This past weekend at Santa Anita, when Zenyatta looked for the "impossible" win, most of my local LGBT horse-fan friends were in that crowd, screaming their heads off for this popular favorite. And the ones I know who couldn't make it to the track were glued to their TVs.
Everything went wrong for Zenyatta in that race. She broke from the gate badly, was visibly unsettled and trailed by 11 lengths till jockey Mike Smith masterfully got her settled. When the field hit the home stretch, she finally got her monster kick rolling...only to have another horse cut in front of her. But she recovered with an mindboggling explosion of speed ...and got up to win by a length. She was the first female horse ever to win the Classic at the Breeders Cup world championships.
The big mare not only defeated a loaded field of 12 male champions who qualified from all over the world. She also turned in a heart-stopping performance that the sport will never forget -- one that puts her firmly in the history books. The 58,000 fans went absolutely wild. There were so many GO ZENYATTA signs waving that the grandstands looked like a political convention.
Zenyatta is just a horse, right? Why should anybody care about a frikking horse when our country is falling apart and LGBT people are under fire everywhere? Well, some people evidently do see Zenyatta as an inspiration for their own lives...and that includes some of us. After all, we are looking for the "impossible" win too -- in marriage and other civil rights.
Whenever the U.S. economy is down and out, horse racing always manages to come up with a "feel good" champion that captures the public imagination and makes people feel that they can win their own battles. During the Great Depression, it was a homely little bay stallion from California named Seabiscuit. Today, in the latest down-and-out time for America, that feel-good horse is a big beautiful bay girl-horse from California named Zenyatta.
Interested readers can go to YouTube and search under "Zenyatta" for reams of footage on her win.