The majority of this Thoroughbred's career consisted of sprints. That suited him perfectly, for he loved to run. And when he had the lead, it was tough to get past him.
Bred by Claiborne Farm and owned by Zayat Stables (who would be known to millions later on as the owner of Triple Crown champion American Pharoah), Zensational made one start for Eastern-based trainer Bill Mott at Saratoga in the summer of 2008. That resulted in a fourth place finish, but bigger things awaited the son of Unbridled's Song.
He was not seen again until the winter of 2009. Now in Bob Baffert's barn, Zensational was based in Southern California, and he wasted no time getting into the win column going six furlongs on the synthetic surface. He followed that up with his lone try routing, finishing second going a mile over the same surface. It was not a bad effort, but Zensational went too fast for the distance. It seemed like sprinting was a much better fit for him, and that turned out to be the case.
Heading across the county to Hollywood Park, Zensational embarked on a highly productive 2009 season. He liked getting into contention early, taking the lead as fast as possible. He did exactly that, taking control and not letting anyone by him. That strategy paid off, for the gray horse with a white blaze on his face crafted a four-race winning streak that included wins in Hollywood Park's Grade I Triple Bend Handicap along with a sweep of Del Mar's Grade I Bing Crosby and Grade II Pat O'Brien Stakes.
That left the Grade I Breeders' Cup Sprint. Just as they did every time he started a race, bettors made Zensational the post-time favorite. Unfortunately, the winning streak came to a close. Zensational was close by the leader for a good part of the six furlongs despite a slightly slow start, but he never did get to the lead and had to settle for fifth.
The Sprint was Zensational's career finale, and he retired with five wins and a second in eight starts. In the years since he raced, Zensational has sired horses that have won or placed in stakes like Hollywood Hideaway, Uncle B, Zensational Bunny, and Zensational Mary. The most prolific of his progeny, however, is Pure Sensation, a multiple graded stakes winner at various Eastern tracks.
Zensational's overall record was formed over the course of virtually one year. But with his talent for running, he made the most of that year by turning into one of Southern California's top sprinters.