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Gio Ponti ducked Zenyatta
By Brad Free
You cannot blame the connections of Gio Ponti. Not one bit.
Gio Ponti might have given Zenyatta a good battle on Saturday in the BC Classic. But wait. He tried that already.
Everyone saw what happened. Gio Ponti got a dream trip in the 2009 BC Classic, and Zenyatta ran past him like he was tied to a post.
Of course, that was on the synthetic surface at Santa Anita. Everyone knows Zenyatta is a synthetic surface specialist. Sure, she is.
The fact is, Gio Ponti is not as good as Zenyatta at a mile and a quarter on a main track.
But maybe Gio Ponti is as good as Goldikova at a mile on turf.
And maybe that contributed to the decision to race Gio Ponti against Goldikova in a $2 million turf race rather than face Zenyatta in a $5 million dirt race.
Good for them. Good choice. Gio Ponti is a terrific turf horse.
So is Goldikova. She is a terrific turf miler.
But neither of those turf runners is Zenyatta.
And so you can’t blame the connections of Gio Ponti for ducking Zenyatta. She beat him last year.
It won’t happen again.
Zenyatta against males on a legit surface, 0-1. Nice race by Zenyatta but sorry folks, this was not that great of a BC Classic field as the announcers would have people believe. Lookin at Lucky never Beyered over 105, Quality Road huge distance limitations and Blame, a single race where he Beyered over 110 prior to today. It just wasnt that strong of a field, folks. Goldikova is the real No. 1 mare in the world with 8 G1 wins against males on a legit surface.
Ducking? Zenyattas connections are the ones who have ducked real competition in 18 races outoff 19, and now you expect everyone to accomendate her connections and run against her. If Mr. Moss had handled The Police like he have handled Zennyatta Sting would never have written the song Zennyatta Monndatta. Peppers Pride will go down in history as the only unbeaten modern US horse with 19-19
This years Woodward was weak, no doubt. However, even as weak as it was, it was nowhere near as weak as virtually every single field of weak mares Zenyatta raced against this entire year. Zenyatta had many many opportunities to ship and take on older males as the defending BC Classic champ this year and instead her connections "ducked" all of those opportunities to hide her in SoCal on polytracks against highly suspect competition. Just a few of many races she could have participated in but skipped: Donn Handicap, Pimlico Special, Oaklawn Park Handicap, the Whitney, the Suburban, The Stephen Foster, the Woodward, ... You do realize that Zenyatta has not faced a single older horse rated in the Top 50 in North America this year, correct? Not one horse in the top 50 and you guys are talking about how a polycrap specialist is one of the greatest ever and deserves HOY? That in itself is pretty laughable. Dr Fager would be laughing his proverbial arse off over that one. Regarding the Zenyatta-Goldikova references by the threads author and other posters below, there is no comparison between the competition Zenyatta has competed against the last 2 years versus what Goldikova has competed against. Zenyatta took on older males 1 time and 1 time only on a rubber polytrack surface which was not the primary racing surface for most of those males (they were mostly turfers trying rubber and dirt horses trying rubber, many for the 1st time in their careers). Meanwhile, Goldikova has competed in no less than 10 graded races against the top middle distance turf males in Europe racing on their primary surface, turf. Goldi won 7 of those races by the way. I'll take a mare like Goldi who has shipped everywhere and beaten top males 7 times at their own game on their own surface anyday over a rubber track specialist who has spent all but 1 of her career races beating up on highly questionable cupcake competition and the single time she actually did face older males, it was of course in her backyard run on fake plastic turf. We'll see how Zenyatta responds to real dirt this Saturday. I'm guessing she will labor to come in a well beaten 4th or 5th, because truth is she isn't all that fast, she's a product of closer biased rubber track racing as much as anything. Back to the ducking issue, Zenyatta DUCKED Rachel A. all of 2009, fact! And yes, Rachel did deserve HOY last year because she beat top males multiple times running on their preferred surface. Zenyatta did not.
