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Zenyatta continues her perfect run with Lady's Secret Stakes victory at Hollywood Park

October 2, 2010 |  4:23 pm

Zenyatta’s pursuit of perfection continued on Saturday, and the 6-year-old mare responded by winning her 19th consecutive race in taking the Grade I $250,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes as she ran down Switch in the homestretch to win by half a length at the Oak Tree meeting at Hollywood Park.

Jockey Mike Smith, who has said riding Zenyatta is like “going down the freeway and you’re in a Ferrari and everyone else isn’t,” turned her loose in the stretch to win the 1 1/16-mile race by a neck.

Zenyatta becomes the all-time leader in career earnings for female horses, earning $150,000 to overtake Ouija Board with $6,404,580. Not bad for a horse sold at a Keeneland yearling sale in 2005 for the bargain price of $60,000 because she had a nasty rash that scared off buyers.

Now everything associated with Zenyatta is in demand, from Zenyatta bobbleheads to Zenyatta hats to Zenyatta-related yearlings.  A yearling colt produced by Balance, a half-sister to Zenyatta, sold for $4.2 million last month.

Zenyatta is the first three-time winner of the Lady’s Secret Stakes, named in honor of the 1986 Horse of the Year. It was her eighth start at Hollywood Park and eighth victory at a track that serves as her home base in Barn 55 South.

She has become the most popular horse in racing, especially after the retirement earlier this week of last year’s Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra.

Now, there’s only one race remaining before retirement, a Nov. 6 date in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs against the boys and on the dirt. She won last year in the same race at Santa Anita.

It was a dream day for thoroughbred racing fans, with nine Grade I races run around the country and three Grade II races. All were supposed to serve as final preparation for the Breeders’ Cup, racing’s world championships.

Haynesfield pulled off an upset in the Grade I $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational at Belmont Park.

--Eric Sondheimer