Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Queen Mum

Ah, there's nothing like a match between an attractive, talented, elegant and well-bred young couple to send the media into a minor feeding frenzy. The speculation about offspring and heirs is quickly zipping across cyberspace and every punter has an opinion.

Zenyatta paddock schooling on November 4, 2010
with her groom, Mario Espinoza. Photo courtesy of Frances J. Karon. 
No, no, I'm not talking about Wills and Kate, though I'm sure the punters and speculators are having their fun with them as well--not to mention the boon to the commemorative china trade. I'm referring to the lucky stallion who will get to be the sire of Zenyatta's first foal and take the meaning of royally-bred to an entirely new level. Who will it be? Who could possibly be good enough for Zenyatta? One of the most poignant moments of Mike Smith's pre-Breeder's Cup 60 Minutes interview came when he was asked about Zenyatta's future in the breeding shed. His response was heartfelt and honest, something you'd expect to hear from any proud human one was good enough for her, not for his special girl.

Z and Mario arriving at Churchill Downs. Photo courtesy of Frances J. Karon.
And she is special. She's brought nothing but joy, grace, and inspiring athletic achievement into the skeptical and often jaded world of racing. But the Queen is now off to bigger and better things, which got me to thinking, anthropomorphically, of course, about what kind of offerings her prospective suitors might bring...

Typically it is the bride's family who worries over a dowry or fortune (see Maureen O'Hara's character in the The Quiet Man for the ideal portrayal of this) but in Zenyatta's case, I think the stallion's connections ought to be, for lack of a better expression, ponying up big time for a chance to be romantically linked (to put it delicately) to a mare of this stature. They ought to come bearing precious gems, special hybrids of apples and carrots, the softest straw and the tastiest oats. Perhaps they can offer up deals with Guinness or luxury bridles and blankets from Hermes. Or maybe one of the stallions is connected to a peppermint manufacturer and brings that to the table, along with just the right balance--an alchemist's secret formula for that magical combination of speed and stamina. And let's not forget the dancing, this girl has serious moves and any worthy male must possess not only the elegant agility of Fred Astaire, but also the sweeping athleticism of Gene Kelly.

Trainer John Shirrefs chats with Z. Photo courtesy of Frances J. Karon
While I realize that equating human comforts and traits to a horse might seem a bit silly, I can't help but want a happy and comfortable future for Zenyatta. I'm personally saddened that I won't get to see her race again, but I take heart in knowing that she'll be as well cared for in motherhood as she was during her racing career and that's how it should be. This wonderful horse who has buoyed spirits and made even non-racing fans sit up and take notice deserves nothing but the best, she's more than earned it.

For those of you who haven't checked out the piece in The Thoroughbred Times about her likely mates, here it is...Zenyatta Retires. And a special thanks to Frances for her up close and personal photos of Z that she kindly let me use for this piece.

1 comment:

sidfernando said...

the combination of MLA + FJK = favorites