|Breeder||John E. Madden|
|Owner||Rancocas Stable Silks: White, Green Collar and Cuffs, White Cap.|
|Trainer||Sam Hildreth & David J. Leary|
Hopeful Stakes (1922)
American Classic Race wins:
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|
A brown colt, Zev was sired by The Finn and was out of the mare Miss Kearney (by Planudes). 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.
1922: Two-year-old season
1923: Three-year-old season
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. Zev encountered problems in the Preakness and finished 12th but came back to win the Derby and then the Belmont Stakes.
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. In November, Zev won another match race, this one controversially close, against In Memoriam at Churchill Downs. His performances in 1923 earned Zev the titles American Horse of the Year and Co-Champion Three-Year-Old Male.
1924: Four-year-old season
After successfully campaigning as a four-year-old, Zev retired as racing's all-time leading money earner, surpassing Man o' War's record.
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. In the Blood-Horse magazine ranking of the top 100 U.S. thoroughbred champions of the 20th Century, he was accorded 56th place.