Cozmic One, the first foal out of the champion mare Zenyatta, has joined the TAKE2 Thoroughbred League, and will compete in the TAKE2 Thoroughbred Jumper Division at the Kentucky National Horse Show in Lexington Sept. 22-26. The 9-year-old could earn a wild card berth in the Sept. 26 $20,000 TAKE2 Hunter and Jumper Finals if he finishes in the top 5 in the Division.
The wildly popular Zenyatta, racing’s Horse of the Year in 2010 and winner of 19 of her 20 career starts, foaled Cozmic One on March 8, 2012, at Lane’s End Farm in Lexington. Before he was named, the royally bred young colt was the subject of media coverage and even had a Breyer horse model created for him (it now sells for $125 on Amazon).
While he did not live up to his bloodlines on the racetrack, Cozmic One became a fan favorite. He still has a following today, according to Sergio de Sousa, who now owns Cozmic One in partnership with Zenyatta’s owner/breeders, Jerry Moss and Ann Holbrook, and his daughter, Isabela.
“It’s pretty amazing, a lot of people really enjoy seeing what he is up to,” de Sousa said. “People love the mare, and they love him, too. We post things about him on social media – from the horse shows, but also Coz playing with his buddy, rolling in the mud, just being a horse. It makes people happy to see it, and it is simple for us to do that. We get letters, Christmas cards, cookies, birthday cards, you can go on and on. My daughter started it a couple of years ago, so people could follow him, make the connection with Coz, see how he was training. She got a lot of people to participate in his journey.”
Cozmic One retired from racing in 2017 after five unsuccessful starts, and joined the de Sousa family to start a second career as a show jumper. He competed in the Retired Racehorse Project’s 2018 Makeover, finishing fifth, then was sidelined for the better part of 2019.
“His transition took a while,” de Sousa said. “He pulled a muscle [after the Makeover] and needed time off. His body was changing, he was learning to use himself, but now he is really coming together.”
While daughter Isabela gave Cozmic One a solid foundation for his new career, she is now off at college, and father Sergio has literally taken the reins. A native of Brazil, he has been a horseman all his life and is the managing partner of Hidden Brook, a full-service Thoroughbred farm outside of Lexington. De Sousa is new to the world of show jumping, but he enjoys the challenge of working with Coz.
“He’s a charismatic horse, he has a fantastic personality, a very strong personality,” he said. “He definitely knows we work for him, but in a good way. He knows he’s a big boy, you have to be strong with him, but you have to make him think anything new is his idea. He tests me, which is great. He makes me a better rider.”
The two competed together at the Split Rock Horse Show in June and the Robert Murphy Stable Horse Show in July. They have yet to win a ribbon, but that is not the end goal for de Sousa.
“It’s the two of us against the course,” he said. “We hope to improve from the day before, we want to do well, but it is not about winning. It’s about being in rhythm with the horse. Riding horses for me, it reminds me why I work with the horses. That partnership, that closeness, that’s why I do it.”
As for Coz, de Sousa said, “This is his second career, but he really is retired, he is just having fun. He gets excited going to the shows, he loves to watch the other horses perform, he loves to watch the people go by. He’s like a boxer, ready to go in the ring. But we’re not looking to be in the Olympics, this is just for his enjoyment. He doesn’t owe us anything.”
The classes for the TAKE2 Jumper division at the Kentucky National Horse Show will be held in the Walnut Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park on Sept. 23-25. The TAKE2 Jumper Finals will be the second class of the day in the Walnut Ring on Sunday, Sept. 26.
The TAKE2 Thoroughbred League, launched in 2015, offers $10,000 in year-end high-score awards to the Thoroughbreds competing in TAKE2-affiliated Hunter and Jumper divisions across the country. The $20,000 TAKE2 Finals are held every September. The program was created to promote second careers for retired racehorses.
“TAKE2, promoting Thoroughbreds for jumping, for hunting, it’s fantastic,” de Sousa said.