Zenyatta's Breeders' Cup target won't be decided for weeks
Champion ZENYATTA (Street Cry [Ire]) equaled Hall of Famer Personal Ensign's unbeaten streak of 13 straight with her second consecutive victory in Saturday's Lady's Secret S. (G1), but there was no word Sunday morning on whether she would face males for the first time in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) on November 7 or defend her Ladies' Classic (G1) title on November 6.
"There won't be a decision for a few weeks," trainer John Shirreffs said from his headquarters at Hollywood Park, where Zenyatta was resting comfortably. "She looked good this morning."
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith left little doubt that in his opinion Zenyatta has the talent to successfully step out of her division.
"Ability-wise, she can run with anyone, anytime, anywhere," Smith said. "She has an amazing turn of foot -- one that I've never seen before."
Team Shirreffs, although understandably thrilled with Zenyatta's smashing 1 1/4-length victory in the Lady's Secret, that evening took it in stride with a discreet celebration.
"We had a nice quiet dinner," Shirreffs said.
Except for a disappointing sixth-place finish to GITANO HERNANDO (GB) (Hernando [Fr]) in Saturday's Goodwood S. (G1), all was well with Kentucky Derby (G1) winner MINE THAT BIRD (Birdstone) Sunday, although future plans were undecided.
"He looks OK this morning," trainer Chip Woolley said. "He came back good, I think. I haven't talked to the owners much since we've run, so I'm not sure exactly what we'll do from here, but the horse ran pretty good (beaten 3 3/4 lengths). There was not quite enough pace in the race to set it up for him, and we might have been a little too far out of it. It's kind of hard to say.
"It's never a good thing when your horse is off 10 weeks and coming into a Grade 1 race like that. It's kind of hard to be maybe as sharp as you want to be. I tried to tell his owners last night, it's not like you got beat a fading 10 lengths or something. You were the only horse left running in the race, you were still closing ground. From the head of the lane to wire, he makes up about six or seven.
"The problem is, they got away with a :48 half (:48.54), and that's too slow. I thought we were in pretty good shape going into the first turn. He's closing up a little bit on the turn, and you can see Calvin (Borel) kind of stand up and take a hold of him. What happened was, they were slowing down, coming back to him. It wasn't really him moving up. They backed up to him a little bit because they slowed down from :23 and change (:23.75) to :48 and change.
"Calvin rode a good race. He rode him like I wanted, and that's the kind of race we're going to need if we're going to win the Breeders' Cup (Classic). He rode him just right. If he would have let him drift up a little more to the field, things might have been different."
Bob Baffert, off to a flying Oak Tree start with eight wins from 25 starts, was delighted with Goodwood third RICHARD'S KID (Lemon Drop Kid). Winner of the Pacific Classic (G1) in his prior start, Richard's Kid was beaten all of one length in the Goodwood.
"It was a perfect race for him," the Hall of Fame trainer said. "We needed to run one-two-three. We're coming back in the Breeders' Cup Classic."
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