The Fantasticks ran 42 years and had 17,162 performances. The Mousetrap began in ’52 and has seen the curtain rise over 24,000 times. “This has been a horse that’s been loved and nurtured for a long time and is putting it all on the line,” Shirreffs noted about Zenyatta in a morning new conference a few days ago. “Her participation raises the sport to a different level,” he said.
Cautious optimism is the tenor of turf writers in the media center. Not one person begins an answer to the question of will she or won’t she win without saying, “Well, I hope she does, but…” Even the most fervent admirers admit the Classic field will be tough to beat – Lookin at Lucky, Blame and Quality Road being the obvious threats to the defending champion’s win skein.
Regardless, the final few hours before the denouement will be as rich in expectation as any the sport has given its fans. This Breeders’ Cup has encountered a fistfight between jockeys in the winner’s circle, several upsets of its brightest stars, Life At Ten’s mysterious circumstances and the defection by Workforce for dubious reasons. A coronation can put the thoughts of all those troubles behind. Zenyatta’s the Queen until somebody beats her or says that she’s finished. Expect neither of those things to happen.
Vic Zast's TrackWords column on Monday will recap the entire Breeders' Cup. This Breeders' Cup was the 27th in a row that he's attended.