His sire and dam may have been renowned for their achievements on dirt, but it’s very possible that Cozmic One–the first foal out of 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta–might have the potential for a successful racing career on turf.
Being a son of the hugely popular Zenyatta, Cozmic One has had a large and dedicated fan base since the day he was born, and the arrival of his first race–a maiden special weight at Santa Anita Park–was surrounded by an aura and excitement that is accorded to very few other maiden races. Unfortunately, Cozmic One proved to be a disappointment, as he finished last in a field of six while trailing throughout. His second race, a maiden special weight at Belmont Park, was only a little better–he did beat two horses, but he still finished seventh overall, 11 3/4 lengths behind the winner.
In the aftermath of those performances, many have written off Cozmic One as being too slow to ever win a major race. But a close examination of his pedigree suggests that the truth could be a bit different. Perhaps Cozmic One doesn’t have what it takes to win a major race on dirt, but that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t have a bright future on turf!
Let’s start with the bottom half of Cozmic One’s pedigree–after all, that’s the half that has made him famous. :) Zenyatta never ran on turf, but she did go unbeaten in 17 starts on synthetic tracks, and success on synthetic often indicates a horse that could thrive on turf. Additionally, Zenyatta’s sire, Street Cry, was a very successful sire of top-quality turf horses, and his progeny include the Australian champions Shocking and Whobegotyou, the English champion Princess Highway, and the grade I turf winners Victory’s Cry, Majestic ROI, and Lyric of Light. Better still, Street Cry’s sire was a champion and a group I winner in Europe and France, and Street Cry’s dam was Helen Street, winner of the Irish Oaks (Ire-I).
But wait, it gets better! Zenyatta’s dam, Vertigineux, was a two-time winner at ten furlongs on turf, and her sire–Kris S–begot many successful turf runners, including Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) winner Prized, Epsom Derby (Eng-I) winner Kris Kin, Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I) winner Soaring Softly, and Secretariat Stakes (gr. I) winner Kicken Kris. Kris S, in turn, was sired by the top-notch turf runner Roberto, winner of the 1972 Epsom Derby and later the sire of Dynaformer, a very successful sire of turf horses in the U.S. and Europe.
The top half of Cozmic One’s pedigree contains fewer turf influences, as his sire–Bernardini–is by A.P. Indy, primarily a sire of dirt horses, and Bernardini’s dam, Cara Rafaela, was a grade I winner on dirt and her two most successful foals did their best running on dirt. But despite Bernardini’s dirt pedigree, he has been surprisingly successful as a sire of quality turf horses, with his top progeny including New Zealand champion Ruud Awakening and the Australian and European group stakes winners Boban, Biondetti, Toydini, Gamilati, and Theysken’s Theory.
So although Cozmic One has been disappointing on dirt, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that he could improve sharply on turf. It will be interesting to see if his connections choose to try him on the grass in the near future!
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to sign up for email newsletters and special offers from The Turf Board!