I feel confident you were all as traumatized as I was by the counterfeit Trash Talk appearing recently on these hallowed threads! Apparently, simply because this blog is named “Emptywheel”, people named Emptywheel think they can just stroll in and post up trash. Madness, I tell you, madness!
Hmmmm, speaking of Madness, turns out it is March, and we haz some going on with the student athletes of the roundball variety. Yesterday, not one, BUT TWO, second seeded teams were upset by 15 seeds. Tiny Norfolk State, appropriately led by Kevin O’Quinn on the eve of St. Patricks Day, took out the well regarded Missouri Tigers. Then joy in the hearts of haters everywhere was ignited by Lehigh crushing the Dookies.
For the women, hate to say it, but Obama is right, Brittney Griner and Baylor look unstoppable, though I have a sentimental hope for Pat Summitt. My sleeper to watch are the Delaware Blue Hens, led by maybe the real story of the year, Elena Delle Donne. If you don’t know the story of Elena, you should. The Hens have a shot.
In NFL news and notes, the Arizona Cardinals are left at the altar again. We went through this with Joe Montana, and now again with freaking Peyton. Marcy’s anti-Peyton rap all these years was clearly spot on the money. But, hey, we get to keep Kevin Kolb. Yay. Looked like the Donkos were in the lead, then the Titans, and now the 49ers have pulled even. Who knows. I am probably joining Steve Young and leaning SF because that is the best overall chance for a championship fast, and Peyton needs to catch up to Little Bro. The Bolts have had a decent off season, but losing Vincent Jackson is tough. I still believe Matt Flynn can be a very quality starting QB, and still think he joins his old OC from the Pack, Joe Philbin, at the Fish, but the Squawks are in play. Talk amongst yourselves about all the rest of the ongoing free agency and draft news.
We all wait on pins and needles for Intrepid Emptywheel Roving Reporter Rosalind’s horse racing updates. Assuming she doesn’t get tipsy from St. Paddy’s Day, reportage on the baby shower for Zenyatta’s baby colt and the racing debut of Zenyatta’s little sister, Eblouissante is in the offing.
Of course, the real sports news this weekend is the opening of the 2012 Circus – The Formula One season! We again start down under in Oz, and both the track and the weather have been perfect and hot n’ fast so far. There are six – count em SIX – World Champions in this year’s field and on the grid in Melbourne. They all look fast too, even Michael Schumacher, who has been beleaguered by bad equipment since his comeback. Schuey came up a fast fourth in the factory Mercedes, and will be starting from the second row. McLaren owns the front row, with Lewis Hamilton looking killer on pole and Jenson Button right beside him. Seriously, and uncharacteristically, off the pace are the Red Bull boys back in the third row, Webber in P5 and Vettel in P6. As was, sadly, predicted over the winter, Ferrari is in trouble. Alonso went driveabout in the kitty litter, and bombed out in Q2; Fernando will start from P12. Felipe Massa is even worse, and is all the way back in P16. Best line, by a mile, I have heard of the new Circus season so far:
Two seasons of crashing rally cars has had no adverse impact on [Kimi Räikkönen's] ability to speak Morse code.
If you have ever watched the Flighty Finn in a press conference, you know how spot on that is. Jeebus, I about keeled over laughing in the middle of a courtroom yesterday when I read that.
The official F1 site is here and has boatloads of great stories and helpful coverage, including live scoring if you sign in. It is worth joining for the live scoring. Old friend Brad Spurgeon has moved from the NYT to their international effort, the IHT (International Herald Tribune), but continues with his excellent on scene reportage.
The Australian Grand Prix goes off early Sunday morning/late Saturday night with coverage on Speed Channel starting at 1:30 am EST and 10:30 pm PST.
Music by The Faces. Rod is a little long in the tooth these days, but make no mistake, he, Ronnie Wood and Ian McLagan could really bring it in the day. Lite this joint up people, let there be Trash!
There is great football this weekend, both by student and professional athletes. Obviously, that should be discussed in comments. It’s what we do here. Bizarrely as it may be, this blog exists in its current form because of some weird joining of legal thought and passion for football, with a smattering of divine intervention by Phred and perhaps a few too many pitchers of Beamish. Go figure; that is the randomness of entropy and the blogosphere. Nevertheless, here we are.
And so, here we are and I serve up a prime weekend Trash Talk of horse. Sue me if you object; my attorney, Mary, she of midwestern common horse sense, will answer and defend. Aggressively.
