Monday, November 8, 2010


I don't know if any of you are horse racing fans. Though I am familiar with racing, I do not follow the sport. The sight of horses legs shattering or jockeys being trampled, pretty much takes the fun out of it for me. However, every now and then a racing story comes along that gets my attention. One that eclipses the actual sport.
This is Zenyatta and Blame just seconds away from the finish line. Obviously not my picture.

Zenyatta is one of those stories. She is a tall, rangy mare with an amazing record. She had won every one of her starts, nineteen in all. Not all of these were against the ladies, she also won against the boys. You go girl.

Some considered her the greatest female race horse – ever. She was a cheap horse, purchased for only $60,000. Mostly the low price was because she had ringworm and a patchy coat at auction. Today her coat glistens and her owners sport mile wide grins at their good fortune and the over six million in purses she has won. Nice return on an investment.

Recently a story leaked out about her. Is it true? I think so. Zenyatta loves Guinness beer. Not just any beer, only a Guinness will do. Now I don't think she is a lush but it seems that kicking back her heels and enjoying a little brew in a Tupperware bowl after a work out is A-OK with the lady. This has made her the heroine of all beer drinkers around the world, and she is huge with Guinness drinkers.

Is this possible, that a horse could love a cold one? Why not, Guinness is made from barley. My horse, Jesse, would chase you down for a sip of beer and some Fritos. He disrupted more than one out door party at my place as some poor hapless soul ran sloshing beer and flipping Fritos trying to escape him. I eventually had to stable him at parties to protect my guests and to keep him sober and slender.

Those friends of mine who are race horse trainers that I previously wrote about, had just such a horse as Zenyatta, minus the winning record. Their night groom, unknown to them, was a tippler and got in the habit of sharing his beer with one of their horses. The horse got where she would only run if she were rewarded with a brew after the race. Hum, I did just say “her”? Perhaps this is a female thing.

Anyway, Zenyatta was scheduled to retire after the Breeder's Cup race at Churchill Downs. She was pitted against the boys and was almost guaranteed to win. Zenyatta ran all her races coming from dead last.

She would laze along at the start of the race, content to bring up the rear. Then she would pour on the coals with blazing speed and would pass the entire field to steal a win in the stretch. She really is a bit of a drama queen.

At the Breeders' Cup she stayed true to form. Starting from dead last per usual, she passed most of the field in the stretch and was closing in on the leader who was aptly named Blame. As they hit the finish line, it was a photo finish.

She missed a solid place in history by a nose and was beaten for the first time in 20 races. As her owner said, had Zenyatta only stuck her tongue out for the photo finish, she might have won. In the back of my mind I can't help but wonder, was she maybe a little hung over?

So today she is retired with an “almost” perfect record to enjoy her new career of making babies. I wonder how she will do when they cut her off during pregnancy? Bet we see this gal in a movie version someday. For sure, we will see her in a Guinness commercial.

If I drank, I would lift one in her honor. Kudos Zenyatta on a great career.


  1. Isn't funny how some animals develop a taste for something unusual. My uncle's horses in Arkansas like the watermelons. I used to love horses when I was a kid and can only remember one, Man of war, after that I forgot about horse racing, except to read Black Beauty and all the sequels.

  2. What a great story and what a great horse. She'll find having babies isn't nearly as fun as running and winning those races.

  3. Aw, what a neat story. It makes sense that hard working animals would enjoy a cold one at the end of the day.

  4. Oh I love this story. I had never heard of her. If I drank I'd hoist one to her as well. Good on her. The Olde Bagg

  5. I saw this story on television. A great tale and you certainly did it justice, Patti.

  6. I saw that story on TV too. I like to watch occasion race, mostly on TV. We went to Hot Springs to watch the race only once. I also like to watch the show horses, again on TV.

    Isn't there a new movie coming out about Secretariat?

  7. If only there had been a Guinness waiting for her at the finish line... just maybe there would be a different ending to this story. What a fine horse, and I hope her mothering days are grand!

  8. Linda Starr,
    Know what you mean about watermelons. Both my horse and my cows loved it. I had to be careful for they would eat the rind and I wasn't sure that was good for them.

    Thanks. You are probably right. Having babies won't have near the glamour and pampering she is used to as a diva on the track.

    I thought so too. Makes perfect sense to me also. We all enjoy unwinding after a hard day.

