A Fan's Favorites

Penny Chenery recently announced that Horse of the Year Zenyatta will be the recipient of the inaugural Secretariat Vox Populi ("Voice of the People") Award.  Chenery and her family raced the great Secretariat, a two-time Horse of the Year and a major fan favorite.

A release from Secretariat.com, stated that the award will "recognize a horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the American public."
 
Mike Sekulic, a self-described "major racing fan," started going to the races in 1972, when he was 9 years old. His first favorite racehorse was Cougar II, a flashy and brilliant competitor.

Mike also started taking photos at a young age and uses a 35mm film camera for his racing photos. "I like photographing horses," said Sekulic. "It’s a hobby for me."

Sekulic has excelled as a photographer while following his favorite racehorses. Here is a look back at Zenyatta during her training days. Text and images by racing Mike Sekulic.
Zenyatta Looking Back
Caption: With groom Mario Espinoza, Zenyatta looks back toward the camera.
 
There's something about the star of the show that tends to captivate an audience. In the world of horse racing fans are often enthralled by horses who come from behind and finish in a dazzling fury. That running style seems to lend itself to the most exciting scenario, creating anticipation and knots in the stomach! Zenyatta's fans always found themselves wondering "Will she get there?!"
Taking over the leaders
Caption: Taking over the leaders on her way to victory.

Many of the greatest horses tend to start on or near the pace. As a lifelong racing fan I remember Cougar II, a crowd favorite, being such an exciting performer because of his come from behind running style. Zenyatta, our newly crowned Horse of the Year, displayed a thrilling running style, starting dead last most of the time, only to come running at the end, finishing like a locomotive, and treating her adoring fans to a show that only racing's biggest stars are capable of delivering.
Morning at the track.
Caption: Morning at the track.

I had the fortunate opportunity to visit Zenyatta on many occasions, and I seized each of those moments because, the way I looked at it, spending time with Zenyatta was like spending it with an immortal super star of racing. Horses like Man O' War, Secretariat, Dr. Fager, Spectacular Bid and Citation don't come along very often.
 
I always made the effort to not only go see Zenyatta, but to bring along friends who otherwise may not have had the opportunity. Most of them looked upon their visits with Zenyatta as one of the biggest thrills of their lives. That's the effect this miraculous horse has on people.
 fans and media photographing Zenyatta on race day
Caption: Fans and media photographing Zenyatta on race day.
 
The star of the show becomes larger than life. So, too, did Zenyatta become larger than life in some sense. With each win on the racetrack her legend grew and she became more adored. The ovations became louder and louder. People would see her and cry. Those of us who got to visit her in person were awe struck by her beauty, personality and sweet spirit.
Doing her special strut in the paddock
Caption: Doing her special strut in the paddock.

I boldly shouted "Yes!" and threw my fist in the air when Zenyatta's name was read for Horse of the Year, only to give in to tears when I saw Mrs. Moss crying and so overwhelmed. I've never been so satisfied and felt so justified upon hearing the result of any award. I also know, firsthand, how much the Mosses love their "Zennie."
Head Shot
Caption: Zenyatta.

Upon her retirement a friend asked, "Who do you think is the next Zenyatta?" I said, "Horse racing is exciting, and there will be many more good and even great horses coming along. You can't expect this kind of magic to happen more than once in a lifetime. Let's just appreciate the fact we were here to see it at all. There isn't going to be a next Zenyatta...there is only one."
 
View more Zenyatta photos by Mike Sekulic.

More Zenyatta Photo Slideshows: Zenyatta, Zenyatta has Visitors, Zenyatta at Lane's End, Farewell Zenyatta, A Day with Zenyatta.

View video of Zenyatta at Lane's End Farm.

Limited-Edition Zenyatta Horse of the Year Print from The Blood-Horse Photo Store.

More Zenyatta photos at The Blood-Horse Photo Store.

83 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Rachel

Tell your friend "hold on to your hat, they're a'rearin and a'headed for the meadow!"

