04/08/2010 12:00AM

Zenyatta loving Oaklawn's dirt


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Although she has trained and raced almost exclusively on synthetic surfaces, being based in Southern California, Zenyatta ran one of the best races of her life here at Oaklawn Park two years ago in the Apple Blossom, and she went around the main track Thursday morning as if reunited with an old friend.

"She was bouncing on the track," said her exercise rider, Steve Willard, after Zenyatta took a one-lap gallop on the one-mile track. "She loves real dirt. She was happy as a pig in pie."

Zenyatta is scheduled to go for her 16th straight win, without a defeat, in the Apple Blossom on Friday.

Zenyatta's owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, were at the track on Thursday morning and were part of a large contingent that followed Zenyatta to the track for her routine gallop shortly after the mid-morning renovation break. Her presence was noted by the local horsemen, who lined the bridle path leading to the track to get a glimpse of the champion mare.

Jerry Moss said Zenyatta will travel quite a bit this year.

"Our focus is on the Breeders' Cup, as it has been the last two years," he said. "We'll be happy to show up at Churchill Downs. We want to let everybody see her. We're proud of her. She's a star."