Zenyatta's last race: An oral history [Breeders' Cup]

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Zenyatta

Al Stall Jr., Blame’s trainer: “You’ve got the best male in America against the best female in America. What more could you ask for?”

Drape: “You knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. It was magical, probably the greatest experience I’ve ever had as a sportswriter. Honestly, I can still tear up thinking about it.”

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John Shirreffs, Zenyatta’s trainer: “We got into Louisville a few days before the Classic. My wife Dottie spotted the horse plane parked, ready to unload the horses. We were in Jerry Moss’ plane taxiing down the runway, and Ann Moss, Jerry’s wife, started telling the pilot, ‘Stop! There she is!’ So the pilot stopped the plane, and Ann and Dottie got off and ran across the tarmac to see Zenyatta.”

Steve Hargrave, Churchill Downs stall manager: “When Zenyatta flew in, the atmosphere changed. We went to the airport, and she had an escort from the Jefferson County sheriff’s department to the racetrack.”

John Asher, Churchill Downs vice president of racing communications: “A police escort from the airport to Churchill Downs doesn’t happen very often.”

Hargrave: “When we came down Southern Parkway there were people with signs lining the roadsides. I think they had helicopters following us. It was like the Beatles had come to town.”

Stall Jr.: “We had one Jefferson County sheriff at our barn. I think Zenyatta had three or four, maybe five.”

Hargrave: “When she got to the barn, there must have been 200 people taking pictures.”