I lied

I stated in my last blog that it would be the last one on Zenyatta. Well, now that her farewell appearances at Hollywood and Keeneland have come and gone, I have discovered the Zenyatta reservoir is a lot deeper than I thought.

That revelation came after witnessing the scenes at both places via TV and video, especially seeing over a thousand people huddled together in 20-degree temperatures, with snow beneath their feet, reaching out to try to touch Zenyatta. That is why they traveled from all over the country – to touch, to see, and to feel. They stood in the frigid darkness, with only the amber lights from the sales walking ring to illuminate Zenyatta’s dappled frame, creating an almost surrealistic atmosphere. And I wasn’t even there.

I am not going to expound again on Zenyatta’s virtues and her accomplishments. Those have been well recorded for posterity. This will be devoted mainly to her fans and those who scoff at them. Some feel the reverence in which Zenyatta is held is over the top; in many cases reaching a spiritual level. They mock the fervor they display in expressing their emotions. Many Zenyatta fans will admit to having reached a spiritual connection with her.

For many of us, horses are a way of life. It is not something that was forced upon us. We have chosen to allow these magnificent creatures to infiltrate our very being and touch our souls in a way that bonds us to them – yes, at rare times spiritually. The foundation between humans and horses was built centuries ago. Whether it is a racehorse, a riding horse, a show horse, or any horse that becomes a part of our life, there is always going to be that rare one who comes along and enters some hallowed sphere deep within us.

I have been involved in racing for 43 years and have seen the great ones come and go. I accepted their retirements with no problem and proceeded to look for the next great one. So, why can’t I do that with Zenyatta? Why is this void so much larger than all the previous ones? I have gotten close to almost every great horse of my lifetime, but why did I feel like a star struck kid being up close to Zenyatta? Why am I worried about her being on a breeding farm without the human contact and adoring crowds that became such a major part of her life? Why do I actually feel she is going to miss John Shirreffs and Mario Espinoza and Steve Willard, and Dottie Shirreffs, and the Mosses, and everyone else who has fed her large doses of love over the years? Why am I anthropomorphizing and not doing it in a metaphorical or literary manner?

I know this doesn’t sound rational from a so-called veteran of the sport who has seen its best and worst sides. I should know better, right? After all, the Derby trail is about to commence yet again, and I should be thinking about Uncle Mo and To Honor and Serve, and all the up-and-coming stars that will be unveiled in the next few months.

Racing, despite its many problems, is a wonderful sport; one in which we can escape, whether through the love of the horse, the thrill of riding, the art of training, or the intoxicating stimulation provided by handicapping and gambling.

So, why, with the state of the sport on which we depend so heavily, and the state of the world itself, in such turmoil are some people so bothered by the fact that a horse can make so many feel so good? Why do they even care if the hardcore Zenyatta faithful are able find a spiritual connection with a magnificent animal who has affected their lives in such a positive manner?

Most of the people I have met who “worship” Zenyatta are warm and caring, and have chosen for a variety of reasons to idolize a horse. So, why is it anyone else’s business if they choose to be dreamers and tilt at windmills? There is enough cynicism in our everyday lives. If someone wishes to escape for a few moments of their life into a world of beauty and innocence, who is to say that world is any less real than their everyday world?  

Don Quixote was considered mad for his constant search for beauty and honor in a tumultuous world. As the padre says to Dr. Carrasco, who is trying to get Quixote committed, “There goes either the maddest wise man or the wisest mad man in the world.” When Carrasco insists that Quixote is mad, the padre responds: “The cure…may it not be worse than the disease.”

I am currently on vacation, doing very little to occupy my time and thoughts other than to scout around for Christmas presents. It is apparent by now that neither vacation nor Christmas nor my daughter’s impending Nutcracker performance has been able to thrust Zenyatta out of my brain completely.

So, here I sit during my time off writing about a horse...again. A horse whose likes and effect on people will never be seen again.

Ah, that felt good. See, Zenyatta even has the power to enable me to create my own cathartic experience. Now perhaps I can move on and start seeing the world in red once again -- the world of Santa Claus, nutcrackers, and then roses.

As for Zenyatta, I’ll see you in January, and despite the perceived madness that might await me, I look forward to begin tilting at windmills once again.

551 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Dona

You confessed, that's all that matters. You know we Americans love to forgive as long as you confess.

I said Zenyatta will be my last great horse love but I don't really believe it. Loving another like her will never happen because there won't be another like her but somewhere somehow, one will come along and tug at the hold heart strings and then what can I do?

I feel your pain and then some but maybe Zenyatta herself has something more in store for us. Afterall, she is the Great Zenyatta, magical and mystical.

07 Dec 2010 1:26 PM
Dawn

Another fantastic article!  Your words express my emotions exactly.

I too watched the celebrations at Hollywood and Keeneland on TV and online.

Now, I'm at work today, and she is still in the back of my mind.  I'm wondering, how is she doing on her first day at the farm?

I too experienced a connection when I watched her graze outside her Churchill Downs barn.  It's unexplainable.  Somehow, she knows the emotion and joy she brings to people...

07 Dec 2010 1:35 PM
SGunne

Steve -  Thanks for another great blog on Zenyatta.  I can't get her out of my head either.  I was lucky enough to spend several hours watching her at Oaklawn.  I really can't explain how she makes me feel, but I have never felt this way about a horse in the 3o+ plus years I've been involved with racing.  Hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season.

07 Dec 2010 1:37 PM
MOKEY

I just think it's sad, for all the love that people felt for this horse NO TV coverage?? Really ESPN couldn't show it. It was one of the nicest things done for the fan's of racing for her to be shown in two race tracks - but once again missed the mark by the media and promorts of racing..

07 Dec 2010 1:40 PM
MJ

Thank you...

07 Dec 2010 1:42 PM
dkaelene

Wonderful article!  I am one who "worships" Zenyatta and the world IS a better place.

07 Dec 2010 1:45 PM
dianeche

I agree! I am not an overly sentimental person, but when I watch Zenyatta, I cry.  I hope she is ok without her team.  But no matter what, I am so glad I got to be a part of her journey, even if just by watching her run.  Merry Christmas, Steve.

07 Dec 2010 1:47 PM
Trebloc

I have beenwaiting very patiently for you top twenty Kentucky Derby rankings!  The wait is starting to kill me!

07 Dec 2010 1:49 PM
DPowell

Me, too, STEVE, SHE IS A MARE FOR THE AGES.

07 Dec 2010 1:52 PM
Larissa

Steve you are absolutely the best.  Way to make my day with another touching article!

07 Dec 2010 1:54 PM
Helen

Ahhh Steve, that was a very warm, true, and tender blog!  I wish you the very best Christmas.  I also hope the Nutcracker performance turns out amazing and I am sure it will!

Thank you for trying to explain all of us.

Merry Christmas Steve and family!!

Helen Rasmussen

07 Dec 2010 1:59 PM
Judy G Loves Queen Zenyatta

Oh, Steve! I have tears!!

Yes, Zenny has made many people spiritual.

I've had the opportunity of visiting her six times since Easter! During my first visit, I was in such awe I didn't really remember much. Kind of like my wedding day LOL

Each visit after that did not diminish my adoration. If anything, I felt more in touch with her soul.

I've met some wonderful people because of her. Not just Team Zenyatta, but friends at the track and face book.

I thought John Henry left a void in my heart that couldn't be filled, however, he sent me Zenyatta! Thank you, John~John! Now I have two sets of foot prints on my heart :-)

07 Dec 2010 2:00 PM
Breezin'

Well said, Mr. Haskin. You are a very, very gifted writer, and while we were all lucky to enjoy Zenyatta, we are just as lucky to enjoy your work.  Happy Holidays to you and your family!

07 Dec 2010 2:00 PM
wee-o

I hope you never stop writing about her and we'll never stop thinking about her.  How can you??  Yes even a horse can make us forget most of the world's problems and ours too.  She gave us plenty of reasons to tune into racing or go to the track and hopefully that will never end.  We all need a hero and at last we found one - the QUEEN!!!

07 Dec 2010 2:01 PM
Mike Relva

STEVE

Why? Cause you are human and you, like myself and many see something that may never happen again in our lifetimes. Have a good vacation. Do you think it's realistic Lanes End will have a Zenyatta Day or something where they fans can visit just once?

07 Dec 2010 2:05 PM
Ragsy

When I saw your headline "I lied", I cried.  Just think about the numbers of people through out America that could not attend either Zenyatta farewells.  She is truly loved and the numbers might be staggering..Excellent followup..

Thank You

07 Dec 2010 2:06 PM
Denmark

Beautiful article!!!  I, too, am worried that Zenyatta is going to miss her family and that she will hate being barefoot and pregnet.  I hope they brush her every day and that they are gentle with her.  It would be horrible if they treat her like a "thing" - keep writing.

07 Dec 2010 2:07 PM
Stephanie

Z will always be In our hearts , she has burned her name deep into the center of mine, and when the cold of the winter is here, I will watch her videos and know that I saw, I heard and I touched the Greatest horse that lived in my lifetime......and I will smile.....

07 Dec 2010 2:09 PM
Dan

GOOD! Zenyatta puts the "horse" back in "horse racing". She reminds us all the power of a magnificent horse is worth far more to a sport in trouble than the latest exotic bet. Horse racing has its core audience and needs new fans. ZENYATTA brought more of those to the sport than has been seen in a long time. If horse racing had woken up sooner she could have brought lots more. We had race horses for years and all kinds of horses. Never in all my years have I seen one like this mare. She IS unique and we should be welcoming her fans. We need them more than they need us. As far as HOY-for once-it should be about HORSE of the year-not schedule of the year, not what writers would have done if they owned a horse, not who won the Classic or she should have had it last year and year before. NO-should be HORSE of the year and if any can name a HORSE who performed as excellently as she did while charming a nation, call me. Gotta meet that horse!

07 Dec 2010 2:12 PM
Sunny Farm

What has happened is the power of love. So many collective good thoughts have prevaded the atmosphere due to ZENYATTA & her Z-team. The molecules, frequentsies  dynamic pressure, etc. harness energy , be it good or bad.When we send out good energy , it has a way of increasing & adhearing to it's-self. Due to a shift in the poles, a higher concience has emerged. ZENYATTA and her trainer have pure hearts and a high amount of energy. The fans & horsemen do too, and anyone who has been close to ZENYATTA can feel this "collective energy". So we are all a'light with this PURE love for ZENYATTA and because of her genetics, she has taken a big part, a huge part & always given back thus what she has received. When I picture John Sherriffs leading ZENYATTA, what I see is he is leading her with one hand and while GOD holds his other hand firmly. I hope ZENYATTA has been a good reminder of what is important & where she came from.

I am happy when I read Haskins stories about ZENYATTA, it is okay to feel emotion , to have emotion and to share the love. In fact , it is best.

THANKS ZENYATTA & The Z-Team.

07 Dec 2010 2:15 PM
Dusty

This is a beautiful article. It's true, Zenyatta is more then just a horse- she has touched and changed so many lives, including mine, though I have yet to see her in person since California is much too far.

I think part of it is her captivating presence: she just commands so much attention, and she's just different.. from any horse before her, and any that will follow.

And it was obviously not the fact that she was unbeaten, I mean, sure that was probably part of what draws people to her, but even after that narrow loss, you just can't pull yourself away from her... I think once you become a Zenyatta fan, you stay a fan for life.

The basic fact is that she helped the sport so much by crossing into the mainstream media, and anyone who can't appreciate that at the least is blind. At a time when the sport needed a horse like her at the most, she came.

She's going to leave a impossible void to fill.. and I think, because of how intelligent she seems to be, Zenyatta will miss the track, the fans shouting her name, and the people closest to her. I've got all my fingers crossed that she'll settle down into life as a broodmare, and that Lane's End will let fans visit her... I'm counting the days till I can hopefully see her for the first time next year. <3    

07 Dec 2010 2:20 PM
JTaylor76

The first step is just admitting  you have a problem....Hi I'm Josh and I'm a Zenyattaholic

07 Dec 2010 2:21 PM
Simply Majestic

I have no problems with anyone tilting at windmills.  

HOWEVER I utterly *bristle* when people are demeaned, belittled or berated for not "tilting" at the same windmill you choose.

Zenyatta was a fun ride no doubt about it!

That said I am a rabid Alysheba fan, and he would have eaten her for dinner. I went there.

07 Dec 2010 2:22 PM
Sheila A

Steve, From one Zenyatta worshipper to another, thank you for fabulously putting down on paper what your fellow Zenites have been dying to try to say!  She is one for the ages and there will never be another one like her... that is why it is so hard to let go.

I honestly feel badly for those people who didn't "get" her soon enough to be part of her wonderful energy and charisma.  I feel blessed knowing that I "got it" early and was able to enjoy every second of her beauty and grace. I feel like a better person having been on this journey with her.

She truly isn't just Mike's "Gift from God", but she is anyone's who was touched by her amazing spirit.  

Thanks for the ride of a lifetime, Zen. You will always be in my heart. And please...  send us a filly!!!  

07 Dec 2010 2:23 PM
Gary Tasich

Aaaaah, but to be a kid again...the honest innocence to feel and express our feelings of love and joy....thanks Zenyatta and to you Steve for being a kid with a pen filled with magic!

07 Dec 2010 2:29 PM
horselover

You spoke of idolizing a horse.  I don't idolize her, I idolize my God because only He could create something as wonderful as Zenyatta, and then place her here as a Gift for mankind.  Merry Christmas (His first gift), and God Bless...

07 Dec 2010 2:29 PM
mbenes

Thank you for this - I'd been feeling these things and it was great to have you put it into words and express it so well.  Those who don't get it just won't get it.  Hopefully someday they'll have their own epiphany.  Have a wonderful holiday.

07 Dec 2010 2:31 PM
needler in Virginia

Steve, you know as well as I that here are loads of horsey people who deny any great "attachment" with their charges; they're just horses, after all........right?  You've just admitted that you're well and truly hooked AND that what this mare has done is so unique, so off-the-charts baffling that we will never know the "why" of it; if the great and jaded horsemen can't say "why" but know they've got the disease, then who are we to examine the symptoms?

ME? I'm thrilled I have the disease; I LOVE the effects. I LOVE the suffering through that stretch run.....my doctor not so much! I LOVE the dancing and the Guinness and the ups and the downs and the photos and the tales of meeting and the friends Zenyatta has made, and the friends that have BEEN made because of their love for this particular horse. I JUST LOVE IT!! I'm glad to know you've been bitten as well; perhaps suffering together over her retirement will be a BIT less painful than going through it alone.

To the few lonely nay-sayers left....those with no souls: C'mon in...the water's fine and there are a lot of very nice people who understand COMPLETELY.

Cheers, safe trips and happy holidays.

07 Dec 2010 2:31 PM
Monica

I am glad that I am not the only one obsessing over the future comfort and happiness of this once in a life time wonder mare.  I think of her all the time, and worry about her life at a big factory type of farm.  I have worked at the farms and sales over the years and the although they have all the right people with degrees working there, they are not the ones who handle the horses.  It makes me cringe to see all the mares, foals, studs fed the same food, have the same routine, and no individual care or attention.  I have a small farm, but not one of my horses receives the same food, blanketing, or training.  The people who are paid $8.00 an hour to care for these wonderful horses have no training, and most don't care one bit what goes on with them.  The farms do not pay good enough or care enough to have horsemen with the horses, but rather the managers who sit in warm offices and houses not really knowing what goes on in the barns. I fear, and I admit it's not rational, that Zenyatta will be just one of the dirty, and neglected broodmares that abound at the big farms.  After all, AP Indy is about 100lbs overweight, and yet his staff have told me he gets the same as all the other stallions even though it is obvious he is obese.......sad.  Just an example, if you don't care enough to keep the #1 stallion in North America health, what will they do with a mare that no one sees.  I wish the Moss's would purchase a farm and let the fans see this wonderful mare in a controlled manner, much like the stallions can be seen.  Heck, they could even charge a small fee to offset the costs of the farm and give the remaining money to TB/horse rescue groups. Zenyatta is so special she deserves to have a full time groom, blankets, carrots and attention for her well deserved retirement, the same treatment she has had with her wonderful racing team.

07 Dec 2010 2:34 PM
needler in Virginia

To JTaylor76............NEVER HAVE SEEN IT SAID BETTER. YOU'VE JUST CREATED THE NEW MANTRA FOR US WHACKOS: Hi, I'm needler in Virginia and I'm a Zenyattaholic! And proud to be, by the way..............

Cheers and VERY safe trips.

07 Dec 2010 2:37 PM
GJU

This one has to be your greatest Zenyatta write-up, Steve! And on your vaction, yet! As for the people who don't have a life and get their kicks putting down Zenyatta and her fans, I've gotten to the point where I just don't care about them. If you don't like Zenyatta's world, GO FIND SOMETHING YOU DO LIKE! Why would anyone want to spend time on stuff they don't like if they don't have to? For me, I was a very lucky girl this past Sunday. I got to go back to the barn and see Zenyatta with several other fans. I found her to be as laid-back as John Shirreffs. What a thrill to get to see part of her routine. Carmen walked her around the barn a few times, then Mario gave her a bath and afterwards, she grazed and posed for pictures with all of us who walked down Zenyatta Way to Barn 55 South to hang with her. I have the picture of Big Mama Z, Mario and me here with me at work and when I have an off time, I'm just going to look at it and count my blessings I even got to stand next to her. Then, hanging out at the races and waiting for her to parade, hearing Liza G. Fly sing "Zenyatta" and just taking it all in with everyone else was an amazing experience. Seems like nearly everyone there was wearing a Zenyatta shirt, hat, button or had a sign or something to represent her. I love this animal. She's a rock star to me. It's too bad other horse racing "fans" couldn't enjoy this ride. Look at what they missed out on. I don't care how the vote goes, Zenyatta is Horse Of The Year. Sometimes the best horse doesn't win the race and that's what happened in this year's Breeders' Cup Classic. Zenyatta has fired 20 out of 20 times and is, as someone else put it on another website, the most consistent racehorse that ever ran. Zenyatta and her connections rock! I will remember them always and forever be grateful to them for giving horse racing the gift of Zenyatta. Thanks for lying to us Steve. I appreciate it. Have a wonderful rest of your vacation.

07 Dec 2010 2:45 PM
Lindsey S

Thanks for saying what so many of us feel!  You know my favorite thing about you?  It's that you can still have those emotions after all the years you have been doing this.  I think that speaks volumes about your character, and the love you still have for the horses themselves.  I drove about 4 1/2 hours each way yesterday.  We got there around noon, and then stood outside for about 2 hours before she arrived.  I've had SO many people tell me I was crazy, she's just a horse, etc.  I don't CARE!  I will always be able to say I was one of the few people who got to see her arrive.  I will cherish that forever.  I was not one of the lucky ones that got to touch her, but I'll be back down to Lane's End for sure!  Thanks Steve, as always, for your beautiful words.

07 Dec 2010 2:47 PM
Tressa

Zenyatta is seriously awesome.  We may never see another quite as majestic, personable and talented as her, but other greats will gallop through, although; their greatness may go unrecognized as they are hustled into the breeding shed prematurely.

So, here's to Zenyatta, who will undoubtedly learn to love just kicking back and being a horse.  

07 Dec 2010 2:48 PM
Lonnie

Thank you, again Mr. Haskin for writing in words what all of us feel in our hearts for this champion mare, Zenyatta.  The thought of not seeing that last 1/8 of a mile run is not going to diminish for a long time.  Even the thought of Zenyatta having babies does nothing for erasing how we have felt these past three years.  I can watch ever single one of her races again and again and not get tired of them.  I can only hope that when awards are handed out for this year that Zenyatta will get the much earned and well deserved Horse of the Year.

Please keep writing about her.

07 Dec 2010 2:51 PM
Ck

Another great article.  I trained thoroughbreds for 19 years.  Other than the horses I trained , no other horse has ever put a lump in my throat or had my pulse racing like Zenyatta.  I also have concerns about her emotional well being at the farm.  The best horse I ever trained enjoyed racing, the race track and the human interaction.  Even though he was a calm and good natured horse, he did not enjoy being turned out or the farm environment. As much of a ham as Zenyatta appears to be,  I wonder how much she will like being at the farm.?  We all wish her well and a happy life.

07 Dec 2010 2:52 PM
John H.

Terrific article Steve....you have hit the nail on the head yet again. I am particularly connected with the 5th paragraph, when you talk about the inability to let go. I have witnessed 9 of her races, including both BC's. I have visited her at her barn on the Hollywood Park backstretch on 4 occasions, and went to the send off Sunday, again at HP. I kept scanning the internet yesterday waiting for articles to be posted about her arrival at Keeneland. This is by far the most unusual response I have had to anything in my entire 54 years of being. It has been over a month since her last race and I have not moved on one iota. I am glad you wrote this article...it makes me feel as though I am not alone in this!

07 Dec 2010 2:52 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Brilliant article. Why do you feel that she is going to miss the barn that she's been so close to- because she is. I was actually stunned when they said they sere sending her to Kentucky. I thought this time would be different, that they would keep her close and involved with the connections that she loves, and who love her, and to hell with making super babies. I have been worried about her making the transition from sunny, moderate climate S. Cal to the extreme weather conditions of Kentucky and away from Papa Shirreffs, Brother Mario, Momma Dottie, and the rest of the family. All we can do is hope that she makes the adjustment, and loves her new life and new adventure. If it doesn't work out, and she's miserable then bring her back to what would be the Welcome Home of the millennium to our biggest hero, and one of our eternal soulmates, and our leader, The Queen. Good Luck Zenyatta. We're thinking of you. We haven't deserted you. We love you, and think of you all the time.

07 Dec 2010 2:53 PM
Zookeeper

Mr. Haskin,

Bravo!!! My thoughts exactly. I've long given up on trying to explain the Zenyatta effect. I've given up on defending her, her connections and the career they chose for her. What's the use? If people don't want to see, they don't and it is their loss, not ours.

We're the lucky ones! We were given 3+ years of WONDERFUL and we wallowed in it. Good for us!!! If our obsession upsets the rest, let it be so. I don't care anymore.

The anti-Zenyattafan syndrome can no longer upset me. I feel blessed and forever grateful for the privilege of being hopelessly in love with the Greatnest Mare that ever graced our tracks!

Thank you Mr. Haskin for getting HER and for getting US and for being part of the Zenyattized Crowd! We're the lucky ones!!!

07 Dec 2010 2:54 PM
Rachel

You're so sweet and genuine, Steve.

God made me a horse person, too. My paper dolls were horses I traced out of race horse books..

As a young girl in the late 60's and early 70's I begged for a job on the track, anything, please anything, only to be patted on the head and told racing wasn't a girl's world...finally a stable took me in and I busted my butt FOR FREE mucking, cleaning, scrubbing...then moving up to walking and grooming, then icing and wrapping, then exercising...I still love that stable to this day for letting a girl work for them.

The girls are my heroes...Penny...Beverly...Jenny...Marylou...Ruffian...Chilukki...Go For Wand...Shuvee...Xtra Heat...Bayakoa...Azeri...Rags...Genuine Risk...Winning Colors...and the sweet Queen...Zenyatta...

Great people & horses...they all make me choke up.

07 Dec 2010 2:55 PM
Stephanie Q

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for recognizing her fans. I have noticed comments lately about how her fans are a Cult-really?? I tend to think these people making these negative comments are grown men who Paint Their Faces while screaming absurdities at Grown Men in tight pants (Football-if you couldn't figure it out)! We came to love her as an athlete and then thanks to Team Zenyatta we came to lover her as a Horse!! So to all the negative people out there- You Missed Out on the Zenyatta Ride!!!

07 Dec 2010 3:02 PM
Roxanne

Say, you wouldn't by any chance have a vote for HOTY, and if not, how about campaigning for Zenyatta? C'mon you know she deserves it, and reading your blog week after week, you know it too. Thanks for putting this indescribable feeling into words so elegantly.

07 Dec 2010 3:02 PM
Zen's Auntie

Steve, Thanks one more time and do us a favor, keep on lying.

Its clear to me that for whatever reasons the world is a better place because of the existance of Zenyatta - who can argue that? not too many things in this day and age can say that.

I hope they do dote on her at Lanes End - she deserves her own personal groom for life.  My daughter (and a few others I suspect) is interested in the job....

07 Dec 2010 3:03 PM
Rick Capone

You said: "I have been involved in racing for 43 years and have seen the great ones come and go. I accepted their retirements with no problem and proceeded to look for the next great one. So, why can’t I do that with Zenyatta? Why is this void so much larger than all the previous ones? I have gotten close to almost every great horse of my lifetime, but why did I feel like a star struck kid being up close to Zenyatta? Why am I worried about her being on a breeding farm without the human contact and adoring crowds that became such a major part of her life? Why do I actually feel she is going to miss John Shirreffs and Mario Espinoza and Steve Willard, and Dottie Shirreffs, and the Mosses, and everyone else who has fed her large doses of love over the years? Why am I anthropomorphizing and not doing it in a metaphorical or literary manner?"

You said exactly what I've been thinking and feeling myself. Thank you for sharing, not just this blog about Zenyatta, but all that you have written about her all year long. Happy Holidays!

07 Dec 2010 3:04 PM
Soldier Course

Steve:

"I Lied" went straight to my emotional center, like so many moments in Zenyatta's story. Thank you for giving all of us on the Blog Stable a glimpse of your deep and honest feelings about her. Coming from you, this article has to be Zenyatta's greatest tribute.

07 Dec 2010 3:13 PM
Mary McQuire

Actually, J Taylor, I bet no one really cares what you think. There have been many great racehorses. Too bad you can't acknowledge Zenyatta's multi-faceted greatness and let it go at that. Were you a bully in school?

07 Dec 2010 3:14 PM
Zemonized

Thanks for yet another  "Masterpiece Theater" of writing.  I checked the Lane's End web site today on the slim to none hope that Z's new caretakers might have posted a pic of her first day at the farm & a Hello to her fans.  My hopes weren't high so they didn't have far to fall. Then your article came along & that combined with some YouTube video did the job.  Zmiling Again!  Wishing you, your family, Queen Z & her family, (Moss's & Sherriff's) a happy & healthy Yule Season.

07 Dec 2010 3:15 PM
Polly S

Steve,

Reading your blog explained to me what we are all feeling. I have met many famous people over the years, but I was like a kid around Z. She is so spiritual and aware of her environment.  I've not seen another horse like her. I doubt any of us can give up our Z addiction. Like you, I worry about her not being her adoring public. Will she hate being barefoot and pregnant? I was worried about her dealing with the cold last night.  

Z has given us and the sport so much.  There will not be another like her for a very long time.

07 Dec 2010 3:15 PM
sodapopkid

Steve, We can all admit that we are all in the same boat.   I have been a Zenyatta worshipper since she started running.   I miss her already.   How can anyone discredit this magnificent animal.    She is horse for a lifetime.   Just like Penny Chenery said,   " She had the boy and the MOsses' had the girl".   Amen to that..........

07 Dec 2010 3:16 PM
Serena

You really do speak for so many of us. There is absolutely no way for a non-animal-lover to ever "get" it.  Yes, we choose to follow this sport that is horse racing.  We love it for a variety of reasons and we all hope that in our lifetime, we're going to see another Triple Crown winner. And every year, we're looking for the next superstar. We all want something we can throw our arms around.    I like to think the recent national obsession with race horses can be attributed in part to Barbaro.  His Derby was brilliant and got the "maybe this year" buzz started. His breakdown and miraculous surgery and heroic fight captured attention all over the world. People weren't afraid to show love and compassion for an ANIMAL.  And although he lost that battle, horseracing was on the front burner and we were all looking for a new star to come along and banish the sad memories.

And it did. These last two racing seasons delivered not one but two superstars. If these would have been male horses, it may not have had the same mystique.  But two females dominating a sport mainly ruled by males grabbed the attention.  I'd like to forget about the whole Rachel vs Zenyatta business....  can't we agree that they were both great for each other??  Their collective triumphs on the track had everyone from the very old to the very young cheering for HORSES.  Everybody cared.

It's such a shame that Rachel was retired in the manner she was; we're all now deprived of her.  But God Bless the Zenyatta team.  They chose to share her with us for another year.  This mare has more personality than Trigger, Black Beauty and the Budweiser Clydesdales all rolled into one package.  Of course we love her!!  How could you not !!    We follow her on Facebook, on her website, scan the sports pages for mention of her.  People who didn't know much about horseracing were glued to the TV on Breeders Cup day.

She's a superstar! Thankfully we have the media and social media because this has only elevated her popularity.  Had she come along in the 1970's or 80's  she'd just be another "really good horse"   But in today's world of instant information, fame spreads farther and faster than ever before.  Thanks to all of those who posted videos and clips of her at Hollywood Park and Keeneland -- you shared those experiences with the rest of us and we're grateful.

It's not a shame to love an animal and the horse -- perhaps the most perfect animal created -- is so deserving of this adoration.  And THIS horse --- this grand, beautiful mare has become the peoples' horse in every way imaginable.  

Steve, I look forward to everything you write and am often choked up in tears.  You must realize that we're all great fans of your writings and thrive on these beautiful musings of yours.    It's gonna take a while to get over this but I think Zenyatta's fans will be kept informed of her new life.  Her people won't keep us in the dark.  

I mentioned the Clydesdales and love their commercials, especially those during Super Bowl.... wouldn't it be great if Zenyatta was somehow featured with them in a Super Bowl commercial -- to air during the game -- the most watched sporting event on the planet???  Super Mare, Super Bowl... could be on to something.....

Sorry to keep babbling on....but I have one more thing and maybe I speak for others:  I like animals alot more than some humans.  They rarely disappoint us, they love unconditionally, they don't judge us, they don't care how we look or if we're overweight or what clothes we're wearing.... they have a way of making us feel better about ourselves. It's easy to love an animal and shame on anyone who tries to say otherwise.

I have a quote jotted down somewhere and it goes something like this:  "There's no better therapy than having your face licked by a puppy"  I think those adorable pictures of Zenyatta nuzzling that little girl and even smooching up with Steve carry the same sentiment.  I can only imaging that soft whiskery muzzle against a cheek or neck....  gotta be priceless!

You can continue writing about Z for us Steve...  I doubt you'll find anyone complaining!

07 Dec 2010 3:19 PM
Pat

Steve, I just want to thank you for making 2010 a wonderful year with your articles. Internet is written in ink and not in pencil. Everything from the Triple Crown trail which seemed so on point this year through all the wonderful treasures you said about Zenyatta. She brought the romanticist out of you and you brought your "A" game all year. Not too hard when you follow your heart. Easy to fall for HER. I am 30-years old, and the article that showed a photo of you kissing Zenyatta will remain in my memories forever. I get misty-eyed seeing that one. She will be a tough act to follow. Almost every Triple Crown attempt would seem like child's play to me because the pressure isn't that great compared to a horse going for 20-0 in the BCC for perhaps the first and only time. Even in retirement, people still talk about her. I can't stop thinking about her. She is irresistible. I guess it is hard to let go of a horse who gives us that magical feeling. Like that vacation or that escape you never want to see end. Now that Zen retired, every day feels like a manic Monday. I will still follow horse racing, but many top horses will come and go. I will still get those cheap thrills here and there, but I know I probably will never feel the same way like I did for Zenyatta. We had two Big Reds, but only one QUEEN ZENYATTA to me. Once in a lifetime. Our Haley's Comet from a pure horse lover's perspective. She was not only talented and accomplished, but so unique. They can clone her, and it still wouldn't really be the same. They only oome once. Lane's End is a stud farm that has Curlin and A.P. Indy, and the #1 attraction will now be a broodmare. We will all move on into the new stock, but the last few years was special. Again, thank you. This felt like a banner year for you and hope you win some writer's awards because of it.

07 Dec 2010 3:22 PM
Another Wisconsin Fan

I can't stop thinking of her! I watched all the videos I could find on the web. She is UNBELIEVABLE!!! She is not just great for Horse Racing she is great for everybody!!!

07 Dec 2010 3:22 PM
TomF

I agree with MOKEY. With all of the technology available, why wasn't there a live feed from Hollywood Park or Keeneland? There's no problem with a live feed from Keeneland during the sales, and no problem with a live feed from Hollywood Park for racing. Rarely does a thoroughbred have the ability to touch the non-racing public like Zenyatta has. It was a shame to squander that opportunity, and another reason that racing survives in spite of itself.

07 Dec 2010 3:26 PM
Ruffian64

I'm speechless. Thank you Steve. And thank you Z.

07 Dec 2010 3:29 PM
Susie and Erica

I knew it! I knew it! Hearing it was the "last" article on Zenyatta was almost as hard as seeing her retire. You two are so connected... Thank you!

07 Dec 2010 3:31 PM
heidi

a great read mr haskin

so now how about some pics and video of z actually getting to enjoy some freedom in the pasture

07 Dec 2010 3:31 PM
RacingThroughTheAges

Cool, Steve! Welcome to the ranks of us who have let go and given ourselves over to her. Don't you feel lighter now? Let's hope she makes new friends at Lane's End who are just as devoted as her racing team and that she transitions comfortably. I have to say though, she may just be one of those mares (like Genuine Risk) who doesn't make the life switch easily. I hope I'm wrong - it would be wonderful for her to produce champions and give mare's their due, but if she doesn't it will take nothing away from her. She'll still be in a rarified realm for all to behold who let go to receive her.

07 Dec 2010 3:33 PM
bong

Zenyatta is the very rare horse that horseracing industry needs in order to survive. She had 2 very unique qualities that we rarely see.

1. Her showmanship outside of racing.

2. Her never fail great deep consistent closing kick.

07 Dec 2010 3:33 PM
EQUINE PAPARAZZI

Steve, on saturday Dec. 4 at Hollywood over 200 people showed up at Sherriffs' barn. They kept coming in waves, 30-40 people at a time. John's staff had a quick lesson in crowd control, learning on the job, and managed to get EVERYONE who had not yet had a picture taken with Zenyatta taken care of. She stood perfectly still for 15-20 minutes at time as picture after picture was taken. She was kissed and petted and pampered and was such a perfect lady the whole time. It was just incredible seeing a race horse so calm amongst all the people and loud conversation and flashing cameras.

It was one of the most memorable times i have ever spent at the racetrack.

i agree that she is used to and certainly enjoys the human attention and may need it.

I hope that Lane's End is aware of what they have gotten themselves into.

07 Dec 2010 3:34 PM
Karen2

Zenyatta is not "just a horse" and you are not "just a writer"....Is there anyone else that can even do the great "Z" any justice? No one even comes close. You are just not finished with her yet and it's very likely the reservoir is bottomless.

07 Dec 2010 3:35 PM
hoofprintsandhorseplay

Thanks again for a great article.

Since my last favorite filly or mare was Go For Wand - I am thankful Zenyatta will be able to live on after racing and have some fast Pulpit offspring!

07 Dec 2010 3:36 PM
Lindsey

I can say that I was one of those 1,200 people that stood outside since 4:00, waiting for Zenyatta. My toes were numb by the time she came into the outdoor ring and I kid you not, when I first saw her I felt my toes again! I was so close to her that I could have reached out and touched her, and i regret not doing that now :/

I think i'm suffering from Zenyatta withdrawl now, I can't stop thinking about her!

I am sad that she won't get to be around her people anymore, I just pray that Lanes End treats her like the Queen that she will forever be :)

07 Dec 2010 3:37 PM
Stephanie Q

I just saw a picture of Rachel at her new farm and it makes me sad  that she did not get the same send off as Zenyatta-Rachel was and is still so loved!!!

07 Dec 2010 3:41 PM
Maria K.

That was a great article Steve.   I enjoyed reading it and it made me cry.  I have been her fan for the last three years.  She certainly contributed to the excitement and thrilling of this sport in the last 3 years.  She is an amazing horse and will be missed.  

07 Dec 2010 3:41 PM
Tag

Thank you Steve for wording it so well.

Horses DO "leave hoofprints on our hearts".  I've been blessed with several such horses in my lifetime.  And yes, they do miss you when you aren't around.  Thank goodness I was able to keep my special guys for all of their lives.  They were "backyard" horses and not famous to anyone but me.  But there was a real connection and I understand how folks feel about Z.

Bless her and you!  Merry Christmas( or whatever midwinter holiday you celebrate) to all!

07 Dec 2010 3:42 PM
Tricia Smarty

Thank you Steve so much for saying what was in your heart and also in ours.  I am so worried that she will not adapt to her new life and will be miserble.  How can you go from one extreme to the other.  Granted she probably needs a rest from all of her fans, but still.  Since I've gotten into the "Big Time" with Funny Cide, and let my heart be torn out by Barbaro and his glorious fight for life, I swore I would never give my heart again and I hadn't until the one and only Zenyatta.  I would have loved to see her go to the KY Horse Park, as I love what they do there with the former stars or they could have started up something for her in CA.  After all she is a California Girl.  I know it's a pipe dream but I really wish that for her.  I can think of no other horse that has been so adored since I've gotten into it.  There was Funny and Smarty and Rachel, but there was no other like Zenyatta.  I have been in her presence once and it breaks my heart that I am not one the lucky ones who had my picture taken with her as it would mean the world to me.  But I do have faith that if she does not acclimate the Mosses will do the right thing by her.  

07 Dec 2010 3:42 PM
BigRedForever

Steve,

Finally, The Legion of Zen has you in the flock. Step inside; the Kool-Aid is fine. As most of her following have known for a long time, there surely will be many wonderful horses to come, and a few that will crack the Top 50 of all-time Greats, but without question, there will never be another one like her.

I feel sad for those within the sport that failed to embrace her. Unless they are quite young, they could possibly never see one as good as Zenyatta again in their lifetime.

For those of us of a similar age Steve, you recall that we waited nearly 3 decades for Secretariat to come along and are now nearly four decades past the meteor that was Big Red.  Truth be told, we may never see his equal.

On the mare side, we had Ruffian 30 years ago, then a sprinkling of really good ones including Personal Ensign and Lady's Secret to mention a few, but much like the long wait between Citation and Secretariat, the wait more than filled our filly/mare cup with Zenyatta. Truth be told, we may never see her equal.

07 Dec 2010 3:48 PM
Jenna M

Now I feel worse! I've been so worried about her transition and when I thought I was being a baby, I read Needler in Virginia. I felt worse.

Will she accept this change? Can she ever go back to CA? I keep thinking that being away from people she knows and out of the spotlight and having moved...that it will depress her and she will lose her sparkle. Dogs can't even handle moving from one house to another...Zenyatta's personality will be squashed. I'm so sad.

Please don't let this be your last one :>

07 Dec 2010 3:54 PM
eightbelles

I miss her already.

This blog article says it all and to me, is her best tribute to date.

She is really something special.

Zenyatta means a lot to so many people. For me, she was like a ray of light during what has been a challenging year. I just love her.

I am not an equine expert or professional - just love horses and respect and honor them very much. Miss Zenyatta captured my heart quite some time ago and I will remain a forever fan.

After reading a few posts, I am a little worried now about her life as a broodmare. Am I wrong in this?

And last question from a complete novice. Is Lanes End a good place to live for a horse? Will she be happy there and what will her days be like I wonder? I just want her to be happy as I think we all do.

Thank you to Mr. Haskin once again for another beautiful article.

07 Dec 2010 3:55 PM
Carolyn

I was at HP on Sunday.  There was a distinct sadness in the air when she strolled by me.  Like she was thinking "Why aren't I racing today?"  She just wasn't the same.    I'm worried about her transition too.  We'll have to pray for her.

07 Dec 2010 3:56 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

P.S. Have a fabulous and safe vacation and New Year, and thanks for the presents(your articles throughout the year).

07 Dec 2010 3:57 PM
Jay

I knew you lied.When I watched her walk out from under the shedrow at barn 55 yesterday morning for the first leg of the journey to her new home, I sensed an emptiness not felt for some time.We can only hope she relishes her new life as much as she did the race track.Please no more follow ups for awhile.My tear ducts cannot stand them.

07 Dec 2010 4:07 PM
Kurt

to EQUINE- i was also one fo those 200 on friday at the barn..total madhouse.

..im also a zenyattaholic..i have zero days sobriety and am currently in withdrawl as its been 2 days since seeing the queen..when do the 12 step supposrt groups start??

as for ap indy being overweight, funny someone would mention that. i was at lanes for the open house after the BC and  everyone in my group commented on how overweight ALL there stallions looked..save for quality road who had gotten there that morning. weird the differant philosophys from farm to farm. some ride there stallions daily for exercise and some let them get fat..interesting

07 Dec 2010 4:08 PM
Linda Bulger

What can I say but tell you from my heart what this God given gift did in my life. I never followed horses or races so why now? All I can say is that my grand daughter of 6 years old came into my life now . We were unable to talk because of Adult issues. The first thing she wrote me was Grammy "I love horses." So I Google horses and who came up Zenyatta. It was her last race so I followed her. She CAPTURED me. Spoke to me and I spoke to my Lilly  my grandchild. We shared pictures , and articles, and tapes. I got her "horses" to play with . Zanyatta showed me how deep a relationship can go between man and horse. I KNOW she came into my life for a reason. One that no owner, trainer, jockey, or groom plans but happens. Now that is a gift from GOD and no other horse could have pulled it off but the QUEEN.Thank you Z for you . You spirit , your pride in being a woman, your love to humans. I will follow you for always.

07 Dec 2010 4:09 PM
RachelLover

I truly am thankful for the all Zen fans that they got to have two farewells and for those who couldn't be there, it was available for viewing online.  Treasure the moments - those of us who love Rachel the same way received no opportunity to say goodbye.  Thank you, Steve, for your wonderful articles and for always touching my heart.  Merry Christmas!  (P.S. - I hope you are planning to visit Rachel, too,  while in KY in January; I understand they quietly took her to "the farm" from Churchill prior to the Breeder's Cup.  It would be great if you could give us an update on both ladies to start the new year off right.)

07 Dec 2010 4:09 PM
kathleen o

Thank you again, Steve.  You're able to put into words all the feelings that I'm having.  I'm sitting at my desk, for the second day in a row, trying to hide from my co workers the tears flowing down my cheeks.  

In all my years of training and breeding horses, there was only one that possessed that magical ability to connect with you on such a deep level.  My initial rapture with Zenyatta was due to the fact that she not only looked exactly like my mare, she showed the same sense of self awareness, intelligence, and desire to please.  I lost that mare in a tragic accident when she was only 6 years old, the grief I felt that day is matches the loss I feel today.

Once again, thank you, Steve.  I'll help you tilt at those windmills, and so will all the tens of thousands of Zenmaniacs.

