Zenyatta to retire to Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky

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VERSAILLES, Ky. (AP) — Zenyatta is headed off to retirement in Kentucky.

The 6-year-old mare whose narrow loss in the Breeders’ Cup Classic left her with a 19-1 career record will stand at Lane’s End Farm near Versailles. She’s expected to arrive in early December.

The farm said in a statement Wednesday that breeding plans have not been finalized for the mare, who was based in California during her career.

Zenyatta’s only loss came on Nov. 6, when Blame beat her by a head in the Classic at Churchill Downs. She set a North American earnings record for female horses with more than $7.3 million and won Eclipse Awards as champion older mare in 2008 and ’09. She won five of her six starts this year.

Zenyatta’s presence in the Classic for the second straight year helped boost TV ratings for the race by 180 percent over 2009, when she beat the boys at Santa Anita.

This time, Zenyatta rallied from far back of the pack to nearly overtake Blame at the finish line in a thrilling end to the 1¼-mile Classic. Her loss briefly silenced the 72,739 fans who had made her the overwhelming wagering favorite.

Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, called Zenyatta “one of the most memorable thoroughbreds ever to grace the American racing stage. Her record stands on its own merits, as does the impact she had on millions of fans all around the world.”

Breeders’ Cup president and CEO Greg Avioli thanked her owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, for deciding to race her again this year.

“For our sport and for the Breeders’ Cup in particular, she was a transcendent figure whose impact was felt far beyond her on-track performances, as brilliant as they were,” he said.

Zenyatta’s 19 consecutive wins tied her for most all-time with Peppers Pride, who retired last year after running against much lesser competition.