It seems somewhat logical for Bernardini to be announced as the first mating partner for Zenyatta. Not from a pedigree standpoint but from an Eclipse Award view.
We all know about the Zenyatta debates for Horse of the Year in 2009 and 2010. But Bernardini was involved in Eclipse Award debates himself in 2006. Bernardini had to battle the ghost of the ill fated Barbaro as the 2006 Eclipse Awards approached. That year, Bernardini won the Preakness, The Jim Dandy Stakes and The Jockey Club Gold Cup and finished 2nd in the BC Classic to Invasor.
In the 3 year old Male Horse of the Year, Bernardini won despite the sentimental pleas for Barbaro to pick up the award. Bernardini won the award going away with 210 votes to 56 for Barbaro.
But even though Bernardini trounced Barbaro in the 3 year old vote, he finished 3rd in the Horse of the Year tally with 16 votes and behind the 2nd place Barbaro, who garnered 21 votes. Invasor won convincingly with 228 votes.