07 Dec 2010 4:25 PM
Ranagulzion

STEVE,

Is your column a true confession or are you gloating about keeping "Queen" Zenyatta on the front page?  For a confession I wouldn't blame you since "Big Z" touched so many hearts including mine, but if its anything else you've got to take the BLAME given that HOTY considerations are weighing in a delicate balance.  My apologies if I'm raining on Z's party here.

07 Dec 2010 4:28 PM
needler in Virginia

Mary McQuire..........take a chill pill, please. JTaylor was right: we ARE Zenyattaholics, and proud to be. What's that burr under your saddle all about? Go back and read JTaylor's post. I think you entirely missed the point, 'cause he NEVER knocked Zenyatta --  not once. And where did the "bully" accusation come from??

Sheesh!!

07 Dec 2010 4:29 PM
MG loves magical Z

Steve, as usual- a beautifully written article. Zenyatta is magical to me. I can't nor want to get her out of head, and she will always be in my heart.  There really just are not enough words to describe how Zenyatta makes me feel. I've been a racing fan for over three decades and always managed a way to live near a track.  I live in CA and arranged my schedule around Queen Zenyatta's races.  I've been lucky to see her in person many times and will never forget it.  Her energy/spirit overpowered me to tears of happiness just watching her walk from the paddock to the track and sharing this with so many people made it even more special. I guess it wasn't a coincidence that Sunday at Hollywood Park was extremely overcast and threatening rain all day.  While everyone was excited to see her again there was so much sadness when she walked off the track the final time- I will never forget it.  Many people taking pictures and cheering, and others just openly sobbed.  Streams of people young and old ran alongside the fence until they couldn't go any further while screaming "Zenyatta" and showing their love for her. It was so beautiful to see so much love being expressed and not surprisingly it started raining when she left. Thanks to Team Z for taking such incredible care of Zenyatta and sharing her with us. She is one of a kind.

07 Dec 2010 4:30 PM
Love 'em all

Only too happy to read another Zenyatta tribute by my favorite writer, Steve Haskin.  Gee, you can't have one without the other!

Guess I was at the right place at the right time three years ago, when a poster at the ABR forum shared her interest and love for Zenyatta.  She said then to keep an eye on that one .... and was she ever right!  For me, it was love at first sight for Zenyatta!

The three years have flown by ... the fun and excitement Zenyatta gave her fans will never be forgotten.  

Woke up this morning thinking about Zenyatta ... hoping she and Mario had a safe flight to Kentucky.  I'll continue waking up in the mornings thinking about Zenyatta.  So, anytime you wish to share another wonderful Zenyatta article, Mr. Haskin, I'll be more than thrilled and most grateful to you.

07 Dec 2010 4:32 PM
Dani

Zenyatta is a gift, a treasure. She embodies all that is joyous in life. And as she looks into your eyes she seems to sense what it is that you yourself need to feel joyous too. She is the rarest of souls and she has entered each of ours to help us realize all that is good in life.

07 Dec 2010 4:36 PM
Judy G Loves Queen Zenyatta (California)

Steve,

I forgot to include this: Thanks for Z Ride, Zenyatta!

07 Dec 2010 4:36 PM
Ginny

She made a great connection for me also.  And like you I worry how she will do without so much human attention.  I did wonder if the Mosses made any arrangements that will help her along, or get more contact than many of those great mares did after racing.  Can you help keep us all up with her progress?

07 Dec 2010 5:03 PM
Karen in Indiana

Ah, wonderful! I don't know why either. I keep telling myself she's just a horse and then catch myself thinking about her and smiling. Unfettered joy - not polluted with anything to bring it down. She is a gift from God and to Him I say thank you! And to Steve, anytime you wish to write more - thank you!

And now back to the real world. I do seriously hope that the racing community - owners, trainers, writers and all those others who make their living from the horse learn a lesson from this. The industry may be supported by the dollars that are gambled, but it thrives and survives on the enthusiasm of the fan. Ignoring the fan for too long is one of the main things that has put the industry in the spot it is in. The interest of the fans in this one horse has done more to increase the POSITIVE visibility of horse racing this year than anything else in the last 37 years. And yes, that has translated into more people at the tracks and more money wagered.

07 Dec 2010 5:10 PM
Sunnysunrise

Steve, Steve, Steve--just when I think I've got control of my emotions...you write again!  

Zenyatta certainly possesses a one of a kind charisma.  Having seen her twice, I am a believer that there is something very, very special and magical about her, almost an aura.

On Sunday after Breeders Cup,I watched her guardians graciously let her embrace her fans. From close-ups by the barn to the fence she thrilled everyone. Then they led her back to her stall and when I came for my photo Mario said so softly “she is sooo tired”.  While I didn’t get my photo, I did get close enough to see those beautiful brown eyes, the lids so heavy she could hardly keep them open, trying to catch a nap before the next wave of fans showed up.

Yes, at 60 I became a Zenyatta Junkie.  Seems no one really wants to let go of her spell, no one wants the magic to end...but it has temporarily I tell myself. We all will look forward to your January article telling us she's content and happy...

07 Dec 2010 5:14 PM
Jenna M

Hmm. The stallions are large at Lane's End. How do the mares fare?

07 Dec 2010 5:17 PM
Steve Haskin

Trebloc, you have a bit of a wait. I'm determined not to peak too early this year.

Helen, thank you and happy holiday to you, too.

Judy, one thing John and Zenyatta have in common is that special connection to people in that they seem to let you know what they're thinking.

Mike, I dont know, but it would be a good idea. Most farms to have an open house to let people see a new stallion. I dont see why they cant have on for a mare.

Gary Tasich, thank you for those poetic words. They hit home.

Rachel, great comments, thank you.

Zemonized, I like that, lol, thank you.

Keep babbling, Serena. You expressed yourself beautifully, thank you.

Pat, you are very kind, thank you very much. As I've said in the past, I never submit anything for awards. Everyone's comments on here and the other blogs are all the awards I need.

Thanks for writing, Susie. She connected us, right?

Karen2, thank you. The fun part is to keep diving into that reservoir to see if there is indeed a bottom.

Stephanie Q, I agree. Very sad about Rachel, but not surprising.

Eightbelles, Lane's End is one of the great breeding establishments in the world. The Queen of England stays there when she visits Kentucky, so why not another queen?

Dr. D, my pleasure, but where are my cookies? Happy holiday to you as well.

Ranagulzion, I'll answer your question by saying I wont answer that question. You'll have to decide that yourself.

I agree with Needler. JTaylor's amusing comment was taken the wrong way.

Love em all, thanks, you got it.

I tried to reply to as many as possible. I thank everyone for your comments and wish you all a very happy holiday.

07 Dec 2010 5:20 PM
Karen in Indiana

Stephanie Q - LOL!!!

07 Dec 2010 5:23 PM
WinngColrz

Hello, my name is Lisa and I'm a Zenyattaholic. I am so glad "I got it" too, at the end of her 2007 season and was privledged and blessed to be in attendance at both 2008 and 2009.

I will NEVER ever forget the volume of the crowd increase so dramatically when it appeared she was blocked at the quarter pole!

When she wove through the wall of boys inside and out, the crowd erupted like a volcano. As if there were a giant dial on the speakers of the grandstands--turned up beyond deafening--the stands rocked with screaming, crying, people jumping up-and-down  of all ages and genders, packed like sardines.....I knew I was going to witness something incredible in that last sub-12 seconds, win lose or draw.

Each one of her races has left me goosebumps, with my heart racing, gasping her name and wiping tears. Laughing and screaming at the same time. I'll never be the same.

Never in my 30+ years in this incredible industry, have I been felt like I was a part of something so electrifying, with so much anticipation, that I cannot imagine that any horse can ever do the same thing to me. I truly hope so, but I don't expect it.

But that's why we keep going back, isn't it?

07 Dec 2010 5:24 PM
Will W

One does not have to worship at the altar of this horse and offer libations to her, claiming a spiritual connection akin to worship, to sense that Zenyatta's retirement at the top of her game leaves too big a void for thoroughbred horse racing to fill. She was born to race and to inspire. If a hardbitten veteran turf writer of 43 years who's seen it all senses this, then it must be true. Would there could be a groundswell of support from the racing public to prevent the tragedy of turning her out to pasture and confining her to a breeding stall under lock and key at some Lexington horse farm, but then that's not how this game works because it's too much business and not enough sport.

07 Dec 2010 5:27 PM
Sara

Steve,

The reason some people are bothered by over the top Zenyatta fans is because they make ridiculous claims like she would kick Secretariat's behind. Those types of statements bother me for sure.

It's ok to love a horse, but not at the expense and utter disrespect of past champions who accomplished way more. Big Red captured my heart far more than she did.

Is it wrong for me to feel this way? No it's not. If you people are allowed to call her the greatest, then surely I am allowed to have my opinion as well.

So to answer you questions of why people care so much, the answer is because they have been following racing their whole lives as well, and they simply don't agree with the bold, ridiculous, completely unfounded claims SOME Zenyatta fans have made.

If they can say she would kick Secretariat's butt, then I can say no she wouldn't. If they can say she is their favorite, then I can say Big Red was mine. The door swings both ways, but Zenyatta fans only want to dish it but never take it.

That is not how the world works. We are not all goo goo ga ga over her. Sorry. Great horse but not the greatest. That's all.

And to the first person who gets angry reading this, were you equally angry when your fellow Zenyatta fans trashed virtually every past champion and said she was better? If not, then you're a hypocrite.

07 Dec 2010 5:32 PM
Windy City

All of us need to have a special place we go to feel good and happy; for most of us it's horse racing (and your blog, of course!) As you said, for whatever reason we turn to horse racing - it feels sooo darn good! For the past two years it was amazing feeling to know that I'll be able to see two of the most magnificence distaffers we could dream of...I was waiting for news about them, their races and your blogs....The two great Ladies are backstage now and they won't play any more for us. I love Zenny and I'm so happy for her that she has that loving family, I'm pretty sure she will miss them. Do you think it would be possible or make any sense if they will take her back to Cali after she will get pregnant?? As of the other girl - so sad that Rachel left the stage without one last appearance :-( Shame on you Mr Jackson.... After experiencing such a great runners, it's very painful to go back to "everyday" racing....It feels so empty....

07 Dec 2010 5:36 PM
Johnny

LOL; Steve that was funny.

I went to bloodhorse today and saw you wrote another article for a breef moment I though she was unretired..

She was a gift,I have my concernes for her after life.

She was a gift for horse racing and for us.

Steve you get it alot of us get it,for those that don't well trust me it is awesome..

She left a hole in the sport that I believe will never be filled,all I can say is THANK YOU..

Steve keep lying its fun to be a little naughty lol..  

07 Dec 2010 5:36 PM
wildblueroan

Steve Haskin, your heart and sensitivity are what make you the best turf writer in the business. What is the point if one cannot recognize greatness of spirit, individuality and transcendence? Isn't everyone in racing and in every sport-for that matter, arn't all people searching for these once in a lifetime qualities and experiences? Horses are individuals; racing is diminished by those who see them as statistics. Zenyatta is magical, the rarest of rarities. thank you for articulating what so many of us feel-and please keep us posted as you can-so we don't have to go too long without an update on her. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

07 Dec 2010 5:36 PM
Kathy B.

Thanks Steve for keeping our Zenyatta memories alive.  I miss her already, and even though she is retired I hope to see more stories on her life at the farm from somebody.  I know it's silly (and untrue) but I feel like she's mine!  It's been such an amazing journey following her and the experience has made my life better in so many ways.  Good luck shopping for those Christmas presents and have a wonderful holiday!

07 Dec 2010 5:39 PM
Zenny Fan Forever

Wow - you hit my nerve perfectly.  I thought I was the only nut that worries about her being alone in Kentucky away from all the attention and affection and the running. (which obviously she loved).  I am so depressed I didn't even watch the farewell ceremony and I haven't turned on TVG or HRTV since the BC.  I can't describe the excitement and fun she was for me the past 3 yrs.  I'll never forget her and I hope she is not forgotten in her Broodmare life.  I wish they would run her one more year.  I can't even imagine how Mike Smith feels.  I'll eventually watch the races again and cheer for Uncle Mo and the rest but Zenyatta was a ride I'll never forget.  But it was her character and personality that was better even than her races.  She was something . . . .  I agreee, she was definitely a gift to us all.  She made this old lady feel like a teenager again and I dreamed of being on her back everytime she made that late charge in each and every race.  What a thrill.  Thanks Steve for all the wonderful articles you wrote about her.  They are all in my scrapbook.  I have a Book on the Queen already and my walls full of pictures.  

07 Dec 2010 5:44 PM
sue

Steve...great article.  Maybe I'm nuts but I'm not going to worry about her.  I just read an article that describes her stall as large and comfortable in a secure area of the farm.  Knowing the Mosses and their absolute LOVE for this mare I trust she will get the very best of treatment.  Dottie's son has an office there and his assistant will see her regularly.  I believe her need to be around people was carefully taken into consideration with this move.  Sure there will be a transition but she's soon to be seven and will probably relish the opportunity to be just a "horse"...running free in those bluegrass fields and kicking her heels up.  If it was another horse I'd be concerned but with her connections and the careful way they nurtured her no way will she be isolated and given regular food.  This is Zenyatta...she's at a new home fit for a Queen and I'm sure whe will be treated like one.

07 Dec 2010 5:44 PM
Stacy

I too am intoxicated by Zenyatta. I google her every day and wondered how she did her first day at the farm. Her sheer and utter magnificence has brought me to tears more times than I can possibly count.

I saw her at the Classic in November (2010) and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

The Mosses and their connections have and always will do what is best for Zenyatta.

She is healthy, sound and safe. That alone is something to relish!!

She will be reunited with Life is Sweet and will be out in a pasture with her babies all day long. Her connections will be in and out of her life consistently. (Jockey's always go visit their horses, Prado/Barbaro. I am sure Mike and the Mosses will be regulars) She's had the best of both worlds and we can all be grateful she has been in ours!!

07 Dec 2010 5:45 PM
Charliecigar

Zenyatta retiring reminds me of the feeling I had when my favorite girlfriend dumped me!!  To steal a line from Morrisey, "I am so very sickened now..."

07 Dec 2010 5:50 PM
smartysgal

Steve, what a great blog!  You practically took the words right out of my mouth.  I've been a horse racing fan for the better part of 55 years (yes, I was 7 when I first got interested - remember Nashua v. Swaps?)  I was all set to go to Keeneland to say goodbye to the Queen herself, couldn't wait to breathe the same air she was breathing and perhaps get a close-up look at the mare who has captured our hearts.  I fell and sprained my ankle yesterday morning, disabling myself from driving the 10 miles to Keeneland because of pain, knowing full well that I would be kicking myself for not looking where I was going.  Doggone it!  Every minute ticked away with me wondering, has her plane landed yet? is she on the van headed across the street to Keeneland? is she going to be bedded down in a stall first? is she going to act the same way in these strange surroundings?  Oh, Z, I wanted so badly to see you.  You have touched my heart like none other since Secretariat.  I can't imagine how her connections felt.  I hope they were able to follow her to Lane's End and spend more time with her today.  I feel for the emotional separation as well as the physical separation for both humans and the equine herself.  Now to await the "chosen one" to be her mate for 2011.  A. P. Indy?  Bernardini?  My bets are on for A. P. Indy.  

I hope Lane's End does follow through with the Moss's wishes that she be made available to the public, as I've got some peppermints that I need to give her.  No beer - not when she's going to get pregnant!  LOL!  

What a couple of beautiful send-offs to a new career for Zenyatta, both in California and Kentucky!  I wish her happy times, a happy life, and happy foals!  

If she doesn't get Horse of the Year, there will be many people saddened and disappointed.  This is the honor she has worked for and so richly deserves!

07 Dec 2010 5:51 PM
Equination.net

Beautiful article, Haskin.  Very well said!  Words can't describe how amazing she is and I hope some day I can visit her myself in her pasture in Kentucky.  Her send off was absolutely fitting for the Queen and I think she will be very happy in her new home with many adoring people working with and around her for years to come.

07 Dec 2010 6:06 PM
Mike Relva

SARA

This isn't about who's better. This is about fans,"in the true sense of the word" who deeply care and respect a horse that's as dear to some as Secretariate was to you!

07 Dec 2010 6:13 PM
Pat

If Dr. Fager or Seattle Slew were some racing fan's alpha to the sport, Zenyatta is our omega. If Affirmed or Alysheba were the A, Zenyatta was our Z. From alpha to the omega or A to Z, we seem to come circle with the Sport of Kings. It took a Queen to do so. After having such a great time with Zen, we will go through our hangover period. What is the next thrill after reaching Mt. Everest? Yes, we will continue to follow other talented horses and get thrills from them here and there. We will eventually move on after some withdrawals and grieving. But for many of us, other horses may never really feel the same compared to what we saw and emotional feeling with Zenyatta. Even in pure "numbers." Once we reach that spiritual connection with a horse, it can NEVER be broken. Our spirits is too strong to ever be broken. She is represents our strength. Zenyatta was a pure horse lover's dream horse. Steve, you can write as many articles about Zenyatta anytime! I will never get sick of reading them. Just make sure to don't refrain from voting HotY this year. I'm pretty sure you will male the correct decision. An easy choice that I know comes from your big heart just like her's.  ;)

07 Dec 2010 6:14 PM
WILD HORSES

Zenyatta is an eternal ANGEL. Enough said. LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!!!

07 Dec 2010 6:15 PM
Jenna M

Zenny Fan Forever has made me feel a little better....thank you.

07 Dec 2010 6:22 PM
Tracy

Zenyatta is 100% genuine something not seen so much these days.I hope she adjusts to her new life I am a little worried,sorry she is so special.

07 Dec 2010 6:39 PM
Pam S.

Bonus blog!! Hooray!!

Now to switch to a more reverent tone:  It's so wonderful to have a place where we can express our thoughts about Zenyatta, our sadness that she is leaving the track, our happiness that she retires in such fine fettle and at the peak of her popularity, and our CONCERNS that she will not be satisfied with the broodmare life.

Of course she will miss her old life at first, but I feel sure she'll adapt.  Don't mares and weanlings get over it pretty quick when they are separated?  I think she'll like the Bluegrass too (meaning literally the grass), 'cause after all, she is a horse!  But IF there are any problems, you can bet the Mosses will be on the first plane to come deal with them personally, because Zen is like a child to them.

I'm so glad more than a thousand fans got to see Zenyatta at Keeneland.  I actually thought they should cancel her appearance because it was so cold!  But I underestimated my fellow Zen-aholics -- cold means nothing to them.

So Steve, when you do get to Kentucky, give our sweetie a big kiss for all of us that can't make it, and until then -- keep 'em comin'!  Whenever the spirit moves you!

07 Dec 2010 6:45 PM
Criminal Type

I too noticed how fat the stallions are at Lanes End. Maybe they should take a cue from Three Chimney's where they ride their stallions regularly, with the exception of the old man over there, Dynaformer. There are video's on you tube of Big Brown and others being ridden. It would certainly keep them in better psysical condition and probably mental condition as well. I imagine the stallions at Lanes End are a bored lot, which makes for personality quirks. I would have to say AP INDY is more then 100 pounds overweight, his belly sways when he walks. Sad, really. It does make me wonder how well Zenyatta will be treated over there. She is used to being treated like the princess she is. What worries me more is she has no winter coat, having been in california all her life. I imagine to start with she will be kept in a stall with increased amounts of turn out time, just to let her relax and be a horse.(I noticed she was barefoot at Keenland yesterday) They will put her under lights in the next few weeks to bring on her cycle for her date in the breeding shed. I know it is her destiny, but the whole thing makes me kind of sad. I miss her already. When y'all get the address to that 12 step program let me know. Like the sign at Keeneland said "Zenyatta...God's gift to stallion's" she is without question, that.

07 Dec 2010 6:46 PM
Mj Hawk

Steve, I love your confession. You're as stark raving crazy as the rest of us.

Personally, I think it was the kiss on her muzzle at Churchill that did it. Once you've kissed Zenyatta on the muzzle, you can NEVER go back.  

07 Dec 2010 6:49 PM
Criminal Type

PS, the reason Rachel did not have a farewell for her fans is because Jess Jackson does not care about her fans.

07 Dec 2010 6:50 PM
Runfast159

I watched her farewell at Hollywood Park, and I wondered too if she will miss the race, the way fans cheered for her... clearly she enjoyed both immensely. She's a fierce competitor, the relative tranquility of farm life may not suit her initially. She will never entirely lose the desire to race. So in a way, I guess I feel bad for that.    

I wonder too of the impact her departure has on all of her connections.  How very, very empty and cavernous her stall must seem now.  My heart goes out to them, for parting really must be such sweet sorrow...

07 Dec 2010 6:57 PM
Tearsforruffian

Ruffian was my heart and when she died it left a hole I did not think would ever be filled. I stayed away from racing until the year of Afleet Alex. I rooted for him, then for Barbaro. I almost quit watching racing again after that sad end. Still neither one nor any since were able to fill the void left by Ruffian... Then along came Zenyatta and I find my heart is overflowing once again. Ty Zenyatta.

07 Dec 2010 7:04 PM
DBH

I cry every time I think about her.....

07 Dec 2010 7:07 PM
Freetex

Oh Steve, how did you know I needed you to write once again about Zenyatta?  You've expressed so humanly perfectly what Zenyatta's aura does for so many of us.  

Today I was feeling so empty.  I have searched every Zenyatta farewell possible, read every word, and watched all the videos.  

To know you share very similar feelings regarding Zenyatta soothes my soul.  Thank you from my heart.

07 Dec 2010 7:09 PM
Shortskinnylady

Steve, I was almost over my tears from yesterday and the day before, going through withdrawal as our girl fades off of the media radar screen for a while (until they announce the stallion, at least), and your column brought more tears. Thank you for admitting that you are one of "us." As ably mentioned above, this 'disease' we horse lovers have usually starts at birth, or at least it did for me, so we have no control over it. Sometimes one can bury it deep inside for years, possibly, as I have done, while life interfered and prevented me from participating in horse-related activities, but it's always ready to boil to the surface. Mine came back with a vengeance in the last year or more, and especially this last year, with Queen Z. I will be forever grateful for having the opportunity to see her at Barn 55, and can go to my grave knowing I've seen one of the best in person. Withdrawal? You bet. Yes, I'll be following other horses, but I doubt I'll ever feel such a connection with another one like I have with her.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful and restful holiday. I so enjoy your columns, written from the heart as you do, and with such sincerity. Thank you!

07 Dec 2010 7:21 PM
Meleah

She was the 1st big horse i got to see run, and the world will never forget her. I have not seen a Triple Crown being won and I haven't seen an extrodinary horse, and to get to  see Zenyatta race was all i was asking, this is why we love horse racing!!!

07 Dec 2010 7:25 PM
Freetex

Monica, your post truly shook me.  Surely, Lane's End has some clue about what Zenyatta means to her public.  Its also very difficult to accept the Mosses' aren't totally aware and on top of the care they expect for Zenyatta.

Dr.Drunkinbum, your post said what many of us are feeling too.  Why take Zenyatta away?  Why does she have to have foals?  She is Zenyatta, the Queen.  There will never be another horse like her.  Why even try?

Steve, have a wonderful vacation and enjoy the holidays.  I am so grateful you do what you do.

07 Dec 2010 7:29 PM
Dakota

Charliecigar: I hope when your favorite girlfriend dumped you, your less favorite ones took great care to offer you solace.  ; )

Thank you, Mr. Haskin, for another lovely, moving article. She really is something, isn't she?

07 Dec 2010 7:34 PM
Smarie

What a wonderful blog! It is nice to know that even professionals like you Mr. Haskin have these feelings about Zenyatta like the rest of us little people have. She is magic. And no, these feelings probably won't go away - just ask Penny Chenery. I don't know how the Mosses could bear to send her so far away. If she were mine, I'd build a special barn and paddock just for her and keep her in my backyard. I wouldn't care if I bred her or not. I would just want her close with maybe another horse or two for company. Zenyatta owes no one anything. If she never foals or never reproduces anything close to herself, it doesn't matter. Her place in racing history is firmly entrenched and those of us who love her now will ALWAYS love her and remember her and always look for any scrap of information we can get about her. God Bless you Zenyatta!

07 Dec 2010 7:42 PM
Lisa

Steve, What a beautiful article as always. As you said those of us who have been around horses usually have that special one. I had a stallion that I bought as a yearling, and from the time I put my hands on him I knew he was different. He was the first stallion I had dealt with and boy was it a learning experience, but for 17 years he was my heart. He could hear my truck coming down the road and he would meet me at the gate. His trust in me was unflappable as mine was in him.I really learned to ride on him. Dressage and jumping;I rode him in group lessons and hauled him everywhere. On Labor Day weekend in 2002 I had to make the hardest decision of my life up to that point. He became very ill and after sitting and holding his head for hours and things not getting better I made the choice to have  him put down. Zenyatta has come close to those same kinds of feelings. The not wanting to let go, the incredible highs she gave us, and that little bit of sanity in an otherwise screwed up world. She for me has been a bright spot because of the tremendous impact that she has on people.  Giving people hope and just feeling good to be around her. The fact that her connections did something that has never been really done before by letting the public have such access to her. I do believe that there is a reason for every matter under heaven. I am not a real religious person but in Corinthians it says "There are three things that remain, faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love." I believe that Zenyatta embodies these and is able to pass these on for whatever reason. In a time where the world is all about me, my way or the highway, don't have time for this or that, Zenyatta and her connections have been a study in patience, faith, hope, and love. I hope that the reservoir is bottomless and that the people at Lane's End take up the torch.

07 Dec 2010 7:44 PM
Rita

If I could see thru my tears to read this I would say thanks for another article on big Z.I knew last year when you did'nt vote for horse of the year you felt the same way we do about her but out of respect for Rachel you did'nt say it.I think you will vote this year and I think I know who for. Love you Steve and thank you so much for all you do for your fans and the horses.

07 Dec 2010 7:58 PM
LauraS

Another winner Steve. Thank you. I've been a fan for 40+ years and I can honestly say that Zenyatta is utterly unique.

We've been privileged over the last three years to have seen Zenyatta - one of the greatest to ever look through a bridle.  I don't rank ANYONE "greatest" because you just can't - too many variables. If you developed a time machine and scooped up Eclipse, Lexington, Colin, Man o'War, Citation, Native Dancer, Dr. Fager, Ruffian, Secretariat, Zenyatta and (insert your remaining favorites here) at the height of their careers and dropped them into the same race we'd all be VERY surprised at the results I think. But until time travel is possible, instead of bickering over something you can't ever prove, let's all just celebrate ONE of the greatest racehorses ever - and the truly unique presence that is Zenyatta.

07 Dec 2010 7:59 PM
The King of the Derby

I am glad that zenyatta had a healthy career. She had a great deal of class in her last race. But i do not agree and or believe that she was as accomplished and or a fenommenon as other horses in the last 20 years. She was a good horse. I would not diminsh her accomplishemnts nor agrandize them either.

Good luck and bon journe

07 Dec 2010 8:02 PM
Lexie C

Oh Steve, you get to the heart of the matter as always! It is beyond crazy how much we all "feel" for this amazing being we call Zenyatta! They could throw a hundred farewell parties and the crowds would line up! This whole thing just defies logic.  So why bother?  We might as well all admit that we just LOVE her! Farewell Zenyatta!

07 Dec 2010 8:09 PM
nina

Zenyatta like Secretariat came to their peaks as the country was experiencing trouble. They helped us get our minds from serious matters and enjoy their beauty.I am a huge RA fan but I have to admit Zenyatta stole my heart with the dancing and the great racing. We also have to thank the Mosses for being so generous in sharing her with all of us. Merry Christmas Steve. Great article.

07 Dec 2010 8:15 PM
Lynda

You put into verse what most think but are not able to express.  Thank you so much.  Have a peaceful vacation, and may you and your family have an enjoyable holiday.

07 Dec 2010 8:29 PM
DinkyDiva

I love it "Zenyattaholic!"  Count me in too!  I've been indulging in the Zenny-kool-aid for a long time..  Man, I miss her, I missed her even before she left Calif! I just keep pinching myself wondering if this is really happening for good this time!!

Like so many of you, I have been a lil concerned but, if there's an issue with her happiness, you know that the Moss' will be there in a flash to take care of it!  My heart goes out to them and the entire Team Z!!!

Steve, have you heard anything about her arrival to Lane's End?  I have been looking all over and haven't seen anything.

Also, Steve, you can keep up the writing.  I know that so many of us would love it!!

07 Dec 2010 8:42 PM
thederbydream.com

Well said Steve, it was a tremendous scene out at Keeneland last night. Had a great time seeing the queen of racing. A highlight for a sport that needs more highlights.

07 Dec 2010 8:44 PM
Phyllis James

Like others who have commented, I have to agree that your emotions mirror mine.  The in which you question why, after 43 years in racing, you respond the way you do is exactly how I feel.  Thank you for saying such wonderful things about Zenyatta and her fans.

07 Dec 2010 8:50 PM
Arlene

My father taught me horseracing, from the 50's on. I am a child of the Farley books, and Northern Dancer, and Secretariat. I have followed the old to the new. The "new' distresses me. Drugs, inbreeding, breeding to unsoundness, wagering venues etc., pinhooking rather than breeding for perfromance and futher generations.

But, with Zenyatta, there is hope. I only wish someone photoshops a picture of her in the sales ring, a scabby, skin reject in the big picure of things, (with the breeding and promise), along with the final triumphant presentation at the  Keeneland venue 12/2010, of what she became. Isn't this the ulimate promise/hope of racing that took root and florished. The promise, the investment, the nuturing, the management, the goals, the outcome, the record, the debates. It is why we follow racing..year after year, horse after horse.

Yeah, but anyone else, doesn't she have ears like a mule?

Talk about perfection????

Steve..your soft..eat another vegie burger..

a smart but appreciative fan. :-(

07 Dec 2010 8:54 PM
Phil McSween

GREAT to see QUEEN Z arrive in Kentucky in good order and so good to see her FANS come out to support HER MAJESTY with so much love and devotion.    

Captain Steve, if THE BIG MARE could talk, and she is definitely THE GREATEST EQUINE COMMUNICATOR i've ever seen...she might say to you tongue in cheek...

"Haskin.....you got a lot of nerve calling this work:) "

Peace to ZEN NATION !! And Happy Holidays to ALL.    

07 Dec 2010 8:55 PM
MRO

I also was checking out the BH website hoping more pictures or news had been posted about Z's Keeneland farewell or first day at the farm. The 'bonus blog', as somewhat termed it, was more than I was hoping for. I just can't get enough. Thank you, Steve. Enjoy the time off with family, and keep the pen sharp for another year of wonderful & moving stories...hopefully, at least some of which will include Queen Z.

07 Dec 2010 8:59 PM
illgetalong

That was a great article... yes Zenyatta is in my heart too and I hope she will not miss her fans and loving family, but she is smart, she will and I worry about that... I am shopping for Christmas and in my mind is Zenyatta and I play her races and her dances and her ears with cotton and her beautiful stance and ways and I smile and sometimes a tear rolls out... but she changed my life for sure and for the better, I am thinking now "what would Zenyatta do" when someone pushes me or is rude and I now just smile and walk away and before I would confront the person.. I have the Zenyatta touch in me and I will retain it and think of her very often... I was so lucky to see her race so many  times and be in the saddling barn during the Breeder's Cup in 2009 and she does have presence and she does still the air and she is in my heart... I like it like that.. yes tilt to the windmill... it is a good thing to do... I can't pull myself to get to the track again, not right now and it is close to me and Santa Anita is gorgeous, but I am not ready yet to let go until I find out more about how Zenyatta is doing.. Thank you for writing such a great article, heck do it again, we won't mind.

07 Dec 2010 9:00 PM
Mike Relva

STEVE

Want to express my sincere thanks to your constant respect and outstanding devotion to a truly great racehorse.

07 Dec 2010 9:00 PM
seatariat

This is why I love you Steve, you not only get the Zenyatta phenomenon  but you are feeling the same things we are feeling, joy, admiration, loss and worry as to how she will adapt.  In other words we are kindred spirits!  I run a manufacturing company along with my husband in Northern Michigan (a nightmare in this economy) and yet I spent the whole day worrying not about my company but worrying about Zenyatta.  I'm mourning that I will not see her race anymore, I'm worried that she will miss her people and not be happy, I even have been worried that her coat won't be warm enough.  I keep picturing her standing at the fence looking for everyone.  Ok, I guess I'm one big worry wart right now.  I hope that Dottie can give us a detailed description as to her accommodations and her routine and how well she is adjusting .  I'm not void of animals in my life, I have two Newfoundland's, one German Shepherd, four cats with the fourth being a new kitten, and three horses with one being 27 years old that I have had since he was three yet my mind is worrying about a horse a thousand miles away.

I also want to thank you Steve for being not only a brilliant writer but a truly gracious man.  You are always so kind to your readers and even tolerant and accommodating to some that are a little negative.  I believe in freedom of speech (well maybe with the exception of Draynay and picketers at fallen soldiers funerals) and you always allow people to comment on your blog even if it goes against the grain or is not a popular opinion.  I really admire you for that as opposed to another popular blog.  The day of the classic he gave his picks and I posted a pretty lighthearted post and he not only would not post it he posted the following:

"Some of you Zealouts are angry people. Your nasty comments wont be published so stop wasting your time on here."

I found it pretty insulting and I really thought my post was truly lighthearted, here is what I posted.

Conversation in the paddock before the Breeders Cup Classic

Blame:  "Holy Crap Quality, do you see who just walked in, it's that Amazon Mare, Zenyatta!"

Quality Road: "Are you kidding me, where's Todd so I can kick him. Last year, I had to freak out and convince everyone that a helicopter spooked me, I really should have gotten an Eclipse for that one!"

Blame: "Ok, forget about last year, what are we going to do now, we can't lose to a girl!  Lucky, any ideas?"

Looking At Lucky: "It's a girl!  Runs like a girl, looks like a girl, smells like a girl, a girl, I'm going to beat her, ha ha ha!"

Blame: (Rolling eyes) "Ok, I forget your a late foal,  youth!  Quality what are we going to do?"

Quality Road: "Everyone take off your shoes, it's called the Big Brown excuse!"

Blame: "Don't you think that will look a little obvious if we all lose our shoes?   Etched, do you have any ideas?"

Etched: "She's soooo beautiful, look at her arch her neck and look at the girth on her...I think I'm in love!!!!!"

Blame:  "Ok, he's gone!  We have to think, think, think, oh-I got it!  Musket!  You are in the gate next to her!  So, just before the gate opens, just lean over and say "Hey Zenyatta,  your  shoe lace is untied!"  I heard this worked on a horse called War Emblem years ago!

Musket Man: "Ok!  But  I hope she is not as smart as she looks!"

Zenyatta: "Ah guys!   I can hear you!"

Blame: "Everybody shoes off!"

Zenyatta: "Boys"

Anyway it just made me respect you even more.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Steve, you too are one in a million!

Oh and, my name is Carol and I'm a zenyattaholic.

07 Dec 2010 9:01 PM
Cathy J

Hi Steve,great article, once again.

I am so glad I made that trip to Hollywood Park, to meet Zenyatta in person. I'm not sure I would have done it without the encouragement I got from you. As a child, I dreamed of Man 'O War, and wondered what it would have been like to have seen him in person. As a teenager, I watched every triple crown race, with my best girlfriend, until, along came a big, red, horse named Secretariat, and fulfilled our dreams. I never saw Secretariat in person, and that was something I always regretted. I have been an avid race fan for many years, and have been a breeder for several, but, until Zenyatta, no horse has ever moved me the way Secretariat did. I will be forever grateful to the Mosses, the Sherriffs and all of Zenyatta's connections for sharing their beloved star with her fans. Zenyatta is all that is good about the horse. I wish her Godspeed in her new role as a broodmare, and hope that I can visit her sometime at Lane's End. Bless you for being as "star struck" as the rest of us over this amazing mare!

07 Dec 2010 9:18 PM
CV

Sara,

Wow, so much anger in that post. None of which was provoked here.

I haven't read a statement in which one of Z's fans "trashed" Secretariat or said Zenyatta was better than him. Nor have I read anything that "trashed virtually every past champion and said she was better." In fact, I've mostly read the reverse, in which writers dismiss Zenyatta's accomplishments.

Perhaps you're projecting anger about another horse that you imagine was somehow slighted in attention?

Zenyatta is a striking, athletic and charismatic mare who is stunning in her size and physique, and who happened to win 19 of her 20 races.

She isn't Secretariat. She's Zenyatta. And that's enough for me.

07 Dec 2010 9:21 PM
sherpa

Sara, no one here today, or in Steve's last Zenyatta tribute blog, was comparing her to any other champion. Perhaps a few people in other blogs get a little over the top in their defense of Zen's racing ability; but there is no such thing as over-the-top concerning her personality, or the way she has touched her fans' hearts.  Sure, Secretariat might beat her in a race.  What does that have to do with her popularity?  She missed by a nose to a much lesser horse than Big Red, but you don't see people loving her less for it, do you?  No, Sara, you have really missed the whole point of Zenyatta.  She's unlike any other horse we've ever seen in that she combines *every* best quality in a horse in one joyful and drop-dead gorgeous package.  You're determined not to feel it, so nothing said here will impact your opinion at all.

I could be sad that you're so angry with us, Sara; but we're kinda used to being resented by now.  It isn't Zen-hate..it's really her fans, who love her so much, neh?  WE are the real problem for you and those who react to praise of her as you do, not Zenyatta herself.  She is, after all, a horse?

Folks who think Sunrises are over-hyped never get up to see one, so they're never proven wrong in their own minds. That's just the way it is.

Well, enough about you.

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

Temps dropped here to 22 last night, 500+ miles south and east of Zen's new barn.  Will be 18 tonight. It may be a long, cold winter in these parts. I woke up several times in the night, and this morning, wondering if she was ok and keeping warm.  What she's "thinking" about the new place, everything so strange to her. Knowing Mario is with her for the transition is a comfort.  He won't let her be cold or afraid.  

Yes, I'm very worried about how Zenny will adjust to the new life, like everyone else.  It's just too much of a change all at once.  Better to have given her a couple of months being a horse on a CA farm, maybe?  Too late to re-think it, of course.

Listen to her Vet, Dawn Hunkin, starting at 1:50:

www.youtube.com/watch

Thanks for this additional blog, Steve.  You're the best; and it clearly means a lot to most of us that you understand so well.

Season's Greetings to all!  And may EVERY horse have lots of carrots and mints in his or her stocking!!!

07 Dec 2010 9:22 PM
Thorne

Like 99% of you, Zenyatta's retirement has left a hole in my heart.  But how wonderful that she came along in our lifetime!  I was 10 when Secretariat won the Triple Crown and he became my life.  I've loved and rooted for many in the past 37 years, but none had ever captured my heart again...until Zenyatta.  I agree with Pat...Steve, you can write about her anytime you like and we will relish every word.

I also agree with Sue and Stacy that we need to give the Mosses a little more credit.  They would not have sent her to Lane's End without absolute confidence that she will be treated well.  I know there will be a lot of adjusting for Zenyatta, but given her sweet disposition, I think it's possible she will be wonderful mother!  

I received my Zenyatta Commemorative Issue in the mail today.  It is a beautiful tribute.  Thank you Blood Horse.

07 Dec 2010 9:35 PM
Pam Graham

@ Monica at 2:34 pm - Very targeted observation you make about these large stud farms.  I worked for Lane's End during this year's September sale at Keeneland and found everything you said to be true.  The people working directly with the mares and foals are not equine experts and some don't even have the most rudimentary horse skills.  

I've been feeling the same anxiety as you expressed over the idea that some of these people, who are overly rough with the animals out of fear and lack of training, will be in direct contact with Zenyatta, who has learned to expect so much more from her humans.  I walked away from that sale with great sadness for the horses at Lane's End.  And if there is so little genuine concern for the horse at the world's premiere facility, one can only imagine how it must be at lesser operations.

Apologies for the harsh note of reality here.  Certainly, during those moments in Zenyatta's presence, that harshness almost seems to melt away in the glow of her majesty.

07 Dec 2010 9:39 PM
Julie June Stewart

I'm proud of you Steve.... an excellent and articulate article. It's great to see you continue to write about Zenyatta... and someday a book?  Thanks again.  

07 Dec 2010 9:58 PM
zenyatta mondatta

I believe the horseracing fans are looking more forward to Zenyatta's first foal being born as to the next Prince of Wales' child being born.   LOve it....

07 Dec 2010 10:01 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Haskin Zenyatta Trilogy. The Zenyatta Lovefest. These three timely, and brilliant articles have been a rainbow for the soul of all of us who worship The Queen. And there's a lot of us lucky souls who understood her greatness and were enthralled by her magic for three years. Three years of glory, and astonishment, and thrills. The ultimate Merry Go Round with dizzying rushes of power thundering down the stretch over and over and over. We never got bored with the repitition of wins because it was done with a style that screams a loss, and with a prelude dance recital that touched us more than that first dance in Junior High. And just when we thought that a Monarchy is old fashioned, and meaningless, The Queen two-steps onto the scene proving that Rulers can be powerful, and kind, and enchanting, and connect with us mere mortals, and that our happiness does count. Long Live The Queen. And Long Live The King, King Haskin. They have made the world a much better place.

07 Dec 2010 10:02 PM
mary glynn

Mr. Steve you did it again, thank you for your words . Zenyatta much like horses of earlier era's Captured our hearts and Gave us hope. That the last could cross the line first. I to have wondered prayed and looked for anything i could find about how she is doing at lane's end. I am grateful for your talents . May you and yours be blessed with a merry Chirstmas !

07 Dec 2010 10:18 PM
Sherry

Steve, You can confess your Zenyamonia any time you like and we'll all be the better for it.

Hi, I'm Sherry and I'm a Zenyattaholic.

This is my first day without her and I need help. Pass the Kool-Ade.

Does this mean I won't get cake?

07 Dec 2010 10:28 PM
Kelly

I'm no poet or great writer, so I'll keep it short and sweet:  Steve, you are magnificent!!  You are just one more thing that Zenyatta brought to my life.  For the last 3 years, I have hung on every article about Zenyatta that I could find, but yours are the only ones that leave me completely satisfied.  You just get it.  I can't find another way to say it; you just get it, and your writing is beautiful.  I didn't cry with this article, though.  I smiled.  I laughed out loud.  Forty minutes later, I'm still grinning like an idiot.  You are truly gifted.  I look forward now to reading your articles and blogs much as I would look forward to curling up with a book of Emily Dickinson's poetry, and that is the highest accolade I can give you, as I just adore her writing.  I hope you keep writing for many years to come, and Merry Christmas!!

