Zenyatta, the American wonder-horse had won 19 of her 20 races and looked set to close her career on an historic perfect 20.
Like Don Bradman, who was a couple of strokes from a career average of 100, she failed at the last, but how she tried and how sad for her jockey, the crowd and all her connections.
As anyone who has watched recent interviews with Frankie Dettori will know, top jockeys take the narrow losses worst and from the tears he shed after the race, Mike Smith may well never quite recover from this race. He may not be allowed to by the millions of American punters who backed Zenyatta in to odds -on only to see their darling trail by 25 lengths in the early stages and miss out on one of the big prizes in racing by a couple of strides.
In truth, there were those who did not take an emotional stance who knew. It was possible to bet on Zenyatta on over the double the odds in the UK where the “layers” noticed the mare’s excitement prior to the race. It was extraordinary to watch Zenyatta pawing the ground and almost dancing around in the preliminaries and nobody who watched the first eight furlongs of the race could have given Zenyatta, even with her proven fast finish , a chance.
That she carved through the field and was defeated only by a short-head means that like Bradman she will be remembered as the best but nearly something else.
- Zenyatta falls short at Breeders’ Cup (theglobeandmail.com)
- Blame ends Zenyatta’s perfect career (timesunion.com)
- Zenyatta loses by a head at Breeders’ Cup (nypost.com)
- Zenyatta Falls Short in Quest for Perfection (abcnews.go.com)
- Zenyatta falls short in quest for perfection (seattletimes.nwsource.com)