by Erica Larson
Jerry and Ann Moss, owners of 2010 Horse of the Year and three-time champion older mare Zenyatta, relayed her story to an audience of racing fans and equine enthusiasts Sept. 14 during a presentation at the University of Kentucky’s Equine Initiative as part of the Distinguished Industry Lecture Series.
The Mosses covered many topics, including life before Zenyatta, the journey of a lifetime with the mare, and what their plans are for her offspring.
Zenyatta won the first 19 races of her career and then fell a nose short of Blame in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. The previous year Zenyatta won the Breeders’ Cup Classic on the then-synthetic surface at Santa Anita Park.
“There was such a burst of joy that went through the area (when she won at Santa Anita),” Ann Moss said. “People were hugging and kissing people they didn’t know. She brought that kind of joy. We wanted to have that big burst of joy go out to the whole world (in the 2010 Classic) everyone was watching.
“A reporter stuck the (microphone) in our faces (after the race). All I said was, ‘I wish she’d stuck her tongue out.’ But there was nothing embarrassing about the loss. She did what no other horse could ever have done.”
Zenyatta ended up receiving the 2010 Horse of the Year title.
“We’ve been racing a long time, we had never won a Breeders’ Cup race, and we’d never had a champion,” Jerry Moss said. “The one year she was perfect and won the Breeders’ Cup she didn’t get Horse of the Year. Last year she lost by about three inches to a great horse and got Horse of the Year.
“Every one of those was somewhat emotional; upsetting in a certain way. It was her last year qualifying for something like that, (and) she won. It all worked out.”
Jerry Moss said that when it was time to pick a sire for Zenyatta’s first mating, he and his wife turned to Dottie Shirreffs for advice. She recommended Bernardini .
Zenyatta is currently residing at Lane’s End Farm near Versailles, Ky.
“She looks wonderful,” Ann Moss said of the 7-year-old Zenyatta. “She never lost her dapples; she’s a little more golden all over. She’s starting to get a ‘baby bump.’ She’s really very happy.
“She always liked to graze (at the track), and now she thinks it’s her personal job to mow the pasture. You just can’t be unhappy around her.”
When asked if the Mosses were planning to keep Zenyatta’s first foal, Ann Moss: “Absolutely.”