Blackseabass, I think the competition in open company Group 1 races in France is likely to be considerably better than distaff Grade 1's in California (I think that's the comparison we're dealing with?). Open Group 1 races in France will attract the best horses from not only within France, but also those from Britain, Ireland, Germany, Italy and sometimes much further afield (sadly, and notably, not America though). I don't think there's really an argument about which of Goldikova and Zenyatta has faced stiffer opposition. Actually, Goldikova arguably has faced the best in the world, two years ago - Zarkava - and lost. Last year, the best horse in the world was not at Santa Anita, he'd been retired after the Arc. This year, I'm not sure who the best in the world is, but Zenyatta will need to win well over a quality field to convince me that it's her. Last word: I have read articles on both DRF and the Racing Post in the last couple of days, since Gio Ponti was declared for the Mile, that have suggested that the hottest race of BC 2010 (in terms of excitement and depth of talent on show) is not the Classic but, you've guessed it, the Mile.
I don't think Gio is ducking . They're just being smart running in the more probable spot. As far as li'l ole France goes, what makes some people think that's where the best competition in the world is ? Not saying that a good horse can't come from anywhere. On sheer numbers, the USA has the most good horses. Even on turf, horses that last raced in America have won more BC races. Actually , California IS where the highest concentration of good horses in the universe train and live. NY can rival that at certain times. (Recently), Jerry Hollendorfer was asked about his decision to ship across country and have Blind Luck give up 10 lbs to Harve De Grace rather than go in the Lady's Secret. He said that running against Zenyatta as an alternative didn't seem very wise. What makes people think Goldi could outclose Z at 8f on turf? Z has never lost going 8.5 f. Goldikova was on the grounds and could have faced Zenyatta either time for bigger money 9f or 10f on what many call fake turf, and her connections chose smaller money. So you see, Goldi has never faced the best in the world even though they have been on the same grounds three times now.
You can knock Zen for 'staying home' - but recall that Gio Ponti won the G3 Sir Beaufort in good time and his connections thought well enough of that performance to keep him around for that other race on plastic - the G2 Strub. Just some idle musing - how could this year's Woodward be classified as a G1? Let's see, we had Mine That Bird - 'once' could run; Arcodoro - just won a N1X; Indian Dance - a Listed at Laurel; Convocation - all out to win a N2X; Tranquil Manner - won a N3x; Mythical Power - well, at least he won two G3's at Lone Star. But enough of this. I hope to see all horses run 'their' race and come out of it in good order. All the best with your bets.
I rooted for Curlin two years ago and wanted him to win HOY two years ago. I rooted for Z last year and wanted her to win HOY last year. I love watching Z race and have absolutely no biases (I'm 23 and live in Wisconsin, cant get much more horse racing neutral than that). Writers that are trying to make Z out to be the best thing since sliced bread are completely turning me off to rooting for her to win. She is a fantastic horse and a thrill to watch, but no horse who only faces males twice in their career deserves to be considered one of the best ever. I dont care if she went 100 races undefeated. Or 1000 races undefeated. You have to face males, and face them often. I still find Curlin to be the more respectable horse. He won six straight Grade/Group 1 dirt races against open company to finish his career. Absolutely remarkable (two of those were the BCC and Dubai WC). Z will have two such races in her entire career. Curlin won six straight. I do not see how you can even begin to compare the two horses' accomplishments.
The only reason Gio Ponti its running in the Mile is because the turf surface. Last year they took a shot at the Classic because the Pro-ride surface. Don't start to compare Zennyatta against Goldikova. Zennyatta has beat males one time against a field made of a majority of turf and dirt horses running on artificial surfaces for the first or second time in their life. Goldikova has beat males nine times in three countries, two continents and every single time facing formidable tasks, not like Zennyatta who raced exclusively in California against overmatched fields and that its not Zennyatta´s fault. Her owners choose that path. What do you think about Goldikova? That she needs the Breeders' Cup money or prestige, no, she goes out of her homeland to seek world recognition running against the best, so please be reasonable. I know that to be undefeated its very, very dificult, almost improbable to do. ... Maybe I'm wrong and only Californians know what the rest of the world don't, that California racing is the highest bar of competition in the universe.
Nice try. Maybe the fact that Gio Ponti is a turf horse has something to do with him running in the Mile.
You're right - Goldikova is better and more accomplished than Zenyatta.
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