10/12/2009 6:26PM

Back in the saddle again


    Opinions from an ESPN weekend of racing:

     Rachel Alexandra doesn’t yet have Horse of the Year wrapped up - not if Zenyatta wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  It will be a tall order for Zenyatta to defeat the Europeans - especially if Sea the Stars shows up - but she's ready for a new challenge.  She looks almost bored beating up on the same fillies and mares over and over again.
     What if Summer Bird wins the Classic?  It would seem almost criminal to deny Horse of the Year to a colt that wins the Belmont Stakes, Travers Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup and Breeders’ Cup Classic.  But in that scenario, voters would probably focus on the result of the Haskell, in which Summer Bird was soundly defeated by Rachel Alexandra.
     The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf might actually be a premier race.  The best 2-year-olds I’ve seen thus far are Lookin at Lucky, the favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and Interactif, who looks to have the Juvenile Turf field at his mercy - at least among the American contenders.  Who knows what the Euros will come with?
      Don’t get stuck in a middle seat on a cross-country plane flight.
      I’d rather spend a Saturday afternoon at Keeneland than a Saturday afternoon at any other racetrack in America.  I’d rather handicap a Saturday card at Saratoga than any other racetrack card in America. I’d rather spend a dawn-to-dusk Saturday in Del Mar than at any other racetrack venue in America. Does this sound contradictory?
      Gitano Hernando, who couldn't win a Grade 3 stakes overseas, defeated our best synthetic handicap stars in the Goodwood. He’s hardly a bum, but you’ve got to be kidding me. 
      Cowboy Cal looked solid in the Oak Tree Mile.  Court Vision looked solid in the Shadwell Turf Mile.  Good luck to them against Goldikova in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. It’s apples and oranges.
      Give me a working-class budget and a yearling sale, and I’ll take Kenny McPeek. He’s proven it over and over.
      Speaking of McPeek, it was nice to hear a rival trainer handing out credit to Rick Dutrow for the form turnaround of Court Vision. Too many other horsemen would ignore Dutrow's accomplishment while privately insinuating it had more to do with illegal medication than horse sense. I heard many otherwise intelligent horseplayers and horse insiders predict Dutrow’s demise when NYRA went to the detention barn, and again when raceday steroid use was abolished. I’m not saying Dutrow is as pure as the driven snow, but his demise hasn’t happened yet, and there’s a reason for that.
      Does Kent Desormeaux stay awake nights thinking of new adjectives to toss out during interviews?  He doesn’t want his mount to be “vivacious” leaving the gate?  But I’d much rather hear what Desormeaux brings to the table than the tired old, “We’re taking it one race at a time” mantra.  Kent makes it interesting and entertaining at the same time, even if he occasionally takes liberties with the language.
Brittney More than 1 year ago
I agree wuth u that she has won all of those races.PEOPELE NEED TO SEE THE RACHEL HAS WON ALL OF THEM IT DOES IT MATTER IF SHE WAS NOT IN THE BREEDS CUP this is a list of horses that Rachel A has beaten this year, plucked from the formblog: "Rachel has beaten... A SA Derby winner A Ky Derby winner... Two Belmont winners... A Stephen Foster winner... A Travers winner... Runner up in Dubai Classic... A JC Gold Cup winner... A Whitney winner... Is that enough? PEOPLE
Brittney More than 1 year ago
Rachel Alexandra doesn’t yet have Horse of the Year wrapped up - not if Zenyatta wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic. I love Rachel and Zenyatta i thank that they both should be horses of the year!
bemo More than 1 year ago
Randy, with respect to your comment on the Breeders Cup Juvenille Turf, it must be noted that the most impressive winner that I personally have seen this summer has to be Bridgetown. Check out the Summer Stakes at Woodbine. He will win the race - and at a price.
bbyhill More than 1 year ago
Randy you guys on television just talk about the same ole bs when there is a lot more in racing then what you guys talk about especialy you and Bailey.
