Zenyatta Still the People’s Champion
The Breeders’ Cup Classic was the race of the day on Saturday, 13 November 2010, and thousands of fans made their way into the Churchill Downs grounds to watch the unbeaten Zenyatta take on her male counterparts. Unfortunately, the race did not go as expected and Zenyatta’s nineteen consecutive winning streak came to an end. The loss has most certainly not discouraged her fans and even critics, who praised her for almost achieving the unimaginable and fighting back until the last stride, only to take second place by a few inches.
Many are blaming her jockey Mike Smith for the loss, even though she put up a spectacular performance. As expected, she broke slowly from the gates, but it did seem as though she was not comfortable for most of the race. Smith commented that even though she had run on dirt before, it had taken her some time to get used to the dirt hitting her face, slowing down their pace. As they hit the final stretch, no-one even dared to hope that she could catch the front runners from so far behind, but Zenyatta managed to dig deep and chase down the her fellow competitors. She had given it her all, but failed to beat the colt named Blame by a few inches.
Speaking to the press after the race, Mike Smith expressed his deep disappointment by saying: “I’m overwhelmed with emotion because I just feel that I have let her down and it is all too much to take. She is my everything and this hurts more than I can explain.” What silenced the critics, however, is the fact that she delivered such a wonderful performance, as they were beginning to categorize her as only being a turf specialist. Even though the beautiful mare was unable to capture the Breeders’ Cup Classic, fans are still supportive of her and still believe that she is one of the best mares to have ever stepped out onto the racecourse.
Owners Ann and Jerry Moss have not yet confirmed what the future may hold for Zenyatta, but her trainer, John Shirreffs has mentioned that the Breeders’ Cup Classic could have been her last race, stating: “Oh, we were very disappointed. We were hoping she would win her 20th and go out undefeated. It would have been like a fairy-tale ending, but it’s horse racing.” For now, Zenyatta will be transported back to Hollywood Park, John Shirreffs barn, before heading towards Kentucky where she is most likely to retire.