So much for unbeaten Zenyatta easing back into action, huh? First race back in seven months Saturday and she’s gotta go up against stablemate Life Is Sweet, who not only most likely holds an edge in conditioning but comes into the $150,000 Grade II Milady Handicap off three consecutive graded stakes victories, including the Grade I Santa Margarita Handicap at Santa Anita on March 14.
This will be the first time the two John Shirreffs-trained distaffers will have faced each other, and it’s one of two intriguing stakes races at Hollywood Park this Memorial Day weekend. On Monday, Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Ventura will take on the boys again in the $250,000 Shoemaker Mile over the Hollypark turf course. Thorn Song, one of the best turf milers in the U.S., is scheduled to ship in from Kentucky today to run in the Shoemaker, which is scheduled to also include Hyperbaric, Whatsthescript, Dixie Chatter and U S Ranger.
Mike Smith, who’s ridden Zenyatta in her past six starts, has the assignment again Saturday as the 5-year-old Street Cry mare tries to extend her record to 10-0 with a second consecutive victory in the Milady. It won’t be easy, though. She’s carrying two pounds more (126) than she’s ever been asked to carry, and Life Is Sweet will be a tough customer with Garrett Gomez aboard. Life Is Sweet, a 4-year-old daughter of Storm Cat, has won 5 of 10 lifetime for earnings of $540,810. Zenyatta, who hasn’t raced since her memorable victory in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 24, has earnings of $2,144,580.
The only one in the nine-horse field I can see possibily giving Zenyatta a run for her money is her stablemate, who will carry second high weight of 122 pounds. What do you think?