09/28/2008 12:00AM

Zenyatta still looking just perfect


ARCADIA, Calif. - John Shirreffs, the trainer of Zenyatta, stood just outside the winner's circle following the Grade 1, $245,000 Lady's Secret Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting, and as Zenyatta walked past him, Shirreffs could not hold back his admiration.

"Isn't she something?" he said.

She sure is. For the eighth straight time, Zenyatta reported home first, keeping her unbeaten record intact and solidifying, if not guaranteeing, her position as the leading candidate for an Eclipse Award as this year's champion older filly or mare. She overcame hot temperatures and a cool pace to rally from last in the four-horse field and win so easily that she was pricking her ears at the finish, desperate to do more.

Zenyatta ($3.40), the favorite, wound up 3 1/2 lengths better than Hystericalady, who set the soft pace and still was steamrolled by Zenyatta after the field turned into the stretch. Santa Teresita was another length back in third, with Super Freaky last.

Zenyatta trailed early as Hystericalady took the field along through fractions of 24.26 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 48.32 seconds for a half-mile, and 1:11.45 for six furlongs on a Pro-Ride surface baked fast by temperatures that reached into the 90s. Zenyatta moved up three paths wide on the far turn, and once she straightened away in the stretch, she inhaled her rivals in a matter of strides.

Under Mike Smith, Zenyatta covered her final five-sixteenths of a mile in under 29 seconds, the equivalent of a sub 24-second final quarter, and completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.30.

"She's awfully talented," Shirreffs said. "Talent overcomes a lot."

Zenyatta, 4, owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, won twice last year, and has won all six of her starts this year, including three Grade 1 races. Zenyatta will try to complete her perfect season in four weeks in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic here on Oct. 24, a spot in which was guaranteed by the Lady's Secret's presence in the BC Win and You're In program.

Jerry Hollendorfer, who trains Hystericalady, said he would try again in the Ladies' Classic.

"I thought we got the fractions we wanted," Hollendorfer said. "We just couldn't hold off Zenyatta."

Welcome to the club.

Ancient Title: Cost of Freedom upsets

Cost of Freedom, claimed for $50,000 in July, moved to the head of the California sprint division and earned a berth in the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Sprint by upsetting Street Boss in the Grade 1, $250,000 Ancient Title Stakes, another Win and You're In race.

Cost of Freedom ($13.60) raced four wide while just off a scalding early pace in the six-furlong race, surged to the front entering the stretch, then was able to hold off Street Boss and win by a half-length. In Summation was another 1 3/4 lengths back in third.

Tyler Baze rode Cost of Freedom, who was claimed by trainer John Sadler on behalf of owners Gary and Cecil Barber for $50,000 on July 28 at Del Mar. He won a first-level allowance race at Del Mar on Aug. 9 in his only start after being claimed.

Cost of Freedom, 5, was timed in 1:07.53 over a lightning-fast main track. He has now won 6 times in 10 starts.

Street Boss was seeking his sixth straight victory, and though he came up just short, he was compromised by having to break from the rail and drop back to last before launching his late run.

Clement Hirsch: Red Giant sets record

Everything came together at once for Red Giant in the $250,000 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship.

He set a world record of 1:57.16 for 1 1/4 miles on turf, won the first Grade 1 race of his 12-race career, and left John Fort of Peachtree Stable planning for a start in a Breeders' Cup race here Oct. 25.

Ridden by John Velazquez, Red Giant caught Out of Control in the final furlong to win by a head. The final time eclipsed Double Discount's course and world record of 1:57.40, set in 1977.

Red Giant had an ideal trip. Velazquez kept the 4-year-old Giant's Causeway colt in third for the first mile, well behind You Got Me Rocking, who set a torrid early pace of 23.52 and 45.63 seconds. Out of Control took the lead from You Got Me Rocking on the final turn, but could not hold off Red Giant.

Out of Control finished six lengths in front of Transduction Gold in the field of six. Spring House, the winner of two graded stakes on turf earlier this year in California, finished fourth.

The Clement Hirsch was Red Giant's second start following a 10-month layoff caused by an ankle injury, according to Fort. Red Giant won the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga in August in his comeback.

"We wanted to see if we could make the Breeders' Cup on two races," Fort said.

Fort said that Red Giant will be considered for the $3 million BC Turf or the $5 million BC Classic on the main track.- Steve Andersen