LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Zenyatta, the 2010 Horse of the Year, has given birth to her first foal, a Bernardini colt, in one of the most anticipated equine births in recent memory.
The 8-year-old Street Cry mare foaled a 130-pound colt on Thursday at about 10:10 p.m. He is a dark bay with a white star and "polka dots on his feet," just like Zenyatta, according to Zenyatta.com.
Zenyatta's owners, Ann and Jerry Moss, had arrived at Lane's End on March 5 to attend the birth. The farm had presented the couple with special personalized navy-blue coveralls for the occasion, according to Zenyatta.com.
In keeping with their usual habit, the Mosses had not fetal-sexed the foal during Zenyatta's pregnancy.
Zenyatta is the second of two female Horses of the Year to have a first foal this year. The other is 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, who produced a 125-pound Curlin colt on Jan. 22 at Stonestreet Farms in Lexington. On Jan. 27, the farm sent the 6-year-old Medaglia d'Oro mare and her colt to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital for what it called "a precautionary measure after her delivery for pain management related to the birth." The pair returned to Stonestreet several days later.
Zenyatta was first bred on Feb. 23, 2011, to the Darley stallion Bernardini, a son of A. P. Indy, a champion 3-year-old in 2006. But in March a routine scan revealed that she had lost that pregnancy, and she was bred again to Bernardini in early April. The Mosses kept her early pregnancy status quiet until about 60 days later, when Zenyatta.com publicly confirmed the second pregnancy on May 31. Zenyatta.com features a blog written by Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs, the Mosses' racing manager and wife of Zenyatta's trainer John Shirreffs.
Zenyatta is the only female to win the Breeders' Cup Classic. She did that in 2009 en route to her title as the year's champion older female. Lifetime, she won 19 of her 20 starts, falling just short in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic, her last start, when beaten by a head by Blame. She retired in November 2010 with earnings of $7,304,580. She garnered Eclipse Awards as champion older mare in three consecutive years, from 2008-2010, in addition to her Horse of the Year title.
Along the way, she attracted many avid followers who have followed her pregnancy closely and flooded social media and Zenyatta.com with hundreds of comments as the estimated foaling date approached.
"I'm so excited for you!" read one recent comment at Ingordo-Shirreffs' blog, written as if by the mare herself. "I'm still praying that everything will go well for you and your 'little' one**Horsey Hugs for you**"
"Hi, Zenny, I'm so happy that your human parents are there to share this special time with you," read another. "I know you have a strong bond with them, especially with Ann, so I'm sure they'll be of some comfort to you."
Zenyatta has been at Lane's End since Dec. 6, 2010, when she was shipped to the farm immediately after appearing at a public retirement celebration at Keeneland.