THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 10 November 2010, Wednesday
Zenyatta Retires, But Not Undefeated
Perhaps the most magnificent racemare of all time was forced to retire with one defeat, still with an enviable 19-1 record and a gallant final performance.
Zenyatta, acknowledged by racing experts as one of the classiest female runners in the history of the sport of horseracing, lost by a mere head to Blame in the recently held Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Yet, as racing writer Jeff Scott put it, writing for The Saratogian, “Zenyatta didn’t win…yet in falling inches short of catching Blame, she only added to her legend. Obviously, she already knew how to win. By losing in the most gallant way imaginable, she showed she was just as memorable in defeat.”
Held at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, the Breeders’ Cup Classic is one of the most prestigious G1 races in the world. The 1-1/4 mile (2,000 meters) race this year had all eyes on Zenyatta, who had beat a field of male horses last year to win the $5 million Santa Anita Classic.
This time, she valiantly rallied from an estimated 25 lengths behind – from dead last – in her attempt to pluck off her ten male antagonists one by one.
She nearly succeeded.
The blame for her loss goes to the Garrett Gomez-ridden colt Blame, sent off as the favorite. Blame beat the Mike-Smith steered Zenyatta by a head in a heart-breaking photo finish. It was that close.
Zenyatta on the outside, Blame inside by the rail. Image from here.
Still, Zenyatta showed her class all the way, and ends her career still on a high note, by showing the world her brave heart and fleet legs in her final mad dash to the wire.
In local racing, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office will hold five races on November 21 at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite. The main race will be named for PCSO chairperson Margarita Juico and is the month’s Special Maiden race for juveniles. The other four races will be named for PCSO directors Atty. Maria Aleta Tolentino, Atty. Mabel Mamba, Atty. Francisco Joaquin III, and Betty Nantes.
Said PCSO general manager Atty. Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, “These five races help fulfill the part of PCSO’s mandate that requires the agency to support horseracing and uplift the quality of the sport.” The sport and the agency have a partnership that go back seventy-six years, when sweepstakes draws were held in conjunction with horse races.
Meanwhile, the PCSO’s flagship race, the Presidential Gold Cup, will be held on December 12 at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite. Declaration of horses for this, the 38th running, is on November 12 at the PCSO’s new office at the Secretariat Bldg., PICC Complex, Pasay City (across Sofitel). ***