What, above all, was the reason? It’s that she stuck around when she could have easily passed out of sight, following the path that so many before her have taken. No horse commanded the spotlight as long as she. Yes, of course, the Sport of Kings has had stars. Rachel Alexandra was Horse of the Year and a captivating presence. There was Barbaro, Big Brown and Smarty Jones – colts that emerged with their records intact as they won the Kentucky Derby. And, for a totally different reason, who will ever forget Funny Cide?
Each of these horses threw off heat that was keen as mustard. But Cigar, Seattle Slew, Sunday Silence and Affirmed never approached matching her, Secretariat, Seabiscuit, Phar Lap or Man O’ War in causing goose-bumps. Such was her effect; so is her legacy. The sport was blessed to have her as a bright light when darkness descended. More like her would put horse racing in the fun business.
Horse racing is an emotional playground. Hearts beat fast in the sport. Heads swim. People get lost in the moment before, during and after the experience. Better than winning one more trophy would be having another Zenyatta emerge so that everyone would recall the original.
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