Zenyatta: The Whitney Houston of Race Horses

The weekend of March 17, 2012, Los Angeles was invited to attend an equine baby shower for Zenyatta the prize winning mare. A star of the Santa Anita horse track, the photos and crowd reactions are back for what was advertised as "LA's biggest baby shower." Naturally, the Whitney Houston-esque fanfare for Zenyatta is a weird aspect of sports, but there are also a few strange factoids about this horse that every race track fan should note.

The finest retirement a horse can have

Tucked away in Lane's End Farm outside of Lexington, Kent., Zeynatta just had a baby boy on March 8, 2012. This is her second foal (after losing the first foal the previous year) and she is resting safe in the regal hands of the Farish family. How fine are her digs? According to Lane's End Farm, Will Farish was on, "the Chairman of the Board of Churchill Downs from 1992 to 2001, has been a Steward and Vice Chairman of The Jockey Club, a Director and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Breeders' Cup, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Keeneland Association."

In other words, Zenyatta lives in a queenly spa resort for horses.

Zenyatta connected to The Police

Before her retirement in 2010, Zeynatta's accomplishments were winning 19 major races. Regardless, the weird sports fact that you will need to remember is that her Facebook fan page states, "Her name is from the multi platinum album, Zenyatta Mondatta, by The Police, a band discovered by Jerry Moss, a founder of A & M Records, who with his wife, Ann, bought Zenyatta as a yearling at the Keeneland Sales."

How to throw an equine baby shower

If you think baby horse pictures are the cutest thing ever, join the club. But would you have a baby shower for a horse? The folks Santa Anita race track in California did this exact thing and announced they were having an "equine baby shower" for their star mare Zenyatta.

On the day of the event, Santa Anita Park's Facebook post said, "Come meet members of Team Zenyatta and get a free poster of Zenyatta and her new foal." The advertised poster shows Zenyatta with her new colt and "It's a Boy!" written across the top with her associated colors of teal and mauve in the bordering.

This is how a horse is worshiped

One odd thing that usually accompanies a Zenyatta charity event is a live video feed from her residence at Lane's End. Sadly, she was not available via live feed for her baby shower at Santa Anita. Another weird thing about the baby shower is that Santa Anita pleaded with fans on their website to not bring flowers to the event—this time. Instead, they ask, "in lieu of flowers, bring a small donation to benefit CANTER and Old Friends Farm."

The extremes to which people love Zenyatta

On Zenyatta's Facebook page, her wall announcement thanking everyone that came to the Santa Anita baby shower got 420 likes and 24 shares in less than 8 hours. Obviously, this horse is a favorite and her shower was a big success. To show the degree of obsession that fans feel for this horse, on Twitter fan @ Alanescalona0 4 strangely says, "This weekend at Santa Anita they gave away Zenyatta poster with her colt. I asked my moms boyfriend to send me some. Got u 1."

Zenyatta's charity events likely to continue

Zenyatta's owners always seem to be popping into the news with another piece of artwork for this horse. More often than not, the charities are retired horse-related like CANTER and Old Friends. Interestingly, the fans of Zenyatta are a little over-zealous about keepsakes of her. In particular, there was a halter sold for charity through YouTube that had plenty of weird dramatic overtures—on top of being a strange item to covet.

The future of the new 'Mr. Ed'

Of course, the next question is what name will be chosen for Zenyatta's new baby boy. For now, the standard horse breeder naming system has been used. Until then, we will know the new foal as "Zenyatta 12." When the colt is named, you will find it updated on Zenyatta.com or the official Facebook page.

If you love weird stuff, you will certainly love visiting Zenyatta.com again and again. Oddly, this website writes their posts in the "voice" of Zenyatta. On her website this horse writes, "My foal is absolutely precious…and I am so pleased to share this entire experience with all of you…my precious and loving friends."

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Maryam Louise is a longtime resident of the Bluegrass State and has lived in the shadows of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky over the past two decades. In addition to being a fan of horse racing, she has also had a chance to get to know jockeys, horse groomers, and betting clerks as an ESL instructor. Currently, she writes for KentuckyDerby.org and relies on her friends in the multiple facets of the equine industry for writing inspiration.

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Updated Wednesday, Mar 21, 2012