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Podcast #41: POINT OF VIEW: 2009 Breeders' Cup
Podcast Date:
11-11-2009
File Size: 4.9MB
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Here are some rambling, random thoughts about the Breeders' Cup. I'm just back from California where we ran Aikenite in the Juvenile race. I'm not a great fan of California, although I like it once I get there, but most of my wanderings are confined to east of the Mississippi River. But I say that the Breeders' Cup did a marvelous job out there - Santa Anita was splendid and the logistics for the whole two-day experience were exceedingly well-done. The race track was humming along in perfect order and a lovely place with those mountains as a backdrop. The hotel we stayed at - the Langham Huntington - was lovely and all the amenities were just as splendid as they would need to be for an event of that sort. Didn't encounter any horrible traffic out there; no earthquakes as we discovered in 1991 when we went out with Summer Squall - so that was a nice development!

I am ambivalent about what I think about Friday and Saturday - two days of Breeders' Cup. I think Friday is interesting but not compelling - but I did enjoy both days so I don't know that I would take any strong position that it should be just one day. So all in all on Saturday they did a good job, with the exception of the paddock. When we saddled our horse Aikenite in the paddock there was an overhead camera on a trolley that went zooming through the saddling enclosure and it was designed (not on purpose) to scare the living hell out of a horse. It's a very dangerous situation and that should not be allowed. The paddock, of course, and the walking ring were teaming with people, and that did not come as any great surprise.

The entire place was crawling with the French and the Irish and the English - didn't see many Japanese. California is popular with the foreign element and always has been. I remember one morning at Clocker's Corner at Santa Anita it looked like Time's Square on New Year's Eve - I never saw so many people. Zenyatta - gosh - what can you say about Zenyatta? She was absolutely magnificent and with her antics beforehand, all of which were under control… with her goose-stepping she is a charmer and it was wonderful to see her win that race. That was one of the great events in the history of the American turf. She's an absolutely staggeringly, spectacular individual. From the point of her hip on back must be three feet long - I've never seen such a great hip on a racehorse.

One thing that I do regret is that the groom was given no credit. He had his hands full and there is a great horseman - you can tell by the way he handled her. He didn't manhandle her - he let her have her own way - he kind of babied her at times, but then took a hold of her. But he was never identified, and if there was ever a key factor in the success of Zenyatta it has got to be that groom. So I think he should have been mentioned.

Television was good. I thought Bill Nack's comments (and I've seen the tapes since I came back home) were alright, not very illuminating. I think Bill Nack is one of the great writers of his time and I love him dearly, but I thought his little vignettes were not particularly illuminating. I get tired of the business with The Hammer and the odds and he's not particularly good at picking horses so that wears a little bit.

I think Aikenite was disappointing to us, but if someone had said to us three months ago we were going to run fifth, only beaten two and a half lengths and have some excuses, in the $2 million Juvenile I would have said "Thank God, that's the best news I've heard." Aikenite went into the first turn laying third and having gotten there in an easy manner, the horses were crawling and the rider - as wonderful as he is - elected to take him back some more on the backstretch which I think was a mistake. They went every quarter in about 24 seconds so it was simply a parade around there. And when we quickened turning for home we could not gain on the front runners who had had an easy time of it. All the horses who were ahead of us at that point finished ahead of us, with the exception of Lookin At Lucky, who had a nightmare trip but almost won the race and I think was the best horse in the race.

We came out of it thinking that Aikenite could have been second-best. We're shipping now to Florida and we'll await the Gulfstream campaign for the Classics.

I applaud the Breeders' Cup people and hope to go back next year.

This is Cot Campbell and this is my view.

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