And Down The Stretch SHE Comes!

by DFS-Pet-Blog on November 5, 2010

**Guest post from Matt S.**

Tomorrow, horse racing fans and animal lovers everywhere may have a chance to see history made. Zenyatta will be starting the final race of her storied career in the biggest race of the year – the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic at legendary Churchill Downs. She will take her unblemished record to the post in an attempt to become the only horse to finish a career with a perfect 20-0 record. Even Man O’War, Native Dancer, Secretariat & Seattle Slew sustained losses at some point in their monumental careers.
Zenyatta warming up.

Zenyatta warming up.

I have twice had the special privilege to see this living legend. She is even more impressive in person than she appears on television. The first opportunity was in the 2008 Lady’s Secret Stakes (Grade 1) at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA. At that time, Zenyatta was simply a West Coast sensation as she took her 8th straight victory. It was just over a year later, when she cemented her place in the history as she won the biggest race of the year, beating the best horses in the world in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Never before had a filly or mare won the prestigious race. Her dramatic stretch run was one for the ages.
Zenyatta with her jockey, Mike Smith.

Zenyatta with her jockey, Mike Smith.

The second opportunity that I had to see her was last year on the day after Christmas. As a part of the opening day of Santa Anita’s winter meet, Zenyatta was retired with much fanfare and celebration. This time I was able to capture her in a number of photographs. She was already in the discussion as one of the greatest mares in horse racing history. Fortunately for all of us, her owners decided to pull a “Brett Favre” and un-retire her for the 2010 season. It was a sportsmanlike move in an attempt to chase even greater history. So often in horse racing, we lose great horses to retirement just as they are beginning to shine. In another undefeated season, Zenyatta has only increased her popularity and accomplishments. She now sits on the threshold of immortality as she seeks, once again, to beat the best horses in the world in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Zenyatta's owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, with jockey Mike Smith after a win on Dec. 26, 2009 at Santa Anita.

Zenyatta's owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, with jockey Mike Smith as Zenyatta was retired on Dec. 26, 2009 at Santa Anita.

Secretariat will probably always be considered the greatest racehorse of all-time, and his 1973 Belmont win the greatest moment in horse racing history, and deservedly so. However, if Zenyatta once again pulls out her flair for the dramatic in the stretch run and wins the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic, viewers will be treated to a moment for the ages.

Watch the 60 Minutes documentary on Zenyatta:

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