 3.75 lengths in 6th.

Super Saver disappointed.  Rule had just dominated most of the same horses in the Sam Davis, so it would appear Super Saver is pretty far behind Rule at this point.  Super Saver was making his first start in about 3 and half months, so he wasn't going to be at his best.  But I'm sure Pletcher expected more than beating Gleam of Hope by half a length.  The pace Super Saver set was legit, particularly for the deep Tampa track.  And the final time for the TB Derby was almost 2 seconds faster than the Florida Oaks.  However, without She Be Wild, the Florida Oaks didn't have any of the top 3 year old fillies.

Uptowncharlybrown also diappointed in 5th, but he was only beaten about 3 lengths.  Thus, it's hard to say he ran badly but that Odysseus ran well.  He did appear to experience some traffic problems around the turn, so he may deserve another chance.

Overall, however, I have trouble seeing any of the TB Derby horses as anything more than complimentary players on the national stages.  

14 Mar 2010 3:21 AM
Fire Slam

I was afraid to view what folks were saying about Saturdays race card.

RA was short. Happens to the best. Feel she is probably one more race away from being in peak condition. Maybe two more.

Zenyatta is awesome. Still wish she was doing this on real dirt, but my god, her ears aren't even pinned. Dont think Mike S. has really gotten to the bottom of her.

Why did Lukas take Terry Thompson off of Dublin and Decelerator?? Thompson rode Dublin almost perfect last time. He came with one big run from well back, and got nosed. Nakatani got some run, and then Dublin faded.

Looking at Lucky is awesome. Will be interesting to see Soaring Empire in the Florida Derby.

14 Mar 2010 5:26 AM


Be nice to LDP.  She had a bad day with American Lion, Dublin and Rachel losing.


Thank you for the report from Santa Anita.  

14 Mar 2010 7:23 AM
Kate Harper

I wonder if Jess Jackson might want to reconsider that 3 race series now?  

Gunbow--thanks for the recap of your day at S.A.  I would probably be a little less critical of the crowd cheering Zardana.  I think there is little question of regional bias, mostly the rest of the country against California racing so it is understandable to feel good about seeing a John Shirreff's horse defeat RA, even if wasn't the expected mare. I wasn't surprised to hear Ann Moss call her trainer the best in the country after the race. I think he, Mike Smith and their great mare were all slighted at the BC,  but that is old news.  I just wish Life is Sweet could have gone on to Dubai and won the World Cup to really spotight JS's incredible training talent.

The irony is that if Zardana hadn't been in the race, RA would have won by 11 lengths and everyone would have been saying she was starting the year just as she did in '09.  Do I think she is the same filly as she was last year?  No.  But I have long felt she wouldn't face Zenyatta in the AB and I now question whether they will ever meet.  I hope RA is fine and moves forward but a triumph over the reigning HOY isn't necessary to tell me who the best horse is in the country.  It's Zenyatta and when she beats all comers in the Apple Blossom, on the blessed dirt for those who continue to discredit her performances in the past, I would hope that will finally silence the Draynays and It Ain't Easy's of this world.  

14 Mar 2010 9:04 AM
Lil Darlin

Internet, finally! Wow, we had a heck of a windstorm here in the northeast yesterday...there was some crazy stuff flying around, not the least of which is a 60 ft hemlock through my neighbor's house (sucker is 2.5 feet across at the base) Glad it wasn't my house and glad they are summer residents so no one was home).

Anyway, I was a little surprised to see the resuls this morning...but Rachel definitely needed a race and Zenyatta, well, she is Zenyatta, what can we say. Hats off to her and her camp, and I hope when the two meet they are both in peak form. OH, and after watching the replay of Odysseus, I guess I will have to stop re-thinking and take him seriously...he looked completely out of it, can't believe he won that race! I have to go cut some trees now...cheers, everyone!

14 Mar 2010 10:14 AM

I hope that Rachel comes out of the race okay. It certainly did not seem like the Rachel of last year.

It still astounds me how little respect Zenyatta gets.

First she beats the best the world has to offer and wins the most prestigious race of the year. This time she was last at the quarter pole and seemingly beat again, yet she still finds a way to win.

I hope that we'll get to see the Apple Blossom that we've all been anticipating.

P.S.  I can't wait to get some more of that Draynay "knowledge" and "expertise".

14 Mar 2010 10:46 AM

Jason...I really have to eat some crow.  If I were to give an award for true grit, hands down, it would belong to Odysseus for his gutsy performance at Tampa Bay.  He now has my respect.  The most impressive horses of the weekend, without a doubt, were Lookin At Lucky, Noble's Promise, and Zenyatta.  The biggest heartbreak was Rachel Alexandra's upset loss.  She simply was not the same 2009 horse.  Whether it's her conditioning or the effect of the Woodward, we won't know for a while.  I was geatly disappointed that Dave in Dixie did not fire in the San Felipe, but gained respect for Sydney's Candy.  He's a well-muscled horse, and looked great.  Schoolyard Dreams is also a force to be reckoned with since he bested Super Saver....what a finish!  All during the day, a wicked storm with high winds racked my home and broke trees apart in their fury, while all the time, the only thing I could think of was...dear God, don't let the cable go out until all the races are done!  Well, I got to see all the races, my cable lasted, as did my home.  Hooray!

14 Mar 2010 11:40 AM
Pam S.

Gun Bow, I was at SA yesterday too, and you're right, it was magical.  I do think you are being a bit rough on the SA crowd.  They cheered FOR John Shirreffs and Zardana, not against Rachel.  Everyone wants the Apple Blossom to happen, so I guess there is an "official party line" and a discouragement of any regional biases, but booing and cheering is part of sports, whether it's A-Rod or Pele or Muhammad Ali.  Or Rachel.  I know racing is kind of fragile and needs support, but we can't let political correctness take all the fun out of it.  

Many, many horses lose after a long layoff like Rachel had.  But last summer, she would have won this race laughing.  It's my personal opinion that the Woodward was a turning point in her career.  I'll be surprised if Zenyatta is racing for a $5 million purse come April 9.

14 Mar 2010 12:09 PM
Virgil Fox


Absolutely noticed Mike looking at her left front leg in the backstretch after she pulled up.

Watched it a few times all the way through.  I became more interested/concerned with that 'inspection' than the actual finish of the race.

Would be nice to have a few words from Mike, but I imagine he would just say she's fine even if there really was a concern.

- Peace

14 Mar 2010 12:10 PM
Mike Relva


You are one of the few individuals on this blog that has my respect,but it "cuts both ways". Look at how many that don't respect Zenyatta! I'll bet you can't find one blog where I've been disrespectful to RA. Can you say that regarding all the trash that has been thrown Zenyatta's/connections way? I'm not happy that RA lost yesterday,but the one's that continues to slam Zenyatta as if she's worthless,perhaps they need a little reality check as in what happened yesterday. Yes,in all fairness to RA yesterday was a tune up after a long layoff,but I still expected her to win. Calvin did the correct thing not to push her anymore than he did. Zenyatta's owner came under fire by many for remarks he made after HOY awards,but it's ok for Jackson to say that "if Zenyatta won the Apple Blossom she might disappear and retire". It's not fair for some to turn a blind eye to whatever Jackson says,by giving him a free pass. I don't get it! All I know is Zenyatta carried high weight and  she's 15-0 now and many treat her as if she run's in claiming races! It's my wish for both to run in the Apple Blossom next month,but at a hundred per cent,not anything less.

14 Mar 2010 12:13 PM

As usual Zenyatta was brilliant overcoming a huge weight disadvantage. The best horse in the world won again.

RA lost just as I have said here she would more than once in the last months. I've said she wouldn't get therough the year undefeated and would be beaten by a horse other than Zenyatta or QR. Who knew it would be the Zenyatta's barn second string? Oh nay nay how it must burn to see RA get beat by a 2nd stringer and a poly track horse to boot. Nay Nay you were wrong, wrong, wrong, as you are so many times. I love it when a blowhard like you gets burned.

14 Mar 2010 12:35 PM

I think Rachel ran well considering she was coming off a 6 month layoff. If Zardana wasn't in the race she would've looked very impressive. And no horse wins every race (except for Zenyatta!) I hope she does run in the Apple Blossom, and I agree with Calvin, I think she would've won if she was allowed to take the lead and run away.

14 Mar 2010 12:36 PM
Forbidden Apple

Where are you now Pasturelands? I would like to hear your spin on your girlfriend Rachel's race yesterday. There should be no shame in losing, most horses do get beat. I understand that she was not 100% but if she is so great, then she should be able to win a $200k allowance race.

Lookin at Lucky moves back up on my list this week, he put in a gutsy performance and should only improve. Yesterday was my first look at Sidneys Candy and looked very sharp. I would like to see him ship out of CA and try the dirt. I see distance limitations with Nobles Promise, Dublin, Caracortado, Super Saver, and Uptowncharlybrown. That is, I do not like them at 1 1/4 miles for the KY Derby. I was most disappointed with Caracortado, I thought he was better than he ran.

14 Mar 2010 12:39 PM
Forbidden Apple

It is now official, no more Buddy's Saint on the KY Derby trail. This is the time of year when the injuries start surfacing and horses are forced off from the trail. Good luck with your recovery Buddy.

14 Mar 2010 12:49 PM

I will keep this short, because I cannot be polite enough if I go into a rant, but Gun Bow, I agree with you point on the Santa Anita cheers. I however will take it one step further and say how terribly classless it was. I can understand trash talk, I can understand having a chip on your shoulder, not like the connections, or thinking a horse is overrated. However to cheer when a great horse loses, no matter what you feel is completely and utterly classless, I restrain for putting that word in caps. People claim to love both to cheer for both, the west claims to be unbaised, yet cheered when they saw Rachel, one of the sports most popular horses, lost. IMO it's as equally classless of a thing to do as booing an opposing team/country. To me it was completely disgusting to learn of that.

14 Mar 2010 1:20 PM
sweet terchi

GunBow, well said!! :)

14 Mar 2010 1:46 PM

Even though Zenyatta is my favorite horse in training I did not like seeing Rachel lose. She was coming off a long lay-off and was 80% ready but her class alone should have carried her to victory.

And some of you really need to drop this synthetic specialist crap as if Zen can't win on dirt. Look around horses that begun their careers and did well on synthetic surfaces have been winning major dirt races over the last couple of years. (Mine that Bird, Careless Jewel, Lookin at Lucky, I Want Revenge,etc.) You're truly delusional if you think Zen won't perform as well if not better on dirt.

14 Mar 2010 2:08 PM


In answer to your question, why did Sherriffs send Zardana to the Fair Grounds to race against Rachel.....I think I read somewhere that it was the owner's decision and not some ploy on Sherrif's part to evaluate Rachel.  I also think that because the Apple Blossom is an invtational race, what better way to get an invite than to take on one of the major p[articipants and run well against her.  I don't think that in their wildest dreams they were confident that they could win, but they probably did think that Zardana wold do enough to get an invitation.  LOL

14 Mar 2010 2:49 PM
Mike Relva


Thanks for your usual spin! It hurts, doesn't it?

14 Mar 2010 2:58 PM

Will you people quit saying " Rachel would have won if Zardana had not been in there", Well, she was in there and she won the race fair and square. Maybe last year some of the other horses would have won too if Ra had not been in that race as well. IT is stupid talk, thats horseracing, this is what its all about..."Duh". I am sorry for her loss, but I am happy for Zardana's win...I am thrilled but not surprised for Zenyatta's win.  Thats just how she is, she loves to win.....People don't want to congratulate a fine horse for her win as Zardana because she snubbed RA for her win. Is that fair for Zarana and her connectons because we can't be happy for her and them becasue they beat out the HOTY, damn, thats terrible.

Assmusen said, "If I thought she was going to lose, I would not have ran her"!, do you think they wanted to get beat?? Hell No, they are in shock too. And the SA crowd, is it terrible that they were happy to see another Cali horse win? Can they be happy for another horse from there own state. Sorry, Ra had no east coast biased help Saturday. she is on her own now....HOTY, was only good for last year....

