On November 6, for the first time in her long racing career, Zenyatta traveled east to race in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in Kentucky.
Big mistake. Watch the race:
I phoned Zenyatta when she got back to her digs at Hollywood Park, California, and she was ready to dish some dirt — literally.
Adele: Do you think trading your usual synthetic track for dirt affected your performance?
Zenyatta: The hooves don’t care, but I’ll tell ya, Kentucky dust leaves an awful aftertaste. And it took my groomers hours to get that crud off me.
A: I hope you flew home First Class so you could relax and unwind.
Z: They told the flight attendant to pour me a good stiff belt of carrot juice and keep ‘em coming. I just wanted to forget the sight of Blame’s Durante-like schnozzola sticking over the finish line.
A: Now the press is saying you lost by “a head.” Did you hear the race commentators calling you the “Aging Amazon?”
Z: I call them aging jock douchebags. They probably bet against me, too. Always did.
A: Mike Smith, your jockey, blames himself.
Z: Poor Mike. He’s probably right. If we’d kicked into gear just a few strides sooner, I would have been tickling Blame’s schnoz with my tail. The stone-cold fact is that I outran 10 of the best males racing today. Did you see how far behind I was when I started passing them? We just ran out of track a few steps too soon. So send me to the glue factory.
A: They’re saying Blame will probably be named Horse of the Year.
Z: He can have it. Horse of the Year is bullshit. If I can’t win it with 19 straight victories, it’s a joke.
A: I’m sorry to hear that you’re probably going to be retired soon, too. In Kentucky.
Z: So is Blame. I just hope they don’t try to hook us up. He’s got a reputation for pointing fingers. He’d never stop gloating. I may have finished behind him, but I never want to end up under him.
A: The day after the race, Kentucky fans came out in force to get see you off, but not Blame.
Z: What can I say? It was just one race. Star power is forever.
A: Now that you’ll have more free time, are you going to pursue your dancing?
Z: Absolutely! I’ve always want to learn Argentine tango.
A: If you start a family, colt or filly?
Z: Filly, definitely. I’ve even picked out her name. Zenyette.
There you have it. Zenyatta is pissed, but unbowed. Long live horse racing’s Queen!
BONUS: A tribute to the fabulous Zenyatta.