Friday, November 20, 2009

One More Year

You know thinking about Horse of the Year and how that at the end of the year, one of leading contenders will be retired got me thinking, Zenyatta should not be retired. Think about it, yes, she is five years old, but she started her career in November as a three year old, meaning she raced for a total of 24 months, only a two years and two months. Rachel Alexandra, our other leading contender started racing 18 months, and will continue to race next year. That will give her a grand total of 30 months. Over her 24 month career, Zenyatta has raced 14 times, Rachel has done the same with six less months.

Every time I look at one of Zenyattas' start, she never looks fully extended, crossing the wires with her ears pricked. Jerry and Ann Moss say that she deserves to be retired, and just be a mother, but I don't buy into that. In her last race I watched Zenyatta close like a freight train, with barely any urging, again winning with her ears pricked. This mare loves to run, it is evident in the way she runs and the way she carries herself.

A tired horse, an over the hill horse, would not be winning like she does if at all. A tired horse would be flattening out in deep stretch, not performing up to their normal form. Does anyone think this description fits Zenyatta? A horse that doesn't like it's job, would turn track sour, probably be miserable in the stall and on the track. Does this description remind you of Zenyatta? If it does, you might just need to get your eyes checked. Every time she steps on the track she plays to the crowd, doing her little dance moves, pawing the ground, looking every bit the magnificent champion that she is.

Jerry and Ann Moss even said that this years she had grown and had even gotten better since her four year old season. She proved that with her win in the Classic, where she swallowed the competition like she had done to every field she had previously faced. Who is to say she won't be the same if not better as a six year old? In other sports that is considered YOUNG! That age is of a horse who is in their prime, and considering that she has been lightly raced throughout her career, why should she be tired for another go around.

I hear people say she has nothing to prove, that is a lie, this mare has a lot to prove. Her win in the Classic did not exempt her from going farther, in fact, it proved that she should have been racing with the males all year long, instead of racing a relatively weak group of fillies and mares that ran in California. As a six year old she could come back to race in the races she should have been in as a five year old, she can come back and make even more history, and prove to the world her greatness is not just that of a synthetic specialist.

Another thing that could be done if she decided to come back is the dream match up we all have been waiting for, a Rachel vs Zenyatta race. She and Rachel could meet multiple times even, since Rachel will be out in open company and will most likely be pointed towards a start in the Breeders Cup Classic. The return of Zenyatta would not only be good for fans, but the sport of racing itself.

As you can see there is no reason for Zenyatta to retire, other than to keep her perfect record safe and protected. She loves to run, she is nowhere near past her peak, and despite what some say she still has much more to prove. The fans would love the return of the champion, and the prospect of a match up with her main competition Rachel Alexandra. So, Mr. Moss, if you are listening, please forget the perfect record, come back and show what a great mare you have. She is not ready to retire, she wants to run, all you have to do is point her in the direction and she'll go. Please, give her one more year.


  1. ABSOLUTE DITTO. Madness to retire an easy winning, lightly raced, totally sound, loves to run, mentally sharp racehorse. I have been begging all over the Net that the Jacksons and Mosses team up and send our American Girl Power Team to be our deadly duo in the first 10 million dollar running of the Dubai World Cup. Regardless of who wins Horse Of The Year, these girls could be packaged as the team that guarantees the US a win in the world's richest race. This would also put a American christening on the new Meydan City Racecourse- what may be the most fabulous racecourse the world has ever known, The Cup is run on synthetics at the same distance as the BC Classic, PERFECT for Zenyatta. And by then they may have gotten Rachel to stretch her talents farther.

    You and I are totally correct, it makes zero sense to retire Zenyatta. As a large mare, even if they breed her to a smaller stallion, she still is a a giant who could throw a big foal. Life in retirement as a broodmare is not without extreme risk. And a mare with very specialized biomechanics - giant stride - may have trouble ever reproducing herself.

    Deserved retirement. Moronic. Has the racing world lost it's mind- has PETA brainwashed them too, that the very act of racing is abuse. Sheep like mentality now requires fans to push the holy mantra of Deserved Retirement.

