This article is six years old or so, but relevant since Zenyatta’s son’s much anticipated first race will be this Saturday (2-20) in Race 3 at Santa Anita.
Haskin’s prose reminds us of those glorious days when Queen Z made many of us cry and inspired us to do things we’d never done before. Zenyatta’s bravery and heart was incredible and rare, and you’ll hear many argue her place in history as greatest mare, or greatest mare other than Ruffian.
I still cry when I think about her, especially her loss to Blame in her last race and how it broke Mike Smith’s heart. He blamed himself, and, I don’t know, maybe I’m a softie, but I felt SO bad for him. It may have been his fault and an error in judgement. Sure, he is a professional, but from my couch, it certainly seems near impossible to judge the energy left in every horse, judge how everyone will move, how each horse will react, timing everything, etc – and then Zenyatta may have shied slightly at the lights near the wire before passing Blame just after the wire. That was a tough race to watch, and the press conference afterward was almost tougher. That said, many, myself included, think this was actually Z’s absolute best race. She was absolutely flying down the stretch! It was so incredible.
Why do we cry when we see things like this? Because of their heart. Her determination to win. Her competitiveness. She was trying so hard. I was sad for her as well as myself. I know many feel the same way, especially women.
Lately we’ve had “the feels” from American Pharoah, his ability, heart, and determination bringing many of us to tears. Back then, though, we reacted to Queen Z and Rachel Alexandra with the same tears and emotions, even without a Triple Crown on the line.
Take a quick look at the top 250 horses of all time, voted on by Horse Racing Nation’s voters. See where Z is? Mare or not, she’s in the top 20!
We have high hopes for Ziconic, but, I guess we’ll see. Never judge a horse only by his or her works. Let’s see how he runs a race or two or three. But since he dances like his mom (oh yeah, that’s definitely a factor, considering his energy and how he works it off), works fast, seems mature and ready, I can’t help but hope we get to see more of what we saw six years ago.
Zenyatta has inspired people like none before her.
I bet you didn’t know that Zenyatta hated the synthetic surfaces. Shirreffs even had to work her at Hollywood Park because she just would not run at Del Mar. Flat out refused. Cantered right through the gap and back to her barn, regardless of what her rider wanted. Read more about Zenyatta’s quirks here.