Zenyatta Stirred the Emotions

Henry Ward Beecher wrote, “It is defeat that turns bone to flint; it is defeat that turns gristle to muscle; it is defeat that makes men invincible.”

And apparently women. For Zenyatta, her defeat in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic will be remembered as an affirmation of her greatness. In victory after victory she captured the heart. In her lone defeat she captured the soul. All this remarkable mare lost in the Classic was her unbeaten record. But, like Seattle Slew’s memorable nose defeat in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), her courageous performance actually will enhance her place in history.

Although she will not retire undefeated, Zenyatta proved in the end that perfection is not always measured in numbers.

That was evident the day after the Classic; a day that can best be described as surreal. There is something about vulnerability that endears us to someone, whether a human or a Thoroughbred. Zenyatta’s defeat at the hands of a talented, classy colt in Blame actually brought out an outpouring of affection and admiration that transcended even the emotions she stirred in people during her 19-race winning streak.

For several hours in the morning and then again in the afternoon, Zenyatta was taken out to graze, drawing hundreds of fans to the Longfield Ave. fence. They brought cakes and signs, and carrots, and apples…and love.

All the while, Zenyatta posed for photos, as dozens and dozens of people inside the backstretch lined up to have their picture taken with her. Several women broke down in tears afterward, one of them putting her arms around Ann Moss and thanking her. Through it all, Zenyatta never once became agitated, and accepted the kissing, the hugging, and the petting as if part of her normal routine. Occasionally, the chant of “Zen-Ya-Ta!” went up from the crowd. It was a scene that assuredly will never be witnessed again.

Jerry and Ann Moss and Dottie Ingordo Shirreffs came over to the fence and thanked everyone for their support. John Shirreffs on occasion would stop by and chat with the people. At 5 p.m., when Zenyatta was led into the barn to get ready for her trip back to California, the crowd gave her a warm round of applause.

Zenyatta’s arrival at Churchill was unlike anything ever seen, as hordes of photographers and TV cameramen crowded behind police barricades outside Barn 41 and onlookers gathered to get a good look at the Queen as she was led off the van following her police escort from the airport.

Trainer Steve Penrod, in whose barn Zenyatta would be residing, had never seen anything like it.

“It was like a Hollywood movie production,” he said. “And the most impressive thing was seeing all the cars stopped on Longfield Ave., as people got out to watch Zenyatta graze through the fence. She’s the biggest draw since Secretariat.”

The following morning, Penrod said to Shirreffs as the two stood by the gap, “You should see my wife. The last time you ran she was screaming so loud, I told her, ‘You gotta stop; they’re gonna think I’m killing you.’ She screams and hollers until it’s over, and then she cries. A month ago, she said to me, ‘Talk to (stall superintendent) Mike Hargrave and see if he’ll put Zenyatta in our barn.’ When I told her a few days later that Zenyatta is coming in our barn, she started screaming.’

Shirreffs is still amazed at the outpouring of emotions that Zenyatta inspires.

“There are ladies who come to the barn and they’re literally shaking,” he said. “They’re sweating and crying. One lady, who is a school teacher from Santa Barbara, said the first time she came to see Zenyatta she was in a wheel chair; she couldn’t walk. She said Zenyatta inspired her to push herself and try to walk. Before we left for Kentucky, she visited the barn and she was carrying three cameras and was walking.”

It is apparent that the bond many people have with Zenyatta is almost spiritual in nature. She has been an inspiration in ways never before seen.

Stephanie Lambert, who resides in Maine, had one wish in life: “I just want to see Zenyatta once before I die,” she said back in August. “I will sleep in my car if I have to. I just want to be able to say I saw THE greatest. She has been such an inspiration to me for two years and got me through some really rough times. My dad passed away; my husband had three strokes; three of my dogs died; I had to put my mom, who has third-stage Alzheimers, in a nursing home; and we went bankrupt due to my husband's inability to work. I would come home after working 14 hours and sit at my computer and watch the videos John Sherriffs posted of Zenyatta and it would make me smile, and it gave me strength. I would think to myself, ‘I can do it, I just have to be like Zenyatta; I just have to keep running and run that target in front of me down.’ Sometimes God puts something in your way to give you courage and this is what Zenyatta did for me. She is an amazing example of what grace and courage are. God smiled one day and created Zenyatta.”

David Ingordo, Dottie’s son, who was the one who picked out Zenyatta at the yearling sale and purchased her for $60,000, was so moved by Stephanie’s story, he arranged to fly her out to California and get her seats and a hotel room for the Clement Hirsch (gr. I).

Kari Bussell from Tennessee was trying to find out who it was that was grazing Zenyatta the day after the Breeders' Cup. There was something she wanted to tell him. "He made sure I got to feel Zenyatta's right ear graze my fingertip through the fence, and I want to tell him what that meant to me and thank him," she said. "It was very emotional for me and was the highlight of my life. I am terminally ill and my dying wish was to touch her once. I know in my heart she is the reason I am still alive and have thus far defied the odds and what the doctors told me. She inspired me never to give up. I have refused to go anywhere until her story was finished."  

Catherine Jennings, from Wash. D.C., has been in the horse business for many years and had become jaded by all the negative aspects of the sport. But she had one request.

“Zenyatta makes me remember why I started loving horses in the first place,” she said several months ago. “A dear friend of mine named June, who also is a professional horse woman, is currently fighting stage 4 brain cancer. She has been on chemotherapy for almost 1 1/2 years now. I would love to get June an audience with Zenyatta. I’m sure she would go wherever Zenyatta was running. It would be a dream come true for her to just get to pet this great mare.”

Sadly, June passed away before she had a chance to see Zenyatta. Cathy still has one request: “I would love it if we could still get to see her and perhaps drink a toast in June's memory. Truth be told, it would be a dream come true for me as well.”

Candy Jones, from Lexington, Ky. said three days after the Breeders’ Cup, “I broke my ankle last Monday and my father was in a horrible car wreck. The doctors weren’t sure until yesterday that he would survive. He made amazing strides last night, though, and is now off the ventilator and spoke to me for the first time since the accident. Today is my birthday and it was the best gift I could have ever asked for. All last week, the only thing that kept me going was focusing on Zenyatta and rooting her on. No one really understands what makes her so special. Everyone knows she can race, but it’s something in her heart, some kind of special light that she emits, and the world just hangs on her like a huge star. That special quality has stayed with me and helped get me through this. I just adore her beyond words.”

Finally, there is Abigail Anderson, a schoolteacher from Montreal, who had been shaken by the death in August of a much-loved teacher named Marjorie Gawley, who loved dancing and got much joy in her final days from a video of Zenyatta ‘dancing.’ Abigail asked on behalf of the English-teaching community in Quebec if there was any way Zenyatta could run in the Classic in Marjorie’s name.

When Zenyatta went to the post on Nov. 6, she carried Marjorie’s name in the browband of her bridle.

The bond between humans and horses goes back thousands of years, but it seems whatever mystical hold they have over humans has manifested itself through Zenyatta.

And then there is the more earthly kind of connection. Richie Migliore, who recently retired as a jockey, has been working as an analyst for HRTV. Migliore had an early association with Zenyatta, and then last year saw her close up again. He felt something he only had felt once before.

Migliore had developed a close relationship with trainer David Hofmans after moving his tack to California. Hofmans’ big horse at the time was  Balance, a three-time grade I winner and a half-sister to an up-and-comer named Zenyatta.

“David was stabled at the other end of John Shirreffs’ barn,” Migliore recalled. “One morning, I was at David’s barn to work Desert Code, and he told me, ‘Shirreffs has Balance’s half-sister down there, and she’ll pull a wagon and beat this one.’ I said, ‘David, Balance won the Santa Anita Oaks,’ and he said, ‘I’m telling you, that thing is a freak.’

Migliore wound up working Zenyatta and was shocked to find out she had worked more than four seconds faster than he thought she had. Migliore always prided himself in his ability to judge how fast a horse is going, and as he said, he never gets fooled almost 25 lengths.

“When I went back to California in the fall of 2009, I went to see John and he was grazing Zenyatta,” Migliore said. “When you get inside a horse’s space, you can feel their energy, and sometimes, you can’t believe what you’re feeling. I’ve been around a lot of great horses, so it’s not like I go ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ because they’re good horses. But feeling her energy was a genuine sensation that I had only felt when I was around Seattle Slew at the farm. It’s hard to describe, but it’s similar to the feeling you get walking into Churchill Downs on Derby Day. I just know with Zenyatta and Slew I’ve never felt anything like that in my life…never. She had become this amazing animal, and the energy she gave out was unbelievable.”

As much as Zenyatta emits a rare energy, it can’t compare to the energy she inspires in others. We felt that energy after last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic victory and we felt it again before, during, and after this year’s Classic defeat.

Those six inches that separated her from an unbeaten record will become more and more inconsequential as the years go by, consumed by the vast scope of her achievements and her gallant performance in the 2010 Classic. It eventually will establish its own niche in racing lore, just as Native Dancer’s neck defeat did in the Kentucky Derby, his only loss in 22 career starts.

At this point, there has been no official word of Zenyatta’s retirement. For the Mosses, it is apparent that letting go is extremely difficult. They, along with John and Dottie Shirreffs, are well aware of the void she will leave in their lives.

“When Zenyatta does leave, John will not put another horse in her stall for a very long time,” Dottie said.

Five days after the Breeders’ Cup, as a sense of normalcy slowly began to return to John and Dottie’s lives, Dottie teased John as he left for the track: “I said that he was ‘off to go develop us some new stars.’ He smiled.”  

Whether it is a couple of months or longer, Zenyatta one day will be gone, but her larger-than-life presence, and her energy that Migliore described, will remain as long as Barn 55 is still standing.

 


Jerry and Ann Moss soak up all the love


A little love from yours truly as well


Sorry, couldn't resist


One of her many admirers actually passed this cake over the fence for her. It read: “Thank You Team Zenyatta”


This woman made a heart for Zenyatta out of leaves, and put a small bouquet of flowers in the middle

373 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Kathryn

Brought tears to my eyes - thank you for the wonderful article. And thank you Zenyatta for your beauty, glory and greatness!

11 Nov 2010 6:34 PM
Barbara W

Absolutely beautiful stories. How can we bear to let her go? She is a gift from God to a hurting world. Thank you so much, Steve. Great pictures, as well!

11 Nov 2010 6:37 PM
Jody

She so deserves HOY, not only for her accomplishments on the track but was she has done off. Not only is she the best thing to happen to racing in a long long time, she does so much charity work. God Bless Zenyatta and her team! Thank you! You are so loved Zenyatta!

11 Nov 2010 6:39 PM
Karen2

There are no words left.....Zenyatta's name will be spoken for decades and people will remember her just like they do "Big Red"...she may not have the track records he had..but she has "it"..the energy...the spark..the intesity...and the uncanny ability to touch people's lives. Perhaps during this time of financial hardships and broken hearts...we needed something to believe in...God gave us Zenyatta...all we had to do was listen and look for her and many of us did. I feel blessed to be able to experience Zenyatta in the prime of my life.

11 Nov 2010 6:40 PM
lordcat

"God smiled one day and created Zenyatta".  How lucky I feel that I lived through the Secretariat years and now have been witness to the greatest in Zenyatta.  As Trevor Denman said "one we'll never forget".  What a wonderful piece of writing!!!  God Bless Zenyatta!!!!

11 Nov 2010 6:43 PM
Zen's Auntie

Pass the tissues - Again.  You Never dissapoint Mr Haskin NEVER.

You two make a cute couple. Im jealous. Positively green, I LOVE that nose.

Phooey on blogging, Im going to go kiss my mares!

11 Nov 2010 6:45 PM
Riley Bee

Beautiful.

11 Nov 2010 6:47 PM
Linda/Maryland

Your excellent writing style explaining the Phenomenal Zenyatta is overwhelminly perfect.

11 Nov 2010 6:49 PM
Darla

How can you not reward her with Horse of the Year!!

11 Nov 2010 6:51 PM
Steve Haskin

This is a longer version of a story that will appear in next week's Zenyatta commemorative issue. The first part is the same material I had in my recap. Since Zenyatta was defeated I had to incorporate that into this story. I hope everyone enjoys reading how Zenyatta has affected the lives of so many of her fans.  

11 Nov 2010 6:52 PM
BigBadAndMean

GREAT ARTICAL,Zenyatta has brought more people into the sport then any horse in the last 25 years.Lets hope the powers that be can build on her foundation

11 Nov 2010 6:54 PM
Larissa

Thank Steve for a beautiful article about the queen... As tough as that loss was and still is for me... reading an article that describes her true beauty makes the pain not hurt as much...  Thanks again!

11 Nov 2010 6:59 PM
ruth meador

it would be nice if zenyatta could brought back as a seven-year old and be allowed to race for one more year and then begin her career as a broodmare and i know for certain that her sons and daughters will their mother proud on and off the race track.

11 Nov 2010 6:59 PM
Dominic Campisi

Perfection Lost But Greatness Gained

Today we lost that sports moment in time we all cherish. That thing in sports we all crave for. Something to always remember. Something unforgettable. That thing you talk about as sports fans with friends and other fans that says we will always remember that, and wasn't that great. Then the comparisons start about who was the best of all time, or what was the greatest moment. Today America had a chance to have that moment. Everything all week led up to that moment. America got a chance to catch on late with the help of magazines and Television. It was a story made from Hollywood almost Heaven sent in a time of need. A feel good story in a year of uncertain economy turmoil and tabloid gossip. The cheers, the fan fare, the dancing was all there right up to the starting gate. But when the gate opened our hearts hit our stomach's. As the first half of the race was completed we all knew it was going to have to be a real miracle for our hearts not to be broken. Yes, this was her style but not this far back and not on this track and up against this field. You could feel the race being lost coming around the turn for home. No where to go and valuable time lost. Then a small opening to the outside that will lose more time but it's the only chance we have. She breaks free and can run, but looking at the field in front of her there is no way no chance against the best horses out there. But then you see that stride. That familiar move we have all seen before that has greatness written all over it. One by One they all fall behind like a train just went by them. Our hearts lift out of our stomach's because our heads say to us we have saw this before. That phenomenal stretch drive like the other horses are standing still. Unbelievable can this be the same horse that was at least 20 lengths back. The same horse that was tied up starting around the turn. One horse left but time is running short each stride a little closer. She has caught the other horse and needs just one more stride. But this time the great Zenyatta stride is too late. She passes the other horse but the finish line photo finish shows she lost by a nose. She fought the travel, the media frenzy, the dirt track, the bad start, the 20 lengths down and still only lost by a nose. The other horse had the perfect race. No problems just had to hold on and not get tracked down. One lost stride for perfection. The other horse's owner says we had it all the way. But the film shows different. It was just a matter of time that came a stride to late. Anything can happen in horse racing that's what made this 19-0 run so remarkable. Any given day like today to many odds are against you. While the other side had everything go completely perfect. What we learned today is not about our hearts being broken but about the heart of a Champion we grew to love. Who had no chance at all and just about pulled it off. Her critics who said she couldn't run on dirt saw that she did the same thing she always had done. Even with the worst of odds this time. Again one lost stride for perfection. This race will never be about how Blame won. It will always be about how Zenyatta lost. When your perfect in sports everybody remembers and never forgets. Who remembers the New England Patriots win streak because they ended up losing it in the Super Bowl a few years ago. But they all remember the 1972 Miami Dolphins. If Zenyatta would have won I can only imagine how the media frenzy would have been. You could feel the let down from Churchill downs, the TV announcers, across America at that moment in time. The winners circle seemed like a mortuary and Gomez the jockey almost apologetic. We all knew who was the best horse out there that day. Mike Smith the jockey can replay it over and over again. If we just would have done this or that because he knew already what we all know now. She is the best thing to come along in horse racing for a long time and probably the greatest filly who ever lived and he wanted her to have this sports moment so no one would ever forget. Hopefully unlike the New England Patriots we wont forget. Tonight Andrew Beyers and Jess Jackson breath a sign of relief her biggest critics. What were they thinking when Zenyatta made her charge? Again one lost stride for perfection. What excuses will they come up with now. It took all odds against her and a perfect race to beat her. Don't you hate it when someone lucks out and doesn't have to answer for being wrong. Today in this sports moment we lost perfection but we gained greatness. It's about what we call in sports of having the heart to overcome impossible odds and not so much about winning but to give it your all and giving it your best. We should all remember this day for Zenyatta never giving up and giving it all she had. Again one lost stride for perfection. But the heart that made her the Greatest Filly of all Time.

Written by Dominic Campisi 11/6/10

11 Nov 2010 7:01 PM
Judy Loves Queen Zenyatta

Steve ~ Thanks for sharing! Big Z touched my heart when I thought I could never love another horse again. You know WHO I'm referring to!

11 Nov 2010 7:03 PM
David Burck

Steve

I gotta say she touched me also.  I first saw her run and win at Santa Anita in March 2010.  I remember so vividly that day when Mario walked her into the walking ring. Everybody started to applaud her presence. At that point, she yanked on Mario's rope to stop him so she could stand valiantly with her head raised high as to say "I'm back, I'm happy and here I am"  Everyone was so impressed with her size, beauty and presence.

I'm a 55 year old man with MS, I went there to Santa Anita that day by myself.  I did not go there to bet, but just to see Zenyatta. What an experience that was. I have to say is was fantastic and touching.  And we she won that day, I admit I teared up as she came down the stretch.

It's true what people say and feel. It's kind of undescribable, but wonderful.  I'm so happy I was able to witness her in person.  She will never be forgotten.

Take care. Dave

11 Nov 2010 7:06 PM
Mousse

She is bigger than life and has become America's Horse.  What she has done for the "Sport of Queens" in 2010 makes her, beyond debate, the Horse of the Year!    

11 Nov 2010 7:07 PM
Zookeeper

"When Zenyatta does leave, John will not put another horse in her stall for a very long time," Dottie said.

Her stall in the barn will be empty, but in our hearts she will reside forever.

11 Nov 2010 7:13 PM
Johnny

Steve:

This is your best yet,their will never be another like her.

It is a shame some just do not get it but that is their choice.

I would not be surprised if she is not retired,but what is left a fake HOY award?

THANK YOU team Z from the bottom of my heart.

I cannot wait for the book.

11 Nov 2010 7:14 PM
Annette

There are no words left to say except, I truly feel blessed to have witnessed a mare with so much God given talent. Zenyatta will remain in my heart forever.

11 Nov 2010 7:14 PM
wee-o

As usual a great read.  The Queen has touched a lot of people with her energy and the willingness to keep going no matter what.  We can't thank Team Zenyatta for all they have done and given to us the fans.  Please let us all see her one more time!!!!

11 Nov 2010 7:14 PM
CV

Mr. Haskin,

I am delighted Stephanie was able to see and touch her dream. Thank you and Zenyatta's connections for the roles you played in making that come true. What a lovely story about a special mare.  

11 Nov 2010 7:15 PM
Mike Relva

STEVE

Don't know how  you could've said it better. Thanks! As a fan she took me places no horse ever did. I miss her already.

11 Nov 2010 7:20 PM
Bet Twice

Steve,

Thanks for posting such a lovely article.  Beautifully written as always and really captured the special feeling she's given us these last three years.  

When I saw her win the Distaff, her dance just amazed me.  I've been around horses my whole life and have never seen that kind of performance. There was fun in it.  The fun showed in her ears too.  They were almost never back and certainly never pinned.  They swiveled around when she was trying to make up ground and they went straight forward when she passed her last horse.  I'd never seen a racehorse look so enthusiastic.

Zenyatta was a ray of sunshine for horse racing.  A horse who undeniably loved her job.  Zenyatta attracted a legion of fans in part because she looked like the epitome of a racehorse - she was beautiful and fast, she had heart and personality and she won, more than any horse ever had.  But maybe more importantly, she brought joy.  A quality that can't be measured by awards or competition or surfaces or even by victories and losses.  It transcends all of it.

I hope Mr. Shirreffs reads your blog and if he does, I'd like to say:

Thanks John for doing such a wonderful job with the big mare.  Her record on the track speaks for itself and I applaud you for her tremendous campaign.  Even more than her accomplishments as a racehorse, it's Zenyatta's expression and demeanor that shows how truly great you are as a trainer.  Her coat, shiny with those amazing dapples, just radiated health and happiness.  I've never seen a racehorse look so good for so long and that's a testament to your skills as a trainer and a horseman.  On race day, she never disappointed.  From her dressage strut to her patented late move, she always looked happy to be there.  Confident, focused and perhaps a little impish.  You let all of us see her as you did and we are forever grateful.  Thanks for letting us be part of it.  

11 Nov 2010 7:22 PM
Paula Higgins

Another wonderful post Steve!!! I love the pictures you posted. The pictures of you and Zenyatta are priceless. However, I don't think your wife would mind lol. Zenyatta is simply beautiful. Angelina Jolie has nothing on her. P.S. I have a coat just like Ann Moss's. It's one warm coat.

11 Nov 2010 7:26 PM
sue

She's once in a lifetime...for sure.  Your piece really captures her essence beautifully.  Zenyatta is food for the soul and a light even on the darkest days.  Members of my family who never watch horse racing are in awe of her after seeing the classic.  Kudos to her entire team for giving her such wonderful support and an abundance of love.  I hate to see her go ...but those babies will be something special, too.

11 Nov 2010 7:26 PM
ruffianruns

Steve,

I can only cry.  Marjorie's name in the band of her bridle?  Your photos and your kisses?  The heart of leaves on the fence?  How can I possibly recover?

I will pull myself together long enough to thank you so much for arranging for this heels-over-head Zenyatta fan to be able to meet her and her humans personally the day before her last win.  I will never forget that extraordinary day that you helped arrange for my friends and me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you - for everything.

11 Nov 2010 7:29 PM
JAJ

Steve,

I can't believe how much Zenyatta means to me.  I'm a breed-to-race owner, so I know a bit about the business.

I find myself completely am awe struck by her, not just by her racing ability, but by her soul.

I'm playing with the idea of flying across the continent just so I can meet her.  I can't believe I am contemplating doing it, but I am.

She is an incredible animal.

11 Nov 2010 7:31 PM
SQ

Thank you for such an inspiring piece. How lucky for you to touch Greatness!! Their are so many arguments for HOY but how many tears were shed when she lost- Also when Agents go to the Sales will they be looking for the next Blame or the NEXT ZENYATTA!

11 Nov 2010 7:34 PM
seatariat

Here I sit crying once again over this magnificent creature, moved once again by your words.

