Baffert: Espinoza Got ‘A Little Greedy,’ Almost Lost Mount On American Pharoah

by | 10.12.2016 | 5:41pm
Ahmed Zayat with American Pharoah after his homebred colt won the 2015 Breeders' Cup Classic

In a recent column for Thoroughbred Racing Commentary, Bob Ehalt caught up with trainer Bob Baffert, owner Ahmed Zayat, and jockey Victor Espinoza nearly a year after Triple Crown winner American Pharoah wrapped up his career. According to the column, things were not always rosy in the AP camp in the weeks leading up to the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic.

Trainer Bob Baffert recalls feeling Espinoza's focus shifted from riding to sponsorship deals after the Triple Crown, and told Ehalt the rider wanted a contract before getting on the horse, as well as royalties if his image was used in connection with the colt.

“American Pharoah was basically an ATM to him,” Baffert told Ehalt. “He was getting a little greedy. He wanted to cash in on the horse as much as he could. I don't care if you make money, I want your head in the game and his head wasn't in the game. He hired lawyers and he wanted to get paid for sponsorships. It got to the point I had to pull Victor up a bit because he wanted to cash in.

Espinoza remembers feeling pressure from the Zayats between the Preakness and the Belmont, and felt the owners wanted to take him off the horse until Baffert interceded. The veteran rider contrasted the experience with his partnership with California Chrome, where the owners “let me do whatever I want” and he feels more supported by trainer Art Sherman.

Baffert remembered having a couple of meetings with Espinoza, who he said was no longer coming to visit the horse ahead of the Classic, warning him to straighten up or risk losing the mount.

Zayat says he was the one who lobbied to keep Espinoza on the horse, and says he never put pressure on the rider. Instead, he told Ehalt, Espinoza told people he deserved breeding rights to American Pharoah (an arrangement Zayat believes the rider has with California Chrome) but hasn't gotten them.

“Now I hear talk he has a deal to get breeding rights to California Chrome and he goes around saying California Chrome is better than American Pharoah,” Zayat said. “I don't want to get involved in that, but I know there is only one Triple Crown winner and I don't care what Victor says about California Chrome, he's no American Pharoah.

“I know Bob is pissed about that and I just want history to decide who is the better horse. I believe they don't breathe the same air.”

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  • real fan

    Baffert is just upset he wasn’t asked to be on “Dancing with the Stars!”

    • Jack Frazier

      Good one.

    • Bobbie Irish

      I think BB recommended Victor get that job…

  • Luis

    Baffert upset he couldn’t get in victor pocket. Like he was in Martin Garcia pocket . That’s a fact

  • Tinky

    “I just want history to decide who is the better horse. I believe they don’t breathe the same air.”

    Here’s the problem, Mr. Zayat: California Chrome has developed into an outstanding horse as a fully mature five-year-old, but no one will ever know how good AP might have been, as you chose to cash in by retiring him prematurely.

    Winning the Triple Crown was certainly a major achievement, but under close inspection there are serious questions about just how good AP was. Beating the likes of Effinex while enjoying a huge tactical advantage is not the stuff that legends are made of, and today’s CC would dispose of that one with equal ease.

    Should California Chrome win the BC Classic in impressive style, the historical lens may not produce the image that you imagine to be so clear.

    • Bobbie Irish

      Agreed, totally! In fact, maybe they thought AP wouldn’t be as good, if he ran the following year, and didn’t want the exposure.

      • Meydan Rocks

        That’s feel good speculation that makes me feel good about why he quit. And then you think about all those dollars the former owners are sloshing in from APs retirement and the speculation at least to me doesn’t compute. What’s that old lyric about “cash rules everything around me”?

        • Boknows

          That right! Breeding him to 200 mares in his first season!! They will kill AP! They are all about the Money..

          • Meydan Rocks

            Well at least Coolmore has been down this road with superstar horses so I’m going to assume they’ll keep the horse happy.

          • Boknows

            Why don’t you contact Claiborne Farm and ask them about breeding 200 mares to a horse in one season? They have certainly been in business longer than Coolmore! They are cutting back on there breeding’s! I wonder why?

          • Meydan Rocks

            LOL! okay

          • David Worley

            Interesting comment Boknows. How many mares is optimum according to Claiborne in a first season? How about later ones?

          • Lehane

            Keeping AP happy when they’re working him to death, you can’t be serious. I have a low opinion of Coolmore.

          • Meydan Rocks

            I understand. Popularity is a curious thing. :-)

          • Judy Gaddis

            Well I can tell you from personal experience that one of their stallion managers is EXTREMELY rude to visitors when it comes to AP. In fact he is SO rude he has NO business interacting with the public/fans AT ALL!

          • Robin

            My co-worker thinks it is animal abuse to make a horse cover that many mares in one season.

          • Lehane

            Agree.

          • Ida Lee

            I can’t stop laughing …hilarious !!!! Oh, wait a minute… was your co-worker serious ??? I don’t know if you’ve seen an actual mating but it really does not look like too much work for a stallion….it literally only takes a few seconds…there’s no dinner and dancing or romance or cuddling here.

          • Lehane

            200 mares in his first season? This poor boy might end up like some other stallions who have literally died from exhaustion.

      • Uncle Mo Cat

        No that was not it at all. If that was it, Zayat would not have raced the colt on after the Belmont. This ego puffed owners beating their chest about their once in a lifetime horses is not an indicator that either horse deserves aspersions. Nor is Victor being annoyed he didn’t get a breeding right. That would have been the right thing to do.

        • Pebbles

          Love the username…and I agree.

    • Jordan

      AP not only beat the likes of Effinex, but also Frosted, Honor Code, Tonalist, Keen Ice, Dortmund, Firing Line, and Mubtaahij. And what was the “huge tactical advantage”???

      • Tinky

        Hoo boy.

        There is no greater tactical advantage than to be able to completely control the pace.

        AP lost to a deeply inferior horse when Frosted went at him him aggressively in the Travers.

        Honor Code? Tonalist? Neither one ran well in the BC. They were both beaten by Effinex, for God’s sake!

        AP was obviously an outstanding horse, but he never beat a truly top-class rival. Frosted hadn’t fully developed yet, and even this year has proven to be limited.

        • Jordan

          I disagree that being the fastest horse is a tactical advantage. Running six lengths in front of the field at track record pace could be seen as a disadvantage, as it would tire most horses. Look at the Derby. Rarely do the early leaders win the race.

          AP tired in the Travers. After winning the TC and the Haskell in four different states within two months, I can hardly blame him. Secretariat lost to an inferior horse in the Woodward, the Whitney, the Wood… Does that diminish his greatness?

          Frosted is an excellent horse. Of course he has improved since last year, as the vast majority of horses do as they mature. Does that diminsh his talent as a three year old, including winning the Wood and a fourth place finish in an extremely loaded Derby field? I don’t think so.

          As for Tonalist and Honor Code, loosing to a horse (Effinex) running at a roughly 2:01 mile and a quarter does not make them subpar horses. I tend to agree with Eclipse Award voters who called Honor Code a champion. Tonalist was at his best at Belmont, but also won at Aqueduct, and GP and ran strongly at Saratoga.

          • Tinky

            Neither Frosted, Tonalist, nor Honor Code were truly outstanding. They all had limitations, and AP was superior to them. Frosted is/was clearly the most talented, but has never been able to win when under serious pressure. That is a big limitation.

            The point about the tactical advantage is that when a superior horses enjoy such an advantage, they are virtually unbeatable, and often appear superficially better than they really are. In other words, top horses should be judged principally on how they fare when up against top competition, and/or when racing under adverse conditions. AP was beaten in the one race where things really didn’t go his way. The greatest horses overcome such obstacles

          • Decimus_D

            Maybe they were not outstanding, but they ran some outstanding races. That’s kind of the point. Its all speculation now but I don’t think AP would have beat Honor Code in the Whitney last year if he had to knock heads with Liams Map all the way around the track. Would he have been able to hold off Beholder in the Pacific Classic? Would he have stomped through the mud in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and taken down Tonalist? We will never know.

            All we do know is the one time they all raced, he got the absolute perfect set up. Loose on the lead horses are at a huge advantage, and while some of that it talent, some is luck. The fact he was the lone speed was huge. The two times he was challenged on the front end he was all out, one of which he lost.

            Either way, he won the TC and topped it off with a BCC win. No one can take that away. However, in my humble opinion, in the grand scheme of great horses, he is pretty far down that list. I’d probably put him in the 10 spot of TC champions. That’s not through lack of talent necessarily, but due to small sample size.

          • Tinky

            I agree completely.

            I would add that I do believe that there was enough evidence to confirm that he was essentially a top-class galloper, and as such, was seen at his best advantage when able to control the pace. He was good enough, and tractable enough to win under other conditions, and deserves credit for that. But he did not display the type of instant acceleration that is typically displayed by the very best.

            When the button was pushed on Miesque, to use just one example, she blew past her rivals in a matter of strides, and the race was over. That is quite different from how AP won his races. He was more reminiscent of, to use another turf example, Theatrical, the former Champion trained by Bill Mott. The latter was a galloper as well, and top-class. But when he twice faced Manila, which had the same quality as Miesque, he was no match.

          • katwalk

            Turf is such a different game. Goldikova looked a bit like a quarter horse.

          • Tinky

            Huh? She looked nothing like a quarter horse. I’ll link to a superb photo of her below.

          • katwalk

            She had a huge engine and ran markedly (as sprinters usually do) downhill. I’m not talking about some halter horse/western pleasure horse aberration.
            But yes, that’s a lovely picture.

          • Tinky

            Ah, yes. In terms of speed, she could accelerate like a quarter horse. I had thought that you were referring to physique.

          • artistinwax

            That is a gorgeous photo of Goldikova.

          • larry

            AP loss in the Travers was as impressive as his wins were when you look at the whole picture, the travel the workout before the race and the way it set up and he kept rolling dismissing frosted only to come up a little short. All and all a great performance in itself

          • worldb.free

            Speed IS a tactical advantage. Not even subject to speculation as almost ALL races are won by horses sitting first-fourth. It is much more difficult for a closer to get on a winning streak than a speed freak.

        • Jordan

          And who has CC beat, while we’re at it? Beholder is not at her best this year. You dismiss Dortmund when AP beats him, as well as Frosted. The truth is, all great horses make their competition look subpar.

          • Robert Arthur

            Tinky,
            I agree Chrome would have been a great test for AP. IMO Shared Belief would have been great too. We could also say that money was the underlying motivation for AP’s retirement. Afterall racehorse owners are investing large sums of money into their horse athletes and things don’t always go as planned. In other words horse racing is a risky business and protecting an investment is absolutely necessary. Unless you are a person that likes burning money.

            Since we are looking at this as “what could have been” lets look past the argument of money motivation. Perhaps the owners of AP have a duty to horse racing fans or more importantly to the sport itself. What if AP continued to race and he was badly injured during a race and had to be euthanized. What would people say then? Would his loss be worth one race against Chrome? AP’s Triple Crown win has helped rejuvenate the sport and its brought in new fans. IMO I think the owners of AP did the right thing because we will see his offspring run again. Thus keeping those new and old fans excited about the sport. Moreover, your desire to see Chrome and AP run against one another could possibly come fruition when their offspring run against one another.

          • Tinky

            Robert,

            I appreciate your response, but in my view, if perfectly sound horses are to be retired early in order to protect them from an extremely unlikely event (i.e. serious injury), then it’s time to shut the sport down. It’s bad enough that big money incentivizes early retirement, and the last thing we need is another rationalization.

            Do you really imagine that AP breeding for one extra year will create anything like the excitement that a four-year-old campaign would have provided?

          • Tinky

            I never asserted that CC has faced any outstanding horses – he hasn’t. That is part of what makes it so sad that AP was retired prematurely.

            You are completely wrong, however, about “all great horses”. There are plenty of examples of exceptional horses having faced and beaten similarly outstanding runners. Easy Goes and Sunday Silence are two examples. Seattle Slew trounced Affirmed, and beat Exceller. Do you know who Dr. Fager and Buckpasser faced? Brigadier Gerard beat Mill Reef and several other horses that were vastly superior to the horses that AP beat. Etc, etc., etc.

          • Kimberly Beth

            Beholder – a 6 year old mare, coming in 2nd to a male 5 year old Chrome is quite the feat. Don’t knock her – she’s won more Grade 1 races from 2 years old to 6 years old than any other horse. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (2012), Las Virgenes, Santa Anita Oaks, Zenyatta, Breeders’ Cup Distaff (2013), Zenyatta (2014), Clement L. Hirsch, Pacific Classic, Zenyatta (2015) and Vanity (2016). American Pharoah is much more well known than Chrome, outside of the racing world. Yes, within this small world, Chrome is known to be one of the best. But in all honesty, outside of the racing world, he is known for NOT winning the Triple Crown, and that’s it. Outside of the racing world he is forgotten. Outside of the racing world his name comes up every May while the broadcasters are discussing the Kentucky Derby. And there are more people that DON’T follow racing than there are that do. Also, because the amazing American Pharoah accomplished something that no other horse has done in 37 years, he is much better known and well loved. He has a much bigger fan base than Chrome. It seems to me that Espinoza got greedy, and I see it now with Chrome. I have lost a lot of respect for him, however, I do still respect him for consistently raising money for pediatric children’s cancer. But after watching him ride Stellar Wind against Beholder and basically whipping the hell out of her because he saw Beholder was about to beat SW, shows me he is greedy and wants nothing more than money and publicity. Yes, perhaps the Zayat’s were looking at the almighty dollar, I will never know. Just like we will never know what American Pharoah could have accomplished as a 4 year old. Speculating won’t change the outcome of which horse is the better horse. But history will indeed show that American Pharoah is much better known in the collective racing and non-racing world than Chrome will ever be.

          • Pebbles

            Actually, Beholder is 3 G1 race wins short of Zenyatta.

            And Victor Espinoza barely whipped Stellar Wind. Also, if you have a problem with his action with the ship then you really must not appreciate his delivering the Triple Crown on American Pharoah because without his betting busy on American Pharoah going into the stretch AP would not have won the Kentucky Derby. That win was due to Espinoza motivating the horse. Without it American Pharoah finishes 2nd or 3rd.

            Espinoza did not get greedy at all. In the past, jockey’s have received breeding shares for riding big horses. Baffert got one of Zayat’s 10. Baffert also did commercials. Espinoza wanted a piece of the action and was told no so he was only looking out for himself.

            And while you think Chrome is not the well known, he is much better known in California than American Pharoah, and he is much more popular in the US and world than you realize after his Dubai win. He spent the entire year just about as the world’s number 1 horse. :-)

          • larry

            Exactly!

