JC / Railbird

Thinking Ahead

Zipse at the Track picks up on the argument advanced earlier this month by Steeplestakes (via Equidaily), that Zenyatta has not done enough at this point in the year to be considered a Horse of the Year candidate. I suppose it’s a pleasantly diverting debate to have while we await the Breeders’ Cup, but it’s also kind of meaningless. After all, Zenyatta’s connections have made it known all along that her goal was a repeat win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (which Zipse does acknowledge). They’re all in, and their strategy will probably pay off; unlike last year, this year’s Classic will decide who’s Horse of the Year.

It’s more interesting to me that Zenyatta will likely repeat as champion older female without having started against most of this year’s top distaffers. Of the 10 Ladies’ Classic contenders ranked by DRF (PDF), she’ll have met Rinterval (second in the Hirsch, entered in the Lady’s Secret) and Zardana. She won’t have raced against Life At Ten, Unrivaled Belle, or Persistently (entered in the Beldame) or Blind Luck and Havre de Grace (entered in the Cotillion). That’s nothing to hold against Zenyatta, who can only run against those entered against her, but it is a depressing comment on how rarely the best racehorses meet on track, as is Blind Luck shipping to Parx for a stakes restricted to 3-year-old fillies instead of Hollywood or Belmont to challenge her elders.

As Chris Rossi, aka o_crunk, commenting here and in a recent Thoroughbred Times Today piece, has pointed out: The game is getting watered down. Steven Crist lays the blame partly on slots-fueled purses.

Related: There’s a very civilized discussion about Zenyatta and Andrew Beyer’s recent column happening in this comment thread.


Is it me that I got this feeling that some Zenyatta detractors are already getting their ammunition ready to refute Zenyatta as the Horse of the Year if she wins the Classic?

Posted by John on September 30, 2010 @ 8:02 pm

It would be impossible to deny Zenyatta Horse of the Year if she wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Posted by EJXD2 on September 30, 2010 @ 9:42 pm