12/31/2009 12:00AM

Wishful thinking, wild dreams


ARCADIA, Calif. - The 2010 crystal ball reveals predictions both outlandish and optimistic. But you are guaranteed to smile if some come true. Things like this ...

* Zenyatta will plot a 2010 campaign aimed at the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 27. Zenyatta will win the Dubai World Cup by a length, and pass Curlin to become the all-time Thoroughbred money winner with earnings of more than $11 million.

* Rachel Alexandra on Jan. 18 will be named the 2009 Horse of the Year at the Eclipse Awards ceremony in Beverly Hills. The Breeders' Cup will issue a congratulatory statement, and make no mention of its claim to be the "World Thoroughbred Championships."

* Females continue to dominate racing headlines, and in 2010 the Kentucky Derby will be won for the first time by a woman trainer. Kathy Walsh-trained Who's Up scores the upset.

* Lookin at Lucky, champion 2-year-old of 2009 and winner of both 2010 prep races, has a bad trip in the Kentucky Derby and finishes second. It is the second time he has lost the most important race of the season for his age group.

* Blind Luck, shipping in from the California synthetics, wins the Kentucky Oaks. It is the third Oaks victory for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who won in 1991 with Lite Light and 1996 with Pike Place Dancer.

* Santa Anita will rip out Pro-Ride at the conclusion of the 2009-2010 winter meet and replace it with a traditional dirt track in time for the fall 2010 Oak Tree meet. Del Mar follows suit, and as its 2010 summer meet winds down, officials announce it will be the final meet with Polytrack. When dirt returns, handicappers whine about a new, prolonged speed bias at both tracks.

* The National Turf Writers Association forms a splinter group, the National Turf Bloggers Association. Membership in the NTWA dwindles to a few dozen; the NTBA expands to a few hundred.

* Riding in a race at Santa Anita, jockey Garrett Gomez will stun everyone by sending the horse to the lead, insist on setting the pace, and wiring the field. It is only a test. Gomez wins the next race rallying from last, and in 2010 he leads the country in purse earnings for the fifth straight year.

* Jockey Joel Rosario, who missed several workout assignments and riding days in late 2009, will get his act together and reclaim his grip on the Southern California colony.

* Fairplex Park will talk about raising takeout rates for the Los Angeles County Fair meet. The backlash is immediate, and the fair reverses plans after realizing it is not feasible to raise prices against falling demand. The quality of Fairplex racing improves, and ageless rock star Pat Benatar puts on another terrific trackside concert after the races.

* The first online Santa Anita ShowVivor contest (www.santaanita.com) that started New Year's Day is over in only two weeks as a series of odds-on favorites flop. Interestingly, the first Santa Anita WinVivor contest that started New Year's Day also goes two weeks.

* In 2010, ownership of Santa Anita does not change; a Frank Stronach-controlled entity retains possession of the storied racetrack. People giggle at the silly thought that Stronach might have sold.

* Santa Anita announces grand plans for the Dec. 26 opener of the 2010-11 meet, which falls on a Sunday. The track will run six graded stakes, hold parades for Lava Man and Shadow of Illinois, give away two free calendars (2011 and 2012), schedule rock group Berlin for an infield concert, unveil a new paddock fountain, rededicate the infield big screen, and serve free drinks in Front Runner, all on a 12-race card starting at 10:30 a.m.

* As opening day of the 2010-11 winter meet approaches, someone asks "Who won the Malibu last year?" No one can remember. The Malibu gets downgraded to Grade 2.

* Lava Man stays in training as veterinarians continue to experiment with stem-cell therapy. However, the connections of Lava Man make the right decision and announce the 9-year-old will only work and exercise, but not compete in a race. Everyone is happy.

* Life Is Sweet starts her 2010 campaign racing on three different surfaces (turf, synthetic, dirt). Favored each start, she finishes second each time.

* A well-known owner buys a horse back for $7.7 million, then takes a $5.8 million loss when he sells it a year later for $1.9 million. Oh wait, that happened in 2009.

* Take Control gets hammered in the Kentucky Derby futures after winning his career debut on Dec. 30. Unfortunately, minor issues prevent the son of A.P. Indy and Azeri from making his second career start until late April. He misses the Derby.

* The 3-year-old Sidney's Candy will win the Grade 2, seven-furlong San Vicente on Feb. 15. He pays $9, second start following a troubled comeback. Tiny Woods (90 Beyer on Dec. 30), fades after six furlongs and is off the board in the San Vicente.

* Hollywood Park in spring-summer will experiment with three-day-a-week racing, filling the dark days with national full-card simulcasting allowed by a change in state regulations.

* The Oak Tree Racing Association will admit it blundered when it renamed the Lady's Secret the Zenyatta. Lady's Secret, an iron mare and 1986 Horse of the Year, deserved better than to be tossed aside like yesterday's newspaper.

* New York shippers will be blanked in the 2010 Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs. After two years of synthetic-surface alibis on the West Coast, the excuse for New York shippers at the 2010 Breeders' Cup is a muddy track.

* A guy will look at the Jan. 2, 2010 date on his Daily Racing Form, and realize it his wedding anniversary. It was Jan. 2, 1982 when a young woman Maureen walked down the aisle with a young man Brad. Amazingly, 28 years later, they remain happily married. And so, happy anniversary, sweetheart.