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Jan 07, 2011

Third time's the charm for Zenyatta

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor


Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - For the years 2008 and 2009 champion mare Zenyatta has been denied the title as Horse of the Year in thoroughbred racing. The future Hall of Fame female will either be passed over again for 2010 or she can add the prestigious honor to her resume.

When the finalists were announced for the 2010 Eclipse Awards, it was expected that Zenyatta would be one of the final three for Horse of the Year and older female. She already has Eclipse Awards as champion older filly and mare for 2008 and 2009, but Horse of the Year is still missing.

Zenyatta, owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, won her first five races of 2010 to extend her career unbeaten streak to 19. Her 20th and final career start was the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, a chance to defend the historic win from the previous year.

Facing Zenyatta in the Classic were the two leading older males, Blame and Quality Road. Still, the mare was the even-money favorite in the 12 horse field.

She trailed early and then made one of the great rallies in thoroughbred history. Down the stretch emotions were bouncing off the walls. Zenyatta was out of it at the top of the stretch, with a furlong to run she looked certain to catch Blame and then with yards to go it was anybody's guess.

Horse of the Year finalist Blame beat Zenyatta by a head, but the mare's legend suffered no ill effects.

The third finalist for Horse of the Year is three-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner Goldikova. The six-year-old, who is expected back in 2011, only raced in the United States once in 2010. She was 2009 champion female turf runner and will probably repeat.

Zenyatta is also a finalist for older female, an honor she is sure get.

Blame has the inside track to be named champion older male. Joining him in that category are Quality Road and Richard's Kid.

Lookin at Lucky, fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic, should get the nod over Eskendereya and Paddy O?Prado as 2010 champion three-year-old colt or gelding.

The closest voting may well come in the three-year-old filly division. Blind Luck, Evening Jewel and Havre de Grace are the finalists in a very evenly matched category.

Blind Luck and Havre de Grace battled each other throughout the year and Evening Jewel is the top three-year-old female turf performer. Blind Luck was second to Unrivaled Belle in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic with Havre de Grace third. Blind Luck should edge the other two fillies for the title.

Most of the remaining champions should come down according to last November's Breeders' Cup results.

All of the winners will be announced on Monday, January 17 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

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