07 Dec 2010 10:38 PM
keenelandcat

Thank you!  Our sport needed a hero, Zenyatta was it.  By the good graces of her connections, she was with us long enough to pull thoroughbred racing up from the low levels we were sinking to.  She was the perfect storm-everything that we needed.  She was (and still is)big, bold & beautiful.  She had a style all her own & won doing it her way. Despite all the critics, her owners, trainer, and staff should be placed on a pedestal for always placing their horse's well being first.  God bless them, they should be the norm in this industry-not the exception.  

07 Dec 2010 10:39 PM
Kristen Hall

My name is Kristen, and I'm a Zenyattaholic. Every morning around 9am I receive my google list of new articles about Zenyatta. I sniff quietly in my cube at work, moved by all the comments on blogs like these. I am obsessed. I bought two BC Zenyatta hats, a Zenyatta calendar, and several copies of the Zenyatta commemorative issue. I wish there were a webcam in her stall!! One thing I do know about horses is this: they live in the moment. So I believe Z will do just fine in her transition. In fact, she has probably already bewitched half the staff there to fawn over her, and the other half of the staff just hasn't met her yet (it's only been 24 hours after all). She's like Pollyanna, really, and has the ability to change the world around her. But we already knew that, didn't we? :)

07 Dec 2010 10:39 PM
Donna W

Steve,

Thank you for "I Lied". I confess that I too am worried about her adjustment to life on a farm. She supposedly had 14 people who participated in her everyday routine. She has been in training since the age of 2 and clearly thrived under John Shirreffs care. Has she even been turned out on her own in the past few years? I fear she will not get the attention and love she deserves. Most of all I fear she will lose her beautiful dapples and conditioning. Oh well, as John Shirreffs said we must all move forward. The Mosses have shown all along they truly have Zenyatta's best interests in mind. Let's hope she likes retirment as much as she enjoyed racing. Thanks again Steve and everyone participating in this blog...it helps to know that I am  not alone in my Zenyatta thoughts!

07 Dec 2010 10:44 PM
Matthew W

Yeah, and I'm like "why can't she continue racing, she lost so they don't have to worry about that, and there's dirt now at 'Anita,next year she won't back away from the kickback....she's so strong, so sound, and she WANTS this way of life..."...horses that want it so bad--usually they are front runners--she gave them all a big headstart, like when they originally tried to teach her to rate--they said "good girl"---she wanted to always make them happy, and she just would walk outta there, thinking that's what they wanted---Zenyatta WANTED to make people happy--and she knew how--she'll be missed....

08 Dec 2010 1:59 AM
Deacon

There is no great reward without great risk. Zenyatta bonded a horse racing nation, well at least for those who were willing to accept it. As I have said before, I truly believe that she help save racing and she helped save many lives. People started believing again in something, she took all of our minds away from the daily stress of life. She transformed us into a world of beauty and spiritual excitement. Steve is right, there has always been a connection between man and horse. This connection was happening to us, and in the present moment.

Zenyatta just gives and gives and gives, she never takes away. We all are sponges waiting to soak up anything we can from her. Like most of you, I to have been deeply moved by this sweet, kind, and loving animal. I am sure as hell gonna miss her............

Happy Holidays to all

08 Dec 2010 2:29 AM
sue

Steve...you mentioned that you would see Zenyatta in January.  Hopefully it will be to celebrate the HOY award and get another kiss!

08 Dec 2010 6:13 AM
Secretariatandaluz

I´m spaniard:Don Quijote´s land.May be Zenyatta the best female ever,may be not...but for sure the most impact thoroughbred in many many times.God bless her.And God bless Steve.He is,in original spanish-tongue,un gran tipo.

08 Dec 2010 6:25 AM
Amy

Wonderfully put!

Actually, this story is one of magic, I feel, because she is retiring healthy and sound, and of course, happy. Being a dog breeder, and mother of 4 children myself, the BEST is yet to come for Zenyatta. There is nothing quite like life renewing itself.

08 Dec 2010 6:48 AM
Pat in New Jersey

Thank you, Steve.  I got up yesterday and searched YouTube for videos of her arrival in Keeneland and was not disappointed.  this morning, I have you, but nothing about what she's doing at Lane's End....I, too, worry about her, but trust that she will have new humans to love her dearly.  As we will continue to do as well.

08 Dec 2010 6:52 AM
Terri Z

Dear Steve, Thanks for the eloquently writen, sensitive article.

Zenyatta is truly mystical and she is a Unicorn without the horn.

She's opened up so many people's hearts.

Please keep writing about her as she is special and has touched so many people throughout the world.

I'm wishing that she stay happy and healthy in her new environment. And I'm worried as they moved her to Kentucky in the dead of winter.

At least her friend, Life is Sweet, will be there with her. And David Ingordo will be there to watch over her. I hope that the Mosses buy a place in Ky to be able to visit her frequently.

Happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year.

It would be great if you wrote a book about her and your experiences with her.

08 Dec 2010 6:54 AM
racingheart

I am with you, Steve.

I try to go on with my daily, holiday schedule. It is a busy and hectic one, being involved in retail now rather that mucking stalls at five in the morning whether it is Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day or whatever.  But Zenyatta is there, every moment. I dreamed of being at both of her farewells as I worked my butt off, assisting frenzied shoppers. I felt a sense of joy & peace as I daydreamed about her doing her little goosestep and posing all gorgeous and regal for the fans. I watched the videos of her being touched and therefore touching. I marveled at her dappled coat and smiled at how proudly Mario carries himself when he is beside Zenyatta. The photos of Mike broke my heart! It is as if he is saying goodbye to his one true love. And in more than the conventional  sense, I believe that. It is so hard to let go of a horse that you have been intimately involved with and have loved so deeply.

And so from California to Tullahoma, Tennessee, this mare lit up my world as only she could do. She IS other-worldly. She DOES have an aura about her - one of friendship, love and harmony.  

My love for Rachel Alexandra was intense and I burned every day that I awaited the call of her races. The way her fairytale crumbled and passed quietly into history is the most heart-breaking thing I have endured in a while.

But the way that the Mosses are sending off their Queen has raised my spirits and gives me restored faith in horsemen. They share her with her fans as if they realize that we too are a part of her legacy. And aren't we?

No, there will never be another like her. I feel blessed to have been alive to witness Zenyatta, live Zenyatta and fall in love with Zenyatta. Call me crazy. Call me obsessive, irrational and/or childish. I'll take it all. Just don't forget that I'm her biggest fan, like yourself and the next person that lights up at the mention of her name, and I'll just smile and say, "That's me!"

Thank you for making your peace with us here on your blog. We always knew, anyway. Much respect!

08 Dec 2010 7:22 AM
darlene

I am so sad I never got to see Zenyatta but i have watched her on tv and love her very much I like you cannot accept her retirement and worry that she will not be happy on the farm. I know she will miss her life at the track and her fans I have called Lanes end many times and ask when her fans can see her I hope to make the trip asap so see her but so far they have told me thay may not let visitors come I hope they do can you please find out if they are going to let her fans come and when? thanks so much  be happy Queen Z

08 Dec 2010 7:44 AM
OldDog

Well said, Steve.

08 Dec 2010 8:20 AM
Deborah

I read the phrase yesterday, "she will now disappear into the breeding shed"....it made me sick. I have worried for weeks about how is she going to be happy away from all of her people, her fans, the racetrack? I don't want her shut away somewhere having to become some baby machine. She needs the limelight, the crowds. If she is unhappy will the Mosses' do something, take her back to California, let her live somewhere that will allow her to be paraded and receive ovations and love from her fans. Surely the Mosses love her more than I do and I do not believe that I could let her go. She is unique among horses. Z is  owed the life that she wants; not what the hardcore businessmen want.  She is too precious and too unique to simply "disappear into the breeding shed". This is breaking my heart. I saw her up close and personal at Churchill and I KNOW what she does for all of us. Please, please her fans want to know what happens to her.  Please keep us updated.  Many, many thanks to you for expressing our emotions.

08 Dec 2010 8:29 AM
Racingfan

Thank you for writing again and PLEASE continue writing about her whenever possible.  I miss her terribly already.  I actually found myself thinking about her yesterday during work which kinda surprised me. Your writing is awesome and for those of us who aren't able to be there in person, it gives us a chance to experience it for ourselves. I REALLY wish you would consider writing the Zenyatta book.  Only you could do her justice!  And on another note, I wonder if you have ever read one or both of the books about Native Dancer?  He is still my all time favorite and I re-read my books on him frequently which I am in the process of now.  As I am reading this time, the parallels to Zenyatta are jumping off the pages. Maybe that has increased my love affair with her since I was not born yet to experience him and have had to see it all through writing. At least this time, I have been able to see it on tv and video!  Thank you again for sharing your experiences and insights with all of us!      Seatariat: I think your pre-race conversation is great! Can't believe Jason wouldn't post it. I have stopped reading his blog.  If someone who's job it is to write about racing can't recognize greatness, then they have nothing to say that I care to hear about.

08 Dec 2010 8:38 AM
Sydney

Seeing the images of Zenyatta's arrival with her tenders bundled up to ward off the mid-teens temperature made me disappointed that there was not one single California farm that could have housed this amazing athlete for a couple of months until breeding season actually begins in Kentucky.  She probably has not been turned out in four years and if anyone deserves a couple of months playing and standing in the lovely California sunshine she does.  First the Wygods have baled out on California and now the Mosses, even though California is where Zenyatta became a superstar.  I, for one, am a bit insulted that California farms were apparently judged not good enough even for a vacation...

08 Dec 2010 8:48 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

Steve, you are able to put into words the very way I feel about Zenyatta.  She's beautiful and so are you.  

08 Dec 2010 8:56 AM
Lorri S

LOL. You lied. Of course you did and I'll lay odds this wont be your last column on the mighty Zenyatta.

I see all the usual suspects are here on this, the best blog on Bloodhorse. Mike Relva, Dr Drunkinbum, Zens Auntie etc, etc. But wait, there is one missing, he haunts every other blog on the net but for some reason AfleetAlexForever just can't show his hate spewing face here.

This is after all a meeting of Zenyattaholics and it seems the Queen is still working her magic by keeping the nasties at bay. God save the Queen.

08 Dec 2010 8:56 AM
jlp918

I was one of those people who went to see Zenyatta at Keeneland the other night.  I think my fingers and toes are still numb, but I would do it all over again!  Zenyatta is an amazing athlete with an extraordinary presence that touches you when you actually see her up close.  She really "worked" the crowd at Keeneland and it was an experience I will not forget!

08 Dec 2010 9:16 AM
Golden Gate

I will miss seeing Zenyatta race too but I am glad they are going to let her be a mother.

Motherhood is very special and the few mares I have just love their foals and when they don't have one and see another "mommie" with one they look quite sad.

Being a human mother I will tell you there is nothing like the pain of birth and then the forgetting of the pain and then the desire to care for the little one.

to deny Zenyatta the pleasure of motherhood would be to deny her of her destiny that is programmed into all living creatures and that is to procreate.

Even if the foal does not match his/her great mother in her horsey eyes the foal will be the most wonderful thing ever and she will have had a closeness no human can take from her until it is weaning time.

08 Dec 2010 9:21 AM
JClark

Steve:

I normally do not write anything on blogs but as it goes for everyone else, I too have that draw to one of the most magnificent horses of my time.  

I was only 3 when Secretariat won the Triple Crown but I do however remember the greats starting with Seattle Slew.  But as everyone else has stated, there is just something about ZENYATTA.  I have to attribute that to the Mosses and Shirreffs.  If it was not for them allowing us to come into a part of their world and share this great animal with us, I don't think we would be here today talking about her.

I so wanted to go and see Zenyatta at Keeneland.  I planned my entire day around her arrival at Keeneland.  But when I found out that her arrival was delayed, I was BUMMED.  I also coach my son's UPWARD boys basketall team and we had our end of the season program at 6:00 Monday night.  I texted my daughter to give her the bad news and she was worse than I was.  But being the coach and the mom, I had to be there for my boys.  The whole time I was at the program I would look at my cell to get the time and I would say to myself, she should be landing right about now or she should had made her way over to Keeneland now, etc.  I so wanted to see her in person.  I wanted to see her still in racing form.  Of course we can eventually one day go and see her but not like this.  I want to see her in all of her REAL GLORY; on the muscle, still walking her dance, knowing that she is at a race track and she is still the horse to be reckoned with.  That is the way that I will always remember her.

I just want to say thank you to everyone involved with Zenyatta.  Thank for letting us take this "ride" with you.  Maybe one day we will have her babies to follow and feel the same way about.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

08 Dec 2010 9:21 AM
SusanA

Mr. Haskin,

I too, cannot quit thinking about Zenyatta..She has infiltrated my dreams almost every night for the past week.I am making a copy of this writing and placing it in my journal...I've been trying to write exactly what you just said, but just couldn't put my feelings into words.  You just did, thanks.

08 Dec 2010 9:32 AM
LaQua713

Yet another great article from a great man-it's not anthropomorphizing when a horse like Zenyatta comes along and is that beacon of hope we so desperately need in gloomy times. (Need I say more with the likes of the homely Seabiscuit?) I travelled from NY and left my retirement business and it's 37 odd retired horses (something, I rarely, if ever do!) to stand outside and catch a glimpse of her, which I did but I received SO much more. I received awe, wonder, the camaraderie of strangers and a strange sense of fulfillment as the Mosses, John Shireffs, Mario Espinoza and of course, Mike Smith paraded past me.

Please don't chastise yourself for your praise and wonderment of this extraordinary mare, it's a sin we, those who love her, all possess; pride your self in having the courage to admit to such.

I hope I can be half the writer that you are...

08 Dec 2010 9:35 AM
Lauracrown

Steve,

Thank you for this article! May you and your family enjoy a blessed Holiday Season! Thank you for your respect and understanding for the racing fans that are attracted to this sport because of the horses. I have been saddened by some of the rude responses certain other writers have recently made in observation of those racing fans that have been deeply touched by Zenyatta or who clearly feel emotional about horse racing. I feel blessed to have been alive during the time of all the great horses since Native Dancer through Zenyatta. I have been lucky enough to have seen many in person or on TV. I have spent hours in the proximity of Cigar and John Henry at the Kentucky Horse Park (where I also unashamedly wept over Forego's grave).I worry about horses I have followed as a fan when they have been retired. Your articles and blogs are always a welcome source of information and are satisfying to this horse lover's soul!

To all my fellow horse racing fans who respond to Mr. Haskin's blogs: I wish you Peace and Happiness,too, for the Holiday Season! Love is so much more empowering than cynicism!

To Seatariat,

I loved your post! It was clever and made me smile! Thanks for sharing that here.

08 Dec 2010 9:41 AM
I Davis

Thanks, Steve, for another wonderful article about Queen Z...she is definitely one for the ages.  Looking foward to her mating...hoping it will be w/A. P. Indy, the son of the most understated, and only undefeated Triple Crown winner, the phenominal Seattle Slew!  I can only imagine what that mating could produce for the racing world!  Hopefully, we'll see many of Z's fillies and colts on the race track in the coming years.

08 Dec 2010 9:55 AM
Jenna M

I e-mailed Mr. Farish via the Web site voicing my concerns.

Also, I e-mailed the editor of Time magazine. I suggested that Zenyatta is a better person of the year than WikiLeak's Christian Assange.  Much more appropriate.

08 Dec 2010 10:03 AM
RGGC

Thank you Steve, for always putting on paper what is inside my head. I buried my wonderful Dad this weekend and yet, every night I came home, I checked to see what was happening with Zenyatta. I smiled as I watched her on TVG being led around by Mike and then when she was at Keenland. Watching her gave me that little sense of normalcy that I so desperately needed after going thru such a emotional day as saying good-bye to the man who taught me to love horseracing. She was my escape, now she's gone. But hopefully I will get to see both my Dad and Zenyatta again someday. They were both the greatest!

08 Dec 2010 10:05 AM
beej56

Thank you for this.  I couldn't have said it better myself and will miss her very much.  I too am a veteran of the sport and have liked many but the first time I saw Lady Z run and win her first race, I was in love.  I don't care why she captured me, I just know she did and I couldn't be happier that she did.

08 Dec 2010 10:13 AM
Slew

Aaaahhh, Steve...you really get it.  You understand the magic, and have the ability to weave a lovely tartan of emotion with your words.  We are ever so grateful for you and your artistry.

So I'll steal some other words from Robert Palmer...."might as well face it, I'm addicted to Zen."

Seatariat: I love "fly on the wall" conversations, and I thoroughly enjoyed yours.  But you finally posted it to the right blog.  Thank you so much for the giggle.

Sara:  I have no idea what you're so angry about.  No one even mentioned Secretariat in their posts.  No one would ever disparage the "perfect horse".  But if you really read up on Secretariat, you might discover more similarities to Zen than one might expect, including a come from behind style, an affinity to cameras, and a total connection to the humans around him.  I try not to compare horses.  When you've seen Citation, Kelso, Nashua, Secretariat, etc... and my hero Seattle Slew, you recognize that what makes them so endearing is their individuality.  Most of all, it's probably their intelligence that raises them above the bickering among mere humans. To me, Zenyatta fits into that niche very well.

And while all the worry warts wonder how Zen will be treated at Lane's End, I can assume only that the Moss's were exceptionally selective in their choice, and have negotiated their own requirements in their contract with the farm.  

And to those who still just don't get it...I'm sorry.  I only hope that some day you find your own champion to love.

It's been 32 years since Seattle Slew left the track, but he still gallops through my own dreams with abandon, bullying his way across a lightning-filled sky.  

But then, my name is Diane, and I am also a Zenyatta-holic, and am also feeling the pangs of withdrawal.

08 Dec 2010 10:15 AM
Melissa

Dear Steve,

Headline "ZENYATTA COLT/FILLY WINS TRIPLE CROWN" I will just love the way you write that story.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you and your family.

Hugs

Melissa

08 Dec 2010 10:23 AM
racehorselover

My name is Jenny and I am Zenyattaholic.(sorry too cool not to borrow). I am very worried about Z. I have been with horses all my life, and yes for awhile did the racing thing. Horses love routine. Zenyatta's has changed drasticley in 48 hours. I also have worked for large farms and know of the apathy that more than fills the barn. I know the Moss' have Zenyatta's welfare first and formost at hand. But how do you send a "Rock Star" to a nursing home. You just can't throw her in the back 40 and forget her. If she was a stallion she would be in every media, but as a mare we will hear who she was bred to, when she  foals, and when  she dies. We as Zenyattaholics need more than that. Lane's End I fear has only a small idea of her following. After breeding season I would not be surprized if people started camping out by the front gate just in hopes of catching a glimpse of our beloved mare. I hope when you visit her Steve you can explain to the management the phenom that is ZENYATTA. Once again you have written the perfect piece that IS Zenyatta AND the "fix" that we Zenyattaholics crave. You have reached into the depths of our souls to bring out in the open what we are all thinking and feeling. Thank you. I looked on Facebook for any   trace of her posting yesterday. Checked her website for word of her and cried when there was none. Being in horses for 40+ years, I understand the connection. But it is like looking in the pasture for that old friend knowing we won't see them. Thank you again Steve for putting it down for all to see. God Bless the Queen. We all miss you Zenyatta.

08 Dec 2010 10:24 AM
cindyb

Haskin, you almost got it. Almost. Somewhere, this has to become about THE HORSE. What a novel concept. Not the owner, trainer or anyone else, the HORSE. This is where I am struggling too. All of the things and people she has known and loved for most of her life have now been yanked away. She has been taken from the warm sunny West coast to cold, blustry, Kentucky. She is literally worlds away from all she knows and has loved.

I have 16 horses, none nearly the status or value of Zenny. And I can not imagine being away from them or having them away from me for a day, much less a lifetime.

And yeah, blah blah blah, I know how things normally work but then again, Zenny isn't a normal horse.

If she were mine, she would be sent to KY to be bred, then home to CA where she rightfully belongs. They have pastures there too you know. And she can be pregnant in Ca as easy as she can KY.

My worst fear is that Z will change, and she will. The less human contact, the more she will become as another horse. This is the sadness and she does deserve more. Not that Lane's End won't be good to her, they will. But then again, this is NOT any ordinary horse. Nor should she be treated as one. She is a once in a lifetime.

08 Dec 2010 11:07 AM
Linda in Texas

RGGC - so sorry for the loss of your dad. That is a tough one, believe me, and i understand your pain.  Always know that one of us will always be reading, waiting and reacting to Steve's blogs and here for support.

Steve leaves his light on for all of us even on vacation.

Sara, reread Sherpa's, CV's,Gary Tasich's and Mike Relva's posts for a start. Might help you handle accepting greatness or at least being civil enough to call it when you see it.

Secretariat was 4 decades ago. I was 30. Many on Steve's blogs were not even born then. So Zenyatta is their Secretariat. Nothing was ever mentioned to trash him or any other horse. I don't know where those thoughts came from. Big Red is never to be forgotten.

In a perfect world, every horse should be so lucky as to be revered as Secretariat and Zenyatta. With a lot of positive thinking and support, hopefully that day will come for all of them.

Best wishes to all for a Peaceful Christmas Season.

And thanks Steve, your articles provoked wonderful thoughts about Zenyatta and all of the heartfelt responses to her have been the high point in my year of 2010.

08 Dec 2010 11:16 AM
Livesoutwest

Simply Majestic and Sara, I think you're both missing the point.  Yeah, Zenyatta loses to Secretariat and Alysheba and most of the all-time great males in their prime.  But she's a female and in general, female athletes do not have the physical attributes to compete with males.  There are no female major league baseball or football players.  The best women's basketball player, Candace Parker probably wouldn't even win a spot on the roster of the Developmental League.  In fact it's a real anomaly in athletics that the best female horses on turf in Europe consistently compete with and beat the males, more the shame that Zenyatta didn't have that opportunity.

So given the natural physical limits of being a female, what she did accomplish was amazing.  She soundly beat a field of good males on Pro Ride in the BC last year and she beat or finished on near- even terms with a good field of males on dirt this year.  She might well have won this one too if given the same chance to prep over the track like her opponent or if Mike Smith hadn't gone inside and had to momentarily shift around a stopping Quality Road.  Smith at least, to his credit took all the blame. But in his case, I find it hard to blame him for something he couldn't predict would happen.

So yeah, obviously Zenyatta didn't measure up to Secretariat, but no male horse I've seen would beat him either on his best day.  But Zenyatta was the equal or better of any horse of her own generation, male or female, once she reached her prime.  (I personally don't believe she would have beaten Curlin or Street Sense or Rags To Riches or Ravens Pass as a 3YO or young 4YO, but she also hadn't reached her prime yet when those horses were in their primes, she was a late bloomer.)

What she was was one of the two greatest female horses who ever raced on dirt, along with Ruffian.  And while I give the latter the edge at 1 1/8 or under, I think Zenyatta would have been her match at 1 1/4 or longer.

Living ten minutes from her home at Hollywood Park, I had many chances to see her live, including both BC wins.  It was sad to watch her walk down the track for the last time on Sunday.  I'll give the Mosses full credit for that and Jess Jackson really should have given Rachel Alexandra fans the same chance to say goodbye.

08 Dec 2010 11:21 AM
texaszippeee

What a wonderful article.  Thanks for letting us know that it is unexplainable but alright to feel the way we do about Zenyatta.  It is truly a spiritual experience.  

08 Dec 2010 11:22 AM
sentinel

I wish Lane's End would set up a web cam so we can watch Zenyatta go about her day.  They must realize how much we miss her.

Thanks again for kissing her on the muzzle for all of us.

08 Dec 2010 11:32 AM
amfcf

So do you also wake up in the middle of the night and think about her? Somewhere between a dream and reality? Happened to me last night...

Monday night I watched as she drove away in the back of a 2 horse trailer (not big enough for her 17.2 hh frame) after her visit to Keeneland. Ran onto the loading chute with her while they loaded her, no heavy security around to stop a lunatic like me. John Shirreffs patting her neck to keep her calm while she pawed at the ground with her extraordinary and often-outstretched right front leg. How many trainers of any caliber, much less his caliber, would have ridden in frigid weather in the back of a little two-horse trailer? It was a sight to behold - Zenyatta's date with destiny and John, Mario, & Steve taking the last ride with their precious mare. Why does it have to be so sad, the end of this era, and experience of a lifetime?

08 Dec 2010 11:37 AM
ChrisH

What a great article and blog. I was telling my husband about it this morning and I started crying, it was a couple of minutes before I could compose myself and tell my husband "My name is Chris and I'm a zenyattaholic". I asked him "How can a horse have this effect on me" and I could see that he was choked up also --

I am so happy that she retired sound. I cry every time I learn that a horse had to be put down after an injury.

08 Dec 2010 11:39 AM
Diane J

I'm glad I'm not the only one scouring the internet for news on how Zenyatta's first day at Lanes End went!  I hope she is okay and settling in without any problems.

Steve, thanks for the wonderful blogs you've written in the past month about Zenyatta.  Hopefully she will not disappear from sight like so many other of my favorite race mares. How is it you bring tears to my time each time I read your columns? (it must have something to do with the subject matter) Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

08 Dec 2010 11:41 AM
Breeder

Your column filled me with angst, Steve. I can't stop thinking about Zenyatta as well. I was so worried that it would be too cold when she got to KY. She had to be urged several times to descend from the horse van into the snow. The temperature was in the teens. This is a "Califoria Girl" who has no winter coat. Will she get sick, will she get depressed without her team around her everyday, will stress cause her to not concieve when she is bred, why couldn't they have kept her in California until Spring? I just feel so bad that all this is happening to her and she will not know why. Everything she loves has disappeared and she is such a highly intelligent horse that she will pine for her life back. I tear up just thinking of what have we done to the Greatest horse to ever live!

08 Dec 2010 12:02 PM
Between Friends

Steve Haskin,

   Thank you so much for a beautiful, early Christmas gift for all of Zenyatta's fans. Your words and the comments of so many wonderful people will be cherished. The past three years have  been such an incredible, never to be forgotten ride. What a gift Zenyatta  has been for all of us and what joy she has given us.

  Through Zenyatta I  have gotten to know some very nice people via the Internet. While we have yet to meet face to face, we have become a Zenyatta support group. The horse that brought us together may have retired,  but this friendship will continue.

   Thank you again. Your writing is truly a gift that keeps on giving. May your holidays be merry.

08 Dec 2010 12:04 PM
Susan from VA

Please remember that Zenyatta was BORN in Kentucky, so it is not like she's going to a foreign country.  I do have my concerns about her adjusting to a quiet life, but I hope her connections, who love her so much, will look out for her well-being.  They will no doubt come to visit her.  I think one reason that the public came to love Zenyatta so much was that she is so obviously loved by those that own and work with her.

08 Dec 2010 12:06 PM
Otherlyn

"Why," Steve?...because she is ZENYATTA!  NOW you understand...NOW you finally "Get It."

The spiritual connection is real!  What you are beginning to awaken to is the exact experience that we FOB (Fans of BARBARO), have known.

You have been "touched" by a horse...a sentient soul. The connection is profound. It is something that slams into our conciousness and, if we are new to it, brings exactly the degree of perplexity that you here describe. But now you "know," and this changes everything.

That you, a gifted, well known, and respected writer in the horse-world, now have this wonderful new "color" to add to your palate, is no coincidence.  With this new dimension, you have been gifted again. Please use it. Magnify the insight. There is a reason!

Your FOB Fren, O

08 Dec 2010 12:09 PM
Heather Grace

Amen,Mr. Haskin, Amen.....Zenyatta is a horse for the ages. Your words echo what Zenyatta means to her many adoring fans. Long live Queen Z!

08 Dec 2010 12:16 PM
darlene

Thank you thank you for another really good article One thing I know is that it won't be your last about Zenyatta. She is not done. She's off the track for sure But no foal will be more anticipated the her first and you and everyone else will be writing down any and everything about her and the little one. What I most like about your article is that you get it The connection that so many feel and alot of writers disparage Thanks for not calling us "crazies" I have loved horse and esp horse racing for 62 yrs and have seen some of the great ones and watching reruns of Secretariats Belmont still gives me chills every time but no horse has touched me either the way Zenyatta has  That said I will wish you the Happiest of holidays and enjoy the best Nutcracker you will ever see because you daughter will be in it

08 Dec 2010 12:16 PM
needler in Virginia

Hi, my name is Judith and I'm a Zenyattaholic. That said, I'm gonna rain on a couple of parades here; I am a realist, but I am absolutely, positively nuts over this horse and I have horses myself, so I really can speak, with a little sense,  to this particular issue.

Motherhood may be a blessing for humans who can actually understand the concept (AARRGGHH, lousy pun...sorry); for animals who only know the moment, cannot project, read clocks or even conceive of what "tomorrow" means, not so much. Animals conceive by the workings of an internal clock; they carry to term (or not) and deliver naturally (or not). The idea, for me at least, that Zenyatta wants to go off and wallow in the sea of love that's motherhood is more than a bit far-fetched. She really is NOT human (I have to remind myself of that all the time!); she's a horse with a biological clock.. If she doesn't conceive....for ANY reason......she won't check into the psych ward; her life will go on and she won't "miss" motherhood. She'll just live day to day and be a horse....which is, after all, what she is. I CAN'T BELIEVE I JUST SAID THAT!!! Talk about conflicted over this......

I guess what I'm trying to say, and badly, is that NO MATTER what she does from Sunday forward, she can live a full, healthy, happy, comfortable and safe life at almost anything you can ask a horse to do. And, yeah, I know about the economics of breeding, but I'd bet the Moss' don't have to breed her to make this month's mortgage payment, and I DO NOT, for one minute, think they ever want or plan to go down the road of breeding her every year.

Stage is set, OK? She can do anything; she can run, she can be an ambassador for racing and parade at every race track in the country, she can represent Old Friends or cancer research, she can graze and laze around and do nothing, she can live at the Horse Park, she can have babies, she can park her big butt at my house any day. The point is, she does NOT have to disappear into a breeding shed.  HOWEVER, don't let the shed become a palace in the sky. It's not. Her options are unlimited, a unique situation for a mare, and possibly they should be explored.

I know I'm gonna get it in the neck from the "wonders of motherhood" folks, so before you cut loose on me......I AM a mother, I've bred dogs, delivered puppies, delivered calves, etc, etc, so DON'T tell me I don't know the joys of motherhood. I'm simply suggesting that it is possible for an animal to have one hell of a great ;life without ever having given birth........just a thought to consider....

Cheers and safe trips.

08 Dec 2010 12:42 PM
Simply Majestic

Not exactly on topic, but do you  think the stallion choice has been made for Zenyatta?

If so, why are they waiting on announcing? I realize that this is completely their business, but I would be lying if I said I haven't been waiting here dying to know.

RA will be going to Curlin, right? That was announced back when JJ purchased her, no?

08 Dec 2010 12:57 PM
Dani

Steve,

You deserve an Eclipse Award for all the truly insightful, informative and moving articles/blogs that you have written this past year.  Everyone always has their kleenix boxes ready when they see you've written something new.

As others have alluded to, it is refreshing to see that you as a journalist can be moved, as most of your readers are, by this magnificent and unequaled horse; especially as you have known so many great ones before.

We are so lucky to have someone like you that we can relate to so easily, so freely. It's more like having a conversation with a friend then responding to a blogger's opinions and sometimes, their egos.

I hope your holiday is as special as you are and we all look forward, immensely, to your next musings.

Best wishes for 2011.

08 Dec 2010 1:03 PM
Brokentree

Hi my name is Mari and I'm a Zenyattaholic! I thought I was the only oddball who googled her daily ! What a big hole is in my heart now that she is retired .. pass the kool aide I love it!

08 Dec 2010 1:11 PM
Jeanne from Texas

I have never been able to so eloquently put into words my love for the horse as you've done here.  I'm especially going to send it to my two grown boys so that hopefully they can begin to understand my horse mania; and I can't get Zenyatta out of my mind either.  Seth Hancock has to know that one more stride and Blame would have been second; where he belongs I might add.  I always love your articles, but this one goes to the tip top.  Thank you so much and one day I hope to shake your hand.  I also believe that Zenyatta will let us all know just how much she loved us too, and should rightfully return to the track.  True race horses have done just that.  As long as they enjoy what they're doing, they should be allowed to continue.  'Nuff said.

08 Dec 2010 1:39 PM
John

This 62 year old, lifetime horse player agrees with you. She affected me like no other. Well said Steve.

08 Dec 2010 1:39 PM
Colmel

Ah the poet in you is showing magnificently. You eloquently wrote what is in so many hearts.

I've been around horses for more than 50 years - and I must say that Zenyatta and Secretariat caught my heart unlike most others, except perhaps a couple of my own. I read (probably in The BloodHorse) that Lane's End would be working on a way to arrange visits to Zenyatta. I know that they are spectacular with their stallions. I was lucky enough to see Alysheba, AP Indy, Summer Squall, Gulch, Lord Avie, Steinlen, and so many others there. If they do manage to make visits to Zenyatta available, the good will they will engender will be amazing...not bad for business, either.

08 Dec 2010 1:42 PM
Kansas

Following Zenyatta and her followers through Steve's blogs has been an amazing experience.  Hopefully we'll all find other amazing horses to root for.  And while I understand the concerns voiced about Zenyatta adjusting to farm life, I feel that we need to give that new lifestyle a break.  For most of her life, Zenyatta has been confined to a stall, grazed in a tiny patch of grass, and been under human control, to say nothing of risking injury every time she stepped on the track. If nothing else, at Lane's End, she'll get to form relationships with other mares, play and frolic with them, and graze freely.   I'm sure the Mosses negotiated very carefully with the Lane's End folks re: Zenyatta's care.  And I'm sure they'll check on her.  I'm willing to give the farm and the Mosses the benefit of the doubt.

Steve (and other staff at The Blood Horse):  any word on how Rachel Alexandra is doing?

08 Dec 2010 1:42 PM
Sunny Farm

I sure have enjoyed reading every single comment on this ZENYATTA Tribute , TWICE !

For anyone worried about ZENYATTA's new home, please be assured it is a very good farm with knowledgable people. ZENYATTA will no doubt be assigned to the farms best grooms & handlers.I'm sure they love horses too and are qualified. I am sure there is plenty of stable competition for being assigned this "job' ! I read a comment or two about the Lanes End stallions being too fat. At times, one will want a horse a bit too fat, so later they will have fat reserves to call upon. For example, here at my farm, in fall, I begin to really fatten up my horses. When hard winter hits, there will be reserves and well needed. Perhaps this is the way with breeding stallions who cover so many mares ?

All I know, is that ZENYATTA will be safe & well care for at Lanes End, and yes, she will receive love and attention ! I also know we all can't help & do  worry about her...SHE'S OUR QUEEN !

And ZENYATTA deserves our every concern ! ZENYATTA has been on my mind a lot, as well as thinking about her connections & Mike Smith will surely miss "Z" ! Great people, Great Jockey and a GREAT HORSE !

08 Dec 2010 1:46 PM
KARIN-NYC

I know it may be a little early to put Zenyatta in the thoroughbred legend series but she definitely belongs there and Steve you should be the one to right the book. I can't wait.

ZENYATTA IS MY HORSE OF THE YEAR!!!

08 Dec 2010 1:46 PM
Matthew W

They could never make a movie about her--really--unless you starred HER--no other horse could do her justice....

08 Dec 2010 1:54 PM
ceil

Contrary to what some of you think, horses absolutely love cold weather. Given the choice of coming in the barn or staying outside, they will invariably stay out. I am one of Zenyatta's biggest fans, but it's time to let her be a horse. Let her run free in the pasture with other mares and eat grass without being on a lead shank. The idea that the mares at Lane's End or any other large breeding farm are ignored or not cared for is ridiculous. The broodmares are probably much happier than the stallions, who lead rather solitary lives. I'd love to be standing in the pasture the first time Zenyatta is turned loose and realizes she is free. I hope we get to see a video of that.

08 Dec 2010 1:57 PM
MyBigRed

I hope we never stop talking or writting about the Queen just because she has retired. That is how we will keep her racing achivements alive for future racing fans. I woke up this morning wondering how she likes her new home and the cold weather. I wish Mario could have stayed with her, to help her adjust to her new surroundings. Thank you Team Zenyatta for the Awesome Ride!! Merry Christmas to Everyone!!

08 Dec 2010 2:00 PM
Matthew W

Yes, Deacon, Zenyatta gives and gives--never takes away---never let anyone down on the track, as well--never--she always fired her shot--Secretariat had his Whitney hang-job/'Bid had his Belmont fade..and the big guy (ol #10) sometimes just didn't have his kick---Zenyatta always showed up with her kick--she rates as cornerstone horse of the breed....like Native Dancer, like Big Red....

08 Dec 2010 2:09 PM
TheMightyCurlin

Steve, I always love reading your stories and I hope you will write a book about Zenyatta. We Zen Fans need it!! Like "Kansas" I also have been wondering about Rachel Alexandra & why didn't she have a retirement party / parade as well ?? Can you check on her when you get a chance?? Thanks and

MERRY CHRISTMAS :)  

08 Dec 2010 2:21 PM
markinsac

This summer when I went to Del Mar, I invited my sister to join, she lives near San Diego.  Luckily she showed up with a hangover.  I told her about this undefeated horse, Zenyatta, she said, "oh sure, it's just another, no horse is that special."  We sat in the reserved seat section.  People on all sides started talking about their experiences with her.  When Zen's race came around, we went to the jammed paddock area.  When Zenyatta came out, my sister was sold!  She was a Zealot for life!  When we walked out onto the Del Mar apron, they had a video salute to Zenyatta along with music.  And Zenyatta made it thrilling as usual, getting up to win by a neck in front of a racious crowd that Del Mar is famous for.

Back to L.A.  Hollywood Park, my sister drove up for sure and the gritty neighborhood that Hollywood is in didn't bother her one bit.  I brought a friend from Sacramento, i've been talking up Zenyatta for 2 years, he finally wanted to see what it was all about.  I must admit even I was startled by the huge turnout.  It looked like a Hollywood Park crowd back in the 1980's.  And everybody was so happy.  We did the routine, paddock, apron, race, Zen win by a neck, crowd in a frenzy.  He was sold!

Before the BC my mother called and questioned my about Zenyatta.  Now she HATES horse racing because of people throwing away money gambling.  But she asked me what all the fuss was about, she had watched 60 minutes.

I couldn't afford to go to Louisville, so I watched the BC at my local sattellite facility.  I could have stayed home and watch it but I wanted to be with the crowd.  And even in Sacramento, the crowd was 100% behind her.  Right after the race, the first person who called me was my mother.  She said Zenyatta ran a great race and stop crying.  "You should be proud of her!"  

Zenyatta touched all those who met her.  Even on TV.  To all her connections from Ann to Mario, you are a great team and we the fans are lucky you people were in control.  Let's face it, they are also responsible for the accessibility and love.

Now that Zenyatta is retired, it's hard to plan on my next trip to L.A.  I used to get sooooo excited on a Zenyatta race day.  It is said that Zenyatta helped horse racing so much, but she spoiled me.  No other horse can take her spot.  And going to the races will never be as fun as they were when she was listed on the program.

Thank you Steve for sharing your conversion.  And to those Z doubters, just let it go.  And I hope you find your horse someday.

08 Dec 2010 2:26 PM
Somethingroyal

Well said Ceil. I'd loved to see a video of Big Z romping in the snow and enjoying being a horse.

08 Dec 2010 2:35 PM
Carole

You expressed my sentiments precisely.  It is reassuring to know that you (involved in racing for 43 years) have those same thoughts, concerns. I was at Hollywood Park on Sunday -- first at her barn in the morning, in the saddling paddock and then on the main track for her parade.  The recurring vision I have is of her walking off the track toward her barn for the last time with John, Mario, Steve and Michelle.  I watched until she was out of sight, hoping that I would one day see her again.  I have followed her since the early part of her 4 year old season, been to all but a few of her races and to the barn for up close experiences numerous times. I know I will never see another like her. Like you, I worry that she will miss the human contact and adoring crouds. But how apropos the The Queen will reside in Versailles.  

08 Dec 2010 3:02 PM
tbpartnerperson43

No blogger can read every comment, or respond to the many wonderful tributes to Z.  The Zenyatta website is on my morning list. They are busy settling the mare into her new life, but there have been so few pictures and little followup for her followers who read Bloodhorse and the website daily. On the day of the flight, I worried about the plane ride, the delay, vanning on icy roads, the parade in subfreezing weather without a blanket, and the loading on and off a van.  Mostly, I'm with Steve.  I worry that she will be lonely, very lonely, and will miss having a job. I worry that she will be subjected to constraints when bred that she has never experienced before.  One person on her website prayed for a 'gentleman breeder.'  Lane's End is a beautiful farm with many caring people, but what good is a big stall, deeply bedded, when your persons aren't there for hours and hours.  It's unlikely she will go in a field with other mares for a long time.  Paddocks too can be lonely places.  Some will say that all this is silly, and she's 'only a horse.'  Z will never be only a horse to her fans.

08 Dec 2010 3:14 PM
Richard

A good friend (also a guy in his 60s), my wife and I have had the same feelings of a void in our lives. The breathtaking vision of her courageous, late charging runs: the kind, but regal, Zenyatta on the backstretch.  How fortunate we are to have experienced Zenyatta!  But, at the same time, we know that we will not have that experience agin.  

08 Dec 2010 3:25 PM
Kathy Kimber

Finally yes Steve she is here, now, she is real and she isn't going away.  She'll miss her family she will never forget them.  She'll go on to more greatness.  She has touched so many of us in special ways we here adoring public aren't going away either.  How blessed we have been to be able to see, feel touch or worship from afar.  There is so much more to Zenyatta.  Love her always

08 Dec 2010 3:42 PM
PANDA GUY IN SAN DIEGO

It will be a great injustice if Zenyatta does not get HOTY recognition in 2010. She should have received this honor in 2009. Not only has she brought fantastic speed, beauty of build, and character to her trade, but also millions of new fans to the track. What else does she have to do? Walk on water? Along with the great ones, Zenyatta will be remembered for decades to come.

08 Dec 2010 3:46 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

This may be the most insightful blog in history. Reassuring words from many like Sunny Farm, and Needler. We've grown so close to Zenyatta after watching her, and worrying about her for a few years. She's safe and healthy now, and for a six year old, that is a precious gift. They kept her safe and sound while winning all of  those races. We have to assume that the connections know what they are doing and that Zenyatta will continue to have a great life, although a different one. I've been following racing for 40 years plus and I never had a feeling like this. She's retired healthy and I'm still worried about her !!!!!!! Usually if they retire healthy, I just say- "Phew !!! He or she made it!!!" And I do feel that way about Zenyatta too but she seems different, with more of a connection to her handlers, and fans so we don't know what to make of the situation. I do know one thing though, and this is nothing negative about the current owners who have been spectacular, but there is now way in hell she would have left California when retired if I owned her. Merry Christmas to all of you very special human beings that blogged here. I wish we had more of you in this world.

