Posts Tagged ‘zenyatta’

THW: It’s Time for Awards

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 26 January 2011, Wednesday

It’s Time for Awards

It’s that time of the year when sportswriters roll up their sleeves, down pots of coffee, squint at reams of statistics, and choose the recipients of “of the Year” awards.

In the US, the Eclipse Awards were given out last January 21 in Miami and to the acclaim of many supporters, supermare Zenyatta received the North American horse of the year award.

The Eclipse Awards are handed out by members of the National Turf Writers Association, employees of the Daily Racing Form, and racing secretaries representing tracks that are members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

Zenyatta earned 128 votes over second placer Blame’s 102. Blame defeated Zenyatta in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, handing the highly-regarded racemare her only career loss, and was expected by some to cop top Eclipse honors.

The popular vote, however, was overwhelmingly with Zenyatta, who, at her age, has a shining career that Blame can only hope to duplicate. She won 19 races out of 20, her come-from-behind style keeping fans on the edge of their seats or cheering her on down the stretch to the wire.

She ran from dead last in the Breeders’ Cup and stride by stride mowed down the opposition, failing only to overtake Blame in the final few furlongs. But with that performance, she showed her supreme fighting heart that refused to give up.

The recipient of the third place award was three-time Breeders’ Cup mile winner Goldikova. The winner of the Eclipse Award in 2009 was another brave racemare, Rachel Alexandra. She was locked in a rivalry with the older Zenyatta in the early years of her career.

The blog Equine Ink ( carried this lyrical quote from Zenyatta’s owner Jerry Moss: “If you love Thoroughbred horses, you go through life hoping that you can just see one more in whose presence, the clouds fall away to reveal the mountain top. It can take a generation, or infinitely longer, for such a horse to arrive. A horse that is capable of carrying the human heart.

“For the last 100 years, we know them all by name. But Zenyatta brought to us a beauty that was a tonic for the soul. She allowed us to believe in the impossible. And it was the light in her being, as much as the thrill of her races, that got us dancing. Zenyatta was transformative.”

This was Zenyatta’s third straight Eclipse award as top older female.

In our neck of the woods, Yes Pogi has emerged as the Philippine Sportswriters Association Horse of the Year, while Jesse Guce is Jockey of the Year. This was announced recently by PSA treasurer Joe Antonio.

Meanwhile, folks are looking forward to the weekend of February 19-20 at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite. That’s the date and venue for the coming Philippine Racing Commission-sponsored Amethyst II (3YO local fillies) and Amethyst III (3YO local colts), both mile races. ***

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THW: Zenyatta Retires, But Not Undefeated

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 10 November 2010, Wednesday

Zenyatta Retires, But Not Undefeated

Perhaps the most magnificent racemare of all time was forced to retire with one defeat, still with an enviable 19-1 record and a gallant final performance.

Zenyatta, acknowledged by racing experts as one of the classiest female runners in the history of the sport of horseracing, lost by a mere head to Blame in the recently held Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Yet, as racing writer Jeff Scott put it, writing for The Saratogian, “Zenyatta didn’t win…yet in falling inches short of catching Blame, she only added to her legend. Obviously, she already knew how to win. By losing in the most gallant way imaginable, she showed she was just as memorable in defeat.”

Held at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, the Breeders’ Cup Classic is one of the most prestigious G1 races in the world. The 1-1/4 mile (2,000 meters) race this year had all eyes on Zenyatta, who had beat a field of male horses last year to win the $5 million Santa Anita Classic.

This time, she valiantly rallied from an estimated 25 lengths behind – from dead last – in her attempt to pluck off her ten male antagonists one by one.

She nearly succeeded.

The blame for her loss goes to the Garrett Gomez-ridden colt Blame, sent off as the favorite. Blame beat the Mike-Smith steered Zenyatta by a head in a heart-breaking photo finish. It was that close.

Zenyatta on the outside, Blame inside by the rail. Image from here.

Still, Zenyatta showed her class all the way, and ends her career still on a high note, by showing the world her brave heart and fleet legs in her final mad dash to the wire.


In local racing, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office will hold five races on November 21 at the Manila Jockey Club’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite. The main race will be named for PCSO chairperson Margarita Juico and is the month’s Special Maiden race for juveniles. The other four races will be named for PCSO directors Atty. Maria Aleta Tolentino, Atty. Mabel Mamba, Atty. Francisco Joaquin III, and Betty Nantes.

Said PCSO general manager Atty. Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, “These five races help fulfill the part of PCSO’s mandate that requires the agency to support horseracing and uplift the quality of the sport.” The sport and the agency have a partnership that go back seventy-six years, when sweepstakes draws were held in conjunction with horse races.

