Much was made of the brilliant 4 year old filly Zenyatta today as she won the Ladies’ Classic at the Breeders Cup, bringing her undefeated streak to 9 career starts. The ESPN commentators were falling all over themselves, with comments like, “The Patriots couldn’t do it, Big Brown couldn’t do it, but Zenyatta did!”
Aren’t we forgetting someone?
It really irked me to no end that comparisons were made without any mention of what may be one of the greatest trotters of all time, Deweycheatumnhowe, who was undefeated through his first 17 career starts with a 21-1-1 record in a total 23 starts, has won every major trotting race, has won all three legs of the trotting Triple Crown, most recently won the Kentucky Futurity requiring him to race three heats and win two in one day, and is the ONLY undefeated winner of the Hambletonian, which has been in place since 1926.
Is it just me, or does that sound slightly more impressive than 8 wins? Not to take anything away from Zenyatta – she is certainly very powerful and her late-closing style of running makes for a thrilling race – but I’d like to see credit given where it’s due. Harness racing has always been the People’s Sport, not the Sport of Kings, but that doesn’t mean the horses are any less an athlete. So my congratulations to Zenyatta’s owners, and when she has a few more wins under her belt – like, say, a dozen or so – then I’ll put her up on a level with Dewey. Until then, she’s just a very good horse.