08 Dec 2010 3:53 PM
smartysgal

Steve - do you now hold the record for the most blog responses on this website?  If not, give it a little time!  We surely will make this blog one for the ages!

You're a superb journalist, or have you heard that before?

08 Dec 2010 4:04 PM
Susan from VA

I have to say that most mares love being mothers - or at least the ones I've seen do.  I've observed open mares trying to "steal" babies from other dams.  I've seen mares that are "close friends" babysit each other's foal when they are open.  I've seen open mares staring longingly across the fence at mares and their foals - although perhaps I am  anthropomorphizing with that last statement.  Some mares want to kill their foals, but I don't see that in Zenyatta.

08 Dec 2010 4:07 PM
shuvee

I think Zenyatta will be fine in her new life. Not sure how Lane's End does it but normally mares are turned out in groups. She will undoubtedly be an Alpha Mare in hers, but she will have plenty of new friends.

And she will get to be out of her stall and running free a whole lot more, and will get to have babies and be a Mom. All of this is much more natural for a horse than being confined in a stall for most of the day. She is smart and she is well-loved. She will be fine.

The most important thing to me is that she retired sound and happy. So many horses never have the chance at the wonderful retirement Zenyatta will have.

08 Dec 2010 4:20 PM
Soldier Course

I would hope that Lane's End will exercise extraordinary care with Zenyatta. Knowing that so many fans will be tuned in to her life there. I'm sure they don't want a repeat of the Saint Liam tragedy from a few years back.

08 Dec 2010 4:21 PM
SPLITS OF 12

I wish nothing but the best for the greatest racemare ever. I'm happy she's retiring a sound and healthy horse. There will never be another like her, she's truly amazing. I've never seen a horse run its last eighth of a mile better than she did. Her massive stride, allowed her to gobble up ground so quickly, that the pacesetters were no match for her when the real running began.

    As a handicapper I loved the weekends when she would run. Pick-4's turned into threes and pick 3's to daily doubles. I won several Pick 4's using her as a free square, throughout an illustrous career. Anyhow, she's the greatest racemare ever! She's my favorite horse of all-time, but as far as Horse of the Year goes, I think that honor belongs to Blame. Don't blame him for winning the most important race in North America, the one to determine the tightly contested heat between Zenyatta, Blame, Quality Road, and Lookin At Lucky for H-O-Y honors.

    Zenyatta doesn't need any awards to instill her greatness. Just the fact that she has an incredible allegiance of fans who will travel from all over gods green earth and sit in the frigid cold, to get a last glimpse of what greatness looks like, before she's sent of to the lush pastures of the beautiful, Lane's End Farm in Versailes, Kentucky is a tribute to just how great she really is. She has transcended the sport to a new level. This hadn't been done since Secretariat graced the covers of Time magazine in the early seventies. Zenyatta made her cameo on 60 Minutes, and as a viewer you got  a small glimpse of her beauty, intelligence, and her physical prowess. She is a big beautiful mare, a true equine champion athlete. Now as for Blame, he and his owners, can have H-O-Y honors, but they'll never have a flock of admirers and supporters like Queen Z does. Her greatness has elevated her to the status of immortal in the horseracing world. An honor she deserves wholeheartedly. To the greatest mare I've ever seen run in my lifetime. Cheers Queen Z!      

08 Dec 2010 4:21 PM
arlingtonfan

Steve, my sentiments exactly. Thanks for reminding me I'm not the only one who feels this way.

I always thought it would be great if Zenyatta could have a second career in dressage. She's a born dancer.

08 Dec 2010 4:23 PM
Carolyn in ND

Hi, I'm Carolyn in ND & I'm a Zenyattaholic!  Proud of it!

Seatraiat - awesome little write up!  I got a good little laugh that was needed today.  

Mr.Haskin, keep up the wonderful writings of Zenyatta & the other racers!  I too, hope you will write a book on Queen Zenyatta.  It feels odd not wondering when her next race will be.  I'm in Ky often to visit family in the SW part.  I do plan to visit her on one of those visits w/plenty of carotts.  

All the best to you dear, Queen Zenyatta, in the next adventure of your life!

08 Dec 2010 4:27 PM
Gary

This Poem was written for Man o' War in 1937 by Bloodhorse editor Joseph Alvie Estes.  I shortened it up, changed a few verses, and re-wrote it for Zenyatta.  

ZENYATTA

The last day at Hollywood.

The speed they never learn.

And it's many a day since Zenyatta

Has looped the upper turn.

The grooms stopped their rubbing,

The rider’s dropped their tack

When word went round that Zenyatta

Was coming on the track.

The crowd was hoarse with cheering

At old Santa Anita Park

The day she won the Cup

When she set the mark.

The scar is deep at Churchill,

The good old days are gone.

And many a horse is forgotten,

But they still remember one.

For she was a fiery phantom

To that multitudinous throng-

Would you wait for another one like her?

Be patient: years are long.

For here was a horse among horses,

Cast in a Titan's mold,

And the slant November sunlight

Gilded the living gold.

She was marked with God's own giving

And winged in every part;

The look of eagles was in her eye

And Hastings' wrath in her heart.

Young Citation had power

To rouse the crowded stand,

And there was magic in the name

Of Greentree's Twenty Grand.

And Dr. Fager has sprinted,

And Gallant Fox has stayed,

And Secretariat has glittered

In the wake others have made.

We watch the Mare parading,

We wait, our eyes a blur,

But we never discover another

One quite the likes of her.

08 Dec 2010 4:30 PM
Lisa

No tbpartner it is not silly. I have been breeding horses for 27 years and my old group who are now in their late 20's would just die if they did not have the same routine, and buds. I also realize that horse adjust, but some not like others. Zenyatta has been treated like a precious part of a family and now, and I am sorry, but she will become just a broodmare. A mare to get in foal and keep in foal. A famous one, but nothing more to Lanes End. She is not one of those.  I hope I eat my words. I concur Dr. D. I would not let her leave either. I hope may misgivings show to be unfounded. All have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

08 Dec 2010 4:31 PM
Sharon

after reading so many of the comments on the Zenyatta website, I realized that I was not alone in my Zenyattaholic state!!   And Steve, you've said it all.  Thank you!  At the farewell party at Hollywood Park on Sunday, they played Bob Hope's version of "thanks for the memories" as Zenyatta walked away from the winnter's circle and back - with Mario - toward the barns.  I felt like weeping.  I pray that she doesn't feel "lonely" (more athropormorphizing!!) and really loves to run, romp and graze.  What do any of us really know for sure?  That we will always love Zenyatta and her team for what she has brought us during the past 3 years.  

08 Dec 2010 4:39 PM
Shannon From Cool

After reading these wonderful comments, I'm a bit relieved that I'm not the only person suffering from   Zenyatta withdrawals.

Queen Z has done more for the sport of horse racing then any horse in recent history. She is the Queen of the Heap and please continue reporting on her even if it's just "Zenyatta took a nap under a lovely sprawling tree this afternoon."  

Steve, please keep her on your list of horses to write about, WE WANT TO KNOW how our gal is doing for a long, long time.

08 Dec 2010 4:49 PM
rams2050

Well, Blame may be voted HOTY but Zenyatta should be voted Horse of the Decade!

She has had more of an impact on racing than ten Blames could have had.

We, as horse lovers, were so fortunate to have been along for the Queen's great ride.  

We are so fortunate that the Queen retired in good health, and that she will live on in the accomplishments of the fillies and colts that she bears during future years.

Maybe one of the little ones will be another Zenyatta!

Ah, but that may be too much to hope for.

Long live the Queen!

08 Dec 2010 4:51 PM
rams2050

Oh, I wanted to add - and didn't -- that it would be the greatest publicity coup ever for the powers-that-be to initiate a new award this year, that of Horse of the Decade -- it is 2010, after all, and would be entirely appropriate -- and bestow it upon Zenyatta.

That wouldn't take anything away from Blame and yet would honor a great mare the likes of which we will probably never see again.

08 Dec 2010 4:53 PM
Afleet Treet

Great Job Steve!

Was fortunate to have made the trip to SoCal for Zen's farewell and it was awesome to be a part of. I am sad for all those who don't like her based solely on her races because her CHARACTER and immense PRESENCE was worth being a fan of. She really did draw in people for sure and had droves fo fans new and lifelong horse enthusiasts and young and old alike. It was truly a spectacular sight to see and I am glad I included it in my horseracing memories. She was a stsr to me and to all those who are fans of hers and of Team Z and that should be enough for us! Makes no difference who hates her, them, or discredits what she did or didnt' do...they are truly the ones who missed the bus because they were too stuck on comparisons, speed figures, Ragozin/Beyer numbers, and odds to notice something truly special in thier midst. My only comments is this: It doesn't matter HOW she did it it was the WAY she did it!!

That mare has true MUSICALITY, which I think should be the name of her first foal!!!

:-)

Thanks Team Z and Zenyatta!!!

The memories shall last a lifetime!

08 Dec 2010 4:58 PM
TripleCrownKaren

Steve, you have spoken as someone who has been "smitten" with the Horse Fever disease.   If you're lucky it strikes you in childhood and you never get rid of it.   Some of us are so smitten that we have made our life's work out of it and can't for the life of us understand how "civilians" live without horses!   Despite economic turbulence in my life,(like may others) I have chosen to forego some things in order to keep horses in my life.    This form of "insanity" keeps me sane enough to live among "regular" folks.   As for the QUEEN.....I think like a lot of past champions, she has come along in a time that is hard and we needed SOMEONE to lift us all up....even if only for a little while, out of the day to day drearyness and worry we all seem to have today.   Like Seabiscuit, Secretariat before her, ZENYATTA and her "family" of people around her have given us all the glimpse that people can be kind, put a creature above their own interests and actually ENJOY this horse for just who she IS!   A CHAMPION with a "personality".   I daresay, ZENYATTA has brought a boat load of new Racing fans into the sport, now let's just hope the sport recognizes that and KEEPS them!

All HAIL the QUEEN!  and Thanks for the RIDE!

08 Dec 2010 4:58 PM
Barbara W

When veteran trainers wake up in the middle of the night thinking of Zenyatta and other veteran trainers say it would be a travesty if she does not win HOY, we know there is something afoot. To me , it's simple, given my worldview.

I believe that our Creator God is the author of love, and He put that yearning for love in each of our hearts. Some may lose it along the way, but I believe that Zenyatta is a gift from Him to those who would receive it. Zenyatta has responded to the love of her connections and fans, and we have witnessed an explosion. Our love for each other has multiplied into a force that cannot otherwise be explained.

Steve, please, please do not apologize for "another" Zenyatta blog. You have a home in each of our hearts, and we are deeply thankful. May it not ever be your last time to write on her.

08 Dec 2010 5:20 PM
Tammi

Steve, I've never felt closer to you:) I'm a Zenyattaholic and I'm teetering on the edge....I don't know what to do without her! I hope I make it. There truly is no other horse living or dead that capture our heart and draw us to them and make us theirs like Zenyatta. I pray for her happiness and health every day twice a day. I hope you have already started on her book..I NEED it:) I'll pay any amount you want:) I'm glad you are going to see her in January so you can fill us in on how she is doing. So many love her so much!!Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and all my fellow Zenyattaholics:)

08 Dec 2010 5:45 PM
zenyatta mondatta

Steve,  After you visit the queen at Lane's End in January, We will all be awaiting your article, along with pictures.  PLease give us that "Fix" we are going to be longing for in January.  I am counting down the days to your article and post on how she is doing at Lane's End.

Our addiction to the queen Z has to have our "fixes" satisfied.  We are openly admitted Zenyatta Junkies, and we are so glad that our Steve Haskin has admitted to being one of us....

08 Dec 2010 6:00 PM
Jan

Steve,

I've never been on one of these sites before, this is my first. Your article was brought to my attention by one of your bloggers and I can honestly say, this is totally awesome.

I first experienced Zenyatta in 2008 at Hollywood Park during her Day of Honor. I didn't know anything about her except what my  friend, visiting from up North, kept repeating over and over. I'm in a wheel chair and couldn't get closer to the paddock area where she was being paraded but my friend went down and took photos and got to see her up close. I'm sick that I couldn't get any closer that day but grateful to have been introduced to such a wonderful creature. I have followed Zenyatta ever since that day, shared my admiration of her with my grandaughters and know my life has been enriched because of this wonderful journey.

Thank you my friend, thank you Steve and bloodhorse magazine but most of all, thank you Zenyatta.

Warmest wishes to all during this holiday season.

08 Dec 2010 6:01 PM
Liz Loves Z

I hear you.  That day at Hollywood Park for her 19th included the most diverse crowd I had ever seen.  People of all ages and races, people alone or in families or with friends were there just to see Zenyatta. Every single one of us went wild when she pulled out another heart stopping win.  There weren't many words for it, but the best came from someone I was with, who, largely unaffected by animals, simple said when she came onto the track, "there is something special about her".  

08 Dec 2010 6:16 PM
Ragsy

One good thing about Lane's End is that "Life Is Sweet" is there to greet and play with Zenyatta, so she has a horse friend already..God Bless Zenyatta and Life Is Sweet...

08 Dec 2010 6:19 PM
Kitei

Z will only be at Lane's end until the "Free Zenyatta" movement becomes an irresistible force.  After that, she can be our official Goddess-Queen, best one that's ever been. When Lord Vishnu could incarnate as a fish, why should we doubt that Devi can come as Zenyatta?  She can and she has!

08 Dec 2010 6:27 PM
Mike Relva

RACINGHEART

Funny you named Tullahoma,Tn. that's where I live. I'm org from Miami,been  here for several years now.

08 Dec 2010 6:38 PM
Monica

Steve, Please don't ever apologize for any Zenyatta article.  You are one of the few who can keep us informed as to how she is doing.  All the comments stating that the only thing that matters is that she retired safe and sound really hit the nail on the head.  You all are right, and that is the thing to be thankful for.

08 Dec 2010 6:50 PM
Linda in Texas

    PRICELESS THOUGHTS  

   BEAUTIFULLY EXPRESSED

LOVELY BARBARA W. JUST LOVELY

08 Dec 2010 7:02 PM
sue

I agree with everyone who says Lane's End is the appropriate place for the Queen to reside now that her racing days are over.  The Mosses will assure she gets first rate treatment...from everyone associated with her.  I have no doubt that Mario and Steve are staying to see that she settles in and those in charge of her care totally understand her "quirks", needs and personality.  One only has to look at how the Mosses handled her racing career to understand the level and the depth of their love for this mare.  Yes, we are all guilty of putting human qualities on her...she touches us in a very spiritual level but first and foremeost she is a horse who will love the freedom of the fields and the joys of motherhood.  She is such a kind soul...motherhood will come naturally to her.  Dottie's son and assistant are on premises and her old friend, Don Robinson, who was there for her birth lives just down the road and will visit often.  She will always be connected to us...just give her time to adjust to her surroundings and visits will allowed.  Dottie has said many times that her connections want her to remain close to people.  They haven't told anything but the truth yet.

I am just so happy she retired healthy and sound.  May she have a long and happy life.

08 Dec 2010 7:04 PM
Zen4Zen

Wow!  You and your readers -- like Terri Z, who calls Zenyatta "a unicorn without the horn" -- wax poetical about the magical mystery tour she takes us on.

When Barbaro died, I thought I'd protectively harden my heart against "falling in love" with another of these noble but fragile creatures.  But then along comes Zenyatta, and as she was prancing her way to the paddock for the Breeders Cup Classic last year, I fell in love again.

Just as I thought and looked for news about Barbaro daily after his breakdown, I'm thinking about Zenyatta and wondering how she's acclimating to her new life and new (and chilly) venue.  At least her wonderful groom will be with her for several days, but still it must be hard and confusing for her.

Your analogy to Don Quixote, like your reader's to the unicorn, is a good one.   There's something mythical about Zenyatta, and we see and embody in her attributes we revere -- beauty, courage, strength, kindness, and grace -- and find on a smaller scale (literally and figuratively) with mere mortals.

08 Dec 2010 7:16 PM
Steve Haskin

I wish I could respond to everyone. I'm just glad I was able to provide a forum for everyone to express their feelings. A lot of people obviously have deep feelings about Zenyatta and her retirement and had no outlet for them. Thank you again for all your comments.

08 Dec 2010 7:21 PM
Stacy

I agree wholeheartedly with Ceil and Kansas. I love Zenyatta as much as anyone else. But like Steve Willard, her exercise rider said she's almost 7 years old. It's time for her to be a horse. She doesn't deserve to be kept in a stall all day. Has anyone seen the pictures of Life is Sweet on the farm?? Or Octave??? She's on another farm but god is she gorgeous. I saw her race and she looks BETTER on the farm then she did at the races. She's got more dapples then Zenyatta does. And when she does realize that she is free, Zenyatta is going to run all over every inch of her pasture. And run like the wind.

Every time Brass Hat runs (9 years old) I have my fingers crossed, start praying and watch the race with only one eye open. I prayed that they would retire Mine That Bird after the Breeder's Cup (and they did, thank god)  I would much rather see Zenyatta as a brood mare at Land's End, than see her memorial statue at the racetrack.

She's going to be fine. I can't wait to see her foal!!

08 Dec 2010 7:23 PM
needler in Virginia

Susan from Virginia......you are absolutely correct about some mares being great mothers; the point I was trying to make was...........OH! I forgot! My name is Judith and I'm a Zenyattaholic ........that it is not necessary for a mare to have foals to live loooooong happy lives. Just because she comes in season doesn't mean she'll dream of being 10 months pregnant; it simply means that she is answering the natural call of a species trying to reproduce itself. If she is NEVER bred or delivered of a foal, she can still have one helluva wonderful life. That was really my point. Just as there are women who don't require childbirth to validate themselves, horses don't need to have foals to make themselves happier....

And where in the Old Dominion are you??? We're in the dead center of the Shenandoah Valley, right up against the Blue Ridge.

Cheers and safe trips to every single Zenyattaholic out there ........remember, all you have to do is admit it..........

08 Dec 2010 7:43 PM
debbie bernhard

seatariat, i just loved the "conversation" blame and the other horses had before the classic. i am sure i am not the only one that laughed while reading your post :) the sad thing is that most of us reading this knows exactly who you were referring too.

steve, i was so excited to see another blog from you.  i truly enjoy reading what you write and the comments that everyone leaves afterwards and this blog was no exception.  thank you for putting into words what so many of us are feeling.  you may remember me from my post about my 15 year old daughter having a stroke.  i am happy to report that the hole in her heart has now sealed off and i also want you and everyone else to know that we have a new fan to add to our club.  she even remembered who affirmed was!!

i want to wish you and all of my other horse friends a very happy and blessed holiday season.  this is a season for miracles.  i had mine earlier in this year and i hope you all experience your own miracles.  zenyatta is truly one of God's miracles.  i wish nothing but the best for her, her family and for all of you reading this.  

08 Dec 2010 7:57 PM
debbie bernhard

i forgot to add that i too am a zenyattaholic and my name is debbie.

08 Dec 2010 8:01 PM
Kathy from Toledo

My name is Kathy, and I, too, am a Zenyattaholic. I am nuts about all horses, but only a few have moved me the way Zennie has......Secretariat, Ruffian, Barbaro. How will we continue to follow racing without the Great Mare? She is the only reason I went to the Breeder's Cup for the first time ever this year. To watch her pounding down that stretch was heart stopping. It killed me when she was edged by Blame. Luckily I was one of those fans   on the fence on the back side, two days straight. And then......she looked right into me. She is NOT like other horses.....she is fully aware of how adored she is......and you can sense she returns the affection. I cry every time I see a replay of Big Red's Belmont. I cry every time I see a replay of Barbaro's Derby. Zenyatta is excellence personified. But it is not just her......it is her CONNECTIONS, who get it, who see the love we have for their horse, and who so graciously and kindly have allowed the fans to be so close to her. It has been a beautiful experience. For that, I thank the Queen of the Racetrack, Zenyatta, and the Mosses, and the Shirrefs, and Mario, and Mike Smith. God bless them, and everyone else connected with this mare. And thank you, Steve, for recognizing how special she is. A most happy and Merry Christmas to you.

08 Dec 2010 8:19 PM
Lisa

Mike Relva,

This is getting to be a small circle. I live in Fayetteville, TN. Nice to know a Z fan is close by.

08 Dec 2010 8:20 PM
Maria K.

Zenyatta is truly an amazing horse.  She has all the characteristics of a perfect thoroughbred, the athleticism, talent and charisma.  I have been a fan of her ever since she won the El Encino Stakes in 2008.  Like a lot of her fans, I was sad when she lost by a few inches in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  However, that sadness quickly faded away because in her only defeat she has proven her greatness and courage.  What really is going to be very sad and heartbreaking is when January 17th comes and the voters again for the third time, deny her of the HOTY.  

08 Dec 2010 8:30 PM
seatariat

A big thank you to all that enjoyed "Conversation in the paddock before the breeders cup classic". You guys are the best! Happy Holidays to All!

Still wondering what's happening with Zenyatta. Worrying with no word.

08 Dec 2010 8:32 PM
Freetex

I am a zenyattaholic and my name is gerrie.  Reading each blog post has mostly helped my zen addiction except for a few that worried me regarding her future life.  

May each and every zenyattaholic have a wonderful holiday season and may our new year start with a wonderful article by our Steve of the great Queen Zenyatta.

08 Dec 2010 8:34 PM
Gia

I know horse racing is a business and race horses become blood stock either as a stallion or brood mare, but I if I was the owner of Zenyatta, I could not have sent her off, guess that's why I am not in this type of business.  I have had many animals including horses and they know -- they become attached to their owner and the poeople who care or them. I have two retired racing greyhouds who are at home right now while I am gone on a business trip and my daughter, who is caring for them in my home tells me everyday that they look for me, don't want to eat because I am not feeding them and are acting sad.  My favorite quater horse, a beautiful buckskin -- used him for barrel racing -- missed the racing when he got too old to really be out there anymore.  Whenever he saw a horse trailer he would dash up to the gate and stand there and paw at the dirt thinking we were going racing -- he did this for years after I quit racing him.  He was smart, just like Zenyatta, the smart animals know --they just do.  This is why I feel so sad for Zenyatta, she really is still young - horses can live a long time and some horses just will not be happy stuck doing nothing. Maybe I'm wrong about Zenyatta, but I don't think so, I've seen that look about other horses, just like my old horse -- I am 54 years old and I got him when I was 16 years old -- I still miss him every day.

08 Dec 2010 8:35 PM
Dona

Hi, my name is Dona and I'm a

Zenyattaholic.

I confess to searching the web every day for any news or video of the magical one.

I confess to talking to strangers about her and smiling all the while.

I confess to showing the box girl my Zenyatta hat after she helped with my groceries today.

I confess to worring about her and her adjustment to the rural life.

Crowdless.

I confess to being jealous she went to Kentucky and didn't stay here in California. No, make that mad as hell!

I confess to needing this therapy blog and craving more.

Whew, I'm exhausted after this confession session. I think I need a Kool-aid break.

Thank you Steve, I appreciate this forum.

08 Dec 2010 8:50 PM
Kim

Steve,  Keep the Zenyatta articles coming.  You are the greatest.  I have loved Zenyatta and followed her closely.  I put a sign on my picture window Breeders Cup day, extolling Zen to a victory.  I have clippings, I cried, laughed, loved her very much.  I thought I couldn't get in any deeper.  That was until Monday night when I was blessed to see her at Keeneland.  Since then I just cannot get her off my mind.  I just sit at work and think about her.  Seeing her was magical.  She danced and pranced for us and it has taken me to another level in my love for her.  I can only imagine  how it will be if I ever get to see her at Lanes End!  I thought my racing experience would never be complete unless I witnessed a Triple Crown won with my own eyes.  Don't feel that way anymore.  Queen Z has changed all that.  I don't care if I never see a TC won.  I've seen Zenyatta and that is more than enough.  

08 Dec 2010 9:05 PM
Citation

Great article! in a day of negetive reporting in your publication,Almost all the articles on  this mare have been positive and that's with many cynical sports writers doing the writing We finally got past the betting and enjoyed the race !Zenyatta has done more for horse racing than any horse since Secretariat.

08 Dec 2010 9:31 PM
NIK

When I first saw Zenyatta at her farewell parade last year I immediately felt her "wow" factor unlike no other horse I can remember.   I was hooked on anything about her from then on and was very grateful that her owners raced her 1 more year allowing me to see her in 3 races at Hollywood Park all which were the most thrilling moments I've ever exerienced in horse racing.  But when I visited her at barn 55 she was the sweetest and most compassionate soul you could ever meet (and funny too).  I brought  a friend along who knows nothing about horses or the industry but after being around her and 160 people fans, he picked up on the "happy spirit" that she radiates to everyone.  Now he reads her blogs!

08 Dec 2010 9:41 PM
jayjay

Thank you Steve.  I laugh back at those folks that laugh at me for being a Zenyatta fan.  I don't argue with them anymore, any arguments they throw at me is pretty much ignored because she has already shown the world what she is capable, on the track and specially OFF the track.  Your words described it perfectly, there is really something magical about her, just thinking about her triggers some kind of emotion, right now, it's uneasiness wondering how she's doing over there.  I'm the type of person that usually shuts down for awhile when something emotionally overwhelming happens personally but with your article, I'm able to just "talk" it out... Thank You!

Enjoy your well deserved vacation, looking forward to your next article and have a safe and wonderful holidays.  

08 Dec 2010 9:45 PM
Citation

Steve,The part of this story that is not written enough about is the unblievable way John Sheriffs has handled all of this. Ive been on the racetrack all my life and never have I seen the access to any horse let alone A champion! this last ten days John has been so great I frankly dont know how he did it hundreds of fans came by his barn and he showed her to all. compare this to all the Graded stakes winners and no way could the public get close at all. and this is not a one horse barn  regular work with all the others went on as usual! She was meant to be with John. I think He should get the Eclipse award this is the trainer of the year not just the guy with the biggest outfit or most money or races won!

GS

08 Dec 2010 9:47 PM
Barbara W

Linda in Texas--

Thank you so much for your kind words.

I'm in Waco. Maybe we could start a Texas Zenyatta Fan club!

08 Dec 2010 9:53 PM
quarterhossgal

Great article Steve, loved the picture of you planting a kiss on queen Z.Having been a horse owner and breeder for over 45 years, there are great breeding farms that take special care of the stallions and the mares, but there are also multi million dollar operations that forget the each animal is an individual and not a number. The only way to know that your stallion or mare is getting the care you want is to make unexpected visits to the facility to check on their condition. If the barn does not agree to your visits you find another barn! I am a believer that a horse whether a stallion or mare does better with some conditioning and is not over weight.  The mares foal much easier if they are kept in reasonable condition. Lane's End is not going to be able to turn Queen Z loose in pasture now with all the snow and ice on the ground

that is just asking for trouble.  They will slowly allow her some time out in a controlled environment under a watchful eye. It sounds like according to John S. that Z is already beginning to cycle so she should be ready to be bred in February.  But as others have said she would have never been more than a few miles away from me if I owned her! There are a lot of very good stallions all over this country and I'm a believer that the mare provides about 60% of the quality in the foal.  So with Zen being the mom that foal is way ahead of the game.

08 Dec 2010 10:23 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Steve,

I am so glad you lied and gave us another great article!  We needed it, we her fans, now grasping at anything to stay connected to her.

And what a fabulous article you gave us!  My hat designer braved the freezing cold and went to see her at Keeneland.  She later emailed me and said I love reading Steve Haskin's articles, "he captures the true essence of Zenyatta and the spiritual mystique that surrounds her."  And indeed you do. I don't get it either, Steve about accepting her retirement.  I accepted even Afleet Alex's retirement and you know how crazy I am about him, but I am finding it very difficult to accept hers.  I think it is because as a die-hard racing and sports fan I realized long ago that Zenyatta is a special athlete, she knew the deal, knew the finish line, was well aware of her surroundings, etc. and the chances of us seeing this happen again are slim to none.  As for the spiritual side, it may be as simple as Ann Moss says, "Zenyatta is a gift from God."  He gave her to use to show us there is still good in the world to believe in when all else seems to be crumbling around us.  The only way I am accepting her retirement is that she must contribute to the great breed of thoroughbred, she cannot just stay in a backyard farm in CA, not a great thoroughbred like her, genetics must be passed on and the breed must prevail.  So, Steve, call Gainesway, tell them to get Alex all dapper and handsome and since he is such a sweetie I hope he becomes the first worthy suitor for Zenyatta!  A Haskin January article on Zenyatta - a must!!!!!!!

Thank you Steve for keeping us all so well informed and connected.

08 Dec 2010 10:36 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I guess Zenyatta is not going to be in Dancing With The Stars afterall. That's disappointing. I could have finally seen that show. Speaking of TV, why does this blog remind me of Queen For A Day? Who should we give the refrigerator to?

08 Dec 2010 10:47 PM
txhorsefan

Steve, you are so gifted and talented it is amazing, yet you still are so humble and down to earth, able to express your feelings while quite obviously capturing the deepest feelings so many of us share.  Each time I read this blog I am sitting here just screaming to myself "he gets it!", he really does get it.  That you are able to put those emotions into words and draw in so many others who are free then to express themselves, well...I'm not able to explain it at all.  All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you.  Not only has Zenyatta captured my heart, I'll have to admit you have as well, along with so many of the commenters who frequent your blogs and share their experiences and feelings here, too.  For lack of any thing more to say, here it goes again...thank you.

Oh, yes....Hello, my name is Celeste and I'm a Zenyattaholic!

08 Dec 2010 10:49 PM
Alex'sBigFan

On the walk back to the barns after this year's BC Classic, some of the conversaton went like this:

Blame:  "I beat the chick fair and square and now I'm the villain."

First Dude:  "You got that right, dude.  Listen to the Dudettes!"

Champagne D'Oro, Blind Luck, and Evening Jewel (the Dudettes) were singing a la Rita Hayworth in Gilda:

"Zenyatta broke slowly

She shimmied out of the gate.

But Blame's nose

Was too much to take.....

So, put the blame on Blame, boys,

Put the blame on Blame!!!!!"

Lucky:  What a woman! I'm in love."

Fly Down:  The heck with love, man, I'm in the money!"

Blame:  (To QR) "What was your problem this time, man.  I see at least you made it out of the gate.  Maybe next year you'll see the 3/8 pole."

Quality Road:  "I saw the ghost of Secretariat or Seabiscuit or someone out there!"

Lucky:  "What you saw was a mare, the greatest mare of all time run by all of us, well almost all of us within inches.  She's the best."

I'm on my way to Versailles too and I'm in love."

Lucky and Steve say it best, we are all in love with Zenyatta!

08 Dec 2010 10:58 PM
BeePee

Secretariat, Ruffian, Spectacular Bid, Smarty Jones, Rags to Riches,

Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta

I love them ALL and THERE WILL BE ANOTHER!!!!!!

08 Dec 2010 11:20 PM
Ellie

Steve, Zenyatta WILL miss John and Mario and all the rest of her humans. And the track atmosphere, and the fans. That's exactly why it bothers you, because you know it's true. It bothers me, too. I also wish they woulda waited until winter was over to move that California Gal to butt-feezing temperatures!

As for those who don't understand "The Zenyatta Thing"- I didn't either until I saw her with my own eyes in the paddock before the BC Classic 09. I was Instantaneously starstruck-watching her on TV did NOT prepare me for Zenyatta!! Wow, there are no words to really describe her.

08 Dec 2010 11:32 PM
Voyager

Steve you didn't lie. Zenyattaholics just misremember, if I remember correctly.  

09 Dec 2010 12:04 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Steve Haskin is now a Zen Master. And through his writings I feel enlightened about the Art of Zenyatta. Woman of the Year. Queen of the Hop (the dance and the beer) What did the horse say to the bartender when asked what drink she wants? Zenyatta: "Guinness of course. Don't you watch TV?"

09 Dec 2010 12:31 AM
Deacon

Dr. D, loved your post.

So many wonderful folks who speak from the heart, very enjoyable to read all of these.

I was thinking why Steve added another Big Z blog, because like the rest of us it is very difficult to let go. Every time Steve posts a Zenyatta blog there are literally hundreds of posts, not just once but every time. How amazing is that. Folks want to be a part of something. Yes, we all have our lives. We get up go to work, have a busy day and then come home. The days turn into weeks which turn into months. Zenyatta took us away from that. We had her for 3 1/2 years, that is a lifetime for a thoroughbred. Other then a few special geldings like John Henry and Forego and Kelso it is next to impossible to name a horse (male or female) that raced for 3 1/2 years and was at the top of their game each and every race. If a person is a true fan of the sport, how can you not admire, respect and just love that accomplishment. Some folks don't get it, why so many of us love their beautiful equine speciman and respectfully that is there loss. Sure, I wish Z would run next year, she certainly could do it. Run her 3 or 4 times a year, maybe even for exhibition. It certainly would boost the sport. But what I love most about her, is the fact she retired sound. She will live a great life on the ranch and hopefully give a few little Z's to repeat the cycle.........

09 Dec 2010 1:54 AM
Aluminaut

After the Breeder's Cup Classic I returned from the Del Mar Satellite to Los Angeles Sunday morning.  I was living in a whole new world.  A world in which Zenyatta had just run her greatest race and didn't quite get up.  It was more than the usual post partum Breeder's Cup fog, and there was absolutely no reason to feel so empty.  It's been a manic year since the BCC in 2009, and the rocket ride that Zenyatta took us all on was beyond compare.  It changed my perspective, as I becaume a Thoroughbred owner again after many years as a fan only.  It changed my personal life.

So I left L.A. to visit my yearling at the farm, even though I'd seen her one week earlier.  There she was, turned out with her filly pals.  She knows I'm there to see her and I can spot her at a distance because of her white blaze (star and connecting stripe in Jockey Club lingo) and right rear sock.  She's smart, spirited and kind but she's also the pasture boss.  And she says she can run.  She's a comfort...and she's the future.

One month later I just saw Zenyatta at Hollywood Park, and I'm missing her already.

Thanks for the blog Steve and the chance to read so many wonderful comments.

09 Dec 2010 2:12 AM
bowlofflowers

Hi.  My name is Ellie and I am a Zenyattaholic.  Please pass the cool aid.  When I saw that you wrote a blog, Steve, and then I saw the title and then LOL with delight!  I grew up in Philadelphia in the 50's and 60's when there was horse racing every Saturday afternoon.  I would root for my favorite charges in glorious black and white before galloping off to Confession. Confession was mandatory then every week and BTW, horse racing was never one of my sins.   For your venial sin of 'lying', Steve, you will have a penance of 12 articles on Zenyatta in 2011.  I am sure The Nutcracker was fabulous and my best to you and yours for the Holidays.  Thank you for a great blog everybody.

09 Dec 2010 2:29 AM
NC Bred

I couldn't believe when I read this that the words were identical to my feelings about Zenyatta.  I was lucky enough to meet her in "person" twice - an incredible gesture for John and his crew to make her so available to all her fans.  Seeing that almost 250 comments have been posted here and regularly over 100/day to her website diary says it all about her.  We just cannot get enough - and there is a huge emptiness inside me realizing that I will not see her at or on the track again.  Yes - truly grateful that she retires sound and healthy but still I miss her terribly.  I am certain she is attached to John, Steve, Michelle and probably most of all Mario.  While we only speculate on what Zenyatta thinks I am pretty certain how Mario feels.  She has been his "baby" and he is so very protective of her.  Thinking of him leaving her at the farm is almost unbearable for me, let alone him.

As for HOY - I am almost to the point of not caring.  If she hasn't won it by now then I don't have a lot of faith in the voters.  The solace is that while there is a HOY every year and many of them - ther is ONE and ONLY ONE ZENYATTA!!

Now I am going to drown my sorrows by reading Dorothy Ours book about Man O'War - another one I never get enough of.  Loved the poem from Gary - so fitting for the Queen also.

09 Dec 2010 2:32 AM
cynthia r

    Was I the only Zenyatta fan troubled by the images of her arrival in Kentucky?  Other than simply being cold watching her (don't they have coolers in Kentucky?) was the fact that here was the living, breathing example of equine 19 out of 20 perfection in the flesh, the actual embodiment of everything generations of thoroughbred owners have striven to create, everything generations of gamblers have risked their souls for and everything generations of horse lovers have dreamed about being relegated to becoming Just Another Broodmare.  

    Zenyatta has it all, she is beautiful, charismatic, the greatest athlete most of us will ever see, and darned if she did not retire sound.  She even has owners who are interesting and seem to genuinely care for and about her, making story even more Hollywood than it already is.  Zenyatta never faded or disappointed like the lauded Rachel Alexandra.  Zenyatta is literally the heroine, the savior of  horse racing in the post Eight Belles, Barbaro era.  Her race record is extraordinary, but pulling horse racing out of its public relations hellhole was her greatest accomplishment.  She does not deserve to be relegated to Just Another Lane's End Broodmare status.

    Yet how is our heroine treated?  She is sent literally blanketless in the middle of winter, months before breeding season even begins, to begin her new life.  Wow.  Is that all they could think of to do with the ambassador of thoroughbreds, the savior of horse racing?  Surely a mare with her charisma and fan base could have found a new career that would have benefitted the great sport she alone saved.  The Mosses are lucky their superstar is not a hormone ravaged stallion for whom career options are limited and interacting with fans is downright dangerous.  Zenyatta has the chance to do something different than be Just Another Lane's End Broodmare.  There are thousands of very well bred thoroughbred mares that can crank out 12 or 15 foals in a lifetime, there is only one Zenyatta.  People were genuinely moved by her, she changed things.  Things are supposed to be different for a horse like that.  In the video of Zenyatta parading naked in the pavilion at Keenland a man came over and briefly hugged her, that very moving image demonstrated the incredible power this animal possesses.  Wonderful a farm as it is, Lane's End is just not equipped to deal with this sort of idolization, they have a lot of other very fine and famous residents they have to tend as well .  Zenyatta will not be special there.  And Zenyatta's star power will have to be diminished to fit into the broodmare band in her new home.

    And what about all the "we love her so much" bit from her family?  I bought into all that, I know the names of her grooms and her riders and what she likes to eat and drink.  I went to her races and her website and fell in love like everyone else.  If you love your horse that much you do not send her off, alone for the rest of her life just because she is no longer racing, you want to share her life with her.  Otherwise you are no more than a check writer.  We loved Zenyatta because we thought the Mosses loved Zenyatta.  She wasn't just Darley's latest greatest.  She was Jerry and Anne's special girl that they loved and were so proud of.  We rooted for her because we rooted for them.  Unless all that support team talk was phony she needs them.  She needs owners who love her and grooms who rub her legs when she is lying down.  Sending a high strung mare to a breeding farm does not magically cure her of all of her neurosis and foibles and Zenyatta is going to need her loving support team just as much pregnant as when racing fit.  If in all of California there is not one farm suitable for Zenyatta to reside, then Mr. Moss, buy Zenyatta a farm.  In California.  Close to where you live.  She is your horse.  Your responsibility.  You are not poor, buy her a home.  Build her a castle of a barn, because she deserves it.  She does not deserve to be Just Another Broodmare at Lane's End.  Come on, you claim to love her.  Let her keep her grooms with her and keep her close enough that her trainer and riders can come visit her and enjoy her babies with her.  She changed their lives, too.  But mostly let her have a home where she can be Queen of the castle.  She will never be the Queen of Lane's End because they do not own her, you do.  Her star status is your doing and your responsibility, not Lane's End.

    Zenyatta broke the mold.  What is she going to do in Kentucky, aspire to be a Better than Honour or Toussaud, she eclipsed them when she won her first Breeder's Cup.  Zenyatta should live in California.  Zenyatta became a superstar in California.  She showed Kentucky and the world how a California horse with a California trainer and a California owner conquers the racing world.  She did it in a completely Hollywood way, from the way the media and fans were allowed and encouraged to idolize her to the way she pranced and danced for her ever increasing crowds.  She did everything in a big, showy, wonderful California way.  To take her out of her sunshine and her spotlight diminishes her superstar status, and diminishes the emotional effect she has had on her fans.  Zenyatta is unlike any other mare, any other horse in history because of her unprecedented popularity.

    Isn't there anything else a beloved superstar with her charisma could be doing right now but learning to walk on ice?  To stand in a cold stall under lights so she cycles?  Guess what Kentuckians, Southern California mares don't need lights.  And we have grass even in the winter. Bring Zenyatta back to California!  This is her home.  She demonstrated that California racehorses are world class.  If her only career option at this point is breeding than let her demonstrate the strength of California breeding.  So what if Kentucky is where all the good mares go to be broodmares, Zenyatta did not do things like all the other mares when she was racing, why should she now?  Winning and almost winning back to back Breeder's Cup Classics is not what the Kentucky mares do, it is what the California mares do.  If Zenyatta wants a baby, then A.P.Indy should get on the plane and come to her for a week of California sun and fun, because she is much more famous and much more influential than he will ever be.  Seriously.  He can sire the finest, fleetest animals on the planet, but without fans, and by extension bettors, we all know where our sport would be.  Very few people outside of the thoroughbred breeding world have ever heard of A.P. Indy, and Zenyatta is a household name.  She does not deserve banishment to Kentucky and California does not deserve the snub of having her abandon us.  Zenyatta needs to come home and have babies the Zenyatta way.

09 Dec 2010 2:56 AM
Kathy Kimber

Steve,

   You have to write her story she is our throughbred great.  I'm sad at this phase of her life but I know it is something that has to be and I pray every day she will adjust and be happy and successful and I hope someday she can maybe go to the Kentucky Horse Park and be where her public can see her.  I know she would love that.  In the meantime I worry about her but I know too God has a greater plan for our Zenyatta I truly believe the best is yet to come.  Keep the news coming Steve I search every day for word of her.  Our baby, our beauty our special one.  Get started on that book Steve

09 Dec 2010 7:10 AM
cher

Since 1984 the Breeder's Cup is where GREAT horses prove their greatness.  With a record of three runs, two firsts and one by inches second, if that is not greatness-----what is?  If Zenyatta is not Horse of the Year, there will be riots in the streets.

09 Dec 2010 7:40 AM
Gwen

Having never seen Zenyatta race, I thought I had better go see her at Keeneland.  She was everything they say she is and more.  I have been a racing fan for well over 30 years and have seen a lot of the great horses, but never one with as much beauty and charisma as Zenyatta.  Honestly, there are no words to describe her.

