Zenyatta makes it 18 in a row

DEL MAR, Calif. -- Zenyatta extended her winning streak to 18 races with yet another dynamic late run in Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Clement Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar.

Much to the delight of an ontrack crowd of more than 30,000, Zenyatta ($2.20) caught pacesetter Rinterval in the final furlong and won by a hard-fought neck, finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.03. Princess Taylor finished third, followed by Spring Style, Dance to My Tune, and Made for Magic in the field of six.

Rinterval set a slow pace of 25.41 and 50.61 seconds for the first half-mile, with Zenyatta in fifth, racing about 7 1/2 lengths behind the pace. Jockey Mike Smith began moving Zenyatta closer to the leaders on the backstretch, and the 6-year-old mare made a sweeping move while four wide to reach contention in early stretch.

Zenyatta was within a neck of Rinterval at the eighth pole and was urged by Smith in the final furlong to preserve her winning streak.

Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, Zenyatta won her fourth Grade 1 race of 2010 in the Hirsch, a race she also won in 2008 and 2009. The Hirsch was Zenyatta's first start since a win in the Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 13. The champion older female of 2008 and 2009, Zenyatta has earned $6,254,580.