Zenyatta Arrives in Kentucky

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California girl Zenyatta left her sunny home track, Hollywood Park this week to arrive at a snowy scene and sub-freezing temperatures at her new home in central Kentucky.

Hollywood Park gave the six-year-old mare an official retirement ceremony on Sunday where her hometown fans had a final chance to see her in person. The ceremony also recognized the people involved in Zenyatta’s record-breaking career, including her owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, trainer John Shirreffs, jockey Mike Smith, racing manager Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs, exercise rider Steve Willard, groom Mario Espinoza and hot walker Carmen Zamora.

Zenyatta was loaded onto a plane on Monday and arrived in Lexington, Kentucky around 6:00 p.m. She and Smith, Shirreffs, Espinoza and the Mosses made an appearance at Keeneland Race Course for hundreds of admirers who had come out in spite of the bitter cold to catch a glimpse of the great mare. She was led around the show ring behind Keeneland’s sales pavilion, the same venue where the Mosses purchased her as a yearling five years ago.

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Zenyatta in Kentucky Mike Smith, Zenyatta's jockey
Zenyatta in Kentucky Zenyatta in Kentucky

Nick Nicholson, president of Keeneland, presented the Mosses with some special treats for Zenyatta, including carrots, pears and a few pints of Guinness.

With 19 consecutive wins, Zenyatta shattered the record for most consecutive wins and won the 2009 Breeder’s Cup Classic, becoming the first mare to do so. Her spectacular career and charisma drew throngs of fans from outside Thoroughbred racing’s notoriously shrinking pool of loyal followers. Although she missed the 2009 Horse of the Year title to Rachel Alexandra, she is a likely candidate for this year’s award.

Zenyatta will be moving on to a relatively quiet career as a broodmare at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Kentucky. According to ESPN.com, she will be bred in 2011, but the identity of the chosen stallion still remains the subject of much speculation.

12 COMMENTS

  1. After all the glory she gets to be a broodmare – GREAT! More proof of the cruelty and the greedy creeps – RICH greedy creeps – associated with this sport.
    Michael Vick wasn’t the only one who should have gone to jail for animal cruelty in this country. And please don’t comment about what care she’ll get – already know that. It’s all still abusive and sucks!

  2. Thank you for the update on Zenyatta. We all love her but are VERY skeptical about Lane’s End and if they will be able to care of her like her CA connections did. She is in perfect condition and I hope they understand how much this horse means to everyone. We are worried about her and wish she could have stayed in CA. The thought of making all these broodmares foal year after year for the money is extremely upsetting. As more fans become involved in what Zenyatta does, the more they will understand the greedy and unfortunately abusive side of the horse racing industry. I hope that her presence helps end all the abusive treatment of irresponsible owners and breeders. They should all take a lesson from the Mosses and Michael Blowen from Old Friends who rescues all the unwanted old race horses from cruel and someimtes fatal endings like Ferdinand.

  3. Beautiful Zenyatta! After 3 years of spectacular racing, she retires safe and sound to leisurely pastures and a warm barn (with a masseuse). I have mares and I know they LOVE to be pregnant. It’s a shame to see mares and stallions used as breeding animals when their careers have ended because they have broken down. Zenyatta can pass on her own genetic soundness and athleticism to future thoroughbreds. This is not greed or cruelty. Zenyatta will finally have a chance to “be a horse.”

  4. I have never been much a horse fan, that is until I started reading and following Zenyatta’s story. I have to say that she has taken my breath away. I see her on television and I just start to cry. I have taken pictures of her off the internet and have them pasted throughout my home. Zenyatta is so smart and such a beautiful animal. I will miss reading about her and her next races to come. It does me a little sad, but to me she will always be a winner.

  5. zenyatta can pass on her athleticism to future thoroughbreds? for what – so eventually one of them can break down on a track and suffer and be euthanized or wind up in a slaughterhouse in Mexico. It’s a sick, sick, disgusting sport for rich people to make more money from and anyone who supports it in any form should suffer the same fate as most of those poor horses. From park to plate….

  6. I wish she could have stayed in the Shiriff barn and been with her “human family”. She knows no other home, and I worry about her. She has done so much for everyone, couldn’t she have just stayed in CA and lived there? Being a broodmare doesn’t seem like the way Zenyatta should spend the rest of her life. I believe she doesn’t realize she is a horse since she’s had such wonderful life being a part of the “team”. Will anyone be able to know if she is happy back there? It is such a change for her. I love the Mosses and the rest of the Zenyatta team and know they will do everything they can to give her a wonderful life. But I just think she will wonder why they left her there….and I think that’s sad. I hope they watch her carefully, as she is used to Mario and the rest and I can’t help but think she will have trouble adjusting. I hope they consider bringing her back, at least once she has her off foal.

  7. Sounds a bit like a boring life after such excitement on the track. I would hope that being a broodmare could be combined with a second riding career.

  8. I will miss you Queen Z. I will miss seeing you run, But I can re-create races when my Breyer version of you arrives. But it just won’t be the same…. BEWARE Z MARE!

  9. Great article about Zenyatta. Jerry and Ann Moss and John and Dottie have been simply outstanting to share Z with all of her fans. Allowing everyone to take pictures, feed her, and to simply touch her has been so very touching. When, in past history, has this happened? Thank you to all of Z’s connections for allowing Z to have so much fun with her public. She is definitely the Queen!

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