A&M Horses

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Steve Sidoruk

Founder, A&M Fan Net
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Canadian Sandy Hawley picks up 6,450th career win in Living Legends race

ARCADIA, Calif. — Back in the saddle at age 59, Canadian Sandy Hawley led all the way aboard Tribal Chief to earn his 6,450th career victory in the Living Legends race at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Hawley and seven other Hall of Fame jockeys came out of retirement for the race that officially counted in their career totals and was specially approved for legalized parimutuel wagering.

The riders' combined career earnings totalled more than US$1.5 billion from 49,164 victories. None of their mounts Saturday came close to matching the quality of the horses they rode to numerous Triple Crown wins over the years.

But the race was more about getting a chance to return to their previous lives for a brief time.

"It was like an 'E' ride ticket at Disneyland back in the day," said Gary Stevens, who like Jerry Bailey, now works as a TV racing commentator.

Added Chris McCarron, "That was such a blast."

Hawley, of Oshawa, Ont., and Tribal Chief took the lead out of the gate and went on to a 6 1/2-length victory in the seven-furlong race. They were timed in 1:21.03 over the track's new synthetic surface, made up of chunks of black rubber and fibres.

Bailey finished second aboard Dee Dee's Legacy, paying $5.20 and $3.60. Scandalous and Stevens were third and paid $4 to show.

Pat Day was fourth, Julie Krone fifth, Jacinto Vasquez sixth, McCarron seventh and Angel Cordero Jr. was last. Cups of water were handed out to the thirsty riders in the winner's circle.

"I would've liked to be on Sandy Hawley's horse," said Vasquez, second-oldest in the field at 64.

As he waited to guide Tribal Chief into the winner's circle, Hawley poured a bottle of water over his horse's neck and then drank some himself on a hot day.

Hawley, known for his prowess at winning while on the lead, got plenty of laughs from his fellow retirees when he dismounted by leaping off Tribal Chief.

"The horse dragged me around there real nice. It's a great thrill," he said. "I'll have to find out when he's running back. Maybe I can get the call."

Hawley looked slim and trim in his gold and navy blue silks that featured a trumpet emblem, signifying owner-brothers David and Herb Alpert, who led the Tijuana Brass and co-founded A&M Records.

"This guy got more out of a horse than any rider I know," said Laffit Pincay Jr., whose career was ended by injuries that prevented him from participating in the race.

Mounts were drawn by lot, and each horse carried, ahem, 126 pounds. Stevens had to lose 15 pounds to make the riding weight. More than just protective vests bulged under the silks of a few riders.

"I miss it, oh yeah, I do," McCarron said. "More than ever, actually. The camaraderie, the excitement, the exhilaration, just the thought of going out there and riding again is very exciting."

Tribal Chief paid $7.80, $4 and $3.20 as the 5-2 wagering favourite.

"I was a little skeptical until I saw the day. It's a great turnout," said winning trainer John Sadler, who also saddled fourth-place finisher Swift Demand. "The main thing we wanted was for everyone to be safe."

Everyone except Krone won at least 4,000 races in their careers.

As the jockeys were introduced before the race, Bailey carried a chair into the winner's circle for Cordero to sit on. At 65, Cordero was the oldest rider and the only one eligible for Social Security. He still gets on horses as an exercise rider for trainer Todd Pletcher in New York and is the agent for jockey John Velazquez.

"It was fun to participate with all these guys," Cordero said. "When you do it every day, you stay fit."

McCarron, who runs a jockeys' school in Kentucky, touted his services for next weekend's Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita.

"I rode in an exhibition race a year after I retired. It didn't refire me," he said. "Son of a gun, this did. Is there anything open next Friday or Saturday? I'm here. I'm not going home until next Sunday."

The riders were warmly welcomed by fans, who called out their favourites' names.

"It was fun," said Krone, a mother of one. "The fans made it special. It was a beautiful day."

The race was intended as a one-time kickoff event to Breeders' Cup week, but that may change.

"A couple riders came up and said, 'Let's do it again next year,"' said Sherwood Chillingworth, director of the track's Oak Tree meeting. "It was a return to old times we wish we had."

Hawley said if he's invited he'd come back to defend his title.


Hawley King of Tribe in Legends Race
by Tracy Gantz

Sandy Hawley after winning the Living Legends race aboard Tribal Chief.
Photo: Benoit
Sandy Hawley may have won the Living Legends race on Tribal Chief against seven fellow Hall of Fame former riders, but nobody had more fun than Julie Krone and Chris McCarron.

“I want to do this again,” Krone said shortly after finishing fifth on Major Smoke.

McCarron said the Living Legends race re-ignited his passion for riding the way competing in other celebrity races never has.

“That was such a blast,” said McCarron. His mount, Waafi, bled and finished next to last, but that didn’t bother McCarron. “I beat (Angel) Cordero. That was my only goal.”

