11/03/2010 11:45AM

Zenyatta stopping traffic

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Barbara D. Livingston
Zenyatta gallops under Steve Willard Wednesday at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Nothing, it seems, can stop Zenyatta. Not even a semi.

When she left Barn 41 at Churchill Downs on Wednesday morning, Zenyatta began down a path toward the racetrack when she suddenly came face to face with the cab of a truck, whose driver apparently didn’t realize that it was training hours and millions of dollars worth of horses, not to mention the riders perched on their backs, were moving about. Zenyatta was moving forward, a large entourage following right behind. There was only one solution to this stare down. The semi moved back.

“Get back, get back,” Zenyatta’s exercise rider, Steve Willard, shouted while waving his right arm.

The calmest human or animal on the path was, per usual, Zenyatta, who proceeded to march to the track with purpose for her first visit to the track since her arrival Tuesday.

The adoration with which Zenyatta is viewed by fans certainly has followed her from California. On Wednesday morning, media, horsemen, and some fans who got onto the backside began gathering outside Barn 41 by 7 a.m., hoping to sneak a peak at Zenyatta, whose stall is partially blocked by a transparent green screen. Sawhorses, ringed by yellow police tape, have been set up outside the brick wall adjacent to the shed row, offering a bit of a buffer.

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In addition to the crowd that followed Zenyatta to the track, there were hundreds of people at the gap where she alighted to the track, and the outer rail, from the seven-furlong pole to past the six-furlong pole, was jammed with admirers.

John Shirreffs, the trainer of Zenyatta, savored the moment by taking pictures with his camera.

As Zenyatta left the track following her training routine, she gave her trademark strut, stretching her right and then her left legs.

And later, after getting a bath, Zenyatta went out to graze on a patch of grass behind the barns adjacent to Longfield Ave. The blanket on her back was a beacon for cars that drove by. Many stopped. People got out. Some poked their fingers through the chain link fence, trying to touch greatness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zenyatta schooling at Churchill Downs on Wednesday. Barbara D. Livingston photo.