          • Kimberly Beth

            And to add to that….. Beholder is a mare, a year older than CC and she came in 2nd to him. This will probably be her last year racing, and she’s accomplished a hell of a lot, as I stated in a previous post. And Dortmund came damn close to beating CC this year as well, and as much as I like the big fella, he was beat by AP also. There is no telling who the better horse is. Pharoah fans (myself included) will vow he is, CC fans will do the same. We will honestly never know. Let’s enjoy the sport for what it is. Love the horses

        • Meydan Rocks

          Tinky I hear you, but obtaining and keeping this so called “tactical advantage” in and off itself has to do with some sort of ability. I’m a former average track and field athlete. Believe me, I know the frustrations of trying to keep up with the competition. We;ll never know if CC would have been able to handle Shared Belief as a 5 year old and we’ll never know about how truly good AP could have been.
          When I see comments such as “Chrome is flattering Shared Belief” I’m not too sure. To me 90% of being an athlete is STAYING HEALTHY over a long duration. The rest is mental. Meaning that we can’t assume that Shared Belief would have grown into a more durable horse as he aged. And on and on and on.

          Sorry to bore you but I’m sure you get my drift.

          • Tinky

            You are correct that it is a feather in the cap of horses that have a high cruising speed, such as AP, which can provide them with such a tactical advantage.

            But consider that the one time the AP was challenged on the pace, he was beaten by an inferior horse in the Travers. Now, I don’t believe that he was 100%, so I do cut him a bit of slack. But the point still remains that in the Belmont and BC, he thrashed inferior horses while enjoying a serious tactical advantage.

            Had he raced this year, he would have had to fight with CC for a good long way in order to beat him, and there is no evidence whatsoever that he necessarily would have prevailed.

          • Meydan Rocks

            Yes. Again you are correct. Allow me to invoke a famous old quote. “WE AS ROBBED”! Regarding him being challenged on the lead, we simply don’t have enough sampling because he was whisked away too soon. I wish we had 4 of those Traver’s type scenarios to look at. This is a horse who could somewhat rate. I remember reading that he was a little keyed up before the race. Let’s remember, he was only a young 3 year old. Should we be comparing a 5 year old CC to a 3 year old AP? Right now Victor thinks so.

            All these disparate variables. If only we had more races (IE him running at 4 and maybe 5 like Chrome) Oh well.

          • Meydan Rocks

            Three weeks can’t come too soon that’s for sure!

          • Pebbles

            Come on…you say you go to Saratoga. Were you at American Pharoah’s barn on the morning of his gallop and the morning after – the day of the Travers. He was fit as a fiddle for that gallop. The morning after he looked a shell of himself.

            There were a couple of reasons American Pharoah was unable to repel Keen Ice, and it had nothing to do with being challenged on the pace. Do you forget that he soundly repelled Frosted’s challenge. Keen Ice’s challenge was not on the pace.

            Espinoza made a huge mistake engaging Frosted when he did. Had he let the less than 100% American Pharoah take on Frosted in a single run he would have won the race. Instead he engaged early after the 1st half mile and he paid the price. It was pilot error that he lost that race.

            Fully fit as he was for the BC Classic Liam’s Map, Smooth Roller and Beholder could have challenged him and they would have all fallen by the wayside.

            I appreciate your acknowledging he was not 100%, but then dissing him anyway does not seem to make sense.

          • Tinky

            He was clearly beaten by an inferior horse, and great horses do, at times, overcome more than he had to in that race.

            But you are missing the central point, which is that it is the only race in which he had to engage in a protracted duel, and it didn’t end well. And as there is no chance that would be able to beat a horse like California Chrome without engaging in such a duel, it raises serious questions about how he might have fared.

          • Pebbles

            And sometimes great horses do not.

            Secretariat lost to Onion and Prove Out. Decent horses, but nothing to write home about.

            And you are missing the point that if all things were considered equal heading into the Travers –
            -That he had shipped in on a Tuesday instead of a Wednesday
            -That he had not galloped 10-12 furlongs around the track the day before
            -That he had trained over the tiring Saratoga track
            -That he had gotten a stronger prep in the Haskell
            -That he had not been tired from the rigors of the Triple Crown
            -That he had not been shipped multiple times post-TC for the Haskell and Travers

            We are talking about an animal here, not a super being. But we are talking about a very special animal to the extent that his mechanics are second to no other horse that I have ever seen train or run. This is what enabled him to finish as well as he did in the Travers when a lesser horse would have finished 3rd or worse…

            Given all of these challenges American Pharoah still manages to only get beat by 3/4s of a length. That is a pretty incredible race horse.

            Going into the BC Classic, none of these factors were at issue. He was fully fit and no horse was going to defeat him in the BC Classic.

            Post-Travers there were many who said that they had told we Pharoah supporters so regarding his ability to not handle a test. And I cautioned these folks based upon the fact that I saw a horse that was not fully fit heading into the Travers, and this was a different horse than who was entering the BC Classic. So, we will never know what would have happened had Liam’s Map, Smooth Roller, and Beholder been in the gate. But I have little trouble believing that American Pharoah would have dispensed with them.

          • Tinky

            Your romantic notion of the horse continues to impede your understanding of him.

            Your willingness to excuse the Travers loss, and even, remarkably, attempt to paint it as heroic, underscores that you either aren’t being objective, or haven’t yet grasped the (sometimes) subtle distinctions that I have been talking about.

            For context, let me tell you about what sort of obstacles a truly great horse is capable of overcoming. In 1984, Sagace (by Luthier), trained by the infamous Patrick Biancone, won the Arc in impressive style over a 21 rivals, including Northern Trick, Esprit du Nord, Time Charter and Sun Princess and Strawberry Road (later a Champion in the U.S.). The soft ground was in his favor, as, like many of Luthier’s offspring, he relished the mud, and displayed the type of action associated with such horses.

            The following year, Sagace had an interrupted campaign, and rumors of injuries swirled around. I was at Longchamp for that year’s Arc, and Sagace appeared in the paddock heavily bandaged in front, and sweating in such a way that denoted he was worried, or fearful of something. The ground that year was unusually firm for Longchamp, and given the horse’s past form and action, there was good reason to worry about that as well.

            Of his challengers, Rainbow Quest made a superlative appearance, one of the best that I have ever seen, and the race boiled down to those two. Incredibly, Sagace passed the wire first, though was correctly disqualified for interfering with RQ in the stretch. It was later revealed, though perhaps not publicly, that Sagace had suffered not one, but two tendon injuries prior to the race.

            Now, the obstacles that Sagace overcame in that race underscore the triviality of the various excuses you offer up for AP. Shipping in one day early or late? Coat a bit dull? Please. Those are the types of excuses that should be reserved for ordinary animals, not truly extraordinary ones.

            A more recent and closer to home example would be Rachel Alexandra in the Woodward. She was a shell of a horse, clearly gutted from her hard campaign, yet was able to win in spite of that, with an extremely impressive display of heart. Predictably, she was never the same, as a result.

            This contrast again underscores that you are underrating the importance of the duel with Frosted, and its impact on the result.

          • Pebbles

            Sagace’s performance was incredible. But it helps to underline something about the thoroughbred breed that has changed since the 1980s when he ran…in North America it is not as durable.

            There are plenty of examples of horses like Sagace overcoming challenges like the one you mention, though two tendon injuries is a bit much. Thank God he did not break down. War Admiral took a chunk out of his foot coming out of the gate and bled profusely all the way around the track and still won the Belmont. Similarly, California Chrome, 67 years later had a lesser injury and managed to finish within 1 3/4 lengths of the winner despite bleeding on the way back to the barn. There is no doubt that breed is not as strong and durable as it once was.

            I highly regard Rachel Alexandra having seen 4 of her last 5 races as a 3 year old and visiting her barn every day I was at Saratoga during her 3 year old season, and believing she was deserving of HOTY for her campaign. But comparing her campaign where she had 5 weeks between the Haskell and the Woodward, 5 weeks between the Mother Goose and the Haskell and 6 weeks between the Preakness and Mother Goose with limited ships is quite a bit different than American Pharoah shipping from CA to Arkansas to Churchill winning the Triple Crown with 5 races in 12 weeks, and then shipping back to CA and then out to NJ, and back to CA, then to Saratoga and contending with the other issues mentioned.

            I doubt you will find any 3 year old horse in North America who conducted a campaign anything like American Pharoah in the last 35 years…with the amount of success.

            Now, I will grant that the connections may not have done what was in the horse’s best interests with all the shipping…but to blame the horse for this and suggest that the Travers offers any definitive evidence one way or the other on the horse’s quality to me is a big stretch. :-)

          • Tinky

            The comparison with RA had to do only with with where she was, physically and mentally, prior to the final race of her three-year-old season.

            Pointing out that AP was able to successfully handle more races/shipping is irrelevant, as the comparison was how they responded to different levels of adversity in their respective races.

          • Pebbles

            But I would submit that a horse’s ability to respond and overall fitness is attached to the rigors that particular horse encounters in his or her campaign – and American Pharoah was up against many more off the track fitness challenges than Rachel, who did have her fair share of on the track challenges in the race itself.

          • Tinky

            “ftness”, within the context of Thoroughbred racing, relates strictly to cardio-vascular function. One wouldn’t say that a horse was “unfit” for a race because the distance was beyond its scope, even though it may be grammatically correct.

            So, you’re conflating when you use the word with respect to AP’s Travers. We can argue about which variables were at play, but there is no evidence that he was anything less than fully “fit” for the race. None.

          • Pebbles

            So a horse that suffers from travel issues that physically impair his ability to function at his best in a race is fully fit for the race?

            Did Beholder’s ship to Churchill Downs cause her to not be “fully fit” heading into the 2015 BC Classic?

            And a horse that gallops 10-12 furlongs over a tiring track he has never trained over the day before the race is “fully fit” for the race even though he may look exhausted the next day?

            And a horse that works to fast like Funny Cide may have with his sharp work before the 2003 Belmont Stakes is fully fit?

            For me, fitness has more to do with whether the horse has just trained/prepped well leading up to the race. As you suggest above, a horse that could be fit for a sprint is not necessarily fit for a 10 furlong race. So if Runhappy prepped with sprints and otherwise trained for a sprint and entered the BC Classic, I would say he was not fully fit for the race because he had not been conditioned properly for the distance.

            I guess I am guilty of conflation. :-)

          • Tinky

            The answer to each of your first four questions is a resounding No. , and for the reasons that I have explained.

            What “fitness” means to you is irrelevant, as it is a very commonly used word in the industry, and refers to something quite specific. And as such, I would advise you to be careful so as not to confuse others by using the word more broadly than it is typically used.

            When a trainer says “he’s fit”, or “I didn’t have him fit enough”, or “she arrived from the farm unfit”, etc., anyone in the game will know what he/she means, and that it is only related to cardio.

            Again, you can argue that AP was fatigued, for some reason(s), or that he went off of his feed, or had a slight case of colic, etc., etc., but he did not lack fitness.

            Finally, you’re showing a pattern of overrating superficial excuses for losses sustained by good horses. CC would never have won the Belmont had he not suffered the minor foot injury, nor would FC had won with a different workout pattern.

          • artistinwax

            The heel of California Chrome’s foot being sheared off was a minor injury? I took it for granted, not knowing about such injuries, that it was responsible for his loss. I assumed that it was a horribly painful injury. I thought that the jockey saying that he didn’t feel the tremendous surge of energy coming out of the gate was because he was stepped on and hurt. I will do a little reading on the “heel” and its function to understand how it is different from a human foot’s heel, which loss would most likely cause a lot of problems. I’m glad an equine heel can grow back.

          • Tinky

            Stop with the melodrama. He grabbed a quarter, and it is ludicrous to imagine that he could have run as well as he did had the pain been truly severe, and given the amount of adrenaline in his system.

            Richie Migliore’s comment following the race: “His adrenaline was flowing. Horses are just so tough; I doubt he really even felt it.”

            Then this:

            “[The cut] couldn’t have helped him any, and I was watching the race and down the backside he was in all kinds of trouble,” said Sherman. “Victor was trying to get him out. They were pushing him down in there and he had no racing room. But, hey, listen, the horse has had six straight races with perfect trips. Sometimes, in this game, when you have a bad trip, that’s part of it. Racing luck means a lot. Being a former rider, I know that.”

            Notice what his trainer was emphasizing there?

            It is not uncommon for ordinary horses to run very well in spite of quarter grabs, and again, you should reflect on your developing pattern of over-emphasizing one variable at the expense of others.

          • Pebbles

            Well, folks in the industry have never had any trouble understanding my use of the word in different contexts. LOL

            You do not know that Chrome would not have won without the injury. An injury, whether the horse can feel it or not, saps physical resources. After a Triple Crown campaign it likely does not take much to sap enough resources to call into question a horse’s ability to win. My own conclusion is that while he may not have definitely won the race, he likely would have been more forwardly placed.

            And I do find it amusing that you call into question the comments of his trainer, and others who suggest that Funny Cide’s quick work compromised his chances.

          • Tinky

            CC would have been more forwardly placed?! He vied for the lead early! How much more forwardly placed might he have been? Do you think that they wanted to set the pace with him?

            Funny Cide had neither the pedigree nor running style to be suited to the distance. He was, remarkably, effective up to around 10f., but was beaten by two horse in the Belmont that were much better suited to the distance.

            His quick work was largely a function of him being a strong-willed horse that was often difficult to restrain. Had the work been slower, he still would have almost certainly set the pace, as those fractions were a crawl for him.

            While it’s not unreasonable to argue that the work may have taken something out of him, to imagine that he would have won given a slower work is fanciful.

            Again, the two variables that I mentioned above were by far the most important in preventing him from winning.

          • Pebbles

            Come on Tinky – this is not rocket science…context here. We are talking where Chrome finished in the race – he would have finished closer to the winner – he would have been more forwardly placed at the end of the race than he was without the injury…

            I also do not think Funny Cide liked the off track. But sometimes three year olds win the Belmont Stakes despite not being really suited to the distance. Look at Ruler On Ice, Da’ Tara, Union Rags…

          • Tinky

            So by “forwardly placed” you meant where he finished? Ah, I see that the “fitness” usage was not a one-off.

            It is true that these days, horses unsuited to 12f. at times win the Belmont. But that is irrelevant, as the two that finished ahead of CC had for more stout pedigrees.

          • Kimberly Beth

            And in comes Arrogate :-)

          • Meydan Rocks

            LOL. Sounds like a Metallica song!