Hey, lets NOT stop writing about Zenyatta.

09 Dec 2010 8:47 AM
moishezmom

I posted the other night but don't see it here. Rather than try to recreate it I'll simply say that my name is Lisa and I too am a Zenyattaholic. I love reading just about all of the posts here and seeing that I'm not alone and that I'm in good company! ;)

Mr. Haskin, you are one of my favorite writers, I never tire of reading your wonderful blogs. I can't wait to hear all about your January visit to the Queen!

Happy Holidays to all!

09 Dec 2010 8:51 AM
Barbara W

Cynthia R--

Wow! You have poured out your heart. The one thing that keeps me going is the hope that after she has one foal, they will do just that. I know Lane's End is not ready for or equipped to handle Zenyatta's public persona the way she needs to be handled. And this is no criticism of them--I don't think any farm would be.

If she were to be on a farm owned by the Mosses in California, I'd be on the first plane out for a visit.

09 Dec 2010 9:01 AM
Jenna M

If she's cloistered through this cold winter, and maybe foals, does this mean that if/when anyone gets to see her again, she won't be the same? She won't have her personality.

09 Dec 2010 9:10 AM
Slew

As I read over the many wonderful comments, I really must chide those who feel they have gone overboard anthropomorphizing Zenyatta's feelings, as they  worry that she might be lonely.  They say..."maybe I'm being silly."

Let me assure you, you are not the least bit silly or overboard.  

A veterinarian diagnosed my daughter's cat with separation anxiety, and the cat has been on kitty Prozac for the last 3 years. Without her medication, she's a shitty little monster (literally) who cost me a rug when I cat-sat her for a few months, while my daughter was moving around.  Intelligent animals have feelings even if they can't vocalize them. They do feel a sense of loss without the companionship of those they love.  And they become disturbed when their routines are changed.  However, some of those feelings may be short-lived as they adapt to new routines.  Some times it takes a while, but eventually they will adjust.  Consider that Zenyatta is probably the most valuable mare in the USA right now, and her foals will be highly prized.  We can only pray that her adjustment will be easier than we fear, and her companions (human and otherwise) will be as awestruck as we are, with amazement and love.  

RH10: "Who's the new dude in the stable?"

AP:  "I dunno...but I don't care...I'm the top sire here, and no one can replace me."

QR: Hey guys...that ain't no dude!

Mineshaft: "Whaddya mean?"

QR: "That is THE dudette of the year."

AP: "Howduya know?"

QR: "She beat me up twice, I think I know."

RH10: "You mean that's my little niece?"

QR: "You got it.  It's Zenyatta!"

RH10: "Wow! She sure has grown up pretty.  I guess I'm out of this lottery."

AP: " Hold your horses, boys.  She's all mine."

Mineshaft: "I think she needs someone younger, a little more virile."

AP: "Listen son, when you're the best, you get the best...and she's the best I've ever seen."

QR: "She's too much woman for you old man, and twice your size."

Langfuhr: "You're son, Bernardini called.  He said he heard about her, and he's interested."

AP: "Not as long as I'm around."

Happy Holidays, folks.  And if you're considering a pet for Christmas, honor Zenyatta, contact your local Humane Society, and rescue someone who needs your love.

09 Dec 2010 9:37 AM
Sue M

First - Hi to Kathy in Toledo - I'm Sue in Toledo!

Great to read your article Steve. I, too, have been googling Z every morning to see if there are any new tidbits of info on her new life and how she's settling in. I had followed Z online and TV, but after watching her win the 2009 BC, I became a true fanatic :) My husband and I drove to Churchill Downs for the 2010 BC and we both loved the whole experience. Even though Z lost, her stretch drive was magnificent and wonderful to behold. The next morning we drove back to the track to see her in person, and I have the pictures to prove it. Thanks for writing about Zenyatta, and I hope (well I kind of assume after your confession) that you will be writing more about her in the future. The racing world IS a lot quieter right now. Z had everything, the heart, the speed, the beauty, the personality. Horses like her don't come along very often and it will be years before there's another one. I hope we get some news soon....

09 Dec 2010 10:19 AM
Sarah

I know exactly what you mean, for you have echoed my very sentiments. I've loved many racehorses over the years too but until I met Zenyatta on that wonderful Sunday morning after the Breeders' Cup, I never realized how much a horse could infiltrate your very soul and witnessing her kind manner towards her fans and her calm demeanor that radiated serenity did feel spiritual. I kept thinking about her all that day and wondering what she was doing at that particular time, etc. I've never thought like that about a horse either.

And like you I have wondered about her being so far from the adulation of people since she just blossoms and puts on her show when her admirers gather around. So I do fervently hope (as it sounds they are trying to work out), that the farm will allow her to have visitors. Certainly for her sake, but also because I will miss her and definitely hope I haven't seen her personally for the last time.

I still want to hug her and stand up close and I know this is getting totally sentimental but I want to let her know she's still loved and thought of in the future.

And I hope it won't be too distant of a future.

Great post once again, Mr. Haskin. Thanks for so eloquently putting into words what so many of us have experienced by being around this wonderful horse.

09 Dec 2010 10:24 AM
Sarah

One thing I forgot... I too have been thinking of that void she's left. Not long after she retired, one of my co-workers said "Who will you follow now?" And honestly I could not come up with one name. I know there will be others, there always are; but for now, there are only memories of her that no other horse can fill.

09 Dec 2010 10:29 AM
MTBFan(still)

Sniff...Absolutely beautiful. Zenyatta's career was amazing but the horse herself, ah...there was what infused heart and soul into the performance. Her connections, too, brought story and soul and wonder back into racing, if for a moment, for three amazing years.

09 Dec 2010 10:31 AM
Pam S.

Cynthia r,

You DID pour your heart out and you made some very compelling arguments as well.  Never having owned horses or visited Kentucky, I just sided with the "majority" in believing that the Bluegrass is the perfect environment for a horse, that Zenyatta would adjust to her new life, and that it had to be this way because racing is a business and no one's pockets are bottomless.  But your post got me thinking, maybe the California plan WOULD be better.  Guess we'll see just how Zenyatta does over the next couple months.  It's not like the Mosses are going to forget about her, and they certainly have been known to change their minds.

Just don't think they would fly A.P. Indy in for a date -- he's too old and "settled in."

09 Dec 2010 11:08 AM
Pazzo Pupa

Hard to accept the bitter finality that Zenyatta's return to Lexington means...

"Parting is such sweet sorrow."

And still more difficult to reconcile Zenyatta as The Queen with the prospect of Zenyatta as...

the "broodmare."

Being a broodmare in the thoroughbred breeding industry is NOT a glamorous "job"...&

is far from what some have ridiculously referred to as allowing her to be (simply) a horse.

I sincerely hope that the "broodmare" career is short-lived & that Zenyatta can move to another setting, one where she can be exercised (whether galloped or basic dressage/gymnastic-style flat-work), adored by humans, & exposed through activities (as many as she would tolerate & enjoy) that allow her to be showered with love & affection--& adulation.

The "highlight" of life on a thoroughbred stallion & broodmare farm often boils down to being walked from the barn to the paddock daily (by $8-an-hour laborers).

This is not, I suggest, a life-style to which Zenyatta is accustomed or which she deserves.

09 Dec 2010 11:12 AM
seatariat

Just read this post from www.zenyatta.com

ANOTHER ANSWER TO MY E-MAIL. Lexie, one of Bill Farrish’s assistants answered my e-mail this morning at 8:32 EST. Here is her answer:

Dear Sharon,

Sarah Campion, David Ingordo’s assistant, is handling all of the inquiries regarding ZENYATTA. I can tell you that she is doing very well and is adjusting nicely to farm life. It is amazing how many people who have been touched by her and are concerned about her, but trust me, I have worked at Lane’s End for 21 years and I know that she is in one of the very best places as she begins her new career! I will pass on your note to Sarah but thank you so very much for your concern and appreciation of this great mare! She is as loved here as anywhere!

Sincerely,

Lexi Calabrese

Lane’s End Farm

P. O. Box 626

Versailles, KY 40383

(859) 873-7300

(859) 873-8969 Fax

Here is Bill Farrish’s answer from last night:

Dear Sharon,

All is good with Zenyatta. She is hand walking many times a day and adjusting to the cold Kentucky Temps. She will begin to get turned out next week. I’m sure the posts on Zenyatta.com will become more regular.

Best Wishes, Bill Farish

09 Dec 2010 11:26 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

As I was trying to go to sleep last night I was jolted awake by a terrible thought. Then I couldn't sleep for a long time.  What if Zenyatta thinks she was sent to a strange, and cold place as punishment because she lost the race? Like the Russians used to do with their deposed leaders.  "I should have warmed up before the race so I could get moving earlier during it, and I would have won and I wouldn't be here. I'd still be in sunny California. I think I'll see if the guard will bring me another blanket."  

09 Dec 2010 11:30 AM
Lisa S from MD

You know I loved your article and we all loved her. There will never be another like her. And that is ok. She deserves her own special place in our hearts. That is part of what makes her so special. She was so unique. That special combination of charisma, gentleness and just raw talent, you just don't find that often. I feel blessed to have watched her in all her glory and hope for updates as the years go by!

09 Dec 2010 11:45 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

cynthia r

  I absolutely loved your post of 9 Dec at 2:56am. Coincidentally written at the same time I was trying to go to sleep, and couldn't, worrying about Zenyatta thinking she's being punished. During Zenyatta's racing career I was at peace believing that Jerry and Ann Moss would keep her in California, and if there wasn't a farm worthy of her, that they'd buy one. I was stunned when I heard they were sending her away. Anyway, your post was brilliant, and I'm mezmorized by it. So many beautifully expresseed thoughts done with passion. I will read it many times. Thank you.

09 Dec 2010 12:01 PM
Shannon From Cool

These comments are truly amazing and Arlene summed it up quite well calling it the "Zen Nation."  This collective sigh demonstrates the enormous love for Zenyatta that far exceeds any level of adoration for other horses on the scene today. Zenyatta is phenomenal. Can't wait to go see her in Kentucky.

09 Dec 2010 12:02 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

seatariat

  Thank you for that update info. It's good to know that she's doing well. She'll probably love her new life, and we have nothing to worry about.

09 Dec 2010 12:28 PM
Mike Relva

LISA

Are you serious? I'm by there sometimes going shopping at Huntsville.

09 Dec 2010 12:36 PM
Patricia

Does anyone get HRTV? I've never seen Zenyatta in person, but haven't missed one of her races.

I see Lanes End every Saturday with their Race of the Week.  Lanes End is gorgeous. I wouldn't worry about Zenyatta living out her life in those surroundings.

I'm sure you could find out about their staff and the care of the horses by doing a bit of research.

But,remember, the horses at Lanes End are VALUABLE.  I hate to talk in monetary terms. I love horses and esp. the Queen.  It's in their best interest to treat these horses like they're gold. Because they are. Each little offspring will bring thousands if not millions.  you don't treat their mommies like they're "just another horse."  (although my two quarter horses are not just another horse either.  And, they don't have to do much.)  

I honestly don't know what happened with Rachel. I'd love to know why she just disappeared.  She had (has) thousands of fans out there.  We don't hear much of anything about how she's settling in. I'd love to know.

Patricia G.

Author and horse lover

09 Dec 2010 12:38 PM
Patricia

Oh yes, and Steve, I love your blogs. I'm glad you'll be continuing, at least occasionally,

to blog about Z.  Maybe you can find out more about Rachel and blog about her.  That would be wonderful.

Patricia Guthrie

Author and horse lover

09 Dec 2010 12:39 PM
Linda M

after all my posts, I have to say:  hello, my name is Linda and I too am a Zenyattaholic.  What she has done on the track, for her fans and for the sport, is beyond words.  I check every site available, daily, wanting to know about OUR LADY.

Love you gorgeous girl.

09 Dec 2010 1:03 PM
redwoodsforever

Wow!  I am so glad that I'm not alone in my deep love and dare I say grieving state about our girl, Zenyatta. She is far, far away in a barn that 'm sure is very comfortable but she is not surrounded by her family and friends.  I would hope that the Moss' will bring her home when and if she becomes pregnant.   I have framed my commemorative picture of Zenyatta and have it hanging in a place of honor with my winning ticket from her last run at Delmar.  I will continue to send my loving thoughts her way for a long time to come.  Thank you for putting into words what all of us are thinking.  Happy holidays to all my fellow Zenyattaholics and may 2011 bring so much joy to our girl, Zenyatta.

09 Dec 2010 1:05 PM
kathleen o

I worry for some of the same reasons as you Dr D, but I have faith in Ann Moss.  If she even suspects her baby is unhappy, she'll be grazing in the Moss's back yard.

09 Dec 2010 1:18 PM
Lise from Maine

Bonjour Zenyatta,

I recently ordered a 16 x 20 Victorian Gold Frame with two

different matting of different

colors so your photo could

be framed that came with the booklet that I ordered from Bloodhorse.com recently.

I will pick up the frame with

your photo in it on December

18th, and hopefully it is ready for

pick up. I was told that there could be a delay.

I just adore you, Zenyatta, and want to be reminded of you often so your framed photo will serve the purpose.

The Victorian Gold Frame is very beautiful against your dark complexion. It actually brings to light your beautiful black coat. It is a great contrast.

I am eager to learn of your first pregnancy and see your first newborn soon. I hope that the

new baby looks like you and is as

tall as you.

I enjoyed your races but I will admit that I just couldn't watch (left the room for a few minutes) your last race for fear that you would lose knowing that one cannot keep using the same strategies by "living off the edge" and continue winning.

The probability odds were very much against you, and I was saddened that you lost.

I really do not want you to leave racing as it was much fun watching you come from behind and win.

Lots of love to you Zenyatta.

09 Dec 2010 1:21 PM
needler in Virginia

Hi, my name is Judith and I am a Zenyattaholic..... BIG TIME. But being a resident of Virginia, a huge fan of Kentucky, and not so much a fan of California (with apologies), AND a big mouthed annoying person, I'm adding another two cents' worth here. Horses really DO love cold weather; it makes 'em feel zippy and full of it. They really do NOT love hot, humid, gluey weather; it makes 'em feel hot and humid and gluey (and I AM NOT accusing California of having crappy weather). You will NEVER see a horse running around and raising hell if there's a shade tree (with or without a brook) available. Horses take the line of least resistance and have the uncanny ability to adapt to all sorts of situations. BUT humans don't seem to have that ability. At the heart of it, I think the move to Kentucky really, really, really pissed off a lot Zenyatta's fans. While I understand that, and really DO sympathize, putting a voodoo curse on Kentucky probably isn't the best of plans. The mare will adapt, 'cause that's what horses do. My big problem is not where she is...my big problem is I'm not gonna get to see her very much anymore and THAT, my friends, is what REALLY pisses me off! I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY WANT HER BACK. NOT racing; she doesn't need to prove ANYTHING on the track 'cause she's done that and then some. I just want her available.........RATS, RATS, RATS!!

The e-mail from Lane's End was all warm and fuzzy, but really pretty generic and canned, don't you think? After all, what ELSE could they say? Certainly not that she misses her people, her routine and her Guinness or that she has a booboo on her nose from something and HATES her big, thick blanket? Nope, we're not gonna get THOSE kind of reports.

I JUST HATE NOT KNOWING..............so flog me. After all, I AM a nosey person with a big mouth and clearly too much time on my hands, 'cause all I'm doing is obsessing about this horse and Steve's blog. The only answer is just to give her back...... problem solved. I really don't care if she's a stable pony for the Shirreffs as long as we can see her. I HATE NOT BEING ABLE TO SEE HER or hear about her latest bit of news. Breaking up is SO hard to do.

Now I'm off to sulk and pout and be grumpy; I can say this to all of you. After all, we ARE friends, right? And we're all Zenyattaholics, and I'd wager we're all a bit grumpy theses days........

Cheers and safe trips........and I really mean it!

09 Dec 2010 1:24 PM
Giddyup

After so many great blogs you have certainly earned a vacation Steve, but don't get too comfortable. Before you know it, you will be refereeing arguments over which of Zenyatta's kids is the best.

09 Dec 2010 1:49 PM
Jenna M

There are three videos on Facebook.  Loaded today.

09 Dec 2010 2:26 PM
GJU

I've enjoyed reading most of these posts by other Zenyatta fans! For those of you who aren't aware, go to Zenyatta.com and click on news. Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs posted "diary" entries as if Zenyatta was doing the talking. On Diary Post #24, which, as of this writing, is the last post, you can scroll down near the end and see several posts by Sharon Call. She contacted Lane's End and you will see she posted the response she got from both Bill Farish and his assistant, Lexi Calabrese. I, too, am worried about how Big Mama Z will adjust. Anyway, scroll down quite a ways (there are over 488 comments on that post) and it sounds like she's doing fine, according to them. I'm counting on you, Steve, to let us know how Zenyatta is doing, not only through your wonderful words, but photos when you visit her next month. Hope all the Zenny fans have a very Zenyatta holiday! XOXO to the superstar herself!  

09 Dec 2010 2:31 PM
WWSTP

Thank you Steve, for going to this place with Zenyatta...because she is not only a race horse...she is a phenomen, a total experience that lifts us up beyond the negativity and stress and worries...yes, into our spiritual hightened more evolved selves.  Some scoff...but they are not the ones open to see or experience what she offers.  So many are.

There is this great quote by Linda Kohanov, who owns the Epona Equestrian Center and has written many books including the Tao of Equus:

At the dawn of the 21st century, horses are breaking out of their roles as beasts of burden, yet they're far from obsolete. As horses are no longer required to work in our fields and carry us to war, they're doing something arguably more important: working on us".

Zenyatta worked us...right into that "best elevated place" in ourselves we rarely visit, but are so hungry for.

09 Dec 2010 2:37 PM
Lisa g

Love your blog.  At first I felt guilty for loving her so, as Ruffian has ruled my heart all these years.  Then I felt like I may not be normal because of the love I have for Ms. Zenyatta.  Then I knew I was not alone, and loved her without guilt and with all my sanity..heart and soul.  

09 Dec 2010 2:59 PM
PJJ

There is a link on Zenyatta's Facebook page showing her at Lane's End.   I don't think she is settled in yet.  She looks sad.

Here is the link I went to and found it.  After I clicked on to this link , I then went under " Just Zenyatta" tab and found the videos,  I think they were put up a little bit ago.   I guess they knew the fans were going mad for an update on her.

09 Dec 2010 3:09 PM
PJJ

I'm sorry,   Steve here is the link on Facebook I went on, then I went on the "Just Zenyatta" tab to get to the videos.

www.facebook.com/ZenyattaOfficial

09 Dec 2010 3:11 PM
Barbara W

Dr. Drunkinbum,

You verbalized my same concern that she would feel she is being punished for "losing". Let's pray that our fears are all put to rest.

09 Dec 2010 3:17 PM
Leslie

I TOTALLY agree!  I can't get Zenyatta out of my thoughts either.  I long for pictures, news, videos.  Where is she now?  What does her barn look like?  After Mario and all her other regular caretakes go away, who will visit her and how often?  Will she be shut inside a stall or let out to run in a big pasture?  Will she really be able to hang out with Life Is Sweet or will they be far away?

For having watched her every move for a long time... it's like withdrawl.... I miss her terribly...  And yes, I wonder why too!  She's just captured me.

Thanks for your article!

09 Dec 2010 3:20 PM
Lisa g

Since you have been dealing with horseracing for so long, why do they have to go to the FARM.  I agree with some of the other comments...and I believed Ann would keep Ms. Zenyatta in California.  Why did she have to go so far away, do they not love her.  I could not do that.  There are beautiful farms in CA, and let the unworthy boys come to her if she need be in foal.

09 Dec 2010 3:23 PM
Dani

New update on zenyatta.com and facebook videos of her new digs and walking in the snow. She looks a little lost and confused, but not cold. I hope she is okay. I wonder what she is thinking and feeling. I'm feeling worried about her. I wish she could just live in sunny CA with her family and friends forever.

09 Dec 2010 3:27 PM
seatariat

Just received this email from Dottie and thought I would share it so that everyone can see that Zenyatta is doing well and that we will be kept updated on www.zenyatta.com.  I did suggest to Dottie that perhaps David could take a video of her when she is let loose for the first time in the pasture.  She assured me that they are working hard to be able to share special moments with her fans so it sounds like we will have a lot to look forward to.

Hello,

Thank you so much!

We just returned from KY last night...and settling her into her new home.  She is happy and really starting to enjoy it there.  While there and this morning, I have been working on a few ideas for zenyatta.com so we can keep the photos and updates available for all of her fans.

WE LOVE that everyone LOVES HER!  We really want to keep you posted on her 'happenings'.

Again..THANK YOU for being such a fan.

Take Care,

Dottie

09 Dec 2010 3:36 PM
Dawn in MN

My comments are cathartic for me.

Mr. Haskin, I too am trying to shift my focus to the present to the horses that are still competing and the future Thoroughbred stars that I will see.  In order to do so I have to keep telling myself that Zenyatta will receive the best and kindest care.  I try not to entertain the thought that she might die as the result of foaling complications, or paddock injuries.  I have to remain optimistic that she will not become a foal producing machine, bred over and over without a break.  Good luck Zenyatta, I can let go if I try.

Once in a while I find myself imagining her lifting her head from grazing and going to that place that horses go when we see “The Look of Eagles.”  I try not to think that she might be trying to catch the scent of the people she misses or the sounds of the races, and the fans at the track.  Whether or not she misses her first family or the races she will resume grazing.  I believe she will graze, she will swish the flies and she will breathe those deep sighs that horses make when they feel the sun on their back and the peace of the pasture.  

Zenyatta is not a normal horse.  I tell everyone I know, who has ever seen a Zenyatta performance, that they can say they saw a legend in the making.  The legend is written.  What matters is that she brought people who are close to racing and people new to racing together.  Even those who argued should finally be at peace.

I appreciate all the horses I have known, or read about (in Zenyatta’s case) as individuals.  The individuals are as similar, and as unique as we are as a species.  Some awe us with their beauty and heart.  Some amaze us and earn glory with their physical prowess.  Some inspire love and loyalty because of their temperament.  Some have connections and stories that are just too endearing to pass up.  

I am proud to say I saw the making of the legend that is Zenyatta.  I am looking forward to the books that will be written about Zenyatta.

Peace  

P.S.  You’ve probably already read Blood Horse: Notes of a Sportswriter’s Son, by John Jeremiah Sullivan 2004.  I think I’m going to read it again.  Peace

09 Dec 2010 3:43 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, PJJ, I didnt see any "Just Zenyatta" tab but I did see two videos on the home page. They were great. But she looked almost confused, like, "Where am I?" and "Where are all the people?" She'll get used to her new life soon enough, especially when the snow clears and she get out in a paddock.

09 Dec 2010 4:13 PM
Barbara W

PJJ,

I agree with you. I think she looks sad as well. Did you notice the person walking her wasn't even talking to her? If I had Zenyatta on a lead rope, I'd be carrying on a two-way conversation with her.

And I noticed that she turned her back on the lady talking to her.

Please don't call me an idiot(almost all of you are more experienced than I), but I know from seeing her in person and on video when she's "feeling it", and she definitely looks confused to me.... and not the outgoing Zenyatta we know.

09 Dec 2010 4:15 PM
GJU

Glad to see the update on Z.com. Sounds a lot better than what people are making it out to be, but I doubt they'd ever tell us she's doing anything but spectacular. I hope it was as great as they made it sound and I hope Ms. Z is getting adjusted. I think it's going to take all of us some time.

09 Dec 2010 4:43 PM
RIDAN62

Steve,

    Once again my congratulations on another wonderful article.  As you can tell from my "nom de plume" that I too have seen a lot of great horses come and go.  While I never had the privilege of seeing Zenyatta race in person; I followed her career with great interest and yes, passion for the last three years.  I have never been so enamored with horse before.  I too shed tears while watching her run and even today I'll replay her races just to experience the thrills again.  My plans are to visit the Queen at Lane's End when allowed and experience her aura for myself.  I would also hope that someday I'll be able to shake your hand and thank you for the beautiful way you have expressed your feelings which so accurately mirror those of myself and so many others.  I wish you a happy holiday to you and your family.

09 Dec 2010 4:45 PM
Soldier Course

I doubt that Mr. and Mrs. Moss will be nonchalant about Zenyatta's welfare at Lane's End. They have done nothing whatsoever to make us doubt their commitment to her. I have always been impressed that they endowed retirements of some of their horses at Old Friends.

We don't need to become so zealous about monitoring Zenyatta's new life that we become a nuisance to her connections. I hate to say it, but I had the feeling that happened in Barbaro's case. Right now, there's great mutual respect between Zenyatta's fans and her connections. We owe it to her to keep it that way.

09 Dec 2010 4:47 PM
giselle

Mr.Haskin,please dont ever say "this is my final Zenyatta story",the thought makes my heart sink.Its so  comforting to know Im not alone when it comes to my constant thoughts of this great animal.Mabe in time that will pass but I hope not,I want to hang on to her always.

09 Dec 2010 5:26 PM
Steve Haskin

Thank you, Ridan, and happy holidays to you and your family. Heck, you go back farther than I do.

09 Dec 2010 5:51 PM
PJJ

Steve,  I haven't joined Facebook, So I copied and pasted the link to get there.  And on the link I went to  had a "just Zenyata' tab above it so thats how I came upon it.  Either way you found them.  I also saw another one where Todd is bringing her back inside.   I hope things get better out there soon with the weather so she can accept her new surroundings faster.   I bet Anne Moss is keeping up-to-date tabs on her at this time.  They are probably all concerned for her as well.    I say they need to send Mario and Carmen back out to take care of her.  Pay them two to live near by to take care of Zenny at Lane's End.   Mario needs to be with her when she has her first foal.   Papa Mario  as he will be known as....

09 Dec 2010 6:15 PM
Lisa

Mike I am serious. I live right of 231 in Park City really. I was raised in Huntsville. I live 4 miles from the state line going into Fayetteville. I raise TB's for sporthorses. My stallion is a national champion. I really try to promote TB for careers after racing. In fact I may have a grandson of Alydar coming after the first of the year. If you are ever around feel free to stop by. It is always nice to meet a fellow Zen fan.

09 Dec 2010 6:58 PM
Jane

I read your column out loud to a friend of mine, not only  because I wanted to share your insights but also because at that moment in time, I was so stressed with life that thinking about a great racehorse was the one thing I knew would lift my spirits.

Suddenly, it hit me--you have written the contemporary version of the 1897 Baltimore Sun column titled, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus", in which editor Francis P. Church reassures little Virginia O'Hanlon that "the most real things in the world are those that neither children nor grown-ups can see."

The  inspiration Zenyatta has instilled in so many is today's antidote to a bitter, cynical age that no one of Church's era could have begun to imagine would ensue. And so I agree with him: "Thank God s/he lives, and s/she lives forever"...if only in our hearts, hopes, and memories.

Thank you, and Merry Christmas!

09 Dec 2010 6:58 PM
Alex'sBigFan

To Cynthia R,

I loved your piece and as Dr. D states I will read it over again too.  You make some valid points, and since Zenyatta is such a unique thoroughbred why be relegated to the masses in KY and not reside in sunny California forever?  Yeah, why not?  Let the face of breeding change and the top sires can be flown in to HER.  She is that special.  To clarify a couple things in your statement I believe Zenyatta did have a blanket on when exiting the Sallee Van, then when in the sales ring it was removed as maybe that was more enclosed.  The man in the video that ran up to her and hugged her was Mike Smith himself! Wasn't that great, it was so moving.  I don't know whether she will think she has been banished due to losing the race as Dr. D. says which is valid too, but I do know animals go through separation anxiety, some more than others.  And I worry about all these so called isolated "paddock incidents" that happen on the breeding farms.  But I also trust and praise the Mosses, they have always put "horse first."  Maybe Mr. Moss can build that farm for her one day, what a thought!  But for now all we have is to hope Zenyatta has a smooth adjustment to KY life and is a happy horse.  

09 Dec 2010 7:08 PM
Rachel O

I just had to post this. Altho I was a little kid at the time, I actually remember the day that Man o' War died. Now who can top that?

So many of us are fussing about the cold weather back in KY and wondering how Z is going to stand being cooped up in a stall waiting for the ice to melt so she can really stretch her legs and work that magnificent body of hers out in the sunshine.

I was one of the lucky ones who visited Zenyatta a week before she flew away. A friend of mine, who saw the picture Steve Willard took of me with Zenyatta and Mario, said, "I think she is a bodhisattva. In other words, a holy being. Yes, I'd go along with that.

09 Dec 2010 7:14 PM
Linda in Texas

Have been away from the computer today, and not been on for 24 hours. Last post i read was Barbara W.'s about 5 ish P.M. on the 9th. And responded.

Dr. Drunkinbum, "jolted awake by a thought" sounds just like you.

And who gets the refrigerator? Too funny. You are a thoughtful, caring and loving person all wrapped up in 1 fun package.

It is refreshing to all of us.

Barbara W. i am due west of Waco,

as the crow flies to Goldthwaite then Hwy. 36 thru Brownwood, total miles 122. Halfway would be Evant but i don't think it has a D.Q. or a Cafe. Gatesville is about 90 miles from me and it has both!

I have thought about a real fan club for Zenyatta in every state.

I think it would be super if we could all gather in the center of the country, not west and not east,but smack dab in the middle so no one would be offended. The last fan club i belonged to was Elvis Pressley's.

Also Seatariat, the answers to your emails from Lisa at Lane's End and Dottie in California are awesome.Thank you for sharing them.

And i have no doubt that when Steve calls Lane's End they will be nothing but courteous to him when he inquires about Zenyatta.

Mike Relva, do i remember one time you wrote to Zookeeper, said 'you travel to California to see your

girl friend and you were asking Zookeeper how to get to Shirreff's stable?'  Just seem to remember!

And Steve, i am so glad you are the biggest liar we all know.

With all the new people writing comments to your article here makes me not feel so nutso after all. At least there is strength in numbers and we have you to thank for that.

Now i have to go find the video of Zenyatta you all are talking about.

Take care.

09 Dec 2010 7:37 PM
julieo

My name is Julie and I'm a Zenyattaholic.

Steve, your writing is beautiful and I think you reflect your love for Thoroughbreds and racing better than anyone out there.   You move me with your memories and your ability to put them plainly but poeticly (is that even a word?).   If you could someday bind your blogs into books I'd gladly buy them.

And now you are Zenyatta's Shakespeare, and you've shared the Zen experience with all of us.   There is an overwhelming sameness to everyone's blogs- how her beauty, courage, greatness and personality have moved us beyond what we normally feel for great horses, into a realm inhabited by the Secretariats and Seattle Slews.  We've had other great ones- Rachel was a filly for the ages last year- yet she didn't move us as much as Zenyatta, even while we admit Rachel's greatness.

I am so greatful to have shared this with so many others, and to have had you recording the experience for all of us.

09 Dec 2010 7:40 PM
Horsefirst

Zenyatta may be a little confused but I don't think I'd call her unhappy- I saw a horse in the video reacting like almost any horse would in new surroundings and a lot better than a lot of them would.  She's smart, trying to get the lay of the land, what's around her, meeting new people and getting into a new routine.

I think in time, the peace of the place, the company of other horses, being able to be out in a pasture, free to walk around, graze, roll, and snooze in the sun will become very familiar and comfortable for her.

I was impressed with how calmly she walked out and around the little ring of grass.  I thought that was Mario with her but perhaps not.

That's a nice, BIG stall.  For the first time ever I think she has a back window to look out of.  Think of it, she's never had the option before and she's learning to deal with it.  I'm just wondering if they got that blanket for her "off the rack" or had it custom made!

09 Dec 2010 8:43 PM
Linda in Texas

Rachel O i looked up Man O'War, i remember his name and his fame of course all my years, but not the day he died. I was 7.

There is a poem written by an annonymous person heading his bio.

Born 3/29/17 Died 11/1/47 And the poem goes:

 Hold your strength till the barriers fly

 then close with the leaders eye

to eye.

 Thundering hooves and the mad

jammed race,

 blood in the nostrils, sweat in

the face.

 And children, remember where ever

you are,

 you carry the blood of Man O'War.

And so Rachel you are one of those

children and you followed through true to the poem.

The article stated that his groom and lifetime companion, Will Harbut died one month earlier than

Man O' War and the horse lay in state, embalmed and in a casket lined with his racing colors.The first horse ever to be buried this way. Over 2,000 people came to his funeral and to pat his neck one last time.

I found that very interesting, touching and not too far off from how special Zenyatta is in living color to all of us.

09 Dec 2010 8:48 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

giselle

  On Apr 17 2010, Steve wrote an article, "The Art of Zen." The caption said, "Steve takes one final look at Zenyatta."  There will be another one someday.

Barbara W.

    Misery loves company. Thank you.

Kathleen O.

    I believe that you are right. If anything isn't right, she'll be at their dining room table.

Deacon

    Thanks. Yep. Retired sound. You can't beat that.

09 Dec 2010 9:12 PM
seatariat

Ok, have watched the second video on facebook  of her in her stall and I am a little disturbed with the apparently contrived conversation.  First the girl holding the camera calls her the princess , then she mispronounces her name, then she prompts the guy to say he loves her which he doesn't say and then he kisses her and she backs away. Maybe they are nervous and just trying to reassure her fans, just not sure.  I'm back to worrying.

09 Dec 2010 9:16 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Slew

   You're right. We all have to adjust when we move and are usually sad about the good things we left behind. It's normal. All is well. Thanks for the rescue plug. They can be the sweetest creatures in the world. And grateful. Have a nice Holiday.

09 Dec 2010 9:26 PM
Ron S

Jay,  Most Zen detractors argue that Blame won the Classic, so he should get hoty.  Can you think of another horse which showed up and won the Classic and was denied hoty?(not Zen,either)I beleive the award was again,given to the horse who stayed in his stall BC day.  By their logic your horse should have received the award again, right?

09 Dec 2010 9:28 PM
David

Interesting reading -

Richard Migliore

December 2, 2010

Debating Horse of the Year -It’s a few days after Thanksgiving, and as the splendor of autumn has given way to the starkness of winter in the Hudson Valley, I have had a chance to reflect on all that has taken place this past year.  On a personal note, my riding career came to an end, but I have been given a wonderful opportunity to work with a terrific group of people at HRTV.  This is my first blog for HRTV.

I feel very privileged to have witnessed a great year in Thoroughbred racing.  We, as fans, were witness to a rarity in our sport in this era of brief racing careers when Jerry and Ann Moss raced their champion mare Zenyatta as a six-year-old and Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stable brought back their wonderful champion Rachel Alexandra for a four-year-old campaign.  These sporting people should be applauded for giving racing fans a chance to see these great horses for one more year.  Rachel’s season didn’t go as planned and she was beaten a few times, but there is no shame in losing.  The shame lies in not trying.  All champions get beaten, but she gave it her all, after a 3-year-old filly campaign we will probably never see again in our lifetime.

That brings us to Zenyatta.  Her season sailed along unblemished until the Breeders’ Cup Classic, when she was beaten a short head by a very good horse in Blame.  There has been so much written since the Breeders’ Cup about who should be Horse of the Year, which, I believe, is great for our game.  Opinion is what racing is about.  That’s how it started — with “my horse is faster than yours.”  What I don’t think is great for our game is all the mudslinging that’s been going on.  I don’t believe you have to denigrate one horse to extol the virtues of another. In my humble opinion, Blame defeated Zenyatta with a perfect trip, much the same as he was defeated by a good horse in Haynesfield in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.  I don’t begrudge Blame his due — he ran great — but I don’t believe he was the best horse to run in the Classic.  In my mind, that honor goes to the great horse Zenyatta.

Everybody has their own idea of greatness.  I read once that it’s not what you take, but what you leave behind, that defines greatness.  By that measure, Zenyatta is undoubtedly great.  Or you can go with Henry Ward Beecher who said, “He is greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.”  Again, I believe Zenyatta fits that bill, and anybody who witnessed the thousands of people trying to get a glimpse of her from the street along the Churchill Downs backstretch would agree.  I don’t have a problem with either horse being named Horse of the Year.  I appreciate all of these great athletes, just as someone who appreciates fine art would appreciate Picasso or Michelangelo.  I believe I have seen greatness with Zenyatta.  I don’t need anybody’s approval for my opinion, but I would appreciate that it be respected, just as I would respect theirs.  In the words of Edgar Allen Poe, “to vilify a great man [horse] is the readiest way in which a small man can himself attain greatness.”  These horses are rare gifts.  Let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth.

09 Dec 2010 9:37 PM
Gary

Zen loves the snow.  The Moss’s should consider sending Zenyatta to St. Moritz Switzerland to race on the White Turf in the Gübelin 72. Grosser Preis of St. Moritz (LR) 2‘000 m 121‘121 on February 20th 2011.  Of course I’m being facetious.  I can’t believe they would ever let that horse go, just walk away and turn her over to strangers. One thing comes to mind, “Are you stupid or something”?  You know the answer Forest “Stupid is as stupid does”  I’m sorry but it’s like when someone dies, first you are sad, then you get mad.  I hope they realize what they have done and hurry and go get her back.  

09 Dec 2010 9:56 PM
zenyata mondatta

Steve,  Why does Lane's End have a lip chain on Zenyatta?   She is a gentle horse.  They don't need to do that to her.  

09 Dec 2010 9:59 PM
Freetex

This is ridiculous.  I just viewed the photos of Zenyatta at Lane's End on another website and it just makes me miss her all the more.

Very sad.

09 Dec 2010 10:12 PM
Marigold

I never saw her run in person, but I DID see her run, and dance, and prance and entrance ALL of us.

I just love her and am deeply concerned for her happiness and well being.  

Are the Mosses still her owners?  If so, I would think they would check up on her from time to time out of concern for her well-being, as well.  As might John Shirreffs, and her groom and Mike Smith.   they al must care as much as I do and probably even more.  I cannot imagine how empty John's barn must seem right now.  

Zenyatta is a truly magical mare and once you see her you cannot help but fall madly in love with her.  She is a beautiful, talented, brilliant horse with personality beyond belief.  How does someone NOT fall in love with such a creature???

09 Dec 2010 10:13 PM
Paula Higgins

Steve, all my posts are missing? What's happened?

09 Dec 2010 11:00 PM
Paula Higgins

I think my posts are getting lost in cyberspace somewhere. Great blog Steve. I think she will be fine. The barn is heated. I don't know about you, but it made me feel alot better. I am sure she is confused now, but I bet they are showering her with attention. They want a  happy Zenyatta. It will take time for her to adjust, but she will. We are the ones that are going to have a problem adjusting. But I know Dottie will keep us updated regularly on Zenyatta.com, and I would be willing to bet the farm will also, via the media. I don't think Zenyatta is making any connection to losing the race and the move to Kentucky. If she has, they need to forget Kentucky and send her to Harvard, because that is one smart horse. O.k. I hope this one makes it to the blog.

Steve have a wonderful Christmas.

09 Dec 2010 11:18 PM
nycveg

Thank you for the article.  I watched some of the video of Zenyatta's retirement ceremony.  I must say that it didn't make me feel better about her retirement and circumstances.  She still looks like an athlete who delights in her own power, and has a lot of untapped potential, which she just started to show us in her only loss.  Now she's at a farm where she'll be away from the environment that she thrived in and, let's face it, subject to regular rectal palpations, etc.

It just doesn't seem right and fitting, somehow.  Yes, she has certainly earned retirement - but does she really want it?  Even if she wasn't going to race anymore, it would be nice if we had possibilities for a career for her so she didn't have to go straight to the breeding farm.

I'm someone who has been a racing fan for about 30 years now.  I've worked on a breeding farm.  I have been a fan of many horses, and sad to see some of them leave the track.  None of their departures, though, left me with such a sense of "unfinished business" as this one.

I have great respect for the Mosses and Zenyatta's connections.  I feel that they must have been under some pressure to retire her, partly due to overwhelming convention (which they flouted to even bring her back in 2010) and partly out of fear that eventually her luck in avoiding injuries would run out.

If Zenyatta doesn't end up getting in foal this time around, maybe we can hope for an unprecedented comeback in Breeders' Cup 2011.  That would truly be a fairytale ending!

09 Dec 2010 11:49 PM
GhostTown

Mr. Haskin,

It gives me great pleasure to know that after all these years of doing what you do, that you are still able to fall hopelessly for a horse.  How lucky we are that something as simple as a horse is able to stir such emotion in us.

Slew,

Thank you.  I needed a good laugh after all these tears.

10 Dec 2010 12:13 AM
Steve Haskin

Jane, that's quite a comparison. I thank you.

JulieO, thank you for the kind words. You know any publishers interested? :)

Paula, I dont know what happened to them. They definitely never got here. Glad your latest made it. Happy holiday to you and your family.

Zenyatta Mondatta, she can get a little tough at times (gentle and high-strung are two different things) and it doesnt hurt to be cautious, especially first time out in a new place.

10 Dec 2010 1:14 AM
Brian H

I am perplexed when people who love the sport of horse racing are so quick to mock those who have fallen in love with the source of the sport....the horse.

I don't care if the admiration is over the top, it is good for the sport.  

All sports have their "fanatics"...fans.  If Zenyatta's success and charm have made the sport stronger and more likely to survive another day, than anyone who loves the game should be grateful.

All great sports are driven by the personalities that bring us back to the game. Ruth, Jordan, Ripken, McEnroe, etc. etc. People appreciate seeing greatness in all its forms, it is a reminder of life's potential.

Seeing greatness is fun and inspiring, and, seeing greatness leave its platform is always hurtful and always leaves a void as are left to doubt whether we,ourselves, will be around to see it when it returns.

In Zenyatta, the horse has led many new faces to the waters of the sport. Lets hope that the industry will encourage, and not discourage, them to drink from it.

10 Dec 2010 1:51 AM
Deacon

David:

     Amazingly well articulated post. Very enjoyable reading...........

BRAVO!    

10 Dec 2010 2:18 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

seatariat

  You're driving me crazy !!!  If you're back to worrying, then I'm back to worrying. You were the one who got me to not worry in the first place!!! Worry, don't worry, worry. Yikes.