    Linda in NM
    We can at least raise our lemonade glasses to her success.

    Thanks. I first heard about her as a joke on late night TV. Otherwise, she would have slipped right by me.

    Zinyatta ran at Hot Springs thought I wasn't aware of it.
    Yes there is and I have it saved on Netflix.

    You really can't knock her can you? Does that mean you are a Guinness man or just a kick back fellow?

    Actually, those friends of mine who also had a horse with a taste of beer, did just that. Only way she would run.
    Zenyatta will have many years left to mother and enjoy pasture.

  9. Hi Patti, Zenyatta was a fabulous horse... Too bad she didn't win her 20th race... Oh Well.. She almost did!!!!!

    Great story... i don't follow horse-racing and had not heard the story of Zenyatta and her beer... How FUNNY.... Love it!!!!!

    Thanks for a great story.

  10. Only Guinness on occasion. She is a beauty, though I like my fat, lazy, retired guy. ;)

  11. You know the most fascinating stuff! I loved the story. :) blessings, marlene

  12. I love the vision of a horse chasing someone down for a beer and Fritos. That's a cool story about a cool horse.

  13. Great tale. We've had horses with a liking for the brew. All that barley & hops. Oh, and the kids show pigs loved a cold one from time to time. Now it's just me & a wee scotty dog. But he loves his Kilt Lifter beer, he does.

  14. Betsy,
    She did come close to history. Missed it by a nose. Hope she enjoys retirement. Glad we don't have to have babies when we retire.

    Know what you mean. I'm sure in time she will get fat and lazy also.

    So glad you did. I had fun learning about her.

    Sweet Virginia Breeze,
    The day Jesse chased that poor soul, we laughed so hard more than one of us lost bladder control.

    You got me with Kilt Lifter beer. Thought you were making it up but when I googled it, there it was. If I drank, I would drink that just for the name.

  15. I had a German Shepherd whose main treats were broccoli stalks or Roamaine lettuce. I saved a lot of dog treats and had little worry about keeping her trim and fit.

    I watched the race, pulling for Zen, but no banana, ooops, beer on this one. Bet she got one anyway.

  16. And they call that a reward???? Spending the rest of your life without a "bump" and shuck'n out babies??? Sounds like my early life. Ha Patti, you always cheer my whole day when I read your posts. What a talent you are. The greatest!!!!

  17. It's a GREAT story and a really tragic story too....To not have won this last race before retiring---Heartbreaking!
    I have never heard of Horses and Beer going together...But, I am not a HUGE Racing fan....But like everyone, I love a GOOD Race Horse Story, and this is a terrific one!

  18. Nitwit,
    Wow, a vegetarian dog. That is rare. Most dogs really don't like their veggies.
    I'll bet she got one also.

    Ha-- you have a point there. Thanks so much--you are too kind to this old lady.

    Like you I am not into racing but love a good story. Think they will make a movie about her?

  19. I saw the trainer talking about her on TV. She is a gorgeous animal; so proud and regal looking.

  20. My dear, I have left you an award on my bloggie this morning because you are so special to me. You know how I feel about awards.....just the giving is the don't have to pass it on if you choose not to. Just saying, "you're a goodie, to me". The Olde Bagg

  21. What a fun piece of trivia about her!!! I love it!!! Wonderful story!! Just wanted to stop by to see how you are, and to say "hello"...and to give you my love! ~Janine XO

  22. kenju,
    She really is beautiful and the way she walks is really unusual. She prances like a dressage horse. A true diva.

    Linda in NM
    Well golly. I am so pleased that you thought of me and included me in the flock. Back at ya. Thank you so much lady.

    Sniffles and Smiles,
    So good to hear from you Janine. You really are missed you know. Saturdays are just not the same. Hope your plate is a little less crowded these days.

  23. I love Guinness, but it never made me zippy. Did a lot for my ringworm, though.

  24. I guess a good trainer knows his horse and what motivates him - I mean her. :) Imagine a lady winning a foot race with a guy. That could never happen. :) Well my daughter would win me in a foot race every time but that is only becuase she is faster than me.

  25. Murr Brewster,
    Thank you so much for stopping by and giving me a laugh. So glad your ringworm is better.
    Will be to visit you now.

    Kind of humbling isn't it? You go mini, female GQ.