Zenyatta bid a final farewell to her legions of fans Dec. 5 at Hollywood Park, pricking her cotton-stuffed ears at the gaggle of cameras one more time before heading into retirement.
The superstar mare who won 19 of her 20 career races and more than $7.3 million patiently walked around the paddock before taking to the track for a last stroll. Fans cheered and snapped photos as Zenyatta made her way along the grandstand so everyone could see her.
"It's amazing the following she has and we're fans ourselves," Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said a short time after he collected his 2,000th lifetime victory.
Zenyatta entered the paddock in between races wearing a pink saddlecloth from one of her wins in the Apple Blossom Handicap. Groom Mario Espinoza walked her in circles as 11,216 fans yelled her name and photographed every shake of her head.
She made her farewell tour without a rider in the saddle, a way to keep her low-key in an atmosphere that otherwise suggested she would be racing. It was several minutes before Zenyatta briefly high-stepped, a move that drew an approving roar from the crowd that mostly ignored the running of the sixth race while watching her.
"You can have a 20-year lull and when something like Zenyatta comes along, the public responds," said Bo Derek, a member of the California Horse Racing Board. "The fans confirm I'm not the only horse racing fan."
Owners Jerry and Ann Moss looked on lovingly as the 6-year-old mare made the rounds.
"We've been very lucky and blessed to have Zenyatta. This is a great day," a smiling Jerry Moss said, his arm wra