Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Horse of the Year Should Be a Super Star

As much as I like Blame, and I have followed, bet and won on Blame, I honestly don’t think he comes close to Zenyatta for Horse of the Year consideration. And it really surprises me that so many people think otherwise.

Blame is a very talented horse. He got good this year, especially on his home track. In his first race of the year, in mid May, he won the Gr.III Schaeffer at Pimlico, beating No Advantage and Timber Reserve (huh?). Bullsbay was also in the field of 7. He then beat Battle Plan (who unfortunately came out of the race with an injury) and General Quarters (gotta love the old guy) in the Gr.I Steven Foster. The Whitney was another 6 horse field and he JUST GOT UP to beat the brilliant miler Quality Road ( I said “miler”), while giving weight, and Musket Man. Mine That Bird and Haynesfield were “also rans” Believe me, I would love to own ANY one of the above mentioned horses, but are any of them great? Are any of them mile-and- a-quarter- Breeder’s Cup Classic horses???

What does it say about a horse that could not close any ground to a loose-on-the-lead Haynesfield in the Jockey Club Gold Cup? Sure, we see it happen a lot. But we are talking about a horse that some people think should be a Horse of the Year. You’re kidding me, right? Haynesfield “crushed” his short field of opponents; Ramon was “like a statue”, never moving in an absolute romp. Just where were the challengers? Blame was hard ridden from the ½ mile pole to the wire and never made up any ground. Did he have a bad day? Did he not like the track? Did the speed get away? Did his jock misjudge the pace? Was that a race we expected from a Horse of the Year candidate?

Now people spot their horses where they think they can win. Not all graded stakes are created equal but you run against who shows up. I just look at the races that Blame has run, and honestly, they weren’t that tough. I’m not really seeing any “super star” quality here. Yes, he was first at the wire in the Breeder’s Cup Classic. But he had the perfect trip. There was not a straw in his path. He was life and death to hold off Zenyatta. For Blame, the wire came up just in time. And for Zenyatta, she needed one more stride to get there.

You could make part of the same argument for Zenyatta’s campaign this year. She raced in short fields, with opponents of questionable class. But for a different reason. Several owners and trainers were on record as saying they wanted no part of facing Zenyatta. I don’t recall anyone saying they didn’t want to run against Blame. His opponents were just the best of a very average group of males.

Let’s get back to the Classic. Coming from a long way back, struggling with the track, having a horse back up into you… any one of those excuses could prevent a good horse from getting to the wire first. And though she fell short by mere inches, what Zenyatta did in defeat, only cemented her greatness in my mind. Zenyatta has never failed to fire in 20 starts in 3 years. Biases, loose-on-the-lead speed, traffic trouble, different surfaces ( yes, Oaklawn dirt, Churchill dirt and several synthetic surfaces) pilot error, you name it… Zenyatta runs her race. A few inches short of perfection, and while it may have tarnished her perfect record, her star shines even more brightly on what she has accomplished. No matter what, she has been brilliant every time. Her consistant, explosive rallies show a tenacity, an intensity, and her resolute will to win. This is the hallmark of greatness. This is what makes her a Super Star.

The Horse of the Year should be all about the BEST HORSE of the Year. It’s not really that complicated. The Horse of the Year should be a Super Star. And there should be no question, that Super Star is Zenyatta.


  1. The "best" horse of the year has enough tactical speed to stay within striking distance and work out an optimal trip. ;-)

    Blame's only loss of the year to Haynesfield occurred in a situation where he was being prepped for a peak effort in the Classic.

    You get to be the best by competing and beating the best on a consistent basis. Blame did that this year.

  2. Hi Norm,
    Thanks for visiting! In my opionion though, great horses don't have to have a certain running style to be great. Also, nothing was ever said before the JCGC that it was a "prep", for Blame. It's easy to say, after the fact though. As a matter of fact, I remember reading that they were concerned that he really wasn't himself when he shipped in to Belmont.
    And, the point of my post was that Blame's 4 victories before the Breeder's Cup were not against anything resembling "tough" with the exception of the miler Quality Road.Blame beat a small number of decent horses, at best. To me, he wasn't consistant and he didn't beat "the best".His toughest competition by far, came in the Breeder's Cup and certainly not before.He's a very good horse, but not a Super Star.

  3. you are a sentimental fool. Thank God Al Stall is a lot smarter than you, and knew the JCGC was merely the prep for the championship event. I loved that he merely followed a loose speed horse home and had a soft prep. It was perfect in order to keep him ready to show his tremendous heart in the Clasic and outgame Zenyatta.

