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Azeri (horse)

Unsourced image removed: 200px
After her retirement.
Sire Jade Hunter
Dam Zodiac Miss
Grandsire Mr. Prospector
Damsire Ahonoora
Gender Mare
Foaled 1998
Country United States
Color Chestnut
Breeder Allen E. Paulson
Owner Allen E. Paulson Living Trust
Trainer Laura de Seroux
D. Wayne Lukas
Record 24:17-4-0
Earnings $4,079,820
Azeri is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Zodiac Miss by Jade Hunter. She was born around 1998 in the United States, and was bred by Allen E. Paulson.
Major wins

Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (2002, 2003)
Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap
(2002, 2003)
Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap (2002)
Apple Blossom Handicap
(2002, 2003, 2004)
Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap (2002, 2003)
Vanity Handicap (2002, 2003)
Go For Wand Handicap (2004)
Spinster Stakes (2004)

Breeders' Cup wins:
Breeders' Cup Distaff (2002)
American Horse of the Year (2002)
American Champion Older Female Horse
(2002, 2003, 2004)
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (2010)
Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park Race Track
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)
Last updated on May 29, 2010

Azeri (foaled May 6, 1998 in Versailles, Kentucky) is an American Hall of Fame champion thoroughbred racehorse. She was bred and owned by Allen E. Paulson and sired by Jade Hunter, a winner of the Grade 1 Donn Handicap and the G1 Gulfstream Park Handicap, who was a son of the very important sire Mr. Prospector. She is the only starter out of the Ahonoora mare Zodiac Miss. She's also out of the family of the 1999 Breeders' Cup Mile winner, the French horse Silic. Zodiac Miss was bred in Australia by John Messara's Arrowfield Stud. Prominent Australian bloodstock agents Brian King & James Bester, together with Californian based agent Denny Boultinghouse, recommended and sold Zodiac Miss to Paulson, and the filly was subsequently shipped to U.S.A. to race there for her new owner. At the end of her racing career, Allen Paulson sent Zodiac Miss to the breeding shed.

Paulson was an aerospace magnate (Gulfstream Aerospace) whose many global investments included racehorses, casinos, and oil exploration. Paulson also bred and raced Cigar, who was Horse of the Year in 1995 and 1996, who currently stands at #2 on the North American All-Time Money Earners' list.

Azeri was a 'buy back' for $110,000 at the 1999 Keeneland September yearling sale from the consignment of Jonabell Farm. Originally trained by Simon Bray, Michael Paulson transferred Azeri to trainer Laura de Seroux in August 2001, one of the few women trainers in a man's world. Of her greatest horse, Seroux said, "She didn't let anyone down, and she did it in great style. She's simply the fastest filly in the world now. You can't catch her early, and you can't catch her late."

Allen Paulson died in July 2000 before he knew who Azeri would turn out to be, but his son J. Michael Paulson, as trustee managed his father's trust and thoroughbred operations following his death and managed Azeri's racing career of 24 races that started with her first race at Santa Anita on November 1, 2001, winning a six furlong maiden in 1:08.

Out of 24 starts, she won 17 and placed in 4. When she was awarded the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year, she was only the third female to win since the voting began in 1971. Azeri was also awarded 'Champion Older Filly or Mare' from 2002 thru 2004. The other two female winners of HOY were All Along in 1983 and Lady's Secret in 1986. Both of those fillies had defeated males in their HOY campaigns, though Azeri did not run against males until 2004. Michael Paulson retired Azeri in December 2004, and she has foaled three horses to date, one colt and two fillies, from sires A.P. Indy, Giant's Causeway and Ghostzapper.


Azeri at the races

    • 1st. Milady BCH, G1
    • 1st. Vanity Handicap, G1
    • 1st. Clement L. Hirsch Handicap, G2
    • 2nd. Lady's Secret BCH, G2
  • At Six (2004)
    • 1st. Apple Blossom Handicap, G1
    • 1st. Spinster Stakes, G1

Awards and honors

  • Eleven-race win streak
  • Second highest female money earner in North America with $4,079,820 (preceding her is Zenyatta with $5,474,580)

Azeri under Lukas

Azeri suffered a tendon injury while going for her 12th straight win, in the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita. Her courage carried her to a second place finish that day, but for quite a while it seemed she would not race again. Laura de Seroux recommended that she be retired, but Michael Paulson decided she could race again. At this point, he turned her training over to the Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas.

In her first start for her new trainer, six months after her injury, Azeri won her third consecutive Apple Blossom Handicap, a feat no other filly had ever managed. But then she lost three races in a row, including the Met Mile, where she took on males for the first time. Once more, people thought she was through. But Lukas entered her in the Go For Wand Handicap at Saratoga Race Course, where she came up against the multiple grade one winner Sightseek. The mares came into the stretch together as the track announcer, Tom Durkin, yelled, "At the top of the stretch it's the two best mares in America." Azeri hit the wire nearly two lengths ahead of Sightseek.

Azeri was an early favorite for the 2004 Breeders' Cup Distaff, but her handlers instead chose to enter her in the Breeders' Cup Classic, where she faced male horses for the second time. She ran fifth behind winner Ghostzapper. [1]

Azeri now

Azeri retired from racing in December, 2004. In her first attempt at breeding in Kentucky, she proved barren to Storm Cat for 2005 but successfully delivered a chestnut colt by A.P. Indy on February 14, 2007. This colt, named Take Control, is the rare product of two Horses of the Year. Take Control won his first race, a maiden special weight event at Santa Anita on Dec. 30, 2009.

Azeri currently lives at Hill 'n' Dale Farms in Lexington, Kentucky along with some other leading racing broodmares, including Silverbulletday and Better Than Honour, the dam of Belmont Stakes winners Jazil and Rags to Riches. Azeri was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2010. [2]

She delivered a delivered a Giant's Causeway foal in 2008 and a Ghostzapper foal in 2009 and is currently in foal to Distorted Humor. Azeri was sold to Japan ownership fall 2009, she no longer lives at Hill N' Dale.


  • Azeri was named by Allen Paulson for an aviation checkpoint in Baku.


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