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Zenyatta winning the Vanity Handicap (Gr1)
(Photo : Examiner - Footage : TVG)
VANITY HANDICAP (Gr1)
Hollywood Park, 13 June 2010
Once again putting herself at the forefront of history, Jerry and Ann Moss’Zenyatta (Street Cry) secured the 17th straight win of her unblemished career in Sunday’s Vanity Handicap (G1) at Hollywood Park.
“Oh my lord, she ran her eyeballs out,” jockey Mike Smith said of the runner-up. “But we just kept on grinding, and (Zenyatta) hit her best stride 100 yards out, and I knew we had it won at that point.” Winning owner Jerry Moss said simply, “She’s otherworldly.”
Zenyatta was collecting her 14th straight victory in her historic tally over the boys in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). She won by 1 1/4 lengths in the Santa Margarita Handicap (G1) in her seasonal debut at Santa Anita on 13 March, then took the Apple Blossom (G1) by 4 ¼ lengths at Oaklawn on 9 April.
The margin of victory would be much closer in the Vanity. Settled a good 10 lengths off the dueling Miss Silver Brook (Cozzene) and Cherryblossommiss (Langfuhr) going into the first turn, Zenyatta edged a bit closer as they cruised through a half in 0:47.54 and three quarters in 1:11.91. She was within two lengths of the leaders wheeling into the stretch widest of all, but the scrappy St Trinians burst away with a quick turn of foot.
Put to a drive under Mike Smith, Zenyatta closed with resolute strides and finally surged past in the shadow of the wire. “It’s just incredible,” enthused Smith. “It was a gallant effort on St Trinians’ part – she really ran huge. When we headed for home, I hit a real big gear, and she hit another one right back at me, and I said ‘Whoa, she’s serious - she’s going to make me run.’ I was working at it until the last 100 yards and then I knew I’d out-grind her.”
Smith said he’d considered guiding Zenyatta toward the inside two furlongs out, but decided on the overland route instead. “We’re carrying a lot of weight, and I just wanted to get that weight moving forward, so I tried to tip out as we came off the turn and use that momentum to kind of slingshot me - even though I was a little wide - to get her at least running. I didn’t want to take a chance splitting them, because if Martin (Garcia, on St Trinians) saw me do that, he might make it tight on me. If I had to steady just for a jump, to get that weight going again is asking an awful lot. I knew he was probably going to take me out (wide), it was great race riding on his part. But it was just me and him. So as wide as he is, that’s as wide as I’m going to be. Nothing matters at that point.”
While the New Mexican filly Peppers Pride (Desert God) concluded her career unbeaten with 19 wins to her credit - all in statebred company - most race fans would point to Citation’s and Cigar’s 16-race skeins as the standard by which modern-day win streaks are judged.
A crowd of 12,232 lined up to watch Zenyatta make history, and roared with approval as she streaked under the wire still unbeaten in her 17th start.
Owner Jerry Moss was in awe after the race. “I’m going to be watching that replay 30 or 40 times,” he said. “I had a feeling she was going to make it somehow, like she always does, ever since she caught Anabaa’s Creation in that race at Del Mar (the 2009 Clement L. Hirsch (G1), when Zenyatta won by a head). She won, she got there, she gave away the nine pounds (129-120), and she came about seven wide. She’s just awesome. What can I say? The reaction of the crowd was amazing. She’s such a fan pleaser. Everybody here loves her.
The bettors sent St Trinians off at relatively low 2-1 odds - Zenyatta was at 1-2 odds - and the five-year-old nearly posted the upset of the year. “I don’t know what to say,” jockey Martin Garcia offered. “I couldn’t have asked her for any more. The other mare is just too much horse.”
Said her trainer Mike Mitchell, “I wanted to be a little farther in front of her turning for home, because I know the kick that Zenyatta’s got. My mare has a big kick, too. She just got outrun. I’m happy. We’re all big fans of Zenyatta in my family, and I know that (St Trinians) didn’t shame herself.”
WILL O WAY
MISS SILVER BROOK
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News