A New Top 10 and Thoughts on Rachel/Zenyatta

What a bittersweet weekend of racing. It was the best day of Triple Crown preps we've seen to date, with the Tampa Bay Derby and Rebel both being decided by a nose, and the San Felipe by a half-length. Unfortunately, things soured a bit as we watched Rachel Alexandra get upset by Zardana. And the next day the Rachel camp confirmed what we all suspected--she would not go to the Apple Blossom. More on that later.

As for the Derby trail, I was very impressed with the top 3 in both the Tampa Bay Derby and Rebel. Only time will tell, but I have a feeling we saw the Derby winner on Saturday. All but two horses in my original top 10 stay, but in a much different order. At least the most important spot didn't change--No. 1 Odysseus. I was happy to see him confirm his potential and prove he is a legitimate contender. For all those that doubted him before, we are happy to have you on the bandwagon.

1. Odysseus - As presumptuous as the call by Tampa Bay track announcer Richard Grunder was ("Odysseus will have to wait for another day"), he did look like a beaten horse around the turn. That's what makes this effort even more impressive, especially in his first stakes try. His ability to re-rally and his determination in deep stretch while trying to weave through traffic is exactly what you are looking for in a Derby horse. I hope the connections decide to run him in the Wood because I don't want to see him going into the Derby without a try at nine furlongs and off seven weeks rest. Either way, he proved he is a major contender.

2. Lookin At Lucky - What a terrific effort while overcoming several hurdles. Ran well returning from layoff; certainly answered questions in first start on dirt and first time trying blinkers; and more than anything showed he has a lot of grit while overcoming trouble in backstretch and running down Noble's Promise in deep stretch. Baffert says he'll have him even better for next race.

3. Eskendereya - Worked an easy five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 on Sunday. Fountain of Youth was still most dominant effort by any 3YO this year. Florida Derby will let us know if he goes into KY Derby as the favorite.

4. Noble's Promise - New. It was an oversight to leave him off my original Top 10. Ran a huge race in his first start off a long layoff and first start on dirt. Proved himself big time against a very good field and figures to only get better in his next. Has terrific cruising speed. Major, major player.

5. Awesome Act - New. I am skeptical about any big effort on the inner track at Aqueduct, but after watching his Gotham a few more times I have to admit I am impressed. The Wood is shaping up to be the best Derby prep. Looking forward to seeing this colt as much as anyone.

6. Interactif - For the third straight race ran well but lacked that killer instinct nearing the wire. However, it was a very nice effort on synthetics and he was closing well at the end in a fast final quarter. This colt can run on any surface. I still like him as a major contender, mostly because I really believe he is best suited for 10 furlongs.

7. Drosselmeyer - I may be one of the only people who hasn't dismissed him. Will have one more shot to get enough earnings, either in Louisiana Derby or Sunland Derby.

8. Super Saver - Good effort in first start back. Was forced to go to the lead without any early speed, then finished gamely during a frantic stretch. Looks like he'll go to the Arkansas Derby. That will tell us what he's all about.

9. D'Funnybone - Drops a few spots without running, which I don't usually like to do. But others moved up and still have questions about his ability to get distance.

10. Caracortado - Closed pretty well into a slow pace, but certainly regressed a bit from his last. Willing to give him a mulligan and another chance in Santa Anita Derby.

10a. Schoolyard Dreams - Showed an impressive turn of foot in Tampa Bay Derby and it took a huge effort by Odysseus and some bad luck to beat him. Still needs some earnings.

The Best of the Rest

Christine Daae - Drops off the list only because Biancone said she will be going to Bonnie Miss and not against the boys. Still think she is as talented as any 3-year-old colt. Absolutely my Oaks pick right now.

Dublin -Drops off the list after consecutive losses. Ran a little wide into the first turn again, but had no real excuses. Has to prove he can win in the Arkansas Derby.             

Rule - He probably should be in my top 10. What's keeping me from thinking this colt is for real?

Conveyance - I might be the only one that doesn't have him in the top 10. I just don't think he will get 10 furlongs.

Sidney's Candy - Good front-running effort in San Felipe, which gives him two prep wins in a row. But like Conveyance, I don't think his style fits the Derby.

Radiohead - Impressive allowance win. Let's see what he does next.

Discreetly Mine -Very slow work on Sunday. Not crazy about him.

Tempted to Tapit - He'll get one more chance.

Jackson Bend -Ten furlongs doesn't seem what he wants.

Stay Put - Like Drosselmeyer, he will get another chance to prove himself. A lot is riding on Louisiana Derby.

Now, a few words about Rachel and Zenyatta.

First of all, it was extremely disappointing to see the news today that Rachel would not be pointing toward the Apple Blossom any longer. But is anyone really that surprised? First they weren't going, then after Jess Jackson handpicked the date he wanted they were, and now they are not again. Extremely predictable and frustrating. Are they doing right by Rachel? Probably. If they say she is not ready, we have to take them at their word. But it still doesn't help lessen the disappointment.

As for the race, let's be honest here. She got the perfect trip and wasn't good enough. Give credit to Zardana. She was game. But if we are going to throw around accolades when horses excel, we must also keep it real when they underperform. Steve Asmuusen must take much of the blame here. He didn't have her ready.

That was evident in the first half mile. Rachel was extremely head strong and did not rate as well as she has shown in the past. She was too fresh. Borel held her as long as he could until he had to let her go just past the half-mile marker. And she didn't have enough left in the final furlong.

You could see in some of Rachel's prior works, especially the one two weeks ago, that she was too head strong, and as some say, unfocused. It was Asmussen's job to get her ready for this race and he failed. He admitted as much after the race. Somewhere, I'm sure Hal Wiggins is laughing to himself.

I still think Rachel ran a good race. For a filly making a return off a six-month layoff it was gutsy. Most likely, she will be better when and if she returns. Who knows when that will be.

As for Zenyatta, what a sensational performance. She did what she always does, find a way to win. She also did it with a lot left in the tank. Even without Rachel in the Apple Blossom, it will be an exciting event--going for 16 straight wins will guarantee that.

Maybe the rivals will meet somewhere down the road. At this point, I wouldn't bank on it.

 

624 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Jimmy

Very disappointing with Rachel. She put her body on the line and ran a gutsy race, but she clearly was not ready and should not have been on the track. When you admit your horse to being 80% fit, they should not be on the track; only bad things can happen. Her human connections should be ashamed of themselves for rushing her back to the races and essentially hanging her out to dry. Skipping the Apple Blossom is the right call. If Rachel is going to beat Zenyatta, she better be at 100% and dead fit, and coming off her lackluster and unfocused workouts, it is quite clear she is not. JJ and Steve Asmussen have failed Rachel Alexandra, and it is extremely disappointing they would treat her like they did. Lets just hope they do right by her and wait until she is ready to return to the track when we see her again.

14 Mar 2010 10:31 PM
TJLuvsTizs

Jason,

Rule beat the same crowd other than SS that Odysseus did, shouldn't he be higher than Drosselmeyer at the very least?

Did you 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!  

Anyways, 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 they both impressed me a lot.  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).

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 10:44 PM
Brian Appleton

Rachel not going to the Apple Blossom is very dissapointing, but I think most of us suspected it as soon as she lost the race.

#1 Lookin At Lucky #1A Odysseus! (:

Can't choose who I like better of the two yet.

14 Mar 2010 10:46 PM
Paula Higgins

I don't think anyone is to blame for Rachel not being ready. I am not sure Hal Wiggins could have done any better. (Not unless he ran a different campaign last year than Asmussen did). She had a very aggressive and draining campaign in 2009. I think we are seeing the result of that. In my opinion, this is all about last year. I don't know that she will return to her previous form. My gut says "No." When a filly runs non-stop against the boys, it has to take its toll. As other people have noted, sometimes fillys don't want to run anymore and that also may be the case here. I think we have to keep this in perspective. She had a brilliant year and that may be as good as it gets (one for the ages by the way). We may be asking for too much here. Zenyatta's career has been a little more spread out and balanced. This is not a criticism of anyone. There is something to be said for both types of campaigns. Horses are not bred for longevity or endurance anymore. Which makes Zenyatta's career all the more amazing. But again she started later and didn't run with the boys until the Breeders Cup Classic. She is also a behemoth. I would love to see what her heart size is, literally. In any event, I hope they can get Rachel back to form, but if they can't, let her retire and have little Rachels. We can be more than happy with what she has already given us.

Zenyatta will race in the Apple Blossom against Bambera and that may not be a cake walk. She is a speedball too. If I were Mike Smith and John Shirreffs, I would not take her for granted. Also, I think the other riders will be making sure that holes don't open up to allow Zenyatta to get through. They will not make it easy for her.

As for the Derby hopefuls, I like Odysseus, Eskendereya and Lookin At Lucky. Those are my top three picks right now. So far no one stands out as a Triple Crown winner.

14 Mar 2010 10:53 PM
Jason Shandler

TJLuvsTizs: To answer your question, yes, Rule probably should be on any top 10 list. He has does nothing wrong. Maybe its his running style that Im not crazy about.

My list, however, is more speculative than others based on what I think horses will do in the Derby, not entirely on what they have done so far. That is why Drosselmeyer is on there and Rule is not. These things are obviously unscientific. Just one man's opinion.

14 Mar 2010 10:56 PM
Ange

Jesse Jackson is a hypocritical chicken, not to mention a spoiled child. He saw how well Zenyatta ran and realized Rachel could never beat her, so he pulled out. Rachel needed that race. She very easily could run in 4 weeks time in the Apple Blossom and be extremely competetive, but she won't beat Z.

14 Mar 2010 11:05 PM
Mary

How about hats off to John Shirrefs who had Zenyatta ready off a lay off and Zardana ready to roll on 3/13/10!  Not enough credit is given to him for his Breeder's cup accomplishment with Zenyatta - 2 Breeders Cup Wins - 2 Different races! Then won the Ladies Classic and the Classic.

Then 16 in a row is an awesome accomplishment anytime but, with Zenyatta's running style even more impressive as so much could stop her as she puts in her late run.

Rachel and Zenyatta, I don't need to see it.

16 in a row and a classic win says it all!

14 Mar 2010 11:05 PM
francine

Take heart Jason. Laffit Pincay is still in Camp Drosselmeyer and not giving up without a fight.

14 Mar 2010 11:17 PM
Sammi P

The first thing I said after RA finished second was that there would be no more Apple Blossome for her. Not so sure about them ending her career all together, but again wouldn't be suprised. I give her one more race maybe then we will know, but I blame her loss on Steve.

Zen ran beautiful again, can't wait to see her get back to the dirt again.

As for that race that everyone almost forgot about, what is it, the Derby right? lol

1) Rule 2) Lookin at Lucky 3) Noble's Promise

14 Mar 2010 11:22 PM
Mike Relva

ANGE

Let's be real! I'm a loyal Zenyatta fan,but the fact is RA wasn't close to being a hundred per cent yesterday,it shows. And,what you stated is incorrect,it's not a month till the A. Blossom. I wanted to see the matchup w/Zenyatta and RA,BUT NOT AT RA's EXPENSE IF SHE'S NOT READY!

14 Mar 2010 11:23 PM
shuttleworth

it's too bad that we won't see RA run in the Apple Blossom... I do think her connections are doing the right thing by her though... she just didn't look very "fit" yesterday... Zenyatta, on the other hand.. what a mare!!.. hopefully, RA will come back, and we'll see these two down the road..

14 Mar 2010 11:25 PM
sherpa

I'm pleased to see Caracortado still has a place on your list.  He's still my favorite 3yo - love his style - but he'll probably lack sufficient graded earnings to get into the Derby unless he runs big next out.  That's ok, they don't ALL have to run in the TC series.  Blame, who was a late starter, was one of my favorites last year (speaking of whom, any thoughts about when we might see him again?).

Sorry you dropped Connemara again, even from the "also's".  I hope he will make a reappearance soon ;-)

Rachel: yes, it's a disappointment that the Apple Blossom matchup is off, but probably for the best. Physically, she looks great but her heart for it has been compromised IMVHO.  

Hats off to Zardana, tho.  The girl won 3 times on her native Brazilian dirt before Zetcher bought her so *somebody* should've been prepared to see her run back to her dirt form. *Somebody* didn't do their homework and prepare Rachel accordingly.  

No need to comment on Z.  The Queen speaks for herself. :-)

14 Mar 2010 11:27 PM
dave

here's a likely unpopular comment- but I think any horse but Zenyatta would have been dropped for interference in the stretch- yes she was much best- but no doubt when she made pretty catherine check so hard it likely cost that one a few places.

14 Mar 2010 11:27 PM
John H

Do you think Noble's Promise can get the distance?He keeps getting nailed at 1 1/16,albeit by good horses,and Aikenite was closing fast on him in the futurity(KEE).He's as gutsy as they come,though.

14 Mar 2010 11:30 PM
mikey

Jason, you are so right with your comments.It was so predictable that JJ was not ever going to bring Rachel to the Apple Blossom.First he was coming,then not coming,then was coming when the date was changed,now 4 weeks after her prep is not enuf to get her ready.Now he is sorry for the "accelerated training program" to try an make the Apple Blossom.Look pal,just say you dont want to meet Zenyatta an save Oaklawn all the promotional money that was spent.Oh well,we still have Zenyatta coming and I am proud of that.Thanks to the Mosses for bringing her to Oaklawn.In my opinion the two of them will never meet.JJ,stick to that wine making and stay out of horse racing.

14 Mar 2010 11:34 PM
Mike Relva

HELLO JASON:

I have to hand it to you regarding Odysseus. Great observation on your part. I feel RA suffers a "hangover" from last yr. Stated several times last summer maybe connections expected too much. I've said many times Zenyatta is a "superhorse" and she did what she needed yesterday. What's your opinion?

14 Mar 2010 11:36 PM
jose

I dont buy that not ready story Zenyatta has been ready 15 times in a row she wud have beaten rachel to tie cigars record.I dont understand how she was horse of the year against an unbeaten older mare.Do you remember the big showdown between bernardini and invasor what a showdown.Rachel came in and beat 3yos after a grueling race 3 weeks before and beat them again.Her only win against older she was lucky to win.Any horse that wins 15 races in a row shud be horse of the year especially against against a 3yo thats biggest win was only running in the second leg of the triple crown.Politics had to play a part in her being named horse of the year over an unbeaten breeders cup classic winner.I doubt jess jackson will get to face zenyatta with the advantage he is looking for.

14 Mar 2010 11:40 PM
sodapopkid

Jason, my good man, I have to agree with your last sentence about not banking on the meeting up of Zenyatta and Rachel A. I see her being retired after about a month or so or alittle later, I do not see her going against Zenyatta ever, JJ is living with enough disappointment over the fact that a grade 2 horse from Zenaytta's barn beating his HOY and not having Zenyatta to do it first, KNowing Ra will not be able to take down Zen anytime soon or if ever at all.

Have you noticed the new tactical moves Zenyata and Smith are doing, Zenyatta will never be taken down easily if ever. unless she is to tired to perform or to old. She loves to win, and you can see she loves to toy with her oppositions, she is good for horseracing and she is good at her game.

14 Mar 2010 11:43 PM
snow

Disappointed yes.  Surprised no.  When confronted with the real possibility of losing one's stature it becomes a mental challenge that is very difficult to confront and sometimes its easiest just to walk away.  

14 Mar 2010 11:46 PM
Jason Shandler

Sherpa: Connemara should be in my best of the rest. That's an oversight. He's a nice colt. I guess those Golden Gate horses somehow elude me once in a while. Cant imagine why :)

14 Mar 2010 11:46 PM
John

Would someone(in their right mind) PLEASE explain to me how ZENYATTA did NOT(!!*) get the Horse of the Year award? After all the talk Jess Jackson was putting on(and NOT showing up for the Breeders Cup*)about them racing against each other and wanting to race in the Apple Blossom(and NOT in California on a synthetic surface)..all of a sudden now his HORSE of the YEAR runs 2nd(in her debut race back..in a race she should have won easily and had PLENTY of time to prepare for*)and he does NOT want to run against Zenyatta??? If I was him..I would NOT want to run against ZENYATTA either!!!

14 Mar 2010 11:50 PM
Walk in the park

my thoughts are that if your a head behind a Grade2 winner on your worst day, how good are you on your best, Rachel will break all Zenyatta fans hearts when they meet

14 Mar 2010 11:53 PM
Free Spirit

WOW Jose did Mr. moss pay you

14 Mar 2010 11:55 PM
Footlick

Jason- Very gracious in your praise for Zenyatta considering your smack in the live blog.  I just hope Rachel is ok.

15 Mar 2010 12:07 AM
Timothy

When are we going to see all the voters for horse of the year eat their words. (or their vote in this case). A landside victory for Rachel was ridiculus. Rachel's record looked much better on paper than it really was. They hand picked her races where with Zenyatta, they simply put her against the best, spot all opponents 10-15 lengths and than run by them all in a half mile. The pace doesn't matter, the competition doesn't matter, the distance or the track (watch the '07 Apple Blossum to see Zenyatta on dirt. Give it up Rachel fans. Zenyatta is the best.

15 Mar 2010 12:09 AM
MTBFan(still)

I think now that the initial disappointment of Rachel being pulled, and the "glow" of imagining Rachel slipping past Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom dissipating, I'm taking a more realistic view of the Rachel/Zen situation. Jackson and most likely Asmussen too wanted everything perfect for Rachel going into the Blossom after the layoff. That's already said and gone. I think they WOULD have kept her in IF she had had a good, solid win after those good workouts she had, it would've proved she was solid after that worrisome drop-noseband work. It was a "wait-and-see" work. A publicity stunt too. But Rachel will be back, you just see. On another note, is there any more 'debate' about Rachel's 4 y/o conformation? Any LEGITIMATE articles anyway?

15 Mar 2010 12:09 AM
Jill

You heard it here first: If RA isn't retired in a week or two because of some ill-defined "soundness issue," she will be if she does not win whatever nebulous next race her connections decide to enter her in.

Make no mistake: She is a wonderful racehorse. But she is not the **same** horse as last year.

Please don't tarnish her legacy.

Still, saying that, GO ZEN! You're the real HOY in my heart.

15 Mar 2010 12:11 AM
Footlick

Jason- Odysseus is a tough runner, but Sidney's Candy is a hot front runner-lol.

15 Mar 2010 12:11 AM
Coldfacts

Jason,

I know you were high on Odyseuss before the Tampa Bay Derby and you must be even higher now. Let me remind you that the time for the 2010 Tampa Bay Derby is the slowest in the last 4 years. Street Sense, Big Truck and Musket Man recorded better times. Street Sense who set the stakes record in of 1:43.11 in the 2007 renewal went on to win the derby. If his performance is to be used as a measure, your horse win not win the 2010 KD.

I took a shot at Gleam Of Hope at 42-1 and lost but his performance left me feeling like a winner. This colt was solwly into stride and was left several lengths last. He choose the wrong time to be slowly into stride as the 47.02 half mile of the 2010 Tampa Bay Derby is the fastest in the last four years. The first 6F (1:11.74) was faster than that of  2007 renewal in which Street Sense established the stakes record of 1:43.11. This colt was really up against with his bad break. In spite of this he closed an 8-10 lengths gap from last to be briefly second in deep stretch before being one pace. His effort to close the gap on a group of legitimate derby contender clearly took its tool. I have absolutely no doubt that with a better break this colt would have won at his gigantic odds.  

I conducted a research on this colt the morning of the race as I knew very little about him. I discovered his dam was sired by Vice Regent. I was of the opinion that there were no Vice Regent broodmares around. I couldn’t help but being attracted to this colt because of his dam sire. Vice Regent is on the Triple Crown board as broodmare sire to the deep closer and Belmont winner Victory Gallop. He was also the sire of stamina giant Deputy Minister. Deputy Minister was the sire of Breeder Cup Classic winner Awesome Again, Belmont winner Touch Gold. He is also broodmare sire of four Belmont winners and a BCC winner. I concluded that this colt’s past performance and being so closely linked to the stamina influence of his dam sire, he was worth a shot.  I know the focus will be on Odyseuss and Super Saver and this colt will be regarded as the also ran. However, I would encourage everyone to revisit the video of the race and it will reflect that Gleam Of Hope was SIS and was left 8-10 lengths last. After being uses to get into contention and forced to go four wide for his challenge, he still had enough left occupy second before flattening out. For me his performance was the highlight of the race.

15 Mar 2010 12:13 AM
Footlick

Jason- I would bring up User Friendly as an example of a three yeare old gone wrong at four.

15 Mar 2010 12:14 AM
Footlick

Walk in the Park- didn't you hear Rachel is out of the Apple Blossom?

15 Mar 2010 12:16 AM
Jason Shandler

Coldfacts: Glad you left feeling like a winner. I hit the tri a few times and had the real winner. My pocket left feeling pretty good.

Gleam of Hope ran a nice race. Dont get crazy on us though.

The time of the Tampa Derby wasnt great. But that track is diferent than most; its deep. Times arent as important there. I think it's a truer test than say, Gulfstream which is like cement. A new track record is broken every meet.

15 Mar 2010 12:21 AM
Sayr

It was nice to see a couple of CA horses get the job done on dirt. LAL definitely has the fight in him, so I'm interested to see what he can do when Baffert finally has him fully cranked.

Shame about Rachel... but when Jess started hedging his bets last week and with Steve going on about how she wasn't 100% the whole time, I can't say I'm shocked that she lost. I'm not going to second guess their decision, but I think it's a little premature to say she's not ready for the Apple Blossom. Horses lose prep races. It happens. For as long as I can remember, trainers and owners have said, after a race, that they will wait and see how the horse comes out of it before they decide the next move. Seemed like that was the party line for these connections last year, too. To make the call less than 24 hours after a close second in a prep race that they knew she was short for seems more like ducking another potential loss than really thinking about what's good or bad for the horse. I don't have any problem with not running if it would be at all detrimental to her physically or mentally, but Steve came out this morning saying she ate up last night and came out of the race well, and they were all set to ship tomorrow. Then he talks to Jess and all of a sudden she's not ready, they won't even consider it? Sounds like someone's tail got stuck between his legs...

Made the trip out to SA just to catch Zen's race and she looks even better than she did last year winning the Classic. Bumper car race and all, she only needed a handful steps to get the lead once she had (made, really) some running room. Selfishly, I wouldn't mind if they just ran her in SoCal all year. Her races are more like a show than a competition.

15 Mar 2010 12:24 AM
Pollas

Jeez, lose your first race back after a six month break after a hard campaign and suddenly you're a has been. Give Rachel a break.  She wasn't ready for the race and it showed.  But it's not like she was pounded.  She was beaten less than a length while being about 11 lengths ahead of the third place horse.  

As a huge fan of both RA and Zenyatta I am greatly disappointed to see the nastiness of certain fans against either and both horses.  Zenyatta is a great mare and her Classic win was perhaps the best race of last year.  But RA absolutely earned HOY honors.  She put together one of the best three year old campaigns of any horse, male OR female.  A comparison of her and Zenyatta's overall 2009 seasons is not even close.  

RA won HOY for last year's campaign.  This year has  no relevance.  Whatsoever.  

15 Mar 2010 12:24 AM
Zarkava

@jose; Zenyatta was ready 15 times in a row because she was properly prepared every single time. Horse of The Year is based on what a horse performs that year, not an entire career.

JJ and SA did the right thing when they pulled Rachel out of the AB, BUT... They were wrong in trying to push her to get there in the first place. An earlier comment said "hangover", and that´s what I´m thinking too.

And this european racing fan is now on the Odysseus bandwagon...=)

15 Mar 2010 12:25 AM
Connie

WEll, I have said it along--Zen is the best and RA is second best.  When Zen won the BCC, she did so against an international type field and two eclipse winners.  Rachel never went the Classic distance and was always pulled up before the finish.  Zen drove across the finish every time and from a dead last position.  That is greatness.  I do believe that the voters were all tipsy or drunk on KJ wine at the time of the voting.  Politics is a good way to get fans off the board.  The racing industry had better do some serious thinking on how HOY gets voted.  Look at Curlin--4th in the BCC and he still got HOY!  

15 Mar 2010 12:30 AM
Jason Shandler

Hmmm...These are quotes from a Fair Grounds press release sent to my email late Sunday evening. The title of the email was "Rachel Alexandra comes back fine, will ship to Oaklawn Monday."

“She came back well,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “She ate last night, very sound this morning, walked the shed row well. I’m very pleased with that.”

"She’ll walk Tuesday morning, go back to the track on Wednesday, and most likely her first breeze there will be on Monday,” Asmussen said.

“We had talked about her being seventy-five or eighty-percent fit,” he said. “The filly got tired but she cooled out fine and came back well from it; it’s just a case if we can move forward in a positive direction fitness-wise, as well as with everything else. Yesterday’s race is over. We can analyze it all we want, but her physical condition and her state of mind are what we need to concern ourselves with and we’ll address that moving forward.”

Asked to expand on her state of mind this morning, Asmussen said: “I was pleased with it today. She was relaxed in her stall. She went to her tub when we fed her last night and cleaned up everything. Walked well this morning and seemed very comfortable in her stall this morning.”

Ok, so this press release was obviously written before Jackson announced she wasnt going. But it just shows you they werent completely dissatisfied with her race and she is fine physically. Like others said, I would have thought they would have waited a few days before announcing she wouldnt go. And people wonder why we get upset with this outfit.

15 Mar 2010 12:33 AM
Footlick

Jason- what did you think of Looking at Lucky's race?

15 Mar 2010 12:33 AM
Raven

Dear Jason, This is my Derby list may be you can comment about this list :

1. Sidney's Candy;

2. Eskendereya;

3. Rule;

4. Lookin at Lucky;

5. Super Saver;

6. odysseus;

7. Mendip;

8. Dublin;

9. Awesome Act;

10.Conveyance;

11.Discreetly Mine;

12.Interactif;

13.Caracortado;

14.Drosselmeyer;

15.Schoolyard Dreams;

16.Noble,s Promise;

17.Vale of York;

18.Tempted to tapit;

19.Jackson Bend;

20.Ron The Greek;

21.Lentenor;

22.Pounced;

23.Buddy's Saint;

24.Radiohead;

25.Stay Put;

26.Aikenite;

27.Dry Fly;

28.D'funnybone;

29.American Lion;

30.Dave In Dixie;

15 Mar 2010 12:34 AM
gammyp6

glad to see Caracortado still on your list... The RA camp confuses me... Zen weaved thru the other horses like a butterfly...doubt there will be a race between the two...

15 Mar 2010 12:34 AM
Jason Shandler

Footlick: very, very impressed. The way he clipped heels and still overcame it was the most impressive. He doesnt have the amazing turn of foot I usually love, but he's still a tremendous colt. And Baffert is simply the best in the game at getting 3YOs ready. You cant dismiss that.

15 Mar 2010 12:35 AM
Footlick

Jason- you are so right about different tracks.

15 Mar 2010 12:37 AM
Jason Shandler

Raven: Nice list, except I dont like your No. 1 horse. Not at 10 furlongs.

15 Mar 2010 12:37 AM
Runfast159

For everyone's sanity, if you guys don't know by now why Zenyatta was not named HOY you didn't watch racing between January and December of 2009.  THAT is the time period in which HOY was determined.  Enough already, move past it.

I for one refuse to play the game of bashing Jackson and Asmussen for their handling of Rachel. Yes, it is true she was not 100%.  But lets look at why Rachel was in the race to begin with:  They wanted to meet Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom.  Sheesh, isn't this match up what we ALL  wanted for a long time??  They asked the date be moved a week out, to try and get Rachel ready. They knew she needed a race under her, and so she ran.  Why?  To try and be ready to meet Zenyatta.  And now people are going to sit here and throw their little digs in because Rachel wasn't ready and now she isn't going to the Apple Blossom.  Yes, in hindsight it was asking too much even for a horse as great as Rachel. Assmussen knows that, he doesn't need a bunch of us arm chair trainers to tell him that.

Rachel will hopefully have another good season this year, but we'll have to wait and see if she WANTS to run with the same fire as she ran with last year.  That will be up to her.  But keep in mind, she has already run almost as many times as Zenyatta has in her career.  The fact is, great horses only have so many great races in them. Her loss was no disgrace.  

Zenyatta?  Magnificant again. Someone said she checked another horse, but I've watched that race 15x and don't see it.  Zenyatta or not, if a jockey feels his horse was impeded in any way he's going to file an objection.  He doesn't have to wait for the stewards to do it.

I'm still looking forward to the Apple Blossom.  I hope they continue to map out a plan that keeps her on the dirt. I know they want to take her on the path to HOY honors.  We all thought that path would go through Rachel Alexandra.  It may still, but there is also a horse called Quality Road standing in the way, and a contingent of 3 year olds with something to say about it. Still think we have a great year ahead, with or without a Rachel/Zenyatta match up.

15 Mar 2010 12:45 AM
Steve

I rarely play cold trifectas, usually box them.  But yesterday I did a Schoolyard Dreams over Odysseus over Super Saver cold trifecta.  Man was I pissed.

It might be because I'm still pissed but I'm not sold on Odysseus yet. I liked the way he came back but on the other hand Rose admittedly moved Schoolyard Dreams too soon.  I also think Rose didn't realize Odysseus was coming back at him from the inside.  

And I've never thought Schoolyard Dreams was serious Derby material, just thought he'd win yesterday.  So Odysseus beating him by a nose doesn't scream "Derby winner" to me.  But we'll see in May.

I'm keeping Dublin on my radar.  Giacomo was one of those consistent third place finishers, too.  

15 Mar 2010 12:49 AM
Runfast159

For the preps, you could not have asked for a more exciting bunch of races.

I like your top 3, but I moved Lucky to the top based on that Rebel win.  First time shipping, first time dirt, huge check on the backstretch, and STILL finds a way to win. He has an enormous stride.  He really impressed me in the BC Juvenile, but he blew me away in the Rebel.

Odysseus, what a strange race!  But impressive.  The 6 furlong split in that race was faster than any on the day except for a sprint earlier on the card.  I like all 3 of the top finishers to move forward off of this.  Odysseus simply must have another start before the Derby though, he ran green and he's already light on foundation.

Sidney's Candy proved he can go a distance.  He got away with ideal fractions.  I loved the way Interactif closed, but he still doesn't convince me that he is the same caliber as some of the other horses on the list.

Caracortado, I'm not off of him.  He ran a good race and I hope to see a better run in the SA Derby if he goes.

I'm not off of Dublin either. Two wide trips he's gotten now.  I think he still has good potential to move forward.  He was second in the Southwest, BTW.

15 Mar 2010 12:57 AM
LAZMANNICK

Jason

I like your first five but would definitely put Lucky at the top.  I also think that Dublin deserves one more chance (3rd race off the layoff) and maybe another race track.  Rule is good enough to be in the top ten.  Caracortado didn't have enough spunk in the stretch for me and had no excuses.  I stil think that Alphies Bet is going to make some noise. LOL

15 Mar 2010 12:59 AM
LAZMANNICK

For months we've been hearing about Rachel's speed, how Zenyatta couldn't beat her at 1-1/8M, about her 1-1/8M race times being right up there with Secretariat, etc., and etc., and yet she couldn't run 1-1/16M in 1.43.1 (that's what it would have taken to win her race).  This fact alone tells me that there are some serious issues.  The excuses about her training schedule etc. are crap.  She had ample time to be ready and the field she faced was weak (on paper at least).  I still think they blew it with her in the Woodward and I sincerely hope she is alright.  

15 Mar 2010 1:05 AM
CV

"Somewhere, I'm sure Hal Wiggins is laughing to himself."

You know, I had the same thought. He kept Rachel in condition during her first 10 races, didn't he? And wouldn't that have included time off for the operation to remove bone chips when she was a 2-year-old?

I imagine Rachel will return to race in better shape, perhaps in May. I hope the commenters who speculate that she's going to be retired are wrong.

15 Mar 2010 1:06 AM
Raven

thanks Jason for your comment. I know Sidney's Candy is a front runner, but I think, it is not posibble if the front runner could be win the kentucky derby.

Drosselmeyer, as personal I like this horse, I hope this horse could join in Kentucky Derby,and I hope he could approve himself as a one of potential contenders.

15 Mar 2010 1:12 AM
Runfast159

I think that it is better to have announced as soon as possible that Rachel wasn't moving forward to the Apple Blossom then to wait.  A huge number of people made travel plans to attend that race, not to mention all of the other plans moving rapidly along in anticipation of this match up.  The fact that Rachel was defeated at all was probably enough indication that she would not be ready in 4 weeks to meet Zenyatta.  To me, that is just an indication that the Rachel camp has tremendous respect for Zenyatta and for what it will take to defeat her.  A Rachel at 99% isn't going to be enough.

15 Mar 2010 1:14 AM
oliver

I like your #1 horse Raven. Sidney's Candy is the real deal. Proved he could relax- and kick STRONGLY down stretch....

Question: Why are people questioning his pedigree? I remember last year everyone looooved chocolate candy's pedigree to get 10 furs (i know he had some S. Slew underneath- but Sidney's 2nd dam Exchange was G1 winner at 10 furs...)... Candy Ride is a new sire- but he set 10 furlong record- and Misremembered sure looked nice winning G1 at 10 furs.

.... And I'm normally not a big watcher of gallop outs- but he sure looked strong.

Sid will get get the distance. I think.....

And.... I'm sick of hearing that others in san felipe were hurt by slow fractions- American Lion, Interactif and Caracortado all have wins setting/pressing pace in sprints- a slow pace behooved those three. (american lion has now been hurt by fast pace and slow pace??)- they just don't have the horse that Sidney has...

Ive taken up enough of your space... I enjoy the blog- keep it up!

15 Mar 2010 1:17 AM
Political Web

You know ... It's funny that some of you question whether Rachel even wants to run anymore. If at the start of her 4 year old season she's already disinterested, we're supposed to consider her one of the all-time greats???

I know a lot of horses retire early these days, but for the great ones its not because they're disinterested. It's because the owners are looking at the horse as strictly an investment and are protecting their precious stud fees.

If 1 race into her 4 year old season, Rachel is already disinterested, She's NOT an all-time great ... Sorry.

I thought she ran VERY well yesterday and was very game when challenged. She normally fades past a mile when challenged. She hung tough yesterday.

I think the fitness issue is a BS excuse. And if they retire her because she lost 1 damn race, Jackson even more of a Nancy Boy than I thought. And that's saying a lot.

I fully expected he'd run from Zenyatta again this year and he obviously is, but retiring Rachel because of 1 loss would take the weenie cake. What a putz.

15 Mar 2010 1:19 AM
Footlick

Jason- Sidney's Candy looks like the only legitimate front runner to me.  Shades of

Spend A Buck?  Also, thanks for the props on Zenyatta, considering the smack you talked on the Live blog.  Very classy of you!

15 Mar 2010 1:25 AM
Jason Shandler

Footlick: I have nothing against Zenyatta. I just try to rile you fans up sometimes because some of you can get a little, how shall I say, annnoying :)

15 Mar 2010 1:31 AM
Ooogle

I am annoyed with Steve and JJ however if my jumper performed poor at one show, stopping or pulling rails, he'd be pulled from the next to prepare better, especially if hes going up against a horse just as good as he is or close to it. Simple thoughts man.

15 Mar 2010 1:35 AM
Footlick

Very true Jason.  But I think you sell Sidney's Candy short.  It's not easy to wire a field on Pro-Ride.  They sold Spend A Buck short too.  But, as usual, we'll see.  There are many roads ahead.  Props on Odysseus's win.

15 Mar 2010 1:38 AM
Footlick

Jason- i try very hard not to get annoying.  Unless like tonight I've had a little too much Guinness-lol!  Even though I don't blog much anymore I always read.  And I know your stand on Zenyatta is posturing.  You can't follow racing and not be a fan of her's as well as Rachel's.

15 Mar 2010 1:43 AM
racyrobyn

I am a true-blue, Zenyatta all-the-way fan, yet I have to say that Rachel still ran a good race considering her lay off and lack of "fitness." Most horses need two or sometimes even three prep races to get back in top form before they run a great race. She only lost by three-quarters of a length and was 11 lengths in front of the third place finisher!

That being said, I still believe that Zenny is the better horse and we STILL haven't seen what this magnificent mare can do if, and when, she is ever called upon for a full effort. She doesn't even break a sweat when she runs and her attitude is amazing!! Best looking racehorse I ever got the priviledge to set eyes on!

If Rachel isn't in top form she should not race Zenyatta. Hopefully Jess will not duck Zenny and they can bring Rachel back to top form. Only then will they face each other, if ever. God protect these fine mares and keep them from harm.

God bless the Moss's and all in conection with the Great Zenyatta for keeping her on the track and blessing us with the joy of seeing her do what she loves best! Win!

Go Zenyatta!!!

15 Mar 2010 1:55 AM
BMCRacing

Top Derby Picks

1. Lookin At Lucky – The champ proved he’s just as tough on Dirt. Ranking #1

2. Noble's Promise – Like him a lot, only problem for him is that he keeps running into Lucky.  So I got him at Ranking #2.

3. Dublin –Poor ride by Nakatani in the Rebel.   Ranking # 3

4. Eskendereya – Has to beat someone first but still got him at  Ranking #4

5. Rule – Ranking # 5

6. Interactif – Very nice 2nd.  Needs to prove he can do it on dirt two turns, only 6F dirt to his credit, but very talented.  Ranking # 6

7. Sidney's Candy – Has the speed to get out of trouble in the 20 horse field in the derby, so with that serious speed, he’s a wild card.  Joe T has his Derby mount after losing I want revenge to late scratch last year.  Ranking #7

8. . Odysseus – Race was visually impressive, but not sure of the competition.. Ranking # 8

9. Caracortado – Slow fractions hurt this gelding.  Let’s give him one more shot.  Ranking #9

10. Schoolyard Dreams – Impressed enough to give him Ranking #10

11. Conveyance – Speed…. Distance a problem, but he’s at Ranking #11

12. Super Saver – Bottom of top Dozen at Ranking #12.

13. Others to consider:

a. Radiohead – Like him.  Could move forward.  His next race could get him into the Top Dozen. He could run big in the Florida Derby if he runs.

b. Jackson Bend –Don’t count Zito out.  If it’s a muddy course that day, his small size could help him maneuver for a piece.

c. Miner's Reserve – This dude could surprise in his first graded event, probably in Florida Derby. He's another Zito Horse and will run in his first graded event next out...

15 Mar 2010 2:03 AM
Aluminaut

Jason,

Interesting comments re camp Rachel.

A couple of comparisons:

As Cartman says on South Park,

"_ _ _ _ _ you guys, I'm going home." (My friend's comment.)

And as actors say in LA, "I'll be in my trailer."

Let's bring Hal out of retirement.....Zenyatta did it!

15 Mar 2010 2:07 AM
wendyg

Rachel's just a horse that had a good year last year. Zenyatta is phenomenal. She's had a good four years going on five.  I hope the two never meet. Zenyatta deserves an award for horse of a lifetime.  Horse of the year does not even come close.  

15 Mar 2010 2:09 AM
tcc

Jason:

7. Drosselmeyer - I may be one of the only people who hasn't dismissed him. Will have one more shot to get enough earnings, either in Louisiana Derby or Sunland Derby.

I also have not dismissed him, just have to see if he can enough earnings to get in the Derby.

15 Mar 2010 2:10 AM
Mike S

I don't understand all the alarm and shock at the fact that RACHEL ALEXANDRA lost a race, it was the fourth loss of her career, not the first loss. So she lost another race, oh well. She has never been invincible, has she? She ran a wonderful race yesterday, but she got beat. I don't see it as a  big deal. I don't see it as surprising at all. ZARDANA is a good mare. I don't give RACHEL ALEXANDRA any excuse whatsoever, and I don't just assume that a loss by her, or by any horse, indicates that the horse is "not ready." I am going with the idea that RACHEL ALEXANDRA was "ready" and was defeated. Such things happen.

I do not believe, however, and have never believed, that Jess Jackson wants to tangle with ZENYATTA. He's a smart man. He knows what's up. He knows which horse is the best. ZENYATTA would roll right past RACHEL ALEXANDRA inside the 1/8th pole, and just glide to victory, like she always does, and Mr. Jackson does not want to see that. He doesn't want to give ZENYATTA's connections and fans that satisfaction.

There is no reason for RACHEL ALEXANDRA to be absent from the Apple Blossom. None.

15 Mar 2010 2:12 AM
wendyg

Walk in the park,

That's because the Zenyatta fans are going to feel so bad for her when she loses.... AGAIN.

15 Mar 2010 2:14 AM
Ted from LA

Caracortado's future:

2nd:  Santa Anita Derby at 5-1 odds.

1st:  Kentucky Derby at 12-1 odds.

1st:  Preakness Stakes at 2-1 odds.

1st:  Belmont Stakes at 1-1 odds.

15 Mar 2010 2:19 AM
GunBow

Jason, good synopsis.

I would put Lookin at Lucky #1 though.  2 year old champ, 3 time grade 1 winner, just turned in his "fastest" effort ever in his first start in 3 months, passed the dirt test, and overcame trouble. Oh yeah, and he has Baffert.

My problem with the Tampa Bay Derby is that if one likes the top 3 finishers, then doesn't one also have to like the also-rans?  Gleam of Hope, as Coldfacts points out, was beaten just half a length by Super Saver for 3rd and was only 1 length behind Odysseus for all the marbles.  For that matter, Uptowncharlybrown was only beaten 3, 112-1 Slammy Boy beaten only 3.75, and even last place Yuvia's Force was beaten less than 4 lengths.  

I know Tampa is not a normal dirt track, but that type of clumping generally only occurs on synth and turf, and when it happens on dirt it usually is an indication that the top finishers might not be that good.

As I said in the previous blog-topic, my first inclination was to throw out any horse coming from the Tampa Bay Derby.  But, I'm not going to do that; I learned my lesson last year when I did that very thing.  

Because Odysseus is so lightly raced, I'm going to give him some slack for not looking particularly dynamic or for the slow closing fractions.  And I am going to give him credit for showing so much heart and for overcoming some adversity, particularly after pressing what for that track is a fast pace.  If he continues to improve and his talent catches up to his heart, he might be a contender. Make no mistake, however, he will need to get much faster if he is to be a legit contender; fading around the turn into an almost 26 quarter is simply not going to cut it.  

Jason, I see your slection of him as #1 as a choice of potential over proven form (and maybe a reflection of your loyalty to the horse...if you had him #1 last week and he did win...).  With Lookin at Lucky, I feel we already have the real deal, the proven commodity.  I'm not saying Lookin at Lucky is a superstar or the next Triple Crown winner, just that he is the most deserving horse for the #1 ranking.

15 Mar 2010 2:40 AM
GunBow

Thanks also Jason for being the first journalist to write/blog a review piece about the weekend's events (on either the Bloodhorse or DRF).  

15 Mar 2010 2:42 AM
Mark

I thought the this was a prep race for the Apple Blossom. RA came out of the race fine according to the trainer so what's the problem? Did you notice the excuses already being made before they ran? All the east coast writers who gave RA the HOY in August are probably huddling up getting their stories straight right now. Guess who will get thrown under the bus?  Asmussen of course. RA did run a great race yesterday but she struggles with anything over 8.5 furlongs.

15 Mar 2010 3:12 AM
August Song

Jason, I believe you are correct in keeping Drosselmeyer in your Top 10 List. I believe he will win the Kentucky Derby this year. He is the horse best bred for the distance and is being conditioned by a quintessential horseman for a top-rate outfit. Drosselmeyer also loves Churchill Downs, and has proven it. Next race gets him the money to get him eligible to be in the starting gate for the Derby on the first Saturday in May.

15 Mar 2010 3:46 AM
Hole In The Wall Newsletter

Beulah Park is putting up $25,000 for a race between Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta along with the rest of Brutal Park's Finest $2,500 Claiming Stock Available. Now if it were at The Big T they would probably most likely get beat at The Graveyard of Favorites!

15 Mar 2010 3:53 AM
DinkyDiva

RA and QZ not meetigt up at the AP is upsetting.  However, you have to take in to accont of Ra's conditioning.  She was not ready for a race yet.  Not trained enough for this type of race although, I have to give it to the "mystery horse!"

Now, QZ... She was trained well and ready for the race.  But, when Mike was pulling her up, I noticed that he was concerned about her left front leg.  I noticed that too with the handler as he took her away sooner than expected. I love QZ!!!!! I just hope that she came out of the race sound and healthy and full of her spirit!!!

15 Mar 2010 4:15 AM
Kix Brooks

This Jess Jackson is a clown.

This guy thinks he is a military commander moving pieces around on a map. If the stars don't align and the tooth fairy does not wave his magical wand, then there will be no matchup at Oaklawn.

If I'm Charles Cella... I would leave the purse at 5 million and let the coward and his trainer stay at home.

This guy is so scared of Zenyatta. Like Steve Crist said: "Grow a pair".

15 Mar 2010 4:24 AM
Katherine

Rachel Alexandra had a much more grueling campaign last year than did Zenyatta and beat much tougher competition than Zenyatta, save for Z's breeders cup win and let's not forget that Rachel was 3 and Zenyatta was 5. Rachel has had a six month lay up and Zenyatta has been in training all during her retirement. I am amazed at the lack of objectivity here. I don't think Jess Jackson is "afraid" of Zenyatta at all, he was trying to give the fans what we have been clamoring for but he is doing the right thing for Rachel as he should. Rachel was not 100% Saturday and everyone knew that because Steve Aumussen had been saying that for several weeks. Interesting that Zenyatta's connections sent a speed mare to test Rachel before the Apple Blossom. Maybe Jess should have sent a mare to test Zenyatta.

