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Gallant in Defeat: Zenyatta & Seattle Slew

The thrilling finish of the Breeder's Cup Classic (gr. I) saw Blame spoil the undefeated record of Zenyatta, and the supermare's storyline instantly became reminiscent of another champion—Seattle Slew.

Like Zenyatta, Seattle Slew started his career undefeated. He won his first nine races, which included six grade I's and the Triple Crown. Also like Zenyatta, Seattle Slew was questioned for beating up on mediocre competition; while the son of Bold Reasoning was brilliant, racing observers called his crop of 1977 three-year-olds "ordinary." Seattle Slew would have to earn respect against the best horses in the country. His performance in the 1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), then run at 12 furlongs, would cement his place in racing history. Though he lost the race to Exceller, Seattle Slew's gameness in the stretch after running ridiculous early fractions is among the greatest racing performances of all time.

Of course, Seattle Slew went on to be an excellent sire, as did his Horse of the Year son A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO). Below are the Seattle Slew line stallions available on TrueNicks.

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153 Comments:

I was thinking of SS in this race yesterday...her greatness & heart were cemented in this "loss"...

Rachel 07 Nov 2010 2:49 PM

AP Indy has my vote as top proven stallion to be bred to Zenyatta. Loved the look of Balances AP Indy foal. A great first breeding for a great mare.

shesfast 07 Nov 2010 2:58 PM

Yesterday I was thinking of Native Dancer's stretch running head loss in the 1953 Kentucky Derby on that same track! Same scenario: an unbeaten horse, beloved by the fans, having a terrible trip, getting off the rail late in the race to come flying down the stretch only to run out of room. A heart breaker for sure! To be the best horse in the race and not get the win seems so unjust!  Zenyatta is awesome and I hope her one loss does not negatively affect her legacy like it did his.

Racingfan 07 Nov 2010 3:01 PM

I could not have thought of a better race to use to compare Big Z's head loss in yesterday's BC Classic. Slew winning the Triple Crown undefeated put him the history books. But, his head lose to Exceller stamped him as one of horse racing greatest. Big Z's head lose doesn't take away her amazing accomplishments. Her performance is what horse racing is all about. Two brillant horses giving it their all down to the wire.  

Somethingroyal 07 Nov 2010 3:21 PM

Yes rachel, you are right. Smart people will see that this race was the finest race she ever ran. No horse should be able to do what she did. It was impossible. I thought she was going to be pulled up , literally. To go on and do what she did was magnificent.

Paula Higgins 07 Nov 2010 3:28 PM

I used this word "cemented" in my new facebook page promoting Z for HOTY...Great article, which I posted to my page (some free publicity).

www.facebook.com/.../115596758502669

sushyne 07 Nov 2010 4:16 PM

Seattle Slew was a great horse, no doubt. Exceller beat him, and what did he get for it? He ended up as an entree on some rich European's dinner plate. :(

Laura 07 Nov 2010 4:22 PM

She faced top males on dirt and lost plain and simple.  She wasn't good enough.  When facing tough competition you sometimes lose ask Secretariat.  Had she faced top competition more often Zenyatta would have lost more often.  Get over it.

Draynay 07 Nov 2010 4:32 PM

I've been hoping for a A P Indy/Zenyatta foal since last year and name of foal A P Z

darlene 07 Nov 2010 4:43 PM

Wow, earlier today I mentioned this Seattle Slew effort as perhaps the last time I knew of a similarly impressive narrow loss on the national stage.

But to the person who would breed Zenyatta to A.P. Indy - that would probably be a recipe for a horse who wouldn't start until age 4 or 5, and probably wouldn't run worth a darn.  NOT because either isn't potentially exceptional, but because their cross would likely produce some giant horse who needed years to grow into him/herself.

Sure it might be great if there was an obvious horse in every race who was 17.2 hands and dwarfed the others, but given what we have now for distances in American racing, I wouldn't hold high hopes for them being competitive from the beginning.

Zenyatta for breeding is tricky, since you probably want a stallion with a bit of brilliance, yet not limited distance-wise.

Tom R. 07 Nov 2010 4:49 PM

I want to see Zenlin AND Curlatta: Curlin and Zenyatta forever.

merrywriter 07 Nov 2010 4:57 PM

I was so hoping for a story-book ending, but that's horse racing. It has a tendency to break your heart. Thank you to the Mosses for another great year, to John Sherriffs for taking such good care of her, to Mike for bringing her home to victory so many times, and of course, special thanks to the beautiful, big-hearted mare for laying herself out there time and again. I will miss the class you all have shown and the thrill ride you've taken us on over the years. Good luck to you all.

Susie 07 Nov 2010 5:36 PM

I am even more impressed with Zenyatta after this race ,the distance she made up against the winner was very impressive.Watching the race I thought she was going to do a Quality Road and quit.If Zenyatta and Blame raced in 6 weeks I belive Zenyatta would be the favorite

BigBadAndMean 07 Nov 2010 5:57 PM

Please don't compare this Mare to Slew. She has been mollycoddled her entire life, her record was the illusion that comes when a GI horse is allowed to play with with allowance mares for 17 out of twenty starts. Seattle Slew battled illness, unfortunate connections, and some of the finest handicap horses this nation has seen multiple times to stake his claim to greatness.Oh yeah, and he shipped - imagine that! The Mosses gambled and lost, they should live with the consequences. Make no mistake, Zenyatta is a fine mare but there has only been one Seattle Slew.

Please Don't 07 Nov 2010 6:46 PM

ZENYATTA HAS BEEN APART OF OUR LIVES FOR A WHILE AND WE

WILL ALL MISS HER... SO PLEASE GIVE US UPDATES ON HER FROM

TIME TO TIME.... IT WOULD MEAN SO MUCH TO HER FANS... JUST

BECAUSE SHE IS RETIRING DOESN'T MEAN WE HAVE ALL LOST

INTEREST IN HER AND HER WORLD...

nmh 07 Nov 2010 6:49 PM

There is no comparison in the performances- Slew's is far superior.I don't think Zenyatta's run is as adversity-ridden as everyone's saying.I think everyone's under the influence of the panicky race caller.Watch the race again, Zenyatta was never as detached from the body of the field as everyone's claiming.By the time they hit the backstretch she was within five lengths of Blame.She had every chance to run him down.

K. Rob 07 Nov 2010 7:05 PM

DRAYNAY

You aren't a real racing fan,just a pretender!  She beat your QR didn't she? She came from twenty lenghts back and nearly beat Blame. What happened to QR,Draynay? You know,the horse you said to bet the bank on?

Mike Relva 07 Nov 2010 7:05 PM

PLEASE DON'T

What race were you watching last nite? She was so far back,it wasn't funny and almost pulled it off. Blames' trainer stated he had the PERFECT TRIP. Guess you think Zenyatta enjoyed the perfect trip,also. As for being spoiled,I call it placing the horse first. That's why you have a six yr old running at a high level. Maybe if RA hadn't been pushed so hard she would've been around for the Breeders Cup. Horses aren't machines,it's about that simple!

Mike Relva 07 Nov 2010 7:11 PM

I don't know why everyone is so quick to jump on her retirement.  I haven't seen one quote indicating to me that she will be retired.  

If she acts like she did last year when they tried to retire her, they may chose not to again.

If you had a mare of this caliber, would you chose to retire her, or would you chose to keep her in training one more year to see what she could actually do? I'd take her to Dubai, try her on turf and try her in the male handicap races.  Even if I really wanted to breed her in 2011, I would send her to Dubai first.  I can't imagine that they're not considering it depending on HotY outcome.

RachelSatterfield 07 Nov 2010 7:32 PM

You can say that Blame deserves HOTY because he had a great year topped off by beating the best horses in the country. And you are probably right.

But I’m a believer now. Zenyatta is even better than I thought and I thought she is one of the best fillies or mares ever. Now I say she belongs right up there with some of the best horses ever. And if she gets HOTY, no one should complain.

Her running style was always risky. She got away with it and was always able to run down other mares no matter how far back she was. It is a lot tougher with colts. It’s hard to say if she would have ran off 19 straight wins against a steady diet of colts. Probably not. But that in no way minimizes what this mare has accomplished. Definitely one of the best ever. Racing needed her.

Saratoga AJ 07 Nov 2010 7:32 PM

Please Don't and K. Rob,

I think we're probably in agreement here. The point of my post is not "who's better--Zenyatta or Seattle Slew" but rather that an impressive loss can mean more than an easy win over weak competition.

Had Zenyatta been campaigned more ambitiously, her place in history could potentially have been much higher.

Ian

Ian Tapp 07 Nov 2010 7:35 PM

I am a little puzzled at the number of people who are so critical of Zenyatta.  Let's see.  The connections brought her back for another year of racing so we could enjoy her performances.  The connections allowed various people and tv cameras to enjoy her up close and personal.  We saw a race that was decided by a head after covering a distance of a mile and a quarter.  And people are degrading Zenyatta's ability?  There is no other horse in America who could have given the other horses such a head start and closed like that.

puzzled 07 Nov 2010 8:02 PM

ITapp, I appreciate the response.

I have nothing against Zenyatta and her fans even though they go a bit overboard in their appraisal.... I too believe her legacy would have been enhanced by running against more top competition. Imagine that long, beautiful stride on the sweeping turns at Belmont Park.

BTW, in my original post I meant "adversity-riddled".

K. Rob 07 Nov 2010 8:10 PM

Let's see if you win the BC Classic you should be HOY, didn't work that way last year. Queen Z was beaten by a head by a horse that raced 13 times and was  first 9 times second 2 times and 3rd 2 times that means in 13 races 6 horses finished ahead of him,and I'm sure he was beaten by more than a head in the four races he lost. Now he is going to retire. Looking at Lucky and Quality Road other horses considered for HOY finished well behind  Queen Z, fifth and last. So hopefully it will be hard to make a case for either of them. But with the way the eastern writers vote who can say for sure.So it boils down to racing 20 times many times Grade 1's and you lose your 20th race by a head to a horse that has won only 9 times out of 13 and you don't deserve HOY!! Could the fact the Claiborn Farms is celebrating 100 years and Blame is a homebred that will stand there have any influence in the HOY decision?

quarterhossgal 07 Nov 2010 8:12 PM

puzzled,

I disagree that people are critical of Zenyatta's ability. Her ability is obvious. The aspect that frustrates many people, including myself, is that we didn't get to see her in top company more often.

Ian

Ian Tapp 07 Nov 2010 8:13 PM

Zenyatta has great ability just not enough to beat G1 males on dirt.  She is a poly specialist that couldn't tough it out like Goldikova.

Draynay 07 Nov 2010 8:17 PM

How many times have we seen a movie that was not considered a classic when it was made but as time goes by we know that they are. Movies like Citizen Kane and Casablabca come to mind. As time goes by I think more and more people that should no better in the first place will accept what a great performance this really was by Zenyatta. It is right up there with the same great performance of Native Dancer when he also lost his only race over this same track and distance to Dark Star in 1953.

John T 07 Nov 2010 9:03 PM

She's a synthetic specialist, I too would love to see her take the World Cup in Dubai.  Then off to the breeding shed, if they must.  Then let her start the squadrons of Baby Z's to take over American racing.  Queen Z is the zee best!!!!!!

ZENYATTA TO DUBAI NEXT 07 Nov 2010 9:19 PM

You know Draynay, I was certain when you saw this race ON DIRT, you would acknowledge what a great horse Zenyatta really is. Instead, you continue down the same sad road. I think I have over estimated you and for that I am sorry. She ran her heart out and she ran a magnificent race.

Paula Higgins 07 Nov 2010 9:38 PM

Zenyatta and what she has done stand alone.I don't know why we always have to compare.Each great horse has done things just a little differently during their career that makes then stand out as has Zenyatta.They are all special in there own unique ways.I would love to see Zenyatta bred to Dynaformer before he retires,what a fiesty little one that would be!!Just love all these horses and the future stars as they are!

