Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Impressions from the Breeders’ Cup Backstretch

Fort Larned wins 2012 Whitney
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
Let me tell you, spending several hours on the Santa Anita backstretch the morning before the Breeders’ Cup, is an experience that every race fan should enjoy at least once. Not only are you in the presence of the movers and shakers in the game, but being so close that you could reach out and touch many of the finest thoroughbred athletes in the world is thrilling. But enough about my great time, I’d like to share some of what I saw this morning with you in hopes of helping with the daunting task of handicapping the Breeder’s Cup.
First the bad news, or maybe  it is good news depending on where your preferences lie … I was very disappointed with how the Aidan O’Brien horses looked this morning. Excelebration, St Nicholas Abbey, and Treasure Beach all looked like horses who would rather be cantering in Ireland rather than galloping in Southern Calfornia. On paper, you would have to give Excelebration and St Nicholas Abbey big chances in the Mile and Turf respectively, but after seeing what I saw, I fear them less than I did yesterday.
Now for the good news, several horses caught my eye as looking especially good. Keep in mind that I did not see all the horses running over the next few days, but I did get to see a majority of them. Without further ado, here are the magnificent seven that looked the absolute picture of health this morning.
Game On Dude – Not only does he look great, but he’s as calm as feeling good thoroughbred race horse could be.
Groupie Doll – She looks even stronger then when I saw her this spring. Clearly Buff Bradley has her in fine fettle.
The Lumber Guy – Love a good looking grey, and this young powerhouse could not look much better.
Fort Larned – When he won the Whitney at Saratoga, I thought he looked good in the paddock and on the track … he looked even better this morning.
Coil – This big, beautiful, copper colored chestnut looks both happy and muscled out. He has the perfect look for a championship sprinter.
Ridasiyna – I thought several of the French horses looked good this morning, but this three-year-old filly looked to be the best of the bunch.
Super Ninety Nine – If my eye is correct; this chestnut son of Pulpit has all the physical tools to be a good one. Look for him to run big tomorrow. 


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Older Comments about Impressions from the Breeders’ Cup Backstretch...

I had some big win bets on Calidoscipoco, Flotilla, George Vancouver and Tapizar. And I had the Tapizar exacta. Lost some too, but overall it was a surprisingly profitable BC for me for a change. After the Turf, I thought any Euro would have to run an atypical race to contend. Aiden must have sensed that too because Joseph was riding them very agressively early. Euros tend to like to settle and make one big run. But, that is the risk when they ship here. And they know it.
Two great wins and a good second from the horses that caught me eye ... it pays to see them in the morning.
icy- it is a legitimate excuse. We don;t realize that because our top horses never venture over there to run in totally foreign environments with courses they have never encountered before. I don;t think people appreciate enough the fact that they do ship here.
At least they'll have an excuse after WD runs a monster race, and he will. I'm curious about all the predictions I've made with certainty how many people are waiting to replay after I lose? Well don't hold your breath folks Icy is having a year of years.
I'm glad you mentioned Excelebration because I was going to ask for your opinion on how he looked. I had read somewhere today that he didn't seem to be handling the heat very well.
Super impressed with the Lumber Guy, Coil, and Groupie Doll. Can't wait to see how these horses fare this weekend.
From what I heard My Miss Aurelia looked as good as any horse on the Santa Anita backstretch.

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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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