14 Mar 2010 2:59 PM

Draynay, I cannot understand how someone can hate a type of racing surface and allow that hate to spill over onto the horses that run on it.

As Gunbow pointed out, Zenyatta is 15-0, an incredibly rare achievement in horse racing. Yet, you treat her with disdain, as if she was a 0-15 claimer.

Please, adopt another sport. Your attitude doesn't shine a bright light on this one.

14 Mar 2010 3:20 PM

You RA fans misjudged RA. Zenyatta fans knew how she was going to come back, You Rachel fans put her up on a high hype not ever knowing how she was going to come back after her previous year under JJ. She is facing real good competition this year and having to take the weights as a four year old, like the other horses have to do. This is a hard year for her. And she hasn't faced the monster yet. and they should be scared, becuase she(Zen) ain't slowing down for anything....

14 Mar 2010 3:34 PM


I went to UF. I don't ever recall a game in which Gator fans cheered for the opposing team. Is that "completely and utterly classless?" I think people would answer, "No."

I wasn't at Santa Anita Saturday, but I have to think the spectators there know who John Shirreffs is, know he trains Zardana in California, and think of both as their "Home Team."

I can understand you adore Rachel Alexandra and feel bitter toward Shirreffs because Zardana beat Rachel Saturday. I was shocked the race played out that way as well. But really, this disgust and what appears to be suppressed anger is over the top.

If you want to be upset with someone, perhaps you could direct your gaze at Rachel's connections who put her through such a punishing campaign last year that she reportedly lost 100 pounds after the Woodward. Then, they didn't do anything with her for about six months.

I live in Florida. We get the same weather systems that go over New Orleans. It didn't rain EVERY day this winter, and if they were that concerned about weather they could have stabled her in Florida. Our winters are pretty nice. And we do have a few racetracks.

14 Mar 2010 3:38 PM


I'm not going to defend everyone at Santa Anita.  Some were definitely happy to see Rachel lose.  However, I don't think most would have been as excited as they were if it wasn't Zardana that beat Rachel.

Understand that when the New Orleans Ladies was run, John Sheriffs was in the paddock, down in the saddling enclosure, getting Zenyatta ready.  It was a rare chance for fans to watch, and share with John Sherriffs the experience of watching one of his horses run against and beat the horse so often compared with his stable's star.

The news of Zardana's victory spread from the paddock, where the race was shown on a large screen and broadcast over the track's speaker system, to the saddling area where there where no monitors (that I saw) showing the NO Ladies and where one could not hear the call of the NO Ladies.  So, some people ended up screaming congratulations to John Sherriffs to inform him of the result the second Zardana crossed the wire. Even I, running from saddling area to the paddock and back to the saddling areea, gave a thumbs up to Sherriffs, hoping he would see me.  At that moment, I was happy for Sherriffs and happy to be sharing this moment with him in real-time, and I think alot of other people were too.  But some, unfortunately, just were happy Rachel lost.

One other thing, until a person comes out to California and experiences all the insults and disrespect thrown at the horses I cheer on every day, it's hard to understand the psyche of the California fan.  In every blog I read, there are always at least a few that are almost viciously anit-California, anti-synthetic, and anti-Zenyatta.  On this particular blog, it's Draynay and It ain't Easy.  Let's be honest, there's no one on this blog, or on any of the other blogs I read, that are equally anti-East, anti-dirt, and anti-Rachel.  And it's not even close.  If you were consistently seeing your horses, your favorite horses, and your entire racing system bashed, you might be a little resentful too.  

And while there are people that clearly prefer Zenyatta to Rachel and even go so far as to question Rachel's greatness, be honest with yourself, there's no anti-Rachel equivalent to Draynay.  Not only does he dispute Zenyatta's greatness, he doesn't even acknowledge her as a "real" racehorse, just some horse that wins alot on a "fake" surface.  No one directs such insults at Rachel.

While some in the Santa Anita crowd sunk down to the level of the anti-Cali haters, John Sherriffs remained above it all, displaying great restraint. Sherriffs wasn't even watching the race; he was 100% focused on getting Zenyatta saddled.  However, with people buzzing over the result, he did crack a smile.  But he, and most of Team Zenyatta, were more concerned with getting the oftentimes rowdy crowd to quiet down.

14 Mar 2010 3:38 PM


A horse brokedown at Santa Anita yesterday?  I was late, as usual, and didn't get there until race 4.  Had I seen the breakdown, that might have pushed my already out-of-control nerves to the brink.

14 Mar 2010 3:42 PM

All Zenyatta does is win, and so many can't give her her due.  People cheered when a West Coast runner beat Rachel.  That's horse racing.  How many cheered when Onion beat Secretariat.  Probably alot.   How many cheered when Handsome Boy beat Buckpasser?  Probably alot.  All I hear is how bad Zenyatta fans are, but Rachel fans don't ever give Zenyatta the respect she deserves.  It is a two way street and I'm tired of the criticism being so one sided.  It's time for the Rachel fans to step up and give Zenyatta her due.  

14 Mar 2010 3:58 PM

People are saying " Asmussen is taking the blame for RA losing becuse of her training". Helloooo, he couldnt train her for a few months becuse she was all but dead after the woodward.

She probably laid in the barn for over a month. The fault lies on the line like this, JJ expected to much out of her last year,and it has more than likely taken the "all" she once had. I do not expect for her to come back like last year, not at all... She is no Zenyatta by far.....Rachel should have been able to held off a grade 2 horse, period. Even with the training she has had, she was digging deep, with all she had and she couldnt do it. JJ ego could be done ruined her. and now she faces another defeat? I do not forsee this race at the AB anytime soon..

14 Mar 2010 4:00 PM


Good call on taking Interactif over picking Caracartado on THS,he just would'nt him by as he seemed to be gaining on the leader (Sidney's Candy).

14 Mar 2010 4:09 PM


If you respect me, then do me the favor of backing the heck off. I am stressed and PO, but I remain fair and you know it. I do cut things both ways and you know that too. I come back with facts, as you very well know. I do not spin things as you know, so do not get high and mighty with me, because right now anyone who does better be ready for one heck of an argument. Jackson does not get a free pass at all, many Zenyatta fans and even some RA fans that flat out hate JJ make sure of that. But IMO, JJ is good for the sport. Does he wait fifty years to make a decision on where his horse should run, yes. Does that annoy me, yes. But what also annoys me is the "free pass" many Z fans give Moss for his careful handling, by saying he is doing it for the good of the horse, then bashing JJ for taking things on a day to day basis with his filly. I have and alway will continue to cut it both ways, but if I dare say anything about anybody I am pushed off as taking up for RA, when in fact I'm NOT. I cannot stand the likes of Pastureland just as equally as I can't stand many of the huge Z supporter like PJJ you like. So please back off.

14 Mar 2010 4:12 PM
Paula Higgins

I really enjoy hearing everyone's opinion on this blog and I RESPECT THEM, even when I don't agree. I think most of us feel really badly that Rachel didn't win this one. She was very close and almost did it. For those people who are cheering her loss, think again. It may mean that she doesn't show up at the Apple Blossom, which is not good for racing at all. I commend the Jacksons and Steve Asmussen for being good sportsman and even running her on Saturday. They should be applauded for the risk they took. They had concerns about her readiness and did it anyway based on her last work, which was good. I understand why they ran her and I will certainly understand whatever decision they make for the Apple Blossom. The horse comes first. People at Santa Anita who clapped when Rachel lost, well all I can say is that it reflects poorly on them. I am a Zenyatta loyalist, hands down. But I did not want to see Rachel lose. I want Zenyatta to beat Rachel at her very best, not root for Rachel to fail when she is in less than great condition. I would not celebrate a win like that. Nor would any true sportperson. Who wants to see a champion like Rachel, and YES she is a Champion for the Ages, get beat when she is in subpar shape. Not me, it would only make me feel really bad. So while I am thrilled for Zenyatta, I want Rachel to bounce back in great form and may the best horse that day win when they meet.

14 Mar 2010 4:20 PM

For those who were at Santa Anita yesterday, was my description of the paddock scene during the New Orleans Ladies accurate?  Like I've said, it's hard to know if the people cheering were happy Rachel lost or happy Zardana and John Sherriffs won.  However, is my memory correct that many in the crowd were cheering, regardless of motive?

I also think many were happy that if Rachel was to lose, she lost to a Cali synthetic horse.  I talked to a few people who expressed how tired they were of others disrespecting Cali racing, and underestimating Cali horses as too slow.  One guy, who had his daughter on his shoulders, could even recite all the Cali synth horses that have gone back East and won stakes races on dirt, including Amen Hallelujah, Kays and Jays, Conveyance.  I added Bickersons and Freedom Star. This was before Lookin at Lucky won the Rebel.

The horse out in California are still good.  It's just different.  It's a different type of good.  The stereotypical Cali speed horse no longer dominates; in it's place is the horse that can accelerate on a dime and finish with a flourish.  The stakes winners are still very good horses, but the style of racing produces lower speed figures.

14 Mar 2010 4:20 PM
It aint easy being good

I like watching zenyatta run but she wont get away with running like that on dirt. How many dirt closer have you seen come back from behind and win every race. The person that said that odysseus has no chance in the derby must be crazy that horse is the truth and a dirt winner!!! Again real champs run on dirt. Looking at lucky will not win the derby he wont even hit the board. Even though I hate plastic I have to admit Sidneys Candy looks very good all other cali horses toss toss toss. When is the last time a plastic horse has won a derby oh yeah..........NEVER!

14 Mar 2010 4:29 PM


I don't even know what a sweet dream is anymore. I am in such need of something good to actually happen it is not even funny.

I know you are a die hard, same as I am a die hard Rachel fan. Her loss did not make me made or lose any faith. I still love her, just like you would Zenyatta. Though, if that hole didn't appear, most of you would probably want to kill Smith, because in all honesty, there is no way he could've gone wide at that point and won. Personally, I almost was at the point of getting seriouly mad a Smith for taking her inside and riding her like he did. It is good to ride with confidence, but to get cocky is another thing. Anyhow, I am not mad at you, or anyone in particular, just tired of all the back and forth.

14 Mar 2010 4:30 PM
It aint easy being good

Derby contenders:

Cali horses:

Looking at lucky: Toss

Cantarato: Toss

Tiz Chrome: Toss

INeratif: Toss

American Lion: Toss


14 Mar 2010 4:31 PM
Vic S

Well, I hope all the voters for Rachel's HOTY regret their MISTAKE.  Great horses don't need excuses, Zenyatta's 127 lbs and weaving trip in her race didn't make her lose.  Lookin at Lucky's and Odyesseus's tough races didn't make them lose.  Point being, NO EXCUSE FOR RACHEL.  Rachel's fitness is NOT an excuse.  You don't run when you don't believe you can win, which is exactly what Asmussen said after defeat.  Rachel couldn't beat Zardana, no way in heck does she ever beat Zenyatta - THE REAL 08' and 09' HOTY.  GET IT RIGHT.  Also, it was nice having Zardana win at 21-1.  East Coast bias WRONG again!

14 Mar 2010 4:35 PM


You are just plain out there!  Rachel was short yesterday, but Zen proved why she is the best horse on this planet.  I like them both, but Zen could be on of the top 5 North American horses of all time(and if all goes well this year maybe even the greatest)!  Right there with MOW, Big Red, Northern Dancer, Native Dancer, Slew, Easy Goer, and Citation. If She goes 19 or 20 and 0  she could be greatest since Eclipse.  And that my friends is nothing short of un-be-lievable!

14 Mar 2010 4:35 PM
Karen in Texas

Apparently, Rachel is not going to the Apple Blossom. Other news sites are reporting that she is out, and that she is going to be training as her condition dictates.

14 Mar 2010 4:39 PM

Hail to the Queen Zenyatta!!!  It is amazing to see a 6 year old MARE

competing and winning at this level!!  She is a monster!! I was lucky enough to see Personal Ensign win her last race, saw Winning Secret win, also Serena's Song, but as Winning Colors was ending her career she lost interest in racing and wanted to quit. That is the norm for most mares by the time they reach 6, they don't want to race any more.

