With a perfect eight-for-eight record, local talent Zenyatta, who has thrilled audiences from West Coast fans with her late rallies and decisive victories, is the clear choice in the Oct. 24 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.
Entries were drawn Oct. 21 for the 1 1/8-mile Ladies’ Classic, which is featured race on Ladies’ Day Oct. 24. Post time for the Ladies' Classic is 3:15 PDT, or 6:15 p.m. EDT. Formerly called the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, the Ladies’ Classic is the fifth and final Breeders’ Cup contest on that day’s card.
Zenyatta, a 4-year-old daughter of Street Cry has been unstoppable the last two years with six graded victories under her belt, including the grade I Apple Blossom, Vanity Handicap, and most recently the Sept. 27 Lady's Secret at Oak Tree at Santa Anita. Zenyatta bested Ladies’ Classic entrant Hystericalady in the last mentioned race.
Trained by John Shirreffs for Jerry and Ann Moss, Zenyatta, who recently became a millionaire, drew the first post for the $2-million Ladies’ Classic. Deservedly installed as the morning-line favorite with odds of 3-5, she will be ridden by regular rider Mike Smith.
“(Zenyatta) came in with a reputation of being able to out-gallop anything at the barn, so we always had a good feeling about her,” said Shirreffs at Santa Anita’s Frontrunners Restaurant after the draw.
When asked if he was concerned about his filly’s post position, Sherriffs said he thought her chances would weigh more upon her luck that day and how the race unfolds. “She’s very versatile; she comes from off the pace, so I think we’re fine with the post position.
“I’ve had a lot of nice horses, and some really nice fillies, and usually a horse has a little bit of an Achilles heel or something that may bother them later on or cause them to not run as well, but Zenyatta doesn’t have any of those things,” Sherriffs continued. “She’s just a great racing athlete. She does everything so well, and then she has a physical size and structure to have a huge stride.”
Sherriffs expanded on how Zenyatta’s stride could really work to her advantage in the Ladies’ Classic, which has an impressive field of four other grade I-winning fillies.
“I’ve had horses that could really quicken, but not only does she quicken — she lengthens her stride,” said Sherriffs. “So she gets longer and lower — she really reaches out.”
Though he couldn’t say for sure, Sherriffs predicted Zenyatta would continue racing into her 5-year-old season after the Ladies’ Classic.
“I think she’ll continue to run as long as she’s running well and is in good shape,” he said. “Since she’s a 5-year-old next year, she’s a more mature horse and she’s had a lot more experience. Next year could be a great year for Zenyatta.”
|Zenyatta Slide Show|
The second choice at 9-2, Ginger Punch has won more than half of her 21 starts, and has surpassed Zenyatta’s earnings with more than $3 million to her credit. Last year's champion older mare and defending winner of the Ladie's Classic, her most significant 2008 triumphs came in three straight grade I victories this summer at Belmont and Saratoga. The 5-year-old Bobby Frankel-trained filly is owned by Frank Stronach’s Stronach Stables and will break from post six. Regular rider Rafael Bejarano got the mount.
Conditioned by Shug McGaughey for Stuart S. Janney and Phipps Stable, Carriage Trail boasts a lifetime record of 6-2-3 from 15 starts, which includes an impressive 7 3/4-length victory in her last start, the Oct. 5 juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. Kent Desormeaux, who guided her to that win, will be in the irons for the Ladies’ Classic.
Chilean-bred Cocoa Beach, owned by Godolphin Racing and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, succeeded in grade I company in just her second start on United States soil in the Sept. 27 Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park, where she bested Ginger Punch by a half-length. She will break from post three.
Cocoa Beach’s stablemate Music Note also scored her first grade I victory last time out in the Gazelle Stakes at Belmont Park Sept. 13. The daughter of A.P. Indydrew the four post.
Rounding out the field are graded winners Hystericalady and Bear Now; plus grade I stakes-placed runner Santa Teresita.
|Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic|
Saeed bin Suroor
Saeed bin Suroor
Claude R. McGaughey III
|8.||Eurico Da Silva||