Pepper’s Pride, a New Mexico-bred mare, raced exclusively in her native State. She won 19 races from 19 starts and called it a day. Going into the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday, November 6, the incomparable Zenyatta had a 19 for 19 record. The Classic, based on what her connections were saying, was Zenyatta’s swan song. The world wide audience refused to look beyond the six year-old mare and Zenyatta was the exclusive favorite at post time. The Classic denouement is now in the books.
News came on Wednesday that Zenyatta has been retired. In 2009, after the John Shirreffs-trained mare had won the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, Zenyatta’s retirement was announced. However, at Hollywood Park (in Inglewood, California) where Zenyatta is based, the champion mare was being exercised on a regular basis. The change of heart came soon enough as the Street Cry mare was being readied for a 2010 campaign.
Standing at 17.2 hands (183 centimetres) and weighing over 1.200 pounds, Zenyatta won 13 Group I events. She was the Eclipse award-winning champion older mare in 2008 and 2009. We will know in January 2011 whether she will win the honor three years in a row. In her first three starts, Zenyatta was ridden by David Flores. Then the partnership with jockey Mike Smith began. Zenyatta’s dam is Vertigineux who is by Kris S. Ann and Jerry Moss bought the daughter of Street Cry for a sum of 60,000 dollars because of a case of ringworms. What was the return on this investment? From 19 wins in 20 starts, Zenyatta earned $7,304,580.
Zenyatta will go to Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Kentucky. No breeding plans have been revealed. Zenyatta will be paraded before the fans at Hollywood Park on December 5.
John Shirreffs commented on the public adulation, “We’ve gotten a lot of fan mail and support in the last week. People want to come out and see her.”
Alex Waldrop, President of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, paid tribute. “Zenyatta is one of the most memorable thoroughbreds ever to grace the American racing stage. Her record stands on its own merits, as does the impact she had on millions of fans around the world.”
The biggest tribute came from Mike Smith. “She is the one of the greatest in horse racing history if not the greatest,” Smith asserted.
We are shifting our focus. Christophe Soumillon has signed a contract with the Wildenstein stable. The Belgian maestro rode for Jean Rouget in 2010. He will now ride for the Wildenstein barn in 2011. Therefore, he is out of the race to succeed John Murtagh as Ballydoyle’s rider. Colm O’Donoghue moves to the head of the market. It will be a personal thrill to see Colm get the job. He has been a trusted member in the Ballydoyle hierarchy.
The Cartier Racing Awards were announced in London on Tuesday. There were no surprises. Goldikova was voted the Horse of the Year. The Wertheimer Brothers own the five year-old mare. The Anabaa mare has won 12 Group I races. She made it a hat trick in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (turf) when winning at Churchill Downs on November 6. The Cartier awards are based on points accumulated in Group races and votes from European racing writers and readers of the Daily Telegraph. Goldikova beat Harbinger and Workforce in a three-way contest.
Frankel, runaway winner of the Dewhurst Stakes and a Henry Cecil trainee, was voted the top freshman boy. Misty For Me, from the Aidan O’Brien yard, was the leading freshman girl. Misty For Me was victorious in the Moyglare Stud Stakes and the Prix Marcel Boussac.
Trainer O’Brien had another champion hailing from Coolmore. Starspangledbanner, winner of the Golden Jubilee Stakes and the July Cup, was voted the champion sprinter.
Rite of Passage, a hurdler who took to flat racing, won the Ascot Gold Cup and was voted the best stayer. Dermot Weld trains Rite of Passage.
Richard Hannon was given the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit. Hannon, father in law of Richard Hughes, was the champion trainer in England this year. Paco Boy, Canford Cliffs, Strong Suit and Dick Turpin are some of Hannon’s horses who had exceptional seasons.
Snow Fairy will not go back to England anytime soon. The dual Oaks-winning filly, who won the Q E Ii Cup on Sunday, has three options on the table. The Japan Cup (turf) is one of them. The Hong Kong Cup and the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin are the other two. Trainer Ed Dunlop has confirmed that his champion filly will race in one of these three prizes.
I looked at Friday’s Kolkata entries. In the String of Pearls Cup, there is a Workforce. Is this a wonderful coincidence or what? Workforce is the name of the colt who won the Epsom Derby and the Arc de Triomphe this year. An unsatisfactory turf surface forced the withdrawal of Workforce from the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Is there a Zenyatta in the roster of names in India?