My daughters and I had the privilege of meeting Zenyatta when we flew from Michigan to California last month. Words cannot describe what it is like to actually see her and to touch her. She is so sweet and regal and John and Dottie are the nicest people you could meet. Thank you Steve, you are a wonderful man, without your help our dream would have never been fulfilled.

11 Nov 2010 7:34 PM
Monica in CA

When we get disconnected it takes a special entity like Zenyatta to reconnect us.  She takes us places we can go, and helps us heal wounds that refused to heal.  What an Angel!

11 Nov 2010 7:41 PM
Kathy B.

Thanks for the wonderful article. There is something more to Queen Z than just her statistics. It has been a pleasure and an honor being in her presence, something I don't mind waiting 4 hours by the rail to achieve.  Grown men beam with pride while showing complete strangers pictures of themselves with her.  It's a shame the HOY people cannot see that she has far transcended their criteria for HOY.  She is the Horse of a Lifetime!

11 Nov 2010 7:43 PM
No_Class

Your writing is so beautiful, reaching for more tissues.  I never knew about Marjorie and her name being carried in the brow band - how very touching.

I remember as a child the great days of Secretariat, Seattle Slew -and now, in "mid-life", I will fondly remember the days of Zenyatta.

11 Nov 2010 7:43 PM
Melanie

Thank you, Steve!! Moved to tears again! I am going to miss Zenyatta very much. I wasn't around yet when Ruffian was racing, but I still managed to fall in love with her when I was little and have loved everything Ruffian since. I never thought I would witness anything close to her greatness in my lifetime. Then came Zenyatta. She's as beautiful as she is talented. The complete package. When you watch her dance, pose, and then run it's hard to believe she's real! She's more like a fictional character in a book than she is a real horse. She's Black Beauty meets the Black Stallion. She's amazing. My office is decorated with pictures of Ruffian, Secretariat, Seattle Slew and now Zenyatta. She's that great in my eyes. Perhaps some day another will join the walls with her, but for now I'm just so grateful to have had her. She is everything that little girl dreams are made of. Thank you, Zenyatta!

11 Nov 2010 7:44 PM
Wild Horses

I just can't bear to think of a time where I won't be able to hear about and see Big Z. I hope bloodhorse has a blog to keep up on her goings on like they do Barbaro's family. It would be so appreciated by all her millions of fans. If not I hope where she goes as a broodmare could do the same on their website. I will miss her light more than words can describe!

LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!!!

11 Nov 2010 7:49 PM
Dutch

Thanks for a touching tribute, Steve. There's something very special and magical about Zenyatta, and it's doubtful we'll see anything like her again.

11 Nov 2010 7:50 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

Thank you for another glowing article about a horse whom I have so much love and admiration for. I have no problem debating Zenyatta's career or her connections choices for her, but I can not read another sour and negative posting about ANY horse.

Zenyatta's career, personality, and antics have captivated many long time fans. In the process of entertaining herself, Zenyatta brought new fans to the sport. Yesterday I just had a non-horse friend tell me that he always thought "there was stupid and below that was a horse." He watched the Classic and marveled at how much personality, intelligence, and determination Zenyatta showed. I simply smiled and said that was exactly what I'd been trying to tell him for 6 years.

Zenyatta is a true gift. Thank you again Steve for recognizing brilliance and Team Zenyatta. We may never see anything like her again.

11 Nov 2010 7:52 PM
John

Does this have to end?

Why not let Zenyatta run another race? Or perhaps two, maybe three.

I'm not talking about the whole year but just some races.  

The loss is out of the way, heck, let's just run and have some fun.  The world loves her.

11 Nov 2010 7:55 PM
DinkyDiva

Ohhhhh Mr.Haskin!!!  From now on, I'll keep a box of tissues by the computer! Again, you out did yourself!  Thank you so very much for giving us a positive!  I was happy to see the pictures in this blog!  You are a lucky man to have kissed the Queen! I can't wait to get the special edition magazine!!! I know I've said it before but, I'm like a lil kid in a toy store when I run down to the mailbox looking for it and all I end up with is bills and junk!  When are they being mailed or do you know?  

Zen's Auntie: give your mares kisses for me too!

11 Nov 2010 7:56 PM
Freetex

Thank you so much for the heartwarming stories.

I love the photos of you and the Queen!  Just fantastic.  Will they be in the commemorative issue?  

It will be so hard to let her go, but I am immensely grateful to have enjoyed such a champion.  I hope Zenyatta's fans will be given the opportunity to continue the adoration of her in the months and years ahead.

11 Nov 2010 7:56 PM
Michael

I was one of the Southern California faithful who made the long trip to Churchill to see the Queen. My brother, best friend and I flew from LA to Houston..then to Dayton, Ohio...then drove over 3 hours to Louisville. Along the way we stayed in the worst hotels, ate the worst food and saw countless dead deer along I-75. Not even the freezing weather, lack of parking, overpriced tickets, food and drink could get us down cause we were there to see our California Queen. Like the strongest ever punch in the stomach to 70,000 plus, all the air and excitement vanished when Zen crossed the wire just short of perfection. I spent the next several minutes consoling my crying daughters who watched back home on TV. The long trip home was painful to say the least.

I've been walking around in a funk since saturday and still havent even been able to watch a replay of the race. Heck, I haven't even watched horse racing at all and I would spend at least 2 or 3 hours a day with TVG on. My wife told me yesterday.."you act like she's your horse...just get over it". It made me think for a minute... My only response was..."come to think of it...she IS my horse. She's America's horse" In a world full of so much pain, especially right now with the current economic climate..Zenyatta had the ability to mask the pain. 19 times she made my often times stressfull and dreary life, better. Each win gave me just enough happiness until the next. Now that her career is likely over, I'm sad. Sad that I'll never again feel that kind of excitement and witness that kind of perfection.

If her career is over, I guess time will heal everyone and maybe one day we'll have another horse to follow. But I doubt we'll ever see one quite like her. The selfish side of me wants her to come back but I know its best that she just enjoys the rest of her days being a mama without the rigors of constant training. But if for some reason she does come back...all I can say is this....Dubai anyone?

11 Nov 2010 7:56 PM
shesfast

Awesome pictures Steve! You and Zenyatta have the same expressions on your faces!

11 Nov 2010 7:56 PM
zenyatta

will she run in 2011...i think so

11 Nov 2010 7:57 PM
Maria K.

Mr. Haskin, That was a very nice article.  Definitely, I enjoyed reading it and thanks for sharing those photos.  Zenyatta is truly a magnificent horse and even in her only defeat she was remarkable.  She is a bona fide ambassador for this sport.  She brought the attendance up and new fans at the race tracks.  Certainly the racing’s MVP in 2010.  It will be a slap in the face if she does not get the HOTY.

11 Nov 2010 7:58 PM
Kim F.

Thank you so much for this writing this...I am sitting here with tears in my eyes trying to express what I am feeling, but I believe you have already said it. She has given us so much joy and hope, it will be so sad to see her go. She is such an inspiration, I just wish that someday I could meet her. Thank you to everyone in the Zenyatta camp for letting us all share in this magnificent journey she has taken us all on.

11 Nov 2010 7:59 PM
Maria

Oh, wow. *cries* That was AWESOME. Who has the tissues? Pass them this way, please! So much for my mascara.

What a wonderful article. The stories are fabulous, the pictures precious, and the article is just so great. Thanks so much for that. God really did smile the day He created Zenyatta, I just know it. She is a true gift and such a priceless treasure. What a beautiful, great girl she is! And her connections are so incredibly classy, too.

We love you, Zenyatta!!!

11 Nov 2010 8:02 PM
Paula Higgins

Well folks, maybe with just a tiny bit of luck, she will come back next year. Until they say otherwise, I am not giving up hope. Anything is possible, something Zenyatta has shown us race after race.

11 Nov 2010 8:04 PM
Shortskinnylady

WONDERFUL article, Steve (as tears fill my eyes). Echoing Ruffianruns, I can only say thank you once again for providing the opportunity to see the big mare on Oct. 1st. I got to see Secretariat at Claiborne in '83, and I got to see Queen Z in '10. My life is complete.  

11 Nov 2010 8:09 PM
nycveg

Thank you for the great article.  Many thanks to the Mosses and the rest of Zenyatta's team for their rare sportsmanship and generosity toward the fans.

I hope Zenyatta stays in training next year.  She doesn't seem like she's ready to live a quiet life, and her fans would certainly love to see her again.  In a way it seems a shame to see her athleticism disappear at such a young age through repeated pregnancies.  Unless there are things that her team is aware of that aren't obvious to the observer, I see no reason to retire her to the breeding shed at this time except for convention.

She could also do a "world tour" of racetracks even as a non-competitor, if there were a reason not to keep running her.

11 Nov 2010 8:13 PM
megs

As a lifetime horse lover and owner, I know the kind of spirit Zenyatta carries with her. You see that awe-inspiring soul in horses that you fall in love with. No other horse besides my own beloved mare gives me the same feeling that Zenyatta does. I watch her races online and they give me chills. She is truly a blessing to the world, not only because of her record, but because of her true inner grit and beauty. Mares have a special spark to them, and Zenyatta truly embodies that.

Thank you Mr. Haskin for this beautiful piece. Like has been said before me, reading this has dulled the pain of her loss. I will meet her one day, just to say that I was in the presence of such a larger-than life spirit.

11 Nov 2010 8:15 PM
DONNA

LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!!! LADY Z.

11 Nov 2010 8:24 PM
Barbara W

If Team Z will just bring her back, I'll put off badly needed knee surgery and make the trip from Texas to see her again!

11 Nov 2010 8:24 PM
Alysse

One thing I can really say about Zenyatta is that she's brought more tears to my eyes on more occasions than any other horse.  Mig's right, she's just got an energy about her.  She's not even one in a million - she's one of a kind.  Already I miss her terribly but will always be eternally grateful for the little time I was able to spend in her presence.

11 Nov 2010 8:26 PM
GJU

Wow, great stories of inspiration in this blog. I know you're tired of hearing this Steve, but another job well-done! Zenyatta is out of this world, no doubt, but her connections are pretty special too and I'm so glad for that. I hate thinking about Zenyatta not being a part of racing anymore. Not sure how I would feel if they brought her back to race at the ripe old age of seven, but I support her and her connections whatever they decide, 'cuz I love the whole bunch of 'em!!

11 Nov 2010 8:30 PM
the power of Zen(yatta)

I've read so many articles and comments about how Zenyatta didn't win her 20th race, yet noone comments how this incredible athlete came from dead last (for most of the race) to within only one nose of winning. If the finish line had been two strides further, Zenyatta would have beaten Blame. Watch them run, stride for stride at the line and see how she was overtaking him. Zenyatta's run from the top of the stretch is absolutely amazing. Her heart is huge and she is one of the greatest racehorses of all time. So Blame won the Classic...barely, but Zenyatta ran faster and better than all of the boys.  She proved how great a racehorse she is and how she and Mike Smith are an incredible team...two more strides and they would have won. I am proud to have watched Zenyatta dance and run. She is truly amazing and one in a billion. Don't talk about how she came in second...talk about how you saw one of the greatest racehorses of all time come from last to within a nose at the finish line and her thrilling home stretch run...WOW!!

11 Nov 2010 8:35 PM
Mike Relva

STEVE

Any chance Zenyatta will be brought back to race?

11 Nov 2010 8:39 PM
DinkyDiva

You know, Zen has touched people in so many different ways.  Many of my friends are not familiar with horse racing but, I told them over and over again about Zenyatta. Many of them got so tired of me bringing up her name over and over.  But, once they tuned into the Clement Hirsch, they understood why I kept bringing her name up!  Then, everytime I would see them, they would ask me about her.  For once, I was in their "previous shoes," so, I gave them sites to visit etc..  

My sister who like me, was raised on horse back and in the show ring: hasn't followed racing in years until I told her about Zenyatta and showed her some of the youtube videos. While watching the videos she asked, when did she die? I laughed and told her no, she is not dead, she has another race coming up. That race was the "Ladys Secret!" She then looked at me in amazement that there was so much on a horse that is still living!  She called me the day after the Classic and said: " I could not believe it, I thought for sure she'd be pulled up because she was so far back, farther than ever before, and then, it was like a light went off and whooommm there she went! How devasting the finish was but, wow, is all she could say!" The thing was, she never watches the races her hubby always has golf on and on Nov 6th, it just so happened that he went to the golf course and she could watch the races. I was surprised by her call.

Zenyatta has touched my life personally in so many different ways, that I can't describe but, I can try.  I'm an artist on the hiatus for a number of years, trying different mediums and subjects.  My fortay was always, the horses.  That's how I began. But, I got away from my fortay to try different things.  That only got me so far as to hit a brick wall and not even have the inspiration to try again.  Because of the inspiration and love that I received (although not in person) from Zenyatta and her Team, I am back drawing again.  Let me tell you, it is an awesome feeling.

Zenyatta, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart!  You have transcended, you are phenomenal, what else can you say besides, magical?

Team Zenyatta: I have the up-most respect for you guys/gals, I can't even begin to thank you enough!

11 Nov 2010 8:40 PM
Ty

Steve,

Wonderful, wonderful piece.  I was trying to read it to my wife and got too choked up to continue.  I'm going to share this with all my racing and non-racing friends (and our mutual South American friend.)  Thank you.    

11 Nov 2010 8:43 PM
Firethorn

I think it is really neat that so many are inspired by this beautiful animal.  So much is made about her being made available to the fans, and so many have been touched by her.  However, as a long time horse person, I am repeatedly surprised that I have yet to see a photo of her without her ears stuffed with cotton.  Why? I can see it happening perhaps on the track with the roar of the crowd, or on the airplane, but every single photo I've seen of her, from when she is grazing or getting a bath to snuggling up to the one and only Steve Haskin.  I can only wonder if this is why her ears are always pricked forward.  It just mars the picture of the happy, wonderful horse.  However it takes nothing away from her as a great racehorse.

11 Nov 2010 8:51 PM
Becky

Once again Zenyatta shows us how much animals are a blessing in our lives...She gives us happiness by showing us her kindness, and entertaining us with her dance..she expected nothing back..I have been in the racing industry for years, have seen horses come and go..but seeing the greatest Mare to run has been something that I will remember my whole life.Thanks girl for the ride..it was wonderful.!!  

11 Nov 2010 8:55 PM
Betsy Kelleher

I had written a piece about Zenyatta's last race that I thought was pretty good--until I read this article! Wonderful in every way and it touched me deeply! Steve, you said what I would have liked to have said myself! Thank you.

11 Nov 2010 8:56 PM
Steve Haskin

I strongly recommend you all return to the blog and read the additional story I just added. It is after the paragraph about Stephanie Lambert. If I get an OK to use her name I will add it.

And thank you all for your heartfelt comments.

11 Nov 2010 8:57 PM
Tiznowbaby

You said before, after I wrote that Tiznow was so important to me during a rough time in my life, that horses have an incredible and amazing ability to inspire humans.

She just makes the heart sing, and it was another gift from God that she was placed with the wonderful people who have been so, so willing to share her.

11 Nov 2010 9:03 PM
Stephanie Lambert

Tears to my eyes....

11 Nov 2010 9:04 PM
Don Murphy

If Musket Man had not dropped down in front of Zenyatta, we might have seen a different out come, but the exeleration of speed and the heart pounding finish will be known as her greatest race more than her only defeat.

11 Nov 2010 9:06 PM
Leobarmor

She never lost to me she is got to be the horse of the year that's the least they (Racing Asociation) can give her back for what she gave us.

11 Nov 2010 9:08 PM
mbenes

Thanks, Steve.  I especially liked hearing the experience Richard Migliore shared with you.  That was quite special.  And thanks to all the other folks sharing their thoughts and tributes to her.

11 Nov 2010 9:16 PM
Kim Howell

Migliore said. “When you get inside a horse’s space, you can feel their energy, and sometimes, you can’t believe what you’re feeling. I’ve been around a lot of great horses, so it’s not like I go ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ because they’re good horses. But feeling her energy was a genuine sensation that I had only felt when I was around Seattle Slew at the farm...'

I have felt the energy of Slew...I only wish I could someday feel Queen Zen's.  She has touched a world that desperately needed touching, so many hearts lifted, spirits and bodies mended and souls refreshed.  Indeed, G-d smiled and made Zenyatta.  She is not just Horse of the Year, she is Horse of the Century.  Thank you Steve for again letting Queen Zen make me reach for the tissues.  Special doesn't begin to describe her, or her connections.

11 Nov 2010 9:17 PM
Zookeeper

Firethorn,

I've read hundred and hundred of comments about Zenyatta. Many were quite ugly but as pettiness goes, yours take the cake. Can't find anything to say, huh? So you're picking at the cotton in her ears?

11 Nov 2010 9:29 PM
Zen's Auntie

Amazing, she is truely amazing.

You are working on the book right??

Now im all covered in Empy & Indy hair (theres plenty for you too Dinky), out of tissues, down to scratchy cheap paper towels and balling ... again.

I Love it...

11 Nov 2010 9:36 PM
Susie

Steve, thanks so much for the stories and especially the pictures.  And thanks to the Mosses for giving us another year of Zenyatta.   I'm going to miss her so much.

11 Nov 2010 9:36 PM
LauraS

Absolutely beautiful.  Zenyatta is a truly unique horse: a one-off at the British would say.  There will never be another like her - no where, no when. I'm out of words...

11 Nov 2010 9:50 PM
Melanie Wells

A few months back we contact Mike Smiths agent. My sole purpose was to share with him a story about my 2 year old grandson. Since he was a baby he would sit on my husbands lap and watch races. My husband like many others became a big fan of Zenyatta. He would watch her races over and over again. When my grandson started talking he would yell yaya yaya, we finally figured out he was trying to say Zenyatta. He would know it was her, even if we tried to trick him with another race he knew she wasn't running. It became a nightly routine for him to sit with his papaw and watch videos over and over of Zenyatta. He soon began yelling for us to look on TVG that he say Mike Smith with his YAYA as he called her. Mikes agent kindly passed our contact info on to Mike who called us, my grandson still talks about talking to Mike Smith. He is a big fan of both him and Zenyatta. In fact we wanted to attend the breeders cup and due to unforeseen circumstance were unable too. My grandson still wanted to cheer for them so I made him a Jockey outfit to match Mikes that he wears when racing Zenyatta, he has a large stuffed horse with a white blaze, and on the day of the breeders cup he wore his outfit all day and told everyone he was Mike Smith and Zenyatta was his horse. She touches young and old, and their will never be another like her. I posted photos of him wearing his outfit on Zenyattas facebook page. You can see the joy and happiness in his face that for brief moment he was his hero riding his favorite horse that he never met.

11 Nov 2010 9:56 PM
Paula Higgins

To all the people with stories here: I am so happy she brought so much happiness to your lives. To the lady from Tennessee, you are in my prayers.

Mike Relva, John Shirreffs wouldn't say aye or nay when asked by Tom Wilkin (I believe) if she might come back. Bettor.com said that it is looking possible that she might come back. The fact they haven't announced her retirement gives me hope. When they do retire her, it will be a very sad day for us, the people who care for her, and Ann and Jerry Moss. Ann Moss doesn't want to send her way across the country from what I gather. If it were me, I would build a big barn in my back yard, no kidding. Breed her in California. To heck witht he east coast (and I live here).

11 Nov 2010 10:12 PM
LAZMANNICK

Hey Steve

It's five days later and Zenyatta is still stirring the emotions.  For those that weren't there you made them feel like they were.  Great article as always.

11 Nov 2010 10:14 PM
AnitaLovesZenyatta

I'm so touched by your writing.  You have put into words what my heart feels for Zenny.  The first time I saw her in person was at Santa Anita this year.  I was at the fence at the top of the tunnel at the post parade, and she appeared and sort of hopped out on to the track in a startling manner.  I felt an electricity that made me gasp. It was really indescribable.   You have put it so well.  It's the aura of her being that one feels in her presence, or at least I did.  And though I have loved her up until now, she has gone deeper into my heart since her valiant run in the Breeder's.   She has inspired me in so many ways.  If I am struggling with something or whenever I might start thinking about her or see her on video,  I just feel this joy.   I have even started taking riding lessons, because she has brought me back to that love of horses I've had since I was child, but had buried somewhere inside myself. I don't want to sound 'schmaltzy' about it, but I think most of the people that have commented here understand.  There is something special about this wonderful horse.  We are blessed to be witnessing her.   I am hoping to meet her up close soon, as did those you talked about it in your article.  It would be a dream come true.        

11 Nov 2010 10:18 PM
Richard

Steve, this is a beautiful blog, moved me to tears. It occurs to me that many of the greatest horses came along during times of great stress in the American life. Seabiscuit during the Great Depression, Secretariat during the turmoil of the 70's and now Zenyatta during these difficult economic times. I wonder if God does not bless us with these animals to help take our minds of the ugly, man made things of this world and get us to focus on something pure and beautiful. I have said it before and I will say it again and again, horse racing needs Zenyatta and horses like her.They are the ones that will draw new fans to the sport and keep it alive for generations to come. We will be talking about her like we have been about Secretariat for years and years to come and new generations might be attracted when they hear stories of this most remarkable mare.

11 Nov 2010 10:47 PM
Robert

Steve: wonderful, wonderful article...thank you!  Reading your article makes me feel as though I were actually present (and I wish I had been!)  Thanks!!

11 Nov 2010 10:49 PM
Karen2

I expect us woman to get misty eyed and emotional over the likes of Zen. We are like that. But the coolest thing ever is to see men sharing in this emotional journey. I am blown away by the love people have for her..even in her defeat. Amazing...simply amazing...

