I am not and have never been a “Zenyatta freak.”
Carrie Lynn Barker
I love the mare, I love what she did for racing, but I didn’t really follow her at the time. When Blame beat her by a nose in her last race on November 6, 2010, in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, I nodded my head and went about my business because I had my money on Blame. He will be forever remembered as the horse that beat Zenyatta, not the horse who had an amazing racing career. But really who cares about Blame? Zenyatta has a wild legion of fans to this day and this will most likely continue well after she is gone.
In October of 2014 the racing world mourned the loss of Zenyatta’s filly by War Front, nicknamed Z Princess, who died in a tragic paddock accident. Upon hearing she’d be bred back to champion sire, War Front, everyone crossed their fingers for another filly. Everybody wants to see a daughter of Zenyatta step foot on the track, to see if she’ll be like mom. And War Front has already produced great thoroughbreds during his years at stud, including the amazing The Factor, who now stands at stud himself.
Zenyatta statue at Santa Anita Park.
Zenyatta already has two sons: Cozmic One was foaled in 2012 and is by another champion sire, Bernardini. An exciting cross, Coz, as fans call him, had two starts in 2015, neither of which showed much promise. Fans were nuts over him though, and Santa Anita even gave out free posters of him as a foal with his mom. His first race at Belmont, he finished seventh, and he was last in a field of six in his second start. He’s been on the recent workout tabs at Santa Anita, so perhaps his connections are looking for another start but we’ll see.
Ziconic is the second-born. An April 1st colt, he is by leading sire, Tapit and was foaled in 2013. This little chestnut colt shows a bit more promise. Ziconic finished a strong closing third in his first race, but a bird scared the heck out of him in his second, as it flew past the starting gate, and he had trouble from then on, finishing fifth. The stewards even ruled he was ‘the cause of his own troubles’ in that race. Ziconic showed a lot of Zenyatta’s late closing style in his first start so I’m curious to see him give it another try. I’ve never seen Coz run but Ziconic did impress me.
However, it doesn’t matter how these sons run in their races. There are fans cheering them on every time they return. Gary Stevens even once noted after riding Ziconic that he’d never been cheered after losing. Cries of, “I love you, Ziconic!” rang across the Santa Anita track. This is the impact of Zenyatta.
Zenyatta / War Front colt
The Internet went crazy on April 11, 2016 when Zenyatta dropped her fourth foal, a dark bay colt who looked much like his mother, with a white blaze running down his face. The news reported, “He was born slightly meconium stained, however, meaning he aspirated some fecal-like substance that is normally present in the small colon of the rectum at birth, so he and the mare were sent to a clinic as a precaution, Lane’s End manager Mike Cline said” (via The Blood-Horse). The birth was noted as “textbook” and further reports said the colt looked to be “in good shape.” No other mare gets as much news coverage as Zenyatta when she foals but it just wasn’t to be.
By April 13 the colt was gone. What was a joyous occasion for the racing world is now another tragedy, as their Queen Z’s legacy is still left to Ziconic and Coz. Who knows what will come of those two very different colts or where they will fall in the racing world, but the promise of a Zenyatta/War Front cross is only a memory. Whether or not she’ll be bred back to War Front is still up in the air, and her fans eagerly await the news, hoping still that her story will continue.
— By Carrie Lynn Barker, who shares her thoughts, observations and photos of the horse-related activities from her near-weekly visits to Santa Anita Park on Saturdays during racing season (all photos by Carrie). Carrie is a photographer who lives in Monrovia with her screenwriter husband Brandon and is Chief Member Concierge at the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce. Carrie has written seven stories published as ebooks and has produced several films. She has also been Operation Manager of Barfly Staff Monitoring Services since 2010.