Tracy 07 Nov 2010 9:51 PM

All of those Draynaysayers have done nothing but question Zenyatta's ability...well I think that yesterday's Classic answered many of those questions. Her defeat was more impressive than all of her wins and lets stop degrading all of those fine mares and colts that ran against her. By running down the likes of Quality Road, whose ability to get the mile and a quarter was questioned, and the likes of Looking at Lucky, Haynesfield, First Dude, Fly Down finally showed to those naysayers that she could run against the top colts on dirt and beat them and with another stride or two would have swept past Blame. She is the best female ever and believe me I always thought that Ruffian was but...Zenyatta..what more could or needs to be said. She deserves Horse of the Year.

Julie L. 07 Nov 2010 9:58 PM

Julie L.,

Thanks for you comment, but I must object to one thing you wrote: "with another stride or two would have swept past Blame." This is not a factual statement. Zenyatta never passed Blame. He was ahead at the wire, after the wire, and he galloped out ahead. She ran a great race, but please give Blame his due credit--he never let the big mare past him.

Ian

Ian Tapp 07 Nov 2010 10:11 PM

DrayNay... I can see you like to push many buttons here on Bloodhorse.com.  I am going to assume you are pretty blind to say the things you have about Zenyatta. Maybe you could show some class this week and just not bash her to people who genuinely found the passion and love for a horse who turned the sport around for our industry we adore so much.  That is, unless you simply are in it for the game and the "I told you so" ego boost you can gain when on the rare occasion you are right.  Then I simply pity your lack of ability to fall deeply in love with the athletes of this sport.  

RockHardTenGroupie 07 Nov 2010 10:26 PM

Rachel S.  -- thanks for believing!!  one small quibble - you said that Z could get away with her risky racing style against other mares, but that it's tougher with colts.  Check out a rerun of the 09 BC Classic in which Zenyatta DOES run down 12 (or was it 11?) of the year's best colts!!!  It may be tougher, but she's done it!  

speck 07 Nov 2010 10:30 PM

DRAYNAY, PLEASE DON'T

You must have watched a different race.

Mike Relva 07 Nov 2010 10:46 PM

DRAYNAY

She beat EVERY OTHER horse on dirt but Blame. She beat your QR didn't she? lol

Mike Relva 07 Nov 2010 10:47 PM

Ian, Dark Star never let Native Dancer past in the 1953 running of the Kentucky Derby, but does that make him a better horse than the Dancer?. I think Native Dancer's great wins in the Preakness, Belmont, and Travers Stakes in the same year answers that question but alas Zenyatta is at the end of her career so only common sense can prevail as the years go by on just what a great mare we are talking about here.

John T 07 Nov 2010 10:59 PM

Blame wouldn't beat her again in 29 tries...

goodwin 07 Nov 2010 11:10 PM

John T,

I'm not using the fact that Zenyatta never passed Blame as any suggestion of who is a "better horse." All I'm saying is, don't say that she would have passed him in "another stride or two," because that's not what happened.

Ian Tapp 07 Nov 2010 11:18 PM

It was an awesome effort by Zenyatta to say the least. On Sky Racing radio in Australia one of the hosts (mind you, who doesn't pay much attention to American racing) was saying that he's never seen a better stretch run effort in his life. She's impressed the world.

DSteggs 08 Nov 2010 12:17 AM

ITapp,

According to Bill Dwyre of the LA Times he mentions that "one camera angle showed that she actually caught Blame a few steps from the wire, but then Garret Gomez got the last bob and Zenyatta was beaten."

www.latimes.com/.../la-sp-dwyre-breeders-cup-20101107,0,3717200.column

John 08 Nov 2010 12:18 AM

Thank you for the footage of Slew. You never forget the story, but you kind of forget just how magnificent he was. Watching that race brought it all back again. What a one-of-a-kind horse.

As for Zenyatta, I'm a fan, but I was more impressed by Goldikova. She's a fierce creature.

tallulah13 08 Nov 2010 12:23 AM

Hey Draynay what happened to Quality Road. You're such a soothsayer, always got your negative comments about a great mare. You're such a pathetic loser. Yreally disgust me, and a lot of other folks on these blogs as well. You shouldn't be allowed to have a post. People like you  are what's wrong with this sport. Zenyatta beat 10 other darn horses horses including you're guaranteed winner Quality Road by several lengths. She cam up a short head from victory, there is no shame in that. It was a brilliant performance...

You are just too darn ignorant to see it........

The Deacon 08 Nov 2010 12:33 AM

Zen's Pride should be CA HOY & nothing more! "Blame" should come to her owners & her trainer only! Thanks for showing us fans what we really wanted to see! If she never had anything to prove, then she should have been in all the male races & not in the same female races over & over! Even Blind Luck, who is 3 & traveled all over the country accomplished more than Z did this year!! Blind Luck for thoroughbred HOY!!!

Don't Even Start 08 Nov 2010 12:36 AM

Ian,

Zenyatta does actually put her nose in front of Blame just a few feet past the wire.

Thanks and enjoyed you comments.

Mark 08 Nov 2010 12:48 AM

Zenyatta,,,,,,,,,evrybody, but( draynay)  now  who you are...one of  the best females ever in race history....thanks zenyatta, for your big hart

william 08 Nov 2010 1:16 AM

"Zenyatta has great ability just not enough to beat G1 males on dirt.  "

Draynay 07 Nov 2010 8:17 PM.

You obviously haven't even seen the classic because she left 4 grade 1 winning males in her dirt dust. Let's have somebody who at least knows what they are talking about.

Personal Ensign 08 Nov 2010 1:26 AM

Zenyatta was so brave and I do not consider her head loss to Blame as a defeat anymore than I considered Seattle Slew's loss to poor Exceller a defeat!  There are certainly parallels there and there is no need to go into who is the greatest of the two. I love Seattle Slew more than any horse ever for all of the reasons already stated and a few more besides!  

But Zenyatta is very, very special too and she and Team Zenyatta have done so much good for racing so let us not denigrate them or her.  OK so she mainly raced in California but when asked big questions in two BC Classics she has responded in exemplary fashion!  i will never forget the sight of her trying so valiantly to catch and get past that Churchill Downs specialist Blame who is a great horse in his own right!  It was indeed her greatest ever performance just like Seattle Slew's against Exceller!

God Bless you Zenyatta and also Team Zenyatta for so generously sharing their great champion with us all!

Thanks for the memories!

Best wishes

Abbie

Abbie Knowles 08 Nov 2010 5:33 AM

I am surprised no one has addressed the horrific ride Mike Smith gave this great mare on Saturday, and in reality over the last two years.  Zenyatta is not so 'big' that she can not run with the pace setters or move through traffic like a normal race horse which would enable her to close without all these two inch victories.  Her first jockey did not ride her 18 to 20 lengths off the rest of the field as is he was out for gallop on the moors.  This has been what Mike Smith has done with her, and actually taught her to do during her races over time.  Everyone is sorry for Mike because he cried after the race.  Well, it is a crying shame that he has been allowed to ride her so badly for so long and actually credited for her greatness at winning, when in reality she has always been left with too much to do at the end of her races because of 'his' style not hers.  In her first races and last years breeders cup showed that Zenyatta, although breaking slow, did not have to run soooooooo far back and she had the quickness to move around horses and still explode through the strech.  I was at the race Saturday, 200 yards in front of the gate and Mike Smith never asked her to do ANYTHING in that race until the quarter pole, then he paniced and tried to force her in, then slammed her out, and hit the gas...she exploded as you all know and the alledged dirt in her face and no other horse fazed her a bit.  I think she is the greatest mare this country has ever seen and it is a shame she never ran against better company with a better jockey even if it endangered her streak.  I will miss seeing her and always wonder what she really had to show.

Monica 08 Nov 2010 6:04 AM

Forgive me if this has already been mentioned, I didn't read all the comments, but just in case it hasn't already been thrown out there, what about Tapit for Zenyatta?  Tapit throws precocious runners (Tapitsfly and Stardom Bound are my two main examples) which would hopefully cancel out how long Z took to mature and is still an Indy descendant. :)

Light Deceiver 08 Nov 2010 6:22 AM

All great horses have lost at some point. The question of greatness is how they lost. She proved her greatness, I have been around a long time and I have never seen any horse give up so much ground and be able to make it up. What a race! I am curious how some of these posts totally ignore the fact that she has already won this race before, the only mare to do so, with a excellent group of horses to run against. She has done it all and I too would like to see her run in Dubai only because I don't want her to be looked over for horse of the year again, and I think it is the only way the press will give it to her. Every year they refuse to vote for her makes the award less important. If they can't see that it is she the public goes to the track to see perform. Hey reporters I have one question, who clapped for Blame? He will be a question on trivial pursuit game.

His owners have retired him as fast as they can. What about that? If Onion had not been a gelding think of the life he would have had. Instead I found him at old Bowie Race Course running in a $5000 claimer. People shouted and spit on him from the rail. I was so shocked at how ugly people can act towards a horse it makes me sad to think of how he ended up.

Cris 08 Nov 2010 6:37 AM

Zenyatta should never have lost the race and was poorly ridden.  

DaisyMae 08 Nov 2010 6:52 AM

Did you see Zen walking back with the pony, her right eye swollen shut from the dirt...it did take a moment, from what MS said, for her to accept the dirt clods she felt for the first time...but, she did not quit.

Dray just can't enjoy racing, he has to goad people that can be goaded...plus, his horse quit and finished last (and that's from me, who believed in QR before Dray did but I knew he could not go 10) so he runs his mouth...one day he might grow up, but with anonymous blogging, who knows, LOL

Too bad, I really do think he's pretty knowledgeable and could add a lot, but he loves "pest-in-chief" instead. ♥

Rachel 08 Nov 2010 7:07 AM

John and Mark,

The line from the LA Times article John referenced says: "But this time, she didn't make it. One camera angle showed that she actually caught Blame a few steps from the wire, but then Garrett Gomez got the last bob and Zenyatta was beaten."

FYI, "caught" doesn't mean "passed," regardless of the camera angle. I was at the race in person. Blame was in front throughout the stretch, at the wire, past the wire, and galloping out. Videos confirm this. It was clearly an awesome performance in defeat, but let's avoid embellishing it with inaccurate statements that make it seem that she "ran out of ground" or "lost an unlucky head bob."

Ian Tapp 08 Nov 2010 7:30 AM

I think Zenyatta ran a heck of a race and put all of her heart into it, she got a bad start and had a lot of ground to make up and she did it even if she did get 2nd.  This is horse racing you don't always win the big ones.  The Moss's chose to keep her in California and the dirt track was a big change for her, like Mike Smith said she wasn't use to having dirt thrown in her face.  And if the powers to be pick Blame for horse of the year they should be ashamed and it is only because of who owns him.  Wonder how this race would have turned out if it had been run a Keeneland.  And to John and Mark she ran out of ground before she got to where she ended up she had to make up the ground she lost in the beginning of the race.  She should be HOTY she has earned it even though she lost the BC.

Barbara 08 Nov 2010 8:03 AM

Barbara,

Yes, what IF the Classic had been run at Keeneland? Blame is 2-for-2 there, including a win in the Fayette Handicap. It's also his home track where he trained his entire career.

Ian Tapp 08 Nov 2010 8:14 AM

Wow!  Why is it when you see great race footage and know the outcome, it still is exciting?  Thanks for the comparison to my favorite Triple Crown winner.  Zenyatta is a great race horse.  And deserves to stand with the great ones.      

seattleslewfan77 08 Nov 2010 8:15 AM

Itapp, obviously nobody will ever know what would have been the result had there been room for another couple strides but when a horse is gaining ground with every stride it certainly appears as though they only need another stride or two to win. This was no Affirmed and Alydar stretch battle where one "held off" the other. She never stopped gaining on Blame so it wasn't like she drew even and then he held her there and she couldn't pass. "After the wire",  doesn't matter, she knew the race was over. That will be the speculation forever just like the parallel that I mentioned earlier with Native Dancer. One more stride and he was the likely winner also. Credit to the winner for sure but no other horse racing now - Blame included - could have done what she did. We see it all the time in races, a bad start or some other problem "costs the horse the race" and they usually aren't 20 lengths back and they almost never come within a head of the win.  What we saw was spectacular and truly she lost nothing in defeat except the approval of the naysayers!  

