In response to yesterday’s post about the dam of Here Comes Ben (by Street Cry), a contender for the BC Sprint, Lakotasblaze wondered what the transition from racehorse to broodmare would be like for Zenyatta.
It will not, for one thing, be too rapid. Even after her racing career closes on Saturday, she will remain at the track to be let down, given activity and exercise but in decreasing amounts and intensity. Turning a thoroughly tuned up racehorse out without preparation is dangerous; many can be a risk to themselves through sheer exuberance.
Once the mare has had a bit of time, whether days or weeks, to let down and relax and begin to change her focus from racing to grazing, then she will be shipped to the farm where she will become accustomed to pasture life again.
In this case, she will presumably go to Mill Ridge Farm south of Lexington, just a few miles from where Zenyatta was born and raised at Winter Quarter Farm. There the farm crew will work with her to give the big mare as much activity as possible while allowing her to make a smooth transition into the more sedate life of a broodmare prospect.
Depending on how rapidly her body accepts the change in climate and routine, Zenyatta will be sent to breed sometime next year, probably in February or March, to the stallion the Mosses choose for her.
Most young mares off the track are fairly easy to get in foal, and about 11 months later, most produce their first foals.
Lakotasblaze asked, “would she be expected to nurse and mother her own foals or would a nurse mare be used so she could be quickly rebred? Does it make any difference to the mare who gave birth? Is one method more beneficial to her?”
Except in cases of danger to mare or foal, Thoroughbred mares raise their own foals and are typically rebred within 30 days. It is sometimes a shock for mares to see this young critter making demands on them, but the great majority respond to motherhood with enthusiasm and a strong sense of protectiveness for their new foal.
Zenyatta has such a strong sense of independence that she will make a great mother and should produce large, vigorous, and athletically progressive foals. But when the time for weaning rolls around, she will no doubt be ready for the rowdy youngster to get along.
The cycle will continue, and the great mare’s foals, year by year, will join the parade of young prospects who will attempt to scale the heights of racing’s legends. In their case, one of them is Mom.