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Mar 12, 2010

Zenyatta to face eight in Santa Margarita

By: Sports Network

Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - Two-time champion mare Zenyatta makes her 2010 debut Saturday in the $250,000 Santa Margarita Invitational at Santa Anita Park. The six-year-old will take on eight other older females in the 1 1/8- mile race.

Zenyatta, trained by John Shirreffs, will start from post eight with Mike Smith again having the mount. Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Zenyatta is undefeated in 14 career starts for nearly $5.5 million.

"I'm an owner and a fan," Jerry Moss said recently, "and a fan and an owner. "We're lucky to have this horse. Right now, she's progressing really well and her presence is good for the game, because I would agree that racing needs all the help it can get."

The last two years Zenyatta has been voted champion older female and for 2009 finished second for Horse of the Year to Rachel Alexandra. She won the 2008 Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic and last year became the first female to capture the Breeders' Cup Classic.

If all goes well on Saturday, Zenyatta will finally meet Rachel Alexandra in the $5 million Apple Blossom Invitational at Oaklawn Park on Friday, April 9.

"It's very exciting," Moss said about the Apple Blossom. "We like Oaklawn. We've been there a couple of times."

The mare won the Apple Blossom two years ago.

Rachel Alexandra will be in this Saturday's $200,000 New Orleans Ladies at the Fair Grounds.

Here is the full field for the Santa Margarita in post position order: Dance to My Tune, Martin Garcia; Pretty Katherine, Joel Rosario; Made for Magic. Omar Berrio; Pretty Unusual, Chantal Sutherland; Striking Dancer, Alex Solis; Powerofvoodoo, Tyler Kaplan; Gripsholm Castle, Victor Espinoza; Zenyatta, Mike Smith and Floating Heart, Joe Talamo.

The Santa Margarita has a post-time of 6:36 p.m. (et).

Coming up about an hour later will be the $150,000 San Felipe Stakes for three-year-olds. The 1 1/16-mile race is a prep for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on Saturday, April 3.

The seven horse field features undefeated gelding Caracortado. The chestnut three-year-old is perfect in five career starts for $199,200. Last month he won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita with regular rider Paul Atkinson. The pair will start from the outside post on Saturday.

"It doesn't seem like distance will be a problem for him, either," Atkinson said. "Like in the Lewis, he just waited, and sitting on him, it was kind of like, 'Can we go now? How about now? Are we ready yet?' When I let him go, he just turns it on and gives you everything he's got."

Here is the complete field for the San Felipe in post position order: Stephen's Got Hope, Tyler Baze; Interactif, Rafael Bejarano; Erbeia, Alex Solis; American Lion, Julien Leparoux; Sidney's Candy, Joe Talamo; Dave in Dixie, Joel Rosario and Caracortado, Paul Atkinson.

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