Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Zenyatta-- Took Us to the Mountain Top
If you don't love horse racing, and you don't love Thoroughbred race horses, you probably won't understand what took place last night at the Eclipse Awards in Florida. The Eclipse Awards is the pinnacle, the Academy Awards or Grammy's for horse racing and breeders of these most magnificent athletes.
Zenyatta, after two previous nominations won Horse of the Year last night. A literal scream escaped my body when the words "Zenyatta" were announced. I saw Ann Moss look as if she thought she heard the words, but wasn't entirely sure, as if she was in a dream. Well the truth was she has been in a dream, we all have, the dream of seeing a once in a life time horse. At least my lifetime.
I missed Secretariat, I missed Ruffian, I missed Seattle Slew, I missed Man O'War and I missed Seabiscuit, whom I know in their time was the "horse of the year". But a horse of a life time, only perhaps Secretariat was the last that collectively took a nation on a ride. But I missed it, and so I only have Zenyatta to say--- you are the horse of my lifetime.
Everyone has their reasons why they fell in love with this particular horse, everyone has their own experience and some of us were fortunate enough to have had access to her majesty. She was magical off and on the track. Before her retirement (the first time), I had the great pleasure of meeting Zenyatta. I remember just looking at her and soaking in every single minute of it. I didn't touch her, didn't even ask if I could, if I did perhaps I thought it won't be real. But she was, and on subsequent visits to her, often I would just sit back and soak her in again. I would enjoy the reaction of others, and relive my own first time experience. I had the opportunity to take my friends to see her, and it was always a joy, as if giving something that didn't belong to me, but was more precious than a Tiffany blue box.
When Zenyatta narrowly missed the Breeders Cup Classic in 2010, she returned to Hollywood Park, her kingdom, her special place where her adoring fans lined up every single day and were allowed access to her. She accepted each and every gift, every tear that filled an eye, and every awe struck race fan with a grace that was human like. Always knowing she had taken us to the mountain top, to the pinnacle and last night, she received the award she deserved.
Race horse retirement received its due as well. The Second Race wants to thank Jerry Moss of mentioning Tranquility Farms, race horse retirement in general and how the public and industry have the responsibility to embrace and support the work that many of us do across the United States.
Mary Lou Whitney, eloquently stated that there was a responsibility to the horses, that no horse should ever go to slaughter again. Both gave the necessary attention to the plight of race horses and our hope is that in the afterglow of Zenyatta's win, that the public will donate to their favorite race horse charity in the name of Zenyatta.
For those that were not able to see the Eclipse Awards here are the words so perfectly written. Thank you Team Zenyatta, thank you the voters for getting it right. Your choice was tonic for this soul.
To see the horses that The Second Race has for adoption or are available for sponsorship visit www.thesecondrace.com
Photos by Cecilia Felix, Julie Ziek and Zoe Metz
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- ► 2010 (39)