The Clement L. Hirsch Stakes has been won the last three years by a horse
with a name starting with ‘Z’ owned by Jerry and Ann Moss. Big, black mare
And now, zip-zop, considerable zest has been added to the recipe for
Saturday’s 41st running of the Grade I, $300,000 main-track event
with another ‘Z’ horse of the Mosses, Zazu, in a field of seven for the 1
1/16-mile Polytrack run.
It’s not a full-out “Team Zenyatta” assault again on the Hirsch. Zazu is
trained by John Sadler, not John Shirreffs as was Zenyatta. Zazu will be ridden
by Garrett Gomez, not Zenyatta pilot Mike Smith.
And where Zenyatta notched Hirsch victories as a 4, 5 and 6-year-old, Zazu will
be attempt to become the first three-year-old to win the race. If Zazu does, it
will be at the expense of another standout from the Sadler barn, 4-year-old
Switch, owned by C R K Stable.
“The races we were looking at for Zazu, the decision was between going
here or going to Saratoga ($500,000 Alabama on August 20),” Sadler said. “We
have the other horse (Switch) in there, but you have to represent both clients.
It was more about the shipping than anything else.
“They’re both good fillies with good records.”
Zazu, a daughter of Tapit, won the Grade II Hollywood Oaks in her last start
on June 25, adding that to a victory in the Grade I Las Virgenes in
February at Santa Anita. Between those wins, Zazu was second to Turbulent
Descent in the Santa Anita Oaks and third to Plum Pretty in the Kentucky Oaks.
Zazu has three wins and has been out of the money only once in nine career
starts while compiling earnings of $472,985.
“It’s always a team decision with Dottie (Ingordo-Shirreffs), the Mosses and
myself,” Sadler said of opting to take on older horses for the first time.
“She’s doing well, and we decided to give it a shot.”
Switch, a daughter of Quiet American, ended 2010 with a victory in the Grade
I La Brea and started 2011 with a win in the Grade I Santa Monica at Santa
Anita. Subsequent results have been runner-up efforts versus top-of-the-list
older mares in Grade I events. The narrow defeats came to Miss Match in
March at Santa Anita, Havre de Grace in April at Oaklawn Park and Blind Luck in
June at Hollywood Park.
Switch has five wins and 13 in-the-money finishes in 15 career starts and is
less than $8,000 from topping the $1 million mark in earnings. Joel Rosario,
the regular rider for both Switch and Zazu, will be up on Switch.