Found a very interesting piece on Steve Willard, Zenyatta's exercise rider, who will be retiring along with her, after the Breeder's Cup in November. The article was written by Stephanie Diaz, for The Pilot, out of Southern Pines, North Carolina. ( Great job, Stephanie !) Stephanie writes about Steve's background, his character and his various experiences at the racetrack. She details how he started with horses, and the ups and downs of his life. She talks about the many good horses that Steve rode before he became Zenyatta's regular rider by the "process of elimination". She also describes the physical problems that older exercise riders like Steve deal with and how they cope. Steve seems very humble about his part in Zenyatta's life. It's nice to see how much respect he has for John Shirreffs ( whom he calls "the Nebraska farmer") and Mario Espinosa, and all who are involved in caring for the big mare. It has certainly been a team effort, and I hope he knows just how extremely important he has been in all of this too.
While the primary story is Steve's, there's lots of insight and details about Zenyatta's personality that I had never read before. And you know, I just can't get enough of that. So have a look, you will enjoy it.
Click here to read "An Affair to Remember "