      • Lone speed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Zowe Mendieta

      Wow “don’t breath the same air” ???? What does Zayat mean by that?? Really? I thought we all humans including everyone on earth breath the same air!!! I always knew something was not right about AP’s connection’s.

      • Boknows

        Your Right! Talk about people that are all about the Money and you just hit it..

    • lastromantibune

      we only can beat who lines up against us Tinky…..but for the most part i tend to agree with you .

      • Tinky

        Yes, I don’t blame the horse, but given that his connections chose not to give him the chance to prove himself further at four, I don’t believe that he deserves any benefit of the doubt.

        • ridingtowin

          Professional racing begins at age four. Before that, it is just amateur racing with most horses just learning the game/ropes. The frames and minds of these younger horses haven’t come close to fully maturing.

          • larry

            nonsense a lot of the best horses are gone by then

    • Junior

      You are absolutely correct.

    • Andy in the desert

      Excellent prose there Tinky, especially that last sentence!
      And BTW I can’t wait for the BCC.

    • Jbumi

      Now, now – Mr. Zayat’s right – they don’t breathe the same air – Chrome is far superior to AP!!! 😸

      • Judoon

        Clearly some people are still butthurt that AP won the TC the year after CC failed.

      • Marilyn Shively

        bull

        • AJUKONIBEAULINAJAZZY

          Any day of the week….

          • Doug Chambers

            He can believe what he wants, but there is no real evidence that they don’t breathe the same air. IMO, there never was.

      • BKD

        Arrogate sure made him look like a chump in the BCC.

        Two tries, two failures. Zenyatta showed how it’s done, Chrome doesn’t breathe the same air as her, either.

    • Rachel

      You are spot on.

    • Uncle Mo Cat

      Zayat could have taken the high road, but even that route is too low for him. He could have left it at Triple Crown winner and been gracious about Chrome’s spectacular season and career. Most of all, Zayat and Martin are both egomaniacs who make even the most ardent fans of their horses take pause.

      But Victor bought this melee to the fore, and he knew who he was tweaking when he did it. Reminder, there is nothing that will bring out the bad in a person quicker than a really good horse.

      • Pebbles

        I do not begrudge Zayat. It is the duty of an owner to defend his horse. Penny Chenery made it her life’s work to see to the edification and promotion of Secretariat to assure his legacy was as expansive as possible. Zayat has a similar duty.

        Victor was just trying to get his due. Zayat likely received 10 breeding shares and gave one to Baffert which is why he has 9 mares in foal with females per the article. He could have given Victor a share. He did not. Instead of giving him the 200k in a share, he instead gave him the cash. Victor was only looking out for himself since he will not be riding forever.

        • Doug Chambers

          I also find it ironic that anyone in horse racing would criticize another about money interests.

    • larry

      Nonsense. AP is the first horse to win the triple crown in how many years and the Breeders Cup Classic to boot . As for AP not meeting CC thats the fault of the connections of CC and the stupid way he was managed last year as it is the fault of anyone. As for the horses CC is beating up on this year outside of an over the top Beholder l dont see anything CC is beating that AP did t beat just as easily as a three year old. To each there own but it takes a great horse to win the triple crown not so much to pile up a lot of winnings when you are running for bloated purses .

      • Tinky

        As you apparently believe that winning a Triple Crown automatically assigns greatness to a horse, it apparently hasn’t occurred to you that, seen from your perspective, Real Quiet was a poorly judged ride away from being “great”.

        As for CC, I never argued that he was facing outstanding horses this year. But the is no compelling evidence that AP was a better horse at three than CC is now.

        • Mr. Blues

          Tinky as I recall CC was boxed out in the Belmont .Its apart of the game today but it still happened that way.Espanosa knows this and that’s why he stays out of that situation by taking CC out front and away from the rail.Untill it’s no longer a threat

        • larry

          Did Real Quiet win?

          • Tinky

            Ah, so the point was too subtle for you.

          • larry

            No he did t win so he s not great. Theres a reason its takes a special horse to win it with all the travel and with horses skipping the Preakness its harder to win the triple crown today than it has ever been. He did it and won the breeders cup classic as well . AP was a great horse.

          • Tinky

            I’m not interested in semantics. I’m interested in comparing AP with other outstanding horses. And given the quality of competition that he beat, the tactical advantage that he enjoyed in the Belmont and BC, and his loss in the Travers, he sits well down the list of great horses.

          • larry

            Let me say this again since you seem a little to dense to understand. He did t win did he? So thats a silly point your making since in modern times we have had no average horses win it but many many many very good ones lose it.

          • Marilyn Shively

            Amen to that —AP was a great horse

        • Neal Baker

          Nop it’s winning outside of your area code

          • Erin Casseday

            Which I believe both horses have done.

        • larry

          Theres no compelling evidence that CC as a full grown horse is better either. As for your twisted logic that a triple crown does not make you a great racehorse l guess Nijinsky was not a great horse by your standards since he retired at three after he won the triple crown and lost the arc. As for your whining about a pace advantage thats just dirt racing. The fastest horse wins. l think there are a lot of jealous people on here and your one of them

          • Tinky

            lol! Yeah, I’m “jealous” – that’s what you’ve deduced from my posts?

            You can’t see that CC is better this season than ever before? Really?

            Nijinsky as an analogy? That’s another knee-slapper. Comparing the English TC with the American? You really should do some cursory research into his career. Among other things, Gyr, second to Nijinsky in the Derby, was a far better horse than any beaten by AP. Etienne Pollet, who previously trained the Champions Sea Bird and Vaguely Noble, postponed his retirement to train Gyr.

          • larry

            But Nijinsky lost the arc and did t race at four so hes not great according to you

          • Tinky

            If you want to argue the matter seriously, I’ll be happy to respond.

            Otherwise, stop wasting everyone’s time.

          • larry

            If AP is not to be considered great because he did t race at 4 and prove something at four then that reasoning should apply to all the great ones not just him. Easy Goer and Sunday Silence raced at four both lost early in the year both retired early after that and both are considered to be at the top of the list great horses in modern times as they should be. The idea that because he did t race at four he still has somethng to prove is foolish when so many of the best ones in history never did either. But l will back off on you now because l think you know when your beat

          • Tinky

            I have explained several reasons why AP should not be ranked high on the list of outstanding horses. As I have mentioned previously, Easy Goer and Sunday Silence had one another to use as yardsticks, and therefore didn’t need to prove themselves against older horses.

            Nijinsky, if you actually look closely at his career, proved far more than AP. His TC was much more demanding; he beat far better horses; he set a course record when winning the Derby which had stood for 35 years, etc.

            Your limited understanding of the game is on full display when you admit that you can’t discern any difference between CC at five, and earlier in his career, and when you fail to understand something as basic as the fact that almost all horses mature and improve after their three-year-old seasons.

          • larry

            Of course chrome is better at five than he was at three but AP at three would beat him at five and in the form he is in right now. If AP aged the same way as chrome has it would not have be even close. lm not saying chrome is not a very good racehorse he is . American Pharoah was also a champion two year old something Chrome was not. He was a the better racehorse.

          • Markie

            how do know? do you have a crystal ball?

          • larry

            Because if l owned a horse l would want it to win the triple crown not the Pacific Classic.

          • Tinky

            “If” – that’s exactly the point. Because his connections chose to retire AP prematurely, all fans of the game are poorer for it, and he doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt.

            It is entirely possible that he would have proven to be better than CC, but we’ll never really know.

          • larry

            The whole premise of this conversation is based on ”if” l get your point about early retirements but at the end of the day even though horses have not reached there prime until age four the greatest focus in American racing has been three year old racing. As far as American Pharoah being retired goes in this day and age it could have been worse. l bet some owners would have called it a day after the Belmont. Whos to say they would have kept California Chrome in training if he had one the triple crown? So really what did Zayat do that everyone else would have done themselves

          • Tinky

            Actually, CC would very likely have been retired at three had he had even a semi-fashionable pedigree. But I’m not comparing owners here, I’m comparing horses.

            The fact that money in the breeding shed often trumps that which can be earned on the track is a development that has impacted racing negatively, and is underscored by the premature retirement of many nice horses.

          • larry

            Very true but not the fault of anyone individual. Exaggerater seems to be leaving for no reason at all and the beat goes on

          • Tinky

            Glad that we could wrap up the discussion on a point of agreement.

          • larry

            Me two we are part of a shrinking fan base who both love the same thing horse racing.

          • Kimberly Beth

            Exaggerator is leaving because his connections ran the hell out of him. He’s exhausted. What they should have done was rest him and let him have a great 4 year old season. Now we’ve got a bunch of 3 year olds retiring – we won’t see a very good 4 year old season next year.

          • Michael Stapler

            My turn to chime in. You are wrong, Larry. If any horse had “easy pickins’, it was AP of the two.

          • Jackie

            Larry – I’m sure Tinky does not need anyone to speak up for
            him but his keyword was AUTOMATICALLY
            – “As you believe that winning a Triple Crown automatically assigns greatness to a horse”.

            WHAT HE HAS STATED NUMEROUS TIMES IS JUST BECAUSE A horse
            wins the TC, that ALONE does not guarantee GREATNESS.

            One has to read the whole statement or LISTEN to someone’s
            complete opinion BEFORE reacting!

      • Pebbles

        It is the fault of both sets of connections. Zayat could have allowed American Pharoah to race at 4 and not enter into a contract for breeding rights before the Triple Crown. He did.

        At least California Chrome was racing at 4 and were it not for the mistaken plan to prep in the US, rather than Dubai, he would not be racing at 5 because he likely would have won the Dubai World Cup and been retired when his injury came up.

        • larry

          Zayat did what anyone would have done after a long drought of triple crown winners he cashed in and good for him. If he had been owned by a big breeding farm he would have never raced again after the Belmont. So good for the zayat for running him till the end of the year.

          • Pebbles

            Or if Chrome had won the TC.

            But Zayat is equally to blame for American Pharoah’s retirement and inability to face California Chrome. That was the point of the post. The suggestion that the burden rested with California Chrome’s connections alone was just plain silly.

          • larry

            l never said it was CC connections who were totally to blame but they share in it for the way they handled him last year

          • Pebbles

            That is what happens when one owner with a clear idea of how to campaign the horse caves in to the minority owner and the trainer who do not want the horse campaigned overseas. If he prepped in Dubai as Martin had wanted he wins the 2015 DWC and is likely retired once he turns up with an injury.

            But as I said, it was both connections who were responsible for the horses not meeting.

          • slickchick17

            I agree with you on these points, but I don’t want to hear Zayat whining about AP being better than CC. AP was an outstanding racehorse, the best of his year by far. But CC has proven to be one of the best racehorses IN THE WORLD, not just of his crop.

        • Uncle Mo Cat

          He sold the horse BEFORE the TC so he had no idea he would win it. Horse was coming off an injury, deal was done before he raced in 2015.

          • Kimberly Beth

            That’s what Pebbles said

          • Pebbles

            I know that. But if they had confidence in the horse they did not have to enter into the deal. That was their decision. No double about it. They hedged their bets just in case. But it was all their decision. No one put a gun to their head.

      • Neal Baker

        Bravo !

      • Jack Frazier

        I believe Seattle Slew was the only TC winner to be a top tier sire. Secretariat didn’t, Affirmed didn’t, Citation didn’t, Whirlaway didn’t, so for him to even think about being as good as Seattle Slew is a reach, at least for right now. Slew is the benchmark in America for TC winners.

        • larry

          And he was the one nobody thought would do anything. looking forward to see how AP does. l hope he s a great one

          • Jack Frazier

            But he carried the Nasrullah line from his father. The Nasrullah’s were very prepotent. Secretariat was the only one by Bold Ruler that could get a mile and half as well. I think the fact that he was out of Somethingroyal by Princequillo had a lot to do with that. She also produced Riva Ridge.

          • slickchick17

            It had everything to do with the fact he was out of Somethingroyal. She brought mare power in spades, take a look at her pedigree!

        • Bryan Langlois

          Secretariat did turn out to be a top broodmare sire. So maybe not a direct influence, but definitely indirect.

          • Jack Frazier

            True. His legacy is with his daughters. AP Indy and Storm Cat.

          • Erin Casseday

            It does seem that what ever it was that genetically preposed them to be great race horses does not get passed on.

          • BKD

            Zenyatta’s been bred four times. A little early to even be considering her a failure as a broodmare.

        • Kimberly Beth

          Well, as far as top sire goes, we won’t know for 2 or 3 years what AP will actually produce. Speculating will get us no where. Let’s just play the wait and see game.

      • Marilyn Shively

        Tinky—totally agree with everything you said

      • Erin Casseday

        Well said.

      • Doug Chambers

        I don’t know why others keep bringing up the first to complete the grand slam when there was no Breeder’s Cup Classic when the other TC winners ran. It is a notable feat for sure, but let’s see it in perspective.

        It does take a great horse to complete the TC and BCC, but things also have to go your way, and much did for AP. It is one reason there is a shadow on the feat for some.

    • Neal Baker

      Wrong Tinky. The big difference is AP had saddle, would travel. Outside of the win in Dubai what has Chrome done outside California ? I’m waiting….Nothing. Why didn’t race in The Clark ? The Whitney ? etc…case rested.

      • Tinky

        Say what?! Are the Derby and Preakness run in California these days?

        And you think that shipping to Dubai somehow proves nothing?

        Hoo boy.

        • Neal Baker

          Chrome became a super horse AFTER his 3 year old campaign; where’s the travel schedule since then ? Fact, when we’re dead and buried AP will be immortalized while Chrome wil be a footbnote. Bye.

          • Tinky

            Boy, you are apparently desperate.

            There is zero evidence that CC is not a good shipper.

          • oh_yes_yes_yes

            and he even unloads frontwards these days! Though the videos of him backing out of vans and off planes was part of the charm early on. Tinky, you are on a roll with this, I must say.

          • Tinky

            Five for seven, including two Classics and a DWC, and narrowly beaten for the TC in another, and he’s a bad shipper?

            lol!

            Not sure what world you’re living in.

          • oh_yes_yes_yes

            Must have been obtuse, I’m enjoying everyone of your posts. I think that I am living in your world.

          • Kimberly Beth

            Like I said somewhere else yesterday – those who don’t follow racing know nothing about Chrome except that he failed to win the Triple Crown. It’s simple. The racing world knows Chrome has had a wonderful year, but the general public has no idea that he is even still racing. American Pharoah on the other hand, took the world by storm last year, especially here in America. He, to this day has throngs of fans waiting to see him. He broke a 37 year drought, something all we racing fans, and the casual racing fans, have been waiting to see. So as far as Neal stated he will be immortalized, I have to say I agree.

