Western Wars

June 23, 2011 04:43pm
Why is it that every time you have two horses from either coast that develop a rivalry, the fans on the West Coast go completely insane? In 2009 in were Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. The fans of Rachel Alexandra, whether they be in the East or West were in awe of the Champion filly’s ambitious campaign that saw her run a perfect eight for eight with three grade one wins, all over a mile, against males. Many of Rachel fans, while also in awe the sight and ability of Queen Z, could not bring themselves to call the mare a great because her campaign paled in comparison to that of Rachel Alexandra. We said that we would like to see the owners of Zenyatta take more risks to test her greatness, and because of that many people were verbally assaulted.

In 2010 another rivalry began to develop between two three year old fillies by the names of Blind Luck and Havre De Grace. The former, from California proved her superiority, even though the finishes were close. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that last year Blind Luck was the better of the two. She traveled to where the competition was and showed up with her best every time. Even though a rivalry brewed  Blind Luck was getting praised and because of that many of the West Coast fans never made a peep. This year is a whole different story.

This year Blind Luck did not get off to the running start everyone expected. When asked to close over the new Santa Anita speedway that they call dirt, she was unable to reproduce the same devastating kick. After two failed attempts at Santa Anita, Blind Luck was taken to Oaklawn Park, where she was to use the Azeri Stakes as a final prep for the Apple Blossom. The game filly fired her best shot, but was no match for her now more mature rival, Havre De Grace. Then, for the first time in her career, the connections of Blind Luck opted for the easier route, in skipping the Grade one Apple Blossom that featured Havre De Grace and Switch, another classy California shipper.

It was not as easy as the Azeri, but Havre De Grace proved her ability when she flipped on the afterburners to soar past Switch late in the stretch. Now, as more and more people begin to recognize Havre De Grace as the division leader, with Awesome Maria in second, the tension begins to build in the West once again.

As some begin to express their opinions that Blind Luck may be at a disadvantage running against Awesome Maria and Havre De Grace over a tradition dirt course going 9f, the distance of the Ladies Classic, many Blind Luck fan jump to the offense. I’m here to say do not get your panties in a bunch. Quit accusing people of noticing how the other two fillies have improved tenfold. Quit trying act like we do not respect Blind Luck, when in fact we do! We appreciate how she has been given the chance to show her ability and hardiness that makes her so unique in today’s world.

The only thing me and many others are saying is that her style, over a dirt surface does put her at a disadvantage. There is no doubt that a field running on synthetic is more bunched than one on dirt. With a horse like Awesome Maria who has the ability to carry her speed, Blind Luck would be at a disadvantage. This year with a good sized filly with excellent tactical speed, like Havre De Grace, Blind Luck would again be hard pressed to close a substantial amount of ground.

Again, I say do not get your feathers all ruffled. I never said that Blind Luck was not in the same class, that she didn’t belong with the horses on the east coast, or that she was facing weak fields. She is still a great filly. It just so happens that she is dealing with a couple of other fillies who are pretty awesome too.


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Older Comments about Western Wars...

who cares.. just where the horse was born.. the genetics could be ANYWHERE in the world
I think this post is a total crock of sh-t!! I live on the east coast, and I think the west coast fan's go insane, because the east coast fan's always act as if their horse is invincible, and leaps and bounds better than the west coast horses. For a solid year, we heard about how Rachel Alexandra would be the first to beat Zenyatta. LOL. Never came to pass, because Jess Jackson dodged the meeting between the two at Oaklawn like the plague. IMO, Rachel, even at her best, would've never been able to hold off the closing onslaught that Zenyatta possessed. And in her 4yr.old season, a race between the two would've been laughable. I can't say that I blame west coast fan's, given that east coast fan's think that racing on conventional dirt is the have all, be all in racing. They also believe that if the horse doesn't have that east coast, blue blood pedigree, there's no way a west coast horse can compete? Which as I said in the beginning, is a total crock of sh-t!! I'm an east coast thoroughbred racing fan, and I approve this message!! LOL.
@skipaway2000, loved the Sandpit video, he was a real badass, thanks. BTW did you consider Gentleman, Southern Image, Real Quiet and Farma Way tearing up Pimlico?
I fail to see what geography has to do with the quality of any horse or why two excellent horses can't both be appreciated instead of having to choose one over the other.The other thing I find odd is that most of our great horses and sires were European or Canadian not eastern or western.
This post inspired me. Top 5 Examples of West Coast Domination in East Coast Races :) Check out The Infield: skipaway2000.wordpress.com
Blind Luck and Havre De Grace are dead even (2 wins a piece between the two). The bottom line is: Havre De Grace doesn't fly all over the continental United States , like Blind Luck does. Blind Luck would smoke Havre De Grace out west in California. Blind Luck would be 4-0 against Havre De Grace if two of those races were out west.
Totally agreed brooklyn.steve. I get so annoyed when I'm watching HRTV and am patiently waiting for a stakes race from my home track, Monmouth, and they are obsessing over PPs of horses from a claiming at Hollywood or Santa Anita. I previously used to live on the west coats and racing fans there are kind of obsessed with themselves/their picks. It is actually quite annoying.
Personally I believe Blind Luck is the same she always was. The races in Cali were not from fatigue, they were due to the track being so speed biased, and even with such a biased she ran well. At Oaklawn she fired her shot and missed. At Churchill she again fired, but did not have HDG and Switch at 8.5fl to deal with. She fired at Hollywood, over a surface more conductive to her style and a distance more to her liking than Switch. She is still the same BL, the other two have just improved.
You do realize that we live in a West Coast world correct? HRTV and TVG are based in Cali. They will show a bottom barrel maiden claimer from Hollywood before they show a stakes race from Monmouth Park. Heck, they will stay there 10 minutes before the race to go over the post parade in detail. That should answer your question right there.
After seeing the Vanity, I think Blind Luck is now rounding into her best form. The races at Santa Anita are a complete toss, closers were at a great disadvantage on that track and she lost fair and square to Havre De Grace in Arkansas, but I believe blind Luck will improve off her Vanity win and will turn the tables later in the year, maybe in what could be a great Ladies Classic.
Maybe the west-coast fans get "insane" apologizing for the synthetic tracks and lower purses, and small field size of many races. But, as an insane fan of CA racing, I do have my favorites out there.
sorry for my many typos; you can hopefully get the meaning.
At 1 1/8 m. I'm going to choose Havre De Grace over Blind Luck every time, because I can tell time and HDG id faster; also I have two eyes to see that HDG wins more easily than Blind Luck. Why would HDG go west to race for less money on syn. tracks? Why should the two girls face each other at S.A. which may favor speed and not Blind Luck's come from behind style, and again lower purses than Eastern races. And about the 1 14m., didn't Blind Luck only beat HDG by a very small margin when they ran that distance last year? I like both girls, but to me, HDG is better this year.
Blind Luck was stronger last year, HDG has proven to have B.Ls number this year. Hopefully they race a few more times this year to get a better picture.
Personally, I want to see all three meet up before the Breeders' Cup. Maybe Saratoga?
I have still seen many of the blog commenters that are out west express slight anger, even though, I agree that she is both East and West. It is the indignity that many ppl who express the opinion that she may not be the best in the division.
Where does Noosa Beach fit into this discussion? ;-)
One big difference is that Blind Luck has run in the East many times. She has taken on everyone at any track. She is both East and West, not like other controversial West coast runners.

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2002. At that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college, she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at Virginia Intermont College and then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010, Laura began writing for Horse Racing Nation and has also contributed to Lady and the Track, TwinSpires and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter.

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