Queen Z

Nov. 9th, 2010 07:45 pm
jlvsclrk: (Zenyatta by ctbn60)
Zenyatta gave all her fans a heart attack, then a rush of hope that ended in heartbreak in her  last race, the Breeders Cup Classic. But as Steve Haskin, one of my favorite Turf writers, put it:

As for Zenyatta, Henry Ward Beecher wrote, “It is defeat that turns bone to flint; it is defeat that turns gristle to muscle; it is defeat that makes men invincible.”

And apparently women. For Zenyatta, her defeat in the $4,545,000 Breeders’ Cup Classic will be remembered as an affirmation of her greatness. In victory after victory, she captured the heart. In her lone defeat, she captured the soul. All this remarkable mare lost in the Classic was her unbeaten record. But, like Seattle Slew’s memorable nose defeat in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), her courageous performance actually will enhance her place in history.

Although she will not retire undefeated, Zenyatta proved in the end that perfection is not always measured in numbers.


jlvsclrk: (Zenyatta by ctbn60)
 Sorry for being so incommunicado lately - just so much to do around the new place! But the roof is done (big job, although my part was largely restricted to writing the checks), I'm almost done with the computer room renos and the garden is ready for winter. We then have to redo the living room ceiling (because of water damage from the formerly leaky roof) and then tackle the bathroom. Getting there, slowly but surely.

I haven't written any Smallville reviews lately, in part from lack of energy but mostly because of how hard I find it to express my feelings. I'm enjoying the season a lot even though I feel they've wasted opportunities in practically every episode so far. And once I wait too long, I fear my review might be overly influenced by the many other great reviews I've seen out there, both good and bad, But I do plan on getting back on track after Friday's episode - it looks like a lot of fun.

Zenyatta past performanceSpeaking of Friday, that's going to be Day 1 of the Breeders Cup, the so-called Ladies Day, even thought the two queens of the sport won't be racing until Saturday against the boys. Don't miss it ! The races look to be absolutely spectacular. My beloved Zenyatta looks to extend her unprecedented undefeated streak to 20 and sew up Horse of the Year honours in the Classic, while Goldikova seeks an equally unprecedented three-peat in the Mile. But both mares are facing very stiff competition and I fear to get my hopes up too high. Zenyatta in particular has a lot of question marks against her, since she's never raced on the east coast, has only run twice on dirt (since California switched to synthetic surfaces just as her career began), has only faced the boys once and has lower speed figures than are usually required to win the Classic. She'd also scared away the competition in California, so a lot of people are very dismissive towards her (If you think the Lois versus Chloe wars are bitter, you should see the Zenyatta versus Rachel wars!) On top of it all, she'll be facing a full field in the Classic and given her come from behind style, will need some racing luck to get a clear run. Is she good enough? Yes, but anything can happen in a horse race. Fingers crossed!
jlvsclrk: (Zenyatta by ctbn60)
First off, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ctbn60 for sprucing up my Zenyatta icon, in honour of her historic win yesterday. It's based on a pic I took at the 2008 Breeders Cup, after her win in the Ladies Classic. I was just leaving and saw a professional photographer waiting along a path with equipment at the ready. He advised me that Zenyatta would be passing by any second now, and sure enough, there she was. As you can see, she was still full of energy and fire even after spread eagling the field.

Zenyatta at the 2008 Breeders Cup

I love the picture because it gives a great view of Zenyatta's very elegant head. Alas, its not well framed and her groom has his tongue sticking out, so it doesn't exactly wind up in the photography hall of fame! Many thanks to ctbn60 for editting out the distracting bits.

Now back to our regularly scheduled World Cup update )
jlvsclrk: (Zenyatta by ctbn60)
But first, the amazing Zenyatta going for a modern day record of 17 straight wins. Watch and marvel!



and now for the World Cup )
jlvsclrk: (Zenyatta)
Horse racing is one of my passions and last year gave us two superstar fillies who reignited a more widespread interest in the sport. The undefeated Zenyatta was scheduled to retire after winning the Breeders' Cup Classic last year. Instead, her owners kept her in training in order to take on defending Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra. That race is set for next month and today were the all important prep races. Rachel has been off for six months and wasn't quite fit, so it perhaps shouldn't have been too surprising that she lost, even if the field she was facing was significantly below her class. She'll definitelly be better next time.

Shortly after that shocking upset, Zenyatta faced an even tougher challenge - also coming off a long layoff, giving away significant weight to her opponents and in a race that looked to lack pace - the latter in particular a significant challenge for a horse with Zenyatta's running style. So I was prepared to see her go down to defeat - it almost seemed inevitable somehow.

jlvsclrk: (Zenyatta)
Excuse me while I gush over the second or third best racehorse I've ever seen in person. Number one by open lengths was Secretariat in 1973 - yes I'm old enough to have seen him in his final start. The number two spot is a much more competitive race but Zenyatta's performance today in the Breeders Cup Classic cemented her place in my heart. First of all, she just dusted the boys, becoming the first mare to ever win the Classic. She did so with her electrifying turn of foot that just leaves race fans gasping for breath as she zooms from last to first. She also looks the champion - big and fierce and yet still very feminine. And she has the most amazing personality - she knows she's good. Her signature move looks like dancing - in fact, they did a little spoof on the show about featuring her on Dancing With the Stars.



Here are some pictures I took of her last year. )
jlvsclrk: (Zenyatta)
Just back from a quick trip to California. The userpic I've chosen is of Zenyatta returning after her victory in the Ladies Classic.  That was the highlight of the trip for me but as far as photos go, the best is below the cut. I've done a fair bit of travel in my time and seen a lot of amazing places, but can't think off hand of any place that surpasses Seventeen Mile Drive in Carmel-by-the-Sea at sunset.
California dreaming )

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