It is a tribute to the connections of Zenyatta that she still wants to be in the game.

Rachael is an outstanding filly who I hope has several good races left to run.

14 Mar 2010 4:39 PM

Gun Bow, How much do think the 6lbs SS was giving the field impacted the race?  The race reminded me of SS's Champagne race, setting the pace, but not changing leads and coming up short. Maybe Borel will get the mount back.  

14 Mar 2010 4:42 PM

Gun Bow,

I would be resentful, there is no doubt about it, but I would keep my mouth shut and push forward. IMO, I do not care what most people think about me. Most do things to put another down, so why listen, just push forward and prove them wrong that way. That way you can have that satisfation that you actually did make to where they said you couldn't. Silence is golden in many more ways than just one. If the west coast is so upset, go compete go win and do it with class. Prove you are better, but don't sink to the others level. I can understand congrats to Sherriffs, I would do so too, because he had Zardana prepped and ready to go. But as you mentioned, the crowed cheered even befor Zardana crossed the wire first. For a place to cheer against their HOTY or champion of any kind is not right. Booing and cheering against may be apart of all sports, but that doesn't make it right or make it ok for you or anyone else to do so. Rachel is one of our own as is Zenyatta. Both are treasures and what happened yesterday was flat out ignorant.

14 Mar 2010 4:45 PM


Great job on your posts, AGAIN! The only thing I disagree with is your assessment of Odysseus. I was very impressed with the way he came back to win. He did this between horses which requires a lot of courage. Most horses are leery of doing that. I give him a lot of credit for not giving up.

As for the attitude of the crowd at Santa Anita I tend to agree with Kate Harper that it was not so much AGAINST Rachel Alexandra as FOR California and John Shirreffs who are so often verbally abused by many. I did not participate in the cheering. I was so stunned by the outcome of the race, that I didn't even know the tremendous gap between Rachel and the 3rd place horse. In retrospect I am very impressed with Rachel's effort. If she hadn't been fighting Calvin early in the race and reserved her energy for last, there's no way Zardana would have been able to catch her. She was too keen to go. That's very understandable after a long lay off. Most horses run best in the 3rd race after a long rest. Rachel is so much better than most horses, I expect her to be back to her best form next time out.


I hope you bet that trifecta box you gave out on THS for the Tampa Bay Derby. Your choice of Interactif for the San Felipe was also very astute although not a winning one. That horse was a running son of a gun at the end. Are you now a believer regarding Lookin at Lucky? I know that you love to rile Zenyatta fans every chance you get, but deep down inside you like her as much as you profess Tom does. LOL!

14 Mar 2010 4:55 PM
Vic S

Draynay, you are quite possibly the most insane person on these boards.  Zenyatta never struggled to beat an allowance winner in her life.  Her Hirsch win by a head was due to a 6f in 112 and change, she SHOULDN'T have won that race but shes the best and the best don't need excuses unlike Rachel who lost to 2nd stringer Zardana yesterday.  Fitness is NO EXCUSE.  Heard of Tiznow, Sea Bird, etc.  These horses were training TERRIBLY prior to their historic wins (Tiznow in BCC and Sea Bird in Arc), fitness is NO EXCUSE.  You only run when you believe you can win.  Although gallant in defeat, Rachel was still defeated.  Get over it.  Rachel beat two VERY WEAK G1 males in Woodward last year.  Draynay you know NOTHING of horseracing.  Zenyatta beat last year's best dirt horse (male - Summer Bird), grass horse (Gio Ponti) and the best Europe offered.  Rachel's opposition doesn't compute to Zenyatta's superiority.  Summer Bird in the 1 1/8 Haskell after the Belmont was not the same Summer Bird as he was in JCGC or Travers or BCC, he was much better horse at the end of the year as he proved.  Gio Ponti was the best male in training last year and he proved it.  He is the best grass horse we have had in this country since at least the 90's if not even further back.  Eat your words and your loss, unlike Rachel, Zenyatta has NEVER needed an excuse.  The old adage is "excuses are for losers".  Don't use them.

14 Mar 2010 5:04 PM
sweet terchi

As Trevor Denman said "Zenyatta is playing with the field!!". As for the extreme hatred some bloggers show, wow! Makes me wonder how they tackle their disappointments in life.

14 Mar 2010 5:09 PM

Gun Bow and Footlick -- well said. There is nothing wrong with fans cheering for their home team and it sure sounds like that is what most Californians were doing.

14 Mar 2010 5:11 PM

So, Rachel's owner and trainer have nixed competing in the Apple Blossom. It sounds like they made the best decision to ensure she has a bright future this year.

I hope that doesn't also mean ESPN will back out of broadcasting the race. That would be a shame. I've been looking forward to actually seeing it on TV, not in a little square box on the computer screen.

14 Mar 2010 5:15 PM
Paula Higgins

Well, what I think we all expected has come to pass. Rachel will not be at the Apple Blossom. I am disappointed but I totally understand it. They are wise to back off from racing her right now. It is in her best interests and I am glad they have done the right thing. I am going to say something that may bother alot of people but I think it's something many of us are also thinking. I am wondering if she is ever going to get back to form. If I had to guess, I would say "No." Something about the way she ran in the Woodward and now in New Orleans tells me she is just one tired horse. She guts all these races out and tries her mightiest, but she is worn out at the end. You have to love her. She is a fighter. But I think there is only so much left in the tank after last year's brilliance.

Zenyatta is a beast and a freak. A much bigger horse and she did not start as early as Rachel. I don't think you can compare their careers frankly. We are talking apples and oranges. One was a burst of unaparalleled brilliance, like a comet, and one is like the sun, she just keeps on shining brightly and never stops.

14 Mar 2010 5:16 PM
Pam S.

Gun Bow, read my post.  I answered your question.  The paddock area was JAMMED and I heard not one negative comment about Rachel or her gallant effort.  I strongly feel the cheers were for Shirreffs (he was right there as you said) and the surprising Zardana.  I can't speculate as to whether the fans at SA would actually rather have seen Rachel win.  Maybe not, maybe they wanted to support the California horse in the race.  Without SOME regional pride and yes, "bias," where would sports be?  "Classless" is a very strong word and I don't think it should be used here.

Now it has been announced (as many of us anticipated), no Apple Blossom for RA.  So we will likely see Zardana in the race instead, and the purse will be $500,000.  That's OK though, Zenyatta doesn't need the money.  She will be top earning U.S. female for a long time, I bet.

14 Mar 2010 5:23 PM
Vic S

It ain't easy,

California horses don't win the big races???? Ever heard of John Henry, Ferdinand, Alysheba, Tiznow, Sunday Silence (master over the east's EASY wish i could GO-er faster LOL LOL LOL), Swaps, etc??  Wow, someone really doesn't have any sense of history.  Point being, usually when western horses are brought out East they can actually win race or be formidable, the same cannot be said for the oppoisition - especially nowadays, Cali horses are winning the preps, where did the eastern boys all go???  Still staring at west coast boys butts LOL.  Even the Euro's (Awesome Act are beating up on the eastern boys).  Please if you make an argument, bring something of substance to the table.

14 Mar 2010 5:30 PM


Yes, Google Me broke down right after the finish of the 1st race. I was so upset that I have no idea what happened in the next few races. Between that and the stunning loss by Rachel I was even more nervous than ever over Zenyatta's race. I'm glad you were late and did not witness the accident. Judging by your comments, I know you care about all horses and your enjoyment of the day would have been seriouly impaired, as was mine. As I said in my previous post Zenyatta's victory did a lot for me. It's hard to remain sad when faced with such incredible greatness. Did you hear Trevor Denman's comment? He said: "If you don't have goose bumps, you don't like horseracing!".

The fatal outcome of the fist race almost sent me home... I'm glad I didn't give way to my sense of impending doom and stayed to see Zenyatta win for the 15th time and, most important of all, returned SAFE & SOUND and HAPPY!

14 Mar 2010 5:34 PM


That is a great description of these two greats!  I will admit I do like the "SUN" more than a "Comet"  !     Cheers to a great year of racing!     Ready for the next races for the Birds, QR, and GIO!   Also, maybe since Rachel wont make the AB some tickets and rooms will free up.  If anyone on here has tickets only to see Rachel and wants to sell them, let me know!  

By the way, congrats to any Kentucky basketball fans out there, makes me sick for my bulldogs though!  Regardless, it was an awesome game.

14 Mar 2010 5:36 PM
Kate Harper


I loved your comparison of RA to that of a comet.  She shone brightly last year but I knew in my heart that the fact she was stall-bound for a few months after the Woodward, that she was a spent horse and would not come back as brilliantly.  I do hope that she is given time to regroup and find her once tremendous form.

Yes, it is still dispiriting to read the negative comments about California racing in general and Zenyatta specifically.  I do think those who compare Zenyatta to the greatest distaffers of all time are only half right.  To me, she should be compared to the greatest horses this country has ever seen--Secretariat, Man 'O War, Seabiscuit and the others.  She is simply phenomenal.  To be carrying that weight differential yesterday and then nimbly move off the rail to split horses (did you see that filly on her right shy away from the imposing hulk passing her by?)and win in hand with never being touched by Smith's whip was astounding.

If Zenyatta continues to win and closes her career with a victory in the Classic, I hope Helen Mirren is at the Eclipse awards to hand John Shirreffs and the Mosses their well-deserved HOY.  "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the QUEEN!"  

14 Mar 2010 5:51 PM

Well said Paula.

14 Mar 2010 5:55 PM
Kate Harper

It Ain't Easy Being Good:. "When is the last time a plastic horse has won a derby oh yeah..........NEVER"

You're correct, for a rare time, no only-synthetic horse has won the Derby, although Mine That Bird did have some races on a synthetic surface in Canada.  But the reason your comment is so baseless is because synthetics have only been in California for 3 years, hardly decades and decades to draw any conclusions.  Oh, btw, as far as synthetic horses running on dirt, it wasn't just Lookin at Lucky's win yesterday which was memorable.  Noble's Promise, the 2nd place finisher, had only run on artificial surfaces,along with one turf race, as well.  Wake up and smell the roses....I think it is entirely plausible for California-based horses to win and hit the board in this year's Derby.

14 Mar 2010 6:16 PM

I look for them to retire Rachel. After yesterday, they will say they are training her, but will find some problem wrong with her (suspicious) and retire her, JJ doesn't like defeat. I mean, Is he going to dodge Zenaytta all season long because Ra may not be able to take her on, I mean lets get real, the next thing we hear is her retirement. If he lost to Zardana a grade 2, then he has not many races left that he is going to go in without taking a chance at defeat....or risk her name by running her in metiocre competition races..I see retirement...

14 Mar 2010 6:17 PM

Zenyatta did not tower over all the mares in the Santa Margarita Handicap.  The #5 and #7 were huge as well.  I had read that Zenyatta had gained 25 pounds.  So, while I was expecting to see her looking heavier, it actually looked like she had LOST some weight.  Lastly, what has this society come to that you cannot enjoy a sporting event without worrying about offending someone's feelings about the opposition?  I was, and still am, thrilled for Zardana, and John Shirreffs.  I knew there was a reason I spent so much time being captivated by Zardana in the saddling area before the Santa Maria Handicap!  And, it is my right to believe that Rachel Alexandra is overrated, and Zardana proved it.  One more thing about the Santa Margarita Handicap -- I have never seen a horse, owners, and jockey needing armed security guard escorts during a racing event.  Like I said, what is this world coming to?

14 Mar 2010 6:20 PM


Did you read Draynay's and It Ain't Easy's latest comments?  That type of animosity is directed at no other racing circuit; only California receives that much hatred.  And be honest, show me the comments of someone who was as disrepectful to Rachel as certain posters have been to Zenyatta.

Also, your last comment seemed partially directed to me.  Let me be clear, I did not cheer, shout, or put together any coherent statement when Zardana beat Rachel.  I simply kept repeating out-loud, "She's beat, she's beat, Zardana is going to win".  It was disbelief and not excitement.