          • Tinky

            No one was arguing about which of the two was the more historically important – no one!

            And the fact is that if more top runners – like CC – were to remain in training as older horses, it would do vastly more good for the game than a Triple Crown winner.

          • Neal Baker

            Then why didn’t CC travel to race in grade one’s this summer at saratoga (whitney) or Churchill (clark) ? Answer me that Einstein.

          • Tinky

            I don’t know why I’m bothering to continue to answer your ridiculous questions, but…

            Apparently you failed to notice that his prime summer objective was the Pacific Classic, which was run on August 20th. So you are confused about why he didn’t cross the country to prep in the Whitney at Saratoga on August 6th?

            CC is the obvious leader of the 9-10f. dirt division, and as such doesn’t need to travel to prove anything. They are managing him intelligently, as the the BC is in CA this year, and that is the by far the most important race for him.

            Any horses that wants to challenge him for supremacy will have to show up at SA in November; he didn’t need to chase them.

            Finally, the Clark Hcp.? First, you seemed to be oblivious to the fact that CC has shipped very successfully during his career, and now you question why he didn’t ship to run in a race “this summer” that is run after the Breeders’ Cup, in late November.

            Please stop wasting everyones time with your nonsense.

          • Neal Baker

            Oohhh the Pacific Classic; that race certainly shares the same prestige as the Whitney. See that Baffert isn’t afraid to ship across the country. Where’s CC ? Hey I wrote previously that when history records the 21st century in horse racing AP will have a chapter, CC a page. You didn’t respond. I can’t believe I’m wasting my space w/your silly arguments. Drop mic.

          • Tinky

            Right, the clear leader of the division, a horse that almost won the TC, has won the DMC, and will be heavily favored to win the BC, should have run in the Whitney over the PC for greater prestige?

            Hoo boy.

          • Pebbles

            Baffert ships to races when there are not equivalent races out West. You do notice that Baffert rarely if ever ships to the Whitney or Woodward because of the existence of the Pacific Classic. I believe the last horse he shipped for either was Paynter in the Woodward.

            Alternatively, Baffert regularly ships three year olds in the summer because the top G1 races for three year olds are out East – the Haskell and the Travers.

            We shall see who history treats better, American Pharoah or California Chrome. I like them both.

          • Neal Baker

            Pebbles please; when has a handicap horse ever received more acclaim than a TC winner. Not to mention winning the BC Classic that same year. I like CC. I commend him for racing after his 3 year old campaign. But AP will have the longer lasting impact when it comes to the history books. As for Baffert he ships to top races in Iowa, Indiana, etc….not just NY and NJ.

          • Pebbles

            Well, let us think about that…

            Man o’ War, Kelso, Forego and Dr. Fager I would classify as handicap horses who received more acclaim than many of the 12 Triple Crown winners…save one Secretariat…no? You might argue with Man o’ War, but he was carrying substantial weight as a 3 year old.

            Bloodhorse had them all ranked ahead of the other TC winners…and I agree with those rankings save Count Fleets. Personally, I do not have him ranked that high. These were magnificent talents that demonstrated their class for more than a single year carrying massive amounts of weight and doing incredible things on the track. That cannot be said about all TC winners.

          • Pebbles

            Because NYRA would only increase the purse by $250,000 to assure his appearance and his connections believed that the $1 million bonus offered for the Pacific Classic, Awesome Again and BC Classic left their horse in better shape to be able to accomplish winning the BCC and securing money.

            When Chrome won in Dubai and returned to the US, Perry Martin was quoted as saying despite initially pointing to the Pacific Classic as their goal, that the Stephen Foster, Whitney and Jockey Club Gold Cup were all under consideration. The issue was what money they could secure to stay in town from Del Mar or the CHRC. Once they were able to get $1 million bonus and the other tracks did not offer more money to get Chrome, the deal was set in stone.

            Here is the story in the Inquisitor:
            In addition to the proposed Pegasus Championship next January, Martin said they are eyeing summer and fall races to serve as qualifiers for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park. In the world of horse racing, those could include the Churchill Downs’ Stephen Foster, Saratoga’s Whitney, and the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. According to Watchmaker, regardless of what the next step will be in California Chrome’s racing career, his win at the World Cup in Dubai commands attention.”

            And you do know that the Clark Handicap is run at Churchill Downs in late November, right? Chrome is not shipping there because of the purse. His next race will likely be the San Pasqual as a prep for the Pegasus post-BC.

            It does not take an Einstein to be able to answer these questions. Just a bit of common sense.

          • Neal Baker

            I obviously confused the Foster with the Clark. My main point is that CC has obciously done great things this year but outside of his win in Dubai he’s chosen to stay home instead while AP wasn’t afraid to ship.

          • Pebbles

            I understand your point, but I just wanted to make it clear that the connections were willing to travel if there was a venue that was willing to provide an incentive for the travel. After all, as you note, Chrome had already been to Dubai. If you look at other horses that competed in Dubai there was not a lot of travel post-Dubai in their campaigns for the rest of their year.

            And while I felt that Curlin and Invasor were more ambitious in their campaigns, they did take place on the East Coast primarily…aside from Curlin’s Stephen Foster which was near where Curlin was getting some R&R post DWC. This is particularly important also depending upon where the BCC is going to be held. With it being out West prepping there made sense.

            Also, the Pacific Classic being mid-August kind of forecloses any chance of hitting the Whitney or the Woodward.

            Finally, as I have noted with Baffert elsewhere he ships to the major races. There are no major races on the West Coast for 3 year olds and AP was also owned by East Coast owners. Then again, the extensive shipping was likely a contributing factor for his loss in the Travers whereas had be been based out East post-Haskell he likely wins the Traves. So it really has nothing to do with a fear to ship that is where the races were. Baffert rarely ships for the older horses outside of CA – few CA trainers do. Chrome shipped an awful lot as a 3 year old. AP did extra shipping because he started so late in his campaign as a result of needing to regain his fitness post-injury.

          • Neal Baker

            Pebbles I will ceretainly give credit where credit is due; you make sound, valid points. And maybe I’m a guilty of some AP bias. it sounds like Victor Espinoza is caught up in the same tug-of-war. I would’ve loved to have seen Chrome venture to other parts of the US this season. I’m sure he would’ve been dominant wherever he brought his saddle (just look at Hoppertunity winning the JCGC).

          • Pebbles

            You and me both. I was upset Chrome would not travel more for my personal loss than anything being based in the East. But I readily conceded that with the trip to Dubai, his trying to achieve something that had never been done with the DWC/BCC double same year double, and the fact that he if he went in 3 G1s on the West Coast he would certainly not be avoiding racing, that I could forgive not seeing him venture East of the Mississippi.

            And I think you are right regarding Chrome being able to compete anywhere. I think they were a little skeptical of his 3 year old campaign where he shipped so much and wanted to have as fresh a horse as possible for the BCC. It looks like they have their wish. Now he just has to deliver.

            I am biased toward AP as well. He delivered an incredible campaign shipping to Arkansas, Churchill. Pimlico, Belmont, Monmouth and Saratoga. I do not know of any Triple Crown winner that shipped so much. Especially one based in California. Maybe Affirmed, I do not know.

          • Pebbles

            So on what basis did Chrome win HOTY, then in 2014?

    • David Worley

      If you are confident your horse is better than the one currently running, you don’t need to say a thing because the races run speak for themselves. My sense is that team Zayat (including Baffert) is a little hyper-sensitive about their legacy given the dominating 5YO campaign of Chrome. But, as Tinky said quite succinctly, if it bothers the AP crowd so much why not let him race as a 4YO and settle it on the track.

      I’ve long, and consistently, said that American Pharoah was the best AMERICAN horse of his YEAR; but I don’t think he will be the most successful stud of that particular year when we look at things 20 years out from now, and certainly won’t go down as a pillar of his breeding generation. He was fortunate with how the Breeder’s Cup Classic unfolded otherwise he likely would not have won that race.

      Pharoah is no Seattle Slew, Affirmed, or even Spectacular Bid. As a stud, the question for me is how good AP will be? He will get top shelf mares, which will help him, but I am a little skeptical about him as a six-figure stud and I’d put the figurative over/under on his stud capacity at about a Curlin level. I get this is controversial, but that’s how I see it. Put differently, if there was a mechansim to ‘short’ a horse in the breeding shed (like you can stocks) I’d short American Pharoah because he is way over valued at $200K. He is probably worth $100K based on the current sires that stand at that level; but $200K seems highly inflated.

      What do others think? Tinky would love your thoughts on this.

      • Tinky

        Hi David –

        While I don’t have a strong opinion about the likely success of AP at stud, there is no question that from a business standpoint, one would rather be selling than buying seasons.

        While his sire is clearly quite good, he has yet to prove to be a sire of sires, and that is a worry. But what’s even more worrisome is AP’s bottom-line, which is very weak. Coolmore doesn’t even present it on its website!

        AP’s dam is too young to judge, but his second, third and fourth dam’s together have produced only a single Graded race winner (Grade III ), and Grade I performer (same horse; placed third).

        Yikes!

        So, if he were to become a top sire, he would be defying the odds, even taking into account how well-supported and overbred he will be.

        • David Worley

          Thanks for the reply Tinky. I totally understand the rise in Pioneer of the Nile’s breeding fee, that makes great sense. But I was a little shocked when I heard $200K for AP. I thought he might hit $100K on his first season. Seems like a suckers fee.

          • Pebbles

            Many share your point of view, but that has not stopped folks from buying in. I also heard a rumor at one point that you could get a two for one deal if you would plunk down the $200,000. They might as well capitalize while the getting is good because it is highly unlikely he will justify such a fee in 5-10 years.

      • greg

        Excellent stallions pass down their talent based on their natural genetic ability, look how many horses Baffert has won KY Derby, Preakness and Belmont’s with, as well as Travers, etc. and then tell me how many have become close to great stallions?? Why so few, you can’t pass down artificial ability, wins made in a lab do not equate to equally talented foals. OK, maybe Point Given, then???? Real Quiet, LOL

        • David Worley

          You raise an a good point about how few Baffert horses have had highly successful stud careers.

          • greg

            Thank you, I raced in So Cal for almost 20 years, lived and gambled there since I was ~10, so I know the circuit and players very well. I’ve tried in vain to point out that trainers there (4 in particular) cheat with impunity, and for years (since War Emblem) I’ve posted that Baffert used(s) EPO in his male (almost ALL male) stakes horses. You may remember when War Emblem ran in the Preakness the NBC analysts said they had NEVER see a horse get bigger after running 2-3 very hard races in a short time, WE had won the Illinois Derby ~3 weeks before Baffert bought him and ran in the Derby, the 2 weeks later the Preakness, he put on almost 175lbs. that does not happen as the stress and running actually makes them LOSE weight. Again, very few fillies, and very few good stallions from legions of multiple stakes winners, it’s not coincidence

          • David Worley

            So why/how does he not get caught?

          • greg

            EPO now is tested for, however at the time it wasn’t and remember, EPO greatly increases red blood cells which carry oxygen and thus horses are able to run longer without getting tired, (Lance Armstrong) red blood cells are of course already in the body, so how did you test for something that naturally runs thru your veins?? It was very difficult and so uncommon it wasn’t tested for. To give a horse EPO used to cost ~$5000-$6000 for a “dose” thus it is/was only used by the top owners in top class horses, not on a $25k claimer.

            As an aside, there was 1 trainer in the early 2000’s who would on occasion claim a horse for $20-$32k, give them 6-8 weeks off and enter in a race either the same price or 1 level down, treated with EPO and would win for fun, pay ~$10-$12 and the owner/trainer bet their eyeballs and didn’t care about losing the horse.

            I get much criticism on this message board and 1-2 others when I post things that I KNOW!! but others think I just make it up (no idea why). I’ll just leave it there as I don’t want the post deleted by RP as has happened many times before when I write this type of info

    • Boknows

      Amen!!!

    • stlouiskid1

      You nailed it. Hard to get beat from the breeding shed. Whatever happened to having a little humility?

    • Pebbles

      As a long time defender of California Chrome’s and American Pharoah’s crops and competition I totally agree with much of this.

      It is only natural that Zayat should believe his horse is better.

      And it is also natural for Chrome’s connections to feel he is better.

      But Chrome is proving his form on the track, while AP is in the breeding shed.

      That said, I do believe that American Pharoah’s single year exploits are spectacular and with his 2 year sof racing he has proven himself an all-time great in my mind ahead of Cigar in the 12-15 top horses of the past 120 years…I know that may be very tough to swallow for many given Cigar’s incredible 16 race streak.

      If Chrome were to win out, I do not know that he should be placed in that spectrum? I have opined on this before and while I agree Chrome’s Classic field could be better than American Pharoah’s the absence of Beholder has reduced its quality significantly in my mind. I give AP the advantage because the Triple Crown was achieved on Lasix with AP winning 4 races in not 9 weeks or more as many of the other competitors who enter the Triple Crown off a final prep 4 or 5 weeks out, but AP did it 3 weeks out from the Derby which in this day and age is quite extraordinary.

      As a result, for California Chrome to reach that status he would need to set a stakes record in his final two major races, the BC Classic and the .

      • Tinky

        Correction: “As a long time, misguided defender of California Chrome’s and American Pharoah’s crops and competition.”

        Can you name a single horse that either one faced that didn’t have at least one, serious limitation?

        • Pebbles

          What do you call a serious limitation?

          I do not think Beholder, Shared Belief, Hoppertunity, Dance With Fate, Danza, Firing Line, Dortmund, or Frosted have/had any serious limitations.

          Beholder is a brilliant future HOF horse that happened to catch Chrome at his best at Del Mar, but I have little doubt that she could turn the tables on him if given the chance.
          Dance With Fate sadly perished before we had a chance to see his brilliance, but I thoroughly believe it was there.
          Danza was injured and appears to be retired though I never saw a formal announcement.
          Firing Line unfortunately has not been able to return to his pre and Derby form.
          Dortmund and Frosted have shown themselves quite competitive at 4 complimenting American Pharoah. Frosted is certainly the more durable, but Dortmund has shown himself to be competitive.
          Shared Belief showed his brilliance, but it unfortunately was short-lived.

          And I love you too. LOL

          • Tinky

            Shared Belief is the only horse that you mentioned that wasn’t seriously limited. And while CC didn’t win the races in which he faced that one, they were well before he developed to his full potential.

            In other words, I would agree that SB was a better horse than any faced by AP, but the races themselves were inconclusive in terms of comparing AP to CC.

