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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

It's a Girl's World

With her patented stalk and pounce yesterday in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Woodward Stakes, Havre de Grace showed the world once again that in thoroughbred horse racing these days, it’s a girl's world. In joining Rachel Alexandra as only the second female ever to win the historic race, she rose to the head of the class of American racing. While there are plenty of big races still to come in 2011, there should be little doubt that to this point she has been the most consistently excellent in the nation. There was a time when proclaiming a female horse as the best in the nation, or in the world, would have been unusual, but not anymore.

Distaff stars like Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, Goldikova, Zarkava, Black Caviar, Makybe Diva, Rags to Riches, Vodka, and now Havre de Grace have turned the best races in the world open to the males into their own personal playgrounds. And now we may be on the verge of a third consecutive female winner of America’s Horse of the Year.

With the win in the $750,000 race, the 4-year-old daughter of Saint Liam won for the fourth time in five starts this year; the only loss coming in the Delaware Handicap when she was nosed out by arch rival Blind Luck in the sixth edition of their thrilling match-ups. The Woodward represented a step up though, as neither of the outstanding rivals had ever before tested their talents against the boys.

Made a 2-1 favorite by a crowd of more than 24,000, Havre de Grace found a comfortable stalking position on the outside as Rule carried the field through an opening quarter-mile in 23.93 seconds. Angled toward the inside as the half went in 48.09, Havre de Grace moved into contention approaching the far turn before making her presence felt under confident handling by rider Ramon Dominguez as the field turned for home. Rule fought on stubbornly, but was no match for Havre de Grace as she powered to the lead with 200 yards to go and then had plenty left to hold off second choice Flat Out. At the wire she was 1 ¼ lengths clear in a solid time of 1:49.18.
[Will this win propel Havre de Grace to the #1 spot on HRN's Power Rankings?]

With two months before the Breeders’ Cup, the Horse of the Year may now well be hers to win. Trainer Larry Jones and owner Rick Porter said the likely next spot for Havre de Grace was the Grade 1, $350,000 Beldame at Belmont Park on October 1, followed by a start in either the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic or the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.

“Our next race will be against the girls because we don’t want to knock her out before the Breeders’ Cup,” said Jones. “And then, who knows? Believe me, we’re considering both [the Ladies’ Classic and the Classic].”

I wonder if Jerry Hollendorfer, watching back in California, found new found confidence in running his star filly, Blind Luck, in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. After yesterday, who could deny the chances of either wonderful filly in the big show. After all, as proven again in the Woodward, it’s a girl's world.



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Older Comments about It's a Girl's World...

