Steve Willard, who as part of Team Zenyatta earned the 2010 Special Eclipse Award, died the night of Feb. 16.
Proving that Zenyatta is far from forgotten, many of her fans arrived at Santa Anita early Sept. 29 in order to see her statue unveiled at noon, an hour before the first race.
Team Zenyatta, consisting of the individuals who helped 6-year-old Zenyatta become one of the most recognizable sports stars of 2010, will be honored with the Special Eclipse Award.
With only two workouts by Breeders' Cup World Championship entrants, the scene on the backside of Churchill Downs the morning of Nov. 3 was all about Zenyatta.
Zenyatta galloped 1 1/4 miles on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track Oct. 29 a day before her last work prior to the Nov. 6 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
Trainer John Shirreffs may start training Zenyatta on the dirt this week in preparation for the upcoming Breeders' Cup Classic.
When Zenyatta worked a half-mile in :48 Jan. 6 at Hollywood Park, speculation continued that she may race again. The more mundane explanation revolved around cold weather in Kentucky and an injured exercise rider.
Over the course of the next week, we'll have several wrapups, going over different aspects of Breeders' Cup 2009, but let's face it; this year's event will forever belong to Zenyatta.
- By Tracy Gantz
Exercise riders have a special trash talk all their own, usually along the lines of how the horse they are aboard can trounce anything on four legs in this century or last. That's why few people paid any attention in 2007 when Steve Willard, riding a huge unraced filly from John Shirreffs' barn, told a Hollywood Park outrider, "This is the second coming of Ruffian."
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