Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Alexandra Shines, Zenyatta Grinds

Its not every year that it can be argued that the two best horses in training are both females. After this weekend there is little one can do to dispute that.

After late scratches, Rachel Alexandra faced a pathetically small field (Two to be exact) but did what a great horse should do by soundly thrashing them. The final margin of victory was just under 20 lengths and she set a new stakes record in the process. She not only ran the fastest time in the races history, she also eclipsed the biggest winning margin in the race, 15 lengths, previously held by the great Ruffian. That’s a fitting distinction considering many believe Rachel will be in her class by years end.

Zenyatta won her second race of the season to remain undefeated and despite shouldering significantly more weight then her foes she still looked rather average winning. This is one classy mare, but I’ve yet to see anything from her this year that’s truly excited me. She need’s to be running against better stock and if that means competing with males then so be it.

After the race, Jerry Moss expressed a desire to send his champion mare east to arrange a showdown with Rachel Alexandra. The sport went wild with the prospect of a meeting between the two super fillies, but that was quickly hushed with Moss’ subsequent announcement Tuesday that the mare would not venture outside of California for the remainder of the year. That essentially rubbished the prospect of a Rachel meeting after Jackson proclaimed last week that he would not run his filly over “plastic”. (Significant because the Breeders Cup is at Santa Anita again this year, a synthetic track)

I’ve got no problem with Jackson’s decision and don’t really need to expound on it after last weeks post. Jackson doesn’t need a showdown with Zenyatta because his filly has already run against and defeated males, and has an ambitious campaign mapped out for the remainder of the year, even without the Breeders Cup.

Zenyatta’s 2009 campaign is an entirely different matter. To call it underwhelming is an understatement. She took 6 months off and didn’t hit the track in competition until May. She has a 5 race campaign being mapped out and so far she’s run against over matched females in races that have failed to excite anyone. To be fair they’ve thrown out the idea of running in the G1 Pacific Classic (males) and/or the granddaddy of them all, the Breeder’s Cup Classic. If she were to run in both it would be impossible to say she wasn’t challenged sufficiently, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Frankly, considering the quality of California handicap horses, she’d get a bigger test against Rachel, so if they are looking to prove something going east is the way to go about it. Not only would it be a stern challenge for both horses, but it would also be a mega-race that would appeal to far more than the racing fantatics. That would be the type of event that could garner massive crowds and media attention and last I checked the sport could use both.

I hope the NYRA find a wake to make it happen.

For the record, I’d probably take Rachel by 2 lengths.

1 comment:

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