A Duty to the Fans or: ZATT’s Star of the Week, is … Songbird!

A Duty to the Fans or: ZATT’s Star of the Week, is … Songbird!
Photo: Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire

I believe I have a duty to the fans.

In plenty of ways, I thought Frosted was deserving of being named ZATT’s Star of the Week. After all, how rare is it to see an American runner dominate an important race internationally? While we can debate how important the Al Maktoum Challenge – Round 2 really is, and the level of competition found in this edition, there can be no denying the fact that the four-year-old son of Tapit blew the doors off his competition. It was the perfect way to begin the season for the Godolphin/Kiaran McLaughlin charge. The Group 2 race, one of the key preps to the $10 million Dubai World Cup, was won in high style and in track record time. Obviously, I was impressed, and more than that, I saw it as a win for American racing on a global scale.

Then the Las Virgenes happened. Like most, I was expecting to see an easy win for the Champion 2yo Filly of 2015, but what Songbird did on Saturday exceeded expectations. It was fantastic. It was a performance that those who watched will not soon forget. The Fox Hill owned, and Jerry Hollendorfer trained star blitzed her competition in such a way, that even a blind man could see that she was miles and miles superior to her Grade 2 competition. The type of response her win drew from fans on social media was something to see. It was Zenyatta and American Pharoah like. Sure, the romping win was against a suspect field, but her talent and ability cannot be mistaken. Songbird’s runaway and geared down victory on Saturday, has fans truly excited about what we might see in 2016. Kentucky Derby or no, she is the hottest thing going since, well, since American Pharoah.

In truth, Mshawish beat the strongest field of the week, but his victory lacked the kind of spectacular quality of both Songbird and Frosted. Plus, I did not believe this running of the Grade 1 Donn Handicap to be an especially strong one. That really boiled my decision down to Frosted and Songbird, but who would it be?

Not to stick it to the decision makers over at Sports Illustrated one more time, but I will. That is what they missed with the whole let the fans have a say in the Sportsman of the Year online poll of theirs. They asked for the input of the fans, and then they completely ignored them. I will never do that. I knew I had a tough decision to make this week, so I put it out there for the fans. The mandate was clear.

Granted, who wins my weekly star of the week may be pretty small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, but the voice of the fans is not. I am a fan.

ZATT’s Star of the Week, is … Songbird!

Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. 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. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

ZATT's Star of the Week

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