Sunday, November 8, 2009

Zenyatta's Lasting Impression

In the 30 or so years I've bet on and followed Thoroughbred horsing racing only a few races have taken my breath away - Sunday Silence/Easy Goer's Preakness chief among them. I've watched the 1989 classic over and over again and the sheer will of each ultra-talented colt giving it their all from quarter pole to finish line still amazes me.

By the same token only two races have welled my eyes with tears - Rags to Riches and Curlin's Belmont and yesterday's classic. (An explanation of 2007 Belmont will have to wait for another day). But yesterday, Zenyatta's personality, talent and determination were a wonder to watch. It didn't strike me on first viewing - I had made Twice Over my top selection so I was intently watching his movement down the stretch. The last of I saw of Zenyatta she was second to last turning for home and Trevor Denman announced, "If she wins this, she'll be a superhorse." At that point, I thought she was done.

But of course, Mike Smith knew what he had under him, saved some ground, swung wide of Twice Over and beat the boys. It was "un-be-live-able", good for the sport and good for the connections. There is no griping the majesty of the mare, talents of her rider and trainer and courage of her owners. They took on the toughest field and the greatest challenge when it meant the most - beating Personal Ensign's 13 straight wins - on the sport's greatest stage.

I bet against her, but cheered for her and shook my head in wonder...then my eyes filled to the brim, almost overflowing with all that I had just witnessed. True champions leave us in just such a state.


  1. While Rachel's feats were historic - Preakness, Haskell and Woodward - we can agree those fields were less than what Zenyatta beat last Saturday and the way she won the race - finishing off with something left in the tank. She gets my vote!

    Now if Rachel had raced and won the Derby - like I had wanted - she'd be HOY. The Woodward field she beat could just as easily been an overnight stakes or a Grade III event.

    I love to see them race against each other in something like the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn. I'm not for a match race...

  2. Tony,

    If you've read some comments on my blog, it seems we're in the minority. I was also raked over the coals at Railrunner blog comments.

    If you were agog over her on TV, imagine what I felt being at the track? Didn't make a wager the whole day, took only pics in the paddock/winner's was a really good day prior to the Classic, ZENYATTA made the day a once-in-a-lifetime event for me!

    I heard on radio program public handicappers commenting how historic this race was. Even Mike Watchmaker stated on TVG's Blinkers Off that before the Classic, RACHEL was hands down his HOY...after the race, he's now on the fence. Even if he still votes for RACHEL, that speaks volumes to have a New Yorker admit how moving the experience was to make him question his own thinking!