Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss’ homebred Ziconic, the second foal out of 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta, made his long-awaited return to racing on Sunday at Santa Anita, posting an impressive second-place finish in the afternoon’s fourth race, a one-mile maiden special weight turf event for 4-year-olds and up.
The John Sherriffs-trained chestnut was ridden by jockey Victor Espinoza and crossed the wire 5 ¾ lengths behind Conquest Sabre Cat, a David and Holly Wilson-owned son of Kitten’s Joy trained by Vladimir Cerin.
Ziconic had not raced since a fourth-place finish in a main track maiden race last June, where he was fifth behind eventual champion and handicap division leader Arrogate. He subsequently received some time off and returned to training late last year.
“I think he ran really well,” Dottie Shirreffs, the trainer’s wife and Moss’ racing manager said. “Now [that the pressure is off], he can just be a horse. We knew he had it in him, so we’re very pleased.”
Ziconic, who was foaled on his dam’s birthday — April 1 — in 2013, has now raced five times and in addition to his most recent second-place finish yesterday, he also earned a pair of thirds last year. His bankroll stands at $50,320.
The son of Tapit may be a late bloomer like his dam, who didn’t make her first start until the end of her 3-year-old season before going on to a career record of 19 wins from 20 starts earnings of $7,304,580. In addition to her Horse of the Year title, Zenyatta was also champion older mare three times (2008-2010), won the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (GI) twice (2008 and 2009) and was inducted in to Racing’s Hall of Fame last year.
Zenyatta, who is also the dam of the maiden 5-year-old Cozmic One (by Bernardini) is set to deliver her fourth foal (by Medaglia d’Oro) this spring at her Kentucky home of Lane’s End Farm. Her only filly (by War Front) died in late 2014 after a paddock accident and she was barren in 2015.
Editor’s Note: Zenyatta won the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2009, not the Ladies Classic. Also, the Medaglia d’Oro foal will be Zenyatta’s fifth. In addition to losing the aforementioned filly by War Front, she also lost a colt by that same sire to a lung infection last year.