ZENYATTA's 2009 CLEMENTE L. HIRSCH STAKES (12th Straight Win): TVG's "INSTANT CLASSIC"
As ZENYATTA entered the saddling paddock at Del Mar before the race, she was greeted with cheers and a standing ovation by legions of adoring fans; she didn't disappoint treating them all to her patented fancy foot work and dance moves pouring on the charm and giving the packed crowd exactly what they came for. As with all ZENYATTA's races, it is not simply a race you are witnessing but an entire experience you are living.
This time around though, Jerry and Ann Moss' champion ZENYATTA needed every yard of the stretch at Del Mar on August 9, 2009, to remain unbeaten with a close-call victory in the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1).
Racing Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith left the five-year-old STREET CRY (Ire) mare with plenty of work to do in the final furlong, but ZENYATTA showed her determination with a furious closing rush from the far outside. She steadily reeled in pacesetter LETHAL HEAT and runner-up ANABAA'S CREATION (Ire) to prevail by a head in the first photo finish of her outstanding career.
"I thought I had it," Smith said. "I certainly underestimated the competition today and a mile and a sixteenth is a little bit short for her. Maybe I was a little too focused on LIFE IS SWEET (ZENYATTA's Grade I-winning stablemate), but the horses that ran second and third, they ran a great race."
ZENYATTA won the 2008 Vanity Invitational Handicap (G1) by a half-length, the smallest margin of victory in 11 previous victories, but she needed every bit of real estate in the 1-1/16-mile Clement L. Hirsch to escape with a win that seemed improbable at the eighth pole. Sent off as the 1-to-5 favorite, she completed the distance in 1:43.24 on the synthetic Polytrack surface.
"It was close; it was very close," winning trainer John Shirreffs said. "I was just so happy, because everyone came out to see her and I wanted them to see her perform well."
ZENYATTA boosted her bankroll to $2,594,580 with her 12th consecutive win and joined BAHIA KEY (1974-'75) and AZERI (2002-'03) as a repeat winner of the Clement L. Hirsch.
Re-live all the excitement as ZENYATTA remains undefeated extending her winning streak to 12 races in the 2009 Clemente L. Hirsch!
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|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|