11 Nov 2010 10:50 PM
Zenyatta changed all of US-Here's How

Dear John and Dottie, the Moss family, Mike, Mario and everyone associated with Zenyatta,

Let me tell you about what Zenny meant to me. Zenny gave me hope and a belief in something, she made me forget my troubles for a moment and think about something else. She gave a hurting nation in a tough recession something to believe in, something to hope for and to put their worries on pause for a moment.  Let us ALL, not forget the "ZEN" to Zenyatta. What I think she was trying to teach us was this. You may start out last, you may be counted out and bet against to fail.You may find before you, unsurmountable odds, you may think that you started out to late and will never catch up and to try to get in the race now,would be futile.Zenny, knew that she had to be the head of the pack, that she had to get there. Against males or females made no difference she was determined to be the head of the pack, to just get there! The finish line is irrelevant and invisible, it's not whether you win or lose. It's what it took to get there.  Well she showed all of us what it took to "GET THERE."  It took determination, strength, confidence, stamina, faith and a big heart. As long as the Race is still on we all still have a chance, just don't give up. Your pace in life may not be the pace that others want for you and maybe not the one you choose for yourself, but want counts most is just getting there. To your own Finish line whether real or invisible, at your own pace under your own terms. Thank you Zenny for teaching me these things and more. I believe Zenny wanted to show us all, I AM ZENYATTA. I will dance and prance and pose, I will make you laugh and cry. You may count me out and bet against me, I will have challenges before me, but I am determined to be the head of the pack. I will get there under my own terms, at my own pace. Believe in me or not, win or lose, but I will get there. I believe animals choose us we don't choose them. Zenyatta choose all of you to help her, get there. To help her become and show the world I AM ZENYATTA. She needed all of you to help her, encourage her, watch her grow and especially LOVE her. I am sure that you all did not ever contemplate the lessons that she would teach you on your journey with her. I believe God choose all of you to be in her life. You will all take with you, moments that Zenny gave you, the ones when their were no cameras or videos around, those special moments when, it was just you and Zenyatta, the look she gave you, watching her sleep, eat or just running like the wind, or pawing at the ground. No matter what numbers are reflected in history books or racing ledgers about you Zenny, won't matter. I pray that what history will say of you and your legacy will be, what it took to get there. That it shows that big Heart you had, your determination and strength, the fight you had in you to get to the finish line. I hope that history will also show your jockey Mike, was a noble and loyal friend, he loved you so very much. You ran for all of us, not just your owners your jockey and trainers and handlers. You wanted us all to see the "ZEN" in you. Thank you for teaching me Zenny, I saw in you this, IT WAS NOT WINNING THE RACE THAT MATTERED IT WAS HOW YOU RACED THAT MATTERED!! Some even called you God's horse, God keep your Zenny in your protection and surround her with love and kindness the rest of her life. Thank you for sharing Zenny with all of us. Your perfect record was not diminished by your loss, sometimes you have to have a little dirt on your face to be perfect,to tell your story. That is what shows character that is what made you PERFECT!

11 Nov 2010 10:51 PM
ezevas

All I can say is thank you!

11 Nov 2010 10:56 PM
Draynay

Zenyatta is the greatest of all time.  Thanks Zen for the memories.  

11 Nov 2010 10:57 PM
needler in Virginia

Dammit, Steve, you did it AGAIN!!! JUST when I think I can sell my stock in Kleenex you come along and remind me why I buy the stuff by the carton. When words fail so many of us, you come along and say it so clearly for us all. Personally, I think she should retire with 19 1/2 wins from 20 starts, 'cause there's NO WAY she lost that race........when taking into consideration her initial position, the first run the field got, the traffic, the pace, and the good trip Blame got you just have to stand in awe of what she did; she displayed her guts, her talent, her heart. Isn't that exactly what racing has begged for lately?? So she's 19.5 for 20 in my book of memories and I bet no one remembers Blame in 20 years.......just my opinion, you understand.

All that said, Steve.........PLEASE allow my tear ducts to dry out a bit before doing this again. My eyelids are all waterlogged and pruney. I look like a drowning victim, so cut me some slack here, I beg you!

Meanwhile, thanks again for your words and your heart, Steve. What on Earth would we do without you? Hell, what would Kleenex do without you?

Cheers and safe trips.

11 Nov 2010 10:58 PM
Appybutt

She has done more for racing in the last couple of years and it needed it. She should have been Horse of the Year Last Year. Everyone is right in my eyes she did not loose she is still the Queen and she is at least the MVP.

11 Nov 2010 11:02 PM
Firethorn

Zookeeper, I'm so sorry you find my inquiry offensive.  I've been around Thoroughbreds all my life and have never been near one or seen one that had its ears stuffed with cotton always. This mare is so professional in the way she handles crowds and is very calm outside the stable that it is just baffling to me.  I'm glad you don't find it at all strange.  I find the attitude of some of her  fans quite disturbing in that no one can question anything about this horse.  I happen to think she is everything a horse should be, from her pedigree (she goes back to one of my all time favorites, Roberto) to her incredible ability to lengthen her stride and maneuver in traffic.  I have had a number of 17+ hand horses and recognize her incredible athleticism. It isn't easy for a horse of that size to shorten and lengthen as well as change direction traveling at over 40 MPH. She is nothing short of amazing.  I've seen a number of the greats in person, though after racing.  I'd love to see this mare at some point as well, I think she will be comparable in her beauty and charisma.

11 Nov 2010 11:17 PM
josh

I am a young fan, only 23 my grandfather owned horses throughout north america and eventually went to purchase horses in germany and france. I loved horse racing when my grandfather introduced me to Cigar when I was 8 years old in 1995 and with that I followed Cigar and fell in love with horse racing. Then a funny thing happened when Cigar retired. I stopped following horse racing. I would watch the triple crown races because my family would always have parties especially for the Kentucky derby. One day I went to the track with my grandfather to watch one of his horses. I was April 5th 2008 and I was at Santa Anita and I was looking through the form at the other races across the intriguing betting prospect that my grandfather pointed out to me at Oaklawn Park in their feature race the Apple Blossom. He told that this Zenyatta horse and heard she was something special. I remember watching the race and my jaw dropped and my grandfather said "Told you to look out for her!" Ever since then I have fallen back in love with horse racing. Not only did Zenyatta gain new fans but she got people back into horse racing.

11 Nov 2010 11:23 PM
ofelia

Steve,

What a great article. Zen was clearly the best horse in the Classic and my heart goes out to Mike Smith and the Mosses and the Sheriffs. It is a bitter pill to swallow but it does not detract from her greatness. Just seeing that final stretch run says it all. Zen for HOY.

11 Nov 2010 11:24 PM
shuttleworth

Steve, a heartfelt thank you for the story and the great pictures! Zenyatta is such a spectacular, beautiful animal. Her personality, her inspired performances on the track, her "zen" (sorry, couldn't resist!)... she leaves me at a loss for words. I consider it my great fortunate to have seen her at the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn this year - she is truly a superstar and deservedly so! She won my heart after her stirring Ladies Classic win 2 years ago, and she has never disappointed... Long Live the Queen!!

11 Nov 2010 11:24 PM
Dani

Zenyatta has touched so many souls in so many ways. It's as if she were an angel sent down to earth....

11 Nov 2010 11:25 PM
Thank You

Zenyatta....I think I heard you correctly....You want to continue to race.

Go Zenyatta Go!

11 Nov 2010 11:26 PM
Keith Kohnhorst

What an inspirational article and a much needed respite from the already "Who should be Horse of the Year?, and the same, snide petty bickering we had with Zen and Rachel.

11 Nov 2010 11:28 PM
markinsac

Wow, thanks all you people for letting the horse racing world how you feel.  I ask all of you to watch this video and

WATCH HER SOAR:

www.youtube.com/watch

11 Nov 2010 11:30 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The word "lose" is not in Zenyatta's vocabulary. It isn't in mine either when I think of her. "She didn't quite get there in time" in her final race. "She ran out of real estate." Miraculously she did get there in time every other time. And she is a miracle worker as evidenced by the stories of the people in this special article. Zenyatta has an aura, and a charm like no other. She is The Queen and she knows it, and knows that it is time to give her adoring fans a show when she goes to the track. We discovered that The Queen is human afterall, just when we had become to believe that she was invincible, that she could always achieve the impossible, roaring from dead last to win everytime. It's been a tremendous ride, and luckily it will never be over because we will always have our cherished memories of those amazing races where we thought she couldn't possibly get to the finish line first, and yet she did. I have never yelled so loud as I did everytime I saw her run. GO GO GO GO Zenyatta !!!!! She never once denied the dedicated crowd the joy of her dance steps before a race, she never once denied them a charge down the lane with everything she had, she never once left us anything but as proud as we could be. Thank you so much Zenyatta for all of the joyous moments, and for giving your heart to us, and thank you Mike Smith, and The Shirreffs, and the Moss' for sharing this astonishing creature. And thank you Steve for writing the words so that we can understand, and share our love and joy together.

11 Nov 2010 11:33 PM
sushyne

Steve, I knew you would do justice to Zenyatta and then some. Thank you for your stirring words which brought many tears to my eyes (and I don't consider myself too much of a softy). What a magical and mystical creature she is indeed and you captured that so perfectly. Personally, I don't know what I will do without the anticipation and exciting completion of her races as I've been watching her since her very first race, reading every article I could get my hands on. I have blogged about her, defended her on many facebook pages, and finally did what little I could do to pay her back for what joy she has brought into my life. I created a facebook page that has grown to almost 4000 people in 4 days and a petition. It's the least her followers and I could've done for all she's given us. I can't wait to go visit her in Kentucky if she retires. I can't even imagine what the Moss's, the Sherriff's, Mario and all other 12-13 handlers of Z will go through when she steps foot on that trailer for Kentucky.

11 Nov 2010 11:37 PM
Randi

This was our first time going to the Breeders Cup races... Zenyatta was the reason we went.  It was a joy to see her.  We will miss her not racing.  We wish it didn't have to end.  She is so special!

11 Nov 2010 11:44 PM
philco

Captain Steve...NEVER STOP BRO.  

You capture the essence and magic of horse racing like no other journalist working today.  

Here's my video recap of the 2010 BC Classic.   I keep watching the replay over and over hoping she gets there....cheers, philco

The Classic Recap is the 2nd link for the top

www.woodbineentertainment.com/.../BreedersCup2010.aspx

11 Nov 2010 11:56 PM
Flora

Just perfect, and yes, I am crying! What a special horse, and she has been lucky enough to be surrounded by special people too. I will cherish the memories of her career as long as I live.

12 Nov 2010 12:03 AM
Pam

Thank you for your eloquent article honoring Zenyatta. I hope she wins Horse of the Year; but in my heart, she is the Horse of All Time. I was rooting for her all the way in BC Classic, but in some odd way, I love her even more in defeat. Steve, I hope you keep us posted as to Z's whereabouts in the future...especially when she starts having foals.

12 Nov 2010 12:36 AM
Aluminaut

Thank-you Steve for sharing the stories and wonderful photos of the Big Mare.  Dottie was telling the story about Richard Migliore when our group visited Zenyatta the day before she won the Lady's Secret at Hollywood Park this year. I walked up while Dottie was telling that story and didn't hear it all until now.  We weren't touching her because she was racing the next day.  Maybe next time.

12 Nov 2010 12:47 AM
NotRealQuiet

Thank you for the wonderful tribute to this magnificent animal. Working in equine therapy and being an animal communicator, I totally understand what people experience when they make the kinds of connections people spoke of in this blog. Believe it or not, in my line of work I see miracles every day. The above blogs/stories reminded me of my father and his love for Barbaro--Barbaro inspired my father to live and get up every morning to get the latest reports (but he did follow Barbaro's career from the beginning to his end also). Barbaro gave me more time with my father & his wisdom (as it was my father's gift to me--his lifelong love of horses as he had horses all his life). My father passed a few days after Barbaro was euthanized. I like to picture my father riding him bareback (his favorite way to ride) in Horse Racing Heaven--perhaps they are racing the great Affirmed and Alydar right now! Thanks again for your professional journalism and I want you to know that you, too, have an ability to capture an audience as well.

12 Nov 2010 12:47 AM
Lorri

What a great article. You're a legend Steve, just like Zenyatta.

12 Nov 2010 12:54 AM
Kathy

Thank you for this super article. I agree racing needs Zenyatta to be HOY! It would be a disservice to what she's done for racing if they vote otherwise. People who say she ran against soft fields all year need to remember who was behind her in the Classic. She missed beating Blame by a nose but sure whomped the rest of 'em!

12 Nov 2010 1:19 AM
moodygirl

Thank you so much for expressing what is in my heart for Zenyatta. It is wonderful to hear how she has blessed the hearts of so many others as well. I hope the Mosses will continue to share her with us as she goes into other phases in her life.

I would love to hear news and pictures of her new adventures. I hope she has a long and healthy life, may she enjoy motherhood and that her foals be blessed with her great genes and heart. While I regret there will be no more races to watch, we can look forward to the legacy she will produce.

If I were Mrs. Moss, I would have her in a stable in my backyard or at least have a home near where she will raise her foals. Won't that be something to see!!!!

12 Nov 2010 1:28 AM
Andy o'Donnell

I have been following horseracing since 1945 and I only realized how much I loved it when I was shouting at the television for Zenyatta.(I am 77) It made me feel all new again. Reborn after so many  years of hundrum living.

12 Nov 2010 2:13 AM
catts

I'm still physically and emotionally ill about Zenyatta's loss although she showed her greatness in defeat.  If Blame had her trip he would still be running trying to get to the wire.  It wouldn't be as bad if she were outrun or he was the better horse but we all know she had a lousy trip verus his good trip and she was so obviously the better horse. She was running him down and that was evident.  Amazing finish after a horrific trip but the record book will only say l defeat-not a horrid trip.  I still cry over the loss of an undefeated career when she was so very capable of winning that race. All my horseman friends can understand what really happened in that race.  I hope Seth Hancock really enjoys that win cause everyone knows Blame was just the luckier horse-not the best horse.

12 Nov 2010 2:27 AM
Barbaro Girl

Thank you, thank you, thank you Steve for such a beautifully written article on this magnificent creature that God gave us!  There just aren't enough words to describe how she eminates light and energy and hope to all of us just be her presence.  I also especially enjoyed the moving stories you included about the people in your story as I am a 37 year old stage 4 colon cancer survivor and the amazing animals have helped me stay positive during my treatments and down times.  Barbaro has always been my favorite male horse, but I'm thinking Zenyatta just joined that fan club for the females!  Would love to see her keep racing and dancing (too freakin' cute) but know that her babies will be beyond gorgeous!  Thanks againg for the amazing article... you just made my night!

12 Nov 2010 2:47 AM
BarbarosDerby1328

The genius that is Mr. Haskin has once again been illustrated. This most recent writing puts Zenyatta in a perspective and light that I have not yet seen or read.

There are so many things that make Zenyatta magical. From her power and grace in competition, to her human like persona and spirit. I had the good fortune of meeting Z" at Hollywood Park this past September. It was an experience that I will never forget, and one that I will always cherish. Zenyatta and all of her wonderful connections have been bequeathed to us, and our sport has been raised to a new height as a result. Zenyatta has been reflective of how perfection can exist within an imperfect world, and how our spirits can be lifted upon equine wings.

The connection that people have with Zenyatta is something to behold. It is rare in its substance, true in its meaning, and clearly heaven sent. One writer once said in regards to the horse. "That if God made anything more beautiful, he kept it for himself." These last three years have put a song in all of our hearts, and we have been most fortunate to see this most wonderful creation. A creation so very rare, and so very special. A horse that God placed from within his very best, and in love, gave to the world to love and adore.

12 Nov 2010 5:02 AM
Bellwether

DAVID INGORDO...THE EYE OF A TIGER...ty...

12 Nov 2010 5:17 AM
hoofprintsandhorseplay

The only horse that touched my heart more was Go For Wand, and we'd all take Zenyatta loss compared to the way that race ended.

I say one more start - 2011 Dubai World Cup on Cushion track - just like Hollywood Park.

Then she will go out Champion of the World!

12 Nov 2010 5:33 AM
Laura from Monroe GA

So beautiful!!  I will never forget that morning on the backside at CHD.  Her magic was everywhere!

12 Nov 2010 6:00 AM
Zen4Zen

You wonderfully quote Zenyatta fan Stephanie Lambert's "God smiled one day and created Zenyatta" in your beautiful blog, with wonderful photos.  Thanks as always, Steve, for bringing her and other horses we have come to love (if not quite as much) so much closer to us that we can virtually touch them!  

12 Nov 2010 6:34 AM
derbyfan

Thank you you big beautifu mare for letting me share in your glorious career. Steve, keep on writing!

12 Nov 2010 7:03 AM
Brokentree

Zenyatta is so much more than a horse to many people , myself included she represents the when you are down. my entire family took me to calder to watch the cup this past weekend and none of them where racing fans until I started talking about Zenyatta last year before the classic in 09 then they became interested in this amazing mare .. This past August I was diagnosed with a stage 4 in operable cancer  but i wont go down with out a big fight  ! This pass Monday The  tumor mass has shown a remarkable 30% reduction ! No I am not saying Zenyatta has healing powers  but she sure does have insperational ones :-)

12 Nov 2010 7:12 AM
Annie

Steve, this is a truly beautiful article.  You have managed to capture people's feelings for Zenyatta exactly.  Thanks for the pictures, also.  She will always be our HOY, regardless!

12 Nov 2010 7:23 AM
ELAINE

I was there on Sunday and want to thank you for these pictures from the other side of the fence. This was the best part of our Zenyatta weekend and we did not want to leave her.  Now I can add these to my album and never forget that I was close to her.

12 Nov 2010 7:26 AM
Rachel

It's been a great trip, she's so totally the real deal, but there have been just as thrilling adventures, at least in my lifetime, perhaps not the perfection, but the thrills and chills & incredible runs among great horses?...oh yeah....oh, yeah...

12 Nov 2010 7:26 AM
Farewell Tour!

When Great athletes retire they often have what is called a farewell tour in their last year. What would be Great for racing is to have her run from Aquaduct to Woodbine in a final year of racing so the World could say I saw her race and Thank You..

12 Nov 2010 7:52 AM
Fran Loszynski

Zenyatta and Rachel have made this a 'fillie' year. You know they really didn't have to race against one another because think of it why should one lose when they are both winners! Two trophies of racing that will always now shine in our hearts. A teenage boy at the racetrack with his Dad watching simulcast(he must have snuck in) asked me who I liked better- Zen, or Rachel? I saw he had a picture of Zenyatta- so I said Zenyatta after I just got through praising Rachel.  Then I realized-didn't we all "just love them both."  

12 Nov 2010 8:00 AM
VaHorsewomen

Thank you for the wonderful article!

I understand the love all of you have for Queen Z, as I love her also, but Zenyatta has earned her retirement folks, she will be seven this upcoming year and has run her heart out in all the years that were asked of her, she accepted your love and returned it. Let's let her have her time now and retire SOUND! I wouldn't be able to have anything to do with horse racing again if I had to witness a tragedy like Ruffian, who was taken away way to soon and was never given the chance to pass on her greatness. Horse's don't come along very often from this mold, Let her go safe, sound and we may enjoy visits at the farm...where ever that may be and marvel at her little Angel in the future. God Bless Zenyatta and all who love her.

12 Nov 2010 8:02 AM
Lloyd Smith

I remember Mike Smith's comment to a reporter a few days before the BC Classic concerning Zenyatta's chances for a win. Mike graciously considered the question, then replied, "I think you are going to see something truly special Saturday". More true than anyone imagined. Thanks, Mike.

I would also like to recognize Gary Steven's comments on his blog on HRTV's website about the ride Mike gave Zenyatta that day. Gary, as a former jockey, recognized that without a skillful, calculated ride from Mike, Zenyatta  might not have  been in a position to make her patented move to challenge Blame. I hope Gary's comments give Mike some peace, as his ride under difficult circumstances was masterful. I will remember this race as truly "one for the ages."

LL

12 Nov 2010 8:03 AM
horsemen

we were there that morning peering thru the fence and taking pictures. she literally drug Francisco over to the fence to pose for photos for us. she knew we were there to send her off with love.  she is a true champion.  there is no doubt she is horse of the year, century, etc.... GO ZENYATTA.....

12 Nov 2010 8:03 AM
Will W

So why retire her if it leaves a huge emotional void. She's fit, sound, and at the top of her game. No need to worry any longer about protecting the win streak. Bring her back and let her face the boys in 2011 in the big Grade 1s, and then have another go at the BC Classic. She's the best horse since Secretariat and the Mosses have kept her around long enough to build up an emotional attachment between the mare and the racing public - something that will never happened with the rapidly retired Blame and Quality Road. So why retire this mare. Take a page from the connections of Goldikova and keep Zenyatta on the track.

12 Nov 2010 8:19 AM
Wayne A. LeBlanc

I am from Louisiana and have always loved horses.I feel blessed to have seen ZENYATTA (The Queen) at Churchill.My wife and I drove many miles to see her and would do it again.I am 61 and also enjoyed watching BIG RED (The movie was GREAT).

I beleive watching these two SPECIAL HORSES has enriched my life.

ZENYATTA so deserves HOY AND DECADE.

GOD BLESS ZENYATTA/The Moss's /and John Shirreff        

12 Nov 2010 8:50 AM
Mike Relva

PAULA

Thanks.

12 Nov 2010 8:56 AM
Dani

As Winston Churchill best put it -

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."

12 Nov 2010 8:56 AM
Slew

During all the years that I have followed horse racing, I have respected and admired many horses who always amazed me.  But it was love at first sight when I first spotted Seattle Slew.  He owned me, heart and soul, since that day.  He was my hero, the horse I rode in my dreams, the horse I could never stop talking about, the wild man of the track, so independent and vital.  And while there were other horses who captured my emotions, (I had such high hopes for Vindication) none had the magic to touch me as deeply as Slew, until now.  Thank you Zenyatta, for re-igniting the passion and magic I thought was lost when my Slew said his final good-bye.  

And thank you Steve for crafting such a delicately woven, emotional masterpiece..again.

12 Nov 2010 9:09 AM
Beth Meyer

I was one of those people standing by the fence on Longfield Ave at 7:00 a.m. Just to see her. I reached her nose out and I was able to touch her. It is true. She is greatness and her aura is something unexplainable. I left that morning with tears silently tracking down my cheecks. She is and always will be a true Queen.

12 Nov 2010 9:15 AM
Zookeeper

Firethorn - At least I got you to say something positive about the Great Mare beside picking at the cotton in her ears. Thank you for letting us know that you admire her also, something that was not evident in your prior comment.

12 Nov 2010 9:23 AM
JT

Oh just great Mr. Haskin...now you got me cryin while I'm at work...lol.  Great piece as usual.  I hope she's not done..not yet.

12 Nov 2010 9:28 AM
Joltman

thanks again Steve, for putting to words what a lot of us have felt.

jm

12 Nov 2010 9:28 AM
Richard G

Steve: Thank you for a classy tribute to a classic horse. That stretch run was the perfect inspirational exit. In our minds' eye, she'll always be running hard and closing fast. I hope hubris and disappointment don't get in the way of Zenyatta's well-earned retirement from the public eye. And I hope one day we'll be able to say "Just like mom" about a very special son or daughter.

12 Nov 2010 9:38 AM
Nola Ross

we even love you more, now...

