Zenyatta sure knows how to work the crowd. There was no shortage of suspense during the Santa Margarita handicap today.
Zenyatta broke last out of the gate and loped along at the back of the pack for the first half mile. At times she was 10 lengths behind the leaders.
At the top of the stretch, jockey Mike Smith didn’t pull her wide for her run as he usually does, instead opting to stay behind Chantal Sutherland. The decision looked like it was going to cost her the race as she ended up boxed in. She made a hard jump toward the rail before she found the hole and then accelerated through to win by a length and a half. Zenyatt is undefeated, now with 15 straight wins.
It looked like a hand ride with Smith not touching his whip. Given that Zenyatta was carrying 127 pounds (most of her rivals were at 111) makes the victory even more impressive.
Imagine riding against a horse like that. Thinking that you’re in the clear and then being smoked as she comes from behind. All I can think is that this is a horse with her own strategy. She obviously has a strong desire to win but is content to wait for her move at the end rather than fighting to be in the front from the get go.
Rachel Alexandra also made her 2010 debut today, finishing second to Zardana in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes. Many who watched her training runs leading up to the race felt she was not 100% fit.
Both fillies are aimed at the Apple Blossom Stakes in three weeks. Will it be the match of the year?