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I’m sure everyone knows about Rachel Alexandra right now

If not, go here.

Honestly, this is why sometimes horse breeding makes me nervous. I’ve had enough negatives to balance out the positives in my own personal experience being around broodmares at foaling time. Some minor complications are expected when a big baby is foaled, and my folks even had a mare die after an artificial insemination went poorly.

But enough of my harping. I hope to God that Rachel will be ok. She is  receiving the best of care and we all know how much of a fighter she is.

Sharing My “Zenyatta Moment”

I would just like to take this moment to say I CALLED IT.

It’s amazing how one horse has had such a profound effect on modern-day horse racing, and keeps having it despite having been retired more than a year now. It just goes to show that Zenyatta never was an ordinary horse despite what some had to say about the matter. The lives she touched, my own included, will never forget her and their own “Zenyatta moments.”

There was never a singular “moment” for me, but more a feeling and a long distance bond. My life was upside-down and in the gutter when I began to follow Zenyatta’s ascent to greatness. It gave me something to focus on rather than the bad I kept waking up to every morning for nearly two years. I bonded with Zenyatta in particular because she seemed to have such an optimistic, go get ‘em attitude and we were so similar physically— as someone who is 5’11”, I am taller than many, many boys and have been called “Amazon.”

I always like to say that I know when something’s good when I get goosebumps and a shiver from it (could be a movie, a song, etc). Her '09 Breeders' Cup Classic (I) was unforgettable and unbelievable, something worth re-watching again and again. Her clash against St. Trinians roaring on late in the '10 Vanity Handicap (I) paid tribute to pegasus roots. Her desperate duel against Switch in the '10 Lady's Secret Stakes (I), the crowd drowning out Vic Stauffer, was incredible.

But the race that seemed to perfect the equation was the one occasion she was not perfect: the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic (I). It was clear from the start and the way she was strafing her head side-to-side that the kickup was bothering her. My heart sank as she dropped farther and farther away from the leaders, more than she ever did before. The one horse who could beat her by the slimmest of noses landed the perfect trip, and had the wire been another jump away, Zenyatta would be standing next to Tiznow as the only dual-BC Classic winners. Nonetheless, that race stands as her finest hour and when I consider her entire body of work, she deserves her legendary status. What racehorse has done what she has done, in a day and age when she would have been retired to motherhood much sooner?

I really hope the Mosses have given a great deal of thought to the colt’s name… I really hate the sound of a name combo in this case (Zenardini, Bernyatta, ugh) and the popular choice of Driven To Tears sounds kind of depressing. The expansive (and at times kind of cuckoo) “Zenyatta Nation” anxiously awaits the start of something new with this colt, and hopefully, many more “moments” will be had.

Racing Beat: March 4

Something I am noticing: the best track cinematography/camera angles are at the smaller tracks. Nobody wants to watch the break FROM BEHIND, Gulfstream! Other big tracks can learn a thing or two from Golden Gate Fields and Sunland Park.

I’ll admit it; I was a little afraid when Hansen lost the Holy Bull and all the naysayers nagged Union Rags so much he dropped to second favoritism in the Fountain of Youth. Now that both are back to form, I can stop worrying about how stupid I *won’t* look putting both horses on the Derby Hopeful tee! ;)

The acting in Luck is one of the best things about the show, but good grief, how many scenes feature Dustin Hoffman talking while lying down on a bed?

Kentucky Oaks winner Flute is going to Lonhro for 2012. I suddenly feel good about the future of U.S. horse racing.

I deactivated Facebook a couple weeks ago, and being that I am a huge introvert, life is brighter seeing fewer trivial complaints from people I know. The most annoying part of not having it? Having to manually check Zenyatta's diary every few days for foal updates.

A blog I’d like to share that isn’t mine: Mad for Smarty, about a girl living the dream when she gets to adopt one of her favorite sons of one of her favorite racehorses.

The brilliant 3-year-old star Now I Know, whose career ended with an injury in the Martha Washington Stakes, is booked to Uncle Mo. Not a bad match, now where’s the rest of these breeders who are apparently filling Mo’s book at warp speed?

Millionreasonswhy raced over the weekend and I missed it.

I want that new Zenyatta shirt, but I think I’ll wait a bit to get it. I’ve been on a little spree lately with spending as it is.

Dat Soldat

Shotgun Gulch was one of those rare horses that I won with when she was a longshot 20-1 in a G1 race. I’ll miss you at the races, girl.

Debuts I can’t wait to see: Winter Memories. Tackleberry. Acclamation. Fed Biz in a stakes.

An early Oaks favorite: Zo Impressive!

Racing Beat: February 20

Psst… Derby Handicap Contest people… Fair Grounds has posted the Risen Star field for Friday early if you want to get a head start ;)

I realized yesterday that I have failed to pick the winner of every single three-year-old Derby prep so far, despite being on fire for the two-year-old preps. I AM WALLOWING IN MISERY! Union Rags, please don’t be the next glorious prospect to fail… I may die… To be fair though, a number of those races were run disastrously! Picks today for the Southwest Stakes: Cyber Secret and Castaway. (Edit: Oh wait, I did pick Alpha to win the Withers… maybe there’s hope!)

Haters gonna hate: the NYRA shot down the short-lived idea of anyone coloring Hansen's mane or tail like an M&M in time for the Gotham Stakes, stating it fell under a potentially “unfair advantage” equipment change ruling. Judging by the outcry, you'd think Dr. Hansen suggested that he wear a bonnet in the race. There’s always Photoshop.

