Matt and I went to Keeneland to brave the cold with many other fans. It was single digit wind chills. I had all my northern Michigan gear on including snow pants. People came from all over the country for this occasion and had been waiting to see their superstar.
|Keeneland's outdoor sales pavilion with 1,200 Zenyatta fans in waiting.|
It felt like there were delays after delays. Keeneland seemed to continue to announce "another 10 minutes." Perhaps the diva was busy getting her hair brushed just right for her adoring fans. Then the moment arrived...
|She knows she's a diva|
There were flashes going off as if there were strobe lights turned on to add more effect to her diva appearance.
My friends and readers of this blog know that Matt and I have a special attachment to Blame. The only horse to ever beat Zenyatta. We love Blame and I will say that I hope he wins "Horse of the Year." That's not taken anything away from Zenyatta. In fact Zenyatta is BIGGER than a "Horse of the Year" title. Make no mistake, she's "Horse of a Lifetime." I think handing her "Horse of the Year" wouldn't give her the credit she really deserves. What she has done for the sport of racing can't be put into an award that represents a single year. I think every racing fan recognizes her greatness transcends horse racing and certainly a single year.
Part of her popularity has a great deal to do with her people and handlers. They always seemed to be right in step with her all of the time.
And they made her accessible to everyone. Even here at Keeneland, John Shirreffs would stop Zenyatta and let her fans touch her for a moment.
The fan reactions were like nothing I've seen before in racing. Just amazing and moving. And she continued to put on the dance. We loved it!
I was lucky I caught a brief moment where Mike Smith, her jockey, ran out to hug her goodbye.
|Mike Smith runs out to hug Zenyatta Goodbye...|
|Guinness Stout! YUM!|
I felt so lucky to have been a part of what I consider an historic event in racing. I saw only one of her races in person and my pick won but she caught me up in her greatness. Thank you Zenyatta for being you and best of luck to you in your new home and career.