Race of the Week 2017

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Zipse At The Track

Dreaming of Julia, Oaks, Derby, Preakness, ...

Dreaming of Julia’s performance in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks this past Saturday was nothing short of monstrous. Treating her competition like a bunch of Wednesday claimers, rather than the promising stakes fillies that they are, the daughter of A.P. Indy effortlessly tracked her recent vanquisher, Live Lively, before dragging rider John Velazquez to the lead. From there the fleet filly furthered her lead every step home, and hit the wire an obscene 21 ¾ lengths clear of the graded stakes winner, and farther ahead of the rest. By way of comparison, the Triple Crown nominated filly’s final time was a full 1.9 seconds faster than Orb needed to win the Grade 1 Florida Derby a few races later on the card. Dreaming of Julia did all of this without seeming to be under serious pressure. Impressive can be overused in horse racing, but this one … was impressive. All of this leads to great speculation. What’s next for Dreaming of Julia?
The Kentucky Derby would seem to be an attractive and realistic option, if not for one thing. That new pesky point system has set back equal rights decades. Earning 100 points in the Gulfstream Park Oaks is like traveling with only an American Express card when all your destinations accept nothing but Visa. Those hundred points are only good for the Oaks. Because of her gender, they do her zero good for entry into the 139th edition of the Run for the Roses. Pletcher and the team certainly would have thought long and hard about sending their star filly to the Derby under the old system, he’s said as much. In fact, I’m pretty sure that is the way Team Julia would have gone if she was already qualified. While there are races still to come, like the Arkansas Derby, in which she could earn points, my guess is they will decide not to push the valuable filly just to try to qualify for the Derby.
The Kentucky Oaks would then seem to be the ticket. Along with the Alabama, it is our nation’s most coveted race for three-year-old fillies, after all. Dreaming of Julia should then run as the race favorite one day before the Derby against other fillies. It might be anticlimactic for those thinking that Julia may be a super filly, but it is an absolutely excellent option for her, assuming that the Derby is a no go. Riding the speculation train just a little bit farther, what if the Todd Pletcher trained filly wins the Oaks in convincing style?
The Preakness has to be a strong consideration. In carrying the same gold and burgandy colors, that Rachel Alexandra did in winning the Kentucky Oaks by a pole four years ago, to a similar type of visual orgasm, Dreaming Of Julia sparked an instant firestorm of comparison with the great filly. I’m not ready to go there, but I do remember what Stonestreet did with their brand new acquisition back in 2009. Rolling the dice with all the cunning of the Mel Gibson character, Bret Maverick, the late Jess Jackson wheeled Rachel right back in the Preakness. Not only did they successfully pry Calvin Borel’s hot hands off the Derby winning Mine That Bird, but they ended up winning racing’s Middle Jewel too. It only seems fitting that Stonestreet would try to emulate this ambitious path of greatness.
Or maybe the Belmont Stakes is in play here on Dreaming of Julia’s dance card. Keep in mind, the last time a Todd Pletcher filly looked this good, he opted to wait, after an impressive Rags to Riches win in the Kentucky Oaks, for the Belmont. You all remember how that turned out. Oh, and by the way, Dreaming of Julia’s sire, A.P. Indy won the Belmont, as did his best daughter to date … Rags to Riches
No matter what happens in the next few months, one thing is clear. Dreaming of Julia is the kind of horse in which big dreams are made.


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Older Comments about Dreaming of Julia, Oaks, Derby, Preakness, ......

The fact that she began her career late in her 3 yo year may have had something to do with it. ;)
  • darlene · also they didn't show a bit of chauvinism when they had Zen take on the best males in BC Classic not once but twice when running in BC Filly/Mare would have been sure wins · 1694 days ago
· As usual the chauvinistic world of horse racing affects the sexes even with the horse's. It's amazing that this mentally is still alive and well. This filly has earned her right and is possibly better than most of the colts today. I still believe Zenyatta would have won the triple crown if her previous chauvinistic owner allowed her to race in ther derby. · 2 seconds ago
  • darlene · not chauvinistic at all In work place for a woman to get ahead she must work with the men and do as well or better Same for fillies in this situation Julia has not earned the right since she has only run in restricted company and you can only speculate about possibly being better than the males · 1694 days ago
I,personally, like that a filly would have to face males prior to Derby to get in As stated the fillies that have won Derby had faced males before the win I don't think this was a mistake or oversight by CD
Andy. Maybe so or they assumed that if the filly wanted to be in the Derby she had to earn her points the Same way the colts did.
  • nayrod64 · As usual the chauvinistic world of horse racing affects the sexes even with the horse's. It's amazing that this mentally is still alive and well. This filly has earned her right and is possibly better than most of the colts today. I still believe Zenyatta would have won the triple crown if her previous chauvinistic owner allowed her to race in ther derby. · 1694 days ago
I wonder if the CD officials completely overlooked the possibility of another filly in the Derby?
Tough one but I tend to think that the system will continue to ask a filly and her connections to face the boys and earn the points before the KyDerby. Of course that may change eventually but i wouldn't guess that anything gets revised on this front by this time next year.
That should be did not face.
True about the Preakness and Belmont, where fillies did face the boys prior, but then again there wasn't a point system to get into those races. I do think there needs to be points given for some of the top filly races, but I also think they should race against the colts before the Derby. These are some of the tweaks this point system needs for the future.
It would seem to be unfair to colts if fillies got Derby points for running in races restricted to females, personallly I don't have a problem with fillies needing to face males to get in the Derby.
I see nothing wrong with DOJ taking on the girls in the Oaks. With only one of her performances being a spanking- if I were her owner I would want to see another dominating performance before I send her against a very talented 3YO male crop. If she destroys the Oaks field (which is going to be filled with some great fillies) THEN I do not see why they shouldn't consider running her in the Preakness or the Belmont. If she stays on top of her game this girl should do big things. I hope to see her match up against My Miss Aurelia one day. If these two both are on their A game then that should be one fantastic race.
True ... while neither of the fillies that won the Preakness or Belmont in the modern era had ever raced against colts before.
I propose "they" amend the system so that Oaks points can be used toward the Derby. Seems fair since Derby points can be used toward the Oaks in the event that a filly tries to go that route and then sticks with the Oaks after all.
FWIW, All 3 fillies who have won the KY Derby faced males prior to the first Saturday in May & ran in the top 3 - Regret regularly beat colts at 2, Genuine Risk was 3rd in the Wood Memorial & Winning Colors won the SA Derby.
As usual, excellent! And a good point to make AGAINST the new Derby Point System, it is going to keep some really good fillies out of it, they need to revamp it!!

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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, and American Pharoah. 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. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, 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 co-hosting the popular racing show, 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.


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