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Dream Match-Up Looms in Personal Ensign

The Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) will be run Sunday, August 29th – the day after the Travers Stakes (gr. I) – at Saratoga Race Course. Already pointing to the race is Life At Ten (TrueNicks A), who is riding a six-race win streak that includes the Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) and a powerful score in the 10-furlong Delaware Handicap (gr. II). The daughter of Malibu Moon (TrueNicks,SRO) seems to be better with increased distance.

2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra (TrueNicks A++) is possible for the race after a strong victory the Lady's Secret Stakes at Monmouth Park. The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro (TrueNicks,SRO) won the 9.5-furlong Preakness Stakes (gr. I), and the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga last season.

Finally, the camp of unbeaten champion Zenyatta (TrueNicks A+) are "undecided" on running in the Personal Ensign. The great Street Cry (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO) mare holds grade I wins on dirt (twice in the Apple Blossom) and at the 10-furlong distance (the Breeders' Cup Classic).

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Ian, Zenyatta all the way,  she would love this workout.  I would love to see this.....

sodapopkid 26 Jul 2010 12:18 PM

If Zenyatta is commited to the PE,  Ra will be a no-show at the last minute she will have a ankle swelling and cant make the trip.

sodapopkid 26 Jul 2010 12:19 PM

I would love to see these 3 mares line up.  I would not even care if Zenyatta lost.  She needs to head east anyway and run a few times on the dirt before the Classic.  Reachel ran good the other day and she might just be rounding back into form, but she is beatable at 10 furlongs.  Life at Ten ran good, but did not beat anyone and her time was slower that most top Graded stakes.  It would be a nice race for the fans.  If not here, then we will probably never seen Rachel vs. Zenyatta as Rachel won't go in the Classic.

Robert 26 Jul 2010 12:35 PM

I think Rachel is a sitting duck for Zenyatta at 10 furlongs.

Criminal Type 26 Jul 2010 12:38 PM

I'd like to see Queen Martha tackle Zardana. Two horses that just don't get enough credit. A little more time and I guarantee they could take out Rachel and Zenyatta.

ckroger 26 Jul 2010 1:30 PM

You people seem pretty ready to put RA down but Zenyatta isn't used to running on the dirt as much as RA is. Zenyatta is pretty much a California girl.....lets see her take on some other tracks and see how good she really is.

Ashley 26 Jul 2010 2:13 PM

After 100 votes, here are the odds if 1 vote = $1:

Life At Ten - 7.40-to-1

Rachel Alexandra - 2.20

Zenyatta - 0.35

the field - 27.00

ITapp 26 Jul 2010 2:21 PM

I will take 2 to 1 if you are offering.

shane 26 Jul 2010 2:29 PM

We are talking about three mares of the highest quality. However, I think the three of them would be foolish to hook up with Quality Road or some of the up and coming three year olds in the Classic.

How about the Distaff and add Blind Luck and Devil May Care. Now that's the race I want to see.

The Legend 26 Jul 2010 2:31 PM

Isn't Z already being pointed to the Clement Hirsch in 2 weeks??

Frank J. 26 Jul 2010 2:32 PM

Ashley is right in so far as Zenyatta does not run on dirt, but for the 2 times in Arkansas.  The problem for Rachel is, both times Zenyatta did run on dirt, her Jockey and trainer said she ran better than she does out west.  Her breeding says she can run on dirt or turf, and that she will navigate the 10 furlongs better than Rachel.   At this point, I wouuld love to see them run, but it won't happen unless it is in the P.E.  Rachel won't go in the Classic and Zenyatta is probably not coming east before the classic, which I think is a mistake.  I would like to see Zenyatta retire undefeated, but at this point all I want is for her to win the classic.  ANy other victories are just gravy.

Robert 26 Jul 2010 2:37 PM

I'm guessing that Zen won't ship further east than Churchill Downs for the Classic this year.  John Shirreffs has stated she prefers the dirt track, especially over looser synthetics like Del Mar (even tho I think she will run in the Clement Hirsch Aug. 7th there).  I've seen her race in person her last 3 races: if she does ship to the Ensign, she will annihilate the competition.  But I think they will wait 'til later...

donkeyhotey 26 Jul 2010 2:40 PM

Frank J,

That's not set in stone -- they have recently cited concerns about the Del Mar surface and the 8.5-furlong distance of the Hirsch.

Ian Tapp 26 Jul 2010 2:40 PM

Since when does Z leave CA for the East? Oh, right she does every so often, but not likely, so she can't win races her handlers refuse to show up for.

Blue Blue Sea 26 Jul 2010 2:49 PM

   It would be great to see Zenyatta in the PE with Rachel but it doesn't look promising after Mosses changed their minds @ where Big Z would be running now. They first said she'd be racing out east on dirt, and against males. now they keep her in Cal and wont commit to PE when asked. On top of the 'shipping issues' reported now, after earlier reports the mare ships fine. I don't think she races outside Cal again.  

NAN in Pa 26 Jul 2010 3:26 PM

Zenyatta needs to come for this race. Rachel probably won't run if she does, but she'll still have a top quality opponent in Life At Ten, and it's a Grade 1, so why not? I think Zenyatta would win for fun.

RS 26 Jul 2010 3:31 PM

Zenyatta of course. Put Blind Luck and Devil May Care in the mix as well and that would be an awesome race!!!!  As far as if Zen were to show up for the PE, Rach would scratch and I'm sure others would too.

That's part of the problem, even if Zen were to ship east like everyone wants, who will actually show up in the gate??

dinkydiva 26 Jul 2010 3:50 PM

Zens trainers hated the test barns, and without them, there is a good chance she could come over for this. That was his big issue with New York. He also isn't a big synthetic fan either. She could come over for this, one prep, and then the Classic. There would be people hanging on trees at the Spa that day. I'm in Maryland and would leave my wife before I let her tell me I can't go.

paul 26 Jul 2010 3:59 PM

So let's talk about shipping.  What the Mosses have unequivocally said is that they will do what is in the best interests of Zenyatta, period. That attitude is what we need more of in horse racing.  The fact is that they shipped her back east to win the Apple Blossom and when that was all done and she was prepping for the Vanity there was talk that the shipping had taken a toll, admitted by the Z camp.  I saw her there in the paddock close up, and of course she looked wonderful but she had lost some weight from when I saw her race earlier in the year at Santa Anita.  That is a huge big deal for a 17+ hand racer.  I think it's fantastic that they have kept her racing when they have nothing left to prove and I appreciate them putting her needs as #1.

donkeyhotey 26 Jul 2010 4:08 PM

Odds check after 200 votes:

Life At Ten - 8.40-to-1

Rachel Alexandra - 2.10

Zenyatta - 0.30

the field - 55.50

Ian Tapp 26 Jul 2010 4:23 PM

The overwhelming majority of race fans would love to see Z and RA race against one another.  The only way it will happen is for there to be an offer by Churchill Downs, NYRA, NTRA and the Breeders Cup folks to get together and offer a nice chunk, make that a big chunk of change for a two race challange event that ends at CD during the Breeders Cup. A major corporation would need to put up some of the cash in return for advertizing.  Great heavyweight fights always have the condition of a rematch.  Part of the package should be an advertizing blitz to promote both races.  Big money is not needed by either owner but big money is needed to get the media attention. I am thinking a two million bonus if one horse can win both races.  This will attract alot of competition and ensure it is a legit race.   One stipulation, no rabbits allowed.  No dual entries. Only horses trying to win.  If Z wants to be the greatest of all time she needs to win this two race challange.  I would make the last race the ladies breeders cup at a mile and one eigth.  The PE would be a great first race but the big wheels need to get busy if they are going to put this together.  There is little time left to get the ad campaign going. Can you imagine the buzz at the breeders cup?  It would be a spectacle that would attract lots of ladies and lots of new fans. TV ratings on Friday night at CD would go through the roof.  The attendance at CD would set an all time record. Somebody step up. GET THIS DEAL DONE! PLEASE!

dave york 26 Jul 2010 4:30 PM

Don't forget Saratoga is the "Graveyard of Champions". This bodes well for Life At Ten who's in excellent form at the moment.

Anthony Say 26 Jul 2010 4:44 PM

Zenyatta has no shot because she is a poly horse and hiding in California.  Rachel and Life At Ten both have wins on dirt beyond 9 furlongs and Zenyatta doesn't.  Zenyatta has not looked sharp and barely ran down a average horse in St. Trinians.  Rachel the HOY is no St. Trinians.

Draynay 26 Jul 2010 4:52 PM

How about this?  Zenyatta comes east for the PE, then Rachel goes west for the second matchup. Both could meet for the third and final time at the Breeder's Cup.  Can't get much fairer than that - both horses would get to run on her "own turf".

