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

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Zenyatta

Drape: “Everyone had butterflies; I had butterflies, and I’ve seen a gazillion races.”

Jerry Moss: “This was much more pressurized in every way. There were cameras on us. My wife and I do not seek publicity. We enjoy our privacy, certainly. We were aware that there were always cameras on us from afar — from TVG or HRTV, the usual racing channels. But even for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, I don’t believe there were cameras directly in front of us.”

Stall Jr.: “I had more nerves than usual, just knowing it wasn’t your ordinary day at the races — Zenyatta, a $5 million purse. When it got dark, that made it dramatic.”

Randy Moss: “Out of almost 30 handicappers in the Daily Racing Form — which is America’s horseracing bible — the vast majority of them picked against Zenyatta. I said, ‘Let’s not get carried away and think that this is a lay-up for her, because she is in for the most challenging race of her life.’”

Dora Delgado, Breeders’ Cup senior vice president of racing and nominations: “By the time the Classic rolled around, it was actually the first time in Breeders’ Cup history that we’ve closed the paddock and wouldn’t let anybody else in. It had reached maximum capacity.”

Stall Jr.: “I noticed the swollen crowd. When I gave Garrett Gomez a leg up on Blame, I was trying to find a place to go. I literally had nowhere to go because people were standing on every square inch of that paddock. I muscled my way in front of some media.”

Delgado: “We brought in pretty much all of the Jefferson County sheriffs we could, anybody that we could get to line the paddock path to keep people from following Zenyatta out to the track. She was like a rock star with groupies.”

Shirreffs: “As a way of expressing herself, she learned to really reach forward with her front legs and walk. That was her dance.”

Willard: “That’s when you knew she was geared up.”

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