SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE / By Ed Zieralski / September 29, 2012
Nina Kaiser held her breath for a moment as her bronze sculpture of Zenyatta was unveiled in the Santa Anita paddock garden on what was a hot and bright sunny day in the San Gabriel foothills.
But once the crowd that gathered along with Zenyatta’s owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs and his wife, Dottie, gave the statue a collective blessing, Kaiser took exhaled.
“I can stop being nervous,” said Kaiser, who lives in rustic Lake Hodges community of Del Dios on the border of San Diego and Escondido.
But she did have one critic. One fan felt Zenyatta’s tail was a bit “exaggerated.”
Kaiser called in John Shirreffs for a consult to settle the issue.
Shirreffs, never missing a chance to needle one of his barn hands, called in groom, Mario Espinoza, to answer the critic’s assessment of the tail. Shirreffs wanted to know why Zenyatta’s tail wasn’t groomed.
“I didn’t want to miss one last chance to get on Mario about the tail,” Shirreffs said.
Espinoza gave the statue his blessing as did all who gathered. Already, the statue had two bouquets of flowers and a lone carrot on the base.
Shirreffs was asked if Kaiser captured Zenyatta.
“Absolutely,” he said. “You can just feel the energy.”
Moss fought back emotion when he spoke earlier. Later, he just looked at the statue and said, “Inspirational. Just magnificent.”