12 Nov 2010 9:47 AM
ILVSLEW

I am a hearing-impaired lady. Seattle Slew was my first love horse,and still cheer his babies on the racetracks/breeding for long time. I think Zenyatta is TRULY greatest filly I have ever seen or heard since Ruffian...She should join with the great ones like Slew, Secretariat, Man O'War all the time because of her brilliant, powerful, smart, and heart herself...I think she is realy MORE than all of these ones because of that!! YES, she should be HOTY this year, not Blame because her loss was NOT matter; however, it was short nose, or head than Blame's loss was about between one to two lengths. So, Zenyatta is HOTY over Blame. I think it is right thing to do???? If she don't win HOTY, then it will be not good thing and shame on it which we don't want to see like that, you know? I will NEVER forget one that Slew did not win 1978 HOTY which was really upset me which was not right thing to do...NOT FAIR!! Slew MUST be 1978 HOTY over Affirmed because he defeated Affirmed twice...what's up like that? That is okay...Please do Zenyatta to be 2010 HOTY where she belongs to...Steve, I really enjoyed to read your stories about Zenyatta and other horses including Slew as well...You are really brilliant writer I have ever seen...Thanked for showing the pic of you and Zenyatta...I hope I can meet you at the racetrack someday, and I also want to see Zenyatta either at the racetrack or at the farm where she will live a new home one day...I missed Slew very much...GOD bless all of you the great people who care about Zenyatta, Team of Zenyatta, Steve, and Zenyatta's fans...get me on FaceBook so we can all be friends to get know more each other...My name is Myra Jane Knowles...call me MJ, or Myra Jane...Thanks, MJ :)

12 Nov 2010 10:10 AM
Beth

Thank you for one of the most touching stories about Zenyatta to date.  I have read many, many stories from all over the world about our Zenyatta since the race and yours affirmed that she is one unique mare that has brought a nation together. Thank you again and hopefully we all will get to see her race again in 2011.

12 Nov 2010 10:33 AM
WWSTP

So beautifully written Steve!  We can wait a lifetime for a horse like Zenyatta to bring the total package of gifts that she does in this racing industry.  That energy she emits is so very special...filled with talent, heart, curiosity, generosity, confidence and grace.  Ah, that we would really accept her gifts and put them to work in our lives.  We are, in fact, better people because of the big Zen!

12 Nov 2010 10:35 AM
Marrakesh

Hello Steve!

I am now crying..SUCH A SUPER STORY. I have been a BIG Zenyatta fan from the beginning..even though it was selfish (I had a mare in foal to Street Cry(IRE) when Street Sense won the Breeders Cup & I had an $8000 yearling that I bred in the same race.  I said it was OK to be passed in the stretch by Street Sense, I had a mare in foal to Street Cry(IRE) his sire.  

It was a foal share and I was thrilled that Darley even considered  a foal share with my mare.  Darley wanted to sell the foal as a weanling due to Street Sense.  I said NO, Street Cry(Ire) will become the next Northern Dancer and of course I had just seen Zenyatta break her maiden.

From the beginning I have loved Zenyatta!!!!!

Debbie

12 Nov 2010 10:37 AM
dianeche

My son and I were there for the race, but we kept missing Zenyatta grazing.  But that is ok.  Being there when she roared down the stretch will live with us forever. Last weekend and our time in Kentucky was the best time of my life.  Good luck Zenyatta and thank you Team Zenyatta.  Thank you, Steve, for recognizing what some of your brethren will not: she is a horse for the ages and her loss on Saturday only increases her greatness.

12 Nov 2010 10:53 AM
Paulette McKinley

Thank you Steve for another great article that helps us share our feelings & see the positive aspect to even the losses. My husband & I were there at the Breeders Cup & were shocked when Mike didn't move her wide like he usually did when facing a problem , & mid-pack give her the boot, but certaintly do not want him to beat himself up over it - he has almost waited too long her last few races, possibly because he was a bit over confident,causing his timing to get in the way. His love for her & his successful rides on her should be admired regardless of this one race. I agree that in this loss we still saw how great a athlete she is & we have all learned from it. When we walked a mile to return to our van, it was if someone had died, the crowd quietly walked that mile in shock, only one spoke of Zenyatta's race, a man on the phone with his child sadly explaining the outcome. I will never forget this experience. I really enjoyed seeing in person the other greats too. We wish her health & many happy healthy foals in her future. Steve, please keep up your special stories as only you do so well! Paulette

12 Nov 2010 10:56 AM
Zenyatta101

Zenyatta has brought so much to us and I can't wait to see the first babe of hers.

12 Nov 2010 11:01 AM
Rachel O

My computer refused to let me post the comment I was working on, but maybe it's just as well.

Thank you, Steve, for such a great piece about our Superstar. All the words used to describe Zenyatta cannot do her justice, usually, but yours do. I wondered why I didn't cry after I saw her lose, but what you wrote here had me in tears. At the time of the race, I saw her magnificent rally, un-be-lie-va-ble.

And yes, the ENERGY she emits is indescribable--strong as a thunderbolt from the stratosphere, yet so gentle. I know she is a healer because of the great joy she has brought to us. And she will never be gone. When we think of her, we smile. The memories are so strong.

I've seen her on six different occasions, at Del Mar, HP, Santa Anita, and CD last week. After the race, I visited with Funny Cide and Cigar at the Horse Park. I rubbed Funny Cide's sweet nose, and Cigar licked my fingers through his iron gate--nice consolation.

Zenyatta has earned a rest, but she usually dictates what happens next, so we may or may not see her run again. In any event she has given us memories we will never forget, and they are sublime.

12 Nov 2010 11:11 AM
steve from st louis

How disingenuous for someone to trash a horse's accomplishments incessantly for two years running, calling her a poly specialist, a slow winner of meaningless races and a West Coast phony. Yet, now he gratuitously calls her the greatest of all time.

It reminds of when he called Mine That Bird the biggest fraud in Derby history yet when Borel won the Derby on Super Saver a year later, he tried to convince the world that he always bets on Borel at Churchill and that he actually had the 50-1 shot he so disparaged for the previous year. Hush, Draynay. Save your words for the fool in the mirror.

12 Nov 2010 11:39 AM
Linda in Texas

Paula Higgins - sometime ago i mentioned that were i ever to have a horse like Zenyatta i would have her close enough that i could keep my eyes on her all the time.

Someone wrote back that the statement was off the chart as the horse is a horse and should not have that much scrutiny in so many words and should not be thought of as a pet in a den. Clearly downplaying my comments because Zenyatta was just a horse and not like a warm and fuzzy pet. Sorry, but i still feel the same way, and now that Steve has written about how heart string tugging she is to other's i feel vindicated.

I repeat, if i had a horse like Zenyatta, i would keep her close, very close. Her stall would be within close proximity to me at all times except when she wanted to run. She will not be happy standing in a paddock by herself in Kentucky after all the adoration she has received and may i say richly dispensed to others.

And Andy, nothing wrong with being in your 70's. I thought growing up that my dad was old at 35. He chided me when i reached 35 and he died soon after at 63.

So moral of Zenyatta, she epitomizes the saying that you are never too old to learn something new. And your heart can take all the love in the world if you just accept it. And there is no deeper unspoken love than comes from an animal. I have felt that way all my life. Was raised with animals, befriend animals, feed strays of all kinds, and they somehow find their way to my back door. Even morning doves.

And moodygirl, you get it. Yep, she should be right in the Mosses back yard!

I get the feeling that the Mosses don't want to let go, i had been wondering and worrying how they were going to handle it, and really, why would they want to let her go?

Life is a full time race for Zenyatta, she is entirely too full of energy to gear down and graze in a pasture by herself. She won't be happy. I hope the decision is made to keep her near the Mosses. I worry about Pepper's Pride for the same reason even though she is not as famous as Zenyatta, she is a winner also. But forgotten.

Zenyatta keeps on keeping on, giving her all, touching more lives. No words can describe her.

She is what she is, simply splendiferous, esplendida, magnifica, gloriosa, maravillosa, hermosa, brillanta, y preciosa,

y mas. Es la verdad, Mario????  

NotRealQuiet - i feel justified in your post. There is no love like the love a daughter has for her father and vice versa. He taught you well.

Steve, i'm harping. Book, Book, Book. When you write an article we all think that particular article is your best, then comes this one.

So there is more. And more. I knew it and i am not alone. I picture a coffee table book, a nice large one, like about 14 inches high with a huge photo of Zenyatta on the front of the cover. Lots of photos and your riveting stories.

And your picture with your bio on the inside cover.  

Best Seller. You bet.  

12 Nov 2010 11:40 AM
Richie D

Steve, what a fantastic story.  I was fortunate enough to see Zenyatta run, in person, 5 times including her last three races prior to the BC.  The crowd reaction to her was amazing.  Like being at a rock concert. The most amazing part was seing all of the emotion after her races, many people would have tears in their eyes. At this point people should stop all of the HOY bantering.  Will any of her fans think or feel and differently if she wins or loses HOY?  My memories of seeing her run will always be the same, she is, to me, the Horse of a Lifetime which trumps the HOY any day!!!  

12 Nov 2010 11:41 AM
Goldie

Steve,

Do you own stock in Kleenex?

Fabulous article as usual, and the photos you will cherissh forever.  I have a couple of myself with the big mare and the Mig was dead on about the energy she emits. Un-freaking-believable.

Thanks

12 Nov 2010 12:11 PM
annie

So nice, you made me cry, happy tears!

12 Nov 2010 12:13 PM
Melissa

Dear Steve,

I'm patiently waiting for my Zenyatta Commemorative Issue, because I just love the way you write.

Hugs

12 Nov 2010 12:14 PM
LetItRideMike

Zenyatta In Retirement

Gravel underneath my boots disturbs the silent morning

Horses raise and lower their head,

no need to sound a warning

I love this time, the break of dawn

tranquil is the pasture

And over there, there stands the mare

who gave us racing rapture

Over the fence, I see her face

and whisper to the sparrow

"You see that big mare over there?

She thrilled us to our marrow!"

12 Nov 2010 12:26 PM
Admrox

Steve once again you hit it out of the park.

I traveled with a Canadian crew to cover Zenyatta. We had people new to the game and a couple who have owned horses for years and she moved us all.

Here is the Report.

www.insidealbertaracing.com/.../day_4

12 Nov 2010 12:29 PM
ALB

Firethorn,

I too would like to know why Z has cotton in her ears all the time too? Maybe Mr. Haskin can find out the answer for us? Thanks!

12 Nov 2010 12:33 PM
Gerry B

Thanks for a wonderful article. After reading the above comments, there's not much to add....except that I am so honored to have seen her last three races in CA.  I've taken friends to the track with me each time, and they are now ardent Zenyatta fans.  I wasn't able to go to Louisville for the BCC, but had about 16 friends in my home in Palm Springs watching the race on a 72" TV.  We were all  yelling so loudly, we scared the dog and she left the room.  While it was heart-breaking to see her loose her final (?) race, it was thrilling to see her perform her magic once again.  What an athlete!  MAGICAL!

So many rich memories. Thank you Zenyatta.

12 Nov 2010 12:41 PM
jock4hire

Thanks Steve, for this wonderfully written article.You do have a gift to put feelings into words!!  Made me cry as did many of the comments here.

Many thanks also go out to Team Shirreffs! You did not disappoint, Zenyatta will always be the best there is in this industry!! Best of luck to you all in the future!!

12 Nov 2010 12:42 PM
Goldie

Linda in Texas,

I agree with you that she will miss the hoop-la that surrounds her.  I once asked John Sherriffs why she would have to stay in Kentucky after she was bred, and offered my back yard to her.  He said Mrs. Moss had the same thoughts about her backyard.  I don't know who will miss the other one more; the horse or the humans.  They should nominate someone to take photos of her daily during her exile so she feels at home.  AND, it's awfully cold for a So Cal girl in Kentucky.  BRRRRRRR!

12 Nov 2010 12:43 PM
Mike Sekulic

ZENYATTA is Horse of the Year. She's also Horse of the Decade, for the last decade and this one too.

What a touching and moving tribute to this great mare! What an unbelievable piece of writing! It's just so perfectly beautiful.

How kind it was of David Ingordo to pay for that dear woman to come and see ZENYATTA. That's the type of act that is so kind and good that I wish we saw more of it in this world, because it serves to make this world a better place. To see the needs of others, and then to fulfill those needs, displays a kindness of spirit.

I can totally relate to all the people who love ZENYATTA. I must have photographed her 20 times by now, back at the barn, and each time is a thrill beyond compare. You'll notice that there is certainly a lot of beauty in the world, but I think she is probably the most beautiful creature I've ever seen.

I hope you get a chance to read the little story I wrote about her over at www.paulickreport.com.  

12 Nov 2010 12:47 PM
Marci

I feel so wonderful hearing about the attachment some feel with horses, or any animal for that matter. When that special relationship happens, it is indescribable - a blessing you could say. I have had that with my dogs and cats( I still miss you, Bill) and even my guinea pig Pinkey.

Zenyatta has been so loved by all those in her life and her personality mirrors that back. Both man and animal grow from such a relationship. The love and energy in that barn must be marvelous. Makes me want  to go stand there for a bit.

How lucky I feel to have enjoyed her and the relationship she has had with us  these 3 years. I can tell everyone I experienced the Zen years!  

12 Nov 2010 12:57 PM
Carole

I have been a Zenyatta fan from almost the beginning of her career and have been fortunate to have been there for all but her first few races.  A horse like Zenyatta only comes along every 30 to 40 years. How beautifully you have written about her!

12 Nov 2010 1:04 PM
Linda M

Racing just will not be the same when Zenyatta is "officially" retired.  And to compare her BC race with Slew's Jockey Gold cup race.  I was there, and it was something so very special.  He had more heart, and when he just missed, I was sitting with the owners and trainers, to see the tears in their eyes, well...need I say anymore?  ZENNY....you are the horse of the decade, the century and the greatest of all times.  What you have done for racing and humanity, will never be forgotten.

I have your photo right over my computer where I am now writing this, so I can see you everyday, although I see you in my mind and heart.

WE ALL LOVE YOU.         Linda

12 Nov 2010 1:09 PM
KathPoet

Wonderful article - it captures how everyone, including me, feels about Zenyatta! When she leaves, it will be a huge loss for racing. Although she missed the Classic by a nose, Zenyatta will never be defeated. Her name will be remembered long after Blame is forgotten. After all, how many people talk about Dark Star, Upset, or Onion these days? I wish her peace and fullfillment in her broodmare career and look forward to seeing her babies on the track someday. Maybe one of them will win the Classic for their mom! Good luck Zenyatta, I wish miss your wonderful dance!

12 Nov 2010 1:46 PM
NotRealQuiet

Hi Paula, breed her in CA? Everyone knows the best horses are bred in Kentucky, including Z!

12 Nov 2010 1:50 PM
Freetex

Well I just read your article again, Steve.  How can I say thank you over and over again?

I hope you understand how wonderful it would be to have the story of Zenyatta as only you could write it as suggested by Linda in Texas and Goldie.

Your words about Zenyatta?  Priceless.

12 Nov 2010 1:55 PM
Linda

Zenyatta has such a magical presence about her that touches everyone. I get so emotional when I read about her and or see any pictures she is truly wonderful. I just hope she will stay in the news forever, she will be missed so much when she retires. Thank you Jerry and Ann.  Love you Zenyatta

12 Nov 2010 2:08 PM
Carmel

Once again you know the right words to say to inspire all of us and let us know we are not alone in thinking Zenyatta is one of the great ones.  Thank you Steve!

12 Nov 2010 2:09 PM
Steve Haskin

Once again, I want to thank everyone for their kind words and comments, and sharing their own stories and feelings. Needless to say we'll never one like her again. She makes poets out of all of us.

12 Nov 2010 2:10 PM
Donut Jimmy

Zenyatta is a gift from the racing gods. John Sherriffs, Jerry and Ann Moss have been willing to share her with us in a way few owners and trainers ever have.

I thank them all very sincerely.

Once again Steve, your writing has captured the moment. I am thankful that horse racing is your passion.

I have a 2yo about to make her first start. Probably she will never be good enough to have fans. But having seen the example set by John Sherriffs, I can assure you if she, or any other horse I may ever own, ever does have fans, I will see to it that they get to pet, pose with her, feed her carrots, and generally feel part of things. Nothing could be better for racing.

( I can already say that my local track is never going to believe how many people come out to see a modest filly make her first start at a mid-level track next week! Many of these people have never seen a horse race in person. Maybe just one will become a lifelong fan. They will all be welcome to come back to the barn after the race.)

12 Nov 2010 2:15 PM
Barbara W

This Barbara in Texas agrees with Linda in Texas. We need you to write the book on our darling girl!

12 Nov 2010 2:23 PM
Zenyatta Zaniac

What really made me cry after the Classic, was when Zenyatta looked over at the Winner's Circle, as if she wondered why she wasn't going there!

12 Nov 2010 2:34 PM
Soldier Course

I am sitting out in public at a coffee cafe, balling my eyes out. People are stopping by my table, patting me on the back.

This is not the way I planned to spend my 63rd birthday, but the catharsis is the best gift I could have received at this time.

Thank you so much, Steve.

12 Nov 2010 2:43 PM
maryann727

Mr. Haskin, Your wonderful words seem to have captured and 'translated' into language some of the pure essence of Zenyatta's powerful, pure energy.  With this essay you have proved that writing can be a force for good.  Thank you for your emotional tribute to Zenyatta whose greatness transcends conventional measures.  She does seem mythical, doesn't she?

12 Nov 2010 2:43 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Looks like I lied. All of the great comments on this blog has enticed me to stick around. Some of the other blogs, I have to put cotton in my ears, but not here. It's nice to know that we're poets but didn't knowit. It's true that we'll never see the likes of her again. Never have, never will. Dance and pose, then come from dead last everytime to win 19 in a row. Give me a break- I still don't think it's possible. And in her last many people thought she wouldn't even finish the race, she looked so bad, and so far out of it early, but then many of us also knew that she would rise to the occasion again. She'd never disappointed us yet. Never has, never will. The glorious Queen will live forever as a symbol that nothing is impossible. Long live the Queen !!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 Nov 2010 2:51 PM
Slew

LetitrideMike: Thank you...that was beautifully sung.

12 Nov 2010 2:53 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I am so glad to see that other people also understand that Zenyatta is the greatest of all time in her own special unique way. Her charm and heart can't be taught, and we will never see the likes of her again. Congratulations to all of you that understood her greatness some time ago, and got to enjoy the thrill ride of the past two centuries as it happened over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

12 Nov 2010 2:58 PM
Zookeeper

LetltRideMike,

You had goose bumps doing a tap dance all over my scalp!!! That was exquisite.

12 Nov 2010 3:11 PM
lynn byrd

Had to leave this article 3 different times to wipe my eyes and blow my nose. You will say this story wrote itself, that it was an easy piece. All writers would love a chance at a story this beautiful, you probably say, and could do it justice. But, you, sir, work the emotional mojo to the highest level. Good on you.

Now, Zenyatta: will somebody please explain to me why this gal can't stay on the Moss's farm until the end time? How could she really be expected to leave? I don't understand...

12 Nov 2010 3:15 PM
Ashley McConnell

What a wonderful article.  Thank you.

I wish Zenyatta had run in the Marathon--it's the only race that's long enough to let her really get going.  And I wish that instead of the turf writers, the JOCKEYS voted on Horse of the Year.  I'll bet they know.

12 Nov 2010 3:18 PM
clarinetmama

"The Power of Zen(yatta)"  Amen!  That is exactly what I was thinking!  It's very hard to be disappointed when Zenyatta ran one of the most incredible races anybody's ever even seen!  Yes, she lost by a nose, but she also very nearly won.  Mike Smith rode brilliantly, and, Hey, it's horseracing...it's hard to win 'em all.  She still won in my eyes and in the eyes of all of her followers!  Thank you for this lovely article, I cried a little...

12 Nov 2010 3:19 PM
Kelley

Steve, thankyou so much! I was born into racing and have watched and cared for literally thousands of horses.I love them all.  Words just can not express the emotion Zenyatta stirs.Like none other. Once in a while, a very long while something great comes along bigger then life itself. Yet somehow Zenyatta is even more then that.The heart and soul she has is something else. I agree, we will never see anything like her again.She has touched so many in so many different ways. It's indiscribable. Thankyou God, for bringing her in my lifetime. Thankyou to the Moss's and John Sheriffs for sharing her with all of us. There will be a huge void when Zenyatta does not grace the track again and I will miss her thrilling stretch drive she delivers every single time but the memories will live forever. Thankyou Zenyatta!

12 Nov 2010 3:26 PM
Zenyatta101

When I saw her come so close in that race and lose but pass Blame in the next stride, I cried and cried, I cried for at least a day. No offense to Blame but he doesn't deserve HOY. If he gets it, millions of people will be, as I most can politley say it... pissed, many many people will be pissed. Sorry but Zenyatta should get it.

12 Nov 2010 3:37 PM
LaurieK

You've outdone yourself again, sir.  This remarkable mare represents everything that is right and good about the sport, and just how fully it can fill the heart.  There is so much that is wrong with racing today, but when something is as right as Zenyatta, it's time to put that aside and simply rejoice.  Thank you for another glorious article.  

12 Nov 2010 3:39 PM
LaurieK

Re:  the cotton in Zenny's ears.  She lives at Hollywood Park, which is a couple of miles due east of Los Angeles International Airport.  Planes pass directly over the track in their final descent, flying very low, with all of the attendant noise that you would expect.  This happens 24/7.  So she wears cotton in her ears to muffle the noise.  

12 Nov 2010 3:52 PM
quarterhossgal

Steve...you have done it again. Put into words what is in so many of our hearts, the emotions this great mare has stired for so many people will not come to an end when she retires.  We will follow her new career as a broodmare and enjoy her champion babies. God bless team Zenyatta for shring her with her fans.

12 Nov 2010 3:53 PM
Hildegard

steve from st louis:  My thoughts exactly.  He's probably being facetious.  

As for the cotton in the ears... She is sensitive to loud noises.  The cotton dulls sound and helps her stay at ease.

12 Nov 2010 4:13 PM
Soldier Course

Oops ... make that "bawling my eyes out", not "balling". Not the first time I've made that mistake in the Blog Stable.

12 Nov 2010 4:27 PM
ceil

To lynn byrd:  The Mosses don't have a farm. They board their broodmares in Kentucky (usually at Mill Ridge Farm - a wonderful place to be a broodmare!) She will be bred to a Kentucky stallion, probably Giant's Causeway or Henry the Navigator. And Zenyatta will be treated like the Queen she is. In the hearts and minds of fans she is HOY, period.

12 Nov 2010 4:40 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

Glad to have back and I see that your whimsical side has not left you. We missed you, missed you, missed you, missed you, missed you.

