Hall of Fame class of 2012 inductee profile: Ghostzapper

Ghostzapper, Javier Castellano up (NYRA photo)

By BRIEN BOUYEA, Communications Officer

Bred in Kentucky by owner Frank Stronach at Adena Springs, Ghostzapper (Awesome Again—Baby Zip, by Deputy Minister) was one of the most spectacular racehorses of the 21st century’s first decade.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel, Ghostzapper broke his maiden in his career debut at Hollywood Park in November of 2002. He made only one other start that year, finishing fourth in an allowance race at Santa Anita. It was the only time in his 11-race career in which Ghostzapper finished out of the money.

As a 3-year-old, Ghostzapper won an allowance at Belmont Park and one at Saratoga Race Course before finishing third in the King’s Bishop at Saratoga, which was his second and final career defeat. Ghostzapper closed out his 2003 campaign with his first Grade 1 victory in the Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont in September.

An injury kept Ghostzapper off the track until July 4, 2004, but his return to the races was spectacular. Ghostzapper secured an easy victory in the Grade 2 Tom Fool Handicap then romped by 10¾ lengths in the Grade 3 Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park. His jaw-dropping performance in the 1⅛-mile Iselin earned Ghostzapper a Beyer Speed Figure of 128, the highest figure in the history of the American turf for a non-sprinting distance.

Ghostzapper followed the Iselin with a spectacular victory in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes over a strong field that included Saint Liam, the 2005 Horse of the Year. With regular rider Javier Castellano in the irons, Ghostzapper concluded his 4-year-old season with a remarkable effort in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Lone Star Park in Texas. In a star-studded field that included Azeri, Funny Cide, Birdstone, Perfect Drift, Pleasantly Perfect, and Roses in May, Ghostzapper drew away and covered the 1¼-mile distance in 1:59.02 to set a track and Breeders’ Cup Classic record.

The 4-for-4 campaign garnered Ghostzapper Horse of the Year and Champion Older Male honors in the 2004 Eclipse Award voting. He returned to the races in late May of 2005, winning the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap. Ghostzapper was retired a couple weeks later with a hairline fracture in his left front ankle. He closed out his career on a six-race win streak to finalize a record of 9-0-1 from 11 starts with earnings of $3,446,120. Ghostzapper currently resides as a stallion at Stronach’s Adena Springs in Paris, Ky.

 

 

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