08/04/2010 3:01PM

Zenyatta entered for Clement Hirsch

Email
Benoit & Associates
Zenyatta and jockey Mike Smith.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Zenyatta was entered in Saturday’s $300,000 Clement Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on Wednesday, the same morning she made her much-anticipated first appearance of the season on the Del Mar Polytrack surface.

Zenyatta’s first day of training away from her year-round base at Hollywood Park was an uneventful one, a jog and gallop for a little more than a mile under exercise rider Steve Willard, and the exercise left trainer John Shirreffs happy with her condition. Shirreffs has yet to fully commit the undefeated two-time champion to the Grade 1 Hirsch because of concern over how she will handle the Polytrack, but appears to be leaning toward starting the 6-year-old mare.

“She looks good,” Shirreffs said. “Steve said she felt fine.”

Asked if what he saw was sufficient to start Zenyatta, Shirreffs stopped just short. “I didn’t want to commit but that was good,” he said. “I don’t want to do a 180 two days from now.”

Undefeated in 17 races for owners Jerry and Ann Moss, Zenyatta is likely to be part of a field of six in the Hirsch and will be an overwhelming favorite. The other probable starters are Dance to My Tune, Made for Magic, Princess Taylor, Rinterval, and Spring Style. Made for Magic, who won the Grade 2 Milady Handicap at Hollywood Park in May, is the only graded stakes winner in the field.

The race will not include Wynning Ride, who won the Iowa Distaff Stakes at Prairie Meadows in June. Owner Arnold Zetcher said Wednesday that Wynning Ride was removed from consideration last weekend after he consulted with trainer Bob Baffert.

Zenyatta arrived at Del Mar early Wednesday, and her first day on the racetrack began quietly – standing still in the chute for eight minutes, watching other horses come and go from the racetrack on a cool overcast morning.

Zenyatta has won the last two runnings of the Hirsch. In 2008, when the race was a Grade 2, it was her seventh career victory. Last year, the Hirsch, promoted to a Grade 1, was the 12th victory of her career, and her narrowest winning margin. She won by a head over Anabaa’s Creation, closing 4 1/4 lengths in the final furlong.