… is to keep the horses on center stage.
In her most recent commentary at The Saturday Post, Jennifer Wirth notes some of the central effects that champion Zenyatta is having on the recognition of racing and on people’s interest in our sport.
Among the most important things to notice in Wirth’s discussion are that she is young, she is urban, she is tech-savvy, and she loves racing.
Zenyatta has bridged the gap between Wirth’s love for racing and its recognition by other people her age.
The Big Mare has done this in several ways. First, she’s a star, and she knows it. She also has charisma. People respond positively to excellence, and in the innocent assumption of grandeur that a great Thoroughbred possesses, there is an element of awe from us mere two-legged critters.
Also, the human beings associated with The Big Mare are not strangers to popular culture and the power of charismatic beings.
So the Mare is on Facebook. Her humans put her there, but her own appeal has drawn more than 15,000 fans. That is power beyond what dollars can buy.
Trainer John Shirreffs has posted videos of The Big Mare on YouTube that are attracting thousands of views.
And there’s only one reason for this. Zenyatta has become a cult figure with the American public. People like her because she is beautiful, she is unspoiled, she is idiosyncratic, she is the peer of any colt or horse, and she obviously loves to race and win.
Glitzy promotional campaigns spend millions and yield not a tenth of this return in interest. But Zenyatta attracts people, I believe, because she is not an ad, not a campaign, not a slick idea. She is the genuine article, and people respond to that.
Our job is to love every minute of it.