John Sheriffs finally sat down and took questions from a group of reporters at a media room at Keeneland race course, I wanted to take a moment to focus on a couple of questions and answers that he gave regarding his horse and decisions that were made with regards to her career and campaign.
On Zenyatta’s 2010 campaign, which was different than the one the Mosses talked about when they decided to keep her in training: “I think (the Mosses’ comments) were a little bit misinterpreted because we race in California, which is on the other side of the Rockies. So it’s a little different shipping around California than it is on the East Coast. We wanted to have the opportunity to let other people see her; which was obviously one of the reasons we went to Oaklawn Park with her. But when you have to decide where to go again, it’s tough to turn down a grade I race and take her somewhere else when California supports her and stables her and takes care of her.”
On whether he had second thoughts at scratching her from the Louisville Distaff (gr. II) last year at Churchill because of rain: “No, I didn’t have any second thoughts. It was a tough decision to make. I didn’t feel I should make the decision on my own. So at 10 o’clock that morning I went out there myself and I said if they open the track just a little bit I’d run her. But they went out and left it sealed and I didn’t know if they were exactly concerned about the horses because they just wanted to make sure the track is fast. All they had to do was just run the harrows over it a little bit to let a little air in it and I would have run her.”
It is amazing to see this man take a shot at Churchill downs like that, I believe this is classless and bush league in the best sense of the word. There are a number of trainers out there that if they had made this observation would have been berated, but i've seen people on blogs and message boards look at this comment and make statements like they respect him even more. To imply that the track is not looking out for the best interest of the horse, and those connections that ran their horses on the sealed track were not looking out for the best interest of their horse is a real slap in the face, but what seemingly is an immature person.
Let me say this, Mr. Sheriffs mentions they, and unfortunately there is a "They" that people should be pointing fingers at and the they would be the connections of this mare, viewed as overrated by many, and the second coming of Secretariat by others, the problem though is that not many people know of her, and even less care about her or horse racing or anything going on with or affiliated with the sport. Her connections are Cowards, and with the cowardice campaigning of the mare, put themselves and the industry as you say in this position. She had a chance to be main stream by racing against Rachel but they ran from Rachel in 2009 like the plague. In June on the day of the Mother Goose Moss was quoted as saying they were shipping Zenyatta east, unfortunately after seeing Rachel demolish that field in record fashion twice over, Moss ducked tail and decided the very next day to announce that they would stay in Cali. Her fans, her detractors, the media, everyone begged and pleaded with Mr. Moss to ship her to run in venues that would allow others to see her, they passed on races at Saratoga, Belmont, Monmouth, & Churchill and also turned down an invitation to go run on her favorite synthetic surface in Dubai. So the "They" would be Jerry Moss and John Sheriffs that caused this "Missed Opportunity". Listen carefully, "It was more important to the connections of this great mare to chase Pepper's Pride's win streak record" that is and was the one and only motivation when she hit 12 or 13 wins. HOY was secondary, they in 08 and 09 begged for the award but didn't deserve it by means of the campaign, and in 2010 have done the same thing, run an allowance quality campaign, and then stand in front of the media and say no matter what she should get HOY for her career accomplishments. Sad, and lacking of class in the worst way, taking shots at Churchill downs management and track staff because they wouldn't follow Sheriffs directions about how to deal with their track. Classless. And let me also chime in "Kudos" to the management or whomever it was that Sheriffs called at NYRA and asked about the stall application process, from what I hear he was advised that the application was online, to download and print it and mail it in. Wonderful to hear, the West Coast Hype horse and her connections want preferential treatment at all times, and have done nothing for the industry, or east coast racing. Moss has turned his nose and flipped the one finger salute to everything going on east of the Mississippi, therefore let the same thing occur when you want to be treated like you are better than everyone else. You can't ship your horse why, well one day you make a statement that Zenyatta ships perfectly, but when a race comes up that she can run in the excuse is that she gets dehydrated when she ships. WOW really now.
The only "They" that needs to be blamed is Moss and Sheriffs, they ducked and dodged races that would have put her on the map nationally. If they had run in races worthy of national attention maybe the viewing of the BC in 09 wouldn't have been an all time low of a .68 share, now compare that to the 17 share for the Preakness Rachel won. Pathetic, but they brought it upon themselves, remember the quotes earlier this year "we cant fly over the rockies, we can't climb the highest mountain, we have to play at home once in a while, and the best of all, she has nothing left to prove." I guess racing at home 17/19 times was once in a while and they went overboard with it, that's why again people in other parts of the country don't know her and really don't care. Mr. Moss and Mr. Sheriffs You, and you alone are the "Theys", maybe you should have shown faith and confidence in your great horse, enough to allow her the opportunity to prove herself from January - October, or maybe you shouldnt have ducked races at her preferred distance run on the same day as a race you entered her in that was very much shorter than her best trip, or maybe you'll learn from all your mistakes with your next big horse, and maybe one day actually be deserving of Horse of the Year and not have to beg for it. :)