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

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Zenyatta

Mario Espinoza, Zenyatta’s groom: “She was confused because she’s always supposed to go to the winner’s circle. I was trying to walk her back to the testing barn, and she didn’t want to come. She was pulling me toward the winner’s circle.”

Jerry Moss: “The moment after the race, the camera’s in your face: ‘What do you think?’ My wife’s sentiments were, ‘I wish she’d have stuck out her tongue,’ because she’s practical and thought Zenyatta’s tongue might have gotten to the wire first.”

Shirreffs: “It was an emotional time for us. It was her first defeat. But there was also a lot of pride. It was an amazing performance.”

Drape: “Mike Smith at the press conference — you don’t really see athletes cry so much. He was in tears mainly because he thought he had failed her.”

Smith: “We had our own little secret bond. I don’t know what I was more emotional about: getting beat or knowing that this was it, that I’d never have the chance to ride her again.”

Hancock:  “It was pretty strange because normally when a horse comes back after winning a big and exciting race like that, everybody gives him a little round of applause. They weren’t booing, but there weren’t many people clapping for Blame.”

Stall Jr.: “I saw that Garrett was raising his arms, like a football player trying to get the crowd excited.”

Gomez: “Blame was the forgotten-about guy who won the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”

Willard: “Another jump or two, she would have won it. But it wasn’t to be.”

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