Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Zenyatta:Bullfrog Among Tadpoles

Posted by Brian Appleton on April 10, 2010

It’s official, Zenyatta has joined the ranks of the all time greats with one of the most incredible feats in thoroughbred


racing history: 16 wins in 16 lifetime starts, a perfect career. The great race mare has now equaled the record of 16 consecutive wins set by Triple Crown winner Citation and Cigar. On April 9th at Oaklawn Park in front of more than 44,000 screaming fans, Zenyatta waltzed home to the easiest victory of her awe inspiring career, winning the Apple Blossom Handicap by more than 4 lengths. On April 8th, just one day prior to Zenyatta’s historic win, legendary undefeated race mare Personal Ensign passed away of natural causes at the age of 26 at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky. Her mantle of greatness has now been passed onto the immense shoulders of Zenyatta who looks sure to keep the ball rolling. She is now the Bullfrog among tadpoles.

The Apple Blossom Handicap looked like just another paid workout for Zenyatta as once again the imposing daughter of Street Cry crushed her few opponents in the easiest fashion possible. Breaking from the gate slowest of all, Zenyatta took her customary position at the rear of the 5 horse field and stayed there down the entire backstretch. Calvin Borel on Be Fair took the field through fractions of :24.07 and :48.19 before Taptam took over down the backstretch. As the field approached the far turn Zenyatta began to slightly extend her lead and jockey Mike Smith held on for the ride as she angled wide around the turn and blazed on by the leaders. Down the stretch it was just a matter of how much Mike Smith wanted to win by as with ears pricked Zenyatta coasted past the stands packed with thousands of jubilant adoring fans. After crossing the wire 4 ¼ lengths in front, Mike Smith paraded Zenyatta before her legions of cheering fans before making her way to the winners circle.

Her next start in undecided at this point but all options are on the table with the main goal of the year being the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs this fall.

The margin of victory here was deceivingly good, she could have won by 10 or even 20. When you stop to think of it, easy doesn’t even come close to describing the style of win here, effortless is much closer to the truth and in fact this did indeed look completely effortless on Zenyatta’s part. I wonder what Jess Jackson is thinking about his chances at winning Horse of the Year in 2010 with both Zenyatta and Quality Road tearing up the track this year.

On a final note slightly off topic, did anyone else notice the startling physical resemblance between War Echo and


Curlin? Obviously Curlin is a male and much larger, muscular and much more talented

War Echo

but their markings and everything appearance-wise are very similar.

Don’t forget to watch the Bluegrass Stakes and Arkansas Derby today, enjoy races and good luck!


8 Responses to “Zenyatta:Bullfrog Among Tadpoles”

  1. B,

    No doubt Z’s the alpha female of this decade in American racing. She caught those poor fillies by the top of the stretch and ran the entire lane with her ears pricked. Fantastic. As for her next start, I heard this a.m. that John Shirreffs has only G.1’s at 1 1/8 miles or longer on the agenda.

    One thing is certain, she’s definitely a huge draw getting upwards of 44,000 to Oaklawn Park on a Friday before the Arkansas Derby.

    Now, if only Jess Jackson will allow Steve Asmussen to train RACHEL and call the shots on when/where to race, maybe those two fillies can give the sports world – not just horse racing – something to talk about.

    • Agreed, she has no match right now and this was just another one of her flawless, easy victories. I heard the same thing in relation to the Grade 1’s at the 1 1/8 mile distance or longer which is great news. Hopefully that means she’ll be facing the boys a lot this year.

      I still think Rachel at her top form could give Zenyatta a run for her money, but I don’t care for the way she’s is being brought back right now.

      • Brian,

        No doubt about RACHEL’s questionable handling. I believe she’d have given ZENYATTA a huge battle in the AB. Her FG race was a perfect prep. In fact, I think that ZARDANA put a lot of bottom into RACHEL, what she wouldn’t have gotten against the other cupcakes.

        Putting aside how much I love Z, IMO RACHEL is at least her equal at 9f. That’s partly why the Z camp put the 1 1/8 mile minimum on her campaign (which guarantees she’ll never race in California vs. females again – perhaps never in the Golden State against any horses, period). There’s no way Z runs the stretch w/ ears pricked because RACHEL clears those fillies.

        All the RACHEL lovers were giving the Moss/Shirreffs camp hell last year for her campaign. Now where are those people? They are saying that RACHEL needs the rest because of the tough campaign she had in ’09. I guess it’s okay for RACHEL to run five races or less, but not for ZENYATTA.

      • Rachel’s last two works have proven to me that she’s ready to race again, the New Orleans Ladies really primed her up and got her in good shape. She would have been ready to run the Apple Blossom in my opinion, perhaps not at her very top form, but good enough to run and make a race of it.

        I just hope they don’t keep Rachel “in training” until the middle of the summer and then bring her back to the races. They’ve already thrown her into the mix this year so they should come the rest of the way.

      • Amateurcapper said

        Of course, what Jess Jackson “should do” isn’t always what he does.

        RE: ZENYATTA, did you read that the Clark H. is an option this summer? I wonder if RACHEL could make that race…the scene of her daylight Kentucky Oaks win?

      • I hadn’t heard about the Clark Handicap actually, I heard that they are thinking about the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs this June for Zenyatta.

        Seeing as Rachel just fired off a bullet work, I’d say she’s ready to run now! 🙂 I’ve wondered what a return trip to Churchill Downs would do for her, she obviously loved the surface there.

  2. Amateurcapper said

    Sorry Brian,

    I always seem to confuse those two races…it was the Stephen Foster. I guess it reminds me that I need to look things up before typing!

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