Tuesday, November 2, 2010

As the Breeders' Cup Nears, the Big Show Hits Town

Beauty. Majesty. Perfection. Zenyatta.
I am swamped – completely in-over-my-head, what-am-I-going to do?! swamped. And yet after getting up at 5am and putting in five solid hours of work this morning, I somehow, and quite without my permission, ended up in the car driving to Churchill Downs. What can I say, the devil made me do it! And yes, there will be hell to pay as I pull another all-nighter.

Was it worth it? Well, I was there for this, Zenyatta walking off the van after a police (and news helicopter) escort from the airport:

Before her arrival, I was squished in behind the barricade elbowing for room with the other members of the press when I heard my name and looked up to see Marcelino, Evening Jewel’s caretaker who I had met when they were stabled near Harmonious at Keeneland. “Come inside the barn,” Marcelino said, “you’ll see better.” So thanks to him, I had a lovely, roomy, unobstructed view of the big girl from the shedrow of the barn housing Evening Jewel, The Usual Q.T., Blink Luck, Dakota Phone, etc. – though facing into the sun (the location behind the barrier was not much better, light-wise).

Pardon my finger...I was recording with my camera phone while taking this picture.
After two spins on the gravel, Zenyatta’s groom Mario took her through the barn to the other side to stretch her legs for a few minutes on the grass (what little there is of it!):

Another treat was getting to pet this girl’s nose, after the commotion surrounding Zenyatta had awakened her from her nap:

Breeders' Cup "Distaff" favorite Blind Luck watching the Zenyatta parade.

…and I saw a couple of other Breeders’ Cup horses from California arrive on the grounds who I haven’t even tried to identify yet. (I missed Lookin At Lucky, that much I know.):
Frizette winner and BC Juvenile Fillies morning line pick A Z Warrior.

Two of the Baffert horses. Last season's Acorn S.-G1 winner Gabby's Golden Gal leads. I don't know who is behind -- it's not a BC horse.
Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint contenter Tropic Storm.

Breeders' Cup Marathon morning line favorite, 7-year-old Awesome Gem.

So, was it? Worth it? When it involves seeing Zenyatta, the answer is always going to be an emphatic, “Yes! Yes, it was worth it!”

I could, however, have done without the accidental detour to Indiana on my way home.

Its precious cargo of 16 horses including Zenyatta unloaded, the Tex Sutton charter leaves Standiford Field.


  1. You're swamped with work and you drive all the way to Louisville? What else is new? I knew you'd do it for Z! Haha. Great stuff as usual, Frances!

  2. So swamped I've just woken up from the dead to get more work done -- at 2:53 in the morning. Barely functional.

  3. I woke up today (Wednesday)and noticed on Twitter that you are back at CD?! You are an outta control Z fan, girl! Haha. If you wanna take a hot chocolate break in Lex this evening, let me know.

  4. Yes, Frances, SHF has returned, bringing erudite skepticism and statuary.

    Love the pix!

    Isn't Blind Luck a pretty thing?