The perfect Zenyatta

The perfect Zenyatta will be putting her claim as the most dominant horse of recent memory on the line tomorrow at the Clement Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar. The horse has won all 17 out of 17 lifetime races; if she wins the Hirsch, she will improve to a perfect 18 lifetime wins.

The X-factor for Zenyatta is Del Mar’s track surface. She has never raced on the Polytrack synthetic surface so there is no telling how she will handle the track at racing speed. Although she has worked out on the track several times, trainer John Shirreffs stressed that these are two totally different types of running.

Jockey Mike Smith will be guiding Zenyatta on Saturday. He also rode her over her last two wins at the Hirsch Stakes as well. In 2008, she won the race by a length after rallying from 13 lengths behind. In 2009, she came her closest to a loss when she won by just a head.

If Zenyatta wins on Saturday, there will be no doubt that she is one of the greatest horses of our time, male or female. The Hirsch is rounded out by five other horses, Rinterval and Made for Magic being the only other graded stakes winners this year.