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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Yeah, so?

I'd heard for a couple of days now about the big announcement from Oaklawn Park about Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta, and I have to say I'm quite disappointed. I thought we were going to hear something far more dramatic and definitive, with the human connections present for a big photo op, playfully wrestling and giving each other noogies for the cameras. Instead, we have a lot of money and hoopla, some vague declarations about how the connections have indicated enthusiasm for the race, and a Horse of the Year who has one slow workout on her tab. So please let me know when this gets serious.

27 Comments:

Dirtyshirt said...

Zenyatta will make Rachel look like a fucking donkey.

Eddie D. said...

I read that Rachel Alexandra was in the 3 and 4 path throughout her workout, so the Sheet figure is probably much better than the raw time.

DiscreetPicks said...

I thought it was a pretty big announcement, short of either side firmly commiting to the race. I think we have to remember that the race is still over two months away, and that's a long time in horse time (just ask Winslow Homer). Perhaps that's why no "official" commitments were made today. I do think it's enough time to get ready, however, and $5 million is an awful lot of money. Particularly for a race that's restricted to fillies and mares. I can't imagine that either side would intentionally pass on the Apple Blossom. I mean, pass it in favor of what?

PS - I've heard that Vodka (two-time Japanese Horse of the Year) may be in the mix as well.

DiscreetPicks said...

Btw, nice to see you Ed. I didn't realize you posted on here.

Anonymous said...

Though I applaud Oaklawn for having the best of intentions I suspect this will be anti-climactic or disastrous if the race comes to pass.

These fillies haven't run in a while and it's hard to imagine they'll be at their best 60 days from now.

Not only that, but Zenyatta has run exactly once on dirt in her career and I can't believe her connections would risk her in this spot. It reeks of hubris.

And dirtyshirt, get some manners and some perspective. -JP

El Angelo said...

What's nice is that by having such a large purse, they're pretty much guaranteed they'll get horses beside the Big Two. If it's true that the winner's running for $2.5 million, meaning the second place finisher is running for $1.5 million, tops, there's $1 million (or more) left for running third place on down. You have to think horses like Careless Jewel and Life Is Sweet would be interested in that--you can only run for that much money in a couple of races if you're a female.

Keith - TripleDeadHeat said...

No kidding...great that the offer is out there, but i'm sure every dirt track in america has designs on a similar race.

(Sam Houston has an FB page for this.)

If the connections can't be convinced to race on the Woodbine turf (slight personal bias there), then I would love to see them race at Saratoga...

DiscreetPicks said...

The Apple Blossom is two months away, and Rachel's connections have known of Zenyatta's return for a few weeks already. That's almost 3 months advance notice (with the Apple Blossom being a logical spot for them to meet, even before the purse increase). And this during a time in which she probably would've been scheduled to resume training anyway. If they can't have Rachel race-ready in almost 3 months time, after already having passed on the Breeders Cup, then i really don't know what to say about that. Except perhaps that it might be intentional.

I do think they'll run, though. And they definitely need that "Let's Get Ready To Rumble" guy from the boxing matches to do his thing. That would be great...

Anonymous said...

Vodka would be an interesting addition and you are right the better fillies will come out for the show money and the chance at glory.

However, I would prefer they run in a non-female restricted race. IF they are truly two of the greatest horses in history they should not be afraid of inclusiveness.

If I were lucky enough to own Zenyatta I would be making a serious offer to purchase Careless Jewell right now so I could assure a legitamate pace.

SaratogaSpa said...

Today Oaklawn Park, did what it had to do, be the carnival barker and see what happens. They get always helpful media exposure today, and if RA and Zen show up they hit the jackpot. Just like boxing, you have to bark, bark, bark when you have a potential matchup like this.

Anonymous said...

It appears that this whole Rachel vs. Zenyatta match-up has created an East coast vs. West coast rivalry amongst some deranged fans. Like Biggie vs. Tupac in the hip-hop industry back in '93.

oso7 said...