Racingfan 08 Nov 2010 8:27 AM

SECOND HOP PASS WIRE SHE IS N FRONT...OPEN YOUR EYES PLEASE...SHE IS A FREAK...ZEE WILL TEE IT UP AGAIN...WATCH...LONG LIVE THE KING BABY!!!...ty...

Bellwether 08 Nov 2010 8:33 AM

Racingfan,

You wrote: "it wasn't like she drew even and then he held her there and she couldn't pass."

This is EXACTLY what is was like. She closed admirably, but he held her off. This is not a knock against her, but simply the facts of what transpired.

Ian Tapp 08 Nov 2010 8:37 AM

There is no way she is HOY. She don't even compare with Ruffian or Winning Colors. She is a good mare who beat allowance mares over and over again. Running against more than a few multiple times. In 20 races she beat roughly 90 different horses. That  tells you how the record was accomplished. Stay home and run on synthetic against the same horses over and over again. If she shipped and ran against grade one horses we would not be having this conversation. there would be no record. just listen to Mike Smith. "She did not like the track. She did not like the dirt being kicked in her face. Get over it she lost to a superior horse and if he does not win horse of the year racing sucks.

Big Daddy 13460 08 Nov 2010 8:41 AM

I guess we have to agree to disagree :-).  By the time she got to him it was too late, she didn't have time to try to pass. I don't see that as "holding off". To me that describes Affirmed winning the Belmont, but not this race. But none the less, I got the point of your article and I agree.

Racingfan 08 Nov 2010 8:44 AM

Contrary to unpopular belief by draynay Zenyatta is plenty good enough to beat G1 males on dirt. Did they take away all of Quality Road's G1 wins for a reason I don't know? She whipped him by a mile in the Classic. This was draynay's "lock" to win the Classic and he finished dead last. All year the nay nay said QR was the best and Zenyatta totally thrashed him. Did they take away Lookin At Lucky's G1 wins as well? Wasn't he another G1 winning male that Zen beat on dirt Saturday? Once again this is a horse that the nay nay said he was going to bet his house on to show and where did he finish? He didn't make the show wager a winning one that's for sure. Haynesfield, another G1 winning male that Zenyatta beat on dirt. Espoir City, the best horse in Japan, another G1 winning male on dirt that Zenyatta whipped. That's 4 G1 winning males in one race that she beat on the dirt. The entire field was better than RA ever beat on dirt yet draynay is incensed with that one but can't admit Zenyatta was just as good or better. It took a HOY to beat Zenyatta by half a head in the most loaded field all year the only time she ever lost only because she ran out of room. No other horse in HISTORY can make that claim.  

gw_bushwacker 08 Nov 2010 8:50 AM

@Draynay: "She wasn't good enough."? That's just a silly comment. But I've noticed you do that on occasion. She spotted "top males" 30+ yards and closed all but 4 inches in under a quarter mile to a fine colt on his home track with the best rider in the business up despite her own horrible trip. She blew up a field in the stretch that included both the Derby winner and the most highly regarded four-year-old in the country (no, it's not 'Blame')among all those other "top males." She made them look ordinary, which they are compared with her. And she caught and overtook a dead closer one-half stride late. She was more gallant in defeat than his supporters are gracious in what passes for "victory."

Richard G 08 Nov 2010 8:55 AM

For all of you who refuse to allow Zen to leave the circus: I cover racing in Dubai and would have loved to have been in the paddock and seen her race there - last year. You're all just looking at the purse. Her connections have admirably demonstrated to this point the money means less to them than the horse. I hope hubris will not overtake them. Four years of racing is enough, especially having come back this year to the delight of her fans. There is nothing left to prove after what was nothing less than a thrilling performance. I'll be pleased to visit her at home. Sleep in, girl.

Richard G 08 Nov 2010 9:07 AM

One more step and Zenyatta would have won the BC Classic. She should be horse of the year for all the excitement she provided and for all the many new fans she has attracted to horse racing.  Not to mention her awesome feat of winning 19 races and only losing one by a nose.

texaszippeee 08 Nov 2010 9:29 AM

@Monica: I've addressed Smith's ride elsewhere and, yes, it was horrific. It began with a training error: if she wasn't used to dirt being kicked in her face, get her used to it in training or change your late-move strategy. If you don't do that by race day, move her up faster or move her outside. Smith drove her into the middle behind the second pack, not a good idea. As others have described it, his ride was overconfident: he thought they could do the same thing a 20th time and get the same result as the previous 19 times. But even in recent races, that margin of victory was tightening, notably against Switch. And Garrett Gomez is arguably the best jockey in the business; he certainly was prepared for that strategy. The answer would have been to change tactics to have her run closer up. It's understandable they didn't want to change the strategy, but a mistake as Smith later pointed out. The big winner this weekend was Kent Desormeaux. Not only does he unexpectedly win a Ladies Classic, but people will finally get off his case about what some thought was his worst-ride-ever-too-early-move that cost Real Quiet the 1998 Belmont and the Triple Crown. Smith can claim that distinction. Real good guy, real bad ride. But the otherwise brilliant trainer, John Shirreffs, owns a piece of this error in strategy. All that said, she ran a magnificent race that will be praised as freeing her from the "poly-horse" label long after the pain of the loss is forgotten. She'll be remembered as the best horse of our generation and the finest female to grace a racecourse since Ruffian. Not bad.

Richard G 08 Nov 2010 9:31 AM

Thanks for the footage.  It was the first race I thought of as I watched the finish line.  I have to say, however, that Slew was a front-runner.  He set the pace.  Zenyatta came from 20 lengths back to catch up to Blame.  It just goes to show, real champions are not always measured by the races they won, but are often defined by their courage in the races they lost. Thank you Zen for over 3 spectacular seasons, and for putting horse racing back on the national scene.  We needed that. And hats off to Blame for accomplishing what no other horse has been able to do.  It was a great Classic.  (Gosh, when she stretched out her neck, I thought she was going to do it.  She remains amazing!)

Slew 08 Nov 2010 9:42 AM

Z could have caught Blame if she had two more strides to go.

I will miss her and mike smith dancing together.

Blame is a great horse. I am very happy for his farm.

He will be a very good sire.

Slew is one of the very great ones.  I miss him.....

Deb 08 Nov 2010 9:45 AM

Monica - I agree with you 110%. Mike Smith rides every horse the same way. Drop back and go wide.

MikeM 08 Nov 2010 9:50 AM

@Big Daddy 13460: Another silly comment. Zenyatta is as big as was Ruffian, but with more power because of sounder bone structure. Ruffian's flaw was in her blood on her sire's (Reviewer)side. There is NO ONE who more loves Ruffian or was more devastated by her fate, but she was barely heading Foolish Pleasure when her genes betrayed her. Zenyatta blew the deepest male field in recent BCC history out of the water, including the Derby winner and the best one mile horse in America. The whole business about Zenyatta shipping was always silly. No one shipped their horse to California or Arkansas to face her (we mean you, Jess Jackson, among others). The one female that has been shipped all over this year campaigning for HOY is Blind Luck, who lost the Ladies Classic and perhaps HOY to first-time grade one winner Unrivaled Belle. Sometimes the better horse places. Get it?

Richard G 08 Nov 2010 9:58 AM

I don't question Zenyatta's ability, I question her achievements. A winning streak is sometimes the by-product of the campaign of a top level racehorse, but a winning streak in and of itself is no particular indication of greatness. If it were, Camarero, with his 56 race win streak in the 1950s in Puerto Rico, would be the greatest horse of all time. Which he wasn't. He was sound, he was talented, and he towered over his local competition, but he didn't leave his niche to face the tougher competition that was out there.

Aside from two races over the last two years, Zenyatta has faced opponents who were known to be 10 lbs and more, sometimes much more, her inferiors, over and over again, most frequently giving barely 10 lbs away. No wonder nobody wanted to face her; she always had the clear advantage. This was the chance for track handicappers to stand up and say "If this is the best mare of all time, she should be carrying commensurate weights in handicaps." Silver Spoon, who was an average 1950s horse, probably 15.3 or so, carried 130 lbs to victory to the two top West Coast mares' handicaps. And massive 17.2 Zenyatta is going break down if they put more than 129 on her? If her connections didn't want to carry 135 versus mares, they could probably have gotten 125 running her against guys, for more money in better races. That's the way handicap racing is supposed to work in this country. And the racing was better when it did.

I am getting tired of this discussion. Being in love with a horse is no reason to overlook their failings. Zenyatta had a campaign designed to earn her an older mares' Eclipse award and that is what she will get. Woulda, coulda, shoulda don't count. Easy Goer woulda beat Sunday Silence in the BC Classic if Pat Day doesn't give him the world's worst ride..., I've heard this all before.

And in regard to the 1978 HotY..., Number of G1 wins - Seattle Slew = 2 dirt, Exceller = 6, 2 dirt, 4 turf. Head-to-head, 1 win apiece from two starts. And get this, Exceller received NO Eclipse award at all, despite having won the championship dirt race and more G1s on turf than any other horse that year.

Pedigree Ann 08 Nov 2010 10:00 AM

Zenyatta only runs as fast as she has to...some people never get that do they? That is why on one hand she didn't set any records, but also why she is running in Grade 1s as 6 yrs old and retiring with a 19 starts 19 wins 1 second record!

As for her not passing Blame, Mike Smith stood up at the wire - taking his foot off the gas and the mare responded by stopping her charge. Only a blind person didn't see the speed that she caught the others and Blame with was like a freight train... wonder if anyone has her fraction from 1/2 mile pole til the end of the race? She could have passed him...if asked.

I do think Sheriffs sat on his laurels a bit and could have always been trying to get her a little more into the race earlier - away from the gate a little quicker. But then again, do you really mess around with a horse's "style" when they are 14 - 0, 19 - 0 etc...Not easy for a big horse to do but I had a 17.2 hand mare that by the 4th stride out of the gate she had the pack and was out in front (at the claiming / starter allowance level my girl won 4 in a row...and THAT was tough and made front page of our local Form). Johnny Loftus purposefully "stirred up" Man O War to get his big butt moving quicker...crazy with that horses temper but it worked.

Z should still get horse of the year...she is the only animal or human to do what no one else has been able to in the last 3 decades...go mainstream and BRING IN NEW FANS TO THE SPORT.

Blame is a nice horse but if were a match race - Blame or ANY other horse including Goldikova and yep, Rachel Alexandra - over 1 1/8 Z is (was) unbeatable without traffic issues. The role of closer hurt Curlin too in his Kentucky Derby. MANY MANY of the best horses never won their Kentucky Derby due to the ridiculous rules that allow 20 starters. I know the saying "good horses find away". It just ticks me off that after a mile and a quarter to loose by a head.

Z also did what no one but a select few horses can do - Rachel was one - that is scare people away from Grade 1 races. If you look back at Secretariat and Man O'War's races...they ran against fewer and fewer horses as they went along. Why? No one really likes to loose (except those crazies that run in the KD just to say they had a horse in there). Same for Z (in the female races yes, got that). So what? We traded the Pacific Classic and some other forgetable races instead for more fans coming to appreciate our sport, more mainstream attention ...and kept the big mare sound and willing. How ironic that people knock her for not running against a tougher crowd sooner when she ran her heart out the same day Mine that Bird retired into obscurity. Out-run at every level. That poor horse was hurt by his KD win...it's like the owners and trainers never got it through their heads it was a fluke or the off track...get over it and drop him where he can win before he loses (lost) his desire to run.