I've been blessed to see:

3 Triple Crown winners

5 Filly/Mare HOY's (I include Moccasin)who was the only 2 year-old filly ever to (co)win HOY.

The fastest 3 year-old filly ever.

The best 3-year-old filly ever.

Four 3 year-old fillies campaigned against the colts in their big races and win, including all 3 classics.

The best 2 geldings in the latter half of 20th century.

The incomparable Cigar.

The Bid.

...and more...

It ain't over 'til every race has been run...

25 Jan 2011 6:12 AM
Karen in Indiana

Wonderful photos!

25 Jan 2011 6:56 AM
Kathryn

Mike:  She brought the Show, and you brought the key light.  All smiles & unbelievable -- did you watch Trevor Denham`s YouTube?  He said in his 53 years, she is closest to his heart.  Thank you for being there.  Khc.

25 Jan 2011 8:12 AM
Dani

My heart still palpitates just remembering her come from behind style. I was always up on my feet inches from the television begging her to start her run. But oh what a thrill she was everytime she did and then hit the wire to win. Lovely, lovely photos. Thank you so much for sharing.

25 Jan 2011 8:57 AM
LouAnn Cingel of Union, Missouri

Dearest Mike-

Fabulous pics of Zenyatta!  You always captured her very essence and mysterious magic better than anyone else.  There will only be one Zenyatta, the one who seduced us all!

Love & Blessings

25 Jan 2011 9:40 AM
Heidi

Beautiful tribute to a--yes, once in a lifetime!--horse. I began watching race at age 10, in 1991, and I thought Cigar was the greatest thing I had ever seen in person. Cigar is still close to my heart but Zenyatta transcends him. She is up there with the all-time greats.

I've never experienced such a range of emotions with a racehorse--excitement, butterflies, anxiety, dread, amazement, relief, gratitude, sorrow, pure joy, and much more--sometimes in the span of two minutes!

25 Jan 2011 10:28 AM
NancyP

Hi Mike,

Just a simple humble thank you for sharing these gorgeous pictures of Queen Zenyatta.  She leaves me speechless, because words really do not do justice to her.

Best,

NancyP

25 Jan 2011 11:21 AM
Soldier Course

Zenyatta's anthem:  

"La Belle Dame Sans Regrets" by Sting.

25 Jan 2011 11:30 AM
Between Friends

Thank you, Mike for giving us another look at a Horse of a Lifetime. I have been privileged to see many of the sport's great horses in my lifetime starting with Bold Ruler and Zenyatta is very, very special. There will be more good and even great horses, but you are right — there is only going to be one Zenyatta.

25 Jan 2011 11:55 AM
Jeannine Brumfield

I saw her both times she ran at Oaklawn. Omg!  What a racehorse. She hooked me the first time and I followed her career from then on. The thrill and excitement she brought to the game was like none other. So glad this champion was finally rewarded with HOY.  A big thank you for these lovely pictures and to team Zenyatta for bringing her back and keeping her sound.

25 Jan 2011 11:57 AM
Sue Kenny

Mike:

The photo's and article are perfect!  I've worked in horse racing all my life and I've been around some good ones but I still cry when I see her - even in photo's!  She's done more for racing in the last couple of years than the Triple Crown!

25 Jan 2011 12:11 PM
Joani Jiannine

Wonderful article and great pictures! Mike has the ability to capture the very essence of the moment with the beautiful Zenyatta. I have seen many of his pictures andsomeone should do a special 'Zenyatta Memories' with all his wonderful pictures!!

25 Jan 2011 12:12 PM
SUSAN CASNER

GREAT PHOTOS MIKE.  BILL AND I LOVE THE PHOTOS

YOU'VE TAKEN OF OUR HORSES (HAVE THEM ALL AROUND THE HOUSE AND THE FARM IN KENTUCKY!)

DON'T THINK I CAN PICK A FAVORITE CAUSE THEY'RE ALL  "G R E A T"!!  (WELL, I DO LOVE THE ONES OF COLONEL JOHN AND DERBY EVE!!!)

