Monday, October 13, 2008

Not Only in America - Zarkava Retired

The AP carried a snippet this morning that the Aga Khan has decided to retire unbeaten filly Zarkava from racing just days after beating the 100 boys in the Arc de Triomphe. Well, it wasn't 100, but it sure seems that's how many run in those European races - and she seemed to pass every one of them in the stretch to win in a dominating effort. It would have been fun to see her run at 4 - and especially fun to see her run against America's best. Battle of the Z's: Zarkava v. Zenyatta - unbeaten and going at each other. Europe v. America. Two of the best horses in the world (sex notwithstanding) with one of them continuing on undefeated and immortal.

Ah well, 'tis not to be because the 'youth of the broodmare band' is very important to the Aga Khan. What does she really have left to prove? That she needs to win in America? That would be pretty narrow minded of me to insinuate that we are the end all and be all of world racing. She ripped the boys up in convincing fashion in arguably one of the most prestigious races in the world. It would be great to see her go at four but, unlike a colt, she can only foal once a year and every year on the track takes a foal out of the barn. I'm not thrilled to see her retired but I can understand it. I can certainly understand it more than retiring a colt at 3 after a few big wins and some possible soundness issues to make sure he can cover 100 mares a year. I guess I could start ranting about THAT, but I think we've all done enough of that for awhile.

Instead, farewell Zarkava and best of luck with being a mom. I feel like I was only just getting to know you, but thanks for the effort on the track.
Big Brown suffered an injury to his right front hoof while training this morning at Aqueduct. This will keep him out of the Breeder's Cup Classic and send him into the breeding shed. The injury is reportedly unrelated to his chronically bad hooves. No Curlin/Big Brown showdown and their partisans will be left to argue about which is the better horse. I'm not really emotional about that debate either way, but I really don't think BB stood a chance if Curlin had no issues with the surface. Best of luck in the shed - I think you may need it...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know that great mares have a way smaller chance than stallions to make an impact in the breeding shed, but I can't help but think about all the great female champions who produce no significant offspring. A few names come to mind like Genuine Risk, Soviet Problem, Paseana, Lady's Secret, who were amazons on the track, but never produced any great offspring.

So if you can't make a 50K stud fee eighty or ninety times a year, why wouldn't you continue to race? Why not continue to make money and be a celebrity to advertise the sport.

Maybe the Breeders Cup should have premiums for winning the races multiple times? If you win the race once, you get the normal purse, win it twice you get a bonus. Win it three times and you get 10 times the original purse. Now that would encourage owners to continue to race their stars and add a new requirement for the phrase "Triple Crown"