Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Horse of the Year - Zenyatta

In my last post, I discussed the issue of the demise of horse racing. In this post I would like to talk about one of the most entertaining things to happen to horse racing in a long time. I would like to talk about Zenyatta.

During the coming week voters in the Eclipse Awards will be casting their ballots for a number of different categories, 17 to be exact. One category is the Horse of the Year and my vote would go to Zenyatta.

Zenyatta is a 6 year old mare who retired after this year's Breeders Cup at Churchill Downs. She won her first 19 races and lost her 20th by a head bob in the Breeder's Cup Classic. Even though she lost, she brought mainstream America to sit up and take notice of a sport that is hurting. Here was Zenyatta, a horse who had a personality and a will to win. Zenyatta was a horse who would dance for the crowd and all she wanted to do was run for the fans.

To win 19 races in a row is impressive but what is really impressive is the way she would win (take a look at the above video clip and watch). She would never run in the lead nor would she run near the front. She was always in the back. If a horse is constantly in the back of the pack, you got to hope for a perfect trip. You can't get boxed in, you can't get crushed on the rail and you got to hope for some day light. These are big ifs in one race, let alone 20. This is what makes her so great, is that she was always finding a way to get through and when she did, she just would blow past you.

Zenyatta brought so many people out to the racetrack. Everyone knew about this horse that couldn't lose. Even in her only lose, it was exciting. Horse racing needs to examine itself and what the fans want. By electing her Horse of the Year, it will bring a legitimacy to a sport that is shrouded in crookedness. If the writers decide to elect another horse, the general public will have only one thing to say, another fixed race.

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