12 Nov 2010 4:40 PM
SueS

This story is so beautifully done. To read account after account of how this commanding mare has brought a touch of something—greatness, focus during a personal crisis, and sheer awe—makes me feel so good. Thank you!

12 Nov 2010 5:01 PM
Barbara W

Lynn Bird,

The Mosses don't have a farm. I wish they did, though.

12 Nov 2010 5:05 PM
bn

Darn it, where's the box of tissues when you need it?

Another very well written blog, Steve.

12 Nov 2010 5:17 PM
dbtoo

I've been trying to come up with the reason why I feel so strongly about her and why I am so incredibly sad that her glorious run is over. Its not the dancing or the posing or "seeing perfection". Those incredible stretch runs have alot to do with it but in the end I think it is just pure, raw "animal magnetism".

My heart goes out to the Shirreffs, the Mosses, Mike, and  Mario and all the sadness they must be feeling.

12 Nov 2010 5:19 PM
Zookeeper

Soldier Course,

Happy Birthday! Glad you're joining us again.

12 Nov 2010 5:39 PM
Zookeeper

dbtoo,

Actually, from what I hear, sadness is not the prevalent emotion in the Shirreffs' barn. Pride is more like it and also enormous gratitude for all the LOVE that comes pouring in, from all sources, for Zenyatta and all who are associated with her.

I myself, am a living testament that sadness does not stay in one's heart when in the presence of the Great Mare.

She is happy and so is everyone who comes in contact with her. Take my word for it, I experienced it first hand. Her aura is magical and I'm not one to engage in hyperbole.

12 Nov 2010 5:50 PM
Big Brown's Buddy

You'd think I'd have learned by now to NOT open a Steve Haskin blog, but NO, seeing it was about my favorite mare, I went and opened it.  And cried. As I usually end up doing when reading one of your blogs, Steve.  

It's amazing how many lives Zenyatta has touched.  Over on her website, there are posts from Denmark and other countries... who knew she'd reach around the world?  It goes to show just how special she really is.  Not only on the track, but off it as well. She's not highstrung like most racehorses, making her approachable, one more thing about her that endears her to her fans-she's all business on the track, but she's "a regular Joe" off the track.

Thanks Steve, for another beautiful piece on a beautiful girl.

12 Nov 2010 6:06 PM
Alex

Thank you for these heart warming

stories of Zenyatta's fans and how

much we love her! I would like to

say to Dominic, your posting is

Great! And, if you all do not know

this, you can buy the 60 Minutes segment on Zenyatta thru Amazon.com

Thank you "Team Zenyatta"

12 Nov 2010 6:14 PM
Anne

Thanks Steve for patting her for us, and for these amazing stories. The Mosses should bring her back home to CA after she's bred! Why shouldn't they, and Zenyatta, continue Team Zenyatta? They've earned the right to live as they wish and so deserve.

12 Nov 2010 6:32 PM
Steve Haskin

Zookeeper, I dont know what your post was about, but I dont see it if it was the same time you posted to Dr. D.

12 Nov 2010 6:37 PM
Zookeeper

Mr. Haskin, it was on your other blog, the one about the race and I submitted it before my comment to GunBow.

12 Nov 2010 6:46 PM
dbtoo

Zookeeper,

I meant sadness that it may have been her last race. But I am very glad to hear that her magic has made it all okay!

12 Nov 2010 6:55 PM
Kelley

Steve

I have to ask. In all my 50 years with these horses I can not ever remimber a horse that has stirred the emotion and touched so many lives like Zenyatta has. I have watched so many that are amoung the greats but I have never seen  anything like this before. Have you? Such an outpouring. It's incredable to see!

12 Nov 2010 7:14 PM
Karen

Thanks Steve for a great article. Zenyatta is one of the greatest horses in racing history. I hope she races again as long as she enjoys it and is sound. My family and I will always love her. Horse of the year or not, she is the Queen forever to her fans.

12 Nov 2010 7:24 PM
Steve Haskin

Kelley, nothing even close. This is on a different spiritual level than anything I've ever seen.

Zookeeper, I cant find that blog in our community server. I'll have to ask where it is. It wasnt a regular blog stable blog, just a link to a blog. I have no idea why it wasnt posted, If I find out I'll let you know.

12 Nov 2010 7:36 PM
Kelly

Steve, you are amazing!  I am holding back the tears, but just barely.  When I was a child, I had a wonderful mother who used to indulge this horseracing nut of a daughter by taking me on vacations to Kentucky.  Being from non-horseracing-friendly Missouri, those trips were treasures to me.  Horses were the special love that we shared.  I have a lot of great memories of being at the track with my mom.  She was with me for my first two Breeders' Cups at Churchill.  This year was the five-year anniversary of my mother's death (taken by cancer at age 56 on November 10, 2005,) and the first BC I had been to without her.  She would have loved Zenyatta.  I can't even put into words the emotions I went through being there.  I'm not much of a believer in the hereafter, but if ever there was a time my mother's spirit was closest to my heart, it was as Zenyatta came through the stretch trying to catch Blame.  The closest I got to her was watching her walk over before the race from 3 rows back, and when I saw her, geez, it was like being hit by lightning.  Your article brought all that back.  Thank you so much, Steve, Zenyatta, and everyone surrounding or touched by this beautiful mare.

12 Nov 2010 7:43 PM
Ann

What farm do they plan on keeping her at? And I wonder about visitors..

12 Nov 2010 7:45 PM
Rita

First of all Draynay the only reason your on here with your usual poison spewing mouth saying words  you don't mean is because you know Steve don't play that. So don't think you are fooling anyone on here. Now there are not enough words to describe Zenyatta, so many have been said. Shes has brought me thru this last year with my sister being sick and then her passing away September 12.She and I started living together 32 years ago after both of us were divorced. We bought 4 different houses together and got along very well.People used to wonder how we did it since we both had strong personalities. We'd watch the races. Her favorite jockey was Calvin because he was a cajun. She would of loved the fight Calvin had at the BC.She had to go to a nursing home in April until her death and it has hit me a little hard money wise. Where theres a will there is a way I always say .I have had big Zen and Steve's wonderful writings to help me thru to.As much as I love that girl I think I would rather they retire her because she will be 7 and I'm scared she will be more easy to get hurt and I don't think I could handle that. My heart would break for sure.I guess we'll see what happens tho.

12 Nov 2010 7:50 PM
Linda in Texas

Donut Jimmy - what is your filly's name????  And at which track will she be racing???  And this week end or next???

I have HRTV and they always show the races on the week ends, be it Calder, Charles Town, Golden Gate, Aqueduct and Delta Downs.

Share her name, i love to watch the 2 year olds, love to watch them progress from being 'green' right on thru. At first i thought that word was not complimentary, but now i realize it is just a phase of their training.

Believe me, we are for the most part a decent group of people.

Some of us might get rowdy and sometimes maybe rank if our feather's are ruffled enough!  

Did you know Zookeeper has a fella named Runflatout we are keeping track of and wishing safe travels to? I know everyone would like to know your girl's name. So don't be shy.

12 Nov 2010 8:08 PM
dbjr8

Beautiful blog Steve!

12 Nov 2010 8:36 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Soldier Course

 Happy Birthday, and I've made that exact same bawling vs. balling mistake here also among many others. Sounds like a good way to spend your birthday to me. Queen Zenyatta ruled the track for three years but that is not the extent of her reign for she will rule our hearts forever. I'm thankful that I got to share in the astonishing journey, but more than anything I am very thankful that The Queen is alive and well, safe and sound.

Zookeeper

  Thank you very much, and I am glad that you are safe and sound also along with all of the other special people that give us joy on this blog. My only regret is that The Deacon is not here with us. There is no sadness in Mudville or in here in Haskinville, and back in Hollywood Sheriff Shirreffs has ridden back into town on his trusty Zenyatta to a roaring crowd after nearly taming the East, and giving them a show they will never forget. Ever.

12 Nov 2010 8:56 PM
calyra5

Till now, I haven't see my lifetime horse to remember.  Now I have.  I get tears in my eyes anytime Zenyatta runs.  To me, anytime this happens, it's the sign of a good one.  Only this time, the sign of a great one.  I was like everyone who wanted more than anything for Zenyatta to win the Classic and go 20 for 20.  I remember the emotions I had leading up to it.  Torn between wanting to watch but dreading the outcome of what if. I remember thinking afterwards, this trully stinks.  She was suppose to win but I then reflect again, she laid it all on the line. I would trade the loss for the win knowing what she overcame.

I am grateful I got to see my lifetime horse. It beats waiting for a Triple Crown winner.

12 Nov 2010 8:58 PM
sherpa

LetItRideMike posted something achingly beautiful on 12 Nov 2010 at 12:26 PM, and I thank him for it....

Zenyatta In Retirement

Gravel underneath my boots disturbs the silent morning

Horses raise and lower their head,

no need to sound a warning

I love this time, the break of dawn

tranquil is the pasture

And over there, there stands the mare

who gave us racing rapture

Over the fence, I see her face

and whisper to the sparrow

"You see that big mare over there?

She thrilled us to our marrow!"

12 Nov 2010 9:04 PM
sodapopkid

I just hope that all the turf writers that get to vote finally do the right thing by her and give her back what she has given to this sport.  She is who she is , she is magical, inspiring, awesome, loving, kind, entertainer, dancer, she is everything you could ever dream of in one package, she is truly beyond your ordinary race horse. She is almost human-like. Zenyatta is not only Horse of the Year, she is Zenyatta..........

Steve do you think her reward will finally come this year?  Do you think the voters will finally reward her for being the best horse of this year?  Or do you think she will once again get slapped in the face?

12 Nov 2010 9:13 PM
GunBow

Steve:

Once again your were spot on.  Who better to write about greatness than such a great writer.  I love that you are not hesitant to express your love for these horses.  I loved your photos with Z and found the stories remarkable.

Zenyatta's greatness was established before the 2010 Breeder's Cup Classic, but had she lost badly, the skeptics could have smuggly said "I told you so", continuing to dismiss her already amazing accomplishments.  

Fortunately, Zenyatta ran so well in the Classic that even most of her skeptics, except those whose egos had been tied too tightly to the contrarian side, have now acknoweldged her talent and heart.

Because Zenyatta is so big, so long, and and ran so well in the last two Classics, it is easy to forget that she is a female; that was a mare winning last year's Classic and running Blame to a nose in this year's Classic!  In contrast to grass racing in Europe, few females over the last 50 years of North American racing history have been able to compete with elite males over a classic distance.  The Breeder's Cup has been around over 25 years now, but never before had a female run even 2nd in a Classic, let alone win it.  There can be little doubt that had her connections wanted, she could have won 3 Ladies Classics, having won one in 08' before focusing on the Classic.

As with Ruffian and Personal Ensign, it is hard to determine Zenyatta's place among the very greatest horses, given the culture in North America of keeping females racing against other females.  We do know Zenyatta was good enough to win a Classic on synthetic and then come back at age 6 and run the best male dirt horse to head in another Classic, the most important maintrack race in the world.  Based on her performances in the Classic alone these last 2 years, Zenyatta deserves a place among the very greatest females in North American history.  Then there is the streak, 19 in a row, 13 gr.1s, carrying weight, overcoming disadvantageous pace scenarios, winning on synthetic and dirt.  At the very least, she is the equal of Ruffian, Personal Ensign, Gallorette, Busher, Shuvee, and Lady's Secret among others.

However, as Steve so passionately reminds us, the greatness of Zenyatta rests not only in her racing exploits but in her personality, her dancing, her posing, her physical presence, and her intelliegence as well; she has captured hearts like few horses in recent decades, and provides younger fans with an example of how star horses were embraced by the general public when racing was at the height of its popularity.  Like Seabiscuit and Native Dancer, a unique combination of factors have made Zenyatta more popular, more loved than even her outstanding racing record would suggest.   No, Steve, we'll probably never see another like Zenyatta.

12 Nov 2010 9:17 PM
NancyP

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Steve!  Really, Zenyatta and you have left me speechless.  I love the pictures of Zenyatta, as well you and Zenyatta smooching.  I want to thank everyone for their wonderful blogs and sharing their personal stories regarding our beautiful Queen.  Drdrunkinbum and Zookeeper thank you for all of the eloquent blogs you have written about our Beautiful Mare.

LetitRideMike - your poem was so on target and simply elegant.

Thank you to Jerry and Ann Moss, John and Dottie Sherriffs, Mike Smith, Mario and his wife, and all of the other members of Team Zenyatta for bringing the beautiful and powerful Zenyatta to all of us, truly she is a gift from God!  One of my prayers was answered, she returned from Classic sound.  I don't think there is a stallion worthy of her - maybe Galileo, or Sea The Stars?  No stallion in this country, that is for sure.  Unless Cigar suddenly becomes capable of impregnating her.  I'm sure once he lays eyes on her, he will be head over heels in love and become verile.  I know you are not breeders, however nothing would make me happier than for her to stay with you and in your charge and oversight.  I think of Saint Liam and his tragic end. Whether it was careless handling, or just his desire to get as quickly as possible to the freedom offered by his paddock - the end result broke my heart.  I don't want human carelessness, or an unforseen event cause her any harm - she is a National Treasure!

Zenyatta, I search the Internet looking for any new news as to what are you doing each day.  It is lonely without you.  I love your posts on Zenyatta.com.  Thank you Queen Zenyatta for the happiest time in my life.  God Bless you with a long and healthy life.

With Loving Admiration,

NancyP

12 Nov 2010 9:28 PM
Brenda

I do think Blame is a very good horse...But let see him come from even half as far back a Zen did and then come that close to winning the classic...I guarantee no other horse could of done it.

ZENYATTA FOR HORSE OF THE YEAR!!!!!

12 Nov 2010 9:45 PM
sherpa

Steve Haskin, we who love Zenyatta suffered much in the few days since her narrow defeat.  Those who had refused to see the glorious creature we had taken into our very beings were heartlessly quick to raise the spectre of HotY.  Within hours of the onslaught, I found myself unable to gasp out a comment.  It was all so cruel and unnecessary.

But You, dependably and with such depth of appreciation so evident in your writing, have given us a great gift in this and in your BCC Recap threads.  You have wrapped us in a warm, soft blanket when we were chilled to the bone.  You respect our *feelings* - and give us space to express them.  Yes, it's a true gift and so are you.

And thank you, everyone, for sharing your thoughts and your stories and love.  I think Zenyatta sustained many of us as we dealt with difficulties, even tragedies, in our individual lives...for there is such Joy in her, how could we not respond to it?  

Thank you, Zenny, and all your Connections, for the best "ride" of my life!  I love you.

12 Nov 2010 9:52 PM
kentuckydeb55

I...am...smitten

Had never attended a Breeder's Cup--Zenyatta's magic drew me there.  Was breathless her whole race...c'mon Mike--LET HER GO!!!  That last turn so far behind it seemed impossible then hoping, wishing, trying, reaching and the racing Gods said not this time.

I couldn't quit writing, posting on facebook, talking about it for several days.  Had to come to terms with the whole experience.  I had seen the Queen from less than 8 feet away...came so close to greatness.  I've never felt this way before.

If racing does not grant HOY to Zenyatta again this year it will be another blow.  It's hard to even concieve of it.  

But thank you, Steve, for this amazing article.  I smiled and I cried...and I dream of Zenyatta...

She's more than a horse.  I feel sorry for those who do not understand.

12 Nov 2010 9:58 PM
Winnipeg

As Winston Churchill said "There is something about the exterior of the horse that is good for the person's soul."  Clearly, Z has touched many souls.  Horse racing,gives us these experiences.

12 Nov 2010 9:58 PM
Diana

Every once in awhile, we as a nation, need a hero; something that makes us smile and feel good.  That hero is Zenyatta.  Although Blame is an excellent horse, he doesn't have the charisma that Zenyatta has brought into this world.  She is a devine gift only God could have created.  Emotions or no emotions...Zenyatta, The Great!

12 Nov 2010 10:12 PM
Bob

If this article does not win the Eclipse Award for turf writing we will need a steward's inquiry. Folks, this is among the greatest pieces ever written about a thoroughbred.  Thanks, Steve, for this treasure.

12 Nov 2010 10:30 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

It's really quite simple. Zenyatta can be mentioned in the same sentence with Man O' War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Citation, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, and Cigar. A nose by any other name would still be greatness. Zenyatta in the first half mile of the 2010 BCC shopped for lingerie, took a steam bath, posed for photos, had her hair done, posed for more photos, then realized she was late for the prom and zoomed the last half mile in a time too fast to record to just miss by a nose. If only she wouldn't have gotten her hair done. I thought it looked just fine. But does it really matter if she was late by a nose. I mean afterall she is The Queen, and should be given a little grace. Who wants a perfect creature anyway? A teeny, tiny flaw is nice. So what if she was a tad late one time. The dance was still held, and as you can see in the photo The Queen was still kissed by The King.

12 Nov 2010 10:40 PM
ForeverRuffian

Lovely article!  What you wrote says it all about why people are drawn to Zenyatta. If she wins or loses, it doesn't matter. It's who she is, the joy that she shows when she runs, that makes her so fantastic. If people only liked her because she was undefeated, I don't think people would still be gathering around her, trying to get glimpses of her.

I'd never heard some of the small stories you fit into your article. Thank you for sharing them with us.

And I truly think that Zenyatta is the Sea Biscuit, or Secretariat, or Man O War of our time. Of course I'd mention Ruffian, but I'm superstitious ^_^

Yet it's articles like this that also make me sad for Rachel Alexandra. I think she got a bum ride this season and wasn't trained to her full power.  Starting her off with that stupid figure 8 noseband was just the tip of the Bad Idea Iceberg (she obviously hated it!).  Poor Rachel! What's going on with her these days?

12 Nov 2010 10:44 PM
Paula Higgins

Mike Relva, you are welcome. I read that John, Dottie and Jerry and Ann Moss are getting together next week to decide her future. We can only hope.

Linda from Texas, ITA with you. When you love a living creature and lose your heart to him/her well, you want them near you. I know if they ship her to Kentucky Ann Moss will have an awfully hard time. I know I sure would.

Freetex, I know Kentucky is where it's at for breeding but I don't care. Time to do some California breeding and keep her there. It's a heck of alot warmer for starters and Zenny isn't used to the cold. Heck I'm not used to the cold and I grew up in New England.

Steve what we love about Zenyatta is her sweetness, gentleness and then her flip side where we see that courage in the stretch, unlike anything we have ever seen. Plus, she's a GIRL! There are lots of great male horses but how many girls of this quality have we seen? I am including Rachel in this as well. She was amazing and I won't forget her even as we celebrate the Queen. Goldikova is obviously up there too but she is not sweet like Zenny. I understand she is very territorial in her stall and has been known to want to bite people who get close to it. Pretty funny that she is so feisty but sweetness is apparently not one of her qualities. Not like Zenny. There is no one like Zenny.

12 Nov 2010 10:49 PM
Paula Higgins

Happy Birthday Soldier Course!

12 Nov 2010 10:52 PM
Grandma Bea & 3 kitties

What a wonderful article. Zenyatta is the most wonderful thing that happened to horse racing and its fans. I will love her forever.

12 Nov 2010 11:07 PM
Gary Tasich

Thanks Steve....well done! Zenyatta truly transcends the sport. She's heaven sent....a true warrior with the heart and soul of an angel!

12 Nov 2010 11:10 PM
sushyne

I have already voiced my appreciation for your fine, stirring words for Zenyatta, Steve. It has been brought to my attention that there was a lot of applause while Seth Hancock, Jr. spoke of Blame being "worthier" of the HOTY award than Zenyatta, that there was hardly any applause for Mike Smith during his emotional explanation of the race. Might we as a grassroots campaign be a bit naive in thinking we have ANY influence on this award no matter how many "voices" deep we are at above 4100+? Is it really a matter of old money and the east coast voting bloc getting their way once again with the HOTY award rather than the quality of the race, horse, number of G1s, etc., and who really cares about the infusion of new or reentry of old racing fans to the sport. Thanks. BTW I will not give up the fight...:)

12 Nov 2010 11:29 PM
Bigtex

Great pictures, Steve!  I believe Zenyatta would still be 19 for 20 if you were in the irons!!!

12 Nov 2010 11:34 PM
Az

Thank you, Steve. I have always admired your writing, but this article gave me goosebumps. Everything I've been thinking and feeling about Zenyatta, you perfectly described.

13 Nov 2010 12:44 AM
Richard G

Steve: I just glanced at the World Thoroughbred rankings. I know this is not exactly your thing, but what do you think of a ranking system that places Blame second behind Harbinger as the top Thoroughbred ahead of Quality Road and Arc and Epsom winner Workforce in a three-way tie for third, a retired Rip Van Winkle ninth AND Goldikova and Zenyatta in a four-way tie for tenth. Zenyatta creamed Quality Road and Goldi may be the best horse on the planet. Zenyatta destroyed a male field and left one standing by the snot on his nose. Can the sport and its rankings continue to have credibility when it is so...well, let's just say it, sexist?

13 Nov 2010 12:45 AM
downhomesunset

I have followed TB racing since 1986-and have not seen a horse as charasmatic as Zenyatta. Alysheba, Easy Goer and Cigar are in my heart as greats who I religiously kept up with, but her connections made her available to an adoring public.

Thank you John Sheriff, Jerry and Ann Moss, Mike Smith and of course Zenyatta! It has been a wonderful ride!!!

13 Nov 2010 6:28 AM
LAPREVOYANTE

Give her HOY.  She should have got it last year.

13 Nov 2010 7:15 AM
Kate C.

Mr. Haskin, please, please, PLEASE write a book about Zenyatta!  You are simply the best - it's a match made in Heaven! She deserves one like Bill Nack's amazing bio of Secretariat... Yours would be phenomenal!!!

Thank you for this wonderful blog post.  I just read your Classic feature (I wait for the print edition) and I must say, it softened my hard feelings for Blame.  Thank you for that, for letting me put the bitterness and disappointment aside and realize that Zenyatta truly lost nothing in the Classic, and it does not matter who gets Horse of the Year.  She is the horse of a lifetime and we all know it.

13 Nov 2010 8:49 AM
Norma M.

I think this is the most emotional and inspirational piece you have ever written.  Thank you very much.  There has been a lot said about the intervention of the "Racing Gods".  Well, I think the Racing Gods gave us Zenyatta.  They deemed it time to finally smile upon "all" of us.  They not only blessed us with this beautiful mare, but insured that she got the right set of caregivers to see her through her journey.  Forget about all this HOTY stuff. Zenyatta will always be the Horse of the Heart.  

