ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 26, 2008) – Undefeated Zenyatta, racing’s newest superstar who stamped herself as a leading contender for Horse of the Year with her ninth consecutive win in capturing the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, was unanimously named Horse of the Meet in Oak Tree’s annual Media Poll.
The 4-year-old daughter of Street Cry, owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, thus becomes the second straight female to be so honored. Nashoba’s Key was Oak Tree’s Horse of the Meet in 2007, joining the elite company of Light Jig, Halfbridled and 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri as distaff stars to be recognized in that category since it was introduced in 1996.
Zenyatta earned $1,080,000 for her Ladies’ Classic victory, boosting her career total to $2,144,580. She also was named the meet’s Outstanding Older Filly or Mare. Thanks to the devastating turn of foot Zenyatta displayed in winning, the Ladies’ Classic was named Race of the Meet.
The balloting was dominated by Breeders’ Cup winners.
Albertus Maximus, a 4-year-old son of Albert the Great owned by Brandon and Marianne Chase and trained by Vladimir Cerin, was named Outstanding Older Horse by virtue of his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. The bay colt came to hand in the third start with Cerin and turned the tables in the Dirt Mile on Well Armed, who had defeated him in the Grade I Goodwood Handicap on Sept. 27.
Peachtree Stable’s Red Giant earned laurels as Outstanding Grass Horse thanks to his victory in the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship on Sept. 27. The 4-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway was one of the favorites for the Breeders’ Cup Turf but was declared out of the race less than a week out due to a fever.
Goldikova, who split rivals with a quick burst and drew clear to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile by
1 1/4 lengths as the 9-5 favorite, was named Outstanding Grass Filly or Mare. The 3-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Anabaa, owned by Wertheimer et Frere and trained by Freddy Head, defeated nine male rivals and one mare in the Mile. Goldikova also earned honors as top 3-year-old filly.
Raven’s Pass, who upset reigning Horse of the Year Curlin and other older horses in the 1 1/4-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic in his first race beyond one mile, was named top 3-year-old.
Midshipman, a front-running winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile under Garrett Gomez, and Stardom Bound, who won the Grade I Oak Leaf Stakes before routing her rivals in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, were named top 2-year-old and top 2-year-old filly, respectively. They enhanced their resumes in quest of an Eclipse Award in their respective divisions.
Midshipman is a chestnut colt by Unbridled’s Song owned by Darley Stable and trained by Bob Baffert. Stardom Bound, a daughter of Tapit owned by Charles Cono and trained by Christopher Paasch, unleashed her signature last-to-first rally in winning the Juvenile Fillies for her third Grade I triumph.
Midnight Lute, who became the first repeat winner of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint with a breathtaking victory, was Outstanding Sprinter. The 5-year-old son of 1998 Kentucky Derby winner Real Quiet roared from last to first to win the Sprint by nearly two lengths for owners Watson and Weitman Performances, LLC, and Mike Pegram. Baffert, who conditions Midnight Lute, called him “the best horse I ever trained.”
Baffert was named outstanding trainer, and Garrett Gomez won top jockey honors, even though neither led in total wins at the meet. John Sadler led trainers with 12, while Rafael Bejarano had 30, including three on closing day, to lead runner-up Gomez, 30-27. Baffert saddled Midnight Lute to win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and Midshipman to take the Juvenile. Indian Blessing, also trained by Baffert, was second to Ventura in the Filly & Mare Sprint.
Four victories in Breeders’ Cup 25 by Gomez earned him Accomplishment of the Meet. The 36-year-old Tucson native also won the Bill Shoemaker Award as the outstanding rider in this year’s Breeders’ Cup.
Hall of Fame jockey Sandy Hawley, who came out of retirement to win the Living Legends Race at the age of 59, was honored with Accomplishment of the Meet.
Michael Martinez, with six victories from 45 mounts, edged Pedro Arambula as top apprentice rider. Arambula won four races from 48 rides.
Tour Da Bronx, who won a $12,500 claiming race on Oct. 1 before stepping up to score for $20,000 on closing day, was named Claimer of the Meet. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Tour d’Or gelding is trained by Mike Mitchell.
2008 OAK TREE AT SANTA ANITA MEDIA POLL
Horse of the Meet: Zenyatta 2-Year-Old Filly: Stardom Bound
Older Horse: Albertus Maximus Sprinter: Midnight Lute
Older Filly/Mare: Zenyatta Claimer: Tour Da Bronx
Grass Horse: Red Giant Trainer: Bob Baffert
Grass Filly/Mare: Goldikova Jockey: Garrett Gomez
3-Year-Old: Raven’s Pass Race of the Meet: Ladies’ Classic
3-Year-Old Filly: Goldikova Accomplishment: Hawley, Living Legends Win
2-Year-Old: Midshipman Apprentice Jockey: Michael Martinez