ARCADIA, Calif. - Your turn, Curlin.
The unstoppable filly Zenyatta made a strong case for Horse of the Year honors with a spectacular victory in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic on Friday at Santa Anita.
The 4-year-old improved her record to 9-0 by roaring from last place to pull away for a 1-length win over Cocoa Beach. It was the kind of command performance that could be hard for Curlin, the reigning Horse of the Year, to top in today's $5 million BC Classic.
"Zenyatta's the ultimate stopper," trainer John Shirreffs said. "Whatever's going on, you can always look to her and something fantastic is going to happen."
On Friday, that something happened around the turn at the sun-splashed track.
Zenyatta, ridden by Mike Smith, trailed by 10 lengths on the backstretch. No biggie. When Smith asked her, she responded with her trademark push.
"She's sent from God, I tell you," Smith said after picking up his second win on Ladies' Day. "She was there any time I wanted her. I knew she was going to make her move today."
The heavy favorite paid $3 while covering 1 miles over the track's new synthetic surface in 1:46.85. "We're so blessed to have her in our barn," Shirreffs said. "From the very beginning when she started racing, she showed another dimension that you would never expect." The win was the first Breeders' Cup victory for Shirreffs and owners Jerry and Ann Moss. The trio previously won the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Giacomo.