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Jun 11, 2010

Zenyatta versus five in Vanity


Inglewood, CA (Sports Network) - Leading Horse of the Year candidate Zenyatta will go after a third straight win in Sunday's $250,000 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park. The undefeated mare has five challengers in the 1 1/8-mile race on Hollywood's synthetic track.

Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Zenyatta has a record-tying 16 race win streak and can break the tie she has with legendary horses Citation and Cigar. Her career earnings currently stand at more than $5.9 million.

Zenyatta, trained by John Shirreffs, will start from post five with reigning Belmont Stakes winning jockey Mike Smith riding. The six-year-old will carry the same 129 pounds she toted when she won last year's Vanity.

"The weight was pretty much what we were expecting," said Shirreffs, who is seeking his record fifth win in the Vanity. "We're just trying to focus on the Vanity and not on all of her accomplishments.

"Mike Smith is the good guy in all of this. We were really happy celebrating his victory in the Belmont Stakes (with 13-1 longshot Drosselmeyer). Mike is a rider and a horseman, so he is invaluable."

Zenyatta began her 2010 campaign by winning the Santa Margarita Handicap at Santa Anita Park and followed with a 4 1/4-length win as the 1-20 favorite in Oaklawn Park's Apple Blossom Handicap.

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.

Shirreffs will also send out Zardana, owned by Arnold Zetcher. The six-year- old mare will be ridden by Victor Espinoza from post three.

Zardana is best known for having defeated Rachel Alexandra in the first running of the New Orleans Ladies Classic in March at the Fair Grounds. Rachel will start in Saturday's Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs.

In her last start Zardana was a disappointing fifth in the La Troienne at Churchill Downs on April 30. That race was won by Unrivaled Belle with Rachel Alexandra second. Zardana has won eight of 20 lifetime starts for $438,276.

Here is the complete field for the 69th Vanity in post position order: Miss Silver Brook, Joe Talamo; St Trinians, Martin Garcia; Zardana, Victor Espinoza; Will O Way, Tyler Baze; Zenyatta, Mike Smith and Cherryblossommiss, Rafael Bejarano.

Post-time for the Vanity will be 7:40 p.m. (et).

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