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March 13, 2010


AP Racing Writer

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Calling Sidney's Candy a frontrunner on the Kentucky Derby trail isn't just hype.


AP Racing Writer

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Zenyatta's owners brought her back to the races so they could have some fun and the fans could enjoy the mare who loves putting on a show.

She delivered on both counts Saturday, when Zenyatta won the $250,000 Santa Margarita Handicap by 1¼ lengths, extending her career victory streak to 15-0.

"Everybody really loves her," co-owner Jerry Moss said. "Everybody's so pleased to have her back and to root for her, and when she wins, she makes everybody happy."

The 6-year-old mare trailed a field of seven rivals going 1 1-8 miles in her season debut before unleashing her trademark late run to win under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.

"This was a great, great race for her and it wasn't taxing at all," Smith said. "We got enough out of this race to move forward."

In New Orleans, 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra was upset in her season debut, possibly jeopardizing the highly anticipated first meeting with Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom next month in Arkansas.

She was beaten three-quarters of a length by Zenyatta's stablemate, Zardana; John Shirreffs trains both Southern California-based mares.

March 12, 2010

March 11, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 11, 2010)—Undefeated champion mare Zenyatta arrived at Santa Anita by van from her Hollywood Park base at 11:30 a.m. Thursday as she makes final preparations for her 2010 debut in Saturday’s Gr. I, $250,000 Santa Margarita Handicap.

Zenyatta was scheduled to school between races three and four in Santa Anita’s paddock, under the watchful eye of trainer John Shirreffs.

Unbeaten in 14 starts and regarded by many as possibly the best horse in the world today, Zenyatta has been idle since winning the Gr. I, $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 7, her first start versus males.

In a breathtaking performance, Zenyatta broke tardily and trailed a star-studded field of 12 horses by as many as 13 lengths in the early stages of the 1 ¼ miles Classic. Around the far turn, Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith had her in gear and she went on to a dramatic one-length victory that is being compared with Seabiscuit’s 1940 Santa Anita Handicap win and the legendary Johnny Longden’s victorious ride aboard George Royal in the 1966 San Juan Capistrano Handicap, which was the final race in Longden’s career.

March 10, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 10, 2010)—For the 13th time in 49 racing days, no one correctly tabbed six winners in Santa Anita’s popular Pick Six on Wednesday, creating a carryover of $81,826 into Thursday and the expectation of a total pool of more than $500,000.

Wednesday’s Pick Six began in race three, which was won by Nitro Active, under Garrett Gomez. The Doug O’Neill trainee paid $12.60 to win and is owned by Decker Racing, Flintridge Stable and A. Venneri Racing.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 10, 2010) – Following a nose victory in the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint on Jan.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 10, 2010) – Zenyatta, racing’s paragon of perfection, returns to action Saturday in the 73rd running of the Grade I, $250,000 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap at Santa Anita, where last seen on Nov. 7 she was scoring an unprecedented victory over males in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic that extended her unbeaten streak to 14, led to a repeat as champion older female, and emblazoned her enormous popularity.

If you listen to her Hall of Fame jockey, Zenyatta’s 2010 campaign as a 6-year-old will only buttress her brilliance. “I know it sounds funny,” Mike Smith said following a recent workout, “but I really think she’s getting better.”

Zenyatta will carry high weight of 127 pounds against eight opponents in the mile-and-one-eighth Santa Margarita as she prepares for her greatly anticipated showdown with 4-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Horse of the Year, in the $5 million Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 9.

March 9, 2010

HRTV will present a special one-hour live show Saturday featuring the 2010 debuts of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and unbeaten Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Zenyatta.

Entitled “The Champions Return,” the show will be hosted by Scott Hazelton and Gary Stevens, who will be live at the Fair Grounds for Rachel Alexandra’s race, the $200,000 New Orleans Ladies’ Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. It will go as the 10th race at approximately 3:15 p.m. The Santa Margarita will be Santa Anita’s seventh race with a probable post time of 3:40 p.m.

Zenyatta, who is the 127 pound Santa Margarita highweight, is expected to use the race as a steppingstone to the “Race of the Ages” against Rachel Alexandra in the $5 million Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park on Friday, April 9.

“She worked very well Friday morning,” trainer John Shirreffs said of her six furlong move in 1:11.80, breezing at Hollywood Park. “I had her in 1:11 and three or four. She looks like she’s on top of her game right now. She walked yesterday morning for an hour and a half and she walked yesterday afternoon for another hour. We took her to the main track this morning and she jogged a mile (the wrong way).”

Shirreffs said that Zenyatta would “probably van over (to Santa Anita) Thursday afternoon.”

“She worked unbelievable the other day,” said her regular rider, Mike Smith. “I know it sounds funny, but I really think she’s getting better. She seems more and more focused and she couldn’t be doing any better.”

March 7, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 7, 2010) – One day after Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert provided 25-year-old jockey Martin Garcia with the biggest win of his career while riding Misremembered to a one-half length victory in the Gr. I Santa Anita Handicap, the pair struck again Sunday with Sangaree in Santa Anita’s $60,350 Joe Hernandez Stakes.

Garcia rallied 4-1 shot Sangaree between horses in the stretch to defeat Gallant Son by one-half length in a driving finish to the 6 ½ furlong event that had been transferred from the turf to Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface following overnight rain.

The final time was 1:15.28 and the outcome reflected the patience of the up-and-coming rider from Mexico who kept his mount well behind some sizzling fractions of 21.78, 44.08 and 1:08.84.