11/08/2009 1:00AM

New career beckons Zenyatta

Barbara D. Livingston
Zenyatta's victory over males in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic was likely her last career race. The 5-year-old mare is 14 for 14.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Zenyatta looked bright and alert Sunday morning here at Hollywood Park, one day after her popular victory in the across town at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting.

"It's like she's saying, 'Want to run again? Let's do it,'" said her trainer, John Shirreffs.

The Classic, though, was likely her last race, which Jerry Moss, who owns Zenyatta with his wife, Ann, alluded to at a postrace press conference Saturday night.

"Where else do you go?" Shirreffs said Sunday. "Fourteen for 14 and top it off with a win in the Breeders' Cup Classic. On the biggest stage in the world, she performs. Isn't it amazing that a horse with her running style is 14 for 14? She's always stepped up."

Zenyatta, 5, returned to her base at Hollywood Park Saturday night, a few hours after her last-to-first rush in the Classic. On Sunday morning, Zenyatta walked the shed row with groom Mario Espinoza for one hour, then was taken outside in order to graze on a small patch of grass adjacent to Shirreffs's barn.

"She's not tired," Shirreffs said. "I'm pretty numb. It was an emotional roller-coaster. Adrenaline can carry you a long time."

Shirreffs said Zenyatta would remain at his barn for several weeks before going to Kentucky to be bred.

"She needs to be let down," he said. He said her sweet disposition would make her "a great mother."

"But I feel sorry for the foal," he said. "How's he going to keep up with her?"

No decision has been made as to which stallion Zenyatta will be bred.

Shirreffs said Zenyatta's retirement is more than a big hole in his barn. "It's a big hole for racing, not just my barn," he said. "You saw the crowd."

Indeed, the crowd was squarely behind Zenyatta even before the race, but especially so after witnessing her dramatic rally under jockey Mike Smith.

"She plays to the crowd and she just loves winning," Shirreffs said. "She walks with her neck out, stretches. Wasn't that crowd amazing? In so many different situations: When she came into the paddock, when she came out of the tunnel. Mike stopped her at the three-sixteenths pole during the post parade, and I could hear the people yelling down there.

"There are so many people that really love her and celebrate her," he said. "It was just an exciting moment. I'm just glad I was Zenyatta's trainer."