Zenyatta wins 17th straight race

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Zenyatta stretched her winning streak to 17 in Sunday's $250,000 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park, running down her biggest threat, St Trinians, in the final 1/16.

The victory was immensely popular with a larger-than-average crowd at Hollywood Park, many of whom came specifically to watch the two-time champion and receive a promotional bobblehead of the 6-year-old mare.

Zenyatta ($3) ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.01 under jockey Mike Smith. It was not until the final 60 yards that Zenyatta took the lead, catching a determined St Trinians. The margin at the wire was a half-length. Zardana was third.

Typical of her style, Zenyatta was at the back of the field of six fillies and mares for the first six furlongs. Miss Silver Brook set the early pace for the rail, closely followed by Cherryblossommiss, through early fractions of 24.05 and 47.54 seconds.

St Trinians was fifth on the backstretch, with only Zenyatta behind her. St Trinians made a three-wide move on the turn to take a run on the leaders, with Zenyatta racing farther outside and staying within range.

St Trinians led by two lengths at the eighth pole, with Zardana second at that point. Zenyatta was fully extended to catch St Trinians, who won the Grade 2 Santa Maria Handicap at Santa Anita in February.

Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, Zenyatta has earned $6,074,580 in her career. The Vanity was Zenyatta's third win in a Grade 1 this year, preceded by wins in the Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap at Santa Anita in March and the Apple Blossom Invitational in April.

She became the first horse to win three runnings of the Vanity, having done so in 2008 and 2009. The 129-pound assignment for this year's Vanity equaled her highest handicap weight of her career, matching what she carried in the 2009 Vanity.

The victory moved Zenyatta past Cigar, Citation, Hallowed Dreams and Mister Frisky on the list of horses with consecutive wins. Peppers Pride was undefeated in a 19-race career from 2005 to 2008, racing exclusively in New Mexico.