11/04/2010 1:34PM

McGaughey rooting for Zenyatta in Breeders' Cup Classic


Perhaps more than most, trainer Shug McGaughey has an idea of what the connections of Zenyatta are attempting to do in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.

It was 22 years and one day ago that Personal Ensign capped an undefeated career with a dramatic victory over Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (now called Ladies’ Classic) at Churchill Downs. Personal Ensign retired unbeaten in 13 starts.

Zenyatta will try to complete her career a perfect 20 for 20 when she faces the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and McGaughey will be rooting for her to get it done.

“I’ve always been a Zenyatta fan, I rooted for her all along,” said McGaughey, who was in town to run Air Support in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. “When she got close to Personal Ensign’s record, I was still pulling for her. If she’s good enough, I’ll be happy to see her win on Saturday.”

Does McGaughey think Zenyatta can win a second straight Classic this time in a field that includes Blame, Quality Road, and Lookin At Lucky.

“It’s a pretty tough field, but I didn’t think she’d win last year,” McGaughey said. “We’ll just have to see. I’ve heard people say she may be better on dirt than synthetic. If she’s better on the dirt than she is on the synthetic then they’ll have her to beat.”

On Thursday, McGaughey got his first look at Zenyatta in two years, or since she won the Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita, and was impressed with what he saw.

“I thought she looked good; she’s gotten bigger and stronger than when I saw her at Santa Anita two years ago,” McGaughey said. “She looked great; she looked like she trained great. It was kind of fun watching her.”