13 Nov 2010 8:50 AM
Eric Rickard

I don't have the words to state my feelings. Thats what writers are for.  It will take a long time for me to latch on to another horse. Uncle Mo could win the triple crown and I still will be thinking of Zenyatta...Zenyatta...Zenyatta..............

13 Nov 2010 9:10 AM
newsline2

Zenyatta gave people a way to celebrate a world-class Champion, and a way to work through the haunting tragedies of Barbaro, Eight Belles, and George Washington.

Zenyatta is real. Whole. Honest. Sound--and a great competitor. Champion of Champions.

Watching her problem solve her race last week to come within a whisker of winning...was as fine a moment in can be found in any sport--any time in history.

She exemplifies the Power of Heart like no one else in the world--because she is genuine.

It is delicious...

Thank you again, Steve, for your insightful stories, and images that let us more deeply feel the magic too.

13 Nov 2010 9:21 AM
Zookeeper

There is a photo on Zenyatta's Facebook page that shows her heading Blame a stride or so after the finish line. Check it out. It puts a great big hole in the assertion that she never got past Blame at any point. SHE CLEARLY DID. It doesn't change the outcome of the race, but it certainly sets the record straight.

I don't know how to post this picture on a blog, but maybe someone else does. I'm sure that her fans would appreciate the TRUTH to be told and acknowledged.

We all concede that Blame won the race, but what is being said all over is simply NOT TRUE. She did get her head in front. As far as she's concerned it was "mission accomplished"... and what a mission it was!!!

13 Nov 2010 10:00 AM
Greg J.

Bravo and Thank You Mr. Haskin!

13 Nov 2010 10:24 AM
Terry

Steve,

When you sat down to write this, after all your research, you could not have realized that the greats who preceded you in equine journalism, like Red Smith, Joe Palmer, Damon Runyon, Joe Nichols, Charlie Hatton, Joe Hirsch and others, would welcome you into that fraternity of the few who have captured the greatest that there was in racing.

You have done so with this moving article and I congratulate you on this work which I will keep with me forever.

13 Nov 2010 10:27 AM
katethegreat

Pure hearted horse, pure writing perfection.

13 Nov 2010 10:29 AM
Joan R

Thanks for the great article. I would like to see Z be HOY this time.

But she will not know if she is or not. So She will be content with who she is. Awards are for people. Anyone who has seen Z race knows how good she is and she will go down in history as one of the best ever with or without HOY.

13 Nov 2010 10:47 AM
Criminal Type

Really Steve, You HAVE to stop making me cry dammit !

13 Nov 2010 10:54 AM
JUNIOR GATORS

I have said it before, and I'll say it again.  Thank you team Z for allowing me to be blessed enough to see this mare run!

I was never able to see her in the flesh, but watched her on TV.

I have my $2 win ticket, and it's in my photo album for life.

Thanks again for sharing this mare with us!

13 Nov 2010 11:32 AM
nycveg

Does anyone know what Zenyatta has been doing back in California?  I'm curious if she's been going to the track at all, etc.  Even if they ultimately decide to retire her (and I'm glad these wonderful owners seem to be giving serious thought to all of their options in an objective way and not rushing to any decisions), I imagine that it would be a bit of a shock to a horse who's been competing at such a high level for so long to switch to no exercise except for walks on the lead line.

13 Nov 2010 11:44 AM
NIK

I am so inspired at all the outpouring of love and admiration from all of Zenyatta fans in and out of the racing world and I now realize that everything happens for a reason.  As funky as I've been since that race, I now believe that she's transcended the sports world by becoming a symbol of hope, courage and confidence in everything she's does.  She has stirred the souls of even the most hardened of hearts and has brought many lives together.   That is so much greater than a mere race, isn't it?

13 Nov 2010 12:51 PM
the power of Zen(yatta)

Zookeeper...

you saw the same thing I did (as I said in my 11-11-10 blog). Two more strides to the line and Zenyatta would have won. Watch the finish, see how she's gaining & y'all will see...two more strides...she's INCREDIBLE!

13 Nov 2010 12:54 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

NotRealQuiet, per your post; Everyone knows the best horses are bred in Kentucky, including Z!

Of course KY has been the TB nursery with stallions commanding the highest stud fees in the states. KY has long been THE state for the nicest mares to go to be bred with the nicest stallions. But believe it or not, CA has a few pretty nice stallions available too.

Off the top of my head, a few Cal breds of note; Tiznow, Indian Charlie, Officer, Best Pal, The Usual QT, Thor's Echo, Lava Man, Soviet Problem, Texcess, Gourmet Girl.

13 Nov 2010 1:15 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

NancyP

  Thank you very much. I've really enjoyed your blogs and everyone else here. This is a tremendous celebration of Zenyatta and her great fans. The King-Steve Haskin has ensured that the riff-raff goes elsewhere to spew their venom making this a joyous occasion, cheering and remembering one of the greatest thoroughbreds ever, and the greatest mare of all time. I love this blog. Cheers to all here, I know that the Zen experience will continue for you. No one could ever forget the thrilling memories, and the stunning charm of The Queen. What a magnificient specimen. I still shake my head and wonder how she did it. It is a fairy tale. If you made it up, how she went from dead last everytime, 19 times, to snare the victory, people would tell you to "get real," put some realism in it. And then can you imagine how terrible it would have been if Zen was sick or something and would have run bad at CD, there would have been the "I told you so's." There is none of that. Even Andy Beyer finally got it. A shame he missed out on the show. We're the lucky ones, that "got it" long ago and got to see Zen's glory many times, time after time. it wasn't a once in a lifetime race once, it was a once in a lifetime race every time she ran.

13 Nov 2010 1:33 PM
cfoxo

Zookeeper:  Anyone can see it for themselves on You Tube..you just pause it at the wire, then click the 'tape progress bar' to get the frame by frame..one jump after the wire she had her nose in front, (tho it is a slim nose); second jump after the wire she was almost a half length in front. ..plain as day, tho sadly it is a moot point. :(  What matters to me is that she also beat all the same horses Blame did in his three Grade 1's and she did it on DIRT and had soooo much more to overcome in the B. Cup..timing beat her...sigh.

Great article Steve!

13 Nov 2010 1:33 PM
Tracy

I think what touches me most about Zenyatta is what happens when a horse gets a good team that respects her,loves her and makes her family.I was adopted into an awesome family and I tell people yes I am a thorougbred for I was chosen.To all those who chose to love unconditionally and let the horse/child develop their talents without force you are awesome!!Love you Zenyatta you have a permanent spot in my heart always!

13 Nov 2010 1:54 PM
Linda M

Dear Dear Steve.....how do we love thee?  No words can explain your blogs.  All I can say I so look forward to them, can't imagine who you can blog about next.  And as said before, ZENYATTA, showed those naysayers SHE COULD, AND DID, run like dynamite on dirt.  To you and Zenny, BRAVO, CHEERS, and all the superlatives in and out of the dictionary.

13 Nov 2010 2:01 PM
NIK

nycveg - Just saw on facebook that today John is going to have her jog around the track a bit to stretch the legs and keep her happy.  Also for those who want to visit her at HP stables,  there is still a moratorium on visits until they figure out a happy solution with other trainers, but a spokeswoman said that the outcome would be posted on their Hollywood Park website.

13 Nov 2010 2:15 PM
Karen Ann

I for one hope that Zenyatta keeps on racing, but only if she is happy and sound. I don't think she wants to retire. She really is great. She is the horse of the year  without question.

13 Nov 2010 2:28 PM
Steve Haskin

Terry, you are  too kind. I'm overwhelmed by your comparison. I dont agree at all, but just you thinking that means a great deal to me. Thank you.

nycveg, she is going to begin light training. I know she'll stay at Hollywood at least until early December.

Criminal Type, dont take my fun away :)

Well said, Norma, and thank you and everyone again for your wonderful words.

13 Nov 2010 2:46 PM
Steve Haskin

Wow, Linda, are you sure your name isnt Linda Browning?

Thank you very much. To be honest, I cant imagine who I can blog about next either. I think Zenyatta has drained me :)

13 Nov 2010 2:49 PM
jeannine brumfield

OMG! your passion in writing this article brought tears to my eyes. I saw her run both times at Oaklawn. The first time nobody new who she was. But when she returned I drove 14hours from Central Texas to see her. She is the most amazing horse I have ever seen. I own 10 horses and have been around them all my life, but this one is a Queen and much much more than HOY!!!!

13 Nov 2010 3:17 PM
Colleen Harner

Steve,

I am a 21 year old high school drop out who struggled with a drug addiction for years. I acctually dropped out of high school my senior year to work at Philadelphia Park. I got my GED in sept 09 and am now halfway through my first semester of college! I am going to continue school and get my DVM as an Equine veterinarian. I have worked with horses since I was 5, and they have always been my identity.

But recently I had to quit my jobs with the horses and walk away due to pretty severe Carpal Tunnel. It was the hardest thing ive ever had to do, and I struggle with that reality everyday. But one thing has helped me...Zenyatta has reminded me of the 'bigger picture'. Just because I had to walk away from them doesnt mean I can never have them back in my life.  I believe Zenyatta has helped so many people, and she came when we needed her most. I believe she takes us outside of ourselves and helps us to focus on something other than what may be going downhill; the 'bigger picture'. Zenyatta renewed my determination to continue school and continue my sobriety. Having an inspiration such as her helps remind me of all the hard work I have put forth and all that i have accomplished. I am a writer (my goal is to one day pulish a novel that I hope can reach and inspire others who have been in similar place like myself.) I belive that I could write unendlessly about Zenyatta in so many differnt ways. But I wanted to say thank you for your article. Something about it moved me, just like everything about Zenyatta moves me!

13 Nov 2010 4:00 PM
Gilcress T

To the Mosses, the Shireffs, and to all associated with this great mare, congrats to all of you!! What a privlege it is and was to see Zenyatta prove time after time after time, that its not what you have but what you can prove and do, and She proved, most importantly in the Classic, that no matter what, and this is what brings me to tears while typing this, is that you do the very best that you can because you truly don't know who is watching you. Cheers!

13 Nov 2010 4:21 PM
Marilyn

okay, when are they going to make a movie about Zenyatta? the sooner the better; i can tell you it would be a hit; I regret I will probably never get up, close and personeal with Zenyatta; I have grown to love her.

13 Nov 2010 4:38 PM
Steve Haskin

Oh, my goodness, Colleen, your post floored me. What a wonderful, but sad story, and again, so inspirational. Although you cant handle the horses any longer, what you CAN handle is much more important -- life! You should be very proud of what you have accomplished, and take great pride in it. I have faith you will be a wonderful vet one day. Your post is so well written; I can see that you are writer.

I wish you all the best with everything, and I'm sure you one day will write that book.

Please keep in touch and let me know how everything is working out for you. I'll be glad to help in any way.

Steve

13 Nov 2010 4:41 PM
Vanesa

Steve!

I'm sooooooo jealous! How soft was that nose? How'd you feel? I bet you already have those pictures framed and hung on a special place in your home. I know I would.

Thanks again for a wonderful article. I can only hope, when the time comes for Zenyatta's biography to be written, you are the one to do it. Your writing touches us readers (I'm sure I speak for many) very much the same way Zenyatta's accomplishments have touched so many.

13 Nov 2010 4:46 PM
CV

Zookeeper,

This is a little off topic, but I don't know how else to contact you. Do you know when Runflatout will go back in training, and when he might be scheduled for his first race?

13 Nov 2010 5:28 PM
eightbelles

This is by far the most beautiful article that I have read to date about the great Lady Zenyatta.

It is such a pleasure to have witnessed her epic story and brilliant magnificence.

My favorite line from this aricle is that "in victory we witnessed her heart, in lone deafeat we witnessed her soul".

To truly know and love thorougbreds, is to know what this means. Thank you Mr. Steve - beautiful article.

13 Nov 2010 6:04 PM
Criminal Type

Steve, no worries, I wouldnt dream of stopping you from writing these amazing stories, even if they do sometimes make me cry.

Those pictures of you smooching Zenyatta give the reader a glimps into your heart and soul. You love these horses as much as we do. It's not just a job, They clearly inspire something remarkable in you.

Now can we debate Zenyatta's mate?? I'll take Medaglia D'oro.

13 Nov 2010 6:16 PM
TexSpect

Well it mostly have all been said with great superlatives regarding the great Zenyatta...The Queen! I had a special interest in Zenyatta from the beginning because of Forli in her pedigree. Zenyatta brought me to appreciate the spirit of a horse I loved many years ago. Although this is the Queen's era, Forli can be found in the pedigrees of both Blame and Rachel Alexandra. Yes, I just had to get than in! Long live the Queen....Soon to be the "Queen Mother".....maybe???

13 Nov 2010 6:18 PM
Freetex

Paula Higgins, California would be a great place for Zenyatta.  I know she was bred in Kentucky, but CA is home.  

Frankly, I wish we could rewind and see her race all of her races for the first time, once again.

Steve Haskin, who are you?  I am so touched by your generosity of spirit.

13 Nov 2010 7:26 PM
Remi

Steve, yet another great article, i have followed Zenyatta for the past 2 years and i can only dream that somehow she will race next year so i can see her run. Her loss in the breeders cup did not dent her greatness, it sealed it. And with this being Zenyatta's finale racing season i only hope that i get my chance to meet the Queen, Zenyatta.

13 Nov 2010 8:29 PM
Mike Relva

My wish would be all racehorses would have owners/trainers like Zenyatta's.

13 Nov 2010 8:35 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

You REALLY must be on something. All you've ever done is trash this horse and then you come on here with your FALSE PRAISE! I agree with RITA and STEVE FROM ST. LOUIS. You aren't fooling anyone but yourself!

13 Nov 2010 8:47 PM
SusanW

Right now about all I can do is Thank YOU for a wonderful article, and the pictures are amazing, Steve.

It's so hard to let her go, every time I try to say what she means to me, I start crying.

She is the greatest horse I've ever seen, America's horse, she is the Queen. The Classic only proved her greatness. But, her pictures with you, the expression in her eyes, show such kindness and intelligence...How we'll miss her. Long live the Queen.

13 Nov 2010 9:07 PM
democraticjack

Steve, your beautifully written article encapsulates much of the ephemeral rationale for the HOY Eclipse being awarded to Zenyatta.  Her achievments on the track and her connection to the public via her "personality" and palpable charisma are rare and demand to be honored because God knows when we will see her like again.  If her story didn't touch you and tell you to put aside data and numbers, then you don't have a pulse; you have a lever as you have all the heart of a slot machine.

13 Nov 2010 9:33 PM
Woodswoman

Zenyatta has captivated so many of us in a way I've never seen. That blend of power, gentleness and personality is unique and I don't think we will see the like of her again in my lifetime.

Steve, you not only captured the essence of this remarkable horse, but told stories that are so touching that I've got tears in my eyes.

13 Nov 2010 9:54 PM
txhorsefan

Steve, after the first time I read this article I was so moved by your beautiful words, the responses of your followers and still such an emotional roller coaster from the Classic, that I could not write my comment.  Re-reading your article tonight, then reading all the added testimonials to the power of Zenyatta, I find that I am still at a loss for words.  My heart is so torn because while it is so wonderful to see how all of you share in our understanding and devotion to Zenyatta, how she has touched us all, it still hurts me because I felt if she had won the Classic it would have quieted those who had so disrespected her.  I'm coming to terms with it.  She did not need to win for me, she already won me over a long time ago, I think I just wanted all of those people who have doubted her to finally see what a remarkable creature she is.  Maybe I'm too defensive - lol!  For someone at a loss for words, I have written far too much because most of it is babble, when I mostly just want to say thank you, Steve, your words on the magnificence of Zenyatta are indeed magnificent, and to the rest of you, it is beautiful to share this blog space with you all and I thank you.  You all are amazing and the stories you have shared are inspirational, I wish I could find the words to better express it..but thank you for sharing, thank you all for being here.

13 Nov 2010 9:54 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

TexSpect

  Yes. Long Live The Queen !!!! Is it time to return to a monarchy with Queen Zenyatta as the Queen and Steve Haskin as The King? A kinder, gentler blogging nation. Arriving just in the nick of time to appointments becomes the status quo.

13 Nov 2010 10:00 PM
LindaLaneDunn

My husband and I just returned to Fla. after a trip of a lifetime to Ky. to celebrate our 40th anniversary by going to the Breeders' Cup to see Zenyatta.  We flew in on the same day she did and although I looked, I didn't see her at the airport.  However the next day we caught a small glimpse of her on our back track tour, despite a wall of photographers blocking our view.  However, after lunch at Wagner's we drove by her barn to dicover her grazing. I was so close to her! After numerous pictures and a short conversation with Mario who told me that she loved the cold weather when she went back to her stall, I returned to the car doing the Penny Chenery wave after Secretatiat won the Triple Crown. We went to Dawn at the Downs and Sat. after the 9th race the stands around us began to fill with all the people who had been staying inside because of the cold.  I had my binoculars on the back track to watch her arrival and people were all lined up the whole way and standing on the staircases going up some of the buildings.  It could only have been more exciting if they had started playing "Rocky". You really could feel the electricity in the place. Our neighbors who had watched many of her races with us claimed a spot on the paddock rail after the 3rd race and spent the whole day there just to see her up close, leaving only after she left the saddling area to watch her from the expensive seats they had bought. When she came up short after that thrilling stretch run very few eyes were on the winner's circle and Blame was virtually ignored.  Zenyatta, on the other hand, got a standing ovation as she left the track. Living near Tampa, racing coverage is virtually nonexistent and I hope our sports editor does not get a vote. He would only recognize a horse if it was carrying a football. I have loved horse racing since I was four and my father used to take to to Lexington on his business trips and when he was finished we would visit the horse farms.  I have seen many of the top 100 Thoroughbreds but I only discovered Zenyatta last year in her race prior to the Classic. I knew nothing about her but I fell in love with her prerace prancing. Then I was worried when she was entered in the Classic because I doubted that she could win and I definitely did not want to see her lose.  When she passed the boys in such a glorious fashion, I began telling people that she had moved up to the top three in my book of the greatest of all time.  Her record of 19 wins with one narrow defeat should make everyone realize just how remarkable her record is.  She did everything she was asked to do and when the so called experts try to suggest Blame as Horse of the year, their arguments just aren't going to wash.  Eric Crawford, Louisville Courier Journal cited the better races that Blame entered leading up to the Classic. A name doesn't make the race better than the horses racing in it. HOY should cover the horse's body of work for 2010. Zenyatta won 6 and lost by a head to Blame on his home track where he had an easy trip.  She had a difficult trip and almost caught him.  Blame, on the other hand, won 5, losing his previous race by 4 lengths to Haynesfield who finished 11th in the Classic. As for as those superior horses that Blame had beaten, they all finished well behind Zenyatta. John R. Gaines, founder of the Breeders' Cup spoke of the problems of "the Kentucky hardboots and the eastern racing establishment mentality."  I would remind them that Zenyatta is Kentucky born and bred, as am I and she has been a credit to the state, to horse racing, and has deserved every superlative bestowed upon her.  She is a champion in every sense.  It would be a travesty to give horse of the year to Blame with a career record of 9-2-2.  It wasn't given to Onion or Upset.

13 Nov 2010 11:11 PM
Zookeeper

CV,

Runflatout is doing very well and is back in training. Don''t know yet when he'll race. I was at HP today and visited him before the races. He's quite rambunctious. I couldn't feed him carrots fast enough. He has grown some more and is now quite imposing. He lets me pet him but I wouldn't dare try to give him a kiss. They can hurt you bad, without meaning to, with a swift toss of the head and I didn't want to attend the races with a fat lip. He's no Zenyatta.

Speaking of the Queen, since our colt is in the stable next to hers, I went around the corner to take a peek and see if maybe she was out on the grazing area. Sure enough, there she was in all her glory, holding court, in front of a dozen or so people.

When I saw her before the Ladies Secret, with the Haskin Blog Group, we respectfully kept our distance because she was racing the next day. Keeping her calm was a must. No such restraint today. We were allowed to touch her, have our picture taken with her and I even got to feed her carrots. What a gentle, gentle soul she is. I'm going to borrow her so she can teach RFO some manners.

Someone raised a baby to her face. She looked and sniffed at her and no one thought there was anything unusual about lifting a baby up to a Thoroughbred's face. It was OK, it was Zenyatta... a great, big, sweet, kind mare who was simply enjoying a visit with her adoring fans.

In the background, near the entrance to the barn, stood Dottie and John Shirreffs and taking in the whole "love fest" was Jerry Moss himself, with a great big smile on his face.

There was no sadness around, only joy and gratitude. It's the Zenyatta magic, it's her presence, it's her kind eyes and her generosity in welcoming everyone... EVERYONE.

So, that was my day: a visit with a two yr old colt who is full of himself, some precious, sweet time spent with the Great Mare and a lovely day at the races. Not bad, huh? :)

13 Nov 2010 11:21 PM
Bet Twice

Zookeeper,

It sounds like the perfect day.

Glad you shared it with us.

:)

14 Nov 2010 2:39 AM
cliff turn

we are so inspired with this horse..how can we drive down from palo alto just to see her in real life... my wife has gone wild over this horse and her personality    thanks so much for your help..  

14 Nov 2010 3:46 AM
jayjay

Perfect!  is all I can say about your article.  It brings the human part of this sport.  I don't think I've so much stories about what an animal has done for them, how an animal helped them through the tough times.

There so much talk about the HOTY, if Zenyatta wins it, I would prefer that the voters voted on her accomplishments and not for sentimental reasons because it would tarnish her legacy.  I don't want people to remember her as the one that got away with the award because people like her.  She accomplished a lot this year, her races were purely G1 races and she won all of them except one.  I have a lot of respect for Blame and I think he's also deserving of HOTY but as Steve said, the voters will have their own criteria when they choose who they will vote for.

Steve : I don't mean to put you on the spot but what do you think of the voting process for Eclipse ?  Should it be left the way it is (hence open it up on individual's perception or criteria) or should there be a point system?

Thanks for this great article, it got me teary eyed just thinking about how she touched a lot of people's heart and life.  I'm one of them, this is only the 2nd time I've been passionate about the horse, the other is LITF.  You're a true horseman, I appreciate your efforts to make this sport more than just the win tickets.  It's a amazing the way you write these articles.  I truly enjoy them.

ZooKeeper :  What's the process for being able to visit the great queen ?  Is it just knowing where she is stabled ?  Does one need special access ?