Johnny Stones More than 1 year ago
Two quick comments on your recent posts: 1) Your opinion about the three greatest tracks in the USA is spot on, I've been to all three and see the "logic" behind your feelings. 2) Anyone who understands a nano of economics knows that in the long run virtually all horseplayers will lose money, especially after expenses. I know that in the long run, too, we will all be dead, so the the tracks must create an environment where both casual and dedicated fans can have fun or their futures are even "deader."
Karl More than 1 year ago
Why does everone including yourself want to deny horse of the year honors to Rachael ? This is truly one of a kind and should go down in history as one of the best fillies ever. There hasn't been a filly ever to accomplish what she's done this year. I personally can't wait for the super babies to arrive. Thank you Mr. Jackson !! Treat her right Curlin !!!
Curt More than 1 year ago
I used to have faith in what U said. Everybody knows RA is HOY. If not, throw out the award. U've got to be kidding me. Zen has raced just 4 times, & beat the same stuff. RA has gone where no FILLY has ever gone before. Get serious..
p ensign More than 1 year ago
this is a list of horses that Rachel A has beaten this year, plucked from the formblog: "Rachel has beaten... A SA Derby winner A Ky Derby winner... Two Belmont winners... A Stephen Foster winner... A Travers winner... Runner up in Dubai Classic... A JC Gold Cup winner... A Whitney winner... Is that enough? Posted by: jim tully on October 14, 2009 at 12:37 PM" If that doesn't win her an eclipse award for horse of the year then there is something seriously wrong with the system, or perhaps just the voters...
Raydo99 More than 1 year ago
I think the chances of Zenyatta running in the Classic are none existent. Running her in that spot would be completely contradictory with the way her connections have handled her this year - basically like a mint condition '57 Chevy that only leaves the garage for a spin around the driveway when the weather is perfect. The talk about the Classic is just that - talk. They will continue to sound open to risking her undefeated record by placing her in an ambitious spot, but in the end "something" (too many entrees, conflict with her rider's obligations, the long-term weather forecast for Saturday, etc.) will come up to make the Classic a no-go. That has been their song all year. I can't see it changing now.
Todd More than 1 year ago
I think the show was poorly directed. The interview with bin Suroor while Zenyatta was doing her dance on track was a big big mistake. We need to attract fans. Interviewing some trainer isnt going to do it. Zenyatta's pre race prance is a way to attract the fan. The beauty of the horse. DUMB. The open mike heading into the winners circle after Zenyatta's victory was also DUMB. it caught some guy bad mouthing the track. Its too bad that we have sunk so far. Its bad enough that we have to listen and watch this kind of poor production. its like they just dont get it. Terrible Grade F-
Jack N More than 1 year ago
Now that Sea The Stars is out, I can't imagine Zenyatta not taking on the boys. Who does she have to fear?
Eric More than 1 year ago
Kent Desormeaux is to Horse Racing as Walt "Clyde" Frazier is to basketball.
Gundaghia More than 1 year ago
Thanks for giving Kent his due! I've long said he, and Charles Barkley, were the two best interviews in all of sports.
rick More than 1 year ago
I'll take exception with the notion that Gitano beat our "best synthetic handicap stars". We do have a few more in reserve. I can't believe you folks on last week's broadcast...calling the Goodwood field one of the best of the year. Absolutely preposterous.
Daniel Raizman More than 1 year ago
Hi Randy, This has nothing to do with your article above. Just when the Horse Racing world has idenfiable stars Like, Sea the Stars, Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta which helps boost interest in racing around the world( not necessarly by clashing in the same race, eventhough that would be a great event)by just keeping their records clean, we hear of retirements. ( I can`t blame the owners as the money is in breeding ). Something needs to be done to keep these horses in training and have a 4 or 5 year old racing career. The only solution is i guess, Throw money at them - 2 or 3 races of 3 to 5 million culminating in a ten million dollar race with all of them clashing. Horse Racing needs some sort of a yearly world Cup finals to start to recapture fans around the world. The Breeders Cup day just falls short in attracting the supestars of the sport. What do you think ? Daniel Raizman
rhoward More than 1 year ago
I agree Rachel doesnt have HOY locked up. I believe if Zenyatta or even Summer Bird wins the BCC, it will be a toss up. If i was a voter, I would have a difficult time voting for a horse who stopped running in early Sept.
