What Should The Zenyatta Movie Feature?

markinsacmarkinsac Member
edited February 2013 in Ziconic
One thing that Zenyatta has managed to do is bring a diverse group of people together. Some of you are rich, some are poor. Some are men, many others are women. Some of you are gamblers, some are not. Despite the different backgrounds, Zenyatta managed to pull us all together.

There's no doubt that someday the Zenyatta movie will be made. I have some ideas that I'd like to share and I hope that many more share their ideas and stories about their personal involvement with the Queen.

First of all, my perspective is that of a bettor. I have gambled on horse races pretty much all my life. My dad taught me how to read the Daily Racing Form. Over the years I'm probably hundreds of thousands of dollars poorer for playing the ponies. With such a low chance of success based on the odds offered by the racetracks, it's near impossible to beat horse racing in the long run. But most any legalized gambling has an edge against the player. Casinos take your money too, but most go for the small chance to win something big and for the entertainment value too. Horse racing though is considered a game of skill. Doing your homework should provide some success. But with a 20% tax on bets, I found it unbeatable.

By 2007, I was ready to give up on horse racing. I probably went to the live track or simulcasting place at least twice a week, plus some other days I could play races on the computer. I would win maybe once out of ten days. That was enough to call it quits. In the fall of 2007 , I was playing at home on the computer and watching the races on TVG. I had bet on some horse, not Zenyatta, and watched how my horse got thumped. But in losing I saw something that I had NEVER seen in the 40 years of betting the horses. I saw a filly making only her second start of her career absolutely dominate a race against other fillies that probably had many more races under their belts. I mean she looked spectacular. Even track announcer, Vic Stauffer proclaimed "Your looking at a future superstar" as Zenyatta marched by the other horses. Vic is a veteran announcer. The fact that he said that statement during that race on a filly who was just making her second start is mind-boggling. But I've NEVER heard ANY announcer make that claim EVER! And Vic, who went out on a limb, was oh so right!

So in November of 2007, I had caught the fever! But also take into consideration I was just about ready to quit betting on horses. There's one more thing that horse racing had lacked for a long time: A superstar. Sure, many good horses had come along over the years, Tiznow, Invasor, Personal Ensign to name a few, but the last great horse I seen was Sunday Silence back in 1989. It had been that long.

2008 was a bad year financially for me and millions of others. That's one of the main reasons to give up betting on horses. But Zenyatta kept my interest going. I watched her win race after race on TV. I knew she was a shoe-in to appear at the Breeders' Cup in '08 because the races were being held in her back yard, Santa Anita. So there I went, not only at the Breeders' Cup, but my first time to see her live!

The rest is history. My story is that of a bettor, not happy with the sport, about to quit. But Zenyatta keeps me going. And in 2009, as Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra both have banner years, the feud between the two camps of fans becomes heated. It got to the point where there were mean-spirited accusations leveled at both horses and the horses' connections. I used to read and respond to horse racing blogs always pointing out why Z was better than RA. The frustration is part of the story. But when times were tough, I'd just come home after work and watch Zenyatta videos on You Tube over and over again. She was an angel who could make me happy. All I had to do was think about her.

Horse bettors are rigid. They have much cynicism probably from betting on animals who just aren't as consistent as we'd like them to be. We've seen spectacular performances followed by clunkers. A good example is that of Arazi, the British wonder horse who come to the Breeders' Cup as a 2 year old and won the Juvenile Race in spectacular fashion. He was going to be racing's next super star. But as he chased the Triple Crown the next year, he lost his form. Even Secretariat lost a few races to horses that weren't all that great.

And that's what made Zenyatta the darling of the rigid horse players. She was like the 1972 Miami Dolphins (who are the NFL's only-ever undefeated team). She WAS consistent. No matter how slow the pace of a race (a slow pace hurts come-from-behinders like her), she did just enough to get up and win.

From my experiences, great race horses are high strung, competitive animals who aren't easy to handle. Their grooms get quite a workout just taking them for a walk. But in watching the You Tube videos of Zenyatta back at the barn, I discovered something very unique. Zenyatta was like a kitten. Playful, not high strung. So gentle and personable. Curious about her surroundings and comfortable around perfect strangers. She possessed a personality so different than other great race horses.