25 Jan 2011 12:13 PM
Judy Sims

Mike has really captured the essence of Zenyatta. These are wonderful pictures of her and her moments in time that we adoring fans can relive and reflect upon the fact that the racing world as well as our hearts were truly touched by greatness.

Thank you, Mike.

25 Jan 2011 12:38 PM
bowlofflowers

Thank you for some great photos and commentary.  really enjoy the one with Steve W when he is not on her back and Mario rubbing her shoulder.

25 Jan 2011 12:41 PM
Barbara W

Thank you so much for this wonderful article and pictures. As a 65-year-old woman, I would be embarrassed to let some of my friends know how much time I spend on "all things Zenyatta". Thanks to all who "get it".

25 Jan 2011 12:49 PM
INDYTIM

WONDERFULLY DONE MIKE. FINE JOB.

25 Jan 2011 1:15 PM
Mike Sekulic

Hello to Rachel...I would like to clarify something. I've been a race fan since about 1972 and I've seen all those great horses, such as SECRETARIAT, RUFFIAN, FOREGO, SPECTACULAR BID, AFFIRMED, SEATTLE SLEW, etc., either "live" or on television.

What I was saying to my friend about how we're not going to ever see something like ZENYATTA again really had more to do with "the whole picture" that is ZENYATTA. Sure, there will be other great horses to come, but will they carry "the whole package" with them, and will they captivate the public in this manner again? I have to say the answer to that is "no," because I've never seen this in my life.

I could name some great horses (male or female) that might be great on the racetrack, but have a bad attitude, or they're not built well, or they're homely, or whatever. ZENYATTA was the perfect racehorse. When you combine her race record, her raw ability, her desire to win, and the grace and beauty and sweet attitude she displayed, you really cannot ask for more.

I just wanted to clarify what I meant when I said that we would not see another ZENYATTA in our lives. Usually, by the time a horse becomes famous it is whisked off to the breeding shed before fans have a chance to become attached.

Besides, who else is going to let crowds of people come to the barn and pet their champion and pose for photographs? That was something I've never seen before, and I don't think many people would have been so hospitable as to allow such a thing.

I'm glad Team Zenyatta allowed us to become so close to this magnificent mare. What a blessing it has been.

25 Jan 2011 1:15 PM
curribot

Mike,

Great, gorgeous pictures of Zenyatta specially the ones with her looking so powerful with Steve on board and the one with Mario looking so calm and relaxed.

25 Jan 2011 1:17 PM
Love 'em all

Mike, your article and photos have been a wonderful treat.  Thank you!

Thoroughly enjoyed reading about Cougar II, and so glad you shared the information with us.  Again, this has been a real treat.

25 Jan 2011 1:42 PM
Linda in Texas

Thank you Mike, I have finally convinced myself that Zenyatta defies description. There simply is no limit to our admiration or adulation for her as she is one in a million.

You are so correct when you say she is "the whole package." I agree with you totally. All aspects of her career and success came together at the same time to make her the anomaly she is.

Thanks again for your photos.

25 Jan 2011 1:49 PM
MyBigRed

There will never be another Zenyatta. Just like we have not seen another Secretariat. I feel  blessed to have witnessed them both in my lifetime. Thank You Mike for the photos & story, Thank You Penny Chenery for recognizing this AWESOME Mare and creating the Vox Populi ("Voice of the People") Award, and THANK YOU TEAM ZENYATTA, for the ride :) God Bless You ALL !!

25 Jan 2011 1:50 PM
TGO

Great article Mike! I enjoyed your photos as well.

25 Jan 2011 2:34 PM
Gina R

What a wonderful article and fantastic photos! Zenyatta truly is unique-physically so tall and beautiful, with the most gentle personality and of course her dancing and her racing ability are beyond compare! Her owners would share the winner's circle with me and other fans and of course John Shirreffs and everyone at Barn 55 could not have been nicer or more generous with their time.

25 Jan 2011 2:35 PM
Zach in Downey

Thank you again Mike for sharing your experiences with everyone and the beauty that is Zenyatta. Mike is an excellent example of what is the Zenyatta community and a representative showing how much we all love her.

