The Brock Talk

Monday, September 14, 2009

You Don't Always Get What You Want, But Fillies May Give What We Need.

You can't always get what you want.
But if you try sometime, you just might find,
You get what you need.
-The Rolling Stones

When the Kentucky Derby horses step onto the Churchill Downs track, we are all accustomed to the tradition of "My Old Kentucky Home". Two weeks later "Maryland, My Maryland" rings out at Pimlico as the Preakness post parade begins and the fans at Belmont Park enjoy "New York, New York" during the introduction of the Belmont Stakes contenders.

No such musical tradition exists at the Breeders' Cup World Championships, but this might be a good year to give it a try. I suggest the Rolling Stones' "You Don't Always Get What You Want" for the $2,000,000 Bessemer Trust Juvenile Fillies on the Friday, Nov. 6 card at Santa Anita.

Despite all efforts by Breeders' Cup officials, it appears doubtful that we racing fans will get the match-up between Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra in the Classic or Ladies Classic. But the younger girls may give us what we need.

Playing the part of Rachel Alexandra would be Hot Dixie Chick. Of course Hot Dixie Chick is no Rachel Alexandra, but Charlton Heston was no Moses and he still put on a pretty good show.

Talent and accomplishments aside, Hot Dixie Chick is at least a qualified understudy as she spends her off-time in the stall next to Rachel Alexandra in the Steve Asmussen Barn. "(Her) extremely laid back... demeanor is why she's stabled next to Rachel," the trainer has said. Hot Dixie Chick also races for a similar ownership team under the name of Grace Stables owned by Barbara Banke. Banke’s husband, Jess Jackson, owns Rachel Alexandra with partner Harold McCormick.

Hot Dixie Chick also has a similar running style. She exemplified her blazing speed while setting the Churchill Downs track record for five furlongs in :56.48 seconds in her second start in June. But she has recently shown she can pace herself. In her last two victories in the grade 3 Schuylerville July 29 and the grade 1 Spinaway Sept. 6 at Saratoga, she stalked the early leaders before pulling away to win by 5-3/4 lengths and 1-3/4 lengths respectively.

Rachel has won just less than $3 million and Hot Dixie Chick has won just less than $300,000. The Saratoga fans didn't erupt in voluminous cheers for Hot Dixie Chick like they did for Rachel Alexandra either. But they did bet them both down below even money. So the similarities are there.

To play the part of Zenyatta, our casting director has offered the role to Mi Sueno. Again, she's no Zenyatta but played one on TVG Sept. 5 in the grade 1 Darley Debutante at Del Mar. Like her role model in the Clement Hirsch Stakes a few weeks earlier at Del Mar, Mi Sueno appeared beaten around the far turn of the $300,000 Debutante. She was trapped behind a wall of horses as Blind Luck and La Nez raced passed her around the outside of the pack. But when they straightened away for home, jockey Michael Baze steered Mi Sueno from behind the wall and raced to again engage Blind Luck, La Nez and by now, It Tiz in the race to the wire. Like Zenyatta, Mi Sueno slowly and deliberately edged clear of her rivals to win.

Now Zenyatta is undefeated in 12 starts and has won millions and the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic last year to rank her among some of the best of all-time. Mi Sueno has won half of her four career starts and has a long way to go to realistically be compared. Zenyatta races from far back early in a race, while Mi Sueno races a bit closer to the leaders. But both are dark bay and strikingly attractive, big boned girls. Mi Sueno so much so that her owner, Michael Moreno’s Southern Equine Stable, purchased her for $1.7 million at the 2007 Keeneland November auction when she was just a weanling.

So the Bessemer Trust Juvenile Fillies may not be the blockbuster race of the new millennium like a Rachel Alexandra v. Zenyatta showdown, but I'm guessing the young girls will give a performance that is definitely worth more than the price of admission. It may not be the race we want, but we just might find it's just what we need.

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