Once Zenyatta gets under your skin, she's there for life. I have to admit I've caught myself thinking, "What would Zenyatta do?" And when things get tough, I just think of that gentle giant rubbing her nose on my shoulder.

I love you Z, you've made the world a better place.


  • Every ticket stub I ever bet on Zenyatta, I never cashed!!!! Kept it as a keepsake. Can't really make money that way, but such great memories of watching her and her heart-stopping come from behind wins.
  • I remember 2010 when Andy Beyer's put out his thoughts on why Z would never be remembered in 100 yrs. Two days later he had the audacity to show up at Hollypark and talk about his stats.

    He was roundly booed by those of us who had read his article. The funniest part was the following night when I got home from LA and saw on youtube the 10 min clip of the Lady's Secret. Even Randy Moss had said something on tv about how he wasn't well received! I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life. Not only did I about fall out of my chair I thought I cracked a rib laughing so hard.

    All the hollering about being a Zenyatta hater. Other's who had booed him. And we got in an indirect nod from Randy! Too cool!

    I LOVED John's video's of Z when she was at the track. I loved watching her guzzle her beer. And I loved watching Life is Sweet snoozing in her stall. If you wanna make a movie about Z don't forget the absolute sweet quiet moments. The one's that show John gently trying wake LIS. It isn't just about the races. It's the faces behind the scenes some we know a lot we don't. There the heroes too. Because there the ones that helped handle Z day to day and made it possible for her to transition to life on the farm.
  • Very true. I've felt the movie should come from different perspectives including these three segments:

    1. Her connections, which includes the owners, trainers and grooms.

    2. The gamblers. This is where I fit in. She kept me involved in the game. She also made horse bettors a little less cynical.

    3. People who previously had no interest in horse racing. On that day at Hollywood Park when Andy Beyer showed up, I was one of the ones booing! But Hollywood Park drew a crowd of 25,000 where normally only 4,000 would have shown up. And many of those just came to Hollywood Park to watch her race. Not many actually bet on the race unless they wanted a souveneir.

    I agree the quiet times back at the barn were so fun to watch. John Shirreffs did a great job of sharing her with us.
  • Markinsac, your words about what zenyatta has done for you are poetry. Your description of her gentleness, and her loving personality brought tears to my eyes. If they ever do a movie about her, and maybe someday they will, I'm sure the effect she had on people will be the focus of the piece.
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    Markinsac- one comment- Zenny's groom, Mario, got a hernia from holding her in check and after she retired, he had to have surgery, it got so bad. So, her gentleness at the barn was quite different from the ball of energy that Mario dealt with every day. (Mario's wife told us about the hernia/surgery one day while we were visiting Eblouissante). I also believe that Mario's unflappable demeanor is the reason that he is now Eblouissante's groom and' she is the only horse he grooms. She is almost as tall as her sister, but a hundred pounds + lighter.
  • Casey, I never knew about Mario's problem. Zenyatta was a tiger when she knew she was going to race, even when she was just excercising on the track. But in order to be a champ, you had to have the will to win, which Zenyatta had. She knew when to turn it off though. That little story would be something to put in the movie.
  • I hope they make her movie before we all get to old to see it. What should be in her movie? Why EVERYTHING of course. Her story is like pygmalion. The big gangly horse with ring worms to the Queen of the track. Her dancing for her loving fans , her more than wonderful connections, Her daily posts telling us how her day was going, her parties celebrating her racing and her. Clips of all her races, fans and how we all cried when she was sent to Ky and would not be able to have physical contact with her. How we all cried with joy when we saw the oh so tender clip with Ann in the stall laying down with 12Z rubbing and kissing him with Zenyatta and Jerry looking on. There is so much to Zenyatta , it will be very difficult to put it all in a movie. I just know I want to be in the movie holding a placard stating "Girl Power" and " I love you Zenyatta" and all done in her colors of surf and hot pink.
    Sending all my love to this amazing TB and all her connections. Thank you for one of the best times of my life.
  • markinsacmarkinsac Member
    edited February 2013
    That was well put. You know there were Zenyatta detractors. Some members of the media "Threw her out" of the Breeders' Cup Classic in 2009. Then after the race they claimed "Sure she won, she was on her home track." OK, then why did you throw her out? In other words the movie needs to show those who had no faith in her too.
  • I guess she showed them !
  • It's kinda like Penny Chenery telling Shams owner . Yes he ran a wonderful 2nd .
  • That was my favorite line from that movie!
  • Gotta ask this! Did you hear a woman yelling Zenyatta Hater from across the paddock during Andy's presentation? That would've been me! Another fan of Barbaro was coming downstairs and she knew it was me right away from all the hollering!

