Hangin' with Haskin
06 Dec 2009 8:24 PM
TVG has put together a thrill-packed time capsule of Zenyatta in all her magnificence that no doubt will be watched for years to come by anyone who is moved by the power, grace, and sheer determination of the Thoroughbred.
To watch the fledgling Zenyatta explode on the scene in as jaw-dropping a maiden victory as you're likely to see and then follow her race after race in her pursuit of perfection is a journey one likely will never forget.
By the time the curtain comes down on this 14-act masterpiece, a kaleidoscope of unforgettable images will have formed in your mind - that gargantuan stride that never once shortened; that majestic strut following a race that never once failed to end up in the winner's circle; that massive frame that made her foes appear more like tug boats alongside the Queen Mary; those ears that sprung to attention in the final sixteenth as if playing to the crowd and reassuring them the task was well in hand.
In the video, you will witness the birth of a legend at the three-sixteenths pole of her maiden victory as her breathtaking acceleration turns apparent defeat into a resounding victory.
In the 2009 Milady Handicap you will see her ability to shut down briefly in tight quarters along the rail and then shift into high gear in a matter of seconds and engulf her foes in one fell swoop.
You will see her toy with the top-class filly Hystericalady in the 2008 Lady's Secret and then open up 10 lengths in the
blink of an eye while galloping out.
You will see her handle 129 pounds on her back in the 2009 Vanity Handicap as if the weight pads were made of Styrofoam instead of lead.
You will see the ultimate example of the will to win as she overcomes a snaillike 1:13 3/5 three-quarters in the 2009 Clement Hirsch and still runs down her opponents with unwavering determination and a desperate final surge, as if she knew exactly where the wire was.
You will see her cruise by the multiple grade I-placed Model in the 2008 Clement Hirsch with such ease and physical dominance it made Model look more like a foal trying to keep up with her dam.
You will witness "poetry in motion" as she goes nearly seven-wide turning for home in the 2008 El Encino and just glides effortlessly down the middle of the track to win with such ease it prompted the normally reserved John Shirreffs to turn to his wife, Dottie, and ask, "Who is ever going to beat her?"
In the 2008 Ap ple Blossom you will get your only opportunity to see what Zenyatta was capable of on the dirt, as she turns in perhaps the most spectacular last-to-first run of her career, ing by the defending champion older mare Ginger Punch and extending her lead with every humongous stride.
Speaking of her stride, you will witness it in all its magnificence in the ground level replay of her victory in the 2008 Milady Handicap.
And after her races, you will see her come to a dead stop on the backstretch, lift her head and pr ick her ears, and stand motionless for several seconds as if to say, "That's it? Aren't these supposed to start getting harder?" Following the Classic, she again stopped, picked up her head as she always does, and looking back at the 12 vanquished males pulling up, answered her own question: "I guess not."
This is the greatness of Zenyatta. It is by watching this video that one truly appreciates just what a perfect winning machine she was. But as shown in TVG's feature "Instant Classic," she was much more than a robotic figure programmed to perfection, answering every command. She had an extraordinary personality that made it seem as if she had been here before in some other life; perhaps on the Ziegfeld stage. How else could she have choreographed such a unique act? She had a prima donna-like swagger about her, and fans would gather before each race to watch her tango around the paddock with moves never before seen. And in the winner's circle that she frequented so often, she posed with such aplomb, it was if she were saying, "Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup."
This clearly was no ordinary horse.
On the DVD, you will hear a number of prophetic comments by TVG analysts and dramatic, memorable race calls by Vic Stauffer and Trevor Denman, as well as Oaklawn's Terry Wal lace.
In the paddock of her maiden race, TVG's Ken Rudulph informed the audience that Zenyatta is a "first time starter with a little bit of buzz." Frank Mirahmadi followed with, "There have been some whispers."
Jerry Moss, interviewed by Christina Olivares before the race (excellent choice of interviews), says, "We're just hoping for a good run. John's been careful with her, because we all love her so much." Before long, he would have to share that love with an entire nation."
As the horses were loaded in the gate, Mirahmadi added, "I think Zenyatta, regardless of her performance, is one to watch." Following the race, which ended with Stauffer saying, "You better take a look at Zenyatta," Mirahmadi once again chimed in: "This is a filly with a very serious future."
When she won a first level allowance in the same spectacular fashion, Stauffer announced, "Here is a future superstar."
Denman summed up her historic win in the Breeders' Cup Classic, and her entire career, by concluding his stirring call with, "Un...bee...lievable."
One of the most memorable calls came in the Milady Handicap. As she charged down the stretch to her fifth straight victory, "Stauffer bellowed, "How do you spell perfection? Why try. Let's just watch her run."
Well, we watched her run for nearly two years, and now, thanks to TVG, we can watch her run forever.
There are numerous adjectives we can use to describe this remarkable mare, but no single one does her justice. So, perhaps it is best to condense all the adjectives and all the images seen on the video into one short comment, uttered by Stauffer as she crossed the finish line in the Milady:
"This is Zenyatta!"
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