ZENYATTA, now eight and enjoying her role as brood mare at Lane's End Farm in Kentucky, will be linked with two of the greatest horses of all time, John Henry and Seabiscuit, as her statuary likeness will join those legends adjacent to the track's grandstand.
Zenyatta won all, bar one, of her 20 races with her greatest victory coming in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita racetrack in 2009, so it's with due reason that the course is honouring her with a statue which will be unveiled on Saturday, September 29 in the Paddock Gardens area.
Mike Smith was aboard Zenyatta in all but three of her 19 straight victories before suffering her only defeat in the Breeders' Cup Classic in 2010. So it's understandable that the 46-year-old Hall of Fame jockey has nothing but fond memories of the great mare, who has since retired to the breeding shed.
"It's kind of hard not to think of her every day," Smith said of Zenyatta. "She's hanging in my living room all the time, so every time I go through there, there she is. It's a beautiful painting of her by Fred Stone. I have other pictures of her in different places at my home, but anywhere you go, people remember her.
"I was in Chicago Sunday and everything I signed was Zenyatta. The statue of her is a fitting tribute. She's one of the great horses who ran here, and one of the greatest ever, so she deserves a statue."
In addition to the statue unveiling, the inaugural Grade I, $250,000 Zenyatta Stakes (formerly the Lady's Secret), a race won by Zenyatta over three consecutive years from 2008 through 2010, will be run on September 29.
Named after The Police's blockbuster album Zenyatta Mondatta, Zenyatta is owned by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jerry Moss and his wife, Ann.
Zenyatta retired with US$7,304,580 in earnings and, although she lost by a head on her final start in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic, her stature as one of the sport's all-time greats remained undiminished as she was voted 2010 Horse of the Year.