11/06/2010 6:26AM

HandiGambling 209 (Breeders' Cup Classic)

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Today's HandiGambling 209 exercise is the eleventh race from Churchill Downs, the 27th running of the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic for three-year-olds an upward at 1 1/4 miles on the main track.

Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan." Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified. Please post your plays and analysis to the blog.  Past performances are available two blog post.  In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please. I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.

I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but let's remember why we began the HandiGambling races in the first place. The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses, and why we're betting them the way we are. I'm not asking for a novel, but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles, and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.

I'm posting this early so don't have the track condition or any late changes.

Despite the quality nature of this year's Classic, the focus for most racing fans and horseplayers, and rightly so, is Zenyatta's quest for a 20th consecutive victory.  Zenyatta doesn't seem to conform to conventional handicapping principles.  Her Beyer Speed Figures never tower over her competition, and thus she is considered vulnerable by many.  I feel that it's very hard for Zenyatta to receive a fast final time as, in most of her races, her opponents slow down the pace to a crawl, and the real running doesn't begin until after six furlongs.  If the pace is slow, the final time (and speed figure) will more than likely be slower than expected.   
To me, it is amazing that there is a "debate" regarding Zenyatta's place in history.  Win or lose this afternoon, I have to consider her one of, if not the best I've seen.  While "great" is thrown around far too liberally in this day and age, I have no problem labeling Zenyatta, and her accomplishments, that lofty award. 

Anyway, on to HandiGambling the Classic.

It is a competitive group with, seemingly, a good amount of early speed.  That may hinder my top selection, #3 HAYNESFIELD, the gate-to-wire winner of the historic Jockey Club Gold Cup at this 10-furlong distance at Belmont Park.  Haynesfield was able to make a fairly easy lead in the JCGC, something that may not happen with QUALITY ROAD, FIRST DUDE, ETCHED, and MUSKET MAN in tonight's lineup, but I can't deny that, easy lead or no, Haynesfield was very, very good that afternoon.  And Haynesfield was very good when winning the Grade 2 Suburban at Belmont on July 3 after breaking awkwardly and prompting the pacesetter from the two path.  The bad Haynesfield showed up in the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga on August 7.  Haynesfield was very fractious before the start, was rank early, forced to rate behind Quality Road, and soon said, "Forget this."  We'll see which Haynesfield shows up later this evening.  At 12-1 on the morning line, the "good" Haynesfield, pace scenario or no, is worth inclusion.

#8 ZENYATTA carries the hopes of a nation of racing fans as she seeks her 20th straight victory, second consecutive Classic win, and third consecutive Breeders' Cup victory.  If the pace is as quick as anticipated, her late-running style should be aided greatly.  While Zenyatta is rightly labeled a "closer," it's interesting to note that the longest single defecit she's overcome in a race is 13 lengths (last year's Classic with a half in 47 4/5, and the 2009 Clement L. Hirsch with a half-mile in 48 4/5).  If the leaders burn a half in 46 and change, will Zenyatta be 20 lengths out of it down the backstretch?  Can she be expected to make up that kind of ground against the top horses in the country?  With Zenyatta, nothing would surprise me.  She's a super-heroine.  But, I'm a bettor.  And, at 8-5 on the morning line, I must root only with my heart and not with my wallet (although she's certainly in my Pick 4's).

#7 MUSKET MAN is a gutsy little campaigner that tried his heart out when finishing ahead of Haynesfield in the Whitney.  He hounded Quality Road every step of the way while three wide around both turns, and still kept giving it his throughout the entire stretch.  He just missed as the favorite in the Monmouth Cup in his most recent start, a race in which it looked like he would win with ease in midstretch.  Perhaps he wasn't cranked up fully for that race with the Classic looming on the horizon.  He's an interesting value play, but I'm not totally convinced that 10 furlongs is his best trip. 

#1 QUALITY ROAD has had a wonderful year with the only blip coming when headed in the Whitney.  He responded by beating six overmatched opponents in the Grade 1 Woodward at nine furlongs at Saratoga with a 106 Beyer, and shows a quick recent workout over this surface.  Quality Road likes to hear his feet rattle.  Breaking from the inside post, it will be interesting to see how his rider, John Velazquez, plays this game.  Does he send hard from the gate, figuring that Quality Road is the speed of the speed, and not wanting to be locked down on the rail?  Or, does he let the race unfold naturally?  He may be darned if he does, and darned if he doesn't.  If Velazquez guns, he may be forced into an early speed duel.  If he rates, he could get blocked inside.  Quality Road is a good enough horse to overcome adversity.  But, 10 furlongs may be pushing it.  If he gets bet, I can't play him to win.  But he's another that shouldn't be ignored in multi-race wagers and exotics.

