09/29/2010 2:58PM

Zenyatta faces five in her final prep for Classic


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The cast of fillies and mares who will challenge Zenyatta in Saturday's $250,000 Lady's Secret Stakes at Hollywood Park includes a mare who gave her a test in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar in August and four others who face the toughest challenges of their careers.

Zenyatta will be heavily favored to extend her unbeaten streak to 19 races in the Grade 1 Lady's Secret, a race she won in 2008 and 2009. Zenyatta will be ridden by regular rider Mike Smith and has drawn post 5 in a field of six.

Zenyatta’s appearance in the Lady's Secret will be the focus of a nationally televised program at Hollywood Park on Saturday that includes three other $250,000 Grade 1 races - the Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-olds, the Goodwood Stakes for 3-year-olds and up, and the Yellow Ribbon Stakes for females on turf. ESPN Classic will have a 90-minute telecast from Hollywood Park from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Pacific.

The Lady's Secret will be Zenyatta's final start before the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6. Last year, Zenyatta used the Lady's Secret as a prep for the BC Classic, which she won in come-from-behind style, becoming the first female to win that race. In 2008, the Lady's Secret was Zenyatta's prep race for a win in the BC Ladies' Classic at Santa Anita.

For Saturday's Lady's Secret, Zenyatta will be challenged by Rinterval, who finished second to her by a neck in the Clement Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 7. In that race at 1 1/16 miles, Rinterval set a slow pace of 25.41 and 50.61 seconds, led by a head at the eighth pole, and ran well to the wire in defeat.

In the Lady's Secret, also run at 1 1/16 miles, Rinterval could have company on the front from the ex-claimer Emmy Darling and Moon de French, who won the Adoration Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 5. The other starters are the two-time 3-year-old stakes winner Switch, who is making her first start outside of her age group, and Satans Quick Chick, who won the Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland last October and has not started since a second-place finish in the Manatee Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in January.

Satans Quick Chick was supplemented to the Lady's Secret for $4,500 on Wednesday by owner Jerry Jamgotchian, who also owns Rinterval. Eric Reed trains Satans Quick Chick and Rinterval.

The Goodwood Stakes at 1 1/8 miles should better define which of the California-based males are contenders for the BC Classic. Richard's Kid, who won the Pacific Classic on Aug. 28, and Awesome Gem, who won the Hollywood Gold Cup here in July, head a field of seven. Arguably, the most intriguing runner is the 3-year-old Twirling Candy, who has won his first four starts, and is making his first appearance against older males and first appearance in a stakes on a synthetic track. At Del Mar, he won two turf stakes - the Oceanside Stakes at a mile and the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 5.

The Norfolk Stakes drew a field of seven and is led by J P's Gusto, the winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 8 and three other sprint stakes earlier this summer. J P’s Gusto starts from the rail.

The Norfolk is run at 1 1/16 miles and will be the longest race of J P's Gusto's career. The Norfolk is a key prep for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Nov. 6. The field also includes Acaffella, Boxeur Des Reus, Jaycito, Lucky Mr. K, and Riveting Reason.

The Yellow Ribbon field features the 2010 European stakes winner Hibaayeb and Gypsy's Warning, who was third in the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 28. The race is run at 1 1/4 miles on turf and has drawn a field of nine.