25 Jan 2011 2:59 PM
Donna S.

I had a spot on the rail close to the finish line for her 2nd Classic and yes it was her Classic because most everyone there was there to see her. She flew by me in a dark blurr, it looked like the other horses were standing still.

25 Jan 2011 3:08 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

We can ask ourselves "What makes the Zenyatta experience?"

Was it her running style? Perhaps it was that she was undefeated for 19 straight races. Was it her dance steps? How about Zenyatta being photogenic? Perhaps because she ran exclusively in G1 races for two straight years. Maybe it is her personality. Could it be that her owners and trainer openly embraced the fans? Has it just been too long since we've had a super star to cheer for?

I think it was a combination of all of these factors. In an industry that seems to prefer to keep its fans in the stands, I feel it was especially gracious for Zenyatta's connections to literally open the barn doors to her fans. At the recent Eclipse award ceremonies, Marylou Whitney was elegant, gracious, and humble in her speech. I adore this woman! But even for how engaged Ms. Whitney is with her horses, the fans have never had access to her horses like Zenyatta has been to her fans. Glaringly opposite is the Hancock family. I don't know them personally, but Seth and Dell look miserable and defiant in every interview I have ever seen of them. To their close friends the Hancocks could be totally different but I have never seen the other side. Even after Blame won the BCC Seth barely showed happiness or pride in an exciting race between two excellent horses. There was no emotion and even a hint of entitlement from him. How disappointing.

Zenyatta gave her fans so much throughout her career and now, even in retirement, she continues to do so. This is why I have to say to everyone who shares their pictures and stories about Zenyatta and especially to Team Zenyatta; Thank you for the Zenyatta experience!

25 Jan 2011 3:29 PM
nina

Great photos. It's not a strut but the Z dance!

25 Jan 2011 3:53 PM
Flora

Mike, thanks so much for another look at our beautiful Dancing Queen, she is really one of a kind. Your photos really capture her essence.

I feel so lucky to have been alive for both her career and that of the mighty Secretariat, who was also a public phenomenon in his day. What would it have been like if the Internet and YouTube hadexisted back then? Just imagine how much more exposure he would have had.

25 Jan 2011 4:02 PM
SuzanneG

Hi Mike,

Your pictures are MAGIC! Zenyatta practically comes straight out of them and no 3-D. Thank you.

25 Jan 2011 4:21 PM
Gia

Glad someone finally wrote what I have been thinking.  Zenyatta is the whole package, great confirmation, beautiful head and neck -- she looks like perfection.  Plus she has a personality and she is smart.  I owned a horse once with that kind of personality, he was a quarter horse, but he was smart as a whip, had tons of personality -- a kind of presence that you just felt.  That is what Zenyatta has and she extended this presence because of her racing career to many people.  There are strange instances where animals seem to take on a human personality and that is what makes them special because you can relate to them as you would a person. Guess this sounds kind of crazy, but I have had animals all my life (I'm 53) and there have been only three that I have owned that just had that special something, one I already mentioned was my quarter horse, one was my doberman and one was mix breed dog.  One day this past October, I was atteding a low level thoroughbred race at a local fair.  I was looking at the horses in the walking arena and I noticed this one horse with this old man and a young girl.  The old guy and the girl were very affectionate with this horse -- they obviously love this horse and the horse seemed to just love them back.  I said to my sister, maybe we should bet that horse, he is feeling the love, but when we looked at the odds and said no way, he may be loved, but he won't win -- well guess what -- he won and by 4 or 5 lengths. As the jockey guided the horse towards the little winners circle, the horse just stopped and would  not walk in He was looking for the old man and the girl. As soon as he saw them coming towards him he whinned at them and pawed at the ground, then he just stood there waiting for them and they both ran up to him and just showed him the love. I guess it is that kind of feeling that Zenyatta gave to all who had contact with her.  

25 Jan 2011 4:33 PM
RGGC

Beautiful photos, thank you for taking them. You have a knack of catching "her look of eagles eye" Can we order them from anywhere?

