The Oak Tree Racing Association has announced that the undefeated superstar mare Zenyatta, last-to-first winner of the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita, will be honored by having the name of the race she won in both 2008 and 2009, the Lady’s Secret (gr. I) renamed The Zenyatta, effective next year.
“When the history books are written, we feel that what Zenyatta accomplished here Nov. 7 will go down as one of the all-time great achievements in American racing,” said Sherwood Chillingworth, Oak Tree’s director and executive vice president, in a release.
“Lady’s Secret was a great mare herself. She won the (Breeders’ Cup) Distaff (gr. I) here in 1986 and went on to be named Horse of the Year, but what Zenyatta did here against the best horses in the world is something none of us who witnessed it will ever forget.
“It is particularly appropriate, in that she won the Lady’s Secret two years in a row, and like Lady’s Secret, we feel strongly that Zenyatta should be Horse of the Year. Her brilliance is undeniable and we are proud to rename this prestigious race in her honor.”
Lady’s Secret was owned by the late Eugene Klein and his wife Joyce, and she was trained by D. Wayne Lukas. Zenyatta, who has been retired, is owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and was trained by John Shirreffs.
“At first, Jerry was reluctant to accept our offer of renaming the race, because he was a personal friend of Gene Klein,” said Chillingworth. “But after he and Ann thought about it for a couple of days, he called back and said they thought Zenyatta would be flattered by the comparison and to know that she was held in such high esteem.”
After winning the 2008 Lady’s Secret, Zenyatta went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I), and was subsequently voted that year’s champion older female.
The Lady’s Secret, which was inaugurated in 1993, is for fillies and mares 3-years-old and-up, at 1 1/16 miles.
Oak Tree’s 42nd fall race meeting begins in September, 2010.