INGLEWOOD, Calif. (December 5, 2010)—A vocal and appreciative crowd of 11,216 bid farewell to Zenyatta as the brilliant 6-year-old mare made her final public appearance Sunday at Hollywood Park.
After spending some time in the paddock, the daughter of Street Cry, who finished her racing career with 19 wins in 20 starts and more than $7.3 million in earnings, was paraded in front of the grandstand and the clubhouse area.
Then, brought to the winner’s circle, a place she visited eight times at her home track, Zenyatta was joined by a large gathering of media, photographers and assorted others, including those closest to her.
This group included owners Jerry and Ann Moss, trainer John Shirreffs, assistant trainer Michelle Jensen, racing manager Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs, Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who was aboard for her final 17 starts, exercise rider Steve Willard, groom Mario Espinoza, hot walker Carmen Zamona and pony boy Fred Wilson.
During a brief ceremony, Zenyatta was honored with a personalized Los Angeles Dodgers jersey (#10) by Lou Johnson, the former player who now serves as both the team’s community relations liaison as well as a member of the speakers bureau. In addition, Anita Mannila, representing Las Profesionales, presented Zenyatta a blanket.
Zenyatta, who earned the first of 19 consecutive wins Nov. 22, 2007 at Hollywood Park, then returned to her stable. She will leave early Monday morning for Kentucky and her new life as a broodmare at Lane’s End Farm.
About one hour later, Washington Bridge, an improving 3-year-old filly, rallied from last in the final eighth of a mile to defeat a field comprised almost entirely of her elders to win the $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap.
The mild surprise by Washington Bridge, the 5-1 fourth choice, helped trigger a Pick Six carryover of $95,806 when racing resumes Thursday. Post time is 12:30 p.m. The Pick Six will begin in the third race.
The win was the third in a row for Washington Bridge, a daughter of Yankee Gentleman and the Prized mare Stirling Bridge. Owned by Mark DeDomenico and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Washington Bridge has five wins in 18 starts. She has earned $221,089.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Washington Bridge paid $12, $6.40 and $4.40. Shge completed the 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track in 1:44.25. She is the fourth 3-year-old in five years to win the Grade II, joining Foxysox (2006), Romance Is Diane (2007) and Briecat (2008).
The victory was first in a graded race for the Kentucky bred and she is 2-for-2 over Cushion Track. She had won the restricted Life Is Sweet Stakes Nov. 12 in her initial collaboration with Bejarano.
“Sometimes the horse gets the idea, turns around and starts doing things right,’’ said Hollendorfer. “This is the third time in a row that she put it all together.
“She was very nervous earlier in her career, but she’s settled down quite a bit lately. We just took our time, schooled her a lot and stood her at the gate a lot.
“The way that Rafael was riding her, I thought when she was sitting back there that he felt quite confident. Once she unleashed her run she had a nice turn of foot. For now we’ll probably keep her and Blind Luck separated.’’
Sister Dawn, the pacesetter who opened up 2 ½ lengths with a furlong to go, held second, one length in front of Zardana, the 2-1 choice and defending champion. Sister Dawn paid $13.40 and $7. The show price on the favorite was $3.20.
Silver Swallow finished fourth, 1 ¼ lengths behind Zardana, then came Wynning Ride, Sweet August Moon and Lady Railrider. It Tiz was scratched.
The eventful Sunday also included the 2,000th victory of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s career. He reached the milestone when Free Pourin went gate-to-wire in the third, a $38,400 race for 2-year-old maidens.
Owned and bred by Mike Pegram, one of the driving forces behind Baffert’s successful transition to thoroughbreds from quarter horses, the Roman Ruler colt defeated Tokubetsu, also trained by Baffert, by three-quarters of a length. Free Pourin, who paid $11.60, was ridden by Joe Talamo, giving the jockey three consecutive wins.
Baffert, 57, has had 9,354 starters in his career. The Arizona native ranks sixth all time among trainers with stable earnings – through Dec. 4 – of $155,109,369. He’s won nine Triple Crown races, seven Breeders’ Cup events and has 29 victories worth $1 million or more.
Although there is no live racing Wednesday, the Hollywood Park Casino will be open for simulcast wagering. Gates open at 10:15 a.m.
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