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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Friday, November 05, 2010


Two Special Ladies - Really!


(LOUISVILLE, KY – November 5, 2010) The Breeders’ Cup has had a difficult time getting people to think of its Friday program as Ladies Day. Unlike horse racing in other parts of the world where the emphasis is on fashion, US horse racing organizers believe Ladies Day means filling their cards with races for fillies and mares – as if the sport would mean more to women if animals of their gender were contestants.

Even if that was the case, and it’s not, the two best female horses at the Breeders’ Cup this year - Zenyatta and Goldikova - will be running on Saturday. Nevertheless, two ladies in waiting showed their higher-placed sisters their heels in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf and the Ladies Classic. Midday came into her race as the lock of the night and she couldn’t get past Shared Account. Blind Luck went off 8-5 and got beat by a bigger margin. Her problem was Unrivaled Belle.

Shared Account, a four-year-old daughter of Pleasantly Perfect, showed her class in the stretch of the Filly and Mare Turf. Up close to the pace for most of the 1-1/2 mile race, she snuck through on the rail at the eighth pole and prevailed by a neck to win the bulk of the $2 million purse. Few bettors gave her a chance from the start. She paid $94.00.

Owner Kevin Plank, who has made Sagamore Farm – the once venerable home of the Vanderbilts – Shared Account's home, gave equal amounts of praise to the filly’s entire team. But jockey Edgar Prado and trainer H. Graham Motion certainly deserve more than others. Prado has ridden the horse nine times, won three times, and finished behind other horses six times by fewer than 12 lengths in total. Motion has coaxed 11 in the money finishes from 16 starts from the bay Keeneland Sales grad.

Thomas Queally, aboard Midday, said, “No, the trip didn’t beat her. The filly that finished first beat her.” All day long, Midday was the one name on everyone’s lips. Obviously, the horse that was given that name is in everyone’s wallets now. Winning two Breeders’ Cups in a row is something that only 10 horses have done. In failing to become number 11, she wasn’t embarrassed.

Unrivaled Belle, the Ladies Classic winner, has been as consistent as you’d want from a runner. She’s hit the board 11 of 12 tries in her life, but managed her long odds today because Blind Luck’s been 15 of 15. The world first heard from her when she knocked Rachel Alexandra off in the Gr. 2 La Troienne Stakes. In this her second start at Churchill Downs, she’s now perfect in Louisville.

Uncharacteristically, jockey Kent Desormeaux didn’t have Unrivaled Belle in her usual pace pressing spot at the beginning. But he took the lead with his Unbridled’s Song filly heading into the last turn and kept widening his lead until Blind Luck just couldn’t overcome it.

Critics of Blind Luck will say that facing older horses is what did the 3-year-old filly in. That might not have been what it was. Trainer Bill Mott had the winner’s circle in mind for Unrivaled Belle for quite some time and he found it. “She was really full of run,” Desormeaux said. “What surprised me about today was how she sat behind horses.” There were no horses before her at the finish.

Vic Zast will be back with more from Churchill Downs tomorrow.


Written by Vic Zast

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