    Let's spread this idea all over the Net- wake up the lemmings. Also, I'm trying to reach both owners and ask them to go for the Dubai prize. Steve Haskins has not responded to my queries yet. I can't understand why.


  2. As a fan of the sport, I agree, we all want Zenyatta to return next year, which would set up one of the biggest meetings in Thoroughbred racing history. The devil's advocate in me would point out that Zenyatta is not ours to make such a decision. If I owned Zenyatta, I would think long and hard about retirement after such a remarkable career and a fairy tale (possible) ending.

  3. Didn't the Mosses say something about the possibility she might run in early 2010 before being sent to Kentucky? Whatever happened to that idea?

  4. DITTO BRIAN. It's always the owner's call, whether a Curlin, Lava Man, Life Is Sweet or a Cloudy's Knight. Respectively presenting the positives, for Zenyatta AND her owners, to keep her in training only shows how much we love her. No pressure. Good for them to know they have the support of a significant amount of the fan population.


  5. Jasmine,
    Ever since the Classic it has been made know that it is more likely that Zen will retire at the conclusion of this year.

    Anonymous 1:
    I think we agree, lol.

    On your fan view we are in complete agreement. Owner POV, I understand, but do not quite agree. If I were her owner I would think of retirement, but then would toss the idea. She is not a stallion, which means I would not get a good profit right away, and in this economy you kind of want that. Instead, for the first year or two I would be losing money on her, feed, space, plus shelling out the thousands I would need to pay to breed her, taking the risk that she may never throw a good foal, or even catch at all. If she started to demonstrate signs of going sour or was going off form, then yes I would retire, but as of now with perfectly sound, happy mare that is in top form, and earning money by racing, I would not retire.

    Now that of course would be my perspective as an owner. My fan perspective as you know has no money involved, and only the interst of the sport.

  6. LDP,

    Sorry I haven't been back for a've been very busy at the keyboard! Interesting stuff.

    You, Brian, Jasmine, and anon are all RACHEL fans, and rightfully so considering her quality.

    I remind you all that Jess Jackson could have pointed RACHEL to a three race campaign that would have culminated in the $5 million BC Classic, but he chose to give her an earlier campaign and put her away before the biggest races for older horses were run. Asking the Moss' to do with ZENYATTA what Jackson wouldn't do with RACHEL this year is not fair to them. The Classic was the only race worthy in purse and stature to showcase those two grand distaffers this year. Jackson and RACHEL were no-shows...given ZENYATTA's performance, perhaps they made a smart decision.

    Now, dreaming of them matching up in the World Cup as anon wrote...that opens up a whole can of worms.

    If Jackson is going to be consistent, there's no way RACHEL can show up in Dubai to run on Tapeta Footings. That surface is another "plastic" main track, a cousin to other synthetics he supposedly despises. He skipped the Breeders' Cup WTC this year to point to next year's Breeders' Cup @ Churchill Downs and the traditional dirt next year.

    I agree with anon, that would be an epic showdown and the only possible reason to keep ZENYATTA in training. ZENYATTA's a champion, the only BC Classic and BC Ladies Classic winner, and should be 2009 HOY in my book. She's conquered every horse set in front of her. Winning in Dubai, against RACHEL and all other comers, in the richest horse race that would only add to her storybook career. ZENYATTA would set the bar so high that she would be the horse of this century even when the year 3000 clicks. I'll be long gone, but her legend would live strong!

    It's a longshot campaign to get them together, but horse racing worldwide would surely be rewarded in boxcars of emotion. I'M IN...LET'S GET THESE GALS TO DUBAI! That would be the ultimate neutral surface...ZENYATTA's never raced on Tapeta, neither has RACHEL, and it's a brand new track. They'd both have to travel long distances and race "clean".

    The only sure way to get them there...ZENYATTA gets voted HOY and the competitive spirit within Jackson & Asmussen is stirred up so much they forget how much they dislike the synthetics ;-)!

    The Moss' & Shirreffs are lured by the historic nature of the race, competition, and ZENYATTA's legacy.

    As famous boxing ring announcer Mills Lane would say: "LET'S GET IT ON!!!"

