In a scintillating performance, Zenyatta powered to victory in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita this afternoon before a crowd of 58,845 wildly cheering fans. In beating the world-class field of male runners, Zenyatta soundly established her place in history and preserved her perfect record, with 14 wins in 14 starts.
For those of us lucky enough to be among the cheering crowd, it was a time to be cherished and remembered forever. In an almost surreal moment after she crossed the finish line, people all around me screamed, wept, clapped wildly, and hugged each other with joy. Trainer John Shirreffs tossed his hat into the cheering crowd, and jockey Mike Smith scattered a shower of flower petals into the air as thousands crowded around the winners' circle.
Zenyatta cools down outside her barn after winning the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic
They say that when times are tough, people need a hero. Seabiscuit filled that role during the Great Depression; Zenyatta has become the same type of hero for today's fans. She clearly enjoys her role as superstar as she interacts with the crowd, strutting and two-stepping her way out onto the track, stopping every now and then to look around and pose for her adoring fans. Add to that the generosity of her owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, in sharing her with the people, and the result is a lovely ray of hope at a time when it most needed in horseracing.