Hats off to people like JJ who (gasp) DARE to give a horse some time off (although why not at a farm is beyond me) and the Moss's who keep their egos OUT of the racing plans of their horse (again, unlike QR owners that SHOULD have run him in the mile instead he was humiliated in his last race trying to notch up his stud fee by hitting the board in the classic.)

Any way you look at it, it was a good year in racing despite no Triple Crown Winner...again. And we can look forward to Z's foals...and Uncle Mo!

golden broom 08 Nov 2010 10:10 AM

Zenyatta thrilled all fans of racing as much in her defeat as when she won, if not even more so.

Should she show her connections she still has the desire to run, should she have the physical ability to compete, would it not be wonderful for her to race again. The pressure of being undefeated is gone, she would truely be racing for history.

A 2011 planned cross country campaign, would give the racing industry breakout publicity; it would give the fans a focus and a pleasure equal to (greater then?) next years Triple Crown & Breeders Cup Races; it would allow Zenyatta to share her greatness with the entire world; and it is her right to establish this once in a generation greatness in thoroughbred history.

Mr. & Mrs. Moss, if it is right for the horse, if it is right for you, it is so right for racing. It is so right for the fans. It is so very right for Thoroughbred History for Zenyatta to race again. If it is right for the horse.

Kevin A Burke 08 Nov 2010 10:12 AM

Ian is right on what transpired in the final hundred yards or so. Just past the eighth pole I figured the mare had Blame, but he actually did fight back very late to get the head bob. He continued to run on. They both ran execeptional races in my opinion.

JerseyTom 08 Nov 2010 10:23 AM

What a great Classic!! Queen Z beat all of the studs but one and just lost to him by a short head, she passed him on the gallop out.  If she doesn't get HOY for her body of work not only on the track but for the thousands of new fans she introduced to the sport there is no justice.  Blame is 9 from 13, with a couple of seconds and a couple of thirds so he was passed by at least 6 horses during his career and I'm sure by more than a head.And as other posters have said there were several Grade 1's studs that finished behind Z most notedly Draynay's horse Quality Road who finished DEAD LAST. If Queen Z is not HOY it should be Goldikova, she is also a great champion.  Thanks for the great memonents Queen Z, we really enjoyed seeing you run.

quarterhossgal 08 Nov 2010 10:27 AM

I have to laugh at absurd and childish comments such as this;

'Please don't compare this Mare to Slew. She has been mollycoddled her entire life, her record was the illusion that comes when a GI horse is allowed to play with with allowance mares for 17 out of twenty starts. Seattle Slew battled illness, unfortunate connections, and some of the finest handicap horses this nation'

Firstly, it is infantile. Secondly, the words are baseless and without merit. In ANY racing poll done before Zenyatta came along, Ruffian and Personal Ensign were ranked as the top two females in North American history- you can flip it around- either way- the two of them are always there.

NEVER ONCE do you hear those that rip Zenyatta state that if you combine ALL the races of Ruffian and Personal Ensign, you'd find that 96% of them are in New York!  

Personal Ensign ran 13 times- of that- 10 were at Belmont- 1 was upsate at the Spa- one across the river in Jersey. The ONLY time they actually SHIPPED her any distance was to CD for the Distaff- NOT the BCC- the Distaff. Only once did she run against the males- it was a three horse race in the Whitney against two horses- she ran very well and won.

Can anybody name ANY of the females she beat in her first 9 races? You see how absurd this point is?  

Ruffian- EVERY Race Ruffian ran in was in NY- minus one time they took her across the river to Jersey. Even the 'Great Match' was at Belmont. I don't remember people crying that Whiteley, Jr was too protective?

I don't remember people crying that she never ships- that she never races on the opposite coast- that she avoids the males- that she beat inferior horses. Up until her race against Foolish Pleasure, who wasn't even the best 3 year old, how many of you can name ONE female that Ruffian beat- come on- don't look at the form either.

Zenyatta has defeated in her career;  

Haynesfield; Won Jockey Club Gold Cup Inv. S. (G1,Bel,10F), Suburban H. (G2,Bel,9F)

Awesome Gem ; Won San Fernando S. (G2),Won Hawthorne Gold Cup (G2),  Won Hollywood Gold Cup (G1)

Girolamo; Won Jerome H. (G2,Bel,8F)At 4: Won Vosburgh S. (G1,Bel,6F)

Hystericalady;  Won Humana Distaff S. (G1), Molly Pitcher H. (G2)2nd Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1), Ladys Secret S. (G1), Milady Breeders' Cup H. (G2), Won Fleur de Lis H. (G2), Delaware H. (G2), Molly Pitcher H. (G2), Azeri S. (G3)

Life Is Sweet; Won Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1), Santa Margarita Inv. H. (G1), El Encino S. (G2), La Canada S. (G2)

3rd Hollywood Gold Cup (G1)

Colonel John; Won Travers S. (G1,10F), Santa Anita Derby (G1,9F), Sham S. (G3,9F)

Richard's Kid ; Won Pacific Classic S. (TWICE)(G1,Dmr,10f), Goodwood S. (G1,OTH,9F)San Antonio H. (G2,SA,9F)

Mine That Bird (2009 Kentucky Derby); 2nd Preakness S. (G1,Pim,9.5F)

Einstein (Santa Anita Handicap, Turf Classic Stakes, Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap)you all know his record.

European Multiple Group I winners Rip Van Winkle and Twice Over- you can google them if you don't know them.  Twice Over won the Champion S. (Eng-G1), Won Prix Eugene Adam (Fr-G2), Craven S. (Eng-G3)etc almost all the above horses have easily over $1,500,000 in earnings- THAT is class.

Tough Tiz's Sis (Lady's Secret Stakes), Ruffian Handicap); 2nd Vanity Handicap G1, Santa Maria Handicap G1, El Encino Stakes G2

Cocoa Beach - U.A.E. Oaks (UAE), U.A.E. One Thousand Guineas, Beldame S. (USA-G1), Matriarch S. (USA-G1),

Music Note;   Won Mother Goose S. (G1,Bel,9F), Coaching Club American Oaks (G1,Bel,10F), Gazelle S. (G1,Bel,9F),

Won Ballerina H. (G1,Sar,7F), Beldame S. (G1,Bel,9F)

Lookin At Lucky- You all know him- right?

Gio Ponti (2009 Older Horse and Turf Champion),Arlington Million etc etc

Sealy Hill (2007 Canadian Horse of the Year, Champion 3 Year old filly and Champion female turf horse)

Summer Bird (2009 Champion 3 Year old)Travers, JCGC & Belmont Stakes

Ginger Punch Won Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1,9F), Go for Wand H. (G1,9F), Ruffian H. (G1,8.5F), First Flight H., Won Ogden Phipps H. (G1,8.5F), Go For Wand H. AGAIN(G1,9F), Personal Ensign S. (G1,10F), Louisville S. (G2,8.5F), Sunshine Millions Distaff (9F)

ZENYATTA HAS DEFEATED EVERY HORSE SHE HAS FACED MINUS A PHOTO AGAINST BLAME- ANYBODY WHO STILL FINDS FAULT IN HER RECORD AS ONE OF THE TOP THREE GREATEST FEMALES IN NORTH AMERICAN HISTORY KNOWS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT HORSE RACING.

Bladerunnernyc 08 Nov 2010 10:33 AM

Zen's loss on Saturday looked to be a combination of factors with no one being all 'right' or 'wrong'.

Blame.  Blame is a hell of a horse, take nothing away from him with talk of a 'perfect trip'.  Look at his record, it shows a professional runner with heart, speed and stamina.  Unlike Draynay's beloved Quality Road who finished ... where again ... oh yes, last.  

Zen.  If anything I think the Classic showed her 'inexperience'.  How is a 6 year old mare inexperienced??  Well, this does harken back to her campaign and the fact that with last years Classic as the exception she's beaten up on fillies and mares who couldn't go with her.   Zen got used to having things 'her own way' and was used to looking a horse in the eye and having that horse fold.  Blame, didn't fold and I think that caught her flat footed and by the time she realized she had to come back at him, it was too late.

Look at Goldikova's race.  When her jockey said 'time to run' she set down and put it on the track, because experience has taught her that when you run, you RUN because your opponents aren't going to just fold up.

Mike Smith.  I think he forgot to be objective with Zen.  I think he forgot that in a race it can't all be 'her way' and that he still needed to ride.  He let her drop back because that's the 'way she's used to doing it' but on Saturday she needed more direction.  Had he ridden her sooner, given her a few more yards to come up on Blame and realize this colt wasn't going to just fold up to her, maybe she wouldn't have run out of real estate before she realized she needed to set down and run.

And maybe she would have still gotten beat.  That's why they run the race.

L 08 Nov 2010 10:54 AM

Pedigree Ann: The difference in 1978 was that Affirmed won the Triple Crown (not Exceller)and HOY.  In 1978, Slew was the first Triple Crown winner to beat a current Triple Crown winner and and also beat Exceller in races prior to the JCGC.  Seattle Slew won HOY in 1977 because he won the Triple Crown.  Believe me...any horse that manages to win a Triple Crown automatically gets HOY....but we haven't see that for the past 32 years.  But, in the meantime, we look to the best that we have.

Slew 08 Nov 2010 10:59 AM

Zenyatta deserves Horse of the Year.

I was very disappointed that Claiborne Farm started politicking that Blame had earned HOY by winning the Classic. So this year's BC Classic counts more than last year's did?  Why?  Because this year it was run at historic CD on dirt and a stud horse owned by a prestigious and powerful horse farm won?  I'm left with the impression that the powers that be want Blame to be HOY because it will raise his stud fee.  That there will be lots of insider "negotiating" for votes.  That like so much in life, racing comes down to money, big money much more often than about heart.  

If Racing wants to be more popular then I suggest it finds a soul.  Zenyatta made racing more popular because she made people feel good.  I'm not interested in all the woulda, shoulda and coulda that bloggers write about her and her connections.  Zenyatta has done Everything she has been asked to do and done it in memorable style.  She is and will be a Mare For the Ages.

Why did the Breeders Cup choose to hold the Championship races at Santa Anita if winning on synthetics doesn't count?  There seems to be a lack of logic and consistency in the arguments. I'm left with the impression that there is a double standard.  Zenyatta won 5 Grade 1 races and finished second by a short head in the Classic.  Blame won 4 Grade 1 races, including the Classic and finished second, beaten four lengths by Hanyesfield in the JCGC.

Zenyatta deserves Horse of the Year!

maryann727 08 Nov 2010 11:24 AM

I don't know how the 'nicking' between Zenyatta and Sea The Stars line up, but that is who I think she should be bred to!  She is the greatest and deserves to be bred only to the greatest and I think the British, or Euros have finer genetically bred stallions.  I don't think there is an American horse worthy of her!

NancyP 08 Nov 2010 11:48 AM

Finally an intelligent post.  Blame was nothing more than lucky.  Even his jockey said he had a smooth trip.  Zenyatta fought, and was tied with Blame.  How pathetic for people to knock her.  You people do not know that she would have lost if she shipped all over.  Zenyatta brought a lot of people to support racing, that never would have before, and the attendance at the race was what it was, because of Zenyatta, not blame.  She and her people have done so much for racing, which is what everyone says is needed, then you stab her in the back for it.  Horse racing is a dying sport, and if people don't appreciate superior horses like Zenyatta, then what's the point of going to a race?  Blame is just another horse.  He hasn't done anything all that spectacular. Why doesn't everyone knock him and his connections for not having the courage to continue to race him into his sixth year to see how good he is.  Zen is 6 years old, and she was with him at the wire after a lot of problems, and past him a few steps beyond the wire.  I know that what if's are pointless, but if there had been a bit more distance, blame would be just another horse, which is what he is.  Nothing spectacular.  How about putting him against Zen where they can both have a clear trip? Bet he isn't so wonderful then.  His owners are cowardly to retire him like they are, they are also greedy, and Draynay, you have no business in racing.  I've never seen an intelligent post from you.  What Zenyatta did was wipe out the field Saturday.  Look at all of the horses left in the dust, and she gets no credit for that?  If Blame gets HOTY this year, I'm done with racing, and I'm sure many others will be also.  Back when Man O'War was running and other greats, I bet they were not so unappreciated as the people knocking Zen today.  People who can't duplicate her with their own horses, or writers who don't have the intelligence to except greatness in any form.  Zenyatta is a lifesaver for racing.  Without her, there won't be the same amount of people at next years race.  I would bet on that.  

horselover1 08 Nov 2010 11:48 AM

Monica,

We're all entitled to our opinions. But, you've made some pretty strong accusations about Mike Smith's riding abilities. Is your opinion based on facts or an uninformed guess? Until any of use experiences what it is like to guide a 1200 Ibs animal traveling between 35-40 miles an hour. Who are we to sit back and judge how Mike Smith or any jockey for that matter and tell them how they should ride? Get informed before making such statements.

