Azeri was the filly who stole the 2002 racing season’s show winning away the Horse of the Year along with Champion Older Female Racehorse starting 2002 until 2004. Azeri, was later recognized with the honour of Azeri Stakes, held at Oaklawn Park Racetrack; the stakes race features four years old filly and mares and up.
Foaled in 1998 in Kentucky, Azeri was by Jade Hunter, a multiple handicaps winner by Mr. Prospector and was born out of dam Zodiac Miss. The chestnut mare was conditioned by the reputed trainer, D Wayne Lukas and is probably one of the best fillies trained by him.
Of her 24 starts in 4 years of racing career, Azeri won 17 times, finishing second only 4 times and out of money thrice. Azeri was one of the fastest fillies of her times and also the biggest earner until Zenyatta came and rewrote all the record breaking figures down again.
As a three year old, Azeri broke her maiden in her very first race, a maiden special weight race that she ran in Jan 2001. Soon followed by an allowance race, the only other race she ran as a two year old, and again won.
After one more allowance claiming race into her four year old racing campaign, Azeri started in the Grade2 Le Canada Stakes and finished second to Summer Colony by a length. This was it. Azeri would never lose again to any other female horse for 11 consecutive races. She next started in four grade 1 handicap races, the Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap, the Apple Blossom Handicap, the Milady Breeder’s Cup Handicap and the Vanity Handicap, running all mile and mile eights well above the speed and calibre of the remaining field of female starters. She also won the Grade 2 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap, the Lady’s Secret Breeder’s Cup Handicap and the Breeder’s Cup Distaff before retiring to rest for another season of races.
After almost a six month layoff, Azeri started again in 2003 with the Apple Blossom Handicap winning it for the second consecutive time and following the trend with Milady Breeder’s Cup Handicap, the Clement L. Hirsch Handicap and the Vanity Handicap. Azeri would race one more time as a five year old, in the Lady’s Secret Breeder’s Cup Handicap only to break her winning spree of 11 consecutive races by a lengths defeat from Got Koko and Elloluv who was later disqualified.
During the last race, Azeri contracted injuries that could have proven extremely threatening to her career until her training was moved to Wayne Lukas from Laura Seroux. After another long layoff and recovery, Azeri once again won the Apple Blossom a third consecutive time. Though not in form as before, Azeri pulled off two more grade 1 wins in her 2004 season. She won the Go for Wand Handicap and the Overbrook Spinster Stakes. While finishing second in the Personal Ensign Handicap and the Humana Distaff Handicap, Azeri never finished in the money in the Metropolitan Handicap, the Ogden Phipps Handicap and the Breeder’s Cup Classic.
She retired with career earnings worth more than $4million and was the only third female horse to be declared the Eclipse Horse of the Year after 1983 winner, All Along and 1986 winner, Lady’s Secret.
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