Neither should #12 LOOKIN AT LUCKY, the probable three-year-old champion, despite once again drawing a terrible post position for a major ten-furlong race at Churchill Downs (remember the one-hole in the Derby).  It's unwise to doubt Lookin At Lucky's ability (last year's champion juvenile is 9-12 lifetime, and really hasn't run a bad race in his life).  He should get plenty of pace to attack, is comfortable at this distance, and is in the right hands.  The outside post is a nuisance, however.  If Martin Garcia sends looking for early position, Lookin At Lucky may be forced wide throughout.  If he takes back, he'll have to make up a ton of ground while utilizing the same running style as Zenyatta.  Either way, this is a good horse.

#6 FLY DOWN is a late-running three-year-old that should also benefit from a quick and contested pace.  He failed to fire in his first start against elders in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but the pace scenario should be much different this time around.  He's capable of running very quickly (note the 105 Beyer in the Travers), but his poor lead changes concern me.  He'll have to really do everything professionally and correctly if he is to overcome some of the best older runners.  He has some upside, however, and deserves 'C'-level status in the Pick 4. 

#4 FIRST DUDE may be the most talented N2L runner in the country, but these aren't 'N2L' runners.  Plus, his early speed may work to his disadvantage as he draws outside Quality Road and Haynesfield.  First Dude is a grinder.  You'll usually see his rider scrub on him with three-eighths to go before he continues on with his steady beat.  There are more explosive runners than First Dude in the Breeders' Cup Classic.  As with Fly Down, he's a deep 'C'-level play in the Pick 4.

#10 ETCHED is an inspiration.  After winning three of his first four races including the Grade 3 Nashua in 2007, Etched reportedly cracked a cannon bone in his left foreleg and had to miss time.  Since his return, he's won four of five races, but the only loss came to Blame at Churchill Downs after pressing the pace.  A talented and courageous runner, Etched may not have the right running style for this year's Classic, and could be in a bit steep.

#5 BLAME is the blue-collar racehorse that you love to root for.  He doesn't receive the press of a Zenyatta or a Quality Road, but all he does is perform on the track, winning five of his last six, and seven of his last nine.  Although beaten by Haynesfield in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, he may have been compromised by the dearth of pace up front, but never stopped trying, plugging away in the stretch to finish four lengths in arrears.  He'll get more pace to attack this evening, and he's tactical enough to get first-run on the late kickers like Zenyatta.  A true horse for the course, Blame is very, very dangerous.  It will be interesting to see what odds he'll end up being.

#9 PLEASANT PRINCE was wisely given a break after a dull Preakness as he was really asked to do too much in an unsuccessful attempt to garner enough earnings for a Kentucky Derby run.  He's been pretty good since returning to races, and he popped his first triple-digit Beyer when winning the Oklahoma Derby on October 10.  He is a closer that should be helped by the scrum up front, but he may not be ready just yet for these hard-hitters.

#11 ESPOIR CITY, the pride of Japan, will try 10 furlongs for the first time, and he may be more of a miler.  The winner of last year's Japan Cup Dirt at nine furlongs, he switched back to his wrong lead after making a late advantage in the Kashiwa Kinen on May 5, and failed as the favorite off a long layoff in the Mile Championship on October 11.  Cigar-like in his transformation from non-descript turf runner to top dirt performer, he'll need to perform like Cigar in order to beat these horses.  I don't think he's Cigar.

#2 PADDY O'PRADO is probably the best three-year-old turf runner in the country, and you really have to admire his versatility.  Grade 1-placed on synthetics, Grade 1-placed on dirt, and a Grade 1 winner on turf, Paddy O'Prado can do it all, and he has the right running style for the race.  This will be his toughest test to date, however, but I can certainly see why he's in this race.  The Mile may be too short while the Turf is too long.  Ten furlongs is just right for Paddy O'Prado, and that's why he's here.  He has a puncher's chance.

One of the toughest races of the year. 

I'll keep it simple and play $50 Win-Place - Haynesfield (#3)

My paper selections are Haynesfield, Zenyatta, Musket Man, Quality Road

I'll be rooting for Zenyatta.

Best of luck to all.

