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

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Zenyatta

Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs, Jerry Moss’ racing manager: “On Longfield Avenue, a guy would jump out of his car and take a picture of Zenyatta through the fence, and then about a half hour later he’d be back with his entire family. The police had to come a couple times and tell people to move along.”

Asher: “The entourage as she walked from the barn to the track every morning certainly ranked with the largest I’ve seen at Derby time.”

Hargrave: “I was a kid for Secretariat but can’t imagine there was more fanfare even then.”

Steve Willard, Zenyatta’s exercise rider: “I rode her once two days before and once the day before. It was cold out and she was feeling good. She was what we call ‘full of piss and vinegar.’ I had my hands full.”

Garrett Gomez, Blame’s jockey: “Actually, I was worried about my shoulder because I fell off a horse on Thursday. Friday I got through the day, but it was bothering me really bad. Five o’clock Saturday morning, I called my agent and said I was having shoulder problems. We called in a prescription for some pain medication. I took that and my main concern was just trying to make it though the day. I wanted to make sure I was capable enough to help Blame and not hurt his chances.”

Stall Jr.: “We actually took Blame to the racetrack the day of the Classic to do a little jogging. Everything with Blame was pretty straightforward. He always did everything right. When I saw that he’d eaten all of his feed from the night before, I knew he was ready.”

David Ingordo, Zenyatta's Bloodstock agent: “The day of the race Zenyatta looked like a statue, not a hair out of place.”

Denman: “John Shirreffs had her in absolutely impeccable condition. Her coat looked exceptional — no sweat at all, really dry skin. I was very confident; I thought, ‘She’s going to win today.’”

Asher: “Zenyatta had actually come to Churchill the year before to run a race on Derby weekend, and they elected not to run her because the track conditions weren’t great. My lasting memory of her was from that visit. Here was this monstrous and imposing horse that handled herself like a 10-year-old at dance recital. I was in the paddock when she was in there schooling one day, and she was standing in the stall and raised her head up so high. I thought, ‘It’s the Loch Ness Monster.’”