Friday, October 15, 2010

The Secretariat World Cup

Good afternoon ladies and gentleman, and welcome to the pride of Kentucky, Churchill Downs! The weather is perfect with the temperatures in the mid fifties and the is sun shining brightly down on the field. The turf is firm and the horses are ready to rumble!

Today's race, the Secretariat World Cup, is run over the lawn at nine furlongs. Leading the field as the horses come out onto the track is Japan sensation, Deep Impact. The son of Sunday Silence has a wicked closing kick and is looking like he's ready to give us a show today. Next in line is Ouija Board. The world traveling mare has won many great victories, including two Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turfs. Number three is Sea the Stars, the 2009 Arc champion who has yet to be fully extended.

Leading the Americans is the mighty Curlin. The handsome son of Smart Strike claimed the Dubai World Cup and Breeders Cup Classic among his great victories. Next is the unbeaten Zeeennnnnnnyyyaaattaaaaaa! The dancing daughter of Street Cry, the only filly or mare to ever capture the Breeders Cup Classic, looks like she's really on the muscle today. Now comes Rachel Alexandra the GREAT! The blazed faced filly who stole hearts across America with her historical 2009 season looks to be ready for a big performance. Next in line is the only horse in the field that can stand toe to toe with Zenyatta, the speedy Quality Road. This year's Donn, Met Mile and Woodward victor is looking absolutely stunning today. Now for the last of the Americans, the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup Classic runner-up, the tough as nails, Hard Spun.

The final three of this all star line up are Zarkava, the 2008 Arc de Triumph hero, Henrythenavigator, who dominated at a mile in Europe before placing second in the 2008 Breeders Cup Classic. Lastly comes the European sensation, Goldikova. Ever since emerging out of Zarkava's shadow she has been absolutely dazzling, winning 11 group/grade one races, including two Breeders Cup Miles.

The field has now reached the gate and is beginning to load. First to go in are Deep Impact and Goldikova and now here go the rest of them. Quality Road balks slightly, but now goes in quietly. Last to load is Zenyatta, and now she goes in and they are all set......AND THEY'RE OFF!

Quality Road and Hard Spun break alertly with Rachel Alexandra not far behind them, while Zenyatta and Deep Impact drop to the tail of the field. On the lead Quality Road and Hard Spun are going at it, with Rachel Alexandra, moving a couple lanes out, tracking them closely. Next comes Curlin and just off him is Goldikova. Then comes a break of about two lengths to Sea the Stars and Zarkava who are running stride for stride. Then comes Ouija Board and Henrythenavigator, with Deep Impact and Zenyatta bringing up the rear.

The first quarter goes in a solid 23 flat with Quality Road getting a narrow lead over Hard Spun. Rachel Alexandra advances slightly, traveling comfortably, just off of Hard Spun's flank. After a half in 46 and 2/5 Hard Spun moves back up to pressure, while the rest of the field begins to make their runs. As they head into the far turn, here comes Rachel Alexandra. She's only a half length off the lead and is still traveling very easily. Curlin now follows her as they fly through three quarters in 1.09 and 1/5 seconds!

With three furlongs left to run, Goldikova finds a small seam between Curlin and Rachel Alexandra. Now here comes the Calvary charge as the Euros begin to advance. They hit the top of the stretch and it's Rachel Alexandra who strikes the front, with Curlin and Goldikova in hot pursuit. With a fresh burst of energy, here come Zarkava and Sea the Stars, still running neck and neck down the center of the track. Zenyatta is doing her best now, but it won't be enough today.

A furlong left to run and it's still Rachel Alexandra with a narrow lead. Curlin can not go on, but here comes Sea the Stars! Now with a stunning rally here comes Deep Impact, flying after the leaders! Only half a furlong to go and it's Rachel Alexandra and Sea the Stars, but can they hold off Deep Impact? He is coming like a freight train! Time is running out, but here comes Deep Impact, coming with one final late surge, taking the lead and hitting the wire in front. Two lengths back comes Sea the Stars who narrowly out fought Rachel Alexandra for second by 3/4's of a length.

What a race ladies and gentleman, truly one for the ages.

Order of Finish: Deep Impact (2), Sea the Stars (3/4), Rachel Alexandra (head), Zarkava (1.5), Goldikova (neck), Ouija Board (1), Curlin (3/4), Zenyatta (2), Henrythenavigator (1/2), Hard Spun (1), Quality Road.

Final Time: 1.46 and 2/5


  1. Very Nice LDP, I am glad Rachel got up for 3rd, very impressive, Zenyatta's finish kinda seems in line with what she'll run into at the Breeders Cup in 3 weeks. Mark my words it could get ugly out there quick.

  2. Would love to see that race, although I would have a different finish. Here is my complaint though, I have been following racing for a long time and two changes in racing really bother me, the first is how few times horses race today and the second is the steady shortening of races. I am old enough to remember when the Jockey Club Gold Cup was 2 miles and the Breeders Cup Distaff was 1 1/4 miles. Today it seems that every race is run at 1 1/8 miles. Our champions, even in fantasy races like this one, need to prove themselves at the classic distances of 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 miles. Maybe next year the Secretariat World Cup should be at 1 1/4 miles.

  3. Mike,

    I do agree with you on both your complaints. I made the race 9 furlongs to make the distance more fair. No horse was really suited for the race. Curlin, Deep Impact, Ouija Board, Sea the Stars, and Zarkava are all horses who excelled at 10 furlongs or longer. Goldikova and Henry are milers to most, while many believe Hard Spun, Quality Road, and RA may have been best at a mile to 8.5 and that 9 furlongs was their limit.

  4. A great line-up for sure, but Curlin finishing behind Rachel Alexandra, Goldikova, Ouija Board, Zarkava, Deep Impact and Sea the Stars? He loved Churchill Downs, had more speed than people give him credit for (Preakness anyone) and was not devastating at only 1 1/4 miles. Sea the Stars and Zarkava were great horses but never raced on dirt and were far too lightly campaigned, Rachel Alexandra never came close to facing the caliber of horse that Curlin was.
    Ouija Board wasn't even in the same class as many of these in my honest opinion.
    I know you know all this already, I just have to defend my boy Curlin! (:
    Personally I would probably choose Curlin and Hard Spun to round out any exacta in a classic race no matter the field, the 2007 crop was "the sky is the limit" type of crop.

    Nice job, you certainly got us talking! (:

  5. Brian,

    The race was over turf if it were over dirt then Curlin would've been much closer IMO. Not because he wasn't good on grass, in this race i said all horses handled the surface, it was his running style. He did have a magnificant turn of foot, but on turf it's harder to keep up that burst for a longer distance. Turf plays to to those who wait and then have the quickest strongest burst.