Zenyatta has such self-assurance, such insouciance and swagger, and she's so towering that she often seems to look over and beyond her rivals prior to a race, as though they're not even there, explained her jockey, Mike Smith.
"She's just so full of confidence... sometimes I think she leaves the gate extra slow just to give them a head start," Smith said about the most charismatic horse in the country who's undefeated after 18 races. Zenyatta will go for her 19th victory Saturday in the $250,000 Lady's Secret Stakes at Hollywood Park.
It's expected to be preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic, which will be run Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs. Blame, who with Zenyatta is an early favorite for the Classic, also will get in his final preparatory race Saturday, in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.
Their victories Saturday would set the table for a feast of a Classic. But this game often rewards skepticism. And at the risk of sounding like an apostate, it wouldn't be shocking if one of them lost this weekend.