Zenyatta Wins 17th Straight – 2010 Vanity Handicap Recap, Results, Payoffs and Order of Finish

2010 Vanity Handicap Recap Results, Payoffs and Order of Finish

Zenyatta calls on class and heart to win record 17th straight in Vanity Handicap

by Kenneth Strong, Chief Horse Handicapper, Predictem.com

Zenyatta called on her class and summoned her heart late to win the 69th running of the Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 13 by a -length over St Trinians to remain undefeated in 17 career starts, breaking the modern-day record of 16 consecutive wins in high-class company held by Citation, Cigar, Mr. Frisky. It was her third straight win in the Vanity Handicap, and by far, the best race of her career.

Going into the race as the 1/5 favorite, Zenyatta was asked to carry 129 pounds, giving nine pounds to 7/2 second choice St Trinians and 11 to 17 pounds to her remaining four rivals Miss Silver Brook, Zardana, Will O Way and Cherryblossommiss.

On paper it appeared that the pace scenario would work against Zenyatta and especially in the favor of St Trinians, the English import who had won four in a row in the United States before experiencing trouble and finishing sixth as the favorite against males in the Santa Anita Handicap.

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There was also the fact that St Trinians trainer Mike Mitchell was white-hot going into the Vanity, having won with 11 of his 18 starters, while Zenyattas trainer John Shirreffs was one for 16. We also held the unpopular opinion (which we still hold) that Zenyatta had lost a step as a 6-year-old. She was not the same horse that won the 2009 Breeders Cup Classic with something left while recording a 112 Beyer Speed Figure.

Despite the fact that Zenyatta was coming into the Vanity off what appeared to be romping wins in the Santa Margarita at Santa Anita on March 13 and the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park April 9, we just didnt think she looked as comfortable winning the latter race as she should have against a mediocre field. She was never going to lose the Apple Blossom, but there was just something about the way she was moving. The wear and tear of racing eventually takes its toll on all horses, but especially on horses like Zenyatta, who always find a way to get the job done. We thought Zenyatta would have to find even more to win the Vanity. She proved us right in dramatic fashion.

Dropping back to last early in the race Zenyatta appeared to have only one goal in mind
under jockey Mike Smith stay within striking distance of St Trinians - and that was exactly what she did. St Trinians rated back and off the rail in fifth in the early stages of the race with Zenyatta between two and three lengths back and outside of her in sixth while 45-1 shot Miss Silver Brook set the pace from the inside under pressure from 20-1 shot Cherryblossommiss.

The frontrunners posted modest fractions of 24.05, 47.54 while being tracked by Zenyattas stable mate Zardana (6-1) in third and Will O Way (63-1) in fourth. Midway through the final turn St Trinians made her move to go after the leaders and after six furlongs in 1:11.91 she was at their throats 5-wide into the stretch with Zenyatta 6-wide and still 2 -lengths behind her. The pacesetters gave way to Zardana into the stretch and after a mile in 1:36.98 Zardana gave way to St. Trinians in mid stretch.

Zenyatta meanwhile was still two lengths back and for the first time in her career it appeared she might not get there. This wasnt like the other close calls in Zenyattas undefeated career, in which her jockey got her in enough trouble to get an ordinary graded stakes horse beat. In those races she still always looked like she would win regardless. This time was different. St Trinians was firing on all cylinders and wasnt coming back to the champ. More than once St Trinians was asked for more in the stretch - and she just kept finding it.

With 200 yards to go St Trinians still had two lengths on Zenyatta, who appeared to be struggling to get rolling while under strong urging from Mike Smith - and for a brief moment Zenyatta appeared to be beaten for the first time in her career. With 100 yards left to go Zenyatta called on her class to get within a length of St Trinians but her gutsy rival again dug deep.

Fifty yards from the wire Zenyatta summoned her heart for something rare. Something shed been saving. Something wed never seen before. She found it.

Three strides from the wire Zenyatta had her nose in front. At the finish her ears were pricked. The final margin of victory was listed as a -length. In our opinion it was Zenyattas toughest test to date. But was it really that close? Only Zenyatta knows for sure.

Zardana finished third, six lengths behind St Trinians and 6 -lengths in front of Will O Way. It was a further 1 -lengths back to Miss Silver Brook, who finished a -length in front of Cherryblossommiss.

The final time for the 1 1/8-miles over the fast cushion track surface was 1:49.01, which resulted in a 103 Beyer Speed Figure for Zenyatta, well below her career best Beyer Speed Figure of 112 which she recorded while becoming the first female ever to win the Breeders Cup Classic in 2009. Much more impressive however, and bolstering the visual quality of Zenyattas performance, was her final eighth of a mile.

Zenyatta roared the final eighth of the Vanity in 11.60 seconds. Compare that to the final eighth of 12.71 recorded by Quality Road in winning the Donn Handicap G1 on February 6 at Gulfstream Park by 12 -lengths (121 Beyer Speed Figure), or the 12.87 final eighth Rail Trip recorded winning the Californian G2 at Hollywood Park on June 12 by 2 -lengths, or the 12.88 seconds Rachel Alexandra came home in while winning the Fleur de Lis G2 at Churchill Downs by 10 -lengths (108 Beyer Speed Figure) on June 12. While the Beyer Speed Figures were higher in those races, the final eighths were slower even though they were recorded after relatively easy front-running trips. While Zenyattas Beyer Speed Figure in the Vanity was lower than those recorded by the stars above, her performance was simply better, and she is currently the best finisher in the game.

