Beaten Zenyatta still acts like a champ - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Beaten Zenyatta still acts like a champ

Posted: Updated:
This image provided by Churchill Downs shows Garrett Gomez riding Blame, rear, beating Mike Smith riding Zenyatta (8) during the Classic race at the Breeder's Cup horse races at Churchill Downs Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo) This image provided by Churchill Downs shows Garrett Gomez riding Blame, rear, beating Mike Smith riding Zenyatta (8) during the Classic race at the Breeder's Cup horse races at Churchill Downs Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Zenyatta pricked her ears and raised her head high, no longer undefeated after a narrow loss in the Breeders' Cup Classic, but still beloved by her fans and handlers.

"She won everybody's hearts," an onlooker told his companion outside her Churchill Downs barn on Sunday.

Whether she wins Horse of the Year is another issue.

Blame got a head in front of Zenyatta at the finish line of Saturday night's 1¼-mile Classic, briefly silencing the 72,739 fans who had celebrated the superstar they hoped would end her career with a 20-0 record.

"It was a fairy tale and it didn't end the way everybody wanted it to end," her trainer John Shirreffs said Sunday. "That's what I feel badly about. However, Zenyatta is pretty happy out there and she will be happy."

Several yards away, Zenyatta nibbled on frost-covered grass dotted by golden fall leaves while about 50 fans poked their hands and cameras through a steel fence to get close to her. One woman held up a hand-lettered sign reading, "Zenyatta You Rock." Another woman chanted, "We want Horse of the Year."

So does Shirreffs, who stands by his pre-Classic comments that Zenyatta has earned the honor, to be announced in January. She narrowly lost out to filly Rachel Alexandra last year, a snub that Shirreffs, owners Jerry and Ann Moss and jockey Mike Smith took personally.

Zenyatta's win against the boys in the $5 million Classic last year wasn't enough to sway voters to her side, and now her loss makes it less likely they'll back her this time.

"For what she's done for the horse industry over the last three years, I would have to say that would be a real slap in the face," Shirreffs said last month.

Voting is done by members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the National Turf Writers Association and the Daily Racing Form.

"They'll have to give it to Blame, unfortunately, but I wish they could give her something else, a special award," Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito said. "They should create a special award for horses. She should get it."

Zito, whose horse Fly Down finished third in the Classic, believes Horse of the Year is decided on the track.

"You can't change the outcome," he said. "You are what your record is and she's 19 and a half."

Trainer Todd Pletcher added, "For me, the deciding factor in any close calls is head-to-head matchups."

Rick Dutrow, who didn't saddle a horse in the Classic, was even more blunt in his choice.

"Without a doubt, Blame," he said. "He got beat one time and he beat Zenyatta. How can they take it from him? He beat her, so how can they give it to her over him?"

Blame won three of four starts this year, with his only loss to Haynesfield in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Haynesfield, who won by four lengths that day at Belmont, finished 11th in the 12-horse Classic field.

Zenyatta won five of six starts, with her only loss coming against the boys in the Classic, which was the strongest and most talented competition she faced all year.

Blame's co-owner, Seth Hancock of Claiborne Farm, said Horse of the Year was decided Saturday night.

"She's a great horse, Zenyatta is. But she had her shot to get by, and she didn't do it," he said afterward. "So I don't think you can vote for her."

Hancock made an impromptu case for Blame, saying, "He won three Grade 1s. He's taken his show on the road. He's done everything that's been asked of him. I can't believe that he wouldn't be Horse of the Year."

D. Wayne Lukas predicts the balloting will be close, but ultimately, the Hall of Fame trainer sides with Blame.

"In head-to-head competition on the biggest stage in the world, he won. That's very strong," said Lukas, who also knows more than results could factor in.

"Those that lead with complete logic and no feeling will probably go for Blame. Those that have a big ol' heart and get sentimental will probably go for the mare."

Zito, Pletcher, Dutrow and Lukas all praised Zenyatta as one of the greatest female horses in history.

Later Sunday night, she was due to fly home to California.

After another month or so in Shirreffs' barn at Hollywood Park, Zenyatta will head into retirement and a breeding career.

"As a trainer, you have to let go," he said. "It's just a feeling of disappointment, but you get over that and then you remember all the fun times."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

  • SportsMore>>

  • Molinari survives wild day to win British Open

    Molinari survives wild day to win British Open

    Sunday, July 22 2018 3:09 PM EDT2018-07-22 19:09:41 GMT
    Sunday, July 22 2018 4:30 PM EDT2018-07-22 20:30:24 GMT
    (AP Photo/Jon Super). Francesco Molinari of Italy holds the trophy after winning the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Sunday July 22, 2018.(AP Photo/Jon Super). Francesco Molinari of Italy holds the trophy after winning the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Sunday July 22, 2018.
    Francesco Molinari outplays Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and everyone else to claim the British Open. 
    Francesco Molinari outplays Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and everyone else to claim the British Open. 
  • Spieth part of 3-way tie for British lead as Woods lurks

    Spieth part of 3-way tie for British lead as Woods lurks

    Saturday, July 21 2018 4:10 PM EDT2018-07-21 20:10:41 GMT
    Tiger Woods of the US lines up a putt on the 13th green during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Saturday July 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)Tiger Woods of the US lines up a putt on the 13th green during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Saturday July 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

    Jordan Spieth set the tone pulling driver on the 396-yard opening hole and sending it bouncing and rolling to 10 feet for eagle. Moments later, Tiger Woods sent the gallery into a frenzy with three straight birdies to get into contention at a major for the first time in five years.

     

    Jordan Spieth set the tone pulling driver on the 396-yard opening hole and sending it bouncing and rolling to 10 feet for eagle. Moments later, Tiger Woods sent the gallery into a frenzy with three straight birdies to get into contention at a major for the first time in five years.

     
  • AP source: Falcons won't offer WR Jones new deal this year

    AP source: Falcons won't offer WR Jones new deal this year

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:23 PM EDT2018-07-19 17:23:25 GMT
    Friday, July 20 2018 11:19 AM EDT2018-07-20 15:19:12 GMT
    (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File). FILE - In this Nov. 26, 2017, file photo, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones walks off the field after an NFL football game between the Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Atlanta. A person familiar with the ...(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File). FILE - In this Nov. 26, 2017, file photo, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones walks off the field after an NFL football game between the Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Atlanta. A person familiar with the ...
    AP source: Atlanta Falcons won't offer a new contract to star receiver Julio Jones. 
    AP source: Atlanta Falcons won't offer a new contract to star receiver Julio Jones. 
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.