|Zenyatta defeated by Blame in 2010 Breeder's Cup Classic|
Remarkable. Female Superhorse Zenyatta ended her career today in what was her 20th and final race at Kentucky's Churchill Downs. After having become the first female Horse to win the Breeders' Cup Classic in 2009, she looked to repeat the feat again this year against male competition. And she almost did it. Almost.
After trailing the field distantly for most of the race, she encountered a bit of traffic in the final stretch. As soon as she and Jockey Mike Smith found a clear path, she thundered home, making up much ground only to lose by a nose to eventual winner Blame. The winner it was announced, also is retiring after today's $5 million race.
Smith didn't have much to say afterwards, tearfully walking off the track saying only "It was my fault. She should've won." The race was to be Zenyatta's 20th win, marking the finale of a career which only saw Victory. But as we all know, nobody's perfect. Human nor Horse.
Celebrities alike shared in their adoration for Zenyatta. John Madden Tweeted, "Poor Zenyatta. I haven't been this depressed about a horse since Sarah Jessica Parker got snubbed for an Oscar nomination." Author Tami Hoag Tweeted "What a run! What a mare! Brava!". Both Elizabeth Banks and Bobby Flay rallied their Followers to watch her race earlier also and even Alyssa Milano weighed in on the matter, Tweeting "Zenyatta. Oh, how I love her so."
Regardless of her first-ever defeat, Zenyatta has made History and the exposure she has given the sport of Horse Racing with recent media coverage is unparalleled. Appearances on the likes of W Magazine, Oprah Winfrey's O Magazine, 60 Minutes have heightened her profile significantly. Her popularity has led to her having a Twitter account also, where a Spokesperson updates Fans on the daily happenings of the Mare owned by Jerry Moss, Co-founder of A&M Records.
With Horse of the Year honours to be determined January 2011, will Voters remember the heart Zenyatta showed not only today, nor only this year - but in the span of her brilliant three year-long career? Bet on it.
The strength of females in Horse Racing was only punctuated today by the win outstanding French-based Goldikova, who for the third consecutive year won the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf Mile against her male competitors.
(Photo credit: Matt Sullivan/Reuters)