***

Other quick plays today:

Juvenile Turf -   Master of Hounds, Utley, Mantoba, Soldat

Sprint -   Big Drama, Girolamo, Smiling Tiger, Atta Boy Roy

Turf Sprint -  Bridgetown, Grand Adventure, Stradivinsky, Central City

Juvenile - Boys At Tosconova, Uncle Mo, Stay Thirsty, J. B.'s Thunder

Mile - Paco Boy, Goldikova, Delegator, Sidney's Candy

Dirt Mile - Morning Line, Mad Flatter, Tizway, Vineyard Haven

Turf - Workforce - Behkabad, Dangerous Midge, Debussy

Enjoy a great day of racing!

Blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Blackstone, It would have been hard to leave KK off vertical tickets .I didn't. You weren't foolish, none of us is always right. Not even me.LOL We're all just hackers doing the best we can. That is with the possible exception of Mike A who is extremly exceptional at what he does. Curt V, Thanks for the complimentary comments in your post to Kram. I'm not sure if you read what I posted on one of Hovdey's blogs a few threads back . I had my miller working that night. Check it out I was throwing compliments your way that time. Mike A, we do have words on occasion but I know we would be friends if we ever met. Thanks for the "walk the walk" comment. I do believe I'm pretty good and better than most. You sir , are in another realm , like Zenyatta or the DR. I'm damn good, you are GREAT. Racing dollars have not been discretionary entertainment money for me for more than 20 years. I don't want to win. I need to win. Needing to win at the track is not for the faint hearted, thats for sure. Something that you and I have in common other than we both know quite a bit about racehorses is we both have the ability to pass races that we've spent time handicapping. That IMO is what seperates winners from losers at the track. To bet or not to bet ? That is the question. Degrees are like participation awards Mike. They hand them out to anybody that showed up and paid the fee. I have many friends that have Phd's and Masters degrees .There isn't one of them that thinks they could beat me in a game of Jeopardy. They don't want to play scrabble for a buck a point anymore either.LOL. I used to hustle scrabble games of all things to bet on. Most of my friends don't like to do anything without betting . LOL. I don't have a degree either Mike . I believe in people being educated though . Its good for them. Anyway they choose to do it. Your lack of a degree doesn't diminish your ability to think IMO. So you and I will keep thinking, its what we're good at.
Blackseabass More than 1 year ago
C'MON CM, Back in 2008 when the vote was close between Curlin and Zenyatta did we use the same criteria then? Actully CM they did they gave it to curlin after he was TROUNCED in the Classic. leaving him 3 for 5 on the year while Z was 7 for 7 . They chose to vote for Curlin based on what he had done in the past. It wasn't really a vote for Curlin it was a vote against synthetic tracks. Horse of the year is a joke. I believe the discussion should be horse of all-time. No I don't want Zenyatta to be horse of the year. I hate umpires that blow a call and think they can make it up with a blown call the other way. It doesn't work that way. If you blow a called 3rd strike and the next pitch is a 3-run dong. You can't make up for it with a few called the other way later. ANDY BEYER, Is Onion, Prove Out , Angle Light or Herbull an ALL-TIME great ? How about Upset ? Dark Star ? Coastal ? Little Reb ? Radar Ahead ? Affiliate ? This guy has 0 AS in ZERO intellectual integrity. He's a tired beat up old man with an ax to grind. I'd put Blame up against any of those horses that beat your ALL-TIME greats. Is Blame in Zenyatta's league ? Not hardly !! Niether was Onion or the SEVERAL others that beat Secretariat in his league. Secretariat had a tendency to not show up about 1 out of 4 races. Zenyatta always showed up. Secretariat NEVER faced a field anything like ANY generic BC Classic. The Triple Crown races are constantly and repeatedly filled with horses that never win another race. Is Blame a better horse than Songtress ,Zardana or Persistently ? In the world according to Andy whatever horse he MAKES UP the biggest number for is the HOY. Unless that horse is say Best Pal. Why don't we all just let Andy tell us who the best horse is, that would make it all so simple. I think Z made Andy look dumb again. His comments afterward make him look even dumber imo. The same people that won't accept Mike Smith's word that HE got Zenyatta beat would be howling about the jock being a bum when their horse loses. Don't believe me ? Check out what Andy had to say about Pino and Jones after Hardspun (his & my pick) ran 2nd in the derby. The only thing I didn't like about Hardspun was that Andy had him. By his own admission his Derby history was and is DISMAL !!! Some expert. I am not Smith bashing. I'm agreeing with the man himself. He's a fine jock and hall of famer. He made a couple mistakes and is a big enough man to admit it. It's a funny thing about human's that we remember the negative over the positive in certain situation's. I have a baseball and track buddy that scored the winning run in the 11th inning in the LA city championship way back when, bringing our school its first City Championship. Later that