14 Nov 2010 6:18 AM
wildblueroan

Thank you for doing justice to the magic that is Zenyatta. Among her many contributions-she has reminded everyone that racing is, or should be, about horses-and that their measure can't and never should be taken by money alone. We know more about heart and courage now after that twilight stretch run. Shes really brought us in touch with the best of ourselves and of racing, renewing the spirit of the whole enterprise. Shes a small miracle on a jaded and tired planet. Any debates about her greatness, both on and off the track, just serve to show the difference between those who truly understand and appreciate horses and racing and those who don't. If she doesn't get HOY, it will drive another stake into the heart of the corporate racing industry-which will deserve it.

14 Nov 2010 8:33 AM
sherpa

ZOO!  omg, what a wonderful, beautiful experience for you!!!  I can only dream of feeding Her a carrot (I really do) and kissing that velveteen nose!  

I'm also very happy you gave us a good report on Runflatout.  I've been watching the Works tab at DRF but haven't seen one for him yet.  

14 Nov 2010 10:17 AM
bb47

I don't see my post from last week so I will try again. Thank you Steve for writing so eloquently about these great animals we love so much. I'm telling all of my dressage friends and trail riding friends (who are not racing fans) that they must read your story. If Z does not get HOY she has already gotten the "Horse of the Heart" award.

14 Nov 2010 11:22 AM
cher

WHAT horse brought the most to racing in 2010?  WHAT horse gave the best performances in 2010?  WHAT horse will be missed the most in 2011?  WHAT horse earned Horse if the Year in 2010?

ZENYATTA!

14 Nov 2010 11:25 AM
chris

I think that you are the best!!  You are a very beautiful horse.. You have a great heart.. I have been around alot of horses, but you are the one the minute that I seen you on TV at the races that stole my heart.. The Lord has blessed you with you the beauty and ability to go fast.. God Bless you and the team that works with you.. All I can say that no matter what you are the greatest in my book!!!

14 Nov 2010 11:43 AM
Forbidden Apple

Thank you Steve for this wonderful picture you painted of Zenyatta. I truely enjoyed the way you described Richard Migliore's unknown feelings of greatness that he encountered with Zenyatta. The intense human connection with the horse is sometimes overlooked, it is more than real and extremely powerful. Zenyatta's aura is magical and breathtaking. With her intelligence, class, courage, beauty, and determination, I see no reason to retire her now. I would love to see a 2011 campaign where she is on tour around the country. If she had this sort of campaign in 2009 and 2010, she would clearly have been horse of the year 2 year's in a row.

As for horse of the year honors, it should remain an award that is based on elite racing and not emotion. The way I see it, Zenyatta won 5 grade I's in 2010 and remains a strong HOY candidate. The problem lies with handicappers and the HOY voters. Why do most people place more merit on grade I races for males than females? And why are dirt races given more merit than turf races? Like the legendary Peter Tosh said, some people cry out for peace, when what we need are equal rights! And this morning I looked at a photo just passed the wire and Zenyatta indeed did put her head in front of Blame. I am so tired of people saying that she would have never went past Blame. The pure fact is that she did and she is the 2010 HOY!

14 Nov 2010 12:02 PM
Lynn B.

Ms. "Z" has taken us away from the thoughts of the economy,the war and politics.  She is just what we needed this year and we will adore her for ever.  She should be in line for the Nobel Peace Prize.

14 Nov 2010 1:05 PM
Youneverknow

What a touching article can say it bought tears to my eyes. As for myself and to other horseman, a true horseman knows there horses inside and out and if you take that time your horse will also know you inside and out as well as Zenyatta has done for her fans, and everyone that worked closely to her. God bless you BIG GIRL, hope to see you one day. LOVE the THOROUGHBREDS..

14 Nov 2010 1:20 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

   Not bad indeed.

LindaLaneDunn

  Fabulous story. This blog is full of royalty. Hip Hip Hurray, and He's a Jolly Good Fellow to everyone that blogged here. Every post I've read has been really good. It makes me smile, just the thought of the riff-raff that wasn't let through the gate. Grade One all the way.

14 Nov 2010 1:23 PM
sherpa

Steve, I just can't stop reading this thread (and admiring the pictures)!  

Colleen, your story touched me deeply.  Maybe Zenyatta's true purpose on this earth is to inspire by her example: never give up... never stop going forward...and always find joy in sharing your special talents.  I believe you will be a GREAT Vet one day. You are already a terrific young writer!  I hope you will stay in touch with us through Mr. Haskin's blogs and let us celebrate your progress with you!

14 Nov 2010 1:43 PM
Donna S.

I was lucky to get a spot on the rail close to the finish line as Zenyatta flew by the other horses. A professional photographer next to me, lowered her camera to the rail and began to cry. The photo finish sign went up, but we both knew it was over. On the way home I sat in bumper to bumper traffic for two hours, but I didn't feel frustrated. All around me, limos, busses, many/most? of the vehicles were from out of State: Michigan, Rhrode Island, Alabama, Illinois, Texas, Ohio, Canada, etc. I realized that, sitting in endless traffic no one was blowing their horn, and that this was part of the Zenyatta experience. Few Queens in history have been able to summon such emotion and behavior in people just by her presence or the anticipation of her presence. The Macedonian Queen Cleopatra VII is one. No doubt Zenyatta is Queens.

14 Nov 2010 2:39 PM
bowlofflowers

Another wonderful article, Steve.  I had heard snip-its from the 'name on brow band' explanation but now i have the 'rest of the story'.  Amazing comments from all.  Thank you.  Thank you Zenyatta, Thank you team Zenyatta for everything.  I hope to see her one day on her retirement and I am sooooo jealous that Steve got to hug and kiss her.  Ellie

14 Nov 2010 2:40 PM
Linda in Texas

If you are looking for something to keep you busy and relevant, go to pedigreequery.com and type in

Runflatout, Zookeeper's fella.

Talk about some history making bloodlines,i did the other day and was blown away. RFL Has Mr. Prospector on both sides and also my other co favorite, in addition to Zenyatta, of all time, Seattle Slew. This was the first time i had looked up his bloodlines.

I will be in a quandry when he races Uncle Mo, but i will have to go with RFL to stay loyal.

Thank you CV for asking and Zookeeper for letting us know how he is doing.

And to Buddy's Saint, who this morning when he had his morning feed, probably expected to return to his stall and sadly won't.

This is what i harp on, keeping these big giants safe and sound is no easy task. Thanks Buddy's Saint, Rest in Peace good man, i had been looking forward to your return after your surgery.

Steve, all the photos of you with Zenyatta are truly once in a lifetime for those of us who could not be in Kentucky. Thank you for sharing everything about her with us.

Both of you are one for your book!!

Priceless, i might add.

14 Nov 2010 2:42 PM
Zookeeper

sherpa,

Runflatout hasn't had a work yet. Carla had to start all over again with him after his illness and his time recuperating at the ranch. On top of that he had another occurence of mucus problem after she got him back. Further tests showed that he has a reduced ability to expel mucus from his respiratory system. After treating him again with a different antibiotic, the vets recommended that he be given a supplement that helps horses expel mucus and helps loosen it up when it starts to develop. RFO responded very well to the supplement and scoped clean since. He is still only galloping for now until he is fit enough to work. All of this takes time. Patience is probably the best asset in a trainer.

Think of what would have happened to Zenyatta under different, less patient trainer and owners. That's why I see red when I hear or read incessant critisism of her connections. Zenyatta has only experienced love and the kindest of care since she was purchased as a yearling. The result speaks for itself. Not only do we see a fantastic race horse but a gentle giant who truly loves humans.

14 Nov 2010 2:42 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Lynn B.

   The Nobel Peace prize makes a lot of sense to me. So does The Baryshnikov Award, and Woman of The Year. And what's the award for grace and charm?

14 Nov 2010 3:14 PM
Trisha Lynn

Zenyatta has proved herself over and over again. She is the meaning of true greatness. People who dont know racing know her name like secretariat is known. She has inspired me to have faith when it looks faint. As a jockey I only dream to have a mount like her.

14 Nov 2010 4:37 PM
Mike Relva

COLLEEN

Wishing you the best of luck.

14 Nov 2010 4:41 PM
Pony Pam

I just got through reading your article and I must say I was touched.  Or maybe more than that I had chills.   I have watched all her races and she is wonderful!  She brought life back into racing.  Racing needed a hero and she fit the bill!  There has only been one other horse that has done that in recent years and that would be Barbaro.  I know there are alot of horses that are great but, these two have brought heart into racing.  

14 Nov 2010 4:56 PM
Carol McE

I would so love to see Zenyatta try dressage or jumping as a second career. She is sound, big and healthy, with plenty of energy, and sitting in a pasture cranking out foals seems to be such an insult to her, with all her charisma and talent. Wouldn't you love to see her in the Olympics?

14 Nov 2010 5:52 PM
Big Brown's Buddy

     FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY an Ode to Zenyatta, Queen of the Track

(My thanks-and apologies!-to Muhammad Ali, another Greatest)

I float like a butterfly,sting like a bee.

Those others can't catch what they can't see.

Now you see me, now you don't.

They think they will, but I know they won't.

The other horses,they think they're good, but I'm twice as nice

As I pass their racing butts like they're frozen in ice.

I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

You can't catch The Greatest - My name is QUEEN Z.

-------------------------------

Love ya' Zenny-Girl!

14 Nov 2010 6:52 PM
Mike Relva

ZOOKEEPER

Wish you good luck w/your horse. I also "see red" when Zenyatta's connections are critized cause they always put her first. They are class acts. BTW I'm in CA sometimes cause have a gf there. Would it be possible to visit Zenyatta?

14 Nov 2010 7:14 PM
sherpa

Zookeeper, thank you for the additional info on Rfo.  Thank goodness there's a supplement he can take to help with the mucus problem!  Maybe this has been nature's way of giving his young body the time it needs to grow strong...

Couldn't agree more about the patience factor in a trainer.  Zenny knew what she was doing when she chose her connections!  I've often said, no way would she have become ZENYATTA with any others.

14 Nov 2010 7:42 PM
Zookeeper

Mike Relva,

Because I have an owner's license, I have free access to the barn area. I don't know how strict they are at the gate. Zenyatta is out, in the grazing area, every day from 10:00 to 11:00 AM and also for an hour in the afternoon (not sure about the PM time). If I were you, I would give it a shot. Do you know how to get to the barn area? Once you get there, maybe the gate-keeper calls the Shirreffs barn and ask permission, I don't know. Zenyatta is in barn 55, the farthest one from the gate and the parking area. Hope you make it. I know you will truly appreciate the enormous favor of spending some time with her and all the people who take such good care of her.

14 Nov 2010 8:10 PM
sherpa

All - I'm not sure who originally suggested this Pilot article, but do definitely read it!

www.thepilot.com/.../dont-blame-sentiment-zenyatta-should-be-horse-year

14 Nov 2010 8:32 PM
Linda in Texas

RUNFLATOUT = RFO.

NOT RFL, sorry about that Zookeeper, i was hurrying to write that post before the Cowboy/Giants Game started. And they finally one a game under Jason Garrett in The New Meadowlands.

Slew did you get to watch it?

And Big Brown's Buddy,your ode to

Zenyatta is very clever. There is never an end to what she and so many other horses bring out in so so many people and I cannot imagine life without horses and have felt that way all of my life.

Have a good week everyone.  

14 Nov 2010 8:41 PM
MobileOne

Zenyatta is in every horse and every heart. Its been said that the Horse is the most beautiful creature on earth. The sport we love shows this beauty and passion when they graze,prance, and especially when they run. However,its up to us to care for these magickal creatures. Care for them when they bring us riches and care for them when they come to the end of there run. Horse racing is changing like all things these days. Zenyatta's story is only just beginning. And I'm hooked by the prologue. "The Legend of Zenyatta"

14 Nov 2010 9:59 PM
Cynthia

Zenyatta has done more for horseracing since the days of Secretariat. She is the greatest filly of all time. Thanks for all the memories I love you Zenyatta.  

14 Nov 2010 10:28 PM
Paula Higgins

Steve, I went to your Facebook page and saw more pictures of The Queen and they are just wonderful. The picture of Ann feedinng her a flower is priceless. She is just the kindest of animals.

Your other photos are also great, including pictures of your lovely family.

Zookeeper I am glad RFO is doing better. I think you are a great owner, like Ann and Jerry Moss. I envy you that you can see The Queen almost every day.

14 Nov 2010 11:19 PM
predict

If there was a president of racing who could give an award called the "Medal of Honor" of racing, I am sure it would be awarded to Zenyatta. When all seemed hopeless and defeat loomed large in the eyes of all who witnessed, she charged headlong into the adversity before her, with every ounce of strength she could muster from her incredible being. What a display of sure determination, such an act of heroism, which will stand for all time as an inspiration to all who face life's most difficult of moments.

 Thankyou, Steve, for sharing these moments so beautifully with us all.

And, especially, Thankyou! Zenyatta!!!

15 Nov 2010 12:33 AM
Jimmy

Zenyatta a deserving champion that will live for ever in our hearts and into History. The admiration and our heart pounding she brought us in every race is indescribable. Zenyatta brought this sport back.

THANKS ZENYATTA WE WILL LOVE U FOR EVER!!!!

15 Nov 2010 12:59 AM
Holly

I was interviewed on television before the Classic.  And as I said then, I say now, She is the Seabiscuit of our generation.  And she is still number 1.  If she is not voted Horse of the Year, it will be a crime.  She has done more for horse racing than any other horse since Secretariat!!

15 Nov 2010 1:15 AM
debbie bernhard

steve, was so touched by your article and the pics.  i've been a racing fan since i was little.  i was 9 when secretariat did his triple crown.  he was my hero for a long time.  aside from barbaro, no horse has touched me this much since genuine risk (although i've loved them all).  zenyatta helped me get through a very difficult spring/summer.  my 15 year old daughter had a stroke in may (please, for all of you reading this learn they symptoms of a stroke.  children can have them too!!) and we spent a lot of time in hospitals and seeing doctors.  but i always made time to see the queen, even if it was many hours later on the computer.  fortunately caitlyn has made a miraculous recovery and is now doing well.  recently we were able to meet one of secretariat's great nephews.  prior to this caitlyn didn't really care about horses.  but after meeting buddy she has learned to love them too and she and i had a special date when we went and saw the new movie together.  and then she watched zenny's classic race with me and she screamed louder than i did :)  caitlyn and i have always been close and i think zenyatta and secretariat have brought us even closer together.  thank you, steve, and to zenyatta's conections for helping me get through a difficult time in my life.  whether she gets horse of the year or not, zenyatta will always be the horse that gave me the strength to keep going and to never quit.    

15 Nov 2010 1:21 AM
Ryan Brady

I too know that feeling that Mig explained, as well as many others who have been around her have experienced as well. I have been around horses all of my life, and own one right now, and it not taking anything away from my horse or the others I have been around in my lifetime can compare to what we have all felt around Zenyatta by being in her presence. Thanks again for another amzing article Steve. Keep Up the Great Work!

15 Nov 2010 2:31 AM
Zookeeper

Paula Higgins,

You give me too much credit. I only own a small percentage of RFO. The partnership makes the decisions. I feel very fortunate that I landed with a partnership that is very caring and whose concern match my idea of proper handling. Lucky me, lucky RFO!!!

debbie bernhard,

Your story really touched me. Bless you and your daughter. May she continue to do well and that her interest in horses doesn't fade after Zenyatta is retired from racing.

15 Nov 2010 2:35 AM
Patrick Hernandez

Steve, this has got to be the best article you have ever wrote. That is saying ALOT, because almost every article or book you write is unbelievable just like Zenyatta. The one you wrote on Dr. Fager was incredible. I'm a grown up man, and even I got teary-eyed seeing those pix of you and her. Zenyatta taught many of us why we loved this sport in the first place. To believe in something even in doubt. And beyond an amazing racehorse, she taught us what unconditional love can really be. It means people can still show up the next morning whether she just had her first defeat and still be loved and admired. We love her for who she is that goes beyond her racing career. Our legacies after we die come from our hearts. That's how we remember people. How they treated us. Probably the most touching article you've written since the one you wrote about The Bid when passed on. I know you didn't vote last time for HotY. I think this one will be a cinch. I know where your loyalty will be. I can't BLAME you if you chose the Queen of Hearts this time. The romanticist in you can only listen to what your heart tells you.

15 Nov 2010 4:27 AM
PHUTC7274

I will never forget the first time I saw her. Z had finished the race and turned to watch the others cross the finish line.

Many of my friends have seen her (I am disabled and could not), and I hear the word "Magnificent" used over and over.

For me, she sees with her soul, wins because of her heart, and loves us as much as we love her.

There is your horse of the year...of all time.

I cannot thank the media and, esp, the Mosses and the Sheriffs for allowing us to ride with her.

They gave us such a gift, such a blessing, when we have little to smile about. Still, she loved us all.

For that, I will be eternally grated to everyone...especially to a horse called "Queen Z." All hail

Queen Z.

thank you forever,

Pamela S Hutchins

15 Nov 2010 6:50 AM
Bellwether

CALIFORNIA DREAM N!!!...SHE IS A GREAT ONE...SHE & HER CONNECTION$ CAME TO US @ THE PERFECT TIME TO HELP EXPOSE "THE GAME"... WHICH BUY THE WAY IS THE BEST KEPT SECERT N AMERCIA & THE WORLD FORE THAT MATTER MAD HATTER...BUT PLEASE...JOHN HENRY & CITATION R N A CLA$$ ALL BUY THEIR SELF!!!...LONG LIVE THE KING BABY!!!...ty...

15 Nov 2010 8:00 AM
Steve Haskin

Thank you, Debbie, for yet another inspirational story. I've been in racing for over 40 years and have never seen anything like this.

15 Nov 2010 8:17 AM
Slew

Linda in TX:  the 'Boys are back!  Thank you Jason Garrett.  More discipline prevails...less penalties, more yards....no lights?  Absolutely watched the game.

And congratulations to the Cal-breds, the 49ers got another win.

Zenyatta..what's in a name?  Our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our undying admiration and love.  Other horses have moved me, Zenyatta lifted me.  Slew remains my hero; Zenyatta is my Queen.

15 Nov 2010 8:24 AM
Mike Relva

ZOOKKEEPER

Thanks very much and good luck w/your horse. Always your comments.

15 Nov 2010 9:05 AM
Stephanie Ritch

Zenyatta is the truest spirit of what other horses can only aspire to be. Her soul is pure, she loves us all and in return only hopes for our love. She has a heart bigger than any and the intelligence and wisdom of a legend. May the Mosses and Shirreffs cherish every moment they've given us.

15 Nov 2010 11:51 AM
jayjay

Colleen : I'm rooting for ya, I envision you coming from the back of the pack, not trying to hurry and making sure you see what's in front of you.  You then make the decision on what route to take and make your way around the obstacles.  Finally, you make your run and you kept running, until you hit the wire but that wasn't the finish line, it the first day of your new life.  Good luck!

Debbie : Glad to hear the lil Caitlyn recovered well, I honestly didn't know that children can suffer from strokes.  I'll have to google it and find out more information.

15 Nov 2010 1:39 PM
GJU

I say all of us Zenyatta fans  toss in some money and give Zenyatta and her connections our own "Eclipse Award"...from the fans! She has accomplished the near-impossible by winning 19 races in a row...almost 20. And somewhere I read this stat on Zenyatta and loved it: No horse has ever passed Zenyatta in a race. I know I will never witness another like her in my lifetime. I send my love and respect to Zenyatta and each and every one of her connections.

15 Nov 2010 3:28 PM
Lauracrown

Steve,

Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Zenyatta! In one of the photos, she looks at you as if she knows how wonderfully you write about her.

As many have commented, you have given people the best avenue to write about their love for this special horse and to confide their personal testimonials without being ridiculed or treated flippantly.

To those of you who are battling illness and other severe adversities, you have revealed in your comments your own courage and tenacity. You have my respect and my prayers. I am thankful to be able to come here and escape my own worries in the celebration of special thoroughbreds like Zenyatta with folks who understand the power and soul of a horse. And, to keep reading these wonderful articles from Steve.

15 Nov 2010 3:39 PM
Dani

Steve -

I've reread your article and all the inspiring and touching posts. Honestly, you could re-write the phone book and we would all need tissues to get through it.

Thank you for your inspiring and informative articles. I knew little about many of the horses you wrote about in this past year but I felt like I'ld stepped into a time machine and became a part of their worlds through your words and wonderful and heartfelt stories. It's made a difference in my life in the way that I see the sport of racing and in the way I have come to cherish these magnificent creatures. I would have never guessed such stories would have such an impact on my own life.

Thank you.

15 Nov 2010 3:53 PM
Linda M

good grief Zoo......why the heck should anybody slam Zenny's connections.  They brought her back at here age to give us some of the most thrilling races ever.  Good for them.  How many horses, with the exception of geldings, race beyond the age of 4.  Give me a break people.  And from what I understand, she is her usual self.  hmmmmmm.....will she really retire?

15 Nov 2010 4:12 PM
Mrs. C

I have been reading the emails and realize I'm not the only one that is touched by this mare. She is something else. I remember Raffin and had the same feeling about her and also Eight Bells, there is just something extra about these ladies. The good thing we'll get a chance to see her youngest run in the future.

15 Nov 2010 5:33 PM
Secretariat

What a great article! When did it become written in stone that HOY is determined by the BC? Look at Secretariat who was HOY at 2 and 3 with several losses.  I have not seen the love and recognition from the public for a horse since Secretariat.  Clearly, Zenyatta should be awarded HOY.

15 Nov 2010 5:45 PM
Ragsy

Mr. Steve

I appologize for my unkind rudeness to you and ask for your forgiveness.  I have dwelt upon this for some time and felt compelled to write to you..I am sorry..

I truly believe you are a super nice person and Jesus certainly would want me to ask this of you.

15 Nov 2010 6:07 PM
Steve Haskin

Ragsy, what is it you're asking foregiveness for? Whatever it is, you can be sure I forgive you.

Dani, thank you very much. That's very kind of you to say.

15 Nov 2010 7:29 PM
Jim H Horse trainer

Steve Thanks so very much for what you wrote . Thanks Zen for all you have done for raceing, but more for the way you have touched all of us. Thanks to John for haveing the talent to do Zen her way. Thanks to Jerry and Ann for letting us all get so close to her. Thanks to Mike for such wondesfull rides. Thank you God for keeping her sound. She is THE BEST! I wish that sometime I might get lucky enough to see her, anywhere anytime. My wife says she is the other women in my life. Thanks Again

15 Nov 2010 8:56 PM
Jenn C

Steve,

What a beautiful article!  I knew you would do Zenyatta justice and I almost got through it without crying until I got to the part abour Marjorie's name in Z's browband.  And, I don't cry lightly these days with 5 broken ribs, 2 broken vertebrae and a collasped lung (fell off my mare!).

