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Zenyatta completes preparations

9/25/2010

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Zenyatta worked six furlongs in 1:13.80 on Saturday at Hollywood Park, the final workout before the 6-year-old mare will seek to extend her unbeaten streak to 19 races in the $250,000 Lady's Secret Stakes next Saturday.

The time of Saturday's workout was only the 15th best of 23 recorded works at the distance. It would have been a lot quicker if jockey Mike Smith had urged her. Smith tracked stablemate El Vino for the first half-mile, moved to the outside in the stretch, and guided Zenyatta to the front by about three-quarters of a length after six furlongs. El Vino was timed in 1:14.20, the 18th best of 23 recorded times.

The work started at the 5 1/2-furlong marker and finished a sixteenth of a mile beyond the finish line.

"I didn't ask her to run until we got to the wire," Smith said. "I asked her to pick it up there to get a good gallop after the wire."

Smith was left with the impression that Zenyatta has maintained her form in the weeks since career victory No. 18 in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 7.

"I thought she went really well," he said. "I'm happier with the way she's doing. She seems to be coming around."

The Grade 1 Lady's Secret, run over 1 1/16 miles, will be Zenyatta's final race before a scheduled start in the Breeders' Cup Classic against males at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6, a race she won at Santa Anita last year.

Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Zenyatta has had five workouts since returning to serious training in late August following the Hirsch -- a half-mile on Aug. 25, five furlongs on Sept. 2, and six-furlong workouts on Sept. 10, Sept. 18, and Saturday.

The only deviation from previous workouts was the timing of Saturday's drill. Zenyatta typically works minutes before the main track closes at 10 a.m., but trainer John Shirreffs worked her just after 9 a.m. because of a warm morning. He said he was satisfied with the way she finished.

"I thought she looked pretty good," he said. "Mike likes to have her work so that when she goes by that horse it's near the wire. He tries to time it."