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Champions are a better class of critter, whether two-legged or four.

So it is no surprise that Zenyatta comes from a family that has been nurtured to produce the best traits of the Thoroughbred and that has a record of high achievement.

The nearly black daughter of Street Cry and the Kris S. mare Vertigineux was bred by the Maverick Productions LLC of Eric Kronfeld, who is an attorney in the entertainment business in New York City. Zenyatta is the third generation of this family that Kronfeld has owned, and he sold the champion mare as a yearling to Jerry and Anne Moss.

The beginning of Kronfeld’s adventure that yielded Zenyatta began more than 30 years ago at the Saratoga yearling sales. In 1979, Kronfeld bought the dam of Vertigineux “at Saratoga from the Newstead consignment, and from the time I bought her, I loved her page.”

Named For the Flag, the filly was by the great Argentine champion and important sire Forli and out of In the Offing. “This is probably Newstead’s best family,” Kronfeld said. “In the Offing was a winning daughter of Hoist the Flag and Newstead’s great mare Mrs. Peterkin, who also produced Kentucky Oaks winner Sweet Alliance.”

Kronfeld sent For the Flag to England, “where she hurt her ankle, which kept her from realizing all her potential,” he said. After returning For the Flag to the U.S. and winning a maiden with her, “she went to stud and began to produce well,” with three stakes winners among her early foals.

With her immediate successes as a broodmare, Kronfeld began to breed For the Flag to even better stallions, and one of the resulting foals was Vertigineux.

Vertigineux is a tall, rangy mare typical of her sire Kris S., and Kronfeld said, “Vertigineux was a horse who wanted every inch of a mile and a quarter during her racing career.” The mare also showed considerable ability in training, although she did not earn black type.

With a racing record of two victories in good company from seven starts and a pedigree showing three stakes-winning siblings, Vertigineux was retired to stud, and “pretty much from the jump, she surprised us,” Kronfeld said, producing three stakes winners from her first three foals.

In addition to Zenyatta, Vertigineux has produced G1 winner Balance (by Thunder Gulch) and stakes winner Where’s Bailey (Aljabr). The mare was sold privately last year to a Coolmore entity and is reported to have foaled a filly by Henrythenavigator this year.

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