After an impressive win in the Apple Blossom Invitational, Oaklawn Park released the following quotes from the connections involved in the race. The release is printed in full below.
Who do you believe could beat Zenyatta this year? Or do you think she's unstoppable? Let us know what you think below.
PRESS RELEASE AND QUOTES
In breathtaking fashion Jerry and Ann Moss's superstar Zenyatta dominated the $500,000 Apple Blossom (G1) Friday at Oaklawn Park and pushed her unbeaten record to immortal status and topped it off with a bow to a crowd of 44,973 adoring fans.
Under jockey Mike Smith, the 6-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Street Cry settled behind the moderate pace before effortlessly sweeping around the leaders on the turn and galloping to the line 4 1/4-lengths ahead of Sanders and Hirsch's Taptam with pacesetter Westrock Stables' Be Fair 1 ½-lengths back in third.
It was her 16th consecutive victory, matching the accomplishments of Cigar, Citation and Mister Frisky in winning that many at the highest levels in North America. While the crowd cheered her return to the winner's circle, she actually bowed her head twice in a motion all considered acknowledgment.
Zenyatta, trained by John Shirreffs, was the 1-20 favorite and paid the minimum $2.10 to win.
Fractions: 24:07 – 48:19 – 1:12.68 – 1:37:59 – 1:50.71
John Shirreffs (trainer winner Zenyatta)
We just wanted everybody to really see her perform the way we know she can. We are just so glad we got to see it. We are glad for all her fans and we are really glad for Hot Springs because everybody has been so nice and this reaction and the way they've treated her has been great. It's a perfect ending.
Jerry Moss (owner winner Zenyatta)
She seems to grow with every race. I don't think Mike had to even hit her today. She seemed to be reveling in getting back on the dirt. The way she reacted to the crowd…to the press…she was taking bows. I don't know what else we could do but sit back and enjoy it. It is a great feeling and she's a great gift. It's really something overwhelming and a responsibility, but also a great joy.
We are going to plot our schedule. We like races that are a mile-and-an-eighth. We like Grade 1s. So we will plot our course and if Rachel Alexandra wants to join us, she's more than welcome. But we will plot our schedule with the goal of getting to the Breeders' Cup.
Mike Smith (jockey winner Zenyatta)
She was really on her game today warming up. She broke really well and was taken in hand. The whole race today she was really on and I kind of kept her in behind on the dirt, and going around the far turn I kind of poked her out to get her ready for a run and she lengthened her stride, which she does every time. This and her last race were pretty impressive and well, well within herself. Riding her is a lot of fun. It's kind of hard to say if she's getting better and better because she's so good. I was looking at the big screen in the stretch, to be honest, because at the point we'd already ht the front really easy and I just moved a little to keep her focused.
Cliff Berry (jockey 2nd-place Taptam)
I felt like I won. My filly ran great. It was a great race for her. It really does feel like a win when you get beat to a horse like that.
D. Wayne Lukas (trainer 3rd-place Be Fair)
I was happy and pleased especially since the distance was about a sixteenth farther than she would like on most occasions. They took it too her and put pressure on us, but she ran her eye-balls out and the winner ran like who we thought she is. This was great for racing. The good guys won.
Cindy Jones (trainer 4th-place Just Jenda)
We were running for second and came up a little short. I think the distance was just a little too far for her.
Steve Asmussen (trainer 5th-place War Echo)
Talk to him (pointing to John Shirreffs). That was incredible. We were no match.
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