The story of Zenyatta was first adopted and incorporated by the Emptywheel blog just over a month ago when she ran to defend her crown in the Lady Secret Stakes at Hollywood Park in the City of Angels, California. Well, we are all in now. So much so that we had an official liveblog reporter at Hollywood Park for the Lady Secret, Rosalind. Rosalind not only went to Hollywood for the Lady Secret, she took pictures and came to feel the force that is Zenyatta. Although a bit bottled up and not quite as focused as normal, Zenyatta brought the heart of the champion she is and closed out a win, and defense of her crown, in the Lady Secret.
The Lady Secret win at Hollywood park made Zenyatta an unprecedented 19-0 in her racing career. She won the Breeders Cup Classic last year; other than the Triple Crown races of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes, the biggest, and arguably more annually competitive, horse race in the world every year. No woman had ever won this bring all comers race before, but Zenyatta closed out all the best boys in the world, in the biggest race in the world. In style.
Last years’ Breeder’s Cup Classic win made Zenyatta a star, and fixture among the greatest horses of all time, and almost certainly surpassing the truly remarkable and astounding Rachel Alexandra to take her place as the greatest filly of all time. But now comes the 2010 Breeders Cup Classic. Rachel Alexandra, other fillies, and indeed almost all other horses regardless of sex are either in the backseat, or paying damn close attention as Zenyatta makes a move on unquestionable immortality.
A second Breeders Cup Classic win against the best male horses the world has to offer would put Zenyatta in the untouchable category. Babe Ruth and Secretariat land. Where, arguably, no horse, male or female, has gone before. This is truly stunning stuff.
Now, I have no idea whether this horse can close the deal or not. But, at a remarkable and unprecedented 19-0, Zenyatta has earned the reputation, and buildup, that puts her in this position. Seriously. In spades. The last horse that came into a race like this with the weight of history and expectation of otherworldliness on it’s shoulders was Secretariat in the 1973 Belmont Stakes. We know what happened in that race.
So, we shall see. There is stiff competition from the boys (so to speak). She will have to beat some studs including Paddy O’Prado, Blame and, perhaps most significantly, Bob Baffert’s Lookin at Lucky. Despite her eternal greatness, the odds and history are stacked against Zenyatta. While there is almost no chance Zenyatta will pull away from a talented field like Secretariat did in the 1973 Belmont, may the modern day Pegasus fly to a win of any nature and history!
There is also, of course, college and pro football; not to mention the penultimate race in the F1 Circus this year, the Brazilian Grand Prix. Somewhat incredibly, Fernando Alonso of the real red animal, the prancing horse of Ferrari, leads Mark Webber of Red Bull by eleven points going into Sao Paulo. Red Bull is fast in practice, but it is Sebastian Vettel leading the way. With only this race and Abu Dhabi left in the season, the race is indeed on!
It has been a long hard slog this week folks, let’s rip this joint and trash it up!
It is trash time, and we are going to have a first here because I am leading off with horse racing. Yes, horse racing! Because there is potential greatness in our midst. Zenyatta. Don’t believe me? How about Penny Chenery, the owner of Secretariat, perhaps the greatest racing horse to ever walk the planet; from the San Diego Union-Tribune:
“I just think Zenyatta is wonderful,” Chenery said this week on a conference call in which she discussed the new movie about her Triple Crown winner, “Secretariat,” set to go to post Oct. 8. “She’s like Secretariat in that she’s a great showoff. She’s well aware of who she is, and when she prances into the ring, she swells herself up.
“Secretariat used to do that. He’d come into the walking ring and blow himself up to intimidate the competition. And with her dance, it’s her opening number to prance into the walking ring. She’s so gorgeous and with such dominating speed. I’m crazy about her. She’s going to run this Saturday, so I’ll get to see her again. She’s just a blessing to the industry.”
Zenyatta, undefeated in her incredible 18-race career, makes her last start in California today [Saturday] in the Grade I, $250,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes at the Oak Tree meeting at Hollywood Park. She’ll try and win the race on Cushion Track three years in a row and use it as a final prep for her defense of the Breeders’ Cup Classic against the best male horses in the country next month at Churchill Downs.
Yes, Zenyatta has really been that good in her undefeated career. If you did not catch her run from behind, over the best male horses out there, to win the Breeder’s Cup Classic last year, maybe the biggest non-Triple Crown race there is, you should watch the clip I have attached; she was simply remarkable. If she can win these last two races, Zenyatta will go down amongst the greatest horses ever. Tall order, but this is a special horse. ESPN Classic will air a 90-minute special from Hollywood Park from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Lady’s Secret is expected to air on ESPN between college football games at approximately 4:15 p.m. (all times are PST/FDL time, so if you are on the east coast, add three hours). Bet you never heard the Dead cover George Jones before, but The Race Is On! Continue reading