LYNN NEARY, Host:
Unidentified Man (Announcer): Zenyatta, Zenyatta, Zenyatta is flying, flying, trying to hold on, flying, and Zenyatta, the (unintelligible) has won in a head. Zenyatta ran her heart out but had to settle for second.
NEARY: We're joined now by Steven Crist, publisher and columnist for the Daily Racing Forum. Welcome to the show, Steven.
STEVEN CRIST: Hi, Lynn. How are you?
NEARY: Steve, Zenyatta spent most of the race dead last. And at the end, the jockey, Mike Smith, was devastated. Was it his strategy or did Zenyatta simply break late out of the gate.
CRIST: Really neither. It was the first time that she'd run against the best horses in the country on a dirt track. She ran a very gallant race and defeat and really lost nothing but her undefeated record. She just didn't quite get there in time. That's horseracing.
NEARY: Yeah. What does this do to her legacy? Will it be tarnished by this loss?
CRIST: I don't think so. I think that she's widely considered one of the greatest fillies who ever raced at least. And, you know, by running in a race of this magnitude against the best males in the country, it put her into a little bit of context. So, while I'm sure they're disappointed not to go 20-0, she didn't really lose any stature.
NEARY: She's up there with horses like Secretariat or Citation?
CRIST: Well, I think honestly the people took that a little bit too far. I don't think anyone, except her somewhat overenthusiastic followers, really put her up there with Secretariat. That's asking for a bit much.
NEARY: Well, she does have a big fan base. People would come up to her stable just to watch her graze. What is it about this horse? Do the horses have a personality that people get attracted to, as well as a winning streak?
CRIST: It's really both. This highly unusual record, you know, it's obviously extremely rare for horses to go that long without losing. But also this is a horse who captured people's imagination because of her looks and her demeanor. She's a giant and she's also extremely playful. She does a little dance out on the track and struts before she races, and people really responded to that, as well as to her record.
NEARY: So, what's next for Zenyatta?
CRIST: Probably retirement. They haven't 100 percent committed to it. This was supposed to be her last start. You know, she was retired a year ago when she won this race, and then they thought about it for a month or two and said, you know, we're having so much fun racing her let's bring her back for one more year.
NEARY: All right. Well, thanks for joining us.
CRIST: Thank you.
NEARY: Steven Crist is the publisher of the Daily Racing Forum. This is NPR News.
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