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Zenyatta skips over the Churchill surface.
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Dave Harmon

Sherriffs: Zenyatta 'Obviously Likes' Surface

Zenyatta has adjusted to her Churchill surroundings, trainer John Shirreffs said.

Trainer John Shirreffs said Nov. 5 Zenyatta has adjusted well to her Churchill Downs surroundings and is on track for the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). The mare arrived in Louisville, Ky., Nov 2.

Zenyatta, seeking to run her career record to 20-for-20 with a repeat win in the $5 million Classic, galloped the morning of Nov. 5.

“She seemed to be into the bridle with her normal energy,” Shirreffs said. “I was told a long time ago if you bring a horse to Churchill, they either love (the surface) or don’t like it. She obviously likes the track here. The surface issue is a non-issue.”

Zenyatta, by Street Cry, has post 8 in a field of 12 in the Classic. Shirreffs expects the usual from the mare: drop back early and do her best running late.

The trainer said he will be watching to see if Zenyatta gets comfortable after the field breaks from the gate. He said he hopes she isn’t wide around both turns of the 1 1/4-mile Classic.

“I think we’re better off being in the back of the field and saving ground,” Shirreffs said.

The morning of the Classic, Zenyatta will go to the track and jog the wrong way, Shirreffs said.

“It’ll be a little stretching of her legs and jogging,” he said. “I think she’ll pretty much do the same thing she does every day.”