Diary Post #231

It’s MY MIKE holding my reins…getting ready to select the FINAL 4! Photo by John Shirreffs

Good Morning Everyone!

This photo is TOO CUTE! It’s my guy, Mike Smith, who helped us select the FINAL 4 for our ZENYATTA BRONZE CONTEST! Mike stopped by Dottie and John’s last night and held my reins in his hands…just like he did when we were racing. I think this definitely got him IN THE ZENYATTA MOOD to select our Final 4! This photo brings back great memories…for both Mike and I! We had lots of great times together!

The names of the FINAL 4 will be given…along with the thoughts each person expressed as to what I meant to he / she. Go to the bottom of this diary post and click the button next to the person whose entry you think deserves to win. Click the Vote button, and you’ll see the current results.

We will allow the voting to take place for one week. The winner will be announced next Wednesday, April 27th. John will look at the polls before he leaves for the barn that morning (5 o’clock in the morning, CA TIME) and the winner’s name will be posted.

The poll has been moved from the Facebook page to this website so that non-Facebook users may vote!


ENTRY #1…..VICKI L. VINSON……APPLE VALLEY, CA I knew Zenyatta was “one” special horse the first time I saw her in person. She came over to me and stuck her nose right in front of my camera. That was before the ’08 Lady’s Secret. Little did I know that a year later she would become the best medicine in the world, in helping me through the worst time of my life. I’ll love you forever Zenyatta!

ENTRY #2…..VALERIE FRANKLIN….DAVISON, MI Zenny, you have made people believe in horse racing again. Our sport has suffered so much tragedy and in this time of economic disaster and with Barbaro and Eight Belles so fresh in our minds, you have given us a chance to escape and to dream. We love you more than you could ever quantify.

ENTRY #3…..GEORGIA HARPER…..BELLEVUE, WA My obsession began half way through your first year and such enthusiasm could not be ignored by my husband. After 49 years, my husband and I have become such good friends but are so busy with work and family we don’t always take time to actually think about one another. As a gift for our wedding anniversary last August, I received an email at work from my hubby with an itinerary attached for San Diego saying “Tickets for my queen to go see the Queen”. We not only had a wonderful day at Del Mar, never leaving the paddock and visiting with so many young people who had been there to see only you but we really enjoyed our time together. I’m not sure what we will do for our 50th this year, but I don’t think it will compete with the happiness we shared last year watching you come across the finish line and celebrating as best friends enjoying not just a horse race but watching the most magnificent thoroughbred ever. We miss you, we love you, and look forward to cheering on your foal.

ENTRY #4…..DAWN CONRAD…..CEDAREDGE, CO Dearest Zenyatta. “Why are you special to me?” Is it the stately stature of the Queen like carriage? Is it the glistening brown coat with the diamond dapples? Maybe it is the dance or those still moments with your head held high? Is it your intelligence and fathomless brown eyes? Was it your first run free or perhaps a camera-ride on the back of Pegasus? Is it posters in the stands, a warm crowd on a cold Kentucky night, the excitement you bought back to racing? Your place in its history and future, the Breeders Cup, 60 Minutes, Horse of the Year, Vox Populi Award? A Fred Stone portrait, Jamie Corum lithograph, Nina Kaiser bronze? The cheers I shouted the tears I shed? Certainly your beauty, power, grace, breathe taking speed, final kick, heart stopping finishes and 19/1. Absolutely your gut wrenching, never give up, try! It is all of this, yet more. It isn’t only who you are, but what you mean to each of us. With Team Z, you are Jerry and Ann’s pride and joy, John’s soul mate and patient masterpiece, Dottie’s muse and she your voice. Mike’s talent, guidance and prayers brought you home safe each race. At Barn 55, you had care from Mario, workouts with Steve, walks with Carmen, loving star struck visitors and kisses from all. At Lane’s End, paddock pals, peppermints, pears and precious motherhood. Your family embodies the word generosity and together you have been transformative. You give pure happiness to thousands. You are a horseman’s ideal, a child’s dream, a friend to charities, a moment of healing to someone ill, a smile in the face of sadness, a sweet memory to all those you meet and a wish of all those that you haven’t “including myself”. While totally unique, I see in you the memories of my youth: the Black Stallion, Flicka, Secretariat and my Cinder (a gift from a brother leaving for Vietman), live again. There were endless summer days of best friends, bareback rides, Breyer’s horses on the bedroom shelves and glorious Triple Crown winners. With you, I am that horse loving girl again. What fun! I have my own challenges in life, as everyone does. While I seek to remain positive there are those moments. You are there to lift my spirits and touch my soul. Your diary is a place of remarkable civility where information, support and all things Zenyatta are shared and celebrated. Facebook, over 70,000 and still counting! The experience has been once in a lifetime and continues to be a magical ride. In the end my love cannot be fully explained, it is simply heart felt and joyful. It is no mystery why the word “angel” is used to describe you, for you are a creation of God, a blessing to us all and a remarkable gift. For everything you are and everything you mean, Zenny, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are truly UNBELIEVEABLE! As always, sweet dreams. Hugs and kisses. XXXOOO

Wow! I hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I did! Dottie commented that she was literally in tears typing them for ME!

