10/17/2008 11:00PM

Clocker: Zenyatta shows 'em who's the boss


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Keep it under your hat, but the clocker says Zenyatta looks like she's ready to run a big one in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.

Obviously, nobody needs any added incentive to wager on the undefeated Zenyatta, who is the marquee name on Day 1 of this year's Breeders' Cup. But for the overwhelming number of horseplayers who plan to single Zenyatta in every multiple wager possible, they can do so with even more confidence after watching her breeze an effortless six furlongs in 1:11.66 seconds under regular exercise rider Steve Willard on Friday morning on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track surface.

As is her custom, Zenyatta waited until well after the renovation break before making her appearance along with regular workmate Bronzino shortly after 9 a.m. But even though the racetrack was nearly deserted at the time, Zenyatta and her mate had the misfortune of finding themselves running right up behind a pair of workers from trainer Mike Puype's barn immediately after breaking off to begin their move at the 5 1/2-furlong pole.

Zenyatta gave Bronzino, who had jockey Mike Smith aboard, a 1 1/2-length head start leaving the short pole, but within an eighth of a mile Zenyatta had dropped about four lengths behind her target, with Willard immediately easing her well off the inside rail. Zenyatta cruised through her opening three furlongs in fractions of 12.50, 24.35, and 36.53 seconds, giving the appearance of doing little more than open galloping while at the same time attempting to keep a safe distance behind the Puype set.

Bronzino maintained about a four-length advantage entering the stretch with Zenyatta continuing very wide off the turn, and for an instant it actually appeared she might not be able to catch her mate. Then she changed leads. Suddenly Zenyatta began to accelerate, gobbling up the ground with her huge, powerful strides, and readily overtaking not only Bronzino inside the sixteenth pole but both the Puype workers about 100 yards past the finish line.

Despite losing a good deal of ground coming out of the turn and under no perceptible urging, Zenyatta completed her final three furlongs in 35.13 seconds before galloping out seven-eighths in 1:25.06. It gave every indication she will again be bringing her very imposing "A" game to Santa Anita on Breeders' Cup day.

Lady Sprinter works at Santa Anita

The pace scenario for the Filly and Mare Sprint, already expected to be a torrid one, may have gotten even a little quicker after the aptly named Lady Sprinter finally flashed the type of speed she had shown winning 8 of 9 starts in Argentina when she worked a crisp half-mile in 45.32 between races at Santa Anita on Friday.

Lady Sprinter was sent out in company with stablemate Bartley. But that plan went awry shortly after the work began when Lady Sprinter, who was rank and full of run approaching the half-mile pole, immediately left her partner in the dust.

After failing to show her best speed over the Pro-Ride surface in six previous works at Santa Anita, Lady Sprinter zipped along through fractions of 11.32 and 22.08 seconds for the opening eighth- and quarter-mile splits. The Group 1 winner changed leads right on cue in early stretch and completed her final quarter in 23.24 with jockey Octavio Vergara offering little encouragement throughout. She appeared to tire slightly during the gallop-out, covering five-eighths in 58.82.

While the work appears to be a marked improvement over any of her earlier local trials, the chances of Lady Sprinter surviving a seemingly inevitable pace battle with the likes of Indyanne, Dream Rush and Dearest Trickski going an eighth of a mile farther than she has ever raced have to be considered slim at best.

Along with Lady Sprinter, other Breeders' Cup main-track workers at Santa Anita on Friday included La Tee (Filly and Mare Sprint), five furlongs in 59.40 seconds; Rebellion (Dirt Mile), five-eighths in 1:00.40, and Doremifasollatido (Juvenile Fillies), seven-eighths in 1:25.40. Emmy Darling (Juvenile Fillies Turf) also breezed five furlongs in 59.80 over the turf.

* Friday's notable Breeders' Cup workers around the country included Smooth Air, six furlongs in 1:12.60 on dirt at Calder in preparation for the Classic, and Lewis Michael, seven-eighths in 1:25.60 on Keeneland's Polytrack for the Dirt Mile.