            Lightly raced horses like Danza didn’t prove enough to be taken seriously in the conversation. Dortmund is a very nice, and consistent horse. He’s a good yardstick, but has never beaten a really good horse. Probably better than Effinex, but not top-class.

            Frosted, as I have covered ad nauseam, is immensely talented, but obviously limited, and the limitation is serious.

          • Pebbles

            Could you please give me your definition of a serious limitation as I initially requested?

          • Tinky

            Here are a few examples:

            A horse with a one-run style is severely limited, as they are typically disadvantaged by those with better tactical speed. Zenyatta’s greatness was partly a result of her having been able to overcame it so remarkably.

            A failure to respond well to intense pressure is another serious limitation, and is Frosted’s achilles heel, as he needs things to go his way in order to perform to his best.

            Being one-paced is a serious limitation, as such horses are vulnerable to those with real acceleration.

          • Pebbles

            Thank you.

            How about durability? Is that yet another one?

          • Tinky

            It is a limitation, but not in the sense that I am currently using the word. In other words, while a horse like Danzig, which flashed brilliance during a brief career, suffered from unsoundness, it did not directly effect his efforts on the track.

            Conversely, Effinex is admirably durable, but those positive traits don’t translate to AP’s dominance of him having been any more impressive than had he been unsound.

          • Pebbles

            Is inconsistency a “serious limitation”?

            I would argue that it is not, and while Effinex and Frosted do not have a serious limitation, they are inconsistent performance wise.

          • Tinky

            Come on.

            Why is the horse in question inconsistent? In Frosted’s case, I have explained repeatedly why he is limited: he only wins when he is facing inferior horses, and/or when he has things his own way (e.g. set up by a very fast pace, or controlling the pace). He has never won a big race while under serious pressure, and, in fact, typically races erratically under such conditions. That is a huge limitation.

            Effinex is limited in ability! He is well exposed as being an admirably tough, durable, but very average older Handicap horse. He is a grinder, lacking a real turn of foot, and is simply not fast enough to even threaten to beat top horses.

          • Pebbles

            How do you define a top horse?

            That is funny. So what horse has won when not facing inferior horses on that particular day? Frosted faced a nice field in the Whitney and won. It was nothing like Honor Code’s field the previous year, but it was still a good field. Were the horses more talented than Frosted? No, because I think Frosted is a talented. Were they more talented in the Woodward? Of course not. Frosted broke poorly and then never was able to get his footing in the race.

            At Belmont Park, Tonalist was a top horse who Effinex beat. And Effinex did finish ahead of some decent horses in the BC Classic. Was Chrome an inferior horse when Tonalist beat him in the Belmont Stakes?

            Is Chrome an inferior horse because he lost to Prince Bishop and Bayern?

            Inquiring minds want to know.

          • Tinky

            Frosted was clearly the most talented horse in the last race that he contested, yet he lost! Why? For the very reasons that I have laid out!

            You can’t see that limitation? Or are you being swept along by the crowd, and believe that it was Rosario’s fault?

            As for “top” horses, we’ve been through that in depth previously. Tonalist was a nice, high-class horse, but clearly a cut below the likes of CC and AP. He never got a sniff in either Breeders’ Cup Classic that he contested, and the fact that he was beaten by a horse as moderate as Effinex further underscores that he wasn’t truly top-class.

            Have you bothered to look up who he beat in his “big” wins? Here’s a list of the second and third-place finishers:

            Commisioner, Medal Count

            Zivo, Long River

            Wicked Strong, Effinex

            He was also beaten by Honor Code both times that they met. No one will remember Tonalist as having been an especially outstanding horse.

            Your final question is disappointing, frankly, and I shouldn’t have to explain why.

          • Pebbles

            So the quality of a field is defined by the 2nd and 3rd place finishers? The fact that he finished ahead of California Chrome in the Belmont Stakes is irrelevant?
            The fact that Tonalist defeated G1 winners Moreno, Wicked Strong, and V.E. Day is meaningless?

            I never said Tonalist was an “especially outstanding” horse. I said he was a top horse. And he was a top horse, especially when racing at Belmont Park. For a horse like Effinex to defeat him was a defeat of a top horse.

            I think the issue is that you tend to think unless a horse defeats another all-time great, they have beaten nobody.

            Well, who did Forego beat? Who did Kelso beat?

            How many horses are there that are dominant champions from one year to the next? Few, if any.

            Honor Code was a champion. Was he a dominant champion? No.
            Beholder was a champion and a dominant champion in her division and likely a future Hall of Fame horse, but you stress she does not have the speed to compete.
            Is Arrogate a dominant champion? We cannot say. Sample size too small.
            I think Dortmund without Chrome could have been dominant this year.
            Frosted, without American Pharoah appeared dominant until the debacle in the Woodward. I do not blame Rosario. Frosted had an off day. He is definitely better than the competition he faced.

            My final question is a stupid one, but that is only because the inferior horse litmus test you set up is easily defeated. :-)

            PS – not that it is worth anything but Honor Code and Tonalist met 3 times and HC finished ahead of him each time.

          • Tinky

            “So the quality of a field is defined by the 2nd and 3rd place finishers?”

            What would you suggest, defining it by the fifth and sixth-place finishers?

            “The fact that he finished ahead of California Chrome in the Belmont Stakes is irrelevant? ”

            Do you really not bother to dig any deeper than that? Why do you suppose that he was able to beat CC in that race? What transpired before the race? What has transpired since?

            “The fact that Tonalist defeated G1 winners Moreno, Wicked Strong, and V.E. Day is meaningless?”

            Straw man, but again, it’s a mystery why you still blurt these kind if things out with further context. Do you imagine that it took an especially outstanding horse to beat those “Grade I” winners?

            Forego and Kelso? SMH

          • Michael Stapler

            They both beat up on weak, short fields. Chrome had it tougher than AP did, though, Pebbles. AP waltz though a sea if inferior horses in his career.

          • Pebbles

            Well, we have respectfully disagreed on this before… I believe. :-)

          • katwalk

            Apparently there are not enough really good horses to go around. . . .

            And out of curiosity, how would you describe Beholder’s “serious limitations”?

          • Tinky

            It is not uncommon in the U.S. for the 10f. dirt division to be fairly weak.

            Beholder has no serious weaknesses, though she isn’t fast enough to be considered an exceptional test for horses the caliber of CC and AP. Rachel Alexandra would have posed a more serious threat, but not at 10f., as she was essentially a miler.

          • katwalk

            I was being a little facetious with the shortage comment. It makes it hard for a horse to prove their worth, lol.
            Rachel, that one was thing of beauty, but she too had her “limitations”. I’d be OK with nine. . .

          • David Worley

            What’s Frosted’s serious limitation? It seems he is not always psychologically at his best (wanting to run) but physically he seems a solid G1 stakes horse in my assessment. Am curious how you see him as limited.

          • Tinky

            I was once on friendly with a professional tennis player turned coach. he told me that (roughly) the top hundred male players were virtually indistinguishable on the practice court, but that the pressure of competition whittled that number down to a handful.

            While not a completely taut analogy, the very best racehorses are also able to overcome adversity, and Frosted gives the distinct impression that he is unable to do so. His big wins have all come when was either far superior to his rivals, and/or when races have unfolded to suit him. When things haven’t gone his way, he has not been able to win, while often looking distinctly squirrely. That is a serious limitation.

          • David Worley

            Okay, on that count I totally agree with you. I was a big fan of Frosted early on and missed on many tickets I had him figured into. On paper he is fantastic, but time and time again I have watched him fail to rise to the challenge (that’s what I meant by psychological above). So I totally agree with you.

            That said, and tell me if you think this is nutty, I think Frosted will have much more long-term success in the breeding shed over American Pharoah when he does retire. He is better bred on both the top and bottom lines and has shown the physiological ability to be very fast over 8 to 10 furlongs. I think he will be a good stud and, I predict, assuming both horses are alive in 15 years, will be standing for more than AP will be (I wish there was a bet for this).

          • Sam Taa

            What! “…Beholder, Shared Belief, Hoppertunity, Dance With Fate, Danza, Firing
            Line, Dortmund, or Frosted have/had any serious limitations”

            Except for Beholder & Shared Belief, I would be more impressed with this list – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunde…

          • Pebbles

            Please define your definition of a “serious limitation” and describe the “serious limitations” that those horses had then, if you can.

          • Michael Stapler

            You left out Hoppertunity in your synopsis.

        • Michael Stapler

          All horses have limitations. Chrome may see his this BC when Hoppertunity runs by him late to steal the Classic. It is Chromes race to lose, but I submit a little speed duel that softens him up just a tad.

          • Tinky

            Getting caught in a speed duel is not a limitation, unless the horse is an intractable free-runner, which CC is not.

            If he is beaten for that reason, it will be the result of pilot error.

      • Michael Stapler

        AP faced no one of consequence, Pebbles. He ran in fields vastly tilted towards his preferred pace scenario and had everything in his favor each race. Chrome ran in small fields that favored him, also. The one time AP got looked in the eye, he folded up tent and lost. Chrome went to almost all the dances and has what I think is a better final tally.
        Horse vs horse….. Chrome is superior. If AP or his connections want or wanted that distinction, they should have kept him in training and he could have proved it in 3 weeks.
        Money aside, I’d rather have owned Chrome then AP.

        • Pebbles

          Untrue.

          The Kentucky Derby field was not tilted toward his preferred pace scenario.
          The Haskell field was not titled toward his preferred pace scenario.
          When the race was not titled toward his preferred pace he rated. He was versatile with his tactical speed. He did what he was told.

          In the Preakness, the race was certainly not titled toward his preferred pace scenario with him gunning it to the lead and then slowing it down. But the pace was dictated by the post position just as it was with Chrome in the Pacific Classic.

          American Pharoah did not fold up when he was looked in the eye.

          Frosted looked him in the eye and he bested him. Keen Ice was coming from the outside and American Pharoah never saw him. Had Pharoah been fully fit in the Travers Stakes he never loses the race.

          There is nothing you can say to convince me otherwise because I was there and saw the horse the day before at his barn before and after the gallop, the next morning at the barn, and before and after the race. He looked brilliant in the gallop and was a tired horse the next day. His coast was not even as rich in sheen. Despite not being 100% he ran a heck of a race in the Travers. And had he been fully fit no way he loses.

          And I also think it is rather bold of you to try and suggest that you are correct in your assessment given that you have little to no first hand knowledge regarding the horse. LOL

          Horse v. horse Chrome may prove himself superior. That is still to be determined in my mind.

          • Tinky

            I actually agree with most of your points here. AP was versatile, tractable, and game. The Derby was not run to suit him ideally, etc.

            But the quality of competition that he faced was undeniably modest.

            Also, your “in person” assessment of the Travers is wrong on two counts. First your description of him is not accurate, and it sounds as if you have been influenced by Maggie Wolfendale, who is frequently misguided in her observations.

            How on earth did you get the impression that he was unfit for the race? He had won the TC, was given a short break, then came back to win the Haskell for fun in a fast time, and had just three weeks of uninterrupted training in the interim.

            His problem in the Travers was not a lack of fitness, so unless you are simply using the word incorrectly, you’re way off base.

            The problem, assuming that there was one, was fatigue from the back and forth shipping from CA, possibly coupled with the string of big races.

            Your other mistake is the fanciful claim that he might have beaten Keen Ice had he seen him earlier. Please.

          • Pebbles

            I said American Pharoah was “unfit: I said he was “not fully fit”. There is a significant difference.

            While I respect Ms. Wolfendale’s paddock observations, my assessment was personal. As I have explained elsewhere, I was at his barn Friday AM post-work, Saturday AM when he was being walked, and saw him pre-race. He was a different horse Saturday AM than he was on Friday AM. His coat was dull and he looked worse for wear.

            Now, it could have been the 10-12 furlong gallop, not training over the Saratoga track, the rigors of the TC, the multiple ships with the Haskell/Travers, not getting enough out of the Haskell, coming in on a Wednesday instead of a Tuesday, or whatever, but Saturday AM he was not his usual on his toes, ears pricked self. I had observed him at the Preakness, Belmont and Haskell and as that point think I knew him pretty well.

            And I trust my personal observations more than anything. And that is what I saw. Post-Travers he was actually back on his toes again the next morning when I saw him. :-)

          • Tinky

            I see. Thanks for the explanation. While it may seem pedantic, your observations have nothing to do with fitness, in the sense that it is typically used. Unless you somehow believe that running a 9f. race in 1:47 and change. followed by uninterrupted training, could lead any horse to be short of fitness for a race less than a month later.

            As far as your observations go, it is quite difficult to imagine how a single gallop could have pushed him over the top. In any case, I’ve been willing to accept all along that he wasn’t at his very best for that race.

          • Pebbles

            I read a lot.
            I watch a lot of analysis.
            I speak to a lot of folks too.
            But I always trust my eyes even though they have not been conditioned as well as others to see things. And I can only tell you what my eyes say at the barn. A tired horse. When he lost the Travers, I was not surprised at all. And it had nothing to do with the challenge by Frosted.

            Monmouth Park is known for being fast. He won the race easily. I listed the easy race as a potential problem…it may or may not have been. Look at Chrome in the PA Derby. No way that race got him fit for the BC Classic. AP was different with the win, but in terms of the demands that American Pharoah would face at Saratoga, I think it left him a bit short.

            And I was not suggesting it was the gallop at all. It was everything taken together.

          • Tinky

            You may be a good observer of horses, but your credibility takes a big hit when you say that “it had nothing to do with the challenge by Frosted.”. A big hit.

          • Pebbles

            Maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration, but if you look at the hit he took from those other challenges, and how he disposed of Frosted, and then you see with all those challenges he faced how he lost by a mere 3/4s of a length…well my meaning was that the challenge by Frosted alone did not do him in. There were a lot of other issues he was dealing with. He was a dull horse heading into the Travers for whatever reason.

            If it were merely Frosted, in my mind, AP shrugs him off and wins. But it was much more.

            And I think minds will change on American Pharoah and his accomplishments as the years go by. When no horse wins the Triple Crown for another 50 years or so people will realize the full weight of this achievement.

          • Tinky

            Well, except that he was beaten “a mere 3/4s of a length” by a horse that hasn’t come close to winning in six subsequent starts, including a third-place finish in an allowance race.

            I don’t deny that AP is a much better horse than Frosted, and for some of the reasons that we have discussed.

            Your last point would only be true, were it to transpire, in a superficial sense.

          • Pebbles

            Keen Ice showed himself to be a quality horse with his finishes against American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes and Haskell Stakes. He was moving forward. Now some have opined that he could have caught AP in the Haskell if there was more distance in the race, but that is just silly because AP was being geared down at that point which is part of why I do not think he got much out of the Haskell in prepping for the rigors of the Travers.