Diane J 26 Jul 2010 5:16 PM

First, I must admit that I am a Zenyatta fan. I love her, her connections, everything about her.  They are what thoroughbred racing as needed for a very long time.   We have in  Zenyatta a hero. In her connections, owners & a trainer that do the right thing for the horse's benefit-not just their's.  As I watched RA run Saturday, it appeared she rated well.  Many people were critical of her race, but I'm not so sure.  If she goes to the Breeders Cup Classic, she will need to rate for the mile & a quarter.  Nothing would please me more than to see RA & QR  burn each other up so that Zenyatta can mop up what's left at the end. So,when I saw RA rating in the Lady's Secret, I was impressed.  I think she ran very well in very uncomfortable conditions. I think her critics need to take a closer look.

keenelandcat 26 Jul 2010 5:19 PM

I know the connections know best, but Zenyatta running in the Hirsch for a third time would be very disappointing to me. Little about the race seems to be in her favor, and now there won't even be a rematch with St. Trinians.  No good mares will ship to Del Mar, partly because of the "bad rap" the surface has gotten and partly, of course, because they don't want to go out of their way to face Z.  I would rather have seen Rachel in a race other than the LS, and I would rather see Z somewhere other than Del Mar. However ... who thinks all the drama and uncertainty, and these somewhat odd racing choices, are all just so that Z and RA DON'T meet before the BC?  Could be the strongest marketing tool the BC will ever have, but if they race each other before then, not so much.  I could see JJ and JM agreeing to stay out of each other's way until the one, the great, the only, SHOWDOWN.  (Only thing I don't have figured out is, which Classic would it be?)

Pam S. 26 Jul 2010 5:29 PM

People seem to forget that Rachel won the 9.5 F Preakness from the outside post.  10 F is well within her scope.  The question is, will she ever reproduce her 2009 form??  If she does, she will beat any horse at any distance on dirt.  Although, it won't happen at Saratoga, I have a good source who says she dislikes Saratoga's main track.  No Personal Ensign, most likely Molly Pitcher, Beldame and finally BC something or other.

Wabstat 26 Jul 2010 7:27 PM

The mosses announced at the start of 2010 that the year long goal would be defending the title for the classic.  Therefore, if they are to meet at the BC, Rachel has to go to the classic and not the ladies.  They aren't going to drop Zenyatta down to the LC.  Personally, I would like to see Zenyatta run in the Pacific Classic against the boys rather than ship to NY for the PE.  I saw Rachel too Saturday and she was definitely more relaxed and not trying to drag Calvin down the backstretch.  She still needs some more conditioning for the 1 1/4 distance.

Lorie 26 Jul 2010 7:46 PM

Odds update after 300 votes, assuming 1 vote=$1, and 16% NYRA takeout:

Life At Ten - 8.30-to-1

Rachel Alexandra - 2.20

Zenyatta - 0.30

the field - 49.40

Ian Tapp 26 Jul 2010 8:01 PM

I have to agree with the majority by a large number.  Zenyatta all the way.

Jodie 26 Jul 2010 8:26 PM

        I wish it would happen but, It will probably be a "Dream Race "!!! I dont see all parties involved agreeing to run ! I 'm pretty sure that RA ,Life at Ten and maybe Devil May Care would show up but I'm not that sure about Zenyatta !! Please Mr and Mrs Moss and Mr Shireffs , run Zenyatta !!!!  At Saratoga !

Pedigree Shelly 26 Jul 2010 8:38 PM

        I spelled Zenyatta's trainer's name incorrectly , it should be Mr. Shirreffs :)

Pedigree Shelly 26 Jul 2010 8:47 PM

I agree with one of the other people, I would like to see the Queen go in the Pacific Classic. I like the distance better than the CH and I think they should keep her at home and comfortable until the Breeders Cup. If she did go in the PE, it's her all the way. LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!!!

LStein 26 Jul 2010 9:08 PM

Everyone can get the idea of Zenyatta running in the PE out of their minds.  It isn't going to happen.  Plain and simple.  If she was indeed better on dirt, then they would have raced her on dirt.  She's a poly specialists.  The fake synthetic surface favors closers.  Fact.  There is a better chance of Cleveland throwing Lebron James a going away party then Zenyatta coming East before the BCC.  

Sylvester 26 Jul 2010 9:44 PM


You live in a sad fantasy world,let's see what excuse you use after the Breeders' Classic!

Mike Relva 26 Jul 2010 10:04 PM


Go back to grade school and learn something! lol

Mike Relva 26 Jul 2010 10:05 PM

I doubt very much Zenyatta would run in the Personal Ensign.If she were to have a race in the East before the Breeders Cup Classic then I think it more likely would be the Beldame Stakes at Belmont.

John T 26 Jul 2010 10:08 PM

With the horses already mentioned Life At Ten, Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and the previous comments  of Blind Luck and Devil May Care, I would love LOVE to see Evening Jewel among these too. She's danced on all surfaces and she is a fighter. Then there is Unrivaled Belle (she reminds me of Eight Belles every time I see her), and I would love to see Biofuel in this field too. One for Canada!

MomentsthatMatter 26 Jul 2010 10:28 PM

If at that time they feel they have her (Zenyatta) right, I'd ship her to Saratoga well in advance, get a work into her, and if it looks like she handles the track-enter her in the P.E. Should she win, I'd retire her then. Can't see any other reason for running her in the P.E.  

sceptre 26 Jul 2010 10:42 PM

*sits back with popcorn and watches drama* If the Zenyatta crew and Rachel Alexandra crew both start a series campaign for this race, we can take what will happen by race day like a pill. By the end, Zenyatta will be on the track and my gorgeous girl will be running under her talents because of a certain majority owner. Rachel needs a training overhaul, and she needs to go to something to match her talent...and shine. Give Asmussen some credit, Jess.

RachelAlways(formerlyMTBFan) 26 Jul 2010 10:47 PM

I have to say the bandwagon jumpers impress me, one day you are all about the horse of the year and when she is rushed back and not allowed to develop naturally and loses two races to horses that are peaking and run career bests, you're off and on to the unproven horse that is running on wax and tires and rubber.  Whenever it is that Zenyatta is able to run down legit grade 1 fillies, please let me know, running against anabaa's creation and st. trinians and hot n' dusty doesnt cut it, I apologize to her fans but you are mistaken if you feel that the 95 beyer and running 9 furlongs in almost 1:51 impresses you, 2 year olds consistently run faster times at 9 furlongs.  But because its Zenyatta and she runs down to her competition it impresses you.  Sorry folks, she would hit the board in both the P.E. and BCC possibly, but as for winning, not going to happen in either race.

afleetalexforever 26 Jul 2010 10:48 PM

I think that the Personal Ensign is the right step for Rachel Alexandra.  It would certainly be a true test of where she is at right now.  I would be surprised if Zenyatta came east before fall.  I would think that potentially the best race this year would be the Ladies' Classic, with Rachel, Zen, and the top 3yo fillies such as Blind Luck, Devil May Care, and Evening Jewel.  Throw in such others as Life at Ten and Unrivaled Belle, and you have quite a "classic" lineup.

hejoso 26 Jul 2010 11:04 PM

Poor, poor Draynay, still hoping Rachel will deliver this year.  Hmm, undefeated Zenyatta, Breeders Cup World Champion and still finds a way to continuously show up time and time again and simply WIN.  Zenyatta is a better dirt horse than on synthetics.  That’s the scary fact.

Now, let’s get back to Mr. Draynay.  Didn’t you say you would wear a “Pink Blouse” to the race track if Zenyatta won the Breeders Cup Classic? Did you sport one after her triumphal victory?.  Please post for the bloggers. We all need a good laugh.  Oh well, sour grapes bud, and keep dreaming about Rachel’s return. After all she’s batting .500 now at 2 and 2.   I will say she is a good filly, but not the best by a country mile.  That distinction goes to the big girl, Queen Z.  So dream on in your “pink” little world....

BMCRacing 26 Jul 2010 11:50 PM

I don't expect Rachel and Zenyatta to ever race one another and unlike most people, I'm perfectly fine with that. Both are great champions in their own right and have given us memories we can cherish for a lifetime. I don't think Life at Ten is in the same class as those first two but so what...she is also another talented horse that makes you happy to be a race fan.

Giddyup 27 Jul 2010 12:10 AM

They will probably not meet up. They are not going to ship Zenyatta before the BCC. I don't think Rachel will run against the boys in the BCC, but against the girls instead. Zenyatta will run against the boys.

Paula Higgins 27 Jul 2010 12:46 AM

I agree Giddyup and a excellent post.

