11/18/2009 1:00AM

More to racing than Beyers

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Alysse Jacobs
Dancing in Silks proved his last-race 106 Beyer Speed Figure was no fluke when he matched that number by upsetting the Breeders' Cup Sprint at 25-1.

PHILADELPHIA - Now that we have all sifted through the Breeders' Cup results and tried to separate emotion from reality, it has become relatively clear that some questions were answered and others remain unanswered.

Zenyatta emphatically answered the key question of the two days. Did speed figures matter in her case? Clearly, no.

The great mare was simply determined to run by all the horses in front of her, no matter who they were and how fast she needed to run to get by them.

I think she is the female opposite of Affirmed, the horse that simply would not let any horse by him once he had the lead. By my count, Zenyatta passed 84 horses in her 14-race career. And, in her final race, she got a career-best Beyer (112). She needed it to win the Classic.

My training is to believe the Beyers. If you were a believer, you had a very good two days. There are, however, exceptions. Zenyatta is exceptional and an exception. She really is that mythical horse that runs fast enough to win.

Zenyatta, however, is no myth. She is real - unbeaten, maybe unbeatable.

Without adding to the Horse of the Year debate, I just know that it was wonderful to be at Pimlico for the Preakness, Monmouth Park for the Haskell, and Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup Classic. That is what I will take away from a memorable 2009.

I spent weeks getting ready for the 14 BC races. I was pretty sharp on Friday's card, but not quite sharp enough to capitalize on some very good opinions.

What went down Friday made me completely reevaluate Saturday's card. Music Note's blah performance in the Ladies' Classic was the clincher.

As Steven Crist's dirt-to-synthetic statistics in his drf.com blog clearly demonstrate, horses with recent dirt form were throwouts. They are now 0 for 43 over two years of dirt to synthetic. And 30 of them got slower Beyer Figures.

Knowing that 2008 was not an aberration after Friday, I promptly tossed out every contender with only dirt form. It made Saturday quite a bit less complicated and led me to use 30-1 Juvenile winner Vale of York in back-up pick six tickets and 20-1 Dirt Mile winner Furthest Land on main pick six tickets. Combine that with favorites Goldikova, Conduit, and Zenyatta and there are possibilities.

That, of course, would assume that I would use the horse in the Sprint with the best last-out Beyer. Now, why would I consider such a thing? That is one of the unanswered questions.

I did not like favored Zensational in the Sprint and used him only on back-up tickets. I loved Fatal Bullet, the synthetic freak. He was the only horse on my main tickets, so sure was I that he would fire.

I just could not imagine the horse not being right there at the finish - until I saw him, after a perfect stalking trip, begin to retreat to the back of the pack and fade to black in the stretch. I had some other backups, but they did not include 25-1 Dancing in Silks.

After all, the horse only had a 106 Beyer in his previous start, the best last-out Beyer in the race.

I thought beyond the obvious in two races and found some very live longshots. And missed the top figure in the Sprint, which is only what I do.

I figured the 106 was an aberration. It looked that way on paper. Dancing in Silks ran a 106 in the Sprint. I figured wrong.

This really is a tough game.

But it proves once again that the BC pick six is hittable, if you lock in on the right favorites, spread the right races, and find the correct longshots in those races.

I thought Goldikova was a single. I did not think that about Conduit, but he was a must use. I liked Presious Passion more and we know how that turned out.

If I knew then what I know now about Zenyatta, I would have had her on main tickets and not backups. But, figure slave that I am, I needed to see it.

Well, I saw it. And I heard it. And I felt it.

I watched the Classic from the grandstand. The sound as Zenyatta came by the eighth pole, as it was becoming obvious she was going to pass all those horses, will stay with me forever.

It was somewhere between a roar and an earthquake. I have not heard an earthquake, but I can now imagine the sound.

I would have liked to hit the pick six and I would not have needed the only ticket to be happy.

But it was difficult to leave Santa Anita without a smile. When you see something you have never seen before and may never see again, the only choice is to enjoy.