Last night, as everyone knows by now, the 60 Minutes feature on Zenyatta was aired. As we opined below in our piece on "Focus", I think the power of this piece is palpable and we are in for a very well-watched Breeders Cup Classic.
The reaction in the community is expected, and something we often see in this sport, because we are a niche sport. Just like the Secretariat movie, for a sport to have a mainstream media, or mainstream movie-goer attraction, the insider elements are always glossed over, and insiders get pissed.
On the net, just this past twelve hours, I have read insiders griping that the feature:
i) did not mention the horse of the year battle with Rachel Alexandra
ii) that Zenyatta's speed figures are not that good
iii) that she did not travel very much outside California
iv) that she races better on pro-ride etc and is a synthetic specialist
The reasons for this apparently, is because (one or more of): CBS sucks, Mike Smith sucks, the media is in the tank for Zenyatta, or people are blind and do not know how to handicap. Some of these people are professional trolls obviously, but many are not.
Conversely of course, the mainstream sees - fast horse, she looks friendly with kids, her trainer, owner and handlers love her, she drinks beer, she never has lost a race, she is the oldest horse in her next (and final race), and she is a girl racing boys.
Nothing else matters to them and this piece was amazing in conveying that story.
It is absolutely the best story (by far) that this game has relayed by way of a racehorse in modern racing history. And it was the most watched story on a racehorse in generations, if not ever.
Save the speed fig talk, the who did she beat talk, and the overrated talk for another day. Today is a day to embrace racing, because a superstar named Zenyatta will have the general public talking about a racehorse for all the right reasons.