I am a little disgusted with all the sour grape remarks about Rachel's HOY. She earned it, get over it.

15 Mar 2010 4:35 AM
Katherine

Jason, Dublin was second in the Southwest not third and he had another bad ride in the Rebel. I still have a lot of regard for him.

15 Mar 2010 4:38 AM
RS

I wonder if John Shireffs regrets running Zardana, even though it wasn't his decision. If she wasn't in the race Rachel would've won by 11 lengths and would be headed to the Apple Blossom looking good. You'd think he would've rather beat her with Zenyatta for $5M. Unfortunately I have a feeling they might retire Rachel now so they won't have to deal with Zardana or Zenyatta any more.

15 Mar 2010 5:15 AM
Pam R

People seriously need to get over the HOTY thing.  It is over and done with.  I supported RA for HOTY because I thought she did more in'09, not necessarily because she is better than Zenyatta. We will only know that if they race several times and both mares in the best possible form.  I am a slightly bigger RA fan, but if Zenyatta beats her fair and square a few times, I am mature enough to accept that Zenyatta is probably the better horse.  It's not all about race record.  People are forgetting the records and freakishly fast times RA put up last year.  Don't forget, even the legendary Secretariat lost 5 races.  

15 Mar 2010 5:34 AM
Rachel

Funny that Footlick thinks you have something against Zen, I think you have it in for JJ et al, since nothing he says or does is good enough for you whereas JM can dance all around about retirement, noiw he'll be totally committed to the Apple Blossom, etc and it's good press and they're deciding what's right for the horse... which can get, how shall I say, annoying? ☺

I'm with both camps...if I owned a horse of this calibre I'd do what I wanted to and what I thought was right...hmm, I pretty much do that anyway.

15 Mar 2010 5:57 AM
Fire Slam

Here we go. What was RA connections suppose to do?

Everyone has been edging these two great horses to run against each other. Folks are selfish.

If RA dont run, she will be called out, as will her connections. Her training was accelerated to try and make the Apple Blossom, and she fell short.

Now folks are saying she shouldn't have been on the track if she was not 100%

What do people want??? This match up never should have been drawn up.

Zen has raced for four years now. She has beat the boys in one of the biggest races, and is undefeated.

RA raced for over year, and beat the boys a few times, and set historical marks.

They having nothing to prove. Let them go be mothers, safe and sound.

People are selfish.

15 Mar 2010 6:19 AM
2:24

Jason, great blog post.  Agree with your top 10 and your thoughts on Z and RA.

15 Mar 2010 7:25 AM
Susan W

Zenyatta fans annoying? wow...I am a fan of both, but because of the Rabid Rachels, I threw myself in the Z camp long time ago (also because I loved her from her first year).

I, for one, am scared to look at Bloodhorse, because I know what I am going to see soon. Rachel retired. I've never heard more nonsense in years of racing than that coming from the JJ/Asmussen camp. Not ready...why not? you picked the dates. Face it, she can't beat anything with a name beginning with a Z at the point, and maybe never again.

Zenyatta didn't check anyone in that race. She ran, as usual, another Zenyatta race.

15 Mar 2010 7:53 AM
sodapopkid

Jason:

According to your email you recieved on Thursday evening titled about Rachle, The race was on Saturday, Why were you recieving that before the race took place???

Please clear up this misconception.

15 Mar 2010 8:07 AM
The Phantom

So RA wasn't in top condition and the big race is off, well they had 6 months to get her ready and now the excuse was bad weather hampered her training so why did they stable her at Fairgrounds during the winter instead of Fl why run a longer then 6 furlongs to start year?Gulfstream had the weather and more race options , she should have run a sprint first , terrible training and strategy by owner and Stevie boy.She is suppose to be bigger and more mature yet folds up against secondary comp .Zen would and will crush her and as I stated in the past RA is a 9 furlong specialist.The proof was saturday and the phony Jesse can face reality she could be a 1 year wonder and certainly will never get a mile and a quarter forget about the classic.I knew there would be a excuse and ducking would take place.Should have wintered in Fl and gone for shorter race to build up endurance now the myth is shattered by what the second team or 3rd of Sherriffs horses?Saturdays races show  why Zen is a super horse and RA a short distance specialist who had 6 months off and still wasn't in shape-no excuses  she LOSES and the world see's why she ducked the Breeders Cup.The Zen connections must have had a great laugh this weekend.The real champ emerged!Go look at your horse of the year trophy Jesse and know you gota gift and the run is over.

15 Mar 2010 8:33 AM
mryeti

 The derby prep races were awesome this weekend! Odysseus was much the best in that race. He didn't have anything left at the top of the stretch and he comes back to win??? Amazing gutsy performance. I'm still impressed with Nobles Promise. I keep hearing he can't make the distance and he keeps showing up race after race. I'm not counting him out in Kentucky!

 ...And Zenyatta? She is a dominant force. I would love to see Rachel and her match up, but my gut tells me it's never going to happen. Zenyatta looks super scary...every race!

15 Mar 2010 8:38 AM
Fran Loszynski

I hope Mr. Lukas keeps Corey N. on Dublin for the Derby, Corey is committed to win after reading his statement after the race. Dublin is waiting patiently for the K. Derby he's just playing with us! What a great effort in the Rebel. I think he should start for the Finish Line sooner though. He wants to run and not be held back.  I bet he could hold the lead from the Starting Gate out.  He's that strong.  Holding him back can tire a horse.  I think that strategy should go out the window with Dublin.  Note to Corey: Just "Let Him Go!"

15 Mar 2010 8:39 AM
Gary at Rough Creek

For all those who say that Rachel wasn't 100% on Saturday...I beg to differ, at least on times.

She ran three 8.5 furlong races last year.  Her highest Beyer in those races was a 103 in The Fair Grounds Oaks, under 121 pounds.  She won by less than 2 lengths in 1:43.55.

Zardana, under 121 pounds, won that race Saturday in 1:43.55, with Rachel 3/4 of a length back, but carrying 123 pounds.  Zardana ran an identical race to The Fair Grounds Oaks of last year, and Rachel ran about 0.2 seconds faster than  she did last year - adjusted for weight.

One pound in a route race is equal to about a length in distance, which is equal to about 0.2 seconds.  The fastest 8.5 furlong race that Rachel won last year was the Golden Rod at Churchill (1:43.08 under 119 pounds), but it only garnered a 99 Beyer so the track must have been playing relatively faster.

The point is, Rachel historically runs 8.5 furlong races in about 1:43.40 to 1:43.50, adjusted for weight.  And she did so again yesterday.  She just ran into a quality horse that got two pounds from her.

Yes, she may have been more keen than usual.  It was her first race back.  But her time was consistent with what she usually does.  She's just not going to get weight breaks this year.

15 Mar 2010 8:40 AM
trebloc

Saturday was just a great day of racing.  The attendance at the tracks looked strong and the handle at Tampa was very strong.  To bad RA is not the same horse we saw last year.  During RA's time off was she ever turned out farm or was she hanging out in a stall at Churchill / Fairgrounds?  Glad to see that SS is still on your top ten.  SS's race in the TBD reminded me of his Champagne race with a slightly better result.  In the Jockey Club, Borel commented that Pletcher told him to get SS to change his lead earlier and look at the results. Where were those instructions on Saturday?  I think they should point SS to the Illinois Derby or the Bluegrass Stakes.  Let Dublin, Noble's Promise and LAL beat each other up in the AD.  Plus running in the Illinois Derby will allow him to an extra week to prep for the Derby.  Any thoughts on the six lbs difference SS gave the first and second place horses?  Sidney's Candy was very impressive on Saturday.  Sadly, my pockets are lighter today then they were on Saturday morning.

15 Mar 2010 8:40 AM
gw_bushwacker

Another week and a couple more California "plastic" runners go West to win on dirt. Lookin At Lucky looked very good winning the Rebel and Zardana proved to the world that Zenyatta's backup "plastic" horse was good enough to slay RA on dirt no less. Say it ain't so nay nay. I did like draynay's statement that RA looked very good in defeat. Very good is a far cry from great though.  

15 Mar 2010 8:45 AM
Shane

I also think tactics came into play for Rachel....Borel said he wanted to pass the other mare early and let rachel go on....but the connections told him to wait util the 1/16th pole to go....Zardana got into stride early and hooked rachel at the turn but only managed to win by 3/4 of a length. I agree with Borel in letting Rachel have her head at the half mile and run on.

15 Mar 2010 8:52 AM
Shane

All please remember Rachel DID NOT win her maiden race.....She just might not be a horse that runs great off long layoffs. She will get her fire back, and we will see the real Rachel. I think she'll go in the Delaware handicap....might get my tickets now.

15 Mar 2010 8:54 AM
ezevans

Holy smokes...rough crowd me thinks.  I was a little disappointed by RA race on Saturday but not surprised.  Six months off and some training slips thanks to weather.  Hey, her effort was certainly game so she still has that desire to run.  Assuming she is healthy lets see how she comes back for her next race.  Sure, I was all excited about the Apple Blossom but I'm more interested in seeing fit healthy horses compete and preferably campaign all of 2010, not just one race.  As for Z, well what can I say....perfection.

15 Mar 2010 8:56 AM
Vinny D.

If there was any doubt that they gave Horse Of The Year to the Wrong Horse it was erased on Saturday!Rachael Alexandra just proved how weak the 3 year old colts were last year! Zenyatta proved that she is the best horse in world right now!She should be running in the Dubai World Cup instead of playing with other mares right now!She is a Monster!

15 Mar 2010 8:57 AM
Shane

And just to be clear.....They stated before any of these races that Rachel was not ready....Asmussen said no to the Apple Blossum. JJ wanted to satisfy the fans and said she was going after they pushed the race back a week. She will be fine. They will give her some nice strong works....and I hope they start letting Borel on in the mornings a time or 2.

15 Mar 2010 9:02 AM
anniedixie65

Big surprise! I knew going in to the race that Rachel had a good chance of getting beat. I actually picked Zardana over Rachel. I also knew if she lost she would back out of the Apple Blossom. Another Big surprise.

As for Zenyatta, I will be there Apple Blossom day to chear her to her 16th victory! Zenyatta accomplished that race so easliy and Mike Smith even threw a few curveballs for us. Very exciting race to watch, and can't wait for the Apple Blossom!

Go Queen Z!

15 Mar 2010 9:08 AM
Vinny D.

Either Lookin At Lucky or Interactif will win the Derby! one has the best derby jockey Desourmeaux, the other has the 3 year old Money trainer,Baffert! He knows his breeding better than anyone ( he bred Misremembered who just got the money in the Big Cap. that was just a start towards his future as a breeder!

15 Mar 2010 9:10 AM
anniedixie65

On another note, I hit 4 races over the weekend with winners.

Rebel- I picked Lookin' At Lucky, but I knew he would have a tough time and he really impressed me.

Tampa Bay- Odysseus I just had a feeling he would win before the race, and I thought he was spent at the top of the stretch, he proved me wrong and fought back.

New Orlean's Ladies- I knew Zardana was ready and she took advantage of the situation and prevailed.

Santa Margarita- This was obviously a given.

San Felipe- I thought Caracortado would win, and Sidney's Candy would be somewhere in the trifecta, had no idea he would hold on.

15 Mar 2010 9:14 AM
datflippinrabbit

I did'nt see the derby winner in the Tampa Bay Derby or the San Filipe,Odessus cannot run like that and win the derby,Sidneys Candy winning off of soft fractions,LAL however ran an honest race considering clipping heels in the fastes time sinse Smarty Jones.My two horses are LAL and Awsome Act,Fountain of Youth winner has to step up and do it again.According to Baffert Rachel heard about this MOOSE they have out in CA and decided not to run,nevertheless you cant say she ran a bad race.

15 Mar 2010 9:19 AM
Vinny D.

Oh by the way Desourmeax will be back on Interactif if he runs in the derby not Bejarano! I know that last ride got Bejarano off of him for good!

15 Mar 2010 9:22 AM
CURLINLOVER

Very disappointing about Rachel - but equally exciting about Zenyatta.  Both really ran great races first time out this year.  Who knows? I have been an equal fan of both and was looking forward to their first meeting.  Too bad! I just hope Rachel comes back and that Zenyatta stays as fit and great as she still is!

At the same time, I was excited about Looking at Lucky winning the Rebel.  He truly is CURLIN's half brother! But I also really like Dublin and hope he'll get better before Derby day! I'm split between the two - love them both.  But I think we have lots of great runners going into the Derby this year -should be exciting! I would not want to judge who's best at this point.  I'll leave that up to Jason and wish him Good Luck!

Go CURLIN!!!!!!!!!

15 Mar 2010 9:27 AM
Frank J.

Jason, any thoughts on Follow the Leader?? Do you know if they might try him in the Arkansas Derby?? Seems like a nice horse.

15 Mar 2010 9:29 AM
Jason Shandler

Sodapopkid: I meant Sunday night

15 Mar 2010 9:29 AM
ZJ

1) Odysseus / Eskerendereya share this spot. One more race in Odysseus (I hope they run him once more before the Derby)

2) Lookin at Lucky

3) Backtalk * see below

4) Noble's Promise

5) This is reserved for all of WinStar's horses; Rule, Super Saver, American Lion (please get him on dirt!), Drosselmeyer, and the one that is still capable of making some noise; Doubles Partner (anyone know where he is headed?)

6) Awesome Act. This colt almost (almost) reminds me of Wilko. Both are by Awesome Again and both are/were trained by Jeremy Noseda. Both have the same look.

7) Dublin.

8) Sidney's Candy.

9) Caracortado

10) Laus Deo (anyone know where he is at?)

I cannot wait to see Backtalk return in the Arkansas Derby

Backtalk has worked very nicely since his 3 yo debut back and he has proved that he tolerates the Churchill Downs track because of his Bashford Manor Stakes win at two. This is a very nice group. First year where I haven't been able to just choose one. In years prior there was Brother Derek, Bandini, Harlan's Holiday... wow.

15 Mar 2010 9:31 AM
Destin

Not enough Credit is given to the connections of Zenyatta. Enough of this lay off stuff, Zenyatta had a 211 day layoff and came back to win a Grade 2, beating eventual Ladies Classic Winner Life is sweet on the way, Rachel had a 189 day lay off and couldn't get the job done. And enough of this she needed the race stuff, If steve and jess jackson didn't think she was ready to run they wouldn't have ran her. They got beat by a better horse that day, which so happens to be John Sheriffs third string horse. I would pull out of the Apple Blossom too if I was going to lose to Zenyatta. And another thing to notice, All along they were saying " she may need this one, She might need a race" That camp knew something was up. What trainer doesn't have confidence in his horse going into the race?

15 Mar 2010 9:39 AM
berttheclock

Footlick, as to the Spend a Buck comparison, don't believe the Candy kid has the speed.  I will always remember a comment by Richard Mandella prior to the Derby run of Spend a Buck.  Several top trainers were asked for their picks.  Only Mandella picked Spend, as he said about that Jersey Derby win, "A one forty five is a one forty five".

But, if Rachel had anything left over from last year, I do believe Charlie Whittingham would have had her cranked off works.  No, Asmussen is no CW.

15 Mar 2010 9:40 AM
Catbird

I agree with Paula Higgins (who knows if Rachel will come back from last year's hard schedule?).

But let's not blame Asmussen.  He made it clear early on that pointing her at the Apple Blossom was not a good idea.  When Jess Jackson weighed in, it was his decision.

Now we go back to the starting line, and see if, in fact, Rachel is able to come back.  Her performance last year was a gift---a real shot in the arm to racing.  If that's all we get, then I for one am grateful.  She and Zenyatta have had radically different careers, and perhaps this year we'll get to see Zenyatta travel and face new challenges.

15 Mar 2010 9:42 AM
Pankov

Ok, I've said this 760 times already! Zenyatta fans, please stop giving the excuse that "a horse who is 14-0 should be Horse of the Year hands down" It is Horse of the YEAR, NOT Horse of the CAREER! Last YEAR Rachel was 8-0 and beat the boys 3 times, Zenyatta was 5-0 and beat the boys 1 time. All of Zenyatta's races prior to last YEAR, DO NOT add in to the equation for '09 Horse of the YEAR! Also, Saturday's races have NOTHING to do with the '09 Horse of the YEAR either. BTW, for all those who think I’m biased I would like to say that I absolutely LOVE Zenyatta, but if you look at just the '09 Rachel comes out on top and the voters made the right decision!

15 Mar 2010 9:45 AM
nostalgichorse

I think JJ is scared of Zenyatta and had doubts about Rachel beating her before Saturday.Why else did he propose a three race series between the two mares? After losing to Zardana, he pulls Rachel from the Apple Blossom, even though Rachel ran well on Saturday. Yes, she lost, but it was her first race back. Steve still has four weeks to get her ready for the Apple Blossom. They pulled her because they are chickens and they don't want Zenyatta to beat Rachel and then go West until the Classic. No way is Rachel going to beat Z at a mile and a quarter. I would be shocked to see Rachel in the Classic at all, and if Zenyatta wins the Classic, and beats Rachel in the Apple Blossom, game over for HOTY. Rachel is still the horse she was last year. This year she will just run into better horses and more weight.  And as Phar Lap's trainer once said...'weight can stop a freight train.'

15 Mar 2010 9:47 AM
trebloc

ZJ, I believe Doubles Partner is nominated to the Lanes End on the 27th.   DP has two posted works over the last two weeks.  

15 Mar 2010 9:49 AM
Cgriff

On RA/Z:

Not surprised that RA is not going to the AB - she needs time - why condemn the connections for giving it to her?  Why would you send an unready horse to face an Amazon like Zenyatta in top form?  So no bashing Jackson on this one, please!

My fear is that RA might not come back at all.  Last year was a tough, gut wrenching campaign (and THAT's why she won HOY, BTW.)  But I do remember Rags to Riches - she never came back after laying it all on the track against Curlin.  I hope that's not the case here.

As for Queen Z....what can be said?  She just wins for fun.  And NO - there was no interference in the race - RA fans should quit looking for new ways to belittle her amazing talent and accomplishments.

Jason - three questions:

1)American Lion  - is he just not as good as I thought or just slower to mature (like most Tiznows?)

2) Is Harty the problem?  Maybe he just isn't putting together a Derby prep program at the level that his old boss does.  So much talent - but even Col. John washed in the Derby.

3) Will Tiz Chrome make the Derby?  Baffert pulled him from the San Felipe due to a "training set back" - what was it?

Finally, Jason - we all have our favorites, and God knows you love to tweak your readers...but would it honestly kill you to openly, clearly and sincerely state that Zenyatta is truly an amazing race mare?  You said yourself it will be unlikely that she will meet RA - so what does she have to do to make you admit she belongs in  the pantheon of greatness?  Run against Rachel, beat her, then grab her after the wire and and stomp her to death? When did a 15 perfect race record against all comers in Grade I company not qualify to meet your criteria?

Make the old Z fans happy- come clean on the facts - Zenyatta is every bit and all the talented race horse to RA - and might prove even more so due to her longevity in the game.  We won't see any like her again for many, many a year, and well you know it.

Confession is -after all - good for the soul!  ;)

15 Mar 2010 9:54 AM
PJJ

Folks, You keep speaking of Rachel's 6 month layoff, I say Not so, Do you remember last year everyone complained about Zenyatta having such a long layoff, and then was scratched, Yet , even still, she managed to win her first race back and has been winning ever since. So that is pure BS about Ra having to much time off, point is she is ready and she has had plenty of training that she could been ready or they would not have ran her. Quit making excuses... Good horses come back good all time, look at Zenyata, this year the only problem for Rachel is she is going to have to face real competiotion and take the added weights....REtirement is on the way, she is not going to make it back and good enough to take on the queen, she has had plenty enough time to recover from the woodward.

15 Mar 2010 10:04 AM
Stacy

John - You want to know why Zenyatta keeps getting overlooked for Horse of the Year? Because, she runs the same old tired and boring campaign year after year. The Mosses are more concerned about her maintaining a perfect record than challenging her. Instead of running in the Apple Blossom (which she has already won), why didn't they put her in the Dubai World Cup? Then we could see exactly what she could do against the best horses in the world when they are at their peak. (She won the Breeders Cup after a soft campaign running against horses that were tired and not at their peak).

As for RA. Anyone who has ever owned or worked with racehorses knows that it takes awhile to get a horse fit enough to race especially after being away from the track for 6 months.  I would have NEVER ran her on Saturday.

I would like to see the Mosses "step outside of the box" with Zenyatta. Enough with the typical races. I'd like to see Zenyatta beat the record for most consecutive wins currently held by Peppers Pride at 19.  However, I'd like to see her challenged and not running in the same races as last year.

15 Mar 2010 10:05 AM
Gary at Rough Creek

Vinny D.,

I totally agree with you that HOTY went to the wrong horse last year, but you do not need to disparage the entire crop of 3 year old colts to prove the point. The Triple Crown races were won by good horses in legitimate times.  It's just that Rachel was able to take advantage of her weight breaks last year.  At equal weights in The Preakness, both Mine That Bird and Musket Man would have beaten her.  

I think her campaign does show how soft the 3 YO filly crop was, although a couple of those were able to develop into better horses later in the year.

But Rachel is no Zenyatta.  At equal weights, many of the horses we all know and love can beat RA, especially beyond 9 furlongs.  I don't think there's a horse alive right now that takes Zenyatta at 9 or 10 or even 12 furlongs.  Not at equal weights anyway.  She's one of the best ever - male or female - if you ask me.  

15 Mar 2010 10:08 AM
Will W

Borel's post race comments are more likely to prove true than all the negative speculation above, i.e., that Rachel needed a race after the long layoff and the delays in training because of the weather. That RA gamely fought back after being headed and that her refusal to quit proved she is a racehorse and still wants to run. She was not yet fit and got tired; was blowing after the race but was not exhausted and came back fine. Borel wanted to go to the lead earlier for he knew Rachel had been aggressive and giving in training, anything but patient, and was not surprisingly quite keen in the race. Holding her back while keen as Borel was instructed to do till the 1/16ths pole took something out of her. Calvin foresaw that scenario and wanted to avoid it. If only Asmussen had listened to Calvin the outcome would have been different.

15 Mar 2010 10:08 AM
Tracy

Zenyatta had less time off than Rachel as she ran the Breeders Cup.I knew when she lost she wouldn't make her race with Zen.They are two completely different horses,I don't think she can beat Zenyatta.Zen is a once in a lifetime horse with her size,style and of course wondeful personality.I think they should bag the idea and let each be wonderful in their own way.

15 Mar 2010 10:10 AM
mglynn

Also wondered about Mike smith checking out Zenyatta leg but then he moved her and galloped some more . I hope she is alright, Both of the mares Zenyatta and RA are so valuable from a breeding standpoint one would not think that the owners would risk there health. I love them both and have said before would love to have them in my barn though as a former barrel racer i have a soft spot for zenyatta  i join many of the other blood horse readers in praying for these great mares and their connections in a hard harsh world we have jesus and thank god  we have horses like Zenyatta and Ra to inspire us.

15 Mar 2010 10:11 AM
JerseyBoy

On Rachael Alexandra.

I hate to say this, but Rachael Alexandra is not a great racehorse. She is a very good horse. Zenyatta is a great racehorse.

Last year,Rachael Alexandra was fully extended to beat Macho Again and Mine That Bird. That is not evidence of greatness. Next, throw out her races on  wet tracks and then see what's left. She is a media creation.

15 Mar 2010 10:16 AM
Runfast159

I find the only thing really annoying about these blogs is the need some people have to thrash horses, owners and trainers for no other reason than to promote their current "favorite" horse.

I fail to understand how one can be a fan of the sport and not have admiration for the accomplishments of both Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra.  

For those so decidedly in one camp or the other it will never matter what the other horse does. Neither will ever "beat anybody" depending on what dribble you listen to.  Rachel was just the best of another bad crop of 3 year olds to some, and Zenyatta is a plastic specialist to others.

I don't believe any of that garbage, by the way.

15 Mar 2010 10:25 AM
El Kabong

LAL ran tough, gutsy race and Noble's Promise is just a head bob away. Great race. In a bigger field, Noble's style may prove more effective in Derby. Even with a brilliant jock like Gomez, it takes luck to successfully weave through that field. While Lucky was winner, and not by much, Noble's Promise has  just as much Promise and won't need as much Luck. Just a thought. Dublin, not a KD winner. Could run, may finish in top 5, won't run fast enough to win.

TBD...We will know more about top three when they run there next race on another track, but two of three definitely move forward. Screws will be tighter on SS next out, but he needs to relax. Odysseus ran like a pure athlete. If he runs smarter next out, he will finish with more convincing authority. Schoolyard has run tough against top contenders SS, OD and Rule, who looks very good now if he can carry speed 9f in FD, but I think schoolyards party is over. Don't think he will move forward as well as SS and OD.

San Felipe was a lesson for all. Sadler has slowly and progressively stretched this horse out and you have to be impressed with the final time, faster than Pioneer ran last year. Don't know what to make of rest of field or there chances if this one runs in SA Derby. Fractions were controlled and finish was strong. No excuses for any of them. Sidney will do it again in April if Lucky and Noble don't come back.

I think I saw Zenyatta finish her carrot at the 1/8 pole, that's why she didn't have it in her hand at the finish line.  All Hail, the rightful Queen will now take the thrown that was hers all along. JJ can put his case of whine in the cellar where it belongs. Rachel needed that race, but hats off to Shirreffs for sending a message to those boys out east about fitness and respect. Rachel needs to run the Apple  more than Zenyatta, but horse racing has had enough KJ whine for one year. Cheers Mr. & Mrs. Moss, we all know there's better wine in California as well.

15 Mar 2010 10:25 AM
runner

The decision making process of Mr. Jackson and Mr. Moss is on display.

Mr. J was overcome by trying to accomplish something for racing without giving enough thought about the specific race itself.

SA did not help the cause, how much time between races does a horse need to be returned to race ready form? The horse was ready for what they thought the competion would be, except for the strategic move of Mr. M sending the "Z"2 horse. The entry of this horse was not given enough consideration by the RA team.

Mr. M has considerable more time and experience in racing than Mr. J and this was evident Saturday.

15 Mar 2010 10:26 AM
Speedball

Jason- Hopefully we'll have an exciting Breeder's Cup Classic to look forward to in the fall with Zenyatta and Quality Road battling it out for top spot.  I think Rachel had a truly amazing year in 2009, but it wouldn't suprise me a bit if she's retired soon.  Could be she's just not as interested in racing and ready to be a mother.  Reminds me of Stardom Bound's disappointing comeback.  As for the Derby, I think Lucky is going to be tough to beat.  He's seasoned, tough, and tested.  Bob Bafford is very sharp at getting his top horse to the finish line first and that's certainly important.  Anxious to see what Fast Alex does in the Florida Derby.  He could be the sleeper-you never know!  

15 Mar 2010 10:28 AM
Johnny

Queen Z is the BEST horse to come around in years.

R.A is a good horse on a hot streak she came back and got beet by competition that on paper she should of waxed them even @ 80%.

I would not be one bit surprised if J.J. little 10 million dollar toy is retired.

Zenyatta is a gift from the racing gods she gets it, she gets the whole concept.

She enjoys playing to the fans to sucking the life out of the competition 100yrds from the finish line with her ears pricked.

15-0 is greatness. I suspect by the end of the year she will be 20-0 and a 2 time winner of the breeders cup classic.

Just enjoy her she is that awesome.

Derby top picks

1)Looken At Lucky clips heels in the back streach almost looses his rider and still wins of a layoff? Were is his excuss R.A fans? A solid horse.

2) Odysesus great guts, do not trust the Tampa track would like to see him run 1 more prior to the derby.

3)Eskenderya Pletcher just may have one his first winner here.

4)Awesome Act Leprouex does not even ask the horse to run until he reaches the top of the streach.

5) My under the radar horse Radiohead will see Sat vs #3 in Fla Derby.

Looks like alot of speed in the derby this year early though.

15 Mar 2010 10:38 AM
JAJ

I think if Borel had allowed Rachel to run her race instead of following instructions to keep her stalking off the pace, she would have won.

Didn't everyone notice Borel's feet planted firmly on the dash board until about the quarter pole?

Fighting a rider is very tiring on a horse.  Blame the trainer's instructions for the loss, not her lack of fitness.

I think Zenyatta's dominating performance in her race is why they are ducking the Apple Blossom.

15 Mar 2010 10:49 AM
Golden Gate

I was fortunate enough to be able to watch the Rebel on Saturday at Oaklawn. The track also showed Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra's races on the big screen for us which was great. When Zenyatta's race was running the Rebel horses were already saddled and heading for the gates. Talk about being nervous in anticipation.

We usre did want Rachel to win and Zenyatta to win their races. After the race Asmussens's assistant walked by with tears in his eyes..I think I would have been bawling myself.

Well here is to hoping both are sound and will meet another day.

Lookin at Lucky was absolutely gorgeous and I really like Dublin too. I think he will do better next race.

Robby albarado is at Oaklawn more this year and you should have heard his fan club everytime he rode past (-:

15 Mar 2010 10:51 AM
ElusiveQuality

Am glad they pulled Ra out of AB.....she is not only unfit, but not mentally into her game....that was obvious from herlast few works...I admire and respect Zenyatta....but will be surprised if Shirreffs runs both her and Zardana at oaklawn....i'd be very afraid of Zardana if I was the Mosses....as for the Derby...I absolutely love Awesome Act....he is the best looking 3 yr old conformation wise and with his breeding(ceck out the dams side!), has 1 1/4 miles written all over him...Looking at Lucky and Eskenderaya will be fighting for 2nd....I can't take any synthetic track horse without a race on real dirt in the Derby to win....I was impressed back in Jan with a little horse named Laus Deo...haven't seen him since he won The Count Fleet at Aqueduct..anyone know where Tony Dutrow is going to spot him next? He another vwery well bre for 1 1/4 miles 3 yr old.....

15 Mar 2010 10:53 AM
TJLuvsTizs

Regarding RA, I will allow SA and JJ to call their shots and take them at their word that they are doing right by their horse.  They thought they could win a 5 horse race at 80%, lost by 3/4 of a length, I guess they weren't that far off.  Both JJ and SA have forgotten more about horse racing than I know, so I will not say anything negative about them.  I anticipate RA's next race will be a triumph of at least 6 lenghts.

I will not be dumb and count out any horse at this point, but I am just not sold on Drosselmeyer yet.  I do have a feeling that the derby will once again be won by a deep closer as there will be 5-6 horses that will be on the front end and setting a very contentious pace.

Can we find out if Tiz the One will be pointed to a graded race in April to have a shot at the derby?

15 Mar 2010 10:54 AM
SJ TRIPPER

Someone tell me Odysseus passed Schoolyard Dreams. Didn't happen. Did anyone get to see the photo. I didn't see it shown on TVG. I had a small wager on the race so it didn't matter to me, but for the sake of true competion, COME ON!

That was embarrassing.  

15 Mar 2010 10:54 AM
EileenG

ManO'War, Seabiscuit, Citation, Secretariat,Swale, Seattle Slew, Cigar. All these GREAT horses lost races!!!

Lucky for them those losses happened before the advent of the BLOG!!!!!

15 Mar 2010 11:10 AM
old timer

Rachel is not fit, does not like the figure 8, and may not run for Calvin after the beating he gave her in the Woodward. A figure 8 is extremely annoying, if not painful, depending on how tight. I have used them with jumpers. If she won't rate without one, she was not ready to race!

15 Mar 2010 11:15 AM
Fire Slam

Love how C. Nakatani picked up the mount on Decelerator and Dublin.

Im sure Terry Thompson is loving it too, as he won the race that C.N. cooked Decelerator, and then watched as Dublin faded to 3rd.

Thompson rode both horses in their previous races, won on one, and almost got up the other--Dublin.

He should have been rewarded with keeping the mounts.

15 Mar 2010 11:16 AM
Dennis

The blame for Rachel's lose is squarely on the shoulders of the owner. The trainer said she couldn't possibly be in top shape by April 3 but as soon as JJ heard the date would be pushed back by six days (think about this) he overruled SA.Steve again raised a red flag earlier in the week by stating he was worried about her condition. Then why run her when you have the entire year to race her?  Because, obviously,  the owner insisted.

The compound the felony, so to speak, Zenyatta's owners got hung in their own petard. Their most fervent hope was to have Rachel Alexandra win and make the Apple Blossom, a 5 Million dollar event. So what do they do? They send a dangerous rival Zardana to run against  Rachel. They win about $120,000 and meanwhile watch  four and a half million dollars go out the window in the Apple Blossom. No wonder horse racing is in trouble.

15 Mar 2010 11:18 AM
quarterhossgal

So many comments about RA, she just

lost for the 4th time!! Zenyatta just won for the 15th straight time. JJ's campaign for RA last year was just too much for a 3 year old. Sadly great horses don't get a chance to pick their owners. If RA is finished with racing let her retire and become a great booodmare(breed her to Curlin) and watch her babies run! RA is a super mare and I wish her green pastures. I hope Queen Z continues to want to race but when she doesn't I'm sure JS and the Mosses's will retire her and continue to enjoy her for the rest of Z's life.

15 Mar 2010 11:23 AM
newsline2

Perhaps the pattern for managing Rachel is not so different from Curlin's career?

With Curlin there was not so  much to lose. At the time he was encumbered by his co-owners' felony trials related to the phen-phen settlement theft, and so they ran him. Ran him on turf and he lost. Ran him on Pro-Ride and he lost. He could run on dirt, most of the time, most successfully with steroids legal at the time.

Then last fall Rachel, who ran successfully on Pro-Ride, was held out of the Breeder's Cup with the reason given that her owners didn't like the surface. Then they set up (we read without consulting the major competitors) the Apple Blossom--on dirt.

But despite incredible efforts of the race coordinators and other competitors to grandstand this race, this is not for her either.

That her owners won't run her if she cannot win, seems sensible. Given that she ran for her current owners for five months last year and earned both her owners and trainer national awards--they got their money's worth. For a horse they bought in May of last year.

Her owner "threw her in the deep end of the pool" and the pay-off was pretty good.

If she never runs against another horse, her mystique is intact--well, almost. She is and will always be, last year's Horse of the Year. And her owner can brag he's shown he can "pick 'em" by owning the US HOY for three consecutive years.

He seems to have the game in hand... it might be a good idea to watch what he has up his sleeve for this year.

15 Mar 2010 11:24 AM
Gary at Rough Creek

Just a little more on Rachel's time this weekend (compared to her races last year) and why it was a fine performance.

Rachel went 8.5 furlongs Saturday in roughly 1:43.70 while carrying 123 pounds.  I've already posted how this is totally consistent with her three 8.5 furlong races from last year if you adjust the times for her weights.  She's amazingly consistent.

Let's look at her KY Oaks win now.  She went 9 furlongs in 1:48.87 under 121 pounds, earning a 108 Beyer.  Let's assume she went the last furlong in 12.  That would make her 8.5 furlong time about 1:42.87.  That was her fastest 8.5 furlongs to that point in 2009, and it earned her best Beyer to that date, and one of her better Beyers lifetime.

Add two pounds to that KY Oaks time (about 0.4 seconds), and if she ran that exact race under 123, her final time would have been 1:43.27.  That's only about two lengths better than she ran on Saturday.

The point being, by looking at her 8.5 furlong races from last year, and her KY Oaks race, and adjusting for weight, she ran better Saturday than she did in several of her races last year, and not appreciably worse than some of her best races ever.  I would expect her to improve off of that race Saturday, but she's not far from where she was last year.

If that's not good enough to take on Zenyatta, when will she be good enough?    

15 Mar 2010 11:28 AM
sweet terchi

Susan W, .....DITTO on your blog!

Kix Brooks,.you gave me my laugh for the day! so true!

15 Mar 2010 11:28 AM
shesfast

I honestly havn't been much impressed with this years triple crown trail. I like LAL, but really he looks like a tired horse...even after a layoff. Can Baffert really get him back into top top form?

I must say i was impressed with JOe talmos ride on SC. Might have been the jockey winning that race. good kid and i hope he gets a derby mount. If the horse is going to be a derby horse keep joe on him lol.

I am done with the Ra/Zen thing. Jess needs to give it up and buy a new horse already conditioned like always. Next he buys KY derby winner this year and tries to win TC? lol...

What would people be saying right now if zen couldnt find some running room and lost by a head, and Ra won her race? Assuming they were both in same condition as they are now. The AP would still be on. Had Zardana not been put in that race w/ra i bet she would still be going in the AB.

Is there a horse of the decade award...if so Zen should win it, if not an award should be made.

15 Mar 2010 11:30 AM
Mark

Jason, two horses I loved in the very early goings were Eightyfiveinafifty and Afleet Express.  They both have fallen off the radar for the Kentucky Derby, but any chance we will see either come the first of May?  Are either currently pointed to run any more preps?

15 Mar 2010 11:35 AM
Tracey

Very disappointed that they're pulling RA from the AB, but not surprised. At first, I liked JJ for being so "sportsmanlike" and bringing Curlin back to race as 4yo. But felt all along that Steve A. didn't have Curlin 100% for the BCC either. I don't think the synthetic track had anything to do with Curlin's loss that day. Robby A. moved too soon and Curlin couldn't sustain the run cos he was a short horse.

As for RA,she also ran like a champ, just was short. But I agree with others who feel they pulled her from the AB prematurely. This was a "prep" race - she's supposed to get something out of it.Calvin Borel said the same thing, and that Steve A didn't want him to let RA run her race like she likes to run.

I totally blame RA's loss on the trainer. He gets great horses, but expects them to make up for his shortcomings, i.e. underestimating the competition. I love RA, but wish she had different connections. I'm tired of listening to JJ beat his own chest.

However, I love the class and competitiveness (is that a word?)of the Mosses and Shirreff's, and of course, Zenyatta!

As for the KD, my top 3 are: 1) Lookin at Lucky; 2) Eskendereya; 3) Odysseus. I was disappointed with Dublin's race, and am hoping that Backtalk can get his act together and make an appearance on KD Day!

Love to read these comments, and thanks very much for the opportunity to "vent"!!!

15 Mar 2010 11:35 AM
miramartzu

As said before I'm disappointed but not surprized that the Apple Blossom match up is off.Rachel will go on to fight again. I think fitness was an issue. It also seemed they are trying to get her to rate off the pace, something I think she needs to do if her connections want to go against Zenyatta or the top boys like Quality Road or if she is to get a mile and a quarter.It will be interesting, if come Breeders cup time,and they are both sound and still running,where these two will run.Will Zenyatta go for another classic? Will Rachel go for the Ladies Classic or The Classic?

The Apple Blossom will still be a hell of a race. How good is the other Z,Zardana? She might be a monster now that she's back on dirt.She did beat Rachel and both of them where 11 lenghts ahead of the rest.

Just anther thought, Why wasn't Zenyatta pointed towards Dubai? At that distance and on that surface I think she would be tough to beat.I do hope her people think of something a little different this year.Maybe Churchill,Saratoga or Belmont.Rain or shine. With the exception of the BC,Zenyatta's races last year were more of the same.I think Zenyatta is the best I've ever seen. I hope she is allowed to show us all how great she really is.

As far as the Derby picture, what a great weekend of racing!I still like Dublin. I think the jock change was a mistake. I'm also looking forward to Radiohead's and Backtalk's next start. Lucky is good and lucky and should move forward off his race. Awesome Act is anther on I like.To bad about Buddy's Saint. I hope all the rest stay healthy and sound. It should be a helluva Derby.

15 Mar 2010 11:37 AM
Kathryn

I wonder what all the excuses would look like if Zenyatta lost the other day?

15 Mar 2010 11:40 AM
eastcoastracehorseartist

Hal Wiggins is a superior trainer to Rachel's current trainer. RA looked thinner, less robust this time out. Am I the only one who thought that?

Can't wait to see what's in store for Zenyatta.  Go girl!

15 Mar 2010 11:42 AM
Leon

Horse trainers and their cat & mouse games.

Asmussen is probably at the top of Oaklawn Park's most wanted list, since he blew it by running an out of shape champ when she was not ready. Why run a valuable champ such as RA if she's not fit?  That's how many horses get injured.

On the other hand, Shireffs just cost Zenyatta's owners a chance for a cool $3M in the Apple Blossom, by defeating RA with Zardana. I'm sure many people think it is priceless to have gotten a kick out of beating RA with his B team, but he outsmarted himself in the process, because he made $12K on saturday, and he'll have to settle for $30K when he could have made $300K on April 9th.  

Ouch!!

The soap opera will continue...

15 Mar 2010 11:43 AM
Alexandra

Pam R.....Secretariat may have lost 5 races..but Zenyatta hasn't. Also,I think Secretariat was running against some stiffer competition than Rachel.

15 Mar 2010 11:51 AM
GAL

It was tough to see Rachel run like that, ears pinned back from the very start, going wide on the first turn, looking labored the whole way through--just not an in-shape horse.  I love her; I hope she does better next outing.

Zenyatta took my breath away.  (Although I too wondered about the weaving and interference.)  This was one hell of a race and I'll be happy to watch her try to match Cigar/Citation's record (I love how we can forget Pepper's Pride if we just make the record for unrestricted races).

As for HoY, what do this weekend's races have to do with last year?  Horse of the YEAR, people.  Not overall campaign.  Zenyatta certainly looks well placed for 2010, though.  Quality Road would be an interesting foe--he's looked incredible lately.

15 Mar 2010 11:52 AM
JC

hmmm--yes asmussen and JJ clearly did not have her ready and they admitted as much even before she ran(kudos to asmussen for taking the hit after the race as well). it has not been a smooth time of it for RA's training. yes there are lost of fans disappointed.that said i think we have to acknowledge that the hype , the"this is what the public wants!" played a big hand.  clearly they were reacting to that pressure in trying to speed up her preparations and working against the clock.against their better judgment i am sure. lets all just take a deep breath and enjoy zenyatta AND rachel and perhaps something will happen down the road. RA and Zenyatta and connections owe us nothing--they gave us so much last year. lets just accept what they can give and try to be satisfied.

15 Mar 2010 11:58 AM
average joe

I totally agree ! ... that's now strike 2. 1st no breeders cut because of a "plastic" track, and now strike 2 because of not being ready... The chances rachel and Zen meeting are realistically slim to none ... Mr. jackson may or may not be a horseman, but he is not a sportsman !

15 Mar 2010 12:01 PM
Ann in Lexington

Footlick - Spend A Buck got an uncontested lead in the Derby because the other class speed horse in the field, Eternal Prince (winner of the Wood and Gotham), stumbled out of the gate and never got near the front. Would have been a completely different race otherwise.

15 Mar 2010 12:14 PM
al bundy

dublin lost the race when lukas gave nakatani the leg up.

5 wide on the first turn.

strong move the whole backstrech.

4 wide on the second turn.lose by 3.

put terry thompson back on.

the best thing to happen to zenyatta was quality road being scratched.if he wins bc then rachel would have recieved every vote for hoy.

15 Mar 2010 12:15 PM
Jason Shandler

Mark: Dont know about Afleet Express. But dont look for Eightfiveinafifty to return to Derby trail. He is working again, but his next spot wont likley be the Wood. They will probably take their time now.

15 Mar 2010 12:19 PM
AMY ROONEY

I personally do not think RA ran a bad race. As others have said before, MOST horses need at least a race back to get into the swing of things.  By that same token this also makes Z the beast she is. I like both horses, just Z better.  My derby pick is Nobles Promise, liked him since he won with Willie Martinez, too bad he could not keep the ride. I like Willie.  

15 Mar 2010 12:22 PM
Tracy

As for the derby I think there may a late entry that will be a surprise to all.

15 Mar 2010 12:32 PM
Judy ~ Burbank, CA

All I want to share is this:

I thought the BC Classic was a goosebump moment! On Saturday, as Queen Z danced by us in the paddock, I could hardly hold my camera still to take pictures.

Z wins the race... I burst into tears ONCE AGAIN because I realized what I just witnessed. Thank you God for allowing me to be part of horse racing history.

PERFECT is overly used, but not in this case. Thank you TEAM ZENYATTA.

As for blog posters who STILL feel the need to bash either horse: GROW UP!

p.s. My poster for Saturday read: Queen Zenyatta Is Back. Dance 4 Us! She did, and then some!! :-)

15 Mar 2010 12:37 PM
The Rock

Dennis,

Get your facts are completely skewed. For one, Zardana is not owned by the Zenyatta connections. He's owned by Arnold Zetcher. Secondly, it wasn't trainer John Sherriffs idea to ship Zardana to the Fair Grounds. The owner insisted on it.

Horse Racing is in trouble for a lot of reasons. One of them is people who get the facts all screwed up and bash people within the industry b/c they didn't do their homework. Way to go. You've just put yourself along the same lines as PETA.

