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HRN Original Blog:
Dead Heat Debates

Dead Heat's Top Ten Countdown: Fillies and Mares

Rachel Alexandra Preakness 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
Over the last decade there have been many talented horses to grace America’s racetracks. Over the next several days I plan to make top ten lists, starting from 2003 till now, for the best fillies and mares, best Colts and horses, Best turf horses, top sprinters, and finally, a cumulative list of the top 10 horses to compete from 2003 to 2013.
 
My first Top ten was not an easy one by any means. This division has been one of the most talented, the most competitive, and deepest divisions year after year. My top 10 Fillies and Mares.


10.) Rags to Riches: Who could ever forget this beautiful Todd Pletcher trainee? She wasn’t around for long, which is the cause of her being so low, but in the short time she ran, she was nothing short of brilliant. During the early parts of 2004, there was no better three year old filly. She won four straight grades ones, including a tour de force in the Kentucky Oaks, and her most famous win, the Belmont Stakes. There she beat eventual Horse of the Year Curlin, in a thrilling stretch duel. She will forever be remembered for her courageous performance that day.
 
9.) Indian Blessing: The fact that she was a sprinter should not cloud the fact that she was an outstanding filly. A champion at two, and champion female sprinter at three tells only part of the story. At two she was never challenged, including romping wins in the Frizette and Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies. At three she won three more grade ones, and placed second in the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and the Acorn. Her final season was short, but nonetheless, she still showed her mettle, winning the Gallant Bloom, while finshing second against males in Dubai, and the Ballerina. Overall she won 5 grade ones, and only once in 16 starts did she ever finished worse than second.
 
8. Havre de Grace: This one may have finished much higher if not for her rival nosing her out on several occasions. At three she only managed to win one Grade one, and that was the Cotillion, but when one looks at her season closer, they will see she performed admirably the entire year against a much more experienced foe. It wasn’t untill 2011 that her true colors showed. That year she won the Grade one Apple Blossom and Beldame against her own sex, while beating males in the Woodward Stakes. Those three wins earned her a championship in her own division as well as being honored Horse of the Year.
 
7.) Blind Luck: The little filly who could…The heart of this one is undeniable. At two she won the Hollywood Starlet and the Oak Leaf Stakes, while finishing second in the Darley Debutante, and third in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. That she lost the championship after a season like that is a travesty, but she showed her stuff the next year winning five more stakes, three being grade ones, while never finishing worse than third. At the end of 2010 She was named Champion Three year old Filly. At four, she may not have been quite as good, but she still rounded out her career with three more stakes wins, including the Grade one Vanity, and now Grade one Delaware Handicap, after an epic stretch duel, with long time rival Havre de Grace.
 
6.) Ginger Punch: Consistently dominant are the words I’d use to describe this one over the two years she ran. In stakes competition she only ran worse than top three once, and that was over a synthetic course. In total, she ran in sixteen stakes races, 11 of which were grade ones, winning 10 times. She took her division in 2007, and had a year worthy of a repeat in 2008, but was beaten out by a mare who went down in the history books for winning 19 straight races.
 
5.) Ashado: It takes a special one to compete against the best three years in a row, especially when those years are from two, to three, to four. During those years it is expected for juveniles or early maturing three year olds to be surpassed by their later maturing peers. That was not the case with Ashado who took the grade one Spinaway, in addition to the Schulyerville and Demoiselle as a Juvenile, before winning the Kentucky Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks, Cotillion Handicap, and Breeders Cup Distaff at three. At four she continued her success, winning the Ogden Phipps Handicap, the Go For Wand Handicap, and the Beldame Stakes. This one never lost a step, and she was rewarded by being crowned Champion Three Year old Filly and Champion Older Female.
 
4.) Royal Delta: This one is still writing her story, but up until now her story has been nothing short of phenomenal. On her bad days, this one is still good enough to run top three against solid grade one company. Just watch the 2011 Coaching Club American Oaks. On her good day she is an unstoppable force of nature. To date she has five grade ones, three of which were romping wins. She is a back to back Breeders Cup Distaff winner. Her latest win was in the Grade one Delaware Handicap, which she won by 10 lengths. She doesn’t have the streaks, nor the amount of grade one wins the others behind her do, nonetheless, its hard to top a two time Breeders Cup Distaff winner.
 