Jodie 27 Jul 2010 12:57 AM

I am so tired of all the Zenyatta fans relentlessly posting attacks agains Rachel Alexandra. If you have ever played a sport in your life, then you'd know a game is always different when it doesn't take place in your own backyard. Rachel has repeatedly done this, Zenyatta hasn't. The diversity Rachel has encountered in her career clearly outnumber those in Zenyatta's. And one more thing... Why is everyone always picking on Draynay??? Leave the guy alone for speaking the truth.

JackStallion26 27 Jul 2010 1:59 AM

I wasn't impressed with Rachel's Lady's Secret win. This looked like a set-up race if I ever saw one. These kind of races would never have happened back in the day. Nothing more then an exhibition and a workout. Of course she won handily, she should have, was there ever a doubt. She hasn't beaten anything this year, her times are ordinary and I believe that she is just not the same horse as last year. To stay on the positive side, a win is a win I guess.

How can we can't predict the winner of the Personal Ensign until we know who is running.

It's refreshing to see some positive comments from classy bloggers who care about the sport.

We are all tired of hearing the same dribble from the same tired and boring Draynay. The folks/comedians who write his  material need to come up with some new stuff.  

Deacon 27 Jul 2010 3:07 AM

I am SO sick of seeing these stupid comments about Rachel Alexandra being scratched if Zenyatta shows up for the PE. Enough of this nonsense.

First of all, neither horse has come close to committing to the Personal Ensign, and second, RA's connections are NOT ducking Z - more like the other way around. Zenyatta has much more to lose than Rachel does.

Zenyatta's people are keeping her out west and running her against weak restricted fields on "plastic" because they desperately want to preserve her undefeated record. PERIOD. They must have nearly gone into cardiac arrest when St Trinians almost beat her last time out, and I'd be willing to bet that St Trinians would have won had she not thrown a shoe in the stretch. And yeah, I know "woulda, coulda, shoulda" but after the Lady's Secret Jess Jackson said that had Zenyatta shipped to Saratoga for the Ruffian that they would have run Rachel in that race instead.

Oh and donkeyhotey, check a map please. Arkansas is NOT "back east". Zenyatta has NEVER run anywhere near the east coast.

Maybe these two great distaffers will hook up at some point, maybe they won't. Maybe they'll both face Quality Road in the BC Classic and he'll whoop both of them, maybe not. But can we please, please, PLEASE put an end to this asinine "Rachel's camp is 'a-scared' of Zenyatta' crap? I mean, really. Grow up already.

Stacey 27 Jul 2010 3:17 AM

I will cheering for both of them to be beat.   If a trainer out there has a horse like Sinister Minister then they will go down and I hope it will be at Saratoga.   The trainer that gets a horse ready and to beat R&Z will be bigger then a Kentucky Derby win.

JOE 27 Jul 2010 7:58 AM

If one did not know, they would think that Rachel and Zenyatta are to real people the way some of these comments read.  People are nuts.   Renember Ali down goes Rachel down goes Zenyatta.  The jockey that pilots a horse that beats these two will be a star.

JOE 27 Jul 2010 8:05 AM

Odds update after 435 votes:

Life At Ten - 10.40-to-1

Rachel Alexandra - 2.15

Zenyatta - 0.30

the field - 44.70

Ian Tapp 27 Jul 2010 8:34 AM

i have a great respect for Rachael, and she displayed an ability to rate in NJ, but Zenyatta has no equal in NA going 10f on the dirt...

goldfingerstouch 27 Jul 2010 9:00 AM


Why don't you grow up,ok? You bash Zenyatta when she showed up for A. Blossom. It was RA's camp that tried to rush her and had to cancel at the last minute. Last time I've checked RA hasn't run in a Grade 1 this yr.

Mike Relva 27 Jul 2010 9:12 AM

The Zenyatta folks have bigger fish to fry than worrying about Rachel Alexandra in the PE.  Like a repeat in theBCC this year.  Z is not a great shipper from what I read, so I expect the real target is Louisville in November.  I respect Z's connections for taking such great care of her.  It's not her fault that The Breeder's Cup was held at Santa Anita last year.  She took on all the best and beat them, with plenty left in the tank.

I was facetiously expecting RA to receive a 120 - 128 Beyer Speed figure for last Saturday's race.  Hey why not?   It would fit with the historic hyperbole surrounding this filly.  I almost choked when I saw the 110 come out!  Whew, then it was adjusted to 105...105?  Really?  If Rachel deserves a 105 for a 1:49.78, then what will Andy give Devil May Care for her 1:49.42 at Saratoga?  

There were two 6 furlong MSM races for 3 YO's and up on the dirt at Monmouth on Saturday, just as there were at Saratoga.  One of the races at Saratoga was faster than both of the ones at  Monmouth, but the other Saratoga race was slower than the two at Monmouth.  The Monmouth average was only 0.75 seconds slower than the Saratoga average, and I would assume that better horses were running at Saratoga.  

Zenyatta is better on dirt - at least the Arkansas strip - than she is on poly.  And 10 furlongs is right in her wheelhouse.  From how she won last year's classic, it looked like 12 furlongs would be just about perfect for her too.  She has shown that she is a better weight carrier than RA.  Beating RA is not her goal.  She is going after a repeat in The BCC, this time on dirt.  She has no reason to chase that filly anywhere, especially across country in the heat of the summer.  

Gary at Rough Creek 27 Jul 2010 9:17 AM


You are at best a broken record always trying to spin. Has RA raced anyone really this year? I don't have a problem with Jackson taking a easier path,but don't try to deflect the fact by coming with your usual slam of Zenyatta and acting as if RA is beating quality flelds. Take your east coast bias and go somewhere!

Mike Relva 27 Jul 2010 9:17 AM

I don't believe the PE will see Zenyatta or Rachel Alexandra.  One is already scheduled for the Hirsch, and the other won't be asked to do 10f.  So...Life At Ten gets it by default.

Slew 27 Jul 2010 9:23 AM


You're kidding,right? Why you ask that "everyone picks on Draynay"? Well,where do I need to begin? Maybe because he always slams some horse,mostly Zenyatta. He doesn't have a clue. For the A. Blossom he stated Zenyatta would end up finishing third and Be Fair would win. Then,he continually boasts what a great handicapper he is. lol Anyone picking Zenyatta to get beat by Be Fair,that says it all! BTW,if you think for a second Draynay speaks the truth you need your head examined!

Mike Relva 27 Jul 2010 9:26 AM


Do you ever get tired of being wrong? lol

Mike Relva 27 Jul 2010 9:28 AM


Andy gave Devil May Care a 96 Beyer for her 1:49.42 at Saratoga.  Rachel received a 110 (whoops...105) for her 1:49.78 at Monmouth.  

There were two 6 furlong, MSW dirt races for 3 YO's and up at both tracks on Saturday.  The Monmouth races averaged only 0.75 seconds slower than the two races at Saratoga, and the slowest of the four races was run at Saratoga.

I have NOTHING against Rachel Alexandra the horse.  She is a consistent, brilliant runner.  It's the hype...the connections...the lack of objective analysis of her races...the inflated Beyers...that's what bothers me.  I sincerely hope that her connections actually have what's best for her at the forefront when they make decisions on where to place this filly.

Gary at Rough Creek 27 Jul 2010 10:30 AM

I would camp out on the sidewalk outside the gates overnight to see this race!  I would love to see Zenyatta at my favorite place to be. :)

BlueHen 27 Jul 2010 11:18 AM

If this was last year and Rachel was at the top of her game, the announcement about running in the Personal Ensign at 1 1/4 would come a lot sooner than what will probably be the case this year....

The way Rachel has been running (most obvious in the Lady's Secret) it says to me that they are trying to prepare her to run a 1 1/4 race...  by accelerating later in the race...

The question is do they want to meet Zenyatta at the PE?  This would be Rachel's first try at 1 1/4... I would think one would want to get a 1 1/4 win without having to worry about the whole (Rachel against Zenyatta) issue..

So because Team Zenyatta is "undecided" I'm thinking that the announcement that Rachel is a go in the PE won't come until after its determined where Z will run...

It gives them the option of whether they want to face Zenyatta with this being Rachel's first try at 1 1/4...

If you put the issue of shipping Zenyatta aside... It makes a lot of sense for Z to run in the PE...

First, she will negate the argument that she only runs in California... she will give the East Coast fans a look at what she is all about, news coverage would be large (I would think),,, she would be getting Rachel (if R runs) probably not a peak level in her first try at 1 1/4,,, its on dirt like the BCC will be...

There is a lot going on in the decision to run Rachel against Zenyatta in the PE...

If Rachel beats Zenyatta it puts her back up there on Z's level...

If Rachel just barely gets beat in a thrilling stretch run it will create a lot of interest in a showdown in the BCC... remember Rachel is still trying to get back to peak level...