Trained and brilliantly managed by John Shirreffs for owners Jerry and Ann Moss, Zenyatta increased her lifetime earnings to $6,074,580 with the $150,000 winners share of the Vanity purse, which puts her in striking position to surpass Ouija Board ($6,334,296) as the top money-earning female thoroughbred of all time. Zenyatta paid only $3 to win, but if you were lucky enough to hold a winning ticket on her in the Vanity, you should frame it as rare piece of history.

Every time we watch Zenyatta run we cant help but think of the mighty Forego, one of the greatest, biggest and meanest weight carrying champions in the history of thoroughbred racing, so its only fitting that we found some of Foregos blood in Zenyattas pedigree.

Zenyatta is by multiple Grade 1 winner Street Cry, who also sired 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense. Street Crys sire line extends back to Mr. Prospector, who needs no introduction, and his female line extends back to Epsom Derby winning champion Troy. Zenyattas dam Vertigineux is a daughter of stakes winner Kris S., a son of Epsom Derby winner Roberto who sired 63 stakes winners including Breeders Cup winners Prized, Hollywood Wildcat, Brocco, Soaring Softly and Action This Day. Kris S. is also the dam sire of Breeders Cup Mile winner War Chant. Zenyatta is a half-sister to millionaire and Grade 1 stakes winning female Balance. Her second dam For the Flag is a winning stakes producing daughter of Forli (who also happens to be the sire of Forego.) We could go much deeper into Zenyattas pedigree, but suffice to say the class in her pedigree is unquestionable. She comes by her talent honestly and personally wed like to think her hulking physical stature and will to win are a result of Forlis influence. Three-time Horse of the Year Forego makes a pretty good reference.

Zenyatta has now won 17 consecutive races including seven Grade 1 races in a row and 12 Grade 1 races in total. Her undefeated streak also includes four Grade 2 wins. Shes taken on all comers including males and found a way to win every time. She simply rises to the level of her competition, and she has truly earned her place among the elite runners in thoroughbred racing history.

Zenyatta is arguably, the best female thoroughbred racehorse - ever.

Zenyattas Race Record and Undefeated Streak - Sweet 17

Win Number. Date, Race, Distance, Track, Final Time, Margin of Victory

17. June 13, 2010 - Vanity Handicap G1, 1 1/8 miles, Hollywood Park, 1:49,

16. April 9, 2010 - Apple Blossom Invitational G1, 1 1/8 miles, Oaklawn Park, 1:50 3/5, 4

15. March 13, 2010 - Santa Margarita Invitational Hcp. G1, 1 1/8 miles, Santa Anita, 1:48 1/5, 1

14. November 7, 2009 - Breeders’ Cup Classic G1, 1 1/4 miles, Santa Anita, 2:00 3/5, 1

13. October 10, 2009 Ladys Secret Stakes G1, 1 1/16 miles, Santa Anita, 1:42 4/5, 1

12. August 9, 2009 - Clement L. Hirsh Stakes G1, 1 1/16 miles, Del Mar, 1:43 1/5

11. June 27, 2009 - Vanity Handicap G1, 1 1/8 miles, Hollywood Park, 1:48, 2

10. May 23, 2009 - Milady Handicap G2, 1 1/16 miles, Hollywood Park, 1:42 1/5, 1

9. October 24, 2008 - Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic G1, 1 1/8 miles, Santa Anita, 1:46 4/5, 1

8. September 27, 2008 Ladys Secret Stakes G1, 1 1/16 miles, Santa Anita, 1:40 1/5, 3

7. August 2, 2008 - Clement L. Hirsch Handicap G1, 1 1/16 miles, Del Mar, 1:41 2/5, 1

6. July 5, 2008 - Vanity Handicap G1, 1 1/8 miles, Hollywood Park, 1:49 2/5,

5. May 31, 2008 - Milady Handicap G2, 1 1/16 miles, Hollywood Park, 1:41, 2

4. April 5, 2008 - Apple Blossom Handicap G1, 1 1/16 miles, Oaklawn Park, 1:42 3/5, 4

3. January 13, 2008 El Encino Stakes G2, 1 1/16 miles, Hollywood Park, 1:42 3/5, 1

2. December 15, 2007 - Allowance 48,800n1x 1 1/16 miles, Hollywood Park, 1:40 4/5, 3

1. November 22, 2007 - Maiden Special Weight, 6 1/2 furlongs, Hollywood Park, 1:15 1/5, 3

2010 Vanity Handicap Results and Payoffs

June 13, 2010, Hollywood Park, Race 8

5 Zenyatta $3.00 $2.10 NO SHOW WAGERING

2 St Trinians $2.20

3 Zardana

4 Will O Way

$1 Exacta 5-2 paid $2.80

$2 Quinella 2-5 paid $3.20

$1 Trifecta 5-2-3 paid $4.80

$1 Superfecta 5-2-3-4 paid $27.10

$2 Daily Double 9-5 paid $9.80

$1 Pick 3 4-9-5 paid $25.80

$1 Consolation Pick 3 paid $5.90

2010 Vanity Handicap Complete Order of Finish

1. Zenyatta

2. St Trinians

3.Zardana

4. Will O Way

5.Miss Silver Brook

6.Cherryblossommiss