Monthly Archives: August 2009

Sports Fan Behavior?

Zenyatta going to the post in the Vanity (crystaldiamondk2)

It’s very curious to me that the either/or mentality that has, in my opinion, cast a pall over our country is alive and well in racing in the form of Rachel vs. Zenyatta. Zenyatta fans, of which I count myself, seem to be a bit miserable this week after Rachel’s win the Haskell.

One Zenyatta fan writes “I’m not ready to jump off the Zenyatta band wagon just yet” while another posts a comment here at GbG “I will be the first to admit as a huge Zenyatta fan that all you Rachel Alexandra people must be whooping it up right now after two mind-blowing performances in the Acorn and Haskell…”

Jump off the Zenyatta bandwagon in order to be a Rachel fan? You Rachel people must be whopping it up? What?? I don’t know about all y’all but I’m on BOTH bandwagons and will be whopping it up just as much when the mighty Zenyatta wins her TWELFTH race a row as I did for any Rachel win. Why is the assumption that if you are for one you are against the other?

No doubt “Zenyatta fans” (who think that they must somehow be against Rachel in order to be a Zenyatta fan) are feeling left out of the fun because her connections have not chosen to give her any challenges worthy of her greatness thus far this year. I know I would have loved to have seen Zenyatta cruise past Rail Trip in the Hollywood Gold Cup (except that I cashed a nice ticket on him), thus proving what we all already know about her… she’s friggin’ fierce.

And no doubt Jess Jackson’s on going refusal to run in the BC has “Zenyatta fans” nervous that they’ll never get the vindication that they seem to crave. While I want to see the two of them battle it out just as much as anyone else, I’m with Gary West & Val (check out her new kick ass site!) on the BC issue.

But back to my point, which is NOT about Jess Jackson and the BC (I suggest you jump into the comment thread here, if you’re interested in that topic). If this either/or mentality is what the industry is so dying to convert to racing, i.e., sports fans, let me just say that I’m not a fan.

Update: Val at Fillies First expands on this topic while Jessica at Railbird provides a spreadsheet tracking Zenyatta and Rachel’s 2009 campaigns.

Grand Slam of What?

(Charles Pravata)


Battle of Hastings, who has won the first two legs of the Grand Slam of Grass, is apparently not entered in the third leg that runs this weekend, the Secretariat. Not that you’d know about this by reading the coverage of the race as there is no mention of Battle of Hastings or why he’s not running.

As if it wasn’t already obvious enough that the relatively new Grand Slam of Grass was a bit under the radar, the connections of Battle of Hastings weren’t even there because of the series!

“To be honest, we didn’t know about the Grand Slam and all the bonuses until we got here” for the Turf Cup race, Ayers said. “We were just looking at the purse money. We figured we could race him at Hollywood for $100,000 or come to Virginia for $500,000. Like Mike said, it was pretty much a no-brainer.”

While it didn’t turn out so great for Colonial Downs this year, they already got what they needed from the series… decent races to anchor some marketing. Arlington doesn’t need the marketing juice with the Arlington Millions and Beverly D on the same card. So there you have it… perhaps we should start calling it the Half Slam of Grass?

That Time of the Month

(J R Webb)

On one hand the Del Mar cougar contest is harmlessly chuckle worthy and certainly in tune with at least some of their market. On the other hand, it’s just another example of how women in racing are frequently either reduced to their looks or perceived as not as skillful as their male counterparts… let’s review.

During the intro to Eddie Read on ESPN the voice over extolled the virtues of Del Mar while panning of shot of pretty young ladies dressed in summer hats…

“This seaside spa meet has it’s own beauty. Many notice it on two legs under hats”

Then there was the recent reminder that if a woman does happen to be talented, she’s “not just another pretty face“. And let’s not forget that no matter how talented she might be, she’s still perceived to be not as skillful as her male colleagues.

Meanwhile, while Rachel Alexandra is busy kicking every ass regardless of the genitalia that sits nearby, she’s (occasionally) getting called things like “Miss America“. Feh.

I’d like to take a moment to do two things:

1. Echo Barry Irwin’s recent sentiment shared over at Paulick’s and thank Jess Jackson, for purchasing Rachel Alexandra away from owners who would have never given her the opportunities she’s had to thrill us, precisely because she is a female.

2. Point out to all those pre-Preakness hand-wringers who seem to erroneously view sex as a safety issue that the great Rachel Alexandra is still very much with us… and the game is better off for it.

(Saratoga was great! Post coming soon.)