03/10/2012 3:18PM

Zenyatta: Routine foaling for a special mare

Photo via @TeamZenyatta
Zenyatta foaled a 130-pound Bernardini colt on Thursday night at Lane's End Farm.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The birth of Zenyatta’s 130-pound Bernardini colt, the mare’s first, took place in an unusually heated atmosphere as the 2010 Horse of the Year’s fans took to the Internet in droves, speculating and fretting publicly over this important first in the mare’s new career as a broodmare at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Ky. The horsemen in attendance for the colt’s birth say the event went as routinely as any other foaling, but they acknowledge that the first delivery by one of the world’s most popular racemares was anything but a routine event for all concerned.

“We don’t have any other mares that the public is lined up to come see,” said Bill Farish, who runs the farm for his father, farm founder Will Farish. “Certainly there was added pressure, but we foal a lot of mares, and it was nice having the Mosses there because they are so easy and understanding and great to have around that it made it kind of fun and different.”

On Saturday, a day and a half after his birth at Lane’s End Farm, the colt and his mother were to spend several hours in their paddock, basking in central Kentucky’s sunny, 55-degree afternoon, said Lane’s End general manager Mike Cline.

“We’ll stretch out her outdoor time and let her get rested up and let the two of them continue to mesh,” Cline said. “She’s becoming a great mother and nurturing and taking care of the foal. We couldn’t be happier with the way things are going right now.”

Farish and Kline were on hand for the birth. Also in the barn that night were Zenyatta’s owners, Ann and Jerry Moss, and a veterinary team led by Dr. Richard Holder. Assistant broodmare manager Charles Campbell and barn foreman Matt Martinez also were there.

It was a busy day of foaling for Lane’s End. There were six foals born Thursday, starting at 3 p.m. and ending with Zenyatta’s.

“The interesting thing was, when she came on, she came on really quickly,” Farish said. “We didn’t think she was going to foal that night. She didn’t really have the normal progression. I don’t know that there even is a normal, because with maiden mares, they’ll surprise you every time.”

The Mosses, who had arrived from California on March 4, were having dinner in nearby Midway, Ky., when the call came that Zenyatta was showing sings of going into labor.

“The foaling was actually what you sort of pray for,” Cline said. “It was absolutely by the book and went very normally. She broke water about 10 minutes after 10 and foaled about 20 minutes later. It was what you hope for, but you don’t always take those things for granted. We’ve all been involved in enough stuff to know that with horses you don’t take anything for granted. But it was a neat thing with the owners here getting to witness the whole thing. Zenyatta’s been such a big part of their lives, and I think it was special for them.”

During a 30-year career, Cline figures he has seen about 3,000 foals born and says he has never experienced quite the level of public attention Zenyatta has gotten since arriving at the farm in December 2010. At the moment, the foaling barn and farm office are awash in balloon bouquets and floral arrangements featuring white lilies, pink tulips, and blue hydrangeas.

“We’ve never really gotten balloons and flowers, except occasionally on horses’ birthdays,” Cline said. “But Zenyatta gets stuff all the time. I’m standing in the foaling barn and there are two big things of balloons with flowers here. We’ve gotten stuff on just about every occasion: Christmastime, her birthday, when she had the foal. We’re always getting carrots and apples and peppermints. Zenyatta’s been special to a lot of people, and I’ve come to appreciate since she’s been here how much she means to everybody. Thank goodness the Mosses have been so good about sharing her with everybody.”

The Mosses stayed in Kentucky to watch Zenyatta and her colt turned out for the first time Friday. Mother and foal spent about two hours outside, and Cline says their paddock time would gradually increase.

As for first impressions of the colt, Farish said: “He’s a pretty good-sized foal, 130 pounds, but he’s quite tall and leggy.”

Chances are, he’s going to be a celebrity for the rest of his days.

