Thoughts on the Great Z’s Loss

She nearly did it. She was almost perfect. One could argue about the trip she got or the ride Smith thinks he should have given her. But she did not get to the wire first.

As she struggled to catch Blame at the finish I told my grandson, “just like the Slew and Exceller. This loss defines her as one of the greats.” Now I’ve seen other blogs and articles write similar things.

My grandson was crushed. But the heart of the 7 year old is resilient.

Zenyatta has the heart of a great champion. She was the betting favorite but none of the experts pegged her to win. They droned on about facing tougher competition than the prior year. They questioned the ‘lite’ season her owners laid out for her. But in the end, she proved them that she could run with the best of the boys. Another stride and she would have had Blame- maybe. And Slew would have caught Exceller.

But for a moment last Saturday, she was The One. She caught the attention of a nation apathetic at best to racing. For a few brief moments, all eyes were on the big dancing mare. She showed them the best that racing can be. She proved what her fans already knew, she has the great heart of a champion.

Let’s hope Racing lives up to her legacy by returning the sport back to those who love the horses and the joy of watching them run. Let’s hope Racing finds a way to deal with their financial issues and most importantly, find a way to honor it’s athletes by ensuring zero tolerance for slaughter, by rewarding owners and trainers who retire their athletes before they break down and help retrain them for a second career.

There are owners who do love their charges. Mickey and Karen Taylor spent Slew’s last hours with him. They learned from their Swaps Stale debacle. I believe the Moss ‘swill also do right By Z. After all, they allowed her the time to mature and grow before racing her. I often wonder what great things Vindication would have done if he’d been given the same chance. Would he have eclipsed his sire’s accomplishments?

And what about rewarding quality over quantity in the breeding shed? Too many horses end up in bad situations or re-bred despite poor confirmation and soundness problems when they are older. Breed for soundness as well as speed.

Zenyatta was a great boon for Racing. She proved how great the heart of the Thoroughbred is. Let racing prove to her how great its heart is by making changes to to protect it’s athletes. In the long run that will draw fans back to the sport.

Explore posts in the same categories: horses, Living in the moment

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