Havre de Grace has a new little sister by Tiznow, likely to be sold just like the two-year-old colt Brabbham by Bernardini. Easter Bunnette, the dam of all, is scheduled to go to Medaglia d’Oro next… WAIT… someone NOT going to Bernardini?! What is this witchcraft??

I see a lot of stallion ads boasting auction figures, and I would just like to ask the world WHY, OH WHY is someone paying out the nose for an Unbridled’s Song? Or a Harlan’s Holiday? I see their progeny win from time to time, but by the millions spent on them you’d think they were the next A.P. Indy or something!

I loved Sabercat from the get-go after seeing images of him at the Breeders’ Cup, but now I have another Bluegrass Cat contender to add to the list: Michael Matz trainee Teeth of the Dog.

Any future historical films that may shoot at Santa Anita Park will have a hard time explaining the Zenyatta statue set to be erected this fall.

Speaking of Santa Anita filming, I’m in a bit of a slump watching HBO’s Luck. It’s a little slowly paced, and then— except for a few moments— it covers the mostly negative aspects of horse racing, which is not what I find entertaining. I expected them to do this, sadly.

If Havre de Grace, Awesome Feather, and Royal Delta all make it to the gate of the March 31 Rampart Stakes at Gulfstream, the purse is going to be $1 million. It will also result in self-abuse, as I kick myself for the umpteenth time for having to leave Florida.

I was honestly waiting for this news to break: sprinter Rodman is retired from racing. He was fast all right, but the way they were moving a now seven-year-old horse from one distance to another without much success whispers things in your ears. New York breeders will probably keep him.

Racing Beat: February 12

According to recent research, racehorses are getting slower while breaking down more often. More on that one this week.

My subconscious has a Derby favorite: I had a dream about El Padrino winning his next race in an enormous romp. Don’t take me seriously though… if you guys remember, my last race prediction dream picked Stay Thirsty to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic (I), where he ran last haha.

Javier Castellano picked to ride Algorithms in the Fountain of Youth (II) over Union Rags, who will be ridden by Julien Leparoux. He’s going to regret that decision…

After his huge Hutcheson win, Todd Pletcher intends to keep pointing Thunder Moccasin towards one-turn races. Thank God, someone has finally clued in that sprinters cannot win the Kentucky Derby… or the Preakness, like last year’s Hutcheson champ Flashpoint attempted to do only to wind up in epic fail-land.

I love trying to Google search So You Think only to get results for So You Think You Can Dance #fail

I think Hansen heard me talking crap about New York’s talent pool in its Derby prep races. He’s high-tailing it out of Florida to go beat up Alpha in the Gotham Stakes (III) next.

So Whitney Houston is dead. I’m frankly more concerned about the death of Refuse to Bend, sire of Sarafina and the winner of the 2,000 Guineas in France. One died at 48, the other was only 12! What’s more unfair?!

Dale Romans is serving a 7-day suspension in New York for a horse testing positive for phenylbutazone, or “bute”— an anti-inflammatory steroid. Certainly not the biggest deal in the world, but for the past several months or so (as I’ve voiced) I was under the impression a few times that Romans raced some horses a little too often when they were off their peak.

I can’t get over what a great race— for both watching and betting— the Donn Handicap (I) was. I just wish Shackleford did better, despite not putting any dough on him. Eh, I’ll live, two of my 2011 faves Hymn Book and Mission Impazible finished a close 1-2.

No one gives an eff about this weekend’s big races… not when Animal Kingdom is running over at Tampa Bay Downs on the 25th.

As much as I love seeing “bargain” colts like I’ll Have Another win big races, he looks like a miler to me after a very flukey Lewis Stakes.

Excuse me, you can take Take Charge Indy off the Kentucky Derby Future Wager now. He’s saving himself for the Belmont.

Racing Beat

I’m surprised that people are so surprised by Ultimate Eagle's win in the Strub Stakes (II). His connections said point-blank he was going to be their Derby horse originally, so why would he be terrible at dirt?

If you haven’t watched Luck yet, it’s worth a go. As with all HBO shows, keep the remote handy for fast-forwarding through awkward sex scenes.

I was crushed to see one of my favorite claimers at Aqueduct, Smarty Bull, run second yet again. She’s so cute and speedy!

Dr. Kendall Hansen claims Hansen's second in the Holy Bull was a good thing so Mike Maker can slowly get the colt to peak in time for the Derby. Add to the fact he gave away 6 pounds to Algorithms— who will unlikely ever get much of a break in the weights again— and he makes a decent case to keep believing in the champ.

Florida Derby preps are looking amazing talent-wise. California is going to get a boost when Creative Cause runs. New York… um… who is Alpha beating, exactly?

If you were on Twitter and missed the #fakeracingmovies, you missed out on a lot of fun. Caddyshackleford, The Empire Maker Strikes Back, Indian Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…

Now Del Mar wants to host the Breeders’ Cup. NO. NEW YORK IS CLOSER TO ME.

The hearing for that mongrel Kelsey Lefever has been postponed until February 21. She’s currently free to do as she pleases, including mislead more people into giving her their Thoroughbreds only to send them to slaughter.

Going to the Thoroughbred races, keeping "track" of the memories. Obsessively providing a comprehensive and personal glance at the sport of kings through original photography, handicapping analysis, editorials, and much more.

Tracks visited: Calder, Saratoga, Belmont, Suffolk, Aqueduct.


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