I gave Sherriffs the thumbs up to congratulate him personally; Rachel had nothing to do with it.  I would have done the same thing if I was standing closely to him or some other trainer if the just won an out of town race.  The fact Sherriffs beat Rachel made it a bigger accomplishment, but it was just a gesture of personal congratulations.  When I ran into Sherriffs on the apron right before the start of the Santa Margarita, I wished him luck with Zenyatta and congratulated him on Zardana's win.

While I wasn't happy to see Rachel lose, especially since the loss has deprived us of the Apple Blossom, I find nothing wrong with someone wanting to congratulate Sherriffs.  Both Sherriffs and Zardana deserve credit; it wasn't like Rachel injured herself, in which case celebration would have been inappropriate.  Rachel ran hard but lost to the better horse on the day.  I don't think it hypocritical for people to be sad Rachel lost but happy Zardana and Sherriffs won.

Finally, while some are rubbing it in concerning Rachel's loss, can you imagine what it would be like if the roles were reversed.  Please, think what certain posters would be saying if Zenyatta had lost and then Jerry Moss pulled her from the most aniticpated race of our generation?  It would be crude, vulgar, tactless, disrespecful, etc.  

Also understand that alot of the gloating from Zenyatta supporters is being directed at the extreme anti-Zenyatta posters and not at Rachel or her connections.  Things get personal on these boards sometimes, and egos become involved.  For some, it's not about Zenyatta and Rachel, it's about themselves and THEIR horses; people's egos get tied to certain horses, and when these horses win, they like to tout the horses and the fact they have supported them.  To a certain degree, everyone here has done this.  And there's nothing fundamentaly wrong with this.  However, sometimes people go a little too far, and it becomes more about what happens on this blog than on the track.

So, take the more celebratory comments from Zenyatta supporters with the above in mind.  And given how brutally negative some Zenyatta detractors have been, I can understand why her supporters would want to gloat now.   I think much of gloating isn't being directed at Rachel fans in general, but at few of the more obnoxious anti-Zenyatta, pro-Rachel posters.

14 Mar 2010 6:38 PM

Hats off to Calvin Borel.  I admire him for speaking out his dislike for the strategy he was forced to comply with.  I hope he does not lose the mount.

14 Mar 2010 6:45 PM


Start looking for positive things.  I know how deeply you feel about horses in general and you always wear your heart on your sleeve when it comes to Rachel.  Rachel really is quite a babe.  At least she came out of the race okay and that's a good thing.  She wasn't abused during the race and that's a good thing.  She probably won't feel any different today then she would have if she had won yesterday and that's a good thing.  I think that Rachel's Woodward really is the difference now.  When a horse leaves it all on the track and comes back and trembles and shakes, it's definitely an indication that something is wrong.  It's like a fighter having that one real tough fight and never being the same again.  It has happened countless times in horse racing.  They only have so much to give and we can honestly say that she gave everything she had every time and that's all you can ask for.  If she continues with her career, great, but if for some reason she doesn't that's okay.  She still has her legacy and will always be held in high regard.  LOL.

14 Mar 2010 6:46 PM

Kate Harper,

You are far too sensible a person to argue with the likes of It Ain't Easy. As infuriating as "these trolls" are, ignoring their neanderthal comments is the best answer. No matter how logical your argument, their response is always the epitome of stupidity and ignorance. The more you attempt to show them the light by presenting undeniable FACTS, the uglier they get.

I appreciate your contribution to this blog and I hope that you come back often. It is a treat to read something that actually makes sense. The good ones are what keeps me coming back. I take what I like and leave the rest... when I can! (I don't always succeed)LOL

14 Mar 2010 7:01 PM
Mike Relva


See,now you've jumped on another bandwagon,right?lol You stated your Dublin was a "lock" to win yesterday and now you slam the horse that beat him. What were you saying recently that Dublin would win the Derby(I told you he won't) Also,if you knew anything about racing then it's obvious that if RA had won yesterday,it wouldn't have been by ten like you boasted,cause Calvin wouldn't empty the tank when at that time when the Apple Blossom was in play. Also,you saw what both of Baffert's horses' did to Dublin on dirt. So,don't tell me that some CA horses' can't transfer over to dirt! You live in a fantasy world!

14 Mar 2010 7:11 PM
Mike Relva


Well said! People like that make me sick and they truly represent the bad part of racing.BTW,I'm also org. from Fla.

14 Mar 2010 7:12 PM

Dublin is a lock on satuday. UPCB in the tampa bay derby.

It Aint Easy being good ????

Looking at lucky aka a california horse will not beat dublin tomorrow!

It aint easy being(good)(????) 12 Mar 2010 9:34 PM

14 Mar 2010 7:14 PM
Mike Relva


I can't help if you took offense,wasn't referring to you. I'm certain you can figure out who I was directing the comment,"cuts both ways". I'm not happy RA lost,believe it or not! Yes,Moss has been conservative in the past with Zenyatta,but what price are RA's connections paying for the last several races last yr. Like SODA POP KID or someone  stated after the Woodward last year she was all but dead! I'm disappointed,but understand totally why RA is pulled from the A. Blossom. I have no problem with that.

14 Mar 2010 7:21 PM
sweet terchi

Not surprising that RA was taken out of the Apple Blossom, and that she lost to Zardana. She is a extremely talented filly and to me this shows the phenominal job Mr. Wiggens did with her. When she was sold she was in top form. With the right training she can be in top form again. There was plenty of time to get her ready, but sadly I truly  believe her best intrests are not at the top of the list with this team who is handling her. They have run her to the ground,  and it is heartbreaking to see such a beautiful creature beaten and exhausted as she was after the race. I hope she returns in better shape, but somehow I have my doubts.

14 Mar 2010 7:38 PM
Kate Harper

Thank you, Zookeeper.  I know you're right when it comes to talking to those who are so blind they can't recognize greatness no matter how many times it is demonstrated.  It's pointless.  

I appreciate most on this blog.  Great to see interesting, thoughtful comments and insight from people who adore racing along with the welfare and safety of the horses and jockeys who are in it.  

14 Mar 2010 7:40 PM

Like sodapopkid, I expect the next announcement we will hear regarding Rachel is a retirement announcement.  Hopefully, however, we will all remember the greatness of her three year old year and her truly remarkable accomplishments.

14 Mar 2010 7:44 PM

Draynay has always said he wants horse racing to be more like college football.  Yesterday at Santa Anita, many in the crowd did exactly that; they rooted for the home team Zardana against Rachel.  And it wasn't like Rachel, Jess Jackson, or Steve Asmussen were at Santa Anita and on the receiving end of this cheering.

When I reported the Santa Anita reaction, I didn't mean it to be a condemnation of the crowd.  It surprised me just how many applauded the outcome of the NO Ladies, but as myself and others have pointed out, I think they were applauding less for Rachel's loss and more for Zardana + Sherriffs' victory.  

Some were just happy to see Rachel lose.  The point in raising this wasn't to single such people out, but to comment that on this particular occasion a few people in Cali acted in a manner similar to the very people they detest, the anti-Zenyatta and anti-California contingent.  Again, there's not necessarilly anything terribly wrong with what they did, but it would be hypocritical of such people to claim the moral high-ground and complain about the California bashing.

With this said, I will repeat what I wrote in my previous post, I really think Califronia racing fans get it a lot worse than they give it.  If the worst thing California fans did was to cheer for the home-town horse trained by a popular local trainer over Rachel(when that other horse and her connections were not around), and then brag about how Zenyatta is better than Rachel, consider yourselves lucky.  If you outside of California had to deal with the animosity that borders on hatred directed at California's horses, I'm not sure you would believe it.  

If California fans dropped as low as others, we would commonly see comments like, "East Coast racing is a joke.  Horses outside of California have no shot in the Triple Crown.  Rachel is a fake champion running on fake surfaces.  All horses that run on dirt are complete throw-out in big races.  When Rachel runs on a real track, a demanding synthetic surface at the greatest racetrack in the world, Santa Anita, she wouldn't even beat 3rd stringers let alone Zenyatta.  As such, Rachel is like all Eastern horses- she looks good beating up on inferior comepetion, but when finally thrown in with a Cali runner(Zardana), in peak condition after training on synthetics, she folds like the impostor she is.  She ducked Zenyatta in the Breeder's Cup last year and now can't even beat Zenyatta's understudy.  Now, Jess Jackson has gone back on his word, and is ducking Zenyatta again in the Apple Blossom. It's a concession; he knows Rachel has NO SHOT, ZERO, against Zenyatta".

Fortunately for all of us, we never see comments like those.  We rarely even see comments like:

"And by the way, what was the record of these great Eastern dirt horses in the last 2 Breeder's Cups? That's right, 0 for 40-something.  Clear proof of the superiority of California racing.  Wake me when Rachel or any other Eastern horse can come out to California and win a big race. On second thought don't, because I may be asleep forever in that case.  Eastern dirt horses can't win on synthetics but synthetic horses are going all over the country and kicking butt this year.  Didn't I hear after the Breeder's Cup that many East Coast trainers excused their horses' failures by claiming that only truly superior horses can win top races on both dirt and synthetic.  Well, if that is true, all the truly superior horses reside in California, because only they have proven the ability to win on both surfaces".

If you think I'm exaggerating, well I'm not.  That's similar to what California fans actually have to read, and on a daily basis.  Fortunately, we rarely, if ever, have to read comments from California fans like I posted above, especially the first set of comments.  And to be clear, I don't believe any of it; I was just making a point.

Hopefully, it also showed how easy it is to write such negative stuff, and how little imagination or deep thinking is involved.  They take away all the complexities of racing and replace it with a dumbed-down black and white perspective.  They think they are being courageous for taking such a strong stand, and may even find themselves to be witty.  But really, they just come across as ignorant or even downright stupid.  Of course, there is no one like that on this blog, lol.

14 Mar 2010 7:50 PM

Sorry to hear about RA not meeting

Queen Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom.  Sadly RA may have already given all she has.  She is a great filly I'm glad her connections can see she is one spent filly and give her some R & R. If she is retired she would become a great brood mare. I hope for the best for her.

14 Mar 2010 7:55 PM


Check out the payoff for a $1 late pick 4, at Santa Anita today.

14 Mar 2010 7:57 PM
John T

As I am neither from the West or East coast but live in Canada I can

give an unbiased view on this matter.I have always maintained that Zenyatta is the best of the two for the simple reason she always finds a way to win and that,s what it,s all about.I was very disappointed for her when she was not awarded horse of the year as she looked hopelessly beaten at the furlong pole in the Breeders Cup Classic but somehow found a way to win.As she goes after win no.16 in the Apple Blossom let us not forget if it happens she will be tying the record of two of the greatest thoroughbreds to grace the

turf in the 20th century,Citation,and Cigar.For those who think she can,t show the same form on dirt I think you better check out the last time she won the Apple Blossom.

14 Mar 2010 8:14 PM
Tim G

Now I wonder how many of you calling us in racing out will look back and realize we DO know what we're speaking about?

Believe a couple of us said Rachel wouldn't be running at AB time.

As I said a horse doesn't come in off of two prep races, one of them a very bad experience and run well in the Derby the way some of you were saying Buddy would do.

But I guess all you out there who don't understand the regimem and the preparation of a race horse know more than we do.

I wrote one last night but decided not to post it that talk around the track was Rachel is done, there's still time to breed her. IF she comes back and that's a big IF, Assmussen will have his jock on her.

Just like we said BB would be a questionable sire, he's shuttling off to Australia....

p.s. Dray? I spoke with Dublin and he said he would like you to select a different Derby horse.

Oh and don't make me go back to the archives to find where you said you would wear a pink hat to the Derby with an 'I was wrong' sign if Zenyatta won the Classic. Plus your donation to charity.

Not that you'd ever really show up at any of these races you go on and on about.

14 Mar 2010 8:17 PM
Tim G

In addition to which we voiced our belief that Rachel was NOT in shape and you don't get one ready that quick. A very long layoff and if they really intended to race her they'd have started back a month sooner.