Somethingroyal 08 Nov 2010 11:50 AM

Richard G - Your post of 08Nov2010 at 8:55am in response to DRAYNAY was spot on!  Perfect response.  Thank you!

NancyP 08 Nov 2010 12:11 PM

If you took away Zenyatta and Goldikova, this years Breeders Cup would be a complete dud.We should be appreciative that their connections decided to keep them racing in 2010, and give racing fans someting to cheer about, which is so sorely lacking today. I don't think racing fans and non racing fans would come out to see Blame run.

mike williams 08 Nov 2010 12:23 PM

Horselover1

first of all want to say im a big Zen fan but am also a big fan of many other horses. Kinda dissapointed though of your statement that if zen is not HOY your done with horse racing and so would alot of others, WOW                      I also agreed that horse racing needed to market themselves better and attract more fans but im not sure now? Cuz what ive seen at the tracks and read all year im not sure you want new fans that only come into it for one great horse and jump on. they dont seem have the love for the whole game or the tradition or the knowledge could list many examples but will just take one of the lastest. Was appalled how the fans screamed and yelled as Zen walked by onto her way to starting line as if they cared more about living there life through a horse and needed to be seen and heard to feel fufilled. But a true fan would know to be quiet as you can spook and over excite the horse and this can hurt the performance and to save the cheering for when the horse finishes at the wire... So im not sure if one star is what the sport needs to attract fans cuz im not likeing what im seen from the new fans so horselover1 go ahead and quit i want new fans too but i want the ones who know the 5000 claimer name at there local track and care about the whole game and its long traditions

racingismorethen1horse 08 Nov 2010 12:25 PM

Pedigree Ann: The difference in 1978 was that Affirmed won the Triple Crown (not Exceller)and HOY.  In 1978, Slew was the first Triple Crown winner to beat a current Triple Crown winner and and also beat Exceller in races prior to the JCGC.  Seattle Slew won HOY in 1977 because he won the Triple Crown.  Believe me...any horse that manages to win a Triple Crown automatically gets HOY....but we haven't see that for the past 32 years.  But, in the meantime, we look to the best that we have.>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Seattle Slew didn't get HOY in 1978 because he had a limited campaign- AND because he lost to Dr. Patches and Exceller. Go all the way back to Andy Beyer after Slew lost- he himself (No fan of Slew) said he'd have voted for Slew had he won the Paterson and JCGC based on the level of his rivals, but Seattle Slew didn't win the Paterson.

BTW- What is the logic????????????????????

HORSE OF THE YEAR?????

YOU DON'T RUN IN JAN, FEB, MARCH, APRIL, JULY, SEPT or DEC-you carry 121 pounds three times- many are critical of your main rival- Zenyatta for not racing around the country, but YOUR record of travel is NO BETTER!  

YOU BEAT ZENYATTA A HEAD- BUT IT IS FINE THAT YOU WERE TRASHED IN THE JCGC- so- it's okay to lose in racing as long as.....what? LMAO- Blame is NOT the HOY for 2010- come on!  

Bladerunnernyc 08 Nov 2010 12:36 PM

First off, Zenyatta proved to me what I thought all along...she belonged in races against males because she is that good. I think her connections played it way too safe again, but perhaps it's because she cannot be fully cranked all year, but rather fully cranked for one huge effort. Either way, this defeat was her greatest race.

Regarding after the wire, Blame definitely galloped out ahead of her. There is nothing mean if someone states the truth. A truer example of a horse who would have won a jump after the wire was Easy Goer in the '89 Classic...he inhaled Sunday Silence and flew past him. This wasn't the case in this year's Classic.

This is not being said to be vicious, as Zenyatta showed the heart and determination of a true champion who loves to run and loves to win. Her performance was amazing and I feel sad that she couldn't quite pull it off, but Blame showed what he did all year. Both are great horses.

HOY for Blame, but Horse of a Lifetime for Zenyatta. What a good girl.

Chris 08 Nov 2010 12:40 PM

I'm here to quibble with the "she runs as fast as she has to crowd".This is a surreptitious way of putting with the all-time greats.Her figures paint another picture:what makes her great is her consistency.She ran her race, on what I believe to be her preferred surface, and came up a bit short.

Like I said before, I believe the panicky racecaller is responsible for people believing she had this insurmountable disadvantage to overcome.Remember, it's not as if she was chasing Easy Goer or Alydar in the stretch- it was Blame ferchrissakes!

K. Rob 08 Nov 2010 12:40 PM

Hey Pedigree Ann,

You fail to mention that Zenyatta's opposition this year looks lighter because last year's HOTY Rachel Aleaxandra failed to show up for the Apple Blossom.  The goal was to defend in the BCC at 10 furlongs at Churchill.  Congratulations to the connections for having Zenyatta in the mental and physical shape to do so, and to perform admirably - albeit in a "defeat" by a head bob.

But you can't say that Blame is a better horse than Zenyatta, just because he eeked out a victory.  She was the better horse.  Zenyatta won Grade 1's on four different surfaces this year.  Her versatility is amazing.

Blame is a nice colt.  But he beat nobody in the Stephen Foster, barely beat Quality Road in receipt of 5 pounds, and had his butt handed to him at 10 furlongs by Haynesfield.  He looks like a Churchill specialist to me.  And by the way folks, neither Zenyatta nor her connections ASKED the state of California to mandate synthetic surfaces...they just had to deal with it.  

And with an even slightly better trip, Zenyatta beats him.  She's probably get him 9 out of ten times.  She and blame were 3.5 lengths ahead of the 3rd place finisher.  

I was there over the weekend, and that dirt track was playing strangely in my experience (my home track btw).  They were putting a lot of water on it.  It looked tight on top, but somewhat loose underneath.  To my eye, closers had a tougher time than usual closing.  Not that a few didn't close, but it looked harder than normal to do so.  With that in mind, when I saw Zenyatta so far back, I felt sick to my stomach.  But she really, really impressed me.  Closing the way she did, on that track, after being so far back and seemingly uncomfortable first time around - it was just unbelievable.  She showed more heart than I've ever seen in a race horse.  Gallant in defeat...you bet!  She's the best horse in the country.  She proved it last year and this year...on the track.

If she doesn't get HOTY this year, it's a crime and a huge black eye for the sport.  

Gary at Rough Creek 08 Nov 2010 12:41 PM

SomethingRoyal and Monica,

I thought the difference was at the very top of the stretch. Musket Man got another pitiful ride when Maragh guided him down towards the rail when he already had a clear lane. That one move (amongst many) cost her the race. If he stays in his lane or ran where he belonged in an AOC, she would've won.

WinnahPickah 08 Nov 2010 12:48 PM

One more comment...

Some people on these blogs get outraged when they think someone isn't appreciating what Zenyatta has done for thie dying sport when they write factually true statements, but I don't think it's ok for these same people to attack horses like Blame. He did plenty for racing by going out and running big all year in races such as the Stephen Foster, Whitney and Classic. All nice horses should be celebrated in the press, not just Zenyatta.

If these people really want to upbuild the sport, they will not attack any of these fine horses who put their very  lives on the line for our enjoyment. The sport cannot hinge on just one horse no matter how great. I'm not sure how they feel justified in attacking any horse, when racing needs more than just one star to survive. But it seems some Zenyatta fans only want her to be celebrated, which she undoubtedly deserves, but others do as well.

So I wish people would stop making comments basically indidcating who cares about Blame he is a nobody. That isn't true and it's definitely not good for the sport you claim to love. Cut the bull, there is and should be room for more than one horse to be celebrated. Attacking other horses is only going to cause some people to attack you and your favorite. Please keep that in mind when commenting.

Chris 08 Nov 2010 12:49 PM

I was watching Zenyatta's ears in the stretch race and did anyone else notice that she seemed to be lollygagging just a little bit?  Her ears were flipping around this way and that while Blame's were flat pinned.  I know that Z has to be worked out with at least one other horse because she KNOWS where the finish line is and tends to let off just a little if she does not have a target in front of her.    People can excoriate Mike Smith all they want for the way he did or didn't ride her, but I just wonder about that...and who else could have come from dead last and still nearly take it?  Remember that she had to put away Looking at Lucky, Quality Road, First Dude, Paddy O'Prado and Fly Down to get there.  

Keep in mind Rachel's fantastic Woodward in 2009 - she won, but Borel had to really get after her and she was never the same afterward.  I'm glad that Zenyatta's connections put the horse first. I'm sure she probably would not have gone 19 straight, but she seems to have had a fabulous time during her career and she's stayed sound.  (I'm glad I am not a Horse of the Year judge; I know they have to put sentamentality aside and vote according to the horse's campaign.)  But who else has done more for racing lately than Zenyatta?  And I'm kind of glad that she and Rachel never met, because I would have hated to see either one of them lose!      

Vcaser 08 Nov 2010 12:55 PM

Ann Said:I don't question Zenyatta's ability, I question her achievements. A winning streak is sometimes the by-product of the campaign of a top level racehorse, but a winning streak in and of itself is no particular indication of greatness. If it were, Camarero, with his 56 race win streak in the 1950s in Puerto Rico, would be the greatest horse of all time. Which he wasn't. He was sound, he was talented, and he towered over his local competition, but he didn't leave his niche to face the tougher competition that was out there.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Camarero raced every week- the vast majority of the races were against mules and you COULDN'T bet on them. What he did was a true feat- to win that many races in a row, but the sad truth is that is was almost always against the same horses- who ran the same way- and who didn't have a chance- THAT is why they didn't allow betting on the races that Camerero was running in.

Zenyatta did everything that has been asked of her. NOBODY can be critical of her record with ANY foundation to stand on. Ruffian never left NY/NJ, Personal Ensign did- just ONCE- in the BC Distaff- NOT the Classic.

Zenyatta is the greatest female in the history of this sport. Also, in regards to Exceller and Slew, Slew thrashed Exceller in the Woodward, you could easily make a case for him as Champion Older Horse, look at Prove Out- he had a huge winning street, easily beat Secretariat and Riva Ridge, but RR won the title because he was in the same stable as Big Red.

Remember Linda's Chief? He won everything that Big Red didn't in '73- he thrice beat Ancient Title and Out of the East- and easily beat Sham sprinting. He was # 2 money in '73 and his track record race with Ancient Title in which the two were all out from the moment the gate opened was talked about at Hollywood for years.  

Blame- 3 1/2 months of racing- 121 in 3 of the 5- badly beaten in the JCGC- he isn't the HOY.

Bladerunnernyc 08 Nov 2010 12:57 PM

ALL OF THE HORSES RAN GOOD RACES.. ZEN WAS AS SENSATIONAL

AS ALWAYS.. I HOPE THEY DON'T RETIRE HER YET... SHE HAS DONE

SO MUCH FOR RACING AS A WHOLE.. BRINGING IN LOTS OF FANS

THOUGHT PERSONALITY ALONE.. WE LOVE HER DANCING AND PLAYING

TO HER FANS... SHE IS MORE THAN A WINNER SHE IS ZENYATTA...