i was on Makybe Diva's page & found this thread. but i agree that Royal Delta should face the boys. winning against the girls is a been there done that kind of thing. i want to see them challenge her. i think shes good enough. i recently just came to really like her.
Hi kaitlin. So, I do try to take Mondays off, but I still read along, however this one has me pensively half-smiling. First, I do wonder how these old threads are found. Sleuth that I am, I can only go back so far and then the latest comments appear, without my being able to access older threads. Next thought, nice to see that Flat Out has improved in the public opinion polls(p.s., that is extra heavy on sarcasm, because I thought he was very good when Havre de Grace beat him in the Woodward. Next, funny how Royal Delta has faced males twice, and at the World's richest race. First try, understandable excuses, this year, even after the BCLC run, I was surprised to see him try to have her wire at 10f on tapeta, but that's not really my point. My point is that the connections only sent her believing she'd run quite well even have a chance at winning. Why then no open company races here, in the U.S. You'd have to ask them. My opinion? As for last year, why the BCLC repeat over trying the BCC itself? The Personal Ensign mistake ride, coupled with the place in her first start of the year.So, she probably would have had to win, not just place to be considered for HOTY. Not only that, but with this mare you have the situation that her broodmare career is set, not only that, but you have to think about how certain races might set up or not. I mean, in another BCC at Santa Anita, you'll have really tough , fast males that can handle the 10f, and by those I mean Dude and Fort Larned. If the Game On Dude that was favored last year gets a great start, and he and Fort Larned duel, you then have the closers, Royal Delta's stablemates, to come charging home. Let's take the JCGC over the Beldame. Okay, first her roomie, Flat Out will be going for the three-peat. Yes, different owners, but still a bit of a conflict there for the trainer. Not only that, but say she won at Belmont going 10f against males? Then the pressure to pick the Classic would be huge. Woodward over Personal Ensign (I haven't checked the dates)? I hope she would earn a touch more respect if she beat Flat Out in that than Havre De Grace did, although Havre de Grace was a fantastic, fast racing filly, if anyone didn't miss enjoying her at the time. Finally, another thing is, contrary to how perhaps I portray it, I'm not her only fan, it's just that she doesn't have toys of herself yet, and I suspect her fans are rather on the quiet side.
just read this from a couple years ago. theres a five year old mare now that deserves to join this list. :) isn't that right Mary?
I think that owners of the fillies/mares are the ones who are making the difference, with a willingness to test their females against the best of the males. And there have been some all-time great females in just the last 4 years.
tim....wasn't trying to disrespect you. just having a little fun. i don't disagree with you on your assessment. in the 9f ladies classic, hdg gets the nod. in the 10f big race bl gets the nod.
I guess i should have been more specific..1 at 1/16 one at 1/8 one at 1/4.. ok Bradshaw NEWSFLASH
tim......newsflash!......bl has already taken 2 out of 2 vs. hdg at 10f.
8.5 and 9 furlongs I would put my money on Twirling Candy
I would say on dirt from 1 1/16 to 1 1/4 HDG would win 2 out of 3 vs any of them.
beat Acclamation on dirt...faster than Stay Thirsty. Listen, she barely beat a Grade 2 winner called Flat Out and a horse called Rule that last won a graded stakes race 18 months ago. OK. She beat a dismal field in the 2011 Woodward. Only Ice Box and Giant Oak were Grade 1 winners and is the most recent Grade 1 winner seven months ago. It was a dismal field and has absolutely no bearing what so ever on the 2011 HOY. It only effects the "Older Female" ranking with Blind Luck. And just slightly at that.
On the dirt she can beat Acclamation, She ran faster 1 and 1 quarter than thirsty, On the dirt she can beat blanco, Mo just getting going so I would say he can take him over a mile as well, Tizway would give her a good race up till a mile and an eighth and as far as Blind luckicken. she was scratched because Hollendorf is a ch
I would bet she would be around 4-1. Im not saying she has won H.O.Y already . Just she has the connections that will at least give her a shot.. As opposed to the other handlers.
Havre de Grace - HOY? I'll tell you what. Create a 'mythical race' and enter HdG with Blind Luck, Acclamation, Tizway, Stay Thirsty, Cape Blanco, The Factor, and even Uncle Mo. Havre de Grace would be the highest odds in this mythical race to win.
chicken? Oh, please. The ignorance is telling here. Blind Luck has already run in four states on five different tracks, while Havre de Grace has just run in three states on just three tracks.
Come on Hollendorfer put your prized mare in some races... HDG is getting away even though you can beat her on the track.. That just spells mis managing or chicken not sure.
2/1 was a gift in my opinion. She towered these based on numbers and backed it up. I'll be rooting for a BL Grace rematch in the Beldame. Grace has the edge at 9.5, but BL will be coming that's for sure. If anything, HDG's win in the Woodward makes BL look that much better. I hope Jerry gives the classic some more thought.
You are right on jdas1, the big wins for the females just keep coming!
  • Rossington · @BrianZipse, Some good fillies running in the G1 St.Leger over 1-3/4 at Doncaster on Saturday, too!! Wouldn't completely rule Blue Bunting out of having a chance in that race after seeing her in the English 1000 Guineas, plus the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks this year. She's going into the St.Leger as Godolphin's #1 in the race!! · 2240 days ago
HK Cup Snow Fairy. Buena Vista ridiculous
  • jdas1 · romp and silly DQ in the Japan Cup and even Dar re Mi in the Sheema to boot. · 2241 days ago
  • Rossington · @jdas1, Agree 110%!! Buena Vista being D.Q.'d in this year's Japan Cup was one of the biggest miscarriages of justice that I've ever seen come out of a stewards inquiry!! Buena Vista was much the best in that race!! · 2240 days ago
andy.....don't take bsf's to heart. they are usually very skewed. just remember quality road.
And HDG earned a 111 BSF!

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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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