            And some horses run their best race and then are never the same. Look at Macho Again and Bullsbay. Neither won another race after facing Rachel in the Woodward. I think Keen Ice was never the same after that race. We will see if Todd Pletcher can get him turned around, or not.

            If AP is the last horse to ever win the Triple Crown it will be true more than just superficially…since people will realize the real gravity of just what American Pharoah accomplished.

          • Tinky

            Yes, it is true that Keen Ice was on an upswing at the time, though those two races were by far the best of his career to date.

            As for the TC, well, I guess we’ll have to reconvene (if we’re not still married) in a few decades to review the accomplishment.

    • Sylvia Warren

      Well said, Tinky. I like both horses and respect Chromes connections for keeping him in the game for us to enjoy as he continues racing and WINNING in impressive style. We will never know how AP would have done as a 4 or 5 year old, I can only guess it would have been wonderful to see. I look forward to seeing the AP foal we are expecting on the farm where I work. I am also looking forward to seeing Chrome in the Classic. Go Chrome !

      • Doug Chambers

        Do you believe Chrome would still be running if his stud fee was as impressive as AP’s, or even close?

        Is it really admirable, or maybe it’s more about the worst of two evils?

    • Beetle

      What do you think of American Pharoah’s pedigree?

      • Tinky

        His sire, while good, isn’t yet proven as a sire of sires, and his bottom-line is quite weak. I’ve parsed it out further somewhere else on the thread.

    • C Hogan

      Tinky the truth you put on Mr. Zayat got them breathing fire. Only way to tell is line’em up and and get it on but Zayat wanted the money.
      No doubt I would put my coin on CC.

    • Judy Gaddis

      One of the best posts you’ve ever written…………..

      • Tinky

        Thanks, that’s very kind of you to say.

    • OopsyDaisy3

      Tinky, i think you hit a nerve among a lot of us with 53 Up Votes. Don’t believe i have ever seen that many agree on one subject before. So i am No. 54! Good one. Linda in Texas

      • Tinky

        Thanks Linda!

        • OopsyDaisy3

          You are very welcome, I learn so much from your comments. Keep’em coming! Enjoy racing today. Linda

  • Andrew A.

    They are all a class act…………..NOT!

  • Ida Lee

    While I have a breath left in me, no one will be dissing the great American Pharoah. The ride he took us on was epic. Now, that does not mean that Chrome is not one of the best ever to race. There is plenty of room at the top for both of these magnificent athletes…truly…American Treasures ….

    • Genellen

      As usual, Ida, your views are blessedly objective. Both horses deserve their place in the Hall of Fame. It’s like Rachel vs. Zenyatta. It’s better that these great contemporaries never faced each other, so we can remember and savor their accomplishments and give each his or her rightful place in our memories and in racing’s galaxy of true stars.

      I found it interesting this morning when I caught the audio for an ad on NBC for (I think) the Bronchos game which started by saying something about American Pharoah starting on a Thursday, then it showed a bucking broncho, and then shots of football players. I was in another room so I couldn’t see the video part of it and while it was a kind of strange connection, I marveled at NBC using a racehorse to promote a football game. Now there’s a switch! And as much as I also love Chrome, I have a feeling that his accomplishments after the Triple Crown year are being followed by racing fans more than the general public. To America, horse racing IS and will always be the TC, not the Breeder’s Cup.

      As for Victor, you can’t blame him for wanting to grab the promotional money while it lasted. In fact, all athletes of every sport should thank Arnold Palmer for paving the way toward commercial sponsorship that brings them huge sums of money both during their competitive years and after they are retired. The thing that bugs me about it is how sponsorship has forced the names of traditional stakes races to take on unwieldy appellations and how announcers have to use these promotional names while covering the race. “The Kentucky Derby sponsored by Yum Brands”? Puhleeze….

      • Kimberly Beth

        I heard that ad on Sunday, and also did not see the video. I have been trying to google it. I love both sports, and here’s the point. Had they used Chrome in the commercial, how many people do you think would know who he is. Use American Phaoroah – he took this country by storm last year – the general public knows his name. Your head had to be in the sand to not know him. And yes, you are correct when you accomplishments AFTER the TC are followed by racing fans more than the general public – hence the use of American Pharoah’s name. I lost respect for Victor after the Zenyatta Stakes this year. The way he rode Stellar Wind – poor girl. As far as Monster, Yum Brands – they did the same this with football stadiums only its the huge corporations that own them and tag their name to them. Now I have to go find that ad

    • Mr. Blues

      AMEN TO THAT

  • Bobbie Irish

    Ultimately, the horse and its current owners, and previous owners, make the most money, down the road. With the millions and millions of dollars being spent buying yearlings, weanlings, and unproven horses, I am sure Espinoza thought there might be a chance, for a bit of that cash, on down the road. Jockeys ride until they get hurt, arthritic, or lose their competitiveness on the track. They are always a bad spill from being totally unemployed. I guess the idea of a little back up, isn’t a bad one, so kudos to the Chrome owners from being able to include Victor. AP may not have been a triple crown winner without him. And now, what do we think of the Travers, where he was defeated with Victor riding?

  • Jack Frazier

    If Zayat thinks AP can outrun CC, then he needs to put him back in training and take a shot. He took the money and ran. So either put up or shut up.

    • Bobbie Irish

      Here, here! Agree with you there!

    • Andy in the desert

      I love it!! Come on Ahmed, put up or shut up….

      It would be an amazing competition IF AP could get back into racing condition.

  • Flag Is Up

    If either Zayat or Baffert had any class at all none of this would be talked about. Baffert talking crap about someone making money on the side should be laughed about!

    • Andy in the desert

      Now that’s exactly what I was thinking!!
      Short, succinct, and the unadulterated truth!

    • longtimehorsewoman

      Agreed. They were pissed that Espinoza said he didn’t get a breeding right to AP. Which the article said was something of the norm. Zayat is about the money – who retired the horse so he could make money at stud?

      • Bobbie Irish

        Don’t really think he had any choice. The Bankruptcy court had more to say about it. Zayat needed the money, then! Not the next year!

  • MoiraC

    Jockeys need huge bank accounts – any ride could result in a career-ending fall. Good luck, Victor, and lots of $$$!!!

    • Rjh

      Most of the time da jockey is offered a few breathing rights a yr once horse is retired just common courtesy

      • Judoon

        That is NOT true! Jockeys hardly ever are given breeding rights.

        • MoiraC

          Jockeys hardly ever win Triple Crowns.

      • Jocke Muth

        Your so correct, da jockey is free to breath when ever they want, regarding breeding right’s it’s a different subject and IF done it’s private deals between owner and jockey.

  • ziggypop

    Baffert and Zayat sound like two little cliquish high school girls bad mouthing the popular girl.

    Zayat took the safe money and retired AP. He, nor we, will never know if AP was a better horse than CC or vice versa.

  • Norm

    U all forget where u came from…..if is a very big word. with out a horse u all wouldnt be anything . what is this the world acorrding to bob ??? Dont ever forget it .

  • Richard C

    Handshake deals for certain people is a way to suddenly – and conveniently – forget the agreement…..about 30 seconds later.

  • Judoon

    All of this certainly explains Espinoza’s attitude!

    • McGov

      Racing is just a business for Victor. He has stated that he has little to no interest in the sport or its history, etc. He was lucky to get this mount. Baffert could have hired anyone to guide AP. I fully realize how important a jockey can be in some cases….perhaps most cases….but not in this case. Sad that Baffert through him under the bus though…ouch!

      • Uncle Mo Cat

        Agree with all of this. And Zayat should have given him a breeding right for a Triple Crown winner. Reading the article he mentions he did pay Victor a 200k bonus which sounds like the equivalent of one season instead.

  • Andrew A.

    They were ALL acting in their own best interests and ALL trying to maximize their own opportunities for more money and more fame.

    Bob should thank his lucky stars (CHRB Brackpool, CHRB Chairman Israel, and all the friends of Bob who helped cover it up for him). that he had the opportunity to win a Triple Crown after having 7 or 8 sudden deaths in a short period of time. No other Trainer in the Country would have survived that.

    • ridingtowin

      That whole Baffert cover-up of the death of 7 or 8 horses reminds me of the Hillary Clinton private email server cover-up. Baffert was just as guilty and corrupt as Hillary. In fact, Baffert could have been her VP running mate this year.

      • Kimberly Beth

        Oh please don’t interject the election in here, I come here to escape

        • Audrey Gulla

          OMG!…ditto…ditto….& DITTO!!!!

    • Otto

      100% FACT

  • McGov

    It’s important to read the full article on this one. Nevertheless, seriously? Wow. Had flashbacks of my divorce ;)
    Nobody will ever truly know how great of a horse AP is. When Baffert says he never seen anything like AP before….and when you see they WAY in which he wins…truly incredible.
    California Chrome is showing us what happens when you don’t retire them early….we get to see the full capacity of the horse.
    Impossible for me to say who is better…..kinda leaning in the AP direction…but watching CC this year he’s got me convinced he’s one of the true greats of all time.
    Zayat….ugh. I don’t think it’s possible for the elder to not trip over himself. Lots of polish needed on the lads too. But it’s very good to hear there IS a next generation of Zayats that love racing. I will just super sour wince it out somehow when they appear in my living room….and thank God for mute ;)

  • Meg Hiers

    I just don’t understand the point of this story at all. It doesn’t make anyone look good, including the author and publication, that would stoop to publishing something more akin to a bad soap opera than actual news.

    • Noelle

      Unfortunately, bad soap opera dominates the news these days – not just in horseracing! The media could care less about actual news. It wants scandal, the uglier the better, and manages to find it under some rock or other.

  • Victor

    Where’s the story? The Zayats made the business decisions with THEIR investment (horse) that they felt best served their interests. Baffert did the job that he was hired to do by the getting the maximum performance and achieve the greatest possible success from the Zayat’s investment. And Espinoza did what any intelligent independent contractor with a family and a future to think about did by working every avenue he thought to be available to him in order to maximize his earnings in exchange for his contribution to the overall success of the entire operation.

    Gee, whadda ya know… capitalism! What a concept… and a complete non-story.

  • SPA

    Egomaniac Baffert at his lunatic best. Funny how the media NEVER mentions all the 6 and 7 figure purchases he makes that never make the races or wind up in a 20 claimer. I was there the day Silver Charm arrived at New Bolton crashing from epogen, funny how Bob doesn’t mention it.

    • Bristling

      When was that ?

      • SPA

        My apologies, I was not around yesterday. July 1999. As a 17 year old high school senior my summer job, as it was since I was 13, was working for a harness trainer at the Meadowlands (back when there was a barn area). One of the horses I took care, Voidable Transfer, was sent to New Bolton to have chips removed from her knee. I was able to go down on the trailer and found New Bolton fascinating. While trying to get to know a cute vets assistant a little better I was told a Kentucky Derby winner was arriving, none other than Silver Charm. When I asked why or what operation they were performing I was told by said assistant that there was no operation and what he was there for.

    • Uncle Mo Cat

      What is most interesting to me in these moments is:
      1. Why does Bob go there knowing it will bring out the venomous haters in droves.
      2. Why do people like you think Baffert is the only trainer or agent or owner to ever buy high priced horses that end up in 5k claimers or don’t make it to the races?
      3. So now that you went there, tell us more about Silver Charm. What was the day, after which race, how long was he there, who diagnosed why he was there?

  • Eileen McAllistee

    This is a silly article. Fact is AP never ran as a 4 year old. He was good and he had luck, doesn’t mean CC wasn’t as good he just wasn’t lucky so now still racing he is a force to be reckoned and no one can say who would have won had they met..fact is APs connections retired him and so well never know and they have no right to make idiotic comments about breathing the same air.

  • nucky thompson

    Victor says that the owners of California Chrome “let me do anything I want”. No kidding ! How crass was it to see him riding into the winners circle at Santa Anita last week with a can of Monster energy drink and holding it up for the photo. As far as Zayat contradicting Espinoza’s story then I will take that with a large helping of salt. The other day this guy was bemoaning his racing luck after Jazzy Times lost . Heavens above man, you hit the jackpot when AP failed to sell and now your’complaining. Talk about hubris !

  • Onlythebest

    I’m with Victor on this one. He was in no way out of line in his request. I will take Victor’s character any day over Zayat’s. Just look at Mr. Z’s history. How many jocks does Baffert go through…… yup, I’ll step to the Victor side.
    Both good horses in different ways. I admire CC’s owners (now) and trainer for sticking with it. Could he actually be an “iron horse”?

  • Scott Ramsay

    Methinks Mr. Baffert is waaaaay jealous of Victor . . . Victor’s ability at what he does is at least on par with Baffert’s. And his personality is far, far more appealing, entertaining and endearing, naturally, not an act. As for greed, hahahahahahaha . . . for either Baffert or Zayat to call anyone else on earth GREEDY — the mind cannot cope.

    We’ll never know how good AP could have been . . . precisely because of GREED.

    Who among the three made the best public impression for racing, nationally and internationally, and continues to do so? VICTOR . . . . and not least because of his genuine charity for those in need.

    • longtimehorsewoman

      Well said!

    • By The Numbers

      Bafferts success far outways the success of Espinoza and VE’s set mounts all came from Baffert, save CC

      • JerseyGirl

        He rides Stellar Wind!

        • MoiraC

          And Gormley! For John Shirreffs!

          • JerseyGirl

            Indeed! He could have another banner year in 2017 on a possible KD winner. He also has other regular mounts not as famous right now‼️

  • Bev

    pfffft……I don’t blame Victor at all for wanting a bit of the action. Weren’t ALL of them…trainer and owners “cashing in” on American Pharoah? Jockey’s put their lives in danger riding their horses. I think they should get a Percentage of a big win AND if they’re going to use his name because he’s a triple crown winner…..you betcha bottom dollar they’d have to pay for it. Heck, why not? Baffert cashed in, Zayat cashed in big time. Why not the jockeys? If the owner and trainer weren’t “just using American Pharoah as a meal ticket he’d be racing this year. Instead of retiring a baby at age 3. Far as I’m concerned, TC or not……Zayat sold us fans out. We could have enjoyed seeing AP as a mature, stronger horse very into his job, this past year.

  • Bobf

    AP ran only one race against open company. He was a great horse and will be remembered as one of the all time greats but how good he really was will never be known. If he had stuck around one more year I think he would have been hard pressed to beat California Chrome.

    But, we will never know.

    • FredK

      Bob – How can you say “He was a great horse and will be remembered as one of the all time greats” and then follow up with “I think he would have been hard pressed to beat California Chrome”?

