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Zenyatta stride?

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  • Zenyatta stride?

    I'm not sure if this has already been answered but multiple searches resulted in nothing and an internet search also revealed nothing.

    Does anyone know what Zenyatta's stride length is? I've always been impressed when watching her run and was curious considering her stride just looks so big compared to some of the other.
  • Original Poster

    So no one knows?


    • #3
      I'm not aware of it being measured or even Mike Smith taking an estimate at it. (Calvin did for Rachel). However the stats are there and visually it looks large but no where as massive as even Secretariat.

      An interesting website looking at the degree positioning of the horse's legs at full stride found here, however I disagree with their view of MOW. He was said to have a substantial stride as well despite their claims.

      Zenyatta at 5-yrs old measured at almost 17.2 hands and as of the fall of 2009 weighed in at 1,217 pounds which is significant for a race-ready mare.


      • #4
        Man o War 28 feet
        Secretariat 24
        John Henry 25.5


        Using a photograph from her victory in last year's Ladies Classic, Robert, Zenyatta appears to have a stride angle of approximately 91.5 degrees (in comparison to Secratariat's 110 degrees).

        Below is a link to the image I used:

        Zenyatta Stride (from this website: http://www.theracingforum.co.uk/hors...ds-t80114.html)
        "I am a sand dancer... just here for the jumps!" - Schrammo


        • #5
          So that would work out to be just about a 20 foot stride, I think. Anybody else know better than that? I could very well be off...
          Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch


          • #6

            Apparently, there has been some measuring going on. Compare to secretariat and man o' war.

            There are other articles, I just need to find them.

            Actually, somebody I know did a measurment, counting strides and steps. I'll have to find it. It was quite mind-boggling, so I don't doubt the above. I'll post that when I find it, too.

            Just checked this and can't seem to get the link to work, so here is the text:

            "Apparently, there has been some measuring going on. Compare to secretariat and man o' war.

            There are other articles, I just need to find them. Here is one below. Also, I know somebody who counted strides and steps. I'll have to find it. It was quite mind-boggling. I'll post that when I find it, too.

            "According to Equix, which analyzed the biometrics of racing thoroughbreds, the average race horse has a stride length of 23.5 feet. Secretariat’s was measured at 25.2 feet, which helped contribute to his greatness.
            I got a request from a Community member to do a similar stride-length study on Zenyatta as I did with Rachel. What I discovered in the process was nothing short of astonishing.

            Mindful that Zenyatta’s most recent victory was the Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park – a race she won last year under a similar 129 pound impost – it seemed a likely candidate for the study.

            According to plans I found on the internet, the stretch at Hollywood Park, like all Left Coast tracks, measures a paltry 991 feet -- 25 percent shorter than Churchill Downs; 33 percent shorter than Hawthorne; and a staggering 36 percent shorter than Fair Grounds -- which helps explain why speed is so dominant in California racing, and why so few closers are able to win without perfect rides and exceptional ability.

            In the Vanity Handicap in both 2009 and 2010, Zenyatta required the identical 39 strides to complete the 991 feet, an average stride length that factors-out at a mind-numbing 25.41 feet per stride -- longer even than the great Secretariat. St. Trinians, by contrast, required 42 strides to traverse that same distance, for an average stride length perfectly in keeping with the norm at 23.59 feet.

            Next, I went back and watched the Breeders Cup Classic of 2009 at Santa Anita, whose stretch is even shorter than Hollywood Park’s at only 900 feet. It took Zenyatta only 35.5 strides to complete the distance, an amazingly consistent 25.35 feet per stride. Even after a mile-and-a-quarter, she galloped-out like she wanted to go around again, an indication that perhaps the Left Coast’s ridiculously short stretches are the reason so many people believe we haven’t yet seen Zenyatta fully extended, nor will we until she runs the 1,234.5 feet of CD’s stretch in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.

            THE OLD HOZER"



            • #7
              Very cool, thank you for posting that.
              Shop online at


              • #8
                Zenyatta Stride

                Regarding the earlier posted commentary regarding Zenyatta's stride and the "Secretariat Big Stride Angle" web site, my brother-in-law and I prepared the following polite comments which we sent via reply e-mail to the Big Stride Angle web site author on August 18, 2010- together with an attached photo that showed Man O' War running with a 110-degree stride angle while being held under a strong pull by his jockey. No acknowledgement or reply has been forthcoming from the web site or the article author.

                Hi, … this is not intended to be an unfriendly comment, however, it seems to us that your author selected somewhat self-servingly a photo of Secretariat running all out at full stride (measured as a 110-degree stride angle) and compared it with a Man O’ War photo (88-degree stride angle) when he was skipping along during a morning workout at Saratoga at about half-speed.

                The attached photo of Man O’ War, taken when he was running at Belmont, indicates a stride angle of about 110 degrees. But even here, we are not comparing apple with apple. MOW is not running fully extended as Secretariat is.

