Zenyatta continues to be the hottest item in the racing world. The 6-year-old mare posed for 90 minutes of photos outside Barn 55 South at Hollywood Park Sunday morning, while trainer John Shirreffs fielded media interviews and racing manager Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs hosted a flock of adoring fans.
Less than 24 hours earlier, unbeaten Zenyatta attracted 25,837 screaming fans—the most at Hollywood Park in more than nine years—to witness her journey into immortality with her 19th straight victory in the $250,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes and the top spot on the female career earnings list with $6,404,580.
“We’ve had tons of people, which is fabulous,” said Ingordo-Shirreffs, wife of the trainer and racing manager for owners Jerry and Ann Moss. “She’s even had an impact on the lives of people. One woman said her personal life had been difficult the last two years, but Zenyatta kept her going. She’s uniting people all over the country who came by and exchanged numbers.
“It was so good to see Hollywood Park packed again and the parking lots full,” added Ingordo-Shirreffs of the marquee attraction of the racing world. The Mosses and Shirreffses joined jockey Mike Smith for a celebration dinner Saturday night at Madeo restaurant.
Zenyatta walked shedrow and grazed outside with groom Mario Espinoza before posing. Shirreffs wore a year-old Zenyatta baseball cap that listed her record at 14-for-14. He knew he might need a new one before her probable finale defending Breeders’ Cup Classic honors at Churchill Downs on November 6.
Zenyatta memorabilia items were popular on E-Bay, with caps going for $20. Many fans who hammered Zenyatta to 1-to-10 favoritism no doubt chose to keep $2 win tickets as souvenirs.
Trainer John Sadler makes no secret of his strategy for entrants in two featured stakes here Saturday: speed, speed and more speed.
Sidney’s Candy and Cost of Freedom are expected to employ their front-running styles in the Oak Tree Mile and Ancient Title Stakes, respectively, both Win and You’re In races for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
Sidney’s Candy, a 3-year-old colt, comes off a smashing turf debut at Del Mar August 14, when he went wire to wire in course-record time of 1:39.52 for 1 1/16 miles in the La Jolla Handicap.
“He should be able to improve off that La Jolla form,” said Sadler of the Candy Ride colt seeking to become the first sophomore to win the grass race since War Chant in 2000.
Sidney’s Candy worked six furlongs in 1:13.40 breezing on the main track Sunday. Joel Rosario will ride him back in the $150,000 Grade II race. Sadler, who has won the Ancient Title a record four times, seeks number five with Cost of Freedom in the $250,000 Grade I Ancient Title at six furlongs on Cushion Track.
Sadler hopes that Cost of Freedom can duplicate the form he displayed in June wiring the field in 1:08.49 in the Los Angeles Handicap and win his second Ancient Title in three years. Alonso Quinonez will ride the 7-year-old California-bred gelding for the first time.
Other probable starters in the Ancient Title include Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Dancing in Silks (Rosario), Triple Bend Handicap winner E Z’s Gentleman (Martin Garcia), Pirate’s Bounty Stakes winner Gato Go Win (Corey Nakatani) and Supreme Summit (Rafael Bejarano).
Supreme Summit worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:11.80. “He’s got back class, so running in there is obviously not that far-fetched,” said trainer Mike Puype after the drill.
Expected to join Sidney’s Candy in the Oak Tree Mile are Colgan’s Chip (Brice Blanc), Liberian Freighter (Garcia), Meteore (Bejarano) and Aggie Engineer.
Aggie Engineer, Meteore and Liberian Freighter all worked on turf: Aggie Engineer five furlongs in 1:01.40; Meteore five furlongs in 1:02.60; and Liberian Freighter seven furlongs in 1:27.60
Trainer Eoin Harty said he would make a decision on Shoemaker Mile winner Victor’s Cry following a work Monday. Tropic Storm, also nominated to the Ancient Title, and Allegre are also considered possible.
Trainer Mike Mitchell was ecstatic over a victory in the $250,000 Norfolk Stakes Saturday by xopenex Jaycito, a maiden making his third start.
“He’s the best young prospect I’ve ever had,” said the veteran trainer. “He’s a big strong horse and can run all day.
“I know he can run a mile and a quarter because he ran a mile and a quarter yesterday,” said Mitchell tongue in cheek in reference to the colt’s wide trip in the 1 1/16-mile race.
“His daddy (Victory Gallop) won the Belmont—the farther the better, and he pulled up great,” added Mitchell.
Mitchell said he would confer with Zayat Stables owner Ahmed Zayat, who was in Egypt during the Norfolk, on whether the colt would return in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
“I’m going to point him for the race and make a decision 10 days before,” said Mitchell. “The owner has been great in not pressuring the horse. He’ll do whatever is best for the horse.”
FINISH LINES—Claire Sparks, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor, said that Yellow Ribbon Stakes winner Hibayeeb will be flown back to England Wednesday evening. “She ate and drank last night,” said Sparks of the 3-year-old Godolphin Racing filly who relished firm turf in the $250,000 Grade I race for fillies and mares. She said that bin Suroor will decide whether to return the filly to Kentucky for the Breeders’ Cup… Pascual Rivera, foreman for trainer Bob Baffert, said that $250,000 Goodwood Stakes winner Richard’s Kid came back in good order. Baffert is considering both Richard’s Kid and Indiana Derby winner Lookin at Lucky for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Sadler said that Twirling Candy, who faded to fourth as the 7-to-10 Goodwood favorite, “was a little crampy after the race.”… Richard Baltas, a former trainer on the circuit best known for his 2001 Goodwood upset of Tiznow with Freedom Crest, has returned to the circuit as an assistant to Barry Abrams after spending 22 months in Louisiana with Southern Equine Stable… Saul Marquez has taken over as agent for apprentice Alex Gonzalez, who missed most of Del Mar with a concussion but is back working horses in anticipation of a return next week…Probable starters for the $100,000 Morvich Handicap, a Grade III Win and You’re In stake at six furlongs on turf October 11, include Afleet Ruler (Rosario), Dilemma * and Truest Legend *(Patrick Valenzuela) …Trainer Brian Koriner worked California Flag, winner of the Morvich the last two years, four furlongs on turf in a bullet 48 seconds for the Woodford Stakes at Keeneland Saturday. Koriner also worked graded stakes winner Sweet August Moon five furlongs in 1:01.80 on the main track for the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland the same day. The pair will be flown east Tuesday. Joe Talamo will ride California Flag, and Victor Espinoza will be aboard Sweet August Moon. Several other riders will also be out of town next weekend. Mike Smith will be at Keeneland Saturday to ride Proviso for trainer Bill Mott. Patrick Valenzuela will be at Keeneland Saturday to ride Courageous Cat in the Shadwell Mile and Remington Park Sunday to ride Lion Story in the Oklahoma Derby. Joel Rosario will also be at Remington next Sunday to ride Pleasant Prince in the Remington Derby and American Story in the Remington Oaks… Dan Ward, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, said that Cotillion Stakes runner-up Blind Luck would return Tuesday from Philadelphia…Beverly D winner Éclair de Lune worked six furlongs on turf in 1:18.40.
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