Zenyatta gave trainer John Shirreffs and jockey Mike Smith precisely what they asked for Oct. 31 in her final work before the Breeders’ Cup. With regular workmate Green Cat providing a target, she worked six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 at Hollywood Park at about 9 a.m.
“I was looking for something between 1:12 and 1:13,” said Shirreffs. “We wanted to see her nice and relaxed and just doing what she normally does without asking her to do anything different. She looked very smooth galloping out, with a nice big stride.”
Smith said that Jerry and Ann Moss’ Zenyatta is bigger and stronger than she was last year when she won the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I).
“Her recovery time is just incredible,” Smith said. “Galloping out, it’s just amazing.”
Hollywood clockers caught Zenyatta galloping out seven furlongs in 1:25 1/5. Her fractions during the work were :24 3/5, :36 3/5, :48 2/5, and 1:00 1/5.
“She just rolls around the turn,” Smith said. “I think John said it best last week—you just have to experience her. You have to stand there one time and watch her come around that corner. She’s sent from heaven. She’s something else.”
Though no official decision has been made on which race Zenyatta will run in, Shirreffs has said that if she worked well, she would run against males in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) instead of against her own sex in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.
“We’ll discuss it with Mr. and Mrs. Moss, probably tonight,” Shirreffs said. “She worked well, and everything looked good.”
Zenyatta will gallop up to the Breeders’ Cup.
“She’ll walk tomorrow, and she’ll do a little jog act the next day,” he said. “We’ll just keep her happy and get her a little exercise.”
Zenyatta’s athletic movement and build impress her trainer as well her fans. Shirreffs trailed Zenyatta and Smith as he walked back to the barn after her work.
“I always get a kick looking at her from back here,” he said. “She is so broad. I’ve seen a lot of tall horses, but they are usually thinner.”
Not only will Zenyatta meet males for the first time if she competes in the Classic, she will be going 1 1/4 miles, a distance she has never attempted before. Shirreffs is not concerned with the added real estate.
“It’s not an issue at all,” the trainer said. “If she was shortening her stride at any time, it might be an issue. But she seems to continually lengthen her stride.”