Sunday, January 17, 2010

Zen back in 2010!

Ever since her last "farewell" ceremony, at Santa Anita, Zenyatta has had three published works at her home base, Hollywood Park. Each work has been the same distance, four furlongs, but each had gotten progressively quicker each time the six year old amazon stepped onto the track. John Shirreffs and Jerry Moss both remained adamant that there was no change in the mare's status, which was believe to be retired. However when Moss never was quoted saying Zenyatta was retired, Zenyatta still in California and not in Kentucky, no stallion picked out, and Zenyatta still working like a machine rumors began to circulate that maybe, just maybe the Queen of California was going to continue to race.

The nation watch and waited, expecting to see Moss announce that his champion would race at the Eclipse Awards Banquet. Well, it wasn't at the Eclipse Awards, but two days prior to the banquet it was announced that Zenyatta would stay in training in 2010. Not a fan in racing wasn't ecstatic to hear the news, Zenyatta fans would get to keep their hero for one more year, and those that clamored for a Rachel Alexandra vs Zenyatta were just as happy that for once, the best horse would not have to be settled on paper and opinions.

Now the world of racing is filled with speculation. "Where would she race next," "Would she run on dirt," "Would she run on the east coast"? I have heard some bounce around the idea that maybe the Mosses would take their unbeaten champion to Dubai, to take on the worlds best in the Dubai World Cup. To take a shot at a race that big would a tall task no doubt, but when the track is made of the synthetics that Zenyatta is so fond of, the distance is a perfect 10 furlongs, and the is configured with such wide sweeping turns and a never ending stretch, you can't help but think that winner would be Zenyatta. If she were to win she would eclipse the North American Earnings record, set by Curlin in 2008 and she would be come the first female in the history to win the race. There is just one problem, when we send our champions overseas, they almost never come back the same. Curlin is the most recent example, he ran twice in Dubai, demolishing the World Cup field. In his first race back in America the big horse showed no signs of regression, but as the year wore on Curlin began to tire, and by the time November came around he just wasn't the same horse.

Personally, my guess would be that Zenyatta stays within the limits of her own country, but comes east, to prove that she can indeed run in the East. I am hoping her first race back will be the Donn Handicap on February 6, which is just about three weeks off. Zenyatta is fit as a fiddle, shipping her to Gulfstream and giving her time to adjust to the track should not be a problem. The Donn would be a fantastic way to start the year off, she would show that she could handle the trip to the East and our competition.

There is another reason, however, that I am keen on the idea of Zenyatta starting in the Donn. At Gulfstream, Zenyatta will run into the speed ball Quality Road. Gulfstream is his track and the Donn is his distance. His victories over the Gulfstream strip include the Fountain of Youth, the Florida Derby, and most recently the Hal's Hope. His Florida Derby was his most impressive run. Here he beat the eventual Belmont runner-up, Dunkirk, while setting a new track record. By many he is considered the most talented of last year's three year olds and could have been the best had quarter cracks and gate issues not gotten in his way.

A race against Quality Road would reveal to the nation just how good Zenyatta really is against top quality east coast males, on the dirt. The race would be a fantastic way to get the year started. Either way she goes, whatever road she takes, this year will most certainly be a year to remember. It has been a very long time since America saw so many brilliant horses come back in the same year. It is a great way to end the old decade and welcome the new. I have no doubt that 2010 will be one of the best years racing has ever seen.


  1. Many more big races in Zenyatta's future, but I do not see them sending her to Gulfstream in a few weeks for the Donn. It would be fun to see her tackle Quality Road, but I think they have bigger fish to fry, and I for one can not wait for them to try. It is a great day for Thoroughbred horse racing!

  2. I think she'll probably have at least one more race in Cali before she heads East...I'm hoping the Big 'Cap so I can see her again.

    You've got a point though, a race against QR would be interesting.

  3. They're talking about having her race in the Santa Margarita at Santa Anita in March, and then maybe the Apple Blossom in April.
    And their ultimate goal is the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill.

  4. QR is just another good 4 year old with a mediocre at best 3 year old season.

    Everyone including Jerry and Ann know where we all want to see her. Whether that will happen, who knows? Rachel is just chillin right now, nothing going on and after tomorrow night we shall see.............

  5. I was overwhelmed when I saw the headlines yesterday. It seems too good to be true, having both of them for another year!!
    Shirreffs said Zenyatta will most likely race on March 13, then he's hoping to get her back to Oaklawn Park for the Apple Blossom Handicap. It would be the perfect spot for Rachel to challenge her so long as her connections are able to get at least one race in before they meet.

  6. Just another good three year old? Anon, the horse set two track records, one coming off a very lengthy layoff. He basiclly beat the Hals Hope field while sleep walking, or running. He faced Summer Bird, winner of the Belmont, Travers, and JCGC (tell me how many other horses have completed that double.) He faced and beat Dunkirk who ran second in the Belmont. He is a bit more than just good.