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Zipse At The Track

Hey NTRA, how about these apples?


The NTRA did a good job with their dozen candidates for the 2013 Moment of the Year, but as the old saying goes … You can’t make everybody happy all the time. With that thought in mind, and no offense intended to the good people at the NTRA, I offer up four races that certainly made my Top 12 moments of the year. Check ‘em out, and then I encourage you to tell me your favorite moments from 2013 that you think should have been on the list.


This year’s Westchester Handicap was a good as it gets. The lightly raced upstart, Cross Traffic, was running his eyeballs out, while the old pro, Flat Out was bound and determined to beat him to the wire. As fast as Cross Traffic had run early, he should have wilted to the pressure put on by Flat Out coming out of the turn. He did not. What ensued down the Belmont Park stretch was pure magic. Youth would not be served on this afternoon, my friends, as the seven-year-old recent retiree refused to lose. It was a beautiful case of two excellent thoroughbreds giving it everything they had, and we were the beneficiaries.



What is a seven furlong race from France doing on my list? If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘turn of foot’ when describing the events of a horse race, and wondered what exactly it meant, look no further than Moonlight Cloud’s scintillating stretch run in the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp. The Freddie Head trained five-year-old looked hopelessly beaten while still toiling in last with a quarter mile left to go in the seven furlong affair, when all of  sudden a magic button was pressed and the mare took of at warp speed. Not only did Moonlight Cloud catch her group 1 competition, but she did it so explosively quick, that she was able to she simply coast to the wire an easy winner.   



Anyone who saw the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Marathon knew that Calidoscopio could pick ‘em up and lay ‘em down, even after looking hopelessly beaten for much of the race. But could the now ten-year-old horse do it in a sea of slop at Belmont Park? Yes! On what was an otherwise miserable rainy day on Belmont Stakes Eve, Calidoscopio made up more ground in the Brooklyn Handicap than I have seen in a long time. Horses aren’t supposed to make up thirty lengths or more in the slop, but nobody could tell that to this old boy. Watching him cut into the lead with every stride from the three-eighths pole to the wire was just plain old fun. 


Proof positive that there is plenty of good racing after the Breeders’ Cup. I thought that Game On Dude ran the perfect race in the Clark Handicap. Relaxing early, and then pouncing on the turn, the top older horse looked home free at the eighth pole, but, of course, Will Take Charge had other ideas. Like he had done so many times before, the soon to be three-year-old champion found another exciting gear late to nail his fine older foe on the wire. Not only was it a thrilling race, but it was the race that clinched a championship for the son of Unbridled’s Song. Excuse the homemade video, but I think the young man gave it a good try with his race call; maybe he has a future in the business.



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Older Comments about Hey NTRA, how about these apples?...

There's nothing better than watching older horses perform so spectacularly as Calidoscopio did in the Brooklyn. From being completely out of the competition, to winning with style. As the announcer said, Calidoscopio is only the second 10 year old to ever win a graded stakes race. Calidoscopio is Argentinian bred. The other 10 year old is the German bred Musketier. It would be nice to see some American bred horses winning at this age. Aaron Gryder ran a brilliant race under instructions from trainer Mike Puype to run late most of the way. For those who believe that jockeys are only passengers and horses run races all by themselves, watch this one again.
despite all the critcism for even being in the race I loved watching Wise Dan skim the hedge in the Firecracker
Long straight-away races.
Nice list...but somebody please tell me why the French have to track announcers? Always complicating matters aren't they...
Flat Out's effort in the Westchester earned a 115 BSF, the HIGHEST of the year in a graded stake at a NYRA track. Interestingly, Ron the Greek had the second highest with a 114 in the JCGC. Maybe Bill Mott is actually the highlight!
I voted for Calidoscopio on BloodHorse site's race of the year. I was surprised that it was not an option on NYRA because I thought it was the most incredible performance I saw this year.
will take charge for his massive come back with the blinkers off. he was able to give the older males a scare once but then took town one of the greats. not often do we see the 3 year olds run game with the older boys and defeat them.
Calidoscopio just made it look all too easy in both the Brooklyn Handicap and also last year in the Breeders Cup Marathon. I cried when Mucho Macho Man won the Classic, I was so thrilled. But, watching Cal just look like he's out for a stroll, and a masterful ride by Aaron Gryder, and then he turns on the after-burners and does one of the best imitations of Silky Sullivan any horse in recent memory has been able to do, and on 10 year old legs at that! Well, you just have to cheer for a horse like that and celebrate! Hands down, the "Moment of the year"!

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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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