Queen Z & The 2010 Breeders Cup
Would have been her 20th victory
Born in Kentucky on April 1, 2004, Thoroughbred racing legend Zenyatta is no April Fool. Like Secretariat, she loves coming from behind and racing past all the other horses in the field. At 17.2 hands, the 6-year-old mare is taller than other legendary Thoroughbreds like Man 'O War (16.2 hands), Forego (17 hands), and Secretariat (16.2 hands). The 2010 Breeders Cup Classic would have been her 20th consecutive victory in 20 races.
In this year’s Breeders Cup Classic she broke slow and ran “dead last” for a good deal of the race, at times running 18 to 20 lengths behind the leader. Jockey Mike Smith kept asking her to move up, and she responded well. After the 3/4 pole she began to quickly close the gap to the leaders. At the 300-yard mark she was coming strong and fast past the field, bearing down on the leaders. At the 200-yard mark she was running a solid third and moving up fast to catch the leader Blame. At the 100-yard mark she was flying down the field, a narrow second and challenging Blame every step of the way. At the 50-yard mark they were nearly head to head and all indications were that Zenyatta would pass Blame to win. The announcer kept calling, “Zenyatta! Zenyatta! Zenyatta! And Zenyatta, Ba-L-a-ame has won it a head! Zenyatta ran her heart out but had to settle for second!” The 4-year-old Blame covered the 1 1/4-mile distance in 2:02.28. Fly Down finished third, and Preakness champion Lookin At Lucky finished fourth.
John Shirreffs, Zenyatta’s trainer, said, “We’re so happy with what Zenyatta has done. She ran her heart out today. She ran her race and I’m just so proud of her! And congratulations to Blame. The fans were behind her win or lose and I think she represented them really well. She ran an excellent race.”
With this race, she joins the great Thoroughbreds of racing history who lost only one race: Native Dancer 21-1, Man o' War 20-1, and Zenyatta, 19-1. The great Secretariat lost 4 races.
But this single defeat has not dampened the spirits of her fans. On Sunday morning at Churchill Downs she literally stopped traffic on a public road adjacent to the barn area, as hundreds of fans watched her graze and snapped photos of their favorite equine star. She was taken out to graze at 7:45 a.m. by Frank Leal, the foreman for trainer John Shirreffs, in the grassy area behind Barn 41, where Zenyatta was stabled.
Her owner Jerry Moss, trainer John Shirreffs, and jockey Mike Smith, who won the Kentucky Derby with Giacomo in 2005, have very successfully managed her career. Zenyatta began racing as a 3-year-old, winning her debut race in November 2007 at Hollywood Park. From that first win, she has won honor after honor with her racing talents.
On November 7, 2009, Zenyatta became the first female to win the Grade I Breeder's Cup Classic and the first horse ever to win two different Breeder's Cup races. These accomplishments won for her the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Moment of the Year in 2009. On January 18, 2010, Zenyatta won The Eclipse Award for top Older Female of the 2009 season. On August 7, 2010, Zenyatta broke the world record set by Rock of Gibraltar for consecutive (8) Grade I victories, when she finished first at the Clement L. Hirsch Handicap in Del Mar, CA.
She has her own website, where she regularly writes a blog to her fans http://www.zenyatta.com/
. You can find her on Facebook, too!
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