Anyway, based on this weekends results, I'm not shocked of the outcome. Rumors were swirling around that she was unfit. It showed on the track Saturday. But given the circumstances, I still think RA ran a good race off the layoff. She was over 10 clear of the 3rd place horse, and she lost to a graded stakes winner who was  in good form. If anything, this race should sharpen her up even faster for the AB if they did want to send her there. Horses are not machines. They can't win everytime they head out to the track. Those that can, like Zenyatta is just unreal.

Oh yea Stacy, you asked why don't the connections of Zenyatta step outside the box and find some different races to run in..... the Breeders Cup Classic wasn't enough for ya? How do you know all those horses she beat were past their peak? Her races are boring? Wow, you must've been one of those people that Trevor Denman called out after the race saying "If you don't have goosebumps now, you don't like horse racing".

Jason, can we rid of all these debbie downers on this blog? Nothing but wah wah wah. Everyone's got an excuse and them some for a horse that they're head over heels for that doesn't win. What was really wrong with RA's performance on Saturday? The fact she didn't win? Was it Forego or Kelso that lost their first start of the subsequent year after they won HOY the year before?

15 Mar 2010 12:38 PM
jim

First of all it would have been too early in the year to plan a big race.

Rachel ran in a stakes race(not graded per equibase) and the HOTY gave only 2 lbs. to her nearest rival and still lost to a third stringer in the barn behind Zenyatta & life is sweet.

I donot understand the HOTY giving only 2 lbs. to her nearest rivals and that too in a stakes race anainst fillies & mares and Zenyatta giving 12 lbs. to her nearest rival in a grade 1 race.

Like i had said before JJ is doing everything in getting the most advantage he can, but, now acts like a chicken.I dont think RA will race against Zanyatta.

One question i will pose say both horses are at the top of their game come breeders cup time & since i dont think RA will go in the classic, and Zanyetta looks like the top favourite in the classic, should she skip the classic and go in the ladies classic against RA thaking a huge cute in purse value?

Dave take another look at the replay Pretty catherine was a beaten horse when when took her path when there was clear room to do that also read the full charts. Rafael was whipping PC before the top of the stretch and there was no response.

15 Mar 2010 12:42 PM
S.B.H.

Just now looking at posts here - I think this was actually a good thing for Rachel, as I can't remember a race where she had to really dig in there and show heart.  She showed guts a plenty and it should make her a better horse if she really is a great one and she is.

15 Mar 2010 12:43 PM
Elizabeth

Secretariat came in third in the Wood Memorial, his final Derby prep.  Imagine if his connections had decided to not run him in the Derby because of it.

Rachel ran her race on Saturday, she just got beat.  Like Gary at Rough Creek said her final time was consistent with her 8.5 furlong times last year.  

I'm really getting fed up with Jackson's lame excuses and even more fed up with people claiming he's a "true sportsman".

He won't run his horses on "plastic" tracks so that rules out Keeneland, Arlington, Turfway and the entire state of California.  Now he won't run Rachel in a competitive race next out because she got beat by 3/4 of a length after a 6 month layoff.  I can't believe he still has supporters and apologists.      

15 Mar 2010 12:50 PM
Bob Z

Dennis,

That's a great point!

I believe that if Zardana is not in the New Orleans Ladies and Rachel wins by 10 lengths she is going to the Apple Blossom...

One of these 2 horses (Zenyatta or Racehl) are most probably going to win... as we see now its even more probably Zenyatta...  

That would be a 2.5 million dollar payday for Zenyatta!

So what do they do?  They send Zardana that has a great effort and beats Rachel... and all of a sudden team Rachel is second guessing Rachels fitness... so much so that they make the decision to not run in the Apple Blossom citing her fitness level...

So by sending Zardana to run in a 200,000 race the result is that it denies Zenyatta of a HUGE payday that she most probably would have had!

Brilliant.

I know its a different owner...

But I have to assume that a simple phone call to the owner by Jerry Moss saying

"Hey... if both horses run its a 2.5 million payout... Is there anything I can do to convince you to not send Zardana to run against Racehel?  We don't need anything to mess this up..."

So that one decision (arguably) will now be responsible for causing Zenyattas payday to shrink 10 times from 2.5 million to 250,000...

I wish I was in a position where 2,250,000 didn't mean anything!

15 Mar 2010 12:51 PM
Michael

for all you RA fans making the excuse that she wasn't ready, I have one question for you? When exactly WILL she be ready? She took 6 months off for god's sake. Why? Because she absolutely emptied her tank holding off Macho Again(LMAO) in the Woodward. Newsflash!!! Your little filly will NEVER be ready to face Zenyatta so stop making excuses. Part of what makes a Zenyatta a superior horse to RA is the fact the she is ALWAYS ready. 15 times in a row she's done whatever it takes to win. Are you so naive that you believe Zen was 100% every single race? Come on now??? The difference between these two horses is one (RA) knows how to lose and the other (Zen) refuses to lose !!!

15 Mar 2010 12:52 PM
Mike S

Jess Jackson is afraid of ZENYATTA, that's abundantly clear. He has been talking about meeting up with ZENYATTA since last July, but he never comes through. I knew we would not see RACHEL ALEXANDRA in the Apple Blossom because I knew that her connections are chicken and afraid of The Queen of Racing. There is no excuse for all the ditching and dodging that we have seen from the RACHEL ALEXANDRA camp.

Is it too late to give the 2009 Horse of the Year to the mare who truly deserved it?

15 Mar 2010 12:54 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

While ZENYATTA was bobbin' and weavin' and shuckin' and jivin'("fasten your seatbelt and close your eyes Mikey boy-I've got to do some fancy moves around these corners") POOR RACHEL had her mind on boys. Yes-boys. Maybe dinner and dancing with Hard Spun, or a little romp in the hay with Dunkirk, or a phone call from Street Sense. ZENYATTA-why do I get the impression that she doesn't need handlers or a jockey? I think she'd go out and do her little dance in the walking ring, warm-up, load herself into the gate, drop back and weave thru traffic all on her own. BIG PROBLEM I see is that she'd probably do it all again in the very next race after going over to get her picture taken. And maybe the race after that too. "OK, I got myself a trifecta, I guess that's enough for today. I think I'll go get myself some hay and an eclaire."

15 Mar 2010 12:55 PM
the_wiz

Footlick: I have nothing against Zenyatta. I just try to rile you fans up sometimes because some of you can get a little, how shall I say, annnoying :)

jshandler 15 Mar 2010 1:31 AM

There is one little man here that precipitates the ugly vibes. That little man is known as draynay. It has festered and grown for a couple of years at least because of him. Probably to late to stop since he's been allowed and has sucked in so many to his negative black world. Just have to live with it unless like in other columns his crap is ignored.  

15 Mar 2010 12:56 PM
Mike S

I don't even know if AMERICAN LION is a potential Derby horse, but I do know that I didn't much care for his 3rd place finish at Santa Anita, and I would have taken him elsewhere for his next start so that I could see what he does on regular dirt. I was not happy with the decision to run back at Santa Anita this past weekend, and I didn't expect much, nor did I get much. He was 4th by 4-1/2 lengths.

I wonder if TIZ CHROME can handle a distance of ground? I hope we find out next time.

TIZ THE ONE is sure interesting, isn't he? He ran a good race at Gulfstream Park yesterday. But he only has two starts. I seriously doubt they'll try to rush him into the Derby.

I was hoping for a TIZNOW colt to be in the Derby.

15 Mar 2010 1:04 PM
Jodie

Maybe zenyatta fans are so annoying because they are tired of the put downs of a great horse even by you Jason. You have always discounted her even in the classic and in my opinion Zenyatta is the better horse.

The bigger question though to me is why was Rachel not ready?  I don't buy the BS about layoff and weather.  After watching her race Saturday me thinks she has bigger issues than that.  My feeling is she will not be racing again.  

15 Mar 2010 1:05 PM
Bob D.

Who didn't see this coming??  Bet Team RA would be singing a different if she had won.  Why not just man up and say "At this time we are not ready to take on Zenyatta".....don't hold your breath waiting for that admission....

15 Mar 2010 1:06 PM
Criminal Type

No one can deny that Zenyatta is the Queen. What a gutsy performance from her on Saturday. Not so much Rachel. Anyone who has read my posts on this blog knows I am not a fan of Jesse Jackson nor Steve Assmusen. I have always said they carefully handpick their races to their best advantage, and there is nothing wrong with that. It's the politics of what they do and how they do it that bothers me so much.  First she's out, then she's in, then she's shipping to Oaklawn, then she's not running...WTH ! I cant say im surprised. In fact, what surprises me is that they agreed to race Zenyatta in the first place after carefully avoiding her last year. I predict that Rachel will be in the breeding shed with Curlin by Derby day and will never face Zenyatta.

15 Mar 2010 1:09 PM
Zookeeper

The more it changes, the more it stays the same.

1) 2009 was over quite a while back.

2) Jerry Moss doesn't own Zardana.

3) Jesse Jackson runs the show, his trainer doesn't.

4) There are still 7 1/2 months before the 2010 Breeders Cup. A little early to announce who will run in it and win.

5) Ditto for the 2010 HOTY.

6) John Shirreffs doesn't give a flying fiddle what you think of him. He's a great trainer and acts accordingly.

7) Ann Moss said it all: Zenyatta IS a gift. If you don't appreciate her, it's your loss not hers.

8) Rachel Alexandra, if her connections get out of her way, will WOW us some more this year.

9) The Kentucky Derby prep season is in full swing. Drop the insane Zen vs RA arguments. It's totally irrelevant to the "here & now".

10) Let the DERBY FEVER begin!!!

15 Mar 2010 1:09 PM
Mike Relva

JERSEYBOY

You must spend too much time watching that dumb show,Jersey Shore. lol To say RA isn't a great racehorse is silly at best. And that's coming from a diehard Zenyatta fan.

15 Mar 2010 1:11 PM
sweetric

Zenyatta proved once again that she is Horse for the Age's! The general disdain for her from the MSM and most writers(eclipse voters) evidenced by just whose name is highlighted here at "Blood Horse" That Zenyatta made it 15 straight should be the daily banner/headline, versus whether or not RA is skipping the Apple Blossom, whose really surprised? Hell I even figured Zardana over RA.

I thank the stars daily for the likes of Zenyatta and trainers of the caliber of John Shirrefs these are the types of Horses and personalities that do racing credit!

RA 3 year oldfilly of the year? yes

horse of the year? Hell no!

15 Mar 2010 1:13 PM
TerriV

I don't think Rachel ran a bad race either.  I think she was physically up to winning that race; it was her mental lack of focus that lost that race.  Will W's post 10:08am and JAJ 10:49 made the most relevant statements about what happened.  Rachel was fighting most of the way.  Look at how Calvin is standing straight legged in the stirrups.  That ride wore her out.  Anyone who's ever ridden a horse knows how unfocused on the job a horse is when it's busy arguing with the rider.  I was always very impressed with Ron Turcotte's story of how he trusted Secretariat to run his race and he just tried to stay out of his way. I think we'd have seen a different outcome if Calvin had been allowed to let Rachel run her race.

Zenyatta is just beyond words.  I only hope she runs somewhere on the East Coast this year so I can see her in person.

About the Derby races - I was thrilled to see Odysseus show his stuff. Awed by Lookin at Lucky, disappointed in Dublin's race and congrats to Joe Talamo.  I'm still holding out to see Backtalk.  And in spite of words to the contrary, I still love Conveyance.

15 Mar 2010 1:22 PM
hrseldy

Give Rachel a break.  For a 4 year old filly off a six-month layoff her 2nd place finish should be no surprise and neither should Zenyatta's win.  She is older, more experienced and knows how to rate herself to get the job done.  I love them both and I am happy that no one was injured or worse.  Some horses don't achieve greatness until they are older.  Some horses are great young and with time, wear and tear, they lose their edge.  And too often, some horses are great and never get a chance to show it.  Let's just be thankful they both live to race another day.

15 Mar 2010 1:27 PM
Deacon

I am personally glad and relieved that Rachel and Zen are facing each other in the Apple Blossom. The race between them doesn't need to happen, it proves nothing. Both mares were sensational last year. Rachel got HOTY because she did more, not because she is supposedly better. Very few race horses in history (if any) come back from a campaign like Rachel had in 2009. It is too much to ask or expect. I do think Zens connections have done a better job in handling her then Rachel connections have. Both mares should be retired, no one wants to see Zen get beat like we just saw Rachel get beat. There are only so many bullets in the gun..........  

15 Mar 2010 1:29 PM
papillon

"Rule - He probably should be in my top 10. What's keeping me from thinking this colt is for real?"

You and every other horse pundit--but its ok, I'll be very happy with the odds Rule will have at the Derby if you all continue to discount him--so please, discount away!

I'm sad for Zenyatta's sake that she won't get to prove in the AB that she's 10 times the horse that Rachel is, but I think she showed that this weekend anyway. I have nothing against Rachel, but I just love Big Z.

Here's my top Derby Contenders:

1. Rule

2. Eskendereya

3. Caracortado

4. School Yard Dreams

5. UpTownCharlieBrown

6. Odysseus (just because of his name)

7. Jackson Bend--I fell in love with him at the Fountain of Youth--he's physically such a beautiful little guy.

Sorry for the Florida bias, I live here so these are the ones I know best--plus Tampa is a tough, tiring  track--Saturday is going to be huge at Gulfstream...can't wait =)

15 Mar 2010 1:31 PM
JoshSantaanitafan

When is Looking at Lucky going to get a credit? He stumbled behind horses, have to go three-fourwide on the turn and still have the courage to run down Noble's Promise, all this horse do is win Big Races while Odysseus won one Graded Stakes and he is number one on your list? Even above Eskendereya and Looking at Lucky? How so?

15 Mar 2010 1:42 PM
slyder

I wonder what all the excuses would look like if Zenyatta lost the other day?

Kathryn 15 Mar 2010 11:40 AM

Kathryn,

If Zenyatta had lost no matter what the reason draynay would be posting and crowing every 5 minutes more of his crap. Since his wonderkind got whipped by a second string poly horse he's eerily quiet. Isn't that great?!!!!!!! It's just like a second ban!!

15 Mar 2010 1:42 PM
GOOSE

Zenyatta is the BEST horse in training today.I wish all the Rachel fans would stop making excuses for Rachel not being ready.She wants no part of Zenyatta.These 2 will never meet on the track.Its sad for racing.  

15 Mar 2010 1:44 PM
EKD

Pay attention people - Zardana is NOT owned by the Moss's. She is trained by John Shirreffs, but is owned by Arnold Zetcher.

The Moss's did not outsmart themselves by sending out another horse. They had nothing to do with it.

15 Mar 2010 1:49 PM
Ash from the Peg

I think that a lot of RA's loss has to do with human no horse error. Just  because of who she is I don't think she should be treated any differently than any other horse who clearly is saying 'I'm not ready'. I think Zenyatta ran a good race - not perfect. She's been a lightly raced mare with a smart trainer who know's his horse and doesn't bow to the public. I think one thing that everyone forgets is that there are Great Ones that have been beaten too. Man o'War to name one and their are others where it came down to human error. I think that RA is done, she's proven herself against the boys last year and gave it her all.....she's trying to tell them that she's tired. Is it worth the risk of killing her just to try and prove something that only the humans care about never mind what it could do to these beautiful mares winning spirit?

15 Mar 2010 1:53 PM
Householder

LEON.  By the comments Shireffs made in Saturday's DRF by his own admission he is still "stinging" from the HOY defeat.  Doesn't anyone find it odd the his first entry at the Fairgrounds EVER happened to be against RA?  He took a horse that had won the last 3 dirt starts in her native country by 39 lengths and hit RA right between the eyes with her.  As the race unfolded one could tell that RA was not used to having someone that close to her in the stretch.  Make no mistake about it, we (The Zenyatta Fans) want RA 110% when we beat her.  Zenyatta picks up yet another Grade 1 win at high weight (the lightest horse was 111) while RA has a race made for her giving up very little.  With RA's defeat none of the Woodward runners went on to win their next start.  

Shireffs also now knows how to beat RA.  Take a look at the 2008 Clement Hirsch.  The race that Zenyatta set the track record.  23 and change, 46 and 2, 110 and change pace.  Zenyatta passes horses down the backstretch and is 2 lengths off the 1:10 and 2 pace by the top of the stretch.  Hardly a "Silky Sullivan."  

You want "slow" controlled pace.  Take a look at the 2008 Lady's Secret.  Second place BC Distaff finisher Hysterical Lady is setting fractions of 24 and 1, 48 and 1.  Sensing a slow pace, Zenyatta runs up and pulls herself within 2 lengths the remainder of the race,  and despite a 1:11 and 2,  rolls to a 1:40 and change finish.  

Zenyatta is going to beat you in the stretch.  Just like Zardana.  

15 Mar 2010 1:57 PM
Goldie

Why are some people insisting that the Mosses own Zardana, and sent her to the (ungraded) Ladies Special to mess with Rachel?  Zardana is owned by Arnold Zetcher, and just happens to be trained by John Shirreffs.  Yes, Rachel had a 6 month layoff, Zenyatta had a 4 month layoff.  Rachel made her 2010 debut in an ungraded 8.5 furlong race (written for her?) against 4 contestants.  Zenyatta made her debut in a Grade 1, 9 furlong race against 7 others.  Unfortunately, they will not meet in the Apple Blossom, and perhaps not ever meet.  I would not find that surprising.  Let's just hope they both are healthy, happy, and well loved by the public as they both deserve.

15 Mar 2010 2:04 PM
Pam S.

Derby thoughts:

I really like LAL and Noble's Promise.  Those two are starting to remind me of Affirmed and Alydar.  I don't know what to think of Dublin.  But to me, this year's Giacomo is a horse not even mentioned here, Make Music for Me.  That's because my husband picked Giacomo after the 2004 Hol. Futurity and this year he picked this one after the same race.  Make Music (winner of Pasadena Stakes on turf) is headed to the SA Derby and you just never know....

My husband (only the most casual of fans) also said long ago that Z and RA would never meet and so far he's right on that, too.  Jason, I think the e-mail says it all.  Rachel was a bit short but did not run that badly, she's fine since the race and likely got something out of it.  Steve A. would still point her to the Apple Blossom, but Jess doesn't want to chance another loss to another Shirreffs runner whose name starts with "Z".

Many Rachel fans continue to claim Jackson is not afraid of Zenyatta, and they are certainly entitled to their opinions.  But after this latest move, I think they have much less of a leg to stand on.

15 Mar 2010 2:11 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Eventhough I was impressed with Odysseus I was very impressed with Schoolyard Dreams who I thought won the race. By the way-did anyone check that camera? I believe it's a 1950's Polaroid. They might want to update it to digital. And who's to say that Schoolyard wouldn't have fought back and won if the race was longer. I think the Derby ML and post time favorite will be Lookin At Lucky. ML of 3-1 or 4-1 and post time of 5-2.

15 Mar 2010 2:20 PM
CV

Jason,

Gary at Rough Creek brings up an interesting point about Rachel running this year with more weight. Do you think her race Saturday is simpy the effect of her carrying more weight than last year?

Also, to Runner, Leon and Dennis who wrote: "The horse was ready for what they thought the competion would be, except for the strategic move of Mr. M sending the "Z"2 horse..."Zenyatta's owners--send a dangerous rival Zardana to run against  Rachel..."On the other hand, Shireffs just cost Zenyatta's owners a chance for a cool $3M in the Apple Blossom, by defeating RA with Zardana..."

Do you folks know how to read? Jerry Moss does not own Zardana. And, it was Zardana's real owner Arnold Zetcher who told John Shirreffs he wanted to run her in the New Orleans Ladies. He wanted a prep race on dirt because he, too, is interested in racing in the Apple Blossom. Plus, he said the mile and a sixteenth is Zardana’s best distance.

So no one got "outsmarted" Leon, and no one's "petard" is in danger, Dennis.;)

15 Mar 2010 2:23 PM
dave

How about they (JJ camp) give Hal Wiggins a call for some consultation?  Or do pigs have to fly first?

15 Mar 2010 2:26 PM
Jason Shandler

CV: I personally do not think a couple extra pounds made a difference for RA. I think she was looked in the eye for the first time in a long time and was not up to it in large part because she wasnt prepared correctly.

15 Mar 2010 2:27 PM
Mary in VT

2009 HOY is over. It was decided on the events of '09. '10 HOY will be decided on the events of '10. Although Zenyatta did everything she was asked to do in '09 brilliantly, she wasn't asked to do as much as Rachel was asked to do. If there is anyone to blame for Zenyatta's loss of '09 HOY, it is the bipeds that guided her '09 career. Indeed, they figured out how to lose HOY with their wonderful mare two years running now, did they not? But ... this is a new day. They have another chance with a clean sheet upon which to write. Good luck to them. I still don't think we have really ever seen the big girl truly tested, and if Rachel returns to her '09 form, that's exactly what they will have to do. On that note, I have to say that I am not impressed with their choice of comeback races. They could be in Dubai gunning for the richest race that has ever been run against the best the world has in it while Rachel legitimately gets up to speed back home, but they chose to stay in their back yard ... again. Boring.

Some thought Asmussen was being coy when he said that Rachel was about 80% fit. I have never detected SA being deliberately deceptive. He may defer an answer for a variety of reasons; a decision is not his alone to make, it hasn't been decided yet, a decision at this time is premature, the owner paying the bills deservedly gets to hear that answer before the press does, etc., but he is not someone that looks right into your eyeballs and lies. Now every reasonable person knows that he was right dead on the money when he said that Rachel was not up to par. She wasn't physically ready. She wasn't mentally ready. I thought I was watching a loss unfold when she wore herself out fighting Calvin for such a distance. She rated so easily last year that it was all too crystal clear that she really is still very very green coming off her long layoff. After all, Zenyatta will be the toughest horse Rachel ever sees, and vice versa. The only race worth watching is the one that sees both horses enter the gate 100% tight and cranked for the biggest test of their lives.

I just hope that we aren't looking at a filly who is mentally done with it as has happened to so many competitive fillies that have tried Triple Crown races, taken on the boys repeatedly, or dealt with a truly grueling schedule. Don't forget ... Rachel delivered a 3 YO season unlike any 3 YO filly before her ... if anyone is entitled to be done with it on her terms, she is. It is far too soon to say, obviously. To know that, she would have to be 100% physically cranked and ready, and resist in one or more notable ways, instead of being the tractable, pliable, brilliant speedball she was last year. Only time will tell. My guess is if she shows signs of not being a happy racehorse, her devoted owner will retire her. So would you. So would I.

Someone astutely noted that Z cut another horse off in the stretch of her comeback race. I agree. You can see the horse that is cut off throw it's head up. Apparently no one wanted to, or should I say no one dared cost Moss' big horse her perfect record on an objection? I do agree that Z was the best horse ... still rules are rules ... at least for most people. Does anyone know who the jockey was on the horse that was cut off?

Was anyone else sickened that they actually asked Santa Anita to change the conditions of the race so that Z would not have to carry weight in her comeback race? I absolutely do understand concern about her giving so much weight, and carrying it herself because it bothered a lot of people including me .. but then why choose a handicap? Asking for the condition change was tacky in the extreme. While I love the big mare, her connections leave a lot to be desired at times.

I agree with those that feel the entry of Zardana was just a simple legit entry with nothing nefarious about it. The Shirreffs would be smart enough to know that they would be cutting their own nipples off as far as the Apple Blossom goes if they managed a win over RA, or even just exposed her lack of fitness. Right? Well ... maybe not.

15 Mar 2010 2:28 PM
SSC

Jason - good list - the winner is somewhere on your list - but where

FYI - Mr Fantasy makes his comeback on Thursday at Gulfstream. Stay tuned.

15 Mar 2010 2:35 PM
Soldier Course

Just a few weeks ago, Jess Jackson was talking about the possibility of a three-race series for RA and Zenyatta this year, to generate a Triple Crown type of excitement for the fans. Even as he spoke, I had the feeling that we'd never see one race between them, much less three.

The gall of that man. He had the Apple Blossom rescheduled (on a Friday, no less) so his filly could be "ready" for the race. Then hundreds of fans make plans to come to Hot Springs for the showdown, and what happens?    

15 Mar 2010 2:40 PM
Tim G

Maybe the superb training job that Hal did is showing how important it was?

She had his primary attention. Wasn't just looked at as a $ sign. Or a stat padder.

15 Mar 2010 2:42 PM
Goldie

Oops, forgot the blog heading "Triple Crown Talk".  I cannot see why Sidney's Candy won't get the classic distance.  Candy Ride seemed to run just as far, and as fast, as he needed to in order to win, and with the Storm Cat on the dam's side, he seems quite capable of speed and distance.  I also thought Odysseus showed amazing heart in the stretch, and Schoolyard Dreams ran his eyeballs out.  However, Lookin at Lucky seems almost invincible after his scrappy win.  Great trainer, super jockey, why not another Derby winer for Baffert?

15 Mar 2010 2:42 PM
Matt H.

FIRST OFF I THINK THAT RACHEL ALEXANDRA NEEDED MORE TIME YES AND I THINK THAT SHOWED ON SATURDAY.  JESS JACKSON IS DOING WHAT RIGHT FOR THE HORSE.  WHAT IS SO BAD ABOUT THAT???  WHEN RACHEL AND ZENYATTA BOTH RETIRE WILL ANYBUDDY REALLY CARE ABOUT WHO HAS THE TOP SPOT ALL TIME? DON'T THINK SO TAKE A LOOK AT CURLIN NOBUDDY CARES.  THAT'S HORSE RACING TODAY.  HERE MY PICKS FOR THE DERBY AT THIS TIME

1. Eskendereya

2. Rule

3. AWESOME ACT

4. Lookin At Lucky

5. Odysseus

15 Mar 2010 2:45 PM
WinnahPickah

These derby lists are fun to look at but after the Florida Derby is over they will look completely different. I was not impressed by Odysseus. He ran a good race but I just don't see him making that move at CD.

Can someone find me a stone cold closer? Every 3YO I've seen is a pace presser or a need the lead type. I'm looking for a similar race setup as the '09 version.

15 Mar 2010 2:54 PM
jim

Mary in VT

yes 2009 is over, but, your remark "Although Zenyatta did everything she was asked to do in '09 brilliantly, she wasn't asked to do as much as Rachel was asked to do" is quite OFF.

did RA in 2009 beat 7/8 Gr. 1 horses male/female from all around the world in one race? and at classic distance?

get over it, like in most sports its east coast bias. I'm not sour that Zenyatta get the HOTY title because she is considered to be "the horse of the decade" by most experts/handicappers who cares how the media votes.

15 Mar 2010 2:55 PM
Emily

No mention at all about Alphie's Bet? He has as much a shot of anyone at winning the SA Derby.

15 Mar 2010 2:59 PM
2:24

Jason:

Have any of the serious contenders for the Derby run a triple digit Beyer SF other than Eskendereya?  That horse seems to be heads and tails above the rest of this crop figure wise (at least at this point).

15 Mar 2010 3:00 PM
draynays better half

As most of you have noticed my man is conspicuous in his abscence sine RA got beat on Saturday. He's having a real tough time now that pigs can fly. I haven't seen him this down since BB caused all that trouble right at the start in his Belmont and ended up embarrasing himself.

For the record I don't think you will see my draynay sporting a pink dress and hat on derby day as promised if Zenyatta won any Breeders Cup Race much less the Classic. He still considers you all second rate handicappers whose buttons he loves to push. Don't take him too seriously, most of you have figured that one out.

On a side note he did return the poor kitty he retrieved from the pound and named Zenyatta. The dogs weren't listening to his orders of kill the cat anyway. They treated her like she was queen. Guess they know more than he when it comes to who the real queen is.  

15 Mar 2010 3:01 PM
Footlick

Ann- imo it wouldn't have mattered.  Spend a Buck would have run away from him even if he did break well.  He ran a huge race in the Derby.

15 Mar 2010 3:04 PM
Zookeeper

Hey! Soldier Course,

Welcome back! How are you doing?

Mary in VT,

Go back to the cave you hide in most of the time. You only come out to spew some more bile on Zenyatta's connections. Your professed love for Zenyatta is as fake as Jess Jackson's sportmanship. To borrow Jason's words to an annoying blogger: "Beat it!"

15 Mar 2010 3:07 PM
Tim G

Mary, trainers routinely gripe and grouse about excessive weight in handicap races.

As far as an objection? There have been bigger races than that where the film has been looked at on a stewards inquiry. Trust me, these jocks will holler foul if it's so. Sometimes even when it's not.

It didn't appear that the other horse broke stride, the jock didn't look like he even stood up or took aholt of the reins.

It seemed like it was a startling move, a bit out of the norm for Zenyatta and one that caught the viewers by surprise.

15 Mar 2010 3:07 PM
Jason Shandler

SSC: Looking forward to watching Mr. F in his comeback. Good luck. 

WinnahPickah: You want a closer? Drosselmeyer

15 Mar 2010 3:08 PM
Jason Shandler

Emily: I agree. But the Santa Anita Derby winner means little as far as the KY Derby nowadays. At least, as far as Im concerned.

2:24: Dont get too caught up in those Gulfstream Beyers. They have been inflated the last few years, as are Aqueduct Beyers. Beyers are just one small tool.

15 Mar 2010 3:10 PM
Householder

Cudos to Jason who continues to bring us horses for the Triple Crown who are at least "interesting" and the type of horses that are often overlooked.  Last year's "longshot special" Musket Man came back this weekend with re-newed "flash."  Interactif could have his way out west and may possibly take the SA Derby.  And the interview with the trainer of Noble's Promise was outstanding and a sign of things to come. To keep L at L so high on your list as well as to call it like it is,  "I think she (RA) was looked in the eye for the first time in a long time" is refreshing."    

15 Mar 2010 3:14 PM
Susan

As a confirmed Zenyatta fan, always was, always will be, I am sad that the showdown will not take place in the Apple Blossom. Not surprised however, because Rachel's preparation for her first race back was not what it should have been. So one has to wonder WHY? First of all, six months off, for just a "tired" horse, no, not buying that. If the weather and the track conditions were not "right" then why enter her , until she is ready? That's putting the horse first, right?  Steve A KNOWS how to get a horse ready, when was the last time he ran a short horse? He does so well with first time starters, he may be saying it's his fault and he thought she was fit enough, but somehow I'm not buying that either. And once again, Mr. Jackson is NOW saying, they will listen to Rachel and she will tell them when she is ready. We have heard this sentence one too many times from you Jess, why weren't you listening these last few weeks when Rachel was SCREAMING at you, "I'm not ready to run yet" So I hate to say this, and I hope I'm dead wrong, but I don't think we will ever see the matchup we have been waiting for.It will be interesting to see what happens in the weeks to come, because retiring her know will allow them to breed her this year , if they wait , they will lose the year.

Hope it doesn't happen, because as you know, Mr. Jackson always makes his decisions with the racing public in mind.....

15 Mar 2010 3:16 PM
Jason Shandler

ThanksHouseholder. And thanks to all for weighing in and keeping this blog interesting. Good conversation today.

BTW, I heard from Dray. He has been committed to a mental facility for severe depression. He gives his best to everyone. Says he hopes to be back in a few weeks :)

15 Mar 2010 3:20 PM
Pam S.

Yes, Mary in VT, Zenyatta was outvoted for HOY two years in a row, as you have pointed out for about the third time.  Jess Jackson won AGAIN in 2009 with his deep pockets, but it looks like the "bipeds" that ran Rachel's career since May might have ruined a nice horse to do it.  Hal Wiggins, where are you now that they need you?  And something or someone is plainly needed.

It must be galling for you to hear Zenyatta and her bipeds praised and hailed as a mare for the ages with connections to match.  Elizabeth (great post, Elizabeth) wrote that she can't believe Jackson still has supporters and apologists.  Well, you, Mary in VT will apparently be the last one standing.  

BTW, do you know what the latest is on that three-race series?  I'm guessing it's off.

15 Mar 2010 3:31 PM
Gary at Rough Creek

Jason,

Weights don't really matter?  Those two pounds didn't really affect RA's ability to out run Zardana?  That flies in the face of all that is handicap racing!  

Just because Zenyatta can spot her rivals 10 or 12 or 18 pounds and still win doesn't mean Rachel can do it.  Zenyatta is one of the best of all time.  Rachel is a consistently fast filly who took full advantage a less than stellar crop of fillies last year and weight allowances against colts.  She totally deserved to be champion 3 YO.  But HOTY...no.  

She ran her race on Saturday.  How fast do you think she can run 8.5 furlongs, and why?  Saturday's time was one of her best lifetime, adjusted for the added weight.  Show me times other than on that Monmouth strip that make you say she's got way more room to improve, because I don't see it.

Finally, I'm just very glad that you are not a civil engineer!

15 Mar 2010 3:35 PM
JerseyBoy

Mr Mike Relva:

Sir,I never intended to offend anyone. I did not define what I meant by the word "great" because I thought this is a blog where brevity is desired.For me, a "great" racehorse is one capable of getting on the Timeform All Time Highweights list. Ghostzapper is on that list with a rating of 137. I think Zenyatta is a horse of that caliber.

You remind me ,Sir,of a warning my professor once gave me, roughly: communication is a two-way street. It depends on the skill of the speaker and the intelligence of the listener.

15 Mar 2010 3:39 PM
Jodie

The horse that Zenyatta supposedly interfered with was Pretty Katherine and was ridden by Joel Rosario.   Do you really think an experienced Jockey like Joel would not call for an inquiry if it truly happened?  After all they are out to win too and would love to take down the mighty Zenyatta.  So please stop this false crap as the facts are not there.  And you wonder why the Zenyatta fans are so annoying?  On another blog some one claims that Sherriffs is unsportsman cause he ran Zandana against Rachel.  Duh, say that again!  And than you have the idiots who claim Zardana is owned by the Mosses and they cut off their own nose by running her against Rachel and now lost the 5mil purse.  Do you really think the Mosses need the money?  Do you really think Jackson does?  Lets be fair, the Rachel fans are just as annoying and just as pone to stupit comments as the Zenyatta fans.

15 Mar 2010 3:43 PM
CV

"(1)They could be in Dubai gunning for the richest race that has ever been run against the best the world has in it while Rachel legitimately gets up to speed back home." (2)"You can see the horse that is cut off throw it's head up." (3)Was anyone else sickened that they actually asked Santa Anita to change the conditions of the race so that Z would not have to carry weight in her comeback race?--Mary in VT

(1)A Dubai trip would take her out of U.S. racing for several months. You and others criticized Zen's connections for not running her on dirt tracks last year. Now that they are, you're whining about a new supposed fault...all while you say it's OK that Rachel "legitimately gets up to speed back home."

(2)Santa Anita's race results say: "PRETTY KATHERINE chased from along the rail then between horses, regained the rail in upper stretch and lacked any late response."

I've watched the replay several times. Pretty Katherine did not throw her head up, especially since she was running backward at that point.

(3)Sickened? WTH?

For anyone who has read your posts attacking Zenyatta, here's the biggest fairytale: "While I love the big mare..."

Yeah. We all see that, Mary.

15 Mar 2010 3:44 PM
DANYLSON

ZENYATTA'S COMPETITION IS QUALITY ROAD...NO ONE ELSE AND THAT BIG BOY IS DANGEROUS!!!

15 Mar 2010 3:49 PM
Footlick

berttheclock- I do not think Sidney's Candy is as fast as Spend a Buck.  I just meant that at least this horse could be a legitimate front runner.  And I think it was the Garden State that Spend a Buck ran in 1:45 and change.  The Jersey Derby was after the Kentucky Derby.

15 Mar 2010 3:51 PM
Tim G

LOL Jason, best one all year.

Just hope they have him heavily sedated or in restraints so he doesn't injure himself... on second thought....uh, so he doesn't injure others.

That was a real gutbuster my good man.

Well I also like Dr. Drunkinbum's handle too. As well as news from the homefront from Dray's better half.

By the way? How's the chicken doing? The one that he uses to pick his bets? At least he'll not be jinxing my Derby horse as long as he's confined. Need another upsetting event to cause a relapse until after May 1.

Rachel could be bred up until June effectively, lots of very successful May foals. Even though Jan is ideal for maturity, there are lots of late foals. I think it'll be sooner rather than later for RA though.

15 Mar 2010 4:08 PM
Barbaro

Jason-

From your earlier posts, I can tell that you aren't a big fan of Zenyatta. You seem to be head over heels for Rachel Alexandra though. It seems that you can't admit that Zenyatta is a great horse, and more important, that if RA lost to Zen's stablemate, then she would most likely lose to The Queen herself.

Ta Ta

15 Mar 2010 4:15 PM
Slew

Mary in Vermont.  Chantal Sutherland was the rider on Pretty Unusual.  Zenyatta cleared her, and she did not have to check.  However, as Zenyatta went by, her horse was startled and shied away from the big mare.  That was the reason there was no inquiry or objection.

15 Mar 2010 4:26 PM
Mike Relva

MARY IN VT

I TOTALLY AGREE W/ ZOOKEEPER and JIM all you continue to harp about is Zenyatta's '09 career being,in your opinion mismanaged. Guess what? That was last yr. If you think Zenyatta's weekend race was "boring" then you only illustrate what I've always suspected,you know next to nothing on the subject of racing,period! Why don't you compose a new song to sing,instead of the same old tune? That's where your phrase,boring should be applied. We know you don't like Zenyatta,cause you don't have a clue what a great racehorse is. All I'm saying is your past thirty or forty posts sound the same. Maybe you should contact Zenyatta's connections so they can tell you what corner to get off at!

15 Mar 2010 4:30 PM
Soldier Course

Zookeeper:

Thanks for the welcome. I've been away from the Blog Stable the last few weeks. I'm a little sad that I'll be missing my annual trip to Lexington and Derby this year, so this was just easier. But Zenyatta's win on Saturday sure perked me up, and I'm glad to be back.

15 Mar 2010 4:33 PM
Dakota

I got about 3/4 of the way through the comments, so I apologize if others made these points. First: Runner & Dennis: Zardana is NOT owned by the same owners as Zenyatta. She is trained by the same trainer, but it was not his decision to run against Rachel; Zetcher (Zardana's owner) made that call. Second, read Steven Haskin's column on Rachel: she doesn't look like the same horse and it's not just an issue of conditioning. She doesn't seem interested. Some horses just lose that fire and it seems to happen often from 3 years to 4. Finally, I just love the spin that people put on facts. Before the BC Classic, wiseguys were saying that Zenyatta wasn't good enough to hit the board. Afterward, those same people were saying that her competition was overrated. Before the NOL, people were saying Rachel couldn't lose against these runners (remember, this was an ungraded stakes race). Afterward, Zardana was suddenly a dangerous, hot horse and John Shirreffs was "unsporting" for running her. Give me a break. Rachel won HOY last year for an unprecedented 3 year old filly campaign, but she might very well be done.

Meanwhile, magnificent Zenyatta just keeps winning for fun.

15 Mar 2010 4:35 PM
Dakota

To all of you who point out that all the great horses lost a race now and then: if so, what is the appropriate superlative for a horse who has never lost? Phenomenal? Stupendous? Best?

15 Mar 2010 4:38 PM
RaceFan

To me, Jess Jackson's defection from the Apple Blossom and previously from the Breeders' Cup are no reflections on Rachel Alexandra, her abilities, nor her ability on a synthetic surface.  Jess Jackson's silk colors are his true colors - YELLOW !!!

15 Mar 2010 4:46 PM
Gart at Rough Creek

CV,

Of course weights are significant...Jason makes no logical sense.

If a horse is lacking condition, then carrying more weight is even more significant to that horse, not less.  

If we are to assume that Rachel is the better horse against Zardana, then the very fact that Zardana got to Rachel's eye should indicate that the weight was slowing Rachel down some, if ever so slightly.  It was her first race back after all, and it was 8.5 furlongs.  Weight has always mattered.  I just think some in this business didn't want to bring it up last year with Rachel's races, in part because many thought MTB was a fluke anyway and Musket Man "wasn't bred to get the distance"...how could they be better race horses at equal weights than the great RA?  But I believe they were and are better than RA at equal weights.  I wrote before that we will watch and see...and we are beginning to see.

15 Mar 2010 4:54 PM
Convene

Rachel's connections said all along that she was not 100% fit - and I think she wasn't. Her field was not bad but Zardana should NOT have beaten her. WOULDN'T have beaten a fit Rachel. Zenyatta, of course, perhaps because her field was less challenging, perhaps because her layoff was much shorter and she was fit and certainly because she was easily the best in her field, performed as she should have done. Did anyone really think she wouldn't handle those ladies? What I wonder is this: why when John Shirreffs didn't like the track and shipped Zenyatta home, everyone applauded his consideration for his horse (which was appropriate and to his credit), do these same people sling mud and Jess Jackson and Steve Asmussen for showing the same consideration for theirs? We all remember Ruffian, the ultimate tragedy of running in a keen matchup (real race or match race). I applaud Rachel's team for withdrawing from the Apple Blossom their not-quite-fit filly. As Steve A. so aptly stated last year, Rachel is the ultimate gift. I am pleased that her connections showed their appreciation for that fact - and public opinion be hanged. We all know what would be said if they ran her and the unthinkable happened! Sorry if I offend anyone but I will back anyone who refuses to compromise his horse in what would obviously be a very hard race, probably for both Rachel and Zenyatta. These ladies give 100% every time and sometimes that can be the end of them. Thoroughbred heart can be fatal. It's a long year. I expect at some point they may meet and I hope they do. I just want them both to walk home again on good, sound legs to race again another day. I want that most of all.

15 Mar 2010 5:24 PM
Dona

Explain to me again, why anyone would be surprised that Zardana should win in saturdays race? Her owner wanted a dirt race at that distance and guess what? Rachel was there, ready or not, good tactics or bust, but give credit where credit is due: John Shireffs knows his horse, knew what it would take to beat Rachel and Bada Boom, it was over. Zardana is a nice mare and will give Zenaytta a real test. Let's face it folks, the Apple Blossom won't be a walk in the park for anybody. We're going to see a real race even without Rachel.

I've had my say about the Jackson connections, no need to reiterate here, but Rachel is not the same horse and I think it's because she was cooked in the Woodward and I still say Calvin rode her like a young Pincay: look at the race and count the times he hit her. Rachel didn't win the race because she was running her heart out, Calvin beat her across that finish line and it's taken all this time for her to recover. Sadly, she may never be the same. Fortunately, this last race was different. Calvin put his whip away when it was obvious she had nothing left. Had he done that in the Woodward, but then that's over and done with just don't sit back and say how much Calvin loves her. For what ever reason Rachel was eyeballed and blinked. Maybe she's never run that kind of race before, maybe it was always catch me if you can. In a way it was sad and maybe we should consider the fact that she will never be the same. That's a lot of maybes, even for me.

Zenyatta? She's Zenyatta and this horse is going to win because she wants it. Winners are like that, they find a way and do whatever is necessary. Now, barring some jerk jockeys getting together and blocking like they tried to do saturday, how many were spread out after the turn? Idiots. Mike didn't take the bait and went inside, not something we all want but he did what he had to do and wasn't that something the way she ducked inside. Quick as a cat and twice as big. What a champion. Racing needs for her to go for the record and hopefully put it back on the sports page. I want her to go for it and getter done! It's not about the HOY, that's not good enough for her anymore. I just want her to retire undefeated with as many wins as possible. Any where, against anybody.

Derby? I can't get excited about anyone but Odysseus. To a one, they all look like their last race was their best but Odysseus looked like he got it! Bet the next time he really improves. Looking at Lucky looked all out to me. How's he going to handle a twenty horse field? I, for one still think there's someone out there and we haven't seen his big move. Let's be patient.

15 Mar 2010 5:32 PM
Mike Relva

MARY IN VT

It's the same old song from you. I've read about thirty of your posts that say over and over about Zenyatta's '09 season being mismanaged,etc. Guess what? Last year is HISTORY. I totally agree with Zookeeper regarding your posts.

15 Mar 2010 5:43 PM
Mike Relva

SOLIDER COURSE

Good to have you back!!!!

15 Mar 2010 5:46 PM
CV

"Rachel could be bred up until June effectively, lots of very successful May foals. Even though Jan is ideal for maturity, there are lots of late foals. I think it'll be sooner rather than later for RA though."

You don't think she'll come back to race this year? What makes you think so? Just asking...

15 Mar 2010 5:50 PM
Funny1991

Derby

I was (impressed) very with Looking at Lucky's performance this weekend and I believe that he w]has a very good shot to win the Derby.

Apple Blossom

I am happy that the showdown is off because i think it will be a better race later in the year. I also think that Zardana was entered because John Shirreffs wanted to see if Rachel was up and ready to take on Zenyatta (which she is not) Rachel needs to regroup and the next race they enter her in they should just let her take the lead and run away with it.

15 Mar 2010 5:54 PM
Ronco

Hello from Woodbine.

Busy at work. Can't read all the comments. Please advise if there is a next logical race that the girls may face off in. Thanks.

15 Mar 2010 6:16 PM
Zookeeper

To all those who insist that Zardana was entered in the N.O. Ladies by John Shirreffs to test the RA water:

Mr. Zetcher (the ACTUAL owner) was interviewed on HRTV before the race and stated that it was HIS idea. Is he a liar? Do you think that it is his function in life to prepare the way for Moss' horse? This is a very competitive world. His aim is to win as many races as he can, for as much money as is possible, with HIS horse. The prospect of his Zardana  contemplating Zenyatta's big butt sent him chasing after lesser competition. He found it. Nobody knew how brilliant a move that was. Much more fun to speak of conspiracy and cut noses...