3.) Zenyatta: 13 grade one wins. Her only loss being a valiant performance in the Breeders Cup Classic, where she lost by a nose. Outside of that she never lost. In 2008 she beat the champion older female, Ginger Punch, in only her fourth start. She beat the best horses in her division all year long, one at a time, and then beat them all on the square in a scintillating performance at the Breeders Cup. In 2009 She became the first filly or mare to ever win the Breeders Cup Classic, and in 2010, despite losing the Classic, she was crowned Horse of the Year.
 
2.) Azeri: Complete, Coast to Coast, Domination. From Florida to Illinois, from New York to California to Kentucky, this mare raced at the top of her division and dominated. From November, 2001 to May, 2004 Azeri ran in a total of fifteen graded stakes, never once finishing worse than second. Also during that time period, she amassed and 11 race winning streak, that included 8 grade ones. During her career she won three Apple Blossom’s, becoming the only horse to win the race three consecutive years in a row. She was named champion of her division three years in a row and also was honored with Horse of the Year in 2003. Over the last decade there was never a female who dominated the entire continent like Azeri did.
 
1.) Rachel Alexandra: Looking at her accomplishments on paper, one sees a five time grade one winner and the winner of 11 stakes in total, whom only ever finished out of the the top two once. Impressive as that is, when one looks deeper, the history she made during 2009 was indisputable. As a juvenile she broke the stakes record in the Golden Rod Stakes, while also running second in the Debutant and Pocahontas. At three she set a total of five stakes record for either speed or winning margin, winning five grade ones, three against males, one against older males. She became the fifth filly win the Preakness, the second to win the Haskell, and the first to win the Woodward Stakes, in what still is the fastest running of the race since it was moved to Saratoga. At the end of 2009 she was crowned Horse of the year. The respect others earned and the history others made over two or three years, she received in one.
 

 

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Older Comments about Dead Heat's Top Ten Countdown: Fillies and Mares...