Linda in Texas

  You sure know how to warm my heart. We might have to give away more than one fridge, but you get The See's Candy. You're incredibly sweet. Zenyatta gets the electric blanket and a large keg of Guinness in her stall. That way she can open the spout and warm up with a drink anytime she wants to. Who cares if she gets drunk. She earned it, and might need it. Does she have sorrows to drown? I don't know but I can guess, yes. She should celebrate giving us the greatest show in the history of racing too. I really miss her, and am thinking about her far more than I would like to or is healthy. I've tried projects, martinis with three olives, reading true crime books, trying new recipes, nothing is working. This is new territory for me and I don't know what to do. I love Zenyatta. She is the most magnificient creature I've ever seen. If I had a billion dollars and that's what it cost to buy her and build her a farm, I would. One stallion with a herd of mares, with of course Zenyatta being the Alpha mare. I'd build her a castle. A castle fit for a Queen. With a moat, with a bridge that parts in the middle. I'd invite those Zenyatta detractors that bugged us for years to a big party. Remember them? And when they're walking across the bridge I'd open up the bridge, and give them a big drink. Zenyatta's Dunk Tank.

10 Dec 2010 2:48 AM
Karen in NY

Steve,

Thank you for being YOU! I awoke as I could not sleep tossing about thinking about her greatness and it was so reassuring to have a place to go to indulge my thoughts with your article about Zen and her magical ways.  You are a remarkable writer like no other .

Please keep the information coming about her and let us all be grateful she retired healthy and strong. It is a transition period for her and all of us. She will adjust as she cannot race forever. We all know that . Thank God she ran her last race leaving her sound. She will love being turned out in the paddock when they know she will be safe. Patience and more patience. They are protecting her right now. Thank you for reminding us. Happy Holiday Steve

10 Dec 2010 3:52 AM
Mrs. B

I have been wondering a similar thing, this horse who is so used to people and attention must be really depressed to be shipped away to a very cold remote farm.

10 Dec 2010 4:03 AM
KariB

Mr. Haskin,

You are a very gifted writer. With tears streaming down my face the only thing I can add is thank you, thank you, thank you, from the depths of my soul and the bottom of my heart for this beautiful article....for "getting it"....and for validating all of us who so love Zenyatta and feel such a miraculous spiritual connection to her. I know I would not be here today if God had not sent Zenyatta. She means the world to me.

I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!

10 Dec 2010 7:20 AM
Slew

I watched the videos of Zen at Lane's End.  When have you ever seen a breeding farm post videos of their mares to assure her fans that she is doing well?  I am ever so grateful for their consideration, and I think we now have a glimpse into her future at the farm.  While we share an angst over her departure, we really shouldn't be so maudlin.  Without Vertigineux in the breeding shed, we never would have had a Zenyatta. (just hope she keeps that wagging tongue away from metal pipes in 16 degree weather).

Everyone connected with Zen seems to have fallen as much in love with her as her fans.

And Steve, since you're not doing a book about Zen, what about a blog about Steve Willard.  He's 65, has severe sciatica, and has worked Zenyatta every day for over 4 years.  The man has as much steel as Zen, and I find him intriguing.  (You sure wouldn't find me climbing on horse when the old sciatic nerve gets pinched.)

And just for us, we'd love you, Steve, to give us a recommended reading list of the better books written about our TB heroes, because we've never forgotten the greatest athletes in the world, and how much they meant to us.

10 Dec 2010 7:59 AM
Lisa

Linda in Texas,

I have been a Man O' War addict forever. I was not around when he died Walter Farley first got me hooked with his book. If you are interested the book Man O War, A Lengend Like Lightning is a great read. It is facts not fiction like Farley's book. Paul Harvey did a tribute to Man O War several years before he died on his talk radio show, I caught it driving to work by chance.That was amazing and I wondered then if anyone knew who he was talking about. Zenyatta does remind me of the devotion the fans showed him, and yea I am a Zenyattaholic. I check the blogs and her web page daily. Steve to you and all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May the legends burn on!

10 Dec 2010 8:30 AM
Dani

Queen Z looks beautiful in those snowy photos over on the DRF website. She looks a little hesitant but I would be too first time in the snow.  I love when she stops to gaze out in the distance. They said she was looking over at some broodmares in another paddock.  Her future girlfriends. I hope she is happy.

10 Dec 2010 8:58 AM
Kansas

The outpouring of love and concern for Zenyatta is amazing.  It appears to me that she's making the adjustment to a new home fine.  Sure, she's a little antsy and on her toes--wouldn't you be the same way the first few days at a new job?

Moreover, remember that horses are prey animals and their primary survival tactic is flight.  That's why she's restless; that's why Lane's End is being very careful with her.  I've lost hold of a few horses in the 30 years I've owned them and I'd much rather have a little more control over them (via lip chain, etc.) than have them run off, freak out and flip over (that's really scary), or hurt themselves.  Remember, although we all love her, she's a horse, not a person, or a dog, or a cat.  She (according to animal behaviorists I've read) doesn't think like we do.  She is living in the moment, not wishing she was back at Barn 55 or brooding over losing.  

Re: those who wish she was still racing.  While seeing her (and any racehorse) do their job with fire and panache is wonderful, I worry each and every time I watch HGTV or go to the track.  Every time any horse steps out on the track, there's a possibility of injury.  That had to be on the Mosses' mind when deciding upon Z's retirement.  They obviously love her, and retiring her sound had to have been a priority for them.

Let's enjoy her current moments.  It's fun to see her making the transition and I wish her (and her fans and connections) all the best.  Have a great Christmas everyone, and, if you find yourself worrying too much about Zenyatta, write a check to your local humane society to help other animals who are truly in need.

10 Dec 2010 9:12 AM
Barbara W

Linda in Texas--

Thanks. I would love a central U.S.A. meeting of all of us like-minded Zenyatta lovers. Hope it happens. I would rearrange my knee replacements for that!

Also love the poem about MOW. Our quarter horse, Money N Jewels, is descended from him and is also a great-grandson of Bel Sheba and Raise a Native, which makes him a great nephew of Alysheba. If you haven't seen them, Barbara Livingston has great photos of MOW's funeral.

Seatariat,

I agree with you completely that the video was contrived to make us feel better.

10 Dec 2010 9:31 AM
Susan from VA

Needler - I live in Richmond, but my horses are just down the road from the old Meadow Farm.  They are paso finos, though, not thoroughbreds, although some day I'd love to breed my own thoroughbred for racing.  Unfortunately, I don't have the kind of money for doing that!

10 Dec 2010 9:42 AM
seatariat

Dr Drunkinbum

You are so funny!!

Sorry for making you worry again.

I just can't stop myself.  Hearing from her team made me feel so much better and then I had a total setback after the video.  I would feel so much better If they had left Mario with her for a month or so.

I think I'm going to need therapy.

10 Dec 2010 9:48 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I'm maudlin and anthropomorphous this morning.

10 Dec 2010 10:47 AM
NancyP

Steve - Thank you for taking time out from a well deserved vacation and Holiday festivities with your family to give us all another priceless 'fix' regarding our Queen Zenyatta.  We are all addicted to her - for bountiful reasons!  

I want to thank David for his 9Dec. 2010, 9:37pm post - the reprint reminding all of us of Richard Migliore's eloquent piece regarding our fabulous equine athletes.  Richard is as great a writer, as he was a jockey!

Zookeeper - As always thank you for your thoughtful insights and comments posted 7Dec at 2:57, as well as throughout the year.

Dr. Drunkinbum - Keep those wonderful thoughts and laughs coming (7Dec2:53pm and 10:02pm;9Dec 12:31am and 11:30am).

Thank you everyone for sharing your feelings, thoughts, love, YouTube and facebook sites and videos.  Your a great group of bloggers!

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and a Healthy and Properous New Year to all.

God Bless Zenyatta and her entire team. God Bless Rachel Alexandra.  May they have beautiful, healthy, and successful foals.  They have given us great moments and a lifetime of memories.

10 Dec 2010 11:26 AM
Slew

Snap out of it Dr D.  We simply cannot allow the Queen's jester to slip into a funk.  She'll be just fine...if Lane's End staff can get time off from answering the phone. Now pass over some more of that brandy infused fruit cake.  Me?  I have to go and move some furniture around to make room for the Christmas tree.  Where did I leave that Bailey's?

10 Dec 2010 11:31 AM
Dona

Dr Drunkinbum,

I recommend viewing 3 Zenyatta videos, reading 2 Steve Haskin articles, then calling Lanes End Farm in the morning.

I'm sorry to be so blunt but your condition is not curable. Please feel free to get another opinion at your local Zenyattaholic center.

10 Dec 2010 11:32 AM
Dona

Deirdre B. Biles just posted an article about Zenyatta on bloodhorse.com.  

10 Dec 2010 11:40 AM
Love 'em all

Another old-timer here!  

Man o' War was born the same year as my mother in 1917, and I was barely 7 yrs. old at the time of his death in 1947.  Remember only too well when he died... everybody

was talking about it!  And, we lived no where near Kentucky!  Horse racing was really something in those days.  

Below is the radio tribute of MOW at the time of his death and with pics showing a nation grieving ...

www.claibornefarm.com/.../radio.shtml

10 Dec 2010 11:51 AM
Somethingroyal

Kansas, I agree 100% with your post. The retiring of equine superhorses has been played out many times over. I was around to have watched some of the 60's equine heros and then all of the 70's superhorses race and then retire. Regardless if they're racing on the track or enjoying farm life. Enjoy them while they are still with us. Thank goodness writers like Steve can help keep their memories alive through his writings.

10 Dec 2010 12:08 PM
needler in Virginia

Susan from Virginia...then, HI! neighbor! Nice to meet you! My name is Judith and I'm a Zenyattaholic. Lucky you to be near The Meadow; I'm glad it's been (mostly) saved.

You know, you COULD adopt an off the track TB and save a life. That's next for us. Our Morgans and Sicilain donkey are aging fast and there is NO WAY we have empty pastures. PERIOD.

And Dr Drunkinbum, you're a man after my own heart! LOVE your posts but there is one thing you need to know...no need to build one 'cause THERE'S A REAL CASTLE FOR SALE RIGHT NOW. Located in Versailles, next door (well, almost) to Keeneland, this is REAL deal castle and marginally suitable for Zenyatta, but it could be improved to suit her tastes. The trip over from Lane's End would take five minutes and she would be home. THEN she could let us all come visit....the place is damned sure big enough! No kidding......just Google "castle for sale versailles kentucky" and you'll see.

Thanks again for everything, Steve....for your talent and the sharing thereof, for answering all my dumb questions and for this lovely blog. Even though it was written with pain in your heart and a hope we could use this forum to vent our love and frustration, even though I know there are loads of people who have posted here, and feel the same way, I STILL AM NOT READY TO LET GO. But you've tried, good sir, you HAVE tried. For the trying, you have my eternal gratitude.

Happy holidays, cheers and safe trips to all. Now, EVERYONE go out and deck some halls!

10 Dec 2010 12:18 PM
Linda in Texas

Oh my goodness, Dr. D, using that $5 word that i have not had the nerve to type yet, but will attempt now =

a n t h r o p o m o r p h o u s

There, i did it.

The article on Bloodhorse.com today about

Mr. Farish re: Zenyatta seems to be really genuine in his concern for her. Even down to stressing the point that she will only go in "round paddocks so she doesn't run into any corners."

That is getting down to the nitty gritty about her safety and that they will wait til the snow and ice melt to let her out.

And what tickled me the most was Mr. Farish's comment on the reaction of the other brood mares in the barn when they walked Zenyatta down the aisle to her stall, 'the mares nickered as if they knew who she was.' Loved that and you know, God Bless them, they probably really do and are to be loved and respected themselves.

Barbara W. love those quarter horses, had 2 myself, cutting horse and just a good ol' friend that needed a home. But having Money N' Jewels is quite nice with his pedigree. I think we are all connected,consoled, comforted and assured in our own relationships  man to horse.

I began my love of the horse with a book about The Hambletonian, if i remember correctly. I hated reading and could never find a book in the library i was interested in. My teacher asked me what animal i liked the best and i told her, horses, so she led me to the right shelf and that started my endless love of all of them.

Spending after school hours with the ones my dad bought for me are remembrances that will never leave me. Brantley's Easter Rose, a champion blue ribbon winning Red Roan Tennessee Walker, nudging my pencil as i tried to do my math. She wanted more attention and i always acquiesed.

But don't we all.

I know the next big shot fired in the Zenyatta realm is going to be the selection of the sire of her foal. I am really looking forward to that, so Steve, don't run out of ink yet. This love affair has no ending for tons of us. And only you know how to put reality into meaningful words.

You are going to need to take a vacation from your vacation to get rested. Moderating all of these great posts has to be a full time job for you. And we all thank you.

10 Dec 2010 12:19 PM
Gary

I watched the video and the woman talking has already downgraded Zenyatta from Queen to Princess.  At the start of the video she says, “You gonna say hello”? pause, “what ya think princess”?

10 Dec 2010 12:59 PM
Jenna M

Such great photos posted today!  

cs.bloodhorse.com/.../zenyatta-at-lanes-end.aspx

10 Dec 2010 1:14 PM
Dani

William Farrish's interview has really eased my mind considerably. It is also great to know exactly what her routine is at this moment and what is in store for her in the coming months. They seem to be taking very good care of her and  I'm now thinking she may well be very happy there. The photos of her are just magnificent - of course, that's because she is magnificent.

10 Dec 2010 1:37 PM
Dani

Is anyone else sneaking peaks at work - blogging, looking for articles, photos and videos of Zen?  I'm glad the weekend is coming so I don't have to keep checking over my shoulder.

10 Dec 2010 1:50 PM
GJU

Seatariat,

When I watched that video for a second time this morning, I think the thing that bothered me the most was HOW the girl was talking. It sounded kind of condescending to the fans. She's telling the guy to go over to Zenyatta but talking SO animated. Okay, maybe I'm reading too much into it, but that's how I'm hearing it. I hope Z.com keeps up on the updates as well as Lane's End. I hope Zenyatta has a great life in KY. She deserves it. The pictures I saw on DRF.com of her in walking in the snow were beautiful. Good luck, Zenny! We loves ya!!

10 Dec 2010 2:12 PM
Freetex

So glad not to be the only lonely Zenyattaholic.  Its difficult not to be judgmental of her every move at Lane's End with her new people.  Parting is NOT such sweet sorrow.

Dr. Drunkinbum, Seatariat, Karen, Needler in Virginia and Cynthia, thanks for the great posts.  Dr. D. cracks me up.

10 Dec 2010 2:24 PM
seatariat

At this point I’m surprised that her loyal subjects haven’t rushed the castle and demanded a complete inspection of the facilities, her stall, food she is being given, tasted the water for purity, examined her blanket for thickness and softness, interviewed each person that has contact with her and do a personality evaluation.  

I would if I could get out of here…I mean if I were free, uh I mean if I could free up my schedule.  Oh got to go, times up…I mean I have a call waiting for me.

10 Dec 2010 2:24 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Is this blog proof that you don't have to be adversarial, argumentative, degrading, demeaning, or rude to be successful or what? Very nice article from Deirdre today. Good therapy session.

Needler

   I've been loving your posts too. I'm going to do that google as you suggested.

Nancy P. and seatariat

    Thanks to both of you. Both of you are needed here, and make this blog what it is. Don't go away !!!!!

Dona

    It's so good to hear from you again. You are so witty, and smart. I hope you'll be a regular through 2011 also. This is such a great blog, and we are so privleged to be communicating to each other and the greatest writer alive. I feel very fortunate that Steve takes the time for us, and to have so many very, very special people here.

10 Dec 2010 2:49 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Love 'em all

    Don't you find it strange that we are now the old timers. It hapened so fast. It was just a short time ago that those born in 1940 were the youngsters. I was warned growing up that I need to appreciate my youth because I would be old before I know it. I didn't believe them, just like young people now don't believe it. There's a reason they always said "respect your elders." For one they have the knowledge, and have earned respect. For another, no matter how young you are, you will be one of them very, very soon.

10 Dec 2010 2:53 PM
Dani

Sheesh the grammar - peeks not peaks. And sorry Mr. Farish - 1 'r', not 2. It's all the sneaking around.

10 Dec 2010 3:27 PM
Peggy

The Untold Story of The Steve Haskin Blogger's Group:  The Miracle of Zenyatta

I am Peggy, I am not a Zenyattaholic.  I was and still am a fan of Rachel Alexandra. I posted for the first time on Steve's Secretariat blog.  Ruffianruns mentioned there that she wanted to go to HP to see Zenyatta run in the Ladies Secret, so I asked to go along (as long as I could see my Rachel run in the Beldame on simulcast).  I told her that I was afraid of rabid Zenyatta fans.Ruffianruns said that she would have my back.  She a box as the Steve Haskin Blogger's Group and also arranged a backside visit with Zenyatta and her team.

The Miracle of Zenyatta

did not become obvious  until later, much after the race when I realized that being together with Zenyatta had bonded us and allowed us to see the good qualities of each other instead of being turned off by the fact that he/she is not from the same political party or does not share the same religious belief as me. Or more obviously, we aren't the same race.  (Ruffianruns describes herself as a "hot-blooded chicana" and I am Japanese-American.)

Rachel was retired just before our visit so I was consoled by the other members of the group as well as the meeting with Zenyatta. How can you be sad about losing a special horse when one as special as Z is looking you in the eye as if to say, "What about me?"

So, I want to thank Steve for providing this forum and also thank the other members of the Steve Haskin Blogger's group: Ruffianruns, (my dear friend whose back I'll always have), Cleone, Aluminaut, Jim C., Zookeeper, Shortskinnylady and the ones who couldn't be there with us in person, but who were in our hearts, Slew, Needler in VA, and Dr. Drunkinbum among others.  

10 Dec 2010 3:50 PM
Donna Melendz from Grayslake, IL

Steve,  I saw the Breeders Cup and was just awed by her.. my friend went and visited her at her farewell party in Hollywood and she took a bunch of pictures,  was allowed to stand next to her and touch her while Mario held onto her..  she had this picture of Carmen bathing Zenyatta the day after her farewell and she was crying.  My heart breaks for them, they have to be grieving for her, I know I would!  After reading  a book called, " The Horse that God Built" by author Scanlon.  He wrote in detail the bond and relationship of Eddy Sweeat and Secretariat and how profoundly he affected his life.   I'm just a huge fan and she has profoundly affected MY life..  she is truly special, magical.. ethereal.

10 Dec 2010 4:06 PM
peter

strange why anyone would question anyone getting any form of good feeling from Zenyatta and what

she accomplished, esp. in an

era where the media starts

drolling anytime some new-

commer runs off a string

of only 3 or 4 wins.

  as publisher of the money sheet we had her Top rated with a big number in 16 straight wins and

her one loss which is our

reson for feeling so good

about her ....

  thanks for an emotionally moving article ..... PK

10 Dec 2010 4:58 PM
Barbara W

Like many of you, I need therapy. This blogging business is taking up way too much time!

But seriously, where could we find a nicer group to blog with? I have loved reading each of these 300+ posts, laughing many times, agreeing with the vast majority, learning from some, and giving thanks for those who have responded to mine.

Thanks again, Steve, for providing this wonderful forum for us.

Love you all.

10 Dec 2010 5:12 PM
Dona

Dr Drunkinbum,

Thank you so much and in the spirit of the Holiday Season, I hereby appointment you "Zenyatta's Prince of Mirth".

Go now, sample some appropriate libation, (I recommend Choclate Temptation for the Queens nobility) and do your duty, for there are truly mirthless benighted people wandering on the outskirts of the Queens realm.  

10 Dec 2010 5:21 PM
Mike Relva

LINDA IN TX

You are correct. In fact was in S. Barbara and Los A. in late Oct.

10 Dec 2010 6:05 PM
longtimeracingfam

First chance I've had to pop in a response to this one. Hope I'm not too late to get a word (or three) in edgewise.

Steve, when I saw the headline "I Lied" I just cracked up. Was definitely expecting another Z blog at some point, but not so soon, and certainly not so personally involved. What a joy it has been to read through this for the last couple of days, along with checking out the links and the new items in BH as they have come in.

Now I do have a few minutes so I'll drop in some thoughts.

First of all, Linda in Texas, Dr. D, and a couple others--- I'll have to come out as a member of the great vintage club too. I was alive, about 6, when Man o'War died, I remember the news on the radio (we didn' have TV back then). I saw Citation on his way to running in his last race and becoming racing's first millionaire. What a lofty amount that was!!! I saw Native Dancer's Derby (notice, we never call it Dark Star's Derby, do we?)... and I was a total Swaps fan, at a time when my family had settled for a while in Southern California, and the LA Times had articles on him EVERY week and gave him lots of story space in all his great races there. I ate it up.

I knew *Noor personally --- well, used to pet him through the fence after bicycling 3 miles to the farm where he was staying. The farm folks got a big kick out of this 10-11 year old who was so interested, they showed me the barn, stalls, other horses, etc. Funny thing was, there was also in that small stallion barn a very beautiful chestnut yearling Arabian colt. I never found out who he was, but that (and my dad's having been a regular visitor to the Kellogg Ranch in the late '20s and early '30s) was the major catalyst for my later and lifetime involvement in the Arabian breed (NOT the show-ring Barbie-Doll dingbats you see today, but the REAL Arabians who were the wellspring for all riding horse breeds and of course the early foundation of the Thoroughbred). I never lost my love of TBs and racing... but they were out of my financial and facilities league as an Army daughter living all over the planet.    

Have owned and bred and worked with horses for over 5 decades, MOST of them Arabians but I also used to ride OTTBs being retrained as jumpers--- and even got to ride (exercise only, I hasten to add) some of the horses in training for

the 1960 Olympic 3-Day Event. I've ridden horses of many breeds, was a student of THE HORSE, still am...  

I owned a wonderful Appy stallion who was part-TB but my ownership has been otherwise almost all Arabians, horses I have bred down now into the 5th generation. Am retired from all that now, just have the moldy oldies out on the hillside, all over 20, one pushing 31, and pretty much retired from everything but eating and getting petted and giving the neighbor's granddaughters the occasional "ride."  

With my "credentials" thus cited, here are my little comments re: Our Zen and her new life.

First, one must remember she is fresh off the track. She has not raced in over a month, and has not worked, though I know she jogged a lot and galloped a bit, just to use up some of the excess energy. I'd bet they reduced the high-energy part of her feed, and just worked on getting her to take things easy. The steady stream of visitors may have helped that a bit? Anyway, the lip chain was prudent, and I'm sure that before long will not be needed. She has been handled so quietly and patiently all her life, she seems pretty sensible to me as well, full of energy and spirit but kind and willing. All this will help in her transition. This is the phase known as the let-down, and it is common for many horses coming off the track.

The fact that this mare whose dam and granddam both had ankle problems speaks volumes for the way she was handled... and retired sound. A big mare like that, with the stresses of hard running, and the way she dug in coming around the turn into the stretch--- the later start of her career surely helped forestall some problems there.

She always traveled well, took everything in stride (everything except one horse and about 15 feet!), and the staff at Lanes End is knowledgeable and professional ... remember, Zenyatta is VERY valuable, as well as being Queen of the World, with everyone watching ... so they will have their best staff working with her, she will have new familiar faces, and there will be somebody named Moss or Ingordo or Ingordo-Shirreffs visiting pretty often...  

and one last thing, to all who are concerned with the "stresses" and "cruelty" of the broodmare's life... to put it bluntly, GET OVER IT. Most mares love that life, and this one will have the best of care for the above cited reasons... the stallions she will be mated with will be the very best, with the best professional handling... and the entire process has one goal in mind: a safe, healthy, happy mare in foal and then a safe, successful foaling with a strong, healthy foal. She will be monitored closely and there will be help at hand immediately should it be needed. I have foaled out many many mares by myself, and yes it is always scary until that first hoof and then that nose show up and suddenly there it is! VOILA! Another beautiful creature to love and dream over.

Considering all the thousands of mares foaling every year, the instances of foaling problems or lost foals (or mares) is very small. Yes, it happens... and it is always very sad... but the farms are prepared for emergencies and always work for the best outcome. I might add that in all my years of breeding and foaling I only had ONE mare have a problem, and that one was off on a lease deal, and there was a vet in attendance. I NEVER had a vet with me--- though usually readily available--- but that one time, it was worth it, as she had several more foals including my last stallion who is now 26.

Enough rambling, now I must get ready for a race meet tomorrow, this one with my hounds who run for the sheer joy of it.

Have a great holiday, Steve (talk about a busman's holiday!!), and everyone else. What a great little club this is. We're spoiled.

lrf

...in drizzly far northern California

10 Dec 2010 6:33 PM
Slew

Gee folks, don't look now but...that other blogger must have turned the page too soon.  Even more fans are flocking to Steve.  Thank you Steve for what you say, how you say it, and how you've created an entire community of friends.  It must be the art of Zen.

10 Dec 2010 6:49 PM
Shortskinnylady

Steve, I'm one of the members of the "Steve Haskins Bloggers Group" that Peggy mentioned above, and thought you should know that these complete strangers, from different states, walks of life and backgrounds, who met for a couple of magic days in October, thanks to you (and Ruffiansrun for starting all of this) have become friends. We write to each other privately on a daily basis, some of us in CA have met up again subsequently, and we are cooking up a list of the next horses we are going to be following at the tracks for the upcoming year, and there is a possible group trip east being worked on to visit a couple of specific mares in KY down the road from each other, one very large one in particular, maybe next year. You facilitated much more than just a gathering of people at Barn 55 on the backside to see Zenny. All I can say, again, is thank you.

As for our Queen, I've already said it on FB, the tears keep coming when I read the articles, watch the videos and remember the special day with her. Sad because of our loss in CA and maybe never seeing her in person again, but happy she is going to be able to be a HORSE for a change. I sure hope they post a lot of pictures and videos of her first turnout! Seeing her buck and play would bring a lot of joy to my heart! Thank you Steve, for the above, and all your eloquent writings. Please don't let this be the last of your Zenyatta blogs.... I know that you have to write about other subjects and horses, but if you are going to go see her in person, you HAVE to do a blog about it. If not for the magazine, at least for us, your loyal fans, and subjects of the Queen!

10 Dec 2010 7:38 PM
Steve Haskin

Shortskinnylady, thank you very much for the kind words. I'm so happy to hear that you've all become such good friends. Sounds like you've all bonded. It makes me feel good to know that.

You can count on me writing about her after I visit her on Jan. 13. I will be talking to as many people as I can who are in daily contact with her.

It's good hearing from Peggy as well.

Send my regards to all "my bloggers."

Steve

10 Dec 2010 7:52 PM
Afleet Treet

Just to put ease to some minds out there...Zenyatta doesn't know she lost...she KNOWS she is a champion and one narrow loss did NOTHING in the eyes of her fans or her connections to dominish her star power and adoration of those that love her. TRULY> We visited her all weekend last weekend and they adore her. YES, they were hearrtbrokan that she was departing but ALL Planned to see her on a regular basis and we weer told Mario will be making several trips to KY in the next few months to check up on her and spend some time there. Don't think for one moment that Mike Smith, the Mosses, and the SHirreffs won't do that as well. I heardd a rumor that Mrs. Moss is trying totalk Mr. moss into having her at their place! LOL! Either way, Lane's End is a glorious and beautiful ffacility and they CARE VERY MUCH for the horses there so have no doubts that Zenyatta with her star personality will wrap each and every one of them around her dancing hooves just as she dd with all her connections and all her fans. SHe is the kind of horse who LOVES attention and showers it back tenfold so I have no doubts she will be well cared for and beyind. Perhaps the most pampered and glamorized broodmare of them all simply because of her true zest for life and lvoe of human companionship.

P.S.~ I wanna be in the SH Blogger's Club. I have a web site for horse racing fans and every year we meet up at the Breeder's Cup so I KNOW just how it feels to make some good friends. Let's swap addresses!!!

10 Dec 2010 8:00 PM
sherpa

Shortskinnylady - if the Haskin Bloggers make definite plans to come out east (especially if you're going to visit a specific Big Mare), I want to join your party.  I'm in North Carolina.  I wanted so much to do the Lady's Secret weekend with you all; and when the subject first came up, my heart was pounding with excitement. Could I do it?  But no, I couldn't arrange to be away from work right then.  I'm saying it now, I WILL meet you in Lexington if you come.  Even if I have to retire a year early to do it!

10 Dec 2010 8:54 PM
Mike Relva

LISA

If you ever wanna talk horses. 931 841 0844

10 Dec 2010 9:06 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Isn't there a soap opera named "All My Bloggers"?  "Like the sands of the hour glass, so are the bloggers of our lives." The only soap opera I've ever watched was Peyton Place but I've been exposed to others peripherally.

longtimefacingfam

   Very nice post. Have you been to Nautical Inn?

Peggy

   Good to hear from you !!!!

freetex

  Thanks !!!! Alas poor Yorick, me lady appears to be doing well. If not, then a pound of the caretakers flesh will be coming off. Or off with their heads. Cheers and Merry Christmas.

10 Dec 2010 9:11 PM
Jenna M

I hope everyone's love and interest lasts forever and ever.

10 Dec 2010 9:11 PM
Alex'sBigFan

It seems we are all just on the verge of starting the "Free Zenyatta Movement" rallying behind Cynthia R.  I agree with Dr. D. that if I had millions "I would build her a castle, a castle fit for a Queen," in California not Kentucky.  Are there no top qualified equine obgyns in California or breeding farms there?

Seatariat, I am back to worrying too and I wasn't worried in the first place!  I know she, as well as Vertigineux, her dam, must breed but does it have to be there so far away from her family, for she is family now.  The photos of her walking in the snow did not make it feel any better, she was looking like she is trying to acclamate to the land but as if saying, "Where are all the palm trees and my signs and fans?"  The one gentleman poster who has hands-on equine experience said this is the "letdown" phase of a thorougbred racehorse coming off the track and adjusting to farm life, boy it is a letdown alright.

All I know is that if I owned her, she may have to get pregnant in Kentucky if that is where the expertise is in the logistics of the mating, but she would be wisked away rather quickly back to sunny southern California to give birth.  And when the foal is born, one poster on her website called it a little "Curlatta" which is precious, let the Jockey Club change their linguistics and say the following:  the foal "Curlatta"

BY Curlin and BY Zenyatta, not OUT OF Zenyatta.  This "OUT OF" billing for the mares is draconian and implies the sire created it singlehandedly with his genetics. Zenyatta gets equal billing here.  There are actually many chauvanistic ways of the horse industry and Zenyatta can change the face of it even in breeding. I still trust the Mosses judgement, I could not part with her though, and maybe this Kentucky phase is just transitional and she can one day soon return to where she truly belongs, in California with the Californians.  (Everyone read one of Steve's past articles from a few months ago, "Let The Californians Have Their Day."  I am sure Lane's End is a finely run top notch farm, but Zenyatta is too special to be even there.  You know that old saying, "if you love something then let it go and if it is truly yours it will come back to you," well maybe that will happen and she can come back to the Mosses.  Happy Holidays to all.

10 Dec 2010 10:05 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Steve,

I just read your last post that said you are visiting Zenyatta on Jan. 13th!!!!!!!!!!!  I was born on Jan. 13, that is my birthday!  I usually dread the winter and that day but this gives me something to look forward to, your article that will follow.  Thanks, what a treat! Thanks for visiting her on Jan. 13 of all days!!!!!!!!

10 Dec 2010 10:14 PM
Linda in Texas

Mike Relva, i always count on you because sometimes someone says something that ruffles my feathers and i keep my thoughts to myself. Pretty soon here you go, saying in a few words what it takes me many more to say,and you put them right where i would have on this blog and another one.

Longtimeracingfan. Boy where do we start? I like your choice of the word 'vintage' rather than mine of old.

I don't feel old. In fact i keep waiting to mature, like those ladies waiting to exhale!.

Wonderful childhood i must admit, for you and hopefully many of us.

I can just picture you and the bicycle going down the road to visit the horses of your neigboring farm. I used to ride my bicycle to spend the day with my horses, but after 12 my dad would give me a ride. The highway i had to cross got to be too well traveled and he thought dangerous.

Your words of comfort about Zenyatta and the foaling experience, and Lane's End are welcome news. I loved my horses, don't get me wrong. They were special, but for so many of us

vintage folks who treasure years a little more than the younger ones, i just worry about her because she is just such an anomaly.

I really enjoyed all of the history with your horses and your information.

I did not realize that Zenyatta's dam and grand dam had ankle issues. Am really glad i am just now knowing that. I worried myself sick every time she ran for fear she would take a bad step or clip heels and go down. Had i known the ankle issues, i maybe would have not watched. As it took me many years to begin watching racing again after Ruffian. Then just 2 years ago Eight Belles. I started to think maybe i should never watch again. But i feel they gave their lives for racing, i can certainly honor their memories by supporting those that come along and put their all on the tracks.

Everyone that posts here brings so much to the table and i eat it all up and try to digest every fact and word.

And Steve is so patient with all of us and so positive. It is just such a family feeling here and so nice to be able to ask questions and vent when needed.

Safe travels everyone. And longtimeracingfan, i didn't think you rambled at all.

10 Dec 2010 10:24 PM
Virgil Fox

Steve,

Thank you for providing this space for all of us to share our thoughts, stories and well-wishes.

- Peace

10 Dec 2010 10:43 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Now that I've depressed everyone time for some more thoroughbred levity.  We're at Lane's End:

Curlin:  "Looks like I'm the one."

Smart Strike:  "Don't bet on it bucko.  I hear the Darley boys are a threat."

A.P. Indy:  "Darley Schmarley. Like who?"

Smart Strike:  "They've got the coppery Henny Hughes over there and Hard Spun.  Curlin, my son, you are not the only red one out there."

Curlin:  "But Zenyatta was batting her eyelashes at me now."

A.P. Indy:  "Batting her.......you idiot.  She is focusing on snow instead of palm trees.  I'm the only gleam in her eye."

Smart Strike:  "Oh brother.  And

Gainesway's got some ammunition too. And listen, A.P., they are flying that Lucky in from California who thinks he's a shoe-in for the role of Louis XV in Versailles!"

Curlin:  "Yeah, A.P., young bucks rule! I'm bloggin' in the Zenyattasphere!"

A.P. Indy:  "But, but......Lenny Shulman says I am the MAN!!!!!"

10 Dec 2010 11:11 PM
Cleone

Peggy and Shortskinnylady have it right - from a few comments on a Secretariat blog to sharing a box at the races to daily interchanges in Email - and none of it would have happened without you, Steve!  So, thanks!  

11 Dec 2010 12:11 AM
Aluminaut

longtimeracing,

My Mom picked *Noor to beat Citation---was it the Big Cap?  She said *Noor got in with much less weight than Citation, and had been carrying a lot of weight in Europe.  She bet $5 to win on the almost black son of *Nasrullah. My Dad had $2,000 across on Citation.  He cut way back after that......

Do you take any photos of *Noor when you visited?

Thanks for explaining foaling to this bunch.  We need to go easy on Lane's End, so they have time to do something besides answer the phone all day.  

The "ankle issue" is really going to spook this crowd.  It's been brought up before re Zen's dam...but I hadn't heard about the grand-dam.  Don't worry folks, she's retired sound and that is wonderful.

11 Dec 2010 12:47 AM
Younghart

I believe that what made us all love Zenyatta so much was a quality we hope we have in ourselves...that against all odds, in the end, we will be there. She made that happen over and over, and it gives us strength during hard times. You've got to love her!

11 Dec 2010 3:39 AM
sherpa

Zenyatta and Life Is Sweet meet up at Lane's End...

Zen: "Life! You're here!  Girlfriend, I was sooo worried about you when you didn't come back to Barn 55 after that last van-ride!"

LIS: "Zenny!  I've missed you and all our little chats over the hay-bales.  But what are you doing HERE??"

Zen: "Oh, they're just giving me a little break at the farm, letting me be 'a horse' for a while... But look at you! Girlfriend, you really let yourself go since you left California.  err, put on a few pounds around the middle, Hon.  We need to get you back to the training track!"

LIS: "Uh, Zen...this ain't fat.  They tell me there's a baby horse in there and I believe it -- all the kicking and twisting. Sheesh! And man, those little hooves are sharp!"

Zen: "Baby horse? But how did it get in there, Life?"

LIS: "I'm not sure, but I think Smart Strike put it there.  He's a nice lookin dude but what he did to me WASN'T. Nice, that is."

Zen: "ewww" [looking around warily] "Life, you don't think...?"

LIS:  "Zenny, mares don't come to this place just to 'be a horse.' I'm telling you, it's a regular "Handmaid's Tale" around here. Oh, they let you run free in green pastures and feed you pretty well..but you can forget the daily baths and photo-ops."

Zen: "But what about Ann and Jerry and John and Dottie and Mario and Carmen and Steve and Frank ... and Mikey ... What about my Public? They'll all be lost without me!"

LIS: "Oh, Zen, I'm sure they'll come to visit you.  And Steve Haskin, Anne Eberhardt and Barbara Livingston won't let them forget you.  [sadly shaking her head] But it will never be the same again.  You'll have to learn to be satisfied with being the Queen of the Mares.  I'm sorry I had to be the one to tell you all this, Zenny..."

Zen: [lifting her head proudly] "Well! I ain't going to let them make me fat! I'm ZENYATTA! I'm going to the office right now and I'm calling Annie and I'll tell her to get me the hell back to California! Pronto!"

LIS: [sighs] "Sorry, Zenny.  No telephone privileges here...I know, I tried it.  They told me Pam and Marty say I have to just be a horse mama now..."

(to be continued...)

11 Dec 2010 11:42 AM
Soldier Course

Alex'sBigFan:

There's already a castle in the Lexington area, at Pisgah Pike and Versailles Road, not far from Lane's End ... you wouldn't even have to build.

11 Dec 2010 1:10 PM
Tat

I too will miss our "home girl" here in L.A. Don't feel bad about not letting go.  It takes time!  Here's to a safe return to being a little closer to nature as a broodmare on acreage.  I am looking forward to seeing how big her belly is going to get with the help of that girth she's blessed with!  

11 Dec 2010 3:30 PM
Shanimu

Your article is the most wonderful Christmas present I could receive.  I too cannot get Zenyatta out of my mind, and I most definitely feel a connection with her.  Thank you, thank you.  

11 Dec 2010 4:14 PM
Mike Relva

LINDA IN TEXAS

Thanks for your kind words. I can't stand AAF redundant remarks regarding Zenyatta. What a loser! BTW Linda really enjoy your comments, read all your posts.

11 Dec 2010 4:15 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Are you on vacation on your vacation?

11 Dec 2010 4:18 PM
Sunny Farm

I just checked back in to read the latest blogs of the 10th. & 11th.

How fun, interesting, and how awesome !

For the funniest of the week , I vote for DR. DRUNKINBUM for his quip :"As the Blog turns''

HILLARIOUS and made me laugh quite bit.

I think Afleet-Treat's idea of a Haskins blogger club is a good one !

It also felt good to see the recent ZENYATTA pictures shared by Anne Eberhardt

( Blood Horse Photographer ) and to read about ZENYATTA on her "Z- web-page", that she is doing the "talking" is endearing.

ZENYATTA is such a beauty !

11 Dec 2010 8:13 PM
sherpa

Steve, I just read through your marvelous blog-post again and realized I'd clean forgot to ask you about your daughter's Nutcracker performance (which I intended to do at the beginning).  Where and when? If it's already been done, a review would be nice!  Thanks :-)

11 Dec 2010 9:35 PM
Lisa

Mike Relva,

I'll give you a call over the holidays. It would be great to chat.I hope Sunday is not going to be as bad as they say here. I hate busting ice out of water buckets, and I think that is going to be the rule for the next few days. Longtimeracingfan, I guess we all know deep down she will be fine. I have been breeding for 25 years now, gosh that is a long time, and have only lost one. I have even had the distinct privilege of having a mare have a uterine torsion. Talk about scared. My best mare, but thanks to my vet and arrangements made I hauled her to Birmingham and they did surgery. They told me the foal probably would not survive, but 14 days to the day after her surgery she had a beautiful filly. Both mare and filly are fine. The filly is a 3 year old. The vet there just manually rotated her uterus back to the right position and there was a piece of pinched intestine and that was released when they rotated the uterus. I used to joke and say that Arya, the filly, was so handled before she was born she came out expecting to be petted and handled. She was a blessing, and  gentle as can be to this day.To all the bloggers a safe and happy holidays.

11 Dec 2010 10:06 PM
seatariat

freetex

Thank you, glad you enjoyed.

Dr. Drunkinbum

Thank you and right back at you.

Steve, Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to express ourselves.

 I think you should consider holding a "Zenyatta worry warts anonymous" group once a week.  You could do it in the form of a live blog just like "He Who Must Not Be Named" does. Friday's are good for me!

12 Dec 2010 1:39 PM
Eric

Hi, Steve.  I read your columns & blogs as often as I can, and I apologize if you have written on the subject previously or even within the above, but I would appreciate a column on your vote for horse of the year.  Nobody could argue an "east coast bias" from you, given your love of thorougbreds and your clear affection for Zenyatta.  I think it would add a lot of credibility to the folks correctly and unequivocally stating that Blame is HOY for 2010.  Let's put the debate to rest.  For the record, although I am slightly too young to remember the great Ruffian, I have seen Personal Ensign, Bayakoa, Go For Wand and, yes, Rachel Alexandra (among the other real good fillies and mares since the late 70s) and Zenyatta was the greatest dirt filly in my lifetime.  She just wasn't horse of the year in 08, 09 or 10.  A head separated her from HOY for 10.  It's a cruel game sometimes.  It's also one of the things that makes it great.

Thank you.  

12 Dec 2010 2:14 PM
Paula Higgins

Love this blog. So much love for Zenyatta. Broke my heart to see that Carmen was crying when she was giving Zenyatta her last bath at the barn. I certainly can understand that and I know all her connections are probably having a tough time. It's like sending a child to college across the country. I guess you have to let go to some degree. But we all know where she is, and Lane's End has been great about posting pictures. You can read daily updates at Zenyatta.com

Dottie is simply wonderful to all of Zenyatta's fans. Because of the access her connections allowed us, we were able to bond with her in an unprecedented way, and they were only able to do that because she is such a gentle giant. We owe them all a big "thank you." You too Steve, besides being an amazing writer, you have a great heart.

12 Dec 2010 3:57 PM
Paula Higgins

Eric, that's your opinion and you are enitled to it. But I don't think you should presume that Steve will vote for Blame. There are quite a few writers, who have a vote, and they are voting for Zenyatta. It doesn't have to be a "cruel sport." Since there are no established criteria for HOTY except that the horse has raced once in the U.S., he can decide based on whatever criteria he wants, including tangibles and intagibles.