    It was lively! I know for myself I drove some 500 miles just to see her race. It was so amazing. I was right there--on the side when they came out of the saddling area. So close I couldda reached and touched her! Just amazing she was that close to me! I hung on that spot for HOURS. And it was worth every moment of the wait.
    Very true. I've felt the movie should come from different perspectives including these three segments:

    1. Her connections, which includes the owners, trainers and grooms.

    2. The gamblers. This is where I fit in. She kept me involved in the game. She also made horse bettors a little less cynical.

    3. People who previously had no interest in horse racing. On that day at Hollywood Park when Andy Beyer showed up, I was one of the ones booing! But Hollywood Park drew a crowd of 25,000 where normally only 4,000 would have shown up. And many of those just came to Hollywood Park to watch her race. Not many actually bet on the race unless they wanted a souveneir.

    I agree the quiet times back at the barn were so fun to watch. John Shirreffs did a great job of sharing her with us.
  • Margaret, where did you watch the race, The 2010 Lady's Secret? For those of you who want to watch the replay, it's Zenyatta's second-to-last race and her last race in California. It's the second-to last race in her "CAREER" section of this website. I stood right along the railing near the finish line. I remember Z being 3 lengths behind at the top of the stretch and the one leading, Switch, WASN'T SLOWING DOWN. The crowd started SCREAMING as Zenyatta inched closer to a game filly on the lead. Zenyatta finally accelerated like she did many times before and got up at the wire to win by a desperate neck in front of the loudest roar I've ever heard at Hollywood Park.

    This was by far my favorite non-Breeders' Cup race. Zenny made it 19 for 19 and also made Hollywood Park feel like it was back in the glory days when big crowds showed up.

    BTW, Switch would finish second in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Sprint a month later, so she wasn't a slouch.

    I miss those days at the races when Z raced. It was a festival!

    I just wish somebody would have videotaped Andy Beyer as Zenyatta got up to win. I hope his perplexed reaction makes it into the movie.
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    I was at the 2010 Lady's Secret (it was also my birthday). My friend went to the paddock, while I stayed in our seats to capture the post parade (you can see those photos here http://caseyp.smugmug.com/Animals/Racing-photos/2010-Ladys-Secret-Stakes/24512701_LrTggP#!i=2000950367&k=nnQNkvH) and watched Switch try her heart out in that race- I was so thrilled to see Zenny run, but also feel that it broke Switch's heart to lose.

    It truly was thrilling to feel "the grandstand shaking like never before" (thanks to Liza G Fly for her great song "Zenyatta)
  • As long as they make a documentary and not a "Secretariat" fictionalization, I'm cool.