15 Mar 2010 6:24 PM
ctgreyhound

So, Rachel wasn't 100%?  You can bet Asmussen conferred with Jackson prior to committing to the race & that they obviously underestimated their competition.  Shame on you, Jess Jackson for not remembering Murphy's law that states that any athlete, be it human, horse or greyhound, can be beaten on any given day.  Let that be a lesson to you.  The greedy types sometimes get ahead of themselves.  Why don't you start to concentrate on your new $2.3 million acquisition?

15 Mar 2010 6:36 PM
Big Brown's Buddy

I do not claim to know the physiology of horses, I'll state that right up front. But I was thinking about Rachel's race on Saturday, and I came up with a possibility as to her "not being herself".  Remember, I know NOTHING about the physiology and biology of horses, so don't get all huffy if you don't agree.

After watching Rachel's race, the winter olympics from several years ago came into play.  Does anyone remember little Oksana Bayul, the figure skater that won the gold over Nancy Kerrigan?  Anyway, after those winter olympics, Oksana came to the U.S. to train with a specific trainer.  I don't recall exactly *why* her growth spurt had been delayed in her own country, but within a year here in the states, she'd grown several inches taller.  She was having a hard time skating because she didn't know how to adjust for the new long legs.  She was used to doing jumps and twists for a certain height.  Now she had to re-learn all those things all over again - it was like she basically got handed a new body and had to learn to compensate.  Unfortunately, she had such a hard time with her new self that her career suffered.

I was thinking that maybe something similar had happened to Rachel.  Reading here at Bloodhorse about one of her earlier breezes, Asmussen said that she'd gained some weight during her layoff,so they're tyring to get rid of that.  Maybe the weight gain skewed her equilibrium, threw off her pace... she's not used to carrying extra,so she's already having to make adjustments to begin with.  And if hormones are kicking in (like they do in people at certain ages), that's something else that would throw a curve into the mix.

Like I said, I know nothing about the science of it all.  For some reason, watching Rachel on Sat. was like watching Oksana trying to skate after her growth spurt.  Almost painful to watch this girl who'd just won gold in the olympics, and she can't do the simplest of skate maneuvers because of her "new" body.  She didn't last too much longer in the sport because she just couldn't get used to her new height and weight.

Hopefully, this isn't happening to Rachel.  I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Zenyatta fan, but I most definitely enjoyed watching and could appreciate Rachel's accomplishments.  I'm not wishing any horse bad luck.  But maybe Rachel is starting the next phase of "growing up".  Just a thought, MHO.

15 Mar 2010 6:40 PM
TJLuvsTizs

Jason,

What happens if Eskendereya does not win the KY Derby?  Who has the best chance to upset Eskendereya?  He was the most dominant horse for the prep races thus far, but I don't have a solid feel for any horse yet this year.  I am ready for a race to give me my patented "knee-jerk" reaction like Colonel John's SA derby, BB FL derby, or I Want Revenge's Wood, just haven't seen that yet.

I am still excited to watch the Apple Blossom as it will be ran at equal weights, with many talented fillies and mares, and may give Zenyatta her first opportunity to have a win by open lengths since her dominant 2008 Apple Blossom.  If Jess Jackson were to look at this last race by RA objectively and follow her demeanor closely for the next few days, he may have came to the conclusion that she had the exact workout she needed to get her on schedule for a meeting with Z.  A phony win by 11 lengths with the same time (had Zardana not ran) would not have improved her, it would have likely taught her that she doesn't need to follow her rider to win.  This loss will make her much sharper for her next run and will likely contribute to a dominant win by open lengths next time out.  That race will likely have a stiffer crowd as less trainers/ owners will be affraid to face RA next time out.

15 Mar 2010 6:42 PM
Jason Shandler

TJ: Let's get through this final round of preps before we start picking a winner. Still a long way to go. Anything can happen. This weekend will tell us a lot abot Eskendereya.

15 Mar 2010 6:58 PM
Zookeeper

Soldier Course,

Too bad no trip to Lexington for you this year. I know how much you love it. Maybe next year?... I missed you. The voices of reason are few and far between. However, many of the more strident bloggers have been silenced by the events of this weekend. Zenyatta is awesome and I'm glad her latest victory perked you up. Stick around. I always enjoy your posts.

15 Mar 2010 6:59 PM
funnycideoflife

The following post is not meant to criticize Zenyatta or her connections. I am just making that point before I am brutalized:

Personally, I think it is obvious that Rachel was not ready for this race. Rachel haters will now jump in and say that Zenyatta has always been ready for every race, so that makes her better. You all fail to realize that Zenyatta has never been rushed to a race. In 2009, Zenyatta started the year on her terms, when she was READY. There were no works six days apart to compensate for rain or a lengthy layoff to improve fitness. When Zenyatta started her 2009 campaign, there was no doubt that she was fit and ready to win. Her schedule has always been methodically planned.

On the other hand, Rachel was never necessarily being pointed for the New Orleans Ladies or the Apple Blossom. Rachel's connections were under the impression (as was everyone else) that Zenyatta was retired. Thus, Rachel had no specific target for 2010 other than the Breeder's Cup.

Then, two days before the Eclipse Awards, the Mosses announce that Zenyatta is unretired. At this point, Rachel did not have a single timed workout and was nowhere near racing condition. Now, Jess Jackson and Steve Asmussen are expected to have Rachel ready in two and a half months to face Zenyatta. She had no room for error, and when she did have off workouts, her connections had no choice but to push on because they were trying to make the Apple Blossom happen so that the fans got their highly anticipated showdown against Zenyatta. The anxiety that Rachel's connections expressed came to fruition, as she was clearly a short horse, and her connections had to learn that the hard way. Is it wrong for Jess Jackson to not want to face Rachel's stiffest competition when she most likely would not be at her best? You haters call Jackson a chicken, but he had the guts to run Curlin on turf to try for the Arc, and he went against himself by running Curlin on Pro-Ride for the fans' sake. Give the horse, her owner, and her trainer a break.

15 Mar 2010 7:04 PM
TJLuvsTizs

I meant FL derby in the last post, not KY derby.  I am an idiot, or just a bad typer.

15 Mar 2010 7:08 PM
GunBow

Zookeeper: Your 1:09 post stole all my thunder.  I even have the numbered points. Lol

1) Rachel was HoY for 2009.  That year is over.  Zenyatta would have been a deserving winner, but so was Rachel.  Rachel might have had the best year by a 3 year old filly in a century.

2) I'm not a trainer, nor do I have any expertise on the subject of training.  However, I know enough to be confused by the explanations being presented by Jess Jackson for Rachel's defeat.  

First, the time between Rachel's first work and her start in the NO Ladies was not unusually long for the that quality of horse.  Asmussen was able to get Curlin ready to win the Jaguar Trophy and Dubai World Cup with less time(from the time of the first work).  People need to also remember that Asmussen started sending Rachel to the track in January(I believe right after the holidays, but not positive) and that Rachel had been given a solid number of works and that her major works were not really affected by bad weather.  Asmussen is not a novice, and he has had a number of top thoroughbreds; the training regimen he followed with Rachel had been successful with other horses.  For whatever reason, it wasn't enough for Rachel.

Secondly, I take Asmussen at his word that he wouldn't have run Rachel if he knew she would run like she did.  Asmussen might have believed that Rachel would need the race, and was not 100%, but that does not mean that he left Rachel short or unprepared.  As good as many trainers are, they know that no workout regimen can do what a solid race can do; Asmussen likely said that Rachel would need the race and was not 100% because only a good prep would get Rachel fully cranked up and back to her peak level.  I'm sure if you ask Sherriffs, Zenyatta wasn't 100% for the Santa Margarita either.  

While Asmussen knew before the race Rachel wasn't at her peak, I believe he expected more from her in the NO Ladies.  Asmussen has used phrases like "disappointed" and "regroup" because Rachel underperformed and was not even able to meet his already lowered expectations.  

The reason why Rachel underperformed, however, is not fully clear.  Some of the blame could lie with Asmussen for either misjudging Rachel's fitness, employing the wrong training regimen, or underestimating Zardana.  However, some blame may lie with Rachel herself and that for some reason, she isn't mentally and/or physically where she needs to be.  Most likely, it's a bit of both.  

Like others, however, I don't think Rachel ran poorly.  It's possible the NO Ladies will do exactly what it was supposed to do as a prep and leave Rachel much tighter and more fit than she had been.  However, if, in fact, Rachel is mentally or physically "off", then the NO Ladies may end up setting her back even further and delay her next start.  Hopefully, it is the former.

As for the time Rachel was off, some people are making it seem like horses are hardly ever able to win off a 6 month layoff.  As Steve Crist pointed out, the last HoY to lose its debut the following year was Ferdinand in 1988.  Ghostzapper won the 2003 Vosburgh in the Fall and then didn't return until summer of the next year, a span of 9+ months.  However, he was able to win the gr.2 Tom Fool right off the bat, and with a 120 Beyer.  The next year, in 2005, Ghostzapper(as defending HoY) made his first start in exactly 7 months in the gr.1 Met Mile and promptly won the race by over 6 with a 122 Beyer.  In 2003, Azeri was able to win the gr.1 Apple Blossom off a 5+ month layoff and then in 2004 won that same race (w/ 112 Beyer) off a 6+ month layoff and after having been prematurely retired.  Sunday Silence won the gr.1 Californian after being off 7 months, and just last year Zenyatta came back off a 7 month layoff to win the gr.2 Milday under 125 lbs while defeating a streaking Life is Sweet(had just swept the gr.2 El Encino, gr.2 La Canada, and gr.1 Santa Margarita).  

Great horses routinely win first time back off long layoffs.  And because Rachel IS a great horse, her loss Saturday makes me wonder about her current mental and physical condition.  

Finally, if Zenyatta was not in the picture and Oaklawn was still offering a huge purse for the Apple Blossom, do you think Jess Jackson would have been so quick to pull Rachel from the race?  I don't believe that, in the abstract, Jess Jackson is afraid of Zenyatta or that he believes Zenyatta to be the superior horse.  However, in my opinion his decision to pull Rachel was a clear concession that he does not believe Rachel could beat Zenyatta right now(or April 9th).  Given Rachel only lost to Zardana by less than a length, my guess is Jackson and Asmussen believe Rachel could take Zardana next time out.  However, they also recognize that Zardana is not Zenyatta.  

As much as some try to belittle Zenyatta's accomplishments, there's a reason why Mike Mitchell ran St. Trinians in the Big Cap(off 3 weeks) rather than run her in the Santa Margarita, and why the Wygods were pointing Life is Sweet for the Dubai World Cup and not the Santa Margarita + Apple Blossom, and why Arnold Zetcher shipped Zardana from Santa Anita to the Fair Grounds.  The reason? Zenyatta.  Other trainers know how truly special Zenyatta is and they display their respect by trying to avoid her.

3) And anyone who as ever seen Zenyatta also knows how special she is.  All of 2008 and most of 2009, I lived outside of California and was only able to read about Zenyatta or watch her races on video.  Now having seen her run twice(BC, Santa Margarita)  I can say that words and video do not do her justice.  And it's more than what Zenyatta does on the track.  Her presence is simply captivating.  Her size is awe inspiring, and yet she is so graceful and elegant.  She carries such great energy, yet is able to remain composed, take everything in, and command whatever situation she is in.  And what a personality! She poses, she struts, she dances.  Even when she walks, she picks up her feet like a show horse, displaying amazing style and athleticism.  I've seem almost every top horse of the last 20 years, but I've never seen one like Zenyatta.  The only thing I can compare her with is how people described Secretariat(not comparing their racetrack ability, just their presence).

4) If 1 lbs truly does equal 1 length, does this mean Zenyatta would have won the Santa Margaita by 12 lengths under equal weights?  By how much would she have won the 2009 Vanity, when she carried 129 lbs?

The only female horses I'm aware of that have won 2 or more gr.1 races carrying more than 126 lbs are Zenyatta(now 2), Bayakoa(2 gr.1s), and Sky Beauty(also 2).

5) For all the criticsm about Zenyatta running almost entirely on synthetics, remember that Hollywood, Santa Anita, and Del Mar all have different synthetic surfaces.  Also keep in mind that when Zenyatta won the gr.2 El Encino early in 2008, Santa Anita had Cushion Track and not its current Pro-Ride.

Zenyatta has won gr.1 races on 4 different tracks( the 3 big SoCal tracks + Oaklawn) for a total of 9 gr.1 victories.  Overall, Zenyatta has now won 15 races, but has not won more than 6 races at a single track.  Personal Ensign won 8 gr.1 races, with 6 of those wins at Belmont, 1 at Saratoga, and 1 at Churchill.  Overall, Personal Ensign, like Zenyatta, won races on 4 different tracks, but an amazing 10 of her 13 career victories came at Belmont.  Personal Ensign won 10 races at Belmont and one each at Saratoga, Chruchill, and Monmouth.  Why is Zenyatta criticzed for rarely leaving California(even though running on different tracks), but Personal Ensign gets a pass for rarely leaving a single track?

6)  Stacy + miramartzu:

Are you two seriously criticizing Jerry and Ann Moss for not going to Dubai.  The reason they did not point Zenyatta to the Dubai World Cup is because that had agreed to run her in the Apple Blossom against Rachel for $5 million.  It's not their fault Jess Jackson pulled Rachel out of the race yesterday.  To give Zenyatta a prep for the Apple Blossom, they ran her in the Santa Margarita.  Now, it's too late to re-route her to Dubai; the World Cup is in just 2 weeks!  And running her in both the Dubai World Cup(instead of the Santa Margarita) and Apple Blossom would have been insane given there is less than 2 weeks between those 2 races!

The racing world had been demanding a Zenyatta-Rachel showdown, and Jerry and Ann Moss complied.  Do not forget, as well, that by running in the Apple Blossom, Zenyatta would have been challenging Rachel on Rachel's prefered surface, dirt, and in Rachel's backyard; Zenyatta was going to have to ship much further for the Apple Blossom.  Additionally, Team Zenyatta were fine with the Apple Blossom's original date of April 3rd, yet made no fuss when Jess Jackson had the race moved back a week.  Yet, Rachel is the one being pulled from the race.

15 Mar 2010 7:11 PM
Slew

Big Brown's Buddy: Although the growth spurt for Oxana did call for changes to her routine, what really killed her career was the night-clubbing and drinking.  I don't think we'll be seeing Rachel on Bourbon Street.

15 Mar 2010 7:15 PM
kmb

I always said I hated it when RA was sold to JJ. He ran her in the ground last year, and sure, we all got to see a great filly do what no other 3yr old filly has ever done, but at what cost to her health!  The Preakness was difficult for her, the Haskell seemed to be a breeze, but the Woodward hurt her, and perhaps significantly.  I have no favorite between RA and Zenyatta...love them both!!! I am so glad Zenyatta's folks did not put Zenyatta through a grueling campaign as a 3yr old. She might not be the mare she is today. Afterall, she didn't face the boys til she was 5yrs old.  Before the BC, I wasn't sure the Moss's wanted to face RA anymore than JJ wanted to face Zenyatta, but after the BC, and Zenyatta's dominating performance, the Moss's seem more than eager to meet.  There has been an awful lot of RA bashing since her defeat on Saturday. Can anyone name another 3yr old filly who has done what RA had to do last year...the answer is NO!  But everyone expects her to bounce back...why?!?!  No other top filly bounced back after beating top males in this country in recent memory.  RA beat top males three times, and everyone is surprised that she is spent!! I feel so sorry for RA that JJ took so many chances with her last year. I wish they had  had her health as #1 priority like Zen's folks did.  RA shouldn't have run Saturday, and she sure shouldn't run at the AB.  It was foolish to even consider such an early date for her after last year. I hope she is alright, and I hope Zenyatta gets #16 at the AB!! Good Luck Ladies!!!

15 Mar 2010 7:32 PM
Zookeeper

TJLuvsTizs,

You will get your wish. I just read an article on DRF's website: Eoin Harty stated that American Lion is going back east to run on dirt. He hopes that will do the trick. The article is titled "Different routes available to Louisville." and is by Jay Privman. There was no specific race mentioned.

At Santa Anita Saturday, Mr. Casner of Winstar Farms was right behind me in the escalator. I was shamelessly listening to the conversation he was having with another man. He was visibly not happy with AL's rankness and unwillingness to rate in the San Felipe. I doubt the surface has anything to do with the colt's mind but maybe a less tiring surface will improve his staying power. I love all things "Tiznow" but I'm careful now after Colonel John's and Mr. Hot Stuff's Kentucky Derbies. Can you blame me?

15 Mar 2010 7:47 PM
LAZMANNICK

S.B.H.

Did you watch the Woodward.  Don't you think that Rachel had to run her heart out there too.

15 Mar 2010 7:52 PM
My Juliet

  I'm surprised at all the comments re Rachel retiring. The horse just came in 2nd by half length to a fresher horse, the rest @11 lengths behind. If this wasn't Rachel, wouldn't it be considered a good effort, first race back? Also this proves how good she is, not at 100% and still managed a second. It seems her connections are putting her best interest first, saying she will 'tell them' when to race again. I'm not an expert, but I would think a horse as brilliant as Rachel Alexandra could get that spark back, and be that good again, with time and the right training.  

   Mary in VT, I think your blogs show a lot of knowledge. I don't agree with everything, but I enjoy reading them. We are all entitled to our opinions.  

15 Mar 2010 7:56 PM
Bob Z

The most expensive phone call never made.

Steve Haskin wrote:

"If Rachel had been allowed to take command of the race, either early on or after getting the lead, would the result have been different?

Would a three-quarter-length win instead of a three-quarter-length defeat have put her in the Apple Blossom (gr. I)?

Probably.

There is a fine line between winning a prep and losing a prep and its perception.

If Rachel was allowed to be a bit more aggressive, maybe she wins by three-quarters instead of losing by three-quarters and it's a perfect prep.

If Arnold Zetcher doesn't have John Shirreffs send Zardana to New Orleans, Rachel wins by 11 1/2 lengths and the Race For the Ages reaches a feverish pitch. Another "go figure."

That was Steve's opinion... and I said the same thing...  

If Zardana is not in this race Rachel wins by 11 lengths... the headlines read...

"Rachel outclasses rivals in season debut..."  and its off to Oaklawn we go..

The fact that Rachel got beat and her managers have decided she is not fit just cost (arguably) Zenyatta 2.25  million dollars...

But one little phone call from Jerry Moss to Arnold Zetcher the owner of Zardana suggesting he find another race for Zardana...

Arnie?

Hey Jerry How are you...?

Good Good ... Listen Arnie there is a lot riding on the Apple Blossom as you know...

the purse is 5 million... Maybe it would be a good idea to find another race for Zardana...

Rachel is coming off a long layoff, Zenyatta is hot and your horse is fresh and I don't need anything to mess up Rachel not coming to OakLawn because you happen to beat her...

Alright Jerry, we know each other and we share the same trainer for our horses...  so... sure I'll find something else for Zardana...

Thanks Arnold... Hey let's hook up soon for dinner... we'll share a bottle of Rachel Alexandra Merlot...

You got it Jerry... Take care...

Just that 1 minute phone call...

...would cause Rachel to win by 10-11 lengths... fans to get revved up... Apple Blossom anticipation explodes... Rachels connections are comfortable about her fitness level having just crushed the field in a romp...

.... the Sultan of Dubai is gassing up his 747 to land in Hot Sptings... and in the next 3 weeks these blogs are averaging 500 messages a day...

But alas.. ... the call was never made...

So instead if Zenyatta making 2.5 million dollars she'll leave the winners circle making 250,000...

Nobody wins on this one....

Even Verizon won't get paid on a call that was never made!

15 Mar 2010 8:01 PM
Ida Lee

Well, to quote Laffitt Pincay "I feel like I've been kicked in the stomach" after watching Rachel come in second in her race. I knew as soon as I saw how rank she was that this race was different. She was not herself. There was no sparkle in her beautiful eyes. I do blame her connections because everybody knew from following her workouts that she was not ready to race. I'm just glad she's doing great and I hope that we don't see her on the track again until she is in peak form like the super athlete she is. Love you Girl!!!

15 Mar 2010 8:10 PM
Freetex

Lucky was very impressive.  

I still have hope for Caracortado, and Noble's Promise.

Sidney's Candy, wow!  And, Odysseus, what a trooper.

As for RA, I wonder if Calvin Borel was more correct about her than Asmussen.  RA has always loved the lead and it was so obvious Calvin was pulling as hard as he could as

long as he could.  As another blogger mentioned, RA was exhausted from fighting Calvin.

As for Zen, she is so amazingly agile.  What a horse!  A horse who loves what she does.  Fantastic.

15 Mar 2010 8:10 PM
pas

Gary: love your posts and agree with them. i think RA was a great three year old, but now that she turned four, she will have to face better horses at equal weights or at a weight disadvantage. and it will show.

i really don't understand the people that think that QR is the best in the world? what has he done? i know he just won the mile, but that hardly defines greatness. i just feel he has a lot more to do to earn that kind of following from people.

also, to the Gal who can't grasp the concept of throwing out winning streaks when a horse wins in restricted company? look, i admit, it's difficult to win that many times even running against claimers. but honestly, it's much, MUCH easier to win that consistently when you have a grade I caliber horse running against state-bred only grade III company. get it? if you have a horse like Cigar, for example, that took on any horse that would race him, and you try to compare his win streak to that of Silent Witness, who only ran in restricted races, and not open company (and the first race after his streak that he did race unrestricted, he lost) it's not the same caliber of accomplishment. had a friend in high school that would brag about his straight A's. what he failed to say was that they were in level 'C' classes. throw him into level 'A' classes, which were much harder, and bye-bye A's. point is, unless that horse is running at the pinnacle of the sport, a string of wins just isn't impressive, because they aren't facing the best competition possible.

15 Mar 2010 8:13 PM
Ida Lee

I forgot to mention in my previous comments how incredible Zenyatta was in her race. Not only did she look gorgeous and the best I've ever seen her, but the way she overcame all the obstacles in her way, and just took off with those incredible strides, well AWESOME does not cover it. I just adore this incredible Mare. Also my Derby horse, Lookin at Lucky looked great.  And even though Caracortado did not win his race, that boy does not give up. What a competitor!!! He's my second choice for the Derby.

15 Mar 2010 8:18 PM
animallover

Of course my main list is not so different from everybody else. I love everyone on the top 10 here ... have wondered about some others and where they are at (if anyone knows): I really really like Soaring Empire, too. We haven't truly seen what he's capable of yet. And I haven't forgotten Lentenor (whether not he makes it to the Derby, I am always rooting for him like all the Barbaro fans)

Laus Deo? I really liked him in the Count Fleet.

In the Paint?

Best Actor?

Colizeo? He has been working good.

Dreaming Blue?

I was sad to see that Buddy's Saint is off. I like him so much and hope he has a great recovery. I had hoped to see one of Saint Liam's in the starting gate, whether he won or not.

15 Mar 2010 8:24 PM
My Juliet

  FunnyCideoflife,  your post was Great. Re what you said,I am just surprised Rachel's connections agreed to any race date before she was ready. They don't seem like people who let others pressure them into anything. People make mistakes, maybe that's what it was-sometimes we all expect the owners, trainers, jockeys to be perfect.

15 Mar 2010 8:26 PM
LAZMANNICK

Mary in VT

Glad you’re back.  We’ve been missing your astute comments for too long now……NOT.

You were right, of course, when you stated that Zen is the toughest horse Rachel will ever see, but I think that you’re slightly off base (in fact a way off base) when you say that Rachel is the toughest horse that Zen will ever see.

Your comment:  They could be in Dubai gunning for the richest race that has ever been run against the best the world has in it while Rachel legitimately gets up to speed back home, but they chose to stay in their back yard ... again. Boring……Why should Zen be the one to go to Dubai?  Don’t you think the reigning HORSE OF THE YEAR should be over there representing her country?

Your comment:  Was anyone else sickened when Zen’s connections asked Santa Anita to change the conditions of the race so she wouldn’t have to carry more weight.  What a pathetic statement PERIOD……..then you say maybe they should have looked for an allowance race instead of a handicap…….Maybe they should have, in fact, I know where there was an allowance stake that would have been a SHOO-IN victory for her.  It was in NEW OPRLEANS, wasn’t it?

You talk about the lack of an inquiry when Zen cut to her left in front of another horse…….Yeah, like the Moss’s have the stewards in their pocket……..That’s strictly a steward’s call and they make them no matter what the connections or the people think.  Obviously they didn’t think that it warranted a look as the prices were posted before Zen even got back to the grandstand, but of course that is probably a Santa Anita thing.

We all expect this kind of BS from you, but the statement that really galls me:  While I love the big mare, her connections leave a lot to be desired at times……First of all you hypocrite you don’t love the big mare.  The only time you say anything good about her is to prop up Rachel’s image or your own ego.  Secondly, your right…….Zen’s connections continuously get it wrong.  I guess that’s why she’s the best horse in the world at six while we don’t even know yet if we’ll ever see Rachel race again, this is spite of having North America’s leading trainer and own.

15 Mar 2010 8:28 PM
Jimthepimp

As a true RA fan im sad that she didnt win the New Orleans ladies. I was at the track to watch the race and wasnt really surprised that she lost as she ran the race like she has been training. She was head strong down the backstretch going into a brisk wind and came to the stretch just empty. RA either wasnt in shape or she has lost her explosion around the far turn that she is known for. After the race she was blowing a little hard but still had her ears pricked and looked pretty good. Im glad that she is healthy and doing well. As a RA fan I will have to admit that Zenyetta is a true champion and will beat RA unless she can improve to a higher level than she was even last year. My hat is off to that great filly. I blame RA loss on the fact that they didnt exercise RA for months. Saying that the weather was bad, give us a break. RA just needed to do some slow jogs for her to keep the track on her mind. RA had been running for two years straight and then up put her up and dont exercise her at all for 4 months. It took RA several races at the age of two to get into the shape that carried her through her 3 year old campaign. I think that Jess Jackson doesnt have the patience it takes to get her back there. With that being said I would of run her in the Apple Blossom as long as she moved forward off of this loss. RA needs to keep racing to get back into the special horse she is and a second place finish to Zenyetta in the Apple Blossom only losing by a length is not the worse thing in the world for the horse. Although if you dont think that she can get second then they shouldnt run her. Stop the hurried up workouts and just let RA get back to last years routine. With both Zenyatta and RA you have to take chances if you want to be great. Im afraid that RA connections will baby her and lose out on the chance that they have. It isnt where u start out that matters its where u end up. The real reason that Zenyatta lost the horse of the year last year was because the connections didnt let the horse run and prove how great she was until the last race of the year. One race doesnt make a year. If she had run 8 races at 3 different tracks and won the cup at the end she would of been the one. Last year her connections caused her the HOY year honors and this year it will be Jess playing duck and excuse games. After all a 3/4 length loss with a 100 bryers figure off a 6 month rest was pretty good. If RA is in good shape she probably needs to race again in 4 weeks or 5 weeks and not jog around the track for another 3 months. Zenyatta ran awesome and she was a joy to watch. Hope them both a safe and happy year.

15 Mar 2010 8:29 PM
Mike S

It's funny and ridiculous to read all the comments about how RACHEL ALEXANDRA "isn't ready," "wasn't ready," and probably never will be "ready." She was ready! She ran a good race. She lost! Get over it! It was not the first time she has lost, it was the FOURTH time she has lost. It happened before, and it will happen again. It's not like losing a race is something "out of the ordinary" for a racehorse. She ran her race, and it just wasn't good enough. Like I said, she has lost before. I hope this message sinks in.

15 Mar 2010 8:34 PM
robinm

The top 3 year olds ran good races this past weekend and we're starting to see what the Derby picture may look like.  I personally am for Odysseus at this point but was also very impressed with how well Lookin' at Lucky handled all the changes plus a bad trip.

As for Rachel and Zenyatta; we are hearing the same old tunes from the Zenyatta fans; i.e., Z should have been HOY "hands down", Rachel isn't any good and never was, yada yada yada. Now that Rachel hasn't won off the lay off, add "she's finished" to the list of Rachel's sins.

Make no mistake, I'll freely admit that Zenyatta is a great race mare. However, I do believe that for the most part she has raced against less than stellar fields.  Both her BC wins setup for her perfectly, being held at SA where "dirt" horses do no run well.

I think it was Timothy who said that all of Rachel's races have been "hand-picked" for her against inferior competition.  I'd love to hear why he feels this isn't true of Zenyatta's campaigns. Michael stated (in effect) that Zenyatta is the better horse because she is ready to run her best every time out.  One of the reasons is her races have always been spaced way out and she has run in relatively light campaigns (in terms of competition, traveling distance, etc. The Phantom doesn't see why Rachel isn't fit after 6 months?  For the first 3 months, she never stepped foot on a track.  No gallops, jogs, no nothing.  Then weather interferred with her training.  These aren't excuses guys, just cold hard facts.  I don't know how many of you own horses, but I can you that when mine do nothing more than hang around in their stalls and paddocks over the winter, they have totally lost condition.  It takes months to get them back to their previous level of fitness.

I for one think that Rachel can return to her 3-year old form.  Yes, she had an incredibly hard campaign and probably more was asked of her than should have been asked of any 3-year old; filly or colt. However, I didn't see anything in her comeback race that would lead me to believe she no longer has the desire to run.  She looked like a horse that was too fresh and lacked fitness.  She probably would have won if Calvin had ridden her the way he wanted to, but it's probably just as well she didn't; else she'd probably be going on to the Apple Blossom at less than 100%.  

Zenyatta is such a great race horse, Rachel needs to be at her best if the fans really want to see a "race for the ages". Seems to me that many of Zenyatta's fans just want to see her win and don't care if it's an empty victory.      

15 Mar 2010 8:40 PM
LAZMANNICK

GunBow:  

Another brillian post.  When are they going to start paying you?

Weight carrying fillies and mares are remarkable in my book.  One of the greatest and one that we don't often hear or talk about is two time N/A Spring Champion, Ta Wee, Dr. Fager's sister.  As great as she was she never won stakes past 7-furlongs but she won many races that would have been G-1's today including the Fall Highweight (as a 3 y-o)under 140 lbs. and giving away 19 lbs. (to the boys), and the Interborough carrying 142 lbs. and giving away 29 lbs.  She won the Fall Highweight twice and also the Vosburgh (as a 3 y-o) against the boys.  Truely an incredible contributor to N/A racing.

15 Mar 2010 8:56 PM
LAZMANNICK

Jimthepimp

Good post.

15 Mar 2010 9:00 PM
mikey

Was at Oaklawn on Saturday.We were watching Rachel on the big screen.37,000 folks screaming for her to make that final surge,then silence.It was brutal.Then Z won. Then Looking At Lucky n Nobles Promise put on a great race for us.Not such a bad day afterall!Lookin forward to seeing Z in AB and Looking At Lucky in the AR. Derby!

15 Mar 2010 9:03 PM
GAL

@PAS - When I said: "I love how we can forget Pepper's Pride if we just make the record for unrestricted races."  I actually meant I love it.  It galls me that a horse that raced only in restricted races now holds the records over horses of the caliber of Cigar and Citation (or any horse that races in unrestricted races).   Is there a "Non-sarcasm" button?  *grin*

15 Mar 2010 9:05 PM
TJLuvsTizs

Zookeeper,

That is music to my ears hearing that they will be sending AL out east.  I agree that they should be frustrated with his unwillingness to rate, but it's not like Sidney's Candy set blazing fractions.  

I don't blame you for your hesitancy in betting on a Tiz baby in the derby considering his string of Slew's Tizzy, Liquidity, Colonel John, and Mr. Hot Stuff.  'Da Tara winning the Belmont threw me for a loop but that is another story.

Colonel John however, did not run a bad race in the KY derby, he did well to come in sixth after getting pummeled out of the gate and ending up 19th after the first 3/8ths.  Nakatani mysteriously took him from 19th to third from the 3/4 pole to the 3/8 pole and he had hardly anything left.

I love Mr. Hot Stuff, but as EH stated about this time last year he is a "doofus", and really had no business being in the derby as he is still only a maiden winner.  I cheer the hardest for him, as he has a ton of talent, but just can't seem to get it right.  He did go through a stretch of 8 races with 8 jockeys, but has now had Talamo three straight races and is missing by about 2-3 lengths in his timing.

I can't wait for their little sis Kayce Ace to finally race, as well as Well Armed's full sis Life Well Lived.  They both are looking real nice in training!

Thanks for the update!

15 Mar 2010 9:05 PM
Tony Bada Bing

Not having read all your post and none of the comments - Odysseus, number one, huh? His victory was thrilling and he did re-rally after looking beaten at the top of the lane. But wasn't some of his win, simply horses coming back - Super Saver tiring in his first start back and Schoolyard Dreams who moved too early?

If others have posted similarly, my apologies...

15 Mar 2010 9:06 PM
Martha A.Saulman

As far as Rachel's loss, just remember Secretariat lost a couple in his day. I hope JJ and Steve will have learned what it takes for Rachel to be herself. She is the best horse of her age. There should be no comparing her to Zenyetta. Z is great in her own age group. They are both race horses for the ages in their own rights.

15 Mar 2010 9:11 PM
Jason Shandler

Tony: I had Odysseus No. 1 BEFORE the Tampa Bay Derby. Why wouldnt I have him No. 1 again after the race? I like the horse, what can I say. he showed a lot of heart and closed very well on a deep track. The Derby is 6 weeks away. It's just a list, not a final pick. Relax.

15 Mar 2010 9:15 PM
Householder

So what happens to Zenyatta now.  Do you still ship to the Apple Blossom a race she has already won?  They took her out of retirement 2 days before the HOY vote to face Rachel Alexander.  "We are going to find what races Rachel is entered in and enter." (Moss)  What a hollow year for Zenyatta if she can't get to RA.  Although 20 wins undefeated will take a long time, if ever, to beat.  

15 Mar 2010 9:19 PM
LAZMANNICK

robinm

Since when is a G-1 win a hollow victory?  Zen's career has been punctuated with G-1 wins, some against modest competition, some against dammed good competition, the very best available.  She showed up for the BCC and she apparently will show up for the Apple Blossom, for a second time (the first time she beat the reigning champ).  Is is too much to give her the repect she deserves?  Try it.  it won't hurt, I guarantee it.  As for Rachel I wish her well.  I hope she does come back and is stronger than ever, but like many I feel that something is wrong and I'm not saying that to denegrate her accomplishments or her class.  The Woodward really was a tough race for her and they might have gone to the well one time too many.  Hopefully she is okay. LOL

15 Mar 2010 9:20 PM
Mike Relva

LAZMANNICK

Regarding your comments to MARY IN VT, a Tour De Force!!

15 Mar 2010 9:28 PM
sam

New trainer took figure 8 off jackson bend, when he ran off the farm he wore that. That may be the difference.

15 Mar 2010 9:30 PM
Zookeeper

GunBow,

Your thunder is better than mine! But as you can see, by some of the comments following yours, that it's like water off a duck. The same erroneous statements are being made, the same old tired arguments are advanced as if "new and improved" and the beat goes on...and on...and on... Still, please keep posting. At least you're not inventing theories and presenting utter falsehoods as absolute FACTS!

15 Mar 2010 9:30 PM
mikey

Jimthepimp,                         I agree,good post.Not a bad prep n I think Steve Could have her ready with a couple of good works unless their is something we dont know about.But a big ego n lots of money mean JJ doesnt have to show.Once again in my opinion the two will never meet.Too bad.

15 Mar 2010 9:41 PM
Paula Higgins

Gary in Rough Creek I agree with much of what you said about Rachel, and like a good engineer (my husband is an engineer LOL), you have the figures to back it up. But I also think the figure 8, the 8.5 distance and not letting her run her race contributed to the issue. If none of this is true, it comes down to one thing: last years heavy schedule with gutted wins. If that is the case, I don't think we will ever see her back to form. If YOU are right, they will pick their races carefully (under 9 furlongs) and she will win again. I hope she wins again, I think Rachel is a wonderful horse. I suggest they don't try and race against Zenyatta for a good long time, if ever. I think that story is already writ. By the way, I am a Zenyatta fan to the core but Rachel deserved HOTY (so did Zenyatta but the powers that be could not think outside of the box). So let's not be petty folks and reclaim the statue because she lost one race Geesh.

Dr. Drunkinbum what a hoot you are!! Laughed my head off over your post!

For those of you that don't think Quality Road is Zenyatta's biggest challenge, think again. He sure as h--ll is. When he is on, he is spectacular. I am not saying she can't beat him, but he will be her toughest challenge if they meet up.

15 Mar 2010 9:50 PM
Jerry G.

Odysseus is the real deal!

15 Mar 2010 9:50 PM
CV

Gunbow,

Once again, I applaud your comment of 7:11 p.m. I always learn things I didn't know.

Many excellent points, about the different types of synthetic surfaces Zenyatta has raced on, and that Personal Ensign ran 10 of her 13 undefeated races at Belmont.

Another point you mentioned, which no one else has raised, is your suggestion that, "I'm sure if you ask Sherriffs, Zenyatta wasn't 100% for the Santa Margarita either."

I think I read she ran a 102 Beyer for the Santa Margarita. Compare that to her 112 Beyer in the BC Classic. There's no doubt she was running faster in the Classic when she caught and passed Gio Ponti.  

15 Mar 2010 10:23 PM
Mokey

You like the "class" of Zenyetta's Owners - REALLY??? They said she was retiring, and then the work outs  and then Oh she'll be running again. "We'll do something different with her this year" Yeah right she's run again at SA and will run again in the Apple Bloss. Please run her on a dirt track more then once and take her somewhere new. Last year she couldn't even run in  Kentucky - afraid of rain??

15 Mar 2010 10:24 PM
It aint easy being good

Guess what 2010= Quality Road a beast, no won will stop him he will be a force and will not lose this year. By far my favorite horse. If he loses then there is no point for me posting on bloodhorse.  Mike R he is coming for your plastic queen very soon!

15 Mar 2010 10:56 PM
JAJ

Gee whiz, everyone, watch the race again.  Borel had his feet parked in the dashboard and fought with RA the whole way until the quarter pole.  Fighting a rider is tiring and she got beat.

She ran a good race and apparently came out of the race well.  She will be a better, fitter horse for her next race.

I can't blame Borel for the ride because he was riding to very strict instructions, but it was a bad ride for Rachel and cost her the race.  Blame Asmussen for that blunder.

I can appreciate them trying to teach her to rate a little more kindly, but if it back fires and the filly gets tired fighting the rider who is trying to dictate how fast and where she runs, don't make up excuses with a bunch of BS about fitness.  Just admit that you made a mistake in your instructions to the jockey.

The filly was fit.  She wanted to run.  Borel took her out of her game and she lost.  Oops.

Asmussen should have paid attention to the lessons Carl Nafzger gave when he wrote that the preps were preps for the big race, that it was okay to lose the preps as long as you won the big one.

According to Asmussen Rachel cooled out well, came back to the barn and ate her dinner, which is a very big indication that the race didn't take much out of her and nothing was bothering her.  If Jackson understood a bit about the making of a race horse, he would have known that she was telling them that all is well with Rachel.  An unfit horse who fights hard does not usually cool out well or eat their dinner.

Rachel is fine.  It is Jackson who is having trouble, suddenly discovering that he now has to actually put his money where his mouth is.  He is very afraid to face Zenyatta.

Do you blame him?

15 Mar 2010 10:57 PM
LAZMANNICK

Hey Mike Relva:

Two queens came back this weekend....Zenyatta, the reigning queen of N/A horse racing.......and Mary of VT, the reigning queen of trash talking......Now if only the king would show up.....

15 Mar 2010 11:10 PM
Timothy

I must say again that the people like Katherine and Pollas just cannot face the fact that Zenyatta deserved HOTY and was, and is the best. Last year Rachel beat Older males by picking an easy spot to do it. Most experts agree that the Travers was much tougher and her connections knew it, so they went to the Woodward. Champions show up on Breeders Cup Day and Rachel stayed in the barn, while Zenyatta beat the best horses in the world. Rachel supporters remind me of the old saying "don't confuse me with facts". If Zenyatta wins out this year and repeats at the Breeders Cup, will everyone finally admit it or will they get drunk on Kendall-Jackson wine and give us more excuses.

15 Mar 2010 11:10 PM
GunBow

I want to correct a few things from my earlier post.

1) I meant to write that the time between Rachel's first work and the NO Ladies was not unusually SHORT (not long as I wrote) for a horse of her ability.  As Bill Finley pointed out, Asmussen himself brought Curlin back to win two races in Dubai with a more acclerated training regimen.

2) On my list of female horses to have won more than 1 gr.1 race carrying at least 127 lbs in each of these gr.1 victories, I forgot to clarify that the list was limited to female horses of the last 20 years.  In the mid-70s, Susan's Girl won 3 gr.1 races carrying at least 127 lbs.  In 1979, Waya won the gr.1 Santa Barbara on turf under 131 lbs and the gr.1 Top Flight on dirt(Aqueduct) under 128.  

Even going back before the graded stakes system was established in 1973, the feat was rare.  Looking at female champions from the 50s and 60s, only Silver Spoon(1960) won at least 2 races that were grade 1 in 1973 carrying at least 127 lbs, and like Bayakoa, Zenyatta, and Sky Beauty, she did it in 2 races.

Speaking of great older female runners, Paseana was truly one of the best.  When I was looking up past winners of the Santa Margarita last week, I remembered that Paseana had won the race in 1992(under 122 lbs), run 2nd by a head in 1993 while carrying 125 and spotting the winner 10 lbs, won again in 1994(123 lbs), and ran 2nd by 2 lengths in 1995 under 123 giving the winner 3 lbs.  

Paseana won 10 gr.1 races, but in addition to losing those 2 runnings of the Santa Margarita giving weight, she also ran 2nd in the 93' gr.1 Santa Maria by 2.25 lengths giving 9 lbs, the 93' gr.1 Vanity by 1.25 giving 11 lbs, the 93' gr.1 Breeder's Cup Distaff by a nose giving Hollywood Wildcat 3 lbs, the 94' gr.1 Santa Maria by a nose giving 8 lbs, and the 95' gr.1 Milady by 3.5 giving 7 lbs.

So, Paseana very well could have won 17 gr.1 races if there had been no handicap.

15 Mar 2010 11:46 PM
Kat

I remember when Calvin was asked last year what his secret connection to RA was.  Calvin first rode RA in the Golden Rod 11/29/08, and that is where her win streak began.   In addition, her BSF increased by an average of 15 points from her previous races (51-85)and stayed in the 100 range (4 races)until the Ky Oaks when she began running in the 110 range.  Calvin said he let her do what she wants which is to be a "free running" type of horse.  She doesn't need to lead, but she has a definite cruising speed she wants to go at, and he let her have it.  She relaxes.  I think the reason why CB thinks he would have been better off letting RA run on Saturday is because if she had gone to the lead and cruised where she wanted to, she would have then relaxed.  Instead she ran tense through most of the race and had nothing extra left in the stretch.  This has also compromised her last (in particular the work in company) workouts.  She is not going to get as much out of a workout if she is not relaxed.  She is also "running out" through her left shoulder at times, this can be a function of tension or she may have a physical issue (or both).  Regardless, she is not balanced at that point and is not relaxed and cruising.  It's tiring.  Both of these issues can also cause the lead change problems.  They have put a figure 8 headstall on RA to try to get her to rate better.  And working her with a partner (not more than 2 weeks after SA had said she didn't need a workmate) who runs a 51 half (and trying to get her to rate behind this horse).  My assumption is that they are trying to set her up better for a race with a strong closer (and you know who I'm talking about. . .) - and also for ten furlongs.  If this is indeed the case, I think it is a huge mistake.  Taking a free running horse out of its game is not typically successful.

So I think the issue is that RA is not 100% fit (she didn't need to be to beat this crew, though), and she is also not mentally fit and consequently is not able to use the natural talent she has to beat this type of field at this point.  (I'd assume they've been over her with a fine tooth comb looking for physical issues).  And of course, Zardanna ran one of the better races of her career (at least since she's been in the US).  

I was amused by the ESPN's writer's comments about Curlin and RA.  Ya know, if all horses trained the same, you could just write a book, "How to Train a Racehorse" and that would be it.  Done.  When SA commented about RA not needing a workmate, he also mentioned that Curlin was a much easier horse than RA to train. Curlin just went out and did his job (he needed a workmate for encouragement), RA was a "diva", sensitive and an overacheiver.  In addition, RA also worked fast previously, even last year when SA had her.  And remember that sizzling work right before the KY Oaks when HW still had her?  SA is known for working his horses slow.  Now that she is coming back, perhaps he is trying to slow her down and RA is saying, "It's just not me".  So perhaps that's where the regrouping comes in.  What are we doing wrong and how do we fix it?  It's obvious that the problem is not just that RA ran a 100 BSF on her first race off a 6 month layoff.  

Anyway that's just my view from the keyboard. . .

They may have to come to terms with the fact that Rachel is not a 10 furlong horse in top notch company due to her style and if they don't let her have her style, she won't be a top notch horse.  

