Friday, September 17, 2010

Zenyatta vs Mighty Mouse

The grade one Lady's Secret just got a whole lot more interesting when Jerry Hollendorfer announced that leading 3 year old filly, Blind Luck, was nominated to the event. The unbeaten Zenyatta, who has been training like the champion she is, has also been pointed to this race for some time.

The Lady's Secret had seemed to be another foregone conclusion. Zenyatta would be entered, she'd drop to the tail of the field the majority of the race, start her run on the far turn, then canter by her hopelessly outclassed opponents. With the possible addition of Blind Luck, things look a whole lot more interesting.

Both Blind Luck and Zenyatta have the exact same running style. Both like to drop to the tail of the field before unleashing a furious rally that leaves their rivals dizzy. After that the similarities stop. Zenyatta is a giant of a mare with the stride the size of Texas. It may take her a while to get that big caboose of her's in gear, but when she does she comes flying down that stretch like a freight train. Over her three year career, Zenyatta has been kept in the cozy confines of her home state California for all but two starts. She only ventured outside her female division once, and that was the 2009 Breeders Cup Classic, where she became the first filly in the history of the race, to win.

Blind Luck is by no means a giant. She is a small but agile filly. She may not be the quickest at the start of the race, but she has plenty of boom boom pow when she makes her run. Just watch the 2009 Hollywood Scarlet or this years Kentucky Oaks. Explosive is an understatement when the term is applied to the plucky little filly. Unlike Zenyatta, she has had her fair share of traveling. This year alone she went from California to Arkansas to Kentucky, before shipping back to California, then shipping to Delaware then New York. You could say she's been around the block a time or two. What she does lack is a win over males, but other than that, it is hard to fault such a full schedule.

If the two do in fact meet in the Lady's Secret we can all expect a stretch run for the ages. The distance of 8.5 furlongs favors neither one, since both seem to prefer going longer. It will have to be a race of strategy by the jockey before the two closers hit the stretch.

As mentioned earlier, Blind Luck is much smaller, but her small size makes it so much easier to go from 5th to 1st gear in the blink of an eye, where as Zenyatta's massive proportions may need some more time to unwind into that big ground, ground eating stride. Chances are Blind Luck will get the jump on her elder and will try to as hard as she can to fend her off. With the distance being only 8.5 furlongs, Blind Luck may just be able to hold off the big mare, if Mike Smith waits a second too long before giving his mare the green light.

Either way, we can all expect a race to the finish. So, who will it be, if the connections of Blind Luck decide to take a chance? Will it we the princess in waiting, Blind Luck or will be Queen Zenyatta, whose nose crosses the wire first?


  1. I would love, love, love for Blind Luck to run against Zenyatta in the Lady's Secret. Just seeing them side by side in the starting gate would be a hoot!
    Alas, I don't think it's in the cards. Blind Luck's trainer Jerry Hollendorfer told the Thoroughbred Times he's just keeping his options open.

    "Trainer Jerry Hollenderfer said Blind Luck has been nominated to the Lady’s Secret Stakes (G1), the race two-time champion Zenyatta is targeting next on October 2, but a showdown is not necessarily in the offing.
    “You nominate to keep your options open, to cover all your bases, and if Zenyatta doesn’t run maybe you would run,” Hollendorfer said."

    What a race that would be, though!

  2. CV,

    I just the article today. However, I, and the rest of the racing community can still hope. Hollendorfer may have a change of heart after a couple of weeks. Giving away 10lbs is hard enough for speed horses or stalker, but even harder for a closer that is normally smaller than most of her competition. In the LS she would be getting weight from Zenyatta, so there may just be a small chance :)

  3. I understand Blind Luck would be carrying 124 pounds in the Cotillion, vs. what, 120 in the Lady's Secret? Plus, she's already at Hollywood Park.

    I hope your "small chance" plays out! They could bill it as the "battle of the closers." ;)

  4. It would be nice, but alas, it looks likely not to happen. I would have been very interested to see what the outstanding youngster could do against the queen.

  5. CV,

    I'm not sure exactly what she would be carrying in the LS, but yes the 124 is what she would carry in the Cotillion, where she would also carry 10lbs more than HDG, the filly she beat by a neck in the Alabama.

    The Battle of the Closers... I like it :)

    Brian I will hope until it is confirmed she is entered in something other than the Lady's Secret. I'm hoping that if i wish hard enough they will race one another. Afterall, I still haven't made my birthday wish, so maybe this can be it :)

  6. Dani,

    Will you settle for BLIND LUCK vs. RACHEL ALEXANDRA in the Ladies' Classic? The last two Kentucky Oaks winners squaring off really makes Breeders' Cup Friday must-see TV!

  7. I've been hearing the BL won't go in the Lady's Secret and the Cotillion it is. I suppose the connections would prefer to go on the road again and take up the extra weight as opposed to meeting the big mare, but I don't really know what went into the thinking.

    I'd love to see the two horses meet in the LS, but it would be quite a test for BL if she give weight in the Cotillion and still wins, which I think she can.

  8. Rob,

    I would settle for it, but "The Battle of the Closers" as CV put it, would be IMO even more exciting, just because it would be a stretch running match race.

    If RA were to run in the Ladies Classic, I sure hope Calvin rates her this this time, though, she did run LAT into the ground and had still held Persistently off by the 9 furlong marker, so who knows.


    I don't think she can't win with the extra weight, she seems to get there no matter what the circumstances are over dirt. However if she were to lose, I think it would be better to lose to Queen Z than it would be to HDG.

  9. The racing community?

    I don't think you speak for us.

    We're all waiting for the big showdown that will be nationally televised and it would be in OUR best interest for Zenyatta to go in undefeated.

  10. Anon,

    Where do I speak for you or anyone else and why does it bother you so much?

    I'm not say Zenyatta would get beat, just saying that if this were to happen that it would be a great race. Racing cannot rely on one or two big races a year to keep fans interested. We need our stars to face off and keep things interesting as much as possible.

    That is why races like Blame vs QR, RA vs LAT, RT vs Blame are so welcome right now. This race would be no different.