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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Go West, Steven Crist

You remember me, I'm the guy who stated in a less than subtle way that I am getting a little tired of all the California racing fans being so quick to throw around the "East Coast Biased" mantra anytime a horse from California, is in their minds, slighted in any way. Maybe I spoke too soon with that column. The reason for my sudden step back? I just read Steven Crist's latest column on drf.com.

In the piece, Crist gives his opinions on the 2011 Eclipse Award decisions, saying that some decisions are tight, and some are not. Fair enough, I agree with many of his assessments. There was one opinion in the column, however; that I found very strange. Here is the troublesome excerpt from the column :

"Six of the seven that appear to be in the bag will be virtually unanimous choices. My Miss Aurelia (2-year-old filly), Royal Delta (3-year-old filly), Havre de Grace (older filly), Cape Blanco (turf male), Stacelita (turf female), and Amazombie (male sprinter) simply have little credible competition for their titles. "

It's these kind of silly statements that give any self respecting fan from California amunition to go after the rest of us. While there a couple in there that I do not feel are voting blowouts, I wonder how on earth could Crist possibly conclude that Cape Blanco is a virtually unanimous choice for Champion Turf Male, with little credible competition for the title? Has he not seen racing from California this year?

If he had, he would have noted that Acclamation won the Grade 2 Jim Murray, the Grade 1 Charlie Whittingham, and the Grade 1 Eddie Read on the grass, at distances ranging between nine and twelve furlongs in succession before finishing the year by capturing his fifth straight graded stakes of the season, the Grade 2 Clement L Hirsch Turf Championship at Santa Anita on October 2. Before that final graded stakes win on the grass, he accounted for the Grade 1 Pacific Classic on Del Mar's synthetic main track. Granted that last one should not factor in the Turf Eclipse, but it does just go to show how very good Acclamation was this year.

I have no problem with anyone who says either Cape Blanco or Acclamation is the 2011 Turf Champion, but to say that one will win in virtually unanimous fashion with little credible competition, is just plain wrong.

Is Mr. Crist the reason that so many of us have been accused of being "East Coast Biased?" After reading his latest column, I am not so sure the answer is not, "Yes." 

 

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Older Comments about Go West, Steven Crist...

*Grade 1 Pacific Classic, sorry but I just have to correct that as it is CA's only $1 million race, and very few $1 million races for older horses outside the BC. Regards to the Amazombie debate, ridiculous to even suggest he's not the clear choice. Sprints for me personally end at 7f. Mile doesn't constitute a sprint. Amazombie won 2 G1 sprints Ancient Title and BC, plus had a good year winning the Sunshine Million Sprint, G2 Potrero Grande, and Tiznow at 7.5f. And he won the L.A. Handicap, horrific DQ that one was. Plus there were more than enough G1 winners in the Sprint. Amazombie = 2011 Champ Sprinter. Now this whole Turf Male, ultimately I think it may very well go to Cape Blanco, but agreed he's certainly not a lock. Acclamation is definitely in the running, and will at the very least be a finalist. Its too bad they couldn't settle it at the BC. But if Acclamation doesn't get this, he's also in the running for Champ Older Male, that's where, in addition to his turf record, his Pacific Classic win earns him big points.
I will concede to you the point about diversity, but I still cannot agree with you about the mile.
Sorry, pressed enter too soon. I also get that this gives those horse that are best at a mile or 9f a home, however, while I'll recognize a horse as superior in one thing, that does not make them great. What makes a horse great is to be able to compete a little longer or shorter than they like. A mile is slightly longer than most want while 6f is slightly shorter. I think in order to be called a "great sprinter" you need to be good at the longer and shorter sprints. Caleb can mile, and went down to 6.5f and blasted that field too. He ran seven, and ran and won against some of the best there too. That is diversity that you don't see every day.
Thing with me is I wouldn't make it it's own division because it takes away from the Sprint. The Factor, Caleb, Trappe Shot all would have been in the sprint this year if not for the BC Mile. Both were equally as strong, but the Sprint could have featured more grade one winners and probably the best race on the program.
When just about all of the majore historical racing is East of the Mississippi, not to mention the majority of sports writers, those worthy of that name or not, where do you think biase would reside???
I fall into that category. Miles are not sprints in my book. But to each their own.
i've been following all major sports since 1957, and i know all about the east coast bias.
I think many people feel either one way or another on the sprint. If you feel that right now miles should be taken as sprints, then you feel Caleb leads, if not then you like Amazombie. Both beat good fields in the BC, CP faced some nice horses at Saratoga, but there will be those who say he didn't run in real sprints.
And to say that Amazombie is a lock on the sprint championship is ridiculous, too. Of course, I happen to agree with that statement, but DeadHeat and I spent a good deal of time debating the merits of Caleb's Posse and Amazombie for that particular title.
Ha! I just read the Facebook comments on my page ... yes, it would seem that ECB'ers have fuel for the fire.
Brian...I wonder where your inspiration came from! lol. I agree completely. You know, because you debated with me on one of our many P/CP, that I believe Acclamation is the top turf horse. I however would never say Cape Blanco doesn't deserve to be in the argument. He was easily the best in Cali, had a superb year, and should not be forgotten or discarded. Statements like Christs are the exact reason why those who do scream ECB do.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.