Retired superstar Zenyatta was honored with a life-sized bronze statue unveiled on Saturday at Santa Anita.
The mare’s owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, were on hand in searing heat to see the 1,200-pound statue that captures Zenyatta in her trademark prancing pose. It’s located near the paddock in front of the Kingsbury Fountain with the track’s Art Deco facade as a backdrop.
”It’s beautiful, absolutely beautiful,” Jerry Moss said. ”We’re knocked out.”
Fans chanted ”horse of a lifetime” after the tarp came off. Sculptor Nina Kaiser included the white blaze on Zenyatta’s head. The statue stands at just over 17 hands – Zenyatta’s height – and its weight is the same as Zenyatta was during her career. Kaiser worked on the project for more than two years.
Ann Moss stroked Zenyatta’s right leg as fans crowded around for photos.
”She looks fantastic,” she said. ”Such a wonderful honor.”
A carrot was placed on the statue’s base, along with bouquets of flowers.
The unveiling reunited most of Zenyatta’s connections, including the Mosses, trainer John Shirreffs, the couple’s racing manager and Shirreffs’ wife Dottie, exercise rider Steve Willard and jockey David Flores, who rode the mare in her first race. Her regular rider, Hall of Famer Mike Smith, was in New York to ride at Belmont Park.
Zenyatta had a career record of 19-1, including a victory against male horses in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic, and was named 2010 Horse of the Year.
Now 8 years old, Zenyatta is a broodmare at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky. She gave birth to a colt sired by Bernardini in March and is pregnant with her second foal after being bred to Tapit.
Jerry Moss said the colt has been weaned, adding, ”He’s looking great.” Nicknamed Baby Z, he has yet to be named.
”Name the horse Zendini,” a man suggested to Moss.
Zenyatta’s statue is located across from a life-sized statue of John Henry and not far from one of Seabiscuit.