Everytime you see Zenyatta run, it is hard not to remain in awe of one of the greatest thoroughbreds in history, regardless of gender.
The one part that is a little disturbing to me is that only around 12,000 fans saw her awesome performance. That attendance figure is becoming more accepted as a good day but for a horse like Zenyatta in a market like Los Angeles, it is actually pretty sad.
What makes that attendance figure even worse is the fact that Hollywood Park offered a Zenyatta Bobblehead Giveaway. Those gimmicks used to help bring in a handful of extra people but even the allure of a "freebie" wasn't enough to catapult the crowd figures.
This sort of racing ambivalence in big city racing markets is becoming very commonplace. Huge markets like New York, LA, Chicago and Miami are drawing a fraction of the racing crowds they used to. Even in Louisville, home of the greatest race, getting people to the track has been an ongoing struggle. (Big exceptions, of course, are Derby Week, Friday night racing and the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.)
Big city sports fans only seem to come out to the track when it's a big day (i.e. Belmont Stakes, Big Cap, etc.) but today should have qualified as one of those days. And those people who didn't make it out to Hollywood, missed out on a great race and an even greater horse.
For years, racing has been crying out for stars and we have two genuine ones in Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta yet why don't people come out to see them run on a consistent basis? Promoting the stars has been a challenge and the fact that Daily Newspapers have cut back their racing coverage significantly is a hindrance. But it's also incumbent upon the individual racetracks and the sport to promote when it's top notch stars run.
I don't know how much Hollywood Park promoted Zenyatta's appearance outside of the Bobblehead giveaway but you have to think it wasn't enough.
We are simply running out of time before both Rachel and Zenyatta are retired and racing loses another golden opportunity to win over new fans. We are very lucky that Zenyatta is still racing but the window is about to close as you have to assume that she only has three more races left before she is done.
And for those that didn't see her run, you have missed out. We may not see anyone like her for sometime.
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire - www.eclipsesportswire.com