"HOW CAN YOU ARGUE WITH PERFECTION," SAYS HER JOCKEY MIKE SMITH, WHO SAYS IF ZENYATTA WINS THE BREEDER'S CUP TO REMAIN UNDEFEATED SHE COULD BE THE GREATEST HORSE IN HISTORY -- "60 MINUTES" SUNDAY
Jockey Believes Zenyatta has "Another Gear" and he Hasn't Seen Her Fastest Yet
He's ridden winners in the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness, The Belmont Stakes - the famous legs of the vaunted Triple Crown - yet Mike Smith says one horse never in the winner's circle in those races is the best mount he's ever known. And if he rides that horse, the 6-yr.-old Zenyatta, to her 20th consecutive victory at next week's Breeders Cup, the undefeated mare just may be the greatest horse of all time. Bob Simon reports on Zenyatta's quest for horse-racing history on 60 MINUTES, Sunday, Oct. 31 (7:00-8:00PM, ET/PT) on the CBS television Network.
"She's all [those victorious horses] and more. She means more to me than all those," Smith tells Simon. "She's Zenyatta. She's incredible. She's unbeaten. She's done everything that we've ever asked of her," says Smith, who has ridden her to 16 of her 19 victories.
Last year, Zenyatta won the Breeder's Cup Classic, considered the toughest race of the season. This year, she's not only a year older, but the only mare competing in the race, which attracts the best horses in the world.
"If she pulls this off, in my book-- of course, I'm a little bit one-sided -- but I think...she could be the greatest horse of all time," Smith says. That kind of career would put her up there with the most famous Triple Crown Winner, Secretariat, considered one of the greatest ever. But Smith thinks his mount could be even better than Secretariat after a Breeder's Cup win.
"If we can pull it off, she's never been beaten. So how can you argue with perfection, you know?" asks Smith. Watch an excerpt.
Zenyatta has a reputation for running only as fast as she needs to win a race, always exploding in the stretch to pass the field. Smith says this may be what keeps her healthy and happy, not having to do more than she has to. It also indicates her top speed is not known yet.
"I truly don't believe I have [seen her fastest]," says Smith. "In every race that I have ridden her in, I have always felt that there was another gear if I needed it," he tells Simon.