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I know that Famous Animals Week has ended, but yesterday saw the end of one of horse racing's greatest careers, and I just couldn't resist writing about this amazing horse.

Zenyatta was born in 2004, and purchased for a sum of $60,000, a relatively low amount in the world of thoroughbred racing. She was a late bloomer,  racing for her first time near the end of the 2007 season. But all that waiting paid off. Until yesterday, Zenyatta was undefeated in 19 starts, a record practically unheard of for any horse. She placed second in the Breeders Cup Classic, racing as both the only female, and the oldest horse on the field. She won the same race last year, becoming the very first filly to do so.

She is 17.2 hands and just over 1,200lbs, exceptionally large for a racehorse. Zenyatta has a personality and a demeanor that those around her describe as human-like.  She loves to dance and show off, and she loves a good, room-temperature Guinness. And even though her final race was lost by a nose, she will still go down in racing history as one of the greatest. Her final purse totaled $7.3 million.

Zenyatta will now enjoy a life of retirement and motherhood, though what stallion is worthy of her greatness? To quote her jockey, Hall of Fame Member Mike Smith, "They often talk about who they'd breed her to. And I've always said no one's worthy."

EDIT: Zenyatta was bred to 2006 Preakness winner and 3-year-old Male of the Year Bernardini in January, but in March it was announced that she was not in foal. She will be bred again.

If you'd like to read more about this amazing horse, check out some of these stories.
Taking Blame
Is Zenyatta the best Racehorse Ever?
The Legend of Zenyatta
Zenyatta is Looking Good

Images from here and here.


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