Zenyatta Narrowly Misses a 20th Consecutive Win at the Breeders’ Cup


Zenyatta's undefeated streak ended at the 2010 Breeder's CupFormerly undefeated Thoroughbred race horse Zenyatta ended her racing season, and possibly her career, with a close but disappointing second place on Saturday, November 6 at the Breeders’ Cup in Louisville, Kentucky.

Fans of the six-year-old mare hoped to see her win her 20th consecutive race and second Breeders’ Cup Classic. Zenyatta’s signature style is to hang at the back of the pack, then pull out all the stops at the final turn to rocket to the finish in front. This was what happened on Saturday’s race, but she didn’t quite make it to the front, narrowly losing to a 4-year-old colt named Blame.

Jockey Mike Smith was in tears after the race. “It’s my fault,” he said. “She should have won and it hurts.”

Zenyatta was the favorite to win the Classic and is still a top choice for the coveted Horse of the Year title. She was a strong contender for last year’s title, but lost to the then-three-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra. In this year’s Classic, Zenyatta was the only female horse in the field and was also the oldest.

Ann and Jerry Moss, Zenyatta’s owners, had intended to retire her at the end of last season. However, she was still working well and had acquired a sizeable fanbase, so they opted to give her another season. This proved to be a good decision when Zenyatta won her 17th consecutive race, breaking the record previously held by Cigar, Citation, Hallowed Dreams and Mister Frisky. She continued her streak and broke her own record twice, winning her 18th and 19th races.

Zenyatta’s critics often pointed out that she had rarely had to run against the best horses, and that she had not proven herself on a dirt track, having run primarily on synthetic. Although she did not win on the dirt at Churchill Downs, her jaw-dropping push to the finish and the mere inches by which she missed the win are arguably proof that she is capable of competing both on dirt and with the best horses in the world.

No official announcement has been made on whether or not Zenyatta’s racing days are over. Blame, however, will be retired to stud.

For full Breeders’ Cup coverage and a video of the Classic, visit ThoroughbredTimes.com 


  1. Thank you to all the Zenyatta connections. I’ve had a great time following the Queen in all her races. She single-handedly brought horse racing to a new public. I agree with Mike Smith, there are no studs worthy of her. She is truly one of a kind. Again, thank you for allowing Zenyatta to race this year.

  2. Zenatta is the greatest. She should definitely be named HORSE OF THE YEAR. I sincerely hope her owners do not retire her, especially if she is working well

  3. I hate that she didn’t win. If she had one more stride she could have won. She is still an amazing horse and to be the only mare and to be the oldest was amazing. I still can’t believe how tall she is. Would love to ride her 🙂

  4. She is my favorite horse in the world. I wished shed won, but that last push proved how much she loves to run. If she hadnt been caught up in traffic near the end she would have made it, she really has Godgiven speed. I hope she races again just to prove the critics wrong.

  5. Zenyatta’s stretch drive is like no other horse ever. I had to put the tape in slow motion to see. She was still coming and not until the finish line was over did Mike Smith let up on her. She had caught Blame but ran out of time. She needed to be outside the pack on the turn and history would have been made. It is such a shame for racing now. Because the message boards are full of arguments about the race and horse of the year. Please have Garret Gomez give you the honest truth if it doesn’t cost him his job. He knows who the best horse was that day and it takes a real man to stand up and say it. He won that is what matters but honesty in what he experienced would mean a lot to all the fans. I know you have to protect your horse. But be realistic about what every one saw. The last ten feet from the finish tells the story. Even Trevor Denman thought she was going to make it. Because he had saw her do it so many times before. Please honest and true journalism to a Nation that needs a good role model Superstar. Wow!!! What race was Dell Hancock watching? Here is his quote “said Dell Hancock, whose family owns Claiborne. “I don’t think she ever passed Blame — not even in the gallop-out. I think he needs to talk with Garret Gomez who said he thought he had it all the way and there she was.Everybody who knows horse racing knows what this could have meant. I would love to hear from Gomez Blame’s jockey if she had one more stride. The far turn and the sideways move was to much even for Zenyatta. I had to go through history to see if there was ever a stretch run like that ever. That was history.

  6. We were at the Breeders Classic on that day, and could not believe how she came from the back of the pack, to be so close to win, it was very heartbreaking, you could of heard a pin drop at the disbelief that she lost, but the next morning Zenyatta was in her glory out having some grass with Mario and having pictures taking by hundreds of people, some of them crying because they got so close to her…in her fans hearts and hers she never lost that race, she is proud as ever!!! Love you Zenyatta and have a happy retirement:)

  7. oh i think she sould have won and i don’t think it sould be the end of her career i mean they have hunt seat horses that are like 12 and she is 5 don’t give up on her i mean she as wom 18 race let’s make it her 19 win!!!


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