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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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Tuesday, December 21, 2010


On the Ninth Day of Christmas, a Triple Crown Hope


(SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – December 21, 2010) Winning the Triple Crown has never been easier. So a Triple Crown winner in 2011 is a wish with a reasonable chance to come true. “What?” you ask, believing the possibility incredible. The last Triple Crown winner was Affirmed 32 years ago.

Well, modern horse training tactics are such that trainers shy away from races two weeks apart. A trainer with a superior three-year-old, who can keep his horse healthy and moving forward right up to the Kentucky Derby, will find few Derby runners to beat for his Derby winner in the Preakness. Then it becomes simply a matter of conquering some late bloomers and plodders a mile and a half in the Belmont.

The obvious problem is that trainers squeeze the juice from the lemon too early. The less obvious problem, of course, is that a horse that could produce these results hasn’t run in the Derby recently. Eskendereya was the talk of the sport a year ago – the clear-cut favorite. Quality Road and I Want Revenge were the chalk the year before. None made it their business to race for the roses. This Christmas wish is that Uncle Mo does.

Uncle Mo won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with such ease that he’s automatically been given the burden of wearing the garland in May. In less than a month when the Jockey Club publishes its Experimental Handicap, the unbeaten colt will be high-weighted. To Honor and Serve, Boys At Tosconova and Comma to the Top will get props. The untested Brethren will ascend to the role of the wise guys’ selection. But fans everywhere say that Mike Repole’s son of the sire Indian Charlie is the head of this class – and a good class it seems to be now.

With the schneid off at last, trainer Todd Pletcher said Uncle Mo will race twice before heading to Louisville – once perhaps in a seven furlong sprint or a mile at one turn and then next in the Wood Memorial. Such wimpy auditions should suit the colt nicely. Based on how brightly the soon-to-be-named juvenile champ has shone, his connections must be dreaming of grandeur. But who knows how racing’s gods think?

If you've missed any of the previous 12 Days of Christmas wishes for the horse racing industry, simply move to the right hand margin of this page where the archives appear. You'll see the links there. See you tomorrow.



Written by Vic Zast

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