  • 1fdoos

    Why is this even coming up now? He said, he did or didn’t. This stuff does not need to even be in print. Seems to me everyone got what they wanted so why bring up the “dirt”?

  • smoof

    well, that was distasteful…

  • Bristling

    Spectacular Bid would crush both of them.

  • SteveD

    Aren’t there more important stories out there? This is embarrassing.

  • ridingtowin

    AP hasn’t proven himself as an older horse. He also hasn’t proven himself against the world’s best, while California Chrome has done so, successfully. In my opinion, CC is the better horse by leaps and bounds.
    If you want to be known as the best, or as one of the greatest ever, you come back as an older horse. Three year old races no longer mean all that much to me, it’s what you do as an older horse that seals the deal. To me, three year old racing is the equivalent of college basketball/football. The PRO game starts at age four. It’s time that we start making OLDER racing much more important if we are going to save our sport.

  • One_Jackal

    In the Belmont California Chrome nearly ripped his heel off and he still finished fourth. After seeing the damage to Chrome’s hoof Ron Turcotte said that Chrome was a better horse than Secretariat. I am not trying to take anything away from American Pharoah, he was a great horse. Given American Pharoah’s pedigree Zayat did the right thing by retiring him. There was nothing Pharoah could do as a four year old to improve his breeding value. On the other hand, Chrome needed a great five year old season to solidify his chance at becoming a top stallion prospect.

    • SteveD

      Ironically enough, if Victor hadn’t ridden CC in the Belmont as if he couldn’t possibly lose, we probably wouldn’t be celebrating Chrome now -)

  • Chaz Domingoson

    Why is this headlines? I get it, I read it, you read it and it means nothing in the big picture of Horse Racing. Focus Ray, don’t become TMZ.

  • J

    I AM NOT A FAN. BUT, CALIFORNIA CHROME IS A BETTER HORSE. HE HAS PROVEN THAT.
    WIN OR LOSE THE BCC.

    CIGAR WAS THE GREATEST.

    • teddy

      j – i thought you came to grips with your caps disorder?

      • JerseyGirl

        Lol!

  • Robin

    This article does a disservice to our equine athletes and shows the ugly side of horse racing. We should be celebrating these 2 horses instead of comparing them. Mr. Zayat calling anyone greedy is interesting especially when he almost got rid of AP (sold) before the triple crown but no one would buy him because of his injury. Re: Bob Baffert trying to “teach” Victor a lesson by running Arrogate in the BC Classic. Mr. Baffert is very very competitive and is running his horse to make money for his client and himself. He would not just be beating Victor but CC’s trainer and owners. I hope he is not this petty and after his years in the business.

    • Jack Frazier

      He is.

  • Roger

    Baffert got so mad at Victor – he buried loyal Martin Garcia…..what a sportsman.

  • Flying J

    A shame that a bit of AP`s class didn’t rub off onto Baffert and Zayat.

  • Zaskar13

    For all those bashing AP and his connections for retiring to the breeding shed, had CC won the Triple Crown, he would’ve headed in the same direction.

    • Flying J

      No doubt, but regardless, Baffert and Zayat are not showing themselves in a good light. You can’t buy Class.

    • Kimberly Beth

      And even when he is done racing he won’t have the demand in the shed.

    • Pamela Mac

      Coburn would have opted for breeding shed. Martin, well, I’m not so sure…there has always been the presence of an outsider stigma and the best way to ease some of this bias is…well…to continue a racing campaign so long as radiographs and vet determine the horse is healthy.

  • Fasthorse1

    I’m pretty sure Victor donated all of his money to the city of hope
    Kids cancer ward. If you want to call that greedy than you have a different perspective than most. Unreal.

    • Kimberly Beth

      No, he did not donate all his money. He donated the winnings from the Belmont Stakes. That’s what he donated, though I do believe he donates a percentage of every stakes race he runs still. Sill, as I said in previous posts, except for the donations, I have lost a lot of respect for him, most recently because of the way he rode Stellar Wind in the Zenyatta. He whipped the hell out of her when he saw Beholder actually was going to win. Before I get comments that it is part of the sport, yada yada yada, I get it, but he went a little to rough on her. I have no respect for a jockey for that.

      • HideousZippleback

        I’m not a fan of him either and really dislike how whip happy he is.

        • SPA

          Do you feel the same about Calvin Borel who beat the living daylights out of Rachel in the Woodward?

  • Marilyn Shively

    WOW- I knew the Zayats and Baffert would not like Espinoza saying Chrome is better than AP- I love Chrome but IMO if a horse wins the triple crown, he is the best horse. It is an amazing feat. That said. California Chrome has become a great horse and is now on par with some of the greatest older horses in history.

  • History will remember American Pharoah as one of the top 5-6 horses of all time. California Chrome is not top 10.
    He won’t even win the classic this year.

    • Kimberly Beth

      History will remember American Pharoah as winning the Triple Crown and the Grand Slam. People who following horse racing though, will indeed remember Chrome and his accomplishments this year. Maybe not the casual fan, but those of us who love this sport will remember Chrome. No one can predict who will win the BCC, and we all have our favorites that we are rooting for. That all said, I love American Phaorah, he is my very favorite horse of all time, though I have many, he won my heart.

    • DDAmasa

      No force on earth could shoehorn Pharoah into the top six.

  • worldb.free

    There really isn’t two sides to this story. Victor wanted to profit too. If they didn’t like it they should have fired him, crying about it a year later is meaningless and just bad sportsmanship. If they are bringing it up because Victor was given a share in CC, then instead of acting like sore winners they should give Victor a breeding share in AP. As it is, Zayat made the worst deal in history. That’s probably what is actually bothering him.

  • SteveD

    “I believe they don’t breathe the same air” ?? Wow.. That sounds like the owner of War Admiral trashing Seabisquit. Only Zayat won’t show for the match race… Or would he, if the price was right?-)

  • Mrty

    Bob Baffert should not have divulged this about Espinoza. Show some class, Bob, and keep personnel matters quiet. Every time it looks that Baffert has finally matured in his sixties, he proves otherwise. Great trainer, but needs work elsewhere.

    • Jocke Muth

      Can’t show what you don’t have, BB and Trump are very much alike in that sense.
      Talk the talk and walk like it’s a slalom course.

  • Joe Buzzetta

    AP was the superior horse as a 3 year old, winning the Triple Crown and BCC is a feat which may never be done again. CC was an outstanding 3 year old but faltered at the end of the season beginning with the Belmont Stakes. Any other comparison is just speculation, we will never know what AP would have done as an older horse.

  • Minnesota Kid

    Baffert calling someone else greedy?
    This is a guy, in the past at least, that would send a flunky over to consignors at the SoCal sales to let them know that if they would cut a check to Bob for 10k, then he would get the word out that he was interested in their horse.
    For him to label anyone else as greedy shows an astonishing lack of self-awareness and is essentially the height of hypocrisy.

    • Uncle Mo Cat

      No disagreement that this story did not need to be told, and not right now. But Baffert never loses his focus. That was the message to Victor. And Baffert knows where the line is drawn with his owners.

  • David Worley

    If you are confident your horse is better than the one currently running, you don’t need to say a thing because the races run speak for themselves. My sense is that team Zayat (including Baffert) is a little hyper-sensitive about their legacy given the dominating 5YO campaign of Chrome. But, as Tinky said quite succinctly, if it bothers the AP crowd so much why not let him race as a 4YO and settle it on the track.

    I’ve long, and consistently, said that American Pharoah was the best AMERICAN horse of his YEAR; but I don’t think he will be the most successful stud of that particular year when we look at things 20 years out from now, and certainly won’t go down as a pillar of his breeding generation. He was fortunate with how the Breeder’s Cup Classic unfolded otherwise he likely would not have won that race.

    Pharoah is no Seattle Slew, Affirmed, or even Spectacular Bid. As a stud, the question for me is how good AP will be? He will get top shelf mares, which will help him, but I am a little skeptical about him as six-figure stud and I’d put the figurative over/under on his stud capacity at about a Curlin level. I get this is controversial, but that’s how I see it.

    What do others think? Tinky would love your thoughts on this.

    • Uncle Mo Cat

      Totally disagree with you on AP. Should make a great stud if any will (I doubt you thought Frankel would either as it is rare) and he dominated the Classic. Funny how all his races “set up for him”. With twisted shoes, in the slop, on every kind of track, rating, wide, on the rail, to the front, and definitely with a ship. SMH. Expectations for this horse are the only thing that ever outran him.

      If he does as well as Curlin has, that will be fantastic. AP has speed, class, stamina, stride, heart capacity, intelligence, temperament, conformation, brilliance, and stellar support (mares, trainer, owners.) The stallion industry is all about maximizing the up front first four year profit because most of them don’t make it. And the 200k (or 100k per mare if you have two) is a fee based on whether breeders think he is “worth” it as a first year sire at the yearling sales. As for Zayat, is he the first owner to sell breeding rights in a top two year old before he raced at 3? Heard of Secretariat? Did he need the money? Most likely, given that his balloon payment on the 5th 3rd bankruptcy settlement was due. Why do you think he sold the dam and shares in POTN around the same time? He was taking money off the table. It cost him millions in value in the end, but better to have sold than not is the adage in the industry most of the time.

      • David Worley

        I think you misunderstood my post. What I am saying is that I think American Pharoah at stud will be roughly on par with Curlin (over/under as per sports betting). But the problem is that he is valued at X2 Curlin right now.

        So yes, I think AP will have a nice stud career by normal horse standards, but he isn’t going to be a breed changer. He will be probably be in the top ten though.

        The fact he won the Triple Crown and Classic has inflated his early value IMO.

        Thoughts or rebuttal from you UMC?

    • brussellky

      I agree with you on the future stud fee but I think it will end up much lower than even you do. However, there is a ton of money to be made in the beginning. With California Chrome there will not even be a ton of money to be made in the beginning. These last 2 sentences fully explain why one is still racing and the other is not.

  • David Worley

    One other thing that irritates me about the Baffert quotes in here is how ungrateful he is for Espinoza’s rides. Without going back and watching them closely, I distinctly remember thinking that Victor seriously helped AP by making a dynamic move off the rail early in the Preakness (which turned out to be a good move) and basically beat AP senseless down the stretch of the derby which may have won him that race (although I thought was excessive). Point here being that Victor was a serious part of APs success and Baffert comes off a rectal orifice in this piece.

    • Pamela Mac

      I agree. Espinoza has great form.

    • Pebbles

      He also likely was a major reason for the loss in the Travers where instead of allowing Frosted to go by he engaged him if his post race comments are to be believed that he knew the horse was not 100% heading to the post.

      But I do agree he was entitled to a breeding share if that is the practice.

      • Uncle Mo Cat

        That is 20/20 hindsight at it’s best. And if AP was gassed by the better than 2 minute lick gallop the day before, going fast early early may not have worked, especially if Frosted tried to go with him earlier. Watch the race again. Frosted did not want the lead early, he stalked, then he engaged mid race.

        It is not the practice – Jerry Bailey started some of this in public when he declared two weeks ago on NBC that Victor did not get a breeding right, but got one in Chrome and was offering some payback. Bailey said in all his years on all those champions he received FIVE breeding rights. And believe me, if any jock would get one, it is JB. He was never shy about maximizing his end of a deal. That said, Victor should have received one from Coolmore for a TC/BC winner, and it was stupid business to not do it. This all never happens if they do.

        • Pebbles

          The gallop played an effect too. I was there for it all and I saw the horse pre-gallop and post-gallop at the barn and the next morning he looked like a different horse, definitely dragging. But you never can tell with horses because they do not talk. He certainly was fit to run because he lost by a mere 3/4s of a length despite the fastest middle half in stakes history…

    • By The Numbers

      Very little knowledge on your part.

      Beginning in 2014 (when he gave Chrome some poor rides) I have been critical of Espinoza’s riding ability.
      Both AP and CC had/have a tactical advantage over their competitions by breaking quick and having a very high cruising speed. All Espinoza had to do was hold on and those 2 would place themselves.

      Espinoza made no dynamic move in the Preakness. AP, a speed horse, drew P1 on a wet track – he had one option and that was gun it. Once he cleared Mr Z (about 3/8 in) Espinoza shifted out as 99.9% jockeys do.
      In the Derby, Espinoza took AP unnecessarily wide throughout the whole running – AP wins by 4-5 with a more conservative trip. Espinoza only had to whip so much because he screwed up everything else he possibly could have for a horse who broke clear and outside the speed

      • David Worley

        Thanks for your analysis ‘By the Numbers.’ I agree with you largely but would dispute two points, (1) you are way high on the 99.9% shifting out comment, and (2) your assessment that VE took AP unnecessarily wide in the derby is a function of the benefit of watching the race in hindsight. Many top shelf jockeys would have done a similar thing in that situation. I’m not saying it was the best decision, but a reasonable one.

        And as with the overwhelming % of posters on this site, I wish you’d have the hutzpah to post under your real name.

        • By The Numbers

          Why does my name matter? The only thing that would do is give my name to random strangers. If I was claiming a role in the industry, then my name would matter. But I’m not claiming that, and am just an informed observer.

          No jockey stays on the rail when it is sloppy. If you want I will link a dozen random races in the slop where a leader who has the opportunity to drift out does.

          Of course a jockey would do things differently if they could watch the race before he rode it. But he had no reason to take him wide.

  • BeastBob

    All of them sounded like cry babies in this mess. This looks like the 3-way version of election 2016!!!

    • Pamela Mac

      Reminds me of the old Coburn days. Lol.

  • Pamela Mac

    Seems a bit of jealousy has reared up its head. (whether fact checked or not the Zayat/Baffert camp has made it’s statement). As usual Great Media Fodder. Inquiring minds want to know!

  • 33horses

    Greed is what runs the industry! I just hope Breyer makes a Christmas ornament of CC.

  • Irene Davis

    AP gave us a fun ride, and a TC winner, very exciting year in Thoroughbred racing. However, the CHROME continues to thrill us! Would have loved to see AP and Chrome in a race…..that would have been awesome. Unfortunately, we will never know how great AP could have been. Thx to Taylor Made Farm for stepping up, taking a chance on the modestly bred Chrome, we have been able to witness the glorious come-back of CC, anf it’s been nothing less than spectacular!

