Zev (horse)

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Zev with jockey Earl Sande.jpg
Zev with jockey Earl Sande
Sire The Finn
Grandsire Ogden
Dam Miss Kearney
Damsire Planudes
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1920
Country United States
Colour Brown
Breeder John E. Madden
Owner Rancocas Stable Silks: White, Green Collar and Cuffs, White Cap.
Trainer Sam Hildreth & David J. Leary
Record 43: 23-8-5
Earnings $313,639
Major wins

Hopeful Stakes (1922)
Grand Union Hotel Stakes (1922)
Paumonok Handicap (1923)
Withers Stakes (1923)
Lawrence Realization Stakes (1923)
Queens County Handicap (1923)
Match race - defeated Epsom Derby champ, Papyrus (1923)

American Classic Race wins:

Kentucky Derby (1923)
Belmont Stakes (1923)
U.S. Champion 2-Year-Old Colt (1922)
Co-U.S. Champion 3-Year-Old Colt (1923)
American Horse of the Year (1923)
United States Racing Hall of Fame (1983)
#56 - Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century
Last updated on September 24, 2006

Zev (1920–1943) was an American thoroughbred horse racing Champion and National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame inductee.[1]


A brown colt, Zev was sired by The Finn and was out of the mare Miss Kearney (by Planudes).[2] Bred by the famous horseman John E. Madden, Zev was owned by the Rancocas Stable of Harry F. Sinclair, the founder of Sinclair Oil, who was a central figure in the Teapot Dome scandal and served time in prison.

Sinclair named the horse in honor of his friend and personal lawyer, Colonel James William (also known as J.W.) Zevely.

Racing career[edit]

1922: Two-year-old season[edit]

Trained by Sam Hildreth, as a two-year-old Zev won five of his twelve races, finished second on four occasions, and was a Champion colt of 1922.[3]

1923: Three-year-old season[edit]

The following year, he was the dominant three-year-old in America, winning a number of important Grade I stakes races under jockey Earl Sande. Included in his victories were the Lawrence Realization Stakes and the most prestigious race in the United States, the Kentucky Derby, for which David J. Leary was credited as trainer, as he was for the Preakness Stakes, which was run before the Kentucky Derby in 1923.[4] Zev encountered problems in the Preakness and finished 12th but came back to win the Derby and then the Belmont Stakes.[5]

On October 20, 1923, one of the most significant match races in worldwide thoroughbred racing took place at Belmont Park on Long Island, New York. A crowd estimated at close to 50,000 watched Zev beat Epsom Derby winner Papyrus by five lengths. Zev's victory marked the first time a Kentucky Derby winner defeated an English Derby winner.[6] In November, Zev won another match race, this one controversially close, against In Memoriam at Churchill Downs.[7] His performances in 1923 earned Zev the titles American Horse of the Year and Co-Champion Three-Year-Old Male.[8]

1924: Four-year-old season[edit]

After successfully campaigning as a four-year-old, Zev retired as racing's all-time leading money earner, surpassing Man o' War's record.[1]

Stud career[edit]

At stud, he proved less successful than he had on the track, at best siring two minor stakes winners (Zevson and Zida).

In 1983, Zev was inducted in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.[1] In the Blood-Horse magazine ranking of the top 100 U.S. thoroughbred champions of the 20th Century, he was accorded 56th place.