  4. Just so all my visitors know...I'm happy to debate, I'm happy to discuss, and I'm happy in hearing opinions that differ from mine. But I will not tolerate name calling and disrespect.

  5. hi Susan -

    A lot has been said already.
    Some of it a lot better than I could ever convey. For example, the latest Jerry Bossert column in the NY Daily News. And it's a beauty:

    She came up a head short to Blame, who faced open company in all five of his starts this year, defeating Zenyatta by a head on the track, where it means the most.

    I fell in love with Zenyatta last week, seeing how kind of a horse she is, and how popular she is, but that doesn't mean she's Horse of the Year.

    A lock for the Hall of Fame, Zenyatta did more for the sport than Blame ever will, but that doesn't mean she's Horse of the Year. Blame is.

  6. Norm,
    Well you just hit on a future post of mine! Now HOW can people acknowledge that a horse is good enough for the Hall of Fame, but not good enough for HOTY? How can historians, horsemen and horsewoman,owners,breeders and racing fans be thinking about where she fits on their own personal "lists" of great horses, and the turf writers have a hard time with giving her HOTY? That makes no sense to me. And again, as I addressed before, you can call it "open company" but outside of QR, the older horses are a sad bunch this year. Also, I'm not taking into consideration "what she did for the sport"..that in itself is immeasurable, but I don't think that has any bearing on HOTY or Hall of Fame.
    Always good to hear your point of view!

  7. Susan,
    The answer to your question I think has to do with the very limited way many people conceptualize "HOTY." Last year we heard many Rachel voters stress the word "year" in HOTY in an attempt, successful it proved to be, to equate the award with best campaign and delegitimize any other interpretation. So, we were told, we could not cite Zenyatta's 14-0 record nor mention her back to back Breeders Cup wins. And again, in 2010, we're being told much the same thing. In reality, "year" only refers to how frequently the award is bestowed. There is only one criterium and that is a candidate must have made at least one start in the US during the year. The lack of guidelines I think is purposeful, or at least was when the award was created. I think it suggests the award should go to the horse we would put at the top the Thoroughbred Racing marquee. And I think voters could do worse than to think more along the lines of how SI picks its Sportsman of The Year or Time chooses a Person of the Year.

  8. This whole thing makes no sense. I have NO clue why people constantly make Zenyatta out to be more than she is. You talk about Blame's competition? Regardless how good you think the older males were, he ran in the BEST races available against the best horses available. Zenyatta ran in RESTRICTED races, against allowance and grade 3 Cali mares. You said people ducked her? Who? The eastern fillies and mares? The only ducking that was going on was from the Zenyatta camp. In 3 years she didn't run one time in the 3 biggest races in her own state. Fact is she lost the race, get over it. Zenyatta is a good horse that is it. Blame is a good horse and that is it. Neither are great. The word great is being used way to much now a days. Truth is IF Zenyatta was a good as people think she would have beaten Blame. She had the WHOLE stretch to get her nose in front, she did not. She didn't even pass him during the gallop out. Please people stop over-rating this horse and her campaign.

  9. Robert,
    She won 19 of 20 starts. She won two Bc Cup races including a Classic and came with a nose/head of winning a second. she's not overrated; she's underrated - underrated because of people's complete inabilty to judge synthetic form. OK, you say she is overrated. Who are the horses of the last 30 years you rate above her? There are no fillies or mares. Are there colts who would beat her a majority of the time? Of course, but even a horse like Sunday Silence, who I rate the best of the last 30 years, got trounced on Easy Goer's home turf and lost a race like the Swaps to Prized, a horse about the equal of Blame.

  10. HOY decision seems pretty simple.
    If you think it should go to the horse who got the best trip: Blame.
    If you think it should go to the horse that ran the best race: Zenyatta.

  11. Sorry, but we've already been through this:

    One thing we did learn from last year's debacle is that Horse of the Year need NOT be a "Super Star".

  12. In 1988 Horse of the Year was given to Alysheba who travelled and beat the best dirt horses in the country. He was in raging form that autumn and parlayed his win in the BC Classic to top honors.

    That same year we had the undefeated Personal Ensign beating the blazing Winning Colors to keep her perfect record. Even as a winner Personal Ensign was not given the Horse of the Year award.

    While she is in the Hall of Fame, we do not think any less of her accomplishments by not being not being honored as the top equine for 1988.

