As Cool As Cozzene

In 1980, Cozzene was foaled in Florida. This beautiful gray was bred and owned by John Nerud. He was by leading French sire Caro and out of Ride the Trails, by Prince John. He had a short back, sloping shoulder, and keen expression. Cozzene won three races his three-year-old season and continued to get better with age. At four, he won the Cliff Hanger Handicap and was third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He had his best season at age five, winning the Oceanport Handicap, Longfellow Handicap, and Breeders’ Cup Mile. He earned the 1985 Eclipse Award for Champion Grass Horse. In total, he stated 24 times, won ten races, and earned $978,152 on the track.

Photo via Breeders’ Cup

Cozzene stood stud at Gainesway Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. He was an outstanding sire. He sired fourteen millionaires including Star of Cozzene, Cozzene’s Prince, Tikkanen, and Alphabet Soup. Cozzene was euthanized in 2008 due to complications with melanoma. His descendants are prominent on the racetrack and in performance careers.

Gypsy King and Jenn Laurich

Jenn and Aramis

Gypsy King, also known as “Aramis,” is a Maryland bred gelding by Fantasticat. His dam, Cozelia, is a daughter of Cozzene. Aramis started five times, won one race, and earned $8,280 on the track. His one win was at Laurel Park. Aramis retired from racing in 2010 and is now owned by Jenn Laurich. He was originally restarted as a Hunter, but after he had surgery to remove bone chips in his stifle, he began training in western tack. Jenn and Aramis trail ride, rope, and compete in Western Dressage. Jenn says Aramis is athletic and has hardy hooves. This bay gelding is a lovely mover with very smooth gaits. He is quirky and sassy, but respectful and grateful for post-ride scratches. Aramis may have inherited his agility and relaxed personality from his damsire.

Mizz Zen Mastern and Brianna Westendorf

Brianna and Vegas

Mizz Zen Master, also known as “Vegas,” is a Minnesota bred mare by Mizzen Mast, a son of Cozzene. Vegas started twice at Canterbury Park, placed 7th and 9th, and earned $290 at the track. Racing was not her forte, but she has found her niche barrel racing with Brianna Westendorf. This beautiful gray mare has a strong shoulder, short back, and large hip. Her compact frame allows her to easily make sharp turns. She is super willing and enjoys her new job. The pair also trial ride. Brianna says that Vegas is calm, yet loves having a job and learning new things. She has a fantastic temperament, just like her grand sire.

Independent George and Kari Kay Thorson

Kari and George

Independent George was a Kentucky bred gelding born in 2003. He was a direct son of Cozzene. He started 44 times, won eight races, and earned $395,464 on the track. His major wins included the Presque Isle Mile Stakes and the Sussex Stakes. He also ran 4th in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile and in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes. In retirement, “George” was owned by Kari Kay Thorson. Kari and George moved cattle on ranches and logged countless trail miles. Kari says that George was very opinionated, but brave and able to conquer complicated obstacles on the trail. He had tremendous stamina and could easily go twenty miles or more without tiring. George recently passed away, but his success on and off the track exemplified the best qualities of his speedster sire.

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