Eric More than 1 year ago
From today's third opinion, scratch #2, Affirmatif. #3, Interactif, draws in from the also-eligibles.
Jordan S More than 1 year ago
It's called Horse of the Year, not Horse of the Race. While Zenyatta winning the Breeders Cup Classic would be a tremendous accomplishment, it would not be greater than what Rachel has done with winning the Preakness, Haskell, and Woodward Stakes. Let's not get ahead of ourselves and try to remember the ENTIRE year when thinking about this award. Plus, the Breeders Cup won't have the two best horses in the world. World Championships? I think not. And unfortunately for Zenyatta, beating up the minor league horses on the West Coast will hurt her in the voting. The owners had a chance to demonstrate her ability to the world, but they passed to keep her undefeated. It is too bad because not only will she lose Horse of the Year, we all lose by not seeing how good this horse could have been.
danny duke More than 1 year ago
Horse racing is the crookedest of all gambling and these hot-shot trainers should be in the penitentary or horse racing should be abolished
Jerry More than 1 year ago
Did ESPN have a "weekend of racing"? Judging by how they treat racing as second or third-class, or worse, we wouldn't be able to tell. (And no, airing the Goodwood in between football games doesn't count.)
Nick Briglia More than 1 year ago
When it comes time to make a decision I think Zenyatta will end up in the Ladies Classic trying to go out the way of Personal Ensign. They've been so careful with her to this point it's hard to believe they would throw her to the wolves, or Europeans, as the case may be... I'm a big Summer Bird fan but I don't think he has any shot in the Classic. He shouldn't even be running there. He's a great dirt horse. Don't waste him on the fake crap.
ml/nj More than 1 year ago
Let me see the flamingos fly again! (Just back from Keeneland and I prefer Santa Anita to Del Mar.)
Silver Charm More than 1 year ago
"Opinions from an ESPN weekend of racing:" The Bill Nack segments ESPN was running on Saturday needs to be continued and on Breeders Cup Day. They were good. Racing has a lot of great history and a good place etched in American history. One way to capture new intrigued fans is to continue to educate them on the history of the sport/game. Your group did an excellent job and you my friend are an encyclopedia of knowledge. Now that I have said all of the good things here goes with the bad. The Dutrow story about how he sized up the horse everyday and figured out what was wrong would have sounded a lot better to me BEFORE the race NOT after. The fact he "was touting the horse to anyone who would listen" was news to me. If the fear is people bet money on this type of thing well that cuts both ways. Give the listeners a disclaimer of "bet at your own risk." Keep it to yourself and it looks like an insiders game. Finally whatever Dutrow figured out a followup to former trainer Bill Mott and confirming Dutrow's story would at least have helped ease some of peoples suspicions about what Dutrow is up to. If Mott says that is baloney then you my friend as a reporter have a story not a tale.......
EMD More than 1 year ago
There should not have even been a question about putting Mushka up on Saturday. Clearly, she would have passed Proviso had she not been slammed. It was way too blatant! I'm at a loss, though, with Jerry, Joe and you emoting over Provison being taken down in favor of Mushka. I assume it was lost on you that Mushka is the daughter of none other than Empire Maker, the Prince's signature Kentucky stallion. It seems a win for them and their stallion.
Marco More than 1 year ago
How about Gio Ponti,i think at mile and a quarter distance of the classic he is a legitimate threat,proven at the track,juicy price because of his lost in the bog performance at belmont,if euros dont fire Gio Ponti its a best bet than zenyatta and a better proposition for horse of the year