Vote for the ENTRY of YOUR CHOICE!

Blessings to All OF YOU who participated in this contest! I can’t THANK YOU ENOUGH for ALL OF THE LOVE AND KINDNESS you have shown ME!

With Love,
Hugs to ALL~


  1. @Sunny Boyd and Dawn Conrad–thanks for asking about me. Knee rehab is tedious and slow, but ast least I’m out and about now. I’ve been wondering about Catherine Uher also. If anyone has news, we’d appreciate it.
    I’ve not posted much lately because an all-day power failure Friday left us in the dark and our computer fried. Using a pathetic laptop which is none too dependable until we get the main one back. Eagerly awaiting the results of the Final Four. Glad they moved it here from Facebook.

  2. @ Amanda—audreyc posted the link on April 23 to the race where My Wife Doesn’t Know and The Wife Knows Everything finished first and second: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjJI1iAQRbo&feature=fvwrel
    And Abigail posted The Vault’s new blog site on April 22: http://thevaulthorseracing.wordpress.com/

  3. @Amanda—My prior comment is “awaiting moderation” because of the links I included, so if it doesn’t make it through, audreyc posted the link on April 23 to the race where My Wife Doesn’t Know and The Wife Knows Everything finished first and second. Abigail posted The Vault’s new blog site on April 22, so she’s OK.

  4. @Abigail of The Vault–I love reading your wonderful thoroughbred portraits on The Vault. In reference to the time period of Kentucky Derby winner Bold Venture (1936), The San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge (known locally as the Bay Bridge) opened for traffic on November 12, 1936, six months before the Golden Gate Bridge, which connects San Francisco to Marin County to the north and was completed in the spring of 1937.

  5. @Amanda~ I love that race call. The horses were “My Wife Knows Everything” and “My Wife Doesn’t Know”. It’s on youtube under “funny horse race calls. I think it was Trevor Denman making the call, but not positive.
    Good Luck you Final Four! I can’t imagine the excitement you must be feeling today.
    Love Zenyatta’s #1 fan in Montana!!

  6. Ms Zenyatta, just checking in! Have you decided who you will cheering for The Kentucky Oakes…??? I love you, back later..Lisa g.

  7. @Christine in VA–so glad to hear that Poppa is doing well by his eaglets.
    @Astrid–Gifted is looking terrific! Thanks for link.
    @Amanda Gilliland–very nice to rescue a senior citizen–for both of you!
    @Dani–loved the Rags to Riches link. It’s great to know what’s going on with her–unlike Azeri, Ginger Punch and Dubai Majesty in Japan.

  8. Dear Z.

    Happy Wednesday to you. Hope you’re well and having fun with your friends. Just watched the latest training video by John on You Tube. Want to thank him so much for sharing with us. The 2 year olds look wonderful and Mr. Commons is gorgeous. Love to all of you. Judy and Russ

  9. @ L.S. on April 25. I liked your comments left for @karenG. Zenyatta comes first, her health, her future etc.!!

    @Zenyatta!! my sweet loveable you, just checking in to wish you a wonderful day. Hope you can go out and play. It’s raining here again today in Wi. Hope it is nice there for you.

  10. Oh Z I did not get much sleep last night. Forgot to say: love, with a kiss on your soft nose!!
    @the final four; is this the day when we find out who is the lucky one!?

  11. Right now Zen I am having a hard time dealing with the loss of our mom eagle. Despite dads efforts he is unable to care for the three eaglets and they have been removed from the nest. I sure need a look at you in the pasture right now. I feel so empty inside.I need to see a happy mare in the mud.


  12. @ Sally (B) You’re more than welcome… so glad you enjoyed it. I still get goosebumps when I watch it. I kind of wish her 20th and final race was also included since I personally believe #20 was the best race she ever ran.

  13. @ Christine in VA – I am late seeing the sad news. I am so sorry. How quickly one gets attached to animals, even without ever seeing them in real life… Hugs to you!
    @ Dani, @ Kari Bussell, @ Sharon Call – thank you for you links
    @ Kitei – loved your words about Gifted (yes to the extra name!:) and also thanks for your intersting links.
    @ Zenny, have a wonderful day with your pals!

  14. @ Amanda G. What a lucky rottie, often an older pet finds himself homeless after his owner passes away or goes to a nursinghome. A lot of the time the family doesn’t want to bother with a pet! An other great way to give one a home is to foster an oldie, not quite such a commitment as adopting a puppy. I fostert a 22 year old Chihuaha and he lived a very happy year. No need to put them down just because they are old!

