Zenyatta will prep at Hollywood

Updated: August 21, 2010, 9:49 PM ET
By Steve Andersen | Daily Racing Form



DEL MAR, Calif. -- Zenyatta's next race will be at the track where she has been based through her illustrious career.

Trainer John Shirreffs said on Friday that the undefeated Zenyatta will be pointed for a stakes at the Oak Tree meeting, which is set to be run at Hollywood Park in October. Oak Tree Racing Association officials are pursuing dates for a five-week race meeting there this fall, from Sept. 29 to Oct. 31, after the California Horse Racing Board on Thursday rejected their proposal to race at Santa Anita this fall because of concern from horsemen over the safety of the racing surface.

Confirmation of an Oak Tree at Hollywood Park meeting is expected from the racing board in early September.

As a result, the Southern California prep races for the Breeders' Cup meeting at Churchill Downs in early November will be run at Hollywood Park. Oak Tree has yet to release its stakes schedule, but the $250,000 Zenyatta Breeders' Cup Stakes is likely to be run on Oct. 2.

Run over 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares, the race was previously known as the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Stakes in honor of the 1986 Horse of the Year but was renamed the Zenyatta by Oak Tree officials last fall after Zenyatta became the first female to win the Breeders' Cup Classic. Zenyatta won the 2008 and 2009 Lady's Secret Stakes.

Zenyatta is based at Hollywood Park year-round. She spent only a few days at Del Mar in advance of her 18th win in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Stakes on Aug. 7.

Shirreffs said he likes the likely timing, location, and condition of the Zenyatta Stakes, but not the new name. "I'm hoping they don't do that," Shirreffs said.

Zenyatta is likely to stay at Hollywood Park until the days before the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 6.

"It's home," Shirreffs said of Hollywood Park. "It was successful last year and you like to repeat what is successful."

Shirreffs described Zenyatta as being in "light training" this week. Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Zenyatta has earned $6,254,580.

Three-win day for P. Val

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela had his best day of the meeting on Friday with three wins, but had to share the last victory when Warren's Jitterbug ($13) and Go Forth North ($6) finished in a dead heat for first in the $87,675 Sandy Blue Handicap.

The hat trick was Valenzuela's best day since returning to riding in California on July 28, shortly after receiving a conditional jockey's license from state racing board officials. Valenzuela had not ridden in California since late 2007 because of a drunk driving charge, a violation of his previous license. He rode in Louisiana and New Mexico in recent years.

In the Sandy Blue Handicap over a mile on turf for 3-year-old fillies, Warren's Jitterbug rallied on the rail and Go Forth North rallied wide to run past 2-1 favorite Fortunia, who finished a head behind the first two in the field of eight. The final time was 1:34.27. Go Forth North was ridden by jockey Omar Berrio, who thrust his whip in the air at the finish in celebration. Valenzuela did not express such confidence at the finish.

* Hold Me Back, the winner of the Dominion Day Handicap at Woodbine in July, worked five furlongs in 1:01.77 on the Belmont Park training track on Saturday, preparing for Saturday's $1 million Pacific Classic.