    Zenyatta fans should not be dissappointed,
    as she has proven her versatilitly. But Horse of the Year honors clearly has to fit the traditional parameters of being the best in the business.

    Blame was right up there on many lists for most of the year. He should not be denied because some folks have an agenda to see their sweetheart be rewarded in Miami next January. ;-)

  13. Completely specious argument, Knight Sky. Alysheba was a Derby/Preakness winner, second in the previous year's Classic who had another outstanding year in 1988 capping it with a classic win. Personal Ensign wasn't in the same class as Alysheba, had never won any of racing's great prizes and was life and death to beat an over the top Winning Colors.

  14. Norm,
    I was at the Breeder's Cup in 1988 and I would have been happy if either Alysheba or Personal Ensign got HOTY that year. Both performances were amazing. My guess is that because PE never ran against males she was penalized. I don't know if that is right or wrong. But one thing I do know. Zenyatta is a great horse.
    A horse like her only comes around once in a blue moon. There are alot of "Blames". We see them every year. But we won't see another horse of her quality for a long,long time. I'm thrilled to recognize it and appreciate it.

  15. Blame won the race,

    That's how we decide which horse is the best,

    and has the credintials for Horse of the year

    Zenyatta is horse of the Decade

  16. Greetings, fellow racing fans.

    For the past few days I've beeen seeking clarification about the eligibility of foreign-based runners for American HOY.

    Is it true that "There is only one criterium and that is a candidate must have made at least one start in the US during the year." (As per one anonymous comment above)

    If this indeed turns out to be accurate, then this entire Blame v Zenyatta debate strikes me as farcical, and mostly reflective of American provincialism.

    Is there any question in any one's mind about which horse's performance was THE VERY BEST at Churchill Downs last weekend ?

  17. Who cares if she won 19 of 20. She was 2-1 on real dirt, which is the surface the American greats are judged on. People act like she was the only Big stretch runner to ever have a ruff trip. She is not, I have seen tons of horses come from off the pace only to be a nose shy due to their trip. Horses who choose to sit that far back always are up against it. To say NO filly are mare is better than Zenyatta is crazy. Take Azeri loose on the lead a a 1 1/16 or 1 1/8, Zenyatta would have a very tough time catching her. Beautiful pleasure is another one that was pretty good. Just are just two examples.

  18. Whobet,
    Thanks for visiting,
    I agree with you that Zenyatta could easily be called "Horse of the Decade", but how did we ( they) decide which horse was best last year, when Zenyatta won "the race" and the horse that won the "prize" did not participate? But I don't really want to go there.
    I agree,there are lots of very, very good fillies and mares. But few can go the classic distance of a mile and a quarter. And yes, a horse with her running style IS always up against it, that is why her campaign is so remarkable.
    Thanks for stopping by.
    I am guessing you are refering to the brilliant Goldikova.Of all the winners over the weekend, YES, she was right up there with Z and B and maybe Uncle Mo, some would argue. I am sure she would be at the head of the line for American HOTY if it was not for Zenyatta. I don't think it's fair to compare the two, for reasons I won't go into here. ( Surface, Distance etc)And I would imagine she will get some votes.
    Thanks for visiting.

  19. The criteria for HOY is fairly simple as written above: at least one start in the USA.
    It is unlikely HOY would ever go to a horse with one start, but it leaves open to those voters EACH YEAR to decide by themselves what their specific criteria is. This is a pretty good thing because of its flexibility.
    However, that flexibility in the last few years seems to flavor an East Coast agenda.

    The arguement about unrestricted races is weird because you are just saying that any filly/mare could have a fantastic year but never be HOY because they did not race males, thus allowing the award to go to a male horse who likely had a less stellar year. I find that attitude to be a detriment to the sport.
    How in the world did Azeri get HOY without racing males?

  20. To equine paparazzi,
    Good Points, especially about Azeri.I also remember everyone was hysterical when the 2 year old Favorite Trick won. I, myself, would like to know a little more about who votes. Just curious , that's all. There is a list of members of the Turf Writers Association, but I would still like to know who else at DRF, Equibase and which Racing Officials vote. I hope they know what a privalege and responsibility it is. Maybe a little more transparency would be nice. Just sayin'....
    Thanks for stopping by...

  21. Actually I'm surprised people think Zenyatta should be HOY. In her five G1 wins this year, she beat not a single Grade 1 winner. Overall G1 record of her competition in those five races is 28-0-1-2. The lone G2 winner that Zenyatta beat was St Trinians, who threw a shoe in the race. This is NOT HOY material folks, not even close.

