LOUISVILLE — After an arrival that could challenge most Hollywood red carpets for fanfare, Zenyatta was officially deemed the most imposing presence among her peers Tuesday.
Jerry and Ann Moss's undefeated champion mare was made an overwhelming 8-5 morning-line favorite in the field of 12 for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic when post positions for all 14 races on Friday's and Saturday's World Championships cards at Churchill Downs were drawn.
Zenyatta, the defending winner in the Classic, will start from post eight and try to end her career at 20-0. Because of her famed late-running style, where she begins is usually of little concern for the 6-year-old daughter of Street Cry.
"She breaks, and she settles way far back anyway, so it really doesn't matter," said jockey Mike Smith, Zenyatta's regular rider. "She just wants to get the job done. Once she catches the last horse, she goes into cruise control. I have been waiting for this, and now it is finally here. We are ready; she's ready."
Zenyatta arrived at Churchill from California on Tuesday afternoon in a manner fitting a diva. She was loaded onto a private trailer and given a police escort over to Barn 41.
"Every day we have with her is special," Ann Moss said. "She's so amazing to be around."
Multiple Grade I winner Blame is the 9-2 second choice in the Classic field and will leave from post five. Quality Road was slightly less fortunate, drawing the rail for the 11/4-mile Classic.
Quality Road had to be scratched in last year's Classic when he melted down while being loaded into the gate. Trainer Todd Pletcher wasn't exactly celebrating when the post was declared, but he didn't look at the one-hole as a doomsday scenario.
"He was going to load in the gate first regardless so that part doesn't change," Pletcher said. "It wouldn't have been my first choice, but it is what it is. We have to try and get some position coming out of there."
For the most part, the draw was filled with little drama. Two-time defending Breeders' Cup Mile champion Goldikova was made the 6-5 choice to win a third straight title in the race, and Kentucky Oaks winner Blind Luck was made the 9-5 favorite over her elders for Friday's Ladies' Classic.
As expected, Juddmonte Farms' Workforce is the 7-5 favorite to become the first Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner to win the Breeders' Cup Turf, but the colt's participation in the race is in some question after his first trip over the track on Tuesday.
Stuart Messenger, assistant to trainer Sir Michael Stoute, expressed his displeasure with the firm ground after Workforce galloped over it.
"I'm extremely disappointed with the ground; I'm going to have a serious discussion with the boss," Messenger told Racing Post. "The horse is too valuable to risk."