Winner of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita and Horse of the Year in 2010, Zenyatta will be honored in Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area before Saturday’s card at the Arcadia, Calif. track.
Additionally, the inaugural Grade 1, $250,000 Zenyatta Stakes (formerly the Lady’s Secret), a race won by Zenyatta over three consecutive years from 2008 through 2010, will be one of five Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” stakes to be run on Saturday.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jerry Moss and his wife , Zenyatta’s owners, will do the actual unveiling in a ceremony just to the south of Santa Anita’s Kingsbury Fountain and directly across from a life-sized statue of the great John Henry.
Along with John Henry, Zenyatta, who at the age of eight is currently enjoying her role as a broodmare at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky, will be also be joining the legendary winner of the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap, Seabiscuit, as her statuary likeness will now team with these legends of the American Turf adjacent to the track’s grandstand. Zenyatta was named after The Police’s blockbuster album “Zenyatta Mondatta.”
“Like the song written by Sting and performed by The Police, everything Zenyatta did here will always be magic for the entire Thoroughbred industry,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “Her win against the boys in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic is considered by many to be the greatest moment in Santa Anita history.”
The incomparable Zenyatta retired with a remarkable 19 wins from 20 career starts and $7,304,580 in earnings. Although she was defeated by a head in her final start, the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic, her stature as one of the sport’s all-time greats remained undiminished as she was voted the Eclipse Award as Horse of the Year for 2010.
“The breadth of her accomplishments at Santa Anita alone is astonishing,” said Haines. “She won a total of six races here, all stakes and five of them were in Grade 1 competition. Her story will forever resonate with our fans and we know we’ll have many thousands of people coming here over the years to admire her statue, which will be situated on south side of the Kingsbury Fountain, directly across from John Henry.”
Trained by John Shirreffs and ridden in her final 17 starts by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, Zenyatta made her third career start on Jan. 13, 2008, winning Santa Anita’s Grade 2 El Encino Stakes by 1 ¾ lengths under David Flores.
As was the case in her 2009 Classic victory, all 19 of Zenyatta’s wins came in last-to-first fashion.
After winning the El Encino, Zenyatta’s subsequent Grade 1 wins at The Great Race Place came in the 2008 & ’09 Lady’s Secret Stakes, the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, and the 2009 Classic.
“We’d again like to thank the Mosses for running Zenyatta here and we look forward to welcoming them back as we again honor ‘the big mare’ on Sept. 29,” said Haines.
Sculpted by Nina Kaiser, who also created the statue of John Henry, Zenyatta’s likeness stands at her height of 17.2 hands, and weighs 1,200 pounds, which is approximately what Zenyatta weighed throughout her racing career. Commissioned by Santa Anita, the world-renowned Kaiser worked on the project for more than two years.
–Santa Anita Publicity contributed to this report.