16 Mar 2010 12:28 AM
Tiznowbaby

I think for Zenyatta to truly prove herself, she must juggle some chain saws right before a race at Churchill Downs. Then, she must jog up the highway to Belmont with a chimpanzee on her back, jog right into the starting gate and win. I will let her fly to Florida, but she must pilot the plane. Only then will I believe she's a truly great horse.

Oh, and I really liked LAL's win.

16 Mar 2010 12:29 AM
pas

Gal: my deepest apologies. i read your comment wrong. it is not uncommon for some people to throw out that old chestnut of an argument. i certainly read that into your statement. thank you for clarifing your position. again, so sorry.

16 Mar 2010 1:17 AM
Kate Harper

It is amazing to read those who criticized John Shirreffs for running Zardana against RA because her subsequent loss and being pulled from the AB could cost them a $5 million purse.  First, it was the owner, Howard Zucker, who put his mare in the race, not at the Mosses request to somehow soften up RA.  Moreover, I felt from the outset Jess Jackson had absolutely no intention of running in the AB against Zenyatta regardless of the outcome of her prep.  If she'd won, there is little doubt there would have been some mystery ailment that would have caused her to be scratched.  Why?  Because JJ was angry that Oaklawn officials lengthened the AB to 1 1/8th, a decided advantage to Zenyatta.  Then they tried a figure-eight bridle on RA and attempted to rate her unsuccessfully in an effort to harness her speed to help her against Zenyatta's charging stretch run.

Even when RA was in better form last year than she is now, I don't believe she would have had any chance in beating Z in any race beyond 1 1/16th.  I'm pretty sure Jackson knows that too.

16 Mar 2010 1:18 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Paula Higgins-Thank you very much, so glad you enjoyed it. I enjoy reading your posts. Keep up the good work. I do think this year's Breeder's Cup classic will be phenominal. Quality Road does already seem to be the favorite, and he is a monster. Still will be rooting for Zenyatta to nip him at the wire if she gets there. She is one of the greatest of all time. Nobody has done what she's done, coming from so far back everytime. What a tremendous will to win.

16 Mar 2010 1:23 AM
K Plesa

Do you think rachel && zenyatta will meet up at monmouth this summer? i would love to see that especially now that the purses are bigger, and the meet looks like it will be more prestigious

16 Mar 2010 1:35 AM
Aluminaut

Itain'teasy,

QR saw Zenyatta loading in the gate for the BCC and decided he

wanted nothing to do with her.  He was so scared that he couldn't even fly back east and had to be vanned.  Maybe he's come a long way since then.  We'll have to see.

16 Mar 2010 1:42 AM
Bellwether

SHE IS A STONE COLD FREAK!!!...LONG LIVE THE KING!!!...ty Jason...

16 Mar 2010 3:58 AM
Shane

I think we will find true motives of the Sheriffs barn if Zardana does not run in the Apple Blossum. If she doesnt, I would say why not? she loves the dirt and the race is for 500,000. Oh and by the way "the owner can get to visit HOT SPRINGS". Since he is currently touring the country. lol

16 Mar 2010 8:27 AM
Shane

Also are they going to move the Apple Blossum back to 1 1/16?

16 Mar 2010 8:28 AM
Gary at Rough Creek

Gunbow,

Regarding your 7:11PM post, point #4, the formula I found on a British racing site which described and defined "handicap" races said the following about facing over the flat:

1 pound equals 1 length in route races;

2 pounds equals 1 length at a mile;

and 3 pounds equals 1 length in sprints.

The goal historically of assigning weights is to have all finishers

(regardless of talent level) cross the finish line at the same time.

We may want to have a racing secretary or two contribute to see how they assign weights here in the states.  But hopefully folks here understand why handicap racing came to be.  Without it, wagering on horse racing is much easier.  Great horses would usually win at equal weights.  Not really sporting for "the house".

As to how far Zenyatta would win by in any race at equal weights, she is a closer.  She usually - but not always - does just enough to win anyway.  Her body language suggests that to stress her out, a considerable load would have to be used!  She literally looked like she could run again right after last year's BBC.  

Speed horses are different stories. The added weight will allow them to get caught from behind.  Closers and stalkers...they will have a harder time passing the leaders with added weight.

The point I was making about RA's first race back was, if you factor in that this was the first time she carried more than 121 pounds, and her performance at The Fair Grounds last year, and the fact that she earned a triple digit Beyer (and I don't believe those take weight into account do they???), I think she ran fairly well.  My question would be, how fast did she have to run for the connections to go on to The Apple Blossom?  By my calculations (adjusting for weights), her performance last Saturday puts her withing 3 to 4 lengths of her efforts in The Woodward and The Preakness and The KY oaks.  That's pretty impressive first out if you ask me.  

If she has to have a race in which she earns a 110 Beyer or above to be "ready" for Zenyatta, I'm afraid that race may never take place.  I hope I'm wrong.

16 Mar 2010 8:56 AM
Ranagulzion

JASON,

I understand your sentimental #1 horse Odysseus but that's all it is, right? a sentimental choice. No problem.  Rule is omitted from your list after he had already disdainfully dispatched Schoolyard Dreams in the Sam Davis, one that was barely nosed out by your previously 15 lengths "impressive" allowance winner Odysseus. Also, Super Saver, coming off a four months break, is #8 after being edged only half a length by "impressive" Odysseus? Then we find Looking At Lucky, a good consistent champion 3YO colt who scares no one, ranked above the scarily talented Eskendereya?  

Don't get me wrong here, I like Odysseus, his connections and young hot jockey Rajiv Maragh very much and wish them every success ...I also admire Derby genius Baffert very much but I have to keep you honest regarding the rationale behind your top ten. Okay Bro?

16 Mar 2010 9:15 AM
KR

Odysseus's finish Saturday was unbelievable. But go back and take a look at his first start. It was at six furlongs on Oct.31 at Aqueduct. This was a hint of things to come. After breaking poorly,he was near the back of the pack down the backside and was third from last when they hit the stretch. He began a belated rally,weaving his way through horses and somehow got up in the final strides to win a photo for the place spot. The amount of ground he made up in the final hundred yards was incredible. And by the way,looking at the finish,it did not appear that he had won that photo either.

16 Mar 2010 9:53 AM
Bob Bright

RA is a stretched out East Coast sprinter with weak connections.

16 Mar 2010 10:01 AM
Mike Relva

MOKEY

Ok,So you don't think Zenyatta's connections deserve credit for bringing her back at six? Give me a break!

16 Mar 2010 10:34 AM
Zookeeper

Kat, Good post. You make a lot of sense.

Tiznowbaby, Even THAT wouldn't do it. LOL!

Zardana and the great ride her jockey gave her are all but forgotten in the middle of all this. David Flores, an unsung solid jockey, did everything right, and rode a winning race, following astute instructions. The gritty little mare, Zardana ran her eyeballs out and came out on top. ON THAT DAY, she was better prepared, better ridden (not blaming Calvin), showed more determination and won. That's what every owner and trainer hope for when they enter their horse in a race where they apparently have little chance of prevailing against an overwhelming favorite. They take a shot. That's what racing is all about. They do their best with the horse, enter the race and IF everything goes their way, they laugh all the way to the bank. If Zardana goes to the Apple Blossom, Mr. Zetcher will not "expect" to beat Zenyatta and all the other horses in the race, he will "hope" that everything goes right for his mare, once again. If not for the likes of Zardana's connections, every superstar's "race" would be a walk over. How much fun is that?

16 Mar 2010 10:52 AM
LAZMANNICK

Tiznowbaby

I didn't know that Zen had her pilot's licence.  Funny post.  LOL

16 Mar 2010 11:10 AM
Shane

KAT!!!!!!!

perfect...I have been trying to say what you said but I just cant write that good. That is it exactly. Thank you!!!!

16 Mar 2010 11:11 AM
Shane

And I have now come to grips that maybe she is not a 10 furlong horse also....I just wanna see her run fast! thats all....

16 Mar 2010 11:14 AM
PJJ

I am sick and tired of the Rachel Rabids crying over their spilled milk.

She Lost and is probably history.

You all can make excuses after excuses, but the fact remains, the girl just aint' what she used to be.

09, will always be remembered as the year she had it best , she had handpicked races and a handpicked HOTY. this year she will have to step up to the big plate like Zenyatta and , thats right, she failed.

Well, I don't see her returning , she is history, get over it crybabies.

The queen is and has been the best filly/mare all along.

I am so happy Rachel is doing fine, and I hope her and Curlin have some beautiful foals together.

I don't like JJ, and he got what he deserved, Mr. big shot, Ra brought you down a notch.

She ain't no Curlin, dude.

Rachel got you back for taking her awary from Hal Wiggins. heheheahahahah

16 Mar 2010 11:28 AM
PJJ

I bet old JJ wishes he owned Zenyatta!

I bet he would pay 20 million for her, geez, Ra hasn't even paid for herself yet?

I know he can't depend on her racing to make his 10 million back, so he better start breeding her to curlin and some others while she still has a name for herself instead of "one year" wonder.

I bet he is begging the Mosses to see her to them. NO CHANCE. they love her.

16 Mar 2010 11:34 AM
meimo

RA is a good racehorse(don't buy she isn't 100% fit},zenyatta is a superb racehorse!!! And Sea the Stars was the Equineathlet in perfection!

16 Mar 2010 11:45 AM
Daunice

Runfast159-“For everyone's sanity, if you guys don't know by now why Zenyatta was not named HOY you didn't watch racing between January and December of 2009.  THAT is the time period in which HOY was determined.  Enough already, move past it.”

When I hear that – I want to scream – HOY 2008 –Perfect Season –Curlin got it for  - his total career – Zenyatta – ripped off

Then 2009  14 in a row & the BCC – all of a sudden – it’s only “the season” that counts!  -- Zenyatta once again ripped off!

You can’t have it both ways – by 2009 HOY standards – Zenyatta is HOY 2008!   That is what is SO insulting!  

Apparently everyone who says “It ‘s the season” has selective amnesia or wasn’t following racing very closely!  And, both horses deserved HOY2009.

I have had the good fortunate to see both RA & Z  training (& both Z’s BCs) – we have been blessed that they both came along at this time.   Daunice

16 Mar 2010 12:00 PM
meimo

Just another

comment.Why you run a horse in a

G2 when it's not 100% fit? Did JJ and SA think "we can beat these Horses with 80% fitness",if so it would be disrespectful to the other Contenders.Ther will always be a betterone around and waiting for you.And Zardana is not a fluke.

16 Mar 2010 12:09 PM
Soldier Course

Zookeeper:

I'd like to think that Zenyatta will be remembered for losing HOTY with dignity the year that the winner got it with greed.

Vanessa Williams lost her Miss America title in 1984, but she went on to accomplish more than any "winner" ever did. I look forward to seeing Zenyatta and her connections do the same thing.

Hi, Mike Relva!  

16 Mar 2010 12:15 PM
Householder

My sentiments exactly Aluminaut.  Quality Road had his chance to face Zenyatta. Did all the fumes coming off all the plastic inhibit his good sense?  

After the Breeder's Cup 2008, Zenyatta's first start was May (7 mo).  I do believe it was a grade I against a grade I winner who had beaten grade I winners across town.  It was hardly the "Zenyatta Invitational."  

I would be careful about bringing "Black Type" into the discussion.  The "Wayword" field in now 1-42 with none of them winning their next starts.  

I'm not trainer but after last Saturdays race, isn't a month enough time to get RA back in shape?  What is the game plan now?  Rest another 6 months until Zenyatta goes back into retirement?  

16 Mar 2010 12:24 PM
Householder

Tiznowbaby.  The plan now is to "jog" Zenyatta from Hollywood Park down the 405 to Del Mar.  The freeway will be closed, Bo Derek will be there, and Arnold will welcome her once she arrives.  Chainsaws optional.  

16 Mar 2010 12:28 PM
vikingblood22

Tiznowbaby I love ya!

16 Mar 2010 12:29 PM
Angela

LAZMANNICK & GunBow-  Thanks for remembering those grand dames from the past.  Ta Wee, Paseana and Personal Ensign...  I was begin to think I was misremembering the past.

16 Mar 2010 12:31 PM
Zookeeper

It's OK to love Zenyatta more than any other horse. It is NOT OK to belittle Rachel Alexandra. She doesn't deserve that. Please quit the bashing of the great filly. It doesn't elevate Zenyatta in any way, shape or form. This is from somebody who loves the great mare so much, that I'm delirious every time she races and wins. Rachel is not my favorite but I'm not so Zenyatta-crazy that I cannot appreciate the talent and heart of another horse, especially one of Rachel's caliber.

16 Mar 2010 12:34 PM
Jodie

If the owners of Zardana want to run her in the Apple Blossom she will run.  How may times was Life is Sweet entered against Zenyatta?  Course she never beat Zenyatta but proved how good she was in the Lady's Classic.  Rachel was a lot of media hype perpetuated by Jackson and now that she is going to stay in the barn for awhile maybe we can move on to some good Triple Crown news.

16 Mar 2010 12:36 PM
CV

Tiznowbaby ,

You forgot to mention when she reaches Florida, she'll need to win a NASCAR race here. To prove she's really a champion, of course.

16 Mar 2010 12:39 PM
Householder

What exactly was behind having the Apple Blossom's distance changed?  

Secretariat lost his last Derby prep to Angle Light and dare I say it the Santa Anita Derby Winner Sham.  The Secretariat team obviously made the needed adjustments and moved on.

Noble's Promise could be this year's Musket Man.  I don't see where his daddy Cuvee (Carson City) ever went beyond a mile.  I doubt they purchased this horse with Triple Crown in mind.

16 Mar 2010 12:42 PM
Michael

Three days later and the RA faithful are still bumping their gums about their little filly. Get over it people. Your horse could very well have run her last race. Like someone posted earlier. She's a glorified east coast sprinter. What can she possibly do now except tarnish HOY trophy even more? Where is she going to run and against who? JJ and Steve have no desire to face that monster Zenyatta so what's the point? They should cut their losses now and go ahead and breed her to Curlin. RA came out of the race healthy and that's all anyone could hope for. Zen will go on to the AB and then maybe the Pacific Classic at Del Mar? There wouldn't even be a need to run in the BC Classic. been there....Done that!! If she were my horse, I'd retire her and set a date in the breeding shed with her and Sea the Stars. Oh what a horse that could be???

16 Mar 2010 12:51 PM
joe schmoe

Great reading and this puts last year in the right perspective.

"The Breeders’ Cup World Championships has been selected as a nominee in the sports event of the year category for the 2010 Sports Business Awards".

The Sports Business Awards recognize excellence and outstanding achievement in the business of sports for the period from January 1, 2009 through February 28, 2010.  Single games or events, or event series that occurred in North America, for professional or collegiate teams, sanctioning bodies or national governing bodies were eligible.

"Zenyatta's spectacular performance in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) helped shine the spotlight on our event".

What the Woodward wasn't part of a nomination? No Preakness or Triple Crown Series considered? No Haskell? No Kentucky Oaks? None of RA's races helped shine the spotlight at that level. The Saratoga Meet isn't recognized as worthy even with the participation of RA. The Triple Crown Series isn't worthy even with the participation of RA.  

I guess that says it all in the Sporting World. Zenyatta made a much bigger impact than RA. The Sporting World as a whole sees it!! Long live Queen Zenyatta!!  

16 Mar 2010 1:18 PM
draynot

tiznowbaby,

Zenyatta at Wrestlemania taking on and defeating Batista and John Cena in a Triple Threat, No Holds Barred  Match before some here declare her a real Champion. draynay could play the part of Hornschwaggle trying to spoil it for her and he could bring his sidekick RA as Guest Referee.

16 Mar 2010 1:26 PM
Pam S.

Householder:

Maybe that is the game plan!  But seriously, I'm no trainer, I just find it hard to believe that this is just a fitness issue.  Maybe a training and equipment issue, a lack-of-desire issue, but certainly not merely a fitness issue.  She had her prep race and it appears to have served the intended purpose.  I'm with Gary at Rough Creek, what did they have to see in order to go on?  Did they really see something so dismal that they had to cancel from the Apple Blossom AGAIN?  (And by the way, where is Rough Creek?  Must be some good handicappers there!)

16 Mar 2010 1:32 PM
GreyK

BobZ, love your take on the phone call that wasn't made - I think you are right about how this all would have turned out.  And Zenyatta would beat Rachel in the AB and all her most devoted fans could feel better about not being able to change the 2009 Eclipse Awards.  By the way, Rachel's wine is a pinot noir and it's delicious.  I liked the comment in the New York Times that Zenyatta looked like a tiger while Rachel looked "resigned" and maybe is thinking about being a momma instead of a race horse.  Time will tell.  But how 'bout Zenyatta!  She's not ready to slow down yet.  I wish they were taking her to Dubai since we know she can run on synthetics and she'd do us proud over there.  I guess plotting a course for revenge doesn't leave time for that.  Too bad.  Hope being annoyed at Jess Jackson doesn't cost them a third HOTY chance trying to chase Rachel.  Zenyatta deserves better.

Really liking Odysseus and Lookin at Lucky did what Derby horses need to do.  I hope he keeps moving forward.        

16 Mar 2010 1:41 PM
Gladiator

Hey Michael,

I wish there was a muzzle invented for hands to stop you from typing. My God! RA is a "glorified sprinter".

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU! I feel the same way about Zenyatta and her fans as i do my wife and my mother in law. I love my wife, but wish my mother in law would just go away!

16 Mar 2010 1:55 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Jason was visiting Dray at the Funny Farm when two guys in white coats came up and grabbed Jason. He yelled, "Whoa Nellie, what do you two clowns think you're doing? I'm just visiting!!"  The big guy with the flat top and beer belly said, "Not anymore. You've been committed by one of your bloggers." Jason screamed, Why? They can't do that !!"  Later when Jason was in the padded cell in a straight jacket due to excessive ranting and raving about Odysseus, the psychiatrist was visiting and told him "it looks like you're on a 90 day hold." Jason moaned, "Oh no, The Derby, Odysseus, Odysseus, Odysseus." The psychiatrist told him that the nurse would be in soon with a little medication for his problem and that he'll see things in a whole new light soon.

16 Mar 2010 1:56 PM
Jodie

Agree Michael  A foal from Sea of Stars and Zenyata, the two best horses of 2009, wow.

Yeah Jackson will take his toys and go home.  His ego is greater than his love of of the sport.

16 Mar 2010 1:57 PM
Steve

Very funny post Tiznowbaby.

I'm surprised there hasn't been more mention of The Draynay Curse in regards to Rachel's loss.  Three horses fell victim to The Curse last weekend: Rachel, Super Saver and Dublin (again).

16 Mar 2010 2:04 PM
Apple Blossom Fan

First let me address the naïve that state that Rachel has no excuse with regards to lack of fitness.  I would guess this would be the typing of a chess player that knows nothing about physical activity and or strenuous effort that is put forth when participating in competition with other fit athletes.  Rachel has been working out since late Jan with 7 works to her credit.  Zenyatta breezed 9 times since Jan 1, and two of those handily work outs where she was asked to extend herself, this is not the way that Steve Asmussen operates his horses’ breeze in the morning, nothing more asked then what they are able to give well within themselves.  So your assessment that Rachel was a fit horse in this race is entirely false, wrong and the ignorance of someone to make that statement shows you know nothing of horse racing.  So please go back to chess.

16 Mar 2010 2:14 PM
Apple Blossom Fan

Sad to see people like Michael try to tarnish and degrade the HOY because of 1 loss, what will you do when Zenyatta loses the Apple Blossom to Bambara or Careless Jewel due to being alone on the lead, haha I will laugh at people like you. You can't appreciate both horses, but I guess thats why we had such fun as Zenyatta was beating up on the weakest competition they could find her in 12 or her 15 races, undefeated my goodness she should be when oh when will she face more than 1 legit Grade 1 contender in back to back races, lol, possibly never.  Who did she beat Saturday by the way, the horse she ran down in the stretch while all out was a 50-1 shot, very impressive for the West Coast Synthetic specialist.  Please bring on the dirt of the Apple Blossom.

16 Mar 2010 2:17 PM
Shane

Well all I have to say is....All of the Z fans talking smack right now.....she better win because you guys are saying she is invincible. So if she does lose does she stink as a racehorse, as some of you are saying about Rachel? I bet any of you would love to own a horse half as good as Rachel period. So you need to at least respect her abilities.

16 Mar 2010 2:20 PM
Vic S

1. Conveyance - MINE MINE MINE MINE, o yes wait HES MINE im not changing my mind Conveyance is my Derby horse!

16 Mar 2010 2:25 PM
TerriV

Gunbow, What a beautiful description you wrote of Zenyatta!  I was practically in tears.  They should pay you.  I can't afford to fly out to CA so I hope she comes at least as far as Kentucky.  I saw Rachel 5 times last year and she is a gorgeous animal.  Just have to lay my eyes on Zen.  

And, my vote about Rachel's NO Ladies goes with the bloggers (and there have been quite a few) who state that this doesn't mean she's through.  She just lost one race by, what?, 3/4 of a length.  They need to listen to Rachel and let Calvin listen to Rachel.

16 Mar 2010 2:26 PM
Zookeeper

Soldier Course,

Good point on Vanessa! It's a good thing that Zenyatta knows nothing of awards... although she obviously loves ovations. LOL!

Do you have a favorite horse for the KD yet? I'm in a complete quandary.

16 Mar 2010 2:33 PM
Draynay

So many of these comments are laughable I don't know where to begin.  Rachel lost a tune up race coming off a 6 month layoff.  Big Deal.  She did not lose a major race in May, June, or October.  She lost a tune up race in MARCH.  She didn't look like her old self? Nuts! She looked like a horse that wasn't quite prepared right for her first race back.  And all you Zenyatta fans let me remind you she won another race on plastic and nobody really cares. If she is all that head for the dirt at Churchill and Saratoga and win there and then let me hear you brag. Until then she is just picking on horses in California that don't run as well as her on plastic.  By the way Quality Road will be waiting for her and my money will be on him should she ever decide to be brave enough to take him on.  Win on dirt! Nobody cares about another plastic win.

16 Mar 2010 2:54 PM
helsbelles

So many great posts here -- Tiznowbaby's and Dr.Drunkenbum's were side-splitting!  And, it's good to see VT Mary getting her comeupance.  

One thing I haven't seen mentioned, Mike Smith said that Zenyatta is more focused than ever before.  As a fan that has seen her in person multiple times, I believe this was evident in her much less playful demeanor in the paddock area prior to the Santa Margarita. The pose she struck was one of a great and proud champion.

16 Mar 2010 3:01 PM
nonnonheinous

Mary in VT--

Plenty of people have addressed much of what you have written, but I wanted to comment on two points.

1.) I did not see Zenyatta interfere with that horse on the rail (Pretty Catherine, I believe). The jockey didn't take up nor did the horse overtly react. In fact, at the time of the maneuver, the jock wasn't even using the whip on Pretty Catherine--he knew his horse was going nowhere. Zenyatta was in and out of that hole in two seconds, anyway. I'm sure if the jockey really felt that Zenyatta cost him some money, he would spoke up.

2.) Zenyatta's connections DID NOT request that the Santa Margarita lose it's handicap status. It was THE MANAGEMENT at Santa Anita who were nervous about the weight. The DRF articles quoted them as basically saying they didn't want to screw up the Apple Blossom by making Zenyatta carry 130 lbs for $200,000 when in a month she'll be carrying 123 lbs for $5,000,000. They WANTED Zenyatta to prep at their track and didn't want to drive her off by saddling her with a ton of weight on her first start back. The connections had nothing to do with it.

So no, it didn't "sicken" me.

16 Mar 2010 3:15 PM
Jason Shandler

Good one Dr. Drunkinbum. Enjoyed it

16 Mar 2010 3:19 PM
Dawn

Man, if the schadenfreud around here gets any thicker, it’ll be the star of the next Ginsu knife ad!

OK my lovely ;) Rachel lost. It’s not like she finished up the track; she only lost by what, half a length? IMO she needed that race.  She was coming back from a 6 month layoff for pity’s sake. I know when I come back to work from a vacation, it takes me a while to get my groove back.  I imagine it’s the same with horses.

I’m not upset that Rachel’s not going to Apple Blossom—I thought from the beginning that this “Race for the Ages” was too soon, forced, and a bit contrived. The Apple Blossom should still be good race, what with the Zenster, Careless Jewel and Bambera mixing it up. This is assuming they all run.  Let the two run when they are both in top form and ready to rumble.

I think Rachel still has that fire in the belly; no need to retire her unless she starts loosing races that she would’ve won easily last year.  Lord knows the Zenster still has that fire—I thought the traffic and weight would’ve done her in last weekend, but no.  I’d never seen her win from the inside like that!  I’m looking forward to see her strut her stuff in Oaklawn and with luck other places.

With luck both Rachel and Zen will meet sometime later this year. Maybe in a race on Stephen Foster day? Perhaps in the Del ‘Cap? We’ll see.  I’m not ready to write off Rachel yet though. However, if she is retired now, my cynical meter will go through the roof.

16 Mar 2010 3:26 PM
Zookeeper

Draynay,

You just jinxed Quality Road! He doesn't deserve THAT!

16 Mar 2010 3:34 PM
Jason Shandler

Note: I hear Eskendereya is going to Wood now, not Florida Derby.

16 Mar 2010 3:43 PM
Dona

Steve Haskin wrote "when a horse doesn't work for five months, it's usually more than the weather that is to blame".

For whatever reason, the Rachel connections were not forth coming about Rachels condition after the Woodward. There was plenty of time to get her ready, make no mistake about that. Were they trying something different in the way the raced her, you bet. It was costly but as I said before, maybe she wasn't ready: period. Someone is mistaken in how this mare can and will race, Rachel does not possess a closing kick. High crusing speed, yes. Her advantage has been to go fast and then a little faster to build a big lead. That's not the same as a closing kick. I believe they will ruin her (if they haven't already) by trying to set up a different pattern for the big "Z". It won't work. Somehow, people don't pay any attention to how fast Zenyatta really is. Look at her workouts, she's often the #1 time or close to it for 6f workouts. That time is against all comers. Sprinters, milers, you name em. Yes, her style is a true closer but if she really had to, Zenyatta can sprint. Because of her size, she may look like a runaway freight train but she is fast. Ask Mikey.

Like I said, I felt sad watching Rachel lose. Not because I wanted her to win, I didn't. Sad because I was looking at a different horse than last year. Reminded me of an aging fighter, they see the opening but just can't pull the trigger fast enough. I could be way off base but I don't think so.    

16 Mar 2010 3:47 PM
Tiznowbaby

Draynay, I didn't think she looked like her old self. She was not tractable down the backside -- Calvin had his knees locked and his feet on the dashboard. The only reason her mouth wasn't open was that figure-8 noseband. Turning for home, Calvin basically made her change her lead, with her weaving a tad. I've never seen her do that. She's always been so free running, and to me she didn't look comfortable. I thought she ran very well off such a lengthy layoff, but I don't know. That just didn't seem like her.

16 Mar 2010 3:53 PM
Billy's Empire

Jason, do you think it is the 6 weeks between the FL Derby and the KY derby causing this, or is it b/c Plether does not want Rule on the front with Esky right behind chasing the pace. IMO, Todd want's to see them both rate, but they may carry too much early, and will not rate if they are racing against each other. Thoughts?

16 Mar 2010 3:57 PM
Jason Shandler

We have a story coming out shortly Billy. Im sure they want to separate Rule and Eskendereya tho

16 Mar 2010 4:03 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I think it's a mistake to lock into a Derby Winner pick at this point unless you are just a fan and want someone to root for. If you're betting it can be quite detrimental. I'm takin' care of business working overtime trying to NOT have my favorite picks at this point. I am attempting to look for Derby potential. I do have a list that changes frequently. Some won't even have the earnings to get in. Odysseus is not on it because he may not have another prep. I dumped Dublin as soon as the jockey change was announced. Since so many are bravely putting forth lists-here is mine. NOT IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE. However Lookin At Lucky has impressed me most SO FAR. 1.Setsuko 2.Interactif 3. Soaring Empire 4. Eskendereya 5. Lookin At Lucky 6. Ron The Greek 7. Stay Put 8. Turf Melody 9. Sidney's Candy 10. Raise The Bridle (ridiculous DQ in last-Robbed) Now tear the list to shreds-maybe I'll learn something !!

16 Mar 2010 4:10 PM
Billy's Empire

I will wait for the story then. Thanks

16 Mar 2010 4:15 PM
Householder

THANK YOU DONA!!!  Like I have said before 2 races stand out.

2008 Clement H.  The pace is hot 46 and change but she pulls within 2 of the lead coming around the stretch with the leader clocked 1:10 and change.  She's picking off horses all the way down the back stretch (Hardley a "Silkey Sulivan").  She goes on the set the track record at 1 1/16 (1:41 change).

2008 Lady's Secret.  Hysterical Lady is loping on the lead at 48 and change.  Zenyatta runs up to within 2 of her at the 1/2 pole and does not leave from this stalking position until it's "Go time."  Finishes up in 1:40 and change (I think).

She is going to get you in the stretch either way at 1 1/16th.  

16 Mar 2010 4:15 PM
Aluminaut

Dray,

QR in a race with Zenyatta would be great.  He could soften up the front runners for her closing kick.

16 Mar 2010 4:18 PM
Anne

How about lets all stop saying JJ is chicken about not facing Zenyatta. Look people we DO NOT KNOW what is going through his mind. WE DON'T train the damn horse to know.

16 Mar 2010 4:27 PM
sherpa

Jason - I read a few days ago (here at BH, iirc) that Connemara's next race will be the Lane's End, but also heard it would be at SA.  Which is it, do you know?

Clearly, you're not the only one who forgets horses who win at Golden Gate. All these folks pining away for a "deep closer" have him right there in plain sight.  I know the El Camino Real time wasn't very impressive, but the *way* Connemara closed, WAS.  I said at the time it was a run almost worthy of Zenyatta and, after a couple more viewings, I still think so. When the winningest jockey in this sport, Russell Baze, proclaims he'd follow the horse anywhere, you have to pay attention.  I just hope he keeps the mount.

16 Mar 2010 4:37 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

Hey! somebody else noticed that race Raise the Bridle was in. I commented at the time but nobody followed up on my post. I thought the disqualification was questionable also as the other horse started the bumpercar episode. But I did see that big horse keep on going as if a fly had been bothering him, nothing more. This one could be the sleeper some people are waiting for. I don't remember the name of the race, but it was at Sunland Park. Hopefully we'll see him again in the Sunland Derby.

16 Mar 2010 4:46 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

VERY SMART move running Eskenereya in the Wood instead of FL Derby. I thought 6 weeks was too much. It also makes me believe that the Pletcher camp believes that Eskendereya is their top Derby horse and didn't want to hurt his chances with a 6 week layoff. Most likely Gulfstream will be changing the date again for next year's FL Derby. If they don't then they're fools. Thanks JASON and HELSBELLES. Glad you enjoyed it.

16 Mar 2010 4:47 PM
Mike Relva

IT AINT EASY BEING GOOD

I'm suprised you aren't  hiding,oh  that's right now you're probably onto a new horse,since "your Dublin" isn't working out. lol

16 Mar 2010 4:55 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

Remember,when you stated last week RA would win easy. Well,a "plastic" horse beat her.

16 Mar 2010 4:56 PM
Mike Relva

PJJ

Hello!

16 Mar 2010 4:57 PM
jim

Mokey

just a stupid comment, did RA beat 7 Gr. 1 horses in one race & the ones from all over the world?

Tiznowmaby

that was funny, good humor.

Now that everyone is saying Zenyatta is no. 1 and looks like there is a split for the no. 2 spot between RA & QR, and i dont think RA is upto taking on Zenyatta right now, so how about a race between QR&RA then the winner takes on Zenyatta. OR a real big purse to set up a race for all 3(lets see what JJ) comes up with to cop out.

16 Mar 2010 5:01 PM
Zookeeper

sherpa,

SHHH! Let them think that all poly horses are a "throw out". They keep complaining that Pletcher's horses are all front runners. It would never occur to them to look at No.Calif. for the closer they are pining for. When he was  mentioned before, he's been dismissed as being too slow. Nobody cared to look how he came running late to win in the El Camino. SHHH! :) Let them!

16 Mar 2010 5:05 PM
jim

sherpa

you brought up a good point about Russell Baze.

It appears that top top trainers only want him when the top jocks in S.Cal or the east are not available then they dump him even if he wins, just see hollendorfer who's bread & butter was Russell but now his top horses goto S.Cal jocks.

No top jock who went on to get top horses in the country who went by N.Cal could touch Russell. Gary Stevens, V. Espinosa etc.

16 Mar 2010 5:11 PM
Michael

Gladiator(LMAO) wants the Zenyatta fans to go away? On the contrary. You RA fans need to go away. How about a nice 6 month break like your little filly needed. Why should we go away? Our horse is running and WINNING. You east coast hacks make me laugh. Now that you've run out of excuses for RA loss, you're back to that old synthetic, weak field argument. You're pathetic. When I wrote RA was a glorified sprinter, I was quoting someone's earlier post. I personally think she's more of a gloried miler. She was hyped up as the great horse to ever grace us with her presence. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even though it's ridiculous,let's say for a minute that Zen's competition is as you say "weak". Well at least she defeats her weak competition unlike RA who has lost 4 times to even WEAKER competition. I think all you east coasters need to jump off the RA bandwagon and jump on the QR bandwagon. He's your best shot at defeating Zenyatta. No way RA ever gets into the gate with Queen Z. Take that to the bank !

16 Mar 2010 5:12 PM
CV

"...what will you do when Zenyatta loses the Apple Blossom to Bambara or Careless Jewel due to being alone on the lead, haha I will laugh at people like you." --Apple Blossom Fan

I'm thinking people are laughing at you, since Zenyatta has never raced "alone on the lead" as a front-running horse. That's not her racing style.

16 Mar 2010 5:22 PM
draynot

draynay you are laughable. If it was Zenyatta who had lost even carrying that ridiculous weight disadvantage you would be all over it.

I realize you have been away more than usual but are you so out of touch you haven't seen the landslide of "plastic" horses going west and trouncing "dirt" horses including RA? Seems this year it's the  east coast dirt horses who are the one trick ponies and they can't even defend their "dirt".

Go ahead and downplay RA's loss if you must for your own sanity. The fact is you have screamed from the rooftops that RA would never lose a race again and of course as always the case with you, you were dead wrong.  

16 Mar 2010 5:27 PM
sherpa

Hey everybody! don't read what I wrote about Connemara!  I know less than NOTHING about horses! I meant to say "deep closeT" - don't you just love walk-ins?! I sure do!

(think that'll work, Zookeeper? ROFL!!)

16 Mar 2010 5:29 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

ZOOKEEPER-Sorry I missed your post. The race was at Sunland 2-27-10 Race 10, The Borderland Derby. I only have one comment right now-A person should not be a steward if they have no idea what they are doing. Yes-You're right zookeeper, the only DQ possible would have been Storming Saint who came flying into Bridle initially at the start of the stretch. I would have left it alone. Raise The Bridle is supposed to start in the Sunland Derby. I will be watching. I will go back and see if I can find some of your posts.

16 Mar 2010 5:36 PM
funnycideoflife

My Juliet,

I think Rachel's connections have  always been backed into a corner. If they do not send their horse to the "big" race that everyone wants because their horse is tired, they are chicken. If they can't get their horse ready to run in a race on a schedule "set" by Rachel's rivals, the fans, and media, Asmussen is a bad trainer and Jackson is full of excuses. They can't do anything right, and now people are expecting Rachel to be retired? They just want bad things to happen to her. People are probably going to say that she's done after every race, whether she wins by twenty lengths or loses by twenty lengths. I just don't get it.

16 Mar 2010 5:43 PM
mr pibb

I got an idea for JJ. Why not use your seemingly endless influence to get racing officials to allow RA into the same type of races she ran in last year? I'm sure she could beat unseasoned 3 yr old colts again. Then maybe you could get them to find you a G1 for older that doesn't turn out real G1 talent to beat again. She sure doesn't fit with second string older "plastic" mares. They are too tough for her to handle.

16 Mar 2010 5:44 PM
Oldie

Jason, I quite understand what you see in Odysseus.  I watched Saturday, and thought he looked green and confused, but not out of the race as the announcer thought, and when he re-fired had obstacles and won anyway.  I thought if he had had a better trip he would probably have won by a length or more.  With the education he received he looks to me like a very legitimate threat.  I still like Rule, and am very impressed with the will and ability to win displayed by Lookin At Lucky.  Great weekend of racing!

16 Mar 2010 5:49 PM
Tiznowbaby

Draynot,

Draynay in tights for wrestlemania? I may need brain bleach.

16 Mar 2010 6:07 PM
Householder

Careless Jewel!!!  The same Careless Jewel who had a 20 length lead in the Breeder's Cup?  This means that Zen's stable mate and eventual winner spotted her 40 lengths.  

I did see press where RA was running off in the mornings as well.      

16 Mar 2010 6:14 PM
Householder

Where's our friend Gunbow?  What did Lookin and Lucky's Beyer improve by shifting from synthetic to dirt?  I'm also wondering what Baffert thought about the addition of (French cup?) blinkers. Good, bad, no improvement?  

16 Mar 2010 6:20 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

I only posted once about that race. I think it was on Jason's blog but it could have been on Mr, Haskin's. I didn't complain about the disqualification but I commented about these two gutsy horses bouncing off of each other and how they may have been settling a barn argument. I'm just happy that somebody else saw that. I thought they were both tough. One small (Storming Saint) and the other one much bigger (Raise the Bridle). But who pays attention to horses from New Mexico, right? What KD winner could possibly come from out there? LOL!

16 Mar 2010 6:21 PM
Paula Higgins

Aluminaut, Quality Road may soften up the front runners for my girl Zenyatta, but then it would be the two of them, QR and the Zenster, eyeball to eyeball all the way to the end. I hope Zenyatta would win, but you underestimate Quality Road at your own peril. As long as he doesn't have a meltdown at the starting gate, he is a horse to be reckoned with. He worries me more than Rachel in a race with Zenyatta.

16 Mar 2010 6:26 PM
Bob Z

Bill Finley (ESPN) on Rachel passing on the Apple Blossom...

Another opinion that if Zardana doesn't run Rachel wins by 11 lengths and goes to Oaklawn...

So if she wins by 11 she is ok...

The fact that she ran the same race and happen to have another horse in front of her at the end...

he says... "But that doesn't begin to explain how a filly this good could have been that bad. "

Again if she wins she is ok but because she lost by a length

.. "a filly this good could have been that bad. "

without any further explanation as to why that would be...

"One of the ironies of the situation is that John Shirreffs, who trains Zenyatta, is partially responsible for the Apple Blossom showdown not coming off.

Imagine the scenario had Zardana not started. Rachel Alexandra finished 11 ½ lengths in front of the third-place finisher.

Without Zardana in the race, Rachel would have looked like a world-beater and would no doubt have gone on to Oaklawn Park on a roll, or what would have seemed like a roll."

"Even if Rachel Alexandra's readiness level was about 50 to 60 percent, she still should have thrashed her competition, which was an uninspiring lot."

So if Zardana is not there and Rachel wins by 11 at a 50 to 60 percent level of fitness its ok to go to Oaklawn.. ?

I'm just not getting some of this commentary...

16 Mar 2010 6:26 PM
Gary at Rough Creek

Pam S,

RC isn't too hard to find.  And yes, to be honest we had a nice year wagering last year (16:1 after tax ROI) thanks to the Birdstone Boys, among other "flukes" rarely mentioned on these blogs!  We're busy looking for the next Derby shocker now, and we do have Derby wager partnerships available.  

We've mentioned two potential shockers already on these blogs, for those who read them.  But it's early still.

16 Mar 2010 6:28 PM
Zookeeper

Sherpa,

I think it's OK. They probably shrugged and moved on.  :)

16 Mar 2010 6:29 PM
Householder

How about a match race between Zenyatta and Freaky at 4 furlongs while were waiting for this RA-Zen thing to pan out.

16 Mar 2010 6:38 PM
tcc

Householder;

Another horse that could be a (Musket Man) is Sidney's Candy.

I know mentioned Noble's Promise daddy Cuvee (Carson City),but Barbaro's dam was out of(Carson City).

16 Mar 2010 6:53 PM
DinkyDiva

I've loved reading all the blogs and have commented previously myself about the Rachel situation but, I have more to say.  As an ex-galloper, I know how important it truely is to have a horse 100% fit.  Not just phyisically but, mentally.  They are just like any other athlete.  If they are not 100% both, physically and mentally, then, don't go there! If you do go there, bad things will happen!  The last thing anyone wants to see is for any horse to break down on the track because of a lack of fitness.  

Therefor, yes, I do blame Rachel's trainer.  He knew prior that she wasn't ready to go and she wasn't.  But, I have to give my hat off to Zardana.  She ran her butt of and proofed to be the better horse that day.  That does not discount Rachel at all in my book!  She's a great filly and always will be in my book.  But, you could even see how difficult she has been to train.  Her work outs: she's all over the place and trieing to run off with the rider.  It is very taxing on both the horse and rider when you're fighting each other. I just hope to see Rach back on the track and healthy and sound.  You go Rach!

Now, Zenyatta: like so many have said, what can you say about her?! She is a horse of a different nature!  You can see it in her work outs as well.  She loves it!  She just wants to go out and please everyone.  She has faced some fierce competion and everytime, flew right by them.  I absolutely love Zen!  She has so much Charisma and loves her fans.  Keep it safe girl!  Long live the Queen!!!

16 Mar 2010 7:01 PM
tcc

Jason:

Sounds like the owner of Eskenderya made the decision,

because he didn't really care for the 6 weeks between Fla. Derby & the Kentucky Derby, he also felt the Wood Memorial would a tougher race. Todd P. will be glad as he has Rule pointed to the Fla. Derby, that way he can keep his horse's separated from each other.

16 Mar 2010 7:53 PM
Runfast159

Now I told myself I wouldn't get into these stupid debates about Rachel and Zenyatta, and apparently I'm having a slow afternoon at work because here I am...

Dray, Zenyatta IS going to the dirt, she'll be at Oaklawn in April remember?  Oh wait, that probably won't be good enough either will it?  Does it HAVE to be Churchill or Saratoga now?  Just can't be a DIRT track can it?

And must she win in either MAY, JUNE or OCTOBER? Won't count if it's April?!

You keep me laughing.  Keep up the good work!

16 Mar 2010 7:57 PM
tcc

Zookeeper:

The name of the race at Sunland that you were thinking of is the Borderland Derby.

16 Mar 2010 7:57 PM
nmhiplains

How do you write something people will understand when they look at horses not as flesh and bone, heart and soul but as only robots, HOY, Kentucky Derby winners or bottom rung claimers. The true is Rachel Alexandra's heart is not in running any more and how can you blame her when she was pushed within a hairs breath of breaking down in the Woodard. Denial that we push these three year olds to hard to fast doesn't change the facts,refusal to require bone  scans or infra red scans before entry in stake races and blaming breakdowns on track surfaces means we will lose some of our racehorses to death and fear.

Denial that RA's eye is full of Fear as she rounds the bend into the straight away(fish eye view tossing of head,slow lead change)Calvin's use of the whip to lift Rachel across the finish line is a sign he feel it too--Its the only thing he could do a bump by Macho Again and down she would have went in front of a thundering herd of muscle,bone and steel behind him. Fear is one of the ways these horses express pain and if you have looked at a picture of a horse being lead out of a burning barn,ridden a horse off in a bog of quicksand,cut a horse out of barb wire or walked in the valley of the shadow of death and only survived by the grace of GOD you recognize it. Its in those photos of Rachel in the Woodard and in those photos of Eight Belles before she crosses the finish line in the 2008 Derby.

Rachel was lucky she didn't go down but she won't forget that FEAR.  

16 Mar 2010 8:00 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNOT

Well said!

16 Mar 2010 8:02 PM
Mike Relva

GLADIATOR

Guess what! We aren't "going away",deal with it!

16 Mar 2010 8:04 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper-That's interesting what you say about a barn argument-I knew they were from the same barn and thought something freaky might be going on. I also liked Storming Saint but thought Bridle showed more class. Went back and read some of your posts-excellent. Yes-Mr Hot Stuff, a great example of how looks can be decieving. What a beautiful McDoofus !! I love what Monmouth is doing, will try to be supportive at the internet windows but they need to show all of the horses as much as possible pre-race to get a lot of my money. Paddock, walking ring etc, and keep the camera off of the mugs of the commentators. Give every horse equal time not just the picks of the commentators. Keep up the good work zookeeper.

16 Mar 2010 8:05 PM
Mike Relva

APPLE BLOSSOM FAN

All I know is Zenyatta BEAT the best the Breeders' Classic had to offer,btw the FIRST FEMALE to accomplish this. You obviously know nothing about great racehorses or you would remember Zenyatta won the Blossom two yrs ago. But,anyway thanks for the laugh!!!! lol

16 Mar 2010 8:09 PM
Deacon

All is right with the world, we all got to enjoy another ridiculous post by Draynay.

