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Monday, June 14, 2010

Greetings From The Gulf

Sorry for the lack of posting, but we slipped down to my mom's house, with its balky internet connection serving four of us, on the Gulf Coast of Florida for a few days. Here in the Sarasota area, the waters of the Gulf are perfectly clear, the sands on the beach as pure and pristine as ever. The oil from the BP spill remains many miles away, and the locals don't seem that concerned (at least other than the fish guy at the farmer's market...he was bummed out and selling far less fish than usual), or at least they're not showing it if they are. A couple of people have told me of the mile and a half wide loop current which will whisk the stuff south, around the keys, and up the east coast. And while it's quite possible that it will reach our beaches in New York first, I wish I could share their confidence that it will never come. But besides, in this case, one area's fortune is another's misfortune anyway, so it all just sucks in any event.

Anyway, I'll be back in action here within a couple of days; in the meantime, it was a long weekend off from racing for me down here, even though the magic of online horse betting was fully available. Here we have the usual friendly and respectful banter concerning Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta, whose dramatic rally - final eighth in 11.61 under a 129 pound weight assignment that Rachel's owners would probably never accept - I did happen to catch a replay of.

Haven't watched Rachel's race, but I can pretty much picture it. Jess Jackson and Steve Asmussen shopped around for an easy spot, something uncompetitive like England against the U.S. ....the South Carolina Democratic Senate primary...well, y'know, something winnable. They found one against four hapless opponents on a track that we know she loves. Churchill is of course also the home of the Breeders Cup Classic, and wouldn't it be appropriate if Rachel's owner ultimately succeeds in whining his way to the home court advantage in a matchup against Zenyatta. Even so, unless Zenyatta shows a chink or two between now and then - and especially if that comes on a trip out earth - I think Jess Jackson will find some reason to avoid her. Again.


Anonymous said...

JP -

Good analysis. St. Trinians is easily the best filly in training behind Zenyatta. And every Mitchell horse is juiced to the fucking max, so you know she was feeling no pain. Add the weights to that and it's probably her biggest effort ever.


ballyfager said...

Zenyatta's connections said more than once that they were going to take her around the country this year. Show her off. Let the people see her. Their magnanimity is heartwarming.

However, in the event, after the race at OP they took her back to California. Indications are they plan to stay there until the BC.


People who have the PP's and know how to read them should be able to figure that out. For the rest of you (I'm looking at you Dirty Shirt), I submit that it's because her dirt race at OP won't cut it against first rate competition.

INTELLIGENT demurrals welcome.

Anonymous said...

Ballyfag -

You're a dumb fuck. At least I enjoy to argue with jp because he knows racing/trainers/trips/history/jockeys.

If you wanna keep fucking talking, I'll bet you Zenyatta wins the BC on dirt right now. I'll mail Alan a check for any amount you wanna bet, and you can have the field. Sound good?


El Angelo said...

Look, she's a great horse. That's really not up for debate. But it's a bit disappointing that they're only going to run her in California until the Breeders Cup. We East Coasters would actually like to see her run here, be it against Rachel, Quality Road, Blind Luck, 5 gray outriders...whatever. Point is, it would be nice to see her at Saratoga or Belmont or even Churchill besides in the Breeders Cup. I get that they owe the public nothing and it's their horse. We're all just allowed to wish for something different, that's all.

Anonymous said...

“Zenyatta is a great mare, maybe the greatest mare I’ve ever seen,” “I’m not running against her because I don’t respect her.”

-Mike Mitchell

Zenyatta is just an unbelievable horse to ride against," said Victor Espinoza, who was on Zardana. "Everything was good during the race, but to stay with her, it's impossible."

"She's a freak. What can I say? She's a freak," said trainer Christophe Clement.

"I don't think we would have beaten Zenyatta in a million years," said European jockey Thomas Queally, who was third with Twice Over.

"That was one of the greatest moments I've witnessed in my life and I'm not only talking about horse racing," said Cordero. "She not only won but it was the way she won that made this so special because she did it with something to spare.

BTW, it's not my opinion. These are sharp people.

Anonymous said...

