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.
“Steve Willard (Zenyatta’s exercise rider) was hurt—he’d hurt his sciatica,” said trainer John Shirreffs. “She went a little fast because she had a different rider on her. Isabelle Bourze, who exercises Life Is Sweet, was on her.”
Jerry Moss, who owns Zenyatta with his wife, Ann, reiterated that “nothing has changed” regarding Zenyatta as he watched Shirreffs saddle Neko Bay shortly before the San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Jan. 9. Neko Bay then went out to win the San Pasqual emphatically. But reporters were more interested in whether Zenyatta, winner of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), might race in 2010.
“John works her every two weeks,” said Moss. “Nothing has changed. Besides, it’s very cold in Kentucky right now.”
Southern California temperatures have been in the 70s recently, while Lexington has been well below freezing. Zenyatta is eventually scheduled to ship to Central Kentucky and be bred to a Kentucky-based stallion. Moss said that he has not yet made travel arrangements or chosen the stallion.
Zenyatta also remained at Shirreffs’ Hollywood barn to participate in retirement ceremonies at both Hollywood and Santa Anita.
“She’s a big, strong filly, and she needs exercise,” said Shirreffs. “I didn’t want to take her grain away from her because I knew we were going to parade her in front of the public. I wanted her to look herself. So in order to do that, she needed a certain amount of exercise. And then every once in a while she needs to breeze.”
Zenyatta is a finalist with Rachel Alexandra for 2009 Horse of the Year. The winner will be announced at the Eclipse Awards banquet Jan. 18 in Beverly Hills.