Reflections on a thrilling Breeders’ Cup and one of the greatest horse races you will ever see:
This was unquestionably the best race of Zenyatta’s career. Even in defeat, she proved a tremendous amount. There is nothing phony about her, especially that ridiculous knock that she was just a synthetic specialist. To almost beat a terrific dirt horse like Blame and finish ahead of male horses like Lookin at Lucky and Quality Road is a lot more impressive than what she did last year when beating a weak Classic field on a plastic racing surface. She didn’t win, but she did the next best thing — convert the few remaining skeptics who figured she wasn’t that good. Nothing wrong with 19 for 20. She will now go down and as one of the all-time greats. Next stop, Hall of Fame.
The Life At Ten situation was disgraceful. The system failed the betting public and millions of dollars were flushed down the toilet. I don’t know who or what was at fault, but that horse never should have been allowed to run. The betting public deserves an investigation and an answer. Someone needs to be held accountable.
Fair fight, maybe in the ring, five rounds, I think Javier Castellano kicks Calvin Borel’s tail.
It’s understandable that Mike Smith blamed himself for the Zenyatta’s loss. He was hurting after the defeat and emotional, and when that happens people get irrational. He did absolutely nothing wrong, riding her the way he always rides her. It was just that, finally, she ran into a horse good enough to hold off her ferocious late run.
Working with myself and Dave Johnson on the Sirius XM radio broadcast of the Breeders’ Cup, jockey-turned-actor Otto Thorwarth had this to say about Garrett Gomez hours before the Classic: “He’s unquestionably the best jockey in the America today.” Thorwarth, looking like a genius after the Gomez won the Classic on Blame, was again quick with the praise, arguing that no other jockey but Gomez would have won. “When it’s that close and considering how strong Garrett is, Garret made the difference,” Thorwarth said. Thorwarth, of course, played Ron Turcotte in the Secretariat movie. He has never returned to riding and is, instead, focusing on becoming a full-time actor.
But the best ride of the entire Breeders’ Cup was turned in by Eibar Coa aboard Big Drama in the Sprint. The rail was terrible both Breeders’ Cup days at Churchill Downs, which figured to be more than Big Drama could overcome since he is a speed horse and drew post one. But Coa figured it out, gunning out of the gate, clearing the field and taking his horse to the five path and off the dead rail. Great, great ride.
Blame isn’t getting enough credit or acclaim. He did, after all, win the thing.
This Breeders’ Cup featured two of the greatest female horses that ever raced. Goldikova’s accomplishments are every bit as special as those of Zenyatta. Any chance she comes back next year for a four-peat? Hey, Zenyatta ran in the Breeders’ Cup at age six.
Has any horse ever had a worse overall Breeders’ Cup experience than Quality Road? Last year he pulls a nutty at the gate and was scratched. This year he gets caught along the dead rail every step of the way and finishes last becoming the biggest flop on the day.
This is how good this Breeders’ Cup was: Uncle Mo looked sensational and will go into next year as one of the most exciting Derby contenders in many years, and you’re hardly hearing a word about him. He whipped a terrific horse in Boys At Tosconova. A Triple Crown winner? Why not?
They should breed Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta to the same horse. Maybe their foals could meet on the racetrack. It’s just a thought.
OK, so the horse comes first, but what exactly was Michael Stoute thinking? There was absolutely nothing wrong with the turf course, but Stoute, one of the least likeable people in the history of the game, whined all week and then scratched a horse in Workforce that would have been 4-5 in a $3 million race.
Originally Posted on ESPN