“It was a unique, special thing for everybody,” Cline said of the colt’s birth. “When you get in the middle of foaling and you get busy, you don’t think much about who you’re working with. But when it’s all over with, you sit back and say, ‘Wow, this is a colt out of Zenyatta.’ ”



Kristin Kvarme More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful little guy!! Congrats Zenyatta!
hoopersremuda More than 1 year ago
Two very special colts foaled this spring: Zenyatta's and Rachel's. We could be seeing the beginning of another fabulous dual comparable to Affirmed and Alydar....who knows...I can dream...
Slew32A More than 1 year ago
Zenyatta would like to say "Thank You" to all her well wishers and asked me to tell you since she is unable to respond to you all on an individual basis, you knew with the newborn and all. Once again Thank You.................Z
Stargazer46 More than 1 year ago
I am just jealous that Ann got hold him and give him kisses! I had just told a friend of mine he was so beautiful I would just like to kiss him! He's gorgeous Zeny! How about a cool name like Zenadini??? Okay, okay, just an idea.
Michael Lewis More than 1 year ago
How happy the jock Mike Smith must be. On the road to make history again.
Bonnie Branco More than 1 year ago
A foal is said to be from the Mare and by the Stallion. What a beautiful colt. I hope the blessing of the full Moon and Solar Storm shines down on him and his mother.
goldsmitham More than 1 year ago
"Out of Zenyatta"? What about Bernardini, the sire? A foal isn't just the sire or dam... Anways, likely Zenyatta's first son won't likely achieve her level of glory [and probably have more fame as a breeding sire] - the same with Seabiscuit's, Secretariat's, etc.'s "first foals". Likely Zenyatta will be bred several more times, so really her "first foal", while he may sell for a huge sum, is the first in what will be several Zenyatta foals. Therefore, he is not a "little prince" or whatever else "royalty" people are calling him since he will likely have multitudes of [half] brothers and sisters to come. Plus, as I said, a foal is from the sire [Bernardini] and dam, not just Zenyatta. A lot of people seem to forget that, even in the breeding world.
basquiat53 More than 1 year ago
Wow, you are certainly a negative person - your karma must be absolutely awful. Instead of being so negative why don't you just enjoy the occasion - be like Zenyatta - be zen-full. Go with goodness and light rather than with the darkness youy're carrying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seabiscut was a gelding, he had no foals. And stallions can literally sire hundreds of foals in their 'retirement' With mares its usualy only a dozen or so offspring on average, so each foal of that limited number will be the way we see her genes live on. Bernarini, the sire, is a good stallion but Zanyatta is the Queen,
Walfred More than 1 year ago
Per Wikipedia: "Seabiscuit sired 108 foals, including two moderately successful racehorses: Sea Sovereign and Sea Swallow."
Sheri Swanzy More than 1 year ago
Handsome Zenny. You are going to be the best mother!
Anne Castle More than 1 year ago
Yes in deed, Jerry and Ann Moss have been more than gracious in keeping us informed and close to this fabulous mare now and during her career. I love the video of Z and her new son in the paddock at Lanes End. They seem like a team already. Congrats to all involved. Cline did say it best, "Wow, this is a colt out of Zenyatta." Can't wait to hear what Jerry and Ann have picked out for a name. I am sure it will be another good one and fit for a "prince." :>)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hmmmm....so he really wasn't born at 10:10? Guess all of those blogs, diary's, etc. etc. need to be updated! (JUST KIDDING!) I am so grateful for the Moss' allowing all of Zenyatta's fans (and ,TO DOTTIE, for all of her hard work done for the fans post -retirement) to be up close and personal with one of the most amazing race horses that I think most of us will never see again in our life time! This new LITTLE PRINCE (or whatever his name shall be) has a place in history even if he never sets one HOOF on a race track BUT I think the Racing Gods may have BIG THINGS in store for Mamma Z's first born DESPITE the odds. LOVE you Zenyatta! Great Race Horse......Now a Great Mom and Hope for The Future of Racing!!!!