All the ducks are in line
Updated: July 1, 2010, 5:46 PM ETBy Jeremy Plonk | Special to ESPN.com
OK, here you go. Do something with it while you can.
Two of the drums most often beaten in horse racing circles are that there's too much emphasis on the Triple Crown preps and races and none of the sport's most important stars stick around later to race. If that's the case, I ask you this: What more could you possibly want than the current racing roster? The 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird is on the brink of his comeback, entered in a race Saturday at Churchill Downs that failed to get enough starters to "fill" and subsequently will return to battle another day sometime soon. The 2009 Preakness winner, none other than princess Rachel Alexandra, appears to be back to a glimmer of her dominant, old self while winning the Fleur de Lis Handicap last month by her customary city block. Don't forget we now have the 2009 darlings of the Triple Crown trail back, the two horses whose absence from the Kentucky Derby because of injury last year made everyone talk about it as such a weak crop. There's nothing weak about today's presence of Quality Road, a front-runner in the Horse of the Year discussion for 2010. And on Saturday we get I Want Revenge back to the races in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont. And, of course, there's always Zenyatta to bolster the active marquee, though her mainstream stardom has been stunted by the fact she never had the Triple Crown as a public launching pad. The ducks, or horses, are in a row now, folks. Do something with it. New York figures to have the bulk of these superstars boosting its racing programs. Quality Road, Rachel Alexandra and I Want Revenge already are in the Empire State and working toward local dates. Mine That Bird is stabled at Churchill Downs but ships to Saratoga in mere days. You begin to wonder: If horse racing can't make it work with this group of horses, does the argument about star power of horses really mean anything to the business model moving forward? What more do you want than the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Kentucky Oaks, Florida Derby and Wood Memorial winners all active as 4-year-olds at the highest levels of racing? Also consider the fact that I Want Revenge made his hay on the west coast before coming to New York and is ridden by Joe Talamo, one of California's most popular young riders. There's major coverage in terms of interest across the national map with this current crop of 4-year-old stars. Zenyatta carries the west's star power on her broad shoulders as well, helping canvass the map. Throw in the Breeders' Cup Classic champ of a year ago and all the wonderful "girls vs. boys" banter that has inflated the discussions to fascinating levels.
Horsephotos.com2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird's 2010 debut will have to wait.
There's also a great amount of drama around the people involved with these superstar horses. Combined, we have enough "good vs. evil" brewing to script out a Wrestlemania promotion for the WWE.
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