14 Mar 2010 8:20 PM

Mike Relva,

Many times, last year, some people declared how proud they were of how Rachel had "left everything on the track" at the Woodward. That statement always made me shudder. Maybe it's just me, but I much prefer seeing a horse winning with something left, maybe not much but something. I also recall another filly, Gabby's Golden Gal, who was so exhausted and heatstruck after the 2009 Acorn, that she could not get in the winner circle. Her following race was a disaster and she did not regain her form until she got a long rest and came back to win the 2010 Santa Monica at SA. I expect that, given the chance, Rachel Alexandra will regain her 3yr old form and come back victorious many more times. She fought valiantly in the N.O. Ladies. Her ability and heart are still there. IF GIVEN THE CHANCE, she will be back. I only hope that people do not ask her to leave everything on the track... That is too high a price to pay by ANY horse.

14 Mar 2010 8:23 PM

Obviously disappointed to learn that Rachel will not run in the Apple Blossom.  I also feel sorry for all those that put down money for tickets, hotels, airfare and for Oaklawn Park and others in Hot Springs financially hurt by this decision.

Still, I have to support the decision of Jess Jackson and Steve Asmussen.  Rachel comes first, period.

I don't buy, however, Jess Jackson's excuse that it was about timing and scheduling.  First, I don't think Jess Jackson himself would have agreed to the date of the Apple Blossom, which was moved back a week to comply with his wishes, if he didn't think Rachel could have been ready.  He might have had some doubts, but he clearly thought Rachel was up for it.

Second, as Bill finley of ESPN writes, Rachel's training schedule wasn't as compressed and tight as Jackson is now claiming, and was far from unusual.  Finley points out that Asmussen actually got Curlin ready for the Jaguar Trophy and Dubai World Cup, half way across the world, in less time than what Rachel was facing to get ready for the NO Ladies and Apple Blossom(looking at Curlin's and Rachel's training schedules from the time of their first work).

Lastly, Asmussen admits he wouldn't have run Rachel had he known she would have run like she did.  So, it's obvious Asmussen was expecting more from Rachel, "short" or not.  Rachel is simply not where Asmussen and Jackson expected her to be.  And they know the abbreviated training schedule was not the only reason for Rachel's disappointing performance. Asmussen had taken into account the training schedule going into the NO Ladies, thought he had her fit enough to win, and wouldn't have run her otherwise.  Rachel's performance was not bad, but it clearly was below what her own connections expected, and they need time to understand why.  That's why they are using terms like "regroup".

By the way, Jerry Moss responded to Rachel's defection from the Apple Blossom with class.  And I'm glad to see most on this blog are doing the same.  I truly can't imagine what it would be like here if it was Zenyatta who had lost yesterday and it was Zenyatta who was being pulled from the AB. That would have been pure bloodlust, lol.    

14 Mar 2010 8:27 PM

Well wha' do ya know? Little Z (Zardana) crashes the Apple Blossom party.  Unbelievable!!!

Rachel ran a very good race coming off an extended break but suffers a narrow loss to a very fit 6YO mare and the Apple Blossom deal is off?  Ah boy ... Given that most fans have been intoxicated by her vintage performances last year and that many are still carrying the hang-over into this year's Triple Crown analysis (looking for "Rachel" in every promising filly that shows up on the track), her defeat was understandably disappointing but by no means a game-changer.  The filly clearly needed the race and should definitely move forward off it.   It would appear that the psychological blow of losing to "Little Z" trained by John Shireffs has more to do with the crashing of the Apple Blossom party than Rachel's projected fitness for the event.  IMO Zardana did her a paradoxical favour by extending her up the lane to ensure she benefits from the outing.  I have no doubt that everyone will see the awe-inspiring Rachel Alexandra next time out (whenever that is).  JJ has been a shrewd owner and has made the right call when making unpopular decisions in the past so maybe he should be cut some slack on this one since his enterprising sportsmanship is not in question.  Anyway no one can blame the most cynical fans for thinking that racing's biggest showdown will never happen.

Now unto Queen Zenyatta.  What a racehorse this is. Notwithstanding the surface and level of competition, she is indeed a true celebrity and knows how to give eye-cathing performances.  I thought her meandering stretch run was indeed a thing of beauty.  Wonderful mare "Big Z"!!!  With the Apple Blossom being crashed by "Little Z"(Zardana) I wonder if it is too late for Zenyatta to catch a flight to Dubai.  She would be "money for jam" ($10 million richer for a cake-walk)in the World Cup and could sit easy until her warm-up for the Breeder's Cup with only a rampaging Quality Road and perhaps a Triple Crown copping Eskendereya to worry about for the 2010 HOTY title.  Could that be an easier path than last year, given that the whole universe would crown her HOTY and Horse Of The Century if she remained undefeated?  But is it too late for such a scenario to play out.  Your guess is as good as mine.

We are still living in interesting times in thoroughbred racing so let's continue to enjoy the ride and not get too stressed out by the theatrics. Hopefully it can get better than this (reference to Jason's title).  

14 Mar 2010 8:38 PM


Your 6:38 post was incredible and I think explains in a few paragraphs what has been going on on this  blog and others for months now.

14 Mar 2010 8:43 PM

People, this is horseracing. The game is to race your horse with other horses, and if your horse wins, so be it, thats the name of the game. If the shoes were reversed yesterday, wouldn't you RA fans be gloating? Hell Yeah, but what is so hard for some of you is the fact that it was a Sherriffs trained horse that took the win, and not Zenyata.

over Ra.  Accept what you cannot change, Ra was ask alot last year, and face it, you may not see her back this year, I doubt it. I think she is headed to the breeding shed from here. I commend JJ for letting the world know ahead of time that she will not be going to the AB, I figured as well after yesterday, especially, since Borel said she was tired. I am happy for Zardana and her connections for having a srong willed horse, we have to give her her credit where credit is due, she ran a good race.

14 Mar 2010 9:09 PM
Pam S.


Agree with what you wrote to Mike Relva.  Last Sept. I posted on another blog that I thought Rachel's win in the Woodward "wasn't pretty."  Other posters responded that "gameness" was what racing was all about and that all champions had it.  Yessss, but.... it WASN'T pretty to me, and the connections might still be dealing with its aftermath.  Give me at least a LITTLE bit easier win, I'll take that any day.

14 Mar 2010 9:48 PM
Forbidden Apple

Draynay and Itainteasy are amateurs with no respect. What happened to Lukas/Pletcher with Dublin and Super Saver? Synthetic surfaces are not made of plastic and they are here to stay.

The Zenyatta train stops next in AR!

LDP, your comment about Mike Smith is childish. Are you now a jockey too? His job is dangerous and requires quick decisions. He is not in tha Hall of Fame by accident.

14 Mar 2010 9:56 PM

The more I think I know horse racing, the less I know horse racing!  Didn't see Schoolyard Dreams putting up the fight he did(though I hit the tri).  Didn't give LAL and NP their share of respect in the Rebel.  Left Sidney's Candy out of my exacta.  Thought Rachel was a lock, and Zenyatta would have the more difficult race (which she did).  The only thing I got right yesterday, was that This One's for Phil would not contend in the GP Cap (Though I did not have the winner).

Did anyone else notice that Tiz The One today ran a faster mile time at GP than the 4YO's in the GP 'Cap yesterday?  Watch for this one to make a late charge into the Derby picture!  

Last but not least, can Eoin Harty please put his Tiznow's on regular dirt?  Well Armed and Colonel John did their best running on the natural dirt, I begging please ship AL east for a run on dirt!

14 Mar 2010 9:57 PM


You're on a serious roll today!!! I LOVED your 7:50 pm post. I doubt that the ones who NEED to read it can even understand it. Me?, I was cheering loudly as you brilliantly demonstrated how stupid bashing is, no matter who does it or against whom. YOU ROCK!

14 Mar 2010 10:01 PM
Mike Relva


Nice post,enjoy reading your comments cause like a select few on here you bring great insight to the table. Yes,I posted a few times myself that I felt they were placing too much on RA. Now, in my opinion,connections are paying a steep price for the HOY award. Not being a Monday a.m. quarterback,cause I suspected this last summer. Again,appreciate reading from you.

14 Mar 2010 10:12 PM

Pam S.,

Hi! Hope you enjoyed your visit at SA yesterday. You certainly picked the right Saturday to come all the way from Las Vegas.

After the Woodward, I remember posting that I hated the race. My main objection, at the time, was the excess whipping action at the hand of Calvin Borel. (For which I apologized later, after I found out that he uses the new and kinder kind of whip. I felt really bad that I had jumped to conclusions without knowing all the facts.) But the whipping was not the only thing I felt bad about regarding that race. I felt sad that Rachel was so thoroughly spent. I thought I was the lone wolf crying in the desert... now I find out you were "howling" also. There's a definite connection between animal lovers. We seem to find each other in a sea of "gameness" fans. I'm with you, a little easier win goes a long way and is a lot more fun for the horse!

14 Mar 2010 10:21 PM

To GunBow:

What Lazmannick said @8:43PM & Zookeeper @10:01PM.  I mean really, BH should be paying you to post!

14 Mar 2010 10:37 PM
Tim G

Forbidden Apple. I can assure you I'm no novice in this game. Dublin has some kind of a problem every race. Wayne will figure him out and remember this was his second race back off of surgery. He's got a good mind but seems to find trouble or it finds him. He is a 3 year old after all, with not a lot of experience behind him.

I don't defend Dray but I'm pretty sure the majority of people on here have NO practical experience when it comes to horse racing.

As far as all the comments about Rachel's 'exhausting' race schedule. Most of her races against the same sex were glorified works, look at the ease and distance. Look at the RECORD of the runners up in the Oaks for example. Not dismissing her opponents at all, but I believe some of those protesting the loudest were those who said she won for fun????

The filly having 9 months with no racing? She's rested. The fact that IF they were planning on running her this weekend and didn't get her legged up and cranking was mismanagement.

14 Mar 2010 10:47 PM
Tim G

Although FB I agree with your comment about Mike.

LDP seems to be experienced and knowledgeable about everything in racing. Never seen a teenager with no hands on experience who knew all about training, jockeying and owning a race horse.

14 Mar 2010 10:49 PM
Forbidden Apple

Tim G,

Well she does not know much about the connection between Mike Smith and Zenyatta. Who is she to question a HOF jockey? Lets be serious here, Mike Smith knows a heck of lot more than some teenager blogging from a sofa. I am not saying that she is not smart, but these are not pets and you can not always react with your heart on your sleeve. These horses are put though intensive training to earn money, entertain their owners, and to try and stay sound while doing it. They are not out there racing to earn a ribbon. Us fans can only watch and pray that they come out of every race in good order. She has a lot to learn in this business.

Dublin is simply an average horse. And Rachel was off for 6 months, not 9 months. I agree 100% with your mismanagement comment. But being a little bit short is understandable. I never believed that the Apple Blossom would come to fruition, only a dream for me.

14 Mar 2010 11:11 PM

"CONGRATULATIONS" To the barn of John Sherriffs, for a job well done.

You have the two best six year old mares in North America in your barn.

Zardana, You took down the 2009 HOTY, Damn,your'e good.

Zenyatta, What can I say, you are the best, and you are teaching your stablebmate all the right moves.

I think someone needed to congratulate this duo, for a job well done, and for Mr. Sherriffs for his great training.

I think they need to send RA to Shirriffs for training on pro-ride , maybe she can comeback better on a more faster surface.

I read on another blog that they say that when Zenyatta and Zardana got back to their stalls last night, that Zardana and Zenaytta were seen doing a "HIgh Five".

That is so funny to imagine. lol!!!

14 Mar 2010 11:33 PM


Judging by your blog name and by comments you posted before you are obviously, like me, an incorrigeable Tiznow's progeny follower. I absolutely worshipped (yes!worshipped) Tiznow. To me he was the most valiant horse in the whole world. Any adjective you can come up with, I applied to him whether he won or not. Every year, I look for his clone. I was ecstatic when Da'Tara won the Belmont. Nobody else seemed to care. Everyone was focused on Big Brown's defeat, his trainer, his shoe, his owners and the ride Kent Desormeaux gave him. To this day people use his name in a derogatory manner. Nothing but disrespect for him. For crying out loud, HE WON THE BELMONT, doesn't that count for anything? I guess not, except for you and me. LOL! Last year all my hopes were hanging on Mr. Hot Stuff. Surely such a gorgeous son of Tiznow would show the world that his sire (who produced Folklore, Well Armed, Colonel John and too many others to enumerate) would break through with a Kentucky Derby winner. So much for that dream!...

