“Which was the most impressive winning performance by a runner pointing for the Breeders’ Cup Classic?”
The answers were Haynesfield in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Lookin At Lucky’s Indiana Derby, Richard’s Kid’s Goodwood, and Zenyatta’s Lady’s Secret triumph.
As of this writing guess who was in the lead? Zenyatta (who got 48 percent of the vote) would beat out Mother Theresa if it came down to it. However, the Zenyatta fans would somehow find a way to complain should Mother Theresa win an end-of-year honor blaming an East-coast bias for the votes. The Blogosphere would light up. Mother Teresa was from India, for crying out loud! It doesn’t get more East Coast than the eastern hemisphere.
The only race I was not able to watch was the Goodwood and with only 5 percent of the vote from readers, he doesn’t merit any such attention. I can do Zenyatta, but Richard’s Kid strikes me as the overachiever who keeps working on his calculus past the bell. Frankly, he’s the kid you cheat off of ... then beat up for having the wrong answers. Richard’s Kid will never get the girl. In fact, he will likely be the one Zenyatta talks to about her jerk boyfriend ditching her, while she listens to “Free Fallin’” and wishing “she could meet a nice guy like you.’
So ... we won’t talk about Richard’s Kid anymore.
Zenyatta’s Lady’s Secret, while a fan favorite, was not the most impressive race. How she gets her sweet can to the line before anyone else is beyond me. With a 1/16th of a mile to go, how does Mike Smith find the acceleration in this mare? You know what I think? I think Zenyatta knows what she’s doing. I think it’s like an infielder scooping up a groundball and waiting.
Then unleashing a pea and getting the runner by a half step. He always knew he had it, but he strung you along. She does close into any pace and stands to be the overwhelming favorite come November. She’s Horse of the Year toDAY. I love her, but rooting for Zenyatta is like rooting for the flu.
Now what about Haynesfield? He did it all on his own with Ramon Dominguez controlling the pace like a pilot. Where was the other speed? Rail Trip gave it the old college try but got a case of senioritis. Dominguez set splits of 24, 48, 1:13, 1:37, and 2:02. He didn’t run a single quarter mile faster than 24 seconds! Not exactly Ghostzapper, but, hey, it wasn’t exactly eatin’ at Arby’s either.
That leaves Lookin At Lucky. Listen. I know it was like Kobe Bryant hitting a jumper in the face of Stephen Hawking, but did you see the ground he had to make up? This son of Smart Strike took the scenic route, the parkway, the back roads (Springsteen’s Backstreets), the dirt roads, spotting the leader some eight lengths by swinging as far out as he did into the middle of that muck. He bulled ahead and won by over a length.
So, Zenyatta put in a charge late. Boring. What’s 19? The impossible hand in cribbage. Can’t get it.
Haynesfield was spirited, but he’ll find much more speed at Churchill Downs.
I don’t know. Lookin At Lucky came off that turn like a satellite in orbit and showed his class. He was wider than Aretha Franklin.
Ooo, now there’s an image.
Brendan O’Meara blogs about horse racing here at HRI and at The Carryover. He also blogs about narrative nonfiction and his book project Six Weeks in Saratoga and The Last Championship at The Blog Itself where he tirelessly awaits a willing publisher. Follow him on Twitter @BrendanOMeara. His Web site is http://www.brendanomeara.com.