Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Exclusive Interview: Alternation can’t get no respect

A brief review of the racing record of Alternation reveals that he is one of the best horses in America. A three-time graded stakes winner this year, Alternation has won five of his six races in 2012, including a victory in the Pimlico Special, and a big win over Ron the Greek in the Oaklawn Handicap. Yet despite this sparkling record, the Pin Oak Stable owned, and Donnie K. Von Hemel trained colt has yet to capture the imagination of the majority of racing fans. Case in point, he currently resides way down at #45 on Horse Racing Nation’s Power Rankings of active horses. How could such a good horse be rated so shockingly low?



Some in my business like to interview the human connections of their subjects, but I prefer to get it straight from the horse’s mouth. With an upcoming date in the local Hawthorne Gold Cup in his near future, I jumped at the chance to speak with the horse that seems to get so little respect...



Zipse at the Track: Good morning Alternation, I just heard the news … you’re running in the Hawthorne Gold Cup?


Alternation: Yeah, most good horses come to Chicago, they run at Arlington. Not me though, not me. I get sent to the South Side, I tell ya.


Zipse at the Track: Well Arlington is nice, but there’s no shame in running at Hawthorne, and the Gold Cup is a big race.


Alternation: Hey, as long as it’s a good crowd, good crowd. By the way, that’s a nice hat, ZATT. You get a free bowl of soup when you bought that hat?  … It looks good on you though. [Alternation rolls his eyes.]


Zipse at the Track: Uh … thanks Alternation, but back to the race … it seems like you would rather be running somewhere else.


Alternation: No, no Chicago’s a great town, big town, love Chicago. I come from a small town myself. It’s a small town I tell ya, the local hooker is a virgin over there.


Zipse at the Track: Wow … I had no idea. Anyway, how are you feeling going into this race?


Alternation: I tell ya, I’m alright now, but last week I was in rough shape. [Alternation straightens his tie.]


Zipse at the Track: Oh yeah, why was that?


Alternation: I found out my inflatable doll is a lesbian. 


Zipse at the Track: Ouch! I’m sorry to hear that, Alternation, but I feel like we’re getting off topic here. With all your stakes wins this year, it seems like more fans should be talking about you.


Alternation: That’s the story of my life. I don’t get no respect at all. You kiddin’, I don’t get no respect at all.


Zipse at the Track: I see.


Alternation: I tell ya I get no respect. The other day my vet said I was crazy. When I told her I wanted a second opinion, she said okay, your ugly too.


Zipse at the Track: When did this total lack of respect begin, Alternation.


Alternation: Early on … my mother never breast fed me, she told me she only liked me as a friend.  [Alternation takes a gulp of his beverage.]


Zipse at the Track: Wow, that’s tough.


Alternation: That’s nothing; my father carries around the picture of the kid who came with the wallet. 


Zipse at the Track: Speaking of your parents, you have an excellent pedigree. Do you feel like that has helped you out on the racetrack?


Alternation: I don’t know I tell ya, I looked up my family tree and found three dogs using it. 


Zipse at the Track: But your grandpa is Seattle Slew … he won the Triple Crown.


Alternation:  Pops? Yeah he was good, but in our family tree, it turns out that I’m the sap.


Zipse at the Track: Well, I don’t know about that, Alternation. You’ve done pretty well for yourself.


Alternation: Yeah but, I don’t get no respect at all. No respect at all, I tell ya.


Zipse at the Track: I’m sure they treat you well back at home…


Alternation: No, my marriage is on the rocks again, yeah, my wife just broke up with her boyfriend.


Zipse at the Track: Oh, that’s not good. I didn’t realize you were married?


Alternation: Yeah, my wife and I were happy for three years. Then we met.


Zipse at the Track: Well, I’m sure she is a lovely lady.


Alternation: She’s okay, she’s okay. She can’t cook though, she’s such a bad cook, the dog begs for Alka Seltzer. 


Zipse at the Track: Maybe you should stick with the track kitchen then. By the way, won’t your marriage interfere with your stallion career after you retire from racing?


Alternation: I don’t know, a girl phoned me the other day and said... 'Come on over, there's nobody home.' I went over. Nobody was home.


Zipse at the Track: I’m not sure what to say that.


Alternation:  I tell ya, the other night I asked my wife, 'On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate me as a lover?' She said, 'You know I'm no good at fractions.


Zipse at the Track: Regardless, I wish you well when you go off to stud.


Alternation: I'm gonna need it … I’m already taking Viagra and drinking prune juice - I don't know if I'm coming or going. 


Zipse at the Track: That’s a problem!


Alternation: Yeah, the way my lucks been running, if I was a politician I would be honest.


Zipse at the Track:  Well then, you might not fit in, here in Chicago.


Alternation: Hey that was funny, ZATT, but don’t quit your day job.


Zipse at the Track: Thanks for the time, Alternation.


Alternation: You were the only one who wanted to talk to me. [Alternation takes another gulp from his drink, straightens his tie one last time, and walks away down the shed row muttering the whole time about getting no respect.]



A special thanks goes out to the late, great Rodney Dangerfield, without whom, obviously this interview could never have happened. 


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Older Comments about Exclusive Interview: Alternation can’t get no respect...

Nice! Love the inflatable doll line :)
Too funny!!!
good stuff Zip!
I hate to admit that I laughed at the corny jokes.
Coming or going ... LOL!

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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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