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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 MSNBC.com, a columnist for the Illinois Racing News and has written on racing for ESPN.com, 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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Thursday, November 04, 2010


As Temperatures Drop, Activity Heats Up


(LOUISVILLE, KY – November 4, 2010) Churchill Downs is dressed in purple. The names of Breeders’ Cup sponsors are everywhere. In the frosty mornings, the steam rising from conversation reminds everyone that winter is near. The temperatures are turning colder by the hour. Daytime highs are hitting new lows. Today’s temperature is expected to reach only 53, tomorrow’s only 43. There will be a rush to buy blankets by the people with seats in the open air.

Workforce, despite his expensive flight, is unlikely for the Turf. No Arc winner has ever won a Turf or Classic, so it’s little surprise. The “no-give” in the turf course is the complaint of his trainer. From the stands it looks emerald and lush, but Sir Michael Stoute says its bone-jarring. Over the years, the Europeans have learned to send horses that don’t mind a firm course. Goldikova and Midday, for example, should be pleased with the going. Garrett Gomez, who took Al Khali for a spin, told trainer Bill Mott it was perfect.

The dirt track is fast and speed is holding. Yet it appears to Zenyatta’s liking. The unbeaten star of this year’s Breeders’ Cup had her first local gallop on Wednesday and her exercise rider Steve Willard said afterward, “She’s terrific, she couldn’t be training better.” Willard said the horse was pushing off and moving forwardly with every step of her workout. He considered her action improved from the way it was on the synthetic track. Is that possible? Expectations are running high in the six-year-old mare’s camp.

Later, in the afternoon, Zenyatta was schooled in the paddock. Jerry and Ann Moss joined several hundred onlookers for yesterday’s second race. They were there to see her, not the $10,000 claimers being saddled or Blind Luck, another Breeders’ Cup race favorite that was also getting a feel of the premises. Zenyatta obliged them by doing nothing. With trainer John Shirreffs standing guard, she edged to the back of the stall, filled its horizontal space as if she was wallpaper and stood motionless for nearly 20 minutes.

Vic Zast will be posting something new from Louisvville intermittedly, usually by 11:00 am each morning. Keep checking FastWords.

Written by Vic Zast

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