Azeri (KY)

Bred in Kentucky by Allen E. Paulson, Azeri was one of the most accomplished thoroughbreds of the 21st century’s first decade, finishing her career with 11 Grade 1 victories. Named Horse of the Year in 2002 and Champion Older Female eachj year from 2002 through 2004, Azeri won 11 consecutive races from February 2002 through August 2003.

Azeri (Mike Smith up) winning the 2004 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park (Oaklawn Park Photo)
Inducted

2010

Foaled

1998

Sire

Jade Hunter

Dam

Zodiac Miss

Damsire

Ahonoora

Breeder

Allen E. Paulson

Owner

Allen E. Paulson Living Trust

Trainer

Laura de Seroux
D. Wayne Lukas

Career

2001-2004

Earnings

$4,079,820

Racing Record

24

Starts

Year Starts First Second Third Earnings
Year Sts 1 2 3 $
2001 2 2 0 0 $46200 $46,200
2002 9 8 1 0 $2181540 $2,181,540
2003 5 4 1 0 $817080 $817,080
2004 8 3 2 0 $1035000 $1,035,000

Biography

Bred in Kentucky by Allen E. Paulson, Azeri was one of the most accomplished thoroughbreds of the 21st century’s first decade, finishing her career with 11 Grade 1 victories. Named Horse of the Year in 2002 and Champion Older Female eachj year from 2002 through 2004, Azeri won 11 consecutive races from February 2002 through August 2003.

A daughter of Grade 1 winner Jade Hunter out of the Ahonoora mare Zodiac Miss, Azeri was named after an aviation checkpoint in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. She was a $110,000 buyback at the September 1999 Keeneland yearling sale from the consignment of Jonabell Farm.

Paulson died in July of 2000 before he knew what Azeri would turn out to be, but his son, J. Michael Paulson, managed his father’s trust and sent Azeri to the races on Nov. 1, 2001, with trainer Laura de Seroux. Azeri won a six-furlong race at Santa Anita in her debut and her only other start that year as a 3-year-old.

In 2002, Azeri won seven of her eight starts, including Grade 1 victories in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap, Apple Blossom Handicap, Milady Breeders’ Cup Handicap, and Vanity Handicap. She also won the Grade 2 Lady’s Secret Breeders’ Cup Handicap and finished second in the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes. Azeri joined All Along (1983) and Lady’s Secret (1986) as the third female racehorse to be named Horse of the Year in the Eclipse Awards era.

As a 5-year-old in 2003, Azeri again registered Grade 1 victories in the Apple Blossom, Milady, Vanity, and Clement Hirsch. Her 11-race streak was snapped when she finished third in the Lady’s Secret Breeders’ Cup Handicap. Azeri suffered a tendon injury in the Lady’s Secret and did not race again until April 2004.

Azeri was transferred from de Seroux to Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas following her 5-year-old campaign. In her first start for Lukas at 6, Azeri won her third Apple Blossom, a feat no other horse had ever accomplished. She then lost three in a row before defeating multiple Grade 1 winner Sightseek in the Go for Wand Handicap. Azeri also won the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes that year before finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in her final race.

Azeri retired with a record of 17-4-0 from 24 starts and earnings of $4,079,820, which was an all-time record for a female racehorse.

Achievements

Eclipse Award Horse of the Year — 2002
Eclipse Award Champion Older Female — 2002
Eclipse Award Champion Older Female — 2003
Eclipse Award Champion Older Female — 2004

Breeders' Cup Highlights

Won the Distaff — 2002

Media

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