The Turf Publicists of America announced Nov. 19 that “Team Zenyatta,” composed of owners Jerry and Ann Moss, trainer John Shirreffs and his wife Dottie, and jockey Mike Smith, have been chosen as the 2009 winner of the organization's Big Sport of Turfdom award.
The award is presented annually to a person or group of people who enhances coverage of Thoroughbred racing through cooperation with the media and Thoroughbred racing publicists.
“The management, conditioning and picture perfect rides had a synergetic effect that brought this true champion to light before thousands of fans throughout her career,” stated Turf Publicists president John Engelhardt.
“Right up to the final start of Zenyatta's brilliant career, the Moss' and Shirreffs showed great sportsmanship by electing to test her against the greatest male horses in training and Mike Smith followed through with an electrifying ride in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita. Throughout her undefeated career the entire group associated with this history making mare exuded class and made themselves very available to all members of the media.”
On Nov. 18, Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs was given the news about the Big Sport of Turfdom Award. “We are very happy and honored to accept it," she said. “As a matter of fact, we had a television crew here at our house early this morning. Who would have thought there could be a moment in racing that could be as wonderful as winning the Kentucky Derby?"
Team Zenyatta will receive the 44th annual Big Sport of Turfdom award on Dec. 8 in Tucson during the keynote luncheon of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program Symposium on Racing & Gaming.
This will be the second “Team” presentation of the Big Sport of Turfdom that includes the owner, trainer and jockey. In 1996 the award went to “Team Cigar”, composed of owner/breeder Allen Paulson, trainer Bill Mott, and jockey Jerry Bailey. Other previous winners of the Big Sport of Turfdom include Joe Hirsch, Penny Chenery, Jack Klugman, Jim McKay, Tim Conway, Chris McCarron, Pat Day, Bill Shoemaker, Carl Nafzger, and Larry Jones.
Zenyatta's victory in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) capped an amazing 2009 Breeders' Cup for trainer John Shirreffs. He also saddled Life Is Sweet to capture the $2 million Ladies' Classic (gr. I) - a race Zenyatta won last season. In doing so, he became the only trainer to ever win those two races in the same year. Shirreff's wife, Dottie, is racing manager for Jerry and Ann Moss. She and her son, bloodstock agent David Ingordo, were instrumental in the purchase of Zenyatta for $60,000 as a yearling.