summer He got back-picked off first with runners on 1st and 2nd one out. The next guy doubled in the gap. The next guy flyed out deep enough that my buddy who could run some would have scored making it 2-2 with the good guys still at bat with the winning run in scoring position. That mistake was what we thought kept us out of the American Legion World Series . The team that knocked us out won the world series. For years at Alumni games the guys that were around back then would always bring up that mistake. My buddy never said what about the City title game. He'd just shake his head and say "what a bonehead I was, we would have won that game and the series ". So thats the way it is. Were hardwired to dwell on our mistakes as humans and contemplate what might have been. If we had got beat 8-1 instead of 2-1, then 25 years later nobody would have remembered the back-pick .
TheVanGogh More than 1 year ago
C, Doubts about Uncle Mo? I'm all for skepticism but c'mon here. I'm not crowning him the Derby winner already, but what has he done on the track that would give you the impression he can't get the distance? In all three of his starts he's finished up his final eighth faster than the previous one. That pretty much speaks for itself. If anyone was paying attention another good looking 2yo ran on Classic day, To Honor and Serve. It was nothing more than a glorified workout, and he probably wasn't beating much, but it's worth watching the replay. He looks like a good thing.
CM More than 1 year ago
I really don't get it when it comes to some of the ZENYATTA talk. If you say anything other than she is the greatest ever you are a hater. I admire C for standing up for the many fans who admire her but aren't overzealous about her, but at time it seems like there is plenty of irrational thought by the ZENYATTA supporters. For instance.. 1. "Horse of the Year should be decided by who we would bet in a rematch between BLAME and ZENYATTA." So if Musket Man is 100-1 in that field and I bet him should he be horse of the year? Last year, if I recall correctly, someone said Z should win because she was whipped less in the Classic than Rachel was in the Woodward. C'mon people. 2. "Horse of the Year should be decided by who has had the better career." Back in 2008 when the vote was close between CURLIN and ZENYATTA did we use the same criteria then? If so, the Curlin, who had the better career up to that point, was an easy choice. Also, until he retires, Peyton Manning is the NFL MVP....every year. C'mon people. 3. "ZENYATTA should be Horse of the Year because she has done so much for racing and brought plenty of attention to the sport." Nobody can deny that she has brought plenty of attention to the sport, which is great, but is that how we should vote? if so, lets give Derek Jeter the 2011 MVP award now because he hss done plenty for baseball, and will get his 3000th hit next year, which will sure bring baseball plenty of attention. C'mon people. 4. "BLAME hasn't beaten any good competition this year, as evidenced by Haynesfield's and Quality Road's dismal showings in the Classic." OK. All those two did this year was win the Donn, Met Mile, Suburban, Woodward and Jockey Club Gold Cup. At least the horses BLAME beat showed up in the CLassic. Where are all the superstars ZENYATTA beat this year? There weren't in the Classic. They weren't even in the Ladies Classic. C'mon People. 5. "The only reason Blame won the Classic is because it was on his home track" It's not the only reason, but his liking of the racetrack certainly was a facotr and made him a great bet at 5-1. Funny, but I don't recall Z supporters indicating she won last year "only" because the race was on her home track. C'mon people. 6. "Mike A is taking alot of unnecessary criticism." Nobody is criticising Mike A's handicapping. Who in their right mind would have any complaints about a $95 horse? There is just a difference of opinion about Saturday's race and all things Zenyatta. Look, Z is a great horse, but she did what plenty of great horses do when they run against other great horses - she lost. She wasn't chasing Rinterval or Switch on Saturday, she was chasing a top 4YO colt who is pretty damn good in his own right. Lets give BLAME some credit here - he was on the worst part of the track for the first 6 Furlongs, had to come between horses and take the lead from Lookin at Lucky, and then hold off Z. He ran a tremendous race. Sadly we will never really know how good Z could have been. I suspect, as others do here, that if she had a Goldikova like campaign and run against top males all year she may have lost a couple of more times but it would not have diminished her. It could have enhanced her place in history.
