- Santa Anita made it through the weekend, and no decision has been made on replacing it with a dirt surface. But, while the trainers seem to be satisfied with the condition of the surface, some riders have taken to wearing large safety visors in order to protect them from flying debris.
“They’ve got a lot of coarse sand and rocks in the track, and we need something to protect our faces,” said [Garrett] Gomez. “The sand stings." [Bloodhorse]It's also worth noting for future handicapping that, according to Gomez, some horses are reluctant to run into the stinging kickback.
One horse that apparently was not bothered by kickback was the phenomenal Zenyatta, in the G2 El Encino. However, given that she was well back in last place and then way wide turning for home, perhaps she didn't encounter much. Trevor Denman seemed a bit skeptical as they turned for home when he noted that she "had to be ridden from 4th; she'll have to come down the grandstand side." She had a good 5-6 lengths to make up once she straightened herself out; but David Flores was easing her up after she blew by the three in front of her. And the really ridiculous thing is that John Sherriffs said afterwards that "She hasn’t uncorked her big stride yet, so we’re still waiting for that." [Bloodhorse] Gulp!
Given that this was the four-year old daughter of Street Cry's first stakes try (in her third career start), perhaps one can understand why she was 7-2 morning line against some legit stakes horses. She was dismissed by the Form's usually prescient Brad Free, who opined that the race was a virtual match race between Grade 1 winners Romance Is Diane and Tough Tiz's Sis. She ended up going off as the 6-5 favorite. I doubt we'll be seeing either that price or her being underestimated by the morning oddsmaker or Mr. Free anytime soon.
- As has been noted, Zenyatta is named after the Police's third album. After the reggae-infused punk rock of their first two excellent records, Zenyatta Mondata, with mainstream drivel like Do Do Do Do Da Da Da Da, or whatever it was called, was the beginning of the band's decline in my retroactive esteem, culminating in Synchronicity, an album which I find absolutely unlistenable nowadays. The late and great BBC DJ John Peel once said that he liked the fact that he would someday feel silly for liking the music he did at the time. I liked Synchronicity when it came out, and for that I feel really silly. And not in a way that I like!