Superstar Zenyatta will face just five rivals if she starts in the G1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on Saturday.
Trainer John Shirreffs, who is based at Hollywood Park, hasn’t been happy with Del Mar’s Polytrack and has voiced concerns over its maintenance in recent weeks. He remained uncommitted on a start even after the champion worked over 1600m there on Wednesday morning.
If given a green light, the Street Cry mare will attempt to improve her scorecard to 18 wins from 18 starts.
Zenyatta opened the year with a G1 in the Santa Margarita Invitational and then went on the road to win the G1 Apple Blossom Stakes at Oaklawn Park in what was little more than a paid workout. Last time out, she faced a tough test when answering a strong challenge from St Trinians in the Vanity Hcp at Hollywood Park.
Zenyatta won the Hirsch by a length in 2008 and then scored a hard-fought head victory in the race last year. She gave Anabaa’s Creation a four-length head start 12 months ago in what was the closest call ever to her unblemished record.
Meanwhile, USA Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra is working well in preparation for her next start in the G1 Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga on August 29. She reeled off 1000m in 62.40s on Monday morning at the Spa. The Medaglia d’Oro filly has scored runaways wins at her last two starts in the G2 Fleur de Lis Hcp at Churchill Downs and Listed Lady’s Secret Stakes at Monmouth Park.