The Brock Talk

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Zenyatta Show Goes Much Longer Than the Expected Two Minutes

Sometimes the intangible, or at the very least less measurable definitions of greatness are the most obvious. While the streak of 18 undefeated career races no doubt defines the greatness of Zenyatta most definitely, it is her charisma that will forever be noted in the annals of the great mare.

Like some of her great human counterparts known as rock stars, Zenyatta can be measured by the length of her show. Like any historically anticipated entertainment or sporting event, of which I consider Zenyatta races to be now, the show begins long before the star comes on stage. Just the excitement of the crowd at Del Mar from the apron to the paddock hours before Zenyatta’s race exemplifies her popularity.

But when the big mare arrives, the show begins as she struts and paws around the walking ring near the saddling enclosure. But that is just the preliminary to the post parade and warm up where she adds some swaying and pre-race posing to her repertoire. Even her return to the winner’s after the race gets extended to include a stretch run long encore, that if not for a picture, the next race and her date with a big bucket of hot mash, could and would last much longer.

What’s next for Zenyatta? Possibilities include the $350,000 Beldame (gr. 1) at Belmont Park Oct. 2 or the $250,000 Zenyatta Breeders’ Cup (gr. 1) at Santa Anita during Oak Tree the same day. My vote? Take her to New York. If for no other reason than to see what a welcome a Belmont Fall crowd would bring. Do you think they would eclipse the 32 thousand fans that came to Del Mar Saturday? Get outta here!

Other Thoughts, Comments and Questions.
With victories this weekend by Secret Gypsy in the Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. 2), Majestic perfection in the Alfred G. Vanderbuilt Handicap (Gr. 2) and Concord Point in the West Virginia Derby (gr. 2), Iowa racing took a big step in credibility. Each of those horses had made their last start during Prairie Meadows’ Iowa Festival of Racing June 25 in ungraded, but relatively rich stakes. Concord Point won the $250,000 Iowa Derby, Majesticperfection crushed the Iowa Sprint Handicap and Secret Gypsy won the Saylorville Stakes. Here’s hoping the American Graded Stakes Committee closely examines these races at the Altoona, Iowa track when passing out the graded stakes honors for 2011… Doesn’t being at the top of the handicap division dictate carrying the most weight? In no way criticizing Blame’s nose victory over Quality Road, but it should be noted that Blame carried five pounds less than high weight Quality Road. A notable point in what is known as the “handicap” division. It’s really a mute point because Blame is apparently headed to the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. 1) at Belmont Park Oct. 2 to prepare for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic a month later. Quality Road seems to be taking the Woodward (gr. 1) path to the Classic. All three races have weight for age conditions, meaning assigned race weight is based on their age – not handicapping. But it is safe to say any racing secretary would be careful to assign the six pound swing Blame would need to carry more than Quality Road. And by-the-way, both Quality Road and Blame are 4-year-olds so they will likely be toting the same weight in their next match up… Horse racing took a hit when top turf mare Tuscan Evening collapsed and died during training at Del Mar Sunday due to an apparent heart attack… 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra put in a stellar work on the Oklahoma Training Track at Saratoga Monday morning. With jockey Shaun Brigmonhan aboard she went six furlongs (3/4 of a mile) in 1:12.96 but did so impressively according to reports. After the work trainer Steve Asmussen said “Shaun did a great job with her. She was very strong to the pole, broke off at the three-quarters. Her first eighth of a mile was excellent, to get her to settle down. She came home the last quarter in :23 and change, which is what we were looking at, and galloped out strong.” Rachel Alexandra is preparing for the grade 1 Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga August 29 in her first attempt at 1-1/4 miles. Fans can more closely follow Rachel Alexandra on her “Rachel’s Sandbox” website. Asmussen also said at the barn this morning that Majesticperfection will likely to pointed to the grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont Oct. 2 in preperation for the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs Nov. 7.

Rex Cox and Family Fundraiser.

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Jennifer said...

I enjoyed this post, Brock. (I agree - Zenyatta is much more than her racing record at this point. She is a show to see at the track!)

Brian Appleton said...

Great post Brock, It's very true that Zenyatta is about far more than just her race record. She is an amazing presence on the track and gets the crowds more emotional and euphoric than I have ever seen. She is absolutely one of my favorite race horses.
I wrote a rather critical piece about the way her campaign is being handled on my blog and I almost feel bad about doing it. After Shirreffs said they are most likely targeting the Zenyatta Stakes as her next start I was completely disgusted.

Brock Sheridan said...

Brian, don't feel bad about being disgruntled if Zenyatta stays in So. Cal. again. I'll be pretty disappointed as well.