i liked eight belles i wished she didnt get injured i think she could have done somethign with her career
Three Belles is Eight Belles's half sister...
I don't know a three bells, eight bells, yes. I liked her very much, but I can't include a horse based on what they may have done. She was a brilliant second in the Derby, but she was never able to build on that, and that is just not enough to top what any of these mares did.
I really liked Three Bells but in THIS LIST?? you have to be kidding...Remember what Harry Truman said ;"If you think you have come up with something completely NEW, you just have not read enough."
WHERE IS THREE BELLS!!!!
TM I haven’t seen a Zenyetta blog yet where the nails haven’t sprung out and the sharpest of fangs haven’t been dulled after all the arguing. I’ve been steering clear lately but when I saw her rated at #3 I thought, what the hell, why not. I’ve been through three bottles of vodka and guess where we are, back at the same place we started. Tomorrow or next week or next month another thread’ll come up about who’s the best and then it will start all over again. I guess I better hustle my butt to the store and buy some more vodka. The Travers? This is really going to be an interesting race to handicap. We have what I call the home track advantage and potential monster (Palace Malice) vs. the return of the monster (Orb) vs. the resurfacing of the other monster (Verrazano). Throw in a little Will Take Charge. Other than that I’m not sure of the field, but I don’t really think it’ll matter. I just might box the four in a super and hope that the longest shot finishes first.
Laz,the best advice of the night.after my tongue lashing by age,i am so depressed.i think i need a triple shot of Raki.Hopefully will help me get some shut eye.So have you decided on he Travers.For me hard to go against VZ. but the great thing about Travers day,great supporting card.Wagering wise,makes the big race irrelevant almost.some good opportunities.
Let's leave Zenyatta as distinctly unique....In a match she would never even see him. Hillarious TV. What about Onion and Prove Out.
riders get a skewed idea of greatness....Longden thought Count Fleet was the best
that last sentence just made my day.yes he is an idiot,tell me he beat her with Forego or Slew or Affirmed and i might listen.He beats her with Blame (who lost to a nice NY bred the race before) makes an outlandish staement that using this race as a barometer,she is the best he has seen.
Tmallios, your comments would be almost hysterical if they weren’t so pathetically arrogant. Citing the expert opinion of an HOF jockey doesn’t mean I’m a “groupie”, it just means I’m decent at giving logical reasons for what I said. You brought this up, not me. Let’s dare to compare: I quoted two Hall of Fame trainers, two Hall of Fame jockeys, and an Eclipse-award winning journalist among several others. You, on the other hand, have done nothing but make ad hominem attacks (I’m a Groupie, Garrett Gomez an Idiot; yawn…), used circular logic, and in general refused to actually respond or engage with any logical point being made. I’d definitely like to think that the majority of people on this site (the majority of them agreeable and respectable people) can see through your fantasy world of self-importance where someone, anyone else is a “groupie” or an “idiot” by virtue of disagreeing with you, Enlightened One. I’ve found one person on this site I won’t be responding to any more. Goodnight, everyone.
Yes, lovely Madison Park with a Shake Shack in it. Never was a gambler so I don't go in the OTB but pass it on a daily basis.
LAZ probably took a breath during his latest yet rewarded himself anyway, AOR, but both of you have launched prodigious blasts that were still rising as they left the park. Thought the *on the track* ZEN/RA battle was long over, but, let’s give DeadHeat a standing 8 count to rally her troops :D
you are right by the park.nice area.when you were on 39th and Broad.did you ever go by the OTB winners circle restaurant on 38th and 7th when it was open.i was there all the time.if yes,we probably passed each other.
Hi Tom, I used to work on Broadway & 39th St. but we recently move to 29th and Madison.
Great comment from Garret Gomez.After sitting on Blame who beat her.If you took a poll ofthe greatest horses of all time.Blame would not crack the top 250, yet this idiot who just beat her ,lays claim that she is the best he has ever seen.Aerosmith has a song which must be your favorite tune.it is called Dream On
Thank you, Laz. For the record, by "last comment" I was referring to Tmallios, not you. I once had a list of all the racing legends and foremost experts who considered Zenyatta an all-time great; I’ve since lost it I guess, but the most telling to me was in the post-race interview of the 2010 BC Classic when Garrett Gomez pointed at Zenyatta and said “She’s the best horse I’ve ever seen”—while sitting on Blame. Ouch. The list was long, but let’s also not forget East-Coast Andy Beyer, who after her retirement finally said she was probably “the greatest American filly or mare of all time” (slight paraphrase).
sword where in the city are you at.i spend alot of time in my friends office.B'way and 41st street.are you in the midtown area.i told lisa to give you my number. i would like to say hello to the #1 sire of fillies.
i could give arats ass if you are buying or selling.not my intent to satisfy you.made mention of it how you acted like a god damn groupie about mike smith.oooohhh ,this is mike smith we are talking about.give it a rest.
I'm calling BS on that last comment. Seriously, if I had a time for every instance on this site where someone tried to claim the upper hand in an argument with the "I know so-and-so personally" tired old act, I'd be filthy rich. If everything on the internet is to be believed, then half of you eat breakfast with Billy Turner and Laffit Pincay, second breakfast with Bill Mott and Shug McGaughey, Elevensies with Dale Romans and Joel Rosario, Dinner with Penny Chenery and Ghostzapper, afternoon tea with Baffert and Bejarano, supper with Mandella and Napravnik...you can play the 'inside information' card all you want but sorry, I ain't buyin'. I'm through, y'all. Big thumbs up to anyone who got the Tolkien reference, btw.

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Meet Laura Pugh












 

For as long as i can remember I have always loved horses and writing. The first race I ever watched was War Emblem's Preakness Stakes, but I didn't really start to get into racing until the next year where watched and cheered Empire Maker through the Derby, and yes, the Belmont.

I didn't begin writing until a few years later, when I created my own blog Horsin' Around. It didn't take long for me to realize that my niche was stirring the pot and creating heated debates, especially during the time of Big Brown vs Curlin and Rachel Alexandra vs Zenyatta. I was a Curlin and Rachel fan.

Now I am here under the name of Dead Heat Debates, and hoping to live up to that name. Have fun and let the opinions fly!