If Rachel gets tired in the last 1/8 and gets blown out by Z then that will release a lot of the air in the balloon...

Do you think that the 2 respective owners are talking to each other..?

What about?

"Hey Jerry, are you guys running in the PE?"

"We're undecided"

"Rachel is just getting back to form... why don't you skip the PE, let Rachel get a race in at 1 1/4 and we'll meet at Belmont at the Jockey Club Gold Cup on October 2nd.. Both horses will have 5 weeks to rest to get ready for the BCC..."

Do you think a conversation like that happens?

Bob Z 27 Jul 2010 11:49 AM

Great comment, Bob Z.

To all:

Who out there has watched Rachel Alexandra's races? She is a distance horse. Her natural speed will be even more dangerous the farther she goes. She has the EXACT running style as her sire -- not a sprinter, no quick turn of foot, just keeps the same high tempo going and going.

Get on YouTube and watch Medaglia d'Oro's races... Wood Memorial, Belmont, Travers, BC Classics, Dubai World Cup, etc. This style got him 1st or 2nd in 9 Grade 1's from 9 to 12 furlongs.

Ian Tapp 27 Jul 2010 12:28 PM

You know I was thinking the same thing...

If they can keep her under wraps but within a length or 2 of the lead and then get even at the 3/4 pole and stay that way until the straightaway and only then step on the gas... I think she has a good shot at winning at 1 1/4..

But in order for that to work (at 1 1/4) she can't get in any early speed duels... if 1 or 2 horses want to do the first 1/4 in 21 .. let them go...just be at or near the front of the second pack of horses... and off the rail....

I'm starting to give back a little credit for how the New Orleans Ladies and the La Troienne were run.. In both races Calvin had Rachel seriously under wraps which she was unaccustomed to.... her last race prior was the Woodward where she set the pace ... So I guess it took a couple of races for Rachel to understand what the new plan was going to be....

I thought she looked good in the Lady's Secret at Monmouth...

I also noticed that she had 2 moves... once to get even at the 3/4 pole and then another in the straightaway... I think thats the first time I've ever seen her make multiple moves like that ...

A wise old horse player told me once...

Good horses are capable of 1 good move... you ask them and they go... but its a one time shot.... so you have to time the move right.. (similar to what Rachel was all about last year...but Rachel has the high cruising speed to go with it...meaning she is near the lead when she is asked to go... its not like she has to come from the back of the pack... )  

Great horses have multiple moves...

You can ask them and they respond to get into position and stay there ... and then you can ask them again... and they'll respond again...

Thats what it looks like they are trying to do with Rachel... and the great thing is regarding her is that her natural cruising speed is quite high... so even before she kicks it into after burner she is already ahead of most of the horses ... and the ones that are ahead of her are susceptible to tiring...

I think she is in good shape for a great effort at 1 1/4...

Funny how Calvin is known for his rail work and Rachel is never on the rail....

Bob Z 27 Jul 2010 5:10 PM

Bob Z,

Great comment.

I think you're exactly right about the New Orleans Ladies and the La Troienne. In these races Rachel's speed was harnessed in order to "preserve" her for the finish -- but this takes away her greatest weapon, her high cruising speed. Rachel isn't going to out-sprint another good horse in the stretch if they start on even terms. However, if given rein, she can out-gallop them well before the stretch, building an insurmountable lead and getting to the wire first.

This is why looking at only the final sixteenth of each race is misleading -- yes, they might be getting to Rachel late, but look what she's already done during the race. Yes, Zenyatta is flying late, but look how far off the pace she was early.

They are polar-opposite strategies, but either can be effective.


Ian Tapp 27 Jul 2010 5:31 PM

Odds update after 500 votes:

Life At Ten - 9.50-to-1

Rachel Alexandra - 2.30

Zenyatta - 0.30

the field - 51.50

Ian Tapp 27 Jul 2010 5:37 PM

I think devil may care would beat them both.I think both horses are not as good as they were last year.

beetle 27 Jul 2010 8:11 PM


Why does Rachel Alexandra get an A++, while Zenyatta gets just an A+.

Am I missing something?

John 27 Jul 2010 8:46 PM

Bob Z..your last comment is my favorite.

bellesforever 27 Jul 2010 9:17 PM


..."let's see how good she (Zenyatta) really is.."

Are you kidding me?

She's 17 for 17, the last 15 in either Grade 1 or 2 races, just beat Citation and Cigar's consecutive winning streak in non-inbred races, has won 7 Grade 1 races in a row, has beaten the winners of 45 Grade 1 races and over 100 stakes overall, has beaten five divisional champions, four Eclipse Award Champions, two Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic Champions, has carried 129 lbs. twice and 128 lbs. twice.

She has been called "The Perfect Racehorse" by Eclipse Award winning journalist Joe Drape of the New York Times.

She has been called "The Horse of the Century" by Claire Novak of the ESPN.com.

She was just recently voted the greatest filly or mare in the last 50 years in a recent Bloodhorse poll by almost doubling the number of first place votes over Ruffian.

And just recently this is what has happened to the horses that Zenyatta has beaten:

Awesome Gem whom finished seventh behind Zenyatta in the Classic just won the Hollywood Gold Cup. He joins Seabiscuit, Citation, Swaps, Round Table, Gallant Man, Affirmed, Cigar, Skip Away, Real Quiet in it's history.

Twice Over whom finished behind Zenyatta in the Classic just won the Eclipse in England. He joins Sea The Stars, Dancing Brave, Mill Reef, and Pebbles in it's history.

Gio Ponti whom finished behind Zenyatta also in the Classic just won the Man O'War. He joins Secretariat and Curlin (though finished second) in it's history.

Then you have the saga of St. Trinians. This is a horse that had won four at Santa Anita including the Grade 1 Santa Maria and was the morning line favorite for the Santa Anita Handicap.

Because of her gutsy try against Zenyatta in the recent Vanity, she now has to take the rest of the year off to recuperate.  Her trainer, Mike Mitchell, puts the blame squarely on taking on Zenyatta.

How good she really is? I think she has already answered that.

John 27 Jul 2010 9:36 PM

The Legend says 'I think the three of them would be foolish to hook up with Quality Road...'

Ah..Zenyatta already hooked up the best of them in the Classic and we

know what happened.

And by the way, Quality Road didn't want anything to do with Zenyatta then and backed out...

Jim 27 Jul 2010 9:43 PM

Bob Z, I think the air was let out of the ballon when Zardana, Zenyatta's stablemate beat Rachel Alexandra earlier this year.

Max 27 Jul 2010 9:46 PM

Gary at Rough Creek,you said regarding RA, "I sincerely hope that her connections actually have what's best for her at the forefront when they make decisions on where to place this filly."

From what I have seen you have no reason to worry. Her connections seem to be the only ones aware of her limitations and have been spotting her accordingly. They have deftly avoided any serious Grade 1 competitors, while keeping her blindly loyal fan base all atwitter.

Her connections want no part of Grade 1 horses, male or female. If they happen to still be racing RA when the Breeders Cup rolls around, I expect her to be in a made for RA race on the undercard, if CD is still buying into the hype.

It's funny how things change pretty quickly in racing. Back a few months ago JJ was looking at a $5million purse supplement to race his prize mare. Last week all it took was an additional $250K.

At this rate, Thistledown and Penn National should be able to scrape together enough to have the HOTY race at their tracks.

RipVanWinkle 27 Jul 2010 10:12 PM


You really think DMC would beat Zenyatta? lol lol lol

Mike Relva 27 Jul 2010 10:13 PM

Hi John,

I responded to your question about Zenyatta A+ vs. Rachel A++ in a new blog post (click here).

Thanks for your question!


Ian Tapp 27 Jul 2010 10:27 PM


Outstanding post.

Thistledown and Penn National, 250K, that's great humor.

I bet these tracks wouldn't know to do if a horseplayer ever threw down a Franklin at one of the windows.

They'd probably call security...

John 28 Jul 2010 12:14 AM


OMG!! You're the second person to suggest that Quality Road's melt down in last year's BC Classic was because he was actually, consciously afraid to run against Zenyatta!

Good lord man, please tell me that you were joking, because if you weren't THAT IS QUITE SIMPLY THE MOST MIND-NUMBINGLY STUPID FRICKEN COMMENT I'VE SEEN IN THESE FORUMS!! Horses DO NOT think like that. They are NOT aware of the past performances and/or abilities of the other horses in a race. Horses are NOT capable of that level of cognitive thought! I find it INCOMPREHENSIBLE that ANYONE could actually believe that! GAHHHH!!!