NEED I SAY MORE...

nmh 08 Nov 2010 1:00 PM

Yes, Draynay! What happened to your horse - QR? What a surprise! Your curse worked - again! Congrats! And don't put Zen down for her fantastic effort and result! She was magnificent despite a few inches from winning over great males - not to mention yours, by the way, coming in last! Good job, Draynay - the Naysayer! You're so annoying that you stink, with all your holier-than-thou attitude and trying to save face in light of defeat! Go eat crow!!!

Long live Zenyatta!!! She rules!!!

CURLINLOVER 08 Nov 2010 1:01 PM

DRAYNAY

You know nothing about racing,period. You must be insane to slam a horse that means so much for so many. Don't hear you talking  about QR. lol

Mike Relva 08 Nov 2010 1:08 PM

On my last I forgot to add that Linda's Chief also defeated Forego and Stop the Music in the Withers. Stop-The-Music had set the mark of 1:33 3/5 at Belmont- he was coming into the Withers looking like a ton of horse. He went after Linda's Chief and they blazed the opening half- LC would go on and beat him by three lengths, as well as Forego, but the jacked LC in Champion Sprinter voting. How does a horse that beats Ancient Title and Out of the East three times not get it- yet Shecky Greene does based on restricted races in Florida- go figure.  

Bladerunnernyc 08 Nov 2010 1:12 PM

Ok, how'd this -

when Zenyatta is retired, how about breeding her to Blame?  Interesting mix of international blood.......

slee 08 Nov 2010 1:30 PM

THANKYOU to bladerunnernyc, maryann727 and horselover1!

I AGREE 100% with your posts! AMEN!

Zenyatta was spectacular in the Classic this year against a much stronger field than in '09. Haven't seen much class in a racehorse in a long time. Generations from now, Blame will just be remembered for getting the win over Zenyatta, just like we remember Upset because of beating Man'O War, and we remember Onion for beating Secretariat! BUT ZEN will be remembered for her ability to come from last place on the turn and MOW DOWN everybody in 19 races! (And most of the field in the 20th race). If she had finished back in the pack and out of the money than and ONLY THEN, can ANYONE say that she was not good enough! She is AND always will be ONE OF THE GREATEST EVER!( and add to the LOOOONG list of those she has beaten: Quality Road!)

She's a synthetic specialist....HAHAHA! PLLLLLEASE!

PowerOf Zen 08 Nov 2010 1:32 PM

Vcaser,

I had the same thoughts.

Gosh, I was really hoping she would finally pin those ears back and hit the ‘sixth gear’. Did anyone ask Mike if he felt she was all out the last 3/16th’s?

WinnahPickah 08 Nov 2010 2:01 PM

Congrats to Mike Relva.  You said it all.

Rachel could have and should have raced in the Classic had she been handled as well as Zenyatta.  

By the way, Blame is not coming back next year?  Therein lies an example of why racing is in held in such low esteem.  Sports fans need and want heroes.  

Zenyatta brought a light of hope to horse racing just as John Henry and Cigar to name just two.  She is one of the all time racing greats, period.  

Thanks to the Mosses, John Sherriffs, and Mike Smith for all the love and care she received.  Most of all, thank you, Zenyatta.  It was a pleasure!!

Freetex 08 Nov 2010 2:20 PM

The facts are Zenyatta lost.  I hear many of you claiming what a huge move she made to make up so much ground but didn't you see Dakota Phone do the same thing except WIN.  Dakota Phone was dead last 15+ lengths back on a tiring track and went 10 wide and won.  Zenyatta lost.  Blame was too good yet most of you now want to trash Blame.  Zenyatta and the connections played it safe again and lost.  To the victor goes the spoils.  Blame is your rightful HOY.  What would you give it to Zenyatta for a 2nd place finish in the Classic along with some poly wins in restricted races?  Give it a rest Zenyatta wasn't good enough.  Blame held her off at the wire and 50 yards past the wire and 100 yards past the wire.  Zenyatta could never get by Blame your 2010 HOY.

Draynay 08 Nov 2010 2:30 PM

Draynay has to put down Zenyatta. His beloved Quality Road came in last. Or had he jumped on another horse's bandwagon? Anyway, she beat 10 colts Saturday and she showed she belonged in the 'Classic. People who refuse to acknowledge that are ignorant. If you don't like her, who really cares? At least admit she ran a hell of a race. On dirt. Against males. She is the real deal! (But I always knew that!). Congratulations to Blame and his connections.

MikeandZen 08 Nov 2010 2:37 PM

Vcaser,

I saw a replay of the Classic on TVG.  Trainer Ron Ellis commented that it looked to him as if Zenyatta "misjudged the wire" because she still had an ear cocked.  When they showed the slow motion, shutter-cam at the wire, Zenyatta was half a head back. On the next stride (too late), her nose was in front.

What an amazing race, an incredible effort, but heart-breaking nonetheless.

Dakota 08 Nov 2010 2:42 PM

Goldikova to remain in training pointed towards a 2011 Breeders Cup!!

Now that is awesome news!!

L 08 Nov 2010 2:45 PM

Once the race started,Zenyatta was 20 lengths behind most of the race,and as any horse racing professional and true

racing fan knows,no matter what type or kind of race it is,

Graded,Allowance,or Claiming,you'll never see a horse do what Zenyatta did in the 2010 Classic.What everyone needs to

realize is that Zenyatta is a great race horse.

Horse racing is a tough,but good business,there's always

something that can hinder a horse chances of running a good

race let alone winning the race,but what Zenyatta proved

during the Classic,is,that she really is a true Champion and

a Great race horse of all time.

Most or normal thouroughbred horses,no matter how good or fast they run,could never do what Zenyatta did in the 2010

Classic as well as thoughout her racing career.

In closing,the owners will have a couple of months to think about what's next for the Great Zenyatta,myself,Zenyatta is still at the top of her game,she proved it in the Classic,I would like to see her run in 2011,the horse and racing fans

deserve to see what true greatness is in sports,Zenyatta is

that great athlete to look up to.

Eugene D 08 Nov 2010 2:45 PM

You'd be as salty a draynay if you hemorrhaged cash like he does!

WinnahPickah 08 Nov 2010 2:59 PM

Bladerunnernyc and Maryann727 make a lot of sense in their posts, they have the information to back up their statements. Draynay doesn't know anything about horses or horse racing, he just happens to have a computer. Zenyatta is the best horse I have ever seen race and I have seen some great ones, like Personal Ensign, Lady's Secret,Azeri Serena's Song, Cigar, Easy Goer, Sunday Silence, Alysheba, Miesque and Big Red. The BC races are always exciting because each race has a champion running. This year was no exception the only horse that should be even considered for HOY is Queen Z.  Of course, we know Clariborn is celebrating 100 years in the business so give them an award for what they have contributed to racing  not HOY!

quarterhossgal 08 Nov 2010 2:59 PM

Hey Gary,

What about the 3 lbs he gave her......you didnt figure that in...like you did when you were bringing Rachel down. If she carried the same weight as blame would she have been that close?

shane 08 Nov 2010 3:09 PM

Zenyatta is the Man O War of our time. Man O War lost one race the same way that Zenyatta did. Native Dancer lost one race also. She simply ran out of room. Zenyatta's fans still love her and she will go down as one of the greatest racehorses of all time. Zenyatta will be inducted to the Hall of Fame. I wish Zenyatta a happy retirement, many carrots and peppermints.

Sophie15 08 Nov 2010 3:12 PM

Also You Zenyatta fans are killing me......

She raced Blame head to head.....he also came from the back of the pack....his tactical speed proved better than hers on that day.

They raced he WON...... how do you give hoty to a horse that lost the only matchup they had. Zenyatta could have flown East and raced Blame earlier but the owners did not.....Their fault!!!! they lose again.

shane 08 Nov 2010 3:13 PM

To me Saturday Zenyatta proved her greatness.I just feel its a shame she didn't leave California more often to run on dirt in some of the bigger races across the country during her career.She has probably been the best dirt horse in the world the past three years but her connections never let us see it by keeping her home running in the same races year after year on synthetic tracks.The owners and trainer have nobody to blame but themselves for Zenyatta failing to win Horse of the Year during her career.To me Curlin,Rachel Alexandra and Blame were all deserving winners of HOY because their connections actually challenged them more than once per year.

JF 08 Nov 2010 3:25 PM

Sophie15 and others,

I'll say it again-- Zenyatta did not "run out of room." She lost the race fair and square. When Zenyatta came to Blame in the stretch, he held her off. He also galloped out ahead of her.

Be proud of her achievements and her hard-trying second place finish, but accept that she was beaten by a better horse on the day.

Ian

Ian Tapp 08 Nov 2010 3:29 PM

Ian's choice of Seattle Slew's performance in the 1978 JCGC is analagous of Zenyatta's efforts in 2010 BCC. While the obstacles encountered differed greatly, the net impact was similar and likely was the direct cause for defeat. Better horses (in both these instances, truly great horses) even at the top of their game are often defeated by lesser lights (Exceller was a proven very fine turf runner, only) due to a variety of circumstances. In the case of the 1978 JCGC, of those who witnessed it most would have agreed that Seattle Slew's performance that day was superior to Exceller's-that Seattle Slew performed as the better horse(all past history aside). I'm confident that same can be said for Zenyatta vs Blame in the 2010 BCC. I find it of little import whether or not Zenyatta was gaining on Blame as they crossed the line-even had Zenyatta caught him near the wire and had Blame then pulled away-the circumstances of the race were such that Zenyatta performed at a higher level (choose whatever adjectives you prefer) than did Blame in this race-so, at least on that day, Zenyatta proved to be the better horse (imo). Now we could also debate the net quality of performances, Zenyatta vs Blame, in the 2010 races preceeding the BCC. Zenyatta didn't beat a G-I winner, but went undefeated with numerous outstanding performances (imo). Blame, on the other hand, was thrashed (with, perhaps, legitimate excuses) in the JCGC. I did state that (imo) prior to the 2010 BCC many of Zenyatta's 2010 performances were "outstanding". I don't consider any of Blame's 2010 performances (prior to the BCC) to be "outstanding", and that includes his Whitney and Stephen Foster. Many have disparraged Zenyatta's filly/mare 2010 competition. Take a closer look at the fields, and the level of performances displayed by Blame's competitors in the Whitney and Stephen Foster.

All the above aside, this Zenyatta appears to be one truly remarkable being. Consider her disposition/"kindness" as a highly "fit" racehorse, her demeanor as she's lead to the paddock, saddled, and in the post parade. Then reflect on her willingness/"bravery" to cope with and respond to adversity (perhaps, in part, trust in her pilot), and her determination to give her all (or what is asked of her) and at the highest level, and to remain sound. All this I witnessed in her on Breeders' Cup Classic day. She would seem the near epitome of what we strive for in selective breeding. While she may be a rather refined version, many of her qualities are shared by all members of her breed and other species as well. They are derserving of our appreciation and protection.          

sceptre 08 Nov 2010 3:42 PM

zenyatta moves past ruffian. ZENYATTA cemented herself as #1 female racehorse of alltime. now she is definately top 10 of alltime male or female, what a racehorse she turned out to be. only a 60,000 dollar purchase for a priceless racehorse. only slew was more of a bargain, and that simply because he was a stallion. good luck zenytta, and thanks for the memories. we will never forget what you gave your fans always.

drfager01 08 Nov 2010 3:45 PM

I think DRAYNAY watched the wrong race and got his horses mixed up. athough my statement is meant to be one of a serious nature. Was that Zenyatta hater possibly confused with the ladies classic and perhaps got life at ten and the race she ran mixed up with Zenyattas performance in the classic. we should ask him. beat males on dirt you should eathose words now.

drfager01 08 Nov 2010 3:54 PM

@NancyP: Thank you. It's a shame Draynay gets so much joy out of attempting to be irritating: "the wisdom of the crowd" isn't always so :)

Sea the Stars is the first horse who came to my mind and would be a good match for Zenyatta. Though he's seen as a Euro, they have much in common in terms of pedigree (Mr. Prospector: she on her sire's side, he on his dam's) and style, and were equally dominant in their own right, though he was much more lightly raced. This will be a carefully deliberated decision, in part because any match is also going to have to pass something of a "royalty" test: this is going to be a very public pairing. He passes that test and would have to be on a short list for sure.

