Works fuel speculation on Zenyatta

Updated: January 7, 2010, 11:32 PM ET
By Steve Andersen | Daily Racing Form



ARCADIA, Calif. -- Zenyatta has had three recorded workouts in the past six weeks, including one on Wednesday, leading to speculation that the Horse of the Year candidate is not finished with her racing career.

Thursday, trainer John Shirreffs insisted that owners Jerry and Ann Moss have not deviated from their statement after she won the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 7 -- that Zenyatta was retired and would be bred in 2010.

But the longer she stays at Shirreffs' Hollywood Park stable, and the more workouts she records, the more race fans will speculate that she will run in 2010.

"That decision is Mr. Moss', and he hasn't said anything other than what he said after the Breeders' Cup," Shirreffs said.

Unbeaten in 14 starts and the winner of $5,474,580, Zenyatta, 6, is a finalist for Horse of the Year along with the star 4-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra, who won the Preakness, Haskell and Woodward last year. The announcement of the 2009 Horse of the Year will be made Jan. 18.

Shirreffs acknowledged that Zenyatta's huge fan base in California would like to see her race again.

"I think a lot of people would like to see her run, and I would also say she's accomplished enough and let her retire," he said.

Zenyatta worked a half-mile in 48 seconds at Hollywood Park on Wednesday, the fifth fastest of 17 works at the distance. Shirreffs said that Zenyatta was "breathing fire" on Thursday, when she was walked at the barn. She worked a half-mile at Hollywood Park in 50.40 seconds on Dec. 7 and a half in 49.40 seconds on Dec. 21.

If Zenyatta were to return to the racetrack, fans would begin clamoring for a showdown with Rachel Alexandra. Rachel Alexandra, who hasn't raced since defeating older horses in the Woodward on Sept. 5, is in training with Steve Asmussen at Fair Grounds. She has been jogging and galloping, with her first workout of the year scheduled for early February and her first race of the year not yet determined.

Where Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra could meet is also a matter of speculation, although both have raced at Oaklawn. Rachel Alexandra won the Martha Washington and Fantasy there last year, and Zenyatta won the Apple Blossom there in her only start outside of California. The 2010 Apple Blossom is scheduled for April 3.

Zenyatta became the first female to win the Breeders' Cup Classic. Since that race, Zenyatta has been the subject of two retirement ceremonies -- at Hollywood Park on Nov. 29 and at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.