This year, I decided that I'm not going down that road again. I continue to watch his progeny, I cheer for them unabashedly and I am so proud when one of them wins. When American Lion showed up I remembered Hot Stuff and that the KD is not a beauty contest. If it was, Tiznow would have two KD winners to add to his list of accomplishments. The problem with American Lion is not the track. It's his mind. He will not rate and doesn't yet have the stamina for his speed to last. Patience is required but not given. Sending him back east will not solve the problem. Maybe a trip to Mr. Robbins' stable would do the trick. Eoin Harty is a talented trainer but may not be the right one for a headstrong speedster who fights his jockey all through the race and then runs out of steam when it counts.

Sorry to go on like this. Nobody else will listen to my rants about Tiznow and his babies... so I landed on you. Sorry! I'm still delirious over Zenyatta's win!

14 Mar 2010 11:37 PM

People, don't be too hard on LDP. She is very young and states her opinions very strongly, but when she is not riled up, she shows a lot of knowledge about horses in general and horseracing in particular. This is a forum for fans. If only the professionals were allowed to give an opinion, this blog would be a treatise. Without the bettors' and fans' enthousiasm for the sport the grandstands would be completely empty and the professionals would have to run their horses for fame and glory to the benefit of a few. This is not a knock on the people who train, ride or own racehorses. Without them, there would not be any racing at all. We all need each other. I only wish we would act like it.  

15 Mar 2010 12:05 AM

Forbidden Apple,

I actually recently sold one of my two TB's. I have been in horse showing for ten years, go to DE Park for my birthday every year, and worked at a breeding and racing stable. Ever heard of Cuvee Uncorked or Valour Farms? I've worked around horses long enough to have a good understanding of what it takes to win in any aspect of horses, and cockiness is not it. Try not to judge someone you know nothing about.

15 Mar 2010 12:07 AM
Tim G

I was agreeing with you on LDP, FA


Yes 6 months, sorry. Seemed longer, but it's long enough. If she isn't injured and it was just fatigue, she should be freshened by now.

Trust me I know all about the business side of this game. When you pay high day rates, entries etc you learn fast. I don't think I need someone blogging from the comfort of their sofa telling me what it's all about, whether that's a teenager or anyone not in the game.

I'd like to think and hope(isn't that what all of us who are actually racing these horses doing?) but, I think Dublin is still above average. The horse has the pedigree, the look and the ability to throw a brilliant race in along with his brilliant works.

I'm still convinced he is very similar to a couple others that Wayne has had, he has a bit of the look of Charismatic about him. He seems to have a good mind, as I said, but there are so many variables. He seems mature, but he's not talking on THAT subject. LOL

15 Mar 2010 12:09 AM
Tim G

By the way FA, have you owned any above average race horses? Or any average ones?

15 Mar 2010 12:10 AM


Never would I accuse you of cheering against another horse. I'm sorry it read like that. I was talking about the crowd in general, not you. I know you are a fair person and would not do that.

15 Mar 2010 12:13 AM
Tim G

LDP, you just don't get it. Working around horses and being on the 'horse show circuit' is a WHOLE different World from working on a race track with horses in FULL BLOWN training. PERIOD. END OF DISCUSSION.

Horses may be horses but it's a whole different atmosphere, more intense, multi-million dollar horses and a FAR more dangerous game than almost any other involving equines.

It's a full time job, not an afterschool working at the barn, it's a high dollar business that really doesn't compare and I've been around the horse show circuit, rodeo circuit etc.

You can read about it, listen to the stories but until you've experienced the things that people like Mike have for the decades that we have? You cannot speak with the absolute authority and lecture people the way you do, it just comes off as unwarranted arrogance.

15 Mar 2010 12:22 AM


I echo everyone's acclaim of your posts today. Without a doubt, you deserve your own blog. I hope LDP took your comments to heart.

Tim G.,

I truly hope Rachel isn't "done" as you said the talk around the track indicated. With more conditioning, perhaps she'll be ready to run sometime in May. At least, I hope so.

Not all her races last year were as punishing as the Woodward. But by that time, I think most would say her campaign had used her up, and she was a tired and rundown horse.

To me, there's a difference between "gameness" and "laying it all on the track," which means the horse was just toasted and had nothing left.

Lookin at Lucky Like showed gameness when he jumped almost straight up and backward to avoid the horse in front, then came back to win the Rebel.

Rachel's win in the Woodward seems as if it almost destroyed her. I don't think that's something to brag about and strive for in horse racing.

Mike Relva,

I'm a Florida girl born and raised here. Didn't even seen *real* snow until I was in my 30s.

15 Mar 2010 12:44 AM

Ranagulzion- nice post.  Thanks.

15 Mar 2010 12:44 AM

And I agree that one for the ages had plenty of time to get ready for the race.

15 Mar 2010 12:48 AM
Mike Relva


Hey,how's it going? Zenyatta looked great yesterday,didn't she?

15 Mar 2010 12:48 AM

Tim- there are better sires shuttling than BB.

15 Mar 2010 12:51 AM

Kate Harper- are we kindred spirits?  Helen Mirren.  All yiou have to do is mention Isabelle Adjani now....

15 Mar 2010 1:17 AM

LDP- many of us don't cheer against anothe horse.  We want all horses to perform their best.

15 Mar 2010 1:19 AM
Mike Relva


I'm from Miami,living about an hr. from Nashville now.

15 Mar 2010 2:02 AM

Tim G,

It is the same general thing. Horses ar horses, no difference. A trainer/rider/owner needs to know how to handle a horse in order to succeed in any are of riding. It doesn't matter if it's jumping, barrel racing, saddle seat or racing. In order to win you need to know your horse and always always always be prepared for anything. You do not get cocky, but you stay confident that you can win. Cockiness leads to mistakes, which is exactly what happened to Mike in the Santa Margarita. Zenyatta has had to overcome his riding errors twice now. You act like hall of fame means you don't ever mess up, well I've got some news for you, unless your god himself your going to mess up. The best way to avoid it is to not get cocky. I understand he wanted to make the race less taxing on her, that I understand. However from that I can only conclude he went to far on the other side of the spectrum and became to cautious. Either way made a mistake in taking her to the rail and just not using their normal plan. Against that group, and maybe I am wrong, but Zenyatta wouldn't have been taxed by going outside. That is her normal game plan, and from what I have learned you do not mess with a good plan, unless it is absolutely needed.

There is no difference in the basics need to WIN. There never will be in any sport. This is why ppl do not look to horse racing anymore. Most act like we are so different and so much better. Not true at all. It takes the same amount of skill to train any athlete, to prepare them, w/o squeezing the engery out before the big game. There is no difference other than the smaller details. Everything else is the same.

15 Mar 2010 9:23 AM


Unless you havennt noticed Mike and Zenyatta won their race, Your girl lost, Quit whining and making excuses, Mike done a damn great job Saturday, his horse is up to her job unlike the other filly that got whipped, and yes, she had enough rest from the wookward and she had enough training for saturday's race, I am not going to sugar coat anythng to appease you, truth is if RAa would have been all that she would have beaten that grade 2 horse, but she didnt't. did she?

Speedballs normally dont' stay a damn speedball foreever, problem for Rachel this year is she is going to go up against real horses and not hand picked from JJ, you know the ones where she is guarenteed to win in.

15 Mar 2010 10:10 AM
Tim G

THAT is what everyone who has written on here who is IN the game of racing has tried to TELL you.

You say it's the same but how do you even KNOW that? Have you ever worked at the track? Have you ever seen what else goes on? Do you really think 'smaller' details are the only difference?

That's like saying a surgeon trained in one specialty, like orthopaedics could be a neurosurgeon with just attention to a few small details.You can be their patient, I don't want to be.

Even though an MD is an MD and can be versatile, when it gets to these highly specialized fields it really takes additional knowledge and training in THAT field, similar to racing vs show horse riders.

There are hundreds if not thousands of wannabe, failed trainers who think the same way you do.

Horses may be horses but the atmosphere they are in at the race track puts them in a whole different light. Show horses DO NOT exert every ounce of effort, not even a 10th of it when compared to a race horse who is justhaving a workout. The atmosphere at the track just makes them constantly on edge.

I've been around horses in every possible facet for many decades and I assure you I've watched horse show people try to run barrels, that is pretty funny in and of itself. It takes an entirely different seat and use of legs etc. You have to know about rating a horse and things that even though my family does those sports, I couldn't describe. Each event is totally different, that's why it's so amazing when riders in rodeo events can cross over from one event to another. The speed at which things are done and the number of split second decisions which need to be made is similar to horse racing but FAR different than horse showing.

Even in reining events, the horses are so programmed and the variables so negligble that they do the patterns without the rider having to make adjustments for different situations, unlike a race with 10-19 other horses in it or a barrel pattern with no fence to turn off of, a different sized pattern or bad ground condition for a horse running 35 miles an hour and expected to turn on a dime around a barrel.

A jump horse? Ask Mike Matz if he thinks it's comparable. Sure you train them and sure they may refuse, but that's more about training than it is having a horse bump into you, clip heels or cut you off going at high speeds.

You can't train for those eventualities.

Mikey may mess up on occasion, we all do. But, until you've ACTUALLY been on the back of a race horse, working one, especially out of the gate or riding one in a race? You are hardly qualified to analyze what Mike may or may not have done correctly. The people who do that are the railbirds who heckle jocks at Aqueduct on a Friday afternoon.

There are also ways to analyze a performance without coming off as cocky and arrogant, especially when YOU have never performed in the same aspect and really have NO idea what faces the people who have done so. Trainers do it, but trust me THEY know what they're talking about because they've been to the track more than just on their birthday.

Lots of people express their thoughts and opinions on here, lots may even question the ride or training or the owners decisions.

It isn't so much the message but the way the message is delivered that is so irritating.

Like the chest thumping trashtalking of Draynay and a couple others or the way you so categorically state things like you are all knowing, those are the things that grate on some of our nerves.

People like Paula, Footlick, Gunbow, or even some of those with the more controversial opinions are just much more enjoyable to read.

15 Mar 2010 11:32 AM
Mike Relva


What's your opinion on possibly how long until RA races again?

15 Mar 2010 1:20 PM

It aint easy.  Ponder some more CA shippers who failed to win the big one.

(1) Zardana-Tops my list after beating "the best dirt horse ever." Cudos to trainer in his FIRST start ever at the Fairgrounds.  Had 20 dollars to Win on Zardana just out of spite.

(2).  Lookin at Lucky-Conveyance soften the OP track star up, L at L, finished him off. End of the line for Dublin.

(3).  Noble's promise-like # 2 also first start on dirt.

(4).  Freedom Star-Also seems to like OP.

(5).  You tube the last Dubai world cup winner and get back to me.

15 Mar 2010 1:35 PM
Forbidden Apple

Tim G,

I completely agree with everything you wrote in your last few posts. You have much more hands on experience than I do. I once rode a few retired thotoughbreds on a farm and it has nothing to do with race horses that are in training. And no I am not an owner, maybe one day. But I have a few friends that are owners. I have been handicapping races for 25 years and I have worked on the backstretch at Saratoga for 4 seasons. So I am not a rookie, but I am still learning about what it takes to get a horse into the starting gate. I can not stand to listen to someone who owns a pony or jumper and then thinks they know the ins and outs of thoroughbred racing. You are correct, it is the way that some comments are stated that get me upset. I am not questioning LDP's love of horses or genuine intuition.