I don't if anything is wrong with Rachel, only time will tell us that. Mr. Haskin explained it very eloquently in another blog. I do know this, that there are only so many bullets in the gun and rachel fired a whole lot of them last year. You take away Curlin's Dubai win and he was pretty average the rest of his 4 year old campaign. I don't think he was even close to what he was at age 3.

Zenyatta was also coming off a pretty long layoff and she seemed to fire pretty well. I have heard great horsemen say that "great horses can run on anything". Zenyatta can run on cement as far as I care, I just enjoy watching her. Other then geldings, and only a few of them,  how many 6 year old horses can continue to perform at a high level?  I think the Moss connections know what they are doing with Zenyatta.

Great posts by all, very informative and for the most part classy.

As for the Derby, I like Lookin At Lucky. The horse is a gamer and is honest as the day is long. Last Saturdays Rebel win could have ended up in disaster on the back stretch.............

16 Mar 2010 8:17 PM
DinkyDiva

Jason

I'm new to this blogging stuff, how am I doing so far?

I like your top 10 list.  I've been following the derby trail for sometime on here and have to wonder, what happened to Lentenor?? Like his oldest brother, Barbaro, he is a striking/strapping guy!  You don't here much about Nicanor either anymore.

I really am liking Lookin' at Lucky..  His last race was very impressive.

16 Mar 2010 8:20 PM
Jason Shandler

tcc: Yes, it was Mr. Zayat's decision. The right move, I believe.

DinkyDiva: Nice to have you aboard. I think Lentanor is going to wound up going in the Fla. Derby. We'll find out tomorrow. I believe Nicanor is back on the work tab.

16 Mar 2010 8:29 PM
jim

paula

you are right about QR, but, i dont think he can keep up with "Z" in the stretch. We all keep saying Zenyatta is a closer, but, if you see her last 2 races in 2009 you will note a difference in strategy that she was being readied to be closer at the top of the stretch, but, she had to find an opening then she got them easily actually running strong only the last 1/16 or so and still won with lots in the tank. But, if QR gets a very very easy early lead we can hope a local news helicopter hover by(last part just kidding).

16 Mar 2010 8:32 PM
DinkyDiva

BTW... I have watched Zen's race over and over again and did not see anyone being checked when she made her move.

16 Mar 2010 8:33 PM
Paula Higgins

I read Bill Finley's comments too and had a problem with "how a filly this good could run that bad." Rachel didn't run that bad. For any other horse, that would have been a good run. But the problem is, he is comparing her to the Rachel of last year, and it was crystal clear going in, she was not the Rachel of last year. Zardana had her by less than a length.

DinkyDiva, blaming Steve Asmussen for this is unfair. No one is to blame. They were under considerable pressure to prep her for the Apple Blossom and so they did. Her last work prior to New Orleans was good. He wouldn't have run her if he thought she couldn't win. Coming in a very close second isn't dead last or even third. Zardana ran a good race and she had a great ride. Zardana raced above her usual level/expectations. She was in tip top shape.

As for getting Rachel ready over the winter, let's face it, she came off a really taxing race in the Woodward and a hellatious schedule all year. Everyone knew she was dead tired after the Woodward. She was all out and that was obvious. So giving her time to bounce back was part of their plan and totally understandable. She isn't a machine. She is a filly who ran against the boys again and again. When they started training her for 2010 they knew they had issues. Asmussen was very upfront about that. But she seemed to improve prior to New Orleans and so off they went. They knew everyone on the planet was counting on her racing Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom. They were not going to run her cold without a prep race. So, what happens is that she doesn't win. She is not in the same form as the 2009 Rachel. People need to stop blaming Asmussen and Jackson for acts of nature. She may NEVER be back to that form for a number of reasons. When that happens who are you all going to blame then? We need to get past the blame game. It's just rubbish and annoying. Don't you think that of all the people in the world, Steve Asmussen and Jess Jackson wouldn't move heaven and earth to get her ready? Of course they would. I think the fact they tried, despite concerns about her being at less than 100%, is to their credit as sportsmen. Bottom line, I am a Zenyatta and Ann and Jerry Moss fan. But Steve Asmussen and Jess Jackson do not deserve this criticism and I am getting irritated hearing it. We are darn lucky that they chose to run her this year period. My hope is we will see her again in great shape and happy to run. If not, I know they will do right by her. As Jerry Moss said so well, he has great respect for both Steve Asmussen and Jess Jackson as horsemen. WE should be that gracious too.

16 Mar 2010 8:55 PM
Footlick

sherpa- I am amazed more trainers don't use Russell Baze.  He sure knows how to win races.

16 Mar 2010 8:56 PM
tcc

Jason:

If Eskendereya was going to Fla. Derby, then Rule then would have headed to the Louisiana Derby, and Drosselmeyer headed to Sunland Derby or Ill. Derby, now with Eskendereya to the Wood and Rule to the Fla. Derby, Drosselmeyer might be headed to the Loiusiana Derby.

16 Mar 2010 9:02 PM
Vic S

LOL Draynay and It aint easy being wrong,

Rachel loses so you BOTH jump on the Quality Road band wagon in a desperate hope that maybe a horse that is actually superior to Rachel but still not of Zenyatta quality may be able to defeat her.  Let's look at the facts, Quality Road has what 1 win outside of Gulfstream Park (SPEED BIAS TRACK) and it was in a G3 Sprint Race at Saratoga against no ones.  I love Quality Road, but he simply hasn't shown up when needed whether it be to his antics, hoof, etc.  He was given 2 chances to beat Summer Bird and BOTH times came up short, let me tell you if you run 2nd or 3rd by a few lengths in a G1 race you are an INCREDIBLE mudder.  He lost by 3/4 in the JCGC and by 2 or 3 in the Travers, he had plenty of shots to beat Summer Bird and simply couldn't do it.  A horse that truly doesn't like mud (Street Sense in 07' BCC, will get killed against top competition)  Summer Bird got TRASHED by Zenyatta last fall remember the Breeders' Cup Classic.  I even chose Summer Bird to win, unlike the unkeen eyes of so many of the immature and unknowing rascals we see posting on here he was AT HIS VERY BEST for the BCC.  He lost by what 2 lenghts in 2.00 and change.  His best race ever, BAR NONE, he simply got beat by a freak of nature.  Zenyatta was the best horse in 08 and in 09 she simply lost popularity contests but where it counted she WON and it counts on the track.  Curlin 11 of 16, Rachel 11 of 15, ZENYATTA 15 for 15 PERFECT.  I need say no more.

16 Mar 2010 9:02 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

DOES ANYONE KNOW? Can anyone tell me if Mine That Bird is going to be able to defend his Kentucky Derby crown this year?

16 Mar 2010 9:06 PM
nmhiplains

jshandler

Caracortado is my Derby pick

Just wondering who your picks are for The Oaks??? and if Quiet Temper will be there

16 Mar 2010 9:23 PM
Zookeeper

Householder,

Lookin at Lucky    97

Sidney's Candy     95

Odysseus           93

Lucky's prior best Byer was 91 at the Breeders Cup. Later at Holly Park, in the Cash Call he got 83.

I would say he improved. But then again, we all know how poly horses have difficulty adapting to the holy dirt. LOL!

16 Mar 2010 9:29 PM
robinm

Lazmannick; you have misinterpreted my comment regarding a potentially "hollow victory" by Zenyatta over Rachel Alexandra.  I did not say that winning a grade 1 race is not an accomplishment.  What I am saying is that a victory by either Rachel or Zenyatta over the other would be a "hollow victory" if either horse is not 100%.

Mike S and everyone out there who likes to think HOY for 2009 has anything to do with 2008 or 2010; they DID give the 2009 HOY award to the filly who truly deserved it (most).  No one is saying Zenyatta didn't deserve it, Rachel just deserved it more.

PJJ - you are clueless and your comments are tasteless.

Jim - I think you need to remember that of the "Grade 1 horses" Zenyatta defeated in the BCC, not one was a synthetic specialist.  In addition, some were running with physical issues, some had to travel extensively to get to Cal. and some were tailing off after long campaigns.

Zookeeper - Thanks for being fair.  

16 Mar 2010 9:34 PM
marktoothaker

I am like a lot of you on this post having a hard time wondering what is the big deal of RA getting beat in a prep for a 5 million dollar race. NOt being totally fit was a given but not a bad effort really and the big prize lay ahead. Was a lot of mixed comments about how she was training from friends of mine in NO but for the most part seemed to be training ok. Reading between the lines like most on here decision was taken out of Steves hands it seems by JJ. Very disheartning for everyone, I hope RA comes back ok and the two can hook up down the road somewhere.

16 Mar 2010 9:59 PM
Paula Higgins

Jim, I understand exactly what you are saying about Zenyatta not being just a closer. You are absolutely right. I totally agree. Coming from behind has essentially been her running style, but I think when asked, she can run at anytime once she gets past the start, which I always find hilarious. She looks like she is out for a walk when she first leaves the gate.

Anyway, I think Zen and QR will be eyeball to eyeball for awhile down the stretch. THEN, I hope she hits her third gear and with her long strides leaves Quality Road in the dust. However, I am thinking Quality Road is special and I am just wondering how special.

16 Mar 2010 10:09 PM
TG

I'm a huge Z fan! Watching all but five races in person. I give so much credit to Z's connections for always doing what is truly best for her. In 2009, HOY was not the campaign. They always did what was best for her and look how the fans have been rewarded. Watching her in the Margarita was just as exciting as BC Classic. I dont know what will be in the cards for her for the rest 2010. All I know is "Life is way sweeter with Zenyatta in it".  

16 Mar 2010 10:15 PM
Ted from LA

I would bet everything you have against Mine That Bird winning the Derby again this year.  If you have anything left after betting everything, bet the rest against the Milwaukee Braves winning the World Series.  DinkyDiva... way to come out swinging.  Good stuff...

16 Mar 2010 10:23 PM
Zookeeper

Householder,

On second thought, maybe he didn't improve all that much. Maybe the Beyer Team is not evaluating poly races accurately. GunBow (hope he shows up soon) has talked about that very often. My opinion is that he is right on. Two or three years is not sufficient data for all the kinks to get ironed out. However fans and bettors rely on them often and it contributes to the poly horses being discounted because their speed figures are not accurate. The poly horses, as a whole, did very well in last year's Derby... yet I'm still hearing the old refrain that they are too slow or that they won't be able to handle the dirt... even when the facts disprove this fallacy. The blind don't see, the deaf don't hear and the mentally challenged don't learn or they learn very slowly.

16 Mar 2010 10:31 PM
DinkyDiva

Paula Higgins.

I am not the only one mentioning blame on the trainer! I was just making a point of the conditioning of Rach!  What would have happened if she broke down, then, who's to blame? I want what is best for the horses not the owners or the trainers etc..,.  I know first hand what can happen when you send a horse out that is not ready.  I've seen too many break downs and it's heart wrenching.  

On the other hand, there are trainers and owners that make sure that their "investments" are safe and happy and Rach just didn't appear happy to me in the paddock or with the work outs.  

I'm sure that Asmussen won't intentionally put her in harms way but,sometimes, what the owner says, goes no matter the consequences.

Yes, she actually did run a good race but, Zardana was the better horse on that day!

16 Mar 2010 10:32 PM
Draynay

Vic S. your post is complete nonsense.  I am tired of hearing how great Zenyatta is. all she does is win races in California on plastic.  Maybe that floats your boat but I could care less.  In a few years California will be back to dirt and poly will be nothing more then a bad experiment.  Zenyatta is now 6 years old and does not have one single win at Belmont, Churchill, or Saratoga.  The tracks where all the past legends have made their name.  If Zenyatta is all that then come to Churchill and Saratoga and prove it or just be quiet.  No one cares about plastic wins hasn't the last 2 years and voting proved that ? Let me see her win the Jockey Gold and the Woodward and then brag how great she is.  Until then her resume is nothing more then that of a poly specialist.  No wins on dirt against males and she is a legend in your mind? It's laughable.

16 Mar 2010 10:40 PM
Tiznowbaby

robinm, I will take issue with a portion of your post. In the BCC, Zenyatta beat the winners of the G1 Santa Anita Derby,the G1 Pac Classic, the place horse in the G1 Eddie Read, the winner of the G1 Santa Anita H. and place horse in the G1 Pac Classic. If those are solid synthetics credentials, I don't know what is.

16 Mar 2010 10:46 PM
Big Brown's Buddy

SLEW, had Oksana not had the trouble she had skating, she wouldn't have been tipping back a few... or 10.  She admitted years ago that the frustration of not being able to do all the things on the ice that she once did effortlessly and flawlessly were hard for her to cope with.  She's trained all her life to do this,was a gold medal winner,and now,due to a fluke of nature,she couldn't do it anymore. Skating literally WAS her LIFE.

But leaving aside the drinking problem,can you imagine having something so fundamental to your life changed, and having to relearn it, and finding you can't?  Imagine having to learn to walk again after having your knees moved up or down a few inches.  You lose your balance with every step, your entire center of gravity changes. It takes a long time to get your body acclimated to a new center of gravity - your whole way of life changes because of it.  You have to learn to sit differently, walk differently, bend over differently.  And it *is* maddening.  Most of us probably don't remember learning how to walk as a toddler.  If you think it's hard to do at under 3 feet tall, double that when you're older and almost 3 feet taller.

Then add another foot or so,and about 1,000 pounds, and you've got Rachel.  Something she's trained to do all her life is now completely foreign to her, and she has to re-learn it. It doesn't just happen naturally overnight.  That's going to take time.

16 Mar 2010 10:53 PM
Zookeeper

Paula Higgins,

Good post! The trashing IS very old. I have my own opinion of RA's connections but I will not comment too much on it because I don't know them personally and since robinm deemed me to be fair, I don't want to dissapoint her/him.(lol) Thanks! robinm, when I'm not riled up I try to be objective, I don't always succeed.

Now, re: Quality Road vs Zenyatta.

He is a gorgeous and talented colt, a force to be reckonned with but, can he go 1 1/4 miles? I know Zenyatta can do it but his ability to go that long and maintain his speed is yet to be proven. The likes of Draynay and It ain't Easy will say anything to infuriate everybody. They don't listen to any logic and repeatedly ignore all the evidence. Except for a well placed zinger once in a while, I ignore them and concentrate on people who have some modicum of intelligence and knowledge, like you and many others. :)

16 Mar 2010 10:56 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

I agree about the commentators' mugs. The horses are much better looking. I'm visually oriented and, to my demise as a bettor, I have often hung my hat on a horse because of the way he/she looked, hence my choice of Mr Hot Stuff in last year's KD. Hopefully, I have grown wiser. But if a good looking Tiznow crosses by field of vision, I might fall off the wagon.

16 Mar 2010 11:07 PM
sherpa

jim & Footlick - thanks for your comments...

Just going from what I've read of Russell Baze, I understand he's a devoted family man, happy to be riding & winning in N. Cal, and not much interested in national attention for his work - even while winning just about every jockey award there is including HoF.  Perhaps trainers/owners who DO want attention prefer to go with the Name jockey.  Baze could likely have been one of the Names if he'd compromised his family/work ethic (and not suffered a couple of career-interrupting injuries)...but I admire him all the more for taking satisfaction from the life he chose for his family at the cost of personal gratification.

Whatev, he made pretty clear that he'd like to stay with Connemara and that says volumes in my book.

:-)

16 Mar 2010 11:09 PM
Tim G

Call the guys with the straightjackets, Dray has escaped.

He likes RA so much because JJ provides him with a nice Chianti to go with the Fava beans he favors.

Hey Dray, Zenyatta IS heading for the dirt. Bet she'll be at the Spa (of the east) and CD this year.

Steve H was right. I think several of us said it. Steve has horses running all over the country. Take her to somewhere warmer to work her. Take her to Sunland, you have a large string there. They never were going to run this filly in the AB, pretending like they were and having OP change up everything for them was thoughtless.

Rachel had 2 tough races all year (according to you guys, she breezed and beat the greatest horses with ease) Her race against Macho and the Preakness were the two toughest races she had all year. Something is fishy in Denmark. And it ain't the herring.

16 Mar 2010 11:18 PM
Roamer

Rachel and Zenyatta should meet at Saratoga, then go to the Breeders Cup. It's too early in the year now for them to have a showdown.

16 Mar 2010 11:25 PM
oatsandhay

Jason, I often read your blog, but have never before posted.  Was wondering if there is more to Eskendereya waiting for Wood than being stated.  (I read) Jesse Jackson might be looking to buy a Derby horse.  Also previously read that Zayat might be looking to sell.  Maybe going to the Wood Memorial gives the two parties more time to settle the deal?

16 Mar 2010 11:31 PM
scpalohorselvr

To Dr. Drunkinbum: Ref Mine That Bird.  He can not defend his title because the Kentucky Derby is a "one time deal" only for 3 yr olds.

16 Mar 2010 11:37 PM
Horsespiritlady

And Rachel was chosen as Horse of the Year! Oops I guess she gets the crown and forgets how to win. But Zenyatta continues her reign!

16 Mar 2010 11:42 PM
jim

ROBINM

when a race is written by the racing sec. his idea is to get the best horses in that class, he doesnot say only synthetic or mud or slip, if the purse is attractive in a grade 1 race any horse who is qualified can enter, but, if secretriat is racing trainers/owners are looking for money so they avoid him and enter a race to win. If secretriate scared other connections its not his/owner/trainers fault that others got scared they have no power who enters a race.

I still do believe Zenyatta scared the connections of "Sea The Star" and forced him into retirement, Zenyatta nor her connections had nothing to do with his retirement he was qualified/able/in form to participate.

Given the conditions on that day under the conditions she defeated the best HORSES QUALIFIED for that race.

16 Mar 2010 11:42 PM
Footlick

Are some of you still bringing up the BCC field?  The trainers of the second and third place horses said that they ran the race of their lives.  The prevailaing attitude on this blog was that Zenyatta was too slow, the competition was too strong and it was her first time running 10 furlongs. She couldn't possibly win.  Then suddenly the field wasn't strong and she's a synthetic specialist, so suddenly the field didn't have the talent in it that it did when the gates opened.  The field was strong and she beat them with alot left in the tank.  Just get over it and move on.  We have this year now.  Three year olds are running toward the Kentucky Derby.  The World Cup races are going to be run.  European season will be starting soon.  If you don't think Zenyatta is great- fine.  We've heard you over and over again.  If you don't think Rachel is great-fine.  We've heard you over and over again.  It's too much already.  Let's just move on.  

Looking at Lucky, Sidney's Candy and Interactif were the three that stood out to me.  Odysseus ran a gutsy race, too as did Schoolyard Dreams.  Don't know about Mendip guys...... I like Passion for Gold better.  Medaglio d'Oro out of a Thunder Gulch mare.  Already won at 10 furlongs, but also going to Europe for their classics instead of here.  I have a feeling Vale of York will also be in Europe.  They might try Mendip here because as far as I know he's never run on turf.

Sorry about my rant at the beginning- had to let some frustration out.

16 Mar 2010 11:44 PM
Jason Shandler

oatsandhay: I dont get the impression that Zayat is making this move for any other reason than he feels its better to prep the horse off 5 weeks rest than 6. I agree with him completely. Six weeks is too long. Gulfstream really made a mistake with the date change. It was silly.  

Glad to have you aboard. Thanks for chiming in.

16 Mar 2010 11:45 PM
Footlick

Dray- I hate to say this but you saying any post is complete nonsense is very funny..........

16 Mar 2010 11:48 PM
tcc

Jason:

Sounds like Calvin Borel will be riding some of D. W. Lukas's horse's Dublin,

17 Mar 2010 12:13 AM
Vic S

Complete nonsense? Are you kidding?  Zenyatta could win races on broken bottles and it wouldn't matter, key words are "win races" something no horse has been able to do like her since Colin back in 1905!  She is on the brink of exceeding his legendary mark, and she is doing it against far better horses and in constant G1 Co. as a mare at age 6!  She doesn't need a win at Belmont, Saratoga, or Churchill she has already proven she doesn't.  I do believe she is the 2-time Older Female Champion and was robbed of her HOTY award due to East Coast Bias two years in a row.  Point being, there is actually more distance between many California tracks than it takes to go from Belmont to Saratoga or even from Belmont to Churchill.  Let us not forget one of Zenyatta's easiest of wins was in the Appleblossom ON DIRT.  Not all the legends of the past have "made" their names at east coast tracks.  Heard of Swaps, Silky Sullivan, Silver Charm, etc.? I didn't think so.  The last two years have actually proven everyone does care about "plastic" races, Curlin wouldn't have been HOTY had he not tried the BCC, Zenyatta wouldn't be the Two-Time older female if it weren't for her wins on "plastic" same can be said for Lookin at Lucky and many of the other champions that came and ran at the CHAMPIONSHIP EVENT.  Excuses are for losers.  Zenyatta has none, she is the definition of winner.  You saying wins on dirt against males is a big deal?? News for you buddy the two best horses in training last year were Zenyatta and Gio Ponti - NEITHER WERE "DIRT" RUNNERS.  Your precious Rachel showed us what she is made of last weekend, she got her chance, she got the perfect setup, and she got beat. Done.

17 Mar 2010 12:13 AM
Zookeeper

Footlick,

Your comment about the quality of the BCC field before and after the race was priceless. The rest of your "rant" was right on also. Must you always be so reasonable? :)

17 Mar 2010 12:15 AM
jim

paula thanks for your comment.

about this RA vs Zenyatta, let me first say one thing that i realized even before RA was announced HOTY, i think somehow it had come to the Moss's attentionthey knew RA was selected HOTY. This was first came to my mind when they announced Zenyatta was gonna race 1 more year to prove to everyone they had the HOTY. We are the benificries of that decision.

Another thing why was Peppers Pride not chosen HOTY the reason being she did not race against the BEST.

does any of the races she ran qualify as the best of the best? you can argue about Zenyatta's pre breeders cup races & so can about RA races, but, Zenyatta's connection had chosen the classic over the LADIES to compete & beat the best, yes i feel Sea The Star's connection retired him before that classic saying just like RA 'S connection he had run too many races that year. Do we see any athletes backing out of the olympics saying they had too many races? Ofcourse its not the horses fault same as Zenyattas per 2009 classic if she scared the competion away, look at some of the 3 year colts that ran against her, they did not belong in a graded race, but, does that compare beating(as a favourite, not a long shot)7 or 8 Gr. 1 horses who came from all over the world. I rest my case, not crying about the HOTY, but, let anyone make ane argurment against Zenyatta being "horse of the decade".

17 Mar 2010 12:17 AM
tcc

Jason:

continued from previous D. W. Lukas

post, Tidal Pool, Activity Report, Absinthe Minded, Northern Giant

17 Mar 2010 12:20 AM
sherpa

to certain posters: Folks, it would really be nice if we could stop gloating that Zen won and RA didn't.

As an East Coaster who will always be a total Zenyatta fan, I am finding it repulsive that some of you want to crow over RA's loss.  Yeah, I know the animus between supporters of the two since the BCC was hellish and Zen fans lost the HotY vote in the end, and that rankles; but you can't hate on the horse for it.  Rachel is and always will be a 3yo filly who did everything that was asked of her -- if it was too much (as I believed then, and now) -- she did it nevertheless, and with enormous determination.  

I hope & pray Rachel will be a happy girl with whatever her future holds.  If she trains back to 2009 form, great! If she is retired to motherhood, may it be exactly what she wants and give her complete satisfaction.

Just PLEASE stop with the dissing! This is NOT a sport where the only thing is winning.  If ALL the ANIMALS who give us this sport, who are the reason we are here, are not healthy and happy and supported by us, win or lose, WE HAVE NO SPORT.

Just had to say it.

17 Mar 2010 12:28 AM
Footlick

Absinthe Minded- now that's a name!!!

17 Mar 2010 12:39 AM
Zookeeper

Big Brown's Buddy,

I understand what you're saying. It explains a lot about growing horses not returning to their prior year's form. Rachel managed it well, between her 2yr old and 3yr old seasons. Oh wait, she had a different owner/trainer team then. A patient, loving team that never would ask her for more than she could give freely and for fun. She ran like the wind for all but her last race last year. At the Woodward, the fun was over and only her heart carried her to the winner circle.

Contrast that scenario with that of the Zen team. Jerry Moss buys her as a yearling... not a proven 3yr old commodity. They take their time, let her grow (something she just kept doing) and did not race her until the end her 3rd year. Her races were well spaced and her returns well timed. THEY had her best interest in mind. All last year, people blasted them with the most insulting comments. Did THEY bow to the pressure and race her when they shouldn't have? No, they just kept to their schedule and marched on, all the way to the BC. And people wonder why I think highly of THAT team? It's not brain surgery or rocket science, folks!

17 Mar 2010 1:03 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

DRAYNAY's comments after Zenyatta wins the Breeder's Cup Classic 2010 at Churchill- "Big deal. It was a mile and a quarter. She had all that room to make up the distance she was behind. Plus she was older than the rest of the horses. Let's see her do it against horses her own age. How bout that? Huh? And let's see  her make up that much ground in a mile race at Emerald Downs. Or how bout getting that far behind in a 5 furlong turf race at GP and winning. She hasn't done that has she !! Has she!! Plus, what is it-18, 19 wins in a row. Big deal. She hasn't even won 20 in a row!!!! Yet you Pencil Neck Geeks call her a race horse. If Rachel was in there she would have won before Zenyatta reached the half mile pole then lapped her jogging out!! Nurse!!!!!"

17 Mar 2010 1:06 AM
Bellwether

PLEASE...NEVER...NEVER...NEVER...LEAVE OUT CITATION PAL...1948 & DON'T FORE GET IT...

17 Mar 2010 1:26 AM
Venceremos

In decades of watching horse races, I honestly cannot remember an owner pulling a healthy horse from an important race because the horse lost its prep by less than a length.  If somebody here can refresh my memory feel free, but give the actual race and the horses name, not just some vague "I'm sure its happened" type answer.

Bottom line, despite all his huffing and puffing and posturing and bragging, JESS JACKSON BLINKED.  Sportsman my (butt).  

17 Mar 2010 2:13 AM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

You're a scream! ANYONE ISN'T NORMAL THAT HARBORS A HATRED FOR AN ANIMAL! Your disdain for MTB and Zenyatta is only trumped by MY DISDAIN for people that hate animals!! Both horses' "burned" you last yr,so the real truth is if Zenyatta raced on rooftops you would find an excuse to undercut her amazing(and I did say amazing) talent. You stated on Jason's blog last week RA would win easily,then you go into spin control when it doesn't happen. I haven't heard you once  credit the Mosses' for bring Zenyatta back at six. Ra won't be racing at six, as a result for being cooked,if she's not already,thanks to your friends Jackson/ &Company. Let me educate you on class. Individuals' that possess the trait can admit when they are wrong. If RA was  hundred per cent and raced and beat Zenyatta,I wouldn't offer a million spins. I would say the better horse won. That's the difference,you would still slam Zenyatta no matter what! You aren't difficult to figure out.

17 Mar 2010 8:06 AM
Bob Z

This was the news on the 15th... Does anybody know if Rachel arrived in Oaklawn?

I don't know if this is old news... Maybe she didn't make the trip because JJ said she wasn't going to run in the Apple Blossom (?)

www.neworleans.com/.../352589-rachel-alexandra-comes-back-fine-will-ship-to-oaklawn-monday.html

NEW ORLEANS - Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra was in good order Sunday, the morning following her second-place finish to Zardana in the $200,000 New Orleans Ladies, and will ship to Oaklawn Park on Monday.

“She’ll walk Tuesday morning, go back to the track on Wednesday, and most likely her first breeze there will be on Monday,” Asmussen said.

If she did make the trip to Oaklawn that would be a good first step. At least the fans will get a chance to see her...

Now if she has a blowout workout...?

17 Mar 2010 8:27 AM
Shane

Before Z gets horse of the Decade she needs to win horse of the year.....and she hasn't so stop the crying.

17 Mar 2010 8:37 AM
draynot

I see draynay is back to bashing Zenyatta and has for now completely abandoned any reference to RA. I've heard it before and I agree this guy should be in politics. When things don't go your way do everything in your power to deflect the attention away from where you stood and were proven wrong. Attack something, anything to get the spotlight off your miscalculations. Be relentless in your attacks and put the others on the defensive. That way they will focus on that and hopefully forget how wrong you were.

He doesn't even rocognize the sea of "plastic" horses that have come east and won on dirt. The season is just beginning and those numbers grow almost daily. The man is certifiable the way he rants. I'd be willing to bet he prays and prays that Zenyatta will lose a race so he can explode with the I told you so crap. He's just not stable.

17 Mar 2010 9:43 AM
slyder

She sure doesn't fit with second string older "plastic" mares. They are too tough for her to handle.

mr pibb 16 Mar 2010 5:44 PM

Pibb,

Well said about RA!!

17 Mar 2010 9:49 AM
LAZMANNICK

Footlick

Great and honest post as always.

AMEN

17 Mar 2010 9:56 AM
LAZMANNICK

robinm

I get your point.  I'm not trying to dump on you and enjoy reading what you have to say.  LOL

17 Mar 2010 10:01 AM
Pasturelands

Gary at Roughcreek:

The BEST RACEHORSE IN NORTH AMERICA won the HOY 2009-- RACHEL ALEXANDRA.  So stop your whining, and just accept it.  

Zenyatta never won any major race on dirt, and she raced DIRT MALES on plastic (??) to win her ONLY SINGLE big race at the BCC in 2009.  And you call that "great" enuf to be HOY??

My dog can run backwards, so can you give him an award for Best Dog of the Year too??  HILARIOUS.

IF AND WHEN Zenyatta wins 3 dirt races against males in any MAJOR race track like Churchill or Saratoga, THEN AND ONLY THEN can Zen "claim" to be Rachel's best competition.

Right now, Zenyatta is just harping on what "could have been."  But until she puts her hoof where her mouth is, then she is just another champion mare like LIS or Serena's Song, maybe.

Being undefeated on plastic is NOT a big thing, coz MOST OF THE BEST runners NEVER EVER run there.  So, Dray is right-- until Zen runs and wins against males on dirt, her "undefeated" record means next to Nothing.  NADA. 0.  KAPUT.

 

17 Mar 2010 10:18 AM
LAZMANNICK

robinm

Regarding your comments about the BCC… None of the horses in the BCC were BRED to be synthetic specialists.  In fact, none of the horses currently racing in California or other tracks where synthetics have replaced dirt are synthetic specialists because the synthetic tracks have not been in use long enough to encourage such breeding……..I know in Europe where synthetics have been in use for a number of years they have started to breed horses towards racing on that surface (which might be difficult in N/A because not too many synthetic surfaces are the same).

That being said, all the horses that raced in the BCC had an equal advantage.   This bit about travel seems to be convenient now, but why was it not so convenient in past Breeders Cups before synthetics?  The argument about Cali horses having an advantage must be used for eastern horses having an advantage when Cali horses ship east and judging from the past few weeks, Cali horse are holding their own.  Could it be the horses themselves and not the surface?

The simple fact is that California horse quality is at the same high level it always was.  That is why Zenyatta’s victories can never be called hollow or the quality of her BCC win can not be questioned.  Rachel beats up an inferior group in the Woodward and some people call it the race for the ages.  Zenyatta beats up a superior group in the BCC and a great number of spoil sports do nothing but look for ways to undermine it......Just remember, she ran a slower race than the 2008 BCC winner Raven’s Pass by 1-1/2 seconds (2.00.62 as compared to 1.59.27) and yet received a higher Beyer (112 to 110)……LOL

17 Mar 2010 10:22 AM
Footlick

Thx Zookeeper.  I try not to say a whole lot anymore.

17 Mar 2010 11:09 AM
EMERALD

Rachel is finished, she was last year. Do you remember what she looked like after her last race? She had been pushed beyond her limit & will never be the same. It's a shame that her owners wanted to prove something & destroyed her in the process.

17 Mar 2010 12:16 PM
Gladiator

Vic S

You say that RA showed us what she is made of last weekend. Secetariat lost 4 times, Citation lost a bunch of times, so what were they made of?

17 Mar 2010 12:24 PM
Greg J.

     Wow, Over 400 comments!  I leave for awhile and some things never change.  It is amazing to me how many feel obligated to beat up either Zenyatta or Rachel to build up the other !  Actually, It is quite sad and getting SO old...

Gunbow,

    Your posts are brilliant as usual, Thank You!!!

Draynay,

    Umm, The complete opposite of Gunbow, Seriously, You need to get a clue...

A handfull of others(You know who you are), Class acts in your comments, Bravo...

Finally, My top eight Derby contenders are Lentenor, Backtalk, Drosselmeyer, Rule, Dublin, Lookin at Lucky, Eskendereya and Odysseus.  Lentenor is officially entered in the Florida Derby with Alan Garcia getting the mount(Thanks Eskendereya!!!).  After he wins the Florida Derby, The Kentucky Derby is next people...

17 Mar 2010 12:32 PM
Zookeeper

sherpa,

Wonderful, wonderful post!

Footlick,

I know you're sick of it... but your rebuttals are outstanding and need to be heard. If ONLY the haters (from both camps) were posting on these blogs, it would be a sad state of affairs and I certainly would not read and participate.

Pasturelands,

Your posts are as sick as Draynay's. Worse in fact, as you cannot come up with an original thought and "brilliantly" illustrate the concept of a copy cat. You're a sad, sad piece of work!

17 Mar 2010 12:35 PM
Splitsof12

There is no way that Odysseus should be rated number one. That slot should be reserved for Two-year-Old Champ and winner of the G2 Rebel stakes, Lookin At Lucky. LAL is one classy horse and showed he can overcome adversity as well as run on dirt. LAL and Noble's Promise threw down the fastest running of the Rebel since the great Smarty Jones. I have a feeling we are going to see LAL and NP throw it down like Alydar vs Affirmed or Sunday Silence vs Easy Goer, in the Triple Crown series. These two and maybe Eskendereya are by far the cream of the crop.  

17 Mar 2010 12:39 PM
Jason Shandler

Splitsof12: Im going to go out on a limb here and take a guess that you picked Kansas to win the NCAA. Also, that you love banging 6-5 shots at Aqueduct on a daily basis. How'd I do?

17 Mar 2010 12:56 PM
Deacon

Maybe if we all just ignore him, Draynay will go away.......it's worth a try. He is no more a fan of this sport then Jess Jackson.

Poor Rachel she deserves better.

Jackson should hire Dutrow as his trainer and then he could rename his stable "Barnum & Baily", no disrespect to them intended.

Great words Mr. Relva, my sentiments exactly.

17 Mar 2010 12:57 PM
draynot

pasturelands, or should I say draynay?

Who put the cowpie in your wheaties? Most of the best runners never run on plastic? I'll give you this, Zardana will never go down as anywhere near one of the best ever but she has raced on plastic and she has whipped RA. That makes her better in two ways than RA, she's won a head to head with her and she's won on multiple surfaces.

By the way all weiner dogs can run backwards so yours doing so is no big deal. They just don't know which end is which.

17 Mar 2010 1:08 PM
Zookeeper

Greg J.,

Hey! Welcome back. Was wondering where you were. Great news about Lentenor in the Florida Derby! Hope he does very well.

17 Mar 2010 1:12 PM
The Rock

Jason,

Any word on how Mr. Fantasy is training for his first time out tomorrow? We're getting rain in the south florida area now. I wonder if they'd run him on an off-track......

17 Mar 2010 1:18 PM
CV

Re: Draynay...

"I am tired of hearing how great Zenyatta is. all she does is win races in California on plastic."

And Pasturelands...

"until Zen runs and wins against males on dirt, her "undefeated" record means next to Nothing."    

As Zookeeper said earlier:

"The blind don't see, the deaf don't hear and the mentally challenged don't learn or they learn very slowly."

Dr Drunkinbum,

The "asylum" scenario was a scream! :)

17 Mar 2010 1:19 PM
CV

Greg J.,

Is Lentenor definite for the Florida Derby? I read Monday Michael Matz was uncertain, although Lentenor had a great workout on dirt.

My heart would love to see him run in the Kentucky Derby.

17 Mar 2010 1:31 PM
Shane

Just so you guys know....Zardana is UNDEFEATED on dirt! So your second string comparisons dont hold water. Also, she was a horse that was coming off a key race.....She will not beat Rachel again if they run. I really want to see the owner run her in the apple blossum, I dont think she can beat Zenyatta but I wanna see if they chance it.

17 Mar 2010 1:33 PM
Ragsy

Now, if Rachel Alexandra still goes to Oaklawn, whether she races or not, I must not miss the race and will go..just perhaps, I will get plenty of pictures and video's of 2 of my favorite horses:

    Rachel and Zenyatta...

LENTENOR # 1...............

17 Mar 2010 1:38 PM
Dona

Very good article by Jay Hovdey of the Drf on 3/14, titled Z Day. He's referring to Zardana and her not going to get the respect she deserves for her win. He also points out that the race was created for Rachel but Mr Arnold saw an opportunity to catch Rachel coming off a long layoff and suspected he might have a better chance with Rachel than Zanyatta. Give the man credit, he was right. By the way, how come nobody has pointed out that not one Breeders Cup winner has come back and won their first race of the new season except Zenyatta. With the exception of Goldikova, who is not due to start untill May 23rd in the Prix d'lspahan. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that's a prep race and neither was Zenyattas race.

Let's think a minute:

1. JJ and SA should be saying Rachel needed that race and will improve her next start - or

2. Rachel ran her eyeballs out, had nothing left and will not improve - or

3. She' done - or

4. JJ can not face the fact that Zenyatta will beat her and will never enter Rachel against her.

1 out of 4, I'll take number 4.

I still like Odysseus but if Lentenor should enter the Derby picture (I don't think he will), all bets are off.

17 Mar 2010 1:43 PM
Householder

Tcc The Musket Man-Noble's Promise analogy was due to the fact that Musket Man was NOT supposed to go that far.  He outran his pedigree.  I can't find where Cuvee ever won beyond a mile.  In fact I think he was last in the BC Juv. Just don't tell NP he can't run far.  

Zookeeper.  Gunbow is right on then.  If L at Lucky's best Beyer on synthetics was 91...one adds the standard error of measurement of +-6 and one obtains a 97.  

I think part of the frustration of the Zenyatta camp has been the inability to get to RA.  This continues.  Could Zenyatta enter the Oaks, Preakness, Haskell?  

17 Mar 2010 1:47 PM
The Rock

If Lentenor wins the Florida Derby, it would have to be considered one of the biggest upsets in the race's history, even though the parimutuels won't support that. I'm fine with him only have a maiden win under his belt, but without graded stakes experience, it'd really be a shocker. I know I'm not touching him in my exotics if he enters.

17 Mar 2010 1:48 PM
Pam S.

Zookeeper,

Your early AM post was wonderful.  (Emerald said the same thing, just a bit more bluntly).  I well remember all the criticism of the Mosses last summer and I admit that I too thought Zenyatta's racing itinerary should be "juiced up" a bit.  Let's face it, Rachel was just so darn flashy.  I changed my mind right before the BC and said so.  I have noticed that lately the criticism of the Mosses' decisions and the praise for the bold, ultimate sportsman Jess Jackson has dwindled.

After the BC, one of your and my favorite posters (not Draynay) posed the question, "Why didn't they (the Mosses) do this sooner?  What were they saving [Zenyatta] for?  Maybe now we all see the answer.

Horse of the Year 2009?  I agree with everyone who said it's over and should not be brought up any more.

Draynay?  I like to think of myself as tolerant of opposing viewpoints, but I can't help but notice he is becoming a minority of one! (Mike Relva, I applaud your post but there's just no convincing him!)

Finally, the current Derby favorite Esk.  (I'm a good speller but his name challenges me) should not have a 6-week break before the Derby so I think the re-routing to the Wood is a good idea. Also more time to avoid a bounce off the FOY.

17 Mar 2010 1:49 PM
mrknowitall

draynay,

you keep wailing like a child about RA beating older males. The ones she beat in the Woodward were nothing near special. In fact i'm here to say that none of them will ever win a G1 at 1 /1/8 or longer ever again. None of them have since and none of them will in the future. Winning that race just wasn't a big deal. As for being the only filly to win a Preakness, so what? only 2 or 3 have ever tried and they all finished in the top 3. if fillies had been trying year after year with no success then we'd have something. It means very little to crow about a win where others of her same sex just haven't tried. If they had tried every year she would not be the only one to do it.

17 Mar 2010 1:55 PM
mr pibb

shane,

Why bother running Zardana against RA again? She's already whipped her so has nothing to prove there.

No matter how you see it Zardana is Shirreffs second stringer. I'm sure he would not say she's better than the best horse in the world ZENYATTA but she is somewhere between RA and Zenyatta on that scale.

17 Mar 2010 1:59 PM
slyder

Jason,

whatcha say we change the sugject?

Brett Favre (he's coming back)rules and Peyton Manning (he of the ultimate choke in the biggest game if his life) drools!!

17 Mar 2010 2:04 PM
Dona

Pasturelands, Draynay whatever....

This california gal has a 22 lb yellow cat named Sammy that's gonna bitch slap those backward runing dogs of yours if you don't stop dissing Zenyatta and get some respect. AND, if you think Sammy can't do it, ask his little adopted brother Rocky the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Rocky taught Sammy all his butt kicking ways!

17 Mar 2010 2:04 PM
Greg J.

CV,

   Yes, It is Official, Here is the Field for the Florida Derby:

Lentenor

Rule

Best Actor

First Dude

Game On Dude

Ice Box

Miner's Reserve

Pleasant Prince

Pulsion

Radiohead

Soaring Empire

Lentenor to win, Rule second...

17 Mar 2010 2:20 PM
Carlos in Cali

Odysseus is headed in the right direction,the dude is obviously still learning the game and has loads of untapped ability. That's why they should continue to prepare him for the Derby w/another prep in the Wood Memorial which is shaping-up to be a tough field. He needs a little bit more seasoning and the competition will tell the tale. I'm not keen on the idea of having him trained up to the Derby off a 7wk gap & not having a 1 1/8 race under his belt for such an inexperienced horse. Albertrani mentioning that if he'd ran Odysseus in a longer race for his debut,the horse would be undefeated. I think that speaks volume as to how high they think of him.

I also think re-routing Eskendereya towards the Wood is a good move. But,I think his and Rule's somewhat similar high cruising speed/front running tactics would've compromised each other if they were to meet in Fla. I doubt their connections wanted such a taxing race before the Derby,just my opinion. Plus, Dublin regressed a little like I thought he would,anyways he's starting to look more like a Miler than a Classic type horse to me. How many excuses will this over-hyped horse be given?...L at L won on pure class like I said he would,he's for real.

Re: Zenyatta vs. RA

I'm not surprised,..they know the filly is not,has not and won't ever be in the same league as the Great Amazonian Mare. Zenyatta is a once in a lifetime type of horse. It doesn't matter who or where she races,she will not get beat. I've never been a Zenyatta head-cheerleader but, I know when something special is on the track and she's one of the greatest of all time bar none.

....... Draynay's a joke!

17 Mar 2010 2:25 PM
Tony Bada Bing

A day or so later...

I'm relaxed...making lists is what horse racing fans do this time of year and opinions (and backing them up with wagers) is what makes the industry spin round. If Odysseus makes it to the starting gate on May 1 and wins, I'll applaud your forward thinking and brillance. And maybe he is all that, but remember Curlin had a similar path and was unable to win the Derby. Undoubtedly a super horse just not a Derby winner...

17 Mar 2010 2:34 PM
Mike Relva

PASTURELANDS

One thing I agree w/you that you said,yes your dog SHOULD win Dog Of The Yr. Award just for having to live in your home! lol

17 Mar 2010 3:03 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

CV-Thank you !!!!

ZOOKEEPER

   I think we're betting twins. I have lost a lot and won a lot going by a horse's looks. Leaning a lot more toward paper picks AGAIN now but will always be on the lookout for that "ready for the race of a lifetime" great looking longshot. Check out Da Tara in the post parade of the 2008 Belmont if you have that on tape.

17 Mar 2010 3:28 PM
tcc

Householder:

Before Barbaro, would not usually use a horse with Carson City in the horse's pedigree,as he produce's more speed than stamina, in Barbaro's case it was stamina over speed, in N.P.'s case it is speed over stamina, not sure how far of distance this will carry him or NOT even saying he will win.

Sidney's Candy seem's to have distance limitaion's along with Alphie's Bet ,but they might be a couple of horse's to outrun their pedigree's.

Greg J.

I'm still not sure of which to go with Lentenor, will he like Barbaro, or like Nicanor?

17 Mar 2010 4:07 PM
DinkyDiva

I got to thinking more about the AppleBlossom and yah know, JJ is pretty wishy/washy and who knows, might change his mind again.

Now, I am soooo happy to see that Lentenor will be in the Florida Derby.  He's got a stiff amount of competion though that he will have to over come.  I don't know if he can beat Rule but, I'm for Lentenor and hope to see him go for the Derby!

Draynay: get a life and a clue!  Zen has won EVERY RACE she has ran!  How does that not make her one of the ALL TIME FAVORITES??  Could you beat her?  lol ...  I truly think that she is unstoppable no matter who her oppostion is and no matter where!

17 Mar 2010 4:28 PM
Greg J.

tcc,

   Don't quite understand your question?  Nicanor was going into the Virginia Derby after he won two in a row, But he got hurt.  Expect him to race within the next two weeks after a 9 month lay off, He should run huge on the turf all year...