12 Dec 2010 4:10 PM
SueW

I really enjoyed Bill Farish's recent interview about Zennie.  He truly understands who she is and how much she means to the public.  I don't doubt for one minute his farm is up to the challenge of dealing with us ...and I say that very respectfully.  Also of interest was John's interview following his trip back to CA.  The look on Zennie's face in the new stall was explained quite nicely.  He said she wanted to run outside with the other mares and couldn't uderstand why she remained inside.  If the weather continues to be a problem...too much snow and ice...I think they'll find a way to get her exercised a bit more.  It is apparent that John remains in daily contact with LE so whatever arrangements have to be made to exercise her will be made.  I also read that Mario is planning several return trips.  She has benefited from the best of care and connections who are a role model for other owners and trainers.  When I saw the most recent pictures of her I cried.  She is the most beautiful creature I've ever seen.  That she is happy and healthy means everything.  Mr. Farish also confirmed that the public WILL be able to visit her once she is fully settled in.  I will be making the journey from Va. with several others I suspect.

12 Dec 2010 5:27 PM
PJJ

Eric,   In 1998,  a horse by the name of Awesome Again won the Stephen Foster, the Whitney Stakes, the BCC, (which that year's BCC was considered the best ever) He was UNDEFEATED in six starts,  Guess what?   He didnt win the HOTY for that year,  You know what, the horse that came in sixth place behind him in that years BCC won the HOTY for 1998.  Go Figure.    Zenyatta for HOTY

12 Dec 2010 5:56 PM
Zookeeper

Let's not start on this HOY business. It has been discussed ad nauseum on other blogs.

Whether she gets the award or not has NO bearing on how we feel about Zenyatta. We love her because of her. She's the most incredible mare I have ever seen, with or without a statue and a title to go along with it. Plus, she couldn't care less. She just wants to go play with the other mares and the heck with "two-legged" awards. Now, if only the weather would cooperate... she could show them a step or two!

12 Dec 2010 7:54 PM
sherpa

Zenyatta at Lane's End (continued)...

After the joyful reunion with Life Is Sweet, but with the disturbing conversation about babies on her mind, Zenyatta has a lot of pondering to do.  She tries to be very quiet and well-behaved during the long, boring days of inactivity.  If she's very, very good, she thinks, the keepers may let her run free in the pasture.  Then she will jump the fence and

run back to California as fast as she can! Hmmm...That shouldn't take more than a few hours at top speed..? but which direction is California? She stares out her stall window, trying to see past the white ground and strange gray trees, listening with newly sharpened hearing for the sound of jet plane engines over Barn 55.  

Then during the night hours, Zenyatta listens closely to the chatty barren mares and maidens in her barn as they nicker softly to each other...

Barren Mare #1: "I'm what they call "barren" this year.  Meaning, my owners are giving me a year off from breeding.  SUCH a relief!"

Maiden Mare #1: "What is "breeding?""

BMare #1: "Oh, well... they send you to one fat old stallion or another and make you let him put another baby horse inside you.  Some of them are kind and gentle, but I've had a couple of rough ones, too. Dynaformer! UGH!"

Chorus of Maiden Mares: "We wouldn't like that at all!"

BMare #1: "Silly girls, you don't have to like it.  You simply don't have a choice in the matter. If your owners want you to have a baby, you will do it or die trying!"

BMare #2: "Now, #1, don't scare the maidens.  You know it isn't so bad.  Just think of the joy of having that little foal by your side!"

MMare #2: "What's a "foal?""

BMare #2: [gently] "Why honey, it's a baby horse!  It may look just like you, or maybe more like its daddy, but it is total sweetness and will depend on you to feed it and teach it many things."

Zenyatta: "Feed? Teach?"

BMare #2: "Yes, my Queen.  You will know just what the little one needs to sustain it, and what it needs to learn, to grow up as beautiful and powerful as you."

BMare #3: "It's all very natural, Your Highness.  Take me, for instance.  I was a famous runner and I didn't think I'd ever want to do anything but race race race.  But all that changed when I had my first baby.  A chestnut, just like me!  Such a little love!"

BMare #2: "We don't want to deceive you, dear maidens and Queen Zenyatta...giving birth is

quite painful; but you forget the pain very quickly once the little one is at your side." {sigh} "Just remembering my babies makes me wish I didn't have to be barren this year."

[Zenyatta carefully lowers herself into the hay, thinking of all she has heard.  She sleeps...

... and dreams of teaching a beautiful bay filly how to dance.  zzzzzz]

Z Beginning.

12 Dec 2010 8:25 PM
Mike Relva

PJJ

Enjoy your comments as always. Great point.

12 Dec 2010 9:24 PM
Jenna M

The West Coast's loss is the East Coast's gain. I am so happy she is on this side of the country now. Not far from me in the Northeast :>>>>>> I'm also very pleased Mario will be visiting her.

12 Dec 2010 9:52 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Sunny Farm

   That's extremely kind of you, thank you, thank you very much, but who won the new fridge and toaster for the saddest story and biggest tears? Zenyatta is The Queen for a lifetime but who was our Queen For A Day?

13 Dec 2010 1:06 AM
Eric

You're right, Paula, it doesn't have to be a "cruel" sport but sometimes it is - Native Dancer losing the triple crown and his only race by a nose almost completely overcoming a troubled trip, Spectacular Bid stepping on a pin before the Belmont, the jockeys in the 2004 Belmont ganging up on Stewart Elliot and Smarty Jones in his triple crown attempt and still valiantly losing by 1/2 a length.

Unfortunately, there is no way that you can put Zenyatta's 2010 campaign in which she raced entirely against a weak class of competition (until the BCC) against Blame's and Blame beat Zenyatta the one and only time they met.  Nothing against the horse - she beat everyone they ran against her for 4 solid years, except for Blame,- but the campaign her trainer and owners laid out for her was doomed if she did not win the classic.  Really, I am as big of a Zenyatta fan as the next guy, or gal, but it would be a bigger injustice to Blame and his owners and trainers, for dancing every dance from spring through fall against the top US dirt competition, than it is for Zenyatta to lose out on 2010 HOY.  She will always be considered one of the greatest females of all time.

PJJ, it was an injustice that Awesome Again did not win HOY in 1998.  The vote for Skip Away was another vote with the heart year where the writers wanted to give a lifetime achievement award to his owner/trainer Sonny Hine.  Two wrongs don't make a right.

Any writer who is voting for Zenyatta is voting for a lifetime achievement award or some "intangible" in what she brought to racing.  When you start talking about there being "no established criteria" for HOY, although you are correct, I think you are looking for ways to come up with a reason to vote for a less deserving animal.  Again, just my opinion, but I think if Zenyatta wins HOY this year, it is tainted.  It will be the year that "Blame deserved it, but they gave it to Zenyatta".

13 Dec 2010 9:59 AM
Eric

Zookeeper, you are right.  I really was hoping for something from Steve.  I didn't mean to start the discussion up again.  I made a mistake with posting a response to my initial comments.

I'm done.  Happy holidays, everyone.

13 Dec 2010 10:24 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Louisville, Ky, low- 12 degrees.  Arcadia, CA, low- 48 degrees. I wonder if the Queen thinks she was deposed and sent to Siberia?

13 Dec 2010 11:53 AM
sodapopkid

Eric, I would suggest you take a trip on over to drf.com and read Jay Hovdey's recent blog.

13 Dec 2010 12:29 PM
Freetex

Time for Zenyatta to take a winter vacation to California where she can actually stretch her legs and move..  

I hope Mom and Dad Moss give it some thought.

13 Dec 2010 2:49 PM
Jenna M
13 Dec 2010 2:54 PM
seatariat

Freetex

I have to agree with you,the longer they wait to let her loose the more keyed up she is going to get. My horses have been shut in for two days due to a blizzard and they are ready to start climbing the walls.

In todays diary video she looks to me like she should still be on the track.  

13 Dec 2010 7:40 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Curlin, in one last ditch effort to win Zenyatta's heart, hires Tiago to play guitar and begins to serenade Zenyatta with a beautiful old love song, in the cold crisp moonlight, under her barn window:

"Les bicyclettes de Versailles

Carry her side by side,

And hoof in hoof we will ride

Over Versailles.

Turn your magical eyes

'Round and around

Looking at all we've found

Carry her through-ooh the skies

Les bicyclettes de Versailles"

Zenyatta is thinking oh no, not him again.  The nickering mares have their eyes glued to their windows as well taking all this romance in.  Zenyatta sings back to Curlin, but in the voice of Ann Margret, as she puts off Elvis in "Viva Las Vegas:"

"The gentleman's got a crush on me,

The gentleman's crazy, obviously.

He wants to hold me in his arms.

I'd rather be holding hydrogen bombs!

I'd rather ride with Funnycide

In a grade I on that you can bet.

The lady "luuuvs" him

But she doesn't know it yet.

I'd rather dine with "Bird That Mine"

In a Louisville tete-a-tete,

Will someone tell this Romeo,

I'm not his Juliet!"

Now the nickering mares join in chorus:

"The lady "luuuuvs" him

But she's playing hard to get.

Yes, the lady "luuuuuvs" him

But she doesn't know it yet."

13 Dec 2010 8:07 PM
diastu

cynthia r: Holy cow wow!!! Every word, comma, and exclaimation point hit it out of the park! (Except making poor old A.P. travel.)

Somebody PLEASE cut and paste this amazing, well thought out, and passionate essay and send it to Mr.&Mrs. Moss. At least let this plant the seed in their minds that options exist for the Queen to "have her carrots and eat them too" - she can still have some foals while continuing as the greatest ambassador for the breed in nearly half a century. What a loss it would be to lose her magic!

And I just succumbed to the temptation again - I just popped in to read and not write. Yeah, right.

14 Dec 2010 1:35 AM
Sunny Farm

DR.Drunkinbum. Hello !

Who was Queen for a day ?

SNOW FAIRY !!!! At least she was mine when I just read of her big WIN in the Hong Kong Cup !

As for the winner of the toaster & refridgerator, well that'd just have to be you again, when you wrote you were so anthro....anthro....WHAT ? and well, sad....building our disposed queen her castle in her "new land of Siberia" , worrying if she thought she was thrown away because she lost the race....if you already have a toaster & fridge , how about some new spices....1989 nutmeg...hhmmm.

Have a great evening !

14 Dec 2010 1:48 AM
Aluminaut

It's never going to be Curlin because they both would have Mr. Prospecter on the top line.  

14 Dec 2010 3:01 AM
Linda in Texas

Thanks Jenna M. - Re: your You Tube  posting. Nice song and great pictures of Zenyatta. She is such a wonderful horse. To get to see her looking and prancing across the beautiful snowy pastures is pretty neat. And Mike must have taken right to her. He seems to really enjoy her and that translates right to her.

It is early and the sun is not out and i don't even need to turn on a light, she lights everything up and brightens my day 1100 miles away.

Had not seen interior pictures of her barn. Looks like a Renaissance Hotel ! Really plush.

Take care good friends. And be safe.

Thanks Steve.

14 Dec 2010 8:04 AM
Barbara W

I love all these imaginary horse conversations. Too funny! However, one minor correction: the folks at Three Chimneys told us Dynaformer is actually kind to his mares. It's just people he's grumpy with.

Also, I realize Eric has checked

out, but his argument that Blame had a better overall season than Zenyatta falls apart when one realizes she tied Blame's highest Beyer figure (111) according to the DRF poll info. And one must also remember she didn't have to run flat out (no pun intended, Zookeeper) in most of her races.

14 Dec 2010 10:02 AM
Soldier Course

Jenna M:

Thank you for the YouTube video. She looks cold in the snow with no blanket, and her feet don't like the snow.

14 Dec 2010 3:24 PM
Sunny Farm

Hello Everyone, I have some great news and because this ZENYATTA blog is so full of good energy and well wishes , I'd like to share this news with you.

Breeders Cup has just sent a Dec. newsletter out. There have been some changes to the

"Win & your In ".

Now, If you win a "Win & Your In" race, the B.C. will pay your exspenses to travel to the World Championships AND defray the entry fees, both American as well as foreign nominators !

There is other good news as well, but this new change means that a lot of horsemen will now have thier deserving chance to get thier good horses to this top event ! Breeders Cup has reached out to all it's nominators, both large AND small, and I think that's wonderful. ZENYATTA will be proud to know this, that despite the economy, there are those who keep working hard like the people at the Breeders Cup.Trying hard just like Queen -Z !!!

I'd keep those foals nominated, it could mean millions in the future !

14 Dec 2010 3:59 PM
txhorsefan

It's always such a pleasure to come back to this blog and read all the new comments!  I love all the Queen for a Day references and the conversations between the mares in the barn are hilarious - you all are so talented in your humorous writing!  It's great that everyone here shares their heartfelt concern for our beautiful Queen as well as our hopes for her future.  You are all very special people to me and I look forward to these blogs.  Thank you once again to Steve, and thank you to all of you fellow Haskin bloggers, Zenyattaholics, whatever we are.  :)  

14 Dec 2010 7:03 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Sunny Farm

   Thanks for the good cheers and the BC info. Merry Christmas. Your fresh batch of eggnog is in the mail. I put Glad Wrap on the top of the glass. Hope it doesn't spill.

diastu

  Don't be a stranger. And don't forget to write.

Linda in Texas

    You be safe and healthy yourself. Thanks for a great year.

Aluminaut

   Merry Christmas. Thanks for your communication this year.

Zookeeper

    Thanks for everything. Merry Christmas.

All of my friends here, and there are many of you- Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

14 Dec 2010 7:05 PM
Deacon

Zenyatta & Giant's Causeway makes pretty good sense to me.

I am certainly no expert when it comes to breeding but I believe that this is a good fit.

Great racing mares seldom become great broodmares. I am sure there is argument to this but I cannot in recent memory remember one. I just hope she has a wonderful retirement and enjoys her living conditions. Like most of you, I sure wish she had stayed in sunny So. Cal..............

14 Dec 2010 11:06 PM
Aluminaut

Barbara W,

Maybe Dynaformer has mellowed.  The old news was that he was not so genteel with the ladies.  

15 Dec 2010 2:33 AM
Slew

My rooms are now cluttered with boxes full of Christmas decorations waiting to be hung. (I guess that means I have to clean first...oh yuck!).  My daughter is on her way home from New Orleans and remains in shock...she's been in a deep freeze since Alabama, and believes Christmas should be celebrated in June.  My son will come to help us put up the tree tomorrow if I have room to drag that monstrous box out to the parlor.  My grandson will get a 4-day leave for Christmas, but won't get out to California or Santa Anita afterwards as he remains at 20 degree Camp LeJeune.  And through it all, I simply can't help my self.  I must check on Zen's status every day, because she remains on my mind so constantly through a bitterly cold winter.  How does she feel?  Is she warm?  Has she nickered with the other mares? Does she like her new place?  I'm ever so grateful to Dottie for keeping a diary. It helps so much to make the season more enjoyable and much less fretful. The photos are a constant source of joy as Zen romps in the snow.  I'd invite her to Christmas dinner, but I hear she eats like a horse.  So I guess I'll just keep checking on her for news.  Happy holidays to all; I wish everyone joy and contentment, and thank you all for your wonderful stories, that I have so enjoyed.

15 Dec 2010 8:48 AM
Jenna M

I cannot believe I keep festering about this. Cynthia R made such great points. All I keep thinking is that this poor girl will be breeding every single year. I'm really not a horse expert but, for a horse like Z, won't all this breeding crush her spirit?  When I heard mares are 'in foal' for 11 months I thought...omg. Why does everyone keep saying it's the life she deserves after all that racing?

Is there a way to send messages to the Mosses? Get the voices heard.

I think she will quickly become acclimated since she is, afterall, a horse...but I just keep thinking being pregnant every year isn't the most fun for her (it wouldn't be for me).

15 Dec 2010 9:41 AM
seatariat

Does anyone know how A.P.Indy is with the ladies especially a maiden?

15 Dec 2010 11:26 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Slew

   You just made it !!  Phew !!!  Santa is coming to your house.

15 Dec 2010 12:25 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

txhorsefan

   Zenyattaholics and Haskinaholics for sure. You're one of the Haskinites also. Merry Christmas.

15 Dec 2010 12:30 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I vote for everyone on The Haskin Blogs for BOY, Bloggers of the Year, and Steve for WOY, writer of the year. I vote for Zenyatta for MOM, Mare of the Millennium. I told Santa that I don't need anything. Just give Zenyatta an extra warm down blanket, and snowshoes. He didn't even know she had moved !!!!! He was going to get her  a wading pool !!!!!!

15 Dec 2010 12:34 PM
Susan from VA

I have been around pregnant mares every year for the past 10 years (both paso fino and thoroughbred) and although they look uncomfortable the last month (any human female that has had babies can understand that), otherwise they seem very happy and comfortable.  Now, how many of you have been around a mare in season?  It seems to me that from the behavior of open mares versus mares in foal, mares prefer to be in foal!  Please don't think it is cruel to breed Zenyatta.  As long as she maintains her condition before and after foaling (and I doubt the Mosses will let her become too thin), she will probably be much happier that way.  

15 Dec 2010 12:45 PM
Deb

I think her name says it all....she may not be horse of the year to many but she will be a fond memory of a great horse for many many years to people.

I hope Rachel is as well treated and enjoyed.

I wish all horses could have the Z treatment in their retirement.

15 Dec 2010 1:05 PM
Karen2

I would like to join the Steve Haskin Bloggers group if there is an open spot!

15 Dec 2010 1:18 PM
Peggy

Dr. D.  Thank you for noticing that I hadn't posted for some time and welcoming me back.  I read everything and especially enjoy what you write, but I only post when I know something that I think others will want to hear about.  Since I don't have first hand knowledge of racing or horses that's not very often.  

Sherpa,  Thanks so much for the "Zenyatta at Lane's End" dialogue between Z and the other mares.  It was really funny.  Also I have wanted to thank you for welcoming me to the group back on the Secretariat blog, but it wasn't a good time to do so.

Alex's Big Fan, Thanks for the boy's side of the conversation.  Nice to hear the male point of view.

Afleet Treet, Sherpa, and Sunny Farm, Thanks for your comments on joining the Steve Haskin Blogger's Group (as we call ourselves)or creating another group.  I don't speak for the others on our group, but I wanted to acknowledge your comments and let you know that it would be a pleasure to be able to communicate with you.  Cleone mentioned the daily emails that we exchange. That can amount to quite a volume and is burdensome to some.  Right now there is a discussion of the top 20 of all time which I am not following in order to post here. We have talked about adding more people to the group, but that would increase the volume of emails since we usually do a group mailing.  We have also talked about using a Listserv.

my email address is:  peggylindsay@comcast.net for followup comments on joining the group.

15 Dec 2010 1:39 PM
Slew

Dr D: Santa can get Zen a wading pool, as long as he fills it with eggnog.  That should make for a very happy and warm holiday...especially if he has my mother's recipe. Yikes!  For someone who didn't drink, her eggnog packed one heck of a wallop....and the folks at the nursing home are still trying to remember that Christmas.

15 Dec 2010 2:51 PM
MyBigRed

My name is Pattie and I confess I am a Zenyattaholic. I check Hangin' with Haskin every morning to see how America's Queen is doing. My vacations plans for the next couple of years are: going to Lane's End to visit the Queen. Why would I want to go anywhere else?? Let's keep this Blog Alive!! LONG LIVE THE QUEEN :)

15 Dec 2010 3:04 PM
Gary

Cynthia R, in my mind you are spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, morally, and undeniably right!!!!!!  I don’t agree with the path the Moss’s have taken either but it’s their girl and they call the shots.  I’m far from an expert breeder but I had a vision last night.  I was working the Ouija board and I used to communicate with Tesio.  He said don’t patronized that fashionable old fart A.P. Indy.  He said save your money, you want a horse named “Pleasantly Perfect” ($7500).  My vision was they came and took Zen and put her and Perfect on a plane back to Cal.

15 Dec 2010 3:53 PM
Matthew W

There's a famous handicapper who says if you vote for Zenyatta, HOY--you're being sentimental, not logical...but then again, he's the same famous handicapper who, in 2008, said it was "logical" to vote Curlin HOY, (after he wilted to 4th in the Classic)...the same famous handicapper who said it was "logical" to vote against Zenyatta last year, after she won the Classic...in those years, he voted based on who was the best horse that year--certainly not on who won the Classic--now, he says it's all about the Classic finish---in other words, his "logic" is based on some sort of sliding scale, highly illogical, to quote, Mr Spock...

15 Dec 2010 4:38 PM
Leslie Simis

Thank you so much for putting in to words what we are all feeling. It is so hard to explain, yet you did so in a very poetic way.The world was a better place with Zennie in it, and we were all very fortunate to be able to be a small part of her magnificence. The daily diary that has been posted on Facebook has truly been a joy, and further exhibits what profoundly special people are involved with Zenyatta. Thank you all so much, and especially to you Zenyatta, our horse of a lifetime !!

15 Dec 2010 5:00 PM
Steve Haskin

Thank you, Dr. D. I will vote for BOY and MOM, but I'm not touching the WOY with a 10-foot pole. But it is very nice of you to say.

Karen2, you know there is always a place for you. Of all my "cousins" you're my favorite.

15 Dec 2010 5:07 PM
DinkyDiva

Hey, Steve welcome back.  Did you have a nice vacation?

I find myself still unable to truly let go and the fact that Dottie is keeping up with the diary posts and pics and videos etc.... makes it so much better on all of us!  I love it.  Not only are they to keep us informed about how the Queen is doing and her new friends but, it's educational as well.  Which I find fabulous!

15 Dec 2010 5:37 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Slew

  That is so funny !!!!! Please don't tell me she used Bacardi 151. I sat through a whole movie on that stuff once and didn't understand one thing that was going on. Many moons ago when I was young. No way I'd touch that stuff nowadays.

Peggy

    Well I wish you'd write more often, so get with the program and get into this SA meet and The Haskin Derby Dozen.

Steve

   I read them all. As far as columnists go, you're in a different league. Many of your bloggers feel the same way. Like I've said before, I know that there were great writers from long ago, but in my adult lifetime, only Jim Murray is comparable for my tastes. You can't have a closed mind to be great, and you have to understand the horse side and the human side and be able to connect the two with style and insight. You got it, and we appreciate it. Thanks again for a magnificient year, and you are very much welcome. Add  more sugar to the cookies.

15 Dec 2010 6:00 PM
Mike Relva

ERIC

So your done,great!

15 Dec 2010 6:02 PM
Mike Relva

STEVE

Your blogs are the best. Always look forward to reading them. Happy Holidays!

15 Dec 2010 6:05 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Deacon

   I hope you continue next year giving us your insights and historical knowledge. It's been great reading your posts. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

15 Dec 2010 6:07 PM
Mike Relva

ERIC

I think it's laughable,at best that you call yourself a fan of Zenyatta.

15 Dec 2010 6:10 PM
Steve Haskin

Dinky Diva,

Actually, I am back on vacation through Christmas. I still have 7 weeks and felt it's so slow right now I might as well take a few more days. I'm only going to lose them and our personnel manager all but begged me to take some of the days. So, I'll just do some chores and Christmas shopping and put writing out of my head for a while.

Dr. D. you flatter me way too much by even mentioning me with Jim Murray. But I do thank you. If you know me I'm sure you are well aware I've never had any problem adding sugar to anything :).

15 Dec 2010 6:34 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Peggy,

Thank you, but I am a WOMAN!  I am married to an elite running athlete, did modeling in the 70's, and grew up a competitive athlete myself so that's where the "male point of view" comes in I guess!

Soldier Course,

Thanks for the castle info in KY.  

Mike Relva,

You need to get yourself some class, my friend.  All of us on this blog have spoken with dignity, class, grace, and respect for our great Zenyatta for every aspect of her life.  Your derogatory comments about a fellow blogger, whose initials are the closest to my pen name here, were uncalled for.  People within the horse industry value my input and marketing ideas and I certainly hope you were not referring to me

as your comment was very hurtful.

Thank you to everyone else.  I have enjoyed reading all the wonderful, creative posts.  A lot of talented people here on the most talented of writer's blog!

15 Dec 2010 7:06 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Gary,

I hope your vision of the plane ride comes to be.  The video or photos of her in the snow should have a caption of "California Dreamin' on such a winter's day."

Deacon,

Keep the knowledge coming.  Interestung point about great racehorses becoming broodmares.  Was La Ville Rouge a great runner do you know?  (Barbaro's dam)

Dr. D.,

Yes, one of our top US breeder's told me long ago that at the core of the industry lies the horse and the human fan and those two key elements need to be connected for success.  Steve does it to perfection and "gets it" just as you say.  The Mosses do as well as they have strived to keep us connected to Zenyatta.  That was so touching that your Christmas wishes were for Zenyatta's comfort and not for yourself.  You can be our leader, of us the Haskinites!

15 Dec 2010 9:06 PM
Jenna M

Thank you Susan from VA.

15 Dec 2010 10:41 PM
sherpa

Peggy, how sweet you are!  I don't think I'd do well as part of an email group - I deal with 50-100 emails daily at work, so some days I don't even check my home email.  I just hope you all will talk about your trip to KY here, if you decide to do it, so I can plan to join you there.  If that's okay. I've been so wishing to do a farm tour, and especially to see Zenyatta, but it's not something I'd happily do alone. And it would be wonderful to meet all of you!  We don't have horse racing in NC and the only person irl I can discuss it with is a gentleman who visits my office a couple times a month. :-(

Barbara W, I had heard that maiden mares aren't sent to Dynaformer because he's such an aggressive breeder.  That is, of course, hearsay, so I apologize for mischaracterizing him.

Dr. D - you have really been on a roll!  Love the way you lighten up a thread :-)

15 Dec 2010 10:48 PM
Deacon

Dr D:  I'm back to stay, wouldn't miss these blogs for anything I feel a kinship with most of you.

I sure got a lot of useless horse racing trivia stored up in my brain. Most everything else leaks out but the memories stick. Steve "Golden Pen" Haskin is clearly a gifted writer and his insight is remarkable. He writes a story like Rembrandt paints a picture. So visual and I somehow feel that I am thrust back to the moment of the event. The same way Vin Scully calls a baseball game and Chick Hearn called a Laker game. These gifts that we are able to reap have blessed us all. I really don't open up any other blogs anymore, after the nasty words spewed by so many after the BCC regarding the Queen, it just left a sick taste in my mouth.

All of you special Z fans, Dr. D, Zookeeper, Mike Relva, Paula Higgins, Linda in Texas, Slew, Karen and everyone else have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

2011, its back on the Derby trail.......

16 Dec 2010 1:36 AM
Aluminaut

Dr. D,

Merry Christmas to you too!  Get some storebought eggnog.

Merry Christmas to Steve and all the people posting on his blog.

Hi Peggy!

16 Dec 2010 4:52 AM
Slew

OK Dr D: I won't tell you!  Besides, I was sworn to secrecy long ago.  Those 2 empty 5ths on the counter, however, denied her claim that no alcohol was included.  And I know she always felt that Bacardi was just another flavor ingredient.

Steve: I echo Dr D.'s sentiments on your writing..100%.  

16 Dec 2010 10:21 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Deacon

   Vin Scully is unbelievable. Still calling games. What is it, 60 years? Chick Hearn was possibly my all time favorite, but I loved Lon Simmons, the SF Giants announcer too. I listened to Vin Scully call a Koufax no-hitter on my little transistor radio when I was at the playground sitting on my basketball. Read Jim Murray in the morning then listen to Vinnie, or Chic at night. The popcorn machine, left the mustard off the hot dog. Man it's good to have you back. Merry Christmas.

Sherpa

  50-100 emails. Wow !!! Love your posts too. Have always been a fan of yours. Merry Christmas.

Alex'sBigFan

   Thanks. You're an important member of the team. There are so many great posters here that there is no leader. We're all on this glorious ride with Steve as equals. Keep up the good work, let's make this next Triple Crown run with Steve one for the ages.

Everyone Here

   Too many great posters to mention everyone by name so Merry Christmas everyone !!!!! This is the best blog group on earth.

16 Dec 2010 1:23 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Alex'sBig Fan

  Elite Alex is on my Top Ten Derby List. I loved his debut. Did you see it? He might have had a setback after that because he was inactive for awhile. I see where he worked three in a row, with his last being 11-17. I wonder if he had another setback?

16 Dec 2010 1:32 PM
longtimeracingfan

CORRECTION!!! CORRECTION!!!

I just can't let this particular blog close out without making a correction to something I said on 10 December. I commented that Z's dam and granddam were both known for ankle issues. Whoops... I goofed... I was commenting from memory, without my source in front of me. Naughty, naughty!

According to one of the articles in BH's delightful special issue on Zen, it was her dam and her half-sister Balance (not her granddam) who had ankle issues. (Balance was well managed too, under different ownership.) The fact that Zen did not race until as late as she did reflected this knowledge. Spend more time letting this big girl grow up, and she will reward you many times over a bit later on. In the hands of a "quarter horse" style trainer (run 'em early, run 'em hard) she probably would have struggled... or departed from the scene early on due to unsoundness. Giving her the time to mature, both physically and mentally, gave her also stronger, denser bone under that big body.

Linda in Texas, you're right about "waiting to exhale" ---  I'm still trying to decide what I want to do when I grow up. Am starting to embrace the idea that I don't WANT to grow up.

Dr D,

Never been to the Nautical Inn, wherever it may be... sounds interesting.

Everyone, and especially Steve,

have a wonderful holiday season, and enjoy the time with family... take care if you are in a bad-weather area.        

Our Zenny is in great hands, and don't forget she was born in Kentucky and is well equipped to go through the winter, and whatever she needs, she will get... anyway, she'd be bored sitting in the Mosses' little back yard in Malibu or Beverly Hills where the land values are so high they'd charge rent to a lizard if they thought they could. I mean the "generic they" --- not the Mosses, who know exactly who can provide Zenyatta with the very best of everything. They sure came up trumps with John Shirreffs and his operation. WOW.    

Merry Christmas to all from one of Zenyatta's elves...

16 Dec 2010 2:10 PM
Tairaterces

Great article Steve. Another gem.

Zenyatta is a dream come true for so many. Ann & Jerry Moss, John Shirreffs, Mike Smith, etc., have all been so kind to give us such great access to Zenyatta. The old adage rings true here, "to know her is to love her".

Thank you again Steve.

16 Dec 2010 2:56 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Fellow Haskinites

   Here's a little Christmas song from The Four Tenors- Elvis, Ralph Kramden, Steve Haskin, and Zenyatta.  " I'm dreaming of a hummina, hummina, hummina, hummina White Christmas hubba hub hubba hub. I'm dreaming of an anthromorphic White Christmas with a spiritual connection to Zenyatta just like the one I used to know, and with it entering some hallowed sphere within us in the snow. Neigh, neigh, neigh I wasn't dreaming of a White Christmas like one I've never known before."  Merry Christmas everyone.

16 Dec 2010 3:23 PM
Afleet Treet

HAPPY HOLIDAYS ALL!!!

And just to clear up ANY misconceptions (I get the impression people are confusing me with AFA)....I am NOT to be confused with AFA nor am I "He who Shall Not be Mentioned" just in case people think I am...we ARE two different people entirely...TRUST ME!!!

I DO have a Horseracing web site (ask Steve) and we DO meet at the Breeder's CUp every year and we are chock full of cool people so just in case people were thinking I am posting under a new name or something else, I have always been "Treet" (as people  call me) and live up here in Seattle and would NEVER dream of saying anything bad about Zenyatta...I adore her and think her accomplishments were awesome!

It was SUCH a privilege to spend two morning in CA with her at Barn 55 before she headed off to snowy Kentucky and then to have spent the last 3 Breeder's Cups with my friends from HorseRacingMania.com was incredible!!! WHAT A HORSE SHE IS!

Long Live Zenyatta!! Miss her so much already!

16 Dec 2010 4:42 PM
Zookeeper

I better get my Holiday Wishes out before you close up shop, Mr. Haskin... So to you, our favorite writer and blog-master and to all those who contribute to this amazing blog:

Merry, merry Christmas!!! Hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season with family and/or friends. Be safe and happy! May Santa bring you tickets to Opening Day at Santa Anita...

Love,  Zookeeper

P.S. Dr D., You sure are a jolly fellow. Ho!Ho!Ho!

16 Dec 2010 5:18 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Dr. D.,

Thank you so much.  Yes we will all make this next Triple Crown run with Steve one of the best!  Count me in!!!!!  Loved your funny Christmas song with the four tenors!  Too funny.  I have not heard of Elite Alex yet so thanks for the info, will investigate.  The last of Alex's offspring I followed was Afleet Express who won the Travers and is now retired I believe and Afleet Again who was in the Haskell with my Lucky! And

Dublin, remember him, he thought this year's Preakness was run in the grandstands as he veered off and Northern Afleet was not happy with his grandson on that one.  And Dr. D., Steve's Triple Crown stories when Alex ran in 2005 were awesome.  Steve said that Alex and Tim Ritchey were changing barns at Belmont in the 90 degree heat, and 2 shadowy figures could be seen walking down the backstretch that looked like Don Quixote and his horse Rocinante!  Steve's stories are just the best.  His story about Cigar in MSG blows me away! And I cannot believe I missed that because I was in the Garden so much in the 90's watching the Knicks and I missed the whole Cigar thing!!!!!!!!!  Thank God for Steve Haskin!!!!!!!!!!

16 Dec 2010 6:09 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Oh no, sounds like the Blog is coming to an end, what a great ride it has been!  And let's see, in summation we are a people called the Haskinites, disciples of the great literary master, Haskin.  We live on a planet called the Zenyattasphere, that "Turns on a Blog".  We have a tall, very beautiful, statuesque goddess for a Queen, named Zenyatta.  We are her loyal subjects and we eat, sleep, and sing the praises of our Queen's accomplishments, and some of us do not even sleep for we worry so about our Queen.  We have a fearless leader who spreads merrimemt and wisdom througout the kingdom called Dr. D.  We are a Quixotic people, we charge at windmills and lofty ideas, and build imaginery castles for our Queen.  Our voting system has ballots that say HOY, HOC, BOY, WOY, and MOM.  We live in this magical world connected spiritually to a horse and each other, a world where even thoroughbreds can speak English!

And here the happy Haskinites will remain as once enchanted by the great Zenyatta, the spell is cast forever and ever.

16 Dec 2010 6:30 PM
Steve Haskin

Thank you very much, Zookeeper. I also want to take this time to wish everyone the warmest, happiest holiday season, and to thank everyone for all their kind words and bonding through this blog, and of course through Zenyatta. And thank you all for making it a special place to come visit in a friendly, convivial atmosphere. I also want to specifically thank Dr. D. for his numerous clever and humorous comments, and to Zookeeper, who along with Dr. D. are the ones who always seem to close out every blog after everyone has left.

I will be taking time off through Christmas, but would like to alert everyone to a guest blog that will appear on Monday from blogger Abigail Anderson, who responded in a 3,500-word essay to this latest blog. Yes. it is long, but it is brilliant enough, with an amazing amount of historical and pedigree research, for me to print it in its entirety. I'm sure you all are going to love it.

Thank you again for all your support.

Steve

16 Dec 2010 6:46 PM
Steve Haskin

Alex's Big Fan, that was fantastic!! What a perfect way to end this special blog. Thank you.

16 Dec 2010 6:48 PM
Zookeeper

Mr. Haskin,

I forgot to tell you:

You look GREAT with your Santa Claus hat on!!! And the tree looks positively Nutcrackerish!

16 Dec 2010 6:54 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Alex'sBigFan

   What a marvelous summation of Zen's Kingdom, and thank you very much. Elite Alex debut race, which he won was 7-3-10, 8th race at Delaware.

Steve

     Thank you very much. Sounds like a treat coming Monday, another early Christmas present. Have a great Holiday !!!!!

16 Dec 2010 8:17 PM
sodapopkid

I am here to say,   Zenyatta may be retired, but she aint going far.

Her legion of fans and the fans she gained in just this year alone will be following her closely as if she was still racing.  We are anxiously awaiting the news of her first mating and last but not least,  We are all awaiting the arrival of her first foal,  then the arrival of the second, third,  and so on and so on.....

Either way,  Zenyatta is the horse of 2010, and then some.

She is the horse of this decade for sure.  and rightfully so.

Merry Christmas, Steve and a Happy New Year to you and yours.  When you get back you be ready to write again on the queen.  I think you said you were visiting her in January.  So, we will all anxiously be awaiting your write up  on Zenyatta.  That is from the eyes of Steve Haskin.  The eyes we have grown to trust.

Steve, and others,  WOW, can we believe the impact Zenyatta has made on racing in the last three years, and so much more in this year alone.    She is so special, Thanks to the Mosses for allowing her fans to get so close to her and to follow her in her every day life through her website.

Happy Holidays to you all.  Sodapop

16 Dec 2010 8:57 PM
sherpa

oh! for Auld Lang Syne...

I will miss this blog very, very much.

Happiest of Holidays to all!

16 Dec 2010 9:08 PM
needler in Virginia

Happy holidays, cheers, and safe trips to everyone. Not much more we can hope for, is there?

OH, YES! THERE IS MORE..........Steve Haskin, good sir: my wish for 2011 is that you continue writing. No need to explain or expand my request; EVERYONE here knows what I mean!

So once more......happy holidays, cheers, and safe trips.

16 Dec 2010 9:21 PM
Deacon

Dr. D

   Perfect game, Sandy Koufax against the Cubs, Sept. 1965, I was there with my uncle. We set behind first base, Dodger Stadium baby. The Dodgers (Dawgs)my all time favorite team. The Cubbies, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, Don Kessinger, Harvey Kuehn, Glenn Beckett, and Randy Hundley....those were the days..remember Hill Rise, Candy Spots, Quack, Kennedy Road, Ancient Title, Viking Spirit, and Pinjara...........happy holidays my friend.

16 Dec 2010 9:23 PM
Mike Relva

DEACON

Thanks,you too. I always enjoy your comments.

16 Dec 2010 10:37 PM
Mike Relva

ALEXBIGFAN

I wasn't referring to you. Was referring to AAF that does nothing but slam Zenyatta/connections in EVERY single blog for the past two yrs! He can't get past RA being almost run into the ground and her career ending with a flicker,so every blog is filled with hatred for a once in a lifetime horse that's generated  a shot in the arm for racing. Hope this clears it up!

16 Dec 2010 10:51 PM
Deacon

Alex BigFan:

           Barbaro by Dynaformer, by Roberto, by Hail To Reason, by Turn-To.

           Dam of Barbaro, La Ville Rogue by Carson City, by Mr. Prospector, by Raise A Native. There is also some Ribot in the bloodline. I believe La Ville Rogue was European, not much on her as a race horse. She was born in 1996 and dam La Reine Rouge was by King's Bishop, who was by Round Table, who was by Princequillo, and Neartic is also in her bloodline. She is obviously a very good broodmare. Wish I could give you more but this is all the history I have.  Hope this isn't too confusing. Neddless to say Barbaro had a heck of a bloodline.

17 Dec 2010 12:33 AM
needler in Virginia

Deacon, good friend and fellow Zenyattaholic; Steve just might delete my post as this is NOT the appropriate place for my comments. HOWEVER, I'm gonna try and slip this by him, so shhh, everyone, I'm pulling a fast one on the chief Haskin.

DEACON-- THERE IS NO SUCH TEAM AS "DODGERS" ANYMORE.....THEY CEASED TO EXIST THE MINUTE THEY LEFT BROOKLYN.  HOW can you have a team called the LIMO DODGERS? NOPE, Trolley Dodgers works but any other place??....PULLEEZ! Clearly your memory is flawed, so you might have seen the Cubbies, but no way was there a team called Dodgers on the same field. I DO know a good shrink, however, who could probably help with your affliction. He's kept me going for all these years the Red Sox wandered around in the cellar and shot themselves in the foot on a regular basis. I'm mostly recovered now that we have TWO World Series wins in this century. Even though your hallucination is long term, he still MIGHT be able to help you out of your fog. Let me know if you want his number.

Now THAT'S off my chest I'm gone from here for a while; since I am clinically psychotic about the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn, and I refuse to acknowledge their existence these days, I will NOT reply to any snarky posts here or elsewhere. PLEASE don't clog up this blog with arguments which will fall upon deaf ears..............

And, Steve, many thanks for letting me slip this by!

BTW, MANY cheers and safe trips to everyone.....

17 Dec 2010 2:09 PM
Dani

I've only posted a couple of times on this blog but I've really enjoyed reading everyone's posts. It's been very enjoyable. And it's great to see how people have connected through it.

Deacon - what about Fergie Jenkins and Leo Durocher? What about Harry Caray and Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch? We grew up outside of Chicago and the whole family were die hard Cubs fans - are there any other kind? There was nothing like taking the 'L' and getting that first glimpse of the park before you hit Addison. We could barely contain ourselves. What was it Ernie use to say? "Lets play two".?

Anyway I just want to wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and especially you Steve, for just being you.    

17 Dec 2010 2:29 PM
Soldier Course

There's a letter in the last issue of The Blood-Horse positing that Blame should get HOTY because he beat Zenyatta. Well ... then by that "rocks-scissors-paper" logic, either Haynesfield, Regal Ransom, Guam Typhoon, or Beethoven should be HOTY because all of them beat Blame.

In another place in the same issue I came across the expression "mischief of unfairness". Let's hope that's not inflicted upon Zenyatta's massive legions of fans come January.

17 Dec 2010 3:46 PM
CV

Hi Steve,

I have a request. When you visit Zenyatta at Lane's End in January could you ask when/how they're thinking of setting up opportunities for Zenyatta's fans to visit her? I haven't read anything in regard to those plans, yet.

And of course, Merry Christmas! You wear your Santa's hat well! :)

17 Dec 2010 3:50 PM
Sunny Farm

WOW, I have been busy with the horses so haven't blogged in lately !!! OH NO...did I just read this "Z" -blog will be stopping soon ?

I'll have to go through all the comments and ferret this out.....PEGGY, I would love to join up with the bloggers group & have written down your e-ml address, THANKS SO MUCH !

DR. DRUNKINBUM: I have found, in nearby Canada, some excellent nutmeg. My friend said she will bring it when she comes to visit & I'll make arrangements to send this to you...what's a man without good nutmeg ?

I have REALLY enjoyed reading this Haskin's report and love the name :"Haskinite''.

I sincerely hope we can all keep the good energy going forward !

There have been so many good people and so many great comments !

Have a Merry Christmas everyone and I send Best wishes for the new year to all of you !

p.s. Peggy ; I'll be in touch and send an e-ml.....it'll say Sunny Farm

17 Dec 2010 5:16 PM
Sunny Farm

To Mr. Haskins and all :

"May the warm winds of heaven

Blow softly upon your house.

May the Great spirit

Bless all who enter there.

May your mocassins

Make happy tracks

Through many snows

And may the rainbow

Always touch your shoulder."