    I'd love to see something about what makes her a superior physical specimen via comments from exercise physiologists, trainers, bloodstock agents, etc.
  • Beautiful pictures Casey. They bring back great memories.
  • I have a story, too. It's mostly about 12Z, but still.
    My life came toppling down a year ago, with two parents drifting apart. No, not drifting. Tearing apart. Just days after they promised it would never happen. Liars.
    Anyways, I had it in for me. I was crushed forever, and with skyrocking social situations for days and weeks I drifted towards suicide.
    Then I read Zenyatta's journal and heard about 12Z. For my own sake, I named him Mondatta, the second part of The Police album that Zenyatta was named for.
    I called him 'the only guy worth my time.' People called me crazy, but so what? I found much more enjoyment reading about 'my Mondatta' than I found gossiping.
    I'd often take out my Zenyatta Breyer model and admire her, thinking about 12Z, how great I knew he'd be someday.
    Call me crazy, but I think 12Z will win the Triple Crown.
    I hope the Mosses enter him in the Derby. That year, I will drag some adult out of work to bring me to the Derby. Because he will win. When you've got Zenyatta in your veins, nothing is going to hold you back.
  • I agree with lauraj_cincinnati. The movie would have to be a documentary with videos of her actual races included. There is no other horse that could "portray" Zenyatta. She is totally unique in every way--size, shape, color, markings, personality, gentleness, even greatness of soul, speed, competitiveness, determination, and daring, not to mention the dancing and posing before races. No single horse, except Zenyatta herself, could combine all those things and her beauty and charisma. Any "re-creation" of the races would be too unbelievable. Everyone in the future would think the endings had been "faked" for the movie (as they were for the horses acting as Secretariat and Seabiscuit). You'd have to have film of the actual races, which are unbelievable, too, but authentic.

    I also second markinsac's comment. Thanks, Casey for the pictures. Sadly for me, I only saw Zenyatta's last three races "live" on television. The previous races I had to see on replays long after they had been run. Those three races about gave me three heart attacks, so I don't know if I could have watched any more than three without knowing the ending in advance. Being there in person to watch her race must have been totally sublime. Wow.
  • To those who are not racing fans, there were no errors in the Secretariat movie. So we who know the mistakes are a small minority. And Hollywood only cares about selling tickets. But it could be a compromise to use both the videos of her actual races and also use actors and actresses as well as horse actors. I could make the movie just off the Zenyatta videos in youtube.
  • Z_Forever; isn't this a wonderful site to come and talk about the love we have for the great girl? And her babies! I dream about them, and the things they will do, the daddies chosen! It's a lot of fun, I want to hear everything you have to say about them, please keep telling us. Happy Valentines! Bleh! Such a Hallmark Holiday!
  • Casey, your photos were stunning. Thanks for sharing them with us.
  • Actually, I thought both "Seabiscuit" and "Secretariat" did a good job casting their horse actors and making them up, and staged the races effectively. My main objection to doing a Secretariat-type biopic for Zenyatta is that her story isn't amenable to it. A good story requires dramatic conflict. "Seabiscuit" was able to play up the horse's rough start in life, the down-on-his-luck trainer, the Great Depression, personal tragedies, etc. "Secretariat" leveraged the "woman in a man's world" and the "will she lose the farm?" angles. "Secretariat" was more about Penny Chenery than about her outrageously handsome and talented horse, anyway.

    Zenyatta's story doesn't have anything like that. For owners, she has two happily married billionaires, already very successful in the racing industry, who dote on her. Her trainer is not struggling. She's had the best of care since she was conceived and she has been healthy all her life. In her 20 races, she was the betting favorite 18 times. Everybody loves her. She has led a charmed life and has never been an underdog. Like Mark I wouldn't object to some recreated scenes, but the film ultimately has to be a documentary.

    (Now if they ever want to do another horse biopic, Canonero II would make a great subject. Underdog horse, underdog trainer, all sorts of bad luck, social commentary--it would be a great story.)
  • I don't know about you, but if Zenyatta wasn't running in the '08 Breeders' Cup, I certainly wouldn't have attended because my finances were on the blink. The same could be said about '09. At the time, home prices were reeling downward. My income had fallen off over 50% and most people were spending a lot less.
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    Casey, your photos were stunning. Thanks for sharing them with us.
    Thank you. Feel free to browse through the different galleries- you might just be able to figure out what I like taking photos of the most ;)
  • If they did make a movie about Zenyatta my only request is that it ends with her finally getting the 2010 horse of the year. I have a feeling they would end with her 2009 breeder cup classic. Then they would miss the best race she ever ran in the 2010 breeders cup classic. If your looking for a conflict angle who could go with her rival Rachel Alexandra or even her critics who say she couldn't win against the best of the best.
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