  22. Hi Nancy,
    First, thanks for visiting!
    Ah, but Zenyatta beat 5 Grade I winners in the Classic and 3 more horses in the Classic lost their GrI's by a nose. A salty group I would say. And she also did so last year, though I understand that doesn't count. ( Funny, the "synthetic only" issue has died down pretty quick....) So Zenyatta has no problem with Grade I horses, and as I said in my post, you run against who shows up. Who wanted to run against her? That's the reason for the short fields. With regards to St Trinians...losing a shoe was not the reason she got beat. I could hardly watch her coming down the stretch that day,in fact I had to close my eyes, her legs were going in a million different directions. I thought for sure we were going to see a disaster. But she ran her heart out anyway. I think she ran back once (?) after that, but I doubt we will ever see her running again.

  23. Ah, Zenyatta finished ahead of 5 G1 winners in the Classic but Blame finished ahead of 6. Still tilts in Blame's favor.

    Why would the top dirt females come to California to race on synthetic? It is not their surface, that argument makes no sense. It also makes no sense to come to California with lower purses and lower grade older females(besides Zenyatta). Bottom line is Zenyatta beat none of the top older females, so it's grasping to say she dominated her division unless you're saying St Trinians and Switch are the top older route females (which everybody knows they are not). It also makes no sense to say the other top females knew where to find Zenyatta and failed to ship in to race against her because Zenyatta's camp knew full where to find them and failed to ship out to race against them. It goes both ways.

    Saying St Trinians lost because she threw a shoe IMO is similar to saying Battle Plan lost to Blame because he was injured. That was my point, we have no way of knowing how the thrown shoe hindered her and how much, just as we have no way of knowing when Battle Plan became injured. These arguments are background noise in discussing HOY.

    The synthetic vs dirt argument is interesting in that synthetics do favor closers and dirt does not. The fact that dirt runners were 0-43 in the BC the past two years tells us the surface is very different from dirt. Pure dirt runners don't do as well on it as some people would like to believe, though there certainly are horses than can run on both synthetics and dirt - like Zenyatta. Kind of ironic that people want to take credit away from Blame for running on his home track yet nobody was mentioning this last year when Zenyatta won on her home track (and yes, Santa Anita is as much a home track to Zenyatta though she's stabled at Hollywood just as Churchill is Blame's home track though he's stabled at Keeneland).

    You may not see any superstars among the group of horses Blame beat this year, but the group Zenyatta beat is significantly less quality. And yes there are owners out there that did not want to face Blame just as there are owners out there that did not want to face Zenyatta. The only difference here is that Blame's connections still took the tougher route and ran in tougher races regardless of who showed up. Zenyatta's connections on the other hand, ran her in restricted races so that the best males could not come out and face her, and then they want to whine about they can't help who shows up to run in the race. Please. This argument has as many holes in it as does the "Zenyatta doesn't ship well" rationale because they are one and the same. BTW... did you notice how shipping wasn't an issue and how quickly Zenyatta recovered once she got home?

    You mention Blame barely getting up to beat the miler Quality Road receiving weight, yet fail to mention Zenyatta barely getting up to beat the miler Switch while carrying a mere 3lbs more against the 3yo filly.

    You want to give credit to Zenyatta for losing by inches but fail to take points away from her by barely winning by inches. Blame's beat better competition and in the one race that mattered when HOY was on the line - he won. He should be awarded HOY.

  24. I am starting to get the feeling that this isn't a Pro-Blame kind thing, but just an anti-Zenyatta kind of thing. Last years Rachel-Zenyatta debate made sense. This one doesn't.

    All these nit-picking arguements about how many G1's females she didn't face versus how many G1 males she left in her dust are tedious.
    Let's ask ourselves one simple question: With the entire racing world watching us, are we going to disrespect this fabulous mare for a third time?
    In Europe, Japan, Australia/New Zealand they seem to have more respect for this type of greatness in their female performers. Maybe we Americans don't deserve her. Just sayin....

