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

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Zenyatta

*****

Asher: “My favorite memory was the next morning, Sunday. It was the most extraordinary thing I’ve seen at a racetrack. I walked my daughter’s friend back to Zenyatta’s barn, and as I turned the corner toward the grazing area along Longfield Avenue, I saw this huge throng down by a tree. There was a half-circle of people on the grass on the inside of the fence and a half-circle of people on the other side of the fence, the folks who had gotten out of their cars on Longfield. And there was Zenyatta in the middle of it.”

Willard: “They all knew that this was her swan song.”

Ingordo-Shirreffs: “People were passing flowers over the fence.”

Jerry Moss: “Somebody gave her a cake and she ate it.”

Shirreffs: “She used to get a cold Guinness two times a day, so we made sure she had that.”

Ingordo-Shirreffs: “It was like a big Santa Claus line of people wanting their picture taken with Zenyatta.”

Asher: “The groom would take her over to the fence and people would stick their fingers through the openings just to get a chance to touch her.”

Shirreffs: “She’s one of the few horses I’ve ever seen that would look at people. I’ve had a lot of horses that have the look of the eagle — staring over the crowd into the distance. Zenyatta had the unique ability to look right at people. I was really struck by how she would make eye contact.”

Asher: “I remember they took her in to give her a little break, and the crowd broke into applause. And the second they started clapping, she started doing that little dance. She thought it was race time again.”

Photo: Courtesy Zenyatta

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