Ladies' Classic day

November, 5, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- It's Ladies' Classic day here at the Breeders' Cup, and although I don't have a mount in this year's edition, I certainly remember riding in 2008. That was the year Zenyatta won, and she was just starting to really hit the radar at that point.

I remember being really excited about it, too, going in thinking that as long as she got the opportunity, she could do this, you know, really in a great way. And she did, she just ran phenomenal that day, she ran amazing. Cocoa Beach was the mare that was second, the Godolphin mare, and she came back a few weeks after that race to win the Grade 1 Matriarch on the grass. She had won at Saratoga before the Classic, and she won the Beldame, another Grade 1. She also had six impressive wins overseas, and while a lot of people were saying we were just beating up a bunch of local horses, here we beat this excellent mare who had raced all over the country and in other parts of the world.

And then after that race we of course knew, since she'd done that, she'd get to run in the 2009 Classic. Leaving the gate with all the commotion with Quality Road having to load and re-load, she probably left there the worst she's ever broken. She probably spotted the field three to four lengths easy, if not more. She broke on her wrong lead and I thought "Oh God, oh Jesus, this is it." And then I got her to get back over to her right lead because she was running sideways, kind of looking at the grandstand. I got her back over to her right lead and when I did that, it was like a light switch went on and immediately she grabbed a hold of me and it was like, WHOOSH, and I thought "OK, man, I'm OK."

But now I have to save ground, I can't spot them five lengths and circle the field. I saw Gio Ponti down on my inside and just dropped in behind him and followed him through. He split them and I went around him at the same time. I could hear the crowd roar and it was so loud and she just took off, but in taking off she was taking off with fun, she was literally pricking her ears and just rolling down the lane. When she passed Gio Ponti I was just beside myself, I could hardly believe that she'd just done what I'd just seen her do.

Being in my position, having felt how she feels, being a part of doing what she does, I honestly don't get very upset about all the controversy around her. I just smile about it. I think it's kind of ridiculous. I mean, here's a mare that's done everything she's done, she's never done anything wrong. And if you're going to argue about it, it's just silly to me to even have to waste your time or your breath. It's gotten to where you don't have to speak for her anymore, she lets it be said, lets it be known. Yeah, she speaks for herself.

Going into tomorrow's race as Zenyatta's rider is a great honor. No one's ever been in this situation before. I'm not quite sure how to handle it. No one's ever gone into the Breeders' Cup Classic 19-0. So she has history to make, and I'm excited about being the rider who gets that chance. And again, like I've said before, given the opportunity, I really think we can do this. I really think it would be something to see. So praying for a safe trip for all of us, everyone gets a safe trip, and we're good enough. We'll get there, if it's meant to be, the good Lord willing.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?