LDP, I do not have to know you to understand what you said about Mike Smith. Do you realize that being in the HOF does matter and that he did guide Zenyatta to another Grade I win on saturday? How is he cocky by moving his horse to the inside for a win? I mentioned Striking Dancer, go watch the replay. Every race is different and I trust his moves more than your opinion. I can not believe that I am even entertaining the emotions of a teenager here. You even said that if he lost most would want to kill him! What? Take it easy girl, hold back. For a guy that makes so many mistakes Mike Smith sure is a great jockey! LDP, when are you going to join Chris McCarrons jockey school?

15 Mar 2010 2:10 PM
Forbidden Apple

LDP, why don't you call John Shirreffs and ask him what he thought of Mike Smith's ride?

I still can not believe that you think moving Zenyatta towards the rail was a bad move. What it have been better if he slammed his way through the other horses and then was disqualified?

I am not completely against what you write, I just think you are wrong this time. It is because you like others on here are in love with Rachel. I used to think more like you until one day I had to accept that the beautiful animals that I love are stuck in their stalls most of the day and are part of a business. And we are all only talking about the stakes horses. How do you think some of the claimers are treated? Horse racing is not all red roses, I know that, but I still love this game.

15 Mar 2010 2:21 PM
Tim G

Mike, I'm kind of biased. I really think that Hal's training had more to do with Rachel's success last year than a lot of people want to admit to.

I've heard various things. Some is just speculation, some is from people who are around the game 24/7. There's been some doubt as to whether she would ever run again. I'm just not so sure they want any part of a well developed physical specimen like Zenyatta who is mature mentally as well. I'm trying to figure out who else would step up to the plate with the kind of money Charles offered because there aren't a lot of tracks doing well enough to 1) raise their everyday purses like Oaklawn did or 2) come up with the kind of purse that Jess demands with regularity.

Maybe May, if at all? A stakes race on/around Derby Day? I just have a bad feeling about her. They had to know this was on the horizon and they just weren't really making a huge attempt to prepare her. They HAD to know that OP has the funds that a lot of tracks don't and they would try to make something happen. Bring her back 20-30 days sooner than they did and she would have been on target,IF she is still the same horse. I have my doubts.

Sadly they changed the date to suit the RA connections, raised the purse, bent over backwards. Makes some of the claims of them dodging Zenyatta last year a bit more believable. Not saying RA is dodging anyone because she has a lot of heart. But she can't enter up and as for her 'telling' that group anything?  Not sure she's talking to them.

Really though, think about it. The one time Zenyatta ran on dirt, she ran extremely well and beat some of the top females of the year and it was at Oaklawn.......

15 Mar 2010 2:56 PM

Question?  If Ra was so damn good like she was last year, then she should not have needed so much training to get her going, It  should have been easily done for her,

Zenyatta on the other hand was ridiculed last year for having a long layoff and she won that damn race and every one since. Point is, You whiners can fault Zenyata, but cant fault secondhand Rachel.

I do not forsee a race ever with RA and Zenyatta, why?, because RA will be retired.  First off, JJ says they are going to train her some more, so she can come back and lose to Zenyata or another quality grade 1 or 2 or 3, horse.

BS, is what it is, If RA continues to lose races, damn he won't be able to give her foals away.

I can't see him bringing her back just to take a chance and lose to Zenyatta, gosh the man cant' take any more defeats, Remembr after the BCC in 08, when Curlin lost, he didnt bring him back either.

He got his award (with help) for last year, he aint going to cry over it this year,

15 Mar 2010 3:17 PM

Forbidden Apple,

I think it would've been easier for him to go wide like he normally does. Zen toyed with that group when she got loose. If she had gone wide she would taken three maybe four jumps and had her ears flicking long before she did when Smith nearly got her boxed in. It was luck that PU drifted out enough so Zen could get through. Normally I see no problem with a jockey taking a shorter route, if there is something there. Smith nearly got her boxed because he was forcing his way through, not because there was actually enough room. If he were at any other track outside of Cali, I seriously doubt anyone would make room for him. He got away with it, but just by the skin of his teeth. He should've gone with what has worked.

15 Mar 2010 4:14 PM

Forbidden Apple,

I used to and still do study races to see mistakes of jockies. I used to much more because I wanted to be one. I actually still could, if I didn't care about making some physical issues I have now worse. If I were like any other teenager w/o all my physical crap I would be a jockey. I still every once in a while will hike my stirrups up some, hunch over my TB's neck and ask him for some go. I have a need for speed, but I also have a hatred for hospitals and a fear of going into an OR. So, I will not be attending jockey school. Though, go into a schooling ring at a show and you'll learn how to dip, dogde, and dive pretty darn fast.

15 Mar 2010 4:19 PM


I noticed, I also noticed that I didn't even reference to RA or make an excuse. Are you bringing her up just for the sake of arguement? Another thing I noticed was that Mike nearly lost the race. Had PU not drifted, Mike would have had to go wide and by the time he got Zen around the wall of what four or five horses, and let her loose, it would've been too late. Luck and Zenyatta's immense ability were the only reason they won. It was not a HOF ride. I know how good Mike Smith is, I like him a lot, I just don't want to see Zenyatta lose because of human error.

15 Mar 2010 4:26 PM

Tim G- thx for the compliment.  I enjoy reading your posts because I am not in the industry or the loop, so it's information that I don't have access to.  So you can tell us what is being said and what is going on.  Thx.

15 Mar 2010 4:28 PM
Mike Relva


Thank you. Also,I agree that it was a stupid decision to remove Mr. Wiggins,(I've said this last yr). Also, have you heard anything about Zenyatta's leg? Noticed a few posts after her race and I watched  after Mike pulled her up he was looking at the left front. Do you know anything about this??

15 Mar 2010 4:42 PM

Just a comment- I've listened to many interviews with Mike Smith.  Cocky isn't a word I really would use to describe any aspect of him that I've seen.

15 Mar 2010 4:47 PM
Tim G

I've known Mike since he was just coming on the scene, a youngster, he is not cocky. Not any more so than any other elite athlete and truthfully not nearly as much as some are.

I call it confidence. But, once again if LDP was at the track she'd know you cannot be timid and stay alive.

Races set up ways that you can't program what you want to happen. You hope they set the pace you want, you hope a spot opens for you where you want,but that isn't always the case. You take what opportunity is presented to you if you're a good jock. If not you're riding at Yavapai if you are still able to walk and are alive.

Mike did what he had to for the way the race set up.

Read all you want, study what you will but theory never substitutes for experience.

Is this one of those 'I stayed in a Holiday Express' moments?

Mike, I haven't really heard anything. I don't routinely talk to anyone in that circuit since we left running out there. Maybe you could make a trip to see your girlfriend (that's you who has a girl in Cal, right?) and go to the track see if you can pick up anything for us??

I haven't heard any gossip or talk even. I watched the race but don't recall seeing anything. It was a bit close a couple times though.

15 Mar 2010 6:46 PM
Mike Relva


I 'm going Apr. 7 but she hasn't heard anything.

15 Mar 2010 9:31 PM


What's this about if Smith was at an track outside of Cali you seriously doubt anyone would make room for him?  I hope you don't believe that, just like I hope some people aren't saying that if the race was on another circuit there would have been an inquiry.  If the competition in the Santa Margarita was that concerned about Zenyatta LOSING maybe they should have just parted and let him run straight through.  Everyone wants to win and believe me, there is no favoring out there once the gait opens.

15 Mar 2010 9:45 PM

Tim G,

If you can't go to the track and be timid then why does my brashness upset you. From your last post you would think it would actually make you less incline to hate me so much. I said it seemed that he was over confident in the race, I never said he was an overall cocky guy, I hardly think that. I felt he rode Zenyatta overconfidently, many besides me think that. I am merely saying for him to be careful, because he did nearly lose that race. He nearly lost the Clement Hirsch because he overestimated Zenyatta. Each time, however, she has overcome that. However, even a great horse, even a perfect horse can lose when too much goes wrong. Man o War is a great example of that.

15 Mar 2010 10:16 PM
Tim G

I'm sorry I don't understand what you're trying to say LDP.....

If you're saying what I think you are? That you can't go to the track and be timid, you aren't timid but brash?

Well, I can just say you can talk the talk but you can't walk the walk.

People who spout off about how it IS when they don't ACTUALLY KNOW how it is aren't called brash, they're called know it all blowhards.

I don't hate you, too much energy wasted. I do think however that when you get off on these tacks that it takes away from the blog.

Now if you were a fellow jockey or a HOF jockey or a person who actually KNEW the nuances of race riding? Your absolute, yes I'm right attitude might be more palatable. But that mad at the world, I've had it tough coming from a teenage kid? Sorry.

Kids who've had it a lot tougher than the things you've described are willing to listen and learn and don't try to tell others who do things for a living just what they're doing wrong.

He explained what happened in the Clement Hirsch, but he also lets the mare make her move and she usually makes it when she's good and ready.

LOL Why the heck do you think they run the races? Nearly every horse is beatable, but until they get beat? Well close only counts in horse shoes.

15 Mar 2010 11:08 PM

GunBow 14 Mar 2010 7:50 PM

Read this one people. It's all about draynay and it hits the nail on the head.

Gun Bow,  

That post my friend hits draynay right between the eyes. You couldn't describe the crap he spews any better if you tried a thousand more times. There you have a little man who claims to be a great race fan but is just here to stir the pot. One year it's Big Brown and the rest of the racing world is a joke, the next year it's Rachael Alexandra and the rest are nothing but losers. That's not a fan of racing, that's a child like mind getting his kicks out of being and a**. It's time the bloggers here just pretend he doesn't exist and he'll go away.

No true fan of racing would go into hiding just because one horse (RA) gets beat. It's all about being an ego maniac and he thought he had found the perfect outlet by latching on to a horse he thought would not be beat. Funny thing about horseracing though on any given day any horse can be beat. Oh, he'll be back to spew more of his crap but it's high time people here just plain ignore him. let him fade away back into some other world, who needs him anyway?      

16 Mar 2010 8:11 AM

Tim G,

I'm about to go to college, and I sit in front of a computer typing, but I have e-mailed trainers before, acually stating a plan that I thought would work for there horses. I walk the walk when I take a horse that was nothing but skin an bones and make him into a beautiful jumper dispite many people ever telling me there was no way I would ever be able to do it. I'm walking the walk yet again by going to the college and getting a scholarship for the equestrian team. I'm going there to learn how to run a businenss, how to run a barn, how to train horse, how to look at pedigree and breed a star. I will be in this business, and believe me I will be great.

The thing you don't get is that I do know what I'm talking about, you are just to focused on the fact that I am young to realize that. I have people, barn owners, who actually ask my opinion, ask me to ride horses nobody wants to ride, and when the first meet me are surprised at how knowledgeble I am.

I walk the walk in my own life, but it's kind of hard to do it on a key board where all you can do is type.

16 Mar 2010 8:37 AM
Forbidden Apple

Tim G,

Do you have any opinions on Conveyance? Do you know anything about the racing surface at Sunland? I am done with the Apple Blossom talk, team Rachel should pack their bags and get Rachel as far away from Zenyatta as possible. I happen to have a lot of respect for Mike Smith as a rider and for the way he connects with Zenyatta. I was fortunate enough to watch him here in Saratoga when he won the Travers with Holy Bull and Coronado's Quest. I also remember when I was a teenager he used to get on some good horse for Bill Mott.


Let's forget about Rachel and Zenyatta for now. Who do you like on the KY Derby trail?

16 Mar 2010 11:04 AM
joe schmoe


You relayted to the nay nay? You both seem to have the same attitude. Grow up and get over it. People aren't always going to agree with you. Tooting your own horn won't change any of that.

16 Mar 2010 1:58 PM

Forbidden Apple,

I haven't gotten my formal top ten list back together yet but LaL is back on top for me right now. Nobles Promise will probably be there. If Conveyance can rate or prove that he can carry his speed I like him. Rule is one I think will rate, and as of now he's done nothing wrong. I also still like Dublin. Nakatani gave him a bad ride. He was riding to beat LaL, it seemed, when he should've been riding to win or give his colt the best chance possible to win.

