Where does Zenyatta rank among your all-time greats?

Now that it’s official, that Zenyatta will be retired and sent to Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky to begin the 2011 breeding season, it’s time to begin debating where the 6-year-old Street Cry mare ranks among the all-time greats.

Certainly, she’ll be marked down by some because 17 of her 20 races were run over synthetics, even though she likes dirt better. And some will deduct points because of campaigns that might have been conservative but at the same time undoubtedly were a huge factor in her longevity.

While we were all applauding Rachel Alexandra’s camp for taking on all-comers in her brilliant 2009 season, there’s little doubt now that it was a major reason why she didn’t even make it to the end of her 4-year-old season. She was never the same filly after the Woodward.

Complain all you want about the “conservative” manner in which owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs managed Zenyatta’s career. By bringing her along slowly and having her at peak efficiency for the Breeders’ Cup the past three years, it allowed us to enjoy her for an extra year or two.

So, now that the ride is over, how do you think Zenyatta’s 19-1 career stacks up with the rest of horse racing royalty?

23 thoughts on “Where does Zenyatta rank among your all-time greats?

  1. Zenyatta by far is the best horse I have seen run in person in my lifetime. Lots of history in this poll and lots of hours of debate for sure.

  2. Right behind other, honestly I know hype is a good thing but she has done nothing that merits all time great status. Simply because it can’t be gained by playing a home game in restricted company. Look at the PP’s of those horses anyone would have on an All time Great list, those races haven’t disappeared but Zenyatta’s connections chose not to enter them, thereby denying her even a whiff of a chance at gaining all time great status.

  3. Time out everyone.
    She’s a good horse but not in the top 20 of all time. Look who she beat this year then lost to Blame who isn’t anything special. Maybe is she tried the boys more often especially on the dirt we would know but they were cowards keeping her in the filly ranks. It’s a shame we will never know

  4. The loss to Blame, who you say isn’t anything special, doesn’t diminish Zenyatta’s overall record, Mark. You have to remember that Secretariat lost to several horses that were not even as good as Blame, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t a great horse. Man O War lost to Upset, again, probably not as good of a horse as Blame, but that doesn’t mean that Man O War isn’t a great horse. Most great horses have lost races to horses that are clearly not great horses.

  5. I don’t think he was the greatest but have we already forgot about Cigar? At least he should have been on the list instead of Rachel.

  6. Who is the best baseball player ever? football player? Impossible to answer and don’t think it is a realistic question. Dont know why people have to try and say or ask Is Zenyatta the best horse ever? But that being said, I do think she is the greatest horse I have seen, when combining presence with on track performance. Not even close.

  7. I want to say Zenyatta but how does her record compare to Secretariat’s TC, his record times in the KD and Belmont that still stand today, and his other wins? That’s one example.

    I feel, but don’t know, that she may have been in the same league. Due to her running style, her speed figures depend on the opposition. For a horse to win 19 out of twenty against any opposition is remarkable, for a stone closer it’s amazing and unheard of. Top fillies are stronger oppposition than many males, fillies have won most of the big races. When she took on all comers she was magnificent, and lost nothing in defeat last time. If only … but you have to vote on what is, not what might have been.

  8. No way is she in the top 20. The Bid or Secretariat would have wiped the floor with her. Zealots are sounding like someone who has heard only Country music then heard a Beethoven symphony and now they are an expert on Classical music. No one who knows history can say Z is better than Secretariat. That is absolute utter total nonsense.

  9. Mr. Wilson:

    Surely you must have heard of Forego and /or Seattle Slew? For you to leave those two great horses off your list renders the entire list invalid.

    In any event, while Zenyatta is a great mare, she does not belong in the same league as any Triple Crown winner, let alone with the magnificent handicap horses of yesteryear.

    As one who witnessed the great and mighty Forego up close, I believe that Queen Z might be his female counterpart. As big as Zen is, Forego was actually larger and he raced on brittle legs. Zen’s race at Churchill reminded me of Forego’s legendary charge in the 76 Marlboro Cup, over a wet track that he usually detested. Nevertheless, Forego routinely carried over 135 lbs and yielded weight concessions to his competitiors that are unheard of today. He was a truly great horse but was not even the best of his generation. That distinction goes to Secretariat, as well as the label of the greatest thoroughbred to have ever raced in the United States.

  10. The fact that you left off horses like Forego, Cigar, and Seattle Slew in addition to all the greats on the list you do have tells me she’s nowhere near the top of the horses I’ll remember.

    Ladies and gents, please read the poll question — Of the following, whom would you choose as the best race horse of all-time? The key words obviously being, “Of the following.” Not only are great horses like Cigar, Forego and Seattle Slew missing from the list, but so are others like John Henry and Affirmed. Heck, some might even believe Big Brown deserves to be on the list. I couldn’t list every horse that some think might be the greatest or the list would go on and on … but that’s why there is a comments section … if your selection falls under the category “Other,” by all means please leave a comment like a couple of readers have listing who you think is the best and why. As someone already pointed out, it’s virtually impossible to come up with the best of all-time, but it sure is fun trying.

  12. what would dr fager,ruffin and even geunine risk have done in a race with zenyatta.genuine risk ran against the boys over a two mounth span and was never out of the money.won the derby.something to think about.not in my top ten.

  13. I can’t understand how the only undefeated triple crown winner; a horse called the most complete thoroughbred; a sire of sires of sires; a horse whose mark on the thoroughbred race horse will go down in time; is constantly left out in these conversations. Just because he was a triple crown winner between Secretariate and Affirm (which he beat more then once)everyone forgets about him. He was a regular built horse with a right front leg, but he was all heart, and went out front, and said catch me if you can! I think that is more to admire, then a horse that was called a freak, with a heart, lungs, and stride so much larger then a normal race horse, who could not duplicate himself,and lose races before and after the triple crown, even though he was so much bigger then his competition. Seattle Slew us the best of all time hands down! Why is he so forgotten, when he was so exciting to watch?

  14. 37% of people voting said Zenyatta. This shows you how ridiculous these people are.

    You didn’t bother to put Seattle Slew and Affirmed on the list.

    How silly.

  15. Paul Stone,

    Get real! You have let 3 yr olds rule your world. The triple crown trail has brainwash you into the sorry being you are today. You probably are a 3yr old yourself, because by some of the statements you make, its quite obvious you do not know much about horse racing.

    In fact, your too young to remember when aged males and aged mares ruled the racing world (1920’s and 1930’s). Three years olds were considered an afterthought on the North American landscape.

    The triple crown and 3 yr olds have been blown so far out of proportion, that it has left a “pathetic” aftermath. Your way of thinking is why our horses do not stay on the track. Every breeder and owner wants a triple crown winner these days. They will do “anything” to try to accomplish this (including loading every Kentucky Derby starting gate with 20 horses. 17 of them are inferior horseflesh and the other 3 are legitimate contenders.

    If we ever have a triple crown winner – guess what? You won’t see ’em. He’ll be whisked off and shipped to some Lexington, KY “commercial” breeding outfit.

    Ain’t it great to think about the triple crown and 3yr olds? Just think, when they win the triple crown, the fans (who support the sport) won’t be able to see them anymore.

    Start respecting your elders (AKA: Zenyatta) and go back and look at history and you’ll find that 3yr olds were considered “an afterthought” back in the day.

    The horse you love so much (“Secretariat”)started this mess. He left us way too early (due to the fact that he was syndicated) and the owners wanted this colt off the racetrack. Secretariat blows (due to the mess he has created for future generations of owners who will take their young successful horse off the racetrack because “they are too valuable to race”.

    Blow me Secretariat!

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