06/03/2010 11:00PM

Just three willing to challenge Zenyatta


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Zenyatta is unlikely to have many rivals when she seeks to extend her unbeaten streak to 17 races in the $250,000 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park next Sunday.

As of Friday, three older females were considered probable starters for the Grade 1 Vanity, which is run over 1 1/8 miles on the main track -- Miss Silver Brook, fourth in the Grade 2 Milady Handicap here on May 16; St Trinians, the winner of the Grade 2 Santa Maria Handicap at Santa Anita in February who was sixth against males in the Santa Anita Handicap in March; and Will O Way, the winner of two stakes in Northern California.

Zenyatta, who jogged a half-mile and galloped approximately 1 1/2 miles on Hollywood Park's main track on Friday, has not started since winning the Apple Blossom Invitational at Oaklawn Park on April 9.

In her recent starts, Zenyatta has faced fields of varying sizes. She had four rivals in the Apple Blossom, rallying from last to win by 4 1/4 lengths. In her first start of 2010, the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap at Santa Anita on March 13, Zenyatta beat seven fillies and mares by 1 1/4 lengths. Last fall, Zenyatta became the first female to win the Breeders' Cup Classic, defeating 11 males.

A small field in the Vanity would not thrill trainer John Shirreffs, he said on Friday.

"Races with bigger fields are truer races in the sense that everyone is riding their own horses," he said. "In a smaller field, jockeys worry about other horses and it can lead to funny outcomes."

Zenyatta is attempting to win the Vanity for an unprecedented third time. A two-time champion for owners Jerry and Ann Moss, Zenyatta, 6, has won 16 races and $5,924,580. A win in the Vanity by Zenyatta would surpass the 16-race winning streaks of Cigar, Citation, and Mister Frisk