12/20/2010 4:35PM

Photos: Zenyatta at play in her Lane's End paddock

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Photos by Barbara D. Livingston

In a carefully orchestrated moment, Zenyatta was turned out in her paddock Monday morning for her first bit of freedom since she arrived in Kentucky to begin her career as a broodmare.

Zenyatta was allowed to roam without a lead shank and without a handler at her side for the first time since she arrived at Lane’s End farm in Versailles on Dec. 6. The snowy paddock was carefully manicured to ensure safe footing, according to a person on the scene, and workers were strategically deployed around the paddock grounds.

Among those on hand were six people who flew in from California: Jerry and Ann Moss, the horse’s owners; John Shirreffs, her trainer; Dottie Ingordo, the Mosses’ racing manager; Mario Espinoza, the horse’s racing groom; and Carmen Zamona, her hotwalker. The mare enjoyed her romp in the snow and at one point made a beeline for Espinoza, who rubbed the mare’s shoulder and got an appreciative nudge in return from Zenyatta.

In another development, Zenyatta, who is a Horse of the Year contender after narrowly losing the Breeders’ Cup Classic, finished second to the American skier Lindsey Vonn in balloting for 2010 Female Athlete of the Year as voted by members of The Associated Press.