I think there's a chance they send Z to Saratoga. I like her chances against QR at 10f, but anything shorter than that and she'd have a tough time reeling him in. -jp

Anonymous said...

I'm a little scared of her chances against st. Trinians at 1 and 1/16....

ballyfager said...

Can you possibly stay on point? I didn't say she wouldn't win the BC. I certainly didn't say she's not a great horse. She's seventeen for seventeen for God's sake.

None of you have addressed the question of why they took her back to Cal. when they said they were going to do the opposite.

Managing her too conservatively might well have cost her HOY last year. They apparently recognized that because they said they would take a different tack this year. Well, they're not doing it. There has to be a reason for that. Doesn't that interest any of you?

And Dirty Shirt, find a football board. That's where your over the top comments belong. You never say anything substantive or interesting.

Anonymous said...

Bally, they did take her to the Apple Blossom and it's possible they may ship her again. Personally, I find it amazing that they brought her back as a six year old. In an era where the greats almost never race past five anymore, I suppose they should be lauded for that, even if she stays out in Cali until the BC. The crowd was something yesterday; wish I coulda been there. Either way, I don't blame them if they are very judicious with their spots. She's a big mare and we all know about what could happen if she were to take a bad step. In light of that, I think it takes a tremendous amount of nads to even keep her running. -jp

Anonymous said...

btw, I apologize for insulting those dudes' intelligence in that last thread. I find it fun to call people names, but I don't really mean anything by it. -jp

figless said...

12k fans for Zenyatta, not much of a crowd.

Racing really has hit an all time low if this mare can draw so few, but then again she runs there all the time. Would be interesting to see how many she could draw to Belmont (not happening) or the Spa.

Rachels next race is almost certainly at Saratoga, would be nice if Zenyatta's connections could call an audible and head east but they pretty much ruled it out today.

I defended them on the last thread for picking this weekends spot, but now they should seriously condider coming east or at least running in the Hollywood Gold Cup.

I gave them one mulligan, they deservie it, but another race vs. fillies is pointless.

Anonymous said...

I am way more interested in Z vs. Quality Road than I am Z v. RA anyway, all three in the Whitney would be perfect.

If the owners were true sportsmen thats what we would get, but instead we have to wait until the BC, assuming of course they all last that long.

Anonymous said...

Ballyfag -

I didn't change any subject. You said zenyatta won't "cut it" on dirt against top competition. I said she'll beat every horse in the fucking world on real dirt at the BC. Put up or shut up.


Anonymous said...

that 95 beyer that she posted in the Apple blossom running the same way that Rachel ran in the Fleur gives indication she may finish fourth or fifth in the bc, no matter what race she's in, u people cant be that stupid, her fav surface is dirt and she's run on it twice. Ignorant zenyatta fans just believe anything.
All out running hard finishing in 1:49, i mean can she break 1:48 at 9 furlongs.

ballyfager said...


Read the comment below yours and maybe you can get a clue. I don't necessarily agree with what that guy is saying but he IS addressing the issue. That's what handicapping is. It asks the question - how fast can this horse run and how fast is it likely to run today.

All you ever say is some version of yay Zenyatta, boo everybody else. It adds nothing to the board and it's boring.

steve in nc said...

Instead of sniping about the owners of either filly, how about aiming frustration where it belongs, at the powers that be in the sport that decline to form a league and make a coordinated schedule like they have in real sports.

If there were only one top grade top purse route dirt/poly race for older females every six weeks or so, Zen & RA's connections would have a choice between meeting or sitting.

The way things are now, I don't blame them a bit for picking their spots and cashing the checks. Should we blame rich people for taking advantage of legal tax decuctions, or aim anger at politicians who continue and even expand the loopholes?

ballyfager said...

@Steve in NC

It's a nice idea but I think it can be found under the heading, herding cats.

I don't think many of them, or maybe even any of them, would willingly subordinate themselves, unless literally forced to.

Instead they will continue to go down in flames individually.

Figless said...

steve in NC - no doubt the system IS broken. But I believe it is fair to criticize the connections too, it is not an either/or situation.

Both these owners have more money than they or their families will ever need, so taking the easy money is not what this is about.