  25. Nancy,
    The top 3 year old filly Blind Luck, who will get an Eclipse award this year in her division, is from California, and went to the Cotillion in PA carrying top weight BECAUSE her trainer went on record saying he wanted no part of Zenyatta He could have stayed home and carried alot less weight. But he chose to ship AND give weight to a couple of nice fillies,and we know how that ended up. And the HOTY last year could not get ready enough ( after 7 months) to face Z at Oaklawn. No one expected New York horses to travel to the other Coast especially racing on a surface many may not like, to face Z, and at the same time, if you live and train on the West,why would you travel all over the place when your mare had already proven last year that she could beat top quality colts? Should she have had a more ambitious campaign? I think there is a fine line between choosing the right races and keeping your horse sound and happy, OR an overly ambitious and reckless campaign, where you ruin your horse and shorten her career. I KNOW which route I would take, because I would put the horse first.
    What I was saying about St.Trinians is that she did not appear to be a sound horse with or without her shoe.
    It is a known fact that,when possible, trainers like to TRAIN on synthetic and RACE on dirt. They generally can stay sounder and get fitter on the synthetics, which only helps to keep a sound, consistant and continous campaign. Some horses prefer one or the other, special horses run on anything.
    If you are insinuating that Zenyatta's connections made up the fact that shipping is stressful, I can't go down that path with you.Because after keeping a horse in racing for 3 seasons, running at the top of her game, being a dual Breeder's Cup winner, they have not made any mistakes and that is a credit to everyone that is connected with her.That is rare.
    You probably want to watch the Zenyatta-Switch race again.Just because she cut it close, does not mean she was all out. Come on you can't possible think that? Zenyatta was playing with her.
    Good to hear your opinions.It is a debate that will rage for a while.

  26. To EP,
    Couldn't agree more. The BIG PICTURE is that we will never see another Zenyatta. Some people will never, get that, which is a shame but... It is what it is. Some of the turf writers seemed to have finally figured it out. I do think that a large part of the problem is that alot of fans have not seen enough great horses to be able to make comparisons. And the gender and coastal biases seem to get in the way too.( I used to have an East Coast bias, but maybe since the late 90's, I woke up.) But I get that , cuz I have been there. As I have said, there are a few "Blames" every year. To me, he is not a Super Star. And I just prefer that our HOTY should be one. I actually think it makes more sense to debate Goldikova and Zenyatta, but it is apples to oranges, and the Europeans have their own awards. But they are both great mares and we have been lucky to have been able to enjoy them for so long.

  27. IF Zenyatta is denied HOTY (AGAIN) it will only be her fans that are disappointed.....because she knows she is a SUPERSTAR....she does not need an award given by some uptight turfwriters....
    A couple of years from now, noone will even remember Blame's name.....
    Zenyatta's name will always come up as one of the Ruffian.......

  28. Anon,
    I agree. And think about this. There is NO DOUBT that Zenyatta will one day be in the Hall of Fame. But some can't seem to see that she should be Horse of the Year. Go figure... makes no sense..

  29. Susan,

    I'll see you in Saratoga for that ceremony.....
    Keep up the informative blogging.....learning a lot from you...lets not BLAME the others if they just don't get it......

  30. Anyone who commented and assumed that Personal Ensign never faces males is a fool who doesn't know the history of the game. She won the Whitney at Saratoga for crying out loud.

  31. Thanks anon
    I DID forget the Whitney, and again keep it respectful...

  32. Zenyatta is the Dan Marino of horse racing - a lot of gaudy statistics but that's all. Let's go for the sympathy vote amd make up an award for Zenyatta so she can have something and make everyone feel better because she's not going to get HOY. Have you all looked at the world rankings.

    World Thoroughbred Rankings
    Top 13 horses
    Rank Horse Rating Trained
    1 Harbinger (GB) 135 GB
    2 Blame (USA) 129 USA
    3 Makfi (GB) 128 FR
    3 Quality Road (USA) 128 USA
    3 Workforce (GB) 128 GB
    6 Canford Cliffs (IRE) 127 GB
    6 Cape Blanco (IRE) 127 IRE
    6 Nakayama Festa (JPN) 127 JPN
    9 Rip Van Winkle (IRE) 126 IRE
    10 Goldikova (IRE) 125 FR
    10 So You Think (NZ) 125 AUS
    10 Twice Over (GB) 125 GB
    10 Zenyatta (USA) 125

  33. Zenyatta will win Horse of the Year, but only because there is no alternative support base for Blame as there was for Rachel Alexandra last year. She certainly didn't earn it on the track. I'm tired of reading all the excuses: dirt in fact, zig zagged, one scribe even wrote that she almost won after spotting the field 20 lengths as if her stall didn't open when everyone else's did. All she does is watch all the other horses do the dirty work in her races, 90% of which were in restricted company. Watch the overhead of the final furlong and you will see Blame ran a diagonal out to meet her, brilliant move by Gomez to re-engage his interest by letting him see her. That and he gave her 3 pounds. He is deserving of HOY, but she will get it. Too bad. Shameful really. If no one knew any better and they said here is Horse A's record and here is Horse B's record, and Horse B was Blame, then he'd win in a landslide. But since we do know who the horses are, Zenyatta will win. I'm sure there'd be a really good chance that Blame's record would be at least 19-1 if he ran against the same horses she ran against.