17 Mar 2010 4:43 PM
GunBow

1)Let's stop bashing Rachel and Zenyatta.

1a) First, people claiming Rachel is nothing but a glorified sprinter come across as ridiculous as those that dminish everything Zenyatta has done because most of her races have been on synthetic.  Rachel won a "classic", the Preakness, and won 4 gr.1 races at 9 furlongs.  That's 5 gr.1 wins at 9 furlongs or more.  How many does Zenyatta have?  5 as well.  

Rachel had an amazing year and deserved, at the least, a share of the Horse of the Year(I too wish she and Zenyatta could have shared it).  I do not believe Zenyatta supporters should be upset that Rachel won HoY, but that nothing was done by the racing establishment for the two great females to share the award. And if there is a beef to be had, it should be with Curlin in 2008 and not Rachel in 2009.  Curlin was a nice horse, probably the best male horse of the decade, but his 2008 was nothing special; Rachel was truly special in 2009.  

1b) The people bashing Zenyatta are bringing nothing new to the table.  They forget she beat Eclipse champion and SIX-time gr.1 winner, Ginger Punch, on dirt, and that in the BC Classic Zenyatta beat the winners of the following synthetic gr.1 races: Santa Anita Handicap(Einstein, won the Big Cap at same distance and same track as BC), SA Derby(Colonel John, also  2nd in gr.1 Goodwood at SA right before BC), and Pacific Classic(Richards Kid,  also won the gr.2 San Antonio at SA in early 2010).  The race also featured gr.1 turf winners Gio Ponti(ran 2nd), Twice Over(3rd), and Rip Van Winkle.  And if Gio Ponti, Richard's Kid, and Twice Over don't like synthetics, we are they being pointed to the Dubai World Cup on synthetic?

2) As for all races in Cali being meaningless and all horses running in Cali worthless, are we to believe that because Lookin at Lucky, Noble's Promise, Amen Hallelujah, Freedom Star, and Conveynace recently won on dirt, they, overnight, became legitimate horses?  Are we to believe that they haven't been this good all along, even when running on synthetics?  Such logic is flawed and inconsistent.  

3) As for our favorite Zenyatta basher, can't people realize that as long as he's setting the terms of greatness, he will always make it so that Zenyatta doesn't qualify?  First, she had to beat males.  Although he picked against Zenyatta, when she actually won the BC Classic he discredited the accomplishment by claiming she was the only horse in the field who liked the track(why didn't he recognize this, if true, before the race and bet Zenyatta to win?).  He has constantly railed against her for not winning on dirt, even though she won a dirt race, a gr.1 no less, in her 4th career start.  Now, even winning another Apple Blossom on dirt won't be good enough. No, Zenyatta must win at Saratoga, Belmont and Chruchill.  Mark my words, if Zenyatta ever wins at Saratoga, he'll claim she still needs to win at Belmont.  And if she wins at Belmont, he'll say she still needs to win at Churchill.  And if she wins at Churchill, he'll come up with some other standard she needs to meet.  It will never end.  

This is why this is not being directed at him.  It's being directed at those who try to reason and argue with him. Please, give up.  You can't control everybody.  Move on to something that is actually worthwhile and productive.

4) Householder: Yes, I noticed Lookin at Lucky's Rebel Beyer is 6 points superior to his previous best.  This, even though he was not close to being 100%(according to Baffert), was making his first start outside Cali, and almost fell on the backstretch.

Not every horse running on synthetic will successfully make the transition to dirt.  But those that do can be expected to run about 6-7 Beyer points faster on dirt.

5) One final thing about Rachel.  What Jess Jackson and Steve Asmussen asked Rachel to do last year was remarkable.  I almost couldn't believe that Rachel kept rising to the moment.  In comparison to what Rachel was asked to do last year, the task she was given in the NO Ladies was truly unremarkable.  Was it easy? No.  But was it like winning the Haskell by 6 and then coming back and winning the Woodward against older males while running the first quarter in :22 and change?  Certainly not.

And this is what concerns me about Rachel's performance in the NO Ladies.  Last year, Rachel proved herself a horse capable of truly amazing things.  Her task in the NO Ladies, while challenging, was hardly amazing.  One would have thought the Rachel of last year would have been able to handle it with ease.  This is why she was made the 1-20 favorite and why most if not every major handicapper and writer picked her to win.  Even knowing she probably wasn't 100%, Jackson and Asmussen also fully expected her to win; their comments about "disappointment" reflect this.  People can spin it however they want, but I believe that the Rachel of last year wins that race.  Now, it's up to Asmussen and Jackson to figure out why she is not where they expected her to be and work to get her back to her 2009 level.

17 Mar 2010 5:05 PM
LMAO!!

For those of you who comment on D*** (nameless), you are acknowleding that he even exists. I scroll right thru his, and the other "neg" posters, who are still showing their SHORTNESS - and I don't mean in height :-)

Maybe there's a blog for these people to whine and complain day in and day out... I can picture them laying awake at night wondering what they can post to get the world's attention? LOL

Opinion is one thing - down right nasty and rude it another!!!!

These people bore me - YAWN!

17 Mar 2010 5:14 PM
Pepinjean

I don't believe Rachel will ever run against Zenyatta.  As Asmussen said, "If we didn't think she would win, we wouldn't enter her in the race".  What does it prove when you only put your horse in a race where she's sure to win?  Not a lot of confidence in your horse.

Zenyatta for Horse of the Decade!!!

17 Mar 2010 5:18 PM
Exterminator

Draynay,

It is better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

17 Mar 2010 5:22 PM
Assault

Pasturelands,

The east coast has a main track record of "0 for 42" at the Breeders Cup (Santa Anita) during the last 2 years.

Zenyatta has never lost at Santa Anita (7-0) and 15-0 lifetime.

What else would you like to talk about?

17 Mar 2010 5:34 PM
Mike Relva

GREG J

Hey,where you've been?

17 Mar 2010 5:49 PM
jim

Sherpa

Regarding Russell Baze(he's the neighbor of a friend of mine) you are forgetting one thing he had gone to S.Cal in the 90's for i guess 2 years and returned complaining he that he was not happy there since he was not getting much mounts & that he hardly got any good horses there. Yet those same riders went for Gary Stevens, etc.

17 Mar 2010 7:03 PM
Vic S

To Gladiator,

No I didn't say we saw what Rachel was made of. I said great horses don't need excuses when faced with adversity.  I even gave examples of bad training (Sea Bird and Tiznow prior to Arc and BC Classic) and how both horses overcame this against even rougher competition.  Then I said Seattle Slew's Derby showed us that he didn't need an excuse even after being slammed against the gate, sweating out, and then getting sandwiched at the start, yet he rushed up and bumped horses out of his way and won the KENTUCKY DERBY not the New Orleans Ladies.  My point was Rachel's excuse was BS anyone with a brain can see that she simply got beat by a better horse on the day.  Had Zardana not been in there she wins by 11.  She also ran same time as she ran last year.  No excuses, play like a champion.  As for Secretariat, if you actually knew about my past posts you would see I am staunch person against Secretariat's loses.  His so called temperature when he lost to Onion is BS, really when you lose by only 3/4 your temperatures don't get in the way, had he lost by 5 or 10 ten lengths then temperatures are an excuse.  Prove Out had a freak race when he beat him in the Wood and I don't think Secretariat could handle the pressure Prove Out made on him in that race.  Secretariat's only excuses would be his DQ (which I personally don't count against him), his maiden (sandwiched), and his abcess in the Wood Memorial, but both later loses on dirt at 3 years old were both BS.  Anyone can see that when you horse loses you don't want his stock to drop no matter how he works or what so called temperature he has.  Secretariat was a great horse but the old adage is "no excuses".  As for Citation, are we going to really count his loses against him while he was running on literally 3 legs after his 3 year old season?  I bet you didn't know it was a common even daily occurance for him to come back lame from a race or even a workout.  The ill informed don't know what they are talking about.  In a full field of all time greats I'm sure Secretariat would do great due to a fast pace and not so much pressure on him (as showed in both loses at 3 on dirt where he failed to win).  In a head to head iron match, he'd simply get wooped.  Had he been in Slew's shoes in the 78' JCGC, you would have seen  him (Secretariat) lose by several lengths, probably not even in top 2 places.  IMO the greatest 1 1/2 ever was Slew's LOSE to Exceller by a nose, even on a slow muddy track with a fast as heck pace, he still almost battled back after getting passed by 1/2 length to lose by a nose.  As Mr. Taylor said of his great steed "That shows what he'll throw in his foals, the heart of a racehorse."  He was dead on.  Simply, Rachel shouldn't have lost no matter how "supposedly" bad she was training if she is all-that.  Zenyatta had a worse trip than Rachel (who had a perfect, uneventful trip), and still won EASED.  Zenyatta rules.

17 Mar 2010 7:15 PM
Ranagulzion

CARLOS IN CALI,

I noticed your handicapping reputation got ressusitated last week end, thanks to "Lucky" edging out Noble's Promise and Odysseus nosing out Schoolyard Dream and a gutsy Super Saver.  Anyway don't gloat too much now because the days of reckoning are fast approaching (LOL)

Odysseus is not a Derby horse.  He is still behind the eighth ball friend.

17 Mar 2010 7:18 PM
splitsof12

jsandler,

Actually you got it wrong. I have Syracuse winning it all, and I don't bet 6/5 shots. I've been studying 3-year-olds on the Derby trail for 20 years. And let me tell you something. I've only called the winner stone cold three times. Silver Charm at 4-1, who I saw lose to Deeds not Words in a maiden special weight race at Del Mar on the day Cigar was denied his 17th consecutive victory. 8 months later he won the Kentucky Derby. Next it was Funny Cide at 12-1. I remember in the Wood when he lost to Empire Maker, he got passed but saw EM on his outside, he dug back in and ran even with him aster the wire. I knew from that day's effort he would win the Derby. And I had Giacomo at 50-1. I watched this horse all year hit the board in Graded races but never win. He never embarrassed himself either. Giacomo usually never lost by more than 2 lengths. You could tell he was sitting on a big one.

With this years crop, Lookin at Lucky is the most consistent runner. He lays it down everytime, and has proved in his last two races that he can close from off the pace. Remember when Baffert, got second with Cavonnier and then won his first Derby with Silver Charm, the following year. Well deja vu. Pioneer of the Nile gets second place in last years Derby, and Lookin at Lucky, well, only time will tell. But I'm going to say that we are about to witness our first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed. Lookin at Lucky, Triple Crown Winner. Yes, that sounds right  

17 Mar 2010 7:31 PM
GunBow

I don't know if others have discovered this as well, but I just noticed that the original chart for the Tampa Bay Derby was wrong.  The 6th place horse, Tuvia's Force, finished 6.75 lengths behind 5th place Uptowncharlybrown, not one length as originally reported(as indicated by the original chart).

As myself and Steve Haskin pointed out, based on the orignial chart for the TB Derby, all 7 horses in the field were separated by 4 lengths at the wire.  This turns out to be incorrect.

When I watched the race live at Santa Anita, I was focusing on the finish, so didn't pay attention to the last 2 horses.  When I watched the stretch run a 2nd time, I concentrated on Odysseus to see how exactly he grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat.  Before I made my first comments on the race, I looked at the chart to see the fractions, complete order of finish, and margins between the horses.

The chart indicated that Slammy Boy and Tuvia's Force were beaten only 1 length by Uptowncharlybrown for 5th and a total of about 3.75 lengths by Odysseus.  With the slow closing fractions, I interpreted this clumping as a reflection of mediocre performances by the top finishers, particularly since Slammy Boy was 112-1.

However, when watching a replay of the stretch run of the TB Derby again on "And They're Off", I noticed that Slammy Boy and Tuvia's Force appeared to much further back of Uptowncharlybrown at the wire than just a length.  Turns out they were, in fact, much further back.

The correct margin between Uptowncharlybrown and Slammy Boy now shown on the official chart is 6.75 lengths.  So, instead of being spearated by 3.75 lengths, the TB Derby field was actually spearated by 9.5 lengths, a big difference.

This certainly makes me feel better about Odysseus and the top finishers, and reinforces my decision to not toss out the race(as I was inclined to do after watching it live).  However, it really doesn't change may overall impression.  I still think Odysseus would have lost to an elite horse; had Schoolyad Dreams been a top tier contender and not hung, Odysseus would not have been able to get back up for the win.  

There are two other reasons I'm dubious of the quality of the TB Derby field.  First, I didn't like how slow the closing fractions were.  Tampa can be a tiring track, and the pace for the TB Derby was fairly strong, but visually the field appeared to be staggering somewhat in the stretch, at least until Odysseus switched leads and re-rallied.  Secondly, while the last two horses, both longshots, were well beaten, the top 5 were only separated by 2.75 lengths.  This includes 4th place finisher Gleam of Hope, a 42-1 outsider that was only beaten half a length by Super Saver for 3rd and 1 length by Odysseus for the win.  

As for the runner-up, Schoolyard Dreams, and 5th place finisher, Uptowncharlybrown, both had just been spanked by Rule in the Sam Davis; Schoolyard Dreams finished 2nd beaten 3 lengths by Rule and Uptowncharlybrown ran 3rd beaten 4 lengths.  Schoolyard Dreams earned a 93 Beyer in the Sam Davis, so he didn't run any faster in the TB Derby(also a 93).  

Both Rule and Odysseus faced the same Schoolyard Dreams.  One, Rule, easily beat him by 3, while the other was all-out to win the narrowest of photos.  Odysseus may have more upside than Rule, and may be more versatile(can Rule rate?), but the preps at Tampa suggest that Rule is much further along than Odysseus at this point.

Of the top 5 horses in the TB Derby, I think it reasonable to expect that Oysseus and Super Saver will improveme the most next time out.  Super Saver was making his seasonal debut and first start in about 3.5 months.  While Super Saver must still demonstrate he's capable of rating, and must finish much better than he did in the TB Derby, I would think he would be tighter and more fit in his final prep.

Odysseus demonstrated alot of heart and determination coming back to win.  Clearly, this horse has some talent and class.  Lightly raced, Odysseus was making his stakes debut in the TB Derby, so one would expect him to keep getting better over the next few months.  Odysseus definitely has potential, but I'm not sure he's up to facing the very best horses of his crop, at least right now.  Fortunately for his connections, Odyseus doesn't need to be the best right now, he needs to be the best come May.  I still believe Odysseus faces an uphill battle, but he does have a shot.  He is not my top selection, but he definitely is a contender.    

17 Mar 2010 7:51 PM
Aluminaut

Pasturelands....I thought your dog was a Schnauzer..oh wait, that was Draynay....or...I'm so confused.  

Anyway, I have an Irish Wolfhound and that might not notice if he stepped on your dash-hound.  He'd probably think he only put on one slipper.....

Dr. Drunkinbum--It's St. Patrick's day, shouldn't you be out drinking?

I know I just knocked back my second cocktail when I noticed Da'tara in the post parade pre-Belmont.  Being partial to Tiznows, I bet him for me and for my brother.  I was the only one at Surfside Satellite in Del Mar jumping up and down and yelling from the final turn all the way down the stretch.

Yes, sometimes people ask me, "How old are you, 5?"  

Haven't found my Derby horse yet.  I did bet MTB in the Breeder's Cup in 2008 and he ran last.  I had a couple bucks on him in the Derby, but nothing to brag about.  A friend bet MTB heavy across the board, and my brother & I stayed up late trying to diswade.......

Life is fine.....You're all the best.  Well, most of you.

17 Mar 2010 8:10 PM
seatariat

You guys are a passionate bunch of fans! I'm a total Zenyatta fan but I do also really appreciate Rachel and have since I first saw her run. But Zenyatta has brought fans to horse racing just like Secretariat did. I've shown her races to people who didn't care about racing including my daughters and now they all want to know when Zenyatta is running next. And as far as Rachel is concerned I've heard everyone say her season last year was one for the ages, but to me it was the most reckless things I have ever seen done to a three year old filly of this caliber. JJ ran that poor thing too many times and in too many hard races for the sole purpose of getting HOTY without going to the Breeders Cup. RA last race was hard for me to watch, it made me want to horse whip JJ.  As far as her race on Saturday, I just don't know what they were thinking. They say she is just so special and we will listen to her and then they go and rush her through her works and then they try and change her running style. I truly think the race would have played out differently had she been allowed to run like Calvin always runs her. As far as the Apple Blossom, I didn't want it to happen yet anyway, would love to see the showdown at BC because as good as Rachel is she can't get the distance of the classic, but we know that Zenyatta can, ok she can win at any distance. Plus I figure that is the only way to shut up Draynay...well maybe.

17 Mar 2010 8:42 PM
Paula Higgins

DinkyDiva, we are agreed that neither one of us wants to see a horse raced that isn't in shape or ready. No argument. The LAST thing I ever want to see is a horse breakdown. So we can agree on that.

The Apple Blossom will be wonderful with Zenyatta and Bambera in it. It will be a great race with just the Zenster.

I would love to see Lentenor win the Florida Derby. It would gladden my heart to see Barbaro's brother shine.

17 Mar 2010 8:46 PM
helsbelles

Looking at my pictures of Zardana-dana-dana prior to the Santa Maria.... she's sending out the message:  "I am somebody.  I am going to do something great."  Everyone else was on the opposite side looking at Life is Sweet, but Zardana wouldn't let me go there.  She was screaming:  "Look at me, I am a champion!"... and darn, if she didn't prove it.  Sorry GunBow if I offended you with my fist-pumping and screams of utter joy for Zardana-dana-dana!  

17 Mar 2010 8:57 PM
beauvoir

What, is this a west coast blog???

Are the people there so desperate for a "big" winner (finally) that they have to trash a filly like Rachel Alexander.

Be nice..a day will come that Zenyatta has a less than stellar day. Then what??? I guess she's goes in the trash pile too...how sad.

17 Mar 2010 8:59 PM
tcc

Greg J.

What I was wondering is that will Lentenor be more like Barbaro and excel on both dirt and turf, or like Nicanor who seemed to do a little better on the turf than on the dirt.

17 Mar 2010 9:31 PM
Zookeeper

beauvoir,

Rachel AlexandRA. She deserves for her fans to say & spell her name correctly and a lot more... What's that old saying? "You can say whatever you want about me, just spell my name right!" or something to that effect.

I'm a Zenyatta fan, I don't think she's unbeatable and there's NO way she's going to the trash can if that ever occurs. By the way, I feel the same way about Rachel AlexandRA.

17 Mar 2010 9:50 PM
CV

Greg J.,

Lentenor breaks from the No. 2 post position. Do you think that will help or hurt him?

Gunbow,

You mention the New Orleans Ladies paled in comparison to the difficulties of Rachel's last season. One has to wonder if the difference was the main who conditioned her for most of her races last year, Hal Wiggins. She was a ready-made racehorse when Steve Asmussen got her.

Is it possible the tough campaign could have burned her out, even though she had several months off before coming back?

17 Mar 2010 9:55 PM
The Rock

Jason,

Thanks for answering all my questions on your article about Mr. Fantasy. Forecast calls for scattered showers, but i think we'll have a fast track tomorrow regardless. Now I just need to find the horse to place behind in my exotics.

17 Mar 2010 9:59 PM
jon

I looked at the top 10 Derby list and Lentenor is missing. I think Odysseus would struggle in the Derby and Lookin At Lucky is too overhyped. Lentenor is the potential Triple Crown winner of the crop of 3 year olds-no other colt or filly comes close to the speed, stamina he'll need for the Belmont, or sheer talent.

Lentenor turned in a bullet work for The Florida Derby, which scared away Eskendereya's connections, and left Lentenor facing a group of suspect 3 year olds, one of whom is trained by Todd Pletcher, who has 1000 3 year olds in training or whatever obscene number of horses he has out of sheer greed.

I think Lentenor will take to the dirt like a fish to water, obliterate the Florida Derby field, and move on to bigger and better things. The rest are just fill-ins to take 2nd or 3rd in whatever race Lentenor runs in. He doesn't need a prep to win a prep...that is absurd since he has the talent to win anything thrown at him on dirt....

17 Mar 2010 10:01 PM
Tim G

tcc, Calvin will be riding those Wayne is sending to Turfway.

17 Mar 2010 10:08 PM
GunBow

splitsof12:

I had completely forgotten that Silver Charm made his debut the same day Cigar lost the Pacific Classic.  2 of the best champions of the 90s running the same day!

What makes this realization so interesting for me is that I was at Del Mar that day.  I probably have the program packed away, so I can't be sure when I arrived that day; Silver Charm ran in the 3rd race.  Typically, I arrive after the 2nd or 3rd race, but on that day I was anticipating a big crowd, and I remember trying to get there early.  Traffic can often be bad moving south on the I-5, so I would need to see the program to verify if I was there for Silver Charm's race.  But I believe I vaguely remember a Lukas maiden winning impressively(Deeds not Words).  Cool.

17 Mar 2010 10:09 PM
Draynay

Gunbow sometimes you sound like you couldn't make it out of the first grade.  Others just post nonsense without knowing any of the HISTORY of racing.  What Rachel did last year for example is beat TWO Belmont champions in the same year.  A FILLY DID THAT !!! When was the last time ANY HORSE did that? The filly won the Woodward something no filly had ever done and she won from the outside post in the Preakness something NO HORSE had ever done. She ran in the mud in the Haskell and nearly set the track record in the nasty mud.  What has pretty little diva Zenyatta done?  She has beaten up on California horses while running on nice clean plastic.  Yes I remember she went out to Churchill to run but the minute a little mud showed up she ran back in the barn like a little chicken.  Heaven forbid should the little diva get muddy.  Come May, June and July when the real running is done where will Zenyatta be ?  Until she wins at Belmont, Churchill, and Saratoga where all the greats have won she is nothing more then a glorified Pepper's Pride that took advantage of the Breeders Cup being run on a surface the last 2 years that most horses can't run on. Wow look at the great Zenyatta running down a bunch of over matched fillies...Big deal !  I don't care how many more races she wins on the plastic stuff.  Go to the big races win on dirt and then tell me how wonderful she is.  But she won't will she Mr. Moss? She will continue to run in the little races and avoid the big ones at Belmont, Churchill, and Saratoga.  Well guess what THIS YEAR the Breeders Cup is run on real ground and you and me both know she has no shot of beating the best on dirt.  You think I am wrong Mr. Moss ?  Bring her to Churchill and run her in the Classic, I dare you. I double dare you.

17 Mar 2010 10:22 PM
Zookeeper

Hey! GunBow,

Glad you're back. I was glad to see Lucky do well Saturday. Wonder what speed figure he would have gotten if he had had a better trip. Do they take "trouble" into account when they assign these figures? I know I should know that, but I don't. Sorry!

17 Mar 2010 10:26 PM
Jason Shandler

Jon: Well, it is St. Patty's Day. Sounds like you started your holiday early this morning. That would explain your delusions and inability to make any real sense. Come back tomorrow when you are in the right mindset. Get some sleep my friend.

17 Mar 2010 10:32 PM
Beverly Donahoo

Horses can't help who owns or trains them.  If Rachel's owner doesn't wantto run her in a race, then don't run her!!!  He's paying the bills.  At least he's not making snippy, caustic remarks.  Moss didn't win the HOY in 2009.  

Grow up, shut up and show some class.  And we, the FANS?, need to quit bashing Rachel and/or Zenyatta.  Not many horses can accomplish what they both have accomplished.  Zenyatta's jock got her in a tight spot and he's lucky something bad didn't happen and Rachel ran when she wasn't fit enough and perhaps wasn't ready to run after her lay-off.  Mis-spoke in an earlier message.  It takes a minimum of 90 days, not 60, to get a horse close to ready to run.  That's providing everything goes as planned - horse, weather etc,

17 Mar 2010 10:36 PM
Zookeeper

Draynay,

You choose the BEST there is to dump on... I know it's St. Patrick's day but I think you are green with ENVY not Irish pride.

17 Mar 2010 10:39 PM
anniedixie65

I am a die hard Zenyatta fan, BUT I am SICK and TIRED of both sides ranting like they do! RA fans seem to be the worst putting Z down because she has raced in CA for so long. Obviously RA either wasn't ready or is done, but only a few more works will tell. I know RA couldn't beat Z on a day she was 100%, but it has been said sooo many times that I myself am sick of hearing it.

As for you Z bashers(i.e. Shane, Draynay etc.), I absolutely can't stand ANY of you! You have no facts whatsoever! She puts on a show everytime, idk but do you enjoy being surrounded by depression and losers? Because you can't stand a constant winner? Why are you bashing a horse that has done absolutely NOTHING wrong? Did she come to your house and kick you where it hurts? Didn't think so. SO LAY OFF!

17 Mar 2010 10:39 PM
robinm

Everyone who believes the 2009 BCC field was "strong" is entitled to their assessment as am I.  I just don't believe the best "dirt" horses showed up at SA and don't believe they ever will unless the track goes back to a dirt surface.  The 2nd and 3rd place finishers were grass horses who had to travel a considerable distance to compete.  They made a very good showing, but they weren't top "dirt horses", which is my point.

Sherpa; thanks for the dose of sanity.

17 Mar 2010 10:49 PM
brettzky99

I'll give you a LOCK concerning Lentenor.  His entry would do more for a sponsor in the post parade than Quality Road breaking the track record last year.  It looks as if Blackberry gave up the title sponsor, bad handicapping.  Besides, a luke warm field at best...he has a chance to be in the money, although most likely will be shorter than the morning line.

17 Mar 2010 11:07 PM
ZJ

One thing I have seen in Zenyatta that I love is the way she pricks her ears when she's clear and on her way to the wire. You can tell that she loves what she does and it is just incredible.... every photo and race replay I have seen, her ears are up the minute she gets that lead... I love it. Cross my fingers that I hope to be live at the Breeders Cup this fall for the first time ever and I hope that I get a glimpse of her. I envy those who see her in person because I know the pictures and replays don't do her justice.

Although I am not sure what his Derby chances are, I look forward to seeing Fearless Cowboy at it this weekend in the Swale. I like D'Funnybone in there, too.

The Florida Derby is a nice one. I love four horses in here; Best Actor, Lentenor, Rule and Soaring Empire.

I also haven't fogotten about Pulsion. I like Nakatani on him.

17 Mar 2010 11:31 PM
Zookeeper

Do you guys know that Bambera is running Saturday at GP? She drew post 1 in the Rampart Stakes, G3 at 1 1/8 miles.

I don't know where I've been, but I didn't know that. Can't wait to see her.

17 Mar 2010 11:31 PM
Tom

Is Rachel Alexandra more hype than substance?

Note:

Every horse in the 2009 Woodward Stakes came back and lost their next start.

17 Mar 2010 11:43 PM
animallover

I hope to see the CRK Stable's entry Privilaged run well in the Swale. I love his daddy Southern Image very much. I love that there is the line cross to In Reality in him .... as I love its presence in horses like Tiznow, etc. In Reality is almost a forgotten commodity.

Off topic, I love that Rags to Riches had a baby colt and that she is doing well.I loved the update on the BH. I was wondering where she was. I hope they give him a good name for being born on St. Patrick's in Ireland. I saw Galileo in person a couple years ago at Coolmore (the stallion she's to be bred to next) and he's something else. I have no doubt that they'll have a beautiful resulting foal. Okay side trip done lol.

17 Mar 2010 11:43 PM
The Rock

Well put Jason. What was he smoking? Looking at Lucky is overhyped? Maybe he had sipped a big too much kool aid from the "Tracking Barbaro's Brothers" blog.

I'm looking forward to the Christine Daae/Amen Hallelujah matchup on saturday. Just not sure which order its going to come in. I really like the way AH was toying with Bickersons last time, and this is a big step up for CD. But she's got the route experience, and that goes a long way. Devil May Care kind of lost it at the Fair Grounds last time out. I'll be watching her closely in the paddock to see if she keeps her composure. Ice Cold Tri - AH - CD - DMC, with a slight reverse on the 2nd and 3rd spots.

As much as Rule seems to outclass the field in the Florida Derby, I'm really interested in Miner's Reserve. I caught this horse in a big exacta when he broke his maiden last time out and he did it impressively and faster than Radiohead's mile time the same day. This horse relaxed nicely on the lead and he should be able to rate kindly off the leaders saturday if need be. Another horse that won the same day, Game on Dude, was more visually impressive than anything else that day. His time was 1 second slower than Miner's Reserve, but Jeremy Rose didn't move a muscle on him, and he had plenty reserved in the tank. I'm not usually a big fan of horses with one victory to their credit jumping into a G1 stakes unless they have prior graded stakes experience ( ie:Giacomo), but these two I would definitley keep an eye on.

17 Mar 2010 11:54 PM
Vic S

Draynay,

Your post to GunBow is ridiculous. How about I act like you do --  Bring Rachel to synthetics, come on.  Almost every great modern day horse takes a trip out to Cali were big money races are.  She's not ducking the synthetics or is she?? She is ducking Zenyatta no doubt about that. Rachel's last race was the PERFECT prep for the Applesblossom - yet they pull her why??? They will lose to Zenyatta.  No horse likes getting beat, especially in a dual.  Zenyatta has raced vastly superior horses (Gio Ponti, an older Summer Bird, Life is Sweet, a mare of true quality not the Alabama sprinters, Rip Van Winkle, etc.).  So who is really ducking who?  Anyone could see last year that Rachel ducked the 1 1/4 Travers.  The Travers is MUCH more historic and prestigious than the Woodward and had far superior horses running.  The Wood horses were weak older G1 Male winners who only had their G1 wins due to NO real older males running last year - someone had to win the races they ran in.  O yeah, what has Da Tara ever done BEFORE and AFTER the 08' Belmont - NOTHING.  So how about you use logic instead of simply saying Rachel beat 2 Belmont winners.  Until Rachel races at Delmar, Hollywood Park, Santa Anita, etc. I don't think we can call her great. - (I'm just kidding she is a great horse but that is to the extent of which you are talking about Zenyatta) Both horses are great, it is CLEAR that Zenyatta is FAR superior to Rachel, she has proven this 15 straight times.  You must not know the history of racing.  Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, Swaps, etc. all came to California to strut their stuff.  These horses all solidified their greatness in California NOT on the east coast as 4 yr olds. (Swaps won everything in sight, Spectacular Bid won the Strub, Cap, etc., Affirmed went and ran his series of wins out there in his final racing season).  Point being, you must also look at history to find REALITY.  Also going back to Rachel's wins, yes she won the Preakness but who challenged her for the lead that day NO ONE, she got her normal fractions and still only won by 1 length against MTB who has yet to win since!  So is Big Brown an all-time great for winning from the 20 post?? Not IMO.  Um, about the 2 belmont winners, Rachel got a very weak Da Tara, then Summer Bird was weak after winning the Belmont going into the Haskell, did you see him in the fall - she wouldn't have touched him - especially at 1 1/4.  Last horse to beat 2 belmont winners well lets see - considering the Belmont winners of 07, 06, 05, 04, were all retired their 3 yr old seaons it has been awhile.  Two beat two Belmont winners is no big deal.  Two beat two dual classic winners is bigger but we still must look at the facts (Birdstone although 6th in 04' BCC beat Funny Cide in 10th and Smarty in Belmont) so is anyone saying Birdstone is as good as Rachel??? No.  It matters how good the actual winners of those races were.  Smarty Jones is a helluva more horse than Rachel has EVER faced and likely will ever face so should we be saying Birdstone is Rachel's superior?  Given your outlook Draynay he would be leeps and bounds ahead of Rachel.  Seriously kid, get a new hobby.

18 Mar 2010 12:07 AM
keenelandcat

Draynay, may I remind you that Zenyatta beat every good horse that RA beat and more & she did it in one race.  I am so sorry that RA will not run in the Apple Blossom, but I never really thought she would. RA had a great year, but I think her last two races  took their toll. She barely held off a mediocre group of older horses at a distance she had relished in the past. At the end of that race, she was blowing hard & looked totally used up. When a horse is off as long as she was, there usually is more to it than weather.  Bash Zenyatta & her connections all you want if it makes you feel better.  Remember this, she is undefeated over two years & starting a third. Her connections have always done the right thing in regards to keeping her healthy.  Why should they race their champion on a muddy track-more owners should take their heed. They truly love that horse. If RA's present connections had done the same, maybe we would all get our questions answered at Oaklawn in April!  

18 Mar 2010 12:08 AM
Draynay

Zookeeper the best there is?  She is the Queen of PLASTIC ! She runs on a surface that few can run on.  Good for her.  But the greats of the past ran on DIRT.  Until she wins some G1 races on dirt vs. males she is nothing more then a poly specialist that has made a name for herself beating up on California horses on a suspect surface.  Win on dirt at Belmont, Churchill and Saratoga and I will shout she is the best but until then give me a break she is just a great plastic runner.  Whoopeee.

18 Mar 2010 12:18 AM
CV

OMG, Dr Drunkinbum, your "asylum" scene is going on right now!

(See comment & 10:22 PM)

It's happening just like you said it would!

18 Mar 2010 12:30 AM
Tim G

DO NOT DEFAME THE IRISH by telling Draynay that he doesn't have Irish pride. I'll renounce my heritage and curse my ancestors if I have to claim him.

Dray the nay.

What are you going to attack when they DO bring Zenyatta to CD and run in the Classic, and they will if she's healthy you can bet on that (and it will be the best bet you've ever made which won't be saying much) or take her to Saratoga and Belmont?

If they don't run her at Belmont but the other two will that mean she's inferior?

You are a nitwit. People point and laugh at you, don't they?

18 Mar 2010 12:42 AM
GunBow

The Santa Anita Derby field might not be the strongest this year because so many of the best dirt prospects have either left California or are planning to do so.

I just read the stable notes from Santa Anita and here is the list of probables for the SA Derby:

Sidney's Candy

Interactif

Caracortado

Alphie's Bet

Setsuko

Who's Up

Interestingly, the SA stable notes reveal that Alphie's Bet was recently sold for around $1 million, but will remain with Alexis Barba.  Originally, Barba announced that Alphie's Bet would be pointed for the Blue Grass and her other prospect, Make Music for Me, would be running in the SA Derby.  Now, it appears that may be reversed, although the notes didn't indicate where Make Music for Me would run next.

The California contingent has already lost Lookin at Lucky(won Rebel, next start Arkansas Derby), Conveyance(won San Rafael, won Southwest, next start Sunland Derby), Cardiff Giant(2nd San Rafael, 3rd Southwest, 5th Rebel), and wasn't able to draw Noble's Promise(2nd Rebel).  

The Program(3rd Sham) is scheduled to run in the Louisiana Derby, and Connemara(won El Camino Real) is scheduled for the Lane's End.  American Lion(2nd in Bob Lewis, 4th San Felipe) is now headed for a prep back East on dirt, while the plans for Dave in Dixie(2nd Bob Lewis, 6th San Felipe) and Tiz Chrome(4th Bob Lewis) are unknown although it appears their connections are leaning against a start in the SA Derby.  

If so, it would mean the top finishers in the San Rafael(Conveyance, Cardiff Giant), the 2-3-4 finishers in the Bob Lewis(Dave in Dixie, American Lion, Tiz Chrome), the 3rd place horse from the Sham(The Program), the Pasadena winner(Make Music For Me), and the 4th and 6th place finishers in the San Felipe(American Lion, Dave in Dixie) will not be running in the Santa Anita Derby.

If Sidney's Candy, Setsuko, or Alphie's Bet should win the SA Derby, it would go to Churchill never having run on dirt.

18 Mar 2010 1:09 AM
gammyp6

I am on board with jon about Lentenor. If he gets to the Derby he will win. If he does not run in the Derby I am backing Caracortado. I think he will run big in the SA. I lol at the comment about Pletcher having '1000" horses running.

18 Mar 2010 1:11 AM
GunBow

If folks want to put down the quality of athletics in Southern California, how about Pac-10 men's basketball or, in thoroughbred racing, the marathon turf division?

The San luis Rey used to be a gr.1 race when I was growing up, and would yearly draw at least a few top tier, gr.1 turf horses.  The winners of the San Luis Rey between 1989 and 1997 is like an all-star list of marathon turf horses, with Frankly Perfect(2 gr.1 wins), Prized(3 gr.1 wins), Pleasant Variety((1), Fly Till Dawn(4), Kotashaan(5), Bien Bien(4), Sandpit(5), Windsharp(2), and Marlin(4).  Marlin would have had 5 gr.1 wins, but after having been a gr.1 for every year since 1973, the San Luis Rey was downgraded to a gr.2 in 1997.  

And the fields have fallen well below standards.  Gone are horses like Great Comminicator, Starwberry Road, Interco, Erins Isle, Perrault, John Henry, Noble Dancer, Tiller, King Pellinore, Avatar, Astay, Big Spruce, Cougar, Fiddle Isle, Quicken Tree, Niarkos, Cedar Key, Mr. Consistency, and The Axe II.

Lash out at how weak the field for Satuday's San Luis Rey is; but disrespect Zenyatta?  

18 Mar 2010 1:26 AM
Bellwether

GOT TO EXPOSE ALL THIS PASSION???...ty...

18 Mar 2010 3:58 AM
LDP

Dray,

Get a life. GunBow is one of the classiest bloggers on this thread, while you are the one with the least amount of class. He didn't make it out of first grade? I guess you never made it past the age of two then.

18 Mar 2010 5:48 AM
draynot

GunBow,

Would you just keep your Santa Anita "plastic" runners there in California with you and quit sending them West? They keep coming this way and beating the snot out of draynay's "dirt" horses. You guys and your "plastic" horses are driving him crazy and the bloggers here have to bear the brunt of his ugly rants. What on earth prompted you to send a second stringer to take down his queen? How cruel was that? Please quit flaunting and tossing all that talent in his face, he can't handle it.

18 Mar 2010 8:06 AM
the_wiz

I heard a great line the other day that describes draynay and the likes perfectly.

"When people do not have facts and reality to back them up the worst of them resort to ugliness and disillusion to get noticed, the rest can live with being wrong, learn from it, and move on".

Zenyatta's a great horse, one of a kind. RA's the same, she's just proven to be beatable where Zenyatta has not. Zen may not finish her career undefeated but that won't change the fact she is one of the best ever and has proven it over a number of years. At this point RA will go down as one of the best 3 yr olds ever. She has to do alot more to get to Zenyatta's level. I love them both. I'll keep it at that.

18 Mar 2010 8:25 AM
PJJ

Rachel can only beat what she is used too, and that is "Metiocre males, Flatlining fillies and Local lightweights", that is the kind of races that JJ enters her in, this year she has stiffer competition so she is history, Zenyatta has beat more competition in one race then Rollover Rachel has all last year,

Why would JJ want to bring her back, to do what? lose to Zenyatta, or will he bring her back to dodge the zenmaster all year, if she cant' handle the distance, how will she ever compete in the BCC.

Before long, you will hear the words "RAchel Alexandra Retired", or he will wait a couple of months.

to let everything die down.

Rachel will be in foal to Curlin by the end of this year.

Rachel has to much against her this year as a four year old, weights, stiffer competition, and Zenyatta...RA is history....

18 Mar 2010 10:15 AM
LAZMANNICK

GunBow

Indeed, Dees Not Words won the Silver charm maiden race by 4-L in 1.10 flat.  LOL

18 Mar 2010 10:56 AM
LAZMANNICK

Draynay

Some people are upset that you are going after GunBow , but I think that it’s fair.  After all, GunBow did make some (totally true) remarks about you and besides, the more you spout off and pretend that you know something about horse racing, the more all of us can see that you actually don’t.

Oh, btw, those two Belmont winners you’re talking about:  Rachel had ample opportunity to confirm her so called dominance over Summer Bird in races much more important than the Haskell, but they chose not to.   Apparently Macho Again was more important.  And the other one, the mighty Da Tara, wasn’t even good enough to beat claimers when he ran in the Haskell (has only a maiden win besides the Belmont in 19 starts).  And of course, Zenyatta’s  racing schedule has been so mismanaged that she is still racing today at six.

18 Mar 2010 11:07 AM
Angela

jon- "overhyped" is EXACTLY what you are doing to Lentenor (and not very well, by-the-way.)  Really, you should educate yourself on that of which you speak before turning your fingers loose on the keyboard.  Then again, your obvious lack of knowledge is quite entertaining.

18 Mar 2010 11:16 AM
old timer

Why don't my comments ever show? Not obscene, controversial. Here's one that may hurt some feelings though: how many on this blog have ever owned, ridden, trained or competed ANY horse in any discipline? Reading many of the comments, I don't think very many have gone beyond the betting window in terms of true horsemanship.

18 Mar 2010 12:16 PM
cc

Does anyone know if there's any chance of a filly running in Derby this year?

18 Mar 2010 12:17 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Draynay is a crackup. I don't know what everyone is complaining about. Doesn't he keep the site entertaining? Maybe it's really Jason playing a role to stimulate responses to increase the hilarity and number of posts. The more I read from him the more I believe that my post of 17 Mar 1:06am quoting Draynay's response to the 2010 Breeder's Cup will come true. Does anyone else have any future info on his response?

18 Mar 2010 12:18 PM
RiverCitySmitty

Hey Draynay,  Why not take a deep breath and pick Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom.  It would surprise the hell out of her loving fans on here and when she gets beat by her stablemate Zardana they can all blame you.

BTW, I wonder if Moss/Sheriffs will lobby Z-2 to pass on the race @ Oaklawn??

18 Mar 2010 12:22 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

What an amazing card at GP Saturday. The best full card of the year so far at any track for me. I'm going to be busy studying my butt off.

18 Mar 2010 12:27 PM
gw_bushwacker

Wiz,

Ouch on the nay nay burn. You are so right. It appears as if most here are far past just getting tired of his crap. It's well past time he took his rants somewhere else.

draynot,

That was hilarious.

Vic S,

Nice post but it falls on deaf ears, the little dude can't comprehend or handle a dose of reality. Maybe you should have trumped his double dare to bring Zenyatta to Churchill for this years Classic with a Double Dog Dare to bring RA West.

18 Mar 2010 12:28 PM
PJJ

......RACHEL ALEXANDRA.....

All hype and no more glory,

Will always be remembered as the

"ONE YEAR WONDER"

RA and connections motto:

"When the going gets tough, Get the hell out of there".

18 Mar 2010 12:31 PM
Ghostzapper

After reviewing all the preps so far for the 3yo colts, I am most intrigued by Dublin. I thought he was moved prematurely in his last race. He looks the part and may be better going longer. We'll see.

18 Mar 2010 12:57 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Old Timer

   I don't know why. One of my posts I really liked didn't get through. It might depend on what time it was submitted. I think some get lost in the shuffle. My Uncle owned and raced thoroughbreds. I'd like to be a jockey but would have to lose about one hundred pounds and I'm afraid of heavy traffic. Although I did enjoy my rocking horse as a kid, the only horse I rode I fell off of so I don't know if my goal of being a jockey is very realistic.

  JON-I enjoyed your post. Just a fan expressing his view. Lentenor certainly has displyed talent and class already and if he takes to the dirt as quickly as Barbaro he might do well. Hasn't shown as much talent as Barbaro yet but who knows? Wouldn't shock me totally if he ended up in the top 3 Saturday or even if he won. Don't tase me bro!!! (bloggers) I haven't studied yet so I can't offer an opinion as to what I think he'll do. But I do know that I was impressed with his last two races.

18 Mar 2010 1:09 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Ghostzapper

   That's interesting you say that because last night I was re-evaluating Dublin after dropping him from my list prior to his last race because I thought it was a bad jockey change and kept him off after for obvious reasons. But something was gnawing at me so I thought -we don't know what instructions Lukas gave Nakatani. Lukas knows how to win The Derby, and Dublin already has the graded earnings so he may have said-"this is a conditioner and to confirm what his style is. Make an early move and we'll see. If nothing else it will give him more conditioning. If we lose, so what." Ghostzapper-The Arkansas Derby will let us know about this colt. He will be dropped back and make a run. Lukas will want to make every attempt at winning or at least coming close with the right style in that race.

18 Mar 2010 1:17 PM
Pam S.

So Make Music for Me might leave Calif. for the Blue Grass?  I kind of don't like that because the Blue Grass has been such an insignificant prep for the Derby this past decade.  I would rather see my "longshot special" in the SA Derby.

Jason, how about a little story on Alexis Barba?  Women with Derby hopefuls are still kinda rare, and I really don't know anything about her.  Actually, I do think I read that she was an assistant to the late Eddie Gregson.  Anyway, might be interesting.

I must add my voice to those defending Gun Bow.  First Grade??  Wish I had a gifted child like that.  Also, my computer skills are weak, so can someone tell me if there's an "automatic blog post" key somewhere that allows you to repeat what you said last year over and over again without retyping?  'Cause Draynay seems to be doing that.  I thought he was opposed to being stuck in the past??

18 Mar 2010 1:31 PM
Gladiator

Vic s your post on March 17 12:13 states- Rachel showed us what she is made of last weekend and lost.

So don't give me a bunch of crap and tell me that is not what you said.You better hope that Zenyatta never loses or she will show us what she is made of! There is alot of other things i would like to say in response to you posts, but these post are rated PG.

