Zenyatta, who will defend her title in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) next month at Churchill Downs, turned in a five-furlong breeze at Hollywood Park on Oct. 14.
With regular rider Mike Smith up and working with stablemate El Vino, Zenyatta covered the distance in 1:02 3/5. It was her first official work since taking the Lady’s Secret Stakes (gr. I) by a half length on Oct. 2 to remain unbeaten in 19 starts. The 6-year-old mare races for Jerry and Ann Moss, and is trained by John Shirreffs.
“Nice work for her first one back,” said Shirreffs. “It was just to get her focus back on a routine. It’s not how fast. It’s about getting back to work and letting her know that another work will be coming. It’s about getting the proper spacing.”
Shirreffs said earlier this week that Zenyatta would also have works at Hollywood Oct. 22 and Oct. 30, and will be shipped to Kentucky Nov. 2. The California-based trainer is expected to address the media Oct. 15 at Keeneland to answer additional questions about his star. He is in Lexington for the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT), where he will saddle Harmonious Oct. 16.
“It was perfect for what you want first work back,” said Smith of the work. “Not too fast; not too slow. Her energy level is great. I tipped off the turn there and kinda let her run. Two jumps and she caught him (El Vino). She’s like driving the most incredible sports car and today we didn’t even need to get out of second gear. I let her run, she got past (El Vino) and then she just went right back to cruise control."