Zenyatta to take 16-0 streak on the road again
Zenyatta is going to take her winning streak on the road.
The 6-year-old mare who tied 1948 Triple Crown winner Citation
and two-time Horse of the Year Cigar with her 16th consecutive
victory, in the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park, is going to travel
more outside of California this year.
Her trip to the resort city of Hot Springs was just her second
ever outside her home state. She won the same race on dirt two
years ago; her other 14 wins have been on synthetic surfaces in
Some critics believe Zenyatta’s stay-at-home campaign cost her
Horse of the Year honors last year, when she finished runner-up to
Rachel Alexandra, who went 8 for 8 while running in six different
Zenyatta will be jetting to more destinations because the
Breeders’ Cup is at Churchill Downs after two consecutive years at
“We’ve always looked at the Breeders’ Cup as our focus,” owner
Jerry Moss said. “The Breeders’ Cup, just for what it’s worth, was
in LA for two years in a row. That wasn’t our choosing. Did it make
it easier to run there and train there? Sure.”
His wife Ann added, “Would we have rather run on dirt?
Absolutely. Would we still rather run on dirt? Absolutely.”
They’ll get their wish on Churchill’s dirt track.
The Mosses and their team will plot a schedule for Zenyatta
based on the goal of having her defend her title in the $5 million
BC Classic, in which she beat the boys last year.
“We want to let everybody see her, we’re proud of her,” Moss
said. “It’s exciting when she appears somewhere. She’s a star, no
doubt about her.”
And an obliging one, too.
After trouncing four other horses by 4 1/4 lengths under an easy
gallop in Friday’s Apple Blossom, Zenyatta faced the cheering
grandstand and bowed her head twice while extending one of her
front feet as if to curtsy.
“It’s a great feeling to be around something as important as
she is,” Moss said. “It is a responsibility, it’s a great joy.
It’s just nice to have someone that’s such a crowd-pleaser.”
Moss said Zenyatta could run at Belmont Park in his native New
York and in a prep race at Churchill ahead of the Breeders’ Cup in
November. Without specifying any particular races, he said he likes
those that are Grade 1 with distances of 1 1-8 miles.
“If Rachel Alexandra wants to join us any time she’d like we’d
welcome that idea,” he said.
Racing’s other female superstar is training at Churchill Downs
after spending the winter at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, where
she lost her season debut on March 13. That surprise result
convinced principal owner Jess Jackson to pull the plug on Rachel
Alexandra running in the Apple Blossom, which would have carried a
$5 million purse if both she and Zenyatta had competed.
There is speculation that Rachel Alexandra’s next start may be
the $400,000 La Troienne Stakes on the April 30 Kentucky Oaks
undercard. But no one in her camp has confirmed she’ll run in the 1
Trainer Steve Asmussen saddled War Echo in the Apple Blossom,
but he declined to discuss Rachel Alexandra after his horse
finished last to Zenyatta.
He shook hands with Zenyatta’s jockey Mike Smith beforehand, and
afterward said, “That was incredible.”
Zenyatta ran five races last year, two fewer than in 2008. Both
years she won the Vanity and Milady handicaps at Hollywood Park,
her home track. Under handicap conditions, Zenyatta could be forced
to carry the highest weight because of her impressive record. The
Grade 2 Milady at 1 1-16 miles is May 16; the Grade 1 Vanity at 1
1-8 miles is June 13.
“Whatever they weight her for that will probably determine
whether we ship again,” trainer John Shirreffs said. “If you have
to ship all the time to run, it makes it difficult to have too many
Zenyatta’s immediate destination is a return to Hollywood Park.
She spent her final day at Oaklawn on Saturday calmly posing for
photos with a stream of visitors to her barn.
“I think wherever we go, people will be happy to see
Zenyatta,” Moss said.