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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

European Dominance Begins in the Secretariat

Treasure Beach

If you were hoping for the Americans to make a strong grass stand on Arlington's big day of fabulous turf racing, you went home sorely disappointed, and things did not look good right from the get-go. As the Suburban Chicago skies opened up over the Arlington Million festivities, the chances of a horse from the United States winning in any of the three grade one turf races seemingly evaporated into the damp air. The firm Arlington Park turf quickly turned to yielding, and the quality of the foreign runners predictably bubbled to the surface. The first of the big races proved to be an ominous precursor to the absolute beating the American contingent was about to be handed.


Winner of the Group 1 Irish Derby at the Curragh in June, and a near miss second in the Group 1 Investec Derby before that, Treasure Beach made the trip to Arlington with greater credentials than any other three-year-old that has ever run in the Secretariat Stakes. The class of the Aidan O'Brien trainee became evident in the late stages of the $400,000 grade one affair.


Sitting pretty just off a slow early pace, the sophomore son of Galileo quickened at the head of the stretch, before winning a prolonged stretch battle with pacesetter Ziyarid to win by a neck. Not lost on this onlooker was the stark fact that the second place finisher was the only other European in the field. In fact, the only American runner at all to make any noise was Banned who made a run on the rail after finally getting room in the stretch. But in the final sixteenth, it was all about the two Euros, as Treasure Beach joined Ziyarid from the outside, and slowly edged ahead to grab his 5th victory in 10 lifetime starts.




















In the day's other grade one turf races, it was the 2010 Irish Derby champion, Cape Blanco, proving best to score impressively in the Arlington Million by 2 ½ lengths over America's hero, Gio Ponti. While in the Beverly D., it was the big mare from France, Stacelita winning for the ninth time in her excellent career as the 9-5 bettor's choice.


I alluded to the rain as a contributing factor towards today's results, and to some extent maybe it was, but the harsh reality is it probably mattered little as far as which horses made their way to the winner's circle. As a fan of American racing, I have to concede that the Europeans are simply too good for our horses on the turf, much as I would like to say otherwise. Today at Arlington Park, it was never more clear to me.


Photo by Four Footed Photos


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Older Comments about European Dominance Begins in the Secretariat...

Stacelita impressed me by bounds, she was a single to me and proved she was much the best in there. However, watching the Sec again, I believe strongly Banned may have been the best horse in there. I can't wait to watch his next out. And even though Gio couldn't get it done, it was a great race and my first Million visit was astonishing to say the least.
Again I don't mind a disagreement especially when I can learn something from it, well remember what I already knew would be more appropriate. I never owned a thoroughbred but I did have many standardbreds starting with a $1,000 claimer in 1970. As the years went by I along with partners claimed, bought outright, and went to the yearling sales in search of that one really good horse that we never found. I mention this only because we exclusively followed the trail of Meadow Skipper and descendants and that's where my "crap shoot" statement comes from along with "genetics". A genuine captain Ahab I was chasing Moby Dick. Whenever genetics comes up I lose my perspective. Thanks for your input.
While the tracing back of lineage is bound to converge to certain bloodlines, American breeders have in general went with faster, less distance oriented, and often more fragile, sons and daughters of the foundation stallions ... as far as a Sea the Stars and Zarkava son ... I can't wait!
"Sea The Stars son born to fellow Arc winner Zarkava". These two are arguably the best European horses to ever race. Speed to speed because the object of racing lest we forget is to win. To do that speed is essential as evidenced by the records of both. Both of these horses carry the bloodline of Native Dancer and Northern Dancer as do 78% of all race horses running in the world which can be traced back to Nearco and his three of his dominant sons. I think I've been hit with a "Green Monkey" as genetics at this point in time is a crapshoot. Any statement about breeding is pure guesswork whether pro or con.
@ BrianZipse : True, I forgot for a moment that in reality our classic distance has been reduced to 1 1/8 mile. Still on the subject of speed and short distances I spent the other day remembering "Lite The Fuse" even though he only went 7 fur he is one of my favorites. Bred and trained by Richard Dutrow sr.if my memory is correct. I really don't take the time to look up these facts as I should.Maybe the fact you just stated is why I retain my love for the standard bred horse even though they to breed for speed but then their distance is a uniform 1 mile.Just an after thought maybe I got spoiled watching horses like Dr. Fager run every distance up to 10 fur and all the great one could many even 12.
I disagree ... we breed speed to speed, and buy that way as well.
We breed our stock from the same lines. Native Dancer , Northern Dancer, it's the training thats different. If we eliminated dirt and trained the same we would have the same quality.
Abigail makes an important point ... remember most of the rest of the world values distance and turf, while we value dirt at shorter distances, and yes Ann, this shows off in training methodology as well.
Hi Brian. I agree and would add that, unlike Canada & the USA, the Brits and Aussies breed their horses for the turf.
Is it time to talk about the differences in how the Euros train compared to US training methods?
Not, Zack Hall. Needed a 4th by him for a biggy. lol
The Euros love our American Lasix!
An unusually big day for a trainer who has a lot of big days!
Aidan O'Brien sure paid for his ticket over here and then some!

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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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