News and STORIES

Paradise Woods Crosses First in Zenyatta

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Monday September 30, 2019
Paradise Woods pulled away late to win the $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park on Sunday. It marked the second time that she has won the race, the first being as a 3-year-old two years ago. 

The Zenyatta Stakes Is one of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" events. By winning the race on Sunday, Paradise Woods received an automatic berth in the Longines Distaff at Santa Anita Park in November. 

The Race

Paradise Woods broke from post 3 with jockey Abel Cedillo. She entered into the race at 7/2 odds. As she made her way into the clubhouse turn, Paradise Woods was able to move up to second. 

Secret Spice had a strong break from the post with jockey Flavien Prat as the 4/5 favorite. She set the pace early with fractions of :23.14, :46.83, and 1:11.30. 

As the field made its way into the top of the turn, Secret Spice was still in the lead. Paradise Woods began to slowly move up until she was eventually right next to Secret Spice at the 1/8 pole. Paradise Woods continued to push ahead as they went through the deep stretch, and she was able to pull away to finish 1 3/4 lengths ahead in a final time of 1:44.31 for the 11/16-mile event over the fast main track. 

Cedillo spoke about the talented horse after the race.

"(Her previous jockey Mike Smith) told me, 'You've got to keep her calm, and she'll try hard,'" said Cedillo. "I kept her outside that other filly (Secret Spice), and everything worked perfect. She was standing perfect in the gate, and we knew that Prat was the speed and he would go. We broke good and I just (put run on her mind). I wanted to be close and not let him go by himself." 

Secret Spice finished in second after being able to hold off Ollie's Candy, who started to make a late push. Ollie's Candy was coming off a win in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1), which was also a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" event for the Longines Distaff. 

La Force finished in fourth ahead of Mongolian Humor, and Kaydetre finished last to complete the order. 

Paradise Woods' Second WIn of the Year

The Zenyatta was Paradise Woods' second win on the year. Her first was the Santa Margarita Stakes (G2) in April, which was her first victory with new trainer John Shirreffs. Paradise Woods, the 5-year-old daughter of Union Rags, now has a record of 17-5-3-3, and her total earnings are at $1,123,890. 

Paradise Woods is co-owned by Martin and Pam Wygod and HS Stable. 

This will be the second time that Paradise Woods is training towards the Breeders' Cup. After her last Zenyatta win, she finished third in the 2017 Longines Distaff. 

"We wanted her to break well and not get shuffled back and hopefully to be in the clear," said Shirreffs. "In the past, she's gotten shuffled back and got sucked behind horses, but today, she broke well and was able to get to the outside. We weren't sure if Mike would be available for the Breeders' Cup, so this was the time if you're going to make a change."

Shirreffs was also the trainer for the Hall of Fame mare Zenyatta, whom the race is named after. 

Paradise Woods returned $9.60 to win, $4.20 to place, and $2.80 to show. Secret Spice paid $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show, and Ollie's Candy brought back $2.40 to show.