  15. Please tell us if Zenyatta is allright. I am really getting upset. Naturally my mind goes in the wrong direction and it is really upsetting to wonder wonder wonder. Please provide an update – good or bad. Please

  16. @Christine in VA – This isn’t Zenny or even a mare:) but this horse is a mud-expert! I hope it will make you smile, at least for a little while! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jPyKcdK1yM&feature=related

  17. Dearest Sweet “Z”,

    Good morning to you and your “Z” family. Just wanted to say thank you for allowing me to participate in this ‘great race.’ All worthy winners. I am leaving for the day so just in case will offer a “Congratulations” to Dawn aboard Postcard #4. Also, well wishes for Cloud Man and Nakatani tomorrow. So excited for a race day with my son.
    p.s. Amanda – thank you for sharing the real meaning of Zenyatta for you. It was inspiring just like She is.
    p.s.s. Kari B.- love Southern expressions; we lived in the South for a couple of years and my favorite was, “I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck yesterday!” Always makes me smile and sometimes I even think to use it; not the same effect though, without the charm of the accent :)

  18. Could have said, “Writer Dawn Aboard Postcard #4”

  19. Astrid – Thank you so much, I am still smiling! That was just great and I especially loved how the dogs got involved. Wonder what the owner looks like? Or will look like :)

  20. @Kimberly Potter – I’m almost positive it was Larry Collumus who called that great ‘Wife’ race. He announces at Gulfstream and Monmouth. He is also being considered to call the Triple Crown races this year and possibly into the future because the great Tom Durkin is not renewing his contract with NBC. He will be missed.

  21. @Cheryl, Zenyatta is fine, LEF is so very busy with mares and foals and Barn 55 is very busy with horses running! Plus they have Zazu to get ready for the Kentucky Oaks…Hang in there, I miss the posts too…

  22. @ Astrid

    I laughed and cried together thank you so very much

  23. Amanda G. and Eveline, I think it is wonderful that you are fostering/caring for older dogs! I am a member of the ASPCA and things like that are near and dear to my heart. Our dog is 13. When that very sad day comes and he goes to canine heaven, we are going to adopt a dog at the shelter who has been bypassed, maybe due to age or other issues. There is a special place in heaven for people like you.
    The race call of “My Wife Knows Everything” and “My Wife Doesn’t Know” is one of the funniest things I have ever heard in sports. Hilarious! On another note, I will miss Tom Durkin too. Hard to imagine the Kentucky Derby without him.

  24. For those who want to follow LauraJ’s horse, Better Step Aside, http://www.equibase.com/ offers a FREE “Virtual Stable” tool that is very easy to use and asks for very little personal info when signing up. Add horses to your Virtual Stable to receive email notifications when each horse posts an official workout, is entered in an upcoming race, and race result notifications. You can also add a trainer, like our Z’s John Shirreffs, to receive email notifications about all the horses they train. I am an amateur handicapper and am in no way affiliated with Equibase; just find the tool to be extremely helpful in my studies and thought some of you might enjoy it too.

    Some of you have asked for news about various horses and/or jockeys that may run in the Derby. http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/ and http://www.bloodhorse.com/ both offer great articles. Thus far sounds like Borel still doesn’t have a Derby ride, and fortunately Uncle Mo is recovering well and reportedly “back to his old self”.

    @Christine in VA – My heart goes out to all of you who were following the eagle’s progress. I’m sad they babies had to be removed to a wildlife sanctuary because one parent can’t possibly provide enough food as the babies grow. Hang in there; our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Happy day to Queen Z and all who love her!

  25. Dear Zenyatta,
    I just wanted to say how priveleged I feel to be living during the years of your reign. I hope that you are enjoying your days in your field and that you able to run, buck, and roll to your hearts’ content. I hope that the Lord blesses your paddock especially with the best Bluegrass and clover (but not too much, because I know it can make one slobber- although if you slobbered it would be the most noble and majestic of slobbers). Thank you for giving your all in everything that you did and in all that you continue to do, not only for the equine world, but for the rest of the world in general. If only people could learn to be so giving and brave. I hope to maybe someday see you for real. I confess I might cry but I promise not to embarrass you. My two geldings send their congratulations on all your success as well as their deepest admiration.
    With Love and Loyalty to Queen Z Forever-
    Megan, from Indianapolis

  26. Kari Bussell- Thank you so much for sharing. Your 4.22.11 post brought more class and focus to the site. Bless you as you continue your journey. With respect and love.

  27. Happy Harriet, Amanda Gilliland, Regina –
    you all contribute so much in the spirit of the Queen and of life in general. You are helping to lift the site back to the loving, positively focused spirit we all so enjoyed in the past.

  28. @Dawn Conrad – your entry in the bronze contest was superb and your commentary on Easter demonstrated what a class act you are.
    I so look forward to your future entries.
    Thank you!

  29. @Astrid. I just watched your link to the really muddy horse. It was great. What really tickled me was how he waded over to a smaller pond of mud and just stood in it grazing a little. Did you notice the dogs had been in there too? This didn’t just bring a smile it made me laugh out loud. Thanks, I needed that. I’m just north of Atlanta and we’re watching the huge storm front bearing down on us with warnings of strong thunderstorms, possible hail and possible tornadoes some time this evening. I just hate these things. Hope I don’t lose my power.

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