They both love the spotlight, love the interviews, love to proclaim their horses the best in the world, this is totally ego driven, more about them than the horse.

If they face the other and lose, they will be relegated to second fiddle and especially in Jess Jacksons case no one will show up for his bi-monthly press conferances, which he simply could not handle.

True sportsmen have their reps get togethar and plan a series of races against each other, or at the very least one race prior to a Breeders Cup that remains six months in the future which is an eternity.

You guys making bets on the BC Classic in June, I will take the field vs. Z and RA in the BC Classic, and I will give YOU odds.

In fact I will throw QR into the equations too, the winner of the BC Classic will likely be "none of the above".

Anonymous said...

It's kind of ridiculous to say Zenyatta "can't break 149 or 148" or whatever. Basically all she's ever done is beat every horse that has stepped on the track against her. Given the fact that she ran an all-time best beyer in the BC Classic, when she theoretically faced her toughest competition, isn't it possible to infer that she's capable of running as fast as it takes to win? I think you at least have to give her the benefit of the doubt until she loses a fricken race.

And bally, you are fairly clueless. She won easily at Oaklawn. And you're going to hold her relatively low beyer # against her. Pretty strange and inconsistent for a guy who babbled incoherently a few months ago about how crummy ragozin and tg figures are.

I would say the one chink in Z's armor is that she hasn't really gone against a truly GREAT horse. -jp

SaratogaSpa said...

what I can't figure out is how only 12k showed up on a beautiful day , on a giveaway day no less, to see their hometown hero?

ballyfager said...

@Anon 8:29

Don't break a leg jumping to an erroneous conclusion. You acknowledge that I have no use for Beyer figs (or T-graph or Ragozin). They are only opinion. Yet you say I'm using Beyer figure against Zenyatta. That is not true. It's also not consistent. Whether you realize it or not, you're contradicting yourself in your own post. I form my own opinion about every race I look at and I've been doing this for a long time.

IMO Zenyatta ran a 1:51 2/5 at OP. That is not nearly competitve with the Rachel we saw on Sat. It remains to be seen whether Rachel will reproduce that race next time.

Quality Road OTOH would win by half a pole against a horse running the race Zenyatta ran at OP. Know nothings like Dirty Shirt will say she was only cruising. Experience has taught me that even when they appear to be cruising they are usually running about as fast as they can.

Zenyatta, great as she is, has a chink in her armor. She lacks speed. Any stone closer like that is always vulnerable because they can't catch a horse that won't come back to them.

The thing that impressed me the most about Zenyatta,both Sunday and in her previous race at OP, is the way she looked on the track before the race. I don't think I've ever seen a horse so full of herself. She looked magnificent.

Finally, with one exception you're all STILL not addressing the issue of her going back to Cal. and apparently intending to stay there in the forseeable future despite announced intentions to the contrary.

People don't do things for no reason. So offer some.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight, bally. You're a "raw-times" guy? If a horse runs 9 furlongs in 1:46 on a super highway, then that horse must be faster than some pony who went 1:49 on quicksand, right? Ugh. While he has poor bedside manner, I'm beginning to think dirty knows more about this stuff than you.

And your first paragraph is a grammatical disaster. I really have no idea what you're trying to say. But apparently I'm somehow contradicting myself. Seriously though, what fool relies on final times alone to assess performance?

"Experience has taught me that even when they appear to be cruising they are usually running about as fast as they can."

This is true to a point. But you never addressed my point about her running a career best performance when she won the BC Classic, presumably against the best competition she faced. -jp

DiscreetPicks said...

I don't think there's much question that Zenyatta is a better route horse than Quality Road (i see we're not comparing her to Rachel anymore?). QR is a great animal, but i think his chances of beating Zenyatta at 1 1/4 miles are pretty slim. There's a decent chance we'll see them hook up, which should be fun. But don't overlook the fact that QR had to be scratched at the Classic starting gate last year. It seems he may have an issue with large crowds (which makes me wonder how he would've fared in the Derby, had he been able to make the race). I can't say i like his chances of winning the Classic.