Richard G 08 Nov 2010 4:07 PM

Blame may not be Alydar to Affirmed or Easy Goer to Sunday Silence, but he was considered the top male older horse in this country.  Zenyatta definitively proved she transcends the track surface.  She trounced the perhaps overrated East Coast horses, including Quality Road and Haynsfield.  Given the way the race was run, where were the speed horses. QR and H finished last on their so-called favorite dirt surface.

On the other hand, never having even run at Churchill, Zenyatta still ran the best race.  She got no help from the other dirt runners, including QR; I believe he backed into her as she was making her late run.  She stormed from dead last to first, plowing through the others.  She did what she had done in all her other races, whether on the synthetic surface or the dirt.  A few of the East Coast pundits’ half-baked theories about the synthetic tracks need to be thrown out the window.  At least when talking about the greatest horses; they always seem to rise to the occasion, on whatever the surface they are running on.  

I think A. Beyer has it wrong for the most part, with respect to his prior comments about the synthetic tracks.  But he wrote an interesting article today; it has been reprinted in the Daily Racing Form.  He finally admitted that Zenyatta is most likely the greatest filly or mare in history.  He stated that Blame was not the best male horse to win the Classic and implies that Zenyatta’s loss reflected on her legacy.  Secretariat’s loss to Onion did not affect his historic standing.  

And Beyer still has synthetic issues, trying to make fine distinctions and downplaying victories on one track surface over the other.  He can no longer say that Zenyatta’s victories were in part aided by any synthetic biases.  She beat 10 of 11 of the best dirt track horses on their home court, at Churchill. She lost to Blame by a diminishing head.  They both received a 111 Beyer; the margin at the finish line was irrelevant.  Someone on this blog mentioned that Zenyatta may have misjudged the finish line.  That seems possible.  She had the momentum and passed Blame right after the finish line.  Not only did Zenyatta run for the first time at Churchill.  But she also ran under the lights, an odd distraction to the Classic that Smith alluded to.  I do not think they will run the Kentucky Derby under the lights.  With her amazing finish in the Classic, Zenyatta answered her mainly East Coast critics and should win HOY.

David 08 Nov 2010 4:11 PM

Somethingroyal wrote:

"Monica,

We're all entitled to our opinions. But, you've made some pretty strong accusations about Mike Smith's riding abilities. Is your opinion based on facts or an uninformed guess? Until any of us experiences what it is like to guide a 1200 Ibs animal traveling between 35-40 miles an hour. Who are we to sit back and judge how Mike Smith or any jockey for that matter and tell them how they should ride? Get informed before making such statements."

Thank you for that Somethingroyal. Why is it so easy for people to judge Mike Smith, or any jockey, when they wouldn't have a clue what to do if they were on a race horse's back? If he'd taken Zenyatta wide around the turn, and she'd lost, people would be griping about that. He's making split-second decisions, as are all of the jockeys, and no one knows what's going to happen stride for stride. Give the guy a break. He's been hard enough on himself!

GJU 08 Nov 2010 4:15 PM

Zen didn't cave in. She came at Blame with all she had. It just was not enough. I stood up with all those spectators, and cheered her on. I will never forget it. I saw Secretariat at Arlington Park, and this was just as exciting.

Saddle57 08 Nov 2010 4:16 PM

@shane: "...a horse that lost the only matchup...." If this is the criterion, Upset is a better horse than Man O' War, etc. Blame is a fine horse, but lost nearly a third of his races. Credit where credit is due (I give it to Gomez and the race strategy), but Blame's supporters - actually Zenyatta detractors with a new, probably unwilling, darling in Blame - seem to be doing a great deal of huffing and puffing trying to blow down Zenyatta's house. Poly-horse? Obviously not. Soft against first-rank competition? Obviously not. Able to handle dirt? Blew up the field in the last quarter mile. As for HOY, who cares? An increasingly irrelevant title with an obvious and oft-mentioned geographic bias. What did it do for Rachel Alexandra?

Richard G 08 Nov 2010 4:22 PM

We're so anxious to send the young studs to the Breeding shed before we determine if they have soundness problems so we have fatal accidents during every Breeder's Cup series.

My hat is off to the owners of Queen Z and Goldikova for keeping them in racing for more than a season. As for temperment Z has the best of both worlds she is a tiger when it comes to racing and a lamb when it comes to being surrounded by her many fans. ZENYATTA is Horse of the Decade not just HOY not just for her racing ability but for the thousands of fans she has brought to this sport. Thanks for all of your 20 exciting races!

quarterhossgal 08 Nov 2010 4:28 PM

@David: Agreed. Everything about the environment was strange to her and it may have cost her part of those 4 inches. We race under lights for the World Cup in Dubai because the hot climate dictates the card starts at 5 pm - 7 pm during the regular season. It doesn't seem to affect the horses, but most are brought early to acclimatize, get used to the track and the lights, etc. - Curlin shipped early in his year and had a prep race there when there was still Nad Al Sheba and a dirt track. As something of a purist, I don't want to see a Derby under lights, but that's a prime time TV thing and it seems to me the industry is becoming desperate to attract fans. It would be a wrong move in my opinion, but the industry seems to make a lot of wrong moves for right reasons.

Richard G 08 Nov 2010 4:53 PM

News to ITapp:

Zenyatta passed Blame one stride after the wire. Zenyatta is the horse of a generation, Blame will only be remembered as the horse that beat Zenyatta.

Sophie15 08 Nov 2010 5:29 PM

@sceptre: Very nicely said.

Richard G 08 Nov 2010 5:44 PM

Sophie15,

Uhhh...what in the world does her being "the horse of a generation" have to do with it?

If you are comforted by believing that she had a nose in front of Blame for a brief moment after the wire, before he then continued to gallop out ahead of her, then please keep believing that.

If only you could retroactively position the wire to correspond with that single moment in time where you believe she may have had a whisker's advantage!

I hope you respect Zenyatta for the courage she showed during the Classic, and not for your imagined post-race trifle that does nothing to change her place in history.

Ian

Ian Tapp 08 Nov 2010 7:18 PM

I can't compare Slew's JCGC loss to Zenyatta's. Slew battled a suicidal speed duel, broke from the gate and had to be reloaded, Cordero lost a stirrup for a good part of the race. He led the whole race, got passed AND CAME BACK. It was insane. Zenyatta just ran her same race. Slew had a load of excuses..Zeyatta didn't.

She ran a great race but got beat by Blame. No if's and's or but's about it.

Have a nice retirement Zenyatta.

Has anyone here looked at the match with Blame? It is very intriguing and would be a great match IMO.

Andrea Hoogendoorn Bouwkamp 08 Nov 2010 7:26 PM

@Andrea: Of course a Rachel Alexandra fan would write this. Where was your horse Saturday? All year for that matter?

Richard G 08 Nov 2010 8:08 PM

The point is, she lost because she had a difficult trip. And she did pass pass Blame briefly after crossing the wire. Zenyatta is the better horse, end of story.

Sophie15 08 Nov 2010 8:29 PM

Perfection Lost But Greatness Gained

Today we lost that sports moment in time we all cherish. That thing in sports we all crave for. Something to always remember. Something unforgettable. That thing you talk about as sports fans with friends and other fans that says we will always remember that, and wasn't that great. Then the comparisons start about who was the best of all time, or what was the greatest moment. Today America had a chance to have that moment. Everything all week led up to that moment. America got a chance to catch on late with the help of magazines and Television. It was a story made from Hollywood almost Heaven sent in a time of need. A feel good story in a year of uncertain economy turmoil and tabloid gossip. The cheers, the fan fare, the dancing was all there right up to the starting gate. But when the gate opened our hearts hit our stomach's. As the first half of the race was completed we all knew it was going to have to be a real miracle for our hearts not to be broken. Yes, this was her style but not this far back and not on this track and up against this field. You could feel the race being lost coming around the turn for home. No where to go and valuable time lost. Then a small opening to the outside that will lose more time but it's the only chance we have. She breaks free and can run, but looking at the field in front of her there is no way no chance against the best horses out there. But then you see that stride. That familiar move we have all seen before that has greatness written all over it. One by One they all fall behind like a train just went by them. Our hearts lift out of our stomach's because our heads say to us we have saw this before. That phenomenal stretch drive like the other horses are standing still. Unbelievable can this be the same horse that was at least 20 lengths back. The same horse that was tied up starting around the turn. One horse left but time is running short each stride a little closer. She has caught the other horse and needs just one more stride. But this time the great Zenyatta stride is too late. She passes the other horse but the finish line photo finish shows she lost by a nose. She fought the travel, the media frenzy, the dirt track, the bad start, the 20 lengths down and still only lost by a nose. The other horse had the perfect race. No problems just had to hold on and not get tracked down. One lost stride for perfection. The other horse's owner says we had it all the way. But the film shows different. It was just a matter of time that came a stride to late. Anything can happen in horse racing that's what made this 19-0 run so remarkable. Any given day like today to many odds are against you. While the other side had everything go completely perfect. What we learned today is not about our hearts being broken but about the heart of a Champion we grew to love. Who had no chance at all and just about pulled it off. Her critics who said she couldn't run on dirt saw that she did the same thing she always had done. Even with the worst of odds this time. Again one lost stride for perfection. This race will never be about how Blame won. It will always be about how Zenyatta lost. When your perfect in sports everybody remembers and never forgets. Who remembers the New England Patriots win streak because they ended up losing it in the Super Bowl a few years ago. But they all remember the 1972 Miami Dolphins. If Zenyatta would have won I can only imagine how the media frenzy would have been. You could feel the let down from Churchill downs, the TV announcers, across America at that moment in time. The winners circle seemed like a mortuary and Gomez the jockey almost apologetic. We all knew who was the best horse out there that day. Mike Smith the jockey can replay it over and over again. If we just would have done this or that because he knew already what we all know now. She is the best thing to come along in horse racing for a long time and probably the greatest filly who ever lived and he wanted her to have this sports moment so no one would ever forget. Hopefully unlike the New England Patriots we wont forget. Tonight Andrew Beyers and Jess Jackson breath a sign of relief her biggest critics. What were they thinking when Zenyatta made her charge? Again one lost stride for perfection. What excuses will they come up with now. It took all odds against her and a perfect race to beat her. Don't you hate it when someone lucks out and doesn't have to answer for being wrong. Today in this sports moment we lost perfection but we gained greatness. It's about what we call in sports of having the heart to overcome impossible odds and not so much about winning but to give it your all and giving it your best. We should all remember this day for Zenyatta never giving up and giving it all she had. Again one lost stride for perfection. But the heart that made her the Greatest Filly of all Time.

Written by Dominic Campisi 11/6/10

Dominic Campisi 08 Nov 2010 9:03 PM

Sophie15,

Hahaha, oh, so that's what you were debating--who's the "better horse"? Don't her performances speak for themselves?

Here's some news--Blame was the better horse in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Zenyatta was clear at the 3/16 pole and had every chance to run him down, but didn't.

It's one thing to respect Zenyatta for all she's accomplished and done for the sport. It's another thing to call Blame inferior because you're bitter about Zenyatta losing.

Had Zenyatta won the race, her fans would be saying "she beat the top dirt horse in the country who won the Stephen Foster and the Whitney..."

Get real, guys! Zenyatta is great, but give Blame credit. He earned it!

Ian Tapp 08 Nov 2010 9:26 PM

Zenyatta's race on Saturday does nothing to discredit the fact that she is one of the best mares we've seen in a long time. She's immensely talented and I don't think anyone in racing would be upset if she did win Horse of the Year for 2010. I have always been a Zenyatta fan, and truly thought she deserved the award in '09 over Rachel Alexandra.

