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Zenyatta wins Eclipse for 2010 Horse of the Year - By Tom Krish

Posted on - 23 Jan 2011

Zenyatta wins Eclipse for 2010 Horse of the Year
Miesque, first two-time Breeders’ Cup winner, euthanized
 
 
Tom Krish in Chennai
Sunday, January 23, 2011
 
The third time is the charm and that is what exactly happened to Zenyatta. In 2008 and 2009, the Eclipse award for Horse of the Year, a distinction that many discerning observers believed was Zenyatta’s,  got away from her. Blame had beaten Zenyatta in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs and the connections of the former had made a brazen claim in the post-race press conference that their horse deserved the honor. Zenyatta’s attempt to make it 20 wins in as many starts was thwarted in her swan song.
 
In Miami last Monday, the announcement was made. Zenyatta was recognized as the 2010 Horse of the Year. The Street Cry mare, now in Kentucky enjoying retirement, is owned by Jerry Moss, owner of a ‘records-making’ company.  Mr Moss paid tribute to Zenyatta’s principal adversaries in the voting, Blame and Goldikova. “It is a great honor to be associated with the other two finalists. When Zenyatta was bought I was told that either I have a fast horse or a lot of slow ones, because they will all need two strides for every one she takes,” Moss said.
 
The one Zenyatta victory etched in my mind is her incredible rally in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita. That was the first time she was taking the boys on. It was a 2000-metre contest. There was considerable delay as Quality Road refused to behave. Zenyatta was reluctant to enter the gate, got away slowly and trailed the field by as many as 20 lengths much to the chagrin of those who had made her the tepid 5/2 favorite. With a four-wide charge coming into the lane, the John Shirreffs-trained mare ran on in breathtaking fashion to sweep past her foes. It was as close to a racing machine as one could get. The last furlong of the 2010 Classic is a phase of that race I can recall and visualize at a moment’s notice. Dusk had fallen and the lights were on and as Blame was looking for the line, Zenyatta was gaining ground with every stride. If you had dropped a pin, you would have heard it. As Blame and Zenyatta flashed past the wire, there was an audible sigh. And Mike Smith’s tearful response to my question is one of my very emotional moments.
 
Goldikova, winner of three consecutive Breeders’ Cup Mile (turf) races, was voted the best female grass performer. The French distaffer was ridden by Olivier Peslier.  Freddie Head trains the Anabaa mare.  Head, a jockey in 1987 and 1988, was aboard Miesque, the first horse to win two Breeders’ Cup races. Miesque, a critical part of Ocean And Beyond’s line, was euthanized four days ago in Kentucky. More on Miesque in a later paragraph.
 
Zenyatta won another award. She was voted the best older female performer. Blame was recognized as the top older male. Looking At Lucky was voted the top sophomore. Bob Baffert’s trainee won the Eclipse as a freshman in 2009. Todd Pletcher, who broke his Kentucky Derby duck, got the most votes for best trainer. Ramon Dominguez, the Venezuelan rider, won the Eclipse for top jockey.
 
Adena Springs, owned by Frank Stronach, was named the top breeding outfit.  Gio Ponti got an encore as the top turf horse. Blind Luck, winner of the Kentucky Oaks by the proverbial whisker, was voted the best sophomore girl. Uncle Mo, runaway winner of the Juveniles Breeders’ Cup, was named the best freshman boy. The corresponding honor on the female side went to Awesome Feather who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile fillies. Big Drama, by virtue of his brilliant win in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, got the sprinter’s accolade. Dubai Majesty won the honor as the top female sprinter.
 
Omar Moreno won the Eclipse as the best apprentice. Moreno had 144 wins in 2010. He rides at Woodbine and Fort Erie. He is 25 and is from El Salvador.
 
Here is the news about Miesque. This is how Miesque is part of Ocean And Beyond’s line. Kingsalsa is Ocean And Beyond’s father. Kingsalsa is a son of Kingmambo. Mr Prospector is Kingmambo’s sire. Miesque is Kingmambo’s mother.
 
Miesque was euthanized on Thursday because of problems related to old age. She was 27. Miesque, a daughter of Nureyev (by Northern Dancer), is out of Pasadoble, a Prove Out mare. In 1987, Miesque won the Mile at Hollywood Park. She got an encore in 1988 at Churchill Downs. She is in the French and American Halls of Fame. She beat her male counterparts time after time.
 
Freddie Head speaks excellent English. He made a statement from his training base in Chantilly, outside Paris. “I am sad. She was brilliant. She had a lot of speed but pulled you hard. I always waited with her and she was great. On a given day, I rode horses that were as good as she was but I never rode one better than her.”
 
Miesque is honored with the Prix Miesque at Maisons Laffitte (a Paris course) in France and with the Miesque Stakes at Hollywood Park in the United States. She was owned by the Niarchos family.
 
Another point of interest.  Stephane Pasquier , riding in India, is engaged to ride for the Niarchos family this year.
 
A large number of people have asked me and sent emails why I am not writing for Indiarace.  I had a serious difference of opinion on a question of editorial policy. I took exception when editorial discretion was dictated by personal and other considerations. The area of agreement narrowed and I could not sit idly by when there was an affront to my dignity.

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