(Edited press release)
Hill 'n' Dale Farms announced Sept. 30 that multiple grade I winner Zensational, will stand stud duty at John Sikura’s Hill 'n' Dale near Lexington upon his retirement from racing.
The son of Unbridled's Song out of the Phone Trick mare Joke, who was purchased for $700,000 by Ahmed Zayat's Zayat Stables at the Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-olds in training sale, is the first horse to win three consecutive grade I sprint events.
A standout from the start, Zensational has been sent off the favorite in each of his seven starts, compiling a record of five wins and a second with victories in the Pat O'Brien and Bing Crosby Stakes (both gr. I) at Del Mar and the Triple Bend Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood Park. Zensational has earned a triple digit Beyer in each of his victories.
Transferred to the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert at the beginning of his 3-year-old year, Zensational posted a 104 Beyer in his maiden victory.
"He's incredible; he's a beast,” said Baffert. “He's one of the three best horses I've ever trained. He's one of the few you get in a lifetime. He is as fast, as powerful and as good-looking as any horse you will ever see."
Both Victor Espinoza and Garrett Gomez, who have ridden Zensational, said they had never sat on a horse like him.
"Zensational is the type of horse I hoped to own when I got into this business," said Zayat. "Zayat Stables will retain 100% ownership until Zensational arrives at Hill 'n' Dale in Kentucky. We could have stood this horse anywhere, but elected to do a deal with Hill 'n' Dale because of their extraordinary track record of making such horses as Stormy Atlantic , Medaglia d'Oro , and Candy Ride ."
"Zensational is a horse that got my full attention when breaking his maiden in spectacular fashion in a hand ride," said Sikura. "He has accomplished as a 3-year-old what no horse ever has. He is a rare and special racehorse with the kind of brilliance that defines great sires."