And let me repeat myself. Yeah, Rachel hasn't faced much this year - yup, it's true, no point in denying it - but neither has Zenyatta. This year they've BOTH beaten fields made up mostly of glorified claimers and allowance horses. Acknowledge it, deal with it, shut up and move on.

And are people really criticizing Jess Jackson for having Monmouth make the Lady's Secret LONGER?! Wanting to make the race a little more challenging is a bad thing? Seriously? Geez, that man can't win for trying...

I do believe that Rachel's next race will be a proper graded race, hopefully the Personal Ensign. But even if it is, there's no guarantee that she'll be facing a tougher level of competition. Rachel's connections have absolutely no control over what other horses start in the race. The Vanity wasn't exactly stocked with a bunch of top notch G1 ladies, was it?

But yes, LAST YEAR Zenyatta beat a strong field (minus Quality Road) to win the BC Classic (or as Wayne Lucas called it, the Poly Cup) BUT knowledgeable racing fans have to admit that there was a very real synthetic bias for both the 2008 and 2009 BC series, and that dirt specialists did not run to form.

If Zenyatta beats an equally strong field in this year's Classic (which would ideally include both Rachel and Quality Road) on Churchill's dirt surface, then I will gladly join with the Zenyatta zealots in proclaiming her the greatest distaffer there ever was and ever will be. But until then, IMHO Zenyatta = Winner of the 2009 Breeders Cup Classic*

* run over a synthetic surface

Stacey 28 Jul 2010 5:12 AM


If Zenyatta wins this years Classic,there won't be any room for you to "jump on the bandwagon".Since you brought up Wayne,he's been quoted as saying Zenyatta is something very special. But what would he know,right?

Mike Relva 28 Jul 2010 8:24 AM


I couldn't help but smile when you treated us to famous "a wise old horse player told me once...". Funny how these fellows always seem to miss out on the third part of that trifecta by not being rich as well.

Giddyup 28 Jul 2010 9:27 AM


I was disappointed that she didn't win but if they were using different tactics to get her ready to run at 1 1/4 I could understand that...

... and who knows what was going on during her 5 month layoff... I've seen things written that she had surgery to correct a bone chip... probably just a rumor but that whole situation WAS a little bizarre ... and then the committing to the Apple Blossom on short notice...

Rachel was probably telling Jess... "What are you kidding me?,.. you leave me inactive for 5 months and then expect me to get it together in a month to go run against Zenyatta?  Jeez, thats not asking much, is it?"

"And lets say I win the Apple Blossom, you get 2.5 million dollars and all I get is a pat on the nose and an extra cup of oats!"

Zenyatta wins and she gets a bottle of Guiness Stout!  At least make it worth my while!

"Bob Z, I think the air was let out of the ballon when Zardana, Zenyatta's stablemate beat Rachel Alexandra earlier this year."

Bob Z 28 Jul 2010 10:12 AM

You thought I was kidding?  


Guinness at 4:00 minute mark of video

No wonder the horse keeps winning...

Bob Z 28 Jul 2010 10:23 AM

No Stacey, people are not criticizing JJ for having the folks at Monmouth make the LS longer.  They are criticizing him for "negotiating" a purse increase just to have his HOY appear at their track.  Look at the NYRA  purse cuts and the general sad economic state of racing and tell me that money couldn't have been better spent.  I don't know why he does this.  I think it cheapens his horse and makes her seem like a sideshow or a has-been, or both.

Pam S. 28 Jul 2010 12:22 PM

Bob Z, You are right, thats why she keeps on winning.  I first saw that video when John posted it and laughed, thinking that must be the key to her success.  She is so spoiled and pampered like a baby,  she deserves all the special treatment she recieves..

You can tell she lives in harmony, A very special "happy" barn.

sodapopkid 28 Jul 2010 12:41 PM

Stacy, Jim isn't the only one that thinks that Quality Road freaked out cause, he wanted nothing to do with Zen!!!  You're right, horses don't know the accomplishments of the others however, there is intimidation involved and that is what Quality Road picked up on and he said: "I will not get beat by a girl!"  Then, freaked out.  The other factor was the helicopter buzzing and hovering over the gate.

dinkydiva 28 Jul 2010 3:25 PM

Rachel needs a new agent.... She needs to get hold of Scott Boras and see if he is available since A-Rod doesn't use him anymore...

She has a legitimate gripe...

The next time Rachel talks to Jess I could see this conversation ...

"Jess, you need to fix this...  Zenyatta is getting Guiness and I'm getting squat...  

I'm the reigning Horse of the Year damn it!

In fact not only do I want a Guiness after a race I want a cheeseburger to go with it!  And while you are at it I want a flatscreen in the stall... and 200 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets for my hay bed like my friend Patches..."


Rachel needs to let Scott handle all this negotiation with Jess and just concentrate on getting ready for the next race... at 1 1/4 ... thats enough to worry about... leave the contract negotiation to somebody else...

"Bob Z, You are right, thats why she keeps on winning.  I first saw that video when John posted it and laughed, thinking that must be the key to her success.  She is so spoiled and pampered like a baby,  she deserves all the special treatment she recieves.."

You can tell she lives in harmony, A very special "happy" barn.

Bob Z 28 Jul 2010 4:01 PM

Good lord. It's an epidemic...

"however, there is intimidation involved and that is what Quality Road picked up on and he said: 'I will not get beat by a girl!'"

It boggles the mind, it really does. I've worked with horses for over 20 years and I can tell you what motivates a horse: food and pain. When assessing a situation, 90% of a horse's thought process are it along the lines of, "Can I eat it? Will it hurt?"

There is, of course, also instinct which for horses is "fight or flight". I can't believe I have to explain this, but the "fight or flight" instinct is tuned into potential danger and NOT potential for a bruised ego.

And I assure you, if Quality Road had run in last year's BC Classic and lost to Zenyatta, he wouldn't be reeling with embarrassment thinking, "Damn, I just got beat by a girl." He'd be thinking, "Ok, race is over. Put my hay back."

And Mike, I agree with Lucas, I think Zenyatta is something very special too. She just still has to prove to me just how special she is.

I also agree that John Shirreffs is a great trainer, and more importantly a great horseman. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him and think his videos are great for racing. I'd send a horse to him any day of the week. On the other hand I wouldn't give Steve Asmussen a tired old nag to use as a stable pony. I wish Jess Jackson would give Rachel back to Hal Wiggins.

Stacey 28 Jul 2010 5:35 PM

Stacey,  Zenyatta is an epidemic.

 Once you get hooked on to the ZenyattaTrain, you can't get off.

sodapopkid 28 Jul 2010 9:40 PM


Zenyatta doesn't have to prove anything to You or anyone!

Mike Relva 28 Jul 2010 10:22 PM

Mike Relva,

Thank you.

Giles 29 Jul 2010 12:19 AM

Actually, Mike "King of the quickie one-line, lame, snide comment" Relva, there are lots of knowledgeable racing fans that think Zenyatta's connections are playing it safe, and that she needs to beat the best males somewhere besides the synthetic sandbox in her backyard before they'll coronate her.

And before anyone says that's not true, last year the vast majority of professional turf writers were more impressed with Rachel's body of work in '09 than Zenyatta's one race in the BC.

Just sayin'... *shrug*

Stacey 29 Jul 2010 1:12 AM

Stacey, Last year and this year for Ra is two different years.

I expect some of the voters felt they had made a mistake after the way she has come back this year.

sodapopkid 29 Jul 2010 11:07 AM


Wow! You are much too generous. Actually that title should go to Draynay. lol  If you really want to bring RA into this,maybe you shouldn't since last time I've checked she HASN'T WON A GRADE 1 this year! I don't blame her connections for taking it easy on her after the  difficult campaign she endured last year. But don't pretend it's only Zenyatta running in easy races,ok!

Mike Relva 29 Jul 2010 11:08 AM


Rachel Alexandra's 2009 campaign was one of the great campaigns in recent memory. That's why she was named Horse of the Year of 2009. She deserved it.

Like you said, 2009 and 2010 are different years. Why would any voter think their vote was a mistake based on anything other than 2009? If the Saints don't win the Super Bowl again next season, does that change the fact they won it last year?


Ian Tapp 29 Jul 2010 11:23 AM

The constant and unrelenting banter about who is deserving and who is the better race horse serves the egos of those participating in the chatter.  The real topic should be about how to generate a race or better yet two races for thoroughbred racing to put its best foot forward and give the racing public and the public at large a chance to have a true heavyweight match or two between these two immensely talented race mares. We need to advance our sport more than we need to win the back and forth.  Put your energy into getting the match made where they can compete.  I know for a fact that neither side knows what will happen if they face each other.  It is horse racing and that is beauty of the sport.  You never know until they look each other in the eye when they turn for home.  We need a leader to put this two race match together.  Mr. Tapp, who can get this done?

dave york 29 Jul 2010 12:19 PM

No, Ian, I wasnt looking at it like that, Yes, she did deserve the award for last year, If we didnt realize how much it took out of her last year, we certaily saw it this year.   What I was saying is her last year is different from her this year season by a long shot.  Yes, she worked harder than any horse did last year to recieve the award.

sodapopkid 29 Jul 2010 12:32 PM

dave york,

This whole thing is a poker game that the owners have yet to invite us to.