25 Jan 2011 5:20 PM
Pam S.

Mike,

Beautiful photos and text.  No, there will never be another quite like Zenyatta.

25 Jan 2011 5:25 PM
Linda in Texas

Gia - that is a lovely story. You see, the love from Zenyatta makes you see it in all other things. Why?

Because it is there in everything if you just let it come through and touch you.

And thanks again Mike,one picture and an article leads to others.

Very nice.

Did you all bet the horse or not? I am thinking you didn't and of course were unhappy that you didn't. But you won something much more rewarding than any of the dollars you could have won betting him. He won you instead!!!!

25 Jan 2011 5:28 PM
Carolyn

I am a 75 year old great gramma and have been following Zenyatta from her 1st races. I don't really know what makes me so emotional about her. I was so disappointed when she lost because I knew she could have won. After weeks of mourning, and being miffed at God, I realized that He had gotten her through all these races with not one injury.  What in the world would we all have done if an injury had happened? We will be able to follow her adventures for the rest of her life because of this and people like you who take such wonderful photographs of her just for us. Thank you, Carolyn

25 Jan 2011 5:34 PM
Casey

Wonderful pictures Mike that truly show Zenny's essence.  She is one of a kind.  I've gotten to see the last 3 TC winners, and the greats from the 70s on and none of them resound with me the way the Queen does.  I also had the opportunity to meet her up close and personal, and she is so sweet in real life.  Gave me a hug with her head that had me tearing up. (the last horse to do that was my "soul horse" Buddy, who died 9/2/2008)  I love your photos and am thankful that I was able to see her run, and meet her too.

25 Jan 2011 6:59 PM
Michelle

Thanks for the great article and pictures.  I never got to see the great Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Citation etc. so Zenyatta is my horse of a lifetime.  I can't imagine another horse coming along and stealing my heart the way she has.  I love all of them but she is special.

25 Jan 2011 7:32 PM
quarterhossgal

Thank you Mike...we just can't get enough of Queen Z.  You are right it is the whole package not just her talent, it is all of Team Z with Zen's personality and the kindness that allowed her fans to become a part of her great ride.

25 Jan 2011 7:51 PM
Mike Sekulic

For years and years COUGAR II has been my favorite horse. Then he was almost dethroned in my heart by SPECTACULAR BID, but not quite. It took ZENYATTA, and the whole "experience" I had with her, to finally supplant him as my #1 favorite racehorse.

Then again, these things can't really be decided quantitatively. Besides, I can still have them both at #1 in my heart. COUGAR II can stay at #1 as my favorite male racehors, and Queen ZENYATTA can be my #1 female racehorse.

There. It's settled.

25 Jan 2011 8:33 PM
anniedixie65

Beautiful pictures! Tears are in my eyes after looking at the pictures reading the captions and reading "There isn't going to be a next Zenyatta...there is only one". During the HOTY awards I was rejoicing and crying all at the same time, she truly is one of a kind.

25 Jan 2011 9:17 PM
LovinZenyatta

It's just falling in love. You're happy, excited, giddy, full of expectations and you never want it to end...that's Zenyatta. She's had my heart for 3 wonderful years that rushed by way too quickly. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that it's only happening once and this is it. Thank goodness for the chance we have all been given to know her, cheer for her, adore her and love her. My love for her will only grow as time goes by. Thank you for the beautiful pictures; that's the only kind I've ever seen of her..she is such a stunning beauty!

25 Jan 2011 10:03 PM
Paula Higgins

Mike this is just wonderful! Gorgeous pictures! I couldn't agree more, there will never be another Zenyatta, not ever. She is unique. She is infinitely more special than a Triple Crown winner. There will be another Triple Crown winner but there will never be another Zenyatta. Gia that was a great story. Made me smile ear to ear. Animals are gifts from GOD.

25 Jan 2011 10:14 PM
Ty Alexander

Those pictures really capture the legend of Zenyatta! That was very well done and the passion, heart and love for this great mare shows in the photos!

