Zendt Hits 3000
With more than thirty years of harness racing experience, Bill Zendt is a driver and trainer who has enjoyed abundant success at The Meadows. On Tuesday, 3 June 2008, he won the 3000th racing event of his career and looks back on many fond memories. With Fudgjoe crossing the finish line in winning position, it was not only a moment of victory for Bill Zendt but an achievement and joy that was shared by The Meadows.
In 1977, the Zendt family moved to The Meadows to start a working relationship with the racetrack that has lasted until the present. As a driver and trainer, Zendt became known for dealing with magnificent horses such as Always Cam, Prescott Hanover, Steeplejack and Natural Ability. Natural Ability was not only the most loved horse by spectators and fans, but is a horse that is still close to Zendt’s heart.
Zendt cared for Natural Ability when he broke his leg. Through his love and dedication to his horse he managed to nurse Natural Ability back to racing fitness. In 1983, with Natural Ability being fourteen years old, Zendt piloted him to nineteen victories, with his last victorious race before retirement being named Natural Ability Night. As Natural Ability walked into the winner’s circle one last time on 5 November 1983, fans screamed his name and cried shamelessly as they said farewell to a legend of The Meadows. With his racing shoes taken from his feet, Natural Ability left The Meadows that night as a retired hero of harness racing. It is also remembered by Zendt as one of the most emotional moments of his career.
With career earnings of approximately $11.7 million and a passion for horse racing that has spilled over into his family, the Zendt name will remain a part of The Meadows for many years to come. With Zendt celebrating his 3000th victory and the legacy his wife and children will leave behind as successful trainers, Bill Zendt has a lot to be proud of. And in the words of Bill Zendt: "Family keeps you interested, you might not be in every day, but they are. I like to be out there competing; I don't want to give it up altogether. But I get just as much enjoyment when they do good as when I win.”