Ive written before about how horse racing is the hardest sport to love and about how its lows are the lowest of the low. But the flip side is a day like yesterday. Zenyatta came into the Breeders Cup Classic with a perfect 13-0 record, but she had never faced males and a filly has never won the Classic. It didn't matter.
A great racehorse like Zenyatta is perfect in a way that nothing else is. She's beautiful, fast, noble, tough & courageous. I have a copy of an article about Secretariat's Belmont that puts it into more eloquent words:
He makes sense of all the mystical pageant rites of blood through which he has evolved as distillate, a climactic act in a triumph of the breed, one horse combining all the noblest qualities of his species and his ancestry.
There have been undefeated horses and great champions, but I can't think of another that combines Zenyatta's dramatic flair, endearing quirks and the love that flows between her and the crowd.
Watch that video again. There's a point in the stretch where the yells from the crowd turn from being the same as at any horse race to being cheers for Zenyatta and screams for her when it's suddenly clear she's going to win. Sometimes, it doesn't matter who you bet on. You don't begrudge greatness because she's messing up your exacta box.
There have been times where racing's tragedies made me want to quit the sport, but all throughout this summer and fall I'd come back to Zenyatta. I would never want to give up the thrill of watching her run. This was probably her last race, but I'll be back. Thanks, Zenyatta.
Posted by at November 8, 2009 09:14 AM
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|# November 8th, 2009 10:28 AM kris|
|Many in the horse racing press are discounting Zenyatta because she's racing almost exclusively in California and on synthetic surfaces. Lost in that is the fact that when Zenyatta did leave California, she raced on dirt at Oaklawn last year and blew away the field in what was probably her best race until yesterday.
Also lost in that opinion is that it's been seemingly acceptable for East Coast horses to spend their careers in New York without adverse consequences. For example, unbeaten Personal Ensign raced 12 of her 13 races in New York/New Jersey. In fact, 10 of her starts were at Belmont Park. Likewise, while Easy Goer is one of my all-time favorites, he raced out of New York five times and lost four of them, only winning a minor stakes race in Florida.
I don't mean to denigrate either of those champions. They mostly raced in NY because that's where their stables were based. Zenyatta raced in CA because that's where her stable was based.