Zenyatta – The Queen of Racing

Zenyatta, also known as the Racing Queen was foaled on April 1, 2004, in Kentucky. She is a retired US Thoroughbred racehorse champion that won 19 of the 20 races that she took part in during her racing career and belonged to Jerry and Ann Moss. She was trained and ridden by her jockey, Mike Smith for the better part of her racing days.

Mike Smith guided Zenyatta for 17 races of the 20 she took part in. At the beginning of her career, she was guided by David Flores, who rode Zenyatta for three races. Sired by Street Cry, she is the half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner, Balance.

She got her name from the album Zenyatta Mondatta, recorded by the Police, who were at the time signed to A&M Records. The name Zenyatta was given to her by  Jerry Moss, her part-owner.

Over the course of her racing days, Zenyatta was widely known for her incredible closing finishes. Often, she spotted the frontrunners large leads, before overtaking all her opponents during the final stretch. Over the course of her racing career, she stood at 17.2 hands (70 inches, 178 cm) and weighed approximately 1,217lb (552 kg).

Overview of Zenyatta’s Racing Career

She won 17 of the Graded stakes races she took part in, 13 of which were Grade 1 events. Zenyatta defeated four champions, who held different awards and included; Gio Ponti, Sealy Hill, Summer Bird and Ginger Punch.

In her 20:19-1-0 all time racing record, Zenyatta defeated various Grade 1 winners including; Richard’s Kid, Einstein, Colonel John; Ginger Punch; Cocoa Beach; Music Note, Summer Bird among others.


During her extensive racing career, Zenyatta received various honors, from different groups, associations, and prominent people. Some of her notable honors include;

  • Zenyatta became the first female horse ever to win the Breeders Grade 1 classic cup and the first female horse to win two different Breeders Cup races on November 7, 2009.
  • After winning the 2010 Vanity International Handicap race, she broke the existing North American record for consecutive wins (17 wins in 17 starts).
  • Oprah Winfrey named her in the 2010 “O Power List” published in her O Magazine.
  • She got selected three times in a row, between 2008 and 2010 for the NTRA Moment of the year awards. It was for her win in the 2008 Ladies Classic Victory, the 2009 Breeder’s Cup Victory and her narrow defeat in the Breeder’s Classic Cup of 2010.
  • Zenyatta received an Honorary Membership from the San Pedro Assistance League, and in doing so, became the first horse in history to receive this kind of membership. To date, her photo still hangs proudly in the formal San Pedro Assistance League conference room.
  • She holds the record for most wins, as well as the speed record of the Lady’s Secret Stakes. Her owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, as well as her other connections, Mike Smith and John Shirreffs, hold the record for the highest number of wins, by the owners, trainers, and jockey.
  • In 2010, she was chosen by the Dodgers to promote them, and even had her billboard in the city of Los Angeles.
  • She surpasses John Henry, Tiznow, and Alysheba in the North American all-time horse earnings category (for both male and female horses) with earnings of over seven million, three hundred thousand, five hundred and eighty dollars during her racing career.


Zenyatta was slated to retire on November 17, 2010. Upon retirement, she was taken to Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Kentucky where she arrived on December 6 of the same year. In February 2011, she was bred to Bernardini but initially came up negative. It necessitated a second breeding which turned up positive, giving way to the birth of a dark bay colt, which was later called Cozmic One.  Cozmic One began its racing career with poor performance on both of its race starts in the year 2015.

She was confirmed to foal to Tapit, which led to the birth of a chestnut colt called Ziconic on her 9th birthday, April 1, 2013. Ziconic started racing this year (2016), and although she is yet to win a race, he has shown the same racing style( last to first) as his dam and continue to show more potential than Cozmic One.

Zenyatta had a memorable career, and apart from her performances on the racing tracks, she was known for her love for the fans. During her training and racing days, no single day went by that she did not receive visitors at her barn (BARN 55). The most memorable of days being one Saturday morning in the month of November 2010, when she had more than 175 visitors, and elegantly posed for pictures with all her visitors.

Despite the fact that she is retired, Zenyatta still has a large following both online and offline. So as to keep her memories alive, fans have created forums where they interact with each other and relive the memories created by the Queen of Racing, Zenyatta.

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