Btw, it's amazing that Zenyatta still has detractors. What more does a horse have to do? Not sure if you guys are familiar with St Trinians, but she posed a legitimate threat to Zenyatta if able to fire her best shot, and it turns out she did. And Zenyatta ran her down anyway (great horse race, in case any of you haven't seen it yet). Hats off to Zenyatta on #17.

As far as her shipping to Saratoga or wherever, what difference does it make at this point? Who does she have to beat in order to bolster her reputation? She kept her date @ Oaklawn, and of course Rachel didn't, and then Rachel went out and lost again to Unrivaled Belle. So i don't think there's much left to prove on that front. I'm not bashing Rachel, i've always liked her, i'm just stating fact.

Quality Road would be a nice notch on her belt, i guess, but she almost certainly would've beatebn him last year if he hadn't freaked out at the starting gate and gotten himself scratched. And besides, i don't think needs to go shipping around the country looking for trouble, like she's some kind of bounty hunter in the Old West. I mean, what's the point? She'll just win anyway. She always does. And then people STILL won't be happy with her. Why not? Well, i don't know, but i'm sure they'll find a reason. Let's just appreciate her while she's still around. Speaking of which, people who criticize her connections for her "easy" racing schedule seem to overlook the fact that she's still running as a 6yo. I've seen horses who retire as 3yo's (with far worse race records) get more respect than this mare does. You just can't make everyone happy, so i think it's ridiculous for Moss/Shirreffs to even try. They made their point vis a vis Rachel, and i think that's enough. I think anything more is superfluous, at least short of defending her crown in the Classic.

PS - Hey Dirty, if you make that Classic bet on Zenyatta, make sure there's a "must run" clause. You know how that can go.

ballyfager said...


Well, at least you're right about my first paragraph being a grammatical disaster. I was in a hurry. But if you can't see the contradiction in your previous post I don't know what to tell you. In the same post you are saying I'm using Beyer figures against Zenyatta and that I don't support Beyer figures. You can't have it both ways. Just to clarify, the latter position is correct.

You say in your current post that I'm using raw time. Well, if you would take the trouble to check the OP race you'll see that the raw time was NOT 1:51 2/5. That's the end of that argument.

Her BC race is irrelevent to the point I'm making because it was on a synthetic track. I'm suggesting that MAYBE she's not as good on dirt. Now, in fairness, her dirt race at OP last year was significantly better.

But, neither you or the others are offering alternative posits as to why she's in Cal.

El Angelo said...

DP: My point is I'd like to see her run, and I'm sure much of the East Coast racing fan base agrees with me. But I'm not flying to California to see a horse run.

Anonymous said...

DC good to hear from you. Always good to hear from you. And for sure Z would have to make the gate for action.

For people who don't realize how good of a shot St. Trinians had; here's a couple fun facts: The quiet Martin Garcia galloped her "secretly" all week, and although normally reserved, mentioned he was gonna win. Insiders with the barn made a huge win bet before post, resulting in zenyatta paying $3 to win. And finally, with her crazy front left action, st trinians tossed a shoe at the quarter pole and still was digging in. It was 6 lengths back to Zardana, who had a dream trip.


Anonymous said...

The best female horse in training just won. Not Zenyatta, not Rachel, I'm talking about Goldikova.

DiscreetPicks said...

St Trinians does have some pretty distitive leg action. She makes it work though. I enjoy watching her run. The Pamplemousse was similar in that respect. Btw, i heard he's about to begin a comeback. I'd given up hope that we would ever see him on the track again, but perhaps we will.

DiscreetPicks said...

Distinctive, that is...

Btw, last i saw, the Wynn had St Trinians listed @ 18/1 for the Ladie's Classic (Rachel listed @ 6/1, Zenyatta unlisted). I wonder what they've dropped it to.

Anonymous said...

How cool would it be if I Want Revenge, the pamplemousse, and quality road all met up in the BC. Or another venue. Derby a year late.


Anonymous said...

BallyFag (AKA: Hypocrite):

Go pound sand, cowboy.

Zenyatta has travelled more than one of the most famous females in the history of the sport:

"Frank Yewell Whiteley, Jr. and his filly Ruffian"

Ruffian left the state of New York once out of 11 starts.

New York Starts: 10
New Jersey Starts: 1