Monday, March 10, 2014

Zenyatta, Part 1(2007-2008)

 On April 1st, 2004, a beautiful dark bay filly, born out of Vertigineux with the sire Steet Cry, was born on Don Robinson's Winter Quarter Farm in Kentucky. As a yearling, she was sold to Jerry and Ann Moss for $60,000. They named her Zenyatta, after an album by The Police. Her trainer was John Shirreffs.

 Zenyatta began her racing career much later than most horses, racing her first race toward the end of her three-year-old season. Her first race was the Maiden Special Weight at Hollywood Park, a short 6 1/2 furlongs race, which took place on November 22nd of 2007. The tall, 17.2 hand three-year-old, ridden by David Flores, galloped down the stretch to win by three lengths. On December 15, the two won the 1 1/6 mile long Allowance race by 3 1/2 lengths.

 On January 13, 2008, Zenyatta ran her first graded stakes race, the 1 1/6 mile Grade 2 El Enico Stakes at Santa Anita. She won in the record time of 1:40.61. Next, on April 5, she entered the Grade 1 Apple Blossoms Handicap, a race open for mares four years old and older. Zenyatta was ridden by Mike Smith in this race, defeating older champions with a lead of 4 1/2 lengths. Afterward, she returned to Hollywood Park to win the Grade 2 Milady Handicap on May 31 and the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap on July 5. Then, she won the Grade 2 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap on August 2, setting a track record of 1:41.48.

 Next, on September 27, entered the Grade 1 Lady's Secret Stakes at Santa Anita, where she incredibly ran each quarter mile faster than the previous one, setting a 1 1/6 mile stake record of 1:40.30. She then became a favorite for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.
Zenyatta in the 2008 Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic credit

 Her last race of that season, the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic on October 24, began with Zenyatta in last place. Then, she came from behind and passed every horse on the track to finsish in first place. At the time, Zenyatta had gone undefeated in the first nine races of her racing career.

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