Zenyatta is a rock star.
The West Coast has plenty of California girl celebrities, but this one stands head and shoulders above the rest.
How often does CBS’ 60 Minutes devote an entire segment to a racehorse? In 2006, 60 Minutes did a bit on the tragic loss of Barbaro. In 2007, the television newsmagazine talked about retired racehorses. Earlier this year, they focused on Disney’s new Secretariat film.
But on Halloween night, 60 Minutes will profile Thoroughbred racehorse Zenyatta (Street Cry x Vertigineux by Kris S). Camera crews filmed workouts under exercise rider Steve Willard and jockey Mike Smith and interviewed Zenyatta’s trainer/Guinness purveyor, John Sherriffs.
If Zenyatta performs as fans and connections hope she will in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Disney may have to scramble to produce a sequel best-racehorse-ever film.
Zenyatta has become a media darling.
Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine included Zenyatta in its 2010 “O Power List” of influential women.
Multi-talented Zenyatta has painted original artwork (known as Moneighs) for auctions benefiting equine rescue.
Zenyatta, scheduled to arrive in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 2nd, is already the toast of the town.
Who is Zenyatta?
Zenyatta is the hottest racehorse around, according to many Thoroughbred racing fans. Tearing up sports headlines, she appears unbeatable, and her stunning winning streak is infusing enthusiasm into the struggling horse racing world.
Zenyatta is slated for the November 6th Breeders’ Cup Classic at Louisville’s Churchill Downs. Queen Zenyatta, as fans tag the 17.2-hand bay beauty, will defend her title in the $5 million 1.25-mile race, having outraced a field of males to win the prestigious race in 2009.
The racing world has all eyes on Zenyatta, the undefeated six-year-old supermare, who has already won a record 19 high-stakes races in a row.
A Breeders’ Cup Classic win would give Zenyatta a racing record of 20 consecutive victories. If Zenyatta can beat such solid dirt racers as Blame, Gio Ponti, Lookin At Lucky and Quality Road, the prancing princess may be named 2010 Horse of the Year before she retires to breed.
Only one horse has won the Breeders’ Cup Classic twice in a row. Tiznow galloped first in 2000 and 2001.
Zenyatta has already taken two Breeders’ Cup World Championship titles, including the 2008 Ladies’ Classic and the 2009 Classic. A 2010 Breeders’ Cup win would set a new record of three in a row.
In another Breeders’ Cup race, European mare Goldikova may grab a third consecutive win too. Goldikova won the Breeders’ Cup Mile in both 2008 and 2009.
Zenyatta has rock star ties.
Zenyatta’s owners, Ann and Jerry Moss (A&M Records) named the mare for The Police’s third album, 1980’s Zenyatta Mondatta. The Police’s Sting is a friend of the Mosses.
Many celebrities are apt to attend the Breeders’ Cup. Millionaire’s Row will probably teem with notables. Crowds will gawk at famous faces.
Not me. Despite the media credentials I will carry into the Breeders’ Cup, I may walk right past the well-heeled, in favor of the well-shod.
Personally, I’d rather take a spot by the barn than the buffet table.
I just want to meet Zenyatta before she retires.
Like multi-hued jockey silks, flying down the homestretch, my true colors have been revealed at horse-related events before.
For example, when I met U.S. Olympic equestrian and World Equestrian Games medalist Steffen Peters last spring at the Midwest Horse Fair, my first interview question was simple. “Any chance you brought Ravel along for the ride?” (Of course, he had not, but a horse lover has to ask.)
Covering the 2010 Kentucky Derby, I enjoyed my most memorable moment at 5:30 a.m., the day after the race. Standing in the rain on Churchill Downs’ backstretch, invited by racing trainer Steve Asmussen, I found myself face-to-face (or face-to-muzzle) with the one-and-only Rachel Alexandra.
Rachel Alexandra, 2009 Horse of the Year, has now retired and is betrothed to breed to 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year, Curlin. What an honor it was to meet this dashing dame in her prime.
Sure, it was fun to bump into Barry Bonds, Al Roker and other big-name Derby fans and to shake hands with some of today’s top jockeys. But to a true horse lover, encountering an excellent equine is an experience in a league all its own.
This November, I hope to step into the shed row of greatness for a moment, to catch a closer look at the marvelous mare. I just want to meet Zee Queen before she steps down from the throne.
I must confess that I even penned a poetic tribute to the amazing Zenyatta, titled “First Lady: Essentials Agreed on the One in the Lead.”
Hey, Zenyatta! Pencil me in after the big race. (I’ll bring the Guinness.)