Vic Zast

From the perspective of being an owner, an industry pioneer in corporate sponsorship, a track president and fan, Vic Zast writes the "Destinations" column for The Blood-Horse. His five-star ratings of international events have shed light on racing in all corners of the globe - from England, Australia, Hong Kong, Dubai to Japan.

Vic is a regular contributor to, a columnist for the Illinois Racing News and has written on racing for, National Public radio and The Age, Australia's leading daily.

Vic makes his home in Chicago and lives in Saratoga Springs in August.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

And So the Breeders’ Cup Festivities Begin

(Louisville, KY – Wednesday, November 3, 2010) Seven of the 14 Breeders’ Cup race favorites were installed at morning line odds of 2-to-1 or lower. European invaders Midday in the Filly and Turf and Goldikova in the Mile are at 6-to-5. Zenyatta is 8-to-5 in the Classic.

Of the trainers most disappointed in their draws, Todd Pletcher didn’t like that Quality Road drew the post and Bob Baffert wasn’t pleased that Lookin at Lucky got the far outside. “It’s better than the one-hole,” Baffert said “If we’d drawn that I would have been getting bad vibes.”

The one-hole, of course, is where Lookin at Lucky started in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. The unlucky son of Smart Strike – the Preakness Stakes winner – was squeezed tightly toward the rail and then bumped repeatedly between the start and the first turn in the Derby. He ultimately finished sixth. Listed in the morning line at 6-to-1 vs. Zenyatta on Saturday, the colt is one of five three-year-old runners in the Classic field.

A throng of reporters and cameramen greeted Zenyatta at the airport upon her arrival. The unbeaten mare had her photo on the front page of the newspaper. There’s no doubt that the Breeders’ Cup is a far bigger deal here in Kentucky than at Santa Anita in Southern California, although the weather will be 40 degrees cooler. Nevertheless, once most of the day’s race-related goings-on were over, the city seemed just like any other – concerned with the election results. The Tea Party candidate Rand Paul won the U.S. Senate seat from Kentucky, beating the son of a prominent horse owner.

Hotel headquarters for the press is the Galt House downtown. Tuesday was the first day the hotel’s media room was in operation. About 70 dinners were served, mostly to members of the foreign press. There are shuttle busses available to take people back and forth to the track. There’s an overhead passageway that leads to the new KFC Yum Center, a block away, where country star Toby Keith will headline a party on Thursday evening.

For those who can’t wait until then for a drink, tonight the National Turf Writers Association hosts its annual Awards Dinner at the Muhammad Ali Center. The group honors Neil Milbert of the Chicago tribune for writing, Michael Blowen of Old Friends for meritorious service and former jockey Richard Migliore for his spirit. That should get things officially rolling.

Vic Zast will post an item from Louisville each morning before 11:00 am.

Written by Vic Zast

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