Each ownership group has its own best interests in mind. They all know the racing calendar, they have their respective racing managers. There can be no excuse from them, or onus on "the sport" to make its owners conform. They own the horses, not us.


Ian Tapp 29 Jul 2010 12:48 PM

Ian,  When do you forsee this great matchup to ever take place?

Or do you ever forseeing it taking place?  (Zen and Rachel)

sodapopkid 29 Jul 2010 3:22 PM


I hope and expect the two will meet. If both horses keep winning and stay sound, but never meet -- it will go down as one of racing's greatest embarrassments.

If not the Personal Ensign, the Beldame on Oct. 2 would work, with a rematch in the Breeders' Cup.

Hopefully the owners will let each other know in advance of their decision.


ITapp 29 Jul 2010 4:21 PM

Well, now we have "tentative plans" for Rach.  Let's see if Moss will ship Zen and leave her east for the rest of the season?!  That's what I would do, ship her let her prep over the dirt surface, and end the season at Churchill at the BC!!!  Makes since, being that Zen doesn't ship well.  This could be a great race if, along with Rach and Life at Ten and put Devil May Care and Blind Luck in the mix, what a race that would be along with Zen of course!!!!!!!!  That would get the media in a frenzy!!!  Great pr!!

dinkydiva 30 Jul 2010 2:57 PM


Its interesting that both camps announced at the same time....what they were doing... that would lead me to believe that the 2 camps had talked to each other and the decisions were then made...  just an opinion...

This is a BIG one for Rachel ... her first time at 1 1/4...

I would look for a replay of the Ladys Secret... be close to the pace at the 3/4... be even at the top of the stretch and then kick it with an 1/8 of a mile to go...

Its going to be interesting to see...

What happens if Rachel is further out than 1/8 of a mile from the finish and a horse is coming up fast from behind...  

In other words... does she just wait to get a certain distance form the finish line before she kicks it in? regardless of who is coming up behind her....??


Does she take the tactic to get even in the stretch and if another horse starts coming up ... don't let that horse get by her?  that could mean accelerating too early... and possibly tiring...

I wonder what happens if another horse goes by her in the stretch and Calvin hasn't asked her yet...?

How will she react to that?

Remember the Woodward?  

Different horses just kept on coming... and she was cool with being the pace setter at 1 1/8 but at 1 1/4  Calvin is going to have to thread the needle tactically to be in a good position and still have enough acceleration for the last 1/8 mile....

Bob Z 30 Jul 2010 4:28 PM

"It would be a longshot," Shirreffs said by cell phone from Hollywood Park in California Friday afternoon. "We have not talked about it (Personal Ensign)... in fact this is the first I have heard about it when you mentioned it."

"As you know, California to Saratoga is a long flight and I don't know what kind of connections we could make," Shirreffs said. "There are so many details to get. "

When asked if there was anything the New York Racing Association could do to get Zenyatta here, Shirreffs answered quickly.

"No, nothing," he said.

Thats the end of the story for them meeting before the Breeders Cup....  

I would think that Rachel would try the Beldame or the Jockey Gold Cup At Belmont depending how the Personal Ensign goes...

So Zenyattas camp isn't interested in running NY...

Zenyatta is probably running in the Classic...

So anybody that wants to see these two meet up had better be rooting for Rachel in the Personal Ensign... because if she doesn't do well at 1 1/4 I doubt that you would see her in the Classic...

Can you imagine that?

Remember a few short months ago?  There was talk of meeting 3 times...

Now it all probably comes down to how Rachel does in the Personal Ensign as to whether we ever see the 2 of them in the same race....

Bob Z 30 Jul 2010 4:43 PM

Bob Z...  I agree with you.  I read that article a lil while ago and thought: well, there goes that fun idea!

I think that when both camps announced a few months ago about the 3 meets; that is what got the fans all happy and then, they both pulled the rug out from under us and that is why the fans on both sides are so frustrated!!

Rach going a 1 1/4 for the first time will be interesting for sure.  Don't count out Life at Ten though.  She'll be tough for Rach to beat.

dinkydiva 30 Jul 2010 5:15 PM


I can almost promise you that Zenyatta's connections won't ship her ANYWHERE until time for the Breeders'. They will continue to manage her astounding career to perfection and not risk any move that will reduce her chances of winning in Nov. I totally agree!

Mike Relva 30 Jul 2010 5:17 PM

Now who's ducking who?

Stacey 30 Jul 2010 6:00 PM


You're absolutely right. Zenyatta's connections have decided to stay in California.

This is after her 1:13:60 breeze for 6 and galloped out to 1:27:19 for 7.

If I'm not mistake that calculates to about 23 and half seconds for the final furlong.

Are you kidding me?

That brings new meaning to 'burning some rubber'.

John 30 Jul 2010 7:33 PM

Stacey, Zen already came for Ra in the AB,  Its not up to Zen to go to RA , its up to Ra to go to Zen.

They will meet up in the BCC.   Lets see how RA does at the 1 1/4 mile first.

I for one am glad Moss isnt shipping Zen to the PE,  I want RA if she enters the BCC, I want her without excuses.  Furthermore,  she needs this time to run agaisnt a horse that isnt as strong as Zen.  I know JJ is relieved........He sure didnt want Zen in the first race RA tries at that distance.  

I bet he is sending MOss and Sherriffs a case of the KJ wines as we speak.

sodapopkid 30 Jul 2010 8:02 PM


It's that the best you've got,the "who's ducking who" deal? How do you REALLY BELIEVE you can mount a defense on that fact? RA is 2-2 this year with races that aren't grade ones. Don't try to ignore the fact by going with a very lame spin. ARE YOU GOING TO TELL ME SIX MONTHS AGO YOU KNEW BY AUG RA WOULDN'T HAVE A GRADE 1 ALREADY THIS YR.? Perhaps her connections realized what they put her thru last year and wanted to curtail that this year. I don't blame them  for an easier schedule. But,if your observation is Zenyatta is ducking her,thanks for the laugh! lol lol lol lol lol

Mike Relva 30 Jul 2010 10:34 PM



Mike Relva 30 Jul 2010 10:35 PM

Mike Relva, not even 24 hrs to go,dude.  You would be coming back to Jason's blog as he is leaving on vacation.  You better get over on there a day early and get started on straightening some of the cuckoo's out.

I saw Stacey's post and after I posted my reply, I thought to myself I would check back later  because I knew you were coming full force on that posting.   soda

sodapopkid 31 Jul 2010 12:41 AM

It looks like that Zenyatta is afraid to come east.  Jess Jackson has to his credit admitted that RA does not like plastic tracks.  The last time Zenyatta was at CD the track came up wet and she scratched out. You do not get my respect if you chicken out. For all you Zenyatta lovers, and there are many of you, Zenyatta has owners who chickened out the last time and my money is that the owners will chicken out again. Z will never run at the Breeders Cup.  Las Vegas, put that bet out there and I will make a huge wager that Zenyatta never makes the starting gate at Churchill Downs.  Rachel has run at so many different tracks.  The owners of Z are the problem.

dave york 31 Jul 2010 6:52 AM


I guess Zenyatta "chickened out" in the Apple Blossom,right? She was ready to face RA when Jackson pulled her. You don't have a clue what you're talking about. RA is a great horse,but I  say Zenyatta beats her in the Classic. The connections aren't the problem. It's people like you that live in a fantasy world! lol

Mike Relva 31 Jul 2010 10:21 AM


Hey! Trust me,it will be great to be back.

Mike Relva 31 Jul 2010 10:23 AM


Trust me,when a "certain blogger" returns from vacation they probably won't like what I'm going to tell them.

Mike Relva 31 Jul 2010 11:01 AM

Dave York,  Wake up dude,  Its 2010? You must have slept thru most of this year,  Certaily you can go back 3 months and remember the Apple Blossom,  Its so funny with RA fans, she is suppose to get a free pass which are excuses and every other horse like Zen are never suppose to get a pass.  Grow up people,  Zen already came for RA (she was a no-show with excuses), Zen will take down RA in the BCC.   RA will either BE THERE or BE SQUARE!!!

sodapopkid 31 Jul 2010 11:09 AM

Dave York..... Yes, when Zen shipped to CH, they scratched her not because of the rain but, due to the "sealed surface!"  I wouldn't run my horse on it either!!  Hopefully, the conditions will be good for this years BC!!!!  I am hoping that they (JJ, Assmussen)are planning on the Classice and that is why the weird season so far. Finally, meet up with the Queen. However, I don't see it happening, she'll end up in the Ladies Classic.  If she's not retired by then.

dinkydiva 31 Jul 2010 3:09 PM

Dinky = so we should cancel racing if it rains?

soda = they don't run the BC at Oaklawn

Relva = RA was way off her game early this year because of the break they gave her. Everybody knows RA was not ready.