   (Cherokee Prayer -Blessing )

17 Dec 2010 5:20 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Mike Relva,

Thank you kind sir!  The 3 initials threw me and thanks so much for clearing it up.  The post came soon after my posts so I guess I just rushed to judgement and assumed wrong.  Sorry for the confusion and wrongful accusation.

I see now why "AAF" has made you so upset.

Deacon,

Thanks for all that info, wow.  You sure know your stuff.  You should write a pedigree book and call it "All Roads Lead To Mr. Prospector."  The Afleet line has Mr. Prospector too.

Cynthia R.,

I forgot one line in my summation that was supposed to say and we have a Heroine of the Haskinites named Cynthia R., who boldly and so eloquently dared to say what we all were afraid to and question why our Queen is in the Land of the Frozen Tundra.

Thanks all so much and safe and happy holidays.

17 Dec 2010 6:42 PM
maryann727

After reading your “I Lied” blog for the third time, and crying again, I hope I can communicate some of what I think and feel.  First, thank you Mr. Haskin for providing this haven where those who love Zenyatta are free to express their emotions about her.  These words of mine are a small attempt to honor how this majestic mare has affected me.  Without a doubt, I will never feel this way again about a racehorse.  As you wrote,  

“A horse whose likes and effect on people will never be seen again.”  You have my vote for Writer of the Year for your inimitable essays about Zenyatta.

Zenyatta is being let down in preparation for her second career as a broodmare and I am feeling Let Down.  Part of the let down for me is the realization that next year there will be no near impossible to achieve runs, from last to first, to witness.  Zenyatta allowed me to believe in the romance of racing again.  Her trainer, owners, and all of Team Zenyatta made it easy to love racing without reservation.  And those runs!  They were the stuff of fiction, dreams and movies wherein the star horse has fallen so far behind and somehow finds a way to win.  What a mare!  Reality that surpassed fantasy.      

I wish as I write this that I had arrived at total acceptance and happiness about Zen’s new life, but, I haven’t.  Part of it is that I have never been enamored of the full time  broodmare life when all a mare does is produce foals.  Now Zenyatta, a most unique (intentional redundancy) and athletically gifted mare is reduced to being a member of a broodmare band.  One to three foals, I understand.  But, I can’t get my head or heart around the idea that she might be bred every year until she is barren or dead.  I know she is getting the best care at Lane’s End.  I know it is a beautiful place.  But she used to have some autonomy.  John Shirreffs would often let her decide when to go out to graze or when to go inside. (Now, she has to follow protocols.)  All that human interaction, I’m sure, helped develop her expressive eye and personality.  And I wonder what might be lost…

Sherpa, if you are reading this, I really enjoyed your horse dialogs.  Funny and creative with undertones of black humor that communicated some of the concerns I'm feeling.

This has been a great blog.  I have read every single post and thank everyone for expressing their love for the horse in general and in particular for Queen Zenyatta.  Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all and special warm wishes to Zenyatta’s fans.  You are a testament to love and loyalty. Thank you again to Steve Haskin for writing with such heart. And thank you Zenyatta; I wish you happiness, good health and good fortune.

18 Dec 2010 12:55 AM
Mike Relva

ALEX'S BIGFAN

No problem. AAF hates Zenyatta,I posted recently he has far more problems than trying to cash a ticket with his hatred for this horse.

18 Dec 2010 10:43 AM
Bigtex

I guess there's a reason God's word says, "...faith, hope, and love, with the greatest of these, love."

There's nothing more special than a relationship of love and, for some of us, horses really fill our cup.  They can't talk but we love their "dance" of communication with us.  They hear that familiar voice at 5:00 am and out pops that magnificent head saying, "I'm hungry."

The sight of another horse rolls up beside them and they drop the ears, lengthen the stride and strain for victory.

They hear praise and prance.  See fields and want to "RUN"!  Yearlings want to bite and bump and play.

They want to nudge us and nicker and tell us they love us.

LIke us humans, we know they want to feel significant and feel secure.  They're family.  Any injury or breakdown is devastating to our soul.  They cry out, "help me."

Zenyatta just so happened to be personality plus and her athleticism gave us visions of a hero coming to save the day.

It's like Zenyatta says, "Mr. and Mrs. Moss, John, Dottie......thank you for taking care of me, loving me, feeding me, cherishing me.  For that, I track, and stalk, and rate, and build up steam and accelerate and give you an amazing rush from the outside and at just the right time, begin to fly.  I fly to the finish to win, I desire to compete and I get the victory.  For you, I win.  For you, I want to please.....because I see you smile and happy when I do....because you loved me."

How can you not love horses!

Thank you, Steve, for your transparency and your heart.  

18 Dec 2010 12:00 PM
sherpa

Steve, I think the least we owe you is to take this blog over 500 comments (if you're game).  Yup, that's what *I* think! :-)

We're at 494 as I type.

maryann727 - your comment at 18 Dec 2010 12:55 AM was a lovely read; and I thank you for your kind reference to the dialog I posted.  Yes, I too am very concerned about Zen's future in all the ways expressed by countless commenters here & in other blogs.  Not to mention, it seems such a waste of her star-power when the industry is so much in need of Stars.  

In the end, we all want what's best for Zenyatta.  But as Mr. Haskin said, as echoed by so many:

"Why am I worried about her being on a breeding farm without the human contact and adoring crowds that became such a major part of her life? Why do I actually feel she is going to miss John Shirreffs and Mario Espinoza and Steve Willard, and Dottie Shirreffs, and the Mosses, and everyone else who has fed her large doses of love over the years?" ... and therein lies the root of our concern.

18 Dec 2010 12:23 PM
zenyatta mondatta

maryann727,   Yes, We all enjoy Steve's writings about the queen. When Steve shifts away and writes about other things their is still a way you can communicate to Zenyatta on a daily basis.  Zenyatta 's  owners have given us all a special website just for Zenyatta and her fans,  Every day each and every diary post of hers gets about 200 responses.  Now, thats amazing.   If you havent yet, then go check it out , you will absolutley love it.  Most of her fans adore it.  We get to hear about her on a daily basis.  Every horse owner ought to be so freaking caring for their fans and horses.  Here is the link,

www.Zenyatta.com

We are waiting for diary post #34 anyime now.

18 Dec 2010 12:25 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Needler

   I like that. The Chief. Good title for Chief Haskin, in the land of Haskinites. Glad you're off the couch. Would like to see the long, long, long suffering Cub fans get one.

Deacon

     Perfect game is perfect !!! I was thrilled just to sell him a six pack of beer at the store I was working at in college. Beck's beer.

Alex'sBigFan and Mike Relva

     Thanks for clearing that up. Merry Christmas.

Zenyatta

    Merry Christmas, you are in our hearts and minds. Please find some joy to celebrate on Christmas. That's the gift we want.

18 Dec 2010 1:01 PM
Dani

Hi Maryann 727 -

I have had some of the same thoughts and concerns as you have regarding Zenyatta's new life. When I saw the first photos and videos of her at LE I was a bit upset. I'm no expert on horse behaviour, and maybe I was just projecting, but she seemed very lost, confused and a little unhappy. Of course she was just settling in. Through her website, which Dottie Shirreffs just does a fabulous job on - I think making it sound like it's Z's words is a great idea for fans - and from the updated photos and videos, I feel better and more assured that she is happy.

Like you said, Lane's End is affording her great care. But for both of us and many others, the question indeed of what might be lost with this new life which may have more protocol and not as much autonomy nor the constant human interaction she was use to, is worrisome.

I have to believe though, that the Mosses and the Shirreffs still have a hand and a say in Zenyatta's way of life.  I know that John is updated on more than a daily basis as to what Z is doing at any given moment. If anyone knows what this very special horse needs to thrive, it is John Shirreffs and I may be naive but I just believe he has some great say in how Zenyatta's schedule and interactions go.

The thing I look forward to for her the most, in this new life, is that moment when she is let go into the paddock unhampered. I envision her grazing for long, long, hours and soaking up the sun and enjoying the company of other mares. Kicking up her heels and running like there is no tomorrow. Her mane and her tail flying fast and free. That spirit of hers unfettered. This scene brings such a smile to my face.

I don't know how Lane's End is going to handle her fan day visits. How close one will be able to get; how much time can be spent gazing at her. For an operation like LE, which is not one of the easier farms to visit to begin with, it may be a big task.  But again, I still think it will be made to work out so that Z will still hear and feel the love that her fans have for her. And heaven knows, those that take care of her now, have no doubt already fallen in love with her and shower her with the affection she felt back at Barn 55.

As far as the broodmare part of the equation goes, I think with her personality and the intense amount of kindness, gentleness and intelligence she has, she will enjoy motherhood and be incredible at it. I hope of course she does not end up foal after foal after foal. Again I choose to believe that the Mosses and the Shirreffs will not let that happen if it in any way is detrimental to her health or happiness.

Though I worry as she enters this new life I am also happy for her because I think she is so special of a horse, so intelligent and intuitive, with such a big heart, that she will thrive and be happy and spread happiness wherever she is.

Zenyatta is the most miraculous horse to come along, ever. Those who love her will remain ever vigilant of this and will never allow for her to know anything but a life of happiness and love.

18 Dec 2010 1:44 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

On the first day of Christmas a Haskinite gave to me a Partridge in a Pear Tree. On the twelfth day of Christmas a Haskinite gave to me 500 Zenyattaholics beautiful prose, 499 reminders of great Haskin quotes from 2010 and why we love him so, 498 testaments of love for a special lady dancing, 497 nostalgic posts of love and loyalty, 496 recollections of The Queen, 495 memories of why we love Zenyatta forever, 494 observations that gave me renewed faith in the world, 493 hopes that Zenyatta will love frolicking in the snow, 492 posts of why we love this game, 491 commemorations of the joy of posting blogs, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree. Merry Christmas Everyone.

18 Dec 2010 3:34 PM
Peggy

SunnyFarm Thanks for the Cherokee prayer and it's good to have you posting on this blog.  May the rainbow always touch your shoulder too.

Alex's Big Fan  When I complimented your conversation between the boys as being from the male point of view I meant the stallions, not you.  Hope you didn't take offense.  I do have a hard time telling the gender of some people though so could've made that mistake.

18 Dec 2010 5:13 PM
Matthew W

I'm not a Haskinite I'm a hanger!

18 Dec 2010 10:31 PM
Matthew W

Steve, it has been said history is written by the victors--well then, racing history is written by the racing writers--Zenyatta is a horse like no other--there are so many dimentions, and layers of her story--so much that I believe she will be the subject of many books--just that final week, you can write a book---that horse will endure--for centuries, Zenyatta will abide--despite the snub of snubs to have never set foot in New York, and I mean that--why not the Personal Ensign, where she would've faced Rachel Alexandra and won once and for all--that would have really set the Breeders Cup stage--too bad, I think they lost sight of who they were to the sport--Saratoga called to them, if not in reality, in spirit, but I wasn't there, so I don't know the reasoning, I think that should've been called for in public--I'm thinking they were trying to protect their unbeaten streak but 1 1/4 vs fillies for Zenyatta, I don't care who was in there, Busher, Personal Ensign or even Ruffian, Zenyatta at 1 1/4 I would take her vs any filly, so in that respect, I think they should have gone--for racing, I said earlier, as big as the Breeders Cup is, Saratoga trumped even that, as far as racing itself goes, and Zenyatta, being one of/if not the best female horse--should have gone there--a disadvantage, I know, to make three roadies cross country--perhaps, though, she would've become more acclimated to the kick back, and not lost (at least) six lengths when she was hit square in the chops with a dirt clod, in the Classic...racing karma, maybe, but that, (N Y snub) was the ONLY thing I lament about Zenyatta's career--never will I expect to ever see anything close to her closing kick--never again, she was that good....

18 Dec 2010 10:49 PM
Aluminaut

It is raining hard in Los Angeles right now.  Let's see how Santa Anita's new dirt track hold up for training.  

Zenyatta is sleeping now in Kentucky and all is calm. Good-night Steve and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.  

18 Dec 2010 11:36 PM
Kirsten

Please don't stop writing Zenyatta articles Steve! I am constantly searching for new articles and any updates on Zenyatta.  I too worry about her in Kentucky and wonder how she is doing on a daily basis. I was one of the many fans who spent time with Zenyatta at Churchill Downs the day after the Breeder's Cup.  She has a part of my heart forever and I am so grateful for her, words cannot even begin to describe it.

19 Dec 2010 8:51 AM
merrywriter

I was so disgusted with the nay-sayers I stopped reading Bloodhorse. The fact that "the Zenyatta reservoir is a lot deeper than I thought," is typical of the inside of the industry - run by men. The fact that you reluctantly admit iindustry? - an industry that needs to be influenced for its own good.

If you go to Zenyatta's blog on her website, you will find that most of the responders are female.  When "testosterone poisoning" (Alan Alda's term) is taken out of the equation it is mainly the females who first understand interspecies communication - and that is exactly what Zenyatta did with her high head and ears pricked, she communicated with people.  

Working for the welfare of elephants, I have come to know them as individuals.  If they love you they are more like dogs who will follow you anywhere - especially for bananas.  The eyes tell almost all, as well as the smiles.  They are so smart that if and when someone does an  experiment of picking out from a picture 1 or 10 bananas, I know they have the smarts to pick the picture with 10.  The point here is that, as any animal lover knows, animals like to communicate with us when they like us (or snarl when they don't).  And Zenyatta communicated.

Adoration?  This is nothing new in the racing industry.  I would think you of all people, Steve,  would know of it.  There was a time when people lined the railroad tracks of town after town as Seabiscuit shipped across country just to glimpse his rail car, and his connections would stop, open the door and people would see the great little horse for their own eyes and never forget it. Big Red, Man O War and Dan Patch also come to mind.

Seabiscuit was the horse in horse racing in the 30s.  People are always looking for hero(ine)s - sports being an original source, rock stars newer.  

Zenyatta has put the horse back in horse racing.  That the industry wouldn't recognize this is not only blindness, but just plain stupidity for their own marketing.  They are myopic on the subject of purses and betting when if they were promoting the horse, the object of their desire would easily follow.

To gain back the eyes of (potential) supporters every year should have a horse in horse racing.  Curlin comes to mind, he too should have been a household name.  One thing done right: the Zenyatta sign put up by the Dodgers saying "This is My Town, Dodgertown"  Cross recognition of accomplishment of athletes puts the "good sport" back into sports.

If the racing power that be don't elect Zenyatta HOTY, they will loose the new fans they gained.  The fans may not know much about racing, but like fans of the past, they know a great horse when they see one, and they will not understand the lack of recognition.  Zen deserves it for all the right reasons - her  athleticism and her publicity for the sport.  

Y'all have only this one chance left to get it right.

19 Dec 2010 1:00 PM
merrywriter

Alex'sBigFan: Woo Bloody Hoo!

You noticed my naming of Zenny's kids: Curlatta, if a girl; and Zenlin, if a boy - and continue to post them on blogs/Facebook in hopes the seed will bear fruit with the Mosses.  

I've been advocating these names since even before Curlin was put to stud - on Bloodhorse blogs too, but no one was impressed.

I love it when all a fan has to do is look at a horse's name and be able to figure out their lineage - very practical - even for betting.

Love your comments and stories BTW.

19 Dec 2010 1:46 PM
merrywriter

@ BLOODHORSE Tech Dept.

Surely you have noticed the popularity of this blog, and others - please put in a Like "button" as with Facebook, and a Dislike "button" which Facebook refuses to do.

Listen to your customers, they do your product research for you.

19 Dec 2010 1:51 PM
Livesoutwest

Hey, Zenyatta fans.  If you never saw this special edition published by Throughbred Times, it makes a nice memento.  Worth printing out if you have a color printer:

www.thoroughbredtimes.com/media/pdfs/Zenyatta.pdf

19 Dec 2010 8:16 PM
Michelle

Look at this campaign

2002 Horse of the Year - Azeri (Filly)

At Four (2002)

1st. Breeders' Cup Distaff, G1

1st. Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap, G1

1st. Apple Blossom Handicap, G1

1st. Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap, G1

1st. Vanity Handicap, G1

1st. Clement L. Hirsch Handicap, G2

1st. Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap, G2

2nd. La Canada Stakes, G2

19 Dec 2010 10:45 PM
Deacon

Alex'sBigFan:

My pleasure, I love the breeding aspect of the game. So many knowledgeable people trying to find the right formula to find themselves a Zenyatta or a Seattle Slew. My dad knew a few trainers back in the day, Robert Wheeler for one. Mr. Wheeler trained Silver Spoon and a pretty good grass horse named Quilche, among others. Always loved horse racing and the good lord blessed me with a good memory. even in my 60's I still remember the glory days.

needler in Virginia:

I know what you mean about the Dodgers, I have heard it before. I became a Dodger fan in the late 50's. Since I am from California, I do feel your pain about the Brooklyn Dodgers and the great players from that era. We lost the Los Angeles Rams to St. Louis in the 1990's.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all............

20 Dec 2010 12:24 AM
Linda in Texas

Last checked the blog when Maryann727 posted at 12:55 AM on the 16th. Figured this one had been put to rest to give Steve a rest.

Devoted as i am, i checked bright and early today, the 20th and Steve had snuck back into where he has his computer hidden, and added a few more comments.

So, that said, i don't want to be a spoil sport, so here is my 2 cents.

Dr. D. a horse with a name you would love, won the Bill S race at Aqueduct on Dec. 15, his name - - -

Goombada Guska, 3 year old out of

Yonaguska and Soomada Byda Sea !

Don't know why i thought of you, but i did. Sort of reminded me of a name that Rodney Dangerfield would have come up with to see if his audience was still awake !!

Anyway, good for Goombada Guska, a New Jersey Born to boot.

And also, great for Mike Repole on his latest winner, Calibrachoa in the Gravesend.

Hope everyone enjoys the week leading up to Christmas and I hope all your wishes come true for everything that your hearts desire.

Seeing so many new old names is refreshing. Steve just keeps gathering more faithfuls with each new article.

Merry Christmas - Steve and Family, Deacon, Dr. Drunkinbum, Zoo, Slew, Sue, Paula Higgins, Sherpa, Cynthia R.,Needler in Virginia, Aluminaut, Matthew W., Dani,Peggy,longtimeracingfan, GaryTasich,MikeRelva,BigTex,Alex'sBigFan,alltheLisa's,txhorsefan,criminaltype,BarbaraW.,sodapopkid,Livesoutwest,merrywriter, Sunny Farm, (loved the Cherokee Prayer),Zenyatta,John and Dottie Sherriffs,MikeSmith,The Mosses et al, and the list goes on. All of these names and so many more make me a happy camper every day. Thank you for being so positive and sharing your knowledge. It is refreshing and muchly appreciated.

But especially and above all else, my heart goes to every horse foaled that they be kept as close and safe as all of our beloved favorites are. And not to be forgotten, Merry Christmas to Rachel Alexandra,where ever she is.

Safe and happy trails to all!!

P.S. Watch the Lunar Eclipse tonight after midnight EST. Last one was 456 years ago.

Thanks Steve, you are the best.

20 Dec 2010 12:02 PM
Aluminaut

Sweet merrywriter,

Please lay off the Curlin-Zenyatta breeding push. If you get a chance, go look at their pedigrees.

Zenyatta's Great Grand Dad (sire) is Curlin's Grand Dad (sire).  Please keep me from making politically incorrect regional jokes that Steve has to ban or delete:)

20 Dec 2010 3:00 PM
Soldier Course

Michelle:

Re Azeri's campaign leading up to her 2002 HOTY win. Now, isn't that interesting?

20 Dec 2010 3:57 PM
Ann Maree

Steve, thanks for sharing your personal thoughts and experience with Zenyatta-magic dust! It is such a boost to have you as a very seasoned writer and racing insider to validate what we feel for this horse, that we aren't a deranged bunch of nutcases. In actual fact, I have come to understand that it's the hard hearted naysayers who act like the nut jobs they often accuse us of being....I call it Zen-O-Phobia! I really do pity those who have shut their hearts off from her magic.

Loved the video of your visit with her at CD in November.

May you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

20 Dec 2010 4:56 PM
Ann Maree

I have a P.S. which you and your fans will appreciate.

In a racing forum, discussing HOTY, AnnL said...

Enlightenment?? let's ask a higher authority :o)

God looked at the cuppy Churchill surface and said to horse racing and HOY voters "you call that dirt? It looks suspiciously different than a week ago. Doesn’t look like what Belmont or Saratoga calls dirt. How’d the rail get so dead? Trying to force someone wide? I talked with Evening Jewel and Blind Luck and they said not a thing like what they ran on in the Oaks."

God asked "Are you telling me that because her humans chose not to run her back East, you doubt her talent? Are you telling me that because she is a she, you doubt her worth and she has to prove it over and over? Are you telling me when you prayed for help saving your sport and I sent you her, that she did not draw thousands more to your sport? Are you telling me that because she is the most talented horse to come along in decades but doesn't fit the criteria you deem necessary for her to receive your award, even though there is no criteria set in stone, you aren't smart enough to change the criteria like you did last year when the winner didn't even show up for the Classic? Remember that? Remember the year before and a horse who lost many more than just the Classic? Or remember what you did for John Henry once?

God said "I thought you wanted help saving horse racing but you don't want to change anything.  You want it to stay the same even though staying the same is dooming the sport.

Now I’m telling you something.

I sent you the answer to your prayers. She charmed the world while proving she was the best of her species, had people who loved her and did not pump her full of drugs.

I’m telling you, your sport is looking a literal gift horse in the mouth and said "well yeah but does she do windows'. Sad, limited thinking!

"She is Zenyatta and more people than you've seen in a long time turned out to see her run and bet on her and did not care where or what surface.

I built her, they came and you don’t blow it, experts of horse racing, don't blow it. That's all I've got to say."

Amen!

20 Dec 2010 5:18 PM
Aluminaut

Linda in Texas,

Thanks for the Christmas wishes.  I very much enjoy reading your posts also.

20 Dec 2010 7:32 PM
Deacon

Matthew W:

        May I respectfully add to your post that Personal Ensign who many consider to be one the top 2 or 3 female race horses of all time never ran outside of New York, nor did she ever beat the colts. Ruffian never beat colts either but in my book Ruffian was the standard. I think she wins the match race against Foolish Pleasure if she doesn't break down. So now Zenyatta came along, and guess what she destroys PE's record and now is considered by many the new standard.  I am certainly no expert when it comes to "who is best & who isn't" but  beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder.

By the way if a person is not a Haskinite, but a Hanger, then what exactly are they?  Just curious....

Linda in Texas:  Merry Christmas to you and your family as well, love your posts...........

20 Dec 2010 8:33 PM
Jenna M

Have you seen her romping in the snow??

www.drf.com/.../photos-zenyatta-play-her-lanes-end-paddock

20 Dec 2010 8:38 PM
Alex'sBigFan

The Mosses are there at Lane's End today, thank God!  What a great Christmas present for Zenyatta to see her family.  If I was Ann I could not bear to leave.  Mario is there too!  How cute!  Zen must be so happy.  I just pray she never ever has to feel abandonment.

Deacon,

I put some info on my friend, Mr. Rob Whiteley in my comment on Ms. Anderson's article.  It was mostly for you since you love the breeding.  Rob has a PHD in English and Psychology and rated as one of America's top 20 breeders.  Bred El Corredor, Roman Ruler, Henny Hughes, Champagne D'Oro, etc.  He is well published in TDN and Bloodhorse and some of his articles on breeding and saving the industry are so great you have to read them.  His website is LiberatonFarm.com and the articles are listed on it.  Let me know what you think.

Merrywriter,

Yes I did notice your names.  Very creative and clever!  I love naming thoroughbreds too.  Like I probably would have named Zenyatta, "La Rue Verte", la rue in French meaning street for Street Sense, and the verte prefix from Vertigineux meaning green, or Green Street.  But I love her name Zenyatta and would not change it for anything in the world!

Dr. D.,

You are certainly living up to your position in the Kingdom (or Queendom, for the land is still kingless) with your song about the 12 days of Christmas.  Priceless!

And we have a new member, a "Hanger" not a Haskinite, how cute was that, I think it was Matthew!!!!!  So now we have Hangers, and Haskinites and Chief Haskin!!!!

20 Dec 2010 11:31 PM
maryann727

To sherpa, zenyatta mondatta & Dani.  Thank you for your responses to my post.  Below are notes to each of you. I hope the blog is still open so they get posted.

sherpa, thank you for what you wrote in response to my post.  I was truly touched that you described it as “a lovely read.”  And once again you move me emotionally.  I am so in snyc with what you wrote: “it seems such a waste of her star-power when the industry is so much in need of Stars.” and  “…and therein lies the root of our concern.”

I knew I had fallen “in love” with Zenyatta but I did not know the depth of my feeling.  Never before have I worried after a favorite horse was retired to a breeding farm.  I often lamented that they were retired too soon but I knew they would be well cared for and accepted that this was the next chapter.  With Zenyatta, it has surprised me, how concerned I am and it gives me some comfort to know that I am not alone.

zenyatta mondatta, thank you for the info about Zenyatta.com.  I just read post #34 (I admit I was disappointed that ‘Zen’ wrote she will never be ridden again) and also #35 & #36.  There is such sweetness to the writing and one can almost believe that it is Zen as scribe.  (Must write that I do have a predilection for Steve Haskin’s poetic prose.) I agree with you that Z’s blog shows immense caring for fans and I think the sport of racing would be improved if such caring was more widespread.  BTW, your screen name is so perfect for a Zenyatta-nista!  It goes without saying I have enjoyed your posts about her.

 Dani, what a positive uplifting post about what Zenyatta’s new life might be.  With all my heart I hope your instincts are right.  “Her mane and her tail flying fast and free. That spirit of hers unfettered.” – with those words you painted such a joyous sight. How I love the image of ‘unfettered freedom’.  Thank you for letting us know that John Shirreffs is being updated daily or more.  I have such admiration for him as a trainer and person.  The cover story about him in the BH, “Zen Master” enhanced my appreciation and I hope he is a part of Zen’s life for as long as she lives.  Perfect that you write, “Zenyatta is the most miraculous horse to come along, ever.”  And those who love her must assure that she continues to enjoy the best because she certainly experienced the best racing life!

Joy to all.

21 Dec 2010 1:33 AM
GunBow

Steve, I also find it amazing that at a time when thoroughbred racing desperately needs more fans, some within the industry are so desperate to critique and "correct" the so-called Zenyatta zealots.  

True, not all of the "zealots" act with class and grace, but the majority are good folk who just happen to be extrememly passionate about a particular horse.  Again, what's the problem with passion?  

Some of the critics, it seems to me, say they have no problem with fans being passionate, but they believe Zenyatta is not worthy of such extreme passion because, in their opinion, she is not a true "great", a top 10 or 20 all-time horse.  But even if one accepts their argument that Zenyatta is not the equal of a Secretariat, I still don't see why they have chosen to spend so much time trying to "educate" the "zealots" as to why Zenyatta is not deserving of such effusive praise.  Given the state of thoroughbred racing, does it really matter what motivates passion as long as we at least have some passion?

I have only followed the sport for 20 years.  However, having lived in California and the Upper Midwest, I have been able to see most of the top horses of this era run in person.  In some mythical race, do I believe Zenyatta would crush horses like Sunday Silence, Cigar, Skip Away, Best Pal, Silver Charm, Tiznow, Curlin, Invasor, Point Given, Gentlemen, and others?  No.  

The appeal of Zenyatta, however, was never just about what she did between the start and finish of a race, even though she was simply outstanding during such time periods.  Rather, Zenyatta brought awe-inspiring size and grace, a captivating charisma, as well as  individualism, in the form of dancing, prancing, and posing, that transcended the normal boundaries of the sport.

For all the criticsm California sports fans receive, some warranted, the California thoroughbred fan is without question one of the more passionate.  In my time in the sport, few horses in the entire country have generated the popular support as strong as that created by Best Pal or Lava Man in California.  In the time between those two horses, there was also Silver Charm, Free House, and Tiznow, each of which developed a strong following.

As passionate as California fans were about Best Pal and Lava Man, it really does pale in comparison to the passion directed towards Zenyatta.  What is more, Zenyatta, unlike Best Pal and Lava Man, was able to extend such passion beyond the borders of California.  Just this past week, the hosts of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption referred to the San Diego Chargers' tendency to start the season slow but finish strongly as pulling "a Zenyatta".  

While I have gone to some lengths to validate Zenyatta "zealots" by  pointing out Zenyatta's off-track appeal, I would be remiss not to stress just how amazing Zenyatta's racing accomplishments were.  If one remembers, when Zenyatta crossed the wire in the 2008 Ladies Classic, Trevor Denman was already describing her as "undoubtedly a living legend"; think how much she accomplished after that!  

With the 08' Ladies Classic win, Zenyatta became a champion and a racing star.  With her amazing 09' Classic win, Zenyatta rose to being an elite champion and sports star.  With the conclusion of the 10' season, Zenyatta became an all-timer, as well as a star among the general public.  

21 Dec 2010 3:22 AM
Karen2

Did anyone see the pictures of Zen frolicking around in the pasture in Kentucky? WOW..she looks splendid and very, very happy. Need not worry about the "frozen" tundra. She seems to be adapting quite well.

21 Dec 2010 9:54 AM
Livesoutwest

Deacon,

You may not have meant to, but please don't denigrate one of my favorite horses, Personal Ensign in order to praise the virtues of Zenyatta.  First of all, Zenyatta doesn't need it, her fine record of accomplishment speaks for itself.  And I do think she beats Personal Ensign if they raced at their peaks.  Ruffian is the only female horse that I think would possibly beat Zenyatta in a non-match race at over 1 1/8 miles.

But Personal Ensign did beat colts, including a BC winner in the Whitney.  She also won in New Jersey and scored her biggest victory at Churchill Downs over a Kentucky Derby winner to close out an undefeated career.  And while Zenyatta did exceed PE's victory total, I don't think it's accurate to say she "destroyed" her record, as Zenyatta had a target to shoot at and stayed in training longer to achieve it.  And nothing wrong with that, I wish more owners felt that way.  But it's kind of like saying Barry Bonds destroyed Hank Aaron's home run record.  If Babe Ruth had hit more home runs, I don't doubt Aaron would have extended his career and hit more home runs himself to top his record.

No problem with showering praise on Zenyatta, but please not at the expense of another Hall of Fame great.

21 Dec 2010 5:32 PM
Mary Ann W in Louisville

You nailed it!  Zenyatta is the essence of sheer beauty.  She stands for what is good in the world.  We humans always want to believe the good in everyone and everything.  Zenyatta allows us to do that.

21 Dec 2010 6:13 PM
Mike Relva

LINDA IN TX

Thanks,Merry Xmas to you.

21 Dec 2010 6:38 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Linda in Texas

   Thanks for the Merry Christmas wish !!!!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you. Be safe, and at peace and I'll see you here next year. Thanks for all of your beautiful posts and words of wisdom through the year. You are a leader in teaching about animal care and that means alot to us. You always have kind things to say which we are grateful for. I have great respect and admiration for you.

21 Dec 2010 7:37 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Everyone- It's coming up to Santa Anita time, then Gulfstream, and all of the Triple Crown Preps. I may not be posting much until Steve's Derby Dozen but I wanted to thank everyone that posts here, and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. Be safe and come back in 2011 with your words of wisdom and insight.

Steve Haskin

    I can't even describe what a joy you have been this year. Thanks for your extremely hard work in making this a special place to be without riff-raff. Your official anti-venom spewing machine, and your official anti- riff-raff device are working out very nicely. Have a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.

Zookeeper

   A special thanks to you for all you have done to further the cause of blogging with dignity, truth, and justice. A very Merry Christmas, success at SA, and Happy New Year to you.

21 Dec 2010 7:45 PM
Jenna M

OMG, Z running and romping in the snow!  With all of her loved ones there. How I wish Mario could visit with her on a regular basis. Finger's crossed. Much thanks to the Mosses. Anne seems so enamored of Z :)))

www.bloodhorse.com/.../7BA0A106-8A93-4BDD-A926-78F30706DDD7

21 Dec 2010 11:11 PM
Deacon

Livesoutwest:

            I didn't denigrate PE, I thought she was a great mare. I merely pointed out that she never won outside of New York. I guess I considered New Jersey an extension of New York. As far as beating colts you are right, I forgot about that race. I also said that she is considered one of the top 2 or 3 mares of all time. With respect, I do not see how you felt I was dissing on her. I am very respectful of all horses on these blogs and I do not ever slam another person's views unless of course your name is Draynay, who is somewhat ridiculous. Sorry if I offended you. PE's race against Winning Colors is an all time classic............

21 Dec 2010 11:50 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Steve

   I'm thrilled. Finally some sanity in the world. Congratulations on the Best Blog award. You deserved it, and you earned it. Merry Christmas.

22 Dec 2010 4:15 PM
Michelle

Merry Christmas to everyone!  I don't come here as often as a lot of you do so I am a bit of an "outsider" still.  I enjoy Steve's blogs because of all of you regulars who have such nice positive things to say.  We can comment without someone calling us an idiot because we love Zenyatta.  The haters to me are just like politicians who distort the facts and edit/leave out information to make their point.  To them it doesn't matter what the truth is.  I just don't understand the hatred towards such a beautiful horse.  I love them all, they are all beautiful to me.

22 Dec 2010 8:16 PM
Donna from Baltimore

Steve -

Thanks for being one of the enlightened ones (sports writers who can see how special Zenyatta is.)

My name is Donna and I am a Zenyattaholic!

22 Dec 2010 8:27 PM
stacie

she is just so amazing not only because of her brillant racing, her stunning good looks and her mamny other qualities...she is so amazing because she made us humble.

Zenyatta reminded us of passion , love, commitment and how to win and lose in a peacefulgraceful way. she epotomized all the truly great potential in all beings.

please Steve never stiop talking about her.

23 Dec 2010 9:33 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Michelle

   You're an "insider." Merry Christmas and thanks for the fabulous comments. I concur 100%.

23 Dec 2010 11:52 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Deacon

  Stan laurel crying. The guy in the stands with his mouth open and his hand on his head, stunned at Willie May's catch in the 54 Series, Dwight Clark's "The Catch", Kirk Gibson's pinch hit home run against the A's, Red Sox beating the Yankees four straight, the 1980 Oympic Hockey win and so on and so forth. Shock, tears of joy, and amazement watching Zenyatta race or frolick in the snow.

23 Dec 2010 11:57 AM
Dani

To Linda in Texas - thank you for the kind mention. I've always enjoyed your posts as they are full of wisdom, thoughtfulness and kindness as well. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and the best in the new year as well.

To Maryann 727 - After the recent video and all the new photos of Zenyatta with friends, with her new paddock mate and mostly of her running with that squeal of delight, I think my prayers have been answered - that she is very happy and none of the playfulness, joy, love of people and great spirit of mind have been lost as she makes this transition in life. I think she just loves life plain and simple.

My best wishes to all of the very nice people who post on this site. It has been wonderful to be a part of such a special group.  And of course to be under the kind, clever and unparalleled leadership of Mr. Haskin. Happy holidays and the best of times for all of us in 2011.  

23 Dec 2010 1:24 PM
sherpa

The Bloodhorse couldn't have gifted us with anything more appreciated than the video of Zenyatta, running free, in her paddock.  (Viewing it full-screen will blow you away! :-)

The video has done much to alleviate our concerns for her, as I'm sure the Connections intended.  I'll still be sorry to see her lose her "maidenly figure" next year; but I truly believe that Zenyatta WILL be one of the few important race-mares to successfully pass on the Greatness Gene to her foals.  The choice of stallion for her will be tricky. I'm in agreement with those who say that none currently standing is worthy of her.  Man O'War or Secretariat, maybe.  lol  But I've trusted her Connections in all things Zenyatta, so I will trust them in their decision about this, too.

Steve, you've encouraged a sense of true "community" here and no other turf-writer/blogger comes close in our eyes and hearts.  You really are the Best and it's a happiness that you've been recognized as such.

To all the folks who come here and share their thoughts and wisdom, their caring hearts, their stories, their joy and their tears, I just want to say how much you've enriched my life.  I feel blessed to have "met" you.  Every one of you.  I wish you all the very happiest of Holidays, however you celebrate them, and Joy in the New Year and always.  

sherpa

23 Dec 2010 7:28 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Congratulations, Steve on your award.  No one is more deserving.  You are the Rembrandt and Picasso of turf writing.  Now if only NJ would change the name of the "Haskell Invitational" to the "Haskin Invitational" since you "home base" from Monmouth frequently that would be great!  I know Bob Baffert would vote yes!

Thank you for the Abigail Anderson post, so informative and brilliant.

Sherpa, don't worry, there aren't many worthy suitors but really Alex is.  He has the same disposition and awareness as Zenyatta.  Alex had a great human awareness and affinity from birth.  His dam, Maggy Hawk, could not produce milk, so Alex was baby bottle fed by the breeder's little 10 yr. old daughter for a few weeks until a nurse mare could be brought in to Florida.  Alex loved children and was so gentle around them always.  He barely turned a hair in the post parade at Belmont, I took photos, he didnt' even flinch,, and it was 90 degrees in '05.  He had a website long before Zenyatta's much the same with a voice and stories.  He was trained an unorthodox "twice a day" unheard of by trainers and Tim Ritchey was ridiculed for it.  Turned out Tim Ritchey really knew his horse.  And he (Alex) was voted in Sports Illustrated for being one of the 25 most amazing animals ever, mostly due to his amazing recovery in the Preakness that year, going down almost to his knees to the Pimlico soil, then recovering for him and Jeremy to fly past Scrappy T, the culprit of the incident, to a resounding victory.  He has that "look of eagles" that poster, blogger Ron in Abigail's response blog mentioned, I saw it.  I know Alex is my favorite but he is truly worthy of a Queen.  He is one of the last of the ironhorses with the right demeanor.  Hope he is one of the suitor choices.

I feel so much more at ease and couldn't have received a better Christmas gift than the video of Zenyatta frolicking and bucking in the snow!  Yes, Karen, as you noted, no need for us to worry about her running on the frozen tundra.  She is being a true champion and handling any surface given to her!  Thank you to Lane's End, Bloodhorse, her Connections for that video.  I lost it when the video got to Mario and her interaction with him and the tears just flowed.  She seems like a happy horse and most happy to see her family.  Her happiness has to be paramount.  I have a feeling her greatness isn't over, she may transcend breeding as well.  All the best to everyone for a happy and healthy new year and I look forward to Steve's blogs in 2011.

23 Dec 2010 11:49 PM
txhorsefan

Amazing!  I haven't checked into this blog because I've been busy reading the letter/essay from Abigail and all the responses there, so I thought this article had stopped posting or something.  Boy, was I wrong!!  I've just spent almost an hour reading all the comments for the last week and once more I am overwhelmed by how interesting, entertaining, educational and inspiring it is to be associated with all of you.  Each of you brings something so special to this blog, this wonderful life we have in Haskinville, as Haskinites or Hangers or whatever we are.  Rather than babble on, I wanted to take this chance to say how much all of you have enhanced my life by sharing of yourselves through this forum, this bond we have in our respect and admiration for Steve and in our love for Zenyatta.  Thank you all.  I hope you all will have a very Merry Christmas, if that is the holiday you celebrate and I hope that you all will have the very best in the New Year.  I am still celebrating the joy in my heart at the images of Zenyatta romping in her paddock.  I feel so blessed.

24 Dec 2010 9:39 PM
txhorsefan

Hope this isn't completely inappropriate, but  I wanted to share that I got a workout notice on Zookeeper's Runflatout and he was l/36 at the distance - woohoo!  I've already forgotten the fractions but it was five furlongs and I'm so happy for her that he's doing so well.  Merry Christmas!

25 Dec 2010 9:10 PM
Jenna M

Lose her 'maidenly figure.' :(

26 Dec 2010 5:47 PM
sherpa

aww, Jenna, I'm sorry I made you frown.  Here's what I look at when I start fretting about the loss of Zen's perfect "waistline":

cs.bloodhorse.com/.../the-sweet-life-cont.aspx

This is Sweet Life, 16-yo dam of champions Life is Sweet & Sweet Catomine, 2009 Broodmare of the Year, photographed by Anne Eberhardt in August.  Note how solid she is, her kind eye and noble bearing.  She is a product of outstanding breeding and is very much aware of herself, as is Zenyatta.  This is how I imagine our Zenny 10 years from now.  Nothing to frown about, eh?

txhorsefan - thanks for the mention of Rfo's work!  Woohoo indeed!!

26 Dec 2010 9:44 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Factor era has begun. The Great Bob Baffert has a really good one. This is going to be exciting. Dirt Road To The Derby Again. Did you see that stride !!!! Woohoo !!!! Derby Fever. Somebody please get me a couple of aspirin and a glass of water. Fast.

28 Dec 2010 11:29 AM
Jenna M

@ Sherpa.

But I keep whining about the same subject. Constantly in foal.  I read that she could be bred every single year...for years. I must not understand when people say this is the life she deserves. I think she's got more to give.

I've seen sad horses and would hate to think she would become sad.

28 Dec 2010 4:27 PM
maryann727

To Dani, The note from you was a surprise.  When I saw the video of Zenyatta running with "unfettered freedom" within a day or two of your using those words, it did seem a good omen.  How wonderful seeing her run, made better because her Team Z was there too.  She possesses such a special spirit and character.

To Jenna M. - I share your concerns.  Sweet Life @ 16 does look fabulous and that was good to see.

Happy New Year to all.    

29 Dec 2010 11:28 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

There hasn't been anything posted here from this entire year. I hope all is well in Haskinville. I wonder when the Derby Dozen starts. I sense an extremely exciting Triple Crown season with all of the top runners making it into the Derby gate healthy as a horse. Woohoo !!!!!!!!

03 Jan 2011 1:07 AM
Debbie1948

Zenyatta Big Fan!

03 Jan 2011 9:54 AM
mag

Finally got around to reading this article.  Well said.  I totally understand....been there.  I still follow all new about Z on FB. and any other media I can find.  Still missing her.  

05 Jan 2011 8:44 PM
Sue W

Steve...if I recall correctly

you are planning to visit The Queen this coming week.  If those plans still hold I hope you bless us with another blog.  I truly believe she is happy at LE and that her CA connections remain in constant contact with her.  Other horses should be so lucky.  That said, she surely deserves everything good in life and more.  News of her breeding partner should be forthcoming...then the real excitement begins again....waiting for news of her being in foal and finally, waiting for the arrival of her first offspring.

Mr. Farish mentioned in a Dec. interview public visits would be scheduled once she has fully settled in.  Can you image the thousands who will make the pilgrimage?

09 Jan 2011 10:42 AM

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