Meanwhile, the PCSO’s flagship race, the Presidential Gold Cup, will be held on December 12 at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite.  Declaration of horses for this, the 38th running, is on November 12 at the PCSO’s new office at the Secretariat Bldg., PICC Complex, Pasay City (across Sofitel).   ***

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THW: Zenyatta: Above the Law

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 16 June 2010, Wednesday

Zenyatta: Above the Law

Racemare Zenyatta once more showed that ordinary rules don’t apply to her when she stretched her record to 17-for-17 after scoring a three-peat in the G1 Vanity Stakes at Hollywood Park last Saturday.

The 6YO Kentucky-bred campaigner broke several laws to achieve her statistic-defying feat, among them the Law of Averages, the Law of Gravity, and Murphy’s Law.

Trained by John Shirreffs, Zenyatta again proved to her owners Jerry and Anne Moss that she is one of their best investments, coming from behind under veteran jockey Mike Smith to win the 1-1/8 mile (1,800 meters) Vanity by a half-length over the plucky St. Trinians, clocking 1:49.01.

Zenyatta, with Mike Smith on top, edges past St. Trinians in the Vanity. Photo by found at

Extending her undefeated streak in defiance of the law of averages which states that the longer you play, the more chances you have of losing, Zenyatta raced wide at the home turn yet flew over the track to beat five other rivals in an amazing stretch run. Obviously she didn’t receive the memo on the law of gravity. Further, Zenyatta doesn’t seem to have heard of the saying “If something can go wrong – it will,” leaving the Philosopher Murphy no choice but to chalk her up as an exception to the rule.

The’s Jack Shinar says this is Zenyatta’s “third straight win in the Vanity, and by far her most exciting.” Shiner says the victory boosts her career earnings to nearly $6.1 million, putting her close to overtaking the $6.33 million female earnings record held by Ouija Board, who retired in 2006.

By Street Cry out of Vertigineaux (Kris S.), Zenyatta trounced the boys in last year’s Breeders Cup Classic, proving that pedigree and performance, not gender, is what wins races. Or maybe the mojo comes from her fantastic name, taken from The Police’s ‘80s album “Zenyatta Mondatta”. It’s also the great training. Or could it be something in the water? Oh, yes, beer – her trainer has been known to add some to her bucket as a treat after workouts.

I’m grasping at straws here. I doubt if anyone can adequately explain the phenomenon that is Zenyatta. But do we have to? Analysis will only go so far. For the rest, the best thing we can do is allow ourselves to watch a superb equine athlete go the distance, cheering her on as she races her heart out, time and again.

What does this bode for Philippine racing? The first thing that comes to mind is, “Do we have that lineage here?” Philippine Racing Commission records for this year to date shows that we do have some Street Cry progeny already racing on our tracks. Three of them are imports – Raymund Puyat’s Fleet Street (out of Authoress), Tony de Ubago’s Pumatone (Armilla), and Tony Tan’s Street Song (What A Song) – while Mari Franco’s Street Vamp (Draculina) was island-born.

While these four haven’t made any big waves, they’ve made some large splashes that ought to send wider and wider ripples out into the local thoroughbred breeding and racing scene, as Street Cry’s offspring continue to surf their way to the top of the charts abroad.

Apart from Zenyatta and many other stakes winners in Australia and New Zealand, Street Cry (Ire) also sired Street Sense (out of Bedazzle), winner of the 2004 Breeders Cup Juvenile and the 2007 Breeders Cup Classic, with $4.38 million in earnings.

Street Cry (Machiavellian – Helen Street by Troy) stands at Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed al-Maktoum’s 4,000-acre Darley Stud in Kentucky. Unlike other stallions that were unraced or lightly-raced, Street Cry boasts of $5.15 million in race earnings, with purses from a 3rd-place in the 2000 Breeders Cup Juvenile and wins in Dubai.

Nice conformation shot of Street Cry.

His stud fee is $150,000, which is modest considering he has sired ten individual G1 winners. That’s too pricey for local breeders’ budgets, though I would love for someone to surprise me and shell out the bucks for a Street Cry mating. Our best bet is to continue securing his progenies via in-foal mares or indirectly through his sons who will stand at stud later on. When seeking to produce champions, it’s axiomatic to cover all the bases including pedigree.

But that’s for Philippine breeders to consider. I’ll volunteer to suggest names of power. You want more The Police albums? There’s Outlandos d’Amour, Regatta de Blanc, Synchronicity, Ghost in the Machine…who knows, maybe we’ll come up with another horse like Zenyatta that’ll also break all natural laws en route to the finish line.   *** (Email: * Visit:

The Police released “Zenyatta Mondatta”, their third album, in October 1980. Hits from this album include “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” and ”Don’t Stand So Close To Me”.

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