04/10/2010 11:00PM

Zenyatta could run next in Foster

Tom Keyser
The Breeders' Cup Classic is the long-term goal for Zenyatta, and will be run at Churchill Downs this year, site of the Foster.

ARCADIA, Calif.- It may be June at Churchill Downs or June or July at Hollywood Park before the undefeated champion Zenyatta makes her next start.

Sunday, the focus for the people behind Zenyatta was not finalizing plans for her next start, but getting the wildly popular 6-year-old mare from Hot Springs, Ark., where she won her 16th race in Friday's Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap, back to her year-round base at Hollywood Park.

Sunday, Shirreffs committed to giving Zenyatta a few days off, but not much else. "There are some options out there," he said, talking about potential races.

Shirreffs said the $600,000 Stephen Foster Handicap over 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs on June 12 is a possibility. The race has appeal since it is run on the same track as the Breeders' Cup Classic in November, a long-term goal for Zenyatta. Last fall, Zenyatta became the first female to win the BC Classic, doing so at Santa Anita.

On the local front at Hollywood Park, the $250,000 Vanity Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/8 miles on June 13 or the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup over 1 1/4 miles against males on July 10 are also possibilities. Shirreffs expressed concern about the Hollywood Park races, worried that Zenyatta would be burdened with a high weight in those handicaps. She carried a career-high assignment of 129 pounds in the 2009 Vanity Handicap.

"What kind of weight will she carry?" he said. "It would be tough to do that."

This week, Zenyatta will do very little at Shirreffs's barn. She is scheduled to be walked for the next few days. "We'll give her a week and see how she adapts and gets over that trip," Shirreffs said.

Zenyatta won the Apple Blossom by 4 1/4 lengths over Taptam. By winning her 16th consecutive race and improving her career earnings to $5,924,580. Zenyatta equaled the winning streaks of horses such as Cigar, Citation, and Mister Frisky.

Whatever track does attract Zenyatta can expect a larger crowd. Her presence at Oaklawn Park led to an enthusiastic crowd of 44,973 attending Friday's races.

"Hot Springs really got behind her," Shirreffs said.