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    I’m going to put a slightly different spin on this, and say that maybe….just maybe…this kind of rhetoric and posturing and all that is EXACTLY what the sport needs. Now…to make it all stand up of course you need to keep horses in training, but the whole “Take the high road at all times” happens in no sport whatsoever. Trash talking is part of sports, and I think it is something that for some reason is shunned in the racing game. I never got that. Let’s have some trash talking. Let’s get people excited about matchups!! Again, I realize that the owners have to cooperate by running their horses…but I think this type of thing is needed a little more in the sport to entice new fans. This is the type of stuff that sports editors devote actual print time to.

    • Tinky

      I thought it was great when M.C. Hammer showed up with his entourage and D. Wayne at Belmont, dressed in white Hip-Hop garb, and having a great time. So I am with you to a certain extent.

      But let’s be clear about something: this is the equivalent of some couch potato trash-talking to players on his tee-vee. True trash-talking take place only when someone is a participant, and the fact that Zayat chose to withhold AP from competition this year disqualifies him from engaging in that way – at least in any meaningful sense.

      • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

        I completely agree with that…which is why it only really works if the owners agree to keep their horses in training and willing to race each other.

      • brussellky

        You have a point but all the accolades given to the owners of California Chrome for keeping him in training illustrate how many clueless people are actually out there. AP’s pedigree is not great but it is good enough. CC’s is horrific and is not good enough. I’m sure someone will respond to this comment telling me he is a grandson of Pulpit and bringing up his inbreeding. That’s all fine but no one is going to pay a large stud based upon that. There has never been a truly successful sire in history with a pedigree as bad as his and breeders are quite well aware of that. CC’s owners are certainly not being “sporting” keeping him in training, they are making a rational economic decision which, by the way, so did Zayat.

    • Kimberly Beth

      Although it may be what the sport needs, we, the real racing fans, are the only ones reading this. The general public has no idea what is being said, who is even running as a 4, 5 or 6 year old. No one in the general public knows that Beholder, Chrome, Dortmund, heck Frosted, are still running. Just we racing fans know that, so I don’t know what, if anything this story does for the sport except show bitterness from all sides, and pits Pharoah fans against Chrome fans.

      • Bryan Langlois

        Then…we as a fan base need to stand up and demand the sport gets the coverage it deserves. Yes it may show a little bit of the bitterness in some cases, but what sport doesn’t have that. Everyone seems to think for some reason in this sport everything must always have their participants singing Kumbaya around a fire every night arm and arm. I never got that. Let it pit Pharoah fans against Chrome fans. We need this rivalry type talk, and as I said before it does stink because it can’t be settled on the track like it should be, although we as the fans should be shouting more for keeping these horses in training and working to find a way to do it that entices the owners. Yes…I do agree that mainstream media needs to pick things like this up, but it is up to us as fans to work to make it so. I urge everyone to join the group Thorofan as we can make so much more of a difference in a united voice. If sports editors can devote a 50 page wrap around section in newspapers to 25 different opinion pieces on whether A-Rod should leave the game or apologize or do whatever because of his drug use…then they can devote a little time to things like this. I remember back in that Breeders Cup when Borel and Castellano got into it and everyone was crying how they should be better and it was a negative for the sport. What?? Showing some passion and emotion like that that sometimes boils over into a fight or heated argument is a negative?? No one seems to decry that after a bench clearing brawl in baseball or two drivers getting into in in a Nascar race. I’m not saying it needs to be like hockey where fights are the norm, but lets stop dismissing everything that say racing people should always just take the high road and not trash talk or things like that.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    I will say this about Victor though. Focus on the horse and not your endorsements during and right after the race. In the final hundred yards of his last race Victor seemed more concerned about smiling for the camera than focusing on his horse crossing the line. Also…as soon as he got back to the winners circle area he couldn’t whip on that Monster hat and open a can of Monster to drink from fast enough. Little concerning to me only because while you are riding and involved with the race…your first concern should be for the horse and nothing else.

    • Uncle Mo Cat

      Agree and I will add this about his swipe at the popularity of AP – I agree Chrome has rabid fans and thank god he has stuck around and been successful this year. But Chrome is no where near the mainstream consciousness that AP was just due to TC win and Baffert as trainer. Not that that mainstream was as deep as some think in this day and age of an anachronistic sport. But I guarantee Victor doesn’t make more money off his side deals on Chrome than he did on AP. Not even close. I think everyone behaved poorly in this story and I think it is the truth to each and every one of them, but should have been kept to themselves. And all of them should know better and detract from their horse by telling it.

    • Kimberly Beth

      Which is what Baffert said – get his head in the game.

  • RIder717

    Interesting conversation on AP/CC. Always learn something in the comment section! What is striking about this article–and don’t see much comment on–is Baffert’s attitude and his dismissal of Espinoza. Shocking, isn’t it, that the jock wants to make money./Baffert and Zayat have the purest of intentions and are in the game for the love of horses. I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

    • Tiffany A

      Lol- you’re Killin me

  • Gate To Wire

    Such a great article. Just all class. So looking forward to the day when Whitey goes down. He skated away over the horse deaths but everyone get caught eventually.

    • Rebekah Lane

      Won’t happen — he’s got powerful protectors. Would that the California racing establishment had integrity.

  • Jack Frazier

    Up front let me say I think AP is a nice horse. Not a great horse but a nice horse. This is a moot argument as well almost comparing him to Citation, who is in my opinion, the greatest Thoroughbred to ever step on a racetrack. He raced well beyond his three year-old year as well. I believe there are at least ten or fifteen horses I would rank over AP. Trying to compare horses of different generations is nothing more than talk and I always remember what a wrestling coach once told me about wrestlers: the further they get from their competitive days, the better they were, at least in their own minds. Sure Zayat made millions and no one can fault him for that but had he been a true sportsman, with his horse of a lifetime, AP would have continued to race and we would know for sure, if he was truly a great horse.

    Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Forego, Cougar II, Spectacular Bid, Ridan, Kelso, Gun Bow, California Chrome, Ruffian, Man O’ War, War Admiral, Seabiscuit, Carryback, Majestic Prince, Native Dancer, Nashua were all as good, if not better.

    I am sure there are others. AP was a superior horse running with average horses, for the most part. None jump off the page as great horses either although some will disagree. Zayat missed the chance to see if he was greatest of all time and now, he just runs his mouth. I don’t think anyone has ever been outrun with talk and as they say, talk is cheap. Personally, I think he will be an average sire. This is just my opinion.

  • smoof

    the timing of this article and baffert/zayat chosing to air their dirty laundry now, just before the BCC, is troubling.

    there was no reason to publicize this family squabble period. it’s tacky and distasteful.

    all they had to say is something along the lines of: they disagree with victor, AP’s record stands for itself, it’s natural to get caught up in the excitement of the present, we wish chrome’s connections all the best, he’s had an incredible year. the end.

    chrome now has the same powerful/wealthy forces in this sport united in running horses in the BCC just for the sole purpose of making him lose, instead of having the horses entered at their behest win, just like they did in the preakness against nyquist…a $200k book that had to be slashed to a 2 for one sale reason…esp now that AC doesn’t seem any more than her pedigree would predict…

    three horses were entered in the preakness for the sole purpose of being sacrificial lambs, like hedevar, to force and keep nyquist as fast and as wide as possible and ensure the rail was left wide open of exagerator.

    all three exited the race ruined. there’s a reason doug was so desperate to clear unlce lino and awesome speed. but after he commited, mario had no way to change course hemmed in by both horses and that nobody horse on his heels behind him. the track’s condition that day it was too dangerous to try take back at that point.

    i wish I’d recorded tvg’s coverage, as you see Christina blacker and ron ellis say their pick was exagerator like they were announcing a death sentence, and then christina’s trainer husband being interviewed immediately after winning his own race that was run at the same time as the preakness being told nyquist lost to exagerator , responding with “yeah we, well, we all knew, didnt we, that was the…” CUT AWAY in mid-sentence.

    i have to admit I’ve lost all respevt for jerry brown, and this is despite his having kept in touch with me while i battled cancer. he doesn’t miss a beat to advertise for exagerator as just having been cooked by the haskell, but won’t even consider that the preakness came darn near cooking nyquist. it’s a testament to the horse he didn’t completely fall off the bus like exagerator did.

    look for horses entered in the BCC who have no business being in it at all. not a horse like nyquist, who absolutely belongs–he’s still the highest point earner not a “win and you’re in.” win or lose, he earned his berth. i hope I’m wrong. but there are few sports as dirty than this one, sadly.

    people think, doug, reddam, and darley are fools to run nyquist for certain defeat…maybe they just know their horse is going to be left alone this time…

  • Al Milano

    There are so many things wrong with this team’s treatment of the jockey and evaluation of their horse. Many of the comments below say it better than I can.

    Just two points: first, Pharoah never achieved the speed numbers that Chrome has….never…and second, the jockey puts his life on the line, literally, on behalf of the owner and trainer and it has taken decades for jockeys to get any kind of special medical benefits when they are severely hurt.

    I don’t blame Espinoza for looking out for himself and every owner should respect him for doing just that.

    • JerseyGirl

      Well said.

  • james nicholson

    I see all these comments about who is a better horse CC or AP? But the article is about V. Espinoza.
    I think VE is one lucky jock to get the call on CC and AP and should have paid more attention to the horses and less to his bank account. He is no great rider by any stretch of the imagination.

  • Puck

    heck yeah he wanted to cash in. you get it while the getting is good. baffert and zayat both should understand that perfectly.

  • meaghanedwards

    Chrome was injured coming out of the gate.

  • Paula Higgins

    All of this is unseemly. None of this should have been said. Let history decide who was better or if they are co-equals once Chrome’s career is over. Both owners and their trainers love their horses best and that’s as it should be. A better response regarding Victor would have been no response or alternatively, Victor should have been thanked by all parties instead of dragged through the mud over the fact they didn’t agree about endorsement money etc.

  • otterbird

    ““American Pharoah was basically an ATM to him,” Baffert told Ehalt. “He was getting a little greedy. He wanted to cash in on the horse as much as he could.”

    Kind of like retiring a colt after his three-year-old season in order to start his stud career ASAP, yes?

  • HorsePower Racing

    Wonder if BB did any “cashing in “

  • slickchick17

    While winning the TC is very impressive, I think AP’s record pales in comparison to CC’s. If Zayat was interested in creating a legacy, he should’ve thought about that prior to retiring a 3yr old colt. Nobody knows how good AP could’ve been, but, lucky for us, we all get to see exactly how good CC is!

  • Gayle Griffin

    I personally like California Chrome and his connections better than those of American Pharoah’s.The remarks by Bob Baffert and Mr.Zayat appear to be rather “bitchy” in nature.And do not come off as very professional either.I would pick California Chrome any day over American Pharoah as to who I truly think is the better horse over all.And I have had it up to here with the trashing of California Chrome by certain truly unknowledgeable individuals who claim to be horse racing experts.They clearly have no real understanding of the sport.

  • Audrey Gulla

    When I heard Victor make that remark I thought: Oh Oh!!!!! And now here’s the fallout. Reading the comments below I wouldn’t be surprised if Victor’ s remark did stem from bitterness surrounding an issue involving sharing a piece of AP’s breeding rights. So then the AP team snap back with their own nasty remarks. Sad & embarrassing, but understandable nonetheless, given the initial
    statement……….But regardless it should have remained a private argument. As to who is the better horse? I don’t see that as an issue at all. Both are great in their own unique way. Both have their special place in horse racing’s history & for that I’m glad!

    • OopsyDaisy3

      Very politically correct you are Audrey Gulla. Greatness comes in all shapes and sizes and it really isn’t fair to say one is better than the other. AP didn’t go to Dubai and be in the top 3 positions. It is unfair to compare one to the other. CC and AP are both exquisite compilations of fine breeding and traits that pop up in surprising places.
      That is what makes this sport so interesting to follow. Victor felt you have one time in life to hit the big one so to speak and i do not fault him in any manner. Doesn’t hurt to ask. Curious, did Baffert get a breeding rights agreement? I missed that discussion.
      Thank you, Linda

      • Audrey Gulla

        Prior to this article & reading all of the comments I was’ t even aware that a 0/0 of breeding rights could/would even be offered to others in a team. Seems nice though…generous even. It also seems reasonable BB would have been offered them….but who knows? But Victor greedy? I can’t see it. Not when he donates 10 o/o of his winnings to City of Hope..& all of them from the Belmont ( about 90 grand!! ). Like you said he probably thought it does n’ t hurt to ask. I hope this story dies out quickly…it’s just so negative. Thanks for your reply!

  • SteveD

    I’ve been saying the same thing ever since they crossed the finish line. I was surprised Art and owners were not furious. I know he was injured badly, but Victor didn’t give him a chance to win that day.
    As stated in the article, Victor was allowed to do whatever he wanted instead of following Art’s instruction. A good example for BB to use as to why HE instructs the jockey-)

    • Doug Chambers

      I also thought the ride was a poor one.

  • Manefan

    I hope that AP doesn’t let any Zayat/Baffert pathogens into that “air” he”s breathing.

  • Pamela Mac

    Bob Baffert is a master of getting the edge! Ear plugs and now trying to rattle his most worrisome apponent’s jockey. He’s obviously afraid of Chrome. Got to love it! It is a high compliment coming from Bob.

  • artistinwax

    California Chrome could have been a Triple Crown winner I think, but for the loss of the heel of a foot stepped on during the break of the Belmont. How many horses would have even finished inthird with such a painful injury or finished at all? Each step must have been torture. But he bravely went a mile and a half on it, and finished ahead of many others who had four healthy hooves. American Pharoah competed with four healthy hooves. That was the difference. One bad step and a Triple Crown was lost.

  • Den

    If Espinoza was here, he would have been sacked off the horse and no one would want to put him on. Just who the f #ck does he think he is wanting cash if they use his image in connection with AP. As for breeding rights as soon as the i diot asked that i can tell you any owner here would say “there’s the gate and f #ck off “…Robert Sangster once said “the difference between America and England is they race for money and we race for prestige” … Whilst he is half right, it’s easy to say that if you are a billionaire, what the difference is America races for money and we race for the thrill and love of it.

  • lady jane

    I’m late to this discussion…just stumbled on this article while trying to find out who the contenders are for this year’s Kentucky Derby. For whatever it’s worth…I always liked Espinoza but am disappointed that the success seemed to go to his head. Mr. Zayat retired AP early because some would say he wanted the money from breeding, but I also think he didn’t want to see him hurt in a race, which is always the possibility. California Chrome is one great horse. AP is one great horse but we don’t know how AP would have continued to do had he not been retired. I personally think with the exception of the Kentucky Derby where he struggled, his speed was not completely tapped. He was retrained by Espinoza for all other races to conserve him. Both horses are great and I really like Sherman and Baffert. Let’s stop comparing and respect both horses.

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