Good For The Game

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 23, 2008 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

Peppers Pride – Any time a horse wins 19 in a row, it is good for the game, even if it is in New Mexico. Her appearances there helped to attract old and new race goers alike, and it proves that people will come out to see hometown heroes. The only negative is that there aren’t more classy, consistent horses across the country that could help attendance at other venues.

Zenyatta – She looks unbeatable, and next year the sky could be the limit. The problem is that the first time mainstream media heard her name, was at the Breeders Cup, where she decimated the field. That is sad too, because her other races this year were just as impressive, especially her win in the Apple Blossom over the always tough Ginger Punch. Ginger Punch is off to the breeding shed and will be missed, but Zenyatta will be back for more next year.

Curlin/Jess Jackson – It has been a long time that a Horse of the Year has returned, or even a three year old male champ (unless we count the geldings). Kudos to the connections of Curlin for even wanting a four year old campaign. Curlin did not disappoint, and rattled off victories in the Dubai World Cup, Stephen Foster, Woodward, and Jockey Club Gold Cup. His try on turf did not result in a win, but he was still very game, and his Classic was not as bad as it looked. His speed figures were still up there with the rest of his efforts. He just got beat by a better horse that day, in track record time.

Larry Jones – We shared his heartbreak over his filly’s tragic demise. He put a human face on a problem that is all too common in the game today. It was hard not to feel his pain, when he was so visibly shaken over the loss of Eight Belles. He showed the game is sometimes not as harsh as it appears, and the humans involved often really do love their equine charges.

The Ladies – Were ultra-consistent and exciting this year. Ginger Punch, Indian Blessing, Proud Spell, Music Note, Cocoa Beach and Zenyatta ran their hearts out this year. Stardom Bound (little Z around the barn) doesn’t appear to be letting the ladies down, and is poised to take the reins next year at three. Standing in her way are Zenyatta and Cocoa Beach, who will be tough to beat.

2009 is just around the corner. It brings renewed hope, and the sounds of thundering hooves dancing in our heads. The problems of our sport are being examined, and the feeling is that the winds of change will blow this year. Some will be good, and some may be bad. But overall, the change is needed. The saying of: “What you cannot change, will ultimately change you” could come into play, if the powers that be hold their thoughts and sit on the sidelines and watch.

Anyway, with all of the years of bad news, I wanted to point out the bright spots; the glimmers of hope for our future. Winter will fly by, and it won’t be long we will be sitting around the hot stove talking about things to come.