I don't think there is a chance that RA will run in the Apple Blossom--even if they upped the ante to $10 million. The fact they lengthened the race to 1 1/8th rather than 1 1/16th(advantage Zenyatta) and she's only had one so-so workout since the Woodward, Jess Jackson knows his chances of beating Zenyatta is almost nil on 4/3. Especially if a pacesetter like Careless Jewel entered. Jackson will bow out and hope for a match-up later in the year or perhaps never at all, which would be a shame. I still think they will meet, perhaps over the summer or even the BC. My guess is the Mosses will run Zenyatta in the Classic. If she wins that race, that would be 3 consecutive Classics, one in the Ladies' and then two consecutive against all-comers. I doubt we will ever witness anything to match it in our lifetime.

Anonymous said...

60 days should be enough time to get RA ready for her best effort.

IF she breezes every six days that is 10 workouts. She may even have time for an easy prep. I am sure OAK would write a "NW of a BC race" ALW for her.

Anonymous said...

First off, Jackson is not afraid of Zenyatta. What complete idiocy. The question is if Rachel is the same filly or if all those hard front running efforts wiped her out last year. He will do what is best for the horse, which is more than I can say for the Mosses who should have retired Zenyatta (and their monster egoes). She's done enough.

And all this talk about "pacesetter" Careless Jewel is beyond ridiculous. Careless Jewel will be in it to win it if she runs in the race.

If both Rachel and Zenyatta are at their best, this will be a memorable race. -JP

oso7 said...

I never said Jackson was "afraid" of Zenyatta, my point is he wants to win the match up against her as much as the Mosses do--believe me. giant egos are not the sole domain of the Mosses, Jess has plenty. JJ isn't going to pit his filly against Zenyatta until she's at the top of her game, not merely fit. Asmussen is already saying the timing isn't optimum, believe me, RA isn't going to be in the AB. Btw, Careless Jewel would ensure an honest pace and I'm sure her connections would be happy to settle for hitting the board in a $5 million race.

Anonymous said...

I felt from day the real reason Rachel called is a season was something was bothering her. Not serious, but something which required a little rest.

RA has had plenty of time to recover and sixty days is more than enough to have her at her best.

It would be perfect if they both had a prep, but if both are coming off layoffs all is fair, no excuses.

Anonymous said...

Dirtyshirt,

Rachel Alexandra IS a fucking donkey.

She beat nothing, all year, period.

Rachel Alexandra has had her clock cleaned by even lesser donkeys, and the best opponents she ever faced were in a three-horse field for which she was one-to-twenty in the betting.

Just pigs...

Anonymous said...

Who knew Rachel Alexandra was an equine apple turnover that can be thrown in the oven and readied on cue. Obviously there have been issues, and/or she was worn out from her strenuous campaign last year ( unlike Zenyatta's four workouts and a toughie ). What's so bad about hoping she's OK, and can race well this year, and then worrying about if and when she meets Zenyatta?

And, what about the confusion that Rachel Alexandra is some kind of one way speedball that will be done in by any speed that enters? I could have sworn I have seen her rate successfully. Her speed, along with her ability to rate, is certainly a big edge on Zenyatta, as circumstance won't do her in....as they might for Zenyatta.

And, furthermore, how come Zenyatta's supporters often feel a need to denigrate Rachel, as though that somehow enhances Zenyatta's star. It doesn't, unless someone wants to suggest that anyone that does behave in that matter really can't judge horseflesh, and therefore has a skewed opinion about Zenyatta as well.

Regardless, I hope they both race, and meet, but I don't understand why Rachel " should " be ready for any race at this time.

oso7 said...

I guess I would have to dispute beating the eventual Ladies' Classic winner 3 times this year while carrying 129 pounds in one race amounted to a little more than 4 workouts. Nonetheless, I don't and won't denigrate RA but my point on Careless Jewel's speed was simply to ensure a fair pace. Otherwise, RA could simply cruise through easy fractions and certainly would be capable of holding off Zenyatta's charge in the stretch.
I simply believe we won't see RA in the Apple Blossom. She was stall-bound for at least 2 months after the Woodward, yes, has been galloping and has had one workout this week. But it is hard to envision that Jess Jackson would want to send her out to face Zenyatta without a prep and at the top of her game. That isn't disresptful to her connections or this great filly, that's merely recognizing it as important to Jackson to have his filly triumph as it is to the Mosses.
I hope they both meet when they are ready and at a fair distance and conditions. If it's later this year, then so be it.

alan said...

