Zenyatta is expected to make her 2009 debut in the $350,000 Louisville Distaff Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. II) on May. 1
The undefeated 2008 champion older mare by Street Cry, out of Vertingineux (by Kris S.) is being shipped to Kentucky this week, according to owner Jerry Moss, but will only start if she is 100% ready.
"I hope so," Moss said about Zenyatta starting in the Louisville Distaff, which is part of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) undercard. "John has the final say. We want her to be perfect. She’ll only run if she’s 100% after her layoff, especially when she’s shipping."
Zenyatta will be making her second start on a dirt track in the Louisville Distaff. Her first start came at Oaklawn Park April 5, 2008, when she won her first grade I race in the Apple Blossom Handicap. In that race, she beat 2007 champion older mare Ginger Punch. Zenyatta has not raced since winning the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park Oct. 24. She has won all nine of her lifetime starts and has $2,144,580 in earnings.
Trainer John Shirreffs and Jerry and Ann Moss decided to bring their unbeaten champion to Churchill Downs after she turned in a sharp five furlongs in :59 over the synthetic Cushion Track surface the morning of April 26 at Hollywood Park.
Zenyatta’s primary challenger in the 1 1/8-mile race is One Caroline, an unbeaten daughter of Unbridled's Song owned by G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and trained by Rusty Arnold. The 4-year-old filly is coming off an easy win in the Rampart Handicap (GII) at Gulfstream Park, her fifth consecutive victory. Others considered possible for the Louisville Distaff, formerly known as the Louisville Breeders’ Cup, include Falls City Handicap (GII) winner Miss Isella, Bear Now, Dawn After Dawn, Stealin' Kisses, Sugar Mint, Swift Temper, Unbridled Belle, and Unforgotten.