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

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Zenyatta

Hancock: “It looked like the Red Sea parting when they broke from the gate. The horse on the inside of Blame broke in and the horse on the outside of him broke out. I mean, there wasn’t a horse within two or three yards of him on either side.”

Gomez: “The pressure never came from either side of me. It was like, ‘Alright, cool.’”

Stall Jr.: “Down the front side for the first time, Haynesfield, who was to Blame’s inside, started running to the front. We just slid right over and took his spot, and we had a perfect position as we hit the wire for the first time — off the pace, on the rail, saving ground.”

Shirreffs: “In that race the horses were broken up into two groups, and she was behind the second. At that point, I don’t know if the rider knows that there’s three or four lengths between the first and second group.”

Smith: “I was so far back that I couldn’t see anything, really.”

Ingordo: “Around the first turn I thought, ‘Well, we’ve come this far, and that’s the end of it.’”

Gomez: “If you watch the race, Mike was only about five lengths behind me the whole time. The farthest he was back was under the wire the first time.”

Jerry Moss: “Fortunately, the race was a mile and a quarter, and she had a chance to finally get used to it.”

Denman: “I use binoculars. You always watch a jockey’s wrists. When you want to pick a horse up, you grab a hold of those reins. The reins to a racehorse are like the accelerator to a car. Mike started putting his foot down on the accelerator just a wee bit in the first turn.”

Smith: “You try to make it up but you don’t want to make it all up at once because you’d wind up not having anything left for the finish.”

Gomez: “I didn’t want to make this early run, didn’t want to flatten out too early and have Zenyatta come running by us. I was doing a lot of timing in my head, believe it or not.”
Denman: “Mike didn’t put his foot flat on the accelerator until they got to the top of the back stretch.”

Ingordo: “Most horses have a run in them that lasts a quarter mile, an eighth of a mile. That’s what most horses do: They wait and wait and they explode for a quarter mile. Well, Zenyatta did it for three-quarters of a mile or seven-eighths of a mile. When Mike started moving her, she made a sustained run and got faster and faster.”

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