11/13/2009 12:00AM

On top and not missing a beat

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Barbara D. Livingston
Jerry Moss was told by a friend that Zenyatta's BC Classic victory provided "fantastic show business."

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - On Sunday afternoon at Hollywood Park, in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden event, the 2-year-old filly Cozi Rosie is set to make her racing debut under the colors of Ann and Jerry Moss. To his credit, Jerry Moss does not think of it as a comedown, even though he has a right.

The last time the Mosses ran a horse, the whole racing world was watching, which would be last Saturday at Santa Anita in the Breeders' Cup Classic. They won it with what's-her-name, the big mare, and the incredible vibes have continued without pause ever since.

"It's been very exciting hearing from all sorts of different folks," Moss said. "People I haven't heard from in years happened to turn on the telecast, or heard about it from someone. It just thrilled everybody, got everybody screaming. Sitting in their living rooms, screaming their heads off."

Moss, who has spent his career in the popular music industry, was asked if he thought a larger-than-life performance like Zenyatta's would have legs in taking the sport of racing to new audiences.

"It's all about promotion," he said. "If watching the race the other day makes people inclined to watch another race down the line, that's a good thing. I'm happy to be a part of that. A great thing about our game is that it only takes two minutes. You don't have to invest a whole afternoon watching a couple of teams slog it out, which is probably why I don't watch nearly as much football as I used to. As a director friend of mine said to me yesterday, 'I don't know anything about horse racing, but I do know show business. And that was fantastic show business.' "

On top of everything else, it was announced this week that Moss was elected to the Jockey Club. He took it in typical self-deprecating stride.

"Contrary to that great Groucho line, 'I wouldn't want to be a member of a club that would want me for a member,' I acquiesced," he said. "I gather I get a pin. Every club has a pin. I asked them what I had to do, and they told me once a year I had to go to Saratoga. I can handle that."

Moss was at Hollywood Park on Thursday afternoon to visit Zenyatta for the first time since the Classic at the John Shirreffs barn. He marveled at the fact that his mare was so unfazed by her race that she had to be jogged that morning.

"You saw the way she finished the race and galloped out," Moss said. "She acts like she's ready to go again."

That's not going to happen, of course. Zenyatta will be bred next spring. But Moss will keep Zenyatta in California until the worst of the Kentucky winter passes.

"You're not breeding until February or March anyway," Moss said. "In the meantime, she might as well hang out at Hollywood. It's pleasant. She knows everybody. And that barn has done such a remarkable job. They deserve to spend as much time with her as possible."

In the coming weeks, as the Horse of the Year debate continues over the relative merits of Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra, whose season ended in September, Moss will not be shy about beating the drum for his mare.

"I want to see her get that because John Shirreffs deserves it, as he does trainer of the year," Moss said. "He trained her from a puppy to be what she is. And to train a perfect horse . . . that's really takes some kind of dedication.

"And how do you honor someone like Steve Willard," Moss continued, referring to Zenyatta's regular morning exercise companion. "He's the absolute guy, 66 years old, and the real barometer. He's the first guy I'd always ask about Zenyatta because he was on her every day."

There has been talk of Santa Anita launching some kind of Horse of the Year campaign for Zenyatta, to which Moss said he has no objections.

"I would expect the Breeders' Cup to really make something of this as well," Moss added. "It is the championship series, and if one doesn't acknowledge that, what have you got? You certainly want the event to go on next year attracting the best horses in the world, which it has even this year, save perhaps one.

"I believe in the Breeders' Cup," Moss added. "That's where you decide things, that's all. If the game changes from that, it's a huge shift. It would be like the Yankees taking back their bats and balls in August and saying, 'That's it. We're the best.' "

Plans are also in the works to have a special Zenyatta Day at Hollywood Park before the end of the short meet, which wraps up on Dec. 20. Zenyatta paraded before a small, highly appreciative crowd at the end of last summer's meet, following her second straight victories in the Vanity and Milady Handicaps. This, however, will be the kind of final bow afforded such equine heroes as Seattle Slew, Affirmed, and Cougar.

But first, it's Cozi Rosie's turn to pick up the torch. She is trained by John Sadler.

"She's a Pleasantly Perfect filly out of Felidia, who gave us Lexicon," Moss said, referring to a top sprinter who carried their silks. "She a nice, leggy kind of filly, and John really likes her. It's always fun to see a 2-year-old run. You know, it was right around Thanksgiving that Zenyatta ran for the first time."