18 Mar 2010 1:36 PM
Michael

Vic S.....I really enjoy reading your posts. It's refreshing to read a post by someone who actually knows the horse game. As for DrayNay or whatever he calls himself? Man oh man. Can't say I remember when I've read such nonsense. The definition of "insanity" is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. No matter how many times this clown tries to belittle Zenyatta, the outcome remains the same. Big Z is the best horse running anywhere in the world today. I think RA's best days are behind her and in my opinion, JJ should probably shut her down and breed her to Curlin. The AB in April will be a great race. I'm very intrigued by this filly Bambera. Any horse that's won 13 straight should be respected. With that said, I still believe Zenyatta will get it done like she always has. She's just a freak of nature and exemplifies the greatness of horse racing. They're gonna make a movie about her one day as long as they can find a horse big enough to truly depict her.

18 Mar 2010 1:37 PM
joe schmoe

Does anyone know if there's any chance of a filly running in Derby this year?

cc 18 Mar 2010 12:17 PM

cc,

Romor has it JJ and Company are lobbying for a rules change so RA can repeat her sophomore year. Seems they are claiming she failed to learn enough to move up a class. Money talks so ya never know, RA may just show up there.

18 Mar 2010 1:41 PM
Alex

I love both Zenyatta and RA. I think the Woodward took a lot out

of RA and has not quite recoved from that. Look at how many times Calvin hit her!

Does anyone know if she spent any time on a Farm over the winter? Horses need paddock time.

Love The Dancing Queen Z....she is truly Amazing!!!

18 Mar 2010 2:04 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

In response to your comment that Zenyatta can't win the Breeders' this yr,THAT'S WHAT YOU SAID LAST YR.and we know how that turned out.

18 Mar 2010 3:08 PM
slyder

"Draynay is a crackup. I don't know what everyone is complaining about. Doesn't he keep the site entertaining? Maybe it's really Jason playing a role to stimulate responses to increase the hilarity and number of posts".

Dr Drunkinbum 18 Mar 2010 12:18 PM

bum,

You are new so you get a pass on that statement. For 2 years at least now the nay nay has spewed the same kind of garbage. He needs some new schtick or better yet he needs to move on out of here. The Jason thing has been brought up many times before too. The fact of the matter is that nay nay is a bitter soul who argues one way today and then the opposite way just for arguments sake. It must be his outlet for some deeply rooted anger. Hopefully he is getting the clear message that people are dead tired of his rants. I wouldn't bet money on it though.  

18 Mar 2010 3:10 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Slyder

   Thanks for the info. That gives me a better understanding. I assume the only way he'll leave is for everyone to stop feeding into it. Then he'll find another outlet for argumentative stimulation. This is an excellent site with many who contribute superb knowledge and insight.

18 Mar 2010 4:02 PM
Householder

It's PARIMUTUAL wagering.  The whole "premise" is based around people liking, making a case, and then betting "their" horse.  I liked Zardana and took the money of those who liked Rachel.  I liked American Lion, someone took my money.  We simply can not all get along by liking the same horse.  It is impossible or at least not profitable.  

With 520 "hits" it really is enough arguing about RA and Zenyatta. Neither have anything to prove to either myself or the American public.  They are both fantastic race horses who we all have been blessed to witness.  

18 Mar 2010 4:23 PM
Mike Relva

GLADIATOR

If you don't think Zenyatta is a one of a kind racehorse,then you know little about the game!!

18 Mar 2010 4:55 PM
Gladiator

Relva, do you go to the same school as Vic S. I never said the Zenyatta was not a great racehorse.I just think that she has to win a couple of more races on dirt before i can say that she is one of the all time greats.

18 Mar 2010 5:33 PM
tcc

Jason:

You have some interesting picks for the Florida Derby. Maybe this race will produce some horse's with some decent odds.

18 Mar 2010 5:55 PM
My Juliet

  I've noticed the Rachel supporters have mostly left, these comments are hard to read...if you're angry at Draynay or Pasturelands, fine, keep it at that. Rachel Alexandra doesn't deserve these belittling remarks. This Brilliant, Beautiful, filly that's All Courage, All Heart,...She has 2 previous 'losses' 2nd place, prior to the 'perfect year'. There was no 'perfect career' ruined. I've been thinking how she reminds me of Michael Phelps (ok he might not like the comparison). He's an Olympic Champion...8 Gold Medals, Perfection in his sport. He was challenged, and he more than rose to it. RA was challenged (8 times, in 2009) and more than rose to it. A 3yo filly that wins the Preakness, Haskill, and Woodward, demolished fields against fillies by 19, 20 Lengths, set track record, making History, is a Champion, a Star. She spoiled us, we all expected perfection again. If Michael Phelps took a 6mo break and came back to a 2nd place finish, would he no longer be a champion? He will forever be a Champion. Rachel Alexandra deserves respect for what she did, we may never see the likes of her again. She will always be a Star, she will always be a Champion.

18 Mar 2010 6:31 PM
DinkyDiva

DayNay or whatever your name is: you are a joke and I'm not intending on wasting anymore of my time on you.  You don't know excellence even if it bit you in the butt!

Old Timer:

Yes, I grew up in the show ring and when I was 19, got a job as a galloper at a training facility and was training to become a Jockey but, due to injuries, that didn't happen. I also helped with the Breeding and foaling. Did that for almost 7 years before deciding to go back to school.  So, Yes,I know just a tad about horsemanship etc.....

I keep seeing that people keep bringing up the Woodward.  I had to go back and watch it again and, yes, Calvin beat the crap out of her and she wasn't used to being whipped!  If you think about it, in most of her other races, he never had to whip her and I believe there was one or two that he hit her maybe two or three times just to get her attention.  Thinking back on my "past training" in the industry: yes, when you have a horse that you run over and over and over again, they wash up and maybe that's what has happened with Rachel.  None the less, she is still spectacular!  But, she still is no Zenyatta and never will be!!!

Take that to the bank draynay!!!

18 Mar 2010 8:03 PM
DinkyDiva

My Juliet: very well said.  Thank you!  

btw: I am so happy to hear that Rags had a lil colt!  Do we know where her filly is?  She's a yearling now.  Rags was another wonderful Champion!!!!!  Did Fans complain as much about her retirement as we are about Rachel's loss??  

18 Mar 2010 8:07 PM
Mike Relva

GLADIATOR

Guess you your knowledge far exceedes Simon Bray's,cause the other day,as well as after the Breeders' Cup he stated Zenyatta,without a doubt is one of the best he's ever seen. He should know since he was asst. trainer for Cigar!

18 Mar 2010 8:10 PM
Footlick

You know, My Juliet, just to be fair, many of the comments aimed at Zenyatta are hard to read too.  It is not one sided at all.  No matter what she does, it isn't enough.  

18 Mar 2010 8:30 PM
Matthew W

Where's Alphies Bet? Kicks like a mule! I like him--also like Lookin At Lucky, Noble's Promise and Interactif, who has a lovely stride! Looks like my Caracortado and American Lion future bets are toast--still have my Conamara bet, and my "crispy" Crisp bet on the Oaks (love her)...as for the super fillies--I loved the Rachel Prep--it was a prep, and a good one--think Jess's ego has gotten in the way (again), I'll always remember his upraised arms in the Woodward Winners Circle, while Rachel's head was hanging down--it's ok to lose a race, ya know--I was actually planning on betting on Rachel in the Apple Blossom--why wait for Zenyatta to get used to dirt? Get her now! If he's planning on beating her at Churchill Downs, he'd better pray for rain, or for Quality Road scratching again--I don't think Rachel will defeat Zenyatta at 1 1/4.....

18 Mar 2010 8:36 PM
Draynay

Footlick are you kidding me?  No matter what she does it's not enough? Huh? What!!! All she does is beat up on over matched fillies in California.  Your right, no matter how many times she beats up on over matched horses on plastic in California people like me are going to be laughing at people like you that think she is all that.  She is the best on plastic no doubt but who cares?  Again we see this silly little campaign she is on and is she facing G1 winning males on dirt like Rachel did again and again?  Nope she is running against the girls, AGAIN. Please let me know when she decides to come out east of the Mississippi and take on some real G1 winning males and stop all this little filly stuff.  Act like the Breeders Cup winner and if you don't know how to do it just look up Curlin's campaign after he won the Breeders Cup.  When and if she ever takes on G1 winning males in a G1 race and wins THEN and ONLY THEN do I want to hear how wonderful this horse is.  Another win on PLASTIC vs. THE GIRLS MEANS NOTHING.

18 Mar 2010 9:38 PM
tcc

To All:

Which horses's do you like in Florida Derby? Maybe your top 4 or 5 horse's.

18 Mar 2010 9:43 PM
DinkyDiva

Jason....

What do you know about Arctic Bright?  In all my years, I have never seen an albino thoroughbred. However, I had a double registered Pinto/thoroughbred growing up.  

18 Mar 2010 9:46 PM
Draynay

Mike Relva, do think it's an accident that Zenyatta continues to run on a surface most horses cannot run on?  Do you think it's been an accident she hasn't run on dirt except once?  Mr. Moss isn't that dumb.  He knows his horse loves the stuff while most do not so why not keep padding the record on the stuff. Sooner or later she is going to have to show up on dirt with the big boys and when she does she will BE EXPOSED.

18 Mar 2010 10:34 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

Haskin,Simon Bray,Gary Stevens,etc seem to think Zenyatta is a superhorse. Guess they don't know anything,right????

18 Mar 2010 10:35 PM
Forbidden Apple

Once again I am writing in protest of the 3 Stooges: Draynay, Itainteasy, and Pasturelands. I would not call beating D'Tara a great accomplishment in horse racing. D'Tara is the Vanilla Ice of racing, a serious one hit wonder. Until Rachel beats a 2 time Champion like Gio Ponti she is an overhyped silly filly. Draynay, wake up already, what races are bigger than the Breeders Cup or Dubai World Cup day? The Breeders Cup was run on a synthetic track 2 years in a row, that is not Zenyatta's fault. All three of you keep saying plastic, you are dead wrong. Do some research in your free time, you might learn something new. Of course I prefer real dirt, but the synthetics are here to stay so get used to it. A good horse can win on any surface. Zenyatta could win the Apple Blossom on dirt and then her next start on turf and you guys would still be knocking her. Rachel is toast so now you are all high on Quarter Crack Road. He is going to be a good miler, but he will not be any match at 1 1/4. So start brainstorming your next vicitm for the Zenyatta train to knockout.

18 Mar 2010 10:42 PM
LAZMANNICK

Hey Draynay

Are you telling us that Macho Again, Bullsbay and Da Tara are east of the Mississippi waiting for the Great Mare to show up?

18 Mar 2010 11:12 PM
tcc

Jason:

Georgetown lost to Ohio 97-83.

18 Mar 2010 11:38 PM
draynay

Lazzmanick what I am telling you is Zenyatta is 6 years old and has STILL never beaten a G1 winning male in a G1 race on dirt and never will in my opinion. Rachel did it 3 times as a young 3 year old in various conditions.  Conditions that would keep Zenyatta from ever stepping on the track.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it !

19 Mar 2010 12:14 AM
Steve Stan

But, WHO did she beat?

Who is still running? What did any of them accomplish afterwards?

You yourself said some of these victories were against flukes,lesser competition when they ran against others.

YOU have no idea what you're talking about and every time you open your mouth you make a fool out of yourself.

You really are a joke.

19 Mar 2010 1:52 AM
trebloc

Jason,

Don't feel bad, I picked the Hoyas to win it all.  

19 Mar 2010 8:17 AM
Vic S

Thank you for your kind and knowledgeable comments Michael and gw_bushwacker.  It is just absurd how some of these "kids" fail to realize Zenyatta's greatness.  IMO we have never had a mare of Zenyatta's greatness.  To me she is the very best mare ever.  15 for 15 against top G1 Co for what will be 3 years when 10' has ended.  The children don't understand that the older mare contingent is far more powerful in the west than the east gang who really haven't had anyone of note since Ginger Punch (in 07' and early 08' - who was DEFEATED by Zenyatta on DIRT) so they don't know of what they speak of.  Rachel beat weak horses last year (MTB hasn't won since Derby, Summer Bird was OBVIOUSLY not same horse after Haskell - was running not long after Belmont triumph) these were the only real quality horses Rachel defeated last year and to say otherwise would be a lie.  Having G1 in front of your name (Bullsbay and Macho Again) doesn't technically mean your of G1 quality.  Did any of the Rachel lover's care to watch MA's Stephen Foster.  Einstein was blocked the whole way and was the best horse in the race.  Bullsbay was against  no one other than you guessed it - a weak Macho Again.  Rachel was afraid of 1 1/4 last year and was afraid of Zenyatta.  No offense to the great Holy Bull but he had a similar late campaign to Rachel and didn't risk his HOTY in the Classic because given his Travers win (by a head) he would have surely been in deep water and may have lost his award.  Rachel is a great horse at 1 1/8 and when she has everything go her way but anytime adversity is thrown in she either struggles to win or simply fails to win.  Her two "close" races were both when she didn't have her way.  Luckily for her she caught a weak field in the Woodward that couldn't close on a 22 and change opening quarter.  Her Preakness win was against the one-hit wonder MTB, and her LOSE this year was against a 1 time graded stakes winner(Zardana) who I believe has still not peaked.  As I have said before lack of training is NO excuse.  She loses another race expect retirement.  

As to Gladiator,

I guess I did say that.  It makes no difference I will not retract my comment.  She showed us what she's made of.  She lost when she had EVERYTHING going for her.  Perfect pace setup, as a whole a weaker field, running over a track she is proven over, etc.  Sort of reminds me of Spectacular Bid's lose to Affirmed in 79' JCGC, Delp was in disbelief that his steed had lost.  Loved Barrera's comments "He(Spectacular Bid) got his chance, he got Shoemaker, he got beat." Facts are facts.

19 Mar 2010 8:42 AM
LAZMANNICK

Draynay

I'm not knocking Rachel and I don't think that a lot of other people are either.  In fact, I'm more concerned about her general health and well-being and her fragile mental state than I am about Zenyatta facing her in a race (absolutely in fact).....If you want to live in your dream/fantasy world fine.  I bet you even went to see Alice this past week.  It seems funny that those G-1 winning horses you mentioned can't win a race (except against each other).  They aren't in any of the top ten poles and their G-1 winning careers are over (unless they manage to race exclusively against each other again)……As far as your denigrating Zen’s competition, that’s typical of a person that has absolutely no clue what he’s talking about.  LOL

Dray because you need it.

19 Mar 2010 9:48 AM
sodapopkid

All you RA fans , find you a new horse to love, because by the time your filly comes back (IF) she comes back, she will only run against local lightweights. JJ will not bring her back because he wil dodge Zenyatta, and put her in powderpuff races. Fans will freak out and call his bluff because thats what he is doing, Dodging the bullet known as Zenyatta.

JJ will be watching the AB with Zenyatta in it, he will see how good the mare is on dirt, then he will retire RA,running as fast as he can from Zenyatta, and making up some lame excuse as to why she is retiring.....I bet you?

Where is the Rabid Rachelites, they have gone under the JJ rock?

19 Mar 2010 10:07 AM
Slew

Dr Drinkinbum: I think I love you.  Just keep that tongue in your cheek, and I will adopt you...you'd fit right in with my kids whose smart-alecky ways tend to torture the unwary by twisting every unguarded word into a tour de force.  Thanks for the laughs!

19 Mar 2010 11:21 AM
carolyn

Good Grief, I am out of town a couple of days and when I get back on this blog it is on fire.

Lord have mercy, I feel sorry for Rachel, I am sorry she lost her prep race, I was sooooooo shocked.

I was absolutely on top of the world that my girl won her race, as I knew she would, 15-0 my god, she is the best, what else can we say.

Rachel Alexandra ??????, is the question? where are they going from here?

Retirement?, How much more training will she need to be ready for their showdown?, Will she ever make it to the showdown?

I guess we will wait and see,

Zardana whipping the HOTY, "WOW", I know JJ is absolutely sick to his guts......

Zenyatta, You are the BESSSSSSSSST!!!

This is why I have been a diehard fan of yours since you have been racing....You never dissappoint, always doing what is ask of you.....And making it look all so easy, thats because you are that GOOOOOOOOOD.........

19 Mar 2010 11:28 AM
joe schmoe

nay nugget,

Interesting how you twist things. Hows this for a twist you haven't acknowledged?

Rachael Alexandra has never beaten a G1 winning Filly or Mare on ANY surface. She has however been whipped by lesser Fillies and Mares. She can't even beat a G1 of her own sex. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!!

Someone could easily twist that fact to say the Males she faced offered less competition and were weaker than the Fillies/Mares she's faced. The same caliber of Fillies/Mares who can't hold a candle to Zenyatta but have whipped her.

19 Mar 2010 11:56 AM
Michael

Draynay...your comments are just flat out annoying now. You wanna know why Zenyatta has run most of her races on synthetics? It's because that's what the 3 major tracks have installed. If they were still dirt tracks, he would have run her on dirt. He doesn't have much of a choice as to which surface his mare runs on. It just so happens that Mr. and Mrs. Moss live in California and would prefer to watch their horse run live where they can invite their friends and family down to the winner's circle. Actually, Hollywood Park where she is stabled is more dirt than synthetic. Just look at the way it flies off the horses feet when they hit the turns. So in theory, she trains on dirt and runs on synthetic. If you had any horse knowledge or actually knew anyone involved with the game, you'd know this. Like others have stated, you're just a little kid. You need to take your tired act to a video game chat room or facebook with the rest of the teenagers.

19 Mar 2010 1:06 PM
Forbidden Apple

Draynay, you are a broken record when it comes to the synthetic wins versus dirt wins. Rachel beat 3 yo colts in Mine That Bird and Summer Bird. Mine That Bird almost beat her and Summer Bird was prepping for the Travers at 1 1/4. If Rachel was so good, why did she skip the Travers? I know why, because at that point Summer Bird was primed and would have blasted her at 1 1/4. So really Rachel has 1 victory over older colts on dirt. Bullsbay is most likely a better horse on synthetic or turf and Macho Again is a grade III horse in my opinion. Gio Pontis is a serious race horse and would completely embarrass Rachel and Macho Again in a race. So the winner of this year's $10 million Dubai World Cup will be a worthless horse because of a synthetic track? Synthetics are different, but they still have big purses and high quality horses in the races. Some donkeys just don't get it.

19 Mar 2010 1:23 PM
Mike Relva

LAZMANNICK

Hey! Well stated!

19 Mar 2010 2:36 PM
Zookeeper

Good Grief! I go away for one day and it takes me forever to catch up with the comments posted after I left. Fun reading most of them. Everything has been said, at least 10 times, so I'm moving on.

On the live blog this morning, Jason stated that Bambera is too slow. Maybe... but I'm still looking forward to seeing her. Any horse who has accomplished what she has, is interesting even if it all happened in Venezuela. Let's see what she has first before dismissing her.

What a card @ Gulfstream tomorrow. Hope Lentenor does well but I think Rule will win. Trying to beat a horse at the window doesn't change anything to the outcome of a race. I found that out the hard way. If a bet a heavy favorite he looses, if I bet against him, he wins. So I usually sit and watch and my wallet is grateful for it. If Lentenor takes a lot of the money in the win pool, then I may bet on Rule. That should insure a win for Lentenor and make his fans very happy. :)

19 Mar 2010 3:48 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

SLEW

   Your kids are very special and I love you too. I do know why Zenyatta won all of those races on synthetic-Because it is impossible to win that many races in a row on AW. It makes it more of an accomplishment. An excellent horse can reel off a number of wins in a row on dirt but not on AW. If she did it on dirt she would have had no one to run against because she would have been annihilating everyone so bad that she would have been facing fields of one. Trainers know that she couldn't keep winning on AW from so far back everytime, that's why they keep lining up to beat her. Draynay-Go back and watch Zenyatta's Breeder's Cup win one hundred times then come back and blog us. It will open up a whole new world for you and you'll be singing her praise. If not, then we'll just have to double the homework assignment. Zenyatta is the greatest.

19 Mar 2010 3:54 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

Humor is the best way with the likes of D. & co., trying to reason is futile and ignoring them doesn't work. Humor like yours, at least, gives the rest of us a good laugh. Thank you!

19 Mar 2010 4:26 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeepr

   Thanks. I enjoy your posts. Sorry to disagree on Rule. If he wins I will be surprised. I think one or two of the up-and-comers will fire big. Thus unflattering the Tampa Bay field. I actually have Rule finishing in 4th. But I have been wrong before and if Rule wins then he will finally prove to me that he could be a Derby horse.

19 Mar 2010 4:51 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

Don't be sorry to disagree with me, most people who do, (as far as handicapping goes) are correct! :)

19 Mar 2010 6:07 PM
Lil Darlin

I can't read 500+ comments without turning and slamming my head into the wall repeatedly (feels better than reading some of these posts, somehow).  So, I skimmed them, and this is what I got...

Rachel is overhyped/done and Zenyatta is still a plastic queen. Does that about sum up the arguments against the girls?

Does anyone else think we should see how the year progresses, being that this is March and both girls have exactly 1 race under the belt for the year? That's just crazy talk, right?

19 Mar 2010 6:44 PM
Leon

To CV:

This is what Steve Haskin wrote n his Apple Blossom journal:

"Like any good juicy tale of the monarchy, this one comes with the usual intrigue and conspiratorial plots. John Shirreffs, the caretaker of Zenyatta, next in line to the throne, plotted against the Queen by testing her lack of physical fortitude in order to soften her up for Zenyatta’s coup d’etat attempt on April 9.

Well, Shirreffs’ shifty little plan actually backfired from a monetary aspect, as it wound up potentially costing him a few hundred thousand dollars."

I guess I'm not the only one who thinks Shireff's outsmarted himself...

19 Mar 2010 7:40 PM
draynot

Joe Schmoe,

Interesting thought indeed. If it were Zenyatta who has never beaten G1 Fillies in her life you can be sure nay nay would be all over that. Since it's RA he's convieniently ignored that fact.

19 Mar 2010 7:59 PM
Zookeeper

Leon,

Steve Haskin was making fun of conspiracy theorists like you. Didn't you get it?... I guess NOT.

19 Mar 2010 8:04 PM
LAZMANNICK

Draynay

Joe schmoe's remarks about Rachel beating fillies is actually right on.  In fact, the first time Rachel raced against older fillies and mares (last week), she lost.

19 Mar 2010 8:47 PM
Draynay

I will be right here waiting and waiting and waiting.  You guys let me know when Zenyatta wins a G1 against G1 males on dirt.  Tick Tock Tick Tock.

19 Mar 2010 10:17 PM
Greg J.

Draynay,

    You are too funny with your hatred of Zenyatta, How do you ever expect to be taken seriously with all the juvenile comments about her?  First, It was she will never win the Classic, Then She will never leave California, Then She will never win on dirt(I noticed you are skipping over her racing in the Apple Blossom on the dirt), Now it is "You guys let me know when Zenyatta wins a G1 against G1 males on dirt".  So, Let's say the year plays out and she beats Rachel and wins the Classic against the boys, Then what will your next excuse be?  Seriously, You really need to wake up and respect Zenyatta as going down as one of the best ever. Your lack of respect for her shows your utter ignorance...

19 Mar 2010 10:52 PM
GunBow

Joe Schmoe:

Rachel beat Flashing in the Mother Goose and Gabby's Golden Gal in the Kent Oaks.  Both Flashing and Gabby have since gone on to win 2 gr.1 races each.  However, at the time they met Rachel, neither had won a gr.1 yet.  I suppose that's the point you're making;  Rachel has not had to face a filly or mare that had already won a gr.1 race.

20 Mar 2010 4:26 AM
Slew

Dr Drinkinbum:  Just because my kids rode the little yellow school bus is no reason to call them "special". :-D

I loved Rock Hard Ten, so I may pick Best Actor and box him with Soaring Empire in the Fla Derby.  It depends on the post parade.

20 Mar 2010 8:43 AM
LAZMANNICK

I believe that Flashing and Gabby's Golden Gal both won G-1 stakes after facing Rachel, but they were against 3 year-old fillies.  Last year's 3 year old filly record against older fillies and mares in important races was weak to say the least.

20 Mar 2010 9:21 AM
sodapopkid

Lets face it, RA needs a whole heck of alot of training to come up against Zenyatta.

If Zardana and Zenyatta run in the AB, JJ will surely be watching  so he can see how much training his filly needs.

He will retire after that.

20 Mar 2010 11:03 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

UNFORTUNATELY DRAYNAY has shown little chance of recovery and has been recommitted for another 90 days. Please send cookies and letters. Zenyatta did and her letter boosted his spirits immensely. I was able to get a copy when I brought Draynay two signed photos of Zenyatta.

 Dear Draynay

   Neigh Nay. I know that you are having to watch videos of my races day and night at full volume so you should be better soon. As soon as you get out I propose a race at a mile and a quarter on DIRT between you and I to settle this thing once and for all. I will give you A MILE HEADSTART. If you lose then we lock your computers in the vault and ZIP your lips. If I lose I will eat a bucket of dirt, real dirt, not plastic. Best wishes

   Zenyatta

20 Mar 2010 11:12 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Slew

  Bet the cheap box before the post parade!!! Then you can increase it if you like what you see. Especially in the post parade, looks can be deceiving. It's a nice bet in a  wide open race. A longshot will win. Your kids are magnificient.

20 Mar 2010 12:20 PM
Mike Relva

LEON

Silly comment,that's all I can say!

20 Mar 2010 3:37 PM
CV

"As soon as you get out I propose a race at a mile and a quarter on DIRT between you and I to settle this thing once and for all."

Thanks for that visual, Dr Drunkinbum ;)

20 Mar 2010 7:25 PM
Slew

What a day.  Best Actor started out running well, then saw Amen Hallelujah crying in the stable after her loss, and he decided to stay behind and comfort her.  The last I saw of him, he was trying to raid the Ice Box, but whacked his D'Funnybone.    

Dr Drinkinbum: my family likes to keep the fun in dysfunctional.

Perhaps Draynay will perk up when he learns Hot Dixie Chick debuted as hot as ever, but she has eyes for Our Dark Night only....I think they're taking the canoe out to Bourbon Bay.  

Strange...the ladies today, at all the tracks, were setting blazing fractions, while the guys just tried to hang in and slow down the pace.  About the only sure thing today was that my eyes would eventually cross after a full day of upsets.

20 Mar 2010 7:58 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

You might not realize,but connection's of Zenyatta don't care what you say regarding their superhorse,it means zero!

20 Mar 2010 8:12 PM
Matthew W

DRAYNAY: Your Peppers Pride comments are tired! Enough allready, you're starting to sound like the guard in the Monty Python movie who keeps getting body parts chopped off!! Zenyatta PREPPED on the plastic--for a race that Team Rachel DUCKED--end copy! And Vic S: 'Bid was beated by four year old Affirmed at 1 1/2, dirt--so what? 1 1/2 dirt was not Bid's best distance-- Laz DUCKED 'Bid in the Marlboro Cup cuz he didn't wanna give weight/didn't wanna lose---I was there, I saw Affirned and Bid---Affirmed was an all-timer, no doubt--Spectacular Bid, 26 for 26 from 6 1/2 through 1 1/4 vs all comers/never ducked a single horse--was the greatest horse to ever look through a bridle, to quote Bud Delp--strong words--and he backed it up....

20 Mar 2010 8:52 PM
Aluminaut

Draynay,

I don't know much about you, but figure you're probably an ice eater and need more minerals in your diet.

GunBow,

I've been thinking about your comments about people's reaction to Zardana's win while waiting for Zenyatta to enter the walking ring at SA.  It was at first a shock to see Zardana coming up to Rachel on the turn.  Realizing that it was JS's horse gave the stretch run some irony, and, as someone else mentioned, some of us were cheering for the trainer, not against Rachel.  She ran a good race.  My thoughts at SA, that Zenyatta would kick Rachel's butt in the AB (pre-Zenyatta's race) were just a proud reaction to Zardana, a west coast horse beating the once-mighty RA.  We can respect a HOY that has just fought gallantly, but it is always easy to love a winner.

When Sydney's Candy won later in the day, I was cheering for him in mid-stretch, even though my horse was fading to fourth, and Caracotado ended up in third.  Candy Ride was awesome in the Pacific Classic, and brings a different twist on bloodlines for our U.S. mares.

21 Mar 2010 12:24 AM
Zarkava

@Forbidden Apple  If you are going to beat "the three stooges" up, show some class and leave the Rachel bashing out then... And what has Quality Road ever done to you?

@Matthew W   A Crisp fan! Sweet! I like her alot too.

21 Mar 2010 4:04 AM
Tim G

If Zenyatta wins on the dirt in the AB, it'll be that she ran against females (he's already started to hedge that bet). If she wins against males in a G1 at Saratoga, it'll be that she didn't beat them at Belmont, if she beats them in a G1 at Belmont it'll be that she didn't win a G1 against males at CD oops wait neither did RA and Zen can't go back and run against 3 year old fillies.

Last if she wins at CD against males in the BC Classic it'll be that someone in the crowd was wearing the wrong color, the sky had two clouds, the dog barked all night etc....

We know the M.O. same excuses with his crummy handicapping skills.

21 Mar 2010 11:36 AM
LAZMANNICK

Tim G

You're right.  If Zenyatta wins on dirt in the AB again then the complaint will be that she can only win on dirt at Oaklawn. I'm aftaid the arguements against Zen aren'st going to end no matter what.

21 Mar 2010 1:09 PM
Matthew W

If Zenyatta can hold her form throughout the East--then she's the "female Man O War", the "unbeatable mare--if she can get them all again in the Classic--not sure I'd wanna go with Quality Road at 1 1/8, so I'd probably show her off back there vs fillies--kick butt, then try the males one more time in the 1 1/4 Classic, where she'll have the advantage v 'Quality--if she can pull it off-that's a big "if"--there's Man O War stuff--maybe more, a cornerstone horse in racing history....

21 Mar 2010 1:52 PM
Footlick

Zarkava- what do you think of your namesakes first foal?

21 Mar 2010 2:04 PM
Forbidden Apple

Zarkava, I am not a fan of the blogging 3 Stooges. They started this mess more than a month ago by claiming that Rachel was unbeatable and they give zero respect to Zenyatta. This is blogging, so you should expect people to disagree often. I mention Quality Road, because these same people think that he is unbeatable. Trash talkers get trash in return.

21 Mar 2010 2:42 PM
CV

Jason,

Will you or any other Bloodhorse staffers be following up on the outcome for Bambera, who suffered a cut tendon when she stumbled in the Rampart? I hope it can be repaired and she can continue her career in the U.S. What a tough break for her U.S. debut.

I found a couple pictures that show how badly she stumbled. I'm amazed she wasn't injured more seriously, her jockey was able to stay on, and she was able to finish the race.

There's also a picture of the injury itself. Perhaps someone with experience with this kind of injury can comment on it.

eclipsesportswire.spitfirephoto.com/viewphoto.php

eclipsesportswire.spitfirephoto.com/viewphoto.php

dimensionhipica.blogspot.com/.../jinete-edgar-perez-bambera-venia.html

21 Mar 2010 3:28 PM
Aluminaut

"Flies, what do I want with flies when I can have big juicy rats.  Shushhhh!  The master is coming."

Renfield in the asylum (Dracula).

Now the Draynay version:

"Cream pies, what do I want with cream pies when I can have pink hats!  Shushhhh!  The dogcatcher is coming.....Nurse, nurse, I can't find my program...or my form......Must....handicapppppp......."  (Draynay in the asylum during the KD)

What has become of this blog?  Come on Team.  We need to reach 600 comments!

21 Mar 2010 11:20 PM
joe schmoe

Joe Schmoe:

Rachel beat Flashing in the Mother Goose and Gabby's Golden Gal in the Kent Oaks.  Both Flashing and Gabby have since gone on to win 2 gr.1 races each.  However, at the time they met Rachel, neither had won a gr.1 yet.  I suppose that's the point you're making;  Rachel has not had to face a filly or mare that had already won a gr.1 race.

GunBow 20 Mar 2010 4:26 AM

GunBow,

My point exactally. Besides both Gabby and Flashing won their first G1's later in the year and didn't even do it routing. Gabby won at a mile and Flashing at 7F. Not exactally anything to pad RA's resume on anyway. RA has never beaten a Filly/Mare who was a G1 winner at the time. It matters none that they went on later to win a G1 and matters more that they had to shorten up considerably to do it. When she faced them they were not G1 winners. The competition at the time you face them is what matters. She hasn't been able to handle proven G1 Filly/Mares and more specifically any who had won a G1 at 1 1/8 or longer by the time she faced them.

22 Mar 2010 8:09 AM
Footlick

joe schmoe- also you should read Darley's assessment of Flashing when they retired her. They basically said she overachieved, so I don't think they thought she really was a true Gr1 quality horse.  Regardless, though, it shouldn't reflect on Rachel's 3 yr old season.  It was a great season filled with great races.  No matter what the competition was, she was a brilliant and valiant runner.  And I'm a staunch Zenyatta fan.

22 Mar 2010 9:38 AM
Zookeeper

Footlick,

Well said!

22 Mar 2010 10:11 AM
joe schmoe

Footlick,

I agree with you on RA's 3 yr old season. My point only was that somone can drub up dumb arguments just like the nay nay and use them against RA.

22 Mar 2010 11:08 AM
gw_bushwacker

Hey Joe Schmoe say it ain't so!!

RA has never beaten one of her own sex that came into the race a G1 winner? Nice spin.

22 Mar 2010 2:36 PM
Footlick

joe schmoe- very true, and people have.  Just like they do with Zenyatta.  And Rachel fans retaliate just like Zenyatta fans although they don't like to admit it-lol.  

22 Mar 2010 3:01 PM
funny farm intern

Hi folks I came across this blog one of our "guests" apparently likes to visit. I think he goes by the name of the nay nay sayer or perhaps pastureland when he visits. He's a bit tied up in a straight jacket so I thought I'd see what he has going here. Help me out with a few questions I have if you will.

Who is RA and what happened to him/her recently to send our guest into a mindless tirade?

Is Christinne Daee a relative of this man's? Seems he is convinced that poor Christine failed some kind of a test and it makes him look stupid.

What does this man have against California? Over and over we hear Hollywood is all fake crap and nobody cares what comes out of California.

Why does this man carry a pink dress and a matching hat in his wardrobe? He claims he'll wear it when pigs fly. Any idea what he's rambling about?

Why did you ban him from being here for a time? He hasn't gotten over that for whatever reason.

Who is "the fluke"? The man's hatred of this being is scary.

Finally, what is a Zenyatta? It sounds to me like some kind of well oiled machine that is unbeatable. Our guest spends most of his time trying to convince himself and the other inmates that this Zenyatta is a broken down nothing.

Just a word of advice from someone who observes this man and his behavior everyday. Ignore him, don't encourage his rants, you want to be rid of him asap.

22 Mar 2010 3:14 PM
Zarkava

@ Forbidden Apple

That´s the funny thing about blogs, people disagree! What I was trying to say, maybe in a clumsy way, is that tho I´m a Rachel fan (always had a thing for a horse with a shark eye...) I have no interest in calling Zenyatta "overhyped" or similar things. Stating facts-yes, namecalling-no.

Show the "stooges" there´s intelligent ways to argue...

Personally I think it´s hard to compare two so different horses as those two were last year. Hopefully we´ll see them racing each other this year, and then the comparisons can begin... =)

@ Footlick

From what I´ve seen (a few pictures, would love to find a video...)the little thingy looks good, nice proportions (tho foals grow in the most mysterious ways).

I like Dalakhani as a sire too.

But "you never know until they run..."

23 Mar 2010 7:00 AM
Zarkava

@ funny farm intern

Your crazy post made a cold rainy morning a bit brighter! Laughed my a** off!

23 Mar 2010 7:04 AM
Zookeeper

funny farm intern,

I suggest that you spend as little time as possible with your patient. A few people on this blog have caught a case of his insanity and their comments are the spitting image of his. BEWARE!

23 Mar 2010 12:12 PM
Greg J.

Funny farm intern,

     Too Funny!  Are you sure you don't have more "patients" that post comments here?  Thanks for the laugh...

24 Mar 2010 1:09 PM
anonymous

TO DAVE: One of the early blogs, by Dave on 3-14-10, thank you Dave for having the guts to say what I have thought ever since seeing Zen's 2010 race--any other horse someone would have called interference in the stretch & would have been dropped--she startled at last one horse causing that horse to lose ground (although Zen's footwork was impressive); I turned to my husband and said "WHOA", she is intimidating and "rules" by fear and her size. Hopefully she may never be allowed to be dangerous to other riders and horses causing a breakdown with her "tactics." Good catch, Dave. Notice no comments about your blog. And I am a Zen fan. I don't want to "awefulize" her race, but Zen is scary. I pray my worst fear, after watching her sheer aggression when she didn't have an opening, on the track never comes to pass. All through the history of the sport there are horses who intimidate their opposition but usually by staring down another horse to get past, but she can be described as a freight train coming down that track, downright scary.

25 Mar 2010 1:48 AM
sodapopkid

ANONYMOUS:

What is wrong with her being down right scarry as you put it, What you should be acknowledging is the fact that Zenyatta is "Just down right good", is what she is.

You claim to be a Zenyatta fan, BS is what that is....

Zenyatta is all that and a whole lot more....better than the "Other Filly", we keep talking about.

25 Mar 2010 10:07 AM
Footlick

anonymous- Rules by fear?  Her tactics?  She went through a hole at the rail.  She didn't knock anyone over to do it.  No horse broke stride.  She didn't endanger any horse.  She has never bullied any horse on the track.  Do you want her to ask permission of every horse in the race first?  "Hey everyone, I'm here on the inside and there is a hole at the rail that I can get through, so I'm going through.  Just want to let you know!"  She is not a danger to anybody.  Jockeys in Southern California are not afraid to claim foul, and neither are the trainers.  Even if it is Zenyatta.

25 Mar 2010 12:10 PM
Mike Relva

ANONYMOUS,AKA MARY IN VT

When you stated you're "a fan" of Zenyatta,SODAPOPKID is correct,it's alot of BS!!!

25 Mar 2010 1:46 PM
CV

"I don't want to "awefulize" her race, but Zen is scary. I pray my worst fear, after watching her sheer aggression when she didn't have an opening, on the track never comes to pass."--anonymous

A "Zen fan?" Yeah. We can see that. We can also see you're probably someone who consistently bashes Zenyatta under another name.

There was no call of "interference" on the race because Z didn't interfere with Pretty Katherine, whom she jumped ahead of, because Pretty Katherine was running backwards at that point.

Look at the replay. PK doesn't flinch and her jockey doesn't react at all. Likewise, there was no interference with Chantal Sutherland riding Pretty Unusual, who was being whipped but couldn't go on, as Zenyatta raced by her.

Why do people have to make up this stuff to bash Zenyatta? It never ceases to amaze me.

25 Mar 2010 2:08 PM
Blind Squirrel

AnonalottaBS.....cuckoo....cuckoo....cuckoo.

From an RA fan.

25 Mar 2010 9:20 PM
LAZMANNICK

ANONYMOUS:

Please note that the rider didn't claim foul.  To think that they backed off because it's Zenyatta is too much.  As far as being aggressive and changing course, horses do it every day, in fact, almost every race.  It's called riding to win a race which is exactly what the bettors expect the riders to do.

25 Mar 2010 9:30 PM
LAZMANNICK

anonymous

No one made comments about Dave's BLOG because no one really cares what he has to say.  Maybe you should play the snail races down in Mexico.  At least there you don't have to fret about some big snail cutting in front of another because they have at least twenty minutes to react.

25 Mar 2010 9:35 PM
Mike Relva

LAZMANNICK

That was a good one! So who do you think anonymous is? lol

25 Mar 2010 10:07 PM
LAZMANNICK

Mike Relva

I think anonymous is a woman (she mentioned a husband).  Other than that I don't know and don't want to hazzard a guess.

26 Mar 2010 12:53 AM
CV

Mike,

Who knows? But it reads a lot like our friend in Vermont, who insisted right after the Santa Margarita that Zenyatta had interfered with another horse.

26 Mar 2010 12:55 AM
sodapopkid

So who do you think anonymous is?

ANSWER:

..A RABID RACHELITE...

They all sound alike, don't they,

EXCUSES, EXCUSES, EXCUSES....

And are so jealous of the Mighty Mare that they constantly putting her down.

RABID RACHELITE'S, ZENYATTA IS 15-0, AND YOUR FILLY IS WHAT?????

26 Mar 2010 10:24 AM
Mike Relva

CV

No doubt,it's MARY IN VT. She thinks she's clever but not smart enough to hide under another name. lol

26 Mar 2010 4:04 PM
bossmare

Footlick,

From your post dated 17 March 2010 at 1239 am....

Thanks!!  I thought of it clever myself and saved the name until they legalized absinthe again in the US.

:-)

29 Mar 2010 10:08 PM
Footlick

bossmare- Congrats!  Great name.  Hope he does well.  Good luck.  I'll keep watching.  We stumbled on upon an absinthe bar in Paris.  There were about 100 bottles and it was amazing.  They have a huge machine that drips ice cold water into the absinthe glass once the proper amount of absinthe is in it.  It was quite an experience.

:-)  :-)  :-)

29 Mar 2010 11:45 PM
Soldier Course

Zookeeper:

I'd like to see Odysseus win, for Malibu Moon's sake.

30 Mar 2010 2:50 PM
Aluminaut

Comment from Anonymous is unbelievable....Textbook example of passive/aggressive.

Actually, the comments sound like someone's read various articles and blogs, and then spun the info to suit their purposes.

Blogs are for history, handicapping, fun, and controversy. Not for politics or other P stuff.

02 Apr 2010 2:52 AM
boatrocker

agree with zayr . . . Z belongs in CA . . . and she is a remarkable creature which says a lot for her Street Cry.  But after watching her last race, she startled more than one horse and any other horse there should have been an inquiry or two; she know she's queen and I pray there doesn't come a point when she is a danger to other horses and their riders . . . and I am a Z fan.  Her footwork was amazing especially for a horse her size, but I'm being honest, it was kind of scary to watch the field play out.

06 Apr 2010 10:27 PM
boatrocker

Who is anonymous?  It is the Boatrocker.  I am a fan of both Z and RA; RA for her fantastic 2009 year. Z is very endearing--the way she reacted with the autistic child? She won my heart that day. The old boatrocker actually cried a few.

Barbaro, please change your name. You are disrespecting one of the greatest horses to have ever lived every time you send a blog using the great Barbaro's name. How arrogant of you. Where are you from in California? Change it to Zenyatta2 or something like that. Please, out of respect for Barbaro.

And Sodapop, there will always be a new "kid" in town, even though you don't want to hear it!

I am grateful for what the two horses have done for racing because just like in the time of Seabiscuit, times were hard in the USA and horseracing gave people something to get their minds off their troubles and Lord knows California has boo koo troubles.

06 Apr 2010 10:55 PM
Doc-boatrocker

Aluminaut, with all due respect, passive/aggressive is a psychiatric-pop psychology term created in the 80's--at one time was a psychiatric diagnosis--then it was removed from the DSM IIII in the 90's as the term was deemed inappropriate. Thus, the term was totally removed--it is not used in the educated field of psychiatry and it means nothing. I suggest you should do some investigating on the terms you use instead of showing your age stating a "textbook example." Stick to horseracing. I will take your advice and use this forum as intended and not for P. Thank you for your advice.

07 Apr 2010 12:27 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

THE SCENE: The barn at Oaklawn. It's late at night, quiet, the only thing we hear are the crickets.

Zenyatta: John?

John Shirreffs: Yes Zenyatta?

Zenyatta: I was looking all over for Rachel today. I wanted to size up the competition. Where is she?

John: Uh, she's not here Zenyatta.

Zenyatta: What do you mean she's not here?

John: I think they went to Churchill.

Zenyatta: Can't we track her down using that ABS System or whatever it's called?

John: It's GPS. We might get to Churchill later this year but she'll probably be somewhere else by then. Forget about it.

Zenyatta: Yeah, fuggit about it.

John: Listen, you still have a race to run, you'd better get some sleep.

Zenyatta: Yeah, run. I do a little dance. Mike sings a little song. Then it's shake, shake, shake.

Zenyatta and John: (singing together) Shake, shake, shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your saddle. Shake your saddle. (both start laughing)

John: Get some sleep.

Zenyatta: You got enough hay to pad your bed?

John: Quit worrying about me. I'll be fine. Get some sleep.

Zenyatta: Good night. (pause)

Zenyatta: I love you John.

John: I love you too Zenyatta. (both are trying to sleep)

Zenyatta: John?

John: Yes Zenyatta?

Zenyatta: I can't sleep. Can you sing me that song that helps me sleep?

John: OK. (John sings) Love me tender, love me true, all my dreams fulfilled, for my darling I love you, and I always will. (Zenyatta is snoring. John gets up to get some more hay to pad his bed)     THE END

07 Apr 2010 1:05 PM
sodapopkid

I love it Dr. Drunkenbum.

It is so sweet. and thats coming from a man.

07 Apr 2010 5:22 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

I finally figured it out. Duh! Great post! It never occured to me that this blog was still alive. Good grief! I looked a little futher back and realized that Mary in VT came slithering back. It's funny how people recognized her in spite of her "clever" disguise. The viper style is unmistakable.

Loved your little bedtime story!

08 Apr 2010 12:32 AM

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