26 Jan 2011 12:00 AM
Diana_NV

Mike, thanks for your recognition of Queen Z.  Being a breeder/owner and having followed her career from early on, it's a no brainer to know that she is one of the greats and truly an amazing equine athelete.  For those fans who were faint of heart, every race meant potential cardiac arrest.  What a great race mare, so deserving of HOY 3 years in a row.  Congratulations to her team for enabling her to thrill us for so long!  I'm not counting out any of her foals to do the same!

26 Jan 2011 12:11 AM
Leslie R.

Thanks, Mike, for a beautiful tribute to Zenyatta! Your pictures are gorgeous and your commentary blended perfectly with the photos. Zenyatta truly is the whole package and a fan favorite! I've liked many horses through the years, including Cougar II, but none of them hold the place in my heart that Zenyatta does. Your words and pictures express what I'm feeling. I hope you are still taking pictures when Zenyatta's sons and daughters make it to the track. Thanks for sharing your talent with all the Zenyatta fans!

Leslie R.

26 Jan 2011 1:22 AM
Clay C.

Mike,  fantastic photos!   I think you should be the official Zenyatta photgrapher.  You've captured many great photos over the years and I'm glad to see them here where they can be shared by many.

26 Jan 2011 2:03 AM
Eliteone

Nice article and great pics. While I cannot quite bring myself to put Zenyatta in the company of the immortals, she is indeed beautiful and a great horse in her own right. Mike shows the passion and devotion of her fans perfectly.Well Done!

26 Jan 2011 10:19 AM
amy

LOVE PHOTOS!!!!!! WHAT A GREAT HORSE!!!!! GO HOY!!!!

26 Jan 2011 10:30 AM
Liza G. Fly

Nice article and some wonderful photos of Queen Z, the first recipient and the Secretariat Vox Populi Award. Thanks Mike.

26 Jan 2011 12:34 PM
danzig

Great shots and great commentary on a giant of a mare in more ways than one.....It is really fun to be an surrogate part of the team in seeing the "up close and personal" preparations up to the Breeder's Cup

great stuff

26 Jan 2011 12:57 PM
smartbid09

Wow! This was great!!!!!! Tank you so much for taking the time to write such a wonderful article!! Write another!!

26 Jan 2011 2:23 PM
scpalohorselvr

Beautiful pictures Mike.  Thank you so much for sharing these with us as well as your thoughts on Zenyatta.  You are one lucky guy to have been blessed with this experience.

26 Jan 2011 9:56 PM
Mike Sekulic

ZENYATTA really is the perfect model. I had several experiences with her where I came away with a multitude of photos that looked almost exactly alike. She would stand and strike the most beautiful pose, as she gazed off in the distance and pondered whatever it was that she was thinking about, and on many occasions I came away with a series or succession of photos, sometimes up to 10 or more, that looked almost exactly alike! I guess with a model like this one it's difficult to not get some good photos. She is the most photogenic horse I've ever been around.

27 Jan 2011 1:29 AM
Sandy M

Your love for Zenyatta is shown so beautifully thru your photos and words...a wonderful tribute to her, and her entire team.  I was most fortunate to see her up close two times thanks to you and the graciousness of the Moss's, and I shall never forget it.  Thank you.  I totally understand the excitement, the love, and the tears which leaves us shaking inside whenever we see her or even think about her.  What a magnificent animal.  I look forward to seeing your pictures of her foals.

27 Jan 2011 10:20 AM
Sharyar T

wow mike you did it again.. beautiful photos and great article.ive been following your work from other websites and im always amazed with your great shots.you should be the official Zenyatta expert on ESPN...

keep up the good work..cant wait for more..Zenyatta ROCKS!!!!!

27 Jan 2011 8:37 PM
Jackie L

I have seen thousands of pictures of Zenyatta, and I have seen probably hundreds of the pictures you have taken of her, and I am going to have to say that your pictures of her are the best I have ever seen. It's amazing. Congratulations to you on a job well done. I am happy to see that it appears that a great many people appreciate your work.

And how nice of Susan Casner to give you such a strong commendation. You do deserve it! That was classy of her, I might add.