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Blackstone Thank you but there was no need to defend me, my uncle was alot tougher on me than anyone here could ever be. Besides, I speak my mind.....not everyone will agree, that's as it should be. Doesn't mean I change my mind. Look, I may have words back and forth with "C", or BSB or whoever, but I do respect their opinions, they walk the walk so to speak. I said many times I don't do angry, life's too short, besides winning money is paramount, my feelings are, listen if you want, do it on your own, doesn't matter to me. Just never ask to borrow money.......when you lose. I always win or lose on my own, I don't need help or ask for it. If there is one thing I will refrain from is pointing out flaws in folks handicapping thought process. It's does no good. Most folks don't listen and take it personal. My aim is to help, but sometimes it's just best left alone. I just thought if I kept posting big number horses folks would listen a bit. I thought 20 or so since May would do the trick, but I guess not. So be it.......I'm certainly not going to college at this late juncture to lend some credence in what I say. As to the lovely human being who told me to take a vacation.....sure, you take my place for awhile Mr or Mrs Off Track......just keep up the win average. That should be easy since you don't have one. Mike A
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Off Track Just re-read your post to me-I'm still baffled as to Steve Crist. As to the flaws in the Beyer System and the Eclipse-for the record, I give no thought-never have, never will-to the awards. Honestly, I couldn't care less and I will not participate in any discussion thereof. The flaws bother me because the Sysytem is held out as the Gold Standard-and it's not. If the DRF is going to continue to puiblish the numbers, and of course they are, then why not set it right? It's worse than being unreliable (synthetics)-it gives the reader false information, which in turn, leads to the wrong conclusions. Thousands of examples. But I will stop ranting about it-nothing is being served by my comments, other than wasting time and space. I do appreciate your point of view, though, as I know you are correct about "opportunities".
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Off Track...... If that's your real name. Normally I wouldn't answer a post such as yours, because except for a name that shows a fixation with the slop I have no idea what your credentials are. Do you bet? Do you win? are you just opinionated? I can't step back I like winning, to be honest I never saw your post.......someone had to point it out, hence the three day delay. It's not that I don't care, it's just that I really don't care. If you ever have anything solid or helpful to contribute by all means.....share. If all you can do is throw aspersions at folks, folks you neither know of or about stay home. Mike A
BigEasyBigChok More than 1 year ago
Blackstone, Thanks but a little luck was responsible for my good day saturday. Yes, I have been on Blame all year but my relationship with Al Stall, Jr played a big part. We went to LSU together and have been friends for 30 yrs and he trains our horses. However I thought, wrongly, that Zenyatta being such a closer she would not be able to make up the ground to get the win as I thought there were problems with other horses closing on dirt in route races friday and saturday at CD. At the risk of redboarding, I was winning a little on saturday and was not going to pass up 5-1 and I was completely shocked by what the exacta was paying with Blame back to Z. Thought it would pay less than 20.00 but when I saw 33.00 in will pays, like the guy on tv ad said " I jump in it"! Stall is really a good guy and again there was no way he was going to use anything in Blames tank in the race before the Classic so it was not much handicapping for me. I was not going to be upset if Zenyatta won that race as I would rather lose a little and have our sport buoyed by her remarkable career than make the score with Blame winning. Thanks again for mention BEBC
p ensign More than 1 year ago
final thought for the weekend I know that there hasn't been a dirt mile in the bc for very long, but the fractions that Dakota Phone got for a set up, even considering one turn vs. two turns, sure make me think that a little peppier pace would have helped Z a little and hurt Blame enough that perhaps the outcome would have been a foot the other way. I know that I was feeling a lot better about her chances when that "loser jock Rosario" managed to get his horse past the frontrunning eventual place horse. After watching speed become seemingly more dangerous as the weekend went on, that little charge by the 37-1 shot all of a sudden made 20/20 look very possible. Of course, the fact that neither Quality Road nor Haynesfield was particularly interested in the lead couldn't have made any in the Z camp feel good after a moderate quarter and relatively tepid half was surrendered with little fight at all to the 3 year old. (Why Trevor said they were "flying" I believe he called it, I can't guess, as he's usually a fairly good judge of pace.) It certainly was an interesting day, and for those who'd like to read a couple good reasons why Z should still be under serious consideration for HOY, i suggest taking a peek at Bill Dwyre's column from todays LAT. http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-dwyre-zenyatta-20101108,0,7052581.column arinevey could
wilson More than 1 year ago
