Ok, I'm done being nice for now, it's time to get back to what I do so well, inspire controversy. Today I read something, stating that, maybe, Ventura has a valid claim on the female championship honors. At first I though, no way no how, not with Zenyatta's Classic win. Then, I started thinking, recalling what races Ventura has entered and how she had done, and then came to the conclusion, that yes, she has a very real case for Champion older female.
Like many think when looking at Zeyatta vs Rachel, I think the same when I put Ventura and Zenyatta side by side. Zenyatta's sole claim to fame this year is a win in the Breeders Cup Classic, where she was the first female to pull off the Herculean feat. Though, Ventura also was the first to accomplish something this year, she was the first to win the Woodbine Mile. In this field she beat Fernley, who was fresh off his Del Mar Mile win, Bribon, one of the most formidable milers in America, and the Woodbine loving Rahy's Attorney. In this race she was in a horrible position at the top of the lane, and didn't look to have any hope at coming anywhere close to winning. Then, it was like somebody had lit a fuse and she was the bomb. In the blink of an eye, Ventura went from zero to hero, flying up on the outside, like a bat out of, well you know where, to win the Woodbine Mile drawing away.
All of her races this year have been competed at the Grade one level, and unlike some this year, they actually included some Grade one competition. She has raced from California, to Kentucky, to Canada, then back to California, facing the best there is to offer, and never finishing worse than second. She raced over both turf and synthetics, racing over Pro-Rid, Poly, and Cushion Track. Her three losses were dealt by two horses, the likely turf and older male champion, Gio Ponti and the synthetic sprinting sensation Informed Decision. Two of those losses came by margins of a neck and a nose. She face males twice this year once coming in second, then next surging late to get up for the win.
When beaten by Informed Decision, one could say that she was running a bit below her best distance, since both of her losses came on the synthetic at seven furlongs, when Ventura, herself was best going a mile on the turf, where she lost once by a nose to Gio Ponti, out of three tries. She was classy as could be, versatile, and showed up in each and every race. In the Filly and Mare Sprint, she put in a powerful rally, but ran out of ground when trying to catch her speedball rival Informed Decision. To run in the races she competed in, and to remain as consistent as she has deserves a good look, when deciding the end of the year championship honors.
Zenyatta's fans will probably rip me apart for saying this but even with her unbeaten season, Zenyatta's overall campaign pales in comparison to Ventura's. The only real horse Zenyatta beat in her first four starts this season was Life is Sweet, who did come back to win the Ladies Classic, but other than that, there is not a single filly that Zenyatta beat, who came back to win another graded stakes. Zenyatta stayed in one state all year, racing on surfaces that everyone knew she was comfortable on. Her only real tough race was the Classic, and though that race was a fantastic race, one cannot win an award based off of one race, especially when others have dominated more.
Ventura's record weighs so much more than Zenyatta's, yet it is still a longshot that she will get the award. Ventura race more, and overall against more, on their turf. She did not wait for anybody to come to her. When looking at the seasons, Zenyatta's Classic was great, but before that, what did she really do to beat a horse as sensational and consistent as Ventura. I'm sorry to say, but I think Ventura deserve to be the 2009 Champion Older Female.