18 July 2010


This is something of a love story. Yesterday I chanced to tune into NPRs Weekend Edition, a news, commentary and human interest program. The segment that snared my imagination was entitled "Horse Racing's Zenyatta Puts the Boys to Shame" (click on the link, then on "Listen to the Story" to hear the interview for yourself -- the full script may be read as well). I was enchanted.

Zenyatta is a dream horse. Foaled April 1, 2004 in Kentucky, this champion American Thoroughbred racehorse remains undefeated in her 17 starts, one of only a few undefeated American Thoroughbred horses in racing history. What sets Zenyatta apart, in addition to her prowess, is her personality. During a race she will playfully idle along, biding her time as the suspense builds among other riders and the audience, and then unleash a display of beauty, power, grace and speed that sends her cheetah-like past any horse in her way. During pre-race warm-ups, she will express her high spirits with a peculiar dance, prancing and then pausing to point a foreleg foreward.

Add to all that Zenyatta's spectacular good looks, and you have a horse which inspires awe. She stands seventeen and a half hands (seventy inches) at the shoulder, often literally head and shoulders taller than her competition. Her physical conformation is dynamic and balanced, and she appears to be charmingly unaffected by her stardom. Her mahogany bay color defines her musculature clearly. (Click on any image to enlarge.)

Here is a nine minute ESPN segment on Zenyatta, with discussion to accompany the video. And here is a two and a half minute live video of the 2009 Breeder's Cup, in which Zenyatta started at dead last, remained near the rear of the pack through most of the race, then exploded into fluid speed at the far turn. She is breathtaking, a perfect athlete.

No comments:

Post a Comment