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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Saturday, November 06, 2010


Long Live the Queen


(LOUISVILLE, KY - November 6, 2010) The only people unsure of Zenyatta’s future after the Breeders’ Cup Classic are her owners Jerry and Ann Moss and the trainer John Shirreffs. Everyone else is calling today’s race the unbeaten mare’s last. You’d be ill advised to assume that we’ll have seen the last of the world’s favorite Thoroughbred if she wins with ease beneath the shadows of the Twin Spires. The show business people that they are, the Mosses may not shut the sport’s biggest act down simply because the current run is over.

The Fantasticks ran 42 years and had 17,162 performances. The Mousetrap began in ’52 and has seen the curtain rise over 24,000 times. “This has been a horse that’s been loved and nurtured for a long time and is putting it all on the line,” Shirreffs noted about Zenyatta in a morning new conference a few days ago. “Her participation raises the sport to a different level,” he said.

Cautious optimism is the tenor of turf writers in the media center. Not one person begins an answer to the question of will she or won’t she win without saying, “Well, I hope she does, but…” Even the most fervent admirers admit the Classic field will be tough to beat – Lookin at Lucky, Blame and Quality Road being the obvious threats to the defending champion’s win skein.

Winning from behind the way she does is tricky business. Blame and Fly Down could block her path to the wire because they’ll be attempting the same route. Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith is accustomed to gauging her last-seconds dash against less resolute types. Will his patent patience last a smidgeon too long? It’s called horse racing, isn’t it?

Regardless, the final few hours before the denouement will be as rich in expectation as any the sport has given its fans. This Breeders’ Cup has encountered a fistfight between jockeys in the winner’s circle, several upsets of its brightest stars, Life At Ten’s mysterious circumstances and the defection by Workforce for dubious reasons. A coronation can put the thoughts of all those troubles behind. Zenyatta’s the Queen until somebody beats her or says that she’s finished. Expect neither of those things to happen.

Vic Zast's TrackWords column on Monday will recap the entire Breeders' Cup. This Breeders' Cup was the 27th in a row that he's attended.





Written by Vic Zast

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