Friday, October 30, 2009
Zenyatta and Ghostbusters
In 1984 (how ominous) the movie Ghostbusters hit theaters as a band of four men, not unlike firefighters, burst onto the scene to bag supernatural ghouls. One such Ghostbuster, the more professorial of the quartet, developed a proton pack of positively charged particles (think silly string) to stun the ghost before trapping him for good. His name was Egon Spengler
If Spengler taught us anything it was that with the proton packs it was suicide to cross streams while honing in on a ghoul. The results were disastrous, not to mention the verbal lashing one would get from the other three Ghostbusters — Ray, Peter and Winston. “There’s something very important I forgot to tell you,” Spengler says. "Don't cross the streams... It would be bad... Try to imagine all life as you know it will stop instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light."
Yes, even after those seemingly useless words, there is a point and it is a plea to the connections of Zenyatta to do the right thing: run her in the Ladies Classic.
To run her in the Classic against the boys, who have as much testosterone as Giselle and Perez Hilton combined, would be greedy and potentially fatal to her legacy.
The Moss’s and trainer John Shirreffs must be devising ways that they can wrest the presumed Horse of the Year title away from Rachel Alexandra, the only way possible being to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic. To compete with Rachel’s accolades would be foolish because Zenyatta’s portfolio stands on its own.
She has tied Personal Ensign’s record of 13 straight victories all while remaining unbeaten. Not only that, but she has a chance to retire unbeaten and in that last race break Personal Ensign’s record in bob at the wire. Why wouldn’t you do this?
Zenyatta’s best distance has proven to be eight and a half furlongs to nine furlongs. To ask the Street Cry mare to go 10 furlongs against horses like Summer Bird, Einstein, Mine That Bird and Quality Road — who are just heating up at eight a half — is unrealistic and unfair.
Zenyatta’s pedigree would suggest that she can get the distance, Street Cry having sired Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, but she would be asked to do it for the first time in the biggest race of the year with other horses who are proven at the distance.
Her wild card is that she loves the surface. But will her love affair with Mr. Pro-Ride carry that extra 200-300 yards? With the win streak on the line, she’d better stay home.
Should Zenyatta stay in the Ladies Classic, she will likely win and cement herself as one of the greatest mares of all time (isn’t she already?), a sure-fire Hall of Famer. Should she run in the Ladies Classic, it will not cheapen her legacy, rather it will strengthen it. Her legacy is on a separate track and on a separate tier, albeit a notch lower than Rachel Alexandra’s. Being a bride’s maid, in this case, is no slap in the face.
The worst part, even if Zenyatta won the Classic, it would not lock her as Horse of the Year. She’ll get votes, but she will not surpass a 3-year-old filly who won at Oaklawn, Fairgrounds, Churchill Downs, Pimlico, Belmont, Monmouth and Saratoga while beating sophomore colts twice and the older males once ... on dirt — a minute detail not lost on voters.
Zenyatta, win your 14th race in a row, cement your already Juno-esque legacy, and let us enjoy you for you and Rachel for Rachel. Let there be a two-horse town.
Egon would be proud and breathe a deserved sigh of relief.