Eskendereya is a nice colt, but I'm not sure what to make of his win right now. The main horses didn't really show up in that race, though Jackson Bend is one honest colt. He was very close or on the lead I believe, but setting slower fractions for a very speed bias and fast track. Right now I'm taking the stance of he needs to come back and do it one more time. I feel generally the same way about Sidney's Candy, that he got away with some very easy fractions and needs to come back and win again.

On the bubble horses for me would be number one American Lion. I feel he really wants dirt. His last two efforts were his worst for me, and both came over Pro-Ride the track that most resembles turf. IMO there are a lot of horses to choose from this year, and though some ppl call this is a week year I think it is a fairly decent crop and a marked improvement over the 08 crop.

16 Mar 2010 3:07 PM
Mike Relva


Regarding your "helpful comments" to LDP,I would take some of your own advise.

16 Mar 2010 5:00 PM
Tim G

Conveyance? Not sure he'll get the distance but it's a crapshoot with these horses even at this stage. in a couple of weeks it'll really start to shake out.

The surface at Sunland is pretty consistent from what I recall. We ran some there WAAAAAYYYY back when. Stan Fulton has that track groomed and running like clockwork. The economy apparently took a bit of a downturn in NM recently but Sunland is still a real successful track.I do remember that they spent a ton of money to renovate the Zia Park surface but I don't think Sunland has had the same issues.

Back in the day they didn't have drainage on the days it rained and it could get pretty muddy on those rare occasions. Saw some horses go down unhurt several times. It used to be hard fast on days when it didn't rain but I'm not sure exactly what the makeup of the track is at the present. Can see if a relative has a program, they used to tell the mixture.

I went to the Winstar (Sunland Park)Derby a few years ago and I don't recall much complaining about the surface.

I was laughing, thinking about Mikey, I remember HIM when HE was a teenager.

LDP, I'm glad you have these plans. Go to University of Arizona if you want a career in horse racing. I don't want to discourage you from that. But I know someone once told you that your attitude wouldn't be well accepted by the racing community. IF and WHEN you ever get involved in horse racing then you can offer more than opinion. Most trainers are very kind to the real fans of racing. Actually most of us are, but well I've already told you what bothers me about what you write and I don't think you 'get' it.

I think someone told you once to go get a job on the track. You're getting a late start in racing. Most were walking hots as soon as they were allowed, some as little kids and most as young teens. Even those who went to school to learn the game also went to the school of race track life.

16 Mar 2010 10:56 PM
Tim G

LDP, that last post was astute and not arrogant.

I, like others, don't believe your youth limits your knowledge. Your inexperience does. I know young trainers and very young jocks who are very astute, but they've actually had the experience.

ONCE again though, the experience you talk about has relatively NOTHING to do with racing. I think you need to open your mind and realize that people who have done this most of their lives, those who have been IN racing for 10-60 years are more well-versed as to what goes on. Hey you know the ins and outs of racing and give advice to trainers(are those race horse trainers?) so do you know how to read a condition book?

Some of the very best trainers, watch, listen and learn from the trainers around them, they come up from the rank and file or the very few who don't come up under a parent, start young and learn by trial and error. I just think someone who GIVES opinions only, will never be successful if they don't also have an open mind and want to learn from those who DO know the game.

16 Mar 2010 11:05 PM

LDP: If you bothered to listen to the post race interviews, Mike said he could have gone wide and still won the race, but he was trying not to use up too much of Zenyatta before the Apple Blossom, which were the trainer's instructions.  So sometime, you just need to listen; there are some folks out there who are more knowledgeable than you.  John Shirreffs and Mike Smith might be 2 of them.  Whatever your skill might be, there is always so much more to learn when you pay attention.

17 Mar 2010 2:54 PM


I do bother to listen, and I disagree. It's America, it's a freed country so I am free to disagree. Zenyatta never uses herself, the only time she was ever really stretched was the Clement Hirsch. Against that field, going wide would've been easy for her, she probably would've been by in a matter of five jumps. She wouldn't have had the traffic problems, plus it is what she does. The Classic I could understand. Had she gone wide in the Classic we would've seen her stretched out. It was a much better field and a bigger field. This was nowhere near that quality, and from what I know 127 lbs is not that much for her. I pay plenty of attention, I am not ignorant.

17 Mar 2010 8:15 PM
Forbidden Apple

Tim G,

Thank you for the information on Sunland Park. I like your comment to LDP about listening to others and wanting to learn. I ask as many questions as possible and I am always eager to learn. I was talking to a friend of mine last year who happens to be a horse owner and she asked if I was working again this year on the backstretch. I said yes and she said with who? I told her and her advice to me was keep your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open. I definitely pay attention to the trainer, assistant, riders, and even the vet. For me I try to connect with the individual horse and study their actions as much as possible.


I just watched the replay again and Mike Smith's ride was brilliant. His timing was perfect and he knew exactly what Zenyatta was going to do with a sharp inside move. It happened quickly, just like a knockout punch in a prize fight.

Now I just read how you thought Nakatani gave Dublin a bad ride. The horse was rank in the first turn. It is way to easy to always blame the jockey when something goes wrong.

Lookin at Lucky was very impressivce after clipping heels around the turn and patiently waiting to win by a whisker. I still question if he can get 1 1/4 against the best competition with his late moves. I am leaning towards Conveyance as my speed horse and Awesome Act as my closer to complete an exacta.

Do you exercise thoroughbred race horses?

18 Mar 2010 11:17 PM

Forbidden Apple,

You can disagree, I have never minded anyone disagreeing with me. I don't like it when I feel like I'm being attacked for my opinion. On Nakatani, most ppl I have talked to think the same way. They think he move prematurely, in order to try to box LaL. In the first turn and in the begining stages of the Rebel he has been rank, which why I believe somebody said he has been going so wide into the first turns.

I have complete confidence in LaL. He, according to Baffert was only abou 80%. He should not have won that race with everything that happened, and yet he did. He seems to have a nose for the wire. I'm waiting on AA to put in a good performance in the Wood. I don't think his last was due to the quirky inner track, but I've been wrong before so I'm gonna just sit back and wait. Conveyance I like. I really do not know why since everything about him would normally scream no to me, but the more I watch the Southwest the more I like him.

I do not  exercise TB's. Personally my last two physical therapists don't know why I still work around horses. I was pretty much forced to quit my last job at a farm because all the heavy lifting cause me to two thoratic injuries in less than a year. I would love to be able to ride racehorses, I still do want to be a jockey. I'm just for once listening to my body.

19 Mar 2010 5:58 AM

LDP- I had to quit a successful modern dance career because of my back.  It was an old injury and it ended up being impossible to do class, rehearsals and performances.  I was 35 when I quit and felt like I was 105- but I kept doing it until I couldn't.  When I finally went to the surgeons, they told me I should be in a wheelchair, so whatever they would do would make me less mobile than I was.  They thought even with quitting dancing, I would be back in about 5 yrs for an operation.  It's been 21 years and I still haven't had to go see them, so I have been lucky.  But quitting dance left a huge hole inside of me.  My art career has filled some of it, but not all of it.  Anyway, my point is that you find something in whatever field you are interested in and do it to the best of your ability and don't ever doubt yourself- which I'm sure you don't;).  You can't be a jockey but you can be other things.  Life works out that way.  I guess even though I thought I was meant to dance- I wasn't.  Don't give up and don't feel ganged up on.  We all have felt that way, and the fact that you state your opinions strongly will always make people attack.  Keep your head up and keep going.  I enjoy reading your blogs whether I agree with them or not.  Sorry for going on- just wanted to give you a pep talk I guess.

19 Mar 2010 11:38 AM

LDP...of course you are free to state your opinion.  However, my confidence relies more heavily on what Zenyatta's jockey says, rather than what you think.  The word is "thoracic", and I'll clue you in to that as well.  Thoracic vertebrae support your entire body to keep you upright.  One or more fracture or compression will keep you off a horse for the rest of your life.  Ignore the doctors only at your own peril. Arthritis, scoliosis, stenosis, or spinal cord injury can cripple you.  And every ache and pain you experience is not just something for you to's a warning.  Build your muscles, but don't over-exert your spine.  I speak from experience, so-unlike me-listen to your doctors...they really do know what you should and shouldn't do.  (which probably includes-no heavy lifting-no diving-and no horseback riding-I think dirt bikes may be out too).

19 Mar 2010 12:01 PM
Forbidden Apple


I apologize if you think I was attacking your opinion. I like how feisty you seem to be and the fact that you love horses. I have just been very upset with everyone still knocking Zenyatta when all she does is win!

Everyone knew that Lookin at Lucky was the horse to beat. Nakatani had a rank horse early on and then did what he could do to try and keep Lucky at bay. It is so funny about Dublin, people keep liking him and defending him for some reason. He has had 2 races this year and has been beaten by 3 different horses.

So are you a hotwalker or a groom?

What does LDP stand for?

19 Mar 2010 1:34 PM


I don't mind who anybody decides to trust, and I don't me that to sound arrogant or cocky at all. I strained a muscle in my shoulder that was called the thoracic, at least that is what they told me. They said that it also leads into my back, upper back and that the type of strain I had took a year to fully heal, even though I could work in a few months. I also have bursitis in the same shoulder, and lower back issues. Yes, they also told me I had slight scoliosis.

Thing is I can't give up horses or riding, just can't. Though I am a lot more careful.

Forbidden Apple,

I try not to bash Zenyatta, seeing as how I like her too.

On Dublin and Nakatani, I can understand a jock doing something like that in the Belmont or Preakness, but IMO a jock should be doing what is best for their mount, especially in the prep races. Do I think he would've beaten LaL with a better trip, no. Lucky was much the best.

19 Mar 2010 3:29 PM


I love to write, which is why I blog, so that helps. I also want to be a owner/trainer, and plan on being one of the best :)

19 Mar 2010 3:31 PM

LDP: you can overcome a strain, but it takes a while.  You're much too young to be experiencing all of the other problems.  I hope you heal quickly.  You might want to consider a side trip into journalism with an emphasis on the back side of racing??? My problems were compression fractures...and they just don't ever go away, which is why I had so many restrictions.

Footlick: I too opted out of any surgical intervention because the odds were just stacked too high against a positive outcome.  

19 Mar 2010 7:24 PM

Slew- If it would have kept me dancing I would have done it immediately.  If there was an experimental procedure that was available, I would have chanced that too.  But one of the surgeons developed the most advanced procedure for severe spondylolisthesis available at the time.  It wouldn't have kept me dancing. I would have no flexibility at all.  So I chose not to.  I am still flexible, doing all my dance stretching everyday.  And still walking and still functioning and that's all I can ask.  I am very lucky and I know it.  Anyway-enough of this.  Anybody else like Pulsion/ Ice Box as a huge upset in the Florida Derby?  I did like Radiohead until his post.

19 Mar 2010 11:43 PM


I learned that when I came back after about four months after my regular injury, went to work for another three or four and re-injured it. The doctors thought that it was the strain of working days in a row. I could normally handle two, but each year they asked me to come in and help a fourth day, and I always said yes, and then, boom. I try to stack some hey or lift a bucket and I strain that stupid shoulder. The therapist said the strain was actually cause by the mild scoliosis, because it caused me to favor my other are putting more weight on my right arm. The back issues came later. They said it may be an aggrivated muscle swelling up the pinching the siatic nerve. I didn't want to do more test to find out if they were right, so i just deal with it.


I'm so sory about your dancing. I don't know how I would handle not being able to ride. Horses are my air, so to imagine how it would be not to ride or be around them, helps me sympathise for you. I am sorry.

20 Mar 2010 7:23 AM

LDP-thx.  But that's life-lol.

20 Mar 2010 3:52 PM
Slew were right on about Ice Box.  My longshot, Best Actor, is still trying to find the finish line....maybe Tuesday he'll come home.  He would have been there sooner, but he thought he'd try running backward for a while.

20 Mar 2010 9:27 PM

Slew- I can't take any knowledgeable credit for it- just a hunch bet.  Pulsion faded into midpack.  Biancone did not have a good day-lol.

21 Mar 2010 3:09 PM

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