  7. Amateurcapper,

    Jackson expressed in a September article that he had not ruled out the 2010 World Cup. If Rachel does win HOY 2009 he may feel more flexible to take chances with synthetics. I personally, being leery of the after Dubai exhaustion factor, would just hope that she would get a break to recoup for the BC Classic 2010.

    Zenyatta could retire after Dubai, no exhaustion for her. I read a columnist at Today's Racing Digest who commented that he thought Zenyatta was the best of the super mares he had seen in the last 30 or so years. He leaned toward Rachel on 2009 stats alone for HOY, but wanted them to share the award. I too favor Rachel based on 2009 overall, but can see how Zenyatta might be the better horse overall. Could she catch Rachel running short- not sure, but she did win at 6 furlongs in her debut. Would Rachel awaken her competitive spirit and get her to move that big caboose early. Could Rachel's own long stride and big heart - Dolph Morrison thought that she inherited the actual large heart-possibly hold off Zenyatta's unstoppable, late kick freight train. When challenged would Rachel issue the famous 'You shall not pass line', especially after not being pushed Woodward hard early. Dubai would be the best showdown, other good horses to stop it from being the dreaded match race. More backups in Team USA- Gio Ponti, Well Armed, Life Is Sweet.

    I hope that the Moss's consider this sooner than later. There could be a great vacation in Dubai wrapped up in it. If I was not worried for family safety- I would be there for the track's opening. It sounds like nothing short of a palace for horses. Special in world history even. The list of those in attendance should at least rival the Kentucky Derby. Are any of the TBA bloggers attending.

    Meydan City Racecourse could not have a bigger attraction than Rachel and Zenyatta meeting for the first time. Our deeply divided fans at home can see our girls against the world together. That puts us all on the same team. Oprah could do a special on them. The Bravo network too.

    AT THE VERY LEAST, IF ZENYATTA RETIRES WE MAY NOT HAVE EVER KNOWN JUST HOW GOOD SHE REALLY WAS. Maybe we ain't seen nothing yet. Maybe the BC Classic was a walk in the park.

  8. Anon,

    Ohhh, what an event that ZENYATTA-RACHEL match up would be...I'm sure GIO PONTI would take another crack, how about PRESIOUS PASSION and RAIL TRIP to keep the pace honest and whatever Dubai, Europe, and the rest of the world can toss in.

    As for the heart comment...I believe that both distaffers have the bigger-than-normal engine, which is why they are so special.

    If ZENYATTA could get to Dubai in good order, I believe that her 2nd start at 1 1/4 miles would be a race that would force non-believers to put her next to SECRETARIAT as a true legend in the sport. In fact, I believe that her best distance would be 1 1/2 miles and that her best surface could be the turf...the Arc would be the international race I'm thinking of. It's almost unheard of to have a great race mare run as a 6y.o. GOURMET GIRL and AZERI have done it in the 21st century, while PASEANA and BAYAKOA did it in the 1990's.

    Look at think that I believe that a female generally should stay with the males. ZENYATTA, and RACHEL, are exceptions that prove the rule.

  9. Amaturecapper,

    Funny that this was also the year of Caster Semenya, the female runner who won big but looked like the equivalent of a human Zenyatta- except maybe not so pretty. They even challenged her wins based on a dubious gender. Yes, it was quite a year for big and stout girls everywhere.

    That said, I sure hope that Zenyatta or Rachel don't have so much tomboyish qualities that it affects their broodmare careers. Although the biggest hurdle, like I mentioned before, could be their special qualities that make them harder to match with stallions. Or the big strides or giant hearts that are not guaranteed to be passed along in the genetic lottery. Not to be depressing or anything, I hope for the best. But even more reasons to think about keeping the race career going for a bit.

    You guys all write with so much enthusiasm and feeling for the specific horses. It's such a break from racing politics, surfaces, ect.

    Another filly that we are blessed with another year- Goldikova.

  10. Anon,

    Interesting comparison between Semenya and the equines. Can they test RACHEL and/or ZENYATTA to find out if they could be in the same condition? That would certainly make it easier to keep a filly or mare in training instead of going to the breeding shed.

    As for the "dream race", it'll never happen...heard John Shirreffs on the radio today. While the question of racing wasn't posed, retirement was discussed as if there was no shot at her running again. Too bad for us.