Zenyatta rocks. Last year's Eclipse Award winner in the category of older female is undefeated in nine starts. Now five years old, her trainer John Shirreffs was planning to kick off this year's campaign in the Louisville Distaff. But, with rain forecast, they opted to scratch instead.

"She is just starting off this year, and this is a grade II, it's not the Breeders' Cup," Shirreffs told The Blood-Horse April 30 when hinting that the scratch would be likely if the weather did not cooperate. "It's a long year."

So here's the neat thing: earlier this week, when speculation about whether she would run or not was at its peak, our sister publication, The Blood-Horse slid a great little gem into their coverage.

A helmet-cam video of Zenyatta working.  

This is so cool! From mounting up to cooling out, get the view from the back of one of the best racehorses out there today.

(Did you watch it? Can't you just feel the bounce in her step as she trips along toward the track? Look at how shiny her mane is! Check out 4:50, where she kicks into high gear--amazing. And the happy ears about 5:30? I'm in love.)

Check out some of John's other videos linked along the right side--they're an unproduced, true insider's look at training racehorses.


This reminds me of the racehorse simulator at National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

Check it out.  

Looks pretty easy, right? Mechanical horse, just bobs along, no problem. Helmet cam in front so you can see the work and race you're "riding" in. No sweat.

Owww.
Yeah, right.

I rode the hellbeast last summer (evidence at right--and yes, the hairnet was required). Keeping in mind that I bike, run, and ride several times per week, including lots of stirrup-less and bareback work, I figured I was pretty fit for this.

Holy cannoli, was I ever wrong.

If you have a chance to travel to Saratoga, try it out--or even better, if you have the right connections, try the real thing. Just remember to wear the half chaps when they're offered--one of our staffers still has scars on her calves from the jean rubs!


Kentucky Oaks today, Derby tomorrow.

We'll be there to update promptly on any news, and hopefully get some great photos (all whilst avoiding swine flu, ideally!).

Here's the television schedule for those watching at home.