Zenyatta Crowned Horse of the Year
By Eric Mitchell and
Zenyatta, the daughter of Street Cry who sustained her only loss in 20 starts when second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), was honored Jan. 17 as North America’s Horse of the Year for owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs.
The winner, announced during the Eclipse Awards dinner, received 128 first-place votes, edging out Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame , who received 102 votes. The third finalist for Horse of the Year honors, Goldikova, received five votes. There was one abstention and two no votes.
Moss congratulated the connections of Blame, noting “Blame is a wonderful racehorse.”
"It has been a great honor to be associated with the other two finalists," Moss said while accepting the award. He went on to acknowledge Zenyatta's breeder Eric Kronfeld of Maverick Productions, Don Robinson who foaled and raised the champion at his Winter Quarters Farm, and bloodstock agent David Ingordo, who bought her at auction, and Jeanne and April Mayberry of Mayberry Farm near Ocala, where Zenyatta was broke and trained. All these people were on stage with the the Mosses.
"(Mayberry Farm) called David and said we've got this filly here and you'd better get a good name for her," Moss said. "He asked why. They said, well you've either got one fast horse or a lot slow ones, because they all need two strides for every one she takes."
After the award presentation, Moss urged the industry to pay more attention to the fans of horse racing.
"I came from an industry that sued its fans when they started stealing music through Napster," he said. "There is sentiment in this business and you have to play to it. It is true in show business and it is true in racing. If you have a horse who gets people in the heart, then they want to came see them and get to know more about them, and you have the Beatles again."
Blame's co-owner/breeder Adele Dilschneider said Zenyatta was a wonderful mare and had a wonderful team.
"I'm thrilled for her," she said. "I'm glad it's over and everything has been decided. We are as proud as we can be of our horse. He's done nothing but make us thrilled, and I'm glad to be a part of him."
Blame's trainer Al Stall Jr. said no one on the Classic winner's team is disappointed.
"We did the best we could do," he said. "We showed up every time and won them all except for one. We were pointing for the Breeders' Cup Classic and answered the bell that day. That was our main goal all year and after that whatever happens happens. We're good. We're going to keep going to work and Claiborne is going to keep breeding horses, and we'll just try to do it again."
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The Eclipse Awards are voted on and presented by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form (DRF) and National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB). The votes are tabulated and certified by Strothman and Company.
Winners in all categories (horse ages in parenthesis where applicable) were announced at the 40th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in Miami Beach, Fla.
— 2-Year-Old Male: Uncle Mo
2-Year-Old Male (Name, First-Place Votes)
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