On March 13, the reigning Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra, ran her first race in about 6 months and revealed she’d been getting too many pedicures while watching Mister Ed reruns over the winter.
After her last stunning victory on September 5, topping off nine straight wins by beating 7 older male horses, she just LOST the New Orleans Ladies race. Rightfully, her trainer, Steve Asmussen, took the blame for her less-than-stellar performance.
Rachel gave it her best shot, but a nobody still passed her.
That nobody was 6-year-old Zardana, a stablemate/spy of Zenyatta’s who was sent east to check Rachel out before her match-up with Zenyatta. Nobody expected Zardana to win.
On the West Coast that same day, 6-year-old Zenyatta stunningly won her 15th straight race and remained undefeated. At Santa Anita against 7 of the best mares and fillies in the country, she came from last place, making up 10 lengths in the final stretch, to win by 1 ¼ lengths.
Watch both races on ESPN.
So now Rachel has been scratched from the $5 million Apple Blossom race at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas on April 9, where she was supposed to race Zenyatta.
Zenyatta will still be at the Apple Blossom, which she won in 2008, but the $5 million purse will probably be less because it was contingent on Rachel.
I sure hope this was a one-off for Rachel, and she blows away the competition in her next race, whenever it is.