The stud plans for Eskendereya were announced; and it would seem as if Ahmed Zayat might have done quite well when he sold off a majority share to Jess Jackson. (Scroll to the bottom of this Bloodhorse article for an educated guess as to how much he got.) "Eskendereya was widely considered to be the best of his generation," Jackson said in a statement.
That's questionable on its face considering that a) he was beaten by Lookin At Lucky the only time they met; and b) the list of horses who he beat have turned out to be third stringers in a crop of highly dubious quality. Jackson Bend - Aikinite - Pleasant Price - Ice Box trailed him in the Fountain of Youth; Jackson Bend - Awesome Act - Schoolyard Dreams in the Wood. Aikinite won an entry level allowance at Belmont; have any of these others won a race? Based on that, I don't know that you could conclusively say he was much, if any, better than Trappe Shot, no less Lookin At Lucky. If I were Jackson, I'd be rounding up mares before he loses any more luster.
Even pedigree-wise, he doesn't look overly impressive on paper. Giant's Causeway out of a Seattle Slew mare sounds nice, but, aside from being a half brother to the grassy stakes winner Balmont, there ain't much on the catalog page, at least through the first three dams. On the other hand though, some interesting names deeper in the breeding as I wrote about here. And his inbreeding to Northern Dancer, Bold Ruler, and Hail to Reason, combined with a lack of Mr. Prospector, could make him attractive to a variety of mare owners for a variety of reasons. For one example, check out the hypo-mating with Zenyatta if you have the means.
- The hyperkinetic marketing department at NYRA continued their steady diet of press releases with ten on Monday. Just a so-so weekend of attendance (though a highly successful twilight card on Friday....a bigger crowd than on Sunday in fact); attendance was down 11% compared to the first full week last year. But the cards have held up well, as NYRA emphasized.
“The racing has been very exciting and competitive to date and we’ve already seen some sparkling two-year-old and stakes performances,” said NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward . “These initial attendance and handle comparisons are skewed by various factors including the earlier July start, a rainy opening day, and last year’s huge first Saturday which was one of the largest crowds ever for a non-Travers/non-giveaway day.NYRA claimed that the crowd figures are "consistent with preliminary predictions." We were also alerted to the fact that RACHEL ALEXANDRA BREEZES AT SPA FOR PERSONAL ENSIGN. And here we go again. We'll be hearing a lot about the filly leading up to the Personal Ensign I'm sure. If we're really lucky, Rachel's Sandbox will be reactivated.....oh man.
You'd think that NYRA would have learned from its wasted efforts with Curlin that there's no long term, and not much short term, benefit from putting forth such effort to promote the appearance of a single horse. Besides, Rachel is toast now anyway. There was a window of opportunity last year; she gained some mainstream recognition for winning the Preakness and, to a lesser extent, the Haskell and the Woodward, and there was enough buzz so that a matchup with Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup could have attracted interest if ESPN really cared to do so. Forget about it now; even if they do finally meet in the Breeders' Cup, no one outside of our world is going to give a rat's ass given how nondescript and under the radar (as in, untelevised) as the campaign for each has been. You can't create a rivalry just by saying there is one; there has to be a history and a narrative, and right now we have neither.
As you may know if you've been here before, I've been all over Jess Jackson for his ducking of Zenyatta. But let's be fair here. For once. Jackson has declared where Rachel is going to be, and there's no obvious reason I see why Zenyatta couldn't be there too. I mean, they don't really even want to run at Del Mar from what I've read. I've given Zenyatta's connections the benefit of the doubt considering the importance to her legacy of her retiring undefeated, and their willingness to face Rachel at Oaklawn. And no doubt that Jerry Moss would have to swallow some pride in conforming to Rachel's schedule. But c'mon; the fact is that the race date doesn't conflict with any of Zenyatta's goals, and the distance is actually in her favor. So if he really had the best interests of the game in mind over his own ego and self-interest, he'd be at the Spa with his great mare on August 29.
Besides, if Zenyatta did come, Jackson would probably find a reason to duck her again anyway. (Well, I tried.)