Although Zenyatta may not have been totally focused, the undefeated daughter of Street Cry did what she was supposed to do in the $300,000 Vanity Handicap on Saturday at Hollywood Park.
A winner by no less than 1 3/4 lengths in her first five races, Zenyatta was only half a length better than runner-up Tough Tiz’s Sis in the first of the day’s three Grade I’s.
Moving a bit sooner than had been her custom as pacesetter Silver Z, who wound up fourth, opened a sizable advantage, the 3-10 favorite exerted enough energy to win her fourth graded stakes and retain her position as the top older filly or mare in the country.
Jockey Mike Smith, who has been aboard the 4-year-old in her three most recent successes, said Zenyatta never gave her best.
“Actually, she didn’t work at all,” he said. “I did, but she didn’t. I wish she would have.
“She was not tested at all, but I was tested. She was just pulling [herself] up the whole time. Around the turn, she was pricking her ears. She was not even running. She was basically galloping through the stretch. She made me work hard, but she was just loafing. I think I’ve let her do things too easily.”
John Shirreffs, who trains Zenyatta for owners Jerry and Ann Moss, said whether or not Zenyatta makes her next start at Del Mar, which begins July 16, depends on the condition of the main track. Del Mar’s Polytrack generated much controversy because of how slow it played in the afternoon during its first year of existence in 2007.
Street Boss continued to show he is one of the nation’s elite sprinters with a victory as the 7-10 choice in his Grade I debut in the $300,000 Triple Bend Handicap in Inglewood.
Trained by Bruce Headley, who won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint with Kona Gold in 2000, the 4-year-old son of Street Cry won his fourth in a row and his sixth in 10 starts.
Owned by Headley’s wife Aase, Marsha Naify and Bluegate Corporation, Street Boss and jockey David Flores won by half a length over 4-1 second choice Elite Squadron. The time for the seven furlongs was 1:22.42
Like Zenyatta, Street Boss was somewhat lazy in the Triple Bend after making a six-wide move -- in a field of half a dozen -- to take the lead in the stretch.
“He was looking around, just galloping,” Flores said. “He made me work because he wanted to pull up. I had to tell him it wasn’t over yet.”
In the first of the day’s five graded stakes, Azul Leon, the 11-10 choice, won for the second time in as many starts, easily taking the $106,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship.
Chasing a pick six carry-over of $1.197 million, bettors pushed another $3,778,778 through the windows Saturday.
After three days of longshots, form prevailed in the sequence. Three favorites won and the biggest odds on any horse was 9-1 (11th-race winner Hopehopehope), so there were 257 perfect tickets worth $12,827 apiece.