10/30/2009 11:00PM

Zenyatta passes last Classic test

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Dwayne Loo
Zenyatta (right) works six furlongs in 1:12.40 at Hollywood on Saturday under Mike Smith, finishing five lengths ahead of stablemate Green Cat.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - John Shirreffs is not a frivolous man, in words or actions. He comes to the craft of training, the decisions he must make, with great thought and deliberation.

When it came to the possibility of running the unbeaten Zenyatta against males for the first time in this year's $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, Shirreffs was not opposed to the idea, but wanted to make sure everything was right. He wanted to see how Zenyatta came out of her final prep race, the Lady's Secret. He wanted to see how she subsequently trained and worked.

He has seen what he wanted to see. After her final workout on Saturday morning at Hollywood Park, Shirreffs said all systems were go for Zenyatta to race in the BC Classic next Saturday at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting.

"She's peaking for this race," Shirreffs said Saturday morning at his Hollywood Park barn after Zenyatta worked six furlongs in 1:12.40 under jockey Mike Smith. "She's done very well. I was so deliberate about it because you want to make sure everything is right when you're doing something like this. You want her to be peaking. Horses give you telltale signs - their coat turns, things like that. There was no reason to be premature about it. You might as well wait and see how the horse is."

And how is the horse?

"The horse is very good," Shirreffs said.

Zenyatta worked in company with her stablemate Green Cat. She started off about three lengths behind Green Cat and finished about five in front. Her time was the second fastest of 16 at the distance. Most significantly, though, she was given a "breezing" designation by Hollywood Park's clockers. Only two of the 116 works here Saturday were labeled "breezing."

"That was exactly what we wanted," Shirreffs said. "Everything went perfect."

"The work was really fantastic, maybe even better than I expected," Smith said. "The best part was when I stood up and she galloped out. Whoosh. She took off like it was nothing. She just hit another gear."

Zenyatta has won all 13 of her starts, all in races restricted to females. Last year, at the Breeders' Cup, she captured the Ladies' Classic and secured the Eclipse Award as champion older filly or mare.

"She's better than she was last year," Shirreffs said.

Now, Zenyatta will aim higher.

"I believe she can run with anyone," Smith said.

Final entries for all 14 Breeders' Cup races are due on Tuesday morning, and post positions for the races will be drawn later in the day at Santa Anita.