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Author Topic: Transcript of John Shirreffs interview Thurs., Nov. 4  (Read 328 times)
jrstark
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« on: November 04, 2010, 08:27:38 PM »

John Shirreffs
 
On the duty of speaking to the media about Zenyatta:
 
“It’s been a great duty. We’re just really proud of Zenyatta and our association with her.”
 
Jerry Moss
 
On the future and if there was any sadness about this possibly being her last race:
 
“I honestly haven’t thought about it. It’s all about Saturday. We’ll think about the future when that comes up. We’re race to race people. That’s the way we are. There’s no sadness, only joy. To be associated with a horse like this and to see all the joy she brings so many people is just an honor. Whatever happens, she’s given us so much joy, we’re going to be happy about her for the rest of our life.”
 
Do you feel a real sense of pressure to win Saturday?:
 
Jerry Moss
 
“I don’t think about. I just know she’s going to run her race. I think she’ll be successful. John assures us that she’s in really great shape. You can see how relaxed she is and how strong she is. I know she’s going to give her all and I think that will be sufficient. I don‘t about any other outcome because I think she‘ll be successful.”
 
John Shirreffs
 
“I hope she runs her race and if she loses we’re going to have to accept it. We’re thankful for everything she’s given us and if some people are disappointed, that’s unfortunate.”
 
How the feeling of having Giacomo win the Kentucky Derby compares to Zenyatta:
 
“Giacomo took us to the Kentucky Derby and that was very special, but what Zenyatta has done is a whole new level. Giacomo was 50-1, so no one knew about him. Everyone knows Zenyatta and wherever you go people are happy to see you and the horse and what to have pictures taken with her. It’s just really special.”
 
How will she handle kick back from the track?
 
“From where she runs there’s not a lot of kick back. By the time she gets into the race, it won’t be an issue.”
 
Do you think she needs to needs to beat the boys on the dirt to secure her place in history?

“I think she’s already made history. She’s already beaten the boys, she’s already become the first female to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and that’s history in itself. It’s a plastic world. It’s throughout the whole industry. Actually, Zenyatta enjoys the dirt surface. She handles the track very well. The surface will have no affect on how she runs the race.”
 
On Freddie Head watching Zenyatta train this am:
 
“That’s tremendous respect. I think he’s a man that enjoys a wonderful horse, just like I enjoy watching Goldikova. I think it’s great.
 
“Today was different. I was wondering if she would have a little let down on her second day at the track, but she didn’t.”
 
Are you confident enough in make up to know that nothing is going to discourage her:
 
“Yes, as I was saying earlier, the kick back is not going to be an issue. She’s already been on dirt a few times at Oaklawn and from where she run, so far back, it’s not a problem.”
 
Compare how Zenyatta is coming into this year’s Classic to the last year:
 
“I think she’s in better condition this year. Her weight is really good. She’s doing excellent for this race.”
 
Last year, people kept looking for kinks in her armor and you almost seemed amused by it. Do you feel the same way this year?
 
“Yeah. It was interesting when some of the writers were saying that 1 1/6 miles was her best distance and we all knew that she was much better at a mile and an eighth. Then, when she got to run a mile and a quarter, it was like she’s been waiting for this her whole life. The distance part wasn’t a factor at all. And, because we thought we were saving the best for last - facing the boys in the Classic -  she just took her game to another level. It was just a magical day. Here she was breaking on the wrong lead, not into the race and then she just puts it all together.”
 
“I’m really blessed with Zenyatta because she has a personality that you can share with other people. So when people ask about her, I always say that you need to come and see her. I hope by all these people coming to see her, they will realize what a beautiful, beautiful animal the Thoroughbred horse is. I said it many times before, the Thoroughbred is a very special creature on this earth. A lot people don’t have an opportunity to get up close to a Thoroughbred and when they get up close to Zenyatta, a champion, she just has such an aura about her. She has such energy. It’s really special. I just hope more people get to see her. It’s not just wheels going around the track. This is a horse that has been nurtured and loved for a long time and it’s putting it on the line. When Giacomo won the Derby, I looked up into his eyes and they were glazed over. You knew he had given his all. He gave 200%. Whatever he had he gave it. So many people, for whatever reason, don’t go that extra step, but the Thoroughbred has been nurtured and bred to go that extra step. When horses do that, it raises the sport to a whole other level and that’s what we’re here for.”
 
Do you think she gets pumped up by the crowds?
 
“Yes. She loves this. She looks for it. She just handles.
 
Any concerns going into this race?
 
No, not really. Zenyatta is doing great and it’s just going to be a lot of fun.

Do you see her being an ambassador for the sport when she retires.
 
“I hope so. I hope people will remember her and go visit her where ever she may be.”
 
Does her personality change when she goes into the gate or when Mike asks her?
 
“I think the big thing is when Mike asks her because of her style, she’s waiting. Mike may  be saying ‘not yet’ or ‘these are really nice horses, you need to get going.’ It’s a blend of the two. I think in this race, with the long stretch, she’ll be waiting for Mike.
 
Is everything telling you that she’s poised for the best race of her career?
 
“Today was a big day, because like I was saying earlier because I expected her to be aggressive yesterday, but then the second day, I thought she might be a little flat and she obviously wasn’t. She was in bridle and wanting to do more.”
 
Will you give Mike any instructions or is it way past that?
 
“It’s way past that. I may pat his leg and say ‘have a good ride’ or something like that. There’s just communication we don’t have to speak.”
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