The difference in the two fantastic race mares is that RA accomplished things early in her career that no other female thoroughbred has ever done. Zenyatta has accomplished things late in her career that no other female thoroughbred has ever done.  If you race a thoroughbred as much as they did RA early in their careers it is hard if not impossible to have a long career.  It did not use to be this way but it seems it is now.

If the owners of both had their act together they would have a two race deal worked out by now. A two race deal would be huge for the sport of horse racing.  Both owners are to blame for missing this chance to make history but most of the blame is with the owners of Z.  She will never race at CD and that is a real shame.

dave york 01 Aug 2010 6:38 AM


Why don't you stop spinning? I know RA wasn't on her game,my point is Zenyatta was there to face her and Jackson FOOLISHLY entered her against better judgement. It's RA's connections' turn to chase Zenyatta!

Mike Relva 01 Aug 2010 4:48 PM

Dinky, that "sealed surface" didn't seem to hurt Rachel any on the very same day that Zenyatta scratched.

It's obvious that Jerry Moss desperately wants Zenyatta to win Horse of the Year, so that being the case it most definitely IS up to Zenyatta to go to Rachel and TAKE the title from her. It really is that simple and the PE is the perfect race to do just that! It's a G1, it's at the "classic" distance of 10f, and Rachel looks like she's come back to form after two comfortable wins.

There is absolutely NO GOOD REASON for team Zenyatta not to "come get" Rachel in the PE!

Zenyatta's a poor shipper? Well then she's not really HOY caliber IMHO. I would say that makes her a very, very nice but limited CA synthetic specialist just like Pepper's Pride was a very, very nice NM breds stakes specialist. It's not easy to be undefeated in so many races but it doesn't hurt when the horse's connections hand pick races they know that the horse is most likely to win, and not challenge the horse outside of its comfort zone.

In my opinion, if you want a title like Horse of the Year you need to accomplish a lot of things.

For starters, that horse should show versatility. That horse should win at several different tracks and be able to handle any conditions thrown at him/her so long as it doesn't pose a legitimate threat to the horse's health and safety. Running over one surface in your own back yard, beating the same mediocre fields over and over again just doesn't cut it.

Team Zenyatta DID win an award for winning the BC Classic. They got a pretty trophy and blanket of flowers, and an enormous check! But the HOY is not awarded based on ONE RACE! That's why "JJ" beat Zenyatta with Curlin in '08 and again with Rachel in '09. Honestly! Where IS the mystery here?!

I think that Barbaro got screwed in the 2006 Eclipse Awards. While no knowledgeable racing fan can deny that both Invasor and Bernardini had great years that year, and were very worthy candidates for the honors they took, I believe that Barbaro should have won *at least* one of those awards. He was undefeated in every race he finished in 2006 and won on the turf as well as both fast and off dirt tracks.

Barbaro showed more versatility in his tragically short 2006 season then Zenyatta has in her entire career.

Stacey 01 Aug 2010 9:15 PM

The Breeders' Cup people must think Zenyatta will be there in Nov.  Their promo commercial says "Come see Zenyatta defend her BC Classic crown!"

Pam S. 01 Aug 2010 9:16 PM

I wish people could tell me how a colt that trains and runs on synthetics all the time, Turns around and wins the Preakness, then wins the Haskell, on conventional dirt , but yet they down grade the synthetic surface for a horse like Zenyatta.

Only a fool would think that she would not be able to run a great race in the BCC on dirt as to synthetics.

The problem for RA fans is the fact , It's not the surface that worries them, It's the competition.

Her name is ZENYATTA

sodapopkid 01 Aug 2010 9:38 PM

There is no spin.  Read my last. Z will never race at CD.  I own, breed and race thoroughbreds.  Racing a 3 year old filly through the campaign that RA completed is brutally hard on any thoroughbred especially a three year old filly.  It will never be done again.  If you want to make 5 digit wager on Z showing up at CD for the BC, let me know.  I can use the cash.

dave york 01 Aug 2010 11:50 PM


First,I thought connections nearly ran RA into the ground last yr. (I didn't agree with it). Second,if you're half as smart as you probably think, it should be obvious that goal from the beginning of this yr. has been Breeders' for Team Zenyatta!

Mike Relva 02 Aug 2010 11:43 AM


Here are a few FACTS: Steve Haskin stated recently in his forty three yrs of racing he's NEVER seen anything like Zenyatta. Mike Mitchell said she's THE BEST MARE he's seen in his lifetime. Jim Cassidy,who helped train Ruffian says Zenyatta is in the same league. Dewayne Lukas has stated Zenyatta is something special,Baffert,Ron Ellis,etc. Question? Guess you know more than any of these individuals,right? lol lol  You don't have the slightest clue what you're talking about? Who do you think I'll take seriously,respected individuals' or someone like yourself that knows next to nothing?

Mike Relva 02 Aug 2010 11:56 AM


You answered your own question. Lookin At Luck has won two G1s and one G2 on the dirt at three different tracks this year alone. Zenyatta has only run out of CA and on the dirt twice in her entire career, and both of those times were at the same track.

Stop deluding yourself. Rachel Alexandra's people are NOT afraid of Zenyatta, but once again it looks like Zenyatta's people are afraid of losing their perfect record (and probably 2010 HOY AND Older Female) to Rachel Alexandra.

Zenyatta needs to come to the PE to prove otherwise. PERIOD.

Stacey 02 Aug 2010 1:27 PM


Yeah, your right. My 20+ years of working with horses has taught me next to nothing... *yawn*

What have those same people had to say about Rachel? You have to present all the facts, not just the ones that support your premise, in order for your argument to be valid.

Stacey 02 Aug 2010 2:43 PM

Stacey Zen came to the AB,  to prove otherwise,  the problem is nothing on the east coast was game enough to take her on,  there is more on the east coast than RA that could have loaded in the gate to face Zenyatta.  But its the same were ever she goes, no one wants to take her on.   Lets see were Ra will be on Nov. 5th or 6th?

sodapopkid 02 Aug 2010 3:33 PM

One thing for sure,  Its enough "JacksonExcuseJuice" to go around for all the RA fans.

Zenyatta will prove herself on November 6th at CD,  I expect she will be the only filly/mare entering in it.

sodapopkid 02 Aug 2010 3:35 PM

Well, Ian,  Your poll on here is just like all the other polls going on,  They all have one main thing,  They have Zenyatta the lead in every one of them.  

Same thing with the poll going on over on DRF.com with Jay Hovdey.

sodapopkid 02 Aug 2010 3:38 PM

The Apple Blossom is in the past. Move on, let it go. The Personal Ensign is in the future. Both ladies look to be in form now. Now is the time for them to meet. The only ones making excuses now are the Zenyatta zealots.

Stacey 02 Aug 2010 5:49 PM


You're not actually suggesting that Rachel's connections are unwilling to run her against boys, are you?

How many times has Rachel run again (and beaten!) the boy? Three times. How many times has Zenyatta run against the boys? Once.

What flavor is this Zenyatta kool-aid? It must be really yummy!

Stacey 02 Aug 2010 6:19 PM


I'm finished debating. The point isn't about RA. I've stated many times I'm truly aware she's a once in a lifetime horse. You are side stepping what ALL these individuals say about Zenyatta. Question? Do you think they are wrong? I don't!

Mike Relva 02 Aug 2010 6:21 PM

Well, I will say this Stacey or whoever you really are,  All the males RA beat last year don't compare to field assembled in the BCC that Zenyatta beat.  Last year had the worst group of three year old colts that we have had other than SB.  Zenyatta beat him after he was well conditioned, and not just starting out when RA beat him.

And the Woodward field, lets just say this, " where are they now' thats how bad they really were.  That was a bunch of metiocre males if ever was.    So, yeah, Ra raced against the boys three times , but in reality most of the older mares last year would have and certainly could have crushed all the males she beat,  I know one older mare who could because she beat the best the world could throw at her at once,  that being the BCC.

I dont remember seeeing to many of the males RA beat last year that was good enough to make it to the BCC.  Where was them boys at, other than SB and MTB, what happened to all the other males, Stacey, why wasnt any of them in the BCC.   Truth is,  We all know why!

sodapopkid 02 Aug 2010 11:33 PM


She normally runs 4 furlongs the first workout back... I guess they are trying to push her a little bit getting ready for a mile and a quarter...

