Rachel Alexandra finally agreed to a phone interview from New Orleans where she’s training, after learning she beat her arch-rival, Zenyatta, as Horse of the Year.
Adele: Congratulations, Miss Alexandra! I was worried Zenyatta would be the sentimental favorite, since she lost to Curlin last year and was supposedly retired.
Rachel: Call me Rachel. I hear you, Adele. We were both undefeated but, not to brag, I won 8 races to Zenyatta’s 5, broke a couple of records winning by 20 ¼ lengths and 19 ¼ lengths, which was ridiculous. Those other fillies barely left their stalls. And I was the first filly to win the Preakness since 1924, and the first filly ever to win the Haskell, and the first 3-year-old filly to beat older guys running a mile-plus in the Woodward Stakes.
Zenyatta ran against the same horses she always beats until they put her up against males in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Big deal. I’d already beaten colts 3 times.
A: Everybody was disappointed that you and Zenyatta never raced each other. Did you hear she’s coming back as a 6-year-old? That means there could still be a match-up, and they’re talking about the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn on April 3.
R: Bring her on! If Zenyatta’s willing to get her hooves dirty on a real track instead of that fake stuff she loves out in California, I’d be happy to settle the “best horse” question once and for all.
A: You won the Preakness, the second Triple Crown race, and beat the winners of the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont, Mine That Bird and Summer Bird, respectively. I think that makes you the Triple Crown winner by default. Do you wish they had entered you in all three races so you could have earned the title for real?
R: Hadn’t thought about it, since I was busy winning races. But, gee, since you put it that way, I’m bummed. I felt bad beating Mine in the Preakness and crushing his big dream — with his jockey on my back, no less. It would have been preferable to win the Derby so he never got his hopes up. Mine’s a nice guy. So’s his brother, Summer.
A: I guess that means the rumors you tried to gain an edge before the races by freaking them both out pretending there was a love triangle are false?
R: Rumors? It’s no secret I’d be game anytime for a little ménage à trios with the Bird brothers. They’re hot! Racing is just our job.
A: They’re hot, but slow.
R: Well, yeah. I can out-run them with one hoof tied behind my back, but speed isn’t a necessarily good thing in boyfriends.
A: What do you do in the off-season?
R: Get my mane done. Have a pedicure. Watch Mister Ed reruns. I’m not much for reading.
A: Did you hear that Curlin, last year’s Horse of the Year, just had his first foal, a filly?
R: Yes. He and his chick Zophie have asked me to be her godmother.
A: Are you looking forward to the new racing season?
R: Sure. At this point, my only career options are racing or making little horses. I’d rather colts be chasing me than have one on my back. I’m not ready to settle down.