Well, it's the next day and, to my surprise, the sun did rise this morning (although for some reason it was an hour off). And the excitement and, yes, disappointment, from yesterday is starting to mellow.
And now the discussion inevitably turns to HOY. Blame will probably get it, and if so, he would be a deserving winner. But Zenyatta might get it, and if so, how can you deny her? (And believe me, the purpose of this thread is NOT to have that debate here. There are other threads for that.)
But a thought occurred to me this morning. Zenyatta is, undoubtedly, the HOML (Horse Of My Life)! That is a totally personal statement of course, and said as much on an emotional, subjective level as on an objective level. She just excited me, and thrilled me, and affected me, more than any other horse in my lifetime.
And my lifetime is pretty long. I grew up in Louisville, and started going to the track in the mid-1950's. I think I attended every Kentucky Derby from 1957 to about 1980, so I saw some great ones, including the immortal Secretariat. I was even fortunate enough to be at Belmont on that day in 1977 when Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown.
But somehow, no horse ever reached in and grabbed me like Lady Z. The first time I even heard of her was when I stumbled across the YouTube of her 2008 Apple Blossom, when she literally flew around the far turn and proceeded to annihilate Ginger Punch and every other horse on the track that day.
From that day forward, I've watched every single one of her races, live as it happened. And yesterday was the single most exciting sports event I've ever seen.
And like many people think about Seattle Slew, I believe her single greatest race came in defeat, when she overcame all sorts of adversity and, with enormous courage and heart, roared down the stretch under the lights at CD and came within inches of winning her second BCC. (And let me be clear - I totally congratulate Blame, who is a wonderful racehorse, and a very deserving winner.)
But Zenyatta is special. Although it's become a cliche, she is, truly, a horseracing rock star. Her personality, her dancing and prancing, her willingness to meet and greet her fans. Zenyatta is just simply larger than life, and we won't see her like again, at least for a long time.
So what's ahead for our girl now? Knowing the Mosses, anything might happen. Jerry has never actually said he's going to retire her. And now that the "unbeaten" monkey is off his back...who knows? As far as Ann, I read she wants to move Zenyatta into a spare bedroom in their Bel Air mansion. One thing I do know - no racehorse has ever had more loving connections, and she will be well-treated for the rest of her life.
(Note to John Sherriffs...if you do keep racing, there's a nice track in Chicago with a synth surface so she won't get dirt in her face. And she's got lots of fans here!)
For my money, Zenyatta is one of the all-time great racehorses of the modern era.
And she's the Horse Of My Life! (And I'm guessing I'm not alone.) I just wish I had gotten to see her in person.
I will miss her, and never forget her.