  34. Anon #1
    Interesting list for the Thoroughbred World Rankings. Quality Road a pound below Blame? And 4 pounds above co-ranked Goldikova and Zenyatta? And Rip Van Winkle over both of them? Seriously? What races were they watching? Thanks for the list. But I can't really agree with it.

    Anon #2
    Where to begin? I think I will let a few others do the talking.

    She should be Horse of the Year,” Jack Van Berg said Friday morning of Zenyatta. “I don’t see anybody going to see Blame. She’s the greatest thing to happen to racing. I thought Alysheba was the best horse to look through a bridle, but she’s phenomenal. And they shared her with the public.”

    Allen Jerkens. He’s heading to Florida this week, the horses soon to follow. Expansive on a lovely morning, he weighed in unequivocally on his choice for Horse of the Year: Zenyatta.
    (Thanks to Brooklyn Backstretch for this quote)

    Still don't think Blame is worthy of Horse of the Year;to hold on as he did in the Classic was courageous, but his body of work is not special enough in my estimation for a Horse of the Year. Zenyatta was more spectacular, even in defeat.

  35. As Anon #2 said, it's a popularity contest. If the award is based on number of visitors, Zenyatta wins hands down. If it's body of work, she would win also. But if it's based on merit in 2010, she shouldn't. They might as well let the public vote on this award, because if she wins, all it is is a popularity contest. More spectacular in defeat? That's ludicrous. It's dead on she never does any dirty work. Spectacular in defeat is Seattle Slew in the '78 JCGC. All she ever does is pick up easy pieces in restricted races. They might as well let the public vote on this award because the 'experts' seem to be fixated people going to see a horse and if a horse is 'shared with the public'. A fiasco. If she wins this, they should go back and award Real Quiet the Triple Crown posthumously.

    Allen Jerkens also said Secretariat was good but he could be had. Well, he was right about that at least.

    Anyway, the award is Horse of the Year, not Horse of the Body of Work.

  36. The best and most accomplished Thoroughbred horse to race in North America in 2010 has clearly been Goldikova.

    Game, set, match...

    That wraps it up from the sting dome!

  37. Susan, Interesting points on the World rankings. The point of bringing that into play is that it's someone other than our normal North America sources who rate these horses. I personally agree with some of the comments that Goldikova is one of the super horses and rarely gets mentioned likely because of the one race she runs in the US a year (and wins) which just happens to be a Breeder's Cup race against all comers not to mention what she does in Europe.

    I'm sure everyone who comments at this site is sure they are right, at least in their own minds, and I fit there with the rest. As a paraphrase to an old joke goes " I'm always right - just sometimes I'm righter than others"

    I'm sure John Sheriff's is a nice guy and protective of his horse but I can't help but believing if someone like Baffert had managed the career of this horse we'd be having a different conversation one way or another.

  38. Hi Anon,
    With respect to Goldikova, as I said, we really should be debating Zenyatta-Goldikova for HOTY. They are both extraordinary mares.
    Isn't that what blogs are for? All opinions, hopefully tactful and repectful, but still, a chance to ponder all sides. I do like your "paraphrase", though.
    Some trainers have the luxury to take as much time as a horse needs. Some don't. Some have the luxury of being in charge and making all the decisions. Some don't. I am convinced with Z's size and her "quirks", the patience and every decision that was made, paid off. And she had the right trainer/ owner-combo, that's for sure. Lucky for her. And while we could've been discussing what would have happened with a more ambitious campaign ( and different type of trainer), and ultimately a "lock" on HOTY, we could have also been talking about what happens when horses are stressed with too much,which ultimately forces injury and/or early retirement. We see that far too often.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  39. People, wake up, there is no requirement for "at least one start in the U.S." where it concerns Eclipse Awards. (see Singspiel for proof - as he never raced in the U.S. at all, ever)

    As for Zenyatta's schedule: There were five Grade One races for fillies and mares on main tracks west of the Mississippi in 2010.

    Zenyatta... won them all!!!

    And to "Robert" up there, Zenyatta very clearly won easily in the biggest race in her home state last year. Were you gone fishing that day???

    Zenyatta's competition is a product of Zenyatta, which cannot be held against her.