Saturday, November 6, 2010

Will History Be Made This Day? UPDATED

I am talking about a different kind of history this time, away from the world of politics, of races for governor, or senator or representative. No, I am talking about the race of perfection, of a possible 20-0 record. I am talking about Zenyatta, possibly the greatest horse ever, who will be going for her 20th win in her final race at the Breeders' Cup on Saturday, November 6th. Win or lose, at age 6, she will be retired to begin a life of leisure, and possibly giving birth to future great racehorses.

Is Zenyatta the greatest racehorse ever? Yes, according to her Hall of Fame jockey, Mike Smith, in this excellent "60 Minutes" story on this amazing horse below. When asked who would be worthy of siring a foal with Zenyatta, Smith said, "No one." He added that Zenyatta has another gear she has not yet use in a race. Why hasn't she used it? Well, one of her owners said she thinks it is because Zenyatta doesn't want to hurt the other horses' feelings by winning by too much. Anthropomorphic, I know, but that's what Ms. Moss said!

That Zenyatta has yet another gear she could use should put a little fear into the rest of the field on Saturday. And now to the "interview" of this gorgeous creature on "60 Minutes":

Wow, right? Zenyatta is over 17hh, and weighs over 1,200 lbs. But what is hard to grasp is what an unbelievable accomplishment her record is. Jeremy Plonk at tries to put it in perspective in his recent piece, "Zenyatta's Streak Shouldn't Be":
To put Zenyatta's streak into perspective, imagine if Joe DiMaggio had spotted the pitcher one strike in every at-bat during his 56-game hitting streak or Bud Wilkinson's Oklahoma Sooners had started down a touchdown on the scoreboard in each of their 47 consecutive victories post-World War II. Or maybe John Wooden had decided to hold out Bill Walton until the second half of each game in UCLA's 88-game mastery of college basketball during the 1970s.

That's how insanely impossible Zenyatta's 19 consecutive victories have been in her perfect career.


Despite critics who say Zenyatta may not have tested the most difficult challenges along the way to 19-0, the manner in which she has rattled off these victories is what astonishes those racing folks who look at things objectively. Forget East versus West, males versus females, synthetic tracks versus natural dirt. The bottom line is that horses are not supposed to be able to close from dead last early and win 19 straight races. (Click here to read the rest.)

That's right, she comes from dead last to win. To get an idea what that looks like, this is Zenyatta at the 2009 Breeders' Cup:

Breathtaking. She is simply breathtaking.

And what you didn't see was what Zenyatta did before she raced in the Breeders' Cup, and as she does in every Post Parade. She has so much personality and charisma, it just spills out. There is absolutely no doubt that she is aware of why she is there, and that these people want to see her run. So, before she runs, she dances:

What a magnificent horse. Will she retire with a perfect record? Her owners say, win or lose, they could not be happier with this amazing horse. I agree - she is one of a kind. Time will tell, but I sure hope she wins...

UPDATE: Here is the win on Friday by Awesome Feather in the Juvenile Fillies Race:

And here is the Ladies' Classic from Friday night, won by Unrivaled Belle:

UPDATE 2: GOLDIKOVA WINS!!!! She won her THIRD Breeders' Cup Mile in a row! This is unprecedented!!! The European horse, GOLDIKOVA, WINS!!!! (See FLDemFem's comment below on her history.) WOOHOO!!!

UPDATE 3: After being back 20 lengths at one point int he race, Zenyatta lost to Blame by a head. She ran her heart out, a little bit more of an opening without Mike Smith having to swing her out so far from the rail, and the win would have been hers. But she ran well, and almost did it. This will be the only time in her life that she does not end up in the Winner's Circle...She missed by a less than head. And she is still a great champion...

Congratulations to the Supercolt, 4 year old Blame and his crew. Blame is likely the Horse of the Year.

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