Fans lined up earlier in the day to get autographs from the eight riders—Hawley, Krone, McCarron, Cordero, Jerry Bailey, Gary Stevens, Pat Day, and Jacinto Vasquez—and the three Hall of Fame ambassadors—Laffit Pincay Jr., Eddie Delahoussaye, and Jorge Velasquez. The day even brought out racing’s newest Hall of Fame jockey member, as Milo Valenzuela joined the others in the winner’s circle.

“I love the fans here,” said Hawley, who rode in Southern California for 20 years. “Even when you lose, they never get very upset with you. It’s great to be back.”

The eight jockeys competed in a seven-furlong allowance/optional claiming race for California-breds. Bailey and Dee Dee’s Legacy were the morning-line favorites, but by post time, Hawley and Tribal Chief were the 3-1 choice.

Hawley got a noisy ovation from fellow Canadians in the walking ring.

“We have about 10 people with us here,” Hawley said, “and there are several Canadians in town with Breeders’ Cup horses.”

McCarron, Stevens, and Krone, none long gone from the California jockey ranks, received boisterous ovations from fans lining the walking ring.

Tribal Chief is a front-runner for trainer John Sadler, and Hawley rode to instructions, putting the 4-year-old gelding on the lead when the gate opened. Bailey closed some ground around the turn and into the stretch, but then Hawley opened up, winning by 6 1/2 lengths in 1:21.03

David and Herb Alpert own Tribal Chief. David and his wife, Merryl, were in the winner’s circle to receive the trophy.

“This is our Kentucky Derby,” Merryl Alpert said.

“This means a lot to us,” added David Alpert, “because Sandy Hawley back in 1977 won three races in a row for us on Hello Hostess, in April, May, and June. Noble Threewitt was our trainer.”

The win went onto Hawley’s permanent record, moving him from 6,449 victories to 6,450.

“I always hoped to get to ’50, but I never thought I’d do it,” said Hawley.

Though the riders ranged in age from Cordero’s 65 to Krone and Stevens’ 45, once the jockeys donned silks again, in many cases it looked as if they had never been away.

After the jockeys brought their mounts back to be unsaddled, McCarron feigned exhaustion.

“I need water,” he yelped, pretending to be rubber-legged. In fact, he has been staying in shape getting on horses in Kentucky, where he runs a school for prospective jockeys.


Steve Sidoruk

Founder, A&M Fan Net
Staff member
Thread Starter
Zenyatta on top of the (horse) world
2:12 PM, October 20, 2008

Except for Curlin, Zenyatta might be the most compelling horse in the two-day Breeders' Cup event Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita.

Eric Sondheimer wrote an excellent story about the unbeaten 4-year-old filly, who will run Friday in the $2-million Ladies' Classic.

More information: Her owner, Jerry Moss, is the "M" of A&M records -- Herb Alpert is the "A" -- and the horse was named after the Police's third album, Zenyatta Mondatta. Popular songs on the album include two written by Sting, "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and "De Do Do Do, De, Da, Da, Da.''

In Sanskrit, Zenyatta Mondatta means Top of the World.

Randy Harvey
L.A. Times

Steve Sidoruk

Founder, A&M Fan Net
Staff member
Thread Starter
October 24, 2008
Filly’s Record Is Music to Her Entourage’s Ears

ARCADIA, Calif. — Zenyatta is a big filly, tipping the scales at a rock-solid 1,225 pounds, but she is light on her feet when she is around her amiably eccentric entourage. Her trainer, John Shirreffs, wears a lopsided smile and is a photography and video buff who records her every move and posts her races on youtube.com.

Her owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, are music people. He was the “M” in A&M records, the label he founded with the trumpeter and bandleader Herb Alpert, and got both of them inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Her regular exercise rider is Steve Willard, an irrepressible 65-year-old who has been on some superb horses over the years but had fallen head over heels for Zenyatta.

“Is perfect good enough for you?” said Willard, when asked how the filly has been training for Friday’s $2 million Ladies’ Classic, the headline event for the first day of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

And perfect is exactly what Zenyatta has been on the racetrack, winning all eight of her races, including three Grade I victories by a combined 20 1/4 lengths. She is the 3-5 morning-line favorite to defeat the seven other fillies and mares in the mile-and-an-eighth race.

Zenyatta already has victories over two of her primary challengers, Ginger Punch and Hystericalady — the winner and the runner-up in this race last year.

“She’s obviously the one to beat,” said the trainer of Ginger Punch, Bobby Frankel. “She’ll be the shortest price of the day. But you’ve got to give her a try.”

The daughter of Street Cry out of the mare Vertigineux, Zenyatta was hardly a specimen when the Mosses bought her for $60,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September sale, though she was a half-sister to the multiple Grade I winner Balance. They named her after The Police’s third album, “Zenyattà Mondatta,” a tactic that had yielded dividends before.

