Classic still possible after Zenyatta work

Updated: October 23, 2009, 7:58 PM ET
By Jay Privman | Daily Racing Form



INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Although no decision has been made on which race Zenyatta will compete in in this year's Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting, she was put through a strong workout on Friday morning at Hollywood Park that trainer John Shirreffs said "leaves open the option for the Classic."

Zenyatta worked in company with two horses who joined her at intervals throughout the six-furlong work, and the result was drill that was officially timed in 1:11.20, the best time of 10 at the distance and faster by a full second than the second-best work.

"I thought it was excellent." Shirreffs said. "I thought she went very well. Usually you don't want to do something like that the first work back after a race, but this was an important work.

"If she was running in the Distaff," he said, referring to the Ladies' Classic, which Zenyatta won last year, "we could have coasted in with a couple of maintenance works. We needed to be more aggressive in case we go the other way."

Pre-entries for the Breeders' Cup are due on Monday, and will be officially announced on Wednesday. Shirreffs said Zenyatta - who has won all 13 of her starts but has never faced males - would be pre-entered in both the Ladies' Classic, which will be run on Nov. 6, and the Classic, to be run Nov. 7.

Jerry and Ann Moss, who own Zenyatta, attended the work, and Mike Smith, her regular rider, was aboard. Those three, along with Shirreffs and the trainer's wife, Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs - who is the racing manager for the Mosses - are scheduled to meet for dinner Sunday night do discuss Zenyatta's status.

"Everywhere I go -- Starbucks, church -- people are stopping me to offer an opinion," Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs said. "It's nice. Everybody cares."

John Shirreffs said he saw no reason to make an official announcement on Monday as to where Zenyatta will run. In theory, a final decision does not have to be made on a specific race until final entry day, Nov. 3.

Zenyatta is scheduled to work again next Saturday, Oct. 31. That is one week before the Classic. Last year, when Zenyatta ran in the Ladies' Classic, her final work was one week before that race.

Zenyatta came on the track around 9:30 a.m. accompanied by a pony. After backtracking to the finish line, she was joined by Green Cat, another runner owned by the Mosses and trained by Shirreffs, who broke off about three lengths in front of Zenyatta just past the six-furlong pole. After about a quarter-mile, Sabina Fay -- also owned by the Mosses and trained by Shirreffs -- broke in on the original pair, and tried to go with Zenyatta to the wire after Green Cat fell back.

Russell Hudak, Hollywood Park's official clocker, said Zenyatta completed her final quarter-mile in 22.40 seconds. Shirreffs timed Zenyatta galloping out one mile in 1:39.

"On the gallop-out, that's when she really took off," Smith said.