First of all, what a Breeders' Cup! That is why I get excited about the Breeders' Cup, for days like Saturday. I must admit that seeing Blind Luck run 2nd Friday night and then seeing Big Drama and Uncle Mo perform up near the the front of the pack had me somewhat worried about Zenyatta's ability to make up ground on that track. But then Daktoa Phone won and I made it all the way to the final leg of the pick 4 singled to Zenyatta, thanks to the ALL button in the Dirt Mile, and I did not share the widespread confidence that Zenyatta was "up against it" against this field, so knowing she could lose but likely wouldn't I was happy to stand pat with Zenyatta singled. Then came the race and she walked out of the gate. I don't care what Randy Moss' pace figures say because I saw with my eyes that Zenyatta was not traveling well for the first part of the race. Maybe she was taking in the crowd, the first time night time racing environment, got too worked up pre-race, or didn't like the surface, but I was really afraid after a quarter mile or so that she was going to mail it in like Big Brown in the Belmont. But Zenyatta has never needed excuses before and once they started down the backstretch I was somewhat relieved that she was at least travelling well and despite the lost ground I had hope that she could get it done. In reality I thought she would be much closer to the field turning for home and Blame did indeed get the perfect trip from a great jockey in Gomez and a big jump on her. Blame ran well and held strong to win. His run reminded me very much of Invasor beating Bernardini, when he passed Lookin' At Lucky( a top 3 year old colt like Bernardini), visually, but Zenytatta wasn't going to fold. Its not in her nature. She lost the photo and I was disapointed not to win money and that she came up short but I am certain that she was the best horse in the race. I think a very good horse with a good trip running the race of his life beat Zenyatta running a good race with some bad luck in a photo. If she had to lose, then Blame is the one that I wanted to see win it. I am glad that she never lost to a filly or mare, or anything other than a truly top class horse. She didn't lose to Rinterval or Rachel or Quality Road, but instead she lost to a truly top class mile and a quarter classic distance horse. If you ran that race 100 times I think either Blame or Zenyatta would win that race 100 times, and none of those other horses in the field were in the same zip code as far as class is concerned. Maybe Lookin' At Lucky can develop to a higher level if he returns as a 4 year old, but no one else in that field is even close to the gold standard. Zenyatta is my favorite and I think absolutely one of the all time greats of either sex. If you don't agree with me that's fine too. On her best day I think she can run with anyone that's ever run, and you cannot disprove that. But again feel free to disagree with that idea. At the end of the day I am so thankful that the worst thing that happened to Zenyatta on a race track was losing a photo finish. With the cruel fate dealt to Barbaro and Eight Belles recently, and Ruffian and Go For Wand a little longer ago you always have some small degree of fear of the really bad things that can happen in this sport, especially with a mare as big as Zenyatta running on a track that is known to sometimes be rock hard. I feel like bringing her back at 6 and letting a nationwide audience see her in the Breeders' Cup was a sporting thing to do for the Mosses, and I am sure that a campaign of races against males all year would have emptied the tank before Saturday. As for Horse of the Year I like the idea of settling it on the track amongst equals if possible. Like say two undefeated horses(for the season) meet in the classic and one wins(say for hypothetical purposes that Rachel ran and lost to Zenyatta last year], then you end the analysis there. This year you don't have equals in the Classic. Zenyatta ran and won 5 Grade I races this year, the same number that Rachel won last year. Blame came in off a loss by open lengths. This is a fact. So Zenyatta lost a race to a male in the biggest Grade I by a photo and Blame lost to a Grade II type horse by open lengths. These are facts. Blame won the race fair and square and made a nice case for Horse of the Year, that much goes without saying. But just as Vale of York beat Lookin' At Lucky fair and square last year in the juvenile, most people could see that Lookin' At Lucky was the better horse. Then the next fact I want the voters to ponder is Zenyatta's gender. She is a female and that seems to be forgotten by some. Rachel's gender was a major factor, right up there with her being a 3 year old, that made her HOY last year. Take out 2009 from the record books and Zenyatta ran the best attempt at the Classic of any female ever in the BC Classic in 2010, and her 2nd place finish is likely to never be matched or bested by another filly or mare ever. If Rachel Alexandra had won 5 grade I races this year, came into the Classic undefeated for 2010 and was beaten in a photo by the best older Male in the world on his home track...who got a perfect ride and perfect trip then I honestly believe Rachel Alexandra would be voted Horse of the Year by a landslide. So if the voters still think Blame deserves HOY then vote for him, but don't forget that Zenyatta, big and bad as she is, is a female, and that must be taken into account when you make your calculations, in my opinion.