INGLEWOOD, Calif. (November 16, 2012)—Nearly five years to the day after Zenyatta’s smashing debut, Eblouissante, her half-sister, was an impressive winner in her initial start Friday (video) at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Although the distances were different, the manner in which the victory was accomplished was similar for the siblings, both out of the prolific broodmare Vertigineux.
While 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta earned the first of her 19 consecutive victories rallying from far back at 6 ½ furlongs Nov. 22, 2007, Eblouissante got the job done at 1 1/16 miles, which is not a common occurrence first time out in Southern California.
Owned by breeder Eric Kronfeld, who also bred Zenyatta, and trained by John Shirreffs, who conditioned Zenyatta for owners Jerry and Ann Moss, Eblouissante, the favorite in the field of eight, was seventh of eight after a half-mile, began her bid while wide around the final turn under jockey Corey Nakatani, collared pacesetter Saturday Nite Ride with a little more than a sixteenth of a mile to run and drew off to win by 4 ¼ lengths.
After opening as the 1-2 choice, the 3-year-old daughter of Bernardini eventually drifted to 7-5, returning $4.80, $3.60 and $2.80. The final time over Cushion Track was 1:45.27 for the $46,050 maiden race.
Eblouissante, who earned $27,000 Friday, and Zenyatta are a combined 9-for-9 at Betfair Hollywood Park, their home track.
“She has so many mannerisms like Zenyatta, so when she left and Eblouissante came in, it was like she was still there,’’ said Shirreffs. “It’s a thrill, it really is. We’re very excited about her. She’s such a beautiful race horse.
“I thought she handled everything well. As a first time starter she didn’t really know what was going on. Going a mile and a sixteenth the first time, that was really something. It’s like something clicked and she knew she was supposed to catch the horses in front of her.
“Each succeeding workout was a little better than the prior one and we saw that turn of foot in the mornings. We’ve been waiting for this day a long time.’’
Nakatani, who has ridden many high quality horses during his long career, was impressed.
“It felt so easy it was scary,’’ he said. “In the mornings, getting on her, she did everything right. It was similar to what we did with her this afternoon – walk her down, jog her past the starting gate, walk some more and keep her nice and composed.
“With John running (Zenyatta) the way he did, you know he’s going to do the right things and make all the right moves.
“She was actually more alert and into the race than we actually thought she would be. Turning for home, I let her out a little bit to get to the position where I wanted to be where she can kick on and do her thing.
“She did everything I asked. Anytime you get to ride a sister of a champion like Zenyatta, it’s a pleasure, especially at this stage in my career. I’m excited right now and that’s an understatement.’’
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