Score a couple for the John Shirreffs stable

So I’m on vacation in Arizona, taking in some spring training baseball, and lo and behold John Shirreffs, the trainer whom I voted No. 1 in my Eclipse Award balloting earlier this year, enjoyed quite a weekend.

Funny, but I haven’t heard from any of the detractors who derided me for voting for Shirreffs over a guy like Steve Asmussen, who they pointed out had way more wins and started way more horses in 2009.

True on both accounts, but as I pointed out then and I repeat now — the number of starters you send out does not prove your worth as a trainer. It’s win percentage, and Shirreffs’ annual rate of about 20 percent is pretty darn good.

Now back to Saturday, when Shirreffs had his horse — Zenyatta — far more prepared to win a comeback race than Asmussen. Score one for Shirreffs. Then, to top it off, the third best distaffer in Shirreffs’ barn, Zardana, beat the filly, Rachel Alexandra, who was running in a prep for the Apple Blossom Handicap and the big showdown against Zenyatta.

Just because John Shirreffs does not start 2,000 horses a year and doesn’t have racing operations in other parts of the nation doesn’t mean he’s not one of the top trainers in the business.

Sometimes, you just have to look a little bit beyond the raw numbers.

2 thoughts on “Score a couple for the John Shirreffs stable

  1. LOL, Hopefully, these same people will continue to dwell under the rock they are under now.

    I would so much rather have John Shirreffs, or any other small time trainer with 100 or so horses handle my horses. You get the personal, hands on approach. When someone starts over 2,000 horses a year, scattered all over the United States, all you have are assistants handling the barn while the “named trainer” jets around the country sipping champagne with current and potential owners. Oh, yeah, they will once in awhile show up at an awards dinner to pick up an award that probably one of the assistants should be receiving or to appear before the stewards for a drug positive on one of the horses in stable. Funny, though, when that happens, it is usually the assistant that gets called out on that one.

    Yeah, I’ll take John Sherrifs any day. Any day of the week! But you know us “People from California” are just biased.

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