January 18, 2011 in Sports

Zenyatta finally Horse of the Year

Mare holds off Blame this time, wins award
Steven Wine Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Zenyatta, left, lost to Blame, right, in the Breeders’ Cup, but not in Eclipse voting announced Monday.
(Full-size photo)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – This time, Zenyatta beat Blame.

Zenyatta won Horse of the Year at the Eclipse Awards on Monday night, besting the only horse to beat her on the track.

The award caps a remarkable career for the popular Zenyatta, one of the sport’s greatest mares. She was 19-0 before losing her final race to Blame in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last November.

Zenyatta received 128 votes and Blame 102. Goldikova, the other nominee, received five votes.

“Thank you Zenyatta!” owner Jerry Moss told the crowd at the awards ceremony.

“This makes it all OK after getting beat last time,” said Mike Smith, Zenyatta’s jockey.

Zenyatta’s three-year body of work and charismatic personality swayed voters her way. When video highlights of the three finalists were shown before the award was announced, the ballroom crowd reserved its cheers for Zenyatta.

She has been the sport’s leading lady and boosted its popularity, while Blame wasn’t widely known outside of racing circles.

Zenyatta was runner-up for Horse of the Year in 2008 and 2009.

“We always hoped,” Ann Moss said. “We hoped last year, and the year before that. We’re just so happy. She’s such a gift.”

The Eclipse Awards are voted on by the National Thorougbhred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters.

Other winners included Todd Pletcher as outstanding trainer, Ramon Dominguez as outstanding jockey, WinStar Farm as outstanding owner and Adena Springs as outstanding breeder.

Blame was chosen top older male and Zenyatta top older female.

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