The magnificent Zenyatta remained undefeated with her ninth consecutive win in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) (VIDEO), unwinding her patented late charge on the far turn and sweeping past the leaders in the homestretch for a 1 1/2-length victory at Santa Anita Oct. 24.
Zenyatta, the 4-year-old daughter of Street Cry — Vertigineux, by Kris S., wrapped up the older female handicap division with the victory and staked a strong claim for Horse of the Year.
John Shirreffs trains the strapping dark bay filly for Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss. Moss, co-founder of A&M Records, named Zenyatta for a recording by the super-group The Police.
The 1-2 choice in the field of eight was ridden to her fourth lifetime grade I victory by MikeSmith. The jockey won the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) with Stardom Bound earlier on the program.
"Today, she was just showing off," Smith said. "Used to be, she'd get nervous and sweaty when the people were hollering at her. Today, she just started dancing when they did that. She's just figured it out.
"I was just in awe of her," he added. "I do my job. I get out of her way and let her do her thing."
Maverick Productions Limited bred her in Kentucky.
Moss said afterward that he would like for Zenyatta to run in 2009.
“She’s too good not to run again,” he said, “But we’ll have to discuss that. Obviously, she deserves a rest.”
Zenyatta tailed off at the back of the field soon after the start of the 1 1/8-mile Ladies Classic, formerly known as the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, and followed her seven rivals to the final turn. As they made their way around the bend, Smith angled Zenyatta out for her big move and by the time they reached the quarter-pole she was in full stride, although racing extremely wide.
She hit the stretch seven wide but driving, taking command over Music Note in the final furlong and holding offCocoa Beach in deep stretch while under a strong hand ride from Smith. The winning time was 1:46.85 on the Pro-Ride racing surface at Santa Anita.
The pace was set by Bear Now, who covered the opening quarter-mile in :23.71 and the half in :48.08 as Zenyatta dropped 10 lengths off the pace. Bear Now completed six furlongs in 1:11.08 as Santa Teresita and Hystericalady turned up the pressure.
Godolphin's Chilean-bred Cocoa Beach, ridden by Ramon Dominguez, wound up second by 1 1/2 lengths over another Goldolphin filly, the 3-year-old Music Note, and jockey Javier Castellano. It was 2 1/4 lengths to fourth-place finisher Carriage Trail. Hystericalady, Ginger Punch, Santa Teresita and Bear Now completed the order.
In her championship season, Zenyatta has won seven races, all in grade I or grade II company. She prepped for the Breeders' Cup with an eye-catching late burst and a 3 1/2-length triumph in Oak Tree's Lady Secret (gr. I) at Santa Anita Sept.27. She has won three times at the Arcadia track. The winner's share of $1,080,000 more than doubled Zenyatta's career earnings to $2,144,580.
A slow developer because of her great size, she did not race at 2 but won both of her starts late in her 3-year-old season.
Shirreffs, who is based at Hollywood Park, said that Zenyatta has been great to have around the barn.
"Whatever is going on, you just look at her and you know something fantastic is going to happen," he said.
Moss, who won the 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr, I) with Giacomo, was a little choked up after the race, explaining later, "She's (Zenyatta) a great star and people understood that and applauded. They gave her respect."
His wife, Ann, commented, "She's such a blessing. Such majesty. She's put together so perfectly. And she's having a great time. We're thrilled."
As far as potential Horse of the Year honors -- depending on how Curlin performs in the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) -- Moss said, "We don't worry about that. That's for someone else to worry about."
Zenyatta's owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, purchased her for $60,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Zenyatta's dam, Vertigineux, is a Kris S. half-sister to three stakes winners and was a dissapointment on the racetrack while running for her breeder, Eric Kronfeld (Maverick Productions Limited). As a broodmare, however, Vertigineux has been a versatile producer. In addition to Zenyatta is Balance, by Thunder Gulch, who sold for $260,000 and went on to win five stakes and more than $1 million, including three grade I races. The dam also produced Where's Bailey, winner of the Remington Park Oaks in 2005. Vertigineux’s granddam is the well-bred In the Offing, a daughter of Hoist the Flag and the stakes-winning Tom Fool mare Mrs. Peterkin.
Zenyatta's sire, Street Cry (IRE), had 13 stakes winners from his first crop of 88 named foals (15% stakes winners to foals, including Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands victor Street Sense, winner of the grade I Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Travers Stakes as well; Majestic Roi, victress in the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes (Eng-I); and group and graded scorers Street Sounds, Summer Doldrums, Street Magician, Per Incanto and Big Timer. Street Cry’s second crop, which has just turned 3, includes Cry and Catch Me, heroine of the Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I); the grade III Grey Breeders’ Cup Stakes winner Globetrotter; and Tomcito, who won Peru’s Derby Nacional (Per-I) last November.
|Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic|
|2. Cocoa Beach||$4.60||$3.80|
|3. Music Note||$3.80|