SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - There's an indescribable x-factor that some horses have. A presence. An energy. Between her majestic physical stature and fan-friendly personality, Zenyatta embodied the term greatness.
"The fact that she was a girl was really popular because so many women were fans of her," explained Zenyatta's trainer John Sherriffs. "She was so excellent and she excelled at racing so much. She came from behind. It seemed impossible that she'd get to the wire in time and somehow she'd manage to get there."
The filly won 19 of her 20 career races. She would prance to the starting gate, a dance of sorts that would drive fans wild. So when word that her half sister, Eblouissante, would be racing in Saratoga on Saturday, a small crowd gathered in the paddock to see whether she shared the same charisma as her sister.
The cameras clicked. Eblouissante stood at attention, nearly as tall as Zenyatta. Her presence wowing the onlookers - she was brilliant, an exact translation of her French name.
"The expectations are certainly high, but you always have to keep in mind, she is her own horse," John said before the Grade III Shuvee. "From the very beginning, Zenyatta wanted to beat other horses in workouts. She'd try so hard. Eblouissante, on the other hand, is like this really talented horse who doesn't know she has that ability... she didn't know if she was a race horse, she had to get to the next gear."
Eblouissante could not muster any late-race heroics like her sister. She finished last in the Shuvee, 30 1/2 lengths behind the winner. It probably didn't help that she was spooked in the gate and nearly hit her head when she acted up. It was also only her third career race, her first since January and her debut in a Graded Stakes.
She will likely race again this summer at Saratoga, and Sherriffs looks forward to helping her reach the high levels of expectations she has.
"She is a joy to watch train."
Not to mention, it doesn't hurt to be reminded every day of your all-time favorite.
"We can see her looking out over the hay down the shed row just as Zenyatta used to do. And the long ears, she has those long ears. So it's just like having a part of Zenyatta back in the barn."
But with a blemish like Saturday's loss on her record, Eblouissante will never rival the greatness of her sister. Nor should anybody expect her to - her trainer says it would be unfair.
"I could never go there... I don't think you can really compare another horse to Zenyatta."
Local News <a href="http://www.wten.com/category/173731/-local-news">More>></a>Local NewsMore>>
TROY, N.Y. – A local church is giving a gun away in a raffle, and a politician has received threats for participating in the event. Grace Baptist Church in Troy will be giving a gun away in a raffle onMore >>
A local church is giving a gun away in a raffle, and a politician has received threats for participating in the event.More >>
SOUTH GLENS FALLS N.Y. – The 37TH Annual South High Marathon Dance kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. in the South Glens Falls High School gym. The Marathon Dance has been around for decades, starting with onlyMore >>
The 37th annual South High Marathon Dance kicked-off Friday. More >>
TROY, N.Y. – A fire broke out at the Red Front restaurant in Troy Friday evening. The call for the fire came in just after 6 p.m. The fire started in the attic of the Division Street eatery. The restaurantMore >>
A fire broke out at the Red Front restaurant in Troy Friday evening.More >>
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – A fire broke out at St. Anthony's Church Friday evening. The call for the fire at 331 Seward Place came in around 6:30 p.m. The fire started in the basement and spread upward causingMore >>
A fire broke out at St. Anthony's Church Friday evening.More >>
ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany Police Department is warning the school community about an e-mail scheme circulating various campuses around the country. The e-mail scheme contains threateningMore >>
The University at Albany Police Department is warning the school community about an e-mail scheme circulating various campuses around the country.More >>
EAST GREENBUSH, N.Y. – A 19-year-old was arrested and charged Friday for having sexual relations with a minor. An investigation by the East Greenbush Police Department determined Jared Watts had sexualMore >>
A 19-year-old was arrested and charged Friday for having sexual relations with a minor.More >>
JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. – Police arrested a Johnstown man for an August 2013 assault. Ricky Mitchell was arrested and charged with one count of Assault in the Second Degree and one count of Endangering the WelfareMore >>
Police arrested a Johnstown man for an August 2013 assault.More >>
GLOVERSVILLE, N.Y. – Police made an arrest for multiple drug charges in Fulton County. Freddie Barksdale was arrested for one count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third DegreeMore >>
Police made an arrest for multiple drug charges in Fulton County.More >>
CAROGA, N.Y. – Police made an arrest for burglary in Fulton County. Cori Ostrander was arrested and charged with one count of Burglary for entering the attached garage of the Outlet Restaurant with theMore >>
Police made an arrest for burglary in Fulton County.More >>
JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. – Police arrested and charged a Johnstown man for Grand Larceny. James Anderson was charged with one count of Grand Larceny for allegedly stealing a credit or debit card from a pocketbookMore >>
Police arrested and charged a Johnstown man for Grand Larceny.More >>