November 8, 2009 |
These kinds of stories happen only in the movies. Hollywood can create the drama, the unbelievable ending, even the tears. Zenyatta doesn't need Hollywood. She produces her own show. She is, as her jockey Mike Smith, says, "a race horse sent from heaven." On a day that racing will cherish for a long time, a historic moment that may sustain, even boost, a struggling industry for years to come, Zenyatta beat the boys. Oh my, did she. She won the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic, a male domain for all of its previous 25 years.
November 4, 2009 |
With the stars of the show back in their barns, it was left to their trainers to provide the color at Tuesday afternoon's Breeders' Cup post-position draw at Santa Anita. The talk, naturally, was mostly about Saturday's $5-million Classic, especially after the connections of unbeaten mare Zenyatta decided to try their luck against the males. The winner of 13 in a row, Zenyatta was drawn in post position No. 4 and installed as the 5-2 favorite. On her inside will be Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness runner-up Mine That Bird, in the No. 1 hole.
January 17, 2013 |
There was a stirring of excitement in the paddock at Santa Anita on Thursday before the seventh race, an allowance optional claiming race for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and up. Call it the Zenyatta effect. Zenyatta's half-sister, Eblouissante, was set to run in her second race, a 1 1/16-mile test on the dirt, and fans of the 2010 Horse of the Year wanted to see her half-sister up close. Eblouissante didn't disappoint, improving her race record to 2-0 after 1 3/4-length triumph over second-place Pink Blossom under jockey Corey Nakatani.
November 7, 2009 |
Friday's first day of Breeders' Cup horse racing at Santa Anita was a Ladies Day delight. Saturday's second day is expected to be, well, the same thing. Today is Zenyatta's day. No filly or mare has ever won the Breeders' Cup Classic, and they've run this race since 1984. One filly, Jolypha in 1992 at Gulfstream, finished in the money, a third to A.P. Indy. That's it for females in this testosterone dash. So far. The $5-million Classic has been the domain of the big boys, the rough and ready, who can power over whatever turf is presented and through whatever tight hole is presented.
October 11, 2009 |
With Rachel Alexandra taking the rest of the year off, Zenyatta is now the unanimous first lady of horse racing. Maybe she would be anyway. Now, we will never know. When the monster mare from trainer John Shirreffs' barn went to the gate at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting Saturday in the $300,000 Grade I Lady's Secret, there was much at stake. There was also minimal drama as to the outcome. Just before the gate opened, there was nearly $190,000 bet on track for Zenyatta to win. Next closest was Coco Beach, with $35,000.
November 1, 2010 |
This is Zenyatta's weekend. She is the belle of the ball. People who, a month ago, didn't know she existed know now. Sports Illustrated recently told her life story, from baby skin rash to afternoon Guinness. Sunday night, she got a spot on "60 Minutes," where they just couldn't resist the line "There's something Zen about Zenyatta. " This weekend's Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs has 14 huge horse races. The 13 preceding Zenyatta's run in the $5-million Classic, each with a rich purse and featuring the finest thoroughbreds in the world in their respective divisions, might as well be off-Broadway plays.