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Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Power of Zen

When in Los Angeles and you speak of the power of Zen, one usually thinks of super coach Phil Jackson of the Lakers. Not this weekend. There’s not much more that can be said or written about what I and 58,844 of my closest friends witnessed yesterday at Santa Anita Park. It was truly a majestic win in what can be called the Sport of Queens for the racing year 2009. Five year old mare Zenyatta certainly didn’t disappoint the hometown patrons who showed up en masse on a beautiful day at the Great Race Place. I can certainly say I came away a believer and with a lot less dough than I came with, but to witness history in the making was certainly one of the coolest things I’ve seen in my brief sojourn as a racing fanatic and well worth the trip to La La Land. Not only did trainer John Shireffs pull off the Double-Double for the two 2009 Classics (Female and Male) but he became the first trainer to train a filly or mare winner in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Cheers to the connections as they truly had her ready to roll and she ate up every minute of it. I was aboard Colonel John (son of two time Classic winner Tiznow) and Gio Ponti (thanks JB!) and had Twice Over in my exotics, but just didn’t think she could get the distance, not to mention I’m not Mike Smith’s biggest fan. She sure did prove me and many others wrong. The only downside to it all is we have to go through three months of Horse of the Year blather, I'm going to leave it up to the voters, cuz my opinion matters not. Why can't folks just savor the moment, I know I certainly will?
We had another spectacular day at the track and finally had a couple winners early to ease the damages, but overall I had difficultly trying to figure out the Pro Ride, the Euro invaders and how the East Coast horses would fare. That’s the name of the game on the big race days now with the three surfaces (you could argue more as each synthetic has its own idiosyncrasies). Regardless, we had an absolute blast and I have memories to treasure for a lifetime that will certainly have a place on the shelf in my top ten sporting events Space List.

We frequented the paddock for most of the day, so here’s Breeders' Cup Day Two in pictures:

We were on fire early so they brought in the locals to cool us off…would like to report that it worked.

Juvenile Turf winner Pounced ($6.80) parading in the paddock.

Turf Sprint winner California Flag ($8.80)

EquiSpace favorite Canadian Ballet…whoops Alan you’re on too soon….get off! She ran very respectful race and was in the hunt until the stretch drive. She did the boys from Obviously NY Stables very proud with the 5th place finish.

Dancing in Silks chillin’ in the paddock. Don’t you hate when you have a horse highlighted and starred in your Form and then don’t use her? Ugh. Did have show bets on Crown of Thorns and Cost of Freedom, but a big opportunity was missed here.

25-1 longshot Dancing in Silks ($52.60) making her move in the stretch drive to overtake 15-1 Crown of Thorns.

Garret Gomez on Lookin at Lucky in the post parade, nipped at the wire in the Juvenile by Vale of York. He ran a great race from the 13 post having to overcome a 7 wide clubhouse turn.

Two time BC Mile champ Goldikova making her patented stretch move just beyond the eighth pole.

How happy is Goldi’s connections doing the post race victory lap?

As predicted, Ready’s Echo blew up all my exotics in the Dirt Mile, here’s Calvin Borel up in the post parade.

Presious Passion first time by us – hey where’s everyone else? Still amazed he hung on for the placing after those crazy early fractions.

Mrs. Stronach not lookin’ so happy.......wonder why?

Zenyatta ruling the paddock like royalty.

Gio Ponti looked terrific in the jam packed paddock before the Classic.

They break in the Classic and Regal Ransom grabs the early lead.

Mighty Zenyatta with Mike Smith making his move on the outside on their way to victory

That’s a wrap on a great weekend in the City of Angels, hope you enjoy the pics.

Lastly, big kudos to the Breeders’ Cup for putting on quite a show.

1 Comment:

Scott Jagow said...

Gene, thanks for the link to my blog. We should chat sometime. Feel free to email me -


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