Zenyatta is the star at Breeders Cup

I could have travelled to Vegas and watched, as per usual, the Breeeders Cup in a sportsbook. However, thanks to the unique filly Zenyatta I will never forget my first Breeders Cup live at Santa Anita. Zenyatta is named after the Police album “Zenyatta Mondatta” by owner Jerry Moss who owned A&M records alongside Herb Alpert. Zenyatta has a rock star following and is the star of California racing replacing the retired Lava Man and Cambiocorsa.I followed her from the barn to the saddling box, to the track and I was at the starting gate,where I witnessed Quality Road go ballistic when blindfolded.The stalls handler refused to let go of the horse otherwise he would have probably become the first fatality of the BC. The mare was on her game, however. She loves the applause. No need for her to retire .

I visited Borders to pick up a USA today only to find they don’t sell newspapers at this branch.Mindblowing. None of the 14 “experts” made Zenyatta their selection.The locals knew though. A fresh horse,her previous races had been paid exercise gallops given the lack of competion in California these days.Zenyatta was sent off the 5/2 favourite.

The human stars attending included horse lover Bo Derek, George Maloof talking a well earned day off from the Palms and Boyz II Men sang the anthem. No Sex Pistols when the Brit trained horses won though.

As for the ailing Santa Anita.  The Breeders Cup is a separate company and the track just gets a management fee for staging the showpiece. Similar to when the WPT jumps in at the end of a tournament series. It may be fair to give other tracks the chance to stage the November showpiece even take the event to England.However, Santa Anita is the perfect host for everyone. The public love it. The weather is perfect, the course able to handle the crowds comfortably. With so many rooms in L.A. nobody has to pay $300 for a roach motel. The horses enjoy the warm climate and with no fatalities the,pro ride, surface must be safe. The stable staff must love it with the Mall, D&B and a cinema a stones throw from the barn’s.

I missed out on the freebies. A visor from Metro buses for using the train to Sierra Madre then shuttle to the track. The Visors probably arrived late knowing Metro as well as I do. Where did all those Fly Emerates caps come from? I could have used those for my Chelsea and Arsenal friends Xmas pressies. Except I don’t have any friends who support those two.

Today was closing day. The crowd,of 7625, was predominately Mexican families so it was apt that the last winner was Mexican bred.Zenyattas jockey Mike Smith returned for a single ride, in a 36k race.The horse Evening Jewel won.

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