For all the complaints about its short field, the Cotillion ended up a pretty good reminder that it only takes two game horses to make a race exciting:
Anyway, it’s embarrassing, but there it is: four horses racing for a million bucks in a Cotillion that has turned into something of a private dance party. And Saturday night, how many owners and trainers will regret not having entered?
A fifth-place finisher could have earned $30,000. Any runner finishing worse than that could have earned $10,000 just for starting. #gasface
You’d think with only about $9 million in age-restricted main track graded stakes purses for 3-year-old fillies through the year (compared to $23 million for males), connections would be reluctant to pass up the earnings.
What if you were the owner of any 3-year-old filly in the land not named Questing or My Miss Aurelia, would you be knocking down the racing office door to get into the fray? And, remember, please, there is more pressure than ever to “do the right thing by the horse.”
The obvious overmatching of race horses for the purpose of earning minute shares of a big purse does not serve the best interests of the Thoroughbred.
Irish Champion Stakes winner Snow Fairy has overcome injury to win Group 1 stakes in five countries. She’s now a mare on the verge of worldwide fame:
“I usually don’t notice these things,” said rider Frankie Dettori, winning the ten-furlong contest for the fifth time, “but I could hear the crowd get behind her and the roar when she crossed the line. I’ve had some great days here but this one was all about this mare.”
Romance and record combine to make her an organic star.
And to think, she might not have been.
While Blind Luck’s rival Havre de Grace will likely use the Beldame as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) against males, Hollendorfer said there is no way his filly will run in that race.
“I’m not running her in the Classic,” he said. “I don’t believe in that. If others want to do it, God bless them. If we win the Ladies’ Classic, that’s plenty good for us.”
Farewell to Horse of the Year, too.
9/22/11 Addendum: About HOTY, Hollendorfer? Hovdey inquires. “If I did the right thing for my horse, I’d say that nothing would make a difference.”
9/29/11 Update: Interesting — the rivalry could resume in 2012. According to their connections, both fillies are expected to race as 5YOs.
While recognizing that once Triple Crown season is over, it’s the handicap horses that take up the Glamour Division mantle, I think Vic Zast is being a little dismissive of Goldikova as a story for promoting the Breeders’ Cup:
It would be fun to be a bug on the wall in the Breeders’ Cup offices. Having a star to promote your event provides you a leg up. But, right now, at least, there doesn’t seem to be any available. If you think the three-year-old division, the main source of Breeders’ Cup promotional currency, is weak, then you probably believe the handicap division is bankrupt. If the Breeders’ Cup was smart it would send representatives to England today to talk the owners and trainers of Royal Ascot runners to plan ahead for Louisville this November. The unbeaten Frankel, of course, would serve ideally to sub for Zenyatta as publicity fodder. As of now, nonetheless, what the Breeders’ Cup has is Goldikova — that’s it.
Not “that’s it,” but “that’s it!” A globe-trotting champion and three-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner on track for a fourth consecutive victory, she’s a huge story, with a terrific international hook. She’s a gift, not an also-ran.
(Disclosure: I’m working with the Breeders’ Cup on a BC Classic website, set to launch early in July. The opinions here are my own.)
Trainer Freddie Head, at Meydan for Dubai World Cup day, outlined a likely campaign for the 6-year-old champion mare:
“We will try and run in the same races as last year, starting off in the Prix d’Ispahan and then the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.
“One of the big plans is the Jacques Le Marois again and the Breeders’ Cup.
“If she wins the Breeders’ Cup she could go for the Hong Kong Mile as she will not run next year.”
It’s going to be quite a valedictory world tour.
Perfection comes in many forms but rarely, if ever, has it looked as easy or as arrogant as Black Caviar stretching her unbeaten winning streak to an Australian record 10 in the Newmarket Handicap.
Running her undefeated record to a new high wasn’t the only record Black Caviar set. She also established a new stakes record time of 1:07.36 — “Had Nolen not eased her down, Black Caviar would have smashed the track record” — and mark for weight carried by a mare to victory in the race.
Shades of Zenyatta? She’s becoming a phenomenon bigger than racing:
The fastest horse in the world is not only changing the face of thoroughbred racing, but also that of fashion. A little confusingly, the great mare Black Caviar is the new black, but her colour of choice is salmon pink….
As Black Caviar ran the second quickest time in more than 150 years over the 1200-metre course, she did so among a sea of salmon. There were salmon pink flags, badges, lollies and even a salmon pink dress, worn by Laura Phillips, a friend of the mare’s part-owners Jill and David Taylor.
You can see a bit of the crowd’s excitement in the paddock snips below:
More! “Step aside Zenyatta: Black Caviar is the new ‘It Girl’” (R360).