Zenyatta eyes sweet 16th consecutive win in Apple Blossom, seeks to join elite company of Cigar, Citation and Mr. Frisky
by Kenneth Strong of Predictem.com
Apple Blossom Invitational G1, Race 10, Oaklawn Park, Friday, April 9, 2010
Fillies and Mares, 4 and Up, Purse: $500,000 Distance: 1 1/8-miles Surface: Dirt
Undefeated super mare Zenyatta shoots for her 16th consecutive win today in the 45th running of the $500,000 Apple Blossom G1 at Oaklawn Park, and if she wins shell make history, joining Cigar, Citation and Mr. Frisky as the only horses in modernthoroughbredracing history to have won 16 consecutive races in the highest of company.
While the odds will be prohibitively low, the race will be worth watching simply from a historical perspective. And you just know Zenyatta will be entertaining, especially if she gets a ride like she did in her last to win the Santa Margarita at Santa Anita. In that race regular jockey Mike Smith had the perfect 6-year-old daughter of Street Cry in trouble late, but altered course in deep stretch and found a seam to romp to another 1 -length victory. And despite the margin of victory, it was a romp.
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Zenyatta proved she was much better than most thought, and certainly better than more heralded Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, when she turned it in on in the last few hundred years of the 2009 Breeders Cup Classic to defeat the best males in training by a length. Again, the margin of victory was not important it was the way she did it with the greatest of ease.
An apparent throwback to the big hulking super fillies of the past at 17 hands and more than 1200 pounds, Zenyatta dwarfs her competition in both size and talent and the four rivals shell face in the Apple Blossom dont come close to the caliber of horses shes defeated over the course of her career. The Apple Blossom was supposed to be a showdown between Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra for a $5 million purse, but Rachel lost her first start this year and her connections decided she wasnt ready to face Zenyatta at this point.
Having raced almost exclusively on synthetic tracks in California for her entire career, this will be only Zenyattas second start on the dirt, but her last win on the dirt came in the 2008 Apple Blossom, so that shouldnt pose any problem. If it did, Zenyatta would overcome it on class regardless.
Lining up to face Zenyatta in the Apple Blossomwill be Grade 3 stakes winners Be Fair, War Echo and Just Jenda, along with minor stakes winner Taptam. The race should set up perfectly for Zenyattas late run, with Be Fair as the inside speed and Taptam and Just Jenda as possible pace pressers. War Echo looks like a rallier who can benefit from a pressured pace and she also has a win at the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Apple Blossom, so well be using her as our main exacta play underneath Zenyatta.
This isnt a race we expect to make a lot of money on. Were playing for pleasure here, and looking forward to watching a historic performance by one of the best female thoroughbreds in the history of horse racing. Having flashbacks to a quote from the movie about the great Australian champion Phar Lap, someday theyll say the same about Zenyatta.
She wasnt, JUST, a horse.