I think the best scenario for the sport would be for them to go their separate ways, kick butt and then meet for the first and only time in the Breeders' Cup Classic. How amazing would that be? Of course, in this sport, you can never assume anything. If you pass up an opportunity, it might never arise again.

ballyfager said...

To those of you who assume that Zenyatta would beat Rachel, take your ignorance down the street. There is not a scintilla of evidence to support that opinion.

And, as one anonymous commenter already noted, it is not inconceivable that a third horse would beat them both. Careless Jewel e.g. is a very good horse on dirt.


No matter when they met, there is no guarantee that they would both be at the top of their game. Man O War, Citation, Secretariat, they all got beat.

Anything can happen in a horse race.

Anonymous said...

anon 741-

I agree with you commentary but 60 days from its first breeze is PLENTY of time to get a horse ready for its best effort, so RA "should" be ready barring of course any setbacks. They should have time for a prep if they choose.

But if they decide to wait until later I too have no problem with it, just do not wait too long as Alan suggests because careers end in a nanosecond in this sport and should either have a disappointing season the excitement would be gone.

If they pass on OAKLAWN the most logical spot is CD since Z's folks are anti-detention barn so NYRA is out and the other class A tracks running in early summer are AWT.

The Derby undercard would be fun but this race deserves to be the featured event so figure later in the meet at CD.

In any case, agree no one should be denigrating either of these very worthy horses, in fact there is not a single thoroughbred on the planet that should be called a "donkey".

Anonymous said...

I would love to see a three race tournament, CD in June, SAR in late July/Aug, then HOL park in Sept/Oct followed by a return to CD for the Classic vs. the best in the world.

oso7 said...

Ballyfager: "To those of you who assume that Zenyatta would beat Rachel, take your ignorance down the street. There is not a scintilla of evidence to support that opinion."
Ok, how about watching a replay of the Woodward where RA was hit over 20 times coming down the stretch while barely holding off Macho Again? Then imagine that race was a 1 1/4 and please tell us again that Zenyatta woudn't have a shot of sweeping by. At a 1/16th RA would likely be the winner, 1 1/8th a toss up with the pace probably determining the winner, at 1 1/4 to think Zenyatta wouldn't easily win is simply a denial of reality. To be honest, it would be fine with me if the two great distaffers don't meet until the BC Classic. Then history will show who the true classic champion is with her 3rd straight win.

ballyfager said...

oso7 - read Johnny Nerud's column in Friday's DRF, then get back to me.

Anonymous said...

oso7, you can't analyze races in a vacuum. RA was at the end of a rigorous campaign by the time the Woodward came along and if you look at the early fracs, she was running every step of the way, just as she was in the Haskell and the Preakness. Everyone loves making fun of her competition. Well, the horse she left for dead in the Kentucky Oaks is now a multiple G1 winner who was training gangbusters going into the Oaks. Your lack of respect for RA's accomplishments is astounding to me. Of course, it's MUCH more impressive to run on some lame closer-favoring plastic surface over and over again and just make one big wide move...Really get a clue. And BTW, huge Zenyatta fan. She's an all time great, just trying to give you a little perspective. -JP

oso7 said...

First of all, I don't dismiss RA's accomplishments nor wish her anything but the best in her future, but it does get ridiculous to read things like her performance in the Kentucky Oaks was something extraordinary. Gabby's Golden Gal won 1 G1 in which nothing in the way of quality showed up, then finished 9th in a non-descript field, ran 7th in the La Brea before rebounding in her latest effort in the Santa Monica. Is she a decent filly? Sure. Is she the same quality as Life is Sweet, ah, no way.
I have plenty of perspective, I saw Ruffian. Azeri, Lady's Secret and other great distaffers run and to compare RA to them in terms of what RA has beaten isn't comparable. Has she shown great talent? Of course, no one could dispute that. But the fillies she destroyed last year were nothing noteworthy, she beat Summer Bird at a distance he was too short in and, regardless of what she did in the Woodward, Jess Jackson purposely avoided running her in the tougher Travers.
If she runs the table this year, wins the BC, either in the Ladies' Classic or the Classic and then repeats that win the following year, I'll hold her in the same esteem I do Zenyatta. Until then, she doesn't hold a candle to this great mare regardless of your protestations otherwise.