I have a public service announcement for my non-horsey friends. Watch the Breeder’s Cup this Saturday. It’ll be great. It’ll be historic. Trust me.
Why? Well, I could go on about how the Breeder’s Cup is billed as racing’s Championship Day—our World Series as it were—and how in two days this Friday and Saturday you’ll see some of the best athletes and biggest stars from around the world competing against each other for the highest purses in American racing. That’s reason enough. I mean, really, how can you not be excited by that? But for you, my casual racing fan readers, I give you one word, one reason to tune in: Zenyatta.
Who is Zenyatta? I can almost forgive you for not knowing who she is. Almost. After all, she’s raced largely in California, and for a good chunk of last year her story was overshadowed by another wonderful filly, Rachel Alexandra. It’s kind of sad and sort of criminal that more people don’t know about her because she is, in a word, amazing. She’s racing’s biggest star of the moment, captivating hardened horseplayers and casual fans alike. And this Saturday she will try and win the Breeder’s Cup Classic for the second year in a row.
I am, predictably, crazy excited to watch all of the racing, and crazy excited for the Classic. But, in case that alone doesn’t give you some incentive to watch, I thought I’d offer up a few reasons, for you, my casual horse racing friends, to watch.
For the sports fan:
She’s going for perfection. And who doesn’t love a feat of perfection in sports? She’s raced 19 times in her lifetime, and won all 19 of those starts. The Breeder’s Cup Classic will put her at an even 20. That’s pretty astounding, especially in a sport with so many variables. And you want edge-of-your seat anticipation? She’ll give it to you. She comes running from behind the pack and she leaves you breathless as you wait to see if she’ll make it to the wire first. She always does. Without fail. It’s totally all that “thrill of victory” stuff. Watch last year’s Breeder’s Cup Classic and you’ll see why.
For the music fan:
Zenyatta is owned by Jerry Moss of A&M Records. And she’s named after the Police’s third Album, Zenyattà Mondatta. Sting wants you to watch. How can you argue with Sting?
Oprah wants you to:
No, really, she does. Don’t fight the Oprah. If mainstream media coverage is your thing, Zenyatta’s got plenty for you to choose from. O, The Oprah Magazine, chose her to be in their “Power List” . W magazine more your taste? She’s featured in this month’s issue as well. Print not your thing? Take a look at the “60 Minutes” segment from last Sunday.
For the animal lover (affectionately called the “Pretty Pony” camp):
She’s stunning. At 17.2 hands tall she’s huge compared to most racehorses. She’s got character. Her pre-race antics are legendary, pawing the ground or “dancing” in anticipation of her race. She knows where the crowds are and loves performing for them. And when she runs, and turns loose at the top of the stretch, it’s simply breathtaking to watch her extend her stride to hit the wire in front, always with her ears pricked forward, as if it was just a walk in the park. Oh, and she drinks Guinness. You have to love a gal who’s down with Guinness.
So that’s my quick and dirty reasons for watching the Breeder’s Cup this Saturday. Tune in to ABC from 1:30- 3:30 p.m. and then switch over to ESPN from 3:30 – 7 p.m. coverage. The Classic post time is 6:45, but you’ll want to tune in early.
Come have a chat if you’d like to hear me talk about why horse racing is awesome. And for a lot more in-depth coverage and how-tos for the new or causal fan, please check out Hello Race Fans and the seasonal NY Times blog, The Rail .
Happy watching! Yours truly will most certainly be a basket of nerves, completely on the edge of her seat, cheering her lungs out as Zenyatta hits the top of the stretch.