27 Jan 2011 8:38 PM
Nina Kaiser

Beautiful work of a beautiful subject. I never get tired of looking at photos of Zenyatta and one of yours hangs on my studio wall for inspiration. Very well done.

27 Jan 2011 11:59 PM
Landaluce

VERY nice article and tribute Mike!  Your photos and ability to capture what she's even thinking is just impressive! Thanks so much for sharing!

28 Jan 2011 7:20 PM
JB

Great pics of a great horse! It is amazing how a horse can captivate you.. I was captivated by Cigar, Sea of Secrets, Barbaro  and now Zenyatta.. I love them all, but some just connect with humans and are able to communicate that.

You are so right.. Zenyatta is the whole package and then some.. she is going to  bring some great babies in the future. ! Congrats to "Z" on her Voice of the People award!

28 Jan 2011 10:23 PM
Teresa McWilliams

Your photos are terrific and so is your article on Zenyatta.  It made me cry!  I had the good fortune to stand by her and have my photograph taken with her.  She was truly a star and could stand still for cameras for hours.  Your photos are the best I have seen.  You show her with that incredibly intelligent head and her amazing heighth. Thanks Mike, you are a great horse photographer.

29 Jan 2011 1:58 AM
Tiz A Cal Bred

This story shows how one horse brought joy to the racing community. While she was on the track, she brought strangers together and friendships were established. Betting became the 2nd focus, as win tickets souvenirs.

Thanks for sharing Mike.

29 Jan 2011 2:13 AM
Mary Forney

Beautiful photos, as usual, Mike! I never get tired of looking at photos of the queen!

29 Jan 2011 11:54 AM
Soldier Course

Lisa G. Fly:

Still loving your song, "Zenyatta". I play it while watching The Queen's races, muted on YouTube. Nice to hear from you.

29 Jan 2011 2:30 PM
Cheryl Ann Quigley

Great photos, Mike. The profiles are lovely and the shots of Zen and Mike are really moving.

30 Jan 2011 1:15 AM
Anne from Paramount CA

Thanks, Mike---enjoyed the up close and personal comments, as well as the great photos.  You are absolutely right---just discussing with a track friend yesterday--who else would have permitted such open access to the public,(and staying healthy ALL this time),under a watchful trainer eye of course, but who else but Team Z would have done this? The Queen's personality helped of course-nothing seemed to phase her-- but this is why there will be only one Zenyatta. Of course other wonderful horses will come along, but the phenomenon that was our Big Girl is something unlikely to happen again for a long time. Let's all apprececiate what we  were a part of. Great horses will surface if they are allowed- and can- stay around long enough --I sure hope so for our sport--but she was  ZENYATTA, the magical mare.

Anne from Paramount, CA

30 Jan 2011 3:27 PM
sue

Awesome photos and a great article.  Zenyatta IS a horse of a lifetime.  I'm just glad she came during mine.  I am amazed at the generosity of her connections...it's part of the reason she is so darn special.

30 Jan 2011 10:07 PM
Aluminaut

You're so right Mike.  It's hard to take a bad photo of Zenyatta.  She is photogenic.

31 Jan 2011 3:53 PM
nmh

no one has mentioned that

bernardini also dances... so now

zenyatta has a dance pardner...

now how great is that..

31 Jan 2011 10:24 PM
Julie June Stewart

I first met Mike S several years ago as we were waiting to take our pictures of Z.  You had to stake your territory early in the paddock area (meaning you often missed a race or two).  Mike is such a gentleman and being tall, he is perfect to share the "airspace" with.  Later, he gave me one of his pictures of Zenyatta & I was stunned.  It was incredible.  He captured every nuance of her beauty and majesty.  In repeated visits, I always knew I would see Mike taking pictures of the Queen.  I am thrilled to see this photo essay by Mike!  Our racing photographers capture our history for generations to come... Mike has certainly contributed to the Zenyatta library.... It's wonderful..... Thanks again!

01 Feb 2011 11:27 PM
Mike Sekulic

Wow! It doesn't get better than Julie June Stewart! What fine compliments! Thank you very much!