I guess that would mean that she'll be going 6 furlongs next Monday and maybe 7 the week after that(?)

How does on prepare a horse to run another 1/8 mile in a race?  Increase the gallop out distance after a work (?)

Bob Z 03 Aug 2010 12:04 AM


The reason you didn't see most of those males in the BCC is because the Woodward destroyed them as much as it destroyed Rachel - and she's the only horse in the race that ran those suicidal fractions the entire distance. Several of them have since been retired as well. What does THAT say about Rachel's guts, endurance and resiliency?

I found something interesting last night. In a national conference call last August Jerry Moss was quoted as saying, "… We happen to live in California, so that’s what we build around. And we do plan a lot around where the Breeders’ Cup is. If the Breeders’ Cup were in New York or Churchill Downs, we’d be all over the country.”

So has anyone told Mr. Moss where the Breeders' Cup is being held this year? Because based on his own words and Zenyatta's current schedule, he seems to think that it's in California again. Either that or he doesn't plan on running her back in the BC this year.

Or maybe he just decided that he'd rather keep Zenyatta in her own backyard, beating the same mediocre competition in order to significantly increase the likelihood that she will remain undefeated.

So if that's what he wants - for Zenyatta to retire undefeated - that's great! More power to him! But if he wants her to be crowned HOY and hailed as the greatest that ever was and ever will be then he'll have to challenge her.

Stacey 03 Aug 2010 1:58 PM

Stacey,  Maybe Moss is different than someone like J.Jackson.

Maybe his horse means more to him than that of HOTY,  Just maybe he thinks "My horse dont have to recieve HOTY, we will be happy knowing she retired beating Cig and Cit,  and Eclipse himself, and PP.  When she wins the BCC this year she will be one of the richest fillies NA will ever had.

You know,  I respect a man that loves his horse and not his own interest callled MONEY, IF he was like J.Jackson, he could go around holding tracks as hostage to just to get a bigger purse,  he dont do that, and he has a hell of alot better horse than JJ does.

JJ, last year, thought of himself, not his horse, so this year ,the horse let him down,  way down.

MOss thought of his horse, and he still does,  To date, his horse has not ever let him down.

IN the end Stacey,  Zenyatta will win,  because Moss has treated her right and has never abused her  just to get an extra dollar.  

Zen will take down whoever she has to in the BCC,  Why?  Because she is just that good.

sodapopkid 03 Aug 2010 4:45 PM


Well said! Unlike Jackson,Moss think's of his horse FIRST!

Mike Relva 03 Aug 2010 5:52 PM

The difference in having a good horse (RA) and having a great horse(Zen) is preservation.

When you have something great, You keep it great, You preserve it.

Big difference in the way both of these horses have been managed,

The preserved, well managed horse keeps on winning,  

The unpreserved, mismangaged horse soon faulters.

sodapopkid 05 Aug 2010 8:35 AM

I will be at CD for the Breeders Cup.  RA will be at CD for the breeders cup. Zen will be laying around watching the Breeders Cup from SoCal.  I am still waiting for the wager to show up.  Someone please offer some serious money on Zen showing up at CD for the BC.  The payoff should occur at the finish line on the rail at CD.  Get Bloodhorse there for the photo.

dave york 05 Aug 2010 5:13 PM


You sound as if you graduated from clown school!!!!    LOl

Mike Relva 05 Aug 2010 6:59 PM


Trust me,I'll be here to remind you when it doesn't work out your way! Make sure you leave the lame excuses at home.

Mike Relva 05 Aug 2010 7:35 PM

Mike Relva


dave york 06 Aug 2010 4:26 PM


Why then you you think the reason was for UNRETIRING ZENYATTA this year if Breeders' Classic wasn't the goal? Makes no sense!

Mike Relva 06 Aug 2010 6:05 PM

Zenyatta Fans,

Who did she beat in the Hirsch?  Grade 1 race? 1:15 for six furlongs?  This is a great race horse that has been given many victories because there is no competition on the west coast.  These plastic tracks are set up to favor closers.  Ask Baffert Ellis or any of the other top trainers on the west coast how much they like these plastic tracks. Almost everybody wants to change back to dirt.

Dave York 08 Aug 2010 7:57 AM


Since you're bringing trainers' into it,Baffert stated last week Zenyatta is better on dirt. Mike Mitchell was quoted,"Zenyatta is the best mare that I've seen in my lifetime". Jim Cassidy,(who assisted with Ruffian )says Zenyatta is in the same league. I would say these individuals should know what they're talking about. What do you think? BTW,Haskin said in his forty three yrs. of racing he hasn't seen anything like her. What would they know,right?

Mike Relva 08 Aug 2010 9:42 AM

I copied and pasted this for you Dave York,  I found this on another blog this morning. This answers your question about who Zen faced in the Hirsch.  It also explains that this group is graded other than ungraded in the LS.

Zenyatta raced no one in this year's Clement L. Hirsch has got their head stuck up their proverbial a--. It wasn't American fillies and mares trying to cut down Zenyatta at Del-Mar today. It was some outstanding mares from Ireland and Great Britain. Rinterval, ran 2nd today, and also just ran 2nd to Informed Decision in the Chicago Handicap in July at Arlington. She also ran 2nd to another great Euro mare, Lush Lashes, in the Goff Hotel Millions Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland. 3rd place finisher, Princess Taylor, ran 2nd to Barshiba in the Plantation Stud Fillies Stakes at Newmarket. Barshiba is a back to back winner of the Lancashire Oaks, and just finished 3rd behind Harbinger in the Hardwicke Stakes at Ascot. Princess Taylor also finished 2nd in the Warwickshire Oaks Stakes in the UK as well. The 3rd place finisher in the race, Spring Style, is also from Ireland. Today is her best finish of her American races to date. But she's been racing tough competition. She finished 5th in the G2 La Canada Stakes to Life is Sweet. 6th in the G2 Buena Vista Handicap to Tuscan Evening, and 5th to Gotta Have her in the G2 Royal Heroine Mile. So Spring Style has had no shortage of competition in America herself. I think both Blame and Quality Road are outstanding colts. Without question, the two best conventional dirt COLTS in America. Blame especially likes Churchill Downs. Having won the G2 Clark Handicap and the G1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. But neither Quality Road or Blame has ever won beyond 9 furlongs in their careers. I think that will be the difference maker in this year's B.C.Classic. Zenyatta has won the Classic over 10 furlongs. For her, the longer the distance, the more effective her late closing tactics become. Plus, she run's conventional dirt well enough herself. Having proven that by winning two G1's at Oaklawn. I think both Quality Road and especially Blame will make for tough opponents in the Classic. But I think that one extra furlong is to Zenyatta's advantage, and will be the factor that wins her back to back Breeders Cup Classics. JMO.

sodapopkid 08 Aug 2010 11:36 AM


Great points! Too many idiot's that don't get it! Don't you wish they would just all go away?

Mike Relva 08 Aug 2010 7:14 PM

Also, HP has a conventional dirt track they train Zen on when she is going to run on dirt.  If you dont believe it exists, go to youtube.com and search for Jhshfs05 and look for the link called "Newbabies"  it shows John bringing the new horses to train on the dirt track at HP.   Dont forget,  HP was dirt tracks before they were synthetics,  So it makes sense that they would still have a dirt track around and having the main track synthetics.

sodapopkid 08 Aug 2010 7:14 PM

Read the blog you posted.  The gals that Z beat have never beat anybody.  Running second or third or fifth means that they are herd animals.  Do you know anything about this sport?  Z will never race at CD.....trust me....the owners are scared of bringing her out of the west coast.  We will know soon.  Please save this for historical purposes.  I still am looking for the wager opportunity. Is anybody in Las Vegas listening?

dave york 09 Aug 2010 5:29 AM

That blog didn't bother to mention that those Euros weren't running on the turf as they are accustomed.

Stacey 09 Aug 2010 7:34 AM

Yes,  I do Mike.  I really wish they would.    Everything  Zenyatta does has a question mark beside it and everything RA does and does not do is suppose to fine.

Zenyatta has nothing to prove this year, RA has plenty to prove.

sodapopkid 09 Aug 2010 7:37 AM


You show among other things a serious lack of respect referring to horses' as "herd animals". Hey Dave,if you were hanging from a cliff w/ a "herd animal" as you call them, guess which one I would attempt to save? Wrap your brain(if you have one) around that concept!

Mike Relva 09 Aug 2010 10:28 AM


You show a serious lack of knowledge about horses if you don't know that horses ARE herd animals.

Stacey 09 Aug 2010 1:33 PM

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