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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Zenyatta will be facing crowd in Classic

Jay Privman,
Daily Racing Form

ARCADIA, Calif. - In her 13 previous victories, all against females, Zenyatta only once has faced more than seven rivals. That was in her debut, in which she beat 11 other maiden fillies. When she runs against males for the first time on Saturday in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting, Zenyatta will have to beat the biggest field she has ever faced.

A total of 13 horses were entered on Tuesday in the Classic, with Zenyatta landing post 4. She is the favorite on the morning line of Santa Anita's Jon White, but is the second choice, behind European invader Rip Van Winkle, on the line of Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form's national handicapper.

Sixteen horses were pre-entered last week in the Classic, but three horses - Bullsbay, Chocolate Candy, and Mastercraftsman - as expected, opted for the Dirt Mile.

Zenyatta is one of 10 previous Breeders' Cup race winners in this year's Breeders' Cup. Nine of the race winners were victorious in 2008, including Zenyatta, who won the Ladies' Classic last year.

The Classic field is one of the deepest in the 26-year history of the Breeders' Cup. Zenyatta is the top-ranked female in the country. Rip Van Winkle is widely regarded as the second-best horse in Europe. Gio Ponti is the best turf horse in this country. Summer Bird is the nation's leading 3-year-old colt.

The field features the winners this year of the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, Travers, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Santa Anita Handicap, Arlington Million, Pacific Classic, Florida Derby, Super Derby, Hawthorne Gold Cup, and three Group 1 races in Europe.

From the rail out, including riders, the field for the 1 1/4-mile Classic is Mine That Bird (Calvin Borel the rider), Colonel John (Garrett Gomez), Summer Bird (Kent Desormeaux), Zenyatta (Mike Smith), Twice Over (Thomas Queally), Richard's Kid (Alex Solis), Gio Ponti (Ramon Dominguez), Einstein (Julien Leparoux), Girolamo (Alan Garcia), Rip Van Winkle (John Murtagh), Regal Ransom (Richard Migliore), Quality Road (John Velazquez), and Awesome Gem (David Flores).

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