04/07/2010 12:00AM

Zenyatta takes a spin on Oaklawn oval

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Barbara D. Livingston
Steve Willard, Zenyatta's regular exercise rider, was aboard for the work.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Zenyatta on Wednesday morning took her first tour of the Oaklawn Park main track since her arrival 24 hours earlier, making one lap around the one-mile dirt oval with her regular exercise rider, Steve Willard.

Zenyatta went out shortly before the 8:30 a.m. renovation break, earlier than she usually trains at home at Hollywood Park. Both Willard and Zenyatta's trainer, John Shirreffs, said they went early because of threatening weather in the area on Wednesday morning, which was forecast to worsen as the day went on.

"She handled everything great," Willard said.

When Zenyatta went to the track, only a misty drizzle was falling. There are thunderstorms forecast for Wednesday afternoon, but the

National Weather Service is predicting gorgeous weather the rest of the week, with a high temperature of 71 degrees on Friday, when the unbeaten Zenyatta will attempt to go 16-0 in the Apple Blossom.

Zenyatta won the Apple Blossom two years ago. That is her only prior start on dirt. Wednesday marked the first time she had been on dirt since last May at Churchill Downs, when she arrived there for an intended 2009 debut in a race from which she was subsequently scratched because of a sloppy track.