Their colt Giacomo was named after the son of the group’s lead singer, Sting (a family friend), and captured the 2005 Kentucky Derby.

The same filly who gently licks the face of her groom, Mario Espinoza, in the mornings is transformed into a locomotive when she hits the racetrack in the afternoons. Under the Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, Zenyatta lingers at the back of the pack, gathering steam for an explosive burst in the stretch.

“I’ve had horses that can really quicken, but not only does she quicken, but she lengthens her stride so she gets longer and lower,” Shirreffs said. “She really reaches out.”

She already has made a strong argument to be named the top older distaff horse, but she has an outside chance of becoming Horse of the Year if she wins big and Curlin is defeated in the $5 million Classic on Saturday.

“That’s something we really don’t want to talk about now,” Shirreffs said.

Smith, too, is reluctant to bronze her among great fillies like Personal Ensign, who retired in 1988 with a perfect record in 13 races after beating the Kentucky Derby champion Winning Colors in what was then the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and now is the Ladies’ Classic.

“She certainly seems to have the ability to be the best I have ever been on,” Smith said. “She does things easy. She has been pretty jaw-dropping.”

But Willard, who has been getting on her back every morning for 18 months, has no reservations about her talent.

“I put her in the same category as when I got on Alysheba,” he said, referring to the 1987 Derby and Preakness winner. “She’s been special, extremely special and getting more special every day.”

The Mosses and the Shirreffs are in no hurry to retire Zenyatta.

“I think that she will continue to run as long as she’s running well and is in good shape,” Shirreffs said. “She’s a 5-year-old next year, she’s a more mature horse, she’s had a lot more experience. Next year could be a great year for Zenyatta.”

NY Times

Steve Sidoruk

Founder, A&M Fan Net
Staff member
Thread Starter

From the Los Angeles Times
Zenyatta again a perfect crowd-pleaser
She wins the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic in stylish fashion.
By Pete Thomas

October 25, 2008

Jockey Mike Smith predicted a day earlier that racing fans would witness something special when Zenyatta competed in the $2-million Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic.

What spectators saw on Friday afternoon at Santa Anita was an undefeated filly that is not only adept at closing but does so with such a long and powerful stride she seems to glide effortlessly past the competition.

Special doesn't begin to describe the Kentucky-bred daughter of Street Cry.

True to form, Zenyatta broke slowly and hung back, almost looking bored, before making her move from well off the lead in the backstretch. She picked up speed around the far turn and charged to a 1 1/2 -length victory over runner-up Cocoa Beach.

If there was something not so special about that performance, it was that the 4-year-old filly posted so slim a winning margin in covering the 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.85.

She'd come into the race having won her previous six by a combined 13 3/4 lengths, including a 4 1/2 -length romp in the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park in April.

With Friday's triumph on Santa Anita's main track, Zenyatta remained unbeaten through nine races and drew comparisons to some of the greatest fillies of all time, such as Ruffian, Genuine Risk and Personal Ensign.

"I've never seen a horse go past other horses like this filly can," said Smith, 43, a Hall of Fame jockey who was aboard Zenyatta for his second Breeders' Cup victory of the day. "She sets herself up to come on them, and she just blazes by them. I've been on other horses that have speed and can pass other horses, but none like her."

Zenyatta becomes only the second horse with at least eight victories to leave the Breeders' Cup with an unblemished record.

Personal Ensign retired unbeaten with 13 victories after winning the 1988 Breeders' Cup Distaff, which has been renamed the Ladies Classic.

As Zenyatta blazed across the finish line Friday, with fans on their feet and applauding, her owner Jerry Moss struggled to hold back tears.

"She's a great star, and people understand that and applaud and give her respect, and that always gets to me," Moss explained afterward, with wife Ann by his side.

The Mosses purchased Zenyatta for a mere $60,000 and did not race her as a 2-year-old. Given her remarkable success, an obvious question is whether she'll continue racing or begin -- while her breeding value is peaking -- producing baby Zenyattas.

"She's just too good not to run again," said Moss, before amending his remark to mean the issue will be discussed at an appropriate time.

Another question is whether Zenyatta deserves to be horse of the year if Curlin, the reigning horse of the year, should fail in today's bid to repeat as Breeders' Cup Classic champion.

Neither Moss nor trainer John Shirreffs would provide an answer. But Smith, who also won aboard Stardom Bound in the $2-million Juvenile Fillies, was quick to lend an opinion.

"It starts with a 'Z' " he said.
Note - running today: Tiago, 15-1. The half-brother to 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, John Shirreffs' Tiago won the 2007 Santa Anita Derby but finished fifth in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic. Tiago has the same team of Shirreffs, jockey Mike Smith and owners Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss that won the big race Friday with Zenyatta
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