I was hoping for a lot more feedback on this site, but I am very happy and grateful for all the feedback I did get. It's humbling reading it, actually.

02 Feb 2011 1:14 AM
Carson

Thank You Mike for the wonderful article, and the beautiful photos of Zenyatta!

02 Feb 2011 1:19 AM
racingheart

That you for sharing the gorgeous photos and you heartfelt thoughts.

You are right. There is and always will be only ONE Zenyatta. Never has there been such a complete package in a racehorse - talent, looks, grace and intelligence and always willing to happily share it with everyone. What an incredible spirit this mare has! I hope that with the coupling of her and the intelligent and gifted Bernardini we will see a horse apart - blessings the the Zen Master and her new journey!

02 Feb 2011 12:27 PM
maryann727

Mike ~ Thank you very much.  So well expressed and beautifully photographed.  I wholeheartedly agree with you that we will not witness another as complete and unique as Zenyatta.  She won my heart like no other racehorse ever; I truly love her.  And for the rest of my life I will be grateful for the Zen experience.  Thank you again for honoring this greatest mare with your words and images.    

02 Feb 2011 6:17 PM
Anne

Great pictures, Mike, of a gal that also stole my heart from day one. You explained the essence of Zenyatta beautifully. She is totally the whole package who ran 3 years straight without skipping a beat and in the process, danced into our lives.  As you said, how many owners or trainer ever made their star so accessible? My dream was to have my picture taken with her but...not to be. Therefore, your photos and comments had more meaning about a precious subject known to all of us who love her as "The Queen".

02 Feb 2011 8:31 PM
Zenyatta You're the Best

I don't say this because Mike has been my friend for a long time, but because he deserves it. He's a sensitive and caring person, and those qualities shine through in his writing and photos. The photos he took of Zenyatta - and I have seen several hundred - are nothing short of masterful. His photos of her are the best I have seen.

03 Feb 2011 1:15 PM
PANDA GUY IN SAN DIEGO

I feel privileged to have lived during the career of the horse who will become horse of the decade if not the century. It will surprise me if there is ever an equal to the great Zenyatta. It is not only her great racing style and many wins, but a personality and intelligence that exceeds anything I have ever seen.

04 Feb 2011 7:09 PM
Chris from California

I know Mike personally and he is a very passionate person.  He has followed Zenyatta as many of us have and has been touched deeply by her amazing charisma. I am so glad that he was there to take so many beautiful photos of her and share his experience with his friends and some of her fans.

07 Feb 2011 12:10 AM
LouAnn Cingel of Union, Missouri

Mike-

Just had to come back again to look at your exceptionally fantastic photos of Zenyatta.  After all that has been said and done, I find that the photos you have taken of Zenyatta are about the best out there yet.  You have captured her true essence-her true life force etched and preserved forever!

Thankyou!!

08 Feb 2011 9:33 AM
Staci from Reno

Who is this Mike Sekulic?  What a great photographer he is!  He really has captured Zenyatta's essence!  Great job!  Keep those great pics coming!!!

15 Feb 2011 4:59 PM
Tracy W.

What a beautiful article. I've had the pleasure of meeting Mike and seeing his wonderful pictures and I'm in absolute awe. He always captures the essence of the horse and the love of the people working with them. I haven't met a single person without something nice to say about him or his photos.

The pictures of Zenyatta, especially, are incredible. The soft, confident look in her eyes is so sharp here. I really enjoy these photos.

Definitely looking forward to more from him!

16 Feb 2011 9:46 PM
Linda S

Mike is so articulate as well as a consistently great horse photographer.  His work is easily professional calibre and we are lucky he shares it so freely with us!

22 Feb 2011 12:39 PM
Joyce C.

Mike - You are an artist with the camera and master of the written word!!!  Thank you for putting into words and pictures what

we all feel for Zenyatta.

You are an insightful and bright voice for horse racing!

I appreciate your good work.

Joyce

28 Feb 2011 8:22 PM
Wendy B

Magnificent pictures of a magnificent horse!

15 Mar 2011 3:44 PM

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