08/13/2010 6:54PM

Letters to the Editor Aug. 15


Zenyatta’s power dwarfs the track

As Zenyatta winds down her impeccable career, there is something much deeper taking place within all of us who are graced to be in the presence of her and her connections.

An Amazonian figure who acts more human than horse, Zenyatta was destined to be owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, the classiest couple in racing, and trained with the hickory humbleness of John Shirreffs.

Lest we forget, Jerry Moss was the driving force for sponsoring the Remote Area Medical free clinics at the Forum in Inglewood last summer and this past spring. More than 6,300 people each time received free medical care a couple of furlongs from Zenyatta’s home stall. Such generosity and caring are uncommon in our fragile society. But Mr. Moss stepped up.
Then at the Breeder’s Cup, Zenyatta really stepped it up and electrified the world (and I was fortunate to hit the pick four that day).

So in the spirit of what Mr. Moss did, I wanted to share my good day with someone less fortunate. So I bought a three-piece dinner and drove around my hometown until I found a homeless person to give it to. It was the perfect ending to celebrate the generosity that Jerry and Ann Moss provide all of us each and every time Zenyatta dances her way from the paddock to the track.

Then, something even more magical happened. Ever since Zenyatta’s Breeder’s Cup win, my pick four wins have become more frequent. Each and every time I’ve been so fortunate, I have bought that same three-piece dinner and found a homeless person to give it to. It has now happened a dozen times.

I am not alone in how this horse is impacting all of us who cherish horse racing. When an 11-year-old girl heard from her mom at Del Mar before last Saturday’s Clement Hirsch that “Zenyatta beat all the boys at last year’s Breeders’ Cup,” you could see the lightbulb of inspiration ignite inside that girl. When you hear strangers talking to each other about this specimen, you know it’s changing the way we treat each other for the better.

Someone once said, “If you can not find happiness along the way, you will not find it at the end of the road.”

Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Moss, for bringing such joy and happiness along the way with Zenyatta. Your queen stands as a symbol of all that is good in this world and how we should share that good fortune with people we don’t know so they, in turn, can be lifted up as well.

John T. Boal - Burbank, Calif.

Champion mare is all regality

Up close and personal she doesn’t look like a cloying pony with a neat trick when she reaches out and paws the ground. The visual impression is one of a boundless energy frustrated at being constrained by the paltry form of the flesh, and she is grabbing out at the ground almost savagely as the body is drawn toward it in anticipation of the joy of the full-out stretch run she is about to unleash.

It is powerful impatience, not any wish to please the crowd, that propels that right foot so far forward in her processional known as the post parade.
That’s the visual impression - not so much the enormous black barrel of a body topped with a regal head, but rather of something far more sublime inside that can be barely constrained by the form, almost irritated by being cooped in the flesh. On the screen and from high up in the stands the emotions she invokes are thrill and excitement, and the camaraderie of shared admiration.

Up close the emotions are different. You’re alone with her. You can’t tear your eyes off her, and the sheer force of her presence is unsettling, almost intimidating. So was John Henry’s imposing being, but unlike her, John Henry did not leave you with a vague desire to scurry safely back to your seat.

The Horse of the Year title? As she struts past you, you’re now in the know, so you chuckle at its pettiness. There is something far more powerful here, far more elemental, far more glorious than anything people can bestow. She eclipses the Eclipse.

This is Zenyatta.

John Rogitz - San Diego

Special weekend for man and horse

We were witness to two outstanding performances last weekend at Del Mar, as Zenyatta remained unbeaten in the Clement L Hirsch and Patrick Valenzuela pretty much stole the Best Pal Stakes with J P’s Gusto.
Zenyatta has formed such an emotional bond with the public that frown fans are moved to tears in her presence.

As for Valenzuela, a cat can only hope for as many lives. He has managed to parlay a number of no-shows, a full-body shave, and a driving-under-the-influence rap into what appears to be a triumphant return to California.

Is this a great game or what?

Mark Ratzky - Long Beach, Calif.

Hazelton gets another Hall vote

As this year’s Hall of Fame celebrations come to an end, I note that a July 11 letter to the editor, “Hazelton belongs in racing pantheon,” was oh so right in stating that trainer Richard Hazelton should be in racing’s Hall of Fame.

Chicago fans will remember two horses, Full Pocket and Maxwell G, both ridden by the irrepressible Jeff Anderson, among the many trained by Hazelton in the Windy City. I loved the exciting rivalry between Full Pocket and Staunch Avenger, two superb sprinters doing battle at Arlington Park. Who can forget the racing voice of Mid-America, Phil Georgeff, describing the stretch-running claimer and fan favorite Maxwell G. “spinning out of the turn” at all Chicagoland tracks.

The letter aptly described Hazelton’s accomplishments. His 17 training titles were evident at Sportsman’s Park – it was like money in the bank wagering on his well-conditioned stock in the spring.

I am sure racing fans would like to thank Hazelton for the great memories he has provided the racing community. It truly is time he is included as a member of the Hall of Fame.

Jim Lentz - Wheaton, Ill.