With that said, Blame showed tremendous talent by taking down Zenyatta on Saturday. He beat a stacked Classic field and probably deserves Horse of the Year after the victory, along with his other G1 wins this year. Emotions aside, if he has the ability to beat that field--but most of all Zenyatta--that's a pretty good case for Horse of the Year being awarded to Blame in my book.

Yes, Zenyatta has done amazing things for horse racing over the past few years. She has drawn fans across the country and done wonderful things for the sport with her 19 wins. Perhaps that does warrant Horse of the Year honors, we will just have to wait and see. People know she's amazing though, and she doesn't necessarily need Horse of the Year to reiterate this point. Blame is a great horse as well and based off his resume this year, probably deserves the honor.

Finally, maryann727-- I think you're being overly critical of Claiborne and the comments made that Blame deserves Horse of the Year. Claiborne is one of the most well-respected operations in the thoroughbred industry and hats off to them for capturing such a huge win. If anyone was going to beat Zenyatta and her connections, I would have to say Claiborne deserves it. And let's be honest, if your horse beat Zenyatta in the Classic, wouldn't you think your horse deserved the honors as well? Just my opinion... Claiborne does not deserve to be misrepresented in such a way.

lmfao 08 Nov 2010 11:24 PM

Well, a race is a "snapshot." The real complaint from Zenyatta supporters is that she NEVER got respect during the whole "film" (sorry to use a Hollywood-esque reference). To wit: reverse the entire race with Blame and Zenyatta in each others' respective positions. Wanna bet people would be saying Zenyatta hung on for dear life and Blame would have run her down in another stride? Absolutely. No matter what she would have accomplished, the $2-window guys would chomp on their 50-cent cigars and discredit her. Same as will happen during the Eclipse voting. It's East-West, New York-LA, War Admiral-Seabiscuit all over again. Blogs have just democratized the discussion (I mean even Draynay can comment!). And this is much to the detriment of the sport. OK, Blame did win the race. Zenyatta did not. Was that good for the sport? Think of those thousands of teenage mostly girls waving "Girl Power" posters. They're gone as fans, crushed, and dissing their heroine is only harming the sport you all claim to love. The last time this gender silliness happened, it cost the best female of that generation her life. And racing diminished in the culture for more than a decade. Wanna go THERE again? I think this is a good time to congratulate the winner (who wants nothing of this human foolish pleasure), acknowledge the loser - both of whom scored the same Beyer for the race, and rally behind the dying (yeah, really) sport that made such a once-in-a-generation spectacle possible. And figure out a way to get those Girl-Power-sign-waving-kids back. 'Cause, if not, Blame is to blame and that is more than a cute headline.

Richard G 09 Nov 2010 12:36 AM

@Imfao: I agree with your comment about Claiborne. The problem may be that for those of us who could not be at Churchill Downs and watched remotely - I from China - on ESPN (but that's another story).

Richard G 09 Nov 2010 2:36 AM

Nice analogy to Slew's game loss to Exceller, as Zenyatta too was glorious in defeat.  She didn't, as some argue, lose to a better horse on that day in the Classic but to a very good horse who had a better trip.  

Zen4Zen 09 Nov 2010 3:06 AM

Bladerunnernyc: Pedigree Ann stated that Exceller had a better record compared to Slew in 1978, but didn't win HOY.  I merely mentioned that neither did Slew.  It was Affirmed who won HOY in 1978 BECAUSE he won the TC, which is why Slew won HOY in 1977.  And...until we have another TC winner, we choose from the champions we do have.  And right now, I believe, Zenyatta remained every inch a champion, even in defeat...maybe more so.

Vicaser: And I also noticed her ears still twitching at the finish line....Mike Smith stated she was distracted by the roar of the crowd.  Zen is our rock star...and HOY...but I have to tip my hat to Blame who never quit.  It was an amazing race, probably one of Zen's best...and even more of a reason for her to be HOY.

Slew 09 Nov 2010 8:16 AM

Slew - I should have said 'older horse'. Exceller had already proven himself on dirt having won the Hollywood Gold Cup, by the way. But he didn't even get an Eclipse as top turf horse, because Mac Diarmida put together a streak of wins against 3yos and finished with a DC International win. The saddle slipped on Affirmed in JCGC, which is why he was a runaway and why he got a 'bye' on that one.

About the 1973 sprint title, I see for Shecky Greene as a 3yo that he won the Hutcheson (G3, equaled track record, beat Forego), the Kelso at Delaware (G3, under 128 lbs), the Midwest (Hawthorne, giving weight to elders), the Select (G3, top weight), the Patuxent (at Bowie, where he gave 8 lbs to to the older star King's Bishop), as well the restricted Florida race. And he ran second in the Fall Highweight (G3) under 137 lbs, to King's Bishop (129 lbs). Since there were no G1 sprint races and only 2 or 3 G2s in those enlightened days, this was quite a good record.

Linda's Chief was more of a miler and never beat his elders in a stakes race at 3. He was a grand horse and I still remember how sickened I was as I watched him fall over the inside rail of the chute at Hollywood Park and break his neck.

Pedigree Ann 09 Nov 2010 9:53 AM

re pulpit`s stallion line you forgot to include ESSENCE OF DUBAI, sire of champion Dubai Majesty

And by the way Big Z and Secretariat the greatest horses I had the pleasure to see run in my life (73 years old)

marcelo 09 Nov 2010 5:06 PM

@RichardG.

Where in my response did I mention Rachel Alexandra? I was talking about Seattle Slew's JCGC in 1978. I don't understand your response.

Andrea Hoogendoorn Bouwkamp 09 Nov 2010 5:15 PM

Hi marcelo,

The listing above includes TrueNicks stallions only. Essence of Dubai is not currently enrolled. He stands in Venezuela now, and of course we'd love to have him on TrueNicks if the owners are interested!

Thanks,

Ian

Ian Tapp 09 Nov 2010 6:46 PM

@Andrea: LOL, everyone has a track record.

Richard G 09 Nov 2010 8:13 PM

ITAPP,

I beg to differ.  According to John Shirreffs in an interview with Reuters today he backs up what Mike Smith said following the Classic regarding Quality Road..."When Quality Road backed up in front of her (Zenyatta) and Mike had to alter course and take back, that was tough.  She's zig-zagging down the lane, looking for a path, has to check and go one more wide.  That probably cost her."

Blame wasn't the better horse, but had the better trip. Zenyatta had clearing sailing at the 3/16 but only after making up 20 lengths in two sub 24's, then alters course because of Quality Road, zig-zagging around to a different path, has to check, goes wide, THEN re-starts her final charge in 24 flat.

ITapp, Zenyatta had every chance to lose this year and yet came within inches of winning. She ran the better race, because she is the better horse.

John 10 Nov 2010 12:28 AM

John,

Sounds like what you're arguing is that she "had more excuses" than Blame. You are certainly correct. Because she has less tactical speed than Blame, it put her in a disadvantageous position where she was more likely to encounter trouble. She also didn't immediately handle the dirt and kickback as Blame did, perhaps because he had previous experience on the surface and she did not.

We often give horses more credit when they overcome adversity. Hats off to Zenyatta for giving a magnificent performance, as she almost overcame everything. Blame, on the other hand, better handled the conditions of the race and as a result, won the race. How much better was Blame in the Breeders' Cup Classic? The answer- a head.

Ian

Ian Tapp 10 Nov 2010 8:25 AM

I'll leave the decision to those more capable however I do not know why zenyatta or any other female should have to run against the boys to get horse of year honors.when you win one grade 1 you prove you are among the best but when you win 13 wow I mean wow.other than her first 2 races every other race was grade 1 or 2.that is unbelievable.Her last race could have gone either way and one more stide? Zenyatta you have my vote.God bless you and all your connections.

ray 11 Nov 2010 6:08 PM

This comparison between the 2010 BCC and the 1978 JCGC is interesting for a reason that no one has mentioned. For 2 calls Exceller was 20 lengths behind the 3 leading horses. He made it up and won by a nose.

What I saw at the end of the BCC was that Zenyatta who always ran down her opponents at the end did not gain very quickly on Blame as he dug in and accelerated. I agree with Ian that Zenyatta had a chance that she didn't quite take complete advantage of.

wondering 12 Nov 2010 2:57 AM

@wondering: I'm wondering what race you saw. Dug in AND ACCELERATED? How can that be when the finish was closer than the stride immediately before? Was he accelerating backwards?

Richard G 12 Nov 2010 5:52 AM

Oh dear God please do not make comparisons between true greatness and horses that ran in restricted company 90% of the time. Do not make comparisons between Triple Crown champions and niche surface specialists. Seattle Slew ALWAYS did all the dirty work while Zenyatta has NEVER done any dirty work up front. It's farcical to mention them in the same breath. Slew beat another Triple Crown champion TWICE. Exceller is in the Hall of Fame. Stop the madness. The only similarity between these two losses is that they were by small margins. Slew's race in unbelievable.

Jeff Wilson 12 Nov 2010 9:32 PM

@wondering: I'm wondering what race you saw. Dug in AND ACCELERATED? How can that be when the finish was closer than the stride immediately before? Was he accelerating backwards?

@JeffWilson: And the other time? Quality Road, Fly Down, First Dude, Haynesfield, Looking At Lucky, Paddy O Prado, etc. All victims. She vaporized them. "niche surface specialist(s)"? I don't think so. Just a silly comment.

Richard G 13 Nov 2010 11:31 PM

Jim C.,

Thanks for the screenshots from a few yards after the wire where Zenyatta appears to have a nose ahead.

I believe the initial discussion sparked when Julie L. said "with another stride or two [Zenyatta] would have swept past Blame."

While I disagree with this statement, I now acknowledge that she was briefly a nose in front a couple jumps past the wire (according to your screenshot), but she never "swept past" him. Mentioning this is nothing against Zenyatta, but rather my personal assertion to give Blame some credit. I don't equate a momentary, narrow advantage with "passing," especially considering Blame galloped out well ahead of her. My point, as I've said repeatedly, is that we should give Blame credit for holding her off, and also give Zenyatta credit for her gallant performance.

Thanks,

Ian

Ian Tapp 16 Nov 2010 9:20 AM

I think many folks who watched the BCC first thought of Seattle Slew when Zen came to within inches of Blame.  As an ardent fan of Slew, I have no problem with the comparison because it was also my first thought.  My second thought, however, was that Slew was a front runner who set the pace for his races.  My third thought was, Zenyatta will be treated like a queen by her connections, in retirement just as Slew (make that King) was.  Exceller was dinner.  What a sad indictment of us as fans that we allowed it to happen...to any horse.

Slew 16 Nov 2010 10:21 AM

Thanks, Ian.  No doubt both horses deserve tremendous credit.  I never claimed she "swept passed him."  I do not believe there is a complete video of them after the wire to confirm that.

I do disagree with you over the significance of Blame "galloping out well ahead of her."  By that time, Mike Smith was standing in his irons.  Nobody ever advised him there was a further race after the wire.  It is more significant that she did edge her nose past him after the wire because that is a point where both horses were in full stride.  It is also significant that, during the race, Zenyatta covered far more ground in virtually the same time.  I note that Blame was retired immediately after the race.  No rematch offered by his connections.

Anyway, good post.  The Seattle Slew-Exceller match-up in the 1979 Jockey Club Gold Cup did come to mind following the race.

Jim C. 16 Nov 2010 12:56 PM

The BC Classic is 10 furlongs. That's all they have to run to win. Blame did that. Zenyatta did it too but just not as fast. You can't say "in a couple more strides she would have passed him". That's another race, at another distance. Blame won fair and square. Being a Zen fan, I wish she'd won but the fact is Blame won at 10 furlongs. Now if it had been 12 furlongs....Well that's another story.

Lorri 22 Nov 2010 1:25 AM

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