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Zenyatta proves big draw at Churchill Downs

 Zenyatta is walked on the grass near the stables at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010.  Zenyatta was made the early 8-5 favor...
 Zenyatta arrives at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010.  Zenyatta was made the early 8-5 favorite in a field of 12 for the $5 ...

Breeders Cup Zenyatta Horse Racing

Zenyatta is walked on the grass near the stables at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. Zenyatta was made the early 8-5 favor...

Breeders Cup Zenyatta Horse Racing

Zenyatta arrives at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. Zenyatta was made the early 8-5 favorite in a field of 12 for the $5 ...

Zenyatta had her first gallop at Churchill Downs then spent time making her fans happy on Wednesday.
The mare with the 19-0 record goes for a repeat victory on Saturday in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic.
Zenyatta, the 8-5 favorite, was watched by a large crowd, including owners Jerry and Ann Moss, who followed her from the barn to the track and back.
"I thought she looked great on the track," trainer John Shirreffs said. "She handled the track very well and was really happy to get out there."
After a quick bath on an overcast morning, Zenyatta was walked around the grassy area behind the barn that faces the street for some leisurely grazing. People driving by started to pull over for a glimpse and to snap photos of U.S. horse racing's biggest star. Zenyatta was not flustered, munching away contentedly.
Like Cher, Zenyatta had a quick wardrobe change midway through, going from a purple Breeders' Cup blanket to a white one with her name embroidered in bold letters.
While fans clustered outside the fence, Jerry Moss playfully snapped pictures of the news photographers as they jockeyed for shots of his horse.
"There is a little bit of anticipation, but I think everybody is relaxed," Shirreffs said. "It's just the excitement and the energy that surrounds a Breeders' Cup event, but we have a routine that we follow all the time that grounds us."
Part of that routine is schooling in an unfamiliar paddock at a track where Zenyatta has never raced. She accompanied the horses for the second race to the saddling area to get a feel for the surroundings.
Zenyatta will gallop again on Thursday.
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FINAL WORK: Espoir City, Japan's hope in the Classic, had his final workout on Wednesday, going a half-mile (800 meters) in 49.60 seconds with regular rider Tetsuzo Sato aboard.
Espoir City will be making his first start outside Japan, where the 5-year-old has won 11 of 20 races and almost $6 million.
"Today was sort of the final touchup," trainer Akio Adachi said through a translator. "There were no instructions, no specific fractions requested. I just wanted the jockey to feel how the horse was."
While the time was not exceptional, the 20th fastest of 32 at the distance, Adachi was pleased and believes the horse is ready for the Classic.
"Espoir City is quite versatile," he said. "No instructions will be given to the jockey. We will leave it to him. If he breaks well, he can settle wherever. If he doesn't break well, he can cover ground. I'm not concerned."
And he's not bothered by post No. 11 or the 20-1 odds.
"In his recent races, he has been up front," Adachi said. "I'm quite certain that he has the speed to keep up with the pace here. This will be his first time going 1 1/4 miles, but I'm quite confident that he will handle the distance as well."


Updated : 2021-05-17 06:35 GMT+08:00