Breeders' Cup Recap Of Saturday—Blame Holds Off Zenyatta

Joseph CiracoCorrespondent INovember 7, 2010

Blame denies Zenyatta the Classic and 20 for 20
Blame denies Zenyatta the Classic and 20 for 20

I was absolutely devastated when Blame was still ahead of Zenyatta as the finish line appeared on my TV.  I was certain that as they turned for home, Zenyatta would overcome a questionable ride from jockey Mike Smith and a slower than usual break.


As it turned out, Blame showed that he's a world class horse by holding off the sentimental favorite and winning the sport's biggest race by the slimmest of margins.

All the doubters of Zenyatta should be silenced today—even with her loss.  Many people predicted she wouldn't hit the board because of her running style, talent and lack of experience on conventional dirt.

I firmly believe Zenyatta showed that she is a legitimate championship horse.  Spotting the field some 16 lengths, she roared from last and needed only another few yards to probably beat Blame.

What does this mean?  Blame deserves Horse of the Year without question.  His four wins in five starts this year, including at the biggest race in the sport, speaks for itself.  I was disappointed in his performance against Haynesfield last month but he responded like a true champion.

As for Zenyatta, she lost nothing in my eyes yesterday except for her perfect record.  Mike Smith adores her as much as I've seen any jockey care for a horse and he knows he cost her the race yesterday, but I forgive him.  He's a great jockey and that is part of the sport.

While Zenyatta lost, Goldikova was incredible in roaring by Sidney's Candy in the Breeders' Cup Mile yesterday and winning her third straight title.  I thought Ramon Dominguez did Gio Ponti no favor by keeping him a little to far back in the race and basically preventing him from having a chance to win.

Blame might have won the big race but I thought Uncle Mo was the most dominant horse we saw yesterday.  He romped home in 1:42.3 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, a better time for that distance than the Classic.  He's obviously the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby next year.

I underestimated Big Drama and enjoyed his easy win in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.  I didn't think he would wire the field at all but after running a 44.2 half mile and burying the early speed, he came home like a champion.

I thought Soldat would win the Juvenile Turf but Pluck overcame a bad start and passed Soldat in the stretch with ease finishing in 1:36.4.

Despite a fight between Calvin Borel and Javier Castellano on Friday and Rough Sailing being euthanized yesterday, the sport of Horse Racing was the big winner this weekend. 

Unfortunately in this great sport, the best horses often retire young, so we'll probably never end up seeing Blame on the track again.

As for Zenyatta:  thank you for so much.  I haven't loved a horse this much since Easy Goer who also broke my heart in the Classic when his jockey, Pat Day, also cost him the race.  As much as I'd love to see Zenyatta again and again, I hope her racing days are over.