Every time I see the John Shirreffs trained mare Eblouissante step out onto the track I think to myself, she looks so much like Ruffian. The long gracefulness of her stride to the nearly jet black coat, she is about as close a Ruffian reproduction as I have seen.
However, it is not the legend that is Ruffian which Eblouissante is being forced to live up to by the betting public, but rather big sister, Zenyatta. This was never more evident than when she came out of the gate in an Allowance race at Santa Anita Park her last time out. She was sent off as the 3-5 favorite against more experienced horses after coming off a seven month layoff. The prior race we saw her was in the Shuvee Handicap – Gr. 3 where she acted up in the gate, broke two front teeth and finished a dismal sixth. I don't really blame her for that, its horse racing and we have seen it happen to the most seasoned of thoroughbreds. The only drawback back to a race like that is it did nothing to help her stats.
Now, if you strip down the lineage and look at her for what she is, we have a very lightly raced five year old mare with a record of 4-2-1-0. Eblouissante is a horse who has had some success, she is a good race horse but not yet a great race horse and to be realistic, she may never be. Time will tell. But until then, we need to let her run her races, not her sister's. And how fair is it really to expect anything different? It's not fair to her, her connections or Zenyatta herself. Big sis worked very hard to accomplish champion status, why would we want to take that from her?
In short, love her for the big black beauty she is and wager accordingly based on her merits. Love her simply because she is...Eblouissante.
She really doesn't deserve anything less.
~Written by Jody Lawrence