Barbaro was a light in my sky when he brought me back into horse racing as I'd lost interest as I grew older and I thank him for that, but Zenyatta made me that horse crazy, yell at the tv as they run 12 year old again.  For the past 2 years I've followed her races like no one else and held my breath everytime.  I emailed all my friends and family about her too and told them all about her something I haven't done since Alysheba and Ferdinand times.

Her size and personality will not be duplicated anytime soon and her heart...well maybe not ever in my time.  For someone that never got to see Ruffian or Secretariat run, I'm so happy that I got to take part in her career and feel what it was like to be cheering her on with hordes of other fans across the world.

I hope one day, I'll be lucky enough to meet her and feel her energy.

Until then, a very big thank you to ALL of her connections.  Thank you for the ride. Stay safe Queen Z!

Jenn

15 Nov 2010 11:45 PM
Carol Joanne

What a blessing Zenyatta has been to EVERYONE, and how privileged we are to have known her and shared her magnificence!

16 Nov 2010 12:20 PM
Donna

Steve,

Oh you looked so blissful with the Queen and she had this sweet look as well..  I am jealous!!  I am sure you will treasure those pictures.  Love your work Steve , you are a poet and master at writing.  

16 Nov 2010 12:33 PM
Freetex

Today I was thrilled to read about Zenyatta and Cleopatra featured as, "Divas Who Dared", by Maureen Dowd, of The New York Times.  

Has Zenyatta made an impact or what?  This is national attention folks.

I hope everyone has considered signing the petition for Zenyatta to be HOTY that will be sent to the NYTRA.

16 Nov 2010 2:45 PM
Johnny

Silly question.

I know there are stud fees,what about mare fees? Any such thing?

16 Nov 2010 3:06 PM
Soldier Course

Freetex:

Excuse me if I overlooked something above, but please tell me about the NTRA petition for Zenyatta that you mentioned.

16 Nov 2010 3:58 PM
Ann Maree

Loved this article, Steve. What an inspiration she is. Anyone waivering about whether she should be HOTY or not, all they will need to do is watch the race, watch where she was -- totally out of the race, not a chance, left almost at the gate... Any other jockey likely would have just pulled up and quit... (like Quality Road did)after all, no way she catches the crowd. Why even try. But Mike knows her, and knows what she is capable of... regardless whether she wins or not, she should not give up, as long as he was aboard, and Mike's urging her, reminding her what she came for. Suddenly, almost like a switch got turned on, she starts her charge. In movies, this is the point where the action is stopped and the narrator chimes in.  Then, live action is back until the finish, and then you see the crowd noise stop and the action stop, once again.  Live action back, when both horses cross the finish line, in a photo finish, and suddenly the crowd sits in stunned silence... she didn't make it! But, oh, how hard she tried! Like Seattle Slew's owner who cried, "But he tried so hard!"  Regarded by many to have been Slew's defining race even though he lost, the same can be said of Zenyatta. By the loss, her stock rose in the eyes of those who had doubted her. If Blame was so good, why didn't he beat her by 3 or 4 lengths? He took advantage of an opportunity and held on, but he definitely did not "beat" the great mare! Like someone here said, "She just ran out of real estate!" Her last chapter hasn't been written yet. She will, at some point, check in for her mommy doody.  Maybe the final reel will be Zenyatta with a brand new foal, with a splash of white on his face, trying to stand on his wobbly legs, as Zenny looks on with pride! That's how I see the end of the fairy tale. For the real story of Zenyatta is about the love affair we have all had with a great, big beautiful filly, who reached out and grabbed our hearts. I do hope the movie will be made while she can play herself! There's no horse around who could fill her shoes!  Maybe a couple of stunt doubles, but otherwise, there never will be another one like her! I still look forward to John Shirreffs' videos of her in light training at his barn at Hollywood Park. She still takes my breath just to watch her..and,she makes me smile!

16 Nov 2010 5:15 PM
sodapopkid

Soldier Course,  Here is the link.  Tell others you know about it to.

www.thepetitionsite.com/.../zenyatta-for-2010-horse-of-the-year

Lets show our girl what she means to us.

You can also access the petition thru Zenyatta's personal website.

www.Zenyatta.com

16 Nov 2010 7:00 PM
Zookeeper

Soldier Course,

Let's see if this works:

www.thepetitionsite.com/.../zenyatta-for-2010-horse-of-the-year

16 Nov 2010 7:53 PM
Horses Rule

I share everyone's love for Zenyatta and gratitude for the wonderful care given to her by her connections.  However, I am seriously worried about her future happiness - I read recently that Zenyatta's owners will be so sad to see her go - I was totally shocked - I guess I just assumed she would be kept in CA - and assumed that her owners maintained a horsefarm locally.  I do not know much about broodmares but I keep hearing the words "seclusion" and "no visitors" in reference to mares.  We all know that Zenyatta loves attention (as befits the Queen) - how will she feel if she's shipped back East (losing her family) and with no more attention from her fans.  She is such an intelligent horse - I fear she could actually become depressed.    Can anymone more knowledgeable help me with this?  I am truly depressed over her future.  

16 Nov 2010 8:45 PM
Big Brown's Buddy

Linda in Texas - thanks! I was watching Zen videos on Youtube when the first line of the Ali quote popped into my head,and I knew I just had to make one up about her! And I know exactly how you feel about horses,because I feel the same way. Fell in love with my first horse (beautiful quarterhorse with a blaze like Zenny's!)at age 3 - I remember having to ask my mother what it was,but already in love with it. Not lucky enough to be able to own one,but I've done some riding,and there's truly nothing else in the world like it. I'm one of the few people that actually enjoys the smells of the barn! There's just something about horses that I find very peaceful and comforting.

16 Nov 2010 11:07 PM
Bellwether

DEPRESSED IS WHAT SHE WILL BEE...THE FREAK AIN'T READY FORE NOE FARM...SHE LOVES SHOW N UP & SHOW N OFF FORE HER HOARDS OF FANS...ty...

17 Nov 2010 3:57 AM
sodapopkid

Horses Rule,  You took the words and thoughts right out of my mouth and head.

I too, have been concerned for her. I feel she isnt going to be to happy without her family around. Her fans , her family, make up her life.  Zenyatta is liable to fall into depression.   I hope someone can enlighten us both, because as it stands right now, I am mighty concerned.

17 Nov 2010 5:53 AM
Darla Burton

Maybe Zenyatta's connections should keep her in Cal. and promote their stallions.Especially if she's not voted HOY....just saying!!!

17 Nov 2010 8:50 AM
Slew

Thank you Zookeeper...but only 4,993 signatures.  Wherefore art thou, fans?

17 Nov 2010 9:22 AM
Steve Haskin

Horses Rule, normally I would give you the standard maternal instincts reply; that she will be happy being a mother. But because she is so unsual and has had more human contact and attention than any other horse I've ever seen, your concerns may have some validity. No one knows the answer, of course, but I did present your concerns to Dottie and John and am waiting to hear back from them and what their take is on it. I will pass it on as soon as I hear anything.

17 Nov 2010 9:54 AM
Steve Haskin

To all those concerned about Zenyatta's future, this just received from Dottie:

Well, all of this has been a great consideration for us!   We all love her and are so involved with her daily life and well-being.  Please tell this woman that all of this is not lost on us.  We are fully aware and are applying these thoughts to the next stage of Z's life.

The Moss' do NOT own a farm anywhere.  Thus, we DO WANT FAMILY around and to have that connection and bond with her after she leaves John's barn.  We want someone there who can take photos, videos etc. and send them to us....from our family.  This is why I am also doing the Daily Diary on the web-site, Zenyatta.com, to keep all of her fans aware of what is going on with her.   We feel a responsibility to the fans, public, and industry to do so......and it goes without saying.....to Zenyatta!

Please let your writer know that Z will have family around her.  She will be in a place where family/friends can see her, hug her, kiss her and visit her.    Rest assured....we are trying to do our best to be sure these details are all honored in relation to Zenyatta and her future.  There will be trees for her to stand under....and lots of grass for her to graze on each day.

Her PR release is coming out sometime today.  

I am not sure if you know of one of David's new positions....but he has an office on these farm grounds.  His assistant, Sarah, has an office there as well.   David is our family.....and needless to say, Zenyatta's family.    Thus, we feel this is very comforting to all of us.  

Hope this helps you to answer the email.  As stated.....we had many concerns in this area....and have tried our very best to honor our responsibilities to Z and her friends.

Take Care,

Dottie

17 Nov 2010 11:06 AM
Zookeeper

This letter from Dottie tells the whole tale. Nothing in it comes as a surprise to me. I've been following Zenyatta and her Crew for three years. I know she won't be thrown in a field all by herself, forgotten and neglected. The actions of the people around her are living proof that they will see to it that she is as happy in retirement as she was at the racetrack. Anything to the contrary would come as a total shock and I would have to see it with my own eyes to believe it.

People worry about the wrong horse. Zenyatta's people care far more about her than any of us ever could, no matter how big a fan we may be. Let their actions, since they've acquired her as a yearling, be your guide. Concern about her is misguided. Worry about some other horse. There are plenty of them who have not had the good fortune that Zenyatta has and will continue to have for the rest of her life.  

17 Nov 2010 12:39 PM
Love for Zenyatta

I'm glad I'm alone so I don't have to explain why I'm crying like a baby. It has been 37 years since Secretariat & I never thought I would feel this way about another horse. Zenyatta has touched so many lives. Please Steve, write a book about America's Queen. You are the only journalist who can capture her true greatness on paper. I pray, she wins the HOY Award and she is given an "Ambassador of Horse Racing" award as well. LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!!

17 Nov 2010 1:01 PM
Linda in Texas

Thanks be to all for this comforting news. As i mentioned earlier someplace i did not think Zenyatta would be happy in a paddock without someone close and with her that she knows well.

This is my Thanksgiving for sure.

She is the gift that keeps on giving and such an inspiration to all of us.

I don't ever want her to hang her dancin' shoes up!

Thanks Steve for inquiring. I knew

they had to be worrying about where she would be for a long time. Not easy letting go of something as special as she is. So

will wait for further plans in the news release.

Tell me how many wives of trainers and owners themselves would take the time to let just plain folk like us know anything? This is what sets them so far above the norm.

Zenyatta is THE Corporation! And we are all interested shareholders.

Best way i can describe it.

17 Nov 2010 1:18 PM
Louise Gehret

Zenyatta has been a dedication to me for her career.  Even tho she was beaten by less than a head, she remains and is perhaps more so, an inspiration.  I am 73 years old and when Z runs, I feel young again.  Whatever her future holds, I know that Team Z will do what they feel is best for The Queen and I will accept their decision.  No matter what, I will never forget her or her class and will pray that someday before I meet my Maker, that I will be able to put my arms around Z's neck and tell her how much I love her and say thank you to her for all those Saturday afternoons that she brought joy to an old woman.

17 Nov 2010 1:22 PM
Linda in Texas

Steve, in my post a minute or so ago, instead of saying we are all 'shareholders' of Zenyatta's Imaginary Corporation,

i should have said 'careholders.'

Has a softer touch.

Thanks, Linda

17 Nov 2010 1:27 PM
Darla Burton

I think it will be harder on the human end of this than Zenyatta herself.....I can't wait to see her!!!

17 Nov 2010 2:07 PM
Alex Bowdoin

It is official! She is going to

Lane's End and I hope to meet with

AP Indy. Do you think she will finally meet up with RA. Curlin stands at Lane's End. Interesting!

The could be out in one of those big fields together....

17 Nov 2010 2:22 PM
Alfonso

El caballo del NO, es el caballo de la era moderna del turf.

17 Nov 2010 2:45 PM
diastu

Dottie,

Thank you for your response. It helps me feel a little better that she will have some of her people family around and will not be isolated. But I offer this also: Once she is safely in foal, aren't there fine farms in California where she can raise her babies? From a bio-physical standpoint, she is used to the climate of California; she is used to the sun angle and photoperiod; she is used to the micro and macro nutrients in the water and feeds she consumes. From the meta-physical standpoint, she is a California girl regardless of where she was born, and most of the "17 hands of love" John once wrote about would be closer to her and better able to love on her more. Who will share a Guiness with her now? Respectfully and thankfully for you and all her people, Diana Stuart, Phoenix, AZ

17 Nov 2010 2:49 PM
MonicaV

All Zenyatta Fans,

I really and truly think that Zenyatta will be HOY.  I think it's a wonderful ideal to have a petition but I really think she has it in the bag.

17 Nov 2010 2:51 PM
wildblueroan

Thank you for soliciting comments about Zenyatta's future lifestyle. Its hard to imagine her being happy as a baby machine and without the level of human interaction she has enjoyed. She deserves to retire but she will be terribly missed, and it is good of her connections to take into consideration her relationship with her many fans.

17 Nov 2010 2:54 PM
ALL4ZEN

I know she's moving on to a wonderful new life ... but it seems mean to send a California girl to Kentucky in the dead of winter.  

Happy trails, Zenyatta!

17 Nov 2010 3:33 PM
texaszippeee

Thank you for your wonderful article on Zenyatta.  My dream is to see her in person and touch her.  She is truly a special horse.  How could anyone not know that she is the Horse of the Year?!!!!

17 Nov 2010 4:04 PM
Soldier Course

MonicaV:

I agree, and I think the time has come for the fans to retire to the wings and let the HOTY voting proceed in due course. I'm not sure the petition is a good idea. All has been said. People can become spiteful if they get too much pressure.

17 Nov 2010 5:01 PM
Jakesmom

Zenyatta-now and forever great. Love you, Mare!

17 Nov 2010 6:08 PM
Kimberly Wales

I am a freelance writer for equine magazines. As a former jockey, exercise rider and horse trainer I think you captured the true essence of Zenyatta, the fans and the horse racing industry in a really special way. It brought tears to my eyes.

17 Nov 2010 10:57 PM
Ellie

There is really no way to describe how unique Zenyatta is, but Steve comes the closest to pulling it off! Also very unique are the Moss'es- Wow, they have gone so above and beyond to share Zenyatta, really all of this wouldn't have been possible without that. (Of course, Z loves it or they couldn't have done it:)

And Steve- LOVE the pics of you and her- Lookit her, she loves you! I got a kick out of that- Thanks for all you do, even though you make me cry:)

17 Nov 2010 11:55 PM
Worried too

I agree with diastu and her comments. I looked up Lane's End where Zenyatta is going and yes, they are an award winning breeding farm.....BUT aren't they the very SAME Breeding farm that Charismatic was at? Where is Charismatic NOW? JAPAN, yes JAPAN, where horse meat is a delicacy, and also at the VERY SAME Breeder that Ferdinand was at and ended up in a slaughter house. Now, I do NOT know how these, Kentucky Derby winning horses get from Kentucky to Japan but it makes me sick that the FACT is they do. I suggest that everyone who LOVES Zenyatta make a $5 dollar donation to OLD FRIENDS FARM also in Kentucky they are trying to raise $50,000 to get our US horses back from Japan, they say the flight will cost $50,000. Charismatic is one horse they are trying to negotiate with Japan to get back on American soil. The excuse given by the Breeder/Owner in Japan for killing Ferdinand was Old Age. Old Friends say that they have even gotten a horse returned missing an eye but they are able to show so much love and kindness to this horse anyway. They are ready, willing and able to take back our American horses in any condition. By the way it was Bloodhorse who broke the story about Ferdinand. Zenyatta is like a pet, would you send your dog to Kentucky to a Breeder? It is not her climate, the water the food, everything will taste different, smell different and be different. Ferdinand I hear was the sweetest horse, just like Zenny, I wonder what happens between the time of the cheering fans at the Kentucky Derby to the slaughterhouse in Japan. What transpired, and when did the fans stop cheering for these amazing horses when they go to these Breeders and somehow slip into other countries? All I know for a FACT is that Charismatic was at this same facility and is now in JAPAN. How did that happen, why did the fans allow this to happen. Or is it just that we the fans only have a say if we go to the track and bet on these horses and then after they have raced their hearts out, and they are sold in auctions and shipped off to other countries we have no say. www.ultimate-fighter.ca/.../viewtopic.php

Oh by the way the Pelerin horse in the above story I bet $600 to win this beautiful horse finished last in the race. I did not care at all I was happy to buy his hay for a day.

18 Nov 2010 3:50 AM
jill

The times Zenyatta was to run, she would be in my thoughts and prayers the whole day; she never disappointed. In the BC this great mare was more magnificent in defeat than she had ever been before; She had run from last with so much dirt kicked into her face, her usual dark shiny color had  been transformed to the color of mud; Mike Smith (did you notice the color of his boots?) used six or eight goggles during the race, while Zen hadn't had that option; She had been unaccustomed to running on the dirt, and yet had run on courageously, giving her best as always; if the race had only been two or three jumps longer, she would have won. What a gallant brave heart.  

(I hope everyone has seen her marvelous workout on u-tube with the camera on the rider's hat-it is close to actually being up on her back!)    

18 Nov 2010 9:14 AM
Kathryn Cogswell

Hemingway said, "Just write one true sentence," so I'll try to keep this brief.  The true in this article and all your responses prompts me to implore an inquiry into how we might best insure the retirement and pension of ALL our American horses, domesticated or wild.  They mean so much to our history and heritage and they ask so little.  I was fortunate to love horses early, know excellent, though unsung, horsemen and women, and later care for some of my own.  Before my years on earth end, my prayer is that we have legislated for the most appreciative and humane aging of our horses, right to the end -- as if they all could be loved and cared for as well as the blessed Zenyatta.  Thanks to each of you for the sensitivity of your words in her behalf, and for appreciating her owners, trainer, jockey and handlers .. . .  Khc.  

18 Nov 2010 1:54 PM
Soldier Course

Worried too:

The horse with one eye that you have mentioned in connection with Old Friends must be Ogygian, who once stood at Claiborne Farm.

Ask someone at Old Friends to tell you how Ogygian found his way to a compassionate retirement at Old Friends and who helped him get there. Very interesting and enlightening story.

18 Nov 2010 2:22 PM
Horses Rule

1)  Steve - Thank you so much for checking with Dottie re: my concern over Zenyatta not getting the atention and human interatcion to which she is accustomed.

2)  Dottie - thank you for taking the time to address my concerns. I've been thinking how confused Zen will be when she is suddenly being cared for by strangers - so  I am very relieved to know she will still have family there on a daily basis.  You gave me much comfort.

3) In turn I wish we fans could give comfort to you, John, her wonderful groom, her owners and all those who have been with this magnificent animal from the beginning - I hope you will all be able to visit her on occasion.

(I have been rescuing abused & abandoned dogs and cats since 1983 and find it hard to let them go even if they have only been with me for a few months!)

18 Nov 2010 4:44 PM
zenyatta mondatta

I do believe we Zenyatta fans are really going to be depressed starting in 2011, because thats when the reality of Zenyatta not being with us on the race tracks anymore will finally set in.

It hasnt really hit us all what she has meant to us in the past three years and especially in the last year.   She really has impacted her fans in such a great big way.    

I hope the Mosses keep her website updated very frequently when she goes to LE.  Its going to be the only satisfaction that we, her fans can have.   I hope and pray Lane's End takes wonderful care of her.  I hope they also realize that the QUEEN of horse racing is in their barn and care.

21 Nov 2010 7:27 AM
Colleen H

Steve,

thank you for your encouragement. Maybe one day you can help me figure out how to get something published!

Sherpa, Mike, JayJay,

thank you everyone for your caring posts! I will for sure keep reading and commenting on articles. I miss the racetrack so much, so I love staying in the loop haha!

21 Nov 2010 6:00 PM
Racefan66

What a wonderful article!  My daughters and I have felt so blessed to be able to watch Zenyatta's races and cheer her on.  It is such a priviledge to get to see one of the greatest.  She really is an inspiration and I am so grateful to the Mosses' for their willingness to share her with us for so long and to have the guts to challenge her in the Classic.  Zenyatta may have officially lost by a head, but it was the greatest race I've ever seen and I will never forget it.  

22 Nov 2010 9:26 PM
girlsrock

Truly one for the ages.  The best is yet to come with a foal bursting with her genes and soulfulnes. Thankyou Zenyatta for the memories!

09 Dec 2010 10:44 AM
Savanna

Zenyatta and her half-bro have really stirred emotions for me. Not like teary but I mean excitement when street Sense became one of the only horse to conquer the BCJ and the KD. That stallion had HEART.So has Zenyatta when she became the only female to win the BCC. This mare also had HEART. Street Cry really is the man of the moment. I will never forget these two remakable horse. Merry christmas Street Sense and Zenyatta.

11 Dec 2010 10:02 PM
Savanna

You are right Worried Too. Also remember Exceller,yes that Exceller who raced aginst Seattle slew. Where did that beauty end up when his stud career was over. In a slaugtherhouse! And look at everone who is trying to get Strike The Gold back from japan or wherever else he is.And it has been forever the last time we heard of trying to get the son of Alydar out of there. FOREVER! I really want to know what has happened to him. Just hope he isn't in some slaughterhouse.Ugh!

11 Dec 2010 10:12 PM
Linda / NJ

This is such a beautiful article.  I attended the Clement Hirsh Race at the Del Mar this past August.  I like so many fans lined up along the paddock.  I watched as one horse after the other started making their way from the paddock to the racetrack.  When Zenyatta turned the corner and I saw her for the first time there was something so magical about her.  Her presence was unlike any of the other horses that passed by.  She truly is larger-than-life.  I never had the opportunity to touch her.  But I feel so fortunate that I had the chance to see her.

12 Dec 2010 6:53 PM
Melissa

I followed Zenyatta like a groupie this past year and also saw her in person at the Clement Hirsh in Del Mar and it was as if she were the only horse there.  We packed the paddock so tightly you couldn't move.  She did her dance and you just can't describe how powerful a physical force the Queen posesses. She takes your breath away.   My brother and I took several pictures but my favorite is all the other owners and trainers watching her, instead of their own horses that were in the race. Thank Jerry and Ann Moss, John and Dottie Sherriffs for sharing this wonderful horse with the fans.  Never has an owner and trainer done so much to make a horse accessible to the public.  They made us feel like we owned a little piece of her.  

17 Dec 2010 6:01 PM
captainsmistress

Just looking back.Steve, you bring tears to the eyes with your prose. Thank You, Zenyatta is truly a Gift from God!

29 Oct 2011 11:23 PM

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