                We see in this photo that MOW’s left rear foot is not quite yet in the process of leaving the ground. As a functional result of the photographer’s imprecise timing, MOW’s forward momentum has not yet quite carried him as fully forward as we see with Secretariat in you photo, where such forward momentum has resulted in Sec’s left rear foot already extending out behind him to obtain a maximum “kick off” stride length.

                Further, Sec’s exercise rider has relinquished all inhibiting restraint and pull on Sec’s reigns and bridle. His arms are held high and loose; his elbows are extend and flail outward slightly. Secretariat is free to run fully extended, which he does. In direct contrast, the attached MOW photo shows that his jockey has him snuggly restrained under a tight pull.

                Further, your web page neglects to inform your readers that racehorses shorten their running strides as they increase their speed toward the top end and that NO horse can run at anywhere near its top speed with a fully extended stride for more than a very tiny distance (i.e., the fatigue multiplier factor takes hold).

                Secretariat’s jockey (R. Turcotte) revealed that Secretariat displayed the trait of shortening his stride when he "kicked into gear.” When being exercised in Maryland, in preparation for the 1973 Preakness, Sec’s stride measured 24' 11”. When it was next measured two months later (by an engineer from MIT), as he accelerated past Riva Ridge, in the home stretch of the Marlboro Stakes at Belmont, his stride length averaged 24' 3".

                When exercise training in Maryland, at the old Harve de Grace race track, a week before his 1920 Preakness, MOW’s stride measured a full 28 feet. When again measured, several months later, starting at the head of his stretch run in the 1-5/8 mile Lawrence Realization Stakes at Belmont, he had shortened it to 24’ 8”.

                If length of stride shortens as running speed greatly increases so does the stride angle. So, what does it all mean?

                Length of stride (and the running angle obtained) can be taken as benchmarks that suggest the mechanical efficiency and fluidity of a particular horse’s stride, but such is just one individual factor, among a myriad of contributing factors, that plays a role in running performance.

                Equally dominant factors include possessing an inherent eagerness to run, lung capacity, an abundance of fast-twitch muscle cells, correct hip and leg conformation, the width-size and obstruction-clearance of their nose nostrils – (i.e., such being that horses cannot breathe through their mouths), etc. It’s not just heart size, not just lung capacity, not just stride angle or length; nor any other single individual factor that dominates.

                As for their comparative running times, one has to iron out the speed differential in the tracks on which MOW ran. The tracks surfaces that MOW ran on in 1919-1920 were about a full 2 seconds slower per mile than the tracks Secretariat ran on in 1973. Further, in the individual stretch runs of 18 of his 21 races, MOW was held under a strong pull by his jockeys who often were standing semi-upright in the irons to tighten his stride gait and slow him down well before the finish lines. Their true comparative running times cannot be reliably compared.



                • #9
                  Still hard to suggest the extended stride for Z that is on par with Secretariat.

                  Image: work out prior to the Wood Memorial

                  Image: during the Preakness Stakes


                  • #10
                    Her stride length was mentioned during pre-race coverage of her 2010 Breeders Cup race. I remembered paying attention -because I myself wanted to know how her stride measured up. I can't recall the exact number (but I think I still have it recorded), but do remember that they commented about it being greater than Secretariat's stride. As soon as I can commandeer the television away from the men (watching football), I'll skip thru and see what measurement they give.


                    • #11
                      IIRC, the Breeders Cup coverage said she had a 26' stride.
                      According to the Mayan calendar, the world will not end this week. Please plan your life accordingly.


                      • #12
                        Thank you MOWfan.

                        When I looked at the site I also thought that something was wrong with the comparison. The measurements didn't seem at the same point in the stride.

                        It's an apples and oranges comparison, as you have pointed out far better than I could. You have to have the same conditions, same engagement, same jockey behavior, and exact same moment in the stride.

                        I had always heard about MOW's stride and that would have been a taped measurement. Wonder, did they tape Secretariat and Zenyatta or just do a computer analysis? (Subject to GIGO)


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Glimmerglass View Post
                          Still hard to suggest the extended stride for Z that is on par with Secretariat.

                          Image: work out prior to the Wood Memorial

                          Image: during the Preakness Stakes
                          That Zenyatta photo really brings it home how much force is on one delicate leg, with her big body.

                          The Secretariat photo is so joyful; it makes me think those 18th/19th century prints showing horses flying over hill and dale with all 4 legs parallel to the ground were maybe not so impossible after all? ;-)

                          Nothing to add about stride length, just was struck by how evocative those photos are.
                          Fear is the rocket sauce.
                          Jack Black


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by loshad View Post
                            IIRC, the Breeders Cup coverage said she had a 26' stride.
                            Really?? WOW.
                            I wonder how big her heart is.. I bet it is comprable to Secretariats!